FIRST:

Here is CNN, reporting on 9 February 2015:

Screen shots

 

 

——

FOR COMPARISON:

Here is Russian Television (RT), on a related story, dated 10 February 2015:

Ukraine Bombs Lugansk Soup Kitchen

——

DISCUSSION:

The CNN news-report was not posted to the Internet by CNN, because too many people noticed that it was propaganda and complained; but those three screen-prints shown here from it were posted by various individuals who had complained about the piece. Because of those many complaints, CNN’s reporter subsequently apologized for what CNN had done there, and said that “the debate in western capitals is actually about whether the United States and other NATO countries should send arms to the Ukrainian military.” But, of course, that is too long for a mere streamer — just an “error,” perhaps. The reporter who had delivered that news-segment, and who subsequently issued that apology said, “I regret that error”; so, she implicitly admitted that she was the person who had “erred” in it, even though other employees had controlled that streamer, and she was not the producer who produced that report. She took the fall for it, on the part of the organization, all the way up to the person who hired her, and to the person who had hired that person, all the way up to the person at the top — the CEO.

The RT news-report showed an incident that was not covered nor even mentioned by CNN, though the incident clearly is relevant to the question of “whether the United States and other NATO countries should send arms to the Ukrainian military.” Perhaps CNN considers propagandistic such videos as RT issues. But that’s for you to judge, whether one or both organizations are more propaganda than news organizations.

Reader-comments are consequently invited here to discuss whether, and the extent to which, readers have encountered more deception by U.S. newsmedia, or by Russian newsmedia.

The present news report — this one — will therefore consist of that discussion: It’s yours to write, because the news here (if any) will be how the public feels about the basic honesty of the press in the U.S., and in Russia. This is your news, to write here.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Post-Minsk Russia Bashing

February 15th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

It doesn’t surprise. Demonizing Russia is longstanding US policy. Presstitute media scoundrels march dutifully in lockstep. 

Worse than ever now on Ukraine. Truth-telling obliterated by a daily blitzkrieg of Big Lies. A shocking display of media malpractice.

Progressive Radio News Hour guest Larry Pinkney justifiably calls their reporting “vomit.” The good news is growing numbers of people reject it.

The bad news is most still accept what demands rejection. Irresponsible willful deception.

State propaganda masquerading as real journalism. Dangerous stuff driving things inexorably toward East/West confrontation.

Like The New York Times headlining “US Faults Russia as Combat Spikes in East Ukraine.”

Saying Washington “accused Russia of joining separatist rebels in an all-out attack on Ukrainian forces around the contested town of Debaltseve.”

“When the pact was signed with a two-day window before the truce, some last-minute jockeying for position was expected.”

“But the intensity and scope of the violence raised concerns that the agreement signed this week” will fail like previous efforts.

An honest headline would have said “US Faults Russia Irresponsibly for Kiev Aggression.”

Truth-telling isn’t The Times’ long suit. Managed news misinformation garbage substitutes.

Reader betrayal is standard practice. All rubbish all the time when it comes to geopolitical reporting, commentaries and analysis.

Truth is strictly verboten. Throughout months of Ukrainian crisis conditions, try finding a Times report on Washington’s coup.

Ousting Ukraine’s democratic government. Installing illegitimate neo-Nazi thugs masquerading as politicians.

Headed by an oligarch crook front man representing Western interests and his own. Plundering Ukraine for profit.

Waging naked aggression on his own people. Fully supported by Washington. Obama wants Donbas democracy eliminated altogether.

Try finding a single Times report explaining what’s most important. Or any other Western media source telling readers, viewers or listeners what Ukraine’s conflict is all about.

Instead willful misreporting drowns out hard truths.Western media quoted Poroshenko virtually declaring continued war saying “(w)e are still far from peace…”

Left unsaid was explaining US/Kiev/rogue NATO partners’ full responsibility for what’s ongoing.

Times editors bashed Putin suggesting Minsk is less his desire for peace, more perhaps “another cynical feint in his campaign to dismember Ukraine.”

Washington wants planet earth colonized and “dismember(ed).” Putin continues going all-out to hold things together diplomatically.

Don’t expect Times editors to explain. Instead they ignored Obama’s coup. Followed by US planned, implemented and directed war leveling a whopper of a Big Lie claiming its “Mr. Putin’s war.”

Washington Post editors exceed Times duplicity. Giving Big Lies new meaning. “The Ukraine cease-fire does little to restrain Mr. Putin,” they headlined.

A litany of outrageous Big Lies followed. Screaming “Russian aggression. Putin’s “military aggression.” The “latest Russian offensive.”

His “ambition to create a puppet state in eastern Ukraine…to be used to sabotage the rest of the country.”

Minsk terms give “Putin a veto over any final political settlement in eastern Ukraine – and permission to continue violating the country’s sovereignty in the meantime.”

“…Control over the border between Russia and Ukraine would not be returned to Kiev (except under) ‘constitutional reform’ acceptable to Moscow…”

“(W)ithout additional economic and military pressure, Mr. Putin will never” observe Minsk terms.

You can’t make this stuff up. Pinkney is right calling it “vomit.”

All WaPo editor assertions are polar opposite hard facts. Like Times and other media scoundrels, truth-telling isn’t their long suit.

Irresponsible Russia bashing Big Lies substitute. Barely stopping short of urging war.

Right-wing Bernard-Henri Levy is buffoon-like. An intellectual pigmy. Honesty, integrity and truth-telling are absent from his commentaries.

Western presstitute editors haul him out at times to spread more Big Lies than proliferate already.

Wall Street Journal ones featured his “On the Road to Putinlandia” nonsense. He flew to Kiev. Met Poroshenko.

Traveled with him to somewhere in Donbas. Discussed Minsk before four-party talks. “What are you going to say to” Putin, Levy asked?

“That I will yield on nothing,” Pofoshenko replied. “That neither Ukraine’s territorial integrity nor its right to Europe are negotiable.”

“And if he persists,” asked Levy? “If he won’t abandon his idea of federalizing the areas now in the hands of the separatists?”

“Then I’ll walk out and submit the question to public opinion and to the United Nations,” Poroshenko hyperventilated.

“We are not Ethiopia in 1935 or Czechoslovakia in 1938 or one of the little nations sacrificed by the great powers at Yalta.” he added.

According to Levy, Poroshenko claims he “paid too dearly for…freedom and independence to accept any form of diktat.”

He “hope(s) (for peace) with all (his) heart,” he claims, while waging naked aggression on his own people. Murdering them in cold blood.

Levy is a longtime imperial apologist. A Zionist promoter. An advocate for “humanitarian” mass slaughter and destruction.

A sinister/narcissistic fraudster claiming intellectual credentials. A proliferator of Big Lies for special benefits and privileges he derives.

Responsible editors wouldn’t touch his rubbish. Journal ones featured it. Separately they railed about “Putin’s Latest Victory.”

Claiming Minsk “ratifie(d) a Russian satrapy in Ukraine.” Saying “Moscow and its proxy militias in Ukraine have been violating” Minsk I.

Nonexistent “Russian troops and equipment have poured across the Ukrainian border to support the separatists,” they claim.

In December, Ukrainian MPs addressed Senate Armed Services Committee members. No evidence whatever suggests Russian forces, weapons and equipment aiding rebels.

If MPs had it they’d have shown it. Instead they used fake photos unrelated to Ukraine. From South Ossetia’s 2008 conflict.

Senator James Inhofe (R. OK) was outraged saying:

“The Ukrainian parliament members who gave us these photos in print form as if it came directly from a camera really did themselves a disservice.”

“I was furious to learn one of the photos provided now appears to be falsified from an AP photo taken in 2008.”

Another was from AFP. Inhofe is no good guy. He’s part of the Big Lie Russian involvement in Ukraine chorus.

Like his Ukrainian counterparts, he has no evidence backing his accusations. None exists. Big Lies substitute.

Congress looks ready to grant Obama authorization for unconstrained war against any adversaries he names using US forces at his discretion.

Wall Street Journal editors lie like their scoundrel media counterparts. They want Kiev given US heavy weapons deceptively called “defensive ones.”

While at the same time ignoring US-led NATO heavy weapons and munitions pouring into Ukraine since conflict began last April.

“(N)obody should be surprised if this cease-fire collapses as quickly as the last one did,” said Journal editors.

Leaving unexplained Kiev/US/rogue NATO partners’ full responsibility. Instead outrageously blaming Putin for “alternat(ing) between brute force and take diplomacy…”

Journal editors urged stiffer sanctions, more weapons for Kiev, and larger NATO deployments close to Russia’s borders.

In the same breath they claim Putin intends “another move before America gets a new president who might do more to resist his conquests.”

Sounds like they want WW III. Maybe nothing less than nuclear armageddon would satisfy them.

The neocon infested Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) is PNAC’s (Project for the New American Century) current incarnation.

They headlined ”Russian Aggression in Ukraine since the September 2014 ceasefire.” Stating one Big Lie after another claiming:

Donbas “separatists have continually violated the September 2014 cease-fire (using) heavy weapons and technology provided by the Kremlin…”

No proof whatever given backing up their claims. At the same time, Kiev’s brazen aggression is airbrushed from history.

Russia’s nonexistent invasion substituted. Involving 9,000 soldiers and 500 tanks no one can spot – despite sophisticated eye-in-the-sky satellite surveillance FPI ignored in its comments.

Instead claiming Russian aggression, Russian regulars, Russian soldiers, Russian proxies, possible “lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons,” Russia supporting “separatists.”

Nothing about horrific Kiev crimes of war and against humanity.  Mass atrocities committed. Mass murders of civilians in rebel held areas.

Victims explain best. A Donetsk resident told RT International‘s Murad Gazdiev:

“Why are they bombing us? Why are they killing us? Why are they destroying us? We will be buried alive. We will starve. We will rot in basements.”

A local doctor said “(w)e hoped for that day the peace would come, the troops would be drawn off, and this bloodshed and civil war would come to an end. But it didn’t happen.”

An elderly resident said “(w)e already don’t know whether to believe if there could be any sense in the talks. We’d like to see peace. But the shelling goes on.”

RT quoted EU Reporter magazine political reporter Anna Van Densky saying “(t)he moment the coup d’etat happened was the moment when Ukraine entered this tragic path of decline and degradation.”

“People of the whole of Ukraine and Donbas are hostages of this horrendous situation.”

An injured woman told RT she “really want(s) peace, for everything to improve.”

“I wish no one to go through what I have – to be left old and alone with a crippled leg in a destroyed building.”

It’s important to keep repeating what other articles stressed. Ukraine is Obama’s war. He didn’t launch it to quit.

He’ll wage it to the last Ukrainian. It’s lawless aggression by any standard. Risking direct confrontation with Russia. Possible global war. Wealth, power and dominance alone matter.

Millions of lost lives and unspeakable human misery are small prices to pay. Lunatics running things in Washington think this way. Why stopping them matters most of all.

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. 

Rare Pro-Terrorist Protest in Post-Coup Thailand

February 15th, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

AFP would claim in an article titled, “Rare anti-coup protest in Thailand,” that:

Dozens of anti-coup activists held a demonstration in central Bangkok today, handing out roses and copies of George Orwell’s “1984″ — a rare expression of public dissent in a nation still under strict martial law.

Except in reality, these “dozens” of “activists” are merely the same loud, obnoxious minority that has ceaselessly opposed attempts by Thailand’s institutions, including the military, to restore order, peace, and stability after over a decade of turmoil created by mass murderer and dictator, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Street Mob Wants Thaksin Shinawatra, not “Democracy”  

Shinawatra mass murdered nearly 3,000 people in a 90 day period in 2003. He ordered a protest put down in 2004 that saw 85 killed in a single day (after they were detained). He would oversee the assassination or disappearance of 18 human rights advocates during his first of two terms in office, and since being deposed in 2006 by a military coup similar to the one that ousted his nepotist sister, Yingluck Shinawatra just last year, he has built-up and deployed “red shirt” street mobs that have hacked to death, shot, beaten, and otherwise murdered, abused, or intimidated Shinawatra’s political opponents across the country .

Image: In 2010 “democracy” was wielding M16s and AK47s, mass slaughtering in the streets after courts ruled against deposed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra who vowed revenge. His “revenge” cost nearly 100 people their lives and left the city in literal flames before the Thai army was able to restore order. Recent mobs claimed to be “pro-democracy activists” are in fact seeking Shinawatra’s return to power, not the “return of democracy” which never existed to begin with. 

 

In 2009 he ordered his mobs into the streets of Bangkok to riot. Two shopkeepers would be gunned down by his followers in an orgy of violence and looting. In 2010, he would again send his “red shirts” into the streets of Bangkok, this time accompanied by heavily armed terrorists wielding AK47s, M16s, M79 grenade launchers, and a variety of other weapons, triggering violence that would kill nearly 100 and leave hundreds more injured.

During unprecedentedly large protests demanding Shinawatra’s sister step down from power, he would once again deploy these militants in the streets, killing nearly 30 men, women, and children, and maiming many more in a vain attempt to help his sister cling to power.

All of these serial atrocities committed against the Thai people has been accomplished with the impunity granted by Western-backed “elections” that have seen Shinawatra’s well-oiled political machine easily return favorable poll results no matter how egregious his crimes have been. His ability to wield violent street mobs and heavily armed militants and assassins against his opponents – including the courts that would have otherwise long-ago removed him from power judicially – have further afforded him utter impunity.

With the police under Shinawatra’s control and the courts immobilized by threats and an inability to have their rulings enforced, the Thai military was left no other choice but to remove Shianwatra, his regime, and his vast US-backed political and non-governmental networks from Thailand’s political landscape via a peaceful coup. Clearly what Thailand has been under over the past decade has not been “democracy,” but rather despotism poorly dressed as “democracy.”

Thus, AFP’s “activists” are merely Shinawatra supporters, incapable of demanding the “return of democracy” since there was no democracy to begin with. Indeed, the “activists” instead seek to return to the mass murder, carnage, corruption, intimidation, and ruination of Thailand under the Shinawatra regime. Many of these “activists” emanate from Thailand’s increasingly compromised Thammasat University, encouraged by overtly US-funded faculty with direct connections to the Shinawatra regime and the many foreign interests that have helped create, install into power, and defend it against any attempts to restrain it from consolidating absolute political power within the Southeast Asian country.

The US and its media monopolies attempt to frame small mobs composed of the same people as “pro-democracy” when clearly they are anything but. Such dishonest at the expense of not only the truth, but of peace and stability in Thailand illustrates precisely why a military coup was necessary to remove such criminals from power, and why martial law will remain necessary well into the foreseeable future until these networks have been fully uprooted and a real political process can be put in place.

In an interview with Ukrainian Espesso TV, Ukrainian military expert Major Aleksander Taran confirmed what General Muzenko head of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had to say on the subject.

During a briefing with General Muzenko he announced that “To date, we have only the involvement of some members of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Russian citizens that are part of illegal armed groups involved in the fighting. We are not fighting with the regular Russian Army. We have enough forces and means in order to inflict a final defeat even with illegal armed formation present. “- he said.

Both of these statements further confirmed the head of the SBU position.

November 6th in an interview with Gromadske.TV, Markian Lubkivsky, the adviser to the head of the SBU (the Ukrainian version of the CIA) stated there are NO RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRANIAN SOIL! This unexpected announcement came as he fumbled with reporters’ questions on the subject. According to his statement, he said the SBU confirmed that there were some 5000 Russian nationals [volunteers], but no Russian soldiers in Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples Republics.

All of these statements add weight to the otherwise untrustworthy comments of Alexander Torchynov back in June of 2014.

According to speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Alexander Turchynov, representatives of security agencies deliberately whipped up the situation systematically misinforming the country’s leadership about Russia’s possible military intervention, which had never happened.

“Our intelligence agencies have about ten times a month reported that the time of a military attack on the part of the Russian Federation was defined – usually it was at three or four in the morning. And we sat in combat readiness at the command post… and the rest of the army was preparing for an open war with the Eastern neighbor. But it did not happen,” Alexander Turchinov said in an interview with Novoye Vremya, which is to be released tomorrow.

It would seem we have a long and illustrious history of Russia NOT attacking Ukraine in 2014.

Who is attacking then, that’s the question.

This morning NAF scouts spotted NATO tanks inside the encirclement (Cauldron) at Debaltseve. According to their information the possibility is strong that up to 25% of the trapped army may be NATO.

Shell remnants marked clearly with US identifying numbers from 155mm shells, shot by the Paladin artillery system have been recovered from areas the Ukrainian army have attacked civilian targets. If the NATO troops are there, and who else would be running the complicated military equipment, the possibility that they won’t make it home is in the same government’s hands that brought the world a non-existent Russian invasion and is pushing the world to the brink.

This would explain both the US and EU trying to push a new peace initiative. If NATO troops are taken captive, what then? If hundreds of NATO troops are fighting for Ukraine in a war that even John McCain says is using prohibited weapons, what are the liabilities after? American troops in this case and just based on McCain’s admission are by any definition War Criminals for participating.

Support our Troops and keep them home.

What will Russia’s Reaction Be?

Until this point Russia has been the only country to show restraint and a desire to stop the conflict. The US and EU have wholeheartedly helped Kiev go forward knowing it was committing war crimes; terrorist bombings of buses, rockets and missiles at cities, and phosphorus bombs. The west knows the volunteer battalions are committing mass war crimes.

If NATO soldiers are captured or their remains recovered and confirmed it will certainly change the nature of the war. The Russian weapons that the entire MSM have insisted are here will no doubt show up. If NATO pushes back, where ever isn’t far enough. It will be the brink of WWIII.

Violence and bloodshed continues to rock Ukraine as factions compete in the power vacuum of February 2014  coup in Kiev.

As the country struggles to find its way forward, however, it finds itself in the crosshairs of a NATO war agenda that has been unfolding for years.

This is the GRTV Feature Interview with our special guest, Professor Michel Chossudovsky. This GRTV program was first aired on March 21, 2014

This is the first Neo-Nazi government of the post war period.

Who are the architects of this Neo-Nazi government.

They claim to be Neoliberals, yet they support neo-Nazis

-

 

The familiar scent of betrayal clouds just concluded Minsk ceasefire talks. Like previous times when hope exceeded reality.

Donbass is Obama’s war. Washington controls what’s ongoing. It arms, funds, trains and directs Kiev’s military.

Neocons making policy want war, not peace. Chances for ending conflict are virtually nil. Obama didn’t wage war to quit.

Kiev violated last April’s four-party agreement before the ink was dry. Hoped for peace was fantasy. A joint April 17 US/EU/Russia/Ukraine statement proved meaningless.

Saying “(t)he Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.”

“All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.”

“All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.”

“Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.”

It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days.”

“The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors. The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable.”

“It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.”

“The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.”

A White House statement said Obama “commended the government of Ukraine’s approach to today’s discussions in Geneva, where it put forward constructive proposals to expand local governance and ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are protected.”

“…Russia needs to take immediate, concrete actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including by using its influence over the irregular forces in eastern Ukraine to get them to lay down their arms and leave the buildings they have seized.”

“(T)he United States and Europe are prepared to take further measures if this de-escalation does not occur in short order.”

Donbas self-defense forces honored agreed on terms. Fighting never stopped. Kiev forces bore full responsibility.

Washington colluded with Kiev to continue conflict. Donbass freedom fighters and Russia were irresponsibly blamed for their crimes.

On September 5, both sides again agreed on ceasefire terms. At the time, illegitimate oligarch president Poroshenko said:

“I give the order to the chief of the General staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to cease fire, starting from 18.00 (local time) on September 5.

A statement on his web site said:

“We must do everything possible and impossible to stop bloodshed and put an end to people’s suffering.”

Donbass forces ceased fire. Kiev continued conflict. Violated agreed on terms straightaway. Including after accepting September 19 follow-up memorandum provisions.

Imposed economic blockade conditions on Donbas. Rescinded its special status after granting it.

Expect nothing different this time. Washington won’t tolerate part of Ukraine run democratically – free from Kiev fascist rule.

Following agreement in Minsk, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Prime Minster Alexander Zakharchenko said:

“According to the memorandum points, all responsibility for any violation of non-implementation of some agreements lies on Poroshenko.”

If Kiev violates terms, no new memorandum will follow, he added. He hopes for peace. Based on past betrayals, he’s justifiably leery for good reason.

Some things remain unresolved, he explained. The devil is in all the details.

Mostly what Washington plans behind the scenes. Unipolar pax Americana remains official US policy.

It bears repeating. Obama wants war, not peace. It’s not hard imagining what’s coming.

Arming, training, funding and directing Ukraine’s military will continue more intensively than ever. Supplying more heavy weapons assures escalated conflict.

Especially with hundreds of US combat forces training Kiev’s military. For war, not self-defense. Ukraine’s only enemies are ones it invents.

Donbas residents want peace. They want democratic rights everyone deserves. They want regional autonomy assuring them. They reject fascist rule.

In September, Kiev agreed to end fighting, withdraw its forces, continue national dialogue, improve Donbas humanitarian conditions, allow autonomous local elections, and pursue economic recovery and reconstruction, among other promises made.

It systematically breached them all. What’s known about Thursday’s agreement leaves wiggle room enough to drive Kiev armored columns through.

Autonomy is ill-defined. So is the autonomous area covered by ceasefire provisions. Self-rule to be granted looks more fantasy-like than real.

Nothing is agreed without Washington’s OK. Nothing less than total US control over Ukraine nationwide is acceptable.

No Independent governance in Donbas will be tolerated. Washington either wants Ukraine in one piece under Kiev rule or balkanized like Yugoslavia for easier control.

Either way, autonomous regions won’t be tolerated. For sure, not independent democratic ones.

Expect more US/Kiev instigated false flags ahead. Like downing MH17, Volnovakha and Donetsk bus attacks, as well as late January Mariupol shelling and others targeting hospitals, schools, residential neighborhoods and city streets.

Maybe something more major is planned. Perhaps a Ukraine 9/11. Blaming Donbas freedom fighters and Russia like before. Expect  similar future  attacks to be used as pretexts to reignite conflict.

Year ago Maidan sniper killings were false flags blamed on former President Yanukovych’s government.

Former Ukrainian Security Service chief Aleksander Yakimenko later admitted it. Saying shots killing police and civilians were fired from Kiev’s Philharmonic Hall controlled by opposition forces at the time.

So-called Maidan self-defense commandant Andrey Parubiy ordered the killings. Controlled events. Later was appointed national security and defense council head.

According to Yakimenko, he worked with US special forces at the time. On Russian television Yakimenko said:

“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall. Maidan commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building.”

“Snipers and people with automatic weapons were ‘working’ from this building on February 20.”

“They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and…fled.”

“When the first wave of shootings ended, many witnessed 20 people leaving the building.” They were seen carrying military-style bags used for assault weapons and optical sights.

Parubiy and others worked with US special forces. The same ones “carry(ing) out everything they were told by their leadership – the United States.”

Expect new US-instigated false flags ahead. Expect renewed fighting. Perhaps heavier than before. Peace going forward is pure fantasy.

German media said Obama threatened Putin ahead of Minsk talks with serious consequences unless he yielded to US demands on Ukraine.

It’s unknown how Putin responded. Likely more diplomatically than Obama but firm.

It’s clear how rotten the Minsk agreement is by a White House statement endorsing it.

Ludicrously saying it “represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty consistent with the Minsk agreements from last September.”

Impossible when Obama wants war. Instigated conflict in the first place. Intends escalating it ahead. May be foolish enough to confront Russia belligerently.

Will surely be remembered as America’s worst ever president unless or until a successor exceeds his ruthlessness at home and abroad.

In the meantime, conflict in Donbas rages. More civilian deaths and injuries were reported.

What’s ahead shorter term remains to be seen. Longer term things look bleak.

February 12, 2015 may be remembered as a new millennium Munich agreement.

Eleven months after British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proclaimed “peace in our time,” Hitler invaded Poland. WW II began.

Will Putin, Merkel and Hollande be responsible for the unthinkable ahead? Potentially cataclysmic East/West nuclear confrontation? The fullness of time will tell.

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.

Putin Wins, Obama Loses, in Draft Plan for Ukraine

February 15th, 2015 by Eric Zuesse

The only way that U.S. President Barack Obama can win in Ukraine now is by negotiating subsequent details to become deal-breakers to the February 12th draft agreement, such that for Russian President Vladimir Putin not to accept Obama’s proposed details would mean that no deal will be signed. This could happen, because the prestige of both leaders is on the line in this new draft deal on Ukraine.

The agreement is only basic principles, which can be found at http://en.cyplive.com/ru/news/lidery-normandskoy-chetverki-v-minske-soglasovali-kompleks-mer-po-vypolneniyu-minskih-soglasheniy.html

The announcement of the agreement opens as follows:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin; President of Ukraine, Peter Poroshenko; French President Francois Hollande; and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel, confirmed full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. They firmly believe in the inevitability of peaceful resolution.”

U.S. President Barack Obama is not mentioned there; but, for him to reject their deal, and to send lethal weapons to Ukraine now and so escalate the war and its massive bloodshed — which has already cost “up to 50,000” dead and millions of refugees — would be extremely embarrassing for the United States: no American “boots on the ground,” just tens of thousands of Ukrainian corpses under it, in a war that Obama himself had initiated (and even the founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the February 2014 overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which started the war, was “the most blatant coup in history,” which it certainly was, and is increasingly recognized as having been).

If, during coming days, Putin does nothing that causes Merkel or Hollande to say Putin is violating what had been understood between the negotiants, then Putin will be essentially in control on those crucial remaining details too, and the U.S. position (which favors more war) (and this is so not only from Obama but also from the Congress) will go down in flames. The next few days and weeks will thus be crucial, and Merkel and Hollande hold the top cards, because Obama needs to avoid an open break with them — something that would be an open break with the EU itself, which America’s aristocracy very much don’t want to happen (since America’s aristocracy would then lose their enormous influence over the EU).

The U.S. position has been for war against Russia from the start, which goes back at least to before 20 November 2013, when it was revealed in Ukraine’s parliament or “Rada” that the U.S. had already very skillfully set to spring a Euromaidan movement to bring down the Ukrainian Presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, which “Euromaidan” then started the very next day, when President Yanukovych announced that Ukraine had received a better economic offer from the Eurasian Economic Community than from the European Union, and that therefore it would be in the best interests of the Ukrainian people for Ukraine to join with the EEC (which the people in eastern Ukraine wanted), than with the EU (which the people in western Ukraine wanted) and that this joining of the EEC would now happen. The Euromaidan protest, which had been organized by America’s CIA, began on 21 November 2013. Its mass-members were regular western Ukrainians, but its leadership, the people who were armed, were Ukraine’s nazis, aspecial group of western Ukrainians, who viscerally hate ethnic Russians and actually want to exterminate them (thus making these people ideal for Obama’s purposes of crushing Russia).

Immediately after the coup when Yanukovych was overthrown, the EU sent an investigator, Urmas Paet, to find out whether the extremely violent overthrow of Yanukovych had been due to Yanukovych, or else to “someone from the new coalition [meaning the EU and U.S.],” and he reported, on 26 February 2014, to the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, that it was due to “someone from the new coalition [our side].” This information shocked her. (As Obama’s chief agent controlling the coup, Victoria Nuland, had said on 4 February 2014, preparing the coup, “F—k the EU!” In that same phone call, she also selected Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the person who would take over the Ukrainian Government after the coup, which he did, 22 days later. Anyone who denies that it was a coup is either ignorant or lying, because this is the first coup in history that was fully documented on live videos.) However, rejecting Ukraine as a new candidate for the EU didn’t fit Ashton’s job-description, and she could do nothing about the matter anyway; so, she accepted it, and tried to make it work, as peacefully as possible.

The EU’s reason for wanting Ukraine is chiefly economic, for its gas and agricultural resources. The chief reason that America’s aristocracy want Ukraine is as a launching-pad for NATO missiles against Moscow, because Russia is the world’s main military hold-out against control by the U.S. aristocracy, and America’s aristocracy are eager to use taxpayers’ money, which is to say the U.S. military, to bring Russia to heel and within their economic control — it’s then a freebie to them.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is primarily concerned to avoid Ukraine having a Government that wants U.S. strategic (i.e., aimed against Moscow) missiles; in other words: he wants to avoid Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO — the anti-Russian military club of nations, which now surrounds Russia. The only way that he can achieve this crucial objective is for the far-eastern region of Ukraine, Donbass (the region shown in dark purple on this map), which had voted 90% for Yanukovych and 10% for America’s candidate (Yulia Tymoshenko) in the 2010 Presidential election (the last election in which all parts of Ukraine voted), to remain as being voters in Ukrainian national elections, so as to counterbalance the anti-Russian northeastern half of Ukraine and thus avoid any more nazis being elected to national power in Ukraine.

Donbass is the region where Obama’s Ukrainian Government is trying to exterminate the residents (whom they call ‘Terrorists’ and try to kill in their “Anti Terrorist Operation” there, fooling the western Ukrainian public that those are “Terrorists” instead of simply Donbass’s residents, the people who live there). If Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, or whomever the U.S. supports, doesn’t succeed at exterminating or else driving out the residents in Donbass, then Ukraine’s Government will probably not be able to join NATO and bring in its strategic missiles aimed at Russia — which is what this is all about, from the standpoint of Barack Obama: it’s part of surrounding Russia with NATO missiles.

Looking at that draft agreement, it seems to meet Putin’s basic national-security needs for Russia. Doubass’s people would retain their right to vote for Ukraine’s President.

In order for him to do this, it is essential for the breakaway region to stay within Ukraine as regards the voters there participating in future elections for Ukraine’s President. As I headlined on 19 September 2014, “Russia’s Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists’ Aim to Become Part of Russia.” The current draft agreement meets this Russian-national-security need. As I commented at that time: “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 their ethnic cleansing campaign.” However, if U.S. President Obama goes ahead with the Republicans’ position, of sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, then the United States will end up becoming internationally isolated, unless either Merkel, or Hollande, or both, declare that Putin is failing to comply with the new agreement, and rejoin with the United States in its ethnic-cleansing effort to eliminate the residents in the separatist region, “Donbass,” which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.

So, although Putin has won this opening round of obtaining a new peace agreement, Obama still yet can win in the later stages and increase the ethnic cleansing, if either Merkel or Hollande abandon Putin.

The draft agreement also includes other features that would be necessary for the economic reconstruction of the Donbass region, which the Ukrainian Government has been bombing in its ethnic cleansing campaign. For the first time (if the initial statements from the IMF become borne out in additional ‘loans’ actually taxpayer donations, to Ukraine), Western taxpayers will be contributing to that economic reconstruction, which will be vast, especially considering that around 50,000 civilians and soldiers have probably thus far been slaughtered in Obama’s ethnic-cleansing campaign there, and more than a million residents have fled and become refugees (mainly in Russia), and the cities and villages have been bombed and even firebombed. So, while some aristocrats may have gained from Obama’s coup, taxpayers in the West will now be paying tens of billions to undo some of the economic damage that Obama and the U.S. Congress (especially Republicans there) have caused in Ukraine by means of the coup and of its essential ethnic-cleansing aftermath. Since ‘we’ taxpayers (the public) caused the war (from which only some international aristocrats might benefit — and those were the people behind it), we (and not those aristocrats) shall be cleaning up from it — if the current deal doesn’t fall apart and the damages from the war thus soar even further.

But, at least in the first draft of this agreement, Putin has won, and Obama has lost.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Israel’s Palestinian Parties Face Test of Unity

February 15th, 2015 by Jonathan Cook

A new coalition of Arab parties running in next month’s Israeli general election faced its first serious test on Thursday when one of its most prominent members was disqualified.

Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Israeli parliament since 2009, was barred from the campaign by the Central Elections Committee, a highly partisan body dominated by the major Israeli political parties.

As expected, the right-wing parties of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman petitioned for her disqualification, accusing her of making statements in support of armed struggle.

But, more surprisingly, they were supported by the Zionist Camp, which has positioned itself as a centre-left alternative to the Netanyahu government. It is currently the second most popular party after Netanyahu’s.

The committee members ignored the advice of the country’s attorney-general, Yehuda Weinstein, that there were no legal grounds for banning Zoabi from parliament, known as the Knesset.

Zoabi is one of 11 MPs representing the 1.5 million-strong Palestinian minority in Israel, who avoided expulsion when Israel was created in 1948 and today have Israeli citizenship.

Her disqualification is the culmination of a campaign by the right-wing parties that accuses the Arab MPs of being “terrorists” and “traitors” who have no place in parliament – or in Israel.

One of Lieberman’s campaign slogans is “Haneen to Jenin”, suggesting she should be expelled to a Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.

The coalition of Arab parties – formed last month under the title the “Joint List” – is will appeal to the supreme court next week to overturn the ban.

Fortunately for the list, the judges are likely to intervene on Zoabi’s behalf. If they do not, the Arab coalition will face a crisis – probably the first of a series over the coming weeks and months.

If Zoabi is excluded, the other parties in the list will have to decide whether to refuse to run in a show of solidarity. If, as seems more likely, they chose to ignore her disqualification and stand anyway, that could send a troubling message to their voters – that Lieberman and Netanyahu get to decide who represents Palestinian citizens in the Israeli parliament.

An uncomfortable alliance

The list was established late last month after weeks of difficult negotiations as the Arab parties tried to set aside long-standing personality clashes and ideological disputes.

Traditionally, the parties have argued that their political differences – representing nationalist, socialist and Islamic outlooks – are important and needed to be preserved.

But the parties were forced into an uncomfortable alliance by two developments that threatened their survival in the parliament.

The first was a decision last year to raise the electoral threshold to a level that none of the Arab parties could expect to surmount separately. The move was widely interpreted as an effort by the right to rid the 120-seat chamber of Arab MPs.

Compounding their problems, the Arab parties have faced flagging support from the Palestinian public in recent elections, with turnouts falling to barely more than half the electorate.

According to a report on the election published this week by the Nazareth-based Human Rights Association (HRA), the decline in voting represents two trends.

One, based on principle, argues that elections should be boycotted to avoid conferring legitimacy on “the Zionist parliament”. That position has adherents in a small secular party, the Sons of the Village (Ibnaa al-Balad), and the more influential northern wing of the Islamic Movement, led by Sheikh Raed Salah.

But much of the recent drop-off in voting can probably be ascribed to another trend: growing disenchantment with parliamentary politics as a whole.

Mohammed Zeidan, the director of the HRA, said an increasing number of Palestinian citizens felt that Arab politicians had no hope of being effective in advancing the minority’s rights, given both the current right-wing climate and the infighting that has beset the Arab parties.

Hopes of more seats

Many supporters criticised the discord between the parties, pointing out that they shared common ground on the biggest issues facing the Palestinian minority. All want an end both to the racist laws and practices that enforce discrimination inside Israel, and to the occupation suffered by millions of their Palestinian kin across the Green Line.

Surveys showed that the parties could significantly raise voter turnout if they united – which in turn would lead to more seats in the Knesset.

When the Joint List was announced last month, its leaders said they expected to increase their tally of seats to as many as 15 in the next parliament, making it the third or fourth largest bloc in the Knesset.

The list’s campaign slogan, to be unveiled in Nazareth this weekend, is “the will of the people”, suggesting that the party leaders have finally listened to their electorates.

But indications so far are that any unity is only paper thin. The clue may be in the use of the word “joint” to describe the list rather than “unified” or “unity”.

The term was preferred for two probable reasons.

The first is that the socialist Hadash party prizes its primary identity as a Jewish-Arab party, even making sure that it has a Jewish candidate in one of its top slots. This tradition is deeply entrenched in the party’s philosophy, even though only a small proportion of its members and voters are Jewish.

That has often put it at odds with the more nationalist Balad party, to which Zoabi belongs. Balad’s key demands are that the minority be allowed educational and cultural autonomy to help preserve a Palestinian identity under constant threat from Israeli state policy, and that it begin to develop national political institutions to create a more accountable local Arab leadership.

Hadash reportedly preferred a “joint” list, conveying the impression of cooperation with the Jewish population, over a “unity” list that would have suggested an exclusive Arab identity.

Ready to bolt

The second reason is that the looseness implied in a “joint” list leaves the parties with the option to split immediately or soon after polling day. Again, this seems to be an option Hadash prefers, fearful that the confrontational style of Balad and the religious impulses of the Islamic party would damage it in the eyes of some supporters, particularly Jews.

That danger was highlighted just before the negotiations for the list began, when Hadash landed a small coup. It recruited to its ranks Avraham Burg, a distinguished Jewish politician. Burg is a former senior member of the Labour party, a former speaker of the parliament and a former chairman of the international Zionist organisation the Jewish Agency.

Burg has grown disillusioned with Zionism over the past ten years, and his move to Hadash was logical. But he was forceful in expressing a concern probably shared by many of the Jewish members of the party about a unified list.

“I left the Jewish national arena because it turned nationalistic,” he said early last month as Hadash voted to negotiate an alliance with the other parties.

He added that he did not want to replace it with Palestinian nationalism.

Hadash looks ready to bolt the political alliance soon after polling day. Such a break-up, demonstrating that the Joint List was simply an opportunistic vehicle for bypassing the obstacle of a raised threshold, would be difficult to reconcile with “the will of the people”.

“There is a danger that the Joint List creates false expectations,” said Zeidan. “Voters will feel betrayed if the coalition breaks up after the election, and that could have damaging long-term consequences for the parties.”

Rather than reversing the decline in turnout among the Arab public, the list – if it fails to hold much beyond polling day – could dramatically accelerate it.

Defeating Netanyahu

Another problem for the list is that, to revive interest in voting, it has argued that the Arab parties together in an electoral alliance will win a larger share of seats.

The unstated assumption is that this will give them a new influence in the coalition-building negotiations after election day and force the government, whatever its hue, to listen to the Palestinian minority’s concerns.

The centrist Zionist Camp also wants to exploit this implication. Given the opinion polls, its only hope of persuading potential voters that it can defeat Netanyahu is by suggesting that it can rely on the Joint List’s support.

Both therefore have had an interest in subtly suggesting to their electorates that they may work together after polling day.

The reality, however, is that there is no possibility of such cooperation. In private, Joint List officials were saying even before the Zionist Camp’s vote in favour of Zoabi’s disqualification that they could never support a faction that places its Zionism above all else.

The Zionist Camp too has shown its hand by voting to bar Zoabi. Maintaining its image within the Zionist consensus is clearly more important to it than courting the Arab parties.

But if the Joint List cannot convert a higher number of seats into political influence, even with the centre-left, it is in trouble. It is simply proving right those who have been arguing that there is nothing to be gained from being in the parliament.

Again, the Joint List’s likely ineffectuality after election day may accelerate the long-term trend towards a falling turn-out among Palestinian voters.

A mini-parliament

According to some Balad officials, this scenario may be avoidable, but only given a set of specific conditions: the Joint List holds together after polling day; its number of seats increases; and it harnesses the greater unity between the parties to build national institutions.

Primarily, that would require overhauling the Follow-Up Committee, the only national political body representing the Palestinian minority.

In the past, the committee’s effectiveness has been seriously undermined by the same political discord that besets the parties, together with the weight it gives to local mayors, representing extended families rather than political programmes.

Balad has been arguing for the committee to become a mini-parliament, with its members directly elected, thereby making it truly representative.

However, such an outcome still appears a long way off.

Israeli governments have always deeply opposed such a move by the Palestinian minority, claiming it would be tantamount to sedition. Israeli officials could be expected to fight it tooth and nail.

They may be joined by the socialists of Hadash, both its Jewish and Arab members. They have labelled efforts to change the Follow-Up Committee into a parliament as “secessionism” – in their eyes, an abandonment of joint Jewish-Arab struggle.

The Joint List may drive up the turn-out at this election. But over the long term the Palestinian minority will probably expect more radical solutions than a unity of short-term political convenience.

Minsk Agreement: What’s Most Important to Know

February 14th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Washington was the elephant in the room in Minsk. It controls Kiev’s geopolitical agenda. 

Poroshenko is a convenient stooge. An impotent front man. Installed to do what he’s told.

Otherwise he’d be ousted like Yanukovych. Maybe killed by a bullet, bomb or slit throat. Coups and targeted assassinations reflect longstanding US policy.

Presstitute media scoundrels suppress what’s most important to know about Ukraine. Obama wants war, not peace.

He didn’t launch it to quit. Kiev proxies may be prelude to direct US involvement. If they continue failing, expect it.

Obama wants control over all Ukrainian territory nationwide.  He wants none of it democratically, independently or autonomously governed.

He wants it used as a dagger against Russia. US bases on its borders. Multiple nuclear warhead long-range missiles targeting its heartland.

Agreements involving America directly or indirectly are meaningless. Easy to violate.

As simple as ignoring provisions agreed on. reinterpreting them, or blaming one side’s violations on the other.

Last year, Kiev systematically breached agreed on Geneva and Minsk protocol/follow-up memorandum terms.

Donbas freedom fighters and Russia were blamed for its crimes. Washington and other Western governments pointed fingers the wrong way. So did presstitute media scoundrels regurgitating propaganda like gospel.

On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki effectively said Washington will only condemn alleged Russian or Donbas self-defense fighter (unlikely to occur) Mnsk violations, not Kiev’s (virtually certain to occur) ones.

Asked if “there (is) any consequence or any cost to Ukraine if they’re the ones found to be not complying with” Minsk terms, Psaki  lied saying:

“(W)e’ve seen over the last 24 hours even that Russia has continued to take aggressive actions into Ukraine even while this agreement is being discussed.”

“So Ukraine, over the past several months, has not only implemented and taken steps to implement the Minsk protocols, but they have been supportive of efforts to find a peaceful solution here.”

What convoluted rubbish!! Asked again if costs will be imposed on its government if breaches occur, she called the possibility “a little bit ludicrous given Ukraine is a sovereign country, and (Russia) illegally brought troops, weapons, resources into their country.”

A third time she was asked to explain why only one side, not the other, will face consequences for violations.

She lied claiming “over the last six months, Ukraine has implemented the Minsk protocols, whereas Russia has not.”

Psaki’s attempt to reinvent history fell flat. Russia and Donbas fighters scrupulously abided by Geneva and Minsk protocol terms.

Kiev violated them straightaway. It’s virtually 100% certain its forces will commit serious breaches ahead like it’s been doing all along.

Russia and Donbas fighters absolutely will be blamed for their crimes. Expect conflict to escalate, not end – after a short-term hiatus.

Dmitry Yarosh heads the radicalized Right Sector. He’s on Interpol’s wanted list for inciting terrorism. He openly boasts about wanting to kill Jews and Russians.

Media scoundrels ignore his extremism and high crimes. Including his involvement in last May’s Odessa massacre, killing hundreds of defenseless civilians. Murdering them in cold blood.

On Friday, RT International reported him saying he rejects Minsk. He reserves the right “to continue war.” Maintain “active fighting” according to his “own plans.”

RT cited him saying Minsk violates Ukraine’s constitution. So its citizens aren’t obliged to obey its terms. He’ll continue waging war.

In late January, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) headlined “Yarosh creates a parallel staff with adequate leaders.”

Saying he created his own “General staff, which will work in parallel with” Ukraine’s defense ministry. In other words, his own state-supported private army waging war on Donbas.

Murdering civilians in cold blood. Committing horrendous atrocities. Totally ignored by MSM scoundrels.

Bashing Russia alone matters. Blaming Putin for Kiev’s high crimes. Expect no letup in daily Big Lies. Truth is their mortal enemy.

US heavy weapons keep pouring into Ukraine. Along with hundreds of US combat troops training and directing Kiev’s military.

Readying it for greater war than already. Expect promises made Donbas residents to be broken. Washington won’t let them be honored.

Expect no democratic autonomy allowed. No federalization. No durable ceasefire. Expect continued Kiev violations. Especially from Yarosh elements, neo-Nazi National Guard forces and other fascist battalions.

No pullback of Ukrainian forces enough to matter. Reaarming, regrouping and readying for resumed warfare.

Expect Kiev to violate every Minsk provision. Just like last time. Including:

  • no durable/sustainable ceasefire;
  • no significant withdrawal of heavy weapons as ordered;
  • no honest OSCE reporting on Kiev violations;
  • no real Donbas autonomy permitted; no recognition of democratic election results;
  • no meaningful dialogue with or outreach to Donbas leaders;
  • no recognition of their legitimate rights;
  • no restoration of Donbas socio-economic relations and benefits enough to matter;
  • no reconstruction following state-sponsored destruction; nothing to help hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians; many thousands without homes, decent shelter, jobs, or income enough for bare sustenance;
  • no democratic constitutional reforms;
  • no withdrawal of foreign mercenaries; no disarming them;
  • no change of fascist rule;
  • no softening of vicious anti-Russian/anti-Putin hate-mongering;
  • no letup of state terror;
  • no durable/sustainable end of dirty war without mercy;
  • no chance for peaceful conflict resolution.

Expect short-term letup in fighting only. Giving Kiev forces time to regroup and rearm with greater flows of US/NATO supplied heavy weapons plus locally produced ones.

Kiev in cahoots with Washington planning renewed aggression. Expect it launched with false flag help blamed on Russia and rebels.

Analysts calling Minsk a new dawn ignore reality altogether. Perhaps they haven’t paid attention to everything ongoing since fall 2013.

Including America’s Maidan orchestrated coup. Illegitimate putschist governance installed.

Run by US puppets. Strings pulled in Washington. Fascist thugs breaking every promise they made.

Agreements they sign or commit to aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

Merkel and Hollande aren’t born again good guys. They represent core NATO member countries.

Partnering in Washington’s war on humanity. Bashing Russia in lockstep with Obama.

Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders didn’t sign the Minsk agreement. Their meaninglessness statement without teeth accompanied it.

The whole business smells charade-like. An ugly sham masquerading as breaking through diplomatically.

Illegitimate Kiev governance remains. Mob rule defines it. Democracy is verboten. War is considered peace.

Good guys are called terrorists. Putschists are called democrats. Washington wasn’t in Minsk but has final say on everything.

Putin was right saying Thursday ”wasn’t the best night of (his) life.” He knows Kiev’s war on Donbas continues.

Nothing in Minsk resolved things. Pretense doesn’t change reality. Expect less conflict short-term.

A meaningless interregnum followed by escalated fighting. Likely worse than before. With greater diret US involvement.

Maybe American boots on the ground. They’re already involved in Kiev’s war overtly and covertly.

Expect Obama to do whatever it takes to secure total control of his newest colony. Mass casualties and human misery are small prices to pay.

So is risking direct confrontation with Russia. Hopefully Putin is ready to counter whatever Washington has in mind short of starting WW III. Given America’s rage for war, anything is possible.

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.

Most people in our vaccine-overloaded society knows of one or more families that have one or more children with chronic, supposedly incurable (but probably preventable) diseases that will need lifelong, regular, costly physician “management” and the highly probable use of potentially toxic, costly, synthetic, possibly dependency-inducing medications that can cause additional prescription drug-induced illnesses (that may further sicken the already-ill children).

The following peer-reviewed article convincingly implicates iatrogenic vaccine-induced immune overload as a highly likely, major cause of the current epidemic of chronic illnesses of childhood (and adulthood?) that has paralleled the enormous increase of childhood vaccinations over the past several decades – which have a variety of known cellular toxins in them (such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, neomycin, gentamycin, streptomycin, polymyxin B, polyethylene glycol (antifreeze), squalene, killed and/or live viruses, viral contaminants (some of which are carcinogenic), etc).

It Isn’t Just About Autism, Folks

The list of autoimmune disorders considered  in this article includes such increasingly common chronic illnesses as type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver (= NASH = nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), autism spectrum disorders, asthma, food allergies, a variety of organ-specific autoimmune disorders (such as thyroiditis, vasculitis and autoimmune rheumatic diseases like SLE (lupus), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and sarcoid), and metabolic syndrome (= obesity, type 2 diabetes/insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia).

J. Barthelow Classen, MD, immunologist and the author of the present study says “since 1999 the routine pediatric immunization schedule has increased by 80 vaccines” (that number counts each strain of antigenic virus or bacteria that have been included in the new inoculants). Classen believes that “the sum of the data described and reviewed in this paper supports a causal relationship”. From the perspective of the tens of thousands of parents (since the “age of autism” began just just a few decades ago) who know for certain that their previously happy, developmentally normal infants were sickened shortly after routine vaccinations, Dr Classen’s powerful scientific research cannot be discounted, even with the expected media blitz that is expected from Big Pharma, the AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the AAFP, the CDC, the WHO and the various trade organizations that profit so mightily from the vaccine industry.

This important article was published exactly one year ago this week, on February 19, 2014, in the Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine. The entire original article and the 42 supporting journal references are available at: http://www.vaccines.net/vaccine-induced-immune-overload.pdf

– Gary G. Kohls, MD

Review of Vaccine Induced Immune Overload and the Resulting Epidemics of Type 1 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, Emphasis on Explaining the Recent Accelerations in the Risk of Pre-diabetes and other Immune Mediated Diseases

Author: J. Barthelow Classen MD,  J Mol Genet Med 2014, S1:025

http://www.vaccines.net/vaccine-induced-immune-overload.pdf.

Abstract

There has been an epidemic of inflammatory diseases that has paralleled the epidemic on iatrogenic immune stimulation with vaccines. Extensive evidence links vaccine induced immune over load with the epidemic of type 1 diabetes. More recent data indicates that obesity, type 2 diabetes and other components of metabolic syndrome are highly associated with immunization and may be manifestations of the negative feedback loop of the immune system reacting to the immune overload. The epidemic of diabetes/pre-diabetes appears to be accelerating at a time when the prevalence of obesity has stabilized, indicating that the negative feedback system of the immune system has been over whelmed. The theory of vaccine induced immune overload can explain the key observations that have confounded many competing hypotheses. The current paper reviews the evidence that vaccine induced immune overload explains the disconnect between the increase in pre-diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver at a time when the obesity epidemic is waning in children.

Introduction

Twenty years ago it was predicted that a massive increase in immunization would result in a massive increase in people with chronic immune related diseases like type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and asthma [1]. A massive increase in immunization has occurred. In the United States for example since just 1999 children are scheduled to routinely receive over 80 additional vaccines over their childhood as explained below. The increase in immunization has been followed by a huge increase in inflammation associated disorders.

Diseases like autism, type 1 diabetes, asthma, food allergies, many autoimmune diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, NASH and metabolic syndrome have increased many-fold in children. The rate of change of several closely followed diseases appears to be accelerating while others have decelerated. This paper describes how the theory of vaccine induced immune overload can explain many observations about the changes in the epidemics.

Many hypotheses have been proposed to find alternate explanations for these epidemics, such as the hygiene hypothesis for autoimmune diseases and poor diet or decreased exercise for the obesity epidemic.

These hypotheses don’t readily explain the recent changes in the rates of these diseases. For example the prevalence of obesity in US children has stabilized while junk food and leisure activities persists, and the epidemics of autoimmune diseases continue to rise at a time where hygiene does not seem to increase.

Recently publications have provided evidence that vaccines are responsible for the epidemics of both autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes as well as the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome [2].

One major problem with vaccines is the concept of one size fits all. Package inserts of almost all vaccines recommend a dose based on age. In order for a vaccine to be a commercial success it is expected to induce a protective immune response in well over 90% of children. In order for this to happen a dose, based on age, must stimulate a protective immune response in those with the weakest immune system. In the process of doing this, the other 90% or more of children have their immune system over-stimulated. The process of over stimulating the immune system time and time again increases the risk of inflammatory diseases like autoimmune diseases, and allergies which cause even more inflammation. The clinical manifestation of disease depends on one’s physiologic response to inflammation as has previously been reviewed[3].

Inflammation causes the release of cytokines which can trigger autoimmune diseases but also stimulate cortisol production, the major negative feedback loop of the immune system. According to the theory inflammation induced cortisol production varies based on race [3] which can be explained by the presence of genes that alter cortisol production. Individuals who produce a lot of cortisol in response to inflammation have a tendency to develop a Cushingoid like response that includes obesity, type 2 diabetes/insulin resistance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia which is called metabolic syndrome.

Evidence that vaccines cause type 1 diabetes has been well established. Data from a large prospective clinical trial of the Haemophilus vaccine [4] as well as epidemiology data [5] support vaccines as a major causative agent for type 1 diabetes. The data from the clinical trial validates an animal toxicity model [4]. The findings were verified by others [6]. Discontinuation of vaccines has been repeatedly shown to be followed by declines in the rates of type 1 diabetes [5,7]. Evidence that vaccines cause type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome has been reviewed recently [2]. Evidence includes the observation that the discontinuation of school age BCG vaccination in Japan was followed by a decrease in type 2 diabetes in children in Japan [8].

Since 1999 the routine pediatric immunization schedule [9,10] increased by 80 vaccines. This number is derived by the fact that multivalent vaccines contain specific vaccines to each separate strain.

The following have been added, pneumococcus (13 valent), meningococcus (4 valent), human papilloma virus (4 valent), hepatitis A (1 valent), rotavirus (4 additional valent), influenza (3 valent per year x 18 years=54).

Parallel Epidemics of Inflammatory Diseases

The theory of vaccine induced immune overload explains the parallel epidemics of multiple different autoimmune diseases. It is a known fact that the pathophysiology is shared in many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Patients with autoimmune disease often have more than one autoimmune disease or have a family history of multiple different autoimmune diseases. It is thus not surprising that many inflammatory diseases are increasing along with type 1 diabetes, in fact it is expected. A wide variety of diseases have been reported to increasing in children. There are insufficient data to know if the prevalence of the majority of inflammatory diseases is increasing.

However given the number and variety diseases that are reported to be increasing in children it is likely many more also increasing. Epidemiology studies show a close linkage between type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetes is strongly linked with other autoimmune diseases in Type II polyglandular autoimmune syndrome [19]. In this syndrome 52% of patients have diabetes mellitus, 69% have autoimmune thyroid disease and 100% have Addison’s disease.

Patients with type 1 diabetes and their close relatives are at increased risk for organ specific autoimmune disease [20]. Some of the epidemiology data comes from studies of families where several members have autoimmune disease. Family studies indicate type 1 diabetes is linked to the development of several different autoimmune diseases including organ specific autoimmune diseases and rheumatoid diseases. Close relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of a wide variety of different autoantibodies [21,22]. It has been found that depending on the family, type 1 diabetes is linked with either an increased risk of an organ specific autoimmune disease or a rheumatoid disease [23]. A large study of Mennonites showed a linkage between type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases including organ specific and rheumatoid diseases [24].

Immune stimulation with alpha interferon increases the risk of type 1 diabetes and a wide variety of other autoimmune diseases. People receive alpha interferon for the treatment of viral hepatitis and cancers. Alpha interferon has been repeatedly reported to cause type 1 diabetes in humans [25-28]. One of 40 patients receiving alpha interferon in a Japanese study developed anti-islet cell antibodies [28].

An Italian study found 14 of 11,241 patients receiving alpha interferon developed diabetes mellitus [29]. Alpha interferon also increases the risk of organ specific autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis and autoimmune rheumatic diseases such as SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and sarcoid [30]. It has been reported that upon the administration of alpha interferon that the same patient developed both rheumatoid and organ specific autoimmune diseases [31,32].

It is well accepted that the diagnosis of autism is epidemic. Many cases of autism have a strong inflammatory component and the epidemic has already been linked to vaccine induced overload [33].

Autism epidemiologically linked to diabetes and those with autism have a family history of increased risk for autoimmune diseases. Attention deficit syndrome is epidemic and epidemiologically linked to increased risk of immune disorders [34].

Many inflammatory mediated diseases other than diabetes are epidemic. The incidence of psoriasis has been reported to double in children [35]. Autoimmune anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody vasculitis resulting in renal failure has also been increased [36].

Wegener’s Granulomatosis has been reported to increase in children [37]. The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease is also increasing rapidly in children [38].

Data indicates vaccines can act to sensitize recipients to environmental antigens. The CDC [39] found several vaccines were associated with an increased risk of asthma including the Haemophilus influenzae type b, relative risk 1.18 (1.02 to 1.36) and hepatitis B vaccine 1.20 (1.13 to 1.27). It is not surprising then that there is a rise in food related allergens [40]. Peanut allergy has tripled in children since 1997 [41]. Immune mediated food related disease, celiac disease [42], has also increased substantially.

Conclusion

There has been an epidemic of inflammatory diseases that has paralleled the epidemic of iatrogenic immune stimulation with vaccines. The epidemic of diabetes/pre-diabetes appears to be accelerating at a time when the prevalence of obesity has stabilized, indicating that the negative feedback system of the immune system has been over-whelmed.

The theory of vaccine induced immune overload explains the key observations that have confounded many competing hypothesis. Unfortunately (Ed. Note: “tragically” would have been a better term) the prospective controlled trials of vaccines performed for licensure (Ed. note: by Big Pharma) are either too small, too short in duration or inappropriately controlled (use other vaccines as controls) to appropriately study the relationship between vaccines and these epidemics. Furthermore most (post-marketing) epidemiological studies performed after licensure of vaccines suffer from the same deficiencies. The conclusions of this paper are based on data from a single clinical trial, animal toxicity studies, and epidemiological studies. While it would be ideal to have more clinical trial data, industry and government have been reluctant to provide such information. However, conclusions regarding toxicity of many agents including cigarettes and asbestos were made without clinical trial data. The author believes that the sum of the data described and reviewed in this paper supports a causal relationship.

Dr Kohls has spent many years researching the powerful, obscenely profitable and therefore easily corrupted pharmaceutical industry and the many false claims that their lobbyists, think tanks and co-opted opinion leaders in the media have been making. He knows many families whose lives have been devastated by vaccine injuries, including the post-vaccination regressive autism that unequivocally began following routine vaccinations, often inoculations of more than one type (not just the mercury containing or live virus types).

Dr Kohls takes seriously the precepts of the Hippocratic Oath that he took when he received his medical degree. That oath says that physicians should above all do no harm to their patients and thus, when there is evidence of harm from a prescription drug, vaccine or procedure, physicians should stop doing that harmful treatment until a thorough, unbiased re-evaluation is done. Tragically, with the proliferation of for-profit medical corporations (health insurance companies and corporate clinics and hospitals) and the secretive for-profit drug companies that regularly use corrupted science to justify their results (and also, because they are corporations, by their charters, mainly work for the economic benefit of their shareholders), that oath seems to have become superfluous.

Dr Kohls practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his family practice career. He has produced a series of Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletters since about 2000. There is no PPEN website, but many of the 450 editions of the newsletter can be found on many internet sites.

Dr Kohls now writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The last three years of Dr Kohls’ Duty to Warn columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

Yesterday we looked at the situations in both Ukraine and Greece, and how they are both out of money which makes them potential “flash points” for reality to set in.  What I’d like to talk about today are the various “slights of hand” and why a spade can never be called a spade.

Currently in the U.S., some (but certainly not all) of the recent economic numbers are showing an absolutely booming economy.  All you need to do is look at Friday’s unemployment numbers, they were clearly bogus.  The biggest driver of employment over the last five years has been the boom in the oil patch …which is now busted with 1,000′s of pink slips being handed out.  BLS revised the November and December numbers to show the fastest growth of employment for any three month period …so far this century!  Really?  Do you believe this in any fashion at all?

The economic and financial lies are getting bigger and bigger while the economy is shrinking and the financial position is more perilous.  The gap between the reality and the true conditions have never before in history been this wide.  Stocks are not allowed to drop, institutions are not allowed to fail, heck, financial institutions have been “told” not to mark to market as this would expose failures.  Inflation is understated, employment is overstated, gold is not allowed to rise and the game continues. Everything you now see and hear has one goal behind it, hide the reality at any and all costs.

The situation with Greece is very sticky for the West for several reasons.  Each and every one of them is because a Greek failure will expose the very ugly reality that the West is one big and interconnected series of Ponzi schemes constructed in pyramid fashion.  Greece cannot be allowed to fail because of what, how much, and who they owe.  In order for the reality to stay hidden, Greece absolutely must be forced to borrow more money so they have the ability to pay past debts.  Already this morning, a six month “trial balloon” extension has been floated.  If Greece is allowed to fail, other central banks (including and particularly the ECB) and many commercial banks will take some very real losses.  This CANNOT be allowed to happen because of the leverage factor and the fact that no more collateral exists within the system that’s not already encumbered.

You see, many assets have been hypothecated (lent/borrowed against) many times over, including Greek debt.  In case you don’t see the problem here, I will spell it out.  When something is “lent” out or “borrowed” more than one time, it is theft pure and simple.  This truth cannot in any fashion come to the surface because it will create a “call”.  The original owners will flood in and ask for their security, their asset, (think gold) back.  What do you think the world will look like when 100 or so “owners” of the same asset decide they will not be one of the suckers who are left with nothing?  This will be a bank run on a system-wide basis and include nearly any asset type you can think of.

The following analogy sums it up pretty well I believe.  This game works well …for a “while”.  It works “while” everyone is confident and no one asks any questions.  It works while no one at the poker table decides to cash in and leave with their chips.  It works well for as long as no one believes anyone else is cheating.  Actually, it even works when everyone knows that everyone else is cheating …as long as everyone is winning.  The problems begin when people start asking questions.  Questions begin when people start to lose money.  The answers are brutally ugly when discovered so it is imperative that no questions are allowed to be asked… and this is where we are today.  This is exactly what “official policy” is today.

The Chinese, the Russians, The BRICS nations and 135 other nations tagging along ALL know what the “answers” are.  They fully understand the casino is 100% rigged.  They understand that everything of value has already been borrowed against and in many instances, several times over.  This is why there have been so many trade and currency deals signed over the last year and a half …without U.S. involvement, approval or even “dollars”.

My personal opinion is this, a spade will very soon be exposed as the spade it is and all the theft, corruption and intentional fraud will be uncovered.  The relevant event could be anything.  It could be Greece failing to pay, leaving the EU or even being kicked out.  It could be a local currency blowing up which bankrupts someone in derivatives.  It could be the failure of a debt auction somewhere in the world.  It could be something already well known or not.  It could be a war.  It could come from the West or the East, and it could be an accident or even an intentional event.  It doesn’t matter “why”, the event is coming.  The event is coming because everyone knows that everyone knows the system is fraudulent.

Please don’t reply to me saying “no, not everyone knows, the sheeple are as asleep as always”.  I am talking about “countries”.  I am talking about the players that count.  The East et al absolutely knows they are dealing and trading in a lopsided and unfair system.  They know the West is massively leveraged and has been dealing unfairly for many years.  Even Western countries know this to be true, for example, why are countries repatriating their gold?  Because they hope there is enough still in the vault to cover what they originally deposited.  Like I said, everyone knows that everyone knows.

As mentioned yesterday, it is my opinion the East would prefer to allow the West’s failure to occur ”naturally” and not force the issue.  Time alone will do this.  The U.S. has been pushing for war at every turn.  A war will be pointed at as “the reason” everything failed.  A war will also be used to cover the tracks of the fraud.  This is not new thought and only the way it has always been.  Distract, pretend, and extend!

If you believe the meme of “recovery” or “growth”, all you need to do is look at this.  The Baltic dry index has just dropped to ALL-TIME lows!  This index is very basic and when broken down reflects the state of global trade.  Global trade has collapsed since the 2008 crisis began, unlike ever before.

                                                             

courtesy Zerohedge

This, after huge global deficit spending and monetization.  “Magic Policy” which we were assured would cure all ills has failed miserably and no amount of bogus economic reports can mask this fact.

Expect out of control markets, unimaginable financial failures and ultimately a breakdown of distribution and society itself.  The truth is, we have lived in financial fantasyland since 2007.  2008 came along, markets collapsed and the reset which should have occurred was aborted …only to become a much bigger and far more painful “inevitable” event now.  More debt, more money supply and of course less gold in Western vaults.  We in the West have spent, frittered, and given away 100′s of years worth of labor and savings of our forefathers.  This in an effort to resist living within our means and calling a spade a spade.  Spades are almost all that is left, all the other suits have been spent, lent and borrowed 100+ times over!

Conceding to a federal lawsuit, the US government agreed to release a 1987 Defense Department report detailing US assistance to Israel in its development of a hydrogen bomb, which skirted international standards.

The 386-page report, Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” likens top Israeli nuclear facilities to the Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories that were key in the development of US nuclear weaponry.

Israelis are “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” said the report, the release of which comes before Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech in front of the US Congress in which he will oppose any deal that allows Iran’s legal nuclear program to persist.

“I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the US,” Roger Mattson, a formerly of the Atomic Energy Commission’s technical staff, said of the report, according to Courthouse News.

The report’s release earlier this week was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act request made three years ago by Grant Smith, director of the Washington think tank Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. Smith filed a lawsuit in September in order to compel the Pentagon to substantially address the request.

“It’s our basic position that in 1987 the Department of Defense discovered that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, detailed it and then has covered it up for 25 years in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments, costing taxpayers $86 billion,” Smith said during a hearing in late 2014 before Judge Tanya Chutkan in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Smith described in his federal court complaint how those federal laws were violated by the US in the midst of Israel’s budding nuclear program.

“The Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards,” Smith wrote.

“The Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to U.S. foreign aid to countries that import nuclear reprocessing technology.”

In November, Judge Chutkan asked government lawyers resistant to the report’s release why it had taken years for the government to prepare the report for public consumption.

“I’d like to know what is taking so long for a 386-page document. The document was located some time ago,” Chutkan said, according to Courthouse News Service.

“I’ve reviewed my share of documents in my career. It should not take that long to review that document and decide what needs to be redacted.”

image from the report “Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations"image from the report “Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations”

The government’s representatives in the case — Special Assistant US Attorney Laura Jennings and Defense Department counsel Mark Herrington — initially said confidentiality agreements required a “line by line” review of the Defense Department’s report. They later shifted, arguing that its release is optional and not mandatory, as “diplomatic relations dictate that DoD seeks Israel’s review.”

Smith and the US agreed that the government would redact sections of the report on NATO countries, though the passages on Israel remain intact.

“The capability of SOREQ [Soreq Nuclear Research Center] to support SDIO [Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, or “Star Wars”] and nuclear technologies is almost an exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories,” said the report, written by the Institute for Defense Analysis for the Department of Defense.

“SOREQ and Dimona/Beer Sheva facilities are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories…[and have] the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication.”

The report’s authors Edwin Townsley and Clarence Robinson found that Israel to had Category 1 capability regarding its anti-tactical ballistic missile and “Star Wars” weapons programs.

“As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. [w]as in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,” the report said. “It should be noted that the Israelis are developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs.”

In a statement on the report’s release, Smith said Thursday, “Informal and Freedom of Information Act release of such information is rare. Under two known gag orders — punishable by imprisonment — U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors may not disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned address before the US Congress was controversially arranged by Republican leadership without consultation of congressional Democrats or the White House.

The speech will occur weeks before Netanyahu will seek reelection, and is to center around his opposition to any agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, a deal the US — while levying heavy sanctions on Tehran — has pursued despite protests from its preeminent ally in the Middle East, Israel.

Tehran’s nuclear program is legal under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Israel is one of the few United Nations members that is not a signatory.

Ukraine Agrees To Monsanto Land Grab For $17 Billion IMF Loan

February 14th, 2015 by Christina Sarich

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) is helping biotech run the latest war in Ukraine. Make no mistake that what is happening in the Ukraine now is deeply tied to the interests of Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other big players in the poison food game.

Monsanto has an office in Ukraine. While this does not shout ‘culpability’ from every corner, it is no different than the US military’s habit to place bases in places that they want to gain political control. The opening of this office coincided with land grabs with loans from the IMF and World Bank to one of the world’s most hated corporations – all in support of their biotech takeover.

Previously, there was a ban on private sector land ownership in the country – but it was lifted ‘just in time’ for Monsanto to have its way with the Ukraine.

In fact, a bit of political maneuvering by the IMF gave the Ukraine a $17 billion loan – but only if they would open up to biotech farming and the selling of Monsanto’s poison crops and chemicals – destroying a farmland that is one of the most pristine in all of Europe. Farm equipment dealer, Deere, along with seed producers Dupont and Monsanto, will have a heyday.

In the guise of ‘aid,’ a claim has been made on Ukraine’s vast agricultural riches. It is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine has deep, rich, black soil that can grow almost anything, and its ability to produce high volumes of GM grain is what made biotech come rushing to take it over.

As reported by The Ecologist, according to the Oakland Institute:

“Whereas Ukraine does not allow the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture, Article 404 of the EU agreement, which relates to agriculture, includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.

There is no doubt that this provision meets the expectations of the agribusiness industry. As observed by Michael Cox, research director at the investment bank Piper Jaffray, ‘Ukraine and, to a wider extent, Eastern Europe, are among the most promising growth markets for farm-equipment giant Deere, as well as seed producers Monsanto and DuPont’.”

The nation WAS Europe’s breadbasket – and now in an act of bio-warfare, it will become the wasteland that many US farmlands have become due to copious amounts of herbicide spraying, the depletion of soil, and the overall disruption of a perfect ecosystem.

The aim of US government entities is to support the takeover of Ukraine for biotech interests (among other strategies involving the prop-up of a failing cabalistic banking system that Russia has also refused with its new alignment with BRICS and its own payment system called SWIFT). This is similar to biotech’s desired takeover of Hawaiian islands and land in Africa.

The Ukraine war has many angles that haven’t been exposed to the general public – and you can bet that biotech has their hands in the proverbial corn pie.

Newsweek magazine headlined on February 5th, “‘Biggest NATO Reinforcement Since Cold War’ Sets Frontlines Against Russia,” and reported that, “According to general Charles Wald, former-deputy commander of U.S. European Command, … ‘The question for Europe is:

“is Putin creeping further and further west?’”

Wald is quoted as saying that the case of Ukraine especially worries him. This article continues:

“‘Is this a precursor to Russia moving into Moldova? Nagorno Karabakh has been bubbling up, and the Georgia issue is still unresolved. NATO has essentially set these [new military] bases in its frontline states,’ Wald says, referring to the countries’ proximity to Russian territory.”

So: Russia is moving too close to NATO countries, according to the U.S. ‘Defense’ Department.

But it’s a blatant lie. Actually, since 1999, 11 former members of the Warsaw Pact, countries, which had been allied with Russia during the communist Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, have switched to the U.S. military alliance against their former ally Russia, NATO: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Albania.

So: Russia hasn’t been moving at all, not an inch; but the U.S. certainly has — by surrounding Russia with its NATO missiles.

This Newsweek story is ‘news’ that’s published in a mainstream U.S. ‘news’ source, which people pay bad money for — it’s worse than a waste, it’s their being charged for U.S.-Government propaganda.

Here is authentic news, from an authentic news source — news which had been posted just four days earlier than that Newsweek lie, on February 1st — news that was posted at the Fort Russ blog, which not only is free, but it’s the most thorough and reliably truthful news site of all on the Ukrainian conflict:

“NATO is moving closer to Russia and blaming Russia for being close to NATO.” A video is shown there.

This video, which was posted to youtube on 17 October 2014, shows a Pentagon spokesperson being asked at a press conference about ‘Defense’ Secretary Chuck Hagel’s accusation, that Russia’s army is “on NATO’s doorstep”; and the (extremely unusual, skeptical American journalist) questioner then asks “Why is that?”

Hagel’s press spokesperson insists there that it happens because Russia has been seizing nations and thus moving closer to NATO; he refuses to acknowledge that NATO has instead been expanding up to Russia’s very border, bringing U.S. weapons surrounding Russia’s periphery. How would the U.S. react if, say, Russia had tried to install nuclear missiles in, say, Cuba — like the Soviet Union tried in 1962?

Here’s that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LexhW8SCM2c.

There are lots of reader-comments to that video, many of which are from fools who are treating Russia as being evil and dangerous, and ignoring the insult to their own intelligence that came forth from Chuck Hagel’s spokesperson in this video, which they had just watched.

However, Fort Russ reports this videoed statement without comment, as being instead a self-evident lie from the U.S. Government, and it is that; not as being (like Newsweek does) a supposed truth from the U.S. Government, a supposed truth that’s being unchallenged by Newsweek’s ‘journalist,’ though if Newsweek had been an authentic news-source it would have reported that the U.S. Government was simply lying there — since that’s the actual fact.

As regards the reader-comments to this Newsweek article, here’s a typical sequence of these reader-comments, so that you can see how American readers responded to this piece of sheer American propaganda:

COMMENTS:

—-Bong Valencia · Don bosco academy pampanga

Everybody needs to stop calling Ukraine’s enemies as Russian[backed rebels. Let’s call a spade a spade. Let’s call them Russians! They came from and were sent by Russia.

· 24 · February 5 at 7:57pm

—-Kevin Quinn · Top Commenter

But they LIVE in what’s called ‘eastern Ukraine’ and have been there in some cases for centuries. That is Kyiv”s main point. And theirs. Some have received military training in the Soviet forces, as well as the UA. Some of the younger have been trained in ‘militia camps’ – safe in Russia.

• · 3 · February 6 at 10:57am

—-Sergy K · Top Commenter · Harvard Kennedy School

Kevin Quinn there are at most 15% of locals, 85 % came from Russia, and the military organizers came from Moscow

• · 1 · February 6 at 12:54pm

—-Михаил Бочаров · Top Commenter · МОПИ им. Н.К. Крупской

Sergy K, Where did you take those percentage from? Maybe from The History Of Russian State by N.M.Karamzin or Primary Chronicle Where Did Russian Land Come From or The History Of Kiev Rus? Look these books through in the Harvard Kennedy School Library or at least use Google ”Russian-speaking population in Ukraine”.

• · February 10 at 5:06am

—-El D Den · Top Commenter

My hope is NATO destroys Russia once and for all.

· 9 · February 5 at 10:36pm

Noting the claim of one reader there (“Sergy K”) to be from Harvard’s Kennedy School, the present reporter looked to see whether there is, actually, any “Sergy K” who has been associated with that supposedly august and supposedly authoritative School. This is what I came up with:

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/203/sergei_konoplyov.html

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/disc_paper_99_08.pdf

So: apparently, an ‘expert’ at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and even one whose sole published work deals with Ukraine, does, indeed, actually think that 85% of the fighters against the Kiev-based Ukrainian Government’s invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass region are Russian soldiers, not residents.

On that matter, here is the actual evidence (there’s lots of it, but these are perhaps the most striking):

http://rinf.com/alt-news/featured/ukrainian-government-russian-troops-fighting-us/

http://ukraina.ru/news/20150213/1012102730.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/heres-the-ukrainian-delegation-that-gave-misleading-photos-t#.rdzqJPe5X

Furthermore, to the exact contrary of all the similar allegations by the U.S. Government (which say that Russia wants to add to Russian territory the land where Ukraine’s pro-Russia rebels live), the present reporter had headlined on 19 September 2014, “Russia’s Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists’ Aim to Become Part of Russia,” and reported that not only did Putin reject it verbally, but that the Ukrainian separatist leaders took his statement as being his final word on the subject, and so decided “We will build our own country.”

In other words: the only reason why the Obama Administration is pushing the fraudulent line that Putin is trying to seize the Donbass region of Ukraine away from Ukraine, is because Barack Obama needs to portray his own sponsorship of an ethnic-cleansing operation to get rid of the residents in Donbass (the rebellious region of Ukraine) as being instead an “Anti Terrorist Operation” by the Government against rebel fighters who (as the Harvard Kennedy School ‘Expert’ said) “85 % came from Russia.”

We’re supposed to be this stupid, and this misinformed, by a propaganda-line that doesn’t even make sense — the line that says the people who are bombing the residents in Donbass and destroying the region, are the invading Russian army, and/or the residents who live there (the “Terrorists,” as the Ukrainian Government calls them), instead of being the Government forces that are trying to exterminate the residents there, and who are actually terrorizing those residents in order to get them to die or else to leave Ukraine.

As to the reason why Obama wants to get rid of those residents, look at this map. It shows the results in the final nationwide Ukrainian Presidential election, the one that was held in 2010 and which pitted the pro-Washington Yulia Tymoshenko against the pro-neutral-Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. As you can see, the dark purple area is the region that voted 90% for Yanukovych. That’s also the area which the Ukrainian Government has been bombing. If the voters who live there, ever again vote for a President of Ukraine, then Obama’s February 2014 coup which overthrew Yanukovych will be elected out of office: the Obama coup-regime will end. That’s why Obama wants those voters to either die or else leave Ukraine. He needs them gone. (And official Washington wants this mass-murder of them to increase; and this genocidal push is bipartisan, both Republicans and Democrats.)

No wonder why the U.S. Government keeps lying, and its propaganda-organs (virtually the entire U.S. press) are lying. The press are controlled by the same aristocracy that control the Government. But, in order to do this, they are playing the American people for suckers. Maybe enough of the American public are, but that’s no justification for what America’s aristocracy are doing. The people who are being slaughtered aren’t Americans at all, but are instead the entirely innocent residents in the Donbass region of the former Ukraine.

Prior to Obama’s February 2014 Ukrainian coup, that entire country was a democracy, and there was no ethnic cleansing there. But Obama has the nerve now to accuse Russia of “aggression,” when in fact it is he that is the aggressor. And that’s the sole basis for the economic sanctions that Russians now suffer.

What a massive crime: a war-crime that would be worthy of being tried as such at Nuremberg — but, this time, notby Americans. Obama is instead the anti-FDR President. An American President like this would make Franklin Delano Roosevelt turn over in his grave.

Greek Exit From the Euro!

February 14th, 2015 by Andreas C Chrysafis

There is a serious political and economic clash going on deep inside the chambers of the EU. The newly elected Tsipras government has triggered a tsunami that may not be so easily contained. The northern states dominated by Germany and braced by the ECB have now also regressed to blackmailing tactics. What they feared the most is about to happen; a battle has ensued between David and the mighty Goliath – everyone knows the end result! It may also cause a domino effect over other member-states and that’s the worst nightmare facing the EU institution.

All eyes are directed at the new charismatic young Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his unorthodox Finance Minster Yianis Varoufakis. A Greek Revolution of the Mind has sprung into action. Immediately since taking office the Greek government, has forbidden Troika to return to Greece and cancelled the selling off of the Piraeus Ports to private investors. That shocked the Eurogroup.

The Greek nation had had enough of Troika’s failed austerity measures and it was decided in Athens that economic colonization through the suffering of the Greek people could no longer be tolerated under any terms.

Unless Greece renegotiates and restructures the unsustainable Troika loans, it will be impossible to repay it and the nation will remain in debt for generations to come. Greece’s request to renegotiate Troika’s terms was a wise move but was rejected by the Eurogroup. Exacerbating tension between the two camps, the Greek government also decided not to adopt further EU sanctions against Russia.

That did not go down well either. But one thing is for certain; the government of Greece is no longer prepared to play ball and be dictated to by a group of unaccountable and unelected EU Troika bankers at the expense of the people and its integrity as a free democratic nation.

Knowing its limitations and economic strength, Tsipras’ government behaved responsibly in wanting to re-structure the country’s debt within the boundaries of the EU. The refusal of assistance by the Eurogroup but especially by Germany came of no surprise. Actually Germany should have behaved much better because after WW2, it also faced a similar situation. Instead, it chose to behave appallingly against Greece.

In fact Germany faced total bankruptcy from the strains of the Second World War but the Allied nations came to its rescue with a grand master plan; a plan that was based on a different school of thought on how to help a country out of debt.

The London Agreement on German External Debts known as the 1953 London Debt Agreement was established as an Agreement that in fact set a precedent for debt relief for poorer economies.

This Debt Relief Agreement negotiated by the Western allies (Britain, the USA, France and bankers) provided an inspired master plan to help Germany recover financially rather than to destroy it completely. The idea behind the plan prescribed was that a country; is more likely to repay its debts through economic recovery rather than economic suppression and stagnation!

For Greece (and Cyprus for that matter), the EU-Troika did precisely the opposite. It destroyed its economy; robbed people’s bank accounts (bail-in); caused massive recession; suppression; shut down banks; raised taxation and triggered massive unemployment. Troika’s economic rescue plan was actually based on economic colonization and its success depended, on firstly destroying all hope of recovery for the ultimate control.

Compare what the Allied Debt Relief Agreement did for Germany with what Troika’s Mnimonio rescue plan for Greece (and Cyprus) has done, and a contrasting picture emerges; one that shows double standards and sinister motives!

Analytically, Germany’s debts after the war amounted to 38.8 billion marks and the Agreement signed on 27 February 1953 reduced the debt to 14.5 billion, which amounts to a 62.6% reduction. The repayment period was also stretched out over 30 years and allowed Germany to postpone some payments until such time as re-unification. It was decided that the burden of servicing the entire debt if not reduced, meant that the German economy stood: little chance of a recovery!

The philosophy behind the Agreement was a masterpiece of the road to recovery, and it worked wonders. First and foremost, the Agreement provided that Germany was able to pay its external debt while maintaining a high level of growth and improving living standards of its population. In fact, it meant that they were allowed to pay back the loan without getting poorer. That was a superb piece of economic strategy that could only benefit both parties!

To achieve this, creditors agreed to help Germany in a number of positive ways such as but not limited to:

Reduce importation to assist and manufacture at home those goods that were formerly imported (equally helping with job-creation); creditors agreed to reduce their own exports to Germany; supported and purchased German exports to restore a positive trade balance; the debt service/export revenue ration, was not to exceed 5% and depended on how much the economy could afford; debt re-payment would derive directly from export revenue income; the Agreement also contained the possibility of suspending payments while conditions were re-negotiated in the event of reduced available resources. On the 3rd of October 2010 the last payment was made with 69,9 million euros. This payment was considered to be the last one to its creditors.

This is the kind of formula necessary for economic recovery and not Troika’s austerity, which destroys nations and reduces citizens to poverty. With the help of a hard working population Germany has become one of the most economically powerful and influential countries in Europe.

Compare what Troika’s rescue plan did for Greece, and it becomes obvious that the Resolutions (Mnimonios) introduced were never meant to restore economic recovery and growth like the 1953 London Debt Agreement did for Germany; they were geared to dominate through debt dependency.

In fact under the terms of the 1953 London Agreement on German External Debts, Germany owes the Greek people 476 million reichmarks ($14 billion) that Greece was forced to give Nazi Germany during its occupation. If 3% interest had been accrued over 66 years, the loan corresponds in today’s terms to $93 billion. The Tsipras government is now demanding that money back and if successful, it certainly would open up Pandora’s box for Germany.

If things remain unchanged, Greece will never be in a position to repay its crippling debt but will only enter into a deeper crisis. The annual interest payments alone (in billions) on a 350 billion debt would keep the nation in utter poverty and that’s precisely what the new government wants to avoid.

Equally, one can reasonably ask: what happened to all those billions borrowed? Where did it all go? Certainly it did not go to improving public services, the infrastructure and hospitals or to making people affluent and living with dignity. In fact the majority of those funds borrowed went straight back into the coffers of German and EU banks to bail themselves out at the expense of citizens. It is reported that less than 10% of the bailout money borrowed ever reached the people; that is what modern economic colonization does to poorer nations!

The new government recognized this and for the first time ever an elected government decided not to follow the footsteps of its predecessors who failed the people of Greece miserably.

A well-organized exit from the Euro currency and return to the Greek drachmas cannot be discounted. In fact it would be a wise decision because Greece will then determine its own exchange rate to help its economy grow free from EU constraints. As an EU member state, the UK did not adopt the Euro currency so why not Greece or Cyprus for that matter!

Actually, exit from the Euro may be more beneficial in the long run. However, there are various conflicting theories made by economists of a Euro exit but they all agree on one thing: that exit from the Euro, would not be easy but not impossible. The final word however, whether to retain the Euro or not, rests with the Greek people under the terms of a referendum. With transparency, well-informed citizens, can make well-informed decisions and the decision whether to retain the Euro or not, belongs to the people and not to a temporary government.

Out of the ashes of despair, Greece will rise up again and will succeed. It will do so because the nation’s dignity has been restored with thousands of people flooding the streets of Athens, Salonika and major cities to endorse their support for the new government. Unquestionably, a nation that has the full support of its people it will never fail.

However, there are certainly clouds looming on the horizon for both nations but on the positive side, Greece may be the catalyst to bring about changes for the better and that hope may also spread to Cyprus – we sure hope so for Cyprus’ sake!

Andreas C Chrysafis
Author – Writer – Artist
www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor
www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisArtGallery

This is a typical case of neoliberal Washington paid thugs and mercenaries false-flagging ‘undesired’ governments into chaos, for ‘regime change’ - and then being taken over by the US, subjugating the population to US dictate and stealing the country’s resources.

Being subjected to the constant stream of lies by the six Zionist-Anglo-Saxon mega-media corporations controlling 90% of the western information – ‘news’ – system, it is easy to brainwash the western population into believing that the culprit is the Maduro government, exercising police repression.

We have seen it happen in Ukraine – where currently the Kiev Nazi government (sic) led civil war is killing thousands of citizens in the Donbass area of eastern Ukraine, putting millions of people into absolute misery in a cold winter depriving them of energy and food – a million and a half refugees fleeing to Russia— and – who is the culprit, Mr. Putin, of course. Since the all dominant criminal lie and propaganda media machine is still to this day hiding the evidence, that the Maidan coup d’état in February 2014 was instigated and prepared during many years, and eventually directed and paid for by Washington and NATO.

A similar case is today’s formal accusation of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of obstructing the investigation into http://richzhb.bluewin.ch/cp/ext/resources/images/default/s.gifhttp://richzhb.bluewin.ch/cp/ext/resources/images/default/s.gifthe 1994 attack of the Jewish center AMIA that killed 85 people. This alleged car bomb attack follows a very similar attack demolishing the Israeli embassy in 1992. Last week the chief prosecutor of the case, Alberto Nisman, was found dead in his apartment, hours before publicly testifying about an alleged cover up by President Cristina Fernandez. She was allegedly covering up Iran’s involvement in the devastation of the two buildings, again allegedly because of an oil for meat and food grain deal between Argentina and Iran may be at stake. All circumstantial evidence, even by anonymous witnesses, points to an agreement between Washington and Israel to blame Iran for the disaster, killing two birds with one stroke – incriminating the inconvenient Argentinian President with the objective of ‘regime change’, and demonizing once more Iran. Both of these deadly aggressions bear the hallmark of false flags, carried out or instigated by the CIA and Mosad.

Does it then come as a surprise that Washington is instigating, organizing and paying for civil unrest in Caracas and other major cities, stage by stage, leading eventually to a coup and control of the media, including TeleSur? – There is nothing new in this ‘procedure’. It is actually old and full with ancient dirt, repeated umpteen times around the globe over the last century – and the western bought presstitute media, including of neutral Switzerland, trumpets around the world that President Maduro is a dictator and clamps down on protesters. What a shameful lie – misguidance of public opinion, brainwashing people into supporting more crime by the empire.

May public consciousness finally wake up!

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, the Voice of Russia / Ria Novosti, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

American and Ukrainian officials issued provocative threats and accusations against Russia less than 48 hours after German, French, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators reached a cease-fire agreement following marathon talks in the Belorussian capital of Minsk.

The statements of Obama administration officials and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were designed to create a pretext for scuttling the cease-fire deal and escalating the assault on pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine along with the diplomatic, economic and military campaign against Russia, while attempting to foist the blame on Moscow.

Washington and Kiev did not wait for the truce to take effect on Sunday to launch new charges of Russian military aggression, none of which were substantiated. Meanwhile, fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and government forces intensified.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki accused Russia of violating the cease-fire agreement by massing military equipment around the Ukrainian-held city of Debaltseve, which is currently under siege from pro-Russian forces. “The Russian military has deployed a large amount of artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems around Debaltseve, where it is shelling Ukrainian positions,” she told reporters, adding, “We are confident that these are Russian military, not separatist systems.”

Psaki also charged that Russia was preparing a large shipment of supplies to pro-Russian forces. She provided no evidence, however, to back up her charges.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that even with the new agreement, there would be “a long road ahead before achieving peace and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty.” He said, “We will judge the commitment of Russia and the separatists by their actions, not their words.”

In a statement Thursday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest coupled tepid praise for the cease-fire as a “potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution” with the demand that Russia remove its soldiers and military equipment from eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies having any active troops in the separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine.

Repeated claims by European and American officials of Russian troops directly assisting the pro-Russian separatists have never been substantiated. Recent photographs presented by a delegation of Ukrainian politicians to Republican Senator James Inhofe as evidence of Russian involvement were quickly exposed as a fraud. They turned out to be photographs of Russian military equipment during the 2008 Georgian war.

Earnest concluded his remarks by insisting on the “full and unambiguous” implementation of the agreement, including the “durable” cessation of fighting and the restoration of Kiev’s control of Ukraine’s border with Russia.

The talk of stepped-up Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine suggests that the Obama administration, perhaps following a brief respite for Ukrainian forces that have been battered by rebel militias in the east, may be planning to use Russia’s supposed violation of the cease-fire to justify a decision to directly arm the Kiev regime with advanced US weapons, a step that has been described by European politicians and media outlets as tantamount to a declaration of war on Russia.

The Minsk deal was not negotiated by Washington, but under the aegis of Germany and France. Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande launched a diplomatic effort to halt the fighting after reports emerged that Washington was considering arming the Ukrainian regime.

Other US politicians directly attacked the cease-fire. Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement denouncing the agreement as a sellout to the pro-Russian separatists and Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on the Obama administration to move forward with arming Ukraine.

McCain declared:

“The agreement reached in Minsk freezes the conflict at a time of separatist advantage, solidifies the gains of Russian aggression and leaves Ukraine’s borders with Russia firmly under Moscow’s control pending a comprehensive political settlement whose content is unknown and feasibility is unclear.”

He added that the cease-fire should not be “an excuse to delay sending defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, during a visit to a military training center outside Kiev on Friday, came close to repudiating the agreement he had signed the previous day. “I want nobody to have any illusions,” he told reporters. “We are still far away from peace, and nobody is fully convinced that the conditions for peace signed in Minsk will be firmly implemented.”

Ukrainian fascist forces, which have operated as the military spearhead of the Kiev regime’s assault on the separatists in eastern Ukraine, also rejected the accord. On Friday, the head of the fascist Right Sector, Dimytro Yarosh, who is also a member of the Ukrainian parliament, denounced the cease-fire in a statement published on his personal Facebook page.

Calling the pro-Russian separatists terrorists, Yarosh insisted that any agreement with them had “no legal standing.” He declared that the Right Sector militia “reserves the right to extend the active hostilities under its own operational plans.”

The agreement, slated to take effect at 12:01 AM Sunday, calls for the pulling back of artillery and other heavy weaponry so as to create a buffer zone along the current lines of fighting. Other key points are the removal of all foreign fighters and weapons from eastern Ukraine and the release of all prisoners of war. The agreement also calls for constitutional changes to grant greater autonomy to rebel-held areas, while requiring the separatists to return control of the border between eastern Ukraine and Russia to the Kiev regime.

Thursday’s Minsk II agreement replaces the Minsk Protocol cease-fire signed last September, which was repeatedly violated by both sides and fell apart completely in January. Fighting escalated last month after the Kiev government launched an offensive against rebel-held positions in the eastern Donbass region. Kiev forces suffered sharp reversals when pro-Russian separatists launched a counteroffensive, capturing significant amounts of territory and gaining control over the Donetsk airport.

Following the announcement of the new truce, both sides stepped up the fighting in an effort to make last-minute territorial gains before the cease-fire is scheduled to take effect. Debaltseve, the site of a key rail hub between the rebel-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, saw the most intense fighting Friday. As many as 8,000 Ukrainian troops are surrounded by pro-Russian separatist militia fighters.

Andriy Lysenko, a Ukrainian military spokesman, reported Friday that at least 11 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and a further 40 wounded in fighting since the agreement was signed.

Artillery shells struck a school in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Artemivsk, killing two civilians, including a seven-year-old child. At least five other civilians, among them three children, were injured in the shelling.

Donetsk People’s Republic Defense Ministry official Eduard Basurin told reporters Friday that shelling of the rebel-held cities of Horlivka, Donetsk and Luhansk since Thursday had killed ten civilians and wounded nineteen others, including three children.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) released a report Friday stating that illegal cluster bomb munitions had been deployed in the shelling of Luhansk on Thursday.

Yemen faces “civil war and disintegration” in the wake of the overthrow of the US-backed government by a Houthi insurgency, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon declared Thursday.

“Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. We cannot stand by and watch. The current instability is creating conditions which are conducive to a reemergence of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” Moon said.

The comments from Moon come in the aftermath of moves by the Houthis to take over the presidential palace last week, formally dissolving the US-backed regime of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis have simultaneously launched new invasions of provinces to the south of Sanaa, in an effort to bring larger sections of the country under the direct control of their new regime.

This has been accompanied by reports of the seizure of a major government military installation, manned by some 2,000 troops, by Sunni militants affiliated with AQAP.

Comments from US officials late this week suggested that the US ruling elite is preparing to respond to the breakup of the Yemeni state with a new military escalation, ostensibly directed at combatting AQAP, but aimed more broadly at asserting control over the geostrategically key country.

“The bottom line is increased danger to the United States homeland,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, a Republican, said in comments cited by Fox News. The Houthi takeover “makes it easier for them [AQAP] to plot and plan against us,” Thornberry said.

The rapid military successes of Houthi and AQAP militants took the US by surprise, a top counterterrorism official said Friday, comparing recent developments to the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “The situation deteriorated far more rapidly than we expected,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany have closed their embassies, joining the US, Britain and France. Houthi leaders have protested against the embassy closures, saying they are unnecessary and making clear their readiness to negotiate with the US and other foreign powers.

The central aim of the US is to ensure that its extensive military and intelligence operations in Yemen and throughout the region are maintained. US ground forces, acknowledged by the Pentagon to be operating from bases in Aden since 2012, will continue to carry out missions against AQAP and other groups, the Obama administration has confirmed.

“There continue to be Department of Defense personnel … on the ground in Yemen that are coordinating with their counterparts,” White House representative Josh Earnest said.

At the same time, the Central Intelligence Agency has been forced to withdraw dozens of agents and senior officers previously operating out of the US embassy, according to the Washington Post.

The deepening civil conflict in Yemen also threatens to draw in regional powers, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. At least four governors in southern provinces have declared their opposition to the new Houthi government, while Saudi leaders have announced their intention to arm anti-Houthi forces in the resource-rich western province of Marib. Secessionist militants affiliated with the Southern Movement already began seizing checkpoints in southern cities last month.

Egypt has assembled a special expedition force to deploy to Yemen if there are threats to close the Bab al-Mandab straight, which controls the southern entrance to the Red Sea. “Egypt will not accept the closure of the strait in any way, and would intervene militarily if needed. … This action affects Egyptian national security, and has a direct impact on the Suez Canal,” Egyptian Suez Canal Authority official Mohab Mamish said last week.

Yemen’s fate underscores the ongoing fragmentation of the nation-state structure throughout the Middle East and large sections of Africa, with civil war conditions emerging as tribal and sectarian factions vie to fill the developing power vacuum.

The US government is responding to these conditions—a product of US machinations throughout the Middle East, including the promotion of sectarian tensions—with a massive expansion of its military operations throughout the region. This includes the escalation of its bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria, drone war in Somalia and special forces operations in West Africa.

The pseudo-legal foundation for a large slate of new wars is to be supplied by the latest Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) sought by the Obama administration—which ostensibly targets ISIS but in reality empowers the president to wage endless war around the globe.

A mother whose newborn contracted measles is blaming “unvaccinated” children, despite evidence showing vaccinated children can still spread measles and statistics showing the measles vaccine was linked to more deaths in the past 10 years than the disease.

Not only that, but the person who may have given her newborn measles was vaccinated, according to officials.

The Toronto-area mother, Jennifer Hibben-White, complained about unvaccinated parents on Facebookand her rant was shared more than 275,000 times, but much like the gun control movement, she’s appealing to emotions in defiance of reality.

“If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you,” she wrote. “I blame you.”

“You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long.”

But public health officials confirmed the other known case of measles in the area was a man who was “vaccinated in the past” and was “in the waiting room sometime between half an hour and an hour” before Hibben-White showed up to a doctor’s office with her baby.

“…Measles is an airborne virus, and can stay on surfaces and in the air for up to two hours after the infected person had left,” Kendra Mangione with CTV News reported.

Another vaccinated person, a 12-month-old infant,also developed measles-like symptoms recently and in 2011 a 22-year-old New Yorker contracted and spread measles despite being vaccinated – twice.

“Since measles cases started cropping up at the Disneyland theme park in California last month, media outlets and health authorities have colluded to whip the public into a panic, urging the unvaccinated to head to their nearest clinic while parroting the claim that the outbreak was exacerbated by people who refused the vaccine,” Adan Salazar reported. “An article published in the Los Angeles Times last week, however, stated that many people infected with measles had in fact been vaccinated.”

And there’s been over 100 times as many deaths linked to the measles vaccine than the disease itself over a 10 year period.

“Between 2005 and 2014, there have been no deaths from measles in the U.S. and 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine,” Globe Newswire reported, citing government statistics.

Follow on Twitter:
@RealAlexJones | @KitDaniels1776

The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence is a “medium for professionals and scholars to exchange opinions on issues and challenges encountered by both the government and business institutions in making contemporary intelligence-related decisions and policy.” 
First published in January 1986, the journal covers a wide variety of topics, from factual information such as “The Exorbitant Cost of Counterterrorism” to the weightier dilemmas, like “To Render or Intern: Counterterrorism Methods of the FBI, SIS and CIA.”

The March 2013 edition featured an article entitled, “Subversion of Social Movements by Adversarial Agents,” written by Eric L. Nelson. Nelson’s profile provided with the article says he is a former counterintelligence agent with a U.S. Government and former police officer “in one of America’s most violent cities.” He has three master’s degrees and was completing his “individualized” Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of California when he wrote the paper.

Nelson outlines “thirteen suppressive or subversive methods” to bring about “social movement failure.” Failures are classified as either “petit” or “complete,” depending on whether the targeted movement or organization is merely demoralized and shaken up, or completely “brought down.”

The article begins with the author’s definition of “social movements,” characterized as “shar(ing) a desire for structural change, and a willingness to do something about it.” Examples are given: Iron Workers picketing a non-union construction site; people in Spain protesting against banks and austerity; Ukrainian FEMEN activists protesting sulfuric acid attacks on women while visiting Turkey. Social movements, he explains, can include “matters of politics, religion, ethnicity, labor, economy, and justice, among others.”

The purpose of his article, is “to examine the intentional subversion of social movements by agents of the organization upon which the social movement is trying to force change.” Such organizations are both governmental and private companies targeted for “protest, boycotts, cyber attacks, or other harmful actions.”

The article prefaces the subversion methods with an explanatory note: “Not all social movements need urgent attention, or vigorous suppression. Some are less threatening, and may be targeted for subversion using less drastic methods. Thus, the potential subversive actions range from nugatory to substantial. Most can be operationalized either covertly or in the open.”

The methods, each of them explained and illustrated, are: 1) Suppress Information Flow; 2) Suppress Recruiting Efforts; 3) Reduce Recruiting Opportunities 4) Develop Attractive Alternatives; 5) Tempt Members to Leave; 6) Reverse Recruiting Using Demoralizing Information; 7) Operationalize Secure/Faux Concessions; 8) Expertly Directed, Incessant Proactive Manipulation of Media; 9) Resource Depletion; 10) Stigmatization; 11) Divisive Disruption; 12) Intimidation; and 13) Intrapsychic Wounding.

The article ends with a caution:

“Thirteen tested and theoretical methods of subversion reviewed here were designed to induce petit or grand failure into targeted social movements. History demonstrates that in the laboratory of real life multiple methods of subversion are generally deployed sequentially and concurrently, in accordance with the tactical strategy developed by adversarial agents specific to a targeted social movement. Withheld so far has been a discourse about the morality of subversion. Of course, no definitive answers can be given to questions about the moral rightness of subversion. That is true because people may feel that some acts of subversion are warranted, particularly towards social movements that they believe are a threat to their community’s way of life. Yet, many of those same people may also feel subversion is reprehensible when institutions to which they belong are targeted. After all, one person’s terrorist group is, to someone else, freedom fighters waging war against oppression. Because issues of morality are both important and most frequently unanswerable, no attempt has been made to engage them here.”

Finally, user beware: “[O]rganizational attorneys should be consulted before any subversive program is implemented.”

Copyright laws prevent us from providing a direct link to the article, but a summary will be published in forthcoming issues of Renewal Update.

Venezuela Foils Obama’s Coup Plot

February 14th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

On February 12, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Obama’s plot to kill him, oust his government, and seize power forcefully was thwarted. More on this below.

Throughout his tenure, Obama waged war on humanity. It continues against free people everywhere.

His deplorable record might make some despots blush. He viciously targets fundamental freedoms at home and abroad.

Governs under a police state apparatus. Unilaterally decides who lives, dies, stays free or is imprisoned.

He continues waging war on Afghanistan after pledging to end it during his first year in office.

No end of conflict looms. Permanent war and occupation is planned. Afghanistan is a wasteland of dystopian misery.

Obama ravaged and destroyed Libya. Turning North Africa’s most developed country into an out-of-control cauldron of violence. Its people stripped of all social benefits and rights Gaddafi provided.

In June 2009, he orchestrated Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s ouster. A US supported fascist despot replaced him.

After Haiti’s devastating January 2010 earthquake, Obama militarized the country, plunders it freely, exploits its people ruthlessly, orchestrated rigged elections, and prohibits democratic governance.

In September 2010, his attempt to topple Ecuador’s Rafael Correa failed. In 2012, he orchestrated Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo’s ouster by rigged parliamentary impeachment.

In February 2011, he manipulated Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak’s removal. So-called Arab spring was more mirage than real.

In July 2013, Mohamed Morsi’s toppling followed. Obama’s dirty hands conspired with Egypt’s General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi to install junta rule.

In February 2014, He ousted Ukraine’s democratically elected government. Put neo-Nazi putschists in charge.

Uses them to wage war on their own people. So-called February 12 Minsk resolution is pure fantasy.

No end of conflict looms. Peace is a convenient illusion. So is democracy. America tolerates none at home or abroad.

Throughout Chavez’s tenure as Venezuela’s president, Washington went all-out to oust him. Obama succeeded by killing him.

He wants fascist rule replacing Maduro. Bolivarian social justice ended. Predatory capitalism replacing it.

He’s waging relentless economic and political war. A previous article discussed Maduro accusing Vice President Joe Biden of directing efforts to oust him.

Likely kill him. On February 2, he said, “(t)he northern imperial power has entered a dangerous phase of desperation, going to talk to the continent’s governments to announce the overthrow of my government. And I accuse Vice-president Joe Biden of this” plot.

“There are US diplomats in Venezuela contracting military officials to betray their country, looking to influence socialist political leaders, public opinion leaders and entrepreneurs to provoke a coup.”

He called Washington’s plot no ordinary crisis. He appealed to Venezuelans to remain on high alert against “a bloody coup underway” against everything Bolivarianism represents.

In a televised Thursday address, he announced a US-instigated foiled coup plot.

Saying “(i)t is the government of the United States that is behind the plans of destabilization and coups against Venezuela. I have come here to denounce it.”

“We have dismantled a coup attempt against democracy, against the stability of our homeland.”

“It was an attempt to use a group of officials from the air force to provoke a violent act, an attack.”

Civilians and military members were involved. They were arrested. They remain detained.

They’re connected to four Venezuelan air force generals involved in a 2014 plot to oust Maduro. A State Department spokesperson declined to comment.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said “Bolivarian Armed Forces remain resolute in their democratic beliefs and reject coup schemes that threaten the peace of the republic.”

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello explained details of Obama’s plot.

Scheduled on the anniversary of the start of last year’s US-orchestrated street violence. Plans included killing people during marches and demonstrations.

Using a Tucano jet aircraft to bomb strategic targets, including:

  • the Miraflores (presidential palace);
  • military intelligence headquarters;
  • defense and justice ministries;
  • Caracas municipality building;
  • public prosecutor’s office;
  • TeleSUR building;
  • National Electoral Council (CNE); and
  • central Caracas’ Metro station Zona Rental;

Installing “transitional” governance would follow. Opposition legislator Julio Borges was accused of choosing locations to be attacked.

Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodriquez said “he’ll have to explain if he was planning this map of attack targets…”

(A)mong them was the (western area of Caracas) La Cadelaria where the opposition always wins elections…”

(W)hat were they going to say to the people who came out of their houses because they were going to be bombed…”

(W)hen they were going to bomb the international channel, TeleSUR?”

Cabello said authorities seized grenades, military and Sebin (intelligence) uniforms, and a video coup plot declaration by masked military officials displaying deadly AR15 rifles.

Automatic versions can fire 800 rounds per minute. Semi-automatic ones are widely available in America. Venezuelan civilians are prohibited from owning them.

“Venezuela has a very violent sector of the opposition that doesn’t hesitate to plan actions that could mean dozens of deaths or the assassination of the president,” said Rodriguez.

Cabello said Borges and opposition leader Antonio Ledezma planned to announce the coup publicly.

Sign it. Then have corporate controlled anti-Bolivarian national media publish it.

Maduro said one suspect arrested was under surveillance since last year’s street violence. He and others continued plotting to oust Venezuela’s government.

With considerable help from Washington. A four-stage plan was hatched. Including economic and political war.

Inventing a nonexistent humanitarian crisis. A political coup. Followed by a military one installing transitional governance.

Maduro said the plot was discovered after military officials approached to participate reported the scheme to civilian authorities.

On Thursday, Maduro urged Venezuelans to remain on alert. Prepare to counter US-directed fascist attempts to seize power forcefully, he said.

Families of victims of last year’s fascist street violence want everyone to know hard truths about what happened.

Washington’s orchestrated right-wing rampage left 43 dead. Hundreds of others injured. A deadly repeat looms.

Obama wants Venezuela looking like Ukraine. He wants its democratic governance destroyed. Its valued energy resources plundered. Its people exploited.

Venezuelans want the whole world to know what happened last year. What’s planned against their country.

According to a committee representing families of victims of last year’s violence, perpetrators blamed government authorities for their crimes.

Hard truths were “silenced or distorted by some media and politicians, as well as by certain international human rights organizations, which portray the intellectual and material authors of the violence as the victims of state power, forgetting those who really suffered the consequences of the call to violence.”

“That’s why, we have decided to demand that the events be investigated and the truth determined, about who was intellectually and materially responsible for these human rights violations, and what their real motivations were,” they said.

“Above all, that they be punished accordingly. We are convinced that there won’t be justice until the truth of what happened is known by everyone, inside and outside our country.”

The day after Maduro’s April 2013 election, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles called on supporters to rage (arrechera) in the streets.

Weeks of violence, deaths and destruction followed selectively in middle and upscale neighborhoods. The vast majority of Venezuelans opposed it. They still do.

Obama continues going all-out to crush Bolivarianism once and for all. To return Venezuela to its bad old days. To restore dark side rule. Millions of Venezuelans are a bulwark against him.

Obama’s failed scheme is Washington’s latest attempt to replace Venezuelan democracy with fascist rule.

Expect more of the same ahead. Expect Obama to keep menacing humanity throughout his remaining months in office.

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.

Israel’s casino-funded Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, increasingly appears as a latter-day Fritz Haber who has achieved notoriety by the illegal settlements that continue to provoke such widespread anger, worldwide.

Now, of course, the recently unauthorised invitation by a faction of the Republican Party  to the Israeli leader to address the U.S. congress is seen by both sides of the House as an affront to government, and there is a growing demand for it to be withdrawn.

The question is apparently: does the American public really want a self- serving Israeli politician – who only exists courtesy of casino gambling money and the AIPAC lobby – to come to New York to dictate to the White House his demands regarding American foreign policy in an attempt to bolster his own re-election chances as prime minister?

There is a growing body of opinion that Netanyahu and the Israel lobby have over-reached themselves in trying to isolate the democratically elected President of the United States and that they are now perceived as attempted hijackers of elected government.

The question now, across the political divide, is for how much longer will the Netanyahu tail be allowed to wag the compliant American congress dog, whenever it wants most of its 535 members to bark in unison?

It certainly appears that US foreign policy is dictated by political lobbyists who are way out of anyone’s control. And, if true, that is a tragedy for American democracy.

Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military

February 14th, 2015 by Joachim Hagopian

The annual sexual assault report from the Pentagon was just released for the service academies during the 2013-14 academic year. Headlines across the nation are currently making a big deal about how the academies’ numbers are so much lower than in previous years and how they can become a template model now for how civilian college campuses can improve their assault numbers. But before we congratulate the military for its discipline in overcoming rape as an out of control disgrace, so vastly improving their gender relations and good manners amongst our nation’s cream of the crop, a closer look beyond the current smoke and mirrors is necessary to accurately assess this highly important issue.

In recent years a parallel process has been alarmingly observed of a sexual crime epidemic on both civilian college campuses as well as at the service academies and armed forces in general. Sexual assault in the military jumped off the daily headline pages for an entire year during 2013 when it was revealed that an unprecedented number totaling over 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact was reported by service men and women in an anonymous survey taken in 2012. Meanwhile, every week another high profile officer often in charge of reducing assaults was being investigated and charged himself. The heavily covered cases of star football players at both the Air Force and Naval Academies proved that rape was an across the board problem up and down the ranks in all the services. Then based on information made available last year during this same period from 2010-2012 in a federal report mandated by law, last July the Washington Post published an official record of reported sexual assaults on all of America’s 1570 college campuses with an enrollment over 1000 students that indicated an equally disturbing spike of unprecedented numbers. The frequency of forcible sexual offenses in 2012 on college campuses jumped 50% in just three years.

Interestingly enough, the list from the Washington Post fails to include the assault statistics at the US Military Academy at West Point, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. Instead, the Pentagon compiles those numbers and releases them separately. However, if the academy assaults are compared directly with the assault records at civilian schools, America’s best and brightest at our most honored institutions might be housing more rapists than any other colleges in the nation. When those numbers are included as they should be, by far the Air Force Academy has more rapists on campus than any other college in the country. Over the same three year period it accumulated 130 forcible assault cases to the next highest in the nation at 84 at Penn State University, over one and a half times greater. The final year 2012 was upwardly skewed at Penn State because that was the year the assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted for sexually abusing young boys on campus and the entire school was enflamed in a media circus scandal lasting more than a year. Harvard University logged in 83 cases, only one less than Penn State over the three year period.

The next highest civilian college was University of Michigan at 64, then Ohio State at 61, University of California at Davis at 60, followed by Stanford University at 59. Indiana University reported 54, University of North Carolina and Emory University in Atlanta were tied at 52, then the US Naval Academy and the University of New Hampshire at 50. My alma mater West Point between 2010-2012 reported only 35 cases to Air Force Academy’s 130.

Another important consideration is the size of the student enrollment. Penn State and Harvard reported 56 and 31 cases in 2012 with student sizes of near 46,000 and over 28,000 respectively. The Air Force Academy reported 130 with a cadet enrollment of just under 4,000. Thus per 1000 students, at Penn State only 1.22 reported rape and Harvard 1.1 person out of 1000 was assaulted. Meanwhile, at the US rape capital the Air Force Academy, 11.27 rapes were reported for every 1000 cadets. Thus a much larger percentage of the student population at the United States Air Force Academy experienced sexual assault than at any other university in America. Only one civilian school has a near equal per capita rape incidence and that’s Gallaudet University in northeastern Washington DC. However when the per capita over the three year period is considered, near 2 more rapes per 1000 occurred each year at the Air Force Academy than Gallaudet. Other colleges with high incidence of rape per student population were such small private, prestigious liberal arts schools as Grinnell College in Iowa at more than 10 per 1000, Reed College and Amherst College at over 9, Hampshire College at more than 8 and Swarthmore at more than 7. The per capita numbers at Annapolis in 2012 was 3.31 (3.68 for the three years) and West Point 2.18 (2.54 over the three year period). Thus again both other academies have far fewer assaults than the notorious Air Force Academy.

One more factor bears consideration. Upwards of 45% of the 1570 colleges reported zero incidents of rape on their campus. Experts state that this gross under-reporting strongly indicates that many assaults never get reported and that those that are reported never go on record as they simply get dismissed, conveniently swept under the rug as if rape never happened. Because some corrupt school administrations place their reputation and alumni endowments over the well-being of their female students, a gross miscarriage of justice is an all too common result. It is not infrequent that a wealthy father pays to have his perpetrator son go unpunished at exclusive private elitist institutions.

On the other hand, some of the universities reporting higher incidents of sexual assault emphasize the importance of coming forth to the authorities and have support programs in place that would prompt more victims to disclose. The increased numbers in recent years at the service academies have largely been explained away by administrations’ contention that more victims are willing to file claims nowadays, not that actual rates of sexual violence are rising. Yet there is no empirical evidence to refute that higher reporting rates don’t reflect higher incidence.

Turning to the just released record for the academic year 2013-2014, which was not included in the civilian university records released last July that only went up to 2012, the Air Force Academy had 27 reported sexual assaults, the Naval Academy 23 and West Point 11. That total of 61 was down from last year at 70, and the peak year of 2011-2012 at 80. So from assessing these combined numbers decreasing over the last couple years, the Pentagon would have us believe that the academies’ sensitivity training and heightened awareness to policing sexual misconduct within its ranks are proving to be highly effective. But again Annapolis number went up this last year from 15 to 23, a jump of 35% and even West Point went up from 10 to 11. The only reason the total dropped at all was the soaring Air Force rate was lowered from 45 to 27 last year. With two of the three service academies’ total number of incidents still rising, a case can hardly be made that the rape situation is improving at all. It’s just that the worst offender that’s still the worst offender of the three has lowered its reported assaults enough to make it appear that gender relations are becoming more civil at the academies. But again comparing records alongside civilian universities, the Air Force Academy appears to be the most dangerous school for women in the country. Placing the Naval Academy’s 23 assaults in with the last available year amongst civilian colleges, only Penn State, Harvard and Michigan that include far higher enrollments had more rapes.

Additionally, one in ten female cadets at the Air force Academy claim that they have been sexually harassed. Veterans Today managing editor and columnist Jim W. Dean in an interview on Thursday with Press TV stated, “Sexual harassment against US Air Force Academy’s female cadets is indicative of leadership failure in the Air Force.” Even hiring the first female superintendent in academy history more than a year ago seems to be making little difference at the Air Force Academy that has long been most plagued with this glaring blight of entrenched sexual assault and harassment.

As if to gloss over any signs showing lack of progress, the Pentagon claims that the percentage of anonymous survey respondents at the service academies reporting unwanted sexual contact has diminished in the last year from 12.4% of female cadets in 2012-13 to 8% and amongst male cadets from 2% to 1%. Of course the US military is determined to keep status quo with sexual assault cases being kept in the chain of command rather than be taken out of military jurisdiction and placed in civilian courts. Thus, there is both equally enormous amounts of pressure and motivation to ensure that all these latest statistics reflect much needed improvement. Having been a cadet and officer, and observed both the military and government consistently lie and be extremely deceptive over the years, forgive me for not being so won over by the Pentagon’s rather rosy, overly optimistic report.

The military’s good ol’ boys club has always been very long on tradition and the academies are known bastions of the most rigid traditions. Less than a year ago the Senate voted against changing adjudication of sexual assault over to civilian courts, falling short of the needed 60 by just five votes. At the exact same hour the good ol’ boys in the Capitol building were pushing back any chance of change, the Pentagon was forced to announce that the lead prosecuting officer in charge of reducing sexual misconduct in the Army was himself being investigated for sexually groping and trying to kiss a female lawyer who worked under him. The Air Force counterpart a few months earlier was also facing misconduct charges. Historically no real substantive change has occurred in the military.

No more than a couple weeks after that major setback for women in the armed forces came two more shocking announcements on the very same day. General Sinclair accused of sexual assault was given a slap on the hand fine and allowed to retire with an honorable discharge pension despite at two grades lower and the highest profile case in academy history at Annapolis was granted an acquittal. These decisions in March 2014 only reinforced perception that nothing really is changing in the military and that the chauvinistic old-school attitude toward the “weaker sex” still prevails. The culture of rape and disrespect that has been a fixture appears unchanged despite all the hype that the armed forces are actually doing something to eradicate the epidemic.

About a year ago a report leveling heavy criticism particularly toward athletes at the service academies demonstrate blatant disrespect and contempt towards women. Denigrating emails had resulted in the disbanding of the West Point rugby team. The report also stated that this prevailing culture of rape and disrespect had female cadets feeling that reporting misconduct was an exercise in futility and that justice would never be served because academy officials remained largely unresponsive. Additionally, those women cadets who complained are typically singled out by male peers for even further harassment, ridicule and retaliation.

This year’s just released Pentagon report on Wednesday alluded to little to no change in this regard, disclosing that nearly half the victims of unwanted sexual contact at 40% believed they experienced retaliation by either superiors or peers. This dismal finding is reflective of how women in the armed forces across the boards at over 60% regularly experience a backlash of hate and harassment after reporting sexual misconduct. The stigma that has posed the most serious barrier to incidents getting reported in the past is still operating. Because the hierarchical power of differential rank is so fixed in the armed forces, a persistently common problem has been when higher ranking perpetrators sexually assault subordinates. This retaliatory backlash indicates that no actual change is occurring and that the traditional denigration of women that has always been embedded in the services still persists. That’s why taking it out of the hands of the flawed military justice system is the most plausible way of holding the guilty accountable.

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) from my old home state, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, stated:

     The continued prevalence of these crimes and the retaliation that takes place evidences a flawed military culture and underscores the fact that much more needs to be done.

Realizing that the good old boys system is still very much alive and well in the US military, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has led a valiant fight to remove prosecutorial duties from commanders. And despite coming up short last year, and now facing a Republican controlled Senate, her quest to bring justice to women in the armed forces may be even more of a challenge in the current session of Congress. But undaunted, she plans to reintroduce a bill that would transfer sexual assault into civilian jurisdiction. Last December just prior to the holiday recess Gillibrand tried to force a vote but powerful conservative member of the Armed Services Committee Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused her of grandstanding, “This is no longer about reforming a system. This is a political cause going out of control.” And so it was never even brought to vote. The feisty New York senator’s response was:

     The Department of Defense has failed on this issue for over 20 years now, and the scandals of the last 12 months and the latest data shows that they still don’t get it.

The fact is despite the yearlong debate in Congress, the outcome of events and developments have cast a foreboding dark shadow on women in uniform’s future safety and protection. The subsequent harassment and humiliation that the one in ten rape survivors who do come forth and report sex crimes are subjected to amounts to double punishment, being re-traumatized and re-victimized by a military system that fails to convict and imprison 97% of military rapists. Adding the turn of events from last March madness to the already dismal record and the prospect that women would be any better protected in the future remains somewhat bleak.

Two months ago the Pentagon released the latest findings of sexual assault in the armed forces. The Pentagon’s official release revealed the predictable outcome. 8% more incidents were reported from the year before (6,000 last year compared to just over 5,500 the year before) and that the rate of just one in ten reporting assaults in 2012 is alleged to be one in every four victims reporting incidents in 2013. The numbers were generated from two sources, an annual anonymous survey of unwanted sexual contact and actual assault cases reported. That astounding 2012 number of 26,000 cases from the anonymous survey dropped to near 19,000 this last year (10,500 men and 8,500 women). Note more males in the military report unwanted sexual contact than females in uniform.

On the eve of the Pentagon’s annual report two months ago Senator Gillibrand held a press conference flanked by three Republican senators and two Democratic colleagues vowing to reintroduce the latest bill to reform the system. Timed on that same day in December, the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office announced that its plan to investigate the Air Force Academy’s handling of recent sexual assault cases involving three dismissed football players. The Academy subsequently kicked out a fourth cadet that provided incriminating evidence resulting in the three star players’ separation as retaliation. Despite the female Academy Superintendent General Michelle Johnson’s flat denial that cadet Eric Thomas’ “disenrollment” six weeks prior to his graduation had anything to do with his damaging testimony to the star athletes, Cadet Thomas suddenly ended up with too many demerits as retaliatory punishment for bringing the rapists to justice.

The case against Eric Thomas is much like my own at West Point. His due process was clearly violated in that he was never allowed to challenge the demerits against him while on duty with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). We both were ousted on excessive demerits due to command conspiracy. Back in my day as a cadet in 1972 due process as our constitutional right still meant something in this country. But now this fundamental rule of law is no longer upheld, honored or practiced in this nation of current police state tyranny.

Three months ago ESPN was running an in-depth segment exposing the Air Force Academy’s unfair punishment toward Thomas as the momentum of negative publicity continues piling up against the service academy’s gross injustice. And now the Pentagon’s top investigative office will be closely scrutinizing the Academy’s malicious mishandling of the Thomas case. Instead of supporting and lauding Eric Thomas for proactively stopping rape at the Academy, allowing him to graduate in 2013, it went out of its way to break him down by abruptly ending his education just before graduation and denying him his officer’s commission while sending an all too obvious message to the rest of the Corps of Cadets to not come forth and report rape.

The Department of Defense is merely responding to the increasing political pressure being brought to bear mainly by Eric Thomas’s South Dakota Senator John Thune and again Senator Gillibrand to relook at this over-the-top travesty of justice. Clear-cut evidence exists that the Academy superintendent at the time, General Michael Gould, himself a former AFA football player, attempted to squelch Thomas from ever testifying against his teammates. The general went so far as to refuse to even allow OSI to interview the Air Force football coaching staff during the rape investigation. For damage control purposes, three months after Thomas was unjustifiably terminated from the Air Force Academy, General Gould was retiring. The former superintendent was suddenly being replaced for the first time by a female in General Johnson who earlier this year called for the Air Force Inspector General to investigate the Thomas case and Academy football program. No surprise that it delivered a whitewashed report of the ongoing scandal giving the AFA Athletic Department a clean bill of health for its handling of the assault cases and former cadet Thomas.

Another scandal within the scandal is taking place at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI). For two years Cadet Thomas was used by OSI to act as an informant to uncover not only assault cases but drug offenses at the Academy as well. Thomas was told that he must keep his involvement with OSI totally secret from everyone else at the Academy. Though he had been assured by OSI investigators that should his OSI assignments get him into trouble, the Office of Special Investigations would surely have his back. Yet when he was being harassed and railroaded out of the Academy after the three star football players were terminated, the OSI agents he had been working with were nowhere to be found. That was because they too were not allowed to intervene on Thomas’ behalf. Former OSI Agent Brandon Enosclaims that after the incident he also was unfairly targeted and retaliated against by his OSI commander as well. Having resigned recently from the Air Force, Enos has gone public with damning evidence of how both Cadet Thomas and he were duly punished by Air Force high command.

Had the three rapists been any other Air Force Academy cadets and not top football players, Eric Thomas would never have been kicked out. The payback against Thomas for doing the righteous and honorable thing in stopping rapists from raping again shows the criminal lengths that those in power will abusively go to protect their own self-interests, in this case, the Academy’s reputation and specifically its struggling football program desperate to maintain NCAA Division I football.

This abhorrent attitude and behavior has not changed in the forty years since I was a US Army officer. I observed it alive and well at West Point as a cadet attending hops, the dances the US Military Academy sponsors for its Corps of Cadets and young co-eds in the outlying local area. I distinctly recall what cadets referred to as “pig pool contests” where a group of cadets would agree to participate in a chauvinistic and degrading competition where each cadet would attempt to locate the ugliest girl at the hop and ask her to dance. After the dance all the “good ol’ boys” would gather round to vote on the ugliest girl chosen and reward the cadet who dared to dance with her $10 from each contest loser. I was appalled by this inhumane treatment and utter contempt for women, but based on observable events in the armed forces today, it appears that nothing much is changing. The culture of disrespect toward women as the prevailing attitude and exploitive, aggressive, criminal behavior against women so reprehensible then is still obviously being pathologically acted out today.

What I observed as a young man years ago is merely representative of how males in the military have traditionally treated and viewed women. Higher military rates of sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence and divorce compared to the general civilian population consistent over time all confirm a longstanding significant correlation measured between sexism, sexual violence and America’s culture of violence and war. In a hyper-masculine sub-culture like the military, where physical aggression and fighting the designated enemy is mandatory, a direct link between physical violence and sexual aggression co-exists.

Despite the fact that women have been attending the academies side by side with men since the year 1976, it appears the battle between the sexes is still raging with little progress amongst America’s future leaders of the free world. What does this say about America’s “cream of the crop” – our finest young men as Academy cadets are so often ascribed, if they regularly denigrate women as simply their cultural norm, all soon commanding both male and female soldiers and as of next year together in combat zones no less. If anything, it sadly says the blind are still leading the blind, that disrespecting women amongst the military has such longstanding historical roots that resistance to positive change continues to prevail. If at this nation’s most honored institutions of leadership widespread gender disrespect, criminal sexual activity and sexism remain the entrenched norm that has been condoned for centuries, no wonder incidence of rape and harassment throughout our armed forces today remain rampantly out of control.

Though sex crimes appear far more pervasive in US military than the US civilian population, they reflect an across the board alarm signal nationally as well as globally. The Centers for Disease and Controlreleased findings a couple years ago that one in three women in the world is sexually assaulted by her intimate male partner.

Tradition in the military has always reigned supreme, apparently even when barbaric, brutal rape going relatively unpunished becomes an upheld traditional norm. With recent outcomes this month not favoring women, it appears the armed services are failing to correct their epidemic problem. Rape is not so much sexual as an act of violence, power and control. It is neither surprising nor shocking that men whose occupation is fighting wars have more serious anger and violent tendencies than their male civilian counterpart, be it in the US or elsewhere. Again accountability has been grossly lacking for way too long, allowing so many men in uniform to regularly get away with both disrespecting and violating women. And based on these recent trends and developments, it appears little is changing.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed.blogspot.com/.

In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a written statement that “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way.” Obama claimed that “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Washington’s policy is to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been a goal of both the Democrats and Republicans. Israel wants Assad removed from power because of its close ties to Hezbollah and Iran.  Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren once said “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran” in an interview published by Reuters back in 2013. Remember In 2007 when Former U.S. Army General Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now:

This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

Washington is committed to remove Assad. He is allied with all of Washington’s adversaries including Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. The Associated Press (AP) reported that “President Barack Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to authorize military action against terrorists who are cutting a swath across the Middle East.” Obama says that he will not commit U.S. ground forces to a long-term war “I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war.” It will mark the first war-powers vote in 13 years for congress which will pass with a Republican majority. Warmongers in Washington including Senator John McCain (who idolizes War criminal Henry Kissinger) will surely vote “Yes” for any military action in Syria. “Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also said Obama had ruled out air support for U.S.-trained rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad, adding, “That’s immoral.”

Now the main part of the AP story details Obama’s plan:

Under Obama’s proposal, the use of military force against Islamic State fighters would be authorized for three years, unbounded by national borders. The fight could be extended to any “closely related successor entity” to the Islamic State organization that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, imposed a stern form of Sharia law and killed several hostages it has taken, Americans among them.

The Islamic State (ISIS) is apparently the target according to the Obama administration but it is laying down the“ground work” to eventually assist the Syrian rebels in removing the Assad government. The AP report also explained how Obama revisited past authorizations in 2001 and 2002 leading up to the invasion of Iraq:

In the past, Obama has cited congressional authorizations from 2001 and 2002 to justify his decision to deploy more than 2,700 U.S. troops to train and assist Iraqi security forces and conduct airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Syrian government has been battling the Syrian rebels, al-Nusra and ISIS since the civil war began in 2011. Now Syria is fragmented and ISIS is gaining ground in many areas in Iraq and Syria. The Obama administration sees an opportunity to escalate the war. This is Obama’s last 2 years in office so prepare for more Middle East wars in the months to come.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1915, formed by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who founded Negro History Week some 11 years later in 1926. In 1916, Dr. Woodson initiated the Journal of Negro History (JNH) to provide a scientific approach to the research and chronicling of the affairs of the African people in the United States and the world.

Dr. Woodson provides a prime example of how oppressed people can transform not only themselves but the world in which they live. Woodson was born in 1875 in Virginia, the first former British colony to enslave Africans in North America beginning in 1619.

Born into poverty, Woodson worked in the coal mining industry and put himself through school. He was over 20 years old when he finished high school.

Later Woodson would earn a scholarship to Harvard where took a Ph.D in history. He went overseas to teach in the Philippines, then under occupation by U.S. imperialism in the aftermath of the so-called Spanish-American war, a turning point in the historical development of Washington-led foreign occupations of oppressed peoples.

After teaching for a number of years at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Woodson recognized the limitations of the Negro education model imposed upon the African American people in the aftermath of slavery. After resigning from Howard, he would build the ASNLH, the JNH and later Negro History Week into formidable intellectual institutions.

He would later write during the Great Depression in 1933 a seminal work entitled “The Mis-education of the Negro,” examining the problems associated with preparing the oppressed for an independent existence in the 20th century.

Woodson was a pioneer in the development of the field of African American Studies. He worked with meager resources but accomplished tremendous feats in his scholarly endeavors.

Although Woodson died in 1950 at the age of 75 and was not able to witness the explosion in interests in African American Studies during the 1960s and 1970s, his work set the stage for this revival in scholarship. Later in 1976, the U.S. government declared February as Black History Month, recognizing the contributions of African people to U.S. and world civilizations.

Lorraine Hansberry: The Struggle Against Racism and the Role of the Arts

Another transformative figure in African American history was Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965), an activist and writer who would break numerous barriers.

Her father, Carl Hansberry, was a successful businessman who fought against racism in housing. When he purchased a home in a previously all-white neighborhood in Chicago, the family was met by a white mob demanding that they move out.

Later a community association attempted to bar the family from living in the area saying that restrictive covenants prevented African Americans from moving into white neighborhoods. These restrictive covenants were common during the 20th century where racism prevailed in the housing industry.

Carl Hansberry would take this case to court challenging restrictive covenants. A favorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1940 set the stage for the proclaiming of restrictive covenants unconstitutional in 1948.

Lorraine Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin and became an activist with youth organizations fighting racism and the Cold War. She would leave the University and move to New York City where she worked with Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois and others on various projects related to the anti-imperialist movement.

She became a proponent of the national liberation struggles in Africa where a re-awakening after World War II led to tremendous anti-colonial movements. Hansberry served as a writer and editor for Freedom newspaper, which was founded by Paul Robeson during the early 1950s. The newspaper was eventually forced out of existence due to the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era.

Turning to the theater, Hansberry wrote “A Raisin in the Sun” which premiered on Broadway during 1959. The success of the play dealing with the struggles of an African American family to better their social condition, won a huge audience and subsequent awards.

The play was made into a film that starred Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee in 1961. Hansberry became the first African American woman to achieve such success on Broadway in New York.

Unfortunately, Hansberry’s life was cut short when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer leading to her sudden death in Jan. 1965 at the age of 34. However, today there is resurgence in interests related to her work in the areas of African American affairs, anti-imperialism, civil rights, gender equality and the relationship between literature and social advancement.

Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination is Still Revered

Coming up on Feb. 21, we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik Shabazz. Malcolm X was killed at the age of 39 but during the short span of his adult life of activism, he made a monumental contribution to the intellectual and political life of the African American people.

Malcolm came from an activist family where his parents, Earl and Louise Little, were members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded by Marcus and Amy Ashwood Garvey in 1914. When the Garveys moved to the U.S. in 1916, the movement grew by leaps and bounds.

Earl and Louise met at a UNIA Convention in Montreal in 1919. After 1920, Garvey would gain tremendous support building a large organization with chapters throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

Marcus Garvey was framed-up on bogus mail fraud charges, imprisoned and later deported from the U.S. in 1927. He would later die in England in 1940.

Due to the militancy of the Little family they became targets of the Ku Klux Klan and other white terrorists organizations in Omaha, Nebraska, where Malcolm was born and in Lansing, Michigan, where they settled during the late 1920s. Earl Little was found dead near a streetcar rail in Lansing during 1931. The family believed that he was killed by a white racist mob.

The pressure brought to bear on the survivors led to the commitment of Louise Little to a mental institution and the breaking-up of the family. Malcolm was an outstanding student but was discouraged from pursuing a career in law by a racist teacher.

He later moved to Boston to stay with  his older sister Ella Collins. Turning to menial jobs and petty crime to survive, Malcolm was arrested and prosecuted for burglary in Boston, spending six years in prison.

While in prison his siblings were recruited into the Nation of Islam which was founded here in Detroit in 1930 by W.D. Fard. After being paroled in 1952, Malcolm rapidly rose through the ranks of the NOI becoming a minister in Boston, Philadelphia and eventually New York City.

He would build the NOI into a major force in the African American freedom struggle in the U.S. Later he was forced out of the NOI in late 1963 and early 1964. Forming two other organizations, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), he sought to internationalize the struggle of the Black masses in the U.S.

During 1964, he spent considerable time in Africa and the Middle East seeking alliances with other oppressed peoples and newly-independent states. His assassination in early 1965 cut his plans short, but his efforts played a role in the progression of the African American struggle over the last five decades.

History and Contemporary Struggles

These are some examples within African American history that can provide guides to our work today. We must think globally and act locally.

Not only should we seriously study African American, African and world history, but we must make history ourselves. Racist violence against African Americans and other oppressed people must be eradicated because “Black Lives Matter.”

The task of the present generation is to ensure that the legacies of our heroes and “sheroes” continue. We have to eliminate poverty and national oppression.

Our communities need our assistance to build organizations that will take on the true predators which are the banks and corporations with have looted Detroit and other major cities around the U.S.

The recent upsurge in mass demonstrations since the police murder of Michael Brown in Aug. of last year portends much for 2015. We must join this movement to make our contribution to the liberation of our people and humanity in general.

The above article are excerpts from an African American History Month lecture delivered by the author at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, on Feb. 11, 2015. 

 

Is Boko Haram a CIA Covert Op to Divide and Conquer Africa?

February 14th, 2015 by Julie Lévesque

The objectives of the US military presence in Africa are well documented: counter Chinese influence and control strategic locations and natural resources including oil reserves. This was confirmed more than 8 years ago by the US State Department:

In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” (Nile Bowie, CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria: Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization Global Research, 11 April 2012)

At the beginning of February,  AFRICOM’s “head General David Rodriguez called for a large-scale US-led ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign against groups in West Africa during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC:

In similar remarks at a the US Army West Point academy last week, US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) chief General Joseph Votel said that US commando teams must prepare for new deployments against Boko Haram and the Islamic State. ” (Thomas Gaist, US AFRICOM Commander Calls for “Huge” Military Campaign in West Africa, World Socialist Web Site, February 02, 2015)

Mark P. Fancher highlighted the hypocrisy and the “imperialist arrogance” of western countries, which “notwithstanding the universal condemnation of colonialism”, are evermore willing “to publicly declare (without apologies) their plans to expand and coordinate their military presence in Africa.” (Mark P. Fancher, Arrogant Western Military Coordination and the New/Old Threat to Africa, Black Agenda Report, 4 February 2015)

Now more troops from Benin, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad are being sent to fight against Boko Haram.

This new war on yet another shadowy terrorist entity in Africa is reminiscent of the failed Kony 2012 propaganda campaign cloaked in humanitarian ideals. It is used as a smoke screen to avoid addressing the issue of the victims of the war on terror, the real causes of terrorism and to justify another military invasion. It is true that Boko Haram makes victims, however the goal of Western intervention in Africa is not to come to their rescue.

The deadliest conflict in the world since the Second World War and still raging is happening in Congo and the Western elite and its media couldn’t care less. That alone shows that military interventions are not intended to save lives.

To understand why the media focuses on Boko Haram, we need to know what it is and who is behind it.  What is the underlying context, what interests are being served?

Is Boko Haram another US clandestine operation?

Boko Haram is based in northeast Nigeria, the most populated country and largest economy in Africa. Nigeria is the largest oil producer of the continent with 3.4% of the World’s  reserves of crude oil.

In May 2014, African Renaissance News published an in-depth report on Boko Haram, wondering whether it could be another CIA covert operation to take control of Nigeria:

[T]he greatest prize for AFRICOM and its goal to plant a PAX AMERICANA in Africa would be when it succeeds in the most strategic African country, NIGERIA. This is where the raging issue of BOKO HARAM and the widely reported prediction by the United States Intelligence Council on the disintegration of Nigeria by 2015 comes into perspective…(Atheling P Reginald Mavengira, “Humanitarian Intervention” in Nigeria: Is the Boko Haram Insurgency Another CIA Covert Operation? Wikileaks, African Renaissance News, May 08, 2014)

In the 70′s an 80′s Nigeria assisted several African countries “in clear opposition and defiance to the interests of the United States and its western allies which resulted in a setback for Western initiatives in Africa at the time.” (Ibid.)

Nigeria exerted its influence in the region through the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG, right), an army consisting of soldiers from various African countries and set up by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and which intervened in the Liberian civil war in the 90′s. Liberia was founded in 1821 by the US and led by American-Liberians for over a century.

The Western powers, first and foremost the US, are obviously not willing to let Africans have a multinational army in which they have no leading role. ACRI, which later became Africom, was formed in 2000 to contain Nigeria’s influence and counter ECOMOG, thus avoiding the emergence of an African military force led by Africans.

According to Wikileaks reports mentioned in Mavengira’s article above, the US embassy in Nigeria serves as an

operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeriawhich include but [are] not limited to eavesdropping on Nigerian government communication, financial espionage on leading Nigerians, support and funding of subversive groups and insurgents, sponsoring of divisive propaganda among the disparate groups of Nigeria and the use of visa blackmail to induce and coerce high ranking Nigerians into acting in favour of US interests.” (Mavengira, op., cit., emphasis added)

Mavengira is part of the GREENWHITE Coalition, “a citizen’s volunteer watchdog made up of Nigerians of all ethnic groups and religious persuasions.” He writes that the ultimate goal of the American clandestine operations in his country is “to eliminate Nigeria as a potential strategic rival to the US in the African continent.” (Ibid.)

An investigation into Boko Haram by the Greenwhite Coalition revealed that the “Boko Haram campaign is a covert operation organized by the American Central Intelligence Agency, CIA and coordinated by the American Embassy in Nigeria.” The U.S has used its embassy for covert operations before. The one in Benghazi was proven to be a base for a covert gun-running operation to arm the mercenaries fighting against Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. As for the embassy in Ukraine, a video from November 2013 emerged recently showing a Ukrainian parliamentarian exposing it as the central point of yet another clandestine operation designed to foment civil unrest and overthrow the democratically-elected government.

The Greenwhite Coalition report on Boko Haram reveals a three stage plan of the National Intelligence Council of the United States to “Pakistanize” Nigeria, internationalize the crisis and divide the country under a UN mandate and occupying force. The plan “predicts” Nigeria’s disintegration for 2015. It is worth quoting at length:

The whole [National Intelligence Council] report actually is a coded statement of intentions on how [by] using destabilization plots the US plans to eventually dismember Nigeria […]

Stage 1: Pakistanizing Nigeria

With the scourge of Boko Haram as an existential reality, in the coming months the spate of bombings and attacks on public buildings are likely to escalate.

The goal is to exacerbate tension and mutual suspicion among adherents of the two faiths in Nigeria and leading to sectarian violence [...]

Stage 2: Internationalizing the Crisis

[T]here will be calls from the United States, European Union and United Nations for a halt to the violence. [...] For effect, there will be carpet bombing coverage by the International media on the Nigerian crisis with so-called experts discussing all the ramifications who will strive to create the impression that only benevolent foreign intervention could resolve the crisis.

Stage 3: The Great Carve out under UN Mandate

There will be proposals first for an international peace keeping force to intervene and separate the warring groups and or for a UN mandate for various parts of Nigeria to come under mandated occupying powers. Of course behind the scenes the US and its allies would have secretly worked out which areas of Nigeria to occupy guided as it were by naked economic interests […] (Ibid., emphasis added)

In 2012, Nile Bowie wrote:

The Nigerian Tribune has reported that Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society [8]. During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria’s Boko Haram movement “to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders” [9].

It remains highly documented that members of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who fought among the Libyan rebels directly received arms [10] and logistical support [11] from NATO bloc countries during the Libyan conflict in 2011[...]

Image: Abdelhakim Belhadj, rebel leader during the 2011 war in Libya and former commander of the Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

As covertly supporting terrorist organizations to achieve foreign policy aims appears to be the commanding prerequisite of foreign policy operations under the Obama Administration, Boko Haram exists as a separate arm of the US destabilization apparatus, aimed at shattering Africa’s most populous nation and biggest potential market. (Nile Bowie, CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria: Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization Global Research, 11 April 2012)

Reports also indicate that some Nigerian commanders may be involved in fuelling the insurgency.

According to the report, a Nigerian soldier in Borno state confirmed that Boko Haram attacked Gamboru Ngala in their presence but their commander asked them not to repel the attack. The soldier told BBC Hausa Service that choppers hovered in the air while the attacks were ongoing. 300 people were killed, houses and a market burnt while soldiers watched and were ordered not to render assistance to those being attacked.  The soldier said that the Boko Haram insurgency will end when superior officers in the army cease to fuel it.

At the abductions of Chibok girls, one soldier in an interview told SaharaReporters,

“…we were ordered to arrest vehicles carrying the girls but just as we started the mission, another order was issued that we should pull back. I can assure you, nobody gave us any directives to look for anybody.”

Some soldiers suspect  that their commanders reveal military operations to the Boko Haram sect. (Audu Liberty Oseni, Who is Protecting Boko Haram. Is the Nigerian Government involved in a Conspiracy?, africanexecutive.com, May 28, 2014)

Could it be that these commanders have been coerced by elements in the U.S. embassy, as suggested by the aforementioned Greewhite Coalition investigation?

Boko Haram: The next chapter in the fraudulent, costly, destructive and murderous war on terror?

It has been clearly demonstrated that the so-called war on terror has increased terrorism. As Nick Turse explained:

[Ten] years after Washington began pouring taxpayer dollars into counterterrorism and stability efforts across Africa and its forces first began operating from Camp Lemonnier [Djibouti], the continent has experienced profound changes, just not those the U.S. sought. The University of Birmingham’s Berny Sèbe ticks off post-revolutionary Libya, the collapse of Mali, the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the coup in the Central African Republic, and violence in Africa’s Great Lakes region as evidence of increasing volatility. “The continent is certainly more unstable today than it was in the early 2000s, when the U.S. started to intervene more directly,” he told me. (Nick Turse, The Terror Diaspora: The U.S. Military and Obama’s Scramble for Africa, Tom Dispatch, June 18, 2013)

What exactly does the U.S. seek in Africa?

When it comes to overseas interventions, decades of history have shown that the stated intents of the U.S. Army are never its real intents. The real intent is never to save humans, but always to save profits and power. US-NATO interventions do not save. They kill.

US-led interventions since the beginning of the century have killed hundreds of thousands, if not over a million innocent people. It’s hard to tell because NATO does not really want to know how many civilians it kills. As The Guardian noted in August 2011, except for a brief period, there was “no high-profile international project dedicated to recording deaths in the Libya conflict”.

In February 2014, “at least 21,000 civilians [were] estimated to have died violent deaths as a result of the war” in Afghanistan according to Cost of War. As for Iraq, by May 2014 “at least 133,000 civilians [were] killed by direct violence since the invasion.”

As for Libya, the mainstream media first lied about the fact that Gaddafi initiated the violence by attacking peaceful protesters, a false narrative intended to demonize Gaddafi and galvanize public opinion in favour of yet another military intervention. As the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs reported, “violence was actually initiated by the protesters.”

It stated further:

The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed […]

The biggest misconception about NATO’s intervention is that it saved lives and benefited Libya and its neighbors. In reality, when NATO intervened in mid-March 2011, Qaddafi already had regained control of most of Libya, while the rebels were retreating rapidly toward Egypt. Thus, the conflict was about to end, barely six weeks after it started, at a toll of about 1,000 dead, including soldiers, rebels, and civilians caught in the crossfire. By intervening, NATO enabled the rebels to resume their attack, which prolonged the war for another seven months and caused at least 7,000 more deaths. (Alan Kuperman, Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, September 2013)

Despite these figures, the media will once again try to convince us that what the world needs most at the moment is to get rid of the terrorist group Boko Haram and that a military intervention is the only solution, even though the so-called war on terror has actually increased terrorism globally. As Washington’s Blog pointed out in 2013, “global terrorism had been falling from 1992 until 2004… but has been skyrocketing since 2004.”

The Guardian reported back in November 2014:

The Global Terrorism Index recorded almost 18,000 deaths last year, a jump of about 60% over the previous year. Four groups were responsible for most of them: Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria; Boko Haram in Nigeria; the Taliban in Afghanistan; and al-Qaida in various parts of the world. (Ewen MacAskill, Fivefold increase in terrorism fatalities since 9/11, says report, The Guardian, November, 18, 2014)

What the Guardian fails to mention is that all these groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State, have been, in one way or another, armed, trained and financed by the US-NATO alliance and their allies in the Middle East.

Thanks to the covert support of Western countries, arms dealers and bankers profiting from killing and destruction, the war on terror is alive and well. The West advocates for endless military interventions, pretending to ignore the real causes of terrorism and the reason why it expands, hiding its role in it and thereby clearly showing its real intent: fuelling terrorism to destabilize and destroy nations, thus justifying military invasion and achieving their conquest of the African continent’s richest lands under the pretext of saving the world from terror.


Selected articles on Boko Haram

Audu Liberty Oseni, Who is Protecting Boko Haram. Is the Nigerian Government involved in a Conspiracy?, africanexecutive.com, May 28, 2014

Kurt Nimmo, U.S. and France Target Boko Haram and Focus on Africa’s Strategic Minerals, Infowars, January 14, 2015

Emile Schepers, Boko Haram: An Extremism Firmly Rooted in Nigeria’s Colonial Past, Morning Star, May 17, 2014

Ajamu Baraka, The Destabilization of Africa and the Role of “Shadowy Islamists”. From Benghazi to Boko Haram, Black Agenda Report 14 May 2014

Glen Ford, Coming Soon: A U.S. Death Squad Program for West Africa Black Agenda Report, May 28, 2014

Adeyinka Makinde, Nigeria: Candidate for Political Destabilization and “Regime Change”?, adeyinkamakinde.blogspot.co.uk, June 15, 2013

Kurt Nimmo, Is Boko Haram An “Intelligence Asset”? Terror Attack in Nigeria Opens Door to Africom, Infowars.com, May 10, 2014

Prof. Horace Campbell, Boko Haram: “Economic Fundamentalism” and Impoverishment Send Unemployed Youths Into Religious Militias, Pambazuka News 4 June 2014

Abayomi Azikiwe, The Militarization of the African Continent: AFRICOM Expands Operations in Cooperation With Europe, Global Research, April 22, 2014

It’s no secret that mention of the word glyphosate angers many health-conscious people, while those affiliated with Monsanto, makers of Roundup, stand by their product.

Although numerous data show that the main ingredient in the commonly used weedkiller can wreak havoc on health, Monsanto-loyal folks say it’s safe. They maintain this position despite the fact that glyphosate, which is sprayed on millions of acres of crops, has been linked to everything from fertility issues to autism.

One study, published in Entropy, notes that its “[n]egative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.”(1)

Its author, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, is the same person who co-authored a more recent study that hones in on the health problems caused by glyphosate. However, this latest study digs even deeper, making a strong case that glyphosate and aluminum, an environmental toxin which is also very prevalent in society, work together to deliver a double-whammy to brain and gut health.

Impact on pineal gland, gut health explained

Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her team examined the role that both toxins play in affecting the pineal gland. They explain that the pineal gland is very susceptible to environmental toxins and, when exposed to them, is prone to a range of neurological diseases including autism, Parkinson’s disease and anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, they found that both glyphosate and aluminum work together in ways that destroy healthy gut flora. The study, which was published in Agricultural Sciences, states, “Glyphosate disrupts gut bacteria, leading to an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile. Its toxic product, p-cresol, is linked to autism in both human and mouse models. p-Cresol enhances uptake of aluminum via transferrin.”(2)

As a result of this uptake, anemia develops and hypoxia results. Hypoxic stress is linked to premature death and an increased risk of developing autism. The study links hypoxia to autism, and since aluminum plays a role in this process — which occurs when glyphosate worsens gut health in the first place — the conclusion is that the combination of both toxins can have devastating health consequences.(2)

Titled “Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology: Connection to Gut Dysbiosis and Neurological Disease,” the study explains the process as follows:

Glyphosate chelates aluminum, allowing ingested aluminum to bypass the gut barrier. This leads to anemia-induced hypoxia, promoting neurotoxicity and damaging the pineal gland. Both glyphosate and aluminum disrupt cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved in melatonin metabolism. Furthermore, melatonin is derived from tryptophan, whose synthesis in plants and microbes is blocked by glyphosate.(2)

Once again, a strong case that environmental toxins are detrimental to physical and mental health

The study concludes:

[W]e have developed the argument that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup, and aluminum, a pervasive toxic metal in our environment, operate synergistically to induce dysfunction in the pineal gland leading to the sleep disorder that is characteristic of multiple neurological diseases, including autism, ADHD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, anxiety disorder and Parkinson’s disease.(2)

Glyphosate, as most of us are aware, is a widely used chemical in the agricultural industry. Unfortunately, in addition to the health issues already mentioned in this article, it’s also linked to other problems including diarrhea, weight loss, sleepiness and kidney toxicity.(3)

When it comes to aluminum toxicity, symptoms include speech problems, bone deformities, weakness and muscle pain. The serious complications that could result from such toxicity are disruptions in the nervous system, lung problems, anemia and brain disorders. A variety of tests such as bone biopsies and tests for stool, blood and urine health can be conducted to better assess whether someone has aluminum toxicity, something that is strongly linked to the use of deodorants and antacids containing the metal.(4)

Sources:

(1) http://www.reuters.com

(2) http://file.scirp.org

(3) http://www.rag.org.au

(4) http://www.mountsinai.org

Global Research Editor’s note

We bring to the attention of our readers this incisive and carefully documented 2005 article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. published by Rolling Stone, first posted on Global Research in July 2009. 

The article sheds light on the collusion between Big Pharma and the US government and the dangers associated with vaccines produced by major pharmaceutical companies. In 2009 this article was of particular relevance to the debate on the H1N1 swine flu virus and plans by the WHO, The Obama Administration and Big Pharma to develop a swine flu vaccine.

The article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. documented ”the government’s efforts to conceal alarming data about the dangers of vaccines.”

This article is of  particular relevance in the light of recent revelations concerning CDC and Merck Vaccine Research Fraud. 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 29, 2014 (updated February 13, 2015)


Vaccinations: Deadly Immunity

Government Cover-up of a Mercury/Autism Scandal

by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Rollingstone.com, 20 July 2005

In June 2000, a group of top government scientists and health officials gathered for a meeting at the isolated Simpsonwood conference center in Norcross, Georgia. Convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was held at this Methodist retreat center, nestled in wooded farmland next to the Chattahoochee River, to ensure complete secrecy. The agency had issued no public announcement of the session — only private invitations to fifty-two attendees. There were high-level officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, the top vaccine specialist from the World Health Organization in Geneva and representatives of every major vaccine manufacturer, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth and Aventis Pasteur. All of the scientific data under discussion, CDC officials repeatedly reminded the participants, was strictly “embargoed.” There would be no making photocopies of documents, no taking papers with them when they left.

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children. According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. “I was actually stunned by what I saw,” Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants — in one case, within hours of birth — the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold, from one in every 2,500 children to one in 166 children.

Even for scientists and doctors accustomed to confronting issues of life and death, the findings were frightening. “You can play with this all you want,” Dr. Bill Weil, a consultant for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the group. The results “are statistically significant.” Dr. Richard Johnston, an immunologist and pediatrician from the University of Colorado whose grandson had been born early on the morning of the meeting’s first day, was even more alarmed. “My gut feeling?” he said. “Forgive this personal comment — I do not want my grandson to get a thimerosal-containing vaccine until we know better what is going on.”

But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry’s bottom line. “We are in a bad position from the standpoint of defending any lawsuits,” said Dr. Robert Brent, a pediatrician at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. “This will be a resource to our very busy plaintiff attorneys in this country.” Dr. Bob Chen, head of vaccine safety for the CDC, expressed relief that “given the sensitivity of the information, we have been able to keep it out of the hands of, let’s say, less responsible hands.” Dr. John Clements, vaccines advisor at the World Health Organization, declared that “perhaps this study should not have been done at all.” He added that “the research results have to be handled,” warning that the study “will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group.”

In fact, the government has proved to be far more adept at handling the damage than at protecting children’s health. The CDC paid the Institute of Medicine to conduct a new study to whitewash the risks of thimerosal, ordering researchers to “rule out” the chemical’s link to autism. It withheld Verstraeten’s findings, even though they had been slated for immediate publication, and told other scientists that his original data had been “lost” and could not be replicated. And to thwart the Freedom of Information Act, it handed its giant database of vaccine records over to a private company, declaring it off-limits to researchers. By the time Verstraeten finally published his study in 2003, he had gone to work for GlaxoSmithKline and reworked his data to bury the link between thimerosal and autism.

Vaccine manufacturers had already begun to phase thimerosal out of injections given to American infants — but they continued to sell off their mercury-based supplies of vaccines until last year. The CDC and FDA gave them a hand, buying up the tainted vaccines for export to developing countries and allowing drug companies to continue using the preservative in some American vaccines — including several pediatric flu shots as well as tetanus boosters routinely given to eleven-year-olds.

The drug companies are also getting help from powerful lawmakers in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, has been working to immunize vaccine makers from liability in 4,200 lawsuits that have been filed by the parents of injured children. On five separate occasions, Frist has tried to seal all of the government’s vaccine-related documents — including the Simpsonwood transcripts — and shield Eli Lilly, the developer of thimerosal, from subpoenas. In 2002, the day after Frist quietly slipped a rider known as the “Eli Lilly Protection Act” into a homeland security bill, the company contributed $10,000 to his campaign and bought 5,000 copies of his book on bioterrorism. The measure was repealed by Congress in 2003 — but earlier this year, Frist slipped another provision into an anti-terrorism bill that would deny compensation to children suffering from vaccine-related brain disorders. “The lawsuits are of such magnitude that they could put vaccine producers out of business and limit our capacity to deal with a biological attack by terrorists,” says Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to Frist.

Even many conservatives are shocked by the government’s effort to cover up the dangers of thimerosal. Rep. Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana, oversaw a three-year investigation of thimerosal after his grandson was diagnosed with autism. “Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is directly related to the autism epidemic,” his House Government Reform Committee concluded in its final report. “This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding a lack of safety data regarding injected thimerosal, a known neurotoxin.” The FDA and other public-health agencies failed to act, the committee added, out of “institutional malfeasance for self protection” and “misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry.”

The story of how government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public is a chilling case study of institutional arrogance, power and greed. I was drawn into the controversy only reluctantly. As an attorney and environmentalist who has spent years working on issues of mercury toxicity, I frequently met mothers of autistic children who were absolutely convinced that their kids had been injured by vaccines. Privately, I was skeptical.

I doubted that autism could be blamed on a single source, and I certainly understood the government’s need to reassure parents that vaccinations are safe; the eradication of deadly childhood diseases depends on it. I tended to agree with skeptics like Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat from California, who criticized his colleagues on the House Government Reform Committee for leaping to conclusions about autism and vaccinations. “Why should we scare people about immunization,” Waxman pointed out at one hearing, “until we know the facts?”

It was only after reading the Simpsonwood transcripts, studying the leading scientific research and talking with many of the nation’s pre-eminent authorities on mercury that I became convinced that the link between thimerosal and the epidemic of childhood neurological disorders is real. Five of my own children are members of the Thimerosal Generation — those born between 1989 and 2003 — who received heavy doses of mercury from vaccines. “The elementary grades are overwhelmed with children who have symptoms of neurological or immune-system damage,” Patti White, a school nurse, told the House Government Reform Committee in 1999. “Vaccines are supposed to be making us healthier; however, in twenty-five years of nursing I have never seen so many damaged, sick kids. Something very, very wrong is happening to our children.”

More than 500,000 kids currently suffer from autism, and pediatricians diagnose more than 40,000 new cases every year. The disease was unknown until 1943, when it was identified and diagnosed among eleven children born in the months after thimerosal was first added to baby vaccines in 1931.

Some skeptics dispute that the rise in autism is caused by thimerosal-tainted vaccinations. They argue that the increase is a result of better diagnosis — a theory that seems questionable at best, given that most of the new cases of autism are clustered within a single generation of children. “If the epidemic is truly an artifact of poor diagnosis,” scoffs Dr. Boyd Haley, one of the world’s authorities on mercury toxicity, “then where are all the twenty-year-old autistics?” Other researchers point out that Americans are exposed to a greater cumulative “load” of mercury than ever before, from contaminated fish to dental fillings, and suggest that thimerosal in vaccines may be only part of a much larger problem. It’s a concern that certainly deserves far more attention than it has received — but it overlooks the fact that the mercury concentrations in vaccines dwarf other sources of exposure to our children.

What is most striking is the lengths to which many of the leading detectives have gone to ignore — and cover up — the evidence against thimerosal. From the very beginning, the scientific case against the mercury additive has been overwhelming. The preservative, which is used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines, contains ethylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Truckloads of studies have shown that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines — and that the developing brains of infants are particularly susceptible. In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to much lower concentrations of ethylmercury than those given to American children still suffered brain damage years later. Russia banned thimerosal from children’s vaccines twenty years ago, and Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have since followed suit.

“You couldn’t even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe,” says Haley, who heads the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. “It’s just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage.”

Internal documents reveal that Eli Lilly, which first developed thimerosal, knew from the start that its product could cause damage — and even death — in both animals and humans. In 1930, the company tested thimerosal by administering it to twenty-two patients with terminal meningitis, all of whom died within weeks of being injected — a fact Lilly didn’t bother to report in its study declaring thimerosal safe. In 1935, researchers at another vaccine manufacturer, Pittman-Moore, warned Lilly that its claims about thimerosal’s safety “did not check with ours.” Half the dogs Pittman injected with thimerosal-based vaccines became sick, leading researchers there to declare the preservative “unsatisfactory as a serum intended for use on dogs.”

In the decades that followed, the evidence against thimerosal continued to mount. During the Second World War, when the Department of Defense used the preservative in vaccines on soldiers, it required Lilly to label it “poison.” In 1967, a study in Applied Microbiology found that thimerosal killed mice when added to injected vaccines. Four years later, Lilly’s own studies discerned that thimerosal was “toxic to tissue cells” in concentrations as low as one part per million — 100 times weaker than the concentration in a typical vaccine. Even so, the company continued to promote thimerosal as “nontoxic” and also incorporated it into topical disinfectants. In 1977, ten babies at a Toronto hospital died when an antiseptic preserved with thimerosal was dabbed onto their umbilical cords.

In 1982, the FDA proposed a ban on over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal, and in 1991 the agency considered banning it from animal vaccines. But tragically, that same year, the CDC recommended that infants be injected with a series of mercury-laced vaccines. Newborns would be vaccinated for hepatitis B within twenty-four hours of birth, and two-month-old infants would be immunized for haemophilus influenzae B and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

The drug industry knew the additional vaccines posed a danger. The same year that the CDC approved the new vaccines, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck’s vaccine programs, warned the company that six-month-olds who were administered the shots would suffer dangerous exposure to mercury. He recommended that thimerosal be discontinued, “especially when used on infants and children,” noting that the industry knew of nontoxic alternatives. “The best way to go,” he added, “is to switch to dispensing the actual vaccines without adding preservatives.”

For Merck and other drug companies, however, the obstacle was money. Thimerosal enables the pharmaceutical industry to package vaccines in vials that contain multiple doses, which require additional protection because they are more easily contaminated by multiple needle entries. The larger vials cost half as much to produce as smaller, single-dose vials, making it cheaper for international agencies to distribute them to impoverished regions at risk of epidemics. Faced with this “cost consideration,” Merck ignored Hilleman’s warnings, and government officials continued to push more and more thimerosal-based vaccines for children. Before 1989, American preschoolers received eleven vaccinations — for polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and measles-mumps-rubella. A decade later, thanks to federal recommendations, children were receiving a total of twenty-two immunizations by the time they reached first grade.

As the number of vaccines increased, the rate of autism among children exploded. During the 1990s, 40 million children were injected with thimerosal-based vaccines, receiving unprecedented levels of mercury during a period critical for brain development. Despite the well-documented dangers of thimerosal, it appears that no one bothered to add up the cumulative dose of mercury that children would receive from the mandated vaccines. “What took the FDA so long to do the calculations?” Peter Patriarca, director of viral products for the agency, asked in an e-mail to the CDC in 1999. “Why didn’t CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations when they rapidly expanded the childhood immunization schedule?”

But by that time, the damage was done. At two months, when the infant brain is still at a critical stage of development, infants routinely received three inoculations that contained a total of 62.5 micrograms of ethylmercury — a level 99 times greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury, a related neurotoxin. Although the vaccine industry insists that ethylmercury poses little danger because it breaks down rapidly and is removed by the body, several studies — including one published in April by the National Institutes of Health — suggest that ethylmercury is actually more toxic to developing brains and stays in the brain longer than methylmercury.

Officials responsible for childhood immunizations insist that the additional vaccines were necessary to protect infants from disease and that thimerosal is still essential in developing nations, which, they often claim, cannot afford the single-dose vials that don’t require a preservative. Dr. Paul Offit, one of CDC’s top vaccine advisers, told me, “I think if we really have an influenza pandemic — and certainly we will in the next twenty years, because we always do — there’s no way on God’s earth that we immunize 280 million people with single-dose vials. There has to be multidose vials.”

But while public-health officials may have been well-intentioned, many of those on the CDC advisory committee who backed the additional vaccines had close ties to the industry. Dr. Sam Katz, the committee’s chair, was a paid consultant for most of the major vaccine makers and was part of a team that developed the measles vaccine and brought it to licensure in 1963. Dr. Neal Halsey, another committee member, worked as a researcher for the vaccine companies and received honoraria from Abbott Labs for his research on the hepatitis B vaccine.

Indeed, in the tight circle of scientists who work on vaccines, such conflicts of interest are common. Rep. Burton says that the CDC “routinely allows scientists with blatant conflicts of interest to serve on intellectual advisory committees that make recommendations on new vaccines,” even though they have “interests in the products and companies for which they are supposed to be providing unbiased oversight.” The House Government Reform Committee discovered that four of the eight CDC advisers who approved guidelines for a rotavirus vaccine “had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.”

Offit, who shares a patent on one of the vaccines, acknowledged to me that he “would make money” if his vote eventually leads to a marketable product. But he dismissed my suggestion that a scientist’s direct financial stake in CDC approval might bias his judgment. “It provides no conflict for me,” he insists. “I have simply been informed by the process, not corrupted by it. When I sat around that table, my sole intent was trying to make recommendations that best benefited the children in this country. It’s offensive to say that physicians and public-health people are in the pocket of industry and thus are making decisions that they know are unsafe for children. It’s just not the way it works.”

Other vaccine scientists and regulators gave me similar assurances. Like Offit, they view themselves as enlightened guardians of children’s health, proud of their “partnerships” with pharmaceutical companies, immune to the seductions of personal profit, besieged by irrational activists whose anti-vaccine campaigns are endangering children’s health. They are often resentful of questioning. “Science,” says Offit, “is best left to scientists.”

Still, some government officials were alarmed by the apparent conflicts of interest. In his e-mail to CDC administrators in 1999, Paul Patriarca of the FDA blasted federal regulators for failing to adequately scrutinize the danger posed by the added baby vaccines. “I’m not sure there will be an easy way out of the potential perception that the FDA, CDC and immunization-policy bodies may have been asleep at the switch re: thimerosal until now,” Patriarca wrote. The close ties between regulatory officials and the pharmaceutical industry, he added, “will also raise questions about various advisory bodies regarding aggressive recommendations for use” of thimerosal in child vaccines.

If federal regulators and government scientists failed to grasp the potential risks of thimerosal over the years, no one could claim ignorance after the secret meeting at Simpsonwood. But rather than conduct more studies to test the link to autism and other forms of brain damage, the CDC placed politics over science. The agency turned its database on childhood vaccines — which had been developed largely at taxpayer expense — over to a private agency, America’s Health Insurance Plans, ensuring that it could not be used for additional research. It also instructed the Institute of Medicine, an advisory organization that is part of the National Academy of Sciences, to produce a study debunking the link between thimerosal and brain disorders. The CDC “wants us to declare, well, that these things are pretty safe,” Dr. Marie McCormick, who chaired the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, told her fellow researchers when they first met in January 2001. “We are not ever going to come down that [autism] is a true side effect” of thimerosal exposure. According to transcripts of the meeting, the committee’s chief staffer, Kathleen Stratton, predicted that the IOM would conclude that the evidence was “inadequate to accept or reject a causal relation” between thimerosal and autism. That, she added, was the result “Walt wants” — a reference to Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program for the CDC.

For those who had devoted their lives to promoting vaccination, the revelations about thimerosal threatened to undermine everything they had worked for. “We’ve got a dragon by the tail here,” said Dr. Michael Kaback, another committee member. “The more negative that [our] presentation is, the less likely people are to use vaccination, immunization — and we know what the results of that will be. We are kind of caught in a trap. How we work our way out of the trap, I think is the charge.”

Even in public, federal officials made it clear that their primary goal in studying thimerosal was to dispel doubts about vaccines. “Four current studies are taking place to rule out the proposed link between autism and thimerosal,” Dr. Gordon Douglas, then-director of strategic planning for vaccine research at the National Institutes of Health, assured a Princeton University gathering in May 2001. “In order to undo the harmful effects of research claiming to link the [measles] vaccine to an elevated risk of autism, we need to conduct and publicize additional studies to assure parents of safety.” Douglas formerly served as president of vaccinations for Merck, where he ignored warnings about thimerosal’s risks.

In May of last year, the Institute of Medicine issued its final report. Its conclusion: There is no proven link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines. Rather than reviewing the large body of literature describing the toxicity of thimerosal, the report relied on four disastrously flawed epidemiological studies examining European countries, where children received much smaller doses of thimerosal than American kids. It also cited a new version of the Verstraeten study, published in the journal Pediatrics, that had been reworked to reduce the link between thimerosal and autism. The new study included children too young to have been diagnosed with autism and overlooked others who showed signs of the disease. The IOM declared the case closed and — in a startling position for a scientific body — recommended that no further research be conducted.

The report may have satisfied the CDC, but it convinced no one. Rep. David Weldon, a Republican physician from Florida who serves on the House Government Reform Committee, attacked the Institute of Medicine, saying it relied on a handful of studies that were “fatally flawed” by “poor design” and failed to represent “all the available scientific and medical research.” CDC officials are not interested in an honest search for the truth, Weldon told me, because “an association between vaccines and autism would force them to admit that their policies irreparably damaged thousands of children. Who would want to make that conclusion about themselves?”

Under pressure from Congress and parents, the Institute of Medicine convened another panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program. In February, the new panel, composed of different scientists, criticized the way the VSD had been used in the Verstraeten study, and urged the CDC to make its vaccine database available to the public.

So far, though, only two scientists have managed to gain access. Dr. Mark Geier, president of the Genetics Center of America, and his son, David, spent a year battling to obtain the medical records from the CDC. Since August 2002, when members of Congress pressured the agency to turn over the data, the Geiers have completed six studies that demonstrate a powerful correlation between thimerosal and neurological damage in children. One study, which compares the cumulative dose of mercury received by children born between 1981 and 1985 with those born between 1990 and 1996, found a “very significant relationship” between autism and vaccines. Another study of educational performance found that kids who received higher doses of thimerosal in vaccines were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with autism and more than three times as likely to suffer from speech disorders and mental retardation. Another soon-to-be published study shows that autism rates are in decline following the recent elimination of thimerosal from most vaccines.

As the federal government worked to prevent scientists from studying vaccines, others have stepped in to study the link to autism. In April, reporter Dan Olmsted of UPI undertook one of the more interesting studies himself. Searching for children who had not been exposed to mercury in vaccines — the kind of population that scientists typically use as a “control” in experiments — Olmsted scoured the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who refuse to immunize their infants. Given the national rate of autism, Olmsted calculated that there should be 130 autistics among the Amish. He found only four. One had been exposed to high levels of mercury from a power plant. The other three — including one child adopted from outside the Amish community — had received their vaccines.

At the state level, many officials have also conducted in-depth reviews of thimerosal. While the Institute of Medicine was busy whitewashing the risks, the Iowa legislature was carefully combing through all of the available scientific and biological data. “After three years of review, I became convinced there was sufficient credible research to show a link between mercury and the increased incidences in autism,” says state Sen. Ken Veenstra, a Republican who oversaw the investigation. “The fact that Iowa’s 700 percent increase in autism began in the 1990s, right after more and more vaccines were added to the children’s vaccine schedules, is solid evidence alone.” Last year, Iowa became the first state to ban mercury in vaccines, followed by California. Similar bans are now under consideration in thirty-two other states.

But instead of following suit, the FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. Even more alarming, the government continues to ship vaccines preserved with thimerosal to developing countries — some of which are now experiencing a sudden explosion in autism rates. In China, where the disease was virtually unknown prior to the introduction of thimerosal by U.S. drug manufacturers in 1999, news reports indicate that there are now more than 1.8 million autistics. Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, autistic disorders also appear to be soaring in India, Argentina, Nicaragua and other developing countries that are now using thimerosal-laced vaccines. The World Health Organization continues to insist thimerosal is safe, but it promises to keep the possibility that it is linked to neurological disorders “under review.”

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. “The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence,” says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. “The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It’s bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you’ve ever seen.”

It’s hard to calculate the damage to our country — and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases — if Third World nations come to believe that America’s most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It’s not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America’s enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers — many of them sincere, even idealistic — who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world’s poorest populations.

NOTE: This story has been updated to correct several inaccuracies in the original, published version. As originally reported, American preschoolers received only three vaccinations before 1989, but the article failed to note that they were innoculated a total of eleven times with those vaccines, including boosters. The article also misstated the level of ethylmercury received by infants injected with all their shots by the age of six months. It was 187 micrograms – an amount forty percent, not 187 times, greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury. Finally, because of an editing error, the article misstated the contents of the rotavirus vaccine approved by the CDC. It did not contain thimerosal. Salon and Rolling Stone regret the errors.

An earlier version of this story stated that the Institute of Medicine convened a second panel to review the work of the Immunization Safety Review Committee that had found no evidence of a link between thimerosal and autism. In fact, the IOM convened the second panel to address continuing concerns about the Vaccine Safety Datalink Data Sharing program, including those raised by critics of the IOM’s earlier work. But the panel was not charged with reviewing the committee’s findings. The story also inadvertently omitted a word and transposed two sentences in a quote by Dr. John Clements, and incorrectly stated that Dr. Sam Katz held a patent with Merck on the measles vaccine. In fact, Dr. Katz was part of a team that developed the vaccine and brought it to licensure, but he never held the patent. Salon and Rolling Stone regret the errors.

CLARIFICATION: After publication of this story, Salon and Rolling Stone corrected an error that misstated the level of ethylmercury received by infants injected with all their shots by the age of six months. It was 187 micrograms ? an amount forty percent, not 187 times, greater than the EPA’s limit for daily exposure to methylmercury. At the time of the correction, we were aware that the comparison itself was flawed, but as journalists we considered it more appropriate to state the correct figure rather than replace it with another number entirely.

Since that earlier correction, however, it has become clear from responses to the article that the forty-percent number, while accurate, is misleading. It measures the total mercury load an infant received from vaccines during the first six months, calculates the daily average received based on average body weight, and then compares that number to the EPA daily limit. But infants did not receive the vaccines as a ?daily average? ? they received massive doses on a single day, through multiple shots. As the story states, these single-day doses exceeded the EPA limit by as much as 99 times. Based on the misunderstanding, and to avoid further confusion, we have amended the story to eliminate the forty-percent figure.

Correction: The story misattributed a quote to Andy Olson, former legislative counsel to Senator Bill Frist. The comment was made by Dean Rosen, health policy adviser to the senator. Rolling Stone and Salon.com regret the error.

Copyright: Rolling Stone and Salon, 2005


 Kennedy Report Sparks Controversy

“Deadly Immunity,” our story about the link between mercury in vaccines and the dramatic rise in autism among children [RS 977/978], sparked intense reaction from the medical establishment and several leading news organizations. The story, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — part of an ongoing collaboration with Salon.com — documented the government’s efforts to conceal alarming data about the dangers of vaccines.

What is most striking is the lengths to which major media outlets have gone to disparage the story and to calm public fears — even in the face of the questionable science on the subject. In a segment on World News Tonight titled “A Closer Look,” ABC pointed out that Kennedy is “not a scientist or a doctor” and dismissed his extensive evidence as nothing more than “a few scientific studies.” The network also trotted out its medical editor, Dr. Timothy Johnson, to praise the “impeccably impartial Institute of Medicine” and to again state that Kennedy is not a scientist.

The New York Times, in a front-page story on the subject, devoted only one line to Kennedy’s article, which it said accused public-health officials and drugmakers of “conspiring” to hide the data on autism — a word that our story neither used nor implied. (The Wall Street Journal, in an op-ed attacking the article, was even more misleading, using the word “conspiracy” four times.) The Times then went on, for more than a full page, to portray concerns over vaccines as nothing more than the misguided fears of parents who suffer from “scientific illiteracy,” unable to understand the medical studies that prove immunizations to be safe. It depicted studies reviewed by the Institute of Medicine as definitive without even bothering to address the host of serious questions raised about their validity: conflicting diagnoses of autism, mixed-up data from HMOs and research skewed to exclude many sick kids.

Rolling Stone and Salon fact-checked the article thoroughly before publication, insisting on primary documentation for every statement in the story, and posted links to the most significant materials online to enable readers to judge for themselves. The final article contained six errors. These ranged from inadvertently transposing a quote and confusing a drug license for a patent to relying on a figure that incorrectly calculated an infant’s exposure to mercury over six months, rather than citing the even more dangerous amount injected on a single day. (The mistakes were corrected online as soon as they were discovered and can be viewed in detail at both RollingStone.com and Salon.com.)

It is important to note, however, that none of the mistakes weaken the primary point of the story. The government’s own records show that it has failed to do the science necessary to put to rest reasonable concerns about vaccines. If the scientists had simply done their job rather than covering their tracks, there would be no controversy today. Instead, the government cannot even provide a definitive figure of the number of cases of autism among American children — a number obviously critical to any serious scientific investigation — and yet expects the public to believe that it has ruled out any link between vaccines and an illness it does not even track.

“Science,” as one doctor in our story insisted, “is best left to scientists.” But when the scientists fail to do their job, resorting to closed-door meetings and rigged studies, others in society have not only a right but a moral obligation to question their work. In the coming years, further research may indeed demonstrate that mercury in vaccines is not responsible for the rise in autism. For now, though, we can only raise a very real and legitimate alarm — and hope that the government’s well-documented mishandling of its own research did not needlessly jeopardize the health of hundreds of thousands of children.

An Attempt to Drag America Into Israel’s War

On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty in international waters, and tried to sink it.

After checking the Liberty out for 8 hours – and making 9 overflights with Israeli jets, within 200 feet … close enough for the pilots and the sunbathing Liberty sailors on deck to waive at each other.

Yet the Israelis attacked it with Mirage fighter jets, torpedoes and napalm.  The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded.

The Israeli attack spanned two hours … as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The air attack alone lasted approximately 25 minutes: consisting of more than 30 sorties by approximately 12 separate planes using napalm, cannon, and rockets which left 821 holes in the ship.  The Israelis fired 30mm cannons and rockets into the boat.

Following the attack by fighter jets, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40 x 40 foot wide hole in her hull, and machine-gunning firefighters and stretcher-bearers attempting to save their ship and crew. More than 3,000 machine-gun bullet holes were later counted on the Liberty’s hull.

After the attack was thought to have ended, three life rafts were lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded. The Israeli torpedo boats returned and machine-gunned these life rafts at close range. This was followed by the approach of two large Israeli Army assault helicopters filled with armed commandos carrying what appeared to be explosive satchels (they departed after hovering over the ship for several minutes, making no attempt to communicate).

The Israelis clearly knew it was an American ship, tried to sink it, and tried to frame the Egyptians for the attack, as shown by the following evidence:

(1) The Liberty was flying a huge, brand new American flag. The flag was 5-by-8 feet.  The weather conditions were ideal to ensure the flag’s easy observance and identification, because it was clear and sunny, with a wind-speed which made for a constant rippling motion in the flag.  After the flag was shot up by the jets, the Liberty’s crew replaced it with a giant 7-by-13 foot American flag, which flew during the entire duration of the attack.

(2) The Liberty had a unique profile and didn’t look like any other boat, since it had more and bigger antennas – including large, high-tech dishes and giant towers – than any other boat in the world (it was an NSA spy ship).

(3) The Liberty was marked with uniquely American numbering and colors in front.

(4) The Israeli pilots shot out the Liberty’s communications equipment first, and specifically jammed the ship’s emergency radio signal … unique to American naval vessels in the 6th Fleet. The ships from other fleets and other nations used different frequencies, which the Israelis did not jam.

(5) The Israelis used unmarked fighter jets and unmarked torpedo boats during the attack.

(6) Recently-declassified radio transcripts between the Israeli attack forces and ground control show that – at least 3 times – an Israeli fighter jet pilot identified the craft as American, and asked whether ground control was sure he should attack.  Ground control repeatedly said, yes, attack the vessel.

(7) The Israeli torpedo boats methodically destroyed all of the Liberty’s liferafts one by one (which is a war crime).

(8) The only reason the Israelis did not successfully sink the Liberty and kill all of its crewmen was that one sailor duck-taped together antennae – and took many bullet wounds in the process – which enabled an emergency SOS to get out from the Liberty to American 6th Fleet.

(9) The Israelis later claimed that they mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian vessel.  But the Egyptian ship – the El Quseir – was an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria, four times smaller than the Liberty, which bore virtually no resemblance to the Liberty.

(10) President Lyndon Johnson believed the attack was intentional and he leaked his opinion to Newsweek.

Other high-level Americans agreed:

“I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation….  Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations.  I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day.  The attack was outrageous.”
–U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk

“The evidence was clear.  Both Adm. Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack … was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew….  Not only did the Israelis attack the ship with napalm, gunfire, and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned three lifeboats that had been launched in an attempt by the crew to save the most seriously wounded — a war crime….”
–Affidavit of U.S. Navy Captain Ward Boston, the legal counsel for the official investigation into the Liberty attack

“There is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.”
–Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 14 January 2004

“Israeli authorities subsequently apologized for the incident, but few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel…. I have yet to understand why it was felt necessary to attack this ship or who ordered the attack.”
–C.I.A. Chief Richard Helms

“Yet the ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America.  Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal.  If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.”
–George Ball, U.S. Undersecretary of State at the time, The Passionate Attachment

(Sources: Congressional record and videos shown below.)

Admiral Thomas H. Moorer – former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – chaired a non-governmental investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty in 2003. The committee – which included General of Marines Raymond G. Davis, Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia James E. Akins – held Israel to be culpable and suggested several theories for Israel’s possible motives, including the desire to blame Egypt and bring the U.S. into the Six Day War.

Indeed, President Lyndon Johnson dispatched nuclear-armed fighter jets to drop nuclear bombs on Cairo, Egypt.  They were only recalled at the last minute, when Johnson realized that it was the Israelis – and not the Egyptians – who had fired on the Liberty.

An NSA report from 1981 found:

A persistent question relating to the Liberty incident is whether or not the Israeli forces which attacked the ship knew that it was American . . . not a few of the Liberty’s crewmen and [deleted but probably “NSA’s G Group”] staff are convinced that they did. Their belief derived from consideration of the long time the Israelis had the ship under surveillance prior to the attack, the visibility of the flag, and the intensity of the attack itself.

Speculation as to the Israeli motivation varied. Some believed that Israel expected that the complete destruction of the ship and killing of the personnel would lead the U.S. to blame the UAR [Egypt] for the incident and bring the U.S. into the war on the side of Israel . . . others felt that Israeli forces wanted the ship and men out of the way.

Allegedly:

Scouring the Liberty records in the LBJ Library in Texas, Ennes [an officer on the bridge of the Liberty] stumbled upon a smoking gun – a one-page memo of the minutes of the 303 Committee [the U.S. National Security Council group that reviewed sensitive intelligence operations] held in advance of the war in April 1967.   The Committee consisted of a handful of top level intelligence and government officials who examined black operations and devised plausible deniability for the executive branch in the event of public discovery of an attack.  The memo relates to a clandestine joint US-Israeli effort to blame Egypt for the sinking of the Liberty.

We haven’t yet located a copy of the alleged memo, and so we’re not sure we believe this explosive claim. But – given that Israel (1) used unmarked jets and ships, (2) destroyed the Liberty’s communication equipment and then jammed the Liberty’s emergency distress channel, and (3) destroyed all liferafts – the logical inference is that Israel intended to frame Egypt for the attack, and didn’t want the Liberty’s crew to be able to tell the world what really happened.

The following must-watch documentaries from the BBC, Al Jazeera and an independent producer provide first-hand interviews with the crew of the USS Liberty which prove that this was a failed false flag attack:

IMF Announces New $17 Billion Loan Agreement for Ukraine

February 13th, 2015 by Niles Williamson

Speaking Thursday from International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Brussels, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced that the IMF will extend an approximately $17.5 billion bailout package to shore up Ukraine, which has been ruined by nearly a year of austerity measures and continuous fighting against pro-Russian separatists in the industrial eastern Donbass region.

Lagarde told reporters that the distribution of the loans and demanded reforms would be “a turning point for Ukraine.” Her announcement came on the same day as the declaration of a new ceasefire deal between Kiev and the separatists in east Ukraine, slated to go into effect Sunday morning.

Lagarde stated that the agreement would “support immediate economic stabilization in Ukraine as well as a set of bold policy reforms aimed at restoring robust growth over the medium term.” In Orwellian style, she claimed that the agreement was aimed at “improving living standards for the Ukrainian people.”

The response of the economic markets to the announcement of the agreement was largely negative, with the hryvnia falling as much as 3.1 percent against the dollar. The Ukrainian currency has lost 67 percent of its value against the dollar over the last year, severely impacting living standards and slashing government revenue.

The agreement is a further restructuring of the Ukrainian economy in the favor of Western business interests and away from Russia. Eldar Vakhitov, an economist at Barclays Plc in London, told Bloomberg Business, “The new program announced today covers the shortfall, though does not go much beyond that. The government in Ukraine may now turn to bondholders to discuss the restructuring of debt.”

The Ukrainian economy, which is in shambles in the aftermath of last year’s US- and EU-backed coup, contracted by more than 7 percent in 2014 and is projected by the World Bank to contract by more than 2 percent in 2015. According to the State Statistics Service, inflation has risen dramatically from 1.2 percent at the beginning of 2014 to nearly 29 percent last month. The official unemployment rate stood at 9.9 percent at the end of September last year and is expected to rise to more than 10 percent this year.

The announcement of a new loan agreement is a prelude to the implementation of further shock therapy against the working class in Ukraine. The distribution of the tranche of loans is predicated on the implementation of deeper austerity measures that will devastate the living standards of the most vulnerable layers of society.

At the end of December the Ukrainian parliament adopted a 2015-2020 economic program with a series of policies aimed at significantly lowering the living standards of the working class throughout the country. It included “large-scale privatization of state property under the appropriate economic conditions” and the financial restructuring of the state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz. (See: “Ukrainian government prepares extreme austerity measures”)

The state budget also calls for the layoff of 10 percent of the country’s public employees and the partial privatization of health care and education. The state will also implement large-scale reform of the coal mining industry closing 32 unprofitable coal mines, idling another 24 mines and selling off 37 mines between 2015 and 2019.

Under the terms of previous IMF agreements, the Kiev regime has already slashed subsidies for natural gas and home heating. The price paid by a regular household for natural gas and home heating was raised to 56 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the import price in 2014. Under the new budget adopted in December, the remaining price controls and subsidies would be eliminated, increasing consumer gas prices three to five times current prices.

The new loan agreement replaces the two-year Stand-By Arrangement of $17 billion agreed to last year at the end of April. Of this previous loan, $4.6 billion will be extended, bringing the total outstanding IMF loans to Ukraine to $22 billion.

In addition to the IMF agreement, the European Union pledged $2 billion in loans late last month and the United States government has also pledged $2 billion. Further negotiations with Ukraine’s sovereign debt holders to reduce borrowing costs along with other forms of assistance will bring total effective financial aid to $40 billion over the next four years.

The Kiev regime is preparing to impose martial law in order to suppress any social opposition that may emerge to its program of austerity and militarization.

A bill was submitted in the parliament this week that would make “public denial or justification of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine in 2014-2015 ”a felony with a possible punishment ranging from a heavy fine to five years in prison. This bill, if approved, would criminalize any opposition to or criticism of the government’s operations against the pro-Russian separatists.

In western Ukraine the government is experiencing widespread resistance to the military draft implemented in January. Anti-conscription protests have taken place in Kiev and elsewhere in the country, while draft-age Ukrainian men are reportedly avoiding the draft by fleeing across the western border into Romania.

“I do not want to fight, everyone is trying not to fight. Nobody wants to die for corrupted politicians in this regime or for this wretched Donetsk,” a 50-year-old painter, who wished to remain anonymous, told ABC News.

It is estimated that only 6 percent of conscripts have voluntarily shown up to military service in the latest round of call-ups. Ruslan Kotsaba, a western Ukrainian journalist, was detained last week after calling for a boycott of the draft and faces 15 years in prison on charges of high treason.

Greece’s Syriza Government Pledges to Serve the EU

February 13th, 2015 by Christoph Dreier

After the first round of talks on Wednesday with eurogroup finance ministers over loan terms for Greece produced no results, representatives on both sides made clear their readiness to compromise on Thursday.

Before an EU meeting in Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) said it was time “to move on with the changes that the previous government did not make, to put an end to the corruption and to tackle tax evasion.”

“We will need to find a solution that respects the positions of all parties, so this agreement will have to be based on the core values of Europe, democracy and the vote of the people, but also on the necessity to respect the European rules,”

Tsipras said.

Prior to the conference, Tsipras met with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and his Latvian colleague Laimdota Straujuma. A planned meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was cancelled on short notice, due to the Minsk peace talks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke of the possibility of a compromise before the conference. “Europe is organised in a way, and this is the strength of Europe, to reach a compromise,” she said. “Germany is prepared for that.”

Today, the Greek government will meet with the troika—the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission and European Central Bank—for the first time, before the next meeting of finance ministers on Monday.

In terms of content, the German side made no concessions. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble declared that previous loan agreements with Greece were non-negotiable. “Every country is free to do what it wants. But we have this program, and this program will hopefully be brought to a conclusion, or otherwise we have no program,” said Schäuble.

His Austrian colleague Hans-Jörg Schelling spoke in similar tones, declaring, “Programs cannot be overturned by election results.”

Syriza won the Greek parliamentary elections in January with the promise to put an end to the social cuts demanded by the EU in exchange for a bailout for the indebted country. However, Syriza made clear from the outset that it would neither leave the EU nor cancel state debt.

Just two weeks after the election, the significance of the defence of the EU is clear. Far from trying to improve workers’ social conditions, Tsipras and his cabinet are trying to maintain the loan agreements with the EU under a new name and to impose this on the population.

The Greek government’s representatives began negotiations by promising to implement 70 percent of the memorandum in exchange for receiving bridge loans in the coming months. The remaining 30 percent was to be replaced by 10 reforms which are yet to be presented in detail.

As a result of EU measures, Greek state debt has skyrocketed to €320 billion, or 175 percent of GDP. By June, a total of more than €7 billion in loan and interest repayments are due, and Greece cannot finance this from its budget. The yields for short-term government bonds have recently risen rapidly. Having recognised the debt in full, it is next to impossible for the Syriza government to repay it without EU loans.

There are contradictory reports about the first round of talks among EU finance ministers on Wednesday. The German daily Handelsblatt cited a passage from a joint statement that was ultimately not agreed.

In it, it was stated, “The Greek government commits irrevocably to fulfill its financial obligations to its creditors.” Athens was prepared “to consider all possibilities for a lengthening and successful conclusion of the bailout program, although the plans of the new government must be taken in to account,” the draft stated. According to the newspaper, Greek finance minister Giannis Varoufakis initially agreed to the statement, but withdrew his consent after a phone call with Tsipras.

On the other hand, Britain’s Channel 4 News reported that Schäuble removed a formulation at the last minute that would have committed Berlin to improving the bailout program. Only then, according to this report, did Greek representatives withdraw their support.

The Greek government indicated that they had been critical of the statement from the outset and that the telephone call between Tsipras and Varoufakis had only strengthened this position. The main issue for them was that it was not about extending the current agreement, but about a new bridging agreement.

However things may have gone at the talks, the Greek government’s statements make clear that they have no fundamental disagreements with the EU leaders, but merely want to make minor modifications to and rename the EU austerity package.

Varoufakis left no doubt about this. “We understand each other much, much better now than we did this morning, so I think this is a major achievement because, you know, from understanding, the agreement follows,” he commented.

In an interview published on the Stern website on Thursday, the Greek finance minister went even further in his servility. “Angela Merkel is by far the most astute politician in Europe. There is no doubt about it. And Wolfgang Schäuble, her Finance Minister, is perhaps the only European politician with intellectual substance,” he claimed.

The two politicians praised by Varoufakis are the two most important architects of the EU’s austerity policy, which has led to an unprecedented social disaster in Greece while securing untold billions in profits for the banks. His nauseating attempts at flattery illustrate Syriza’s grovelling attitude to the EU and European capitalism.

CNN Peddles Propaganda About “Completely Mad” Putin

February 13th, 2015 by Jim Naureckas

CNN‘s illustration of a possibly “completely mad” Putin. Or maybe he just opens his mouth when he talks.

“Has Russian President Vladimir Putin gone completely mad?”

That’s the lead of a news analysis (2/11/15) by Matthew Chance, CNN‘s senior international correspondent in Moscow.

Here’s a better question: Does CNN care whether it’s viewed as an outlet for crude anti-Russian propaganda?

Chance claims that his opening attack is a “question…actually being debated in serious circles.” His first example of this is an offhand remark supposedly made by German Chancellor Andrea Merkel to US President Barack Obama that Putin is “in another world.”

Common sense tells you, of course, that when people say someone is “in another world,” they don’t generally mean that they are actually psychotic. For what it’s worth, Merkel’s office said she hadn’t meant to imply any such thing, clarifying that her point was that “Putin has a different perception on Crimea.”

Chance says Merkel’s comment was made “a few months ago”; actually, the conversation between the NATO leaders happened on March 1, 2014–about two weeks shy of a year ago–and was the subject of a propaganda cycle at the time (FAIR Blog3/12/14). Which raises the question of what it’s doing here as exhibit A that currently a serious debate going on over Putin’s mental health.

But Chance’s first example is about six years younger than his second–and final–piece of evidence that Putin’s sanity is “actually being debated.” This is a 2008 report from a Pentagon think tank that supposedly says “the Russian leader may have Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism.” Yes,CNN suggested that possibly having Asperger’s Syndrome is evidence that one might be “completely mad.”

It should go without saying that Asperger’s is not associated with delusions or irrational behavior; indeed, CNN itself says this diagnosis from a distance “may account for his apparently high degree of control.” (USA Today, which obtained the Pentagon report, says it suggests Putin’s “behavior and facial expressions reveal someone who is defensive in large social settings.”) And “experts told CNN they were skeptical of the reliability of the Asperger’s claim.” Nevertheless, Chance presents the Defense Department’s seven-year-old psychological speculation as half of his evidence for his proposition that whether Putin is “completely mad” is a current debate in “serious circles.”

Clearly, genuinely serious circles do not include CNN‘s Moscow bureau.

What McClatchy DC‘s Mark Seibel (3/5/14) had to say at the time about the original propaganda campaign around Merkel’s “another world” remark is worth repeating:

In the world of propaganda, successfully portraying your adversary as being crazy, without any rational backing to his actions, makes it unnecessary to try to understand the complexities or sensitivities of the issues. If Putin is crazy, then that’s enough. We needn’t think any further about what he has to say.

That seems to be the point of the remainder of Chance’s article: that the political positions taken by Putin are “completely mad,” or at the very least the actions of “an enigma.” For example, there’s “his unflinching support for rebel separatists in Eastern Ukraine, despite their alleged excesses,” which are said to have “plunged Russia’s relations with the West into their worst crisis since the end of the Cold War.”

This Ukrainian woman’s house was hit by a rocket, apparently launched by the side one can support without questions being raised about your mental health. (photo: Human Rights Watch)

No mention of whether “unflinching support” for the Ukrainian government in Kiev, despite its own “excesses”–which include “arbitrary detentions, torture and enforced disappearances of people suspected of ‘separatism and terrorism,’” in the words of the UN high commissioner for human rights (12/15/14), and “indiscriminately rocketing civilian areas,” according to Human Rights Watch (Washington Post,7/25/14)–raises the question of whether Western leaders are “completely mad.”

Putin’s backing for the rebels shows he is “determined to get his way in Ukraine,” writes Chance. He explains this means autonomy for southeastern Ukraine, recognition of the Russian language there, and a buffer zone–”but Putin may actually want much more.” “A large hint” as to what this might be: Putin told an Egyptian newspaper (Al-Ahram2/9/15), “Promises of non-expansion of the NATO to the east have turned out to be hollow statements.”

Putin is referring to statements like US Secretary of State James Baker’s 1990 assertion at the Kremlin that there would be “no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.” Baker later insisted he was only promising that NATO forces within Germany would not move into what was then Soviet-dominated East Germany; Putin, understandably, reads it as a US double cross.

Putin’s statement to the Egyptian paper is the quote upon which Chance hangs his analysis that “a solution to the Ukraine crisis, then, may involve ruling the country out of any future NATO membership, however unpalatable that may be to some in the West.” CNN‘s Moscow correspondent then warns, on the basis of nothing other than his own say-so, that “the bigger problem, though, is that this may not end with Ukraine”:

Putin’s ultimate goal may be to tear up the post-Soviet assumptions about what Russia will tolerate, and permanently change Russia’s relationship with the West.

How dare Russia’s president try to change Russia’s relationship with the West? Why, he must be completely mad!

You can send feedback on CNN‘s website, on Facebook or on Twitter(@CNN@MChanceCNN). Please remember that respectful communication is most effective.

In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a written statement that “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way.” Obama claimed that “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Washington’s policy is to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been a goal of both the Democrats and Republicans. Israel wants Assad removed from power because of its close ties to Hezbollah and Iran.  Israel’s former Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren once said “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran” in an interview published by Reuters back in 2013. Remember In 2007 when Former U.S. Army General Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now:

This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

Washington wants Assad removed from power.  The Syrian government is allied with Washington’s adversaries including Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. The Associated Press (AP) reported that “President Barack Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to authorize military action against terrorists who are cutting a swath across the Middle East.” Obama says that he will not commit U.S. ground forces to a long-term war “I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war.” It will mark the first war-powers vote in 13 years for congress which will pass with a Republican majority. Warmongers in Washington including Senator John McCain (who idolizes War criminal Henry Kissinger) will surely vote “Yes” for any military action in Syria.  According to the AP report “Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also said Obama had ruled out air support for U.S.-trained rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad, adding, “That’s immoral.”

The report also describes Obama’s plan against ISIS as a three year operation “unbounded by national borders”which means that U.S. ground forces would conduct military operations beyond national borders which includes Syrian territory:

Under Obama’s proposal, the use of military force against Islamic State fighters would be authorized for three years, unbounded by national borders. The fight could be extended to any “closely related successor entity” to the Islamic State organization that has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, imposed a stern form of Sharia law and killed several hostages it has taken, Americans among them.

The Islamic State (ISIS) is apparently the target according to the Obama administration but it is laying down the“ground work” to eventually assist the Syrian rebels in removing the Assad government. The AP report also explained how Obama revisited past authorizations in 2001 and 2002 leading up to the invasion of Iraq:

In the past, Obama has cited congressional authorizations from 2001 and 2002 to justify his decision to deploy more than 2,700 U.S. troops to train and assist Iraqi security forces and conduct airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Syrian government has been battling the Syrian rebels, al-Nusra and ISIS since the civil war began in 2011. Now Syria is fragmented and ISIS is gaining ground in many areas in Iraq and Syria. The Obama administration sees an opportunity to escalate the war. This is Obama’s last 2 years in office so prepare for more Middle East wars in the months to come.

Cristina Kirchner nel mirino: Il caso della morte del procuratore Nisman

February 13th, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

L’obiettivo ultimo degli Stati Uniti è di riguadagnare l’influenza perduta sull’Argentina, di ri-orientarne le relazioni commerciali e controllarne la politica estera.

La Storia si ripete in forme strane. L’Argentina ha vissuto una fase che assomiglia agli anni post-1999, dopo le dimissioni di Boris Eltsin, quando Putin lo ha sostituito al Cremlino come presidente della Federazione russa. Mentre lottava per liberarsi dal giogo straniero, il governo federale argentino ha consolidato il suo potere economico e politico.

Diversi spezzoni dell’ex regime e degli oligarchi amici degli Stati Uniti si sono opposti al nuovo governo. Essi hanno contrastato i grandi progetti nazionali, la ri-nazionalizzazione delle grandi compagnie e il rafforzamento dell’Esecutivo. Da questo punto di vista, gli scontri del presidente dell’Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, con i suoi oppositori sono simili a quelli che hanno opposto Vladimir Putin agli oligarchi e ai politici russi che volevano sottomettere la Russia a Wall Street e a Washington, e al contempo al capitalismo e ai centri finanziari dell’Europa dell’ovest.

Sono state sfruttate tutte le occasioni per indebolire il governo argentino. La presidente Fernandez de Kirchner ha anche pubblicamente accusato i suoi oppositori argentini di lavorare con gli Stati Uniti per rovesciare il governo. Quando Daech e Isis minacciarono di ucciderla nel 2014, ella ha ricordato che è Washington a tirare le fila delle brigate terroriste di Daech in Iraq e Siria. (1)

La morte di Alberto Nisman

L’ultimo capitolo di questa lotta è cominciato a gennaio 2015. Lo stesso giorno in cui Mohammed Allahdadi, il generale della Guardia rivoluzionaria iraniana, veniva ucciso dagli Israeliani in Siria, il 18 gennaio, l’ex procuratore Alberto Nisman è stato trovato morto con una ferita d’arma da fuoco al capo nella stanza da bagno del suo appartamento chiuso a chiave. (2) Nisman aveva indagato per dieci anni sul bombardamento, nel 1994, di un immobile appartenente all’Associazione mutualista israelita argentina (AMIA). Aveva ricevuto l’incarico nel 2003 dal presidente Nestor Kirchner, il defunto marito dell’attuale presidente argentina.

Qualche giorno prima, il procuratore aveva formalizzato delle accuse contro la presidente argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner e il ministro degli affari esteri Hector Timerman, anche lui ebreo. Secondo il New York Times, Nisman “ha formulato accuse gravi” (3), affermando che “l’attentato era stato organizzato e finanziato dal governo iraniano, e che Hezbollah, l’alleato dell’Iran in Libano, lo aveva eseguito; e che la presidente dell’Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, e i suoi principali collaboratori, avevano cospirato per coprire il coinvolgimento dell’Iran, nel quadro di un contratto di fornitura di petrolio iraniano all’Argentina” (4)

Il giornalista Damian Pachter

Il giornalista ebreo Damian Pachter, che è scappato dall’Argentina dopo la morte di Nisman, ha gettato olio sul fuoco da Israele. Ha anche scritto un articolo per Haaretz, molto citato ma mai verificato, che polemizza col governo argentino. L’articolo di Patcher descrive una Argentina governata da un regime fascista. Ecco qualcuno dei suoi commenti:

  • “Non so assolutamente quando tornerò in Argentina. Non so nemmeno se lo voglio. Quello che so, è che il paese dove sono nato non è affatto quel luogo gioioso sul quale i miei nonni ebrei mi raccontavano delle storie.”
  • “L’Argentina è diventata un luogo tenebroso governato da un sistema politico corrotto. Io non ho ancora capito che cosa mi è accaduto nelle ultime quarantotto ore. Non avrei mai immaginato che il mio ritorno in Israele sarebbe stato così.” (5)

Prima di continuare, conviene precisare che, durante tutti i dieci anni dell’inchiesta, Alberto Nisman non è stato in grado di elevare alcuna incolpazione nei confronti dell’Iran o di Hezbollah. Inoltre è stato rivelato che egli è stato in frequente contatto con gli Stati uniti nel corso dell’indagine sull’AMIA e che è stato accusato da Roland Noble, l’ex capo dell’Organizzazione internazionale di polizia criminale (Interpol) di essere un bugiardo in relazione a molte delle sue accuse in questa vicenda dell’AMIA (6).

La morte di Alberto Nisman è stata attribuita a un suicidio. Tuttavia il momento della morte è molto sospetto, poche ore prima della data prevista per la sua testimonianza davanti al Congresso argentino. Il governo ha dichiarato che la sua morte è stata un assassinio diretto a colpire il governo (7). Si tratta di una affermazione corretta e ha avuto delle conferme: la morte di Alberto Nisman è stata utilizzata come argomento politico per chiedere le dimissioni del governo argentino.

La Quinta colonna in Argentina

The Guardian ha pubblicato un articolo il 27 gennaio 2015, nel quale si afferma che la morte di Alberto Nisman “è l’epilogo di una lunga lotta” tra il governo argentino e la “principale agenzia di informazioni argentina, che è emersa in tutta evidenza dopo la morte sospetta di Nisman, e della quale la presidente denuncia gli elementi criminali che tentano di farla cadere.” (8) Alcuni punti importanti di questo articolo meritano di essere posti in evidenza:

  • I rappresentanti del governo hanno indicato alcuni membri dell’agenzia, che sostengono lavorassero con Nisman fornendogli informazioni tratte da intercettazioni telefoniche.
  • Loro capo è Antonio Stiuso che, fino al mese scorso, era il direttore generale delle operazioni e ascoltava gli oppositori politici della presidente. E’ stato congedato quando Fernandez ha scoperto che aveva lavorato con Nisman a montare un dossier contro di lei. Pare che si sia rifugiato negli Stati Uniti.
  • Nel suo discorso televisivo – pronunciato su una sedia a rotelle, in seguito ad un recente incidente – la presidente ha criticato anche Diego Lagomarsino, accusato lunedì di avere illegalmente prestato un’arma da fuoco a Nisman. (9)

Le cose dette fanno riferimento al fatto che la sicurezza interna e gli agenti segreti argentini hanno lavorato per rovesciare il loro governo. Inoltre Antonio Stiuso e Nisman lavoravano in segreto per montare un dossier che doveva servire a eliminare Kirchner dal governo.

In Argentina vi è una Quinta colonna. Conviene ancora notare che alcune delle persone coinvolte in questa vicenda provengono dal periodo della dittatura militare in Argentina, durante la quale collaboravano strettamente con gli Stati Uniti. E’ la ragione che potrebbe spiegare perché Antonio Stiuso sembra sia fuggito in questo paese. Ed è la ragione per la quale il governo argentino ha aperto una inchiesta sull’attività di diversi agenti della polizia federale, che sorvegliavano Nisman, ed ha sostituito il Segretariato della Intelligence (SI, in precedenza Segretariato di Stato per le Informazioni, o SIDE) con una nuova agenzia di intelligence. (10) “Ed è questo il motivo per cui ho deciso di congedare gli agenti che erano in servizio prima del ritorno della democrazia”, ha dichiarato Kirchner. (11)

Parlando delle riforme necessarie, la presidente ha dichiarato: “Dobbiamo cominciare a lavorare ad un progetto di riforma della intelligence argentina, con l’obiettivo di sopprimere un sistema che non ha servito gli interessi nazionali,” (12) Cristina Kirchner ha rivelato che il SI operava per scalzare il governo e per annullare quello che l’Argentina aveva fatto con l’Iran. Il Buenos Aires Herald ha scritto che la presidente Kirchner ha affermato che “fin dal momento in cui è stato firmato il protocollo di accordo con l’Iran sugli attentati contro l’AMIA, avete potuto vedere che il SI lo ha bombardato.” (13)

AMIA è un pretesto e l’Argentina è uno dei fronti di una guerra mondiale assai sfaccettata

La vicenda dell’AMIA è stata politicizzata su due fronti. Uno è interno, l’altro si svolge sul piano delle relazioni internazionali. Un gruppo di oligarchi argentini strumentalizza il caso dell’AMIA per riprendere il controllo del paese, mentre gli Stati Uniti lo utilizzano come strumento di pressione – esattamente come il caso dei fondi avvoltoio – sul governo argentino e per interferire negli affari interni del paese.

L’opinione pubblica argentina è in fibrillazione e lo scontro si fa duro. La morte di Alberto Nisman viene utilizzato dagli oppositori politici per demonizzare il governo. L’opposizione fa addirittura di Nisman un martire caduto nella lotta per la democrazia e la libertà, in un paese governato da un regime sempre più autoritario.

Le posizioni politiche argentine a proposito dell’attacco all’AMIA, e le inchieste relative, riflettono qualcosa di molto più importante. Non è solo l’Iran il bersaglio di questa polarizzazione intorno al caso AMIA. Non si tratta per niente di cercare giustizia per le vittime delle bombe sull’AMIA. La Cina, la Russia, Cuba, il Brasile, il Venezuela, l’Ecuador, la Bolivia e una serie di paesi indipendenti sono anch’essi bersaglio di quella che in realtà è una battaglia mondiale tra gli Stati Uniti e una coalizione di paesi indipendenti che resistono all’influenza nord-americana.

L’obiettivo ultimo degli Stati Uniti è di riguadagnare l’influenza perduta sull’Argentina, di ri-orientarne le relazioni commerciali e controllarne la politica estera. Questo richiede l’abolizione delle misure assunte da Buenos Aires per riprendere dagli Inglesi il controllo sulle Maluine (le Falkland), una zona ricca di energia nell’Atlantico del Sud.

Oltre alla guerra per le risorse, comprese quelle energetiche, la guerra mondiale dalle tante sfaccettature avviata dagli Stati Uniti contro i suoi rivali prevede anche un intervento sull’agricoltura, che si tradurrà nella destabilizzazione dei prezzi alimentari e anche la provocazione di una carestia. Oltre alle sue inesplorate riserve di petrolio e gas naturale, l’Argentina è una grande potenza agricola. Controllare Buenos Aires sarebbe utile agli Stati Uniti,

NOTE

[1] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Eagles of Empire and economic terrorism: Are vulture funds instruments of US policy?» RT, 24 Ottobre 2014.

[2] Almudena Calatrava, «Supporters doubt Argentine prosecutor killed self», Associated Press, 20 Gennaio 2015; Jonathan Watts, «Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency», Guardian, 27 Gennaio 2015,

[3-4] Isabel Kershner, «Journalist Who Reported on Argentine Prosecutor’s Death Flees to Israel», New York Times, 26 Gennaio 2015.

[5] Damian Pachter, «Why I fled Argentina after breaking the story of Alberto Nisman’s death», Haaretz, 25 Gennaio 2015.

[6] «Ex Interpol head Roland Noble: What prosecutor Nisman says is false», Buenos Aires Herald, 18 Gennaio 2015.

[7-10] Jonathan Watts, «Argentinian governments moves», op. cit.

[11-13] «CFK announces plan to dissolve SI intelligence service», Buenos Aires Herald, 26 Gennaio 2015.

Would you like a side of hepatitis A shot with your Happy Meal? As it turns out, your child may just be able to receive a number of significant vaccinations at your local McDonald’s on behalf of the Department of Public Health.

I was just as shocked as you are when I heard news from an email tip that one reader’s local McDonald’s was launching a ‘free vaccination’ program alongside their fast food marketing campaign, and I was reasonably skeptical that even McDonald’s would launch such a strange combination. Especially when we consider the extreme financial downfall that the company is experiencing as millions abandon their fake food amid public knowledge over the true extent of their synthetic ingredient list.

As it turns out, however, numerous Texas newspapers and outlets have documented the ‘free McDonald’s vaccine’ events that have popped up in Amarillo. It was, and is, very real. Amarillo.com details the event that first occurred years ago, writing:

“The city of Amarillo’s Department of Public Health and the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas will offer free vaccinations for children from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at McDonald’s restaurant, 1815 S. Grand St.

The vaccinations will include meningococcal vaccine, which is required for seventh- and eighth-graders and for college students residing in campus housing; the varicella vaccine, which is required for kindergarten and first grade and for seventh- and eighth-graders; the Tdap vaccine booster required for seventh- and eighth-graders; MMR vaccine for kindergarten and first grade; and hepatitis A, required for kindergarten and first grade.

Parents and guardians are asked to bring immunization records, and children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

And that is one of the older reports detailing the events. There is not much press coverage on the programs that are reportedly being rolled out in 2015. Various sites have already been reporting on the new McDonald’s vaccine campaigns that readers say are popping up around the Amarillo area.

Would you get your child a round of booster shots with your next Happy Meal?

Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

Nearly a year after the massacre on Kiev’s Maidan left over 50 dead, the BBC has aired footage of an opposition fighter who says he fired at police in the early morning that day, bringing into question the popular narrative that riot police fired first. (Watch video here.)

READ MORE: Reuters investigation exposes ‘serious flaws’ in Maidan massacre probe

“I was shooting downward at their feet,” says a man the broadcaster decided to identify as Sergei.

“Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn’t shoot to kill.”

According to Sergei, he took up a position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy located on the southwest corner of Kiev’s Independence Square, on February 20.

One day prior, he had met up with a man who offered him two guns. The first was a 12-gauge shotgun, while the other was a hunting rifle – a Saiga that fired high-velocity rounds.

He chose the Saiga and hid it at a post office that, along with the conservatory, was under the protesters’ control. Sergei told the BBC he was later escorted to the Conservatory, where, with a second gunman, he spent 20 minutes before 7:00 am firing on police.

Other witness testimony has corroborated his account.

Andriy Shevchenko, who was an opposition MP at the time and also part of the Maidan movement, said he had received a phone call from the head of the riot police on Maidan Square claiming his officers had come under fire.

“He calls me and says, ‘Andriy, somebody is shooting at my guys.’ And he said that the shooting was from the Conservatory,” Shevchenko said.

Shevchenko, in turn, says he contacted Andriy Parubiy, who headed up security for the protesters and was known as the Commandant of Maidan.

It’s at this point where the details of what followed become murky.

Parubiy says he sent a group of “his best men” to scour the Conservatory and determine if anyone was firing from it. Parubiy, who now serves as deputy speaker in the current Ukrainian parliament, claims his men found no gunmen in the building.

A photographer who had gained access to the Conservatory later in the morning just after 8:00 am, however, took pictures of men with guns in the building, though he never saw them discharge their weapons.

READ MORE: Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape

All the while, Shevchenko claims he was getting increasingly panicked calls from the head of the riot police, who said that five officers had been wounded and another killed before he decided to pull out.

Sergei’s account appears to contradict Parubiy’s.

“I was just reloading,” Sergei told the BBC. “They ran up to me and one put his foot on top of me, and said, ‘They want a word with you, everything is OK, but stop doing what you’re doing.’”

A wounded protester is rushed to a vehicle following violence in Independence Square in Kiev February 20, 2014. (Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin)

Sergei says he was convinced the men who dragged him away were from Parubiy’s security unit, though he admits he did not recognize their faces. After being taken out of the building, he was dropped off outside of Kiev by car, though it appears no further harm came to him.

By this point, the BBC notes that three policemen had been wounded fatally and the mass killings began that ultimately left more than 50 protesters dead.

Snipers on Maidan: unsolved mystery

February 20 was the bloodiest day of protests since they started in November 2013, and the bloodshed ultimately led to the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Both sides have blamed each other for being behind the sniper fire that brought the Euromaidan revolution to a head.

RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky, who was reporting form the scene that day, came under fire from unidentified gunmen at the time.

Witnesses at the time said they saw snipers shooting at both protesters and security forces.

A leaked recording of a conversation between European Union foreign policy Baroness Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s foreign minister, Urmas Paet, also appeared to confirm the possibly that it had been members of the opposition, and not Yanukovich’s security forces, who fired the first shots.

“There is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers – it was not Yanukovich, it was somebody from the new [ruling] coalition,” Paet told Ashton, citing claims that “there were the same snipers killing people from both sides.”

Ukraine’s former State Security chief, Oleksandr Yakymenko, would also blame Ukraine’s current Euromaidan government, saying they hired the snipers who precipitated violence on the square.

The protest leaders, many of whom hold positions in the current Ukrainian government, insist that Yanukovich and his security forces bear full responsibility for the shootings.

In April, almost two months after the shooting, Ukrainian prosecutors arrested several Berkut riot police officers as possible “Maidan snipers.”

The investigation, however, seems to have ended there.

In October, Reuters published the results of its examination, which analyzed Kiev’s probe into February’s Maidan shootings.

The news agency’s reporters uncovered “serious flaws” in the case against Berkut officers. Dozens of families of Maidan victims are still demanding “an objective and accurate investigation.”

Monsanto on the Menu: Science, Knowledge and GMOs

February 13th, 2015 by Colin Todhunter

On Twitter this week, someone asked the question “Why do people doubt science?” Accompanying the tweet was a link to an article in National Geographic that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), climate change, fluoridated water and various other phenomena are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are misinformed as a result of access to the ‘University of Google.’ The remedy, according what is said in the article, is for us all to rely on scientific evidence pertaining to these issues and adopt a ‘scientific method’ of thought and analysis and put irrational thought processes to one side.

Who tweeted the question and posted the link? None other than Robert T Fraley, Monsanto’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Before addressing that question, it is worth mentioning that science is not the giver of ‘absolute truth’. That in itself should allow us to develop a healthy sceptism towards the discipline. The ‘truth’ is a tricky thing to pin down. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can play the role of secular theology and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical paradigm is overwhelming. Then, at least according to Kuhn, the old faith gives way and a new ‘truth’ changes.

Philosopher Paul Feyerabend argued that science is not an ‘exact science’. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this.

But the answer to the question “Why do people doubt science” is not because they have read Kuhn, Feyerabend or some sociology journal. Neither is it because a bunch of ‘irrational’ activists have scared them witless about GM crops or some other issue. It is because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations to serve their own ends. It is because they regard these large corporations as largely unaccountable and their activities and products not properly regulated by governments.

That’s why so many doubt science – or more precisely the science corporations fund and promote to support their interests.

US sociologist Robert Merton highlighted the underlying norms of science as involving research that is not warped by vested interests, adheres to the common ownership of scientific discoveries (intellectual property) to promote collective collaboration and subjects findings to organised, rigorous critical scrutiny within the scientific community. The concept of originality was added by later writers in order to fully encapsulate the ethos of science: scientific claims must contribute something new to existing discourse. Based on this brief analysis, secrecy, dogma and vested interest have no place.

This is of course a highly idealised version of what science is or should be because in reality careers, reputations, commercial interests and funding issues all serve to undermine these norms.

But if we really want to look at the role of secrecy, dogma and vested interest in full flow, we could take a look at in the sector to which Robert T Fraley belongs.

Last year, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for “sound science” to underpin food trade between the US and the EU. However, he seems very selective in applying “sound science” to certain issues. Consumer rights groups in the US are pushing for the labelling of GMO foods, but Vilsack said that putting a label on a foodstuff containing a GM product “risks sending a wrong impression that this was a safety issue.”

Despite what Vilsack would have us believe, many scientific studies show that GMOs are indeed a big safety issue and what’s more are also having grave environmental, social and economic consequences (for example, see this and this).

By not wanting to respond to widespread consumer demands to know what they are eating and risk “sending a wrong impression,” Vislack is trying to prevent proper debate about issues that his corporate backers would find unpalatable: profits would collapse if consumers had the choice to reject the GMOs being fed to them. And ‘corporate backers’ must not be taken as a throwaway term here. Big agritech concerns have captured or at the very least seriously compromised key policy and regulatory bodies in the US (see this), Europe (see this), India (see this) and in fact on a global level (see here regarding control of the WTO).

If Robert T Fraley wants to understand why people doubt science, he should consider what Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, says:

“The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science itself.” (see here)

Coming from the GMO biotech industry, or its political mouthpieces, the term “sound science” rings extremely hollow. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’ (see this), while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products [see this and this). It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India (see this), bribery in Indonesia (see this ) and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests [see this), as well as the distortion and the censorship of science (see this  and this).

With its aim to modify organisms to create patents that will secure ever greater control over seeds, markets and the food supply, the widely held suspicion is that the GMO agritech sector is only concerned with a certain type of science: that which supports these aims. Because if science is held in such high regard by these corporations, why isn't Monsanto proud of its products? Why in the US doesn't it label foods containing GMOs and throw open its science to public scrutiny, instead of veiling it with secrecy, restricting independent research on its products or resorting to unsavoury tactics?

If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests? The argument used to justify this is GM food is ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary food. But this is not based on scientific reason. Foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent (see this). Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GM sector that neatly serves to remove its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances. The attempt to replace processed-based regulation of GMOs in Europe with product-based regulation would result in serving a similar purpose (see this).

The reason why no labelling or testing has taken place in the US is not due to ‘sound science’ having been applied but comes down to the power and political influence of the GMO biotech sector and because a sound scientific approach has not been applied.

The sector cannot win the scientific debate (although its PR likes to tell the world it has) so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions (see this). Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart (see thisthis and this). In fact, in the second of those three links, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GM crops that have been planted thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity.

This is a harsh truth that the industry does not like to face.

People’s faith in science is being shaken on many levels, not least because big corporations have secured access to policy makers and governments and are increasingly funding research and setting research agendas.

“As Andrew Neighbour, former administrator at Washington University in St. Louis, who managed the university’s multiyear and multimillion dollar relationship with Monsanto, admits, "There’s no question that industry money comes with strings. It limits what you can do, when you can do it, who it has to be approved by”… This raises the question: if Agribusiness giant Monsanto [in India] is funding the research, will Indian agricultural researchers pursue such lines of scientific inquiry as “How will this new rice or wheat variety impact the Indian farmer, or health of Indian public?” The reality is, Monsanto is funding the research not for the benefit of either Indian farmer or public, but for its profit. It is paying researchers to ask questions that it is most interested in having answered.” - ‘Monsanto, a Contemporary East India Company, and Corporate Knowledge in India‘.

Ultimately, it is not science itself that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a ‘don’t look, don’t find approach’ to studies and products (see thisthis  and this). Or in the case of releasing GMOs onto the commercial market in the US, bypassing proper scientific procedures and engaging in doublespeak about ‘substantial equivalence’ then hypocritically calling for ‘sound science’ to inform debates.

The same corporate interests are moreover undermining the peer-review process itself and the ability of certain scientists to get published in journals – the benchmark of scientific credibility. In effect, powerful interests increasingly hold sway over funding, career progression as a scientist, journals and peer review (see this and this, which question the reliability of peer review in the area of GMOs).

Going back to the start of the piece, the question that should have been tweeted is: “Why do people doubt corporate-controlled or influenced science?” After that question, it would have been more revealing to have posted a link to this article here about the unscrupulous history of a certain company from St Louis. That history provides very good reason why so many doubt and challenge powerful corporations and the type of science they fund and promote (or attempt to suppress) and the type of world they seek to create (see this).

“Corporations as the dominant institution shaped by capitalist patriarchy thrive on eco-apartheid. They thrive on the Cartesian legacy of dualism which puts nature against humans. It defines nature as female and passively subjugated. Corporatocentrism is thus also androcentric – a patriarchal construction. The false universalism of man as conqueror and owner of the Earth has led to the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. It has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor.” Vandana Shiva

“ Es una elección difícil, pero creemos que vale la pena este precio” (la entonces embajadora estadounidense ante la ONU Madeleine Albright acerca de la muerte de medio millón de niños iraquíes a consecuencia del embargo, 12 de mayo de 1996)  

“ La población infantil más traumatizada de la tierra” (Profesor Magne Raundalen, Centre for Crisis Studies, Bergen, Noruega, febrero de 1992)

El 19 de noviembre de 2014 se le entregó a Tony Blair el premio de Save the Children al Legado Global. En su discurso de aceptación afirmó que considera “[…] que en medio de todos los desafíos y de toda la miseria y privaciones que tratamos de conquistar y vencer, hay algo esperanzador [...] algo que agradecer”.

Irónicamente, Save the Children había publicado solo dos meses antes, el 15 de agosto de 2014, un Informe (1) sobre el trauma de los niños iraquíes solamente en el norte de Iraq después de once años de invasión ilegal encabezada por Bush y Blair, y del actual conflicto resultante de la invasión. Dejaba claro que los niños iraquíes no tienen esperanza ni nada “que agradecer”.

Sin embargo, Blair fue alabado por una organización que afirma: “Prevemos un futuro en el que ningún niño muera por causas evitables y en el que cada niño tenga comida nutritiva y agua limpia”.

Sin las afirmaciones de Blair acerca de unas supuestas armas de destrucción masiva con las que los iraquíes podrían provocar devastación en “45 minutos”, una mentira que citó el general Collin Powell en la ONU hace exactamente doce años, el 5 de febrero de 2003, los niños de Iraq podrían haber evitado unas “causas evitables” genocidas.

Por supuesto, la orden del Comando Central estadounidense de bombardear todas las instalaciones de agua de Iraq en 1991 había destruido deliberadamente la “comida nutritiva y el agua limpia”. El uso de armamento de uranio empobrecido, que contaminó toda la fauna y la flora, envenenó la comida. La vida media del uranio empobrecido es de 4.500 millones de años. Y no está “empobrecido”.

El uso posterior de armamento de uranio empobrecido en 2003, que Gran Bretaña volvió a utilizar bajo el gobierno de Blair (2), agravó la pesadilla de la contaminación.

La contaminación del aire, el agua y la comida de manera prácticamente indefinida condena a las generaciones futuras de quienes no ha nacido, de los recién nacidos y de los niños que están creciendo en Iraq y la región a un legado envenenado de cánceres y deformidades durante generaciones. Unos crímenes de guerra sin parangón en la historia.

Por otra parte, “el investigador especial del Subcomité de la ONU para la Promoción y Protección de los Derechos Humanos ha declarado que las municiones de uranio empobrecido son ilegales según el derecho humanitario existente. El armamento de uranio empobrecido también produce un humo metálico tóxico (sic) que viola el Protocolo de Ginebra sobre el empleo de gas en la guerra, firmado por Estados Unidos en 1975” (3).

Además, después de trece años del embargo impuesto por Gran Bretaña y Estados Unidos que provocó la muerte de una media de seis mil niños al mes debido a “causas relacionadas con el embargo”, según la ONU, el primer ministro Blair desempeñó un papel fundamental en instigar una guerra contra los niños: en 2003 la población de Iraq era de 24 millones de personas. Más del 40% de la población tenía entre 0 y 14 años. La edad media del país era de 19 años (4).

Al cabo de siete años de una guerra interminable, para el año 2010 más de una cuarta parte de los niños iraquíes sufrían síndrome de estrés postraumático (War Child Report, mayo de 2013). En los cinco años anteriores a la publicación del informe habían muerto 700 niños y jóvenes, una cifra que, como todas las referidas a Iraq, era casi con toda seguridad significativamente inferior a la real puesto que muchas muertes no están documentadas debido a las dificultades económicas, el miedo a la autoridad y los peligros que entrañan los viajes.

También en 2010 un estudio sobre los cánceres, la leucemia y los defectos congénitos relacionados con el uso del uranio empobrecido demostró que “[...] hay un aumento generalizado de los casos de cáncer, los de leucemia se han multiplicado por 38 y los de cáncer de mama por diez, al tiempo que la mortalidad infantil es desmedida”, en palabras de uno de los autores, el científico Malak Hamdan. (5)

“Invertimos en la infancia, cada día, en época de crisis y por nuestro futuro. Damos a los niños un punto de partida saludable, la oportunidad de aprender y protección”, afirma Save the Children en Facebook.

Esta organización debería investigar urgentemente lo que provocó su ganador del Premio Global al ignorar el informe de la ONU sobre la cantidad total de muertos y heridos publicado mes a mes, desde noviembre de 2012 hasta la fecha. (6) El año 2014 fue “el más mortífero hasta la fecha desde 2008”, que había sido el más mortífero desde 2005 en el interminable infierno anual de Iraq. Estas cifras deberían estar grabadas en la lápida de Blair.

Mientras Tony Blair y los demás artífices de la invasión celebraban la Navidad y el Año Nuevo, el 1 de enero de 2015 se anunciaba que “según las cifras de defunciones publicadas hoy por la UNAMI, en diciembre murieron un total de 1.101 iraquíes y otros 1.868 resultaron heridos en actos de terrorismo y violencia”.

En enero de 2015 no hubo indicio alguno de mejora.

Por supuesto, como señalamos antes, después de la matanza de 1991 los aviones estadounidenses y británicos siguieron bombardeando Iraq ilegalmente, a menudo a diario, en medio de las enormes privaciones de los años del embargo y hasta la guerra relámpago e invasión de 2003. Este ataque criminal se intensificó bajo el gobierno de Blair.

Como siempre, los niños fueron las principales víctimas. Después de un ataque aéreo en Bagdad los niños del principal orfanato se negaron a volver a dormir en las camas y se escondieron debajo de ellas ya que consideraban que era más seguro.

Cuando se bombardearon sistemáticamente los rebaños de ovejas y cabras (los iraquíes estaban convencidos de que se les iba a privar de todo tipo de alimento ya que se atacó y destruyó aproximadamente el 50% de todo el ganado, como antes había ocurrido con las preciosas palmeras, en 1991), se hizo volar en pedazos a los niños pastores junto con sus rebaños.

Como ya hemos contado en otras ocasiones, cuando llamé por teléfono al ministerio de Defensa de Blair y le pregunté por qué atacaban esos rebaños que siempre cuidaban niños muy pequeños, cuyas edades ni siquiera llegaban a dos cifras, el portavoz no perdió la compostura: “Nos reservamos el derecho de tomar medidas enérgicas cuando nos amenazan”, respondió.

Al recibir el premio Blair también afirmó: “Lo que celebramos es lo contrario de cinismo y la razón del optimismo”. No si eres un niño en Iraq o Afganistán, ya que este último país también ha sido diezmado e invadido con ayuda de su ejército.

En Reino Unido Miranda Pinch se sintió tan indignada con la concesión del premio que inmediatamente elaboró una petición de condena por haber galardonado a Blair que reunió 125.000 firmas. Junto con Robin Priestly de la organización “38 Degrees” y la escritora Miranda Landgraf la entregó al director de política y promoción de Save the Children de reino Unido, Brendan Cox, el 31 de enero.

Landgraf tambión es bordadora profesional de ganchillo. “Entregamos a Brendon Cox tres cestos con 490 flores tejidas a ganchillo con el nombre y la edad (cuando la sabíamos) de un niño víctima de Gaza. Se podrían haber entregado otras muchas flores más que representaran a los niños inocentes que han muerto en todo Oriente Próximo bajo la mirada de Blair en los diferentes papeles que ha desempeñado”, escribe Miranda Pinch al describir la reunión. (7)

Brendan Cox aceptó hacer una declaración pública referente a la debacle de Blair y al “error de juicio” de su colega Justin Forsyth, ex asesor especial de Blair y actualmente director de Save the Children de Reino Unido. Él fue quien entregó personalmente a Blair la invitación al premio.

Después de la reunión y de algunas negociaciones Miranda Pinch recibió una carta (8) de Brendan Cox, en la que entre otras cosas se decía:

Como usted sabe, esta fue una decisión tomada por la organización Save the Children de Estados Unidos y aunque nos hicieron partícipes de la decisión e hicimos llegar la invitación a su oficina a petición de ellos, nosotros no participamos en el proceso de toma de decisiones. Visto de manera retrospectiva, deberíamos haber previsto la controversia que podría generar ”. Efectivamente, deberían haberla previsto.

“Por varias razones, Save the Children de Reino Unido no habría tomado esta decisión ”.

Lo verdaderamente endiablado es lo siguiente: “No es que Tony Blair no merezca que se reconozca el liderazgo que mostró en África (lo merece), sino que sus otras acciones, especialmente las de Iraq, a las que Save the Children se opuso firmemente en su momento, ensombrecen la consideración que el público tienen de él en Reino Unido”.

Por supuesto, Blair ha ganado una fortuna asesorando a algunos de los controvertidos supuestos destructores de los derechos humanos en África. En la página web de su organización Africa Governance Initiative se puede leer:

“En estos momentos AGI trabaja en Rwada, Sierra Leona, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria y Senegal, y tienen nuevos países en perspectiva. Trabajamos en dos ámbitos: en el de liderazgo político Tony Blair se basa en sus diez años como primer ministro para ofrecer a los líderes el tipo de asesoramiento sobre reformas que solo alguien que ha desempeñado el papel de líder puede ofrecer”.

Dejando de lado la arrogancia de estas palabras, solo un psiquiatra podría comprender cómo sus “diez años como primer ministro”, los cuales incluyen eliminar niños y sus familias, participar en engaños para justificar una invasión ilegal y emprender otra (Afganistán), además de diezmar la antigua Yugoslavia, cualifican a Blair para “ofrecer a los líderes el tipo de asesoramiento sobre reformas”.

Su implicación directa en el embargo de Iraq como primer ministro desde 1997 y la subsiguiente invasión ilegal no son un “ensombrecimiento”, sino un genocidio.

Una frase verdaderamente sorprendente de la carta de Brendan Cox es la siguiente: “La intención del Premio (de Save the Children Estados Unidos) era incentivar y reconocer el liderazgo político en el ámbito del desarrollo”.

“¿Liderazgo político en el ámbito del desarrollo?” Blair impuso la destrucción de la “Cuna de la civilización”, con lo que superó a las hordas mongolas con su destrucción de Bagdad en en año 1258.

La arremetida de Bush y Blair destruyó totalmente tesoros arqueológicos únicos, bibliotecas antiguas, manuscritos y monumentos de todo el país, además de las infraestructuras, el tejido social, la educación, la sanidad, el bienestar, todos los registros civiles (nacimiento, defunción, matrimonio, posesión de la tierra, archivos nacionales, etc), el medioambiente y la normalidad.

La cofundadora de Save the Children, Eglantyne Jebb, estableció la organización en Reino Unido en respuesta a las tragedias sufridas en Europa y de Rusia tras la Primera Guerra Mundial. Eglantyne Jebb “quería convertir los derechos y el bienestar de los niños en una cuestión fundamental en todo el mundo. Su “Declaración de los Derechos del Niño” fue adaptada por el precursor de la ONU, la Liga de las Naciones, e inspiró la actual Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño de la ONU”.

Tras asegurarme por teléfono de que la sede de Save the Children Internacional continúa en Londres, envié un correo electrónico: “Mi consulta principal es bastante sencilla. Si, por lo que sé, Orange Street (en el centro de Londres) es la “oficina central” de Save the Children Internacional, a) ¿por qué no se les consultó respecto a la concesión del premio a Tony Blair y b) ¿por qué no opinan respecto a anularlo?”.

Por el momento no ha habido respuesta. 

Notas: 

1. http://www.savethechildren.net/article/increasing-number-iraqi-children-displaying-signs-trauma-after-fleeing-violence-north

2. Daily Hansard – Written Answers, 22 July 2010 : Column 459W, Written Answers to Questions: Depleted Uranium 

3. http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/68824:craig-etchison–depleted-uranium-pernicious-killer-keeps-on-killing

4. http://www.indexmundi.com/en/facts/2003/iraq/demographics_profile.html

5. http://rt.com/news/uk-iraq-depleted-uranium/

6. http://www.uniraq.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=category&id=159:civilian-casualties&Itemid=633&lang=en

7. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-save-the-children-charity-from-giving-tony-blair-their-annual-global-legacy-award

8. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-campaign-to-revoke-war-criminal-tony-blairs-global-legacy-award-save-the-children-stc-responds-and-apologizes/5428784

9. http://www.africagovernance.org/africa/pages/our-approach

10. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/history#sthash.RTNZdYWk.dpuf

 

Fuente: http://www.globalresearch.ca/iraqs-children-ever-expendable-from-madeleine-albright-to-save-the-children/5430168

Traducido del inglés por Beatriz Morales Bastos. Rebelión

As the renowned Republican backroom operator Mark Hanna noted back in the late 19th century, “There are two things that matter in politics. One is money, and I can’t remember the other.”

Indeed, the fantastically wealthy Koch brothers proved in the recent U.S. congressional vote that organizing billionaires to buy elections is a lot easier than herding cats.

The Kochs raised $290 million from America’s mega-rich to win control of Congress, and are now raising a further $889 million in a bid to buy the Oval Office.

Here in Canada, we have tougher rules restricting the role of money in politics. But the Boy Scout aura surrounding our election financing laws appears to have lulled us into a bit of a coma.

With a federal election looming, two pressing questions involving the role of money in Canadian politics are attracting surprisingly little media attention.

The first: who owns Stephen Harper?

This isn’t a philosophical enquiry. It’s a straightforward question about the identity of the secret donors who paid the bill for Harper’s rise to power, first as leader of the Canadian Alliance and then the Conservative party.

Donors contributed more than $2 million to the prime minister’s two leadership bids, but the identities of some of the major donors have never been publicly disclosed, according to Ottawa-based corporate responsibility advocacy group Democracy Watch.

The group notes that there was nothing illegal about the donations under the election laws of the time. But anyone who believes that those secret donors don’t have a favoured place in Harper’s heart (such as it is) probably also believes that Mike Duffy has always lived in a little cottage in PEI.

In the 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership race, Harper disclosed some of his donors but kept secret 10 of the major ones. A list of donors to Harper’s Conservative party leadership race two years later was at one point posted on the party’s website but has since been removed.

At the time of those races, it was legal for leadership contenders to receive unlimited donations from corporations, including foreign-owned businesses operating in Canada.

“Big business and [its] executives could have given Harper hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations,” says Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher, who is currently a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Political Studies.

Although there’s no legal requirement for disclosure, Conacher argues that Harper should divulge the names of his donors for the same reasons of ethics and transparency that he so loudly trumpeted in his first election campaign.

Shouldn’t Canadians know, for instance, if Harper’s early leadership bids were significantly bankrolled by, say, the Koch brothers, who are among the largest lease-holders of Alberta’s tar sands and therefore have a huge financial stake in preventing Canada from limiting greenhouse gas emissions?

Have Harper’s radical policy departures in areas like energy, the environment and the Middle East been unduly influenced by large donors? And if not, why the secrecy?

On another election financing front, there’s been little outrage over the fact that the Harper government just eliminated a key law that was aimed at countering the power of Big Money in Canadian politics.

The law – under which Ottawa paid political parties a small $2 subsidy for every vote they received – was widely recognized as by far the most democratic aspect of our election financing framework, since it ensured that every vote cast in a federal election had some impact. Even if someone voted for a party that didn’t win, that voter managed to direct a small government subsidy to his or her chosen party. These subsidies added up to millions of dollars and were a key source of political funding, having the effect of giving equal weight to every vote no matter how rich or poor the person casting it.

So, naturally, Harper scrapped it. The next federal election (expected in the spring or fall) will be the first in which this quintessentially democratic aspect of our election financing laws no longer applies.

Of course, poorer folks still have the full legal right to take advantage of other government subsidies in our election financing system – except that they lack the money necessary to do so.

Individuals making contributions to political parties receive generous government subsidies through the tax system. An individual donating $400, for example, gets $300 back in tax savings. But you have to have a spare $400 in order to play this game.

That’s why only 2 per cent of Canadians make political donations. Not surprisingly, most of these contributors are in the upper income brackets.

So the bulk of the tax subsidies – which totalled $20 million in the 2009 election – go to this wealthier group, which enables them to increase their influence over our elections.

In fact, all aspects of our election financing system involve government subsidies. But only one – the now-removed pay-per-vote subsidy – distributed the subsidy in a way that didn’t favour the wealthy.

And Harper has also just increased the subsidy for wealthier Canadians by raising the limit on political donations from $2,400 to $3,000 a year ($4,500 in an election year). The new rules also hike the amount candidates can donate to their own campaigns from $1,200 to $5,000, and allow leadership candidates to donate $25,000 to their own campaigns.

Of course, the wealthy are able to influence the political process in other ways, too, most notably by shaping the public debate through their ownership of the media and by threatening to withdraw their capital from the economy if laws they don’t like are enacted.

In the recent U.S. congressional elections, the Koch brothers helped secure the victory of an unlikely band of far-right extremists who control both the House and Senate.

Among some 3 million political ads for both parties, there wasn’t a single mention of the issue of income inequality – either for it or against it, says Sam Pizzigati, editor of a newsletter on inequality at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.

The rich have effectively declared that subject – and the implication that they should face higher taxes – out of bounds. Given the extraordinary grip of the wealthy on so many aspects of society, why on earth wouldn’t we want to hold onto a law that, at least in one small way, gave a homeless person the same political power as a billionaire?

Linda McQuaig is an author and journalist. She ran for the NDP in the Toronto Centre by-election in 2013, and plans to seek the nomination again for the upcoming federal election.

With each passing day Great Britain is losing its reputation as a proud international power since becoming widely recognized for what it is – an obedient servant of Washington that is losing credibility at a record pace. Therefore, British authorities have been seeking ways to “achieve greatness.” At the same time, they realize perfectly well, given the deepening economic and social crisis in the United Kingdom, it could hardly aspire to achieve success in the reconstruction of its image as a great industrial power, a champion of naval warfare or a flourishing cultural center. No wonder then, that over the last decade Britain’s focus has been devoted to purely destructive activities, such as establishing conditions for new conflicts around the globe and providing “assistance” to the White House in its quest for military and political interventions in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and the list goes on.

It’s no coincidence then that the White House advised London to establish a special unit within its military structure – the British Cyber Command, transferring up to 1500 officers under its command just “for starters”. One must note that Washington has already created its own special unit for cyberwarfare back in 2009. This unit goes under the name of United States Cyber Command, with its headquarters being located at Fort Meade (Maryland).

According to The Guardian, the 77th brigade will formally come into being in April. The brigade will be carrying out covert operations on social networks exclusively, in an effort to spread disinformation and manipulate the population of certain countries, which should create “favorable conditions” for applying political pressure or the executing of regime change in strategically important regions of the world. Its headquarters will be located to the west of London in Newbury (Berkshire) while it’s official insignia will be the famous symbol of Chindits (a mythical god-like lion guarding temples in Myanmar and other countries in South-East Asia), that was used by a a British India ‘Special Force’ which participated in the suppression of guerrilla Japanese troops deep in the forests of Southeast Asia.

The use of social networks to overthrow unwanted regimes has been Washington’s modus operandi for decades now. This led to the creation of a whole industry of disinformation and the manipulation of public opinion. The events surrounding the Arab Spring, countless other color revolutions and the latest events in Ukraine can serve as a perfect example of how an unstable sociopolitical and economic situation in a country can be exploited by Western intelligence agencies to a achieve a radical change in the sovereign governments of other states .

In Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, Ukraine, and Hong Kong along with a number of other countries, social networks have been used to coordinate the movement of protest groups, which allowed the gathering of a considerable number of protesters in designated areas. Back in 2011 the The Guardian reported the US Department of Defense was developing special software designed solely for manipulating social network users into buying pro-American propaganda. This operation was codenamed Operation Earnest Voice. This software has been put to “good use” in Britain, the United States and other Western countries during the Ukraine crisis for mass distribution of misleading information about Russia. This operation went as far as attempting to rewrite the history of World War II, with the active participation of Polish and Baltic politicians.

The news on the creation of the 77th Brigade came short after the announcement made by Lieutenant General Marshall Webb the Commander, NATO Special Operations Forces HQ on the need to improve counter-information efforts against the Islamic State, as well as Russian and alternative media’s coverage of the true causes of the ongoing events in Ukraine, and the large scale extermination of the civilian population by Kiev military units. These concerns, along with the recent events in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, were the reason behind the assembly of a British cyber squad.

This new unit is hardly the UK’s first foray into cyberspace, as it has been using IT to achieve its goals for years. Back in 2007, under the secret project codenamed Prism, NSA and Britain’s GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), established a link with a number of international IT giants such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk , AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. Under this project security agencies were allowed to collect and exchange private information, along with using social networks to spread disinformation. From that moment on, secret services could read private e-mails and keep track of file transfers in the global information space, which allowed them to control the activities of the leaders of different countries, along with business representatives and foreign diplomats

While attempting to provide British authorities with an excuse to establish a national cyberwarfare squad, The Guardian notes that such units are being used extensively in the armies of the United States and Israel, where they are responsible for providing “informational support” for the policies that are being pursued by their respective governments. Israel can be considered a pioneer in modern cyberwarfare since Tzahal units have been using social networks to propagate aggressive propaganda during operations in the Gaza Strip as far back as 2008-2009. Today Tzahal is operating on more than 30 social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, to oppose Palestinian Hamas, Iran and other countries, including those outside the Middle Eastern region.

American and a number of other Western intelligence agencies are spending billions of dollars and Euros annually to keep secret programs in cyberspace up and running, while justifying this under the convenient guise of the “war on terror”, which is not only an assault upon the rights of Americans themselves, but also corroding democratic values in Europe and well beyond.

Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

On Tuesday, Contact Group envoys representing France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine held talks ahead of Wednesday’s Minsk summit attempt to resolve ongoing conflict conditions diplomatically.

Previous efforts failed. Will this time be different? Don’t bet on it. More on this below.”

Obama and Putin spoke. A White House statement combined the usual America supports peace rubbish with blaming Russia for US/Kiev crimes.

Obama turned truth on its head saying “if Russia continues its aggressive actions in Ukraine, including by sending troops, weapons, and financing to support the separatists, the costs for Russia will rise.”

Fact: Washington wants war, not peace. Stop NATO highlighted what’s ongoing headlining “US Deploys More Warplanes (in Europe) In Expanding (its) Anti-Russian Campaign.”

Fact: Russia alone continues going all-out for resolving Ukraine’s conflict diplomatically. It’s the only country supplying large amounts of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Donbas residents.

Washington and Kiev want them isolated, slaughtered and starved to death.

Fact: Conflict continues. Rebels continue making gains. At the same time, Colonel Cassad reported “a whole number of frontline cities…subjected to a large-sale artillery shelling of a terrorist nature…to improve the front line before Minsk” talks.

Reuters said rebel advances “diminished hopes (for a Minsk) deal.” Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) parliament Speaker Denis Pushilin said it’s too early to talk of a deal.

An unnamed Russian source said Minsk discussions will focus on creating a demilitarized zone – not a document resolving the conflict.

One rebel commander likely spoke for others saying fighting won’t stop with junta forces being battered.

“We are absolutely against” a ceasefire, he said. “They will have time to regroup. We have them now.”

Pushilin said success in Minsk “depends on (how) Contact Group (leaders) respond to our proposals.”

Lugansk negotiator Vladislav Deinego said “(w)e have handed over (to Contact Group members) a draft protocol outlining a set of measures of both political and military character aimed at a peaceful settlement of the situation.”

Military measures are “temporary,” he explained. “Achieving a stable peace is possible only through a political solution” granting Donbas political autonomy.

previous article explained failed Moscow peace talks. On Wednesday, Hollande, Merkel and Putin continue discussions.

Illegitimate oligarch Ukraine president Poroshenko joined them. Expect no more success now than earlier.

Obama wants war, not peace. He didn’t initiate proxy conflict to quit. He wants total control over Ukraine nationwide.

He wants it as a platform to target Russia. Things head perilously closer to direct confrontation.

Last November, the London-based European Leadership Network (ELN) think tank explained at least 40 NATO/Russian forces near misses.

Saying relations between both sides are characterized by “mistrust, fear, and shortened leadership decision times…(A) volatile stand-off between (nuclear powers) could prove catastrophic.”

Given Washington’s rage for war, fears may become reality. Things perhaps are closer to nuclear confrontation than ever before.

Washington bears full responsibility. Its rage for world dominance may cause armageddon.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) “speak(s) knowledge to power.” It calls today’s threat “serious.” Time is short to resolve things, it stresses.

Its Doomsday Clock shows three minutes to midnight. The only time it’s been there since 1984. At the time, it noted US/Soviet Russia “icy nadir” relations.

“Every channel of communications (was) constricted or shut down; every form of contact has been attenuated or cut off. And arms control negotiations (were) reduced to a species of propaganda.”

In late January, BAS headlined “2015: IT IS 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT,” saying:

“Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.”

“These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.”

“(T)he United and Russia have embarked on massive programs to modernize their nuclear triads – thereby undermining existing nuclear weapons treaties.”

“The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty – ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.”

Some historical perspective: In 1947, BAS began Doomsday Clock readings. At the time, it stood at 7 minutes to midnight.

In 1949, it plunged to 3 minutes to midnight after Soviet Russia tested its first nuclear device – “officially starting an arms race.”

In 1953, it was at 2 minutes to midnight after America tested its first thermonuclear (H-bomb) device. Nine months later, Soviet Russia tested its own.

In 1960, the Clock stood at 7 minutes to midnight. “For the first time, (US and Soviet Russian officials) appear(ed) eager to avoid direct confrontation,” said BAS.

In 1963, it was at 12 minutes to midnight after both sides signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty. All atmospheric testing ended.

In 1968, it was 7 minutes to midnight because of America’s escalating Vietnam War. Other disturbing issues included France and China developing nuclear weapons.

At the time, BAS said:

“There is little reason to feel sanguine about the future of our society on the world scale.”

“There is a mass revulsion against war, yes; but no sign of conscious intellectual leadership in a rebellion against the deadly heritage of international anarchy.”

In 1969, the Clock stood at 10 minutes to midnight after nearly all nations agreed to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.

Israel, India and Pakistan notably remain nuclear outlaws. Washington most of all despite being an NPT signatory.

In 1972, the clock was at 12 minutes to midnight after America and Russia signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) and Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).

Washington never observed SALT provisions. In December 2001, Bush abandoned ABM, renounced NPT, and asserted the right to develop and test new nuclear weapons.

He refused to adopt proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) provisions, prohibiting further weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production.

He rescinded the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC),  prohibiting development off new biowarfare weapons.

He renounced the 1989 US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act prohibiting “the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons.”

Obama continues potentially humanity destroying Bush policies. He escalated them by proxy war in Ukraine. Goading Russia into possible catastrophic conflict. More on this below.

In 1974, BAS’ Doomsday Clock stood at 9 minutes to midnight after India tested it first nuclear device.

In 1980, it was at 7 minutes to midnight 35 years after the start of the nuclear age. At the time, BAS said:

Soviet Russia and America “behav(e) like what may best be described as ‘nucleoholics’ – drunks who continue to insist that the drink being consumed is positively ‘the last one,’ but who can always find a good excuse for ‘just one more round.’ ”

In 1981, the Clock was at 4 minutes to midnight after Soviet Russia’s Afghanistan invasion hardened America’s nuclear posture.

In 1984, it registered 3 minutes to midnight after dialogue between the world’s superpowers “virtually stop(ped).”

“The United States seems to flout the few arms control agreements in place by seeking an expansive, space-based anti-ballistic missile capability, raising worries that a new arms race will begin,” said BAS.

In 1988, the Clock was at 6 minutes to midnight after America and Russia signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

In 1990, it registered 10 minutes to midnight in the wake of the Berlin Wall’s fall.

In 1991, it was at 17 minutes to midnight after America and Russia began nuclear arsenal reductions.

“The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security (was) stripped away,” said BAS.

In 1995, the Clock registered 14 minutes to midnight after hopes for renouncing nuclear weapons faded.

Especially because US “hard-liners (don’t) soften their rhetoric or actions (then or now)…(T)hey claim that a resurgent Russia could provide as much of a threat as the Soviet Union,” said BAS.

In 1998, the Clock stood at 9 minutes to midnight after India and Pakistan held nuclear weapons tests three weeks apart.

In 2002, it dropped to 7 minutes to midnight after Washington expressed intent to develop and produce more destructive nuclear weapons.

In 2007, it was at 5 minutes to midnight with America and Russia “ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes,” said BAS.

In 2010, it was at 6 minutes to midnight during US/Russian Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty follow-up talks.

In 2012, it registered 5 minutes to midnight. “(I)t is difficult to see where the capacity lies to address(ing)” the challenge of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons,” said BAS.

It’s now “3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT.” Potentially things head disastrously toward a dangerous all-time low.

Neocons infesting Washington deplore peace. They want endless wars. They want all independent countries eliminated.

They want planet earth colonized. All nations made subservient to US interests. US-dominated NATO used as a global police force.

Wars on humanity without end to exert and maintain control. Lunatics in charge risk potential life-ending nuclear war with Russia.

BAS warnings go unheeded. Obama heads recklessly toward what no responsible leader would dare. The unthinkable may become reality.

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 real suspense of the Ukrainian crisis centers on the legalization of the US lethal weapons supply to Kiev “to protect it against Russian aggression.” However, it is unclear precisely what sort of weapons would be needed to give Kiev an advantage. In the war against Novorossia, Kiev has been using small arms and armored vehicles, multiple launch rocket systems, artillery, cluster and phosphorus ammunition, tactical missiles and, until recently, aircraft (as of last fall the militia had destroyed almost all of Ukraine’s airworthy military aircraft).

We are using the word “legalization” deliberately. Because in fact, NATO has long been supplying Kiev with illegal weapons through Poland, Lithuania, and other countries. There is no shortage of evidence (watch e.g. a video below). Bizarrely, the odious Senator McCain is arguing that only because the Ukrainian army lacks conventional weapons is it being forced to use these banned weapons of mass destruction against the citizens of the Donbass.

However, even if Kiev receives the most modern weapons, that does not at all guarantee that they will be fired in the right direction. Unmotivated Ukrainian soldiers and officers, more interested in making money than war, often simply sell arms and ammunition to their opponents. Many weapons find their way onto the “black market” – in the past year the price of weapons in Ukraine has fallen by one-half to two-thirds. An AK-47 can be picked up nowadays in Kiev for $500-600, and a grenade for $8-10.

And this buying and selling also takes place outside of Ukraine’s borders.

During the years of Ukraine’s independence, arms from Ukrainian depots have mushroomed across the globe, from time to time “cropping up” in hot spots. The most memorable incident was in September 2008, when Somali pirates captured the MV Faina, a ship carrying approximately 30 Ukrainian tanks, as well as grenade launchers, small arms, MANPADS, and ammunition. Although the Ukrainian government hastily persuaded Kenya to accept the cargo, few doubted that the payload’s original destination were the rebels in then unrecognized South Sudan.

On Feb. 6, 2015, reports surfaced claiming that the weapons Kiev was getting from its Western partners were being resold to Syria. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Petro Mehed, and the Syrian Brigadier General Talal Makhlouf (a crony of Bashar al-Assad as well as his closest relative on his mother’s side) were behind that deal. One juicy tidbit - the money obtained from selling arms to Syria ended up in personal accounts belonging to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.

Mehed Mahlouf letter

According to a CyberBerkut leak dated Nov 25, 2014, Ukraine requested Pentagon for 400 sniper rifles and 2,000 assault rifles, 720 grenade launchers, about 200 mortars, missile systems, and also various types of military equipment and ammunition. The American weapons that were listed in a letter from the Ukrainian deputy minister of defense to the Syrian general are almost identical to the arms that officials in Kiev had requested for the Ukrainian armed forces.

A non-paper, handed by the Ukrainian military officials
to Joe Biden’ staff during his visit to Kiev on Nov 20-21, 2014.4.1

4.2

This means that shipping weapons to Ukraine is no different from putting them on the global black market or providing them to the Syrian government that is battling the pro-Western opposition.

Andrey Polevoy is the international policy analyst based in Moscow.

A new bipartisan bill engineered by AIPAC was introduced in Congress yesterday that ties the rejection of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to future U.S. trade agreements with the European Union. H.R.825, The Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act (pdf) was sponsored by Congressmen Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Juan Vargas (D-CA) and the Israel lobby has been behind the scenes pushing it for months.

press release issued from Congressman Roskam’s website implies the legislation intends to leverage U.S. trade to protect Israel’s economic security:

This bipartisan bill would counter the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and strengthen the U.S.-Israel economic relationship. Over the past several years, a growing contingency of countries across the globe have sought to isolate and delegitimize Israel through BDS. This bill leverages ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective U.S. trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel….”The U.S-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act will ensure that American free trade partners never engage in this harmful and illegitimate political protest against Israel, while also protecting U.S. companies from foreign lawsuits targeting their associations with Israel.”

Israeli news reports and several American Jewish publications have reported the proposed legislation although it has yet to be picked up by any mainstream U.S. news publication.

JTA reports the bill

makes rejecting the BDS movement a prerequisite for moving ahead with a U.S.-EU trade plan that proponents say could be the largest free trade deal in history.

“Today, an alarming number of countries within the European Union and beyond have embraced BDS as a form of economic warfare aimed to cripple Israel’s economy and demonize its very existence,” Roskam said Tuesday. “These attacks not only threaten Israel but commercial relations across the globe.”

AIPAC’s report, Bipartisan Bill Battles the BDS Movement and Boosts U.S.-Israel Economic Relationship, makes no mention of their involvement in the drafting of the legislation although Rosie Grey’s Sept. 2014 Buzzfeed article, Pro-Israel Activists Aim To Block Boycott Movement With Legislation, reports AIPAC had been working on the draft for months:

The most powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization, AIPAC, is working on drafting legislation that would aim to counter the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, two sources familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed News.

The legislation, which has not yet been introduced and has been in the process of being drafted for months, would aim to prevent U.S. companies from participating in the campaign without infringing on Americans’ First Amendment rights to political speech. It would also try to make the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the U.S. and E.U. conditional on whether the E.U. takes action to stop BDS.

“The biggest provisions would be authorizing states and local governments to divest from companies deemed to be participating in BDS; denial of federal contracts to such companies; and threatening the conditioning of the US-EU free trade pact on the EU taking action to stop BDS activities within its jurisdictions,” said a Republican foreign policy adviser familiar with the legislation. The bill, the adviser said, originated with a former top aide to Illinois Senator Mark Kirk and has now been “expanded” by AIPAC, which is working with House and Senate offices on the draft.

“This legislation could really change the global dynamic with respect to BDS — in effect, it’s a boycott of those who boycott,” the adviser said. “It applies the successes we learned from Iran sanctions and applies them to those who seek Israel’s political destruction.”

Why are we prioritizing Israel’s fight against BDS in our trade negotiations with Europe?

Here’s some gloating by Hana Levi Julian at The Jewish Press:

If Europe wants to enjoy the benefits of what could be the largest free trade deal in history, the leaders of its member nations will have to pay a price: they must agree to reject the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, say two U.S. Representatives – one from each side of the political aisle.

…But there’s a catch. The legislation will “leverage ongoing trade negotiations to discourage prospective U.S. trade partners from engaging in economic discrimination against Israel, said Representatives Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), who co-sponsored the bill.

It’s not a done deal yet. The legislation, which the Jerusalem Post reports is “over a year in the making” still needs to make it way through committee:

Characterized foremost as trade legislation, authors of the bill expect passage to the House floor through the Committee on Ways and Means, where Roskam is a member and chairman of the committee Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was thoroughly consulted on the bill’s crafting.

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

The new SYRIZA-led Greek government, elected on an ‘anti-austerity’ platform, has presented its proposals for an alternative debt management regime to an emergency meeting of Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

Various options continue to be discussed, including a ‘bridging’ loan to meet short-term cash needs in advance of a comprehensive settlement; swapping some of the debt for ‘growth-bonds’ – a kind of perpetual bond that only pays the holder a dividend when there has been ‘growth’; a partial write-down of a portion of the debt; and a downward revision of the memoranda stipulated primary surplus targets.

The German government continues to stand firm against any re-negotiation of the ‘bailout’ terms initially ‘negotiated’ in 2010. These mandated that, in return for an (eventual) total of €240 billion in loans and a partial write-down of the debt owed to private creditors, the Greek regime implement a drastic regime of de-regulation and privatisation. The loans were to be payed off by selling off public assets, cutting social expenditure, reducing labour costs and raising fiscal revenues.

The Impact of Austerity

The impact of the austerity regime has been catastrophic. In a paper (1) written in 2013, Maria Markantonatou, an academic at the University of the Aegean in Greece, detailed the impact of the ‘internal devaluation’ that Greece was required to implement in return for the loan package:

  • –– Vicious circle of recession.The continuous drop in GDP, in 2011 surpassing the historical maximum for the entire postwar period, led to a rapid reduction in domestic demand. Lower production led to dismissals and the loss of thousands of jobs, further amplifying recession.
  • –– Unemployment had already more than doubled within the first three years of austerity and reached 25.4 percent in August 2012. More than half of the population between 15–24 years old is unemployed (57 percent; Eurostat 2012), while thousands of jobs have been lost under conditions of insufficient social protection. Given the continuation of the crisis, the new unemployed become the chronic unemployed.
  • –– Rapid labor deterioration, as shown by the increase of precarious and uninsured work, insecurity, degrading payments, weakening of labour rights, and deregulation of labour agreements.
  • –– Strangling of the lower middle class, traditionally consisting of small and medium sized enterprises. A great number of such enterprises (family-owned or not) were unable to survive declining consumption, lack of liquidity, and emergency taxes. More than 65,000 of them closed down in 2010 alone, resulting in a “clearance” of such enterprises and disaffecting the people dependent on them.
  • –– Migration of younger, highly educated people has risen (“brain drain”), while those studying and living abroad are discouraged to return to Greece, and those who previously would have stayed, are now leaving.
  • –– Homelessness increased by 25 percent from 2009 to 2011. Along with the pre-crisis and “hidden” immigrant homelessness, a generation of “neohomeless” now exists who include those with medium or higher educational backgrounds who previously belonged to the social middle.
  • –– Suicides hit record levels, increasing by 25 percent from 2009 to 2010 and by an additional 40 percent from 2010 to 2011.
  • –– Deterioration of public health evidenced by reduced access to health care services and an increase of 52 percent in HIV infections from 2010 to 2011. Drug prevention centers and psychiatric clinics have closed down due to budget cuts.

To this, one could also add a worrying political impact – that a country with a traditionally weak far right now has one of the largest organised Neo-nazi movements in Europe. In the 2015 legislative elections the ‘Golden Dawn’ secured third place in the popular vote.

‘A Precautionary Tale of the Welfare State?’

But didn’t the Greeks bring this upon themselves? A common view, especially in Northern Europe and the Anglosphere, is that indeed they did. The usual suspects feature in what has become a common neo-liberal narrative – the sordid tale of a welfarist ‘clientelist’ regime with a history of rewarding ‘rent-seeking’ by organised labour, public sector workers and welfare recipients.

Aristides Hatzis, Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Law at the University of Athens, a confirmed neo-liberal and believer in neo-classical economic theory who runs the Greek Crisis blog, expresses the view well when he claims, speaking of the historical causes of the crisis, that ‘Pasok’s economic policies were catastrophic; they created a deadly mix of a bloated and inefficient welfare state with stifling intervention and overregulation of the private sector.’ He goes on to claim that ‘today’s result is the outcome of a disastrous competition between the parties to offer patronage, welfare populism, and predatory statism to their constituencies‘(2).

The title of his article encapsulates this view admirably: Greece as a Precautionary Tale of the Welfare State. A generation of neo-liberal ideology means these sorts of arguments appeal to a wide range of ‘common sense’ views of how economics works. But as is often the case, this kind of ‘common sense’, when exposed to the uncommon facts, turns out to be ideology disguised as insight.

Thanasis Maniatis, Associate Professor in Economics at the University of Athens (3), has shown that Greek Labour – defined as persons who earn or earned their livelihood from the sale of their labour power, whether currently active or retired, together with their dependents – is a net creditor to the Greek state. In other words, when you factor in all the income and benefit flows and discount all the tax flows, the working class give more to the state than they receive.

In the course of this proof, Maniatis shows that, according to OECD figures for social expenditure as a percentage of GDP, Greece spent 10.3% in 1980, 19.3% in 2000 and 23.5% in 2011. The equivalent figures for Germany are 22.1%, 26.6% and 26.2%. The EU average in in 2011 was 24.9%. When it comes to social spending, far from being bloated, Greece has only just caught up.

The most interesting figures quoted by Maniatis are those from Eurostat comparing averaged values as a percentage of GDP for public expenditure, taxes and deficits between 1995-2012 for the EU-15 and Greece. These show clearly that the major issue in Greece is on the revenue side, not the expenditure side.

The Greek average for government expenditure, at 48.7%, is only 0.6% higher than the EU-15 average. However, the Greek figure for government revenue is 3.6% below the EU-15 average. The Greek budget deficit average is 4.3% higher than the EU-15 average. So it is quite clear that the Greek budget deficit is driven by a relative shortfall of revenue rather than an excess of expenditure when averaged out over the 1995-2012 period and compared with the fiscal regimes of the other EU-15 nations. Far from being ‘bloated’, she is ‘underfed’.

Maniatis also shows that whereas Greece spent less on education, health and social protection than the EU-15 over the 1995-2012 period, she spent considerably more on interest payments (6.9% compared to 3.5% for the EU-15), general public expenditures – judiciary, police, administration costs etc (12.2% compared to 7% for the EU-15), and defense expenditures (2.9% compared to 1.6% for the EU-15). Where there is ‘bloating’, it is the bankers and the state who benefit.

Why is Greece so poor at collecting taxes? In 2011, Professor Friedrich Schneider of Linz University estimated that in 2010 the Greek black economy was worth 25.5 % of GDP (compared to 10.7% in the UK, 13.9% in Germany, 19.4% in Spain and 21.8% in Italy). The spread in the relative size of the black economy across European countries is commonly linked to variations in levels of self-employment. In 2013, according to Eurostat, Greece had the highest rates of self-employment in the EU (31.9% compared to an EU average of 15%). Next highest is Italy at 23.4%. The main structural factor behind varying levels of self-employment in the EU is the size of the agricultural sector and the nature of rural property ownership – in other words, levels of self-employment are related to the size of the agricultural and rural petit-bourgeoisie and modes of rural property ownership. Far from being the result of some uniquely Greek or welfarist propensity to corruption, the low levels of tax collection in Greece stem from well known structural determinants.

Greece spends twice as much as the EU-15 average on servicing its debt – a debt incurred not to pay for relatively high levels of expenditure, but to cover for relatively low levels of revenue. Finally, the Greek government bureaucracy seems to do very well from expenditure, compared to the EU average, as does the military. Greece has the highest levels of defense expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) of any NATO member except the notoriously profligate US government. The major overseas benefactor of Greek defense contracts is, of course, the USA.

It seems then that if ‘clientelism’ is a factor in Greek fiscal woes, then the major ‘clients’ are the elements in the professional and agricultural petit-bourgeoisie who don’t pay their taxes, the civil service, the army and the overseas banks – not organised labour, the public sector, the unemployed, the sick and the elderly. While it is true that the latter have increased their ‘share of the pie’ since 2000, this has been in line with EU trends. Between 1990-2011, social expenditure as a percentage of GDP across the EU-21 rose from 20.6% to 24.9%. In the UK it rose from 16.7% to 23.9%. In France from 25.1% to 32.1%. While in Greece it rose from 16.6% to 23.5%.

Furthermore, the Greeks have worked hard for these gains. According to the OECD, for the period 2000 to 2013, the average Greek worked roughly 500 hours more per year than the average German, and about 400 hours per year more than the average Briton. Also according to the OECD, the average Greek retirement age is slightly above the average German retirement age. According to the EU (Eurofound), Greeks receive an annual average of 23 vacations days per annum, compared to 30 for Germany.

Has Greece benefited from the Eurozone?

How has the Eurozone impacted Greece? Between 2000-7, Greece, Italy and Spain’s trade deficits with Germany doubled, while Portugal’s quadrupled. Germany’s trade surplus with the rest of the EU tripled in the same period. The Eurozone countries running a trade deficit with Germany no longer have recourse to monetary policy to protect themselves from a more competitive economy. In addition, Germany benefits as their creditor, recycling surplus Euros as loans to the deficit countries. The recycling of capital from Germany back to her Eurozone export markets was a major driver of the Spanish and Irish property asset bubbles. And it is no coincidence that when the Greek crisis broke in 2010 the majority of privately-owned Greek government debt was held by German banks.

In October 2013, the US Treasury Department’s currency report noted:

“Within the euro area, countries with large and persistent surpluses need to take action to boost domestic demand growth and shrink their surpluses. Germany has maintained a large current account surplus throughout the euro area financial crisis, and in 2012, Germany’s nominal current account surplus was larger than that of China. Germany’s anemic pace of domestic demand growth and dependence on exports have hampered rebalancing at a time when many other euroarea countries have been under severe pressure to curb demand and compress imports in order to promote adjustment. The net result has been a deflationary bias for the euro area, as well as for the world economy. …Stronger domestic demand growth in surplus European economies, particularly in Germany, would help to facilitate a durable rebalancing of imbalances in the euro area

Germany’s commitment to a conservative fiscal policy, low inflation, low wages and export-led growth means that the most powerful economy in the Eurozone, rather than leading the Eurozone out of recession, is leading the Eurozone into debt – mainly to German banks.

There are fundamental structural issues at play here. The German regime seems to be leveraging her economic dominance in the Eurozone to run up significant trade surpluses with the peripheral Eurozone economies. The capital inflows are then recycled back to the debtor economies as loans. A conservative domestic fiscal and inflationary policy preserves Germany’s competitive advantage.

While the Eurozone seems to have been a boon to the German economy, the same cannot be said for Greece.

Austerity is not for all

Is the Greek regime under a moral obligation to repay the debt? Put in more concrete terms – do the primary victims of austerity politics – labour, pensioners, the sick and the poor – ‘owe’ their suffering to the creditors of the Greek government? Perhaps those among us who are especially prone to bourgeois morality should consider some other recent examples of governments and central banks doling out the cash before becoming overly puritanical about Greek repayments.

For example, between 2008 and 2011, the European Commission approved €4.5 trillion in aid to the financial sector – equivalent to 36.7% of EU GDP (4). Judging by the continued profitability and equity values of many of the banks that benefited from this unparalleled act of emergency public assistance to prop up a failing private sector, the concepts of ‘conditionality’ and ‘austerity’ do not apply when it comes to loans to the financial sector. Or rather, they do apply – but in this case not to the recipients of the largesse, but to the rest of us who are forced to accept cuts in wages and social benefits as governments seek to claw back some of their loses.

And while Greece has had to borrow its way out of debt, governments are able and willing to exercise a sovereign right to ‘create’ money – as and when they see fit. This is referred to as ‘Quantitative Easing’- essentially, the central bank creates money by fiat and uses it to buy short-term financial instruments – especially bonds – from private banks and investors. This keeps prices high and yields low, enabling the central bank to keep the cost of borrowing down. It also injects rivers of capital into the financial sector (no austerity required in return). At the end of 2014 the US Federal Reserve had acquired $4.5 trillion worth of assets as part of its ‘Quantitative Easing’ program. The Bank of England has spend about ₤0.5 trillion on QE. The ECB has just recently announced it is about to begin a cycle of Quantitative Easing.

A Gift for Greece?

The EU/IMF establishment did not implement the Greek bailout as an act of social salvation. In 2010, the US ratings agencies exercised their apparent power to declare nation states bankrupt by rating Greek bonds as ‘junk’ grade. Private capital flows dried up and Greece faced an imminent liquidity crisis. At that stage, the EU/ECB/IMF stepped in. The proximate cause of the crisis was the revelation that the Greek government had lied for a decade about the true state of fiscal finances.

Government fiscal estimates had consistently over-estimated revenues, and statistical information provided to the EU and to the markets had frequently been criticised as inaccurate and misleading. In 2010, it was alleged that the Greek regime had payed private investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, hundreds of millions in fees to arrange under-the-radar financial deals that enabled the Greek government to mislead the EU about compliance with EU fiscal governance. In 2010, when Eurostat revised its statistical profile of the Greek economy, the 2009 fiscal deficit estimate was almost doubled from about 7% to about 16%, and the 2009 debt-to-GDP ratio estimate was revised upwards from 113% to 130%. At that stage, private funding of government debt virtually dried up.

Who benefited from the liquidity released to Greece as part of the Bailout deal? Clearly not the Greek people – least of all the Greek working class. In fact, up to a quarter flowed straight to the private banks that held maturing Greek debt (5). And of course by that stage the Hedge funds had got involved, offloading a lot of the high-risk debt from the commercial banks in between the first and second tranches of loans.

The popular perception is that the troika stepped in to bail out the Greek people. The reality is that the troika advanced the Greek government the liquidity required to cover its debt maturity obligations to the banking sector as well as its cash needs. In return, it forced the Greek regime to begin to claw back the loan (plus interest) from the Greek people via a drastic austerity regime.

SYRIZA…

In the legislative elections of 2015, the people of Greece elected what some are claiming is, on paper, the most radical left-wing government to come to power in Europe since the Spanish and French Popular Fronts of 1936. In the follow up, we will examine what SYRIZA’s options are for dealing with the Greek crisis.

Notes:

1 Maria Markantonatou – Diagnosis, Treatment, and Effects of the Crisis in Greece: A “Special Case” or a “Test Case”?, Max Planck Institute Discussion Paper 13/3, February 2013

2 Aristides Hatzis – “Greece as a Precautionary Tale of the Welfare State”, After the Welfare State, Students for Liberty, 2012.

3 Thanasis Maniatis – “The fiscal crisis in Greece: whose fault?”, Greek Capitalism in Crisis, Routledge, 2015.

4 A Cautionary Tale, Oxfam Briefing paper 174, September 2013.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/02/21/greek-bailout-deal-a-farce-to-benefit-banks-at-the-expense-of-greece/

Counterblast is a new blog of news and views featuring original posts by LJ Reynolds.

President Barack Obama has said the reality of “American leadership” at times entails “twisting the arms” of states which “don’t do what we need them to do,” and that the US relied on its military strength and other leverage to achieve its goals.

In a broad-ranging interview with Vox, which Obama himself described as a venue “for the brainiac-nerd types,” the US president both denied the efficacy of a purely “realist” foreign policy but also arguing that at times the US, which has a defense budget that exceeds the next 10 countries combined, needed to rely on its military muscle and other levers of power.

Lauding the rule-based system to emerge in the post-World War II era, Obama admitted it wasn’t perfect, but argued “the UN, the IMF, and a whole host of treaties and rules and norms that were established really helped to stabilize the world in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise be.”

He argued, however, that the efficacy of this idealistic, Wilsonian, rule-based system was severely tested by the fact that “there are bad people out there who are trying to do us harm.”

In the president’s view, the reality of those threats has compelled the US to have “the strongest military in the world.” Obama further says that “we occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do if it weren’t for the various economic or diplomatic or, in some cases, military leverage that we had — if we didn’t have that dose of realism, we wouldn’t get anything done, either.”

‘We occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do’

Obama argues that the US doesn’t have “military solutions” to all the challenges in the modern world, though he goes on to add that “we don’t have a peer” in terms of states that could attack or provoke the United States.

“The closest we have, obviously, is Russia, with its nuclear arsenal, but generally speaking they can’t project the way we can around the world. China can’t, either. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined,” he said.

Within this context, Obama said that “disorder” stemming from “failed states” and “asymmetric threats from terrorist organizations” were the biggest challenges facing the international community today.

Obama also argued that tackling these and other problems entailed “leveraging other countries” and“other resources” whenever possible, while also recognizing that Washington is “the lead partner because we have capabilities that other folks don’t have.”

‘We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined’

This approach, he said, also led to “some burden-sharing and there’s some ownership for outcomes.”

When asked about the limits of American power, Obama conceded that there were things that his administration simply cannot do in terms of power projection, but remained upbeat.

“Well, American leadership, in part, comes out of our can-do spirit. We’re the largest, most powerful country on Earth. As I said previously in speeches: when problems happen, they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow. They call us. And we embrace that responsibility. The question, I think, is how that leadership is exercised. My administration is very aggressive and internationalist in wading in and taking on and trying to solve problems.”

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations meeting in New York September 25, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations meeting in New York September 25, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

This appeal to US leadership, which has often been couched within the notion of American exceptionalism, has regularly been questioned by Moscow.

‘American leadership, in part, comes out of our can-do spirit’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took issue with the notion past September, following Obama’s speech before the UN in which the US president named “Russian aggression in Europe” along with the Ebola epidemic and ISIS as threats to international peace and security.

Lavrov said that Obama’s address to the UN was the “speech of a peacemaker – the way it was conceived,” but added that he had “failed to deliver, if one compares it to real facts.”

The Russian foreign minister added that Obama had presented a worldview based on the exceptionality of the United States.

“That’s the worldview of a country that has spelt out its right to use force arbitrarily regardless of the UN Security Council’s resolutions or other international legal acts in its national defense doctrine,” Lavrov said.

In a September 2013 Op-Ed article in the New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the concept of American exceptionalism was a precarious one in the global arena.

“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote. “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

At least 300 migrants are feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa this week in rough seas, the UN says. This follows other previous death that would have been prevented if the root causes of the illegal immigration are addressed rather than addressing the symptoms of the illegal immigration.

UN officials and the European Union have continued to call this unfortunate loss of life as a tragedy, unacceptable, but in reality they have done little or nothing to address this modern human voluntary massacre. The UNHCR official Vincent Cochetel said it was a “tragedy on an enormous scale”. The Mediterranean Sea has become an international cemetery for not only economic immigrants but  also the most persecuted human beings from Countries like Eritrea, Gambia, or conflict countries like Syria, Iraq just to mention a few.

The few lucky Survivors brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa said they were forced to risk the bad weather on ill-equipped vessels by human traffickers in Libya.  These illegal immigrants were rescued from two of four dinghies that got into trouble after leaving Libya for Europe on Saturday. The life before and after boarding the human traffickers boats are unbearable because those rescued on Wednesday morning had spent days drifting without food or water in two of the other dinghies – with each said to be carrying more than 100 people.

While some wreckage of boats carrying the illegal immigrants might be seen, others disappear at sea, it is estimated that almost the majority of boats that set off to Europe, just a tiny fraction arrive, and the rest disappear at the sea.

Persecution and Conflicts fuel illegal immigration 

“This is a tragedy on an enormous scale and a stark reminder that more lives could be lost if those seeking safety are left at the mercy of the sea,” Mr Cochetel said in a statement. While the International community and other humanitarian agencies cannot stop conflicts, they can never the less intervene to explore the causes of these mass illegal immigrations and come up with a road map on the future plan of action.

The Mediterranean human tragedy is not European or Italian problem but an international problem that the World is facing, like the global warming, human illegal immigration has its roots causes which should be addressed by the combined effort of the international community as a whole.

As Pope Francis acknowledged while addressing the European Parliament that Europe cannot afford to see the Mediterranean Sea to become a vast cemetery , so the World cannot afford to keep a deaf ear on the continued mass loss of human life. In a speech to the European Parliament last year, Pope Francis called for a “united response” to the issue, warning that the Mediterranean could not be allowed to become a “vast cemetery”.

Similarly, Justin Forsyth, the chief executive of Save the Children, said: “How many of these tragedies can the international community watch from the shores before we are morally compelled to respond?”. “It is not acceptable to prioritise border control over life-saving rescue missions,” he added.

Indeed, moral life saving should override other excuses because the Mediterranean Sea has become the Sea of death. The European Union and the whole of international community have failed to acknowledge that despite stepping up surveillance and sea patrols through the EU’s Frontex border patrol agency, they need to provide more development aid and trade opportunities to some of the countries migrants are leaving.

We have learnt from experience around the world that border control is not a silver bullet. A portfolio of policies is required to reduce irregular migration, certainly including border control, but combined with addressing the root causes of conflict and poverty, combating smuggling and trafficking, effective migration management and return, and the regulation of labor markets.

The EU law on asylum seekers, the Dublin Regulation, which determines that dealing with asylum requests, is the responsibility of the first EU state through which asylum seekers pass has made matters worse for the frontline EU States like Greece, Spain, Italy, and Malta. And countries like France, Germany, and the UK, point out that they already receive the lion’s share of asylum applications in Europe. As a result they have indicated a willingness to support capacity-building in states on the southern periphery, and to provide them limited financial assistance, but not to accept more migrants.

In the absence of a coordinated EU approach, migrants — and their smugglers — will continue to target countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain as entry points; they will remain clandestine even if they may have a strong asylum claim; they will continue to work in the informal labor market or turn to crime to survive; and their rights will not be recognized or respected. Indeed, this will not in the long term be in the interests of the European Union, the EU and US, should therefore help to address acute crisis in countries like Eritrea, from where many of those who drowned earlier this month and have been intercepted since came; combines with chronic instability and poverty in many sub-Saharan African countries, unpredictable transitions in North Africa, and the unfolding Syrian and Iraq disaster, to translate into growing pressure on Europe’s borders.

Unless there is comprehensive policy response, a coordinated EU and international community approach, and the political courage to confront irregular migration, addressing the African dictators who are not only changing the Constitution to extend their brutal rule, but also oppressing and suppressing their Citizens rights, Europe and other developed World’s immigration nightmare has only just begun.

Frank Mwine Mugisha, International  Legal and Political  Analyst

As you know, I am in the camp that the West, led by the U.S. is and has been pushing for war.  War to create more debt for the banks to skim from, and to retain/prolong the power of dollar hegemony.  I also believe China is not looking for a war and neither is Mr. Putin and Russia.  If they were, I believe there was enough provocation over one year ago with Syria and over the last year as sanction after sanction has been implemented.

In my opinion, Mr. Putin has been pushed just about as far as he will allow.  The arming of Ukraine by NATO will cross the line and the strategy of encircling Russia is not acceptable.  The data I have seen over the last 90 days leads me to believe something very big and very soon will come from Russia …and will not be “singular”, I believe what comes will be multi dimensional.  In no particular order, and you decide the importance, I believe the response”s” from Russia will be nearly simultaneous.

First, there will be a financial response.  This may include hacking our financial institutions, dumping Treasury bonds and dollars, purchasing and making calls on various commodity markets, buying and asking for delivery of both gold and silver amongst other disruptive strategies.  Russia could also announce a “gold ruble” to stabilize their currency and economy, this might likely be followed by some sort of Chinese announcement?  Geopolitically, we may hear of deals cut with the Germans and French.  There may be further deals between the Swiss and Chinese or even other Western nations, we may also watch as Greece is given a deal and falls Eastward.  Saudi Arabia will most likely also be of interest as they now have a new ruler.  Will they continue the petro dollar status, or have “new” deals already been arranged during talks late last year with both Russia and China?

Militarily we could see Russia invade Ukraine outright or worse.  Russia has had months to prepare and just last week mobilized over 100 mobile ICBM missile launchers.  Their actions are not those of a nation readying to stand down.  Please do not tell me that any of the above is impossible, with the financial backing of the Chinese, ANY and all of this is possible.  A goal of fracturing NATO is quite logical in my estimation.

Now for the “crazy” part, but I believe to be a necessary part.  We know that Edward Snowden has been a “guest” living in Russia for over one year.  Do you believe he has been given “free rent”?  Do you believe he has as “sensitive” information as we have been led to believe by Mr. Obama and others?  Personally, I do…and maybe then some.  If you take the above, financial, geopolitical and military pieces and put them together, only one piece is missing, “sentiment”.  Sentiment of the American people!  If Mr. Putin were somehow able to cut the populace’ natural patriotism out from under the current administration, there will be no “will” to fight.  How could this be accomplished?

Let me put several “sentiment” pieces together and you decide if any of this makes sense.  Do you remember back in December there was a blast of media attention given to “torture” at Gitmo and several names in the Bush administration came up?  Did you know Senator Nelson from Florida has been pushing for several months very hard to get the 28 missing pages from the 9-11 report made public?  These 28 pages allegedly name the Saudis as financiers of that sad day.  What if some of the information Mr. Snowden has to offer is bigger than currently thought?  Or separately, what if he has proof showing fraud of a massive nature?  It could be proof of financial fraud, military fraud or even false flag evidence?  What then?  How much is too much for the American people to swallow?

I do not want to argue the logistics.  What I do want to do is ask you what your thoughts are should any of these responses be undertaken by Mr. Putin?  What do you believe will happen to the dollar?  Take each one these retaliations, one by one.  Could we withstand an attack (supported by the Chinese) on our financial markets?  Can Europe, or NATO survive an exit of Greece?  Spain or Italy?  Were Russia to invade Ukraine, who would stop them?  And how?  Then add in “public opinion”, the sentiment of a population can steer official policy more than almost any other factor.  How would the current (or any) administration deal with a public that knows for a fact they’ve been deceived?  As Jim Sinclair says, the dollar is “the common stock” of the U.S., would any of this be good for the dollar or might it spur some serious and unending sales?

I believe we have pushed Russia just about as far as she will allow it.  ANY of the above reactions by Russia (and probably supported by China) will be enough to seriously damage, if not entirely blow up our financial system.  ALL of them simultaneously would be devastating!  We have made it extremely easy for any adversary to do serious damage with very little effort.  We have done so by leveraging our banking and financial systems beyond all reason.  We have used fraud and unfair practices at every turn to “better our position”.  In doing so, and for so many years, the vulnerability to our way of life has never been greater since 1776!   As a patriotic American I hope my analysis is all wet.  As a rational human being, I am afraid it is not.

On September 23, 2014, an Italian court in Milan awarded compensation to a boy for vaccine-induced autism. (See the Italian document here.) A childhood vaccine against six childhood diseases caused the boy’s permanent autism and brain damage.

While the Italian press has devoted considerable attention to this decision and its public health implications, the U.S. press has been silent.

Italy’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Like the U.S., Italy has a national vaccine injury compensation program to give some financial support to those people who are injured by compulsory and recommended vaccinations. The Italian infant plaintiff received three doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Infanrix Hexa, a hexavalent vaccine administered in the first year of life. These doses occurred from March to October 2006. The vaccine is to protect children from polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis and Haemophilus influenza type B. In addition to these antigens, however, the vaccine then contained thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative, aluminum, an adjuvant, as well as other toxic ingredients. The child regressed into autism shortly after receiving the three doses.

When the parents presented their claim for compensation first to the Ministry of Health, as they were required to do, the Ministry rejected it. Therefore, the family sued the Ministry in a court of general jurisdiction, an option which does not exist in the same form in the U.S.

Court Decision: Mercury and Aluminum in Vaccine Caused Autism

Based on expert medical testimony, the court concluded that the child more likely than not suffered autism and brain damage because of the neurotoxic mercury, aluminum and his particular susceptibility from a genetic mutation. The Court also noted that Infanrix Hexa contained thimerosal, now banned in Italy because of its neurotoxicity, “in concentrations greatly exceeding the maximum recommended levels for infants weighing only a few kilograms.”

Presiding Judge Nicola Di Leo considered another piece of damning evidence: a 1271-page confidential GlaxoSmithKline report (now available on the Internet). This industry document provided ample evidence of adverse events from the vaccine, including five known cases of autism resulting from the vaccine’s administration during its clinical trials (see table at page 626, excerpt below).

table at page 626

Italian Government, Not Vaccine Maker, Pays for Vaccine Damages

As in many other developed countries, government, not industry, compensates families in the event of vaccine injury. Thus GSK’s apparent lack of concern for the vaccine’s adverse effects is notable and perhaps not surprising.

In the final assessment, the report states that:

“[t]he benefit/risk profile of Infanrix hexa continues to be favourable,” despite GSK’s acknowledgement that the vaccine causes side effects including “anaemia haemolytic autoimmune,thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, haemolytic anemia, cyanosis, injection site nodule, abcess and injection site abscess, Kawasaki’s disease, important neurological events (including encephalitis and encephalopathy), Henoch-Schonlein purpura, petechiae, purpura, haematochezia, allergic reactions (including anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions),” and death (see page 9).

The Milan decision is sober, informed and well-reasoned. The Ministry of Health has stated that it has appealed the Court’s decision, but that appeal will likely take several years, and its outcome is uncertain.

Rimini: 2012 – Italian Court Rules MMR Vaccine Caused Autism

Gavel  and Flag of Italy

Two years earlier, on May 23, 2012, Judge Lucio Ardigo of an Italian court in Rimini presided over a similar judgment, finding that a different vaccine, the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine (MMR), had caused a child’s autism. As in the Milan case, the Ministry of Health’s compensation program had denied compensation to the family, yet after a presentation of medical evidence, a court granted compensation. There, too, the Italian press covered the story; the U.S. press did not.

In that case, a 15-month old boy received his MMR vaccine on March 26, 2004. He then immediately developed bowel and eating problems and received an autism diagnosis with cognitive delay within a year. The court found that the boy had “been damaged by irreversible complications due to vaccination (with trivalent MMR).” The decision flew in the face of the conventional mainstream medical wisdom that an MMR-autism link has been “debunked.”

Italian Court Decisions Break New Ground in Debate Over Vaccines and Autism

Both these Italian court decisions break new ground in the roiling debate over vaccines and autism. These courts, like all courts, are intended to function as impartial, unbiased decision makers.

The courts’ decisions are striking because they not only find a vaccine-autism causal link, but they also overrule the decisions of Italy’s Ministry of Health. And taken together, the court decisions found that both the MMR and a hexavalent thimerosal- and aluminum-containing vaccine can trigger autism.

Italian Court Rulings Contradict Special U.S. Vaccine Court

These court decisions flatly contradict the decisions from the so-called U.S. vaccine court, the Court of Federal Claim’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. There, from 2007 to 2010, in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, three decision makers, called Special Masters, found that vaccines did not cause autism in any of the six test cases, and one Special Master even went so far as to compare the theory of vaccine-induced autism to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

The Italian court decisions contrast starkly with these U.S. cases based on similar claims.

Read the full story at Age of Autism.

About the Author

Mary Holland is Research Scholar and Director of the Graduate Legal Skills Program at NYU Law School. She has published articles on vaccine law and policy, and is the co-editor of Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health and Our Children (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012).

On Feb. 5, New Jersey became the latest state to subvert democracy by authorizing the fast-track sale or lease of water utilities without public notice, comment, or approval. The controversial decision highlights the intensifying struggle over who owns, controls, and profits from the most precious – and threatened – resource on Earth.

We tend to associate corrupt water privatization schemes with the developing world, where according to the World Health Organization, nearly 2.6 billion people still lack a latrine and 1.1 billion people have no access to any type of improved drinking source of water. In this crisis environment, the World Bank and IMF have spent decades imposing water privatization as a condition of their exploitative loans, profiting a handful of transnational water corporations.

According to renowned food and water rights advocate Maude Barlow, “The performance of these companies in Europe and the developing world has been well documented: huge profits, higher prices for water, cut-offs to customers who cannot pay, little transparency in their dealings, reduced water quality, bribery, and corruption.”

Water privatization has also followed on the heels of war and natural disaster in devastated regions where massive reconstruction projects are needed. These are the largely unregulated profit-centers of what journalist Naomi Klein coined the “disaster capitalism complex.”

But now, disaster capitalism has come home to the United States. Private corporations are taking advantage of lucrative opportunities created by the intentionally crippled tax base of American states. Decades of neo-liberal policies have bled the public sector to the point of collapse: deregulation, outsourcing, tax cuts for the one percent, and trillions lost annually to war spending, corporate welfare and off-shore tax-havens.

Cash-strapped governments can finally no longer repair crumbling infrastructure or meet future development needs. Offering to “fill the budget gap,” the private sector is grabbing public assets and resources, particularly water, blinding public officials to the consequences of long-term contracts with substantial up-front payments.
The fast-growing “public-private-partnership” or PPP model is a friendly marketing euphemism for privatization. PPPs facilitate the transfer of public utilities, like water, to profit-driven private corporations. This is proving a slippery slope as laws are constantly changing, always further acceding to corporate demands.

In June 2014, water investment advisors Bluefield Research praised the “revised regulatory landscape” and cheered a “major step forward for the market” when President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into federal law, which among many other provisions seeks to expand private financing for water projects.

Private sector groups like the American Water Works Company (AWWC), Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) began lobbying to further weaken WRRDA’s public protections and to force tax-free Private Activity Bonds (PABs) so private investors can pocket more money at the expense of public coffers.

Meanwhile, investment banks including JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, Allianz and many others are aggressively buying up the world’s declining fresh water supply and infrastructure in what is being called a “liquid gold rush.”

But water is not a commodity; it is a human right. As climate change, population growth, industry use and pollution threatens the world’s dwindling fresh water supplies, the onslaught of privatization is being countered by a powerful backlash to reclaim that precious resource for the public sphere.

The last 15 years have seen at least 180 cases of water “remunicipalization” in 35 countries, according to the Transnational Institute., and the trend is growing. In France, which had the longest history of water privatization, numerous cities have recently reclaimed their water, including Paris in 2010. From Spain to Buenos Aires, Cochabamba to Kazakhstan, Berlin to Malaysia, water privatization is being aggressively rejected.

Yet, because water privatization is notoriously at odds with democracy, citizens often find they must take to the streets in nonviolent marches and civil disobedience in order to defend their rights and reclaim control of this vital resource.

In Bolivia, a historic public uprising literally drove Bechtel from Cochabamba in 2000. In Ireland, nearly 100,000 people took to the streets in December 2014, to protest the right-wing government’s plans to privatize water services. India and Nigeria are also launching campaigns against dangerous and undemocratic privatization schemes.

In the Unites States, residents of Detroit, Michigan spent the summer of 2014 fighting mass water shut-offs to tens of thousands of low-income, mostly African American residents. More than 3,000 protesters marched and citizens – including the elderly and disabled – engaged in direct action to block the trucks sent to disconnect water without notice. Detroiters will now have to mobilize against the water privatization expected through their new regional authority.

In Portland, Oregon, residents are mobilizing now to oppose the costly and unnecessary water system to be built by CH2M Hill, the notoriously corrupt mega-developer and privatization pioneer.  CH2M Hill has also planned a mass-privatization scheme for California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, called the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange.

Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs) are emerging frameworks for preventing corporate takeovers of natural resources and developing non-profit, public-driven solutions for water infrastructure needs. PUPs are partnerships between “two or more public authorities or organizations based on solidarity, to improve the capacity and effectiveness of one partner in providing public water or sanitation services,” according to the Public Services International Research Unit. Such solidarity partnerships are underway in Japan, the Netherlands, India, Costa Rica, Brazil, and many other countries.

We must continue to organize in the United States around similar, pro-active democratic solutions, to prepare for a future increasingly defined by resource scarcity, and fundamentally threatened by the corporate imperative of profits over people and democracy.

Victoria Collier is the Education Director of the National Election Integrity Coalition, the co-founder of Girasol, a center for sustainable ecology and economy in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty in international waters, and tried to sink it.

After checking the Liberty out for 8 hours – and making 9 overflights with Israeli jets, within 200 feet … close enough for the pilots and the sunbathing Liberty sailors on deck to waive at each other.

Yet the Israelis attacked it with Mirage fighter jets, torpedoes and napalm.  The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded.

The Israeli attack spanned two hours … as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The air attack alone lasted approximately 25 minutes: consisting of more than 30 sorties by approximately 12 separate planes using napalm, cannon, and rockets which left 821 holes in the ship.  The Israelis fired 30mm cannons and rockets into the boat.

Following the attack by fighter jets, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40 x 40 foot wide hole in her hull, and machine-gunning firefighters and stretcher-bearers attempting to save their ship and crew. More than 3,000 machine-gun bullet holes were later counted on the Liberty’s hull.

After the attack was thought to have ended, three life rafts were lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded. The Israeli torpedo boats returned and machine-gunned these life rafts at close range. This was followed by the approach of two large Israeli Army assault helicopters filled with armed commandos carrying what appeared to be explosive satchels (they departed after hovering over the ship for several minutes, making no attempt to communicate).

The Israelis clearly knew it was an American ship, tried to sink it, and tried to frame the Egyptians for the attack, as shown by the following evidence:

(1) The Liberty was flying a huge, brand new American flag. The flag was 5-by-8 feet.  The weather conditions were ideal to ensure the flag’s easy observance and identification, because it was clear and sunny, with a wind-speed which make for a constant ripple in the flag.  After the flag was shot up by the jets, the Liberty’s crew replaced it with a 7-by-13 foot American flag, which flew during the entire duration of the attack.

(2) The Liberty had a unique profile and didn’t look like any other boat, since it had more and bigger antennas – including large, high-tech dishes and giant towers – than any other boat in the world (it was an NSA spy ship).

(3) The Liberty was marked with uniquely American numbering and colors in front.

(4) The Israeli pilots shot out the Liberty’s communications equipment first, and specifically jammed the ship’s emergency radio signal … unique to American naval vessels in the 6th Fleet. The ships from other fleets and other nations used different frequencies, which the Israelis did not jam.

(5) The Israelis used unmarked fighter jets and unmarked torpedo boats during the attack.

(6) Recently-declassified radio transcripts between the Israeli attack forces and ground control show that – at least 3 times – an Israeli fighter jet pilot identified the craft as American, and asked whether ground control was sure he should attack.  Ground control repeatedly said, yes, attack the vessel.

(7) The Israeli torpedo boats methodically destroyed all of the Liberty’s liferafts one by one (which is a war crime).

(8) The only reason the Israelis did not successfully sink the Liberty and kill all of its crewmen was that one sailor duck-taped together antennae – and took many bullet wounds in the process – which enabled an emergency SOS to get out from the Liberty to American 6th Fleet.

(9) The Israelis later claimed that they mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian vessel.  But the Egyptian ship – the El Quseir – was an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria, four times smaller than the Liberty, which bore virtually no resemblance to the Liberty.

(10) President Lyndon Johnson believed the attack was intentional and he leaked his opinion to Newsweek.

Other high-level Americans agreed:

“I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation….  Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations.  I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day.  The attack was outrageous.”
–U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk

“The evidence was clear.  Both Adm. Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack … was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew….  Not only did the Israelis attack the ship with napalm, gunfire, and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned three lifeboats that had been launched in an attempt by the crew to save the most seriously wounded — a war crime….”
–Affidavit of U.S. Navy Captain Ward Boston, the legal counsel for the official investigation into the Liberty attack

“There is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.”
–Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 14 January 2004

“Israeli authorities subsequently apologized for the incident, but few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel…. I have yet to understand why it was felt necessary to attack this ship or who ordered the attack.”
–C.I.A. Chief Richard Helms

“Yet the ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America.  Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal.  If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.”
–George Ball, U.S. Undersecretary of State at the time, The Passionate Attachment

(Sources: Congressional record and videos shown below.)

Admiral Thomas H. Moorer – former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – chaired a non-governmental investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty in 2003. The committee – which included General of Marines Raymond G. Davis, Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia James E. Akins – held Israel to be culpable and suggested several theories for Israel’s possible motives, including the desire to blame Egypt and bring the U.S. into the Six Day War.

Indeed, President Lyndon Johnson dispatched nuclear-armed fighter jets to drop nuclear bombs on Cairo, Egypt.  They were only recalled at the last minute, when Johnson realized that it was the Israelis – and not the Egyptians – who had fired on the Liberty.

An NSA report from 1981 found:

A persistent question relating to the Liberty incident is whether or not the Israeli forces which attacked the ship knew that it was American . . . not a few of the Liberty’s crewmen and [deleted but probably “NSA’s G Group”] staff are convinced that they did. Their belief derived from consideration of the long time the Israelis had the ship under surveillance prior to the attack, the visibility of the flag, and the intensity of the attack itself.

Speculation as to the Israeli motivation varied. Some believed that Israel expected thatthe complete destruction of the ship and killing of the personnel would lead the U.S. to blame the UAR [Egypt] for the incident and bring the U.S. into the war on the side of Israel . . . others felt that Israeli forces wanted the ship and men out of the way.

Allegedly:

Scouring the Liberty records in the LBJ Library in Texas, Ennes [an officer on the bridge of the Liberty] stumbled upon a smoking gun – a one-page memo of the minutes of the 303 Committee [the U.S. National Security Council group that reviewed sensitive intelligence operations] held in advance of the war in April 1967.   The Committee consisted of a handful of top level intelligence and government officials who examined black operations and devised plausible deniability for the executive branch in the event of public discovery of an attack.  The memo relates to a clandestine joint US-Israeli effort to blame Egypt for the sinking of the Liberty.

We haven’t yet located a copy of the alleged memo, and so we’re not sure we believe this explosive claim. But – given that Israel (1) used unmarked jets and ships, (2) destroyed the Liberty’s communication equipment and then jammed the Liberty’s emergency distress channel, and (3) destroyed all liferafts – the logical inference is that Israel intended to frame Egypt for the attack, and didn’t want the Liberty’s crew to be able to tell the world what really happened.

The following must-watch documentaries from the BBC, Al Jazeera and an independent producer provide first-hand interviews with the crew of the USS Liberty which prove that this was a failed false flag attack:

The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout?

February 13th, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Judging by the report on RT  I conclude that the Ukraine peace deal worked out in Minsk by Putin, Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko has little chance of success.

As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and Russia?

The Minsk agreement makes no reference to the announcement by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, that Washington is sending a battalion of US troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces how to fight against Russian and rebel forces. The training is scheduled to begin in March, about two weeks from now. Gen. Hodges says that it is very important to recognize that the Donetsk and Luhansk forces “are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin.”

How is there a peace deal when Washington has plans underway to send arms and training to the US puppet government in Kiev?

Looking at the deal itself, it is set up to fail. The only parties to the deal who had to sign it are the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk break-away republics. The other signers to the Minsk deal are an OSCE representative which is the European group that is supposed to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, a former Ukrainian president Viktor Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador in Kiev. Neither the German chancellor nor the French, Ukrainian, and Russian presidents who brokered the deal had to sign it.

In other words, the governments of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia do not appear to be empowered or required to enforce the agreement. According to RT, “the declaration was not meant to be signed by the leaders, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.”http://rt.com/news/231571-putin-minsk-ukraine-deal/

The terms of the agreement depend on actions of the Ukrainian parliament and prime minister, neither of which are under Poroshenko’s control, and Poroshenko himself is a figurehead under Washington’s control. Moreover, the Ukrainian military does not control the Nazi militias. As Washington and the right-wing elements in Ukraine want conflict with Russia, peace cannot be forthcoming.

The agreement is nothing but a list of expectations that have no chance of occurring.

One expectation is that Ukraine and the republics will negotiate terms for future local elections in the provinces that will bring them back under Ukraine’s legal control. The day after the local elections, but prior to the constitutional reform that provides the regions with autonomy, Kiev takes control of the borders with Ukraine and between the provinces. I read this as the total sell-out of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Apparently, that is the way the leaders of the republics see it as well, as Putin had to twist their arms in order to get their signatures to the agreement.

Another expectation is that Ukraine will adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable to the republics and declare a general amnesty for the republics’ leaders and military forces.

Negotiations between Kiev and the autonomous areas are to take place that restore Kiev’s taxation of the autonomous areas and the provision of social payments and banking services to the autonomous areas.

After a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine guaranteeing acceptable (and undefined) autonomy to the republics, Kiev will take control over the provinces’ borders with Russia.

By the end of 2015 Kiev will implement comprehensive constitutional reform that decentralizes the Ukrainian political system and provides privileges of autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Both Putin and Poroshenko are both reported as stating that the main thing achieved is a ceasefire starting on February 15.

The ceasefire is of no benefit to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics as they are prevailing in the conflict. Moreover, the deal requires the republics’ forces to give up territory and to pull back to the borders of last September and to eject fighters from France and other countries who have come to the aid of the break-away republics. In other words, the agreement erases all of Kiev’s losses from the conflict that Kiev initiated.

All of the risks of the agreement are imposed on the break-away republics and on Putin. The provinces are required to give up all their gains while Washington trains and arms Ukrainian forces to attack the provinces. The republics have to give up their security and trust Kiev long before Kiev votes, assuming it ever does, autonomy for the republics.

Moreover, if the one-sided terms of the Minsk agreement result in failure, Putin and the republics will be blamed.

Why would Putin make such a deal and force it on the republics? If the deal becomes a Russian sell-out of the republics, it will hurt Putin’s nationalist support within Russia and make it easier for Washington to weaken Putin and perhaps achieve regime change. It looks more like a surrender than a fair deal.

Perhaps Putin’s strategy is to give away every advantage in the expectation that the deal will fail, and the Russian government can say “we gave away the store and the deal still failed.”

Washington’s coup in Kiev and the attack on the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east and south is part of Washington’s strategy to reassert its uni-power position. Russia’s independent foreign policy and Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe became problems for Washington. Washington is using Ukraine to attack and to demonize Russia and its leader and to break-up Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. That is what the sanctions are about. A peace deal in Ukraine on any terms other than Washington’s is unacceptable to Washington. The only acceptable deal is a deal that is a defeat for Russia.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Russian government made a strategic mistake when it did not accept the requests of the break-away provinces to be united with Russia. The people in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces favored unification with the same massive majorities that the people in Crimea showed. If the provinces had been united with Russia, it would have been the end of the conflict. Neither Ukraine nor Washington is going to attack Russian territory.

By failing to end the conflict by unification, Putin set himself up as the punching bag for Western propaganda. The consequence is that over the many months during which the conflict has been needlessly drawn out, Putin has had his image and reputation in the West destroyed. He is the “new Hitler.” He is “scheming to restore the Soviet Empire.” “Russia ranks with ebola and the Islamist State as the three greatest threats.” “RT is a terrorist organization like Boco Haram and the Islamist State.” And so on and on. This CNN interview with Obama conducted by Washington’s presstitute Fareed Zakaria shows the image of Putin based entirely on lies that rules in the West.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Duu6IwW3sbw

Putin could be no more demonized even if the Russian military had invaded Ukraine, conquered it, and reincorporated Ukraine into Russia of which Ukraine was part for centuries prior to the Soviet collapse and Ukraine’s separation from Russia at Washington’s insistence.

The Russian government might want to carefully consider whether Moscow is helping Washington to achieve another victory in Ukraine.

War in Ukraine: Who Wants War? And Who Doesn’t?

February 13th, 2015 by William Boardman

“Russian aggression” – the bad faith mantra of dishonest brokers

Just as NATO allies Germany and France were undertaking a peace initiative with Russia and Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry turned up in Kiev at the same time, seeking to poison the talks before they started by spouting yet again the ritual U.S. accusation of “Russian aggression.” The incantation is meaningless without context. Its purpose is mesmerize a false consciousness. “Russian aggression” may or may not exist in the events of the past year, just like “Russian self-defense.” Reporting on the ground has been too unreliable to support any firm analysis, never mind the provocative “Russian aggression” the U.S. brandishes as a virtual call for war.

Western aggression, political and diplomatic more than military, is a cold reality and has been for two decades. The West, and especially the U.S. has yet to accept responsibility for 20 years of anti-Russian aggression, much less pull back from such perennial hostility. The Obama administration (parts of it at least, given the incoherence of the “administration”) has acted as if its pulling off an only-slightly-violent coup in Kiev in 2014 was a grand triumph. Worse, having grabbed a government on Russia’s borders, the Obama hawks carry on as if the only reasonable choice for Russia is to accept the success of this Western aggression.

Rarely is this context acknowledged in discussions of the natural fissures in Ukraine that feed sectarian civil war. Rather the issues are over-simplified – falsified – by the U.S. Secretary of State, consistent with a hidden agenda of provoking a military confrontation (at the very least) with Russia and eastern Ukrainians. That’s the subtext that makes sense of Kerry’s otherwise seeming blithering in Kiev on February 5:

“We talked about the largest threat that Ukraine faces today, and that is Russia’s continued aggression in the east. There’s no other way to call it. We’re not seeking a conflict with Russia. No one is. … The president is reviewing all of his options. Among those options, obviously, is the possibility of providing defensive — defensive — assistance to Ukraine. And those discussions are going on. The president will make his decision, I am confident, soon.”

Note the lie: “We’re not seeking a conflict with Russia. No one is.”

When Kerry said that, he was lying, he almost surely knew he was lying, and the question is whether his lie represents only the rogue war-faction in the U.S., or is part of a dicey good-cop/bad-cop routine out of Washington. The only way it’s true that “we’re not seeking a conflict” is that the U.S. is already engaged in conflict with Russia, decades-long and currently escalating. The lie of not seeking a conflict already engaged is used to mask the lie of “defensive weapons,” a military-diplomatic oxymoron of long standing. So the most obvious answer to the question of who wants war in Ukraine is elements of the U.S. government whose immediate challenge is to persuade its Kiev client that it’s a good idea to risk turning it’s country into more of a battlefield than it already is.

Kiev’s desire is more obscure, and likely divided. Having taken power in something of a slow-motion coup d’etat last spring, the government faced a restive-to-defiant population in eastern Ukraine. Rather than seeking to negotiate legitimate grievances with the eastern region, the Kiev government chose instead to escalate quickly, from political hostilities into civil war. When that didn’t work out militarily, when Kiev started losing what it started, it agreed on September 5 to terms of a ceasefire that it then failed to honor with consistency (as did the separatists). Now the Ukrainian president has been to Moscow for early peace talks, but only after he staked out a preposterous public position seeking to win with a losing negotiating hand what Kiev has already lost on the ground.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in Kiev on February 5 (when Kerry was in town but not part of the meeting). In his public statement, Poroshenko referred self-servingly to September’s Minsk Agreement signed by Ukraine, Russia, and the break-away Ukrainian states that call themselves the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk. The only other Minsk signatory was the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), giving the agreement the tacit endorsement of Europe without any individual European nation signing on. The United States was not directly involved in the Minsk Agreement, but a week later expressed its support for finding a peaceful solution by sending American troops to take part in NATO military exercises in Ukraine’s western provinces.

Understood in its actual context, Poroshenko’s February 5 statement is ludicrously disingenuous:

“The Minsk plan is very simple: immediate ceasefire; releasing all the hostages; closing the border, or renew the internationally recognized border on Ukrainian (side); withdrawal all of the foreign troops from the Ukrainian territory; launching very important process of the political regulation by the election on the municipal election, local election, under Ukrainian legislation in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk.”

All signatories must take Minsk accord seriously to avoid war

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t urge compliance with the Minsk Agreement, even if that means different things to different people. Neither side in Ukraine has come close to significant compliance for any length of time. Poroshenko calls for the ceasefire, but omits the international monitoring called for in the agreement. He calls for closing the border with Russia, which is NOT part of the agreement. When he calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops, he omits mention of NATO. When he refers to elections, he omits Kiev’s failure to pass the legislation it promised, and he omits the elections that have already been held in the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk [see “Election Note” at the end of this article]. Poroshenko also omits amnesty for separatists, improving humanitarian conditions in the region, and the recovery program, all of which are part of the Minsk Agreement.

Nevertheless, Poroshenko went to Moscow with his German and French colleagues to take part in peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin there on February 6, at Russia’s initiative. When similar talks had been proposed for mid-January, Chancellor Merkel had been instrumental in making sure they didn’t happen. This time her public posture going in was appropriately statesmanlike:

“It is a question of peace and preserving the European peace order. It is a question of free self-determination of the people as part of this European peace order. And we are doing what we believe to be our duty at this time, namely trying to do everything in our power to end the bloodshed.”

Merkel’s reference to “free self-determination” is diplomatically murky and allows for a wide range of possible solutions for the self-proclaimed Republics in eastern Ukraine, and even hints at a resolution for Crimea. Her focus on peace serves all the parties’ best interest, seeking to avoid a war that would, inevitably, cause much more suffering for Europe than the United States.

U.S. policy seems designed to turn Ukraine into the “European Iraq”

Presumably none of the parties meeting in Moscow on February 6 wants to see Ukraine become “another Iraq,” even if Ukraine is already part way there. Where Iraq had been a coherent, modern state with cultural cohesion despite its dictatorship, Ukraine has a long history of quasi-chaos, internal squabbling, and corruption. Where it took an American invasion and occupation to reduce Iraq to a near-failed state, the U.SA. sees an opportunity now to manipulate proxies into destroying Ukraine (and even Russia) for the next generation or so.

Germany, France, Russia, and especially Ukraine must be acutely tuned to the potential horrors they face. After meeting for four hours, the parties were generally low key and discreet in what they said about the substance discussed. This reality produced European coverage by the BBC and others characterized by cautious hopefulness. U.S. media more typically characterized uncertainty as failure, offering the talismans of magical thinking and instant gratification in place of accuracy or analysis.

Whatever they were, the four-way talks in Moscow were not a failure. All sides called them “constructive,” which is diplo-speak for: there’s still a chance for a settlement. The parties are continuing the negotiations with apparent openness to a range of solutions. Hollande called this process “one of the last chances” to settle eastern Ukraine peacefully. Poroshenko has expressed hope for an early agreement to an “unconditional ceasefire” and one step toward reducing tensions. An unconditional ceasefire is beyond what was agreed to at Minsk in September, but creates no barrier to implementing the agreement later. Moscow’s tactful obliqueness leaving room for the parties to maneuver was in sharp contrast to the bloviating cries for war coming mostly from U.S. Senators and the vice-president at the simultaneous regional security gathering in Munich.

The lesson of Munich for 2015: “War in our time”?

Meeting for the 51st year in Munich during February 6-8, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) provided a setting for mostly U.S. hawks to try to undermine the chances for peace in Ukraine. Founded in 1963, the Munich conference identifies itself as

“a key annual gathering for the international  ‘strategic community’… an independent forum dedicated to promoting peaceful conflict resolution and international cooperation and dialogue in dealing with today’s and future security challenges.”

What the Munich conference seems to be is something of a foreign policy free-for-all to which almost anyone from anywhere can come and pontificate regardless of whether they hold any actual decision-making authority. The American delegation, including a dozen war-minded congress members, seems not to have gotten the memo about “promoting peaceful conflict resolution,” like the British lapdog also barking loudly for war.

Like any good multi-national circus, the Munich show offered a variety of clown acts and sideshows to distract from the U.S. rush to war. The Turks decided not to take part rather than share a panel with Israelis. Non-office-holder Arnold Schwarzeneggar stumped tor action on climate change. Some European Union members ganged up on Greece (again), this time for opposing some sanctions on Russia, while support for Greece (and peace) came from Cyprus, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic – most of which are closer to the likely war zone than those brave distant states ready to start a fight. In the Munich streets, some 2,000 peaceful protestors demonstrated against NATO, otherwise known as an American sphere of influence (if not a Trojan horse).

Joe Biden toes the official line, smoothly riffing on official lies

Other members of the American delegation included Kiev coup supporters Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Kerry, and assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, none of whom showed any public willingness to look at the realities of the present or the past 20 years. Like a good apparatchik of the American war party, Biden’s address to the conference included a subtle version of the requisite “Russian aggression” trope, along with 45 minutes of neo-Cold-War boilerplate propaganda. In one of the more hilarious highlights of this taken-very-seriously by the media speech, Biden quoted himself from the same conference in 2009:

“Six years ago at this podium, I said and I quote, ‘To paraphrase President Obama, it is time to press the reset button and reinvest in the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.’

That’s what everybody remembers. But they don’t often repeat what I then said.

I said, ‘We will also not recognize any nation having a sphere of influence. We will remain — it will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their decisions and choose their own alliances.’

I meant it when I said it then, and America means it as I repeat it now.”

The “reset button” rhetoric did not include changing U.S. support for the relentless push for NATO to include countries on Russia’s border, a form of blatant – and mindless – political aggression. NATO, the European Union, Europe itself are all U.S. spheres of influence, no matter what the Biden-shills of the world may say. Even as he lied sanctimoniously about spheres of influence in 2009, his country was its half-century of punishing Cuba for not being a loyal and subservient of the American hemisphere of influence.

And when Biden claimed, “it will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their decisions and choose their own alliances,” an honest audience would have laughed as derisively at that as the same audience laughed at perceived absurdity from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his address to the Munich conference.

Having destabilized Ukraine, the U.S. blames Russia for piling on 

Remember how the present Ukraine crisis came about? In the fall of 2013, Ukraine was weighing a political, economic choice between a European proposal requiring exclusivity (and implying future NATO membership) and a somewhat more open Russian proposal (with no military alliance component). In Ukraine, as politically divided as ever, the western population yearned for Europe, the eastern population was content with Russia. When the legitimate, democratically-elected Ukraine government rejected the European offer, protesters mostly from western Ukraine launched the months-long Euro-Maidan demonstrations in Kiev (presumably with the connivance of the U.S. and others). In time, including on the scene visits from Biden (whose son reportedly has significant economic interests in Ukraine) and Nuland (with her cookies for the mob), the Maidan evolved into the coup d’etat that produced the current Ukraine government.

So when Biden says “that sovereign states have the right to make their decisions and choose their own alliances,” he lying. He’s lying about Ukraine and he’s lying about U.S. behavior in the present and the recent past (and the not so recent past as well, to be sure).

Somewhat measured language from the White House

On February 5, as the flurry of events in Kiev, Moscow, and Munich was beginning, the White House expressed some awareness that military escalation might only make matters worse in Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, in part:

“… the United States has been saying for some time that it’s a diplomatic negotiation that is required to bring this conflict in Ukraine to an end, that this is not something that’s going to be solved or resolved militarily, but rather through diplomatic negotiations.  So we certainly are encouraging and supportive of ongoing efforts to try to find a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine…. [But] we need serious engagement from the Russians and the separatists, the likes of which we’ve not seen before….

… the President is going to make a decision [on weapons to Ukraine] that he believes is in the broader national security interests of the United States…. But certainly the President takes very seriously the views of our allies and is going to consult very closely as we evaluate any needed strategic changes ahead….  [But] this conflict was not going to rise to the level of a military confrontation between the United States and Russia.  The President has been very clear about that.  So there are things that we are going to continue to avoid.

But one of the concerns that we have about providing military assistance is it does contain the possibility of actually expanding bloodshed, and that’s actually what we’re trying to avoid.  The whole reason that we are trying to encourage both sides to sit down and hammer out a diplomatic agreement is to end the bloodshed and end the escalating conflict in that country.

The press secretary made no effort to offer a balanced analysis of the Minsk Agreement, blaming the separatist Republics and Russia for virtually all the problems. He did allow that Ukraine had not lived up to all its commitments under the agreement.

Who actually speaks for the United States?

The same day the White House offered this view, NATO ministers in Brussels adopted a plan to ring Russia’s European perimeter with a network of command centers and rapid reaction forces. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, this plan is NATO’s biggest reinforcement of collective defense since the end of the Cold War. He added that the first six multinational command and control units would be established immediately in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. Estonia and Latvia border on Russia. Poland and Romania border on Ukraine.

The Secretary of State is carrying on as if he believes that this might be his legacy moment. He’s acting as if he’s thinking: Hillary Clinton led the charge on Libya and made magnificent regional chaos there, so why shouldn’t I be able to top that, and make a mess of Ukraine, and possibly create global chaos?

But what if “Russian aggression” is real? As matters stand now, U.S. policy aggression for two decades has serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy that creates “aggression” in response. What would happen if the U.S. especially, and the West in general, sent a clear signal that western aggression was over? How long would it take for Russia (or China) to trust that as reality? And would that persuade the Russians to relax what we now call their aggression? (We don’t hear much about “Chinese aggression” these days, but chances are that Kerry or Biden or someone already has that speech written.)

The course the U.S. has been on since 1990 has no good ending, unless one assumes that the Russians (or the Chinese) will fold under pressure. That seems unlikely. Nor does the result seem worth the risk. But also unlikely is a U.S. course change as long as we remain enamored of our own exceptional face in the magic mirror that keeps telling us we’re indispensible and can do no wrong. In Ukraine, today, probably the most dispensible nation is the U.S.

As this is written February 9, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel have met at the White House and offered vague public assurances that diplomatic efforts will continue to try to settle Ukraine issues peacefully. It’s not reassuring that Obama’s companions in his meeting with Merkel were committed aggressors: Biden, Kerry, and national security advisor Susan Rice. We don’t know if this President is strong enough to be in control of his administration as it speaks with conflicting voices. What we know pretty surely is that this is a moment when President Obama could actually earn his Nobel Peace Prize by calling off “American aggression.”

Or he could just follow the lead of the mindless, bi-partisan weapons-gaggle in Congress and elsewhere. The president could do the bidding of all those shrill demagogues who cry for escalating bloodshed, those grandstanding testosterone puffs who will never accept responsibility for the death and dismemberment they advocate. In that event, the President would once again ignore his own earlier wisdom when he once said: “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

Election Note [see above]:

The Donetsk and Luhansk elections held November 2 were supported by Russia and rejected as illegitimate by Ukraine, as well as spokespersons for the European Union, Germany and others in the west. The election results mostly confirmed the local authority already in place, including the chief executive and parliamentary majorities in both Republics, which were popularly approved in referendums in May. An OSCE spokesperson called the November elections a violation of the spirit and letter of the Minsk Agreement, which seemed to contemplate such elections taking place on December 7, under Ukrainian law. Ukraine had excluded Donetsk and Luhansk from its presidential election in May and its parliamentary election in October. The last apparently legitimate presidential election held in Ukraine chose Viktor Yanukovych president in February 2010. Yanukovych, whose support reached 90% of the vote in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk, was forced from office in February 2014 by the coup that emerged from the Maidan protest. Ukraine has almost 34 million voters in all, of which more than 5 million are (or were) in Luhansk and Donetsk. Another 1.8 million voters in Crimea have not taken part in the 2014 elections outside Crimea.

Greek Debt, Austerity and Past Military Contracts

February 13th, 2015 by Sara Flounders

Since the 2008 capitalist downturn sparked the debt crisis, Greek working people have held huge demonstrations, general strikes and now have voted in the Syriza government to oppose the brutal austerity program imposed by U.S. and European, especially German, banks. Syriza has pledged to have half the debt written off and to roll back the austerity measures of the previous government. At this time, the European Union’s bankers refuse and are digging in their heels.

While massive unemployment and social service cuts have also hit hard in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy, austerity and unemployment in Greece have brought the proportion of people living under the poverty line from 3 percent in 2010 to 44 percent today. (Public Policy Analysis Group, Athens University).

Why did this austerity hit Greece with the most devastating blow?

The Wall Street Journal of July 10, 2010, answered this question for its business audience:

“Greece, with a population of just 11 million, is the largest importer of conventional weapons in Europe — and ranks fifth in the world behind China, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. Its military spending is the highest in the European Union as a percentage of gross domestic product. That spending was one of the factors behind Greece’s stratospheric national debt.”

Since the 2008 global economic crisis struck, the bankers in Berlin, London and Wall Street have gone into overdrive to convince the Greek workers — and workers everywhere — that the debt crisis in Greece arose because the Greek workers were living “beyond their means.” This was a constant theme, not only of German chancellor Angela Merkel and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, but also of the corporate media internationally. They claimed that the Greek government had taken out unsustainable loans in order to guarantee full health care, a minimum wage, decent pensions, libraries, schools and parks.

But the standard of living of Greek people, modest by European standards, was not the reason Greece had the highest rate of unsustainable debt in Europe.

The corporate media tell the same lie to workers in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and to the workers in Germany whose incomes have shrunk, and in the U.S. to the working people of Detroit. This lie must be challenged politically on every front so that the people understand that their modest gains are not the source of the problem. The capitalist system and its inevitable crises are the problem.

Military spending

The bankers understand very well, but are not telling the workers who the major culprit is, especially behind the Greek debt.

An article in the April 19, 2012, British newspaper the Guardian explained the impact of the years of weapons purchases:

“According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute … from 2002 to 2006, Greece was the world’s fourth biggest importer of conventional weapons. It is now the 10th.

“‘As a proportion of GDP, Greece spends twice as much as any other EU member on defense. … Well after the economic crisis had begun, Germany and France were trying to seal lucrative weapons deals even as they were pushing us to make deep cuts in areas like health,’ said Dimitris Papadimoulis, who now represents Syriza in the European Parliament.”

For many years, Greece was the biggest customer in Europe for German military corporations and also a major purchaser of French weapons. These are the two imperialist countries that hold the largest share of Greek debt.

The contracts for these weapons purchases and decades of maintenance and parts supplies are provided by bank loans from the countries supplying the weapons — Germany, France and the United States. The incentive for the huge unneeded purchases is a network of bribes from the military corporations, especially to the generals and top political leaders.

Angelos Philippides, a prominent Greek economist, explained: “For a long time Greece spent 7 percent of its GDP on defense when other European countries spent an average 2.2 percent. If you were to add up that compound 5 percent from 1946 to today, there would be no debt at all.

“‘If Athens had cut defense spending to levels similar to other EU states over the past decade, economists claim it would have saved around €150bn — more than its last bailout. Instead, Greece dedicates up to €7bn a year to military expenditure — down from a high of €10bn in 2009.”  (Guardian, April 19, 2012)

“‘Since the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Greece has spent 216 billion euro on armaments,’” said Katerina Tsoukala, a Brussels-based security expert.” (Guardian) This amount is far larger than the Greek debt at the time the 2008 capitalist crisis hit. The purchases included German submarines, Mirage fighter jets from France and F-16 jets from the U.S. and 1,300 tanks.

According to SIPRI statistics, even though Greek military spending has declined since the crisis, Greece is the second-biggest defense spender (in relation to its GDP) among the 27 NATO countries, after the U.S.

Past military regime in Greece

Since the beginning of the Cold War between the imperialist West and the Soviet Union, the Greek military has played an extremely privileged and thoroughly reactionary role in maintaining capitalist rule and keeping Greece within the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance. With full support of U.S. and British imperialists and of Greek fascists, the Greek military fought a violent civil war from 1945 to 1949 against anti-fascist workers organized by the Communist Party of Greece — the KKE.  Communist-led partisans had driven out the German occupation forces at the end of World War II.

U.S. President Harry Truman in 1947, in what became known as the Truman Doctrine, pledged unlimited military support to defeat growing workers’ movements throughout the world following the World War II surrender of Nazi-led Germany. This policy facilitated brutal coups and decades of military repression in Greece, Turkey and Iran. In Greece in 1947, the communists were defeated militarily and outlawed.

In 1967, using a NATO strategic plan, Greek colonels again seized power and set up a ruling junta, which stayed in control until 1974. The army moved in 1967 to stop the Socialist Party under George Papandreou from taking office with a center-left coalition. This brutal military junta, called the Regime of the Colonels, ruled by martial law, mass arrests, torture and disappearances. Today’s extreme right-wing fascist party, Golden Dawn, has its origins in the police units that operated with impunity during the junta’s rule.

Although ousted by a mobilized mass movement in 1974, the military and police hierarchy was untouched, except for the prosecution of a handful of coup leaders.

Source of corruption

Greek military contracts have always been the greatest source of corruption, payoffs, kickbacks and secrecy. The bribery by major military corporations infects every level of the military. Continuing scandals surrounding military contracts have rocked past administrations. The most notorious bribery scandal involves billions paid over 12 years and billions still owed for six yet-undelivered German submarines. Former Minister of Defense Akis Tsochadzopoulos was convicted in 2013 of accepting $8 million in bribes connected to these submarines.

Given this history, the appointment of the right-wing Greek Independence Party to head the Defense Ministry in the Syriza cabinet is an especially ominous development. It certainly implies that the past onerous military loans and secret payoffs will not be challenged.

An enormous battle is ahead for the workers in Greece. Political agitation and clear demands targeting the generals enmeshed with the UE bankers who have enriched themselves in the Greek debt trap will help prepare the workers to understand who their enemy is and what they are up against.

“Our attitude towards capital punishment seems to mirror our attitude towards torture – that it’s ok so long as one class of murder suspects, known as ‘terrorists’, are involved.” – Irfan Yusuf, “Death Penalty Hypocrisy,” The Drum, Sep 29, 2010.

The death penalty may be a monstrous use of a state’s power against the human subject, but the campaign against its use by states who have abolished it can prove inconsistent.  While Australia sermonises against the evils of putting a person to death, it stalls on the broader issue of how best to approach a state, like, for instance, Indonesia, which uses capital punishment against drug traffickers in the name of upholding the law.

Much of this has spiked with the vain efforts to secure clemency for Australian citizens Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, both of whom are destined for the firing squad for their role in organising the drug trafficking outfit that came to be known as the Bali Nine.  The narratives on the so-called Bali Nine avoid with a good deal of blindness Indonesian accounts on the drug trade – that it, too, results in generous number of corpses.  Australian MPs have deflected the issue, insisting that, “Their crime, serious as it was, was intended to impact on Australians in Australia, not Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s Attorney-General, H.M. Prasetyo, saw no distinction.  “[The executions] will send a message to members of drug syndicates – there is no mercy for drug dealers and traffickers.” To those who disagreed with the death penalty, Prasetyo insisted they consider “that what we are doing is simply to save our nation from the threat of narcotics” (Business Insider Australia, Feb 12).

The focus is, rather, on the cruelties that will be visited upon the two men. “The idea that the government would,” reflected Justice Lex Lasry, “take individuals into the bush and shoot them is something I can never live with, can never understand.”[1]  Pleas for clemency have been made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, Julie Bishop.

The President of Indonesia, the still freshly elected Joko Widodo, was in no mood to accede to the requests.  As part of his fresh approach to the issue of combating the drugs trade, he has decided to bracket all and sundry.  This is domestically problematic, suggesting that Widodo might be overstepping the mark.  According to Ponti Azani, who represents both Chan and Sukumaran, Indonesian law requires a consideration of each individual case.

What such responses suggest is that a good deal of exceptionalism is at play, one that actually takes the battering ram to the very rule of law that is deemed sacred in the Anglophone sphere.  (It should be added that all states, even those with the death penalty, play it, including Indonesia, in making efforts to save their own citizens from the executioner in other countries.)

Australian citizens are deemed to be of a better mineral than locals, over men and women whose passports should grant them a more compassionate hearing and fate.  Tim Mayfield, writing in The Drum (Jan 23), noted the response of Brazil and the Netherlands in recalling their ambassadors to Indonesia as a protest against the use of the death penalty against its citizens.  Would Australia be “willing to take the same stand”?

The Australian, a paper not exactly bound to the human rights canon, put forth its own variant of the rule of law. “This newspaper’s objection to the death penalty is not targeted at Indonesia; it arises from the principle that the protection of life, including from the power of the state, is the moral bedrock of any worthy system of law” (Feb 12).  That the paper objects to the power of the state in that manner is a curious thing indeed, when one considers the paper’s endorsement of Australia’s own variant of the gulag archipelago in processing asylum seekers, some who remain in indefinite detention.  How attitudes to cruelty vary.

The other form of exceptionalism plays out in attacking Australia’s own authorities for alerting the Indonesian police about the activities of the Bali Nine.  Big time populist and radio shock jock, Alan Jones, after terming the death penalty “barbaric” on the ABC’s Q & A program, weighed into the role played by the Australian Federal Police for their collaborative approach in this regard.  Had they made their own arrests and essentially been non-cooperative with their Indonesian counterparts, the drug traffickers would have been spared the agony.

The Jones recipe in this regard is significant. Not only did he fume against the Australian police, he felt that Canberra should have a greater, bossing clout when it came to Jakarta.  The white man’s burden, tinged with charitable reminder, reared the most ugly of heads. “Someone has to get on the phone to this bloke, [Widodo] and simply say, ‘Well, you do what you like, but we gave you a billion dollars [in disaster relief aid] when you were hit by the [2004 Boxing Day] tsunami.”[2]

There is nothing to be said for the use of the death penalty, a cruel, mechanical application that finalises the irreversible. It is cruel, and it sanctions murder.  But if the rule of law and the sovereignty of a legal system are matters to respect, then it can’t be thrown out because the citizenship of one country is deemed more exceptional than another.

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

This is No Time to Ship Lethal Arms to Ukraine

February 13th, 2015 by Jonathan Power

Please put your hand up if you support giving lethal arms to the Ukrainian army and also supported the US going to war with Iraq in 2003 and with Libya in 2011, the former which unbalanced much of the Middle East and the latter which has left a country almost destroyed, semi-ruled by malicious militias.

Also raise your hand if you supported in 1998 the West going to war against Serbia in order to wrest away its province of Kosovo and give it independence- a move which ironically Russia (and Spain, worried about its Basques) opposed, arguing that this would set a precedent for territorial separation by force of arms.

If you supported all these three interventions don’t take offence if I question your judgment on the issue of arms for Ukraine.

I am trying to work out where President Barack Obama stands on all this. His vice-president, Joe Biden, seems to be running with the foxes while he himself is running with the hares. Take the president’s interview on CNN the weekend before last. Until then the official White House line had been that the crisis was instigated by President Vladimir Putin to block Ukraine from creating a democratic government.

But in that broadcast, as my esteemed fellow columnist, William Pfaff, has observed, “Obama conceded to an American TV audience that the official US narrative concerning the war in Ukraine isn’t true”.

On CNN Obama said that “Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Maidan not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protest in the Maidan and Ukraine’s then-president (Viktor Yanukovych) fleeing after we (the U.S. and the European Union) had made a deal to broker power in Ukraine.”

Pfaff adds his own authoritative interpretation of the reasons for what happened next: “Believing that the Maidan demonstrations last February had been secretly contrived by the West (easy for Putin to suspect because of the presence of EU representatives, as well as an American Assistant Secretary of State and a visit to Kiev by CIA officials), Putin retaliated by adroitly seizing Crimea, for many years a Russian territory, but Ukrainian only since 1954”.

I find it easier to work out where German Chancellor Angela Merkel stands. Although she was party to the counterproductive EU attempt to pull Ukraine into the EU orbit by insisting that a new trade deal would mean that Ukraine should shun Russia’s own Eurasian Economic Community, whereas it should have been allowed to face both ways, and also party to a Western policy that still refuses to say loud and clear that Nato does not expect Ukraine ever to join NATO, she now realises the West has put itself on the slippery slope.

She is trying to persuade both sides from sliding down it. The other day, confronting those who seek tougher sanctions on Russia and sending arms to Ukraine, she urged patience: “I am surprised at how faint-hearted we are and how quickly we lose courage.” By stealing the language of the “hard” school she has pulled the carpet from beneath them. It is they who have to prove that this won’t lead to a dangerous confrontation with Russia- even war.

The Western publics will never agree to that. What? Fight over a piece of “far away country between people of whom we know little”? They will not.

This is not Chamberlain’s appeasement. What is appeasement is that the Russian government until recently accepted with barely a murmur, that the West, ignoring its own implied promises, would not expand NATO so far east.

Russian has appeased the West, not vice versa. Now, belatedly, the expansion right up to Russia’s border rankles. The West’s behavior in Ukraine has convinced Putin that the West would like nothing better than to push the reach of Nato up to Ukraine’s border with Russia.

If Obama does let himself be swept along by hard line advisors and senators and orders the military to ship in heavy weapons the US won’t have the other big Nato powers going along with it. Neither Germany nor France, nor Spain, nor Italy, nor the UK. Leaders know their electorate would not tolerate it.

I don’t think Obama will. Apart from the CNN quote (above), which suggests he understands Putin’s point of view, Obama certainly does not want to leave office with a proxy war with Russia raging. If he doesn’t want to attack Syria or put boots on the ground to fight ISIS, if he is happy to get the US out of Afghanistan and not to seriously re-enter the Iraq imbroglio, he is not going to go up against Russia, even via the indirect proxy of the Ukrainian army.

That’s how I read it. How do you?

Why the United States Always Loses Its Wars

February 13th, 2015 by Joachim Hagopian

America loses all its wars because it seems we’ve always been on the wrong side of history. Morally nor legally should any nation have the right to invade and occupy another sovereign nation, much less believe it can achieve victory in long, protracted wars. Yet in violation of all ethical precepts and all international laws, the sole global superpower citing its impunity through exceptionalism hypocritically insists it can maintain its moral high ground in its relentless pursuit of regime changes anywhere it so chooses on earth. We are the global village bully that’s hated by much of the world. And it’s pure self-aggrandizing bullshit to perpetrate the myth that America is hated because of our “freedom,” another rhetorical brainwashing lie. We now live in a fascist totalitarian police state run by a globalized crime syndicate of the central banking cabal. As of last April per a Princeton-Northwestern study the US has officially been designated an oligarchy.

Last year after a group of ethnic Russians living in Crimea voted to become part of Russia, the Russian military claimed control over its own naval base there that the US-NATO had been lusting to steal after the unlawful overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected sovereign government. Ever since it’s been nonstop lies and propaganda propagated to demonize Putin as the aggressor when in fact all along it’s the American Empire that’s been recklessly pushing what could end up World War III against nuclear powered Russia. With US-NATO missiles installed on Russia’s doorstep in virtually every former Soviet eastern bloc nation, hemming Russia in, who’s really the aggressor here?

The WMD lie that was the repeated mantra used as prewar drum beating propaganda to launch a war against humanity in Iraq a dozen years earlier is now being replayed as déjà vu all over again to amnesic, dumbed down Americans. Despite defeats in both Iraq and Afghanistan still being dragged out as America’s longest running wars in its history, the US-NATO war machine is once again prepping for yet more war raging now in Eastern Ukraine. The US government’s rush to war hit a minor snag the other day when various European nations like France and Germany announced their opposition and refusal to send arms to the Ukraine government, wanting to give peace talks with Russia a chance. Today’s headlines state that Obama has been forced to pause in his arms rush, not unlike the world turning against his rush a year and a half ago for air strikes in Syria after the false flag chemical weapons attack that was actually launched by US backed rebels. So it may not be full speed ahead for US Empire to ship its heavy weaponry to the eastern warfront after all. It is being reported that mercenaries speaking American English, Polish, French and Flemish are fighting for the Kiev government in Eastern Ukraine against ethnic Russians who are fighting for their independence, their home and their very survival. And with their backs up against the wall, recently the eastern Ukrainians have beaten back the Ukrainian government forces. Again, the US has a knack for being on the wrong side of history.

No true victor can emerge from any war on either side. The incessant US aggressor boasting superior firepower as the most deadly, expensive military force on the planet (spending more than the next ten nations combined), America has little to show for itself as it has not won a single war in seventy years! Neo-colonialism cloaked in imperialism, balkanization, economic exploitation, debtors’ theft, indentured servitude and enslavement can never be justified as the spoils of war. It’s a losing proposition in every imaginable way, not only for the aggressive American Empire that keeps starting and losing war after war, but especially for the ravaged nations it devastates and turns into demolished failed states with the King Midas in reverse touch. There is only one winner in all this evil business of war making – the oligarchs that own and control both the US and the failed state nations. As Marine Corps General Smedley Butler wisely pointed out way back in 1933:

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that      is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Fortune 500 companies win bigger profits sucking up the last precious, nearly tapped oil reserves and other diminishing natural resources off the face of the earth. This nonstop predatory practice of using, abusing and plundering smaller Third World countries is good for no one but the thieving transnational war profiteers and the oligarchs who own and control them.

This month’s Atlantic has a well written, thought provoking feature article called “The Tragedy of the American Military” authored by James Fallows. Though on the cover the question is asked, “Why Do The Best Soldiers in the World Keep Losing?” the article never quite delivers the answer. Instead it laments how the US fighting machine consisting of just two million (both active and reserved) out of more than 316 million Americans has created a cultural chasm of “out of sight, out of mind” convenience for a civilian population that disingenuously pays only lip service to “support our troops” while repeated Empire wars (and defeats) fought half a world away never cease.

Meanwhile, despite costing US taxpayers up to six trillion dollars and counting in Iraq alone and another trillion so far in Afghanistan in this age of increasing austerity, the albeit detached reverence for the US military and its abysmal losing war record fail to draw much notice or reflection, much less any real criticism or troubleshooting that might correct the same pattern of mistakes being repeated indefinitely. Another article in the same issue calls for resurrecting the draft as the feeble answer, something my ex-West Point roommate-former Afghan Ambassador-retired general and current Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member Karl Eikenberry has also publicly advocated. They are all missing the point, unwilling or unable to address the pink elephant in the global room.

Respected author-activist David Swanson wrote an incisive rebuttal also confronting the Atlantic article for not answering the obvious question of why America loses at war. He makes the excellent point:

The U.S. has killed huge numbers of men, women, and children, made itself hated, made the world more dangerous, destroyed the environment, discarded civil liberties, and wasted trillions of dollars that could have done a world of good spent otherwise. A draft would do nothing to make people aware of that situation.

But Swanson merely glides over as a passing fact that the ruling elite is the only entity that stands to gain from war. He fails to emphasize that it is the elite’s power, money and influence that both initiates, but then by calculated design, willfully sabotages the chance of any US military victory after World War II. The reason is simple. If the US triumphed in war it would only delay the totalitarian New World Order from materialization. Only a weakened United States would expeditiously promote a one world government.

Some analysts with a micro-filter would blame inept planning and decision making by civilian commanders-in-chief and their equally inept civilian counsel. Both the Bush and Obama regimes come readily to mind, and before them the Johnson administration during the Vietnam War. Historically the chickenhawk elite as behind the scene war proponents have been represented by members of the Counsel on Foreign Relations in advisory roles that in effect have shaped and controlled every single US president’s foreign and war policy along with key Congressional warmongers always promoting the self-interests of the military industrial complex that outgoing President Eisenhower warned us about over and above the interests and well-being of the American people.

Other critics like Thomas E. Ricks in recent years have been quick to point the finger at the poor military leadership. As a West Point graduate who went to school in the same regiment with surge man himself former CIA Director and General David Petraeus, NSA Big Brother architect Keith Alexander and current Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, I can attest to the inferior brand of leadership cranked out of the academy brass factory over the last half century. West Point trains and teaches robotic followers in the form of sycophantic, self-serving bureaucrat-politicians, not dynamic, caring, humanitarian leaders. Entrepreneurial, innovative, creative instincts are drummed out of cadet and officer corps by a failed, punch-your-ticket to seniority system that breeds a range of incompetence from run-of-the-mill mediocrity to highly toxic leadership. The unprecedented soaring rates at which the most gifted, strongest leaders have been leaving the military services in droves the first chance they get upon completion of their 5-year post academy commitment calls into question the dubious worth of a half million dollar taxpayer-funded price tag of an elitist academy education. With the bland bureaucrat-politicians left in charge as generals leading the US Empire forces in war, then throw in the sobering reality that the military system fails to hold its own poor leadership accountable, it’s really no wonder the United States keeps losing every time out.

But all this plausible rationalization and blame-game excuses to explain away why the US persists in its streak of disastrous war defeats fails to address the fundamental reason why. Bottom line, no war is justified when humans and all life forms on this planet always stand to lose, especially when the only winners are the war profiteers who in my opinion are not human. Without a conscience and totally devoid of their humanity and compassion, they’re simply greed-driven, psychopathic predators feeding off the lifeblood of other humans and nations that must suffer immeasurable and unspeakable harm at their singular gain.

During this last century alone it’s been this same line of globalists working overtime, primarily through the CFR (since 1921), the Pentagon and other elitist “think tanks” that have been pulling the puppet strings of all US presidents, busily creating one false flag after another to start every single war America ever fights. Nearly every president has been a card carrying CFR member, and those few who haven’t were surrounded by CFR in key cabinet roles. Since the 1947 National Security Act established the cabinet office of the Secretary of Defense, every man who has held that key position in the US government has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since 1940 every Secretary of State has been a CFR plant. For the last 80 years virtually every National Security Advisor been a CFR insider as have been all the top generals like my West Point ex-roommies Eikenberry and the longest running Afghanistan and Iraq War commander General Abizaid as well as the aforementioned Class of 1974 grads Petraeus and Dempsey. Let’s examine how key insiders with their one world government vision have made war at will through false flag lies blaming their designated enemies contributing to America’s long history of nonstop war for over 91% of its years in existence (218 out of 239 years).

As a brief historical review tracing events from the dawn of the twentieth century, media mogul Randolph Hearst used the false flag of the Spanish American War to “remember the USS Maine” sinking in the 1898 Havana harbor as its deceitful justification to ruthlessly, violently colonize Cuba and the Philippines, committing ethnic cleansing with estimates as high as near a half million dead Filipinos in that bloodbath.

Then it was the “great” English statesman Winston Churchill who plotted the sinking of the Lusitania killing nearly 1200 of his own British citizens (along with 128 Americans) as the baited sacrifice secretly carrying arms to ignite the First World War that was supposed to end all wars. This in turn led to the first NWO effort toward globalized government in the League of Nations that several decades later materialized into the United Nations, a huge globalist milestone on its march toward one world government. As is custom, globalist money busily finances both sides in every war, in this case militarizing German Kaiser Wilhelm and Lenin’s revolutionary rise to red power during World War I and then a few years later Hitler’s ascendancy to initiate World War II. HW Bush’s father was actually arrested for funding the Nazi enemy. Pearl Harbor was the sinister false flag machination that carried the deadly sacrifice of over 2500 slaughtered Americans as Roosevelt’s chickenhawk “excuse” to enter WWII.  The real purpose of the so called last “justified war” was to eclipse the British Empire and usher in the imperialistic reign of the emerging American Empire and its subsequent cold war that’s still raging dangerously stronger than ever to this day.

Then several years later the US encouraged South Korean incursions into Communist North Korea in order to manipulate North Korea into responding in kind. Guaranteeing South Korea full UN support, when the baited North Koreans retaliated by moving two miles inside the South Korean border, that June 1950 “transgression” immediately became the false pretense used to initiate the Korean War. After that conflict ended in a stalemate, a mere decade later as the imperialistic cauldrons of cold war grew hotter, in August 1964 President Johnson lied to the American people with the bogus claim that a US Navy ship was attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin to launch America’s longest running war in history (that is until this century’s everlasting war of terror). That false flag cost near 60,000 American lives and over 3 million dead Southeast Asians, in addition to being the first US humiliating war defeat in its history, marking the first of many consecutive losses.

The smaller, less intensive military campaigns of Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador, the First Gulf War, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo were all jingoistic saber rattling manipulations of imperialistic Empire overpowering far weaker opponents to take down former US allied dictators (or in the case of Saddam Hussein a preliminary step to the father-son neocon tag team), balkanizing a divide and conquer strategy for global hegemony and imperial war profiteering from the always lucrative drug trafficking trade.

The actual reason America has been losing all its wars for seven decades now is simply because the oligarchs want it that way. The fact is we were never meant to win any war after WWII. Over and over again the most powerful army in the world has been defeated by much smaller ill equipped forces that are far less armed, modern and funded. Yet fighting on their turf against the imperialistic occupying Goliath-like oppressor, they always win. Like everything major that goes down on this earth, it’s all part of the ruling elite’s diabolical plan – by design, the US as the constantly warring nation should keep losing war after war. American soldiers and their families always suffer the heaviest losses, only surpassed by the millions of people whose homelands become targeted US Empire battlefields. The shrinking US middle class at home bearing the brunt of the burden financing exorbitant costly wars also loses big time. But then of course this grave calamity and human tragedy is all by sinister design. Because the ruling class no longer has a need for America’s middle class, it’s become the latest war of terror casualty.

Meanwhile, the only true winners of all wars is the oligarch owned and controlled central banking cabal and its Wall Street 500. Once American Empire wreaks military havoc to achieve another ravaged failed state, be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, a second invasion that becomes the permanent occupation arrives in the form of IMF and World Bank loans. When the war destroyed nation cannot pay the bankster cabal’s loan shark extortion, privatization through transnational corporations rapidly descends as economic hit men-vultures move in for the final kill. The game’s been rigged, set up so no one but the filthy, gluttonous, bloodthirsty, psychopathic vampires comprising the ruling elite can possibly win from all this rigged warring death and destruction.

The Zionist neocon creation with a little help from their Saudi-Israeli evil axis friends pulled off the coup of the century on 9/11, massacring 3,000 Americans as their sacrificial lambs, setting into motion the fabricated war on terror masking their actual war on Islam to ensure that a constant fresh supply of made-by-the-USA enemy materializes to justify permanent global violence. During the near ten years that Americans fought in Iraq near a half million Iraqis lost their life, mostly innocent civilians. That toll has only since risen with war still raging. The Islamic State jihadists that the US-Saudi-Israeli unholy alliance secretly created, trained, armed and has funded (just as it did al Qaeda for decades) invaded Iraq last June and is currently in control of more area in Iraq than the weak US puppet government in Baghdad with no end of sectarian violence in sight.

Afghanistan looks no better with the puppet Kabul government holding less territory than the surging Taliban that has been waiting for the US military exodus by December 2014 leaving 10,800 US military advisors still remaining behind. A million Afghan citizens died during the decade long war with the Soviet Union in the 1980’s, then hundreds of thousands more during the ensuing civil war afterwards. With the death toll doubling in 2014 from the previous year, upwards of 30,000 civilians have died during America’s longest war in history in the graveyard of empires. The human costs for Americans killed on these two warfronts for both the US soldiers and civilian contractors are about 6,800 each as of April 2014. Three quarters of the American casualties in Afghanistan died on Obama’s watch.

The proxy wars leaving Libya as a corrupt and lawlessly violent failed state and Syria a stalemated quagmire with Islamic State mercenaries our not-so-secret friendly boots on the ground still unable to topple and remove Assad from power. Meanwhile, near a quarter of a million people have died in the war in Syria and an astounding 6.5 million have been displaced in that colossal human tragedy supported and caused by the United States. Syria at no time was a threat to US national security. Yet for years now the US has been determined to bring down Syria on its way to the ultimate regime change prize of Iran, the last of the seven sovereign nations to be taken down in the Middle East and North Africa within the designated five years on that notorious neocon list that retired General Wesley Clark learned in 2001 had already been in existence even prior to 9/11.

Ever since Korea and Vietnam the ruling elite in its New World Order agenda will not allow the most lethal fighting force in the world to win another war. And as shown, the King Midas touch in reverse that has every nation the US intervenes plummeting into flames as failed states, totally vulnerable as easy pickings for the predatory oligarch sharks to feast on whatever precious natural resources are left, boots on the ground or not. While the entire planet loses, this endless, spilled blood for oil end game remains a win-win proposition only for the demonically ruled ruling class that’s been systematically creating and profiting from war for countless centuries.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.

Arming Ukraine: Ongoing Since Last Year

February 13th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Obama continues the charade about continuing diplomacy before deciding whether to supply Kiev with weapons and munitions.

One last push for peace, he claimed. “If…diplomacy fails, what I’ve asked my team to do is to look at all the options.”

“And the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined. But I have not made a decision about that yet.”

Fact: Obama is a serial liar. Nothing he says has credibility. Truth is polar opposite his Big Lies.

Saying he’ll do whatever it takes “to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatist aggression” flies in the face of US planned, implemented and directed Kiev dirty war without mercy against Donbas residents wanting democracy, rejecting fascism.

Fact: Donbas is Obama’s war. He deplores peace. Intends escalated fighting.

Fact: Ukrainian military forces are proxy US foot soldiers.

Fact: Hundreds of foreign mercenaries are involved. Perhaps US and other NATO special forces disguised as Ukrainian ones.

Fact: Ukraine is a platform for targeting Russia for regime change.

Fact: Washington has been supplying Kiev with heavy weapons since conflict began in April. More on this below.

Fact: So-called defensive weapons include virtually everything Kiev needs for naked aggression. Including greater amounts of banned chemical agents and cluster bombs already supplied.

A Kharkov anti-regime Facebook page states:

“At 02:06 AM, a NATO Hercules plane landed at the Kharkov airport. According to eyewitnesses, they land at the Kharkov airport every night since February 5th.”

At other Ukrainian airports delivering weapons, munitions, equipment and various supplies.

Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen reported “a flurry of Ukrainian cargo transports landing at military supply airports in the United States and Europe…”

Taking on weapons and munitions covertly. Flying home to escalate conflict. NATO aircraft supplying armaments.

US officials talk about “commencing…arms shipment(s) by (US-dominated) NATO that actually began last year,” said Madsen.

In September, Ukraine’s illegitimate oligarch president Poroshenko said “a number of NATO countries agreed to deliver weapons to Ukrainian forces,” according to Madsen.

Their ranks include Kiev regulars, neo-Nazi battalions, “US and other private military forces, and ex-Israeli Defense Force personnel.”

Kiev’s presidential advisor, Yuri Lutsenko, said Washington, Canada, France, Poland, Norway and Italy agreed to supply weapons. They’re pouring in to escalate fighting.

Putin called Ukraine’s military a (US-controlled) NATO “foreign legion” for good reason. Its forces get enormous amounts of Western weapons and munitions already.

An AN-124 aircraft landing in Belgrade appears to be “ferrying weapons from a number of known NATO air terminals used for such purposes,” said Madsen.

It’s the world’s largest gross weight cargo aircraft. Able to carry a 170 ton payload.

“After arriving in Bucharest, Romania on January 23, 2015 from the Italian island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Libya, the aircraft departed on January 23 for New Jersey in the United States,” said Madsen.

“Lampedusa was a major staging base for NATO weapons supplies to Libyan rebels during the Western- and Islamist-inspired rebellion against the Qaddafi government.”

“Bucharest has become a major base for NATO military support to Kiev.”

Washington has six storage units in Norway’s central Trondelag region. Heavy US weapons are held there.

Since conflict began last April, “the mysterious Ukrainian AN-124 has been spotted around the world, likely picking up weapons,” said Madsen.

Last June, it was seen at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. In May, it was in the Canary Islands. What may have been a refueling stop, Madsen explained.

It’s been spotted at numerous other locations. Including Leipzig, Germany; Malta; Porto, Portugal; Vienna; Boston; Tulsa; Philadelphia; Calgary; Anchorage; and Buenos Aires.

Weeks before November 2013 Maidan protests began in Kiev, a Ukrainian UR-82072 aircraft was seen at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, said Madsen.

Last April when conflict began, “the Antonov weapons carrier was sighted at Portsmouth International Airport, the old Pease Air Force Base, which is now a New Hampshire Air National Guard Base,” Madsen explained.

Last September, the aircraft showed up in Tbilisi, Georgia. “There is little doubt that (NATO commander Philip) Breedlove…previously authorized the transfer of NATO weapons to Ukraine via Tblisi.”

Georgia and Ukraine comprise an anti-Russian “aspirant NATO member alliance…” US-dominated NATO war planners head perilously toward confronting Russia belligerently.

On Monday, The Hill reported neocon US senators Rob Portman (R. OH) and Dick Durbin (D. IL) launching a Ukraine caucus.

Its “key focus” is war-making. According to Portman, it’ll “play a prominent role in advocating for and coordinating more robust American efforts to support Ukraine.”

Durbin lied claiming “continued Russian aggression in the region and repeated assaults on the sovereignty of (Ukraine’s) borders.”

Kiev “needs a steadfast ally in the United States,” he said.

“This bipartisan group sends a clear message that Ukraine has the unflinching support of the Ukrainian community in Illinois and the United States Senate.”

Washington backs its neo-Nazi, xenophobic, ultranationalist, anti-Semitic, hate-mongering, war-making new ally.

One fascist regime supports another. Wanting democracy crushed at all costs. Waging dirty war without mercy.

Mounting casualties are horrific. According to German intelligence, losses far exceed official numbers. On Sunday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) newspaper said:

“Germany’s special (intelligence) services estimate the probable number of deceased Ukrainian servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000 people.”

“This figure is about 10 times higher than official data. Official figures are clearly too low and not credible.”

Ukraine’s military is suffering its heaviest losses since launching naked aggression last April.

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said Kiev lost at least 1,569 combatants since launching its renewed aggression three weeks ago.

Donbas self-defense forces keep inflicting heavy losses. Routing Kiev troops. Destroying or capturing its tanks, other heavy weapons and equipment.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) prohibits revealing true casualty numbers. Or anything about battlefield defeats.

Or information on US-led NATO heavy weapons supplies. Or plans stoking growing East/West confrontation.

Obama wants war, not peace. Ukraine is the pretext. Russia the target. Regime change the objective.

Major war winds head toward gale force. Will lunatics in Washington risk the unthinkable?

For the first time in world history nuclear war appears possible. Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

Neocons infesting Washington threaten global war. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.

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. 

Around midday Minsk time Thursday, Putin announced a ceasefire agreement was reached. More on this below. 

Previous efforts failed. Agreements last April in Geneva and Minsk in September were followed by continued conflict.

Washington and Kiev stooges it controls bear full responsibility. It’s hard imagining something different this time.

Whatever is agreed on in principle or announced documents is meaningless without Obama calling off his dogs.

Ending the war he began. Including cutting off all military aid to Ukraine. Withdrawing US-led NATO forces close to Russia’s borders.

Removing all US forces currently training Kiev’s military. Halting an announced new 600-strength 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team deployment to Lviv to train neo-Nazi National Guard thugs.

So-called volunteer battalions guilty of horrendous atrocities and other war crimes.

As this is written, marathon Minsk peace talks ended after about 17 hours of negotiations.

The Wall Street Journal earlier cited unnamed diplomats close to talks saying European leaders were “expected to sign a document Thursday after all-night talks…”

No indication of contents was given or whether “broad ceasefire agreement” would be reached. A follow-up Journal report said a “truce deal” was reached.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier was quoted earlier saying “talks in Minsk are not easy and continuing.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called them “super, better than super” when asked how things were going.

Ukraine’s deputy presidential administration head Valeriy Chaly said “(w)e can’t leave here without an agreement on an unconditional ceasefire.”

Key disagreements included deciding what constitutes the demarcation line between both sides. Kiev wants it based on September’s Minsk protocol and follow-up memorandum.

Rebels insisted it reflects current battlefield conditions. In other words, including all territory they control.

Russia called it impossible to secure its border with Ukraine unless and until Kiev halts its economic blockade.

Reuters cited one unnamed source saying hopefully an agreement would be reached – another saying a document would be signed.

It may be more “a joint declaration rather than a full agreement,” said Reuters – “signed by lower level envoys rather than by the leaders themselves,” according to sources.

A two-paragraph follow-up Reuters report said quoted Putin saying “(w)e have managed to agree on the main issues.”

AP reported talks continuing overnight more than 14 hours. Now ended after over 17 hours according to RT International as of around midday Minsk timeThursday.

Officials remain largely “tight-lipped, praising progress but refusing to divulge details.”

A follow-up AP report indicated Putin saying ceasefire agreement was reached. Key sticking points included:

  • withdrawing (nonexistent) Russian troops and military equipment from Ukrainian territory;
  • Ukraine securing control of its border with Russia “to stem the (nonexistent) flow of Russian fighters and weapons, while Russia says that’s up to the rebels who have captured some key border posts;” and
  • granting rebels more autonomy.

Kiev expressed willingness to grant them more rights under Ukrainian law – not the full autonomy they demand and deserve. Without it they’ll have virtually none at all.

Russia wants more than Kiev promises. It wants “guarantees.” In what form isn’t clear or how they’d be enforced.

Lavrov expressed concern over border control that could leave Donbass residents surrounded and cut off from humanitarian aid.

On the one hand, Poroshenko earlier downplayed progress made. “Unfortunately, there’s no good news yet,” he said.

He accused Russia of proposing “unacceptable” conditions. In other words, fundamental ones Kiev won’t observe whatever it agrees on.

On the other, Ukraine’s Urian news service reports a document being prepared titled “Minutes of the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group with the representatives of individual regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions regarding a set of measures for political settlement of the conflict.”

Urian says 15 points are included. Main ones so far not verified stipulate:

  • a comprehensive ceasefire beginning on Thursday, February 12, at 10:00AM local time – it’s already past that now;
  • withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from the current contact line;
  • Donbas forces to withdraw behind the September 19 Minsk memorandum stipulated contact line;
  • withdrawal to begin no later than the second day after ceasefire agreed on;
  • OSCE monitors to observe the process on the ground;
  • Ukraine’s parliament to pass legislation by February 20 listing Donbas areas subject to “special status in accordance with the Law of Ukraine ‘On a temporary order of local government in some regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions’ (within the contact line defined by the Annex to Minsk memorandum dated September 19, 2014);”
  • agreement by March 20 on “municipal elections in some areas, and to initiate a dialogue on granting these areas the status of autonomies;”
  • “cancel(ing) all…political and military…decisions” related to “conducting…’anti-terrorist’ operation(s) in the Donbas” by February 23.
  • enacting Kiev legislation prohibiting “the prosecution and punishment of persons” involved in Donbas conflict by February 25;
  • providing pardons, amnesty and release of “all persons held in the territory of Ukraine (an all-for-all exchange of prisoners)” to be completed “no later than the fifth day after the withdrawal;”
  • restoring Donbas’ “social sphere (payment of pensions and benefits) and the securing of safe access to, and the supply, storage and distribution of, humanitarian aid…’”
  • restoring “full economic and social cooperation between” both sides, “including in the banking sector;”
  • withdrawing “foreign military forces” and armaments, including “mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, under” OSCE monitoring;
  • the “disarming of all *(undefined) illegal groups;”
  • Ukrainian constitutional reform, “including deep decentralization by granting the status of autonomy to individual areas of the Donbass;” and
  • organizing Donbass elections under international monitoring based on Ukrainian law.

Fighting rages as talks continue. All Ukrainians, including Donbass residents and freedom fighters, want peace.

They never wanted conflict in the first place. Washington planned, implemented and directs Kiev’s naked aggression on its own citizens.

Whatever is agreed on in Minsk, expect no end of conflict. Washington rejects peace. It wants total control of its newest colony.

It wants hardline rule instituted nationwide. It wants Donbas freedom fighters crushed.

It wants Ukraine as a platform targeting Russia’s heartland with the ultimate objective of regime change – ousting Putin. Replacing him with pro-Western stooge governance.

Washington appears willing to risk WW III to achieve its objectives. Bipartisan lunatics control things. US governance is gangsterism by any standard.

Poroshenko threatened martial law nationwide if fighting escalates.

“I can say that I, the government and the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine are ready to take a decision on the introduction of martial law throughout the country,” he said.

“In any case, I will not be late with this decision, if the irresponsible actions of the aggressor lead to a further escalation of the conflict.”

Human rights activist Galina Zaporozhtseva heads Mothers of Ukraine. She justifiably believes Kiev will straightaway violate whatever it agrees to like every time before.

Neo-Nazis in charge want war, not peace. Washington won’t let Poroshenko end conflict whatever is agreed on in Minsk, she said.

If he withdraws Kiev forces from frontline positions, “he should not return to Kiev,” she believes.

“He will be immediately destroyed, and replaced with (illegitimate prime minister Arseniy) Yatsenyuk, who will begin a new, more bloody stage of the war,” she said.

With full US support and encouragement. Real, sustainable peace in Donbas with residents granted rights they deserve is pure fantasy.

The entire conflict is based on Big Lies. Lunatics running things in Washington want it escalated, not ended.

Obama says one thing and does another. He gives serial lying new meaning. He’s waged perpetual war throughout his tenure.

He wants congressional authorization for unconstrained war with US boots on the ground against any adversary he designates.

In other words, officially declared total war on humanity. Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and other theaters perhaps are warmups for greater planned conflict to come.

It can’t be stressed too strongly that neocon lunatics controlling US policy may end up destroying humanity altogether.

Key isn’t what happens in Minsk. It’s stopping these monsters once and for all.

Otherwise, world peace is impossible. Humanity is more threatened than any other time in world history.

A Final Comment

Near midday Thursday Minsk time, Tass reports Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky “refus(ing) to sign…the so-called “Normandy Four’ ” document.

An unnamed source was cited. No further details were given. Later reports indicated rebel leaders agreed to ceasefire terms “due to guarantees from the president of Russia, chancellor of Germany and president of France.”

Zakharchenko warned if agreed on “terms are broken, there will be no new meetings or memoranda.”

RT International, Sputnik News and Tass reported Putin saying ceasefire terms were agreed on starting Sunday, February 15.

“I believe we agreed on a big deal,” said Putin. “We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15.” A disengagement line compromise was reached.

A security zone separating both sides will be at least 50km wide for artillery over 100mm, 70km for multiple rocket launchers, and 100 km for longer-range heavier weapons.

Kiev will withdraw heavy weapons from the current front line. Rebels will pull back to what existed in September.

Withdrawal to be completed within 14 days. OSCE observers will monitor both sides.

One document reportedly was signed called “The package of measures aimed at implementing the Minsk agreements.”

Putin said a second document “is not for signatures. (It’s) a statement of French, Ukrainian presidents, your faithful servant, and German chancellor saying we support this process.”

“Despite all difficulties in the negotiating process, we managed to agree on the main issue,” Putin said.

“I want to urge both conflicting sides to end bloodshed as soon as possible and switch to a real political process of a longterm settlement,” he added.

It remains to be seen what follows. If past is prologue, hold the cheers.

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.

On Tuesday 3 February, Reuters News agency reported that the head of a UN inquiry into last summer’s Israeli military offensive “Protective Edge” in Gaza has said William Schabas, a Canadian academic, will resign after Israeli allegations of bias due to consultancy work he did for the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Schabas’s investigations were to be compiled in a report, due this March, but Schabas’s fate is of no great surprise to many who have monitored previous attempts, namely, Judge Goldstone, to make Israel responsible for the killing of thousands in Gaza.

Schabas was given the mandate on 22nd of July 2014 when the United Nations passed a resolution that would begin an investigation into human rights violations in Gaza unleashed by Israel’s military assault in its newest “Protective Edge” operation. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed and, according to U.N. estimates, at least 70% of the Palestinians killed were civilians.

The United States is the only country in the world that voted against the resolution and its support of Israel’s current “collective punishment” recalls a similar massacre by the Israeli army in 2008/9 that sparked the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, known as the Goldstone Report. Any action the report recommended back then was also vetoed by the United States. Hence, understanding the fate of Goldstone and his Report helps make sense of why Schabas has resigned.

The current UN resolution (and Report in March) will probably prove fruitless too, however honest or virtuous the people involved in the investigation are, because any UN attempt to make Israel accountable to war crimes will be vetoed probably again by the United States, as it happened to be back in 2009, shortly after Judge Richard Goldstone submitted his report. In April of 2009, Goldstone headed a team established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the war crimes during the Gaza War of 2009, otherwise known as “Operation Cast Lead.”

Goldstone is a Jewish Zionist and was born and raised in South Africa, where he came to prominence with his investigations of vicious behaviours of white security forces during the anti-apartheid movement. One investigation of his led him to uncover Nazis war criminals in Argentina, while his international reputation for investigating violence led directly to him being nominated to serve as the first chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia and for genocide in Rwanda from August 1994 to September 1996.

Goldstone’s report, published in Sept. 2009, charged both Israel and Hamas with war crimes that occurred between 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 during the “Operation Cast Lead” conflict, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. When the report was submitted to the General Assembly in October of 2009, according to Goldstone, it was initially rejected because many members focused on the report’s condemnation of Israel (allegations of being bias?) while ignoring his report’s details about the war crimes committed by Hamas.

Goldstone publically denounced the Israeli accusations of biasness and called upon these UN members to respect the report’s criticism of Hamas as well. Finally, a second resolution on 26 February 2010 was passed that took into consideration the war crimes of Hamas, but still the Americans made it known that none of the 15 Security Council members would take action against Israel, so the report’s recommendations were ignored and Goldstone was dismissed.

One of the most striking descriptions of “collective punishment” induced by Israel in the report is “the attacks on the houses of Ateya and Wa’el al-Samouni, which killed 23 members of the extended al-Samouni family” (Par. 706). Paragraphs 706-735 detail the Israeli army’s massacre of this family. In these paragraphs, the readers are taken into the home of the al-Samouni family and are witnesses to Israeli soldiers who open gunfire inside the room in which all the approximately 20 family members were gathered. “Several were injured, Ahmad, a boy of four, particularly seriously…The soldiers then moved to the next room and set fire to it. The smoke from that room soon started to suffocate the family. A witness speaking to the Mission recalled seeing ‘white stuff’ [White phosphorous] coming out of the mouth of his 17-month-old nephew and helping him to breathe” (para. 709).

Even to this day, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has not been held accountable for this massacre. It is true that in October of that year, Netanyahu stated publically that he would put together a team that would execute an internal review, but he also made it clear (The Jerusalem Post 25 October 2009) that “the team would not question soldiers and officers” involved in any of the killings that took place. A year after the massacre (Jan. 2011) Democracy Now’s Angele Comet visited the al-Samouni family and reported that the Samounis remained in dire poverty and living in make-shift houses and, yet even worse, no one from the Israeli government had ever contacted them.

Although Judge Goldstone admitted in an interview (Bill Moyers Journal Oct 23, 2009) that Israel has every right to defend itself from any enemy, he also argued that Israel does not have the right to collectively punish innocent people from Gaza. Hence, according to the Goldstone Report collective punishment is what Israel is guilty of, especially when the ratios involved are considered. In the “Cast Lead” operation there were 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed. In the current “Protective Edge” operation, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, and at least 70% were civilians.

Therefore, Schabas’s resignation, apparently founded on Israeli allegations of biasness, is just another attempt to derail the process of international justice. In Goldstone’s situation Israel resorted to the tactic of condemning Goldstone for being biased against Israel, and now in the case of Schabas Israel is exploiting international ignorance by resorting to the same tactic. Hence, the topos fits well here: “those who do not learn from history will be fooled to repeat it.”

Gib McInnis is the founder of InExile Publications, which has re-published Paul Goodman’s Moral Ambiguity of America, with an Introduction by him, and Sir Leonard Woolley’s Ur of Chaldees. He also published numerous stories as a freelance journalist for the Sherbrooke Record and the Quebec Chronicle Telegraph, Canada.  See his writings on his Amazon’s Author Page

A new study of Southern lynching of blacks, sharply raising the total to nearly 4,000 victims, adds some context to the decision in 1920 to attach the name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to parts of Route One, including stretches near and through African-American neighborhoods. That period was a time when the number of lynchings surged across the South and whites were reasserting their impunity.

According to the study by the Equal Justice Initiative, the use of lynching – mob killings and mutilations of blacks by hanging, burning alive, castration, torture and other means – was nearly as high around 1920 as it was in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. There was a gradual decline in lynchings in the early Twentieth Century, but the pattern reversed and the use of lynching surged to about 500 during a five-year period heading into 1920.

That period also marked a determination by many Southern whites to reaffirm the rightness of the Confederate cause and to reassert white supremacy. Thus, in 1920, to drive home the point of who was in charge, the Daughters of the Confederacy had Southern states name portions of Route One after Jefferson Davis, who was hailed as the “champion of a slave society” when he was chosen to lead the Confederacy in 1861.

A Civil War-era African-American soldier and his family. (Photo credit: Encyclopedia Virginia)

Besides honoring a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist who favored keeping African-Americans in chains forever, the Daughters of the Confederacy saw these designations of Route One as a counterpoint to plans in the North for a Lincoln Highway in honor of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

But bestowing this honor on Jefferson Davis was also a political message of pro-Confederate defiance that was not limited to the brutal era of 1920. The Jefferson Davis designation was extended to parts of Route 110 near the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in 1964 as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement were pressing for landmark civil rights legislation to end segregation and as white Virginian politicians were vowing to resist integration at all costs.

A year or so ago, I wrote to the five members of the Arlington County Board and urged them to seek an end to this grotesque honor bestowed on a notorious white racist. When my letter went public, it was treated with some amusement by the local paper, the Sun-Gazette, which described me as “rankled,” and prompted some hate mail.

One letter from an Arlington resident declared that it was now her turn to be

“RANKLED by outsiders like Mr. Parry who want to change history because it is not to his liking. … I am very proud of my Commonwealth’s history, but not of the current times, as I’m sure many others are.”

I was also confronted by a senior Democratic county official at a meeting about a different topic and urged to desist in my proposal to give the highway a new name because the idea would alienate state politicians in Richmond who would think that Arlington County was crazy.

But the new study on the terrorism of lynching reminds us that attaching Jefferson Davis’s name to roadways wasn’t just some romantic gesture to honor an historical figure beloved by Southern whites who in 1920 still pined for the ante-bellum days when they could own black people and do to them whatever they wished.

The years around 1920 marked a violent revival of the carnival-like scenes in which whites treated the lynching of blacks as a moment for community hilarity and celebration, often posing with their children for photographs next to the mutilated corpses. Stamping Jefferson Davis’s name on a highway that passed near and through black neighborhoods was another way to send a chilling message to African-Americans.

In my 37 years living in Virginia, I have always been struck by the curious victimhood of many Southern whites. Because of the Civil War, which some still call “the War of Northern Aggression,” and the Civil Rights Movement, which finally ended segregation, they have been nursing grievances, seeing themselves as the real victims here.

Not the African-Americans who were held in the unspeakable conditions of bondage until slavery was finally ended in the 1860s and who then suffered the cruelties of white terrorism and the humiliation of segregation for another century. No, the whites who lorded over them were the real “victims” because the federal government finally intervened to stop these practices.

Yet, while some white Virginians remain “very proud” of that history, there has been a studied neglect of other more honorable aspects of Arlington’s history, including the role played by Columbia Pike as an African-American Freedom Trail where thousands of former slaves, freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, traveled north to escape slavery.

Many were given refuge in Freedman’s Village, a semi-permanent refugee camp along Columbia Pike on land that now includes the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial. Some of the men joined the U.S. Colored Troops training at nearby Camp Casey before returning to the South to fight for freedom, to end the scourge of slavery once and for all.

As blacks joined the Union Army, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ratified a policy that refused to treat black men as soldiers but rather as slaves in a state of insurrection, so they could be executed upon capture or sold into slavery.

In accordance with this Confederate policy, U.S. Colored Troops faced summary executions when captured in battle. For instance, when a Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, was overrun by Confederate forces on April 12, 1864, black soldiers were shot down as they surrendered. Similar atrocities occurred at the Battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas, in April 1864, and the Battle of the Crater in Virginia. Scores of black prisoners were executed in Saltville, Virginia, on Oct. 2, 1864.

Yet, while Jefferson Davis’s name remains on roadways through Arlington — and as the Confederate president is effectively honored whenever people have to use his name — there is still no commemoration of Freedom’s Village (though something is supposedly being planned) and no one apparently even knows the precise location of Camp Casey, arguably one of Arlington’s most significant and noble historical sites. (Camp Casey is believed to have been located close to where today’s Pentagon now is, an area that in the 1860s was called Alexandria County before being renamed Arlington County in the Twentieth Century.)

Apparently, recognizing the place where free African-Americans were trained and armed to defeat the Confederacy and end slavery might “rankle” some white Arlington residents.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com). 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.