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How Palestinians Die in The NY Times

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | June 17, 2015

Abdullah Iyad Ghanayim, 22, died under an Israeli army jeep last Sunday in the West Bank village of Kafr Malik. The New York Times barely took notice. Other news media inform us that there is a story here and one that is in dispute.

Eyewitnesses in the village east of Ramallah say soldiers shot Ghanayim in the back and then ran him down with a jeep, crushing him against a wall, which collapsed on the vehicle and knocked it over. The soldiers got out, observers say, left the man pinned under the jeep and prevented medics from attending to him.

According to witnesses, Ghanayim was throwing stones when he was shot and bled to death after being left unattended for more than an hour. The mayor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam, told reporters that soldiers killed Ghanayim “in cold blood.”

The Israeli army had a different story: Ghanayim was throwing a Molotov cocktail at the jeep, and this caused it to swerve and crash. After the vehicle turned over on the victim, the army claimed, “forces later entered the village to try and provide medical assistance,” but the man had already died.

In spite of the army’s failure to explain why “forces” had to enter the village to provide aid when soldiers were already present, The New York Times goes with the army account. This appears in the form of a three-paragraph Associated Press story, which made an obscure and fleeting appearance online and none at all in print. The article gives a brief nod to the eyewitness accounts, saying the mayor of the village claimed the man was shot first.

It’s possible the Times was unable to assign one of its three reporters in Israel to get a firsthand account, but the paper also omitted the story from its World Briefing section, where it frequently runs AP and Reuters news.

The Times had a choice. It could have run a Reuters story by Ali Sawafta and Dan Williams, which states in the lead that “military and locals gave conflicting accounts” and also quotes witnesses who said the man was “run down and then crushed.” Instead it chose the AP version, which relies almost entirely on the Israeli army.

We find fuller reports elsewhere, such as in The National, Agence France-Presse,  and Maanbut the Times treatment falls short. It has chosen a biased wire service piece over a more complete and honest report. Thus it avoids revealing unsavory charges against the Israeli army and allows one more Palestinian death to pass unnoticed.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda

By Eric Draitser | New Eastern Outlook | June 17, 2015

3423423411The East African country of Eritrea is once again being demonized internationally as a systematic violator of human rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued an allegedly damning report detailing what it claims are “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” taking place in Eritrea. Media coverage has similarly echoed those claims, presenting Eritrea to a western audience as a backward and “brutal dictatorship,” playing on the traditional stereotypes of totalitarianism from East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

However, a closer and more critical analysis of both the report, and the true agendas of the western institutions promoting its narrative, reveals a vastly different motivation to this report and the continued anti-Eritrean narrative. It could be called politically motivated propaganda, and that would be correct. It could be called a distorted and biased perspective rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of both politics and history, and that would also be correct. It could, quite simply, be called abject neo-colonialism of the worst sort, and that too would also be correct.

For while the UN and western media portray Eritrea – a country most westerners know nothing about, if they’ve ever even heard of the country at all – as little more than a “Third World dictatorship” because of its alleged violations of human rights, they conveniently ignore the actual human rights issues that Eritrea champions, making it a leader on the African continent, and a country that in many ways should be held up as a model of human development and adherence to true human rights.

Eritrea leads the way in Africa on issues ranging from the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases, to access to clean drinking water, literacy promotion, and countless other issues. But none of this is deemed worthy by the UN for inclusion in a report about “human rights.”

This is of course not to suggest that Eritrea, like every other country in the so called “developing” and “developed” worlds, is without problems, as that would be simply false. Rather, it is to note that a truly objective report that actually sought a substantive analysis of human rights in Eritrea, rather than a politically motivated propaganda campaign, would have revealed a country busy transforming itself and its people, leaving behind the decades of colonial oppression and subjugation, beating an independent path for itself.

But of course, this is the gravest sin of all in the eyes of the western ruling class and the institutions it controls. Abject poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, death from preventable diseases, and many other hallmarks of African underdevelopment – these are all fine in the eyes of the West, so long as you follow their IMF, World Bank, UN rules of the game; so long as you “respect opposition,” “respect democracy,” and act “inclusively.” But, when a country chooses to create its own system, and pursue its own national development (white neocolonial opinions be damned), it is immediately cast as the great villain. So too with Eritrea.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts.

The UN Report: A Critical Look

The UN OHCHR report presents a vision of Eritrea that is, in many ways, at odds with reality. While forms of political repression and non-conformity to western conceptions of democracy are highlighted and repeated ad nauseam, other critical aspects of human rights are entirely ignored. Moreover, the UN report was limited in its scope because of lack of access to the country, thereby forcing the report to rely exclusively on the testimony of expatriate Eritreans and those with an obvious political bias and grudge against the government of Isaias Afewerki. So, far from being objective, the report is, by its very nature, a one-sided portrayal of the situation in the country. The report notes:

The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea and that there is no accountability for them…The enjoyment of rights and freedoms are severely curtailed in an overall context of a total lack of rule of law. The commission also finds that the violations in the areas of extrajudicial executions, torture (including sexual torture), national service and forced labour may constitute crimes against humanity. The commission emphasizes that its present findings should not be interpreted as a conclusion that international crimes have not been committed in other areas.

While of course there is a shock value associated with phrases like “extrajudicial killings,” “torture,” and “crimes against humanity,” these claims need to be interrogated carefully. It is impossible to say the extent to which these claims are either wholly true, complete fabrications, or partially true embellishments concocted by expatriates with an anti-government personal and political agenda; it is not unreasonable to assume that it is a combination of all three.

However, it is useful here to ask whether countries like the United States, for instance, would also be guilty of “extrajudicial killings” and “torture” were a similar investigation conducted into the seemingly endless, dare I say systematic, police murders of American citizens, especially people of color? Or what about the now universally accepted fact – publicly acknowledged even by President Obama who blithely declared “We tortured some folks” – that the United States systematically tortured prisoners throughout the so called “War on Terror”? Or that the US continues to hold countless inmates, again disproportionately people of color, in long term solitary confinement, a common US practice decried as torture by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E Méndez of the very same OHCHR?

But of course none of these uncomfortable truths are good for the narrative of “backwards African dictatorship,” and therefore, they are not part of the story. Nor does the report define exactly what it means by “national service.” However, those with knowledge of Eritrea’s domestic policies, which is almost no one in the West, understand that “national service” especially includes national military service, a practice used by many countries, including the US darling Israel, among many others.

Of course, it would be wise to here make the distinction that, unlike the apartheid state of Israel which uses its military for the purposes of oppression and occupation, Eritrea fought a protracted and bloody war against the former colonial masters in Ethiopia, having had ongoing military conflicts with their neighbor for nearly the entire, short existence of Eritrea as an independent nation. With a relatively small population and, proportionately speaking, a long and porous border with a hostile nation with a history of subjugation of Eritreans, it is not at all unreasonable to have a robust military apparatus fueled by mandatory military service.

One should also recall the way in which such reports, and brazen distortions, have been used by the UN and the OHCHR in the recent past. In perhaps its most shameful moment in recent history, the former High Commissioner Navi Pillay was instrumental in building the justification for the disastrous, illegal, and blatantly neocolonial, imperialist war against Libya. Pillay actually took the lead in disseminating anti-Gaddafi propaganda in the first weeks of the destabilization campaign, making her the leading edge of the propaganda assault, lending her reputation and position with the UN in order to bolster the anti-Gaddafi narrative. In late February 2011, Pillay stated:

More needs to be done. I encourage all international actors to take necessary measures to stop the bloodshed… thousands may have been killed or injured over the past week… Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors… Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protestors… The Libyan leader must stop the violence now…  Libyan forces are firing at protestors and bystanders, sealing off neighbourhoods and shooting from rooftops. They also block ambulances so that the injured and dead are left on the streets.

The facts that have been gathered since the illegal aggression against Libya have all contradicted every assertion that Pillay and the OHCHR made in early 2011. As Dr. Alan Kuperman wrote in his report Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, published by the prestigious Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University:

Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period.

Needless to say, the credibility of the OHCHR took a major hit in 2011 with that ghastly episode of outright lying, propaganda, and service to the foreign policy agenda of the West. So too should one be skeptical of their similar distortions on issues such as Eritrea, which in many ways are similar to Libya.

In fact, it is no coincidence that Eritrea’s closest ally in the world was Libya and Gaddafi. As the US Government-funded Center for Naval Analyses wrote in a 2010 report,

“In the 1990s, Qadhafi made numerous attempts to mediate the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, but Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi was uninterested in separate negotiations… Qadhafi even went so far as to propose a Sahelian-Saharan peacekeeping force, to which Eritrea agreed and Ethiopia did not. Qaddafi subsequently helped finance Eritrea’s military campaign against Ethiopia.”

It seems then that, far from being a coincidence, Eritrea is, in effect, getting the Libya treatment in terms of the propaganda and distortions.

But the real question is why? Why is Eritrea so reviled by the vaunted so called “international community”?

Eritrea’s Real Sins: Independence and Human Rights

All countries demonized by the West, attacked economically and politically, have done something to earn them the ire of the so called “liberal democracies” of the developed world. Of course, it is never the seemingly innocuous pretexts that institutions such as the UN OHCHR invoke.

First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist radicals, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades, namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank,

“Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies… You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.”

Naturally, such a radical departure from the tried and true cycle of financial aid and debt servitude, corruption and endemic poverty, is seen as a threat by the neocolonial establishment as manifested in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions. But the real danger is not simply the ideology, but its success. As the LA Times noted in its profile of Eritrea in 2007:

The self-reliance program began a decade ago but accelerated sharply in 2005. Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country’s citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya… It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa.

In the eight years since 2007, Eritrea has made even greater strides, becoming the only African nation to reach its Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Eritrea now boasts a roughly 98% immunization rate, incredible reductions in malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, and other preventable diseases. Eritrea has reduced infant mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by nearly 80% since independence. Literacy rates have increased dramatically, access to basic health care, clean drinking water, and many other essential human rights have all been greatly expanded, all while accepting no foreign aid.

Christine Umutoni, the UN Resident Coordinator in Eritrea, explained that “What we see as development partners, what is responsible for this success is community participation, the enabling environment, leadership, strong mechanisms for prevention, value for money and coordinated inter-sectoral approaches.” Umutomi also added that Eritrea has put a tremendous amount of energy into developing innovative alternatives to tackling difficult health and human issues including temporary maternal clinics and mobile medical units, as well as knowledge of migration patterns and remote areas.

In other words, Eritrea has managed to rapidly, and in earnest, embark on a process of economic and social transformation that the West is constantly advocating for African nations. However, Eritrea has done it on its own terms, without being enslaved by the financial institutions of global capitalism, and that is what makes it a target for demonization rather than praise. Why, one might ask, are the human rights of the rural poor, the unborn and infants, those living in grinding poverty, not taken into consideration in the so called OHCHR report? Are human rights only restricted to a small minority of political discontents whose grievances, even if justified, are relegated to the realm of politics and speech? This is not to diminish the importance of such issues, but rather to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of the selective use of the term.

Of course, there are also other critical political and economic reasons for Eritrea’s pariah status in the eyes of the so called “developed world,” and especially the US. Perhaps the most obvious, and most unforgivable from the perspective of Washington, is Eritrea’s stubborn refusal to have any cooperation, formal or informal, with AFRICOM or any other US military. While every other country in Africa with the exception of the equally demonized, and equally victimized, Zimbabwe has some military connections to US imperialism, Eritrea remains stubbornly defiant. I suppose Eritrea takes the notion of post-colonial independence seriously.

Eritrea also rejects the neocolonial notion that it, and Africa broadly speaking, should be little more than a cash cow of natural resources, especially mineral resources, for the developed world to exploit. Eritrea’s President Afewerki said in a recent interview:

Your location could be a comparative advantage. If you have a long coastline, then you develop fisheries, develop your services industry – shipping, transportation – air, land. Provide industry and manufacturing… Africa can produce its own food and grow more. Why aren’t we able to do that? You have to produce something. Emphasize sustainable sectors. Agriculture is a sustainable sector. You need to put in place agriculture infrastructure. It’s a strategy commodity for communities… You need to think least on mineral resources (for economic development)… Gold glitters but it blinds people… If you forgo agriculture because you have gold, you go into a trap. If you forgo comparative advantage that you have because you have gold, then you make a big mistake… Food sovereignty and local production, local manufacturing and development are more critical than depending on resource exploitation. You must have a balance, comprehensive program that takes stock of your comparative advantages in different sectors and local needs first… Local markets are everything.

Is it any wonder that Afewerki and his government are demonized by the West? What is the history of US and European behavior towards independent African leaders who advocated self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology? The answer is self-evident. Such ideas as Afewerki expressed in the interview are seen by Washington, London, and Brussels as not only defiant, but dangerous; dangerous not only because of what they say, but dangerous because they’re actually working.

You do not see Eritrea depending on US and European NGOs, nor do you see the major western financial institutions enslaving the country with the unsustainable feedback loop of debt and aid. Instead, you see a country steadily emerging from decades of war and oppression, building a society from the ground up. Certainly there are problems, and changes of various kinds will need to be made as with all systems as they mature and evolve. But this is not what the US and its allies want: they need Eritrea to be brought to heel. And this simply cannot and will not be accepted by Eritrea, no matter the sanctions, no matter the demonization, no matter the demagogy.

Neocolonialism comes in many forms: political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, etc. It is undeniably true that Africa, and indeed most of the Global South, continues to be enslaved by the neocolonialism of the former colonial masters. It is also true that the neocolonial status quo is not to be challenged. Eritrea is one of the few countries doing precisely that. And it is for this reason, that it is demonized and vilified.

And it is for precisely this reason, that it must be defended.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Secret Death Squads Backed by Thatcher Government Killed Hundreds in N. Ireland

Sputnik – 17.06.2015

Following the broadcast of an Irish documentary, a number of human rights groups are calling on London to take responsibility for its role in colluding with paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. These actions allegedly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Catholics, all to support the Crown.

In 1974, a coordinated attack was launched in the Irish cities of Dublin and Monaghan. On May 17, three car bombs were detonated during rush hour in the nation’s capital. Only 90 minutes later, a fourth explosion went off in Monaghan, just south of the border with Northern Ireland. Thirty-three people were killed. An estimated 300 were injured.

The loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Volunteer Force claimed responsibility for the attack, and in a recent Irish documentary, “Collusion,” a member of the group claims that the bombings were conducted under direction from the British Army. The goal: to implement a civil war.

This is only one of several claims levied against the Thatcher government for its role in the Troubles, and in the face of “overwhelming evidence of collusion,” human rights groups and Irish officials are calling for the British government to own up.

“As a result of the RTE programme ‘Collusion’ showing the knowledge by British Prime Ministers of the murder of Catholics with British army assistance, it is time for the Irish Government to stop asking and start demanding,” said Senator Mark Daly, according to Irish Central.

The allegations suggest that the British Army’s secret Force Research Unit (FRU) recruited and managed members of paramilitary organizations in its efforts in “destroying” the IRA.

These gangs, acting under orders from the army, executed hundreds of innocent people. According to Anne Cadwallader, author of “Lethal Allies,” a single loyalist group may have been responsible for the deaths of 120 Catholics.

Other evidence also points to British involvement in the assassination of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. Famed lawyer of Bobby Sands, leader of the Republican hunger strike in Maze Prison, Finucane was gunned down by members of the Ulster Defence Association who were acting as paid informants for the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

“Carry on – just don’t get caught,” British government officials told former Special Branch head, Raymond White, according to the documentary.

Allegations also say Thatcher’s administration attempted to downplay investigations into murders involving collusion, and former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Lown said that authorities in London were still involved in covering British involvement as late as 2003.

“Soft diplomacy has got us nowhere it’s time to ask the EU, UN and the Hague war crimes tribunal to carry out investigations,” Daly said. “The British Prime Minister and State were no better than a third world dictatorship ordering a terror campaign by murder gangs who deliberately and indiscriminately murdered Catholic and Irish Citizens.”

On Thursday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron in London. While part of those discussions will involve economic matters between the two countries, Kenny is also expected to discuss “legacy issues,” seeking British documents which detail the collusion.

But even if Kenny succeeds, it may be too late.

“The initial British response at political level was denial. The second phase was usually cover-up and the last phase eventually was apology,” former secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs Sean Donlon said during the documentary.

“But the apology, of course, never came in the lifetime of the administration which had been involved.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Monsanto Linked to Israel’s Illegal Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza War

Sputnik | June 17, 2015

Agribusiness giant Monsanto – best known for their genetically modified soybeans and “probably carcinogenic” herbicide – has supplied the US government with white phosphorous used in incendiary weapons for at least 20 years, and some of that made its way to Israel for use in Operation Cast Lead.

The blog Current Events Inquiry dug into some heavily redacted documents posted in 2012 on the US Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, to discover that Monsanto was the  purveyor of white phosphorous to the US, and subsequently Israel, including during Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in heavy casualties among Palestinians in Gaza in 2008 and 2009.

The “Justification & Approval” document describes the solicitation of 180,000 pounds of white phosphorous (WP), and gives insight into the history of US procurement of the chemical.

“The Government is aware of only one source, Monsanto, who currently manufactures WP in the US,” the document states, explaining that a company that produces such a chemical should be granted special protections under emergency conditions.

“WP requires specialized technology, skills and processes in its production. These technologies and skills must be protected within the NTIB [National Technology and Industrial Base] in the event of a national emergency.”

Monsanto was not always the sole producer of white phosphorous, but the other manufacturers’ names are redacted in the discussion of the history of the chemical. The document indicates that the US was wary of major producers in China and India due to concerns over safety, quality control and environmental standards.

“Over the past 20 years, the majority of the manufacturing of WP moved to China and India because of lower costs and the lack of EPA regulations in those countries. In the 1990s, there were [REDACTED] manufacturers capable of manufacturing WP in the United States; [REDACTED] Because of EPA regulations and foreign price competition, [REDACTED] closed their operations. With only one known producer of WP in the NTIB (Monsanto), the Government’s support of this domestic capability is critically important as it reduces the risk to the war fighter in times of national emergency as well as avoiding a potentially dangerous dependency upon a foreign source.”

According to the FBO website, the procurement was awarded to ICL Performance Products, which had previously won similar contracts in  2008, 2010, and 2011, as noted in the Justification and Approval documents.

ICL is a subsidiary of Israel Chemicals Ltd., which describes itself as “a global manufacturer of products based on unique minerals, fulfill[ing] humanity’s essential needs, primarily in three markets: agriculture, food and engineered materials.”

Quick Burning, WP’s Effects Last a Lifetime. Or More. 

White phosphorus does not just maim, but can kill. It ignites upon contact with skin and burns either until it runs out of fuel or is cut off from oxygen. If inhaled or swallowed it can cause severe damage to any mucous membranes with which it comes in contact.

Absorption through the skin means that a 10% burn can cause damage to internal organs such as the heart, liver, or kidneys, and can be fatal. Even after healing from an initial exposure, victims can suffer from long-lasting health problems, including birth defects and neurological damage.

A Palestinian man is treated for burns in Jan. 2009. Human Rights Watch reported in March 2009 that Israel had used white phosphorous in the densely populated Gaza strip, in violation of international law.

The Israeli Connection

The United States confirmed its own troops used white phosphorous during the Iraq war, in particular during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Israel also used white phosphorous in Lebanon while battling Hezbollah in 2006.

The US touts its plant in Pine Bluffs, Arkansas as the only plant in the northern hemisphere that fills white phosphorous munitions. And in 2009, State Department officials confirmed that WP munitions from Pine Bluffs had been provided to Israel for use during Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009).

Israel initially denied using the chemical during the conflict. But in July 2009, following various media reports and reports from groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the Israeli Ministry of Defense admitted using the chemical, but only for its approved use — as an obscurant and illuminant.

“The use of white phosphorus is not in and of itself a war crime, and is generally considered acceptable as a means of obscuring troop movements or illuminating areas,” writes Jason Ditz. “Its use in civilian areas however, even if not directed at the civilian population, is banned under the Geneva Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.”

White phosphorous is not classified as a chemical weapon and is not completely banned under international law. The chemical can be used in open, unpopulated areas as a smokescreen to hide troop movements or to provide illumination at night. But the Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

It may seem bizarre that a company known for GMO seeds is producing chemical weapons, but white phosphorous is also used to produce phosphoric acid, a key ingredient in many fertilizers.

And lest anyone forget, Monsanto was one of the producers of the 20 million gallons of Agent Orange — ostensibly, a defoliant — used in Vietnam. That country claims that Agent Orange led to to over 400,000 deaths and continues to cause health problems and defects in a third generation of babies.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Snowden Does a Product Endorsement

Does Ed Snowden Really Trust Apple?

By BILL BLUNDEN | CounterPunch | June 17, 2015

In the wake of Congress passing the USA Freedom Act Ed Snowden composed an editorial piece that appeared in the New York Times. There are aspects of this article that may surprise those who’ve followed events since Snowden first went public two years back.

For example, Ed referred to the bill as a “historic victory” though there are skeptics in the peanut gallery like your author who would call it theater. That is, an attempt to codify otherwise expired measures which have been of little use according to their stated purpose. The USA Freedom Act provides the opportunity for elected officials in Washington to do a victory lap and boast that they’ve implemented restructuring while former American spies, with a knowing wink, understand that what’s actually been instituted is “hardly major change.”

Moving onward through his laudatory communiqué, Ed warns that hi tech companies “are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them.” He opted not to say who was being leaned on.

But wait, he did mention a name. It’s just that, in this specific case, it was in the context of a product placement for one of the world’s largest technical companies. Here’s the excerpt:

“Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private”

Let’s consider for a moment the underlying assumptions inherent to this narrative. The messaging scheme at work is one which allows business leaders to channel public outrage by depicting corporations as unwilling partners who’ve every intention of protecting the privacy of their users instead of knowingly cavort with spies.

CEO’s like Tim Cook have gone so far as to publicly scold their industry for monetizing user data. Specifically, in a speech delivered at an event hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center Cook stated:

“They’re [tech companies] gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

Hold it right there.

Keep in mind that Apple is a colossal multinational company. It has no qualms about collecting information on users, using slave labor to save a buck, stockpiling profits overseas to avoid paying taxes, giving companies like Google unencumbered access to its user base, participating in a wage-fixing cartel, or cooperating with the NSA when executives (who chatted up spymasters on a first-name basis) thought that they could get away with it.

Can a profit-driven monolith like Apple be trusted to do the right thing when it’s just as easy to secretly continue doing otherwise? If we’ve learned anything from the Snowden revelations it’s that intelligence services exist primarily to pursue the interests of private capital. Why not have their cake and eat it too? Assuage the public with encryption marketing pitches and then bury their collusion even deeper. Issues like “trust” in the corridors of the C-suites are usually viewed as a mere public relations issue.

Apple wouldn’t lie to us again, right?

Bill Blunden is a journalist whose current areas of inquiry include information security, anti-forensics, and institutional analysis. He is the author of several books, including “The Rootkit Arsenal” and Behold a Pale Farce: Cyberwar, Threat Inflation, and the Malware-Industrial Complex.” Bill is the lead investigator at Below Gotham Labs.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Obama Versus Hersh: Who’s Telling The Truth?

By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | June 17, 2015

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has charged in the London Review of Books that the White House narrative of the May 2, 2011, killing of the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is largely “false.”

In a 10,000-word account, Hersh wrote that when bin Laden was slain by U.S. Navy Seals he had been a prisoner of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency(ISI) since 2006 and that top Pakistani military officials knew of the raid in advance and were complicit in bin Laden’s execution by removing their guards from his compound and ensuring airspace access for attacking U.S. helicopters.

President Obama said bin Laden and two of his men were killed in the firefight during the raid, as well as a bin Laden wife used as a human shield. He added that “no Americans were harmed.” (It’s a rather strange “firefight” when all the dead and wounded are on one side.)

Moreover, the idea that bin Laden was killed when he resisted the assault force, suggests that the ISI guards allowed their prisoner and his aides to have weapons, also dubious. And the U.S. claim that Obama was not an ISI captive is undercut by the location of bin Laden’s compound, in a Pakistan military and intelligence community.

ISI was holding bin Laden hostage, threatening Taliban and al-Qaida leadership with turning him over to the U.S. if they ran operations contrary to ISI interests, Hersh said.

“Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House’s initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defense,” a Hersh source told him. “Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defense?” the source scoffed.

Hersh pointed out that “The White House press corps was told in a briefing shortly after Obama’s announcement that the death of bin Laden was ‘the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work,'” when, in fact, the U.S. learned of his whereabouts from a walk-in informer. This man was an ex-Pakistani intelligence officer “who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the U.S…”

Then there’s the matter of Obama’s alleged burial at sea. Although Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette said the funeral service followed “traditional procedures for Islamic burial,” Hersh pointed out “there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service.”

What’s more, the Navy refused to make the carrier’s log of daily events available to reporters and skipper Bruce Lindsey told them he was unable to discuss the burial. And Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier group’s strike force, told reporters “the crew had been ordered not to talk about the burial.” Sound a bit fishy? Maybe that’s because two “longtime consultants” to Special Operations Command(SOC) told Hersh,”the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson didn’t take place.”

Over and again, we find the Administration ordering its officials not to talk about the raid. As Hersh pointed out, every member of the Seals hit team and some members of the Joint SOC leadership “were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House’s legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private.”

Readers attempting to decide which account of bin Laden’s death to believe might also consider that the Administration shifted its story on key points.

“Within days (of the raid),” Hersh said, “some of the early exaggerations and distortions had become obvious and the Pentagon issued a series of clarifying statements. No, bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. And no, bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a shield.” The fact that bin Laden had no weapons adds strength to the argument he was an ISI prisoner, not a free man shielded by guards bristling with guns.

White House National Security spokesman Ned Price, brushed off the Hersh article with, “There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one.” (So how many did he fact check?) And a CIA official dismissed the Hersh account as “utter nonsense.” (This from an agency with a track record for lying stretching from Viet Nam to Iraq.)

In point of fact, while Obama has built a reputation for lying and breaking his promises, Hersh has a reputation for honesty and repertorial excellence. He won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the My Lai massacre story in 1969. He’s also won two National Magazine awards and five coveted Polk awards. Plus UK’s prestigious George Orwell Award for political writing.

By contrast, numerous observers have concluded that President Obama lies systematically to the public. Attorney John Whitehead, President of the non-profit Rutherford Institute, of Charlottesville, Va., a defender of civil liberties, writes:

“When it comes to the NSA, Obama has been lying to the American people for quite some time now. There was the time he claimed the secret FISA court is ‘transparent.’ Then he insisted that ‘we don’t have a domestic spying program.’ And then, to top it all off, he actually insisted there was no evidence the NSA was ‘actually abusing’ its power.”

Pacifist writer David Swanson, author of “War No More: The Case for Abolition,” found no fewer than “45 lies” in Obama’s September 24, 2013, speech to the United Nations. Just one example: Obama said, “we have … worked to end a decade of war.”

To the contrary, Swanson says, “Obama expanded the war on Afghanistan. Obama expanded… drone wars. Obama has increased global U.S. troop presence, global U.S. weapons sales, and the size of the world’s largest military. He’s put ‘special’ forces into many countries, waged a war on Libya, and pushed for an attack on Syria. How does all of this ‘end a decade of war’?”

We also need to consider how much Obama had to gain if he could show voters he could “get” bin Laden. In his 2012 re-election bid, the Obama campaign milked the bin Laden slaying for all it was worth, even making a video narrated by actor Tom Hanks about it. The Huffington Post’s Ben Feller at the time wrote an article headlined, “Obama Campaign Using Osama Bin Laden Killing As 2012 Campaign Tool.”

If the Hersh account is accurate, and bin Laden was unarmed, it begs the larger question of why the Pentagon ordered an elite unit to assault his compound with guns blazing when he could have been taken prisoner? Isn’t there a question or two the American people might have liked to ask bin Laden about the 9/11 massacre?

In retrospect, the Obama White House achieved its goals. President Obama improved his re-election chances by killing bin Laden rather than bringing him to justice, even if he had to stamp out the truth to do it. In the process, he fixed things so the Seals can’t talk, the sailors can’t talk, the admirals can’t talk and, above all, Osama bin Laden can’t talk.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Discharged Trident whistleblower rebukes Royal Navy ‘spin’

RT | June 17, 2015

Nuclear whistleblower William McNeilly, who had been dishonorably discharged from the Royal Navy, says military “spin doctors” have tried to obscure the safety and security concerns he raised in an extensive dossier last month.

McNeilly now claims to have been dishonorably discharged from the service, having not been heard from for over a month.

Reports over the intervening period suggested he was held in a secure military facility.

In a new nine-page document published online, he said: “It is shocking that some people in a military force can be more concerned about public image than public safety.”

McNeilly posted his original findings online last month while AWOL, raising up to 30 issues regarding nuclear weapons safety and base security.

The Navy immediately claimed McNeilly’s allegations were “subjective and unsubstantiated” and “factually incorrect or the result of misunderstanding or partial understanding.”

McNeilly has now responded, saying: “Other submariners have been anonymously releasing information to journalists.

“It’s only a matter of time before worse information comes out, and everything is proven to be true.”

There had initially been discussion over whether McNeilly would be charged under the Official Secrets Act, fears which seem to have abated.

“All of the charges against me were dropped; there’s nothing that I can be charged with now,” he said.

“Most people know that I acted in the interest of national security. However, I was still given a dishonorable discharge from the Royal Navy.”

McNeilly feels he was discharged by the Navy “on the claim that my sole aim was to discredit their public image.”

Having served aboard the Trident submarine HMS Victory earlier this year, McNeilly said he was shocked at what he saw there.

“When I joined the Royal Navy, I had no idea that I was going to work with nuclear weapons. When I found out, I was happy. I used to think they were an essential tool in maintaining peace, by deterring war,” he said.

“It wasn’t until I saw the major safety and security issues that I realized the system is more of a threat than a deterrent.”

The furor around McNeilly’s leaks saw Scottish National Party MP Alex Salmond raise the question of Trident safety in Parliament, saying “Trident is a key issue for people in Scotland.”

“It is bad enough that Scotland is forced to house these weapons of mass destruction, but these alleged breaches of security are deeply worrying – there must be absolutely no complacency,” Salmond said.

McNeilly has said claims he was an SNP agent are wrong, although he added he supports the party’s aim to remove Trident from Scotland.

“I’ve been strongly advised to remain silent and live a private life,” he said.

However, he has no plans to go quietly, it seems.

“I’m civilian now, and I have the right to free speech. I’m not going to waste that freedom by just sitting around on my ass, while the UK is in danger.”

A Royal Navy spokeswoman confirmed to Portsmouth News that McNeilly is no longer in the Navy.

Read more:

​Trident nuke safety questioned by Salmond after Navy whistleblower leak

‘Nuclear disaster waiting to happen’: Royal Navy probes Trident whistleblower’s claims

​Nuclear safety incidents soar 54% at UK’s Clyde sub base & arms depot

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

German Lawmakers Call for End to Subsidies as Nuclear Failures Continue

Sputnik | 17.06.2015

Lawmakers in Germany have been told that an EU agreement for a $25 billion state subsidy by the UK to build a nuclear power station is illegal and should be annulled, in another twist in Europe’s nuclear energy farce.

The German Bundestag’s Economic and Energy Committee took evidence on the European Commission’s approval of $25 billion worth of state aid for the construction of a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, southwest England. The hearing followed recent claims by German energy cooperative Greenpeace Energy that the EU state aid approval contravenes competition rules. In October 2014, the European Commission approved the state aid for the construction of Hinkley Point C, which allows the UK government to assure the future operator a fixed electricity price over a period of 35 years and to guarantee inflation surcharges and credit guarantees.

The German Government had informed the European Commission that “political expectations” made it clear that the promotion of renewable energy should not lead to the encouragement of nuclear power plants, according to, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, Brigitte Zypries.

A political coalition of Alliance 90 and the Greens called for a stop to “subsidies for British nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C and legal action.”

In January, the Austrian government confirmed it is to take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice over the subsidy deal.

New Nuclear in Meltdown Fears

The Hinkley Point C proposal has already been beset by many years of delay — mostly because the reactor it is considering using has been plagued with problems. EDF has chosen the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third generation pressurised water reactor (PWR) design. It has been designed and developed mainly by Framatome (now Areva), EDF in France and Siemens in Germany.

However, the first ever EPR nuclear power station under construction in Flamanville, in northwest France, is already massively over budget and seriously delayed. Since construction began in April 2008, the French nuclear safety agency has found that a quarter of the welds inspected in the secondary containment steel liner were abnormal, cracks were found in the concrete base and it also ordered a suspension of concrete pouring on the site.

In November 2014, EDF announced that completion of construction was delayed to 2017 due to delays in component delivery by Areva. In the same month, Areva issued a profit warning and said it would suspend future profit predictions because of problems on a similar EPR power station project at Olkiluoto in Finland.

And in June 2015, the French nuclear safety watchdog says it has found “multiple failure modes” that carry “grave consequences” on crucial safety relief valves on the Flamanville nuclear plant in northern France, which could lead to meltdown.

Areva and EDF have been hit by the global backlash against nuclear plants since the Fukushima accident in 2011. Following the incident, Germany accelerated plans to close its nuclear power reactors, Italy voted in a referendum against the government’s plan to build new nuclear power plants and French President Francois Hollande announced the intention of his government to reduce nuclear usage by one third.

Read more:

Fallout over Floundering UK Nuke Site – ‘Illegal’ and Overpriced

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , | 1 Comment

Journalists blast Israeli government cartoon mocking Gaza news coverage

RT | June 17, 2015

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has produced a 50-second cartoon mocking foreign reporting on Gaza, urging people to see that “terrorism rules” there. Apart from arguably lacking comedic value, the clip was slammed as being in poor taste by international media.

The animated short shows a blond, presumably American reporter in Gaza talking about how it’s a modern society where “ordinary people” are just trying to live their lives – “no terrorists here.” As the reporter’s praise for the locals continues, Hamas member can be seen in the back launching rockets.

The underground tunnels Hamas is building are seen by the reporter as “a fascinating attempt by Hamas to build a subway system… which will bring Gaza’s transportation system into the 21st century.”

This continues until a female reporter places a pair of glasses on the male reporter’s face so he could “see the reality of life under Hamas rule,” causing him to faint in shock.

The cartoon culminates with the woman’s upbeat, receptionist-like tone as she declares: “Open your eyes. Terrorism rules Gaza.”

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) has struck out at the decision to produce the cartoon in a statement, insisting that this is not what Israel needs if it wants to be taken seriously by the international community.

“The Foreign Press Association is surprised and alarmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s decision to produce a cartoon mocking the foreign media’s coverage of last year’s war in Gaza,” the statement reads.

“At a time when Israel has serious issues to deal with in Iran and Syria, it is disconcerting that the ministry would spend its time producing a 50-second video that attempts to ridicule journalists reporting on a conflict in which 2,100 Palestinians and 72 Israelis were killed.

“Israel’s diplomatic corps wants to be taken seriously in the world. Posting misleading and poorly conceived videos on YouTube is inappropriate, unhelpful and undermines the ministry, which says it respects the foreign press and its freedom to work in Gaza,” the FPA said.

Israel’s Foreign Press Association is a nonprofit representing about 500 international journalists reporting from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has denied UN human rights envoy Makarim Wibisono entry into Gaza for a second year in a row, just as a UN report on the war last year is about to be made public.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon believes Israel is within its rights to deny entry, as it “cooperates with all the international commissions and all rapporteurs, except when the mandate handed to them is anti-Israeli and Israel has no chance to make itself heard.”

Wibisono is attached to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which is about to release its findings from an investigation into alleged war crimes Israel may have committed during last year’s war in Gaza.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces raid homes in Qaryut to intimidate local activists

International Solidarity Movement | June 17, 2015

Qaryut, Occupied Palestine – In the early hours on Tuesday 16th of June Israeli occupation forces raided several Palestinian homes in the village of Qaryut, near Nablus. The soldiers invaded the homes in search of the Palestinian activist Bashar al-Sadiq Yusuf Moammar (Bashar Qaryouti).

The incident is possibly sparked by the fact that villagers of Qaryout have recently taken up weekly demonstrations, arranged by the PSCC, which Bashar Qaryouti is part of. These are demonstrations against the illegal Israeli settlements that surround the city and continue to annex Palestinian land.

Soldiers invaded at least five different houses in order to find Bashar, and trashed the family homes in the process. Abdullah Qaryouti, whose family fell victim to one of these raids, explained how this included the soldiers locking up the family in one room whilst ransacking the rest of their house using K9’s.

According to Abdullah Qaryouti this is common behaviour for the occupation forces, who invade and ruin Palestinian homes on a regular basis.

The local activists presume the most recent house raids to be part of the ongoing efforts of Israeli forces to intimidate and threaten any resident that participates in non-violent resistance.

Palestinian man whose house was raided in QaryutBashar Qaryouti

Damage in a Palestinian home in Qaryut

Israeli soldiers overturned the bed in a Palestinian home

More destruction by soldiers raiding a Palestinian home

Soldiers completely ransacked the home.

Credit to PSCC for the photos, they do not belong to ISM.

June 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments