Washington knows no heresy in the Third World but genuine independence. In the case of Salvador Allende independence came clothed in an especially provocative costume – a Marxist constitutionally elected who continued to honor the constitution. This would not do. It shook the very foundation stones upon which the anti-communist tower is built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that “communists” can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the population. There could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power – an elected Marxist in power.
There was no one in the entire universe that those who own and run “United States, Inc.” wanted to see dead more than Hugo Chávez. He was worse than Allende. Worse than Fidel Castro. Worse than any world leader not in the American camp because he spoke out in the most forceful terms about US imperialism and its cruelty. Repeatedly. Constantly. Saying things that heads of state are not supposed to say. At the United Nations, on a shockingly personal level about George W. Bush. All over Latin America, as he organized the region into anti-US-Empire blocs.
Long-term readers of this report know that I’m not much of a knee-reflex conspiracy theorist. But when someone like Chávez dies at the young age of 58 I have to wonder about the circumstances. Unremitting cancer, intractable respiratory infections, massive heart attack, one after the other … It is well known that during the Cold War, the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace. I would like to see the Venezuelan government pursue every avenue of investigation in having an autopsy performed.
Back in December 2011, Chávez, already under treatment for cancer, wondered out loud: “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” The Venezuelan president was speaking one day after Argentina’s leftist president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This was after three other prominent leftist Latin America leaders had been diagnosed with cancer: Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff; Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo; and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“Evo take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don’t know,” Chávez said, referring to Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, both leading leftists.
Chávez said he had received words of warning from Fidel Castro, himself the target of hundreds of failed and often bizarre CIA assassination plots. “Fidel always told me: ‘Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what.” 1
When Vice President Nicolas Maduro suggested possible American involvement in Chávez’s death, the US State Department called the allegation absurd. 2
Several progressive US organizations have filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA, asking for “any information regarding or plans to poison or otherwise assassinate the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who has just died.”
I personally believe that Hugo Chávez was murdered by the United States. If his illness and death were NOT induced, the CIA – which has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, many successfully 3 – was not doing its job.
When Fidel Castro became ill several years ago, the American mainstream media was unrelenting in its conjecture about whether the Cuban socialist system could survive his death. The same speculation exists now in regard to Venezuela. The Yankee mind can’t believe that large masses of people can turn away from capitalism when shown a good alternative. It could only be the result of a dictator manipulating the public; all resting on one man whose death would mark finis to the process.
It’s the end of the world … again
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recent convention in Washington produced the usual Doomsday talk concerning Iran’s imminent possession of nuclear weapons and with calls to bomb that country before they nuked Israel and/or the United States. So once again I have to remind everyone that these people – Israeli and American officials – are not really worried about an Iranian attack. Here are some of their many prior statements:
In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.” 4
2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington”, reported the Washington Post (March 5), asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.”
In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, war hero, pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”
January 2012: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.” 5
Later that month we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts – the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz – all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”
Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?
Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.
In an April 20, 2012 CNN interview Barak repeated this sentiment: “It’s true that probably [Iranian leader] Khamenei has not given orders to start building a [nuclear] weapon.” 6
And on several other occasions, Barak has stated: “Iran does not constitute an existential threat against Israel.” 7
Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a January 2012 report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead.8
So why, then, do Israeli and American leaders, at most other times, maintain the Doomsday rhetoric? Partly for AIPAC to continue getting large donations. For Israel to get massive amounts of US aid. For Israeli leaders to win elections. To protect Israel’s treasured status as the Middle East’s sole nuclear power.
Listen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:
The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem. 9
Osama bin Laden, Bradley Manning, & William Blum
Bradley Manning has the charge of “Aiding the enemy” hanging over his head. This could lead to a sentence of life in prison. As far as can be deduced, the government believes that the documents and videos that Manning gave to Wikileaks, which Wikileaks then widely distributed to international media, aided the enemy because it put US foreign policy in a very bad light.
Manning’s attorneys have asked the prosecution more than once for specific examples of how “the enemy” (whoever that may refer to in a world full of people bitterly angry at the United States because of any of many terrible acts carried out by the US government) has been “aided” by the Wikileaks disclosures. Just how has the enemy made use of the released material to harm the United States? The government has not provided any such examples, probably because what really bothers Washington officials is the embarrassment they have experienced before the world resulting from the documents and videos; which indeed are highly embarrassing even to genuine war criminals; filled with violations of international law, atrocities, multiple lies to everyone, revelations of gross hypocrisy, and much more.
So our splendid officials are considering putting Bradley Manning in prison forever simply because they’re embarrassed. Hard to find much fault with that.
But now the prosecutors have announced that a Navy Seal involved in the killing of Osama bin Laden is going to testify at the court martial that bin Laden possessed articles about the Wikileaks documents that Manning leaked. Well, there must be a hundred million other people in the world who have similar material on their computers. The question remains: What use did the enemy make of that?
The Iraqi government made use of the material, inducing them to refuse immunity to US troops for crimes committed in Iraq, such as the cold-blooded murders revealed by the Wilileaks videos; this in turn led the US to announce that it was ending its military engagement in Iraq. However, Manning was indicted in May 2010, well before the Iraqi decision to end the immunity.
In January, 2006 bin Laden, in an audio tape, declared: “If Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book ‘Rogue State’ [by William Blum], which states in its introduction … ” He then went on to quote the opening of a paragraph I wrote (which appears actually in the Foreword of the British edition only, that was later translated to Arabic), which in full reads:
“If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize – very publicly and very sincerely – to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America’s global interventions – including the awful bombings – have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but – oddly enough – a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions. There would be more than enough money. Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It’s equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born.
“That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.”
Thus, Osama bin Laden was clearly making use of what I wrote, and the whole world heard it. And I was thus clearly “aiding the enemy”. But I was not prosecuted.
The United States would like to prove a direct use and benefit by “the enemy” of the material released by Wikileaks; but so far it appears that only possession might be proven. In my case the use, and presumed propaganda benefit, were demonstrated. The fact that I wrote the material, as opposed to “stealing” it, is irrelevant to the issue of aiding the enemy. I knew, or should have known, that my criticisms of US foreign policy could be used by the foes of those policies. Indeed, that’s why I write what I do. To provide ammunition to anti-war and other activists.
The Department of Justice and socialism
For many years when I’ve been asked to explain just what I mean by “socialism” I’ve usually replied simply: “Putting people before profits”. There are a thousand-and-one details that would have to be considered in a transformation from a capitalist society to a socialist society, but rather than going into all that it’s much simpler to leave it with just that motto, which expresses theessence of my socialist society. In any event, in that glorious future world things will evolve in ways that could not be wholly predicted. The structure could take any one of many forms, but the essence must remain the same if it’s going to be called socialist.
Thus was I both surprised and amused in reading a news article about the current trial in New Orleans which is attempting to determine, amongst other things, the extent of blame of various companies, particularly BP, involved in the 2010 historic accident which took the lives of 11 workers and dumped an estimated 172 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The US Justice Department attorney declared in his opening statement: “The evidence will show that BP put profits before people, profits before safety and profits before the environment.” 10
Well, imagine that. The Justice Department certainly captured the essence of corporate behavior. The attorney chose such words because he knew that the sentiments expressed would appeal to the average American sitting on a jury. The members of the jury would understand that BP had blatantly ignored and violated certain cherished ideals like people, safety and the environment. Prosecuting the corporation would sound fair and just to them.
Yet, when someone like me expresses such sentiments – and I have used the exact same words on occasion – I run the risk of being written off as an “extremist”, a “radical”, and other bad-for-you labels; not long ago it was “commie”.
The irony runs even deeper. If a corporation flagrantly ignores putting profits before everything else, stockholders can sue the executives.
This just in! The real reason the Pope resigned!
He’s losing his mind.
In January, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with Pope Benedict XVI to receive his blessing. Afterward, Panetta said the pontiff told him, “Thank you for helping to keep the world safe.” 11
The precious art of assassinating legally
Obama hopeium addicts can soon be expected to call for support of the president’s increasing use of drones for assassination on the ground of their being good for the environment. My White House agent informs me that Obama is going to announce that all American drones will soon be composed 85% of recyclable material and will be solar-powered. And each drone missile will have the following painted on its side: “He was a bad guy. Just take our word for it!”
- The Guardian (London), December 29, 2011 ↩
- Huffington Post, March 7, 2013 ↩
- http://killinghope.org/bblum6/assass.htm ↩
- Haaretz.com (Israel), October 25, 2007; print edition October 26 ↩
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, January 8, 2012 ↩
- Washington Post, August 1, 2012 ↩
- Iran Media Fact Check, “Does Israel Consider Iran an ‘Existential Threat’?” ↩
- The Guardian (London), January 31, 2012 ↩
- Political Correction, “American Enterprise Institute Admits The Problem With Iran Is Not That It Would Use Nukes” ↩
- Associated Press, February 26, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, January 17, 2013 ↩
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
Apparently, it’s a no-brainer. Mali holds 15.8 million people – with a per capita gross domestic product of only around US$1,000 a year and average life expectancy of only 51 years – in a territory twice the size of France (per capital GDP $35,000 and upwards). Now almost two-thirds of this territory is occupied by heavily weaponized Islamist outfits. What next? Bomb, baby, bomb.
So welcome to the latest African war; Chad-based French Mirages and Gazelle helicopters, plus a smatter of France-based
Rafales bombing evil Islamist jihadis in northern Mali. Business is good; French president Francois Hollande spent this past Tuesday in Abu Dhabi clinching the sale of up to 60 Rafales to that Gulf paragon of democracy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The formerly wimpy Hollande – now enjoying his “resolute”, “determined”, tough guy image reconversion – has cleverly sold all this as incinerating Islamists in the savannah before they take a one-way Bamako-Paris flight to bomb the Eiffel Tower.
French Special Forces have been on the ground in Mali since early 2012.
The Tuareg-led NMLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), via one of its leaders, now says it’s “ready to help” the former colonial power, billing itself as more knowledgeable about the culture and the terrain than future intervening forces from the CEDEAO (the acronym in French for the Economic Community of Western African States).
Salafi-jihadis in Mali have got a huge problem: they chose the wrong battlefield. If this was Syria, they would have been showered by now with weapons, logistical bases, a London-based “observatory”, hours of YouTube videos and all-out diplomatic support by the usual suspects of US, Britain, Turkey, the Gulf petromonarchies and – oui, monsieur – France itself.
Instead, they were slammed by the UN Security Council – faster than a collection of Marvel heroes – duly authorizing a war against them. Their West African neighbors – part of the ECOWAS regional bloc – were given a deadline (late November) to come up with a war plan. This being Africa, nothing happened – and the Islamists kept advancing until a week ago Paris decided to apply some Hollandaise sauce.
Not even a football stadium filled with the best West African shamans can conjure a bunch of disparate – and impoverished – countries to organize an intervening army in short notice, even if the adventure will be fully paid by the West just like the Uganda-led army fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.
To top it all, this is no cakewalk. The Salafi-jihadis are flush, courtesy of booming cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe via Mali, plus human trafficking. According to the UN Office of Drugs Control, 60% of Europe’s cocaine transits Mali. At Paris street prices, that is worth over $11 billion.
General Carter Ham, the commander of the Pentagon’s AFRICOM, has been warning about a major crisis for months. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. But what’s really going on in what the New York Times quaintly describes as those “vast and turbulent stretches of the Sahara”?
It all started with a military coup in March 2012, only one month before Mali would hold a presidential election, ousting then president Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup plotters justified it as a response to the government’s incompetence in fighting the Tuareg.
The coup leader was one Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who happened to have been very cozy with the Pentagon; that included his four-month infantry officer basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010. Essentially, Sanogo was also groomed by AFRICOM, under a regional scheme mixing the State Department’s Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership program and the Pentagon’s Operation Enduring Freedom. It goes without saying that in all this “freedom” business Mali has been the proverbial “steady ally” – as in counterterrorism partner – fighting (at least in thesis) al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Over the last few years, Washington’s game has elevated flip-flopping to high art. During the second George W Bush administration, Special Forces were very active side by side with the Tuaregs and the Algerians. During the first Obama administration, they started backing the Mali government against the Tuareg.
An unsuspecting public may pore over Rupert Murdoch’s papers – for instance, The Times of London – and its so-called defense correspondent will be pontificating at will on Mali without ever talking about blowback from the Libya war.
Muammar Gaddafi always supported the Tuaregs’ independence drive; since the 1960s the NMLA agenda has been to liberate Azawad (North Mali) from the central government in Bamako.
After the March 2012 coup, the NMLA seemed to be on top. They planted their own flag on quite a few government buildings, and on April 5 announced the creation of a new, independent Tuareg country. The “international community” spurned them, only for a few months later to have the NMLA for all practical purposes marginalized, even in their own region, by three other – Islamist – groups; Ansar ed-Dine (“Defenders of the Faith”); the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO); and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Meet the players
The NMLA is a secular Tuareg movement, created in October 2011. It claims that the liberation of Azawad will allow better integration – and development – for all the peoples in the region. Its hardcore fighters are Tuaregs who were former members of Gaddafi’s army. But there are also rebels who had not laid down their arms after the 2007-2008 Tuareg rebellion, and some that defected from the Malian army. Those who came back to Mali after Gaddafi was executed by the NATO rebels in Libya carried plenty of weapons. Yet most heavy weapons actually ended up with the NATO rebels themselves, the Islamists supported by the West.
AQIM is the Northern African branch of al-Qaeda, pledging allegiance to “The Doctor”, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Its two crucial characters are Abu Zaid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, former members of the ultra-hardcore Algerian Islamist outfit Salafist Group for Predication and Combat (SGPC). Belmokhtar was already a jihadi in 1980s Afghanistan.
Abu Zaid poses as a sort of North African “Geronimo”, aka Osama bin Laden, with the requisite black flag and a strategically positioned Kalashnikov featuring prominently in his videos. The historical leader, though, is Belmokhtar. The problem is that Belmokhtar, known by French intelligence as “The Uncatchable”, has recently joined MUJAO.
MUJAO fighters are all former AQIM. In June 2012, MUJAO expelled the NMLA and took over the city of Gao, when it immediately applied the worst aspects of Sharia law. It’s the MUJAO base that has been bombed by the French Rafales this week. One of its spokesmen has duly threatened, “in the name of Allah”, to respond by attacking “the heart of France”.
Finally, Ansar ed-Dine is an Islamist Tuareg outfit, set up last year and directed by Iyad ag Ghali, a former leader of the NMLA who exiled himself in Libya. He turned to Salafism because of – inevitably – Pakistani proselytizers let loose in Northern Africa, then engaged in valuable face time with plenty of AQIM emirs. It’s interesting to note in 2007 Mali President Toure appointed Ghali as consul in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. He was then duly expelled in 2010 because he got too close to radical Islamists.
Gimme ‘a little more terrorism’
No one in the West is asking why the Pentagon-friendly Sanogo’s military coup in the capital ended up with almost two-thirds of Mali in the hands of Islamists who imposed hardcore Sharia law in Azawad – especially in Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, a gruesome catalogue of summary executions, amputations, stonings and the destruction of holy shrines in Timbuktu. How come the latest Tuareg rebellion ended up hijacked by a few hundred hardcore Islamists? It’s useless to ask the question to US drones.
The official “leading from behind” Obama 2.0 administration rhetoric is, in a sense, futuristic; the French bombing “could rally jihadis” around the world and lead to – what else – attacks on the West. Once again the good ol’ Global War on Terror (GWOT) remains the serpent biting its own tail.
There’s no way to understand Mali without examining what Algeria has been up to. The Algerian newspaper El Khabar only scratched the surface, noting that “from categorically refusing an intervention – saying to the people in the region it would be dangerous”, Algiers went to “open Algerian skies to the French Mirages”.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Algeria last October, trying to organize some semblance of an intervening West African army. Hollande was there in December. Oh yes, this gets juicier by the month.
So let’s turn to Professor Jeremy Keenan, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, and author of The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009) and the upcomingThe Dying Sahara (Pluto Press, 2013).
Writing in the January edition of New African, Keenan stresses, “Libya was the catalyst of the Azawad rebellion, not its underlying cause. Rather, the catastrophe now being played out in Mali is the inevitable outcome of the way in which the ‘Global War on Terror’ has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since 2002.”
In a nutshell, Bush and the regime in Algiers both needed, as Keenan points out, “a little more terrorism” in the region. Algiers wanted it as the means to get more high-tech weapons. And Bush – or the neo-cons behind him – wanted it to launch the Saharan front of the GWOT, as in the militarization of Africa as the top strategy to control more energy resources, especially oil, thus wining the competition against massive Chinese investment. This is the underlying logic that led to the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.
Algerian intelligence, Washington and the Europeans duly used AQIM, infiltrating its leadership to extract that “little more terrorism”. Meanwhile, Algerian intelligence effectively configured the Tuaregs as “terrorists”; the perfect pretext for Bush’s Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative, as well as the Pentagon’s Operation Flintlock – a trans-Sahara military exercise.
The Tuaregs always scared the hell out of Algerians, who could not even imagine the success of a Tuareg nationalist movement in northern Mali. After all, Algeria always viewed the whole region as its own backyard.
The Tuaregs – the indigenous population of the central Sahara and the Sahel – number up to 3 million. Over 800,000 live in Mali, followed by Niger, with smaller concentrations in Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. There have been no less than five Tuareg rebellions in Mali since independence in 1960, plus three others in Niger, and a lot of turbulence in Algeria.
Keenan’s analysis is absolutely correct in identifying what happened all along 2012 as the Algerians meticulously destroying the credibility and the political drive of the NMLA. Follow the money: both Ansar ed-Dine’s Iyad ag Ghaly and MUJAO’s Sultan Ould Badi are very cozy with the DRS, the Algerian intelligence agency. Both groups in the beginning had only a few members.
Then came a tsunami of AQIM fighters. That’s the only explanation for why the NMLA was, after only a few months, neutralized both politically and militarily in their own backyard.
Round up the usual freedom fighters
Washington’s “leading from behind” position is illustrated by this State Department press conference. Essentially, the government in Bamako asked for the French to get down and dirty.
And that’s it.
Not really. Anyone who thinks “bomb al-Qaeda” is all there is to Mali must be living in Oz. To start with, using hardcore Islamists to suffocate an indigenous independence movement comes straight from the historic CIA/Pentagon playbook.
Moreover, Mali is crucial to AFRICOM and to the Pentagon’s overall MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) outlook. Months before 9/11 I had the privilege to crisscross Mali on the road – and by the (Niger) river – and hang out, especially in Mopti and Timbuktu, with the awesome Tuaregs, who gave me a crash course in Northwest Africa. I saw Wahhabi and Pakistani preachers all over the place. I saw the Tuaregs progressively squeezed out. I saw an Afghanistan in the making. And it was not very hard to follow the money sipping tea in the Sahara. Mali borders Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Guinea. The spectacular Inner Niger delta is in central Mali – just south of the Sahara. Mali overflows with gold, uranium, bauxite, iron, manganese, tin and copper. And – Pipelineistan beckons! – there’s plenty of unexplored oil in northern Mali.
As early as February 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T Moeller wassaying that AFRICOM’s mission was to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”; yes, he did make the crucial connection to China, pronounced guilty of ” challenging US interests”.
AFRICOM’s spy planes have been “observing” Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara for months, in thesis looking for AQIM fighters; the whole thing is overseen by US Special Forces, part of the classified, code-named Creek Sand operation, based in next-door Burkina Faso. Forget about spotting any Americans; these are – what else – contractors who do not wear military uniforms.
Last month, at Brown University, General Carter Ham, AFRICOM’s commander, once more gave a big push to the “mission to advance US security interests across Africa”. Now it’s all about the – updated – US National Security Strategy in Africa, signed by Obama in June 2012. The (conveniently vague) objectives of this strategy are to “strengthen democratic institutions”; encourage “economic growth, trade and investment”; “advance peace and security”; and “promote opportunity and development.”
In practice, it’s Western militarization (with Washington “leading from behind”) versus the ongoing Chinese seduction/investment drive in Africa. In Mali, the ideal Washington scenario would be a Sudan remix; just like the recent partition of North and South Sudan, which created an extra logistical headache for Beijing, why not a partition of Mali to better exploit its natural wealth? By the way, Mali was known as Western Sudan until independence in 1960.
Already in early December a “multinational” war in Mali was on the Pentagon cards.
The beauty of it is that even with a Western-financed, Pentagon-supported, “multinational” proxy army about to get into the action, it’s the French who are pouring the lethal Hollandaise sauce (nothing like an ex-colony “in trouble” to whet the appetite of its former masters). The Pentagon can always keep using its discreet P-3 spy planes and Global Hawk drones based in Europe, and later on transport West African troops and give them aerial cover. But all secret, and very hush hush.
Mr Quagmire has already reared its ugly head in record time, even before the 1,400 (and counting) French boots on the ground went into offense.
A MUJAO commando team (and not AQIM, as it’s been reported), led by who else but the “uncatchable” Belmokhtar, hit a gas field in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert, over 1,000 km south of Algiers but only 100 km from the Libyan border, where they captured a bunch of Western (and some Japanese) hostages; a rescue operation launched on Wednesday by Algerian Special Forces was, to put it mildly, a giant mess, with at least seven foreign hostages and 23 Algerians so far confirmed killed.
The gas field is being exploited by BP, Statoil and Sonatrach. MUJAO has denounced – what else – the new French “crusade” and the fact that French fighter jets now own Algerian airspace.
As blowback goes, this is just the hors d’oeuvres. And it won’t be confined to Mali. It will convulse Algeria and soon Niger, the source of over a third of the uranium in French nuclear power plants, and the whole Sahara-Sahel.
So this new, brewing mega-Afghanistan in Africa will be good for French neoloconial interests (even though Hollande insists this is all about “peace”); good for AFRICOM; a boost for those Jihadis Formerly Known as NATO Rebels; and certainly good for the never-ending Global War on Terror (GWOT), duly renamed “kinetic military operations”.
Django, unchained, would be totally at home. As for the Oscar for Best Song, it goes to the Bush-Obama continuum: There’s no business like terror business. With French subtitles, bien sur.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Asia Times Online
While the United States and European Union are vehemently competing with each other in the seemingly endless race of imposing sanctions on Iran, the ordinary Iranian citizens are experiencing the most breathtaking, agonizing impacts of the crippling embargoes.
On July 31, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) sent a letter to all members of the U.S. Congress, demanding a concerted action to approve The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act which imposes a new set of sanctions on Iran’s energy and transportation sector.
On August 1, the media reported that the Congress has ratified the bill and it’s waiting to be signed by the president.
Iran is already under 6 rounds of sanctions endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The sanctions are purportedly aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The UNSC sanctions stipulate a freezing of Iran’s international assets, the closure of branches of Iranian banks in other countries, barring the export of nuclear and military facilities to Iran, a ban on investment in Iran’s oil, gas and Petrochemistry sector, business dealings with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, banking and insurance transactions and traveling restrictions for high-ranking governmental and military officials.
The United States, Israel and EU countries have long accused Iran of trying to build nuclear bombs, a charge which Iran has persistently and categorically denied. Iran says that it needs civilian nuclear power to meet its growing energy needs, especially since Iran is a country mostly reliant on fossil fuels for its energy demands and oil revenues to keep its economy alive. The United States and its allies, in response, have penalized Iran with excruciating economic sanctions to derail the possible chances of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
On January 23, 2012, the European Union foreign ministers agreed upon imposing a multilateral oil embargo against Iran. The oil embargo which bans the European countries from buying crude from Iran went into effect on July 1.
What the Western officials say in public is that the sanctions are aimed at punishing the Iranian government and dissuading it from working toward acquiring nuclear weapons. What takes place in reality, however, is that the “smart” sanctions have directly come down like a ton of bricks on the Iranian people, making their life an arduous odyssey of struggling for survival in an ailing economy.
The sanctions have devastated the daily life of ordinary Iranian people by bringing the price of goods to a skyrocketing height, making the students abroad unable to get financial assistance from their parents in Iran, rendering it impossible for the private companies to do international transactions and making it extremely difficult for Iranians to get visa for traveling to foreign countries. The “smart sanctions” even include a ban on the importing of medicine and foodstuff from the other nations to Iran.
In the previous weeks, I have been arguing with my editors in some of the American political journals to convince them that certain sensitive medicines as well as agricultural goods could not make their way to Iran as a result of sanctions. They wouldn’t accept, telling me that such transactions were smoothly taking place. But now, I think they have credible evidence available, confirming that the hard-hitting sanctions are destroying the daily life of the poor, defenseless Iranians who should pay the price for the West’s and Israel’s animosity with their government.
On May 6, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty quoted Iran’s reformist daily Shargh as writing that the exportation of a great deal of vital medicines to Iran has been banned as a result of the sanctions. These medicines which Iran is not capable of producing include drugs for the treatment of cancer, heart and breathing problems, thalassemia, and multiple sclerosis.
Hamid Reza Emadi, an Iran-based political commentator also confirms that the latest round of sanctions imposed on Iran just a few days ago directly affect the lives of average Iranians who have nothing to do with the country’s nuclear program. “This latest move by the U.S. Congress shows the extent to which Washington has become frustrated and now it is going to step up their pressure on Iranian civilians by preventing the country from importing agricultural products… Iran is a grain importer and the U.S. knows that and by creating obstacles in the way of grain exports to Iran, the U.S. is clearly committing crimes against humanity because it only affects ordinary Iranians who have got nothing to do with the country’s nuclear energy program,” Emadi said in an interview with Press TV.
“Do not forget that it is not just agricultural products; the U.S. is putting maximum pressure on international banks doing business with Iran, therefore Iranian medical companies cannot import some vital medicines,” he added.
The board of directors of the Iranian Hemophilia Society has informed the World Federation of Hemophilia that the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs, a consequence of international economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Dr. Ron Paul, a Texas Congressman has called the recent sanctions an “act of war,” saying that the bill had better be named “Obsession with Iran Act 2012.”
“When you put on sanctions on a country, it’s an act of war and that’s what this is all about,” he said.
Some anti-war advocacy groups and organizations in the United States such as Veterans for Peace and Friends Committee on National Legislation have called on the U.S. government to put an end to its sanctions game with Iran which is seen by these groups a total declaration of war against Iran; however, it seems that these pro-peace groups will face a tough job to have their voice heard by the U.S. Congressmen and people in the White House who seem to be hell bent on delivering a lethal blow to Iran.
“Veterans for Peace” has just released a statement, saying that sanctions and threats of military strike are not viable and logical solutions to the nuclear crisis with Iran.
“The United States, European Union and Israel are using Iran’s civilian nuclear program as an excuse to impose devastating economic sanctions against the people of Iran. According to various sources, the sanctions have already wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy, leading to inflation rates of 50 to 100 percent, youth unemployment rate of over 22 percent, drastic reduction of Iran’s domestic production to 40 percent of its capacity, massive closure of economic enterprises and widespread layoffs, and 40 percent drop in the Iranian oil exports during 2012, resulting in a loss of $32 billion in oil income since last year alone,” the statement reads.
The group has called for a nuclear free Middle East in an apparent allusion to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Along with India and Pakistan, Israel is the only country in the world which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates.
When all’s said and done, Iran is currently experiencing difficult times, and its people are under mounting pressure in their daily affairs. Iran’s economy is on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of the biting economic sanctions and the international community is calmly and silently witnessing the painful suffering of the Iranian people. The anti-Iranian sanctions clearly run counter to the principles of human rights, but it seems that those who advocate such values don’t believe that Iranians are also “humans” who might perchance have some “rights” including the right of access to medicine, foodstuff, employment and above all, respect and human dignity.
When President Reagan nominated me as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he told me that we had to restore the US economy, to rescue it from stagflation, in order to bring the full weight of a powerful economy to bear on the Soviet leadership, in order to convince them to negotiate the end of the cold war. Reagan said that there was no reason to live any longer under the threat of nuclear war.
The Reagan administration achieved both goals, only to see these accomplishments discarded by successor administrations. It was Reagan’s own vice president and successor, George Herbert Walker Bush, who first violated the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings by incorporating former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire into NATO and taking Western military bases to the Russian frontier.
The process of surrounding Russia with military bases continued unabated through successor US administrations with various “color revolutions” financed by the US National Endowment for Democracy, regarded by many as a front for the CIA. Washington even attempted to install a Washington-controlled government in Ukraine and did succeed in this effort in former Soviet Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin.
The President of Georgia, a country located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, is a Washington puppet. Recently, he announced that former Soviet Georgia is on schedule to become a NATO member in 2014.
Those old enough to remember know that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was an alliance between Western Europe and the US against the threat of the Red Army overrunning Western Europe. The North Atlantic is a long, long ways from the Black and Caspian Seas. What is the purpose of Georgia being a NATO member except to give Washington a military base on the Russian underbelly?
The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington–both parties–have Russia and China targeted. Whether the purpose is to destroy both countries or merely to render them unable to oppose Washington’s world hegemony is unclear at this time. Regardless of the purpose, nuclear war is the likely outcome.
The presstitute American press pretends that an evil Syrian government is murdering innocent citizens who only want democracy and that if the UN won’t intervene militarily, the US must in order to save human rights. Russia and China are vilified by US functionaries for opposing any pretext for a NATO invasion of Syria.
The facts, of course, are different from those presented by the presstitute American media and members of the US government. The Syrian “rebels” are well armed with military weapons. The “rebels” are battling the Syrian army. The rebels massacre civilians and report to their media whores in the West that the deed was done by the Syrian government, and the Western presstitutes spread the propaganda.
Someone is arming the “rebels” as obviously the weapons can’t be purchased in local Syrian markets. Most intelligent people believe the weapons are coming from the US or from US surrogates.
So, Washington has started a civil war in Syria, as it did in Libya, but this time the gullible Russians and Chinese have caught on and have refused to permit a UN resolution like the one the West exploited against Gaddafi.
To get around this roadblock, fish out an ancient Phantom fighter jet from the 1960s Vietnam war era and have Turkey fly it into Syria. The Syrians will shoot it down, and then Turkey can appeal to its NATO allies to come to its aid against Syria. Denied the UN option, Washington can invoke its obligation under the NATO treaty, and go to war in defense of a NATO member against a demonized Syria.
The neoconservative lie behind Washington’s wars of hegemony is that the US is bringing democracy to the invaded and bombed countries. To paraphrase Mao, “democracy comes out of the barrel of a gun.” However, the Arab Spring has come up short on democracy, as have Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries “liberated” by US democratic invasions.
What the US is bringing is civil wars and the breakup of countries, as President Bill Clinton’s regime achieved in former Yugoslavia. The more countries can be torn into pieces and dissolved into rival factions, the more powerful is Washington.
Russia’s Putin understands that Russia itself is threatened not only by Washington’s funding of the “Russian opposition,” but also by the strife among Muslims unleashed by Washington’s wars against secular Muslim states, such as Iraq and Syria. This discord spreads into Russia itself and presents Russia with problems such as Chechen terrorism.
When a secular state is overthrown, the Islamist factions become free to be at one another’s throats. The internal strife renders the countries impotent. As I wrote previously, the West always prevails in the Middle East because the Islamist factions hate one another more than they hate their Western conquerers. Thus, when Washington destroys secular, non-Islamist governments as in Iraq and now targeted in Syria, the Islamists emerge and battle one another for supremacy. This suits Washington and Israel as these states cease to be coherent opponents.
Russia is vulnerable, because Putin is demonized by Washington and the US media and because Putin’s Russian opposition is financed by Washington and serves US, not Russian, interests. The turmoil that Washington is unleashing in Muslim states leaks back to Russia’s Muslim populations.
It has proved to be more difficult for Washington to interfere in China’s internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world’s most powerful economy.
Washington is deeply disturbed by this prospect. In the thrall and under the control of Wall Street and other special interest business groups, Washington is unable to rescue the US economy from its decline. The short-run gambling profits of Wall Street, the war profits of the military/security complex, and the profits from offshoring the production of goods and services for US markets have far more representation in Washington than the wellbeing of US citizens. As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises.
Washington’s response is to militarize the Pacific. The US Secretary of State has declared the South China Sea to be an area of American national interest. The US is wooing the Philippine government, playing the China threat card, and working on getting the US Navy invited back to its former base at Subic Bay. Recently there were joint US/Philippines military/naval exercises against the “China threat.”
The US Navy is reallocating fleets to the Pacific Ocean and constructing a new naval base on a South Korean island. US Marines are now based in Australia and are being reallocated from Japan to other Asian countries. The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China.
For a country incapable of occupying Iraq after 8 years and incapable of occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, to simultaneously take on two nuclear powers is an act of insanity. The hubris in Washington, fed daily by the crazed neocons, despite extraordinary failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, has now targeted formidable powers–Russia and China. The world has never in its entire history witnessed such idiocy.
The psychopaths, sociopaths, and morons who prevail in Washington are leading the world to destruction.
The criminally insane government in Washington, regardless whether Democrat or Republican, regardless of the outcome of the next election, is the greatest threat to life on earth that has ever existed.
Moreover, the only financing the Washington criminals have is the printing press. In a subsequent column I will examine whether the US economy will complete its collapse before the war criminals in Washington can destroy the world.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.
For the past few weeks, word of the extent of the Fukushima disaster is spreading like the radiation slick moving across the Pacific Ocean thanks to social media and a lot of newly concerned citizens.
Independent researchers who have been trying to warn people for over a year are finally being heard. Much of that can be attributed to citizen journalists, who have realized mainstream media dropped the ball on this a long time ago.
To understand the dynamics of information and how it has been controlled, you would have to look at companies like General Electric and Westinghouse, who not only build nuclear reactors, but own major news outlets and, of course, are buddy-buddy with the Obama Administration.
Or, I can just tell you about it, since I have spent countless hours researching these connections and interviewing people about it. More on that at a later date. It deserves a nice big page in itself, with room for lots of details.
Not only do we have citizen journalists and the alternative media on top of this, but citizen scientists as well.
Have you met your new Fukushima expert, who just might live right next door? These are people who have taught themselves everything they possibly could about nuclear physics, radiation, Geiger counters, atomic power, nuclear plants, the effects of radiation on health, and radiation mitigation.
These citizen scientists have studied bombs, fallout, and weather and wind patterns. They have been monitoring radiation levels across the country, with their own equipment they purchased out of pocket and learned how to use.
They have read anything and everything they can get their hands on. They know the difference between alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, and how to avoid it.
They know that besides cancer, radiation can do all kinds of things to you, like severely compromise your immune system, intelligence, and thyroid, or make you aggressive, confused, and fatigued.
You might bruise or bleed in weird places and feel sick more than usual. They have learned all this out of their own instincts of survival.
It’s amazing what you can do in a short period of time when your life depends on it. And the more that they learn, the greater their sense of urgency has become in bringing this info to the masses.
And what conclusion have these citizen journalists and citizen scientists reached throughout 14 months of study?
They have come to the inevitable conclusion that all of our lives changed on March 11, 2011, when Fukushima went out of control.
The glaring problem is that we that we weren’t told about what actually happened.
Take, for instance, the fact that there were 3 meltdowns almost right away, and that the radioactive isotopes that blew all over Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and North America came in extraordinarily high quantities.
Or how various agencies that taxpayers have funded, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), did not do their job which is to protect the environment, and us.
In fact the EPA turned off their monitors for about a month, for the first time in their history. These are expensive and delicate pieces of equipment the taxpayers had already bought and paid for, for just such an emergency.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) knew, but they hid the information. The Obama Administration knew, but sent Hillary Clinton over to Japan to shake hands with the Prime Minister and show support.
Obama came out with a statement to the American people, saying, “We do not believe harmful levels of radiation will reach our shores,” which we now know was a lie.
We had to figure all this out for ourselves, which was difficult because the information was purposely withheld from us.
Despite their best efforts, they can’t stop the truth from leaking out of Fukushima. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have now proven this beyond a doubt.
Conspiracy theory is becoming conspiracy fact. And now we are going public with this information, and in a very big way.
Radiation continues to steam itself out of the ground, and thus up into the air, which then blows over us (i.e. resident of the northern hemisphere).
Earthquakes still happen daily around Japan. In fact there were 7 or 8 of them just in the past few days near Fukushima.
The spent fuel still sits in its shaky nest at the top of reactor number 4. Nothing has been done to further reinforce the structure.
The good news (if you can really call it that) is that it hasn’t fallen yet. The United Nations and the United States are now in their most preliminary stages of addressing the complexity of problems there, in an attempt to see if they can help out.
But as you know, the wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly. It took almost 14 months for them to start turning at all.
Besides the ongoing releases into the ocean and air and the precariousness of the pool, we have a debris field the size of Texas starting to hit the west coast and Alaska, which may or may not be radioactive.
Japan has been burning radioactive trash, and will continue to do so until at least 2014, and that blows over us as well.
We have a radioactive slick moving across the ocean, which by all estimates should have sunk to the bottom, but hasn’t. And we have sick and dying mammals, fish, and birds all over the world, which may or may not be related, but should still be an enormous concern, since many of them are being found in the Pacific.
That is part of the problem when you are faced with the world’s largest disaster. All of the models for how to deal with it can be thrown out the window.
All the assumptions about fallout and it working itself into the food chain have been wrong. It was much worse, and has happened much faster, than anyone expected, even for concerned citizens and independent researchers following this closely.
The government knew this would be the case from the early SPEEDI numbers, which were hand translated and delivered to the US government as they happened. But for the most part, Fukushima has exceeded everyone’s expectations.
New ideas, new techniques, and new engineering has to be invented and implemented. New observations have to be made, and they are, as can be seen by searching “mutations” on YouTube and watching some videos.
We have citizen journalists and citizen scientists who are desperately trying to come up with solutions, and are doing it for free, while our government and agencies created to “protect us” continue to collect their paycheck, roll their eyes, shove their hands in their pockets and hum a tune like they’re waiting for a taxi.
Why do people get a warm fuzzy feeling when we see people rushing to aid those in the midst of disaster? Because we humans are hard-wired to care for others, and long to be part of a community.
Out of disaster, there is camaraderie, sympathy, and empathy. There are important lessons to be learned.
There are whole new industries that could be created out of this crisis, putting people to work. Aquaponics. Decontamination. Mitigation. Food testing.
And since we didn’t seem to learn these lessons with Chernobyl, we need to learn them right now.
All nuclear power does is boil water and create steam, which turbines turn into electricity. But when something goes wrong, it has the ability to kill everything on the planet. That is where we are at now.
We need to adapt if we are to survive. And part of that adaptation means we need to eliminate the possibility of this ever happening again, starting with the 23 reactors the same style as Fukushima, in the United States, which is the Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor, or BWR.
People in the industry jokingly refer to these as “double-decker beach-bombs,” for the reason that the spent fuel is located in pools at the top of the reactor buildings, and they are usually located at a water source for emergency cooling purposes for when the fecal matter hits the fan at one of these plants.
In fact, several nuclear engineers who designed these reactors quit in protest before they went into production. They realized they had made a mistake. They realized this design would be extremely dangerous. GE went ahead and built them anyway.
When is the world going to realize the mistake of embracing nuclear energy as a power source, in spite of its danger?
And how long do we continue to ignore the brilliant scientists that warned about this, like Oppenheimer and Einstein? Or is it already too late?
There are no energy problems, in comparison. If you want to cut down on your electricity usage, turn off your TV.
We have natural gas deposits that could power everything we need. We have the power of the sun, water, wind and earth in the form of geothermal energy.
Nuclear power is a sham, just like the oil industry, and we have been duped into believing we need it to survive.
It generates billions and billions of dollars for these corporations. GE (who has the most ironic motto, “We Bring Good Things to Life”) made 14 billion dollars last year, and paid no taxes.
In addition to producing electricity, nuclear reactors also generate 500 pounds of plutonium a year per reactor, as a byproduct of the fission process.
What happens to all that highly toxic plutonium? The government gets to collect this material to make bombs, so we can go utterly decimate other countries, now known as “spreading democracy” and poison their populations for future generations.
Let’s not forget depleted uranium, or DU, which is now used in many military applications with horrific results.
This is the one big secret that the nuke industry and our government will do anything to protect: besides being a billion dollar industry, nuke plants are basically bomb-making factories right under our noses.
Drawing attention to Fukushima would have drawn attention to this function of nuclear facilities.
An added side effect is that they also make people sick and help boost the health care industry, which in some states is now the number one private sector employer.
The plutonium and fission byproducts these plants produce help support our government’s number-one priority: the almighty military-industrial complex.
And it’s all in the name of money, power, and control. Energy companies hire top level advertisers and public relations people to promote and manipulate public opinion. Even during the Superbowl, ads were run showing how steam from nuclear power runs the turbines that make beer.
They want you to believe that we are dependent on this source of energy for our quality of life. The truth of the matter, on the other hand, is that nuclear power has ruined our lives.
Ask anyone who used to live in the ever-expanding evacuation zone in Japan, which may soon include the 35 million people in Tokyo.
Ask anyone who lives near a nuke plant and has a child with autism, gastroenteritis, or cancer. Just take a look at the statistics of cancer in the general population since we started embracing this technology.
The truth is: we have been nuked and are still getting nuked, every day, in a very big way.
In addition to my studies, I have been influenced by some major health issues I developed after being outside the first 3 weeks after the reactors exploded. During that time I had a metallic-taste in my mouth, which I found out later was from tasting fission products. More on that later as well.
Nuclear cheerleaders like to complicate things in an attempt to make radiation something much harder to understand. That way it turns people off from the subject and they won’t pay attention as much.
The truth is, you don’t need to be a physicist, a scientist, or an expert in this field. You don’t need to know the differences between decay rates and half-lives, or cesium and strontium.
The more you are exposed to it, the sicker you will be. The more places you can cut down on your exposure, the better off your health will be.
Radiation is cumulative. It builds up in the body. It destroys cells. It causes mutations in cell growth which can thus create cancer or other illnesses.
There is plenty of this radiation leaking out of Fukushima for over a year now, blowing around in our air, building up in our soil, and contaminating our water supply.
What’s worse, we have 104 of these plants in the United States, with special emphasis on the 23 previously mentioned, where this exact scenario is waiting to happen.
Radioactive steam comes out of these plants all the time, since as part of their normal operations. They vent to the atmosphere to keep things cool. Do some research into “rainshadow” in autism and brain cancer in children, and look where the numbers are the highest: around nuclear plants.
We can’t afford to wait or delay. If you aren’t already mitigating, you need to start now. You need to treat your health, and the health of your family, like you all have cancer already. That might sound like fear mongering to some, but this is one case where “better safe than sorry” truly applies.
This process involves eating healthy whole foods, filtering water, avoiding precipitation, taking supplements, and getting lots of sleep.
Stop eating fast food, and eat lower on the food chain, where bio-accumulation is less. Stop eating seafood, unless you know it is safe.
Include your children in these changes, because we will be dealing with this problem for at least the rest of our lives, and so will they.
We have Fukushima to thank for this, and the nuclear industry, of course. As well as the various other individuals or agencies that tried to keep this information from us.
And then of course we have spent fuel pool doom lurking in the shadows. And for some unknown reason, Tepco seems to think their most immediate concern is building a huge underground wall, to contain something going on under the plant, the extent of which hasn’t yet been shared with us.
So what do they know that we don’t? Why is there a sense of urgency to contain something underground, when the spent fuel pool #4 is supposedly the weakest link in the Fukushima chain?
Where is all this technology we have to look for gas and oil, like ground-penetrating radar, optical coherence tomography, or even HAARP, to see what’s going on under the plants? What else is being hidden from us?
Instead of calling it game over, let’s play a new game called “No More Fukushimas.”
Let’s figure out ways to clean up this mess and not make more of them in the future. We can leave this for our children to deal with, that is if they are still here.
Take care of your family first, have a plan for the worst-case scenario, then do what you can to help others.
Our lives all changed over a year ago, only you weren’t told about it. As bad as things are, there is a huge opportunity here for something wonderful to come out of this mess. A cleaner, brighter, healthier future for our children and generations to come. A future, period.
As a close associate of Obama once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste”. This might be the last crisis that we ever see, if we don’t so something about it.
Courtesy of MayanManifestor
Please send mutation images to email@example.com. Shoot at the highest resolution possible, and include your name, location, and date the mutation was found, for proper credit if the images are published. If it is from store-bought produce, include the location where it was grown and purchased. The more information you provide, the better you will be helping the rest of us.
Please help Christina purchase a spectrometer in order to get the most accurate radiation readings and thus get you the most precise information possible by shopping through her Amazon link or donate directly via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind, this is expensive equipment and it is the only way that specific isotope readings can be obtained from food items.
Edited by Madison Ruppert
Christina Consolo is a former clinical researcher supervisor with NIH credentialing; a former Member-at-Large for the Board of Directors, Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society; A peer reviewer for the Journal of Ophthalmic Photography; She has written, published, and contributed to numerous scientific research in retinal imaging and ophthalmogy for the past 24 years; She is also an award-winning biomedical photographer and maintains several websites to teach people about radiation, mitigation, and other nuclear issues. She is also the host of “Nuked Radio” Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12-1:00 pm EST on theOrion Talk Radio Network.
For more info including mitigation for radiation exposure, please visit FukushimaFacts.com, where you can sign up to receive Fallout Forecasts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Source: End the Lie
A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared by the Foreign Ministry on the planned re-opening of talks with Japan over the disputed Kuril Islands during the next fortnight states that Russian diplomats were “stunned” after being told by their Japanese counterparts that upwards of 40 million of their peoples were in “extreme danger” of life threatening radiation poisoning and could very well likely be faced with forced evacuations away from their countries eastern most located cities… including the world’s largest one, Tokyo.
The Kuril Islands are located in Russia’s Sakhalin Oblast region and stretch approximately 1,300 km (810 miles) northeast from Hokkaido-, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater Kuril Ridge and Lesser Kuril Ridge, all of which were captured by Soviet Forces in the closing days of World War II from the Japanese.
The “extreme danger” facing tens of millions of the Japanese peoples is the result of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster that was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the To-hoku earthquake and tsunamion 11 March 2011.
According to this report, Japanese diplomats have signaled to their Russian counterparts that the returning of the Kuril Islands to Japan is “critical” as they have no other place to resettle so many people that would, in essence, become the largest migration of human beings since the 1930’s when Soviet leader Stalin forced tens of millions to resettle Russia’s far eastern regions.
Important to note, this report continues, are that Japanese diplomats told their Russian counterparts that they were, also, “seriously considering” an offer by China to relocate tens of millions of their citizens to the Chinese mainland to inhabit what are called the “ghost cities,” built for reasons still unknown and described, in part, by London’s Daily Mail News Service in their 18 December 2010 article titled: “The Ghost Towns Of China: Amazing Satellite Images Show Cities Meant To Be Home To Millions Lying Deserted” that says:
“These amazing satellite images show sprawling cities built in remote parts of China that have been left completely abandoned, sometimes years after their construction. Elaborate public buildings and open spaces are completely unused, with the exception of a few government vehicles near communist authority offices. Some estimates put the number of empty homes at as many as 64 million, with up to 20 new cities being built every year in the country’s vast swathes of free land.”
Foreign Ministry experts in this report note that should Japan accept China’s offer, the combined power of these two Asian peoples would make them the largest super-power in human history with an economy larger than that of the United States and European Union combined and able to field a combined military force of over 200 million.
To how dire the situation is in Japan was recently articulated by Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumurawho warned that the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant may ultimately turn into an event capable of extinguishing all life on Earth.
According to the Prison Planet News Service:
“Matsumura posted [this] startling entry on his blog following a statement made by Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, on the situation at Fukushima.
Speaking at a public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on 22 March 2012, Murata warned that “if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 – with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground – collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4,” writes Matsumura.
In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421.”
Disturbingly, the desperate situation facing Japan is, also, facing the United States as Russian military observers overflying the US this week as part of the Open Skies Treaty are reporting “unprecedented” amounts of radiation in the Western regions of that country, a finding that was further confirmed by scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who have confirmed that a wave of highly radioactive waste is headed directly for the US west coast.
Important to note is that this new wave of Fukushima radiation headed towards the US is in addition to earlier radiation events that American scientists are now blaming for radioactive particles from Japan being detected in California kelp.
Though the news of this ongoing global catastrophe is still being heavily censored in the US, the same cannot be said about Japan, and as recently reported by the leading Japanese newspaper The Mainichi Daily News that reports:
“One of the biggest issues that we face is the possibility that the spent nuclear fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant will collapse. This is something that experts from both within and outside Japan have pointed out since the massive quake struck. TEPCO, meanwhile, says that the situation is under control. However, not only independent experts, but also sources within the government say that it’s a grave concern.
The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.
A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated that the storage pool of the plant’s No. 4 reactor has clearly been shown to be “the weakest link” in the parallel, chain-reaction crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.”
Even though this crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war” and the US Military is being reported is now stocking up on massive amounts of anti-radiation pills in preparation for nuclear fallout, there remains no evidence at all the ordinary peoples are being warned about this danger in any way whatsoever.
Mounting troubles at Japan’s hobbled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant now pose a real threat to human survival. If the area in which Unit 4 is struck by another 7.0 magnitude earthquake, there’s a 70 percent chance that “the entire fuel pool structure will collapse” and massive doses of lethal nuclear radiation will be released into the atmosphere. The disaster would release approximately “134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at Chernobyl as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP).” Experts believe that the amounts are sufficient to “destroy the world environment and our civilization”, which makes containment “an issue of human survival.” (“The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4″, Washington’s blog)
The structural integrity of Unit 4′s cooling pool was greatly compromised by the earthquake and following tsunami which struck the facility over a year ago. At present, the pools are not adequately protected or reinforced, which means that a sizable tremor could “cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns.” If such a disaster were to occur, “people should get out of Japan, and residents of the West Coast of America and Canada should shut all of their windows and stay inside,” says nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen.
While the danger to life and the environment pose the greatest single national security threat the United States has faced since WW2, the Obama administration has provided little aid to the emergency effort. Japan is largely “going it alone” trying to cobble together a plan to safely store the spent fuel and minimize the risks to public safety.
On March 8, 2012, Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, gave his bleak assessment of the situation on the Japanese a news program called, “Morning Bird”. Koide explained how 1,500 rods are presently located in a “fuel pool” that has been severely damaged. The rods have to be cooled constantly or a “huge amount of radiation contained in the spent fuel will be released outside”. If an earthquake hits and undermines the pool, the coolant will exit the pool, the rods will melt and radioactive plumes will rise into the atmosphere. Koide explained that the rods could not be safely removed from the existing pool because “if you hoist them up in the air, huge amount of radiation will come out from the spent fuel and people nearby will die.”
One of the journalists on “Morning Bird” asked Koide what would happen if the Unit was struck by another earthquake?
Koide answered, “That will be the end.”
“The end,” the journalist asked, visibly shaken?
“The end,” Koide repeated emphatically. (“Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4: An earthquake before spent fuel rods are moved to safe storage would be “the end”, Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism)
Now, check this out:
“Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata… strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but it will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. … Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries.”
(“Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident”, akiomatsumura.com)
Murata’s concerns have been brought to the attention of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to high-ranking officials in the Obama administration and EU, and to leaders around the world. The reaction has basically been the same everywhere, which is, “It’s Japan’s problem. Let them deal with it.”
There is no way to overstate the media’s complicity in concealing critical information about the tragedy that is presently unfolding at Fukushima. If there is another earthquake, the media will certainly be every bit as responsible as the government officials who saw the danger, but chose to do nothing.
Let’s be honest, quite a few Americans love a good war, especially those Americans who have never had to bear witness to one first hand. War is the ultimate tribally vicarious experience. Anyone, even pudgy armchair generals with deep-seated feelings of personal inadequacy, can revel in the victories and actions of armies a half a world away as if they themselves stood on the front lines risking possible annihilation at the hands of dastardly cartoon-land “evil doers”. They may have never done a single worthwhile thing in their lives, but at least they can bask in the perceived glory of their country’s military might.
This attitude of swollen ego through proxy is not limited to the “Right” side of the political spectrum as some might expect. In fact, if the terrifyingly demented presidency of Barack Obama has proven anything so far, it is that elements of the “Left” are just as bloodthirsty as any NeoCon, and just as ready to blindly support the political supremacy of their “side” regardless of any broken promises, abandoned principles, or openly flaunted hypocrisies. No matter how reasonable or irrefutable the arguments against a particular conflict are, there will ALWAYS be a certain percentage of the populace which ignores all logic and barrels forward to cheerlead violent actions which ultimately only benefit a select and elite few.
They do this, though they rarely openly admit it, because of unbalanced and irrational biases which drive their decision making processes. In the case of the wars in the Middle East, the common public argument boils down to one of “self defense”. “They are coming to get us!” At least, that is what we are constantly told. And I’m sure that some Americans out there truly believe this. However, in their heart of hearts, others instead relish the idea of imposing their world views and philosophical systems upon others, even if it means using cluster bombs and predator drones.
Some people simply hate Muslims, for one reason or another. Some people believe that war will bring with it economic gain. Some are so afraid of what they do not comprehend that they only feel secure by attacking it. Some believe that the U.S. citizenry is morally obligated to become entangled with governments like Israel’s, and support them without question as if they are infallible, though they are often just as corrupt as the governments we are directed to despise. And yet others (for religious purposes), actually clamor for Middle Eastern destruction in the desperate hopes that their version of biblical prophecy will be vindicated. Ultimately, most Americans who support continued destruction in the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter, do so out a selfish need for private absolution and elevation, not out of a sincere sense of patriotism, and not because nations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Iran present a legitimate danger to their safety.
These men and women have invested their very identities into the mechanizations of collective war. They will not be swayed by evidence or honorable arguments. Any criticism of the actions of the collective will immediately be treated as a personal attack on their individual character, causing their minds to shut down completely.
As far as Iran is concerned, I am not here to convince the war-drum pounding zombie hoards infesting the mentally impotent sewage soaked wastelands of my country that their rationalizations for raining laser guided death on the third world is a “reprehensible thing”. Given their impenetrable biases, which I listed above, that would be a complete waste of time.
I could, indeed, point out how in 1953 the U.S. and Britain overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossaddegh, because he refused to allow global corporate interests to exploit his country’s oil resources. I could outline how the forced CIA installation of the Shah in Iran and the creation of his secret police led to the torture and murder of thousands of innocent people. I could list similar covert activities over the past 100 years or so, in countries all over the world, which have created the now universal disdain the third world has for the U.S. government. I could even show them a PBS special from 1987 which effectively details this history and warns of what is now going on today. The kind of mainstream news coverage that networks currently blacklist honest and daring journalists for:
But what about all the nuclear talk being shoved down our throats lately? Doesn’t this supersede any historical concerns between Iran and the U.S.? What if the terrorists get their hands on “the bomb”?!
On this issue, I could easily interject the fact that countries supposedly hostile to the U.S., like North Korea, have long had nuclear capability, and certainly the means to use infiltrators to deliver that technology, yet, we haven’t sent the Western war machine after them. I would also set the record straight by mentioning that the ONLY country in the world that has used a nuclear weapon against another is the U.S. I could educate these people on the exposure of secret Israeli nuclear weapons programs since the 1970’s, and the fact that Israel even attempted to illegally sell this technology to Apartheid South Africa:
I could try to clear the air by reminding the uninformed that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently admitted that Iran has no nuclear weapons capability. And, that this fact was repeated by an Iranian nuclear scientist, Sharhram Amiri, who defected to the U.S. in 2010 with the help of the CIA in the hopes that he could be used to disseminate propaganda on “secret” nuclear weapons programs in his former homeland. Instead, he only reinforced the assertion that there are no such programs:
With the CIA made to look foolish, they have now decided that Amiri is “peripheral” to the Iranian nuke programs, and is no longer a solid source of information. I could follow by pointing out how decidedly convenient this is…
What about all the similarities between the lies on WMD’s in Iraq and the rhetoric against Iran today? What about the disinformation put forward by the IAEA and its cadre of foreign policy yes-men?
What about the fact that back when Iran was run by our own puppet leader, the Shah, an iron-fisted sociopathic dictator, we were more than happy that the country was developing nuclear power plants:
Sorry, but sharing this information with the warmongering percentage of our American culture is futile. None of this data means a thing to them. For these people, it’s not about facts; it’s about foggy perception, uncontrolled emotion, and false identity. Understanding the situation only complicates their pursuit of the next collectivist high; that frenetic freak frenzy that takes hold of a population and makes them swarm like mad bees, or hungry piranha, poisoning and devouring everything in their path.
With this in mind, the only recourse I could possibly think of to wake them up to their philosophical and moral folly is to expose them to very real and debilitating consequences they will face in their everyday lives in the wake of expanded conflict on the part of the U.S. That is to say, you may hate Iran, you may hate Iranians, you may despise Muslims, you may be driven by a childish need to live vicariously through the exploits of your government, or, you might actually believe the hype that Iran is in league with Al-Qaeda, that they really are after nuclear weapons in a diabolical plot to harm Americans, and you might truly believe that Israel is that “beacon of freedom” in the Middle East and that all its neighbors must be pacified for the sake of democracy. At bottom, whatever your deepest intentions, and whatever you might think, this is irrelevant in the face of the inevitable costs of war. If you support such a war, here is how it will affect you when it breaks loose:
Exploding Oil Prices
The U.S. has had a ban on Iranian oil imports since 1979, however, Iran still supplies about 5% of the global oil market. This might not seem like much, but Iran also has the means and ability to shut down the Straight of Hormuz, which is one of two major petroleum choke points in the world. Around 17 million barrels of oil per day are shipped through the Straight of Hormuz, or about 20% of all oil traded worldwide.
In 2006, during the last major Iran war scare, experts predicted gasoline price increases in excess of $10 a gallon if Iran was invaded.
This would devastate the U.S. economy, which is already hanging by a thin thread. Iran has announced this past weekend it will cease all oil shipments to Britain and France in protest of their support of economic sanctions. This alone is causing oil to spike today. A global energy crisis will financially decimate average citizens who will have their savings sapped by extreme price inflation, not just in gasoline, but in all goods that require the use of gasoline in their production and shipping. If you like this idea, then by all means, support an invasion of Iran.
War Domino Effect
In January of 2010, I wrote an article for Neithercorp Press entitled “Will Globalists Trigger Yet Another World War”. In that article, I warned about the dangers of an invasion of Iran or Syria being used to foment a global conflict, in order to create a crisis large enough to distract the masses away from the international banker created economic collapse:
In 2006, Iran signed a mutual defense pact with its neighbor, Syria, which is also in the middle of its own turmoil and possible NATO intervention. Syria has strong ties to Russia, and even has a revamped Russian naval base off its coast, a fact rarely mentioned by the mainstream media. Both Russia and China have made their opposition clear in the case of any Western intervention in Iran or Syria. An invasion by the U.S. or Israel in these regions could quickly intensify into wider war between major world powers. If you like the idea of a world war which could eventually put you and your family in direct danger, then by all means, support an invasion of Iran.
Make no mistake, the U.S. dollar is already on the verge of collapse, along with the U.S. economy. Bilateral trade agreements between BRIC and ASEAN nations are sprouting up everywhere the past couple months, and these agreements are specifically designed to end the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency. An invasion of Iran will only expedite this process. If global anger over the resulting chaos in oil prices doesn’t set off a dump of the dollar, the eventual debt obligation incurred through the overt costs of war will. Ron Paul has always been right; it doesn’t matter whether you think invasion is a good idea or not. We simply CANNOT afford it. America is bankrupt. Our only source of income is our ability to print money from thin air. Each dollar created to fund new wars brings our currency ever closer to its demise.
This combination of disastrous economic policy and disastrous foreign policy has actually been used before. Great Britain once sat in the position of economic authority that the U.S. sits in today, and the pound sterling was once considered the world reserve because it was required in the global trade of oil, just as the dollar is now. However, British intrigues in the Middle East, and more specifically in Egypt, led them into extreme debt. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, international banks led by America and France threatened to dump British Treasury Bonds in response to their efforts to dominate Middle Eastern oil. Does any of this sound familiar?
This ultimately led to considerable devaluation of the pound. In 1967, the death blow was finally delivered when Prime Minister Harold Wilson artificially reduced the British exchange rate by 14% overnight! Meaning, in the span of a single evening, British citizens lost 14% of their buying power, and every product they went out to buy the next day would cost them 14% more.
It would be practical to mention that the move to destroy the British pound came right in time for the implementation of new programs for the construction of the European Union, and the Euro, the new supranational currency which would later become the standard. The EU and the Euro never could have come about while the Pound Sterling remained a world reserve. Just another amazing coincidence I’m sure, and one that couldn’t possibly have any relation to what is happening to the dollar in 2012, right…?
So, if you like the idea of losing 14% or more of your buying power overnight, and having that financial loss blamed on the tides of war, rather than on the corporate bankers who actually created the mess, then by all means, support an invasion of Iran.
Civil Liberties Destroyed
Do you like being able to walk down the street without having to suffer through constant pat-downs by low wage brain-dead cretins in blue gloves? Does it make you feel good to know that if you are ever arrested, whether you are guilty or not, you are guaranteed by law to receive a fair trial by your peers in a civilian court with a lawyer by your side? Do you enjoy taking a long drive with the family without facing check points, and predator drones constantly overhead every time you put the top down to feel the wind in your hair? Don’t get too comfortable, folks! These “luxuries” will soon be a thing of the past, especially as the U.S. financial situation deteriorates and war escalates. Think of all the new threats the elites in our government can use to rationalize the usurpation of Constitutional protections when war with Iran, or Syria, or Russia, or China, or all of them at once, breaks out.
The term “terrorist” will take on a whole different dynamic. Great national dangers often facilitate broader definitions of who is and who is not an “enemy of the state”. Crisis gives wings to legislation like the NDAA. In this kind of despotic environment, no one, even those citizens who support the state in nearly all of its enterprises, is safe. Maybe you love the idea of war with Iran, but at the same time, hate the idea of having a TSA goon manhandling your wife or daughter in a train station or on a street corner. Good luck with that. Speaking out could be treated as disruption of national security measures. Off to the gulag with you!
The “greater good” somehow always entails the dissolution of civil liberties for the common man. Invariably, the establishment in power favors no one, save a highly connected few. Being pro-establishment does not necessarily protect you from a government given free reign to do whatever it pleases in wartime. In the end, everyone is fair game.
If this is the kind of America you want to live in, by all means, support an invasion of Iran.
If You Can’t See The Big Picture, You Can’t See A Thing…
The relentless drive for war in the Middle East is not about “spreading democracy”. It is not about terrorism. It is not about oil (at least for the most part). It is not about Israel (at least, not the Israeli people). It is not even about corporate profiteering by the Military Industrial Complex. War in the Middle East is about changing the way our country and our world operates, culturally, socially, financially, and politically. War opens doors to social re-engineering that could never be accomplished otherwise. War creates fear, panic, rage, and allows dystopian fallacies to reign supreme. War, unjust and dishonorable war, makes countries weak, and ripe for violent change.
Iran is not a threat to our way of life, and never has been. But, war in Iran could easily upset the core of our entire country, and leave us wayward strangers in the land we were born.
While much of the rhetoric of preemptive invasion that America has been awash in these past few months is carefully crafted and disseminated by government entities whose intentions are far from honest, its effectiveness is mute without the helping hand of a thoughtless subsection of the public. Every decade or so, a new generation of idiot spawn comes of age to be willingly sacrificed on the chopping block of globalist conquest. This new decade brings with it the promise of not just more of the same, but perhaps the most costly tithe to the gods of war ever made in our country’s history. This is not our fight. This is a fight we are being conned into undertaking for the profit of others, and thus, it is a fight we cannot win. Perhaps when the blind mobs of this nation feel the abrupt sting of their foolishness in their narrow day-to-day existence, they will finally understand…
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The Lord High Almighty Pooh-Bah of Threats…
As we all know only too well, the United States and Israel would hate to see Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Being “the only nuclear power in the Middle East” is a great card for Israel to have in its hand. But — in the real, non-propaganda world — is USrael actually fearful of an attack from a nuclear-armed Iran? In case you’ve forgotten …
In 2007, in a closed discussion, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that in her opinion “Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel.” She “also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears.” 1
2009: “A senior Israeli official in Washington” asserted that “Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation.” 2
In 2010 the Sunday Times of London (January 10) reported that Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, war hero, pillar of the Israeli defense establishment, and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons.”
Early last month, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a television audience: “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No, but we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability.” 3
A week later we could read in the New York Times (January 15) that “three leading Israeli security experts — the Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, a former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevy, and a former military chief of staff, Dan Halutz — all recently declared that a nuclear Iran would not pose an existential threat to Israel.”
Then, a few days afterward, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an interview with Israeli Army Radio (January 18), had this exchange:
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?
Barak: People ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case.
Lastly, we have the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in a report to Congress: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. … There are “certain things [the Iranians] have not done” that would be necessary to build a warhead. 4
Admissions like the above — and there are others — are never put into headlines by the American mass media; indeed, only very lightly reported at all; and sometimes distorted — On the Public Broadcasting System (PBS News Hour, January 9), the non-commercial network much beloved by American liberals, the Panetta quote above was reported as: “But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us.” Flagrantly omitted were the preceding words: “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No …” 5
One of Israel’s leading military historians, Martin van Creveld, was interviewed by Playboy magazine in June 2007:
Playboy: Can the World live with a nuclear Iran?
Van Creveld: The U.S. has lived with a nuclear Soviet Union and a nuclear China, so why not a nuclear Iran? I’ve researched how the U.S. opposed nuclear proliferation in the past, and each time a country was about to proliferate, the U.S. expressed its opposition in terms of why this other country was very dangerous and didn’t deserve to have nuclear weapons. Americans believe they’re the only people who deserve to have nuclear weapons, because they are good and democratic and they like Mother and apple pie and the flag. But Americans are the only ones who have used them. … We are in no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons … thanks to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from the U.S. and Germany.”
And throughout these years, regularly, Israeli and American officials have been assuring us that Iran is World Nuclear Threat Number One, that we can’t relax our guard against them, that there should be no limit to the ultra-tough sanctions we impose upon the Iranian people and their government. Repeated murder and attempted murder of Iranian nuclear scientists, sabotage of Iranian nuclear equipment with computer viruses, the sale of faulty parts and raw materials, unexplained plane crashes, explosions at Iranian facilities … Who can be behind this but USrael? How do we know? It’s called “plain common sense”. Or do you think it was Costa Rica? Or perhaps South Africa? Or maybe Thailand?
Defense Secretary Panetta recently commented on one of the assassinations of an Iranian scientist. He put it succinctly: “That’s not what the United States does.” 6
Does anyone know Leon Panetta’s email address? I’d like to send him my list of United States assassination plots. More than 50 foreign leaders were targeted over the years, many successfully. 7
Not long ago, Iraq and Iran were regarded by USrael as the most significant threats to Israeli Middle-East hegemony. Thus was born the myth of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the United States proceeded to turn Iraq into a basket case. That left Iran, and thus was born the myth of the Iranian Nuclear Threat. As it began to sink in that Iran was not really that much of a nuclear threat, or that this “threat” was becoming too difficult to sell to the rest of the world, USrael decided that, at a minimum, it wanted regime change. The next step may be to block Iran’s lifeline — oil sales using the Strait of Hormuz. Ergo, the recent US and EU naval buildup near the Persian Gulf, an act of war trying to goad Iran into firing the first shot. If Iran tries to counter this blockade it could be the signal for another US Basket Case, the fourth in a decade, with the devastated people of Libya and Afghanistan, along with Iraq, currently enjoying America’s unique gift of freedom and democracy.
On January 11, the Washington Post reported: “In addition to influencing Iranian leaders directly, [a US intelligence official] says another option here is that [sanctions] will create hate and discontent at the street level so that the Iranian leaders realize that they need to change their ways.”
How utterly charming, these tactics and goals for the 21st century by the leader of “The Free World”. (Is that expression still used?)
The neo-conservative thinking (and Barack Obama can be regarded as often being a fellow traveler of such) is even more charming than that. Listen to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at America’s most prominent neo-con think tank, American Enterprise Institute:
The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.” … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem. 8
What are we to make of that and all the other quotations above? I think it gets back to my opening statement: Being “the only nuclear power in the Middle East” is a great card for Israel to have in its hand. Is USrael willing to go to war to hold on to that card?
Please tell me again … What is the war in Afghanistan about?
With the US war in Iraq supposedly having reached a good conclusion (or halfway decent … or better than nothing … or let’s get the hell out of here while some of us are still in one piece and there are some Iraqis we haven’t yet killed), the best and the brightest in our government and media turn their thoughts to what to do about Afghanistan. It appears that no one seems to remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9-11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.
President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” 9
Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.
Never mind that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why hasn’t the United States bombed those countries?
Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere, with Afghanistan probably being one of the worst places for them, given the American occupation.
The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia — which reportedly contains the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world — and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is well situated for oil and gas pipelines to serve much of south Asia, pipelines that can bypass those not-yet Washington clients, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” 10
Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 11 Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:
The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels … From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.
When those talks stalled in July, 2001 the Bush administration threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands. The talks finally broke down for good the following month, a month before 9-11.
The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990-1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory”. Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy”, but certainly not “pipeline”.
Love me, love me, love me, I’m a Liberal (Thank you, Phil Ochs. We miss you.)
Angela Davis, star of the 1960s, like most members of the Communist Party, was/is no more radical than the average American liberal. Here she is recently addressing Occupy Wall Street: “When I said that we need a third party, a radical party, I was projecting toward the future. We cannot allow a Republican to take office. … Don’t we remember what it was like when Bush was president?” 12
Yes, Angela, we remember that time well. How can we forget it since Bush, by all important standards, is still in the White House? Waging perpetual war, relentless surveillance of the citizenry, kissing the corporate ass, police brutality? … What’s changed? Except for the worse. Where’s our single-payer national health insurance? Nothing even close. Where’s our affordable university education? Still the most backward in the “developed” world. Where’s our legalized marijuana — I mean really legalized? If you think that’s changed, you must be stoned. Where’s our abortion on demand? What does your guy Barack think about that? Are the indispensable labor unions being rescued from oblivion? Ha! The ultra-important minimum wage? Inflation adjusted, equal to the mid-1950s.
Has the American threat to the environment and the world environmental movement ceased? Tell that to a dedicated activist-internationalist. Has the 50-year-old embargo against Cuba finally ended? It has not, and I can still not go there legally. The police-state War on Terror at home? Scarcely a month goes by without the FBI entrapping some young “terrorists”. Are more Banksters and Wall Street Society-Screwers (except for the harmless insider-traders) being imprisoned? Name one. The really tough regulations of the financial area so badly needed? Keep waiting. How about executives of the BP Oil Spill Company being arrested? Or war criminals, mass murderers, and torturers with names like … Oh, I don’t know, let’s see … maybe like Cheney or Bush or Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz or someone with a crazy name like Condoleezza? All walking completely free, all celebrated.
“A major decline of progressive America occurred during the Clinton years as many liberals and their organizations accepted the presence of a Democratic president as an adequate substitute for the things liberals once believed in. Liberalism and a social democratic spirit painfully grown over the previous 60 years withered during the Clinton administration.” — Sam Smith13
“A change of Presidents is like a change of advertising campaigns for a soft drink; the product itself still tastes the same, but it now has a new ‘image’.” — Richard K. Moore
- Haaretz.com (Israel), October 25, 2007; print edition October 26
- Washington Post, March 5, 2009
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, January 8, 2012; see video
- The Guardian (London), January 31, 2012″
- “PBS’s Dishonest Iran Edit”, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), January 10, 2012
- Reuters, January 12, 2012
- Video of Pletka making these remarks
- Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
- Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007
- See, for example, the December 17, 1997 article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas“. For further discussion of the TAPI pipeline and related issues, see this article by international petroleum engineer John Foster.
- Washington Post, January 15, 2012
- Sam Smith was a longtime publisher and journalist in Washington, DC, now living in Maine. Subscribe to his marvelous newsletter, the Progressive Review.
Thyroid cancer cases have more than doubled since 1997 in the U.S., while deadly industrial practices that contaminate groundwater with radiation and other carcinogens are also rising.
New information released by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 56,460 people will develop thyroid cancer in 2012 and 1,780 will die from it.
That’s up from 16,000 thyroid cancer cases in 1997 – a whopping 253% increase in fifteen years, while the US population went up only 18%.
From 1980 to 1996, thyroid cancer increased nearly 300%, while the population increased by (again) 18%.
Most thyroid cancers don’t develop for 10-30 years after radiation exposure, but the monstrous spike in thyroid cancer from 1980-2012 is only partly the result of Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 (TMI).
Pennsylvania, with its nine nuclear reactors, does have the highest incidence of thyroid cancer across nearly all demographics among 45* states, reports epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, of the Radiation and Public Health Project. In 2009, he analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control’s national survey of thyroid cancer incidence for the years 2001-2005 and compared it with proximity to nuclear power stations, finding:
“[M]ost U.S. counties with the highest thyroid cancer incidence are in a contiguous area of eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and southern New York. Exposure to radioactive iodine emissions from 16 nuclear power reactors within a 90 mile radius in this area … are likely a cause of rising incidence rates.”
TMI also can’t explain why the thyroid cancer rate for the four counties flanking Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York was 66% above the national rate in 2001-2005.
Other, more subtle sources may also be contributing to hiked thyroid cancer rates, like leaking nuclear power plants and hydraulic fracturing, both of which contaminate air, soil and groundwater with radiation and other nasty chemicals.
Indeed, remarking on this, Mangano (who recently co-authored a controversial study with toxicologist Janette Sherman suggesting a link between Fukushima fallout and US cancer deaths numbering from 14,000 to 20,000) said:
“From 1970-1993, Indian Point released 17.50 curies of airborne I-131 and particulates…. [That] amount exceeded the official total of 14.20 curies released from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. In 2007, officials that operate the Indian Point plant reported levels of I-131 in the local air, water, and milk, each of which is a potential vector for ingestion.”
Iodine-131, or I-131, is a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission.
Fracking a ‘Dirty Bomb’
Radiation isn’t released into the environment only via nuclear plants and bombs. Geologist Tracy Bank found that fracking mobilizes rock-bound uranium, posing a further radiation risk to our groundwater. She presented her findings at the American Geological Society meeting in Denver last November.
Because of some 65 hazardous chemicals used in fracking operations, former industry insider, James Northrup, calls it a “dirty bomb.” With 30 years of experience as an independent oil and gas producer, he explains:
“The volume of fluid in a hydrofrack can exceed three million gallons, or almost 24 million pounds of fluid, about the same weight as 7,500 automobiles. The fracking fluid contains chemicals that would be illegal to use in warfare under the rules of the Geneva Convention. This all adds up to a massive explosion of a ‘dirty bomb’ underground.”
What’s underground seeps into our groundwater.
Thomas House and his wife have become ill since New Dominion, LLC began drilling for oil and gas behind their home in Wellston, Oklahoma. He’s tested the water for barium and strontium, and indoor air quality for BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and styrenes).
Though none of the levels exceed EPA standards, he insists the drilling operations are causing their illness.
“We have been getting sick from headaches, nose bleeds, rashes, vomiting, burning eyes, and breathing problems for the last year,” he told me.
House is reliant on the Veterans Administration for health care, but it refuses to test him for BTEX poisoning.
Radioactive Drinking Water
Though scientists have associated thyroid cancer with water supplies contaminated by nitrates (another knock against industrial agriculture), it is usually indicative of radiation poisoning, as the thyroid sucks up iodine – radioactive or not. Those with not enough iodine in their diets are more susceptible to absorbing I-131.
NCI says that the main sources of radiation exposure are X-rays, nuclear fallout and radiated food and drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control reports that women are three times more susceptible to thyroid cancer than men, with white women being most susceptible. Rather than noticing any symptoms, most often, they discover a lump on their neck.
The good news is that 95 percent of thyroid cancer is successfully treated.
The bad news is that radiation exposure is also coming from our food and water supply.
For over a year, a Houston news station has been reporting on a governmental cover-up of radiation in drinking water. KHOU says that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under-reported radioactive contaminants in drinking water for over 20 years.
But not just Texas authorities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also low-balled radiation stats by simply not looking for specific radioactive elements, which can be more common and more dangerous than, say, Strontium-90.
Eventually, Texas shut-down two of Houston’s water wells shown to be radioactive.
From an investigative series by the Associated Press last year, we learned that 75 percent of US nuclear power plants leak radioactive materials. Documents from 48 of 65 commercial nuclear power sites showed that radioactive tritium leaked – often into groundwater – in concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard, and sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.
Nukes, Fracking and Earthquakes
The global fallout from Fukushima’s nuclear meltdown means our food and water absorbed radioactive fallout. But, we also see an increasing number of earthquakes from fracking operations that further threaten nuclear plants, which are old, leaking and “brittle” (AP’s word).
Information compiled by Treehugger last year showed that of the 104 commercial nuclear power plants and 34 nuclear research stations, many sit in seismically active locations.
Though earthquake risk in Texas is considered very low, last October, Atascosa County saw a rare 4.8 magnitude quake centered 130 miles from the South Texas Project nuclear power plant. The temblor originated in Fashing Field, a highly productive oil and gas field. One company, Momentum Oil and Gas, is producing 3.8 million cubic feet of gas per day from the field.
Many states that normally had very low seismicity have seen an incredible upswing in earthquake frequency with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, which the feds have long known about. As far back as 1966, federal authorities suspected the fracking-earthquake link so strongly that they shut down Rocky Mountain Arsenal’s 12,000-foot injection well after several quakes rattled Denver.
In 1981, researchers suggested that mobile pressure dynamics could explain epicenters some ways distant from such wells.
Ohio recently shut down two fracking waste injection wells after a New Year’s Eve earthquake, and in 2010 New York imposed a statewide moratorium. Ohio has two nuclear power plants (both on Lake Erie) and New York has five, operating six reactors.
Ohio’s 5.0 earthquake on January 31, 1986 that rocked eleven states and Ontario, Canada was centered 11 miles south of the Perry Nuclear Plant. Researchers suggested the quake was induced by fracking, writing in 1988:
“Three deep waste disposal wells are currently operating within 15 km of the epicentral region and have been responsible for the injection of nearly 1.2 billion liters of fluid at pressures reaching 112 bars above ambient at a nominal depth of 1.8 km. Estimates of stress inferred from commercial hydrofracturing measurements suggest that the state of stress in northeastern Ohio is close to the theoretical threshold for failure along favorably oriented, preexisting fractures.”
Not only preexisting fractures, but new ones created by the massive surge in earthquake swarms also present a risk. As modern horizontal fracturing techniques are employed, earthquake frequency goes up.
From 1900-1970, Arkansas experienced 60 earthquakes. After fracking operations picked up in the mid-1970s, that number jumped exponentially. Per the Advanced National Seismic System, in 2010 alone, Arkansas felt over 700 earthquakes; in 2011, it endured over 800.
The number of quakes in 2010 and ’11 represents a 2,400% increase over the number of quakes in the first 70 years of the 20th century, before horizontal fracking began. With that spike in frequency, is it any wonder that a new faulthas opened up in Arkansas? Geologists say the new fault shows a history of 7+ magnitude earthquakes.
Though the 2001-2005 thyroid incidence data reveals that Arkansas has the lowest incidence of thyroid cancer of all 45 states surveyed, that may change should the new fault become seismically active and damage the state’s two 40-year-old nuclear reactors.
Of note, Arkansas’ nuclear reactors are run by Entergy, which operates eleven others including 40-year-old Vermont Yankee (strontium-90 found in nearby fish last August) and New York’s nearly 40-year-old Indian Point (failed inspection and sought over 100 safety exemptions last year).
Pennsylvania is another strong fracking state, vulnerable to earthquakes originating within or outside its borders. It also houses nine nuclear reactors at five locations. A swarm of small earthquakes occurred near Dillsburg from 2008 until early 2011, reports the state’s Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Dillsburg is 16 miles from Three Mile Island, which still operates one nuclear reactor.
Last August, most of the east coast felt a 5.8 magnitude quake whose epicenter is just 11 miles from two reactors at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia. Both 30-year-old reactors had to be shut down. RT reports:
“The odds of a quake exceeding a magnitude of 5.5 occurring in central Virginia are so slim that Dominion Power determined only around six quakes of that size would occur in the area over the next 10,000 years.”
Protect Your Water Supply
Radioactive particles damage bones, DNA and tissue, including the thyroid. Water softeners, ion exchange, carbon filters or reverse osmosis water-treatment systems can be installed in the home to reduce concentration levels. The National Sanitation Foundation certifies various products for efficacy in reducing or eliminating particular contaminants.
To reduce or eliminate radiation from food and water, see this compilation of articles recommending various techniques, including washing your vegetables in bentonite clay.
A more proactive way to protect the water supply is to decommission nuclear power plants and ban hydraulic fracturing, lest your hometown ranks among the 10 Most Radioactive Places on Earth.
*When the CDC surveyed states for thyroid cancer in its landmark 2001-2005 study, it neglected to publish data for Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
After the world’s most massive online protest on Jan. 18 against two internet censorship bills, which generated over 7 million petition signatures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed the PIPA vote set for the 24th, so that lawmakers could rework the bill.
On January 18, from 8 am to 8 pm Eastern (-5 GMT), some of the most popular websites on the planet blackened their pages in protest of PIPA, or PROTECT IP Act, (S. 968: Protect Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property), and SOPA, (HR 3261) the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Though PIPA is hailed as only slightly less bad than SOPA, both threaten free access to information on the web by allowing accusers to shut down an entire website, even shared platforms like Twitter, WordPress and YouTube, because of a single copyright violation. Instead of a civil penalty, the law proposes making copyright violation a felony. Try finding a job in the US with a felony conviction under your belt.
Chris Heald did a Mashup analysis of SOPA, and explains how advertisers can get out of paying their bills. He adds that “SOPA expands ‘willful infringement’ to include those who don’t understand the law, not just those who understand it and choose to ignore it.”
Google, the world’s most visited website, blocked out its name and provided a link to petition Congress to defeat both bills. By 3pm on the 18th, it had already logged 4 million signatures, reports Torrent Freak.
Wikipedia, the world’s 6th most popular website, blacked itself out for 24 hours, leaving a poignant message:
“Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge: For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”
WordPress enabled a feature so that its 40 million blogs could black out their own site, also providing a link to register objection to the bills.
Censorship a growing problem
Mickey Huff, editor of Project Censored, warns that American reliance on “institutional reform over implementation of revolutionary ideals and actions as tools for change” is allowing the erosion of democracy to continue unabated. Free and easy access to accurate and important information is the cornerstone of any free society. Reform, writes Huff, is only a small part of an effective radical strategy.
One radical tactic employed by Anonymous on Thursday tricked people into aiming its botnet software, known as LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Canon), at the US Dept. of Justice in retaliation for its takedown of file sharing site, Megaupload.com, and arrest of key principals.
For the past 35 years, Project Censored has published an annual collection of the top 25 censored news stories. In the 2012 book edition, my article,Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails, ranks as the 9th most censored story in the United States. PC 2012 sites several other independent sources that report on weather manipulation as a weapon of war, mentioning HAARP, the U.S. government’s High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.
For example, after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plants, MSNBC reported:
“[T]he atmosphere above the epicenter … underwent unusual changes in the days leading up to the disaster.”
PC 2012 then points out that “the MSNBC report did not address whether increases in both the concentration of electrons and infrared radiation in the ionosphere in the days before the earthquake might have been caused by the sort of technologies” described in my report and others.
Related to geoengineering and ranking as the 8th most censored topic, a section covering “the fairy tale of clean and safe nuclear power” cites several pieces, including Jeff St Clair’s Inside America’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Plant, fingering Indian Point in New York. At least two others would name Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state as the most dangerous: whistleblower Donna Busche, who warns of an impeding hydrogen explosion from the leaking radioactive sludge, and Brainz, which names Hanford the 10th most radioactive spot on Planet Earth.
Related to the nuclear threat, the Centre for Research on Globalization will soon publish an updated version of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War.
After reading the 76-page e-book which only costs $5, I’d characterize it as an essential read for anyone willing to look into the eyes of MADness. The mutually assured destruction of nuclear war is laid out in the US military’s plan, already underway, to modernize the nuclear stockpile for use on the other side of the world, as if blowback doesn’t exist. Chossudovsky’s message is clear: Nuclear states are the real terrorists in today’s world; the antiwar movement must unite and uphold 9/11 truth.
Information like this is what is censored from mainstream media.
The Project itself has been censored – for reporting on 9/11 truth, as this KPFA interview from 2010 reveals. Inter Press Service contracted with Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff to write the piece, and then refused to publish it and permanently severed their relationship. 9/11 Truth is covered in Project Censored’s 2011 edition.
PC 2012 includes the impacts of media censorship and misinformation in light of wars, Obama’s assassination program, environmental destruction, Wall Street crime, internet surveillance, and healthcare, including the refusal by corporate media to accurately discuss the single payer option.
Another theme is collaborating for the common good. Corporate media giants stay mum, for example, on key alternatives proposed by various sectors that would not profit industry giants or maintain the status quo, like Ellen Brown’s many articles promoting state-run banks. (See here and here for two examples.)
These censored stories have their own powerful effect. Natural News writersMike Adams’ and Ethan Huff’s 2010 articles about federal agency refusal to label genetically modified foods (ranked as the 22nd most censored story) sparked the GMO-label movement we see today.
Not only researchers, but the general public, as well, can benefit from the book’s section on propaganda, spanning several chapters. In its international section, PC 2012 spotlights media distortion of the color revolutions and ongoing genocide in Palestine, even applauding the cable show Treme for its coverage of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, rating it far better than MSM coverage.
Journalists focused on amplifying info withheld or skewed by media giants can best serve the public, and democracy, by using Project Censored’s annual books. Even past editions provide valuable links, as many of these stories are ongoing.
Stalling passage of PIPA is only temporary; radicals – that is, anyone speaking truth today – need to arm themselves with the most reliable information available – most of which is outside mainstream sources. By giving hundreds of links to reliable reports, Project Censored provides those resources.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Turkey on January 19, Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi warned his country’s Arab neighbors against aligning themselves too closely with the United States in the ongoing crisis over Tehran’s nuclear program. Saudi Arabia was particularly vocal in its condemnation of Iran’s warning last month that it might close the Strait of Hormuz—through which one-third of the world’s seaborne oil passes daily—if the United States and her allies apply sanctions against Iranian oil exports.
A day earlier Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said American troops in the Persian Gulf region do not require any build-up for a possible military conflict with Iran. “We are not making any special steps at this point in order to deal with the situation,” he said. “Why? Because, frankly, we are fully prepared to deal with that situation now,” Panetta explained.
In the meantime the European Union is on track to agree to an oil embargo against Iran at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting next week.
The latest rhetorical escalation follows President Obama’s decision on December 31 to apply sanctions against any institution dealing with Iran’s central bank, effectively making it impossible for most countries to buy Iranian crude oil.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao criticized the U.S. position in comments published on January 19, and on the same day foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said that “sanctions and military threats will not help solve the problem but only aggravate the situation.”
On Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the military option mooted by U.S. would ignite a disastrous, widespread Middle East war. “Unilateral sanctions against Iran has nothing in common with the desire to keep the nuclear weapons nonproliferation regime unshaken,” Lavrov said.
Unsurprisingly, the neoconservative advocates of a preventive war against Iran are delighted. They see Tehran’s threat to block the Strait of Hormuz as a “golden opportunity” to force the issue by military means:
A military plan would have to include the elimination of the offending Iranian ships or submarines laying mines, and the destruction of missiles that might menace shipping. Most of Iran’s navy would find itself gracing the bottom of the sea as a result. Meanwhile, major U.S. Marine amphibious landings on Iran’s coast and Army airborne drops deep inside the sparsely populated Hormozgan region would have to create a physical cordon and an occupied buffer zone between Iran and the Strait of Hormuz. It would be a very long time before the West gave this territory back to Iran.
Furthermore, the argument goes, by seizing Hormozgan, the West would have a forward base within Iran from which to conduct attacks on known nuclear sites: “Strike aircraft (and, more worrisome to Iran’s regime, Special Forces troops) would be just 60 to 90 minutes away from Iranian nuclear sites. Iran’s threat to block the Strait of Hormuz has given the West new options.”
The issue that remains moot is not whether Iran is developing a nuclear weapon—let us assume that this is a documented fact, though it is not—but whether an Iranian nuclear weapon would be a threat to the United States. What are the motives of the Iranian decisionmakers? To threaten Europe, thus necessitating an American antimissile shield along Russia’s western borders in Central Europe? To threaten the United States even, regardless of a guaranteed hundred-fold retaliation to any attack? Or to protect Iran from what her leaders perceive to be a threatening environment?
Iran has one neighbor to the west and another to the northeast who were both invaded by the United States over the past 11 years. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq would have been invaded had they actually possessed weapons of mass destruction. Iran’s eastern neighbor is Pakistan, an unstable and unpredictable nuclear power. In the wider neighborhood there are two other key players with an atomic arsenal, India and Israel, with Turkey not far behind. Under the circumstances, having an independent nuclear deterrent is a perfectly rational option for the government in Tehran to pursue—any Iranian government, Islamist or secular, monarchist or republican, pro- or anti-Western. That option is based on the realities of the security equation and not on the millenarian zeal of Shi’ite fanaticism or on genocidal Jewhatred, as the proponents of war would have us believe. Even if Iran were to garner an arsenal of a dozen devices, which would take a decade at least, the overall strategic balance would remain fundamentally unaltered. Indeed, the political climate in the region may actually improve: Iran would feel safe from an American attack and therefore at least potentially less likely to indulge in destabilizing proxy interventions in the region, notably in Lebanon.
Israel may have reason to feel threatened by Iran’s long-term plans, but it is up to Israel to consider her options and to act accordingly. She may well decide on a robust response, like her bombing of the Osirak nuclear plant in Iraq in 1981, with all the attendant risks and uncertainties. She should not expect the United States to do the job on her behalf, however.
The Saudis would also feel uncomfortable with a nuclear-armed Iran across the Gulf, and that would be a good thing. The more the royal kleptocrats in Riyadh focus on potential threats in the neighborhood, the less likely they are to escalate their global proliferation of Islamic extremism, which they have lavishly financed for decades. In any event, as the example of North Korea shows, the possession of the bomb by a single actor does not necessarily lead to a sudden nuclear rush in the region.
The second objection is technical. Regardless of its formal or substantial justification, can a U.S. war against Iran be kept limited and winnable? The initial intent may be to execute bombing raids against a dozen or perhaps two-dozen specific targets, but would that merely set Iran’s efforts back by two or three years? And what if Iran retaliates by detonating dirty bombs in downtown Tel Aviv and midtown Manhattan? What if the Iranians treat a U.S. attack not as a limited action that, in the War Party’s calculus, would produce a limited response, but as an existential struggle comparable to Khomeini’s all-out reply to Saddam’s attack 30 years ago?
If the Iranians respond forcefully, the advocates of limited air strikes against nuclear installations are certain to demand troops on the ground, regardless of risks and consequences, because our “credibility” would be at stake. In reality, America’s credibility would be terminally undermined by the resulting Iranian quagmire. An all-out “Operation Iranian Freedom” is not a rational option, because even with our unsurpassed military capabilities, the United States would not be able to mount a full-fledged invasion.
The third predictable consequence of a U.S. attack on Iran would be a global economic meltdown of unprecedented severity and magnitude. Not only would Iran’s output of some four million barrels per day be halted, but the maritime traffic through the Straits of Hormuz would come to a standstill for months on end—regardless of outcome. The resulting global energy crisis would make the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War pale in comparison, pushing a barrel to $300 within weeks and making the economic and financial crises of the past three years in Europe and the United States seem like the good old days.
Last but not least, we’d witness internal consolidation of the Iranian regime, a calcified theocracy devoid of ideas and solutions as it faces economic stagnation and political tensions. Domestic squabbles and the infighting of recent months would be forgotten, and any sign of opposition to the regime would be equated with treason. There would be no Iranian Spring for decades to come. On the other hand, without the unifying effect of an external threat the mullahs’ regime may yet prove more vulnerable to implosion than we would otherwise suspect.
Instead of considering a military action against Iran with no clear exit strategy at a prohibitive cost to our core interests, Washington would be well advised to prepare a strategy for dealing with Iran—even as a putative nuclear power. Deterring and containing Iran would be easier than deterring and containing the Soviets 50 years ago. The country’s regime, admittedly unpleasant, is neither suicidal nor tainted by the blood of untold millions, as the two communist nuclear powers had been.
Real concerns about Iran’s nuclear program exist; they are also present in Moscow and Beijing. It is still possible and politically profitable for Washington to pursue bilateral diplomacy based on an offer of U.S. security guarantees to Iran in return for a rigorous supervision regime and a formal pledge that Iran refrain from developing nuclear weapons. A reasonable agreement would also allow Iran to enrich uranium to the extent needed for power generation and accept Iran’s right to the enrichment technology, so long as she agrees to subject her entire nuclear program to international oversight.
By pursuing sanctions similar in intent and likely consequences to FDR’s sanctions against Japan in 1941, the Obama administration may produce similar outcomes. That would be a disaster for all concerned.
Winston Churchill once said that “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” He was right. Democracy in its various manifestations is a flawed system, flawed by virtue of its roots. By definition it is the system where power flows from the people (or at least a supposed majority of the people), and as there are no perfect people, then…. Well, the logic speaks for itself.
Many of democracy’s problems are common to all forms of governance. For instance, (a) the tendency of a political leader to mistake his or her own interests or that of his party, for the nation’s or community’s interests and (b) the corruptive influence of powerful subgroups or lobbies usually coming through the manipulation of money and other resources. The ubiquitous nature of these problems suggest that they are structural. That is they are built into the system no matter what form a government takes. That does not mean such flaws cannot be held in check or minimized. As James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution believed, they might be subject to control by a well crafted constitution. However, it is unlikely that they can be eliminated.
Part II – Today In The USA
Today, we are presented with a stark example of U.S. democracy’s systemic flaws. Again, these bring together the influence of small but powerful and wealthy subgroups with the tendency of national leaders to define interests in personal ways. The trigger for the present structural malfunction is a foreign policy issue. It is the issue of Iran (which, alas, is a reworking of the recent issue of Iraq).
As the Consortium News website puts it “a torrent of war propaganda against Iran is flooding the American political scene as U.S. neocons and Israeli hardliners see an opening for another war in the Middle East.” This statement which, in my opinion, is quite accurate, suggests to us:
1. There are relatively small warmongering lobbies in the country which are ideologically driven and continuously active. Hence, the powerful subgroups.
2. Principal among them are neoconservatives and hard line Zionists. Both of these groups are endowed with “deep pockets” and therefore can buy a lot of politicians and media access. Buying such influence, as long as it is done within very loose guidelines, is at once disastrous and perfectly legal. Hence, corruption through the manipulation of money.
3. Thus, despite their sizes, these subgroups have managed to flood the media with false allegations that Iran is about to become a dangerous nuclear power. This replicates recent history when the same subgroups flooded the media with false allegations of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The result is a major skewing of American policy. How so? The vast majority of elected leaders do not reckon interest in national terms, nor in terms of the truth or falsehood of their lobby supporters’ claims. They calculate interest in terms of their own personal and party political needs. Those needs are (a) financial assets to run elections and (b) aligning themselves with the popular mood in ways that generate votes. The lobbies, or subgroups, have the money to manipulate both of those needs. They can help the politician finance his or her election, and they can run the advertisements that help shape public opinion and mood. Hence the policy formation follows the dictates of the lobbies.
4. The aim of the two subgroups in question is a new war in the Middle East. The target this time is Iran. Iran’s danger, as put forth by the lobbies, goes largely unquestioned by both the politicians and a bulk of the media despite the fact that there is a recent, horrific precedent in simply accepting this warmongering. That precedent is the recent war in Iraq. In that case, the crippling economic sanctions, followed by invasion, led to the death and maiming of millions. That this horror was carried forward on the basis of lies, is now assiduously ignored. That the same fate may well await Iran is actually presented as desirous.
It is to be kept in mind that if those who spread lies that result in slaughter and massive destruction are citizens of or protected by a superpower, no punishment will accrue. None of the major liars that brought us the Iraq war have been punished. One can hardly think of a more corrupt political situation.
Part III – Learning from Herr Goebbels
The lies of the neoconservatives and Zionists are part of an “MO” or modus operandi that is not original to them. Whether they do so purposely or coincidently, they are following the advice of the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. He tells us the following, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will usually come to believe it.” He goes on to say that simultaneously “it is vitally important for the state to use all its powers to repress…the truth…[which is] the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension the truth is the greatest enemy of the state.”
In the present case, the neoconservatives and Zionists first created false charges (Iran’s alleged desire for nuclear weapons and willingness to use them against the U.S. and Israel) and are now, with the cooperation of the mass media, repeating them over and over again as if they were true. They ignore (and pressure the media to ignore) all the evidence that says their charges are false. Thus, the scant press coverage given to the two comprehensive National Intelligence Reports, one in 2007 and a followup one in 2011, both of which concluded that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not revived it since. Simultaneously, they bring forward untrustworthy testimony of Iranian expatriates and known liars that support their claims (this does get media coverage). All the while urging greater and greater sanctions aimed at the systematic destruction of target country’s economy.
Part IV – The Political Carry Through
As suggested above, the structural flaws in the political system make the warmongering neocons and faceless Israeli agents in the guise of lobbyists one half of the equation. Our own politicians are the other half. In the American system, one of the legal factors that serves to connect the two haves of the equation is the Supreme Court 1976 decision (Buckley vs. Valeo) declaring one’s unfettered right to buy as much “free speech” as one has money. Thus both the politicians and the media venues know where they are going when, as they say, they follow the money. Last season the money demanded war talk focused on Iraq. This season it demands war talk focused on Iran. And, sure enough, that is what we get.
In December of 2011 both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed bills seeking to destroy the Iranian economy by crippling its oil trade and destroying the functionality of the country’s central bank. It is a testimony to the strength of the neoconservatives and Zionists that the votes were 410-11 in the House and 100-0 in the Senate.
This is obviously an on-going bi-partisan fiasco. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) declared his satisfaction with the Congressional votes by effortlessly parroting the party line, “Iran’s actions pose a danger to United States and the entire world.” It makes no difference if the Senator believes his own hyperbole. His actions lead to the increased suffering of ordinary Iranians.
Out on the campaign trail most of the Republican candidates for their party’s presidential nomination also parrot the same line:
1. Mitt Romney supports “crippling sanctions” against Iran. Because, he declares, “the greatest threat that Israel faces, and frankly the greatest threat the world faces, is a nuclear Iran.” Again, it makes no difference if Romney really believes this or is just playing for Zionist lobby money. He adds to the building war mania and gets in line for his share of responsibility for the sanctions that are undercutting the livelihoods of innocent people.
2. Newt Gingrich has publically committed himself to attacking Iran if such action can result in regime change. He is ready to “collaborate with the Israelis on a conventional campaign” against Iran.
3. Rick Santorum told the American public that if he were elected president “I would be saying to the Iranians, you either open those facilities, begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes.” Poor Rick, he seems unaware that international inspectors regularly visit the Iranian facilities. Poor the rest of us, if Rick becomes president!
Part V – Conclusion
There is a famous child’s idiom that goes “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Its message, whispered into the ears of millions of children, is just not true. Words are potential weapons. They not only can make us feel bad (and that hurts), they can also be used to motivate us to pick up the sticks and stones that break other’s bones. And, of course, we have long ago gone beyond sticks and stones.
Therefore it is with bloody irresponsibility that neoconservatives, Zionists, and a large array of American politicians blithely incite their fellows to war. Civilian life must mean very little to them, as little as truth itself. The former is readily reduced to splattered bits of flesh in the wake of attacks by drones, fighter jets, attack helicopters, cruise missiles, tanks, and machine guns, etc. and the latter is reduced to propagandistic incitement brought to you by a weaponized FOX TV.
So we and our leaders are myopic and greedy and our lobbyists savagely single-minded and this, in turn, finds license in a structurally flawed political system. Actually, being aware of all this offers no excuse at all. We have known about our faults for a very long time. James Madison was thoroughly versed in these problems and his attempt, through the Constitution, to safeguard against them was sincere and noble. But his results, despite later attempts to augment his work, have been mixed at best. And things will stay that way until we address our main need – we need to find a constitutionally safe way to protect ourselves from our own lies.
Source: The Opinion Maker
Currently there are five different House committees considering H.R. 1905, which seeks to impose sanctions on Iran in an attempt to disrupt Tehran’s nuclear program.
H.R. 1905 was introduced by one of Israel’s most ardent acolytes, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who also introduced a bill to cut off US funding to any UN organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood.
H.R.1905 will make sanctions more indiscriminate, make sending money to and from Iran more difficult and revoke the President’s humanitarian waiver for civilian aircraft parts and repairs for Iran. H.R. 1905 will also make war more likely by making it illegal for U.S. officials to engage their Iranian counterparts.
A supporter of indiscriminate sanctions, Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), said, “Critics [of the sanctions] argued that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.”
President Obama’s Administration suggested it will seek indiscriminate sanctions against Iran’s central bank—which will punish ordinary people in Iran and spike gas prices worldwide.
Central bank sanctions were implemented in the 1990s against Iraq but they failed to change or displace Saddam Hussein’s regime but contributed to the humanitarian suffering of innocent Iraqis.
A co-sponsor of H.R. 1905 is Tea Party incumbent Richard Nugent, who I am running against for US Representative in 2012, from Florida’s 5th District.
Last May while I was in his D.C. office I gifted Congressmen Nugent with a copy of BEYOND NUCLEAR:Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010 .
Nugent apparently never read and he is like most US politicians who persist to ignore the elephants in the world:
Israel’s Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Whistleblower
On March 17, 2011, CNN’s Piers Morgan interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and asked, “Do you have nuclear weapons?”
Netanyahu responded, “Well, we have a long-standing policy that we won’t be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East and that hasn’t changed. That’s our policy. Not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. 
Also on March 17, 2011, Prof. Uzi Even, a former top official at Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility-which is similar in technology to the reactors in Japan- said:
“The reactors were built about the same time, 40-50 years ago. In principle, the planning of the reactors is similar. The soft underbelly is the cooling system, which must be operated with great force, even after the reactor is turned out. If there is a breakdown in the cooling system, it will cause the core to collapse. That’s what happened at the Japanese reactors.
“While we don’t have tsunamis or such strong earthquakes, the chances of a breakdown in the cooling system, either by chance or deliberately, are very great. Our reactor is 50 years old, far older than what is permitted to operate in other countries. Another factor here, which is absent in Japan, is the possibility of deliberate sabotage of the reactor’s cooling system. We have enough crazies who wouldn’t hesitate to do it if they could.” 
In 1946, in response to the nuclear ‘crazies’ American historian and philosopher Lewis Mumford opined: “You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased…to obey the laws of life.”
On CNN last Monday, Pierce Morgan interviewed President Shimon Peres who said that he “wouldn’t suggest to start immediately with a military operation” as the first option to thwart Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb adding that Tehran’s support of terror was as much a global concern as the economic crisis and that the international community should engage in a “moral” attack on Iran, not a military one.
Peres called Iran “a spoiled country, it’s morally corrupt” and that he “would rather prefer to see tighter economic sanctions, closer political pressure and what is lacking very much is an attack in the moral sense.” 
In 1963, Shimon Peres was Israel’s Deputy Minister of Defense and he met with President John Kennedy at the White House.
Kennedy told Peres, “You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region. This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?”
Peres replied, “I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first.”
By September of 1986, Peres was convulsing over Mordechai Vanunu, who had been employed as a lowly tech in Peres’ progeny; Israel’s clandestine underground nuclear weapons center in the Negev called the Dimona.
Peres ordered the Mossad, to “Bring the son of a bitch back here.”
Vanunu’s kidnapping included a clubbing, drugging and being flung upon an Israeli cargo boat and shipped back to Israel for a closed-door trial. After 18 years in prison, over 7 years under 24/7 surveillance, 78 days in solitary confinement in 2010 because he spoke to foreign media in 2004 and multiple appeals seeking the right to leave the state, Vanunu remains captive in Tel Aviv waiting for the freedom to fade into the world instead of continuing to make headlines.
Within days of the announcement of 2009’s Nobel Peace Prize, Vanunu declined the honor he had received at least sixteen times before in a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo:
“I am asking the committee to remove my name from the nominations…I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Simon Peres…Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel…Peres was the man who ordered [my] kidnapping…he continues to oppose my freedom and release…WHAT I WANT IS FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM….FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW.”
Elephants and Prague:
“Vanunu told the world that Israel had developed between one hundred and two hundred atomic bombs [in 1986!] and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody has done anything about it since.”-Peter Hounam, 2003 for the BBC.
Israel’s warheads stand ready to be fired from the Negev desert and despite America’s war on Iraq to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, the US Government continues to give their political, economic and moral support to a country that has amassed undisputed and still uninspected weapons of mass destruction in the leaking dinosaur that is the Dimona Nuclear Facility.
President Peres has rejected the notion that Israel would act alone against Iran’s nuclear program stating, “I don’t think we have to feel alone in that respect. Israel will first of all see what the world is doing. We don’t want to jump alone, we are part of the civilization of the family of international responsible countries and we expect that leaders that make a promise will fulfill it.” [Ibid]
On April 5, 2009, President Obama promised from Prague:
“We are here today because enough people ignored the voices who told them that the world could not change. We’re here today because of the courage of those who stood up and took risks to say that freedom is a right for all people, no matter what side of a wall they live on, and no matter what they look like. We are here today because the simple and principled pursuit of liberty and opportunity shamed those who relied on the power of tanks and arms to put down the will of a people.
“Some argue that the spread of these weapons cannot be stopped, cannot be checked – that we are destined to live in a world where more nations and more people possess the ultimate tools of destruction. Such fatalism is a deadly adversary, for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.
“As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can.’
“There is violence and injustice in our world that must be confronted. We must confront it by standing together as free nations, as free people. I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. But that is why the voices for peace and progress must be raised together.
“Words must mean something [and] violence and injustice must be confronted by standing together as free nations, as free people…[and] Human destiny will be what we make of it.”
And morality calls for a free Vanunu, universal nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapons-free world.
- Piers Morgan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Full Transcript
- Nuclear scientist warns on Dimona plant
- Peres: World doesn’t need military assault on Iran nuclear program
For the past 35 years, Project Censored has published an annual collection of the top 25 censored news stories. In the 2012 book edition, just released this September, my article, Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails, ranks as the 9th most censored story in the United States.
Originally published at the Centre for Research on Globalization in July 2010, an updated version at COTO Report has seen over 13,000 page views as of this writing. The article is widely posted across the world in several English and non-English speaking countries, giving it far broader readership than we’ll ever know, but likely over a million.
Ironically, and as if to prove Project Censored’s point, after I posted a link last year to the Atmospheric Geoengineering piece on the “progressive” link site,buzzflash.com, I was banned, and all my contributions removed, though my links often made their front page.
The moderator known as lanismycousin told me, “We hate links to blog articles, stories are better served by linking to an actual reliable news source.” When asked for a list of acceptable news sources, s/he called me a “douche.”
Further emphasizing WP rejection, the reddit moderator known as luster called me “a wordpress blog spammer.”
WordPress sees over 30 million unique visitors a month and provides a button that drives traffic to reddit, which sees less than 2 million a month. The huge drop in views last month might have something to do with reddit’s new policy.
I wrote to reddit administrators about the issue, and included their “Submit a Link” icon which invites blog entries, but have received no response:
Not surprisingly, even today, Atmospheric Geoengineering continues to be marginalized. A recent hit piece by Rebecca Bowe described “several claims in this year’s list” as “stretching things a bit.” She disparaged my article and Project Censored for having “a fringe obsession with supposedly suspicious airplane contrails.”
“The reporter mischaracterized your story,” said Professor Mickey Huff, the director of the project. “We have told her and her publisher about it.”
Unbeholden to the corporate line, independent media has a different view of my work. Activist Post recently gave me an honorable mention in its Ten Most Influential People in Alternative Media.
No doubt, chemtrail deniers are more numerous than those who believe the official version of what happened on 9/11 (which Project Censored covers extensively, most recently in its 2011 edition). This is likely why the deeply-researched piece made it onto Project Censored’s Top Ten.
The Project has also been censored for reporting on 9/11 truth, as this KPFA interview from last year reveals. Inter Press Service contracted with Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff to write the piece, and then refused to publish it and permanently severed their relationship. Huff says the footnotes went on for two pages, though the piece was only a page and a half long.
A history professor at Diablo Valley College in Contra Costa County, California, Mickey Huff explains that the selection process for censored stories begins with public nominations.
A committee of college students from over 30 colleges around the world then reviews them for media coverage using a variety of databases including Lexis Nexis. If a story is under-represented, the students then fact check the article and consult with experts. After stories have been validated, a team of judges ranks their favorites and the results are calculated.
In addition to the top 25 censored stories for the year (April through March), the book covers several more topics related to media censorship and democracy. Here’s the Top Ten 2012 countdown:
#10 Statistical Games with the Unemployment Rate. At Information Clearing House, Greg Hunter showed that instead of 9%, the real unemployment rate is over 22%.
#9 Chemtrails. Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails, July 10, 2010.
#8 The Truth on Nuclear Power. The Union of Concerned Scientists published a report describing 14 near-miss nuclear accidents in 2010 in the US. (One is Fort Calhoun, which I covered here and here.) Other nuclear pieces mentioned in this category include Jeff Goodell’s “America’s Nuclear Nightmare” at Rolling Stone.
#7 U.S. Army and psychology’s largest experiment – ever. Horrified by war? Be positive! A series of APA articles describing and promoting a program of “psychological resilience” is confronted by Roy Eidelson, Marc Pilisuk and Stephen Soldz at Truthout.
#6 Google Spies for CIA, US Military. In January 2010, Eric Sommer wrote “Google’s Deep CIA Connections” for Pravda.ru.
#5 Prison Companies Fund Anti-Immigrant Legislation. Exposed in depth by Peter Cervantes-Gautschi at AlterNet, Wall Street is profiting from immigrant lock-ups.
#4 Wall Street Engineers Food Crisis. On March 24, 2011, David Moberg wrote “Diet Hard: With a Vengeance” for In These Times showing that speculating on food commodities, along with income inequality, cause hunger – not lack of production.
#3 Obama’s Extrajudicial Hit List. State sanctioned assassinations outside the scope of law is somehow okay by this dictator. This is an under-reported story later covered by Glenn Greenwald at Salon and William Fisher at IPS. Originally titled “Death by Drone: ‘CIA’s hitlist is murder’,” IPS later changed it to “Death by Remote: But Is It Legal?”
#2 Army of Fake Personas to Promote Propaganda. Two sites broke the story on Feb. 22, 2011: Darlene Storm at Computer World and Stephen Webster at Raw Story. In March, Guardian writers Nick Fielding and Ian Cobain covered it.
#1 US Soldier Suicides Exceed Combat Deaths in 2010. Cord Jefferson broke the story on Jan. 27, 2011 at Iceland’s Good Magazine.
If you like the work the Project is doing, they survive on book sales. You can buy Censored 2012: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2010-11 for $20 plus shipping and handling. Prior editions are also available.