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Armed FARC: Colombia Peace Only Possible with ‘Humanist Government’

teleSUR | August 31, 2019

The “new guerrilla” movement led by former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People’s Army (FARC-EP) Ivan Marquez announced to the public Saturday it is willing to engage in “dialogue” with a “coalition.”

An open letter signed “from the mountains of insurgent Colombia” by former high-ranking FARC commanders who are referring to themselves as the “New Power”, reiterates that the state’s failing to follow through with the 2016 Havana Peace Accords is what led the minority faction to return to arms. According to the ‘New Power’ that announced its rearmament Aug. 29 via a 32-minute Youtube video, the group took up weapons again because, “the history of betrayals suffered leaves no alternative.”

The former FARC commanders and soldiers in the split faction of around 30 people that “only an open process and an alternative humanist government can pave the way towards a scenario of coexistence in which the interests of the people and true development prioritized” for Colombia.

On Thursday morning a video was published by a minority of senior leaders of the former FARC announcing their split from the main organization and to rearm. Among those in the video was Jesus Santrich, a key FARC leader who has been missing since mid-July and Ivan Marquez, a once-senior commander who was integral in negotiating the peace accord, announcing a “new stage of armed struggle.”

In the ‘New Power’ letter, the authors recognize all those who participated in the peace accord that was negotiated over several years. “They became the moral fire of the cause of reconciliation.” They are “the great coalition of social justice and democracy that promotes a new dialogue to achieve true, final, stable and lasting peace,” the communique reads.

“Hopefully, total peace is achieved involving all armed actors that forges a New Alternative Government that saves the country from this general crisis,” say the dissident leaders who send a message to the Communist Party, the Patriotic Union and other nearby political factions: “As revolutionaries, sooner or later we will meet along the way.”

Marquez, Santrich and the other signatories say there are “men and women of this country, who believe that another Colombia is possible who have struggled and continue to fight with patience and intelligence for peace.” Among those on that list are Congressmen Ivan Cepeda, Alvaro Leyva, Roy Barreras, Gustavo Petro, Angela Maria Robledo and Angelica Lozano, among others.

The guerillas thank all social movements and guarantor countries that part in crafting the peace agreement and denounce the “Dominant Power Block—the oligarch class that sows wars to be freed by others.”

Also on Saturday, Colombia’s military announced it had killed, in total, 12 former FARC in a rural area in the southern department of Caqueta, near the border with Ecuador. Colombian Army General Nicacio Martínez said Saturday that the number of FARC dissidents who died in a large military operation rose to 12, three more than was first announced Friday following the Aug. 30 operation ordered by President Ivan Duque.

It’s still unclear how, or if, the Caqueta faction is related to the ‘New Power’ under Marquez.

The main ex-FARC constituency officially condemned the move on Thursday. In a tweet on their official account, they say unequivocally that “more than 90% of former guerrillas remain committed to the peace process.” The group did later that day say it was breaking with the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR), the institutions that form the basis of the Havana Peace Accords, which includes the Special Judicial Court, or JEP, set up to help the over eight million people affected by the 50-year civil conflict.

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Fault Lines Radio Interview With Whitney Webb (August 30, 2019)

Fault Lines Radio | August 30, 2019

Interview begins at 2:20:21

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Video | , | Leave a comment

Facebook Targets Lee Camp & Jimmy Dore For Censorship

The Jimmy Dore Show | August 31, 2019

Become a Premium Member: http://bit.ly/JDPremium & https://www.patreon.com/jimmydore

Schedule of Live Shows: http://bit.ly/2gRqoyL

Full audio version of The Jimmy Dore Show on iTunes: http://bit.ly/tjdshow


See also:

YouTube Bans James Allsup And Tons Of Other Right-Wingers In Latest Censorship Purge

By Chris Menahan – InformationLiberation – August 26, 2019

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | | 1 Comment

Israel Uses Its Firepower, Far and Wide

By Paul R. Pillar | LobeLog | August 27, 2019

Israel recently has been expanding its military attacks across much of the Middle East, hitting multiple countries. The aggressive campaign far outpaces anything any adversaries of Israel have been doing to it, or even trying unsuccessfully to do to it.

Over the past two years Israel has used combat aircraft to conduct scores of attacks in Syria. Israel has stayed silent about most of this campaign of bombardment, but when it speaks it says the targets it hits are associated with Iran. The most recent widening of Israel’s assaults have involved Lebanon, including drone attacks on facilities in suburban Beirut associated with Hezbollah—a departure from the cease-fire established after the last Israeli-Hezbollah war.

The most dramatic geographic widening of the Israeli assault came last month with multiple attacks, reportedly conducted with F-35s, in Iraq—which, of course, does not even border Israel. Among the targets hit was one facility that is 500 miles from Israel but only about 50 miles from the Iranian border.

It is difficult to identify anything being fired in anger in the opposite direction that justifies such an expansive Israeli military campaign. In January of this year, Israel’s missile defense system intercepted a missile heading for the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but that is about as close as anyone in Syria, Lebanon, or Iraq has come lately to inflicting damage on Israel. Planned or failed attempts to inflict such damage all appear aimed at retaliating for Israel’s own attacks. Israel claimed that sorties it conducted this past weekend in Syria had thwarted an Iranian attempt to launch attack drones against Israel. That claim is unconfirmed, but it is quite plausible that, as suggested by Israeli sources, Iran was indeed planning such an operation to retaliate for the Israeli attacks last month in Iraq. One searches in vain for hostile operations that are unprovoked and not attempted tit-for-tat responses to Israel’s own actions.

The escalated Israeli military campaign exhibits some longstanding attributes of Israeli policies and practices. One is to assert a right to seek absolute security even if that means absolute insecurity for everyone else. The mere possibility of someone harming Israel is taken as sufficient reason to inflict certain harm on someone else. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in commenting on the most recent Israeli operations in Syria, said that Israel “won’t tolerate attacks on its territory.” Evidently that means asserting the privilege of attacking anyone else’s territory, even if those countries have not already attacked Israel.

Domestic politics figures into such matters, in Israel as elsewhere. With an Israeli election looming, Netanyahu has a political reason to use aggressive operations to bolster his image as a tough-minded guardian of Israeli security.

The operations also are part of the larger anti-Iran theme that the Israeli government uses to keep a regional rival weak, preclude any rapprochement between that rival and the United States, blame someone other than itself for all the ills of the region, and distract international attention from subjects involving Israel that Netanyahu’s government would rather not talk about. The Israeli government wants to retain Iran permanently as a perceived threat, loathed and isolated, rather than to negotiate away any issues or problems involving Iran. Netanyahu demonstrated this when, after years of sounding an alarm about a possible Iranian nuclear weapon, he opposed the very agreement that closed all possible paths to such a weapon. His government demonstrated it again this week when it opposed President Trump’s expressed willingness to meet and negotiate with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Israel’s heightened military aggressiveness has multiple bad consequences, in addition to being an affront to the sovereignty of multiple regional states. It pours gasoline on fires in places that need de-escalation, not escalation. It is certain to provoke more attempts at retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was quite explicit in promising such retaliation in response to the recent Israeli attacks in Lebanon.

Given the close U.S. association with Israel, the Israeli attacks disadvantage the United States in its own relations with the affected states, in the form of increased resentment and lessened willingness to cooperate with Washington. This type of reaction is appearing today in Iraq, as a result of the Israeli attacks there. The episode has been the occasion for a powerful bloc in the Iraqi parliament to call for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq and for shouts of “Death to America” to accompany “Death to Israel” at the funeral of one of those killed in the attacks.

No benefits offset these harmful consequences. It is useful to recall the previous time, before last month, that Israel attacked Iraq: the bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Far from setting back the Iraqi development of a nuclear weapon, the attack energized and accelerated what until then had been a semi-moribund program. Armed attacks on states have a way of provoking that sort of reaction.

U.S. policy has failed to recognize these realities. Following the attacks in Iraq, the Pentagon did issue a statement—in the course of denying direct U.S. involvement—that “we support Iraqi sovereignty and have repeatedly spoken out against any potential actions by external actors inciting violence in Iraq.” But such mild language will hardly deflect Israel from its present course when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls Netanyahu and, according to the official State Department statement, “expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself from threats posed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and to take action to prevent imminent attacks against Israeli assets in the region.”

It is not just current U.S. policy that fails to recognize realities, but also wider discourse in the United States about troubles in the Middle East. A question that needs to be pondered carefully is, “Who is destabilizing the Middle East?” Stoked by the Trump administration’s own unrelenting campaign of hostility toward Iran, the stock and overly simple answer has been, “Iran.” That is an insufficient answer even when excluding Israel from the picture. And Israel does get excluded, and excused, for the variety of reasons—ranging from religious doctrine and historical legacies to the inner workings of domestic U.S. politics—for the strong U.S. favoritism toward Israel.

It may be too much to ask for consistency rather than hypocrisy in such matters, but the rest of the world easily perceives the hypocrisy. It at least would be honesty to acknowledge that the U.S. approach toward the region has been shaped not by which players are or are not destabilizing the region, but instead by U.S. fondness for some players rather than others.

Paul R. Pillar is Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community. His senior positions included National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, Deputy Chief of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and Executive Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence.

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 7 Comments

NYT Presents Murder of a Palestinian Boy as ‘National Trauma’—for Jewish Israelis

By Jim Naureckas | FAIR | August 30, 2019

HBO has a series based on a real-life crime in Israel—a 2014 case involving (in the New York Times‘ words) “a Palestinian teenager snatched off a Jerusalem street by Orthodox Jews, choked, bludgeoned and burned to death in a forest at dawn.”

And how does the Times headline its report (8/27/19) on this series?

HBO Drama Revives a National Trauma for Israel

For Israel? Yes, and by “Israel,” Times Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner means Jewish Israelis; in her eyes, they are the ones for whom the murder of 16-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Abu Khdeir was a “national trauma”:

It was the extraordinary coldbloodedness of the murder that made it true-crime movie material in the first place…. But Our Boys, a 10-part series that started this month on HBO, is under attack in Israel largely because of that singularity.

Some critics have accused the creators of skewing reality and ignoring what they say is the more common scourge of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, creating a false equivalency between the two and tarnishing Israel’s image.

Let’s stop here for a reality check: There are, in fact, statistics on who’s killing whom in Israel/Palestine. The Israeli human rights group group B’Tselem reports that since January 2009, there have been 95 Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians—and at least 1,771 “Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities…killed by Israeli security forces.” (This latter number does not include Israeli assassinations—labeled as “targeted killings”—or Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians.)  There have been 13 Israeli minors killed by Palestinians since 2009, and 785 Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces; in other words, a child killed in the conflict is 60 times more likely to be a Palestinian child than a Jewish child.

Kershner might have pointed out that the accusation that Palestinians murdering Jewish Israelis is a “more common scourge” is an absolute inversion of reality. Instead, to cite an example of “some critics” who think it’s “skewing reality” to focus on a single Palestinian death, she turns to Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on Twitter (8/21/19):

The series tells the whole world how the Israelis and Jews are cruel and bloodthirsty murderers, and how the Palestinians are badly done by and oppressed.

The tweeter’s father, as prime minister since March 2009, is responsible for nearly every one of those 785 Palestinian children killed by his security services.

After quoting the younger Netanyahu, Kershner acknowledges that Palestinians watching the series “also had painful memories.” As an example, she offers the parents of the murdered boy, who no doubt felt at least as bad watching a TV show about their dead child as the prime minister’s son did.

Did somebody say “false equivalency”?


ACTION:

Please tell the New York Times not to treat the murder of a Palestinian child as chiefly a “national trauma” for Jewish Israelis.

CONTACT:

Email: letters@nytimes.com

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Adam Schiff’s New Law Expands Definition of ‘Domestic Terrorism’, Promotes FBI Entrapment

21st Century Wire | August 31, 2019

Recently, the US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced a bill which intends to criminalize various new acts under the ever-expanding banner of domestic terrorism. Undoubtedly, this is an attempt by the government to broaden the definition of ‘domestic terrorism’ in order to make interpretation more arbitrary, and thus qualify more offenses for terrorism prosecutions.

Schiff’s new law will give the US Attorney General new powers which would potentially charge any threat of violence or damage to property that “creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury” – as an act of domestic terrorism.

Potentially, this might could also include the use of heated political rhetoric during a “planning meeting” (a conversation in person, or in an internet chat room), or even breaking a window during a protest. In theory, the Federal government could them pursue sentences up to 30-years in prison.

Predictably, mainstream partisan pundits are cheering this authoritarian move by Schiff, as they believe that this legislation will give the state more power to crack down on what they perceive as their political enemies, namely ‘white supremacists’ and ‘white nationalists. It’s important to point out that this same reactionary, flawed logic was used by Neconservatives in the wake of 9/11 in order to target and ‘deal with’ the supposed ‘Muslim threat’ by rushing through Patriot Act I and II during the Bush Administration.

Writing for The Hill, Michael German offers a few real-life scenarios, explaining, “If you think this possibility is absurd, keep in mind that in 2012 the Justice Department put two political activists in jail for months for refusing to testify before a grand jury about colleagues who may have participated in a Seattle May Day protest in which a federal courthouse window was broken,” adding that, “In 2017, the Justice Department charged more than 200 protesters at an anti-Trump rally with felony charges for allegedly conspiring to riot because someone broke windows and lit a limousine on fire while they were in the general vicinity. Prosecutors used selectively edited undercover recordings of protest planning meetings in which a speaker threatened to turn the inauguration into a “giant clusterf—” as evidence of a broad conspiracy.”

“The prosecutions failed in these cases, which may partly explain why the Justice Department and FBI have been seeking to expand their domestic terrorism powers. If they were intent on using these new powers to target far-right militants, they could have simply amended current Justice Department policies that de-prioritize the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes,” said German.

Schiff federal power-grab is a bi-partisan effort – because both the Republican and Democratic wings of the Establishment will want to use such broad powers in order to marginalize their perceived political opponents, or worse – use the FBI to fabricate terror plots in order to create and maintain an ongoing crisis through which it can reinforce convenient political and state-power narratives and also justify increasing departmental expenditures.

In short, this breed of new legislation will only give the FBI increased license to continue and expand upon its highly shady practice of using handlers and informants to entrap and arrest unsuspecting dupes, and further boast to the press about the impressive number of “terror busts” it has referred to prosecution.

All the while, short-sighted partisan lawmakers remain oblivious to the long-term consequences of such a reactionary policy.

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Israel partisan Peter Berkowitz named head of State Dept Policy Planning

Peter Berkowitz flanked by Paul Singer (L) and Lawrence Mone (R) at 2018 Manhattan Institute event. Singer, chair of the Manhattan institute’s board of trustees, is a hedge fund billionaire known for supporting Israel causes. Mone is president of the institute. Its board has included numerous Israel partisans, includiing Daniel Loeb, a backer of the Emergency Committee for Israel; Weekly Standard editor William Kristol; Project for the New American Century director Mark Gerson; former American Enterprise Institute chairman Bruce Kovner; and Michael Fedak, board member of AIPAC spinoff Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | August 30, 2019

The new official in charge of the State Department’s long-term strategic thinking is yet another neoconservative with close ties to Israel.

Politico reports that the State Department’s new head of policy planning will be longtime Israel partisan and neocon Peter Berkowitz. According to Politico, the position “puts him in charge of long-term strategic thinking for the department.”

Politico reports that the announcement “came in an internal email to select State Department officials on Monday morning.” Berkowitz will specifically be in charge of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning.

Berkowitz is extremely close to Israel. He received an M.A. degree from Israel’s Hebrew University in 1985, and currently teaches for the Tikvah Fund in Israel. He is the Co-founder and Director of the Israel Program on Constitutional Government, located in Tel Aviv. He has been on the advisory committee for the Center for Jewish Political Thought, a section within Israel’s Shalom Hartman Institute. Berkowitz has been the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute (the Taubes donate to numerous Israeli organizations) and is on the faculty of the Hertog Foundation.

Berkowitz has written numerous articles about Israel, often for the neoconservative outlet, Weekly Standard. His fellow neocon, Stanley Kurtz, credits Berkowitz with causing South African jurist Richard Goldstone to recant after leading a fact-finding investigation whose findings Israel disliked. The investigation had determined that Israel had committed numerous war crimes in Gaza. The report’s findings were corroborated by a number of other investigations that found Israel had violated international law.

In one of his pieces, Berkowitz claimed that “No military in the history of warfare has made greater efforts in the face of grave national security threats to avoid the use of force or has tried harder, when obliged to fight, to protect noncombatants than the Israel Defense Forces. With the possible exception of the U.S. armed forces, no military has investigated itself as rigorously as the IDF. With the possible exception of the U.S. judiciary, no courts have done more to hold their military accountable than Israel’s. And with the possible exception of America, no democracy has gone further in wartime to legitimize dissent than Israel.”

Berkowitz’s contention flies in the face of documentary evidence compiled by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, B’Tselem (also see this), the International Red Cross, Physicians for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, Foreign Service Journal, and even the U.S. State Department. According to Berkowitz, all of these agencies are wrong.

Berkowitz also penned a piece attacking Harvard Professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer for their essay in the London Review of Books and Harvard working paper about the Israel lobby. Berkowitz accused the professors of “myriad half-truths, gross distortions, ignorant assertions, and defective reasoning.” Mearsheimer and Walt’s findings were later published in a book by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Trump had initially opposed neocons and kept them out of his administration. Although neocons are nominally Republicans, many had endorsed Hillary (and many now remain, at least on the surface, Democrats). As Trump came under escalating attack, however, he moved ever closer to billionaire campaign donor Sheldon Adelson (who funds many neocon enterprises) and eventually began naming neocons to positions of power, where they often drive policy.

Neocons in the Bush Administration promoted the disastrous war with Iraq, and Israel and its partisans are central in the demonization of Iran that has resulted in the sanctions against Iran and threats of still worse.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of the best selling book Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 7 Comments

Google’s Power to Shift Elections—Zachary Vorhies, Greg Coppola and Dr. Robert Epstein

American Thought Leaders – The Epoch Times – August 23, 2019

According to Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, how is Google suppressing certain viewpoints, promoting others, and altering public perception?

Is there evidence of active intent on the part of Google staff or executives?

And in the eyes of Dr. Robert Epstein, what are the broader implications of Google bias—whether intentional or unintentional—for America and beyond?

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

In this special episode, we sit down with Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies, a former senior Google engineer, who recently leaked nearly 1000 pages of documents that he says suggest Google has been secretly acting as a publisher, selectively boosting or demoting content, while publicly claiming to be a neutral platform.

We sent Google some questions regarding each specific allegation that Vorhies made in our interview. Google has not responded to our requests for comments.

We also spoke to another Google whistleblower Greg Coppola, who has also called out big tech bias, and Dr. Robert Epstein, a leading expert on Google search engine bias, to get their take on the leaked documents and Vorhies’ allegations against Google.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Liberals use RCMP in attempt to silence critics of their foreign policy

By Yves Engler · August 30, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 3.05.43 PM

On Tuesday two RCMP agents came to my house. Two large men in suits asked for me and when my partner said I wasn’t there they asked who she was.

Why didn’t they email or call me to talk or set up a meeting? If they have my address, the RCMP certainly has my email, Facebook, Skype or phone number. My partner asked for their badges, took their photo and asked them to leave the stairway they had entered.

They returned the next day. Not wanting to interact, my partner ignored them. They rang the doorbell multiple times over many minutes. After she saw people at the restaurant across the street wondering what was going on – from the ground you can see into the front of our place – she poked her head down the stairway where they caught her eye. They asked why I didn’t call even though they didn’t leave a number.

The visits are a transparent effort to intimidate me from directly challenging the government’s pro-corporate and pro-empire international policies.

The day before their first visit to my house two RCMP officers physically removed me from a press conference when I asked Transportation Minister Marc Garneau about Canadian arm sales to Saudi Arabia. When I sat down at an event that was already underway an officer took the seat next to me. When I began to ask a question at the end of the press conference he used the cover of private property to try to block me. On this video one can see the RCMP agent asking the building security twice if I’m welcome in the space. Deferring to police, the security guard tells him I’m not welcome. The RCMP agent, who doesn’t have the right to remove me from the room without a directive, then uses the authority derived from a representative of the building to physically eject me and threaten arrest.

Last Wednesday lawyer Dimitri Lascaris and I were blocked from a talk by the prime minister at the Bonaventure Hotel in a similar way. In my case an RCMP agent called out my name as I entered the hotel and then accompanied me in the elevator, through a long lobby and down an escalator to ‘introduce’ me to hotel security. The representative of the hotel then said I wasn’t welcome, which gave the officer the legal authority to ask me to leave. Lascaris details the incident in “The RCMP’s Speech Police Block Yves Engler and Me From Attending A Speech By Justin Trudeau.”

After starting to write this story, I was targeted by the RCMP for removal from a press conference by Justice Minister David Lametti. On Thursday, a Concordia University security guard, who I walked past to enter the room, came up to me 15 minutes later and asked for my press credentials. There were two dozen people in the room who didn’t have press credentials and the release for the event said nothing about needing them. The RCMP agent admitted that he asked Concordia security to approach me. He also said he was only there for the physical — not political — protection of the minister, but refused my suggestion that he and the Concordia security agents sit next/in front of me to ensure the minister’s physical safety.

(Here is the question I planned to ask the Justice Minister: “Minister Lametti you have an important decision to make in the coming days about whether you believe in international law and consumer rights. As you know the Federal Court recently ruled against your government’s decision to allow wines produced on illegal settlements in the West Bank to be labeled as ‘Products of Israel’. While anti-Palestinian groups are pressuring your government to appeal the decision, the NDP and Greens want you to stop wasting taxpayer money on this anti-Palestinian agenda. Will you commit to accepting the court’s sensible ruling that respects consumers, international law and Palestinian rights?”)

Over the past six months Lascaris, I and other members of Solidarité Québec-Haiti and Mouvement Québécois pour la Paix have interrupted a dozen speeches/press conferences by Liberal ministers/prime minister to question their anti-Palestinian positions, efforts to topple Venezuela’s government, support for a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president, etc. We are open about our actions and intentions, as you can read in this commentary. We film the interruptions and post them online. (If any illegal act were committed the RCMP could easily find all they need to charge me on my Facebook page!) The interruptions usually last no more than a couple of minutes. No politician has been stopped from speaking, let alone threatened or touched.

Did the RCMP receive a directive from a minister to put a stop to our challenging their policies? The federal election is on the horizon and government officials will increasingly be in public. The Trudeau government is playing up its ‘progressive’ credentials, but the interventions highlight how on one international policy after another the Liberals have sided with corporations and empire.

From the government’s perspective, having their PR announcements disrupted is a headache, but that’s democracy. The right to protest, to question, to challenge policies outweighs politicians’ comfort.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Science Goes Up In Rainforest Smoke

By Dr. David Whitehouse | August 29, 2019

Amazon rainforest firesThe idea that the Amazon rainforest is the lungs of the world is so embedded in our minds that few questioned its widespread use when news about fires in the Amazon was reported this summer.

The idea is everywhere—so it’s obviously true. Trees absorb carbon dioxide (bad), don’t they, and give off oxygen (good), and there are billions of trees in the Amazon, so surely it makes sense.

Responding to the fires in the Amazon the Pope has said that the “Lungs of the forest are vital for the planet.”

Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produce 20% of the planet’s oxygen – is on fire.”

Leonardo DiCaprio has almost 3 million likes for his Instagram posting saying, “The lungs of the Earth are in flames.”

Christiano Ronaldo tweeted that The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen,” adding #prayforamazonia

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas says “It’s the lungs of the Earth…which provides 20% of our oxygen.”

Barry Gardiner Shadow Minister for International Climate Change tweeted he couldn’t agree with Macron more.

Lib Dem MEP’s say the lungs of our planet are literally burning.

Even Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission tweeted about “…the destruction of the green lungs of Planet Earth.”

The Rainforest Alliance said, “The lungs of the world are in flames.”

Friends of the Earth want a deal to stop the fires adding: “They need to say ‘we won’t do a deal with you if you are effectively condoning burning the lungs of the world’.”

WWF says the Amazon is popularly known as the lungs of the world.

DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with an initial commitment of $5 million to focus critical resources on the key protections needed to maintain the ‘lungs of the planet.’

However, as the saying goes, it’s not that simple – things never are in science. Check where the figure comes from (and it’s actually not that straightforward to do) and you will find that it’s not that simple. It’s actually wrong.

Geology’s Gift

The Amazon rainforest is not the lungs of the world and they do not produce 20% of the world’s oxygen as is so often said.

The Amazon rainforest is a vast, vital wonder, full of biodiversity and photosynthesizing plants producing 9% of the world’s photosynthetic output but, here is the key figure, 0% of its net output.

You could destroy all of the world’s forests and it would hardly affect our oxygen supply.

In fact, you could destroy every living thing on Earth and still not dent it because our atmosphere of 20.9% oxygen is the gift of geologic time, slow to build up and we have enough to last millions of years.

Yet this idea about the world’s lungs and of atmospheric oxygen needing to be refreshed and replenished—ideas unsupported by science—is everywhere.

Surely journalists would act differently from advocacy groups, celebrities, and politicians and check this fact before writing and broadcasting about it.

After all, journalists, especially science and environment journalists who are experts in their field, always check figures and statistics? Oh no, they don’t.

Just Google the phrase to see how many time it is repeated, by the BBC, the New York Times, CNN, The Australian, to name a few.

ITN, in particular, has risen above much of the other coverage with its over-the-top reporting. They say the Amazon is burning on a scale never seen before (nonsense). That the Amazon can never be replaced (nonsense), and that Nature is being killed (Oh come off it)!

Who Spoke Up?

If journalists, as well as politicians, celebrities, presidents and the Pope, can so easily slip into such scientific myth and get the facts so wrong, what credibility do they have on other issues of climate science?

Where are their science advisors? Surely they should make this mistake only once before being given proper advice.

Or is it that if any of them goes against the trend they fear the condemnation? This is not the way to tackle the important environmental issues we face.

Look how much we had to go through for science to wrench our minds free of what is “obviously true” and seek proof. Is climate science, or at least the public side of it, immune from normal scientific standards?

And where are the high-profile “public” scientists setting the record straight, highlighting that the Amazon rainforests are not the lungs of the world?

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Another Syrian Victory – and West’s Telling Silence

Strategic Culture Foundation | August 30, 2019

The liberation of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province by the Syrian army and its Russian ally marks another important victory towards ending the eight-year war in Syria.

Last week saw the return to relative normalcy in the northwestern town which had been held under siege by al Qaeda-affiliated militants for over five years. Situated south of Aleppo on the road to the capital Damascus, Khan Sheikhoun was officially declared under the control of Syrian state forces on August 21 after a hard-fought battle against militants.

International journalists from Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Russia witnessed the return of residents and efforts to resume electricity services and reopening of schools. Khan Sheikhoun was ransacked by the routed jihadi terror groups, with the typical depravity that had been seen in other liberated areas. But despite the devastation, residents were relieved to begin the task of restoration of what was previously a town renowned for its culture and beauty before the war erupted in March 2011.

The remnants left behind by the defeated militants as well as the identity of dead fighters testified to their terrorist affiliation. Many of them were foreign mercenaries. Khan Sheikhoun was a stronghold for the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group which was formerly known as Al Nusra Front. Notwithstanding the chameleonic name, they are part of the jihadi Al Qaeda terror network which is internationally proscribed and which Western governments are officially opposed to.

The capture of the town again demonstrates the vile nature of the Syrian war as being one of foreign-sponsored aggression for regime change. In particular, the United States government and its NATO allies, Britain, France, Turkey, and others, are now known to be fully complicit in covert sponsorship of these terrorists.

Khan Sheikhoun is of particular significance because on April 4, 2017, it was dramatically reported by Western news media as being the site of a Sarin chemical weapon attack, allegedly carried out by the Syrian state forces. Three days later, on April 7, the US, Britain and France launched over 100 airstrikes on Syria in what was claimed to be “revenge” against the “Syrian regime” for allegedly committing an atrocity with chemical weapons. Syrian authorities and Russia asserted the alleged Sarin attack at Khan Sheikhoun was a false-flag provocation, fabricated by the militants with the aim of eliciting a military strike on Syria by the US and its NATO allies.

Clearly, after the liberation of the town this month, it is evident that it was a den of terrorist groups which held residents under a reign of terror. Yet for years, the Western news media had proclaimed that these fighters were “rebels” who deserved support from Western intervention. Even as Syrian forces were launching their assault on Idlib Province in recent months, the Western media were animated by shrill reports of “rebels” and civilians being killed by indiscriminate “regime” air strikes.

Tellingly, the momentous victory at Khan Sheikhoun was met with an astonishing silence among Western governments and news media.

The same duplicitous pattern has been seen before when the Syrian army and its Russian ally liberated Douma, Ghouta, Daraa, Aleppo, Maaloula and many other areas besieged by the so-called “rebels” so lionized in Western media. Syrian residents have been invariably relieved and overjoyed to have their freedom and dignity restored by the Syrian army and Russian forces. Their stories of the horror they endured under captivity are shocking from the depravity and cruelty meted out by Western-backed “rebels”.

That is why the liberation of Khan Sheikhoun, as with other locations in Syria, has had to be studiously ignored by the Western news media. Because if they really performed normal journalistic duty what the Western public would learn is that their governments and media have been complicit in huge war crimes against the Syrian nation.

It is all the more despicable therefore that the US is shifting its efforts to block the reconstruction of war-torn Syria. This week, the country is to hold the annual Damascus International Trade Fair. Delegates from some 40 nations are attending and exploring ways to regenerate the Syrian economy and to meet the challenge of reconstruction. Some estimates put minimal repair of infrastructure at a cost of $388 billion. The true figure could be in trillions of dollars.

That bill should be assigned to Washington, London, Paris, Ankara, Riyadh, Doha and Tel Aviv for the criminal aggression they collectively and stealthily inflicted on Syria.

Ahead of the Damascus trade fair, the US was warning prospective foreign investors that they could face sanctions if they did business with Syria. Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the American effort to sabotage Syria’s reconstruction.

As Russian lawmaker Valery Rashkin, who was in Syria this week, put it, the US is trying to destroy Syria through economic warfare after losing its dirty-war military agenda.

The European Union also stands condemned for continuing to impose economic sanctions on Syria. The war is over and it has been exposed as Western-backed criminal aggression. All past accusations against the Syrian state are null and void as malign propaganda. Thus, sanctions on Syria are a contemptible attack on the country by nations whose criminal complicity should actually be a matter of prosecution.

We can only wish the people of Syria well. With international solidarity from Russia, China, Iran and others, Syria will recover its former strength and pride. Syria has won a tremendous victory. The losers are the Western governments and media who have been exposed for the corrupt charlatans they are.

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments