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Justice Dept set to charge NJ Senator Menendez with corruption

RT | March 6, 2015

An influential US senator will face federal corruption charges, concluding a two-year investigation into Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), which has scrutinized a Florida eye doctor, underage prostitutes and accusations against the Cuban government.

Department of Justice prosecutors accuse Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey and the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, used his powerful position to advance the business interests of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a close friend and financial benefactor, in exchange for gifts, several media outlets reported Friday afternoon. Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on the requested charges, according to CNN.

The senator has consistently denied wrongdoing since the investigation became public in 2013.

“As we have said before, we believe all of Senator’s actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that,” Menendez spokesperson Tricia Enright said in a statement Friday. “Any actions taken by Senator Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason.”

The investigation began in the fall of 2012, when Menendez was running for reelection. A scandal erupted days before the vote, when he was accused of “inappropriate sexual activities with young prostitutes” on a 2010 trip to the Dominican Republic. Conservative news site the Daily Caller broke the story after GOP political operatives set up several Skype interviews with several women in the Dominican Republic who claimed the senator had paid them for sex.

According to the anonymous tip that launched the probe, Melgen provided the underage women, as well as free flights on his private plane, the Washington Post reported. The women later recanted their stories about meeting Menendez on the 2010 trip.

The New Jersey lawmaker vehemently denied that he employed any sex workers in the Dominican, and accused the Cuban government of hatching a plot to derail his political career; as the son of Cuban immigrants, he is one of several key Latinos in Congress aligned against any relaxation of the embargo on the island-nation.

Despite the women changing their stories, the FBI continued to investigate Menendez’s relationship with the Florida opthamologist.

The investigation began to focus on whether the senator intervened on Melgen’s behalf, asking Medicare to change its reimbursement policies that benefited the eye doctor to the tune of $8.9 million, money that he has since repaid, according to Politico.

Melgen was accused of overbilling the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for his reimbursement for the drug Lucentis, a costly medication used to treat macular degeneration. During the billing dispute ‒ in 2009 and in 2012 ‒ Menendez urged the government agency to change its policy, which he said he considered to be unfair, the New York Times reported.

”The bottom line is, we raised concerns with CMS over policy and over ambiguities that are difficult for medical providers to understand and to seek a clarification of that and to make sure, in doing so, providers would understand how to attain themselves,” Menendez told the Associated Press in 2013.

In 2013, Menendez paid Melgen back $58,000 in return for the 2010 plane trips, and called his failure to disclose the flights ‒ as required by federal ethics laws ‒ an “oversight.” Along with the flights, the Florida doctor donated heavily to the senator’s campaign coffers, including $700,000 to a Democratic super PAC (political action committee) that spent heavily on Menendez’s 2012 reelection bid.

Prosecutors are also looking into whether the senator illegally advocated for Melgen in the Dominican Republic, where the opthamologist had a government contract for port screening equipment, CNN reported. When the US government was considering donating similar technology to the Caribbean nation, Menendez told both the State Department and the Commerce Department that the Dominican government was trying to get out of a contract with an unnamed American company that authorities there “[didn’t] want to live by.”

Melgen’s relationship with the senator isn’t the only one that might be mentioned in the government’s corruption charges against Menendez. The FBI also investigated his ties to the Isaias family. Brothers Roberto and William were banking magnates in Ecuador when they fled to the US after they were accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from the country’s largest bank before it collapsed, Politico reported. The New Jersey lawmaker is accused of illegally helping the brothers gain permanent residency while fighting their extradition cases, according to CNN. Menendez also assisted Roberto’s daughter Estefania with visa problems.

The Isaias family donated $10,000 to Menendez’s 2012 Senate campaign and more than $100,000 to the Democratic Party. The senator served as the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ‒ the party’s chief fundraiser for upper chamber candidates ‒ from 2009 to 2011.

If Menendez is unable to remain in office due to the corruption charges, it is unclear who might replace him, the Washington Post reported. New Jersey Democrats are focusing on winning the governorship when current Gov. Chris Christie (R) leaves office in 2017, and members of the state’s delegation in the House are not likely to run for the Senate seat.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

NATO knew its intervention in Libya would create chaos and aid al-Qaeda-aligned Islamists

By Steven Gowens | What’s Left | March 2, 2015

Canadian military intelligence knew that NATO’s March 2011 intervention in Libya would aid militant theocratic Islamists aligned with al-Qaeda and could create long-term chaos in the country, according to David Pugliese, a reporter with The Ottawa Citizen, who obtained Canadian intelligence documents.

At the time, NATO military leader, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, denied that opposition to the secular leftist Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi was dominated by rightwing Islamist theocrats, calling the bulk of the opposition forces “responsible men and women.”

But Canadian intelligence was clear-eyed about the nature of the Libyan opposition.

Pugliese revealed that “A Canadian intelligence report written in late 2009 described the anti-Gadhafi stronghold of eastern Libya,” from which the uprising against Gaddafi erupted, “as an epicentre of Islamist extremism.”

And Canadian pilots joked privately that they were part of al-Qaeda’s air force, “since their bombing runs helped to pave the way for rebels aligned with the terrorist group.”

Pugliese reports that just days before NATO’s intervention in Libya,

Canadian intelligence specialists sent a briefing report shared with senior officers. ‘There is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war,’ they wrote in their March 15, 2011 assessment. ‘This is particularly probable if opposition forces receive military assistance from foreign militaries.’

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper later denied that NATO’s intervention created the chaos that has paralyzed Libya, despite his own military’s warning that there was a good chance it would.

This reveals a dishonest attempt to manipulate public opinion through outright deception, in line with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s efforts to mobilize support for military intervention in Iran by warning in 2012 that Iran was only a year away from making a nuclear bomb when his own intelligence agency had concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”.

Pugliese’s report can be read here.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

What Was Missing From Coverage of Netanyahu’s Speech

By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | March 5, 2015

Reading the lead stories on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about Iran in five prominent US papers–the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today (all 3/3/15)–what was most striking was what was left out of these articles.

None of them mentioned, for example, that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Surely this is relevant when a foreign leader says that it needs the United States’ help to stop a rival state from obtaining nuclear weapons: The omission of the obvious phrase “of its own” changes the story entirely.

Another thing largely left out of the story is the fact that Iran has consistently maintained that it has no interest in building a nuclear weapon. There was one direct statement of this in the five stories–the New York Times‘ reference to “Iran’s nuclear program, which [Iranian] officials have insisted is only for civilian uses.” The Washington Post alluded to the fact that Iran denies that it has a nuclear weapons program, referring to “a program the West has long suspected is aimed at building weapons,” Iran’s “stated nuclear energy goals” and “the suspect Iranian program.” Elsewhere the military nature of Iran’s nuclear research was taken for granted, as when the LA Times said that the issue under discussion was “how to deal with the threat of Iran’s nuclear program.”

Entirely absent from these articles was the fact that not only does Iran deny wanting to make a nuclear bomb, the intelligence agencies of the United States (New York Times, 2/24/12) and Israel (Guardian, 2/23/15) also doubt that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. Surely this is relevant to a report on the Israeli prime minister engaging in a public debate with the US president on how best to stop this quite possibly nonexistent program.

Instead, these articles generally seemed content to cover the subject as a debate between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, perhaps with some congressmembers thrown in–as if these were the “both sides” that needed to be covered in order to give a complete picture of the controversy. When Iranian officials were quoted for a few lines in these pieces–which some neglected to do altogether–it seemed an afterthought, despite the fact that Netanyahu’s speech was mainly a long litany of allegations and threats against their country.

(Though I’m confining my analysis to what seemed to be the most prominent and comprehensive article on the speech on each paper’s website, it’s worth mentioning that the New York Times‘ website featured a piece by Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, rebutting Netanyahu’s speech. Reading it one is struck by how different the news pieces would read if Iran’s perspective on Iran’s nuclear program were given equal weight with Israel’s and the US’s views.)

None of these news articles mentioned the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, signed by both the United States and Iran but not by Israel, which guarantees “the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress (NYT)

The New York Times’ caption quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “This regime will always be an enemy of America.” That regime got 36 words of rebuttal in the nearly 1,500-word article.

One article–the New York Times’–had a reference to Netanyahu’s decades-long record of making false nuclear predictions about Israel’s enemies. And even that was framed in partisan terms: Netanyahu “did not succeed in mollifying all Democrats, who recalled a history of what they deemed doomsday messages by him.” A reporter, of course, could look up Netayahu’s previous projections to see if they came true or not–as Murtaza Hussain of the Intercept (3/2/15) did–but holding officials accountable for what they have said in the past is not something an “objective” journalist is likely to do.

Another striking omission from these articles, about a speech in which Netanyahu talked about Iran’s “aggression in the region and in the world,” were words like “Palestine,” “Palestinian,” “occupation” or “Gaza”; none of these  came up in any of the five articles. USA Today headlined its piece “Netanyahu: Stop Iran’s ‘March of Conquest'”–as though it were Iran, not Israel, that has conquered, occupied and in some cases annexed its neighbors’ territory.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clinton Personal Email Cesspool Deepens

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | March 6, 2015

Hillary Clinton announced in a Tweet that she wants her former employer, the Department of State, to review her emails with an eye toward releasing them. Here, she said it herself, on The Official Twitter:

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.

11:35 PM – 4 Mar 2015

So accepting the fact that it took Clinton almost three full days’ worth of controversy to get around to saying even that, that’s it, right? Problem solved? Maybe not.

Who Will End Up Holding the Bag?

The key part of what Clinton no doubt feels is some pretty slick sleight of hand is that State only has in its possession some fraction of all of her emails sent while Secretary of State. The emails State does have were hand-picked by Clinton, curated by her staff, from the total.

Clinton, alone in the entire U.S. government, has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to see. Her basis for her decisions? Trust me.

Even at that, she now throws State under the bus, thinking anytime between now and inauguration day anybody asks about a missing email or ten, Clinton will just “refer them” back to State, who of course decided what to withhold from what Clinton personally chose not to withhold. Clinton no doubt thinks herself clever with this bit of political jujitsu, turning the State Department into her campaign spokesperson. But putting the burden on State is a red herring; this isn’t really the State Department’s dog.

Her attempt to use the White House this week in the same capacity has only returned mediocre results. The Counsel’s office there claimed it had no knowledge of Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email system, and quickly mentioned once it found out that it had directed the State Department to make sure all appropriate rules were followed (CYA.) They also made clear that the administration gave “very specific guidance” that employees should use official accounts when conducting government business.

Obama’s spokesman was careful to note “There was not an Obama administration official that was responsible for reviewing those emails.”

While trying to avoid doing political damage to Clinton, the White House has put the onus on her aides to explain exactly what happened. If there is gonna be a bag of sh*t to hold at some point, the White House does not want to get stuck with it.

Slow-Walking FOIA

State, ever the lap dog to the rich and famous, is ready to do its part in dragging its feet. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Riyadh Thursday that his department “will undertake this task as rapidly as possible in order to make sure that we are dealing with the sheer volume in a responsible way.” State spokeswoman Marie Harf warned that the review could “take some time to complete” while other officials indicated it could take months. And, surprise! State’s current review personnel are already overwhelmed with nearly 11,000 other pending requests, which for complex cases can take an average of more than 18 months to complete.

Maybe first-come, first-serve will get the Clinton emails reviewed at least in time for her second term.

Perhaps State will want to turn its attention to previous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. More than 75 separate requests for her emails were filed with the State Department between 2009 and 2013 by media organizations and other parties. Associated Press requests for Clinton emails and other documents have been delayed for more than a year — and in one case, four years — without any results. All “answered” FOIA requests were told that the State Department did not have any emails from Clinton to consider releasing, sort of true in that State had no Clinton emails on file; they were all held on her private server. The AP says it is considering legal action against the department to compel responses.

And that all leads deep into another can of worms. FOIA requests are strictly limited to U.S. government documents. You cannot FOIA Michelle Obama’s personal NetFlix viewing list. A very tricky legal question arises about whose emails those are on Clinton’s private mail server. Google and other tech companies have regularly won legal challenges to say that the Gmail you send actually belongs to Google, not you. It resides on their server, after all. Much of the NSA’s quasi-legal ability to gobble up your emails rests on the same premise, as they request “your” email not from you but your internet service provider. Requests for Clinton emails not turned over to State could be refused based on the fact that they are her private property.

The Trouble with Republicans

Meanwhile, Clinton’s troubles with the Republicans are just starting.

The Republican National Committee on Thursday asked the Inspector General of the State Department to investigate Clinton’s use of personal email to conduct government business. RNC Chief Counsel John Phillippe wrote in a letter that the investigation should focus on whether Clinton violated department policies or caused the department to violate the requirement to archive emails. Such inspections can take a long time, but in this case, those delays could easily help keep the email issue alive well into the 2016 campaign, and the Republicans know it. The Inspector General should also look into where State Department management and security were sleeping while all this email fun transpired. One can speculate that if a mid level employee proposed to do all his official work off a personal email server they would have had something to say about that.

The House committee investigating Benghazi also just got a new lease on life. The committee announced Wednesday it has issued a subpoena to Clinton for all of her communications relating to Libya, including emails from her personal server, texts, attachments and pictures. New emails mean new hearings, new questions for Clinton, new demands for in-person testimony and new accusations of information being withheld or scrubbed. This clearly will keep the red-meat-to-the-base Benghazi issue alive well into the 2016 campaign, even if nothing substantive emerges. And if it does…


Clinton, in her own sense of transparency, has issued only the Tweet (above) as her sole public response to all this. Her spokesperson disingenuously claimed Clinton had complied with both the letter and the spirit of the law, a tough one to swallow even for a group of supporters used to swallowing.

Clinton has announced in advance that she will take no questions at her next scheduled public appearance, somewhat ironically the March 23 ceremony celebrating the winner of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.

But here are a few very simple questions we’d like Clinton to answer:

– Why did you alone in the State Department not use official email and only use private email run off a private server?

– Why didn’t you turn over your full set of emails to State for review?

– Why did you wait until your private server was disclosed publicly to turn over even the subset of emails you did? Why didn’t you turn them over during your tenure as Secretary?

– As president of the United States, will you encourage or condone your Cabinet level officials employing personal email servers in lieu of U.S. government systems?

– Is the way you handled your email at State and now in the aftermath indicative of your approach to public service?

That’ll be a good start.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | 2 Comments

African Union blames US, UK, Norway for South Sudan civil war – leak

RT | March 6, 2015

By supporting South Sudan’s independence from Sudan, the US, UK and Norway have created conditions for the civil war, which broke out in the world’s youngest country in 2013, leaked documents from an inquiry by the African Union allege.

In 2005, the US, UK, Norway and the East African trading bloc, IGAD, pushed through a peace deal, which legitimized the South Sudanese rebels, and paved the way for the country’s independence in 2011.

According to a draft of the African Union inquiry obtained by Reuters, the actions of the Western powers helped establish “a politically unchallenged armed power in South Sudan” that acted with impunity and legitimized “rule of the gun.”

At least 10,000 people were killed and another 1.5 million have been displaced since July 2013 when the fighting between the forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, and the militants led by his sacked deputy Riek Machar began.

The findings of the inquiry were to be presented to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council in late January, but it was decided the document will be shelved.

According to a Reuters source, it was done due to concerns the publication may disrupt the talks on forming a transitional government in South Sudan, which are currently underway between Kiir and Machar.

The inquiry suggested that South Sudan’s president and his rival should “be barred from participation in the transitional executive,” and the oil producer should be effectively placed under African Union control for a period of five years.

The investigation, led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said that Kiir and Machar are responsible for the political crisis in December 2013 and “the organized massacres and the large-scale violence that followed.”

Officials from the US, UK and Norway said that they won’t comment on the document, which they haven’t seen.

“I think that the investigation that the African Union has started and the commission’s position, it needs to be made public,” Borge Brende, Norway’s Foreign Minister, told NRK broadcaster.

The call to make the inquiry public is supported by Washington, London and the UN Security Council.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments


By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | March 6, 2015

NEW YORK — The nation’s three privatized nuclear warhead laboratories are bloated, redundant, stand in the way of progress on real 21st century security issues, and should be shut down, a conference on peace and security here was told.

“These privatized labs have become a considerable racket” and this year will consume more than $4 billion for their nuclear weapons activities, said Greg Mello, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group (LASG), of Albuquerque, N.M., which tracks their activities.

The laboratories are the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Los Alamos, N.M., the Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque, NM, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, CA.

Civil society’s disarmament’s efforts since the demise of the Soviet Union “have all foundered in substantial part because they failed to realize the central importance of attenuating and then eliminating the political power of these laboratories,” Mello says.

The laboratories are pushing “an ambitious plan to replace all current warheads and (nuclear) bombs with redesigned models” that will actually make them more destructive, threatening further to destabilize our relationship with Russia, and with their new delivery systems will cost taxpayers over time more than an estimated one trillion dollars, Mello said.

In a talk Feb. 28th to the Helen Caldicott Foundation conference on “The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction” in the New York Academy of Medicine, Mello said the labs “are the primary institutions through which corporate prerogatives have replaced government decision-making in the nuclear weapons arena.”

“The labs were given sweeping new powers in 1996,” Mello recalled, and since 2006 all are fully privatized. “They now wield enormous policy power by a variety of means both crude and subtle, direct and indirect, and they do not hesitate to blackmail government whenever that power is threatened.”

Nuclear weapons should be banned, as dozens of countries are now considering, Mello said, “and the nuclear weapons laboratories should be closed entirely as part of such a ban.”

“After 25 years of close examination of the labs,” he continued, “we have finally concluded, and for the first time, that the labs have no unique role in disarmament, nonproliferation, verification, cleanup, intelligence, or in any other mission” that cannot be performed “more objectively, cheaper, and better” by other institutions. All government-led and civil society efforts at reform have failed.

Privatization deepened the conflict of interest at the labs, since now the three labs’ directors corporate officers have a legal responsibility to advise the Secretary of Energy and the President regarding the (nuclear) stockpile while also having a legal responsibility to bring in more business, Mello warned. “What’s more,” he pointed out, “The corporations are fully indemnified and protected from the consequences of their many failures, misuses of funds, violations of law, and accidents, and they have never paid a dime for any of these.”

“It is now critically important,” Mello concluded, “to dethrone the nuclear weapons laboratories now in public, in the executive branch, and in congressional eyes to prepare for disarmament – to expose the transgressive nature of nuclear weapons institutions right along with nuclear weapons themselves. If we don’t, we won’t be able to grapple with the real problems this country faces.”

In 2002, Prior to his current position, Mello was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton’s Program of Science and Global Security.

The conference at which Mello spoke comes at a time when tensions between Russia and the U.S. are escalating. “As the Cold War heats up again, the U.S. and Russia maintain over 1,000 weapons on hair-trigger alert to be launched with a press of a button,” says Dr. Caldicott, an Australian pediatrician who has become perhaps the most prominent opponent of nuclear war and nuclear power.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The Male Nuland And The US’ Central Asian Strategy

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | March 5, 2015

One of the most prominent Color Revolution experts in America’s coup d’état toolkit has been hurriedly recalled from retirement for immediate deployment to Kyrgyzstan. Richard Miles, the engineer of the first Color Revolution in Serbia and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, has been appointed as charge d’affaires in Kyrgyzstan until a new ambassador is confirmed by the Senate, because the former one, Pamela Spratlen, has been reassigned as the US Ambassador to Uzbekistan. While it is not known how long Miles will remain in Kyrgyzstan, which will be the Eurasian Union’s weakest economy when it joins in May of this year, ordinary citizens there already suspect that foul play is being planned against their country and have protested his arrival. Given that Miles’ track record of regime change makes him worthy of the ‘Male Nuland’ moniker, it’s appropriate to investigate what tricks the US may be up to in Central Asia, and how it may be trying to force the Ukrainian scenario onto Russia’s southern doorstep.

The Male Nuland

Richard Miles has kept a relatively low profile throughout the years and hasn’t garnered the notoriety that his ideological protégé Nuland has, but this doesn’t mean that he’s any less dangerous for the countries he visits. In fact, since he’s the individual who spearheaded the Color Revolution tactic in the first place, he can even be referred to as a ‘proto Nuland’, owing to his ‘successes’ in Serbia and Georgia that helped make EuroMaidan possible in the first place. While he was no longer the American Ambassador to Yugoslavia when the 2000 Bulldozer Revolution overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, he certainly paved the way for its implementation during his work over the three years prior, including overseeing the NATO War on Serbia. As regards Georgia, he served as US Ambassador from 2002-2005 and repeated the Belgrade template in Tbilisi.

Afterwards, he became the Executive Director for the Open World Leadership Center for most of 2006, during which he fostered the creation of thousands of pro-American ‘leaders’ in the former Soviet Union. To Center’s own mission statement concisely describes the type of work that it does:

“Begun as a pilot program in 1999 and established as a permanent agency in late 2000, the Center conducts the first and only international exchange agency in the U.S. Legislative Branch and, as such, has enabled more than 17,000 current and future leaders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan to meaningfully engage and interact with Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and thousands of other Americans, many of whom are the delegates’ direct professional counterparts.”

The above statement can be read as an admission that the Center’s purpose is to create pro-American proxies that can seamlessly interact with and do the bidding of their Washington patrons, thereby essentially making it an NGO front for the US intelligence community’s cultivation of Color Revolution assets. The organization doesn’t hide the fact that its purpose is to promote American interests and profit, brazenly bragging that:

“Open World offers an extraordinary “bang for the buck” in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and value. The Center boasts an overhead rate of about 7 percent, every grant contains cost-shared elements, and more than 75 percent of our appropriation is plowed back into the American economy every year. The Center might best be described as both a mini-stimulus plan as well as a true international exchange program.”

Bearing in mind Miles’ experience in running this Color Revolution recruitment front, as well as his contribution to managing two ‘successful’ regime change operations in Serbia and Georgia, he can easily be identified as one of the most dangerous people in the US deep state establishment, and the fact that he was recalled from retirement to urgently take the ‘temporary’ post in Kyrgyzstan during these tense geopolitical times must absolutely be seen as a warning about Washington’s nefarious intentions.

Uzbekistan’s Role In The US’ Central Asian Strategy

While Washington is poised to destabilize Kyrgyzstan, it’s showing strong signals that it’s ready to do the opposite in neighboring Uzbekistan, and has been reingratiating itself with Tashkent over the past couple of years in a bid to shore up what it intends to become its Lead From Behind proxy in the region.

Safeguarding The Strategist:

Before going into the specifics and forecast for this strategic partnership, it’s necessary to look at how the US’ latest ambassadorial arrangement is meant to facilitate all of this. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen’s reassignment from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan must be seen as something other than a simple diplomatic shuffle. Spratlen’s biography shows that she’s one of the US’ premier strategists for Central Asia, having previously held the posts of Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Astana, Director of Central Asian Affairs, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia, et al. Thus, given her importance in crafting the US’ regional strategy for Central Asia, it’s not likely that her handlers would allow such a valuable asset to sit smack dab in the middle of their next targeted state, considering that their hefty investment in her may go to waste if she’s killed or kidnapped in the proceeding violence that’s being planned. Such a mistake was made with Ambassador Christopher Stevens, one of the architects of the US-supported Libya-Syria terrorist nexus, and the US is keen to avoid having Spratlen meet an untimely end in such a shameful and embarrassing manner. Rather, seeing as how she’s a strategic specialist and not a tactical one like Miles, it’s more useful to place her in a safe location where she can supervise, assess, and direct events as they develop, hence why she’s been ordered to Tashkent.

The Lead From Behind Blueprint:

Spratlen’s diplomatic experience in handling Central Asian affairs makes her possibly the best candidate that the US can send to Uzbekistan to seal the deal on a strategic partnership. First things first, it’s worth noting that relations between Washington and Tashkent have been on the mend since the 2005 Andijan Incident led to the practical destruction of bilateral ties. In the years since, the US lifted its military embargo on the country and even bequeathed it with 308 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and 20 additional support vehicles from Afghanistan earlier this year, with Uzbekistan only paying the cost of transporting them. On the surface this may only seem to be a symbolic gift of friendship, but in reality, there’s a lot more to it. For instance, Uzbekistan will now be dependent on US-supplied parts and expertise for upkeep, thereby implicitly deepening the military-technical cooperation between the two countries. On top of that, it’s been noted that the MRAPs are largely ineffective in combating drug smuggling and terrorism, but acquire their real importance in crowd control. This factor becomes exceptionally important when one recognizes how close the country stands to the precipice of chaos, but for the time being, it doesn’t look like the US has the intention of stirring the bubbling pot of destabilization (which could still overflow regardless of American meddling), and instead is opting to reinforce the state for its own gain.

The US vision for Central Asia thus deserves further examination in order to figure out its true nature then, since it’s known that the US could easily instigate the creation of a Black Hole of Chaos in Uzbekistan by manipulating the many levers of destabilization there at any time that it sees fit. This would certainly carry with it immense strategic value for the US in its quest to cripple Russia, but it also has one major vulnerability, and it’s that Uzbekistan could receive Russian and Chinese assistance in combating the US-directed chaos and emerge from the crisis as a stronger and more closely integrated member of Eurasian integrational structures, beginning with the SCO and possibly even ending with integration into the Eurasian Union and reintegration into the CSTO. If Russia and China are successful in assisting Uzbekistan (and they’ve been already been expecting some vague form of regional destabilization after the 2014 NATO drawdown), then the end result would be the near-complete removal of American influence in Central Asia after the carnage has ended, meaning that non-West would be secured (despite at what may be devastating costs) in the face of the Reverse Brzezinski’s ultimate failure.

Overcoming The Competition With Russia:

Understanding that such a black hole gambit can be deployed at any time, the US seems to instead have chosen to fortify Uzbekistan as their Lead From Behind partner in the interim, with the hopes that the region’s largest military and population could project increased anti-Russian influence on all four of the other former Soviet republics that it abuts. As it stands, Uzbekistan is still formally opposed to any form of Russian-led integration, as President Islam Karimov said in January that his country will never join any “alliance similar to the U.S.S.R.”, and it even withdrew from the CSTO in 2012. Be that as it may,

Russia has been making strong strides in renewing its formerly close relations with the country. Putin visited Karimov in December and spoke about the mutual benefits of Eurasian integration, and announced that both sides had begun consultations on a possible deal between Uzbekistan and the Eurasian Union. To top it off, the Russian President even declared that Moscow would write off $890 million of Uzbekistan’s Soviet-era debt (with only $25 million of it still having to be paid), in what The Diplomat analyzed as demonstrating Russia’s commitment to strengthening ties with Tashkent.

In such a situation, it’s doubtful that Uzbekistan would turn against Russia on its own prerogative and agitate against Moscow’s interests in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. But still, Uzbekistan knows that it’s a battlefield in the ‘New Cold War’, and that it can play this role to its advantage to enact even greater concessions from both Washington and Moscow. One needs to keep in mind that the US wants to transform Uzbekistan into its Lead From Behind proxy for Central Asia (seeing as how it has the potential to become the regional powerhouse and counteract Russia’s Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Tajik partners), but it can’t do this if Uzbekistan retains positive relations with Russia. Thus, it needs to make sure that Uzbekistan does not have a rapprochement with Russia that would endanger American interests (be it naturally occurring or as the result of Russian assistance in defending against an American-inspired chaotic subversion), hence why it aims to drive a militant wedge between Tashkent and Moscow in the same way as it has done between the latter and Kiev. This is precisely the reason why it wants to create a Black Hole of Chaos in Kyrgyzstan via yet another Color Revolution there, since the expected aftershocks (to be described in the follow-up article) run the high chance of being manipulated to the point where they can turn Uzbekistan and Russia into enemies, which would ‘naturally’ make Tashkent the US’ Lead From Behind proxy. Should this plan fail, then the US can always follow up with ‘Plan B’ and unleash uncontrollable chaos inside the country (as was described earlier).

The Central Asian Front

Strategic Theory:

The US’ primary goal in creating chaos in Central Asia is to split Russia’s focus in dealing with the Ukrainian Crisis and create a situation where its decision makers are unable to adequately protect the country’s entire periphery. This is envisioned as leading to the penetration of chaotic dynamics directly into the Russian Federation itself (be it from the west or the south), which could contribute to the realization of the ‘Eurasian Balkans’ end game of dividing the country into ethnic and regional fiefdoms and indefinitely prolonging the US’ unipolar moment. In order to get to such a grand finale, a series of steps must be taken in the countries around Russia to provoke such a scenario.

The unravelling of the Ukrainian state represents the theory’s application in Eastern Europe, the threat of a continuation war in Nagorno-Karabakh fulfills the Caucasus component of this idea, and the looming Kyrgyz catastrophe wraps up the Central Asian front for the US’ pan-Eurasian campaign against 2-10-map492Russia. Each of these simmering conflicts has the potential to (re)explode at any time, and if they occur in near-simultaneity, then Russia will be hard-pressed to deal with them all, and may predictably fumble in its approach and create even larger openings for more chaos to rip through its borders.

Even if these aforementioned conflicts don’t break out concurrently, the fact that three massive vacuums of destabilization are sitting on the Russia’s doorsteps means that the threat always remains that one, two, or all of them can heat up sometime in the future. This accordingly leaves Russian decision makers continually on edge and siphons off strategic resources into crafting contingency measures against these probable scenarios that could be of more productive use elsewhere, such as in preparing foreign policy initiatives that could for once place the West on the strategic defensive (for example, protecting Macedonia and promoting the ‘New South Stream’).

The 21st-Century Reagan Doctrine:

All of the abovementioned strategic imperatives aren’t the realm of speculation, however, since then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton firmly declared in December 2012 that it will do whatever it can to sabotage Russian-led integration processes in the former Soviet sphere. Referring to the Eurasian Union, she said:

“There is a move to re-Sovietise the region, It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that, but let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”

This is none other than a 21st-century application of the Reagan Doctrine, whereby the US will now seek to aggressively roll back Russian influence in the Near Abroad instead of Soviet influence across the world. Seen through this context, the US’ integrated strategy in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia makes more sense. Ukraine would have been the second-largest economy in the Eurasian Union and could have provided a valuable contribution to its overall strength, should the EuroMaidan Color Revolution not have derailed any realistic hopes for it joining in the near future. In the Caucasus, Eurasian Union-member Armenia is geographically cut off from the rest of its partners, being separated by EU-aspiring Georgia and hostile Azerbaijan. This lays the pretext for a coming EU-Eurasian Union crisis in the Caucasus, which could massively destabilize Russia regardless if a continuation war occurs in Nagorno-Karabakh or not.

Completing the encirclement, an outbreak of violence in Kyrgyzstan as a result of yet another Color Revolution there could lead to the formation of a terrorist hotspot inside the Eurasian Union’s newest member, as well as creating an almost irresistible temptation for Russia and the CSTO to fall for a disastrous Reverse Brzezinski intervention. In all three theaters, American foreign policy and regional meddling are the engines for destabilization, while Russia and the Eurasian Union are the ultimate targets, just as Hillary threatened they would be nearly three years ago. In the time since, Ukraine has fallen to Western domination and is rapidly being integrated into Shadow NATO, Nuland is conspiring to reignite the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and now the ‘Male Nuland’ is ready to wreak havoc in Kyrgyzstan, showing that the 21st-century Reagan Doctrine is in full swing.

To be continued…

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu’s Congressional Pep Rally

By Ben Norton | CounterPunch | March 6, 2015

US congresspeople got quite the workout on the morning of 3 March 2015. ‘Twas on this fateful day that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, addressed US Congress, in what one might refer to as an historic occasion—the lector himself saw no problem in proclaiming it to be.

Such an occasion did not occur without much hullaballoo in the US press, primarily because the foreign head of state was invited directly by Capitol Hill. The White House was not consulted.

If there is one word to describe Congress’ response to the affair, it would be “ecstatic.” In the drug-addled sense. A bit too ecstatic—verging on the delirious. Maniacal, almost.

To say it was just well received would be to commit the callous crime of understatement. In Netanyahu’s pep rally, rather speech before the US legislative branch, Congress interrupted to applaud 39 times. 23 of these were standing ovations. 10:55 of the 40:30 of Netanyahu’s exhortation consisted of applause. In other words, 27% was Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.

I repeat: Over one-fourth of Netanyahu’s speech consisted of Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.

Our representatives doubtless did not have to worry about going to the gym this lazy Monday morning; they worked up enough of a sweat standing up and sitting back down every minute or so in the legislative equivalent of calisthenics.

Through three painful hours of careful counting, I compiled statistics on the incidence of applause. These figures use time frames from the 40:30 New York Times video of the disquisition.

Applause Statistics for Netanyahu’s Pep Rally Speech before Congress


  • Congress interrupted to applaud 39 times. 23 of these were standing ovations.
  • 10:55 of the 40:30 of Netanyahu’s speech consisted of applause. In other words, 27% was Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.

0:16-0:22 applause
0:50-1:10 applause, standing ovation
1:17-1:40 applause, standing ovation
1:48-1:54 applause
2:15-2:22 applause
2:27-2:42 applause, standing ovation
3:24-3:33 applause
3:58-4:16 applause, standing ovation
4:31-4:38 applause
4:48-5:04 applause, standing ovation
6:19-6:26 applause

  • In the first 6:26 of the Netanyahu speech, Congress interrupted to applaud 11 times. 5 of these were standing ovations.
  • 2:14 of the first 6:26 of Netanyahu’s speech consisted of applause. In other words, 35% was Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.

11:26-11:33 applause
11:39-12:00 applause, standing ovation
14:14-14:32 applause, standing ovation
15:05-15:25 applause, standing ovation

25:37-25:56 applause, standing ovation
26:07-26:25 applause, standing ovation
26:28-26:42 applause, standing ovation
26:47-27:13 applause, standing ovation
27:27-27:33 applause
27:43-27:49 applause
27:54-28:12 applause, standing ovation
28:52-28:59 applause
29:13-29:19 applause
29:34-29:41 applause
30:11-30:31 applause, standing ovation
30:44-31:03 applause, standing ovation
31:16-31:22 applause
31:33-31:38 applause
32:54-33:13 applause, standing ovation
33:33-34:19 applause, standing ovation
34:26-34:46 applause, standing ovation
35:00-35:06 applause
35:27-35:54 applause, standing ovation
36:14-36:32 applause, standing ovation
36:44-36:59 applause, standing ovation
37:03-37:28 applause, standing ovation
37:46-37:51 applause
38:53-40:30 applause, standing ovation

* In the last 14:53 of the Netanyahu speech, Congress interrupted to applaud 24 times. 15 of these were standing ovations.

* 7:35 of the last 14:53 of Netanyahu’s speech consisted of applause. In other words, 51% was Congress applauding and doing standing ovations.

A Saccharine Sermon for Sycophants

Netanyahu broke with many a shibboleth in his screed—primarily that which dictates that one provide extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims—instead preferring to rail against the “death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad” of the “dark and brutal” Iranian regime and rehash wholly unsubstantiated myths about the supposed impending second Shoah. (The fact that a slow-moving holocaust of Palestinians—what Israeli historian Ilan Pappé calls an “incremental genocide“—continues under his very watch eludes this jingoist harbinger of hate.)

The self-appointed “representative of the entire Jewish people” reached back 2.5 millennia, to the Persian viceroy Haman the Agagite, likening him to the contemporary Iranian regime.

Apparently Netanyahu is not familiar with the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Netanyahu may no longer be a boy—he has long renounced his youth for a life as a hardened war criminal—but he certainly has no problem fabricating exaggerated lupine threats, whether they be Iraq yesterday or Iran, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The inane US political system, nonetheless, simply blindfolds itself—much like Lady Liberty, yet for antithetical reasons—plugs its ears, and lets Bibi cry wolf until the cows come home.

While engaging in every cliché imaginable, he managed to invent a few of his own, coining some admittedly creative phrases such as

* “three tentacles of terror,”

* “you can Google it,”

* “deadly game of thrones,”

* “nuclear tinderbox,”

* “Persian bazaar,”

* “gobbling up,”

* “He tweets!,” and

* “hide and cheat”

among others. Such lexical ingenuity inspired some to speak of the new Netanyahu in Congress Drinking Game (trademark pending).

The Israeli commander-in-chief even went so far in the hallowed quest of prosaisms as to quote Robert Frost’s 1916 opus “The Road Not Taken” (apparently the only poem the literary legend every penned, considering the frequency with which it is cited). And there was clearly no dearth of alliteration in the three-quarter-hour invective; it is as if he and his speechwriters purchased a Speechwriting 101 manual and employed every worn-out tool in the cheap toolbox they could find.

In the ultimate bromide, Bibi concluded his philippic by drawing upon the memory on Moses, to stir the hearts of the 92% Christian Congress before him. “May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America,” rang the dénouement of his odious ode.

Were someone to have asked me what I was up to on my Monday night, I would have had no choice but to have answered, “Oh, nothing much, you know, just counting the number of times our obsequious Congress applauded during Netanyahu’s speech.”

For the entire duration of the political pep rally, I was frankly expecting a sports team to be mere seconds from spiritedly bursting through the august doors, accompanied by cheerleaders somersaulting, fanfare blasting, and torrents of confetti dropping from the ceiling.

Were I not a stodgy teetotaler, I would have considered a potable palliative to facilitate the enumerative and observational process. Alas, pain adds character, and sometimes sobriety is the best—if not the only—way to appreciate the violent inebriation in which the contemporary political order ingratiates itself.

Besides, no amount of libational sedative could have shielded mine own eyes from the burning effulgence, nor saved me from drowning in the sea, of pasty bourgeois WASPs. This is what an 80% white male Congress, with a 94% white Senate, looks like. (I searched quite laboriously and could not find a single person of color in the lengthy video).

If one were forced to classify the event, one would be compelled to call it—one avoids the phrase in professional settings, yet one must choose it out of linguistic necessity and articulative accuracy—a giant circle jerk.

In the epitome of this exercise in gratuitous self-pleasure, the legislature broke out in sizzling, hand-clapping approbation in response to the very first line of the opprobrious homily, in which Netanyahu declared he was “humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the US Congress.”

One cannot help but wonder why our congresspeople even bothered sitting down—or, better yet, why they even bothered letting Netanyahu say anything at all. They might as well have just applauded for 11 minutes and left. Such a decision would have garnered the same effect as this public relations stunt, and would have proved to be just as substantive (that is to say, completely vacuous) of a message.

Even the most assiduous of bootlickers have the decency to give those whom they admire a chance to speak. Yet Congress “gobbled up,” to use the prime minister’s words, a quarter of Bibi’s time, taking every opportunity and then some to not just scratch his back, but to lewdly pat its own.

Progressive political comedian John Stewart stood in accord. Republicans gave Netanyahu “the longest blowjob” a politician ever received in Congress, he quipped. Such a characterization may lack in poetry, but it is not hyperbolic.

Netanyahu’s congressional pep rally eroticized the morbid, turning war into peace and delusion into prospective policy.

Ben Norton is a freelance writer and journalist. His website can be found at

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran repeats offer to IAEA to inspect Marivan site

Press TV – March 6, 2015

Iran has once again announced its readiness to allow the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) to visit a site in the country’s western region of Marivan.

Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said in a Thursday statement that Tehran has already asked the agency to visit the site to clear allegations of large-scale experiments on explosives.

According to the statement, the international body rejected the offer.

Najafi said the agency cannot cover up its mistake regarding false accusations against Iran by simply rejecting the Islamic Republic’s offer.

He said Iran has repeatedly dismissed the accusations as baseless and fabricated.

A 2011 IAEA report claimed that it had information indicating large-scale high-explosive experiments at the site, which is located more than 700 kilometers west of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

On November 20, 2014, Najafi said Iran will, on a “voluntarily basis,” give the Vienna-based IAEA access to the Marivan site.

Iran-IAEA cooperation

Iran has been cooperating with the IAEA as part of efforts to provide more transparency on the country’s peaceful nuclear program on a voluntary basis.

A team from the United Nations nuclear watchdog, headed by Tero Varjoranta, IAEA’s deputy director general and head of the Department of Safeguards, is due in Tehran later in the month for technical talks.

The last technical meeting between the two sides was held in November.

Iran says it has granted the IAEA access to the sites that the agency claims need to be investigated in order to clarify outstanding issues.

The Islamic Republic has time and again emphasized its readiness for full cooperation with the IAEA.

Separately, Iran and the P5+1 group – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany – are negotiating to narrow their differences over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program ahead of a July 1 deadline for a comprehensive agreement.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Report: Israel, Egypt security cooperation multiplied under Sisi

MEMO | March 6, 2015

Security cooperation between Israel and the Egyptian regime has intensified under the rule of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi compared to the time when former President Hosni Mubarak was in power, an Israeli security official said.

The official noted that the Egyptian army’s growing strength does not concern Israel.

A security report said that although Al-Sisi ordered the transfer of army troops to the Libyan border, cooperation between Israel and the Egyptian regime in the “fight against terrorism” is very effective and useful and has strengthened in the past year.

“You could even say that it doubled dozens of times compared to the time when President Hosni Mubarak was in power. During Mubarak’s time, the regime officials lied to their Israeli counterparts promising to destroy Hamas tunnels and did nothing; but today, Egypt is determined to eliminate terrorism,” the report said.

“The Egyptian army’s only point of weakness is that it does not possess advanced technology such as those held by Israel and the United States, and this is a problem that needs time to be solved.”

The report noted that despite the fruitful cooperation with Egypt, Israel has reason to be wary of Egypt’s military growth. “Despite the feeling in Israel that it can rely on the ruling regime, there is lack of clarity about the army’s future policies in the light of the growing tension between Cairo and Washington and rapprochement with Russia, which could harm Israel,” it said.

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment