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Israeli forces use excessive violence on peaceful demonstration in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | February 20, 2016

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On 20th February 2016, the Hebron Defence Committee organised a demonstration under the motto ‘Dismantle the Ghetto, take the settlers out of Hebron’ in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron). Israeli forces attacked the peaceful demonstration with stun grenades and arrested several activists.

Demonstrators marching under the banner of 'take the settlers out of Hebron'

Demonstrators marching under the banner of ‘take the settlers out of Hebron’

The demonstration started after the noon-prayer at Ali Bakr mosque and peacefully marched towards the entrance to Shuhada Street in the Palestinian market, chanting against occupation and for their freedom. Once the peaceful march reached Bab al-Baladiyya in the Old City of al-Khalil, Israeli forces quickly started gathering behind the gates that lead directly onto Shuhada Street – that has been closed off for Palestinians since the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994.

As the Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined hands in trying to take down the military gate that locks off the access to Shuhada Street for Palestinians, allowing exclusive use for settlers from the illegal settlements only, the Israeli forces suddenly attacked the protestors throwing more than a dozen stun grenades at the crowd of people. While the demonstrators were running for cover, trying to avoid being hit by the stun grenades, the Israeli forces unlocked the military gate and came running into the Palestinian market.

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Protestors at the gate leading into Shuhada Street

Israeli forces arrested a total of 12 activists from  Hithabrut – Tarabut group and moved them to the Police station for interrogation. While 8 where released, 4 were charged with attacking officers.

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

Israeli forces using excessive force arresting an activist

As can be seen on this video, Israeli forces attacked several protestors, beating them and threw stun grenades directly at the press – that was visible wearing flag-jackets and helmets reading ‘press’.

The demonstration was held in commemoration of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, in which extremist settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians and injured more than 120 when he opened fire on whorshippers inside the Ibrahimi mosque.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Libya slams US airstrike on Sabratha as flagrant violation of sovereignty

© sabratha.gov

© sabratha.gov
RT | February 20, 2016

The Libyan interim government has condemned the US airstrike on a suspected Islamic State training camp in Sabratha in which two abducted Serbian embassy staff were killed, calling the unsanctioned bombardment a grave violation of its sovereignty.

Libya’s interim government issued a statement saying that it “strongly condemns the airstrikes carried out by the US Air Force at certain positions in the town of Sabratha on Friday morning, February 19, 2016, without any coordination or consultation with the interim Libyan government.”

“Any interference, similar to the one that has taken place, will be considered an open and flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the Libyan state and international law,” the statement said.

The interim government said that it values the foreign assistance it receives in the war on terror, but added that “any military or political interference into Libyan affairs should be performed in a legal way through parliament and the newly formed government.”

In the statement, the government also said it “places the responsibility for the worsening of the domestic economic and social situation, as well as the security situation that contributed to the spread of these organizations (Islamic State) in our country, on the international community.”

The Friday airstrike carried out by the US in western Libya reportedly killed more than 40 people and was hailed as a major success by the Pentagon.

However, two Serbian hostages – embassy communications chief Sladjana Stankovic and her driver Jovica Stepic – also died in the bombardment, which came just as ransom negotiations had gotten underway with the kidnappers.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that Belgrade “demanded explanations from the US about whether they knew that foreigners were present at the site. They said they didn’t.”

Stankovic and Stepic were abducted in the northwestern coastal city of Sabratha on November 8, 2015, when their car was hijacked by gunmen after becoming separated from a convoy carrying Serbia’s ambassador to Libya.

The circumstances of the two Serbs’ alleged deaths are reminiscent of those of Italian Giovanni Lo Porto and American Warren Weinstein, who were killed by an alleged US drone strike on a Taliban compound in January, 2015.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

War crimes or peace dividends – Do we have a choice?

We can bomb the world to pieces but we cant bomb the world to peace b1d6c

By Mark Taliano | American Herald Tribune | February 20, 2016

One of the most important books about post 9/11 war and peace will likely be one of the least read books published in recent times.

War sells; peace does not.

War has its own Public Relations (PR) agencies, its own state-subsidized industry, and its own mythology. Peace does not.

The cowboy stories of “good guys” versus “bad guys” has been promulgated and exploited by the West and its agencies (and blindly accepted by media “consumers”) to such a degree, that the truth has literally been inverted. White is Black, and Black is White.

Not only is Canada at least partly responsible for mass murder, the total destruction of foreign countries, waves of refugees, but we are paying a price at home in terms of lost freedoms, and increasing impoverishment. Today’s Illegal wars of aggression are a plague on humanity that, at best, enrich the transnational oligarch class, as they reduce target countries to ashes.

But the lies are smothering the truth.

For example, we live in a world where, on the one hand, we profess to be fighting ISIS, even as sustainable evidence has shouted for years that ISIS and all the terrorists invading Syria, including the “moderates”, are Western proxies.

Prof. Tim Anderson clearly explains in the Preface to his recent e-book, The Dirty War On Syria:

“Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.”

Our repeated failures to diagnose the root causes of our current dystopia is the basis of our degeneracy. And the root causes include psychological operations (psy ops).

The age-old military strategy of false flag terrorism has triggered our expertly disguised degeneracy. False flag terrorism involves the false attribution of a crime to a designated enemy, and most, if not all wars, are triggered by false flag terrorism.

Thus the book, Another French False Flag?|Bloody Tracks From Paris To San Bernardino, Edited and Introduced by Kevin Barrett should be a “must read” for anyone attempting to understand, and act on, the current state of permanent war afflicting humanity.

The book is actually a compilation of essays from a host of prominent public intellectuals, all of whom, with the notable exception of two, elaborate upon the tactics of false flag deceptions that are herding masses of people to embrace both racism, and permanent war:

  • Gilad Atzmon
  • Rasheedal Hajj abu Mutahhar
  • Ajamu Baraka
  • Kevin Barrett
  • Ole Dammegard
  • A. K. Dewdney
  • Philip Giraldi
  • Anthony Hall
  • Zaid Hamid
  • Imran N. Hosein
  • Kujahid Kamran
  • Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
  • Barry Kissin
  • Nick Kollerstrom
  • Stephen Lendman
  • Henry Makow
  • Brandon Martinez
  • Gearoid O Colmain
  • Ken O’Keefe
  • James Petras
  • Paul Craig Roberts
  • Catherine Shakdam
  • Alain Soral
  • Robert David Steele
  • James Tracey
  • Eric Walberg

Another French False Flag?|Bloody Tracks From Paris To San Bernardino analyzes the root causes of synthetic terror events (i.e. false flags) and puts the onus on state authorities to prove the theorists wrong – which they have yet to do – through judicial public inquiries. Straw man arguments and “conspiracy theory” smears are becoming increasingly stale.

If the masses want peace and a “peace dividend”, where tax dollars are actually spent to improve their lives, local economies, and a return to democracy, then Barrett’s book is a “must read”.

If, on the other hand, we want the status quo of domestic police-state legislation, ruined economies,  destroyed countries, and an overseas holocaust perpetrated by a globalized cabal of criminal warmongers, then the book would be best left unopened.

Let’s hope that humanity’s better nature prevails. A first step is the truth.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

‘Angola Three’: US’ Longest-Held Solitary Confinement Inmate Released

Sputnik – 20.02.2016

Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned “Angola Three” inmate, who has spent over four decades in solitary confinement, was released from a Louisiana prison Friday, on his 69th birthday.

As he was released, he was asked by a reporter, if he could go back in time to April 1972, would he change anything. He responded, “There’s forces beyond your control, there’s not a lot you can do.”

Woodfox pleaded no contest, while not admitting guilt, on Friday to lesser charges of manslaughter and aggravated burglary. He was previously indicted for a decades-old murder for the third time last year after it had been overturned twice.

1023112317Woodfox spent the better part of 44 years in solitary confinement, a period believed to be the longest of any US inmate, and his attorney explained that Woodfox has earned enough credit for time served to be released.

His imprisonment is from two convictions, both of which were previously overturned, for the stabbing murder of Angola’s Louisiana State Penitentiary prison guard Brent Miller in 1972. Woodfox has consistently maintained that he is innocent and was set up due to his activism and connection to the Black Panther Party while in prison.

Miller’s wife has long called for Woodfox to be released, stating that she does not believe that he was her husband’s killer.

“I think it’s time the state stop acting like there is any evidence that Albert Woodfox killed Brent,” Miller’s wife, Teenie Rogers, said in a statement.

“After a lot of years looking at the evidence and soul-searching and praying, I realized I could no longer just believe what I was told to believe by a state that did not take care for Brent when he was working at Angola and did not take care of me when he was killed.”

The Angola Three refers to Woodfox, Herman Wallace, and Robert King. In the 1970s the trio held protests and hunger strikes inside the prison in opposition to inhumane conditions, including prison rape, racial segregation, and general corruption. The three also worked to form a chapter of the Black Panther Party within the prison walls, and helped to teach other inmates how to read, write, get their high school degrees and prepare legal documents.

Wallace was released in October 2013 when his conviction for Miller’s death was overturned, but he died two days later from cancer complications. Among his last words were, “I am free. I am free,” the New Orleans Times reported, following his death.

King was convicted of killing another inmate, and was exonerated and released in 2001 after spending 29 years in solitary.

Woodfox was originally sent to the Angola prison on charges of armed robbery, a sentence that would have allowed him to be released decades ago.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Willful Killing

ProPal | February 14, 2016

This video shows examples of Israel’s ongoing policy of executing Palestinians and how Israeli politicians instruct and encourage Israeli forces to shoot to kill any Palestinian suspect.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO and the Bananazation of Western Europe

By Joan Roelofs | CounterPunch | February 19, 2016

The wars of NATO are well-publicized but NATO as an institution remains in the shadows. Does NATO aspire to be a world government? Why did Western European countries join and why have they remained part of the alliance? It is not an egalitarian organization. The United States dominates every aspect of it. Are these supposedly social democratic countries really democracies, or are they banana republics? The traditional banana republic has democratic institutions, but is controlled by military and financial elites which are vassals of the United States.

Why NATO was formed is controversial. The official US justification was fear of an invasion by the Soviet Union to promote communism in Western Europe. There was never any evidence that this might happen, but then anything is possible.

There is evidence that other motives were more important. One was to facilitate the re-arming of Germany by embedding it in a larger military grouping. Western European countries were wary of an independent German military establishment. Another was the desire of pro-capitalist elites to prevent domestic socialist or communist electoral or revolutionary victories. This was much more of a threat than a Soviet invasion.

The founding treaty clearly states:

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

The operative part is Article 5:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Members are not required to respond with military force; they can decide how far they want to go.

NATO, formed in 1949, now has twenty-eight full members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

However, NATO is a vast empire with an expanding group of full members, plus networks, partnerships, associates, and guests. The Partnership for Peace includes: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Malta, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. These nations choose from a “menu” how far they want to go with NATO. Options include joint missions, combating terrorism, crisis response in the NATO Reaction Force (NRF), controlling mines and small arms, disaster rescue, war games, and scientific cooperation.

PfP members aspiring to full membership must have: weapons interoperability (e.g., Eastern Europe countries had to get rid of Russian and old Warsaw Pact arms in favor of Western ones), increase military spending to 2% of the GDP, purgepolitically unreliable” personnel from military, defense and security posts, train abroad in NATO military academies, host military exercises, and instruct the officer corps in English for joint overseas operations.

Other NATO associates are the Mediterranean Dialogue countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia; and the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates. Also, there are cooperating members: Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea. New Zealand, Mongolia. Informally cooperating are Colombia, Honduras, and El Salvador.

NATO’s aggressive “out of area” operations, have been multilateral, with willing participation of NATO members. The official military operations have been in Bosnia (1992-1994), Serbia and Kosovo (1999-present), Afghanistan (2001-present), counter piracy off Somalia coast (2008-present), Libya (2011), Turkey defense (2012-present).

NATO created a global army; the war in Afghanistan was fought by the largest military coalition in history. Finnish and Swedish troops (not full members) have died there; their countries are considering joining NATO. The defeated countries of World War II, which had constitutional provisions and laws against offensive military activity, including sending troops abroad, were also there. Italy and Germany sent troops and Japan provided support services.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said last December:

NATO is playing a key role in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) . . . All NATO allies are part of the coalition, the anti-ISIL coalition, and I think it’s of great importance for the coalition that both NATO allies but also many NATO partners are part of the coalition and they can take advantage of the interoperability that we have developed, our ability to work together which we have developed over many years through NATO military operations but also through NATO exercises. So the backbone of the forces in the coalition is provided by NATO and NATO partners.

NATO downplays its military nature and claims that it is simply the “premier organization of democratic nations.” This claim was part of the inducement for Eastern European countries to join. The new idea of both the US military and NATO is that security is no longer a territorial issue­–everything is relevant to it. Any policy of any nation anywhere in the world, concerning economics, human rights, the environment, secession movements, etc., may be a cause of terrorism or create an external threat that needs to be thwarted in advance, by NATO.

NATO is closely connected to military, political, scientific, and corporate elites. Europe now has a huge military-industrial complex. BAE Systems, the largest military firm, is British owned, and has factories in New Hampshire, US, and many other places. The major Italian arms manufacturer, Finmeccanica, and French, Thales, are heavily government supported. EADS is a conglomerate headquartered in the Netherlands, with main subsidiaries in France, Germany and Spain. The Netherlands has recently announced a purchase of 37 F-35 fighter planes; some part of it is made there. Sweden also has a significant very high tech military industry.

The European Union is closely enmeshed with NATO. During its formative period, the original nations sent NATO ambassadors to Paris, its early headquarters. They developed a pro-NATO view which often differed from their governments. Currently, the EU executive and NATO both have headquarters in Brussels.

When information came out about the secret “Gladio” armies, about the thousands of nuclear weapons formerly and some still in Europe, nuclear waste dumps, and testing and use of DU weapons, it became clear that crucial NATO activities are unknown not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to parliamentary representatives and even prime ministers if they are not part of the inner circle. Denmark’s constitution and laws ban nuclear weapons, but they were in Greenland. The complicity of 14 European governments (East and West) in recent renditions of “suspects” was also a surprise to citizens of the greatest democracies. Sweden, not a member (but now a partner), has been secretly aiding NATO since the beginning.

NATO is building a massive new headquarters suitable for a global empire. Among its diverse activities are grants for many types of science research. Ukraine is now a major grantee in its science program, where a multinational capacity for disaster response is being developed. The multinational telemedicine system can be used for both civilian and military applications.

Another project studies images and perceptions of NATO among the five Global Partners in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. “The project will conduct comprehensive comparative research of elite perceptions and media images of NATO as a global security actor to identify, measure, and raise global awareness, as well as extend knowledge of NATO in the region.”

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a Turkish NATO funded researcher, Aziz Sancar, who studied the mechanism of DNA repair. Now that everything affects security, NATO sponsors research in women’s reproductive choices, sustainable development, leather tanning effluent toxicity, landscape architecture, and stained glass preservation. Many projects are conducted jointly by teams including NATO member and PfP nationals, facilitating the mentoring of initiates.

Economic, political, educational, and social activities give NATO a friendly face. Internships at its Brussels headquarters are offered to students of political science, international relations, security studies, economics, engineering, human resources, information technology, library science, aeronautics, and journalism. It gives grants to environmental and other organizations just like a philanthropic foundation. On the other hand, citizens who protest the “out of area” aggressions are often branded as extremists or simply ignored.

NATO training includes massive war games, in which all members and many partners participate. For example, in 2013, “Steadfast Jazz,” a live-fire exercise, included partners Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden.

A network of training institutions exists in Europe, and NATO members are also trained in US military colleges and our great universities. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany provides combat training, and links European forces with US National Guard units. The Marshall Center for Security Studies, also in Germany, features university-type military training, and like many of the war colleges, educates civilian leaders and potential leaders as well as military personnel.

Military training throughout the world is an important part of the US empire. The US Department of Defense/State Department joint report to Congress for 2014 states that 52,600 people from 155 nations were trained—but this does not include NATO members, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand, because they are not required for the report. All arms sales are accompanied by training.

The relationships acquired through training, conferences, seminars, and joint exercises are a source of considerable power, as these experiences help younger people to move up the ladder to civilian and military leadership in their countries.

Bases are also a source of influence. At one time there were more than 800 in Europe; now it is estimated that there are about 350. Originally, there were hundreds in Germany. Everywhere bases generate economic activity and also enable surveillance and influence, as explained in the fine study by Catherine Lutz, The Bases of Empire.

Why did Western European nations join and now remain in NATO?

There was the idea promoted that the Soviet Union was poised to invade Western Europe. Its dissemination was aided by close links among the CIA, FBI, and foreign intelligence agencies. The foreign press was complicit, and in addition, the CIA and private foundations created new publications, such as Encounter in London, and others in France, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. Conferences, such as those of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, were held to lure European intellectuals away from socialist and pacifist ideologies.

Christian Democratic parties—bulwarks against communism and prime advocates of the “Atlantic alliance”—suddenly sprang up in many countries. They had been small entities before World War II; now they became governing parties, with an especially strong hold in Italy. The massive CIA funding to defeat the Italian Communist Party is well documented; there is evidence that similar activities were in place elsewhere in Europe. The NATO countries in turn financed Christian Democratic parties throughout Latin America.

Occupied Italy and Germany eventually joined NATO; they were already under the influence. In addition, some in those countries regarded membership as a sign of their conversion and redemption: they were with the “democratic” West. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey were fascist countries, so militarism and anti-communism were natural for them.

But why the social democratic countries?

There was fear that Germany might develop an independent military, so embedding any future German army in a US led coalition was reassuring. Besides, the economic costs of each country creating its own high tech military seemed daunting. The UN Charter, which outlawed war, did not forbid national armies or regional alliances. In addition, the officials in the defense ministries of otherwise progressive countries tended to be conservative and believers in armed preparedness. The NATO alliance appeared especially useful in controlling socialist and communist parties within their countries. Those parties generally opposed NATO so had to be countered on that ground alone.

Ongoing support for NATO had the help of the Bilderberg group. This conspiratorial elite first met in the Netherlands in 1954, and consists of the power elite and potential leaders of North America and Western Europe. The group was especially concerned with the threat of socialism or communism from whatever source and was strongly oriented toward the Atlantic alliance. No formal resolutions are made or policies adopted. It is assumed that the members will apply the sense of the meeting in their exalted positions.

Public opinion in war-torn and impoverished Europe was influenced by Marshall Plan aid, which warmed up attitudes toward the US. A spinoff of the loan program was the repayment in local currency. These funds enabled the US to covertly or sometimes overtly subsidize center and right-wing citizen organizations, political parties, and unions

One example is the Labour Party of Britain, which was a double threat. Clause 4 of its constitution called for nationalization of major industries, and its mainstream supported the post-war Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and opposed NATO. Secretly, the CIA lavishly funded and promoted a small conservative group in the party, organized around the Socialist Commentary journal. This group believed the Atlantic alliance was needed to forestall a Soviet invasion, and also held that given the “welfare state,” nationalization was no longer required. Those of this persuasion gradually moved into the party leadership.

Sweden, a neutral country and still not a full NATO member, nevertheless covertly collaborated with the US during World War II. It established a resistance army, to combat a possible Nazi invasion. This was a model for the secret “fall-back” armies which NATO later created throughout Western Europe, including in neutral Sweden and Switzerland.

Known as the “Gladio” project, the name of the Italian branch, they were presumably to offer resistance to a Soviet invasion. However, later government investigations, in Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland, found them complicit in domestic terrorism, political manipulations, and neo-Nazi activities. The existence of these armies was not known to the public, journalists, or most European politicians until after 1990.

Sweden cooperated with NATO all along, even though policies enacted during the administration of Prime Minister Olaf Palme forbade any war planning with NATO. The Swedish Security Service, military and intelligence agencies collaborated with the US, and their strong connections in the public broadcasting system gave them great influence over public opinion. Furthermore, the very important Swedish defense industry is intertwined with US military technology, and contrary to public policy, was sending weapons to the US for use in its war against Iraq. In 2009, war games “Loyal Arrow” were conducted by 10 countries in Northern Sweden, as a preliminary move to extend US and NATO military presence into Arctic regions—and confronting Russia in that area.

Norway would have preferred a Scandinavian alliance, but when this didn’t happen, it joined NATO, and this influenced Denmark and Iceland to follow. The (conservative) Icelandic Foreign Minister had been part of secret talks with the US regarding landing rights and hoped that a NATO installation would dampen the strong communist and socialist movements. Pressure was put on the reluctant public by suggesting that the Soviet fishing fleet near Iceland was really a military force that would occupy Iceland along with a “fifth column” of Icelandic socialists.

Denmark was reluctant to join NATO, but was persuaded. However, the public and even most political leaders were unaware of the plans for nuclear installations in Greenland that were part of secret agreements. These were illegal and unconstitutional in Denmark.

The French and Dutch joined, although there was much dissent. Under the leadership of DeGaulle, France opted out of the central command in 1966 and removed foreign occupation of military bases. However, it had its own nuclear armed military, and secret agreements to fight with NATO if trouble came. In 2009, France agreed to resume full membership.

The Dutch have been particularly unhappy about nuclear weapons, which are still present in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey. Belgium was particularly hard hit economically by postwar developments, so the location of NATO headquarters in Brussels helped to cement attachment.

With the transformation and dissolution of the Soviet Union, many thought NATO was obsolete. However, the attacks of 9-11 created more enthusiasm. This was dampened by the invasion of Iraq (not an official NATO action) and Afghanistan, which invoked Article 5 on shaky grounds. Nevertheless, 50 nations participated in the Afghan attack, including, as mentioned previously, neutral Sweden and demilitarized Japan. More recent terrorism has revived support for NATO in Europe; France has drawn much closer.

Some believe that NATO’s activities and its very existence conflict with the spirit of the UN, while others maintain that NATO is an essential operating arm of UN collective security, with knowhow and extensive high-tech weaponry.

In the classical “banana republic,” the United States controls crucial foreign and/or domestic policies of another nation through ties with its military and intelligence institutions. Only now, there is resistance in the lands where bananas grow, while “social democratic,” “neutral,” and reputedly “pacifist” countries of Western Europe are slipping into bananazation. Ordinary citizens have strong anti-war feelings and continue protesting, yet the military, political, and corporate elites of Europe have increasingly become dependents or confederates of the US military-industrial complex.

Joan Roelofs is Professor Emerita of Political Science, Keene State College, New Hampshire. She is the translator of Victor Considerant’s Principles of Socialism (Maisonneuve Press, 2006), and author of Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (SUNY Press, 2003) and Greening Cities (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996) and translator, with Shawn P. Wilbur, of Charles Fourier’s anti-war fantasy, World War of Small Pastries, Autonomedia, 2015. Web site: www.joanroelofs.wordpress.com  Contact: joan.roelofs@myfairpoint.net

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DoD, State Dept. struggle to explain Libya strike legality with 15yo authorization & some intl law

RT | February 20, 2016

A view shows damage at the scene after an airstrike by U.S. warplanes against Islamic State in Sabratha, Libya, in this February 19, 2016 handout picture. © Sabratha municipality media office

A view shows damage at the scene after an airstrike by U.S. warplanes against Islamic State in Sabratha, Libya, in this February 19, 2016 handout picture.
© Sabratha municipality media office / Reuters

Having confirmed a strike on an ISIS camp in Libya, Washington officials had difficulties explaining under which legal authority the US acts. While the Pentagon cites post-9/11 legislation, stripped of such powers, the State Department refers to unnamed international laws.

On Friday, the US announced that its warplanes targeted a training camp near the Libyan city of Sabratha, reportedly killing up to 40 people. The Pentagon has treated the attack as a success as it declared the elimination of a Tunisian national, Noureddine Chouchane, who was an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) facilitator in Libya.

Also known as “Sabir,” the militant is believed to be behind the deadly attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March 2015.

However, regardless of its achievement, the US authority to carry out strikes on Libyan soil has again come into question. It has appeared that Washington does not have a single answer.

After briefing reporters on Friday, the Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook was asked to clarify under what authority the US came to Libya, given that no Americans had been killed in the 2015 Tunisia attack.

“We have struck in Libya previously under the existing Authorization for the use of [military] force,” Cook replied.

The Pentagon’s spokesperson allegedly referred to the AUMF, which was passed and then signed by President George W. Bush shortly after 9/11, in September 2001, to target al-Qaeda. It authorized United States Armed Forces to carry out attacks against those responsible for September 11.

However, the Defense Department “believes” that the AUMF can be used 15 years later to fight ISIS.

“We believe that this was carried out under international law and, specifically, that this operation was consistent with domestic and international law,” Cook said, while not explicitly referring to any particular legislation.

In February 2015, President Obama did propose his own AUMF, which “does not address the 2001 AUMF”, but the draft was rejected by the Congress in December.

Other AUMF drafts, including for example, one of the most recently submitted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have not gotten Congressional approval either.

RT has also tried to clarify the US’s authority for the attack with the State Department, but failed to get a conclusive answer.

RT’s Gayane Chichikyan: “Under what legal authority did the US carry out strikes in Libya this morning?”

State Department’s Mark Toner: “It was in full accordance with international law. We’ve talked about this many times. I’d refer you to the Department of Defense to speak about specifics.”

Chichikyan: “So not the AUMF? It’s – it was international law?”

Toner: “Exactly. I mean – exactly.” He then refused to “get into details here,” again readdressing the question back to the Pentagon.

Approved by ‘some Libyan authority’?

At the same time both departments unanimously stress that “the Libyan authorities were aware” about the US’s strike. However, when asked to specify what “Libyan authorities” he referred to, Toner seemed to be at a loss, saying that “there is some governmental structure present” there.

“The new – well, I mean, there’s obviously Libyan authorities on the ground,” he replied to a question about Libya’s recently announced unity government. “It’s not – we’re still working to stand up the Government of National Accord. We want to see it returned and establish itself in Tripoli.”

Meanwhile, as experts tell RT, until its approval, the UN-backed unity government does not have powers to authorize foreign intervention.

“There is really no Libyan authority in existence that’s able to invite them [the US], so I think they did it on their own authority,” Oliver Miles, former UK ambassador to Libya, said. Miles believes the Libyans would oppose “very strongly” any foreign intervention.

Five years after the US-led force toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya remains in a power vacuum, which dragged the country into a civil war and let terror groups gain a foothold in the region.

There is a glimpse of hope for improvement and stability as the unity government, consisting of 13 ministers and five ministers of state, was formed Sunday and is currently expecting Libya’s eastern parliament’s approval.

The State Department “disagrees” that the US’s devastating intervention in Libya in 2011 has been a reason for its current involvement in Libya.

“We’re very clear-eyed in our assessment that when we see ISIL take these kinds of actions, we need to be able to strike at them,” Toner said, stressing that it is not “second intervention.”

In the meantime, the Pentagon has announced that it “will go after ISIL whenever it is necessary, using the full range of tools at our disposal.” 

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Reinforces Armenia Air Base near Turkish Border

Al-Manar – February 20, 2016

Russia has sent several fighter planes including fourth-generation jets and a transport helicopter to reinforce its air base in Armenia near the border with Turkey, the defense ministry said Saturday.

Four fourth-generation Mikoyan MiG-29 jets as well as a number of modernized MiG-29S bombers and a Mil Mi-8MT helicopter have been dispatched to the base, a statement said.

Russia’s base at Erebuni airport just outside the capital Yerevan already has nine fourth-generation MiG-29 planes designed to carry a payload of up to 4,000 kilograms of weapons and with larger fuel tanks, allowing them to spend more time on missions.

Russia also has a base for ground troops at Gyumri, some 55 miles (90 kilometers) from the capital of the ex-Soviet republic.

Yerevan is around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Armenia’s border with Turkey, which has been closed since 1993 due to the countries’ long-running feud.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Obama admits US-ISIS terror link

By Finian Cunningham | American Herald tribune | February 18, 2016

Call it a Freudian slip, but US President Barack Obama appears to have come clean, for once, on the connection between American foreign policy and the so called Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

In an address earlier this week to the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), gathered in California, Obama was answering questions from news reporters on various international topics. On the matter of terrorist groups expanding their foothold in Libya, the president said the following: “With respect to Libya… we will go after ISIS wherever it appears, the same way we went after al Qaeda wherever they appeared.”

In casual parlance the phrase “go after” can mean “to destroy”. But the more literal meaning and perhaps the one that Obama inadvertently let slip is simply “to follow”–as in a partnered way.

In that case, what Obama is referring to is the actual foreign policy function of ISIS and its related al Qaeda terror network. Wherever these groups appear, then Washington appoints itself to follow them under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

This pretext works very efficiently to nullify problems of international law. When the US sends its military into a foreign country to ostensibly combat terrorism then it is untrammeled by legal objections that it is violating other countries’ sovereignty. What would normally be seen as a gross violation –a military invasion by the US –is neatly transformed into an “anti-terror”operation. And if the incumbent foreign government complains about the “benevolent US assistance” then it can be toppled because it is “siding with the terrorists”.

This is, of course, the whole rationale behind the so-called War on Terror that Washington crafted in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Just uttering the phrase War on Terror gives Washington license to invade and ransack any foreign state it chooses, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than one million people were killed by US forces “hunting down terrorists”.

Before that, the official pretexts were “War on Communism”or “War on Drugs”. But with the collapse of the “Evil Soviet Empire”, the first of these pretexts became redundant. Although, Washington and its NATO allies are trying their best to revive the “Russian Scare” by demonizing Vladimir Putin as the “new Hitler in Europe”. As for the War on Drugs, it didn’t quite have the required kick to pump up the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget, or to enthuse the American public, many of whom rather enjoy drugs anyway.

But the War on Terror, now that is, or at least was, a satisfying wheeze. It also has the added benefit of allowing federal authorities to crack down on civil rights and make all sorts of invasive controls over individual liberty, as in the latest controversy of the FBI demanding that Apple give them a digital key for unlocking phones and computers.

The primary function, however, remains: the terror groups, whether they go by the name of al Qaeda or ISIS, give Washington the convenient cover to militarily invade any country on the globe. The real agenda being regime change or commandeering the natural resources of the target country for the gratification of Wall Street banks and other American corporations –in the exact same scam that pertained in the old days of Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who later confessed to being a henchman on behalf of US capitalism, by overthrowing governments in Central America and the Caribbean during the early 1900s.

Admittedly, sometimes the terrorists do get whacked by the Pentagon. No doubt about it that Obama and his generals have killed numerous al Qaeda-linked operatives with assassination drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Many more innocent civilians have also been murdered along the way by US drones.

The assassination of terror cadres by Washington may seem like a contradiction to the overall argument here that there is a mutual connection between the two. However, we shouldn’t think of Washington as a monolith. There are no doubt people within the US establishment who are dedicated to genuinely fighting terrorism, and sometimes they succeed.

But that doesn’t negate the central point that the US has covertly created these same terrorist groups to expedite its own foreign policy and geopolitical ambitions. We can’t go into the full history here, but it is well documented that the CIA engendered, mobilized and weaponized al Qaeda “the database” to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s. It wasn’t just the CIA. British MI6, French DGSE and Pakistani ISI were involved, as were the Saudi regime who provided the billions of dollars of finance and fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology that perversely empowers cadres to kill anyone –men, women and children –whom is designated an “infidel”. In other words, perfect proxy killers for the powers-that-be.

Despite the propaganda pumped out in the Western mainstream media of a US-led coalition “fighting terrorism” in Syria, the hard fact is that al Qaeda, ISIS and a plethora of other terrorist mercenary brigades were sent into Syria by the same US-led coalition for the purpose of regime change against the Russian and Iranian-allied government of President Bashar al-Assad. Readers can look up the candid admission of Lt General Michael Flynn, the former chief of US Defense Intelligence Agency as to the cynical calculations that Washington made in unleashing the terrorists on Syria.

If the US were really fighting terrorism in Syria then how do you explain this headline from McClatchy News referring to the huge discrepancy in Russian bombing raids compared with American. “Russia hit 1,888 targets in Syria in a week; the US count? Just 16”.

Face it. Until Russia intervened last September, the ISIS terror network had proliferated under US “bombing” to such an extent that Syria was in danger of being overthrown (as according to Washington’s plan).

Having failed in that mission largely because of Russia’s military intervention over the past five months, the fallback option provided by the terror groups is that they could be used to justify an outright military invasion of Syria by the US-led coalition, in the form of NATO-member Turkey and Saudi Arabia along with the other American-Arab puppet-regimes.

As Obama let slip at the ASEAN summit this week: “Wherever ISIS or al Qaeda appears, we will go after them.”

Well said Mr President. For once, you told the plain truth.

PS. The ASEAN venue where Obama was speaking at in Sunnylands, California is called “Rancho Mirage”. Kind of appropriate, don’t you think?

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No strategic divide between US & Turkey – only a division of labor

By Dan Glazebrook | RT | February 19, 2016

No one should be fooled into thinking the recent Turkish shelling and pressure for a ‘no-fly zone’ put it at odds with the US – rather they fulfill US strategic goals whilst simultaneously providing ‘plausible deniability’.

One week ago, on February 10, units from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance captured Menagh airbase and several surrounding villages in northwest Syria from Al-Qaeda franchise Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies Ahrar Al Sham, who had held it since August 2013. One might think the liberation of such a significant asset would be a cause for celebration amongst the NATO powers who are, after all, supposedly facing an existential threat from Al-Qaeda and its various offshoots.

But apparently not. By the weekend, NATO member Turkey was shelling the base and its surrounding regions, with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu vowing to render it “unusable” unless the SDF withdraw – that is to say, hand it back to Al-Qaeda. Their bombardment has continued ever since, hitting Syrian government forces in the town of Deir Jamal, as well as the SDF. Davutoglu promised “the harshest reaction” if the SDF were to take the town of Azaz – currently controlled by, you guessed it, Ahrar al Sham and Al-Qaeda – towards which they were rapidly advancing. “We will not allow Azaz to fall,” he said, ‘fall’ here being a euphemism for liberation from the Wahhabi death squads.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been regularly briefing the media about their desire to send their armies into Syria, to establish a ‘safe zone’ on the Turkish-Syrian border aimed at keeping open the supply lines to rebel-controlled territories such as Aleppo (dominated, according to the Institute for the Study of War, by Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Ahrar Al Sham). Turkish military sources have subsequently announced that Saudi jets are to be deployed at the Incirlik airbase in Turkey within the coming weeks.

For some commentators, all of this demonstrates that Turkey has somehow gone ‘rogue’, putting it at odds with the US and straining the sinews of its alliance. Turkey is facilitating militant jihadis, it is argued, whilst the US is trying to fight them; and it is attacking the SDF, who the US is supporting. The SDF is, after all, an official ally of the US, who has been advancing thanks in part to US air support – yet is viewed by Turkey as a terrorist group due to the presence in their ranks of the Kurdish YPG, who have fraternal relations with the PKK, with whom the Turkish state has been at war for decades. For the Guardian, “the Turkish strikes… triggered alarm in Washington”, whilst a Reuters headline suggested that the “Kurdish advance in Syria divides US and Turkey”. “Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks calling on the US to choose between its ally Turkey and “the terrorists in Kobani,” wrote the Turkish newspaper Sunday’s Zaman “Ankara is now not on good terms with the US”.

The reality, however, is that Turkey appears to have had US approval every step of the way.

Take, for example, the official US reaction to the Turkish shelling. Statements by State Department spokesman John Kirby have generally been depicted as ‘admonishing’ Turkey for its actions. In fact, he called for “de-escalating tensions on all sides,” adding that “we have urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory.” In other words, he has repeated Turkey’s demands that northwest Syria be left under Al-Qaeda control. This hardly qualifies as a major dressing down.

Also hugely important to note is that right between the seizure of Menagh on Wednesday and the beginning of Turkish shelling on Saturday, NATO had 2 important meetings: one formal, one informal. On Thursday, buried deep in an announcement about NATO operations in the Aegean Sea, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned that NATO had also agreed “to intensify intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at the Turkish-Syrian border.”

That was the formal meeting. Later that day – that is just one day before the International Syria Support Group announced plans for a “cessation of hostilities” – the defense secretaries of the US, the UK, Turkey and the Gulf states met at NATO HQ to discuss the possibility of inserting ground troops into Syria and establishing a “no-fly zone” on the Syrian-Turkish border. Talking in advance of this meeting, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter appeared to relish such action, welcoming the prospect of “strong contributions” from the Gulf States, which he said would be a “good thing”. “There are lots of different ways that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can contribute,” he noted, “one of them is on the ground – and we’ll definitely be discussing that – but there are lots of other ways as well.” Two days later, Turkey began shelling Syria.

Ostensibly, these were meetings of the ‘anti-ISIS’ coalition. But, as the Guardian innocently noted, “Given that the US and its allies have been in action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since September 2014, it is remarkable that the meeting on Thursday afternoon is the first to be held by the defense ministers from the anti-ISIS coalition.” What has really prompted their sense of urgency has nothing to do with the ‘phony‘ war against ISIS, and everything to do with the growing military success of the Syrian government.

Rhetorical nonsense about the need to ‘combat ISIS’ notwithstanding, it is clear that Turkey and the West remain very much on the same page over Syria. There is indeed a red line for both, and that red line is the prospect of a Syrian government victory – which, following Russia’s decisive intervention now seems like a very real possibility. The major rebel supply line to Aleppo was cut off on February 3, meaning that both the recapture of Aleppo and the sealing of the Turkish-Syrian border now lie visibly within the government’s grasp. As Reuters has correctly noted, “That would amount to its most decisive victory of the war so far, and probably put an end to rebel hopes of removing Assad by force, their goal throughout years of fighting that has driven 11 million people from their homes.”

Such an outcome would have monumental consequences for the entire globe. It would mark the first decisive defeat for a Western-sponsored regime change operation since the end of the Cold War, perhaps since Vietnam. It would demonstrate that the new ‘4+1’ alliance (of Iran, Iraq, Russia, Syria and Hezbollah) are able to inflict defeat on Western-backed forces, rendering US sponsorship and protection all but worthless. It would provide states over the world with the military rationale (the economic rationale is already obvious) for aligning themselves with the BRICS rather than the US. And it would make sectarian death squads throughout the region, for long the ‘cheap power’ arm of US and British foreign policy, wary of ever again relying on Western backing. In short, it would mark an unprecedented and irreversible shift in power from West to East.

There is no way that the Western powers are going to allow this to happen lying down. And plans are rapidly being drawn up to avoid this. The aim is to ensure the Syrian-Turkish border stays open, to guarantee that the rebels supply lines are not jeopardized; this is the only way to avoid defeat in, not only, Aleppo, but in Syria as a whole. How to do this?

First, Turkey is filling the Syrian side of its border crossing with refugees to act as human shields. Last week, for the first time, President Erdogan closed the border to fleeing refugees, instead setting up camps inside Syria. These will provide the ‘collateral damage’ necessary to paint any Syrian government-Kurdish – Russian moves to take the territory and seal the border as a massacre and humanitarian emergency. Erdogan’s comments last week that the United Nations needed to step in to prevent “ethnic cleansing” are clearly part of the ideological groundwork to prepare for a ‘humanitarian intervention’ which, in reality, will serve to create a NATO-backed, Turkish and Saudi-enforced, occupation zone in northwest Syria designed to keep the border open, keep the death squads supplied with weapons and fighters, and, in short, keep the war going.

Far from angering Washington, Turkey’s actions put it right at the vanguard of US strategic designs. Make no mistake; the US is preparing to fight Russia – right down to the last Turk.


Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Palestinians Die, Silence in The NY Times—One Israeli Dies, We Get Headlines

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | February 19, 2016

Six Palestinians died over this past weekend, three of them minors, all of them relatively young. They died in separate incidents that took place throughout the West Bank, from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south, and although their deaths left a bloody trail throughout the region, they were deemed unfit to print in The New York Times.

Now we have an Israeli death and the event appears prominently at the top of page 2 in the print edition, with a four-column photo. Online the headline reads, “New West Bank Violence as Palestinian Boys Stab 2 Israelis.”

According to the Times, we can not say that Palestinians experienced violence when six young people died from gunshot wounds. The word became relevant only when Israelis were the victims.

The story today by Isabel Kershner names the one Israeli killed in this latest attack. It says nothing of the half dozen Palestinians who died at the hands of security forces in recent days. Their names and even the circumstances of their deaths are of no interest to the Times, and they appear only as additional numbers in brief mention of Palestinian dead since the latest “lone wolf” uprising began last October.

Kershner reports that some 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in that time, compared with 28 Israelis killed by Palestinians. In the Times’ formulaic explanation for this striking contrast, she throws the blame on Palestinians, saying they were killed during attacks or in “clashes.” (For more on this, see TimesWarp 1-4-16.)

Her story does mention claims that Israeli forces have killed Palestinians who pose no threat. This is a small step forward in Times reporting, and she goes on to quote Israeli Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who criticized the use of excessive force and those in the government and military who have encouraged it.

His remarks are evidence that leaders the military and government recognize that Palestinians have died at the hands of trigger happy troops. It’s not unlikely that Times reporters have also known this but made no effort to report it.

Meanwhile, Kershner’s report also fails to inform us of the numbers of injured on both sides, data which provide at least a hint of the violence Palestinians face daily under occupation.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israeli security forces injured 14,925 Palestinians last year, and as of Feb. 8 this year, they had already injured 719.

In other words, Israeli police and army have been injuring over a hundred Palestinians weekly during 2016. By contrast, according to OCHA reports, the weekly average of Israelis injured by Palestinians this year is no more than two.

The difference here is a factor of more than 50 to one, yet we have headlines in the Times that point to Palestinian violence as the only news fit to print.

Also missing from Kershner’s story, as usual, is any context for the attacks. The brutal military occupation has no place in her story, and there is no attempt at all to provide the Palestinian attackers with a motive. Readers will have to look elsewhere for the real news here.

Meanwhile, we will end with a list of the six who lost their lives over this past weekend:

  • Omar Ahmad Omar and Mansour Yasser Abdulaziz Shawamra, both of them 20-year-olds from the West Bank village of al-Qubeiba;
  • Nihad Raed Muhammad Waqed and Fuad Marwan Khalid Waqed, both 15, in the northern West Bank near the village of al-Araqa, west of Jenin;
  • Naim Ahmad Yousif Safi, a 17-year-old from the village of al-Ubediya, east of Bethlehem;
  • Kilzar al-Uweiwi, 18, a young woman who died near the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron.

Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments