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Kristen Iversen – Full Body Burden – Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

argusfest – June 20, 2012

This talk was filmed at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colorado on June, 19, 2012.

Kristen Iversen shared excerpts from her new book “Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats”.

Here are some quotes about her book…

“In this powerful work of research and personal testimony, Iversen chronicles the story of America’s willfully blinkered relationship to the nuclear weapons industry . . . masterful use of the present tense, conveying tremendous suspense and impressive control of the material.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“Superbly crafted tale of Cold War America’s dark underside . . . exquisitely researched.” Kirkus starred review

“Iversen has crafted a chilling, brilliantly written cautionary tale about the dangers of blind trust . . . Full Body Burden is both an engrossing memoir and a powerful piece of investigative journalism.” Bookpage

“Full Body Burden is one of the most important stories of the nuclear era—as personal and powerful as Silkwood, told with the suspense and narrative drive of The Hot Zone. With unflinching honesty, Kristen Iversen has written an intimate and deeply human memoir that shows why we should all be concerned about nuclear safety, and the dangers of ignoring science in the name of national security. Rocky Flats needs to be part of the same nuclear discussion as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. So does Full Body Burden. It’s an essential and unforgettable book that should be talked about in schools and book clubs, online and in the White House.
–REBECCA SKLOOT, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“This terrifyingly brilliant book – as perfectly crafted and meticulously assembled as the nuclear bomb triggers that lie at its core – is a savage indictment of the American strategic weapons industry, both haunting in its power, and yet wonderfully, charmingly human as a memoir of growing up in the Atomic Age.”
–SIMON WINCHESTER, author of The Professor and the Madman and Atlantic

“News stories come and go. It takes a book of this exceptional caliber to focus our attention and marshal our collective commitment to preventing future nuclear horrors.”
–Booklist

Her website is: http://www.kristeniversen.com/

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

Military Fraud in the JFK Autopsy

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | September 14, 2018

A popular lament about the JFK assassination is, “Golly, I guess we’ll never know what really happened.” The reason people express that lament is that they are thinking of what the law calls “direct evidence,” like a videotaped confession or a written memorandum detailing plans to conduct the assassination.

What such lamenters fail to consider, however, is the important role that circumstantial evidence can tell us about what happened on that fateful day in November 1963. They either fail to understand the importance of circumstantial evidence or they are simply too frightened to consider the possibility that officials might be lying about the official account of the assassination.

What is circumstantial evidence? It is indirect evidence that is used to establish certain facts. Suppose people in Atlanta wake up tomorrow morning and see the streets of the city flooded with water. Even though they slept through the night, they can conclude that it rained the previous night. The flooded streets are circumstantial evidence that it did in fact rain, even if no one saw it rain.

Every court in the land holds that circumstantial evidence is just as valid as direct evidence. Thus, courts put equal weight on an eyewitness who saw it rain and on the fact that the streets are flooded to establish that it did in fact rain.

Let’s consider an important aspect of the Kennedy assassination, one that I am currently exploring in my new video/podcast series on the assassination: the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the body of President Kennedy just a few short hours after the assassination. It’s an aspect of the assassination about which many Americans are unfamiliar but one that can enable people to have a better understanding about the assassination itself.

After the Warren Commission issued its official conclusions in 1964, it ordered much of its investigative records to be kept secret for a period of 75 years. After the House Select Committee on Assassinations reopened the investigation into JFK’s death in the mid-1970s, it ordered that much of its investigative records be kept secret for 50 years. Meanwhile, from the very beginning, the U.S. national-security establishment shrouded its JFK-related records in an indefinite and perpetual cloak of “national-security” secrecy and “classified-information” secrecy.

The official secrecy was especially pronounced with respect to the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the body of President Kennedy. Participants in the autopsy were told that the entire operation was “classified.” They were ordered to never disclose to anyone what they had seen. They were threatened with court martial and criminal prosecution if they ever talked to anyone about what they had witnessed. They were required to sign official “letters of secrecy” by which they acknowledged their vow to keep the autopsy secret.

By and large, and with a few exceptions, that military secrecy held for some 30 years. Much of it came to a screeching halt, however, in the 1990s, when Congress enacted the JFK Records Act, which mandated that the military, the CIA, and other elements of the national-security establishment release their JFK-related records. The law was enacted in response to the outrage produced by Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, which posited that the assassination was a national-security regime-change operation, no different in principle from those conducted in places like Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Congo in 1961, Cuba in the early 1960s, Vietnam in 1963, and, later, in Chile in 1973. Stone’s movie informed people of the 30-year old wall of secrecy that the U.S. national-security establishment had constructed around the JFK assassination. That caused Congress to enact the JFK Records Act. To enforce the Act, Congress called into existence the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

Here are some of the things we have learned about the JFK autopsy, mostly because of the JFK Records Act and the enforcement measures taken by the ARRB, as detailed in the five-volume book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB:

1. While most everyone thought that the president’s body was being transported in a U.S Navy vehicle to the Bethesda Naval Facility after Air Force One landed at Andrews Air Force Base, along with the president’s wife Jacqueline and his brother Bobby, it was actually sneaked into the back entrance of the Bethesda morgue almost 1 ½ hours before it was officially introduced into the front of the facility at 8 pm.

How do we know this? Through a combination of both direct and indirect evidence, most of which wasn’t discovered until the 1990s as part of the JFK Records Act and the ARRB’s enforcement actions, as follows:

a. The testimony of several enlisted men, which established that they carried the president’s body into the morgue in a cheap “shipping casket,” similar to the types the military used for transporting the bodies of soldiers who were being killed in the Vietnam War, rather than the expensive, ornate, heavy casket into which the president’s body had been placed at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after he was declared dead.

b. A written report from Gawler’s Funeral Home, the most prestigious funeral home in Washington. It conducted the embalming of the president’s body and then the president’s funeral. The report, which was prepared contemporaneously with events in November 1963, established that the president’s body was brought into the morgue in a shipping casket.

c. A written report from U.S. Marine Sgt. Roger Boyajian, which was also prepared near the time of the autopsy, establishing that his team carried Kennedy’s body into the morgue at 6:35 p.m. in a shipping casket, which was almost 1 ½ hours before the official 8:00 p.m. time that the body was brought into the morgue in the Dallas casket.c

d. The testimony of Jerrol Custer, a U.S. Navy x-ray technician at the autopsy, who stated that he was carrying x-rays of the president’s head in the main foyer of the building when Jacqueline Kennedy entered the front of the facility at around 6:55 p.m. When she entered the building, the Dallas casket which she believed contained the body of the president was still sitting in the front of the facility.

e. At 8 p.m., Commander James Humes, one of the three military pathologists who would conduct the autopsy, telephoned Army Lt. Col. Pierre Finck to request his help with the autopsy. That was also the time — 8 p.m. — that the president’s body was being officially brought into the morgue for the autopsy.

During that telephone call, Humes told Finck that they already had x-rays of the president’s head. Humes’s statement is what the law calls an “admission against interest.” It is akin to a confession. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the only way they could already have x-rays of the president’s head is if the president’s body had in fact previously been brought into the morgue prior to 8:00 p.m. time that the body was officially being brought into the facility, which was the same time that Humes was making his telephone call to Finck.

2. U.S. Navy Petty Officer Saundra Spencer’s testimony before the ARRB in the 1990s helped establish that the military had conducted a fraudulent autopsy on the body of President Kennedy. Spencer worked in the U.S. Navy’s photography lab in Washington. She had a top-secret security clearance. Her job included developing photographs. She worked closely with the White House, especially on classified photographs. No one has ever questioned the competence, integrity, and veracity of Saundra Spencer.

Spencer told the ARRB an astounding story, one that she had kept secret for some 30 years, owing to the fact that what she had done was, she was led to believe, constituted “classified information.” After the ARRB released her from her obligation of secrecy, Spencer testified that on the weekend of the assassination she was asked to develop, on a top-secret basis, the autopsy photographs of President Kennedy.

When the general counsel for the ARRB, a lawyer named Jeremy Gunn, showed her the autopsy photographs of the back of JFK’s head in the official record, she carefully examined them and stated firmly, directly, and unequivocally that they were not the ones she developed on the weekend of the assassination. She stated that the autopsy photographs she developed showed a massive wound in the back of the president’s head, which matched what the Dallas treating physicians had stated, along with other many other witnesses, including Secret Service agent Clint Hill, FBI agents Francis O’Neill and James Sibert, nurses Diane Bowrun and Audrey Bell, and assassination eyewitnesses Charles Brehm, Marilyn Willis, and motorcycle policemen B.J. Martin and Bobby Hargis. The autopsy photographs in the official record show the back of the president’s head to be fully intact, i.e., no massive sized wound.

3. The ARRB discovered that the military pathologists had conducted two separate brain examinations, which they falsely represented to be only one brain examination. ARRB staff members were able to discover this through circumstantial evidence. The official photographer for the autopsy, John Stringer, testified that he was at the first brain exam, which took place within a couple of days of the autopsy. He stated that the brain was “sectioned” or cut into slices (like a loaf of bread), which was standard procedure for gunshot wounds to the head. Col. Finck testified that he attended a brain examination about a week after the autopsy. Finck was not at the first brain exam. Stringer was not at the second brain exam. That is how we know they are lying about there being only one brain exam. That’s the power of circumstantial evidence.

Moreover, at the second brain exam, a full-sized, albeit damaged, brain was examined. Necessarily, that could not have been the president’s brain because the president’s brain was “sectioned” at the first brain exam. Moreover, the brain at the second exam weighed more than an average person’s brain, which could not have been the president’s brain given that the president had lost around 25-30 percent of brain mass with the gunshot that hit his head.

4. The ARRB discovered that the military was using both an official photographer and a secret photographer for the autopsy. The official photographer was John Stringer, who taught medical photography at the Bethesda Naval Medical School (which necessarily would have brain specimens for the students to practice on). The secret photographer was Robert Knudsen, who worked as the White House photographer for five presidents. Knudsen was summoned to Andrews Air Force Base on the day of the assassination and was gone from his family for 3 days. When he returned, he told his family that he photographed the autopsy but that he was forbidden to disclose what he had done. He later told a national photography magazine that he had been the photographer for the Kennedy autopsy. Everyone agrees that Knudsen was not at the official autopsy. The photographs he took were clearly part of a top-secret, classified operation. Many years later, Knudsen privately disclosed to his family that there were shenanigans taking place regarding the autopsy photographs.

5. In November 1966, three years after the assassination, a top-secret meeting was held at the National Archives. It included two of the three autopsy pathologists who had conducted the autopsy, Humes and Commander J. Thornton Boswell, the autopsy radiologist Navy Capt. John Ebersole, and the official autopsy photographer John Stringer. At that meeting, a lawyer from the Justice Department presented them with a detailed written inventory of the JFK autopsy photographs and x-rays in the official record.

Their job was to compare the photographs and x-rays in the official record with the detailed written inventory. At the end of the inventory, the Justice Department had inserted an affirmation that stated that this was a complete and accurate inventory and that the signers had no reason to believe that any photographs or x-rays were missing.

During this process, Stringer stated that some of the photographs he took were not in the official record or in the inventory. Humes agreed with him. Nonetheless, all four of them signed the affirmation, knowing that it was false and that they were committing perjury or false official statement.

Thirty years later, when Stringer appeared before the ARRB, he acknowledged that he  had knowingly signed that false affirmation. When Gunn, the ARRB’s general counsel, observed that there were people who objected to this sort of thing, Stringer agreed with him but also stating that such people don’t get very far either.

All of this is just part of the fraud and deception in the U.S. military’s autopsy of President John F. Kennedy.

Why would the military conduct a fraudulent autopsy? As I am detailing in my video-podcast series, the answer to that question enables us to better understand the assassination itself.

Coming up with the answer to that question requires us to examine the actions of the man who launched the fraudulent autopsy in the first place — the man who became president when Kennedy was declared dead, Lyndon Baines Johnson. That requires us to turn to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Immediately upon being Kennedy’s being declared dead, a team of Secret Service agents, stating that they were operating under orders, informed the Dallas County Medical Examiner, Dr. Earl Rose, that they were not going to permit him to conduct an autopsy, even though Texas law required it. Brandishing guns and screaming, yelling, and emitting a stream of profanities, they forced their way out of hospital with the president’s body.

Keep in mind an important fact: the federal government had no jurisdiction in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. That’s because assassinating the president was not a federal crime at that time. The only officials who had jurisdiction over the murder of John F. Kennedy Dallas County officials, including the County Medical Examiner, Dr. Earl Rose, the man who was prohibited by that team of Secret Service agents from conducting the autopsy that state law required him to conduct.

The only one who could reasonably have issued the order to that team of Secret Service agents to get the body out of Parkland without permitting an autopsy to be conducted was Lyndon Johnson, who had immediately proceeded to Dallas’s Love Field, where he began having seats removed from Air Force One to make room for the casket that he was awaiting from that team of Secret Service agents. Johnson then flew the body to Andrews Air Force Base and delivered it into the hands of the military, which then proceeded to conduct the fraudulent autopsy.

Here is the question to ponder in the context of all this circumstantial evidence: When did Johnson conceive of the plan to have the military conduct a fraudulent autopsy on the body of President Kennedy: (1) during the 30-minute or so time period between the time the president was shot and the time he was declared dead or (2) prior to the assassination itself? That’s one of the questions we are exploring in my video-podcast series on the JFK assassination. (Episode 12 has been posted today.)

For more information, see:

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

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 3 Comments

The Bluffer’s Guide to Bombing Syria

The Dirty Dozen: 12 lies they tell you to anaesthetise you for the upcoming bombing of Syria

By Peter Ford | 21st Century Wire | September 14, 2018

The propaganda mills of the British and American governments – spokespersons, media, think tanks – are working overtime churning out ‘talking points’ to justify the upcoming large scale bombing of Syria on the pretext of use of prohibited weapons.

Here is a guide from a former insider to the top dozen of these lies.

1. There are more babies than jihadis in Idlib. As it happens this gem of moral blackmail is untrue. There are twice as many jihadis (about 100,000) as babies (0-1 year) (55,000). What is this factoid meant to say anyway? Don’t try to free an area of jihadis because you might harm a lot of children? The Western coalition scarcely heeded that consideration in razing Mosul and Raqqa in order to crush ISIS. They are still pulling babies out of the rubble in Raqqa.

2. The reports [of the imminent chemical weapons ‘attack’] must be true because Assad has done it before. False. Since 2013 when Asad gave up chemical weapons under supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the OPCW have not visited the sites of alleged attacks in jihadi-controlled areas but have accepted at face value ‘reports’ from pro-jihadi organisations like the White Helmets and the Syrian American Medical Society, along with ‘evidence’ from hostile intelligence agencies. In the case of the one site the OPCW did visit, Douma, their report said they found no evidence of sarin, no untoward traces in any of the blood samples taken from ‘alleged victims’ (their term), no bodies and only ambiguous evidence of use of chlorine.

3. The OPCW report on Douma was flawed because the Russians and Syrians caused delay. False. As documented in the OPCW report, delay was caused by UN bureaucracy and jihadi snipers. The inspectors do not say their findings were to any significant degree invalidated by the delay.

4. Assad uses chemical weapons because they frighten large numbers of people into fleeing. False. They don’t. This desperate argument is trotted out to counter the fact that Assad would have to be stupid to use chemical weapons knowing what the result would be and that he would derive minimal military benefit. To date, not one of the alleged chemical attacks has precipitated an exodus any greater than flight caused by the legendary ‘barrel bombs’. The inhabitants of Douma by their own testimonies given to Western journalists were even unaware there might have been an attack until they heard about it in the media.

5. The OPCW won’t be able to investigate because it won’t be safe. A feeble excuse to preempt calls for establishing facts before bombing. The Turks escort Western journalists into Idlib. They have hundreds of troops there and the jihadis kowtow to them because they control all logistics. The Turks could escort OPCW. And wouldn’t the jihadis be keener than anybody for the inspectors to visit if their claims were true?

6. The upcoming strikes are not aimed at regime change. False. The plan is to decapitate the Syrian state with attacks on the presidency. Failing that the aim is to make Idlib a quagmire for the Russians. Anything to deprive Asad and Putin of victory, regardless of whether it prolongs the war.

7. It’s all Russian disinformation. Yeah, like the arms inspectors before the Iraq war who said no WMD in Iraq. Reality: the Russians have got great intelligence on what Western powers with their jihadi clients are up to and are calling out the phoney moves.

8. There won’t be enough time for parliamentary debate. Pull the other one. Reality: the government are terrified of a rerun of 2013 when Labour and 30 brave Tory MPs voted against bombing, causing Cameron and then Obama to back off.

9. MPs can’t be told what is planned because it would jeopardise the safety of service personnel. How low can you stoop? Feigning concern for flyers when it’s really just about keeping the people in ignorance of how big the strikes are going to be.

10. There are going to be massacres, a bloodbath, or ‘genocide’. False. We heard all this hysteria before Aleppo, before Eastern Ghouta and before the campaign in the South. All vastly exaggerated. The Syrian Arab Army has not been responsible for a single massacre, while the jihadis have been responsible for many (source: quarterly reports of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria).

11. People have nowhere to go. False. The Russians have opened safe corridors but the jihadis are not allowing people to leave. They can still leave for the northern border strip which Turkey controls, where there are camps, and many (including jihadi fighters) will be able to cross temporarily into Turkey.

12. We can’t tell you which armed groups we support because it would make them targets for Assad. Really? You think he doesn’t know? Isn’t it because you are terrified it will come out that we have been supporting some real head-choppers?

***

Author Peter Ford is a retired British Diplomat who was Ambassador to Bahrain from 1999-2003 and Syria from 2003-2006.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

The New York Times Editorial Opposing Military Intervention in Venezuela May Do More Harm Than Good

By Steve Ellner – Venezuelanalysis – September 13, 2018

There is a growing body of pro-establishment statements opposing the possibility of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. The latest expression of this position is a New York Times editorial titled “Stay Out of Venezuela, Mr. Trump” published on September 11. At first glance the editorial is a welcomed statement that counters the careless war-mongering declarations coming from the ilk of Marco Rubio and a number of high-ranking Trump administration officials as well as Trump himself.

Certainly, one must applaud the NY Times’ decision to come out in opposition to military intervention, and its recognition that similar intervention and support for regime change in Latin America historically (the editorial even makes reference to the Brazilian coup of 1964) as well as elsewhere in the world has had disastrous consequences.

The line of reasoning of the New York Times’s editorial overlaps that of other articles that have come out recently in the establishment media such as one titled “U.S. Military Intervention in Venezuela would be a Major Mistake” by Robert Moore published the following day in The Hill as well as the position of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). The anti-war stand crosses party lines as Moore has served Republican senators including Tea Party Republican Jim DeMint.

One hint regarding the limitations of this new position is the subtitle of the NY Times’ editorial: “President Maduro has to Go, but an American Backed Coup is not the Answer.” The way the article frames the issue is what makes it worrisome. The New York Times does not question the right of the U.S. as a nation (as opposed to the UN) to promote regime change. All it says is that a more intelligent approach to getting rid of Maduro is what is called for. As an alternative to military intervention, Trump’s pro-establishment critics call for increased sanctions.

WOLA, for instance, criticizes the Trump administration for increasing the number of Chavistas who are being sanctioned, rather than concentrating on a smaller number of leading Chavistas and increasing the penalties against them. In fact, the issue of sanctions against individuals serves as a cover for the financial embargo which has inflicted considerable harm on Venezuela, as even Reuters recognizes.

A valid question is why the New York Times has waited until now to adamantly oppose military intervention. After all, the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised the possibility of a military solution as far back as February of this year when he kicked off his six-day Latin American tour in Austin where he stated “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” The statement was a trial balloon. Trump pushed the idea in subsequent months but the response from right-wing and conservative governments was negative. Countries which form part of the Lima Group rejected the military option and distanced themselves from Washington by supporting Mexico in its differences with the U.S. on tariffs and NAFTA.

The New York Times saw the handwriting on the wall and realized that military intervention would not count on the support of Latin American governments, in spite of their hostility to the Maduro government. The intervention that Trump proposed would be truly unilateral (unlike current military intervention in the Middle East) as Latin American governments would be unwilling to pay the inevitably high political price for supporting a U.S. invasion in the region.

Given these circumstances, coupled with Trump’s lack of political capital, a military invasion is unlikely. Talk of it may be designed to encourage dissension and unrest within the Venezuelan military. The strategy is that by threatening military action, members of the Venezuelan armed forces may put up resistance to Maduro out of the prospect of having to risk their lives in a confrontation against the world’s greatest military superpower.

In any case, if the central argument of the New York Times and other members of the “liberal” establishment is that Trump should focus on economic sanctions rather than a military solution, then they are undoubtedly doing more harm than good.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Erekat: Oslo agreement is dead and we will not abide by it

MEMO | September 14, 2018

Palestinian chief negotiator and a member of the Fatah Central Committee Saeb Erekat has acknowledged that the Oslo agreement signed 25 years ago between Israel and the PLO “has died on the ground because of Israel’s practices”.

Speaking to Al-Khaleej Online, Erekat said: “The Palestinian side has fully complied with all the provisions of the agreement and implemented it on the ground without any failure, but the Israeli side has procrastinated and put obstacles, which lost the agreement its value and its consequences on the Palestinian cause.”

“The Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, has completely destroyed the Oslo agreement and the dream of the two states, and officially announced its death through its racist and arbitrary steps against the Palestinians that continued over the past years. We will not abide by this agreement. We will suspend the recognition of Israel until the Palestinian right to a state and rights are respected.”

Erekat admitted that the fundamental mistake in the Oslo agreement was “the absence of mutual official recognition between the State of Palestine and Israel on the 1967 borders”.

“Israel is fully responsible for the agreement’s failure by disrespecting its provisions as well as occupying the Palestinian territories, expanding the settlements and its aggression against the Palestinians and their rights, properties and sanctities,” he said.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

The Death of CENTO’s Ghost: How the US Lost the Four Great Powers of Southwest Asia

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.09.2018

CENTO – the Central Treaty Organization launched by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in 1958 is totally forgotten now. Even most regional experts on the Middle East and South Asia remember nothing about it. But it had a surprisingly long afterlife of 60 years, and its final, complete dissolution happening now before our eyes marks an epochal transformation of the Eurasian-Southwest Asia World Island.

CENTO – originally known as the Baghdad Pact or the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) – was formed in 1955 by Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and the United Kingdom with the blessing of the United States. The British saw it – farcically as it turned out – as an attempt to retain the phantom, craved after “influence” of their vanishing empire, which had left Pakistan in 1947.

METO did not last long. Within three years, the British –imposed and directed monarchy of the Hashemite dynasty in Baghdad had been literally wiped out in a bloody massacre. Iraq immediately pulled out of METO as fast as it could. METO was renamed CENTO with Eisenhower’s approval in 1958. One of the four “pillars” of the Anglo-American world order in South and Southwest Asia was down: Three to go.

Next to go was Iran in 1979. Its last Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was a megalomaniac egged on by American liberal social engineers who farcically imagined they could recreate President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in Tehran. Millions of people were upended from their homes in enormous industrial and relocation programs while SAVAK, the Shah’s notorious secret police inflicted a reign of torture and terror.

The end result was the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that swept away the Shah and took Iran forever out of the Anglo-American orbit. After that, CENTO was finally officially dissolved. Eisenhower’s dream was dead and gone. But its ghost would endure for another 39 years.

Two down and two to go: For the next 40 years Pakistan and Turkey both remained strong, consistent and important US allies. After 2001, tensions between Washington and Islamabad inexorably grew as the US invasion of Afghanistan and its following endlessly bungled policies to build a so-called modern, democratic and centralized nation backfired in endless war.

This year, Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), simultaneously with its next door neighbor India. Both nations turned their back on US claims of global hegemony and opted instead for a future of cooperation and security with Russia and China in the SCO.

That left only Turkey of the original METO or Baghdad Pact four still in the US orbit. Turkey remains a NATO member as it has been since 1955: The same year it also joined METO. However, since the failed Turkish military coup of June 2016, US –Turkish relations have plunged to their worst state ever. The US Congress seems intent on pouring ever more gasoline of the funeral pyre of the relationship.

Yet Turkey is vastly more important to US, European, NATO and Middle East security than all the tiny and ludicrous nation-building schemes Washington has pursued in the region over the past 25 years put together.

US policymakers – Republican and Democrat alike – remain obsessed with “creating” new “showcase,” supposedly “modern” and “democratic” states in Kurdistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. They see the tiny three Baltic States, Georgia and even Ukraine with its neo-Nazi militias as shining examples that are supposed to inspire the rest of the world to follow the same Washington-directed paths.

None of these American visionary “geniuses” ever stops to remember why Iraq and then Iran opted out of METO/CENTO as fast as they possibly could. None of them stops to consider what the consequences of losing the friendship and trust of nuclear-armed Pakistan with its population of 200 million will be. None of them has ever raised publicly the issue of how totally untenable the reckless US forward naval and strategic deployment in the Black Sea will be if Turkey finally turns its back on the US and NATO.

CENTO is gone. The Baghdad Pact is dead. Now even CENTO’s ghost is dying: The four great buffer powers that the US and the UK looked upon to dominate the northern tier of Southwest and South Asia have abandoned Washington or are about to do so. The consequences of this development – born of a generation of stupid, heedless and selfish US policy bungles – will reshape the world.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

While all eyes are on Syria’s Idlib, US continues to decimate Yemen

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | September 14, 2018

The US is ready to defend Syria from a brutish assault launched by Syria’s own government and its allies – or so Washington wants you to believe. In the backdrop, Yemen continues to burn in silence.

On September 3, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley – eloquent diplomat that she is –  retweeted a tweet from the warmonger in chief that is the US president, with the caption “All eyes on the actions of Assad, Russia and Iran in Idlib.” This is the same US administration who just facilitated the bombing of a school bus in Yemen, slaughtering at least 40 children in the process.

Maybe, just maybe, Nikki Haley should keep her eyes on herself.

If the world did direct its eyes to what is taking place in Yemen, they would know that the United Nations has just warned of an “incalculable human cost” in the works, as the US and its allies press forward with an offensive to retake the Yemeni port city of Hodeida from the Houthi rebels.

That’s right. The US, currently waving its arms in despair about human rights abuses and chemical weapons attacks that have not even taken place in Syria yet, is supporting a major offensive of its own that will lead to a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions.

Yemen, a country already deeply in crisis, relies on the port of Hodeida for at least 70 percent of its humanitarian aid. It therefore makes sense from a humanitarian perspective to turn its location into a major war zone, am I right?

The small minority of people who are inclined to care about innocent Yemenis need not fret though. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just this week certified that the Saudi-led coalition is taking sufficient steps to protect civilians. According to Pompeo, the Gulf nations involved are “undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians.”

“They are taking steps, in the view of the US government and this administration, in the right direction,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing, according to Reuters. “We see them taking steps. Is it perfect? No absolutely not. Do we see them doing what they can to mitigate civilian casualties? Absolutely we do.”

Thank God – I was getting worried there for a second. The US-backed Saudi-led coalition may be killing children as if they were ants, but they are taking steps to mitigate the number of children they are killing at the same time.

A seven-page memo sent to Congress and obtained by the Intercept further confirmed Pompeo’s delusional thinking, as the memo called Saudi Arabia and the UAE “strong counterterrorism partners.” Never mind that just last month, the Associated Press reported the US and its allies were actually recruiting Al-Qaeda fighters to join the coalition.

Oops.

While the Trump administration is taking a horrifying and bloody war and taking it to new depths, the truth of the matter is that this war did not begin under Donald Trump. The war in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, fast becoming the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, was started by none other than peace-prize laureate Barack Obama himself.

But why did this war start, and why has the US continued to support it?

In an overlooked interview with the Real News’ Aaron Maté, Rob Malley, President of the International Crisis Group and former Special Assistant to President Obama, gave a disturbing glimpse into who actually pulls the strings on US foreign policy.

According to Malley:

“To try to understand what the Obama administration was about, and I’ve tried to- just to try to, to explain it to myself, to try to understand how we got to where we are, let’s not forget at the time we were in the middle of these negotiations with Iran, trying to reach a nuclear deal which was extremely unpopular with our traditional allies in the region, from Israel to Saudi Arabia to the UAE and others. And the Saudis came to us and said that they were about to intervene in Yemen, to attack the Houthis that had toppled the legitimate government of the internationally recognized government at the time. And they asked for our assistance…”

“So there was on the one hand a number of voices expressing concern about that. But on the other hand were many people saying the relationship with Saudi Arabia is almost at breaking point. They believe we’d betrayed their trust for a number of reasons. But Iran, Iran negotiating the Iran deal, or the negotiations over the Iran deal was one of them. We needed to protect that deal and make sure that we could get it done, because if we didn’t have a deal there was a risk of a war with Iran. And so I think the decision was made in the end by President Obama to say we’re going to be, to support parts of this war…”

Only a peace prize laureate could pull off a feat like that. But all joking aside, the human cost of the war in Yemen is nothing short of shameless.

On October 8, 2016, an aerial bombardment targeted a crowded funeral in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, the aftermath of which was aptly described as a “lake of blood.” According to the UN, more than 140 Yemenis were killed and at least 525 others were injured.

To date, the US-backed Saudi-led coalition has struck well over 100 hospitals, as well as wedding parties, refugee camps, food trucks, factories, transport routes, agricultural land, residential areas, and schools, to name a few. Yes, you read that right. Yemen, with only 2.8 percent of its land being cultivated, is actively targeted by the US-backed coalition. According to Martha Mundy, professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, “to hit that small amount of agricultural land, you have to target it.”

Prior to spiralling into chaos, Yemen was already dependent on imports for 90 percent of its staple foods and almost all of its fuel and medical supplies. Putting aside the mass amount of violence that the US-backed coalition has enacted, the rest of Yemen’s population is suffering due to the Saudi-imposed blockade, which has put half the population at risk of starvation. According to the UN, over 462,000 children under the age of five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

This is done completely on purpose. At the end of August this year, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, threatened that he would continue targeting women and children in Yemen and allegedly said that he wants to “leave a big impact on the consciousness of Yemeni generations.”

“We want their children, women and even their men to shiver whenever the name of Saudi Arabia is mentioned,” the Crown Prince reportedly said.

The idea, advanced by Pompeo and his cohorts at the State Department, that the coalition has taken steps to avoid civilian casualties is by all accounts, complete nonsense. As the New York Times openly acknowledged:

“The first problem was the ability of Saudi pilots, who were inexperienced in flying missions over Yemen and fearful of enemy ground fire. As a result, they flew at high altitudes to avoid the threat below. But flying high also reduced the accuracy of their bombing and increased civilian casualties,” American officials said.

“American advisers suggested how the pilots could safely fly lower, among other tactics. But the airstrikes still landed on markets, homes, hospitals, factories and ports, and are responsible for the majority of the 3,000 civilian deaths during the yearlong war, according to the United Nations.”

In addition to supplying billions of dollars’ worth of arms to the Saudi kingdom, US personnel provide overwhelming assistance to the Saudi-led coalition to help bring Yemen to its knees by sitting in the Saudi’s command and control center, providing lists of targets, refuelling planes, running intelligence missions, and so forth.

If Donald Trump is so concerned with migrants and refugees, perhaps he should stop creating them. If he really cares about ‘America first’ and making America great again, perhaps racking up notches to America’s war crime belt is not the way to go. Legal experts have already warned the US government that its complicity in these attacks can make them a co-belligerent in Saudi Arabia’s vast, extensive list of war crimes. This warning has fallen completely on deaf ears and has not helped at all in deterring the Trump administration from continuing some of Barack Obama’s worst policies; and even now the US continues to shelter the Saudi-led coalition so that it can continue its bloodthirsty policies unabated.

Make no mistake, if the US pulled its support for Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s suffering could stop tomorrow.

Watch out for Assad though; I heard he was about to retake a Syrian city from an Al-Qaeda affiliate. Remember Al-Qaeda, the notorious terror group the US claimed was the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks? Apparently, the entire US government doesn’t, as it allies itself with Al-Qaeda in just about every battlefield that counts.

In the meantime, ordinary Yemenis continue to suffer by the millions. If you can absorb all of this and still believe the US is genuinely concerned about human rights abuses in places like Syria, then you probably deserve what’s to come next.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lynch Mob Mentality

By Craig Murray | September 14, 2018

I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Boshirov and Petrov’s story do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full twenty minute interview, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media.

As I explained in my last post, what first gave me some sympathy for the Russians’ story and drew me to look at it closer, was the raft of social media claims that there was no snow in Salisbury that weekend and Stonehenge had not been closed. In fact, Stonehenge was indeed closed on 3 March by heavy snow, as confirmed by English Heritage. So the story that they came to Salisbury on 3 March but could not go to Stonehenge because of heavy snow did stand up, contrary to almost the entire twittersphere.

Once there was some pushback of truth about this on social media, people started triumphantly posting the CCTV images from 4 March to prove that there was no snow lying in Central Salisbury on 4 March. But nobody ever said there was snow on 4 March – in fact Borisov and Petrov specifically stated that they learnt there was a thaw so they went back. However when they got there, they encountered heavy sleet and got drenched through. That accords precisely with the photographic evidence in which they are plainly drenched through.

Another extraordinary meme that causes hilarity on twitter is that Russians might be deterred by snow or cold weather.

Well, Russians are human beings just like us. They cope with cold weather at home because they have the right clothes. Boshirov and Petrov refer continually in the interview to cold, wet feet and again this is borne out by the photographic evidence – they were wearing sneakers unsuitable to the freak weather conditions that were prevalent in Salisbury on 3 and 4 March. They are indeed soaked through in the pictures, just as they said in the interview.

Russians are no more immune to cold and wet than you are.

Twitter is replete with claims that they were strange tourists, to be visiting a housing estate. No evidence has been produced anywhere that shows them on any housing estate. They were seen on CCTV camera walking up the A36 by the Shell station, some 400 yards from the Skripals’ house, which would require three turnings to get to that – turnings nobody saw them take (and they were on the wrong side of the road for the first turning, even though it would be very close). No evidence has been mentioned which puts them at the Skripals’ House.

Finally, it is everywhere asserted that it is very strange that Russians would take a weekend break holiday, and that if they did they could not possibly be interested in architecture or history. This is a simple expression of anti-Russian racism. Plainly before their interview – about which they were understandably nervous – they prepared what they were going to say, including checking up on what it was they expected to see in Salisbury because they realised they would very obviously be asked why they went. Because their answer was prepared does not make it untrue.

That literally people thousands of people have taken to twitter to mock that it is hilariously improbable that tourists might want to visit Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge, is a plain example of the irrationality that can overtake people when gripped by mob hatred.

I am astonished by the hatred that has been unleashed. The story of Gerry Conlon might, you would hope, give us pause as to presuming the guilt of somebody who just happened to be of the “enemy” nationality, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Despite the mocking mob, there is nothing inherently improbable in the tale told by the two men. What matters is whether they can be connected to the novichok, and here the safety of the identification of the microscopic traces of novichok allegedly found in their hotel bedroom is key. I am no scientist, but I have been told by someone who is, that if the particle(s) were as the police state so small as to be harmless to humans, they would be too small for mass spectrometry analysis and almost certainly could not be firmly identified other than as an organophosphate. Perhaps someone qualified might care to comment.

The hotel room novichok is the key question in this case.

Were I Vladimir Putin, I would persuade Boshirov and Petrov voluntarily to come to the UK and stand trial, on condition that it was a genuinely fair trial before a jury in which the entire proceedings, and all of the evidence, was open and public, and the Skripals and Pablo Miller might be called as witnesses and cross-examined. I have no doubt that the British government’s desire for justice would suddenly move into rapid retreat if their bluff was called in this way.

As for me, when I see a howling mob rushing to judgement and making at least some claims which are utterly unfounded, and when I see that mob fueled and egged on by information from the security services propagated by exactly the same mainstream media journalists who propagandised the lies about Iraqi WMD, I see it as my job to stand in the way of the mob and to ask cool questions. If that makes them hate me, then I must be having some impact.

So I ask this question again – and nobody so far has attempted to give me an answer. At what time did the Skripals touch their doorknob? Boshirov and Petrov arrived in Salisbury at 11.48 and could not have painted the doorknob before noon. The Skripals had left their house at 09.15, with their mobile phones switched off so they could not be geo-located. Their car was caught on CCTV on three cameras heading out of Salisbury to the North East. At 13.15 it was again caught on camera heading back in to the town centre from the North West.

How had the Skripals managed to get back to their home, and touch the door handle, in the hour between noon and 1pm, without being caught on any of the CCTV cameras that caught them going out and caught the Russian visitors so extensively? After this remarkably invisible journey, what time did they touch the door handle?

I am not going to begin to accept the guilt of Boshirov and Petrov until somebody answers that question. Dan Hodges? David Aaronovitch? Theresa May? Anybody?

September 14, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

UK Wants Skripal Hysteria to Soften Public Before Attacks in Syria – Scholar

Sputnik – September 14, 2018

Two men suspected by London of poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury were interviewed by RT, and said they had visited Salisbury as tourists. Sputnik discussed the issue with Dr. George Szamuely, political analyst and author of “Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia”.

Sputnik: What is your take on London’s allegations that the Skripal attack was approved at a senior level of the Russian state? What would Russia gain from this?

Dr. George Szamuely: Well it’s very hard to tell what’s been going on behind the scenes, there’s obviously some attempt on the British authorities’ part to keep the Skripal hysteria going.

I think it is connected with the events taking place in Syria and the expectation that the United States, Britain and France are set to launch missile attacks on Syria, and I think that this is part of softening up the public in anticipation of these attacks.So at the very time that Russia is in the headlines associated with chemical weapons, lo and behold, chemical weapons are supposedly being used by the Syrian government, which itself is being backed by Russia. So I think this latest disclosure, if we can call it that, is really tied up with what’s going on in Syria.

Sputnik: What do you make of the fact that the Russians have not been allowed to be involved in the investigation, the Russian side was not given the information that they had on the perpetrators, they were not given their passport numbers, is that normal or do you see anything strange in that?

Dr. George Szamuely: No, I don’t think it’s at all normal, I think Russia had every reason to be rather upset about this.First of all, it isn’t normal for them not to have access to the two victims of the poisoning, certainly Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen and, therefore, they have every need to talk to her, there’s been an attempted murder on her, and they’ve been denied that, and they’ve been denied all of the investigatory material on which the Russians can actually be able to provide their own assesment, their own analysis, to have their own input.

The British attitude towards Russia seems to be: just admit your guilt! You have to admit your guilt! — any other response is unacceptable, but in the meantime we’re not going to even show you any evidence upon which you can make any inferences, any evidence upon which you can conduct your own investigation.

See also:

UK Lied Saying That Names of ‘Suspects’ in Skripal Case Were Fictitious – Russian Foreign Ministry

September 14, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Marines hold eight days of drills with militants in southern Syria

Press TV – September 14, 2018

US marines have held eight days of unprecedented military exercises with US-backed militants in southern Syria in an attempt to send a “strong message” to Iran and Russia, a senior military official said.

Colonel Sean Ryan, a US military spokesman, described the drills as “a show of force,” saying that the Pentagon had notified Russia through “deconfliction” channels to prevent “miscommunication or escalate tension”.

“The exercise was conducted to reinforce our capabilities and ensure we are ready to respond to any threat to our forces within our area of operations,’” he noted.

The eight days of drills ended this week at the US military outpost in Tanf, located 24 km to the west from the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq in Homs Governorate, said Colonel Muhanad al Talaa, the commander of the US-backed Maghawir al Thawra militant group.

He told Reuters the war games were the first such exercises with live-fire air and ground assault, involving hundreds of US troops and militants operating against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Thawra claimed the drills were meant to send what he described as “a strong message to Russia and Iran” that the Americans and the militants intended to stay and confront any threats to their presence.

The US presence in Tanf military base is illegal and lacks the permission of the Syrian government. Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran have repeatedly denounced the American military presence in Syria and called on the US to withdraw its marines from the base. However, the US has so far refused to pull its forces out, and even moved to deploy hundreds of more marines in Tanf earlier this month.

The new forces have reportedly joined “special operations troops already based in the garrison” and are going to participate in the drills amid an escalation of US-Russian tensions in Syria and Russia’s military exercises in the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, CNN cited several US military officials as saying last Friday that Russia had warned the Pentagon twice in the past weeks that its forces, together with Syrian troops, were prepared to wage an attack on terrorists in the area where dozens of US troops are stationed – including those in Tanf garrison.

Reacting to Moscow’s warnings, US military officials “bluntly warned Russia and Syria not to go forward with an attack within a 35-mile-wide security zone that the US maintains around Tanf,” Task & Purpose further reported.

The US illegally built the military outpost in early 2016 under the pretext of fighting Daesh terrorists, but it has declared a 55 km-radius “deconfliction zone” off-limits to others, providing a safe haven for at least 50,000 militants and their families in the Rukban camp that lies within it.

This is while US President Donald Trump had previously stated that he wanted American troops out of Syria as soon as possible and has also called for redirecting millions of dollars meant to help rebuild Syria to other military projects.

Russian and Iranian military forces are in Syria at the official request of the Syrian government. This is while the US has involved itself in the Syrian conflict through an overt campaign meant to train and support anti-Damascus terrorists. The government of President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly denounced the American military presence in the country and called on Washington to end what it has described as an “uninvited aggression” against Syria.

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

‘It’s science fiction’: Professor doubts claims of ‘microwave attacks’ on US diplomats in Cuba

RT | September 14, 2018

There’s no conclusive evidence that US diplomats stationed in Cuba were injured by a futuristic weapon, Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering, told RT, adding that theories involving microwaves were “science fiction.”

NBC published an explosive report earlier this week claiming that several anonymous US officials suspect that Russia was behind a series of unexplained “attacks” on US diplomatic personnel in Cuba and China, leaving the victims with injuries ranging from hearing loss to “problems with cognition.”

But Foster, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studied microwave phenomena while working at the Naval Medical Research Center in Bethesda, told RT that the evidence that these purported injuries were caused by some kind of microwave weapon – which the NBC article alleges – is “science fiction.”

“The kind of effect that has been talked about with the embassy is purely a fairy tale,” Foster said. He noted that while non-lethal microwave weapons exist, they require high-power transmissions and are only able to cause “thermal pain” in people. “I can’t conceive of a microwave weapon as it’s being thought about in this case. And it’s not clear that the symptoms are real.”

The professor also raised doubts about the severity of the reported injuries, pointing to “very inconclusive, very iffy” results of a research paper published by a group that had examined some of the alleged victims.

“The evidence doesn’t point in any one direction. And the effects are small and vary from one person to another. So I think it’s an overstatement to say that these persons were injured,” Foster said.

“The alternative explanation is that this may be a psychological effect … But the evidence that these people were harmed is very inconclusive at the present.”

The State Department also appeared uneasy about NBC’s anonymous-sourced report.

“I would caution you all to be very skeptical of those officials’ statements right now as you should be aware the investigation continues,” spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a State Department press briefing on Tuesday. “There is no known cause, no known individual or group believed to be responsible at this time. We have not assigned any blame and we continue to look into it.”

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment