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FBI is Enrolling Church Leaders, Social Workers and Community Leaders to Spy on You

By Kristan T. Harris | American Intelligence Report | May 16, 2016

The FBI is expanding their operation and looking to enlist religious leaders, social workers, mental health professionals, and leaders in local communities in order to prevent terrorism, North Jersey’s The Record reports.

The plan is to establish a network of Shared Responsibility Committees (or SRCs) across America that would keep an eye out for potential rabble-rousers, a 4 page FBI letter acquired by the Intercept implies.

The document states “the primary goal of an SRC intervention is disengagement,” and the “FBI’s primary objectives in referring an individual to the SRC are to enable community partners to develop community-led multidisciplinary solutions and to build community resilience and foster greater community trust, while also fulfilling the FBI’s national security and public safety responsibilities.”

Some of these solutions decided by the committee may include “mentoring support, life skills, anger management, cognitive or behavioral therapies, constructive pursuits, education skills, career building and support, family support, health awareness, housing support, drug and alcohol awareness and treatment, engagement and exposure with perceived adversaries, and mental health care.”

Civil-liberties groups and Muslims are upset over the FBI’s connection to the committee, predicting that SRCs will become “government informants,” and that “private conversations could become part of criminal investigations.”

Law enforcement officials believe the organization is justified, claiming, “it targets not just Muslim extremists but also people influenced by U.S.-based extremist groups, and it seeks to help people before they turn to violence.”

How does the FBI intend to identify individuals who need rehabilitation? Local police forces across America are acquiring Real Time Crime Centers (RTCC) which use a “citizen ranking” system that compiles data from social media, smartphones and even pizza deliveries to compute your threat score.

The FBI has adopted a similar style of policing using a “$1 billion Next Generation Identification project, which is creating a trove of fingerprints, iris scans, data from facial recognition software and other sources that aid local departments in identifying suspects,” The Washington Post reports.

The FBI does not consider these community groups a form of “government spying,” since they may not see every incident. An FBI official interviewed by The Record stated, “I don’t think it’s spying by the government because some of this stuff may never arise to us.”

The FBI document claims that these committees will not be used “as a means to gather intelligence,” however, it also makes a few clear contradictions to this claim throughout the rest of the document.

For example, the letter explains, “the SRC can, but will not be required to, inform the FBI of an individual’s progress throughout the course of the program.” So what happens to the information that is voluntarily given up? The FBI document forewarns that, “the FBI may share any information the SRC provides with other law enforcement agencies, members of the U.S. Intelligence Community, and foreign government agencies as needed.”

SRC members are required to “immediately notify the FBI of any civil, administrative, or criminal claim, complaint, discovery request, or other request for information of which the SRC member receives notice, concerning or arising from any FBI referral or otherwise relating to any FBI referral,” indulging the FBI with intelligence they’ve gathered.

“The community sees problems first. When the FBI sees it, it’s too late. If the community can be empowered to take over, it will save us time in the end [instead of] having to arrest people,” an FBI official told North Jersey‘s The Record. Justifying the pre-crime tactics by SRCs, the agent said, “We want to get to him when he’s 16 and not 20 and shooting up a place.”

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian journalist jailed for 9 months for alleged Facebook “incitement”

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – May 16, 2016

Palestinian journalist Sami al-Saee, an editor at Al-Fajer TV, was sentenced to 9 months in prison by an Israeli military court on Monday, 16 May, for alleged “incitement” by facebook postings. Al-Saee has been imprisoned since 9 March 2016 when his Tulkarem home was violently raided at 3:00 am while his mobile phone and computer were confiscated.

Ghaith Ghaith
Ghaith Ghaith

His detention was repeatedly extended without charge until the imposition of the Facebook “incitement” charges; he is sentenced to 9 months imprisonment and a 12-month suspended sentence for three years. Ghaith Ghaith of Jerusalem was also sentenced today to six months imprisonment over charges of Facebook “incitement.”

Over 150 Palestinians have been arrested and accused of “Facebook incitement” or sent to administrative detention over social media posts

including 22-year-old Palestinian beautician Majd Atwan and poet Dareen Tatour of Nazareth, who is facing imprisonment for posting her poetry on Facebook and Youtube. Palestinian professor Imad Barghouthi, held under administrative detention without charge or trial, is allegedly being imprisoned largely due to allegations over Facebook postings, claim the Israeli military.

Samah Dweik, another Palestinian journalist accused of “incitement” for Facebook postings, was to face a military court also on Monday, 16 May, but the hearing in her case was postponed until at least 1 June. Dweik has been jailed since 10 April since an early-morning raid on her home in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of Silwan.

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May 16, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli demolition order threatens home of Issawi family of three prominent Palestinian prisoners

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – May 16, 2016

The Israeli occupation has issued a home demolition order against the Issawi family, including imprisoned family members Shireen, Medhat and Samer Issawi, and their home in Issawiya village northeast of Jerusalem.

The order, which alleges that the home was constructed without an Israeli building permit, states that the home, which has stood since the 1970s, will be demolished. Leyla Issawi, 65, the mother of Shireen, Medhat, Samer and their siblings, said that this comes as an attack against her imprisoned children and the will and steadfastness of their family.

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Construction permits are routinely denied to Jerusalemite Palestinians and their homes targeted for demolition. Fewer than 4,500 construction permits have been issued for Palestinians since 1967; over 48,000 Palestinian homes and buildings have been demolished by the Israeli occupation army in that time period.

Shireen and Medhat Issawi are serving 4 and 8 year sentences, respectively, for their work in helping families to support and gain representation for their imprisoned loved ones; Samer Issawi’s original 26-year sentence was reimposed after his 2014 re-arrest. He had previously been freed after a lengthy hunger strike.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Everything Israel does is part of a plan, not a forced ‘response’ to ‘terrorism’

MEMO | May 15, 2016

dissapearing-palestine-map-1200x800On the 68th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), when the Zionist State of Israel was created on Palestinian land, it is worth reflecting on the propaganda that the world has been fed ever since. Arguably the most pervasive is the perennial claim that Israel only ever “responds” to Palestinian “terrorism” every time it sends its tanks, jets and drones over the border into the Gaza Strip, or its troops into the West Bank and East Jerusalem to destroy Palestinian homes and lives.

Let’s put aside for one moment the fact that the Palestinians have a legal right – some would say obligation – to resist Israel’s brutal military occupation of their land with all means at their disposal. Their legitimate resistance is neither “terrorism” nor mindless violence; it is focused and with a clear purpose in mind: the liberation of Palestine. This is a fact that is ignored by media and politicians alike when they back Israel’s offensives against Palestinian civilians with the claim that Israel has a “right to defend itself”. It certainly does if it is attacked by a belligerent state, but not, in law, to defend itself against the people living under its military occupation. Statements by Western politicians dismiss the Palestinians’ legal rights at a stroke, exposing their blatant support for Zionism in the process.

Scrutiny of how Israel’s offensives have been launched against the people of Gaza over the past few years demonstrates that the Zionist state is the prime cause of the violence through its vicious occupation policies in the occupied West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip; indeed, its polices before, during and since the Nakba. Rockets fired from the territory and other acts of resistance have to be viewed within that context if there is to be a genuine attempt to decipher the reality of the situation. The same is true of the three major Palestinian uprisings in 1987-1991, 2000-2005 and 2015-present. All were in response to Israeli oppression and occupation, rather than the over-simplistic “violence against Israelis” that some claim.

When Israel’s “Declaration of Independence” was read out by David Ben-Gurion in 1948, the pro-Israel narrative insists that “Arab armies” immediately invaded the nascent state to strangle it at birth, ignoring very conveniently that, apart from anything else, a deal had been struck by the Zionists with the then King Abdullah of Jordan (the current monarch’s grandfather), who also had his eyes on Palestinian territory. The context of the ethnic cleansing and massacres committed as part of “Jewish terror tactics” (Guerrilla Warfare, Robin Corbett, 1986) in the run-up to May 1948 is not mentioned, nor is the steadily-rising levels of Jewish immigration to British Mandate Palestine during the 1920s and 1930s; nor, indeed, is the Zionist lobbying that went on to squeeze the infamous Balfour Declaration out of the British government in 1917, when Britain had no right whatsoever to promise to give Palestine, or parts thereof, to “the Jewish people”. In short, the narrative, which has been picked up and disseminated by pro-Israel politicians and media in the West for decades, was and remains that Israel – “the only democracy in the Middle East” – is always being attacked by “the Arabs” and so must be supported with endless military, political and economic assistance. Context is everything, and it is missing from this narrative, as is the fact that Israel has nuclear and possibly chemical weapons.

If there is an iota of sincerity in Israel’s claims that its legitimacy was provided by either Balfour (which mentioned a “national home” not a state) or the 1947 UN Partition Plan (passed without consulting the indigenous people of Palestine), then let its government pull back to the land designated under the UN plan and place Jerusalem under international control; end the occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and around 25 per cent of what is now part of Israel. This will never happen, of course, for the simple reason that the aim of Zionism is to establish “Greater Israel”, from the sea to the River Jordan, at the very least. This was described by Joseph Weitz, the head of the Jewish National Fund (which buys land in Palestine for settlement by Jews) in 1940 as “… the Western Israel”. Some argue that it goes further (as Weitz implied), and includes southern Lebanon (which was occupied by Israel from 1982 to 2000), the Sinai Peninsula (occupied from 1967 to 1982, apart from Taba, 1989), across to the Euphrates and south into what is now Saudi Arabia. Israel remains to this day the only member state of the United Nations which has never declared what its borders are.

This is all consistent with what prominent Zionist Israelis have expressed over the years. In 1954, for example, Ben-Gurion wrote, “To maintain the status quo will not do. We have to set up a dynamic state, bent upon creation and reform, building and expansion.” (Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, 1954, p419).

A year later, ex-prime minister Menachim Begin, who was wanted in Britain until the day he died for his role in massacres carried out by the Zionist terror group Irgun in the 1940s, told the Knesset (Israeli parliament): “I deeply believe in launching preventive war against the Arab states without further hesitation. By doing so, we will achieve two targets: firstly, the annihilation of Arab power; and secondly, the expansion of our territory.”

Begin’s “preventive war” came about in 1956, with the British-French-Israeli assault on the Suez Canal, and in 1967 when, again contrary to the pro-Israel narrative, Israel attacked and destroyed the Egyptian air force in a pre-emptive strike to launch the “Six-Day War”. Former minister Mordechai Ben-Tov denounced the claim that Israel’s existence had “hung upon a thread” in the run-up to the war: “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori, to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.” Furthermore, General Ezer Weizmann was quoted in Maariv, also in 1972, as saying “There was never a danger of extermination [prior to the Six-Day War in 1967].”

In 1972, Yitzhak Rabin, a general and then Prime Minister of Israel, who was assassinated by a Zionist fanatic in 1995, told France’s Le Monde, “I do not believe that Nasser [Egypt’s president] wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May [1967] would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

Numerous Israeli politicians have, over the years, expressed their intentions with regards to the land of Palestine, and what should be done to the Palestinians. Before his first term as prime minister, the then Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told students at Bar Ilan University in 1989, “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China [Tiananmen Square], when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the [occupied Palestinian] territories.”

According to the late Ariel Sharon in 1998, “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonisation, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”

With this in mind, it is worth remembering that Israel has wiped off the map more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages since 1948 in a deliberate effort to destroy all evidence that Palestine was ever an Arab land. “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages,” said former General Moshe Dayan in Haaretz in April 1969. “You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” (Quoted by Edward Said in, Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims, Social Text, Volume 1, 1979, 7-58)

It should be obvious, therefore, that Israel does not “respond” to Palestinian violence, but the Palestinians are defending themselves against the existential threat that is the State of Israel and its expansionist policies. The ethnic cleansing that began prior to the creation of the Zionist State in 1948 has been ongoing for 68 years and shows no sign of abating.

That is the lesson that we must learn from the Nakba: everything that Israel does is part of a well-thought out plan; it is not prone to spontaneous “responses” to Palestinian resistance, but it is very good at being the aggressor and blaming the victims. We – and the Palestinians – forget that at our peril.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments

Human Rights Defender Arrested During Cycling Marathon

International Solidarity Movement | May 15, 2016
Photo Credit: www.taz.de

Photo Credit: http://www.taz.de

Bil’in, Occupied Palestine – On Friday the 13th of May 2016, the internationally recognized human rights defender and coordinator of the Bil’in popular committee against the wall and settlements, Abdullah Abu Rahma, was arrested during the Alwada Cycling Marathon, which took place in the West Bank Friday. Abdullah Abu Rahma is currently still being held under detention by the Israeli military and his case will be brought to the military court in Ofer Military Base tomorrow.

Abu Rahma, who is from the West Bank village Bil’in, was arrested, after the Alwada Cycling Marathon had reached Bil’in. After reaching Bil’in the attending cyclists were met by approximately 150 heavily armed soldiers, who immediately started showering the cyclists with tear gas and blocked the road, where their route was going. During this attack on the peaceful demonstrating cyclists, Abu Rahma was arrested along with an international activist from Israel. The Israeli activist was released shortly after her arrest.

The Alwada Cycling Marathon’s intention was to demonstrate against the illegal Israeli occupation and the apartheid system, that Israel is enforcing on the Palestinians through a healthy and peaceful cycling route from Ramallah to Bil’in. By Israeli Forces attacking the peaceful demonstration and arresting Abu Rahma, they once again show the world, that they do not accept the right to protest peacefully and that they do not comply with the international law, that does not allow Israeli Forces to be on Palestinian controlled areas, which the area of Bil’in is.

Abu Rahma is an important activist for the village of Bil’in and a symbol of peaceful resistance all over the West Bank. For now, he is left waiting for his next sentence, after he has already been imprisoned for his nonviolent resistance multiple times, and has in the past been charged with both “incitement” and “organizing and participating in an illegal demonstration.” Till now, there has not been declared a charge against him in the current case, but the military court will determine his fate, after having held him in detention for 4 days, even though he did not commit any crime whatsoever.

For more information about friday’s Alwada Cycling Marathon:

https://www.facebook.com/haytham.alkhateeb/posts/10208232017891106?pnref=story

https://www.facebook.com/haytham.alkhateeb/videos/vb.1022320161/10208230395770554/?type=2&theater

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons–So Could Obama

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | May 16, 2016

North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.”

Nuclear “first use” means either a nuclear sneak attack or the escalation from conventional mass destruction to the use of nuclear warheads, and presidents have threatened it as many as 15 times. In the build-up to the 1991 Persian Gulf bombing, US officials including then Def. Sec. Dick Cheney and Sec. of State James Baker publicly and repeatedly hinted that the US might use nuclear weapons. In the midst of the bombardment, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas both explicitly promoted nuclear war on Iraq.

In April 1996, President Bill Clinton’s deputy Defense Secretary Herald Smith publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear Libya — which was a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — for allegedly building a secret weapons plant. When Clinton’s Defense Secretary William J. Perry was questioned about this threat he repeated it, saying, “[W]e would not forswear that possibility.” (The Nonproliferation Treaty forbids a nuclear attack on other state parties.)

In “Presidential Policy Directive 60” (PD 60) of Nov. 1997, Clinton made public the nuclear first use intentions of his war planners. US H-bombs were now being aimed at nations identified by the State Department to be “rogues.” PD 60 alarmingly lowered the threshold against nuclear attack possibilities. The Clinton doctrine “would allow the US to launch nuclear weapons in response to the use of chemical or biological weapons,” the Los Angeles and New York Times reported. (Arguing that we need H-bombs to deter chemical attacks is like saying we need nuclear reactors to boil water.) Throwing deterrence policy under the bus, Clinton then “ordered that the military … reserve the right to use nuclear arms first, even before the detonation of an enemy warhead.”

Clinton’s order was an imperious rebuke to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) — the nation’s highest scientific advisory group — which recommended six months earlier, on June 18, 1997, that the US, “declare that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in war or crisis.” In April 1998, Clinton’s US Embassy reps in Moscow coldly refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq, saying, “… we do not rule out in advance any capability available to us.”

Again, in January and February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declined to explicitly exclude nuclear weapons as an option in a war on Iraq, saying US policy was not to rule anything out, Wade Boese of the Arms Control Association reported. Additionally, Def. Sec. Donald Rumsfeld said at a Feb. 13 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that official policy dictated that the US, “… not foreclose the possible use of nuclear weapons if attacked.”

Putting an end to these ultimate bomb scares would bring US action in line with Presidential speechifying which has regularly denounced “nuclear terrorism.” An international agreement on “non-nuclear immunity,” adopted by five nuclear-armed states May 11, 1995, has not quelled charges of hypocrisy made against them. The pact is full of exceptions – e.g., PD 60 — and is nonbinding. Only China has made this unequivocal pledge: “At no time and under no circumstances will China be the first to use nuclear weapons and [China] undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones.” India has made a similar no-first-use promise.

A formal US renunciation of first use would let cooler heads prevail by ending the debate over so-called “threshold” use of the Bomb. It would also end the blatant public duplicity of proclaiming that nuclear weapons are only for deterrence while preparing for attacks “before the detonation of an enemy warhead.”

Pledging “no first use” would save billions of dollars in research, development and production, as well as the cost of maintaining first-strike systems: B61 H-bombs, Trident submarine warheads, Cruise and land-based missile warheads.

Significantly, nuclear war planners who have used their first-strike “master card” believe they were successful — the way a robber can get a bag of cash using a loaded gun but without pulling the trigger. They want to keep their ghastly “ace” up their sleeve, and they have manufactured a heavy stigma against formally renouncing nuclear first use, since to do so might further call into question the official “winning” reasons for having tested radiation bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The US should embrace China’s unambiguous language and promise never to use nuclear weapons first or against non-nuclear states. If President Obama wants to ease world tensions without apologizing for Hiroshima when he visits the iconic city, he could replace Clinton’s presidential directive with his own, declaring that the US will never again be the first to go nuclear.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battleground Europe: The Real Reason US Wants to Invest More in Propaganda

TV Man in the Autumn - Stencil

© Flickr/ sualk61
Sputnik – May 16, 2016

The United States is contemplating investing into additional propaganda efforts targeted against Russia as mainstream Western media does not seem to be doing a very good job of getting Washington’s message across to Europe and preventing the continent from getting closer to Russia, former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT.

The analyst was referring to a recent initiative aimed at establishing a new federal agency that will be tasked with countering Russian and Chinese “propaganda.”

The bill, known as Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016, has been in fact designed “to insure that there is no corrective to the information put out by [the US] government and then dutifully picked up by the Western media,” Jatras observed.

American media outlets, he added, “pick up like bulletin boards from government agencies very uncritically and just simply put it out there. And no other points of view are really entertained.”

The initiative is primarily focused on Europe and its warming relations with Russia, he added. US policymakers are apparently concerned that Europeans are increasingly disappointed in Washington’s stance on Russia, with some urging to lift the restrictive measures that were imposed on Moscow following the outbreak of the Ukrainian civil war.

“What I think the fear is, especially if you look at the changing mood in Europe towards, for example, the sanctions on Russia, I think that the people here in Washington feel they are losing that argument,” Jatras said.

The US policymakers’ logic, according to the analyst, is the following:

“Rather than reexamine their policy and think: ‘Well, maybe there is something wrong here, maybe we should change our course,’ they are saying: ‘They just don’t understand us well enough. We just have to make our propaganda better than it has been.'”

The bill, introduced by Senator Rob Portman, has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. If passed, it would create the Center for Information Analysis and Response, armed with a $20-million budget for 2017 and 2018.

“This is especially, it seems, targeted toward Europe where there will be a $20 million over the next two fiscal years made available in the form of grants to unspecified people in Europe that one assumes in the European media to carry a story that is more in line with US policy,” Jatras explained.

Read more:

US, NATO, EU ‘Obsessed’ With ‘Highly Efficient Russian Propaganda’

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Peace, Not Russia, Is Real Threat to US Power

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.05.2016

or-37320The monstrous US military budget is a classic illustration of the proverb about not seeing the wood for the trees. It is such an overwhelming outgrowth, all too often it is misperceived.

In recent years, Washington’s military expenditure averages around $600 billion a year. That’s over half of the total discretionary spending by the US government, exceeding budgets for education, health and social security. It’s well over a third of the total world military annual spend of $1.7 trillion.

The incipient military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech in 1961 has indeed become a central, defining feature of American society and economy. To talk of «American free-market capitalism» is a staggering oxymoron when so much of the country’s economy is wholly dependent on government-funded militarism.

Or put it another way: if the US military budget were somehow drastically reduced in line with other nations, the all-powerful military-industrial complex and the American state as we know it would collapse. No doubt something better would evolve in time, but the impact on established power interests would be calamitous and therefore is trenchantly resisted.

This is the context for the escalation in Cold War tensions with Russia this week, with the deployment of the US missile system in Romania. The $800 million so-called missile shield is set to expand to Poland over the next two years and eventually will cover all of Europe from Greenland to southern Spain.

Washington and NATO officials maintain that the Aegis anti-missile network is not targeted at Russia. Unconvincingly, the US-led military alliance claims that the system is to defend against Iranian ballistic missiles or from other unspecified «rogue states». Given that Europe is well beyond the range of any Iranian ballistic capability and in light of the international nuclear accord signed last year between Tehran and the P5+1 powers, the rationale of «defense against Iranian rockets» beggars belief.

The Russian government is not buying American and NATO denials that the new missile system is not directed at Russia. The Kremlin reproached the latest deployment as a threat to its security, adding that it would be taking appropriate counter-measures to restore the strategic nuclear balance. That’s because the US Aegis system can be reasonably construed as giving NATO forces a «first-strike option» against Russia.

A couple of things need to be clarified before addressing the main point here. First, European states are chasing Iranian business investments and markets following the breakthrough P5+1 accord signed last July. Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Austria are among the Europeans who have been vying to tap Iran’s huge economic potential. The notion that Iran is harboring a military threat to such prospective partners is ludicrous, as Russian officials have pointed out.

Secondly, the US protestations of innocent intentions towards Russia are a contemptible insult to common sense. They contradict countless statements by Washington, including President Obama and his Pentagon top brass, which have nominated Russia as an aggressive threat to Europe. Washington is quadrupling its military spending in Europe, increasing its troops, tanks, fighter jets, warships and war exercises on Russia’s borders on the explicit basis of «deterring Russian aggression».

In other words, Russia is viewed as a top global enemy – an existential threat – according to Washington. So, the deployment of the US Aegis missile system this week in Eastern Europe is fully consistent with Washington’s bellicose policies towards Russia. It would thus be irrational and foolishly naive to somehow conclude otherwise, that the US and its NATO allies are not on an offensive march towards Russia.

The depiction of Russia as a global security threat is of course absurd. We can also include similar US claims against China, Iran and North Korea. All such US-designated «enemies» are wildly overblown.

Western claims – amplified relentlessly in the Western news media – of Russia «annexing» Crimea and «invading» eastern Ukraine can be easily contested with facts and indeed counterpoised more accurately as belying Washington’s covert regime change in Kiev.

Nevertheless, Western fear-mongering supported by unremitting media propaganda has to a degree succeeded in conflating these dubious claims into a bigger specter of Russia menacing all of Europe with hybrid warfare. It is, to be sure, a preposterous scare story of a Russian bogeyman which has racist undertones and antecedents in Nazi ideology of demonizing Slavic barbarians.

But this demonizing of Russia, as with other global enemies, is a necessary prop for the American military-industrial complex and its essential functioning for the US economy.

The $600 billion-a-year military spend by Washington is roughly tenfold what Russia spends. And yet, inverting reality, Russia is presented as the threat!

The US military budget is greater than the combined budgets of the world’s next nine big military spenders: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, India, Japan and South Korea, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Arguably, the US economy as we know it – dominated by Pentagon, corporate, Wall Street and congressional interests – would cease to exist were it not for the gargantuan government-subsidized military budget.

Structurally, the US economy has ossified into a war economy and the only way for this to be maintained is for the US to be continually placed on a war footing, either in the form of a Cold or Hot conflict. Historians will note that out of its 240 years of existence as a modern state, the US has been in war or overseas conflict for more than 95 per cent of its history.

During the former Cold War with the Soviet Union, a recurring theme in Washington was the alleged «missile gap» which purported to portray the US as losing its military edge. This resulted in relentless military expenditure and an arms race that in part led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Washington’s self-ordained privilege to run up endless debt (currently nearly $20 trillion) because of its dollar dominance as the world’s reserve currency has permitted the US to escape a day of reckoning for its ruinous military profligacy.

This madcap situation continues to prevail. A quarter of a century after the official end of the old Cold War, US military spending continues at the same profligate, unsustainable pace.

What Washington needs in order to keep the fiasco going is to whip the rest of the world into a frenzy of fear and loathing. That’s why the Cold War with Russia and China has had to be rehabilitated in recent years. Swords cannot be turned into plowshares because the US power interests that command its economy have no use for plowshares.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has on several occasions invited global cooperation on security matters, and with the US in particular. Moscow has also recently said that it does not want to embark on a new arms race. The latter wariness is understandable given the deleterious experience for the Soviet Union from runaway military spending.

However, that is precisely what the US wants and needs to induce: a global arms race which it can then invoke as justification for its own monstrous military.

According to SIPRI, both China and Russia have significantly increased their military budgets, by about 7.5 per cent each in 2015.

Russia may not want to engage in an arms race, mindful of the warping pressure that can inflict on its national resources and development.

But when the US installs a new missile system on Russia’s doorstep, the impetus for Russia to likewise scale up military commitments is onerous.

And that is what Washington is driving at. It is not that Russia is an objective security threat to Washington or its allies. The real threat to Washington is peaceful international relations which would make its military-industrial complex redundant.

It is a disturbing reality that world peace is antithetical to the very foundation of America’s corporate capitalist power.

Shamefully, the world is subjected to the risk of war and even annihilation all for the purpose of maintaining elite American power privileges. And among those who suffer this diabolical injustice are none other than the majority of American citizens, who have to endure poverty and misery while their corporate elite siphon off $600 billion a-year in military obscenity.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Turkish MP tweets of ‘downing another Russian plane’ over basketball match outcome

RT | May 16, 2016

An MP in the Turkish ruling AKP party has tweeted about ‘downing another Russian plane.’ It was his reaction to a Turkish basketball team losing to a Russian outfit in a major game. The politician later said the tweet was a joke.

Islanbul’s Fenerbahce basketball team lost to Moscow’s CSKA 101-96 in overtime in the Euroleague final on Sunday.

“Another Russian jet should be dropped,” Samil Tayyar, MP from Turkey’s ruling AKP party, tweeted following the match.

The phrase was retweeted more than 8,000 times and garnered more than 9,000 ‘likes’. However, not all the retweets were an endorsement, as quite a number of negative and even insulting comments ensued.

On Monday, Tayyar took to Twitter again, explaining that his words were a joke made to “take the heat off.”

In the MP’s opinion refereeing at the CSKA-Fenerbahce match was warped, which influenced the outcome of the game.

Russian-Turkish relation have been frosty since November 24, 2015, when a Turkish F-16 fighter ambushed and downed a Russian Su-24 bomber taking part in anti-terrorist operations in Syrian airspace. One of the pilots was shot dead from the ground after he ejected, allegedly by Turkmen militants fighting Syrian troops.

The operation to rescue the other pilot was successful, but a marine from the rescue party was killed by the militants, who also damaged and later destroyed a Russian Mi-8 transport helicopter on the ground.

Turkey has never apologized for the incident, insisting that the Su-24 violated its airspace. Ankara has recently released the alleged killer of the Russian pilot from custody.

After the attack, Russia introduced a set of economic measures against Turkey, restricted Turkish business activities in Russia, banned employment of Turkish citizens, and canceled all charter flights to Turkey. This move has decreased the flow of Russian tourists to Turkey 10 times. A ban on practically all Turkish food imports was also put in place.

Russia’s agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announced plans to halt imports of fruit and vegetables from Turkey this week.

The “basketball incident” is the second of its kind lately. A Russia-Turkey women’s volleyball match in Istanbul in March saw a display of hatred from Turkish fans, who showered the guest team with rubbish. The host team’s coach went as far as flipping the bird to the Russian girls and staff.

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment