Aletho News


The Environment: A True Story

John Robson | October 2, 2017

A comparison of alarmist claims about man-made global warming with widely accepted scientific facts about the past history and current condition of the Earth.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

The Scalp-Taking of Gen. Flynn

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | December 1, 2017

Russia-gate enthusiasts are thrilled over the guilty plea of President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador, but the case should alarm true civil libertarians.

What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.

In other words, the Justice Department wasn’t seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.

For Americans who worry about how the pervasive surveillance powers of the U.S. government could be put to use criminalizing otherwise constitutionally protected speech and political associations, Flynn’s prosecution represents a troubling precedent.

Though Flynn clearly can be faulted for his judgment, he was, in a sense, a marked man the moment he accepted the job of national security adviser. In summer 2016, Democrats seethed over Flynn’s participation in chants at the Republican National Convention to “lock her [Hillary Clinton] up!”

Then, just four days into the Trump presidency, an Obama holdover, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, primed the Flynn perjury trap by coming up with a novel legal theory that Flynn – although the national security adviser-designate at the time of his late December phone calls with Kislyak – was violating the 1799 Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from interfering with U.S. foreign policy.

But that law – passed during President John Adams’s administration in the era of the Alien and Sedition Acts – was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period between elected presidential administrations and – in the past 218 years – the law has resulted in no successful prosecution at all and thus its dubious constitutionality has never been adjudicated.

Stretching Logic

But Yates extrapolated from her unusual Logan Act theory to speculate that since Flynn’s publicly known explanation of the conversation with Kislyak deviated somewhat from the transcript of the intercepts, Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Yet, that bizarre speculation would require that the Russians first would have detected the discrepancies; secondly, they would have naively assumed that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not intercepted the conversations, which would have negated any blackmail potential; and thirdly, the Russians would have to do something so ridiculously heavy-handed – trying to blackmail Flynn – that it would poison relations with the new Trump administration.

Yates’s legal theorizing was so elastic and speculative that it could be used to justify subjecting almost anyone to FBI interrogation with the knowledge that their imperfect memories would guarantee the grounds for prosecution based on NSA intercepts of their communications.

Basically, the Obama holdovers concocted a preposterous legal theory to do whatever they could to sabotage the Trump administration, which they held in fulsome disdain.

At the time of Flynn’s interrogation, the Justice Department was under the control of Yates and the FBI was still under President Obama’s FBI Director James Comey, another official hostile to the Trump administration who later was fired by Trump.

The Yates-FBI perjury trap also was sprung on Flynn in the first days of the Trump presidency amid reverberations of the massive anti-Trump protests that had arisen across the country in support of demands for a “#Resistance” to Trump’s rule.

Flynn also had infuriated Democrats when he joined in chants at the Republican National Convention of “lock her up” over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and other alleged offenses. So, in targeting Flynn, there was a mix of personal payback and sabotage against the Trump administration.

The Legal Construct

The two-page complaint against Flynn, made public on Friday, references false statements to the FBI regarding two conversations with Kisylak, one on Dec. 22, 2016, and the other on Dec. 29, 2016.

The first item in the complaint alleges that Flynn did not disclose that he had asked the Russian ambassador to help delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council vote censuring Israel for building settlements on Palestinian territory.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Russia-gate investigators “learned through witnesses and documents that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according to two people briefed on the inquiry.

“Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, took the lead in those efforts. Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said,” according to the Times.

Breaking with past U.S. precedents, President Obama had decided not to veto the resolution criticizing Israel, choosing instead to abstain. However, the censure resolution carried with Russian support, meaning that whatever lobbying Flynn and Kushner undertook was unsuccessful.

But the inclusion of this Israeli element shows how far afield the criminal Russia-gate investigation, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, has gone. Though the original point of the inquiry was whether the Trump team colluded with Russians to use “hacked” emails to defeat Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the criminal charge against Flynn has nothing to do with election “collusion” but rather President-elect Trump’s aides weighing in on foreign policy controversies during the transition. And, one of these initiatives was undertaken at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, not Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The second item, cited by Mueller’s prosecutors, referenced a Dec. 29 Flynn-Kislyak conversation, which received public attention at the time of Flynn’s Feb. 13 resignation after only 24 days on the job. That phone call touched on Russia’s response to President Obama’s decision to issue new sanctions against the Kremlin for the alleged election interference.

The complaint alleges that Flynn didn’t mention to the FBI that he had urged Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation” and that Kislyak had subsequently told him that “Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”

The Dec. 29 phone call occurred while Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic and thus he would have been without the usual support staff for memorializing or transcribing official conversations. So, the FBI agents, with the NSA’s transcripts, would have had a clearer account of what was said than Flynn likely had from memory. The content of Flynn’s request to Kislyak also appears rather uncontroversial, asking the Russians not to overreact to a punitive policy from the outgoing Obama administration.

In other words, both of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations appear rather unsurprising, if not inconsequential. One was taken at the behest of Israel (which proved ineffective) and the other urged the Kremlin to show restraint in its response to a last-minute slap from President Obama (which simply delayed Russian retaliation by a few months).

Double Standards

While Flynn’s humiliation has brought some palpable joy to the anti-Trump “Resistance” – one more Trump aide being taken down amid renewed hope that this investigation will somehow lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment – many of the same people would be howling about trampled civil liberties if a Republican bureaucracy were playing this game on a Democratic president and his staff.

Indeed, in the turnabout-is-fair-play department, there is some equivalence in what is happening over Russia-gate to what the Republicans did in the 1990s exploiting their control of the special-prosecutor apparatus in the first years of Bill Clinton’s presidency when interminable investigations into such side issues as his Whitewater real-estate deal and the firing of the White House travel office staff plagued the Clinton administration.

Similarly, Republicans seized on the deaths of four U.S. diplomatic personnel on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, to conduct a series of lengthy investigations to tarnish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure and raise questions about her judgment. Democrats understandably called these attacks partisan warfare in legal or investigative garb.

What I have heard from many Hillary Clinton supporters in recent months is that they don’t care about the unfairness of the Russia-gate process or the dangerous precedents that such politicized prosecutions might set. They simply view Trump as such a danger that he must be destroyed at whatever the cost.

Yet, besides the collateral damage inflicted on mid-level government officials such as retired Lt. Gen. Flynn facing personal destruction at the hands of federal prosecutors with unlimited budgets, there is this deepening pattern of using criminal law to settle political differences, a process more common in authoritarian states.

As much as the Russia-gate enthusiasts talk about how they are upholding “the rule of law,” there is the troubling appearance that the law is simply being used to collect the scalps of political enemies.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , | 1 Comment

German Minister Drafts Law Allowing Intelligence to Spy on Citizens – Report

Sputnik – December 1, 2017

Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière worked out a draft proposal that might force automotive and tech corporations to provide the country’s intelligence agencies with “back door” access to any digital device, including smartphones, laptops, private cars and smart TVs, the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reported.

The politician has justified his idea by the fact that the country’s security services are increasingly facing difficulties breaking through the systems that protect digital items.

For instance, the locking systems on cars have become so advanced and intelligent that their owners are informed via messenger even about the slightest movements of their vehicles. With the new law, De Maizière wants to prevent these automatic notifications if the law-enforcement services believe it to be justified by their investigation.

The initiative also goes further and intends to provide the German intelligence agencies with “backdoor” access to any device connected to the internet. In this case, they would only require the authorization of a judge to demand the secret data from tech corporations and hack into someone’s phone. The move, which is considered a preventive measure to ensure security and quickly find criminals, “dramatically extends” the state’s capability to conduct espionage against its citizens, RND wrote.

The initiative has caused severe criticism among activists and the country’s politicians, especially due to Germany’s previous espionage record.

In 2015, German intelligence agencies were reported to have been spying on European politicians and companies at the behest of the US National Security Agency (NSA).


December 1, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

The Cunningness of the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | November 3, 2017

Whatever else might be said about the assassination of President Kennedy, one thing is for sure: The cover-up of this particular U.S. regime-change operation was one of the most ingenious and cunning plots ever designed. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, given that practically from its inception in 1947 the CIA was specializing in the arts of assassination, regime change, and cover-up.

As far back as 1953, the CIA published an assassination manual that the CIA succeeded in keeping secret from the American people for more than 40 years. It came to light in 1997 as a result of a Freedom of Information request. That was around the time that the Assassination Records Review Board, which was overseeing the mandatory release of JFK-related assassination records of the CIA and other federal agencies that had been kept secret from the American people since 1963.

Today, Americans can read the CIA’s assassination manual online. Titled “Study of Assassination,” the manual spells out various ways to assassinate people. Here is what the manual states in part regarding the use of firearms:

Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively…. Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.

The manual also makes it clear that the CIA was studying ways to assassinate people without being detected. Note the following excerpt:

For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

It would be safe to assume that the CIA continued developing and expanding on the assassination principles enunciated in that early assassination manual. That’s what we would expect from an agency whose specialties included assassination. We can also assume that the CIA continued to refine the ways to avoid detection when assassinating someone.

The CIA published that secret assassination manual as part of its preparations for a U.S. regime-change operation in Guatemala, one that was designed to violently remove the nation’s democratically elected socialist president, Jacobo Arbenz, from office and replace him with an unelected, right-wing, pro-U.S. military general.

As part of the Guatemala regime-change operation, the CIA prepared a list of Guatemalan officials to be assassinated. While the CIA has never revealed the names of the people it targeted for assassination, there is little doubt that Arbenz, the president, was at the top of the list.

There is something important to note: Neither Arbenz nor any other Guatemalan official had ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.

So, why were they targeted for assassination? Because Arbenz had reached out to the Russians and Cubans in a spirit of peace and friendship, just as John Kennedy would do ten years later. That’s why the CIA targeted Guatemala for regime change and why it targeted Arbenz and other Guatemalan officials for assassination.

Although Arbenz was able to escape the country, the CIA’s regime-change operation was a total success, with Arbenz being replaced by the pro-U.S. Gen. Carlos Castillo Armas, who proceeded to instigate a reign of terror across Guatemala.

The Guatemalan operation was brilliant and ingenious. The CIA officials were secretly honored for protecting “national security” by removing President Arbenz from office and replacing him with a pro-U.S. military general. Tracy Barnes, one of the CIA officials responsible for the operation, was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s second-highest medal.

The CIA’s cover-up in the JFK assassination was even more brilliant and ingenious.

The doctors at Parkland Hospital stated that President Kennedy had a big exit-sized wound in the back of his head, which implied a shot having been fired from the front. At a press conference immediately after the president died, two treating physicians stated that the other wound — the one in the front of Kennedy’s neck — was an entry wound, which implied that Kennedy had been hit by another shot fired from the front.

This necessarily meant that Kennedy had been shot from the front, not the rear, where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was situated.

Keep in mind something important: After he was arrested, Oswald claimed his innocence. But he also went a step further. He said that he was being framed for the crime.

The obvious question arises: Why frame an innocent man who is situated in the rear by killing the president with shots fired from the front? Wouldn’t it be more logical to either have the shots fired from the rear, where Oswald was, or, alternatively, place Oswald in the front, where the shots were fired?

That’s where the brilliance, ingenuity, and cunningness of the cover-up come into play.

If Oswald is in the rear and since shots are fired from the front, that could mean only one thing: that Oswald had confederates firing from the front.

Who would those confederates be? There could be only one answer: communists. Soviet and Cuban communists, to be more specific.

How would we know this? That’s where Oswald’s trip to Mexico City right before the assassination comes into play.

Oswald traveled to Mexico City where he purportedly visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies and where he supposedly met with a premier assassin for the Soviet Union.

Keep in mind that this was the height of the Cold War between the United States and that the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, had taken place the previous year.

So, President Kennedy has been assassinated. Oswald is immediately arrested. He has confederates firing from the front, who almost certainly are Soviet and Cuban communists, especially since Oswald has supposedly just recently visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City.

What does all that mean? An assassination of the president by the Soviet Union and Cuba is obviously an act of war. That means nuclear war is about to break out because there is no way that the United States is going to sit idly by when the Reds have just assassinated America’s president.

Except for one thing: The communist part and the nuclear-war part were concocted. That was all part of the plan. That was the ingenious way that the CIA was able to get the investigation into the assassination squelched just as soon as Oswald was murdered.

In the early days of the Warren Commission, commission chairman Earl Warren called a top-secret meeting of the commission. Its purpose was to discuss information that Warren had received that Oswald was actually a U.S. intelligence agent or an informant for the FBI or both.

How did Warren resolve this troubling issue? He simply asked the heads of the CIA and FBI whether it was true. They said no. That was the end of the matter.

The issue was so sensitive that Warren ordered the members of the commission to never reveal the meeting to the American people. He ordered all notes and other written references to be destroyed. He also ordered the court reporter to destroy her notes of the meeting. Unbeknownst to him, the court reporter inadvertently kept a recording of the meeting that ultimately came to light.

This troubling issue arose again yesterday, November 2, in the Washington Post in an article entitled “Tantalizing Mystery of JFK Assassination Files Solved – 23 Years Ago.” In the article, author Ian Shapira points out that among the long-secret CIA records that were recently released was a deposition of former CIA Director Richard Helms taken in 1975 before the President’s Commission on CIA Activities, which stated as follows:

BELIN: Well, now, the final area of my interrogation relates to charges that the CIA was in some way conspiratorially involved with the assassination of President Kennedy. During the time of the Warren Commission, you were Deputy Director of Plans, is that correct?

HELMS: I believe so.

BELIN: Is there any information involved with the assassination of President Kennedy which in any way shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was in some way a CIA agent or an age[nt.…

That’s where the transcript ends according to few secret records of the CIA that were recently released by the National Archives.

Shapira points out, “Several news organizations, including The Washington Post, seized on the truncated file as an example of the government’s continued secrecy about the assassination.” Shapira points out that Helms’ full deposition has been in the public arena since 1994.

(The year 1994 was during the tenure of the Assassination Records Review Board, the agency charged with securing the mandated release of JFK assassination records from the CIA and other federal agencies. The ARRB had been formed after Americans had learned of the official secrecy after watching Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that the JFK assassination was a U.S. regime-change operation, no different in principle from the one the CIA had carried out in Guatemala nine years before.)

Shapira then proceeds to provide the answer that Helms gave, which, as he points out, has been public:

HELMS: Mr. Belin, this question, and I think you may recall this, was raised at the time and the Agency was never able to find any evidence whatsoever, and we really searched that it had any contact with Lee Harvey Oswald. As far as the FBI was concerned, my recollection is not all that precise. I believe that Mr. Hoover testified that he had not been an agent of theirs either. He was certainly not an agent of the CIA. He was certainly never used by the CIA. Whether any CIA officer ever talked to him any  place or not I don’t know but I certainly felt quite comfortable — I believe Mr. [John] McCone [a previous CIA director] was asked to testify before the Commission on this point. I believe he was asked to testify. It was a hot item anyway at the time. And my recollection is that I informed Mr. McCone that we could find no evidence that Oswald had any connection with the CIA.

Shapira ends his article by suggesting that commentators should do more complete research, maybe even use Google, before they jump to conclusions.

But Shapira would be wise to follow his own advice because he himself is guilty of what he accuses others of. That’s because he failed to conclude his article with one great big important point about former CIA Director Richard Helms.

What is that great big important point that Shapira, who, according to his tagline on his article, “enjoys writing about people who have served in the military and intelligence communities,” left out of his article?

Perjury. He left out that former CIA Director Richard Helms was a perjurer. A liar. A CIA official who would tell falsehoods, even under oath, whenever he felt that “national security” required it.

Shapira failed to note that Helms was convicted in a federal district court of lying to Congress under oath about another CIA regime-change operation ten years after the Kennedy assassination in Chile.

Interesting enough, in the Chile regime-change operation, the CIA and the Pentagon were telling their counterparts in the Chilean national-security establishment that they had a moral duty to violate their nation’s constitution and violently remove their nation’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, from office. The reason? Allende was reaching out to the Russians and Cubans in a spirit of peace and friendship, just as Arbenz had done and just as Kennedy had done.

Thus, given that Helms was an admitted perjurer and convicted liar, what value does his denial that Oswald was an intelligence agent have? It has no value at all. And Shapira, who “enjoys writing about people who have served in the military and intelligence communities,” had an ethical duty to point out Helms’ proclivity for lying in his article.

The circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly establishes that Oswald was working for U.S. intelligence. How often have you ever heard of a U.S. Marine communist? If Oswald was a genuine communist, why would he have joined the Marines in the 1950s, given that the Marines hated communists and had just helped kill millions of them in the Korean War? Why would a genuine communist want to join an organization in which he could be ordered, on a moment’s notice, to return to Korea or be sent to Vietnam, Laos, China, the Soviet Union, or Europe to kill communists? Don’t forget: this is the height of the Cold War!

After Oswald supposedly tried to “defect” to the Soviet Union and promised to give the Russians all the secrets he learned about in the military, why would U.S. officials agree to let him back in the country, and with a communist wife? Why wouldn’t they indict him or at least haul him before a federal grand jury to testify as to what secrets he gave the Russians? Why wouldn’t they harass, abuse, humiliate, persecute, or prosecute him, like they did to Martin Luther King, Dalton Trumbo, John Walker Lindh, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and other people they have deemed to be communists or traitors? How is it possible that Oswald could learn fluent Russian while serving in the U.S. military without having U.S. military tutors teaching him? How is it possible that a veteran who embarrasses the U.S. Marine Corps by openly proselytizing for communism in New Orleans is able to saunter across the Cold War stage of history, not long after the McCarthy hearings, without nary a care in the world?

The answer: Helms lied. There is no reasonable doubt that Oswald was a U.S. intelligence agent, one who was ordered to travel to Mexico City to set the framework for his frame-up.

But things obviously went dreadfully wrong in Mexico City, which is why the CIA had to shut down that part of the post-assassination investigation. Not surprisingly, the CIA’s Mexico City operations regarding Oswald are among the 98 percent of the records that Trump and the CIA have chosen to continue keeping secret from the American people, on grounds of “national security” of course.

Thus, when Oswald was claiming that he was being framed, there could be only one entity that he could have been thinking about: the CIA, the agency whose officials, as former Washington Post investigative reporter Jefferson Morley has documented, were secretly monitoring his activities in the weeks leading up to the assassination, no doubt to ensure that Oswald had not figured out what was about to happen to him.

We can assume that any frame-up by the CIA is going to be good. The operation is going to be carefully planned and executed.

But no plan is perfect. Things are inevitably going to go wrong. The pieces aren’t going to fit together perfectly. The Mexico City operation is a good example of that. That’s why the CIA has to continue keeping those records secret.

But here’s another example, a small but important one: Recall that Oswald supposedly hid the rifle before he headed down the steps from the sixth floor of the school book depository. Ask yourself: If someone has just assassinated the president of the United States, is he really going to take the time to hide the rifle? What good would that do? Wouldn’t officials conduct a thorough search of the area? Wouldn’t an assassin instead simply leave the rifle there and get out of there as soon as he could?

Then why the hidden rifle? Because it’s consistent with a frame-up. The framers had to hide the rifle in advance in a place where no one would see it during the morning of the assassination, which took place after noon.

No matter how good a frame-up was, the CIA knew that it could be detected with an aggressive investigation. That’s where ingenuity and cunning come into play. They had to figure out a way to shut down the investigation so that the frame-up would remain intact.

That’s why they had shots fired from the front and placed Oswald in the rear. The idea was that since an investigation would lead to Oswald’s supposed communist confederates in the front, which in turn would lead to nuclear war, the investigation had to be shut down immediately, especially since it was the CIA itself that had started the assassination game by repeatedly attempting, in partnership with the Mafia, to assassinate Castro.

It was one of the most brilliant and cunning ruses in history. They get the body out of Parkland by force, in violation of Texas law, and put it in the hands of the military in Maryland, which conducts a secret fraudulent and bogus autopsy. (See my book The Kennedy Autopsy.) Lyndon Johnson telephones Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade on the night of the assassination and orders him to shut down any investigation of a conspiracy because it might lead to nuclear war. As soon as Oswald is assassinated, the FBI orders Wade to turn over all his investigative files to the FBI. At the same time, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and FBI Head J. Edgar Hoover both write secret memos and reports saying any further investigation must stop immediately. Lyndon Johnson gets Earl Warren and Sen. Richard Russel to join the Warren Commission by telling them that the assassination could lead to World War III. Johnson appoints former CIA Director Allan Dulles, who Kennedy had fired as a result of the CIA’s regime-change operation at the Bay of Pigs, to the Warren Commission, thereby guaranteeing that there will be no investigation of the CIA.

Then keep all the records secret for decades, when many people won’t care anymore who killed President Kennedy. And employ Operation Mockingbird-like journalistic assets in the private sector to flood the market with alternative “conspiracy theories” to confound and confuse the public. And smear anyone who questions the official narrative as a “communist sympathizer” or a “conspiracy theorist.”

The CIA’s cunning cover-up in the JFK assassination worked brilliantly. Thanks to President Trump and the CIA’s decision to continue keeping 98 percent of the CIA’s decades-long secret records secret from the American people, the CIA’s cunning cover-up of the JFK assassination continues to work brilliantly today.


The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger

JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne

Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger

The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger

CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley

The National Security State and JFK,” a FFF conference featuring Oliver Stone and ten other speakers

Altered History: Exposing Deceit and Deception in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence,” a five-part video by Douglas P. Horne

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Slave markets in ‘liberated’ Libya and the silence of the humanitarian hawks

By Neil Clark  | RT | December 1, 2017

The reports that black Africans are being sold at slave markets in ‘liberated’ Libya for as little as $400 is a terrible indictment of the so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’ carried out by NATO to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In March 2011 virtue-signaling Western ‘liberal’ hipsters teamed up with hardcore neocon warmongers to demand action to ‘save’ the Libyan people from the ‘despotic’ leader who had ruled the country since the late 1960s. “Something has to be done!” they cried in unison.

Something was done. Libya was transformed by NATO from the country with the highest Human Development Index in the whole of Africa in 2009 into a lawless hell-hole, with rival governments, warlords and terror groups fighting for control of the country.

Under Gaddafi, Libyans enjoyed free health care and education. Literacy rates went up from around 25 percent to almost 90 percent. A UN Human Rights Council report on Libya from January 2011, in which member states praised welfare provision, can be read here.

It was clear that while there were still areas of concern the country was continuing to make progress on a number of fronts.

In the Daily Telegraph – hardly a paper which could be accused of being an ideological supporter of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – Libya was hailed as one of the top six exotic cruise ship destinations in June 2010.

Cruise ships don’t have Libya on their itineraries today. It’s far too dangerous.

The only surprising thing about the return of slave markets (and it’s worth pointing out that before the CNN report, the UN agency, IOM also reported on their existence in Libya earlier this year) is that anyone should be surprised by it. Human rights and social progress usually go back hundreds of years whenever a NATO ‘humanitarian’ intervention takes place. And that’s not accidental. The ‘interventions,’ which purposely involve heavy bombing of the country’s infrastructure and the subsequent dismantling of the state apparatus are designed to reverse decades of social progress. The ‘failure to plan’ is actually the most important part of the plan, as my fellow OpEdger Dan Glazebrook details in his book Divide and Destroy – The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis.

Libya was targeted, like Yugoslavia and Iraq before it, not because of genuine concerns that ‘another Srebrenica’ was about to take place, (note the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee report of September 2016 held that ‘the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence’) but because it was a resource-rich country with an independently-minded government which operated a predominantly state-owned socialistic economy in a strategically important part of the world.

Neither Libya, Iraq or Yugoslavia did the bidding of the West’s endless war lobby, which is why they were earmarked for destruction. The chaos which routinely follows a NATO regime change op is a ghastly experience for the locals, who see their living standards plummet and their risk of violent death in a terrorist attack greatly increase, but great for rapacious Western corporations who then move in to the ‘liberated’ country en masse, taking advantage of the lack of a strong central authority.

Of course, this is never mentioned in NATO-friendly media. The role of the Western elites in turning previously functioning welfare states into failed states is missing from most mainstream reports on the countries post ‘liberation.’

In his recent piece for FAIR, journalist Ben Norton noted how reports “overwhelmingly spoke of slavery in Libya as an apolitical and timeless human rights issue, not as a political problem rooted in very recent history.”

The dominant narrative is that slave markets have re-emerged in Libya ‘as if by magic,’just like Mr. Benn’s shopkeeper. The country’s ’instability’ is mentioned, but not the cause of that instability, namely the violent overthrow of the country’s government in 2011 and the Western backing of extremist, and in some cases blatantly racist, death squads. Everyone is blamed for the mess except the powerful, protected people and lobbyists who are ultimately responsible.

The French government played a leading role in the destruction of Libya in 2011, yet today the French president, the ‘progressive’ Emmanuel Macron blames ‘Africans’ for the country’s slavery problem. “Who are the traffickers? Ask yourselves – being the African youth – that question. You are unbelievable. Who are the traffickers? They are Africans, my friends. They are Africans.”

Macron, like other Western leaders, wants us to see the slavery issue in close-up, and not in long-shot. Because if we do, NATO comes into the picture.

There is similar whitewashing over Iraq and the rise of ISIS. Again, we are supposed to regard the group’s emergence as “just one of those things.” But ISIS was not a force when the secular Baathist Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq; it only grew following his ousting and the chaos which followed the occupiers’ dismantling of the entire state apparatus.

Six-and-a-half years on, it’s revealing to look back at the things the cheerleaders for the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya were saying in early 2011 and what actually happened as a result of NATO’s 26,500 sorties.

“The price of inaction is too high” was the title of one piece by David Aaronovitch in The Times, dated March 18, 2011. “If we don’t bomb Gadaffi’s tanks, Europe is likely to face a wave of refugees and a new generation of jihadis,” was the synopsis.

Guess what? The West’s military alliance did bomb Gaddafi’s tanks (and a lot more besides) and we got “a wave of refugees” of Biblical proportions and “a new generation of jihadis,” including the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi.

But there’s been no mea culpa from Aaronovitch, nor from his Times colleague Oliver Kamm – who attacked me after I had penned an article in the Daily Express calling for NATO to halt its action.

In the Telegraph, Matthew d’Ancona wrote a piece entitled ‘Libya is Cameron’s chance to exorcise the ghost of Iraq.’

In fact, the experience of Iraq should have led all genuine humanitarians to oppose the NATO assault. In many ways, as John Wight argues here,

Libya was an even worse crime than the invasion of Iraq because it came afterward. There was really no excuse for anyone seeing how the ‘regime change’ operation of 2003 had turned out, supporting a similar venture in North Africa.

Unsurprisingly the politicians and pundits who couldn’t stop talking about Libya in 2011 and the West’s ‘responsibility to protect’ civilians seem less keen to talk about the country today.

Libya and its problems have vanished from the comment pages. It’s the same after every Western ‘intervention’: saturation coverage before and during the ‘liberation,’ bellicose calls from the totally unaccountable neocon/liberal punditocracy for military action to ‘save the people’ from the latest ‘New Hitler,’ and then silence afterwards as the country hurtles back in time to the Dark Ages.

The ‘liberators’ of Libya have moved on to other more important things in 2017, with Russophobia the current obsession. Anything, in fact, to distract us from the disastrous consequences of their actions.

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

Read more:

Macron urges military action in Libya to fight human trafficking

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Turkey issues arrest warrant for top CIA analyst over failed coup

MEMO | December 1, 2017

Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for the former vice-chairman of the CIA, Graham Fuller, over his alleged involvement in the 2016 failed coup.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the arrest warrant today for the top US intelligence analyst as part of an ongoing investigation into the bloodiest coup in Turkish history that tried to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Fuller was, reportedly, in Turkey during the coup attempt on 15 July, and left the country after the attempted military takeover. The warrant, according to Turkish news agencies, accuses Fuller of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and obstructing the duties of the Republic of Turkey.” Fuller is also alleged to have obtained “state information for military espionage purposes,” and “attempted to overthrow the constitutional order.”

Turkish authorities appear to have connected Fuller to a number of other figures with links to the failed coup. He is said to have been in contact with the American academic Henri Barkey, who also has an arrest warrant hanging over him.

According to the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper, Barkey is accused by prosecutors of organising and coordinating the coup attempt in a meeting on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island on 15-16 July 2016. Prosecutors claim that Fuller also participated in that meeting.

It’s reported that Fuller came to the attention of the Turkish authorities after a tip off from Russian intelligence agencies who claim to possess “concrete evidence that CIA agents commanded the failed coup attempt” and that Fuller and Barker had both attended the meeting on Büyükada.

Turkish officials also think that Fuller was instrumental in obtaining permanent US residency for the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who has been accused of being the mastermind behind the coup.

Read: Turkey to host international symposium on coups


December 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

What If Trump Dismantled the State Department, and It Didn’t Matter?

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | November 30, 2017

Bad news: President Donald Trump may be dismantling the State Department. The good news? No recent president has made much use of those diplomats, so they are unlikely to be missed. And that’s really bad news.

Recent stories try hard to make the case that something new and dark has crept into Foggy Bottom. Writing for the December 2017 Foreign Service Journal, American Foreign Service Association President Barbara Stephenson sounds the alarm on behalf of the organization of American diplomats she heads: “The Foreign Service officer corps at State has lost 60% of its Career Ambassadors since January… The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today.”

Stephenson doesn’t mention a 60% loss of Career Ambassadors, the most senior diplomats, means the actual headcount drops from only five people to two (and of the three that did retire, two are married to one another suggesting personal timing played a role. One retiree worked in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, another was seconded to a university, important but outside State’s core diplomatic mission that many feel is “at risk.”) Choosing to count noses “right after Labor Day” is deceptive. Most retirements take place officially on September 30 in line with the ending of the federal fiscal year, so numbers will seem lower in November. Stephenson also leaves out the losses are voluntary retirements, not a taking of heads by the Trump administration. None of the retirees have stated they are leaving in protest.

The number of Career Ministers (another senior rank) in the Foreign Service actually increased from 22 to 26 under Trump. Growth had been delayed by Senate confirmation process, not the White House.

Stephenson is equally alarmed at Trump’s government-wide hiring freeze affecting entry level diplomats, though fails to note the freeze won’t touch a good two-thirds of new hires, as they come from exempt fellowship programs.

Also not mentioned is that intake of new Foreign Service officers is now primarily via existing fellowship programs, as regular intake is frozen. These fellowships recruit heavily from historically black colleges and universities, which means diversity at State should actually increase under Trump. And hiring has been below attrition since the Obama years anyway.

So good news, the dismantling is not happening. Overall, the number of senior diplomats (the top four foreign service ranks) is only 19 people less than at this time in 2016. But the bad news: while a shortage of diplomats is not new under President Trump, the weakening of American diplomacy is real.

For example, no other Western country uses private citizens as ambassadors over career diplomats to anywhere near the extent the United States does, handing out about a third of the posts as political patronage in what has been called a “thinly veiled system of corruption.” In 2012, the Government Accountability Office reported 28 percent of all senior State Department Foreign Service positions were unfilled or filled with below-grade employees.

Relevancy?  State has roughly the same number of Portuguese speakers as it does Russian.

Or take a longer view: in 1950, State had 7,710 diplomats. The pre-Trump total was just 8,052 as State has failed to grow alongside the modern world. The reasons may differ, but modern presidents simply have not expanded their diplomatic corps.

It is the growth of military influence inside government that has weakened State. Months before Barbara Stephenson’s organization worried about Trump dismantling the State Department, it worried about State becoming increasingly irrelevant inside a militarized foreign policy. That worrisome 2017 article cited an almost identical worrisome article from 2007 written at the height of the Iraq War.

In between were numerous reiterations of the same problem, such as in 2012 when State questioned its relevance vis-vis the Pentagon. In Africa, for example, the military’s combatant commanders are putative epicenters for security, diplomatic, humanitarian, and commercial affairs. One reason is range: unlike ambassadors, whose responsibility, budget, and influence is confined to a single country, combatant commanders’ reach is continental. When America’s primary policy tool is so obviously the military, there is less need, use, or value to diplomats. As a foreign leader, who would you turn to get Washington’s ear, or to pry open its purse?

It wasn’t always this way. A thumbnail history of recent United States-North Korean relations shows what foreign policy with active diplomacy, and without it, looks like.

For example, in 2000 there were American diplomats stationed in North Korea, and the Secretary of State herself visited Pyongyang to lay the groundwork for rebuilding relations. These steps took place under the 1994 Agreed Framework, which ended — diplomatically — an 18-month crisis during which North Korea threatened to withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Framework froze North Korea’s plutonium production and placed it under international safeguard.

President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 inclusion of North Korea in his “axis of evil” scuttled that last real attempt at direct diplomacy with Pyongyang. Bush demanded regime change, which led to the North going nuclear. Unlikely at the advice of his State Department, Bush also found time to refer to North Korea’s then-leader Kim Jong-il as a pygmy. Bush plunged into the Middle East militarily with little further attention paid to a hostile nuclear state.

With one failed exception, President Obama also avoided substantive negotiations with Pyongyang, while warning the United States “will not hesitate to use our military might.” The Obama administration-driven regime change in Libya after that country abandoned its nuclear ambitions sent a decidedly undiplomatic message to Pyongyang about what disarmament negotiations could lead to. Without a globally thought-through strategy behind it, war is simply chaos. Diplomacy has little role when the White House forgets war is actually politics by other means.

It is clear that President Trump thinks little of his State Department. Morale is low, the budget is under attack, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s reorganization plans have many old hands on edge. But the real question of what is wrong with President Trump’s non-relationship with State is answered by asking what value Presidents Bush and Obama derived from a fully-staffed State Department, either by ignoring its advice, or simply ignoring diplomacy itself. As with the numbers that suggest State is not being dismantled, the point is much of the current hysteria in Washington fails to acknowledge that a lot of what seems new and scary is old and scary. It is a hard point, rationality, to make in a media world where one is otherwise allowed to write declarative sentences that the president is mentally ill and will start WWIII soon in a tweet.

Having the right number of senior diplomats around is of little value if their advice is not sought, or heeded, or if they are not directed toward the important issues of the day. Whether Trump does or does not ultimately reduce staff at State, he will only continue in a clumsy way what his predecessors did by neglecting the institution in regions where it might have mattered most.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

UN votes to nullify Israeli ‘jurisdiction’ over Jerusalem

Press TV – December 1, 2017

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to declare as null any Israeli measure to practice jurisdiction over Jerusalem al-Quds, days before US President Donald Trump decides whether he would relocate the US embassy to the occupied city.

In a rare show of unity against the Tel Aviv regime, 151 countries voted on Thursday to adopt a resolution that denounced Israel as the “occupying power” of the Jerusalem al-Quds, a city that is holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.

“Any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever,” read the resolution.

The UN members also urged Tel Aviv to show “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, in word and practice,” referring to a hill in Jerusalem al-Quds where the al-Aqsa Mosque is located.

Israel lays claim to the entirety of Jerusalem al-Quds as its “capital” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of a future state for themselves.

The city has seen tensions since 2015, when the Israeli military introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site. Over 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli soldiers ever since.

Last year, it was reported that Israel has been omitting from the city’s maps significant Muslim and Christian holy sites and entire neighborhoods in the area while highlighting dozens of sites with dubious historical importance.

Only five countries — the US, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru — opposed the Thursday resolution at the UN, which was also voted down by Israel’s UN envoy. Nine countries also abstained.

US embassy relocation

The strong-worded statement by the UN came days before Trump has to make up his mind over moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since US Congress ruled in 1995 that the embassy be relocated from Tel Aviv, every president has deferred the tough decision. The act contains a clause that allows the president to renew a six-month waiver on the decision.

US Vice President Mike Pence says his boss, Donald Trump, is considering “when and how” to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds as a Friday deadline approaches.

Palestinians have warned that the potential relocation would fuel strong reaction in the region and deliver a death blow to any prospect of resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments