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Hansen’s backfire

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | July 26, 2015

Jim Hansen’s new paper, and his PR strategy, are raising a whole host of issues that are arguably a backfire for his objectives.

Last week, several media articles appeared about an alarming new paper by Jim Hansen, that was just being submitted to a journal and was not yet publicly available:

My first reaction was this: Why, of all the major news outlets,  is only the Washington Post carrying this? No AP, etc.? Why haven’t I received a copy of this paper (usually a reporter or one of the skeptical news outlets would send me a copy). I figured the press release and paper were sent to only a few favored journalists?

The ‘favored journalists’ hypothesis quickly evaporated as articles like this then started to appear:

The paper is now available online, for all to evaluate:

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous.

J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Hearty, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo

Abstract. There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by  combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 10 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms.We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in aecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation aects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time 20 scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range.We conclude that 2 C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric.

The paper is in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, the discussion forum of the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics [link]

Andy Revkin has two superb posts on the paper, which I will be referencing in m discussion below:

Reviews of the science

While the paper has not yet undergone formal peer review by the journal, journalists have elicited numerous reviews/comments from scientists. From the Washington Post,

Michael Mann “Their climate model scenario wherein Greenland and Antarctic meltwater caused by warming poles, leads to a near total shutdown of ocean heat transport to higher latitudes, cooling most of the globe (particularly the extratropics), seems rather far-fetched to me.” “Whether or not all of the specifics of the study prove to be correct, the authors have initiated an absolutely critical discussion.”

Kevin Trenberth, called the paper“provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and ‘what if’ scenarios.” Trenberth objected in particular to the climate modeling scenarios used to study freshwater injection as ice sheets melt. “These experiments introduce a lot of very cold fresh water in various places, and then they see what happens.” “The question is how relevant these are to the real world and what is happening as global warming progresses? They do not seem at all realistic to me.” “There are way too many assumptions and extrapolations for anything here to be taken seriously other than to promote further studies.”

Richard Alley,“Many parts of the new paper are likely to stimulate much technical discussion and further research in our community, as we try to weave together the deep-time and recent history to provide useful projections for the future.” “This new paper is not ‘the answer,’” “Particularly, replacing the simple assumptions about doubling times of ice loss with physically based insights is a major focus of our field, but is not yet done and not likely to be ready really quickly.” Alley acknowledged that the IPCC’s sea level rise estimate “is well on the optimistic low-rise side of the possible outcomes,” and added that “the estimates in the new paper of freshening, and discussion of stabilization of the southern ocean and influences on precipitation, are interesting and important.”

From Revkin’s second post:

Tad Pfeffer: If you look at this from the point of view of somebody who’s trying to use this information for anything other than scientific satisfaction, whether or not these very, very rapid rates of sea level rise happen in the next few decades or the next few centuries makes all the difference in the world. The question of when does this start is not really addressed in this paper that I can find, and has been addressed only peripherally in most of the papers about ice sheet instability that I have seen. Ian Joughin made some statements recently [context] that I thought were pretty solid about it being a few centuries before this kind of very rapid sea level rise can take place and that makes sense to me because there are some very important things that you have to do in order to turn on the rapid response of the Antarctic ice sheet – you have to get rid of a couple of big ice shelves for starters. And it’s going to take a few centuries to do that. From a strictly geophysical, glaciological, point of view, a few centuries may not make much difference. But from the point of view of a planner, a policymaker, again these are the people who care about what exactly we’re saying. It makes all the difference in the world. And that’s the part I find missing in this paper. They have to say something about when this is going to occur. They may not be able to say with any great precision, but they have to say something. Because if this is something that’s going to happen in the next few decades, yeah, it’s something we’ve really got to wake up and pay attention about. If it’s something that’s going to happen in the next few centuries then there are a lot of other issues that we have to sort out first.

Without going into any details here, Revkin’s second post provides scientists’ comments that shows the whole section on Eemian superstorms appears to be without basis.

JC comments on the science

This is an intriguing and wide-sweeping paper that has put together a multi-disciplinary team to examine the possibility of near term catastrophic sea level rise.

For context, Hansen et al. present a much more extreme scenario than the  last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most recent assessment in 2014  “Expert assessment of sea-level rise by AD 2100 and AD 2300.”

Should we only pay attention to UN and NAS sanctioned assessments by expert teams? Absolutely not (note I will have a follow on post in a day or two that delves into this issue). As stated in my previous post What is the plausible ‘worst scenario’ for climate change?, we should be putting extreme scenarios out there and assess whether they are plausible, possible, or essentially impossible.

The biggest issue raised by Hansen is the potential (plausible? possible?) for a catastrophic >5 m sea level rise in the 21st century. Hansen et al. have proposed a  a new mechanism for faster sea level rise – can we falsify this?  The collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS)  is arguably the most alarming potential impact of global warming. WAIS has collapsed before during previous interglacials, and will undoubtedly collapse again (with or without AGW), with a ~5 m sea level rise. The issue is whether the WAIS can collapse on timescales of decades to a century. Based on what we know (summarized by Tad Pfeffer above), this is a process that would take centuries.

I am not an expert on sea level rise or ice sheets, but here are a few things that frame my own understanding, including some recent research:

  • Sea level has been rising for millennia. I am not convinced that there is a significant acceleration of sea level rise that can be attributed to human caused global warming (see this previous post).
  • Recent research from Scripps finds that the Greenland ice sheet did not melt as much as expected during the Eemian but that may mean Antarctic ice sheets melted more than expected.
  • A new paper summarized by Cato that found that the size of the Greenland ice sheet—especially the best observed portions covering the west and southwestern parts of Greenland—during the mid-Holocene was smaller than it is today—but not by a whole lot.
  • Study finds surprisingly high geothermal heating beneath west antarctic ice sheet [link]

So it looks like we should be more worried about WAIS than about Greenland, and it seems that natural processes (natural climate change and geothermal processes) have caused large sea level changes in the past during interglacial periods (albeit not rapid ones) and will continue to cause sea level to changes in the future. Human contribution so far to sea level rise does not seem particularly significant, given the early 20th century rate of sea level rise is about the same as the current rate. Our ways of inferring future rates of sea level rise from ice sheet melting is crude – we can speculate but not with much confidence. The danger posed by sea level rise is a function of the rate of change far more than the actual sea level itself.

Does Hansen et al. make any contribution to all this? Well their proposed mechanism with feedbacks is of interest and should be explored further. But their conclusions regarding an alarming rate of sea level rise are at best possible (and not plausible).

Policy relevance

The policy relevance of the Hansen et al. paper is the articulation of a possible worst case scenario of sea level rise. In robust decision making, the plausible worst case scenario informs decision making but does not necessarily dominate the decision making process.

What role does a ‘possible’ worst case scenario play, apart from clarifying what is plausible? Well, to alarm people and to help build political will to ‘act’ on emissions reductions, particularly for forthcoming Paris COP.

Regarding the policy relevance of the paper, Science Insider writes:

Whether this paper will become a key point of reference in the ongoing climate talks isn’t clear. In advance of the Paris meetings, negotiators from nearly every country in the world have provisionally agreed to the 2°C target. That there is even such an agreement in the offing seems like a victory, but whether it will be reached is still up in the air. Recognizing this, 24 academic and professional institutions in the United Kingdom yesterday issued a sternly worded joint communiqué that called on the international community to take immediate action on reducing emissions. The statement suggested that to have a chance of reaching that 2°C goal, Earth must become a zero-carbon world by the second half of the century. . . But how influential this paper will be is unclear, given its flaws.

Hansen has previously suggested that scientists are often too hesitant to say just how dire the situation is. A 2007 paper he co-authored, titled “Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise,” suggested that scientists felt constrained from sounding a full-fledged alarm on how high the waters will get, in part because of the cautious nature of scientific inquiry and the scientific method. But, he says in that paper’s abstract, “there is a danger in excessive caution.” The new paper, he told reporters yesterday, is “significantly more persuasive than anything previously published about just how dangerous 2°C warming would be.”

Hansen’s political agenda is evident as per Revkin’s post:

The new paper, which Hansen told me he’s been working on for eight years, was being rushed into public view with the hope of influencing negotiations at the December round of talks in Parisaimed at crafting a new global climate change agreement. You can hear from Hansen on the reasoning in the recording of his phone conference call with some reporters on Monday.

Also from Revkin regarding a passage apparently in the press release:

The paper got attention in advance because of this passage:

We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization. This image of our planet with accelerating meltwater includes growing climate chaos and storminess, as meltwater causes cooling around Antarctica and in the North Atlantic while the tropics and subtropics continue to warm. Rising seas and more powerful storms together are especially threatening, providing strong incentive to phase down CO2 emissions rapidly.

The backfire
The cited criticisms of the paper all make valid points. The criticisms of Mann and Trenberth are somewhat surprising to me, since I have seen them support papers that are at least as dubious as Hansen et al. Apart from the paper’s flaws, I suspect some of the backlash from these scientists  is associated with the fact that this paper has not yet been peer reviewed, and is an integrative, interdisciplinary assessment that challenges the IPCC and other established assessment reports. Revkin cites Tad Pfeffer: “One of the things that troubles me most is that the rapid-fire publication of unsettled results in highly visible venues creates the impression that the scientific community has no idea what’s going on.” There is clearly a concern that such independent assessments, especially by well known and/or reputable scientists, can undermine the authority and messaging of ‘establishment’ assessment and scientists.

Revkin provides some interesting insights into their publicity push and the media response:

But by late Tuesday, as other coverage built, so did questions about the way the study was released, and the quality of its analysis. Another sign  of trouble was that, despite the publicity push, the Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian (despite its yearlong push for climate action blending advocacy and reporting) were among those who steered clear of the study. Listen to the taped call to get a visceral sense of the concerns of Seth Borenstein, the longtime climate reporter at the A.P.

That portentous section above — which in many ways is the only part of the paper that is news given how it centers on the “likely” inundation of most coastal cities in this century without aggressive emissions cuts — is not in the version the journal has posted. It’s in a shorter version, lacking references, that a publicist at Glover Park told me was going into more of a lay publication.

The final draft posted for discussion has more nuanced language, in line with what those arguing for more near-term climate and coastal risk have already articulated.

Maybe we’ll all be a little slower on the draw next time when work is promoted before it is publicized or peer reviewed. There are other merits to slowing down a bit in examining an issue that will be with us for generations — long past Paris. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I think part of the backfire is associated with having Glover Park handle the media push. Glover Park provides strategic communications campaigns for corporations, non-profit organizations and industry associations. The Group is also involved in lobbying, but it definitely seems to be non-partisan (i.e. open to pretty much all paying customers – I wonder how much Hansen paid for their services and where the funds came from).

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen publicity for a research paper being handled by such a group (Glover doesn’t seem to have prior experience with this, since they rather bungled it for Hansen). Press releases are usually issued by universities, journals or funding agencies. Advocacy groups and think tanks also issue press releases for their own reports. But what about retired or independent scientists? And for scientists whose universities won’t issue a press release? E.g., Georgia Tech declined to issue a press release on Lewis and Curry; the paper was publicized on my blog and by the GWPF. In Hansen’s case, presumably NASA or Columbia could have issued the press release. But probably not including Hansen’s most alarming statements.

In any event, it is refreshing to see the maturity shown by some journalists in handling this issue. They seem to be well trained re the ‘sanctity’ of peer reviewed papers. I am also wondering whether Hansen’s explicit policy advocacy, coupled with a scientific research paper (esp one that had not undergone peer review), contributed to distrust of the research? You would hardly expect Jim Hansen to write a paper saying AGW is less alarming than we thought.

A combination of weak/speculative science, issuing the press release prior to peer review or at least public availability of the paper, a direct challenge to establishment assessment reports, policy advocacy, and use of a professional publicity/marketing/lobbying group to handle the publicity seems to have contributed to the backfire. I doubt that this paper will have any serious influence on the Paris deliberations.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

The marketing of perpetual war


By BlackCatte | offGuardian | July 10, 2015

… The war is not meant to be won – it is meant to be continuous.…” – George Orwell, 1984

David Kilcullen has a message for us over at the Guardian, and this is it:

We’re living in an era of persistent conflict…”

Which is sadly, true. You might think the next thing to be discussed on that topic would be – why? Why are we now living in an era of endless war? What forces are behind this development? Who, if anyone, is profiting from the same? But, no, David doesn’t think any of this is worthy of our attention. He simply wants us to understand that “perpetual conflict” is absolutely and inescapably the new reality.

… you can read it in the latest concept documents of half a dozen western militaries. But it doesn’t seem to have hit home, for the public or some policymakers, that the notion that this can all end, that we can get back to some pre-9/ 11 “normal,” is a fantasy.

Do we get that? Is it hitting home? Peace is now a “fantasy”. It’s official. And in case you are still harbouring some smidgen of doubt, Dave is going to say it again in different words:

This – this instability, this regional conflict surrounded by networked global violence, this convergence of war and crime, of domestic and international threats, this rise of a new aggressive totalitarian state from the rubble of the last war – is the new normal, and it’s not going to change for a very, very long time. There are no quick solutions: we need to settle in for the long haul.


That being the case, we have to figure out methods of dealing with persistent conflict.


I see no alternative to a larger, more intense, conventional war against Isis than the one currently being contemplated…

Do you see that children? That’s called “paradigm-creation.” The topic for discussion is evidently intended to be “how do we deal with persistent conflict?” The question of why the persistent conflict is happening, or who is funding these “aggressive new totalitarian states” is NOT part of the agenda, and is being excised from our collective conscious. All we need to know is:

Isis is an escalating threat that’s growing and worsening.

We do not need to worry our little heads about what this entity called “ISIS” actually is, how plausible the clownish stories of its super-villain powers are. Nor are we supposed to waste a single moment asking who is picking up its not inconsiderable tab. What matters is that Syria and Iraq are “problems” (never mind why or how) and that “greater western involvement would mitigate all these problems” (because that is what western involvement does – ask Libya). Most importantly, the US needs to get over its scruples and do more:

…US passivity and reluctance to target Assad (though his regime kills more people than Isis) makes many Syrians wary of joining the “moderate” rebels.

“US passivity and reluctance”? Really, Dave? What about the article in the Washington Times claiming the US state department lied about Syrian chemical attacks in order to fabricate a reason for attacking Assad? And what about this article at Global Research which alleges the US is actually targeting the Syrian government- not ISIS – with its current air strikes.

I’m left wondering – is Assad really any worse than the dreadful and medieval Saudis? He certainly seems to be pretty popular in Syria, where they apparently have a different take on things (but Dave doesn’t bother to tell us that). If we in the west have no problem with murderous tyrants, why do we have a problem with Assad? Is it because he isn’t our murderous tyrant?

Is the US really out there in Syria trying (but inexplicably failing) to defeat ISIS? Or is it happy to aid and abet ISIS in doing the dirty work it tried and failed to do itself? If Dave gets his way and we launch a “more intense conventional war” in Syria, will our soldiers’ lives and our taxes really be spent on defeating ISIS or is that just a shallow ruse to enable the US to finally go in and get Assad?

Is “perpetual conflict” really something we should all just accept as inevitable and leave it to people like Dave to sort out? Or is it something we should be resisting and interrogating at every level and at every opportunity?

Nah. Never mind. None of this matters. Let’s just keep it simple. The message is:

1. Persistent conflict is the new normal

2. There is no need to ask why.

Everyone got that?

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

John Stockwell and Gary Shaw Discuss JFK Assassination

Alternative Views

John Stockwell is the author of In Search of Enemies. Gary Shaw is a director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center. Alternative Views was a public access television program broadcast from Austin, Texas. This episode was recorded in 1989.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

(Un)solving Ukraine’s conflict

What is exactly stopping a solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine?

By Mikhail Molchanov | Open Democracy | July 16 2015

By this time, it should be obvious that the west does not want a conflict in Ukraine to be resolved any time soon. If that were the case, it would apply pressure to both parties of the conflict: the government in Kiev and the separatists in Donbas. Instead, the west applies pressure to the third party: the Russian government, admittedly the separatists’ best friend and supplier, but not the one that has direct stakes in the conflict at hand.

Let us recount those stakes. For Kiev: territorial integrity, full sovereignty over Donbas, and the right to determine its foreign policies independently from external influences (or so the government spokespersons in Kiev say).

For Donbas: linguistic and cultural autonomy, elements of a robust home rule, the right to preserve a privileged relationship with the Russian Federation, and amnesty to the local separatist leaders and militiamen.

Does Russia have stakes separate from any of these? Not that I know of. Putin keeps repeating the separatists’ demands: an amnesty, local autonomy; full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In spite of what we hear so often in the west, there are no separate demands presumably infringing on Ukraine’s sovereignty; Russia says nothing about whether Ukraine should or should not join the EU, should or should not claim Donbas as its own, should or should not be friendly with Russia itself. Yes, the Kremlin would be extremely disappointed were Ukraine to join NATO. Even so, the Kremlin has more than once assured the world it did not claim to have a veto over Ukraine’s foreign policy choices.

All the same, demanding that Russia seal the border and stop the influx of volunteers into the conflict zone is extremely unrealistic. Putin staked his reputation on support of Russia’s so-called compatriots in the near abroad; his abandoning those compatriots to the gallows would sink his presidency.

What is, then, the solution and is it even possible?

It seems the solution is possible, and it has been clearly defined in the Minsk agreements. The problem is, Kiev does not want to implement them, and therefore protracts the conflict.

Firstly, the promised amnesty to the separatists has never been announced. Ukraine’s pundits are musing over who should be pardoned and who should not. Those with blood on their hands should not be pardoned, seems to be the common wisdom. Not a word about the blood of civilians in Donbas killed in the process of carrying out Kiev’s so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation. With such an attitude, the choice facing the Donbas militia leaders seems to be simple: continue fighting or face imprisonment (or worse) at the hand of the Ukrainian authorities. Why are we surprised they keep fighting?

Secondly, the Minsk agreements called for extensive home rule provisions for Donbas, and for a requisite change in the Constitution of Ukraine.

None of this seems to be in the works. The latest proposal on changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, dated July 1, 2015, has nothing about a special status for the affected regions of Donbas beyond a fuzzy promise – in the law, not in the Constitution itself – that the ‘special modalities of local governance in separate regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasti will be determined by a separate law’. This is not what the Government of Ukraine promised its partners when talking about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

Thirdly, the Minsk Agreements call for the ‘linguistic self-definition’ of the affected regions or, in short, the right to continue using Russian as the language of daily communication and local governance. Official Kiev keeps quiet on the issue.

Finally, according to the Minsk agreements, Ukraine should support social and economic development of the affected regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In the meantime, since November 2014, no pensions have been paid to the retired Ukrainian citizens living in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Although Kiev has not begun implementing even the first basic point of the Minsk agreements (the ‘immediate and comprehensive cease-fire’ in Donbas), the west seems to be fully okay with that. Well, the separatists fire on Ukraine’s positions, the Ukrainian army should return fire, so goes the conventional explanation.

What if the Ukrainian army didn’t return fire? Would it risk losing an inch more territory? The answer is far from obvious, yet the the regular army continues using heavy artillery in densely populated civilian areas in Donbas (and killing unarmed civilians in the process). This fact alone should have moved Ukraine’s western sponsors to an obvious course of action: press the Ukrainian government to stop abusing human rights of its own citizens in eastern Ukraine.

It is almost exactly a year since Human Rights Watch, in an open communication to President Poroshenko, lamented the actions of the Ukrainian army and the pro-government militias, in particular the shelling of a hospital in Krasny Liman and air strikes in the villages of Luhanskaya and Kondrashevka.

In January and February 2015, government forces (and the separatists) used widely banned cluster munitions to attack rebels; earlier, the use of incendiary weapons in densely populated areas was documented. By July 2015, more than 6,500 people have died as a result of the conflict; close to 3,500 of them civilians. More than 16,000 have been wounded; close to 1.4 million people internally displaced. At least 660,000 Ukrainian refugees came to Russia.

The civil war in Ukraine has generated a humanitarian catastrophe that can only be resolved with the joint efforts of all parties concerned, the USA and the EU included. It goes without saying, Kiev should be prepared to sit together at the same table with separatist leaders and offer them some concessions before any deal can be reached.

Instead, Kiev promises an amnesty after the elections, and a law on the status of territories after Ukraine’s full control over its eastern borders is restored. To many an observer inside and outside, this must look like deceiving one’s opponent and negotiating in bad faith. Yet western powers stand firm in their resolve to lay all the blame for the failure of the Minsk agreement at Russia’s feet.

Last month, at the G-7 meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, western powers agreed to keep sanctions against Russia in place until the Minsk agreements are implemented in full. The Canadian government went further than the rest of the G-7 nations, having decided not only to keep, but to expand the sanctions with the blacklisting of Gazprom, its oil subsidiary Gazprom Neft, Russia’s state-owned Transneft and a major oil producer Surgutneftegaz. In addition, Canada decided to sanction a conservative nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin and Eurasian Youth Union, a non-governmental organization known for its pro-Putin views.

All of this looks more than somewhat one-sided given a recent revelation that Canada’s embassy in Kiev was used as a base for anti-government protesters to re-group and re-cuperate during the Maidan uprising that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovych.

As for Canada’s big brother, the United States, it has publicly admitted spending $5.1 billion to support democracy-building programs in Ukraine since 1992. While western champions of democracy have proudly claimed their right to interfere in internal affairs of a sovereign country for the sake of a regime change when it suited their interests, they do surprisingly little to stop continuing human rights abuses committed by Ukraine government troops and far-right militias in the pro-Russian Donbas.

If the Minsk agreements are ever to be implemented in full, there is no other way but for all sides to follow the agreed-upon commitments.

This includes, first and foremost, the immediate cessation of artillery barrages targeting Donbas cities and villages; further, the unequivocal and unconditional declaration of an amnesty for the Donbas fighters; and finally, a provision for Donbas autonomy enshrined into the Constitution of Ukraine before – not after – any local elections will be allowed to happen.

Only such a range of measures will ensure full withdrawal of Russian volunteers from Donbas, and Russian regular forces from the Russo-Ukrainian borderlands.

Only such a gambit will restore peace and a hope of prosperity to the whole of Ukraine. It is not Moscow, or Donetsk, or Luhansk that should make a first move. It is fully up to Kiev to choose between war and peace in Ukraine’s south east.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | July 21, 2015

battlefieldHow can the life of such a man

Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?

To see him obviously framed

Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land

Where justice is a game.

—Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”

Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Just ask Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. Despite the fact that Deskovic’s DNA did not match what was found at the murder scene, he was singled out by police as a suspect because he wept at the victim’s funeral (he was 16 years old at the time), then badgered over the course of two months into confessing his guilt. He was eventually paid $6.5 million in reparation.

James Bain spent 35 years in prison for the kidnapping and rape of a 9-year-old boy, but he too was innocent of the crime. Despite the fact that the prosecutor’s case was flimsy—it hinged on the similarity of Bain’s first name to the rapist’s, Bain’s ownership of a red motorcycle, and a misidentification of Bain in a lineup by a hysterical 9-year-old boy—Bain was sentenced to life in prison. He was finally freed after DNA testing proved his innocence, and was paid $1.7 million.

Mark Weiner got off relatively easy when you compare his experience to the thousands of individuals who are spending lifetimes behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Weiner was wrongfully arrested, convicted, and jailed for more than two years for a crime he too did not commit. In his case, a young woman claimed Weiner had abducted her, knocked her out and then sent taunting text messages to her boyfriend about his plans to rape her. Despite the fact that cell phone signals, eyewitness accounts and expert testimony indicated the young woman had fabricated the entire incident, the prosecutor and judge repeatedly rejected any evidence contradicting the woman’s far-fetched account, sentencing Weiner to eight more years in jail. Weiner was only released after his accuser was caught selling cocaine to undercover cops.

In the meantime, Weiner lost his job, his home, and his savings, and time with his wife and young son. As Slate reporter journalist Dahlia Lithwick warned, “If anyone suggests that the fact that Mark Weiner was released this week means ‘the system works,’ I fear that I will have to punch him in the neck. Because at every single turn, the system that should have worked to consider proof of Weiner’s innocence failed him.”

The system that should have worked didn’t, because the system is broken, almost beyond repair.

In courtroom thrillers like 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, justice is served in the end because someone—whether it’s Juror #8 or Atticus Finch—chooses to stand on principle and challenge wrongdoing, and truth wins.

Unfortunately, in the real world, justice is harder to come by, fairness is almost unheard of, and truth rarely wins.

On paper, you may be innocent until proven guilty, but in actuality, you’ve already been tried, found guilty and convicted by police officers, prosecutors and judges long before you ever appear in a courtroom. Chronic injustice has turned the American dream into a nightmare. At every step along the way, whether it’s encounters with the police, dealings with prosecutors, hearings in court before judges and juries, or jail terms in one of the nation’s many prisons, the system is riddled with corruption, abuse and an appalling disregard for the rights of the citizenry.

Due process rights afforded to a person accused of a crime—the right to remain silent, the right to be informed of the charges against you, the right to representation by counsel, the right to a fair trial, the right to a speedy trial, the right to prove your innocence with witnesses and evidence, the right to a reasonable bail, the right to not languish in jail before being tried, the right to confront your accusers, etc.—mean nothing when the government is allowed to sidestep those safeguards against abuse whenever convenient.

It’s telling that while President Obama said all the right things about the broken state of our criminal justice system—that we jail too many Americans for nonviolent crimes (we make up 5 percent of the world’s population, but our prison population constitutes nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners), that we spend more money on incarceration than any other nation ($80 billion a year), that we sentence people for longer jail terms than their crimes merit, that our criminal justice system is far from color-blind, that the nation’s school-to-prison pipeline is contributing to overcrowded jails, and that we need to focus on rehabilitation of criminals rather than retribution—he failed to own up to the government’s major role in contributing to this injustice in America.

Indeed, while Obama placed the responsibility for reform squarely in the hands of prosecutors, judges and police, he failed to acknowledge that they bear the burden of our failed justice system, along with the legislatures and corporations who have worked with them to create an environment that is hostile to the rights of the accused.

In such a climate, we are all the accused, the guilty and the suspect. As I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re operating in a new paradigm where the citizenry are presumed guilty and treated as suspects, our movements tracked, our communications monitored, our property seized and searched, our bodily integrity disregarded, and our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” rendered insignificant when measured against the government’s priorities.

Every American is now in jeopardy of being targeted and punished for a crime he did not commit thanks to an overabundance of arcane laws. Making matters worse, by allowing government agents to operate above the law, immune from wrongdoing, we have created a situation in which the law is one-sided and top-down, used as a hammer to oppress the populace, while useless in protecting us against government abuse.

Add to the mix a profit-driven system of incarceration in which state and federal governments agree to keep the jails full in exchange for having private corporations run the prisons, and you will find the only word to describe such a state of abject corruption is “evil.”

How else do you explain a system that allows police officers to shoot first and ask questions later, without any real consequences for their misdeeds? Despite the initial outcry over the shootings of unarmed individuals in Ferguson and Baltimore, the pace of police shootings has yet to slow.

For those who survive an encounter with the police only to end up on the inside of a jail cell, waiting for a “fair and speedy trial,” it’s often a long wait. Consider that 60 percent of the people in the nation’s jails have yet to be convicted of a crime. There are 2.3 million people in jails or prisons in America. Those who can’t afford bail, “some of them innocent, most of them nonviolent and a vast majority of them impoverished,” will spend about four months in jail before they even get a trial.

Not even that promised “day in court” is a guarantee that justice will be served.

As Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals points out, there are an endless number of factors that can render an innocent man or woman a criminal and caged for life: unreliable eyewitnesses, fallible forensic evidence, flawed memories, coerced confessions, harsh interrogation tactics, uninformed jurors, prosecutorial misconduct, falsified evidence, and overly harsh sentences, to name just a few.

In early 2015, the Justice Department and FBI “formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period…. The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said.”

“How do rogue forensic scientists and other bad cops thrive in our criminal justice system?” asks Judge Kozinski. “The simple answer is that some prosecutors turn a blind eye to such misconduct because they’re more interested in gaining a conviction than achieving a just result.”

The power of prosecutors is not to be underestimated. Increasingly, when we talk about innocent people being jailed for crimes they did not commit, the prosecutor plays a critical role in bringing about that injustice. As The Washington Post reports, “Prosecutors win 95 percent of their cases, 90 percent of them without ever having to go to trial…. Are American prosecutors that much better? No… it is because of the plea bargain, a system of bullying and intimidation by government lawyers for which they ‘would be disbarred in most other serious countries….’”

This phenomenon of innocent people pleading guilty makes a mockery of everything the criminal justice system is supposed to stand for: fairness, equality and justice. As Judge Jed S. Rakoff concludes, “our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone.”

It’s estimated that between 2 and 8 percent of convicted felons who have agreed to a prosecutor’s plea bargain (remember, there are 2.3 million prisoners in America) are in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Clearly, the Coalition for Public Safety was right when it concluded, “You don’t need to be a criminal to have your life destroyed by the U.S. criminal justice system.”

It wasn’t always this way. As Judge Rakoff recounts, the Founding Fathers envisioned a criminal justice system in which the critical element “was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny.”

That shield against tyranny has long since been shattered, leaving Americans vulnerable to the cruelties, vanities, errors, ambitions and greed of the government and its partners in crime.

There is not enough money in the world to make reparation to those whose lives have been disrupted by wrongful convictions.

Over the past quarter century, more than 1500 Americans have been released from prison after being cleared of crimes they did not commit. These are the fortunate ones. For every exonerated convict who is able to prove his innocence after 10, 20 or 30 years behind bars, Judge Kozinski estimates there may be dozens who are innocent but cannot prove it, lacking access to lawyers, evidence, money and avenues of appeal.

For those who have yet to fully experience the injustice of the American system of justice, it’s only a matter of time. America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause, and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.

Without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard them, and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, the Constitution provides little protection against the police state.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , | 1 Comment

Philly Cop Punches Handcuffed Suspect in Face, Social Media Catches Officer Planting Weapon


By Cassandra Fairbanks | PINAC | July 24, 2015

Social Media is ablaze with allegations that a Philadelphia police officer can be seen planting a weapon on a man he had just punched in the face while handcuffed.

Philly cops charged the suspect with a firearms violation in 2010 but it was dismissed in 2013.

The pair of officers were well aware that they were being filmed, as they proceeded to punch the detained man, twice.

The video shown below was originally posted to social media in 2010, but has resurfaced with people claiming that the officer can be seen pulling a weapon from his pocket approximately 30 seconds into the video- before waving it before the camera and telling the witness to get that on film.

“Watch very carefully from seconds 32 to 36 the officer reaches into his right pocket and pulls out a small silver handgun. Watch it in slow motion. Planted it right on him. I shared this to my wall the other day but I just noticed that a few minutes ago,” Facebook user Tony Soto wrote.

“Did I just watch that cop pull a small gun out of his pocket, then try to act like he found it???” Another user, Meredith Goerlich asked.

Those commentators are referring to a portion of the video where it appears that the officer wearing a tie is trying to plant the weapon and the man yells.

Philly Cop rests his plant weapon on part

Philly Cop rests his plant weapon on partner’s back

While the suspect’s hands are bound behind his back by the first officer’s cuffs, the Philly cop wearing his black tie can be seen sucker punching the suspect.

At the sudden noise, his partner tosses him to the ground.

That’s when the dandy officer in his black tie pulled a weapon from his police pants pocket and began rubbing it all over his partner’s back to keep balance.

The weapon then vanishes behind his partner conducting the collar on the suspect.

Magically, the gun conspicuously reappears at that moment and if you weren’t sure what was happening, even longtime cop watchers at PINAC were shocked by the brazen move the officer in the black tie pulled next.

The officer in question then waves the gun around and shows the weapon to the camera guy, “like he caught a fish in a barrel,” PINAC editor Grant Stern noted.

Following the resurfacing of the video, the Philadelphia Police Department issued a statement, which reads in full:

“Many citizens have sent our department inquires about the attached video (screenshot below), and we do appreciate the concern regarding the video.

We would just like to inform all concerned citizens that this video was originally posted on April 19, 2010, involving an incident in which a male was arrested for Violation of Uniforms Firearm act- VUFA (illegal .22 caliber handgun).

Five (5) years ago when this video was posted, our department was notified and conducted an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident. Internal Affairs sustained the allegations of verbal and physical abuse against the Officer.

In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the FOP; the department’s Internal Affairs Unit sent this case to the Police Board of Inquiry with the recommendation for disciplinary action against the officer.

Once this case was heard before the PBI, they concluded that no disciplinary action should be given. The original arrest against the male was dismissed in July 2013.

This department maintains the commitment to address these types of incidents. We will continue to educate our officers to conduct themselves in a professional manner and provide them with the training to treat all citizens fairly and impartially.”

If there was no wrong-doing on the part of the officers, why were charges dismissed against the man who allegedly had an illegal weapon?

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Colombia’s President Orders Halt to Bombing of Rebel Positions

Sputnik – 26.07.2015

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered to suspend air strikes on positions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), he said via his Twitter microblog.

On Monday, FARC ordered all their units to observe a ceasefire and released a Colombian soldier it had captured earlier this month as a gesture of goodwill.

“I have ordered to suspend airstrikes on FARC camps starting today. They will be carried out only in the case of an explicit order of the president,” Santos said Saturday.

He added that the sides were able to revive the peace talks and “are closer than ever to put an end to the war.”

Colombian armed forces have been fighting FARC, the country’s largest rebel group, since 1964. The two sides have been holding peace talks in Cuba since 2012.

Recent progress in peace talks between FARC and the government was achieved in June with an agreement on the creation of a joint Truth Commission.

The commission is tasked with gathering testimony from victims and witnesses of Colombia’s civil war. However, it is unable to use the information to bring up criminal charges against FARC members, government troops or other fighters.

As many as 220,000 people have been killed as a result of the armed conflict in Colombia.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

30 Reasons Why Saying “Don’t Want to Get Hurt By Cops? Don’t Break the Law” is an EPIC FAIL


By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | July 26, 2015

… In an attempt to break through to the apologist crowd, we have gathered 30 stories from our archives of examples in which police hurt innocent people, who never broke the law. Tragically, some of those hurt or killed were children; some were even disabled and mentally ill.

Jonathan Sanders had broken no law before he was chased down by a Mississippi cop who threw him to the ground and strangled him to death in front of family members.

Esmeralda Rossi was getting into the shower when two Arizona cops illegally entered her home, pulled her towel off, assaulted and arrested her as she screamed in horror — completely naked. Rossi had broken no law.

Eric Wilson was on his way home from his job at Lighthouse for the Blind when he was stopped by two Little Rock Police officers alleging he “fit the description” of a suspect. The fact that Wilson is legally blind did not stop these officers from assaulting a man who could not even see them.

Dillon Taylor had just walked out of a convenience store after purchasing a drink when police mistook him for a suspect. Taylor, who had in headphones at the time, did not hear the officer’s commands clearly. Officer Bron Cruz murdered then this innocent man, in broad daylight, despite Dillon Taylor not having committed a crime.

Daniel Chong was kidnapped by police and held in a pitch black cell for five days without food or water. He had broken no law and the officers who nearly killed him simply said that he had been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Floyd Dent, a retired grandfather, was pulled over by cops who alleged he was a drug dealer. He was pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten on the side of the road by multiple cops. Video evidence later showed him to be innocent as well as implicating an officer for planting drugs on his vehicle.

Antonio Martinez was 22-years-old when he was brutally attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested by officer Jeffrey Guy. Martinez, who has down syndrome and the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, had committed no crime. After realizing their idiocy, the Sheriff offered his family a frozen turkey as compensation.

Sureshbhai Patel was left paralyzed after officer Eric Parker brutalized this 57-year-old grandfather who was in America to visit his children. He had committed no crime. Days after this thug was seen on video attacking an innocent man, apologists set up a fundraiser for officer Eric Parker.

Parker Mansell Jr. is in a wheelchair due to health complications. When police came to his house to serve a warrant to his son, they deployed a taser into the stomach of this immobile senior citizen, on purpose.

Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed when two cops busted into his bedroom and began to unload their pistols on this unarmed man. It is estimated that the two officers fired over 20 rounds of which 16 landed in Mr. Theoharis. Theoharis was not the man police were looking for and had committed no crime.

Sharod Kindell was on his way home from delivering baby formula to a relative when he pulled over to answer a cell phone call. He was not committing any crime. When police saw this “suspicious activity,” they pulled Kindell out of his vehicle before he could put it in gear. Instead of telling Kindell to put the vehicle back into park, an officer opened fire. Kindell received inadequate treatment for his gunshots and was held in torturous conditions for weeks, still bleeding out.

Roger Carlos was photographing a building of what was soon to be home to his wife’s medical practice when all of the sudden he was ransacked by an undercover drug task force officer and two SAPD SWAT members. He was beaten to the point of hospitalization after cops mistook him for another suspect, who happened to already be in police custody when Carlos was beaten.

Chad Chadwick was completely innocent when he was shot, tasered, brutally beaten, and had stun grenades thrown at him by vicious and incompetent SWAT officers. Then, those same officers tried to cover up their mistake by charging him with six criminal offenses including felony assault on a police officer.

David Hooks was killed by police as he lay face down in his own home. Police mistakenly raided the home of Hooks based on a bogus tip from a car thief about methamphetamine. This beloved father and grandfather never broke the law.

Akai Gurley was walking to his apartment with his girlfriend when he startled a pair of rookie cops. Instead of saying, “hello” or “hi,” NYPD officer Peter Liang put a bullet through this young father.

Maria Fernada Godinez was having a night out at an Orlando club when a cop fired his weapon at someone outside the club, instantly killing Godinez inside. The police charged the man who never fired a shot with her murder.

Henry Davis was mistaken by incompetent police for another man. He was then brutally beaten by Ferguson cops. Despite being completely innocent, the Ferguson PD charged him with property damage for getting his blood on their uniforms.

Jody Kozma is a 25-year-old woman who is mentally impaired. Police accused this innocent woman of shoplifting before assaulting her and throwing her to the ground. After they had reviewed the tapes, they discovered that Kozma hadn’t stolen anything.

Jerry Waller was asleep in his bed when incompetent police mistakenly burst into his home. Thinking he was being robbed, Waller went for his gun. This senior citizen was gunned down in his own bed and the officers responsible for his death were never disciplined.

Spencer Koptis was a toddler, who was suffering from inoperable brain cancer. A selfless medicinal marijuana grower was dialing in a strand of cannabis that was actually improving Koptis’ condition and giving it to him for free. However, police raided the medicinal grow farm and arrested the owner. Koptis, unable to get the medicine he needed, died months later.

Juan Ortiz, who is a 4′ 11″ Hispanic teen with down syndrome, was mistaken by two veteran cops for a 5′ 8″ white man. In front of his parents, police violently assaulted this young man in his front yard. He had harmed no one.

Najee Rivera was run over by two criminal officers after they pulled him over, leaving him severely injured. Police lied and said Rivera attempted to run away from them and that he “went for their batons.” However, months later, a surveillance tape from a nearby store showed that everything the officers said was a lie.

Robert Saylor was a young man with down syndrome who threw a bit of a tantrum after watching a movie and refused to leave the theater. Three off-duty cops, moonlighting as security, killed him. Saylor had not committed a crime, and the officers were never charged with one.

Gilberto Powell is another down syndrome man who was beaten within an inch of his life after cops saw a “bulge in his pants.” Incompetent cops mistook his colostomy bag for an erection and severely beat him.

Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic homeless man whose case became widely known. He was detained by several officers who then beat him to death, on camera. Thomas had not committed a crime.

Luis Rodriguez was an innocent man who was killed by multiple officers after leaving a movie theater with his wife and daughter. The heart-wrenching murder was captured on video.

Douglas Zerby was finishing up watering his lawn when neighbors, completely brainwashed by the police state, called the cops because they saw Zerby holding what they thought was a gun. It was actually a water hose nozzle. Officers approached the position of Doug Zerby and without any warning whatsoever, fired upon Zerby, fatally wounding him with 12 rounds that entered his chest arms and lower legs.

Tamir Rice is another famous case of a child being gunned down by police. Rice was playing with a BB gun at a park when officer Timothy Loehmann pulled up and immediately shot the boy, without ever giving him a chance.

John Crawford was looking to purchase a BB gun at an Ohio Walmart when multiple officers rushed in and shot him on sight. He committed no crime and harmed no one.

Lastly is the innocent Baby Bou, whose face was blown apart after officers threw a stun grenade into his crib as he slept.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion

By Eric Draitser – New Eastern Outlook – 25.07.2015

China has recently taken an important step in more tightly regulating foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) inside the country. Despite condemnation from so called human rights groups in the West, China’s move should be understood as a critical decision to assert sovereignty over its own political space. Naturally, the shrill cries of “repression” and “hostility toward civil society” from western NGOs have done little to shake the resolve of Beijing as the government has recognized the critical importance of cutting off all avenues for political and social destabilization.

The predictable argument, once again being made against China’s Overseas NGO Management Law, is that it is a restriction on freedom of association and expression, and a means of stifling the burgeoning civil society sector in China. The NGO advocates portray this proposed legislation as another example of the violation of human rights in China, and further evidence of Beijing’s lack of commitment to them. They posit that China is moving to further entrench an authoritarian government by closing off the democratic space which has emerged in recent years.

However, amid all the hand-wringing about human rights and democracy, what is conveniently left out of the narrative is the simple fact that foreign NGOs, and domestic ones funded by foreign money, are, to a large extent, agents of foreign interests, and are quite used as soft power weapons for destabilization. And this is no mere conspiracy theory as the documented record of the role of NGOs in recent political unrest in China is voluminous. It would not be a stretch to say that Beijing has finally recognized, just as Russia has before it, that in order to maintain political stability and true sovereignty, it must be able to control the civil society space otherwise manipulated by the US and its allies.

‘Soft Power’ and the Destabilization of China

Joseph Nye famously defined ‘soft power’ as the ability of a country to persuade others and/or manipulate events without force or coercion in order to achieve politically desirable outcomes. And one of the main tools of modern soft power is civil society and the NGOs that dominate it. With financial backing from some of the most powerful individuals and institutions in the world, these NGOs use the cover of “democracy promotion” and human rights to further the agenda of their patrons. And China has been particularly victimized by precisely this sort of strategy.

Human Rights Watch, and the NGO complex at large, has condemned China’s Overseas NGO Management Law because they quite rightly believe that it will severely hamper their efforts to act independently of Beijing. However, contrary to the irreproachable expression of innocence that such organizations masquerade behind, the reality is that they act as a de facto arm of western intelligence agencies and governments, and they have played a central role in the destabilization of China in recent years.

Undoubtedly the most highly publicized example of just such political meddling took place in 2014 with the much hyped “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong, also known as the Umbrella Movement. The Western media fed uninformed news consumers story after story about a “pro-democracy” movement seeking to give voice to, as White House spokesman Josh Earnest cynically articulated, “…the aspirations of the Hong Kong people.” But such vacuous rhetoric was only part of the story.

What the corporate media in the West failed to mention were the deeply rooted connections between the Occupy Central movement and key organs of US soft power. The oft touted leader of Occupy Central was a pro-Western academic named Benny Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. Though he presented himself as the leader of a grassroots mass movement, Mr. Tai has for years been partnered with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a nominal NGO which is actually directly funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In fact, the NDI has been one of the leading advocates (and financial backers presumably) of the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, a program with which Benny Tai has been intimately connected, including as a board member since 2006. So, far from being merely an emerging leader, Tai was a carefully selected point person for a US-sponsored color revolution-style movement.

Two other high profile figures involved with Occupy Central were Audrey Eu, founder of the Civic Party in Hong Kong, and Martin Lee, founding chairman of the Democrat Party of Hong Kong. Both Eu and Lee have long-standing ties to the US government through the NED and NDI, with Eu having been a frequent contributor to NDI sponsored panels and programs, and Lee having the glorious distinction of having both been a recipient of awards from NED and NDI, as well as meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 along with anti-Beijing advocate Anson Chan.

It does not take exceptional powers of deduction to see that, to varying degrees, Tai, Eu, Lee, and Chan each act as the public face of a US Government-sponsored initiative to destabilize the political situation in Hong Kong, one of China’s most economically and politically important regions. Through the intermediary of the NGO, Washington is able to promote an anti-Beijing line under the auspices of “democracy promotion,” just as it has done everywhere from Ukraine to Venezuela. Luckily for China, the movement was not supported by either the bulk of the working class in Hong Kong and China, or even by many of the middle class who saw it as little more than an inconvenience at best. However, it required swift government action to contain the public relations and media fiasco that could have resulted from the movement, a fact of which Beijing, no doubt, took note.

As a spokesperson for the National People’s Congress explained in April, the NGO law is necessary for “safeguarding national security and maintaining social stability.” Indeed, in late 2014, in the wake of the Occupy Central protests, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to Macau and spoke of the need to ensure that Macau walked on the “right path.” In a thinly veiled reference to Hong Kong, Xi praised Macau for continuing to follow the “one country, two systems” policy under which the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong have greater autonomy but are still subject to Chinese law. Essentially, Xi made it quite clear that, despite the foreign NGO-manufactured movement in Hong Kong, Beijing remained firmly in control. And this is precisely the issue: control.

NGOs, Soft Power, and Terror in Xinjiang

The NGO ‘soft power’ weapon is not relegated solely to Hong Kong however. In fact, the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, one of the most volatile regions in the country, has seen active destabilization and subversion by soft power elements consistently over recent years. Home to the majority Muslim Uighur ethnic group, Xinjiang has been repeatedly attacked both with terrorism and vile propaganda that has sought to paint to China as the oppressor and enemy of Uighurs, and Muslims generally.

Xinjiang has been victim to a number of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years, including the heinous drive-by bombings that killed dozens and injured over 100 people in May 2014, the mass stabbings and bombings of November 2014, and the deadly attack by Uighur terrorists on a traffic checkpoint just last month which left 18 people dead. Were such attacks, which claimed the lives of scores of innocent Chinese citizens, to have been carried out against, say, Americans, the western media would be all but declaring holy jihad against the entire world. However, since they’ve happened in China, these are merely isolated incidents that are due to the “marginalization” and “oppression” of the Uighur people by the big bad Chinese authorities.

Such a sickeningly biased narrative is in no small part due to the NGO penetration of the Uighur community and a vast public relations network funded directly by the US Government. The same National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which has disbursed funds to the NDI and other organizations involved in the Hong Kong destabilization of “Occupy Central,” has been a primary funder of the Uighur NGO complex.

The following organizations have each received significant financial support from the NED through the years: World Uighur Congress, Uighur American Association, International Uighur Human rights and Democracy Foundation, and the International Uighur PEN Club, among others. These NGOs are quite often the sources cited by western media for comments on anything related to Xinjiang and are almost always quick to demonize Beijing for all problems in the region, including terrorism.

Perhaps the best example of just such propaganda and dishonesty came in the last few weeks as western media was flooded with stories making the spurious allegation that China had banned the observance of Ramadan in Xinjiang. Indeed, there were literally hundreds of articles condemning China for this “restriction of religious freedom,” portraying the Chinese government as repressive and a violator of human rights. Interestingly, the primary source for the claim was none other than the NED-funded World Uighur Congress.

Moreover, in mid July, on the day of Eid al-Fitr (the final day of Ramadan), the Wall Street Journal ran a story covering the media push-back from China which has sought in recent weeks to publicize the fact that Xinjiang, and all of China, has celebrated openly for Ramadan. And, as one should come to expect, the anti-China source cited is, as usual, a representative of the World Uighur Congress. It seems that this organization, far from being merely a human rights advocate, is in fact a mouthpiece for US propaganda against China. And when the propaganda is challenged and discredited by China, well that just invites new and more blistering propaganda.

The Geopolitical Footprints

All of this demonization has taken on a clear geopolitical and strategic significance as Turkey has stepped into the fray condemning China for its alleged “persecution” of Uighur Muslims, whom Ankara sees as Turks from its neo-Ottoman revanchist perspective. The Turkish Foreign ministry said in a statement that “Our people have been saddened over the news that Uighur Turks have been banned from fasting or carrying out other religious duties in the Xinjiang region… Our deep concern over these reports have been conveyed to China’s ambassador in Ankara.”

China responded to what it deemed to be inappropriate comments from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, especially in light of Turkey’s absurd characterization of the Uighurs (who are Chinese citizens) as “Turks.” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated, “China has already demanded that Turkey clarify these reports and we have expressed concern about the statement from the Turkish foreign ministry… You should know that all the people of Xinjiang enjoy the freedom of religious belief accorded to them by the Chinese constitution.”

While the Chinese government, as it almost always does, used decidedly muted language to express its displeasure, the implications of the statement were not lost on keen political observers with some understanding of the China-Turkey relationship. Although the two countries have many aligned interests, as evidenced by Turkey’s repeatedly expressed desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the little known fact is that Turkey is one of the major facilitators of terrorism in China.

Though it received almost no fanfare from international media, in January 2015 Chinese authorities arrested at least ten Turkish suspects alleged to have organized and facilitated the illegal border crossings of a number of Uighur extremists. It has further been revealed that these extremists were planning to travel to Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to train and fight with fellow jihadis.

The story is still further evidence of a well-funded, well-organized international terror network operated and/or facilitated by Turkish intelligence. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the ten Turkish citizens were arrested in Shanghai on November 17, 2014 for facilitating illegal immigration. While the formal charges against them range from forging documents to actually aiding illegal migration, it is the larger question of international terrorism that lurks beneath the surface. Because of course, as the evidence seems to indicate, these Uighur immigrants were not merely traveling to see loved ones in another country. On the contrary, they were likely part of a previously documented trend of Uighur extremists traveling to the Middle East to train and fight with the Islamic State or other terror groups.

It is these same extremist networks that carried out the aforementioned deadly bombing in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. In fact, precisely this trend was exposed two months earlier in September 2014 when Reuters reported that Beijing formally accused militant Uighurs from Xinjiang of having traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory to receive training. Further corroborating these accusations, the Jakarta Post of Indonesia reported that four Chinese Uighur jihadists had been arrested in Indonesia after having travelled from Xinjiang through Malaysia. Other, similar reports have also surfaced in recent months, painting a picture of a concerted campaign to help Uighur extremists travel throughout Asia, communicating and collaborating with transnational terror groups such as the Islamic State.

So, Uighur terrorists with forged documents provided by sources inside Turkey are implicated as being part of the same terror networks that carried out a series of deadly attacks on Chinese citizens and police. No wonder China is not exactly bending over backwards to dry Erdogan’s and the Turkish government’s crocodile tears. And yet, despite the terror war, the US-funded Uighur NGOs continue to portray China as responsible for the terrorism.

The destabilization of China takes many forms. From a manufactured protest movement in Hong Kong sponsored by NGOs connected to the US government, to a fabricated propaganda war peddled by other NGOs sponsored by the US government, to a terror war fomented by a NATO member, China is a nation under assault by soft and hard power. That Beijing is finally taking steps to curb the pernicious influence of such NGOs, and the forces they represent, is not only a positive step, it’s an absolutely necessary one. The national security and national sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China requires nothing less.

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment