Aletho News


Single Payer and the Revolving Door

By Russell Mokhiber | CounterPunch | July 22, 2015

Another benefit of a single payer national health insurance system is that it gets rid of the obscenity of the revolving door between the health insurance industry and the government payer.

There is no revolving door because there is no door.

There is no door because the health insurance companies are put out of their misery.

One public payer. Everybody in. Nobody out.

If we had single payer, we wouldn’t be witnessing the obscenity we witnessed this month.

Take the case of Marilyn Tavenner.

She’s the Obama official who was in charge of the rollout of Obamacare.

She stepped down from her job in February and will become president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — the insurance industry lobbying group representing the likes of Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Taking her place at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is former UnitedHealth executive Andy Slavitt.

Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) says that Karen Ignagni, AHIP’s previous president and CEO, essentially had carte blanche in the White House as Obamacare was being crafted.

“She also was very influential in obtaining the concessions that protected the excess payments to the Medicare Advantage plans, measures which greatly benefit UnitedHealth Group and others,” McCanne says. “It seems more than a coincidence that UnitedHealth Group dropped out of AHIP shortly after the resignation of Karen Ignagni.”

“Without insider information, it is very difficult to determine the degree of control held by each of the players, but there is no question that HHS/CMS, AHIP, and UnitedHealth and the other insurers are all participating in advancing the privatization of Medicare by enhancing the private Medicare Advantage plans with our taxpayer dollars,” McCanne says. “It is particularly disconcerting that this agenda is supported by Congress and the Obama administration.”

“Imagine what those excess funds could do for our traditional Medicare program, especially in reducing out-of-pocket expenses for premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and catastrophic losses,” McCanne says.

“That would be far better than wasting them on the administrative excesses of the private insurers and on the dishonest activities they engage in to increase their profits by measures such as upcoding or gaming risk adjustment.”

Why is there no public outcry?

“It is simply because the Medicare Advantage plans are able to use about one-third of the extra funds to reduce deductibles and coinsurance, making them appear to be superior products, plus there is no need to purchase supplemental Medigap plans,” McCanne says. “Most of the beneficiaries who are satisfied with their private plans would not be inclined to support increased taxpayer funding of the traditional Medicare program since it doesn’t concern them anymore. And efforts to reduce Medicare Advantage funding to the same levels as traditional Medicare are met with loud protests orchestrated by AHIP. Those in the traditional Medicare program usually have supplemental retiree or Medigap plans with which they are satisfied, and thus they are not advocates for change either.”

“It is really difficult to explain to people that what is a good deal for them is a bad deal for all of us together since it perpetuates high costs and extraordinary administrative waste,” McCanne says. “If their programs seem to be working for them, they don’t want change.”

McCanne says that we need to improve the traditional Medicare program so that it is more comprehensive and provides greater value, and then use it to cover everyone.

“Our task is made much more difficult by the powerful forces that support corporate control of our healthcare system,” he says. “After all, they are the ones with the money. And Tavenner and Slavitt will be there as their agents, working inside and outside of the government. And most people won’t care.”

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

Dashcam Video Released in Sandra Bland Traffic Stop Shows Aggressive Abuse by Texas Cop

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | July 22, 2015

Waller County, TX — As more details emerge about the incident involving Sandra Bland, the story gets more and more suspicious. On Tuesday night, dashcam footage was released that highlights the terrible abuse inflicted on Ms. Bland for a routine revenue collection stop — for a turn signal.

According to Waller County Sheriff’s Department officials, Bland was pulled over for “improperly signaling a lane change” and charged with “assault on a public servant.” However, after watching the dashcam, it is quite clear that Bland was the only one being assaulted in this scenario.

Police claim that Bland hung herself with a plastic trash bag in her jail cell. They also claim that Sandra Bland assaulted an officer during her traffic stop. The newly released dashcam footage shows that these cops are not afraid of lying.

After Bland is pulled over for an arbitrary infraction, this abusive cop begins his assault. He starts by screaming at the young lady and then physically attacks her, attempting to yank her from the car.

The entire escalation of violence seems to be over this thug officer demanding Bland put out her cigarette. “I’m in my car, I don’t have to put out my cigarette,” says Bland just before this jackboot tyrant explodes and assaults her and threatens her with a taser.

“Get out of the car! I will light you up!”

It is quite clear who the aggressor was in this incident. If this video is any indication of what went on once Bland was in prison, it is no question why her death is being investigated as a homicide.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Video | , | Leave a comment

Interview with the US Campaign to End Anti-Semitism

By Barb Weir | Dissident Voice | July 21, 2015

As many of you already know, Alison Weir (no relation, and she pronounces her name WEER while mine is pronounced WAH-YER) and her organization, If Americans Knew (IAK), have been expelled from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO). I decided to get to the bottom of this important development, so I got in touch with Rube Joshner at the USCEIO, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity.

Barb Weir: For our readers who may not know, could you please explain why the USCEIO expelled IAK and Alison Weir from your organization?

Rube Joshner: Alison Weir violated our most sacred principle against racism, which is at the foundation of all our work.

BW: My goodness! Is she a closet Zionist? Does she advocate an exclusivist Jewish state. Does she support the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from Palestine or defend the theft of Arab land?

RJ: I’m not sure what you mean by Zionist. I’m not familiar with the term, but as for the rest, no, just the opposite. She violated our anti-Semitism clause.

BW: She’s an anti-Semite?

RJ: Not exactly, but she’s been seen with anti-Semites and she failed to denounce them to their face. We require all of our members to do everything possible to expose and denounce anti-Semites whenever possible, and especially to their face.

BW: I thought that was the job of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

RJ: The ADL is too busy defending Israel to fight anti-Semitism. Our organization criticizes Israel, which gives us a much better platform to fight anti-Semitism. In fact, we believe that the best way to defend Israel is to more-or-less liberate a significant part of 18% of Palestine and let Palestinians live there, as long as they are demilitarized and cannot defend themselves.

BW: I thought you were concerned with defending Palestinians.

RJ: We think that the best way to defend Palestinians is to fight anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is the cause of all the Palestinians’ problems.

BW: So you’re not opposed to Zionism?

RJ: There you go with that word again. What do you mean?

BW: I’m talking about the project to create a Jewish state where none previously existed. You’re not opposed to a state that prefers Jews?

RJ: Where did you get that idea?

BW: I thought you had a policy against racism. Isn’t a Jewish state a racist idea?

RJ: We support the principle of separate but equal, and you won’t find anything against a Jewish state in our policy on racism. That would be anti-Semitic.

BW: Are you planning to expel all the groups that oppose a Jewish state?

RJ: As I said, our first duty is to fight anti-Semitism. Sometimes a group that opposes a Jewish state will get expelled.

BW: Do you have a plan for accomplishing this?

RJ: I’m glad you asked. We’re just now drafting a new application form with a list of questions that is not in the old form. We may even apply it retroactively. Would you like to see it?

BW: Sure.

1. Are you now or have you ever been an anti-Semite?
2. Have you ever attended a meeting of anti-Semites?
3. Have you ever associated anyone that was or is an anti-Semite?
4. Are you willing to provide the U.S. Campaign with a list of all anti-Semites that you have known?
5. Have you ever tolerated the presence of anti-Semites without denouncing or challenging them?

RJ: I hope that shows we’re serious about fighting racism and defending Palestinians.

Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer in Northern California.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | 5 Comments

UK Establishment Closes Ranks on Anti-War Labour Leadership Front Runner

By Michaela Whitton | ANTIMEDIA | July 22, 2015

United KingdomAnyone peeking behind the smokescreen of the British press this weekend (and not distracted by what the Queen did when she was five  or by David Cameron’s extremism rhetoric) may have noticed that despite the U.K. Parliament’s explicit rejection of military intervention, the U.K. has been involved in the bombing of Syria since September— and Cameron has known the whole time.

Those with eyes to see may have also noticed the establishment closing ranks on veteran left-winger, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. After emerging as a front-runner in the Labour leadership campaign, Corbyn appears to have become the victim of a murderous media and political attack, with first prize for slanderous onslaught going to Tory mouthpiece, The Telegraph, and a piece penned by Islam-obsessed Andrew Gilligan.

Sixteen million people chose not to vote in Britain’s general election in May. With many crippled by the thought of another five years of Tory rule, a buzz of hope is in the air at whether Corbyn’s radical spirit can rescue the people from the dark abyss of British politics.

It comes as no surprise that the establishment appears to be zoning in on him.

Apparently, Corbyn is so left-wing that even his own party is panicking, with pressure group Labour First urging party members to vote for the other candidates. Group secretary Luke Akehurst said, “We clearly do not share Jeremy Corbyn’s politics and believe these would destroy Labour’s chances of electability.’’

The last 30 years have been harsh for Labour. Born out of the Trade Union movement, the aim was always to give a voice to the British working classes, but 17 years of Thatcherism took its toll. Additional years of hollow and watered down Tory policies imposed by Blair and Brown made it almost game over. More recently, weak and compromised former leader Ed Miliband didn’t manage to reach the disenfranchised, who either gave up on British politics completely or edged toward UKIP or the Greens.

On Sunday, the Independent reported that some Labour MPs plan to mount a coup if Corbyn gets in with one member, claiming, “We cannot just allow our party, a credible party of government, to be hijacked in this summer of madness. There would be no problem in getting names. We could do this before Christmas.”

‘’Hijacked?’’ Elected in 1983, principled socialist Corbyn is in favour of free education and a living wage. A believer in the scrapping of nuclear weapons, the welfare state, solid trade unions and a stable NHS, he vehemently opposed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq —interventions that destroyed the reputations of the U.K. and Labour.

As a proponent of a free Palestine, last summer Corbyn was marching through London with thousands of others to condemn Israel’s assault on Gaza. As national chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, he regularly speaks out against British military intervention in the Middle East at human rights conferences across the globe.

His refusal to compromise and his calls for conflict resolution through peaceful negotiations—rather than the bombing of foreign countries—has earned him the title of friend to Hamas, Iran and extremists.

With a private poll putting him ahead in the Leadership campaign by 15 points, attempts to smear and discredit Corbyn are to be expected. As his principles grip the imaginations of a weary and desperate public, there are accounts of hundreds of Brits paying £3 to sign up online as Labour Party supporters, just for a chance to vote for him in September’s election.

It remains to be seen whether or not he will appeal to those 16 million disillusioned non-voters and those feeling abandoned by Labour—or if he can reclaim territory the party has lost over the last few years.  As he continues to challenge the dominant themes running through the pro-war veins of British politics, there is one certainty—the knives will continue to twist in his back as the establishment-run media attempts to control narratives and influence opinion.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | | 3 Comments

Iran’s Nuclear Deal With the P5+1: Winners and Losers

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By Sasan Fayazmanesh | CounterPunch | July 22, 2015

The dust has settled and the long-awaited agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) called “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) is now a reality. The JCPOA curtails Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Also real is the UN Resolution 2231, which terminates all the previous sanctions resolutions against Iran passed by the United Nations Security Council. We can now announce the winners and losers in the 36-year battle between Iran and its adversaries.

Let us start with the biggest loser in this battle, the colonial regime in Palestine called Israel. Since the 1990s Israeli leaders, particularly Benjamin Netanyahu, had been trying to wage a war against both Iraq and Iran, the twin pillars standing in the way of Eretz Yisrael. But they tried to do this on the cheap, sending American boys and girls to kill and get killed. They were successful in the case of Iraq, but had a difficult time getting the US to wage a war against Iran. They could not even convince George W. Bush to go along with bombing Iran, even though they had planted their “neoconservative” allies around a president who was not known for his immense intelligence and had visions of talking to God before invading Iraq. The work became harder when Barack Obama became president. Once again, Israel planted some of its best lobbyists, such as Dennis Ross, in the highest positions in the White House and charged them with the task of formulating and implementing the policy of “tough diplomacy,” a policy designed to wage a military attack on Iran after a series of steps beginning with imposing the most severe sanctions on the country. Yet, however hard Israeli leaders tried, they could not get President Obama to take the last step and start a war with Iran. The job became even tougher when some of the Israeli lobbyists left the Obama Administration and Secretary of State John Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton, a sycophant who often mimicked Netanyahu when it came to Iran. In the end Israel not only could not get the US to attack Iran, it had to witness the entire policy of “tough diplomacy” wither away.

The failure to make the US wage a war on Iran is, indeed, one of the greatest losses that Israel has ever suffered. Ironically, the dim-witted Prime Minister of Israel played a role in this loss. Netanyahu’s bizarre behavior was, indeed, instrumental in making the P5+1 take Israel’s demands and threats not too seriously. His insane and incessant comparison of Iran to another Nazi Germany intent to commit Holocaust, his silly and continuous warnings that an Iranian nuclear bomb awaits not only Israel but Europe and the US, his ridiculous spectacle at the UN holding a cartoon of an Iranian bomb—mocked by some as “Bibi’s Wile E. Coyote UN speech”—his behind the scene maneuvers with some like mined looney-tunes in the US to defy Obama and speak before a joint session of the US Congress, all helped to isolate Israel and prevent it from playing a major role in the final P5+1 negotiations with Iran. We should all be grateful to Bibi for helping to prevent another war in the Middle East on behalf of Israel!

Israel’s loss is, of course, also the loss of its surrogates in the US. The gambling and “investor” tycoons allied with Israel, the congressmen and women who owe their seats and survival in the US Congress to these moguls, the lobbyists who are nourished by these magnates, the “neoconservatives” whose existence depends on the benevolence of these tycoons, all and all have suffered a colossal loss. The Adelson and Sabans of this world, the Cottons, Kirks and Menendezs, the AIPACs, WINEPs and UANIs, the Kristols, Boltons and Dubowitzs, have all lost big with the conclusion of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. We should give them an “A” for effort and an “F” for the final outcome.

All this, of course, does not mean that the colonial regime of Israel and its allies are finished with trying to do to Iran what was done to Iraq. They still have a few weeks left to try to kill the US part of the bargain. But even if they muster all the needed votes against the JCPOA in the Congress, the agreement between Iran and the rest of the P5+1 will not go away. Neither will the UN Resolution 2231. That ship has already sailed!

Other big losers in the decades-old battle between Iran and the West are the medieval regimes in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf, that are nurtured and nourished by the West, especially by the Unites States. A common argument, originally manufactured in Israel, is that if Iran is allowed to enrich uranium, Arab regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, will try to develop nuclear weapons of their own. But this argument only shows how backward and reactionary these regimes are. Why didn’t these sheikhdoms try to acquire nuclear weapons when a colonial power in their midst acquired hundreds of nuclear warheads? Is it because the existence of these regimes is interwoven with colonialism? Is it because they fear resistance to colonialism? Is it because they see Iran as assisting the anti-colonial forces? Is it because they, too, had been working for decades to maintain sanctions against Iran and were hoping that one day the US or Israel or both would attack Iran? Well, the medieval regimes did not get what they wished for.

Who was the main winner in the 36-year old battle? It is tempting to say Iran. But, for reasons explained below, that would not be my first choice. My answer is actually the international corporations! As I once explained, the battle in the US over sanctioning Iran, particularly during the Clinton’s presidency, was fought between two forces, Israel and its lobby groups that were the underwriters of the sanctions, and the corporate lobby that fought to remove the sanctions. Needless to say that the corporate concern was with profit and not with the ethics of trying to starve a nation.

Over the years the corporate lobby, led particularly by the aerospace, energy and agricultural industries, lost all hopes of ever defeating its much stronger foe. Starting in the second half of the Clinton Administration foreign corporations, too, became increasingly fearful of dealing with Iran. Eventually most ties between Iran and the capitalist world economy were severed. Now, after the JCPOA, both the American and foreign corporations are salivating over the prospect of returning to Iran. Like vultures that see a fresh carcass, the capitalists of the world see a large “market” ahead of them, a country with nearly 80 million people who are mostly young and thirsty to possess commodities. Even before the final agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1, delegation after delegation of corporate leaders started to visit Iran to reserve their seats at the forthcoming auction. But they might be jumping the gun. The sanctions that would eventually be removed are only related to the nuclear dispute. All the other sanctions, related to such things as Iran’s putative “support for terrorism” and “violations of human rights,” will remain in place.

But did Iran have a victory? I was asked this question after a talk I gave following the April Lausanne agreement. My answer was that the battle between Iran and the P5+1 is analogous to the fight between a lightweight and a heavyweight. Even before the fight begins you know who will get clobbered. The question, however, is if the lightweight will still be standing after the fight. If so, that might be construed as a victory for the lightweight. Using that analogy one can say that President Rouhani’s negotiators were victorious. They entered the talks from a position of weakness and yet they were standing at the end. In the process they crossed many of their own “redlines,” to use a favored expression of both sides of the negotiation. The redlines that were crossed by Iran included, among others, the demand that the agreement be reached in one stage rather than different stages, that military sites not be inspected at all and that sanctions be removed on the day of the agreement and not gradually. The UN Resolution 2231 also includes many concessions by Iran, such as a “snap-back” mechanism, a mechanism that would effectively trigger sanctions on Iran if one of the parties to the nuclear deal, such as the US, contends that Iran is not fulfilling its commitments. In addition, the resolution keeps in place an arms embargo and a ban on ballistic missile technology for many years to come. When examined closely, the concessions made by Iran in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 appear shocking to those who have followed these negotiations from the very beginning.

Some “principalist” opponents of Rouhani in Iran have compared the concessions made by his team of negotiators to those made in the past by Iran in its struggle against imperialist forces—for example, the 1828 Turkmanchai Treaty with tsarist Russia, or the 1890 Tobacco Concession and, subsequently, the 1919 “Anglo-Persian Agreement” signed with the British, or the 1988 “poison chalice,” which forced Iran to accept a cease-fire demanded by the United Nations Security Council to end the war imposed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and his supporters, particularly the U.S. But what the “principalists” ignore is that making concessions did not begin with Rouhani and his team. It started a long time ago, in 2003, during the presidency of the “reformist” President Khatami, when Iran entered negotiations over its enrichment of uranium with E3 (France, Britain, and Germany), while contending at the same time that it has an “inalienable right” under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium. Only a country in a weak position negotiates with others over its “inalienable right.” But this weakness was not associated solely with Iranian reformists. President Ahmadinejad, who was considered to be an ally of the principalists, also negotiated with the P5+1 over Iran’s enrichment of uranium. Thus, both the reformists and principalists negotiated with the biggest powers in the world from a position of weakness. This, however, was unavoidable, given the circumstances. When your whole existence is threatened, you might make a Faustian bargain, and, if you are still standing, you might call it a victory.

The biggest victim of 36 years of sanctions and threats against Iran was the Iranian working class who had to live not only under conditions of deprivation and austerity but under continuous fear of being bombed by the US, Israel or both. Let us hope that Iran’s “victory” brings about some relief for these workingmen and women, rather than merely translating into a bonanza for the Western corporate elites and their counterparts in Iran. Let us also hope that with lessening of daily threats of war, the fear of the “enemy”—a common phrase in the parlance of Iranian leaders—lessens and a greater freedom descends upon the people of Iran.

Sasan Fayazmanesh is Professor Emeritus of Economics at California State University, Fresno, and is the author of Containing Iran: Obama’s Policy of “Tough Diplomacy.” He can be reached at:

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Germany must ‘throw off remains’ of allied occupation

RT | July 21, 2015

NSA spying scandals are being discussed by the public now, said Elsa Rassbach, anti-war activist from Code Pink. And this is a positive step towards throwing out the remains of having been occupied, she added.

WikiLeaks has published an intercept suggesting that the National Security Agency kept an eye on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and many other senior German officials for years.

RT:  Do you believe the NSA spying scandals have a significant effect on relations between Germany and the US?

Elsa Rassbach: I think the very fact that they are being discussed shows a huge shift, because this spying has been going on heavily during the whole Cold War. But the thing is that it continued after Germany supposedly received its sovereignty through the Two plus Four Agreement in 1990 and 91. Germany has allowed this whole time this spying, and has known about it, and has also allowed the bases here to be used for wars that Germany has said that they did not agree with, I mean the US military bases. The fact that now it’s even being discussed is already a very positive step.

RT:  So why do you think the German government’s outrage publicly hasn’t been greater?

ER: I think that the new story that “Oh [Angela] Merkel’s cell phone was being listened to,” was really a ploy. It’s well known what the NSA was doing the whole time, and was set up to do, was to spy broadly on everyone around the world, except US citizens. What they changed in 2001 after the attack on the World Trade Center is that they decided, or four people decided: President [George] Bush, Vice President [Dick] Cheney, and the heads of the CIA and the NSA, that they would throw out the US Constitution and allow also the spying upon US citizens.

I’m absolutely certain that Adenauer’s [Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war Chancellor of Germany from 1949 to 1963] staff, his telephones, and all were spied upon. But at that time Germany was occupied. My question is: Why has it taken so long since Germany achieved sovereignty and was reunified in 1991; why has it taken so long since then? There are some reasons for it, but still think that the way the things are now, it’s almost like an anachronism and Germany does need to throw off the remains of having been occupied.

RT: How much pressure is Merkel under because of these revelations? Does it have an effect on the domestic politics in Germany?

ER: We do see that even some members of the CDU [Christian Democratic Union, Merkel’s party] are making comments and making demands. I think that a lot of the pressure is a big shift in public opinion in Germany. There was recently a Pew study in 2008 where they were asking many countries in Europe: “What’s your opinion of the freedoms that the US gives its citizens. Germans said in 2008, 70 percent had a positive view of this. In 2013, just prior to the Snowden revelations, Germans were 80 percent in favor of their view of the US attitude toward personal freedoms.

It’s now plunged to 43 percent in the last two years, which is the lowest number of any of the major European countries. So there is a big shift on the ground. There is a peace movement, there is a lot of talk now about Ramstein [US Air Force base situated in south-west Germany], drones, and that this surveillance has to end. This was not happening two years ago, or three years ago in the peace movement here. How much that will ultimately relay into sufficient parliamentary pressure and so forth on Chancellor Merkel to do something, I don’t know. And I also wonder whether there would be any pressure from the different corporations who have also been spied upon, whether they will also put pressure on the government about this.

READ MORE: German intelligence cooperated with NSA as Merkel denied knowledge – report

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Kiev Secrecy on Report Boosts Suspicions Ukraine Shot Down MH17

Sputnik – 22.07.2015

The refusal of the Ukrainian government to release the results of the official international investigation into the Malaysia Airlines crash a year ago will increase concerns it may have been shot down by Ukrainian fighters, US experts told Sputnik.

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board, mostly Dutch citizens, died.

Forces seeking independence in eastern Ukraine were widely blamed in the West for the attack.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal told a briefing in Kiev that the results of the international inquiry would remain classified.

“Responses to the MH17 incident have been suspect from the first,” veteran International Herald Tribune correspondent and European affairs analyst Patrick Smith told Sputnik.

“There has been a worrisome absence of hard evidence made public, apart from Russia’s report that it had satellite imagery indicating two Ukrainian fighter jets had been following the airliner prior to the explosion. This report, was of course, ignored among the Western powers.

“The latest determination by the Kiev government to classify results of an international investigation adds significantly to the concerns of many that the Ukrainian air force may have been responsible for the fatal mistake.”

The analyst also criticized the administration of President Barack Obama for its refusal to demand that the findings of the new report be published at once.

“The State Department’s silence on this development, given its energetic assertions in the past, is still more worrisome. It is no longer defensible to dismiss the thought that blame lies precisely with those who were first and readiest to point fingers.”

Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute pointed out that evidence available over the past year threw doubt on the US and Ukrainian claims that the aircraft had been shot down by the independence militants.

“The Ukrainian government kept open a commercial air corridor through a war. That is the first problem. Therefore, the only way a crime could be committed is if those who shot down the aircraft knew it was a civilian aircraft and shot it down anyway.”

New York-based foreign policy analyst and Eurasia Review columnist Michael Averko told Sputnik, the Ukrainian government’s decision to keep the new report under wraps was bound to boost suspicions around the world that they were trying to cover up a conclusion that would damage Kiev’s narrative.

“The ‘classified’ designation plays into the reasoned notion of a cover-up, relating to the belief that the rebel side shot down the MH17.”

Prior to the MH17 tragedy, Averko pointed out, the Kiev regime forces were attacking their adversary from the air in action which led to civilian deaths.

The Kiev regime had the responsibility to report on airspace within their domain which is unsafe for civilian flights, Averko added.

The Ukrainian government’s reluctance to completely disclose all ground control correspondence on this matter is suspicious, he concluded.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

‘Winning the Cold War with propaganda’: New Dutch-Polish ‘content factory’ to challenge Russia

RT | July 22, 2015

Poland and the Netherlands are joining forces to counter so-called “Russian propaganda” with a new Russian-language “content factory,” after US Senator John McCain insisted that propaganda is key to “winning the Cold War” without a single shot.

The Dutch-Polish news agency will offer TV, radio, and online content in the Russian-language across the countries of Russia and eastern Europe. It is planned that the agency will start working next year, with the Netherlands and Poland hoping that other EU States will join them.

The project will “give the tools and the capacities for Russian language [media] and Russian social media to work on the basis of objective information … with the exchange of different viewpoints”, said Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister. Koenders added that that there was “broad support” for the endeavor from EU foreign ministers.

The new news agency will be “something which doesn’t use the language of propaganda or aggression, but which has real, reliable information,” said Polish Foreign Minister, Grzegorz Schetyna. He added that a donor conference for the initiative will kick off in Warsaw in September with the Hague hopefully hosting another fundraising later this year.

The idea to create a Russian-language news agency stems from a Dutch-funded study on counter-propaganda by the European Endowment for Democracy (EED). The EED, a “brainchild of the Polish government,” as the Carnegie institute calls it, was established in October 2012 to support pro-democracy activists and organizations in Eastern Europe. In December 2014, EDD decided to expand their reach into Russia.

In May the organization recommended creating a “news hub” to exchange news material among leading Russian language media and launch a “content factory,” as well as a research center to study audience behavior.

A source within the project at EED told the EU observer that the new agency will be a “content factory” working as “a kind of European BBC”. The publication also reports that foreign service agencies from other EU states are also “taking action” since March to “challenge Russia’s … disinformation campaigns.”

So far five experts, from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and the UK, have been employed to lead a new communications cell called East StratCom Team.

In an interview with Carnegie Europe, Jerzy Pomianowski, the EDDs executive director said that the organization is working with a group of 90 experts and media representatives to analyze their target audience and “what kind of content is needed.”

“With the support of a grant from the Dutch government, we have launched a feasibility study on Russian-language media initiatives. This is about providing Russian-language alternatives to Russian state broadcasting for societies in the Eastern Partnership countries and beyond,” Pomianowski said in March.

Meanwhile at stateside, US Senator John McCain has once again called on Washington and the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to spread its outreach to counter Russian messaging. In June, McCain co-sponsored a bill requesting $728.2 million for the BBG to carry out international communications campaigns. That is in an addition to BBG’s $15.4 million request in April to expand its Russian-language programming and social media content projects.

“I love our folks in Prague and Radio Free Europe and all that, but we have got to catch up. We’ve got to catch up and understand that this is also a message of loyalties and truth. And we’re going to need to do a lot more,” McCain said in a speech to the Hudson Institute.

The Senator stressed that Russia’s news outreach could be countered by propaganda means alone, something that was done during the Cold War.

“One of the key elements of winning the Cold War without firing a shot… is the propaganda – the message, the social networking,” he said. “My friends, there is an inundation today in the Baltic, in Moldova, in Romania, and Poland even of Russian constant, incessant sophisticated messages that we have to counter.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier criticized EU drafted information warfare initiatives to target so-called Russian propaganda. According to the ministry such activity is “clearly aimed at pushing out Russia’s presence in the international media field.”

Last month it was reported that EU has drafted a plan to counter what it sees as “Russian disinformation activities” calling for the promotion of EU policies in the post-Soviet space and the implementation of measures against Russian media, including RT.


EU drafts plan to counter Russian media ‘disinformation’, targeting RT

For propaganda & ‘democracy promotion’: State Dept seeks budget to counter RT

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Europeans No Longer Believe Western Accusations Against Russia – Diplomat

Sputnik – 22.07.2015

The West violates international law by plunging the world into chaos, Russia’s onetime envoy to Rome wrote in an article carried by an Italian magazine.

“Those who accuse Russia of annexing Crimea are destroying the rules of peaceful coexistence countries stuck to even during the Cold War era,” Felix Stanevsky wrote in his think piece, titled “Who breaks international law? Russia and wars of the West”, that appeared in the July 2, 2015 issue of Limes magazine.

Stanevsky mentioned the wars in Yugoslavia and Iraq and the breakup of Libya as examples of Washington’s aggressive policy.

By meddling in the internal affairs of Syria, European and North American countries also resorted to the use of force instead of trying to seek diplomatic solutions to regional problems as called for by international law, thus making war part of everyday Western reality, Stanevsky noted.

The United States has used military force ten times over the past 25 years, and it does not look like this practice is going to end anytime soon, the ex-envoy wrote, adding that examples of Western noncompliance with internationally-recognized norms of peaceful coexistence are too many to ignore.

“Given all these breaches of international law that have been going on for so long, who can really believe all these Western accusations against Russia regarding Crimea and Donbass?”

Stanevsky continued by saying that it is the West which is “waging war after war, killing and destroying, plunging whole regions into chaos and destroying international law.”

Europeans are losing faith in their governments’ declared adherence to peace, demonization of Vladimir Putin and accusations being brought against Russia, Felix Stanevsky wrote in conclusion.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Clinton Days Are Here Again!

By David Swanson | War Is A Crime | July 19, 2015

See if you can spot the mistake in this activist email I received recently:

“In 2001, the Clinton Administration handed George Bush peace, prosperity, and record budget surpluses. Eight years later, Bush handed Barack Obama two disastrous wars and a global economic crash that destroyed over 8 million American jobs. Now that President Obama has finally brought those jobs back – in the face of vicious GOP opposition – Bush’s brother Jeb is now blaming American workers for not working hard enough. If you’re as outraged as we are, please click here to sign Hillary Clinton’s petition telling Jeb Bush that Americans need a raise, not a lecture.”

OK, it was a trick; there’s more than one mistake. Let’s list a few:

Here are things Bill Clinton is now apologizing for: mass incarceration, Wall Street deregulation, the drug war, and corporate trade agreements. Here are a few of the things he should also be apologizing for: destroying welfare, creating media monopolies, expanding NATO toward Russia, creating a precedent for illegal NATO wars without Congressional or UN authorizations, and 500,000 children killed by sanctions in Iraq.

Here are a few little-known facts about President Barack Obama: the war on Afghanistan is more his than Bush’s by any measure, he had regularly voted to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senator, he broke his promised schedule for ending the war on Iraq and never fully ended it and soon revived it, he’s supported coups in Honduras and Egypt and Ukraine, he’s claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone, he’s expanded the military into numerous nations laying the groundwork for future hostilities, and his war on Libya followed the Clinton model of blatant illegality rather than the Bush Jr. approach of at least bothering to lie to Congress and the United Nations.

Another activist group sent me an email this week reading, in part: “The truth is, Republicans don’t want diplomacy to work. They want another costly war like the one they started in Iraq in 2003.” In reality, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate voted for the war on Iraq in 2002. The same parties hold the same branches now. There’s a wise saying that goes something like this: those who convince themselves of a bullshit version of history may be condemned to repeat what actually happened.

Those who study what actually happened may be less shocked to discover how grotesquely corrupt Hillary Clinton is, how murderous, how fervently she promoted that war on Iraq, how very long she has been so disastrous, how she out-hawks almost any hawk, how awful she is for feminism, how brutal she can be, how close she is to Wall Street Republicans and oil barons and Henry Kissinger, how hard it would be to actually elect her, how she used the State Department to market weapons and fracking and pushed weapons on governments she called soft on terrorism while waiving restrictions on sales to brutal governments that donated to her foundation, how she backs mass surveillance, how she believes in representing banks, and how greedy she is.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

War Acceptance 101

By David Swanson | Let’s Try Democracy | July 21, 2015

Behind John Rawls’ veil of ignorance, an American ethics professor would imagine himself or herself choosing a society of wonderful economic and social justice, unheard of equality and liberty, and the “right” to “defend” itself through the counterproductive and self-destructive instrument of military empire and war. Peace isn’t permitted even in utopia, in U.S. academe. Why? Because John Rawls murdered Japanese people “in defense” and occupied their nation as philanthropy.

And why do others support other wars? Principally because of where they happen to have been born and what flavor of fairy tales they have been told as children. Which ancient religious claptrap were you fed? Where were you born? Which political party do you identify with? Answer those questions and nine-and-a-half times out of ten we’ll know which wars you support. We’ll be wrong mostly in the cases of people who have rejected the acceptability of war.

What if, in the moral “original position,” you chose to be born into a society that didn’t accept murder, including government sanctioned mass murder? To reject the killing of non-human animals you’d just have to include them in the list of possible beings you might be born as. You wouldn’t choose a carnivorous society if you might be the carne. You wouldn’t choose an environmentally destructive society if you might be born as someone who cared about their offspring. And you wouldn’t choose a warmaking society any more than you would choose an extreme plutocracy, because your chances of being a war profiteer experiencing short-term and superficial benefits would be miniscule compared to your chances of killing or dying or being injured or being traumatized or losing a loved one or being hated when traveling or paying an economic price or losing your civil liberties or experiencing vicious blowback or bitter shame.

You also wouldn’t choose a warmaking society because you would have no war propaganda behind your veil of ignorance. Despite being defined as an impossibly isolated individual, you would have no reason to choose massive suffering even if the odds were against your being one of the victims.

And, of course, if you imagined yourself ignorant of whether you were an American or an Iranian, it might jolt you into some reluctance to support dropping bombs on Iran.

Extremists who reject all racism do not exist, because such a position is not deemed extreme at all. The same applies to extreme opponents of rape, child abuse, or polygamy, of cannibalism, human sacrifice, or slavery, of the torture of kittens, or of criticism of John McCain. Opposing these things does not involve extremists, only good liberal participants. But oppose all war and you are simply going too far.

But if you are going to support some wars, how do you pick which wars not to support?

Let’s take the proposed U.S. war on Iran. Let’s suppose you don’t oppose it simply because you obey President Obama or because you were not raised a particular sort of Jew or Christian. Let’s suppose you came to your opposition to a U.S. attack on Iran against all demographic odds and after considerable thought. What thought was that?

I really want to know this. Because a good majority in the United States opposes attacking Iran for the moment. Is this just because Iran elected a new president and the new guy hasn’t yet been properly demonized? Or is it just because there have been no reports on videos of Iranian beheadings? Isn’t it more likely because no emergency outcry has been raised to defend innocent civilians from imminent slaughter by Iranians, requiring that Americans bomb them first? Isn’t it even more likely because the FBI is posing as ISIS members, not Iranians, when it entraps troubled and challenged people in charges of terrorist violence? Or — dare we hope? — is it because, after so many years of holding off a war on Iran, the idea that there’s something urgent about starting one now just doesn’t pass the smell test?

If you could choose what sort of economic and political structure to be born into, wouldn’t you choose one that learned from trial and error, and from trial and success? Wouldn’t you place yourself in a society that couldn’t avoid war through basic diplomacy in one instance and not notice that the same basic tactic could be applied in many other instances? And if you chose a society that rewarded success in the pursuit of the social good, you would be choosing a society that viewed war as on a par with cannibalism. Tragically, if you published such a claim in academia, it would not make you feel any better about your colleagues when they roasted and devoured you.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment