Aletho News


NYPD officer dodges jail for stomping on man’s head, adds to ‘not uncommon’ cop crime stats

RT | June 24, 2016

A New York Police Department officer has avoided hard time at notorious Rikers Island prison for stomping on a head of a handcuffed man despite cries for help. Aside from two years’ probation, the cop is required to resign within 24 hours.

“This police officer intentionally and needlessly stomped on the head of a suspect who had already been restrained by fellow officers,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said at the sentencing Thursday. “And he did so in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people.”

In April, Joel Edouard, 38, was found guilty after an amateur video showed him and other police officers arresting Jahmiel Cuffee in the summer of 2014. It was Edouard who, during the attempted arrest, pointed a gun at Cuffee and then kicked him in the head, despite bystanders yelling that he was being recorded.

Cuffee suffered scrapes and bumps, a contusion, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

At first he was charged with attempting to tamper with evidence, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. As charges were dropped for Cuffee, Edouard found himself under investigation.

“He deserved to spend time in jail for committing such a blatant act of police brutality, but we accept the sentence imposed by the court,” Thompson said.

The DA initially recommended sentencing Edouard to 60 days in Rikers Island prison and an additional two years’ probation.

However, Judge Alan Marrus imposed only a part of the recommendation, explaining that he saw no “need to incarcerate” Edouard because “the victim recovered and was compensated through civil judgement,” according to the New York Daily News.

Marrus agreed with two years’ probation and also ordered Edouard, who has been on modified assignment, to resign by his own choice.

“If the [Police] Commissioner doesn’t terminate the defendant in 24 hours, the defendant must turn in a letter of resignation,” said Marrus, calling the case “a setback for police community relations.”

‘Police crimes not uncommon’

Since the 2014 police killing of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, law enforcement agencies across the US have seen community relations significantly sour.

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of white officer Darren Wilson touched off mass demonstrations in Ferguson and across the US against racial profiling, police brutality, police impunity and the judicial system in America.

A recent study by Bowling Green State University titled ‘Police integrity lost: a study of law enforcement officers arrested’ has not enhanced that reputation of police officers nationwide.

It revealed that US police officers get arrested about 1,100 times a year, meaning that roughly three cops are charged every day. The data covers 2,529 state and local law enforcement agencies from 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“The first general observation is that police crimes are not uncommon,” the study said. “Police officers get arrested for crimes with some regularity in jurisdictions around the nation.”

Between 2005 and 2011, the period the study covered, the number of arrest cases jumped from 444 to 1,238. In seven years, there were 6,724 criminal cases launched, leading to the arrest of 5,545 individual police officers.

“These cases threaten to undermine public trust in both the authority and legitimacy of state and local law enforcement organizations, and the work of law-abiding sworn officers who go about their job selflessly, efficiently, and professionally every day,” the study read.

The government-funded study reflects a broad range of offenses committed by police, which are commonly related to sex, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence and extortion.

Nearly 60 percent of those crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” lead researcher Philip M. Stinson wrote.

At the same time, he explained, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”

Read more:

Police body cams fail to curb officers’ use of force; linked to surge in assaults on cops – study

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , | Leave a comment

‘FBI uses situations with terrorism to gain access to Americans’ private lives’ – John McAfee

RT | June 23, 2016

The FBI uses situations like terrorism as a pretext to enter the private lives of Americans. It shows the US government has lost sight of the meaning of privacy, John McAfee, of McAfee Antivirus, former Libertarian candidate for president, told RT America.

The US Senate rejected Wednesday a bill that would empower the FBI to get warrantless access to people’s metadata, including internet browsing histories. It had been proposed after the shooting at a gay club in Orlando.  However, another vote on the bill – is expected to come soon. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell switched his vote to ‘no’ at the end of the voting in a move that will allow him to bring the legislation up for consideration again.

RT: How dangerous might this amendment be to privacy, if the FBI could so easily and legally gather metadata information? What are the potential repercussions?

John McAfee: The concept is horrific. Using metadata alone – you can find out a lot about a person. But to look at the browsing history – for heaven’s sake that is got to be among the most private of all things. There are people who might visit unsavory sites – that is their business, not my business. What has happened in the American government is our government has lost sight of the meaning of privacy.

Privacy is not just if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear – that is nonsense. Privacy is exercised by every individual in this country hundreds of times per day. With every relationship that you have, you choose a different level of privacy. Buying something at the store from a clerk you do not know, you might talk about at most the weather or the price of clothes. When you talk to a casual acquaintance – she might divulge more. To a good friend – you might divulge a lot. To your spouse – you might divulge everything. But even then you might choose to withhold certain things…

RT: Isn’t it up to a citizen how much to disclose?

JM: Yes, absolutely… If everyone knew everything about everyone else, we would have chaos. When the government begins to remove those barriers that we purposely put in place to keep society functioning smoothly then we’re taking away a foundation of the same society. Please see this – this is insane.

RT: Proponents of expanding the Patriot Act argue that allowing extending the powers for the FBI and other intelligence agencies could have prevented the Orlando attack. Are they right, or are they just exploiting the fears of American?

JM: They are totally wrong. Look at the powers that they already have that have done nothing. The FBI is supposed to be one of the most technologically advanced parts of our country. Yet, during the iPhone incident with Apple they couldn’t even get into a phone which I know 10,000 hackers could easily get into this.

The FBI specifically is using situations like terrorism to try to gain an entry into the private lives of the American public – first by going to Apple saying “give us a master key!” Had they succeeded? They then had gone to Google, which owns 92 percent of the market and said: “You give us a master key!” Now they are asking Congress to in the name of protecting society to let us invade the rights of society. You can’t do that. There is no way to protect us by invading us.

RT: Donald Trump earlier said that Americans don’t know what was in Clinton’s deleted e-mails, while US “enemies probably know every single one of them.” Given your role as a technologist, how true is all of that?  Do you think somebody accessed her e-mails and can they permanently be deleted?

JM: Ok, I’d like to first say that I very seldom agree with Trump. However, in this case he is absolutely correct. We have records, public statements her server has been hacked. They shut it down a couple of times because a hack was in process. Now, what does that mean – a hacking process – if you noticed it, your data is gone. They had taken the security controls off her server, because many people were not getting her e-mails. Her server was hacked – we know this. I am well-connected with the dark web; I have to be, because I am in the security business. And if you don’t know what the bad people are doing, then you can’t build a good product…

The government is completely clueless when it comes to security. Or if they are not clueless then they are deliberately deceiving the American public. I don’t want to believe that.

Read more:

Senate narrowly blocks amendment allowing warrantless access to online data

FBI using Israeli firm to crack San Bernardino iPhone without Apple

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

BUILDING 7: University of Alaska Study to Examine Controlled Demolition of WTC 7

By Stuart Hooper21st Century Wire – June 22, 2016

This is long overdue.

The University of Alaska is sponsoring a study that will examine whether of not WTC Building 7 was brought down by a controlled demolition on September 11, 2001.

For those who may not be aware, standing some 47 stories high, Building 7 was the third skyscraper that collapsed later in the afternoon on 9/11, dropping at free-fall speed – in less than 7 seconds – and yet, it was not struck by any plane and was located over 100 metres away from WTC 1 and 2.

The official version of events is that fire spread to Building 7, from the main towers, devastating the structure, and causing it also to fall in on itself, but many have questioned how exactly every single support column in the building could have failed simultaneously without the use of pre-planned explosives.

Dr J Leroy Hulsey, chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, has partnered with Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth to begin a rigorous academic study into what really caused it to collapse.

Dr Hulsey said:

“Over the next year, with a team of PhD students, I will be rebuilding World Trade Center building 7, using the same drawings that were used to build it originally we will reconstruct it digitally.”

“NIST says the building fell down due to office fires. Our investigation will evaluate the probability that this was the cause of the collapse.”

Ted Walter, Director of Strategy and Development for A&E 9/11 Truth added:

“We hope to gain significant traction in the engineering community by providing an authoritative refutation of NIST’s report, by showing that there is no way that fires could have brought down building 7.”

On the day of 9/11 the BBC reported that Building 7 had collapsed 20 minutes before it actually had, which only raises suspicions that somebody knew it was about to come down. See that monumental screw up, which happened live on TV, here:

Watch the collapse of Building 7 here:

Do you believe explosives brought down Building 7?

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

Has Myanmar’s iconic leader taken genocide lessons from Israel?


By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO | June 23, 2016

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the most famous women in the world. She is a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize and hailed as “the Mandela of Asia” because of her human rights record. However, when we look at her continual lack of concern about the plight of the Rohingya people in the former Burma, you have to question the level of her compassion and integrity.

You may gasp at this and I must admit that I never thought that I would ever write that about such an iconic figure. I, like tens of thousands of others around the world, campaigned long and hard to have the pro-democracy leader freed from the shackles of the Burmese junta which kept her under house arrest for years.

When she was finally released to lead her country to a better future there were tears in my eyes, but now I am completely bewildered by her deathly silence about the pitiful state of the Rohingyas living in squalor and inhumane conditions in Myanmar.

The military junta in Burma-Myanmar refused to acknowledge the existence of the Rohingyas and would only ever refer to them as “Bangladeshis”. Now, under the political leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the government has gone one step further by banning the use of the word Rohingya, as if 1.1 million people have just disappeared. One has to ask if she and the generals still lurking in the background are following the Israeli manual on how to deal with unwanted citizens and ethnic minorities.

Let’s not forget that Israel’s founding Prime Minster David Ben-Gurion maintained close ties with Burma. In December 1961 he was given the full red carpet treatment during a state visit. Shortly before boarding his flight he gave a press conference: “I am leaving today for a new country but not a strange one; in all of Asia, there is no more friendly nation to Israel than Burma. Israel and Burma are two old countries with old histories which renewed their independence in 1948.”

According to Ben-Gurion, “Both [Israel and Burma] are democratic and both follow the same principle in foreign relations – promoting friendly relations and mutual aid with all peace-loving countries irrespective of their internal regimes and without injuring the interests of any other country; loyal to international cooperation based on United Nations principles.”

Of course the state visits by Israeli leaders didn’t stop at Ben-Gurion; Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Golda Meir all went to Burma along with a string of other politicians. Others, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have extended hospitality to Burmese-Myanmar leaders in Tel Aviv.

By flattening more than 530 Arab towns and villages since 1948, controlling the movement of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and airbrushing Palestinian culture, cuisine and lifestyle from everyday life, some say that the Israelis have been engaged in a slow genocide against the Palestinian people. Now I’m wondering if they’ve handed over the genocide manual to Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar.

The official narrative pushed out to the media is that there is religious tension between Rohingya Muslims and Myanmar’s Buddhists and that that is the problem. This is untrue. The state-sponsored persecution and oppression of the Rohingya people has gone on for decades. They are denied citizenship and ready access to health care and hospitals, and they have limits placed on their right to free movement and many other basic human rights. Religious persecution has been the order of the day along with land confiscations, forced labour, arbitrary taxation, house demolitions and restrictions on marriage, work and education. These are all forms of state oppression and tyranny the same as or similar to those encountered by Palestinians at the hands of Israel; now they’re being endured by the Rohingyas.

Last year, Asia witnessed a huge refugee crisis when hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were exploited by people smugglers and took the seas in unseaworthy vessels. Abandoned by the smugglers their boats sailed aimlessly for weeks on end; without the food thrown to them by local fishermen the death toll as they starved would have been much higher.

It was only after an international outcry that neighbouring countries finally offered refuge to the Rohingya boat people, but then they forced them to live in squalid refugee camps in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. Around 150,000 live in conditions that are little better than concentration camps, and reports of mass graves surfaced last year.

Meanwhile, the ever-fragrant female “Mandela of Asia” smiles sweetly during less than robust press interviews and obfuscates at the very mention of the Rohingya people. What’s worse is that she gets away with it because most of the media still eulogises the icon who world leaders and statesmen simpered over when she was released.

The so-called head of state in Myanmar’s first “democratically elected government since 1962” maintains silence over the plight of the Rohingyas. Recently, she appeared a little tetchy when asked about them by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was told to be more cautious over the “sensitive issue”. Even the Dalai Lama has been blanked by the diminutive leader after he called publicly and privately on several occasions for her to show compassion and act to stop the persecution.

If she has taken genocide lessons from the Israelis, then the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has learned well. She has now declared that her government will not use the term “Rohingya” when referring to the “Muslim community” in Rakhine State. It is an echo of the occasion when former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared infamously that there was “no such thing as Palestinians.”

“Suu Kyi does not use the terms ‘Rohingya’ or ‘Bengali’,” announced Aye Aye Soe, the deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. “The words of war do not support the current situation. Now, citizenship is under close scrutiny, and the use of the terms does not support the scrutiny process for citizenship. Suu Kyi requested that UN officials and other guests not use these controversial terms in case they should lead to conflict.”

As far as chutzpah goes, some might say that Aung San Suu Kyi has outdone the Israelis in her determination to shut down discussion or questions about the Rohingyas. In her world, it seems, they simply do not exist.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued an 18-page report on 20 June calling for a halt to discrimination against Rohingyas and human rights violations when Aung San Suu Kyi and Yanghee Lee met. There were warnings that crimes against humanity were suspected of being committed. The UN official criticised the Myanmar government for not releasing the plans for the “peace and stability and development implementation work committee” for Rakhine State, led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mary Scully is a veteran of political activism, including in the anti-war, women’s rights, civil rights and Palestinian solidarity movements; she was blunt about Aung San Suu Kyi: “She won that election through a loathsome compromise with the military junta and by supporting their neoliberal policies bringing in foreign investment and mining projects at the expense of farmers and rural workers.”

Some of those farmers and villagers were way ahead of the rest of the world in understanding her betrayals, she explained. “They booed her out of town for saying the expropriations of their lands and destruction of the environment were ‘for the greater good’. Now the New York Times reports that in a recent meeting, Suu Kyi advised the US ambassador against using the term ‘Rohingya’ to describe the Muslim people of Myanmar because her government does not recognise them as citizens.”

Scully, who is also running as an independent socialist candidate for US president later this year, added: “Using the same kind of marble-mouthed deceits she used to blither to reporters, her representative told the ambassador, ‘We won’t use the term Rohingya because Rohingya are not recognised as among the 135 official ethnic groups. Our position is that using the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems’.”

If Aung San Suu Kyi has indeed studied Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians then the student is on her way to becoming the master. Or, as Scully sees it: “Solidarity with Rohingya Muslims against genocide and for justice means educating about their struggle against genocide and part of that education requires exposing the murderous duplicity and collusion of Suu Kyi.”

Strong words, but given the evidence that is coming out about Aung San Suu Kyi, it is hard to see how the veteran campaigner could have said anything less.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Uruguay Prepares Mission to Monitor Colombia-FARC Ceasefire

Sputnik – 23.06.2016

Military observers from Uruguay are ready to go to Colombia to monitor the newly-achieved ceasefire between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group, Uruguay’s Deputy Defense Ministry Jorge Menendez told Sputnik.

The government of Colombia announced on Wednesday that a deal had been reached on a ceasefire with FARC.

“This is a political mission, there is a display of quotas, unarmed personnel who will carry out tasks of observation and verification of the ceasefire,” Menendez said.

The Colombian government and FARC have been engaged in peace talks since November 2012 and have reached a number of important agreements including on landmine removal, land reform, transitional justice and an end to illegal drug trafficking.

FARC was formed in 1964 as the military wing of Colombia’s Communist Party.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s case against Hillary

June 22, 2016

Donald Trump NYC speech on stakes of the election:

  1. “When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports, or the factories moving overseas to Mexico, or to other countries, I know these problems can all be fixed, but not by Hillary Clinton – only by me.”
  2. “Everywhere I look, I see the possibilities of what our country could be. But we can’t solve any of these problems by relying on the politicians who created them.We will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who rigged it in the first place.The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money.

    That’s why we’re asking Bernie Sanders’ voters to join our movement: so together we can fix the system for ALL Americans. Importantly, this includes fixing all of our many disastrous trade deals.

    Because it’s not just the political system that’s rigged. It’s the whole economy.

    It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages.

    It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them.

    It’s rigged by bureaucrats who are trapping kids in failing schools.

    It’s rigged against you, the American people.

    Hillary Clinton who, as most people know, is a world class liar –

    just look at her pathetic email and server statements, or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack but the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers, a total self-serving lie.”

  3. “If I am elected President, I will end the special interest monopoly in Washington, D.C.The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests – and taking money from special interests.Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft.

    She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.

    Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public.

    Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001.

    They totally own her, and that will never change.

    The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control.”

  4. “Our country lost its way when we stopped putting the American people first.We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism – focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class – to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.We reward companies for offshoring, and we punish companies for doing business in America and keeping our workers employed.

    This is not a rising tide that lifts all boats.

    This is a wave of globalization that wipes out our middle class and our jobs.

    We need to reform our economic system so that, once again, we can all succeed together, and America can become rich again.”

  5. “I have visited the cities and towns across America and seen the devastation caused by the trade policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton.Hillary Clinton supported Bill Clinton’s disastrous NAFTA, just like she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization.We’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed.

    Our trade deficit with China soared 40% during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State — a disgraceful performance for which she should not be congratulated, but rather scorned.

    Then she let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property – a crime which is continuing to this day.

    Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs, and effectively let China completely rebuild itself.

    In return, Hillary Clinton got rich!

    The book Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, documents how Bill and Hillary used the State Department to enrich their family at America’s expense.

    She gets rich making you poor.

    Here is a quote from the book: “At the center of US policy toward China was Hillary Clinton…at this critical time for US-china relations, Bill Clinton gave a number of speeches that were underwritten by the Chinese government and its supporters.”

    These funds were paid to the Clinton bank account while Hillary was negotiating with China on behalf of the United States.

    She sold out our workers, and our country, for Beijing.

    Hillary Clinton has also been the biggest promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will ship millions more of our jobs overseas – and give up Congressional power to an international foreign commission.

    Now, because I have pointed out why it would be such a disastrous deal, she is pretending that she is against it. She has even deleted this record of total support from her book – deletion is something she is very good at — (at least 30,000 emails are missing.)

    But this latest Clinton cover-up doesn’t change anything: if she is elected president, she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we will lose millions of jobs and our economic independence for good. She will do this, just as she has betrayed the American worker on trade at every single stage of her career – and it will be even worse than the Clintons’ NAFTA deal.”

  6. “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.Here is some more of what we learned from the book,Clinton Cash:

    A foreign telecom giant faced possible State Department sanctions for providing technology to Iran, and other oppressive regimes. So what did this company do? For the first time ever, they decided to pay Bill Clinton $750,000 for a single speech. The Clintons got their cash, the telecom company escaped sanctions.

    Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while 9 investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

    Hillary Clinton appointed a top donor to a national security board with top secret access – even though he had no national security credentials.

    Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was Secretary of State – plus millions more for her foundation. The Sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law, including the punishment of death by stoning for being gay. The government of Brunei also stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Hillary’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she would absolutely approve if given the chance.

    Hillary Clinton took up to $25 million from Saudi Arabia, where being gay is also punishable by death.

    Hillary took millions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and many other countries that horribly abuse women and LGBT citizens.

    To cover-up her corrupt dealings, Hillary Clinton illegally stashed her State Department emails on a private server.

    Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments – perhaps even by her financial backers in Communist China – putting all of America in danger.

    Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted.

    While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do.

    So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States.

    This fact alone disqualifies her from the Presidency.

    We can’t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies.”

Full transcript

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon Renews Efforts to Boost European Defense Spending at NATO Summit

Sputnik – June 21, 2016

Defense spending will most likely be a major topic at NATO’s upcoming summit in Warsaw. The United States has already indicated that it will renew its efforts to convince the bloc’s European allies to boost their contributions to the budget, but these calls might largely fall “upon deaf ears,” as defense analyst Dave Majumdar described it.

“Convincing America’s NATO allies to meet minimum defense spending targets remains a vexing problem and solving it has eluded previous US administrations – Republican and Democratic alike,” he observed.

True, only five countries, the US, Greece, Poland, the UK and Estonia, met the 2-percent threshold last year. France, Turkey, Germany and Canada spent between 1 and 1.8 percent of their GDP on defense, with Italy spending 0.95 percent.

This is not the whole story. In absolute terms, the US spent more than 665 billion in 2015, more than all the other NATO members combined. The next largest contribution came from Great Britain, whose defense budget amounted to nearly 60 billion last year. For comparison: France spent nearly 44 billion, while Germany – 39.7 billion.

Needless to say, Washington has not been happy with its allies for not sharing the burden.In June 2011, Robert Gates, who served as the US defense chief at the time, famously called NATO a “two-tiered alliance” that comprises those, who provide funds and conduct combat missions, and those, who enjoy the benefits, but do not contribute. For Gates, this situation was unacceptable.

Although it might look like nothing has changed since then, NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales became a watershed moment for the bloc when leaders and not only defense ministers said they were committed to the 2-percent goal.

“Many European states – as of last year – have stopped cutting their defense outlays and have started to slowly boost their spending,” Majumdar noted, citing an unnamed senior NATO diplomat. “After more than two decades of defense cutbacks, NATO’s defense budgets stopped shrinking last year and have started to increase with 1.5 percent growth per annum.”

It follows then that the bloc’s officials have finally found a tactic that works, namely over-hyping the non-existent threat emanating from Russia. For its part, Moscow has expressed concerns with NATO’s increasingly aggressive behavior that is detrimental to European security and stability.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Blame It on Rio: Politics, Propaganda, and the Weaponization of the Olympics

By Eric Draitser | Stop Imperialism | June 21, 2016

The decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to ban the Russian track and field team from competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is as much about politics as it is about doping and fair play. Indeed, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld the ruling with caveats that might allow some of the athletes to compete, the public relations damage has already been done. Russia has been cast as a serial violator of doping rules, and must be a country that is dishonest and cheats routinely; those sneaky Russians just can’t be trusted.  Or so the propaganda subtext implies.

But a closer look at the manner in which the Olympics has been politicized reveals that it is, in fact, the US and its allies, not Russia, who have done the most to use this quadrennial competition of the world’s best athletes for political gain. And in so doing, it is Washington that bears responsibility for tainting the Olympics.

While the allegations of Russian doping may or may not be true, and the country’s attempts at addressing the issue may or may not be ineffectual, the fact remains that it is politics and geopolitics, not banned substances, that now befouls the games. A quick survey of recent history shows just how serious this politicization has become.

The Olympics as a Weapon

This is not the first time (nor is it likely the last time) that the Olympics have been politicized. And, considering the recent deep freeze in US-Russia relations thanks to Ukraine, Syria, Edward Snowden, and other key issues, one cannot help but reach the conclusion that the US has used its considerable influence behind the scenes to jab a thumb in the eye of Mr. Putin and the Russian Government. Moreover, even if this were entirely the actions of the relevant international athletic bodies with no interference from Washington, could anyone seriously blame Moscow for concluding that the ban is politically motivated?

Consider for a moment the recent history of the Olympics, Russia, and the US. In 2014, the western media was replete with columns and television news stories calling for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Literally dozens of op-eds were written with titles like Send Athletes to the Sochi Olympics, but Boycott the Gamesostensibly in an attempt to put pressure on the Kremlin in the wake of the passage of controversial legislation regarding LGBT rights in Russia.  In fact, the generally aggressive position of the West came through clearly in decisions by leaders such as Barack Obama and David Cameron not to attend the games, despite the invitations.

It should be remembered that the Sochi Olympics, which took place in February 2014, proceeded against the backdrop of intense upheaval in Ukraine, right on Russia’s border, not far from Sochi.  In fact, the coup that forced former President Yanukovich, widely seen as a key ally of the Kremlin, took place roughly 48 hours prior to the closing ceremonies in Sochi. The general feeling in Moscow, and among many political observers internationally, was that the US-backed coup in Kiev was timed to coincide with the Olympics in the hopes that the Russian Government would fear responding too harshly given the precarious question of public opinion globally.

At the time, many had likened the series of events around Sochi 2014 to the start of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 which coincided with the launching of attacks by Georgia’s government under then President Mikhail Saakashvili against the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Indeed, almost at the very moment that the Russian President Putin was sitting in a stadium in Beijing along with other world leaders, a key US-NATO ally and partner initiated a war of aggression. However, as one might recall, the western corporate media, with its dutiful adherence to the war party line, endlessly droned about Russian aggression against Georgia.

But within a few months, independent investigations showed that in fact Moscow’s assertion that Saakashvili launched an unprovoked attack on Russian peacekeepers and unarmed civilians had been accurate.  Could it be mere coincidence that at the very moment that the Russian leader was in Beijing a war on Russia’s border and against Russians was launched? Whether coincidence or not, it was not interpreted that way by Putin and his advisers. And, of course, they had good reason to be suspect of the timing and motives behind the attack.

Undoubtedly, Russian leaders had in their minds the not too distant memory of the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Ostensibly a move designed to punish the Soviet Union for its intervention in Afghanistan, the US Government under then President Carter made the decision to boycott the Moscow Olympics, and attempted to get other countries to do the same. In hindsight however, the move is remembered as a disastrous blunder by an administration seen as inept in terms of foreign policy while being dominated by Cold War ideologues such as Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In an article aptly titled Jimmy Carter’s Disastrous Olympic Boycott, which purposefully was published on February 9, 2014 (two days after the start of the Sochi Olympics), Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, associate professor in the strategy and policy department at the U.S. Naval War College, wrote that:

[Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew] Brzezinski also saw an opportunity for Carter to assert himself on matters of foreign policy. But what could the United States hope to do?… the West German ambassador to NATO suggested an Olympic boycott. The White House was intrigued. In a meeting of the National Security Council, Lloyd Cutler, the White House counsel, argued that the United States should boycott the Olympics only if it were combined with other strong action. Vice President Walter Mondale was enthusiastic… As for the president, according to White House notes of the meeting, Carter said the idea sent “cold chills” down his spine… Almost instantly, the press supported a boycott.

Two points brought out by the above excerpt bear closer scrutiny. First is the fact that Brzezinski – a calculating strategic planner at the uppermost echelons of the political establishment, whose hatred of all things Russia is internationally renowned – saw the Olympics as a means of further undermining Russian/Soviet standing internationally at precisely the moment that the US proxy mujahideen were battling Soviet military in Afghanistan. In effect, Brzezinski saw an Olympic boycott as war by other means. The fact that the national security team, led by Brzezinski, was the driving force behind the decision to boycott the Moscow Olympics reinforces the perception that the boycott was less about defending Afghanistan than it was about scoring political points against the Soviet Union.

Secondly, one should pay close attention to the final sentence of the excerpt which really bears repeating: “Almost instantly, the press supported a boycott.” In other words, the corporate media – significantly freer and more diverse in opinion in 1980 than it is in 2016 – was critical in selling the American public on the idea of a boycott. Perhaps another way of saying it would be that the media acted as the public relations mouthpiece of the US Government, in much the same way it does now. And without that compliant media making the case for such action, it is unlikely that Americans would feel anything other than anger at being cheated out of an opportunity to watch their country’s best athletes compete against the top competition in the world.

But the politicization of sports vis-à-vis US-Russia relations is not restricted solely to the Olympics. In fact, as recently as last year the US, UK, and other allies led an effort to discredit Russia’s hosting of the World Cup, the most watched sporting event in the world, with claims of corruption and bribery. Never mind the fact that it was MI6 operatives engaged in spying against Russia who created the dossier used to implicate Putin & Co. in the illegal “buying” of the World Cup. Indeed, this scandal was the death knell for former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter who, because of seemingly friendly ties with Russia, was quickly shown the door after 17 years.

Naturally the media has stepped in with calls to strip Russia of the 2018 World Cup on every possible pretext. Witness the following headlines: FIFA should for once do the right thing and strip Russia of World Cup and Could the Litvinenko Murder Verdict See Russia Stripped of the 2018 World Cup? and The growing calls to strip Putin and Russia of the 2018 World Cup.  What was that phrase in the Politico article? “Almost instantly, the press supported a boycott.” Again, we see today the media playing the role of US policy cheerleader, providing the necessary marketing for a clearly anti-Russian foreign policy move shrouded under the pretext of sports and fairness.

It’s the Propaganda, Stupid

But what’s the point of all this? Who cares if some Russian athletes can’t compete in Rio? A valid question, to be sure. To think of these moves by the US and its allies as purely designed to embarrass Russia is to completely misread the intent behind them. Certainly, bad publicity for Putin is part of the rationale, but it is not the real goal. Instead, the targets are the citizens of western countries whose ideas, opinions, and attitudes towards Russia will be shaped as much by sports and popular culture as by anything else.

And so, the real objective is to portray Russians as crooked cheaters whose dishonesty and insidious intentions are overshadowed only by their mindless loyalty to their country. It is to make Americans and Brits and Europeans – already Russophobic in their outlook thanks to decades of Cold War propaganda and the current onslaught of “Putin did it!” politics – view Russian athletes as little more than a bunch of steroid-injecting Ivan Dragos whose deceit is merely a reflection of the treacherous double-dealing of their political leadership.

In short, the move to ban the Russian track and field team is part of a broader project to discredit Russia in the eyes of the public at large. The issue is not so much about whether there is doping in Russia’s track and field program – doping is widespread in many countries, including the US – but rather about how to undermine and weaken Russia in the court of public opinion on the eve of the Olympics. Furthermore, the negative attitudes promoted by the media will justify further aggressive policies in Ukraine, Syria, and beyond. And that is precisely the point.

Walter Lipmann, the renowned writer, commentator, and theoretician of public opinion and propaganda defined the term “stereotype” in the modern psychological sense as a “distorted picture or image in a person’s mind, not based on personal experience, but derived culturally.” And it is just such a distorted picture which the US and its partners are cultivating against Russia, using the Olympics as the pretext.

Moreover, that the distortion is “derived culturally” rather than from personal experience demonstrates that it is the propagandists of the corporate media whose job it is to manufacture and perpetuate such distortions for political reasons who are the arbiters of truth. George Orwell would be proud.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Behind the US Desire to Restart the Cold War

Sputnik – 23.06.2016

The US Congress has proposed a bill seeking to re-establish a Cold War-era body to counter Russian espionage. Patrick Armstrong, former political counselor at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow, and long-time analyst of the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, detailed the reasons why the US seeks to restart the Cold War.

New York-based internet media website BuzzFeed recently reported, citing an unnamed source in the US intelligence service, that the legislation in question calls to revive a presidentially-appointed group to counter “Russian spies and Russian-sponsored assassinations,” in the United States. The group would also investigate the funding of Russian “covert broadcasting” and “media manipulation.”

“One should never forget that all these kinds of bills actually put money into some people’s pocket,” Armstrong told Radio Sputnik.

The analyst asserts that there is money behind the invention and constant promotion of a “Russian threat.” The US military is currently committed to “fabulously” expensive projects that “never really come to an end but everybody makes a pile of money out of.” Playing the “bad Russians” card is a good way to stimulate business, he suggests.

“My favorite one was the Panama papers. ‘Ha! Finally we have proof that Putin is stealing money and hiding it abroad’, [although] Putin’s name doesn’t appear anywhere in the papers [but] today we have the theory that obviously it’s Putin behind the leak of the Panama papers,” Armstrong observed. “There is no limit to this ridiculousness.”

“What are the current stories now?” he asked. “Oh yes, Russia hacks into the DNC (Democratic National Committee) computer. No, it’s some guy in a basement in Romania, just like the last guy who hacked into Hillary Clinton’s stuff.”

“Nobody’s going to come out and say ‘Oh Gee, I guess we’re just plain lying about Russians in Syria, invasion in Ukraine and the coming collapse of Russia… What they’re going to say is that…’Putin has somehow cleverly got into people’s minds, we need more money.'”

Another motive, Armstrong suggests, is US determination to expand NATO, in an attempt to get “better control of things.”

“Somewhere,” he asserted, “along the line, [the US] realized that expanding NATO — when all NATO membership meant was that you blew up Libya, or you joined in to celebrate the third decade of a losing war in Afghanistan — wasn’t going to pull in new members. So it’s trying to revive the old Russian threat.”

A so-called 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill was passed by the US Senate Intelligence Committee in May, and awaits Senate approval. Armstrong predicts that the bill will most likely be approved, but noted that the idea of a “big enemy” is not really selling. He cited a recent Pew poll showing that no more than 1/3 of EU nationals consider Russia to be a threat to anything.

As for the Moscow’s reaction to such moves, Armstrong said that Russia doesn’t want war and, along with China, is playing an “intelligent” hand.

“[Russia] is playing a much more intelligent game than anybody in the West,” he said. “The problem is managing the downfall of the American empire. 20 to 30 years from now, when China, Russia, Iran, India are much more important than they are today, and the US is definitely declining, the trick is, how do you get to there, from here, without blowing everything up? The last days of a declining empire are always very dangerous.”

The analyst shared his thoughts on America’s next president.

“We’ve got to get through the next 25-30 years without the US blowing the […] out of all of us, so what I would like to have for the next four years is a president good at negotiating. What we’ve had until now is, ‘do what we want or we bomb you.'”

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

9/11 Cover-Up Unraveling: 28 pages, JASTA bill, KSM trial fiasco a “perfect storm” – But Beware of Limited Hang-outs

9 11Secretpages 5495d

By Kevin Barrett | American Herald Tribune | June 23, 2016

The Warren Commission summarized its conclusion in three words: “Oswald acted alone.”

In support of its assertion that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman, the Commission—steered by Kennedy’s worst enemy, former CIA Director Allen Dulles, whose expertise lay in deceptions, regime change operations and murders of heads of state—produced 28 volumes as well as an unnumbered summary report volume. Virtually all of the 18,803 pages totaling 10.4 million words consisted of irrelevancies, distractions and red herrings, famously including such monumentally non-essential information as Lee Harvey Oswald’s dental records.

The 9/11 Commission, following the Warren Commission template, claimed that “19 Arab hijackers with box-cutters, alongside a handful of al-Qaeda operatives, acted alone.” Like the Warren Commission, the 9/11 Commission began with its conclusion already inscribed in stone; the so-called investigation merely lined up support for a pre-ordained script. According to New York Times journalist Philip Shenon, 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow had written the entire report in chapter outline before the Commission even convened. Sen. Max Cleland, refusing to participate in the cover-up, resigned from the 9/11 Commission, comparing it to the long-discredited Warren Commission: “The Warren Report blew it. I’m not going to be part of that.” Later, even the co-chairs of the Commission, Kean and Hamilton, admitted that their Commission had been “set up to fail.”

Now, almost 12 years after the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report and more than half a century after the Warren Report, both official accounts have been thoroughly discredited. Polls show that since at least the 1990s, two-thirds of Americans do not believe the official version of the JFK killing. Likewise, polling data reflects widespread suspicion about 9/11. A 2006 New York Times / CBS poll, for example, found that 81% of Americans believed their government was “hiding something” or “mostly lying” about 9/11, while only 16% thought it was “telling the truth.”

Today we are facing a potential re-opening of the 9/11 investigation, paralleling the way the JFK assassination investigation was re-opened by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) from 1976 to 1978. In both cases, public skepticism toward the official versions, alongside the work of independent researchers, has created a climate in which calls for a new investigation could fall on receptive ears. Unfortunately, if a new 9/11 investigation follows in the footsteps of the HSCA, it could destroy the official story — but in such a way as to prevent an aroused public from rising up and demanding that the full truth be revealed, the perpetrators punished, and the government restructured in such a way as to ensure that no such murderous coup d’état ever happens again. (The HSCA concluded that JFK was murdered by unknown conspirators, hinted that the mafia was involved, but offered no rousing call to uncover the full truth and prosecute the perpetrators.)

Calls for an HSCA-style re-opening of 9/11 could follow developments in three related legislative and judicial venues: The push for the release of the classified 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11; the JASTA bill allowing survivors and victims’ family members to sue government sponsors of terrorism; and the imminent implosion of the military prosecutions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, and his alleged co-conspirators.

The secret 28 pages, classified by President Bush, are said to implicate Saudi government officials and royal family members as co-conspirators of the 19 alleged hijackers. They also contain a footnote referencing Israel that has been the subject of much speculation, given the many converging lines of evidence pointing to a major Israeli role in 9/11. The movement to release the 28 pages has been garnering widespread mainstream coverage since the CBS flagship news show 60 Minutes featured it last month. Congressional bills urging the President to declassify the 28 pages have picked up more than 60 co-sponsors.

On April 24th, the AP ran a story headlined “White House poised to release secret pages from 9/11 inquiry.” But since then Obama has wavered, while a war of words has broken out between the forces of transparency and their opponents. On the opponents’ side, CIA Director John Brennan recently issued a pre-emptive salvo claiming that the secret pages contain “inaccurate information,” while 9/11 Commission co-chairs Kean and Hamilton chipped in that those pages contained “raw, unvetted material” with “no smoking gun.” These claims contrast sharply with statements by others who have read the 28 pages, including Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Rep. Walter Jones, who have said that the secret pages completely overturn the official story of 9/11.

The push to release the 28 pages coincides with the House’s passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which now awaits Senate ratification and a likely White House veto. The JASTA bill would pave the way for lawsuits against foreign governments that sponsor terrorist attacks on American soil, and seems to have been written specifically to target Saudi Arabia for 9/11.

The Saudi government has responded with a two-pronged attack. Officially, it has threatened to sell off 750 billion dollars in US securities and other assets, thereby crashing the US economy, if Congress passes the JASTA bill. Meanwhile, an outline of the likely Saudi defense should it ever be prosecuted for 9/11 was published by Saudi legal expert Katib Al-Shammari. Writing in the Saudi-owned London newspaper al-Hayat, Al-Shammari argued that the US itself carried out the 9/11 attacks. (English translation here.) Citing the findings of architects and engineers that the World Trade Center was destroyed with explosives, not jet fuel fires, Al-Shammari asserts that the US government has blamed almost everyone except the true culprit – itself ­– in order to increase military budgets, launch wars, and pressure foreign governments.

The Saudis may even be holding evidence that could destroy the official version of 9/11 and prove US government complicity. Ten of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, all of them Saudis, were reliably reported to be alive after 9/11, as documented in Jay Kolar’s “What We Now Know About the Alleged 9-11 Hijackers.” Speculation on their current whereabouts focuses on three possibilities: (1) dead, presumably murdered by the orchestrators of 9/11; (2) alive and well and living under witness protection, possibly in Saudi Arabia; and/or (3) some of the hijackers may be “composite personalities” produced by forgery and identity theft.

In 2008, I traveled to Morocco to investigate the strange case of alleged hijacker Waleed al-Shehri, who had supposedly died when Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On September 22nd, 2001, the BBC reported that al-Shehri was alive and well in Morocco:

A Saudi-Arabian aircraft pilot who was named as one of five suspects on board one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre, has turned up alive and well in Morocco. The man, Waleed Al-Shehri, has told Saudi journalists in Casablanca that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington, and had been in Morocco at the time.

The FBI named five men with Arab names who they say were responsible for deliberately crashing American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center. One of those five names was Waleed Al-Shehri, a Saudi pilot who had trained in the United States. His photograph was released by the FBI, and has been shown in newspapers and on television around the world.

That same Mr Al-Shehri has turned up in Morocco, proving clearly that he was not a member of the suicide attack. He told Saudi journalists in Casablanca that he has contacted both the Saudi and American authorities to advise them that he had nothing to do with the attack. He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States, and is indeed the same Waleed Al-Shehri to whom the FBI has been referring.

But, he says, he left the United States in September last year, and became a pilot with Saudi Arabian Airlines, and is currently on a further training course in Morocco. He says he was in Marrekesh when the attack took place.

I spoke to people at the US Embassy in Rabat, who said that nobody currently working there remembered al-Shehri showing up in 2001 and proclaiming his innocence. They said that diplomatic personnel rotate in and out every few years, so none of the current (2008) embassy employees would have worked there in 2001. (I personally know the man who, I am told, was CIA station chief in Rabat in the late 1990s and early 2000s – he certainly was not rotating in and out every few years – but he has not responded to my communications about 9/11.)

Stonewalled by the US Embassy, confused by conflicting reports about al-Shehri’s history in Morocco (did he work for RAM or Saudia Airlines? etc.) I contacted Saudia Airlines requesting information about Waleed al-Shehri’s employment there as a pilot. A higher-up sounded very defensive as he implied that he knew things he could not tell be because “we do not want trouble.”

If the JASTA bill passes and Saudi Arabia is sued for 9/11, perhaps its leaders will decide it is less “trouble” to spill the beans, possibly by telling the truth about some of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, than to accept the blame for the worst mass murder ever committed on American soil. If the Saudis ever decide to tell the truth, we might learn that some of the alleged hijackers did not even exist, but were fictional cutouts created by intelligence services, with intelligence agents role-playing with forged and/or stolen identification. We know that this is the case for some of the alleged hijackers, including “Ziad Jarrah,” a cut-out impersonated by at least three different intelligence agents, as explained by Jay Kolar. It may also be the case for the al-Shehri brothers; Wail al-Shehri (allegedly Waleed’s brother, supposedly a 9/11 hijacker but still alive and well and flying for Saudia Airlines out of Morocco) has claimed to be the victim of identity theft, suggesting that his ID was used to create the “Wail al-Shehri” named as a 9/11 hijacker.

Some US authorities have admitted that these problems are real. Less than two weeks after 9/11, FBI Director Mueller was forced to admit that “hijackers” turning up alive had cast doubt over those identifications; then in 2002 he admitted that there is “no legal proof” of the hijackers’ real identities. A former high-level intelligence official told Seymour Hersh that the whole story of the alleged hijackers was fabricated: “Many of the investigators believe that some of the initial clues that were uncovered about the terrorists’ identities and preparations, such as flight manuals, were meant to be found. A former high-level intelligence official told me, ‘Whatever trail was left was left deliberately—for the F.B.I. to chase.’” The 9/11 Commission made no effort whatsoever to resolve any of these issues.

In addition to the 28 pages and JASTA affairs targeting Saudi Arabia, there is a third legal venue from which a mandate for a new 9/11 investigation could and should arise: The military tribunal show trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and co-defendants. There, in the kangaroo courts of Guantanamo, a destruction-of-evidence scandal is brewing that could blow 9/11 wide open. The Guardian (May 31, 2016) reports:

The judge overseeing the premiere military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay effectively conspired with the prosecution to destroy evidence relevant to defending the accused architect of the 9/11 attacks, according to a scathing court document.

Army Col James Pohl, who this week at Guantánamo is presiding over a resumption of pretrial hearings in the already troubled case, “in concert with the prosecution, manipulated secret proceedings and the use of secret orders”, the document alleges, preventing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s defense team from learning Pohl had permitted the Obama administration to destroy the evidence.

This latest scandal relates to evidence destroyed in 2013 and 2014 after the judge had ordered the prosecution to preserve it. That same judge, Col James Pohl, then secretly conspired with the Administration to destroy the very evidence he had ordered preserved, while lying to the defense by claiming the order had been followed and the evidence preserved.

This is not the first such KSM-related destruction-of-evidence scandal. In 2005, CIA Director General Michael Hayden admitted that the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations of al-Qaeda prisoners related to the 9/11 investigation. Earlier, in 2004, the CIA had denied to the 9/11 Commission that any such videotapes existed. That is why the 9/11 Commission built its official story (or, rather, filled in the details of Philip Zelikow’s pre-conceived official narrative) by relying on third-hand hearsay reports about what KSM, the mentally retarded “terror mastermind” Abu Zubaydah, and other alleged al-Qaeda operatives supposedly told their torturers.

Robert Baer, formerly the CIA’s best on-the-ground Mideast operative, vented his shock and displeasure in the pages of Time Magazine:

I would find it very difficult to believe the CIA would deliberately destroy evidence material to the 9/11 investigation, evidence that would cover up a core truth, such as who really was behind 9/11. On the other hand I have to wonder what space-time continuum the CIA exists in, if they weren’t able to grasp what a field day the 9/11 conspiracy theorists are going to have with this — especially at a time when trust for the government is plumbing new depths … If this sounds like paranoia, it is. But the CIA certainly is not helping by destroying evidence. And they should know better than to destroy evidence in the biggest criminal case in American history. More than anything what we need right now is complete and total transparency on 9/11.

It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the 9/11 destruction-of-evidence scandal. Essentially what we have is Zelikow’s pre-scripted official 9/11 story getting its after-the-fact “verification” through massive torture of such obviously innocent “masterminds” as the simple-minded Abu Zubaydah, an utterly incompetent individual tortured into what can only have been a series of false confessions during 83 waterboarding sessions in August, 2002. Amidst those false confessions, which must have consisted of Abu Zubaydah blubbering back to his torturers whatever they told him to say, was the claim that KSM was the mastermind of 9/11.

KSM, for his part, was waterboarded 183 times in March, 2003. Under torture, he confessed to more than 30 different crimes and attempted crimes, most of which he could not possibly have committed. Among those crimes were the murder of Daniel Pearl and various attempts to recruit terrorists in Montana and Washington that happened after he was already incarcerated.

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The official story of 9/11, as mythologized in the 9/11 Commission Report, relies almost entirely on hearsay reports of what KSM supposedly said under torture, as close attention to its footnotes shows. The torturers lied to the Commission by asserting that no records of the interrogations existed; they later destroyed those very records. And these same torturers refused to allow the Commissioners any access to the alleged 9/11 suspects. Obviously it is not KSM himself, but his captors and torturers, who need to be arrested and interrogated not only for torture and obstruction of justice, but also as 9/11 suspects. For when torture, which is largely useless for any purpose except eliciting false confessions, is used to cover up a crime, the torturers may be assumed to be complicit in the crime they are covering up.

Conclusion: The American People Must Demand the Whole Truth – And Treason Trials

The JFK truth movement succeed in getting a “new investigation” – the 1976-1978 HSCA investigation. It succeeded in establishing that President John F. Kennedy died as the result of a conspiracy – the official conclusion of the HSCA probe. But it did not succeed in bringing anyone to justice, because it shied away from stating the obvious: that the JKF killing was a coup d’état, an act of high treason by elements of America’s deep state. Indeed, it did not even seriously consider that unspeakable possibility. Facing the truth would require subjecting the country to treason trials, a clash between the official and deep states, and potential instability, perhaps even revolution.

Today, the same taboo could hamstring any new 9/11 investigation. In the event of any such investigation, tremendous pressure will be brought to bear to keep the official narrative largely intact, even if a few Saudi government officials have to be thrown under the bus.

Could a new investigation elicited by JASTA and the 28 pages movement, perhaps in conjunction with the Guantanamo destruction-of-evidence scandal, uncover the whole truth, or at least much of it, and achieve a modicum of justice? Some observers such as alternative journalist Brandon Martinez argue that the push to blame the Saudis is a limited hang-out; while others including Les Jamieson of the 28 pages movement argue that once the case is re-opened all hell is likely to break loose … especially if the people rise up and demand the truth.

We do know more about 9/11 today than was known about the JFK assassination in 1978. Reams of evidence, including the more than 40 smoking guns cited by David Ray Griffin in the second edition of The New Pearl Harbor, prove that 9/11 was a coup d’état staged by high-level US government officials with the help of one or more foreign governments. (The case that the main foreign government involved was Israel, and that the prime motive for 9/11 was to launch a permanent war on Israel’s Muslim enemies, is explored in Christopher Bollyn’s Solving 9/11.)

Any HSCA-style “new investigation” of 9/11 would take place under the gaze of hundreds of millions of people worldwide who know that 9/11 was a neoconservative coup d’état, and tens of millions who are familiar with the evidence, including such smoking guns as the obvious controlled demolition of World Trade Center Building 7. For that reason, it would be harder to neuter than the HSCA’s 1978 JFK investigation was. The publicity ensuing from the push for another 9/11 investigation, followed by the investigation itself, would provide the 9/11 truth community with its best-ever chance of cracking the case and bringing at least some of the real perpetrators to justice.

Additionally, any actual investigation with sufficient funding and subpoena power would quickly penetrate the blame-the-Saudis smokescreen. The same alleged hijackers who were funded by the Saudi royals, to take one example, were living with an FBI asset during the run-up to 9/11. And if Bandar Bin Sultan, AKA “Bandar Bush,” gets fingered for 9/11, what will the American people make of Bandar smoking a celebratory cigar with George W. Bush on the White House balcony immediately following the mass murders of September 11th? Finally, one would expect the Saudis to vigorously defend themselves in court, and it seems likely that their best defense would be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (That may be a lot to expect from the polished liars of the House of Saud; but if the truth serves their interests, they might choose to depart from habitual behavior patterns.)

Conclusion: The current “perfect storm” of JASTA, the 28 pages, and the imploding KSM trial offer an unprecedented opportunity to re-open the crime of the century. Everyone who opposes the 9/11 wars, wishes to revive constitutional rule in the so-called Western democracies, and recognizes that the current planetary path of militarization, debt slavery and environmental devastation is unsustainable, should be pushing for a new 9/11 investigation … while recognizing, and screaming from the rooftops, that an HSCA-style limited hangout is unacceptable.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal

By Marjorie Cohn | June 22, 2016

In an internal “dissent channel cable,” 51 State Department officers called for “targeted military strikes” against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a proposal that President Barack Obama has thus far resisted. However, were he to accept the cable’s advice, he would risk a dangerous – possibly catastrophic – confrontation with Russia. And, such a use of military force in Syria would violate U.S. and international law.

While the cable decries “the Russian and Iranian governments’ cynical and destabilizing deployment of significant military power to bolster the Assad regime,” the cable calls for the United States to protect and empower “the moderate Syrian opposition,” seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.

However, Assad’s government is the only legitimate government in Syria and, as the sovereign, has the legal right to seek international support as it has from Russia and Iran. There is no such legal right for the United States and other countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to arm Syrian rebels to attack Assad’s government.

The dissent cable advocates what it calls “the judicious use of stand-off and air weapons,” which, the signatories write, “would undergird and drive a more focused and hardnosed US-led diplomatic process.”

Inside Syria, both the United States and Russia are battling the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) as ISIS and other jihadist groups seek to overthrow the Assad government. But while the U.S. is supporting rebel forces (including some fighting ISIS and some fighting Assad), Russia is backing Assad (and waging a broader fight against “terrorists,” including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front). Reuters reports the U.S. has about 300 special operations forces in Syria for its “counter-terrorism mission against Islamic State militants but is not targeting the Assad government.”

The policy outlined in the dissent cable would change that balance, by having the U.S. military bomb Syrian soldiers who have been at the forefront of the fight against both ISIS and Nusra. But that policy shift “would lead to a war with Russia, would kill greater numbers of civilians, would sunder the Geneva peace process, and would result in greater gains for the radical Sunni ‘rebels’ who are the principal opponents of the Assad regime,” analyst James Carden wrote at

Journalist Robert Parry added that the authors of the cable came from the State Department’s “den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions,” looking toward a Hillary Clinton administration which will likely pursue “no-fly-zones” and “safe zones” leading to more slaughter in Syria and risking a confrontation with Russia.

As we should have learned from the “no-fly zone” that preceded the Libyan “regime change” that the U.S. government engineered in 2011, a similar strategy in Syria would create a vacuum in which ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front would flourish.

Violating U.S. and International Law

The strategy set forth in the cable would also violate both U.S. and international law.

Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations “where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” only (1) after a Congressional declaration of war, (2) with “specific statutory authorization,” or (3) in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

None of three conditions that would allow the president to use military force in Syria is present at this time. First, Congress has not declared war. Second, neither the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which George W. Bush used to invade Afghanistan, nor the 2002 AUMF, which Bush used to invade Iraq would provide a legal basis for an attack on Syria at the present time. Third, there has been no attack on the United States or U.S. armed forces. Thus, an armed attack on Syria would violate the WPR.

Even if a military attack on Syria did not run afoul of the WPR, it would violate the United Nations Charter, a treaty the U.S. has ratified, making it part of U.S. law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Article 2(4) of the Charter says that states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

The Charter only allows a military attack on another country in the case of self-defense or when the Security Council authorizes it; neither has occurred in this case. Assad’s government has not attacked the United States, and the Council has not approved military strikes on Syria.

Indeed, Security Council Resolution 2254, to which the cable refers, nowhere authorizes the use of military force, and ends with the words, “[The Security Council] decides to remain actively seized of the matter.” This means that the Council has not delegated the power to attack Syria to any entity other than itself.

If the U.S. were to mount an armed attack on Syria, the Charter would give Assad a valid self-defense claim, and Russia could legally assist Assad in collective self-defense under Article 51 of the Charter. Moreover, forcible “regime change” would violate Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the U.S. has also ratified.

Although it’s true that the “dissent” cable eschews the use of U.S. “ground forces,” its recommendation that the U.S. should bomb Assad’s government would involve U.S. military personnel who would fly the bombers or fire off the missiles. And, such an operation would invariably necessitate at least a limited number of U.S. support troops on the ground.

Opposition to Violent ‘Regime Change’

Many commentators have warned of dangers from a U.S. military attack on Syria, risks that are either ignored or breezily dismissed by the “dissent” cable.

Jean Aziz cautions in Al-Monitor, “the recommendation of military strikes against the Syrian government – no matter how well intentioned – is, in the end, escalatory, and would likely result in more war, killing, refugees, less humanitarian aid reaching civilians, the empowerment of jihadis and so on.”

The United States is already empowering jihadis, “going out of its way to protect the interests of al-Qaeda’s closest and most powerful ally in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham,” Gareth Porter wrote in Truthout. Porter reported that Ahrar al-Sham, which works closely with the Nusra Front, “is believed to be the largest military force seeking to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, with at least 15,000 troops.”

So, in seeking Assad’s ouster, the U.S. has terrorist bedfellows. So much for the “global war on terror.”

As CIA Director John Brennan recently told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Our efforts have not reduced [Islamic State’s] terrorism capability and global reach,” adding, “The branch in Libya is probably the most developed and the most dangerous.”

No wonder President Obama told Fox News “the worst mistake” of his presidency was not planning for the aftermath of U.S. regime change in Libya, although he stubbornly maintains that ousting President Muammar Gaddafi was “the right thing to do.”

The Center for Citizen Initiatives, a group of U.S. citizens currently on a delegation to Russia in order to increase understanding and reduce international tension and conflict, issued a statement in strong opposition to the “dissent” cable. Retired Col. Ann Wright, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern are part of the group.

“It is not the right of the USA or any other foreign country to determine who should lead the Syrian government,” the statement says. “That decision should be made by the Syrian people.”

The statement urges the State Department “to seek non-military solutions in conformity with the UN Charter and international law.” It also urges the Obama administration to “stop funding and supplying weapons to armed ‘rebels’ in violation of international law and end the policy of forced ‘regime change’.” Finally, the statement calls for “an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of ‘regime change’.”

This is sage advice in light of the disasters created by the U.S. government’s forcible regime change in Iraq and Libya, which destabilized those countries, facilitating the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups. There is no reason to believe the situation in Syria would be any different.

Instead of saber-rattling against Assad, Russia and Iran, the Obama administration should include them all in pursuing diplomacy toward a political, non-military settlement to the Syrian crisis.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. A member of the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace, Cohn’s latest book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment