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Odessa massacre probe falsified? Parliament inquiry member blasts ‘redacted’ results

RT | September 11, 2014

A member of the Ukrainian parliamentary probe into the Odessa massacre has retracted her signature under the document, saying it was heavily redacted after signing. Multiple Odessa news outlets published what they said was the original probe conclusions.

Svetlana Fabrikant, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and secretary of the parliamentary commission probing into the massacre in Odessa on May 2, as well as other episodes of violence in eastern Ukrainian cities, withdrew her signature under the commission’s report, saying it was “different” from what she had signed.

“Regrettably, other members of the commission made some adjustments to the document after I had signed it,” she said. “After the document was published on the official website of the parliament, I found my signature under a different document – and I cannot agree with this document,” Itar-Tass quotes her as saying.

After the comparison of the version published by the parliament and the one obtained by Odessa media outlets, it can be concluded that the ‘redacted’ version got rid of witnesses’ accounts implicating the involvement of Andrey Parubiy, then-secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, in organizing the Odessa massacre.

Parubiy resigned from his post in August.

The final version of the report presented by Kiev is also reportedly missing witnesses’ accounts about the involvement of about 500 radicals who have been transferred to Odessa with the help of the region’s governor, Vladimir Nemirovsky. It also failed to mention the head of Odessa branch of the Udar party, Andrey Yusov, and other Euromaidan leaders who allegedly instigated radical nationalists to set ablaze the Trade Unions House.

Svetlana Fabrikant said that Parubiy, as well as the chief of Ukraine’s Security Council, Valentin Nalivaichenko, and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov refused to talk with the commission’s members during the investigation.

“Key participants in those developments had never showed up at the commission’s sessions. The reluctance of officials to provide explanations to the commission is an eloquent answer. What kind of openness and joint work can we speak about?” Fabrikant said, claiming that the authorities wanted to soft-pedal the investigation of the Odessa tragedy.

At least 48 people died, and over 200 were injured, in a series of events that led to an inferno in the Trade Unions building on May 2. After clashes erupted between anti-government protesters and radicals supporting the Maidan-imposed authorities in Kiev, the latter set on fire the Trade Unions House, where anti-Kiev protesters found refuge, as well as their tent camp.

The actual death toll could be much higher, as many of those who managed to escape the flames were then either strangled or beaten with bats by radicals, according to numerous witness reports.

“The Ukrainian authorities are seeking to drag out the investigation. Those who were behind the tragedy have not yet been named,” Nikolay Skorik, the former governor of the Odessa region and a member of the investigation commission, told the media.

The official version of the report does not arrive at any significant conclusion into the causes of death for those trapped inside the burning building. It says that after the camp of anti-Kiev activists had been set on fire, people tried to find shelter in the Trade Unions House that was also set ablaze.

Forensic examination revealed that nine people had died from carbon monoxide intoxication, 13 had died from combustion gas intoxication, 12 had died from burns, eight had died from injuries as they jumped out of windows, and six had died from gun wounds. One of those killed in the Trade Unions House has not yet been identified.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

Finance, energy & defense sectors: EU and US set to impose new Russia sanctions

RT | September 11, 2014

Barack Obama says he is joining the EU initiative to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia. Both Washington and Brussels say the sanctions will target finance, energy and defense sectors – yet can be revoked if the situation in Ukraine improves.

The US is to provide details of their sanctions on Friday.

“We will deepen and broaden sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors. These measures will increase Russia’s political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President [Vladimir] Putin and those close to him,” US President Barack Obama said in a statement on Thursday.

The US says that Russia has sent heavily armed forces to Ukraine. Obama added that the US may withdraw sanctions if Russia fulfills obligations under the Minsk agreement.

“We are watching closely developments since the announcement of the ceasefire and agreement in Minsk, but we have yet to see conclusive evidence that Russia has ceased its efforts to destabilize Ukraine,” Obama said. “If Russia fully implements its commitments, these sanctions can be rolled back.”

While details officially remain unknown, a Reuters source has alleged that the US intends to sanction Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, and tighten restrictions on other Russian banks.

Previously, access to the US capital market was restricted for five Russian banks – VTB, Gazprombank, Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank and Vnesheconombank (VEB). The Aug. 1 sanctions restricted Sberbank’s activity in the EU.

EU sanctions to take immediate effect on Friday

As for the European Union, the bloc will list their new limitations in the official journal Friday, which will mean they will come into effect immediately. Brussels will add 24 individuals to the list which blocks travel to the EU and asset freezes. Russian leaders and businessmen, as well as politicians in Crimea and the Donbass, will be added to the blacklist.

According to the official document, the EU will halt services Russia needs to extract oil and gas in the Arctic, deep sea, and shale extraction projects.

Three of Russia’s major energy companies and the country’s three largest defense entities will be restricted from raising long-term debt on European capital markets, Van Rompuy said.

Five major Russian state-owned banks will also be banned from any long-term (over 30-day) loans from EU companies.

Major Russian defense companies will be barred from debt refinancing, and the EU will also ban the export of any technology considered military “dual-use” to nine Russian companies.

Meanwhile, an EU source told RIA-Novosti news agency that the fresh European Union sanctions won’t affect the Russian gas sector.

“The energy sector affected by these sanctions is limited to the oil sector,” the source said.

On July 16, the US blacklisted several defense sector companies include Almaz-Antey Corporation, the Kalashnikov Concern and Instrument Design Bureau, as well as companies such as Izhmash, Basalt, and Uralvagonzavod.

If the EU follows the US lead on hitting Russian companies that also supply the Russian military, the above mentioned will be blocked from debt financing.

The European Commission has agreed to amend or suspend the sanctions in accordance with progress in Ukraine. A ceasefire was agreed by the Ukrainian government and rebels in the East on September 5.

“Thus, if the situation on the ground can be trusted, the European Commission and the EU Foreign Service will request to amend, suspend, or cancel sanctions, either in part or in full,” Van Rompuy said, as quoted by ITAR-ITASS.

Media sources suggest Gazprom Neft, Transneft, and Rosneft will all fall under Friday’s sanctions.

Gazprom Neft is the oil subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

Transneft is Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline company that exports all of Rosneft’s crude oil, and exports 56 percent of Russia’s total crude exports.

Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer was put on the US sanctions list on July 16 and later added to the EU list on July 29. In July, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, Novatek was also added to the blacklist which bans the export of hi-tech oil equipment needed in Arctic, deep sea, and shale extraction projects to Russia.

Russian respose to ‘de facto choice against peace’

Russia said it will respond to Western sanctions with equal strength, and last week Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that closing Russian airspace to European airlines was an option being considered.

President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that new EU sanctions make no sense, as they are being introduced when Russia is making vigorous efforts to stop the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.

“The EU doesn’t see, or prefers not to see, the real state of events in [Ukraine’s] Donbass and doesn’t want to know about the efforts aimed at settling the conflict,” Peskov said.

“We regret the EU’s decision to impose new sanctions. We repeatedly expressed our disagreement and incomprehension about the sanctions that were implemented earlier, which we considered and will consider illegal,” he added.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the EU was apparently very much against any peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.

“By taking this step, the European Union has de facto made its choice against a peaceful resolution of the inter-Ukrainian crisis,” the ministry said in a statement.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Emergency Response Protest: Say No to U.S. War in the Middle East

E M E R G E N C Y  P R O T E S T

NO to another war!

FRI ►SEPT 12   5 – 6 pm

Times Square 43rd St & 7th Ave International Action Center   IACenter.org  212-633-6646
www.facebook.com/events

Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia
Regional International Action Center

Emergency Response Protest on 9/11:
Say No to U.S. War in the Middle East

Stop Obama’s New War on IRAQ & SYRIA:

On the eve of 9/11 President Obama announced a new U.S. war of aggression. Emergency response actions are urgently needed.

Obama lied last night just like Bush and Colin Powell lied in 2003 and Lyndon Johnson did in 1964. He told us how terrible ISIS is, how barbaric. He will announce a new “Coalition of the Willing”. He is using the Big Lie to launch another war.

But ISIS is not the “reason” the U.S. is going to war. ISIS is the PRETEXT. It is the latest of a string of pretexts from the Maine in 1898 to Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin in 1964 to “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003, pretexts/lies to maintain an empire.

ISIS is barbaric? It is the Pentagon that is barbaric. What are more barbaric than U.S. bombs in Syria and Iraq? U.S. drones wipe out whole wedding parties from Pakistan to Yemen, slaughtering men, women and yes, children.

It was U.S. war and occupation that killed more than a million Iraqis and destroyed that country. It was U.S. arms that fed Syria’s civil war, killing hundreds of thousands and half-destroying that country. Now Obama wants to destroy the other half.

ISIS grew from the poison of U.S. wars, arms and the cynical policy of inflaming sectarian divisions. Stop the Pentagon from waging war on the people and the people there will take care of ISIS. Continuing to wage war will arouse a billion people against the U.S. and its war machine.

The Bush “War on Terror” militarized every police force in the U.S. targeting people of color. The prison population soared. It globalized invasive surveillance and locked thousands in secret detention and solitary confinement. Now Obama promises a new “war on terror” reaching years into the future. We say NO!”

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

US Violations of International Law

From Central America to Syria

By Rick Sterling | CounterPunch | September 11, 2014

President Obama plans to increase funding and training of “moderate rebels” in Syria while escalating air strike operations against ISIS in Iraq and into Syria. From Central America in the 80s to Syria today, the US has supported proxy armies in violation of international law.

Syria: Civil War or War of Aggression?   

The conflict in Syria has caused staggering destruction and bloodshed.The death toll is approaching 200,000 out of total population of 22 million. Somewhere between 70 and 100 thousand of the dead are Syrian soldiers and militia. The conflict has pitted the Syrian government supported by a majority of the population (documented here and here) against domestic and international fighters, many on salary and actively supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, USA, France and Britain.

While Syria’s President is of Alawi religious background, the Defense Minister is Sunni Muslim and the Foreign Minister is Christian. The majority of soldiers are Sunni. In fact it is a secular country where it’s considered impolite to ask one’s religion. With changes in the Constitution the country is no longer a one party state although the socialist Baath Party is still dominant. Higher education and healthcare are free. While any Syrian can start his or her own business with modest restrictions and taxes, foreign corporations investing in Syria are limited to 49% ownership. Thus the country is not under the thumb of Wall Street or the International Monetary Fund, and you do not see Burger King/Pizza Hut/Bank of America or Bank of London in downtown Damascus. The country has lots of economic and social challenges but compared to other countries in the Arab world is a bastion of secularism and independence from Western domination.

The international opponents are not hidden. They are the active members of the “Friends of Syria” openly dedicated to overthrowing the Damascus government. Some of their plans and actions are public information. After one conference it was publicly recorded that US would provide communications and non-lethal equipment while Saudi Arabia and Qatar would supply and fund the weapons and arms. Meanwhile Turkey has provided logistical support and the base of operations of the external arm and rebel command. At the conferences these foreign powers have also taken it on themselves to decide who is the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people. The assertion that the US has not supported the rebels is false. As just one piece of evidence: during the winter 2012/2013 three thousand TONS of weapons were delivered to the rebels.

An Earlier War of Aggression:  USA vs Nicaragua

During the 1980’s the US funded, trained and supplied weapons to the Contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Nicaragua took the situation to the World Court, claiming the US was in violation of international law which prohibits countries from financing military forces to attack another country.  On June 27, 1986 the International Court at the Hague issued its legal ruling:

Decision of the International Court at the Hague

Decides that the United States of America, by training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying the “contra” forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State.

By “training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying” the military rebel groups waging war against the Damascus government, the US and “friends” are committing the same crime that the USA did in the 1980’s.

The Negroponte Connection

There is an additional connection between Central America and Syria: the creation and management of the “Contra” rebels was overseen by the US Ambassador to Honduras, John Negroponte. In addition.  he managed US policy supportive of the military dictatorships which used death squads in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Ambassador Negroponte later went to Baghdad where he was US Ambassador and head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004-2005, when death squads and sectarian bloodshed in Iraq began. His deputy in Baghdad was Robert S. Ford.  Mr Ford went on to be US Ambassador to Syria in the period leading up to the outbreak of violence in March 2011.  Later in 2011, US Ambassador Ford was expelled from Syria because he was considered an instigator of violence and protest. Ambassador Ford had publicly encouraged the protests and was suspected of much more. Since his expulsion from Syria and up until earlier this year, Robert S. Ford has been the lead American in charge of managing US policy of ‘regime change’ in Syria.

Ignoring the Most Serious Crimes

The violation of Syrian sovereignty should have been exposed and publicly criticized by international justice organizations and United Nations’ officials. Unfortunately the major rights organizations are guided by liberal interventionists and the United Nations has become dominated by US and Western interests. For example Human Rights Watch is significantly funded by liberal billionaire George Soros while Executive Director Roth is a member of the 1% club with annual compensation of nearly half a million dollars ($477K in 2011). That might not matter except that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been good at documenting specific violations and transgressions but does not distinguish between major and minor violations of international law and ignores or minimizes the most extreme violations of international law by powerful countries. For example, 9 months after the US invasion of Iraq HRW reported that it was “not a humanitarian invasion” and explained why it did not support or oppose the invasion. More recently HRW does not distinguish between Israeli violations in maintaining the prison of Gaza and periodically massacring thousands of Palestinians versus the Palestinian response of random rockets which are largely harmless. They have prominently focused on war crimes of the Syrian “regime”, but ignored the fact that many of the rebels are mercenaries supplied with weapons and paid by foreign governments.  HRW soft pedals the violations of the major abusers and comes down hard on the victims. They ignore the “supreme crime” of initiating war by the US and “friends” while vigorously denouncing the transgressions of the Assad government. By not differentiating between crimes, and favoring the powerful, they effectively use international law as another tool of the powerful.

Meanwhile the United Nations has come under the dominance of the United States. For example the head political authority (Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs) is the former US Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman. When you see UN reports and statements on situations, consider the source. Another real world example of what this means: In Syrian refugee camps run by the United Nations Syrian youth are recruited to join the rebels while UN officials pretend not to see.

Violating Air Space of Sovereign Syria 

Under international agreementEvery state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory.” President Obama is proposing to ignore the international agreement and to send military jets into Syrian airspace without authorization. The pretext is to attack ISIS but it’s likely this would simply be the foot in the door with attacks on Syrian soldiers to eventually follow. The rationale for NATO entering Libyan air space was to create a “no fly zone” to prevent a humanitarian crisis. But the emergency justifications turned out to be a fraud and the “no fly zone” quickly turned into devastating bombing attacks on the Libyan government.

ISIS does not recognize the Iraqi Syrian border but obviously there is an internationally recognized border, regardless whether it is recognized by a terrorist organization such as ISIS. Another legal fig leaf for the violation of Syrian sovereignty is that since ISIS has murdered American citizens in Syria, the US can intervene to attack the perpetrators. Again, this is without legal basis. Will Obama cook up a legal “justification” as the Bush Administration did to justify torture, rendition, etc etc?

Selective Use of American Deaths

In the past weeks the media have given extensive sensational coverage about the deaths of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Their beheading murders are being used to justify US military escalation and violations of international law. Ironically, both writers documented how unpopular the “moderate rebels” are and Steven Sotloff was reportedly sold to ISIS by one of the “moderate rebels” favored by President Obama. Unknown to most Americans many journalists have been killed in the Syrian conflict.

In sharp contrast, there was relatively little media attention when Americans were murdered in Central America by “our” rebel Contras and “our” Salvadoran dictatorship. Benjamin Linder was a young American engineer who went to Sandinista Nicaragua to help with development in rural areas. He was murdered by the US funded Contras. What was the reaction?  Very little. In El Salvador four American nuns who were critical of the military dictatorship were murdered. The US reaction? Jeanne Kirkpatrick , US Ambassador to the UN, did not even express remorse let alone anger or outrage. Instead she remarked that “they were not just nuns”.

From Central America in the 1980’s to Syria and the Middle East today there is a consistency in US policy. Governments which challenge US domination are demonized. Surrogate armies to overthrow them are sometimes created. Bloodshed and mayhem follows. Individual American deaths are ignored or sensationalized depending on whether it benefits US policy. International law is ignored or used as another weapon against the victim.

It’s time for a realistic look at the Syrian government and rebels, including ISIS. It’s time to demand that the US start respecting instead of trampling on international law.

Rick Sterling is a founding member of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Ferguson PD Lies About Why It Released Videotape Of Store Robbery, Lies Some More When Confronted With The Facts

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | September 11, 2014

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, the Ferguson Police made several ill-advised moves. The biggest was the paramilitary force that greeted protests, looking for all the world like a unit flown in from Kabul, followed shortly thereafter by the detainment of several journalists. The decision to withhold the officer’s name was also received poorly, but this was complicated by one baffling move — the release of a store surveillance tape that appeared to show Brown stealing cigarillos from a local store shortly before he was shot dead.

This tape’s release was purely self-motivated. Even the Dept. of Justice — which had stepped in shortly after everything went to hell in Ferguson — advised against it. The only conceivable reason for the release was a post-facto “justification” of Officer Darren Wilson’s decision to shoot an unarmed man several times.

But the Ferguson PD tried to cover up this motivation. Matthew Key at TheBlot has dug into the events surrounding the release of the surveillance tape and found nothing but Ferguson PD lies.

The chief of police for the Ferguson Police Department misled members of the media and the public when he asserted that his hand was forced in releasing surveillance footage that purported to show 18-year-old resident Michael Brown engaged in a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store minutes before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

The tape — released on the same day the PD belatedly revealed the name of the officer who shot Brown — was supposedly released as the result of “multiple” FOIA requests from journalists and other citizens.

“We’ve had this tape for a while, and we had to diligently review the information that was in the tape, determine if there was any other reason to keep it,” Jackson said at the press event. “We got a lot of Freedom of Information requests for this tape, and at some point it was just determined we had to release it. We didn’t have good cause, any other reason not to release it under FOI.”

But another FOIA request exposed this claim for what it is. TheBlot used a FOIA request to obtain all FOIA requests sent to the Ferguson PD. And it couldn’t find a single one that specifically requested that tape.

Last month, TheBlot Magazine requested a copy of all open records requests made by members of the public — including journalists and news organizations — that specifically sought the release of the convenience store surveillance video. The logs, which were itself obtained under Missouri’s open records law, show only one journalist — Joel Currier with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — broadly requested any and all multimedia evidence “leading up to” Brown’s death on Aug. 9.

With that lie uncovered, the Ferguson Police decided to double down. A statement issued to TheBlot claimed that multiple other FOIA requests were made orally, due to heavy traffic to the city’s website and email server. Possibly believable, but was anyone logging these verbal requests? And could this be where the multiple requests for the surveillance video originated? The answers are “yes,” “well, actually no,” and “shut up.”

The first response:

City of Ferguson attorney Stephanie Karr said that “many requests were made verbally due to the fact that the City’s website and email were down at several points during that week” and that “city personnel cataloged all requests and treated them in the same manner as it would any Sunshine Law request.

So, if they were logged, there’d be some record of a bunch of people asking for the release of the surveillance tape, right? Cue backpedal #1:

Karr responded to a request for comment Saturday afternoon by denying the City of Ferguson had a log of verbal records requests.

“You assume that the Custodian of Records, somehow, logged every single question, statement or request for information, verbal or otherwise, made to every single police officer, city employee, consultant, appointed official or elected official,” Karr told TheBlot by e-mail. “That assumption is, quite simply, wrong and unrealistic.”

Actually, TheBlot didn’t “assume” anything. It simply took Karr’s first statement at face value. Apparently, everything about the first statement was a lie. On top of that, the Ferguson PD may have violated the Sunshine Law by not logging requests it filled or denied. TheBlot has a request in for the logged verbal FOIA requests and in the meantime notes that the PD is still withholding both the incident report for the shooting (which may not even exist) as well as the incident report for the robbery.

Just a little more evidence pointing towards the unreliability of public officials, especially when caught in the middle of misconduct. Not only has the PD apparently lied about its reasons for releasing the tape, but it continues to withhold information about its involvement in the shooting of Michael Brown. Earlier, it claimed Officer Wilson suffered injuries — possibly severe — during his “interaction” with Brown. Those have proven false as well, with Wilson’s own post-shooting text messages saying nothing about sustaining an injury as well as citizen video showing Wilson standing around the shooting scene for several minutes without seeking medical attention.

Odds are, no one directly requested this video. The release of the video coincided with the forced release of the officer’s name in a blatant attempt to provide justification for his actions. While undoubtedly true that the city’s website and email server have been hit pretty hard during the past few weeks, that’s no excuse for city employees to fulfill or deny FOIA requests without documentation — especially when its track record so far shows an urge to bury and obfuscate.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | | Leave a comment

Ex-reporter: Media tool of misinformation

By Jonathon Cook | The Blog From Nazareth | September 10, 2014

It takes a professional trauma, I suspect, for a journalist to awaken from the slumber that is their role as news entertainer. Then, like Neo in the Matrix finally seeing the binary code that is the basis of what he assumes to be reality, the reasons for the media’s dismal performance become unavoidably clear.

Andrew MacGregor Marshall has grounds to be disillusioned. Despite a long and successful career, including a stretch covering Iraq as bureau chief, he was abandoned by the Reuters news agency in 2011 when he took possession of classified documents about the Thai monarchy. Reuters showed what a news organisation does when one of its reporters provokes the fury of a US ally: it quickly loses its backbone and sides with the power elites against its own reporter.

Only a few journalists find themselves coming up against their news organisation in such dramatic fashion. And of those, an even smaller number decide to act on principle and resign. An even tinier number choose to speak out, based on their own experiences, about the failures of journalism. Doing so is likely to be a form of career suicide. So bravo to Marshall for this interview with RT that offers many great insights into the role of journalists.

Highlights:

I came to believe that what we’d done in Iraq had been fairly useless, because we covered the day-to-day bloodshed and killing, but we failed to give the proper context that would allow readers to understand what was going on. It was almost like bloodthirsty entertainment. It makes headlines, but I don’t think mainstream media coverage of these conflicts really produces understanding. In fact I say it does the opposite, it prevents understanding. There is a focus on blood and gore and there is no attempt to really explain what the geopolitical forces behind it are. …

Nobody ever told me that I should lie, and if they ever had I would refuse. I think most of my colleagues in the mainstream media are similar.

But what was interesting is that it’s more insidious than that. There is a certain discourse that becomes normalized, in which certain views are acceptable and others not. And if you make obvious statements, you know, like about the role of banks or global superpowers, and about the disaster that’s befallen the world in many areas in recent years, you are often marginalized as some sort of loony figure. And there is a “cult of moderation,” of being “neutral”’ in the media. Being neutral is normally held to be that if there is a crazy right-winger or left-winger, you are somewhere in the middle. But obviously, truth is not always in the middle. …

I think it is through this process that the mainstream media basically becomes a tool of misinforming people, rather than informing people. It’s not so much deliberate lies, although some clearly do engage in deliberate lies, but it’s just the sense that there are some things that are safe to say that we become conditioned that they are safe to say, and there are other things that we probably know them to be true, but if we say them we are mocked or delegitimised. …

We have seen Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib and Bagram, and many other US detention centers. We have seen torture, and sexual torture became normalized. But when I was trying to report any story like this for Reuters, my editors would demand enormous evidence. I had to jump over innumerable hurdles to prove that my staff had been tortured. And I knew these men very well and I knew they were telling me the truth.

But if we wanted to report on atrocities by a militant group in Baqubah or Fallujah, we would just write “that it had been reported,” and there would be no attempt to ask us to prove what happened, because it was just assumed that this is what the militants do – they do bad things, and the Westerners do good things. …

I think that there is tendency for the Western media to claim that it is neutral and unbiased, when in fact it’s clearly propagating a one-sided, quiet nationalistic and selfish view of its own interventions in these countries. If I’d ever been told by any of my bosses to lie, I would have quit. And I ended up quitting, because I was told to lie about Thailand. But it’s done more subtly. If you want to accuse the US military of an atrocity, you have to make sure that every last element of your story is absolutely accurate, because if you make one mistake, you will be vilified and your career will be over. And we have seen that happen to some people in recent years. But if you want to say that some group of militants in Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq have committed an atrocity, your story might be completely wrong, but nobody will vilify you and nobody will ever really check it out….

I think it is our responsibility to dig deeper and talk about causes. Why are these conflicts happening? So rather than focus on the froth and the atrocities, and the horror on the top, which are important, we have to also try and provide the framework that allows people to understand why this is happening.

http://rt.com/op-edge/185360-reuters-chief-iraq-useless/

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

The Unanimity and Ubiquity of Uniqueness

378431_Obama-russia-sanctions

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | September 10, 2014

To be clear:

September 10, 2014:

September 3, 2014:

May 15, 2014:

November 24, 2013:

October 3, 2013:

October 13, 2012:

August 11, 2012:

April 16, 2012:

October 21, 2011:

June 29, 2011:

March 29, 2011:

March 3, 2010:

March 27, 2009:

March 23, 2009:

January 16, 2008:

February 13, 2007:

May 11, 2006:

March 28, 2004:

March 29, 2003:

March 18, 2003:

February 11, 2003:

January 4, 2003:

November 20, 2002:

October 2, 2002:

September 18, 2002:

September 3, 2002:

November 13, 1995:

June 15, 1986:

October 27, 1964:

January 9, 1958:


Are we clear?

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, the US did create ISIS

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 11, 2014

The New York Times has one of its typically racist articles making fun of Iranians for their “conspiracy theories” — this time about who created ISIS.

The irony is that this is the same NY Times that helped promote the US lie about “WMDs in Iraq”

Meanwhile I am reminded of NeoCon Michael Ledeen’s rant about how “creative destruction” is our middle name.

Things are getting pretty “creative”, huh Michael? “Faster please” indeed.

==================

The Iranians and the Iraqis and most of the rest of the world think that the Saudis (as US allies) created ISIS and for good reason.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/isis-saudi-arabia-iraq-syria-bandar/373181/

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/06/16/the_saudis_helped_create_a_monster_they_can_t_control_in_iraq.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/14/america-s-allies-are-funding-isis.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/19/saudi-arabia-rejects-iraqi-accusations-isis-support

http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Wesley-Clark-Saudi-Qatar-ISIS/2014/08/25/id/590833/

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/how-us-helped-isis-grow-monster-iraq-syria-assad

http://www.vice.com/read/america-helped-make-the-islamic-state-812

And lets remember a point:

During the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the FBI had an informant named Emad Salem among the bombers, who offered to substitute a harmless substance for the bomb material but this was rejected by his FBI handlers.

Was this an “Iranian conspiracy theory too? No, it was reported even by the NY Times.

So what makes you just assume that the US and her allies aren’t behind ISIS?

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

1,200 Academics and Teachers in Spain Call for Academic Boycott of Israel

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel | September 10, 2014

2014-israel-expiredThe campaign, which started two years ago, asks for support from professionals from the academic and scientific field, and also from associations linked to this field, such as student’s and worker’s unions, research centres, professional associations, etc. From the 1,400 people who have signed the manifesto, 150 are professors, 850 are teachers and 200 are researchers. More than 52 associations linked to the academic field have also signed; among them there are research groups and University departments.

This initiative is part of an international campaign: Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) to Israel. This international calling is a non-violent strategy driven by the Palestinian Society in 2005. It is growing as an effective pressure strategy towards Israel, so that it respects Human Rights and International Law. Last year, the physician Stephen Hawking, the Nobel Peace Prize Desmond Tutu and four American academic associations adhered to the boycott. It’s important to emphasize that this demand is at an institutional level and not at an individual one. On the same line, the European Union has established a de facto boycott to all collaboration with Israeli research centres and Universities placed in the Occupied Territories.

The campaign will keep collecting signatures and foresees to support specific campaigns which will develop in different Spanish universities, such as the University of Vic and the University of Malaga, where the aim is to break ties with the Haifa University and the Tel Aviv University, respectively.

In Catalonia, activists from the above mentioned campaign, occupied on May 15th the Secretary of Universities and Research asking for transparency in all of the agreements signed last November when a delegation of businessmen, councillors and directors of research centres lead by Artur Mar travelled to Israel to tighten economic and academic ties with Israeli institutions.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 2 Comments

MEPs call for EU-Israel trade agreement to be suspended

MEMO | September 10, 2014

20140725_italypropalestineprotest003Members of the European Parliament (MEP) yesterday called to hold Israel accountable for its war in the Gaza Strip and to suspend the EU-Israel association agreement, the Anadolu news agency reported.

In a statement, the MEPs declared, “Israel’s direct targeting of civilians and its reckless cause of civilian deaths is a clear breach of international human rights law.”

Member of the Unitarian Left (GUE/NGL) parliamentary group, Martina Anderson said: “You cannot go on with an agreement after you have broken it.”

The European Union condemns the establishment of illegal settlements on the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and considers it a violation of international law, but the association agreement with Israel is still valid.

Anderson stressed the Palestinians’ right to sovereignty, freedom and to live with dignity and respect and that they, as parliamentarians, should take responsibility otherwise they will become “partners in crime”.

Portuguese MEP, Marisa Matias said that suspending the association agreement with Israel is not a sufficient step, stressing on the need to apply an arms embargo and start working on a full ban of Israeli products produced in the occupied territories.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Trades Union Congress slams Gaza attack, urges Israel arms embargo

MEMO | September 10, 2014

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) passed a statement on Gaza at its annual congress Wednesday, urging the UK government to impose an Israel arms embargo and calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The statement, overwhelmingly endorsed, condemns the death toll in Gaza that included “many people going about their daily work”, and “deplores attacks on UN facilities”. The TUC recommends that those responsible for breaching international law “should be dealt with in the International Criminal Court”.

The TUC statement also calls for an end to the “blockade of Gaza” and welcomes “the creation of a unity government for the Palestinian Authority” involving both Fatah and Hamas, urging “the UK government and the European Union to support this development”.

In light of Israel’s attacks on Gaza and policies in the Occupied Territories, the TUC statement calls on the UK government and EU to “end immediately arms trading with Israel including all military-industrial collaboration”. The TUC itself, it adds, should work with relevant unions to “press those companies involved in supporting Israel’s military to cease to do so”.

Congress called for “the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until the rights of the Palestinians are established”, and committed to “rais[ing] the pressure on corporations complicit in arms trading, the settlements, occupation and the wall” through strategies that pressure “complicit companies” – a key part of the Palestinian-led Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) noted that “the statement, and the goals contained within it, are now official TUC policy”, an important boost for Palestine solidarity and BDS activists. The TUC’s statement was condemned by anti-boycott umbrella group Fair Play, who complained that boycotts merely pull “Israeli and Palestinian workers further apart”.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment