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Malaysia Airlines Whodunnit Still a Mystery

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 9, 2014

Beyond confirming that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 apparently was shot down on July 17, the Dutch Safety Board’s interim investigative report answered few questions, including some that would seem easy to address, such as the Russian military radar purporting to show a Ukrainian SU-25 jetfighter in the area, a claim that the Kiev government denied.

Either the Russian radar showed the presence of a jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of the passenger plane – as the Russians claimed in a July 21 press conference – or it didn’t. The Kiev authorities insisted that they had no military aircraft in the area at the time.

But the 34-page Dutch report is silent on the jetfighter question, although noting that the investigators had received Air Traffic Control “surveillance data from the Russian Federation.”

The report is also silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who may have fired it.

The Obama administration has asserted knowledge about those facts – initially pointing the finger at ethnic Russian rebels using a powerful Buk anti-aircraft missile system supposedly supplied by Russia – but the U.S. government has withheld satellite photos and other intelligence information that could presumably corroborate the charge.

Curiously, too, the Dutch report, released on Tuesday, states that the investigation received “satellite imagery taken in the days after the occurrence.” Obviously, the more relevant images in assessing blame would be aerial photography in the days and hours before the crash that killed 298 people on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

In mid-July, eastern Ukraine was a high priority for U.S. intelligence and a Buk missile battery is a large system that should have been easily picked up by U.S. aerial reconnaissance. The four missiles in a battery are each about 16-feet-long and would have to be hauled around by a truck and then put in position to fire.

Just days after the July 17 shoot-down, a source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the analysts were examining satellite imagery that showed the crew manning the suspected missile battery wearing what looked like Ukrainian army uniforms.

Then, on July 22, at a briefing given to journalists from major U.S. publications, a U.S. intelligence official suggested that a Ukrainian military “defector” might have launched the Buk missile against the airliner, possibly explaining the issue of the uniforms.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [Buk anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

The briefers also theorized that the rebels hit Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by mistake, thinking it was a Ukrainian military aircraft.

Yet, while the U.S. government has released a variety of satellite photos to bolster various allegations lodged against ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and the Russian government, the Obama administration has balked at providing satellite imagery relating to the Flight 17 case, instead basing much of its public case on “social media.”

Russian Satellite Images

The Dutch report’s reference to only post-crash satellite photos is also curious because the Russian military released a number of satellite images purporting to show Ukrainian government Buk missile systems north of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk before the attack, including two batteries that purportedly were shifted 50 kilometers south of Donetsk on July 17, the day of the crash, and then removed by July 18.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered these questions by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

Lysenko added: “To disown this tragedy, [Russia] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.” But Ukrainian authorities have failed to address the Russian evidence except through broad denials.

On July 29, amid escalating rhetoric against Russia from U.S. government officials and the Western news media, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had on the shoot-down, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to ‘poison the jury pool.’”

However, the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had shifted away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible. But then chatter about U.S. intelligence information on the shoot-down faded away.

Given the intense global interest in the tragedy, there were high hopes that the Dutch Safety Board, which is heading up the international investigation, would at least begin clarifying the evidence and shifting through the conflicting claims. However, more than seven weeks after the crash, the preliminary report fails to address any of the evidence regarding who actually fired the missile and from precisely what location.

The Dutch Safety Board promised a final report before the first anniversary of the crash on July 17, 2015. By then, however, the slaughter of those 298 people could well become a cold case with little hope of finding the perpetrators – whoever they might be – and bringing them to justice.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Deception | | 2 Comments

Tony Blair: The War Criminal Middle East “Peace” Envoy

A Dead Statesman

By William Hanna | Dissident Voice | September 9, 2014

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

– Rudyard Kipling, “Epitaphs of the War”

How can a just peace be achieved between the Israelis and the Palestinians? The answer is simply to appoint as peace envoy a war criminal who — like former French President Nicolas Sarkozy — also happens to be an Israeli sayan. Before qualifying as a fully fledged war criminal, Blair started out as a lawyer whose cosy, potentially corrupt, and now war criminal connection with Israel began in earnest in 1994 when he first met Michael Levy — an encounter that was calculated rather than fortuitous — at a dinner party hosted by Israeli diplomat Gideon Meir who, like Blair was friendly with Eldred Tabachnik, a senior barrister and Queens Council at 11 King’s Bench Walk, the chambers founded by Derry Irvine where Blair had been a junior tenant on its foundation in 1981. Tabachnik was also a former president (1994-2000) of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Following their initial meeting Blair and Levy became friends, tennis partners, and political cohorts with Levy running the Labour Leader’s Office Fund to finance Blair’s 1997 general election campaign which received substantial contributions from notables such as Alex Bernstein (Granada Group Chairman 1979-1996) and Robert Gavron (publishing). Generally referred to as “Lord Cashpoint” in media and political circles, Levy was the Labour Party’s leading fundraiser with over £100m raised between 1994 to 2007. After becoming Prime Minister, Blair ennobled Bernstein and Gavron and made Levy a life peer whom the Jerusalem Post — owned by the subsequently convicted felon Canadian newspaper publisher Conrad Black — described as “undoubtedly the notional leader of British Jewry.”

In 1998 Blair appointed Levy as his personal envoy to the Middle East and it is perhaps no coincidence that as a consequence of being financed and in effect controlled by Israeli interests, Blair — like the semi-illiterate President Bush in the U.S. — was inveigled into launching an illegal war against Iraq despite widespread opposition to such a conflict. The need for war was then “sold” to the British and American people on the basis of doctored intelligence reports backed by Blair’s now infamous claim to Parliament that Saddam Hussein could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order to use them. Everyone now knows that the 45-minute claim was a blatant lie because Iraq had nothing even remotely resembling a weapon of mass destruction. So once again an AIPAC-controlled U.S.-led alliance was conned by Israel to wage war on Israel’s behalf against an “enemy” Arab neighbour. Other Israeli targets for Western alliance death and destruction included Iran and Syria.

“Lord Cashpoint” Levy, who praised Blair for his “solid and committed support of the State of Israel,” maintained close ties with Israel’s political leaders and kept a home in Herzliya, a city in the central coast of Israel. Daniel Levy, his son, was active in Israeli politics, and at one time served as an assistant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and to Knesset member Yossi Beilin. Daniel — amongst other positions — is a senior research fellow of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation and director of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. It is the calculated placement of such dedicated, eager beaver people in strategic positions that exert influence over Western decision-making on the Middle East that favour Israel’s political purpose.

In March 2006 it was revealed that Tony Blair’s Labour Party had raised £14 million in loans from private individuals of whom some were later nominated for peerages. Levy was later arrested but released on bail pending Scotland Yard’s investigation into what came to be known as the “cash for honours” controversy. In July 2007 — one month after the Jewish Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith had stepped down at the same time as Blair — the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Levy would neither be prosecuted in connection with the affair nor face any other charges.

When Tony Blair and his disgraced Zionist “Lord Cashpoint” controller voluntarily decided to step down in June 2007, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the past decade, assumed the office of Prime Minister following the approval of Queen Elizabeth II. Having been for a long time Blair’s bitter competitor for residence at 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Brown was not to be outdone and was himself bankrolled and influenced by Ronald Cohen who as the Labour Party’s fourth largest supporter was also ennobled. The Egyptian-born Lord Cohen was in 2002 an inaugural inductee into the Private Equity Hall of Fame, at the British Venture Capital Association and Real Deals’ Private Equity Awards. So long as money — corporate, Jewish or otherwise — is permitted by the majority of the people to influence and control the governance of a nation, then there can be no democracy because the people become conditioned subjects rather than citizens.

In June 2007 Blair was appointed Middle East envoy working on behalf of the U.S., Russia, the UN and the EU quartet with his sterling peace efforts resulting in Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead. Being an Israeli stooge, however, has its rewards and in May 2009 Blair received the $1 million Dan David prize at a Tel Aviv university ceremony. Blair’s office stated that 90 percent of the money from the prize — which is named after Dan David, the Jewish-born Romanian international businessman who made his millions by setting up Photo-Me booths in shopping malls around the world — would be donated to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that promotes religious understanding by bringing together young people (excluding young Palestinian “beasts”) of different faiths.

This was followed up in September 2010 with the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal and $100,000 (£65,000) prize being awarded by former President Bill Clinton to Blair. The Center is an independent, non-profit organisation that promotes understanding of the U.S. constitution and its relevance. The $100,000 was to be donated to Blair’s charitable foundations. Officials acknowledged that Blair, who had just been forced to cancel promotional events for a new autobiography amid protests by critics of his role in the U.S.-led Iraq war, was a contentious choice. The Center’s Jewish (surprise, surprise) president David Eisner, said that “There is always an element of controversy when you pick people at the forefront of change. They are usually very controversial figures. We understand … how differently Tony Blair appears to be viewed by many people in the UK as compared with many people in the US.” That is probably because the British people had not forgotten how he deliberately involved Britain in a war on the strength of a barefaced Blair lie.

Following the September 2014 much criticised GQ glossy magazine’s “Philanthropist of the Year” award” to Blair, the Charity Commission has just announced that it will meet representatives of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) over concerns brought to its attention by former senior employee turned whistleblower, Martin Bright. Bright, who as editor of the TBFF website for the charity analysed religious conflict, has complained about Blair’s interference and effectively accused him of abusing his role as patron to use the charity as a think tank for his private office which allegedly spent large sums of money on a sizeable communications team whose priority appeared to be the protection Mr Blair’s image, rather than the promotion of the charity. Bright further maintained that “the Faith Foundation is an independent charity with Tony Blair as its patron. He is not supposed to have any executive role … But it was clear from the outset that … his [Mr Blair’s] reputation was to be protected at all costs.”

Though other Labour Party leaders have since endeavoured to jettison the pernicious legacy of the illegal Iraq war, Blair has steadfastly continued to maintain that he made the right decision . . . “If we hadn’t removed Saddam from power just think, for example, what would be happening if these Arab revolutions were continuing now and Saddam, who’s probably 20 times as bad as Assad in Syria, was trying to suppress an uprising in Iraq? Think of the consequences of leaving that regime in power.” Anyone thinking about it — taking into account how Iraq’s entire infrastructure has since been destroyed, its communities divided, and its people devastated with millions killed — would have to honestly conclude Iraq and its people were much better off under Saddam Hussein who as a war criminal was strictly an amateur compared to leaders like Blair, Bush Jr., and Barack Obama.

Apart from all the blood on his hands, Blair has also been busy stuffing his pockets with filthy lucre to the extent that his approximate earnings of £150,000 as Prime Minister are now dwarfed by varied estimates of tens of millions. Finally, Israeli stooge and war criminal Blair is to be given a knighthood — one of the Catholic church’s top awards — for “services to peace” by a gutless and hypocritical Pope who failed to condemn the recent butchery in Gaza while presiding over a Church that has always condemned the use of contraception so as to protect the the sanctity of human life.

William Hanna can be reached at: w194hanna@gmail.com.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

African-Americans Far more Likely to be Injured by Police than Whites

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | September 9, 2014

Being a black person in the United States comes with much greater risk than being white when involved in police incidents, federal health reporting statistics show.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Sunlight Foundation examined non-fatal injuries stemming from law enforcement encounters and found a significant gap in how whites and blacks are treated.

From 2001 to 2012, “black people suffered over five times as many nonfatal injuries per capita from law enforcement as white people did cumulatively,” Damian Ortellado wrote for the Sunlight Foundation. For black men, the injury rate per 100,000 people came out to 117, while for white men it was 21 per 100,000. In fact, white men had fewer total injuries than black men despite being involved in five times as many police incidents.

The numbers also showed that the same racial disparity existed among women as well as men, Ortellado found. “Using the same injury estimate to population count methodology yields nearly identical comparisons between black women and white women, where black women receive five times the rate of nonfatal injuries caused by law enforcement when compared to white women,” he wrote.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | | 1 Comment

Getting It Dead Wrong for 30 Years

By Cassandra Stubbs | ACLU | September 9, 2014

According to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Henry Lee McCollum deserved to die for the brutal rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie. There’s just one problem, and a frequent one in death penalty cases: Henry Lee McCollum didn’t do it.

Instead of tracking down the true killer, police and prosecutors went after Henry Lee McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown, two intellectually disabled and innocent teenagers. While his mother wept in the hallway, not allowed to see her son, officers interrogated McCollum for five hours, ultimately coercing him to sign a confession they had written. In a trial without forensic evidence and plagued by racial bias, these two half-brothers with IQs in the 50s and 60s were sent to death row. Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown, whose sentence was later reduced to life in prison, have been behind bars for the last 30 years.

Last week, they were finally exonerated in another disturbing example of how deeply flawed the death penalty is, particularly for African-American men in the South.

Death penalty supporters have long cast Henry Lee McCollum as a mythic boogeyman. After North Carolinians passed the Racial Justice Act, a law outlawing racial bias in capital cases, opponents of the law mailed sensationalized fliers showing McCollum’s mug shot, claiming it would lead to the release of convicted killers like him. Justice Scalia depicted McCollum as a strong argument against death penalty abolition because of the gruesomeness of Sabrina Buie’s murder.

There is a perverse irony here. Henry McCollum, long invoked as an argument for the death penalty, is innocent. Instead of the ultimate threat, he represents the ultimate injustice: a government condemning an innocent man to die. McCollum is not a boogeyman. Rather he is a case study of everything wrong with a broken capital punishment system that has no place in this country.

In another cruel irony, McCollum’s boogeyman status was successfully used to thwart the Racial Justice Act, which proved racial bias in four cases before it was repealed last year. And that’s tragic because North Carolina and other southern states desperately need laws like these to protect the innocent from racial bias.

Southern states, like North Carolina, are the most likely to wrongfully convict and sentence innocent people to death. And in those states, black defendants bear the greatest burden of wrongful convictions. Of the nine men wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in North Carolina, eight are men of color and seven – including McCollum and his half-brother – are black.

Race showed up in McCollum’s trial from the start. The trial prosecutors in McCollum’s case deliberately and unconstitutionally struck multiple qualified black jurors from jury service. This is a common practice: statewide, prosecutors were more than twice as likely to strike qualified black jurors as all other jurors.

For years now, North Carolina prosecutors have known about the statistical evidence showing widespread bias in the way they pursue capital convictions. Rather than addressing the findings and changing their practices, they have fought the Racial Justice Act and tried to keep statistical evidence of racial bias out of court. These misplaced priorities further erode the capital punishment system’s ability to produce accurate and just results, leading to errors that can never be erased.

North Carolina’s legislators now need to take a close look at Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown and see how racial bias distorts and undermines the state’s criminal justice system. Two innocent men are now middle aged, leaving prison after being locked up since they were teenage boys. Sabrina Buie’s loved ones have been strung along for three decades by police and prosecutors, believing two innocent men took their little girl from them in a rural North Carolina soybean field. And a community’s trust in the ability of its courts to produce a just outcome – accurate and untainted by racial bias – has been eroded.

After three decades of needless injustice, it is good to celebrate the fact that Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are going home. But the statistics tell us that there are many more like them, many who made it to death row only because of a broken and biased system. We need more protections, not fewer, to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions and eliminate racial bias. Ending the death penalty would be a good start.

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September 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

US bans Europol from releasing its own documents to European officials

RT | September 9, 2014

The United States has instructed Europol, the European Union’s police agency, to withhold its own annual internal data-protection review from EU lawmakers because the report was written without the US Treasury Department’s permission.

Europol drafted the data-protection report “without prior written authorisation from the information owner (in this case the Treasury Department),” according to the US, violating “security protocols” that could “undermine the relationship of trust needed to share sensitive information between enforcement agencies.”

The report, drafted by Europol’s Joint Supervisory Body, outlines how data concerning EU citizens and residents is transferred to the US, according to the EUobserver. The document is mainly known to monitor implementation of the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, or TFTP. Basically, the US Treasury Department is quite territorial about how the TFTP is adhering to European data protection compliance.

EU ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said Europol refused to allow her to see the report based on US demands. O’Reilly then confronted US ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner in July. Gardner confirmed the order.

On Thursday, O’Reilly said she sent a letter to the European Parliament asking the body “to consider whether it is acceptable that an agreement with a foreign government should prevent the Ombudsman from doing her job.”

“If the US says ‘No disclosure’ then it won’t be disclosed, which is ridiculous because we are EU citizens, we vote, we pay taxes, we have EU laws, and we decide what happens on this continent. Nobody else,” Dutch MEP liberal Sophie In’t Veld told EUobserver. In’t Veld first requested the report in 2012.

In’t Veld said there is no top-secret information in the report that should be viewed as overly sensitive.

“There is no operational information, there is no intelligence, there is nothing in the document. So you really wonder why it is kept a secret,” she said.

The TFTP has received scrutiny in the last year after documents supplied by former US government contractor Edward Snowden showed mass spying by the US National Security Agency on citizens and officials across the world, including in the EU.

The Snowden leaks showed the NSA had gained a “back door” entrance into the SWIFT servers – SWIFT being a financial-record sharing program, which revealed the banking details of millions of European citizens, despite the fact that access to this financial data was limited by the TFTP.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Profits Soar As Pentagon Leans on Private Corporations for Special Ops

New research shows how US Special Operations Command is outsourcing many of its most sensitive information activities, including interrogation, drone and psychological operations

By Jon Queally | Common Dreams | September 9, 2014

Private military contractors are reaping billions of dollars in profitable rewards from the U.S. government’s global network of clandestine counter-terrorism and other overseas operations, according to a new report that examines the high-levels of integration between for-profit corporations and the Pentagon’s global military and surveillance apparatus.

The new report—titled US Special Operations Command Contracting: Data-Mining the Public Recordwritten by researcher Crofton Black and commissioned by the U.K.-based Remote Control Project, shows that “corporations are integrated into some of the most sensitive aspects” of operations conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command (or  USSOCOM). Those activities, according to the report include: flying drones and overseeing target acquisition, facilitating communications between forward operating locations and central command hubs, interrogating prisoners, translating captured material, and managing the flow of information between regional populations and the US military.

“[USSOCOM] is outsourcing many of its most sensitive information activities, including interrogation, drone and psychological operations,” explained Black in a statement. “Remote warfare is increasingly being shaped by the private sector.”

And Caroline Donnellan, manager of the Remote Control project, said, “This report is distinctive in that it mines data from the generally classified world of US special operations. It reveals the extent to which remote control activity is expanding in all its facets, with corporations becoming more and more integrated into very sensitive elements of warfare. The report’s findings are of concern given the challenges remote warfare poses for effective investigation, transparency, accountability and oversight. This highlights the difficulties in assessing the impact and consequences of remote control activity.”

Reviewing its contents for The Intercept on Monday, journalist Ryan Gallagher observed how the unprecedented research documents troubling ways in which these private corporations have engaged in  overseas operations.  Describing it as a “corporate bonanza” for these contractor, Gallagher reports:

USSOCOM tendered a $1.5 billion contract that required support with “Psychological Operations related to intelligence and information operations.” Prospective contractors were told they would have to provide “military and civilian persuasive communications planning, produce commercial quality products for unlimited foreign public broadcast, and develop lines of persuasion, themes, and designs for multi-media products.” The contract suggested that aim of these “persuasion” operations was to “engage local populations and counter nefarious influences” in parts of Europe and Africa.

A separate document related to the same contract noted that one purpose of the effort was to conduct “market research” of al-Qaida and its affiliates in Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Northern Nigeria, and Somalia. Four American companies eventually won the $1.5 billion contract: Tennessee-based Jacobs Technology and Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI-WGI, and SRA International.

Notably, while some 3,000 contractors provided service in some capacity to USSOCOM, just eight of the contractors earned more than 50 percent of the $13 billion total identified in Black’s report. Those were: Lockheed Martin, L-3 Communications, Boeing, Harris Corporation, Jacobs Engineering Group, MA Federal, Raytheon, and ITT Corporation.

 

Read the executive summary of the report here. Read the full report here.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Syrian media slams Arab support for new US war in the region

Al-Akhbar | September 9, 2014

Syrian media accused Arab governments Tuesday of giving Washington prior agreement for military action against jihadists, with one daily calling for Damascus to form an alternative alliance with Moscow and Tehran.

The commentary comes ahead of talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday between Secretary of State John Kerry and US regional allies on joint action to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq.

“Washington, which used the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction to enter the region militarily in 2003 and draw new geopolitical lines… is returning today under a new false pretext, the fight against terrorism,” said the Al-Baath newspaper.

“The Arabs meanwhile, are absent from every decision and are playing secondary roles,” it added.

The Baath party daily was referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which notoriously the alleged chemical and biological weapons that were used to justify the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime were never found.

Kerry is set to meet foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and the six Gulf Arab states in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

The talks are part of US efforts to build a coalition to tackle ISIS, which has seized large tracts of territory in both Syria and Iraq, and carried out abuses including the decapitation of Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and two American journalists.

On Sunday, the Arab League pledged to take “necessary measures” to confront ISIS, and said it was ready for “international cooperation on all fronts.”

But Syria, and its ally Iran, will not be present at the talks in Saudi Arabia, and Damascus fears efforts to tackle ISIS will involve air strikes on its territory without its permission.

State-run newspaper Al-Thawra warned: “The United States is setting the stage to bring new wars to the region.

“Its local partners are ready to carry out its orders without even knowing the details of the American plan,” it added.

Government daily Tishrin questioned why Kerry and US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel were coming to the region “when the Arab League has already given its prior agreement for a new war in the region organized by the United States.”

A newspaper called for the formation of an alternative “Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition” against the jihadists to that being put together by Washington.

“Western and regional governments are excluding the nations that really want to fight terrorism,” it said, charging that the US-led coalition included nations that “support terrorism financially, military and logistically.”

Damascus considers all rebel groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad “terrorists” and has long accused the rebels’ supporters, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, of funding “terror.”

Similarly, critics opposed to US involvement in the conflict with ISIS have pointed out that Washington in partnership with its Gulf allies, including Saudi Arabia, played a role in the formation and expansion of extremist groups like ISIS by arming, financing and politically empowering armed opposition groups in Syria.

On Monday, a study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research revealed that ISIS jihadists appear to be using US military issue arms and weapons supplied to the so-called moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon: Missile defense ‘kill vehicle’ still plagued with problems after years of failure

RT | September 9, 2014

A Pentagon investigation of the “kill vehicle” warhead, part of a weapons system plagued with years of failed tests, found dozens of quality control problems, according to a new report.

The Pentagon’s inspector general said in the report released Monday that the “kill vehicle,” a warhead meant to intercept missiles, fell short of quality standards in 48 specific cases, including issues with software testing, supply chain demands, and design changes, making the kill vehicle “susceptible to quality assurance failures.”

The warhead, known as the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) is built by Raytheon Co. and is part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system led by Boeing Co. EKVs are launched by a Ground Based Interceptor (GBI), “which is designed to engage high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space,” according to Raytheon. The current procurement cost for each GBI is around $75 million, said Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral James Syring in July 2013.

The inspector general report, the first of two on the EKV, said the US Missile Defense Agency has agreed with concerns over the interceptor warhead and has started to address 44 of the 48 issues identified.

The GMD missile defense system was deployed in 2004 even before it completed testing to be able to counter what the George W. Bush administration claimed was a looming missile threat from North Korea.

The EKV finally conducted its first successful missile intercept in June after years of failed attempts.

“A combination of cost constraints and failure-driven program restructures has kept the program in a state of change. Schedule and cost priorities drove a culture of ‘use-as-is’ leaving the EKV as a manufacturing challenge,” the report said.

“With more than 1,800 unique parts, 10,000 pages of work instructions, and 130,000 process steps for the current configuration, EKV repairs and refurbishments are considered by the program to be costly and problematic and make the EKV susceptible to quality assurance failures,” it added.

The Pentagon inspector general wrote that most quality management systems on the weapons program were in compliance, but problems were evident. The report found 15 major and 25 minor quality problems with Raytheon’s EKV work. Boeing’s work on the entire system had six major and one minor problem.

Most of the issues identified in the report have been corrected, the inspector general said, but Raytheon is still working on four issues.

Raytheon has a $636 million development and sustainment contract to produce the EKV, though the Pentagon is seeking one of the major defense contracting firms to develop a more reliable, second generation EKV, Reuters reported. Weapons giants Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. are all in the running.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strangler Fig Nation

The unique national strategy for the state of Israel

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | September 8, 2014

Strangler fig is the generic name given to a class of vines that sprouts high in the canopy of trees in tropical forests. It is deposited by birds that eat its fruit. Its roots envelope the tree and feed off it, weakening the tree. If the process is allowed to continue indefinitely, it sinks its roots into the ground at the base of the tree and destroys it completely but takes its form, creating a hollow shell of living vines where the tree once stood.

On Friday, July 18, 2014, as one of the most powerful military forces in the world laid waste to the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip, leaving widows and orphans in its wake while nevertheless killing a significant number of them, the United States Senate, without objection and by unanimous consent from all 100 senators, passed a resolution supporting this act of genocide and condemning its victims for provoking the powerful aggressor by trying to resist.

At that point, Israel had killed more than 250 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while the resistance forces in Gaza had killed one Israeli, who had been delivering food to troops at the time. The Senate resolution had been drafted by the AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the pillars of the Israel Lobby. Fifty days later more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 72 Israelis, mostly soldiers, lay dead.

How did the Israel Lobby come to so totally dominate the US Senate and in fact the entire US government?

The story goes back more than a century, to the early years of the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state. Zionism grew out of the 19th and 20th century European racist and nationalist philosophies like Fascism, Nazism and Falangism, which promoted the idea that each race in the world needed a homeland and should seek to fulfill its national destiny there.

The definition of both race and homeland were given much latitude. Despite all genetic evidence to the contrary, Jews were considered a race, and after considering Uganda and Argentina as potential homelands, the Zionists settled on Palestine.

In order to fulfill its “destiny”, however, the Zionists realized that they would need the support of at least one great power in order to force themselves upon an unwilling population in Palestine and ultimately expel or eliminate them, as the Europeans had largely accomplished in the great genocide of indigenous peoples in the western hemisphere. For this purpose, they selected Great Britain as it was about to take control of Palestine, and when the Zionists might be able to argue that their support could be critical to British ambitions, both during and after the Great War.

Indeed, Britain served their purpose well, facilitating the settlement of Palestine with Zionist Europeans. Zionist leaders also assisted Nazi Germany in removing its Jewish population and transferring them to Palestine, arguing that Nazism and Zionism had complementary interests. Before long, however, the relationship with Britain turned adversarial when Zionist terrorist groups began attacking the British in Palestine, with a view toward forcing the creation of an independent Jewish state in a territory where they constituted a minority of the population.

Although the Zionists continued to maintain an important support community in Great Britain, they knew that they would need other sponsors, and found their warmest welcome in the United States, starting in the late 19th century. Following World War II, President Harry Truman considered the Zionists to be important enough to his 1948 election campaign that he showered them with whatever they wanted, and especially immediate recognition of their declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. This event set a pattern for Zionist influence in the US that would be repeated on a vast scale decades later.

During the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, the Israel Lobby, though powerful, could not act with impunity. Eisenhower suspended aid to Israel and forced it to pull back from its invasion of Sinai in 1956. Kennedy supported Senator J. William Fulbright’s hearings to force AIPAC to register as a foreign agent.

Those hearings were cut short in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, and Lyndon Johnson proved much more compliant, twice ordering the US sixth fleet to recall its aircraft sent to defend the US naval ship Liberty, which was attacked by Israeli air and naval forces in June, 1967. The Liberty sustained 34 dead and 171 wounded US military personnel, and barely avoided being sunk with all lives lost. However, the entire affair was quashed, with the Johnson administration foisting flimsy excuses upon a compliant American press and public, which accepted them with little question.

Since then, the Israel Lobby has grown with few constraints, fed by its domination of the American Jewish community, extensive control of publishing and the media, the establishment and control of strategic think tanks that provide governmental advisers, and by a well-coordinated and lavishly funded political campaign machine. This machine is now sufficiently influential to assure huge congressional appropriations to Israel that are filled by contractors who in turn show their gratitude by donating to the lobby that feeds them.

This history is well documented in works like The Lobby: Jewish political power and American foreign policy, by Edward Tivnan (1987), The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (2008), Against Our Better Judgement, by Alison Weir (2014), and other publications and articles. Today, Israel oversees the careers of politicians throughout the US from the city and county level up to state and national races to make sure that no one hostile to Israel achieves significant political office and that its agenda receives overwhelming approval. It prevails upon the gratitude of elected officials to appoint its candidates as staffers throughout Congress as well as state and local offices. It maintains control of news, cinema, television, publishing and other media, so that its narrative will dominate public portrayal of Middle East issues. It even implants both volunteers and paid staff to populate web comment lists.

As a result, Israel is now much more than a lobby. Powerful lobbies may bend a government to their benefit, but their strength and survival ultimately depend upon the health of the country or countries that are their home. In a sense, therefore, they serve the national interest, even if they serve the interests of certain segments of society more than others. This is also why they care little for the health of the countries that they exploit, which are not their home.

It also explains why Israel increasingly treats the US like an exploited colony: the Israeli elite can use the US to their benefit, but it is not their home. Israel now controls US policy in the Middle East much more than it ever did Great Britain, to such an extent that it can often use US resources and power even in defiance of US national interest.

Trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives have been expended to destroy Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon. Did these wars strengthen or weaken the strategic interest of the US and its economy? Would these wars have been fought if not for the Israel lobby in the US? While Israeli policy has been to weaken and destroy its neighbors, it is far from obvious that the same policy is in the US national interest.

To the contrary, until the end of World War II and even until the 1960s, the US was widely regarded in the Arab world as the “good” western power, untainted by colonialism in the region and without Arab blood on its hands. As John Sheehan, SJ said, “Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.”

Of course, some will argue that these and other US government policies and actions are in fact consistent with some definition of national interest. That is necessary, because anything that is obviously destructive to the well-being of the country will encounter too much resistance to implement. Every policy benefits someone. However, there is an important difference between those who benefit more than others from enterprise that in fact strengthens the nation and those who benefit from the sacrifices – and to the detriment – of the rest of the nation.

The Middle East wars of the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations are different from earlier ones, including the first Iraq war, primarily with respect to the degree to which Israel supplied the intelligence on which they were based and the extent to which their lobby influenced Congress to act. The Bush administration, for example, is notable for the Office of Special Plans, which was a veritable Israel liaison office in the heart of the Pentagon with extraordinary access to top secret information and in fact set up by Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense.

In fact, the G.W. Bush administration marks the maturation of a program of Israel-nurtured neoconservative influence and control that began at least a decade earlier and coalesced into the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a Washington think tank that brought together many of the principals that would hold high office in that administration. Although initially derided as fanciful in the Clinton administration and its predecessors, it constituted the first open presentation of plans to orient and ultimately subordinate U.S. policy to the goals and policies of the state of Israel.

The plans took shape as part of what became known as the neoconservative agenda. This was a major departure from the paradigm that began in 1947 with the publication of George Kennan’s seminal work counseling the projection of American power in order to maintain an equilibrium of power, (known as the “containment” principle) in international relations, so as to avoid disastrous and dangerous confrontations of the type that characterized the first half of the twentieth century. One may argue the extent to which such policy was effective, but the neoconservatives in PNAC argued that the end of the Soviet Union and the advent of the unipolar world provided the US with an unprecedented opportunity for domination, if only it would pursue a policy of military intervention and adventurism.

It is no accident that the early movement found favor with Israel. Israel quickly saw that neocon interventionism could be made to use American military might to serve Israel’s agenda of crushing its real, potential and perceived opponents in the Middle East. The Israel lobby therefore invested heavily in university departments and think tanks devoted to strategic studies and promoting the careers of neoconservatives that became advisers and appointed officials throughout government.

Examples of these are the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Project for a New American Century, the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (founded by AIPAC) and others. Through their doors have passed the likes of Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Dennis Ross, Douglas Feith, Robert Kagan, Martin Indyk, David Wurmser, Michael Ledeen and many others that have achieved high government office, especially since the start of the G.W. Bush administration in 2001.

Israel’s investments have paid off in a big way. Today, all officials elected or appointed to national office are either pro-Israel or must say they are. In fact, they cannot deviate or dissent or disagree with the Israel lobby in any way without risk of losing their career, as Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findley, Earl Hilliard, Pete McCloskey, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, Adlai Stevenson III and others have discovered to their dismay. Other prominent figures, like Vanessa Redgrave and others in entertainment and the arts, that have dared to criticize Israel, also find themselves pilloried in the press and subject to fewer opportunities for their professional practice. Those aspiring to careers in mainstream film, journalism and even sports or music may find the doors closed to them if speak out in any way against Israel.

Israel has thus constructed a strangler fig network of roots and vines that is feeding itself from the resources of world’s most powerful nation while gradually starving that nation. It is placing itself inside the workings of the US government and society so as to hobble its workings to Israel’s requirements under the carefully crafted illusion that they are serving the US national interest.

An example of this is the US relationship with Iran, and specifically the Iranian nuclear program, as set forth in Gareth Porter’s book, Manufactured Crisis [Just World Books, 2014]. As Porter meticulously shows, although Iran has no nuclear weapons program, never had one and never proposed to have one, and although the US has repeatedly found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and only evidence to the contrary, the US continues to impose sanctions against Iran for the sole reason that Israel wants to do as much damage as possible to Iran and to prevent good and productive relations between Iran and the United States.

Porter shows that Israel has brought to bear its skill in creating forged documents, its influence in American intelligence, its threat of Congressional opposition to administration policies and other instruments of deception and coercion in order to prevent a rapprochement between the US and Iran. Israel’s hand can also be seen in US policy toward Syria, the rise of ISIS, the overthrow of Egypt’s very first democratically elected government, the destruction of Libya and many other of the developments in the Middle East. If we ask cui bono, Israel will be at the top of the list, at least from its own definition of objectives. Whether the US benefits from a strategic and economic viewpoint is highly questionable, although Israel’s allies in the US rarely fail to come out ahead.

There are of course limitations to Israel’s power. Even a strangler fig cannot change the shape of the tree. The US has thus far resisted the Israeli attempt to create an actual war with Iran, and it barely skirted direct intervention in Syria, which continues to be on Israel’s wish list. Nevertheless, the power of Israel over the workings of the US government and society is unprecedented in international relations that are otherwise as asymmetrical as those of the US and Israel.

Ordinarily the relation is the reverse: powerful nations are infamous for manipulating their vassals and colonial nations for exploiting their colonies. Yet Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that “America is a thing you can move very easily.” What Israel has done is to create the potential for a new type of superpower, a small nation that survives and advances its interests by penetrating the workings of nations that have larger economies and militaries, and harnessing those resources.

In fact, Israel appears to be applying this model to other countries. In England, for example, a majority of the MPs of the three major parties belong to the “Friends of Israel” societies within those parties. Similarly, the BBC coverage of Israel and the Middle East is controlled by appointees that are invariably selected for their bias towards Israel. Canada and India are two formerly nonaligned nations that are now governed by parties and coalitions that have sworn allegiance to Israel. In India’s case, Israel’s promotion of Islamophobia has created an alliance with racist Hindu nationalist parties while making India the world’s largest customer of the Israeli arms industry.

Where will it end? Will Israel exhaust the economic and military resources of the US for its own perceived benefit? To what extent did it already contribute to the economic problems of the last decade? Or will Israel overextend its reach and find that the Zionist experiment to create and perpetuate a nation based on dubious historical, ethnic and religious claims and at the expense of other peoples will precipitate the very reaction that it was ostensibly formed to prevent?

This much we know: that if a strangler fig is allowed to thrive, its host will wither and die, and only its form will remain as an empty shell for as long as the parasite continues to survive.

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MH17 broke up in mid-air due to external damage – Dutch preliminary report

RT | September 9, 2014

The MH17 crash was a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that struck the Boeing from the outside, the preliminary report into the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine said.

“Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside,” the Dutch Safety Board said in its preliminary report.

Dutch investigators added that “there are no indications” that the tragedy was triggered “by a technical fault or by actions of the crew.”

‘We need more analysis to investigate the crash” – Malaysian minister

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Tuesday that more analysis was needed to investigate the crash.

“We want to further analyze the data and the wreckage,” he said, adding that more details were needed so that the authorities “will bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane – which was allegedly shot down – were citizens of the Netherlands.

Plane was ‘split into pieces during flight’

The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 GMT, after which it ended abruptly.

The cockpit crew made no emergency call, the radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control shows.

“The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 [GMT] remained unanswered,” the report said.

Image from onderzoeksraad.nl

The plane was “split into pieces during flight,” the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground.

The Dutch investigators said that “available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places.”

The report emphasizes that investigators haven’t yet had the chance to recover the components for forensic investigation.

However, the photos taken from the wreckage “indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects,” the report said. “The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from the outside the fuselage.”

The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside “also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft’s disappearance from radar,” the report says.

Part of the inside cockpit roof, indicating penetration with objects outside (Image from onderzoeksraad.nl)

The report says that the flight recorder was “found damaged but the internal memory module was intact.”

“The external damage found on the [flight data recorder] was consistent with impact damage.”

The radar data from the aircraft shows that “three commercial aircraft were in the same Control Area” as the Malaysia Airlines plane.

“At 13.20 UTC [GMT] the distance between the closest aircraft and MH17 was approximately 30 kilometers,” the document says.

Cockpit voice recorder. (onderzoeksraad.nl)

Dutch investigators concluded that the Malaysian airliner was flying “in unrestricted airspace above the restricted area mentioned by the latest NOTAM [Notice to Airmen].” Commercial flights were restricted in the area below the flight level of FL320, MH17 was flying at FL330.

Full report to be released ‘within a year of the crash’ – Dutch Safety Board

Tjibbe Joustra, chairman of the Dutch Safety Board, said that the plane tragedy in eastern Ukraine “shocked the world and raised many questions.”

“The initial results of the investigation point towards an external cause of the MH17 crash,” he said. “More research will be necessary to determine the cause with greater precision. The Safety Board believes that additional evidence will become available for investigation in the period ahead.”

Joustra said that the Dutch Safety Board’s full report will be published in summer 2015, “within one year of the date of the crash.”

In the meantime, the Russian Federal Aviation Agency said that the Dutch report marks the beginning of a thorough investigation of the plane crash.

“The investigation of the crash site and the wreckage should be an important part of this work,” said Oleg Storchevoy, the agency’s deputy head. “[We] need to investigate all the radiolocation data, perform forensic expertise…. Without this information one can’t speak of any preliminary conclusions concerning the tragedy.”

September 9, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment