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France’s Government Aims to Give Itself—and the NSA—Carte Blanche to Spy on the World

By Danny O’Brien | EFF | September 30, 2015

The United States makes an improper division between surveillance conducted on residents of the United States and the surveillance that is conducted with almost no restraint upon the rest of the world. This double standard has proved poisonous to the rights of Americans and non-Americans alike. In theory, Americans enjoy better protections. In practice there are no magical sets of servers and Internet connections that carry only American conversations. To violate the privacy of everyone else in the world, the U.S. inevitably scoops up its own citizens’ data. Establishing nationality as a basis for discrimination also encourages intelligence agencies to make the obvious end-run: spying on each other’s citizens, and then sharing that data. Treating two sets of innocent targets differently is already a violation of international human rights law. In reality, it reduces everyone to the same, lower standard.

Now France’s government is about the make the same error as the U.S. practice with its new “Surveillance des communications électroniques internationales” bill, currently being rushed through the French Parliament. As an open letter led by France’s La Quadrature du Net and signed today by over thirty civil society groups including EFF, states, France’s legislators’ must reject this bill to protect the rights of individuals everywhere, including those in France.

By legalizing France’s own plans to spy on the rest of the world, France would take a step to establishing the NSA model as an acceptable global norm. Passing the law would undermine France’s already weak surveillance protections for its own citizens, including lawyers, journalists and judges. And it would make challenging the NSA’s practices far more difficult for France and other states.

The new bill comes as a result of France’s Constitutional Council review of the country’s last mass surveillance bill, which passed with little parliamentary opposition in July. The Council passed most of that bill on the basis of its minor concessions to oversight and proportionality, but rejected the sections on international surveillance, which contained no limits to what France might do.

France already spies on the world. In July, the French newsmagazine L’Obs revealed a secret decree dating from at least 2008, which funded a French intelligence service project to intercept and analyze international data traffic passing through through submarine cable intercepts. The decree authorized the interception of cable traffic from 40 countries including Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, China, India and the United States. The report states that France’s intelligence agency, the General Directorate for External Security (DGCE), spent $775 million on the project.

Given that the Constitutional Council implied that such practices are almost certainly unlawful as is, the French government has now scrambled to create a framework that could excuse it.

Under the new proposed law, France’s intelligence agencies still have an incredibly broad remit. The  law concentrates the power to grant wide-ranging surveillance permission in the office of the Prime Minister, who can sign off on mass surveillance of communications sent or received from overseas. Such surveillance can be conducted when in the “essential interests of foreign policy” or “[the] essential economic and scientific interests of France”, giving the executive the widest possible scope to conduct surveillance.

The original surveillance law included limits on data retention when spying on French nationals (30 days for the content of communications, four years for metadata, six years for encrypted data). The new international limits are much longer—one year, six years, and eight years respectively. The law’s authors do not justify this longer period, nor do they explain how the intelligence agencies will be able to separate data from each class of target without collecting, analyzing and filtering them all.

The collapsing divide between the lawful, warranted surveillance of ordinary citizens, and the wide-ranging capabilities of the intelligence services to collect signals intelligence on foreign powers and agents, has ended up corroding both domestic and global privacy rights. The U.S. has taken advantage of the lesser protections for non-U.S. persons to introduce the dragnet surveillance of everyone who uses the Internet outside the U.S. Because unprotected foreigners’ data is mixed up with somewhat more protected communications of Americans, the U.S. government believes that it can “incidentally” scoop up its own citizens’ data, and sort it out later under nobody’s oversight but its own.

If the French Parliament passes this bill, it will mean that France has decided to embody and excuse the same practices as the NSA in its own law. It is a short-sighted attempt to cover France’s existing secret practices, but the consequences are far-reaching. The limited protections that were included in the original surveillance bill—including assurances that French journalists, judges and lawyers would be protected from dragnet surveillance—will be undermined by their inevitable inclusion in the vacuuming up of all international traffic.

Any attempt by the EU countries to rein back the NSA’s surveillance plan by calls for the United States to respect international human rights standards, and data protection principles, will provoke the response that the U.S. is simply exercising the powers that an EU member has already granted itself.

By creating and excusing a double standard France’s government dooms everyone to a single, lower standard. It cannot simply shrug off its responsibilities to human rights, its partners in Europe, and the privacy rights of foreigners. If it does so, it will end up undermining the French people’s privacy and security as much as it undermines that of the rest of the world.

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Service Sought to Defame Congressman Who Was Probing Agency

Sputnik – 01.10.2015

A government watchdog report released on Wednesday contains information suggesting that an assistant director of the Secret Service wanted “embarrassing” information leaked about a congressman who was critical of the agency.

“Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out,” Assistant Director Edward Lowery wrote in an email to another director regarding Representative Jason Chaffetz. “Just to be fair.”

The email was sent on March 31, and two days later media outlets reported that Chaffetz had applied to be a Secret Service agent in 2003, and was rejected.

The Agency’s anger followed a House hearing on March 24 during which Chaffetz scolded Lowery as well as the Agency for their record of security lapses and misconduct.

Following the hearing, 45 Secret Service agents looked into Chaffetz’ file that was contained in a restricted database. Some of them shared the information amongst themselves.

Chaffetz’ personnel file was restricted and required to be kept private by law.

Lowery maintained during an inspector general’s probe that he was simply venting in the email and did not tell anyone to leak the private information.

Immediately following the revelation, Chaffetz released a statement condemning the agency’s actions.

“Certain lines should never be crossed,” he wrote. “The unauthorized access and distribution of my personal information crossed that line. It was a tactic designed to intimidate and embarrass me and frankly, it is intimidating. It’s scary to think about all the possible dangers in having your personal information exposed. The work of the committee, however, will continue. I remain undeterred in conducting proper and rigorous oversight.”

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 2 Comments

Settler violence sharply escalates in Hebron during Sukkot holiday

International Solidarity Movement | September 30, 2015

Hebron, occupied Palestine – On the second day of the Jewish Sukkot holiday, hundreds of settlers continued filing into al-Khalil (Hebron) creating mass restrictions and sharp escalations in violence against Palestinians living here. Over a period of two hours dozens of them continuously invaded the roof of the Palestinian Abu Shamsiyye family home where several small children live.

Laughing and trying to gain vantage point to view Israeli forces teargassing, stun grenading and firing rubber coated steel bullet projectiles into crowds of Palestinians in the Bab al-Zawiya area of H-1 Hebron, the settlers spit and cursed at the children, darted towards them to frighten them, called them “Arab terrorists” and one male settler charged at and punched a female ISM international human rights monitor as she filmed him trespassing on the roof. The settler was allowed to leave the scene without incident as Israeli forces stood present but did nothing.

Shortly thereafter, as a Palestinian man and his two young sons tried to exit the gate fronting their home, a crowd of a dozen settler boys sat and stood in front of the gate blocking his exit as he politely asked to be allowed to pass. For fifteen minutes the boys kept the man and his sons trapped until an Israeli soldier finally came and told them to move.

Through the sounds of stun grenading and the blasts of high powered rubber coated steel bullets being showered onto Palestinians by Israeli forces just past checkpoint 56, the settlers, of all ages, took turns standing in the Israeli military post where they posed for photos, shouted curses and racial abuses at Palestinians and international human rights monitors and cheered each time a blast rang out.

Settlers boys pose jovially for photos after spitting and cursing at human rights monitors and shouting racial slurs about Arabs.

This was the situation just outside the Abu Shamsiyye family home alone. But hundreds of Palestinian families have been literally under siege during the Jewish Sukkot holiday began yesterday as their roads have been closed, their businesses have been attacked, their children have been arrested and their streets have undergone hours of endless assault by heavily armed Israeli forces both on roofs as well as in the streets to allow for settlers to move freely through Palestinian governed areas it is illegal for them to be, in so they could pray in the streets.

The misery continues for Palestinians existing in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama’s Ludicrous ‘Barrel Bomb’ Theme

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 30, 2015

The U.S. government has dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs on Iraq alone in the last dozen years – and even hailed the start of the bombing campaign in 2003 as “shock and awe” – but now has coyly and repeatedly decried the Syrian government’s supposed use of crude “barrel bombs.”

This hyper-hypocritical propaganda theme was given voice in President Barack Obama’s Sept. 28 speech to the United Nations General Assembly when he denounced anyone who doesn’t favor “regime change” in Syria as advocating “support [for] tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children.”

Yet, Obama offered no criticism of various U.S. administrations and American allies that have leveled whole cities, killing countless men, women and children. That slaughter has included two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945 and the devastation of Indochina during the 1960s and 1970s with more bomb tonnage than was dropped in all of World War II. Millions, including countless children, were killed in these bombing campaigns.

More recently, Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush ordered the devastation of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities to suppress resistance to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Obama himself has boasted of ordering military strikes in seven countries, mostly aerial bombardments with many confirmed civilian dead.

In 2014, Israel used American warplanes and armaments to blast apart Gaza killing some 2,100 people – the vast majority civilians and many of them children, including four little boys playing on a beach. President Obama not only refrains from criticizing Israel’s indiscriminate use of these devastating weapons but stays silent on Israel’s rogue nuclear stockpile and today ponders which giant “bunker buster” bombs should be added to Israel’s bristling arsenal.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is dropping U.S.-supplied ordnance, reportedly including cluster bombs, on the helpless population of Yemen with Obama’s tacit approval and reportedly with U.S. intelligence assistance.

On Monday, the Saudi air force apparently bombed a wedding party on Yemen’s Red Sea coast killing more than 130 people, including women who had taken refuge in a tent, according to various news reports.

One surviving relative said it was difficult to determine the exact number of dead because the bodies were blasted into so many bloody pieces. “I saw no body intact,” said Ahmed Altabozi, the uncle of one of the victims.

Yet, while President Obama has avoided any direct public rebukes of U.S. or allied militaries for their slaughter of civilians, he singled out Syria’s embattled government for using a homemade weapon in its desperate fight against terrorists of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Further, Obama claimed that President Assad dropped the “barrel bombs to massacre innocent children” when there is no evidence that Assad had any such intent. Obama’s comment amounted to crude and deceptive propaganda.

By contrast, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launches one of his periodic “lawn mowing” operations against the people of Gaza and many children are cut down in the process, Obama stands mute, apparently judging that the exercise in recurring butchery is just one of those “price is worth it” moments.

Obviously, any killing of civilians in wartime is to be deplored – whoever is dropping the bombs and whatever the weapon’s degree of lethality – but it was still stunning to watch Obama apply such selective outrage. Indeed, much of the UN General Assembly seemed genuinely shocked by Obama’s blatant double standards.

Propaganda Buzz Phrase

But it’s really all par for the course. Whenever propagandists develop their “themes” for a conflict, they look for certain “hot button” phrases that make the behavior of a “black-hatted enemy” appear particularly venal. “Barrel bomb” has become the propaganda buzz phrase of choice associated with the Syrian conflict.

Yet, it seems likely this clumsy, improvised weapon – supposedly dropped from helicopters – would be far less lethal than rocket-propelled bombs delivered from afar by jet planes or drones, the approach favored by the U.S. government and its “allies.”

Civilians would have a much better chance to seek safety in a bomb shelter before some “barrel bomb” is shoved out the door of a helicopter than when a sophisticated U.S.-made bomb arrives with little or no warning, as apparently happened to the victims of that wedding in Yemen.

And that is not to mention the U.S. bombs that involve depleted uranium, napalm, phosphorous and cluster munitions, which present other humanitarian concerns. However, while U.S.-assisted or U.S.-directed slaughters of civilians attract little attention in the mainstream U.S. media, there are endless denunciations of the Syrian government’s “barrel bombs.”

The propaganda drumbeat is such that the American people are told that they must support “regime change” in Syria even if it risks opening the gates of Damascus to a victory by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists.

This odd “humanitarian” equation, tallied up by the State Department and “human-rights” NGOs, holds that to secure revenge for Syria’s alleged use of “barrel bombs,” the world must accept the possibility of the black flag of Sunni terrorism flying over a major Mideast capital while its streets would run red with the blood of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other “heretics.”

Then, apparently, the United States would have little choice but to lead a massive expeditionary force into Syria to oust the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, ensuring the deaths of hundreds of thousands more innocents and sending millions more fleeing into a destabilized Europe.

But such is the power of propaganda in managing public perceptions. Use a phrase like “barrel bomb” over and over again as if it is a uniquely evil weapon when, in fact, it is far less lethal and destructive than the ordnance that the United States routinely deploys or hands out to its “allies” like candy on Halloween. Soon the people lose all perspective and are open to manipulation. [See’sThe Power of False Narrative.”]

Once the U.S. public is softened up with the propaganda and psy-ops – also known as “strategic communications” or Stratcom – the only acceptable option is “regime change” in Syria even if that prospect holds the likelihood of a far worse human catastrophe.

By hearing “barrel bomb” enough times, the judgment of American citizens is clouded and any practical suggestion for a realistic political settlement of Syria’s conflict is deemed “appeasement” of a tyrant, which was the clear message of President Obama’s UN tirade.

And, thus, the killing continues; the chaos grows worse.

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

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Despite Brutal Irony, US Accuses Russia Of ‘Pouring Gasoline On Fire’ In Syria

By Jon Queally | Common Dreams | October 1, 2015

At an afternoon press conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter claimed evidence may show that Russia airstrikes were hitting areas where there were not Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) forces and charged that Moscow’s bolstering of President Bashar al-Assad could backfire if that meant the targeting of what the U.S. considers “legitimate” opposition forces aligned against the Syrian government.

“By supporting Assad and seemingly taking on everyone who is fighting Assad, you’re taking on the whole rest of the country of Syria,” Carter said. “That is not our position. At least some parts of the anti-Assad opposition belong in the political transition going forward. That’s why the Russian approach is doomed to fail.”

With no hint of irony, given that the U.S. has been widely criticized for its bombing of the country, Carter equated Wednesday’s airstrikes by Russian warplanes as “pouring gasoline on the fire” in Syria.

Though Putin has made it plain in previous comments that he would act to defend Assad from the various militias aligned against him, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow rejected claims that the strikes were not focused on ISIS, saying in a statement that all the bombings hit “territory of the international terrorist group Isil.”

Warplanes struck eight targets, the ministry said, including “caches of weapons and ammunition, fuel and oil materials, command centers, and means of transport used by the Isil militants. All the targets were struck.”

Update (12:26 PM EDT):

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both spoke during a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, confirmation came that Russian warplanes have, in fact, launched airstrikes inside Syria and that U.S. officials were given advanced warning about the operations.

The State Department said that U.S.-led coalition forces were continuing their activities “as normal” despite a request from Russia that coalition aircraft stay out of Syrian airspace.

“A Russian official in Baghdad this morning informed U.S. Embassy personnel that Russian military aircraft would begin flying anti-ISIL missions today over Syria,” State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at a morning briefing. “[The official] further requested that U.S. aircraft avoid Syrian airspace during these missions.”

Speaking before the UNSC, Kerry said the U.S. would welcome a “genuine commitment” by Russia to combat the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but said “we must not and will not be confused in our fight against Isil with support for Assad.” The Obama administration, he added, has told Moscow that it “would have grave concerns should Russia strike targets where ISIL and al-Qaida affiliated targets [are not] operating.”

After Putin and Obama met briefly in New York on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Kerry reiterated that the U.S. is prepared to hold “deconfliction talks” with their Russian counterparts as early as “this week,” if possible.

Subsequent to Kerry’s remarks, Lavrov said the Russian government has told U.S. officials and its coalition allies that Moscow stands ready “to forge standing channels of communication to ensure the maximum effective fight against the terrorist groups”—an apparent reference to ISIS but also perhaps other military groups aligned against the Assad government.

Lavrov also said that Russia will now back UN efforts to get the Syrian parties talking and intends to circulate a draft resolution which will aim to foster “an inclusive and balanced outside assistance for the political process” that Syria’s warring factions so desperately need.

Lavrov said the international group should include Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, the European Union and China.

“We believe that such a composition of outside sponsors acting in a united way are in a position to assist Syrians in reaching agreement based on common objectives to prevent the creation of an extremist caliphate,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is now scheduled to brief reporters at the Pentagon at 2:00 PM ET.


Just hours after the Upper House of the Russian Parliament on Wednesday gave President Vladimir Putin the permission he sought to use the nation’s air force to conduct missions against the Islamic State targets inside Syria, news outlets are reporting that the first Russian airstrikes inside Syria may have now taken place.

Both the New York Times and CNN, citing anonymous U.S. officials who were not authorized to speak with the press, report that strikes have been carried out. The Times reports Russian warplanes dropped bombs near the central city of Hom, though further details were not provided.

Wednesday’s vote authorizing the strikes came just two days after Putin spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City where he also held a 90-meeting meeting with U.S. President Obama in which the main topic was the ongoing civil war in Syria and how the two world leaders might find a way to get past their differences and help find a possible solution to the crisis which has embroiled the Middle East.

Whereas the U.S. Congress has yet to formally authorize the ongoing U.S. military actions in both Syria and Iraq, Obama has claimed authority to conduct airstrikes in those countries based on previous authorizations of military force (AUMFs) granted in the wake of 9/11 to fight Al-Qaeda. While at the UN, Putin called for an international coalition to come together under the auspices of a new UN Security Council resolution which would give legal sanction to a joint military campaign against ISIS militants.

In comments on Wednesday, Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, said that Russia’s plans at the moment would only include airstrikes, not ground forces engaged in combat inside Syria.

“You all know well that in the territory of Syria and Iraq … a number of countries are carrying out bombing strikes, including the United States,” Ivanov told reporters. “These actions do not conform with international law. To be legal they should be supported either by a resolution of the UN security council, or be backed by a request from the country where the raids are taking place.” What would make Russia’s action legitimate, explained Ivanov, is that the elected president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has asked for and now welcomes this Russian assistance.

Even as policy experts continue to throw up warnings that there is no military solution to the civil war in Syria and that the introduction of more weapons, additional airstrikes, and new soldiers will only increase the suffering of civilian populations, the main sticking point between the U.S. and Russia remains whether  Assad stays or goes as possible attempts at a diplomatic settlement form. Putin has made it clear that as the legitimate leader of Syria—and given the chaos that ensued in both Libya and Iraq after their governments were toppled by force—it would be short-sighted and  irresponsible to exclude Assad from negotiations while ISIS and other radical factions stand at the ready to fill the vacuum.

Though the U.S. has maintained an active program to support military factions opposed to Assad, recent statements by both President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have appeared to soften their strict position on regime change in Syria.

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Turkish gag order hits arms-to-Syria trial

Press TV – October 1, 2015

A Turkish court has issued a secrecy order for the proceedings of the trial of former officials accused of intercepting arms which were being transferred in 2014 from the country to the militants fighting the Syrian government.

Suleyman Bagriyanik, the former chief public prosecutor for the Adana region in southern Turkey, prosecutors Ozcan Sisman, Aziz Takci, and Ahmet Karaca, as well as Adana’s previous provincial gendarmerie commander Ozkan Cokay, were allegedly involved in searching Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT) trucks engaged in transporting the weapons to the foreign-backed militants. Local security forces found the trucks were taking not only a consignment of arms but also MIT personnel.

The five went on trial in the capital, Ankara, on Thursday, but the court was swift to subject the session to the gag order.

The former senior law enforcement authorities were accused last year of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by using force and violence or attempts to destroy the government’s function totally or partly,” and “getting intelligence over the politics and security of the state.”

Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet posted a video on its website on May 29, purportedly showing trucks belonging to the Turkish intelligence agency carrying weapons to the Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria.

Back in July, the office of the chief public prosecutor in Turkey’s southern province of Tarsus sought life imprisonment terms for the former officials.

The center-left paper integrated videos in a June report, implicating the MIT in ensuring safe passage into Syria for the terrorists of the notorious Takfiri group of Daesh, which is fighting both the Syrian government and the violence-ravaged country’s people.

The footage showed drivers admitting that they were “doing their duty to the state” by helping the militants bypass the territory near the heavily-defended Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria.

Syria has been struggling with an implacable militancy since March 2011. The US and its regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – have been widely accused of supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Iran: most developed country in Muslim world thanks to Western sanctions

Pravda – 30.09.2015

How does the Iranian economy feel after 40 years of the economic blockade? How can Russia and Iran develop cooperation in the future? Pravda conducted an interview on the subject with Rosnano investment director, Vadim Veschezerov.

“A lot has been said recently about the Russian-Iranian cooperation in the field of high technologies. Can Russia and Iran cooperate in the high-tech industry instead of oil and fruit?”

“In my view, this is exactly where we can work together most effectively. Russia and Iran are competitors when it comes to oil. Fruit is growing in many other countries of the world, not just in Iran. Iran is an interesting country, because this is the only highly developed, high-tech country of the Islamic world. In all other countries of the Islamic world, even if they have ultramodern industry, they have achieved it with someone else’s help. Iran has achieved everything alone. In some areas, Iran is a big player. Iran has a very good chemical industry and the world’s only independent pharmaceutical industry.

“I’m not talking about the nuclear program of Iran. Unlike Pakistan and other countries, Iran had no opportunity to borrow – the country was doing everything alone.”

“Has Russia lost the moment for developing cooperation with Iran? We had a unique opportunity, when Iran was living in a blockade, but now there are plenty of Americans and Europeans there.

“We have two or three years. I am personally studying the events that are now happening in the country. Unfortunately, we have very few people in Russia, who realize the peculiarities and structure of Iran, or how to build relationships with the Iranian side.

“Technically, we must explore every area where we can cooperate. In almost 40 years of blockade, the Iranians have learned to do many things and they have reached great progress, but, of course, they can not do everything. For example, their electronics is a very weak point. They are interested in chemistry, mathematics and computer science.

Not that long ago, the secretary of the Supreme Coordination Council of Free and Special Economic Zones of Iran, Akbar Torkan, named five main branches of classical economics that in his view are interesting for foreigners. They are petrochemical, automotive, power generation, steel and cement industries.

“Any industry needs high technologies. In Iran, there is a very strong group of companies working in the field of nanotechnology – this is a priority direction for them. This area is entrusted to the Iranian Council for the development of nanotechnologies.

“We must not forget that the country has been living under the conditions of economic blockade for 40 years. They have learned not only to survive, but to develop independently. As they say: “Thank you, America. You’ve turned us from consumers to entrepreneurs.”

“In what areas does Rosnano intend to cooperate with Iran?”

“We are most attracted to pharmaceuticals. We have something that interests the Iranian side – drugs and medical devices. In Iran, there are very interesting medical devices and medications that can be potential on the international market. In India, the pharmaceutical industry is completely built on copying others, and the Iranians have their own their developments.

“They have a very unique system to encourage scientists and engineers to go into business. For example, if you offer a startup in the high-tech industry, the state can pay a share in the company for you. In three or four years, if you fulfill the agreement with the state, if you create a product, a medication or something else, the state will sell you this share for one real.

“Now that the sanctions are being removed, Russian energy companies have many opportunities in Iran. The USSR had built most of the Iranian energy industry – and they remember that.”

Interview conducted by Said Gafurov

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Moscow: Western media lied about the victims of Russian air strikes in Syria – September 30, 2015 

Moscow – Western news agencies reported civilian victims resulting from Russian air strikes in Syria. The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called such fabrications a dangerous trend.

As stated on Wednesday at a meeting with journalists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova, the propaganda of the anti-Russian campaign against Moscow’s actions in Syria started even before Russia launched an operation to combat ISIS. She called this practice a dangerous but significant trend.

“Numerous fabrications have appeared in the media that in the course of Russian operations,  civilians have been killed  and that these are aimed at the democratic forces of the country”, – Zakharov clarified in response to questions about whether the Russian military pilots could be eliminating peaceful citizens.

Earlier Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported that on Wednesday in the Syrian province of Homs, as a result of air strikes, at least 27 people were killed, including six children. The agency did not report whose planes struck the airstrike.

Following this, a number of Western and Ukrainian media outlets reported that as a result of Russian air force sorties around the Syrian city of Homs, at least 30 jihadists were killed, including 12 children. In these publications the source of the information refers to other media, in particular to the newspaper Times of Israel.

“All of this – an information attack, war, of which we have heard of so many times,” – said Zakharov on the occasion.

The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry recalled that, in contrast to the actions of the ‘international coalition’ formed under the aegis of the United States – which makes airstrikes without the consent of the UN – the Russian military arrived in Syria at the request of the current government of that country. Their targets are the positions of militants of the terrorist organization “Islamic State”, whose activities are prohibited on the territory of Russia, as well as a number of other banned extremist organizations.

Translated for Fort Russ by Joaquin Flores

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Putin Trumps Obama at the U.N.


By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | September 30, 2015

If the peevish expression on Barack Obama’s face was any indication, Vladimir Putin is a force in the world who cannot be ignored. Ever since Russia annexed Crimea in response to the United States – and NATO – backed coup in Ukraine, Obama and the corporate media have falsely declared that Putin is isolated from the rest of the world. They claim he is a monster, a despot and an irrelevance on the world stage.

While the G8 member nations turned themselves into the G7 in order to snub Russia, president Putin was making friends elsewhere. He may have been isolated from the United States and its clique, but not from China and the other BRICS nations or Syria or Iran or Iraq. While western nations use the Islamic State (ISIS) as a ruse to exact regime change in Syria, Putin has formed an alliance to carry out the task of eradicating that danger which was created by western intervention.

Presidents Obama and Putin both made their respective cases before the United Nations General Assembly at its annual meeting. Obama’s speech was an apologia for imperialism and American aggression. He repeated the lies which no one except uninformed Americans believe. If he calls a leader a tyrant he claims the right to destroy a nation and kill and displace its people. Despite the living hell that the United States made out of Libya, Obama continues to defend his crime. He blandly adds that “our coalition could have and should have done more to fill a vacuum left behind.” Apparently he hopes that no one is paying attention to the horrors inflicted on Libya or the ripple effect which created numerous other humanitarian crises.

Not content to defend the indefensible, the president made it clear that the Obama doctrine of regime change and terror is alive and well. “I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

In contrast, the man labeled a dictator acknowledged the importance of respecting every nation’s sovereignty. “Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and life itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.” Making good use of his time in the spotlight, he made clear that he wasn’t fooled or cowed by the United States. “I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you’ve done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.”

Obviously Putin has self-interest in supporting his allies in Syria and for fighting ISIS. He acknowledged that his country is at risk from some of its own citizens who have sworn an allegiance to that group. Nonetheless, it is important that at least one nation in the world is capable of standing up to American state sponsored destruction and is willing to take action in that effort. Before the United Nations proceedings took place, Russia announced that it would share intelligence with Iran, Iraq and Syria in order to combat ISIS. If the United States were true to its word, that alliance would be welcomed instead of scorned.

Not since the late Hugo Chavez declared that George W. Bush left a “smell of sulfur” has an American president been so openly confronted at the United Nations. Putin’s presence makes it clear that Obama can no longer expect to carry out his international dirty work without effective opposition.

While the corporate media noted the tense photo opportunity between the two presidents they neglected to mention the real issues behind the bad feelings. At a press conference after his address Putin was asked about French president Hollande’s insistence that Assad leave the Syrian presidency. “I relate to my colleagues the American and French presidents with great respect but they aren’t citizens of Syria and so should not be involved in choosing the leadership of another country.”

That simple statement explains the totality of American enmity towards Russia. The NATO nations claim a right to choose leaders, create and support their own terrorist groups and destroy anyone who doesn’t do what they want. Putin is making a case for non-interference and that makes him persona non grata in the eyes of the supposedly more democratic West.

The world ought to fear pax Americana, not a Russian military presence in Syria. There cannot be true peace and stability unless nations and peoples are left to their own devices. The helping hand of United States democracy is anything but. It is a recipe for disaster and requires forceful opposition. If Russia can be a reliable counterforce the whole world will benefit, even if Barack Obama frowns before the cameras.

Margaret Kimberley  can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Value in Reading Others’ Propaganda

By Graham E. Fuller | Consortium News | September 29, 2015

All countries do it — promoting their own societies in ideal terms in order to influence others. The U.S. devotes a huge amount of time and money to selling its self-image and a view of the world as seen through American eyes — and perhaps denigrating others as well.

Such “crafted” image-making is hardly exclusive to the U.S. government. The New York Times, for example, supposedly our gold-standard on objective reporting, is heavily slanted when it comes to reporting nearly anything on China or Russia — among other issues.

If you recognize the nature of what you’re reading, that’s fine. But if you think you’re getting the full skinny on the world, then it can be dangerous and self-deceiving. As we say in the free market, let the buyer beware.

China and Russia, among others, certainly produce their own state propaganda, often far less skillfully than the U.S., and it more often comes in state-controlled media. The real danger, of course, comes when you start believing your own spin as representing reality around you.

But there can actually be some virtue in reading “propaganda.” (Let’s use a better description for it — promotion of one’s own view of the world — in the effort to bring others over to your view.) The value of reading such material can actually be great — particularly for those interested in international affairs. Certainly when I was at CIA we read a lot of what could be called “foreign propaganda.”

Indeed there was an entire branch of CIA which monitored and published on a daily basis a thick booklet of selected broadcast items from around the world — available by subscription. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service provided an invaluable service. It is now sadly defunct, the victim of short-sighted budget cutting — an operation which probably cost less annually than one fighter aircraft and offered much more.

One virtue of these broadcast items was the nuggets of domestic information from those countries which were otherwise not readily known about — a kind of news coverage. But the greater value was the ability to see how a foreign state viewed itself and the world around it. Propaganda? Sure, in one sense. But the thoughtful reader could fairly soon get a sense of how Russia, China, North Korea, or say Iran, saw themselves. Sometimes you might find a strikingly different interpretation of events that revealed a lot about their psychology and even their likely reactions and behavior down the road.

For the thoughtful statesman and analyst, this was good stuff. It helped explain where other leaders were coming from, what they more or less believed. Their worldview also offered perspectives about how they saw the U.S. Whether we liked it or not, it contained a few revelations about our mutual, and differing, perspectives.

Sadly today, one gets a sense that large elements of the U.S. government, and especially Congress, are quite ignorant of any possible alternative explanations of why other countries see things the way they do, and how they see us. If you’re a small country, such insularity might not matter all that much; when you claim to be world leader such insularity matters a whole lot.

There’s no mystery in this. Successful people often are very perceptive about how others see things and why they speak and act the way they do.

In today’s world, then, there is huge value in looking at what, say, China and Russia say about themselves and how they view us. It helps to remove surprises from negotiations and might even cause us to consider for a second whether there is any logic or even possible truth in how they view us. Or even to reconsider what we are doing.

That’s why it’s useful to have summits, even private conversations between leaders in the hallways of the UN — they get to hear directly how the other leader thinks. If we don’t like what they have to say, maybe it’s doubly necessary to hear it.

So when major speeches or articles appear from other leaders or commentators from countries we don’t like, my old habits kick in. I find I can learn a lot about the texture of international events from reading these pieces. Naturally some writings are more thoughtful than others, but they give me a chance to put myself in their shoes, see the world their way, and maybe anticipate certain kinds of actions and responses.

Some of those perceptions and views we might regard as erroneous, but then perhaps some of our own views might be erroneous. There is no single truth in foreign policy out there — only differing perspectives. There may be some validity to more than one of them.

Case in point: this article from the China Daily, an English language publication that unquestionably reflects Chinese government thinking. The story presents a view of how China views itself — and more importantly — how it views us.

Do I accept the Chinese view as the “accurate” view, the full story of what we, or they, are doing? Of course not; you and I can readily pick a few holes in what the China Daily has to say. Self-serving? Sure, like White House or Pentagon press briefings that need to be taken with a huge grain of suspicion and skepticism as well.

You’ve got to read everything with vigilance and discrimination, including the New York Times. And we in the U.S. have some TV channels dedicated almost entirely to formulation of an American right-wing propaganda view of the world, however remote from reality. But do China and Russia find it important to listen to that discourse? You better believe it.

So I suggest reading the piece as one of many that show how our competitors view themselves — and us. We can all learn a thing or two through the privilege of entering into their mental world and perspective on affairs.

From time to time I may select a few other pieces that help hold a mirror up to ourselves. Any good intelligence analyst reads many of these things with profit. So can you.

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan. (Amazon, Kindle)

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment