Aletho News


Why Didn’t my Doctor Tell Me Chemo Kills?

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 03.06.2015

In my daily research I came across a report so alarming I put aside planned writing in order to bring this to the attention of those who care about life. It has to do with one of the main treatments for cancer used in modern medicine—chemotherapy. New research has documented that chemotherapy, far from ridding anyone of cancer actually feeds the growth and spread of cancer.

Sometimes it almost seems like the drugs industry works overtime to find new ways to hurt, cripple or even kill us. Scientist Peter Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle in a write-up of a study of why cancer cells were so easy to kill in the lab but not inside our bodies, found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival. “The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected,” Nelson told AFP.

He added that,“WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy.” That would explain why in cancer treatment, tumors often respond well initially, followed by rapid regrowth and then resistance to further chemotherapy.

The study was conducted by a team of scientists from different cancer research centers, universities as well as from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. It was published online in August 2012 in the journal Nature Medicine. Among their alarming conclusions was that, “The expression of WNT16B in the prostate tumor micro-environment attenuated the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy in vivo, promoting tumor cell survival and disease progression.”

Mustard Gas Toxin

While their study results were alarming enough, more alarming is the complete absence of aggressive action to reexamine the entire field of cancer treatment. Chemo’s origins go back to World War I research into the human effects of exposure to mustard gas. Scientists discovered that the gas was a potent suppressor of blood cell production. During World War II researchers at Yale University School of Medicine in further study of nitrogen mustards, reasoned that an agent that damaged the rapidly growing white blood cells might have a similar effect on cancer. Left out was how to target only cancer cells and not healthy cells. In December 1942, the scientists gave several patients with advanced lymphomas (cancers of the lymphatic system and lymph nodes), a chemotherapeutic drug intravenously. Their improvement was called remarkable. The media concentrated on the remarkable improvement and did not bother to note that soon after treatment all were dead.

The chemotherapy revolution in cancer treatment was off and running. In the 1950’s the first chemo drug used commercially was mustine or Chlormethine. Mustine under the code-name HN2 is a chemical warfare agent. Adverse effect include: “Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis… Nausea, vomiting and depression of formed elements in the circulating blood… Jaundice, alopecia, vertigo, tinnitus and diminished hearing.”

The research and development of mustine as a possible anti-cancer chemotherapy was led by Cornelius P. Rhoads, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in wartime secrecy and published in 1946 after the war. Rhoads came to Memorial Sloan-Kettering from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

There during the 1930’s as part of the Rockefeller family’s obsession with eugenics, Rhoads spent six months in Puerto Rico, a stateless island often used covertly for human experimentation with new drugs.

In Puerto Rico in 1931 Rhoads wrote a letter to a friend in Boston where he stated, “Porto (sic) Ricans are beyond doubt the dirtiest, laziest, most degenerate and thievish race of men ever inhabiting this sphere. What the island needs is not public health work but a tidal wave or something to totally exterminate the population. I have done my best to further the process of extermination by killing off eight and transplanting cancer into several more.”

Rockefeller family spin doctor, Ivy Lee, launched a major damage control campaign over the scandal and managed to get Rhoads on the cover of Time as a “life-saving” hero.

Deadly consequences

The subsequent use of toxic chemotherapies on perhaps millions of cancer patients since then have hardly been encouraging. Published side effects of today’s chemo drugs, the largest share of which are made by Roche, are horrendous. They include “depression of the immune system, often by paralysing the bone marrow and leading to a decrease of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Anemia and thrombocytopenia… sepsis, or as localized outbreaks, such as Herpes simplex, shingles, or other members of the Herpesviridea.”

It gets worse. Because of the chemo resulting in immune system suppression, patients often get typhlitis, a life-threatening gastrointestinal complication of chemotherapy. Typhlitis is an intestinal infection which may manifest itself through symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a distended abdomen, fever, chills, or abdominal pain and tenderness. Typhlitis is a medical emergency. It has a very poor prognosis and is often fatal.  It can cause infertility failure in men and ovarian failure in women. All that in addition to the well-known hair-loss, dry skin, damaged fingernails, a dry mouth (xerostomia), water retention, and sexual impotence.

In 2004 the Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Australia, conducted a long-term investigation into the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in 22 major adult malignancies. The results were shocking: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA. The study came to the following conclusion: “ is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”

Chemo is massively toxic and kill any rapidly dividing cell, tumor or normal. The three best-selling cancer drugs worldwide in 2013 were all made by Roche—Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin. For all three top chemo drugs sales totaled more than $21 billion.

And the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center now documents how chemotherapy drugs act as carcinogens—they cause cancer which is why, depending on the patient’s immune strength and dosage, within five years a staggering number die after the chemo that was to have saved them.

I was in Beijing several years ago on a speaking tour and had severe back pain after the long flight. My Chinese publisher organized a treatment from a doctor trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She was also the grand-daughter of the chief TCM doctor of the Last Emperor who she said was still alive and chipper at 93 and passing his wisdom on to her and her brother. She told me at the Beijing medical university where she studied, the students were told, “One third of patients die of the psychological shock of being told by a doctor that they have cancer. Another third die from the negative effects of chemotherapy and radiation. The last third simply die.”

It would be useful for all doctors in active practice perhaps to rethink the principal ethical mandate of all physicians since the time of Hippocrates– “nil nocere” – do no harm. The evidence is overwhelming now that chemotherapy only does harm. Would the oncologists promoting chemo to their patients ever take the same were the roles reversed?

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Israel, Saudi Arabia hold secret meetings on Iran: Report

Anwar Majed Eshki, a former top adviser to the Saudi government (R), and Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shook hands during the Jun 4, 2015 meeting in Washington.

Anwar Majed Eshki, a former top adviser to the Saudi government (R), and Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shook hands during the Jun 4, 2015 meeting in Washington.

Press TV – June 5, 2015

A report has revealed that representatives from Israel and Saudi Arabia have secretly met five times since the beginning of last year to discuss their positions against Iran.

The five bilateral meetings were held over the last 17 months in India, Italy, and the Czech Republic, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The outlet cited one participant, Shimon Shapira, a retired Israeli general, as saying, “We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers.”

Also on Thursday, well-known former Saudi and Israeli officials attended a rare meeting of the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

The event saw Anwar Majed Eshki, a former top adviser to the Saudi government, and Dore Gold joining former Israeli ambassador close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Riyadh and Tel Aviv both oppose, what they call, the expansion of Iran’s regional influence and have not refused in the past to show fierce opposition to the potential of a final agreement between world powers and Tehran on the Islamic Republic‘s peaceful nuclear energy program.

The two sides also share alliance with the United States and opposition – emerging in the form of an overt bloody aggression on the part of Riyadh – to the Houthi Ansarullah movement of Yemen.

On May 23, a London-based paper reported that Israel had offered to provide the technology used in its Iron Dome missile system against rockets from Yemen, with the proposal being sent via American diplomats during a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Oversold ‘USA Freedom Act’

By Norman Solomon | Consortium News | June 5, 2015

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.

Drake understands how the NSA operates from the highest strategic levels. He notes a telling fact that has gone virtually unacknowledged by anti-surveillance boosters of the USA Freedom Act: “NSA approved.” So, of course, did the top purveyor of mendacious claims about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs — President Barack Obama — who eagerly signed the “USA Freedom” bill into law just hours after the Senate passed it.

A comparable guardian of our rights, House Speaker John Boehner, crowed: “This legislation is critical to keeping Americans safe from terrorism and protecting their civil liberties.”

While some organizations with civil-liberties credentials have responded to the USA Freedom Act by popping open champagne bottles at various decibels, more sober assessments have also been heard. Just after senators approved the bill and sent it to the president, Demand Progress issued a statement pointing out: “The Senate just voted to reinstitute certain lapsed surveillance authorities — and that means that USA Freedom actually made Americans less free.”

Another astute assessment came from CREDO, saying that Congress had just created “sweeping new authorities for the government to conduct unconstitutional mass surveillance of Americans.”

As it happened, the President signed the USA Freedom Act into law while four U.S. “national security” whistleblowers — Drake as well as Coleen Rowley (FBI), Jesselyn Radack (Justice Department) and Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) — were partway through a “Stand Up For Truth” speaking tour from London to Oslo toStockholm to Berlin. Traveling as part of the tour, I’ve been struck by the intensity of interest from audiences in the countries we’ve already visited — Great Britain and Norway — where governments have moved to worsen repressive policies for mass surveillance.

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Right now, many people in Europe and elsewhere who care about civil liberties and want true press freedom are looking at the United States: to understand what an aroused citizenry might be able to accomplish, seeking to roll back a dangerous accumulation of power by an ostensibly democratic government. Let’s not unwittingly deceive them — or ourselves — about how much ground the U.S. surveillance state has lost so far.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel a criminal offender at large, UN listing or not

RT | June 5, 2015

Reports have come out that the UN was considering adding Israel to the list of “grave violations against children in armed conflict.” As detailed below, Israeli army and Israel’s state policies are systematically violent against Palestinian children.

A recent Independent article noted that [Special Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict Leila] “Zerrougui’s draft report cited IDF attacks on schools and hospitals during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip…”

Even though the UN has historically not taken strong action against any of Israel’s war crimes over the decades, let alone those specifically against Palestinian children, Israel has reportedly exerted pressure to be de-listed from the draft list, with seeming success.

The Independent wrote, “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, is said to be leaning towards not including Israel in the list, amid what several diplomatic sources anonymously said was intense lobbying from Israel.”

Apparently, Israel thinks such call for its joining the list is “a heinous and hypocritical attempt to besmirch the image of Israel and it is doomed to fail,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon reportedly said.

In fact, the UN should have listed Israel from at least 2009 when, as the UN website notes, “the Security Council decided to also list armed forces and groups who kill and maim children, commit sexual violence against children, and attack schools and hospitals.”

Does Israel violate the six areas detailed? Five out of six, most definitely:

– Killing or maiming of children; [See below]

– Sexual violence against children; [The Israeli army routinely threatens and enacts sexual abuse of Palestinian children]

– Attacks against schools or hospitals; [The Israeli army routinely fires ammunition and tear gas at Palestinian schools; it has repeatedly bombed schools and hospitals in Gaza]

– Abduction of children; [See below]

– Denial of humanitarian access for children. [Israel’s blockade on Gaza strangles the medical sector; Israel routinely denies exit to Palestinians ( including children) for medical care outside of Gaza; the illegal wall Israel has constructed throughout much of the West Bank prevents Palestinians (including children) from accessing medical care.] [see also: Al Mezan Releases Factsheet on Gazan Children’s Access to Medical Care]

– Recruitment or use of children by armed forces and groups; [This is the one point which strictly speaking doesn’t apply. However, the Israeli army has used Palestinian children as human shields]

Members of the Israeli army themselves have admitted various crimes. A Breaking the Silence report “Children and Youth – Soldiers’ Testimonies 2005-2011” noted:

“This booklet reveals how physical violence is often exerted against children, whether in response to accusations of stone-throwing or, more often, arbitrarily.”

Further testimonies following the the July/August 2014 war on Gaza highlight the brutality meted out on Palestinians (including children).

Killing or maiming of children

Having between November 2008 and March 2013 lived a cumulative three years in the Gaza Strip, including during two Israeli waged massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, I present three (of too many) cases of Israel targeting children, of which I have personal knowledge.

On January 4, 2009, Shahed Abu Halima lay cradled in her mother’s arms, the family terrorized like Palestinians all over Gaza by incessant Israeli bombing. Their area, al-Atatra, west of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, was particularly hard-hit, and had been invaded by Israeli tanks. Of the two shells that hit baby Shahed’s home, at least one was white phosphorous, raining clumps of the chemical weapon down on the family. The flames which enveloped Shahed’s body were not extinguishable, nor could her mother Sabah see through the smoke and flames to reach the infant. Shahed’s dog-eaten, charred corpse was only found days later when Palestinian medics were finally allowed to enter the area. [see: Next Time It Will Hurt More]

Farah Abu Halima, 3, severely burned by Israeli-fired White Phosphorus, January 4, 2009 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Farah Abu Halima, 3, severely burned by Israeli-fired White Phosphorus, January 4, 2009 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Also on January 4, 2009, Shireen Abu Helou continued nursing her dying baby, Farah (“joy” in Arabic), in a futile effort to bring the infant comfort while her family took cover from Israeli fire behind a bulldozed dirt mound in the Zeitoun district just south of Gaza City (infamous for the herding of entire families from the Samouni clan into one building and repeatedly bombing it; infamous for the point blank shootings of individuals, including 4-year-old Ahmed shot dead after crying about his father’s execution). One-year-old Farah did not survive the Israeli sniper’s bullet to her abdomen, her intestines falling out as she bled to death over the course of a few hours. [see: They Killed Me Three Times]

On November 21, 2012, a 14-year-old boy asked his father for 10 shekels, to go to the small store up the road to buy food for his siblings who hadn’t eaten anything but bread for the past five days of Israeli bombing. The bombing had not quite stopped, but Nader Abu Mghaseeb believed he was safe, a ceasefire due to be enforced in just under two hours. He was incorrect. Minutes after the precision drone strike hit Nader, his father rushed out to find the dying, tangled mass of flesh that had been his son.

In Deir al-Balah’s al-Aqsa hospital, I saw the teen’s mangled corpse brought in. His stunned father stood outside trying to comprehend that Israeli-fired, precision drone technology had obliterated his clearly unarmed 14-year-old son. [see: Killing before the Calm: “Israeli” Attacks on Palestinian Civilians Escalated before Cease-fire]

Two years and many Palestinian child martyrs and maimings later, during the July/August 2014 Israeli massacre of Gaza, four small boys ran for their lives across an empty Gaza beach as the Israeli navy chased them with shelling, eventually hitting their prey. The shelling of the Bakr boys, aged nine to 11, was recorded by a number of Palestinian and foreign journalists camped out at the nearby Deira hotel, many of whom broke down at witnessing this savagery.

Of the July/August Israeli massacre of Gaza, Defense for Children International-Palestine’s (DCI-Palestine) April 16, 2015 report noted:

“DCIP independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger. Those who survived these attacks will continue to pay the price for many years. More than 1,000 children suffered injuries that rendered them permanently disabled, according to OCHA.”

The assault on Palestinian children is, of course, not merely limited to its times of bombing Gaza. Almost daily in Gaza’s border regions and on the sea, children are machine-gunned and shelled by the genocidal bully of the region, under the pretext of “security.” Having witnessed this on countless occasions, myself under fire with the brave farmers, I can say one hundred percent affirmatively that they posed no security threat to the well-armed Israeli army (nor navy).

In the rest of occupied Palestine, whether during the criminal routine Israeli army invasions and lock-downs of West Bank and Jerusalem areas, or during demonstrations against the illegal Wall stealing yet more Palestinian land, or merely randomly, Palestinian children are targeted by Israeli live ammunition, tear gas canisters, and hands-on brutality, not only by the so-called “most morale army” but also the unspoken of proxy soldiers: those vile, racist, illegal Jewish colonists who (claiming God’s approval) abuse Palestinians of all ages, without consequences.

Early in the morning of July 2, 2014, Mohammed Abu Khdeir went missing while going to mosque for morning prayers in occupied Jerusalem. His slight body was found a few hours later charred and beaten. Before his Jewish colonist tormentors poured gas down his throat and lit him alive, they beat he the 16 year old with a blunt object to his head. The autopsy report “showed soot in the victim’s lungs and respiratory tract, indicating he was alive and breathing while he was being burnt.”

Reham Nabaheen, 4, killed by Israeli shrapnel to her head, November 21, 2012 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Reham Nabaheen, 4, killed by Israeli shrapnel to her head, November 21, 2012 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

The systematic brutality of Israel’s colonists and Israeli soldiers against Palestinians is met with virtually no reprimand by Israel. On their “Settler violence: Lack of accountability,” rights group B’Tselem noted in 2011 (updated January 2013):

“When Israelis harm Palestinians, the authorities implement an undeclared policy of forgiveness, compromise, and leniency in punishment. Israeli security forces have done little to prevent settler violence or to arrest offenders. Many acts of violence have never been investigated; in other cases, investigations have been drawn out and resulted in no action being taken against anyone.”

In November 2013, Palestinian rights group Al Haq issued a new report (“Institutionalised Impunity: Israel’s Failure to Combat Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”) and noted:

“According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by over 144 percent in 2011, compared to 2009. In 2013, the report of the United Nations International Fact-Finding Mission on Settlements highlighted the failure of the Israeli authorities to enforce the law by investigating such incidents and taking measures against their perpetrators. The Fact-Finding Mission came to the “clear conclusion that there is institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people when it comes to addressing violence. Acts of settler violence are intended, organised, and publicly represented to influence the political decisions of Israeli State authorities.”

Throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, Jewish colonists routinely run over Palestinian children. Two examples include an October 2014 hit and run near Ramallah of two 5 year old Palestinian girls, one of whom—Inas Shawkat Khalil—died from her injuries.

Child abduction and imprisonment

According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association’s April 2015 update, 182 Palestinian children are imprisoned by Israel, including 26 under the age of 16. They note that“8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.”

DCI-Palestine notes:

“Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Interrogations tend to be coercive, including a variety of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence that ultimately result in a confession.”

They further note that most Israeli-imprisoned Palestinian children are nabbed in the middle of the night, something youths from Resistance villages like Bil’in are well-familiar with. Bil’in, known for its popular demonstrations against the illegal, land-grabbing Wall, has lost many a martyr, including children to Israel’s brutal attempts at stifling dissent (On that note: to all the media that leapt on the false, “Bashar is killing unarmed protesters band-wagon,” Israel is actually doing so).

That the UN is even considering not including Israel on the list speaks further volumes to the uselessness of this institution, a body that serves only to put the odd band-aid on the seeping Palestinian wound and to endorse criminal bombings of sovereign nations.

In any case, Israel need not worry that anyone is trying to “besmirch” its reputation. It has proven quite adept at doing that all on its own. Every blown-off Palestinian child’s head, every Palestinian child behind Israeli bars, every Mohammed Abu Khdair tortured and killed by Jewish colonists, and every colonists’ intentional running over of Palestinian children “besmirches” what is left of the racist, genocidal state’s reputation, with or without UN recognition.

Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist who has lived in the Gaza Strip since late 2008.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rand Paul vs. the NSA

By EOIN HIGGINS | CounterPunch | June 5, 2015

Rand Paul’s temporary stopping of the Patriot Act’s bulk metadata collection has spurred a predictable assault from both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. Two particular examples show the strange political mating that can take place when interests align. First, on Sunday night, John McCain grumbled on the Senate floor that Rand Paul was letting the world burn to score political points. Then, on Monday, Salon published an article arguing that the collection of big data is a net positive for people of color and that Paul’s attack on the NSA is a function of his white privilege.

At this point, it appears John McCain has no idea what the hell he’s talking about from day to day. We all saw the writing on the wall when he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. He hasn’t been getting better. This is an old, confused, angry man whose answer to every problem is war and/or authoritarian domestic policies.

As for Salon, whether or not Rand Paul’s opposition is a function of white privilege is irrelevant in this case. The fact that he’s a Senator in the first place is a function of white privilege. Opposing the authoritarian horror show that is the Patriot Act is important enough that this really doesn’t matter. Same thing with the dismissive argument from the mainstream left that Paul is insincere in opposing the Patriot Act. It just doesn’t matter. What’s important is that he’s opposing it.

The alliance between Salon and McCain against Rand Paul is an interesting coming together of political foes. Essentially, their loathing of Paul overcomes their loathing of each other. For McCain, making common cause with a liberal online magazine that spent the entirety of the 2008 Presidential election cycle savaging him must be an odd feeling. And for Salon, allying with the man who gave us the Palins must be similarly odd.

But it makes sense when you think about it.

Salon’s attacks on Rand Paul are at least in large part due to the possibility he may be the opponent to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Add to that the fact that President Obama wants the Patriot Act and data collection renewed and editor in chief Joan Walsh’s particular antipathy to Paul, and you have a perfect storm of political hay making.

And as for McCain, who has no possibility of ever entertaining another run at the presidency, the only thing he has left is his waning influence on a Republican Party that is moving further and further away from his neocon ideology. To McCain, Rand Paul is the most visible representative of this wing taking over his Grand Old Party.

This has produced the odd political bedfellows of Salon and John McCain. Both despise Rand Paul for their own reasons. And both apparently support the collection of bulk data, albeit in distinct variances of enthusiasm. I’m hesitant to assign the blame for Salon taking this position on the fact that it is President Obama asking for the draconian policy, but there’s no denying that when it was George W Bush asking for political support for the Patriot Act, the general mood at the site was different.

As far as McCain goes, he’s a senile crank who hasn’t met a war he doesn’t love or a civil liberty he doesn’t want to take away from the general public in the name of “security” in the last decade and a half.

Until the inevitable reauthorization of the bulk collection of the phone records of the American people, we can expect more of these attacks on Rand Paul from the representatives of the Democratic and Republican party establishments. On the one hand, the bulk collection of metadata is an anti-Constitutional atrocity. On the other hand, it will be nice for people to see the “rare” bipartisanship of the security state’s apologists on the right and the further right joining together against the junior Senator from Kentucky.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu and Reality

By ROBERT FANTINA | CounterPunch | June 5, 2015

This writer has commented before on the increasing desperation of Israel to cling to some sense of legitimacy, as it continues policies of racism, oppression and genocide. Any nation indulging in such horrific practices, as Israel does against any and all minorities within its internationally-questioned borders, and of Palestinians outside those borders, cannot expect to be a respected member of the global community.

This desperation was in full evidence on May 30, when Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu spoke against those that he said were attempting to sully the good name of Israel, for nefarious purposes of their own. The Prime Murderer made some amazing statements in his speech. Just a few lines will show the Israeli departure from reality that began in 1947, but has reached astronomical levels today. Said Mr. Netanyahu:

“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the state of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name.

“It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence. It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are.

“I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous — we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions — that anything would change because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here”.

Can we put on our thinking caps and dissect these few sentences?

“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the state of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name.”

No, Mr. Netanyahu, the campaign isn’t to blacken the name of Israel, it is merely to expose the blackness of that name. Publicizing crimes against humanity helps to do so; by committing those crimes for 60 years, Israel’s name is already ‘blackened’.

“It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence. It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are.”

One has to take a moment to wonder about the color of the sky on the planet on which Mr. Netanyahu apparently lives. Do Israelis really buy this? Is there anyone on planet Earth who does not know that the increasing ostracism of Israel is based entirely on its actions? We will counsel the Prime Murder yet again: it does indeed matter what you do. Bulldozing homes, killing innocent people, calling them less than human, saying they should all be killed – these are objectionable to the vast number of global citizens who are now taking notice.

In a sense, Mr. Netanyahu does make a point: Israel today symbolizes injustice, genocide, cruelty and barbarism, and is the face of apartheid. So, in part, it is what Israel has come to symbolize that motivates people to boycott it.

“I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous — we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions — that anything would change because this campaign to delegitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here”.

It is this final statement that leads this writer to conclude that Mr. Netanyahu and his minions in Israel and the United States Congress are in need of significant psychological assistance. Let’s look at the ‘niceness’ and ‘generosity’ of Israel:

* Bulldozing the homes of Palestinians, to make room for illegal settlements;

* Displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in order to make room for illegal Israeli settlers;

* Shooting Palestinian teenagers in the back, crimes captured on video camera and shown around the world;

* Establishing checkpoints, at which Israeli soldiers even prevent women in labor from passing, as they are attempting to rush to the hospital, not to mention preventing tens of thousands of people from getting to work, school, stores, or simply visiting friends or family;

* Carpet-bombing the Gaza Strip;

* Blockading the Gaza Strip, preventing building materials and other basic supplies from entering;

* Shooting fishermen off Gaza’s coast;

* Discriminating against Africans and Arabs who live within Israel’s dubious borders;

* Building roads that only Israelis can use; if such a road crosses a Palestinian road, Palestinians are not able to drive across it.

The list goes on, but in the interest of time and space, we will allow this to suffice.

And now let us take a peek at the ‘many concessions’ Israel has made:

Will negotiate with Palestine, while continuing land theft and settlement construction.

Regarding the statement that the ever-growing boycott of Israel is to ‘deny our very right to live here,’ is it not true that Israel denies Palestinians their very right to live on their ancestral lands? Oh, but we must remember that members of Mr. Netanyahu’s new cabinet have said that Palestinians are less than human, so in the context of Israeli thought, they can be discounted.

The U.S. government is poised to greatly increase its foreign aid to Israel, apparently to soothe the fractured Israeli ego, an injury caused by the U.S. and other countries participating in peaceful negotiations with Iran. This will provide Israel with more weaponry to kill Palestinians, which will only serve to increase the boycott. This effort has not slowed down. On June 2, the seventh annual, so-called Israel Defense Expo, carried on without the usual participation of some European countries, most notably the United Kingdom and France. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials have been quoted as saying that there is a ‘diplomatic tsunami’ hitting that apartheid nation, and fending it off will be a very difficult task.

In reality, the task is not difficult. If Israel were to adhere to international law, the boycott would end, and Israel could take its place alongside Palestine in the world community. But that is not the plan: Israel’s goal is the complete annihilation of Palestine, and although it is increasingly clear to the world that that will not be accomplished, Israel will not easily accept that fact. So boycotts by individuals, universities, performers and nations will have to clarify it for Israel, as they did for South Africa a generation ago. The U.S. may be left behind, but Palestine will be free. And if it takes the delegitimization of Israel to do it, so be it. The decision is Israel’s, and it appears from its behaviors that that is its choice.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

G7 Summit Without Russia: Problem for the West, But Not for the Kremlin

Sputnik – 05.06.2015

Moscow’s absence at the G7 summit in Germany does not mean that Russia is politically isolated in the world. Moreover, it helps the Kremlin to pursue a more independent policy, die Zeit wrote.

The proximity to the Western world is no longer an absolute value for modern Russia, the German newspaper wrote.

Moscow seeks to follow a sovereign foreign policy and is not willing to impose itself on Western countries, the article said, referring to the upcoming G7 summit, which will be held in Germany on Sunday without the participation of the Russian leader.

“Will the Russian President sit on Sunday in the Kremlin and grieve about the fact that the G7 leaders met in the Elmau castle without him? Unlikely. The days when the Russian President wanted to just stand next to his Western colleagues are over,” the newspaper wrote.

According to die Zeit, for Russia, the Western world has lost its ‘absolute brilliance’ that was so evident after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia became disillusioned with Europe and the United States due to their hypocrisy and indecisive policies, the article said.

Russia’s current position has nothing to do with the world’s isolation, the newspaper wrote. European leaders, including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, regularly visit Russia. In a few days, Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to visit the Russian pavilion at the international exhibition “EXPO-2015” in Italy. In the Vatican, he will have a private meeting with Pope Francis.

“Let’s agree that loneliness and isolation look a little bit different,” the article said ironically.

Russia is also expanding its contacts within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and maintains fruitful cooperation with Asian countries. With this regard, the Kremlin’s non-participation in the G7 summit is just a little episode in its foreign policy activities, Die Zeit noted.

The newspaper also stressed that the current situation could be beneficial for the Kremlin as the latter will gain more freedom in conducting its own independent policy.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Russia’s law on undesirable foreign NGOs and the ethics of international activism

By Aleksandar JOKIC | Oriental Review | June 5, 2015

The decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sign a bill that allows “authorities to prosecute foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or firms designated as ‘undesirable’ on national security grounds” is bound to receive a hostile reception in the West. Already Amnesty International declared that the new law will “snatch away the space for dissenting views and independent civil society activism,” while Human Rights Watch more hysterically stated that the law aims at “squeezing the very life out of Russian civil society,” and the State Department harshly characterized it in a characteristically over the top fashion “as a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

Dramatic statements aside, we may want to ask, quite separately from the case with this Russian law, what could be considered as proper boundaries for engagement by international activists. In other words, the increasing power of NGOs in the post-Cold War period, manifest in their ever mounting number in operation and handling of ever more substantial quantities of money, raises questions about the roles and responsibilities of these new global, non-state actors. In particular, there is the question of developing an ethics of international activism that would facilitate moral assessments of the endeavors by agents operating in countries other than their own.

Elsewhere I have argued in favor of developing an ethics of international activism, which involved a process of formulating a series of constraints on what would constitute morally permissible agency in the context that includes delivering services abroad, directly or indirectly. In elaborating these ethical constraints I relied on the concept of “force multiplier.” The content of this idea and its official applications have explanatory importance in considering the correlation between post-Cold War phenomenal growth in the number of international NGOs and the emergence of the U.S. as the sole, unchallenged super-power ushering in the new “unipolar” world.

The fully developed proposal for an “ethics of international activism” consists of four constraints on morally permissible international activism: (C1) The Professionalism Constraint; (C2); The Integrity Constraint; (C3) The Respect for Sovereignty Constraint; and (C4) The Humility Constraint. As soon as these constraints are understood and correctly analyzed, an overarching principle emerges helping us realize that local activism must enjoy normative primacy (in all three normative spheres: moral, legal, and political) over international activism. At the same time, this gives us an idea of how to conceive of what could constitute legitimate international activism, that is one that respects the primacy of local activism.

Before introducing in a bit greater detail the elements of this ethics of international activism let us define “international activists” as altruists attracted by causes that originate in foreign lands. By calling them “altruists” I do not intend to prejudge the actions of international activists as necessarily morally good; I simply mean to indicate that they are ostensibly acting out of concern for the welfare of others, in this case those others are foreigners. We can make further progress in delineating more exactly who the “international activists” are by making more precise this notion of “causes that originate in foreign lands.” Most frequently those causes are expressed in terms of global protection, and respect for human rights. Thus, Amnesty International defines itself as a “global movement” of people “campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” while Human Rights Watch claims that it “works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.”

We can achieve additional clarity by realizing that governments can also show interest in those same causes expressed in terms of human rights, but we would not count government administrators, operating in their official capacities, among “international activists”. Thus, The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the U.S. government, states that “protecting human rights around the world [is] central to U.S. foreign policy,” yet we would not consider State Department officials “international activists”. This is why organizations that want to count as groupings of international activists are quick to assert their independence. Consequently, international activists are not meant to be government officials, ideologues, corporate lobbyists, or missionaries on behalf of any religion; in fact, international activists are supposed to operate independently of any government, ideology, corporation, and religion. In the first instance, this then poses strong constraints on how to construe an ethics of international activism starting with The Professionalism Constraints:

(C1)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to act on behalf of any government, ideology, corporation, or religion.

It stands to reason that if a person is genuinely motivated by the welfare of others from a country other than her own, then she must not be acting on behalf of her (or any other) government, should not promote any ideology (be it political, economic or otherwise), nor proselytize in favor of a religion. Thus, for example, international activists must not propagate in favor of a regime change in a country where such policy is pursued by, say, the U.S. government; they must not engage in promoting the economic ideology of free market and privatization in, say, a country with the socialist economic system (or any other); or attempt to convert, say, local Muslim population to Christianity.

In order to introduce the second constraint the notion of force multiplier must be introduced; it is a military term, defined as follows in The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military:

A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.

It is not difficult to document that this military term is widely used by U.S. officials, including a Democratic U.S. President, right wing think tankers, various academics, and even international activists themselves, suggesting that the Western NGOs do and should serve as force multipliers for U.S. armed forces in the variety of theaters of operations where the latter are continuously active. This, however, stands in direct opposition to the definitional component of “international activism” as agency that stems from concern for the welfare of others in foreign countries. The integrity of their actions is threatened if international activists operate in concert with U.S. armed forces or for the sake of U.S. government while ostensibly engaged to address basic needs of less fortunate humans in other countries. Consequently, an explicit moral constraint—The Integrity Constraint—defining the way international activists can satisfy the requirements of minimal integrity of their actions is necessary:

(C2)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to serve as force multipliers for U.S. (or any other) armed forces or U.S. (or any other) government.

It is perhaps clear that The Integrity Constraint is already implied by The Professionalism Constraint. However, given the aggressive push by the U.S. officials to employ international activists as force multipliers, the impact of the phenomenon of revolving doors between government service and positions within human rights organizations, and the apparent happy acquiescence by many international activists to their newly given (post-Cold War) role, it is important to make The Integrity Constraint explicit.

Once human rights become indistinguishable from official political ideology, once human rights culture is usurped by the dominant powers, and once the argument for human rights is turned into an apologia for the imperial project by the sole super power while this transformation is not protested but supported by international activists in the Western countries, this gives us a clear sense of international activists serving as force multipliers or being “belligerent altruists”. However, the tension captured by this term must be resolved, and this brings us to the next constraint on the morally permissible character of international activism. In order to accomplish this we must remove the belligerent character of the post-Cold War practice by human rights organizations. We must counsel a return to the human rights discourse that respects sovereignty of nation states and permits at most “soft” intervention while opposing all attempts at decriminalizing aggression (through “humanitarian intervention,” R2P, “war on terrorism,” or similar constructs) and making sure that activists are not aiding and abetting aggression under any circumstances. This could be called Respect for Sovereignty Constraint:

(C3)    It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to disrespect sovereignty, aid and abet aggression, and engage in anything beyond “soft” intervention.

To advance further with our goal of developing an ethics of international activism that would facilitate moral assessments of their endeavors we may engage in moral phenomenology of international activism. Moral phenomenology is the study of the experiential aspects of moral life. By investigating “what it is like” to undergo mental states that instantiate phenomenal properties when, say, judging that one “must engage” we might be able to formulate further moral constraints that can guide our moral evaluation of what international activists do. The idea is that the construction of constraints on moral permissibility of acting qua international activist can be aided via compelling phenomenological descriptions of specific experiential episodes.

By paying attention to moral phenomenology of activism a picture emerges according to which, for the activist, given the axiological nature of the cause for which she is fighting, all that is required to set her on the right path is that she be sincere and firm in her decision. Are there no obstacles to getting the purpose right, to honing in on what is unquestionably the right goal to make personal sacrifices for? What could be the source of such infallible knowledge or the experience that appears as if one is in the possession of it? These are appropriate questions! For, the activist possesses not only a firm conviction that the cause is right, but also a persuasion that no consideration could possibly put it in question. The position is tantamount to a person who has all the answers in advance, with no need to engage in the search for evidence. It is a position that readily presents answers, while the procedure that supplied them remains forever hidden, unexplored, and insignificant. Does this, therefore, mean that it isn’t, strictly speaking, important what will really be achieved (as in the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”), but that whatever is accomplished is good enough—in the sense of being sufficient and not open to moral assessment other than automatic praise? Put differently, since the activist’s motivation procures the act’s rightness and its goodness, does this mean that there is no possible question to be raised here? Or, that no argumentation of any kind is required or possible in this case? The last remark indicates an ideological character of the situation—we are trading in a context wherein reasons do not function in their customary fashion, or not at all. This appears to make activism akin to ideology.

This discovered link between international activism and disposition to uncritical adoption of ideology indicates that the principal danger international activists face is their vulnerability to co-option by big powers through usurpation of the main (ideological) tenets that define sumum bonum on behalf of which they activate. In light of The Professionalism Constraint international activists are morally required to prevent such co-option and usurpation, but the ideological nature of activism substantially reduces the resistance capacity by activists in this respect. Hence, it should not be surprising that they end up converted into force multipliers with such ease. However, there is a defense available to them that could enhance their integrity and consists in the practice of humility. If activists avoid the attitude of epistemic arrogance with respect to the normative value of the cause they act to support, if they refuse to take their own comfort and conviction regarding the value of their cause as a sure mark of its unquestionable validity, they may have a way of protecting the moral purity of their engagement. This takes us to the final constraint in this exercise, to The Humility Constraint:

(C4) It is considered morally impermissible for international activists to take the strength of their conviction as a sufficient condition for the validity of their endeavor.

In light of the moral constraints, C1-C4, the overwhelmingly negative assessment of contemporary Western international activism is painfully obvious. If so, the question emerges, what must morally speaking be done about it? This question would have to be answered both from the perspective of the activists and those who find themselves on the receiving end of these would-be-good-but-bad-Samaritans.

From the perspective of the Western activists we should advise the following. Just as the old American saying goes that “all politics is local” so all activism should be local. In fact, the overarching duty for any activist-minded Westerner may be to go local, and thus deprive the imperialist project of an important body of force multipliers. On the other hand, if activities and projects by international activists hailing from the West cannot be deemed morally permissible, this should have legal consequences in the rest of the world: all countries outside the Empire, particularly countries targeted by international activists as potential theaters of their operations, ought to criminalize activities by international activists and “human rights organizations” on their territory when not in solidarity or in support of local movements. Paradoxically, the justification for this criminalization is grounded precisely in the real concern for the human rights of the inhabitants from those countries.

A clarification is in order at this point. When I state that all activism should be local this is not meant to preclude legitimate international activism. What I mean is to insist on the primacy of local activism in the sense that all international activism must recognize this primacy, and hence reduce itself to a supporting role. In short, the legitimate international activism engages in solidarity and support of pre-existing local movements. Recognizing this primacy of the local aspect of activism can be seen as the main condition of legitimacy for any international activism.

Gene Sharp was the mastermind of the disastrous regime change techniques which led to drastic fall in living standards and factual failures of states in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Ukraine

Gene Sharp was the mastermind of the disastrous regime change techniques which led to drastic fall in living standards and factual failures of states in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Ukraine

The conceptual apparatus and normative framework developed here can assist in diagnosing in a precise way what is wrong (morally speaking) with the Western “strategic non-violent action” and the projection of the so called “soft power”. In short, this design that uses non-violence as a form of warfare adopted by foreign policy makers in the U.S. who orchestrated various “color revolutions,” “Arab spring,” etc. must be deemed morally impermissible as it violates all four constraints developed and defended here and because it feigns respect for the primacy of local activism: while it is the local people that participate in a non-violent movement directed against their government, the movement itself is envisaged, funded, and its “local” leaders are trained by foreign organizations.

Returning now to the Russian law on the undesirable foreign NGOs, rather than quickly dismissing it as an assault on dissent, civil society or anything else we could avoid drama and hysteria by using the conceptual apparatus offered here in order to assess whether the response to international activism is excessive or legitimate, which at the same time gives us a very precise sense of what is rightly “undesirable”. To the extent that foreign NGOs violate the provision of the primacy of the local activism and the four moral constraints, issuing restrictions in the form of legal means may be entirely justified and defensible. In fact, this is a practice that would in all probability be justified the world over, in particular in what I like to call the “once developing world” (before they become victims of imposed neoliberal economic models) where the Western human rights organizations have been operating in total impunity.

Aleksandar Jokic is Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University. This article is based on his essay “Go Local: Morality and International Activism” Ethics & Global Politics Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013; pp. 39-62.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama to urge G7 leaders to maintain Russia sanctions – while admitting they don’t work

RT | June 5, 2015

US President Barack Obama will urge G7 leaders to keep sanctions in place against Russia at the G7 summit in Germany, US officials said. The US says it needs to “maintain the pressure” on Moscow.

The G7 nations will meet in Bavaria, Germany for a two-day summit beginning Sunday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the sanctions imposed on Russia will be on the agenda.

“In my understanding, the president plans to talk with the European leaders about the necessity to continue the sanctions, which are already in place. This will be part of the discussion,” Earnest told a press briefing. He added, though, that he “would acknowledge that we have not yet seen the kind of change in behavior that we have long fought for.”

Charles Kupchan, the White House Senior Director for European Affairs, confirmed that meetings at the summit will be centered on the US and Europe putting pressure on Moscow.

“The president will be making the case to his European colleagues that the European Union should move ahead and extend sanctions when they end,” Kupchan said.

The US has criticized Russia recently for an increase in fighting in Eastern Ukraine. However, on Thursday, the Kremlin released a statement saying that the tensions, which had been stoked by Kiev, were increased to coincide with the upcoming EU summit, which is to take place in Brussels on June 25-26.

“Yes, indeed, in the past Kiev had already heated up tensions amid some large international events. This is the case, and now we are seriously concerned about the next repetition of such activity,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

However, rather than further looking to sideline Moscow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that it is essential to continue cooperation with Russia in a number of key international questions.

“Of course we want and should cooperate with the Russian Federation,” Merkel told the DPA news agency. “In order to settle some conflicts, such as the one in Syria, we cannot go forward without Russia’s help. Therefore I support maintaining contact with President Vladimir Putin.”

The Obama administration says that the longer the sanctions are in place, “the more of an economic bite they take out of the Russian economy.” However, the sanctions are also having a negative effect on a number of EU members who have been hurt by Russian counter-sanctions.

“I think these sanctions are affecting Europe much more as a whole than was expected, and the others on the other side of the Atlantic are not affected at all,” said former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who spoke to RT in November.

Some EU nations are becoming wary of introducing further sanctions against Moscow. During a visit to Moscow in March by the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, he stated: “[Russia and Cyprus] will cooperate without paying attention to who is reacting or who may have concerns,” according to CNA.

The current EU sanctions expire in June, after which time the bloc will hold a vote on prolonging them. However, a Russian politician, Leonid Kalashnikov, says he is confident that the bloc will not look to impose further measures against Moscow as it will not be in their interests.

“As far as new sanctions are concerned, now I am sure that Europe is very unlikely to impose them, because there are nations that would not agree to this – Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Italy. And if even a single nation does not agree there would be no decision, such is the voting procedure,” Kalashnikov, the deputy head of the State Duma’s committee for international relations, told the Izvestia daily.
Obama: ‘We have to twist arms when we need to’

Kalashnikov also said that almost daily meetings are held in the State Duma with foreign politicians who are trying to find a way to resume dialogue with Russia.

In February, Spain evaluated the losses suffered by the EU in the “sanctions war” with Russia at €21 billion ($23.78 billion).

In December 2014, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the US was “twisting arms” of their own allies so that they could continue an “anti-Russian front” and follow US policies on sanctions against Russia.

“But the US is not ashamed of insisting on cooperation with us [Russia] on matters affecting its own interests,” he said. He used the example of the Iranian nuclear talks, in which both Russia and the US take part.

Even President Obama admitted that: “We occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do,” in an interview with Vox in February.

Even Washington has found the sanctions they have implemented against Russia have not always served their own interests. The US discreetly managed to create a loophole in its sanctions against Russia to allow communications software to be exported to Crimea to try and limit Moscow’s ability “to control the narrative of local events,” according to the Commerce Department, which was cited by Bloomberg.

The move comes after the State Department’s former senior adviser for innovation, Alec Ross, mentioned that the Russians have done “an excellent job of flooding the zone in Crimea with their propaganda,” and that the US needed to introduce media platforms in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, which Moscow would be unable to control.

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Deployment of Missiles in Europe May Lead to Russia’s Exit From INF

Sputnik – 05.06.2015

Russia is fully complying with commitments made under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and does not want to withdraw from it, Viktor Ozerov, the Chairman of the Federation Council on Defense and Security, told RIA Novosti.

However, if the United States decides to put its missiles in Eastern Europe, Russia will seriously consider pulling out of the agreement, Ozerov said.

Earlier, AP reported that the Obama Administration plans to deploy land-based missiles in Eastern Europe that “could pre-emptively destroy the Russian weapons” in response to Moscow’s alleged violation of the INF treaty.

If Washington deploys its missiles in Eastern Europe, its objective wouldn’t be to target sites in the Middle East, but to fire at Russia from a close distance, Ozerov said, adding that in this case Russia will have to respond with force.

“Russia has enough strength and means for an adequate response — starting from the withdrawal from the INF treaty and deploying “Iskanders” (short-range ballistic missile system, also known by its NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) along our Western borders,” Ozerov told RIA Novosti.

The Chairman of the Defense Committee stressed that Russia is fully complying with the INF treaty, and although Washington says Moscow violated the agreement in the past, it was not able to provide factual evidence of that.

As long as the United States sticks to its commitments under the treaty, Russia is willing to respect the agreement as well, Ozerov said, adding that it’s pointless to blackmail Russia by threatening to deploy missiles in Eastern Europe. Instead, it is a much better idea to try to find a partnership-based agreement with Russia.

The INF treaty was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987. The agreement eliminates all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate range, between 500 and 5,000 km (300 — 3,400 miles).

In recent years, both the United States and Russia accused each other of violating terms of the treaty. In 2012, Washington accused Moscow of violating the agreement by allegedly launching a cruise missile from an “Iskander” missile system. However, the US government was not able to provide any factual evidence of their claim. Russia, on the other hand, said US drones were also a violation of the treaty.

See also:

US Might Add Missiles to Its Military Buildup in Europe to Counter Russia

Russia Will Respond to NATO’s Missile Defense Buildup in Europe – General

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kiev to allow foreign armed forces in Ukraine, incl. ‘potential carriers of nukes’

RT | June 5, 2015

The Ukrainian parliament has adopted amendments to state law allowing “admission of the armed forces of other states on the territory of Ukraine.” The possible hosting of foreign weapons of mass destruction is also mentioned in the documents.

Amendments to Ukrainian law were adopted on Thursday by the Verkhovna Rada, receiving a majority of 240 votes (the required minimum being 226). The bill was submitted to the parliament in May by PM Arseny Yatsenyuk. It focuses on the provision of “international peacekeeping and security” assistance to Ukraine at its request.

Peacekeeping missions are to be deployed “on the basis of decision of the UN and/or the EU,” the bill published on the parliament’s official website says.

Previously, the presence of any international military forces on the territory of Ukraine not specifically sanctioned by state law was only possible by adopting a special law initiated by the president. Implementation of the new amendments “will create necessary conditions for deployment on the territory of Ukraine international peacekeeping and security” missions without the need for additional legal authorization, the explanatory note to the draft bill said.

The presence of such armed forces in Ukraine “should ensure an early normalization of situation” in Donbass, the note added, saying that they would help “restore law and order and life, constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens” in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

In a comparative table, published among the accompanying documents to the bill, “potential carriers of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction are permitted under international agreement with Ukraine for short-term accommodation,” with Kiev providing proper control during the period that such forces were stationed there.

Implementation of the law “will not require additional expenditures from the State Budget of Ukraine,” its documents say.

The previous law also required that the length of time temporary peacekeeping forces were to be deployed in Ukraine be stipulated, while the new amendments allow an indefinite period, long enough “to achieve the goal of the stay.”

A separate amendment banned the presence of “armed forces of states that unleash military aggression against Ukraine.” This appears to be a clear reference to the Rada’s January statement calling Russia an “aggressor” – although the body has been reluctant to approve a legally binding law saying exactly that.

Moscow denies being part of the conflict, stressing that Kiev is fighting a civil war with eastern Ukrainians, not Russian forces. The Kremlin has consistently and adamantly denied any presence of Russian troops or hardware in eastern Ukraine, pointing out that there is no evidence proving otherwise.

With violence in south-eastern Ukraine on the rise again, it is “very important to avoid any actions or steps that provoke escalation of tension,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, as quoted by RIA Novosti. Saying that there is “no shortage” of provocative actions from Kiev’s side, Peskov said the main point is “to concentrate on implementation of [Minsk] agreements.” “This is what Moscow expects the most,” he added.

The new bill on international peacekeeping missions in Ukraine contradicts the Minsk agreements, Russian State Duma MP Leonid Slutsky said. “Minsk-2 did not provide for peacekeepers in resolution of the national conflict,” Slutsky said, as quoted by TASS.

The new legal act is “doomed for inaction,” a member of the Russian Duma’s defense committee, Franz Klintsevich, said, adding that the bill is “pure PR and propaganda.” “I cannot simulate a situation in which the United Nations will vote to deploy international military to Ukraine,” Klintsevich told journalists, as cited by RIA Novosti.

The Lugansk People’s Republic’s envoy to the so-called Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk, Vladislav Dainego, commented that the law was adopted to “justify the presence” of foreign military that are “already operating in Ukraine.” “There are some 20,000 [troops], primarily from Hungary and Poland,” Dainego claimed when speaking to Interfax, adding that the status of those forces was unclear.

Kiev came up with the initiative to employ peacekeeping missions in Donbass earlier this year. Moscow has insisted that deployment of such forces in Ukraine would be relevant only after all points of the Minsk agreement have been fully implemented, and only if both sides of the conflict – Kiev and the rebel republics – agree to the measure.

Read more:

Deployment of peacekeepers should be agreed with both sides of Ukrainian conflict – Lavrov

‘Stick to Minsk deal’: Russia slams Ukraine idea for EU peacekeepers

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Breaking the promise to Russia

By Jonathan Power | Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research | June 5, 2015

The Russian European dreamers have included Pushkin, Lenin, Gorbachev and, until relatively recently, President Vladimir Putin. They have all seen their country’s future as part of the “European house”. But history and events have not been kind to Russia. Napoleon’s invasion, revolution, two world wars, Stalin’s communism and, most recently, the expansion of NATO, have shattered the dream again and again.

At the end of the Cold War and with agreement on the NATO-Russia Founding Act it seemed that big steps towards that goal were being taken. First, Russia would have a seat at NATO’s table. Later it would join NATO. Later still, the European Union. Some said this would happen over ten years, others 20.

Then, smash, the dream came to an end as President Bill Clinton, bucking America’s academic foreign policy elite, decided to expand NATO’s membership to former members of the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact. George Kennan, America’s elder statesman on Russian issues, commented, “It shows so little understanding of Russian and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then the NATO expanders will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are – but this is just wrong.” He characterized it as the most dangerous foreign policy decision that the US had made since the end of the Second World War.

Defending Clinton and, later, George W. Bush and Barack Obama who continued the NATO expansion policy, their supporters have said that in expanding NATO eastward the West did not break its promise to Moscow not to.

But it did. As ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has said on many occasions there was a promise not to expand NATO “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East.” This is an echo of the US secretary of state, James Baker, when he spoke in St Catherine’s Hall in the Kremlin on February 9th 1990, saying, there would be “no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east”.

Some re-writing of history has gone on. Now Baker has ambiguously denied there was any such agreement.

There has even been an effort to show that Gorbachev himself denies that there was an agreement. And it is true that in the last few years he has said one thing and then another. This is perhaps because he is embarrassed that he never asked for the US/German commitments in writing. He has defended that decision arguing, “The Warsaw Pact still existed at the beginning of 1990. Merely the notion that NATO might expand to include countries in the alliance sounded completely absurd at the time”.

Nevertheless, the evidence that a commitment was made not to expand is strong. Rodrick Braithwaite who was the UK’s ambassador to the Soviet Union and then the new Russia, has written, “After Germany reunited, Václav Havel, the Czech president, called for Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary to enter NATO. The British prime minister and foreign secretary assured Soviet ministers that there was no such intention. NATO’s secretary general added that enlargement would damage relations with the Soviet Union.”

Jack Matlock, who was ambassador to Moscow for both Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior, has said on a number of occasions that Moscow was given “a clear commitment” not to expand NATO.

Der Spiegel, the German political weekly, has been through the German and British archives. It found a minute of a conversation on February 10, 1990 when foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher spoke with Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Genscher said, “For us one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.” Because the conversation revolved mainly around the future of East Germany Genscher added explicitly, “As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned this also applies in general.”

In a major speech on January 31 1990 in Tutzing, Genscher said there would not be “an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union”.

The British foreign secretary, Douglas Hurd, when meeting Genscher on February 6th 1990 to discuss Hungary’s forthcoming free elections, was told that the Soviet Union needed “the certainty that Hungary will not become part of the Western alliance.” The Kremlin, Genscher said, would have to be given assurances to that effect. Hurd agreed.

In April 2009 Gorbachev told the German newspaper Bild, “the West have probably rubbed their hands, rejoicing at having played a trick on the Russians.” It very much looks like it.

Moreover, the US gratuitously abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and decided also to employ missile defences in central Europe, thus undermining the so-called “nuclear balance”.

The West has taken advantage of a weakened Russian when instead it should have been paving the way for Russia to enter the “European House”. History will not smile kindly on the dangerous and counterproductive expansion of NATO.

Copyright: Jonathan Power

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment