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Peru’s Police Force Harbored a Death Squad, Report Reveals

teleSUR | August 23, 2016

Until as recently as last year, Peru’s national police force harbored a “death squad” that is responsible for the extrajudicial killings of at least 20 people over a four-year period – even at times offering sworn officers bounties to kill criminal suspects, according to an official government investigation of systemic police misconduct.

In an executive summary that reads like the script of a Dirty Harry movie, the Interior Ministry’s report found “serious indications” that both high-ranking and low-level officers of the national police force “falsified intelligence information” to misrepresent at least six cases involving some 20 slayings as the justified result of confrontations with armed suspects, when in fact they were summary executions carried out by police, according to a summary of the report Monday by Vice Minister of Internal Order Ruben Vargas.

The report did not disclose the identities of the officers suspected of participating in the death squad, but Vargas did reveal that the operation was headed by a police colonel who was subsequently promoted to general.

Local media revealed the scandal over three weeks ago after department whistleblowers brought the allegations to light, prompting an investigation. The new report will now be handed over to prosecutors specialized in organized crime to open a case.

Minister of Interior Carlos Basombrio, newly-appointed under President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and inaugurated at the end of July, claimed that the evidence suggests that a group of high-ranking police officials who moved between divisions are responsible for running the death squad, and that no single police force unit itself is compromised.

Authorities also revealed that several of the officers involved in the scandal were decorated for their so-called “distinguished” achievements within the force last year. A months-long internal police investigation already found that at least two officers were promoted during the period in which they are suspected of participating in the death squad. The Investigator General intervened in the internal probe and took over the investigation over three weeks ago.

Local media report that the death squad, allegedly made up of nearly 100 officers across four units of the national police force, is suspected of carrying out the murders of 27 Peruvian civilians between 2011 and 2015 in the cities of LIma, Ica, and Chiclayo.

Media previously suggested that the 27 victims were common criminals, but the new report found that 11 victims “didn’t even have a criminal record or a warrant to justify them being identified as targets of police interventions,” according to the Interior Ministry.

The confirmation of the extrajudicial killings by the police recalls a dark history of death squads run by state security forces in the South American country that were aimed at wiping out armed left-wing guerrilla movements particularly under the reign of jailed former dictator Alberto Fujimori.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 3 Comments

“The Awful Clarity” of Israeli Oppression Becomes Murky Spin in the NYT

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By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | August 22, 2016

When writer Michael Chabon visited the West Bank city of Hebron earlier this year, the brutal reality of the Israeli occupation hit him with force. During an interview with the Forward, he appeared “visibly jarred,” and he pulled no punches in describing his reaction.

“Once you see for yourself,” he said, “it is pretty obvious, I think, to any human being with a heart and a mind, it is pretty clear what to feel about it. It is the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life.”

His reaction echoes in the words of another author, Ben Ehrenreich, who recently published a book about the occupation, “The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine.” In his introduction Ehrenreich refers to “the awful clarity of the injustice,” and his book portrays Palestinian resistance under Israel’s state-sponsored system of oppression.

Both these American writers are saying that the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli rule is clear to see, an obvious truth to anyone who witnesses the situation firsthand.

Now, as Peter Baker, the latest New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, takes up his post, we can ask whether the newspaper will begin to convey this reality to its readers. Will Baker, a fresh new witness with full access to the sites under occupation, give voice to the oppression seen with such clarity by Ehrenreich and Chabon?

Baker’s predecessor, Jodi Rudoren, who left Jerusalem late last year, filed hundreds of stories over nearly four years at the post and managed not to clarify but to obscure the reality of occupation and dispossession. Her stories promoted a narrative of Israeli victimhood and Palestinian violence and deflected Israeli culpability. (See TimesWarp 12-22-15.)

Many voices vied for attention during her stint, but Rudoren turned a deaf ear to some of the most respected sources of information, not only the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch but also Israeli monitoring groups and courageous Israeli journalists. These groups and individuals were constantly documenting and reporting abuses by the Israeli forces, but the news they bore rarely found even brief mention in the Times.

When a series of stabbing and vehicular attacks on Israelis began last fall, several monitoring groups issued alerts, charging that Israeli forces were using the situation to conduct “street executions” of Palestinians who actually posed no threat.

These accusations were bolstered by video and eyewitness evidence and came from groups such as the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, Amnesty International and Euro-Med Monitor. To give even more weight to their claims, a group of nine Israeli organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights and the Public Committee Against Torture, issued a joint statement saying Israeli officials were responsible for the climate that fostered these executions.

The Times took little notice. The newspaper’s headlines remained focused on Palestinian attacks, and any quotes about extrajudicial executions were attributed to Palestinian officials, as if these charges were nothing more than the opinions of partisans taking one side in a bitter exchange.

Anticipating Baker’s arrival in Jerusalem, the Times produced a video featuring him in conversation with Rudoren and another former Jerusalem bureau chief, James Bennet. The trio made many references to “the conflict” (with only a single mention of the occupation), and they insisted that Times reporting strives to be balanced and neutral.

If reporters were sincerely looking for balance, however, it would seem that truly neutral parties, such as the United Nations and human rights organizations, would provide an essential antidote to the partisan claims of two adversaries. Yet the Times turns a deaf ear to these sources, no matter how fully documented their findings are, and relies heavily on Israeli officials.

Thus, Times readers are left in ignorance, hearing almost nothing about urgent and repeated appeals from these non-partisan groups. Beyond the latest accusations of extrajudicial killings, for instance, rights organizations have consistently highlighted the mistreatment of Palestinian children held in Israeli custody and the demolition of Palestinian structures, including everything from homes and workshops to cisterns and animal shelters.

Organizations such as UNICEF, Defence for Children International, Save the Children, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture in Israel have tried over several years to publicize the abuse of Palestinian children (See TW 1-13-14.), but the Times has rarely mentioned these reports and then only in stories aimed to spin the information in favor of Israel.

Throughout 2015 some of these groups continued to issue frequent reports and news releases with headlines such as “Rising physical violence against Palestinian child detainees,” “UNICEF report confirms ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees remains systematic,” and “New U.S. government report highlights violations against Palestinian kids,” but the Times showed no interest in exploring the problem.

Likewise, Israel’s rampage of demolitions in the West Bank is never brought to the attention of Times readers although the United Nations, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and other groups have issued frequent statements and demands, urging Israel to end its policy of destruction.

While the Times has remained silent, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, columnists for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, have often written about the terrible toll demolitions have exacted from some of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities.

Rudoren wrote occasionally about punitive demolitions, the Israeli policy of destroying the family homes of attackers, but her stories omitted any mention of the much more common demolition of structures because they lack building permits, which are rarely issued.

The policy is a constant threat to Palestinians in a large part of the West Bank, and over the decades of occupation, the state has demolished more than 48,000 Palestinian homes and other structures.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has destroyed 726 Palestinian structures so far this year, displacing 1,020 people. In a recent report, OCHA noted that during one week this month, 42 structures were demolished or confiscated. The report stated, “Twelve of the targeted structures had been previously provided as humanitarian assistance, including emergency shelters, animal sheds, latrines, a community centre, and a water connection; the confiscation of the latter means that nearly 1,000 Palestinians in five herding communities in the Jordan Valley will continue to suffer water scarcity.”

The OCHA report continued, “This brings the number of assistance items destroyed or confiscated since the start of 2016 to 200, almost double the figure for the entire 2015 (108).” In other words, donors such as the European Union and International Committee of the Red Cross have stepped in to provide tents and other items when Israel has destroyed Palestinian homes, schools, playgrounds, water wells and other structures, but the Israeli authorities have demolished even this humanitarian aid.

In this brief report from OCHA “the awful clarity of the injustice” is evident, as it has been evident in hundreds of other reports issued over the years. The rising tide of demolitions, with all its human-interest value, is most certainly newsworthy, but will the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times report it?

So far the Times seems determined to muddy the waters, avoiding a clear exposition of Israeli brutality, but with a new bureau chief now on board, some readers may hold out a faint hope for change, for an honest and full accounting at last.

Unfortunately, here at TimesWarp, the expectation is for more of the same. It seems unlikely that the Times would allow any straightforward reporting on Israeli oppression to appear in its pages. This would destroy its carefully fostered narrative of Israeli victimhood, “ancient hatreds” and the need to place Israeli security needs above all.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Clinton Foundation Should Return All Foreign Donations – Republican Chairman

Sputnik – 23.08.2016

The Clinton Foundation needs to return every dollar it received in foreign donations, the Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said in a Twitter message on Tuesday.

“All of the Clinton Foundation foreign money should never have been accepted and needs to be returned today,” Priebus stated.

The RNC chairman also said he supported Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s call for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the Clinton Foundation.

The Foundation has come under severe scrutiny for donations it accepted from foreign governments and entities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as US secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

The State Department said last week it was not aware of any actions taken by Hillary Clinton that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton stepped down from the Foundation’s board in April 2015 when she decided to run for US president.

In May 2015, former US President Bill Clinton said the non-profit foundation previously accepted between $10 and $25 million from Saudi Arabia, but now only accepts donations from six western countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Last week, the Clinton campaign noted the charity would stop accepting corporate and foreign donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

UK dismisses concerns about arms sale to Saudi Arabia

Press TV – August 23, 2016

The British government has dismissed concerns about selling arms to Saudi Arabia amid accusations that it misled the parliament over the case.

On Tuesday, a British government spokeswoman defended the recent weapon sales to Riyadh, saying the Saudis have stuck to conditions set by the United Kingdom.

She also noted that London is ensuring Riyadh is not breaking humanitarian laws by bombing civilian targets.

“The UK Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Government is satisfied that extant licenses for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing criteria,” she added.

The dismissal came in response to a statement by charity group Oxfam, which accused the UK government of being in a state of “denial and disarray” over its continued sales of weapons to the kingdom.

Penny Lawrence, deputy chief executive of Oxfam GB, said Britain was “flagrantly” ignoring its own arms control rules as well as international treaties.

“UK arms and military support are fueling a brutal war in Yemen, harming the very people the Arms Trade Treaty is designed to protect,” she said.

“Schools, hospitals and homes have been bombed in contravention of the rules of war. The UK Government is in denial and disarray over its arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign in Yemen,” Lawrence added.

“It has misled its own parliament about its oversight of arms sales and its international credibility is in jeopardy as it commits to action on paper but does the opposite in reality.”

Oxfam has launched a public appeal calling on the government to stop the war on Yemen.

The UK, the second-largest exporter of weapons in the world, approved licenses for the sale of $11.2 billion in armaments last year, but its licensing export regime is under acute scrutiny amid fears British weaponry, including cluster bombs, is being routinely used in Yemen.

According to sources, London supplied export licenses for close to £3 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia last year. The British government has also been accused of being involved in guiding the Saudi military aggression in Yemen.

Since the beginning of the Saudi war against Yemen in March of last year, nearly 10,000 people, including over 2,000 children, have been killed.

Meanwhile, the regimes that have made major arms purchases from the UK since last year include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Burundi.

In 2014, Britain only licensed $248 million worth of arm sales. The massive surge in the arms sales in 2015 is largely attributable to sales of weapons to the Saudi kingdom.

The largest export license granted was worth $2.48 billion of fighter jets agreed in May 2015. Additionally, the UK approved the export of $1.45 billion of air-to-air missiles to the Saudi regime in July 2015.

In September, it further approved the sale of $90.5 million worth of bombs to Riyadh. All three sales took place after the Saudi’s brutal bombing campaign of Yemen began in March 2015, prompting concerns that civilian buildings have been targeted in widespread human rights violations.

In 2015, the British government also approved licenses of $123 million in sales of military equipment to Egypt, despite concerns over the country’s repressive policies since the July 2013 coup that ousted the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

“This is a clear case of the government saying one thing and doing another, and exposes the blatant doublespeak and hypocrisy that lies at the heart of UK foreign policy,” said Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which compiled the export sales figures.

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

U.S. Renews Calls For Attack On Syria Air Force, U.K. Calls For Safe Zones, Military Action

By Brandon Turbeville – Activist PostAugust 22, 2016

As tension between the West and Russia over the Syrian crisis heats up yet again, a combination effort on the part of elements within the United States and the UK are pushing for direct military confrontation with the Syrian military as well as the Russians. Indeed, after a period of time suggesting a major improvement on the ground, it appears that there is now the possibility of renewed vigor on the part of the imperialist Western powers in their goal to destroy Syria, even at the cost of igniting World War 3.

After having violated international law and Syria’s national sovereignty by not only funding and supporting proxy soldiers for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad but also by deploying aircraft and troops in the country despite not being invited in by the legitimate government, the U.S. is now warning Russia and Syria against targeting terrorists and Western proxy fighters within Syria’s own territory.

The new U.S. Commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria stated on August 22 that he will “defend” the Special Operations Forces aggressively deployed by the United States to Northern Syria if Syrian warplanes or Syrian artillery again strike areas where U.S. troops are located.

During an interview with CNN, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend stated from his headquarters in Baghdad that “We’ve informed the Russians where we’re at … (they) tell us they’ve informed the Syrians, and I’d just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened.”

The hypocrisy and deception of the United States government on this issue has now reached a staggering level. An accurate translation of what Townsend is saying is that “We have funded proxy terrorists to destroy the Syrian government. Those terrorists started losing so we deployed troops to support them and forge new brigades of terrorism with Kurds. Despite the fact that we deployed these troops against international law, violated Syria’s national sovereignty, as well as the wishes of the majority of the world, we will play the victim if those troops are injured during the course of Syria’s battle with the terrorists we support. We will then attack Syrian planes as a response to attacking terrorists whom our soldiers are assisting in attacking the Syrian government.” In other words, the U.S. position is that “We will attack you whenever we want, however we want, and everyone and everything else in the world be damned. And if you dare respond, we will play the victim, drum up sympathy and good ‘ol fashioned ‘Murican patriotism back home so that we can launch a full-scale war upon your country.”

Essentially, Syria is being threatened with full scale war if it defends itself and a death of a thousand cuts if it does not. This is an epic level of hypocrisy even for the U.S. government but the most surprising element is that it can be carried out so openly. Perhaps Western audiences are now so utterly befuddled as to foreign policy that such overt acts of deception and aggression simply go unnoticed.

Enter the British. Never known to take a backseat in hypocrisy, thirty Labour MP’s are now calling for a “safe zone” in Syria, an obvious and admitted act of war that would initiate the creation of Libya 2.0. The pro-war camp is fully playing up the “spirit of Jo Cox,” the celebrated humanitarian bomber and warmonger who was murdered earlier this year. The campaign to create “safe zones” and “buffer zones” in Syria is being promoted not only by the war hawks in parliament but also by “friends” of Cox and the UK military establishment.

“In life, Jo argued with such passion and eloquence that the UK armed forces could play a role in protecting civilians in Syria by enforcing a ‘no bomb’ zone,” said John Woodstock, friend of Cox. “This is a time for Britain to show the courage and resolve which Jo herself exemplified by taking bolder action to end the horrific bloodshed.”

Translation: a warmongering MP was murdered so let’s pretend to honor her by ensuring that the people she wanted to murder while she was still alive are murdered now that she is dead.

This may be poor logic and poor presentation but, unfortunately, this type of propaganda is effective in the modern day UK.

The former Shadow Minister, Pat McFadden chimed in as well. “The British contribution to attacking Isis strongholds – in which our pilots do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties – is an important part of the effort to free the people of Syria from the brutality of what they have been enduring. The whole approach to Syria has been marked by a reluctance to intervene but telling ourselves that because we didn’t break it we didn’t buy it is of little comfort to the innocent victims of the war.”

Translation: We have been bombing intermittently for some time and that is good but we should just go all in, to hell with civilian casualties and to hell with international law. In fact, to hell with our own population who will pay the price in blood and sacrifice as well as lower living standards back home.

The UK military voice is chiming in as well. As Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said:

There is a military solution here and now is the time to be bold. We aren’t talking about boots on the ground, the very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals. As the Russian government have strenuously denied that they target hospitals there should, in theory, be little danger of the nightmare scenario of a British or US jet shooting down a Russian one.

I have suggested creating a Safe Zone for civilians to go to in North West Syria and protect it otherwise they will remain and die in Aleppo or leave and turn right to Raqqa, where we could see them turn to ISIL. The very least we can do is place no bomb zones around hospitals.

Translation: We have to destroy the Syrian government. I think we can do this without starting thermonuclear World War 3 but it’s just a chance we will have to take. Let’s create a “safe zone” that is, in effect, a refuge for terrorists and an excuse to bomb the Syrian Air Force out of existence. We can use hospitals and civilians as excuses. And if that nuclear world war happens, we will know we made the wrong decision.

According to the Telegraph, sources close to Hillary Clinton have stated that Killary is planning on a “safe zone” approach upon her coronation, er, election.

The idea of establishing a “safe zone” in Syria is, of course, not a new concept. In July, 2015, the agreement being discussed would have effectively created a “buffer zone” that would have spanned from the Turkish border line into Syria. It would have extended from Azaz in the East to Jarablus in the West and as far south as al-Bab. The width of the zone would have been about 68 miles and would have extended around 40 miles deep into Syria, right on the doorstep of Aleppo.

The zone would have much smaller than that which Turkey and the United States have been calling for in the years prior and wouldn’t have necessarily stretched the length of the Turkey-Syria border. But it is a start.

True to form, the US and Turkey attempted to obfuscate the fact that their agreement was the creation of a no-fly zone by renaming it an “ISIL-free zone.” This is the same tactic used when the term “no-fly zone” and “buffer zone” began to draw too much ire from observers only a year ago. Then, the term became “safe zone.”

Semantics have served NATO and the United States well over the years. After all, a simple name change of terrorist organizations has made the Anglo-American powers able to produce “moderate rebels” and the most frightening terrorist organization the world has ever seen while using the same group of terrorists.

The description of the “ISIL-free zone” of 2015 was that it would be a distinguished area in which the Turkish and U.S. military would engage in aggressive operations against ISIS. It was floated that this area would have also functioned as a place where civilians displaced by the Syrian crisis may run to for safe haven and where “moderate rebel” forces can maintain a higher presence free from the battles with ISIS.

“Once the area is cleared, the plan is to give control to as-yet-unidentified moderate Syrian rebel groups. The United States and Turkey have differing interpretations as to which groups can be defined as ‘moderate,’” the Washington Post reported.

The reality, however, is that the “ISIL-free zone” would have been nothing more than a Forward Operating Base deeper into Syrian territory, working under the direct protection of the U.S. military and Turkish air force. That is exactly what the British and the U.S. are arguing for today.

Going further back, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,

In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.

Of course, the establishment of a “No-Fly Zone” is tantamount to a declaration of war. Such has even been admitted by top U.S. Generals when explaining exactly what a No Fly Zone would entail. As General Carter Ham stated,

We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel.

General Philip Breedlove also echoed this description when he said,

I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability

Regardless of the fact that the Anglo-American empire may very well be risking a direct military confrontation with another nuclear power, the NATO forces are intent on moving forward in their attempt to destroy Syria and its government. The major victories by the Syrian military that have taken place in recent weeks as well as the inability of the West’s terrorists to roll back SAA gains have obviously convinced NATO that more drastic measures are needed and that proxies are simply not enough to defeat a committed military supported by its people.

For a national oligarchy intent on “warning” other countries against defending themselves, we encourage the United States establishment to begin paying attention to warning signs themselves.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

The alternate reality of Anders Fogh Rasmussen

By Danielle Ryan | RT | August 23, 2016

Reading through a recent interview with former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, it becomes clear that his world is one in which US foreign policy has only ever made us all safer and the biggest risk we now face is diminished US power.

The entire premise of his argument throughout the interview is that if the US steps back from playing global policeman, the “bad guys” will win. Simple as that.

Tempting Putin

The interview, which focuses on Donald Trump, opens with a question about Trump’s views regarding the NATO alliance and how the candidate sees the US’s role in the world. Rasmussen immediately declares he is “not taking sides” in the US election, but his attempt at neutrality goes swiftly out the window moments later when he complains that Trump is undermining “the credibility of the United States” and putting at stake America’s “role as the global superpower”. If Trump were to be elected, he laments, that could usher in “the end of the American-led world order”.

This would be very bad, he says, because if NATO is undermined by a Trump victory, then Vladimir Putin would “open a bottle of champagne” and be “tempted to test” the alliance. This assumes that Putin has simply been waiting in the wings for the 16 years that he has held positions of power for Donald Trump to come along so that he can invade Estonia for no reason. Because Rasmussen doesn’t give us a reason and we’re not supposed to ask. We’re just supposed to assume invading the Baltics is on Putin’s to-do list.

So, keeping with his policy of “not taking sides” Rasmussen then argues that Hillary Clinton would be “more determined to defend” the country’s NATO allies than Trump would. When asked whether eastern European nations are worried about Trump’s take-it-or-leave-it approach to NATO’s Article 5 (principle of collective defense) Rasmussen says they are indeed very concerned, particularly following “Russian aggression” against Ukraine. So concerned in fact, that only five of the 28 alliance members have reached the 2 percent of GDP benchmark that NATO requires. Now, this is either because they aren’t really as terrified of Russia as they claim, or that they’re simply taking the US for a ride — in which case, Trump might actually have a point about getting them to cough up before putting American lives in harm’s way to defend them.

It’s hybrid warfare, stupid!

Next up, Rasmussen is asked whether the threat environment for NATO has changed and how the alliance is dealing with the changes. Rasmussen here employs one of my favorite terms: “hybrid warfare”. It’s not just conventional warfare (tanks rolling across borders etc.) that eastern European nations need to be aware of, he says. It’s a whole load of other stuff, too. Like what? Well, sophisticated “disinformation campaigns” for one thing.

But the great thing about “hybrid warfare” is that when you use the term, you don’t really need to explain what you mean. Even NATO itself published an article about the fact that it can mean everything and nothing at the same time. Pretty nifty, right?

Moving on to Crimea, another victim of hybrid warfare. Trump isn’t too bothered by the fact that Crimea was annexed by/invaded by/reunited with Russia in 2014. That’s Europe’s business, he has said — and it shouldn’t prevent Washington and Moscow from getting along and working together on common threats like international terrorism. You don’t have to be a Trump fan to see the common sense in this, but it’s another no-no for Rasmussen.

Trump also hasn’t been so gung-ho about sending weapons to Ukraine. This is very scary and “disturbing” Rasmussen says, because if the US doesn’t support the government in Kiev, the West “risks losing a democratic Ukraine”.

Democracy and world peace

So, how is “democratic Ukraine” doing, then? Well, a few months ago The Guardian published an op-ed arguing that Ukraine was at risk of becoming not a democracy, but a “failed state”. Since the country’s democratic “revolution” in 2013, living standards have plummeted, as has the value of the country’s currency — and the government, ideologically driven to sever all ties with Russia, has pursued economic policies that “can only be termed suicidal”. But the solution is obviously to send them some new weapons. Regardless of whether you believe Russia has acted aggressively in Ukraine or not, this kind of thinking is simply delusional.

Next Rasmussen is asked about Trump’s “America first” campaign slogan, which he also doesn’t happen to like (surprise!). Using the term “America first” for an American presidential election is “out of touch” he says. How so? Well, of course it comes back to America’s role in the world again. You can’t use the term “America first” when you’re supposed to be “the world’s leader”. I swear, I’m not making this up.

After World War 2, Rasmussen tells us, the US established a “rules-based world order” and it has “served us very well” because “freedom has flourished” and we’ve seen “world peace”. All of this freedom and world peace (really?!) is now at stake… because of Donald Trump (are you sensing the “not taking sides” thing?). Anyway, I could list all of the occasions on which the US decided to flout its own “rules-based” order, but that would take too long.

If the US “retreats and retrenches” now, it will create a power vacuum that will be filled by “the bad guy,” Rasmussen warns. He doesn’t tell us who the bad guy is this time; he’s just there, malevolently waiting for Trump’s election. Trump needs to understand that the US has “special obligations” to “maintain world order” and “promote peace”. Not only this, but it’s the “only power on earth” with such a “destiny”.

Barack Obama has also been a disappointment to Rasmussen. He has been “too reluctant” to use American force around the world. Obama and Trump are proponents of a “less interventionist” movement in the world and this simply won’t do.

By the end, Rasmussen had lavished so much praise on the United States and its role and “destiny” in the world that I had forgotten he was not an American himself, but a Dane. The real kicker was when he dramatically pleaded with the next president: “We need a global policeman, and that policeman should be the United States. We don’t have any other.”

Could he really be so profoundly in awe of Washington and its power, or is this waxing lyrical about American destiny simply, as one writer put it, “the practiced gambit of a con man, who knows flattery is the surest means to success” ?

Decide for yourself.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | August 22, 2016

The Syria Propaganda Campaign

Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee. Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

In early August Dennis Ross and Andrew Tabler opined in the NY Times about “The Case for (Finally) Bombing Assad.” Dennis Ross is a favorite Clintonite. In her book Hard Choices, Clinton described how she asked Dennis Ross to come to the State Department to “work on Iran and regional issues”.

NY Times regular Nicholas Kristof made his pitch for war against Syria. According to the self-styled humanitarian, we need “safe zones” as proposed by Clintonite Madeline Albright and retired General James Cartwright. That is risky but “the risks of doing nothing in Syria are even greater”.

PBS broadcast a story titled “Repeatedly targeted by airstrikes, Syrian doctors feel abandoned.” The story features video from the “White Helmets” along with photos from the reported April bombing of Al Quds Hospital.

Currently there is a huge media campaign around the situation in Aleppo. Syrian American doctor Zaher Sahloul, of the Syrian American Medical Society, has been interviewed extensively on corporate media as well as DemocracyNow with widespread promotion in Truthout and other sites.

There has been lots of publicity around a letter to President Obama, supposedly written by 15 doctors in East Aleppo. The letter ends: “We need your action.” The flow and wording of the letter suggests it may have been composed by a marketing company and there has been no verification of the doctors who supposedly signed it.

An online Change petition asks German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama to “save the people of Aleppo.”

The publicly funded Holocaust Memorial Museum has promoted the video #SaveSyria. One of the producers of the video is The Syria Campaign which is the marketing organization which branded the pervasive “White Helmets” as documented in “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators.”

In parallel with this media campaign, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has introduced HR5732 the “Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2016”. The resolution calls for escalating economic/financial pressure on Syria and “Assessment of potential effectiveness of and requirements for the establishment of safe zones or a no fly zone in Syria”.

Dr. Sahloul, the Syrian American Medical Society doctor / spokesperson says that Obama’s legacy will be defined by whether or not he attacks Syria to impose a “no fly zone”. It seems unlikely that Obama would do that at the end of his term. Instead, the goal is to prepare the public for the new war to begin after Hillary Clinton becomes President.

Falsehoods and Lies of Omission

In his article “The media are misleading the public on Syria,” author Stephen Kinzer recently wrote: “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.”

Here a few facts about Aleppo which contradict the msm narrative:

* At least 85% of Aleppo’s population is in government controlled area.

* The estimate of 300K civilians in rebel/terrorist controlled east Aleppo is likely a gross exaggeration. In Spring 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian visited the area and estimated there were 40K.

* While there are very few doctors serving in the opposition controlled Aleppo, there are thousands of doctors working in the government controlled area.

* The dominant rebel terrorist group in Aleppo is the Syrian version of Al Qaeda.

* The armed groups who invaded Aleppo have been unpopular from the beginning. In the Fall of 2012 James Foley wrote:

Aleppo, a city of about 3 million people, was once the financial heart of Syria. As it continues to deteriorate, many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition — one that is hampered by infighting and a lack of structure, and deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.

* The rebel-terrorists launch dozens and sometimes hundreds of mortars daily into the government controlled areas causing huge casualties. Western media ignores this destruction and loss of life.

* The much publicized April bombing of the supposed MSF supported “Al Quds Hospital” in Aleppo was full of contradictions and discrepancies. These were highlighted in an Open Letter to MSF. To this date, MSF has not provided corroborating information.

* Much of the video purporting to show bombing effects in Aleppo are stamped with the “White Helmets” logo. White Helmets is a creation of the US and UK and primarily a propaganda tool. The claims they are Syrian, independent and non-partisan are all false.

* Much of the information about Syria comes from “activists” trained and paid by the USA. In her book Hard Choices, Secretary Clinton speaks says the US provided “training for more than a thousand (Syrian) activists, students, and independent journalists” (p464, hardback version). Obviously they are not independent and their reports should be carefully checked.

* In contrast with the ambiguous situation at “Al Quds Hospital”, consider what happened to Aleppo’s “Al Kindi Hospital”. Take three minutes to view the suicide suicide bombing of Al Kindi Hospital. Take two minutes to view what the “rebels” did to Syrian soldiers who had been guarding the hospital.

* Like Richard Engels fake kidnapping, the contrived CNN reports by “Syrian Danny,” the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta effectively shown to be a staged event intended to force US attack because of the supposedly crossed red line.

* The letter to President Obama was likely written by a paid Syria War propagandist or Washington lobby firm. Read the letter here and judge for yourself. For contrast watch this interview with a real Syrian doctor not mouthing propaganda from K Street Washington DC.

* The latest propaganda tool being used to promote US aggression against Syria is the photograph of little Omran in the orange ambulance seat. The video comes from the Aleppo Media Center “AMC”. Like the White Helmets, AMC is a US creation. The photo of Omran has been widely accepted without scrutiny. The insightful Moon of Alabama, has raised serious questions about the media sensation. Brad Hoff has documented that the main photographer, Mahmoud Raslan, is an ally of the Nour al Din al Zenki rebel terrorists who beheaded a young Palestinian Syrian a few weeks ago. This is confirmed step by step in this short video. Another good short video exposing the propaganda around #Syrianboy is here.

Why the Burst of Propaganda and Calls for US Attack Now?

The Syrian crisis is at a critical point and there is prospect of the collapse of the rebel-terrorists. If they crushed or expelled, it would allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Aleppans to return home as soon as services are restored. This would also allow the Syrian army and allies to focus on attacking ISIS in the east and terrorist groups remaining in Idlib, Hama, the outskirts of Damascus and the south.

The tide is running against the rebel terrorist factions and their supporters. Up until the last year, fanatics and mercenaries were traveling from all parts of the globe into Syria via Turkey. Tens of thousands went to Syria from SE Asia, China, Russia, North Africa, Europe and North America. They were given carte blanche to depart their home countries, arrive in Turkey and be guided into Syria. For example, young Canadians such as Damien Clairmont went and died in Syria. His mother has courageously exposed the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) knew about his plans yet did nothing to stop him. Progressive Muslim leaders demanded the government identify and start dealing with the radical recruiters. It was evidently the policy of the cynically named “Friends of Syria” to “look the other way” as their citizens were being brainwashed then recruited to become terrorists attacking Syria.

Now, with terrorist blowback, these same “Friends” are feeling some consequences from their policies. Terror attacks in Britain, France, Belgium and the USA have ended the policy of collusion with Wahhabi terrorists. In the last year, security services have started arresting recruiters and new recruits. In Britain, a long time promoter of ISIS has been convicted. In Belgium, the court has approved the extradition of a suspected French terrorist. Previously Belgium was the Western country with the highest per capita number of citizens joining the terrorist fight in Syria. And now Turkey has started arresting people en route to join ISIS in Syria.

Since the rebel terrorists invaded Aleppo in 2012, they have had a constant pipeline bringing weapons, fighters and supplies into the city. For the past few months the Syrian army has been on the verge of encircling and closing the access routes into rebel terrorist sections of east Aleppo. Western media and governments which support the rebel terrorists are doing all they can to delay or prevent this closure. They are trying to stall or prevent a Syrian victory until someone more hawkish than Barack Obama is in the White House.

Who is Driving the Conflict?

Regional forces supporting the war on Syria include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Israel has always been deeply involved, contrary to the faulty analysis of some observers. Israel has provided medical and military support to Nusra/Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups operating near the Golan Heights. Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was explicit: “Israel has wanted Assad ousted since Syria war began.”

The USA and western powers are also deeply involved. Working with Saudi Arabia and through Turkey, the US has supplied huge quantities of weapons to the rebel terrorists. Sophisticated weaponry totaling 994 TONS was provided last winter as documented here.

On the other side, Iran and Hezbollah are committed to defending the existing Syrian government. They know that if the Syrian government falls, they will be the next ones under attack. Russia also sees this as a crucial conflict. The USA has expanded NATO up to the Russian eastern border, promoted the 2014 Ukraine coup, and insisted on economic sanctions against Russia. Syria is Russia’s only Arab ally and hosts Russia’s only foreign naval base. Russia probably sees this conflict as a crucial for its own future. In another sign of resistance to US global hegemony, China has indicated it wishes to expand military cooperation with Syria.

Following the US lead, Canada, Australia and West European countries have supported the regime change effort despite it being in clear violation of the UN Charter and international law.

What is at Stake?

Despite five years of tragedy and destruction, the U.S. continues trying to overthrow or destroy the Syrian government. This is not a new US objective. In 2005, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Syrian President Assad and said to him: “Mr. President, you know the rhetoric of regime change is headed towards you from the United States…. They’re talking about isolating you diplomatically and, perhaps, a coup d’etat or your regime crumbling. What are you thinking about that?” Amanpour is not only the CNN host, she is the wife of neocon Clintonite James Rubin.

In 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Syria to stop its support of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, “loosen” its alliance with Iran and sign a treaty with Israel. Significantly, these are Israel’s demands and of much higher importance to the Zionist state than the USA.

The war in Syria is bringing numerous conflicts to a head: sectarian Wahhabism vs secular Islam; the “new American century” with one superpower vs a multilateral world; Zionist dominance and occupation vs Lebanese and Palestinian resistance.

Hillary Clinton is on record criticizing the decision to not bomb Syria in the Fall of 2013. She has continued to promote the idea of a “no fly zone”. She is an avowed Zionist who has said she wants to take the US-Israeli relationship to the ‘next level’.

Zionist Israel is deeply worried by the prospect of a strengthened Syria and Lebanese resistance. In addition, there are many Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Syria and Lebanon. They retain their wish to return home in keeping with international law. Just as Zionist Israeli interests were a major factor in the invasion of Iraq, so they are in continuing the conflict in Syria. In addition, neocons have not given up their goal of a “new American century”.

What Has Been the Role of the Western Left?

The left has been weak in responding and opposing the aggression against Syria. Major factors have included:

– Saudi and US State Dept funded Muslim groups which support the aggression against Syria. This includes the recently famous Dr Zaher Sahloul and the Syrian American Medical Society. SAMS and Zahloul are aligned with Saudi Arabia and receive substantial State Dept funding.

– deluded leftist groups who support a fantasy “revolution” in Syria just as they did in Libya.

– the flooding of social media and the internet by “activists” and Syrian “civil society” groups who are actually paid and trained agents of the west. This is confirmed by Clinton herself in her book Hard Choices.

– uncritical acceptance of major NGOs who are predominately funded by billionaires. These organizations need to be considered with some skepticism. For example, in 1990, Amnesty International mistakenly corroborated the accuracy of the false claim that Iraqi soldiers were stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. In the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Syria, Human Rights Watch did not oppose the invasion and implicitly accepted it by only criticizing the lack of preparation. Physicians for Human Rights, another Soros project, has issued grossly misleading reports on Syria.

– alternative media which is progressive on many issues but echoes NPR and mainstream media on critical foreign policy issues including the Syrian conflict.

Some groups including Arab Americans for Syria, Syrian American Forum, Black Agenda Report, Syria Solidarity Movement, Answer and Workers World Party have actively challenged the disinformation but their budgets and influence are relatively small in comparison with the heavily funded organizations pushing for regime change.

Veterans for Peace, one of the most influential and respected peace organizations, has recently sharpened its understanding and position. Following a recent visit to Syria, the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, Jerry Condon, has said, “Every thing we read about Syria in the US media is wrong . The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state. In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true.”

What Needs to Happen

Neoconservatives including Clintonites are pushing hard for a direct US attack on Syria to prevent the collapse of their regime change project. Claiming that the US and NATO can bring a ‘safe zone’ and ‘protect civilians’ is a grotesque falsehood. If the US tries to impose a “no fly zone” it will result in vastly more deaths and risk escalation into direct conflict between Syria, Russia, Iran and Israel.

Former Acting CIA director Mike Morell recently suggested the killing of Russians and Iranians in Syria to make them “pay a price.” He has endorsed Hillary Clinton as President. This is how dangerous, ignorant and arrogant Washington has become.

There is a clear solution to the Syrian tragedy: the countries who have been supplying tons of weapons and paying tens of thousands of mercenary terrorists should stop. The conflict would soon end. The foreigners would depart with much less fanaticism than what they came with. Many Syrian rebel terrorists would accept reconciliation.

There needs to be a global campaign but there is much responsibility in the US since our government is the greatest threat to peace. Following are specific ideas which are realistic and could help significantly.

1. Bernie Sanders raised expectations when he talked about the need stop the ‘regime change’ foreign policy. Now is when he needs to be clear and unequivocal: US military aggression against Syria will make things worse not better and must not happen. Sanders proved that a progressive policy is popular. If Sanders abandons his core foreign policy position and does not speak out strongly against the drive for aggression, it will be a huge disappointment and failure. He must not be allowed to betray his own message and end up as a porter for Hillary Clinton and the war machine.

2. DemocracyNow and other leading independent media need to start including different analyses. To a sad extent, their coverage of Syria has echoed NPR and CNN. If DemocracyNow is truly an “Exception to the Rulers,” it needs to start including more critical examinations. DN producers should be studying publications such as DissidentVoice, Consortiumnews, Global Research, AntiWar, MoonOfAlabama, Al Masdar News, Al Mayadeen, Counterpunch, American Herald Tribune, 21stCenturyWire, Black Agenda Report, the Canary, RT, PressTV, and TruePublica (not corporate ProPublica). They should be bringing the observations and analysis of journalists such as Sharmine Narwani, Edward Dark, Eva Bartlett, Brad Hoff, Vanessa Beeley, Stephen Sahiounie to name just a few. Syrian academics such as Issa Chaer (UK) and Nour al Kadri (Canada) could be interviewed. Followers of DN have heard Hillary Clinton as Secy of State and other US officials speaking about Syria countless times. Why have Amy and Juan not interviewed the Syrian Ambassador to the UN?

3. This is an opportunity and challenge for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Green Party. They are clear on this issue. If they can get a mass audience to hear their message, it could be crucial to their winning support and prompting crucial national debate. At the moment there is almost no debate on the life and death issue of war in the Middle East. Instead, the media is filled with propaganda using a boy’s photo to promote more war. The Green Party could play a hugely important role exposing the danger and duplicity of Clinton and Trump. They could play a key role in blocking the Clintonite march to a new war.

4. Veterans for Peace will hopefully play a leading role in changing the perception and ending the demobilization of the US peace movement. There is a lot at stake.

Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now does research/writing on international issues. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump’s Neocon Foreign Policy Advisor

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By Kurt Nimmo | Another Day In The Empire | August 13, 2016

Donald Trump has appointed at least two neocons to his foreign policy group.

First, let’s consider Joseph E. Schmitz. He is a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense and a former executive with Blackwater Worldwide. He fled the Pentagon after he was accused of protecting top Bush officials accused of wrongdoing.

Blackwater, now Academi, the military contractor founded by Eric Prince, played a substantial role during the Iraq War. It is infamous for killing seventeen Iraqi citizens in 2007, the same year the corporation was accused of illegally smuggling weapons into the country. Blackwater did not like being investigated for its misdeeds. In 2007, Blackwater Manager Daniel Carroll threatened to kill Jean Richter, a State Department Investigator.

Schmitz is connected to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a think tank formed by Frank Gaffney, a neocon so radical he was rejected by the Pentagon when he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration. He is associated with other neocons, including Richard Perle, who rose to prominence as aides of the late Democrat Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson.

The Center for Security Policy, described by William Arkin as the “Domino’s Pizza of the policy business,” claims there is a “stealth jihad” underway in America and Muslims plan to install sharia law. Former CIA director and staunch neocon James Woolsey coauthored a report for the center claiming sharia law is a major threat to the United States.

After CSP sent a letter to the State Department Inspector General accusing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of working undercover for the Muslim Brotherhood, a number of Republicans, including John McCain, John Boehner, and Marco Rubio, denounced the group.

Trump and former Republican member of the House, Michele Bachmann, often cited CSP propaganda.

Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” was in part inspired by the results of a CSP poll. The poll said 25% of Muslims queried supported violent jihad and more than half favored sharia law. The methodology and accuracy of the poll is suspect. Philip Bump of The Washington Post said the poll’s structure encouraged Muslims to select the options endorsing violence.

On Friday The Canary reported Schmitz worked with a Saudi prince to illegally provide arms to the jihadists in Syria. “Schmitz was in direct contact with then Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Gen. Salim Idris. Schmitz hoped his deal with Gen. Idris would be a first step toward potential future assistance from Blackwater founder Erik Prince himself,” writes Brad Hoff.

Idris, a former Syrian Army commander, was appointed to lead a Salafist dominated military command in 2012. “The unified command includes many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Salafists, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam. It excludes the most senior officers who had defected from Assad’s military,” Reuters reported.

Its composition, estimated to be two-thirds from the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, reflects the growing strength of Islamist fighters on the ground and resembles that of the civilian opposition leadership coalition created under Western and Arab auspices in Qatar…

“Idris and [Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi] were the very men that Joseph Schmitz stood ready to arm through a mysterious Saudi middle man before the whole private venture was reportedly shut down by a CIA official who intervened in Amman, Jordan,” writes Hoff.

Trump has a second fringe neocon in his circle of confidants—Walid Phares.

Phares is associated with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neocon organization that teamed up with the American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute to propagandize (and lie) America into invading Iraq.

In 2011, Phares became one of several neocon advisors to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. Other advisers included Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Eric Edelman, John Lehman, Dan Senor, Vin Weber, and Paula Dobriansky.

Phares, a Christian Maronite of Lebanese origin, was associated with the Lebanese Forces in the 1980s.

In the 1970s the Lebanese Forces were part the Kataeb Party, also known as the Lebanese Phalanges Party. Its militia killed 3,500 Palestinians at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut in 1982 during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Elie Hobeika, a prominent figure in the Phalanges, served as the Lebanese Forces intelligence chief and liaison officer with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.

Many of Donald Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements are contradictory. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has demonstrated her willingness to do the bidding of the neocons in Libya and Syria. She has not vacillated in her commitment to total war. More than a few neocons, most notably Max Boot, have said they will vote her.

The danger for America “is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton,” writes John Pilger. “She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted ‘exceptionalism’ is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.”

Trump may indeed rollback the aggressive military posture of the United States, as promised, then again, considering his coterie of foreign policy advisers and his penchant for flip-flopping, he may continue to engage in foreign interventionism, albeit with his signature flair.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion

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By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | August 23, 2016

Meryl Streep must be a very intelligent woman to be such a good actress. So it was embarrassing to see her dressed in an American flag playing cheer leader for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention. One must suppose that she is too busy studying for all her varied movie roles to have learned much about the sinister nature of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. She proclaimed that President Hillary Clinton would be “making history” simply by being a woman. That means symbolic history. The fact that President Hillary Clinton is more likely to make real history by starting another war even more disastrous than those she has already helped get us into seems not to have occurred to Meryl Streep.

Nor does it occur to millions of other American women who share the same illusion.

Those women are thinking too much in terms of symbols and images. They are ignoring the major issue facing the United States: whether to make peace or war. They don’t worry that the imminent conflict with the other major nuclear power, Russia, might affect themselves, their families, the world and the future. They feel that they will somehow personally benefit from the election of a woman to the U.S. Presidency.

The feminist idea behind this illusion is that by becoming President, Hillary will be “shattering the glass ceilings” – the invisible obstacles – that prevent women from rising to the top. Women everywhere will benefit – just as American blacks all benefited from the election of Barack Obama. Oops, wait a minute, did they really? What about the growing black prison population, or the unarmed blacks shot dead in the street by policemen? Never mind, it made many blacks feel good to have a black President, which is understandable given American history. But in concrete terms, it did nothing for the black population as a whole.

Women seek the same feel-good experience. They believe it will be provided by Hillary Clinton when she shatters the glass ceiling – “for you”, as Hillary likes to say.

But wait a minute. If it’s glass, you can’t see it, and to what extent is it really there? What about Christine Lagarde, the French woman who currently heads the International Monetary Fund? What about the fact that the current German Chancellor, the current British Prime Minister, the foreign minister of the European Union, and Meryl Streep herself have all pursued successful careers to the top?

Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, Michele Flournoy do not seem to be standing in heaps of shattered glass. They have floated to the top with no more opposition than your average ambitious man – and perhaps with less.

In reality, hasn’t the “glass ceiling” preventing women from pursuing successful careers already been shattered, precisely by the current neoliberal world order which favors promoting women and token members of various ethnic groups? Isn’t it part of the strategy of neoliberalism to prove that modern capitalism enables the best to rise to the top, a circumstance that should win the adherence of all “identity groups” – whose self-identification has largely succeeded in wiping the old concept of class consciousness out of people’s minds? Isn’t this a main cause that is being promoted by George Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy all over the world (more about that in another article)? Doesn’t it help win public support for U.S. wars to have women in the front lines, proclaiming their devotion to “human rights”?

For most women, as for most blacks, when wages are low, their wages are low. When good housing or education is too expensive for most people, it’s too expensive for women. When spending for war ruins the economy, it’s their economy too.

The plain fact is that the successful careers of these ceiling breakers do nothing for the majority of women who are nowhere near any ceiling that needs to be broken.

It isn’t Hillary who is changing the system. Rather, it is the change in the system that promotes Hillary.

Johnstone-Queen-Cover-ak800--291x450Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

Are the Clintons Israeli Agents?

Man who “ran the CIA” offers an entirely new perspective

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 23, 2016

On August 5th, Michael Morell, a former acting Director of the CIA, pilloried GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, concluding that he was an “unwitting agent of Russia.” Morell, who entitled his New York Times op-ed “I Ran the CIA and now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton,” described the process whereby Trump had been so corrupted. According to Morell, Putin, it seems, as a wily ex-career intelligence officer, is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities… In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

I have previously observed how incomprehensible the designation of “unwitting agent” used in a sentence together with “recruited” is, but perhaps I should add something more about Morell that might not be clear to the casual reader. Morell was an Agency analyst, not a spy, who spent nearly his entire career in and around Washington. The high point of his CIA experience consisted of briefing George W. Bush on the President’s Daily Brief (PDB).

Morell was not trained in the arduous CIA operational tradecraft course which agent recruiters and handlers go through. This means that his understanding of intelligence operations and agents is, to put it politely, derivative. If he had gone through the course he would understand that when you recruit an agent you control him and tell him what to do. The agent might not know whom exactly he is really answering to as in a false flag operation, but he cannot be unwitting.

Morell appears to have a tendency to make promises that others will have to deliver on, but perhaps that’s what delegation by senior U.S. government officials is all about. He was also not trained in CIA paramilitary operations, which perhaps should be considered when he drops comments about the desirability of “covertly” killing Russians and Iranians to make a point that they should not oppose U.S. policies in Syria, as he did in a softball interview with Charlie Rose on August 6th.

Morell appears to be oblivious to the possibility that going around assassinating foreigners might be regarded as state sponsored terrorism and could well ignite World War 3. And, as is characteristic of chickenhawks, it is highly unlikely that he was intending that either he or his immediate family should go out and cut the throats or blow the heads off of those foreign devils who seek to derail the Pax Americana. Nor would he expect to be in the firing line when the relatives of those victims seek revenge. Someone else with the proper training would be found to do all that messy stuff and take the consequences.

Be that as it may, Morell was a very senior officer and perhaps we should accept that he might know something that the rest of us have missed, so let’s just assume that he kind of misspoke and give him a pass on the “recruited unwitting agent” expression. Instead let’s look for other American political figures who just might be either deliberately or inadvertently serving the interests of a foreign government, which is presumably actually what Michael Morell meant to convey regarding Trump. To be sure a well-run McCarthy-esque ferreting out of individuals who just might be disloyal provides an excellent opportunity to undertake a purge of those who either by thought, word or deed might be guilty of unacceptable levels of coziness with foreign interests.

So who is guilty of putting the interests of a foreign government ahead of those of the United States? I know there are advocates for any number of foreign states running around loose in Washington but the friends of Israel in government and the media come immediately to mind largely because there are so many of them, they are very much in-your-face and they are both extremely well-funded and very successful. Now deceased former Congressman Tom Lantos and Senator Frank Lautenberg were, respectively, often referred to as the congressman and senator from Israel. And there are many more: Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Tom Cotton, Mark Kirk, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Sherman, Ileana-Ros Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to name only a few in the Congress. All are major recipients of Israel related PAC money and all are reliable defenders of Israel no matter what Benjamin Netanyahu does and no matter how it effects the United States.

And then there are the Clintons. One only has to go back to Bill’s one-sided pro-Israeli diplomacy at Camp David in 2000 to discern how the game was played. And then there was the widely condemned January 2001 last minute pardon of Mossad agent Marc Rich, whose wife Denise was a major contributor to the Clintons, to realize that there was always a deference to Israeli interests particularly when money was involved. The only problem is that the Clintons, relying on Morell’s formulation, might more reasonably be described as witting agents of Israel rather than unwitting as they have certainly known what they have been doing and have been actively supporting Israeli policies even when damaging to U.S. interests since they first emerged from the primordial political swamps in Arkansas. If one were completely cynical it might be possible to suggest that they understood from the beginning that pandering to Israel and gaining access to Jewish power and money would be a major component in their rise to political prominence. It certainly has worked out that way.

Trump’s crime, per Morell, is that he is disloyal to the United States because he is not sufficiently hostile to the evil Vladimir Putin, which somehow means that he is being manipulated by the clever Russian. Trump has indeed called for a positive working relationship with Putin to accomplish, among other objectives, the crushing of ISIS. And he is otherwise in favor of leaving Bashar al-Assad of Syria alone while also being disinclined to get involved in any additional military interventions in the Middle East or elsewhere, which pretty much makes him the antithesis of the Clintonian foreign policy promoted by Morell.

In comparison with the deeply and profoundly corrupt Clintons, Trump’s alleged foreign policy perfidy makes him appear to be pretty much a boy scout. To understand the Clintons one might consider the hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from foreign sources, that have flowed into the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State. And there is the clear email evidence that Hillary exploited her government position to favor both foreign and domestic financial supporters.

The leading individual foreign donor to the Clinton Foundation between 1999 and 2014 was Ukrainian Viktor Pinchuk, who “directed between $10 and $25 million” to its Global Initiative, has let the Clintons use his private jet, attended Bill’s Hollywood 65th birthday celebration and hosted daughter Chelsea and her husband on a trip to Ukraine. Pinchuk is a Jewish oligarch married to the daughter of notoriously corrupt former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma. He is very closely tied to Israel, a supporter of regime change in his country, who was simultaneously donating money and also lobbying in Washington while Hillary was Secretary of State and promoting a similar agenda as part of her $5 billion program to “democratize” Ukraine. Clinton arranged a dozen meetings with substantive State Department officers for Pinchuk.

Hillary and Bill’s predilection for all things Israeli and her promise to do even more in the future is a matter of public record. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz asserted that of all the political candidates in the primaries “Clinton had the longest public record of engagement with Israel, and has spent decades diligently defending the Jewish state.” In a speech to AIPAC in March she promised to take the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.” Hillary’s current principal financial supporter in her presidential run is Haim Saban, an Israeli who has described himself as a “one issue” guy and that issue is Israel.

Hillary Clinton boasts of having “stood with Israel my entire career.” Her website promises to maintain “Israel’s qualitative military edge to ensure the IDF is equipped to deter and defeat aggression from the full spectrum of threats,” “stand up against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS),” and “cut off efforts to unilaterally recognize Palestinian statehood outside of the context of negotiations with Israel.” In a letter to Haim Saban, Hillary declared that “we need to make countering BDS a priority,” which means she is prepared to support laws limiting First Amendment rights in the U.S. in defense of perceived Israeli interests.

As part of the Obama Administration Hillary Clinton at first supported his attempts to pressure Israel over its illegal settlements but has now backed off from that position, only rarely criticizing them as a “problem” but never advocating any steps to persuade Netanyahu to reverse his policy. Notably, she has repeatedly decried terroristic attacks on Israelis but has never acknowledged the brutality of the Israeli occupation of much of the West Bank in spite of the fact that ten Palestinians are killed for each Jewish victim of the ongoing violence.

Clinton supported Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War, which killed more than 500 children, describing them as an appropriate response to a situation that was provoked by Hamas. On the campaign trail recently husband Bill disingenuously defended Hillary’s position on Gaza, saying that “Hamas is really smart. When they decide to rocket Israel they insinuate themselves in the hospitals, in the schools…” placing all the blame for the large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinians, not on the Israelis. When the media began to report on the plight of the civilians trapped in Gaza Hillary dismissed the impending humanitarian catastrophe, saying “They’re trapped by their leadership, unfortunately.”

Earlier, as a Senator from New York, Hillary supported Israel’s building of the separation barrier on Palestinian land and cheer-led a crowd at a pro-Israel rally that praised Israel’s 2006 devastation of Lebanon and Gaza. She nonsensically characterized and justified the bombing campaign as “efforts to send messages to Hamas, Hezbollah, to the Syrians, to the Iranians – to all who seek death and domination instead of life and freedom…” More than nine hundred civilians died in the onslaught and when a vote came up subsequently in Congress to stop the supply of cluster bombs to countries that use them on civilians Hillary voted against the bill together with 69 other pro-Israel senators.

Hillary enjoys a particularly close relationship with Netanyahu, writing in November, “I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.” She has worked diligently to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond with Israel – and Benjamin Netanyahu.” She has boasted of her being one of the promoters of annual increases in aid to Israel while she was in the Senate and Secretary of State and takes credit for repeatedly using America’s Security Council veto to defend it in the United Nations.

So I think it is pretty clear who is the presidential candidate promoting the interests of a foreign country and it ain’t Trump. Hillary would no doubt argue that Israel is a friend and Russia is not, an interesting point of view as Israel is not in fact an ally and has spied on us and copied our military technology to re-export to countries like China. Indeed, the most damaging spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard worked for Israel. In spite of all that Israel continues to tap our treasury for billions of dollars a year while still ignoring Washington when requests are made to moderate policies that damage American interests. Against that, what exactly has Moscow done to harm us since the Cold War ended? And who is advocating even more pressure on Russia and increasing the rewards for Israel, presumably in the completely illogical belief that to do so will somehow bring some benefit to the American people? Hillary Clinton.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arms Sales to Saudi ’Illicit’ due to Yemen Deaths: Control Arms Coalition

Al-Manar | August 23, 2016

A group that campaigns for stricter arms sales controls said on Monday that Western powers were breaking international law by selling vast amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia that are being used to hit civilians in Yemen.

The Control Arms Coalition said Britain, France and the United States were flouting the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which bans exports of conventional weapons that fuel human rights violations or war crimes.

“It is extremely concerning that many transfers are still continuing, in particular the governments of the United States, the UK and France have authorized and are continuing to export very large quantities of weapons, including explosive weapons, bombs which are being used daily against civilians in Yemen,” said Anna MacDonald, director of the Control Arms Coalition.

She was speaking to a news briefing as week-long U.N. negotiations began in Geneva aimed at putting teeth into the ATT which lacks a mandatory public reporting system for the $100 billion global arms trade.

France authorized arms licenses worth $18 billion to Saudi Arabia last year, followed by the United States at $5.9 billion and Britain’s $4 billion, the group said in its latest study.

Nigeria’s ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, who chairs the conference, said: “The allegation is quite grave and it should be of concern to everyone including the ATT secretariat itself.”

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said last week it was evacuating its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen after a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit one of its hospitals, killing 18 people.

Outcry over civilian casualties has led some members of the US Congress to push for restrictions on arms transfers. The Obama administration this month approved a potential $1.15 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia.

Last week, US Senator Chris Murphy slammed his country’s administration over bombing civilians in Yemen, saying “there is an American Imprint on Every Civilian Life Lost in Yemen.”

In a statement on Friday, the Pentagon cautioned that its support for Saudi Arabia in its campaign was not “a blank check,” however, and said it has pressed the coalition on the “need to minimize civilian casualties.”

Campaigners said arms exports also drove fighting in South Sudan last month that killed hundreds, prompting fears of a return to civil war.

“We think that governments of other countries have fueled this violence by repeatedly authorizing arms transfers to South Sudan,” said Geoffrey Duke, head of South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms. He named China, Ukraine and South Africa as the main suppliers to the Juba government.

To date, 87 countries have ratified the ATT, while another 46 – including the United States – have signed it, leaving important gaps, Imohe said.

“For example, in the Arab world only Mauritania is listed amongst states parties, while Asia Pacific has only three states parties,” he said, referring to Japan, Samoa and Tuvalu.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment