Aletho News


Corporate Sycophants and the TPP

The hypocrisy of “free market” advocates is astounding. While they trumpet increased competition and the elimination of state imposed barriers as a means of spurring economic advancement, they ignore how the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other “free trade” accords increase monopolistic intellectual property provisions.

In a recent CTV interview on the TPP Carleton business professor Ian Lee began by saying we’ve known for three centuries that “free trade” increases wealth while a Maclean’s editorial “celebrating” the accord noted “as with most things, the best sort of trade is free: free from tariffs, restrictions and other government-imposed barriers.”

But the TPP significantly strengthens many “government imposed barriers” to free exchange. The recently negotiated accord harmonizes intellectual property provisions upwards across the 12 nation zone. In Canada the deal will increase the length of copyright from 50 to 70 years after the death of an author. It will also increase (corporate) copyright holders’ capacity to compel Internet Service Providers to block content on websites and to pursue individuals who transfer content they own between devices or upload/repost highlights from trademarked work such as professional sports.

The TPP will also extend drug patent protections. Brand-name pharmaceutical companies in Canada will be given patent term restoration to compensate for time lost during the drug approval process.

In some other TPP countries the patent extensions will be even greater, along with the resulting social costs. Médecins Sans Frontières warns that “the deal will further delay price-lowering generic [drug] competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

Intellectual property is also listed as an asset under the Investor State Dispute Settlement section of the agreement. This will give patent or copyright holders the ability to sue governments – in a private, investor-friendly international tribunal – for pursuing policies that interfere with their profit making. Techdirt editor blog Mike Masnick notes, “including intellectual property in the investment chapter is a poison pill designed to ensure that intellectual property can only continue to ratchet up, rather than back.”

And, one might ask, what does extending patent, trademark or copyright provisions have to do with free trade? In fact, as a type of monopoly, they stifle competition, which is supposed to be a pillar of free trade ideology.

The TPP isn’t the only “free trade” agreement that promotes anti-competitive monopolies. The Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) gives patent holders the ability to appeal overturned patents, increases patent data protection terms and grants patent term restoration for any time lost during the approval process. The extension of Canadian patents under the yet to be signed CETA is expected to drive up already high pharmaceutical drug costs in this country by between $850 million and $1.65 billion a year, according to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study. This far surpasses the $225 million Canadian companies paid in tariffs to the EU in 2013.

To a lesser extent, other “free trade” accords such as the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement also strengthened intellectual property monopolies. With patents, trademarks and copyright ever more important to big corporations, there’s been heavy pressure to extend intellectual property systems.

While the Maclean’s editors denounce “government imposed barriers”, they ignore how the TPP and similar agreements they promote extend state designated monopolies. I guess it’s preferable to consider oneself a “free marketer” rather than a “sycophant of corporate power”.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Journalists Syndicate decries arrest of 2 reporters in dawn raids

Mada Masr | November 17, 2015

Two journalists were arrested in a dawn raid of their homes in Gharbiya on Saturday, the Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that lambasted security authorities for aggressively targeting media workers and violating their basic rights.

The prosecutor general approved the release of one of the journalists, Sobhy Shoaib, on Sunday after the syndicate released its statement, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said.

But Abdel Rahman Mohamed — deputy editor-in-chief of the privately owned Al-Mesryoon news site and a reporter for the National Company for Distribution — is reportedly still in custody pending investigations into charges that he belongs to a banned organization.

Journalists Syndicate President Yehia Qallash issued a separate statement exhorting the prosecutor general and interior minister to immediately order Mohamed’s release, arguing the charges against him were “baseless and pre-fabricated.”

Al-Mesryoon chief editor Mahmoud Sultan published an op-ed adamantly dismissing claims that Mohamed belonged to any banned or radicalized group. He confirmed that Mohamed was a specialist in the field of political Islam, but did not identify in any way with that school of thought.

Mohamed’s reporting shed light on rampant corruption in Egyptian businesses, Sultan said, but now he’s in jail while many of these corrupt businessmen have gone free.

A 2013 report from the Committee to Protect Journalists found that Egypt was the third most dangerous country for reporters — coming in only after Syria and Iraq — and conditions have only continued to worsen, Sultan wrote.

The Journalists Syndicate denounced tactics like dawn raids, punitive detentions and forced disappearances that security forces wield against reporters. The statement urged media professionals to adopt “a serious and unified stance against the expanding practice of arresting journalists and referring them to criminal hearings on the basis of faulty charges and questionable investigations.”

The statement further condemned the arrests of other journalists, including Mada Masr contributor Hossam Baghat, due to their writing.

The Interior Ministry is directly “responsible for the lives and well-being” of the 33 journalists currently detained or imprisoned, who must all be immediately released, the statement said.

The syndicate called for new legislation to safeguard and uphold basic rights for journalists while deregulating the sector and giving reporters more freedom to do their jobs.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Condemns Irregularities in DEA Arrest of Venezuelans

teleSUR | November 17, 2015

The head of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, criticized irregularities in the arrest of two Venezuelans, calling it a kidnapping.

The president of the Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, strongly criticized the actions of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that arrested two Venezuelan nationals in Haiti, classifying it as a kidnapping.

“I do not see it as a detention, really, a plane went to Haiti (from Venezuela), it was travelling with six people and two people were kidnapped, this is what I understand, because the process was totally irregular,” said Cabello Monday during an interview on Globovision.

Two Venezuelan men, Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores de Freitas, were arrested in Haiti last Tuesday on drug trafficking conspiracy charges. They were subsequently extradited to the United States on Wednesday.

Some media outlets falsely claimed that 800 kilos of drugs were found on the plane, however Haitian government officials later denied the claim. A DEA official who participated in the arrest told CNN that the pair were arrested over allegations that they were in Haiti to finalize a deal to import that quantity of drugs to the United States.

The other 4 individuals traveling on the plane were released without charge and the plane was allowed to return to Venezuela.

Cabello questioned why the DEA would allow the plane, associated with alleged drug trafficking, to be released. That only two people were ultimately arrested led the president of the National Assembly to classify the detention as a kidnapping.

The two individuals arrested are said to be the nephews of Cilia Flores, the wife of Venezuelan President Maduro. However, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest could not confirm they were in fact connected to Venezuela’s first family.

After the two men were arrested, some international media reported on Friday that authorities raided a house and yacht in La Romana, Dominican Republic, that allegedly belonged to the Flores family.

However, the Dominican national drug control agency dismissed the claims as “speculation,” saying there was no official information to suggest the house and yacht were property of the Flores family. The Dominican anti-drug agency also confirmed that the raid happened the day before the two men were arrested, even though the event was only reported and linked to the family days later.

Tania Diaz, a candidate for the upcoming Venezuelan legislative elections for the ruling socialist party said the media coverage of the arrest was part of an orchestrated campaign to influence the country’s upcoming Dec. 6 elections. The two men arrested appeared in court in New York last Thursday and must appear again on Wednesday.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

American Cops Now Steal More Property than All US Burglars Combined


By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project | November 17, 2015

For decades now, federal government and their cohorts in law enforcement have been carrying out theft of the citizenry on a massive scale. We’re not talking about taxes, but an insidious power known as Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF).

The 1980’s-era laws were designed to drain resources from powerful criminal organizations, but CAF has become a tool for law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to steal money and property from countless innocent people.

No criminal charge is required for this confiscation, resulting in easy inflows of cash for law enforcement departments and the proliferation of abuse. This phenomenon is known as “policing for profit.”

In the last 25 years, the amount of “profit” stolen through CAF has skyrocketed.

According to the US Department of Justice, the value of asset forfeiture revoceries by US authorities from 1989-2010 was $12,667,612,066, increasing on average 19.5% per year.

In 2008, law enforcement took over $1.5 billion from the American public. While this number seems incredibly large, just a few years later, in 2014, that number tripled to nearly $4.5 billion.

When we examine these numbers, and their nearly exponential growth curve, it appears that police in America are getting really good at separating the citizen from their property — not just really good, criminally good.

To put this number into perspective, according to the FBI, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses in 2014.

That means that law enforcement in America has stolen $600,000,000 more from Americans that actual criminal burglars.

When police surpass the criminal accomplishments of those they claim to protect you from, there is a serious problem.

The good news is that Americans are waking up to this Orwellian notion of police robbing the citizens, and they are taking a stand.

Even police officers are taking a stand against CAF. In an exclusive interview in September, the Free Thought Project talked officer Stephen Mills, chief of police at the Apache, Oklahoma police department. Mills became an outspoken advocate against CAF, after he became a victim of it.

The idea of thieving cops has also united organizations on opposite ends of the political spectrum. In October, the ACLU and the Koch Brothers came together to stop the inherent police theft in America.

While the police keep grabbing your property, it is important to remain vigilant. Only through a lesser ignorance and the spreading of information will we overcome this blatant tyranny. Please share this article with your friends and family to wake them up to the criminal reality that is – civil asset forfeiture.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , | 1 Comment

Corbyn’s rejection of ‘shoot-to-kill’ causes Labour rupture

RT | November 17, 2015

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been criticized by members of his own shadow cabinet after publically opposing a “shoot-to-kill” counter-terrorism policy on British streets.

Days after the Paris terror attacks the UK government ordered special forces to “shoot to kill” if Islamic State terrorists were to threaten a large number of people.

During a parliamentary meeting on Monday, a clear division among Labour Party factions emerged when MPs questioned Corbyn’s views on the policy and his stance on the legality of the extrajudicial execution of Mohammed Emwazi (also known as ‘Jihadi John’).

Ann Coffey and John Mann were among MPs to challenge their leader. A spokesperson for Corbyn said only a small minority of MPs had expressed themselves “volubly” during the meeting.

Corbyn was asked if he considered the strike that killed Emwazi to be legal. According to the Telegraph, he refused to answer, angering several Labour MPs.

‘I can’t speak for Corbyn’

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn admitted he is struggling to defend Corbyn’s stance on the shoot-to-kill policy.

In an interview with the BBC, Benn said he “can’t speak” for the leader of his party.

“I can’t speak for Jeremy in relation to the particular circumstances he may have been thinking about,” he said.

He added it is “reasonable” to kill a terrorist where there is an “immediate threat to life.”

“All I can say is what is the position of the party. The long-standing position in the UK – there are procedures, it has got to be reasonable, it has got to be proportionate. But you have got to protect human life.”

Benn’s comments contrasted with Corbyn’s remarks when he was asked if he would be pleased to order the military or police to follow such a policy.

‘Shoot-to-kill policy is dangerous’

On Monday, Corbyn called the policy dangerous. “I’m not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general – I think that is quite dangerous and I think [the policy] can often be counterproductive,” he told the BBC.

“I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where they can, there are various degrees of doing things as we know.

“But the idea you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing. Surely you have to work to try and prevent these things happening, that’s got to be the priority,” he added.

However, Corbyn’s aide insisted he is not opposed to the policy in all cases, adding he is “committed to what the existing law is – that any armed action by the police has to be proportionate to the threat.”

‘We are as ruthless as they are’

Commenting on the policy, Metropolitan Police (MPS) Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said officers working in terror situations would need to know they are supported when they are forced to pull the trigger.

“We work within the law and we make sure the people on the other side – the terrorists – know that we’re as determined as they are, we’re as ruthless as they are,” he told LBC radio.

“We work within the law, but the officers have some difficult decisions. They deserve all our support.”

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Some Questions for Obama and His Gang

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 16.11.2015

434534544Mr. Obama, Mr. Cameron. Mr. Hollande, Madame Merkel, Mr. Erdogan and all the other members of the criminal conspiracy to dominate the world, I ask you, do you intend to test our patience to its limit? How much longer will your killing frenzy madden us? At what point do you stop your reckless push to the very brink of world war. Have the Nuremberg trials, the UN Charter, international law, have the fears and protests of the people, have your continual defeats in one war after another, your crimes against mankind revealed to the light time and time again, had no effect on you at all? Do you not know that your plans have been exposed, that the conspiracy and the conspirators have been identified? Which of us does not know what you were up to yesterday evening, what you were up to last night and this morning, who you talked with, what plan of action you decided on? For the plan is always the same, and never changes, to dominate, to control or to destroy.

Many think they are lucky if they can just stay out of your way but we know better. We know that no one is safe from your criminality and depravity. Not even children returning from Sharm El Sheihk, from their holiday, are safe from the blade of death you hold in your hands, nor the citizens of Paris enjoying a night out on the town. You proved that when Metrojet Flight 9268 was destroyed in mid-air. No official cause has yet been determined but circumstances indicate the possibility of a bomb on board is a strong one. You proved it again when attackers murdered scores of people in Paris on Friday November 13th. ISIS is reported to have claimed responsibility but the claim that a Syrian passport was found on the body of one attacker, an Egyptian passport on another and a French one on another forces the question as to why anyone conducting such an attack would walk around with identification especially passports and more why would a French national carry his passport in France? The Paris attack and the Russian airliner attack both smell of false flag operations and when we ask the first question in any criminal investigation, who benefits from these attacks on civilians, then it is you who fall in line, one after the other, as the prime and usual suspects.

There has been a lot of speculation that the attack on the Russian plane was made by you or your allies in ISIS to “punish” Russia for its assistance to Syria and to try to affect public opinion in Russia against that assistance. But that never made sense since Russians know the high stakes for Russia in this struggle. The real reason for the attack is made clear by you every day in your mass controlled media. Your thinking, your plans, your crimes are exposed in the very propaganda you use to manipulate the minds of your own peoples and what you have told us is that the Russian plane was destroyed, all those innocent people trying to enjoy a small holiday were murdered, in order to justify your calls for an invasion of Syria. It is as clear as the deaths heads etched into your souls that those Russian men, those Russian women and those Russian children were sacrificed, used, as means of justifying a great war in the middle east. And now the citizens of France are sacrificed as well.

On CNN the other day your prime time king of war propaganda, Wolf Blitzer, showed an interview between the CNN queen of war propaganda, Christiane Anampour, and the Turkish Prime Minister. I use it because he says what you, Obama, Merkel, Hollande, and Cameron have all said in complete synchronicity, that the “plane attack is a call to action.” Prime Minister Davutoglu said,

“This is not an attack against a Russian airplane, but it is an attack against all of us. So therefore it shows that if the crisis is not solved in any particular country or region, then it is going to affect us all.” The same is now claimed by western leaders about the Paris attack.

On the same programme Blitzer hosted Senator Lindsay Graham, one of the most rabid of the American dogs of war who stated, “I believe you have to have boots on the ground to destroy ISIL, ….you need Turkey and the Arabs coming together with us, and you need 90 per cent them and 10 per cent us. 5,000 to 10,000 of Americans to be part of a regional force to go on the ground to destroy ISIL in Syria, or they will never be destroyed and they will hit us here at home.” And now Paris has been struck.

We have seen the same calls made from all the NATO capitals in recent days and all made just after the NATO leaders, with one notable exception, expressed their insincere condolences to the families of the victims of the airliner disaster but not to Russia or its government. The exception was President Obama who kept a sinister silence.

CNN stated on November 5th that the possibility that ISIS is behind the plane crash raises the spectre of a new potential for devastating attacks on Americans. “If another Islamist group has acquired the motivation and the capacity to attack civilian airliners, a future target could be U.S. jets.’ said a man named Aaron David Miller a “former middle east peace negotiator” with the Wilson Center in Washington who also said ‘It’s a long war and you, we have just seen maybe a very significant turn and escalation in that war…. and this will increase pressure … to forestall similar strikes against a US target.” But Paris was hit first.

I could cite many other similar statements in which your propagandists claim ISIS to be the new Al Qaeda. You and your fellow conspirators plan to amplify this propaganda to hysterical levels to generate overwhelming fear in your domestic populations in order to justify a large scale war against Syria where your proxy forces are being defeated by the combined arms of Russian air power and the fighting spirit and skills of the Syrian Arab Army. This has been achieved with the attack in Paris. The sudden flow of refugees into Europe is being used for the same purpose.

No doubt we can expect similar attacks in other NATO capitals. It does not matter to you if you use the misery of millions fleeing war and poverty to justify your plans for war or Russian children returning from happy days on the beach, or people enjoying a concert or football match in Paris. All deaths are the same to you. And so, when we ask who murdered those children, who murdered those Parisians, are you surprised if we turn our heads your way?

We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who defeated fascism in the Second Word War, and we cannot permit those forces of reaction and tyranny to torment us again for now you are not threatening this country or that, this leader or that, you are threatening the existence of civilization itself. Is this not madness? Is there anything that gives you pleasure except death and more death? Is there a single person on the planet that does not fear you, not a single person who does not hate you? Is there any mark of disgrace with which you have not been branded, any dishonour that does not stain your reputation? From what crime have you ever abstained?

There is no need to answer. We all know the answers to these questions.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Russia Confirms A321 Brought Down by Terrorist Explosive Device

Sputnik – 17.11.2015

An explosion of the homemade bomb of up to 1kg of TNT equivalent was the cause of the A321 crash in Sinai, Russian Security Service (FSB) head Alexander Bortnikov said.

“According to our specialists’ assessment, a homemade explosive device with an equivalent of 1 kilogram of TNT on board the aircraft exploded, which lead to the plane ‘breaking up’ in midair, which would explain the scattering of the plane’s fuselage across a wide area,” Bortnikov said during a meeting.

Russian Special Forces have determined the A321 passenger jet that crashed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31 killing all 224 on board was a terrorist act.

“We can definitely say this was a terrorist act,” Russian Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An investigation into A321 crash shows traces of an explosive material in personal items and parts of the plane, Bortnikov added.

“Investigations have been completed on the personal belongings, baggage, and parts of the plane that crashed in Egypt on October 31. As a result of expertise conducted on all of the items, of which I mentioned, traces of foreign explosive material were exposed,” Bortnikov told the Russian president during a meeting on the official conclusion that the aircraft was exploded in mid-air by a homemade explosive device.

He also said that Russia offers $50mln for the information on those who might have been involved in the terrorist attack on the A321.

A Russian Airbus A321 with 224 people on board crashed on October 31 while en route from Egypt’s resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, leaving no survivors. Various possible causes of the tragedy have been set out by aviation experts, ranging from a terrorist act to a technical glitch.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Someone Wants War with Russia

Victoria Nuland is not alone

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • November 17, 2015

Something very odd is going on in Washington. I recently attended and spoke at a conference in Washington on “realism and restraint” as a broad formula to reform U.S. foreign policy. Most presentations reflected that agenda more-or-less but oddly one of the speakers said that it was necessary for the United States to mark its place in the world while “carrying a big stick” while another panelist asserted that it was a core mission of the American people to “help other countries striving to be free.” Both were referring to how the U.S. should comport itself vis-à-vis Russia and one had to suspect that they had wandered into the auditorium by mistake, intending instead to visit the nearby American Enterprise Institute.

That such views should be forthcoming at a conference featuring “restraint” might not in fact be regarded as particularly surprising if one bothers to listen to either the Republican or Democratic so-called debates. Nationalism and American “exceptionalism” are easy products to sell at any time, but recently there has been a strain of bellicosity that is quite astonishing to behold, particularly as only one candidate has ever served in the military, and he was a lawyer. One might call it “Chickenhawks on Parade.”

It is useful to consider in their own words what the GOP candidates said last Tuesday night. Carly Fiorina led the baying pack with “One of the reasons I’ve said I wouldn’t be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn’t talk to him for a while, but, I would do this. I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military — the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies… and I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand that the United States of America will stand with our allies… We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes. We also have a set of allies in the Arab Middle East that know that ISIS is their fight… but they must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America… we have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.”

Ben Carson added his two cents, “And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way… What we’ve been doing so far is very ineffective, but we can’t give up ground right there. But we have to look at this on a much more global scale. We’re talking about global jihadists. And their desire is to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that’s the way that they’re able to gather a lot of influence… And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. And you look for the easiest place to do that? It would be in Iraq. And if — outside of Anbar in Iraq, there’s a big energy field. Take that from them. Take all of that land from them. We could do that, I believe, fairly easily, I’ve learned from talking to several generals, and then you move on from there.”

And Senator Marco Rubio added his own insights, saying that “I believe the world is a stronger and a better place, when the United States is the strongest military power in the world… I’ve never met Vladimir Putin, but I know enough about him to know he is a gangster. He is basically an organized crime figure that runs a country, controls a $2 trillion economy. And is using to build up his military in a rapid way despite the fact his economy is a disaster. He understands only geopolitical strength. And every time he has acted anywhere in the world, whether it’s in Ukraine or Georgia before that, or now in the Middle East, it’s because he is trusting in weakness… our allies in the region do not trust us. For goodness sake, there is only one pro-American free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, it is the state of Israel. And we have a president that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran… And we do have a vested interest. And here’s why. Because all those radical terrorist groups… they are coming to us. They recruit Americans using social media. And they don’t hate us simply because we support Israel. They hate us because of our values. They hate us because our girls go to school. They hate us because women drive in the United States.”

Governor John Kasich demonstrated why it would have been best if he had stayed in Ohio, saying “In the Ukraine, arm the people there so they can fight for themselves. In the eastern part of Europe, make sure that Finland and the Baltics know that if the Russians move, we move. In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north on the Turkish border, a no-fly zone on the south on the Jordanian border. Anybody flies in the first time, maybe they can fly out. They fly in there a second time, they will not fly out… in the countries of the Gulf States of Bahrain, the Cleveland Clinic is opening an operation. Clearly we see the same with them. And in Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.”

Governor Jeb Bush, running fast to make up for his lackluster campaign, added “I’d say it [the number one threat facing the U.S.] is Islamic terrorism, and, back to the question of what we are dealing with in Iraq, when we pull back voids are filled. That’s the lesson of history, and, sadly, this president does not believe in American leadership. He does not believe it, and the net result is that we have a caliphate the size of Indiana that gains energy each and every day to recruit Americans in our own country, and the threat to the homeland relates to the fact that we have not dealt with this threat of terror in the Middle East. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones… Without American leadership every other country in the neighborhood begins to change their priorities. It is tragic that you see Iraq, and other countries now talking to Russia. It wasn’t that long ago that Russia had no influence in the region at all. And, so, the United States needs to lead across the board.”

I can almost picture the lads and lassies from the various neocon entities including the John Hay Initiative, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the American Enterprise Institute grinning as they brief the GOP candidates on foreign policy. What a treat to have a gaggle of perfect tabulae rasae possessing the combined intellectual curiosity of an aardvark dutifully waiting in line to have their empty heads filled with nonsense. Carly wins the prize for sheer venom and willingness to start a war. She would be firing at Russians on the ground and in the air. Why? So we can fly wherever we want.

But I think that Ben Carson wins the dummy prize for his brilliant plan to destroy the “Caliphate” by taking away their “big energy field.” And Rubio comes close with his claim that Putin is nothing but a gangster plus his George W. Bush-like assertion that terrorists hate us because of our “values,” allowing women to go to school in our country and also drive cars. Kasich meanwhile sees the Cleveland Clinic as a barometer of civilization while I challenge anyone to make sense out of what Jeb Bush said. He has apparently inherited the gift of tongues from his brother.

And then, of course, it never hurts to give the nod of approval to Israel, which is the only “pro-American free enterprise democracy” in the Middle East as well as “no better ally in the world.” Amen.

The outlier Donald Trump actually made some sense, saying “… If Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it… Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels — I read about the rebels, nobody even knows who they are. So, I don’t like Assad. Who’s going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they’re going to be, and what they’re going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place…”

There was also some pushback from Senator Rand Paul who counseled a defense policy linked to national interest as well as affordability, but many of the other candidates sought to outdo each other in terms of vilifying Russia and Putin while talking tough about how they would deal with him.

Indeed, the willingness to fight Russkies and Persians simultaneously has surfaced more than once in the current series of debates. But consider for a moment how a war with second rate power Iran would be something less than a cakewalk even if everything went perfectly, and one knows that in war little goes to plan. Iran has sophisticated air defenses and naval resources that could wreak havoc in the narrow waters of the Straits of Hormuz. An American carrier could easily be destroyed. It would be a replay of the worst experiences in Iraq combined with the worst of Afghanistan, given Iran’s terrain, size, resources and willingness to fight.

But Iran aside, the focus is invariably on Moscow. Backing Russia’s Putin into a corner where he felt that he had to strike first with his available military resources, to include tactical nuclear weapons, would be something on quite a different level and the word catastrophic comes immediately to mind. Even if Russia were only limiting itself to military targets, it could, in short order, sink all of America’s vaunted and highly vulnerable air craft carriers and destroy the satellite communications systems that the modern U.S. armed forces depend on. One leading military analyst even believes that the Russian Army is better designed to fight an actual ground war than is the vastly more expensive version fielded by the United States, which should surprise no one. Colonel Douglas Macgregor postulates that U.S. forces would likely be annihilated.

Many of those inside the beltway doing the pushing for confrontation argue that Washington and Moscow have long been restrained, in theory, by what is known as “mutually assured destruction,” meaning that a nuclear war is unthinkable because it would destroy both countries and possibly the world. But there might be some high up in both governments who think that a limited exchange could actually be somehow controlled, even while understanding that if a nuclear tit-for-tat were to escalate the targeting could easily shift to cities. Certainly the GOP candidates are flirting with entertaining that possibility, even if they are not completely aware of what they are implying.

In truth, the dangerous Washington consensus that Russia must for some reason be confronted and even destabilized truly boggles the mind, particularly as it has become dogma for both political parties and even for many critics of the global war on terror and all its tainted fruit. And the brinkmanship game with a nuclear weapon armed adversary that is being played is, as veteran diplomat William Polk has observed, “… moving closer to the danger point of provoking their use.” It is difficult to understand why it is so. Russia is, if anything, helping in Syria and could even broker some kind of negotiated settlement, while the situation with Ukraine and Crimea is far less Manichean that the U.S. media has depicted it to be. Russia does not threaten the United States and it does not threaten Western Europe, but push hard enough and long enough and a nightmare scenario could easily arise, driven by carelessly stoked fear and the thoughtless language employed by an array of presidential wannabes as well as their punditry enablers.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | 4 Comments

Bloody Business: Arms Manufacturers’ Stock Prices Soar After Paris Attacks

Sputnik – 17.11.2015

1026009974On the first market day after Friday’s deadly attacks in the French capital, stock shares for major defense contractors shot sky-high. Coincidence?

While military experts worldwide are predicting an escalation of the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group, wheeler-dealers on Wall Street seem to be expecting big-time gains from intensified military campaigns.

Northrop Grumman, recently awarded the contract for the US’ next-generation long-range strike bomber, was up more than 4.4% at the close of the NYSE Monday.

Raytheon, known for its guided missiles among other things, was up at least 4.20%.

Lockheed Martin, another leader in the industry with its F-35, F-22, F-16, F-117, and C-130s saw shares grow more than 3.53%.

Oshkosh Corporation, the leading truck producer for the US Marines and Army, was up over 2.86%.

Boeing, manufacturer of the Tomahawk cruise missile, F-18 fighters, and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, gained some 1.28%.

The French-based multinational Thales Group, famous for its electronics, shows 3.3% growth, even though the general France’s index has been down the whole day.

The Italian helicopter and weapons systems’ producer Finmechanica has gained 2.7%.

The British BAE Systems, which builds destroyers, assembles and contributes to design of multiple fighters at home and oversees, shows almost 2.2% growth.

Along with arms producers, other companies, in particular those considered surveillance state profiteers, showed fast growth. Shares in Booz Allen Hamilton, for instance, gained over 3.4% on Monday.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

US Approves $1.3bn Smart Bombs Deal with Saudi Arabia

Al-Manar | November 17, 2015

The US State Department has signed off on the deal to sell $1.29 billion worth of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia, according to the Pentagon. The 22,000 bombs are to be used in the Saudis’ military campaigns in Yemen and Syria.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in charge of overseeing foreign arms sales, said in a statement that deal with the Saudis has been approved. The US Congress still has 30 days to block the deal, but is unlikely to do so.

The agency said that the sale would keep the Royal Saudi Air Force from running out of weapons, as well as provide sufficient weapons stocks for its military campaign in Yemen and Syria.

“This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, improve [the ability of Saudi forces to work] with the United States, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves,” the statement said.

According to RT website, the $1.29 billion deal consists of 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, which include 1,000 GBU-10 Paveway II laser guided bombs, as well as over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits, which convert older bombs into precision-guided weapons via GPS.

The sale comes after President Barack Obama promised in May to work with Persian Gulf Arab States on increased security cooperation, particularly “on fast-tracking arms transfers… counter terrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity and ballistic missile defense.”

Persian Gulf States have shown increased interest in US weaponry following the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in July.

In October, the US government approved an $11 billion sale to Saudi Arabia for up to four Lockheed Martin Corp.’s warships, along with weapons, training and logistics support. In September, Washington approved a $5.4 billion sale of 600 advanced Patriot missiles to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 236 days now to restore power to fugitive President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-US aggression has so far killed at least 6,579 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Yemeni national military, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas: Banning the Islamic Movement is an Israeli racist measure

Palestine Information Center – November 17, 2015

dr-sami-abu-zuhriGAZA – The Hamas Movement strongly denounced the Israeli decision to outlaw the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands as “an act of racism.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated in a press release on Tuesday that the Israeli ban measure against the Islamic Movement targets the Arab presence in the 1948 occupied territories.

“The Israeli decision is aimed at punishing the Islamic Movement and preventing it from continuing its role in protecting the Aqsa Mosque,” Abu Zuhri added, calling the decision as “a badge of honor” to the Islamic Movement.

The Hamas spokesman called on the international community to intervene to curb such Israeli racist measures against the Palestinians.

The Israeli security cabinet on Tuesday declared the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands an unlawful organization, effectively outlawing the group led by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah.

Following the decision, police forces raided over a dozen of the group’s offices in the 1948 occupied lands, seizing computers, files and funds.

The Israeli occupation authority also froze its bank accounts and said that 17 organizations affiliated with the Movement were served with orders to close down.

The police also called in several of the Movement’s officials for questioning, including Sheikh Salah, his deputy Sheikh Kamal Khatib, and the organization’s director of Jerusalem and Aqsa Mosque affairs, Salman Abu Ahmad.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Assad ‘is a factor’? US blames Syrian leader for its own failure to cut ISIS oil funding

RT | November 17, 2015

Washington says it is Syrian President Assad’s regime that has undermined US efforts to cut off Islamic State’s funding. The terrorists remain well-heeled due to crude oil trade the sources of which the West studied in detail over a year ago.

“We got all coalition members all taking efforts to strangle ISIS access to foreign markets, banking system, looking into what they need to produce and sell oil and cut all that off; it’s essential,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said when asked by RT reporter Gayane Chichakyan for “updates” on what the US is doing to curb ISIS financing.

However, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) remains well-funded despite all these steps. The US blames its lack of progress in stemming IS funding on President Assad, claiming he “is a factor here.”

“The black market, and Assad relies on ISIL oil and is a factor here. It’s hard to eliminate that completely, but we’re working on it,” Toner has said.

Last year, the US Treasury estimated that IS earns as much as $1 million a day by selling oil to some of its biggest enemies, allegedly including Turkey, Iraq’s Kurdish community, and the regime of Bashar Assad. All three sides have denied the allegations, which were voiced in October 2014 by David Cohen, a US terrorism and financial intelligence chief.

The US considers taking out Islamic State’s sources of funding – primarily oil and gas – as well as its infrastructure as key “in waging a successful campaign against ISIL,” Toner told journalists last week.

“It’s a particular line of effort – one of those is about bombing its infrastructure. I don’t have airstrike stats on that, but it’s been a line of effort since day one – how do we cut off ISIL financing?” the State Department spokesman stressed again on Monday.

However, though over a year has passed since the Treasury evaluated IS assets, the US is still working on curbing Syria’s oil transit routes to Turkey.

“There’s an area in the border that we want to seal up – and trying to cut off major supply routes to Turkey. It’s a bit of an ongoing challenge,” Toner said on Monday.

The New York Times on Monday said a US airstrike had destroyed at least 116 trucks used by Islamic State to smuggle crude oil.

When asked to confirm that by RT’s Chichakyan, the State Department refused to comment, saying such a question was at “a level of details to ask the DOD [Department of Defense].”

“Talked about it on Friday – how do we cut off ISIS financing is a big question, and we know they gain a chunk of financing that way. That’s always been a matter of targeting of these strikes, but I don’t know about the specific one you’re mentioning,” Toner said.

According to Chichakyan, the spokesman could not offer any explanation as to why strikes targeting IS’ oil convoys have only just begun. Incidentally, news of the first such strike broke the same day as Russian President Vladimir Putin showed his G20 counterparts satellite images that he said “clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products” between ISIS and some 40 unspecified countries.

According to Putin, “the motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon.”

Back in October, the Financial Times speculated that “the importance of Isis oil to those living in rebel-held areas of Syria is one reason why the US-led coalition has been reluctant to target the group’s trade routes.”

The US-led coalition has reportedly said that it is “wary of alienating local populations by bombing fuel now critical for their daily lives.” It is not clear what developments prompted Washington to launch the long-overdue strike on Islamic State’s oil route, but The New York Times reported that the decision had been made “well before the terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday.”

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment