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Defending the Indefensible: How The NY Times Spins for Israel

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | October 13, 2015

It’s a topsy-turvy world in The New York Times. Palestinians are dying, but it is Israelis who are fearful. Unarmed Palestinians face the threat of heavily armed settlers and security forces, but it is not Palestine that has a security problem; it is Israel.

This is the scenario we find today in a story by Isabel Kershner titled “Stabbings, and Deadly Responses, Add to Israel’s Security Challenge.” Here we learn that Israelis have a “shattered sense of personal security” after a series of lone-wolf stabbing attempts.

Kershner takes all the stabbing allegations as fact, rejecting any evidence to the contrary, and nowhere in this lengthy story do we find any concern for how Palestinians are feeling even though more than two dozen have been killed since Oct. 1 and more than 1,300 wounded (compared with four Israelis killed and some 28 wounded in the same time period).

Neither Kershner nor her editors find Palestinian vulnerability at all newsworthy. It is only Israeli sentiments that matter here.

Likewise, it is not the death of so many Palestinians that concerns the Times but the effect on Israel’s reputation. As Israel “resorts to live fire,” Kershner writes, the number of Palestinian deaths is mounting, and this fact “is increasingly opening Israel up to criticism, placing the government in a quandary.”

From then on her article is an attempt to defuse that criticism without giving readers a clear sense of what accusations have been made. She writes, for instance, that Amnesty International “has accused Israel of using excessive force,” as if this refers to past reports by the monitoring group but failing to mention a recent release about the current attacks.

In fact, Amnesty is one of three human rights organizations to speak out against trigger-happy Israeli forces in the past week. Human Rights Watch and Al Haq, a Palestinian group, also raised the alarm about the increasing violence against Palestinian civilians.

Amnesty’s report was titled, “No justification for deliberate attacks on civilians, unlawful killings by Israeli forces, or collective punishment of Palestinians.”

Kershner ignores the findings of all these reports and at the same time attempts to explain away the shocking brutality displayed by Israeli settlers and troops in several videos appearing on social media in recent days. “Some of the videos of police shootings have had the added effect of turning the Israelis, in the eyes of some people, from the victims of terrorism into aggressors,” she writes.

These videos (see here and here) show helpless and unarmed Palestinians surrounded by armed troops or angry mobs. In one of them a boy lies crumpled and bleeding on the pavement as Israelis shout at him, “Die, you son of a whore!” All of the Palestinians are either injured or killed, but once again Kershner’s concern is not for the victims in the videos but for Israel’s reputation.

Kershner concedes that Israelis may have gone too far in a couple of these cases, but she is quick to excuse their aggression as “panic” by traumatized individuals.

After trying to neutralize the effects of the videos and the human rights groups’ reports, Kershner turns her attention to alternative media. The accounts by these outlets have often contradicted the stabbing attempt allegations made by Israeli security forces.

Rather than reporting the contradictions, Kershner states that alternative news media have been “feeding the anger” of Palestinians by often denying that any attack took place. She is implying that these media are not to be trusted and that their reports are inciting Palestinian hostility.

As usual, the Times makes no effort to place the attacks in context, ignoring the ugly realities of the occupation and the enormous disparity in power between Palestinians and Israelis. Thus she implies that the attacks on Israelis arise out of hatred and lack any valid motive. Her reference to “feeding the anger” fits well into that narrative.

Missing from her article are the frequent settler mobs who march through Jerusalem and other cities chanting “Death to Arabs” while police and soldiers stand by to protect them. Kershner ignores this kind of incitement, preferring to stay with the Israelis-as-victims story line.

Israel is a nuclear power with sophisticated weapons and a standing army. Palestine has no army and not a single tank or aircraft, and its unarmed populace has suffered appallingly at the hands of the occupiers. The numbers show Palestinian casualties outnumbering those of Israelis by a ratio of more than 100 to 1 in the first week of this month.

Given all this, it takes some effort to convince readers that Israel—not Palestine—faces a “security challenge.” Kershner, with the blessing of the Times editors, has made that effort, providing us with a story that distorts the reality on the ground, ignoring journalistic standards and the ethical demands of compassion.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | October 13, 2015

The Dutch Safety Board report concludes that an older model Buk missile apparently shot down Malaysia Airline Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, but doesn’t say who possessed the missile and who fired it. Yet, what is perhaps most striking about the report is what’s not there – nothing from the U.S. intelligence data on the tragedy.

The dog still not barking is the absence of evidence from U.S. spy satellites and other intelligence sources that Secretary of State John Kerry insisted just three days after the shoot-down pinpointed where the missile was fired, an obviously important point in determining who fired it.

On July 20, 2014, Kerry declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

But such U.S. government information is not mentioned in the 279-page Dutch report, which focused on the failure to close off the eastern Ukrainian war zone to commercial flights and the cause of the crash rather than who fired on MH-17. A Dutch criminal investigation is still underway with the goal of determining who was responsible but without any sign of an imminent conclusion.

I was told by a U.S. intelligence source earlier this year that CIA analysts had met with Dutch investigators to describe what the classified U.S. evidence showed but apparently with the caveat that it must remain secret.

Last year, another source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me they had concluded that a rogue element of the Ukrainian government – tied to one of the oligarchs – was responsible for the shoot-down, while absolving senior Ukrainian leaders including President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. But I wasn’t able to determine if this U.S. analysis was a consensus or a dissident opinion.

Last October, Der Spiegel reported that German intelligence, the BND, concluded that the Russian government was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND blamed the ethnic Russian rebels for firing it. However, a European source told me that the BND’s analysis was not as conclusive as Der Spiegel had described.

The Dutch report, released Tuesday, did little to clarify these conflicting accounts but did agree with an analysis by the Russian manufacturer of the Buk anti-aircraft missile systems that the shrapnel and pieces of the missile recovered from the MH-17 crash site came from the 9M38 series, representing an older, now discontinued Buk version.

The report said: “The damage observed on the wreckage in amount of damage, type of damage, boundary and impact angles of damage, number and density of hits, size of penetrations and bowtie fragments found in the wreckage, is consistent with the damage caused by the 9N314M warhead used in the 9M38 and 9M38M1 BUK surface-to-air missile.”

Last June, Almaz-Antey, the Russian manufacturer which also provided declassified information about the Buk systems to the Dutch, said its analysis of the plane’s wreckage revealed that MH-17 had been attacked by a “9M38M1 of the Buk M1 system.” The company’s Chief Executive Officer Yan Novikov said the missile was last produced in 1999.

Who Has This Missile?

The Russian government has insisted that it no longer uses the 9M38 version. According to the Russian news agency TASS, former deputy chief of the Russian army air defense Alexander Luzan said the suspect warhead was phased out of Russia’s arsenal 15 years ago when Russia began using the 9M317 model.

“The 9M38, 9M38M, 9M38M1 missiles are former modifications of the Buk system missiles, but they all have the same warhead. They are not in service with the Russian Armed Forces, but Ukraine has them,” Luzan said.

“Based on the modification and type of the used missile, as well as its location, this Buk belongs to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. By the way, Ukraine had three military districts — the Carpathian, Odessa and Kiev, and these three districts had more than five Buk anti-aircraft missile brigades of various modifications – Buk, Buk-M, Buk-M1, which means that there were more than 100 missile vehicles there.”

But Luzan’s account would not seem to rule out the possibility that some older Buk versions might have gone into storage in some Russian warehouse. It is common practice for intelligence services, including the CIA, to give older, surplus equipment to insurgents as a way to create more deniability if questions are ever raised about the source of the weapons.

For its part, the Ukrainian government claimed to have sold its stockpile of older Buks to Georgia, but Ukraine appears to still possess the 9M38 Buk system, based on photographs of Ukrainian weapons displays. Prior to the MH-17 crash, ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine were reported to have captured a Buk system after overrunning a government air base, but Ukrainian authorities said the system was not operational, as recounted in the Dutch report. The rebels also denied possessing a functioning Buk system.

As for the missile’s firing location, the Dutch report said the launch spot could have been anywhere within a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, making it hard to determine whether the firing location was controlled by the rebels or government forces. Given the fluidity of the frontlines in July 2014 – and the fact that heavy fighting was occurring to the north – it might even have been possible for a mobile missile launcher to slip from one side to the other along the southern front.

The Dutch report did seek to discredit one alternative theory raised by Russian officials in the days after the shoot-down – that MH-17 could have been the victim of an air-to-air attack. The Dutch dismissed Russian radar data that suggested a possible Ukrainian fighter plane in the area, relying instead of Ukrainian data which the Dutch found more complete.

But the report ignored other evidence cited by the Russians, including electronic data of the Ukrainian government allegedly turning on the radar that is used by Buk systems for targeting aircraft. Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems to sites in eastern Ukraine in mid-July 2014 and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Dutch-led investigation was perhaps compromised by a central role given to the Ukrainian government which apparently had the power to veto what was included in the report. Yet, what may have spoken most loudly in the Dutch report was the silence about U.S. intelligence information. If – as Kerry claimed – the U.S. government knew almost immediately the site where the fateful missile was launched, why has that evidence been kept secret?

Given the importance of the conflict in eastern Ukraine to U.S. intelligence, it was a high-priority target in July 2014 with significant resources devoted to the area, including satellite surveillance, electronic eavesdropping and human assets. In his rush-to-judgment comments the weekend after the crash, Kerry admitted as much.

But the Obama administration has refused to make any of its intelligence information public. Only belatedly did CIA analysts brief the Dutch investigators, according to a U.S. government source, but that evidence apparently remained classified.

The second source told me that the reason for withholding the U.S. intelligence information was that it contradicted the initial declarations by Kerry and other U.S. officials pointing the finger of blame at the ethnic Russian rebels and indirectly at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stood accused of giving a ragtag bunch of rebels a powerful weapon capable of shooting down commercial airliners.

Despite Russian denials, the worldwide revulsion over the shoot-down of MH-17, killing all 298 people onboard, gave powerful momentum to anti-Putin propaganda and convinced the European Union to consent to U.S. demands for tougher economic sanctions punishing Russia for its intervention in Ukraine. According to this source’s account, an admission that a rogue Ukrainian group was responsible would take away a powerful P.R. club wielded against Russia.

Among the organizations that have implored President Barack Obama to release the U.S. intelligence data on MH-17 is the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of mostly retired U.S. intelligence analysts.

As early as July 29, 2014, just 12 days after the shoot-down amid escalating Cold War-style rhetoric, VIPS wrote, “As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. … As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence.”

But the release of the Dutch report – without any of that data – indicates that the U.S. government continues to hide what evidence it has. That missing evidence remains the dog not barking, like the key fact that Sherlock Holmes used to unlock the mystery of the “Silver Blaze” when the sleuth noted that the failure of the dog to bark suggested who the guilty party really was.


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

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Former US Detainees Sue CIA Torture Program Architects

teleSUR | October 13, 2015

Two U.S. psychologists contracted by the CIA are accused of human experimentation, torture and war crimes.

CIA psychologists behind the U.S. intelligence agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program are guilty of torture, non-consensual human experimentation, and war crimes, three former detainees alleged in a federal lawsuit Tuesday.

The civil case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of plaintiffs Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, who were all held in CIA detention centers in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.

Not one of the three was ever charged with a crime.

Raham died in a CIA prison in 2002, while the other two were eventually released.

According to the lawsuit, Raham’s autopsy report showed he died from hypothermia caused “in part from being forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants,” with the contributing factors of “dehydration, lack of food, and immobility due to ‘short chaining’.”

The case is being brought against psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, contractors who managed a company that was given a US$81 million paycheck from the CIA over a four-year period, and “helped convince the agency to adopt torture as official policy.”

The duo was also featured in last year’s CIA “torture report.”

The lawsuit sets out that the pair devised the torture program to intentionally inflict intense pain and suffering, on both a physical and mental level. The object was to psychologically destroy detainees through torture and abuse so that they would be unable to resist demands for information. The CIA adopted the methods in 2002, and contracted Mitchell and Jessen to train others in the arts of torture.

“(Plaintiffs) were subjected to solitary confinement; extreme darkness, cold, and noise; repeated beatings; starvation; excruciatingly painful stress positions; prolonged sleep deprivation; confinement in coffin-like boxes; and water torture,” according to the ACLU lawsuit. “Defendants are directly liable because they experimented on Plaintiffs by seeking to induce in them a state of ‘learned helplessness’ to break their will by means of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”

Intelligence agencies expert Steven Aftergood told the Guardian that the tortured men were being studied by medical professionals to note their responses to such treatments, which ACLU said amounted to a war crime.

“These psychologists devised and supervised an experiment to degrade human beings and break their bodies and minds,” said Dror Ladin, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “It was cruel and unethical, and it violated a prohibition against human experimentation that has been in place since World War II.”

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

South Africa set to quit ICC

The BRICS Post | October 13, 2015

A ruling ANC policy meeting has given its nod for South African plans to withdraw its membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This ‘landmark’ decision is bound to spur greater debate on the ICC and its ‘inherent biases’.

Let’s rewind a bit here.

At its national conference in 2012, South Africa’s governing party the African National Congress (ANC) resolved to engage with the International Criminal Court to seek amongst other matters the perceptions that the court treated African nations unfairly on matters of global justice.

The court was seen as only focused on Africa and no other continent. In the court’s 13-year history it has only brought charges against Africans.

In its resolution then, the ANC said; “As much as the ANC does not condone impunity, authoritarian and violent regimes, it is concerned about the perception of selective prosecution of Africans and urges the ICC to also pursue cases of impunity elsewhere, while engaging in serious dialogue with the AU and African countries in order to review their relationship.”

The ANC referenced cases of Ivory Coast and Sudan where the AU was engaged in peace building and ending of hostilities, during which the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) through the ICC engaged in interventions that could have scuppered the AU initiatives to put an end to hostilities.

In its 2012 resolution, the ANC called on the UN Security Council, which has referred some African cases to the ICC, to recognise the work done by the African Union, its Regional Economic Commissions and individual African countries to promote a peaceful end to and settlement of conflicts on the continent, the peace agreements signed and commitments made in regard to post-conflict justice.

It is worthwhile to remember here that none of the South African government’s proposals to make the court more representative and responsive to the continents multilateral African Union (AU) were ever adopted.

On Monday during its National General Council (NGC), ANC’s midterm policy review Congress noted the processes underway, under the auspices of the African Union, (including South Africa) to review Africa’s participation in the International Criminal Court.

The NGC has now moved further away from the 2012 resolution with its instructions to the South African government to start the process of withdrawing from the ICC.

South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute that set up the court.

The South African government of Jacob Zuma had been severely criticized for letting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir evade an ICC arrest warrant in the country in June this year.

Zuma had hosted AU Heads of States and Governments in Johannesburg with al-Bashir in attendance.

During this time, the South African government was already arguing a matter in a court on the question of immunity for heads of states while leading their countries to multilateral meetings of the AU.

A South African court had ordered the government to ‘detain’ al-Bashir in the country whilst it deliberated on whether South Africa was obliged to arrest him.

In an earlier op-ed here, I argued that the government acted properly in not arresting the Sudanese leader.

The decision of South Africa’s ANC this past weekend should be seen as a part of Africa’s renewal and her demands to be heard and treated as an equal in global politics.

As Africa finds its voice and refuses to be colonized in commerce, justice and global politics, the next frontier will be her push for meaningful UNSC reforms to include her one billion population.

South Africa is seen as a front-runner for a permanent seat on the UNSC. The issue of UNSC reforms is inextricably linked to the ICC fallout as the UNSC controls much of ICC’s activities even though the majority of permanent members are not ICC state parties.

A month ago Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the Sudanese president in China as an “old friend”. Beijing, like Washington, is not a member of the ICC, although both are permanent UNSC members.

Instead, the ICC has been seen by many as a proxy tool of the US to further its narrow global hegemonic political interests and to even effect its policy on regime changes through the ICC itself. This has made this court unequal and inequitable in every sense.

The African Court for Human Rights is, conversely, widely regarded by the majority of African states as the better model to deal with cases of human rights abuse.

The ANC has demanded that all African cases currently before the ICC be transferred to this court.

This could see a likely release for former president of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo still held at The Hague. Most countries, especially in Africa, viewed France’s actions in his arrest unfair and unlawful.

South Africa has not only consistently shown the ability to negotiate and kick-the-can but has also been able to come up with global alternatives as seen in the formation of the BRICS bank as a counterweight to the unreformed International Monetary Fund.

South Africa’s BRICS partners India, China and Russia are not state parties to the ICC.

At the center of the South African move at ICC, is the demand for a representative global order and the ruling ANC is showing impatience with the dragging negotiations to achieve equitable balance amongst United Nations member states.

We should expect an enmasse ICC withdrawal of African states after this ANC decision. The age of African solutions for African problems has started. The notion of “nothing about us without us” is no longer reversible.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel blocks delivery of Indian gift to Palestinian university

Press TV – October 13, 2015

The Israeli regime has confiscated four communication systems that were to be given by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to a Palestinian university as gifts during his first ever visit to the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

On Monday, Israeli customs authorities held back the systems and prevented their delivery to the Information Technology (IT) department of al-Quds University, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Mukherjee on Tuesday.

Israel’s customs released 30 computers that were part of Pranab’s gift to the Palestinian educational institution, but the communication systems were not cleared.

Mukherjee’s trip to Palestine comes amid simmering tensions between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters.

At least 27 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds of others injured by Israeli troops in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since October 1.

The tensions were triggered by the Tel Aviv regime’s imposition on August 26 of sweeping restrictions on entries into the compound of the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Israeli settlers’ repeated stormings of the mosque.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

The bomb attack on the antiwar march in Ankara, Turkey on Oct 10

By Chris Stephenson | October 11, 2015

English speaking friends, here is the longer note I promised you yesterday. There is much more to write, but I need to turn to organising what we will do in our workplace tomorrow.

A double suicide bombing at a Trade Union organised peace march in Ankara on Saturday, October 10 killed over 100 people and injured over 500.

The march had been called by two trade union federations–DISK and KESK–, by the Chambers of Engineers and Architects and by the Turkish Medical Association. Hundreds of union-organised buses brought tens of thousands of people from all over Turkey to the assembly point near the Ankara railway station.

We gathered in front of Ankara railway station. While we were organising our contingent, distributing flags and banners and preparing to enter the line up for the march we heard a very loud double bang. People started to cry. We did what we could to stop panic and to get people to walk, not run, calmly away from the explosion. People had lost their shoes, their friends, their composure. As we moved away we saw human body parts lying on the ground, thrown there by the force of the explosions. We now realise we had been mid way between the two explosions and about 30 metres away from each.

We turned a corner and passed under the railway bridge. There we saw riot police approaching in full gear, but ambulances being kept waiting.

We now know that these riot police attacked those rescuing the wounded with tear gas and water cannon while the dead were still lying on the ground.

We had traveled from Istanbul to Ankara on a postal workers union bus. Before we could return to Istanbul, we needed to wait for everyone to be accounted for. Finally one postal worker whose leg had been shredded by shrapnel from the bomb arrived in a taxi. We had to lift him up the stairs into the bus. They hadn’t even given him a crutch in the hospital. We got word that the President of the number 9 branch of the Postal Workers Union was in intensive care. With heavy hearts, we set off home.

This is the latest in series of violent provocations that have occurred since it became clear that the HDP (Peoples Democratic Party) was going to get enough votes in the June 7 general election to deny President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the parliamentary majority he needed to impose a Putin-style executive presidency. Before the election, there were 170 violent attacks on HDP offices, bombings of HDP offices in Adana and Mersin, then the bombing of the final HDP election rally in Diyarbakir [June 5, 2015], killing four people.

Erdogan’s AK Party have made a pact with the devil in the shape of Turkey’s deep state, the secret apparatus within the security forces that was responsible for the years of terror in the 1990s when thousands were the victims of “murder by persons unknown” or simply disappeared, their bones dissolved in acid wells.

Just as in the 1990s, killings blamed on “terrorists” provoke fear and hatred. Years later, it turns out that they were not the work of “terrorists” but carried out, or ordered, or arranged by the deep state.

The single most important act that preceded the turn to an intensification of violence in Turkey and the end of the two year ceasefire with the PKK was the bombing at Suruç [July 20, 2015] which killed 33 young socialist activists. Prime Minister Davutoglu now makes the absurd claim that the government “caught the person responsible”. It was a suicide bombing. No living person has ever been held to account, despite the fact that the bomber was being tracked by the security forces. The bombing was blamed on Islamic State although the notoriously publicity hungry Islamic State has never claimed responsibility, despite BBC claims to the contrary. The bomber may or may not have believed that he was acting for Islamic State, but no actual connection has been established.

It was an intervention by the United States after Suruç that began the intense government violence that we now live with every day. In exchange for use of the Incirlik air base in South Eastern Turkey by U.S. warplanes to bomb Syria, the U.S. gave the green light to bombing raids by Turkish war planes on Kurdish targets inside Iraq and in Turkey.

Now, town by town, city by city the security forces of the Turkish state are declaring curfews, attacking the population and arresting local elected officials. They are attempting to force election officials to declare that the election cannot be safely carried out in these districts where the HDP gets 80-90% of the vote.

But all of this violence and repression appears not to be working. Opinion polls show no fall in the support for the HDP. If anything, support among the embattled Kurds is increasing. Support for the HDP among Turks and other ethnic groups is not falling, either.

The response of the government, the president, and the forces of Turkey’s “deep state” with whom they have made an alliance, is to step up the violence even further.

Every week, the violence, the repression and the suppression of free speech is increasing. HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas was due to speak on Bugün, a small TV channel this week. 24 hours before the broadcast, that channel and seven others were removed from the Digiturk TV satellite by order of the public prosecutor for “supporting terrorism”. One of the channels was a children’s channel.

Which brings us to the bombing in Ankara.

The government has not declared three days mourning for the victims in Ankara. It has declared three days mourning for the Ankara victims and the police, soldiers and paramilitary village guards who have died since July. Notably, the civilians who have died in the Kurdish areas in the same period were not included. In his statement about the bombings, Prime Minister Davutoglu started by posing the PKK as a possible culprit, followed by a left guerilla group and only then Islamic State. He spent 20 out of 30 minutes of his statement attacking the HDP.

In response to Davutoglu’s attacks, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said “We are Turks and we are Kurds, we are soldiers, we are police. We are the ones who die. We know what your children get up to. They don’t die. We die. And you are responsible.”

Behind the descent of the Turkish government into violent attacks on its own population lies the policy of intervention in the civil war in Syria. Within the context of all the foreign interventions in Syria, the Turkish government has tried to pursue its own interests, and turn a profit by acting as proxy for Saudi Arabian and Qatari intervention in Syria.

Now the Turkish government is getting backing from the U.S. for its attacks on the Kurds by offering use of the Incirlik air base. And also blackmailing the European Union into supporting Turkey’s regional ambitions by threatening to open the doors to allow the two million Syrians who are being denied proper refugee status in Turkey to cross the border into Europe.

The hands of the EU and U.S. are dirty. They have always stood behind repressive regimes in Turkey and approved every military coup in Turkey’s history. Now their interventions in Syria are also responsible for fueling the rising death toll in Turkey. We have suffered 600 dead since the June 7 election.

The massacre in Ankara may be blamed on the Islamic State. The real culprits are closer to home. Bombing Syria is no solution. It will strengthen Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and increase the murderous activities of the deep state in Turkey.

Using events in Turkey as an excuse for voting for British bombing of Syria would be dangerous hypocrisy.

Now the unions and associations that called Saturday’s peace demonstration have called a general strike for Monday and Tuesday. The divided nature of the unions in Turkey means that this general strike will not bring life to a stop in Turkey. It will, however, be an opportunity in the work places and on the streets to build the unity of the exploited from different ethnicities and beliefs against the elites who want to defend their power by having us die fighting one another. This class unity is the only way forward for Turkey and for the whole of the Middle East.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The “A” Word That Terrifies Washington

War crimes are for losers

My Lai

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 13, 2015

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has declared that there will be a thorough investigation of the recent U.S. destruction of a hospital in Afghanistan that killed 22, including 12 of the medical staff, with more than thirty still missing in the rubble. The hospital, run by Geneva-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), had informed the U.S. headed international military force of both its location and its activities in order to avoid becoming a target for either side in fighting around Kunduz but that apparently was not enough. The U.S. military command in Afghanistan approved the bombing, which reportedly included multiple attacks from a C-130 gunship and lasted over half an hour, though there is some confusion over what constituted the “threat” that was being responded to, MSF claiming that there were no Taliban militants anywhere near their building either using it for shelter or as a firing point. Both MSF and some senior United Nations officials regard the attack as a war crime. President Barack Obama uncharacteristically apologized for a “mistake” though he took pains not to blame the U.S. military.

Ashton might be a brilliant physicist but he has never been a soldier in spite of his long service in the Department of Defense. I don’t doubt his good intentions when it comes to declaring United States government willingness to let the chips fall where they may but he has no idea what he is up against. The uniformed military will stonewall, run circles around him and work hard to construct a narrative that ultimately blames no one but the Afghans for what happened. In the unlikely event that they fail in that, a soldier at the low end of the process will be punished with a slap on the wrist to demonstrate that military justice works while pari passu protecting the senior commanders. And the report will not even appear until long after Kunduz is forgotten. At that point Congress and the White House will have no stomach for going after our valiant warriors so the buck will ultimately stop with a toothless report that accomplishes nothing at all.

The Secretary of Defense, who reportedly had a dual major at Yale that included medieval history, might well consider the historical precedents for his initiating an investigation. He should appreciate above all that the “A” word that must never be spoken inside the United States government is “accountability,” which is by design as the government must never be made to look bad. Without demanding accountability even meticulous investigations into possible war crimes have no meaning and are literally not worth the paper they are written on.

Carter’s historical review might well start with the massacre of more than 500 civilians at My Lai during the Vietnam War, which was only investigated by the army after journalist Seymour Hersh got hold of the story, leading to the current practice of embedding journalists to control the narrative. More recently there was Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison operated by U.S. forces and intelligence agencies in 2003. Systematic physical abuse of prisoners was widespread, to include rape, anal penetration with foreign objects, being hung from hooks, and even murder. Much of the evidence for the abuse was documented by photos and videos made by military personnel who supervised the process. The “enhanced interrogation” procedures used were sanctioned by Lieutenant General Richard Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces, and were also endorsed by memos from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The White House maintained that the Geneva Conventions protecting prisoners and the International Convention Against Torture, to which the United States was a signatory, did not apply in Iraq.

The “thorough investigation” of the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib resulted in courts martial of a number of low ranking servicemen and women, only two of whom received short prison sentences. At the higher levels there were only administrative penalties and the demotion of General Janet Karpinski, who was in charge of all the prison camps in Iraq. Karpinski has insisted that she was scapegoated as the command structure above her had explicitly authorized the interrogation techniques.

An after-the-fact Pentagon ordered review of the prison and its procedures conducted by Major General Antonio Taguba concluded “That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.” For his pains, Taguba was himself investigated after the report was leaked to the public. He observed “I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.” He was subsequently ordered to retire, a typical response of punish the messenger whenever the Pentagon decides that it has been embarrassed.

The White House denied and later sought to downplay the Abu Ghraib story. In 2004 President George W. Bush finally apologized after the evidence of war crimes became indisputable, saying that he was “sorry for the humiliation.”

CIA interrogators, as well as Israeli “advisers,” were also involved in the torture program at Abu Ghraib and reportedly killed at least one prisoner. But the Agency simultaneously had its own show running at a network of “black site” secret prisons in Europe and Asia, some of which were operating under the same procedural rules on “enhanced interrogation” that prevailed in Iraq. Prisoners were waterboarded, which simulated drowning, sometimes repeatedly. At least one prisoner died from freezing to death and others were subjected to “rectal rehydration.” The interrogators were advised that only procedures leading to “organ failure” were prohibited.

Jose Rodriguez, at the time CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations, ordered destroyed the video tapes that had been made of many of the interrogations, arguing absurdly that they could be used by enemies of the United States to identify the interrogators. He was more motivated, one should assume, by protecting his own circle of senior officers by destroying the evidence, which one might consider a successful outcome from his point of view.

The December 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee’s report reveals that no CIA officials have ever been reprimanded or held accountable in any way for using torture to interrogate detainees: “CIA officers and CIA contractors who were found to have violated CIA policies or performed poorly were rarely held accountable or removed from positions of responsibility. CIA managers who were aware of failings and shortcomings in the program but did not intervene, or who failed to provide proper leadership and management, were also not held to account [and] accountability recommendations were overruled by senior CIA leadership. As detailed in the study, there was no accountability for personnel responsible for the extended detention of individuals determined by the CIA to have been wrongly detained.”

Subsequently, the only known CIA participant in the “enhanced interrogation” regime to be punished was John Kirakou, imprisoned after exposing the existence of the program in 2007.

George W. Bush, even defended the interrogations in advance of the Senate report’s release last year, calling the CIA officials connected to it “patriots.” Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who pledged that if he had to do it all over again he would, reviled the report as “full of crap,” a “terrible piece of work” and “deeply flawed.”

More recently, a gaggle of retired senior CIA officials, most of whom were participants in the torture program, produced their own response to the Senate allegations. It is a short book called Rebuttal: The CIA Responds to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of Its Detention and Interrogation Programs.

The CIA’s response goes something like this: the Senate report on torture was written by Democrats who were out to get the Agency and is therefore little more than a partisan hatchet job that targeted some senior officers. The book includes multiple assertions that the senators and their staffers willfully ignored things like “context,” which means that anything was permissible as everyone was terrified that a terrorist group based in Afghanistan was about to existentially threaten the United States.

As some of the book’s co-authors, to include former Director George Tenet, his deputies John McLaughlin, Jose Rodriguez, and Mike Morell, as well as the current Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan, were part and parcel of the process approving and implementing the enhanced interrogation procedures, one would have to believe that they have a lot to answer for. But instead of accountability we now have a book sugarcoating how and why the United States chose the dark side, a book written in expectation that a considerable hunk of the public will continue to believe that torture not only works but also that it is perfectly acceptable when a nation is “under stress” as it was after 9/11.

Both the public and the authors would prefer not to consider that opening the door to torture as official policy provides justification for Washington’s actual enemies to do the same when they capture a U.S. citizen, something that every American traveler abroad might consider before setting out. And one might also marvel at a book by the CIA (which reviewed and approved the text) propagandizing its point of view on torture, something that is illegal as the Agency is forbidden from seeking to influence domestic opinion in the U.S.

Only in the United States would a book justifying torture written by a group of former senior government officials be taken seriously enough to find a readership or publisher, which is something that Ashton Carter should perhaps consider before he launches his investigation. No one was held accountable for what were indisputably war crimes committed with the complete approval of the U.S. government going all the way up to the White House level. And today many of the perpetrators are regarded as heroes.

As it is a given that no senior official or officer in the United States government will ever be held responsible for anything, instead of calling for an investigation Ashton Carter might just as well respond “Sure we bombed that hospital. What are you going to do about it?” Or even better “Accountability? That’s just a word that begins with ‘a.’”

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US Must Call Off Dogs of War in Syria

By Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 12.10.2015

1027637801Ambiguity can be a useful skill in diplomatic engagement. It can wrong-foot adversaries, or otherwise tamp down tensions to avoid confrontation. But there is a danger that ambiguity can rebound badly by blurring reality, thereby impairing decisive action when decisive action is actually the best tactic.

Take Russia’s preferred lexicon of “partners” when referring to Washington and its various allies. The use of the term no doubt has served well to frustrate belligerent Western attitudes. But is there a danger that such polite engagement creates a false sense of negotiation? Or, worse, an unhelpful distraction from Russia’s priorities?

Moscow has magnanimously offered partnership to Washington and its allies over the immediate challenge of defeating terrorism in Syria.

Moscow has called on the United States to coordinate military operations, although, it has to be said, to not much avail so far.

Just this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Washington’s main client in the Arab region – Saudi Arabia – in a related bid to try to advance military cooperation in Syria against terror groups.

Both sides reportedly expressed willingness to prevent the “formation of a terrorist caliphate” in Syria under the control of the Islamic State group and other associated jihadists.

But, unambiguously, Russia knows full well that the American and Saudi “partners” are the principal sponsors of the jihadist mercenary armies that have been destroying Syria for the past nearly five years.

Washington and its Saudi and other regional allies may talk out of the side of their mouths about “degrading and defeating” the Islamic State and other terror groups. But the reality is that Syria would not be in the dire condition of 250,000 dead, $100 billion worth of infrastructure decimated and millions of refugees if it were not for the US-led covert criminal war for regime change in that country.

Leaked US official cables testify that Washington was plotting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from as early as 2006 – five years before the Western-orchestrated uprising began in March 2011.

US President Barack Obama and his top diplomat John Kerry have repeatedly insisted that Assad must stand down in any eventual political outcome. In other words, the Americans want regime change by hook or by crook against what is, as Putin has clearly stated, the “legitimate government of Syria” – and a long-time strategic ally of Russia to boot.

Again this week, the Saudi rulers reiterated the same objective during their visit to Moscow. Saudi Foreign Minister Abel al-Jubeir may have talked about military cooperation with Russia in Syria, but the bottom-line for the House of Saud is that Assad “must go”.

This imperative demanded by Washington and its Saudi ally is an outrageous ultimatum – especially coming from an unelected dictatorship that imprisons tens of thousands of its own people for daring to call for democratic rights in the oil-rich kingdom.

Moreover, in recent days it has been reported that the Obama administration and the Saudis are to step up their supply of anti-tank weapons to the jihadi mercenaries in Syria.

The BBC reports: “The well-placed [Saudi] official, who asked not to be named, said supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry including guided anti-tank weapons would be increased to the Arab- and western-backed rebel groups fighting the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies. He said those groups being supplied did not include either Islamic State (IS) or al-Nusra Front, both of which are proscribed terrorist organisations. Instead, he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances – Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front.”

Who is the BBC trying to kid? One of the recipients of Saudi-supplied weapons – the Army of Conquest – is known to be affiliated with the Al-Qaeda network. As for the other supposed “moderate rebels” it is abundantly clear by now that that depiction is a ridiculous fiction and that these groups operate like a revolving door, exchanging fighters and weapons.

The New York Times also reported that the Obama administration, while cancelling its failed program to train “moderate rebels”, is now planning to send arms, including anti-tank missiles, directly to “vetted” rebel groups. “The new program would be the first time the Pentagon has provided lethal aid directly to Syrian rebels, though the CIA has for some time been covertly training and arming groups fighting Mr Assad,” notes the Times.

These “vetted” rebels are part of the same chimeric Free Syrian Army that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week dismissed as a “phantom”.

The Washington Post also reported this week that the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles previously supplied to Syria by the CIA are now going to be increased. “Now that Russia has entered the war in support of Assad, they are taking on a greater significance than was originally intended… [it] amounts to proxy war of sorts with Moscow.”

What seems clear then is that the interests of Russia and the US in Syria are fundamentally irreconcilable. Washington and its Saudi client are motivated by regime change against Moscow’s ally, and they are moving to escalate arms supplies to their mercenary terror networks fighting to topple the Syrian government and its allies – Russia and Iran.

The notion that Washington and Saudi Arabia could be called upon to form an “anti-terror” front is not just misplaced wishful thinking. It a dangerous ambiguity. Washington and its cronies are not “partners”.

They are implacably working to undermine Russia, and worse, to draw Moscow into an “Afghanistan-type” quagmire.

This deeper enmity towards Russia should be of no surprise. Earlier this year, Russia’s top national security official Nikolai Patrushev warned that Washington was trying to topple the Russian government of Vladimir Putin through “colour revolutions” in former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. By extension, Syria is following the same US script aimed at undermining Russia.

Rather than betting that the United States and its clients might somehow be counted on to fight terrorism in Syria, Moscow would be better defining more clearly who is the root cause of conflict. The logical thing to do then is to not engage with poisonous “partners” – but instead to unambiguously state terms for ending the conflict. One such term would be for the US and its clients to call off their dogs of war in Syria.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iraqi Forces Seize US-Supplied Anti-Armor Missiles from ISIL in Fallujah

Fars News Agency – October 12, 2015

The Iraqi army and volunteer forces discovered US-made military hardware and ammunition, including anti-armor missiles, in terrorists’ positions and trenches captured during the operations in the Fallujah region in Al-Anbar province.

13940720000393_PhotoIThe Iraqi forces found a huge volume of advanced TOW-II missiles from the Takfiri terrorists in al-Karama city of Fallujah.

The missiles were brand new and the ISIL had transferred them to Fallujah to use them against the Iraqi army’s armored units.

Iraqi officials have on different occasions blasted the US and its allies for supplying the ISIL in Syria with arms and ammunition under the pretext of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group.

On Saturday, the Iraqi forces discovered US-made military hardware and ammunition from terrorists in the town of Beiji.

“The military hardware and weapons had been airdropped by the US-led warplanes and choppers for the ISIL in the nearby areas of Beiji,” military sources told FNA.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

“The US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIL control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places,” Coordinator of Iraqi popular forces Jafar al-Jaberi told FNA.

He noted that eyewitnesses in Al-Havijeh of Kirkuk province had witnessed the US airplanes dropping several suspicious parcels for ISIL terrorists in the province.

“Two coalition planes were also seen above the town of Al-Khas in Diyala and they carried the Takfiri terrorists to the region that has recently been liberated from the ISIL control,” Al-Jaberi said.

Also in February, a senior lawmaker disclosed that Iraq’s army has shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province.

“The Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL,” Head of the committee Hakem al-Zameli said, according to a Monday report of the Arabic-language information center of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

He said the Iraqi parliament has asked London for explanations in this regard.

The senior Iraqi legislator further unveiled that the government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from people and security forces in al-Anbar province on numerous flights by the US-led coalition planes that airdrop weapons and supplies for ISIL in terrorist-held areas.

The Iraqi lawmaker further noted the cause of such western aid to the terrorist group, and explained that the US prefers a chaotic situation in Anbar Province which is near the cities of Karbala and Baghdad as it does not want the ISIL crisis to come to an end.

Also in February, a senior Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that US and Israeli-made weapons have been discovered from the areas purged of ISIL terrorists.

“We have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region,” the Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz as saying.

He noted that the weapons made by the European countries and Israel were discovered from the terrorists in the Eastern parts of the city of Ramadi.

Meantime, Head of Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli also disclosed that the anti-ISIL coalition’s planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.

In January, al-Zameli underlined that the coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition’s military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes),” he told FNA at the time.

He noted that the members of his committee have already proved that the US planes have dropped advanced weaponry, including anti-aircraft weapons, for the ISIL, and that it has set up an investigation committee to probe into the matter.

“The US drops weapons for the ISIL on the excuse of not knowing about the whereabouts of the ISIL positions and it is trying to distort the reality with its allegations.

He noted that the committee had collected the data and the evidence provided by eyewitnesses, including Iraqi army officers and the popular forces, and said, “These documents are given to the investigation committee … and the necessary measures will be taken to protect the Iraqi airspace.”

Also in January, another senior Iraqi legislator reiterated that the US-led coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons,” Jome Divan, who is member of the al-Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said.

He said the coalition’s support for the ISIL is now evident to everyone, and continued, “The coalition has not targeted ISIL’s main positions in Iraq.”

In Late December, Iraqi Parliamentary Security and Defense Commission MP disclosed that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province.

MP Majid al-Gharawi stated that the available information pointed out that US planes are supplying ISIL organization, not only in Salahuddin province, but also other provinces, Iraq TradeLink reported.

He added that the US and the international coalition are “not serious in fighting against the ISIL organization, because they have the technological power to determine the presence of ISIL gunmen and destroy them in one month”.

Gharawi added that “the US is trying to expand the time of the war against the ISIL to get guarantees from the Iraqi government to have its bases in Mosul and Anbar provinces.”

Salahuddin security commission also disclosed that “unknown planes threw arms and ammunition to the ISIL gunmen Southeast of Tikrit city”.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment