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Ukraine Puts 345 State Firms Up For Sale

Sputnik – 10.07.2015

Ukrainian Economic Development Minister Aivaras Abromavicius clarified exactly how many state companies would be offered up for sale to US and European investors at the upcoming Ukrainian-American investment conference in Washington D.C on Monday, stating that 345 state-run firms would be put on offer to the highest bidder.

Speaking before reporters on Thursday, Abromavicius noted that the 345 firms offered for sale “will be included in the first wave of privatizations,” which he earlier confirmed would begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Kiev’s effort is ostensibly aimed at raising billions of dollars for the country’s cash-strapped budget, as the economy, hit by a decline in trade with Russia, financial panic, and civil war, lies in tatters and on the verge of default.

Companies on the docket include the electricity generation firm Tsentrenergo and six of its regional distributors, gas transportation companies, the Odessa Port Plant, mining operations and agricultural holdings, which together are projected to bring 17 billion hryvnia (about $790 million) into the country’s coffers.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian officials held similar conferences in Washington, Berlin and Paris. As late as last month, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk met with Ukrainian-Americans in Washington, telling them that his government wants “to see American owners on the territory of Ukraine,” stating that “they will bring not only investment, but also new standards, new ways of managing the companies, and a new investment culture.”

But with the IMF (conservatively) projecting a 9 percent decline in Ukraine’s GDP in 2015, with inflation hitting nearly 50 percent and the country approaching debt levels amounting to 100 percent of GDP, analysts warn that the present may be the worst possible time for Kiev to sell off its large, state-owned firms. The country’s economic decline, political instability and the war in the east have hit property values hard, which means that Kiev is unlikely to collect significant sums for the large, valuable, strategic assets offered up for sale.

Analysts also suggest that Western investors will have little appetite for the purchase of the unwieldy, heavily-indebted state firms, many operating at a loss since the collapse of the Soviet Union, noting that the most profitable companies were already bought up in crooked schemes by the country’s oligarchs a long time ago. In this connection, AFP recently reported that Rada MPs connected with the country’s oligarchic clans are likely to use their influence to prevent the sale of the profitable state assets under oligarchs’ influence. Moreover, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung columnist Konrad Schuller recently poured cold water on the entire privatization initiative, noting that in an environment of speedy, murky, clan-dominated privatization, Western investors will have no time to assess whether the state companies offered up for sale are truly lucrative or not.

Furthermore, while Yatsenyuk recently announced that over 150 major investors have already RSVP’d to attend the Washington conference, he has already been hit by dissension from within his own cabinet, with officials from the Energy Ministry and the State Property Fund challenging the pace and scale of privatization.

In April of this year, Ukraine agreed to an International Monetary Fund-monitored austerity program, which called for the shedding of 24,000 government jobs, higher taxes, privatization of state assets and the withdrawal of subsidies on utilities in exchange for a total of about $40 billion in IMF-led foreign assistance over the coming four years.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge orders US government to prepare Guantánamo force-feeding tapes for public release

Reprieve | July 10, 2015

A federal judge today ordered the Obama Administration to prepare secret videotapes of a Guantanamo detainee’s treatment for release to the public.

In a ruling this afternoon in Washington DC, Judge Gladys Kessler ordered the US Government to complete all national security-related redactions to the first eight tapes – which show Abu Wa’el Dhiab being forcibly removed from his cell and tube-fed — by August 31, and to complete other key redactions by September 30.

The tapes were first filed to court as classified evidence in a legal challenge to prison conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Dhiab v Obama. 16 press organizations, including Associated Press, the Washington Post and the New York Times, intervened seeking the videos’ release to the public on First Amendment grounds. Judge Kessler ordered them to be released; the Obama Administration then appealed in what Judge Kessler called “as frivolous an appeal as I’ve seen.’

Reprieve attorney for Abu Wa-el Dhiab Cori Crider said:

“This is a great win for the US press, and for the First Amendment. The Obama Administration has been kicking and screaming to avoid processing even one minute of this footage, and never wanted to have to give a specific reason for keeping it secret. That is because the real reason for trying to hide Mr Dhiab’s face is that what he suffered is a scandal and an embarrassment to the Administration that allowed it.

“The Government has been rightly chided by the judge and now will be made to give real reasons for every frame of this footage that they want to keep hidden from the public.

“Images of a suffering detainee are matters of public importance and should no more be suppressed than those of Abu Ghraib, Eric Garner or Rodney King. An Administration truly committed to transparency would release the tapes forthwith.

“That’s why the US press is intervening in this case, and the courts are standing firm to preserve our right to see what is being done in our name.”

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Cancer cases double at Gaza’s Shifa Oncology Department since 2010

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Dr. Rami Mokdad
By Dr. Rami Mokdad | ISM | July 10, 2015

Gaza, Occupied Palestine – At Shifa Oncology Department we treat 150 patients everyday, and we are in total 3 doctors, 5 nurses and have just 15 beds. Obviously that’s not enough.

In the last 10 years the number of patients with cancer in the Gaza Strip has grown a lot. Especially in young people and children, before most of the cases affected old people, but since the Zionist aggressions against Gaza started it became normal to receive children and young people with cancer.

The three kinds of cancer that have grown more in those years are thyroid cancer, leukaemia and multiple myeloma cancer.

For example, in 2005 we had less than 50 cases of thyroid cancer, in 2014 we had 300 cases. Actually, each month we are receiving between 70 and 100 new cases of cancer patients. In this oncology department, the most important in the Gaza Strip, we treated around 2,800 patients in 2010. In 2013 the number grew to 5,000 and last year, 2014, we treated around 6,000 patients. And I’m afraid these numbers will continue to grow even more. In 10 years we’ll have a huge crisis in Gaza, as the risk factors are getting worse; the use of war weapons by Israel in highly populated areas, the consumptions of polluted water, the use of polluted land for growing food, etc.

Another special case we find in Gaza is the nasopharyngeal cancer, especially in children. Those cases come from areas where the people had primary contact with the Zionist bombs, especially with white phosphorous, but also in cases where their home was bombed.

Due to the blockade we find a lot of difficulties for making the diagnosis and treating those patients. For example in Gaza we don’t have either radiotherapy or molecular therapy, and we find a lot of obstacles to sending the patients to the West Bank to receive the appropriate treatment. We also don’t have PET scan, isotope scan or laboratory markers. We also suffer from an important shortage of chemotherapy supplies and other drugs, we could say that we work with 40% of the supplies we really need. As even when we receive some of these drugs, we don’t receive them continuously, so we never know if the next week we’ll be able to provide the needed treatment to the patients.

The Palestinian Authority is responsible for this shortage of drugs, as they don’t send the supplies intended for Gaza due to its will to punish Hamas.

This attitude from the Ramallah based government, along with the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that doesn’t allow the patients to leave the Strip in order to receive the treatment outside, and in the case of Egypt, that also doesn’t allow the entrance of medical supplies and drugs through Rafah Border; are responsible of our inability to properly treat the cancer patients from Gaza.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of resources of the local government we don’t have any serious studies addressing the cancer issue. And we don’t know why any of all the International Agencies or NGOs are [not] studying that.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

NYPD officers slammed autistic teen’s head against concrete – lawsuit

RT | July 10, 2015

A 17-year-old autistic boy was thrown onto the sidewalk by New York City police officers, punched in the face, arrested, hauled to the precinct for questioning and released without charges, according to a lawsuit.

Troy Canales was standing in front of his Bronx home on the night of November 12, 2014, when two officers drove up in a police car demanding to know what he was doing, according to the Manhattan federal court lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the officers clearly had no training in how to deal with people with special needs when they began questioning Canales, who is able to talk but has a hard time making eye contact with strangers.

“[Canales] was extremely scared, but told the officers that he was just ‘chilling’ and was not doing anything,” the suit stated.

“[The officers] each grabbed the plaintiff’s arms and forcefully threw him down on the sidewalk, smashing his head against the concrete. [The officers] kneed plaintiff in the back and punched him in the face as he screamed to his family for help.”

Canales’ mother and brother came out of the house and saw him cuffed on the ground. They told the police he was autistic but the cops ignored them and took the teenager to the precinct, said the complaint.

Canales was held for an hour until his mother, Alyson Valentine, spoke to the commanding officer, who apologized and said, ‘things like this happen” before releasing the teen.

Police officers had no explanation for the assault or the arrest except to say that one officer “feared for his life” when he spoke to Canales on the sidewalk, according to the lawsuit.

In the wake of the beating, Valentine said her son became reclusive and it took professional therapy to help him go out of the house again.

“Every other house on the block, there’s a child with disability,” Valentine told DNAinfo. “A lot of them don’t come outside that much. If you’re policing the neighborhood, you should know the people.”

A lawyer for Troy Canales, now 18, said the NYPD violated the teen’s civil rights during the November 2014 incident. The federal lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, and better training for police officers to deal with people with special needs.

A New York City Law Department spokesman said the suit is under review, reported the New York Post.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MH-17 Case Slips into Propaganda Fog

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 9, 2015

The Dutch investigation into the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine last July has failed to uncover conclusive proof of precisely who was responsible for the deaths of the 298 passengers and crew but is expected to point suspicions toward the ethnic Russian rebels, fitting with the West’s long-running anti-Russian propaganda campaign.

A source who has been briefed on the outlines of the investigation said some U.S. intelligence analysts have reached a contrary conclusion and place the blame on “rogue” elements of the Ukrainian government operating out of a circle of hard-liners around one of Ukraine’s oligarchs. Yet, according to this source, the U.S. analysts will demur on the Dutch findings, letting them stand without public challenge.

Throughout the Ukraine crisis, propaganda and “information warfare” have overridden any honest presentation of reality – and the mystery around the MH-17 disaster has now slipped into that haze of charge and counter-charge. Many investigative journalists, including myself, have been rebuffed in repeated efforts to get verifiable proof about the case or even informational briefings.

In that sense, the MH-17 case stands as an outlier to the usual openness that surrounds inquiries into airline disasters. The Obama administration’s behavior has been particularly curious, with its rush to judgment five days after the July 17, 2014 shoot-down, citing sketchy social media posts to implicate the ethnic Russian rebels and indirectly the Russian government but then refusing requests for updates.

But why the later secrecy? If Director of National Intelligence James Clapper decided that unverified information about the shoot-down could be released five days after the event, why would his office then decide to keep the U.S. public in the dark as more definitive data became available?

Over the past 11 months, the DNI’s office has offered no updates on the initial assessment, with a DNI spokeswoman even making the absurd claim that U.S. intelligence had made no refinements of its understanding about the tragedy since July 22, 2014.

I’m told that the reason for the DNI’s reversal from openness to secrecy was that U.S. intelligence analysts found no evidence that the Russian government had given the rebels sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles capable of downing an aircraft at 33,000 feet, the altitude of MH-17, and that an examination of U.S. satellite and electronic intelligence instead implicated extremists linked to Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime, although not to Kiev’s political leadership.

At that point, admitting to an erroneous rush to judgment would have embarrassed the administration and undermined the “public diplomacy” campaign around the MH-17 case. By blaming Russia and its President Vladimir Putin last summer, the Obama administration whipped Europe into an anti-Russian frenzy and helped win the European Union’s support for economic sanctions against Russia. Keeping Putin on the defensive is a top U.S. priority.

As one senior U.S. government official explained to me, information warfare was the only area in the Ukraine crisis where Washington felt it had an edge over Moscow, which benefited from a host of other advantages, such as geography, economic and cultural ties, and military pressure.

‘False Flags’

It also appears that right-wing Ukrainian political forces, which seized power in the Feb. 22, 2014 coup, have understood the value of propaganda, including “false flag” operations that pin the blame for atrocities on their opponents. One of the most successful may have been the mysterious sniper attacks on Feb. 20, 2014, that slaughtered both police and protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square, with the violence immediately blamed on President Viktor Yanukovych and used to justify his overthrow two days later.

Later independent investigations indicated that extreme right-wing elements seeking Yanukovych’s ouster were more likely responsible. Two European Union officials, Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, were revealed discussing in a phone call their suspicions that elements of the protesters were responsible for the shootings.

“So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet told Ashton, as reported by the UK Guardian. [A worthwhile documentary on this mystery is “Maidan Massacre.”]

Even U.S. officials have faulted the new regime for failing to conduct a diligent investigation to determine who was to blame for the sniper attack. During a rousing anti-Russian speech in Kiev last month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power inserted one criticism of the post-coup regime – that “investigations into serious crimes such as the violence in the Maidan and in Odessa [where scores of ethnic Russians were burned alive] have been sluggish, opaque, and marred by serious errors – suggesting not only a lack of competence, but also a lack of will to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

In other words, regarding the Maidan sniper massacre, the Kiev regime wasn’t willing to reveal evidence that might undermine the incident’s use as a valuable propaganda ploy. That attitude has been shared by the mainstream Western media which has sought to glue white hats on the post-coup regime and black hats on the ethnic Russian rebels who supported Yanukovych and have resisted the new power structure.

For instance, since Yanukovych’s ouster nearly 1½ years ago, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets have treated reports about the key role played in the coup regime by neo-Nazis and other far-right nationalists as “Russian propaganda.” However, this week, the Times finally acknowledged the importance of these extremists in Kiev’s military operations. [See Consortiumnews.com’sUkraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

A similar propaganda fog has enveloped the MH-17 investigation, with the lead investigators – the Dutch, British, Australians and Ukrainians – all firmly in the pro-Kiev and anti-Moscow camp. (Specialists from the United States, Russia and Malaysia have also been involved in the inquiry.)

Not surprisingly, leaders in Ukraine and Australia, as well, didn’t wait for the investigation to reach a conclusion before placing the blame on Putin. Last October, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott used an Australian football term in vowing to “shirtfront” Putin about his supposed guilt in the MH-17 case.

Media Fakery

Keeping the later U.S. intelligence analysis secret also allows for the Putin-did-it propaganda campaigns to go forward in mainstream media outlets and various propaganda fronts. A good example was the Australian “60 Minutes” report in May presenting bogus video evidence supposedly corroborating “Russia-did-it” claims made by British blogger Eliot Higgins.

While the segment appeared to be authoritative – supposedly proving that Putin was responsible for mass murder – a closer examination showed that the program had relied on video fakery to mislead its viewers. The key scene supposedly matching up a video of a getaway Buk anti-aircraft missile battery with landmarks in the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk didn’t match up at all. [See Consortiumnews.com’sYou Be the Judge.”]

After I revealed the fraud by showing how the two scenes were almost entirely different, the Australian show fell back on a claim that one utility pole in the getaway video looked like a utility pole that its reporting team has found in Luhansk. It is perhaps a sign of how crazy the anti-Russian propaganda has gotten that a major news program could feel that it can make such an absurd argument and get away with it.

In a rational world, matching up the two scenes would require all the landmarks to fit, when in this case none of them did. Further, to cite similarities between two utility poles as evidence ignored the fact that most utility poles look alike and there was the additional fact that none of the area around the two utility poles matched at all, including a house behind one that didn’t appear in the scene of the other. [See Consortiumnews.com’sA Reckless Stand-upper on MH-17.”]

However, as long as the U.S. government’s comprehensive intelligence information on MH-17 is kept secret, such sleights of hand can continue to work. I’m told that the Dutch report is likely to contain similar circumstantial claims, citing such things as the possible angle of the fired missile, to suggest that the ethnic Russian rebels were at fault.

Last October, the Dutch Safety Board’s initial report answered very few questions, beyond confirming that MH-17 apparently was destroyed by “high-velocity objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” Other key questions went begging, such as what to make of the Russian military radar purporting to show a Ukrainian SU-25 jetfighter in the area, a claim that the Kiev government denied.

Either the Russian radar showed the presence of a jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of the passenger plane – as the Russians claimed in a July 21 press conference – or it didn’t. The Kiev authorities insisted that they had no military aircraft in the area at the time.

But the 34-page Dutch report was silent on the jetfighter question, although noting that the investigators had received Air Traffic Control “surveillance data from the Russian Federation.” The report also was silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who may have fired it.

The Obama administration has asserted knowledge about those facts, but the U.S. government has withheld satellite photos and other intelligence information that could presumably corroborate the charge. Curiously, too, the Dutch report said the investigation received “satellite imagery taken in the days after the occurrence.” Obviously, the more relevant images in assessing blame would be aerial photography in the days and hours before the crash.

The Dutch report’s reference to only post-crash satellite photos was also odd because the Russian military released a number of satellite images purporting to show Ukrainian government Buk missile systems north of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk before the attack, including two batteries that purportedly were shifted 50 kilometers south of Donetsk on July 17, the day of the crash, and then removed by July 18.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered these questions by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

Lysenko added: “To disown this tragedy, [Russian officials] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.” But Ukrainian authorities have failed to address the Russian evidence except through broad denials.

Where’s the Intelligence?

On July 29, 2014, amid escalating rhetoric against Russia from U.S. government officials and the Western news media, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity called on President Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had on the shoot-down, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to ‘poison the jury pool.’”

However, the Obama administration has failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions or any new evidence at all. One source told me that U.S. intelligence analysts are afraid to speak out about the information that contradicts the original rush to judgment because of Obama’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers.

If the Dutch final report emerges with carefully circumscribed circumstantial evidence implicating the pro-Russian rebels, the nuances will surely be carved away when the report is fed into the existing propaganda machinery. The conventional wisdom about “Russian guilt” will be firmed up.

A sense of how that will go can be seen in a recent New York Times article by David Herszenhorn on June 29:

“Pro-Russian separatist leaders in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk have blocked access to Dutch law enforcement officials pursuing an investigation into the downing of a Malaysian jetliner nearly a year ago, the Netherlands Public Prosecution Office said. …

“The obstruction by separatist officials prompted the investigators, from the Dutch National Police and Ministry of Defense, to cut short their field work in Ukraine without conducting research into cellphone towers and cellular networks in the region, the public prosecution office said. …

“Based on preliminary analysis and intelligence, including from the United States government, the aircraft was widely believed to have been destroyed by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces.”

While the thrust of Herszenhorn’s article made the ethnic Russian rebels look bad – and foreshadows some of the points likely to be featured in the Dutch investigative report – perhaps the most significant word in the story is “preliminary.” While it’s true that the U.S. government’s “preliminary” report on July 22, 2014, implicated the rebels, the more pertinent question – not asked by the Times – is why there has been no refinement of that “preliminary” report.

The Dutch Safety Board issued a brief progress report on July 1 noting that it had submitted a draft of its final report to “accredited representatives of the participating States on … June 2,” giving them 60 days to submit comments before a “definitive final” report is published in October.

Meanwhile, Dutch prosecutors handling the criminal investigation say they have no specific suspects, but lead investigator Fred Westerbeke claims the probe has a number of “persons of interest.” Westerbeke said the criminal probe will likely run through the end of the year or later.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Okinawa Governor to Overturn US Military Base Approval

Sputnik – 10.07.2015

TOKYO — Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture Governor Takeshi Onaga is expected to revoke his predecessor’s approval for a US military base, local media reported Friday, citing sources.

Construction plans for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to a less populated area in the prefecture are part of a 2006 intergovernmental agreement. In recent months, there have been renewed clashes between the local population and police over environmental concerns and opposition to the US military presence.

An advisory panel is due to submit a report to Onaga by the end of July, outlining the flawed nature of the previous governor’s approval, providing grounds for its cancellation, sources told Kyodo news agency.

Onaga, governor since December 2014 and former mayor of a coastal area near MCAS Futenma’s new location, has previously voiced opposition to the project.

In December 2013, his predecessor, Hirokazu Nakaima, approved a Japanese government application to reclaim land in the Henoko coastal area to enable construction at the site of the new base, 30 miles northeast of its current location in Ginowan.

Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his US counterpart Ashton Carter reaffirmed the relocation plan this April.

Over half of the 47,000 US troops deployed in Japan are based in Okinawa. Military sites are estimated to account for nearly 18 percent of the prefecture’s entire land mass.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

George W. Bush Demands $100k Fee to Address Wounded Iraq War Vets

Sputnik – 10.07.2015

During his term, former President George W. Bush sent US troops to Iraq under what later turned out to be false pretenses. Since then, over 50,000 US soldiers have been wounded, with many struggling to acclimate to life back home. And while the former president has pledged his support to these veterans, he apparently won’t do it for free.

Two weeks ago, at a Chamber of Commerce event, former President Bush touted his support for veterans, saying “I’ve decided to dedicate the rest of my life to helping out vets, to helping those with whom I was honored to serve.”

A noble pledge, perhaps, but it also comes with a fee.

According to ABC News, the former president has charged $100,000 for a speech at a gala fundraiser hosted by the Texas-based Helping a Hero charity for veterans who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan – the very same countries Bush sent troops to. At an additional cost of $20,000, the former president was also provided with a private jet to fly him to the event.

Members of Helping a Hero also told ABC News that former First Lady Laura Bush also charged a fee of $50,000 for a speech at a gala event the year before for the same organization.

The charity’s chairman was quick to come to the former president’s defense, saying in a statement that Bush’s appearance helped raise “significant funds” for the organization, and that he further reduced his fees from $250,000 to $100,000 for their benefit.

However, according to Politico, the former president’s typical speaking fee is between $100,000 and $175,000, which means Bush may not have been as gracious with his speaking fee as indicated by the charity’s chairman.

Further, ABC reported that both Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have never taken money to speak at a veteran’s group in the past. Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under Bush’s administration, also did not charge a fee for speaking at the same Helping a Hero fundraiser.

The revelation has sparked public outrage, with the former president under fire from both public officials and military veterans. Many drew attention to the irony of a president capitalizing on the soldiers injured in the very wars he created. […]

Some even demanded that Bush return the money, with others noting that the former president and his wife have earned much more from their speeches than those who have gone to fight the wars.

Paid speeches by former presidents have been the subject of intense controversy for years, as they have become a major source of income for their post-presidential years. By 2013, Bill Clinton brought home over $106 million on the lecture circuit, and according to CNN, makes $500,000 per speech.

Toward the end of his presidency, Bush reportedly told author Robert Draper that he intended to “replenish the ol’ coffers” after leaving office and make a “ridiculous” amount of money with his speeches. And apparently, even supporting soldiers he had sent to war won’t come in the way of that money making.

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | | 2 Comments

Israeli Official Orders Barring of “Palestine 1948” TV

IMEMC & Agencies | July 10, 2015

Israeli Police spokeswomen Luba Samri said, Thursday, that Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has signed an official order shutting down “Palestine 1948 TV,” and barring all of its activities in the country.

Erdan said “Israel will not allow anybody to harm its sovereignty, or to grant the Palestinian Authority any foothold in the country.”

He alleged that the TV station never obtained any proper authorization to operate in Israel, and said “Palestine 1948″ began broadcasting, a month ago, from Nazareth. The order is valid for six months.

Head of the Palestine Public Broadcasting Corporation, Minister Riyad al-Hasan, said the TV is broadcasting from the West Bank city of Ramallah, and that Israel has no authority, or right, to shut it down.”

Al-Hasan told the WAFA News Agency that the Israeli threats also targeted production companies and media outlets that have business or cooperation with the TV station.

Arab Member of Knesset of the Joint Arab List, Basel Ghattas, issued a press release denouncing Erdan’s decision, and considered it as a “desperate Israeli move to control Arab media outlets.”

“This is a dangerous, uncivil, decision based on stupidity; it is an attempt to control and dominate media outlets,” he added, “While Israel claims democracy, and while media and technology continue to advance, Israel still tries to silence us.”

Related, June 18, 2015: Netanyahu Orders New Palestinian TV Shut, P.A Plans to Appeal Decision

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

US-Israeli Imperialists Plot Downfall of Syria and Iran

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By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | July 9, 2015

The United States has been running a particularly reckless and transparent bluff on the world.

‘We must defeat ISIS’ has been the repetitive mantra bellowed from pulpits and podiums by deceitful US officials. But this bit of shameless Orwellian newspeak is coming from the very same rogue policy makers who have been the primary source of arms and largesse to that group and its sordid affiliates across Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.

Republican Senator Rand Paul called his own party’s bluff in a summer 2014 interview with CNN, telling the incompetent host that “we [the US government] are allied with ISIS in Syria.”[1] “[ISIS] would not be empowered in Iraq if we hadn’t been providing them a safe haven in Syria by arming their allies,” the Senator said, adding that “we are where we are because we armed the Syrian rebels,” the preponderance of whom are Wahhabi-Salafist extremists. Paul recently doubled down on that line of reasoning, informing another interviewer in May 2015 that “hawks in my party” are responsible for the rise of ISIS because of their purposefully intransigent policy of “distributing arms indiscriminately” to Syrian and Libyan militants in their fanatical drive to depose Gaddafi and Assad.[2]

Paul’s words were confirmed by a recently unearthed US Defense Intelligence Agency report that, in true Machiavellian style, welcomed an ISIS-controlled “Salafist principality in eastern Syria” to serve as a buffer to “isolate the Syrian regime” and roll back Iran. The US defense analysts, writing at the outset of the rebel insurgency in Syria in 2012, acknowledged that the anti-Assad coalition of militants that Washington was enthusiastically supporting were dominated by Salafist extremist elements linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.[3]

A June 2015 Washington Post report revealed the extent of the CIA’s covert campaign to train, arm and deploy mercenaries against Assad in Syria, pegging it as one of the Agency’s “largest covert operations, with a budget approaching $1 billion a year.”[4] The article’s authors Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung write:

“At $1 billion, Syria-related operations account for about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget, judging by spending levels revealed in documents The Washington Post obtained from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“U.S. officials said the CIA has trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program.

“The CIA declined to comment on the program or its budget. But U.S. officials defended the scale of the expenditures, saying the money goes toward much more than salaries and weapons and is part of a broader, multibillion-dollar effort involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to bolster a coalition of militias known as the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army.

“Much of the CIA’s money goes toward running secret training camps in Jordan, gathering intelligence to help guide the operations of agency-backed militias and managing a sprawling logistics network used to move fighters, ammunition and weapons into the country.”

After weeding through all the phony anti-ISIS bluster emanating from the White House, it becomes clear that Washington’s overarching strategy is to play all Muslim groups and factions in the Middle East off against each other in what amounts to a sinister divide and conquer gambit that ultimately serves the interests of Israel. In 2007, years before the present crisis in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah identified this genocidal US/Israeli-led scheme against the region in an interview with American journalist Seymour Hersh. He told the award-winning reporter that the Bush administration was working in tandem with Israel to instigate a cataclysmic civil war – something akin to the Thirty Years’ War in Europe – in the Muslim world. Nasrallah said that this fitna, an Arabic term which means “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam,” was being deliberately fomented by US and Israeli intelligence agencies to significantly weaken the region and allow the Zionist-American imperialists to achieve full-spectrum dominance.[5]

According to Hersh’s excellent March 2007 reportage published in the New Yorker under the title “The Redirection,” the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia began laying the groundwork for a rebel invasion of Syria that same year.[6] The US and Israel planned to enlist radical Wahhabi-Salafist elements backed by Saudi Arabian largesse as proxy mercenaries against Damascus in a wider effort to undermine Assad and precipitate the demise of Iran. Hersh outlined the criminal plan in these terms:

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”[7]

Citing officials close to the Bush administration, Hersh explained that the CIA sought to employ radical anti-Syrian militants clandestinely “by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process.” Hersh’s sources told him that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” Using the Saudis as a conduit would, in turn, give Washington plausible deniability. “The Israelis,” Hersh wrote, “believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.”[8]

In an article titled “The Pentagon plan to ‘divide and rule’ the Muslim world,” security scholar Nafeez Ahmed highlighted the contents of a 2008 RAND Corporation report which openly elucidated this belligerent strategy of tension.[9] The Pentagon-backed study group advocated playing all sides and every side in the Muslim world against one another in order to fracture and disorient opposition to Western and Israeli imperialism in the region. The Orwellian strategists identified essentially all Arabs and Muslims – Salafists, Shiites, Sunnis, secular Arab nationalists, communists, Baathists, etc. – as adversaries to be pitted against each other. Already-existing rivalries and fissures would be stoked up and exploited to their maximum potential.

RAND’s divide and conquer objectives are eerily similar to the vile prescriptions of Oded Yinon, an Israeli strategist who authored a geopolitical screed entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,” published in 1982, which called for the break-up of all Arab states surrounding Israel into fragmented polities along ethnic and religious lines. “Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run,” Yinon expounded in his Machiavellian manifesto, “and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.”[10] The Israeli militarist gleefully cited the Iran-Iraq war as a prime example of the type of internecine conflict Israel hopes to ignite, exacerbate and capitalize on to achieve its Zionist imperium. In a June 2014 television interview, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a dedicated Jewish imperialist, explicated his Yinonite ideology, emphasizing Tel Aviv’s desire to have Sunni and Shiite Muslims fight each other and thereby cancel each other out while Israel reaps the spoils.[11]

It’s impossible to ignore the primacy of Israel in all of this unscrupulous intrigue. Netanyahu’s Likud Party is not only committed to eliminating what’s left of Palestine, but they also harbor expansionistic aspirations that go beyond Israel’s current borders – what some have called “Greater Israel.” Netanyahu’s seminal role in conceiving the rancid doctrines of the ‘war on terror’ itself, alongside the inescapable reality that the neocons who dominate the US foreign policy establishment are first and foremost loyal to Israel, is paramount in understanding the ‘method to the madness.’

Dismembering Syria

While Western-backed ISIS militants behead their way to Damascus, US foreign policy hawks are now plotting the literal dismemberment of Syria as a whole in accordance with the Zionist neocons’ balkanization plan.

In its latest release, the Brookings Institution, an influential pro-Israel, pro-US Empire think tank, has audaciously called for the break-up of Syria, advancing an incremental strategy to facilitate a stealth US invasion and takeover of the Arab country in the service of Israel.

In the June 2015 report titled “Deconstructing Syria: Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country,”[12] neocon ideologue Michael O’Hanlon outlines his hopes for a weakened “confederal” Syria “made up of autonomous zones rather than being ruled by a strong central government.” (Pg. 3) Such “safe zones” are to be controlled by US Special Forces and their trained foot-soldiers of the “Syrian opposition.” Specifically, O’Hanlon calls for the US and its regional proxies,

“to help defend local safe areas using American airpower as well as special forces support once circumstances are conducive, the Syrian opposition fighters would then establish safe zones in Syria that they would seek to expand and solidify. The safe zones would also be used to accelerate recruiting and training of additional opposition fighters who could live in, and help protect, their communities while going through basic training.” (Pg. 3)

O’Hanlon admits that the US has spent upwards of a billion dollars in “arms flows and other assistance to [Syrian militants]” and later suggests that the so-called ‘moderates’ are ineffective fighters, “a collection of groups with no unity, common vision, or survivability on the battlefield.” O’Hanlon proposes that moderation would not be a prerequisite for US support, something that has never been an issue for Washington anyway which has been covertly sponsoring some of the most unsavory characters imaginable.

Later in the document O’Hanlon identifies the anti-Assad orientation of the strategy, envisioning the “safe zones” as buffers to launch operations against Assad and to eventually push the Syrian president out of power. He writes:

“The plan would be directed in part against Assad. But it would not have the explicit military goal of overthrowing him, at least not in the first instance or the near term. Rather, it would seek to constrict the territory that he governs. And if he delayed too long in accepting a deal for exile, he could inevitably face direct dangers to his rule and even his person. The plan would still seek his removal, but over a gradual time period that allowed for a negotiated exit if he were smart enough to avail himself of the opportunity.” (Pg. 10)

O’Hanlon ponders the “outright partition of the country.” (Pg. 11) This partition scheme is evidently aimed at pressuring Assad and perhaps provoking him to strike at one of the US-controlled “safe zones” which would, O’Hanlon contends, give Washington an excuse to attack Damascus directly. “If Assad sought to attack the enclaves,” writes O’Hanlon, “where moderate forces were being aided by American and other outside powers … the United States would need to be ready to escalate quickly and powerfully—even disproportionately.” (Pg. 13)

This Brookings plan typifies an advanced phase of the destruction of Syria, something in the works since at least 2007. Washington’s anti-Syrian, anti-Iranian and broader anti-Muslim agenda clearly transcended both the Bush and Obama administrations, underscoring the existence of a permanent ‘shadow government’ – the neocon-dominated Military-Industrial Complex – that stays in place behind the curtain no matter who is elected. Obama’s ascendance to the White House was merely a public relations facelift, serving to make the American-Zionist Empire’s bloodthirsty aims more palatable to a war-weary public.

NOTES

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e_4tUYc6ag

[2] “Rand Paul says GOP hawks ‘created’ ISIS,” New York Post, May 27, 2015. http://nypost.com/2015/05/27/rand-paul-says-gop-hawks-created-isis/

[3] Brad Hoff, “2012 Defense Intelligence Agency document: West will facilitate rise of Islamic State ‘in order to isolate the Syrian regime’,” The Levant Report, May 19, 2015. http://levantreport.com/2015/05/19/2012-defense-intelligence-agency-document-west-will-facilitate-rise-of-islamic-state-in-order-to-isolate-the-syrian-regime/

[4] Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, “Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut,” Washington Post, June 12, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmakers-move-to-curb-1-billion-cia-program-to-train-syrian-rebels/2015/06/12/b0f45a9e-1114-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html

[5] Seymour Hersh, “The Redirection,” The New Yorker, March 5, 2007. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection?currentPage=all

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Nafeez Ahmed, “The Pentagon plan to ‘divide and rule’ the Muslim world,” Middle East Eye, April 3, 2015. http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/pentagon-plan-divide-and-rule-muslim-world-1690265165

[10] http://www.scribd.com/doc/155650153/A-Strategy-for-Israel-in-the-Nineteen-Eighties-Oded-Yinon#scribd

[11] http://www.nbcnews.com/watch/meet-the-press/benjamin-netanyahu-full-interview-on-meet-the-press-286451779858

[12] Michael O’Hanlon, “Deconstructing Syria Towards a regionalized strategy for a confederal country,” Brookings Institute, June 2015. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2015/06/23-syria-strategy-ohanlon/23syriastrategyohanlon.pdf

Copyright 2015 Brandon Martinez

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment