Aletho News


Gerry Adams’ arrest politics of the dead

By Finian Cunningham | Press TV | May 1, 2014

There seems little doubt that the arrest of Irish republican leader Gerry Adams this week over alleged involvement in a tragic murder 44 years ago is politically motivated.

The political interests pushing this agenda have no respect for victims of Ireland’s recent 30-year conflict. These interests are being selective in their focus on victims, cynically vying for political gain, and in particular to damage the rise of Sinn Fein, the Irish republican party.

Later this month, Ireland is heading into European Parliamentary elections, which up to now was promising to see major electoral gains for Sinn Fein, the party of which Adams has been president of since 1983.

In recent years, Sinn Fein has emerged has the fastest growing political party in both the British-occupied north and the independent southern state. It has become the second biggest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, while in the southern legislative chamber, Dail Eireann, Sinn Fein has seen its number of parliamentarians expand three-fold over the past three elections to become an increasingly pivotal force there.

Sinn Fein can rightly claim to be the only all-Ireland party with representatives and organizational structure that transcend the British-imposed border, which partitions the island into northern and southern jurisdictions. Sinn Fein is distinguished from all other political parties by its manifesto calling for a united, independent country.

That manifesto not only threatens the British interest of maintaining its political presence in the North of Ireland; the so-called Irish political parties in the South of Ireland also see their establishment interests challenged by the growing popular support for Sinn Fein and its calls to shake-up the stagnant status quo on both sides of the border.

This is the important context in which the Sinn Fein leader was taken into custody this week by police in Northern Ireland. Adams has not been charged but his arrest over the murder took many observers by surprise, coming seemingly out of the blue. The allegations will revive memories of a dark episode in Ireland’s 30-year conflict.

The murder in question is that of a Belfast woman, Jean McConville, who was abducted and killed by the Provisional IRA in 1972. McConville was a widow and mother of 10 children, aged 38 when she died. The IRA claimed that the woman was an informer to the British army during the conflict that saw Belfast plunged into chaos and violence for nearly three decades. The McConville family always vehemently denied their mother was an informer, and a police investigation conducted years later cleared the deceased woman of any such activity.

Sinn Fein is the political wing of the IRA, and Gerry Adams has long been alleged to be a senior member of the guerrilla organization, which laid down its arms as part of the Irish peace settlement signed in 1998. As an alleged commander of the IRA during the 1970s in Belfast, Adams is accused of overseeing the assassination of Jean McConville.

The Sinn Fein president denies any involvement in the abduction and murder. This week, before his arrest, Adams described the allegations as “malicious” and aimed at damaging his party politically, especially on the eve of European-wide elections.

Certainly, the accusations against Adams are not new. In recent years, two former senior IRA members, Brendan Hughes and Dolores Price, made separate claims that Adams ordered the execution of Jean McConville. Female IRA member Dolores Price said before her own death last year that she abducted McConville on direct orders from Adams and drove the mother to the place of her execution.

McConville’s body was found in August 2003, nearly 31 years after her murder. Her remains had been buried on a beach in Shelling Hill, County Louth, across the border in the South of Ireland. The IRA had already admitted to the murder in 1999, while still maintaining that McConville was an informer. It offered an apology to the family and provided information to locate her burial site.

The grief of the McConville family is surely poignant. Ten young children were left without a mother and the family was subsequently split up and taken into social care.

But there are thousands of other such family tragedies during the conflict that engulfed Northern Ireland between 1968-1998. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were shot dead by British army soldiers and pro-British paramilitaries who were directed by London’s military intelligence to instil terror in the civilian population and to deter its right to Irish freedom. Thousands of lives were ruined and traumatized by a conflict that the British government bears a heavy responsibility for but for which it has always evaded.

The southern Irish political establishment has a lot to answer for too. It largely turned its back on the plight of many citizens in the north when they were being subjected to ruthless British militarism.

Indeed, the southern Irish ruling class collaborated with Britain to suppress the freedom movement that re-emerged in the British-occupied northern state during the 1960s.

Today, the South of Ireland jurisdiction – which pompously and fraudulently refers to itself as “the Republic of Ireland” – is the apotheosis of the Irish republic that generations of Irish people have fought and died for.

It is a bankrupt state of huge social inequality and poverty, overseen by crony political parties who made their peace with British imperialism when the island was partitioned in 1920 – thus betraying the cause of Irish republicanism that sought to set up a unified, independent state free from British domination.

Sinn Fein, the original party that led Irish independence more than a century ago, is again in the ascendancy, both north and south. It is this political threat that most probably explains the sudden rekindling of interest in the tragic murder of Jean McConville more four decades ago. The place where her remains were found 10 years ago, County Louth, is the electoral constituency that Gerry Adams represents today in the southern parliament, having been elected to the seat in 2011.

Jean McConville’s family deserve the truth and justice. So do thousands of other Irish families. But for these other families, the British and Dublin governments and their lickspittle media show little interest towards. Both the London and Dublin governments continue to refuse the setting up an independent truth commission into all conflict-related deaths. The selective focus on one victim strongly suggests manipulation of a single family’s grief for cynical political purposes. That’s not justice. It’s grubby politicking.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Time to End Military/CIA Torture Once and For All

By Steven Reisner | CounterPunch | April 30, 2014

In the face of continued revelations of United States’ torture policies during the Bush administration, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), today sent letters to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding an end to all ongoing practices of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees. The letter specifically calls for revoking techniques permitted in Appendix ‘M’ of the current Army Field Manual, such as solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, forms of sensory deprivation, and environmental manipulations, which individually and combined have been condemned internationally as forms of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and therefore violate the United States’ obligations under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. In addition, PsySR expressed particularly concern that health professionals, including psychologists, have been engaged to support such efforts in violation of their ethical responsibilities.

Here is the letter:

April 29, 2014

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As an organization of health professionals dedicated to human rights advocacy, Psychologists for Social Responsibility strongly objects to practices that violate the ethics of health professions and lie outside the norms of international law and practice. The recent Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence confirms that, beginning during the Bush Administration, interrogation and detention practices were put in place by the CIA that constituted torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Practices once condemned under law and international treaty were soon redefined by the Justice Department to permit a “culture of torture” to proliferate under U.S. policy. These practices quickly spread to the detention centers of the Department of Defense and throughout the theaters of war. While legal progress has been made to limit these policies and practices, significant remnants remain under your authority. We write to you today to urge you to eliminate all existing procedures allowing for torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.

In 2009, via Executive Order 13491, your administration officially announced its intention to end the torture practices developed and instituted under the Bush Administration. Interrogation practices that did not conform to the Army Field Manual were abolished. However, as documented by numerous legal and human rights groups, as well as by former interrogators,[1] the Army Field Manual still includes abusive techniques in violation of these standards.

We concur with the recent recommendation of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP)/Open Society Foundations report [2] calling for you to issue a new executive order banning interrogation techniques using isolation, sleep deprivation, exploitation of fear, and other methods that violate international standards regarding torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. We, too, urge you to remediate the ethical standards of the Army Field Manual via executive order.

The current edition of the Army Field Manual (2006) officially supports interrogations using “approach techniques,” including the creation, manipulation, and intensification of phobias and fears in prisoners (“Fear Up”) and the calculated psychological attack against ego or self-esteem (“Emotional Pride and Ego Down”). The “Emotional Futility” approach intends to create a perception in a prisoner that “resistance to questioning is futile.” The manual describes the purpose of this technique as engendering “a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness” in a detainee and notes the “potential for application of the pride and ego approach to cross the line into humiliating and degrading treatment of the detainee.”

Also problematic on both basic health and human rights grounds is Appendix M, added to this most recent version of the Army Field Manual (2-22.3). This special annex proposes a technique known as “Separation,” which includes the use of solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, forms of sensory deprivation, and environmental manipulations — all of which could theoretically be extended indefinitely — as ostensibly legitimate forms of treatment on “unlawful combatants.” The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture [3] and independent human rights organizations describe such practices as torture and/or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. As health professionals and human rights advocates, we are disturbed that such techniques are conducted under an official capacity and by executive order.

We are particularly concerned that health professionals, including psychologists, have been engaged to support such efforts, directly or indirectly, in violation of their ethical obligations and in violation of the policies of their professional associations.

As you must be aware, these practices are not only cruel, but also yield questionable intelligence and contribute to a perception of our country as a systematic violator of human rights. It would serve as a strong and principled legacy of your Administration if these remaining practices of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment were finally and definitively ended.

We look forward to your timely response.


Steven Reisner, PhD


Psychologists for Social Responsibility

cc: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Steven Reisner is President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility ( and is a founding member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology ( 


[1] Scott Horton, “Interrogators C click here//

[2] Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detai nee” target=”_blank”>Abuse in the “War on T/a>error”, IMAP/OSF Task Force Report, Nov. 2013. URL: Library/Documents/IMAP-EthicsTextFinal2.pdf

[3] ”Solitary confinement should be banned in most ca ses,” target=”_blank”> UN expert says,” UN News C” target=”_bnk”>k”> UN expert says” target=”_blank”>nk”>k”> UN ex” target=lank”>lank”>nk”>” target=”_blank”> k”> UN expert says,” UN News Centre, Oct. 18th, 2011. URL:

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment


Da Russophile | May 1, 2014

Monday 21st: front page story on NYTPhotos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia”, ah hah! proof at last!; a bit of doubt surfaces on Wednesday; entire story trashed Thursday: “Aftermath of Ukraine Photo Story Shows Need for More Caution”. When I was a kid, CIA confections lasted a lot longer than a couple of days. So, into the bin along with the Jewish registration letter, captured “OSCE observers” and soon to be followed by the new intercepts. All I see from Washington is desperation piled on incompetence: none of this has turned out the way it was supposed to and no one has any idea of what to do next. So turn the volume up, desperately clutch at any story, hysterically accuse RT of propaganda when all it’s doing is accurately quoting you, announce more sanctions based on the dopey assumption that Putin has billions stashed in the West and move military forces to irrelevant places like Poland or Romania. The Micawber school of diplomacy.

  1. “Containment” is the new mantra for dealing with Russia in Washington these days. But has anyone there read the original? (Original telegram, subsequent article). Apart from the fact that George Kennan was strongly against NATO expansion, which is one of the two Original Sins of today’s Ukrainian catastrophe, the conditions Kennan saw in 1946 simply do not apply today. In essence Kennan was arguing that the inner constructions and logical implications of the Marxist-Leninist ideology did not correspond well with reality and therefore, over the long haul, it would not survive. Assuming that the USA would survive because it was better connected to reality, he expected the USA to outlast the USSR, given patience and prudence. This proved correct over the next half-century. Who believes this to be the case today other than the few crazies who still think Marxism-Leninism rules in Russia? And, speaking of perception of reality, one might compare any statement by Lavrov with Slaughter’s article below or any bloviation from Kerry. Or, thinking long-term as Kennan did, who can be confident that the USA will be Number One in 50 years? Or 25? Or even 10? They say China is about to become the premier economy this year. Deng’s reforms began only 35 years ago… What will the world look like in another 35?
  2. To give you an idea of the level of impassioned lunacy in Washington these days, read “Stopping Russia Starts in Syria”. Essentially the argument is that Obama should bomb Syria in order to show Putin he is serious about using force. Or something. “Striking Syria might not end the civil war there, but it could prevent the eruption of a new one in Ukraine”. Gibbering nonsense, eh? And incoherently erected on idiotic assumptions. But the author is not some bizarro from the outer fringes of the Net; it is Anne-Marie Slaughter, academic and quondam director of policy planning in the US State Department and now President of the New America Foundation. Mainstream madness.


Another US official visits, another “anti-terrorist operation”, another fizzle. This piece (rather poorly translated) gives a clue why. We have already seen in previous events that what remains of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are unwilling to get involved – even the supposedly elite airborne forces handed over their weapons rather than shoot. The so-called special forces are no better. The local police sympathise with the rebels. Now we see the ineffectiveness of the new “National Guard” made up of western Ukrainian nationalists: not even they, under-equipped, unfed and unpaid, are willing or competent. Kiev simply hasn’t got anyone to do its will no matter how much Biden and Brennan might prod it. And a couple of nights ago a riot between two different flavours of super-nationalists in Kiev itself. “Ukraine” no longer exists; Washington and Brussels have broken it in half.


Russia has handed over to Ukraine 13 of the 70 Ukrainian Navy warships it acquired when their crews switched sides.


Debka (which I regard as not always wrong) claims Putin has approved the sale of the S-400 SAM system to China. Said to be pretty advanced; here’s some marketing porn for it. And other signs of closeness: big investment, naval exercise. The first fruits of the many unintended consequences of Victoria Nuland’s grand scheme.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movement Against European Union Takes Shape in Greece

Prensa Latina | May 1, 2014

Athens – Three political groups, faced with the coming European elections, presented in this capital a coordination communique today, in which they expressed their rejection of the European Union (EU) and the euro.

The French People’s Republican Union, the Finnish Independence Party and the Greek People’s Unitary Front announced their support for participation in the European call to elections in May.

In their proposal, they are demanding emancipation of the continent’s countries from the EU, an anti-democratic organization at the service of the financial and economic oligarchy, the interests of which are clearly against the interests of the citizens of the continent.

These parties are trying “to warn electors about what is at stake in the current European structure,” spreading the message that “to reestablish democracy in our respective countries, it is unavoidably necessary to oust the EU and the euro.”

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

US-run ‘Cuban Twitter’ categorized ‘political tendencies’ of users – report

RT | May 1, 2014

Contractors working for the United States who ran the so-called ‘Cuban Twitter’ social media project categorized user responses to overtly political messages for “receptiveness” and “political tendencies,” among other details, according to a new report.

The US State Department’s Agency for the International Development (USAID) employed contractors to foster political unrest – while avoiding Cuba’s internet restrictions – through the subscription-based text-messaging service ZunZuneo, AP reported earlier this month.

Documents obtained by AP said ZunZuneo was designed to start with fairly benign messaging. Once it was more widespread among the Cuban population, it would introduce political content that would attempt to inspire Cubans to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”

Despite the State Department’s assertions that the program was not used to influence political leanings, AP reported Wednesday that cell phone users were categorized in databases as being “pro-revolution,” “apolitical,” or “anti-revolutionary.”

One young contractor working on the project was Paula Cambronero, whose first job out of college was working on how Cubans interacted with ZunZuneo messages carefully – and quietly – sent from Spanish phone numbers. The contractor asked Cambronero to communicate with staff over encrypted channels, and emails were sent from a domain name “not publicly linked” to the contractor.

Her employer – not named by AP – told her that she would be dealing with a “considerable amount of sensitive information that must be safeguarded to protect critical operations of the Project.” USAID even established a dummy company in the Cayman Islands to cover any money trail associated with ZunZuneo.

Cambronero’s responsibility was to build a database of unsuspecting Cuban cell phone users that responded to ZunZuneo messages, using classifications like gender, age, location, “receptiveness,” and “political tendencies.” She would analyze how users reacted to overtly political messages written by a hired Cuban satirist that poked at the nation’s leaders.

Cambronero did not respond to AP’s request for comment. The State Department had no comment to AP on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, USAID spokesman Matthew Herrick told AP that the agency had reviewed the project and offered congressional investigators the selection of messages sent to Cubans.

Herrick claimed the 249 different messages focused on sports, technology, world news, and trivia, and that the messages “were consistent with the objective of creating a platform for Cubans to speak freely among themselves.”

The political messages crafted by the satirist were sent “under a grant that pre-dated the ZunZuneo project,” Herrick said.

Yet documents reviewed by AP show that USAID considered the grant a “test phase” of the network that would become ZunZuneo.

Overall, Cambronero collected more than 700 responses to text messages, analyzing them by two variables: the level of interest in the received messages and the political content of a response.

She found that 68 percent of responses exhibited mild interest in the ZunZuneo texts. Many responses – 210 total – wanted to know who was sending the anonymous message.

“Explain your point better because I don’t understand and remember that if you haven’t done anything you shouldn’t fear anything, at least tell me your name if you’re not a coward,” said one respondent.

Others asked for help in obtaining birth certificates of Spanish ancestors, a prerequisite for acquiring a Spanish passport to leave Cuba.

Only 59 responses were analyzed for political content. Cambronero found 10 that did have “political character,” AP reported, “of which two were counter-revolutionary.”

In her notes, Cambronero recommended that “messages with a humorous connotation should not contain a strong political tendency, so as not to create animosity in the recipients.”

Upon the ZunZuneo revelations, the Obama administration quickly came under attack and promptly denounced allegations that it covertly plotted to disrupt Cuban politics.

Condemnation of the program continues to emerge. In Costa Rica, where ZunZuneo was reportedly developed by American officials, the nation’s foreign minister Enrique Castillo said last week that not only does he think it was “inappropriate” for the US to use his country to conduct the project, but that he previously warned officials not to involve his Central American country in the endeavor due to fears it would strain Costa Rica’s own relationship with Cuba.

“I think it’s inappropriate to use an embassy in Costa Rica for this type of operation that harms a third country,” Castillo told the AP. “We’re not filing a complaint. The point is that embassies accredited in Costa Rica don’t have to submit their plans or programs for the Costa Rican government’s approval.”

Costa Rica’s minister of communications, Carlos Roverssi, said Wednesday that it will fall on the country’s recently elected government to deal with the matter from here on out.

“It seems to me that the issue is now public and the next government should follow up on the issue, without a doubt,” he said.

The US State Department has begun a review of the program, saying it would be “troubling” if ZunZuneo involved political messaging.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine and Georgia: Different Approaches

By Renee Parsons | CounterPunch | April 30, 2014

In October, 2009, less than one year after becoming President, the affable Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people” and for citing a “new climate in international politics.”

At the time, it was problematic exactly what the new President had achieved to deserve the esteemed Prize and most commentators overlooked the premature nature of the award suggesting, that the President offered hope for the future as the Nobel declaration stated “Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.”

Since it is now embarrassingly obvious that the Nobel Committee misjudged the new President, the Committee, in the future, might consider basing the Peace Prize on actual accomplishments regarding the pursuit of peace rather than specious possibilities.

Two months later, the President offered a hint of what was to come when he accepted the award in Oslo delivering one of his customary rhetorical speeches entitled “A Just and Lasting Peace.” In retrospect, that speech is even more alarming today than it was five years ago as we now know what the President meant when he referred to ‘future interventions’ and went on to defend the notion of a ‘just war’ characterized when “certain conditions were met”: if it is “waged as a last resort or in self-defense”; if the “force used is proportional”; and if, whenever possible, “civilians are spared from violence.”

One inescapable irony is that Peace Prize winner Obama has instigated, continued and encouraged more war and militarism around the planet (including a Tuesday morning ‘kill list’ review,  combat troops in Africa, a “pivot to Asia,’ “absolute’ support for Japan in its conflict with China over an insignificant, uninhabited pile of rocks, Marines in northern Australia, combat troops in Poland, Estonia and Lithuania, drone attacks on civilians, extra-judicial assassinations, proxy wars in Libya and Syria, increased constitutional violations and surveillance while continuing Bush’s war on terrorism in the Middle East and  in Guantanamo) than the notoriously pro-war George W. Bush accomplished even in his most hawkish moments.

During his recent trip to Asia, the President warned North Korea, China and Russia, all in one 48 hour period to follow US dictates or else –  not bad for a day’s work, if you want to be to known as the world’s greatest purveyor-of-war and violence.

Despite striking similarities, the 2008 five day war between Russia, South Ossetia and Georgia offers an insight into how the belligerent Bush Administration pursued a different approach in Georgia as compared to Obama’s US-generated conflict in Ukraine causing the ultimate secession of Crimea. One obvious parallel is that Bush, already weakened by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was an unpopular lame duck at home during the Georgia conflict while Obama, with a steady disapproval rating, is no longer viewed as a skilled leader to be trusted with keeping the peace.

One distinct dissimilarity is that Russia did not attempt a coup to oust Georgia’s democratically elected Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008 as the US did in Ukraine – nor did the Bush Administration overreact with a military response or economic sanctions against Moscow.

While Crimea, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, all considered ‘autonomous’ regions with historic and cultural connections to Russia, yet located within the borders of Ukraine and Georgia, respectively; the Bush and Obama Administrations, both dominated by a neo-con foreign policy, chose substantially different responses for the urge to secede.  Despite their rationale, one might almost be tempted to applaud the Bushies, no heroes in my book, for having better recognized the political realities of another grand war.

From the time of the 1917 Russian revolution, the Ossetians were on the side of the Bolsheviks and later South Ossetia, a thumb-print of a country surrounded mostly by Georgia with North Ossetia on its western border, became an autonomous region within the Soviet Republic of Georgia. By the early 1990’s, as the USSR was unraveling, South Ossetia’s demand to formally secede as an autonomous, independent state was declared illegal by Georgia. By 1992, tensions with Abkhazia, Georgia’s neighbor along the Black Sea and already an autonomous region with Russian roots, escalated as both regions went to war with Georgia.  Both regions, like Crimea, so small, so insignificant yet so strategically vital to Russia as NATO buffers.

By 1992, a Russian-brokered ceasefire was in effect in South Ossetia with a peacekeeping force in place as a Constitution was adopted forming the Republic of South Ossetia.  Abkhazia declared its formal independence from Georgia and adopted its Constitution in 1994.

At the April, 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, NATO enlargement was a significant agenda item including US-proposed admission of Georgia and Ukraine with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister warning that membership would be a ‘huge strategic mistake which would have most serious consequences for pan-European security.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived to oppose the US deployment of missile defense shields in Poland and Czechoslovakia and the entry of Georgia and Ukraine and while Russia observed the process, the depth of its long-term apprehensions and also its legitimate right to equal security fell on deaf ears. While the US had sponsored Georgia and Ukraine for membership, France and Germany, with continued energy supply issues from Gazprom, resisted US pressure and opposed affiliation for the time being. Both Georgia and Ukraine were short-listed to receive a NATO Membership Action Plan in preparation for eventual membership.

The appeal of a better life under the IMF and NATO did little to convince South Ossetia and Abkhazia which still objected to Georgia’s push for reunification. By August 7, 2008, after a July visit by US State Department Secretary Condoleeza Rice and a series of clashes with south Ossetia forces, there is little dispute in the historical record that Georgian President Saakashvili, well-known as a combustible personality and hot-head, initiated an invasion into South Ossetia. Russian troops responded by advancing into South Ossetia to defend its peacekeepers.

In “A Little War that Shook the World,” (not to be confused with “Ten Days that Shook the World” by John Reed) former State Department NATO Enlargement official Ron Asmus confirmed that on multiple occasions, Saaskashvili was warned by US officials to not precipitate a crisis or initiate any confrontation with Russia. Asmus relates that on a 2005 visit to Georgia, President Bush personally told Saaskashvili ‘don’t do it.”

Whether Saaskashvili misread the signals or there was a green light from the US in support of military action, the fact is that the Bush Administration did not respond militarily; presumably with an awareness that the region was not significant enough to be worth a potential war with Russia and that the NATO pledge of ‘all for one, and one for all’ did not apply to  non-NATO nations.

On September 4, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Georgia announcing a one billion dollar aid package to assist in “work to overcome an invasion of your sovereign territory” as Russia signed a pact with both countries to maintain a 3,800 military force in each country. On August 26, 2008, Russian President Medvedev signed a decree recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states after which Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia.

The author of the EU’s Tagliavini Report (Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini) on the origins of the war determined that Georgia did not to have the right of self-defence in regard to attacks by Ossetian secessionist forces and that Georgia’s ‘excessive use of force” violated the UN Charter. And further, although Russian forces did not penetrate into what it considers to be sovereign Georgian territory and since South Ossetia and Abkhazia are considered regions within Georgia, Tagliavini concluded that Russia did not have the right to invade Georgia to protect its members of the international peacekeeping force.

Today, Abkhazia remains a ‘disputed’ territory and neither Abkhazia or South Ossetia are recognized as independent states but as sovereign territory belonging to Georgia.  Currently, NATO and Georgian officials have met to discuss membership as early as September, 2014 – sure to trigger additional international turmoil. Delegations of South Ossetia and Georgia are meeting currently for another round of Russia-EU-OSCE mediated talks with the South Ossetians due to raise ‘demonstrative and provocative border violations on the part of Georgia.”

Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth.  in 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor. Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

State Department’s annual Country Report on Israeli Terrorism

By Gilad Atzmon | May 1, 2014

Ynet reports today that A new American report on terrorism strongly criticizes Israel for its lack of response to attacks by extremist settlers against the Palestinian population and their property.

“Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted according to UN and NGO sources,” says the State Department’s annual Country Report on Terrorism.

The report states that attacks of this nature number in the hundreds.

“The UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs reported 399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage. Violent extremists, including Israeli settlers, vandalized five mosques and three churches in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to data compiled by the UN.”

The paper also notes that the phenomenon has spilled over into Israel, where Muslim and Christian sites have been targeted.

“‘Price tag’ attacks (property crimes and violent acts by extremist Jewish individuals and groups in retaliation for activity they deemed to be anti-settlement) expanded into Israel from the West Bank in 2013,”

The report, also noted a massive drop in rocket attacks from Gaza and Sinai into Israel. “Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Hamas-controlled Gaza continued rocket and mortar attacks into Israeli territory. The number of rocket and mortar launchings on Israel from Gaza and the Sinai was the lowest in 2013 in more than a decade, with 74 launchings compared to 2,557 in 2012.”

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

The B61 Family of Nuclear Bombs

By Hans M. Kristensen* | April 27, 2014

… The Obama administration is about to give birth to the newest member of the B61 family: the B61-12. And this is a real golden baby estimated at about $10 billion. …

Although based on the same basic warhead design first developed in the 1960s, the capabilities of the remaining version vary considerably with explosive yields ranging from 0.1 kilotons to a whopping 400 kilotons – more than 30 times as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Now the Obama administration has proposed that four of the remaining versions (B61-4, B61-7, B61-10, and B61-11) can be retired if the last version – the B61-4 – is converted into a guided standoff nuclear bomb. An even larger bomb, the B83-1, can also be retired, they say (even though its retirement was planned anyway).

The sales pitch is as arcane as the family name: building a new bomb is good for disarmament.

But most of the B61 bombs and the B83 could probably be retired anyway for the simple reason that deterrence no longer requires six different ways of dropping a nuclear bomb from an aircraft. A much simpler and cheaper life-extended version of the B61-7 could probably do the job.


The new B61-12 will be capable of holding at risk the same targets as current gravity bombs in the US stockpile (apparently even those currently covered by the B61-11 nuclear earth-penetrator that the Air Force no longer needs), but it will be able to do so more effectively and with less yield (thus less collateral damage and radioactive fallout) than the existing bombs.

Congress rejected Air Force requests for new, low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons in the 1990s because of concern that such weapons would be seen as more usable than larger strategic warheads. With the B61-12, which will have several low-yield options, the military appears to obtain a guided low-yield nuclear strike capability after all.

In Europe, the effect of the B61-12 will be even more profound because its increased accuracy essentially will add high-yield targeting capability to NATO’s non-strategic arsenal. When mated with the stealthy F-35A fighter-bomber planned for Europe in the mid-2020s, the B61-12 will represent a considerable enhancement of NATO’s nuclear posture in Europe.

How they’re going to spin that development at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York next year will be interesting so see. But the B61-12 program is part of a global technological nuclear arms race with nuclear weapon modernization programs underway in all the nuclear-armed states that is in stark contrast to the wishes of the overwhelming number of countries on this planet to see the “cessation of the nuclear arms race at early date and to nuclear disarmament,” as enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (more about that in the May issue of Arms Control Today).

*This excerpted content has been made available at the USS Bennington blog where a link to the entire article can be found.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment