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Sugar is Toxic to Mice in ‘Safe’ Doses

New Test Hints Three Sodas Daily Hurt Lifespan, Reproduction

University of Utah News Center | August 13, 2013

When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar – the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily – females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.

“Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health,” the researchers say in a study set for online publication Tuesday, Aug. 13 in the journal Nature Communications.

“This demonstrates the adverse effects of added sugars at human-relevant levels,” says University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, the study’s senior author. He says previous studies using other tests fed mice large doses of sugar disproportionate to the amount people consume in sweetened beverages, baked goods and candy.

“I have reduced refined sugar intake and encouraged my family to do the same,” he adds, noting that the new test showed that the 25 percent “added-sugar” diet – 12.5 percent dextrose (the industrial name for glucose) and 12.5 percent fructose – was just as harmful to the health of mice as being the inbred offspring of first cousins.

Even though the mice didn’t become obese and showed few metabolic symptoms, the sensitive test showed “they died more often and tended to have fewer babies,” says the study’s first author, James Ruff, who recently earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah. “We have shown that levels of sugar that people typically consume – and that are considered safe by regulatory agencies – impair the health of mice.”

The new toxicity test placed groups of mice in room-sized pens nicknamed “mouse barns” with multiple nest boxes – a much more realistic environment than small cages, allowing the mice to compete more naturally for mates and desirable territories, and thereby revealing subtle toxic effects on their performance, Potts says.

“This is a sensitive test for health and vigor declines,” he says, noting that in a previous study, he used the same test to show how inbreeding hurt the health of mice.

“One advantage of this assay is we get the same readout no matter if we are testing inbreeding or added sugar,” Potts says. “The mice tell us the level of health degradation is almost identical” from added-sugar and from cousin-level inbreeding.

The study says the need for a sensitive toxicity test exists not only for components of our diet, but “is particularly strong for both pharmaceutical science, where 73 percent of drugs that pass preclinical trials fail due to safety concerns, and for toxicology, where shockingly few compounds receive critical or long-term toxicity testing.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

A Mouse Diet Equal to What a Quarter of Americans Eat

The experimental diet in the study provided 25 percent of calories from added sugar – half fructose and half glucose – no matter how many calories the mice ate. Both high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar (sucrose) are half fructose and half glucose.

Potts says the National Research Council recommends that for people, no more than 25 percent of calories should be from “added sugar,” which means “they don’t count what’s naturally in an apple, banana, potato or other nonprocessed food. … The dose we selected is consumed by 13 percent to 25 percent of Americans.”

The diet fed to the mice with the 25 percent sugar-added diet is equivalent to the diet of a person who drinks three cans daily of sweetened soda pop “plus a perfectly healthy, no-sugar-added diet,” Potts says.

Ruff notes that sugar consumption in the American diet has increased 50 percent since the 1970s, accompanied by a dramatic increase in metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers used a mouse supply company that makes specialized diets for research. Chow for the mice was a highly nutritious wheat-corn-soybean mix with vitamins and minerals. For experimental mice, glucose and fructose amounting to 25 percent of calories was included in the chow. For control mice, corn starch was used as a carbohydrate in place of the added sugars.

House Mice Behaving Naturally

Mice often live in homes with people, so “mice happen to be an excellent mammal to model human dietary issues because they’ve been living on the same diet as we have ever since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago,” Potts says.

Mice typically used in labs come from strains bred in captivity for decades. They lack the territoriality shown by wild mice. So the study used mice descended from wild house mice that were “outbred” to prevent inbreeding typical of lab mice.

“They are highly competitive over food, nesting sites and territories,” he says. “This competition demands high performance from their bodies, so if there is a defect in any physiological systems, they tend to do more poorly during high competition.”

So Potts’ new test – named the Organismal Performance Assay, or OPA – uses mice “in a more natural ecological context” more likely to reveal toxic effects of whatever is being tested, he says.

“When you look at a mouse in a cage, it’s like trying to evaluate the performance of a car by turning it on in a garage,” Ruff says. “If it doesn’t turn on, you’ve got a problem. But just because it does turn on, doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. To really test it, you take it out on the road.”

A big room was divided into 11 “mouse barns” used for the new test. Six were used in the study. Each “barn” was a 377-square-foot enclosure ringed by 3-foot walls.

Each mouse barn was divided by wire mesh fencing into six sections or “territories,” but the mice could climb easily over the mesh. Within each of the six sections was a nest box, a feeding station and drinking water.

Four of the six sections in each barn were “optimal,” more desirable territories because the nest boxes were opaque plastic storage bins, which mice entered via 2-inch holes at the bottom. Each bin had four nesting cages in it, and an enclosed feeder.

The two other sections were “suboptimal” territories with open planter trays instead of enclosed bins. Female mice had to nest communally in the trays.

Running the Experiment

The mice in the experiment began with 156 “founders” that were bred in Potts’ colony, weaned at four weeks, and then assigned either to the added-sugar diet or the control diet, with half the males and half the females on each diet.

The mice stayed in cages with siblings of the same sex (to prevent reproduction) for 26 weeks while they were fed these diets. Then the mice were placed in the mouse barns to live, compete with each other and breed for 32 more weeks. They all received the same added-sugar diet while in the mouse barns, so the study only tested for differences caused by the mice eating different diets for the previous 26 weeks.

The founder mice had implanted microchips, like those put in pets. Microchip readers were placed near the feeding stations to record which mice fed where and for how long. A male was considered dominant if he made more than 75 percent of the visits by males to a given feeding station. In reality, the dominant males made almost 100 percent of male visits to the feeder in the desirable territory they dominated.

With the 156 founder mice (58 male, 98 female), the researchers ran the experiment six times, with an average of 26 mice per experiment: eight to 10 males (competing for six territories, four desirable and two suboptimal) and 14 to 18 females.

The Findings: Added Sugar Impairs Mouse Lifespan and Reproduction

– After 32 weeks in mouse barns, 35 percent of the females fed extra sugar died, twice the 17 percent death rate for female control mice. There was no difference in the 55 percent death among males who did and did not get added sugar. Ruff says males have much higher death rates than females in natural settings because they compete for territory, “but there’s no relation to sugar.”

– Males on the added-sugar diet acquired and held 26 percent fewer territories than males on the control diet: control males occupied 47 percent of the territories while sugar-added mice controlled less than 36 percent. Male mice shared the remaining 17 percent of territories.

– Males on the added-sugar diet produced 25 percent fewer offspring than control males, as determined by genetic analysis of the offspring. The sugar-added females had higher reproduction rates than controls initially – likely because the sugar gave them extra energy to handle the burden of pregnancy – but then had lower reproductive rates as the study progressed, partly because they had higher death rates linked to sugar.

The researchers studied another group of mice for metabolic changes. The only differences were minor: cholesterol was elevated in sugar-fed mice, and the ability to clear glucose from the blood was impaired in female sugar-fed mice. The study found no difference between mice on a regular diet and mice with the 25 percent sugar-added diet when it came to obesity, fasting insulin levels, fasting glucose or fasting triglycerides.

“Our test shows an adverse outcome from the added-sugar diet that couldn’t be detected by conventional tests,” Potts says.

Human-made toxic substances in the environment potentially affect all of us, and more are continually discovered, Potts says.

“You have to ask why we didn’t discover them 20 years ago,” he adds. “The answer is that until now, we haven’t had a functional, broad and sensitive test to screen the potential toxic substances that are being released into the environment or in our drugs or our food supply.”

Potts and Ruff conducted the study with University of Utah biology lab manager Linda Morrison and undergraduates Amanda Suchy, Sara Hugentobler, Mirtha Sosa and Bradley Schwartz, and with researchers Sin Gieng and Mark Shigenaga of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cory Booker, the Next Black Corporate Presidential Contender

obama-booker-2007

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | August 14, 2013

Cory Booker, the obnoxious and joyously cynical Newark, New Jersey mayor and soon-to-be U.S. senator, perfected the role of stealth Black corporatist Democratic politician years before Barack Obama was elected to national office – although he’s eight years younger than Obama. If anything, Booker has more friends in high rightwing places at this stage in his career than did Barack Obama when he was running for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, ten years ago. Obama came out gradually as a servant of the corporate class; Booker has always been a sycophant of the rich and devotee of their most reactionary causes.

While Barack Obama waited until he was president to fully display his school privatization colors, Cory Booker began his public career as an operative in the corporate-funded private school vouchers game. At the age of 33, and with only one term as a city councilman under his belt, Booker used his rich contacts in rightwing, mainly Republican circles to vastly outspend, and almost defeat, the most powerful Black politician in New Jersey, Newark mayor Sharpe James. Four years later, in 2006, after a very large Republican U.S. Attorney and now governor, Chris Christie, had put James on the path to prison, Cory Booker walked into City Hall with an army of Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires behind him.

Once he steps into the U.S. Senate, to serve out the remainder of the late Frank Lautenberg’s term, Booker will immediately start running for president, staking out a position to the right of the current occupant and of Obama’s likely successor, Hillary Clinton. In the last presidential race, Booker infuriated the Obama camp by coming to the defense of Bain Capital, the Wall Street investment firm where Mitt Romney made his fortune. Booker said it was “nauseating” to see all those good people in high finance held up to scorn in an election campaign.

Nobody can say that Cory Booker doesn’t take care of his friends in the 1%. They certainly take care of him. They have bankrolled all of his electoral efforts, most recently allowing Booker to spend almost three times as much as his top Democratic senatorial opponents, combined. Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerman’s $100 million gift to the Newark Public Schools made Booker look like an urban miracle worker – although the transaction was actually more like Booker presenting the schools as a gift to Zuckerman and his privatizing friends. Other Silicon Valley fat cats set Booker up as head of a start-up Internet company that made Booker a millionaire, at least on paper. Now that Booker is going to Washington, the start-up is going down the tubes. But, there are plenty more self-serving deals to be made on Capitol Hill.

In the recent campaign, Booker sounded positively like an old-style Republican, badmouthing “Washington” in every other sentence.

The filthy rich have cultivated a true-blue believer in Cory Booker, the still-young man from the suburbs of New Jersey. As I wrote in the inaugural issue of the Black Commentator, in April of 2002, “At his age, Cory will be a blight on the political scene even longer than the rest of the Four Cs (colored conservatives counting cash).” I was referring to Condoleezza (Rice), Clarence (Thomas), and Colin (Powell).

He’ll likely be around even longer than his fellow Black stealth corporatist, Barack Obama.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Futile Peace Talks – Again

The Jewish state’s bottom line

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | August 14, 2013  

There are many flies waiting to spoil the ointment of the Middle East peace talks, not least Israel’s recent announcement of a rash of settlement-building. That triggered an angry letter to Washington last week from the Palestinian leadership, though it seems Israel’s serial humiliation of Mahmoud Abbas before the two sides meet was not enough to persuade him to pull out.

However, as the parties meet today for their first round of proper negotiations, it is worth highlighting one major stumbling block that has barely registered with observers: the fifth of Israel’s population who are not Jews but Palestinians.

The difficulty posed to the peace process by this Palestinian minority was illustrated in the defining moment of the last notable effort to reach an agreement, initiated in Oslo two decades ago.

In 1993 Yitzhak Rabin, then prime minister, assembled a 15-person delegation for the signing ceremony with the Palestinians at the White House. The delegation was selected to suggest that all sectors of Israeli society favoured peace.

When Rabin was asked why he had not included a single Palestinian, he waved aside the question: “We are going to sign a peace treaty between Jewish Israel and the PLO.”

Rabin believed his own Palestinian citizens should be represented not by their government but by the adversary across the table. The mood 20 years on is unchanged. The Palestinian minority is still viewed as a fifth column, one a Jewish state would be better off without.

Significantly, it was a matter relating to Israel’s Palestinian citizens that nearly scuppered the start of these talks. Israeli cabinet ministers revolted at a precondition from Abbas that the release of long-term political prisoners should include a handful of inmates from Israel’s Palestinian minority.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, won a majority in the cabinet only after agreeing to postpone freeing this group until an unspecified time.

Similarly, previous experience suggests there will be an eruption of outrage should Netanyahu’s promised referendum on an agreement depend for its outcome — given the likely split between Israeli Jews — on the votes of Palestinian citizens. A senior minister, Silvan Shalom, has already indicated that only Israeli Jews should decide.

But Israel’s Palestinian minority will be thrust into the heart of the negotiations much before that.

Last weekend Netanyahu picked at one of the Israeli right’s favourite sores, denouncing reported comments from Abbas that no Israeli should be allowed to remain inside a future Palestinian state. Why, asks the right, should Israelis — meaning the settlers — be expelled from a Palestinian state while Israel is left with a large and growing Palestinian population inside its borders?

A possible solution promulgated by Netanyahu’s ally Avigdor Lieberman would redraw the borders to expel as many Palestinian citizens as possible in exchange for the settlements. There is a practical flaw, however: a land swap would rid Israel only of those Palestinians living near the West Bank.

Netanyahu prefers another option. He has required of the Palestinian Authority that it recognise Israel as a Jewish state. This condition will take centre stage at the talks.

Leaders of the Palestinian minority in Israel are intensively lobbying the PA to reject the demand. According to a recent report by the International Crisis Group, Palestinian officials are still undecided. Some fear the PA may agree to recognition if it clears the way to an agreement.

Why does this matter to Israel? In the event there is a deal on Palestinian statehood, Israel will wake up the next morning to an intensified campaign for equal rights from the Palestinian minority. In such circumstances, Israel will not be able to plead “security” to justify continuing systematic discrimination.

The Palestinian minority’s first demand for equality is not in doubt: a right of return allowing their relatives in exile to join them inside Israel similar to the current Law of Return, which allows any Jew in the world instantly to become a citizen.

The stakes are high: without the Law of Return, Israel’s Jewishness is finished; with it, Israel’s trumpeted democracy is exposed as hollow.

Netanyahu is acutely sensitive to these dangers. Recognition of Israel’s Jewishness would pull the rug from under the minority’s equality campaign. If you don’t want to live in a Jewish state, Netanyahu will tell Palestinian citizens, go live in Palestine. That is what Mahmoud Abbas, your leader, agreed.

Netanyahu’s visceral contempt for the rights of the Palestinian minority was alluded to in a recent parliamentary debate. When an Arab MP commented, “We were here before you and will remain [here] after you”, an indignant Netanyahu broke protocol to interrupt: “The first part isn’t true, and the second won’t be.”

Recent government moves suggest that his latter observation may not be simply an idle boast but a carefully crafted threat. Israel is preparing to expel tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens from their homes in the Negev into urban reservations as part of a forced relocation plan. This ethnic cleansing campaign sets a dangerous precedent, hinting at what may lie ahead for Israel’s other Palestinian communities.

The minority has taken to the streets in the most widespread internal Palestinian protests seen since the eruption of the second intifada. Israeli police have responded with extreme brutality, using levels of violence that would never be contemplated against Jewish demonstrators.

At the same time, Netanyahu’s government has introduced legislation to raise the threshold for parties seeking entry to the Knesset. The main victims will be the three small Arab parties represented there. The law’s aim, analysts note, is to engineer an Arab-free Knesset, guaranteeing the right’s continuing and unchallengeable domination.

Netanyahu, it seems, doubts he can rely on the PA either to supply him with the political surrender he needs from the peace process or to recognise his state’s Jewishness. Instead he is bypassing Abbas to protect against the threat posed by his Palestinian citizens’ demand for equality.

~

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snowden: NSA targeted journalists critical of government after 9/11

By Jonathan Easley | The Hill  | August 13, 2013

Leaker Edward Snowden accused the National Security Agency of targeting reporters who wrote critically about the government after the 9/11 attacks and warned it was “unforgivably reckless” for journalists to use unencrypted email messages when discussing sensitive matters.

Snowden said in an interview with the New York Times Magazine published Tuesday that he came to trust Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who, along with Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, helped report his disclosure of secret surveillance programs, because she herself had been targeted by the NSA.

“Laura and [Guardian reporter] Glenn [Greenwald] are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures,” Snowden said for the article, a profile of Poitras.

Snowden didn’t detail how Poitras was targeted by the NSA surveillance programs he disclosed, but suggested the agency tracked her emails and cautioned other journalists that they could be under surveillance.

“I was surprised to realize that there were people in news organizations who didn’t recognize any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world,” he said. “In the wake of this year’s disclosures, it should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless.”

Snowden, who at one point in the interview referred to himself as “famously paranoid,” said he came to trust Poitras because she was one of the few journalists “to challenge the excesses of the government” during a time of “heightened nationalism.”

“After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in American abdicated their role as a check to power – the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government – for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism,” he said.

“From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy,” he continued. “But what benefitted the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period. Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics.”

Earlier this month, the Russian government granted Snowden temporary asylum. The U.S. government wants the NSA leaker sent back to face trial on espionage charges.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Multiple New Polls Show Americans Reject Wholesale NSA Domestic Spying

By Mark M. Jaycox and Trevor Timm | EFF | August 13, 2013

Update: Polls further confirm that Americans are deeply concerned with the unconstitutional NSA spying programs. In a July 10 poll by Quinnipiac University, voters were asked whether the government’s efforts “go too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties” or “not far enough to adequately protect the country.” The poll revealed that Americans largely believe that the government has gone too far by a margin of 45% to 40%. This is a clear reversal from a January 2010 survey in which the same question found that 63% of voters believed the government didn’t “go far enough to adequately protect the country.”

Polls further reveal Americans as highly skeptical of the programs. In an Economist/YouGov poll, 56% of Americans do not think the NSA is telling the truth about the unconstitutional spying. The same poll found that 59% of people disapprove of the spying, while only 35% approve of it. These numbers are not outliers and are supported by a recent Fox News poll (.pdf) finding 62% of Americans think the collection of phone records is “an unacceptable and alarming invasion of privacy rights.”

The latest poll, performed by Pew, affirms every one of these conclusions. Not only are Americans skeptical about the program, but they also believe the government has gone too far—the same exact conclusion found in the Quinnipiac poll. In a series of questions, Pew asked Americans whether they supported or opposed the program with different phrasings. As Pew reports: “Under every condition in this experiment more respondents oppose than favor the program.” The Pew poll is full of evidence supporting the fact that Americans oppose the unconstitutional spying, are skeptical of government claims about the unconstitutional NSA spying, and are increasingly concerned about their privacy rights.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the 1950s and 60s, the NSA spied on all telegrams entering and exiting the country. The egregious actions were only uncovered after Congress set up an independent investigation called the Church Committee in the 1970s after Watergate. When the American public learned about NSA’s actions, they demanded change. And the Church Committee delivered it by providing more information about the programs and by curtailing the spying.

Just like the American public in the 1970s, Americans in the 2010s know that when the government amasses dossiers on citizens, it’s neither good for security nor for privacy. And a wide range of polls this week show widespread concern among the American people over the new revelations about NSA domestic spying.

Yesterday, the Guardian released a comprehensive poll showing widespread concern about NSA spying. Two-thirds of Americans think the NSA’s role should be reviewed. The poll also showed Americans demanding accountability and more information from public officials—two key points of our recently launched stopwatching.us campaign.

But there’s more. So far, Gallup has one of the better-worded questions, finding that 53% of Americans disapprove of the NSA spying. A CBS poll also showed that a majority—at 58%—of Americans disapprove of the government “collecting phone records of ordinary Americans.” And Rasmussen—though sometimes known for push polling—also recently conducted a poll showing that 59% of Americans are opposed to the current NSA spying.

The only poll showing less than a majority on the side of government overreach was Pew Research Center, which asked Americans whether it was acceptable that the NSA obtained “secret court orders to track the calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism.” Pew reported that 56% of Americans said it was “acceptable.” But the question is poorly worded. It doesn’t mention the widespread, dragnet nature of the spying. It also neglects to describe the “information” being given—metadata, which is far more sensitive and can provide far more information than just the ability to “track the calls” of Americans. And it was conducted early on in the scandal, before it was revealed that the NSA doesn’t even have to obtain court orders to search already collected information.

Despite the aggregate numbers, many of the polls took place at the same time Americans were finding out new facts about the program. More questions must be asked. And if history is any indication, the American people will be finding out much more. Indeed, just today the Guardian reported that its working on a whole new series with even more NSA revelations about spying.

One thing is definitely clear: the American public is demanding answers and needs more information. That’s why Congress must create a special investigatory committee to reveal the full extent of the programs. Democracy demands it. Go here to take action.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Pro-NSA Editorial Flails Wildly, Snarks At Internet Users And Claims Those Challenging NSA’s Reach ‘Hate Obama’

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | August 13, 2013

As more details of the NSA’s Fourth Amendment-abusing surveillance programs continue to be unveiled, it’s been remarkable to watch the verbal and written contortions deployed by supporters to justify each new bit of exposed information.

Some of the most impressive work comes from the pros, ones whose paychecks (either directly or through campaign contributions) rely on the NSA’s continued survival. Every incident of terrorism (especially 9/11) is held up as an example of why we need the NSA. Dozens of theoretically thwarted attacks are pointed to as “evidence” of the NSA’s crucial work. Countless references are made to the legality of the data harvesting. Things are mumbled about “welcoming the debate” or “maintaining a balance between privacy and security.”

When all of that doesn’t seem to be enough, the defenders resort to portraying domestic surveillance opponents as youthful internet dwellers who have gathered more Facebook Likes than public displays of affection.

Those who aren’t actively beholden to these intelligence agencies flail even more wildly, but still use the same rhetorical touchstones: 9/11, security, metadata, personal attacks.

This horrible GO TEAM DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE! opinion piece at the Seattle Times begins like many others. Columnist Froma Harrop takes us on a ride in the wayback machine, all the way back to 2001.

During the 2001 assault on the World Trade Center, I was trapped in a train under Manhattan for hours. As news of the collapsing towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania filtered down to the passengers, the conductor kept telling us this tunnel was the safest place we could be. Meanwhile, the tunnels were being searched for explosives.

I recall thinking, here we are in the commercial capital of the most powerful country on earth, with a zillion-dollar defense budget, and we couldn’t see this coming. That’s what the National Security Agency’s massive data-combing program is supposed to do. See the next thing coming, and stop it.

Now, if readers had somehow missed the headline (“Unjustified hysteria over the NSA surveillance programs”), they might be inclined to believe this piece was headed in an anti-NSA direction. After all, the most powerful nation in the world had the NSA’s data-combing operations at its disposal and still couldn’t prevent the attacks. (And it did have the NSA’s data-combing operations at its disposal — even if it was fairly miniscule as compared to today’s globe-spanning monstrosity.)

But Harrop believes this lack of prevention and failure of a “zillion-dollar defense budget” means we should have more of the stuff that didn’t work before.

So hard as I try, I can’t fathom the manic outrage over the idea of a government computer raking through the metadata on Americans’ phone calls and emails. Metadata is about email addresses, numbers called and length of conversation.

And there’s the personal attack. People alarmed or outraged by the extent of the NSA’s programs are “manic.”

The computers don’t look at content — what I say or what is said to me. Where’s the big loss in privacy?

First, you have to accept the premise that metadata is harmless. And if you do that, as Harrop has done, the NSA has a whole raft of acronyms to sell you. Second, you have to believe the NSA doesn’t look at content. It swears it doesn’t. I’d be more inclined to believe the NSA if it would swear on the stack of 20,000 documents currently in the Guardian’s possession.

Harrop, already pretty much completely sold on the NSA’s talking points, then goes on to seek confirmation of her bias.

John Schindler is an expert on intelligence and terrorism at the U.S. Naval War College. He spent a decade with the NSA. Do I understand the basics? I ask him. Pretty much.

Objection. Leading.

And so on. Schindler (a Schindler whose list you’d rather avoid) breaks down the surveillance programs as nothing more than harmless metadata, lawfully collected, queried by analysts in order to save the lives of millions. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

But I bet Harrop is now wishing she hadn’t included this paragraph.

Agencies investigating drug trafficking, cyberattacks and other criminal activity have long complained about being denied access to NSA intelligence data. That’s because their searches are not directly connected to terrorism or foreign spying.

Do you mean agencies other than the DEA and the IRS? There may have been some complaining, but that noise is starting to sound more like cover to me than the legitimate noise of spurned agencies. And those who are still being cut out of the loop (at least as far as we know) are seeking access, in order to hunt down other dangerous individuals — like copyright infringers. The NSA says it doesn’t share this data, but it does. And yet, supporters like Harrop still buy the agency’s statements that it doesn’t view content, just metadata.

Schindler, being the company man that he is, also brings a little internet-denizen-slamming of his own into the conversation.

“[T]he idea of 10,000 NSA agents looking at our pictures of cats and pornography is pure fantasy,” he remarked.

Stupid internet users. Concerned about their cats and porn. Who would even care about their internet usage, metadata, etc.? Not the NSA. It’s more interested in passing around tapes of phone calls from Americans stuck in the Mideast, looking for an intimate moment or two with their significant others. Why bother with porn when you can record someone else’s “sex tapes?”

And there’s so much more. Harrop refers to Glenn Greenwald as “the left-wing journalist flogging heated conspiracy theories” who “routinely hyperventilates against Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats supporting the program” when not devolving into “bursts of self-promotion.”

And it’s not just lefties Harrop thinks are prone to “manic” bouts of anti-NSA “hysteria.” It’s also “extremists” from the other side of political divide. (Take note of this portrayal as it is almost as common as everything listed above.)

Unsurprisingly, the paranoia has attracted allies on the far right.

Yep, it’s only those on the far-left or far-right that are concerned about the NSA. Anyone more centrally-located is perfectly fine with the data harvesting. Odd, though, that Amash’s NSA-defunding amendment would gather so much support from both sides of the aisle. Congress must be full of extremists.

And then… Harrop pushes herself right off the same sort of deep end she spent the preceding paragraphs disparaging.

What holds the hard right-left alliance together is this: They hate Obama.

We’ll just leave that one lying there (much as Harrop does) because if anything doesn’t deserve a response, that insipid, isolated, brain spasm of an assertion certainly doesn’t. Someone could fill an entire comment thread solely attacking the inherent wrongness of that “conclusion,” but you’re not going to find it up here.

Finally, Harrop ties this travesty together with the cheapest, shittiest brand of rhetorical twine.

[T]here’s no way to find the terrorist needle in the haystack of communications without combing through the haystack. After the next terrorist outrage, we won’t be having this discussion. You can be sure of that.

Really, Harrop? Really? We “won’t be having this discussion?” By “outrage,” I assume you mean “attack” and if we’re attacked, then these programs you’re defending haven’t really done anything to make the nation safer. The discussion will be EVERYWHERE. Critics will point out the failure of the programs. People like you will argue that we need more of the same surveillance that failed us any number of times in the past. But I guarantee the last effect a “terrorist outrage” will have is a shutdown of the discussion.

If this is what passes for a “defense” of these programs, then we’re safe to assume the programs are indefensible.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian factions support formation of coalition against the negotiations

Palestine Information Center – 14/08/2013

RAMALLAH, GAZA — Palestinian MPs and officials expressed support for the formation of a coalition of all national and Islamic factions on the Palestinian arena to stand against the negotiations with the occupation.

MP for the Change and Reform Bloc Nasser Abdel Gawad told Quds Press on Tuesday that the formation of this coalition “could stop the deterioration experienced by the Palestinian cause these days.”

He pointed out that a large number of factions, including the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), refuse the return to negotiations.

For his part, Saleh Zidan, member of the Political Bureau of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, confirmed there are Palestinian efforts to form a national joint coalition to stop the negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli occupation.

Zidan considered that the formation of such a coalition will also push forward the national reconciliation in order to end the national division.

Informed Palestinian sources told Quds Press that discussions will be held in the coming days between different factions, political parties and leaders; particularly from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The sources said that the National coalition, which is being created, agree on one idea; the opposition to returning to negotiations and considering that the Palestinian negotiators will not represent the Palestinian people.

Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine stressed its rejection of all forms of negotiation with the Israeli occupation, considering that the renewed negotiations aim to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

ISRAEL AND THE ROLE OF THE NEOCONSERVATIVES

By Damian Lataan | August 14, 2013

Without America’s support, Israel in all likelihood would not by now exist and, without the neoconservatives, there would in all likelihood be no American support for Israel.

The interests of Israel have always been neoconservatism’s primary concern and it has been American neoconservatives that have lobbied the hardest to ensure American support for Israel. They have done this by integrating themselves into all levels of American society where they can be of influence including in government, public service, academia, political and social commentary, journalism, and think-tank organisations. Most but not all neoconservatives are, not unsurprisingly, Jewish and most of those that are Jewish hold dual citizenship with Israel despite many of them having no connection to Israel other than actually being Jewish. (All Jews throughout the Diaspora have ‘right of return’ to Israel even if they or generations of their ancestors have no connection to Israel – unlike Palestinians, who were forced from their lands in order to make way for Jews migrating to Israel after WW2, who have no right of return.)

Some neoconservatives, however, are not Jewish but have other motives, either religious or political, for supporting Israel. Others, who may or not be neoconservatives themselves, have close links with neoconservatives and have a financial interest in maintaining a heightened state of security awareness in Israel due to the amount of money the US provides for weapons and fuel, etc.

While neoconservative ideology predominately revolves around the interests of Israel, there are other interwoven ideas that neoconservatives have developed that have been designed to secure support from conservative Americans. One of the ideas taken up by neocons has been the notion of ‘America Exceptionalism’ which, in it’s neoconservative incarnation, promotes American nationalism and the American system of democracy and capitalism and holds these values up as being values that all the world, particularly the Middle East, should aspire to.

While neoconservatism for many remains a somewhat vague ideological concept, there are certain characteristics that are common to all neoconservatives and at the top of the list of those characteristics are: an unswerving loyalty to expansionist Zionism and the concept of a Greater Israel in which Arabs have no place. For some neoconservatives this is quite explicit but for most neoconservatives, particularly in the commentariat, the notion of a Greater Israel is presented only vaguely and usually only by inference. Neoconservatives prominent in government will, as a matter of policy, deny that Israel has any expansionist dreams. One, however, only needs to look at the quickly diminishing map of areas of the West Bank that are available to Palestinians and the growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the already annexed Golan Heights to see the reality of Zionist dreams.

Israel’s modus operandi for realising its expansionist dreams is simple: Provoke Palestinians and Arabs in a myriad of small ways that don’t make headlines and then, when the Palestinians or Arabs retaliate, ensure that the retaliation makes the headlines around the world and pretend to be the victim thus justifying a militarily response which may include occupation and then retreat when things quieten down again giving the impression that occupation is only for ‘security purposes’, not territorial gain. This strategy of three steps forward and two steps back is played out over a long time until eventually there is a big enough war to justify permanent occupation, as in the West Bank, and eventual annexation, as in the Golan Heights.

After their success in the Golan Heights but failures in south Lebanon in the 1980s and again in 2006, the Zionists changed tack. They realise now that only a massive threat to their security can justify occupation. For the Israelis, the bigger the threat the better from now on – and there can be no bigger threat than an enemy nation threatening to ‘wipe you off the map with their nuclear weapons’. And Israel has no better ally than the neocons to perpetuate the myth of Iran ‘wiping Israel off the map with nuclear weapons’ thus providing the ultimate threat by which Israel, forever the victim, can react.

By attacking Iran, Israel hopes that the resulting turmoil created in a quickly escalating war that will drag in the US will provide enough cover for Israel to deal with all of its enemies including Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon and any resistance in the West Bank. Israel will use such circumstances to massively occupy all of these places on a more permanent basis using the war to deport Palestinians out of the Gaza into the Sinai peninsula and possibly out of the West Bank into Jordan. Meanwhile, the Israelis will leave it to the Americans to effect ‘regime change’ in Iran and Syria. Egypt will be both threatened if it tries to intervene and rewarded financially by the US if it co-operates. Judging by the latest events in the Sinai peninsula, it seems the current Egyptian government that overthrew the elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has opted to co-operate with Israel.

It is the neoconservatives who are driving the wars in the Middle East – and, while Americans are expected to pay for it, it is all only in Israel’s interests. And, in the end, it will be the people of the Middle East that suffer – Jews and Arabs alike – regardless of who wins or loses.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Un-Revolution: Yemen’s Mediocre Transition

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | August 13, 2013

Considering the off-putting reality, one fails to imagine a future scenario in which Yemen could avoid a full-fledged conflict or a civil war. It is true that much could be done to fend off this bleak scenario such as sincere efforts towards reconciliation and bold steps to achieve transparent democracy. There should be an unbending challenge to the ongoing undeclared US war in the impoverished nation.

Alas, none of the parties in Yemen’s prevailing political order has the sway, desire or the moral authority to lead the vital transition necessary. It is surely not the one proposed by the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), but rather a homegrown political evolution that responds to Yemen’s own political, security and economic priorities, and not to the strategic interests of ‘Friends of Yemen’ being led by the United States.

Although it is much less discussed if it is to be compared to Egypt’s crippling political upheaval, or even Tunisia’s unfolding crisis, Yemen’s ongoing predicament is in fact far more complex. It directly involves too many players, notwithstanding al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the US bloody drone war that is unleashed from Djibouti among other places.

In the period between July 27 to August 9, 34 people were killed in Yemen by US drone attacks. The US government mechanically considers those killed al-Qaeda terrorists, even if civilians are confirmed to be among the dead and wounded. Most media qualifies such statements by describing the victims as ‘suspected militants’. International human rights groups and Yemen’s civil society organizations – let alone the enraged people of Yemen – insist on delineating the toll on civilians. Entire Yemeni communities are in a constant state of panic caused by the buzzing metal monsters that operate in complete disregard to international law and the country’s own sovereignty.

Frankly, at this stage it is hard to think of Yemen as a sovereign and territorially unified nation. While 40 percent of the country’s population is food insecure, and more are teetering at the brink of joining the appalling statistics, the country’s foreign policy has been long held hostage to the whims of outsiders. There is a lack of trust in the central government which historically has been both corrupt and inept by allowing non-state actors to move in and fulfill the security and economic vacuum.

Prior to the Yemeni revolution in Jan. 2011, the US was the most influential outside power in shaping and manipulating the Yemeni central government. Its goal was clear, to conduct its so-called war on terror in Yemen unhindered by such irritants as international law or even verbal objection from Sana’a. The now deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose family-controlled dictatorship of thirty years was the stuff of legends in terms of its corruption and self-centeredness, obliged. He too had his personal wars to fight and needed US consent to maintain his family-controlled power apparatus. Just weeks prior to the revolution, then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Sana’a. She applied gentle pressure to Saleh to dissuade him from pushing the parliament to eliminate term limits on his presidency, as if three decades in power was simply not enough. At the heart of the mission was the expansion of the counter-terrorism campaign in Yemen. The bloody US campaign involving the Pentagon and the CIA has been under reported. One of the reasons why the war was never classified as ‘war’ is because it was conducted under a political cover by Sana’a itself and sold as if it were military cooperation between two sovereign governments against a common enemy: Al Qaeda.

But reality was of course vastly different. Much of Saleh’s supposed anti-AQAP efforts were in fact channeled against the revolutionary forces and political opposition that had assembled together in millions, demanding freedom and an end to the dictatorship. What are the chances that the US didn’t know such a well-reported fact?

In fact, AQAP expansion was unprecedented during the revolution, but not because of the revolution itself. Saleh seemed to have made a strategic choice to leave large swathes of the country undefended in order to allow sudden AQAP expansion. Within a few months, al-Qaeda had mobilized to occupy large areas in the country’s southern governorates. This was done to strengthen Sana’a official discourse that the revolution was in fact an act of terrorism, thus quashing the revolution was more or less part of Yemen and US’s ‘war on terror.’ Despite the many massacres, the revolution persisted, but Saleh’s strategy allowed for greater US military involvement.

Unlike Egypt, the US military interest in Yemen is not merely done through buying loyalty with a fixed amount of money and sustaining a friendly rapport with the army. It is about control and the ability to conduct any military strategy that Washington deems necessary. And unlike Afghanistan, Yemen is not an occupied country, at least technically. Thus the US strategy regarding Yemen has to find a sustainable balance between military firmness and political caution. This explains the leading role played by the US in negotiating a safe path for the central government, army and the ruling party – excluding Saleh himself – to elude the uncompromising demands of the country’s revolutionary forces. To some degree, the US has succeeded.

Part of that success was due to Yemen’s existing political and territorial fragmentation. With Houthis controlling large parts of northern Yemen, the southern secessionist movement Haraki in the south, militant infiltration throughout the country, and a political opposition that has constantly lagged behind a much more organized and progressive Yemeni street, Yemeni society is much too susceptible to outside pressures and manipulation. The Yemeni revolution was never truly treated as such, but instead as a crisis that needed to be managed. The GCC brokered power transfer initiative was meant to be the road-map out of the crisis. However, it merely replaced Saleh with Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi and set the stage for the National Dialogue Conference – underway since March 18. The transition thus far has been buttressed with the backing of the ‘Friends of Yemen’, so as to ensure that the process leading up to the elections that are scheduled for 2014, is done under the auspices and blessings of those with unmistakable interest in Yemen’s present and future.

It is barely helpful that Yemen’s supposedly united opposition is hardly that, and differences are widening between the coalition of the opposition groups named the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs). An example of that was publicly displayed following the army-led coup in Egypt on July 3. While supporters of the Islah Party – considered an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood – protested the coup, other coalition members and the Houthis greeted the news of coup with gun shots and public celebration. To make matters worse, the interim president Hadi congratulated Egypt’s transitional government for its post-coup role.

Even if the revolution is yet to reap tangible results in its quest for fundamental change towards democracy, the national mood, separate from Hadi and the opposition, is unlikely to accept half-baked solutions. Meanwhile, the militants are regaining strength and so is the US political intervention and drone war. All in turn are contributing to a burgeoning discontent and anti-American sentiment.

Between revolutionary expectations and less than mediocre reforms, Yemen is likely to embark on yet a new struggle whose consequences will be too serious for any disingenuous political transition to manage.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Obama Regime’s Fabricated “Terror Conspiracy” in Defense of the Police State

By James Petras :: 08.13.2013 

Introduction

Representative democracies and autocratic dictatorships respond to profound internal crises in very distinctive ways: the former attempts to reason with citizens, explaining the causes, consequences and alternatives; dictatorships attempt to terrorize, intimidate and distract the public by evoking bogus external threats, to perpetuate and justify rule by police state methods and avoid facing up to the self-inflicted crises.

Such a bogus fabrication is evident in the Obama regime’s current announcements of an imminent global “terrorist threat”[1] in the face of multiple crises, policy failures and defeats throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia.

Internet ‘Chatter’ Evokes a Global Conspiracy and Revives the Global War on Terror

The entire terror conspiracy propaganda blitz, launched by the Obama regime and propagated by the mass media, is based on the flimsiest sources imaginable, the most laughable pretext. According to White House sources, the National Security Agency, the CIA and other spy agencies claimed to have monitored and intercepted unspecified Al-Qaeda threats, conversations by two Al Qaeda figures including Ayman al Zawahiri[2].

Most damaging, the Obama regime’s claim of a global threat by al-Qaeda, necessitating the shutdown of 19 embassies and consuls and a world-wide travelers alert, flies in the face of repeated public assertions over the past five years that Washington has dealt ‘mortal blows’ to the terrorist organization crippling its operative capacity[3] and citing the US “military successes” in Afghanistan and Iraq, its assassination of Bin Laden, the drone attacks in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and the US-backed invasion of Libya. Either the Obama regime was lying in the past or its current terror alert is a fabrication. If, as Obama and the NSA currently claim, Al Qaeda has re-emerged as a global terrorist threat, then twelve years of warfare in Afghanistan and eleven years of war in Iraq, the spending of $1.46 trillion dollars, the loss of over seven thousand US soldiers[4] and the physical and psychological maiming of over a hundred thousand US combatants has been a total and unmitigated disaster and the so-called war on terror is a failure.

The claim of a global terror threat, based on NSA surveillance of two Yemen-based Al Qaeda leaders, is as shallow as it is implausible. Every day throughout cyberspace one or another Islamist terrorist group or individual discuss terror plots, fantasies and plans of no great consequence.

The Obama regime fails to explain why, out of thousands of daily internet ‘conversations’, this particular one, at this particular moment, represents an ongoing viable terrorist operation. One does not need a million spies to pick up jihadist chatter about “attacking Satan”.

For over a decade, Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen have been engaging in a proxy war with Washington-backed regimes and over the same time the Obama regime has been engaged in drone and Special Forces assassination missions against Yemeni militants and opposition figures[5]. In other words, the Obama regime has magnified commonplace events, related to an ongoing conflict known to the public, into a new global terrorist threat as revealed by his spymasters because of their high powered espionage prowess!

It is more than obvious that the Obama regime is engaged in a global fabrication designed to distract world public opinion and, in particular, the majority of US citizens, from police state spying and violations of basic constitutional freedoms.

By evoking a phony “terrorist threat” and its detection by the NSA, Obama hopes to re-legitimate his discredited police state apparatus.

More important, by raising the specter of a global terrorist threat, the Obama regime seeks to cover-up the most disreputable policies, despicable “show trials” and harsh imprisonment of government whistle blowers and political, diplomatic and military defeats and failures which have befallen the empire in the present period.

The Timing of the Fabrication of the Global Terror Threat

In recent years the US public has grown weary of the cost and inconclusive nature of the ‘global war on terror’, or GWOT. Public opinion polls support the withdrawal of troops from overseas wars and back domestic social programs over military spending and new invasions. Yet the Obama regime, aided and abetted by the pro-Israel power configuration, in and out of the government, engages in constant pursuit of war policies aimed at Iran, Syria, Lebanon and any other Muslim country opposed to Israel’s erasure of Arab Palestine. The “brilliant” pro-war strategists and advisers in the Obama regime have pursued military and diplomatic policies which have led to political disasters, monstrous human rights violations and the gutting of US constitutional protections guaranteed to its citizens. To continue the pursuit of repeated failed policies, a gargantuan police state has been erected to spy, control and represses US citizens and overseas countries, allies and adversaries.

The “terror threat” fabrication occurs at a time and in response to the deepening international crisis and the political impasse facing the Obama regime – a time of deepening disenchantment among domestic and overseas public opinion and increasing pressure from the Israel Firsters to continue to press forward with the military agenda.

The single most devastating blow to the police state buildup are the documents made public by the NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, which revealed the vast worldwide network of NSA spying in violation of US constitutional freedoms and the sovereignty of countries. The revelations have discredited the Obama regime, provoked conflicts within and between allies, and strengthened the position of adversaries and critics of the US Empire.

Leading regional organizations, like MERCOSUR in Latin America, have attacked ‘cyber-imperialism’; the EU countries have questioned the notion of ‘intelligence cooperation’. Even dozens of US Congress people have called for reform and cutbacks in NSA funding.

The “terror threats” are timed by Obama to neutralize the Snowden revelations and justify the spy agency and its vast operations.

The Bradley Manning “show trial”, in which a soldier is tortured, often with forced nudity, in solitary confinement for almost a year, imprisoned for three years before his trial and publicly prejudged by President Obama, numerous legislators and mass media (precluding any semblance of ‘fairness’), for revealing US war crimes against Iraqi and Afghan civilians, evoked mass protests the world over. Obama’s “terror threat” is trotted out to coincide with the pre-determined conviction of Manning in this discredited judicial farce and to buttress the argument that his exposure of gross US war crimes “served the enemy” (rather than the American public who Manning repeatedly has said deserve to know about the atrocities committed in its name). By re-launching the “war on terror” and intimidating the US public, the Obama regime is trying to discredit Bradley Manning’s heroic revelations of documented US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing on nebulous Al Qaeda terror threats over the internet!

In the international political arena, Obama has suffered a series of repeated political and diplomatic defeats with far-reaching implications for his fanatical empire building project. The Obama-backed and Al Qaeda-led Islamist mercenary invasion of the sovereign nation of Syria has suffered a series of military defeats and his proxy jihadist ‘freedom-fighters’ have been denounced by most prestigious human rights groups for their massacres and ethnic cleansing of civilian populations in Syria (especially Christians, Kurds, Alevis and secular Syrians). Obama’s Syrian ‘adventure’ has backfired, and is clearly unleashing a new generation of Islamist terrorists, armed by the Gulf States – especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, trained by Turkish and NATO Special Forces and now available for global terrorist “assignments” against US client states, Europe and the US itself. In turn the Syrian debacle has had a major impact on Obama’s NATO ally, Turkey, where mass protests are challenging Prime Minister Erdogan’s military support for Islamist mercenaries, based along the Turkish border with Syria. Erdogan’s savage repression of hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors, the arbitrary arrest of thousands of pro-democracy activists and his own “show trials” of hundreds of journalists, military officials, students, intellectuals and trade unionists, has certainly discredited Obama’s main “democratic Islamist” ally and undermined Washington’s attempt to anchor its dominance via a triangular alliance of Israel, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.

Further discredit of Obama’s foreign policy of co-opting Islamist “electoral regimes” has occurred in Egypt and is pending in Tunisia. Obama’s post-Mubarak policy in Egypt looked to a “power sharing” arrangement between the democratically elected President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Mubarak-era military and neo-liberal politicians, like Mohamed El Baradei. Instead, General Sistani grabbed power via the army, overthrowing and jailing the civilian President Morsi. The Egyptian army under Sistani has massacred peaceful pro-democracy Muslim protestors and purged the parliament, press and independent voices. Forced to choose between the military dictatorship composed of the henchman of the former Mubarak dictatorship and the mass-based Muslim Brotherhood, US Secretary of State John Kerry backed the military take-over as a “transition to democracy” (steadfastly refusing to use the term ‘coup d’état’). This has opened wide the door to a period of mass repression and resistance in Egypt and severely weakened a key link in the “axis of reaction” in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt).

Obama’s incapacity to deal with the new peace overtures by the recently elected President Rouhani in Iran was evident in the Administrations capitulation to a Congressional vote (420 – 20) in favor of further and more severe sanctions designed, according to the bill’s AIPAC authors, to “strangle the Iranian oil economy”. Secretary of State Kerry’s offer to “negotiate” with Iran, under a US-imposed blockade and economic sanctions, was seen in Teheran, and by most independent observers, as an empty theatrical gesture, of little consequence. Obama’s failure to check the Israeli-Zionist stranglehold on US foreign policy toward Iran and to strike a deal ensuring a nuclear-weapon-free Iran, ensures that the region will continue to be a political and military powder keg. Obama’s appointments of prominent Zionist zealots to strategic Middle East policy positions ensures that the US and the Obama regime have no options for Iran, Palestine, Syria or Lebanon– except to follow the options dictated by Tel Aviv directly to its US agents, the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, who along with their insider Zionist collaborators, co-author the Middle East policy script for the US Congress and the White House.

The Obama regime’s Israeli-Palestine peace negotiations are seen by most observers as the most distorted and bizarre efforts to date in that cruel farce. Washington has purchased the leaders of the Palestinian ‘Authority’ with multi-million dollar handouts and given way to Israel’s accelerated land grabbing in the occupied West Bank and ‘Jews only’ settlement construction, as well as the mass eviction of 40,000 Bedouins within Israel itself.

To ensure the desired result – a total fiasco, Obama appointed one of the most fanatical of pro-Israeli zealots in Washington as its “mediator”, the tri-national Martin Indyk, known in diplomatic circles as “Israel’s lawyer” (and the first US Ambassador to be stripped of security clearance for mishandling documents.)

The breakdown of the negotiations is foretold. Obama, caught in the web of his own long-term reactionary alliances and loyalties and obsessed with military solutions, has developed a knack for engaging in prolonged losing wars, multiplying enemies and alienating allies.

Conclusion

The result of prolonged unpopular wars of aggression has been the massive build-up of a monstrous domestic police state, pervasive spying around the world and the commission of egregious violations of the US Constitution. This, in turn, has led to crudely concocted “terror plots” to cover-up the repeated foreign policy failures and to slander and persecute courageous whistle blowers and threaten other decent American patriots. The recent declaration of another vast ‘terror plot’, which served to justify the illegal activities of US spy agencies and ‘unify Congress’, produced hysteria lasting less than a week. Subsequently, reports began to trickle in, even in the obedient US mass media, discrediting the basis of the alleged global terror conspiracy. According to one report, the much-ballyhooed ‘Al Qaeda plot’ turned out to be a failed effort to blow-up an oil terminal and oil pipeline in Yemen. According to regional observers: “Pipelines are attacked nearly weekly in Yemen”[6] And so an unsuccessful jihadist attack against a pipeline in a marginal part of the poorest Arab state morphed into President Obama’s breathless announcement of a global terrorist threat! An outrageous joke has been played on the President, his Administration and his Congressional followers. But during this great orchestrated ‘joke’, Obama unleashed a dozen drone assassination attacks against human targets of his own choosing, killing dozens of Yemeni citizens, including many innocent bystanders.

What is even less jocular is that Obama, the Master of Deceit, just moves on. His proposed “reforms” are aimed to retrench NSA activities; he insists on continuing the “bulk collection” (hundreds of millions) of US citizens’ telephone communications (FT 8/12/13 p2). He retains intact the massive police state spy apparatus, keeps his pro-Israel policymakers in strategic positions, reaffirms his policy of confrontation with Iran and escalates tensions with Russia, China and Venezuela. Obama embraces a new wave of military dictatorships, starting, but not ending, with Egypt.

In the face of diminishing support at home and abroad and the declining credibility of his crude “terror” threats, one wonders if the ever-active clandestine apparatus would actually stage its own real-life bloody act of terror, a secret state supported ‘false-flag’ bombing, to convince an increasingly disenchanted and skeptical public? Such would be a desperate act for the State, but these are desperate times facing a failed Administration, pursuing losing wars in which the Masters of Defeat can now only rely on the Masters of Deceit.

The Obama regime is infested with the “toxic politics of terrorism” and this addiction has driven him to persecute, torture and imprison truth seekers, whistle blowers and true patriots who strive (and will continue to strive) to awaken the sleeping giant, in hopes that the people of America will arise again.

[1] ‘BBC News’ 8/16/13; Al Jazeera 9/16/13

[2] ‘La Jornada’ (Mexico City) 8/16/13, p. 22;FINANCIAL TIMES 8/10-11/13”T he exact threat to US missions has yet to be made public..”

[3] ‘Financial Times’ 8/8/13, p. 2 and ‘Financial Times’ 8/10-11 2013 p 2; ‘McClatchy Washington Bureau’ 8/5/13

[4] Information Clearing House Web Page

[5] ‘Financial Times’ 8/8/13, p. 2.

[6] ‘Financial Times’ 8/8/13, p. 2.

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment