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Argentina sentences four ex-officers to life in prison

Press TV – December 19, 2014

A court in Argentina has handed down life sentences to four former military officers for committing crimes against humanity during the 1970s’ US-backed military dictatorship in the South American country.

On Thursday, the court in the capital, Buenos Aires, found the four guilty of “illegal deprivation of liberty, torture, rape and homicide,” involving 204 people out of the total 2,500 held at the Vesubio detention center between 1976 and 1978.

The four defendants are former colonels Federico Minicucci and Jorge Crespi, former intelligence officer, Gustavo Cacivio, and former colonel and prison official, Nestor Cendon.

The Vesubio detention center operated in the La Matanza district of Buenos Aires, until it was destroyed to prevent the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights from inspecting it during a country visit.

Famous comics writer, Héctor Oesterheld, author Haroldo Conti and filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer were among those who died in the prison.

Former Argentine Major Ernesto “Nabo” Barreiro has recently broken his 31-year pact of silence by revealing the locations of graves of people who disappeared under the military regime during the so-called “Dirty War” from 1976 to 1983.

Barreiro said some two dozen people are buried inside two large earthen ovens at a military base outside the central city of Cordoba.

Previous Argentine governments have failed to investigate crimes committed during the almost seven-year dictatorship due to the so-called Full Stop law, which saw an end to prosecutions. However, the law was repealed ten years ago.

The US-backed dictatorship in Argentina jailed, tortured and murdered dozens of people and forced thousands to flee the country during the war.

Federal courts are seeking the whereabouts of an estimated 30,000 people who were killed or abducted and presumed killed during the dictatorship.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Obama authorizes sanctions against Russia’s Crimea

RT | December 19, 2014

US President Barack Obama has authorized sanctions against individuals and entities operating in Russia’s Crimean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

Obama has issued an executive order that “prohibits the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea,” according to the statement.

The executive order also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on “individuals and entities operating in Crimea.”

The move comes just a day after the European Union introduced similar action against the Russian region of Crimea and Sevastopol, accepted into the Russian Federation following the referendum last March.

The United States did not recognize the reunification and has been calling on Russia to “end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea.”

“We will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions, in close coordination with our international partners, to respond to Russia’s actions,” Obama’s statement reads.

The bill that opened way for further sanctions against Russian economy – dubbed Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 – was signed on Thursday. However Obama was hesitant to introduce any new measures until they are synchronized with European partners.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Why the Secrecy on the Mh17 Investigation?

By JAMES O’NEIL | CounterPunch | December 19, 2014

On 17 July 2014 Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine.

Although the precise circumstances were at that point unknown the western media were quick to blame Ukrainian “rebels”. The means by which MH17 was destroyed, the media alleged, was a surface to air BUK missile supplied to the “rebels” by Russia.  For a host of reasons it was almost certainly not a BUK missile that caused the crash.  The stage was set however, for a demonization of Russia in general as the alleged supplier of the missile, and President Vladimir Putin in particular. The relentless propaganda enforcing this view has continued unabated to this day, although the evidential foundation for the allegations remains at best remote.

The Russians produced an initial denial of involvement.  Four days after the tragedy however, as anti-Russian hysteria was escalating to extreme levels, the Russian military held a press presentation. The fact of this presentation was barely reported in the western media. The content, more importantly, was either ignored or misrepresented.

The Russians disclosed, inter alia, their radar and satellite data. These data showed that MH17 had been diverted from its scheduled route so that it flew directly over the war zone in eastern Ukraine. They asked for an explanation but one has never been forthcoming. These data also showed that MH17 had been shadowed during its last minutes by two SU25 fighter jets, a model flown by the Ukrainian air force. Again the Russians asked why this had happened.

The main response was a claim that the SU25 could not fly above 10,000 metres. Not only is this untrue, as an examination of military resources readily demonstrates, but the Wikipedia entry on the SU25 had been altered days before the shoot down to claim that the SU25’s operating ceiling was only 7000 metres. Again the western media ignored this obvious alarm bell.

The Russians further disclosed that at the precise time of the shoot down an American spy satellite was directly overhead the scene and would have recorded the sequence of events. The Russians invited the Americans to share these data with the official investigation that had been launched, but to date the Americans have failed to do so.  Again, the western media are singularly incurious as to the reason for this lack of cooperation.

Under IATA Rules, the parties responsible for the investigation would be the Malaysians, as owners of the plane and home country of the airline, and the Ukrainians over whose territory the atrocity occurred. It was the Dutch however, who took the lead role, citing two facts: the plane had departed from Amsterdam; and they had suffered the largest number of their nationals as victims. The Malaysians were initially excluded from the inquiry for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. They were finally invited to join the Joint Inquiry on 2 December 2014.

Instead, the initial inquiry group consisted of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. The Australians suffered the third largest loss of life but had no standing to be one of the investigatory nations, and certainly less of a claim than the Malaysians. The Australian Prime Minister and some other politicians had been at the forefront of making extreme allegations against Russia and President Putin. Why Belgium was included remains a mystery.

On 8 August 2014 these four investigating nations signed an agreement that the results of the investigation would not be published unless all four countries agreed. This gave one of the prime suspects in the atrocity, Ukraine, an effective veto over any investigations result that attributed blame to them. This is an astonishing situation and probably without precedent in modern air crash investigations.

More significantly however, is that the existence of this secret agreement was not announced by the Australian government, nor to the best of my knowledge has any report about the existence of the agreement or its extraordinary terms, been published in any mainstream publication.

The Dutch magazine Elsevier, under Dutch Freedom of Information laws, sought a copy of the agreement. On 19 November they announced that the request had been refused on the grounds that it “could endanger the relations with other countries involved.”

An Australian citizen (name redacted) wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development (Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss) seeking a copy of the agreement. By letter dated 15 October 2014 the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) replied on behalf of the Minister, refusing the requester a copy of the agreement as its contents were “classified.”

The present writer wrote to DFAT on 21 August 2014 seeking a copy of the agreement of 8 August 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act. The department declaimed responsibility and said that they had passed my request on to the Attorney-General’s Department. This was odd, but even odder was advice from the Attorney General that my request had been passed in turn to the Australian Federal Police who were the responsible body.

This must be the first time in Australian history since 1901 that negotiations and agreements between sovereign nations had been conducted on Australia’s behalf by the Federal Police.

On 2 December 2014 the Australian Federal Police finally gave their decision on the FOI request. It was declined on the basis that disclosure of the document (which they acknowledged existed) under section 33 would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to:

(i)            the security of the Commonwealth; or

(ii)          the defence of the Commonwealth; or

(iii)         the international relations of the Commonwealth.

The refusal also relied upon section 37(1)(a) of the Act which exempts a document if it could reasonably be said to prejudice the conduct of an investigation.

Thirdly, the Federal Police relied upon section 37(1) (c) where disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of a person.

The fourth ground of refusal was under section 37(2)(b) which exempts disclosure where it might reasonably be expected to prejudice an investigation by disclosing methods of investigation or detection of unlawful activity.

In the circumstances of this case it is very difficult to see how any of those provisions would apply. The agreement, it should be remembered, is to give any one of the four investigating countries a veto over publication of the results. A final report would be entitled to withhold details of the investigation that would truly prejudice matters of national security.

An investigation of a crash of an aeroplane is however, carried out under IATA Rules and its procedures are well established and well documented. Whose life or safety might be endangered by releasing the agreement is unspecified.

One is left with the conclusion that 33 (iii) is the real ground and the “international relations” referred to are the difficulty Australia and other nations have got themselves into by prematurely blaming Russia when all of the emerging evidence points squarely at Ukraine.

Given the existence of this agreement it is difficult to see how anyone can have any confidence in whatever final report is published by the Dutch. The preliminary report was careful not to apportion blame or even state the cause of the crash other than to say that the plane was hit a by a large number of “high velocity objects” which were undefined.

Another major question is why have the mainstream media kept up a barrage of misinformation up to and including the recent G20 debacle, when they know, or ought to know that the investigation is a sham?

It is also difficult to see how the continued demonization of Russia and Mr Putin for manifestly geo-political reasons (and the probable reasons for the shoot down in the first place) represents any form of justice for the families of the 298 victims and in particular the 37 who were Australian citizens or residents.

It is clear that the Government’s professed support for Security Council Resolution 2116 (2014) for a “full, thorough, and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines” is no more than window dressing for a much wider geopolitical agenda.

James O’Neill is a former academic who has practiced as a barrister for the past 30 years.  He has a special interest in international human rights issues.  He may be contacted at j.oneill@bigpond.net.au 

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Claims that Aleppo’s Synagogues have been destroyed are false

By Dr. Franklin Lamb | Intifada | December 18, 2014

Given the massive destruction in large parts of Aleppo, Syria’s former economic juggernaut near the Turkish border, including in the city’s Medina souk and Industrial zone, claims of even more dire damage to Syrian heritage sites would perhaps be understandable. Even if not backed up with probative material evidence and sometimes made for political purposes by opponents of Syria’s government.

In the wake of the continuing conflict, questions from some quarters have repeatedly surfaced regarding the status of the 5th- or 6th- century Byzantium period, Great Synagogue of Aleppo. Known locally as Joab’s Synagogue or Al-Bandara Synagogue, lore has it that the building’s foundation was laid by King David’s general, Yoav, whom Jewish tradition holds captured Aleppo. Maimonides, in his letter to the rabbis of Lunel, speaks of Aleppo as being the only community in Syria where Torah learning survived.

The Times of Israel reported on 10/16/2012 that “Aleppo, once a trading center for Muslims, Armenians and Syrian Christians, was also home to one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities with its Great Synagogue which is now destroyed.” One of the US based anti-Arab Zionist organizations, the notorious Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims that the synagogue was bombed by the Syrian army, with similar false reports being circulated via politically motivated internet conspiracy theories.

Another writer for the Jewish Times lamented: “While we continue to hear of the damage inflicted on Aleppo, it is almost unfathomable what is happening to its treasure trove of Jewish antiquity and Synagogues within its borders.” Claims have been made that Syrian government barrel bombs destroyed the cultural heritage site nearly two years ago.

These accusations and statements are patently false.

Susan Harris wrote in November of 2012 about massive damage in Syria to Jewish heritage sites, including in Aleppo, but without offering specific data, the author implied a frenzy of antisemitism. “Not only are the antiquities of Islam being destroyed, but a site of great interest to Jews sits in the eye of a hurricane swept in by the Arab Spring. For hundreds of years the Great Synagogue of Aleppo was the home to the Aleppo Codex, written around 930 CE.” And that it was caught up in “A labyrinth of medieval Jewish structures recently set ablaze, and the last fragile structural remnants of earlier civilizations crumbling into ash heaps under the weight of prolonged violence.” This statement is also false. The Codex has not been burned.

Articles and alarmist propaganda on the subject of Aleppo’s synagogues have appeared with titles like: “What’s left of Jewish Heritage in Syria”, “Who will save the remains of Syria’s ancient synagogues?” (JTA ), “Jewish Aleppo, Lost Forever The Syrian diaspora in Israel watches its once-vibrant ancestral home fall to ruin in the country’s civil war” (Joseph Dana, 8/22/2012). They are all misleading.

There have however been thefts of Syrian cultural artifacts; most of them have been done by agents of Israel. During a 10-year period in the 1980s, a collection of Jewish objects were stolen and smuggled out of Syria to Turkey by then-Chief Rabbi Avraham Hamra. The collection included nine ancient Bible manuscripts, known as the Ketarim, each between 700 and 900 years old. In addition, there were 40 Torah scrolls and 32 decorative boxes in which the Sephardic Torah scrolls were held. Israel offered a bizarre rationale that the thefts of antiquities belonging to Syria were “necessary because official requests for permission to take them out of Syria were denied”. Were this excuse to be accepted our global heritage in Syria and elsewhere would likely soon disappear.

Another theft of Syrian cultural heritage is The Aleppo Codex, believed to be the oldest manuscript containing the entire Hebrew Bible. It was stolen from the Great Synagogue of Allepo according to locals by the Mossad and in 1957 it was smuggled out of Aleppo to Israel, where it was presented in 1958 to President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and today it is housed in the Ben-Zvi Institute. The Aleppo Codex, part of Syria’s cultural heritage, is considered by some experts to be the most authoritative, accurate source document, both for the Biblical text and for the vocalization and cantillation. Some scholars claim it has greater religious and scholarly import than any other manuscript of the Bible. Unbeknownst to the thieves, 295 of the original 487 leaves of the Codex remain in Aleppo near the grand synagogue protected by a Syrian gentleman who was a volunteer caretaker and groundskeeper of sorts for many years. Apparently when the thieves pried open the vault underneath the basilica’s basement floor they failed to notice a cloth wrapping underneath what they stole or that the Codex had been divided for apparent study. The people of Syria and all who value cultural heritage await the return of the looted Codex from its thieves.

For over a week earlier this month, with the much-appreciated assistance of security personnel, this observer moved around Aleppo visiting endangered archaeological sites in order to chronicle some of them as part of a two-year research project across this cradle of civilization. Field visits and testimony of neighbors near Aleppo’s 11 synagogues present probative evidence that while they, as with many sites in Aleppo and elsewhere, are currently endangered, as of mid-December 2014 these places of worship, which are a valued part of Syria’s cultural heritage, are locked and secured. They do not exhibit signs of vandalism and are being watched over by authorities and by Syrian citizens in their respective neighborhoods.

With respect to the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, although situated in the district of the current front-line separating rebel from government forces, it has not been destroyed and as of 12/16/2014 shows no signs of damage. This may be partly due to the fact that both sides have been widely criticized for endangering Syria’s heritage and, with the exception of Da’ish (IS), appear to be taking greater care these days in selecting “military targets.” Another reason may be because the Great Synagogue is located on a side street of little apparent strategic import that has experienced no armed conflict. As recently as two decades ago it was in use until Aleppo’s remaining Jews left and as with other Jewish sites in Aleppo and across Syria, including cemeteries, schools, and communal properties, are now under government protection.

Rather than destroy Jewish heritage in Syria her government and people have preserved and repaired them when necessary. As of mid-December 2014 only 13 Jews remain in Aleppo according to Rabbi Avraham Hamra with nine men and eight women, all over sixty years of age. One of the last to depart Aleppo was Dr. Haim Cohen, a general practitioner who lived down the street from the Samoual Synagogue, which this observer visited on 12/11/2014. Dr. Cohen used to frequent a shop across from the entrance to the Samoual Synagogue, which I also visited and according to the shop owner who has been in the same location for 47 years and whose main work these days includes the mending of piles of military uniforms there has been no damage to synagogues in the Governorate and certainly not to the Great Synagogue of Aleppo.

In February of 2011, coincidentally the month before of the beginning of the current Syrian crisis, President Assad signed an executive order to repair the Al-Raqi Synagogue in the old Jewish quarter of Damascus by the end of the month as the renovation of 10 other synagogues in Syria’s major cities continued. On 12/11/2014 this observer photographed some randomly selected Aleppo synagogues, including the one in the Samoual district, and found them locked and saw no signs of desecration. Rather, normal citizens exhibit protective attitudes toward these heritage sites and even tend to keep the outside areas cleared of leaves and trash. Government workers also perform daily trash pickups along streets where the synagogues are located. Officials advised this observer that Syria sees the rebuilding of Jewish Damascus and repairs to synagogues across Syria in the context of preserving the secularism of Syria and its cultural heritage of which Jews were historically an important part.

Two months before the President signed the executive order to repair synagogues, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, discussed the Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Syria and he reported that he received a “very positive response from Assad.” Syrian Jews centered mainly in Brooklyn NY whose numbers are estimated at 85,000, maintain close ties with Syria. Some of them visit their birthplaces and conduct regular business relations in the country often experiencing criticism and pressure from the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine.

In November 1989, the Syrian government facilitated the emigration of 500 single Jewish women, who greatly outnumbered eligible Jewish men in Aleppo. During the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference Syria agreed to ease restriction on its Jewish population. As a result, Syria lifted many restrictions on its Jewish community, and allowed Jews to leave on condition that they not emigrate to Israel. Beginning on the Passover Holiday of 1992, more than 4,000 remaining members of the Aleppo and Damascus Jewish community were granted exit permits and within a few months, thousands more left for the United States, France or Turkey. Approximately 300 remained in Syria, most of them elderly all choosing to stay in the culture their families had lived in for many generations.

With the dawning of the 21st century, there was only a small, largely elderly community left in Aleppo. Jews were still officially banned from politics and government employment, and did not have military service obligations. Jews were also the only minority to have their religion mentioned on their passports and identification cards. Though some were occasionally subjected to harassment by Palestinian protesters during violence in occupied Palestine, the Syrian government took measures to protect them.

The government protected Jewish primary schools for religious studies, and Hebrew was allowed to be taught (today Hebrew is one of the languages SANA, the Syrian news agency presents its news item in). Every two or three months, a rabbi from Istanbul visited Aleppo to oversee the preparation of kosher meat, which most residents froze and used until his next visit. The community gradually shrank. From 2000 to 2010, 41 Syrian Jews left for occupied Palestine, and its numbers further dwindled as members of the largely elderly community died.

In 2001, Rabbi Huder Shahada Kabariti estimated that there were still 200 Jews in the country, of whom 150 lived in Damascus, 30 in Aleppo, and 20 in Qamashli. In 2003, the Jewish population was estimated to be fewer than 100. In 2005, the U.S. State Department estimated the Jewish population at 80 in its annual International Religious Freedom Report. In May 2012, one year into the Syrian civil war, it was reported that only 22 Jews still lived in Syria, all of them elderly and living in Damascus, in a building adjoining the city’s only functioning synagogue. This report was not accurate. As of December 2014, approximately 15 Jews remain in Aleppo according to Rabbi Avraham Hamra with nine men and eight women, all over sixty years of age.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

Charting dependency through the PA’s draft resolution to the UNSC

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | December 18, 2014

“The Palestinians made sure to remove any mention of Israel’s status as a Jewish state from the draft, which means this is not a peace process, it’s a declaration of war.” The comment by Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence, international relations and strategic affairs, was a prelude to further attacks upon the Palestinian Authority’s resolution submission to the UN Security Council, for Palestinian statehood based upon the 1967 borders.

Israeli responses to the draft resolution were predictable. Steinitz declared the resolution a form of incitement “against our existence”, necessitating an Israeli response within Palestine and the international community. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared the resolution a “Palestinian gimmicks” and urged the UNSC to divert its focus elsewhere to deal “with issues of true importance in the world”, while Housing Minister Uri Ariel advocated for retaliation in the form of further settlement expansion in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Constructing an alleged “declaration of war” out of a draft resolution hampered by international impositions and resolutions interpreting history from the dominant narrative is ludicrous. The resolution fails to address decolonisation, affirms the fragmentation of Palestinian territory, subjugates itself to economic dependence and entrenches the colonisation process by agreeing to “a third party presence” that would supervise Israel’s military occupation – all of which presumably lead to the “vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders”.

The fallacy of recognised borders – the alleged desired outcome – should give enough indication of both Israel’s insistence upon finalising the colonisation process, as well as the PA’s commitment to ensuring its completion. The discrepancy between “borders” and “democratic states” is an issue that resurfaces constantly and remains unchallenged, due to the Palestinian leadership’s attempts to legitimise Palestinian rights through a colonial framework that fragments history. Israel’s establishment and subsequent recognition following the Nakba was achieved through force and terror, yet the resolution eliminates the foundations of the settler-colonial state to restrict “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force” to 1967.

Any validity which the resolution might have is diffused by the mechanisms that continue to cement the colonisation process. The lack of a congruent ideology that would strengthen Palestinian resistance is evident through the insistence of utilising international law and institutions for partial land reclamation, despite proof of these structures providing impediments to Palestinian liberation.

Symbolism, commencing with the so-called international year of solidarity with the Palestinians and culminating in recent efforts to garner a veneer of recognition at international level, have characterised Palestine’s on-going deterioration during this year. The US, meanwhile, is attempting to foment further oppression by scrutiny and opposition to “language” used in the draft resolution, despite the framework’s consistency with precedents that consolidate colonisation. What the PA has achieved through the draft resolution is the fragmentation of history in order to persist with futile diplomatic efforts, effectively expressing leniency for Israel’s state-sanctioned violence and negating, despite the historical enshrining in resistance charters, the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Innocent Man Raided, Tased, Beaten, & Shot By a Corrupt SWAT Team who Lied to Get the Raid

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | December 18, 2014

Houston, TX — A completely innocent man was shot, tasered, brutally beaten, and had stun grenades thrown at him by vicious and incompetent SWAT officers. Then, those same officers tried to cover up their mistake by charging the victim, Chad Chadwick, with six criminal offenses including felony assault on a police officer.

This incident happened in 2011, but it has taken Chadwick three years and his entire life savings, to finally beat the charges that he was falsely accused of. Last month, a jury found Chad Chadwick not guilty of interfering with police. With tears in their eyes members of the jury offered the exonerated defendant comforting hugs, according to My Fox Houston.

“They tried to make me a convict. It broke me financially, bankrupted me. I used my life savings, not to mention, I lost my kids,” said Chadwick.

Chadwick had been drinking and went to sleep in his bathtub on the night of September 27, 2011, when police were given a tip from a friend of Chadwick’s who said they were concerned with his emotional well-being. So naturally the police responded by mobilizing a heavily militarized SWAT team.

“They came in did what they did, figured out that they messed up and now they are doing everything they can to cover it up. They treated a normal American citizen like an animal. It’s not right,” Chadwick said in an interview with FOX 26. 

The SWAT team lied to the judge to get the warrant by telling the judge that Chadwick had hostages. “

They told a judge I had hostages. They lied to a judge and told him I had hostages in my apartment and they needed to enter,” said Chadwick.

When SWAT broke down his door without identifying themselves, they launched a stun grenade into his bathroom, according to Chadwick.

“While I had my hands up naked in the shower they shot me with a 40 millimeter non-lethal round,” said Chadwick.

Another stun grenade was fired.

“I turned away, the explosion went off, I opened my eyes the lights are out and here comes a shield with four or five guys behind it. They pinned me against the wall and proceeded to beat the crap out of me,” said Chadwick.

That’s when SWAT officers shot Chadwick at point blank range with a taser in the back of his head.

“They claimed I drew down with a shampoo bottle and a body wash bottle,” said Chadwick.

Tased, shot and with multiple SWAT officers smashing him into a corner with a shield, a brutal beating ensued.

“They grabbed me by my one hand that was out of the shower and grabbed me by my testicles slammed me on my face on the floor and proceeded to beat me more,” said Chadwick.

Chadwick was then hauled off to Ft. Bend County Jail with a fractured nose, bruised ribs and what’s proven to be permanent hearing loss. He was kept in an isolation cell for two full days. Remember, Chadwick has never broken a law; he had committed no crime.

“Instead of apologizing to this man and asking let us see what we can do to help you to make you whole again, they concocted criminal charges against this man, one after another, after another,” said activist Quanell X, who believes the prosecution of Chadwick was designed to fend off civil liability.

The SWAT team that took Chadwick into custody and testified against him was comprised of officers from Missouri City, Sugar Land, Stafford and the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s Department. To this date, none of them have faced any disciplinary action.

According to FOX 26, Ft. Bend County District Attorney John Healy declined to comment on camera, but did say he stands by his decision to prosecute Chadwick, despite the multiple no-bills and not guilty verdict. Asked how much the case cost taxpayers, Healy said “I wasn’t keeping a tally.”

Chadwick is now pursuing a civil suit against the police agencies involved and they will most assuredly know how much money that will cost the taxpayers.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Cop Stops Fellow Cop From Choking a Handcuffed Man, She Was Then Beaten and Fired

By Cassandra Rules | The Free Thought Project | December 18, 2014

Buffalo, NY – While killer cops get sent on paid vacations, it’s hard to imagine what one has to do to actually be fired. It turns out, the answer is be a good cop.

Former Buffalo Police Officer, Cariol Horne is fighting for her pension since she was fired after 19 years on the force, over an incident in 2006 when she stopped a fellow officer from choking a handcuffed suspect.

Horne had received a call that Officer Gregory Kwiatkowski was at the scene of a domestic dispute and in need of assistance. When she arrived, she witnessed Kwiatkowski violently punching the handcuffed suspect in the face.

Horne and other officers on the scene removed the suspect from the house, but once outside Kwiatkowski pounced again, this time choking the handcuffed man. Believing Kwiatkowski to be out of out of control, Horne removed his arm from around the man’s neck.

“Gregory Kwiatkowski turned Neal Mack around and started choking him. So then I’m like, ‘Greg! You’re choking him,’ because I thought whatever happened in the house he was still upset about so when he didn’t stop choking him I just grabbed his arm from around Neal Mack’s neck,” Horne told WKBW.

Infuriated that she had crossed the thin blue line, Kwaitkowski then punched Horne in the face. The punch was so hard that Horne ended up having to have her bridge replaced. She was then injured again as officers dragged her away from trying to defend herself.

Here is where things get crazy.

The good cop, who was trying to stop abuse by her peer, was fired for “jumping on Officer Kwaitkowski’s back and/or striking him with her hands,” something that Kwaitkowski himself denied ever happening in a sworn statement.

The bad cop, who was choking a man and then punched his female co-worker in the face, kept his job. It wasn’t until he choked another officer at a district station house that he was forced to retire. He was already under investigation for punching another officer while he was off-duty at a local bar.

In May of this year Kwiatkowski and two other officers were indicted for civil rights violations against four black teenagers, just days before the statute of limitations was due to expire. One of the teens was also the son of a Buffalo police officer.

Kwaitkowski is accused of using excessive force while the victim was already under arrest. His fellow officers then shot at a handcuffed teenager with the teens own BB gun, after the boy was aready handcuffed and in the back seat of their police vehicle.

Imagine if just one of the officers who stood around watching Eric Garner’s life being taken had the courage Horne had.

Unfortunately, they would probably be in the same situation she is.

This incident is hardly isolated either. Earlier this month we brought you the story of a 20 year veteran of the CSU Monterey Bay police force who was given a notice of termination for choosing NOT to immediately resort to violent escalation during a confrontation with a suicidal student.

In almost every single video we see, there are other officers present and allowing it to happen. Sadly, with departments across the nation upholding their reputation of vilifying anyone who dares to cross the thin blue line, it’s no wonder there is such a shortage of police willing to speak out against the atrocities we have been witnessing.

While many police may choose this line of work because they want to be “heroic,” Horne is a true hero- and she does not regret her actions. Nobody ever said being a hero is easy.

Just something to think about.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

The Invasion Of Panama And The Proclamation of a Lone Superpower Above The Law

By Matt Peppe |Just the Facts Blog | December 14, 2014

Twenty five years ago, before dawn on December 20, 1989, U.S. forces descended on Panama City and unleashed one of the most violent, destructive terror attacks of the century. U.S. soldiers killed more people than were killed on 9/11. They systematically burned apartment buildings and shot people indiscriminately in the streets. Dead bodies were piled on top of each other; many were burned before identification. The aggression was condemned internationally, but the message was clear: the United States military was free to do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and they would not be bound by ethics or laws.

The invasion and ensuing occupation produced gruesome scenes: “People burning to death in the incinerated dwellings, leaping from windows, running in panic through the streets, cut down in cross fire, crushed by tanks, human fragments everywhere,” writes William Blum. [1]

Years later the New York Times interviewed a survivor of the invasion, Sayira Marín, whose “hands still tremble” when she remembers the destruction of her neighborhood.

“I take pills to calm down,” Marín told the paper. “It has gotten worse in recent days. There are nights when I jump out of bed screaming. Sometimes I have dreams of murder. Ugly things.”

In the spring of 1989, a wave of revolutions had swept across the Eastern bloc. In November, the Berlin Wall fell. The Cold War was over. No country was even a fraction as powerful as the United States. Rather than ushering in an era of peace and demilitarization, U.S. military planners intensified their expansion of global hegemony. They were pathological about preventing any rival to their complete military and economic domination.

U.S. government officials needed to put the world on notice. At the same time, President George H.W. Bush’s needed to shed his image as a “wimp.” So they did what any schoolyard bully would: pick out the smallest, weakest target you can find and beat him to a bloody pulp. The victim is irrelevant; the point is the impression you make on the people around you.

Panama was an easy target because the U.S. already had a large military force in 18 bases around the country. Until 1979, the occupied Panama Canal Zone had been sovereign territory of the United States. The Panama Canal was scheduled to be turned over to Panama partially in 1990 and fully in 2000. The U.S. military would be able to crush a hapless opponent and ensure control over a vital strategic asset.

Washington began disseminating propaganda about “human rights abuses” and drug trafficking by President Manuel Noriega. Most of the allegations were true, and they had all been willingly supported by the U.S. government while Noriega was a CIA asset receiving more than $100,000 per year. But when Noriega was less than enthusiastic about helping the CIA and their terrorist Contra army wage war against the civilian population in Nicaragua, things changed.

“It’s all quite predictable, as study after study shows,” Noam Chomsky writes. “A brutal tyrant crosses the line from admirable friend to ‘villain’ and ‘scum’ when he commits the crime of independence.”

Some of the worst human rights abuses in the world from the early 1960s to 1980s did originate in Panama – from the U.S. instructors and training manuals at the U.S.’s infamous School of the Americas (nicknamed the School of the Assassins), located in Panama until 1984. It was at the SOA where the U.S. military trained the murderers of the six Jesuit scholars and many other members of dictatorships, death squads and paramilitary forces from all over Latin America.

The documentary The Panama Deception demonstrates how the media uncritically adopted U.S. government propaganda, echoing accusations of human rights violations and drug trafficking while ignoring international law and the prohibition against the use of force in the UN Charter. The Academy Award-winning film exposed what the corporate media refused to: the lies and distortions, the hypocrisy, the dead bodies, the survivors’ harrowing tales, and the complete impunity of the U.S. military to suppress the truth.

The propaganda started with the concoction of a pretext for the invasion. The U.S. military had been sending aggressive patrols into the Panama City streets, trying to elicit a response.

“Provocations against the Panamanian people by United States military troops were very frequent in Panama,” said Sabrina Virgo, National Labor Organizer, who was in Panama before the invasion. She said the provocations were intended “to create an international incident… have United States troops just hassle the Panamanian people until an incident resulted. And from that incident the United States could then say they were going into Panama for the protection of American life, which is exactly what happened. [2]

After a group of Marines on patrol ran a roadblock and were fired on by Panamanian troops, one U.S. soldier was killed. The group, nicknamed the “Hard Chargers,” was known for their provocative actions against Panamanian troops. Four days later, the invasion began. [3]

Targeting Civilians and Journalists

Elizabeth Montgomery, narrating The Panama Deception, says: “It soon became clear that the objectives were not limited only to military targets. According to witnesses, many of the surrounding residential neighborhoods were deliberately attacked and destroyed.” [4]

Witnesses recounted U.S. soldiers setting residential buildings on fire. Video footage shows the charred remains of rows of housing complexes in El Chorillo, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

“The North Americans began burning down El Chorillo at about 6:30 in the morning. They would throw a small device into a house and it would catch on fire,” recounted an anonymous witness in the film. “They would burn a house, and then move to another and begin the process all over again. They burned from one street to the next. They coordinated the burning through walkie-talkies.” [5]

People were crushed by tanks, captured Panamanians were executed on the street, and bodies were piled together and burned. Survivors were reportedly hired to fill mass graves for $6 per body.

Spanish photographer Juantxu Rodríguez of El País was shot and killed by an American soldier. Journalist Maruja Torres recounted the incident in the Spanish newspaper the next day.

“’Get back!’ the U.S. soldier yelled from his painted face brandishing his weapon. We identified ourselves as journalists, guests at the Marriot,” she wrote. “’We just want to pick up our things.’ He didn’t pay attention. The hotel, like all of them, had been taken over by U.S. troops. Those young marines were on the verge of hysteria. There was not a single Panamanian around, just defenseless journalists. Juantxu ran out running toward the hotel taking photos, the rest of us took shelter behind the cars. Juantxu didn’t return.”

While the professed aim of the operation was to capture Noriega, there is ample evidence that destroying the Panamanian Defense Forces and terrifying the local population into submission were at least equally important goals.

American officials had been told the precise location of Noriega three hours after the operation began – before the killing in El Chorillo – by a European diplomat. The diplomat told the Los Angeles Times he was “100% certain” of Noriega’s location “but when I called, SouthCom (the U.S. Southern military command) said it had other priorities.”

No one knows the exact number of people who were killed during the invasion of Panama. The best estimates are at least 2,000 to 3,000 Panamanians, but this may be a conservative figure, according to a Central American Human Rights Commission (COEDHUCA) report.

The report stated that “most of these deaths could have been prevented had the US troops taken appropriate measures to ensure the lives of civilians and had obeyed the international legal norms of warfare.”

The CODEHUCA report documented massively “disproportionate use of military force,” “indiscriminate and intentional attacks against civilians” and destruction of poor, densely-populated neighborhoods such as El Chorillo and San Miguelito. This gratuitous, systematic violence could not conceivably be connected to the professed military mission.

When asked at a news conference whether it was worth sending people to die (Americans, of course, not thousands of Panamanians) to capture Noriega, President George H.W. Bush replied: “Every human life is precious. And yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”

‘Flagrant Violation of International Law’

Several days later, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the invasion. But the United States – joined by allies Great Britain and France – vetoed it. American and European officials argued the invasion was justified and should be praised for removing Noriega from power. Other countries saw a dangerous precedent.

“The Soviet Union and third world council members argued that the invasion must be condemned because it breaks the ban on the use of force set down in the United Nations Charter,” wrote the New York Times.

After this, on December 29, the General Assembly voted 75 to 20 with 40 abstentions in a resolution calling the intervention in Panama a “flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States.”

The Organization of American States passed a similar resolution by a margin of 20-1. In explaining the U.S.’s lone vote against the measure, a State Department spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the OAS missed a historic opportunity to get beyond its traditional narrow concern over ‘nonintervention.’”

In the ensuing occupation, CODEHUCA claimed that “the US has not respected fundamental legal and human rights” in Panama. The violations occurred on a “massive scale” and included “illegal detentions of citizens, unconstitutional property searches, illegal lay-offs of public and private employees, and … tight control of the Panamanian media.”

Despite the international outrage, Bush enjoyed a political boost from the aggression. His poll numbers shot to record highs not seen “since Presidents Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower.” The President had authorized crimes against the peace and war crimes. Rather than being held accountable, he benefitted. So did the Pentagon and defense contractors who desperately needed a new raison d’ etre after the fall of Communism.

No longer able to use the fear-mongering Cold War rationales it had for the last 40 years, Washington found a new propaganda tool to justify its aggressive military interventions and occupations. Washington was able to appropriate human rights language to create the contradictory, fictional notion of “humanitarian intervention.”

“Washington was desperate for new ideological weapons to justify – both at home and abroad – its global strategies,” writes James Peck. “A new humanitarian ethos legitimizing massive interventions – including war – emerged in the 1990s only after Washington had been pushing such an approach for some time.” [6]

The stage was set for the even more horrific invasion of Iraq the following summer. Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, the NATO bombing of Serbia, Iraq (again), and the Bush and Obama interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq (a third time), Pakistan, Libya, Somalia (again), Yemen, Iraq (a fourth time) and Syria would follow.

The invasion of Panama caused unthinkable devastation to the people of Panama. Because of the U.S. military’s obstruction, the full extent of the death and destruction will never be known. The damage done to the legitimacy of international law compounded the devastation exponentially.

Indisputably, the U.S. invasion was aggression against a sovereign nation. Aggressive war was defined in the Nuremberg Trials as the “supreme international crime,” different from other crimes (like genocide or terrorism) in that it contains “the accumulated evil of the whole.” People convicted of waging aggressive war were sentenced to death by hanging.

Twenty five years later, the man who ordered the invasion of Panama, George H.W. Bush, enjoys a luxurious retirement at his Houston and Kennebunkport estates. He is considered by mainstream U.S. pundits to be a foreign policy moderate.

Works Cited

[1] Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II – Updated Through 2003. Common Courage Press, 2008.

[2] The Panama Deception. Dir. Barbara Trent. Empowerment Project, 1992. Film. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-p4cPoVcIo&list=PLBMiR6FLgz2-BEFx0w_V-jE6hKb9uP3Wh&index=3, (30:54)

[3] Ibid (31:40)

[4] Ibid (34:08)

[5] Ibid (37:06)

[6] Peck, James. Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights. Metropolitan Books, 2011.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Money Buys Influence in US for Fugitive Ecuadorean Bankers

teleSUR | December 18, 2014

Family members of Ecuador’s fugitive Isaias brothers appear to have received preferential treatment in the U.S. thanks to political donations to the Democratic Party, The New York Times revealed Tuesday.

Estefania Isaias — the daughter of Roberto Isaias, one of two brothers wanted in Ecuador for bank fraud — had been barred from entering the United States after committing immigration fraud. That ban was lifted thanks to the intervention of high-ranking officials in the U.S. State Department. The lifting of the ban was made possible thanks to the assistance of Robert Menendez, a Democratic Senator.

The New York Times investigation reveals that the office of Menendez lobbied extensively in support of Estefania Isaias, even reaching out to Cheryl Mills, Hilary Clinton’s chief of staff while Clinton was she was U.S. secretary of state. He succeeded in getting Ms. Isaias into the United States and wrote to her to tell her the news a mere day after the Isaias family gave a donation to the Democratic Party.

Estefania’s sister Maria also faced a ban on entering the United States and Menendez’s office once again worked to intervene in her favor — also after receiving a donation from the Isaias family.

A spokesperson for Menendez told the Times that his office’s advocacy in the case of Ms. Isaias was routine. However, Linda Jewell, former U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, told the Times, “Such close and detailed involvement by a congressional office in an individual visa case would be quite unusual, especially for an applicant who is not a constituent of the member of Congress.”

The U.S. newspaper reported that the family donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns, which were often followed by favorable decisions by the U.S. government.

The Isaias brothers, Roberto and William, were found guilty in absentia for a fraud worth US$400 million. They were sentenced to eight years in prison. The Isaias brothers have been living in the United States, fugitives from Ecuadorean justice. The government of Ecuador has requested their extradition but the U.S. government has denied the request.

Ecuador claims that the political donations made by the family is buying them protection in the U.S. However, The New York Times also reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently working to have the Isaias brothers deported.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Senator Menendez for his support of the Isaias brothers. The senator is suspected of attempting to influence immigration officials in exchange for donations from the fugitive brothers.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

The longest occupation in modern history

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , | 2 Comments

Cuba Better Be Careful What It Wishes For

By Andrew Korybko | Sputnik | December 17, 2014

The US and Cuba have reached a historic deal to swap notable prisoners and establish diplomatic relations after decades of mutual hostility. The announcement caught many by surprise, and begs the question: Are there more sinister geopolitical calculations at work behind the U.S.’ olive branch?

The tradeoff largely boils down to this: the US has released the three remaining members of the Cuban Five in exchange for jailed contractor Alan Gross, 53 US-selected “political prisoners,” and an unnamed intelligence source who was imprisoned over 20 years ago. As a result, both countries will now establish diplomatic relations and the decades-long US embargo will be largely eased.

Many people are rightfully cheering what seems to be an imminent end to U.S. hostility towards Cuba, but all of this may just be a deception. The U.S. needs Cuba more than the other way around, since it wants to use the island as a pivot to reverse the Caribbean Basin’s move to multipolarity and prolong Washington’s full control over its historic “lake.”

Regime Change Done Differently

Cuba no longer needs the U.S. as much as it did at the end of the Cold War, when its economy was in despair and the market hardly functioned. It’s come a long way since then, and although it still has its fair share of problems, it’s proved that it can survive on its own while being officially isolated from its massive northern neighbor. While the U.S. had plenty of opportunity to exploit Cuba when it was at its weakest in the 1990s, it missed the chance to do so, driven by the precondition that regime change must happen first.

Now, however, the tables have turned, and the U.S. is pursuing a policy of engagement first in order to facilitate the same regime change goal it’s been trying to pull off for over the past half century.

“I do not expect the changes I’m announcing today to bring about a change in Cuban society overnight,” Obama said, implying that he still wants the U.S. vision of change to occur. The removal of the embargo would only be a victory for the Cuban people if they are able to retain their independence, sovereignty, and preferred form of government afterwards.

Indirect Inroads

Overt hostility hasn’t worked in the past against Cuba, and it likely won’t work in the future. Plus, there’s been a general trend in recent years for the US to pursue its objectives through covert and indirect means. This is where Cuba is most vulnerable in the recent ‘thaw’ in relations. The American economy doesn’t need Cuba at all, really, and Washington’s opening to Havana is a convenient cover to catch Cuba in its social and economic snare to more directly control the inevitable leadership transition process that will occur with Fidel’s passing. It already tried and failed to use USAID to create a ‘revolutionary Twitter’ on the island, as well as its embarrassing follies with anti-government Cuban rappers, to name but the few most recent regime change scandals there. And it must be kept in mind that Mr. Gross was working for the Agency when he was arrested in 2011 for trying to, as Cuban authorities described it, to “promote destabilizing activities and subvert constitutional order” to foster a “Cuban Spring.”

Cuba is also vulnerable to reverse migration, in that dissident and possibly extremist Cuban-Americans may return to the island in order to build a future Color Revolution’s social infrastructure to deploy when the time is right (likely in the aftermath of Fidel’s death). American businesses can fill a valuable development and investment gap on the island, in exchange for making Cuba ever more dependent on the U.S. This would give the U.S. another lever of influence over the island’s affairs, which could be activated in unison with a Color Revolution to create maximum disorder.

Bucking The Trend

The timing of Washington’s “outreach” to Havana isn’t coincidental, as it coincides with major processes going on in the region that the U.S. hopes to reverse. Most recently, the pro-U.S. Prime Minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe, was forced to resign last week amid protests and popular outrage over his corruption and ineffectiveness. Backtracking America’s hold on the region even further, the Chinese are slated to begin construction on the Nicaraguan Canal, which when completed, would create a major breach in America’s control of the Caribbean Sea. Finally, Venezuela has been a center of resistance to American hegemony over the hemisphere ever since the leadership of the late President Hugo Chavez.

Cuba is the symbolic leader of the Latin American resistance movement, and its “Cuban Spring” surrender would be disheartening for the other allied states that defy the U.S. via the ALBA grouping. Congress recently passed sanctions against Venezuela (largely overshadowed by the anti-Russian ones), which is the financial engine of the hemispheric resistance, to facilitate a Color Revolution there as well, as President Maduro himself has previously alleged Washington wants to do.

Venezuela’s economy is also hurting because of the recent oil price slump, which may inhibit its ability to subsidize the allied Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian, and Bolivian ones in the future. With Cuba out of the game, and perhaps even Venezuela, there’d be little ideological or economic support keeping Nicaragua, the future key to the Caribbean, from being next (to say nothing of Ecuador and Bolivia) and the Chinese-sponsored canal from becoming a failed infrastructure project. If this happens, then the U.S. would have reasserted its complete control over the Caribbean and begun to penetrate the Andes, thus tightening the containment noose around Brazil and strangling the future of multipolarity in the region.

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments