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Srebrenica, Twenty Years Later

July 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

“Truth and reason are eternal,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to Rev. Samuel Knox in 1810. “They have prevailed. And they will eternally prevail…” Jefferson was wrong. As the current media pack coverage of the 20th anniversary of the “Srebrenica massacre” indicates, his belief that “error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it” was somewhat naive.

It is noteworthy that “Srebrenica” in the mainstream media discourse is no longer a geographic location that needs to be preceded by a noun (“the massacre in…”). It has been developed into a stand-alone term that denotes horror, on par with “Auschwitz,” “Katyn,” or “Hiroshima.” In reality, unlike those very real horrors, it is a postmodern myth based on a distortion of facts and their willful omission.

In a Jeffersonian paradigm, two decades later we would have a reasonable, factually based debate on what happened in and around Srebrenica in July 1995, how and why; but the very term “debate” is rejected by an elite class in the West that treats “Srebrenica” as a metaphysical concept. Its luminaries deny as a matter of principle that there is anything to debate. They claim that eight thousand prisoners were executed in cold blood and that a UN-established judicial forum of unquestioned authority has found it to constitute “genocide.”

As it happens, many authoritative and reasonable people with no ethnic, religious or personal axe to grind in the Balkan quagmire disagree. They have spoken and written as if a Jeffersonian debate existed, only to be dismissed as “genocide deniers.”

The fact beyond dispute is that during the Bosnian war thousands of Muslim men were killed in the region of Srebrenica. Most of them died in July of 1995 when the enclave fell almost without a fight to the Bosnian Serb Army and the Muslim garrison—the 28th division of the (Muslim) Bosnia-Herzegovina Army—attempted a breakthrough. A significant number reached safety at the Muslim-held town of Tuzla, 40 miles to the north; some found shelter in Serbia, across the Drina River to the east. An unknown were killed while fighting their way through; and many others—numbers remain disputed—were taken prisoner and executed by the Bosnian Serb army.

The numbers remain unknown and misrepresented. With “8,000 executed” and thousands more killed in the fighting while trying to reach the Muslim lines, the column attempting to break out should have counted 15,000 men—an impossibly large number. There should have been huge gravesites and satellite evidence of  executions, burials, and body removals. The UN searches in the Srebrenica vicinity, breathlessly frantic at times, still falls far short of the sanctified figure of 8,000. The Islamic shrine at Potocari, where the supposed victims are buried, includes those of soldiers killed in action and civilians who died of natural causes, Muslim and Serb, between May 1992 and July 1995.

The Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague (ICTY) never came up with a conclusive breakdown of casualties. That a war crime did take place is undeniable: many Muslim prisoners were killed. The number of actual victims remains forensically and demographically unproven. According to the former BBC reporter Jonathan Rooper, “from the outset the numbers were used and abused” for political purposes. The number of likely casualties from all causes corresponds closely to the ‘missing’ list of 7,300 compiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Rooper says.  But the early estimates were based on nothing more than the simple combination of an estimated 3,000 men last seen at the UN base at Potocari and an estimated 5,000 people reported “to have left the enclave before it fell,” Rooper says:

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the 7-8,000 figure is that it has always been represented as synonymous with the number of people executed.  This was never a possibility: numerous contemporary accounts noted that UN and other independent observers had witnessed fierce fighting with significant casualties on both sides. It was also known that others had fled to Muslim-held territory around Tuzla and Zepa, that some had made their way westwards and northwards, and that some had fled into Serbia.  It is therefore certain that nowhere near all the missing could have been executed.

The Red Cross reported at the time that some 3,000 Bosnian Army soldiers managed to reach Muslim lines near Tuzla and were redeployed by the Bosnian Army “without their families being informed.” The number of military survivors was also confirmed by Muslim General Enver Hadzihasanovic in his testimony at The Hague.

The last census results, from 1991, counted 37,211 inhabitants in Srebrenica and the surrounding villages, of which 27,118 were Muslims (72.8 percent) and 9,381 Serbs (25.2 percent). Displaced persons from Srebrenica registered with the World Health Organization and Bosnian government in early August 1995 totaled 35,632. With 3,000 Muslim men who reached Tuzla “without their families being informed” we come to the figure of over 38,000 survivors. The Hague Tribunal’s own estimates of the total population of the Srebrenica enclave before July 1995—notably that made by Judge Patricia Wald—give 40,000 as the maximum figure. It simply does not add up to support the sanctified figure of “8,000.”.

Having spent five days interviewing over 20,000 Srebrenica survivors at Tuzla a week after the fall of the enclave, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Henry Wieland declared urbi et orbi, “we have not found anyone who saw with their own eyes an atrocity taking place.” A decade later a Dutch field investigator, Dr Dick Schoonoord, confirmed Wieland’s verdict: “It has been impossible during our investigations in Bosnia to find any people who witnessed the mass murder or would talk about the fate of the missing men.”

A “PROTECTED ZONE”?—It is often pointed out that Srebrenica was an UN “protected zone,” but it is seldom noted that the enclave was simultaneously an armed camp used for attacks against Serb villages in the surrounding areas. Muslim General Sefer Halilovic confirmed in his testimony at the Hague Tribunal that there were at least 5,500 Bosnian Muslim Army soldiers in Srebrenica after it had obtained the “safe haven” status, and that he had personally arranged numerous deliveries of sophisticated weapons by helicopter.

French General Philippe Morillon, the UNPROFOR commander who first called international attention to the Srebrenica enclave, was adamant that the crimes committed by those Muslim soldiers made the Serbs’ desire for revenge inevitable. He testified at The Hague Tribunal on February 12, 2004, that the Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.” Asked by the ICTY prosecutor how Oric treated his Serb prisoners, General Morillon, who knew him well, replied that “Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself… he didn’t even look for an excuse… One can’t be bothered with prisoners.”

Cees Wiebes, who wrote the intelligence section of the Dutch Government report on Srebrenica, has noted that despite signing the demilitarization agreement, Bosnian Muslim forces in Srebrenica were heavily armed and engaged in provocations (“sabotage operations”) against Serbian forces. Professor Wiebes caused a storm with his book Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992-1995, detailing the role of the Clinton administration in allowing Iran to arm the Bosnian Muslims.

On 11 July, 1995, the Muslim garrison was ordered to evacuate the town which the Serbs entered unopposed. Local Deputy Director of UN Monitors, Carlos Martins Branco, wrote in 2004  a hugely important study based on his experiences and additional documents (“Was Srebrenica a Hoax?”). Branco asserts that Muslim forces did not even try to take advantage of their heavy artillery because “military resistance would jeopardize the image of ‘victim,’ which had been so carefully constructed, and which the Muslims considered vital to maintain.” His findings have been ignored by the mainstream media and the Western political class.

POLITICAL BACKGROUND—Two prominent local supporters of the late Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic, his Srebrenica SDA party chairman Ibran Mustafic and police commander Hakija Meholjic, have subsequently accused Izetbegovic of deliberately sacrificing the enclave in order to trigger NATO intervention. Meholjic is explicit: in his presence, Izetbegovic quoted President Bill Clinton as saying that 5,000 dead Muslims would be sufficient to provide the political basis for an American-led intervention on the side of the Muslims.

Testifying at The Hague Tribunal, Muslim Generals Halilovic and Hadzihasanovic confirmed this theory by describing how 18 top officers of the Srebrenica garrison were abruptly removed in May 1995. Ibran Mustafic, the former head of the Muslim SDA party in Srebrenica, is adamant that the scenario for the sacrifice of Srebrenica was carefully prepared:

Unfortunately, the Bosnian presidency and the Army command were involved in this business … Had I received orders to attack the Serb army from the demilitarized zone, I would have rejected to carry out that order. I would have asked the person who had issued that order to bring his family to Srebrenica, so that I can give him a gun let him stage attacks from the demilitarized zone. I knew that such shameful, calculated moves were leading my people to catastrophe. The order came from Sarajevo.

Military analyst Tim Ripley agrees that Srebrenica was deliberately sacrificed by the Muslim political leaders for more lucrative purposes. He noted that Dutch UN soldiers “saw Bosnian troops escaping from Srebrenica past their observation points, carrying brand new anti-tank weapons [which] made many UN officers and international journalists suspicious.”

The term “genocide” is even more contentious than the exact circumstances of Srebrenica’s fall. Local chief of UN Monitors, Carlos Martins Branco, noted that if there had been a premeditated plan of genocide, instead of attacking in only one direction, from the south to the north—which left open escape routes to the north and west, the Serbs would have established a siege in order to ensure that no one escaped:

The UN observation posts to the north of the enclave were never disturbed and remained in activity after the end of the military operations. There are obviously mass graves in the outskirts of Srebrenica as in the rest of ex-Yugoslavia where combat has occurred, but there are no grounds for the campaign which was mounted, nor the numbers advanced by CNN. The mass graves are filled by a limited number of corpses from both sides, the consequence of heated battle and combat and not the result of a premeditated plan of genocide, as occurred against the Serbian populations in Krajina, in the Summer of 1995, when the Croatian army implemented the mass murder of all Serbians found there.

The fact that The Hague Tribunal called the massacre in Srebrenica “genocide” does not make it so. How can a “genocide” happen within a single municipality? What plan for genocide includes offering safe passage to women and children? And if this was all part of a Serb plot to eliminate Muslims, what about hundreds of thousands of Muslims living peacefully in Serbia itself, including thousands of refugees who fled there from Srebrenica and other parts of Bosnia? Or the Muslims in the neighboring enclave of Žepa, who were unharmed when the Serbs captured that town a few days after capturing Srebrenica?

To get around these common sense obstacles, the ICTY prosecution came up with a sociologist who provided an “expert” opinion: the Srebrenica Muslims lived in a patriarchal society, therefore killing the men was enough to ensure that the widows would not remarry and there would be no more young Muslims in Srebrenica. Such psychobabble turns the term “genocide” into a gruesome joke. Yet it was on the basis of this definition that in August 2001, the Tribunal found Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic guilty of “complicity in genocide.”

Even if the unproven figure of “8,000” is assumed, it affected less than one-half of one percent of Bosnia’s Muslim population in a locality covering one percent of its territory. On such form, the term “genocide” loses all meaning and becomes a propaganda tool rather than a legal and historical concept. On that form, America’s NATO ally Turkey – a major regional player in today’s Balkans – committed genocide in northern Cyprus in 1974. On that form, no military conflict can be genocide-free.

As Diana Johnstone explained in a seminal article a decade ago,  the ‘Srebrenica massacre’ is part of a dominant culture discourse that is highly relevant to a host of U.S.-led or supported interventions in the Greater Middle East:

We people in the advanced democracies have reached a new moral plateau, from which we are both able and have a duty both to judge others and to impose our ‘values’ when necessary. The others, on a lower moral plateau, must be watched carefully, because unlike us, they may commit ‘genocide.’ … The subliminal message in the official Srebrenica discourse is that because ‘we’ let that happen, ‘we’ mustn’t let ‘it’ happen again, ergo, the U.S. should preventively bomb potential perpetrators of ‘genocide’.

The accepted Srebrenica story, influenced by war propaganda and uncritical media reports, is neither historically correct nor morally satisfying. The relentless 1990’s Western campaign against the Serbs and in favor of their Muslim foes—which is what “Srebrenica” is really all about—is detrimental to the survival of our culture and civilization. It seeks to give further credence to the myth of Muslim blameless victimhood, Christian “Islamophobic” viciousness, and alleged Western indifference. The myth is calculated to weaken our resolve in the global struggle once euphemistically known as “war on terrorism.” The former is a crime; the latter, a mistake.


Mike Whitney is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Russia Vetoes “Genocide”

July 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

I love Russia’s vetoes. Sparse, strong, hard hits, they mark the limits of the Empire’s power. They said “No”, and Zimbabwe remained at peace, its old maverick Robert Mugabe still alive and kicking and proposing Obama his hand in marriage. They said “No”, and Burma could grow at its own pace. They said “No”, and Syria… well, Syria still suffers immensely, but it was not destroyed by the Sixth Fleet. All US vetoes are similar, – usually for Israel; Russia’s vetoes are fewer and evenly spread. The recent Russian veto (last week) stopped misuse of this terrible cliché “genocide”, and this is a good thing. It would be good to ban this word altogether.

‘Genocide’ is a nasty invention. Just think of it: mankind lived for thousands of years, through raids of Genghis Khan and Crusades, through extermination of Native Americans, slave trade and WWI, happily butchering each other in millions, without being encumbered by the G word. This term was invented (or updated from Jewish traditional thought) by a Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer, in the wake of Holocaust, in order to stress the difference between murdering Jews and killing lesser breeds. The word is quite meaningless otherwise.

The best flower of Europe, a million of the youngest and brightest were killed at Verdun – sad, but that’s not G. Young and old, women and men were incinerated in millions in the fiery furnaces of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima – sorry, old chum, that’s not G. Millions starved to death in the brutal siege of Leningrad – well, you understand by now, that’s not G. It goes without saying that killing of five million Vietnamese or a million Iraqis were just “war is hell” business as usual.

In Israel, killing of five Jews by Palestinians has been qualified as G: the poor soldiers were murdered just because they were Jews. But killing of Palestinians by Jews is collateral damage. They were in the wrong place, in the wrong time, bad luck!

If so, why should one bother with G? This term was, and is a chosen weapon of war propaganda. Not surprisingly, Lemkin was a Cold War warrior, and he accused the USSR of multiple genocides: by providing Russian language education to natives of the Baltic states or by serving alcohol in a Muslim republic. No American misdeed would amount to G according to Lemkin, and according to the US reading of the G Convention, unless in an unlikely case of the US agreeing that it is guilty. European states say the US is not a participant to the G convention, for its many caveats amount to non-participation. However, the US speaks of G more often than most participants, usually in order to justify its intervention. The Big G became a mighty stick to unseat rulers and undermine regimes.

The G word is likely to cause more bloodshed, for a sad, rarely stated reason. If a victim of the crime is a nation, a tribe or an ethnic group, so is the criminal. Germans killed Jews, Turks killed Armenians, Hutu killed Tutsi etc. The moment you recognise G, you encourage the G of revenge. As the Jews considered themselves being the victims of G (this is an idea deeply ingrained in the Jewish tradition, though quite foreign to Christian thought) they tried to take revenge by poisoningmillions of Germans. (They failed but never apologised).

Armenians provide another example of people seriously disturbed by G politics. Lemkin used the 1915 atrocities to dissimulate the purely Jewish idea of G, and the Armenians eventually embraced it. As the idea of G took its place in the law of the nations, the Armenian fighters began to seek and extract revenge from Turks – after fifty years at peace. G propaganda produced a terrible fruit in 1990-1992, when tens of thousands of Azeri (deemed “Turks” by their Armenian neighbours) were massacred and exiled “in revenge for the 1915 G”. A new generation of Armenians was poisoned by victimhood and revenge feelings, thanks to Lemkin and his followers.

A Genocide is not about past. It is about future. Innocent people will die, and die, and die, whenever this term is applied. Without the term, the Lethe will cover all. A good example is provided by Greeks. They suffered probably more than Armenians during the WWI, but as nobody applied the term G to “their” atrocities, they are not obsessed with revenge and live rather peaceably with their Turkish neighbours.

In Africa the concept of G was applied most vigorously by the Western neo-colonisers. You will not be surprised that no Westerner has ever been tried for G despite impressive results. Millions of chopped off hands and heads, but like in Raymond Chandler’s LA, “only darkies are tried.” Now Africa prepares to leave the ICC, the main dealer of the G politics. “Despite having received almost 9,000 formal complaints about alleged war crimes in at least 139 countries, the ICC has chosen to indict 36 black Africans in eight African countries.” – wrote David Hoille, a leading international lawyer.

No less authority than Christopher Black, the eminent international lawyer, proved beyond a shade of doubt that the familiar story of Ruanda genocide of Tutsi by Hutu was not only false, but had led to terrible revenge massacres of Hutu by Tutsi. And this story was utilised by Samantha Power and the interventionists of her ilk to bomb all over the world.

It is good that the nasty concept of genocide took a hit from the Russian veto. And now we can consider the particular case of Srebrenica.

The last thing I want and shall do it to tire you, my reader, with tedious Balkan stories of who slaughtered whom and where. If you want to know the gruesome details, read Diana Johnstone. I am sure they all tried their beastly best.

There is no reason to single out one party – that is, no good reason. The Yugoslav war, the war fought by Clinton against the Serbs, was a large social experiment: how do you sow discord among brothers (Proverbs, 6) and turn a multi-ethnic state into a warren of quarrelling communities. The result was satisfactory, for Clintons. The biggest US military base in Europe came into existence. A wealthy independent socialist state was broken into many miserable statelets; all of them applied for a place in the EU; Russia has lost its potential foothold on the Balkans.

The politics of genocide were played to its utmost extent in the Balkans, deligitimising one of the sides in the internal conflict. The Slavs were subjected to an international tribunal of total dishonesty and bias. Their leaders died in jail. No accusation of real genocide has ever been proven, but the West’s right to judge and decide has been affirmed.

There was a nice extra profit. The West asserted that its will for justice is stronger than its religious solidarity with Christians, right? Now every Muslim should remember that the West will side with Muslims, if they are persecuted, right? Wrong. The Eastern Orthodox Christians (such as Serbs, Russians, Bulgarians, Greeks) do not belong to the Western civilisation. They are as foreign to the Westerners as the Muslims are. Indeed, when the Crusaders fought for the Holy Land, they killed the local Christians, too, saying: “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” So there was no hindrance to side with Muslims against Christians as long as they are Eastern Christians, but by sleigh of hand, the Muslims could be tricked into believing in the Western objectivity.

This feature has been used now. The vetoed draft was a clever and mischievous trap. Such drafts rarely get to the stage of a vote, as the powers (P5, the Big Five, or Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, choose the name) usually do not use the unique power of UNSC resolutions for propaganda purposes. Otherwise, they could vex the US with drafts calling for Gaza freedom. Being prudent, P5 avoid such brownie points. Now they did it, anyway. The result was predictable: Russia could not let the Christian Serbs being singled out in the “You are the Villain” competition. This Russian veto has been presented as “Russia is the enemy of Islam”, with the explicit intention to send the Daesh beasts down the Russian trail and undermine internal Russian cohesiveness.

Russia is not an enemy of Islam. Muslim steppe riders were the co-founders of Russia, together with Viking warriors, Slav ploughmen, Finn forest dwellers. The Muslim Kazan gave its title to the Russian crown. Tatars and Kazakhs are the mainstay of Russia. Russians proved themselves as benevolent rulers, good advisers, reliable friends to Muslims of Central Asia and Caucasus. They had build schools, educated native engineers, modernised these countries.

However, Russia considers its duty to protect the Eastern Christians. In a way, they inherited this responsibility from the Byzantines. For this reason Russia heavily invested in the Holy Land and in Greece, liberated Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia from the Turkish yoke.

In the terms of realpolitik, this policy has been extremely disappointing. Almost all the “liberated Eastern Christian” states eventually sided with Russia’s enemies, while the once-conquered Muslim states remained loyal to Moscow. Muslim Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and once-rebellious Chechnya are friends of Russians; so are Turkey and Iran.

The veto in the UNSC was supposed to protect Serbia from Western pressure, not to poke the Muslims. Remember that during the war, Russia was too weak to interfere and save Yugoslavia. Now Russia made its amends for 1999.

Hopefully, the Muslims will understand the Russian point. After all, the Turks and Azeris understood the Russian position on Armenia. In the recent commemoration of 1915 in Yerevan, Armenia, Putin was the only important guest – his French counterpart M Hollande made a brief appearance and flew away to Baku (to “Azeri Turks”, in Armenian parlance). Putin went there soon after an important and fruitful visit to Turkey, after an agreement with Erdogan. Visit to Armenia jeopardised this achievement, but Putin still did not shrink from the trip. Armenia for Russia is like Israel for the US. There is a very important Armenian diaspora in Russia, and the neighbours accept this reality like Israeli Arab neighbours accept the reality and inevitability of American support for Israel.

The Armenians and the Azeri soldiers marched together, one after another, on the Red Square on May 9 this year, approving the Russian position of the mediator and protector in the area. Perhaps it is a liability for Russia, but nobody promised them a rose garden.

ative of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine, he studied at the prestigious School of the Academy of Sciences, and read Math and Law at Novosibirsk University. In 1969, he moved to Israel, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war.

After his military service he resumed his study of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but abandoned the legal profession in pursuit of a career as a journalist and writer. He got his first taste of journalism with Israel Radio, and later went freelance. His varied assignments included covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last stages of the war in South East Asia.

In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London. In 1977-79 he wrote for the Israeli daily Maariv and other papers from Japan. While in Tokyo, he wrote Travels with My Son, his first book, and translated a number of Japanese classics.

Email at: info@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Cold War 2.0

April 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In last month’s Anti-Empire Report I brought you the latest adventure of US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki trying to defend the indefensible. She said then: “As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means,” which prompted me to inform my readers: “If you know how to contact Ms. Psaki, tell her to have a look at my list of more than 50 governments the United States has attempted to overthrow since the end of the Second World War.”

On March 13 her regular attack on all things Russian included this exchange with Associated Presswriter Matthew Lee:

Lee: On this issue, did you get any more about this request to the Vietnamese on Cam Ranh Bay and not allowing the Russians to – and not wanting them to allow – you not wanting them to refuel Russian planes there?

Psaki: Well, just to be clear – and maybe I wasn’t as clear yesterday, so let me try to do this again – it’s – our concern is about activities they might conduct in the region, and the question is: Why are they in the region? It’s not about specifically refueling or telling the Vietnamese not to allow them to refuel. [emphasis added]

Lee: So there hasn’t been a request to stop refueling them, or there has?

Psaki: It’s more about concerns. It’s not as much about Vietnam as much as it – as it is about concerns about what activities they would be in the region for.

Lee: Okay. Well, you – I mean, there are U.S. planes flying over there all the time.

Psaki: Sure, there are.

Lee: So you don’t want Russian planes flying there, but it’s okay for U.S. planes to fly there? I mean, I just – it gets to the point where you – the suggestion is that everything the Russians are doing all the time everywhere is somehow nefarious and designed to provoke. But you can’t – but you don’t seem to be able to understand or accept that American planes flying all over the place, including in that area, is annoying to the Chinese, for one, but also for the Russians. But the suggestion is always that the American flights are good and beneficial and don’t cause tension, and that other people’s flights do cause tension. So can you explain what the basis is for your concern that the Russian flights there in the Southeast Asia area are – raise tensions?

Psaki: There just aren’t more details I can go into.

Cold War 2.0, part II

On Saturday, the Obama administration released a series of satellite images that it said showed the Russian army had joined the rebels in a full-scale assault to surround troops in the area around the city. Russia has denied that it is a party to the conflict, and it was impossible to verify the three grainy black-and-white satellite images posted to Twitter by the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.
According to the United States, the images, commissioned from the private Digital Globe satellite company, showed artillery systems and multiple-rocket launchers Thursday in the area near Debaltseve.
“We are confident these are Russian military, not separatist, systems,” Pyatt tweeted. (Washington Post, February 15, 2015)

When the time comes to list the ways in which the United States gradually sunk into the quicksand, slowly metamorphosing into a Third-World state, Washington’s campaign of 2014-15 to convince the world that Russia had repeatedly invaded Ukraine will deserve to be near the top of the list. Numerous examples like the above can be given. If I were still the jingoistic nationalist I was raised to be I think I would feel somewhat embarrassed now by the blatant obviousness of it all.

For a short visual history of the decline and fall of the American Empire, see the video “Imperial Decay” by Class War Films (8:50 minutes).

During Cold War 1.0 the American media loved to poke fun at the Soviet media for failing to match the glorious standards of the Western press. One of the most common putdowns was about the two main Russian newspapers – Pravda (meaning “truth” in Russian) and Izvestia (meaning “news”). We were told, endlessly, that there was “no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.”

As cynical as I’ve been for years about the American mainstream media’s treatment of ODE (Officially Designated Enemies), current news coverage of Russia exceeds my worst expectations. I’m astonished every day at the obvious disregard of any kind of objectivity or fairness concerning Russia. Perhaps the most important example of this bias is the failure to remind their audience that the US and NATO have surrounded Russia – with Washington’s coup in Ukraine as the latest example – and that Moscow, for some odd reason, feels threatened by this. (Look for the map online of NATO bases and Russia, with a caption like: “Why did you place your country in the middle of our bases?”)

Cold War 2.0, part III

Following the murder of Russian opposition leader, and former Deputy Prime Minister, Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on February 27, the West had a field day. Ranging from strong innuendo to outright accusation of murder, the Western media and politicians did not miss an opportunity to treat Vladimir Putin as a football practice dummy.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging an international investigation into Nemtsov’s death and suggested that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Council, and the United Nations could play a role in the probe.

US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham introduced a Senate Resolution condemning the Nemtsov murder. The Resolution also called on President Obama and the international community to pursue an independent investigation into the murder and redouble efforts to advance free speech, human rights, and the rule of law in Russia. In addition, it urged Obama to continue to sanction human rights violators in the Russian Federation and to increase US support to human rights activists in Russia.

So it went … all over the West.

Meanwhile, in the same time period in Ukraine, outside of the pro-Russian area in the southeast, the following was reported:

  • January 29: Former Chairman of the local government of the Kharkov region, Alexey Kolesnik, hanged himself.
  • February 24: Stanislav Melnik, a member of the opposition party (Partia Regionov), shot himself.
  • February 25: The Mayor of Melitopol, Sergey Valter, hanged himself a few hours before his trial.
  • February 26: Alexander Bordiuga, deputy director of the Melitopol police, was found dead in his garage.
  • February 26: Alexander Peklushenko, former member of the Ukrainian parliament, and former mayor of Zaporizhi, was found shot to death.
  • February 28: Mikhail Chechetov, former member of parliament, member of the opposition party (Partia Regionov), “fell” from the window of his 17th floor apartment in Kiev.
  • March 14: The 32-year-old prosecutor in Odessa, Sergey Melnichuk, “fell” to his death from the 9th floor.

The Partia Regionov directly accused the Ukrainian government in the deaths of their party members and appealed to the West to react to these events. “We appeal to the European Union, PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe], and European and international human rights organizations to immediately react to the situation in Ukraine, and give a legal assessment of the criminal actions of the Ukrainian government, which cynically murders its political opponents.”

We cannot conclude from the above that the Ukrainian government was responsible for all, or even any, of these deaths. But neither can we conclude that the Russian government was responsible for the death of Boris Nemtsov, the American media and politicians notwithstanding. A search of the mammoth Nexus news database found no mention of any of the Ukrainian deceased except for the last one above, Sergey Melnichuk, but this clearly is not the same person. It thus appears that none of the deaths on the above list was ascribed to the Western-allied Ukrainian government.

Where are the demands for international investigations of any of the deaths? In the United States or in Europe? Where is Senator McCain?

Torture via sanctions

Discussions on constraining Iran’s nuclear program have been going on for well over a year between Iran and the P5+1 (the five nuclear powers of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), led by the United States. Throughout this period a significant stumbling block to reaching an agreement has been the pronouncements of Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA is the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, and its inspections are considered a key safeguard against countries using civilian nuclear energy technology to produce weapons. Amano has consistently accused Iran of failing to reply fully and substantially to queries about “possible military dimensions” of present and past nuclear activities, or failing to provide sufficient access to nuclear facilities.

Failure by Iran to comply fully with IAEA demands undermine Tehran’s efforts to win the lifting of crippling UN, US and other sanctions, which currently prohibit foreign companies from doing business with Iran and deny access to the global financial system. Media coverage of the negotiations regularly emphasize Amano’s claims of Iran’s insufficient responses to IAEA’s demands. It is thus worth inquiring just who is this man Amano.

In 2009 Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano became the head of the IAEA. What the Western media routinely fail to remind its audience is that a US embassy cable of October 2009 (released by Wikileaks in 2010) said Amano “took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded the [American] ambassador on several occasions that … he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Even if Iran makes a superior effort to satisfy IAEA and Washington’s demands on all issues, it would remain questionable to what extent and how rapidly the sanctions would be removed, particularly under a Republican-controlled Congress. Iran specialist and author Gareth Porter recently wrote that “the United States and its allies have made no effort to hide the fact that they intend to maintain the ‘sanctions architecture’ in place for many years after the implementation of the agreement has begun. Last November, administration officials explained that US sanctions would only be removed after the International Atomic Energy Agency had verified that ‘Tehran is abiding by the terms of a deal over an extended period of time’ in order to ‘maintain leverage on Iran to honour the accord’.”

To appreciate the extraordinary degree of pressure and extortion the United States can impose upon another country we should consider the case of Libya in the decade-plus following the destruction of PanAm Flight 103 in 1988 over Scotland. To force Libya to “accept responsibility” for the crime, Washington imposed heavy sanctions on the Gaddafi regime, including a ban on international flights to Libya and payment of billions of dollars to the families of the victims. Libya eventually did “accept responsibility” for the crime, although it was innocent. As difficult as this may be to believe, it’s true. Read my account of it here.

Even after Libya accepted responsibility it still took years for the US to wipe out the sanctions, and it’s not clear that at the time of Gaddafi’s death in 2011 all of them had been removed. Once a nation becomes an Officially Designated Enemy of the empire the methods of torture can be exquisite and endless. Cuba is presently negotiating the end of US sanctions against Havana. They will need to be extremely careful.

“Like others of his ilk – such as David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens – he learned too much in college and too little since.” Sam Smith

I’ve never been too impressed by what college a person went to, or even if they attended college at all. Gore Vidal did not attend any college; neither did H. L. Mencken; nor did Edward Snowden, who has demonstrated a highly articulate and educated mind. Among the many other notables who skipped a college education are George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Then we have graduates from Ivy League colleges like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Tom Cotton. I don’t have to present the case for Bush’s less-than educated mind; we’re all only too familiar with its beauty. But Obama has matched Georgie Boy for stupidity and inanity time and time again. My favorite, which he’s used on at least five occasions, is his reply to questions about why his administration has not prosecuted Bush, Cheney, et al for torture and other war crimes: “I prefer to look forward rather than backwards”. Picture a defendant before a judge asking to be found innocent on such grounds. It simply makes laws, law enforcement, crime, justice, and facts irrelevant. Picture Chelsea Manning and other whistle blowers using this argument. Picture the reaction to this by Barack Obama, who has become the leading persecutor of whistleblowers in American history.

Is there anyone left who still thinks that Barack Obama is some kind of improvement intellectually over George W. Bush? Probably two types still think so: (1) Those to whom color matters a lot; (2) Those who are very impressed by the ability to put together grammatically correct sentences.

And now we have Mr. Cotton, Senator from Arkansas and graduate of Harvard undergraduate and law schools. He’ll be entertaining us for years to come with gems like his remark on “Face the Nation” (March 15): “Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran and, increasingly, they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad. And now, Sana’a as well.”

Heavens, Iran controls Tehran! Who knew? Next thing we’ll hear is that Russia controls Moscow! Sarah Palin, move over. Our boy Cotton is ready for Saturday Night Live.

Notes

  1. Washington Post, February 15, 2015, “Amid doubts, truce in Ukraine appears to take hold
  2. RT, March 12, 2015, “EU lawmakers demand international investigation into Nemtsov’s death
  3. John McCain website, Press Release, “Senators John Mccain And Lindsey Graham Introduce Resolution Condemning Murder Of Russian Opposition Leader Boris Nemtsov
  4. Research for this section was done by a person who was raised in the Soviet Union and now lives in the United States.
  5. Middle East Eye, March 27, 2015, “Sanctions and the fate of the nuclear talks


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Visas, Terrorists, And A New Book

March 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Andrew Kreig’s book reviews are always to the point and chock full of carefully honed points bolstered with facts. You can count of this when reading his work because his training is both in law, he is a licensed attorney in Washington D.C., and journalism. Andrew takes up subjects many won’t touch.

This being the case I ordered my copy of, “Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World — An Insider’s View,” by J. Michael Springmann, former State Department foreign service officer immediately.

If Andrew says a book is going to be shocking and timely, and make a, “credible circumstantial case that ties the U.S. training of Islamic radicals to our nation’s major foreign policy disasters in the Mideast during the past quarter century,” it is a book to read, given how many emails on the subject are coming through my Inbox on the subject.

Andrew’s review provided direct quotes from author Springmann, former chief of the visa section of the U.S. Consulate located in Saudi Arabia, who last week launched his book tour at the prestigious National Press Club in D.C.

Springmann said, ““It’s past time to expose murder, war crimes and human rights violations by the United States of American and its ‘intelligence’ services.” Continuing, Springman, said claiming “national security,” as a justification was dubious.

These claims have been made by both the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency (NSA). Springmann said these agencies were responsible for coups and destabilization acts around the world, “most notably,” in the middle east.

Springmann says governments were overthrown, assassinations carried out and ordinary citizens murdered on their orders. This chain of events began, he continued, with the Carter Administration. These acts took place, Springmann says, with the knowledge of the president of the United States and the executive branch but also our two other branches of government,“from Libya to Iran.”

Springmann knows because he personally saw “illegal visas issues to large numbers of U.S.-backed Islamic fundamentalists transiting through Jeddah from multiple Islamic nations so they could visit the United States for secret purposes.” Covert training took place at a CIA facility in Williamsburg, Virginia for “vagabond Islamic mercenaries, revolutionists and jihadists — an “Arab-Afghan Legion” — who could be unleashed on America’s enemies.”

Blowback was not taken into account but deniability was ensured. Today, when war has become continuous, this is a book you need to read.


Melinda Pillsbury-Foster will soon begin her new weekly radio program on Surviving Meltdown. The program examines how government can be brought into alignment with the spiritual goal of decentralizing power and localizing control and links also to America Goes Home americagoeshome.org, a site dedicated to providing information and resources.

She is also the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father and grandfather.

Her blog is at: http://howtheneoconsstolefreedom.blogspot.com/ She is the founder of the Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation. She is the mother of five children and three grandchildren.

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

My Own Personal List of Lies War Street Has Told Us

February 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Author’s note:  “War Street” is the simplified name that I’ve given to the war-mongers, weapons manufacturers and military-industrial complex members who pretty much own America right now — along with their buddies on Wall Street and K Street of course.

This is my own personal list.  Feel free to jump right in with a list of your own.

1.   That the Civil War was fought to free the slaves.  Nah, that was solely an afterthought.  The real reason for the Civil War was the lust for $$$$ and power.  Like war always is for.

2.  That holding the Union together back in 1860 was a good thing.  A good thing for who?  Dontcha sometimes just wish that The South had been allowed to go on its own merry way back then — so that we now don’t have to waste billions of Yankee dollars on Red State racists, corrupt senators, war-mongers and welfare queens?  Boy, I could surely live without Mitch McConnell.  He’s our ultimate grand prize for The North having won the 1860 Civil War?  Really?

3.  “Remember the Maine!”  Yeah right.  Apparently the sinking of the Maine was a false-flag operation to force Americans into a brutal war with Spain.  http://zinnedproject.org/about/a-peoples-history-a-peoples-pedagogy/

4.  The 1908 invasion of the Philippines — wherein approximately one-sixth of its population was massacred by the US Army in the name of bringing “Democracy” to Filipinos.  They could have lived without that one — literally.

5.  World War I?  Really?  Do you even have to ask why this war was based on lies — such as that the Huns were out to murder our babies?  Or that the Lusitania was torpedoed by the evil Kaiser when actually it was illegally carrying six million pounds of explosives on board a munitions transport ship disguised at a cruise liner before it blew up.  Or how about the famous “Zimmerman Telegram” lie?

6.  Pearl Harbor.  Roosevelt knew.  Of course he did.  And Senator Prescott Bush invested in Nazi Germany bigtime.  And after WW II was over, our very own CIA brought 1,000 Nazi officers over here to help J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles and Joe McCarthy organize their new Cold War storm-troopers.  And today “Corporatism,” as Mussolini called it, is now king in the USA — and all over the rest of world too.  Unbelievable.  Was there any reason at all why we fought World War II?  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/us/in-cold-war-us-spy-agencies-used-1000-nazis.html?_r=1

7.  The invasion of Korea.  Again, that phony “Democracy” thing came into play — as it has again and again and again as Wall Street and War Street set up dictator after dictator across the globe and then whitewashed these brutal bad guys to the gullible American public back home:

7.a  Chaing Kai-shek, “Our democratic ally in Asia”

7.b  The Shah of Iran, “Our democratic ally in the Middle East.”

7.c  Fulgencio Batista, “Our democratic ally in Cuba.”

7.d  Apartheid South Africa, “Our democratic ally in Africa.”

7.d  Francisco Franco, “Our democratic ally in Spain.”

7.e   Syngman Rhee, “Our democratic ally in South Korea.”

7.f.  Papa Doc Duvalier, “Our democratic ally in Haiti.”

7.g  Augusto Pinochet, “Our democratic ally in Chile.”

7.h  Manuel Noriega, “Our democratic ally in Panama.”

7.i  Mubarak and Sisi, “Our democratic allies in Egypt.”  http://www.amec.org.za/articles-presentations/135-egypt/484-sisi-s-unenviable-dilemma-the-illusion-of-stability-and-the-perpetuation-of-unrest

7.i  King Salman al Saud, “Our democratic ally in Saudi Arabia.”  http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/01/23/Canada-Saudi-Arabia-Weapons-Deal/

Although I must admit that the new Saudi king now appears to be actually lightening up and coming to his senses a bit — not an easy task for someone who allegedly has Alzheimers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-hearst/a-saudi-palace-coup_b_6531246.html

However, Saudi Arabia still has a “Democratic” track record that would impress even Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.  In Saudi Arabia today, for example, the government holds a public beheading on the average of once every four days.  No wonder that their ISIS protegees are handy with swords.  But don’t even get me started on the Saudis! http://www.iacenter.org/nafricamideast/oil012915/

There are approximately 50 other “Democratic ally” dictators that I could list here too but am running out of space.  I don’t wanna be doing this forever you know.

8.  The Kennedy assassination.  Do you really believe that one lone gunman could have gotten through all that security without any help, or could have made that incredible kill shot with a BB gun from behind Kennedy and very far away — and yet still manage to hit the front of Kennedy’s head?  Then I have a bridge to sell you.  Lee Harvey Oswald was definitely not Chris Kyle.  He was a patsy.

9.  Vietnam!  The Gulf of Tonkin incident was made-up baloney.

10.  Remember all those lies we were told by that “low-life scum” Henry Kissinger during his vicious secret bombings of Cambodian rice paddies in 1969, wherein approximately 600,000 poor Cambodian farmers were massacred from the skies?  “Never happened,” said Henry.  Plausible deniability is all that matters to him.  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40867.htm

11.  The Iran-Contra scandal.  The death squads in Central America.  And all that BS about “Americans do not torture” — even as War Street was running the School of the Americas right under our noses.

12.  What came next?  Oh yeah.  That Milosevic nightmare.  Milosevic was America’s go-to guy — until he wasn’t.  Didn’t you ever wonder why no one did anything to stop him until after socialist Yugoslavia was just a hot mess?

13.  Saudi Arabia.  Again.  They told us that the Saudis were the good guys, but actually Saudi Arabia is where most of the 9-11 hijackers came from. http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/twenty-eight-pages

14.  Israel, said to be “Our democratic ally in the Middle East.”  But if Israel is a democracy, I’ll eat my hat.  Just ask the Moroccan-Israeli Jews living there. http://vimeo.com/60814711  Or the Ethiopian-Israeli Jews.

Violent and shifty Israeli neo-colonialists have also committed despicable crime after despicable crime against humanity in the most undemocratic fashion, including their brutal, traitorous, dastardly and deliberate attempt to sink the USS Liberty, a false-flag operation approved and facilitated by War Street itself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRZSzdQuOqM, the horrors of the genocidal bombing of Gaza and Israeli neo-colonials’ covert support of ISIS– all in order to steal territory and oil in the Middle East.

Just watch this horrifying film of Israeli neo-colonials’ cowardly destruction of a whole city in Gaza, using US weapons and $$$$: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ41ko3L5Xc  And if you still have the stomach, watch this too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTr_Un4a_zA

15.  Saddam Husein, who we were told was Ronald Reagan’s hot new Middle East boy wonder — until he wasn’t.  See #12.

16.  And then there was that first Gulf war, totally based on a lie.  The Kuwaitis were slant-drilling into Iraqi oil reserves, a big no-no, and so Pappy Bush told Saddam, “Sure, they deserve it, go ahead and invade…”  And remember all those incubator babies too?  Lies upon lies.

17.  September 11, 2001.  Bush knew.   And let it happen.  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/01/30/police-state-upon-us-paul-craig-roberts/

18.  As a result of that infamous “Second Pearl Harbor” on Bush’s watch, we were once again lied to and told that we needed to invade Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia.  And that we needed to invade Iraq.

18.a.  John McCain himself lied right to my face in Baghdad back in 2007 — but I still can’t decide if it was a lie of commission or omission.  At a press conference in the Green Zone, McCain told us that it was perfectly safe for him to walk around a marketplace in Baghdad — but neglected to tell us that he was also protected by body armor, humvees and helicopters, and also put a battalion of grunts in harm’s way while he did it.  http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2007/04/letters-from-iraq-me-light-brigade-john.html

Just that same morning, I had been told by Major Hernandez of CPIC that if I wanted to go outside of the Green Zone without a major armored escort, I would be dead within five minutes after crossing the 14th of July Bridge.  Luckily I believed Major Hernandez and not John McCain.

18.b.  That, after 9-11, we also needed to invade Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, I forget where all else, if we were ever to be safe.  And that we needed to invade oodles of other countries all over the world in order to “Keep America Safe”.  That was the biggest lie so far.  Are we safe yet?

19.  That Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was standing in the way of “Democracy”.  Well, he sure isn’t standing in the way any more!  Turns out he was standing in the way of anarchy.  But you get what you pay for.

20.  That Bashar Assad in Syria is in cahoots with ISIS.  Yeah right.  NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Pentagon are in cahoots with ISIS.  Assad is only the victim here, the one who is getting his country torn apart.  Why would he want to support the brigands who are robbing his home? http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/30/syria-yes-we-are-responsible/

21.  “I am Charlie.”  No, you aren’t.  “I am the CIA”.  Watching that film of the killers getting into their getaway car was just a big joke.  They took their time.  They even put their AK-47 on the roof of the car while they fiddled with their backpacks and chatted about the weather, obviously knowing that they were protected.  But then they weren’t.  See # 12.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZyHQljawdE&x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534&bpctr=1422157632

22.  The debacle in Ukraine.  “We’re not involved,” the Pentagon tells me.  Then how come when Flight MH17 was tragically shot down by the Ukies, War Street went to such lengths to blame the event on Russia and not on the neo-Nazi stooges they had set up in Kiev?  https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/06/nyt-still-pretends-no-coup-in-ukraine/

23.  That the torture and mass murders at Auschwitz and the “preemptive war” on and occupation of Holland, France, Greece, Norway,  Denmark and Poland by Hitler’s minions were obviously war crimes — but the torture and mass murders at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Gaza, and “preemptive war” on and occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine by Bush and Obama’s minions aren’t.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N294FMDok98&app=desktop

That Nuremberg standards apply to war crimes committed 70 years ago but no longer apply to war crimes committed today.

24.  That we are always being told the truth by the New York Times and Fox News.  Yeah right.  Despite the fact that War Street just loves the “Newspaper of record” to pieces, the Times needs to wash its mouth out with soap.  And Politifact just announced that 60% of everything Fox News tells us is lies.  60%?  Yikes! http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2014/jul/01/introducing-scorecards-tv-networks/?fb_action_ids=10204846428834242&fb_action_types=og.shares

25.  That War is better than Peace.
http://www.crescent-online.net/2015/02/distorting-the-story-of-syrias-heritage-destruction-eva-bartlett-4815-articles.html

Sorry, that’s all of the War Street lies I can think of right now.  But I’m sure there are many more out there, many many more lies that I’ve missed.  Transparency is clearly and obviously not an American value — and democracy doesn’t seem to be one either.

But I will tell you one thing that I know for sure:  I won’t ever be fooled again.  And the rest of America needs to avoid being suckered down the garden path to War Street as well.


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

How Obama Is Making The World More Dangerous

February 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

You’re not paranoid if you think the world feels more unstable — it is.  There’s a dangerous confluence of political, economic, and military phenomena that is producing a very hazardous international situation.   Heightened national tensions that lead to regional confrontations have become normal as economic and political winds constantly shift in the direction of instability and conflict.

At the center of each maelstrom is the U.S. Government, and instead of acting as a promoter of peace and stability the Obama administration has been a catalyst of confrontation and war.

Whether it be the Middle East, Asia, Russia’s border, or the world economy, the actions of the Obama administration have leaned towards various forms of provocation and aggression — economic sanctions, threats, funneling arms, etc. This dynamic makes an eventual regional conflict inevitable, beyond the one already occurring in Syria/Iraq, where a U.S.-led proxy war against Syria and Iran is dangerously close to a full-out regional war.

The U.S. public is dangerously ignorant about the significance of these various regional conflicts. To the extent that they’re even reported, the “news” has excelled at blaming others and sharpening conflict, rather than shedding light or presenting peaceful alternatives.

An especially combustible zone is the Ukraine, where the U.S. is engaged in what is becoming a full-fledged proxy war with Russia. The Obama administration’s decisive role in the Ukrainian conflict has received only a sliver of space from the U.S. media, even after an audio of Obama’s Under Secretary of State was leaked, exposing the U.S.’ direct leadership role in a coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

Obama’s allied boots on the ground in the Ukrainian coup were open fascists — the Svoboda and “Right Sector” — whose ideological hero, Stepan Bandera, was one of Hitler’s most reliable fascist allies during World War II.

The Obama administration has given crucial military and economic support to the anti-Russian Ukrainian government, and provided this fascist-friendly government with various forms of military assistance, and now is considering giving more “lethal” military aid to a government that cemented its coup power via questionable elections during the start of a civil war.

Former USSR president and media darling, Mikhail Gorbachev, is now disregarded by the U.S. media, since his words no longer promote U.S. foreign policy objectives. Gorbachev recently said:

“If we call a spade a spade, America has pulled us into a new cold war, trying to openly implement its general idea of triumphalism. Where will it take us all? The [new] cold war is already on. What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot say firmly that the cold war will not lead to the hot one. I’m afraid that they might take the risk.”

This “new cold war” is warming quickly, since the U.S.-Russian proxy war in Ukraine shares a large chunk of Russia’s border, and like all wars borders are ignored when convenient. Gorbachev fears that the 5,000 dead Ukrainians and 1.5 million refugees may just be the detonator for a larger war between two fully nuclear countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. media completely ignores this very real threat, giving valuable political cover to Obama’s reckless actions.

Equally crazy is Obama’s longstanding policy in the Middle East, where his “no troops on the ground” mantra has led to non-stop drone bombing and a massive proxy war in Syria, which every nation in the region has directly contributed to. The 200,000 dead and millions of refugees have boiled political tensions across the region, and Obama’s dedication to regime change in Syria is partially due to his dedication to the two biggest pariah nations in the world — Saudi Arabia and Israel.

When Israel recently bombed Syria again — a now regular occurrence — an Iranian general and Hezbollah leader were killed in the attack, which was labeled an assassination. Soon after, it was finally revealed that in 2008 the U.S. and Israel organized a terrorist attack in Lebanon that killed a Hezbollah leader. Both events push the Syrian conflict to the tipping point of regional war, and Obama’s silence over Israel’s repeated bombings against Syria only encourage an extremely dangerous regional conflagration.

Equally reckless is that Obama’s Syrian proxy war relied on thousands of Islamic extremists from neighboring countries.  Obama’s funding, training, and tolerating these extremists created the ideal conditions for a group like ISIS to rise from obscurity into a regional colossus.

To date the Obama administration has proposed no peace plan for Syria outside of “regime change.” When the Russian government recently organized a major peace conference to address the Syrian war, the U.S.-led Syrian National Coalition boycotted the talks, and Obama put no public pressure on his allies to attend, when he should have been publicly demanding it. Once the peace conference started neither Obama nor the U.S. media cared much to talk about the happenings, since continued fighting is the priority.

One shouldn’t forget Obama’s Africa policies, where his “successful” bombing campaign-turned regime change in Libya has ruined a country that previously had the highest standard of living on the continent. After Obama waged an illegal, aggressive war and assassinated the Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, Hillary Clinton said — while giggling — “we came, we saw, he died.”

Libya’s weapons were looted and are now, according to the U.N., being funneled throughout the Middle East and Africa, destabilizing neighboring countries and empowering the Islamic extremists that Obama allied with against Gaddafi (similar to the ones he allied with against Syria’s president).

When it comes to the global economy Obama has been launching financial weapons of mass destruction against his enemies. The economic sanctions against Iran, Russia, N. Korea, Venezuela, Syria, etc., are of course an act of war. This kind of war is described in the book, “Treasury’s War,” by former Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Juan Zarate, who glamorizes this “new” form of war that the U.S. has a monopoly over, given the U.S. dollar’s preeminence as the global reserve currency.

Another lethal non-military weapon Obama has recklessly used is his helping crash the price of oil. The U.S. media publicly discussed the anti-Russian motive behind Obama intervening in the oil markets, by selling the “strategic oil reserves” held by the U.S. government — intended to be used at times of severe shortages. But Obama started unloading the strategic reserves at a time when there was already increasing global supply. The oil price floor fell out when Obama persuaded Saudi Arabia to ramp up production, flooding the market with cheap oil.

And whereas the Obama administration has kept mum about the Saudi’s accomplice role in crashing the oil market, the Saudis themselves have been pretty open about using their oil weapon, which they’re using to force Russia to drop support for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The New York Times reported:

“Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices.”

Russia’s economy is consequently in free fall, with Iran, Venezuela and every other oil-producing nation suffering massive economic consequences. All of this is barely mentioned in the complicit U.S. media, content with shrugging its shoulders over the subsequent political chaos that directly affects hundreds of millions of people globally, and threatens to boomerang back on the U.S. in the form of unemployment and economic disruption.

All of the above policies have directly created havoc internationally. And today’s world is more inter-connected than ever; the chaos in the oil markets has already caused layoffs in the U.S., and threatens a larger economic conflagration. Obama’s policies in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan have greatly increased the likelihood of another terror attack in the U.S.

In a world of increasing danger and threats of war, the Obama administration has been completely unable to champion any serious peace proposal. His main contribution to global affairs has been chaos and death — either by proxy (Syria and Ukraine), drones (Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc.) dollars, gun trafficking, sanctions, or direct military intervention (Afghanistan and Libya).

Even the pathetic “peace process” Obama faked with Israel-Palestine was revealed as farce the second Israel decided to re-destroy the Gaza Strip: Obama gave crucial support to Israel in committing its numerous war crimes.

Obama is aided and abetted in his reckless actions by a media that cheer-leads the government’s every move, except when it encourages a more “aggressive” approach. In this way the above realities of U.S. foreign policy — and the very real dangers they present — are completely obscured from the American public. And when the next inevitable military combustion occurs, the public may be disorientated just long enough to fall victim to scapegoating and fear mongering that can lead to a bi-partisan military “solution.”


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

John Fund – Pimping The Vote

October 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It is ironic that John Fund claims some kind of victory by pointing out a highly marginal way of stealing a few votes via the unusual opportunity of finding unused ballots. In his recent article, James O’Keefe Strikes Again, the back slapping was thick and gleeful.

James O’Keefe, again, scored a media event in these last days before the coming election. This time he was not dressed up in his pimp dudes, but he should have been.

The election would have to extraordinarily close for this kind of voter fraud to matter. Argument like these are like blaming the national debt on shop lifting by senior citizens. It happens, but it is rare.

The Big Game is being run by the Number Two Man on Fund’s own speed dial, Karl Rove. Stealing Elections was essential if the Number One Man on Fund’s speed dial in the same period, Dick Cheney, of Halliburton, was to win and so become even richer. The three are linked by common interests as well as a solid and long term friendship. They scratch each other’s backs, as the expression goes.

When John beats up a woman, or otherwise misbehaves, they are there for him.

Fund, having made himself a kind of a ‘reputation’ for pimping the idea of Voter Fraud lays it on thick and cheesy in his article.

The other side, located in Colorado, make themselves look pathetic because a NeoCon had to give them this exciting idea – and these twits golly gosh, gee’d all over James O’Keefe instead of showing him the door.

Franklin’s state director, Meredith Hicks, told O’Keefe that committing voter fraud using unused ballots was perfectly okay. “That’s not even lying or stealing, if someone throws out the ballot. If you want to fill it out you should do it,” she told O’Keefe on tape.

Note: Cheating is always wrong. It destroys trust in the integrity of the entire electoral process and is repulsive in anyone.

That said, can’t you see this woman rooting round in people’s trash cans looking for those ballots? How would you know when they would appear? Many of these ballots will end up in the trash, but only after election day. “Oh. Never mind, that was yesterday.” Others will be used as grocery lists, book marks, made into paper airplanes and other purposes for which they were not intended. Some will also be used for voting.

Really, it makes you cringe.

There is a magnitude of difference between this level of electoral dishonesty and the Big Game. That is where the real money is and this article is evidence John Fund is still Pimping for the same folks who profited by murdering a million and a half Iraqis, killing off babies doomed by the effects of DU to short and horrible lives, and other war crimes galore. Remember Bush and his administration’s excitement over ‘rendering’ people?

You can’t say Fund is not consistent. So are No. One SpeedDial and No. Two SpeedDial.

To get the money you have to win the election and if you are Dick Cheney or George Bush you can’t win unless you cheat.

Rove is not into retail, he is all about Whole Selling out America with Ballot Fraud via cool electronics. He has made millions this way. Cheney, No. Two SpeedDial, made billions.

Fund and Friends are all Pimps. They should dress the role.


Melinda Pillsbury-Foster will soon begin her new weekly radio program on Surviving Meltdown. The program examines how government can be brought into alignment with the spiritual goal of decentralizing power and localizing control and links also to America Goes Home americagoeshome.org, a site dedicated to providing information and resources.

She is also the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father and grandfather.

Her blog is at: http://howtheneoconsstolefreedom.blogspot.com/ She is the founder of the Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation. She is the mother of five children and three grandchildren.

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Islamist State

October 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

You can’t believe a word the United States or its mainstream media say about the current conflict involving The Islamic State (ISIS).

You can’t believe a word France or the United Kingdom say about ISIS.

You can’t believe a word Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, or the United Arab Emirates say about ISIS. Can you say for sure which side of the conflict any of these mideast countries actually finances, arms, or trains, if in fact it’s only one side? Why do they allow their angry young men to join Islamic extremists? Why has NATO-member Turkey allowed so many Islamic extremists to cross into Syria? Is Turkey more concerned with wiping out the Islamic State or the Kurds under siege by ISIS? Are these countries, or the Western powers, more concerned with overthrowing ISIS or overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad?

You can’t believe the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels. You can’t even believe that they are moderate. They have their hands in everything, and everyone has their hands in them.

Iran, Hezbollah and Syria have been fighting ISIS or its precursors for years, but the United States refuses to join forces with any of these entities in the struggle. Nor does Washington impose sanctions on any country for supporting ISIS as it quickly did against Russia for its alleged role in Ukraine.

The groundwork for this awful mess of political and religious horrors sweeping through the Middle East was laid – laid deeply – by the United States during 35 years (1979-2014) of overthrowing the secular governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. (Adding to the mess in the same period we should not forget the US endlessly bombing Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.) You cannot destroy modern, relatively developed and educated societies, ripping apart the social, political, economic and legal fabric, torturing thousands, killing millions, and expect civilization and human decency to survive.

Particularly crucial in this groundwork was the US decision to essentially throw 400,000 Iraqis with military training, including a full officer corps, out onto the streets of its cities, jobless. It was a formula for creating an insurgency. Humiliated and embittered, some of those men would later join various resistance groups operating against the American military occupation. It’s safe to say that the majority of armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and explosives taking lives every minute in the Middle East are stamped “Made in USA”.

And all of Washington’s horses, all of Washington’s men, cannot put this world back together again. The world now knows these places as “failed states”.

Meanwhile, the United States bombs Syria daily, ostensibly because the US is at war with ISIS, but at the same time seriously damaging the oil capacity of the country (a third of the Syrian government’s budget), the government’s military capabilities, its infrastructure, even its granaries, taking countless innocent lives, destroying ancient sites; all making the recovery of an Assad-led Syria, or any Syria, highly unlikely. Washington is undoubtedly looking for ways to devastate Iran as well under the cover of fighting ISIS.

Nothing good can be said about this whole beastly situation. All the options are awful. All the participants, on all sides, are very suspect, if not criminally insane. It may be the end of the world. To which I say … Good riddance. Nice try, humans; in fact, GREAT TRY … but good riddance. ISIS … Ebola … Climate Change … nuclear radiation … The Empire … Which one will do us in first? … Have a nice day.

Is the world actually so much more evil and scary today than it was in the 1950s of my upbringing, for which I grow more nostalgic with each new horror? Or is it that the horrors of today are so much better reported, as we swim in a sea of news and videos?

After seeing several ISIS videos on the Internet, filled with the most disgusting scenes, particularly against women, my thought is this: Give them their own country; everyone who’s in that place now who wants to leave, will be helped to do so; everyone from all over the world who wants to go there will be helped to get there. Once they’re there, they can all do whatever they want, but they can’t leave without going through a rigorous interview at a neighboring border to ascertain whether they’ve recovered their attachment to humanity. However, since very few women, presumably, would go there, the country would not last very long.

The Berlin Wall – Another Cold War Myth

November 9 will mark the 25th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The extravagant hoopla began months ago in Berlin. In the United States we can expect all the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny to be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth”. What other reason could there have been?

First of all, before the wall went up in 1961 thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returning to the East in the evening; many others went back and forth for shopping or other reasons. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. Why then was the wall built? There were two major reasons:

1) The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: “West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin.”

It should be noted that in 1999, USA Today reported: “When the Berlin Wall crumbled [1989], East Germans imagined a life of freedom where consumer goods were abundant and hardships would fade. Ten years later, a remarkable 51% say they were happier with communism.” Earlier polls would likely have shown even more than 51% expressing such a sentiment, for in the ten years many of those who remembered life in East Germany with some fondness had passed away; although even 10 years later, in 2009, the Washington Post could report: “Westerners [in Berlin] say they are fed up with the tendency of their eastern counterparts to wax nostalgic about communist times.”

It was in the post-unification period that a new Russian and eastern Europe proverb was born: “Everything the Communists said about Communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism turned out to be the truth.”

It should be further noted that the division of Germany into two states in 1949 – setting the stage for 40 years of Cold War hostility – was an American decision, not a Soviet one.

2) During the 1950s, American coldwarriors in West Germany instituted a crude campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany designed to throw that country’s economic and administrative machinery out of gear. The CIA and other US intelligence and military services recruited, equipped, trained and financed German activist groups and individuals, of West and East, to carry out actions which ran the spectrum from juvenile delinquency to terrorism; anything to make life difficult for the East German people and weaken their support of the government; anything to make the commies look bad.

It was a remarkable undertaking. The United States and its agents used explosives, arson, short circuiting, and other methods to damage power stations, shipyards, canals, docks, public buildings, gas stations, public transportation, bridges, etc; they derailed freight trains, seriously injuring workers; burned 12 cars of a freight train and destroyed air pressure hoses of others; used acids to damage vital factory machinery; put sand in the turbine of a factory, bringing it to a standstill; set fire to a tile-producing factory; promoted work slow-downs in factories; killed 7,000 cows of a co-operative dairy through poisoning; added soap to powdered milk destined for East German schools; were in possession, when arrested, of a large quantity of the poison cantharidin with which it was planned to produce poisoned cigarettes to kill leading East Germans; set off stink bombs to disrupt political meetings; attempted to disrupt the World Youth Festival in East Berlin by sending out forged invitations, false promises of free bed and board, false notices of cancellations, etc.; carried out attacks on participants with explosives, firebombs, and tire-puncturing equipment; forged and distributed large quantities of food ration cards to cause confusion, shortages and resentment; sent out forged tax notices and other government directives and documents to foster disorganization and inefficiency within industry and unions … all this and much more.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, of Washington, DC, conservative coldwarriors, in one of their Cold War International History Project Working Papers (#58, p.9) states: “The open border in Berlin exposed the GDR [East Germany] to massive espionage and subversion and, as the two documents in the appendices show, its closure gave the Communist state greater security.”

Throughout the 1950s, the East Germans and the Soviet Union repeatedly lodged complaints with the Soviets’ erstwhile allies in the West and with the United Nations about specific sabotage and espionage activities and called for the closure of the offices in West Germany they claimed were responsible, and for which they provided names and addresses. Their complaints fell on deaf ears. Inevitably, the East Germans began to tighten up entry into the country from the West, leading eventually to the infamous wall. However, even after the wall was built there was regular, albeit limited, legal emigration from east to west. In 1984, for example, East Germany allowed 40,000 people to leave. In 1985, East German newspapers claimed that more than 20,000 former citizens who had settled in the West wanted to return home after becoming disillusioned with the capitalist system. The West German government said that 14,300 East Germans had gone back over the previous 10 years.

Let’s also not forget that while East Germany completely denazified, in West Germany for more than a decade after the war, the highest government positions in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches contained numerous former and “former” Nazis.

Finally, it must be remembered, that Eastern Europe became communist because Hitler, with the approval of the West, used it as a highway to reach the Soviet Union to wipe out Bolshevism forever, and that the Russians in World War I and II, lost about 40 million people because the West had used this highway to invade Russia. It should not be surprising that after World War II the Soviet Union was determined to close down the highway.

For an additional and very interesting view of the Berlin Wall anniversary, see the article “Humpty Dumpty and the Fall of Berlin’s Wall” by Victor Grossman. Grossman (née Steve Wechsler) fled the US Army in Germany under pressure from McCarthy-era threats and became a journalist and author during his years in the (East) German Democratic Republic. He still lives in Berlin and mails out his “Berlin Bulletin” on German developments on an irregular basis. You can subscribe to it atwechsler_grossman@yahoo.de. His autobiography: “Crossing the River: a Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War and Life in East Germany” was published by University of Massachusetts Press. He claims to be the only person in the world with diplomas from both Harvard University and Karl Marx University in Leipzig.

Al Franken, the liberal’s darling

I receive a continuous stream of emails from “progressive” organizations asking me to vote for Senator Franken or contribute to his re-election campaign this November, and I don’t even live in Minnesota. Even if I could vote for him, I wouldn’t. No one who was a supporter of the war in Iraq will get my vote unless they unequivocally renounce that support. And I don’t mean renounce it like Hillary Clinton’s nonsense about not having known enough.

Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comedian, would like you to believe that he’s been against the war in Iraq since it began. But he went to Iraq at least four times to entertain the troops. Does that make sense? Why does the military bring entertainers to soldiers? To lift the soldiers’ spirits of course. And why does the military want to lift the soldiers’ spirits? Because a happier soldier does his job better. And what is the soldier’s job? All the charming war crimes and human-rights violations that I and others have documented in great detail for many years. Doesn’t Franken know what American soldiers do for a living?

A year after the US invasion in 2003, Franken criticized the Bush administration because they “failed to send enough troops to do the job right.” What “job” did the man think the troops were sent to do that had not been performed to his standards because of lack of manpower? Did he want them to be more efficient at killing Iraqis who resisted the occupation? The volunteer American troops in Iraq did not even have the defense of having been drafted against their wishes.

Franken has been lifting soldiers’ spirits for a long time. In 2009 he was honored by the United Service Organization (USO) for his ten years of entertaining troops abroad. That includes Kosovo in 1999, as imperialist an occupation as you’ll want to see. He called his USO experience “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Franken has also spoken at West Point (2005), encouraging the next generation of imperialist warriors. Is this a man to challenge the militarization of America at home and abroad? No more so than Barack Obama.

Tom Hayden wrote this about Franken in 2005 when Franken had a regular program on the Air America radio network: “Is anyone else disappointed with Al Franken’s daily defense of the continued war in Iraq? Not Bush’s version of the war, because that would undermine Air America’s laudable purpose of rallying an anti-Bush audience. But, well, Kerry’s version of the war, one that can be better managed and won, somehow with better body armor and fewer torture cells.”

While in Iraq to entertain the troops, Franken declared that the Bush administration “blew the diplomacy so we didn’t have a real coalition,” then failed to send enough troops to do the job right. “Out of sheer hubris, they have put the lives of these guys in jeopardy.”

Franken was implying that if the United States had been more successful in bribing and threatening other countries to lend their name to the coalition fighting the war in Iraq the United States would have had a better chance of WINNING the war.

Is this the sentiment of someone opposed to the war? Or in support of it? It is the mind of an American liberal in all its beautiful mushiness.

Notes

  1. Derived from William Astore, “Investing in Junk Armies”, TomDispatch, October 14, 2014
  2. New York Times, June 27, 1963, p.12
  3. USA Today, October 11, 1999, p.1
  4. Washington Post, May 12, 2009; see a similar story November 5, 2009
  5. Carolyn Eisenberg, “Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949” (1996); or see a concise review of this book by Kai Bird in The Nation, December 16, 1996
  6. See William Blum, “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II”, p.400, note 8, for a list of sources for the details of the sabotage and subversion.
  7. The Guardian (London), March 7, 1985
  8. Washington Post, February 16, 2004
  9. Star Tribune, Minneapolis, March 26, 2009
  10. Huffington Post, June 2005
  11. Washington Post, February 16, 2004


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Cold War Two

August 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation.  Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.”

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.”

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles.  Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.

Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.

The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …

Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?

One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”

It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.

The United States and torture

Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.

Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.

But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.

No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.

In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:

The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.

I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.

The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.

“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013

John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence.

Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.

During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.

Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.

The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.

Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?

For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.

On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.

These votes took place under the Reagan administration.

Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.

The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.

I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.

Notes

  1. See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
  2. Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
  3. “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
  4. “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”Before It’s News, July 31 2014
  5. Associated Press, August 4, 2014
  6. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  7. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  8. Associated Press, November 17, 2008
  9. Associated Press, November 26, 2008
  10. Washington Post, November 18, 1996
  11. Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

A Nail In Zionism’s Coffin?

August 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Slaughter Must End…

The 72-hour ceasefire was supposed to get under way on 8/1/14 starting at 8 a.m. local time—but no sooner had it begun than it appeared to collapse. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 30 Palestinians were killed, and dozens more injured, in an Israeli attack near the southern town of Rafah.

If, against all odds, a genuine ceasefire were to actually take place, the pause would allow time for both sides’ fighters to regroup and re-arm. But what of the civilian population of a now substantially destroyed Gaza? Presumably many will try to visit their bombed homes to retrieve some belongings, as we have seen in Syria and Iraq, and many will try finding a place to hide, say, perhaps, a UN school—well, maybe that’s a bad choice. Others may simply stay in their homes and wait to die.

For the invading Zionist forces, they are insured of plenty of munitions both during and after any ceasefire—because the Obama Administration is supporting Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip, and it is doing so, in part, by allowing it to tap into local US arms stockpiles. The Israelis will be able to resupply themselves with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds, stocks that the Pentagon claims “need to be refreshed,” this according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, who rejected out of hand this week’s Amnesty International demand that “the US government immediately end its ongoing arms deliveries to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza.” And not only that. Earlier, the US Senate, by a vote of 100 to 0, passed a resolution drafted by AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza, a resolution reading in part, “The United States Senate reaffirms American support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel”—and which says not a single word about Palestinian deaths.

Additionally, US politicians are working to provide millions of dollars in supplementary funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile shield. The US Senate Appropriations Committee added $225 million for Iron Dome to a spending bill mainly intended to provide money to handle an influx of thousands of Central American children across the US-Mexico border.

“It is not that Iron Dome is all that effective, it fails 75% of the time,” said one Congressional staffer in an email to this observer earlier this week. “But Congress is under pressure to be seen as supporting Israel, and we’ve got to be seen doing something before we adjourn for five weeks.”

And likewise, as a sop to AIPAC, the White House announced on 7/31/14 that it “strongly opposes” a Republican-crafted emergency spending bill, in part because it contains no funds for Israeli missile defense and other presumed necessities. Earlier in the day the Senate had begun debating a $3.5 billion auxiliary spending measure that included the $225 million in additional funding for Iron Dome when suddenly the White House voiced its opposition to the House version, claiming it “does not include funding for the Department of Defense to support the government of Israel’s request for critical defense needs.”

It was also on 7/31/14, that Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, reminded Mr. Kirby, the illustrious rear admiral, of an unpleasant truth, one that doesn’t normally penetrate Washington’s deaf-dumb-and-blind bubble: “It is deeply cynical for the White House to condemn the deaths and injuries of Palestinians, including children, and humanitarian workers, when it knows full well that the Israeli military responsible for such attacks are armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment bankrolled by US taxpayers.”

But despite all the American government’s massive support for Israel, survival of the apartheid regime is not at all assured. Recently expressed antipathy toward the Zionist state from notables in Europe, South America and parts of Asia seems to be considerably more than just bluster. Israelis are correct in thinking they can no longer count on public opinion, not in Europe or even, to a lesser extent, perhaps, from the American public either. Increasingly the latter are pressuring their Zionist-bought politicians, admittedly on a modest scale still at this point, but in a manner causing them to ponder their electability as Israel continues its descent into a pariah state. A recent Gallup poll found a majority of Americans less than 30 years of age believe Israel’s actions in Gaza to be unjustified and criminal. This is because younger Americans have grown up witnessing a US-armed-and- propped-up Israel brutally occupying the West Bank, killing Palestinians, while also invading Lebanon in numerous, periodic attacks that claimed more than 30,000 lives between 1948 and 2006.

In aggregate, Americans still see Israel favorably…but in smaller numbers, while more are viewing it as illegitimate, as a 19th century colonial enterprise with no legitimate place in a civilized international society. “Delegitimisation,” says Einat Wilf, a former Israeli parliamentarian and one of the authors of an as-yet-unpublished study of the topic at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem, is becoming “a strategic threat”.

As Robert Fisk pointed out this week, “Gaza, which is being so graphically covered by journalists that our masters and our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic, but fear of their own television viewers and readers – ordinary folk so outraged by the war crimes committed against the women and children of Gaza that they are demanding to know why, even now, television moguls and politicians are refusing to treat their own people like moral, decent, intelligent human beings.”

From Antwerp to Warsaw, demonstrators’ placards have ranged from criticism of Israeli policy (“1,2,3,4, Occupation No More”) to condemning Israel itself (“5,6,7,8, Israel is a Terror State”). A growing percentage of the world’s population is coming to the conclusion that the regime occupying Palestine is a mistake and that history must be corrected. As The Economist recently reported, France is experiencing major unrest, which may be no surprise given that it claims the largest Jewish and Arab populations in Europe, but the extent of the tensions in France, including attacks on synagogues and raids on Jewish shops, has been shocking nonetheless. Even in normally sedate Oslo, the Jewish museum closed its doors.

Frankly, it comes as no great surprise then that many Jews feel that the world is against them, and view criticism of Zionist apartheid Israel as a mask for animosity towards Jews. In this they are very wrong. Let them visit the Middle East, in peace, and they will learn quickly that the rejection here is not at all about Jews, but only about Zionism as a fascist, racist creed. What people of good will reject, in the Middle East as elsewhere, is an antiquated movement that promotes a chosen people’s right to steal land belonging to others while ethnically cleansing an indigenous population; a movement that encourages chants of “Death to Arabs” among school children, whose settlers organize ‘fun-days,’ gathering as spectators to observe Zionist forces slaughtering Arab children in Gaza, as teachers hand out balloons and ice cream while leading the children in hate filled songs.

International public opinion matters. And much of it relating to the carnage being inflicted by those illegally occupying Palestine is right. The international public is increasingly aware that what is happening in Palestine today is not really about Hamas; it is not about rockets; it is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.

Having created a huge open-air prison in Gaza, PM Netanyahu now claims that Israel cannot relinquish security control of the West Bank for fear of Islamist attack—meaning that the Zionist occupiers intend to consolidate their illegal occupation, thus withdrawing all hope from Palestinians.

This region, and increasingly the global community as a whole, is planning for a post-Zionist Middle East and how best to achieve it without further suffering. The Zionist regime can stop the slaughter in Gaza; it can withdraw from Palestinian lands through agreement with international norms and UN resolutions, or, sooner or later, it will very likely cease to exist.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

How American Propaganda Works: Guilt By Insinuation

July 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Why hasn’t Washington joined Russian President Putin in calling for an objective, non-politicized international investigation by experts of the case of the Malaysian jetliner?

The Russian government continues to release facts, including satellite photos showing the presence of Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missiles in locations from which the airliner could have been brought down by the missile system and documentation that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet rapidly approached the Malaysian airliner prior to its downing. The head of the Operations Directorate of Russian military headquarters said at a Moscow press conference today (July 21) that the presence of the Ukrainian military jet is confirmed by the Rostov monitoring center.

The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that, at the moment of destruction of MH-17, an American satellite was flying over the area. The Russian government urges Washington to make available the photos and data captured by the satellite.

President Putin has repeatedly stressed that the investigation of MH-17 requires “a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).” Putin’s call for an independent expert examination by ICAO does not sound like a person with anything to hide.

Turning to Washington, Putin stated, “In the meantime, no one [not even the “exceptional nation”] has the right to use this tragedy to achieve their narrowly selfish political goals.”

Putin reminded Washington, “We repeatedly called upon all conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed immediately and to sit down at the negotiating table. I can say with confidence that if military operations were not resumed [by Kiev] on June 28 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy wouldn’t have happened.”

What is the American response?

Lies and insinuations.

Yesterday (July 20) US Secretary of State John Kerry said that pro-Russian separatists were involved in the downing of the Malaysian airliner and said that it was “pretty clear” that Russia was involved. Here are Kerry’s words: “It’s pretty clear that this is a system that was transferred from Russia into the hands of separatists. We know with confidence, with confidence, that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point and time, so it obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists.”

Kerry’s statement is just another of the endless lies told by US secretaries of state in the 21st century. Who can forget Colin Powell’s package of lies delivered to the UN about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” or Kerry’s lie repeated endlessly that Assad “used chemical weapons against his own people” or the endless lies about “Iranian nukes”?

Remember that Kerry, on a number of occasions, stated that the US had proof that Assad crossed the “red line” by using chemical weapons. However, Kerry was never able to back up his statements with evidence. The US had no evidence to give the British prime minister, whose effort to have parliament approve Britain’s participation with Washington in a military attack on Syria was voted down. Parliament told the prime minister, “no evidence, no war.”

Again, here is Kerry declaring “confidence” in statements that are directly contradicted by the Russian satellite photos and endless eye witnesses on the ground.

Why doesn’t Washington release its photos from its satellite?

The answer is for the same reason that Washington will not release all the videos it confiscated and that it claims prove that a hijacked 9/11 airliner hit the Pentagon. The videos do not support Washington’s claim, and the US satellite photos do not support Kerry’s claim.

The UN weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq reported that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. However, the fact did not support Washington’s propaganda and was ignored. Washington started a highly destructive war based on nothing but Washington’s intentional lie.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors on the ground in Iran and all 16 US intelligence agencies reported that Iran had no nuclear weapons program. However, the fact was inconsistent with Washington’s agenda and was ignored by both the US government and the presstitute media.

We are witnessing the same thing right now with the assertions in the absence of evidence that Russia is responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

Not every member of the US government is as reckless as Kerry and John McCain. In place of direct lies, many US officials use insinuations.

US Senator Diane Feinstein is the perfect example. Interviewed on the presstitute TV station CNN, Feinstein said, “The issue is where is Putin? I would say, ‘Putin, you have to man up. You should talk to the world. You should say, if this is a mistake, which I hope it was, say it.’”

Putin has been talking to the world nonstop calling for an expert non-politicized investigation, and Feinstein is asking Putin why he is hiding behind silence. We know you did it, Feinstein insinuates, so just tell us whether you meant to or whether it was an accident.

The way the entire Western news cycle was orchestrated with blame instantly being placed on Russia long in advance of real information suggests that the downing of the airliner was a Washington operation. It is, of course, possible that the well-trained presstitute media needed no orchestration from Washington in order to lay the blame on Russia. On the other hand, some of the news performances seem too scripted not to have been prepared in advance.

We also have the advanced preparation of the youtube video that purports to show a Russian general and Ukrainian separatists discussing having mistakenly downed a civilian airliner. As I pointed out earlier, this video is twice damned. It was ready in advance and by implicating the Russian military, it overlooked that the Russian military can tell the difference between a civilian airliner and a military airplane. The existence of the video itself implies that there was a plot to down the airliner and blame Russia.

I have seen reports that the Russian anti-aircraft missile system, as a safety device, is capable of contacting aircraft transponders in order to verify the type of aircraft. If the reports are correct and if the transponders from MH-17 are found, they might record the contact.

I have seen reports that Ukrainian air control changed the route of MH-17 and directed it to fly over the conflict area. The transponders should also indicate whether this is correct. If so, there clearly is at least circumstantial evidence that this was an intentional act on the part of Kiev, an act which would have required Washington’s blessing.

There are other reports that there is a divergence between the Ukrainian military and the unofficial militias formed by the right-wing Ukrainian extremists who apparently were the first to attack the separatists. It is possible that Washington used the extremists to plot the airliner’s destruction in order to blame Russia and use the accusations to pressure the EU to go along with Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Russia. We do know that Washington is desperate to break up the growing economic and political ties between Russia and Europe.

If it was a plot to down an airliner, any safety device on the missile system could have been turned off so as to give no warning or leave any telltale sign. That could be the reason a Ukrainian fighter was sent to inspect the airliner. Possibly the real target was Putin’s airliner and incompetence in implementing the plot resulted in the destruction of a civilian airliner.

As there are a number of possible explanations, let’s keep open minds and resist Washington’s propaganda until facts and evidence are in. In the very least, Washington is guilty of using the incident to blame Russia in advance of the evidence. All Washington has shown us so far are accusations and insinuations. If that is all Washington continues to show us, we will know where the blame resides.

In the meantime, remember the story of the boy who cried “wolf!” He lied so many times that when the wolf did come, no one believed him. Will this be Washington’s ultimate fate?

Instead of declaring war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and Syria, why did Washington hide behind lies? If Washington wants war with Iran, Russia, and China, why not simply declare war? The reason that the US Constitution requires war to begin with a declaration of war by Congress is to prevent the executive branch from orchestrating wars in order to further hidden agendas. By abdicating its constitutional responsibility, the US Congress is complicit in the executive branch’s war crimes. By approving Israel’s premeditated murder of Palestinians, the US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes.

Ask yourself this question: Would the world be a safer place with less death, destruction and displaced peoples and more truth and justice if the United States and Israel did not exist?

Dr 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. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available. 

Neil Young & Crazy Horse: How About Waging Heavy Peace In Tel Aviv?

July 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

NY PEACE book On July 17th Neil Young & Crazy Horse will perform at Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, a park built on the ruins of the Palestinian village Al Mirr, a land and people, destroyed and buried amidst unspeakable violence, but not forgotten. 

Neil Young is a Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist and author of WAGING HEAVY PEACE

Crazy Horse is an American band best known for their association with Young beginning in 1969.

Crazy Horse has been co-credited on 11 studio albums and numerous live albums billed as by “Neil Young and Crazy Horse”.

In Waging Heavy Peace, Neil Young’s 2012 autobiography, Young documents his life and career shifting from the past to present and from career to personal experiences.

On page 346, Neil Young wrote:

Somewhere along the line I had suggested the name Crazy Horse after the great Indian chief and the guys liked it. Neil Young with Crazy Horse. Not ‘and’…I liked that I was with them. Like we were together, not separate.

On page 137, Neil Young wrote:

When music is your life, there is a key that gets you to the core. I am so grateful that I still have Crazy Horse…they are my window to the cosmic world where the music lives and breathes. I can find myself there and go to the special area of my soul…

Just getting there is the key thing, and Crazy Horse is my way of getting there…

Am I too cosmic about this? I think not…

Do not doubt me in my sincerity, for it is that which has brought us to each other now.

In 2005, a coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations launched a campaign calling the international community to boycott Israel culturally, academically, and commercially  UNTIL Israel recognizes the indigenous Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, UNTIL Israel fully complies with international law and finally honors the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION of HUMAN RIGHTS upon which the Establishment of their very Statehood was contingent upon!

 Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.– May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel

In November 2006, Father Manuel, the parish Priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza warned the world:

Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry…people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.

Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles…Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate…Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.

Gaza cannot sleep…the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!

Because this American cannot improve on this Letter to Neil Young from the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel University Teachers’ Association it follows in full here:

16.03.2014

Besieged Gaza, Palestine

Dear Neil

We are Palestinian students and youth from the besieged Gaza Strip; we write to you now on a night engulfed by huge explosions ripping through our houses and neighborhoods again, more common than the thunder and hard rain also filling the night air.

And now we hear you plan on playing your inspiring music to a packed house in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, a park built on the ruins of the Palestinian village Al Mirr, a land and people, destroyed and buried amidst unspeakable violence, but not forgotten. The residents of that Palestinian village and hundreds of other villages forcibly emptied by the nascent Israeli army, were either killed or denied return, denied the chance to even visit or commemorate the lives they once had. (1)

While the world turns its back, we hope that you don’t turn yours, that you heed the call of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli regime until it abides by international law and stops denying us the right to live as any other human beings would expect.

Just as you didn’t perform in Apartheid South Africa, just as you stood up against racism in the US South, just as you have so admirably supported indigenous rights in Canada against the drilling for Tar Sands, we ask you to support indigenous, displaced people wherever they may be, including we Palestinians. The words of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association in their recent move to boycott the Israeli regime echo the struggle for indigenous rights in America. (2)

As this letter is penned the sound of more Israeli bombing reverberates around the tight refugee camps and narrow alleys where we live.

The camps are in complete darkness as the electricity has been cut.

The Israeli siege and previous bombing of our only power-plant has lead to huge fuel shortages, leaving us with just 6 hours of electricity each day.

This is just one night, but it is comparable to many other nights in Gaza, many worse nights.

We are used to facing the wrath of Israeli Merkhava tanks, drones, shellings, bombs and snipers that have brutally murdered and maimed our people for decades, for the crime of being born Palestinians, the wrong “ethnic group” for the Israeli regime who since it was established has done everything to wipe us off the map.

Listening to music is difficult in these circumstances, despite our passion for it. We have our own big range of music we love to play and Debka dance. But we have few instruments. Israel’s air, land and sea blockade of all our borders has meant for years musical instruments were banned from entry to Gaza.[3]

Other items denied to us were coriander, nutmeg, ginger, dried fruit, fresh meat, lentils, pasta, chocolate, fishing rods, cattle, toys, donkey, workbooks and newspapers. Dov Weisglass, an advisor to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explicitly outlined their intentions to collectively punish our population, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”, he announced, in contravention of article 33 of the Geneva Conventions and condemned by all major human rights organizations. (4]

The violence behind Israel’s military occupation of our land is relentless and this week is no different. It began with Israeli border police shooting and killing a 38 year old Palestinian judge Raed Zeitar, the other bus passengers forced to sit and watch as he bled to death. Then 18-year-old Saji Darwish, Humanities student at Birzeit university, was shot in the head in Beitin, near Ramallah. Thousands attended his funeral the following day.

Tuesday saw four more murdered in the West Bank and Gaza.

On Wednesday Israeli authorities approved the construction of 387 housing units in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo, denying the Palestinian towns of Beit Hanina and Shuafat the possibility to expand. And today a three-month old baby Ahmed Ammar Abu Nahal died of enlarged heart and liver as a result of the closure of Gaza crossings, a closure that has also left our hospitals bereft of medical supplies.

And right now we sit paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza.

Who knows when the current attacks will end.

Permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over 3 weeks in 2009 over 1400 were killed including over 330 children, with white phosphorous and other chemical weapons used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result.

More recently 170 more were killed in the weeklong attacks in late November 2012.

How many more sleeping in their beds now will face the same fate in the coming days, weeks and months? The trauma, fear and uncertainty never goes away.

Over two thirds of the Palestinians here in Gaza are UN registered refugees.

Over half of us are children.

We or our descendants were dispossessed entirely and forcibly removed from our homes.

The extent of this ethnic cleansing was such that one in three refugees worldwide is a Palestinian.

Expulsions of Palestinians continue today especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank, places that we in Gaza are no longer able to visit.

For what crime? The crime of being born Palestinian.

The Israeli regime denies us the freedom to come to enjoy your music, we live our lives surrounded by Navy Gunships along the sea, jeeps and wall tower snipers along the land frontier, and skies filled with the kind of aircraft unleashing yet more devastating attacks tonight.

The Gaza Strip has been made an outdoor prison, a reality beyond which most youth can never imagine, because most can never leave.

Others are hearing us and the world is beginning to wake up.

Many of your contemporaries are taking a stand including Carlos Santana, Roger Waters, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello and the late, great Pete Seeger and Gil Scott Heron, who said he wouldn’t play in Israel “until everyone is welcome there”. (5)

As Israeli Apartheid week kicked off in South Africa this week, an event that has taken place in over 150 different locations worldwide, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for the world to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israel, just as many other Anti Apartheid heroes from South Africa have affirmed. Tutu said in his statement on Monday, “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.” (6)

Long before he died, Nelson Mandela demanded that we should have the self determination of any other people. “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”, he said.

Will you sing “living with war” to an audience most of which will have served or are serving in the Israeli army that during the day were bombing our families, or manning the hundreds of checkpoints that make simple journeys daily acts of humiliation?

While we in Gaza can never return to our homes that lay buried around the areas in which you will be travelling freely, will you sing, “A hundred voices from a hundred lands, need someone to listen.  People are dying here and there.”

On the struggle to support First Nations rights in Canada and environmental protection you said: “If you have a conscience, you can`t go through your day without realizing what`s going on, and questioning it, and going, “Is this right?”(7)

This is the question to mull over as here in Gaza a short period of silence has descended after the bombs rained down on us yet again tonight Show the courage to say that this system of violent discrimination and racial segregation is unacceptable in Palestine, just as you showed it to be unacceptable in the American South, unacceptable in Apartheid South Africa and unacceptable for the Indigenous of the Americas.

Stand on the right side of history and stand with us, and don’t entertain apartheid Israel this July.

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel University Teachers’ Association

###

How about Neil Young & Crazy Horse entertain Tel Aviv and wage some heavy peace by broadcasting this image on the stage at Hayarkon Park on July 17?
Disappearing Pal 1946-2013

References:

(1) http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/place.php?plid=1985

(2) http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/major-indigenous-studies-group-endorses-israel-boycott

(3) http://www.gazagateway.org/tag/musical-instruments/

(4) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel#sthash.EtPIzrik.dpuf

(5) http://www.usacbi.org/2010/04/gil-scott-heron-announces-cancellation-of-tel-aviv-concert-artist-won%E2%80%99t-play-in-israel-%E2%80%9Cuntil-everyone-is-welcome-there%E2%80%9D/

(6) http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.578872

(7) http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/18/sbt.01.html


Eileen Fleming is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Eileen Fleming, Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

Why War Is Inevitable

May 26, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.

Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.

The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.

President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the “war on terror” for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.

Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.

The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”

Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people.Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.

Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.

The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, “ I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.

For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat “the terrorist threat.”

This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.

Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.

By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.

If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.

The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.

Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. http://www.ibtimes.com/gallup-poll-biggest-threat-world-peace-america-1525008 and
http://www.jewishfederations.org/european-poll-israel-biggest-threat-to-world-peace.aspx

The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be “rogue states” and the “axis of evil,” such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.

The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the “exceptional, indispensable country” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.

The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the “settlers” and those who control the Israeli government.

Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine–invaders really–have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.

Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the ”others.” When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, “God created us all equal.”

To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.

Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.

To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. ”A loosely confederated Russia . . . a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.

Brzezinski propounded “a geo-strategy for Eurasia.” In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and “a confederated Russia” are part of a “transcontinental security framework,” managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.

I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.

The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.

I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E.Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.

The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.

The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.

The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.

Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be “bombed into the stone age.” Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be “terrorists,” and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.

“We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power.”

This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has “coalitions of the willing” and military invasions that bring “democracy and women’s rights” to non-compliant countries.

China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an “authoritarian state.” China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.

The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?

The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.

Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.

Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.

The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.

Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.

If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.

The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.

The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.

Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.

Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.

Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.

Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?

As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, “uprisings span four corners of the globe.” Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.

In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.

In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the “war on terror,” a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the “Soviet threat,” now converted into the “Russian threat,” to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.

Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.

If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.

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. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

The History of the Pharma-Cartel

January 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

1911, May 15

The Supreme Court of the U.S. finds John Rockefeller and his Trust guilty of corruption, illegal business practices and racketeering. As a result of this decision, the entire Rockefeller Standard Oil-Trust, the world’s largest corporation of its time, was sentenced to be dismantled. But Rockefeller was already above the Supreme Court and did not care about this decision.

1913

In order to disperse public and political pressure on him and other robber-barons, Rockefeller uses a trick called “philanthropy”, whereby the illegal gains from his robber-practices in the oil business are used to launch the Rockefeller Foundation. This tax haven was used to strategically take over the health care sector in the U.S..

The Rockefeller Foundation was the front organization for a new global business venture of Rockefeller and his accomplices. This new venture was called the pharmaceutical investment business. Donations from the Rockefeller Foundation went only to medical schools and hospitals. These institutions had become missionaries of a new breed of companies: the manufacturers of patented, synthetic drugs.

This was also the time when the first vitamins were discovered. It soon became clear however that these natural molecules had live-saving health benefits and that they were able to prevent many chronic health conditions. The first books appeared with research, subsequently abandoned, about the health benefits of vitamins. These newly discovered molecules had only one disadvantage: they were non-patentable.

Thus, in its first years of existence, the pharmaceutical investment business already faced a mortal thread: vitamins and other micronutrients promoted as public health programs would prohibit the development of any sizable investment business based on patented drugs. The elimination of this unwanted competition from natural micronutrients therefore became a question of life and death for the pharmaceutical business.

1918

The Rockefeller Foundation uses the Spanish flu epidemic – and the media (that it already controlled by this time) – to start a witch-hunt on all forms of medicine that were not covered by its patents.

Within the next 15 years, all medical schools in the U.S., most hospitals and the American Medical Association all essentially became pawns on the chessboard of Rockefeller’s strategy to subjugate the entire health care sector under the monopoly of his pharmaceutical investment business.

Disguised as a “Mother Theresa”, the Rockefeller Foundation was also used to conquer foreign countries and entire continents for the pharmaceutical investment business – just as Rockefeller himself had done a few decades previously with his petrochemical investment business.

1925

On the other side of the Atlantic, in Germany, the first chemical / pharmaceutical cartel is founded in order to compete with Rockefeller’s quest for control of the global drug market. Lead by the German multinationals Bayer, BASF and Hoechst, the I.G. Farben cartel was founded with a total number of employees surpassing 80,000. The race for global control was on.

1929, November 29

The Rockefeller cartel (U.S.A.) and the I.G. Farben cartel (Germany) decided to divide the entire globe into interest spheres – the very same crime Rockefeller had been sentenced for 18 years earlier, when his trust had divided up the U.S. into “interest zones”.

1932 / 33

The I.G. Farben cartel, equally insatiable, decides no longer to be bound by the 1929 constraints. They support an uprising German politician, who promises I.G. Farben to militarily conquer the world for them. With millions of dollars in election campaign donations, this politician seized power in Germany, turned the German democracy into a dictatorship and kept his promise to launch his conquest war, a war that soon became known as WWII.

In each and every country Hitler’s wehrmacht invaded, the first act was to rob the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and assign them – free of charge – to the I.G. Farben empire.

1942 – 45

In order to cement its global leadership with patented drugs, the I.G. Farben cartel tests its patented pharmaceutical substances on concentration camp inmates in Auschwitz, Dachau and many other sites. The fees for conducting these inhumane studies were transferred directly from the bank accounts of Bayer, Hoechst and BASF to the bank accounts of the SS, who operated the concentration camps.

1945

I.G. Farben’s plan to take control of the global oil and drug markets has failed. The U.S. and the other allied forces won WWII. Nevertheless, many U.S. and allied soldiers had lost their lives during the conflict, and the allies’ reward was little compared to the rewards of others. The corporate shares of the losers, I.G. Farben, went to the Rockefeller trust (U.S.A.) and Rothschild / J.P. Morgan (U.K.).

1947

In the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, 24 managers from Bayer, BASF, Hoechst and other executives of the I.G. Farben cartel were tried for crimes against humanity. These crimes included: leading wars of aggression, instituting slavery and committing mass murder. In his final pleading, U.S.-Chief Prosecutor Telford Taylor summarized the crimes committed by these corporate criminals with the following words: “Without I.G. Farben, the second World War would not have been possible”.

Amazingly, the real culprits for the death of 60 Million people in World War II – the I.G. Farben executives – received the mildest verdicts. Even those executives directly responsible for the crimes in I.G. Auschwitz only received a maximum of twelve years in jail. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

By 1944 Nelson Rockefeller had already entered the executive branch of the U.S. government. He started off as Under-Secretary of State and ended up a few years later as Special Adviser of President Truman for Special Affairs. In other words, at critical junctures of the 20th century, the Rockefeller interests took direct charge. They decided the post war shape of the world and the distribution of its wealth.

As such, under the influence of the U.S. State Department, the verdicts in Nuremberg against the I.G. Farben managers can easily be explained. In return for taking over the corporate shares of I.G. Farben, and thereby global control of the oil and drug business, Nelson Rockefeller made sure that the real culprits of World War II were not hanged. In fact, and as we shall see, they were needed.

1949

The Federal Republic of Germany was founded. This was the first time in history that the constitution and society of an industrialized nation could be planned and modeled as a fortress of the pharmaceutical investment business – a transatlantic outpost of the Rockefeller interests.

Within only a few years, the I.G. Farben managers sentenced in Nuremberg were released from jail and put back into their previous positions as stakeholders of the Rockefeller interests. Fritz Ter Meer, for example, sentenced to twelve years in jail for his crimes in Auschwitz, was back as chairman of the board of Germany’s largest pharmaceutical multinational, Bayer, by 1963!

1945 – 49

The role of the Rockefeller brothers was not limited to their taking over the global monopolies of the oil and drug businesses. They also needed to create the political framework for these businesses to thrive. Under their influence, therefore, the United Nations was founded in 1945, in San Francisco. To seize political control of the post war world, three countries – leading drug export nations – had all the say, and 200 other nations were rendered mere spectators.

Founded as organizations to allegedly serve the wellbeing of the people of the world, the UN’s subsidiary organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), soon turned out to be nothing more than the political arms of the global oil and drug interests.

1963

On behalf of the Rockefeller interests, the government of the pharmaceutical banana republic Germany spearheaded one of the most infamous efforts ever made within the United Nations. Under the pretense of consumer protection, it launched a four-decade-long crusade to outlaw vitamin therapies and other natural, non-patentable health approaches in all member countries of the United Nations. The goal was to simply ban any and all competition for the multi-billion dollar business with patented drugs. The plan was simple: copy for the entire world what had already been accomplished in America in the 1920s – a monopoly on health care for the investment business with patented drugs.

Since the marketplace for the pharmaceutical investment business depends upon the continued existence of diseases, the drugs it developed were not intended to prevent, cure or eradicate disease. Thus, the goal of the global strategy was to monopolize health for billions of people, with pills that nearly cover symptoms but hardly ever address the root cause of disease. The deprivation of billions of people from having access to life saving information about the health benefits of natural health approaches, whilst at the same time establishing a monopoly with largely ineffective and frequently toxic patented drugs, caused disease and death in genocidal proportions.

This epidemic of unnecessary disability and death by the pharmaceutical business with disease is unparalleled in history.

Linus Pauling and other eminent scientists deserve credit for having kept open the door of knowledge about the health benefits of vitamins and other effective natural health approaches. If it were not for them we would already be living in a health prison today, guarded by the gatekeepers of the pharmaceutical business with disease in medicine, politics and the media.

Linus Pauling should also be credited for having identified the significance of Dr. Rath’s early research in vitamins and cardiovascular disease, and for having invited Dr. Rath to join him during his last years to continue his life’s work.

1990 – 92

These years will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the pharmaceutical business with disease. In a series of scientific publications, in some of which Dr. Rath invited Linus Pauling to join him as co-author, Dr. Rath identified micronutrient deficiency as the primary cause of diseases. These diseases include heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetic circulatory problems, cancer and even immune deficiency diseases, including AIDS.

Like a Sherlock Holmes of science, Dr. Rath traced the real cause of these diseases, and found that they had been deliberately nebulized or even hidden away from millions of people for one purpose only: to feed the insatiable greed of the pharmaceutical business with disease.

Source: Dr. Rath Health Foundation

An Empire of Drones and Robots

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Is there any doubt that America’s foreign policy, based upon maintaining a global empire, actually makes us less safe? The misgiving is that such intercession has any actual benefits to the citizens of the country. What once was a respected leadership role of non-interventionism in international affairs, has become a dominating imperium for worldwide control and subjugation. Exporting the “land of the free” is a myth, especially when domestic freedom is a dying memory. Internationalists tell us that military and surveillance drone technology promises enhanced security, with little concern for collateral damage or loss of innocent life. However, the facts do not bear out such claims.

Factor in the expansion of robot deployment and replacement of human assets, produces the net effort of an even more depersonalize and dehumanizing use of coercive force. Nonetheless, such a trend gets little public concern and even less outrage. Military branches, filled with voluntary recruits, are losing faith in the spin. CIA and unnamed black bag missions rely upon eager operatives that believes in the importance of the assignment or demented mercenaries that enjoy their macabre trade.

The practice of desensitizing defense forces is an essential component of basic training. With robot brigades, moral considerations need not interfere with killing tasks. The essay, Kant’s moral philosophy and the question of pre-emptive war illustrates the quid essential example of an amoral tech that avoids the very nature of profound ethical issues. The stick question of morality is foremost in areas of human endeavors, but total absent in the wiring of tech carnage machines.

“That the international arena is indeed a state of nature in something approaching Hobbes’s sense of the term is a theme upon which Kant insists in both Perpetual Peace and the Metaphysics of Morals; it becomes a much more insistent theme in the latter. Such a conceptualization does not, however, diminish Kant’s commitment to upholding and, if possible, promoting fundamental principles of right within this arena, nor his condemnation of those individuals and governments, however numerous, which violate them. It is in this context that his pronouncements concerning the justifiability of war, and whether a pre-emptive war is ever acceptable, must be understood. In Perpetual Peace, these pronouncements are unequivocal. Famously, Article 5 of the preliminary principles conducive to perpetual peace is “No state shall interfere by force in the constitution and government of another state.” In the long Appendix to this essay Kant warns against demanding that another state divest itself of a despotic constitution – at least as long as this state is in danger of being swallowed up by other states – even while expressing the hope that despotic constitutions will gradually give way throughout the world to republican forms of government. (Republican and despotic are the only two types of Regierung, as distinguished from forms of authority, or Beherrschung – that is, whether the ruling power consists of one person, several, or all of civil society taken together – that Kant recognizes; he is far removed from the distasteful combination of frivolity with brutality that has led to the identification of certain regimes as “rogue states,” hence undeserving of any respect, by apologists for the great powers of our day.) Further on in the same Appendix, in the context of considering possible antinomies between morality and politics, Kant asks whether, if a neighboring power has grown to such size as to warrant apprehension that it might attack, it would be permissible for an allied coalition of weaker states to stage a pre-emptive attack on that state, “even without preceding insult,” and answers in the negative.”

Surely, the memory chips in drones and robots are not programmed to reflect a Kantian standard for the use of deadly force and destructive weaponry. It is exactly because of this lack of understanding between right and wrong that drones and robots are so attractive to the enforcers of the imperial empire.

drones.jpg

Even an establishment mouthpiece like CBS must acknowledge the risks and non-decisive functions of this technology. Drone wars: Pentagon’s future with robots, troops, clearly raises the dangers of android warfare.

“Washington’s post-9/11 military interventions have been a boon for drones. The numbers tell the story. At the turn of this century, the Department of Defense had 90 drones with plans to increase the inventory by 200 over the next decade, according to Dyke Weatherington, a Defense Department deputy director overseeing acquisitions of hardware for unmanned warfare. As 2012 began, there were more than 9,500 remotely piloted aircraft in the U.S. arsenal.

Air Force contracting documents suggest that the estimated five Reaper sorties flown each day in 2012 will jump to 66 per day by 2016. What that undoubtedly means is more countries with drones flying over them, more drone bases, more crashes, more mistakes. What we’re unlikely to see is armed drones scoring decisive military victories, offering solutions to complex foreign-policy problems, or even providing an answer to the issue of terrorism, despite the hopes of policymakers and the military brass.”

Yet, the military is rapidly expanding the footprint and capacities for their drone force. Obama’s Two Words for Us: ‘Predator Drones’, is not only a sick joke, but more importantly a very obscene policy. America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases, documents that this immoral combatant system is spreading indiscriminate causalities from “The Agency” who has a long record of war crimes.

“Over the last decade, the American use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has expanded exponentially, as has media coverage of their use. On September 21st, the Wall Street Journal reported that the military has deployed missile-armed MQ-9 Reaper drones on the “island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks on al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Somalia.” A day earlier, a Washington Post piece also mentioned the same base on the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, as well as one in the African nation of Djibouti, another under construction in Ethiopia, and a secret CIA airstrip being built for drones in an unnamed Middle Eastern country. (Some suspect it’s Saudi Arabia.)

Post journalists Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reported that the “Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.” Within days, the Post also reported that a drone from the new CIA base in that unidentified Middle Eastern country had carried out the assassination of radical al-Qaeda preacher and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.”

200-robots.jpg

Is this the kind of stealth death that shares the adage “if you build it they will die” or can the capabilities of these systems be limited strictly to reconnaissance intelligence? Now such a goal is not covered by international law, because the AMERIKA super power does not recognize any legal or moral restrains on their use of armed elimination of anyone designated as an enemy of the state.

Reigning terror from the skies is rationalized because suspected terrorists are such existential threats that allow for the use of any means necessary. The NDAA mentality covers the entire globe using the standard that removing anyone without due process is warranted. The Drone Wrath for a Compliant Society essay, implores that active resistance is long overdue.

“The National Defense Authorization Act is the latest unconstitutional measure that targets domestic citizens for punitive punishment. Due process, now reduced to “Due or Die” is the harbinger of the use of domestic drone capitulation. What will it take to awaken submissive citizens that the capability of foreign deployed drones easily can be weaponized for local operations?”

The NSA calls for the elimination of Edward Snowden, who just happens to be the most current and celebrated target. Nevertheless, with the readying of robot assassin squads, anyone could be the next victim. As long as the internationalists are in control of our government and the globalists are the masters of the world economy, the focus and missions of the U.S. military will be uses to further the interests of these treacherous elites.

The technocratic authoritarians diminish the sacred nature of life with each new death system. Absent from their design specifications is the moral imperative. For these deranged enablers of a global gulag, humans are expendable and unnecessary. The concept of Kantian duty is never a factor in their robotic monsters.

When empires are in the last thralls of decay, they go to war. The failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have exposed the futility and betrayal of globalist government service. Defense of country has never been the mission for these expeditions.

Future operations will use drone and robotic weapons whenever possible, since human doubt in a rightful purpose in the mission is rapidly diminishing. Troop reduction and replacement with machines is the technology solution, when moral authority is absent.

Perpetual war will seek full spectrum dominance, which is now dependent upon unman aircraft and land based devices. The next false flag excuse will claim a fictitious necessity to unleash the bombing drones. GPS coordinates; unencumbered by moral doubt, guide Hellfire missiles.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Siege of Yarmouk

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Damascus – At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal.

The Palestinians living here have been targeted. They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and men—trapped and dying from hunger and illness all across Syria as a direct, predictable result of using the siege of civilians as a weapon of war. It isn’t just Yarmouk. Throughout Syria, neighborhoods are being blockaded. Residents are running out of supplies, unable to get basic services. Among the Syrian towns under siege at this time are Nubul and Al-Zahraa in Aleppo province, the old city of Homs, and the towns of Eastern Ghouta, Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham in rural Damascus.

Truly a crisis of horrifying proportions, yet perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in the systematic starvation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp, where this past week eight more Palestinians died from malnutrition. These include 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi, and a 50-year-old woman named Noor. In addition, 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh and two 19-year-olds—Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji—were killed while protesting the blockade of the camp. And reports have also emerged that two other men, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Younis Nofal, were tortured and killed.

In December 2013, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, issued a statement concerning the situation in Yarmouk camp, in which he said: “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies.”

Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances) (you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut.

In January of 2013 the UN estimated that one million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance. Today, twelve months later, the figure is nearly ten million. That assessment is from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke last week at yet another aid conference. A commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council has found war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross human rights violations committed in Syria on a daily basis. According to its conclusion, “All sides in the conflict have shown a total disregard for their responsibilities under the international humanitarian and human rights law.”

International law relevant to situations of this nature was created specifically to stop the targeting of civilians. Its principles, standards and rules demand that such targeting cease, and they call for the prosecution of perpetrators irrespective of which side in the civil war in Syria they may support. A civil war is an armed conflict located on the territory of one state, between the armed forces of the State and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups under responsible command. These are groups that maintain control over part of the land, or that are able to carry out armed operations of a continuous and coordinated nature. The applicable statutes include Common Article 3 of Protocol II (1977) the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Whether it is regime armed forces and their allies, or anti-government militia, both are legally bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and must lift the siege on Yarmouk. If not, they risk prosecution at an existing international court or at a possible Special Tribunal for Syria being contemplated among some at the United Nations.

The following is from Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: Part IV: Civilian Population:

Article 13.PROTECTION OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION.

  1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.
  2. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.

  3. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
  4. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 14. PROTECTION OF OBJECTS INDISPENSABLE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

Article 15. PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

This body of international law requires that all warring parties immediately end the siege of Yarmouk and allow the entry of food supplies, while permitting those who want to leave the camp to do so. The safety of those who wish to return to their homes is also mandated. Additionally the law requires guarantees of safe passages to relief teams, UN fact finding missions, and unobstructed entry of medicines, medical staff and medical equipment. Those today who are preventing this are subject to international criminal prosecution, and as noted above, they are subject to future prosecution at any time, as the level and nature of their crimes prevent the application of any Statute of Limitations.

According to human rights activists, attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk camp failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Those attempting to leave were arrested, in some cases with serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on them. Others were shot at near the camp’s entry points. This occurred particularly in the last two months of 2013 and early January 2014. Several agreements between the warring parties, being the Syrian government forces and the rebels assaulting Yarmouk, have not been honored by either. Attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk have consistently failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the regime and the PLO, and some who attempted escape were arrested, beaten or shot at.

The several attempts to lift the siege usually include versions of the following language from Yarmouk’s Popular Committee that “based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:

  • End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
  • Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
  • Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
  • Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
  • Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.”

Despite an official policy of neutrality announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and despite also unequivocal statements by Palestinian delegations acquitting the regime of any responsibility in the besieging, bombing and targeting of the camp and its inhabitants, it has not been enough to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid convoys.

But there is hope that relief may come. Against the backdrop of accusations and condemnations being circulated, many are looking to Russia to step in and, much as it did when it induced the Assad government to get rid of its chemical weapons, pressure the government to at least lift its own part of the siege.

There are critics of the idea, however. Mr. Ibrahim Amin, Editor in Chief of Lebanon’s Al Akbar daily newspaper, argues that somehow because Palestinians have been given many more civil rights in Syria than, for example, Lebanon—which to Syria’s great credit is true—then the refugees must somehow be at fault for their own slaughter and siege at Yarmouk. It is nonsense, of course, as also is his statement that, “In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.”—nonsense because, for example, Palestinians cannot vote in Syrian elections. Amin should know this, and he should know that they have never been made citizens of Syria, for this is common knowledge.

Nevertheless, writing in the January 13 issue of his newspaper, Editor Amin piles blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, by seeming to argue that they deserved it—the babies dying of malnutrition, the people suffering from dehydration and disease caused by the siege of their camp. He demands to know, “What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad? No sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.”

More nonsense from the Editor-in-Chief since virtually every Palestinian organization and leader, and virtually every resident living in any one of UNWRA’s 54 camps, including the ten in Syria, have repeatedly proclaimed their non-involvement in the Syria conflict. Presumably in his line of work Mr. Amin would know this. And presumably, if he took the time to speak to any Palestinians about the conflict in Syria, he would likely be advised that they are grateful to the Syrian people for hosting them. He might also be advised that they regret that some of their leaders got involved with the conflict in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, since innocent Palestinian civilians paid dearly, and that they will not repeat the mistake in Syria. It is a fact that some individual Palestinians, following the intense December 12-17, 2012 shelling and bombing of parts of Yarmouk, turned against those who were blamed for targeting them.

“Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families,” Mr. Amin states, though without offering any evidence. He goes on: “In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.” Again his assertions are false and politically motivated. Those who stayed are overwhelmingly those refugees who cannot escape. The Syrian army to its credit has not invaded the camp, but it does surround and seals most of it. Some rebel groups are hiding inside and terrorizing the camp.

It is egregious for Mr. Amin to misrepresent the facts of Palestinian neutrality in Syrian camps; it is doubly egregious for him to do so apparently wishing to gain approval from Syrian or Resistance leaders. Neither is likely to be other than embarrassed by Mr. Amin’s gross misrepresentations or his gratuitous ad hominem attacks on refugee camp victims of war crimes. The Editor-in-Chief’s distortions do not help the Resistance but rather harm it. As does his insistence that the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri eight years ago was done with a ‘secret missile’ fired from the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. There are a fair number of “Resistance groupies” and bloggers, well-meaning perhaps, but who in many cases actually aid enemies of the Resistance through their clumsy attempts at water carrying while ignoring reality.

But there is good news awaiting Mr. Amin if he will accept an invitation from one who considers himself to have been “Hezbollah” long before the 1985 “Open Letter” announcing the organizing of the Party of God next to where this observer gets his motorbike repaired in Ouzai. That is to say “Hezbollah” in the sense that since studying international law in law school this observer has supported the liberation of Palestine while rejecting the last of the 19th century’s colonial enterprise still occupying Palestine, and in the sense that this observer shares Hezbollah’s resistance goals and their declared responsibility to continue the struggle until achieving the full Right of Return. Oh yes, to be sure, this observer is not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, as I want to remind dear friend Jeff Feltman, who swore at an embassy Christmas party a while back that “Lamb faces ten years hard time in the feds when he dares to set foot on American soil for hobnobbing with terrorists”—though given the fact that Jeff had been imbibing some Christmas cheer when he made that statement to an embassy staffer, he has perhaps forgotten it now, which would be good news.

But at any rate, for Mr. Amin, here is what a fellow supporter of the Resistance is willing to do to possibly help him re-assess his conclusion about what is going on in Yarmouk: I invite Mr. Amin to appear in the lobby of the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus at 9 a.m. sharp on January 24. I will buy him breakfast, and as we dine, two contacts from Yarmouk will brief him on our morning program—a program that will include Mr. Amin discretely accompanying us to the south side of Yarmouk, where, depending on conditions that morning, we will arrive in front of the Zakerin Mosque in Al-Buweida, maybe 300 yards from the Az-Zain neighborhood. Mr. Amin will then need to join us crawling through a rather claustrophobic and smelly 30” diameter drain pipe that is approximately 40 yards in length. We will at this point hopefully end up safely in the basement of “Abu Ali’s” remaining half-house, where several refugees are still trapped. Mr. Amin can also visit with others next door. He should bring some cash, however, because his host doesn’t have much and we may need a bit to bribe a couple of gun-kids from one of the militias to facilitate our exit in case we are ratted out, so to speak.

Finally Mr. Amin will be able to see for himself, and listen to direct testimony, about what presently is, and has been, happening inside Yarmouk. He can ask the weakened residents about the conclusions he confidently presented in his Al Akbar article in which he claimed that the Yarmouk tragedy and crimes are their fault, or, as he so confidently put it, “Today, the unfolding events (in Yarmouk) are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility.” He may be surprised at what he learns about camp residents still trapped there, people scrabbling to feed themselves, and who have had no say or active role in the deplorable events that have overtaken them.

Just maybe, then, Mr. Amin will be motivated to edit a bit his earlier ridiculous broadside attacking the victims of the Yarmouk siege. And should he feel any contrition, maybe he will devote some of his energy and space in his newspaper to actually working for two elementary civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon—the right to work and home ownership. Their achievement will benefit Lebanon and the Resistance, both of which Mr. Amin claims to support.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

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