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NSA practices cannot be excused as ‘fighting terrorism’

RT | October 16, 2013

The NSA has attacked key European institutions such as the EU parliament and banking system, using malware to find out all there is to know about other countries in a power game, Andy Mueller-Moguhn, founder of Buggedplannet.info, tells RT.

He says that in a world where so many communications go over the web we all have something to protect rather than something to hide, as proponents of mass surveillance often argue.

RT: No matter what precautions companies take or measures to protect the privacy of subscribers isn’t the agency [NSA] capable of bypassing all these routes?

Andy Mueller-Moguhn: I would say it like this; unfortunately in Germany we have a situation that the trustworthiness or our foreign and interior intelligence service watching their high level of cooperation with the NSA and GCHQ does not make them trustworthy at all.  If they can intercept the stuff, they might hand it over in a bargain to the Americans, which is not helpful.

So this means that what is to be done, is to ensure on whatever level in whatever country that encryption for the end user is becoming available like easy to use and as a standard tool, because you send your postal letters in an envelope so should you do with your emails.

RT: Let’s look at the situation from both sides. On the one hand we have the privacy of citizens that has of course to be respected, but on the other hand there are some companies who are fighting hard to protect their privacy. Doesn’t that give us a cause for concern, that they have something to hide, some skeletons in the closet as they say?

AMM: The point is that we have seen that installations of the United States National Security Agency, attacking also carriers in Europe, as we’ve seen with things that have nothing to do with terrorism or with fighting terrorism. They have a lot to do with power games or with knowing everything about other countries, about business, about embassies, about other country’s governments as we also see with the Brazilian presidential interception.

So obviously the thing that you have nothing to hide is totally wrong in the case that everybody has something to protect and in the days where everything, cultural, economic, political, things go over the internet and advance knowledge of a political decision, which can have for example an impact on stock rates, on currencies, on country’s reputations and so on. This is worth a lot of money and we have not really come to the bottom, we have seen a big part of this NSA approach, we have seen a lot of money, a lot of effort internationally to intercept all communications, but we have not yet come to the question, who is the customer, in the sense who are the guys ordering this, getting the product and using that.

That it is still a very interesting question where we come to monetary, political and other influences being taken with blackmailing, with greymailing, with advanced knowledge about what other people think, act and do.

RT: You mentioned an interesting point here saying that it’s not the point whether we have something to hide, but it’s what we have to protect. In that case what’s your take on the role of America as a global policeman? Does it have any moral authority to conduct global surveillance?

AMM: The point is that we have seen attacks, not passive interception but buggedplannet.info was subject to an attack in the sense that there was malware installed in the system, there were exploits used, the NSA literally took control over the network. This cannot be excused with fighting terrorism at all. This obviously was targeting the European parliament, it was targeting the European airspace control, it was targeting the SWIFT network or the banking network, so obviously there is no moral excuse here in terms of this being to do with fighting terrorism or ensuring security. This is about the global interest of the United States against other European and other peaceful acting countries and democratic organized entities.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just another cog in the machine


A union can make a big difference to people’s perceptions of a job. For UK staff you can find out which unions may be relevant to your job at http://www.worksmart.org.uk/unionfinder – In the US, try http://www.aflcio.org/Learn-About-Unions for more information.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Turning Blood into Money

Profiting from Killing

By Vacy Vlazna | Dissident Voice | October 16, 2013

Warning! The Lab contains war-porn and hard-core evil; watch and weep.

Yotam Feldman’s  documentary, released in August, is one of the most important exposés of the obscene rationale and execution of Israel’s hugely lucrative arms and security  industries through the voices of some of its ex-military key operators: Amos Golan, Shimon Naveh, Leo Gleser, and Yoav Galant.

Israel’s armament juggernaut currently turns over $7 billion p.a. and its phenomenal success is, as Feldman reveals, due to experience, that is, the testing of weaponry on the Palestinian population in the Israeli military ‘labs’ of Gaza and the West Bank:

I think the main product Israelis are selling, especially in the last decade, is experience… the testing of the products, the experience is the main thing they [customers] are coming to buy. They want the missile that was shot in the last operation in Gaza or the rifle that was used in the last West Bank incursion.

Without blinking an eye, Benjamin Ben Eleixer, Industry Minister proudly asserts the reason for the tremendous demand for Israeli weapons and technology,

If Israel sells weapons, they have been tested, tried out. We can say: we’ve used this for 10 years, 15 years.

Tested by Israeli killers on 1,398 Palestinian children murdered since 2000 and the hundreds of thousands of children who struggle with war trauma, PTSD and perpetual terror.

The Lab makes plain why the peace process, past, present and potential, is a total sham. The economy of Israel is inextricably dependent on war and the suffering of the Palestinians.

And the other is the fact that now the Israeli economy is so much dependent on these operations. It’s 20 percent of the exports. It’s 150,000 families–not people–in Israel actually dependent on this industry. And if one day it will stop, if there will be no next operation in Gaza, so Israel will have some economic problems.

The arms industry doesn’t belong to a few dealers, its owned by a whole country.

What better justification of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which targets state and private companies as well as all Israeli universities, through their military R&D programmes, that are ‘turning blood into money’.

Which gun made the shekel accelerate when sisters Amal, 2 and Suad Abed-Rabbo, 9, who was waving a white flag, were shot by tank personnel in Gaza?

The degradation of the Israeli mind and society through the perverted normalising of state-sanctioned cruel aggression and violent criminality is apparent in the egotistic strutting throughout the film of the Israeli warmongers, politicians and arms dealers, who are oblivious that to civilised people they come across as psychopaths:

Gen (ret.) Amiran Levin:

I want to move onto one point, speaking of Gaza, speaking of Lebanon, and other places we will occupy in the future. Since we want to maintain equilibrium, as a developed country, punishment as a strategy should be the main element…That’s the most important thing, Quantity is more important than quality. One mistake the army makes is judging each case individually, whether the person deserves to die or not. Most of these people were born to die, we just have to help them.

Lt.Co.(ret.) Shimon Naveh, a military philosopher –  yes, you read right, military philosopher — who talks like he’s swallowed a kilo of amphetamines, strolls through a bullet-riddled mock Arab village used for military exercises, moaning,

As you can see this isn’t an Arab village. It is a dead place. Maybe in our rosiest dreams this is what a Palestinian village would look like, but it isn’t one.

Gen.Yoav Galant, the ‘inventor’ of the 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead;

As far as I’m concerned the enemy has 3 options either he get killed, or he surrenders, or he flees.

Galant omits that the 1.6 million men, women, children and elderly of Gaza (for that matter all Palestinians) have nowhere to flee because Israel tightly controls Palestinian land, sea and airspace.

Thus we understand that the Israelis have the identical strategy of low intensity or asymmetrical warfare as the USA; only attack nations that are on their knees through sieges, sanctions and substandard armaments.

Naveh, in an interview in the Small Wars Journal admits as much:

When you fight a war against a rival who’s by all means inferior to you, you may lose a guy here or there, but you’re in total control. It’s nice. You can pretend that you fight the war and yet it’s not really a dangerous war.

Apart from the Hamas freedom fighters armed with Kalashnikovs and a ‘modest stock of weapons’, Palestine has no army, navy, airforce to defend its people. There are, of course, President Abbas’ US armed and trained security forces but they brutally police their own people on behalf of Israel.

Feldman shows how Israel’s major arms companies make arms selling sexy. At a weapons trade exhibition in Paris, a perky young female rep demonstrates on screen the precision capabilities of IAI products, and at the Shivta military base, foreign officers who have come to view a missile demonstration are divided into groups led by ‘lovely’ female Israeli soldiers.

Foreign governments, like Australia, contribute generously to optimising the profits of Israel’s  death merchants while simultaneously appeasing their electorates,  Galant complains, “There’s a lot of hypocrisy, they condemn you politically, while they ask you what your trick is, you Israelis, for turning blood into money,” nevertheless the gains for  Israel as specified by him are, “First of all it gains security, secondly the nations and the armies of the world want to be friends with the strong, just side, and the winning side.”

Strong, yes, JUST? Not according to the parents of little 3 year old Ahmed As -Sinwar who was found under a  pile of rubble and stones with a hole in his head, and not according to the parents of the other 352 children killed plus the 860 children injured and maimed in Operation Cast Lead by the sought-after Israeli air and ground missiles, artillery shelling, phosphorous bombs, flechettes, bullets and unexploded ordnance.

It is utterly macabre and beyond decent comprehension that the sales of drones were boosted by the wilful killing by drones of 116 children during Operation Cast Lead.

The highest echelon of the Israeli government has control of the business of death. All export of arms and security services are OK’d by SIBAT, the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s export agency.

Amos Golan, an arms dealer who started “with a dream”, views himself as a “good guy” not someone who kills innocent people in his spare time. He was a former commander of the Duvdevan special forces unit that conducts undercover operations disguised as Arabs and the inventor of the highly profitable Cornershot assault and sniper gun that enables the user to see around corners.

His Silver Shadow Advanced Security Systems (SSASS), listed with SIBAT, has provided security solutions and training for the dictatorships of the Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Uganda where SSASS trained the Black Mamba death squad accused of human rights violations.

Leo Gleser, a generous father and grandfather, states that since 9/11 “all defense solutions now come from Israel through Israeli companies.” Who’d have thought 9/11 would benefit Israel? His own company, International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), listed with SIBAT,  was “established in 1982 by highly experienced officers, former operatives of I.S.A. Israeli Security Agency, the MOSSAD and the Defence Forces” has among its clients the Athens, Barcelona, Beijing and Rio Olympic  Games, 2014 World Cup Soccer,  joint ventures in security training with China, India, Brazil, Spain and USA.

It also serves the United Nations which appears to have overlooked that Gleser’s company trained, in the 80s, the CIA backed brutal Honduran Battalion 3-16 involved in the disappearance of 191 people. (This has been documented in Andrew and Leslie Cockburn’s book Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship.)

War criminal and child-killer, Noav Galant, once tipped to become the next Chief of General Staff, is now retired because of allegations that he appropriated public lands near his home for his private use which is irony par excellence given he is on the board of HaShomer HaChadash that helps Israeli “farmers and ranchers in the Negev and the Galilee who administer vast tracts of state-owned land to deal with the threat of illegal seizure of their land”, which is to say, to prevent the ‘ongoing encroachment of the Bedouin on state-owned land ‘ which we all know is ancestral Bedouin land seized by Israel. As we have seen, Galant knows all about hypocrisy.

The Lab’s exposition of Israel’s profiteering from its military expertise and arms dealing is nothing new as this has been well documented elsewhere such as in Jane Haapiseva-Hunter ‘s ‘Israeli Foreign Policy: South Africa and Central America’. The impact of The Lab lies in directly hearing and seeing for ourselves Israel’s deviants cheerily admit to making big bucks from ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Feldman ends The Lab with a masterstroke of irony filming, at a conference, these fat Israeli death feeding maggots, nodding and smiling to John Lennon’s beautiful and inspiring song, Imagine ..

Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace…

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Aceh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Desmond Tutu is Wrong: The AU Should Quit the International Criminal Court

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | October 16, 2013

The African Union is on a collision course with the International Criminal Court, a tribunal that has indicted only Africans since its founding in 2002. In an extraordinary meeting of the African Union at it headquarters in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, the AU took the position that no sitting head of state should be prosecuted by the ICC while still in office. In the immediate term, the AU calls for the postponement of the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, scheduled to begin in the The Hague, next month. Kenyatta and his deputy president are charged with crimes against humanity stemming from election violence in 2007. Last weekend, President Kenyatta told the African Union that the International Criminal Court “stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers” – a clear reference to the United States and Britain.

And that is the heart of the matter. It is a travesty of justice that the ICC only indicts Africans, but even more importantly, the International Criminal Court also only indicts those politicians that get on the wrong side of the United States and the former colonial powers in Africa. The ICC is a tool of U.S. foreign policy, an instrument of neocolonialism.

Among the apologists for the ICC is South African former archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says African leaders are “effectively looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress their own people without consequence.” Tutu says it all boils down to a question of “who should represent the interests of the victims?” However, in the real world of imperial power, Desmond Tutu’s reasoning is specious, shallow. He might just as well argue for the return of colonial rule, which established its own kind of law and order in Africa. The question is, whose law and whose order? The ICC represents U.S. foreign policy masquerading as law.

Tutu maintains that, without the deterrence of the ICC, African “countries could and would attack their neighbors, or minorities in their own countries, with impunity.” Well, that is, in fact, the case right now in Africa, and it has occurred with the complicity of the ICC, which has sanctioned and morally assisted mass murder and outright genocide by American allies on the continent.

And here lies the great irony. The very nations that most strongly oppose the ICC – Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia – have the blood of millions on their hands. Rwanda and Uganda are principally responsible for the death of six million Congolese over the past 17 years, an ongoing genocide armed and financed by the United States and Britain. The Ethiopian regime’s brutality toward its Somali and Omoro ethnic groups has also been described as genocidal. But, because the United States is also deeply complicit in these crimes, there is no threat of prosecution by the International Criminal Court. The court is only deployed against those countries and leaders targeted by the United States.

So, why are Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda worried? Clearly, they understand that, if the United States can give impunity, it can also take it away. They remember that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein used to be a U.S. ally, and that Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad cooperated with the U.S. war on terror – until the U.S. turned against them. The worst purveyor of crimes against humanity in Africa and the world is U.S. imperialism. The ICC is a cog in the imperial machinery, which recognizes no law, but only its own interests. You can’t fight U.S. Empire and its crimes and, at the same time, defend the International Criminal Court. They are one and the same.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egyptian coup leaders hire US lobbyist with ties to Israel

MEMO | October 14, 2013

The group’s managing director, Arik Ben-Zvi, is an Israeli citizen who served in the Israeli army and consulted on Israel’s elections
In response to the Obama Administration’s announcement last week that it will be restructuring US military aid to Egypt in light of the ongoing military crackdown, officials in Cairo have hired a well-known lobby group to improve the image of Egypt’s coup, according to a US newspaper.

The Hill, a political newspaper based in Washington DC, has revealed that documents filed with the US Justice Department on Friday confirm that Egypt’s interim authorities are employing the Glover Park Group to “provide public diplomacy, strategic communications counsel and government relations services” for Egypt’s post-coup government.

The records filed indicate that the firm’s work for Egypt “will include communications associated with the Government’s implementation of its Road Map to build the institutions of an inclusive democratic state through parliamentary and presidential elections.”

The Glover Park Group is no stranger to Israel. The group’s managing director, Arik Ben-Zvi, is an Israeli citizen who served in the Israeli army and consulted on Israel’s elections. In addition, one senior executive previously served as the National Deputy Political Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also known as AIPAC, the most powerful arm of the Israel Lobby in the US, while another senior executive served in its legislative department.

The newspaper describes the Glover Park Group as one of Washington’s most experienced lobbyists when it comes to representing foreign governments and politicians.

The interim Egyptian government’s “recent violent crackdown on its opponents” has led the United States to suspend some of its foreign aid to Egypt, “including proposed sales of F-16 fighter jets, M1 Abrams tanks and Apache attack helicopters as well as about $260 million in cash assistance,” according to the newspaper.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Half a million Iraqis died from war-related causes since US invasion

Al-Akhbar | October 16, 2013

Nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, according to an academic study published in the United States on Tuesday.

That toll is far higher than the nearly 115,000 violent civilian deaths reported by the British-based group Iraq Body Count, which bases its tally on media reports, hospital and morgue records, and official and non-governmental accounts.

The latest estimate by university researchers in the United States, Canada and Baghdad in cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Health covers not only violent deaths but other avoidable deaths linked to the invasion, insurgencies and subsequent social breakdown.

It also differs from some previous counts by spanning a longer period of time and by using randomized surveys of households across Iraq to project a nationwide death toll from 2003 to mid 2011.

Violence caused most of the deaths, but about a third were indirectly linked to the war, and these deaths have been left out of previous counts, said lead author Amy Hagopian, a public health researcher at the University of Washington.

Those included situations when a pregnant woman encountered difficult labor but could not leave the house due to fighting, or when a person drank contaminated water, or when a patient could not get treated at a hospital because staff was overwhelmed with war casualties.

“These are all indirect deaths, and they are significant,” Hagopian told AFP.

The aim of the study was to provide a truer picture of the suffering caused by war, and hopefully to make governments think twice about the harm that would come from an invasion, she said.

“I think it is important that people understand the consequences of launching wars on public health, on how people live. This country is forever changed.”

The research team from the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Simon Fraser University and Mustansiriya University conducted the work on a volunteer basis using pooled internal resources instead of seeking outside funds.

Their tally was compiled by asking adults living in 2,000 randomly selected households in 100 geographic clusters across Iraq if family members had died, when and why.

Researchers used the survey data, which was completed by 1,960 of those chosen, to calculate the death rate before the war and after. When multiplied by the whole population, they returned a number that represented “excess deaths.”

Researchers estimated there were 405,000 excess Iraqi deaths attributable to the war through mid-2011.

They also attempted to account for deaths missed because families had fled the country, an estimated 55,805 total deaths, bringing the total to nearly 461,000. … Full article

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Iran says willing to give IAEA wider powers in nuclear program inspections

Al-Akhbar | October 16, 2013

Iran suggested it was ready to address calls to give the UN atomic watchdog wider inspection powers as part of Tehran’s proposals to resolve a decade-old nuclear dispute with the West.

Meanwhile, Israel kept up its alarmist rhetoric on talks between world powers and Iran Wednesday, with a cabinet minister comparing the situation to pre-war Europe and the appeasement of Nazi Germany.

The comments from Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi appeared to be the first specific indication of what concessions Tehran might be prepared to make in return for the removal of sanctions hurting its oil-dependent economy.

Iran presented a three-phase plan for ending the standoff over its nuclear program during the first day of an October 15-16 meeting with six world powers in Geneva on Tuesday. The talks were due to resume later on Wednesday.

The seven countries will likely meet again in Geneva in several weeks time to try to hammer out details of an emerging agreement aimed at ending the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.

Iran did not give details of its proposal on Tuesday, but said it included monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based UN nuclear body which regularly inspects declared Iranian facilities.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency asked Araqchi about the issues of uranium enrichment and the so-called Additional Protocol to Iran’s agreement with the IAEA.

“Neither of these issues are within the first step (of the Iranian proposal) but form part of our last steps,” he replied without going into further details, in comments reported on Wednesday.

The Additional Protocol allows unannounced inspections outside of declared nuclear sites and it is seen as a vital tool at the IAEA’s disposal to make sure that a country does not have any hidden nuclear work.

The world powers have long demanded that Iran implement the protocol. Iran says it is voluntary.

The powers – the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – also want Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program and suspend higher-level activity.

Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, Iran’s stated aim, but can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if processed further, which the West claims may be Tehran’s ultimate goal.

Western diplomats stress they want Tehran to back up its newly conciliatory language with concrete actions.

Both sides are trying to dampen expectations of any rapid breakthrough at the two-day meeting, the first to be held since President Hassan Rohani took office, promising conciliation over confrontation in Iran’s relations with the world.

“We view the nuclear talks in Geneva with hope and with concern. We see the worrying signs and we don’t want Geneva 2013 to turn into Munich 1938,” Israeli International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz said in remarks broadcast by Israel’s army radio.

Steinitz was alluding to the 1938 Munich agreement under which Britain and France agreed to the annexation of large swathes of then Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in a failed bid to avert war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday urged world powers to avoid a partial deal with Tehran which could see a relaxing of sanctions, saying Israel reserved the right to carry out a unilateral military strike against Iran.

“Pre-emptive strikes must not be ruled out,” he told the Israeli Knesset.

“Such strikes are not necessarily called for in every case… but there are situations in which thinking about the international response to such a step is not equal to the bloody price we would pay” for the existence of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Israel is the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment