Namibia: Germany’s African Holocaust

September 23rd, 2014 by Andre Vltchek

SWAPO’s fight for freedom.

How outrageous, how heartbreaking, how truly grotesque! Windhoek City – the capital of Namibia – is, at one extreme full of flowers and Mediterranean-style villas, and at the other, it is nothing more than a tremendous slum without water or electricity.

And in between, there is the town center– with its Germanic orderly feel, boasting ‘colonial architecture’, including Protestant churches and commemorative plaques mourning those brave German men, women and children, those martyrs, who died during the uprisings and wars conducted by local indigenous people.

German church with racist depiction of history and Fidel Street. (Click to enlarge.)

The most divisive and absurd of those memorials is the so-called “Equestrian Monument”, more commonly known as “The Horse” or under its German original names, Reiterdenkmal and Südwester Reiter (Rider of South-West). It is a statue inaugurated on 27 January 1912, which was the birthday of the German emperor Wilhelm II. The monument “honors the soldiers and civilians that died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua ‘War’ of 1904–1907’”.

That ‘war’ was not really a war; it was nothing more than genocide, a holocaust.

And Namibia was a prelude to what German Nazis later tried to implement on European soil.

A European expert working for the UN, my friend, speaks, like almost everyone here, passionately, but without daring to reveal her name:

“The first concentration camps on earth were built in this part of Africa… They were built by the British Empire in South Africa and by Germans here, in Namibia. Shark Island on the coast was the first concentration camp in Namibia, used to murder the Nama people, but now it is just a tourist destination – you would never guess that there were people exterminated there. Here in the center of Windhoek, there was another extermination camp; right on the spot where “The Horse” originally stood.”

The Horse and German tourists. (Click to enlarge.)

“The Horse” was recently removed from its original location, and placed in the courtyard of the old wing of The National Museum, together with some of the most outrageous commemorative plaques, glorifying German actions in this part of the world. Nothing was destroyed, instead just taken away from prime locations.

Where “The Horse” stood, there now stands a proud anti-colonialist statue, that of a man and a woman with broken shackles, which declares, “Their Blood Waters Our Freedom”.

Germany never officially apologized for its crimes against humanity in what it used to call German South-West Africa. It did not pay reparations.

*

A visit to those German genocidal relics is ‘an absolute must’ for countless Central European tourists that descend every day on Namibia. I followed several of these groups, listening to their conversations. Among these people, there appears to be no remorse, and almost no soul-searching: just snapshots, posing in front of the monuments and racist insignias, pub-style/beer jokes at places where entire cultures and nations were exterminated!

Central European, German-speaking tourists in Windhoek, appear to be lobotomized, and totally emotionless. And so are many of the descendants of those German ‘genocidal pioneers’. Encountering them is like déjà vu; it brings back memories of the years when I was fighting against the German Nazi colony, ‘Colonia Dignidad’ in Chile; or when I was investigating the atrocities and links, of the German Nazi community in Paraguay to several South American fascist regimes that had been implanted and maintained by the West.

And now the German community in Namibia is protesting the removal of “The Horse”. It is indignant. And this community is still powerful, even omnipotent, here in Namibia.

Almost nobody calls the ‘events’ that took place here, by their rightful names, of holocaust or genocide. Everything in Namibia is ‘sensitive’.

But even according to the BBC: “In 1985, a UN report classified the events as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South-West Africa, and therefore the earliest attempted genocide in the 20th Century.”

On 21 October 2012, The Globe and Mail reported:

“In the bush and scrub of central Namibia, the descendants of the surviving Herero live in squalid shacks and tiny plots of land. Next door, the descendants of German settlers still own vast properties of 20,000 hectares or more. It’s a contrast that infuriates many Herero, fuelling a new radicalism here.

This is how most of Namibians live. (Click to enlarge.)

Every year the Herero hold solemn ceremonies to remember the first genocide of history’s bloodiest century, when German troops drove them into the desert to die, annihilating 80 per cent of their population through starvation, thirst, and slave labor in concentration camps. The Nama, a smaller ethnic group, lost half of their population from the same persecution.

New research suggests that the German racial genocide in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 was a significant influence on the Nazis in the Second World War. Many of the key elements of Nazi ideology – from racial science and eugenics, to the theory of Lebensraum (creating “living space” through colonization) – were promoted by German military veterans and scientists who had begun their careers in South-West Africa, now Namibia, during the genocide…”

The Namibian government is still negotiating the return (from Germany) of all skulls of the local people, which were used in German laboratories and by German scientists to prove the superiority of the white race. German colonialists decapitated Herero and Nama people, and at least 300 heads were transported to German laboratories for ‘scientific research’. Many were ‘discovered’ in the Medical History Museum of the Charite hospital in Berlin, and at Freiburg University.


For those Germans who died for ‘Reich’ (Click to enlarge.)

Leading German doctor, who was working on ‘the pure race doctrine’ in Namibia (the doctrine later used by the Nazis), was doctor Fisher. He ‘educated’ many German physicians, including Doctor Mengele.

It is all to a very little surprise, considering that the first German governor of the colony was the father of Hitler’s deputy Herman Goering.

Germany never officially apologized for its crimes against humanity in what it used to call German South-West Africa. It did not pay reparations.

Germany’s holocaust in ‘South-West Africa’ is, among other things, a proof that the common Western theory about how German Nazism came to existence before the WWII was totally wrong. According to that theory, after the WWI, defeated and humiliated Germany got radicalized and ‘reacted’ monstrously to its condition.

But in reality, before and during the Second World War, Germany simply decided to behave in Europe exactly as it was behaving in its colonies, for many decades.

*

There are Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro Streets in the center of Windhoek. And there is that tremendous National Museum, commemorating the national-liberation struggle and the role of the heroic Cuban and North Korean troops in their fight against Western-supported apartheid.


Their blood waters our freedom. (Click to enlarge)

Bizarrely, German pre-Nazi/WWII monuments and insignias literally rub their shoulders alongside those great liberation struggle tributes.

Divisions are shocking: ideological, racial, social.

In Namibia, there is segregation on an enormous scale, everywhere.

While neighboring South Africa is moving rapidly away from racial segregation, introducing countless social policies, including free medical care, education and social housing, Namibia remains one of the most segregated countries on earth, with great private services for the rich, and almost nothing for the poor majority.

“Apartheid was even worse here than in South Africa”, I am told by my friend from the United Nations. “And until now… You go to Katutura, and you see who is living there, they are all local people there, all black. Katutura literally means ‘We have no place to stay’. 50% of the people in this city defecate in the open. Sanitation is totally disastrous. Then you go to Swakop city, on the shore, and it is like seeing Germany recreated in Africa. You also see, there, shops with Nazi keepsakes. Some Nazis, who escaped Europe, came to Windhoek, to Swakop and other towns. In Swakop, men march periodically, in replicas of Nazi uniforms.”

*

Katutura is where the black people were moved to, during apartheid.

My friend, a ‘colored’ Namibian, who fought for the independence of his own country and of Angola, drove me to that outrageous slum which seems to host a substantial amount of the capital’s population, with mostly no access to basic sanitation or electricity.


South African armored apartheid era train in Namibia. (Click to enlarge.)

He has also chosen to remain anonymous, as he has explained, in order to protect his lovely family. To speak up here, unlike in South Africa, which may, these days, be one of the freest and most outspoken places on earth, can be extremely dangerous. But he clarifies further:

“In Namibia, it is very rare for people who used to suffer, to speak about it publicly. In South Africa, everyone speaks. In Angola, everyone speaks… But not here.”

Then he continues:

“What we can see in Namibia is that many German people are still in control of big business. They are ruling the country. They have hunting farms and other huge estates and enterprises. Germans bring money to Namibia, but it stays with them, and it consolidates their power – it does not reach the majority. You cannot even imagine, how much local people working on their farms, are suffering. It is still like slavery. But it is all hushed up here.”


Commemorating the people’s battles for independence. (Click to enlarge)

*

“Sprechen Sie Deutch?” A black Namibian man intercepts me, as I am walking down the Fidel Castro Street.

“I do, but I would rather not, here”, I explain.

“But why not?” He grins at me. “You know… It is not only them… Germans… I grew up; I was educated, in East Germany during our fight for independence. And my friend that you see over there – he was flown to Czechoslovakia and he went to school there. Communist countries did so much for us, for the Africans: Cuba, North Korea, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. We are so grateful!”

“Yes”, I say. “But it is over, isn’t it? Czechoslovakia, East Germany… They joined the imperialists, the rulers. They exchanged ideals for iPads.”

“Yes”, he said. “But one day… who knows… things could be different, again.”

Yes, definitely, I think. But most likely not in Europe…

*

At the new and lavish National Museum in Windhoek, I salute the Namibian and foreign fighters against apartheid – those who struggled and died for freedom, and the independence of Africa.


Cuba and N Korea fighting for freedom of Namibia. (Click to enlarge.)

Then, I descended to the “Goethe Institute”, the German cultural center, a colonial building surrounded by barbed wire.

There, a local starlet is loudly rehearsing for something called ‘a night under the stars’, or something of that sentimental, over-sugary pop nature. These are basically evenings designed to bring together the pampered international crowd and those ‘feel-good-about-life’ local elites.

I ask the starlet, whether this institute is trying to address the most painful issues of the past and present, all connected to Germany, of course.

She is black but she speaks and behaves like a German. She gives me a huge and pre-fabricated smile:

“At Goethe we don’t want that… We are trying to get away from all this (meaning colonial and segregation issues). We are just trying to get Germans and Namibians together, you know…”

I later peek at those Namibians who are being brought together with the Germans. No Katutura here, naturally…

And for some reason, what came to my mind is a conversation I had, on the phone, many years ago, with one of the editors of the German magazine, Der Stern, after I offered him my findings and photos from Nazi Colonia Dignidad in Chile. He said: “Oh, Colonia Dignidad! Hahaha! Never again, ja?”

*

One evening I eat at Angolan/Portuguese restaurant in Windhoek, O Portuga; an institution known for its great food and mixed crowd. What an evening, what a place!

After dinner, I dive into German ‘Andy’s Bar’, a nearby place that was described to me as “An institution, which not even a black or a colored person from the embassies or the UN would dare to enter”.

The Beer is flat, but the conversation of the local crowd is extremely ‘sharp’. Patrons are freely giving black Namibians names of local farm animals. Their spite is open and sincere. I listen, I understand. Eventually I leave.

I catch a taxi, driven by a corpulent black man. The radio is blasting and I hear the socialist, anti-imperialist lyrics of ‘Ndilimani’, a brilliant local political band.

It is now well past midnight, and despite the warnings from all those ‘well-meaning Germans’ that I met in Windhoek, I feel much safer in this taxi than in Andy’s Bar and in so many other similar institutions.

“Is this country really governed by Marxist SWAPO?” I wonder aloud.

“No way”, the driver points back, towards the bar. “’They’ never left. ‘They’ are still controlling the country. The revolution is not over.”

I tell him that I am beginning to understand what drove Robert Mugabe mad and angry, in Zimbabwe. The driver nods. I push my seat back, and make it recline.

“It is all f***ed up”, I say.

The driver thinks for a while, but then replies, using almost the same words as the man who spoke to me on Fidel Castro Street: “Yes, brother, yes! But one day… who knows… things could be different, again.”

*

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

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There is a pronounced deceptive aura to the Obama Administration’s disclosures about the new U.S. war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS). The White House even says it is not a war but a simple counter-terrorism strategy, as in Yemen. This is intended to mislead Americans and to generate substantial support for the long war to come.

Every U.S military intervention in Muslim countries since the late 1970s has eventually resulted in “unintended” negative consequences, both for Washington and the target country. There is no reason to think that President Obama’s latest Middle East military adventure will turn out differently — perhaps even worse because his objectives go far beyond what has been publicly announced.

In his speech to the nation on Sept. 10 Obama said the purpose of the mission was to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State. He revealed, “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL (IS) in Syria as well as Iraq,” and emphasized there would be no U.S. ground troops. (The Iraqi government says it does not want more than a token number of U.S. soldiers on its territory.) The Pentagon and CIA will handle the jet fighters, bombers, and drones. Surveillance, communications, intelligence, training, financing and probably the concealed leadership of the ground war are on Uncle Sam’s agenda as well.

Obama’s intention to bring his air war against IS to Syria may result in a serious violation of international law. The Damascus government has said it will allow the U.S. to act but Washington must first ask permission to bomb its territory. The White House indicated it has no desire to ask for authorization. In addition, the Russian government, which supports and supplies arms to both Iran and Syria, pointed out that any such strike against Syria would need backing from the UN Security Council. Otherwise, it “would constitute an act of aggression.”

The White House is building a 40-nation coalition of mainly European and Middle Eastern allies to support the new war, but little activity is expected from most of the members. The U.S. has not invited either Iran or Syria to take part — a concession to the many anti-Shi’ite Sunni states in the coalition and, of course, to Congress and leaders of his own party. Both Iran and Syria criticized the decision to exclude them (though Iran may have rejected the invitation were it offered) and for supporting jihadist groups fighting in Syria. A senior Iranian official told Al-Monitor Sept. 11:

“The U.S. claims it’s fighting terrorism while cooperating with those backing the terrorist groups. It’s not only that; they want to arm other terrorist groups in Syria under the pretext they are moderate Islamists. Everyone knows who they are and what agenda they are serving.”

As the global hegemon at a time of diminishing credibility, and with a profound interest in controlling the oil-soaked Middle East, the U.S. had little choice but to intervene militarily lest it appear to be weak and irresolute — a posture that surely would demean Washington’s vaunted leadership.

In the process of keeping up superpower appearances by planning to crush the Islamic State — which deserves to be crushed, but primarily by the Iraqi and Syrian governments with support from Iran, not the imperial overlord  — President Obama has other goals in mind that have not been articulated.

Mainly it is to place the entire Middle East, not just most of it, as now, under U.S. control in order for Washington to concentrate far more attention on Asia and containing the rise of China.

There are only three countries in the Middle East that are not totally within the U.S. orbit — Iran, since the revolution of 1979; Syria, which has experienced rarely-on-and-mostly-off relations with Washington for decades, now presently off; and Iraq, a bombing target of four U.S. presidents, the object of two wars and years of killer sanctions, now primarily close to Iran with waning ties to its former occupier.

It so happens that these three countries are not only allies, but Iran and Iraq have majority Shi’ite populations, and Syria is led by an Alawite (Shi’ite derivative) government of President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, all three are backed by Russia, which the U.S. finds intolerable, and sometimes by China.

In addition, the principal contradiction within Middle Eastern Islam is between the Sunni and Shi’ite religious branches of Islam. The Shia comprise up to 13% of the Muslim world’s 1.7 billion people; the rest are Sunni, with some small offshoots from both. Saudi Arabia and the Sunni majority of countries in the region are appalled by the increasing power of the Shia, especially since the downfall of the minority Sunni government in Baghdad as a consequence of the U.S. invasion, and the Shi’ite rise to power.

At this stage, the U.S. (geo-politically) and Saudi Arabia plus the regional Sunni countries (geo-religiously), are aligned in seeking to overthrow the Assad regime and break its ties with Iran. The Sunnis also back U.S. efforts to weaken Iranian influence in Iraq. And the U.S., the Sunni countries and Israel desire to weaken and isolate Iran.

It is hardly illogical for the White House to entertain the idea of using this crisis to attain longer-range objectives. It seems likely that at some point during this protracted engagement with IS the White House will unchain the dogs of war — the “moderate” opposition to Assad — in the direction of Damascus. Obama is already regaining some clout in Baghdad by virtue of his bombing campaign and other assistance to new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who replaced the ousted Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whom the U.S. blamed for alienating the Iraqi Sunnis. Weakening Iran is a much tougher project but U.S. sanctions have hurt the economy and the possible loss of its Syrian ally would certainly reduce Tehran’s reach.

The abrupt materialization of IS (then called ISIS for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) at the beginning of this year and its swift takeover of territory in Anbar Province was watched carefully by the U.S., but little action was taken for months. The Islamic State is a formidable enemy, far more sophisticated than earlier jihadist organizations. Here is how The Economist described its abilities Sept. 13:

 “What has characterized IS so far is its combination of strategic patience, the ability to design and direct complex military operations simultaneously in Syria and Iraq, and hybrid warfare that fuses terrorist and insurgent techniques with conventional fighting. Among the tactics it has developed is to soften targets with artillery, or open a breach with suicide bombings, and then attack with swarms of armored Humvees mounted with anti-aircraft guns coming from what seems like all directions at once. Its aggression, speed, firepower and readiness to take casualties, combined with the well-publicized savagery that awaits anyone taken captive, terrorizes defenders into flight…. Although air power may contain IS, it will take ground forces to push its fighters out of the Sunni cities it has taken — and keep them out.”

The Islamic State was initially funded by Saudi Arabia and wealthy backers but now is earning about $3 million a day from selling Iraqi oil at discount prices in Turkey, smuggling, theft and extortion.

Washington acknowledged the seriousness of the IS advance in early June when it quickly captured Mosul, a city of 665,000, people and routed four divisions of the Iraqi army, capturing huge quantities of U.S. weapons and vehicles, emptying the banks and murdering military and civilian prisoners. IS then captured Tikrit, the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein. It was clear by then that a relatively large portion of the disaffected Sunni population of Iraq was giving support to IS. Since January IS has forced over a million Iraqis and Kurds from their homes. The number of dead civilians is not available.

Obama conveyed the impression for several weeks that he was reluctant to become involved in another conflict in Iraq but this was largely for show until the Pentagon decided on war plans, the State Department gathered preliminary pledges of support from key allies, and pressure on him to act mounted in Congress and among the American people. Obama remembered the contrived brouhaha that developed after the relatively small scale Benghazi, Libya, affair in 2012, and was determined to be “forced” to fight IS. The two beheadings of American journalists turned the tide into a flood of demands for action.

In his nationwide speech announcing the new strategy, President Obama several times stressed deceptively that the American people were “threatened” by IS. The U.S. is no more threatened by the IS than it was in 2002 when President George W. Bush began to convince Americans to fear Iraqi terrorism in the “homeland.” According to a Wall St. Journal opinion survey in the days following the speech, 62% of voters supported Obama’s call to action, “but nearly 70% saw low odds of success.”

President Obama maintains no American soldiers will be sent to fight “on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, but 1,600 are already there as “advisers,” and more will follow as the war continues over the next several years. Special Forces will operate as spotters for U.S. aircraft and other detachments will join Iraqi and Kurdish and troops in combat to provide guidance and leadership, only firing if fired upon, as inevitably occurs. Under certain circumstances larger numbers of American forces may be secretly inserted into Iraq under a government regulation that can legally deny the truth to the American people about clandestine military action by the Pentagon and CIA.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff paved the way for the eventual introduction of larger numbers of U.S. ground forces by indicating he would recommend precisely that if IS was able to withstand the American air war and allied ground troops. Dempsey also suggests that half the Iraqi army is not competent and the other half needs to be “rebuilt.” This is an interesting tribute to the $25 billion U.S. investment in training the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi government does not want a large contingent of U.S. soldiers back on its soil. While voicing support for the American campaign against IS, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared Sept. 19:

“All political leaders of the country must be aware and awake to prevent the external assistance against the Islamic State from becoming an entrance to breach Iraq’s independence…. Cooperation with the international effort shall not be taken as a pretext to impose foreign decisions on events in Iraq, especially military events.”

Obama did not mention in his speech an intention to destroy the Assad government, which the U.S. has sought to accomplish for the last three years. Judging from his battle plans, this is precisely what he intends to do as well as attack IS.

Why else finance, arm and train fighters from Syria’s anti-Assad “moderate” opposition to allegedly fight on the ground against IS in Syria?

Why would they join up unless the payoff was Assad’s head? The initial goal is to train a special unit of over 5,000 of these moderates, expanding the number if the war demands. Some experts question whether there are even that many moderates in Syria’s rebel ranks. Congress has already appropriated a half billion dollars for Obama to train and equip the so-called moderates. Whether they fight against IS is problematic, but they are clearly devoted to violently replacing Assad with a Sunni-led regime that — for most of the moderates and all of the extremists —eventually would impose fundamentalist Sharia law throughout the country.

The Obama Administration has never explained what it means by moderate opposition. There are over 1,500 groups involved in the fight to remove President Assad, according to James Clapper, director of national intelligence. Except for about two dozen organizations the rest are quite small. Nearly all the large opposition groups are composed of extreme Sunni fundamentalists. The Islamic State is the largest, followed the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria). These two will be ruled out by the White House, but evidently not the so-called moderate groups that have coordinated their independent actions with IS or Nusra in the past. The other large fighting organizations are composed of various Sunni jihadist military groups and the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA) that has been supported by Washington since its inception, along with others, but is no longer a major force. Many members of this group and jihadist organizations have defected to the IS.

According to an editorial in the New York Times Sept. 13:

“Groups identified by Western intelligence agencies as the moderate opposition — those that might support democracy and respect human rights — have been weak, divided and without coherent plans or sustained command structures capable of toppling the Assad regime. Today, those so-called moderates are even weaker and more divided; in some cases, their best fighters are hard-line Islamists.”

In terms of the FSA, journalist Robert Fisk wrote in CounterPunch Sept. 14:

“Then there’s the reinvention of the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition which was once called the Free Syrian Army, a force of deserters corrupted and betrayed by both the West and its Islamic allies — and which no longer exists. This ghost army is now going to be called the ‘Syrian National Coalition’ and be trained — of all places — in Saudi Arabia, whose citizens have given zillions of dollars to al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS and now IS, al-Nusra and sundry other bad guys.”

Obama seems to entertain the questionable notion that all these “moderate” groups see themselves threatened by the IS juggernaut and can be bought off with money, heavy weapons and expert training to turn their guns on the religio-fascists. The fact is, however, that many of these jihadist fighters, and the FSA as well, recently signed a pact with IS not to fight each other but to cooperate in destroying the Damascus government.

The Obama Administration shares a large responsibility for the fact that Syria has been transformed into a breeding, training and killing ground for violent Sunni jihadist organizations. The U.S. demand to overthrow the Assad regime created an open season for such groups. Obama looked on passively as one fundamentalist fighting force after another entered the country to join the crusade over the last two years.

Yet another violent organization, “led by a shadowy figure who was once among Osama bin Laden’s inner circle [that] posed a more direct threat [than IS] to America and Europe” has been discovered recently, according to the New York Times Sept 21, which continued: “American officials said that the group called Khorasan had emerged in the past year as the cell in Syria that may be the most intent on hitting the United States or its installations overseas with a terror attack. The officials said that the group is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close to Bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched.”

All of the jihadist fighting groups have been subsidized by various Sunni governments in the Middle East and their wealthy citizens. Saudi Arabia is the major source of funding for most of the jihadist organizations but other Arab countries and non-Arab Turkey have also been heavy contributors to virtually all the fundamentalist opposition. Turkey as well has opened its gates to foreign jihadists traveling to Syria to join the fight. Aside from being the cheerleader for regime change, the U.S. has financed, armed or trained more secular and “moderate” groups.

It is of interest that Obama has chosen Saudi Arabia — the big funder of the Syrian jihadists — to train these forces in military skills and discipline. The Saudis now oppose IS, which they once supported, because they see it as a rival for Sunni leadership in the Middle East. At the same time their puritanical fundamentalist Islamic religious views — Wahhabism — are nearly identical to the jihadist Salafi movement that includes IS, al-Qaeda, and other groups in the anti-Assad campaign.

An insight into Saudi Arabia’s plans was published Sept. 14 by Stratfor:

“Ideally, the [Saudi] kingdom would like to harness the power of a virulently anti-Shi’ite group such as the Islamic State to topple the Syrian regime and weaken the Shia in both Iraq and Lebanon, thus forcing the Iranians back into their Persian core [in Iran]. The problem is that the Saudis do not control the Islamic State.

“Moreover, Riyadh [the Saudi capital] is competing with groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda for a monopoly over the concepts of Salafism and jihad. This is why the Saudis have been putting together a coalition of Syrian rebels, many of whom are Salifist-jihadists who do not share the Islamic State’s ambition to establish a caliphate and are willing to go only as far as the Saudis command them to. Saudi Arabia is thus hoping that U.S. military power will help neutralize the Islamic State and allow its proxies to take over the territories currently under the jihadist group’s control [italics ours]. This way the transnational jihadist threat will be removed and the kingdom can make progress toward ousting al Assad.”

The U.S. seeks a majority Sunni regime in Damascus for its own ambitions, but Obama will insist the jihadist component drop the demand for Sharia, at least for now, and support representation, not repression, for the 35% non-Sunni population and for secular Sunnis, a number of whom are fighting against Assad.

Washington wants a government in Damascus that offers an approximation of democracy, an absolute end to the country’s close relationship with Shi’ite Iran, and expects to have its interests respected and advice sought. If the “moderates” (jihadists in most cases) cooperate they will be given a seat at the new government table — as were the Ukrainian fascists when they helped overthrow a pro-Russian president earlier this year.

The United States has been deeply involved since the late 1970s in manipulating the politics of selected Muslim governments to serve its own hegemonic interests. Often the tactic is regime change through direct military intervention, as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, or efforts to overthrow governments by supplying money, arms and other incentives to opposition forces, as in Syria. One inevitable consequence of American interference, even when it appears to be successful, is that fundamentalist jihadi movements multiply in size and new trouble spots emerge.

It is doubtful al-Qaeda had more than several hundred full time operatives at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. It was reported this week that the IS includes an estimated 30,000 to 45,000 effectives in its “state” located in northwest Iraq and northeast Syria and expanding. In early June when IS conquered Mosul, the Pentagon estimated it had 3,000 to 5,000 troops all told. Of the present higher number,

15,000 hold foreign passports, including over 2,000 Europeans and 100 Americans. Those who survive may come home one day, providing a justification for the U.S. and others to expand their already extensive surveillance capabilities.

At present conservative religious monarchies, dictators and authoritarian regimes govern nearly all countries in the Middle East. All of them, despite contempt toward the U.S. for its liberal democracy and overbearing hypocrisy, ultimately are in liege to the global hegemon in Washington that protects them, and supplies the weapons and intelligence to keep these regimes in power. Extreme Arab government repression backed by the White House crushed the Arab left as an alternative decades ago.

Religious fundamentalism and jihadism are today’s alternative for many young Islamist men dissatisfied with their corrupt governments and infused with hatred toward the U.S. for its humiliating interventions, support for Israel, and overpowering violence. Many are now flocking to the black flag of IS in Syria and Iraq and to various other jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda offshoots in the Middle East, North Africa and now deeper into Africa and touching on Asia.

There of many millions of Muslims (Arabs, Kurds and Iranians) who will fight the Islamic State. They do not have to do so on behalf of the objectives of either the U.S., Saudi Arabia and their various hangers on who now control the region.

The Syrian army is a tough and experienced military force. Some 75,000 of its soldiers and militia members are reported to have been killed in the last three years — and yet it holds on. This is the force that should fight IS, not those under a U.S. command who are mainly being recruited to defeat the Syrian government.

Syria has an air force, as do Iraq and Iran. If the U.S. called off its dogs, ended its regime change mantra and worked with Syria, Iraq and Iran the days of IS would be numbered more quickly. In fact, those three countries, without the U.S., could do the job if they weren’t being undermined and sanctioned.

The 350,000 member Iraqi army is suffering disgrace because of its failure in Mosul. But this defeat has many causes. The Bush Administration foolishly disbanded the existing Iraqi army two months after the 2003 invasion, putting 400,000 soldiers out of work in a wrecked economy that was not hiring new workers. The officer corps was jobless with a black mark on work records (and a number of leading Sunni officers, who were loyal to the pre-war regime, have lately turned up on the side of IS to show their opposition to the government).

The Mosul debacle was largely the product of bad leadership. Commanding officers are said to have fled, leaving the soldiers to fend for themselves. This force can be rebuilt by Iraqis, assisted by several experienced Shi’ite militias (under orders to treat Sunnis fairly), and backed in various ways by Iran. Patrick Cockburn wrote recently “the most potent fighting force on the [Iraqi] government side is the Shia militias, most though not all of which are led or advised by Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers. Iran is crucial for the defense of the Baghdad government.”

The Iraqi army will take the field when the Baghdad government gets its act together, but it probably will be under the de facto direction of the United States.

Obama considers the Syrian army — the main bulwark against a jihadist takeover — his enemy because it defends an Iran-friendly government in Damascus. He wants to do what Bush did to the Iraqi military. He stubbornly will not call off his intention to overthrow Assad and will definitely not openly welcome Iran into the picture.

In addition to his geopolitical rationale, Obama fears heavy criticism from a reactionary Congress, from neocon leaders of his own party (such as Hillary Clinton), and from supporters of jihadism such as one of America’s closest allies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic State can be defeated, but it is difficult to grasp how the White House strategy as Obama explained things can do the job. There’s certainly more to the plan than has been revealed, undoubtedly including ousting Assad. Regardless, the odds are that the U.S. will end up losing more than it gained, as in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Jack A. Smith is editor of the Activist Newsletter and is former editor of the (U.S.) Guardian Newsweekly. He may be reached at [email protected] or http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem stressed that the seriousness of the US and its allies in combating terrorism entails to immediately halt supporting, financing and training the terrorist organizations and to stop facilitating their flow into the Syrian territories through coordination with the Syrian state.

In an interview with Russian RT TV channel, Minister al-Moallem said that if the US is serious in combating terrorism of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria  (ISIS) and other organizations , It must start to move in the framework of the United Nations (UN) without excluding anyone including Russia, Iran and Syria.

“The move to establish an international alliance to face the terrorism of the ISIS is not debatable as a title… From decades , Syria called for holding an international conference on combating terrorism as it has realized the danger of terrorism… Since the beginning of the crisis, Syria said that terrorism will affect its supporters and funders and will spread outside the country to reach even Europe and the US,” al-Moallem said.

He added “We must distinguish between the international efforts in the framework of the Security Council’s resolution No. 2170 to combat the terrorism of the ISIS, Jabahat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations, and the hidden intentions of the US and its allies as the members of this alliance are the same countries which have conspired against Syria for more than three years.”

Al-Moallem reiterated that the air strikes will not be fruitful without the coordination with the active forces on the ground or without a military action on the ground.

He criticized the US, saying that it is funny when the US says that it will not coordinate with the Syrian Government , and it will coordinate with the so-called “moderate opposition” as this opposition is killing the Syrians in the same way as what the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra are doing, considering that the US talk about “moderate opposition ” is “funny”.

He added that there are suspicions on the desire of the US and its allies to achieve a political solution in Syria as they are training the armed groups in a step towards allowing them to enter Syria to continue fighting the Syrian Arab army which means that they want the crisis to continue and they want to blow up any political solution.

“Any violation of Syria’s sovereignty is an aggression.. this aggression is clearly defined at the international law,” Al-Moallem said, noting that Syria is still stretching a hand to cooperation and coordination for countering the terrorism of the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Nusra Front and other terrorist organizations according to the UN Resolution No. 2170.

The Minister added “We in Syria are proud of the standing coexistence among all components of the Syrian people and we firmly reject any attempt of discrimination on ethnic or religious basis among the Syrian people,” reiterating that the Kurdish people are a dear part of the Syrian society.

Al-Moallem pointed out that Russia and Syria have been partners in combating terrorism for more than three years, stressing that the Russia’s military support to Syria aims at strengthening its own capabilities in countering terrorism.

He pointed out that Syria’s coordination with Russia, Iran and the BRICS group countries is continuous, asserting that Moscow would not allow the passing of any resolution under the Chapter VII.

He stressed that Syria demanded the implementation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2170 by all the countries, particularly the neighboring countries which had been and are still supporting terrorism.

Al-Moallem said that some European countries have made communications with Syria through the security apparatus to get information about its citizens who are fighting along with the terrorist organizations.

Copyright Syrian Arab News Agency, 2014

 contributed by R. Al-Jazaeri / H. Zain /Ghossoun/ Mazen

Today the US – backed by “moderate” Arab states like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Jordan – started bombing territory in another sovereign state, Syria, without a UN Security Council resolution or a plausible argument that it is acting in self-defence. That makes it a crime of aggression, defined at Nuremberg as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

In a sign that Obama’s war on ISIS in Syria could quickly be extended into a war against Syrian president Bashar Assad, Israel downed a Syrian jet inside Syria this morning with a US-funded Patriot missile. According to Israel, the Syrian plane had passed 800 metres into its territory before heading back into Syria, during what the Israeli media say was a sortie against “rebels” operating close to the Israeli border (that’s right – the people Obama is currently bombing but whose injuries are being mended in Israeli hospitals).

Of course, we only have Israel’s word for it that the plane briefly crossed into Israeli territory, but watch to see how completely the western media will assume Israel’s story to be the only valid account.

Let’s assume for a second that Israel’s claim is true. Even the Israeli media, presumably echoing the Israeli military, believe the plane was not threatening to attack Israel in any way, and it must have been over Israeli territory for seconds, or maybe fractions of a second. But the plane was shot down in Syria because Israeli military “policy stipulates that any plane that breaches its territorial authority must be downed to avoid security risk”. Decoded, that means Syria has to be taught a lesson about who is boss. Israel, remember, has flown over Syrian and Lebanese territory on a regular basis.

The other, strong possibility is that Israel has been told by the US to help keep Syrian skies free of Syrian planes while the US goes about its business breaking international law. See how much play that gets in western media reporting.

CORRECTION:

It has been pointed out to me that actually the Haaretz article implies that when the Syrian plane reportedly crossed into “Israeli territory” it was most likely passing briefly over the Golan – that is, Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

I appreciate the correction. It exposes an additional layer of misinformation in this whole story.

www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.617329

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-09-23/did-israel-help-us-by-downing-syrian-jet/#sthash.GrjpmMLZ.dpuf

No politician on this planet is less original. Seeming like a lumbering brontosaurus, the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott moves through meeting after meeting in an insentient daze that only lifts when stock terms are used.  “Terrorism” so happens to be one of them.

The Australian use of the ISIS beheadings as a pretext to transform a distant country into a crude if clumsy police state is something to behold.  The chances of a ceremonial beheading in Australia by masked and brooding youths drunk on Koranic bliss are as remote as finding actual witches in the village undergrowth of Salem.  Suggesting that this just might happen is a classic exercise of nonsense.  Everything just might happen, be it the arrival of Socratic thinking on the part of the Abbott front bench, or the emergence of a profitable ecologically sustainable Australian economy.

Glenn Greenwald shores up the argument from the other side, dealing with improbabilities as opposed to possibilities.  “If you are an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning.”[1]

Authorities are under the necessary burdens to show the need for measures that are otherwise needless.  Instead, the Australian government is dabbling in the exceptionalist guff that shows that state authorities are running dry in the ministry of ideas.  Australia is packed with a range of troubling laws as it is, originally drafted and passed with minimal debate when the terrorist genie was making his spectral presence felt.

Amendments on the devilish book of reforms being suggested by the robotic-like Attorney-General, George Brandis, will extend the work of control orders currently found under Division 104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, restricting the movement of certain individuals, and imposing the requirements to wear electronic tags.  Lesser burdens of proof for warrantless interventions are also being suggested.

Regrettably, the High Court in Thomas v Mowbray [2007] HCA 33 deemed such control orders valid and within the power of the Commonwealth to pass, showing that the roots of civil liberty tend to be rather shallow in Antipodean soil.

Abbott sees terrorists lurking in the Australian suburbs with a type of biblical fury.  He finds them chatting about “targeting government people”. He hears them targeting Parliament House.  “One of the first consequences… has been moves to put the Australian Federal Police back in charge of internal, as well as external security.”[2]  Apparently, the chatter, noted in that paragon of accuracy, News Corp, suggested that an attack along the lines of Mumbai from 2008 was on the cards.

Few have decided to question the credibility of an interstate anti-terror operation run by 800 personnel that has netted only a handful of individuals – 15 arrested, supposedly marching under hypnosis similar to the Manchurian candidate.

Even fewer are actually tapping the cabinet on their small shoulders and reminding them that history has a nasty habit of revisiting those who interfere with it.  Instead of taking the high ground of cold reasoning and keeping Australian noses dry, Abbott has made it clear that he wants to be dirtied by further engagements, first in Iraq, and most likely in Syria, provided President Barack Obama issues a sweet note of approval. (There is even a suggestion that Obama won’t even have to do that.)

Amendments suggested by Sch.3 of the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014 should send civil liberty advocates howling to every human rights commission there is.  The bill proposes to exempt those involved in “special intelligence operations” (SIOs) from criminal and civil liability for “special intelligence conduct” that takes place during the course of such operations. The devil here is in the exonerating detail: the operation, provided it falls within the remit of intelligence matters, will be justified.

Such actions include anything authorised by the Director General of ASIO or a Deputy Director General that does not cause “the death of, or serious injury to, any person; or involves the commission of a sexual offence against any person; or causes significant loss of, or serious damage to, property; or induce another person to commit a crime against the Commonwealth or a State or territory that they were not otherwise planning to commit.”

This is not merely a get out of gaol card, but a permanent exemption for a range of abuses by officials less squeamish about “enhanced interrogation” and similar nasties.

The gems in this crown of tyrannical impetuousness must be the proposed efforts to curb the disclosure of material on those newly classified SIOs.  The Attorney General’s Department has made it clear that a two year term of imprisonment as it stands “would not provide a sentencing court with an adequate range within which to impose a sentence that reflects the gravity of the consequences of the conduct constituting the offence.”[3] Instead, it is recommending a term of up to five years imprisonment, to be increased to 10 in the event that information disclosed endangers lives, even if that information is revealed unwittingly.  Beware the errant blogger.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Committee has decided to roll over and play dead on the issue.  Instead of turning colour, the politicians have decided to turn colourless, not finding it “appropriate to provide an explicit exemption for journalists from the proposed offence provisions.”[4]  The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will be required to consider “the public interest, including the public interest in publication before initiating a prosecution” in the context of disclosing or revealing information connected with an SIO.

Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of how such public interest tests work, notably in common law jurisdictions, should be aware that having it in the first place is a concession to defeat.  But that won’t bother the terror-mad Abbottphiles, who have made it clear that the fear factory disgorging its churning products, is very much in business.

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

Notes

Israeli War Crimes: More than 3,000 Gazan Children Wounded in War

September 23rd, 2014 by Global Research News

by Mohammed Othman

He moves around the hospital, the smile never leaving his face. His boyish attitude is translated by his spontaneous hand gestures. When he gets tired, he rests on his bed, near his older brother who was also wounded during the same airstrike. He finally returns to his wheelchair. Ibrahim Khattab, 9, has lost his left leg.

During Israel’s 51-day war on the Gaza Strip, which ended on Aug. 28, Ibrahim and his brother Wassim, who lived in Deir al-Balah in the center of Gaza, left their house and were wounded by an Israeli airstrike, causing the loss of Ibrahim’s left leg and critical injuries to Wassim’s legs.

Wassim, 15, the eldest, was always passionate about soccer, until Israeli drones launched rockets and shattered his dreams with a permanent disability.

Despite his severe injuries, Wassim told Al-Monitor with eyes full of hope, “I wish things would go back the way they were. I wish I could play with my friends again, especially football because I love it so much. I cannot wait to go back to school and resume class in 10th grade.”

At the Red Crescent Rehabilitation Center in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, Al-Monitor met the Khattab brothers before they left for Germany to complete their treatment. Ibrahim, the youngest in his family, whose leg had been amputated, moved around the hospital in his wheelchair assisted by his father. Wassim seemed to be holding up better than his father and little brother. However, he expressed his fears for his future, especially since he sees his peers walk while he cannot.

Ibrahim innocently asked, “How will I be able to live later on? My leg, which I once used to walk and play, is now amputated. My only mistake was that I was going to my uncle’s house. How will I go to school now? How will I play with my friends?”

Ibrahim is asking questions day and night to which he does not have the answers. He has lost a lot of weight and weighs only 19 kilograms (42 pounds).

Khaled Khattab, the father, tries to help his sons adapt to their new life. He told Al-Monitor, “I try to be there for them so they can leave the hospital with as little damage as possible. I help Ibrahim use his artificial leg and try to find the best treatment for Wassim.”

Khaled’s economic situation is difficult. He has been unemployed for over eight years, due to the Israeli siege on Gaza, and the burden is now heavier with the daily fees of his sons’ treatments.

The suffering experienced by the Khattab brothers is endemic across the Gaza Strip.

According to statistics published by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the death toll of the Israeli war on Gaza includes 540 child deaths, which represents 25% of the entire death toll. Over 3,000 children were injured, some of whom have had their limbs amputated or are in critical condition.

The head of the Physical Rehabilitation Unit at the Ministry of Health, Ayman al-Halabi, said that suffering from injuries can be a difficult experience for children since they are just starting to grow up. A large number of children cannot understand what has happened to them and take a long time to cope with their situation. Their relatives may also be injured or killed from the attacks, which worsens the psychological effects they suffer.

Halabi told Al-Monitor, “When the injuries are severe, the patients need medical care and long rehabilitation sessions to stabilize their condition. They also need psychiatric treatment to overcome the trauma, in addition to their increasing economic needs.”

“For example, the children whose limbs were amputated are at the first stage of growing up, which means that both their weight and height are constantly changing. Thus, they need to change the artificial limbs every six months or according to the evaluation of their condition. This puts both the children and their parents under a lot of pressure,” Halabi said.

Due to Gaza’s lack of hospitals that manufacture artificial limbs, the situation is more difficult, since the families whose children have amputated limbs have to cover extra fees to buy new prostheses.

“The war, the destruction of houses and the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip have largely affected the lives of Gaza inhabitants economically. The parents of a child cannot change their child’s prosthesis every six months because it is very expensive, not to mention that a person who underwent such an operation outside Gaza would need to revisit the place where they were treated. This is also very costly and a burden for an already poor family,” Halabi said.

We left Ibrahim and Wassim inside the hospital playing, and dreaming about future lives that have been scarred by the latest war.

Mohammed Othman is a journalist from the Gaza Strip. He graduated from the Faculty of Media in the Department of Radio and Television at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza in 2009. He has received a number of Palestinian and Arab awards, including first place at the Arab Press Awards in Dubai in the category of Youth Press during its tenth session in 2011 and the Press Freedom Award from the Palestinian Government Media Center during its first session in 2011. He also received the third place award for investigative reporting of corruption cases, organized by the Media Development Center at Birzeit University and the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2013. 

Copyright Mohammed Othman, Al Monitor, 2014

World Population Alarmism: Twelve Billion People by 2100

September 23rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Wired magazine recently published an article titled, “Boom! Earth’s Population Could Hit 12 Billion by 2100,” which despite the typical narrative of misanthropic population control that works its way into any Western mainstream article on the topic of growing populations, remained relatively positive.

Wired quoted statistician and sociologist Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington who stated: “A rapidly growing population with bring challenges. But I think these challenges can be met.”

And Raftery is correct. Wired would also include in its article that:

…it’s worth remembering that human populations doubled between 1960 and 1999. That tremendous growth spurt occasioned fears of widespread famine and societal collapse. On the whole, though, we made it through in decent shape.

Many of those fearmongers between the 1960′s and up to the turn of the century are still deeply involved in manipulating the discourse on the topic of human population growth and measures they claim are necessary to curtail it. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in 1977 ludicrously concluded that the United States would collapse when its population reached “280 million in 2040.” America’s population is now well over 300 million with nearly 3 decades to spare. Holdren would add in his now entirely discredited co-authored book titled, “Ecoscience,” that: “…if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.”

Holdren’s “population control measures” included a despotic “planetary regime” that would have made the architects of the 3rd Reich blush.

Wired’s article does dabble in alarmism slightly, with some experts claiming rationing would be necessary while raising the issue of climate change in relation to growing populations. While resources and humanity’s impact on the environment are definitely challenges that must be overcome, Vaclav Smil, an energy, environment and food production researcher at the University of Manitoba, incorrectly concludes that cultural motivations rather than technical innovations will be the key.

Overall, Wired’s article focuses on innovation as the key to solving growing populations and is a refreshing departure from its typical mainstream rhetoric repackaged to manipulate more informed and educated members of the general public. Unfortunately, the comment section below was riddled with racist, crypto-eugenics propaganda denouncing the third world as an “overbreeding scourge.” However, there were others pointing out that most of the consequences generally blamed on overpopulation, are instead rooted in global institutions like the World Bank and the IMF consolidating, exercising, and tragically abusing vast unwarranted power and influence, intentionally expanding socioeconomic disparity, and thus leading to starvation, war, political instability, and other tragic symptoms incorrectly blamed on “overpopulation.”

There Is No Such Thing as “Overpopulation,” Only Incompetent Leadership

In reality, the moment the first human began using tools to overcome physical limitations that would otherwise have caused them to perish, the so-called natural equilibrium of our species was thrown out of balance. For those who believe in the concept of “overpopulation,” human beings have been “overpopulating” the planet for millennia. Most catastrophes attributed to “overpopulation” are instead the result of resource scarcity – and while sometimes such scarcity is the result of variables outside the control of governments and individuals, most of the time it is the result of easily avoidable pitfalls dug out of greed, shortsightedness, and above all, poor leadership.

When governments and international organizations begin demanding the population pay for the burdens of “overpopulation,” it is an indictment of their own incompetence and inability to solve the basic challenges facing the societies they presume dominion and responsibility over.

Responsible governments competently presiding over their constituents can ensure prosperity regardless of natural resources available. Nations like Japan or Singapore which have access to relatively few natural resources are able to compensate by developing human resources and thus innovations that transcend these limitations. Other nations, like the United States, with seemingly endless natural bounty, through incompetent or criminally negligent leadership, leaves disproportionate sections of its society in destitution.

As populations grow, leadership that skillfully cultivates human resources to compensate for growing needs for natural resources will overcome the challenges 12 billion people will meet. Incompetent leadership will not only allow growing populations to lead to disaster, but will blame everything and everyone else besides themselves in the process.

Growing Populations, Shifting Paradigms, Evolving National Policies

Astoundingly, despite systematically being proven wrong, alarmists regarding population growth continue to insist on rationing, population control, and other constrictive, totalitarian political measures to deal with the challenges that are to come as more people populate the planet. Coupling population growth with the impact growing populations have on the environment – through narratives involving “climate change” and “global warming” – leadership particularly in the West seek to gain an even tighter grip not only on their own societies, but by using the hysteria they themselves are manufacturing, to empower contrived so-called “international institutions,” granting them authority over otherwise sovereign nation-states across the globe.

pg4_001This method of consolidating wealth and power is but one of many components of the West’s unipolar international order – otherwise known as globalization. However, globalization and the “planetary regime” imagined by the fearmongers peddling the myth of “overpopulation” are already unraveling even before they have been fully implemented. Growing awareness and individual technological empowerment over responsibilities these international institutions presume authority over is creating battlelines between a centralized unipolar world, and a decentralized multipolar world. Local empowerment coupled with global collaboration and awareness is beginning to displace centralized monopolistic, top-down models of world governance.

While the West attempts to impose “solutions” in spite of reality, nations attempting to hammer together a multipolar world must seek to create solutions that reflect the changing reality of technology, demographics, and the environment. Technological innovations including space exploration, personal manufacturing, cleaner and cheaper energy, revolutionary advances in biotechnology and medicine, and information technology that can be leveraged to help greater percentages of society reach their full human potential and thus contribute rather than detract from efforts to solve our age’s most pressing issues, are the only means with which to solve the challenges to come.

Paradoxically, the West and its current unipolar hegemonic international order, sees individuals and societies reaching their full human potential as simply competition posing a potential threat to their ill-gotten, unwarranted power and influence. Contrary to humanity’s best interests, they seek to intentionally deter real development and progress. The West’s multiple theaters of war stretching across the globe, spanning decades, and causing immeasurable harm to millions as well as devastating the environment they unfold within is a true testament to this. So is the methods the West uses to perpetually mislead and divide their own populations against each other. The neo-mercantilism that is modern globalization features wasteful, polluting supply chains that stretch around the globe – from slave-like conditions in sweatshops to warehouse-sized big-retail outlets like Tesco or Walmart on the other side of the world selling cheap consumerist trinkets.

All of this in reality, contradicts all of the West’s rhetoric in addressing both growing populations and their impact on this planet.

Decentralization of these immense supply chains by leveraging emerging technology like 3D printing, computer-controlled personal manufacturing, open source designs and collaboration, makerspaces that allow communities to engage in research, development and local manufacturing not only allow individual nation-states to keep jobs and profits within their borders, but erode the monopolistic special interests of Wall Street and London and the immense profits they use to project political and military power beyond their borders at the cost of peace, stability, and sovereignty in nations around the world – from Libya to Syria, from Ukraine to Russia and China themselves.

The shifting paradigms necessary to accommodate growing populations – namely localized development, technological innovations, and the intensive development of human resources – are also the keys to undoing the very destructive international order that has failed to solve the challenges 7 billion people on Earth now face, and promises to fail meeting the challenges 12 billion people will face.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared:http://journal-neo.org/2014/09/23/12-billion-people-by-2100-and-why-it-s-no-big-deal/

by The Center for Investigative Reporting

The clouds of tear gas, flurries of projectiles and images of police officers outfitted in military-grade hardware in Ferguson, Missouri, have reignited concerns about the militarization of domestic law enforcement in the United States.

But there has been another, little-discussed change in the training of American police since the 9/11 attacks: At least 300 high-ranking sheriffs and police from agencies large and small – from New York and Maine to Orange County and Oakland, California – have traveled to Israel for privately funded seminars in what is described as counter-terrorism techniques.

For some, dispatching American police to train in a foreign country battered by decades of war, terror attacks and strife highlights how dramatically U.S. law enforcement has changed in the 13 years since al-Qaida airplane hijackers crashed into New York’s World Trade Center. In many places, the image of the friendly cop on the beat has been replaced by intimidating, fully armed military-style troops. And Israel has played part in that transition.

As these trips to Israel became more commonplace, the militarization of U.S. law enforcement also was driven by the creation of various homeland security initiatives and billions of dollars of surplus military-grade equipment donated to local departments through the 1033 program after 9/11.

Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, described the tactics he sees American police use today as “a near replica” of their Israeli counterparts.

“Whether it is in Ferguson or L.A., we see a similar response all the time in the form of a disproportionate number of combat-ready police with military gear who are ready to use tear gas at short notice,” Syed said. “Whenever you find 50 people at a demonstration, there is always a SWAT team in sight or right around the corner.”

The law enforcement seminars in some ways resemble other privately funded trips to Israel, such as the birthright trips for Jewish young adults and programs for politicians, educators and other professionals. Stops on the law enforcement tours include not just the Western Wall, but also West Bank border checkpoints, military facilities and surveillance installations.

Participants speak highly of the experience. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer called Israel “the Harvard of antiterrorism” after taking part in a 2005 trip sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Capt. Brad Virgoe of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California called the 2013 session he took part in an “amazing experience,” recalling visits to checkpoints in Eilat at the Israeli-Egyptian border and in the West Bank near Bethlehem.

Since 2002, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have sent police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains on fully paid trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories to observe the operations of the Israeli national police, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli Border Patrol and the country’s intelligence services. Tax documents from the Jewish Institute show the organization spent $36,857 on the trips in 2012.

The U.S. program began less than a year after 9/11, when the Jewish Institute brought nine American police officials to Israel to meet with Uzi Landau, Israel’s public security minister at the time. Participants represented the New York and Los Angeles police departments, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the New York and New Jersey Port Authority police and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority police.

Recently, the seminars drew attention during the Ferguson protests because the former chief of the St. Louis County Police Department, who retired in January, had participated in a 2011 trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.

Israeli security forces’ history of training police in counterinsurgency tactics predated that trip. In Mexico’s Chiapas state, Israeli military officials have been training police and military to combat the Zapatista uprising since 1994. The most recent Israeli training mission to Chiapas took place in May 2013.

Topics covered have included preventing and responding to terrorist attacks and suicide bombings, the evolution of terrorist operations and tactics, security for transit infrastructure, intelligence sharing, and balancing crime fighting and antiterrorism efforts. The training also touches on ways to use Israel’s counterinsurgency tactics to control crowds during protests and riots.

Virgoe told CIR that he and his Israeli counterparts frequently discussed protests and crowd control methods.

“Around Bethlehem, they deal with it on a daily basis,” he said. “Rock throwing, it happens all the time, and they’ve become very proficient at dealing with large crowds on a moment’s notice.”

Virgoe also recounted the Israeli national police’s efficiency in dealing with hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews who poured into Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in October.

counter-insurgency rally

Demonstrators protest the Anti-Defamation League’s Israel training trips for U.S. police in front of the group’s office in San Francisco.

Credit: Ali Winston for CIR

The head of the Maine State Police, Col. Robert Williams, joined a trip sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League in early 2013. Speaking to the Bangor Daily News after his return, he noted that his Israeli counterparts had decades of experience in dealing with protests and he was impressed with their ability to suppress demonstrations.

“They call it riots and we call it civil unrest,” Williams told the newspaper.

San Diego Assistant Police Chief Walt Vasquez was on the same October 2013 trip as Virgoe and described a week of travel and training with the national police, Israel Defense Forces and intelligence officials. Vasquez also recalled “lots of discussions about crowd control” tactics. He was intrigued by a demonstration of the extensive surveillance camera network that covers Jerusalem.

Crowd control training provided by Israeli authorities to American law enforcement officials disturbs Human Rights Watch researcher Bill Van Esveld, who studies Israel and Palestine.

In Israel, “in a majority of cases, you’re seeing demonstrations that start with rock-throwing and devolve into tear gas, rubber bullets and sometimes live rounds being fired at people who are throwing stones,” he said.

Van Esveld added that his research has shown the risks for law enforcement are not as high in Israel, where he said officers and soldiers frequently disobey orders governing lethal force against demonstrators and rarely face discipline or other consequences.

“It is very rare that you get a soldier or policeman thrown in jail for killing or injuring someone – in practice, there’s a lot of looking the other way,” he said.

Israel’s use of less-lethal munitions in crowd control received international attention in 2009, when American activist Tristan Anderson was struck in the face with a high-velocity tear gas canister during a West Bank demonstration against Israel’s border wall. His skull was shattered, leaving him in a coma for months. Now, he uses a wheelchair.

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, said the seminars reflect a militarized mindset diametrically opposed to traditional police-community relations in the United States.

“If American police and sheriffs consider they’re in occupation of neighborhoods like Ferguson and East Harlem, this training is extremely appropriate – they’re learning how to suppress a people, deny their rights and use force to hold down a subject population,” said Khalidi, a longtime critic of the Israeli occupation.

He pointed out a fundamental difference between the American and Israeli justice systems: Jewish residents fall under Israeli criminal law, but Palestinians are subject to Israel’s military justice system. Khalidi said Americans are learning paramilitary and counterinsurgency tactics from the Israeli military, border patrol and intelligence services, which enforce military law.

The most tangible evidence that the training is having an impact on American policing is that both countries are using identical equipment against demonstrators, according to a 2013 report by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and photographs of such equipment taken at demonstrations in Ferguson and Oakland and Anaheim, California.

Tear gas grenades, “triple chaser” gas canisters and stun grenades made by the American companies Combined Systems Inc. and Defense Technology Corp. were used in all three U.S. incidents, as well as by Israeli security forces and military units.

Footage shot by activist Jacob Crawford in Ferguson last month revealed law enforcement used a long-range acoustic device that sends out high-pitched, painful noises designed to scatter crowds. Israeli forces first used such devices in response to West Bank protests in 2005, according to the B’Tselem report.

David Friedman, the Washington, D.C., regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, organized the dozen Israel seminars hosted by his organization for law enforcement leaders. For logistical reasons, he said, participation has been limited to “the highest levels of law enforcement.” However, Friedman confirmed that the University of Wisconsin’s police department participated, and news coverage as well as news releasesfrom his organization show other smaller agencies and campus police began participating in the mid-2000s.

Last year, the league brought American law enforcement to meet with Palestinian police in Bethlehem for the first time.

Friedman declined to reveal how much the seminars have cost his group. The main focus is on strategies and tactics, he said, but the Israeli officials are not “giving guidance or instruction on these matters.”

Friedman emphasized that counterterrorism is the focus of the seminar, though he acknowledged that crowd control does figure into the training, with Israeli officials showing footage and presentations from protests and demonstrating the equipment they use.

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the American Jewish Committee did not respond to interview requests about the law enforcement training seminars they sponsor.

This article was edited by Robert Salladay and copy edited by Nikki Frick and Christine Lee

Copyright The Center for Investigative Reporting 2014

Obama all’Onu rilancia la «guerra globale al terrorismo»

September 23rd, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Alla 69a sessione dell’Assemblea generale delle Nazioni unite, che si apre oggi a New York sotto la sua presidenza, il presidente degli Stati uniti Obama domani «chiamerà il mondo a raccolta contro la minaccia dell’Isis». Subito dopo lo stesso Obama presiederà una speciale riunione del Consiglio di sicurezza, che dovrebbe approvare una risoluzione presentata dagli Stati uniti.

A quanto si legge nella bozza fatta circolare giorni fa dall’agenzia di stampa Reuters, la risoluzione si concentra su uno specifico aspetto della campagna contro lo «Stato islamico dell’Iraq e della Siria»: quello di obbligare tutti i paesi a «prevenire e sopprimere il reclutamento, l’organizzazione, il trasporto e l’equipaggiamento di individui che si recano in altri Stati allo scopo di pianificare, preparare o attuare atti terroristici, oppure di fornire o ricevere addestramento terroristico e finanziamenti per tali attività». In base al capitolo 7 dello Statuto delle Nazioni Unite, il Consiglio di sicurezza avrebbe l’autorità di adottare misure per obbligare gli Stati ad attenersi a quanto stabilito nella risoluzione.

La risoluzione sarebbe condivisibile, se non costituisse il grimaldello con cui gli Stati uniti cercano di ottenere il timbro dell’Onu al loro piano strategico, formalmente incentrato sulla lotta contro lo «Stato islamico dell’Iraq e della Siria». Se la risoluzione fosse realmente applicata, i primi contro cui il Consiglio di sicurezza dovrebbe adottare sanzioni ed altre misure sarebbero proprio gli Stati uniti.

Sono stati gli Usa e i maggiori alleati Nato,  come già ampiamente documentato, a finanziare, armare e addestrare in Libia nel 2011 gruppi islamici fino a poco prima definiti terroristi, tra cui i primi nuclei del futuro Isis; a rifornirli di armi attraverso una rete organizzata dalla Cia (documentata da un’inchiesta del New York Times, v. il manifesto  del 27 marzo 2013) quando, dopo aver contribuito a rovesciare Gheddafi, sono passati in Siria per rovesciare Assad; sono stati sempre gli Usa e la Nato ad agevolare l’offensiva dell’Isis in Iraq (nel momento in cui il governo al-Maliki si allontanava da Washington, avvicinandosi a Pechino e a Mosca), fornendogli, in base a un piano sicuramente coordinato dalla Cia, finanziamenti, armi e vie di transito tramite Arabia Saudita, Qatar, Kuwait, Turchia, Giordania. Secondo funzionari dell’intelligence intervistati dal New York Times, vi sono in Siria e Iraq circa 15mila combattenti stranieri provenienti da 80 paesi, tra cui oltre 2mila statunitensi ed europei.

Se la risoluzione fosse realmente applicata, il primo uomo politico contro cui il Consiglio di sicurezza dovrebbe prendere provvedimenti sarebbe il senatore statunitense John McCain che, su incarico dell’amministrazione Obama, ha incontrato in Siria nel maggio 2013 il capo dell’Isis, Ibrahim al-Badri, oggi noto col nome di battaglia di Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (v. foto sul manifesto del 9 settembre 2014).

Poiché la risoluzione lascia ogni Stato libero di stabilire quali siano i gruppi terroristici da combattere, viene data come probabile la sua approvazione all’unanimità, anche da parte di Russia e Cina. In tal modo, però, gli Stati uniti avrebbero di fatto mano libera nel lanciare la «guerra globale al terrorismo versione 2.0» che, incentrata apparentemente sull’Isis, mira alla completa  demolizione della Siria, finora impedita dalla mediazione russa in cambio del disarmo chimico di Damasco, e la rioccupazione dell’Iraq. Ad esempio, invocando la risoluzione del Consiglio di sicurezza, gli Usa potrebbero bombardare una base governativa in Siria, asserendo di avere le prove che è un centro di addestramento di terroristi.

Tutto ciò rientra nella strategia dell’«impero americano d’Occidente» che, perdendo terreno sul piano economico e politico di fronte alla Cina ed altre potenze emergenti o riemergenti – anzitutto la Russia, contro cui Usa e Nato hanno lanciato in Europa una nuova guerra fredda – getta sul piatto della bilancia la spada della sua superiorità militare, mirando oltre: all’Iran e, nella regione Asia/Pacifico, alla stessa Cina. Utile fonte di profitti per le multinazionali statunitensi ed europee, ma allo stesso tempo temuta perché, accordandosi con la Russia, può creare una potenza euroasiatica in grado di contrapporsi alla superpotenza statunitense e, in generale, al ruolo dominante dell’Occidente.

 Manlio Dinucci 

Foto : Agencia Efe

Según las Naciones Unidas, la epidemia de ébola de tipo Zaire, fiebre hemorrágica que golpea actualmente una parte del oeste de África, particularmente Sierra Leona, Guinea y Liberia, constituye la más grave crisis sanitaria de los últimos tiempos. En el espacio de algunas semanas, el virus se propagó a gran velocidad y la epidemia parece fuera de control. Se trata de la crisis de ébola “más larga, más severa y más compleja” jamás observada desde el descubrimiento de la enfermedad en 1976. Altamente contagioso, el virus se transmite mediante el contacto directo con la sangre y los fluidos corporales. Se han observado cerca de 5.000 casos y más de 2.400 personas perdieron la vida. La Organización Mundial de Salud lanzó un llamado urgente a la comunidad internacional para brindar ayuda a las poblaciones africanas abandonadas a su suerte.[1]

Cuba respondió inmediatamente a la petición de las Naciones Unidas y de la Organización Mundial de la Salud. La Habana anunció que mandaría a partir del mes de octubre de 2014 a 165 profesionales de la salud a Sierra Leona, el país más afectado por la epidemia con Guinea y Liberia. La misión durará al menos seis meses y se compondrá de experimentados profesionales que ya realizaron misiones humanitarias en África.[2]

Agencia Efe

Margaret Chan, directora de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, saludó el gesto de Cuba: “Lo que más necesitamos son personas, personal médico. Lo más importante para evitar la trasmisión del ébola es tener las personas adecuadas, los especialistas adecuados y entrenados apropiadamente”, para enfrentar este tipo de crisis humanitaria”. La OMS recuerda que “Cuba es famosa en todo el mundo por su capacidad de formar excelentes médicos y enfermeras. Es famosa, además, por su generosidad y solidaridad con los países en la ruta hacia el progreso”.[3]

Chan exhortó al resto del mundo, particularmente los países desarrollados, a seguir el ejemplo de Cuba y expresar la misma solidaridad hacia África: “Cuba es un ejemplo […]. Ha sido la oferta más grande de médicos, enfermeros y especialistas, así como de expertos en control de enfermedades infecciosas y epidemiólogos […]. Espero que el anuncio que ha hecho hoy el Gobierno cubano estimule a otros países a anunciar su apoyo”.[4] En un comunicado, Ban Ki Moon, secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, también felicitó a Cuba por su acción: “El Secretario General dio una cálida bienvenida al anuncio del Gobierno de Cuba”.[5]

Science, la más importante revista médica del mundo, destacó también el ejemplo de Cuba: “Se trata de la mayor contribución médica humana mandada hasta la fecha para controlar la epidemia. Ello tendrá un impacto significativo en Sierra Leona”.[6] Hasta el anuncio cubano, la presencia médica internacional en el oeste de África se elevaba a 170 profesionales según la OMS.[7] Ahora Cuba aportará una ayuda equivalente a la de todas las naciones del mundo juntas.

Roberto Morales Ojeda, ministro cubano de Salud, explicó las razones que motivaron la decisión del gobierno de La Habana:

“El Gobierno cubano, como lo ha hecho siempre en estos 55 años de Revolución, ha decidido participar en este esfuerzo global bajo la coordinación de la OMS para enfrentar esta dramática situación. 

Desde el primer momento Cuba decidió mantener nuestras brigadas médicas en África, independientemente de la existencia de la epidemia de ébola y de manera particular en Sierra Leona y Guinea Conakry, con la previa disposición voluntaria de sus integrantes, expresión del espíritu de solidaridad y humanismo característico de nuestro pueblo y Gobierno”.[8]

Cuba siempre ha hecho de la solidaridad internacional un pilar fundamental de su política exterior. Así, en 1960, incluso antes del desarrollo de su servicio médico y mientras acababa de perder a 3.000 médicos (que eligieron emigrar a Estados Unidos tras el triunfo de la Revolución en 1959) de los 6.000 presentes en la isla, Cuba ofreció su ayuda a Chile tras el terremoto que destruyó el país. En 1963, el Gobierno de La Habana mandó su primera brigada médica compuesta de 55 profesionales a Argelia para ayudar a la joven nación independiente a enfrentar una grave crisis sanitaria. Desde esa fecha, Cuba ha extendido su solidaridad al resto del mundo, particularmente a América Latina, África y Asia. En 1998, tras los huracanes George y Mitch que destrozaron el Caribe y América Central, Fidel Castro elaboró el Programa Integral de Salud destinado a responder a las situaciones de emergencia. Gracias a este programa, 25.288 profesionales cubanos de la salud actuaron voluntariamente en 32 países.[9]

Por otra parte, Cuba ha formado a varias generaciones de médicos de todo el mundo. En total, la isla formó a 38.920 profesionales de la salud de 121 países de América Latina, África y Asia, particularmente mediante la Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) fundada en 1999. Además de los médicos que cursaron sus estudios en la ELAM en Cuba (cerca de 10.000 graduados cada año), La Habana contribuye a la formación de 29.580 estudiantes de medicina en 10 países del mundo.[10]

La Operación Milagro, lanzada en 2004 por Cuba y Venezuela, que consiste en tratar a las poblaciones del Tercer Mundo víctimas de cataratas y otras enfermedades oculares, es emblemática de la política solidaria de La Habana. Desde esa fecha, cerca de 3 millones de personas de 35 países han recobrado la vista, entre ellas 40.000 en África.[11]

Tras el huracán Katrina que destruyó la ciudad de Nueva Orleans en septiembre de 2005, Cuba creó el “Contingente Internacional de Médicos Especializados en el Enfrentamiento a Desastres y Grandes Epidemias Henry Reeve”, compuesto de 10.000 médicos. La isla, a pesar del conflicto histórico con Estados Unidos, ofreció su ayuda a Washington, que la rechazó. A partir de ese contingente, Cuba creó 39 brigadas médicas internacionales que han actuado en 23 países[12].

En África, cerca de 77.000 médicos y otros profesionales cubanos de la salud han brindado sus servicios en 39 países sobre 50. Actualmente más de 4.000, de ellos más de la mitad médicos, trabajan en 32 países de África.

En total, cerca de 51.000 profesionales de la salud, entre ellos 25.500 médicos, de los que un 65% son mujeres, trabajan en 66 países del mundo. Desde el triunfo de la Revolución, Cuba realizó cerca de 600.000 misiones en 158 países, con la participación de 326.000 profesionales de la salud. Desde 1959, los médicos realizaron más de 1.200 millones de consultas médicas, asistieron 2,3 millones de partos, efectuaron 8 millones de operaciones quirúrgicas y vacunaron a más de 12 millones de mujeres embarazadas y niños.[13]

Cuba ha erigido la solidaridad con los pueblos necesitados como principio básico de su política exterior. Así, a pesar de las dificultades inherentes a todo país del Tercer Mundo, Cuba mandó seis toneladas de medicamentos y material médico a Gaza[14]. Es un ejemplo entre muchos otros. Fidel Castro explicó las razones: “Ese es un principio sagrado de la Revolución; eso es lo que nosotros llamamos internacionalismo, porque consideramos que todos los pueblos somos hermanos y antes que la Patria está la humanidad”.[15] La Habana demuestra al mundo que a pesar de recursos limitados, a pesar de las sanciones económicas estadounidenses que asfixian al país, sin abandonar a su propia población (con un médico por cada 137 habitantes, Cuba es la nación mejor dotada del mundo), es posible hacer de la solidaridad un vector esencial del acercamiento y de la amistad entre los pueblos.[16]

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula The Economic War Against Cuba. A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2013, con un prólogo de Wayne S. Smith y un prefacio de Paul Estrade.

http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb3409/

Contacto: [email protected][email protected]

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel



[1] Granma, « Cuba responde al llamado de la ONU para combatir el ébola », 11 de septiembre de 2014. http://www.granma.cu/mundo/2014-09-11/cuba-responde-al-llamado-de-la-onu-para-combatir-el-ebola (sitio consultado el 14 de septiembre de 2014)

[2] Cuba Debate, « Apoyo de Cuba a la lucha contra el ébola responde a la solidaridad de su Revolución », 13 de septiembre de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2014/09/13/apoyo-de-cuba-a-la-lucha-contra-el-ebola-responde-a-la-solidaridad-de-su-revolucion/#.VBSAxVd42So (sitio consultado el 14 de septiembre de 2014).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Javier Ortiz, « Ban Ki Moon felicita iniciativa de Cuba contra el ébola », Cuba Debate, 13 de septiembre de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2014/09/13/ban-ki-moon-felicita-iniciativa-de-cuba-contra-el-ebola/#.VBSBDld42So (sitio consultado el 14 de septiembre de 2014).

[6] Kai Kupferschmidt, “Cuba to Commit Large Health Corps to Ebola Fight”, Science, 12 de septiembre de 2014. http://news.sciencemag.org/africa/2014/09/cuba-commit-large-health-corps-ebola-fight (sitio consultado el 14 de septiembre de 2014).

[7] Cuba Debate, « Apoyo de Cuba a la lucha contra el ébola responde a la solidaridad de su Revolución », 13 de septiembre de 2014, op. cit.

[8] Roberto Morales, « África está urgida de la solidaridad internacional »,  Cuba Debate, 12 de septiembre de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2014/09/13/africa-esta-urgida-de-la-solidaridad-internacional/ (sitio consultado el 14 de septiembre de 2014).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Agence France Presse, “Cuba envía 6 toneladas de medicamentos a Gaza y está dispuesta a recibir heridos”, 11 de septiembre de 2014.

[15] Cuba Debate, « Cuba ha colaborado en Salud con 120 países del mundo », 22 de mayo de 2014.

[16] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, p. 41.

Foto : Agência Efe
Campanhas de conscientização estão sendo realizadas por toda Libéria para alertar para os riscos do ebola

Segundo as Nações Unidas, a epidemia do ebola de tipo Zaire, febre hemorrágica que atinge atualmente uma parte do oeste da África, particularmente a Serra Leoa, a Guiné e a Libéria, constitui a mais grave crise de saúde dos últimos tempos. No espaço de algumas semanas, o vírus se propagou em uma grande velocidade e a epidemia parece fora de controle. Trata-se da crise de ebola “maior, mais severa e mais complexa” observada desde o descobrimento da enfermidade em 1976. Altamente contagioso, o vírus é transmitido mediante o contato direto com o sangue e os fluídos corporais. Observou-se cerca de 5 mil casos e mais de 2400 pessoas perderam a vida. A Organização Mundial da Saúde fez um chamado urgente pedindo à comunidade internacional ajuda para as populações africanas abandonadas à própria sorte.[1]

Cuba respondeu imediatamente à petição das Nações Unidas e da Organização Mundial da Saúde. Havana anunciou que mandaria, a partir de outubro, 165 profissionais da saúde para Serra Leoa, o país mais afetado pela epidemia, junto com a Guiné e a Libéria. A missão durará pelo menos seis meses e será composta por profissionais especialistas que já realizaram missões humanitárias na África.[2]

Agência Efe

Imagem mostra campanha de conscientização sobre o ebola na Libéria

Margaret Chan, diretora da Organização Mundial da Saúde, saudou o gesto de Cuba: “O que mais necessitamos são pessoas, profissionais de saúde. O mais importante para evitar a transmissão do ebola é ter as pessoas adequadas, os especialistas adequados e treinados apropriadamente para enfrentar esse tipo de crise humanitária”. O OMS lembra que “Cuba é famosa em todo o mundo por sua capacidade de formar excelentes médicos e enfermeiros. É famosa, além disso, por sua generosidade e solidariedade aos países no caminho para o progresso”.[3]

Chan pediu que o resto do mundo, particularmente os países desenvolvidos, sigam o exemplo de Cuba e expressem a mesma solidariedade à África: “Cuba é um exemplo [...]. Tem tido a maior oferta de médicos, enfermeiros e especialistas, assim como de especialistas em controle de doenças infecciosas e epidemiologistas [...]. Espero que o anúncio feito hoje pelo governo cubano estimule outros países a anunciar seu apoio”. [4] Em um comunicado, Ban Ki Moon, secretário-geral das Nações Unidas, também felicitou Cuba por sua ação : O secretário-geral recebeu calorosamente o anúncio do governo de Cuba.[5]

A Science, a mais importante revista médica do mundo, também destacou o exemplo de Cuba. “Trata-se da maior contribuição médica enviada até o momento para controlar a epidemia. Terá um impacto significativo em Serra Leoa”. [6] Até o anúncio cubano, a presença médica internacional no oeste da África somava 170 profissionais segundo a OMS.[7] Agora, Cuba dará uma ajuda equivalente a todas as nações do mundo juntas.

Roberto Morales Ojeda, ministro cubano da Saúde, explicou as razões que motivaram a decisão do governo de Havana:

“O governo cubano, como tem feito sempre nesses 55 anos de Revolução, decidiu participar desse esforço global sob a coordenação da OMS para enfrentar essa situação dramática.

Desde o primeiro momento, Cuba decidiu manter nossas brigadas médicas na África, independentemente da existência da epidemia de ebola, em particular em Serra Leoa e na Guiné-Conakry, com a prévia disposição voluntária de seus integrantes, expressão do espírito de solidariedade e humanismo característico de nosso povo e governo”.[8]

Cuba sempre fez da solidariedade internacional um pilar fundamental de sua política exterior. Assim, em 1960, inclusive antes do desenvolvimento de seu serviço médico e quando tinha acabado de perder 3 mil médicos dos 6 mil presentes na ilha (que escolheram emigrar para os Estados Unidos depois do triunfo da Revolução, em 1959), Cuba ofereceu sua ajuda ao Chile depois do terremoto que destruiu o país. Em 1963, o governo de Havana mandou sua primeira brigada médica composta de 55 profissionais à Argélia para ajudar a jovem nação independente a enfrentar uma grave crise de saúde. Desde aquele momento, Cuba estendeu sua solidariedade ao resto do mundo, particularmente à América Latina, à África e à Ásia. Em 1998, Fidel Castro elaborou o Programa Integral de Saúde, destinado a responder às situações de emergência. Graças a esse programa, 25 288 profissionais cubanos da saúde atuaram voluntariamente em 32 países.[9]

Por outro lado, Cuba formou várias gerações de médicos de todo o mundo. No total, a ilha formou 38 920 profissionais da saúde de 121 países da América Latina, da África e da Ásia, particularmente mediante a Escola Latino-Americana de Medicina (ELAM), fundada em 1999. Além dos médicos que cursaram seus estudos na ELAM em Cuba (cerca de 10 mil graduados por ano), Havana contribuiu para a formação de 29 580 estudantes de medicina em 10 países do mundo.[10]

O Operação Milagre, lançada em 2004 por Cuba e Venezuela, que consiste em tratar vítimas de catarata e outras enfermidades oculares nas populações do Terceiro Mundo, é emblemática da política solidária de Havana. Desde tal data, cerca de 3 milhões de pessoas de 35 países recuperaram a visão, entre elas 40 mil na África.[11]

Depois do furacão Katrina, que destruiu a cidade de Nova Orleans em setembro de 2005, Cuba criou o “Contingente Internacional de Médicos Especializados no Enfrentamento de Desastres e Grandes Epidemias Henry Reeve”, composto de 10 mil médicos. A ilha, apesar do conflito histórico com os Estados Unidos, ofereceu sua ajuda a Washington, que a rejeitou. A partir desse contingente, Cuba criou 39 brigadas médicas internacionais que já atuaram em 23 países[12].

Na África, cerca de 77 mil médicos e outros profissionais da saúde cubanos forneceram seus serviços em 39 dos 55 países [do continente]. Atualmente, mais de 4 mil, mais da metade deles médicos, trabalham em 32 países da África.

No total, cerca de 51 mil profissionais da saúde, entre eles 25 500 médicos, dos quais 65% são mulheres, trabalham em 66 países do mundo. Desde o triunfo da Revolução, Cuba realizou cerca de 600 mil missões em 158 países com a participação de 326 mil profissionais de saúde. Desde 1959, os médicos realizaram mais de 1,2 bilhão de consultas médicas, assistiram 2,3 milhões de partos, efetuaram 8 milhões de operações cirúrgicas e vacinaram mais de 12 milhões de mulheres grávidas e crianças.[13]

Cuba escolheu oferecer solidariedade aos povos necessitados como princípio básico de sua política exterior. Dessa forma, apesar das dificuldades inerentes a todo país de Terceiro Mundo, Cuba mandou seis toneladas de medicamentos e material médico para Gaza[14]. É um exemplo entre muitos outros. Fidel Castro explicou as razões: “Esse é um princípio sagrado da Revolução; isso é o que nós chamamos de internacionalismo porque consideramos que todos os povos são irmãos e antes da pátria está a humanidade”. [15] Havana demonstra para o mundo que, apesar de recursos limitados, apesar das sanções econômicas estadunidenses que asfixiam o país, sem abandonar sua própria população (com um médico para cada 137 habitantes, Cuba é a nação melhor servida do mundo), é possível fazer da solidariedade um vetor essencial da aproximação e da amizade entre os povos.[16]

*Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos da Universidade Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV,  Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama The Economic War Against Cuba. A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2013, com prólogo de Wayne S. Smith e prefácio de Paul Estrade.

http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb3409/

Contato: [email protected][email protected]

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


[1] Granma, « Cuba responde al llamado de la ONU para combatir el ébola », 11 de setembro de 2014. http://www.granma.cu/mundo/2014-09-11/cuba-responde-al-llamado-de-la-onu-para-combatir-el-ebola (site consultado em 14 de setembro de 2014)

[2] Cuba Debate, « Apoyo de Cuba a la lucha contra el ébola responde a la solidaridad de su Revolución », 13 de setembro de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2014/09/13/apoyo-de-cuba-a-la-lucha-contra-el-ebola-responde-a-la-solidaridad-de-su-revolucion/#.VBSAxVd42So (site consultado em 14 de setembro de 2014).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Javier Ortiz, « Ban Ki Moon felicita iniciativa de Cuba contra el ébola », Cuba Debate, 13 de setembro de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2014/09/13/ban-ki-moon-felicita-iniciativa-de-cuba-contra-el-ebola/#.VBSBDld42So (site consultado em 14 de setembro de 2014).

[6] Kai Kupferschmidt, “Cuba to Commit Large Health Corps to Ebola Fight”, Science, 12 de setembro de 2014. http://news.sciencemag.org/africa/2014/09/cuba-commit-large-health-corps-ebola-fight (site consultado em 14 de setembro de 2014).

[7] Cuba Debate, « Apoyo de Cuba a la lucha contra el ébola responde a la solidaridad de su Revolución », 13 de setembro de 2014, op. cit.

[8] Roberto Morales, « África está urgida de la solidaridad internacional »,  Cuba Debate, 12 de setembro de 2014. http://www.cubadebate.cu/especiales/2014/09/13/africa-esta-urgida-de-la-solidaridad-internacional/ (site consultado em 14 de setembro de 2014).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Agence France Presse, “Cuba envía 6 toneladas de medicamentos a Gaza y está dispuesta a recibir heridos”, 11 de setembro de 2014.

[15] Cuba Debate, « Cuba ha colaborado en Salud con 120 países del mundo », 22 de maio de 2014.

[16] Salim Lamrani, Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, p. 41.

According to the Washington Post [1], the World Health Organization has announced a program which would round up Ebola victims across Liberia and herd them into “Ebola death camps” in order to isolate them from their families.

Although they aren’t called “Ebola death camps” — the sweet-sounding public name for the facilities is “community care centers” — their purpose is “to move infected people out of their homes and into ad hoc centers that will provide rudimentary care,” says the Post.

It is obvious from the context of these reports that Ebola victims’ relocation to these centers will not be voluntary. In other words, people who refuse to go will simply be arrested and made to go.

Reportedly, a total of 70 such centers are planned on being deployed across Liberia, each hosting 15 to 30 beds. In all, these facilities will handle about 1,500 Ebola patients. Yet these numbers are meaningless in a pandemic disease outbreak that the CDC is now publicly predicting “…could have a staggering 550,000 to 1.4 million cases by late January,” reports USA Today. [2]

In other words, the number of Ebola victims may outstrip the number of medical beds by a thousand to one. It is difficult to imagine how the existence of one hospital bed for every 1000 infected Ebola victims will have any impact whatsoever on halting the spread of the viral pandemic. Similarly, the U.S. military’s efforts to “build facilities for 1,700 Ebola patients across Liberia” as reported by the Washington Post is nothing more than a token publicity stunt to create the appearance that the American government is “doing something” to halt the disease.

It’s all rolling out like clockwork: Medical martial law, death camps and forced vaccinations

As Natural News readers well know, I publicly predicted the deployment of forced quarantine death camps in Episode Three of the Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com

Now they are about to become reality.

I also publicly predicted medical martial law in Episode Four, and we’ve all seen that exact scenario unfold in Sierra Leone over the last three days during a forced “lockdown” that resulted in nationwide food shortages.

All of these outbreak mitigation tactics — Ebola death camps, forced quarantines and medical martial law — will also be used in the United States if the Ebola outbreak reaches America’s shores. But the extra bonus for Americans is that all these tactics will be conducted by heavily militarized police and weapons-toting DHS personnel who now see the streets of America as their battleground.

Yet, despite this reality, nearly all Americans go about their day-to-day lives in a delusional comfort zone, oblivious to the fact that a potential global killer is right now raging out of control just one continent away. Despite all the best efforts of the world’s nations, nothing has been able to halt the spread of Ebola, and the monopolistic practices of the pharmaceutical industry are making sure no one has access to natural cures that might prove to be lifesaving remedies: colloidal silver, Chinese medicine herbs, essential oils, herbal extracts and nutrient therapies.

Governments everywhere are in a state of denial over the true magnitude of the Ebola outbreak

Even the New York Times is now reporting that the real Ebola fatalities in Africa are far worse than local governments are acknowledging. Bodies are piling up in local cemeteries, but government officials are only counting a fraction of those deaths as being from Ebola.

“…As the cemetery records show, the challenge facing the government might be of a different magnitude than previously thought,” reports the Times. [3]

“International health experts here had no explanation for the striking discrepancy between the government’s tally of the dead in the capital and the cemetery crew’s statistics.”

The paper goes on to report how most of the bodies needing burial are those of young, healthy people, clearly indicating a pandemic is causing early death:

The majority of the recent deaths recorded at the cemetery were young people — young adults, people in early middle age, or children — with very few elderly people on the list. Several of the deaths also occurred in a concentrated area, sometimes in the same house, suggesting that a virulent infection had struck.

How will the outbreak ever be contained after infecting one million people?

Given that the CDC is now predicting the possibility of 550,000 to 1.4 million cases of Ebola by January, I’m personally wondering how anyone in the medical world thinks this outbreak can be restrained to the continent of Africa.

How do one million people get infected with Ebola and not a single person travels outside the country to infect others in Europe or the Middle East?

How do 3,000 U.S. troops conduct operations in Africa without a single one of them contracting Ebola and carrying it back to the states?

It is very difficult to imagine this outbreak being contained to Africa once it surpasses a few hundred thousand infections — a scenario which could easily unfold before the end of 2014, according to CDC estimates.

The very factors that caused Ebola to explode in Africa — high population density — exist in every major city around the world, including New York City, Mexico City, London and Beijing. Ebola, it turns out, doesn’t know the difference between a third-world country and a first-world nation. It infects indiscriminately, at every opportunity, regardless of economic status or ethnic origin.

So far, the World Health Organization’s answer to Ebola has been to hand out free soap during door-to-door searches for Ebola victims. (For the record, Ebola is not afraid of soap. The silly soap distribution scheme in Sierra Leone was nothing more than a publicity stunt…)

Americans are living in a total state of denial regarding a global pandemic

The distracted masses who live in first-world nations like America and the UK remain wholly detached from the very real possibility of a trans-continental viral breakout, believing that somehow their advanced hospitals will protect them from a hellish virus for which there is no drug or vaccine.

And this is precisely why the people of such nations will panic if Ebola is discovered close to home. They are not psychology prepared for the shattering of their false sense of medical security, and they have taken no steps to prepare themselves for the food shortages, medical quarantines, martial law and FEMA death camps which will all be rolled out in a domestic outbreak of Ebola.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/healt…

[2] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/201…

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/world/afri…

Israeli Refuseniks: Occupation’s Dark Underbelly Exposed

September 23rd, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

A letter signed by 43 veterans of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit declaring their refusal to continue serving the occupation has sent shockwaves through Israeli society. But not in the way the soldiers may have hoped.

Unusually, this small group of reservists has gone beyond justifying their act of refusal in terms of general opposition to the occupation. Because of their place at the heart of the system of control over Palestinians, they have set out in detail, in the letter and subsequent interviews, what their work entails and why they find it morally repugnant.

Veterans of the secretive Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, say it is drummed into new intelligence recruits that no order is unlawful. They must, for example, guide air strikes even if civilians will be harmed. The 43, all barred by Israeli law from identifying themselves publicly, say they avoided serving during Israel’s latest attack on Gaza, fearing what would be permitted. But their concerns relate to more than the legality of military attacks.

In a telling admission, one reservist said he first questioned his role after watching The Lives of Others, a film depicting life under the Stasi, East Germany’s much-feared secret police. The Stasi are estimated to have collected files on five million East Germans before the Berlin Wall fell.

According to the refuseniks, much Israeli intelligence gathering targets “innocent people”. The information is used “for political persecution”, “recruiting collaborators” and “driving parts of Palestinian society against itself”. The surveillance powers of 8200 extend far beyond security measures. They seek out the private weaknesses of Palestinians – their sex lives, monetary troubles and illnesses – to force them into conspiring in their own oppression. “If you required urgent medical care in Israel, the West Bank or abroad, we looked for you,” admits one. An illustration of the desperate choices facing Palestinians was voiced by a mother of seven in Gaza last week. She told AP news agency that she and her husband were recruited as spies in return for medical treatment in Israel for one of their children. Her husband was killed by Hamas as a collaborator in 2012.

The goal of intelligence gathering, the refuseniks point out, is to control every aspect of Palestinian life, from cradle to grave. Surveillance helps confine millions of Palestinians to their territorial ghettoes, ensures their total dependence on Israel, and even forces some to serve as undercover go-betweens for Israel, buying land to help the settlements expand. Palestinians who resist risk jail or execution. The implication of these revelations is disturbing. The success of Israel’s near half-century of occupation depends on a vast machinery of surveillance and intimidation, while large numbers of Israelis benefit directly or indirectly from industrial-scale oppression.

Unlike their predecessors in Israel’s tiny refusal movement, the soldiers of 8200 have been uniquely exposed to the big picture of occupation. They have seen its dark underbelly – and this gives their protest the potential to be explosive. Some in the international media have framed the soldiers’ bravery as a sign of hope that Israelis may be waking to the toll of the occupation on Palestinians and the health of Israeli society. The dissenters of 8200 believed the same: that their confessions might lead to national soul-searching, investigations into their allegations, and mass protests like those that greeted news of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon in the early 1980s. They could not have been more mistaken.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, set the tone, denouncing the letter as “baseless slander”. The army said the soldiers would be “sharply disciplined”. The defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, termed them “criminals”. The head of the opposition, Isaac Herzog, of the supposedly leftwing Labor party, characterised their protest as “insubordination”, while Smola, a party established this month to revive the left, called the soldiers’ act “evil”. In the Israeli media the group were dismissed as deluded eccentrics, “trippy” losers and “spoiled brats”. If there is a constituency of concern among the public, it has kept stoically quiet.

Revealingly, Herzog was himself once a senior officer in 8200. He must have been party to the same ugly secrets but used his political influence to shield the system rather than blow the whistle. It seems that when the barbarity of the occupation is at its most transparent, when it is hardest for Israelis to avert their gaze, they simply shut their eyes instead. The wall-to-wall condemnation of the refuseniks mirrored Israelis’ almost-universal support for the recent attack on Gaza, even as they learnt of mounting Palestinian civilian casualties. Over the past decade, one intelligence veteran lamented: “We’ve seen a decline in how much the soldiers and the Israeli public care that innocent people are dying.” That observation was firmly verified this summer in Gaza.

Thousands of Israelis who have passed through 8200 did not sign the letter, noted a commentator. Another pointed out that 43 dissenters were “insignifcant” compared to the 600,000 who serve in the military or the reserves. None of this suggests Israelis are uniquely evil. Rather, it indicates how deeply dysfunctional their society has become – as one might expect after years of being collectively complicit in the oppression of another people.

Netanyahu is only too aware how to keep the Israeli public compliant. Last week he warned of an apparently alarming new threat: Hamas had responded to the operation in Gaza by waging “cyber attacks” on Israel, aided by Iran. The insinuation was clear. Unit 8200 is all that stands in the way of the Jewish state’s destruction by the mullahs of Tehran. Those who undermine intelligence work endanger Israel’s survival. Netanyahu knows it is a message that will find favour with Israelis. Their military is no callous and brutal leviathan. And they can continue to sleep easy at night, still history’s victims.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

High Cost of Bad Journalism on Ukraine

September 23rd, 2014 by Robert Parry

The costs of the mainstream U.S. media’s wildly anti-Moscow bias in the Ukraine crisis are adding up, as the Obama administration has decided to react to alleged “Russian aggression” by investing as much as $1 trillion in modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

On Monday, a typically slanted New York Times article justified these modernization plans by describing “Russia on the warpath” and adding: “Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”

But the Ukraine crisis has been a textbook case of the U.S. mainstream media misreporting the facts of a foreign confrontation and then misinterpreting the meaning of the events, a classic case of “garbage in, garbage out.” The core of the false mainstream narrative is that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis as an excuse to reclaim territory for the Russian Empire.

While that interpretation of events has been the cornerstone of Official Washington’s “group think,” the reality always was that Putin favored maintaining the status quo in Ukraine. He had no plans to “invade” Ukraine and was satisfied with the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, when the crisis heated up last February, Putin was distracted by the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Rather than Putin’s “warmongering” – as the Times said in the lead-in to another Monday article – the evidence is clear that it was the United States and the European Union that initiated this confrontation in a bid to pull Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence and into the West’s orbit.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Image: Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

This was a scheme long in the making, but the immediate framework for the crisis took shape a year ago when influential U.S. neocons set their sights on Ukraine and Putin after Putin helped defuse a crisis in Syria by persuading President Barack Obama to set aside plans to bomb Syrian government targets over a disputed Sarin gas attack and instead accept Syria’s willingness to surrender its entire chemical weapons arsenal.

But the neocons and their “liberal interventionist” allies had their hearts set on another “shock and awe” campaign with the goal of precipitating another “regime change” against a Middle East government disfavored by Israel. Putin also worked with Obama to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, averting another neocon dream to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

The Despised Putin

So, Putin suddenly rose to the top of the neocons’ “enemies list” and some prominent neocons quickly detected his vulnerability in Ukraine, a historical route for western invasions of Russia and the scene of extraordinarily bloody fighting during World War II.

National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, one of the top neocon paymasters spreading around $100 million a year in U.S. taxpayers’ money, declared in late September 2013 that Ukraine represented “the biggest prize” but beyond that was an opportunity to put Putin “on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

The context for Gershman’s excitement was a European Union offer of an association agreement to Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych, but it came with some nasty strings attached, an austerity plan demanded by the International Monetary Fund that would have made the hard lives of the average Ukrainian even harder.

That prompted Yanukovych to seek a better deal from Putin who offered $15 billion in aid without the IMF’s harsh terms. Yet, once Yanukovych rebuffed the EU plan, his government was targeted by a destabilization campaign that involved scores of political and media projects funded by Gershman’s NED and other U.S. agencies.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover who had been an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, reminded a group of Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations.” Nuland, wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, also showed up at the Maidan square in Kiev passing out cookies to protesters.

The Maidan protests, reflecting western Ukraine’s desire for closer ties to Europe, also were cheered on by neocon Sen. John McCain, who appeared on a podium with leaders of the far-right Svoboda party under a banner honoring Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. A year earlier, the European Parliament had identified Svoboda as professing “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.”

Yet, militants from Svoboda and the even more extreme Right Sektor were emerging as the muscle of the Maidan protests, seizing government buildings and hurling firebombs at police. A well-known Ukrainian neo-Nazi leader, Andriy Parubiy, became the commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense” forces.

Behind the scenes, Assistant Secretary Nuland was deciding who would take over the Ukrainian government once Yanukovych was ousted. In an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland crossed off some potential leaders and announced that “Yats” – or Arseniy Yatsenyuk – was her guy.

The Coup

On Feb. 20, as the neo-Nazi militias stepped up their attacks on police, a mysterious sniper opened fire on both protesters and police killing scores and bringing the political crisis to a boil. The U.S. news media blamed Yanukovych for the killings though he denied giving such an order and some evidence pointed toward a provocation from the far-right extremists.

As Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said in another intercepted phone call with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Asthon, “there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”

But the sniper shootings led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries – France, Germany and Poland – that he would surrender much of his power and move up elections so he could be voted out of office. He also assented to U.S. demands that he pull back his police.

That last move, however, prompted the neo-Nazi militias to overrun the presidential buildings on Feb. 22 and force Yanukovych’s officials to flee for their lives. Then, rather than seeking to enforce the Feb. 21 agreement, the U.S. State Department promptly declared the coup regime “legitimate” and blamed everything on Yanukovych and Putin.

Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, was made prime minister and the neo-Nazis were rewarded for their crucial role by receiving several ministries, including national security headed by Parubiy. The parliament also voted to ban Russian as an official language (though that was later rescinded), and the IMF austerity demands were pushed through by Yatsenyuk. Not surprisingly, ethnic Russians in the south and east, the base of Yanukovych’s support, began resisting what they regarded as the illegitimate coup regime.

To blame this crisis on Putin simply ignores the facts and defies logic. To presume that Putin instigated the ouster of Yanukovych in some convoluted scheme to seize territory requires you to believe that Putin got the EU to make its reckless association offer, organized the mass protests at the Maidan, convinced neo-Nazis from western Ukraine to throw firebombs at police, and manipulated Gershman, Nuland and McCain to coordinate with the coup-makers – all while appearing to support Yanukovych’s idea for new elections within Ukraine’s constitutional structure.

Though such a crazy conspiracy theory would make people in tinfoil hats blush, this certainty is at the heart of what every “smart” person in Official Washington believes. If you dared to suggest that Putin was actually distracted by the Sochi Olympics last February, was caught off guard by the events in Ukraine, and reacted to a Western-inspired crisis on his border (including his acceptance of Crimea’s request to be readmitted to Russia), you would be immediately dismissed as “a stooge of Moscow.”

Such is how mindless “group think” works in Washington. All the people who matter jump on the bandwagon and smirk at anyone who questions how wise it is to be rolling downhill in some disastrous direction.

But the pols and pundits who appear on U.S. television spouting the conventional wisdom are always the winners in this scenario. They get to look tough, standing up to villains like Yanukovych and Putin and siding with the saintly Maidan protesters. The neo-Nazi brown shirts are whited out of the picture and any Ukrainian who objected to the U.S.-backed coup regime finds a black hat firmly glued on his or her head.

For the neocons, there are both financial and ideological benefits. By shattering the fragile alliance that had evolved between Putin and Obama over Syria and Iran, the neocons seized greater control over U.S. policies in the Middle East and revived the prospects for violent “regime change.”

On a more mundane level – by stirring up a new Cold War – the neocons generate more U.S. government money for military contractors who bestow a portion on Washington think tanks that provide cushy jobs for neocons when they are out of government.

The Losers

The worst losers are the people of Ukraine, most tragically the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, thousands of whom have died from a combination of heavy artillery fire by the Ukrainian army on residential areas followed by street fighting led by brutal neo-Nazi militias who were incorporated into Kiev’s battle plans. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s ‘Romantic’ Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]

The devastation of eastern Ukraine, which has driven an estimated one million Ukrainians out of their homes, has left parts of this industrial region in ruins. Of course, in the U.S. media version, it’s all Putin’s fault for deceiving these ethnic Russians with “propaganda” about neo-Nazis and then inducing these deluded individuals to resist the “legitimate” authorities in Kiev.

Notably, America’s righteous “responsibility to protect” crowd, which demanded that Obama begin airstrikes in Syria a year ago, swallowed its moral whistles when it came to the U.S.-backed Kiev regime butchering ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine (or for that matter, when Israeli forces slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza).

However, beyond the death and destruction in eastern Ukraine, the meddling by Nuland, Gershman and others has pushed all of Ukraine toward financial catastrophe. As “The Business Insider” reported on Sept. 21, “Ukraine Is on the Brink of Total Economic Collapse.”

Author Walter Kurtz wrote: “Those who have spent any time in Ukraine during the winter know how harsh the weather can get. And at these [current] valuations, hryvnia [Ukraine’s currency] isn’t going to buy much heating fuel from abroad. …

“Inflation rate is running above 14% and will spike sharply from here in the next few months if the currency weakness persists. Real wages are collapsing. … Finally, Ukraine’s fiscal situation is unraveling.”

In other words, the already suffering Ukrainians from the west, east and center of the country can expect to suffer a great deal more. They have been made expendable pawns in a geopolitical chess game played by neocon masters and serving interests far from Lviv, Donetsk and Kiev.

But other victims from these latest machinations by the U.S. political/media elite will include the American taxpayers who will be expected to foot the bill for the new Cold War launched in reaction to Putin’s imaginary scheme to instigate the Ukraine crisis so he could reclaim territory of the Russian Empire.

As nutty as that conspiracy theory is, it is now one of the key reasons why the American people have to spend $1 trillion to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal, rather than scaling back the thousands of U.S. atomic weapons to around 900, as had been planned.

Or as one supposed expert, Gary Samore at Harvard, explained to the New York Times: “The most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible.”

Thus, you can see how hyperbolic journalism and self-interested punditry can end up costing the American taxpayers vast sums of money and contributing to a more dangerous world.

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

Rigged Gold Price Distorts Perception of Economic Reality

September 23rd, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The Federal Reserve and its bullion bank agents (JP Morgan, Scotia, and HSBC) have been using naked short-selling to drive down the price of gold since September 2011.  The latest containment effort began in mid-July of this year, after gold had moved higher in price from the beginning of June and was threatening to take out key technical levels, which would have triggered a flood of buying from hedge funds. 

The Fed and its agents rig the gold price in the New York Comex futures (paper gold) market. The bullion banks have the ability to print an unlimited supply of gold contracts which are sold in large volumes at times when Comex activity is light.

Generally, on the other side of the trade the buyers of contracts are large hedge funds and other speculators, who use the contracts to speculate on the direction of the gold price. The hedge funds and speculators have no interest in acquiring physical gold and settle their bets in cash, which makes it possible for the bullion banks to sell claims to gold that they cannot back with physical metal. Contracts sold without underlying gold to back them are called “uncovered contracts” or “naked shorts.” It is illegal to engage in naked shorting in the stock and bond markets, but it is permitted in the gold futures market.

The fact that the price of gold is determined in a futures market in which paper claims to gold are traded merely to speculate on price means that the Fed and its bank agents can suppress the price of gold even though demand for physical gold is rising. If there were strict requirements that gold shorts could not be naked and had to be backed by the seller’s possession of physical gold represented by the futures contract, the Federal Reserve and its agents would be unable to control the price of gold, and the gold price would be much higher than it is now.

Gold price manipulation is used when demand for delivery of gold bullion begins to put upward pressure on the price of gold and  hedge funds speculate on the rising price of gold by purchasing large quantities of Comex futures contracts (paper gold). This speculation  accelerates the upward move in the price of gold.  The TF Metals Report  provides a good description of this illegal manipulation of the gold market:

Over a period of 10 weeks to begin the year, the Comex bullion banks were able to limit the rally to only 15% by supplying the “market” with 95,000 brand new naked short contracts. That’s 9.5MM ounces of make-believe paper gold or about 295 metric tonnes.

Over a period of just 5 weeks in June and July, the Comex bullion banks were able to limit the rally to only 7% by supplying the “market” with 79,000 brand new naked short contracts. That’s 7.9MM ounces of make-believe paper gold or about 246 metric tonnes  (http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/429940 ).

In previous columns, we have documented the heavy short-selling into light trading periods.

See for example:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/16/insider-trading-financial-terrorism-comex/

The bullion banks do not have nearly enough gold in their possession to make deliveries to the buyers if the buyers decide to stand for delivery per the terms of the paper gold contract.  The reason this scheme works is because the majority of the buyers of the contracts are speculators, not gold purchasers, and never demand delivery of the gold. Instead, they settle the contracts in cash. They are looking for short-term trading profits, not for a gold hedge against currency inflation. If a majority of the longs (the purchasers of the contracts) required delivery of the gold, the regulators would not tolerate the extent to which gold is shorted with uncovered contracts.

In our opinion, the manipulation is illegal, because it is insider trading. The bullion banks that short the gold market are clearing members of the Comex/NYMEX/CME.  In that role, the bullion banks have access to the computer system used to clear and settle trades, which means that the bullion banks have access to all the trading positions, including those of the hedge funds. When the hedge funds are in the deepest, the bullion banks dump naked shorts on the Comex, driving down the futures price, which triggers selling from stop-loss orders and margin calls that drive the price down further.  Then the bullion banks buy the contracts at a lower price than they sold and pocket the difference, simultaneously serving the Fed by protecting the dollar from the Fed’s loose monetary policy by lowering the gold price and preventing the concern that a rising gold price would bring to the dollar.

Since mid-July, nearly every night in the US the price of gold remains steady or drifts higher.  This is when the eastern hemisphere markets are open and the market players are busy buying physical gold for which delivery is mandatory.  But as regular as clockwork, following the close of the Asian markets, the London and New York paper gold markets open, and the price of gold is immediately taken lower as paper gold contracts flood into the market setting a negative tone for the day’s trading.

Gold serves as a warning for aware people that financial and economic trouble are brewing.

For instance, from the period of time just before the tech bubble collapsed (January 2000) until just before the collapse of Bear Stearns triggered the Great Financial Crisis (March 2008), gold rose in value from $250 to $1020 per ounce, or just over 400%.   Moreover, in the period since the Great Financial Collapse, gold has risen 61%  despite claims that the financial system was repaired. It was up as much as 225% (September 2011) before the Fed began the systematic take-down and containment of gold in order to protect the dollar from the massive creation of new dollars required by Quantitative Easing.

The US economy and financial system are in worse condition than the Fed and Treasury claim and the financial media reports. Both public and private debt burdens are high. Corporations are borrowing from banks in order to buy back their own stocks. This leaves corporations with new debt but without income streams from new investments with which to service the debt. Retail stores are in trouble, including dollar store chains. The housing market is showing signs of renewed downturn. The September 16 release of the 2013 Income and Poverty report shows that real median household income has declined to the level in 1994 two decades ago and is actually lower than in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The combination of high debt and decline in real income means that there is no engine to drive the economy.

The dollar is also in trouble because its role as world reserve currency is threatened by the abuse of this role in order to gain financial hegemony over others and to punish with sanctions those countries that do not comply with the goals of US foreign policy. The Wolfowitz Doctrine, which is the basis of US foreign policy, says that it is imperative for Washington to prevent the rise of other countries, such as Russia and China, that can limit the exercise of US power.

Sanctions and the threat of sanctions encourage other countries to leave the dollar payments system and to abandon the petrodollar. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have formed to do precisely that. Russia and China have arranged a massive long-term energy deal that avoids use of the US dollar. Both countries are settling their trade accounts with each other in their own currencies, and this practice is spreading. China is considering a gold-backed yuan, which would make the Chinese currency highly desirable as a reserve asset. It is possible that the Fed’s attack on gold is also aimed at making Chinese and Russian gold accumulation less supportive of their currencies. A currency linked to a falling gold price is not the same as a currency linked to a rising gold price.

It is unclear whether the new Chinese gold exchange in Shanghai will displace the London and New York futures markets. Naked short-selling is not permitted in the Chinese gold exchange.  The world could end up with two gold futures markets:  one based on assessments of reality, and the other based on gambling and price-rigging.

The future will also determine whether the role of reserve currency has been overtaken by time.  The US dollar took that role in the aftermath of World War II, a time when the US had the only industrial economy that had not been destroyed in the war.  A stable means of settling international accounts was needed.  Today there are many economies that have tradable currencies, and accounts can be settled between countries in their own currencies. There is no longer a need for a single reserve currency. As this realization spreads, pressure on the dollar’s value will intensify.

For a period the Federal Reserve can support the dollar’s exchange value by pressuring Japan and the European Central Bank to print their currencies with which to support the dollar with purchases in the foreign exchange market. Other countries, such as Switzerland, will print their own currencies so as not to endanger their exports by a rise in the dollar price of their exports. But eventually the large US trade deficits produced by offshoring the production of goods and services sold into US markets and the collapse of the middle class and tax base caused by jobs offshoring will destroy the value of the US dollar.

When that day arrives, US living standards, already endangered, will plummet.  American power will have been destroyed by corporate greed and the Fed’s policy of sacrificing the US economy in order to save four or five mega-banks, whose former executives control the Fed, the US Treasury, and the federal financial regulatory agencies.

The political victimization of Steven Salaita, whose appointment as a tenured professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) was revoked because he tweeted outraged protests against the slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, is a chilling attack on core democratic rights, including freedom of speech and academic freedom.

The university administration and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees have justified the witch-hunt against Salaita in the name of “democracy,” “civility” and “pluralism.” This not only expresses the hypocrisy that pervades these institutions, it reflects the evisceration of all democratic principles and mechanisms within American capitalist society as a whole.

The termination of Salaita’s appointment as a tenured professor of American Indian Studies at UIUC came after he had given up his position at Virginia Tech and moved with his wife, who also left her job, and young child to Illinois. The pretext for his removal was a series of tweets he had sent in the midst of the one-sided Israeli war on the Palestinian population of Gaza.

A campaign initiated by the political right and the Zionist lobby to twist what Salaita said in these tweets in order to smear him as an anti-Semite was embraced by the university administration and some ostensibly liberal representatives of academia. The most frequently cited tweet, written by Salaita on July 19 as Israel escalated its murderous violence against Gaza, stated, “Zionists: transforming ‘antisemitism’ from something horrible into something honorable since 1948.”

The tweet was ripped out of its context of a series of statements, including the clarifications that it was the Zionists who had distorted the meaning of the term “anti-semitism” by equating it with something as “honorable” as “deplor[ing] colonization, land theft and child murder,” and that this outlook served to “cheapen anti-Semitism by likening it to principled stands against state violence.”

He further wrote: “My stand is fundamentally one of acknowledging and countering the horror of antisemitism.” In others tweets, he added that he supported Gaza because “I believe that Jewish and Arab children are equal in the eyes of God” and that he found himself “in solidarity with many Jews and in disagreement with many Arabs.”

Only a grotesque and willful distortion could attribute to Salaita support for anti-Semitism based on these messages. This, of course, is precisely the specialty of the American right and the Zionist lobby, which proceeded to do just that.

The right-wing web site the Daily Caller gave prominence to these slanders, while the Simon Wiesenthal Center—for which there is no greater crime than demanding equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis—demanded that the university rescind Salaita’s appointment, describing him as “nothing more than a baseless anti-Semite.”

That this noxious political alliance of right-wing ideologues and rabid Zionist anti-Palestinians found powerful backing has been established with the exposure of emails from prominent wealthy donors to the university threatening to withhold funding if the administration failed to carry through the politically motivated victimization of Salaita.

Whatever Salaita tweeted had no bearing on his appointment as a professor, and its distortion and use to deny him employment was a vicious attack on his democratic right to free speech, as well as a direct assault on academic freedom. As Salaita correctly responded, the university’s action was based on “a highly subjective and sprawling standard that can be used to attack faculty who espouse unpopular or unconventional views.”

The university proceeded to act on just such a perverse “standard” and then defended it as a blow for “civility” and even “democracy.”

Following a September 11 vote by the Illinois Board of Trustees to uphold the decision to victimize Salaita, the board’s chairman, Christopher Kennedy, insisted that anyone “with an open mind” would be convinced “we did the right thing, ethically and procedurally.”

Kennedy, the son of the assassinated senator and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, is a political appointee of Illinois’ Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. He has acted as a fundraiser for Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates.

Referring to the opinions Salaita expressed in his tweets, Kennedy declared: “There can be no place for that in our democracy, and therefore, there will be no place for it in our university.”

If constitutionally protected speech criticizing the policies and actions of Washington’s key Middle East ally, Israel, can have no place “in our democracy” or “in our university,” what other views can be outlawed and suppressed? Why not opposition to imperialist war, or criticism and questioning of the “war on terrorism” pretexts being used to drag the American people into another predatory military intervention in the Middle East based on lies?

The proscription of views as having no place “in our democracy” has a long and ignoble history in the United States, reaching its apogee during the McCarthyite anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, which half a century later still cast a dark shadow over American political and intellectual life.

The revival of these anti-democratic methods today in cases like that of Steven Salaita is deeply rooted in the degeneration of American capitalism, expressed most sharply in the poisonous combination of unrestrained militarist violence abroad and unprecedented social inequality and monopolization of wealth at home.

This is why the new McCarthyism enjoys the support not only of the political right and Zionism, but also ostensibly liberal Democrats like Kennedy and other supporters of a president who has arrogated himself to the “right” to order the assassination of US citizens, while overseeing a massive illegal spying operation that sweeps up virtually all electronic communications of citizens of the US and countries all over the world.

The defense of fundamental democratic rights today is inseparable from the development of a struggle against war and the independent mobilization of the working class in defense of its social and political rights. As part of this struggle, the demand must be raised for an end to the victimization of Steven Salaita and a halt to all attacks on academic and intellectual freedom, which are bound up with the preparations for police state rule.

A team of eight experts and journalists visiting the southern region of the West African state of Guinea were found dead in the town of Nzerekore on Sept. 20. Reports indicate that they were there to educate people about the nature of the disease for the purpose of its prevention.

Reports from Guinea say that the delegation had met with elders in the community but were later attacked by youths. Investigations into the details of the killings are ongoing.

There is tremendous mistrust surrounding the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in some West African states where the epidemic has had an impact. Doctors Without Borders reported in April that their teams were forced to withdraw from Macenta in Guinea after being stoned by youth who said they were there to spread the disease.

Newspaper articles and rumors have circulated that the outbreak is a direct result of biological warfare being waged by imperialist countries against the African continent.

Although no one knows what the motivations were of those who carried out the killings in Guinea, obviously there are many people who mistrust the motivations of foreign aid workers responding to the crisis. Guinea is the first country that was identified in the latest spread of the disease which has periodically struck in Central and West Africa over the last three decades.

Biological Warfare and Economic Underdevelopment

The most widely discussed and controversial article related to the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease was published by the leading newspaper in Liberia, The Observer. Dr. Cyril Broderick, a former professor of plant pathology at the University there, asserted that the spread of the disease is a direct result of U.S. Department of Defense bio-warfare against Africa.

Broderick’s article was published on Sept. 9 and stated that “Africa must not relegate the Continent to become the locality for disposal and the deposition of hazardous chemicals, dangerous drugs, and chemical or biological agents of emerging diseases. There is urgent need for affirmative action in protecting the less affluent of poorer countries, especially African citizens, whose countries are not as scientifically and industrially endowed as the United States and most Western countries, sources of most viral or bacterial GMOs that are strategically designed as biological weapons. It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone.”

This same author goes on to ask “Are there others? Wherever they exist, it is time to terminate them. If any other sites exist, it is advisable to follow the delayed but essential step: Sierra

Leone closed the US bioweapons lab and stopped Tulane University for further testing.” (Sept. 9)

Broderick has been attacked for publishing the article and according to Health Impact News “The western pro-pharma media has chided Dr. Broderick, saying that such an inflammatory piece of writing is ‘irresponsible’ since so many Africans are already distrustful of western medicine. They see western medicine as the answer to Africa’s deadly diseases such as Ebola, while Dr. Broderick sees it as the cause. Dr. Broderick states ‘African people are not ignorant and gullible, as is being implicated.’” (healthimpactnews.com, Sept. 21)

Following the publication of this article, President Barack Obama announced on Sept. 16 that the U.S. would deploy 3,000 troops to the affected West African states as a means to combat the disease. Obama said in a press release that “The United States will leverage the unique capabilities of the U.S. military and broader uniformed services to help bring the epidemic under control. These efforts will entail command and control, logistics expertise, training, and engineering support.” (White House press statement)

Washington is already heavily involved militarily in Africa. Several thousand Pentagon troops, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives and State Department functionaries are on the continent as part of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). This intervention since 2008 has created more instability and underdevelopment in Africa as represented by the events in Egypt, Mali, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria where the ostensible partnerships aimed at curbing “terrorism” has prompted the intensification of conflict, dislocation and in the case of the Horn of Africa, famine.

Pentagon and CIA drone operations have carried out numerous targeted assassinations in Somalia. In Mali, a U.S.-trained military officer returned to this former French colony and staged a coup providing a rationale for internal destabilization as well as an ongoing occupation by Paris.

Cuba Offers Medical Solidarity

Meanwhile the revolutionary nation of Cuba pledged to send medical personnel in the fight against the disease. Cuba has a profound history in providing unconditional solidarity with the African continent.

In an address on Sept. 18 before the United Nations Security Council emergency session on Ebola, Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Abelardo Moreno told the participants that “Cuba’s response is part of our solidarity with Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the last 55 years we have collaborated in more than 158 countries, with the participation of 325,710 health workers. 76,744 collaborators have worked in 39 African countries. Today, in this sector, 4,048 Cubans are serving in 32 African nations; 2,269 of whom are doctors.” (granma.cu, Sept. 19)

Moreno went on the report that “The medical brigades which will be sent to Africa to fight

against Ebola form part of the “Henry Reeve International Contingent” – created in 2005 – composed of doctors specializing in combating disasters and large-scale epidemics. Cuba’s response confirms the values of solidarity which have guided the Cuban Revolution: not to give what we can spare, but to share what we have.”

This approach contrasts sharply with that of the White House and Pentagon. Cuba has built up considerable trust in Africa due to its consistent policy of international solidarity.

At least three countries which have reported Ebola cases are reporting improvements in fighting the disease and its proliferation. In Nigeria the Federal Government announced that schools would be re-opened on Sept. 22 despite opposition from the sections of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT).

In Sierra Leone there was a state of emergency declared restricting movements for three days. The government announced on Sept. 22 that the situation was now under control. Similar announcements have been made in reference to developments in Senegal where at least one case has been reported.

Nonetheless, there have been nearly 3,000 deaths reported from the disease. In addition there are still numerous questions related to the conditions under which the disease is spread and the most effective means to treat and eradicate the epidemic. (WHO Update, Sept. 22)

This outbreak does draw attention to the need for genuine independence and development on the African continent. The training of medical personnel and scientific researchers would contribute immensely to preventing future healthcare crises.

Cuban revolutionary foreign policy provides an example of how underdeveloped states which have a legacy of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism can transform through a process of class struggle and self-reliance. With over five decades of hostility from the U.S., Cuba has been able to make significant contributions to African liberation whether in the fight against settler-colonialism in Southern Africa in years past or through the contemporary challenges related to the Ebola outbreak, the training of African medical personnel and other healthcare issues.

AP Photo/Michael Dinneen

The Foreign Ministry added that initiators of unilateral forceful scenarios should bear all the international responsibility for their consequences.

MOSCOW – Strikes by the United States and its allies against targets in Syrian territory require not just formal notification of Damascus, but Syria’s consent or the adoption of a corresponding UN Security Council resolution, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“In connection with the just-started operation by the United Sates with support from some other countries to deal rocket and bombing strikes against the positions of the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria the Russian side recalls that such actions can be carried out exclusively within the framework of international law,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “This implies not just unilateral formal notification of strikes, but the existence of an explicit consent from the Syrian government, or the adoption of a corresponding UN Security Council resolution.”

“Russia’s fundamental position on the issue was confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 22 in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “The struggle with terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa requires concerted action by the whole world community under the auspices of the United Nations. Attempts to attain one’s own geopolitical aims by violating the sovereignty of countries in the region merely fuel tensions and destabilize the situation further.”

“Moscow has warned more than once that the initiators of such use-of-force scenarios bear all international legal responsibility for their consequences,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Attempts by US, its allies to attain geopolitical aims by violating other countries’ sovereignty fuel tensions, destabilize situation over Syria,” the statement said further.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Syrian Foreign Ministry reported that the United States has informed Syria’s Damascus on strikes at positions of Islamic State gunmen in Syria.

“Americans informed the Syrian representative at the United Nations that strikes will be delivered at Islamic State positions in Racca,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

Associated Press reported with reference to American officials that five Arabic states were also taking part in the air strikes on ISIS militants in Syria. These are Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters news agency, Qatar plays only a supporting role in this operation.

Earlier, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby reported that The United States and its allies launched air strikes on the positions of the Islamic State.

“U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Kirby said. “Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” he added.

The US informed Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Jaafari that strikes would be delivered against positions of Islamic State terrorists in Raqqah, the news agency SANA quotes a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

According to the Al-Arabiya TV channel some 20 targets were hit in Raqqah, eastern Syria, and around it. Reuters said dozens of militants were eliminated.

Iraqi protestors gather at the Baghdad’s Tahrir Square during a rally to show their rejection to US troop presence in Iraq on September 20, 2014

The Shia militia of Liwa Abu Al-Fadl Al-Abbas, formed during the conflict in Syria, has reportedly announced its rejection of US military intervention to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, arguing that the US is using this as a pretext to reoccupy Iraq.

A spokesperson for the Abbas Brigade, Abu Muhammad Al-Basri, told Anadolu news agency that: “The Islamic State is a creation of the US and carries its agenda in the region, especially in Iraq, in order to protect Israel from the Islamic resistance forces in the region.”

Al-Basri further explained that the “US is using the Islamic State as a pretext to justify reoccupying Iraq, while working at the same time to divide Iraq and Syria under the pretext of fighting the radical organisations there.”

The spokesperson suggested the US air force would not differentiate between Islamic State sites and “the Iraqi resistance forces”, including the Abbas Brigade, warning the Iraqi government against cooperation with foreign forces that do not want the best for Iraqis.

He said: “If the American forces were sincere about helping Iraq, they would have committed to their pledge of arming Iraqi forces to counter the Islamic State. The US intended to weaken Iraq by not arming it in order to intervene itself.”

The Abbas Brigade was a mainly Shi’ite Syrian militant group that operated throughout Syria to protect religious sites against Al-Qaeda linked groups, before moving to Iraq after the Islamic State occupied the city of Mosul in the north. The group has since been fighting alongside the Iraqi forces in a number of areas in Iraq.

Earlier, the Shi’ite militias Sayyed Al-Shuhada and the League of the Righteous announced in separate statements their rejection of any American presence on Iraqi territory under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State.

The US has formed an international alliance to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a move that was welcomed by the Iraqi government.

Turmoil continues to prevail in the north and west of Iraq after the Islamic State and Sunni insurgents allied with it seized control of large areas there.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Zayd al-Isa, Middle East expert from London, about Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) calling on all Kurdish fighters to cross into Syria to defend the city of Kobani against the advancing ISIL militants.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: How do you feel about this statement coming out of the PKK? Certainly it seems to hit the mark on the head in the sense that Turkey has been supporting ISIL and now all these refugees are running into Turkey because of what it has done in Syria?

Al-Isa: Well it is hugely important and highly significant particularly that comes from the PKK who have been involved with intense ongoing negotiations with Turkey to sort out and deal with the issue of the Kurds within Turkey.

That casts serious doubts on the intention of the Turkish government particularly it comes hot on the heels of the highly suspicious freeing of the so-called Turkish hostages who were taken by ISIS when it swiftly moved into Mosul.

Now the Turkish government was basically saying that if the liberation of the hostages came through political and diplomatic negotiations which is highly suspicious because till now all the hostages held by ISIS whether they are Christians, Izadis and certainly Shias who were executed, now for Turkey to claim and that is [Ahmet] Davutoglu the Prime Minister that these are through our own methods and our means and using diplomatic negotiations, it really raised a lot of eyebrows and cast serious doubts on the links between Turkey and ISIS who have been providing ISIS with a vital, irreplaceable lifeline in terms of moving all the funding, arming, logistical support and even paying salaries to the Wahhabi Salafi mercenaries who converged on both Syria and also on Iraq to prop up the ISIS militants who have been widening their influence in the region.

Now it is vital to mention here that the Turkish government has till now provided the ISIS with a vital lifeline and we have seen that Turkey adamantly refused to participate in any airstrikes launched against the ISIS or to join the so-called coalition of the willing that the Americans have been actually trying to go up together from the countries who have played a major or if not a leading part in propping up and reviving ISIS and these are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

Press TV: Do you then think that Turkey has essentially irreversibly created a situation where there will be blowback for itself obviously because it has been harboring these militants and secondly it is now angering the Kurds within the country as well?

Al-Isa: But the ultimate overarching goal of Turkey has been that is inclusion and in cooperation with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar is to oust the Syrian regime.

That is the utmost priority, destabilize Iraq and weaken the Iraqi government with the ultimate goal of creating a regional government in the Western area of Iraq and also the irreplaceable goal of Saudi Arabia has been to roll back and dramatically and severely undermine the ever-growing Iranian influence and that is why we have seen the ISIS being armed, financed and also provided logistical support.

And the strategy have been widened from focusing simply on Syria in order to topple the Syrian regime to also include and engulf Iraq by pushing or giving the green light to ISIS to move into Iraq and move ever closer to the Iranian border to use it as a means or leverage to rolling back what the Saudis have claimed that the Iranian influence have grown and they find it as their overarching goal to actually destabilize Iraq …

50 US-Led Strikes Carried out in Syria

September 23rd, 2014 by Press TV

ISIL militants sit on a tank during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. (File photo)

The US and its allies have carried out at least 50 airstrikes against the Takfiri militants operating inside Syria, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says.

According to the UK-based group, the air raids were launched in northern and eastern Syria late on Monday, targeting militants from the ISIL and the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front, the DPA reported.

The SOHR said that at least 20 strikes targeted ISIL “headquarters, checkpoints and bases” in the city of Raqqa as well as on its eastern and western outskirts.

Thirty strikes were reported on the Deir Ezzor Province in eastern Syria, which borders Iraq, while Al-Nusra Front’s positions also were struck in the Aleppo Province.

At least eight civilians and seven Takfiri militants were killed in the Aleppo attacks, the group said.

On Monday night, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement that US army and “partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.”

US media reported that the Arab countries of Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had joined in the attacks.

Raqqa is ISIL’s main stronghold in Syria. The terrorists also control most of Deir Ezzor Province further east, as well as sections of Aleppo in the north and Hasakeh in the northeast.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released early on Tuesday that Washington had informed Syria’s permanent envoy to the United Nations that strikes would be launched against the ISIL terrorists in the Arab country.

Many ISIL members have been trained by the US in Jordan and Turkey to destabilize the Syrian government. The terror group sent its militants into Iraq in June, quickly seizing vast expanse of land straddling the border between the two countries. They are said to be enjoying support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

People inspect a shop damaged after what Islamist State militants say was a U.S. drone crashed into a communication station nearby in Raqqa September 23, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

Eight civilians, three of them children, have been killed in the US-led air strikes on Al-Qaeda Nusra front positions, Reuters reported, citing Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

READ MORE: Anti-ISIS coalition bombing terrorist positions in Syria LIVE UPDATES

Washington carried a series of airstrikes on the city of Raqqa in the early hours of Tuesday. At least 30 militants died in the strikes, which were carried out on IS positions in Syria. Washington informed Damascus about the operation, according to a representative of Syrian Foreign Ministry.

“There is an exodus out of Raqqa as we speak. It started in the early hours of the day after the strikes. People are fleeing towards the countryside,” one local resident told Reuters.

The strikes targeted residential buildings in Aleppo allegedly used by Al-Nusra Front, according to Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The US-led coalition’s targets also included training camps, headquarters and weapon supplies in northern and eastern Syria, with many IS locations “destroyed or damaged” around the cities of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor, Hasakah and the border town of Albu Kamal, Reuters reported.

In particular, “[Islamic State] fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles” were hit.

Raqqa (Al-Raqqa) is a city with a population of over 200,000 people, and is strategically located just 40km east of the largest Syrian dam. Raqqa is believed to be the IS headquarters.

America Is Tangled Up In Impossibly Complicated Webs

The ancient idea that “The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend”  is widely attributed to the Arabs. But it is actually much older …  It originated in the 4th century B.C. in India.  Kautilya -  the “Indian Machiavelli” – wrote about the idea in the Sanskrit military book, the Arthashastra.

U.S. foreign policy has been guided by the “Enemy of My Enemy” idea for decades for decades.

Should we really be following 2,400 year-old advice from ancient India?

More importantly, is the saying even true?

As the following graphics demonstrate, basing modern foreign policy on such an archaic notion from ancient times is leading to ridiculous results:

(Washington Post)

(Slate)

(Daily Kos; a little dated, but still shows the absurdity of the situation)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LNPLnEj9-OQ/UsEd5VQ_uCI/AAAAAAAACuk/qbB8PIC1kQU/s1600/CIS-2+en-us.png

(Chochopk)

(Gulf/2000 Project via Washington Post)

http://crooksandliars.com/files/uploads/2007/06/tds_sunnis-friends.jpg

(The Daily Show)

Long-time insider Anthony Cordesman -  former director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who also served in the State Department, Department of Energy, and was director of International Staff at NATO  – wrote in July:

It is … a proverb with a dismal history in practice. In case after case, the “enemy of my enemy” has actually proven to have been an enemy at the time or turned into one in the future. The Mongols did not save Europe from the Turks, and the Soviet Union was scarcely an ally after the end of World War II.

***

The United States needs to remember this as it considers military action in Iraq and reshaping its military role in Syria.

General and former CIA director Petraeus agreed earlier this month:

I went to hear a presentation by General David Petraeus … and this man who knows the Middle East as well as anyone in Washington made me think about things in a whole new way, by turning the adage on its head. Remember, he warned that in that part of the world, the enemy of my enemy is also still my enemy.

Time noted in 2002 that famed terrorist Abu Nidal was an enemy to both Israel and Palestine, committing terrorist attack after attack against both Jewish and Palestinian targets.

Abu Nidal went on to mastermind attacks on a Jewish school in Antwerp, synagogues in Vienna and Istanbul, and a Greek tourist ship. In December 1985 his group ambushed the El Al ticket counters at Rome and Vienna airports, killing 14 bystanders.

The great irony of his career was that he did more to destabilize and stigmatize the Palestinians than to cause permanent harm to Israel — his declared enemy. In the mid-’70s, Abu Nidal was sentenced to death by the P.L.O. for plotting to kill Arafat. Between 1978 and 1983, he was responsible for the assassination of six of the P.L.O.’s most moderate diplomats. In 1982 the attempted assassination of Israel’s ambassador to Britain was attributed to his group — giving the Israelis a convenient pretext to invade Lebanon, in which Arafat had set up headquarters, and kick the P.L.O. out.

***

Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is still the enemy.

And a letter to the editor published in the Financial Times last month stated:

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!

Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

Following this 2,400 year old myth has caused America to back Al Qaeda and Nazis … and to fight against both sides in Syria.

(It has also led to carrying out regime change multiple times in the same country. )

Ukrainian tank seen during fighting against militants in the beginning of August © EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

DONETSK – Militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on Tuesday found burials on the site of Kommunar mine’s wood depot, 60 kilometres from Donetsk.“This may be a mass grave. The bodies are to be exhumed. The whole area will be studied. Other burials also have been found,” a militia fighter told ITAR-TASS.

Criminal proceedings will be conducted, the DPR prosecutor’s office said.

Four bodies have been found. Some of them are beheaded. Two days ago units of Ukraine’s National Guard took these positions, militias said.

President Barack Obama has once again flagrantly violated the U.S. constitution by launching air strikes on Syrian territory under the justification of an illegal framework and with no Congressional input whatsoever.

In a move that threatens to enflame the entire region, Washington launched a wave of Tomahawk cruise missile attacks against ISIS targets late last night. Early reports indicate that eight civilians, including three children, were killed during an aerial bombardment on the city of Raqqa.

Despite the administration enjoying widespread support for its military campaign against ISIS, with nearly two thirds of Americans advocating air strikes within Syrian territory, suspicions are rife that Washington will subsequently turn its weapons against the Assad regime, which it has been trying to overthrow for more than two years.

Whatever the necessity and justification of the campaign against ISIS, Obama’s decision to once again ignore Congress, just as he did before the ultimately disastrous attack on Libya, reinforces the precedent of the White House launching military action with absolutely no legal foundation whatsoever.

Shortly after reports of U.S. air strikes on Syria emerged, Congressman Justin Amash also summed up the feelings of some lawmakers to Congressional leaders’ failure to engage in a vigorous debate about the new conflict.

Although Congress recently voted to approve a plan to arm so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels (many of whom are aligned with or have sold weapons to ISIS), lawmakers did not give the green light to launch air strikes.

“What Congress never did was to specifically authorize a war,” writes Lynn Sweet. “The chain of events starting with Monday’s attacks in Syria may dilute pressure for another authorization vote. No matter what happens in the midterms, Congress may be hesitant to deny Obama war authorization when in fact the U.S. is again at war.”

President Obama claims that he has legal justification to attack ISIS based on the same 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) that preceded the war on terror. However, as W. James Antle notes, that law only covers “those nations, organizations, or persons” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

“On its face this is an implausible argument because the 2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda fighting the United States,” Robert Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, told The Daily Beast. “Since ISIS broke up with al Qaeda it’s hard to make that argument.”

Prior to the attack on Libya, Obama brazenly undermined the power of Congress by insisting his authority came from the United Nations Security Council and that Congressional approval was not necessary. “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question,” scoffed the President.

This time around, Obama hasn’t even bothered to get a rubber stamp from the UN, nor has he even addressed the notion that Congress should have a say in deciding whether America should commit itself to another military campaign which could easily expand into a full blown conflict given the Assad government’s vow that it will treat any U.S. military action within its territory as an act of war.

According to Congressman Walter Jones, Obama’s failure to obtain Congressional approval for the 2011 attack on Libya constituted “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

By once again snubbing Congress, Obama has brazenly violated the constitution and committed yet another impeachable offense.

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

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US Launches Air Strikes Inside Syria

September 23rd, 2014 by Peter Symonds

The US began a series of devastating and ongoing air strikes inside Syria early Tuesday, bombing the town of Raqqa and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets along the country’s border with Iraq. The attacks on ISIS are the pretext for stepping up the US-backed regime-change operation against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and mark the expansion of a reckless and illegal war that will have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

The new air war was announced in a brief statement by Pentagon press secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, who stated that “US military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL [ISIS] terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.” Indifferent to public opinion, President Obama issued no statement and made no comment.

Details provided by unnamed US officials make clear that the air campaign inside Syria goes far beyond the scope of the air strikes in Iraq over the past six weeks. At least 20 targets have been hit within the first hours, using cruise missiles launched from US navy ships and precision-guided bombs fired from warplanes and drones. The strikes reportedly targeted ISIS command centres, weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings.

US warplanes were reportedly joined by those from at least four Arab countries—the US allies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Washington’s claims to have broad support for its new war are belied by the fact that it is allied with autocratic Middle Eastern monarchies that are among the most despotic in the world.

The air strikes are an illegal act of war against a country that has never posed a threat to the United States. The Obama administration launched the bombing without even the fig leaf of a UN Security Council resolution and against the expressed opposition of the Syrian government, which offered to collaborate with Washington in fighting ISIS. Once again, the US is engaged in an unprovoked war of aggression—the chief charge on which German Nazi leaders were tried and convicted at the post-World War II trials in Nuremberg.

Even if one took US justifications at face value, the reactionary ISIS Islamists are a direct product of US imperialism’s previous criminal wars, including the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and regime-change operations in Libya and Syria from 2011. In fact, the very allies that joined in today’s bombing—Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States—have been funding, training and arming ISIS and other Islamist militias inside Syria for the past three years to topple Assad.

In reality, none of Washington’s explanations and excuses has any credibility. Saudi Arabia and the Middle Eastern allies have joined the war against Syria precisely because the US objective is not the destruction of ISIS, but the toppling of the Assad regime—Iran’s main ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, which regards Iran as its arch-rival, was bitterly critical of the Obama administration when it called off its air war against Syria a year ago at the last moment.

Commenting in the New York Times about the air strikes in Syria, an administration official made clear that the Syrian regime would not be allowed to capitalise on the initial attacks on ISIS-held areas. “We don’t plan to make it easy for Assad to reclaim territory,” he said, without revealing the methods that would be used. Having begun the bombardment of Syria, the US is quite capable of fabricating an incident as the pretext for turning the air war against the Syrian government and military.

It is no accident that in the past week the Obama administration has again revived accusations that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against civilian populations. Despite the fact that Syria has dismantled its chemical weapons and facilities, US Secretary of State John Kerry now claims, without any substantiation, that it has used chlorine gas against opposition-held villages. A year ago, the US was on the point of bombing Syria on the basis of allegations, later completely discredited, that Assad’s government carried out a nerve gas attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

The Obama administration’s claims to be engaged in a humanitarian operation to protect the persecuted minorities in Iraq or Syria are a macabre joke. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 profoundly destabilised the country, resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, forced millions into exile and stoked bitter sectarian tensions throughout the region. The three-year civil war in Syria, fomented and fuelled by the US and its allies, has produced another humanitarian catastrophe.

The results of the latest military intervention will be no less disastrous. Thousands of civilians will die, millions more will be forced to flee and what remains of Syria’s social and physical infrastructure will be left in ruins.

Nor will that be the end. The war against Syria is the prelude to US military confrontations with Assad’s backers—Iran and Russia—and also with China. Driven by its historic economic decline, US imperialism is engaged in a continuous war to shore up its dominance in the energy-rich Middle East, and in every area of the world, setting the stage for a global conflagration.

The Obama administration has initiated the attacks on Syria without the semblance of Congressional authorisation or any explanation to the American people. It is a war being waged on behalf of a tiny bloated financial aristocracy, for which US hegemony is essential to its criminal looting operations. The eruption of militarism abroad goes hand in hand with deepening social inequality and the build-up of a police-state apparatus to suppress social tensions at home. Essential public services are being gutted while endless resources are lavished on the military and police.

The accelerating pace of imperialist violence is driven by the same crisis of global capitalism that is preparing the ground for revolutionary upheavals. The urgent necessity is the building of a unified anti-war movement of the international working class, based on the perspective of socialist internationalism, to put an end to the barbaric and outmoded profit system.

NATO’s War on Libya and Africa

September 22nd, 2014 by Maximilian Forte

NATO’s war in Libya was proclaimed as a humanitarian intervention — bombing in the name of “saving lives.” Attempts at diplomacy were stifled. Peace talks were subverted.

Libya was barred from representing itself at the UN, where shadowy NGOs and “human rights” groups held full sway in propagating exaggerations, outright falsehoods, and racial fear mongering that served to sanction atrocities and ethnic cleansing in the name of democracy. The rush to war was far speedier than Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

Max Forte has scrutinized the documentary history from before, during, and after the war. He argues that the war on Libya was not about human rights, nor entirely about oil, but about a larger process of militarizing U.S. relations with Africa. The development of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, or AFRICOM, was in fierce competition with Pan-Africanist initiatives such as those spearheaded by Muammar Gaddafi.

Far from the success NATO boasts about or the “high watermark” proclaimed by proponents of the “Responsibility to Protect,” this war has left the once prosperous, independent and defiant Libya in ruin, dependency and prolonged civil strife.

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

by Maximilian Forte

AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH!

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

Price: $24.95

CLICK TO ORDER FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

This title is also available in E-Book format. Click here for more information.

About humanitarian imperialism, Max Forte writes:

“Desperate to finally be seen as the liberators of Arabs, rescuing poor victims with the finest of American exports (human rights), some would understandably feel compelled to exploit the suffering of others (residents fleeing Sirte) and turn that into something worthy of celebration. This is an example of the abduction process at the centre of Western, liberal humanitarianism: it can only function by first directly or indirectly creating the suffering of others, and by then seeing every hand as an outstretched hand, pleading or welcoming. We see (or imagine) helpless others, gobbling morsels of food that we hand them, brown mouths chugging down water from our plastic bottles, and we feel accomplished. Our moral might is reaffirmed by the physical plight of others. Clearly, the humanitarian relation is not a relation between equals. We are not our “brothers’ keepers” then, but rather we are more like animal keepers. Bombing for us is really just an animal management technology, and our relationship to the world remains a zoological one.” (Slouching Towards Sirte, p. 97.)

A War for Human Rights
(by Max Forte – in The Political Bouillon)

The war in Libya never happened. At least that is what one might think, considering the dearth of serious analysis and critical reflection in Canada since our participation in NATO’s bombardment campaign ended a year ago. Yet in Libya, in many ways the war is still happening…Read more..

Brendan Stone interviews Max Forte as he discusses his book SLOUCHING TOWARDS SIRTE

Praise, Reviews

Slouching Towards Sirte is a penetrating critique, not only of the NATO intervention in Libya, but of the concept of humanitarian intervention and imperialism in our time. It is the definitive treatment of NATO’s war on Libya. It is difficult to imagine it will be surpassed.”
-Stephen Gowans, What’s Left, Read More

“Forte’s allegations that NATO’s war was manufactured by liberal interventionists and “iPad imperialists” whose agenda to disrupt African independence and execute regime change under the “fig leaf” of saving lives are chilling—and persuasive. So too is the timeline of events between the start of the protests and the propagandist hysteria promulgated online. Even though Forte couches descriptions of Gaddafi in amorphous, guarded language, he isn’t an apologist. In this provocative and unabashedly direct book, Forte speaks truth to power.”
-ForeWord Reviews, January 4, 2013, read full review…

The Public Archive identified Slouching Towards Sirte as one of 10 Books for 2012 on its Black Radical Reading List.

Maximilian C. Forte is a professor of anthropology in Montreal, Canada. He teaches courses in the field of political anthropology dealing with “the new imperialism,” Indigenous resistance movements and philosophies, theories and histories of colonialism, and critiques of the mass media. Max is a founding member of Anthropologists for Justice and Peace.

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

by Maximilian Forte

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

Price: $24.95

CLICK TO ORDER FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

The U.S. and the UK committed genocide against the Iraqi people between 1990-2012, killing 3.3 million, including 750,000 children through sanctions and war.

On September 11, 2014 US President Obama, on the anniversary of 9/11, in his speech promised the world more war, and especially the people of Iraq and Syria when he promised that together with his coalition partners, they would kill every ISIS person in Iraq, Syria, or anywhere in the world they may be. He described ISIS as cancer cells and promised they would be all killed off. His Speech was chilling and had the desired effect of reminding us all just how low morally and intellectually the American administration, and their Coalition, has sunk.

For the President to ignore the fact that the USA/UK, NATO, have committed genocide against the Iraq people between 1990/2012 killing 3.3 million including 750,000 Iraqi children through sanctions and war, not including subsequent wars by USA/NATO, against Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and their attempted and well funded efforts through a proxy war to destroy Syria, is criminal.  The Iraqi war (as indeed is the war against Gaza by Israel) is a classic definition of Genocide. These past and current foreign policies of military aggression break all International Laws, to which the President makes no reference, and will only result in more killings and more hatred of the West.

That the US Administration plans to escalate military attacks in Iraq and Syria and to increase funding and training of ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria, is a betrayal of all those people in these countries struggling through peaceful and nonviolent ways to solve their problems without guns and violence.   If the US wants to stop ISIS, it can remove its funding and arms, which are coming from US allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and others and from the US itself, through intermediaries like the Syrian ‘rebels’.   It is the USA and their allies that have created the conditions, funded and facilitated the growth of these reactionary Jihadist organizations. If USA/UK really want to stop ISIS they should work with the Syrian Government, support the people who have been the main victims of ISIS, and support the Syrian peace and reconciliation movement who are working to stop the violence and bring real change in their country.

The USA administration policy of air strikes against ISIS in Syria and increasing funding for the moderate rebels is illegal under international law, as it is illegal for the US to fund, train, weaponize and co-ordinate to overthrow the regime of a sovereign state.   Also the airspace of any country is its own and USA must get Syrian authorization to fly over Syria. (Illegally Israel continues to fly over and bomb Syria). Having visited Iraq before the second war, and Syria in 2013 and 2014 and witnessed that the people of both countries were brave and courageous and trying to solve their problems ( in Syria, a proxy war with thousands of foreign Jihadists) through peace and reconciliation. In Syria, they asked that there be no outside interference and aggression on their country, as this would make things worse, not better. Under International Law the US Gov. NATO and any coalition forces should respect the wishes of the people of the Middle East and Syria, and recognize it is for the people of Syria to modify or change their government and not for the US or Saudi Arabia or NATO. Ending militarism and war is possible and restoring justice, human rights and dignity for all the people, will bring peace and we must each do all in our power to Resist and Stop this latest drive to war and demand our governments withdraw from this Coalition of war with USA.

mairead_maguire_____________________________

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

Reeling from history’s biggest double-blow of natural and nuclear disasters, post 3-11 Japan seemed poised to lead the world’s accelerating turn to radical efficiency and renewable energy (the latter accounted for 56% of net additions to global power capacity in 2013).1 After 3-11, then-Prime Minister Kan Naoto quickly initiated regulatory shackles on the country’s nuclear capacity and implemented a feed-in tariff (FIT). These deft moves became core elements in a battering-ram of policy changes and political opposition that forced open a door to profound change in Japan’s power mix and its political economy. The country has seen minimal nuclear power generation in the wake of 3-11, and not one kilowatt between September 15 of 2013 and the present. Japan now appears on track towards the restart of at least some of its remaining nuclear capacity.2 Not without reason, the “smart money” believes Japan’s power choices are dominated by fossil fuels and the resumption of considerable nuclear capacity.3 So it is important to ask whether aggressive efficiency and FIT-incentivized renewable power got through while the door was open or face a suffocating squeeze if significant nuclear generation returns on-line.

This article proceeds by describing the promising role that efficiency and conservation have achieved in Japan’s power mix, reflecting their recent international recognition as a “fuel” in their own right. It then turns to consider Japan’s renewable opportunity and what appear to be the FIT’s most salient inadequacies. The article follows up with recent market surveys and other evidence of what took place in the power business in 2013. These empirical studies suggest that in spite of the FIT’s handicaps, the policy has already had a striking effect on investment, business formation, local-government growth strategies, innovation, and other important items.

In addition, more recent developments in 2014 confirm that Japan’s power economy is very different from what it was three years ago. PM Abe Shinzo’s government confronts this new reality in the midst of a string of important local elections and at a time when its faltering Abenomics has been forced to become a “local Abenomics.” Ironically, those incentives may make Abe and his “local revival” chief Ishiba Shigeru reluctant supporters of the FIT and renewables.

Japan’s Power Cuts as a Growth Opportunity

Japan was the world’s third largest nuclear-power generator prior to March 11, 2011. It had 54 reactors with a total power generation capacity of 49 gigawatts (GW) in 2010. The loss of the Fukushima reactors has since reduced that number to 48 reactors with 42 GW of power capacity. As noted earlier, none of that capacity has been in operation since September 15 of 2013. The most optimistic, politically informed outlook projects only about 20 of these reactors to restart over the next five years.4 Moreover, the attached chart on “Projected cost of fossil fuel imports in fiscal year 2015” shows that even the full restart of all remaining nuclear capacity by 2015 – something that is simply not going to happen – would cut fuel costs by only YEN 2.5 trillion, or roughly 9%. Renewables expert Thomas Gerke argues that the Abe administration ought to reassess its priorities, and emphasize power cuts as well as “an aggressive transformation of the entire energy system, that could effectively reduce Japan’s energy import dependency.”5 The evidence below bears out his assertions.

The very good news from Japan is that power cuts, inescapable in the immediate aftermath of 3-11, appear to have become institutionalized and ingrained in behaviour. These cuts are not incentivized by the FIT. Their drivers include the power-saving campaigns that followed 3-11, power-price increases that averaged 28% in September 2014 versus 4 years earlier,6 and ramped-up subsidy programmes for efficiency. An example of the latter are measures encouraging a more rapid uptake of LEDs – 6 times more efficient than incandescent lights – and other devices in lighting and other areas of power consumption. Japan’s post 3-11 diffusion of LEDs boomed, becoming 11% of a global market of just over USD 90 billion by 2013. Japan’s diffusion rate of 54.1% LEDs in the 2013 domestic lighting market was nearly double the global average of 27.6%. Estimates project Japan’s diffusion rate will rise to 70.8% in 2015 and 80.9% in 2018.7 By contrast, the US Department of Energy forecasts LED diffusion in America to reach just 36% of sales by 2020 and 74% by 2030.8

Japan’s power-saving campaigns also include such innovations as “peak shift” vending machines in the country’s YEN 2.7 trillion vending market. Coca Cola commands 20% of the market share in these devices, ubiquitous throughout Japan, and in January 2013 introduced “Peak Shift” vending machines that power-up late at night, when demand on the grid is low. The machines “can keep soft drinks cool without the use of electricity for up to 16 hours during summer, reducing daytime electricity consumption by 95%.”9 Japanese power demand tends to peak in the early afternoon hours of mid-summer. Adequate power-generation capacity must be on hand to meet that surge, lest there be power outages. So shaving the peak — whether through outright cuts or shifting demand — means a more efficient use of all power infrastructure. It also allows for reductions of the number of expensive “peaker plants” needed only to meet infrequent demand spikes.

These kinds of conservation and efficiency measures saved 78.9 billion kilowatt-hours in 2013, or roughly the output of 13 of Japan’s shut-down nuclear reactors.10 This is very important in growth-challenged Japan. The International Energy Agency (IEA) rightly describes efficiency as the “fifth fuel,” and indeed the cheapest of all. Efficiency is also a global market worth about USD 300 billion in 2012, and almost certain to grow significantly in the coming years.11 Japan’s post 3-11 success with the fifth-fuel is such that some Japanese analysts argue it should become the heart of the country’s growth strategy.12 This would be wise, as the most recent authoritative comparison of efficiency across countries placed Japan tied with United Kingdom at sixth (see “2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard”) indicating lots of low-hanging fruit left to pick. Post 3-11 Japan has made impressive gains in power cuts. But it is not the global leader, trailing not only Germany (#1) but also China (#4), and its competitors are also increasingly shifting human, financial, fiscal and other resources into this lucrative sector.13 Japan’s ongoing rollout of smart communities, including district heating, energy-management systems, waste-energy recovery, and other initiatives, have enormous potential if they are not marginalized by vested energy interests and their myopic political-bureaucratic supporters.

Japan’s Bounty of Renewable Resources

We have seen that Japan’s power cuts appear institutionalized and could become a much-needed growth sector. On the other hand, Japan’s expansion of renewable power after 3-11, and especially in the wake of implementing the FIT, does not reflect what is technically feasible. This underperformance is rather odd. After all, Japan was a first-mover in renewable energy, especially solar.14 Japanese firms, including Toshiba and Mitsubishi, command roughly 70% of the global market in geothermal power-related equipment.15 And on September 18, 2014, 3 days after the country went a full year without nuclear power, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) held a special symposium celebrating the 40th anniversary of the September 1974 “Sunshine Plan” of solar, geothermal and other new energies.16

Japan does not lack renewable energy resources, as its rich endowment is precisely the reverse of its paucity of conventional energy resources. It is important to stress this fact because “resource-poor Japan” is such deeply embedded conventional wisdom that even Obuchi Yuko, the new (from September 3) minister of economy, trade and industry (METI) appears to echo it. She demonstrated this during a September 21, 2014 debate aired by the national broadcaster, NHK, when she insisted that nuclear restarts were necessary for Japan, “the nation with scarce resources (shigen no toboshii nihon).”17

To paraphrase Upton Sinclair, it will be difficult to get Obuchi to understand something that her cabinet position, as a member of nuclear-restart Team Abe, depends on her not understanding. Yet on November 2, 2012, the same NHK aired a visually rich comparative presentation of Japan’s abundant resources by Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute Chief Scientist and executive board member of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation.18 Lovins has repeatedly and convincingly argued, and not just on Japanese NHK broadcasts, that Japan has excellent renewable energy potential but lacks the appropriate policy regime to fully exploit it. And rather than lazily repeat tired slogans, like METI’s Obuchi, he and his researchers went to work and combined assessments of all renewable resources, including intensity of sunlight, average wind speeds, geothermal potential, available biomass, and other pertinent elements. They converted the totals into one common comparison of the annual number of gigajoules of renewable energy potential per square meter (GJ/y/m2). The result shows that Japan is a global leader: Japan’s endowment of 63.1 GJ/y/m2 is far more plentiful than the18.8 in China, India’s 45.5, the EU’s 20.4, North America’s 30.4, and South America’s 28.1.19

The German Energy Shift

Elsewhere, Lovins has used this data to show that Japan’s renewable resource potential is 9 times that of Germany.20 He points out that among large industrial states Germany is the global leader in shifting its energy mix to renewables because of good policy, especially the FIT. The Germans aim at 35% renewable power by 2020 and over 80% by 2050. Even with far less abundant renewable resources than Japan, the Germans appear capable of overcoming the technical challenges of building environmental sustainability as well as competitive new industries.21 In 2013, non-hydro renewables provided just under 24% of Germany’s power, 380,000 jobs in thriving industries, and displaced at least USD 16 billion in fuel imports. The FIT also contributed to more equitable income distribution and enhanced community ties, important positive externalities in our post-Lehman malaise. The multinational audit firm Ernst and Young (EY) emphasize this fact in their September 2014 “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index,” the 42nd edition of this quarterly publication. EY highlight the fact that Germany – along with Denmark – has “demonstrated that citizen participation and regional value creation from decentralized renewable energy production can be the norm, not the exception. In Germany, there are more than 600 energy cooperatives and more than half of renewables capacity is community-owned.”22

Germany’s renewable goals and policy regime are deeply embedded in its political economy. Its renewable commitment and industrial structure endured the dramatic collapse of domestic solar-panel production, when German firms Q-Cells, Bosch Solar, Conergy and others went bankrupt in 2012 and 2013 in the face of unbeatable Chinese price-competition.23 The German state and capital were already collaborating in moving on to power storage, integrating renewable systems and other areas of innovation opened up by their energy transition.24 That smart response is helping German exporters advance up the value chain in a global industry where the simple manufacture of solar panels, per se, has become commodified.25

Japan’s Performance in 2013

Aggressive policy saw Germany secure just under 24% of its power from non-hydro renewables in 2013, whereas renewables provided only 2.2% of Japan’s power supply in 2013. (This total then leapt to 4.4% in April-May of 2014, but for the moment, let us stick with the 2013 data.) To be sure, the amount installed in 2013 was a robust 32% increase over the previous year. A one third increase in solar investment, to USD 28 billion, placed Japan 3rdin the PEW Charitable Trusts analysis of clean tech investment for 2013 (see the attached chart on “Investment by Country and Sector, 2013”). During 2013, Japan installed 7 GW of solar capacity, which nearly equalled the 7.8 GW of all renewable power (5 GW being solar) it had installed under the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) system it had initiated in 2003.26

Japan’s investment in solar in 2013 was impressive, but its deployment of the gamut of renewable power options was not as rapid as many observers had expected.27 Japan’s combination of post 3-11 power needs, its abundant renewable resource-endowment, and the fact that in 2013 it came second in the world in clean energy patents (see chart on “Clean Energy Patents for Top Countries 2013”), suggest it should and could have made more progress. Instead of a dramatic increase in renewables, Japan largely substituted for lost nuclear generation with the power cuts outlined earlier and by increasing fossil fuels in its power mix from roughly 60% before 3-11 to just under 90%. The latter was in large part through expanding the use of existing generation capacity, bringing old “mothballed” capacity back on-line, and building new fossil-fuel plant, especially natural gas and coal.

Preeminent among the factors that hindered a more rapid diffusion of renewable power is the regulatory regime that underpins the Japanese FIT, which became effective from July 1 of 2012. After a brief overview of the Japanese FIT itself, this paper turns to these handicaps.

The Japanese FIT’s Handicaps

The attached Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) diagramme “Mechanism of Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy” shows that the FIT is a scheme through which solar, wind, and other types of renewable-power generation (biomass, geothermal and small hydro) are given a guaranteed price – or “tariff” – per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for a designated period. The tariff varies according to the particular system’s output, measured in kilowatts (kW), as is seen in a separate METI chart on “Tariff Rates.” The cost of the premium price is then passed on to ratepayers in their power bill.

 

 

Japan’s 2013 share of clean-tech patents  Source

On paper, the Japanese FIT obligates power companies (meaning Japan’s 10 monopolies, including the infamous TEPCO) to purchase the renewable power generated by duly designated renewable-power projects. But where the Japanese FIT falls short, especially compared to its German counterpart, is in allowing the monopoly utilities to refuse grid connection to projects at their discretion. The Japanese monopolies also have no obligation to expand the power grid, giving access to areas with renewable resource-endowments but limited or nonexistent power lines to transmit it. Among other things, this has allowed the monopolies to freeze out onshore wind power, which is potentially the cheapest among renewable options, relatively quick to install,28 and the backbone of global renewable power. Japan’s onshore wind capacity has grown by only minimal amounts over the past two years. As Lovins points out, “of the 8 GW of renewables brought into operation in the first 20 months after it [Japan] introduced renewable FITs in July 2012, 97.5% was solar and only 1% windpower.”29

Pro-Monopoly Warts and All, Japan’s FIT Works

We have seen that Japan’s FIT did not drive as rapid an expansion of renewables in the power mix as advocates expected. Even so, it is clear that the FIT stimulated a very large and expanding industry. One recent assessment of part of this industry’s scale is see in a Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) analysis, based on August 8, 2014 data from the METI’s New Energy Subcommittee. The total expansion of economic activity in solar is represented by the red bars in the attached chart on “Sales and Employment Japan’s Solar Sector, 2010-2013.” The JPEA analysis shows that the solar business in Japan increased from just over YEN 500 billion in 2010, to 670 billion in 2011, about YEN 1 trillion in 2012 (the initial year of the FIT), and then leapt to YEN 2.5 trillion in 2013. The calculation of business activity includes not just sales of solar panels, but also the power conditioners, inverters and other gear as well as the installation costs. And in terms of direct (the black line) and indirect employment (the green line) in the solar sector, the analysis highlights an expansion to 90,000 direct jobs and 210,000 indirect jobs in 2013, versus a few thousand for both in 2010. Moreover, only 9.3% YEN 2.5 trillion in total business volume represented money that went overseas for the import of panels and other equipment. Over 90% of the economic activity generated in this sector therefore stayed in the domestic economy, leading to the impressive results in employment.30

Another indicator of the growth of Japan’s renewable energy industry is seen in the Tokyo Shoko Research survey of new business creation during 2013 (released on August 8, 2014). There were 210,000 new businesses created in all sectors of the Japanese economy during 2013, a 5.8% increase over the previous year. The survey also revealed that there was a startling 118.1% increase (834 firms to 1,819 firms) in the utilities sector, which includes electricity, gas, heat distribution, and water. Tokyo Shoko directly attributes this increase to the ballooning interest in solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable power generation and related business.31

Tokyo Shoko has been in the business of market surveys since 1892,32 so is not some over-eager front for Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth. It seems important to stress this fact, because 5 days after the above release Tokyo Shoko published a clearly enthusiastic special report that zeroed in on the utility sector, and specifically power.33 This August 13 summary of the survey results confirmed that the bulk of the 1,819 new firms in the utility sector were centred in power, which saw 1,799 new businesses launched in 2013. The attached chart on “Annual Trend in New Power Firms, 2009-2013” graphically illustrates the pace of new business growth. Tokyo Shoko deliberately added the red lines in the chart to help readers visualize the upward spike of business starts in power, represented by the rapidly ascending blue line. The 2013 total of new firms was a striking increase of 2.2 times over the 811 in 2012, and a very dramatic leap of 26.4 times the 68 new firms that were established in 2011. The report also made a point of emphasizing that these results reflect the attractiveness of the FIT.

Annual Trend in New Power Firms, 2009-2013. Number of Firms and Energy Type (with some overlap)  

Of the 1,799 new power businesses in 2013, 67.4% (1,213) were involved in solar. In spite of Japan’s bias towards solar, there were also significant numbers of business starts in other renewable areas as well. On the x-axis of the attached chart (in Japanese) on “Number of Firms and Energy Type (with some overlap),” the topmost energy is solar, followed by wind, water (i.e., small hydro), geothermal, and “bio” (a contraction, referring to biomass and biogas). The 223 new firms in wind in 2013 is impressive on its own, nearly 4 times the total number of new firms in the entire power sector in 2011, and over 10 times the 22 new entrants in 2009. The results for hydro, geothermal and bio-power are similarly noteworthy, when viewed against the past lethargy of Japan’s monopoly-dominated power sector.

The Tokyo Shoko survey also highlights the explosion in the number of firms designated as Power Producer and Supplier (PPS) businesses. The PPS category is a result of the 1999 power-law reform. This reform allowed new entrants into the power-supply market (for over 50 kW) in addition to the existing 10 monopoly utilities, as of April 2005. Tokyo Shoko view this as a very important metric, and hence included the most recent data possible prior to their August 13 survey release. Their numbers show that as of August 4, a total of 313 firms were registered with the METI’s Energy and Natural Resources Bureau. Bear in mind that at the end of March 2012, this number was a mere 53 firms.34 Tokyo Shoko note that the expansion in the number of PPP firms has largely been driven by the increase in renewable power generation, the electricity price hikes of the monopoly utilities, and the impending liberalization of the YEN 7.5 trillion small-lot power market in April 2016.

The Tokyo Shoko specialists do not expect all these new firms in the power sector to survive. Among other challenges, they point to the low capitalization of many of the new businesses. Fully 80% of them are capitalized at YEN 10 million or less, with 40% being under YEN 1 million. In addition, some of the firms are yet to engage in business activity or soon go bankrupt.The analysts thus warn of an impending shakeout in the number of PPS and other new entrants into the power sector. At the same time, they argue that the striking increase in business starts in this important sector is a very positive development. They remind readers that Japan’s growth strategy is aimed at raising the low level of new business starts to 10%. Tokyo Shoko also spotlight Japan’s need for expansion of new business areas in order to shift its industrial structure, moving human and other resources from declining areas to more promising new sectors. The analysts urge smart policymaking, and express optimism that many of the new entrants in the power sector will afford much-needed employment and innovation.

Surveying the New Landscape of Power

We have seen that, even handicapped by rules that privilege the extant power monopolies, Japan’s FIT incentivized significant business activity during 2013. Several more recent developments indicate that the striking increase in the number of players in the Japanese power market, together with many of them deploying renewable energy, are not bubbles but are rather rooted on solid ground. This solid ground includes the fact that many new entrants are large firms, there are significant investment plans in expanding renewable capacity, there are impressive increases in demand for renewable power, and evidence of quite promising innovation.

First, the number of PPS firms, 313 at the time of the Tokyo Shoko study’s release, has continued to increase. As of September 19, 2014, the figure stands at 352.35 As of July 2014, the number of PPS actually producing and selling power was 56. Most of the rest appear to be firms that have formally registered as PPS, but are waiting for deregulation (such as of the retail market in April 2016) to proceed before actually commencing operations. These firms include PPS set up by Nippon Paper Group and other large-scale concerns. Not all of these interests plan to deploy renewable power, but many of them do.

As to investment in renewable capacity, the PPS Orix intends to increase its renewable-power supply capacity by 12 times (to 1 million kilowatts) over the next 5 years in an investment of YEN 300 billion.36 The Orix PPS is an important element of the larger Orix Group of 26,000 employees working in leasing, asset management, eco services, and other areas.37 The firm has at present 4000 business firms as customers and a renewable-power output capacity of 80,000 kilowatts. Most of its investment will go to solar, as it plans to spend YEN 220 billion on 800,000 kilowatts of solar capacity at over 200 locations nationwide (from Hokkaido to Kumamoto). It will also pour YEN 60 billion into biomass, with plant in Fukushima and Fukuoka. On geothermal, it will spend YEN 25 billion at a maximum of 15 sites. It is also thinking about entering wind, but has not yet made any decisions.

This investment plan will put Orix in the number 2 spot among the PPS firms by 2018 in terms of generating capacity. The top PPS is Enetto, which secures its power from excess in-house generation and in 2013 sold 10.6 billion kilowatts. Orix renewable deployment will see its capacity move into the 2.3 to 3 billion kilowatt range.

The Public Sector and PPS

Some local governments are also planning to directly enter the PPS market. Planned additions include Osaka Prefecture’s Izumisano City (population 101, 313) announcement that within 2014 the city would join with a private firm and undertake a PPS (tentatively named Izumisano Power). The PPS would be funded 2/3 by the city and 1/3 by the private firm, and would largely use FIT-supported solar power generated by the city’s solar projects at Kansai International Airport, to supply city facilities from April of 2015. At current power prices, the PPS arrangement is calculated to result in a YEN 1 million reduction of the city’s power bill.38

It is also not uncommon for local governments to shift their power contracts away from the monopolies to active PPS, with all or at least some of the power being renewable. One recent example is the city of Nasukarasuyama (population: 28,633) in Tochigi Prefecture (one of the areas affected by 3-11). The city authorities relate that in response to price increases for power, they have progressively shifted power-supply contracts, via auction, from Tepco. Since August 1 of 2012, they did this for 19 city facilities (schools, day-care centers, municipal waterworks centers, etc). And as of the end of July in 2014, they have completed 3-year contracts (August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2017) with 2 PPS firms (Mitsurou Green Energy and Itochu Enex) for power to a total of 21 facilities (Mitsurou having 15, and Itochu 6) at substantial savings from the Tepco price. The average reduction over the 21 facilities is 21.9%, and the total cost reduction is YEN 3.18 million, which is significant savings for such a small community.39

Other local governments plan to draw on PPS for green power, and aim to make the initiative a model for others to follow. A recent example is Atsugi City’s (population: 225,000) August 22 deal with above-noted Orix as well as Kanagawa Power. The three entities are cooperating on using the power generated by solar panels in the city to supply 15 of the city’s public buildings. This arrangement will see the city cancel its power contracts with the regional monopoly, Tepco, by December. The move is expected to save the city YEN 1.5 million in power costs. But the plan is also designed deliberately to be a template for other local governments’ “local production-local consumption” initiatives to enhance local resilience.40

These kinds of leadership templates are important. Many local governments have plans to expand renewables, but not necessarily the technical sophistication to build the capacity into a larger system. On local renewables, Hitotsubashi University Natural Resource Economics Project team members Fujii Kohei and Yamashita Hidetoshi conducted a survey of “The Actual Conditions And Issues of Renewable Energy Use in the Municipalities” earlier this year. They produced a questionnaire that inquired whether the local governments were deploying renewable energy, in what fashion, and whether they were planning to expand it. Collaborating with the Asahi and Kyodo news agencies, they sent the survey to all of Japan’s 1741 local governments during May and June. They received replies from 288 locals (16.5%) as of May 28, of which 73% reported they had renewable power deployed. Fully 58% of the generation was solar, 14% wind, and 7% biomass. The operator, in 33% of the cases, was the municipality, with outside business being the operator in 28% of cases, and a local business in 22% of cases. Fully 92% reported they were considering more renewables, for environmental as well as resilience reasons.41

And many local governments are simply shifting their power contracts to PPS firms to get a lower price, irrespective of whether the new power is renewables. A recent survey by the Sankei Shimbun, which is quite conservative and overtly pro-nuclear, found that 21 of Japan’s 49 prefectures have shifted power supply for their main offices to PPS firms. This number was apparently a 150% increase on the number of prefectural offices abandoning the monopolies last year.42 While this kind of contract-cancellation does not necessarily advantage renewable, it does bolster the position of the PPS business overall.

Moreover, according to the August 6, 2014 Nikkei Shimbun, contract cancellations with the monopoly suppliers and shifts to new power firms are seen in 41% of firms surveyed by the newspaper during June and July. The survey received usable responses from 78 firms. Of those, 43 were in manufacturing and 35 in non-manufacturing.

The survey showed that 41% of the firms were already purchasing power from the PPS new power firms. It also showed that 12% of the surveyed firms were considering purchasing power from the new power firms. Manufacturing firms tend to use large amounts of power, and the number of manufacturing firms already purchasing power from the new power firms was 44%, with 16% considering purchasing power from new power firms, for a total of 60% either already purchasing power or considering.

As to cost of power, the surveyed firms indicated that their power costs for 2014 would increase by, on average, an estimated 22% over prices prevailing in 2010. All firms indicated that they had made efforts to reduce their power consumption, but that the price increases by the monopoly utilities had effectively made that a wash in terms of costs, and thus the turn to new power producers was a defensive move for their bottom lines. Interestingly, the article’s title was “large firms power cancellations total 11 nuclear reactors worth.”43

Innovation in Energy Services

It is hardly surprising that, in the context described above, significant innovation is evident in energy services. Indeed, in some casesentire business sectors are innovating in the power supply area. One example is outlined in the August 15 Nihon Keizai Shimbun. It details how printing firms (whose businesses have been hit by declining demand due to population decrease and the use of iPads, etc) are designing services for firms in the PPS market. These services include assistance in finding potential customers, various innovative mechanisms to combine power supply to households (from 2016 deregulation) with a variety of ancillary services to encourage conservation.44

Another promising area of innovation is seen in HL Solutions, which offers a package of options (advice on efficiency, PPS, solar deployment, etc) that includes splitting power contracts between the monopoly utility and a PPS. HL Solutions is an energy-services firm that has been active in Kyushu since May of 2012. As of August 1 of 2014, they have expanded their offices from Fukuoka Prefecture’s Ohnojou City (a mid-size city of just under 100,000 people) to Kitakyushu and Kumamoto cities (both large urban “smart city” centres in Kyushu, and the former having been the focusof a “green city” report for the OECD in 201245). HL Solutions will also open offices in Oita City. HL Solutions has already done this “partial supply” contracting for 100 clients as of April 2014, and anticipates a business volume of over 50 clients per month. This innovation has allowed HL Solutions to get over the business problem of still-limited PPS power supply (only 4-5% of capacity). This development possibly not only changes the incentives for HL and other energy service firms but for PPS firms as well as the renewable industry per se. This is because it enhances the ability to use the monopolies’ power capacity while at the same time eroding it. This information on HL Solutions is carried in a August 5, 2014 piece by “Construction Industry,” which portrays the PPS and related expansion of firms (such as HL Solutions) as a boon for the construction industry.46

Again, not all of this activity is due to the FIT, because much of the PPS power is generated by fossil fuels. But the FIT clearly plays a significant role in a larger context. This bears out the arguments of Tokyo Shoko and updates them.

Maximizing the Benefits From the FIT

Though the Japanese FIT clearly works, it very much needs to be adjusted and embraced by a better coordination of energy and environmental policies. This would help Japan accelerate its deployment of renewables as well as cut its costs.

For example, the attached chart on “Renewable Energy Production in Germany” shows that Germany’s striking success at expanding renewable power energy shift relied very heavily on wind from its 2000 adoption of the FIT.

The Germans deployed a lot of expensive wind power a decade ago. Thanks to their and others’ efforts, wind power is cheap. Technical innovations along with increased turbine size have made wind power so cheap in the present that it has become Denmark’s least expensive form of power. New Danish onshore wind projects scheduled for 2016 are set to produce power at less than half the price of coal and natural gas plants.47 Nor is this peculiar to Denmark. The Financial Times reported on September 18, 2014, that “[l]arge wind farms and solar plants are now cost-competitive with gas-fired power in many parts of the US even without subsidy.”48

Faster deployment of onshore wind in Japan is thus one comparatively inexpensive route to expanding renewable power production. The METI chart on “Tariff Rates” shows that at the FIT’s 2012 implementation, the tariff for large wind (over 20 kW) was YEN 23/kWh, far less than the YEN 42/kWh price guarantee for large-scale solar. Getting a lot of onshore wind on-line, creating employment and displacing costly fossil fuel imports and greenhouse-gas emissions, would require expanding grid capacity as well as shortening environmental assessments. In 2013, the opportunity was lost in a briar patch of bureaucratic inertia and the political focus on keeping the tottering monopolies, especially Tepco, viable in the face of massive costs from Fukushima.

But the chance was there, and remains there. This is seen in the fact that expansion of the grid for onshore wind power resources concentrated in the Tohoku region (devastated in the 3-11 disasters) is at present the subject of a survey by METI’s Agency for Energy and Natural Resources.49 Moreover, the present 3-4 years assessment periods for wind and geothermal projects are under review, in a METI Agency for Energy and Natural Resources and Energy initiative set to last between 2014-2016. The review is to select at least 10 new wind-power sites nationwide and monitor them from the beginning of the planning stage with an eye to halving the assessment period.50Only politics stands in the way of accelerating these initiatives, or finding other work-arounds. By contrast, Japan’s Ministry of Environment announced in April of 2013 that it would cut the assessment period for new coal plant from the four or more years at present to just one year.51 This suggests that political priorities, as much as technical possibilities, shape policymaking about the shifting composition of Japan’s power mix. Policymakers need to find autonomy from vested interests, so as to grasp their real resource endowments and the speed of relative price changes globally.

Cutting the FIT

The METI ‘s “Tariff Rate under the FIT Program” diagramme, reproduced earlier in this article, shows that the FIT started with very generous incentives for most renewables. This generosity was to stimulate business activity, and the understanding was that the tariffs would be scaled back after households’ and other potential investors’ interest was whetted. This powerful incentive was arguably especially important in Japan. Previous FIT schemes, as well as the RPS, had been managed by or on behalf of the power monopolies and the nuclear village. Captive bureaucrats in METI were in charge of promoting as well as regulating nuclear power. These actors dominated energy policymaking, and had no interest in seeing distributed renewable generation spread and undermine the economics of their aggressive commitment to centralized – and especially nuclear – power generation.52 Cutting through the toxic mountain of cynicism and investor risk built by these vested interests required a very high initial tariff. And at YEN 42/kWh, the tariff for large-scale solar was especially generous by international standards. Through Japan’s FIT, a large-scale (over 10 kilowatt) system installed in 2012 is guaranteed YEN 42 for every kilowatt-hour it generates over a period of 20 years.

As was planned, these tariffs have been reduced over time. The tariff for large-scale solar has dropped from YEN 42/kWh in 2012, YEN 38/kWh in 2013, to YEN 32/kWh as of April 2014. It is important to point out that tariff reductions (or “degressions,” as FIT experts refer to them) are an essential part of the policy. Scheduled cuts to the FIT tariffs are often interpreted in the press as a withdrawal from renewable energy, but that interpretation is inaccurate.

Tariff degressions apply to renewable power systems installed after the cuts are implemented, not to systems already installed. Degression encourages firms throughout the renewable industry, from the manufacturers to the service firms, to reduce the so-called “hard costs” of equipment and the “soft costs” (or “balance of system” costs) of installation and associated services. Trimming hard costs is primarily achieved by technical and process innovation as well as through economies of scale. Reductions in hard costs appear to have made up most of the decline in overall solar costs over the past few years, largely due to innovation among firms in the EU, Asian and North America, along with the overall industry’s economies of scale through increasing volume.

Cutting soft costs has become a major focus of initiatives in Japan as well as in the United States. Soft costs include four general categories of the “pre-install” aspects, such as preparing the site; “racking and mounting,” involving all phases of getting modules onto the desired spot (such as a roof); “electrical,” meaning wiring up the various elements of the system; and “non-production” that includes delays and down-time during other phases. Cutting these costs include faster and simpler installation as well as – for example – innovating software that simplifies paperwork.53

The good news here is that Japanese system costs have come down by 30 to 40% for solar. In the first quarter of 2010, the cost for residential solar system (under 10 KW) was YEN 598,000/kW, but had dropped to YEN 394,000/kW in the first quarter of 2014. This was a 33% decrease in costs in 4 years. But the drop in system costs for solar in the 10-50 kW class was even more pronounced. In this range, the 2010 cost of about YEN 700,000/kW fell to YEN 383,000/kW in 2013.54

The prospect of a cut in tariffs not only helps trim costs; it also gives investors the incentive to get their projects on-line as soon as possible. Startling declines in solar-system costs, in particular, mean that failure to cut the FIT tariffs might encourage investors to wait while panel prices dropped even further. This seems especially significant in Japan: After years of deflation, Japanese investors and consumers are used to delaying purchases because of the virtual certainty that prices will drop.

Given this backdrop, it would be much better for Japan if the METI minister and others were less concerned about saving the monopoly utilities and more focused on exploiting the incredible opportunity staring them in the face. Poorly designed tariff cuts, in tandem with continued uncertainty about grid access, risks eroding the large and expanding domestic renewable industry’s potential to increase its competitiveness as global costs for solar and other renewable systems drop. An indication of how rapid renewable costs are nosediving is seen in the attached figure, from the August 28, 2014 IEA Medium Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTREMR).55 The chart shows that between 2010 and the most recent data for this year, the global average cost for various sizes (ie, large-scale utility to small rooftop) of solar systems has plummeted.

Source

These costs seem likely to continue falling dramatically, and almost certainly at a faster rate than predicted by the IEA. This possibility deserves an aside, as it is of direct relevance to Japan’s FIT and its energy policies in general. Renewable-energy experts argue that the new IEA solar cost data reflect an “awakening” for the agency, as it has hitherto been overly cautious in its presentation of the evidence. For example, the IEA MTREMR 2014 calculated average of 2010-2014 solar costs are a substantial reduction from those the IEA presented just a year ago in its MTREMR 2013. Moreover, the attached MTREMR 2014 chart’s projections of system-price declines from 2014 to 2020 are a sharp contrast to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other reputable agencies that expect large-scale solar costs to drop to a level 40% below what the IEA now estimates.56

The IEA certainly deserves to be lauded for accumulating renewable-energy expertise in its ranks from the late 2000s, and then finally bringing out its first MTREMR in 2011. The IEA are tasked with a very difficult job in an era of very rapid and disruptive changes in relative energy costs and technically or economically exploitable resource endowments. At the same time, it has a special responsibility: its annual World Energy Outlook reports, as well as its medium-term reports on coal and other conventional energy as well as renewables (from 2011) and efficiency (from 2012), inform energy policymaking in most countries. And far more than when the IEA was first instituted in 1974, after the first oil shock, energy policymaking is crucial to achieving sustainable and equitable growth in an increasingly resource-scarce and climate-challenged world. So surely the IEA must be very cautious to ensure that its modeling assumptions about the investment costs of solar, the learning curve cost-reduction through each doubling of deployed solar capacity, and other pertinent items are consistent with best practice in specialist agencies as well as with the facts. Yet as Terje Osmundsen details in his February 2014 analysis of “How the International Energy Agency Exaggerates the Costs and Underestimates the Growth of Solar Photovoltaics,”57 the IEA’s analytical tools are clearly not keeping pace with empirical reality. It is to be lamented that the IEA, not unlike Japan’s METI Minister, seems inhibited by the weight of conventional energy staff and their assumptions in its ranks.58

Conclusion

As we have seen, Japan’s FIT has indeed produced some successes and seems set to drive even more productive change. One prominent reason is that the FIT has become linked to other large-scale policy streams, such as Japan’s proliferation of renewable energy and efficiency-centred smart communities. Large swathes of Japan’s business community and local governments appear to have concluded that the promise of cheap nuclear power as the basis for growth is not in the cards. Instead, they have turned to producing energy and innovations locally, especially in the context of smart communities, which afford an attractive base for bolstering local business, fiscal resources, and resilience. Ironically, the Abe regime appears compelled to help. Its Abenomics experiment has not gone as well as voters gambled on and as its boosters claimed it would. As a result, a revised “Local Abenomics” is underway. This is because the Abe regime faces a string of politically important local elections over the next several months.59 Team Abe will have to be careful, as their new emphasis on reviving local economies not only confronts voters doubts60 but also unfolds in the context of a public-private coalition busy implementing “local production and consumption” in energy.

Against the global backdrop of cost compression in solar, as well as similar developments in wind and other renewables, it would be absurd for the managers of the Japanese FIT to respond by maintaining high tariffs. That would mean coddling an expensive solar industry that cannot compete in a world where solar power is – as Citigroup details – already competitive with the retail price of in much of the world, without subsidies, including Japan this year.61 But at the same time, better policy coordination is crucial to further deployment and innovation in the face of monopoly utility opposition. Japan’s remarkable and costly failure on nuclear power has left it with a highly subsidized industry in search of a FIT-like price guarantee62 and monopoly utilities desperate to exclude renewable power and competitors.63 These facts should be uppermost in the minds of FIT managers and the political leadership. Some very politically wrenching choices appear inevitable, with potentially a punishingly high cost for policymaking failure. Surely the last thing one would want to do in the world’s most rapidly ageing society, with the OECD’s worst public-debt burden, is throw good money after bad by failing to exploit an abundance of renewable resources.

Andrew DeWit is Professor in Rikkyo University’s School of Policy Studies and a coordinator of The Asia-Pacific Journal. His recent publications include “Climate Change and the Military Role in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response,” in Paul Bacon and Christopher Hobson (eds) Human Security and Japan’s Triple Disaster (Routledge, 2014), “Japan’s renewable power prospects,” in Jeff Kingston (ed) Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan(Routledge 2013), and (with Kaneko Masaru and Iida Tetsunari) “Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy in Japan” in Jeff Kingston (ed) Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan’s 3/11 (Routledge, 2012). He is lead researcher for a five-year (2010-2015) Japanese-Government funded project on the political economy of the Feed-in Tariff.

Recommended Citation: Andrew DeWit, “A New Japanese Miracle? Its Hamstrung Feed-in Tariff Actually Works”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 38, No. 2, September 22, 2014.

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Notes

1 For the details, see “With Developing Worlds Policy Support, Global Renewable Energy Generation Capacity Jumps to Record Level,” UNEP News Centre, June 3, 2014.

2 On September 10, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority gave its approval for restart of the 2 nuclear reactors at the Sendai plant in Kyushu. Since the assent of local governments is required before actual restart of the plant, they may not come on-line until early 2015. See Kentaro Hamada, “Japan approves nuclear restart amid push to close old reactors,” Reuters, September 10, 2014.

3 For example, note the comments of analysts cited by Jacob Adelman and Chisaki Watanabe in “Japan Rejoining Nuclear Club Leaves Fossil Fuel Appetite,” Bloomberg News, July 29, 2014.

4 On this, see the interview with Wall Street Journal Japanese energy-policy reporter, Mari Iwata, in Clint Richards, “Interview: Japan’s Post-Nuclear Future,” The Diplomat, September 18, 2014.

5 Thomas Gerke, “The debate over restarting nuclear reactors in Japan,” Renewables International, April 9, 2014.

6 See Yuriy Humber, “Nuclear Power-less Japan Must Pay for Fuel Imports in Weak Yen,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 18, 2014.

7 See (in Japanese) “Mid-Term Report on Conditions and Outlook for SSL, LED and Organic EL Lighting, 2014” EM Data, August 2014.

8 See p. 2 of Christine Holland, “Are LEDs the Next CFL: A Diffusion of Innovation Analysis,” 2014 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings paper 9-426.

9 “Vending in Japan,” Euromonitor Report, March 2014.

10 These figures are based on the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy “Electricity Survey Statistics,” and compiled by Greenpeace Japan in a September 15, 2014 article celebrating a year without nuclear power. Their summary of the data suggests that compared to 2010, the power savings in 2013 saved YEN 1.7 trillion in fossil fuel costs. See (in Japanese) “Celebrate! One Year of Zero Nuclear Generation,” Greenpeace, September 15, 2014.

11 See “Energy efficiency: a key tool for boosting economic and social development,” IEA Press Release, September 9, 2014.

12 See (in Japanese) Fujinami Takumi, “Making Conservation the Spring for This Country’s Growth: Key Items are Consumers’ Conservation Investment and the Shifting Industrial Structure,” Japan Research Institute New Energy Basic Plan Deliberation Series No. 4, Paper 2014-027, August 21, 2014.

13 For example, as the “Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014” report comparing 40 countries (including all of the G20 members) notes on its page 8, “Cleantech venture capital is still primarily made up of energy-related technologies (51 percent in 2013), though much less so compared to 77 percent in 2010, and much more of the energy element is around efficiencies, as opposed to renewables generation.” The report is available here.

14 Tawada Yoshihisa, the head of the Japanese Solar Energy Association, stresses this fact in noting that Japanese solar initiatives date back to the mid-1950s. See (in Japanese) “Cutting through the trilemma of the 3 Es and producing a virtuous cycle,” President, September 20, 2014.

15 Masanori Tobita, “Geothermal energy is Japan’s buried treasure,” Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2013.

16 The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) is Japan’s top quango for energy R&D. Its September 18, Sunshine Plan 40-Year Anniversary Special Symposium announcement and details (in Japanese) are here.

17 See “Japan’s new minister says energy policy without nuclear difficult,” Reuters, September 21, 2014. Obuchi’s remark came during the regular Sunday debate show on NHK, and the clip is available in the original Japanesehere.

18 Lovins’ profile is available at the Foundation’s web site.

19 Lovins’ comparative figures are nicely visualized (in Japanese) in the first 2 minutes of this November 2, 2012 NHK broadcast “Taking on an Energy Shift”.

20 See Amory Lovins, “How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For Germany,” Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, September 4, 2014.

21 Quirin Schiermier, “Renewable power: Germany’s energy gamble,” Nature, April 10, 2013.

22 See “RECAI Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index,” Issue 42, September 2014, p 20.

23 See “Conergy files for insolvency as solar crisis deepens,” Reuters, July 5, 2013.

24 One of the German sites of innovation is Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, or KIT, where storage solutions are a focus of research. See “Largest German Solar Power Storage Park,” KIT Press Release 106/2014.

25 Craig Morris, “German exports of renewable technology,” Energy Transition, August 27, 2014.

26 See Mika Ohbayashi, “Great Achievements of Feed-in Tariff and Challenges for Japan’s Renewable Energy Policy,” Japan Renewable Energy Foundation Renewables Update, September 5, 2014.

27 For the data on Japan’s power, see (in Japanese) “Current conditions and issues concerning renewable energy,” METI Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, June 17, 2014: Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

28 In technical terms, as opposed to regulatory barriers. Fast deployment of onshore wind would require shortening environmental assessments.

29 See Amory Lovins, “How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For Germany,” Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, September 4, 2014.

30 See (in Japanese) Kaneko Kenji, “The JPEA reports that the domestic soalr system market totals YEN 2.5 trillion and 210,000 jobs,” in Nikkei Tekunologii, August 22, 2014.

31 See (in Japanese) “2013 new business starts at about 110,000 firms, 4th year of increases,” Tokyo Shoko Research, August 8, 2014.

32 Its corporate history (in Japanese) is here.

33 See (in Japanese) “2013 new power business starts of 1,799 firms was 2.2 times the previous year,” Tokyo Shoko Research, August 13, 2014.

34 On this, see (in Japanese) “What is a PPS?” Epower-management, August 25, 2013.

35 The number of PPS firms, their power output, and other information is available (in Japanese) here.

36 See (in Japanese) “Orix plans to invest YEN 300 billion in renewable power over the next five years,” Nikkei Shimbun, August 14, 2014.

37 The Orix Group’s very detailed English-language website is here.

38 See (in Japanese) Kaneko Kenji, “Osaka Prefecture Izumisano City is to set up a PPS within the year, using power supplied by megasolar projects at Kansai International Airport,” Nikkei Technology, August 28, 2014.

39 The city describes the details of the contracts and their background, in Japanese, here.

40 On the plan, see (in Japanese) Ishida Masaya, “Energy production and local consumption in Kanagawa Prefecture, cutting power costs by YEN 1.5 million with megasolar,” Smart Japan, August 28, 2014.

41 See (in Japanese) Fujii Kohei and Yamashita Hidetoshi, “The Actual Conditions And Issues of Renewable Energy Use in the Municipalities,” Presentation Overview for Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, SEEPS, September 13-14, 2014.

42 See (in Japanese) “21 prefectures shift power supply for head offices to PPS,” Sankei Shimbun, July 13, 2014.

43 Unfortunately, the article is not accessible online. It is (in Japanese) ““Large firms power cancellations total 11 nuclear reactors worth,” Nikkei Shimbun, August 6, 2014, page 11.

44 See (in Japanese) “Large printing firms in support of PPS,” Nihon Keizai Shimbun, August 15, 2014.

45 See “Green Growth in Kitakyushu, Japan,” OECD, May 23, 2013.

46 See (in Japanese) Tojo Yohei, “Partial supply gives strong following wind to PPS,” Construction News, August 5, 2014.

47 Ari Phillips, “Onshore Wind Power Is Now Cheapest Form Of New Electricity In Denmark,” Climate Progress, July 22, 2014.

48 Ed Crooks, “US solar and wind start to outshine gas,” Financial Times, September 18, 2014.

49 The Agency is investigating whether special purpose companies might be a suitable mechanism for securing grid access fees, construction costs, and other funds from wind producers. On this, see (in Japanese) “The Energy Agency is subsidizing an initiative in 3 areas of Tohoku aimed at expanding grid capacity for wind power,” July 15, 2014.

50 On this, see (in Japanese) “METI Agency for Natural Resources and Energy selects 10 firms for test to cut environmental assessments for wind and geothermal,” Denki Shimbun, August 19, 2014.

51 See “Japan Infrastructure Report: Energy and Utilities, Q4, 2014, Industry Forecast,” BMI Infrastructure Report, October 1, 2014.”

52 On the background, see Andrew DeWit and Iida Tetsunari, “The ‘Power Elite’ and Environmental-Energy Policy in Japan,” The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 4 No 4, January 24, 2011.

53 See Koben Calhoun and Jesse Morris, “Getting To The Bottom Of US–Germany Solar Soft Cost Differences, & How To Make Solar Cheaper In US Than In Germany,” CleanTechnica, December 6, 2013.

54 See Mika Ohbayashi, “Great Achievements of Feed-in Tariff and Challenges for Japan’s Renewable Energy Policy,” Japan Renewable Energy Foundation Renewables Update, September 5, 2014.

55 The IEA report is available here.

56 See Terje Osmundsen, “Only solar PV is exceeding expectations for clean energy,” REneweconomy, September 11, 2014.

57 See Terje Osmundsen, IEA and Solar PV: Two World’s Apart, Norwegian Climate Foundation Report no. 1/2014.

58 On the anthropological and other problems in energy forecasting in general, including in the IEA, see Steve Yetiv and Lowell Field, “Why Energy Forecasting Goes Wildly Wrong,” Journal of Energy Security, October 23, 2014.

59 On the economic and political challenges for Abenomics, see Linda Sieg and Tetsuji Kajimoto, “Japan’s Abenomics feared in trouble as challenges build,” Reuters, September 2, 2014.

60 See (in Japanese) “Expectations for ‘local revival’ are split 50-50,” Nihonkai Shimbun, September 14, 2014.

61 The July 28, 2014 Citigroup analysis is “Global Energy 2020: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as Disruptors Multiply,” and it is available here. Note that on pp 46-49 they project an restart of much of the downed nuclear capacity, but do not project nuclear to achieve its 2009 peak of 48.9 Gigawatts of power. Their scenarios for solar, by contrast, see it supplying at least 45.2 Gigawatts of power by 2013 and perhaps as much as 109.7 Gigawatts. They also make note of “wild cards” at the intersection of energy and technology (p. 31), but neglect the items taken up later in this paper.

62 The nuclear village are clearly paying attention to falling renewable prices. On August 21, 2014, the METI formally proposed a UK-style price guarantee for nuclear power, should its cost become uncompetitive. See (in Japanese) “METI is keen to introduce a ‘price guarantee’ for nuclear, but passing costs onto users is meeting stiff criticism,” Reuters, August 21, 2014.

63 For example, on September 19, Kyushu Electric announced that it was considering a halt to purchases of renewable power in its service area, citing concern over capacity of the grid. See (in Japanese) “Kyushu Electric announces that it is considering halting renewable purchases,” Mainichi Shimbun, September 20, 2014.

Sanctions are forcing large volumes of trade and finance out of the ambit of traditional networks, weakening western control over such flows.

Western sanctions are having an unintended effect. They are accelerating the birth of a parallel ecosystem where countries not allied to the West are able to operate without the constant threat of sanctions. Free of western control, this alternative platform is gaining traction at a surprisingly fast pace.

It is worth mentioning at the start that western companies have a huge exposure in the Russian market. In contrast, Russia is primarily an exporter of commodities such as oil, gas, metals and minerals which are in great demand – especially in Asia’s ravenous markets. Bottom line: while western consumer and capital goods can be replaced by Asian manufacturers, Russian commodities are the lifeblood of economies in both Asia and Europe.

SWIFT move

The move towards a non-western world is happening most rapidly in the area of finance. This is hardly surprising because financial flows are easier to reroute – and replace – than say, a shipment of coal or an oil tanker.

Among the dozens of sanctions directed against Russia, the most extreme one was proposed by the UK, which pressed European Union leaders to block Russian access to the SWIFT banking transaction system. The Belgium-based SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the financial world’s very arteries.

Restricting Russian usage of SWIFT would no doubt disrupt financial and commercial activities in the country, but according to Richard Reid of the University of Dundee in Scotland it may carry a longer-term downside. “Large chunks of Russian international payments flows would move to much less well monitored and measured financial channels and thus be beyond sanctions at any future point,” he told Bloomberg News.

Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel swiftly rejected the British proposal as too extreme, the damage has been done. It is now abundantly clear to Moscow that the US-UK evil twins are not content with symbolic sanctions but are really out to destroy its economy. Anticipating this blow to its financial jugular, Russia had in July drawn up a law that would create a local equivalent of SWIFT.

The sanctions have also highlighted the synergy between Russia and China. Vesti Finance says sanctions aimed at restricting Russian access to finance will have almost no sense, since Russian companies will find the necessary money in China. And the Chinese are keen to increase the impact of the renminbi and turn it into the world’s reserve currency.

De-dollarisation

The move to a parallel payment system is happening in tandem with the ditching of the US dollar on which the entire US economy – and hegemony – pivots. The dollar’s status as the reserve currency is due to it being the only currency accepted de-dollarizationin the petroleum market, which is why it’s also known as the petrodollar.

That’s about to change as Russia and other emerging powers are planning to drop the petrodollar and end the dollar’s reserve status. But because the dollar’s dominance is so overwhelming in the petroleum trade, it would require someone really big to take it down.

That heavy hitter is Gazprom. Kommersant reports the Russian oil company has started shipping oil from the Arctic and the tankers will arrive in European ports this month, with payment to be received in rubles. Gazprom will also deliver oil via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), accepting payment in Chinese renminbi.

Finance portal Zero Hedge says, “Russia is actively pushing on with plans to put the US dollar in the rearview mirror and replace it with a dollar-free system – or a de-dollarised world.”

Citing the Voice of Russia, Zero Hedge says the country’s Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions.

As Zero Hedge says, “The further the west antagonises Russia, and the more economic sanctions it lobs at it, the more Russia will be forced away from a US dollar-denominated trading system and into one which faces China and India.”

Worth mentioning is that the Siberia-sized $400 billion gas contract with China – which Moscow and Beijing had haggled over for a decade – finally got inked in May 2014, after westerns sanctions kicked in.

Military: That sinking feeling

It is a pointer to the paucity of strategic thinking in France and Germany that they are so easily swayed by the US-UK combine to welch on military contracts already inked with Russia. The built-in penalties aside, the breach of contract is guaranteed to alarm other buyers.

If Germany and France are planning to drive away their weapons customers, then they are doing a pretty good job of it. But look at it this way: perhaps that’s precisely what the US and UK have been planning all along – to attract disillusioned buyers.

military_modernizationAs part of its military modernisation, Russia had hired Germany’s Rheinmetall to build a modern military training facility. But under pressure from the US, Germany cancelled the $134 million contract. Strategy Page says Russia may turn to China to get the training centre built as China has obtained – or rather purloined – the technology and built its own.

The growing list of sanctions against Russia has hit the Russian arms industry particularly hard because new Russian weapons depend on Western suppliers for some of the high tech components needed,” says Strategy Page. “China is taking advantage of this by pointing out it has become a major producer of high-end electronic and mechanical components, and can probably replace Western suppliers now unavailable because of the sanctions. While Russia does not buy a lot of foreign weapons it does buy a lot of high-tech components (especially electronic ones) from the West. A lot of these items are dual use items that China and other East Asian countries also manufacture. China backs Russian (moves in Ukraine) and is hostile to sanctions (which it has been under for several decades). Beijing believes it can replace enough western suppliers to Russia to create about $1 billion a year in additional business for Chinese firms.”

Similarly, India is watching – with a mix of amusement and dismay – France kowtow to the US and letting its $1.6 billion Mistral deal with Russia sink. France has been a reliable supplier of quality combat systems and has never welched on a deal with India. However, that was in the past when France had opted out of NATO. With Paris now syncing its foreign policy with the warlords in Washington, India’s military should be cagey about ‘Made in France’ technology.

Loss-loss for the West

As the US and EU fumble around in the dark, there is considerable activity in countries allied to Russia. As well as market-led movements (food exporters from Asia rushing in to fill Russian supermarket shelves) there are strategic moves afoot. For instance, the US and EU have a monopoly on wide body aircraft and also dominate the middle categories. The sanctions are just the push required to expedite aviation joint ventures, particularly between Russia and China in wide body aircraft and Russia and India in mid-size airliners.

The concept of a “World Without the West” was first articulated by American academics Steven Weber, Naazneen Barma and Ely Ratner. “By preferentially deepening their own ties among themselves, and in so doing loosening relatively the ties that bind them to the international system centred in the West, rising powers are building an alternative system of international politics whose endpoint is neither conflict nor assimilation with the West,” they say.

So in effect, by not playing by the rules and systems set by the West they are creating an alternative arrangement in which they neither enter into conflict situations with the West nor enter into subservient alliances (like those offered to South Korea and Japan).

Years from now, westerners will ruefully look back at the sanctions as the tipping point that ushered in a world without the West.

Smugglers Threw Asylum Seekers Into Mediterranean

September 22nd, 2014 by Global Research News

by Tom Rollins

The journey started like any other.

The migrants paid the smugglers. Buses collected them in groups of around 100 and took them to Damietta, a port on the northeastern edge of the Nile Delta. On Sept. 6, the several hundred migrants from Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Sudan and Syria left Damietta, bound for Italy.

But it wasn’t to be. On Sept. 14, news spread of an almost unprecedented human tragedy in the Mediterranean. The Damietta boat had been deliberately sunk four days earlier by smugglers off the coast of Malta. At the time, around 500 people were believed drowned or missing. Just a handful of survivors remained.

“Najwa,” a refugee who asked to use a pseudonym, was on that boat. She told Al-Monitor, ”I paid 20,000 Egyptian pounds [$2,800] to the smugglers, but each nationality was paying a different price.” Najwa added that the smugglers running the trip were of different nationalities: Egyptian, Libyan and Palestinian.

A Palestinian diplomat suggested that more than half of those missing were Gazan Palestinians escaping conflict, poverty and blockade in a territory crippled by the latest Israeli bombardment. There were more than 100 children on board, Najwa recalled, adding, ”One of the guys I met, his house was attacked in Gaza and so he was trying to escape to get to Sweden to see his family.”

Four days into the journey, the migrants had already changed boats three times. However, the smugglers — in a separate vessel — said they would have to swap again. Everyone was told to clamber into a small fishing boat that the migrants feared would not hold them. People grew nervous. Najwa said, ”We refused to move from the boat where we were to the smaller boat. So they forced us.”

According to eyewitness testimony collected by the International Organization of Migration (IOM), at this point a “violent argument” broke out, with the smugglers “yelling and throwing sticks at the migrants.”Things escalated from there.

“When we refused, they started throwing people in the sea,” Najwa said. “Then they hit our boat several times until it sank.”

One man hanged himself before the boat went down, according to IOM. Around 300 people in the lower deck were trapped and drowned immediately, according to other eyewitness testimony. Familiar faces disappeared amid panic and seawater.

“People were dying,” said Najwa, flatly. “So many people died in front of my eyes. I saw families from my neighborhood [in Egypt]. One of the four people traveling with me lost both his brothers.”

Najwa swam and managed to stay afloat for an hour until a European naval vessel rescued her.

“They detained me for two days, then moved me to shelters with another four people,” she said. “Then they gave us the chance to speak to our families.”

Najwa’s story, corroborated by several survivors interviewed by IOM, points to an almost unprecedented level of cruelty by smugglers in the Mediterranean. ”The smugglers never cared about us or our safety,” she admits. One survivor told IOM the smugglers were laughing as they sailed away from the shipwrecked migrants.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has blamed Mediterranean smuggling on organized crime gangs. Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdul Latif said, ”There is a mafia of smugglers that work on smuggling illegal immigrants to Italy.”

At least 700 people are estimated to have drowned or gone missing at sea since last week, bringing the total of dead and missing immigrants in the Mediterranean to 2,900 in this year alone.

On Sept. 13, at least 15 Palestinians from Gaza were reported drowned in Egyptian waters after their boat — also bound for Italy — hit a rock and sank off the coast west of Alexandria. More boats off the Libyan coast also capsized, leaving hundreds of African migrants unaccounted for on Sunday night.

Muhammad Kashef, a monitoring and documentation officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in Alexandria, told Al-Monitor that Egypt’s Mediterranean smuggling routes were “halfway between smuggling and human trafficking.”

Khaled, a Syrian refugee who is still planning to head to Italy from Egypt despite the risks, claims smugglers increasingly see migrants as nothing more than financial assets — and treat them accordingly. He knows all too well how dire the conditions during these trips can be after his son, Mahmoud, sailed from Damietta.

“I know I am nothing more than a T-shirt or shoes to them, but what can I do? I must go,” said Khaled.

Mahmoud was held by smugglers in a seaside hut for half a week without food or water while they waited for a boat to take them away. Khaled said, ”They drank the water from the sea. Can you imagine?”

Researchers in Alexandria have been documenting stories like Mahmoud’s. Heba Atallah Mansour, who documents refugee migrations and detentions with Alexandria’s Refugee Solidarity Movement, told Al-Monitor, ”One boat recently stayed in the water for six to seven days, and the migrants themselves contacted the coast guard.” In another case, a boat full of migrants waited at sea for a week, until those onboard finally told the smugglers they wanted to go back. Mansour added, ”Then the migrants heard the smugglers talking about setting fire to the boat and ‘getting rid’ of them.” They were eventually found by the Egyptian coast guard and taken to a detention center.

The Malta incident may be the worst migrant shipwreck in years, but abuses by smugglers are nothing new, and such mistreatment and violence are increasingly becoming the norm in the Mediterranean.

Tom Rollins is a freelance journalist based in Cairo.

Copyright Tom Rollins, Al-Monitor 2014.

When “Men-Only Streets” Are Okay in London

September 22nd, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

Imagine in one of London’s central districts, a Muslim group representing a significant section of the local community puts up notices before a street event telling women to confine themselves to one side of the road only. The posters, in Arabic and English, state: “Women should please walk along this side of the road only.”

How much coverage in the UK media do you think this would receive? Would we see articles about Muslims trying to bring sharia law to the streets of London? Would commentators fall over themselves to decry Islam as a religion of extremism and intolerance? Would our media and politicians call on Muslim leaders to denounce such primitive practices?

From long experience, we all know the answer.

So how to explain the near-silence about exactly this happening last week in the London district of Hackney, except that religious Jews rather than Muslims were the party responsible. The Shomrim organisation put up the signs in preparation for the Torah procession in Stamford Hill. The posters were removed after local residents complained.

But as the Redress website notes, the official response has been decidedly muted. An online search finds this story apparently of interest – and then only marginally – to local London media, plus one low-key story in the national Independent newspaper. And a police spokesman merely expresses concern about a “potential misinterpretation” of the signs, without explaining in what possible way they might be misinterpreted.

He adds that Shomrim “have agreed that next year they will only be written in Hebrew and will be removed more swiftly after the event.”

As Redress observes:

In other words, as long as the Jewish misogynists confine their hateful practice to Hebrew-reading Jewish women, and do so quickly before anyone has had time to ponder why this is happening on the streets of a British city, everything would be fine.

It is worth bearing this story in mind next time you read an Islam scare story in the western media. What standards are used in assessing the Muslim community and how consistently are they being applied to other religious communities? And if there is an inconsistency, what motivates it? Why are news editors regularly playing up a Muslim threat, but playing down a Jewish or Christian or Hindi or Sikh threat?

www.redressonline.com/2014/09/uk-official-implies-jewish-misogyny-is-fine-as-long-as-it-is-confined-to-jews/

- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-09-22/when-men-only-streets-are-okay-in-london/#sthash.X1BqyZCH.dpuf

Since China fired its first ‘official’ shot across the Petrodollar bow a year ago, there has been an increasing groundswell of de-dollarization across the world’s energy trade (despite Washington’s exclamations of ‘isolated’ non-dollar transactors).

The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year, with China increasingly leveraging its rise as an economic power and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters, in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union, to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy – with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position.

And now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in the Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas – right across the Straits of Hormuz from ‘US stronghold-for-now’ Bahrain and UAE.

The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year:

China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In Yuan

Guest Post: From PetroDollar To PetroYuan – The Coming Proxy Wars

The Rise Of The Petroyuan And The Slow Erosion Of Dollar Hegemony

And now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in a Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas – right across the Straits of Hormuz from ‘US stronghold-for-now’ Bahrain and UAE.

Adm. Hossein Azad, naval base chief in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, said the four-day visit that began Saturday saw the two navies sharing expertise in the field of marine rescue.

“On the last day of their visit while leaving Iran, the Chinese warships will stage a joint drill in line with mutual collaboration, and exchange of marine and technical information particularly in the field of aid and rescue,” said Azad.

The report said the destroyer was accompanied by a logistics ship, and that both were on their way to the Gulf of Aden as a part of an international mission to combat piracy.

Last year a Russian naval group docked in the same port on its way back from a Pacific Ocean mission.

The move is also seen part of off efforts by Iran to strike a balance among foreign navies present in the area near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s oil is shipped.

U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet is based in nearby Bahrain, on the southern coast of the Gulf.

*  *  *

Here’s why it matters…

*  *  *

As we concluded previously,

History and logic caution that current practices are not set in stone. With the rise of the “petroyuan,” movement towards a less dollar-centric currency regime in international energy markets—with potentially serious implications for the dollar’s broader standing—is already underway.

As China has emerged as a major player on the global energy scene, it has also embarked on an extended campaign to internationalise its currency. A rising share of China’s external trade is being denominated and settled in renminbi; issuance of renminbi-denominated financial instruments is growing. China is pursuing a protracted process of capital account liberalisation essential to full renminbi internationalisation, and is allowing more exchange rate flexibility for the yuan. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) now has swap arrangements with over thirty other central banks—meaning that renminbi already effectively functions as a reserve currency.

Chinese policymakers appreciate the “advantages of incumbency” the dollar enjoys; their aim is not for renminbi to replace dollars, but to position the yuan alongside the greenback as a transactional and reserve currency. Besides economic benefits (e.g., lowering Chinese businesses’ foreign exchange costs), Beijing wants—for strategic reasons—to slow further growth of its enormous dollar reserves. China has watched America’s increasing propensity to cut off countries from the U.S. financial system as a foreign policy tool, and worries about Washington trying to leverage it this way; renminbi internationalisation can mitigate such vulnerability. More broadly, Beijing understands the importance of dollar dominance to American power; by chipping away at it, China can contain excessive U.S. unilateralism.

China has long incorporated financial instruments into its efforts to access foreign hydrocarbons. Now Beijing wants major energy producers to accept renminbi as a transactional currency—including to settle Chinese hydrocarbon purchases—and incorporate renminbi in their central bank reserves. Producers have reason to be receptive. China is, for the vastly foreseeable future, the main incremental market for hydrocarbon producers in the Persian Gulf and former Soviet Union. Widespread expectations of long-term yuan appreciation make accumulating renminbi reserves a “no brainer” in terms of portfolio diversification. And, as America is increasingly viewed as a hegemon in relative decline, China is seen as the preeminent rising power. Even for Gulf Arab states long reliant on Washington as their ultimate security guarantor, this makes closer ties to Beijing an imperative strategic hedge. For Russia, deteriorating relations with the United States impel deeper cooperation with China, against what both Moscow and Beijing consider a declining, yet still dangerously flailing and over-reactive, America.

For several years, China has paid for some of its oil imports from Iran with renminbi; in 2012, the PBOC and the UAE Central Bank set up a $5.5 billion currency swap, setting the stage for settling Chinese oil imports from Abu Dhabi in renminbi—an important expansion of petroyuan use in the Persian Gulf. The $400 billion Sino-Russian gas deal that was concluded this year apparently provides for settling Chinese purchases of Russian gas in renminbi; if fully realised, this would mean an appreciable role forrenminbi in transnational gas transactions.

Looking ahead, use of renminbi to settle international hydrocarbon sales will surely increase, accelerating the decline of American influence in key energy-producing regions. It will also make it marginally harder for Washington to finance what China and other rising powers consider overly interventionist foreign policies—a prospect America’s political class has hardly begun to ponder.

A few days after US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Georgia in early September a foreign observer happened to be passing through Tbilisi International Airport. He told this author, “The first thing I saw when I landed on September 10 was a large US Air Force cargo plane taxiing and another on the tarmac being guarded. This was a huge Ukrainian Antonov plane; it was truly awesome in size.”

Usually there are five of these big cargo planes on the runway at Ramstein, a NATO airbase in Germany—on the day of the sighting there were only four.

On Sunday the cargo plane was still there. It was an Antonov model 124-100-150, tail number UR 82072. The US Military plane was still there too, but the one plane spotted seemed to have no number, which is somewhat unusual. Though it was impossible to get close enough to see the entire plane, there were no numbers on the tail, where they would usually be. I did not see the armed guards, but the Antonov at the Tbilisi airport did have a Ukrainian flag. Whatever it was carrying was being handled by soldiers rather than civilian baggage handlers, as they were repeatedly going in and out of the plane, as baggage handlers who work at the airport told me.

This first hand observation is consistent with others being made in the region’s airports, and the fact that defence contractors are being seen in Tbilisi more frequently, as they have been since it became clear that Georgia would sign an EU Association Agreement. It is also consistent with Ukraine’s claim that its NATO friends are now resupplying it with a variety of weapons and non-lethal materials.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valery Geletey has said that he has held consultations with “the defence ministers of leading countries, those that can help us, and they heard us. We have the supply of arms underway, and I feel that this is exactly the way we need to go”. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who attended the Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales, also announced following it that he had negotiated direct modern weapons supplies with a number of NATO member states. Although NATO denied this, the Antonov is there, and apparently arrived from a NATO airbase, with an escort, which it would not have unless it were carrying some sort of supplies.

Ratline of weapons

Is supplying an ally with weapons a big deal? Perhaps not. But if not, why the denials, when they come from the very countries which publicly supported the disturbances in Maidan Square and the “cause” they insisted they were about, despite the participants insisting otherwise?

The reason for the denials is that this is not a one-off delivery of legal weapons to an ally. The same ratline has long been used to transport illegal weapons to people who have no right to have them.

If previous experience is a guide, some of the weapons Ukraine says are bound for its Ministry of Defence will never get there. Some, or most, of them will be diverted to ISIS, and some will remain in Georgia as commission for allowing its airport to be used. The Georgian Armed Forces will not see these weapons either, as there are always other customers for such weapons, contacts intensively cultivated by the previous Georgian government to line party members’ pockets and occasionally fill holes in the budget.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is one of those who has raised the issue of these ratlines and the criminality they foster at all levels of state. Hersh has detailed how weapons from Benghazi, spoils of war gained as a result of UN Resolution 1973 and the destruction of Libya, were ultimately transited through Turkey to the rebels, allegedly as part of rogue operations, through a similar illegal CIA ratline rather than any legal, accountable supply route, which cannot be used to supply terrorists.

This article merely confirmed what intelligence insiders have known for years: that America’s “train and equip programs”, offered as “defence partnerships” and “technical assistance” to states prepared to turn a blind eye in exchange for cash, are flimsy fronts for covert operations. These do not only involve trafficking conventional weapons but chemical agents, manufactured at one of the string of Soviet-era labs which are one relic of Communism the West has made no attempt to destroy, contrary to all its Cold War promises.

All this is dangerous enough in itself. But the big picture here is that going along with such schemes is the unspoken quid pro quo for signing trade deals, such as the EU Association Agreement recently signed by Georgia, which these countries need to survive and prosper. The US is setting out, not to spread democracy and respect for human rights, but to deny any country the possibility of earning an honest living. Most citizens of the countries now chained to these schemes, those same who have seen enough death and destruction without them, would not consider this an acceptable price to pay for their bread and butter.

Where and why?

More and more countries are getting involved in these ratlines without their public’s knowledge. Turkey, Jordan and Georgia have long worked together to provide weapons to various hotspots around the world. Libya and Azerbaijan have also become involved in more recent years, their links developing in direct proportion to Western involvement in developing their countries, through regime change in Libya and energy exploitation in Azerbaijan.

The weapons go two ways. Not only are illegal weapons sent from the West but trophies of war and legally supplied Western weapons are intercepted on their way back from Afghanistan and other places to provide a further source of unaccounted-for armaments. This isn’t hard when US military personnel write the manifests at each end, if they are allowed to ask any questions, that is.

Georgia has been subject of an unofficial arms embargo since the 2008 Georgian-Russian war, as too many weapons used in that war suddenly disappeared, and many of those intended for it never got to the Georgian Army in the first place. So if a large cargo plane, probably carrying weapons, is on the runway at Tbilisi Airport it is not carrying legal arms supplies. Nevertheless, such planes, and their escorts, do not land anywhere by accident, or ferry soldiers in and out of them, as airport staff have been watching them doing even when they are nothing to do with the ground crew.

Regional Airports and Supply Lines

Jeffrey Silverman, Bureau Chief for Veterans Today, wrote two years ago that representatives of the so-called Syrian opposition had been in Georgia before the parliamentary elections meeting with Georgian government representatives, most likely with the support of foreign intelligence services. He has supplied full tapes and transcripts of various illegal arms deals involving Georgia to the Georgian Prosecutor’s Office.

It is also significant that John Bass, the former US Ambassador to Georgia and previously Iraq, will be the next Ambassador to Turkey. These three countries are part of a well-established Northern Distribution Route, along which more military bases have been created, hospitals set up and logistics improved. This is being done to lay the groundwork for a possible war with Iran, the only one of the seven US targets identified by General Wesley Clark still standing. Bass has longstanding connections with Bechtel National and KBR and is an expert in logistics and covert operations, being a career professional who specialised in these questions.

ISIS was inserted into Iraq as the fighting force able to state this war and seize the means to pay for it, which the US is too scared to fight in person after its recent failures in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Foreign troops and advisors have been involved with ISIS from the beginning, recruited in Train and Equip Program recipient countries such as Georgia and Turkey. Syria and Iraq are still being used as training grounds for this war, in time honoured Great Power fashion, serving the same purpose as Spain did in the 1930s and Vietnam until the 1970s.

Conclusion

After Chuck Hagel’s visit Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania said that a “silent embargo” on Georgia appeared to have been lifted. “The Pentagon’s foreign military sales system is notoriously slow, but, under the right circumstances, it can move adroitly. It should move more quickly to fulfill Georgia’s orders,” he said. But if it had moved so quickly that a plane full of weapons arrived three days later we would know all about it, as this would be a coup for the present government.

The Antonov plane has had plenty of time to refuel, but is still at the airport at the time of writing. This indicates that Georgia is still a viable transport hub for illegal and legal weapons deliveries to terrorists, all depends on the paperwork, and that include transit via smaller regional airports as well.

Any time Georgia, or any other US ally, wants to make progress it must get further involved in these schemes to do so, as the defence relationships with these countries invariably intensify when economic agreements are signed. This is why stopping terrorism is not as simple as cutting off the arms supplies.

Countries would lose a thousand positive benefits if they tried to withdraw from such schemes. As long as the terrorists and freedom fighters are kept from the government ministers, they are prepared to maintain the lie that politics must always be dirty and no one can ever act honestly if they want to serve their country.

The US created ISIS, the Islamic State, and other nasty groups it now vilifies for one reason. Americans abroad have shown for generations that they can never understand why many people in countries they think they are helping don’t like the USA. The guardian of democracy has now discovered that terrorists are the only people whose language they can understand.

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

by Jim Hoft

Since July 2014, the Obama-backed Free Syrian Army, Al Nusra Front, and ISIS have paired together in order to fight the Syrian Assad regime.

According to one Free Syrian Army commander, the combining of forces with ISIS was needed in order to achieve “the greater good.”

Since around that time ISIS has traveled around the Caliphate in their brand new Toyota Hilux trucks.
Paid for by US taxpayers.

Now this…

The Obama Administration is paying “vetted” Syrian rebels monthly salaries.

Officials said the Obama administration has approved “tens of millions of dollars” to pay the salaries of police officers who joined the rebels.

The US is paying defected Syrian police officers $150 a month to fight with the rebels.

Thousands of “vetted” rebels are being paid a monthly salary by the US government.
The New York Times reported:

In a secret office near the Syrian border here, intelligence agents from the United States and its allies are laying the groundwork for what they hope will become an effective force of Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops in the international battle against the extremist Islamic State.

The office, the Military Operations Command, has slowed funding to Islamist groups, paid salaries to thousands of “vetted” rebels and given them ammunition to boost their battlefield mettle.

But even the program’s biggest beneficiaries — the rebels themselves — acknowledge that turning this relatively small group into a force that can challenge the well-funded and well-armed Islamic State is a challenge that will require tremendous support from its foreign backers.

In President Obama’s strategy of building an international coalition to fight the Islamic State without American troops, these moderate rebels loom large as the best force to fight the extremists in Syria. While the House approved an aid package for the rebels on Wednesday and the Senate followed on Thursday, at present the rebels are a beleaguered lot, far from becoming a force that can take on the fanatical and seasoned fighters of the Islamic State.

Copyright Jim Hoft Gateway Pundit 2014

Historians of the Constitutional Era of the United States (1789-2001, RIP) will recall the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the one that used to protect Americans against unreasonable and unwarranted searches.

The Supreme Court had generally held that searches required a warrant. That warrant could be issued only after law enforcement showed they had “probable cause.” That in turn had been defined by the Court to require a high standard of proof, “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.”

The basic idea for more or less over 200 years: unless the government has a good, legal reason to look into your business, it couldn’t. As communications changed, the Fourth evolved to assert extend those same rights of privacy to phone calls, emails and texts, the same rules applying there as to physical searches.

That was Then

It was a good run. The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people from their government. If the First Amendment’s right to speak out publicly was the people’s wall of security, then the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy was its buttress. It was once thought that the government should neither be able to stop citizens from speaking nor peer into their lives. Folks, as our president now refers to us, should not have to fear the Knock on the Door in either their homes or The Homeland writ large.

In Post-Constitutional America (2001-Present), the government has taken a bloody box cutter to the original copy of the Constitution and thrown the Fourth Amendment in the garbage. The NSA revelations of Edward Snowden are, in that sense, not just a shock to the conscience but to the concept of privacy itself: Our government spies on us. All of us. Without suspicion. Without warrants. Without probable cause. Without restraint.

The government also invades our privacy in multiple other ways, all built around end-runs of the Fourth Amendment, clever wordplay, legal hacks and simple twisting of words. Thus you get illegally obtained information recycled into material usable in court via what is called parallel construction. You have the creation of “Constitution Free” zones at the U.S. border. The Department of Justice created a Post-Constitutional interpretation of the Fourth Amendment that allows it to access millions of records of Americans using only subpoenas, not search warrants, to grab folks’ emails by searching one web server instead of millions of individual homes. Under a twist of an old “privacy law,” doctors disclose your medical records to the NSA without your permission or knowledge. SWAT raids by local police designed to break into African-American businesses on harassment expeditions are also now OK.

The Center of It All: Executive Order 12333

The most egregious example of such word-twisting and sleazy legal manipulations to morph illegal government spying under the Fourth Amendment into topsy-turvy quasi-legal spying is the use of Executive Order 12333, E.O. 12333, what the spooks call “twelve triple three.” The Order dates from 1981, signed by Ronald Reagan to buff up what his predecessors limited in response to overzealous law enforcement activities. The Gipper would be mighty proud that his perhaps most lasting accomplishment was legalizing surveillance of every American citizen.

Back to today. Despite all the secret FISA court decisions and as yet uncovered legal memos, most collection of U.S. domestic communications and data is done under E.O. 12333, section 2.3 paragraph C.

Specifically, the one sentence that the government believes allows them to bypass the Fourth Amendment says the intelligence community can “collect, retain, or disseminate information concerning United States persons” if that information is “obtained in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, international narcotics or international terrorism investigation.”

So, the work-around for the Fourth Amendment is as follows: NSA collects massive amounts of data on foreigners, often by hoovering up every fragment of electronic stuff flowing around the U.S. it can. So, while purportedly looking for a single terrorist email enroute to Yemen (“the needle”), the NSA collects every single email from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (“the haystack.”) Thus, any American’s emails caught in that net are considered to have been collected “incidentally” to the goal of finding that one terrorist email. The NSA claims that the Executive Order thus makes its mass-scale violations of the Fourth Amendment legal.

Tom Drake, perhaps the best-known NSA whistleblower prior to Edward Snowden, put it in simpler terms: “12333 is now being used as the legal justification for everything.”

Oh and hey reformers: Executive Orders by one president stay in force until another president changes or negates them. We could have one at work today written by George Washington. What that also means is that Congress, should they regain consciousness, can’t change an E.O. Congress could in theory pass a law making the contents of an E.O. invalid, but that presumes someone in Congress knows the order exists and what it says. Many E.O.’s are classified and if they are not, such as 12333, the legal documents behind them and FISA interpretations of them, likely are.

Snowden Knew

Again, as a historical note, executive orders– basically dictates from the president– once did not trump the Constitution. However, in Post-Constitutional America, they do.

As for this realization we have come upon, E.O. 12333, well, we’re all behind the curve. Edward Snowden, while still at NSA, wrote a now-famous email to the spy agency’s legal advisor, asking specifically whether an Executive Order has more legal force than an actual law passed by Congress, or indeed the Constitutional itself. The NSA’s answer was a bit convoluted, but said in a pinch the Constitution wins (wink wink), even while acting as if the opposite is true.

As General Michael Hayden, then head of the NSA, said in a blistering blast of Newspeak, “I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we’re doing is reasonable.”

Ask Obama This Question

So let’s make it simple: Journalists with access to the president, ask this question directly: Why is E.O. 12333 being used today, interpreted by the FISA court or any other means, stating that the NSA’s surveillance of U.S. citizens is “reasonable,” and thus no warrant is required for the surveillance to continue and remain constitutional under the Fourth Amendment?

Of course getting an answer out of Obama will not happen. After all, he is the Constitutional law professor who studied the document the same way a burglar learns about an alarm system. TO BREAK IT BETTER.

BONUS: The stuff above is real amateur-level writing on E.O. 12333. When you are ready to dig in deep, get over to Marcy Wheeler’s blog. She is the smartest person working in journalism today on the subject. My debt to her is hereby acknowledged.

Peter Van Buren writes about current events at his blog. His book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon

Climate Science: Is it Currently Designed to Answer Questions?

September 22nd, 2014 by Prof. Richard S. Lindzen

Abstract

For a variety of inter-related cultural, organizational, and political reasons, progress in climate science and the actual solution of scientific problems in this field have moved at a much slower rate than would normally be possible.

Not all these factors are unique to climate science, but the heavy influence of politics has served to amplify the role of the other factors. By cultural factors, I primarily refer to the change in the scientific paradigm from a dialectic opposition between theory and observation to an emphasis on simulation and observational programs. The latter serves to almost eliminate the dialectical focus of the former.

Whereas the former had the potential for convergence, the latter is much less effective. The institutional factor has many components. One is the inordinate growth of administration in universities and the consequent increase in importance of grant overhead. This leads to an emphasis on large programs that never end. Another is the hierarchical nature of formal scientific organizations whereby a small executive council can speak on behalf of thousands of scientists as well as govern the distribution of ‘carrots and sticks’ whereby reputations are made and broken. The above factors are all amplified by the need for government funding.

When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research. This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes and with specific examples of the operation and interaction of these factors. In particular, we will show how political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.

1. Introduction.

Although the focus of this paper is on climate science, some of the problems pertain to science more generally. Science has traditionally been held to involve the creative opposition of theory and observation wherein each tests the other in such a manner as to converge on a better understanding of the natural world. Success was rewarded by recognition, though the degree of recognition was weighted according to both the practical consequences of the success and the philosophical and aesthetic power of the success. As science undertook more ambitious problems, and the cost and scale of operations increased, the need for funds undoubtedly shifted emphasis to practical relevance though numerous examples from the past assured a strong base level of confidence in the utility of science. Moreover, the many success stories established ‘science’ as a source of authority and integrity. Thus, almost all modern movements claimed scientific foundations for their aims. Early on, this fostered a profound misuse of science, since science is primarily a successful mode of inquiry rather than a source of authority.

Until the post World War II period, little in the way of structure existed for the formal support of science by government (at least in the US which is where my own observations are most relevant). In the aftermath of the Second World War, the major contributions of science to the war effort (radar, the A-bomb), to health (penicillin), etc. were evident. Vannevar Bush (in his report, Science: The Endless Frontier, 1945) noted the many practical roles that validated the importance of science to the nation, and argued that the government need only adequately support basic science in order for further benefits to emerge. The scientific community felt this paradigm to be an entirely appropriate response by a grateful nation. The next 20 years witnessed truly impressive scientific productivity which firmly established the United States as the creative center of the scientific world.

The Bush paradigm seemed amply justified. (This period and its follow-up are also discussed by Miller, 2007, with special but not total emphasis on the NIH (National Institutes of Health).) However, something changed in the late 60’s. In a variety of fields it has been suggested that the rate of new discoveries and achievements slowed appreciably (despite increasing publications) [2], and it is being suggested that either the Bush paradigm ceased to be valid or that it may never have been valid in the first place. I believe that the former is correct. What then happened in the 1960’s to produce this change?

It is my impression that by the end of the 60’s scientists, themselves, came to feel that the real basis for support was not gratitude (and the associated trust that support would bring further benefit) but fear: fear of the Soviet Union, fear of cancer, etc. Many will conclude that this was merely an awakening of a naive scientific community to reality, and they may well be right. However, between the perceptions of gratitude and fear as the basis for support lies a world of difference in incentive structure. If one thinks the basis is gratitude, then one obviously will respond by contributions that will elicit more gratitude. The perpetuation of fear, on the other hand, militates against solving problems. This change in perception proceeded largely without comment. However, the end of the cold war, by eliminating a large part of the fear-base forced a reassessment of the situation. Most thinking has been devoted to the emphasis of other sources of fear: competitiveness, health, resource depletion and the environment.

What may have caused this change in perception is unclear, because so many separate but potentially relevant things occurred almost simultaneously. The space race reinstituted the model of large scale focused efforts such as the moon landing program. For another, the 60’s saw the first major postwar funding cuts for science in the US. The budgetary pressures of the Vietnam War may have demanded savings someplace, but the fact that science was regarded as, to some extent, dispensable, came as a shock to many scientists. So did the massive increase in management structures and bureaucracy which took control of science out of the hands of working scientists. All of this may be related to the demographic pressures resulting from the baby boomers entering the workforce and the post -sputnik emphasis on science. Sorting this out goes well beyond my present aim which is merely to consider the consequences of fear as a perceived basis of support.

Fear has several advantages over gratitude. Gratitude is intrinsically limited, if only by the finite creative capacity of the scientific community. Moreover, as pointed out by a colleague at MIT, appealing to people’s gratitude and trust is usually less effective than pulling a gun. In other words, fear can motivate greater generosity. Sputnik provided a notable example in this regard; though it did not immediately alter the perceptions of most scientists, it did lead to a great increase in the number of scientists, which contributed to the previously mentioned demographic pressure. Science since the sixties has been characterized by the large programs that this generosity encourages.

Moreover, the fact that fear provides little incentive for scientists to do anything more than perpetuate problems, significantly reduces the dependence of the scientific enterprise on unique skills and talents. The combination of increased scale and diminished emphasis on unique talent is, from a certain point of view, a devastating combination which greatly increases the potential for the political direction of science, and the creation of dependent constituencies. With these new constituencies, such obvious controls as peer review and detailed accountability, begin to fail and even serve to perpetuate the defects of the system. Miller (2007) specifically addresses how the system especially favors dogmatism and conformity.

The creation of the government bureaucracy, and the increasing body of regulations accompanying government funding, called, in turn, for a massive increase in the administrative staff at universities and research centers. The support for this staff comes from the overhead on government grants, and, in turn, produces an active pressure for the solicitation of more and larger grants [3].

One result of the above appears to have been the deemphasis of theory because of its intrinsic difficulty and small scale, the encouragement of simulation instead (with its call for large capital investment in computation), and the encouragement of large programs unconstrained by specific goals [4]. In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.

This new paradigm for science and its dependence on fear based support may not constitute corruption per se, but it does serve to make the system particularly vulnerable to corruption. Much of the remainder of this paper will illustrate the exploitation of this vulnerability in the area of climate research. The situation is particularly acute for a small weak field like climatology. As a field, it has traditionally been a subfield within such disciplines as meteorology, oceanography, geography, geochemistry, etc. These fields, themselves are small and immature. At the same time, these fields can be trivially associated with natural disasters. Finally, climate science has been targeted by a major political movement, environmentalism, as the focus of their efforts, wherein the natural disasters of the earth system, have come to be identified with man’s activities – engendering fear as well as an agenda for societal reform and control. The remainder of this paper will briefly describe how this has been playing out with respect to the climate issue.

2. Conscious Efforts to Politicize Climate Science

The above described changes in scientific culture were both the cause and effect of the growth of ‘big science,’ and the concomitant rise in importance of large organizations. However, all such organizations, whether professional societies, research laboratories, advisory bodies (such as the national academies), government departments and agencies (including NASA, NOAA, EPA, NSF, etc.), and even universities are hierarchical structures where positions and policies are determined by small executive councils or even single individuals. This greatly facilitates any conscious effort to politicize science via influence in such bodies where a handful of individuals (often not even scientists) speak on behalf of organizations that include thousands of scientists, and even enforce specific scientific positions and agendas. The temptation to politicize science is overwhelming and longstanding. Public trust in science has always been high, and political organizations have long sought to improve their own credibility by associating their goals with ‘science’ – even if this involves misrepresenting the science.

Professional societies represent a somewhat special case. Originally created to provide a means for communication within professions – organizing meetings and publishing journals – they also provided, in some instances, professional certification, and public outreach. The central offices of such societies were scattered throughout the US, and rarely located in Washington. Increasingly, however, such societies require impressive presences in Washington where they engage in interactions with the federal government. Of course, the nominal interaction involves lobbying for special advantage, but increasingly, the interaction consists in issuing policy and scientific statements on behalf of the society. Such statements, however, hardly represent independent representation of membership positions. For example, the primary spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is Anthony Socci who is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science. Rather, he is a former staffer for Al Gore.

Returning to the matter of scientific organizations, we find a variety of patterns of influence. The most obvious to recognize (though frequently kept from public view), consists in prominent individuals within the environmental movement simultaneously holding and using influential positions within the scientific organization. Thus, John Firor long served as administrative director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. This position was purely administrative, and Firor did not claim any scientific credentials in the atmospheric sciences at the time I was on the staff of NCAR. However, I noticed that beginning in the 1980′s, Firor was frequently speaking on the dangers of global warming as an expert from NCAR. When Firor died last November, his obituary noted that he had also been Board Chairman at Environmental Defense– a major environmental advocacy group – from 1975-1980 [5].

The UK Meteorological Office also has a board, and its chairman, Robert Napier, was previously the Chief Executive for World Wildlife Fund – UK. Bill Hare, a lawyer and Campaign Director for Greenpeace, frequently speaks as a ‘scientist’ representing the Potsdam Institute, Germany’s main global warming research center. John Holdren, who currently directs the Woods Hole Research Center (an environmental advocacy center not to be confused with the far better known Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a research center), is also a professor in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science among numerous other positions including serving on the board of the MacArthur Foundation from 1991 until 2005. He was also a Clinton-Gore Administration spokesman on global warming.

The making of academic appointments to global warming alarmists is hardly a unique occurrence. The case of Michael Oppenheimer is noteworthy in this regard. With few contributions to climate science (his postdoctoral research was in astro-chemistry), and none to the physics of climate, Oppenheimer became the Barbara Streisand Scientist at Environmental Defense [6]. He was subsequently appointed to a professorship at Princeton University, and is now, regularly, referred to as a prominent climate scientist by Oprah (a popular television hostess), NPR (National Public Radio), etc. To be sure, Oppenheimer did coauthor an early absurdly alarmist volume (Oppenheimer and Robert Boyle, 1990: Dead Heat, The Race Against the Greenhouse Effect), and he has served as a lead author with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) [7].

One could go on at some length with such examples, but a more common form of infiltration consists in simply getting a couple of seats on the council of an organization (or on the advisory panels of government agencies). This is sufficient to veto any statements or decisions that they are opposed to. Eventually, this enables the production of statements supporting their position – if only as a quid pro quo for permitting other business to get done. Sometimes, as in the production of the 1993 report of the NAS, Policy Implications of Global Warming, the environmental activists, having largely gotten their way in the preparation of the report where they were strongly represented as ‘stake holders,’ decided, nonetheless, to issue a minority statement suggesting that the NAS report had not gone ‘far enough.’ The influence of the environmental movement has effectively made support for global warming, not only a core element of political correctness, but also a requirement for the numerous prizes and awards given to scientists. That said, when it comes to professional societies, there is often no need at all for overt infiltration since issues like global warming have become a part of both political correctness and (in the US) partisan politics, and there will usually be council members who are committed in this manner.

The situation with America’s National Academy of Science is somewhat more complicated. The Academy is divided into many disciplinary sections whose primary task is the nomination of candidates for membership in the Academy [8]. Typically, support by more than 85% of the membership of any section is needed for nomination. However, once a candidate is elected, the candidate is free to affiliate with any section. The vetting procedure is generally rigorous, but for over 20 years, there was a Temporary Nominating Group for the Global Environment to provide a back door for the election of candidates who were environmental activists, bypassing the conventional vetting procedure. Members, so elected, proceeded to join existing sections where they hold a veto power over the election of any scientists unsympathetic to their position. Moreover, they are almost immediately appointed to positions on the executive council, and other influential bodies within the Academy. One of the members elected via the Temporary Nominating Group, Ralph Cicerone, is now president of the National Academy. Prior to that, he was on the nominating committee for the presidency. It should be added that there is generally only a single candidate for president. Others elected to the NAS via this route include Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen, Steven Schneider, John Holdren and Susan Solomon.

It is, of course, possible to corrupt science without specifically corrupting institutions. For example, the environmental movement often cloaks its propaganda in scientific garb without the aid of any existing scientific body. One technique is simply to give a name to an environmental advocacy group that will suggest to the public, that the group is a scientific rather than an environmental group. Two obvious examples are the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Woods Hole Research Center [9,10]. The former conducted an intensive advertising campaign about ten years ago in which they urged people to look to them for authoritative information on global warming.

This campaign did not get very far – if only because the Union of Concerned Scientists had little or no scientific expertise in climate. A possibly more effective attempt along these lines occurred in the wake of Michael Crichton’s best selling adventure, State of Fear, which pointed out the questionable nature of the global warming issue, as well as the dangers to society arising from the exploitation of this issue. Environmental Media Services (a project of Fenton Communications, a large public relations firm serving left wing and environmental causes; they are responsible for the alar scare as well as Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war campaign.) created a website, realclimate.org, as an ‘authoritative’ source for the ‘truth’ about climate. This time, real scientists who were also environmental activists, were recruited to organize this web site and ‘discredit’ any science or scientist that questioned catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

The web site serves primarily as a support group for believers in catastrophe, constantly reassuring them that there is no reason to reduce their worrying. Of course, even the above represent potentially unnecessary complexity compared to the longstanding technique of simply publicly claiming that all scientists agree with whatever catastrophe is being promoted. Newsweek already made such a claim in 1988. Such a claim serves at least two purposes. First, the bulk of the educated public is unable to follow scientific arguments; ‘knowing’ that all scientists agree relieves them of any need to do so. Second, such a claim serves as a warning to scientists that the topic at issue is a bit of a minefield that they would do well to avoid.

The myth of scientific consensus is also perpetuated in the web’s Wikipedia where climate articles are vetted by William Connolley, who regularly runs for office in England as a Green Party candidate. No deviation from the politically correct line is permitted.

Perhaps the most impressive exploitation of climate science for political purposes has been the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by two UN agencies, UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization), and the agreement of all major countries at the 1992 Rio Conference to accept the IPCC as authoritative. Formally, the IPCC summarizes the peer reviewed literature on climate every five years. On the face of it, this is an innocent and straightforward task. One might reasonably wonder why it takes 100′s of scientists five years of constant travelling throughout the world in order to perform this task. The charge to the IPCC is not simply to summarize, but rather to provide the science with which to support the negotiating process whose aim is to control greenhouse gas levels. This is a political rather than a scientific charge. That said, the participating scientists have some leeway in which to reasonably describe matters, since the primary document that the public associates with the IPCC is not the extensive report prepared by the scientists, but rather the Summary for Policymakers which is written by an assemblage of representative from governments and NGO’s, with only a small scientific representation [11, 12].

3. Science in the service of politics

Given the above, it would not be surprising if working scientists would make special efforts to support the global warming hypothesis. There is ample evidence that this is happening on a large scale. A few examples will illustrate this situation. Data that challenges the hypothesis are simply changed. In some instances, data that was thought to support the hypothesis is found not to, and is then changed. The changes are sometimes quite blatant, but more often are somewhat more subtle. The crucial point is that geophysical data is almost always at least somewhat uncertain, and methodological errors are constantly being discovered. Bias can be introduced by simply considering only those errors that change answers in the desired direction. The desired direction in the case of climate is to bring the data into agreement with models, even though the models have displayed minimal skill in explaining or predicting climate. Model projections, it should be recalled, are the basis for our greenhouse concerns. That corrections to climate data should be called for, is not at all surprising, but that such corrections should always be in the ‘needed’ direction is exceedingly unlikely. Although the situation suggests overt dishonesty, it is entirely possible, in today’s scientific environment, that many scientists feel that it is the role of science to vindicate the greenhouse paradigm for climate change as well as the credibility of models. Comparisons of models with data are, for example, referred to as model validation studies rather than model tests.

The first two examples involve paleoclimate simulations and reconstructions. Here, the purpose has been to show that both the models and the greenhouse paradigm can explain past climate regimes, thus lending confidence to the use of both to anticipate future changes. In both cases (the Eocene about 50 million years ago, and the Last Glacial Maximum about 18 thousand years ago), the original data were in conflict with the greenhouse paradigm as implemented in current models, and in both cases, lengthy efforts were made to bring the data into agreement with the models.

In the first example, the original data analysis for the Eocene (Shackleton and Boersma, 1981) showed the polar regions to have been so much warmer than the present that a type of alligator existed on Spitzbergen as did florae and fauna in Minnesota that could not have survived frosts. At the same time, however, equatorial temperatures were found to be about 4K colder than at present. The first attempts to simulate the Eocene (Barron, 1987) assumed that the warming would be due to high levels of CO2, and using a climate GCM (General Circulation Model), he obtained relatively uniform warming at all latitudes, with the meridional gradients remaining much as they are today. This behavior continues to be the case with current GCMs (Huber, 2008). As a result, paleoclimatologists have devoted much effort to ‘correcting’ their data, but, until very recently, they were unable to bring temperatures at the equator higher than today’s (Schrag, 1999, Pearson et al, 2000). However, the latest paper (Huber, 2008) suggests that the equatorial data no longer constrains equatorial temperatures at all, and any values may have existed. All of this is quite remarkable since there is now evidence that current meridional distributions of temperature depend critically on the presence of ice, and that the model behavior results from improper tuning wherein present distributions remain even when ice is absent.

The second example begins with the results of a major attempt to observationally reconstruct the global climate of the last glacial maximum (CLIMAP, 1976). Here it was found that although extratropical temperatures were much colder, equatorial temperatures were little different from today’s. There were immediate attempts to simulate this climate with GCMs and reduced levels of CO2. Once again the result was lower temperatures at all latitudes (Bush and Philander, 1998a,b), and once again, numerous efforts were made to ‘correct’ the data. After much argument, the current position appears to be that tropical temperatures may have been a couple of degrees cooler than today’s. However, papers appeared claiming far lower temperatures (Crowley, 2000). We will deal further with this issue in the next section where we describe papers that show that the climate associated with ice ages is well described by the Milankovich Hypothesis that does not call for any role for CO2.

Both of the above examples probably involved legitimate corrections, but only corrections that sought to bring observations into agreement with models were initially considered, thus avoiding the creative conflict between theory and data that has characterized the past successes of science. To be sure, however, the case of the Last Glacial Maximum shows that climate science still retains a capacity for self-correction.

The next example has achieved a much higher degree of notoriety than the previous two. In the first IPCC assessment (IPCC, 1990), the traditional picture of the climate of the past 1100 years was presented. In this picture, there was a medieval warm period that was somewhat warmer than the present as well as the little ice age that was cooler. The presence of a period warmer than the present in the absence of any anthropogenic greenhouse gases was deemed an embarrassment for those holding that present warming could only be accounted for by the activities of man. Not surprisingly, efforts were made to get rid of the medieval warm period (According to Demming, 2005, Jonathan Overpeck, in an email, remarked that one had to get rid of the medieval warm period. Overpeck is one of organizers in Appendix 1.).

The most infamous effort was that due to Mann et al (1998, 1999 [13]) which used primarily a few handfuls of tree ring records to obtain a reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperature going back eventually a thousand years that no longer showed a medieval warm period. Indeed, it showed a slight cooling for almost a thousand years culminating in a sharp warming beginning in the nineteenth century. The curve came to be known as the hockey stick, and featured prominently in the next IPCC report, where it was then suggested that the present warming was unprecedented in the past 1000 years. The study immediately encountered severe questions concerning both the proxy data and its statistical analysis (interestingly, the most penetrating critiques came from outside the field: McIntyre and McKitrick, 2003, 2005a,b). This led to two independent assessments of the hockey stick (Wegman,2006, North, 2006), both of which found the statistics inadequate for the claims. The story is given in detail in Holland (2007).

Since the existence of a medieval warm period is amply documented in historical accounts for the North Atlantic region (Soon et al, 2003), Mann et al countered that the warming had to be regional but not characteristic of the whole northern hemisphere. Given that an underlying assumption of their analysis was that the geographic pattern of warming had to have remained constant, this would have invalidated the analysis ab initio without reference to the specifics of the statistics. Indeed, the 4th IPCC (IPCC, 2007) assessment no longer featured the hockey stick, but the claim that current warming is unprecedented remains, and Mann et al’s reconstruction is still shown in Chapter 6 of the 4th IPCC assessment, buried among other reconstructions. Here too, we will return to this matter briefly in the next section.

The fourth example is perhaps the strangest. For many years, the global mean temperature record showed cooling from about 1940 until the early 70′s. This, in fact, led to the concern for global cooling during the 1970′s. The IPCC regularly, through the 4th assessment, boasted of the ability of models to simulate this cooling (while failing to emphasize that each model required a different specification of completely undetermined aerosol cooling in order to achieve this simulation (Kiehl, 2007)). Improvements in our understanding of aerosols are increasingly making such arbitrary tuning somewhat embarrassing, and, no longer surprisingly, the data has been ‘corrected’ to get rid of the mid 20th century cooling (Thompson et al, 2008). This may, in fact, be a legitimate correction (http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3114). The embarrassment may lie in the continuous claims of modelers to have simulated the allegedly incorrect data.

The fifth example deals with the fingerprint of warming. It has long been noted that greenhouse warming is primarily centered in the upper troposphere (Lindzen, 1999) and, indeed, model’s show that the maximum rate of warming is found in the upper tropical troposphere (Lee, et al, 2007). Lindzen (2007) noted that temperature data from both satellites and balloons failed to show such a maximum. This, in turn, permitted one to bound the greenhouse contribution to surface warming, and led to an estimate of climate sensitivity that was appreciably less than found in current models. Once the implications of the observations were clearly identified, it was only a matter of time before the data were ‘corrected.’ The first attempt came quickly (Vinnikov et al, 2006) wherein the satellite data was reworked to show large warming in the upper troposphere, but the methodology was too blatant for the paper to be commonly cited [14]. There followed an attempt wherein the temperature data was rejected, and where temperature trends were inferred from wind data (Allen and Sherwood, 2008).

Over sufficiently long periods, there is a balance between vertical wind shear and meridional temperature gradients (the thermal wind balance), and, with various assumptions concerning boundary conditions, one can, indeed, infer temperature trends, but the process involves a more complex, indirect, and uncertain procedure than is involved in directly measuring temperature. Moreover, as Pielke et al (2008) have noted, the results display a variety of inconsistencies. They are nonetheless held to resolve the discrepancy with models. More recently, Solomon et al (2009) have claimed further “corrections” to the data

The sixth example takes us into astrophysics. Since the 1970′s, considerable attention has been given to something known as the Early Faint Sun Paradox. This paradox was first publicized by Sagan and Mullen (1972). They noted that the standard model for the sun robustly required that the sun brighten with time so that 2-3 billion years ago, it was about 30% dimmer than it is today (recall that a doubling of CO2 corresponds to only a 2% change in the radiative budget). One would have expected that the earth would have been frozen over, but the geological evidence suggested that the ocean was unfrozen. Attempts were made to account for this by an enhanced greenhouse effect. Sagan and Mullen (1972) suggested an ammonia rich atmosphere might work. Others suggested an atmosphere with as much as several bars of CO2 (recall that currently CO2 is about 380 parts per million of a 1 bar atmosphere).

Finally, Kasting and colleagues tried to resolve the paradox with large amounts of methane. For a variety of reasons, all these efforts were deemed inadequate [15] (Haqqmisra et al, 2008). There followed a remarkable attempt to get rid of the standard model of the sun (Sackman and Boothroyd, 2003). This is not exactly the same as altering the data, but the spirit is the same. The paper claimed to have gotten rid of the paradox. However, in fact, the altered model still calls for substantial brightening, and, moreover, does not seem to have gotten much acceptance among solar modelers.

My last specific example involves the social sciences. Given that it has been maintained since at least 1988 that all scientists agree about alarming global warming, it is embarrassing to have scientists objecting to the alarm. To ‘settle’ the matter, a certain Naomi Oreskes published a paper in Science (Oreskes, 2004) purporting to have surveyed the literature and not have found a single paper questioning the alarm (Al Gore offers this study as proof of his own correctness in “Inconvenient Truth.”). Both Benny Peiser (a British sociologist) and Dennis Bray (an historian of science) noted obvious methodological errors, but Science refused to publish these rebuttals with no regard for the technical merits of the criticisms presented [16]. Moreover, Oreskes was a featured speaker at the celebration of Spencer Weart’s thirty years as head of the American Institute of Physics’ Center for History of Physics. Weart, himself, had written a history of the global warming issue (Weart, 2003) where he repeated, without checking, the slander taken from a screed by Ross Gelbspan (The Heat is On) in which I was accused of being a tool of the fossil fuel industry. Weart also writes with glowing approval of Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. As far as Oreskes’ claim goes, it is clearly absurd [17]. A more carefully done study revealed a very different picture (Schulte, 2007)

The above examples do not include the most convenient means whereby nominal scientists can support global warming alarm: namely, the matter of impacts. Here, scientists who generally have no knowledge of climate physics at all, are supported to assume the worst projections of global warming and imaginatively suggest the implications of such warming for whatever field they happen to be working in. This has led to the bizarre claims that global warming will contribute to kidney stones, obesity, cockroaches, noxious weeds, sexual imbalance in fish, etc. The scientists who participate in such exercises quite naturally are supportive of the catastrophic global warming hypothesis despite their ignorance of the underlying science [18].

4. Pressures to inhibit inquiry and problem solving

It is often argued that in science the truth must eventually emerge. This may well be true, but, so far, attempts to deal with the science of climate change objectively have been largely forced to conceal such truths as may call into question global warming alarmism (even if only implicitly). The usual vehicle is peer review, and the changes imposed were often made in order to get a given paper published. Publication is, of course, essential for funding, promotion, etc. The following examples are but a few from cases that I am personally familiar with. These, almost certainly, barely scratch the surface. What is generally involved, is simply the inclusion of an irrelevant comment supporting global warming accepted wisdom. When the substance of the paper is described, it is generally claimed that the added comment represents the ‘true’ intent of the paper. In addition to the following examples, Appendix 2 offers excellent examples of ‘spin control.’.

As mentioned in the previous section, one of the reports assessing the Mann et al Hockey Stick was prepared by a committee of the US National Research Counsel (a branch of the National Academy) chaired by Gerald North (North, 2006). The report concluded that the analysis used was totally unreliable for periods longer ago than about 400 years. In point of fact, the only basis for the 400 year choice was that this brought one to the midst of the Little Ice Age, and there is essentially nothing surprising about a conclusion that we are now warmer. Still, without any basis at all, the report also concluded that despite the inadequacy of the Mann et al analysis, the conclusion might still be correct. It was this baseless conjecture that received most of the publicity surrounding the report.

In a recent paper, Roe (2006) showed that the orbital variations in high latitude summer insolation correlate excellently with changes in glaciation – once one relates the insolation properly to the rate of change of glaciation rather than to the glaciation itself. This provided excellent support for the Milankovich hypothesis. Nothing in the brief paper suggested the need for any other mechanism. Nonetheless, Roe apparently felt compelled to include an irrelevant caveat stating that the paper had no intention of ruling out a role for CO2.

Choi and Ho (2006, 2008) published interesting papers on the optical properties of high tropical cirrus that largely confirmed earlier results by Lindzen, Chou and Hou (2001) on an important negative feedback (the iris effect – something that we will describe later in this section) that would greatly reduce the sensitivity of climate to increasing greenhouse gases. A proper comparison required that the results be normalized by a measure of total convective activity, and, indeed, such a comparison was made in the original version of Choi and Ho’s paper. However, reviewers insisted that the normalization be removed from the final version of the paper which left the relationship to the earlier paper unclear.

Horvath and Soden (2008) found observational confirmation of many aspects of the iris effect, but accompanied these results with a repetition of criticisms of the iris effect that were irrelevant and even contradictory to their own paper. The point, apparently, was to suggest that despite their findings, there might be other reasons to discard the iris effect. Later in this section, I will return to these criticisms. However, the situation is far from unique. I have received preprints of papers wherein support for the iris was found, but where this was omitted in the published version of the papers

In another example, I had originally submitted a paper mentioned in the previous section (Lindzen, 2007) to American Scientist, the periodical of the scientific honorary society in the US, Sigma Xi, at the recommendation of a former officer of that society. There followed a year of discussions, with an editor, David Schneider, insisting that I find a coauthor who would illustrate why my paper was wrong. He argued that publishing something that contradicted the IPCC was equivalent to publishing a paper that claimed that ‘Einstein’s general theory of relativity is bunk.’ I suggested that it would be more appropriate for American Scientist to solicit a separate paper taking a view opposed to mine. This was unacceptable to Schneider, so I ended up publishing the paper elsewhere. Needless to add, Schneider has no background in climate physics. At the same time, a committee consisting almost entirely in environmental activists led by Peter Raven, the ubiquitous John Holdren, Richard Moss, Michael MacCracken, and Rosina Bierbaum were issuing a joint Sigma Xi – United Nations Foundation (the latter headed by former Senator and former Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth [19] and founded by Ted Turner) report endorsing global warming alarm, to a degree going far beyond the latest IPCC report. I should add that simple disagreement with conclusions of the IPCC has become a common basis for rejecting papers for publication in professional journals – as long as the disagreement suggests reduced alarm. An example will be presented later in this section.

Despite all the posturing about global warming, more and more people are becoming aware of the fact that global mean temperatures have not increased statistically significantly since 1995. One need only look at the temperature records posted on the web by the Hadley Centre. The way this is acknowledged in the literature forms a good example of the spin that is currently required to maintain global warming alarm. Recall that the major claim of the IPCC 4th Assessment was that there was a 90% certainty that most of the warming of the preceding 50 years was due to man (whatever that might mean). This required the assumption that what is known as natural internal variability (ie, the variability that exists without any external forcing and represents the fact that the climate system is never in equilibrium) is adequately handled by the existing climate models.

The absence of any net global warming over the last dozen years or so, suggests that this assumption may be wrong. Smith et al (2007) (Smith is with the Hadley Centre in the UK) acknowledged this by pointing out that initial conditions had to reflect the disequilibrium at some starting date, and when these conditions were ‘correctly’ chosen, it was possible to better replicate the period without warming. This acknowledgment of error was accompanied by the totally unjustified assertion that global warming would resume with a vengeance in 2009 [20]. As 2009 approaches and the vengeful warming seems less likely to occur, a new paper came out (this time from the Max Planck Institute: Keenlyside et al, 2008) moving the date for anticipated resumption of warming to 2015. It is indeed a remarkable step backwards for science to consider models that have failed to predict the observed behavior of the climate to nonetheless have the same validity as the data [21].

Tim Palmer, a prominent atmospheric scientist at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, is quoted by Fred Pearce (Pearce, 2008) in the New Scientist as follows: “Politicians seem to think that the science is a done deal,” says Tim Palmer. “I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.” Pearce, however, continues “Palmer .. does not doubt that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done a good job alerting the world to the problem of global climate change. But he and his fellow climate scientists are acutely aware that the IPCC’s predictions of how the global change will affect local climates are little more than guesswork. They fear that if the IPCC’s predictions turn out to be wrong, it will provoke a crisis in confidence that undermines the whole climate change debate. On top of this, some climate scientists believe that even the IPCC’s global forecasts leave much to be desired. …” Normally, one would think that undermining the credibility of something that is wrong is appropriate.

Even in the present unhealthy state of science, papers that are overtly contradictory to the catastrophic warming scenario do get published (though not without generally being substantially watered down during the review process). They are then often subject to the remarkable process of ‘discreditation.’ This process consists in immediately soliciting attack papers that are published quickly as independent articles rather than comments. The importance of this procedure is as follows. Normally such criticisms are published as comments, and the original authors are able to respond immediately following the comment. Both the comment and reply are published together. By publishing the criticism as an article, the reply is published as a correspondence, which is usually delayed by several months, and the critics are permitted an immediate reply. As a rule, the reply of the original authors is ignored in subsequent references.

In 2001, I published a paper (Lindzen, Chou and Hou) that used geostationary satellite data to suggest the existence of a strong negative feedback that we referred to as the Iris Effect. The gist of the feedback is that upper level stratiform clouds in the tropics arise by detrainment from cumulonimbus towers, that the radiative impact of the stratiform clouds is primarily in the infrared where they serve as powerful greenhouse components, and that the extent of the detrainment decreases markedly with increased surface temperature. The negative feedback resulted from the fact that the greenhouse warming due to the stratiform clouds diminished as the surface temperature increased, and increased as the surface temperature decreased – thus resisting the changes in surface temperature. The impact of the observed effect was sufficient to greatly reduce the model sensitivities to increasing CO2, and it was, moreover, shown that models failed to display the observed cloud behavior. The paper received an unusually intense review from four reviewers.

Once the paper appeared, the peer review editor of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Irwin Abrams, was replaced by a new editor, Jeffrey Rosenfeld (holding the newly created position of Editor in Chief), and the new editor almost immediately accepted a paper criticizing our paper (Hartmann and Michelsen, 2002), publishing it as a separate paper rather than a response to our paper (which would have been the usual and appropriate procedure). In the usual procedure, the original authors are permitted to respond in the same issue. In the present case, the response was delayed by several months. Moreover, the new editor chose to label the criticism as follows: “Careful analysis of data reveals no shrinkage of tropical cloud anvil area with increasing SST.”

In fact, this criticism was easily dismissed. The claim of Hartmann and Michelsen was that the effect we observed was due to the intrusion of midlatitude non- convective clouds into the tropics. If this were true, then the effect should have diminished as one restricted observations more closely to the equator, but as we showed (Lindzen, Chou and Hou, 2002), exactly the opposite was found. There were also separately published papers (again violating normal protocols allowing for immediate response) by Lin et al, 2002 and Fu, Baker and Hartmann, 2002, that criticized our paper by claiming that since the instruments on the geostationary satellite could not see the thin stratiform clouds that formed the tails of the clouds we could see, that we were not entitled to assume that the tails existed. Without the tails, the radiative impact of the clouds would be primarily in the visible where the behavior we observed would lead to a positive feedback; with the tails the effect is a negative feedback. The tails had long been observed, and the notion that they abruptly disappeared when not observed by an insufficiently sensitive sensor was absurd on the face of it, and the use of better instruments by Choi and Ho (2006, 2008) confirmed the robustness of the tails and the strong dominance of the infrared impact. However, as we have already seen, virtually any mention of the iris effect tends to be accompanied with a reference to the criticisms, a claim that the theory is ‘discredited,’ and absolutely no mention of the responses. This is even required of papers that are actually supporting the iris effect.

Vincent Courtillot et al (2007) encountered a similar problem. (Courtillot, it should be noted, is the director of the Institute for the Study of the Globe at the University of Paris.) They found that time series for magnetic field variations appeared to correlate well with temperature measurements – suggesting a possible non-anthropogenic source of forcing. This was immediately criticized by Bard and Delaygue (2008), and Courtillot et al were given the conventional right to reply which they did in a reasonably convincing manner. What followed, however, was highly unusual. Raymond Pierrehumbert (a professor of meteorology at the University of Chicago and a fanatical environmentalist) posted a blog supporting Bard and Delaygue, accusing Courtillot et al of fraud, and worse. Alan Robock (a coauthor of Vinnikov et al mentioned in the preceding section) perpetuated the slander in a letter circulated to all officers of the American Geophysical Union. The matter was then taken up (in December of 2007) by major French newspapers (LeMonde, Liberation, and Le Figaro) that treated Pierrehumbert’s defamation as fact. As in the previous case, all references to the work of Courtillot et al refer to it as ‘discredited’ and no mention is made of their response. Moreover, a major argument against the position of Courtillot et al is that it contradicted the claim of the IPCC.

In 2005, I was invited by Erneso Zedillo to give a paper at a symposium he was organizing at his Center for Sustainability Studies at Yale. The stated topic of the symposium was Global Warming Policy After 2012, and the proceedings were to appear in a book to by entitled Global Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto. Only two papers dealing with global warming science were presented: mine and one by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute. The remaining papers all essentially assumed an alarming scenario and proceeded to discuss economics, impacts, and policy. Rahmstorf and I took opposing positions, but there was no exchange at the meeting, and Rahmstorf had to run off to another meeting. As agreed, I submitted the manuscript of my talk, but publication was interminably delayed, perhaps because of the presence of my paper. In any event, the Brookings Institute (a centrist Democratic Party think tank) agreed to publish the volume. When the volume finally appeared (Zedillo, 2008), I was somewhat shocked to see that Rahmstorf’s paper had been modified from what he presented, and had been turned into an attack not only on my paper but on me personally [22]. I had received no warning of this; nor was I given any opportunity to reply. Inquiries to the editor and the publisher went unanswered. Moreover, the Rahmstorf paper was moved so that it immediately followed my paper. The reader is welcome to get a copy of the exchange, including my response, on my web site (Lindzen-Rahmstorf Exchange, 2008), and judge the exchange for himself.

One of the more bizarre tools of global warming revisionism is the posthumous alteration of skeptical positions.

Thus, the recent deaths of two active and professionally prominent skeptics, Robert Jastrow (the founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, now headed by James Hansen), and Reid Bryson (a well known climatologist at the University of Wisconsin) were accompanied by obituaries suggesting deathbed conversions to global warming alarm.

The death of another active and prominent skeptic, William Nierenberg (former director of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute), led to the creation of a Nierenberg Prize that is annually awarded to an environmental activist. The most recent recipient was James Hansen who Nierenberg detested.

Perhaps the most extraordinary example of this phenomenon involves a paper by Singer, Starr, and Revelle (1991). In this paper, it was concluded that we knew too little about climate to implement any drastic measures. Revelle, it may be recalled, was the professor that Gore credits with introducing him to the horrors of CO2 induced warming. There followed an intense effort led by a research associate at Harvard, Justin Lancaster, in coordination with Gore staffers, to have Revelle’s name posthumously removed from the published paper. It was claimed that Singer had pressured an old and incompetent man to allow his name to be used. To be sure, everyone who knew Revelle, felt that he had been alert until his death. There followed a law suit by Singer, where the court found in Singer’s favor. The matter is described in detail in Singer (2003).

Occasionally, prominent individual scientists do publicly express skepticism. The means for silencing them are fairly straightforward.

Will Happer, director of research at the Department of Energy (and a professor of physics at Princeton University) was simply fired from his government position after expressing doubts about environmental issues in general. His case is described in Happer (2003).

Michael Griffin, NASA’s administrator, publicly expressed reservations concerning global warming alarm in 2007. This was followed by a barrage of ad hominem attacks from individuals including James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer. Griffin has since stopped making any public statements on this matter.

Freeman Dyson, an acknowledged great in theoretical physics, managed to publish a piece in New York Review of Books (Dyson, 2008), where in the course of reviewing books by Nordhaus and Zedillo (the latter having been referred to earlier), he expressed cautious support for the existence of substantial doubt concerning global warming. This was followed by a series of angry letters as well as condemnation on the realclimate.org web site including ad hominem attacks. Given that Dyson is retired, however, there seems little more that global warming enthusiasts can do. However, we may hear of a deathbed conversion in the future.

5. Dangers for science and society

This paper has attempted to show how changes in the structure of scientific activity over the past half century have led to extreme vulnerability to political manipulation. In the case of climate change, these vulnerabilities have been exploited to a remarkable extent. The dangers that the above situation poses for both science and society are too numerous to be discussed in any sort of adequate way in this paper. It should be stressed that the climate change issue, itself, constitutes a major example of the dangers intrinsic to the structural changes in science.

As concerns the specific dangers pertaining to the climate change issue, we are already seeing that the tentative policy moves associated with ‘climate mitigation’ are contributing to deforestation, food riots, potential trade wars, inflation, energy speculation and overt corruption as in the case of ENRON (one of the leading lobbyists for Kyoto prior to its collapse). There is little question that global warming has been exploited many governments and corporations (and not just by ENRON; Lehman Brothers, for example, was also heavily promoting global warming alarm, and relying on the advice of James Hansen, etc.) for their own purposes, but it is unclear to what extent such exploitation has played an initiating role in the issue. The developing world has come to realize that the proposed measures endanger their legitimate hopes to escape poverty, and, in the case of India, they have, encouragingly, led to an assessment of climate issues independent of the ‘official’ wisdom (Government of India, 2008 [23]).

For purposes of this paper, however, I simply want to briefly note the specific implications for science and its interaction with society. Although society is undoubtedly aware of the imperfections of science, it has rarely encountered a situation such as the current global warming hysteria where institutional science has so thoroughly committed itself to policies which call for massive sacrifices in well being world wide. Past scientific errors did not lead the public to discard the view that science on the whole was a valuable effort. However, the extraordinarily shallow basis for the commitment to climate catastrophe, and the widespread tendency of scientists to use unscientific means to arouse the public’s concerns, is becoming increasingly evident, and the result could be a reversal of the trust that arose from the triumphs of science and technology during the World War II period.

Further, the reliance by the scientific community on fear as a basis for support, may, indeed, have severely degraded the ability of science to usefully address problems that need addressing. It should also be noted that not all the lessons of the World War II period have been positive. Massive crash programs such as the Manhattan Project are not appropriate to all scientific problems. In particular, such programs are unlikely to be effective in fields where the basic science is not yet in place. Rather, they are best suited to problems where the needs are primarily in the realm of engineering.

Although the change in scientific culture has played an important role in making science more vulnerable to exploitation by politics, the resolution of specific issues may be possible without explicitly addressing the structural problems in science. In the US, where global warming has become enmeshed in partisan politics, there is a natural opposition to exploitation which is not specifically based on science itself. However, the restoration of the traditional scientific paradigm will call for more serious efforts. Such changes are unlikely to come from any fiat. Nor is it likely to be implemented by the large science bureaucracies that have helped create the problem in the first place. A potentially effective approach would be to change the incentive structure of science. The current support mechanisms for science is one where the solution of a scientific problem is rewarded by ending support.

This hardly encourages the solution of problems or the search for actual answers. Nor does it encourage meaningfully testing hypotheses. The alternative calls for a measure of societal trust, patience, and commitment to elitism that hardly seems consonant with the contemporary attitudes. It may, however, be possible to make a significant beginning by carefully reducing the funding for science. Many scientists would be willing to accept a lower level of funding in return for greater freedom and stability. Other scientists may find the trade-off unacceptable and drop out of the enterprise. The result, over a period of time, could be a gradual restoration of a better incentive structure.

One ought not underestimate the institutional resistance to such changes, but the alternatives are proving to be much worse. Some years ago, I described some of what I have discussed here at a meeting in Erice (Lindzen, 2005). Richard Garwin (who some regard as the inventor of the H-bomb) rose indignantly to state that he did not want to hear such things. Quite frankly, I also don’t want to hear such things. However, I fear that ignoring such things will hardly constitute a solution, and a solution may be necessary for the sake of the scientific enterprise.

Acknowledgments. The author wishes to thank Dennis Ambler, Willie Soon, Lubos Motl and Nigel Lawson for useful comments and assistance.

Notes

1. This paper was prepared for a meeting sponsored by Euresis (Associazone per la promozione e la diffusione della cultura e del lavoro scientifico) and the Templeton Foundation on Creativity and Creative Inspiration in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering: Developing a Vision for the Future. The meeting was held in San Marino from 29-31 August 2008. Its Proceedings are expected to be published in 2009.
2. At some level, this is obvious. Theoretical physics is still dealing with the standard model though there is an active search for something better. Molecular biology is still working off of the discovery of DNA. Many of the basic laws of physics resulted from individual efforts in the 17th-19th Centuries. The profound advances in technology should not disguise the fact that the bulk of the underlying science is more than 40 years old. This is certainly the case in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. That said, it should not be forgotten that sometimes progress slows because the problem is difficult. Sometimes, it slows because the existing results are simply correct as is the case with DNA. Structural problems are not always the only factor involved.
3. It is sometimes thought that government involvement automatically implies large bureaucracies, and lengthy regulations. This was not exactly the case in the 20 years following the second world war. Much of the support in the physical sciences came from the armed forces for which science support remained a relatively negligible portion of their budgets. For example, meteorology at MIT was supported by the Air Force. Group grants were made for five year periods and renewed on the basis of a site visit. When the National Science Foundation was created, it functioned with a small permanent staff supplemented by ‘rotators’ who served on leave from universities for a few years. Unfortunately, during the Vietnam War, the US Senate banned the military from supporting non-military research (Mansfield Amendment). This shifted support to agencies whose sole function was to support science. That said, today all agencies supporting science have large ‘supporting’ bureaucracies.
4. In fairness, such programs should be distinguished from team efforts which are sometimes appropriate and successful: classification of groups in mathematics, human genome
project, etc.
5. A personal memoir from Al Grable sent to Sherwood Idso in 1993 is interesting in this regard. Grable served as a Department of Agriculture observer to the National Research Council’s National Climate Board. Such observers are generally posted by agencies to boards that they are funding. In any event, Grable describes a motion presented at a Board meeting in 1980 by Walter Orr Roberts, the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and by Joseph Smagorinsky, director of NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton, to censure Sherwood Idso for criticizing climate models with high sensitivities due to water vapor feedbacks (in the models), because of their inadequate handling of cooling due to surface evaporation. A member of that board, Sylvan Wittwer, noted that it was not the role of such boards to censure specific scientific positions since the appropriate procedure would be to let science decide in the fullness of time, and the matter was dropped. In point of fact, there is evidence that models do significantly understate the increase of evaporative cooling with temperature (Held and Soden, 2006). Moreover, this memoir makes clear that the water vapor feedback was considered central to the whole global warming issue from the very beginning.
6. It should be acknowledged that Oppenheimer has quite a few papers with climate in the title – especially in the last two years. However, these are largely papers concerned with policy and advocacy, assuming significant warming. Such articles probably constitute the bulk of articles on climate. It is probably also fair to say that such articles contribute little if anything to understanding the phenomenon.
7. Certain names and organizations come up repeatedly in this paper. This is hardly an accident. In 1989, following the public debut of the issue in the US in Tim Wirth’s and Al Gore’s famous Senate hearing featuring Jim Hansen associating the warm summer of 1988 with global warming, the Climate Action Network was created. This organization of over 280 ENGO’s has been at the center of the climate debates since then. The Climate Action Network, is an umbrella NGO that coordinates the advocacy efforts of its members, particularly in relation to the UN negotiations. Organized around seven regional nodes in North and Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, CAN represents the majority of environmental groups advocating on climate change, and it has embodied the voice of the environmental community in the climate negotiations since it was established.
The founding of the Climate Action Network can be traced back to the early involvement of scientists from the research ENGO community. These individuals, including Michael Oppenheimer from Environmental Defense, Gordon Goodman of the Stockholm Environmental Institute (formerly the Beijer Institute), and George Woodwell of the Woods Hole Research
Center were instrumental in organizing the scientific workshops in Villach and Bellagio on Developing Policy Responses to Climate Change’ in 1987 as well as the Toronto Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in June 1988. It should be noted that the current director of the Woods Hole Research Center is John Holdren. In 1989, several months after the Toronto Conference, the emerging group of climate scientists and activists from the US, Europe, and developing countries were brought together at a meeting in Germany, with funding from Environmental Defense and the German Marshall Fund. The German Marshall Fund is still funding NGO activity in Europe: http://www.gmfus.org/event/detail.cfm?id=453&parent_type=E (Pulver, 2004).
8. The reports attributed to the National Academy are not, to any major extent, the work of Academy Members. Rather, they are the product of the National Research Council, which consists in a staff of over 1000 who are paid largely by the organizations soliciting the reports. The committees that prepare the reports are mostly scientists who are not Academy Members, and who serve without pay.
9. One might reasonably add the Pew Charitable Trust to this list. Although they advertise themselves as a neutral body, they have merged with the National Environmental Trust, whose director, Philip Clapp, became deputy managing director of the combined body. Clapp (the head of the legislative practice of a large Washington law firm, and a consultant on mergers and acquisitions to investment banking firms), according to his recent obituary, was ‘an early and vocal advocate on climate change issues and a promoter of the international agreement concluded in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Mr. Clapp continued to attend subsequent global warming talks even after the US Congress did not ratify the Kyoto accord.’
10. John Holdren has defended the use of the phrase ‘Research Center’ since research is carried out with sponsorship by National Science Foundation, the National Oceanographic Administration, and NASA. However, it is hardly uncommon to find sponsorship of the activities of environmental NGO’s by federal funding agencies
11. Appendix 1 is the invitation to the planning session for the 5th assessment. It clearly emphasizes strengthening rather than checking the IPCC position. Appendix 2 reproduces a commentary by Stephen McIntyre on the recent OfCom findings concerning a British TV program opposing global warming alarmism. The response of the IPCC officials makes it eminently clear that the IPCC is fundamentally a political body. If further evidence were needed, one simply has to observe the fact that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers will selectively cite results to emphasize negative consequences. Thus the summary for Working Group II observes that global warming will result in “Hundreds of millions of people exposed to increased water stress.” This, however, is based on work (Arnell, 2004) which actually shows that by the 2080s the net global population at risk declines by up to 2.1 billion people (depending on which scenario one wants to emphasize)! The IPCC further ignores the capacity to build reservoirs to alleviate those areas they project as subject to drought (I am indebted to Indur Goklany for noting this example.)
12. Appendix 3 is a recent op-ed from the Boston Globe, written by the aforementioned John Holdren. What is interesting about this piece is that what little science it invokes is overtly incorrect. Rather, it points to the success of the above process of taking over scientific institutions as evidence of the correctness of global warming alarmism. The 3 atmospheric scientists who are explicitly mentioned are chemists with no particular expertise in climate, itself. While, Holdren makes much of the importance of expertise, he fails to note that he, himself, is hardly a contributor to the science of climate. Holdren and Paul Ehrlich (of Population Bomb fame; in that work he predicted famine and food riots for the US in the 1980′s) are responsible for the I=PAT formula. Holdren, somewhat disingenuously claims that this is merely a mathematical identity where I is environmental impact, P is population, A is GDP/P and T is I/GDP. However, in popular usage, A has become affluence and T has become technology (viz Schneider, 1997; see also Wikipedia).
13. The 1998 paper actually only goes back to 1400 CE, and acknowledges that there is no useful resolution of spatial patterns of variability going further back. It is the 1999 paper that then goes back 1000 years.
14. Of course, Vinnikov et al did mention it. When I gave a lecture at Rutgers University in October 2007, Alan Robock, a professor at Rutgers and a coauthor of Vinnikov et al declared that the ‘latest data’ resolved the discrepancy wherein the model fingerprint could not be found in the data.
15. Haqqmisra, a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University, is apparently still seeking greenhouse solutions to the paradox.
16. The refusal was not altogether surprising. The editor of Science, at the time, was Donald Kennedy, a biologist (and colleague of Paul Ehrlich and Stephen Schneider, both also members of Stanford’s biology department), who had served as president of Stanford University. His term, as president, ended with his involvement in fiscal irregularities such as charging to research overhead such expenses as the maintenance of the presidential yacht and the provision of flowers for his daughter’s wedding – offering peculiar evidence for the importance of grant overhead to administrators. Kennedy had editorially declared that the debate concerning global warming was over and that skeptical articles would not be considered. More recently, he has published a relatively pure example of Orwellian double-speak (Kennedy, 2008) wherein he called for better media coverage of global warming, where by ‘better’ he meant more carefully ignoring any questions about global warming alarm. As one might expect, Kennedy made extensive use of Oreskes’ paper. He also made the remarkably dishonest claim that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers was much more conservative than the scientific text.
17. Oreskes, apart from overt errors, merely considered support to consist in agreement that there had been some warming, and that anthropogenic CO2 contributed part of the warming. Such innocent conclusions have essentially nothing to do with catastrophic projections. Moreover, most of the papers she looked at didn’t even address these issues; they simply didn’t question these conclusions.
18. Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Potsdam Institute, home of Greenpeace’s Bill Hare, now has a Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
19. Tim Wirth chaired the hearing where Jim Hansen rolled out the alleged global warming relation to the hot summer of 1988 (viz Section 2). He is noted for having arranged for the hearing room to have open windows to let in the heat so that Hansen would be seen to be sweating for the television cameras. Wirth is also frequently quoted as having said “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing — in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
20. When I referred to the Smith et al paper at a hearing of the European Parliament, Professor Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute (which I mentioned in the previous section with respect to its connection to Greenpeace) loudly protested that I was being ‘dishonest’ by not emphasizing what he referred to as the main point in Smith et al: namely that global warming would return with a vengeance.
21. The matter of ‘spin control’ warrants a paper by itself. In connection with the absence of warming over the past 13 years, the common response is that 7 of the last 10 warmest years in the record occurred during the past decade. This is actually to be expected, given that we are in a warm period, and the temperature is always fluctuating. However, it has nothing to do with trends.
22. The strange identification of the CO2 caused global warming paradigm with general relativity theory, mentioned earlier in this section, is repeated by Rahmstorf. This repetition of odd claims may be a consequence of the networking described in footnote 7.
23. A curious aspect of the profoundly unalarming Indian report is the prominent involvement in the preparation of the report by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (an economist and long term UN bureaucrat) who heads the IPCC. Dr. Pachauri has recently been urging westerners to reduce meat consumption in order to save the earth from destruction by global warming.

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A Pisa il comando delle forze speciali

September 22nd, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Si infiltrano nottetempo in territorio nemico senza essere viste, individuano gli obiettivi da colpire, li eliminano con un‘azione fulminea paracadutandosi dagli aerei o calandosi dagli elicotteri, quindi si ritirano senza lasciare traccia salvo i morti e le distruzioni: sono le forze speciali, sempre più impiegate nelle «guerre coperte». L’Italia, che le ha usate finora soprattutto in Afghanistan, fa ora un decisivo passo avanti nel loro potenziamento. Alla caserma Gamerra di Pisa, sede del Centro addestramento paracadutismo, si è appena costituito il Comando delle forze speciali dell’esercito (Comfose), il primo del suo genere in Italia. Esso riunisce sotto un comando unificato il 9° Reggimento d’assalto Col Moschin e il 185° Reggimento acquisizione obiettivi Folgore di stanza a Livorno, il  28° Reggimento comunicazioni operative Pavia di stanza a Pesaro e il 4° Reggimento alpini paracadutisti Ragers con sede presso Verona. A questi si aggiungerà tra poco il 26° Reparto elicotteri per operazioni speciali, destinato a trasformarsi in 3° Reggimento elicotteri per operazioni speciali Aldebaran.

Perché è stata scelta Pisa quale sede del Comfose? Perché l’aeroporto militare della città è stato trasformato in «Hub aereo nazionale dedicato alla gestione dei flussi di personale e di materiale dal territorio nazionale per i teatri operativi, e viceversa, con tempestività e efficacia» (come lo definisce il Programma pluriennale dello Stato maggiore della difesa approvato dalle Commissioni Difesa del Senato e della Camera). Il Comfose, ha spiegato nel discorso inaugurale il generale Zanelli che lo comanda, «è nato per assicurare la disponibilità immediata di uno strumento dedicato, idoneo ad assolvere l’intero spettro delle operazioni speciali». In altre parole, una volta addestrati per «essere in grado di sopravvivere e combattere in ogni ambiente operativo contro avversari estremamente determinati e insidiosi», gli specialisti delle forze speciali potranno essere immediatamete proiettati attraverso l’hub aereo di Pisa nei vari teatri bellici. Quali siano quelli immediati lo ha spiegato, a margine della presentazione del Comfose, il Capo di stato maggiore, generale Graziano: «Nell’Est Europa l’Italia deve essere presente, così come si è riproposto il fronte mediorientale».

L’altra ragione della scelta di Pisa quale sede del Comfose è sicuramente la presenza della limitrofa base Usa di Camp Darby, che rifornisce le forze terrestri e aeree nell’area mediterranea, africana, mediorientale e oltre. E’ l’unico sito dell’esercito Usa in cui il materiale preposizionato (carrarmati, ecc.) è collocato insieme alle munizioni: nei suoi 125 bunker vi è l’intero equipaggiamento di due battaglioni corazzati e due di fanteria meccanizzata. Vi sono stoccate anche enormi quantità di bombe e missili per aerei, insieme ai «kit di montaggio» per costruire rapidamente aeroporti nelle zone di guerra. Questi e altri materiali bellici possono essere rapidamente inviati in zona di operazione attraverso il porto di Livorno e l’aeroporto di Pisa. Serve quindi alla proiezione di forze Usa nei vari teatri bellici.

Come ha chiarito il generale Zanelli, il Comfose manterrà un «collegamento costante» anzitutto con lo «U.S. Army Special Operation Command», il più importante comando statunitense per le operazioni speciali che, formato da 26mila commandos, fornisce circa il 70% delle forze speciali al Comando centrale nella cui «area di responsabilità» rientra il Medio Oriente. Appare dunque chiaro che le forze speciali del Comfose, in parte già formatesi nella guerra in Afghanistan sotto comando Usa, sono destinate ad operare, sempre sotto comando Usa, in Iraq e Siria. Segretamente. Tenendo all’oscuro lo stesso parlamento della Repubblica che, nella sua Costituzione, ripudia la guerra.

Manlio Dinucci

The British government has been warned it may face legal action if it fails to consult Parliament and the public on the redeployment of drones outside declared warzones.

Questions have been raised by Saeed Al Yousefi, a Yemeni man from a province that is a frequent target of US strikes, about the fate of at least ten armed Reaper drones currently based in Afghanistan. Ministers have so far declined to reveal where the weapons, which are piloted remotely from US bases in Nevada and Lincolnshire, will be used after December 2014, when UK operations in Afghanistan finish.

The legal proceedings, notified to the government by legal charity Reprieve and law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn on Mr Al Yousefi’s behalf, ask the UK government to make clear its intentions for the Reapers, and confirm that Parliament will be consulted before any new deployment of the drones.

In July, Defence Minister Mark Francois suggested the government would bypass Parliament, telling MPs: “The UK intends to retain the Reaper capability […] there is no intention for parliamentary approval to be sought prior to each deployment or re-deployment.” Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has refused to rule out the use of UK drones against Yemen.

Predators and Reapers have been used by the CIA or Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to carry out secretive strikes in countries with which the US is not at war, such as Yemen and Pakistan. The strikes have killed hundreds of civilians, and take place with little or no oversight; President Barack Obama has refused to acknowledge formally that such strikes are taking place. This week, the UN’s human rights council launched an inquiry into the legality of the drone strikes, which UK officials were expected to attend.

Reprieve’s Legal Director Kat Craig said: “It is bad enough that the UK already supports the CIA’s secret, illegal drone campaign but there is now a real risk that Britain will follow the US down the slippery slope to an endless, global war without limits and without accountability. The public must be allowed to know when and where our government sends armed drones to carry out deadly strikes – if the government resists this, it will strike at the heart of our democratic traditions.”

Daniel Carey, a solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glynn, said: “Using drones outside of armed conflict will be a step change in UK drone operations, yet the MoD is refusing to tell even parliament what its plans are. Our client does not want to see the UK’s drones in the skies of Yemen. And campaigners do not want the UK to lead the way in drone proliferation and the deterioration of the international legal order.”

Private contractors from LEAR Asset Management

There are very few news stories about government overreach that shock me these days, but this week there were two — both in California. Each came and went with barely a whisper in the media, even from the “liberty” news.

Perhaps we’re so bombarded with mafia tactics by the government that some events just get lost in the chaos. And no, one of these developments is NOT the Los Angeles School District acquiring tanks and grenade launchers, although that’s probably of equal significance. Below is the first of these local stories. The second will be in a follow-up article.

This is probably the scariest development in law enforcement, ever, and I don’t say that lightly. If you thought no-knock SWAT raids to serve warrants for non-violent crimes was the epitome of tyranny, wait until you get a load of private mercenaries conducting special forces-type raids on American citizens.

That’s right, a report out of Mendocino, California admits that Blackwater-like private “security” contractors are now being used to “police pot.” Mysterious soldiers repelled out of unmarked helicopters fully armed for war to raid legal medical cannabis gardens last month. They didn’t identify themselves or present paperwork of any kind. They just destroyed the garden and left. Other witnesses claim this invading army is also “confiscating” product.

Here’s the local CBS news report:


This is the ultimate “feeler” story in the unfolding Totalitarian Tip-Toe if I’ve ever seen one. A quirky local story of “mystery men” used to raise the public threshold of acceptable tyranny, a.k.a. legitimizing private-sector soldiers for law enforcement.

The war machine seems to be gauging how much terror they can inflict on peaceful Americans before they say WTF (See Ferguson) and, perhaps more importantly, to see if the public will allow this vast new market for war profiteers.

It should be a massive media story “private war profiteering at home to terrorize citizens fight crime”. Helicopters, weapons of war, and tactical gear are expensive. Who’s seeding these start-ups anyway?

The manipulation continued a day after this story was reported, when Alex Altman of TIME wrote “Californians Turn to Private Security to Police Pot Country” as if all the citizens of California have agreed to this type of policing. Subtle manipulation.

TIME writes:

Over the summer, residents claimed men in military gear had been dropping onto private property from unmarked helicopters and cutting down the medicinal pot gardens of local residents. Local law enforcement have conducted helicopter raids in the area, but some worried the culprit this time was different: a private-security firm called Lear Asset Management.

The confusion was easy to understand. In the wildlands of California’s pot country, the workings of law enforcement are hard to track, and the rules for growing pot are often contradictory. To add to the mess, the various local, county, state and federal enforcement efforts don’t always communicate with each other about their efforts. The added possibility of private mercenaries, with faceless employers, fast-roping from helicopters raised alarm bells for many farmers.

TIME legitimizes Lear Asset Management and the practice of private policing with a matter-of-fact job description:

They are hired by large land owners to do the work of clearing trespass gardens from private property, and perform forest reclamation, sometimes funded by government grant. Deep in the woods, they cut down illegal pot plants and scrub the environmental footprint produced by the backwoods drug trade. They carry AR-15 rifles, lest they meet armed watchmen bent on defending their plots.

I really don’t have a problem with securing private property from vandals, but did you catch that slip “sometimes funded by government grant”?  That’s when “private security” becomes “law enforcement.” This is the RED ALERT buried in this story. At best our tax dollars are being used to fund private armies for large land owners. At worst, when will we see these warriors policing BLM land (aka National Parks)? Wait for it…

Altman quotes official statistics about how successful Lear and law enforcement are in raiding marijuana farmers, measured in the “street value” of the forbidden crop seized at gunpoint, as if that is still acceptable behavior by society’s peace keepers in the era of legal weed. But Altman just uses it as a segue into a broader “problem” of policing environmental vandalism on large stretches of open land, including “public” land.

More recently, the trespass grow sites have migrated from public land onto the vast plots owned by private citizens and timber companies. Some of them have hired Lear to deal with the problem. The company has run about nine missions across California’s pot country this year, with more planned this fall, Trouette says. And while the company’s special-ops aspect gets much of the attention, most of the work focuses on environmental reclamation.

The public is supposed to believe Lear is merely an environmental clean-up team doing community service who just so happens to have military special ops capability. How quaint. I didn’t know litter maintenance required AR-15s. But who would be opposed protecting the environment? Smart marketing.

TIME goes for the hard close to sell this tyranny by providing legal cover for these raids without warrants, before ending the article as a sponsored post for “regulation” of Lear’s “flourishing” domestic mercenary business as the “best thing for locals.”

Reports of vigilante marijuana raids on private property may simply stem from a lack of legal clarityUnder the so-called “open fields doctrine” set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fourth Amendment does not protect undeveloped property from warrantless searches. As a result, police may be permitted to cut down private gardens without a warrant. (my emphasis because you need to read and reread every word)

In the meantime, Lear has flourished, despite the concern among some local growers. But like most people in the Emerald Triangle, Trouette thinks thebest thing for the locals would be for the feds to sort out all the confusion. “I think the federal government would do everybody a big favor,” he says, “by regulating this industry.” (my emphasis)

So let me get this straight: a criminal gang of armed thugs commits violence and theft, and the best way to solve that problem is to legalize and regulate those thugs? Sounds like ISIS.

The creepiest thing about this development is that it’s a clever, more professional repackaging of a previous attempt to introduce private police in America. Some of you liberty lovers may recall it being rolled out once before in an eerily similar manner.

In 2009, FOX News wrote U.S. Mystery ‘Police’ Force Has Small Montana City on Edge after a local news report aired showing an extremely well-funded private security contractor going by the name American Police Force (APF) rolling into the town of Hardin in black Mercedes tagged as “Harding Police Department”.

The town contracting a private firm for domestic policing caused massive outrage not just locally in Montana but also around the United States. APF is now referred to as a well-funded fraud perpetuated by a petty con man and the event was swiftly dumped into the dustbin of history.

The Wikipedia entry on APF states:

American Police Force (APF), and under its revised name American Private Police Force, was a fraudulent entity claiming to be a private military company. It never possessed any legitimacy to operate in the United States. The company’s previous logo was an exact copy of the Serbian state coat of arms which caused some controversy and resulted in the Serbian government threatening legal action against APF if it did not remove or change the logo.

In September 2009, US government contract databases showed no record of the company, while security industry representatives and federal officials said they had never heard of it.

APF was registered as a corporation in California by convicted con man Michael Hilton on 2 March 2009.

Interestingly, there are absolutely no follow-up reports of “Michael Hilton” or anyone else being prosecuted or convicted in the APF case. They simply vanished. Think about that for a moment. A heavily-armed foreign force invades a small town in America on false pretenses committing dangerous fraud and the U.S. government does absolutely nothing about it. What does that tell you?

Well, we know the U.S. military uses private contractors in foreign wars, and we know the Pentagon is arming and militarizing domestic police, and we know the U.S. Army is training to enter law enforcement. It seems to me that it’s all part of the plan to keep the war machine churning and to control the population.

Now with a more polished version of private security, minus the flashy Mercedes and foreign accents, and sold to us as environmental guardians, this story has gone largely unnoticed. Yet, if these raid allegations are true, Lear’s actions already far exceed anything APF did in Montana.

Telling It Like It Is On Israel

September 22nd, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

 It’s high time growing numbers of critics speak out forthrightly. 

Israeli high crimes against peace are too egregious to ignore. 

It’s essential to maintain a steady drumbeat of truth. It’s crucial to enlist growing numbers to demand accountability.

Israel’s 20% Arab population is effectively disenfranchised. Their fundamental rights are systematically denied.

Their few Knesset members are treated like potted plants. Like enemies of the state.

They’re scorned. They’re denounced. They’re persecuted. They’re treated like fifth column threats.

Occupied Palestinians face daily state terror. Gaza’s blockade remains despite repeated Israeli promises to ease things.

It’s invaded, bombed and shelled preemptively at Israel’s discretion.

Palestinians are wrongfully blamed for Israeli high crimes against peace. West Bank communities face multiple daily incursions.

Homes are ransacked. Property is damaged, destroyed or stolen. Families are terrorized. Children are traumatized. Dozens of lawless arrests are made.

Gazan fishermen are attacked at sea. Israel does so despite its Operation Protective Edge ceasefire agreement pledge not to do so.

Israeli promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. They’re systematically spurned. It works the same way every time. Rogue states operate this way.

Farmers are shot in their fields. Israeli border guards shoot Palestinian children for target practice.

Peaceful protesters are attacked with tear gas, stun grenades, batons, rubber-coated steel bullets and live fire.

Steven Salaita refused to be silent. He acted responsibly. Doing so cost him his tenured University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign American Indian Studies professorship.

His Twitter comments pulled no punches. They touched vital nerves.

He called Israel “a great example of how colonization impairs ethics and compels people to support shameful deeds in the name of atavistic ideals.”

He said “Hamas is the biggest red herring in American political discourse since Saddam’s ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ ”

Claiming “Hamas makes us do it…isn’t new,” he explained. “American settlers used (similar logic) in slaughtering and displacing Natives.”

“Forget biting the hand,” he said. “Israel just devoured Obama’s arm to the shoulder blade.”

It’s the only nation mass “murder(ing) (hundreds of Palestinian children) and insisting it is the victim.”

It’s gets away with murder and mass destruction. It does so because Western leaders able to make a difference do nothing.

They don’t intervene. They don’t give a damn about doing the right thing.

They support Israeli lawlessness. They back its genocidal high crimes. They ignore Palestinian rights. Israeli ones alone matter.

Few outspoken people anywhere match George Galloway. He’s a British politician/broadcaster/writer. He’s a Respect Party Bradford West MP.

He gained prominence in Scottish politics. In 1983, he became London-based War on Want charity general secretary.

He won a Labor party parliamentary seat the same year. He represented Glasgow Hillhead. He later represented its successor Glasgow Kelvin constituency.

He retained the seat until 2005. In October 2003, he was expelled from Labor for opposing Bush/Blair’s naked aggression on Iraq.

Shameless Labor leaders said he brought disrepute to Britain’s Labor party. At the time, he said he’d stand as an independent MP.

He “consider(ed) his position…” He “consult(ed) (anti-war) movement” members.

“I will definitely defend my position in parliament,” he said. “I am not leaving politics.”

He called his expulsion “a travesty of justice, a politically motivated kangaroo court. The verdict was written in advance.”

“It is clear now that Mr. Blair intends to go after” likeminded anti-war advocates. “His response to the disaster is to attack those who opposed” it.

In April, he said if he was “sacked,” what message will (British people) take about the nature of Mr. Blair’s regime from that?”

“If necessary I will defend the new Glasgow Central constituency on a platform of real Labor values, and I believe I shall win.”

In a 50-page deposition, he argued he was wrongfully singled out for punishment. He voiced legitimate criticisms.

Other Labor party members shared them. They included former cabinet members Robin Cook and Clare Short.

At the opening of proceedings against him, he called them a “political show trial.” He said it was more like how Saddam ran things than modern-day Britain.

Former Labor MP Tony Benn defended him. He said Blair described peace protesters disgracefully. He stressed they had “blood on their hands.”

“Serious things were said on both sides,” he added. Labor has no internal appeal process against expulsion.

Galloway was with Labor from age 13. He was saddened to leave party ranks. Labor would “rue the day” it expelled him, he said.

National constitutional committee panel chair Rose Burley issued a statement, saying:

“Following the case brought by the national executive committee of the Labour party to the national constitutional committee and after a two day hearing the unanimous decision of the panel of the national constitutional committee found four of the five charges brought against Mr Galloway proven and the decision of the panel was that Mr Galloway be expelled from membership of the Labour party forthwith.”

Stop The War coalition leaders called his expulsion an “absolute disgrace.”

Coalition convenor Lindsey German said he “told the truth before, during and after the war with Iraq, whereas Tony Blair has told nothing but lies.”

“It is disgraceful that the Labour party is penalizing (him) and giving Blair a standing ovation because that does not reflect the British people’s views.”

London Unison convenor George Martin said:

“This will drive more people away from the Labour party and will make it more difficult to maintain the link between the party and trade unions.”

Labor MP socialist campaign group members called for an emergency NEC meeting. They urged overturning “this contemptible decision and reinstat(ing) Galloway with immediate effect.”

Waging war on Iraq was illegal, Galloway stressed. He urged British troops to disobey “illegal orders.” He asked:

“Why don’t Arabs do something for the Iraqis? Where are the Arab armies? We wonder when the Arab leaders wake up? When are they going to stand by the Iraqi people?”

Galloway remains passionately anti-war. He’s unapologetic about where he stands.

In May 2005, he bested US senators on Capitol Hill. He exposed them. He embarrassed them. He made fools of them.

He gave far more than he took. He accused them of manufacturing “the mother of all smokescreens.”

He did so in refuting wrongful charges about profiting from Iraqi oil sales. He told Senate subcommittee members they conducted a “schoolboy howler” in investigating illicit oil sales.

They tried diverting attention from the aftermath of Bush/Blair’s Iraq aggression. He was powerfully defiant.

He told Republican subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman:

“I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice.”

“I am here today, but last week you already found me guilty.”

“You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever having written to me or telephoned me, without any contact with me whatsoever.”

“And you call that justice.”

Senate subcommittee members targeted Galloway for his anti-war convictions. They had no evidence that he profited from Iraqi oil sales. None existed.

“What counts is not the names on the paper,” he said. “What counts is where’s the money, senator?”

“Who paid me money, senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars?

“The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who paid me a penny, you would have produced them here today.”

Senate subcommittee member lied. They claimed Galloway and former French interior minister Charles Pasqua got lucrative oil revenue payouts in return for demanding sanctions imposed on Iraq be loosened.

Galloway and Pasqua denied the accusation. Galloway said so-called documents used against them were “forged.” It’s a “proven fact,” he said.

Rightwing broadsheets published them. They did so to discredit Galloway.

He told Norm Coleman “(y)ou have nothing on me, senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad.”

He assured senators he “never (got) a penny from an oil deal, a cake deal, a bread deal or from any other deal.”

At the same time, he attacked Bush/Blair’s naked aggression. The immorality of post-Gulf War sanctions. The unconscionable harm done to millions of Iraqis.

“Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong,” he said.

Bush/Blair waged war based “on a pack of lies,” he stressed. He accused Congress having blood on its hands.

He opposed Saddam’s regime “when British British and American governments and businessmen were selling him guns and (poison) gas,” he said.

“I have a better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do,” he stressed.

Galloway supports Palestinian rights. He’s forthrightly anti-Zionist. It’s a cancer harming Jews and non-Jews alike.

He was involved in Viva Palestina humanitarian aid missions. He’s a powerful speaker. The Spectator named him 2001 Debater of the Year.

He said Israeli products, academics and tourists aren’t welcome in his Bradford West district. He declared it an “Israeli-free zone.” Israelis aren’t wanted here, he stressed.

“We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college.”

“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so.”

In response to police questioning, he said:

“This is a monumental – and monumentally expensive – waste of police time set off by people who apparently find it excusable to incinerate innocent children and babies.”

“I will not suffer any attempts to have my freedom of speech curtailed and I am confident that at the end of this charade my right to speak the truth will be upheld.”

Daniel Taub is Israeli UK ambassador. Things escalated after he visited Bradford in mid-August. He held meetings with Jewish groups and prominent councillors.

He claimed Jewish community leaders and Israeli supporters invited him after Galloway said tourists weren’t welcome.

He tweeted a picture of himself holding an Israeli passport outside city hall. Another with an Israeli flag in Bradford’s Greengates area.

Bradford Council of Mosques secretary Zulfi Karim called his actions “deliberate(ly) provocati(ve).”

“For an ambassador to unfurl an Israeli flag by a Welcome to Bradford sign is a deliberate provocation and not the behaviour I would expect of an ambassador of one of the world’s most important countries,” he said.

He urged Galloway and Taub to stop “bring(ing) (their) politics to the streets of Bradford to create disharmony among our communities.”

Galloway urged Bradford’s council to table a no confidence motion against Labor leader Dave Green. He met with Taub at city hall. So did Conservative and Liberal Democrat members.

Green accused Galloway of using Israel’s Gaza war to benefit himself politically locally and internationally. In response, Galloway said:

“I think Labor’s open invitation that ‘Israelis are welcome in Bradford’ and the ambassador’s furtive visit ensured my re-election, no?”

In 2012, Galloway won Bradford West’s byelection overwhelmingly. At the time, he called his victory the “Bradford Spring.”

Separately on September 20, Labor candidate Vicky Kirby was suspended after using social media to criticize Israel. She justifiably called its regime “evil.”

She reportedly said

“(w)e invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher.”

“I will never forget, and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!”

“Apparently you can ask IS/ISIS/ISIL questions on ask.fm.”

“Anyone thought of asking them why they’re not attacking the real oppressors #Israel?”

Suspending Kirby didn’t surprise. Criticizing Israel is the third rail of Western politics. It’s a potential career ender for those who try.

Galloway is a notable exception. If enough other government representatives and aspirants followed his lead, things might change dramatically.

Israel high crimes would be highlighted. They wouldn’t fade from public attention.

Perhaps accountability would follow. Maybe long overdue justice owed Palestinians.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.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 three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

The next time you visit a hospital, it is your wallet that may end up hurting the most.  All over the United States, it has become common practice for hospitals to wildly inflate medical bills.  For example, it has been reported that some hospitals are charging up to 30 dollars for a single aspirin pill.  And as you will see below, some victims report being billed tens of thousands of dollars for a non-surgical hospital visit that lasts only a few hours.  When something is seriously wrong with us, most of us never stop to ask our health professionals how much it will cost to actually treat us.  In that moment, we are desperate and we just want someone to help us.  Many doctors and hospitals take full advantage of this by billing their “customers” as much as they feel they can possible get away with.  It is a legal scam that is bilking ordinary Americans out of billions of dollars every single year.

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on one case that is a perfect example of the outrageous medical billing that I am talking about…

Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms. A bank technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Mr. Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.

He was blindsided, though, by a bill of about$117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a Queens-based neurosurgeon whom Mr. Drier did not recall meeting.

“I thought I understood the risks,” Mr. Drier, who lives in New York City, said later. “But this was just so wrong — I had no choice and no negotiating power.”

The practice known as “drive-by doctoring” has gotten completely and totally out of control.

All over America, doctors are popping into surgeries or are stopping by to talk to another doctor’s patients for a few minutes and are charging thousands of dollars for this “assistance”.

It is a morally reprehensible scam that needs to be stopped.

Another thing that needs to be stopped is the practice that many hospitals have of billing patients for emergency medications at a rate that is thousands of times over cost.

For example, just check out what happened when 52-year-old Marcie Edmonds went in to a hospital in Arizona to get treated for a scorpion sting

With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

Did that hospital actually need to charge that much?

Of course not.

Hospitals down in Mexico only charge $100 per dose of Anascorp.

And anyone that has ever been in for major surgery knows how outrageous some of these hospital bills can be.

For instance, consider the experience of an NBC News reporter that chose to have neck surgery for degenerative disc disease….

Once I got my itemized bill, the grand total was a little over $66,013.40!   That was for a one night stay and a four level vertebrae fusion surgery.  The charges included $22 for one sleeping pill, $427 for one dissecting tool, and $32,000 for four titanium plates and ten screws.

I brought it to Todd Hill, a fee based patient advocate who helps people decipher their medical bills. “The screws in your procedure were billed at $605 a piece for a total of $6050 dollars. We’ve seen those in our past research for $25 or $30,” he said. “In this case, the markup is tremendous,” he added.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans die completely broke is because medical bills can run up to astronomical heights if you happen to have a terminal illness.

For example, a while back Time Magazine reported on one cancer patient in California that had run up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for$348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for$77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled$120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

The sad truth is that the U.S. health care system has become a giant money making scam, and all of us are the victims.

Those that work in this industry should be greatly ashamed for what they are doing to us.

Just consider the following numbers…

-It has been estimated that hospitals in the United States overcharge their patients by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

-Medical bills are the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.  One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

-According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills cause more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.

-Health insurance is not nearly as much protection as you might think.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, of all bankruptcies caused by medical debt approximately 75 percent of the time the people actually did have health insurance.

-Hospitals are not shy about sending debt collection agencies after people with unpaid medical bills.  In fact, collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans every year.

-Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care.  Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

-If the U.S. health care system was a nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

Does anyone out there have any doubt that the system is completely broken?

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  Hospitals all over America are brazenly ripping us off, and we need to stand up and say that enough is enough.

There was much enthusiasm in 2008 that President Barack Obama would bring a saner and more lawful approach to issues of foreign policy and war and peace. Six years later — with Americans still being killed in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay still in active operation, US drones killing people in several countries and even American citizens, and now new mischief in Iraq — it is clear that President Obama has done little more than expand the already large war-making powers of his predecessor and fully enabled the vision of a “unitary executive” with unfettered powers in war and peace.

Where is, for example, President Obama’s domestic authorization for the use of force in Iraq against the Islamic State? Obama has taken the position that the 2001 Authorization of Use of Force (“AUMF”) passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, as well as the 2002 AUMF against Iraq passed before that war provide him with the legal basis for further air strikes. None other than John Yoo, the famous ratifier of torture in the George W. Bush Administration, has rushed to Obama’s defense, claiming that Obama has all the legal authority he needs under the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.

But the notion that these Authorizations support current military action against the Islamic State more than a decade after they were initially passed is highly flawed. The 2001 AUMF was specifically limited to terrorist groups that had planned or aided the 9/11 attacks. There is zero evidence (and no government official has yet argued) that the Islamic State is somehow tied to 9/11. The 2002 AUMF, which provided the domestic legal basis for the Iraq War, is also untenable as justification for this war as it was based on the purported “threat” posed by Saddam Hussein. Indeed, through his National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Obama himself called for the revocation of the 2002 AUMF in July, mere weeks before now claiming it as a renewed basis for the adventurism in Iraq.

The attacks are also bereft of any basis in international law. Under the United Nations Charter, a country may only use armed force against another country in self-defense, or when approved by the United Nations Security Council. There is no resolution that has authorized the US strikes in Iraq; and the notion that the United States must lob bombs into Iraq as a matter of self-defense is simply not credible.

While not made explicitly (at least not yet), the White House will likely rely on a tenuous theory in international law called the “responsibility to protect,” which argues that countries may involve themselves militarily in other countries in order to protect civilians or prevent other imminent humanitarian harms. This was the basis of the bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia, which never had UN Security Council authorization. Obama’s current Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is a well known advocate of this doctrine and she has recently argued that the US has all the legal authorization it needs for the air campaign.

But there is no basis in international law for such a theory, and more clear-minded observers have rightly concluded that the so-called “responsibility to protect” is a thinly-veiled excuse for Western meddling in countries thousands of miles away. As Antony Loewenstein notes:

We never hear any [responsibility to protect] backers pushing for a military intervention in Gaza to protect the Palestinians from Israeli missiles. Nobody is talking about protecting Egyptian civilians from the brutal, US-backed dictatorship in Egypt. Barely a word is raised to protect the repressed activists in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. Whether it’s dressed up as solidarity, a responsibility to protect, or an intervention to prevent breaches of human rights, from Iraq to Libya these are grotesque experiments on helpless civilians, the conclusions of which are clear for us to see.

The Nuremberg Trials, which outlawed wars not conducted in conformity in international law, made no exceptions for “responsibility to protect,” and in fact labeled any war not conducted with a solid legal footing as the “crime of aggression,” considered the supreme international crime – largely because of the horrific consequences that take place when wars break out. Yet here, too, this White House has recently argued to the Northern District of California that the Nuremberg Trials are “irrelevant” to the determination of whether Presidents can be held accountable for their actions with respect to war and peace.

From a historical point of view, it is ironic that a young senator from Illinois who campaigned in large part agains the Iraq War and who showcased his credentials as a constitutional scholar would be the handmaiden of the permanent “state of exception” described by the National Socialist philosopher Carl Schmitt, who argued that sovereigns should have the right to suspend the legal and juridical constraints of their societies so that they may act outside of law. This is the opposite of the legal constitutionalism that forms the philosophical basis of the American legal order, which can be summarized with the words of Edward Coke: “The King himself should be under no man, but under God and the Law.”

Even six years later, the stings and scars of the Bush-era wars still haunt those who favor civilization over barbarity, and certainly continue to physically affect those who fought on either side, as well as the millions of civilians who always suffer when wars take place.

The failure of President Obama to seek a more rational foreign policy is a disquieting but important lesson:  those pressing for a lawful, constitutional government that resolves international conflicts instead of initiating them have far more work to do and cannot rely on the promises — falsely given — by politicians from any political party. The last Administration was wrong, but it was openly wrong and harbored no pretenses that it sought an imperial Presidency. In contrast, this Administration has cloaked itself in sanctimony even while consolidating the grave excesses of its predecessor. Both parties remain committed to imperialism and the wars that accompany them, or in the immortal words of Tacitus, writing two millennia ago of those who dismantled the ancient republic in Rome in order to create a dynastic and militant empire: “To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

D. Inder Comar is legal director at Comar Law. Comar Law is currently litigating a lawsuit against members of the Bush Administration for allegedly committing aggression against Iraq (Saleh v. Bush, N.D. Cal. Mar. 13, 2013, 13-cv-1124 JST). 

The Myth of Syria’s Moderate Rebels

September 22nd, 2014 by Stephen Gowans

Political Islam has a long history of cooperating with Western imperialism at certain times and in certain places, and of turning against it at other times and in other places. For example, Osama bin Laden cooperated with the United States to overthrow a progressive pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan, and then launched a jihad against the domination of the Middle East by the United States. Many Palestinians were sent to Afghanistan in the 1980s by the Muslim Brotherhood to struggle against the atheists in Kabul (much to the delight of Israel) only to return to join a Palestinian national liberation struggle against Israel in the ranks of Hamas.

What separates the rebels in Syria that the United States and its allies arm, train, fund and direct from those it seeks to degrade and ultimately destroy is not a secular vs. Islamist orientation. Even the so-called “moderate” rebels are under the sway of Islamist thinking. Instead the dividing line between the good “moderate” rebels and the bad “extremist” rebels is willingness to cooperate with the United States and the region’s former colonial powers. The “good” ones are under the control of the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, or aren’t, but are working in directions that comport with Western foreign policy goals, while the “bad” ones are working in ways that frustrate the attainment of the foreign policy objectives of the West. In other words, one set of rebels is cooperating with Western imperialism while the other frustrates it.

The “moderate” Syrian rebels who US officials are counting on to battle the Islamic State as part of the Obama administration’s plan to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS comprise dozens of groups which report directly to the CIA [1] and are under the sway of Islamist thinking. [2] According to General Abdul-Ilah al Bashir, who led the Free Syrian Army before its collapse at the end of last year, the CIA has taken over direction of the rebel force and FSA groups now report directly to US intelligence. [3]

The groups are run from military command centers in Turkey and Jordan, staffed by intelligence agents of the United States and the Friends of Syria, a collection of former colonial powers and Sunni crowned dictatorships. The command centers furnish the rebels with arms, training, and salaries. The United States provides overall guidance, while Turkey manages the flow of rebels over its border into Syria, and Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states provide much of the funding. [4]

The centerpiece of the CIA-directed rebel grouping is the Hazm Movement, formerly known as Harakat Zaman Mohamed, or Movement of the Time of Muhammad. It is strongly backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and by key Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Qatar and Turkey. [5]

The US-backed rebels cooperate with the Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria, [6] which the UN Security Council denounced this summer along with ISIS for their “gross, systematic and widespread abuse of human rights” [7] but which the United States has left out of its war on the Islamic State, even though its origins and methods are the same as those of ISIS, and its goals similar. Accordingly, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria will continue to coordinate operations with CIA-directed rebels, unhindered by US strikes.

Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, deems the idea of the moderate secular rebel a myth. “You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights…because they don’t exist.” [8]

Andrew J. Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who follows Syrian events, points out that most of the rebels backed by the United States come from “rural, Sunni areas where Islamist thinking has long held sway and often colors their thinking.” [9] They are not moderate fighters for secular liberal democratic values.

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn echoes these views. In his new book, The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising (OR Books), Cockburn observes that there is “no dividing wall” between “America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies” and ISIS and the Nusra Front. [10]

While US officials and Western mass media promote a false narrative of two sets of rebels occupying opposite ends of two different axes—Islamist vs. secular and extremist vs. moderate—the most relevant axis may be one defining the groups’ orientation toward the West.

Reflecting the ideology of their al-Qaeda progenitor, the Nusra Front and ISIS seek to bring historically Islamic regions under Sunni Islamist political control, which means the ejection of the United States and its local marionettes, the destruction of secular regimes, and the elimination of local “heresies”, including Shia Islam and its heterodox Alawi offshoot, to which Syrian president Bashar al-Assad belongs.

The CIA-directed rebels, in contrast, appear to have a more moderate attitude to the United States, and are open to working with Washington and its Arab and NATO allies. Hassan al-Hamada, a leader of one of the CIA-directed rebel groups says, “We want to be hand in hand with the West, and for the future of Syria to be with the West.” [11]

The word “moderate,” then, appears to have but one meaning—a willingness to work with the United States, under the direction of the CIA, and in cooperation with Western imperialism…at least for now.

Notes

1. Patrick Cockburn, “Syria and Iraq: Why US policy is fraught with danger,” The Independent, September 9, 2014.
2. Ben Hubbard, “U.S. goal is to make Syrian rebels viable,” The New York times, September 18, 2014.
3. Cockburn.
4. Hubbard.
5. Suhaib Anjarini, “Harakat Hazm: America’s new favourite jihadist group”, Al Akhbar English, May 22, 2014.
6. Hubbard.
7. UN Security Council Resolution 2170 (2014). http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11520.doc.htm
8. Ben Hubbard, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. pins hope on Syrian rebels with loyalties all over the map”, The New York Times, September 11, 2014.
9. Hubbard.
10. Belen Fernandez, “Book review: The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising,” The Middle East Eye, September 3, 2014.
11. Hubbard.

The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the Chinese Internet trading company Alibaba, which led to a frenzy on Wall Street last Friday, is the latest, and one of the most spectacular, expressions of the parasitism that is now the dominant feature of the global financial system and the world economy more broadly.

Initially priced at $68 per share, the stock began trading on the New York exchange at $92.70, with 100 million shares changing hands in the first ten minutes, before closing at $93.89. The 38 percent rise took the market value of the fifteen-year-old company to $231 billion, more than Amazon, Proctor & Gamble and JP Morgan.

The IPO reportedly made Jack Ma, the company’s founder, China’s richest man, with a net worth of $26.5 billion. It is hard to ascertain what is more repugnant: the scale of the plunder or the extent of the hypocrisy that accompanied it. Ma told the CNBC business TV channel that the issue was not money, but getting “trust from the people.”

Silver Lake Management, which focuses on trading in technology firms, reaped five times its initial outlay on Alibaba. Silver Lake bought into the company in October 2011 in a series of deals that put Alibaba’s market value at around $30 billion. At the end of Friday’s trading, it had reaped profits of $4.6 billion. Likewise, Yahoo stands to gain about $5.1 billion after selling its 121.7 million shares in the company.

The 35 underwriters of the deal collectively raked in around $300 million in fees, with five major banks securing about $45 million each.

The entire operation was a graphic demonstration of the putrefaction of the profit system. The IPO itself was an exercise in insider trading, with some 25 institutions securing more than 50 percent of the shares and the biggest portion of the profits on offer.

Fabulous fortunes were made in a matter of minutes as a result of share trading in a company that produces nothing, but is engaged in e-commerce, that is, facilitating buying and selling through the Internet. The naked display of avarice occurred under conditions of stagnation and slump in the real economy and relentless attacks on the conditions of workers, justified by the claim that “there is no money” for jobs, decent wages or basic social services.

The overall indebtedness of the city of Detroit, now in bankruptcy and at the centre of the assault on the working class, including the shutoff of water to thousands of households, is put at around $18 billion—less than the profits raked in during the first hour of trading in Alibaba shares.

The parasitism involved in the IPO is underscored by a consideration of why the “market value” of Alibaba is so inflated. It is not because it has developed some new form of technology, facilitated an important innovation, or brought forward a more advanced production technique.

Its attractiveness flows from its monopolisation of Internet services in China. It dominates operations that in other countries are run by different companies. It owns Chinese firms that are the equivalent of Amazon and eBay and earns money from transaction fees flowing from the Chinese equivalent of PayPal.

This monopoly position has been facilitated by the company’s close connections to the Chinese Stalinist regime. An article in the Australian Financial Review noted that Jack Ma had fostered “warm relations” with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Truth be told,” the newspaper reported, “Alibaba couldn’t have reached the heights it already has without the support of the upper echelons of the Communist Party.”

This is a striking revelation of the role played by the Chinese regime in propping up world capitalism, with all its socially destructive consequences, and the global character of the international financial aristocracy.

The Alibaba IPO came at the end of a week in which a report by Wealth-X and UBS showed that the world’s billionaires had an accumulated wealth of $7.3 trillion, an increase of 12 percent in the last year. This increase of wealth at the very top is accompanied by worsening social conditions for the working class in all of the major capitalist centres. These are not parallel processes, but causally connected.

Since the eruption of the global financial crisis in 2008, the economic policies of the ruling elites have proceeded on two main lines: the supply of ultra-cheap money to the banks and financial institutions to finance speculation, and the driving down of the social position of the working class.

The connection between the two has again been illustrated. Within a day of the Alibaba IPO orgy on Wall Street, halfway round the world at a meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers in Cairns, Australia, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde insisted on the necessity for so-called “labour market” reforms—code words for the destruction of what remains of legal protections for workers.

The frenzy on the financial markets, the surge in corporate stock buybacks, IPOs and takeovers, and the return of the same practices that led to the crisis of 2008 are themselves expressions of the deep and ongoing crisis of the world capitalist system.

The euro zone economies are either stagnating or in outright recession, with production levels still below where they were in 2007. The Japanese economy has experienced no growth this year, despite the massive financial stimulus package carried out under “Abenomics.” Chinese growth is slowing, with mounting questions arising over the stability of the country’s financial system. The American economy has failed to return to anywhere near the growth levels reached before the financial crash.

In other words, money is pouring into the financial system because it has nowhere else to go. The rise of speculation, parasitism and the monopolisation of socially produced wealth by a money-crazed and semi-criminal elite are manifestations of the deep-going historical crisis of the capitalist economic order.

The Alibaba IPO exemplifies the manner in which the capitalist market and monopoly domination turn the Internet, a technological advance that potentially opens up vast prospects for social advancement, into a means for generating fabulous wealth for a mere handful. It is another demonstration of the necessity for the complete overturn of the profit system and the reconstruction of the global economic order on socialist foundations.

Obama Marshals Allies for War on Syria and Iraq

September 22nd, 2014 by Peter Symonds

In the lead-up to this week’s UN General Assembly meetings, the Obama administration is engaged in an aggressive political campaign to justify and marshal support for the extension of its war in Iraq into Syria. Under the pretext of “degrading and destroying” Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militias, the US is engaged in an illegal war of aggression with the objective of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Claims by American officials that Washington has the support of 40 countries cannot obscure the fact that this is another US war based on lies, and in flagrant breach of international law. US warplanes have carried out more than 160 air strikes inside Iraq after being invited to do so by its puppet regime in Baghdad, and its aircraft and drones have already carried out reconnaissance inside Syria. Washington has arrogated to itself the right to conduct air strikes inside Syria, despite the expressed opposition of the Syrian government.

Speaking on the ABC’s “This Week” program last night, US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, declared that the US had the “legal basis” for waging an air war on Syria and that there was “universal support” in the international community for attacking ISIS. In fact, Washington lacks even the fig-leaf of a UN resolution to legitimise its new war. When Obama chairs a special UN Security Council session on Wednesday, he is unlikely to seek a resolution supporting air strikes on Syria, as Russia would veto it.

Power made the absurd assertion that military aggression against Syria was justified because Iraq had requested it. “The Iraqis have appealed to the international community to come to their defence not only in Iraq, but also to go after safe havens in foreign countries. And what they mean of course is Syria. And they’re quite explicit about that,” she said. Such “requests” could be engineered to justify an aggressive war against any country in the world.

Power insisted that the US had commitments from allies to join the air war on Syria, but declined to name them. Only two countries—France and Australia—have sent war planes. France carried out air strikes on ISIS targets inside Iraq on Friday, but has ruled out doing so in Syria. The Australian government has dispatched fighter jets and hundreds of military personnel to the Middle East, but has given no public commitment to attacking Syria.

While focussing on ISIS atrocities in a bid to gather support for its war, the Obama administration is already laying the groundwork for moving against Assad. US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday again accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons against civilians. He seized on a report by the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, claiming that it “strongly points to Syrian regime culpability” in the use of chlorine gas. In fact, the report did not assign blame. The Assad government, which has denied any involvement, has far more to lose in carrying out such attacks than the various anti-government militias that are seeking US support.

Likewise, US allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which have helped arm and finance right-wing anti-government militias, including ISIS, inside Syria, are now using the Islamic extremists they helped create as a tortured argument for removing Assad. At the UN last Friday, Turkey branded the Syrian regime as a “patron of extremism,” while the Saudi ambassador declared: “ISIL [ISIS] and the Syrian regime are but different sides of the same coin.”

The White House might not be explicitly targetting Assad at present, but other American commentators are. Anthony Cordesman, a prominent strategic analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), left no doubt in a comment last Friday that the war “is not a fight directed at Islamic State alone in Syria.” The defeat of ISIS would “leave Syria divided between an Assad regime that has managed to create even more casualties, human suffering and repression than the Islamic State… and some warring rebel faction in the East.”

Other figures in the US foreign policy and military establishment were even more open. Speaking on CBS, former deputy CIA director Mike Morell declared:

“Assad is the key problem here, supported by Iran and supported by Russia. I would support going after him and his leadership team aggressively. But I don’t want to do it in a way that degrades the Syrian military, the Syrian security service, and the Syrian intelligence service because they need to be able to bring stability to that country when Assad goes.”

Morell’s comments underscore the fact that the renewed regime-change operation against Assad is also aimed against its backers—Iran and Russia. The Obama administration shelved its plans for an aerial blitzkrieg against Syria last September in the face of widespread public opposition, disagreements in ruling circles and Russia’s opposition to the war. In the aftermath, the US, in league with Germany, engineered the fascist-led coup in Ukraine in February and a confrontation with Russia, in order to integrate Eastern Europe further into the NATO alliance and weaken Moscow.

Now the Obama administration has launched a new war in the Middle East aimed at removing Russia’s only regional ally and consolidating its own hegemony. Such a conflict threatens to embroil not just Syria and Iraq but the wider region and to drag in other powers, such as Russia, whose interests are under threat. Moreover, the war will require a far greater US military commitment, despite Obama’s denials that American troops will be involved in combat.

Central to Cordesman’s comment was the need to put US troops on the frontline as “advisers and enablers” of Iraqi forces and anti-Assad militias in Syria. While not currently advocating the use of “major combat units,” he insisted that it would require “a limited number of US ‘boots on the ground’ that will effectively be in combat to make the difference.” The “limited number” would “almost certainly need [to be] something more than the 1,400-odd US troops now assigned to these missions.”

174 Palestinians Kidnapped in One Week

September 22nd, 2014 by Tony Seed

File – Image By Palestinian Prisoners Society

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported on September 14 that Israeli soldiers kidnapped 174 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, in the second week of September, 2014.

The PPS added that most of the kidnappings were focused in the northern West Bank district of Jenin with 69 arrests in different parts of the district.

It added that the soldiers also kidnapped 40 Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, 12 in Bethlehem, 17 in Ramallah, and 10 in occupied Jerusalem.

Four more Palestinians have been kidnapped in the Nablus district, four in Qalqilia, five in Tulkarem, while 13 Palestinians have been kidnapped in Tubas and Salfit, in Central West Bank.

There are approximately 7000 Palestinians who are currently held by Israel in 17 prisons and detention camps.

Among the detained Palestinians are 75 Palestinians who have been kidnapped after being released under the Shalit Prisoner Swap Agreement.

30 detainees have been imprisoned since before the First Oslo Agreement of 1993; the longest serving detainee is Karim Younis, who has been imprisoned since at least 32 years.

They were supposed to be released back in late March, but Israel violated its own vows to release them under the fourth and final phase of releasing all veteran detainees.

Information on Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel:

1. 477 detainees are serving life terms.

2. 19 female detainees are currently imprisoned; the longest serving of them is Lina Jarbouni who was taken prisoner more than 12 years ago.

3. 250 Palestinian children are still imprisoned by Israel.

4. 500 detainees are currently held under Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial.

5. Six elected former government ministers are still imprisoned by Israel.

6. 36 elected legislators are still imprisoned by Israel.

7. 1500 detainees suffer with various illnesses, and serious conditions, including cancer, heart conditions, and liver diseases, and paralysis. Fourteen of them permanently staying at the Ramla Prison Clinic that lacks basic supplies.

8. 205 detainees died in Israeli prisons since 1967, due to torture, medical neglect, and due to being shot and killed by the arresting officers or while in prison.

9. Dozens of detainees died shortly after their release due to diseases they contracted in prison, and were not provided the needed medical attention.

www.imemc.org/article/68977

by Lilian Rosengarten

“I need to say again, as a Jew and refugee from Nazi Germany  I am ashamed of Israel, a country I once hoped to love.  Zionism  has succeeded  to activate the rise of anti-Semitism, a result in my view of a grisly, brutal agenda of ethnic cleansing, , apartheid and human rights crimes against Palestinians.”

A submarine, the biggest  ever constructed in Germany is being delivered to the Israeli Navy that has the capacity to carry a nuclear weapon. The cost is more than 1 billion Euros, 33%  has been covered by the German government. This is the 4th German built submarine delivered. That it was built by the Thyssen Krupp marine builders is an odd twist of fate. Krupp Industries employed workers conscripted by the Nazi regime from across Europe. These workers were initially paid, but as Nazi fortunes declined they were kept as slave workers.  Krupp industries was prosecuted after the end of war for its support to the Nazi regime and use of forced labour.(Wikipedia) In 1997 a takeover created Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG. That Krupp industries employed workers forced to work for the Nazi Regime across Europe and to served Hitler in his war against Jews and other “undesirables” underlies an important question. How do we understand Germany’s surreal behavior as it supplies massive U Boats built for war to Zionist Israel? What ambivalence and hidden motives must feed into Germany’s relationship to Israel?

Surreal, terrifying. The nightmare from which I cannot wake is the shame I feel as a Jew to be witness once again to Nationalism and racism in the form of Zionist Israel’s crimes against Palestinians as well as blind collaborative support  of Israel by the US and Germany in particular.  Of course, this support is misdirected for to support genocide is a crime itself.  What drives them in this misguided blindness?  Of course we cannot exclude enormous financial gains in the business of war games that offer enormous monetary wealth through the killing machines. What existential fears create such a corruption of alliances as well as the destruction of the entire Middle East by NATO with the US at its helm. It goes on, reignited again at this moment to fight some other “terrorist” phantom.

I received a report from the Daily Beast It says:  (Nico Hines and Sami Yosafzai  8/11/14)

Obama’s Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

“The human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.”

The U.S. military has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year, according to a report by Amnesty International published today in Kabul.

Shameful and not surprising that a nation capable of such evil, can without much conscience support evil.

Germany on the other hand appears to continue to carry leftover guilt of crimes against Jews. That this may be true indicates how the Holocaust has been transformed into big business, a black mark on the memory of the Nazi Holocaust as well as a betrayal of what it means to be Jewish.

I need to say again, as a Jew and refugee from Nazi Germany  I am ashamed of Israel, a country I once hoped to love.  Zionism  has succeeded  to activate the rise of anti-Semitism, a result in my view of a grisly, brutal agenda of ethnic cleansing, , apartheid and human rights crimes against Palestinians. In addition, it has  created  the completely false and destructive label of “anti-Semite “ to those who resist. We see evidence of  “domestic terrorism,” that is  the use of the Nazi Holocaust to create fear and guilt in populations that have an emotional connection and a fear of the  rise of Nazism once again. Insanity is what comes to mind. A twisted ideology  arising from  generations of paranoia , wounds not healed and a Zionist belief  in exceptionalism, better than, superiority, that which lends itself to racism. It is important to reiterate , Zionism and  Judaism have no connection. One is a nationalistic political movement, the other a religion.  It is Zionism that propels the Israel/Palestine into the fantasy of “Jewish State Only.” If there is to be a Democratic Israel/ Palestine, Zionism must cease to exist.

Lilian Rosengarten, author “From The Shadows Of Nazi Germany To The Jewish Boat To Gaza:” translated into German, “ Ein bewegtes Leben von den Schatten Nazi-Deutschlands Zum judischen Boot nach Gaza (Zambon).  Contact : [email protected]

Copyright Lilian Rosengarten, Intifada, 2014

Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has  invaded America’s television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden’s leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America.

But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants. And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans.

Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America’s national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it’s gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as  author Tim Shorrock reported. The private intelligence contractors have profited to the tune of at least $6 billion a year. In 2010,  the Washington Post revealed that there are 1,931 private firms across the country dedicated to fighting terrorism.

What it all adds up to is a massive industry profiting off government-induced fear of terrorism, even though Americans are more likely to be killed by a car crash or their own furniture than a terror attack.

Here are five private companies cashing in on keeping you afraid.

1. The Chertoff Group

Photo: Youtube

On August 11, former NSA head Michael Hayden, the man at the center of the Bush administration’s 2005 surveillance scandal, was defending his former agency on CBS News in the wake of the latest NSA spying scandal. Commenting on President Obama’s half-hearted promises to reform some NSA practices, Hayden told host Bob Schieffer that “the President is trying to take some steps to make the American people more comfortable about what it is we’re doing. That’s going to be hard because, frankly, Bob, some steps to make Americans more comfortable will actually make Americans less safe.”

Former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff had a similar message when he appeared on ABC News August 4. Speaking about the purported threat from an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen that led to the closure of 19 U.S. embassies, Chertoff said that “the collection of this warning information [about Al Qaeda] came from the kinds of programs we’ve been discussing about, the ability to capture communications overseas.”

CBS and ABC did not see fit to inform viewers that both Hayden and Chertoff are employees of the Chertoff Group, a private firm created in 2009 that companies hire to consult on best practices for security and combatting terrorism. Some of the companies the firm advises go on to win government contracts. Chertoff is the founder and chairman of the group, while Hayden serves as a principal. So they profit off a war on terror they say is crucial to keeping Americans safe.

Though it’s unclear how much in total exactly the firm makes, there are some known numbers. After the failed attempt in 2010 to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day with a bomb hidden in underwear, Chertoff pushed for better airport security procedures. One of the suggestions Chertoff made was for the Transportation Security Agency to use full-body scanners like the ones Rapiscan, one of the Chertoff Group’s clients, made. And sure enough, after the Christmas Day plot, the TSA ordered 300 Rapiscan machines.  The Huffington Post reported that Rapiscan made $118 million from the government between 2009-2010.

2. Booz Allen Hamilton

Photo: The Guardian

This private intelligence contractor has become a household name in the wake of the NSA scandal. Edward Snowden, the man responsible for leaking secret documents that exposed the breadth of NSA surveillance, was working for Booz Allen when he downloaded the documents he handed off to media outlets. As the New York Times reported in June, the company parlays its technology expertise for intelligence uses into massive government contracts. Thousands of employees of the company provide services to the NSA, like analyzing the massive amounts of data the government agency collects every day. The company is also the shining symbol of the government-private security complex’s revolving door: its vice president is the former director of national intelligence, while the current director of national intelligence is a former employee of Booz Allen.

Despite the Snowden security breach, Booz Allen continues to work with the government. And they’re making a lot of money from the U.S. In the last fiscal year, the company made $1.3 billion from working in U.S. intelligence. In total, Booz Allen Hamiltion made over $5 billion last fiscal year. And the cash keeps coming: in January, the company announced that it had won a contract with the Defense Department to provide intelligence services. The amount of money it could make from the deal is up to $5.6 billion.

And like Hayden and Chertoff, Booz Allen’s vice president Mike McConnell has publicly hyped up the threat of terrorism to blast Snowden’s leaks. McConnell told a government contracting conference in July 2013 that Snowden’s leaks have done  “irrevocable damage” to the U.S.’s ability to stop terrorism. “It’s going to inhibit our ability to understand nuclear activity in North Korea, what’s going on in Syria, what might be happening with the Taliban in Afghanistan,” said McConnell.

3. Science Applications International Corporation

Sometimes referred to as “NSA West” because so many former NSA employees go on to work for the formerly California-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), this firm makes a ton of cash off government contracts. And they do so by hawking their expertise in combatting the terrorist threat.

Photo: Forbes

Browse through SAIC’s website and you’re constantly greeted with the words “terrorist threat” and information on how the SAIC can help the government and others battle it. SAIC developed a “Terrorism Protection Manual” for Florida law enforcement that was  developed to fight “today’s national terrorist threat and implement recommended security best practices.” They  boast of their “experience meeting the terrorism incident response training needs of a wide variety of customers, from training for a national Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) scenario, applicable at agency response levels, to lesser levels of incidents affecting a city, a military installation or a special facility.”

Back when John P. Jumper, the current CEO of SAIC, was an Air Force general, he said the threat of terrorism is “greater than Nazism, greater than communism. This threat that we have of terrorist zealots is the most dangerous because these are people who care nothing about life. They care nothing about our lives, for sure, and they care nothing about their own lives.” And Larry Prior, a U.S. intelligence veteran who used to run the company’s Intelligence and Security Group, said in an internal newsletter that “the future of the nation rests on their backs,” referring to employees in his group.

SAIC is an immensely lucrative and large company. It boasts 42,000 employees—20,000 of whom hold U.S. government security clearances. It is the NSA’s largest contractor,  according to CorpWatch, and is deeply involved in the NSA’s collection of intelligence. Last year it reported a net income of $525 million.

4. Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies 

U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t the only sectors of government where the private sector has cashed in on the fear of terrorism. The post-9/11 world has seen the blossoming of a cottage industry of self-styled “experts” on Islam from private companies that market their supposedly ironclad analysis of the threat from Islamists to other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. These companies have profited from law enforcement taking part in the “war on terror.”

Photo: Flickr

Through Homeland Security grant programs like the State Homeland Security Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, the federal government has doled out over billions of dollars to these private companies to provide Islamophobic training. One of these companies is called the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies.

Based in Virginia, the center “posits radical Islam as a new global ideological menace on the order of the old communist threat from the Soviet Union,” asPolitical Research Associates (PRA) noted in a 2011 report on private firms doing counter-terror training. Staff members include former FBI, CIA and Defense Department personnel.

Their claim to fame is providing education and training to members of the U.S. national security community—including law enforcement agencies, according to their website. They say they have trained over 67,000 people over the past decade.

It’s unclear exactly how much this firm makes per year. But according to the PRA report, a five-day course for government employees on the “Global Jihadist Threat Doctrine” costs $39,280. The firm also lists the costs of individual courses on their website. For a 30-person class titled “Dying to Kill Us: Understanding the Mindset of Suicide Operations,” the cost is $7,856. For a three-day course for 30 people on “Informant Development for Law Enforcement to FighTerrorism,” the cost is $23,568.

The training pushes anti-Muslim ideology. On the section of their website where they list feedback from participants of the courses, one wrote: “An eye-opener. Especially how many Muslim Brotherhood front organizations there are and that the government doesn’t get it.”

5. Security Solutions International

Security Solutions International is yet another private firm hawking anti-Muslim training to law enforcement. This Miami-based company founded in 2004 uses its Israeli security connections to boost its standing in the market. They use Israeli security trainers in their courses and their president,  Henry Morgenstern, is a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen who says he “developed excellent high level contacts with the Security Establishment [in Israel], making SSI the premiere training company for counter-terror related subjects.”

Photo: Military 1

The company has trained over 700 law enforcement agencies since 2004. Officials from law enforcement agencies like the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Department of Homeland Security have participated in the conferences they put on for profit. While SSI claims that they don’t cast aspersions on the whole of Islam, an examination of their trainings, conferences and the speakers they use indicate otherwise.

At a 2009 conference sponsored by Police magazine, an SSI instructor who is the company’s “expert” on Islam used a video that showed a terrorist beheading a hostage. After the course was met with criticism, the company’s CEO said “their religion got linked to terrorism a long time ago.”

The conferences they hold are usually well-attended, and this year SSI is putting on a conference in Orlando, Florida for three days. The  cost for each attendee is $400. The keynote speaker this year is Steve Emerson, a well-known member of what’s been termed the “Islamophobia industry.” SSI also makes money off its Counter Terrorist magazine. A yearly subscription is $35, and the company says it has 15,000 subscribers.

Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal
Translated by Daniil Mihailovich / Edited by @GBabeuf 

Preamble: In the midst of a failing ceasefire, punctuated by regular breaches on the part of the Ukrainian Army and Kiev’s punitive battalions, it is important to reflect on the military situation in Novorossiya on the eve of the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. We trust that this note will permit readers to reflect on the changes at the front that we have been witnessing. It is also a good reference point to enable one to guard against revisionism.

The Novorossiya Armed Forces were on the brink of an important military victory before the ceasefire froze the hostilities in a much less favourable status quo, allowing Ukraine to re-establish a meaningful front-line; to reinforce key positions in preparation for an all-out assault that everyone is able to anticipate; to rearm and to replenish its troops. A comparison of the map below with more current versions is very instructive in this regard: and while it may be argued that the additional territory shown here under the control of the NAF was never securely held or that the NAF were thinly stretched, this ignores the very real disarray that was spreading in the enemy’s ranks as far afield as Zaporozhie.

The days leading up to September 1, 2014 clearly demonstrated the consequences of the Junta’s Southern Front disaster.

1. The Militia’s offensive south of Donetsk continues to gain ground. The Junta simply has no forces here to close a huge gap that stretches from Georgiyevka and Karlovka to the Azov Sea. All available forces were sent to defend Mariupol, and to the front-lines west of Donetsk—to prevent a cleaving strike through Selidovo on Krasnoarmeysk and Konstantinovka. Such an attack could lead to a deep encirclement of the Junta forces besieging Donetsk.

[3]

There are simply no available forces to cover this huge hole in the front, so here the Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF) simply move forward, held up only by its own lack of forces and the necessity of controlling the territory already captured. In essence, only the weakness of the NAF transforms the catastrophe unfolding right before our eyes into a drawn-out process. For example, if the mechanized brigades of the Russian Army were advancing here, then they could have used this operational void to break through all the way to the Dnieper River relatively unhindered—there would have been nothing to stop them. Nevertheless, it is expected that in a few days the Army of Novorossiya will begin encountering some hastily created screens that are supposed to slow down the unfolding of the catastrophe in this area. Also, this week, two or three reinforced, armoured battle-groups are expected to enter combat on the Junta’s side. The remains of the Junta forces by Dyakovo and Ilovaysk are doomed, very few fighters will be able to get out. Needless to say, the NAF will continue to accumulate a lot of trophies.

[4]

By now, the NAF have essentially put Mariupol under operational encirclement. The morale of the encircled troops is low, support of the population is about sixty to forty in our favour (among the politically active residents). The hopes for a naval supply were dashed by the attacks on border-guard boats at sea near Mariupol. This suggests that a complete blockade of the city was planned and that the capture of Mariupol is one of the priority goals. At the same time, the NAF can use this blockade to their advantage—they are now free to deploy their sabotage-reconnaissance groups (SRGs) towards the outskirts of Berdyansk and on the territories bordering Zaporozhie. In essence, there is continuous probing to determine the future directions for further advance—reinforced SRGs and some of the NAF redeploying to the area now will advance where there are no enemy forces, or where the enemy forces are weakest.

 

[5]

One can say that the NAF are currently emulating the tactics of the Junta forces from July and the first half of August, when the Junta similarly looked for gaps in the Militia’s lines and advanced their mechanized groups and SRGs into those gaps. This tactic has already achieved a new operational encirclement of the Junta’s forces: a so-called Volnovakha cauldron has emerged. A semblance of a front-line between Volnovakha and Maryinka collapsed once again, and now the enemy will have either to break out with major losses or, once again, surrender vehicles in order to save personnel.

[6]

Overall, the offensive is developing very successfully here, which influences the situation on the other Novorossiyan fronts. The rout of the Junta’s South Front is equivalent to the Stalingrad defeat of Nazi Germany—the war may continue and it may do so for a while yet, but it is clear that the Junta’s war machine is breaking down and it will no longer be able to achieve a military victory. The tide has turned, and the destruction of Novorossiya is no longer possible.

[7]

2. The rout of the Junta’s South Front forced it to not only pull all reserves up to the breakthroughs south of Donetsk, but also to withdraw forces that were wedged into the NAF positions elsewhere. The Junta had already begun withdrawing forces from Donetsk Airport. It is still partially held for now, but will clearly be abandoned within a week. There is absolutely no sense in keeping hold of this protrusion—it is no longer useful as an airport (both sides damaged it quite heavily) and it lost its meaning as a bridgehead for offensives against Donetsk a week ago, when the front to the south of Donetsk disintegrated.

[8]

The fierce resistance encountered there is only a sign of the Junta’s operational impotence in this area, as the previous assault on Donetsk from the North ran out of steam on the streets of Yasinovataya and in the north-western suburbs—although there was a moment when the NAF were quite pessimistic about the prospects for repelling that offensive. These days, a timid strike by the Junta towards Yasinovataya was a shadow of what it once was—it ended up weak and futile; the NAF did not even have to pull serious forces from the South to parry it.

[9]

Opening up a corridor out of the encirclement near Yelenovka allowed the Junta to save a part of the encircled forces, but, at the same time, led to losses in materiel and the abandonment of important positions that were essential for shelling Donetsk. The Junta group holding Debaltsevo is in a precarious position, as the NAF strikes towards Svetlodarsk unambiguously suggest an intention to encircle all of the Junta forces in the area of Debaltsevo and Uglegorsk, instead of attacking them head-on. The Junta faces an unpleasant choice: either it will have to abandon Debaltsevo and Uglegorsk voluntarily and retreat to Svetlodarsk, or it will persist in defending it, risking the formation of a Debaltsevo cauldron within several days. Overall, the enemy will be gradually driven off from the positions north of Donetsk, too. Approximately in seven or eight days the shelling of Donetsk should cease, and the capital of Novorossiya will then no longer be a front-line city.

[10]

3. The NAF in the Stakhanov/Alchevsk area are still on the defensive, due to a lack of available armour and artillery. They are trying to pin opposing enemy forces in place and are using SRGs to conduct armed reconnaissance in the direction of Severodonetsk and Slavyanoserbsk. Overall, the Ghost Brigade of Alexey Mozgovoi holds the front-line here, allowing the NAF to perform offensive actions in the vicinities of Donetsk and Lugansk.

[11]

However, if additional forces are redeployed to the area of Gorskoe (two to three armoured battle-groups and up to a battalion of infantry with the support of MLRS and tube artillery), the NAF would be quite capable of conducting a strike towards Severodonetsk and Lisichansk. But it is more probable that, while the cauldrons elsewhere are being finished off, the militia here will remain on the defensive.

[12]

4. To the south of Lugansk, the enemy began retreating from Lugansk Airport and is close to being routed; Lutugino is being abandoned as well. In essence, a “wandering cauldron” is forming here, and it will have a very hard time returning to its own side because there is not much to relieve it from the North. The Junta pointlessly wasted the majority of its tanks here in July and August, and the last remaining combat-ready units were ground to dust in heavy fighting by Khryashevatoye and Novosvetlovka. Of course, the fighting here won’t stop immediately—but the retreat from the airport is a clear indication that taking Lugansk is no longer on the agenda. The retreat from Khryashevatoye and Novosvetlovka and the withdrawal from the airport put an end to the Junta’s ambitious plan of encircling Lugansk.

[13]

The fighting in Stanitsa Luganskaya—still partially controlled by the Junta—certainly prevents the NAF from putting more pressure on the encircled troops south of Lugansk. However, this only slows down events without changing their overall course. Having lost aerial superiority in this area, and having lost the majority of tanks and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) on the roads near Lugansk, Junta forces north of Lugansk will be forced to maintain a passive defence. Meanwhile, the stragglers to the south of Lugansk will continue their attempts to break out. This will continue until the NAF clears everyone to the south of Lugansk, accumulates sufficient forces and strikes at Shchastye or, bypassing it, Novoaidar.

However, due to the organizational weakness of the LPR and the issues with joint command (some of the commanders continue to fight independently), the offensive here is proceeding fairly slowly, even though the configuration of the front-lines favours routing the Junta.

[14]

5. In general, the military situation is currently favourable for us. The inertia of the offensive and the configuration of the front-lines allows us to expect new tactical and operational successes in the coming days, as well as further losses of personnel and vehicles for the Junta. In light of the Junta’s losses and of the newly won trophies of the Militia (plus the work of the “military surplus store”), and also in the light of the influx of volunteers, the ratio of forces continues to improve.

[15]

Currently, due to its losses, the Junta can deploy no more than forty thousand soldiers against the twenty-nine to thirty-three thousand NAF soldiers. The Junta’s advantage in vehicles is currently no more than two-fold, at best—perhaps even less than that. The Junta’s air force continues to suffer catastrophic losses. Overall, over the last two months of its offensive, the Junta was stripped of its overwhelming advantage in personnel and vehicles, lost its aerial superiority, and now has effectively no significantly greater number of tubed and rocket artillery than the Militia.

[16]

The current trend is that, consequent upon the collapse of the Junta’s Southern Front, the majority of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will be liberated and combat will commence in the Zaporozhie region. That is to say, combat may soon enter enemy territory that was never originally under the control of the DPR and the LPR.

[17]

6. With respect to politics, backstage dealings about the future of Novorossiya continue. It is already obvious that Novorossiya will exist. Yesterday’s news sensation—that the leadership of Novorossiya is ready to agree to a “United Ukraine”, suggests that the party of “Greater Transnistria” is not abandoning its attempts to limit the results of the rebellion to the territory of the DPR and the LPR. This party continues to inject provocative ideas into the Russian media in order to discredit the leadership of the people’s republics. The latter obviously cannot go against the sentiments of the soldiers and residents of Novorossiya, who are determined to exit Ukraine altogether.

[18]

Nevertheless, it is clear that sooner or later it will come down to negotiations, and so it is critically important that the Army of Novorossiya capture as many cities and districts of the former Ukraine as possible, in order to ensure a more comfortable position in such negotiations. Frankly, continuing the war is beneficial for us, because currently it appears that the Junta will continue to lose more and more ground. For now, the negotiations need to be delayed or disrupted. The fact that the Junta is unwilling to negotiate is actually positive, because this can be used to prevent them from obtaining some kind of at least “honourable peace”.

Judging from official and unofficial announcements, though, the enemy increasingly understands that this war cannot be won and that it is necessary to save that which can still be saved.

[19]

In general, the war will be won by us, and Novorossiya will exist within some as yet undetermined borders, as a rather large unrecognised state. Thus, those who aided our struggle can already feel their involvement in our common victory, which is now assured.

Post Scriptum: A significant number of photos of captured and destroyed vehicles and various trophies.

The Guardian’s resident “Marxist” Richard Seymour has provided us an opportunity to briefly expand upon the prevalent Orientalist narrative oozing throughout the vast majority of modern Western commentary on the Arab and Muslim world.(1)

To frame his latest feebly ambiguous opposition to NATO-bombs on Iraq, Seymour invokes a typically obsfuscating perspective from “muted parts of the Left”. In these unspecified sectors of wrongheadedness, according to Seymour, “Leftists” are apparently in reluctant agreement with the recently commenced American airstrikes in Iraq – likely to extend into Syria –  ostensibly aimed at the fundamentalist insurgency, morphed into an existential threat now known as the Islamic State.

Precisely who these “Lefts” are, and what exactly constitutes their political persuasions within an ever-growing and ever-politically abstract demographic of Western “Lefts” remains a mystery. Are these “Lefts” Marxists, Social Democrats, Liberals, anti-imperialists? Or perhaps imperial core opportunists such as the “socialist” cheerleaders for NATO’s destruction of Libya? Who knows, but the desired effect of endowing these pro-NATO characters so terrified in their suburban dwellings of the ISIS monster – “under their skin, infesting them” – with the abstract title of “Left” allows Seymour to portray them, and their pro-imperialist, pro-war, white supremacist “fear” of the Other Barbarian, their irrational and wholly uninformed “reason” for supporting the civilising mission, as something sensible, something to be quietly debated over a frappaccino slouched on a corduroy Starbucks sofa – as opposed to being vehemently rejected.

Of course Seymour’s pro-war “Lefts” are entirely fictional and built to provide him the opportunity to give his petty bourgeois white western liberal readership the luxury of self-identifying as the all-encompassing benevolent “Left”, while massaging their culturally racist affection for the fantasy of the Noble White Crusader destroying the Evil Arab Savage.

The principle that domination is indeed the ultimate motive of imperialism isn’t really touched upon, no totality of analysis is even attempted. Seymour may perhaps believe, as appears do his “Left” subjects, that US imperialism perceives ISIS – a paramilitary organisation the US itself played the principle role in creating and empowering(2)- as an imminent threat, rather than the reality of a strategic boon(3), and is intent on pursuing its God Given altruistic mission of Vanquishing Evil for the good of all mankind – humanitarian intervention(R2P). But surely no serious Marxist would entertain such subjectivist nonsense. Nevertheless, rather than expose this Orientalist spectacle and the civilising mission pretext it now affords imperialism, Seymour instead opts to furnish it, and proceeds to form his reductive analysis and “explanations” for the Islamic State with idealistic twaddle and Western media’s false premises.

The explanation then, for this somewhat rationalised “Left fear” and consequent support for American imperialism are the “monsters” of ISIS, and by offering this explanation all Seymour achieves is to justify the racist ideology underlying his Western “Lefts” agitprop-incited fear of ISIS and the false altruism masking Western imperial machinations. Of course as any serious analysis shows, the West has no real intention of destroying its Frankenstein ISIS, but merely corralling and manipulating it toward meeting strategic objectives.(4)

But how has this organisation of “monsters” come to be? And how has it been able to engender this supposedly justifiable fear within Seymour’s “muted Western Left”? First and foremost, according to Seymour, is the organisations apparent “widespread support within much of the population it seeks to rule”, support “gained on the basis of vicious sectarianism”.

“..whereas the jihadi ultras of the “war on terror” era were an unpopular, marginalised minority within the Iraqi resistance, always fought and opposed by the mainstream of the Sunni Arab insurgency, Isis succeeds because of the support it enjoys within much of the population it seeks to rule. And this support, be it noted, is gained on the basis of vicious sectarianism.”

And the alleged reason for Seymour’s assertion of widespread support is nothing but a regurgitation of US State Department propaganda, “President [sic] al-Maliki’s repression of Sunni Arabs is now driving an insurgency against his rule, from which Isis is gaining” says Seymour, and this one-sided repression is quite literally all that is offered as explanation for the rise of ISIS.

For at least 8 years, the US, and its Gulf Cooperation Council clients – primarily Saudi Arabia – have led a policy of bolstering “Sunni”(5) militants in the region to incite sectarian aggression against the perception of an expanding “Shia crescent” consisting of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.(6) No account or even acknowledgement of this – the crucial context for the US’ latest bombing campaign and wider imperial strategy – appears in Seymour’s article. Not a single mention of the three-year NATO/GCC sponsored Wahhabi insurgency across the border in Syria, nor any word on tens of thousands of foreign fighters, thousands of tons of arms and billions of dollars thrown at ISIS and its intermittent “moderate rebel” allies and competitors.(7) Through this sweeping omission of vital historical context, Seymour’s analysis erases the concrete reality of the policy it purports to examine and instead relies on the rhetoric and propaganda of the spectacle being used to further it.

American or British bombs seem to offer a tempting short cut. This is what has always given “humanitarian intervention” its compelling ideological power: while we as citizens watch in horror, we know that there are powerful people in the world who could stop this without breaking a sweat.

Seymour thus successfully reduces the antagonism into an ahistorical idealist binary of a Sunni-Shia divide in Iraq, through which alleged Shia repression of the Sunni community has resulted in the “natural expression” of the Other: the Savage ISIS. Yet this crass assertion isn’t backed up by a single piece of evidence, it is undoubtedly based on the wretched reporting of Western media and the fantasies promoted to obscure ISIS’ material causes and real sources of influence, those being externally supplied money, fighters and weapons. ISIS and Co. rule the areas they invadethrough coercion and violence, not through the ridiculous idea of a “tech-savvy popular base”.

This false perception is further exposed by the fact a large contingent of ISIS fighters are not even Iraqi in origin, or Syrian for that matter. A recent report by the CIA(8) revealed that there are approximately 15,000 foreign fighters in ISIS ranks – a figure that has been consistently undercounted by the “experts” to maintain the fantasy of an indigenous uprising in Syria. This coincides with the Syrian Observatory’s latest death toll – often cited by western media & NGO’s – which tallied up to 15,000 foreign fighters killed in action in Syria. Put another way, that’s roughly 1000 foreign fighters for every month since the Syrian insurgency began. Are we supposed to believe all these fanatics took it upon themselves to travel to Iraq & Syria due to Maliki & Assad’s “sectarian policies”?

Contrary to the one-sided idealistic tales of Seymour and John Kerry, the simplistic portrayal of ISIS & Co. earning “grassroots support” simply through the Sunni community’s alleged persecution is entirely false and built to conflate foreign-sponsored militants and their collaborators with the whole Iraqi Sunni population, while shifting the blame for the massive expansion in militant fundamentalism into a reaction against the alleged oppression of “Shia regimes” and away from its chief protagonists: the Wahhabi clients of NATO imperialism.

Peddling sectarian narratives serve several purposes for the Western commentariat, a consistent example of which is provided by the Independent’s highly regarded Patrick Cockburn, who recently went as far as to suggest that “Sunni’s of Syria in areas under ISIS control prefer it to the Government”, an utterly wrongheaded and misleading sentiment that has been repeatedly debunked in the face of ceaseless propagation on behalf of Western and Gulf media for over three years. Yet these narratives persist as they are the primary ideological camouflage to hide external material causes, those causes being Western imperialism.

In Syria for example, the oft-repeated refrain of a supposedly sectarian “Alawite regime” is largely made up of a Sunni merchant class. The “Alawite army’s” ranks are dominated by Sunni conscripts, along with Christians, Shia, and Druze. But the Assad government has been ceaselessly portrayed as a “sectarian regime” intent on suppressing the Sunni majority. The reality of course is the precise opposite, militant forces of the opposition are of a majority Salafi/Wahhabi fundamentalists, and this has been the case since the very beginning of the Syrian uprising(9) – if you are looking to blame anyone for the rise in sectarianism in Syria then you need look no further than the reactionary Wahhabi clients of Western imperialism.

Equally, blaming the “sectarian policies” of the Maliki government is just as hollow a narrative in the Iraq context(10); the US is responsible for installing the sectarian political system in Iraq in its attempts to divide nationalist resistance to its occupation and ongoing exploitation, a system in which the Maliki government was by no means an innocent bystander.

But the historical record shows that Maliki’s more recent attempts to reverse this destructive process, along with a multitude of other policies which upset US strategic ambitions, including his refusal to allow the permanent installation of US military bases; his governments close alliance with neighbouring independent Iran; their efforts to aid the Syrian government against the NATO-sponsored Wahhabi insurgency; and not least attempts to remove the vassals of the GCC from Iraqi politics–formed the real motives behind the US-Saudi-led campaign to incite Wahhabi fundamentalists against Maliki’s Shia dominated government. Maliki’s “sectarian policies” no doubt existed to an extent in reaction to the circumstances imposed upon it by the dominant aspect driving the antagonism; such policies came about as a result of both the historical legacy of the US occupation and the ongoing US-Saudi-led sectarian incitement and subversion, which in fact forms the historical “social base” for ISIS & Co.(11)

Cockburn and many others within the corporate media circus have continued to peddle these sectarian myths as a useful tool in idealizing the spectacle and extricating wider politics, more specifically culpable external actors. Although rightly regarded as one of the more sensible and rigorous journalists covering the Middle East, Cockburn is nonetheless just as susceptible to selling ahistorical reductive tales in what appear to be attempts at whitewashing or mitigating the role of Western imperialism; often putting repeatedly destructive Western policy down to “mistakes” in lieu of explanation for ceaseless aggression and decades of empowering reactionaries – supposed enemies of “Western Democracy”. The flip side being of course the compassionate West must now attempt to fix its mistakes by means of further intervention, and on and on it goes.

Such narratives are largely premised upon the white supremacist ideal that the Western imperial bourgeoisie inherently seek “progress”, or perhaps even “democracy” within foreign nations, as opposed to the fundamental characteristic of imperialism seeking political reaction all along the line(12). Contrary to Cockburn’s perception of benevolent imperialism, the US does not seek even “stability” within nations unwilling to submit to exploitative Western capital–it seeks their destruction, as has been historically proven time and time again. Yet this concept of “bumbling benevolent imperialist” persists and is drawn from an inability to see past the Noble Western Empire’s altruistic mythology and grasp the reality of a rapacious class destroying its competition.

Imperialism intentionally bolstered ISIS, its predecessors and intermittent Wahhabi allies, in the aim of setting them against Shia dominated political actors and states in the region opposed to US domination. It is now using the ISIS “threat” and spectacle as the moral pretext to both re-invade and divide Iraq, and reinvigorate its regime change and destructive agenda in neighboring Syria.

Instead of attempting to expose these policies in an international totality, Seymour & Co. aim to bolster the white supremacist mythology underlying the imperial civilising mission; on the one hand Seymour Others the Sunni population of Iraq as sympathisers of the ISIS Savage, a racist caricature dutifully embellished in all avenues of Western corporate media. On the other, by portraying “oppressive sectarian (Shia) regimes” as an even worse option than ISIS the entire region and its peoples are painted into a dystopian landscape of Savages and brutal sectarianism; accordingly, Noble Western Empire must save them from their own barbarity.

Moreover, by blaming Iraqis for the barbarism imposed on them externally, Seymour & Co. successfully extricate imperialism from its principal culpability in fomenting and sustaining sectarian antagonism in the Middle East. It therefore needs repeating that ISIS in Iraq is but a continuation of the imperialist-sponsored insurgency in neighboring Syria and the longstanding support to militant fundamentalism preceding it. The states acting under the autonomy of US imperialism responsible for arming and funding said insurgency hold the same principal objectives in Iraq as those pursued in Syria for the last three years, namely: the destruction of state sovereignty; weakening the allies of an independent Iran; the permanent division of Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines establishing antagonistic “mini-states” incapable of forming a unified front against US/Israeli imperial domination.

Notes:

1.) Bombs wont solve the ISIS problem – Richard Seymour: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/15/bombs-isis-beheadings-iraq

2.) How the West created the Islamic State – Nafeez Ahmed: https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state-dbfa6f83bc1f

3.) ISIS: an expression of imperialism in Iraq: http://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/isis-an-expression-of-imperialism-in-iraq/

4.) US Intervention Is Not Humanitarian and Will Not Protect the People of Iraq – Sami Ramadani:http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2014/ramadani080814.html

5.) While consistently referred to as “Sunni” within Western and Gulf media it should be stressed that the ultra-conservative strains of Islam practiced by the majority of both “moderate rebels” in Syria and their overtly fundamentalist counterparts within ISIS, Al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusra et al, are of the Wahhabi/Salafi doctrine and largely rejected by the majority of practicing Sunni muslims outside of the reactionary Gulf Kingdoms where such doctrine is enforced. By applying the Sunni label, authors such as Seymour enable the crude conflation of ISIS & Co. with the indigenous population, furthering Orientalist dehumanization and false sectarian narratives.

6.) The Redirection – Seymour Hersh: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection?currentPage=all

7.) How Saudi Arabia helped ISIS take over the North of Iraq – Patrick Cockburn: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

8.) CIA says ISIS numbers under-estimated: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/09/cia-triples-number-islamic-state-fighters-201491232912623733.html

9.) The Reactionary Essence of the Syrian Insurgency: http://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/the-reactionary-essence-of-the-syrian-insurgency/

10.) Nouri al-Maliki: the scapegoat in Iraq -Ali Raza: http://lubpak.com/archives/315192

11.) The strange case of Nouri al-Maliki – Eric Draitser: http://journal-neo.org/2014/07/03/the-strange-case-of-nouri-al-maliki/

12.) Imperialism and the Split in Socilaism – V.I. Lenin: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/oct/x01.htm

The great German newspaper, German Economic News, headlined on Saturday, September 20th, “Welcome Russia at the G20 summit: End of Isolation” (German original:  “Ende der Isolation: Russland bei G20-Gipfel willkommen”), and reported that,

“Because the USA needs Russia in its fight against terror-IS, the G20 speculation to isolate Russia in the world community has been shelved. The conflict in the Eastern Ukraine is therefore classified as [being only] regionally [important].” Moreover, “Americans and Russians agreed behind the scenes on a division of the Ukraine. … The Ukrainian government and the rebels in the east have agreed on the establishment of a buffer zone in the east of the country. … The resulting 30 km wide buffer zone along the [battle] front will be monitored by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”

This is, essentially, the announcement introducing truce-lines, such as were established at the end of the Korean War and many others.

However, the foreign-affairs leader of the Ukrainian separatists says that their efforts to get Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to accept their territory as being a part of Russia have been firmly rejected by Putin’s Government; and, so, “We will build our own country.”

This important statement from the foreign-affairs leader Andrei Purgin on Wednesday, September 17th, was not headlined nor even the topic of any U.S. news report; it was instead inconspicuously buried halfway through an AP news story that focused on “East Ukraine Casualties.” It’s common for propagandistic news reports, such as characterize the U.S. media, to bury what’s important in the news story, and not even to headline that crucial information, when that information violates the regime’s propaganda that they’ve been trumpeting. So: this information was buried, and was not headlined. The American media had portrayed Putin as the aggressor behind Ukraine’s war, and had hidden that Obama was actually the aggressor. The extremely violent February 22nd overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was, as this proves, a fascist coup by the U.S. And as the transcript of the phone conversation between two EU officials shown here documents, they recognized on February 25th that it had been precisely that. Furthermore, President Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland, on February 4th, had already selected Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whom she affectionately referred to there as “Yats,” to run the country. And her U.S.-engineered coup in Ukraine didn’t occur until February 22nd, and it then installed “Yats” to run the country.

So, this news, that Putin didn’t even want the Ukrainian rebels’ territory, was not something that U.S. media intend the U.S. public to recognize suddenly; it’s instead like the non-existent “Saddam’s WMD” that they had trumpeted during 2002 and 2003 but that were all lies — something to be laid only gradually upon their deceived public, so the masses won’t even notice that they had been lied to.

Russia’s Government has thus now made clear that it is not seeking to add to its territory. While Russia has accepted the approximately million refugees who have fled to Russia from Ukraine’s civil war, Russia does not want any part of Ukraine’s territory.

Crimea was a different case: traditionally part of Russia, throughout the period 1783-1954, until the leader of the Soviet Union gifted Crimea to Ukraine (the nation that was called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) in 1954, but the residents of Crimea never accepted that, and they overwhelmingly considered themselves still to be Russians. Furthermore, the Russian Navy’s lease on the Crimean port of Sebastopol for its Black Sea Fleet extended till 2042, and the February 2014 coup-installed Ukrainian Government wanted to cancel it, which threatened crucial Russian national defense. Furthermore, many of those new, Obama-installed, Ukrainian leaders wanted a nuclear war against Russia. So, Putin needed to be concerned about the Black Sea Fleet, and he accepted Crimea back into Russia, but he will not admit more than that from Ukraine, as being added to Russian territory — at least not now.

Crimea is viewed as not being an addition to Russia, but instead as voluntarily rejoining Russia, irrespective of the new Ukrainian Government’s campaign to eliminate ethnic Russians from Ukraine’s southeast. No other part of post-1954 Ukraine had previously been part of Russia, and this includes the southeastern portion of Ukraine, whose residents ethnically descended from Russian immigrants who had settled there.

Consequently, the ethnic-cleansing campaign that has been going on by the new, Obama-installed, Ukrainian Government, against the residents in Ukraine’s southeast, will no longer have Washington’s support. Obama’s hope for that ethnic-cleansing to continue at least long enough for the surviving residents there to shrink to a small enough proportion of the total Ukrainian national electorate so that a nationwide Ukrainian election (which hasn’t been held in Ukraine since the February 2014 coup) will choose leaders who are acceptable to the U.S. Government, appears to have ended. On the basis of his hope to grab all of Ukraine, he had planned and financed that February coup. But now he settles for only the remaining western stump of it. The eastern part he won’t get. Only by killing and driving out enough of those people – the ones in the areas that overwhelmingly voted for the man whom Obama overthrew – would it become possible for an intact entire Ukraine that allies itself with the U.S. to be democratically stable, not reversed by the election of a pro-Russian leader of Ukraine. But instead, Ukraine will lose the land and resources that it had been trying to conquer back from the people who live in Ukraine’s pro-Russian region.

President Putin and President Obama have regularly been in direct contact with one-another ever since Obama’s coup occurred in February. Perhaps Putin’s declining to accept Ukrainian territory into Russia is part of an agreement between the two leaders, in which Obama is, for his part, declining the urgings from congressional Republicans and conservative Democrats for the U.S. to provide weapons to the Ukrainian military to expedite America’s ethnic cleansing campaign in Ukraine.

Obama seems to have decided that his desire to grab Ukraine for the U.S. aristocracy (international corporations) must be abandoned now, because it’s not politically practical at the same time when the U.S. is also escalating its military involvements in the Middle East, where the control of oil is an even bigger factor than the matter of gas is in Ukraine.

Obama is folding his Ukraine deck. And Putin doesn’t want it.

The result will be at least two failed states in the former Ukraine: the western part, which will be a bankrupt burden mainly to regular taxpayers in the EU, and the eastern part, which will be a bombed-out wreck right next door to Russia. Already, Russia is sending in food, clothing, and other aid, to the people still left where Ukraine was bombing and killing them, and was destroying their homes and infrastructure.

And, as this scenario plays itself out, it will all come to the public as if it is new news, and the public won’t even much care that they had been lied to, yet again. When the press is carefully managed, there is no accountability. That’s what the owners of the press want, and it’s why they buy it — to be able to sell to other aristocrats that non-accountability. It’s their racket.

“Climate March” Hides Real Culprits and Real Solutions

September 22nd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Big business and the big political parties and politicians they own have converged in what is being disingenuously called the “People’s Climate March.”  MSNBC would report in an article titled, “The largest climate march in history kicks off in New York,” that:

They’re calling it the largest mobilization against climate change in the history of the planet. On Sunday morning, protesters from all over the United States and the world are converging on Manhattan to demand that global leaders take action to avert catastrophic climate change. Earlier this week Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental group 350.org, projected that the march would consist of “hundreds of thousands” of participants.

Not surprisingly little in terms of actual solutions are mentioned by the organizers and instead the march is meant to set the stage for political and financial deals to be made at the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. Organizing the march are institutions funded by the very governments and corporate-financier special interests that have helped create devastating environmental and socioeconomic disasters across the planet over the past several decades in the first place.

Also involved are profiteers who have taken advantage of the general population’s genuine concern for the environment to propose and benefit from scams consisting of everything from land-grabbing thousands of acres in Africa to peddling “carbon credits” and other financial gimmicks that make immense profits from doing literally nothing at all in terms of production and by creating a false sense of security, may even be compounding environmental catastrophes.

For those drawn to such “marches” and who are dismayed or disillusioned by the disingenuous nature of those trying to hijack their good intentions to peddle self-serving political and financial gimmicks, what can they do to develop and actually make good on the vague promises being made during this year’s “People’s Climate March?”

The Climate Always Changes – We Must Always Be Prepared 

The climate is always changing, and nearly everything human beings and nature do, both on Earth and beyond it, has an impact on it. A changing climate, like earthquakes and volcanoes driven by the constantly changing geological state of our planet, or diseases that sweep animal and human populations amid a perpetual biological arms race, will be a challenge humanity will always have to face.

Of course, human activity has an impact on the climate. The construction of our cities creates microclimates, emissions change the constitution of our atmosphere – regardless of how much or little – contributing to a much greater array of natural and anthropocentric variables that collectively drive and change the planet’s climate, among other things.

Image: Late Cretaceous period saw CO2 levels many times higher than they are today, with higher sea levels and Antarctica covered in temperate forests and teaming with dinosaurs. The climate has shifted radically long before humanity rose, and will continue to change regardless of what we do. We can prepare for it, minimize our impact on it, but we cannot stop it. 

 

Additionally, there is no way to predict with certainty, nor manipulate reliably the climate – at least not with the technology we currently possess – and surely not with the political solutions pushed forward by the very corporate-financier special interests staging stunts like the “People’s Climate March.”

While reducing humanity’s impact on the planet should be one of many goals we collectively pursue, even if we managed to reduce our impact to zero, the climate would still change, and would still change for both the better and for the worse of the ecosystems that inhabit this planet. Evolutionary, astronomical, and geological processes have all contributed to massive extinction events. Humanity must understand that the only way to truly protect this planet is not to “stop climate change,” which is impossible, but rather hedge and protect against it  through innovations that can weather climatic changes no matter what they may be or what may be driving them.

In many ways, agriculture itself is an expression of this. So is exploration and architecture. Continuing along the road of these evolving disciplines will give us the tools we need to always be prepared no matter what the climate throws at us.

Reducing Humanity’s Impact on the Environment 

Reducing humanity’s impact is a topic that in fact does get brought up by the ringleaders of the climate change movement. However, their vision of the future is one where the population lives in utter austerity under a planetary regime but a handful control. Left unscathed are the corporate-financier special interests that will create this planetary regime that, not surprisingly, will also bestow upon these special interests, unprecedented power, wealth, and influence. And despite the austerity they have planned for the masses, none of their measures seem to address what will happen if the climate continues to change – as it has for millions upon millions of years before humans walked the Earth.

There is an alternative solution that is often never mentioned – one that doesn’t hamstring human progress or demand resource rationing, or the curtailment of energy use or food consumption. It is not political in nature and does not involve one group of people dictating the lives and allowances of others.

It is never mentioned because it would be a direct, coordinated, global decentralization of the big-business monopolies and their socioeconomic and environmentally disastrous supply-chains, factory farms, sweat-shops, and the iron grip they possess over so-called “intellectual property” and research and development in all fields from energy production to biotechnology to medicine and mass transportation.

Local Development 

Local development of, by, and for the people, leveraging technology, open source collaboration, and focusing on pragmatic, technical solutions to our problems, including reducing our impact on the environment and hedging against natural disasters whatever their cause, is indeed the solution.

Consider the journey made by a plastic trinket found on the shelf of Walmart. It began in a sweatshop literally on the other side of the planet, hammered, pressed, painted, packed, and shipped off by people working under slave-like conditions using unhealthy chemicals and processes that would be unacceptable in the West.

The trinkets are driven by trucks to docks where they are placed upon ships that traverse the Earth’s oceans burning tons of diesel fuel, releasing scorching clouds of fumes behind them as they churn up the sea and all life within it. The trinkets arrive on Western shores where they are moved by trucks, vans, or planes from the docks, to distribution centers, to the mega-retail outlet it is finally destined for.

To pick up your trinket, you must drive your car to Walmart, walk beneath hundreds of lights burning sometimes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over its warehouse-sized consumerist troughs, purchase the trinket, and drive back home.

Consider an alternative – a 3D printer on your desk. Open source designs can be downloaded and shared over the Internet with anyone in the world. Projects can be coordinated between designers and hobbyists anywhere on the planet. When you have obtained or designed the trinket of your choice, you print it out directly on your desktop. There is no car drive, no ships, no trucks, no burning lights over shelf after shelf in a mega-retail outlet. You print exactly what you want, exactly how many you want, without the waste associated with consumerist-driven assembly lines and mass production.

Even the plastic fed into 3D printers can be derived from plant oils grown locally. Plastic and other materials can also be recycled locally. Gone are the sweat shops, truck convoys, merchant fleets, and all the unwarranted power and influence their existence grants the handful of special interests they serve.

The innovations in manufacturing technology that are placing the means of production literally into the hands of the masses will be followed by similar breakthroughs and paradigm shifts in biotechnology, agriculture, and medical technology. Communities are already developing what could be called local collaborative institutions where technology is leveraged to solve the problems and desires of their residents. And while they are “local,” they are by no means isolated. They are connected globally to similar local institutions cropping up across the planet by information technology. Innovations will progress in parallel rather than in secret within the profiteering grip of traditional corporations, governments, and global institutions.

It will be these local institutions that pragmatically put an end to the waste, fraud, and abuse of immense corporate-financier interests and the negative socioeconomic and environmental impact they are demonstrably causing.

Personal manufacturing like 3D printing would do (and is already doing) more alone to undo harmful consumerist practices, faster, and in parallel than any top-down political solution cooked up at the Climate Change Conference in Paris could dream of doing.

What You Should Be Doing Instead of “Marching” 

Instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the very special interests that have created the current global system devouring our planet, activists genuinely concerned with human progress and the health and longevity of our planet’s environment should be shoulder-to-shoulder with local innovators seeking to solve local problems and in parallel with other innovators globally. Local hackerspaces or makerspaces, fabrication laboratories (FabLabs), DIYbio community labs, and other collaborative projects are providing the tools and resources needed to solve problems without the “help” of the very troublemakers that created them in the first place – big business and big government.

 

Image: Building solutions themselves, rather than begging corporations and
governments to do it for them – local institutions like hackerspaces and
makerspaces set new precedents in how we organize ourselves to work and
solve problems.  

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After all, it is local people who understand best the challenges they face socioeconomically and environmentally. They understand the quality of their food, water, and air and what needs to be done to clean it up – not those attending the Climate Change Conference in Paris. And it is local people who will be motivated above all others to truly solve these problems as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

And if we decide not to act locally, and instead defer to politicians to “save us,” we can expect the same tricks and unfulfilled promises politicians make in every other regard. People who are willing to march in the streets, but not dirty their hands to come up with actual solutions to these problems are not genuine in their cause. Others who are willing to get their hands dirty should be spending their time exclusively doing so, rather than encouraging hot air from politicians and their self-enriching gimmicks that will cost us, not aid us in moving humanity forward with our best interests and the planet’s health in mind.

The earth’s climate is changing. Sea levels are rising. We are all at risk. The role of humans in climate change is undeniable. Capitalism is to blame. Governments must fix the problem.

These are the mantras of the environmental movement on display at the People’s Climate March being held on September 21.

The talking points of foundation-funded doomsayers reverberate in unison because their financing is dependent on publicizing a specific message and agenda. The otherwise critical minds supporting what passes for rebelliousness overlook the sponsorship and tacit control wielded by powerful private interests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Autx79iHJs

Scratching the surface, one finds that the most salient proponents of the carbon-centric global warming worldview are largely dependent on such funding. For example, Bill McKibben, a principal organizer of the People’s Climate March, has built a career around the false notion that minuscule increases in carbon dioxide are a principal cause of “extreme weather” events.

[Image Credit: baltidome.wordpress.com]

mad_billAs this author has noted,

McKibben’s 350.org project is the public face of his 501(c)(3) 1Sky Education Fund, which between its founding in 2007 and 2009 took in close to $5,000,000 in foundation money and “public contributions.” In 2010 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave 1Sky $200,000. The key “scientific” paper McKibben points to as support for his dire warnings on climate change, “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim,” coauthored by NASA scientist James Hansen, was partially funded through Rockefeller Foundation money.[1]

A seemingly radical, anti-establishment veneer is helpful in lending the environmental movement some degree of legitimacy. Canadian journalist and author Naomi Klein is the most recent voice of climate alarmism. Klein’s previous works, No Logo (2000) and The Shock Doctrine (2007), have afforded her with considerable notoriety and some degree of credibility, particularly among those on the progressive-left.

Klein’s most recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, suggests that drastic measures must be taken to save the environment from destructive human activities. This Changes Everything is published by Simon & Schuster, a subsidiary of the publicly-traded CBS Corporation, which boasted revenues of $15.284 billion in 2013 alone.[2] Like McKibben’s Rockefeller sponsors, Simon & Schuster and CBS are typically uninclined toward promoting genuinely anti-establishment thought and discourse.

Klein is one of the few in the progressive-left cavalcade to recognize that geoengineering and weather manipulation pose extreme threats to the environment. “Well, so, one of the geoengineering methods that gets taken most seriously is called ‘solar radiation management,’” Klein remarks on the foundation-funded Democracy Now! news hour,[3] another promoter of the People’s Climate March.

Solar radiation management, managing the sun. So, what you—so the idea [sic] is that you would spray sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere, then they would reflect some of the sun’s rays back to space and dim the sun and cool the Earth. So, climate change is caused by pollution in the lower atmosphere, and so they’re saying that the solution to that pollution is pollution in the stratosphere. And, you know, it’s really frightening when you look at some of the modeling that is being done about what the possible downsides of this could be [sic].[4]

In fact, there is substantial evidence–patents, government documents, and scientific papers–that such organized contamination projects have been underway since at least the late 1990s and are almost certainly a major factor in the “extreme weather events” pointed to with such alarm by figures like McKibDN_Kleinben.

Yet Klein deceptively suggests that geoengineering is still in the planning stages and has not begun. Indeed, to acknowledge that such plans are well-advanced and now fully operational would call into question the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis she and her adherents proclaim as the rationale for opposing “capitalism.” It would also likely jeopardize a lucrative publishing contract with a global media conglomerate.

[Image Credit: democracynow.org]

Foundation-funded and corporate-promoted environmentalism is notable not only for its hypocrisy, but also for what it leaves obscure to its well-intentioned devotees.

With this in mind, the purpose of such artificial dissent is arguably to repackage the threat of extreme weather that has been manufactured by military and government programs over the years as the basis for strategic socio-political and economic changes to which the public would never freely submit.

To curb humankind’s environmental excesses, today’s state-backed corporatism mistakenly decried as capitalism must further expand into the everyday lives of individuals, where an “internet of things” will inevitably catalog, regulate and control all consumable resources and biological entities.

“A really efficient totalitarian state,” Aldous Huxley once observed, “would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”[5]

Along these lines, establishment environmentalism’s continued feigned urgency and spectacle of protest ingeniously disguises the deeper belief that humanity’s salvation lies in its own subservience to technocratic control.

Notes

[1] James F. Tracy, “Chemtrails: The Realities of Geoengineering and Weather Modification,” Global Research, November 8, 2012.

[2] “CBS CORP 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)” (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. February 14, 2014.

[3] James F. Tracy, “Manufactured Dissent: The Financial Bearings of the Progressive-Left Media,” Global Research, August 3, 2012.

[4] Amy Goodman, “Naomi Klein on Motherhood, Geoengineering, Climate Debt & the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement,” Democracy Now! September 18, 2014.

[5] Aldous Huxley, Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited, Harper Perennial, 2005.

An insider in the U.S. military’s covert drone war has confirmed what critics of the killing program have long-warned: the program is far more “dangerous” than the government admits.

In an op-ed published in Salon on Tuesday, the unnamed former Air Force imagery analyst writes, “I was the only line of defense between keeping someone alive and providing the intelligence for a strike using technology not accurate enough to determine life and death.”

The military veteran—published under the name AFISR Predator (for Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance)—goes on to describe how a drone pilot’s success was partly determined by the number of “enemy kills.” The analysts were encouraged to fly missions “even when there was nothing of consequence to see, no targets to strike and no American ground forces to protect,” wrote the veteran.

Despite calls for greater transparency, President Barack Obama has yet to acknowledge or provide any accounting for the number of civilians killed by the U.S. drone program. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that in Yemen roughly 135 civilians were killed by either confirmed or possible drone strikes since 2014 and in Pakistan over 950 civilians have been killed by confirmed strikes.

Countering claims made by the CIA director John Brennan that the use of drones will “dramatically reduce,” if not eliminate, the danger to U.S. personnel, AFISR Predator describes the prevalence of spousal, alcohol and drug abuse among his 100-person unit; two members had even taken their lives.

“The psychological pressure of not knowing if strikes were accurate was debilitating at times,” AFISR Predator writes.

“Our team worked between 12- and 14-hour shifts in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, sometimes flying for hours seeing nothing, sometimes seeing unspeakable carnage,” AFISR Predator continues. “Then we returned home to spouses and families, where our security clearances prevented us from sharing our experiences in an effort to decompress from what we had witnessed.”

AFISR Predator concludes by saying that the military must “reconsider” their reliance on killer drones. “They are not as legal, targeted or accurate as the government makes them out to be, and they are not without consequences for our troops.”

A nurse who works at a private hospital in Mersin, a city and province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, has told Turkish authorities and Parliament that she is sick and tired of treating members of the terrorist organization the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now calls itself the “Islamic State.”

The nurse, who was identified only by her initials, E.G., in a news story published by the Taraf daily on Wednesday, said of ISIL militants: “We treat them, and they go on to decapitate people. I am sick of treating wounded ISIL militants.” E.G. has also written a letter to Parliament and the National Police Department, saying she and her colleagues are extremely disturbed by the fact that they have to treat people “who chop off heads.”

Taraf reported that other health workers in Mersin and other provinces close to the Syrian border are uneasy about having to help wounded ISIL militants, who are responsible for extreme violence and bloodshed in northern Iraq and Syria.

In the letter she wrote to Parliament and the Police Department, E.G. said she has been employed at a private hospital in Mersin for a long time. She said her hospital has treated many wounded Syrians so far, who have introduced themselves as “opposition members.”

However, she noted that she had found out that most of the Syrians recently admitted to the hospital were ISIL members. “I was extremely distressed about this. I am very sorry about this situation. I am disturbed by the fact that these people are being treated in our hospitals while our people are being held by them,” she wrote, according to Taraf’s report.

ISIL has been holding 46 Turks, and three consulate staff who are not Turkish citizens, as hostages for the past three months.

E.G. further wrote that she was “ashamed” to have played a role in the treatment of the militants. She also stated that the ISIL militants were checked into the hospital under fake names. She said an ISIL commander was treated at the hospital where she works in August.

“The ISIL commander named Muhammet Ali R. who was admitted to our hospital on Aug. 7 was treated at room number 323. Many of his bodyguards kept watch around the hospital. Many other ISIL commanders like him and soldiers have been treated at our hospital, and returned to war after the completion of their treatment. I don’t want to help these people. I want you to inspect these hospitals. And I am referring the owners of the hospital and its management to God.”

The accelerating drive to a new US war in the Middle East, extending from Iraq to Syria and potentially beyond, has laid bare a stark contradiction between President Barack Obama’s public rejection of any US “boots on the ground” and increasingly assertive statements by top generals that such deployments cannot be ruled out.

Underlying this semi-public dispute between the US president—the titular “commander-in-chief”—and the military brass are the realities underlying another war of aggression being launched on the basis of lies for the second time in barely a decade.

It is being foisted on the American public as an extension of the 13-year-old “global war on terror,” with Obama warning this week that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “if left unchecked… could pose a growing threat to the United States.”

In reality, the ISIS threat, such as it is, stems entirely from US imperialist interventions that have ravaged first Iraq, through a war and occupation that claimed some one million lives, and then Syria, in a US-backed sectarian war for regime-change—in which ISIS was the beneficiary of arms and aid from the US and its regional allies—that has killed well over 100,000 and turned millions into refugees.

The collapse of Iraq’s security forces in the face of an ISIS offensive that was part of a broader Sunni revolt against Iraq’s US-installed Shi’ite sectarian government is now being used as the justification for a US military intervention aimed at reasserting US military dominance in Iraq, intensifying the war to overthrow the Assad regime in neighboring Syria, and escalating the confrontations with the key allies of Damascus—Iran and Russia.

Such strategic ambitions cannot be achieved with such unreliable proxy forces as the Iraqi military and the so-called Syrian “rebels.” They require the unrestrained use of Washington’s military might. This is why the generals are publicly challenging the blanket commitment made by Obama ruling out any US ground war in Iraq or Syria.

Over the past several days, both White House and Pentagon spokesmen have issued “clarifying” statements in an attempt to smooth over what increasingly suggests something close to insubordination by the top uniformed brass against the president.

The Washington Post pointed to the conflict Friday in a lead article entitled “In military, skepticism of Obama’s plan,” writing, “Flashes of disagreement over how to fight the Islamic State are mounting between President Obama and US military leaders, the latest sign of strain in what often has been an awkward and uneasy relationship.”

The first major public airing of the divisions between the military command and the White House came Tuesday in congressional testimony in which Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that circumstances in Iraq and Syria could require the introduction of US ground troops and he would not rule out their deployment. He added that the commander of CENTCOM, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, had already proposed the intervention of US troops in the campaign to retake the Mosul dam last month, but had been overruled by the White House.

A day later, Obama appeared to rule out such action even more categorically, telling a captive audience of US troops at MacDill Air Force Base Wednesday: “As your commander-in-chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

This hardly settled the question, however. Speaking on the same day as the president, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff and former top US commander in Iraq, told journalists that air strikes would prove insufficient to achieve Washington’s ostensible goal of destroying ISIS. “You’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said.

Odierno intensified his argument on Friday, telling reporters that air strikes alone would grow increasingly problematic as ISIS forces intermingled with Iraq’s civilian population.

“When you target, you want to make sure you are targeting the right people,” the Army commander said. “The worst thing that can happen for us is if we start killing innocent Iraqis, innocent civilians.” He added that US ground forces would be needed to direct the bombing campaign.

Odierno referred to the 1,600 US troops the Obama administration has already deployed to Iraq as “a good start,” but added that as the US military campaign developed, so too could the demand for further deployments. “Based on that assessment we’ll make further decisions,” he said.

The Army chief warned that the US was embarking on a protracted war in the region. “This is going to go on,” he said.

“This is not a short term—I think the president said three years. I agree with that—three years, maybe longer. And so what we want to do is do this right. Assess it properly, see how it’s going, adjust as we go along, to make sure we can sustain this.”

As to US ground troops entering combat together with Iraqi units, Odierno stated, “I don’t rule anything out. I don’t ever rule anything out, personally.”

Even more blunt was Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, the former commander of CENTCOM, who retired only last year. Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, he directly attacked Obama’s public position of “no boots on the ground,” stating, “You just don’t take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do.”

Mattis added:

“If a brigade of our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines would strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose.”

Even Obama’s defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, appeared to contradict the president’s assertion about no ground troops, telling the House Armed Services Committee Thursday, “We are at war and everything is on the table.” Hagel also revealed that the 1,600 “trainers” and “advisers” who have been deployed to Iraq are receiving combat pay.

It is apparent that the Obama administration is using a hyper-technical definition of “combat troops” to exclude the military’s special operation units from this category, even if they end up engaged in combat.

The position taken by the generals has found ample political support from the right-wing editorial board of the Wall Street Journal as well as congressional Republicans. The Journal argued in an editorial Friday that Obama’s “promise never to put ground troops into Iraq or Syria is already undermining the campaign before serious fighting begins against the Islamic State. Few believe him, and they shouldn’t if Mr. Obama wants to defeat the jihadists.”

The editorial compared Obama’s denial about “combat troops” to the claims made at the beginning of the Vietnam War that US troops were acting only as “advisers,” warning that the president could face the same fate as Lyndon Johnson, who “gave the impression of looming victory… only to have to escalate again and again.”

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (Republican of California), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Post that Obama should “follow the … professional advice of the military” and “not take options off the table.”

The assertiveness of the top military brass in contradicting the White House is fed by the subservience and cowardice of civilian authorities, including the president and Congress. The latter adjourned this week after voting in both the House and Senate for Obama’s plan to shift $500 million in Pentagon funding to the arming and training of so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria. The measure was inserted as an amendment to a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through mid-December.

No serious debate, much less direct vote, was taken on the region-wide war that Washington is launching in the Middle East. The legislators have no inclination to be seen taking a position on this action—much less an interest in exercising their constitutional power—for fear that it will reverberate against them at the polls in November. Any debate has been postponed until Congress reconvenes after the elections and, undoubtedly, after the war is well under way in both Syria and Iraq.

Kagame Started the Genocide in Rwanda, then Congo

September 21st, 2014 by Global Research News

To the City of Atlanta, former Mayor Andrew Young and Bernice King:

Individuals and organizations listed below have come to know that the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is organizing what he calls Rwanda Day, a meeting with the Rwandan Diaspora and the American public in the city of Atlanta.

We, the Congolese and Rwandan Diaspora, indigenous of the Congo and Rwanda, together with friends of these two countries, denounce and strongly condemn the fact that the president of Rwanda is allowed to organize such a meeting on American soil with the blessing of the authorities of the City of Atlanta.

Our condemnation is based on the fact that the people of the African Great Lakes regions have suffered from the abuses committed by Paul Kagame and his government for 24 years now.

We would like to bring the following basic facts about Paul Kagame to the attention of all Americans who are committed to peace and social justice:

  • In 1990, Gen. Paul Kagame invaded Rwanda heading a detachment of the Ugandan army dominated by Rwandan Tutsis like himself. He destabilized the country and committed numerous mass murders in the north of Rwanda.
  • In 1994, when the city of Kigali was surrounded by camps filled with desperate refugees fleeing Kagame’s army in the north, President Kagame pushed the country into a state of panic, terror and genocidal violence by ordering the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents as they returned from peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania, which were meant to end the conflict.

Rwandans and Congolese joined forces to protest the first Rwanda Day, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011, and at each Rwanda Day since.
Image: Rwandans and Congolese joined forces to protest the first Rwanda Day, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011, and at each Rwanda Day since.

  • In 1996 and 1998, Gen. Paul Kagame joined Gen. Yoweri Museveni in invading the Democratic Republic of the Congo, creating havoc in the country which resulted in deaths that the International Rescue Committee estimated to be as high as 5.4 million between January 1997 and January 2008. Since at least seven years of war and conflict were not counted in the IRC’s epidemiological study, the death toll is no doubt much higher.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame has never stopped plundering the Democratic Republic of the Congo since his first raids and today Rwanda is a major exporter of coltan (ore used in the manufacture of mobile phones, playstations and military electronics), although Rwanda itself has no coltan reserves.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame has fueled wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by creating and supporting proxy militias such as the M23 that have helped him cover up his plundering of the country.
  • Gen. Paul Kagame rules Rwanda with an iron fist. Political space is locked down favor of a minority. Nonviolent political challengers to Kagame, including Victoire Ingabire and Deo Mushayidi are incarcerated.

A protester at Rwanda Day in Boston in 2012 held up a poster calling for the freedom of Rwandan political prisoner and opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

Image: A protester at Rwanda Day in Boston in 2012 held up a poster calling for the freedom of Rwandan political prisoner and opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza.

  • Gen. Paul Kagame does not hesitate to resort to political assassination inside and outside Rwanda’s borders. In 2010, journalist Jean Leonard Rugambage was gunned down in the streets of Kigali, after letting the editor of the publication he wrote for know that he was about to release evidence of Kagame’s complicity in the attempt to assassinate his former general, Kayumba Nyamwasa, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kagame’s former intelligence chief, Patrick Karegeya, was the last known to pay with his life for becoming a critic of the Kagame regime. Karegeya was found hanging in a Johannesburg hotel on New Year’s Day this year. This case is still under investigation, but Kagame’s response to the murder was to warn Rwandans, in a public speech, that “you can’t betray Rwanda without paying the price.”

All statements mentioned above have been duly documented by various U.N. reports, documented news reports including video footage, and legal judgments:

  • In July 16, 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives hearings before the Committee on International Relations about the Democratic Republic of the Congo revealed that Paul Kagame’s RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) had invaded Congo-Zaïre and that it was assassinating Hutu refugees in Eastern Congo-Zaïre. In 2006, President Obama, who was then a senator from Illinois, authored the Congo Relief Security and Democracy Promotion Act. Section 101(5) and (6) of Obama’s 2006 Congo legislation reads:“(5) The most recent war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which erupted in 1998, spawned some of the world’s worst human rights atrocities and drew in six neighboring countries.“(6) Despite the conclusion of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, both the real and perceived presence of armed groups hostile to the Governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi continue to serve as a major source of regional instability and an apparent pretext for continued interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by its neighbors [Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi].”

Rwanda Day protest, London 2012

Image: Rwanda Day protest, London 2012

  • In 2008, The Spanish National Court indicted 40 Rwandan officers on charges of mass murder, crimes against humanity, terrorism, genocide against Rwandans, Congolese and Spanish citizens in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain’s National Court also declared that he had sufficient evidence to implicate current Rwandan President Paul Kagame, but he also added that he could not indict him because of his presidential immunity.
  • The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) issued a report on the Congo called “The United Nations Mapping Exercise Report.” This report affirms that the Rwandan government is responsible for the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Congo. Moreover, the observation of some of the crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has led investigators to say that some elements “if proven before a competent court, could be characterized as crimes of genocide.”
  • On April 15, 2013, the Report of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) expresses concerns about the political space in Rwanda. It observes that there are many political constraints and that freedom of association and expression is not guaranteed. It also raises the question of the imprisonment of opposition leader Madame Victoire Ingabire.
  • In a letter dated Dec. 12, 2013, from the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed to the chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the U.N. experts argue that Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe was commanding the M23 militia then terrorizing DR Congo and that Rwanda provided continuous support to M23 from Rwandan territory. The most consistent forms of support were through recruitment and provision of arms and ammunition, particularly during periods of combat. M23 also received troop reinforcements directly from the Rwandan army in August. During the October fighting, Rwandan tanks fired into DRC in support of M23.
  • On Sept. 10, 2014, Magistrate Stanley Mkhari sentenced four men each to eight years in prison in a South African court, saying that they had been proven guilty of a ‘‘politically motivated’’ attempt to assassinate Kayumba Nyamwasa, Paul Kagame’s former defense chief, in June 2010. The plot, the judge wrote, originated in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Kagame Day protest, Toronto 2013

Image: Kagame Day protest, Toronto 2013

The United States, which takes pride in its democratic history, and the City of Atlanta, which played such a proud role in the American Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, cannot want to appear to the world as supporters of dictatorship and mass murder, but allowing Paul Kagame to organize “Rwanda Day” in Atlanta tells the world that they are.

The violation of human rights is no more acceptable in Africa than in the United States or anywhere else in the world. We like to believe that human beings, wherever they are, are entitled to justice and that it is a denial of justice to host an event created to let a regime with bloody hands promote itself, while the millions it killed remain compelled to silence in death because we do not have the courage to speak for them and say enough is enough.

A message from a Congolese citizen, Philippe Lomboto Liondjo: “Please do not insult Martin Luther King’s memory and the spirit of the honorable struggle for Civil Rights by allowing a killer such as Gen. Kagame to organize his Rwanda Day in Atlanta.”

Coalition

BK Kumbi, spokesperson, Don’t Be Blind This Time (Switzerland-DRC)
Don’t Be Blind This Time, Swiss citizen movement
Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor, Black Agenda Report (USA)
Glen Ford, Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
Milton Allimadi, Editor-in-Chief, Black Star News (USA)
Frank LeFever, retired neuroscientist, Pacifica WBAI Local Station Board member (USA)
Ann Garrison, Journalist and Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize Winner (USA)
Maurice Carney, Executive Director, Friends of the Congo (USA)
Kambale Musavuli, Student Coordinator and Mining Researcher, Friends of the Congo (USA-DRC)
Kweku Lumumba, Secretary General, World African Diaspora Union, Georgia (USA)
Christopher Black, ICTR Defense Counsel (Canada)
David Peterson, co-author of the upcoming book, “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later” (USA)
Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan Genocide survivor, Executive Director, African Great Lakes Action Network
Theophile Murayi, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda
June Terpstra (USA)
Lisanga, Congolese political association (France)
La LUCHA, mouvement citoyen RD Congo
Soledad Mora, Comités Umoya-Madrid (Spain)
Magloire Mpembi, doctor and novelist (Canada-DRC)
Jean-Mobert N’Senga-la, LUCHA, (DRC)
Momi M’Buze Noogwani Ataye Mieko, Congolese writer and activist
Monique Mbeka, Congolese film maker (Belgium-DRC)
Philippe Lomboto Liondjo, Congolese performer, actor and activist (Switzerland-RDC)
Olivier Mukuna, Journalist (Belgium)
Lopango Ya ba Nka, Congolese music band (Germany-RDC)
Willie Ratcliff, Publisher, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
JR Valrey, Producer, Block Report Radio, Associate Editor, SF Bay View (USA)
Anne Onidi, Journalist (Switzerland)
Nicolas-Patience Basabose (RSA)
Elengo (Switzerland-DRC
Victoria Dimandja (GB-DRC)
Youyou Muntu-Mosi (France-DRC)
Nadine Bena (France-DRC)
Jean-Jacques Tadoum (USA)
Leopold Mbala (USA-DRC)
Ekutsu Mambulu (DRC)
N’siala Kiese Patrick (Belgique-Drc)
Meta Nabou Cisse (Belgique)
Derrick Onyeri (Denmark-Uganda)
Nadia Nsayi (Belgiques-DRC)
Jean-Baptiste Paul (France-Haïti)
Rosa Moro, Journalist (Spain)
Flavia Garrigos Cabanero (Spain)
Dina Martinez (Spain)
Damiàn Socías Picornell (Spain)
Pedro Espinosa Bote (Spain)
Ana María Martínez Rodamilans (Spain)
Fuencisla de Andrés (Spain)
Ana Espinosa González (Spain)
Pedro Espinosa (Spain)
Maite Cobas (Spain)
Jaime Lara (Spain)
José Hernández (Spain)
Mingu Haro (Spain),
Marlene Ibarra (Ecuador)
Nella Azana (GB-DRC)
Vincent Conrad Ball (GB)
Kibsoo Diallo (Egypt)
Djallil Saada (Switzerland)
Benjamin Itzkovich (Switzerland)
Dieudonne Aoche (USA-DRC)
Lucie N’goma (France)
Paul Alain (France)
Judith Bass (Switzerland)
Juan Carlos Hernandez (Switzerland)
Mang Holenn Christian (RSA)
Leslie Luboloko Lusinda (RSA)
Patrick Kegbia (RSA)
Billy Lukinu (Angola)
Stacey Koyenyi (GB)
Kitondua Diasivi (France)
Ive Mass (GB-RDC)
Matondo Kapella (RDC)
Gloria Omoyi (France-RDC)
Gugu Ngwenya (RSA-RDC)
Owandji Olenga Lokolo Lopaka (RDC)
Sosthene Banda Badou (Poland-Tchad)
Bebelle Dembo (North Irland)
Anthea Harris (GB)
Claudine Mamona-Cullin (Austria)
Sala Naambwe (Canada)
Demunga Hassani (Canada)
S. Mathieu Gnonhossou (USA-Rwanda)
Philippe Faradja Byaombe , Congolese Student Organisation-Pretoria (RSA)
Aimant Lutonadio (Germany-RDC)
Sophie Teuwen (Senegal)
Ibrahim Touré (Algeria-Mali)
Dadao Mupulu (RDC)
Kalengula Wha Kalengula (USA-RDC)
J.L. Bondoko Ekolonga (RDC)
Motaouakkil Abdellatif (Morocco)
Paul Otshudi Loma (GB)
Dolly Kimpiatu Fofo Lukata (USA-DRC)
Raphaël Berland (France)
Beatrice Léonard Lomami (USA-DRC)
Freddy Aigle (DRC)
Ambrose Nzeyimana (GB-Rwanda)
Dady Dalla (USA-DRC)
Dalila Choukri (France)
Kakiese Nicole (Belgium-DRC)
Dominique Diomi (USA-DRC)
Joachim Mbala (GB-DRC)
Patience Ngoba-Mushidi (Germany-DRC)
Joyce Mbaya (USA-DRC)
Yiokito Ilangwa (RSA-DRC)
Patricia Athena (Sweden
Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, President, Congo Coalition
Nii Akuetteh, Founder, The Democracy & Conflict Research Institute (DCRI)
Ed Herman, co-author of the upcoming book, “Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later”
Keith Harmon Snow, human rights investigator and war correspondent, Conscious Being Alliance
Robin Philpot, Baraka Books Publisher, author of “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa
Kevin Alexander Gray, author of “The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama,” contributor to Counterpunch and The Progressive
Nita Evele, Congo Coalition – Stop the Genocide in Congo-Zaire
Phil Taylor, Taylor Report Producer and Host, CIUT 89.5 FM, University of Toronto, former defense investigator for the ICTR
Kumbi Bénédicte Ndjoko, historian and activist, Don’t Be Blind This Time
Jean Nepomuscene Manirarora, Secretary-General, Foundation for Freedom and Democracy in Rwanda
Jennifer Fierberg, Contributor, African Global Village

For more information, contact Friends of the Congo, 202-584-6512 or 718-865-6512 and Committee for Unity of Black Immigrants and Americans, 404-401-8817.

Hotel Propaganda: What Really Happened in Rwanda in 1994

September 21st, 2014 by Antony C. Black

On the evening of April 6th 1994 a plane carrying the Hutu leaders of both Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it approached Kanombe airport[1]. The assassins had little trouble targeting the flight as only one of the two runways was open, the other having been closed two months earlier on the orders of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. Simultaneous to the shootdown, that is on the eve of April 6th, a 30,000 RPF  (Tutsi) army based in Uganda invaded from the north. At the same time, hundreds of covert armed RPF cells came to life in and around Kigali and began attacking Rwandan government forces (FAR). The population, roughly 85% Hutu, and encompassing at least a million refugees in and around Kigali displaced by previous RPF incursions from Uganda, began to panic.  A genocide was about to begin.
 
But it was a genocide neither against, nor by, the actors cited in the ‘official’ narrative. Indeed, Rwanda circa 1994, is, in all likelihood, if not the, then certainly one of the greatest propaganda swindles of all time. This is the story of that swindle and of the scandalous truth that lies buried beneath it.
 
Historical Context

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

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

Up until 1990 there was no further interference in Rwanda from Uganda. Nevertheless, by then the Tutsis exiles living there had become one of the main elements of the Ugandan Army. As such, when Museveni came to power – having been handpicked by the US and Britain to oust the socialist, Milton Obote – a third or more of his army consisted of Tutsis. Many of these held high office, including Paul Kagame.

Kagame had been (and remains) an erstwhile client of Washington from well before he claimed to have ‘saved Rwanda from further genocide’ in 1994. Not only had he served as director of Ugandan military intelligence in the 1980s, but he had also received training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,[2] and had been the beneficiary of constant US material and diplomatic support from the moment he assumed control of the RPF.

Upon the collapse of the USSR in 1989/90 the US and the UK began a general militarist expansion which included the targeting of Yugoslavia and Rwanda; Yugoslavia as it was the last real bastion of working socialism in Europe, and Rwanda as it was a working model of socialist development in Africa. In addition, the US had turned against Mobutu (of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as he was beginning to ally himself politically with China.

The Rwandan president, Habyarimana, was subsequently approached by Washington to allow his country to be used as a staging ground for an attack on Zaire (to this day, a cornucopia of precious resources prized by the West). His refusal caused the US to look to other agents in furthering its strategic interests. They found the Tutsis in Uganda, ever thirsting for restoration of their hegemony in Rwanda. Furthermore, Museveni had begun to feel uneasy about the numbers of Tutsis in his ranks and was looking to be rid of them. The opportunity to satisfy these disparate desires soon came.

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

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

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

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

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

The Rwandan army, though hamstrung by the civilian ministries, managed to repulse the RPF attack. Finally, in August of 1993, the Arusha Accords were signed under pressure from the United States and its allies, and from which the RPF obtained major concessions. The Accords dictated the formation of a broad-based transition government to be followed by general elections.[3] But for the RPF – as for the United States – there was a fatal fly in the electoral ointment. To wit, the RPF knew that they could not win such elections; this not only because they were unpopular with the majority (85%) Hutu population, but also because they had precious little support amongst many of Rwanda’s internal Tutsis whose lives and businesses they had destroyed. Rather than prepare for elections, the RPF prepared for something different.

UN reports document the massive build-up of men and weapons coming in from Uganda during this period. In fact, the UN force (UNAMIR) supposedly deployed to ensure a peaceful transition acted, instead, as a cover for the US and its allies, i.e. Britain, Belgium, Canada, to assist the illegal build-up. General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general in charge of the UN force, hid this build-up not only from the Rwandan Army and the President, but also from his immediate superiors, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali. These machinations were accompanied by death threats against Habyarimana, threats made all the more significant by the murder of the first Hutu president of neighbouring Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, by Tutsi officers in October 1993.[4]

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

Who Killed Habyarimana

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

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

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

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

What’s more, not only have other French – and Spanish – legal officials since confirmed Bruguiere’s findings, but many highly placed members of the RPF have stepped forward publicly to implicate Kagame and the RPF in the assassination[5]. All have suffered the same fate of official international silence and suppression, and some of the latter have suffered assassination themselves.[6]

This culture of suppression and official silence has also plagued the ICTR from its inception. In particular, it became the explicit policy of the ICTR to forcibly limit its mandate solely to the investigation of ‘genocidal intent’ by Hutu government figures, i.e. without any reference whatsoever either to the political context of the conflict or to the mounting evidence implicating the RPF as invaders and genocidaires.  In short, the ICTR, much like its sister tribunal, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), proved itself from the outset to be little more than a Washington-sponsored kangaroo court.[7]

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

Boutros-Ghali, It might be remembered, had come uncomfortably close to scuttling the entire US/RPF invasion scenario when, in May of 1994, he acceded to a request by the Rwandan government to send 5500 UN troops to Rwanda to reinforce the 2500 already stationed there; this so as to stabilize the country at a time when reports of growing ‘chaos’ were issuing forth daily in the world press. These efforts were, however, categorically thwarted by the Clinton regime which used its influence to remove the proposal from the UN agenda. Instead, the UN troops already stationed there, far from being reinforced, were withdrawn. Later, Boutros-Ghali, in conversation with Rwandan expert Robin Philpot, would expand on these matters declaring that, “The genocide in Rwanda was 100% the responsibility of the Americans!”[8] Hardly any wonder, then, that in 1996 US Ambassador to the UN, the ubiquitous Madeleine Albright, would veto his re-election making Boutros-Ghali the only UN Secretary General in history not to be granted a second term in office.

Inconvenient Truths

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

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

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

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

Though much evidence surfaced early on that the official genocide narrative was in sharp disagreement with reality, all later independent reports have continued to corroborate this finding. In a 2004 paper, for instance (and reinforced in a more recent 2009 report), US academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam concluded that, of the many hundreds of thousands of deaths (possibly as high as two million)[9] that occurred in Rwanda from April through July of 1994, the “majority of victims [at least two thirds] were likely Hutu and not Tutsi”. Noteworthy is the fact that Davenport and Stam were initially sponsored by the ICTR – that is until their findings contradicted the official narrative whence they were sent packing.

Still, Davenport and Stam have refrained from taking the implication of their own research to its logical conclusion, i.e. that Kagame’s forces were the only agents responsible for committing “systematic” killings in the areas they overran, or that such systemic violence was part of a pre-existing plan by the US-backed RPF to invade and overthrow the legitimate government, the latter in order to install a formerly privileged minority – and Western comprador elite[10] – to power within Rwanda.

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

No matter, the movie continues to circulate, sans critique; Rusesabagina’s views and denunciations, do not.[11]

Whose Genocide(s)?
 
It is something of an embarrassment to the US architects of the ICTR that the tribunal, though explicitly tasked with indicting only members of the Hutu government, have failed singularly in successfully prosecuting any of them[12]. Not only have the most senior members of the MRND – through the spirited efforts of the various defense teams – been acquitted, but the mass of evidence so assembled has stood the entire official narrative on its head, and has implicated, au contraire, the RPF – and its foreign accomplices – in the genocide.

There was, however, one highly publicized piece of evidence proffered at the tribunal by prosecutors as they sought to prove a ‘planned genocide’ by the MRND government. This was the so-called ‘genocide fax’ allegedly sent to the New York UN headquarters on the night of January 10th, 1994. That this was the only piece of documentary evidence claiming direct planning of a genocide put forward in the trial is, itself, telling. Had there actually been such a plan (by the MRND), the logistics would have left a paper and/or electronic trail a mile wide. Instead, there are no orders, minutes of meetings, notes, cables, faxes, radio intercepts or any other type of documentation indicating that such a plan ever existed. And then, of course, there are the actual events on the ground which, as we have seen (and shall see further), suggest nothing of the sort. Nonetheless, there is the lone sepulchre of the ‘genocide fax’. What to make of it?[13]

To make a long story short, the fax is a forgery. There was a fax sent to the UN headquarters on January 10th, 1994 (a copy of a cable sent by Romeo Dallaire to another Canadian, General Baril), but this was not the fax that was entered into evidence in the Military II trial (ICTR vs Ndindiliyimana)[14] in October, 2005. Ndindiliyimana’s defense counsel was able to definitively establish that the original fax dealt only with ‘weapons caches and seeking protection for an informant’, whereas the fax subsequently entered as evidence, having first had time stamps, dates and paragraphs altered, had mysteriously sprouted an addendum about government plans to kill Tutsis and Belgian soldiers.[15] Conflicting testimony both between Dallaire’s earlier and later statements, and between statements made by Dallaire and Lt. Col. Claeys (a Belgian officer who claims to be one of the authors of the original cable), further proved the document’s inauthenticity. Such was only reinforced when Dallaire’s immediate superior, Jacques Roger Booh-Booh, stated that he had never seen nor heard of the fax or any of its alleged inflammatory contents. Eventually, the ‘genocide fax’ was simply withdrawn as evidence by the court. Puff! One might wonder, then, why tens of thousands of MRND personnel are today still in prison, this whilst not one RPF figure has even been indicted. But so it is.

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

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

Now, what this letter seems to indicate is that the attack on Rwanda (from 1990 onward) was not the prime objective of Kagame and crew after all, but was, rather, merely the gateway to an attack on Zaire/Congo. The significance of the latter became apparent when, on November 1, 1996, the aforementioned Goma was, in fact, attacked and taken by the RPA (the re-named RPF) along with Burundian and Ugandan forces. This assault was heavily backed by the United States and eyewitness accounts tell of large American cargo planes filled with arms landing in Kigali in the last two weeks of October, 1996. The taking of Goma was, it is pertinent to note, the prelude to the ensuing genocidal carnage that has overtaken the Democratic Republic of the Congo ever since. To properly understand this last statement we need to backtrack a bit to April 6, 1994, and look at the events that unfolded immediately following the assassination of Habyarimana.

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

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

The effect of one million people flooding into a small city that itself was under bombardment caused mayhem and panic. To make matters worse, the RPF used this flood of people to infiltrate its men behind FAR lines. This heightened to fever pitch the panic amongst the Hutu population who then began killing anyone they did not recognize. The late Dr. Alison Des Forges (a noted expert on Rwanda), in her testimony before the Military II trial at the ICTR in 2006 stated that the RPF claim that they attacked to stop a ‘genocide’ was a myth; just propaganda to justify their attempt to seize power by force of arms. She also testified that the Rwandan government did not plan and execute genocide. This accords with the (early) testimony of Romeo Dallaire who confirmed that there was no planned genocide by the MRND. In addition, the deputy head of Belgian Army intelligence, Col. Vincent, similarly testified that the idea of an MRND-backed genocide was a complete fantasy.

The fighting in Kigali was intense. UN officers – confirming testimony made by FAR and RPF officers before the ICTR – state that the RPF was launching hundreds of Katyusha rockets every hour around the clock whilst the Rwandan Army ran out of grenades in the first few days and were reduced to fighting with hand-made explosives. Nevertheless, the siege of Kigali lasted three months and only ended when the Rwandan Army literally ran out of all ammunition and thence ordered a general retreat into the forests of the Congo.

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

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

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

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

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

Shaking Hands With The Devil

In assessing responsibility for the tragedy of Rwanda – and the ensuing events in Zaire/Congo – we must not stop at those already indicted in this essay. For none of this could have happened without the overt complicity of numerous ‘humanitarian’ NGOs including especially, Human Rights Watch, which, in the early days prior to the RPF’s final solution, headed up a totally bogus, unsubstantiated report (issued March 6, 1993) condemning (and so de-legitimizing in advance) the Rwandan government for a ‘genocide’ that, in fact, had yet to take place – and which would, in the event, be committed by the very agents it conspired to defend, i.e. the RPF. And, naturally, none of this could have happened without the willing complicity of the Western mass media who swallowed hook, line and sinker every piece of propaganda issued by the Clinton Administration[16].

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

Of the three, however, Dallaire’s role is particularly noteworthy, for it is he who has, ever since, been portrayed, and portrayed himself, as a hero in the Rwandan tragedy; and who has, as such, been pre-eminently involved in spreading and maintaining the Big Lie with respect to it. Dallaire’s 2003 epic, Shake Hands With the Devil,[17] an ironically named Faustian tract, fails spectacularly to elucidate the author’s otherwise well documented actions during the events.

It is well established, for instance, that Dallaire knew of – and, effectively, facilitated – the build-up of RPF forces inside Kigali prior to Habyarimana’s assassination. It is well established that Dallaire, rather than reporting to and receiving orders from the UN, as was his mandate, was, instead, reporting and receiving instructions from American military commanders. It is also a fact that Dallaire, only two months prior to the assassination of Habyarimana, closed down one of the only two runways[18] into Kigali airport – upon request of the RPF. It is also the case that Dallaire covered up the massacre by the RPF of MRND people elected in by-elections in the north of Rwanda in November, 1993. Evidence presented at the ICTR further implicates Dallaire in supplying intelligence to Kagame and the RPF forces throughout the period leading up to April 6, 1994.

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

How did the lady prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, come to be murdered at the UN development compound (the morning after Habyarimana had been assassinated) just a short time after he, Dallaire, arrived there? Why did he do nothing to save the lives of the Belgian UN soldiers – suspected of being the team that shot down Habyarimana’s plane – who were subsequently killed at Camp Kigali? Why, and under whose command, did Belgian army units in certain strategic positions in Kigali abandon them and all their weapons to the RPF? Why did UN army units attack MRND army units, but never the RPF? Why did he fail to report that US forces, using Hercules C-130 aircraft, were supplying men and weapons to the RPF? Why, when Dallaire had his headquarters at Amahoro stadium in Kigali after April 6 through the rest of the month, did he allow RPF forces to enter and subsequently murder Hutu refugees who had fled there for safety? And, of course, why did he lie about the ‘genocide fax’ of January 11, 1994?

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

Of Credibility and Credulity

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

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

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

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

Notes:

[1] Servicing the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali.
 
[2] The US Army’s elite, commander general staff college devoted to the high-level planning of invasion scenarios.
 
[3] This despite Museveni never having held an election from the time he shot his way into power in the mid 80s up to the present day.
 
[4] Ndadaye had won the country’s first free elections, and in the aftermath of his murder, 250,000 Hutus were massacred by the Tutsi army of Burundi, and hundreds of thousands fled to Rwanda.
 
[5] One of these is Abdul Ruzibiza, former comrade-in-arms of Kagame and lieutenant in the RPF. After defecting he published a book in French (2005) accusing the RPF of having committed systematic massacres. In addition, defections from the present regime include, amongst many former high-level government figures, two former Prime Ministers, Faustin Twagiramungu and Pierre Celestin Rwigema.
 
[6] Assassinations by RPF agents of opponents to the regime have been many. Of note, however, two priests from Quebec, Claude Simard and Guy Pinard, were murdered Oct. 94 and Feb. 97 respectively. In addition, and rather chillingly, it is a matter of public record that a very long ‘hit list’ targeting opponents is, to this very day, sponsored by the Kagame regime.
 
[7] Unlike the famous Nuremberg tribunal, the ICTR omits any reference to wars of aggression or foreign intervention (the ‘supreme international crime’ according to Nuremberg), and so, effectively, condones them. Moreover, the refusal to consider who instigated the war essentially runs cover for the instigators.
 
[8] More fully, “The genocide in Rwanda was 100% the responsibility of the Americans….The United States, with the energetic support of Great Britain, did everything they could to prevent the UN from sending troops to Rwanda to stop the fighting. And they succeeded”.
 
[9] The exact numbers have never been definitively established. Initial reports claiming 800,000 were mostly pulled out of a hat. Still, later research (including testimony before the ICTR from former RPF officers themselves) seem to indicate that in the months following Habyarimana’s assassination, the numbers were, at the least, in the many hundreds of thousands, and possibly as high as two million. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus were also forced back to Rwanda at gunpoint starting in November of 1996, and hundreds of thousands more (possibly more than a million) were subsequently pursued and killed in the forests of the Congo. The Congolese themselves, of course, have suffered many millions (i.e. 5 to 10) killed in the US-backed RPF/Ugandan invasion and plundering of the east of the country since 1996.
 
[10] Evidence of this can be witnessed in the bilateral agreement that Rwanda, under Kagame, signed with the United States in 2003, giving each other immunity from prosecution; the former before the ICTR, and the latter before the International Criminal Court. Rwanda was also the only African country to back the US invasion of Iraq that same year. Moreover, much of the plunder of the Congo has since been funneled to the West through Kigali.
 
[11] For an interview of Rusesabagina (by Keith Harmon Snow) go to: http://www.allthingspass.com/uploads/html-191The%20Grinding%20Machine%20interview%20with%20Paul%20Rusesabagina%20FINAL.htm
 
[12] That is, no government minister or military officer has, of the time of writing, been convicted of conspiracy to commit genocide. Of the 60 or so high-ranking members of the government that have been indicted, roughly a dozen have been acquitted, whilst the rest remain – twenty years after the event – on trial. Ordinary Hutu prisoners have been, through various legally illegitimate means, i.e. duress, threat, deception etc, induced to plead guilty. But again, no convictions bearing on the crime of ‘genocide’ has ever taken place. Moreover, the full extent of the criminality of the court setup and proceedings at the ICTR (even to the extent of assassinations of witnesses under UN custody) is worthy of an essay in and of itself. Indeed, the latter can be had (by contacting the author) vis a vis a paper, currently in manuscript, by ICTR defense lawyer Christopher C. Black  (the ‘Rhodes Address’), and soon to be delivered in Rhodes, Greece.
 
[13] The case of the ‘genocide fax’ occupies a particularly important place in the ‘official’ narrative in as much as this was the only purported document, skimpy as it was, testifying to some measure of MRND conspiracy to a planned genocide. So important to the official storyline, in fact, that the ‘fax’ continues – despite having been exposed as a forgery before the ICTR – to be trotted out and adduced as ‘evidence’ to this very day.
 
[14] Specifically, ‘The ICTR vs General Augustin Ndindiliyimana’. Christopher C. Black was the lead defense counsel for Ndindiliyimana, the latter, having occupied the role of Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Gendamerie during the period in question. Ndindiliyimana was, just recently, acquitted of all charges at the ICTR.
 
[15] It was proved that this fake fax was put in UN files (to replace the original fax) by British Army Colonel, R.M. Connaughton, on November 28, 1995.
 
[16] Though special ‘commendation’ should go to Philip Gourevitch of the New Yorker, who was instrumental in propagandizing on behalf of the Clinton Administration and the RPF. Gourevitch was also the brother-in-law of Jamie Rubin, the right-hand man of, then, US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
 
[17] Dallaire published his book three years after another Canadian author, Carol Off, published her hagiography (‘The Lion, The Fox and The Eagle’) on Dallaire, Arbour and Lewis Mackenzie. Both Dallaire and Off, it turns out, relied on the same ghostwriter / researcher, Sian Cansfield, whence the existence of passages of the first volume lifted straight into the second. Both belong on the fiction list.
 
[18] More accurately, one of the two axes of the one runway was closed.