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America’s Worldwide Impunity

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 19, 2016

After several years of arming and supporting Syrian rebel groups that often collaborated with Al Qaeda’s Nusra terror affiliate, the United States launched an illegal invasion of Syria two years ago with airstrikes supposedly aimed at Al Qaeda’s Islamic State spin-off, but on Saturday that air war killed scores of Syrian soldiers and aided an Islamic State victory.

Yet, the major American news outlets treat this extraordinary set of circumstances as barely newsworthy, operating with an imperial hubris that holds any U.S. invasion or subversion of another country as simply, ho-hum, the way things are supposed to work.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the White House.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the White House

On Monday, The Washington Post dismissed the devastating airstrike at Deir al-Zour killing at least 62 Syrian soldiers as one of several “mishaps” that had occurred over the past week and jeopardized a limited ceasefire, arranged between Russia and the Obama administration.

But the fact that the U.S. and several allies have been routinely violating Syrian sovereign airspace to carry out attacks was not even an issue, nor is it a scandal that the U.S. military and CIA have been arming and training Syrian rebels. In the world of Official Washington, the United States has the right to intervene anywhere, anytime, for whatever reason it chooses.

President Barack Obama has even publicly talked about authorizing military strikes in seven different countries, including Syria, and yet he is deemed “weak” for not invading more countries, at least more decisively.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has vowed to engage in a larger invasion of Syria, albeit wrapping the aggression in pretty words like “safe zone” and “no-fly zone,” but it would mean bombing and killing more Syrian soldiers.

As Secretary of State, Clinton used similar language to justify invading Libya and implementing a “regime change” that killed the nation’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and unleashed five years of violent political chaos.

If you were living in a truly democratic country with a truly professional news media, you would think that this evolution of the United States into a rogue superpower violating pretty much every international law and treaty of the post-World War II era would be a regular topic of debate and criticism.

Those crimes include horrendous acts against people, such as torture and other violations of the Geneva Conventions, as well as acts of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Justifying ‘Regime Change’

Yet, instead of insisting on accountability for American leaders who have committed these crimes, the mainstream U.S. news media spreads pro-war propaganda against any nation or leader that refuses to bend to America’s imperial demands. In other words, the U.S. news media creates the rationalizations and arranges the public acquiescence for U.S. invasions and subversions of other countries.

In particular, The New York Times now reeks of propaganda, especially aimed at two of the current targets, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. With all pretenses of professionalism cast aside, the Times has descended into the status of a crude propaganda organ.

On Sunday, the Times described Assad’s visit to a town recently regained from the rebels this way: “Assad Smiles as Syria Burns, His Grip and Impunity Secure.” That was the headline. The article began:

“On the day after his 51st birthday, Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, took a victory lap through the dusty streets of a destroyed and empty rebel town that his forces had starved into submission.

“Smiling, with his shirt open at the collar, he led officials in dark suits past deserted shops and bombed-out buildings before telling a reporter that — despite a cease-fire announced by the United States and Russia — he was committed ‘to taking back all areas from the terrorists.’ When he says terrorists, he means all who oppose him.”

The story by Ben Hubbard continues in that vein, although oddly the accompanying photograph doesn’t show Assad smiling but rather assessing the scene with a rather grim visage.

But let’s unpack the propaganda elements of this front-page story, which is clearly intended to paint Assad as a sadistic monster, rather than a leader fighting a foreign-funded-and-armed rebel movement that includes radical jihadists, including powerful groups linked to Al Qaeda and others forces operating under the banner of the brutal Islamic State.

The reader is supposed to recoil at Assad who “smiles as Syria burns” and who is rejoicing over his “impunity.” Then, there’s the apparent suggestion that his trip to Daraya was part of his birthday celebration so he could take “a victory lap” while “smiling, with his shirt open at the collar,” although why his collar is relevant is hard to understand. Next, there is the argumentative claim that when Assad refers to “terrorists” that “he means all who oppose him.”

As much as the U.S. news media likes to pride itself on its “objectivity,” it is hard to see how this article meets any such standard, especially when the Times takes a far different posture when explaining, excusing or ignoring U.S. forces slaughtering countless civilians in multiple countries for decades and at a rapid clip over the past 15 years. If anyone operates with “impunity,” it has been the leadership of the U.S. government.

Dubious Charge

On Sunday, the Times also asserted as flat fact the dubious charge against Assad that he has “hit civilians with gas attacks” when the most notorious case – the sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013 – appears now to have been carried out by rebels trying to trick the United States into intervening more directly on their side.

A recent United Nations report blaming Syrian forces for two later attacks involving chlorine was based on slim evidence and produced under great political pressure to reach that conclusion – while ignoring the absence of any logical reason for the Syrian forces to have used such an ineffective weapon and brushing aside testimony about rebels staging other gas attacks.

More often than not, U.N. officials bend to the will of the American superpower, failing to challenge any of the U.S.-sponsored invasions over recent decades, including something as blatantly illegal as the Iraq War. After all, for an aspiring U.N. bureaucrat, it’s clear which side his career bread is buttered.

We find ourselves in a world in which propaganda has come to dominate the foreign policy debates and – despite the belated admissions of lies used to justify the invasions of Iraq and Libya – the U.S. media insists on labeling anyone who questions the latest round of propaganda as a “fill-in-the-blank apologist.”

So, Americans who want to maintain their mainstream status shy away from contesting what the U.S. government and its complicit media assert, despite their proven track record of deceit. This is not just a case of being fooled once; it is being fooled over and over with a seemingly endless willingness to accept dubious assertion after dubious assertion.

In the same Sunday edition which carried the creepy portrayal about Assad, the Times’ Neil MacFarquhar pre-disparaged Russia’s parliamentary elections because the Russian people were showing little support for the Times’ beloved “liberals,” the political descendants of the Russians who collaborated with the U.S.-driven “shock therapy” of the 1990s, a policy that impoverished a vast number of Russians and drastically reduced life expectancy.

Why those Russian “liberals” have such limited support from the populace is a dark mystery to the mainstream U.S. news media, which also can’t figure out why Putin is popular for significantly reversing the “shock therapy” policies and restoring Russian life expectancy to its previous levels. No, it can’t be that Putin delivered for the Russian people; the only answer must be Putin’s “totalitarianism.”

The New York Times and Washington Post have been particularly outraged over Russia’s crackdown on “grassroots” organizations that are funded by the U.S. government or by billionaire financial speculator George Soros, who has publicly urged the overthrow of Putin. So has Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which funnels U.S. government cash to political and media operations abroad.

The Post has decried a Russian legal requirement that political entities taking money from foreign sources must register as “foreign agents” and complains that such a designation discredits these organizations. What the Post doesn’t tell its readers is that the Russian law is modeled after the American “Foreign Agent Registration Act,” which likewise requires people trying to influence policy in favor of a foreign sponsor to register with the Justice Department.

Nor do the Times and Post acknowledge the long history of the U.S. government funding foreign groups, either overtly or covertly, to destabilize targeted regimes. These U.S.-financed groups often do act as “fifth columnists” spreading propaganda designed to undermine the credibility of the leaders, whether that’s Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 or Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Imperfect Leaders

That’s not to say that these targeted leaders were or are perfect. They are often far from it. But the essence of propaganda is to apply selective outrage and exaggeration to the leader that is marked for removal. Similar treatment does not apply to U.S.-favored leaders.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The pattern of the Times and Post is also to engage in ridicule when someone in a targeted country actually perceives what is going on. The correct perception is then dismissed as some sort of paranoid conspiracy theory.

Take, for example, the Times’ MacFarquhar describing a pamphlet and speeches from Nikolai Merkushkin, the governor of Russian region of Samara, that MacFarquhar says “cast the blame for Russia’s economic woes not on economic mismanagement or Western sanctions after the annexation of Crimea but on a plot by President Obama and the C.I.A. to undermine Russia.”

The Times article continues: “Opposition candidates are a fifth column on the payroll of the State Department and part of the scheme, the pamphlet said, along with the collapse in oil prices and the emergence of the Islamic State. Mr. Putin is on the case, not least by rebuilding the military, the pamphlet said, noting that ‘our country forces others to take it seriously and this is something that American politicians don’t like very much.’”

Yet, despite the Times’ mocking tone, the pamphlet’s perceptions are largely accurate. There can be little doubt that the U.S. government through funding of anti-Putin groups inside Russia and organizing punishing sanctions against Russia, is trying to make the Russian economy scream, destabilize the Russian government and encourage a “regime change” in Moscow.

Further, President Obama has personally bristled at Russia’s attempts to reassert itself as an important world player, demeaning the former Cold War superpower as only a “regional power.” The U.S. government has even tread on that “regional” status by helping to orchestrate the 2014 putsch that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Yanukovych on Russia’s border.

After quickly calling the coup regime “legitimate,” the U.S. government supported attempts to crush resistance in the south and east which were Yanukovych’s political strongholds. Crimea’s overwhelming decision to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia was deemed by The New York Times a Russian “invasion” although the Russian troops that helped protect Crimea’s referendum were already inside Crimea as part of the Sevastopol basing agreement.

The U.S.-backed Kiev regime’s attempt to annihilate resistance from ethnic Russians in the east – through what was called an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” that has slaughtered thousands of eastern Ukrainians – also had American backing. Russian assistance to these rebels is described in the mainstream U.S. media as Russian “aggression.”

Oddly, U.S. news outlets find nothing objectionable about the U.S. government launching military strikes in countries halfway around the world, including the recent massacre of scores of Syrian soldiers, but are outraged that Russia provided military help to ethnic Russians being faced with annihilation on Russia’s border.

Because of the Ukraine crisis, Hillary Clinton likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

Seeing No Coup

For its part, The New York Times concluded that there had been no coup in Ukraine – by ignoring the evidence that there was one, including an intercepted pre-coup telephone call between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should be made the new leaders of Ukraine.

The evidence of a coup was so clear that George Friedman, founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, said in an interview that the overthrow of Yanukovych “really was the most blatant coup in history.” But the Times put protecting the legitimacy of the post-coup regime ahead of its journalistic responsibilities to its readers, as it has done repeatedly regarding Ukraine.

Another stunning case of double standards has been the mainstream U.S. media’s apoplexy about alleged Russian hacking into emails of prominent Americans and then making them public. These blame-Russia articles have failed to present any solid evidence that the Russians were responsible and also fail to note that the United States leads the world in using electronic means to vacuum up personal secrets about foreign leaders as well as average citizens.

In a number of cases, these secrets appear to have been used to blackmail foreign leaders to get them to comply with U.S. demands, such as the case in 2002-03 of the George W. Bush administration spying on diplomats on the U.N. Security Council to coerce their votes on authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a ploy that failed.

U.S. intelligence also tapped the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cooperation on Ukraine and other issues of the New Cold War is important to Washington. And then there’s the massive collection of data about virtually everybody on the planet, including U.S. citizens, over the past 15 years during the “war on terror.”

Earlier this year, the mainstream U.S. news media congratulated itself over its use of hacked private business data from a Panama-based law firm, material that was said to implicate Putin in some shady business dealings even though his name never showed up in the documents. No one in the mainstream media protested that leak or questioned who did the hacking.

Such mainstream media bias is pervasive. In the case of Sunday’s Russian elections, the Times seems determined to maintain the fiction that the Russian people don’t really support Putin, despite consistent opinion polls showing him with some 80 percent approval.

In the Times’ version of reality, Putin’s popularity must be some kind of trick, a case of totalitarian repression of the Russian people, which would be fixed if only the U.S.-backed “liberals” were allowed to keep getting money from NED and Soros without having to divulge where the funds were coming from.

The fact that Russians, like Americans, will rally around their national leader when they perceive the country to be under assault – think, George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks – is another reality that the Times can’t tolerate. No, the explanation must be mind control.

The troubling reality is that the Times, Post and other leading American news outlets have glibly applied one set of standards on “enemies” and another on the U.S. government. The Times may charge that Bashar al-Assad has “impunity” for his abuses, but what about the multitude of U.S. leaders – and, yes, journalists – who have their hands covered in the blood of Iraqis, Libyans, Afghans, Yemenis, Syrians, Somalis and other nationalities. Where is their accountability?


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BDS ‘new face of terrorism’ – Israeli minister

RT | September 19, 2016

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “the new face of terrorism” in New York on Sunday.

Speaking at the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in New York, Shaked said, “The BDS is illegitimate. I define it thus: BDS is another branch of terrorism in the modern age.”

The BDS movement is a global campaign to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land through the boycott of Israeli goods and services, the divestment of funds and, in theory, sanctions.

Shaked claimed that the aim of the BDS movement was to “to wipe Israel off the map.”

As the decade-long movement gains momentum, Israel has pushed back against it with increasing determination.

“Sometimes the BDS movement’s funding sources are identical to those funding the terrorist organisations,” Shaked told the New York crowd. “This is the new face of terrorism.”

Shaked, a conservative member of Israel’s government who does not believe in a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, has made controversial statements in the past.

In, 2014 she was accused of inciting genocide with a Facebook post which quoted a Jewish settler, “They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Shaked reminded the crowd about 9/11, and said that the terrorism which has taken place in Jerusalem, New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, London, Brussels, Istanbul “is the same terrorism.”

The minister went on to tell the crowd that Israel and the rest of the world are all “fighting against extreme Islamic terrorism.”

The justice minister expressed concern that young Jewish people are “confused and are led astray” by BDS, claiming that they are being tricked by “terrorists from radical Islam.”

She congratulated states in the US that have adopted legislation against BDS and expressed hope that others would follow suit and make BDS illegal.

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Pathetic Fail #4: Matt Kwong and the CBC

Matt Kwong, Accessory after the Fact [source: CBC]
Winter Patriot | September 15, 2016

Number 4 : Matt Kwong and the CBC, for “Why the ‘9/11 Truth’ movement endures 15 years later

As we saw in the previous installment, when Jack Holmes tried to prove the Truthers wrong on all major points and failed dismally, a head-on, evidence-based attack on 9/11 Truth is sub-optimal strategy. In this episode, we turn to an accessory after the fact who set himself a much different task, but failed anyway.

Presumably because he’s too smart to attack the Truth Movement from the front, Matt Kwong of the CBC comes at it from the rear. Rather than taking on the evidence, which did no good at all for Jack Holmes, Matt Kwong turns to time-honored journalistic tactics: smear and innuendo, woven together with sleight-of-hand that would have made a magician drool if it had worked.

The result is not merely a pathetic fail but a nasty one — a transparently ugly smear against the people who want to know the truth about 9/11, and especially against Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son Bobby that day.

Bob McIlvaine has been trying to find out what happened to Bobby, and trying to get people to care about what happened to all of us, for the past 15 years. To those of us who have followed the story, Bob McIlvaine is something of a role model — because he didn’t believe the lies he was told, and he didn’t cower when he was told to sit down and shut up, and he’s been waging an uphill battle for a long time, and he hasn’t quit.

If Bobby McIlvaine had died under mysterious circumstances in a foreign country, and Bob had spent 15 years trying to find out what happened to him, Bob would be seen as a heroic figure. A paperback writer would churn out a vapid tribute to his dogged persistence and his enduring love for his son, and we would see the result in drugstores.

But because of where, and when, and how Bobby McIlvaine died, Bob’s efforts cannot be praised, only denigrated. This is how far we have fallen.

Under the bizarre sub-heading “Father of 9/11 victim reconciles unconventional beliefs with grief,” Matt Kwong writes:

Robert McIlvaine knows better than to talk, unsolicited, about the research he pores over at home in Oreland, Pa. […] it’s the circumstances around the attacks — specifically, McIlvaine’s beliefs about precisely how the world-altering event unfolded — that he’s cautious to discuss. […] “My wife doesn’t take me out; doesn’t go with me anymore because she’s afraid I’ll bring it up with friends,” he says. […] “No one wants to talk about it,” McIlvaine says. “It’s like you have leprosy.”

… and so on. But there’s a mystery. If no one wants to talk about it, why are people still talking about it?

There must be a reason. What could it be? … Well, maybe it’s the Internet!

Fifteen years later, the devastating attack on America that coincided with the nascent internet age continues to spawn discussions hosted in forums that speculate about the moon landing, the Hollow Earth hypothesis and the JFK assassination.

Here we go! This is called red herring and guilt by association, a truly journalistic combination of logical fallacies to provide just the right context for what comes next — the few relevant details we will ever get from Matt Kwong:

The official account says McIlvaine’s eldest son […] was […] on the 106th floor when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower.

McIlvaine suspects otherwise. Based on injuries his son sustained, including to his face and chest, he maintains Bobby was killed by an explosion, possibly before the plane crash. As Bobby was among the first 10 bodies found, he says, McIlvaine believes his son was in the tower’s lobby.

“If he was on the 106th floor, he wouldn’t have been found so quickly.”

I think Bob’s kidding himself. In my view, if Bobby was on the 106th floor, he probably wouldn’t have been found at all!

But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is the condition of Bobby’s body. “Injuries […] to his face and chest” hardly qualifies as an accurate description of the wounds.

Matt Kwong doesn’t give you enough details to help you understand this aspect of the story. But if you do some research to supplement his so-called journalism, you can learn quite a bit, fairly easily.

According to McIlvaine, the wounds described by the doctor indicated that his son had been hit by flying glass from some kind of massive blast. Bobby’s face was damaged beyond recognition, he had lacerations all over his chest from flying glass, and he had post-mortem burns. In fact, the blast was strong enough to literally blow Bobby out of his laced shoes (they were not on the body when it was brought to the morgue).

“My final summation is that he was walking into the building, and before he got into the building there was a huge explosion, and of course the force of it just threw him back into the open area,” McIlvaine says. “That’s why he was picked up so quickly, because the EMTs came down there so quickly. Someone had gotten him out of there and to the morgue before the towers came down.”

In other words, Bob has good reason to think Bobby was not killed by fire at the top of the tower, but by blast and flying glass at its base. And if Bob thinks these were the result of a massive explosion? Well, what else could it have been?

Matt Kwong could have told you this; anyone familiar with the stories of the 9/11 families could have done the same. Bob’s been speaking in public for a long time, and his story about Bobby — unlike the official narrative — hasn’t changed. He certainly wouldn’t have been reluctant to tell Matt Kwong why he thinks what he thinks.

But Matt Kwong can’t (or won’t) tell you all this. And the reason is simple: If you focus on two things — what Bob knows about his son’s death, and the official explanation behind the attacks — you can’t help seeing the basic contradiction: How could Bobby have been killed by an explosion if there were no explosions?

National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice responds to a question during testimony before the 9/11 Commission in the Hart Senate office building in Washington on April 8, 2004.
(Larry Downing/Reuters) [source: CBC]

What did Bob McIlvaine do about it? According to Matt Kwong, he waited to see what the government would say, thus:

McIlvaine attended the 9/11 Commission [but] he left angry and dissatisfied by testimony from then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

(Curiously (or not!), several paragraphs before mentioning Condoleezza Rice, the CBC inserted a photo of Miss Rice herself, looking cool and comfortable as she testified before the Commission. The photo, the caption, and the placement combine to create a subtle hint that Bob’s got his nose out of joint for nothing. I’ve included the photo and CBC’s caption verbatim, several paragraphs before mentioning it, to give you a subtle hint of what CBC is doing.)

But Matt Kwong doesn’t tell you about Miss Rice’s testimony. And he certainly wouldn’t want you to see a video of her being questioned. Matt Kwong won’t show you video evidence of the other family members who were outraged at the hearings, either.

But I digress. Here’s Matt Kwong again:

McIlvaine began to dig on his own for answers online, watching web documentaries such as Dylan Avery’s 9/11 truth staple, Loose Change, as well as reading more American history.

And this was the dangerous, slippery part. By daring to educate himself, Bob McIlvaine put himself in danger of becoming what’s called a “conspiracy theorist,” of the noxious variety known as “9/11 Truther.”

To help you “understand” what happened to Bob, Matt Kwong takes you on a journey to the land of conspiracy theory research. But he weaves the McIlvaine story through the travelogue, making things very confusing. (I didn’t say the confusion was deliberate.)

In this piece, I have shuffled the order somewhat, separating Bob McIlvaine’s story (which we’ve been reading) from the conspiracy theory research (to which we now turn).

Here’s Matt Kwong:

“People who are more personally distrustful tend to buy into conspiracy theories more,” says Mike Wood, a Canadian lecturer at the University of Winchester in England specializing in the psychology of conspiracy theories.

If anything, Americans seem more distrustful of their government than in a long time. […]

Wood says those suspicious of the government also tend to be more aware of “actual historical conspiracies, where the government did something shady.” […]

Research also shows conspiracy theories tend to reach peaks around “times of uncertainty,” according to Wood. In the case of something as extraordinary as a 9/11, an event resulting in thousands of lost lives, a massive reshaping of the iconic New York skyline and two wars, he says the conventional narrative may be tough to swallow.

It certainly is. And there’s nothing wrong with this analysis as far as it goes. But where does it go?

Matt Kwong again:

Some Americans had never heard of al-Qaeda or even Afghanistan before 9/11. And so, alternative explanations filled the vacuum, says Dave Thomas, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry […]

Dave Thomas may be Skeptical, but I fear he’s not quite skeptical enough!

It may be true that “Americans had never heard of al-Qaeda or even Afghanistan before 9/11,” and it may be true that “alternative explanations filled the vacuum,” but there’s no causal connection here, because there’s a link missing.

As the attack was unfolding, and in the immediate aftermath, there was no vacuum. There was an avalanche. No matter where you turned, the news kept talking about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and Afghanistan, and the country was ready to go to war before the dust had settled. The vacuum came later, when more and more people began to see through the lies that comprise the official story. That’s when “alternative explanations filled the vacuum.”

As time went on, we learned more and more about the official story, and the more you know about it, the less credible it is, so the number of people who questioned it — or rejected it outright — grew. Some people started reading American history, just like Bob did. And what they learned was shocking … until all the pieces started to click into place. And suddenly, the nonsensical official story made perfect sense to them, once they saw it as an elaborate deception rather than a series of unprecedented failures.

Had the official story been credible, none of this would have happened. If the story had been even halfway believable, most of us would have been happy to believe it and get on with other things. But that didn’t happen.

I can explain what did happen in a parable. Think of this mystery as a “connect-the-dots” puzzle. From the day of the attack (or earlier in some cases), we started taking note of important dots, and wondering what they could mean. As the official story became clearer, we looked at how the dots were being arranged, and how they were being connected, and how many of the dots weren’t being connected at all, and we started to wonder. But when we realized how many of the dots had been erased, we stopped wondering, because we knew those dots didn’t erase themselves.

So it’s far more accurate to say the vacuum was caused by the holes in the official story.

The fact that “some Americans had never heard of al-Qaeda or even Afghanistan before 9/11” doesn’t make any difference at all.

But Matt Kwong can’t tell you that. Instead — if we want to follow his story — we have to think backwards.

Backward thinking regarding 9/11 shows up in many guises. For instance, as I showed in the previous installment, the 9/11 Commission was set up to run backward. They decided who committed the crime, and then they decided which evidence to consider, based on whether it could be used to support their predetermined conclusions. Then they put together a narrative that was supposed to tie all the evidence together. But there was a problem with some of the evidence, namely: the evidence they decided not to consider. And the problem is: We know about that evidence, and it undermines their story. So their solution is: the facts must be suppressed. And now the defenders of the official story claim not only that there were no explosions, but also that there was no evidence of explosions!

This claim is clearly false. The New York Times published an oral history of 9/11, compiled by the NYFD, in which more than 100 first responders described bombs in the towers, or gave other evidence that can only be explained by explosions. Numerous other eyewitnesses, who were interviewed on the day and later, described the explosions they experienced. There are videos in which we can see and hear explosions going off in the buildings. Mainstream media reports on the day of the attacks contained many mentions of explosions. And the whole world watched the towers exploding on television, over and over and over — for two weeks! But according to defenders of the official story, none of this happened — even though much of it, including the NYT oral history, is freely available online.

And the reason why they claim none of this happened is because the official story-tellers couldn’t figure out a way to explain how al Qaeda could have planted explosives in the towers. Their line of backward thinking ran: al Qaeda did it; al Qaeda could not have planted explosives in the towers; therefore there were no explosives in the towers.

Similarly, we have a whole new field of academic research now, in which Conspiracy Theories are studied as a sociological or psychological phenomenon. Bright, well-educated people, who really ought to be doing productive work, are now paid to track conspiracy theories, to watch how they grow and spread, and to explain, if they can, why people believe them.

But explaining this is more difficult than I’ve indicated, because they have to explain them in a politically acceptable way. That is to say: they cannot ever consider the possibility that some “conspiracy theories” may be more credible than the corresponding official stories.

This consideration is essential, in my analysis, because of the fact that so many official stories are impossible. In each of these cases, all conspiracy theories are more credible than the official story, even if they are only marginally plausible. But no academic researcher can say this; they have to pretend that the official stories are all true.

So all their research has to run backward. They can’t connect cause and effect in the logical way, so they do it in reverse. And this is how they get the idea that we believe conspiracy theories because we don’t trust the government.

To be sure, some researchers will grant that we don’t trust the government because we know more about the government than those who do trust it. But they can’t admit that what separates conspiracy theorists from the people around us is our greater knowledge of topics such as history and government!

Instead they claim that we believe conspiracy theories because we don’t trust the government, when in fact the opposite is true: We don’t believe the official stories because they are clearly false. And this is why we believe conspiracy theories, and this is also why we don’t trust the government.

But this is a path which accessories after the fact dare not tread.

Instead Matt Kwong continues this way:

Distrust in authority “plays into this rejection of the reigning or orthodox narrative of some subject,” says Syracuse University professor emeritus of political science Michael Barkun, author of A Culture of Conspiracy.

“We want stories and narratives that make sense of the world,” Barkun says. “The idea that such an event like the sudden destruction of landmark buildings like the World Trade Center could be caused by 19 nobodies belonging to an organization that almost no Americans had ever heard of, living in ragged encampments in Afghanistan, simply, I think, made no sense to some people.”

It made no sense to a lot of people!

Some of them went on with their lives and didn’t think about it anymore. What could they do about it? So why should they worry about it? What’s so mysterious about that?

The rest of us did worry about it. We didn’t just get on with our lives, because we could see that something fundamental had changed, in a truly awful way, based on a story which couldn’t possibly be true. It bothered us, and we thought we lived in a democracy, because we’ve been taught that we have some influence in the political process, so we got active. What’s so mysterious about that?

But NO! NO, NO, NO! We are definitely not going there! We’ll go sideways instead, with Matt Kwong:

Researchers who study conspiracy theorists point to the dismissal of an official “lone nobody” conclusion on 9/11 as sharing similarities to the continued obsession with the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy in 1963.

It’s a diversion and a red herring, and the word “obsession” is a smear, but in sad fact, the JFK assassination and the 9/11 attacks display many similarities, some of which are relevant enough to discuss here.

For serious researchers, the main point of interesting similarity is not that “Oswald was a nobody” and “Nobody had ever heard of al Qaeda,” although these curious facts may have piqued some interest for some of them at one time. Personally, I’ve never given either of these ideas any thought at all, except when I’ve stumbled over them in propaganda pieces.

The main point for me, and for many other serious researchers, is this: neither Oswald nor al Qaeda could possibly have done what they are alleged to have done.

Does this matter? YES! As Webster Tarpley keeps reminding us, we always need to ask: Did they have the physical and technical capabilities to cause the observed effects? And the answers, in the cases of JFK and 9/11, are clearly “NO!”

Why? The sight on “Oswald’s rifle” was out of alignment. The FBI fired it for testing, and their expert marksmen couldn’t hit any targets with it. So they adjusted the sight and tested it again. But Oswald, who was not a marksman at all, was said to have caused 7 wounds with 3 shots, firing at a moving target, all in 6 seconds, with that rifle, before the sight was adjusted.

Oswald’s pistol was in even worse shape. It wouldn’t fire at all because the firing pin was bent. So the pistol was disassembled, the firing pin was straightened, and the pistol was reassembled so that it could be tested. But Oswald was said to have killed Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit, with that pistol, before it was repaired.

This information came into the public domain through the Warren Commission itself. So the facts themselves can hardly be disputed, and therefore the accessories after the fact would prefer us to ignore them. Otherwise the situation would be too clear.

We don’t have problems with the story because “Oswald was a nobody.” We would have been much more reluctant to accept the story if we’d been told that JFK was killed by somebody famous — like Frank Sinatra or Doris Day. On the contrary: aside from the obvious tampering with evidence, we have problems with the official story because Oswald lacked the physical and technical means to commit the crimes for which he was accused.

With 9/11, we have the same pattern, and the primary illustration is this: al Qaeda could not have put explosives in the towers, so the official story doesn’t try to explain how they did; instead it pretends there were no explosives in the towers at all.

How do we know al Qaeda couldn’t have put explosives in the towers? We have two main ways of knowing this. First, according to defenders of the official story, nobody could have put explosives in the towers. It would have taken too long, somebody would have noticed, and so on. Presumably this logic applies equally, or especially, to nasty-looking foreigners who have no reason to be in the towers at all. And second, if al Qaeda could have put explosives in the towers, then the official story-tellers would admit the presence of explosives and blame them on al Qaeda, which would be much easier than trying to suppress all the evidence of explosives, if only it could be done at all.

But that’s not the only impossibility in the story. The alleged hijackers had no idea how to fly a jumbo jet — according to their instructors, they could barely fly a Cessna — and yet they were said to have performed low-altitude maneuvers that the best pilots in the country couldn’t match, at speeds which would have been far beyond the capabilities of the aircraft.

The terrorists had no way of disabling America’s security systems, from airport surveillance videos right up to the US Air Force. But they are said to evaded every defense along the way.

And no magician has ever made a jumbo jet disappear into a field, leaving only a 20-foot wide hole and no wreckage. But that’s what the plane in Shanksville is supposed to have done.

The list of impossibilities goes on and on. But we don’t have to examine all of them to see the same pattern that we saw in the JFK case.

It doesn’t matter whether anybody had ever heard of al Qaeda. We don’t buy the official story because the alleged hijackers lacked the physical and technical means to cause the effects for which they were blamed.

In other words: we know both official stories are false because the events they describe not physically possible.

So why should we believe them? According to Matt Kwong, the answer lies in Popular Mechanics.

Despite an exhaustive 2005 special report by Popular Mechanics debunking 9/11 theories, polls still show a sizeable population of Americans dispute the official account.

As I mentioned in the previous post, no “report” in such a format could be anything but cursory and shallow.

The format: (1) Reduce all the implausible aspects of the official story to a short list of bullet points. (2) Then, for each point: Reduce all the relevant evidence and all its implications to a single sentence, a crazy one if possible; then “debunk” it with a “telling quote” from an “expert source.”

It’s a combination of logical fallacies, primarily Special Pleading, Straw Man, and Appeal to Authority. And it’s all predicated on the notion that “denied” means the same as “debunked.”

But in PM‘s case, the format was the strongest part of the “report.” The so-called “evidence” presented by PM wasn’t even weak — it was ludicrous.

Thus, contrary to Matt Kwong’s assertion, the “report” from Popular Mechanics was neither “special” nor “exhaustive,” and because they can’t give us anything more convincing, and because nobody else even wants to try, it may be time to consider the possibility that “a sizeable population of Americans dispute the official account” because it’s simply not true!

But Matt Kwong won’t go in that direction. He’s going this way instead:

For his part, McIlvaine doesn’t care about the Truther movement one way or the other, or about the many articles and investigations that have debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories.

He remains convinced about his own narrative.

“I feel good about what I’ve done. My wife’s happy about it, my [other] son’s happy about it. I still go to bed,” he says. “And I’ll say I did what I did for Bobby.”

Bob McIlvaine is tired of being lied to, he’s tired of being belittled and betrayed, and he doesn’t care what anybody thinks anymore — all of which is entirely understandable in my view, given what he’s experienced.

Matt Kwong paints him as a stubborn crackpot who started wondering why his son’s body was found so soon, fell into a hole called the Internet, and wound up believing the craziest nonsense — and he leaves it to the reader to fill in the gaps: the 9/11 truth movement endures because it’s made up of stubborn crackpots who started out asking simple questions and fell into the same hole.

That may be true in some instances, but for me personally it’s despicable slander. I know the official story is false because so many of its features are physically impossible. I don’t care how many accessories after the fact call me crazy. And I am not one in a million — I am one of many millions!

This is why the 9/11 Truth movement endures.

We’re smart enough to spot an obvious lie, even though we’ve heard it a thousand times. And we’re brave enough to say so.

If that makes us stubborn crackpots, so be it. Like it or not, that’s the reason we haven’t gone away. And we’re not going away anytime soon.

Sorry, Matt! You lose! You had all the pieces in your hand and you couldn’t — or wouldn’t — put them together.

Sorry, CBC. You lose, too! There will be a special place in Heaven for any mainstream news organization that’s brave enough to treat this issue with the integrity it deserves. But so far we have none.

In any case: Matt Kwong and CBC, you both stand clearly and willingly on the wrong side of a mass-murderous lie, and an obvious one at that. May God have mercy upon your souls.

On the other hand, Congratulations! You’ve made my list!

As I’ve been saying:

The facts must be suppressed, and the people who are trying to gather and disseminate those facts must be suppressed, and that is the one and only thing that matters to these people. And why? Why would you hide the crime unless you were trying to protect the criminals?

Series: Accessories After The Fact Go Splat!!
Previous: Pathetic Fail #5: Jack Holmes and Esquire
Next: Pathetic Fail #3: Sam Kestenbaum, Naomi Dann, and the Forward

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

NYPD admits accounting for its civil-forfeiture seizures is hopeless

RT | September 19, 2016

A detailed account of money and property seized by the New York Police Department is essentially impossible, an official says, as a comprehensive effort to report how much money the NYPD takes during arrests would “lead to system crashes.”

The New York City Council is considering a bill that would require the NYPD to offer annual reports of how much money and property it collects as potential evidence through the process of civil forfeiture. The bill aims to make civil forfeiture more transparent, but the NYPD claims it has no idea how much money it seized from New Yorkers and others it arrested last year.

Late last week, in testimony to the city council’s Public Safety Committee, NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner said detailing department seizures is technologically unworkable based on limitations of the NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS).

“Attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process,” said Messner, according to the Village Voice. “The only way the department could possibly comply with the bill would be a manual count of over half a million invoices each year.”

PETS was put in place in 2012, yet NYPD officials told the council last week that the system is too antiquated to meet the demands of the proposed transparency bill. Upon installation of PETS, however, the NYPD touted it as able to offer “the cradle-to-grave life cycle of property and evidence… visible upon demand,” and entered the system into the 2012 Computerworld Honors, which acknowledges “those who use Information Technology to benefit society,”according to Ars Technica.

When asked by the council whether they had come to the hearing with any kind of idea of how much money the NYPD actually seized last year, the officials said they did not.

“I find it strange that the most technologically sophisticated police force in the world cannot track its own property seizures. I just have trouble imagining that that’s the case,” said city councilmember Ritchie Torres during the hearing. “I’m skeptical about the NYPD’s testimony.”

To retrieve money or property, the defendant, whether or not they were charged with the crime they were accused of, must supply their own lawyer given the seizure is done through civil, not criminal, courts. Thus, the civil-forfeiture retrieval process is one most people cannot afford.

The NYPD did say during the hearing that, in 2015, more than $11,650 was legally forfeited, in which the NYPD made the case to a court why it should keep an amount of seized assets. But much more money is kept by the NYPD, given the process it takes to retrieve money or property seized by police as evidence is nearly impossible unless one has the wealth and legal resources to navigate the department’s administrative requirements for retrieval.

“Can a lay person be reasonably expected to defend themselves against the NYPD in their efforts to retrieve their property?” Torres asked Bronx Defenders attorney Adam Shoop during the hearing, according to Village Voice.

Shoop responded: “I don’t think a person can reasonably be expected to go through any of the administrative steps required to go about retrieving their property.”

The Bronx Defenders defense lawyers offer legal representation to low-income New Yorkers.

Though the NYPD says true reports of its seizures is next to impossible, Bronx Defenders admitted documents as part of its testimony detailing NYPD’s own accounting figures of such seizures. Those documents show that the NYPD had nearly $69 million in cash from seizures as of December 2013. That amount had been seized over a number of years, as the documents showed that the department brought in millions in revenue each month.

While NYPD officials maintained that the department’s technology is incapable of meeting the bill’s demands, they said the NYPD is willing “to work with the Council to achieve the goal of the bill,” Village Voice reported.

In January, the Bronx Defenders filed a federal lawsuit — Encarnacion v. City of New York — that challenged the NYPD’s civil-forfeiture process. The lawsuit, which has now reached class-action status, alleged that the NYPD’s failure to return items it seized related to cases that have been terminated is a violation of constitutional rights.

“Once a criminal case is over, the US Constitution does not permit the City to withhold someone’s personal property without justification,” attorney Eric Brenner said in June. “This City’s current policies violate the basic rights of individuals who need the cash and phones that the City is refusing to return.”

Bronx Defenders’ Molly Kovel added: “For people without access to an attorney, the hurdles they face to get their property back are simply too high, and they often give up. We hope this case leads to much-needed reform.”

Read more:

‘$1.2 billion slush fund’: Justice Dept. resumes controversial asset forfeiture ‘equitable sharing’

Funding ‘toys for police’: Best and worst states to have your assets seized

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

US anthem protests increase despite police criticism

RT | September 19, 2016

The controversy surrounding the protests during the American national anthem shows no signs of letting up, after another weekend of sports stars making a stand against perceived racial inequality in the US.

Three Miami Dolphins players – Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas – knelt during the anthem ahead of Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots, just days after a local police union hit out at the protest.

Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said officers should no longer escort the Dolphins to games if the protests continued.

He also said that NFL players should “give up” their right to free speech while representing their teams.

“I can only imagine the public outcry if a group of police officers refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or if we turned our back for the American flag for the national anthem,” said Bell.

“There would be a public outcry and internal affairs complaints a mile long on that.

“I respect their right to have freedom of speech. However, in certain organizations and certain jobs you give up that right of your freedom of speech (temporarily) while you serve that job or while you play in an NFL game.”

Foster dismissed Bell’s criticism, saying that while he understood people would question the protests, it was important he should be allowed to take a stand.

“They say it’s not the time to do this,” Foster said. “When is the time? It’s never the time in somebody else’s eye, because they’ll always feel like it’s good enough.

“And some people don’t. That’s the beautiful thing about this country. If somebody feels it’s not good enough, they have that right. That’s all we’re doing, exercising that right.”

Initially started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the protests have been gathering support in recent weeks, with numerous NFL players choosing to sit or kneel during the anthem.

US women’s national team soccer player Megan Rapinoe has also thrown her weight behind the campaign, kneeling during the anthem for the second time in four days ahead of Sunday’s game against the Netherlands.

A US Soccer spokesperson confirmed before the match that Rapinoe wouldn’t be punished for kneeling before Thursday’s game against Thailand, but admitted the situation could be re-assessed if the midfielder continued her protests.

Rapinoe received a mixed response on Sunday, with one fan instructing her to “stand up” as she dropped to one knee.

“Obviously there were boos tonight, boos and cheers tonight. I totally respect that,” Rapinoe said.

“People feel a certain way, and I want to be respected for the way that I feel. I think that’s their right to do that. I totally understand that. That said, there’s some people that support me.”

Elsewhere, the Garfield High School football team in Seattle, Washington, showed their solidarity with the protest, with the players and staff all kneeling for the anthem before Friday’s game against West Seattle High School.

Garfield head coach Joey Thomas told KING 5 that the players had decided to kneel and will carry on doing so for the rest of the season.

“This came from them – this came from the kids,” said Thomas.

“Now don’t get me wrong, I support it 110 percent and that’s where my mind and heart was, but this is what they wanted. And I think that’s what makes this so special. This is student driven.”

Having initiated the protests, Kaepernick remains the central figure amongst the people who are aiming to raise awareness of inequality in the US.

He once again knelt during the anthem before the 49ers’ game at the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but his protest received support from a very unlikely source.

Jesse McGuire, who played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his trumpet prior to the game, admitted he fully backed Kaepernick’s actions.

“I absolutely and totally respect his right to protest,” McGuire said.

“That’s a constitutional right, and anybody trying to take that away from him is trying to violate his constitutional rights.

“In terms of this stance for the violence, that’s happening all over the world – and to black males especially.

“I understand and I applaud his stance. Whether I disagree or not is of no consequence whatsoever.

“To protest means that you are going to make waves – so if that is the case, and if that’s the definition of a protest, then the desired result of his mission is accomplished.”

Read more:

More NFL players join US anthem protest on 15th anniversary of 9/11

Police threaten to boycott 49ers NFL games over Kaepernick protests

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

By Jay Stanley | ACLU | September 19, 2016

The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.

“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

ACLU affiliates around the country have done a lot of cases defending the right to record in public places, but this case (press release, complaint) is particularly striking. I spoke to ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, and he told me about how the incident came about:

Our client is a guy who is very concerned with privacy, and who protests DUI checkpoints around the capital region here in Hartford, Connecticut. He feels they’re both unconstitutional and a waste of money. He has done public records investigations, for example, and recently found that for every two man hours put into a check point, it yields just one minor traffic citation—almost always for defective equipment. He was well known to the police, who also knew that he is a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist.

So Michael was out on Sept. 11, 2015 in West Hartford. He shows up, has a big sign that says “cops ahead, remain silent.” It’s handwritten—this is not threatening stuff. He stood on a small triangular traffic island. He was standing there for an hour, hour and a half without any problems. Then, the state police officers who were working the checkpoint come over to Michael, and the first thing they do is slap the camera out of his hand so it hits the ground. He thinks it’s broken.

It was really brazen. There’s another video showing that the first thing the state trooper does is walk up and with his open hand slap the camera down to the ground. He doesn’t even say anything like “put that down,” or “please lower your camera.” He just slaps it to the ground. Then he interacts with Michael as if nothing happened, as if, “I’m just allowed to do that, and I don’t even have to tell you why I just broke your camera.” It’s an amazing level of hostility.

The troopers search Michael, and theatrically announce that he has a gun—which they knew he had, and which he was carrying legally under Connecticut’s open carry law. So they take his gun, and they go run his pistol permit. As they’re doing that, Michael picks the camera up off the pavement—it’s a nice SLR that can also record video. He picks it up and tries to turn it on as one of the cops walks back over, and that’s where the video starts. The cop announces that “taking my picture is illegal.” Michael debates with him a little because he’s very knowledgeable about the law and the First Amendment, and the end result is that the trooper snatches the camera, walks away, and puts it on top of the cruiser, without realizing that it is working and is recording video.

This is the point at which the troopers’ accidental self-surveillance begins. Barrett continues:

So we get the three troopers at the cruiser talking about what to do. Michael’s permit comes back as valid, they say “oh crap,” and one of the troopers says “we gotta punch a number on this guy,” which means open an investigation in the police database. And he says “we really gotta cover our asses.” And then they have a very long discussion about what to charge Michael with—none of which appear to have any basis in fact. This plays out over eight minutes. They talk about “we could do this, we could do this, we could do this….”

In Connecticut, police officers have clear requirements under the law to intervene and stop or prevent constitutional violations when they see them. But at no time did any of the three officers pipe up and say, “why don’t we just give him his camera back and let him go.”

In the end they decide on two criminal infractions: “reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian,” and “creating a public disturbance.” They have a chilling discussion on how to support the public disturbance charge, and the top-level supervisor explains to the other two, “what we say is that multiple motorists stopped to complain about a guy waving a gun around, but none of them wanted to stop and make a statement.” In other words, what sounds like a fairy tale.

The tickets they gave him started a criminal prosecution in the Connecticut superior court. Eventually the state dismissed first one then the other count, though it took a whole year for him to disentangle himself from the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, Michael filed a complaint with the state police. They claimed they couldn’t do their internal investigation without interviewing Michael. They kept calling Michael directly—and they did that even though there were criminal charges pending and Michael had a criminal defense lawyer. His lawyer kept calling them and saying “don’t you ever call my client again, you have to talk to me.” But they continued to try and get Michael to come in and be interviewed without his lawyer, claiming that they couldn’t do the investigation unless Michael gave a statement. It was unbelievable—this is an interaction that was recorded from start to finish on high-quality digital video. A year later there has been zero movement on the internal affairs investigation as far as anyone knows, which just shows that police and prosecutors in Connecticut should not be in charge of policing themselves.

As a result of the police’s clear inability to police themselves, the only avenue left for Picard and the ACLU of Connecticut is a lawsuit. That lawsuit is based on three claims, as Barrett laid out for me:

The first claim is the violation of Michael’s right to record—the efforts to prevent Michael from recording what was happening. That includes the fact that they swatted his camera and attempted to break it, and took it away, and they also tried to block him from taking photos of the license plates on the police cruiser using his cell phone after his camera was taken.

The second count is a Fourth Amendment claim: the seizure of Michael’s camera without probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime, or a warrant for its seizure. The police cannot grab people’s property and confiscate it on a whim.

The third is a First Amendment retaliation claim. Whether it was because he was carrying a sign criticizing the police, because he was recording the police, because they just didn’t like him, or all of the above, it really appears from the evidence that they completely manufactured criminal charges against Michael.

If Michael had been just jotting down license plate numbers with a pen and pad and the troopers had taken it, or slapped the pen out of his hand saying “you’re not allowed to write down our license plate numbers,” everyone would recognize how ridiculous the situation was. And if the defendants had been any other kind of state or local employee—if they had been a road crew, and Michael had wanted to film them paving, and they had forced him to stop recording, their actions wouldn’t get any serious consideration by a court. Nothing about the defendants here being police makes their actions any more defensible. All Michael was doing was recording state employees doing their jobs on a public street.

The really interesting thing about this case is not just that the state troopers were so openly hostile to being recorded, or to anyone seeing what they were up to, but also that they appear to have had a very frank discussion inside the cruiser about how to punish somebody who was protesting them.

It’s surprising that we are still regularly hearing about incidents in which police are not respecting the constitutional right to record in public. But to hear police officers casually discussing the fabrication of criminal charges to retaliate against a protester is even more shocking. As Barrett put it to me, “It’s one of those things that on your darker days you may think happens all the time, but you never really thought there’d be a video recording of.”

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

How Big Pharma’s Industrial Waste Is Fueling the Rise in Superbugs Worldwide

By Madlen Davies | Bureau of Investigative Journalism | September 15, 2016

Pharmaceutical companies are fuelling the rise of superbugs by manufacturing drugs in factories that leak industrial waste, says a new report which calls on them to radically improve their supply chains.

Factories in China and India – where the majority of the world’s antibiotics are produced – are releasing untreated waste fluid containing active ingredients into surrounding areas, highlights the report by a coalition of environmental and public health organisations.

Ingredients used in antibiotics get into the local soil and water systems, leading to bacteria in the environment becoming resistant to the drugs. They are able to exchange genetic material with other nearby germs, spreading antibiotic resistance around the world, the report claims.

Ahead of a United Nations summit on antimicrobial resistance in New York next week, the report – by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and pressure group Changing Markets – calls on major drug companies to tackle the pollution which is one of its root causes.

They say the industry is ignoring the pollution in its supply chain while it drives the proliferation of drug resistant bacteria – a phenomenon which kills an estimated 25,000 people across Europe and globally poses “as big a threat as terrorism,” according to NHS England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

If no action is taken antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will kill 10 million people worldwide every year – more than cancer – according to an independent review into AMR last year led by economist Professor Jim O’Neill.

Changing Markets compiled previous detailed reports and conducted its own on-the-ground research looking at a range of Chinese and Indian drug manufacturing plants making products for some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. One of the world’s biggest antibiotic production plants, in Inner Mongolia, was found in 2014 to be “pumping tonnes of toxic and antibiotic-rich effluent waste into the fields and waterways surrounding the factory,” according to Chinese state television.

In India, where much of the raw material produced by Chinese factories is turned into finished drugs, various studies have found “high levels of hazardous waste” and “large volumes of effluent waste” being dumped into the environment. About a quarter of UK medicines are made in India.

The factory pollution mixes with waste from farms and sewage plants, providing an ideal breeding ground for the drug-resistant bacteria. Once established in the environment, the germs can spread around the world through air and water, and by travellers visiting countries where the bacteria are prevalent.

A drug-resistant bacteria first found in India in 2014 has since been found in more than 70 countries around the world, the report highlights.

Most major drug companies display a “shocking lack of concern” about pollution in their supply chains, Changing Markets claims. It is calling for companies that fail to demand environmentally sound manufacturing and waste treatment techniques from their suppliers to be blacklisted.

Large purchasers of medicines, including health services, hospitals and pharmacies should push for cleaner production processes, it adds.

Natasha Hurley, a spokeswoman for Changing Markets, said: “Big Pharma’s role in fuelling drug resistance is all too often overlooked when policies to curb the spread of AMR are being discussed.

“Our research has shown that the industry is failing to take the necessary action to address the threat of a looming environmental and public health crisis in which it is playing a key part.”

Modern medical systems rely on antibiotics to prevent people becoming ill with bacterial infections.

The drugs also prevent infection during surgery and treatments like chemotherapy, which can wipe out the body’s immune system.

As the bugs become resistant to the drugs used to treat them, experts fear more people will die of infections – and common medical procedures will become high risk.

Next week global leaders will meet for a United Nations conference in New York to discuss the growing problem of AMR.

Resistance is fuelled by the overuse of antibiotics in farming as well as in human medicine, a topic the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been researching for more than six months.

Earlier this year, the Bureau analysed figures released by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, which regulates what drugs vets prescribe for use in British farming and agriculture, and revealed a significant increase in sales of some critically important antibiotics.

A “critically important” antibiotic is one which is either the sole treatment option or one of few alternatives for a serious infectious disease in humans.

They also treat diseases humans can catch from non-human sources such as animals, water, food or the environment, including some drug-resistant diseases.

The rise in sales of critically important antibiotics is happening despite the fact it is now known that resistant forms of certain food poisoning illnesses, including campylobacter, and some variations of the superbug MRSA, are directly linked to antibiotic use on farms.

In April, the Bureau revealed growing levels of resistance among campylobacter bacteria, which is commonly found in supermarket chickens. The bug infects up to 300,000 people in the UK each year, hospitalising about 1,000 and killing about 100.

Previously unpublished data collated by Public Health England showed almost one in two of all human campylobacter cases tested in England was resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

Ciprofloxacin is one of several drugs doctors can turn to when victims of food poisoning develop complications, and is also used to treat other conditions such as urinary tract infections.

Responding the EPHA and Changing Markets’ report, Emma Rose from the campaign group the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics said: “Today’s briefing casts light on how big polluting factories are fueling the emergence of drug resistant bacteria.

“With prescribers of both human and veterinary medicine increasingly urged to take action on antibiotics, the pharmaceutical industry must now play its part in tackling this crisis.”

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism | Leave a comment

IAEA confirms Iran’s commitment to obligations under JCPOA

Press TV – September 19, 2016

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed Iran’s commitment to a landmark nuclear agreement Tehran signed with the six world powers last year.

“Iran continues to implement its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amanon said in an introductory statement to the agency’s Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.

He added that his report on Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) summarizes the verification and monitoring activities conducted by the UN nuclear agency in the last few months.

The IAEA chief said Iran has submitted its declarations under the Additional Protocol, which Tehran is applying provisionally, pending its entry into force.

“The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement,” Amano pointed out.

He noted that the IAEA would continue evaluating the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.

In a quarterly report on Iran on September 8, the IAEA confirmed Iran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement reached between the Islamic Republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany on July 14, 2015.

The UN nuclear agency, which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA, said Tehran has not exceeded the limits set in the accord on its low-enriched uranium and heavy water stockpile.

Under the JCPOA, which took effect in January, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related bans imposed against Tehran.

The deal requires Iran’s storage of uranium enriched to up to 3.67 percent purity to stay below 300 kilograms. Tehran has also agreed to keep its heavy water stockpile below 130 metric tonnes.

Since January, the IAEA has released regular reports confirming the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and Tehran’s commitment to the agreement.

In April, the IAEA director general hailed Iran for respecting the nuclear accord, saying the Islamic Republic has even gone beyond its obligations.

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment