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Israel has starring role in H.R.648, “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019”

As Congress tackles urgent issues of reopening government and setting the budget for the country, it takes the time to prioritize a foreign country: H.R.648 contains assurances that Israel will receive $3.8 billion for arms, and funding for refugee resettlement; the bill also includes threats to de-fund the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and any future state of Palestine–if US demands (dictated by the Israel lobby) are not met.

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | February 15, 2019

News analysis

On January 23, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations act billed to ““reopen the government and pay our federal employees.” But buried inside the bill are diverse financial allotments and perks for a foreign country: Israel.

The legislation contains paragraphs and sections far removed from the shutdown, committing billions of dollars in payments to Israel – without the robust debate that usually accompanies big-ticket spending.

The bill has now been placed on Senate Legislative Calendar.

Its sponsor, Nita Lowey (D-NY), was handpicked to be House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman because of her staunch pro-Israel leanings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who appointed Lowey, asserted, “We have people very well paced to share our values” during a speech at the annual conference of the Israeli-American Council (slogan: “Building a coast-to-coast community with Israel in its heart and Israeliness in its spirit”).

It is not unusual for US legislators to advocate for Israel as soon as a new session begins.

A glance through previous years’ appropriations records indicates that the US Congress has for years included issues related to Israel among the earliest legislation of each session. The Senate’s very first bill of 2019, S.1, “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East,”  would authorize assistance and weapons transfers to Israel – which the Consolidated Appropriations bill would then authorize Congress to spend.

Lowey’s House bill, which scarcely mentions any other country by name, contains assurances that Israel will receive money for refugee resettlement and arms, as well as threats to de-fund the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and any future state of Palestine–if US demands (dictated by the Israel lobby) are not met.

Below are the sections of the bill that discuss Israel, followed by an analysis of each:

Israel: Migration and Refugee Assistance (Title III)

The bill text states: “$35 million shall be made available to respond to small-scale emergency humanitarian requirements [throughout the world], and $5 million shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.” 

The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act was passed in 1962 to deal with unexpected and urgent needs of refugees, displaced persons, conflict victims, and other persons at risk around the globe.

Israel is the only refugee assistance beneficiary named in the bill.

It’s unclear why Israel is to be the recipient of 14% of the US refugee aid, given that Israel is the sixth wealthiest country in the Middle East-Asia-Pacific region, and therefore would appear to be able to shoulder this itself.

Also, it’s unclear why Israel the U.S. would give Israel so much aid for refugee settlement, given Israel’s unfriendly policies toward refugees.

AFRICA: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently reported on Israel’s practice of detain and deport for African refugees: of an estimated 35,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees in Israel, the state recognized only eleven as refugees between 2009 and 2018. The rest bear the label “infiltrator,” and face possible expulsion to countries where their safety is questionable at best.

SYRIA: Syria shares a border with Israel; Syrian refugees, the largest single refugee group in the world today. Yet Israel’s former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman has said Israel “will not accept any Syrian refugee to our territory.”

It is also unclear why Israel is to receive U.S. refugee aid when it is the cause of the longest refugee crisis in the world today: Israel prohibits the return of millions of Palestinian refugees families awaiting their UN-mandated right to return, to their land.

Nuclear nonproliferation (Title IV)

The bill text states: “For necessary expenses for nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining and related programs and activities, $864.55 million, to remain available until September 30, 2020… funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.”

A former Iranian ambassador to Jordan asserts, “The Zionist regime expects other countries to comply with non-proliferation treaties while it keeps its nuclear arsenal and does not allow nuclear inspectors to monitor its activities.”

The IAEA promotes the use of atomic energy for “peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world” and works to prevent its use “to further any military purpose.”

Israel’s association with the IAEA has always been problematic, as Israel insists on a policy of ambiguity regarding its nuclear capabilities. Israel cites its “unique security needs” as justification for its ongoing refusal to either declare itself a Nuclear Weapon State (NWS) or sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In spite of its silence, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is universally recognized. According to the Arms Control Association, Israel is believed to have at least 80 nuclear warheads; some estimates place the number at 400.

In addition to its unacknowledged nuclear capabilities, Israel practices the “Begin Doctrine,” a policy of counter-proliferation and preemptive strikes.

Arms Export Controls Act (Title IV)

The bill text states: “For necessary expenses for grants to enable the President to carry out the provisions of section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act, $5.9 billion… [for] the provision of assistance to foreign countries and international organizations… [O]f the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $3.3 billion  [55% of the total] shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act… Provided further, That funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this heading shall be nonrepayable…

The Arms Export Control Act was put in place to ensure that weapons the US sent abroad would be used for legitimate self-defense. Some countries, including Israel, enjoy assistance in the form of grants; others receive loans.

Much of the world disagrees strongly with Israel’s claims of self-defense in its strikes against its neighbors (the self-defense assertion also contradict its Begin Doctrine – see above).

This year’s $3.8 billion in aid–well over half of the total budget for the entire world–is a record in US military support of Israel, and occurs in the context of Israel’s numerous breaches of international and humanitarian law, including occupation, collective punishment, settlements and annexations, the Separation Wall, the unresolved refugee crisis, the blockade of Gaza, and infringement of dozens of UN resolutions.

Regarding the above clause, “shall be disbursed within 30 days,” Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains:

Israel gets all of its aid money at the start of each year, rather than in quarterly installments like other countries. This is significant: It means that Israel can start earning interest on the money right away – interest paid by the US since Israel deposits these funds into an interest-bearing account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. In addition, because the US government operates at a deficit, it must borrow money in order to give it to Israel and then pay interest on it all year. Together these cost US taxpayers more than $100 million every year.

Loan guarantees (Title VII, Section 7033)

The bill text states: “Extension of Loan Guarantees to Israel—Chapter 5 of title I of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (Public Law 108–11; 117 Stat. 576) is amended under the heading “Loan Guarantees to Israel”— [giving Israel a 4-year extension].

Jewish Virtual Library explains loan guarantees to Israel in simple terms:

Loan guarantees are essentially the explicit agreements between two people – or two nations – that if one defaults on a loan the other is obligated to pay it back… ideally, the United States will never have to pay out even a single dollar.

The United States is accepting responsibility from international creditors for any loans the Israeli government takes out…the U.S. could be hit with up to a $3.8 billion bill, plus interest, if Israel defaults on their loans…

Congressional Research Services (CRS) adds that money borrowed must not be used for military purposes or settlements.

However, as CRS points out, “U.S. officials have noted that proceeds from the issuance of U.S.-guaranteed debt that are used to refinance Israeli government debt free up domestic Israeli funds for other uses.”

Among its domestic expenses, Israel has spent an estimated total of $20 billion on settlements and $15 billion on the occupation. Total US aid to Israel stands at $134.7 billion.

Boycott (Title VII, Section 7035)

The bill text states: [T]he Arab League boycott of Israel…is an impediment to peace in the region and to United States investment…[The boycott] should be immediately and publicly terminated.. all Arab League states should normalize relations with their neighbor Israel; the President and the Secretary of State should continue to vigorously oppose [the boycott – for example by refusing to sell weapons to boycotting countries…and encourage allies to enact anti-boycott laws].

The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement explains its existence in the context of seventy years of Israeli denial of Palestinian rights and noncompliance with international law:

Governments fail to hold Israel to account, while corporations and institutions across the world help Israel to oppress Palestinians. Because those in power refuse to act to stop this injustice, Palestinian civil society has called for a global citizens’ response of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.

The US Senate recently passed a federal anti-boycott bill, S.1, which ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Kathleen Ruane critiqued:

The bill, Combating BDS Act, encourages states to adopt the very same anti-boycott laws that two federal courts blocked on First Amendment grounds. The legislation, like the unconstitutional state anti-boycott laws it condones, sends a message to Americans that they will be penalized if they dare to disagree with their government.

Palestinian statehood (Title VII, Section 7036)

The bill text states: “None of the funds appropriated under titles III through VI [e.g. global health programs, disaster assistance, economic support funding, peacekeeping operations] of this Act may be provided to support a Palestinian state unless the Secretary of State determines and certifies [that the Palestinian governing body is committed to peaceful coexistence with Israel, fighting terrorism, renouncing belligerency, etc.,]

None of the funds appropriated under the heading “Economic Support Fund” in this Act may be made available for assistance for the Palestinian Authority, if [Palestinians become full members as a state in the UN or any of its agencies – without direct negotiations with Israel, or] Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.

Israel has officially stated that no Palestinian state should be created apart from direct negotiations with Israel. It views Palestinian efforts at international legitimacy as an attempt by Palestinians to “force their will on Israel through international pressure [which] harms true peace.”

Most US lawmakers, under the influence of the Israel lobby, have acquiesced to the Israeli position.

While insisting on negotiations, Israel refuses to participate in talks that include democratically elected Hamas, and calls on Palestinian leadership to “say the simple words: ‘Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.’”

For their part, Palestinians require a stop to the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as a prerequisite to peace talks–a requirement that Israel has historically ignored.

Palestinians also point to UN Security Council Resolution 242, in which they were called upon to recognize Israel’s “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force,” which does not obligate them to acknowledge Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

In addition, Palestinians reference the 1993 Letters of Mutual Recognition – in which they recognized the existence of Israel – as sufficient recognition.

These issues have caused a deadlock in any negotiations, prompting Palestinians to seek out statehood through other means.

Regarding the International Criminal Court, US leaders have claimed that Palestinians bringing a case to the ICC is “not productive” and the US “prefers a negotiated peace process between Israel and Palestine.”

No to Palestinian agency in Jerusalem (Title VII, Section 7037)

The bill text states: “None of the funds appropriated under titles II through VI of this Act may be obligated or expended to create in any part of Jerusalem [a venue for conducting official US Government business with the Palestinian Authority or any Palestinian governing entity].

When President Trump, at the behest of donor Sheldon Adelson, announced the movement of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he signaled recognition of all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; Palestinians and most of the world reject this, as East Jerusalem is widely considered occupied, and is the intended capital of a future Palestinian state.

No to “Martyrs’ Fund” (Title VII, Section 7037)

The bill text states: “The Secretary of State shall reduce the amount of assistance made available by this Act…[if a Palestinian governing body pays for] acts of terrorism by individuals who are imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for acts of terrorism and by individuals who died committing acts of terrorism…”

Israeli academic Ilan Pappe is one of many who take issue with the notion of a “fair trial” for Palestinians: he describes Israeli military courts as a “humiliating charade” which create the illusion of a fair trial. Pappe insists that the military courtroom houses “a sinister process” and “a bureaucratic self-justification for the system to do what it wants to do.”

Palestinians are prosecuted and judged by Israeli military officials who boast a 99% conviction rate.

The so called “Martyrs’ Fund” or “pay-to-slay” system in the Palestinian territories is actually a fairly typical social safety net, which assists families of Palestinians who are injured or killed in the course of resistance against the Israeli occupation. It also helps to offset the frequent, illegal Israeli practice of demolishing the homes of convicted “terrorists,” a form of collective punishment.

UN Human Rights Council (HRC) (Title VII, Section 7048)

The bill text states: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines…[that the UNHRC] is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item…”

The UNHRC created a permanent discussion point for Israel on its agenda in 2007, one year after the council was formed. The United States officially opposes “Agenda Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,” claiming it illustrates an anti-Israel bias: “The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.”

The HRC has consistently supported the Palestinians and cited Israel for abuses dozens of times.

The United States withdrew from the HRC in 2018 in solidarity with Israel; PM Netanyahu praised the move and called the organization “a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization.” Then-Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused the body of having a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel.”

——

H.R.648, “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019,” is the spending bill Congress needs to pass in order to extricate the US from its damaging government shutdown and pay federal employees. As Congresswoman Lowey stated, other issues would be addressed at a later date.

But the House has prioritized both monetary and policy issues related to Israel, pledging U.S. taxpayer dollars that address Israel’s interests at the expense of Americans.


Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Poland summons Israeli ambassador over Netanyahu’s Holocaust comments

Press TV – February 15, 2019

Poland has called in Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw, threatening to scuttle an upcoming summit in Israel, after the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the European country of collaborating with the Nazi Germany in carrying out the Holocaust.

The Israeli premier, who had participated in a US-sponsored Middle East conference in the Polish capital on Thursday, landed back late Friday but created a short-lived spat with the Polish government when he appeared to implicate Poles in the Holocaust.

However, a correction note issued by The Jerusalem Post alleviated the concerns of Warsaw that had been infuriated by the paper’s initial report, which quoted Netanyahu as saying on Thursday that “Poles cooperated with the Germans” in the Holocaust.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime’s foreign ministry in a statement on Friday called the whole story a mere misunderstanding originated from the Israeli paper’s misquotation.

“The prime minister’s comments concerning Poland were misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which quickly issued a correction clarifying that an error had been made in the editing of the article,” it said.

Nonetheless, Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari to Warsaw for a dressing down over the issue.

Before being summoned, Azari made clear that Netanyahu’s comments had been misquoted.

“I was present during the prime minister’s briefing and he didn’t say that the Polish nation collaborated with the Nazis, he only said that no person was sued for speaking about those Poles who did cooperate with them,” she said in a Friday statement sent to Polish authorities.

Prior to Azari’s statement, Polish President Andrzej Duda had even suggested that the Visegrad Group summit due next week in Israel between Netanyahu and four central European counterparts could be reconsidered “in spite of the previous arrangements” if the Israeli premier had said what was originally reported.

Duda further said that he was even prepared to make his own country the location of the summit as Israel was no longer a good place for the meeting.

Later on Friday, Netanyahu’s office issued a second statement saying that he “spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland.” In its first statement, his office had said he had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post.

It seemed that the correction note and clarifications finally convinced the Polish government, which said late on Friday that Netanyahu’s statements had been misquoted and misunderstood by the media, thereby ending the spat.

The sensitivities are high in Poland over the issue of its actions during the Holocaust.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

NPR misleads public in report on AIPAC vs Ilhan Omar

NPR misleads public in report on AIPAC vs Ilhan Omar

Washington D.C. headquarters of NPR, National Public Radio

NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ segment underreports AIPAC’s finances, uses only Israel partisans as commentators, minimizes power of AIPAC, ignores Palestinians, and fails to inform listeners of the full scope of the Israel lobby

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | February 15, 2019

A recent NPR report, “Unpacking What The American Israel Public Affairs Committee Does,” misleads listeners on several points.

The report is in response to freshman Democratic Congress member Ilhan Omar’s tweet that AIPAC is the cause of U.S. politicians’ support for Israel over U.S. needs and principles. Omar has come under numerous attacks ever since.

NPR’s report, broadcast Wednesday, substantially downplays the power of AIPAC. In doing so, it suggests that Omar’s comments were “antisemitic,” while failing to interview anyone with different views.

The report was on NPR’s All Things Considered, which says it is “the most listened-to, afternoon drive-time, news radio program in the country.”

NPR’s only commentators are Israel partisans

The report largely features comments from two members of the Israel lobby: Josh Block, former AIPAC spokesman and current CEO of the Israel Project, and Ben Shnider, National Political Director for JStreetPAC, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel PAC in the country.”

No one else is interviewed.

The show does not mention that Block was the center of a scandal several years go when it came out that he had been encouraging neoconservative journalists and pundits on a private email list to smear staffers at two progressive think tanks as supposedly “antisemitic.”

Block’s business partner publicly repudiated Block’s actions, and a Democratic-aligned organization expelled Block for using ‘mischaracterization or character attacks’.”

Wednesday’s NPR report was introduced by host Mary Louise Kelly announcing that Ilhan Omar had “repeated what are viewed as anti-Semitic characterizations” of AIPAC.

Kelly failed to mention that many people consider the accusation unjustified and Omar’s statement valid. Israel partisans regularly try to claim that proponents of Palestinian rights are “antisemitic.” An Israeli Knesset member has said that this is a frequently used “trick.”

Block and Shnider are then brought on as alleged experts on the issue. None of the groups and individuals who support Omar are quoted.

Underreports AIPAC’S budget

In the report, NPR gives AIPAC’s lobbying budget as $3.3 million, but leaves out the fact that AIPAC’s total 2017 income was over $229 million.

Commentator Josh Block emphasizes that AIPAC itself doesn’t directly donate to candidates, but doesn’t mention that AIPAC uses numerous other ways to deploy its millions of dollars to influence politicians.

NPR reporter Peter Overby briefly mentions one non-donation AIPAC activity and glancingly refers to what he terms “a small constellation of political action committees around [AIPAC],” but fails to give the full picture of AIPAC’s influence.

A fuller view of AIPAC’s power

Prominent international relations scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt provide a much fuller description of AIPAC’s importance in their 2008 book on the Israel lobby, and in a London Review of Books article on the subject.

Mearshimer and Walt state: “AIPAC itself… forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. Its success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it.”

They quote a former AIPAC staff member, who states: “It is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.” He says that AIPAC is “often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes.”

AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, a potential presidential candidate.

The authors, senior professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard, state:

“Money is critical to US elections…. AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the many pro-Israel political action committees. Anyone who is seen as hostile to Israel can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to his or her political opponents. AIPAC also organises letter-writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates.

“There is no doubt about the efficacy of these tactics. Here is one example: in the 1984 elections, AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had ‘displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns’. Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’”

AIPAC, de facto agent for a foreign government

Mearsheimer and Walt state: “The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world……..  as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: ‘Help AIPAC. ”

Israeli Prime Minister General Ariel Sharon, known for his brutal military operations.

While today some other pro-Israel organizations are vying with AIPAC for power, American politicians still consider AIPAC so powerful that every top 2016 presidential candidate spoke at its annual convention.

Israel as ally?

During the NPR report, Block refers to the alleged “value” of the “U.S.-Israel alliance,” and Overby fails to challenge Block’s claim.

In reality, the value is on one side only.

Israel receives over $10 million per day from hard pressed American taxpayers (likely to soon to go even higher), and is shielded by the U.S. from international actions to end Israel’s numerous violations of international law and human rights. It also receives numerous trade perks and other benefits, including U.S. legislation that requires NASA to work with Israel’s space agency, despite allegations of Israeli theft of classified U.S. research.

On the U.S. side, the alleged “value” is negative. U.S. support for Israel damages the U.S. in numerous ways: it drains money from the U.S. economy, subsidizes Israeli companies that compete with American companies, creates dangerous hostility to the U.S., pushes the U.S. into tragic and costly wars on behalf of Israel, and funds a foreign nation built on ethnic/religious discrimination that repeatedly spies on the U.S. and steals American technology.

As if that weren’t enough, Israel tried to sink a U.S. Navy ship, killing 34 Americans and injuring over 170, and then “compensated” the U.S. with a sum that was a small fraction of the destroyed ship’s worth.

What Palestinians?

Gaza following Israeli attacks, 2014.

Information about Palestinians and why anyone would oppose AIPAC’S support for Israel is missing from the NPR report. There is no mention of Palestinians’ forced expulsion to make way for a Jewish state, the ongoing Israeli violence against them, or the systemic discrimination inherent in Israel.

In fact, the word “Palestinian” is mentioned only once, when Shnider says that most Jewish Americans support “a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.” There is no mention about security for Palestinians, or that the “Palestinian state” being proposed consists of a tiny portion of Palestinians’ ancestral land.

AIPAC: tip of the iceberg

During the broadcast, Overby mentions pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson and a few other pro-Israel groups, implying these are largely the extent of the Israel lobby.

Overby and his guests fail to inform listeners of the full range and power of the Israel lobby in the United States: hundreds of organizations embedded in every state in the union and almost every campus, with a combined revenue of well over $6 billion.

Added to this are pro-Israel billionaire donors who regularly deploy their wealth on behalf of Israel, including Adelson and his Israeli wife Miriam, Israeli-American Haim Saban, Paul Singer, Norman Braman, and Larry Ellison, who have a combined net worth of close to $115 billion.

Wednesday’s report is not an isolated instance.

Analyses have shown that NPR has a long pattern of giving listeners Israel-centric reports that fail to give listeners the full, accurate picture of this profoundly important issue.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.”  Her articles have been published by MintPress News, The Link, Project Censored, Dissident Voice, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch, Z Magazine, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and others, including several anthologies.

H/T to the Dissident Veteran for Peace blog, which alerted us to the NPR program and the Mearsheimer-Walt excerpts quoted above.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s not talk about that, shall we?

Dissident Veteran For Peace | October 12, 2018
It’s 1987 and Rep. Brooks (D-TX) asks Lt. Col. Oliver North about Garden Plot, REX 84, etc. and, boy, is Ollie miffed. Sen. Inouye (D-HI) stops that line of questioning and the mainstream media, for the most part, dutifully ignore the story. And the American public, for the most part, dutifully stay asleep. As far as I can tell Brooks never again bucked the powers that be on the subject.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard presents bill to stop Trump from pulling out of INF treaty

RT | February 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has introduced a bill to Congress which would prevent President Donald Trump from withdrawing the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Speaking at a press conference on Friday morning, Gabbard said that Trump’s decision to pull out of the 1988 treaty was “reckless,” was “exacerbating a new Cold War” with Russia, and could spark another arms race.

“Walking away from this agreement doesn’t solve our problems, it makes them worse. It doesn’t bring us closer to peace, it moves us closer to war,” she said.

Gabbard said she was introducing the bill, called the “INF Treaty Compliance Act,” not only to prevent the escalation of a new Cold War, but to “stop more American taxpayer dollars from being wasted on military adventurism that makes our people and our country less safe.”

She said that rather than scrapping the treaty, the US should be working to expand it and bring in other countries, including China.

The bill would prohibit “a single taxpayer dollar from being used for weapons that would breach the treaty,” she said.

The bill is co-sponsored by three of Gabbard’s House colleagues including freshman congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Both Washington and Moscow have repeatedly accused each other of violating the terms of the nuclear pact — and earlier this month, Russia said it would quit the treaty in a “mirror response” to Trump’s decision.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

‘Western Media Haven’t Covered Syria the Way They Should’ – Prof

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

The video of people being treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma was fabricated. This is what BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati wrote on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

Sputnik has discussed the development with Piers Robinson, co-director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies and professor at the University of Sheffield.

Sputnik: What is your reaction to Mr Dalati’s tweets?

Piers Robinson: It’s obviously very interesting that somebody in his position is now declaring that it’s his opinion that there was some element of manipulation or fabrication occurring in the events surrounding Douma. In some ways, of course, as you see in the recent Intercept article by [James] Harkin, the message of his idea is that there was an attack of some kind and Riam Dalati is saying that there was an attack.

But what kind of attack is unclear. So we really need to hear more from him. But at the very least, if it is the case that it is established that there were staging and manipulation going on, then it really just starts to raise a whole series of further questions about staging and manipulation in the case of Douma, running all the way through to the obvious question which is whether it was some kind of a false flag event.

That it was something that was carried out by opposition groups, Jaish al-Islam, in order to try to enable a military intervention, which obviously did occur six or seven days later with the bombing against Damascus. All of that is on the table now, undoubtedly.

And in some ways what Riam is saying does confirm what myself and many other academics, independent researchers and journalists have been saying for some time that there are serious questions about the official claims being brought forward by Western governments about what happened in Douma.

Sputnik: Moscow is now waiting for an official response from BBC to this tweet. What’re your thoughts? Will the BBC respond and what we can expect from them in the way of some kind of response based on, perhaps, past incidents?

Piers Robinson: I’m really not quite sure if I can guess how the BBC might respond. I think we need to wait and see what more comes out. I mean, it’s not very clear if Riam Dalati is referring to an article he has coming out, if that’s an article which is going to go to the BBC or independently, we just don’t know.

I guess most media organisations in general when they’ve got it wrong in the past tend to be fairly mealy-mouthed in their ability to either correct the record or to apologise for what has happened. We saw that in the case of the 2003 Iraq War, with some very limited apologies about their failure to scrutinise Western governments over WMD claims in Iraq.

So, I would suspect nothing more than a very cautious response from the BBC and they will probably want to wait and see what more Riam Dalati comes out and says over the coming days and weeks.

Sputnik: It’s interesting that there aren’t really [any] mainstream media reports about this at all. Do you think it’s just too early, or do you think there are some other reasons for that nobody has really picked up on this?

Piers Robinson: I think the reasons are well-known. We know that when it comes to, especially foreign policy, war and conflict, media in Western democracies, as is the case in pretty much every other country in the world, tend to toe the line of what governments are doing and saying. This is well established across the critical political communication literature; it’s for a whole number of reasons that this occurs.

Mainstream media, in the case of Syria, haven’t been covering it in the way they should have been because they have been beholden and co-opted by the government position and so on in relation to this conflict. We see it in every war time and time again; and it’s no different in the conflict in Syria than it was on the case of Iraq or going all the way back to Vietnam in the 1960s.

You see a real timidity and lack of confidence amongst journalists and editors to really ask difficult questions of their governments when their countries are involved in some kind of war.

READ MORE:

BBC Says Its Producer Expressed ‘Personal Opinions’ on Douma Incident

BBC Producer Says Footage of Alleged Gas Attack Victims in Syria’s Douma Staged<

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer

By Joyce Nelson | CounterPunch | February 15, 2019

On February 11, Bloomberg News published an astonishing piece about the unfolding Venezuelan turmoil. It was apparently the result of a major investigative effort involving three reporters and five others providing “assistance”. You’ll notice I haven’t called it a piece of news (although that’s what it looks like), but I’m not sure what to call it. It’s a piece of something, but what?

With eight people working on it, the piece is a long one, with plenty of sources. By my count, there were 19 sources. Here are 16 of them:

1-4) “four people with knowledge of the discussions”
5) “another person”
6) “a person familiar with the thinking”
7) “a person with knowledge of the conversations”
8) “another person” (different from the previously cited “another person”)
9) “a foreign military official”
10) “a French official”
11) “another person with knowledge of the deliberations”
12) “a person with knowledge of the internal discussions”
13) “a person familiar with [Juan] Guaido’s thinking”
14) “a person familiar with the discussions”
15) “a senior Turkish official”
16) “another person” (different from the previously cited “another person” and “another person”)

A seventeenth source was Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special representative for Venezuela. It’s not clear, however, that any of Bloomberg News’ three reporters or the five others providing “assistance” actually interviewed Abrams or were simply quoting from a previous press conference: “Speaking in Washington last week, Abrams said…”

So what was the focus of this piece? The intrepid reporters were picking up on a January 31st tweet by U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, who encouraged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to retire to “a nice beach somewhere far from Venezuela” while he still had time.

The Bloomberg News piece is entitled: “As Nicolas Maduro digs in, his aides hunt for an emergency escape route out of Venezuela.” It got wide exposure, including in Canada’s National Post. [1] The eight reporters and aforementioned 16 sources imply that Maduro is frantically seeking a bolthole somewhere, anywhere – Cuba? Russia? Turkey? Mexico? France? – while appearing to hang on to power.

Their quote from Abrams is this: “’I think it is better for the transition to democracy in Venezuela that he be outside the country,’ Elliott Abrams, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s special representative for Venezuela, said of Maduro. ‘And there are a number of countries that I think would be willing to accept him,’ he told reporters, citing ‘friends in places like Cuba and Russia’.”

There were two more sources cited in this piece: Andrey Kortunov, head of a Moscow research organization entitled the Russian International Affairs Council, and Russian lawmaker Andrey Klimov, deputy head of the upper house of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee. Both affirmed Maduro’s resilience in the midst of the turmoil, with Klimov telling Bloomberg News that Maduro “is not planning to go anywhere.”

Indeed, Klimov “dismissed talk of Maduro’s evacuation as ‘psychological warfare’ aimed at ‘sowing panic and hysteria’” in Venezuela.

In the old days, according to persons knowledgeable on the matter, psychological warfare was conducted through the CIA’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” – massive propaganda efforts utilizing mainstream media and other outlets. These days U.S. taxpayer-funded organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have taken over much of that function. As The Intercept (Jan. 30) informs us, Elliott Abrams is on the board of the NED. [2]

The Mighty Wurlitzer blares on, but under different management and branding. Has Bloomberg News become part of this effort? At this point, persons familiar with the company’s thinking about the question have yet to come forward.

Footnotes:
[1] Esteban Duarte, Eric Martin, Ilya Arkhipov (Bloomberg News ), “As Nicolas Maduro digs in, his aides hunt for an emergency escape route out of Venezuela,” National Post, February 11, 2019.
https://nationalpost.com/news/world/as-nicolas-maduro-digs-in-his-aides-hunt-for-an-emergecy-escape-route-out-of-venezuela
[2] Jon Schwartz, “Elliott Abrams, Trump’s Pick for Fixing ‘Democracy’ in Venezuela, Has Spent His Life Crushing Democracy,” The Intercept, January 30, 2019.

Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.<

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

BBC “Trying to Limit Damage” After Fake News of Syrian Chemical Attack – Journo

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati tweeted on Wednesday that the video of people treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma had been fabricated. Sputnik has discussed the development with Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist who specialises in the Middle East and Syria in particular.

Sputnik: This doesn’t really look good though, does it, for Mr. Dalati. Why do you think he decided to speak up now? He is now contradicting himself basically.

Vanessa Beeley: Well, yeah, and effectively this is a damage limitation operation. One of their own, so to speak, James Harkin, who is a mainstream journalist, he writes in the Internet and he also writes for the Guardian, and the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall I believe it was, almost immediately after the alleged attack in Douma, which has, of course, been largely discredited by the OPCW report that has told us that no organic phosphates were used, there is still an element of doubt over whether chlorine was used. But the OPCW report itself has already negated the use of sarin in this attack.

But when Harkin himself is saying that this event was staged, then, of course, the BBC and Louisa Loveluck of Washington Post are immediately, in my opinion, trying to limit damage.

Sputnik: What do you think the BBC is going to do next? Do you think that they are going to have an official statement out on this? What can we expect?

Vanessa Beeley: I guess we should be waiting for Riam Dalati’s full investigation. He’s told us on Twitter that he’s been looking into this for six months and he’ll be providing further details soon. So we should be waiting to see whether the BBC will retract its previous statements; I mean it put out a very misleading report even on the use of chlorine after the release of the OPCW interim report. It basically stated on its leading report that chlorine had been used, it later changed that but it didn’t retract its storyline.

And I’ve just checked, for example, the Telegraph, on its timeline of chemical weapon attacks or alleged chemical weapon attacks inside Syria, it’s still stating that it is alleged that sarin was used in Douma. So, that is still standing on the Telegraph website.

So, fundamentally what these mainstream outlets do is put out a narrative which, as I’ve pointed out, effectively manufactured consent for the unlawful bombing of a sovereign nation, Syria, by the US, France and the UK post- the Douma alleged attack. But these storylines and these narratives are never retracted; so it remains to be seen whether the BBC will apologise to Syria for having manufactured the consent for the bombing, and whether Riam Dalati and the BBC will apologise to academics and to independent journalists that they smeared at the time for arriving at the same conclusion they’ve now arrived at.

Sputnik: If Mr. Dalati’s tweet is proven, what will it say about the White Helmets and their trustworthiness, not to mention their, perhaps, role in the whole event?

Vanessa Beeley: Of course, this raises huge questions. I mean, I’ve proven and I’ve written an open investigation based on testimony from civilians in Eastern Ghouta of the White Helmets staging at least one chemical weapon attack one month before Douma… which was actually derailed by the civilians themselves who exposed it on social media etc. The White Helmets have been proven time and time again to be staging events in order to serve the NATO member states’ regime change narrative inside Syria. This might start to raise questions over the veracity of the White Helmets reports, bearing in mind that the UK government document has publicly stated that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, for example, rely extensively on the evidence of the White Helmets to produce their reports that, again, largely criminalise the Syrian government.

Sputnik: This alleged attack was actually used to justify a response, the bombing of the area by the US, UK and France; it was quite a significant military strike that was perpetrated after that attack. What would this mean for evaluating the legality or the justification of that attack?

Vanessa Beeley: The very fact that France, the UK and the US went ahead and bombed Syria, and as you said it was an extensive bombing operation that targeted alleged chemical weapons manufacturing facilities that were proven afterwards and also reported by OPCW to not be chemical weapons manufacturing facilities, brings into question the legality of that attack. It brings into question the legality of the entire regime change war that has been waged against Syria since 2011, of course instigated by those same nations that bombed after Douma.

But the fact that that the bombing went ahead without any OPCW investigation having been able to take place and based entirely on what is now proven or thought to be spurious information from groups like the White Helmets, that are being funded by the nations that carried out the bombing attack, I mean, this is an extraordinary event; this basically means that the US, the UK and France have completely violated international law time and time again inside Syria and this must be brought into the light, it must be investigated. And the media’s role in enabling this unlawful act must also be investigated.

READ MORE:

Assad Calls Douma Chemical Attack ‘British PR Stunt’ Straight to UK Media’s Face

BBC Producer Says Footage of Alleged Gas Attack Victims in Syria’s Douma Staged

Militants Engaged in Chemical Attacks Are Under Western Patronage – Sec. Council

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Venezuelan Opposition Raises $100Mln From Intl Donors in DC – Guaido’s Embassy

Sputnik – February 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Venezuela’s opposition raised more than $100 million from international donors at a fundraiser in Washington, self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido’s embassy in the United States said in a press release.

“The Global Conference on the Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela held at the Organization of Americas States Headquarters raised over one hundred million dollars, thanks to the donations of different international delegations”, the release said on Thursday.

The opposition’s envoy to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, was quoted as saying in the release that the meeting goes hand in hand with Guaido’s announcement that humanitarian aid will be delivered into Venezuela on 23 February.

On Monday, Christoph Harnisch, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Columbia, said his organization will not assist because the ICRC does not consider the US assistance to Venezuela to be humanitarian aid. Earlier this month, ICRC officials and the UN Secretary-General’s office called on the Trump administration to refrain from politicizing humanitarian assistance.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has refused to accept aid delivered by the United States to neighboring Columbia, blasting it as a ploy to topple his government.On 23 January, Guaido, with the full support of the US government, declared himself interim president of Venezuela. Constituionally elected Maduro accused Washington of orchestrating a coup and then cut off diplomatic ties with the United States. Russia, China, Turkey and Mexico, among other nations, have reaffirmed their support for Maduro as the only legitimate democratically-elected president of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced Thursday that Caracas has established a working group at the United Nations to oppose foreign meddling in the Latin American country’s affairs.

The US-Based media reported earlier that US President Donald Trump is expected to give a speech on the crisis in Venezuela on 18 February. Trump has said in an interview with the CBS broadcaster that US military intervention in Venezuela was “an option”.

READ MORE:

US Special Envoy Says Ending Venezuela Crisis Necessitates Maduro’s Resignation

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President

By Joe Emersberger – FAIR – February 12, 2019

The Miami Herald (2/8/19) reported, “Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro continues to reject international aid—going so far as to blockade a road that might have been used for its delivery.“

The “Venezuelan leader” reporter Jim Wyss referred to is Venezuela’s elected president. In contrast, Wyss referred to Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s “interim president.”

Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen.

Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci.

The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail.

What about the McClatchy-owned Herald‘s claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government.

It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update10/02).

And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown.

But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of Wyss’ article, he cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez.

Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by now well over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced.

The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions.

Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept2/10/19):

And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.

How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?

Speaking of “severe punishment,” if the names John Bolton and Elliott Abrams don’t immediately call to mind the punishment they should be receiving for crimes against humanity, it illustrates how well the Western propaganda system functions. Bolton, a prime facilitator of the Iraq War, recently suggested that Maduro could be sent to a US-run torture camp in Cuba. Abrams played a key role in keeping US support flowing to mass murderers and torturers in Central America during the 1980s. Also significant that Abrams, brought in by Trump to help oust Maduro, used “humanitarian aid” as cover to supply weapons to the US-backed Contra terrorists in Nicaragua.

In the Herald article, the use of US “aid” for military purposes is presented as another allegation made by the vilified Venezuelan president: “Maduro has repeatedly said the aid is cover for a military invasion and has ordered his armed forces not to let it in, even as food and medicine shortages sweep the country.”

Calling for international aid and being democratically elected will do as little to protect Maduro’s government from US aggression as being disarmed of WMD did to prevent Iraq from being invaded—unless there is much more pushback from the US public against a lethal propaganda system.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Fiction Plus Coercion Makes Reality: The Illegitimacy of the US-led Coup in Venezuela

By Maximilian C. Forte | Zero Anthropology | February 14, 2019

After considering the economic foundation of current US intervention, designed to erase Venezuela’s economic sovereignty, the purpose here is to focus more on the political side of the equation, not that we can neatly divide the politics from the economics of either the intervention or the defence of sovereignty. What we find is a situation where the anti-government opposition inside Venezuela is limited on three fronts:

(a) it has a narrow base of support among the public, and is thus incapable of producing a “popular uprising,” nor does it command the state machinery;

(b) it relies heavily on foreign support, in other words, the opposite of legitimacy in a democracy—having gone the route of seeking foreign intervention, their real foundation is coercion, not authority; and,

(c) in the absence of any real authority, the leadership is suspended in a web of fiction, which means that it spins fictions of its own power and authority.

Also undermining the legitimacy of the opposition is the US, imposing itself as a supreme tribunal that has arrogated to itself the right to decide on the course of Venezuela’s political future. Right now what we are witnessing is not so much an attempted coup (not yet at least), as much as an intended coup.

Since there is little movement on the ground that would seem to promise anything like an impending removal of the Maduro administration by local forces and by peaceful means, this heightens the possibility of both escalating local violence combined with foreign military intervention. This is especially true since, following the Americans, the opposition rejects dialogue with the government. When claims are exposed as fictions that lack substance, the only way to force them into the domain of reality is through violence.

“Maduro Must Go”: The US as the Ultimate Elector in Venezuela

On February 1 in Miami, in a brazen act of bellicosity that violated international law, US Vice President Mike Pence publicly declared that, “Nicolas Maduro must go,” smearing Maduro as “a dictator with no claim to power” (language oddly reminiscent of the domestic opponents of his own boss). More than that, Pence proceeded to directly threaten Venezuela’s government if it should continue to defy US wishes, in language redolent of classic imperialism:

“Let’s be clear: this is no time for dialogue. This is time for action. And the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all…. The United States will continue to assert all diplomatic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition to democracy…. But those looking on should know this: All options are on the table…. And Nicolas Maduro would do well not to test the resolve of the United States”.

“The resolve of the United States”; a US Vice President deciding on whether a foreign leader has the right to stay in power, regardless of those who voted him into power—these examples clearly establish that the real line of conflict here is between the US and Venezuela, and not between Guaidó and Maduro.

Speaking as an official of a rogue state, John Bolton uttered a ridiculously crass threat against President Maduro, in a display of naked imperialism gone wild:

“I wish him [Maduro] a long, quiet retirement on a pretty beach far from Venezuela. And the sooner he takes advantage of that, the sooner he’s likely to have a nice, quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo”.

Interestingly, this is precisely the language of dictatorship: commanding, threatening, abducting, disappearing opponents. The US has a history of not just deposing foreign leaders, but even kidnapping them, when not executing them outright. It is also the speech of a rogue state—no state that respects international law allows its officials to routinely and casually threaten others in this manner. After expressing desires to loot Venezuela’s wealth, they now publicly entertain fantasies of abducting Venezuela’s elected president.

These were not the only times that the Trump administration directly threatened the government of Venezuela with regime change. In July of 2017, then CIA director Mike Pompeo spoke at the Aspen Security Forum about working with Colombia, the Venezuelan opposition, and the CIA in developing “options” for regime change, just a month after Colombia joined NATO as a “Global Partner”. Then on August 5, 2018, an attempted assassination against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took place. Soon after that, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN at the time, went on a tour to Colombia’s border with Venezuela, covered exclusively by Fox News, in which she advocated for the illegal overthrow of Venezuela’s government. Outside of the UN building in New York, US ambassador Nikki Haley chose to violate the UN Charter itself by openly advocating for the overthrow of a foreign government and hinting loudly that it would happen thanks to strong US intervention. On Thursday, September 27, 2018, Haley shouted into a megaphone in front of demonstrators: “We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until Maduro is gone!… We need your voices to be loud, and I will tell you, the US voice is going to be loud”.

“I will tell you, the US voice is going to be loud,” said Haley in reprising George W. Bush’s threat prior to invading Afghanistan (America’s 18-year tale of “success” in Central Asia). The fact of the matter is that the US never imagined that the removal of Maduro’s party from power could ever happen organically and thanks purely to local dynamics. It was always to be something artificial, a fiction brought to life through American violence. The threat of military intervention, which itself flouts international law, was made in the first months of the Trump administration.

From as early as August of 2017 Trump was already suggesting the possibility of a US military coup to overthrow Venezuela’s government. This was before the elections it would discount were even announced. Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson repeated the suggestion in February 2018, and said Maduro should leave the country altogether and retire in Cuba, much like Bolton above would later do. (The suggestion that Tillerson was among those “pushing back” against Trump’s move to military conflict with Venezuela, is thus pure fantasy. It’s part of the liberal “resistance” veneration of transnationalist oligarchs like Tillerson as representing one of the “adults in the room”.) Again, even before elections had been called in Venezuela, Trump threatened Venezuela with US military intervention.

Venezuela’s government made it clear that one thing that would never be “discussed” with the US (which wants to discuss nothing) would be Venezuela’s sovereignty, and Maduro announced that the military was ready to fight back against US intervention. As for Trump’s repeated threat military options are “on the table,” Maduro simply replied: “There will be no war or military intervention”. In the meantime, however, Venezuela is preparing to make any US military escalation as costly as possible to the US—something which several forces in the world have successfully done, starting with Vietnam, and then especially since 2001. In addition, Maduro in a letter to Trump, asked if politicians in Washington were ready to send their country’s “sons and daughters to die in an absurd war” (unfortunately, we already know the answer to that question).

However, underlining the illegitimacy of the intended coup, the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans are very far from supporting either Guaidó or the US when it comes to US military intervention and economic sanctions. Even before Trump threw his support behind Guaidó, local polling data from Venezuela showed that 86% of Venezuelans were against any foreign military intervention, and 81% opposed the US’ sanctions. With respect to seeking US intervention, Guaidó represents the 14%. In addition, recently launched was a largely symbolic, political campaign to get 10 million signatures of Venezuelans denouncing US intervention; a large rally came out in support to start the process. Should foreign military intervention happen, done in the name of “helping Venezuelans,” it should be remembered that such intervention has virtually no support in Venezuela itself.

The “Early Elections” Ruse

Call new presidential elections—this has been one of the key commands coming from the Venezuelan opposition’s foreign backers. Before 2019 the command was call early elections. Yet when the US and their Venezuelan force multipliers previously pressed the Venezuelan government to hold early elections—just as their EU counterparts would do again in January 2019—they then turned around and condemned the announcement of early elections. Now once again the demand is for new, early elections: states like Spain instructed the Venezuelan government to declare, within eight days, that new elections would be held, or else Spain and others would recognize Guaidó—an ultimatum on how Venezuela should conduct its domestic politics. Venezuela’s government of course rejected this demand outright.

This then raises a key question: if these outside interests did not accept the last elections, why would they accept the results of the next ones? All previous elections had been widely recognized as free and fair, and it was the same system which produced the opposition’s victory in the now defunct National Assembly. Indeed, as recently as August of 2017, the opposition itself accepted the new Constituent Assembly’s call for gubernatorial elections. It was the same system in which Maduro won his re-election, and would be the same for any new elections. Yet the same governments that oppose Maduro, falsely claim that he “stole” the election—and if he had stolen it, it wasn’t from Guaidó, who did not run as a candidate. Clearly the ultimatum, unacceptable as it was shockingly arrogant, was meant as bait to trigger even further intervention: EU-supervised and EU-designed elections perhaps (and let’s not forget the Haitian elections that were rigged under UN auspices). Those EU states which then officially recognized Guaidó were rightly denounced by Russia for engaging in brazen intervention in a sovereign nation’s internal affairs.

In order to denounce past elections while calling for new ones, the US had to fabricate the myth of illegitimate elections in Venezuela. Thus the Trump administration directly threatened with targeted sanctions a leading opposition candidate, Henri Falcón, who was considering launching a presidential campaign, warning him not to do so. The US’ top diplomat in Venezuela even met with Falcón, to persuade him not to run. Widely reported polls showed that he had a good chance of winning the election too. The Venezuelan opposition was instructed by the US to boycott the election, in order to produce what could then be called a “sham”. Mike Pence thus decided in advance that the elections would be a sham, without a shred of evidence provided. The same argument was made by some of the opposition, that Maduro’s election was illegitimate—an election held using the very same system that won the opposition their own seats. There is no evidence to deny that Maduro’s election followed all of the proper legal procedures, and though the turnout was low, Maduro’s share of eligible voters was higher than that of Trump in 2016 and Obama in 2012.

Now here is where myth-making has taken a new turn. Those states which now recognize Guaidó as the president of Venezuela, cannot very well press the demand for new elections on Maduro. To do so would be to continue legitimizing Maduro as the President. So it is now up to Guaidó to call for early elections. Has he done so? After all, if he really believed he was the interim president, with all of the rights and duties of an interim president, then it was his job to call new elections in 30 days. Guaidó has not done so, and this violates the very Constitution which he claims to be defending. The defunct National Assembly has instead invented some new parts of the Constitution—because they simply do not exist in that document—about “technical conditions” that give Guaidó the right to be interim president not just for 30 days, but for a whole year now. Talk about dictatorship. The idea is to deny Maduro and his whole government any legitimacy, an argument that also fails, and it backfired on the opposition with all of its petty, selective, and inventive legalisms about “the Constitution” (which they themselves violate).

The legitimacy of Maduro’s government was rarely respected by his domestic opposition, and almost never by the more powerful extraterritorial opposition represented by US power. And as Maduro clearly pointed out, Venezuela has had no deficit of elections (six occurred in the past 18 months alone, at different levels of government)—so elections themselves are neither the root of the problem, nor can they be a solution.

The Venezuelan government repeated that it was open to holding talks with the opposition, which the opposition continues to publicly refuse. President Maduro also held out the offer of early elections for the legally constituted Constituent Assembly. That offer has also been rejected.

“No Dialogue” Means Violence, No Democracy

Imagine you claim to be interested in defending democracy. Then imagine you reject any dialogue whatsoever with fellow citizens who have views that differ from yours. Are you really interested in democracy then? Imagine you believe yourself to represent the majority, but still the opposing side represents a significant minority, and yet you refuse to deal with the other side. Does that advance democracy?

The US claims that it is seeking peaceful and diplomatic means of securing regime change in Venezuela, a goal which is neither peaceful nor diplomatic. Unable to reconcile this harebrained contradiction, the US inevitably rejects any dialogue with the government of Venezuela, dismissing an offer of mediation by Mexico and Uruguay. This underscores the perverse definition of “diplomacy” that the US has adopted. For successive US regimes, “diplomacy” is merely a default position—it means everything that is not outright “shock and awe”. Saying there can be no dialogue whatsoever, narrows the avenue of peaceful solutions. Moreover, whatever the US seeks, by seeking it in Venezuela its actions can only go against democracy—Venezuelans did not elect the US government, and did not elect to have it involved in their affairs, let alone usurp the authority of Venezuelans.

Guaidó has dutifully echoed the US line in consistently dismissing dialogue, while Maduro has been just as consistent in offering it. Meanwhile, other top opposition leaders in the country—for example, the two former presidential candidates of the two main traditional parties, Claudio Fermín and Eduardo Fernández—have instead favoured “electoral participation and recognition of the legitimacy of the Maduro government”. Not all of the opposition has chosen the avenue of treason that beckons violence.

One thing is certain, this time Venezuela has reached a turning point and there is no going back. The most tragic and extreme steps have been taken, precisely the kinds which should never have been taken. A number of actors are going to have to pay a very high price for their decisions. On the opposition’s side, those who actively involved a foreign imperial power in the domestic affairs of Venezuela, who behave as if it were natural and normal for the US to have a say in Venezuelan politics, and who proceed like they have the full support of US military power authorizing their actions—the price they will need to pay will have to be the maximum one. On the government’s side, those whose decisions and whose many errors of omission and commission have helped to fan the flames of crisis, may find their own future is not assured.

Temir Porras Ponceleón, who served as chief of staff to Nicolás Maduro from 2007 to 2013, and is now a visiting professor at Sciences Po in Paris, has shared a series of important observations and questions about the election issue and the civil war issue, in a hypothetical post-Maduro Venezuela. In a recent interview, he raised these questions:

“We can imagine the crisis getting deeper. Probably the government collapsing, but what about the day after? What about the military of Venezuela? What about the divisions within the military? What I am concerned is, to have a stable and democratic country the day after. And that requires not provoking each other, political dialogue and understanding”.

About the opposition, if it came to power, he asks:

“Do they have a plan to guarantee that this country remains stable and democratic? The day after, do they guarantee that they will not allow, for instance, the US government or the US troops to enter Venezuela? Do they have a plan to deal with the Venezuelan military?”

Then there is the real possibility of a civil war erupting if Maduro leaves or is forced from power:

“And what guarantees that the departure of Maduro doesn’t create a civil war, for instance? The reality of Venezuela is that it is a very polarized country. It is totally unrealistic or irresponsible to think or to assume that there are all the guarantees for Venezuela to be in a peaceful situation. In order to be an election, you have to agree on the terms of that election. When will the election be held? Who can be allowed to run for those elections? And that’s exactly the problem—saying there will be elections is assuming that the problem is solved before even addressing it”.

Ponceleón thinks that it is “highly likely” that the situation will escalate into a civil war in Venezuela. On one point at least, we can already address his question: the opposition cannot guarantee a democratic Venezuela, because it has chosen the most undemocratic means available to it: foreign military intervention. It would be useful to remember that one of the principal ways of conceiving democracy, that came out of many formerly colonized nations, was that democracy meant freedom from alien domination. Any time a foreign power exercises its might in determining the affairs of another people, no matter what those people produce cannot be democratic because the context in which they operate itself stands against democracy.

US intervention, by definition, cancels out self-determination and that means democracy is impossible under such circumstances.

Fictions: Delusions of Authority

There is a serious problem with the person who was appointed and announced himself as the “interim president” of Venezuela, Juán Guaidó. The problem might be diagnosed as megalomania—having serious delusions of authority. In just the last three weeks, Guaidó has gone on record with the following positions:

With the possible exception of the third point, there is a definite pattern here. It involves a realty-denial problem, that is prone to spin fictions. It is what one can expect from someone, unknown to the vast majority of Venezuelans and whose party controlled only 14 seats of the 167 in the defunct National Assembly. It is the posture of a person who was not elected to be president, claiming that the elected president is a sham. The only thing authorizing Guaidó’s fabrications is the power of the US standing behind him. From not having dialogue with Venezuelans, to not having a dialogue with reality, the program represented by Guaidó is that of a fiction waiting—wanting—to become reality. The only chance it has of becoming reality is that it has to be forced through, with massive violence. Why? Because it is artificial; because it is not a program that arises from its grounding in facts. It is pure ideology, at its worst; it is the kind of ideological stance that leads one to foolishly engage in comical stunts on the one hand, while begging for war on the other hand.

Fictions: Movement on the Ground

“What’s going on within Venezuela itself?” asks Paul Dobson—“The answer, however, is not much”. With all the media noise about governments backing the opposition’s claim to presidential authority (in a transparent violation of international law), there is little to show for the opposition making any headway inside Venezuela itself. In fact, most of the hum-drum of everyday life continues, with a few isolated protests, and no public disorder—“conspicuously absent are any of the tell-tale signs of a genuine power shift that might indicate that the government is about to fall”. As Dobson observes, “the man whose name 81 percent of Venezuelans didn’t even know one month ago has not managed to spur the country into the sort of popular action at all levels of society which he probably needs to make this attempted coup a reality”. Guaidó’s primary base of power is his foreign backing, primarily that of the US; his only claim to authority is acting as a gatekeeper of foreign aid allegedly smuggled into the country. As a real president, little would be different, having vowed to sell off Venezuela’s oil facilities to foreign private interests. Guaidó’s greatest achievement would be to become Venezuela’s version of Ashraf Ghani—a figurehead, propped up by foreign aid, overseeing a badly divided country. The only way for a fiction of authority to become a reality is through massive force (violence), and then it only becomes a farcical reality whose life will be short.

On Saturday, February 2, Guaidó’s loudly touted opposition protests occurred, passing without changing anything in the country and even receiving minimal international media coverage. Loudly denounced as a “brutal dictatorship,” the government did absolutely nothing to “repress” the demonstrations, and nobody was reported as hurt or killed. At the same time, a pro-government march countered the opposition protest, and according to some reports, was much larger. In fact, footage of the pro-government demonstration was dishonestly used by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto as he spoke of the opposition rally—when the screen behind him showed a huge mass of people wearing red, the governing party’s colour, along with members of militias. The BBC was at least able to tell the two apart. The opposition protesters were said to number in the “tens of thousands,” which falls far short of the millions who attended pro-government rallies in the past, or a number rivalling the opposition that turned out for Maduro on the same day. Guaidó clearly lacked faith in the possibility of a popular uprising materializing, and he thus continued to call for high-level military defections and for US intervention (though some of the so-called “defectors” were revealed to be fakers)—and the US was reportedly making direct contacts to persuade Venezuelan officers to “defect”. The Saturday protests followed from those held earlier, on Wednesday, January 30, which were reported to be very small and largely confined to the traditional opposition stronghold. Guaidó called for new opposition protests to be held on February 12, clearly not confident that any change would happen anytime soon. The protests came and went, without incident, and without any change. So now the opposition invented a new milestone: February 23, when they said they would push to unblock “aid” sent by the US, which would indeed be using such aid to provoke a violent confrontation, which is likely one of the US’ original objectives in sending the “aid” against the wishes of the legitimate government. (Meanwhile even Colombia’s International Red Cross views the “aid” as a US ploy and said it would have no part in distributing it.)

Indicative of Guaidó’s own lack of confidence, which stems from his lack of legitimacy and the opposition’s over-reliance on foreign support, he made the absurd declaration that he was not ruling out “authorizing” US military intervention. Apparently he was usurping power in the US too now. Responding appropriately, US Representative Ro Khanna stated: “Mr. Guaido, you can proclaim yourself leader of Venezuela but you don’t get to authorize US military interventions”. Khanna added that US legislators would authorize no such action. In a further attempt to pretend he has authority, Guaidó then “ordered” Venezuela’s military to let in “aid” sent by the US—with no sign whatsoever that the military intends to “obey” him.

The Question of International Recognition

In North America, most of the media instruct us on the names and/or numbers of countries that have called on Maduro to step down, and which have recognized Guaidó’s interim presidency. They say little or nothing about all of the countries which have not done so; instead, they occasionally select a certain few that have been the loudest in denouncing the intended coup. The fact of the matter, however, is that the overwhelming majority of the United Nations’ member states continue to acknowledge President Maduro as the legal and legitimate head of government and state in Venezuela—they have made no move whatsoever to withdraw that recognition.

Note that the US took its attempt to shore up support for its force multipliers—the opposition “led” by Guaidó—to the UN Security Council, and not the UN General Assembly which would have meant allowing all member states a vote. The proportion of those supporting the US is greater in the UNSC than in the UNGA. Americans, great tellers of tall tales and ardent fans of impression management, believe that “optics matter”—any performer of magic tricks would immediately agree.

The US failed in its effort to get the United Nations Security Council to support its coup initiative of delegitimizing Maduro and recognizing Guaidó. China, Russia, Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa were some of the countries that expressed support for the Maduro government at the UNSC on January 26, and blocked the US from passing its resolution. China was in fact one of the countries that sent an official delegation to Maduro’s inauguration earlier in the month. Venezuela’s foreign minister, also speaking at the UNSC, declared: “The United States is not behind the coup d’état, it is in the vanguard”. He also blasted a European ultimatum demanding new elections: “Nobody is going to give us deadlines or tell us if there are elections or not”. Russia’s position at the UNSC was not just correct, it was absolutely correct: Venezuela’s internal affairs should never have been brought to the Security Council for discussion in the first place. As Russia’s foreign minister explained, Venezuela “does not represent a threat to the international community, but Washington’s actions do”. This has apparently not stopped the US from returning to the UNSC with a proposed resolution asking it to intervene in Venezuela’s domestic politics, by demanding a new presidential election. Meanwhile, Guaidó’s imagination knows no limits when it comes time to assuming authority: he reportedly told RT that the UNSC has endorsed his side and its attempted coup, not the only “fake news” which he tried to manufacture in that interview.

The UN has since said it would support, not the “Lima Group,” but the Montevideo dialogue, of which Caribbean states have been a key source of momentum (also in opposition to the OAS’ head). The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, also explicitly condemned any move toward foreign military intervention in Venezuela: “The time for an era of foreign intervention passed long ago”. As for the Lima Group, the main outcome of its Ottawa meeting to discuss ways to screw Venezuela, was essentially to call on the military to engage in a coup—so much for “liberal democracy”. Maduro has rejected all EU intervention and also affirmed his support for the Montevideo dialogue instead. That dialogue, however, had thus far only produced a European-backed resolution which Bolivia opposed. The first meeting thus ended with a non-unanimous statement—the obstacle being the Europeans pressing for new presidential elections.

While about 48 governments have recognized Guaidó (usually not in consultation with their electorates), 141 countries, that is, the vast majority of UN members did not heed the US’ call to recognize him. No wonder the US never took its case to the UN General Assembly, where its defeat would have been even more humiliating, and instructive, than it was at the Security Council. Yet, some of the propagandistic North American media, such as Bloomberg, essentially whited out most of the world in order to claim that “global leaders” have backed Guaidó. The rest simply do not exist on their map. They count as those opposing recognition of Guaidó only those that have openly said they would not do so—dismissing those who also have not offered recognition, but who have stayed quiet on Maduro (which is what actual non-intervention looks like). In addition, Bloomberg’s graphic is suitably small enough that we cannot see more than a dozen Caribbean states that have explicitly rejected foreign intervention and recognition of Guaidó. Bloomberg also fails to question the opposition’s fanciful imagining of Russia, China, and Turkey as being “neutral”—so even those countries’ opposition is rhetorically whitewashed. This is a reality-denial problem. Much better, though not perfect, are Venezuelanalysis’ accurate and up-to-date infographics which demonstrate one basic reality very starkly: the world is mostly divided between the “Global North,” made up mostly of former colonial and imperial powers, and the “Global South,” but even more than that it shows what an increasingly multipolar world looks like.

Among the countries that continue to recognize Maduro are the overwhelming majority of African states (with a single exception), Caribbean states (with a single exception), all of Asia, and the Middle East (with one exception).

“Is Venezuela yours?… How do you oust a person who came to office through elections? How do you hand over presidential [powers] to someone who did not even get elected? Do you know what democracy is?”

Earlier, Erdogan in a message to President Maduro exclaimed: “Maduro, brother, stand tall”. Turkey has developed close economic and political ties with Venezuela, and the two leaders have visited each other’s countries in recent years. As for any possible outreach to Russia, the Venezuelan opposition will find itself immediately blocked. Russia does not respect Guaidó as anything other than an instrument of a foreign power, and thus there is no point in holding talks directly with him.

The Venezuelan government promised to review its ties to states that recognized Guaidó, and also promised a symmetrical response to US sanctions and seizures of Venezuela’s assets. Nothing about Maduro suggested he was either intimidated or considered surrendering to US wishes. Maduro insisted he was still interested in good relations with the US, but explicitly not with its government, saying that relations in areas except diplomacy and politics were welcome. What else does one say to those who will not even speak to you?

Lastly, let’s consider those illustrious members of the US Congress: when interviewed on the subject of intervention in Venezuela, they displayed a remarkable degree of not just dishonesty and hypocrisy, but what could also be easily classed as gross intellectual incompetence and even cowardice. It is difficult to locate a better collection of buffoonery in which alcohol was ostensibly absent.

While on the right, figures like Senator Rand Paul stood out in their opposition to US foreign intervention, on the subject of Venezuela it is a small group of particularly bright and courageous young Democrats who have taken the right stand: Tulsi Gabbard, Ro Khanna, and the unflappable Ilhan Omar, who recently interrogated Elliot Abrams. Abrams, is the neoconservative Never Trumper whom Trump has appointed the US “special envoy” for Venezuela. Omar’s comments were not only accurate and on target, they were long overdue. Fox News could only express “shock” (eloquence usually has that effect on them), repeatedly calling the exchange between Omar and Abrams “stunning” (because facts are loathsome things)—but without ever offering a single substantive point to counter Omar’s presentation. They did, however, raise the issue of her identity.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

New Study Finds 41% Increase In Cancer Risk From Roundup’s Glyphosate

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 02/14/2019

A comprehensive analysis of glyphosate – the most widely used weed-killing chemical in the world – reveals that those with the highest exposures to the popular herbicide have a 41% increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) cancer.

The meta-analysis of six studies containing nearly 65,000 participants also looked at links between glyphosate-based herbicides and immunosuppression, endocrine disruption and genetic alterations.

The study authors said their new meta-analysis evaluated all published human studies, including a 2018 updated government-funded study known as the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Monsanto has cited the updated AHS study as proving that there is no tie between glyphosate and NHL. In conducting the new meta-analysis, the researchers said they focused on the highest exposed group in each study because those individuals would be most likely to have an elevated risk if in fact glyphosate herbicides cause NHL. –The Guardian

“Together, all of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs are associated with an increased risk of NHL,” concludes the report.

The study, which looks at both human and animal studies also suggests that glyphosate “alters the gut microbiome,” which could “impact the immune system, promote chronic inflammation, and contribute to the susceptibility of invading pathogens.

Furthermore, glyphosate “may act as an endocrine disrupting chemical because it has been found recently to alter sex hormone production” in both male and female rats.

Lastly, the study looks at genetic alterations caused by glyphosates, noting that several studies show glyphosates inducing “single- and double-strand DNA breaks,” oxidation, and other “genotoxicity” factors – though the researchers caution that this remains a controversial subject.

The findings by five US scientists contradict the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assurances of safety over the weed killer and come as regulators in several countries consider limiting the use of glyphosate-based products in farming.

Monsanto and its German owner Bayer AG face more than 9,000 lawsuits in the US brought by people suffering from NHL who blame Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides for their diseases. The first plaintiff to go to trial won a unanimous jury verdict against Monsanto in August, a verdict the company is appealing. The next trial, involving a separate plaintiff, is set to begin on 25 February , and several more trials are set for this year and into 2020. –The Guardian

Monsanto claims that there is no legitimate scientific research conclusively linking glyphosate to NHL or any other type of cancer – pointing to fact that the EPA’s finding that the herbicide is “not likely” to cause cancer is backed by hundreds of studies. They have knocked claims by scientists with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) who classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015, suggesting that researchers engaged in improper conduct that failed to adequately consider several important studies.

As the Guardian notes, “the new analysis could potentially complicate Monsanto’s defense of its top-selling herbicide,” as three of the study authors were tapped by the EPA as board members to sit on a 2016 scientific advisory panel on glyphosate.

“This paper makes a stronger case than previous meta-analyses that there is evidence of an increased risk of NHL due to glyphosate exposure,” says co-author Lianne Sheppard, a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences department at the University of Washington. “From a population health point of view there are some real concerns.

SHeppard was an EPA adviser on glyphosate, and was one of three advisers who told the agency that it failed to follow proper scientific protocols when it concluded that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer.

“It was wrong,” said Sheppard. “It was pretty obvious they didn’t follow their own rules, she said. “Is there evidence that it is carcinogenic? The answer is yes.

The EPA says it is “reviewing the study.”

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment