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Google Is Burying Alternative Health Sites to Protect People from “Dangerous” Medical Advice

By Barry Brownstein | Foundation for Economic Education | August 6, 2019

For their unorthodox views, some physicians are being treated as medical heretics. Google’s search engine algorithm has essentially ended traffic to their websites.

In Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, firemen don’t put out fires; they create fires to burn books.

The totalitarians claim noble goals for book burning. They want to spare citizens unhappiness caused by having to sort through conflicting theories.

Censorship Is Control

The real aim of censorship, in Bradbury’s dystopia, is to control the population. Captain Beatty explains to the protagonist fireman Montag, “You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood.” The “house” Beatty is referring to is opinions in conflict with the “official” one.

If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it.

A Nobel Laureate Copes with Conflicting Opinions

When making decisions, we often face conflicting theories. Daily, we face choices about what to eat. Although the government issues ever-changing dietary guidelines, thankfully, the marketplace supports personal dietary decisions ranging from carnivore to vegan. We are free to choose our diet based on our evaluation of the available evidence and the needs of our bodies.

When we face health issues, decisions become tougher. There is an orthodox opinion, and there are always dissenting opinions. For example, the orthodoxy recommends statins to reduce high cholesterol. Others believe high cholesterol is not a health risk and that statins are harmful.

Nobel laureate in economics Vernon Smith was taking a prescribed statin and recently observed the impact it was having on him:

In the last week I had a very clear (now) experience of temporary memory loss. I did a little searching and found this article summarizing and documenting the evidence over many years.

Smith continues,

Such incidents have been widely reported, but the problem did not arise in any of the clinical trials, but neither were they designed to detect it.

Smith had to weigh the purported benefits against the side effects:

Statin effectiveness in reducing heart/stroke events needs to be weighed against this important negative. Since I am actively writing, this is a primal concern for me, and I have stopped taking it.

A free person understands that there is no one “best” pathway. Although experts have knowledge, a free person takes responsibility, makes a choice, and bears the consequences. We never know what the consequences would have been had we made a different choice.

Health Care 451

Some people don’t like to take responsibility for health choices. They prefer to do what they’re told by the doctor.

“Do you understand now why books are hated and feared?” asks Ray Bradbury’s character Professor Faber in Fahrenheit 451. Faber responds to his own rhetorical question:

Because they reveal the pores on the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.

Bradbury is reminding us that life is messy. Often there is no comfortable one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we face.

Despite the evidence against statins, the medical orthodoxy would like you to believe that those who question statins are being hoodwinked by fake news. The orthodoxy wants you to believe there is one size for all.

Duke University’s Dr. Ann Marie Navar is the Associate Editor of JAMA Cardiology. In her article, “Fear-Based Medical Misinformation,” she rails against the “fake medical news and fearmongering [that] plague the cardiovascular world through relentless attacks on statins.”

She writes many patients remain concerned about statin safety. In one study, concerns about statin safety were the leading reason patients reported declining a statin, with more than one in three patients (37 percent) citing fears about adverse effects as their reason for not starting a statin after their physician recommended.

Dr. Navar takes the position that concerns about safety are “fake medical news,” spread in part by ignorant patients via social media. Don’t worry, she counsels, reports are incorrect when they claim “that statins cause memory loss, cataracts, pancreatic dysfunction, Lou Gehrig disease, and cancer.”

Fake news? Dr. David Brownstein (no relation) disagrees:

The Physicians Desk Reference states that adverse reactions associated with Lipitor include cognitive impairment (memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, and confusion associated with statin use). Furthermore post-marketing studies have found Lipitor use associated with pancreatitis. Other researchers have reported a relationship between statin use and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Finally, peer-reviewed research has reported a relationship between statin use and cataracts. Statins being associated with serious adverse effects has nothing to do with fake news. These are facts.

To be sure, more physicians would agree with Dr. Navar than Dr. Brownstein, but should treatments be dictated by those on one side of the argument? After all, due to human variability, statins may both save some lives and impair or kill other people.

With some doctors questioning whether to prescribe statins for everyone, there is a large financial incentive to stifle debate.

Can you imagine a future government-controlled health care system, completely captured by the pharmaceutical industry, mandating statins for everyone? I can.

There are good reasons to be concerned that we are losing access to information with which to evaluate opposing sides of health issues, like the statin debate. Already Google is “burning” sites that question the medical orthodoxy about statins.

Google Tips the Scales

Mercola.com, operated by Dr. Joseph Mercola, is one of the most trafficked websites providing alternative views to medical orthodoxy. If I were researching statins, I would certainly read several of the numerous essays questioning statin use and the cholesterol theory of heart disease. Essays at Mercola.com usually provide references to medical studies. Personally, since Dr. Mercola sells supplements and I am a supplement skeptic, I read his essays—like I read all medical essays—with a grain of salt.

Dr. Kelly Brogan is a psychiatrist who has helped thousands of women find alternatives to psychotropic drugs prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. In her book, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives, Brogan reports that one of every seven women and 25 percent of women in their 40s and 50s are on such drugs. She explains,

Although I was trained to think that antidepressants are to the depressed (and to the anxious, panicked, OCD, IBS, PTSD, bulimic, anorexic, and so on) what eyeglasses are to the poor-sighted, I no longer buy into this bill of goods.

For their unorthodox views, Dr. Brogan, Dr. Mercola, and others like them are treated as medical heretics. Dr. Brogan and Dr. Mercola have documented (here and here) how a change in Google’s search engine algorithm has essentially ended traffic to their websites.

From time to time, Google updates algorithms determining how search results are displayed; there is nothing inherently nefarious in such actions. Google has achieved its market position by doing a better job than other search engines.

According to Dr. Mercola, before Google’s most recent June 19 algorithm update,

Google search results were based on crowdsource relevance. An article would ascend in rank based on the number of people who clicked on it.

After their June 19 algorithm update, Google is relying more on human “quality” raters. Google instructs raters that the lowest ratings should go to a “YMYL page with inaccurate potentially dangerous medical advice.” YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” Google says,

We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.

Does that sound reasonable? If a site argues for treatments other than the medical orthodoxy then, by definition, the site can arouse readers’ cause for concern and, for some people, unhappiness. Do we really want Google to assume the role of Bradbury’s firemen?

Google wants to protect you from conflicting opinions. And if you don’t think that’s a problem, imagine sometime in the future when searching for information on monetary policy you only find results for Modern Monetary Theory.

Google thinks its intention to “do the right thing” is enough to prevent abuses; some Google employees would disagree.

Google Plays the Happiness Doctor

Google is not eliminating access to alternative health pages; it is making it harder to find them. Typical health searches will still generate plenty of “facts,” just not conflicting facts. In Fahrenheit 451 Captain Beatty explains the government’s strategy: “Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year.”

Instead of “conflicting theory,” Captain Beatty explains the strategy is to “cram” the people “full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information.”

Filled with “facts,” Captain Beatty explains, people will “feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving.” Beatty assures Montag that his fireman role is noble. Firemen are helping to keep the world happy.

The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness Boys, the Dixie Duo, you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don’t let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world. We depend on you. I don’t think you realize how important you are, to our happy world as it stands now.

The only way Google will maintain its dominance is to continue to meet the needs of consumers. Whether Google continues to “burn” websites is up to us. Google will continue to sort out unorthodox views as long as “we” the consumer continue to rely on Google’s search engine.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | | Leave a comment

Will Bibi’s War Become America’s War?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • August 27, 2019

President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran, after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone, to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a U.S. war with Iran. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu.

Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to fly “killer drones” into Israel, an act of war.

Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon.

Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month’s attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria’s civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Understandably, Israel’s weekend actions have brought threats of retaliation. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned of vengeance for the death of his people in the Syria strike.

Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani reportedly tweeted from Tehran, “These insane operations will be the last struggles of the Zionist regime.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the alleged Israeli drone attack on Beirut a “declaration of war.”

Last Friday, in the 71st week of the “Great March of Return” protests on Gaza’s border, 50 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire. In 16 months, 200 have died from gunshots, with thousands wounded.

America’s reaction to Israel’s weekend attacks? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Netanyahu to assure him of U.S. support of Israel’s actions. Some Iraqi leaders are now calling for the expulsion of Americans.

Why is Netanyahu now admitting to Israel’s role in the strikes in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Why has he begun threatening Iran itself and even the Houthi rebels in Yemen?

Because this longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, having surpassed David Ben-Gurion, is in the battle of his life, with elections just three weeks off. And if Netanyahu falls short — or fails to put together a coalition after winning, as he failed earlier this year — his career would be over, and he could be facing prosecution for corruption.

Netanyahu has a compelling motive for widening the war against Israel’s main enemy, its allies and its proxies and taking credit for military strikes.

But America has a stake in what Israel is doing as well.

We are not simply observers. For if Hezbollah retaliates against Israel or Iranian-backed militias in Syria retaliate against Israel — or against us for enabling Israel — a new war could erupt, and there would be a clamor for deeper American intervention.

Yet, Americans have no desire for a new war, which could cost Trump the presidency, as the war in Iraq cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

The United States has taken pains to avoid a military clash with Iran for compelling reasons. With only 5,000 troops left in Iraq, U.S. forces are massively outmanned by an estimated 150,000 fighters of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces, which played a critical role in preventing ISIS from reaching Baghdad during the days of the caliphate.

And, for good reason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, with its crew of 5,600, which Trump sent to deter Iran, has yet to enter the Strait of Hormuz or the Persian Gulf but remains in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman, and, at times, some 600 nautical miles away from Iran.

Why is this mighty warship keeping its distance?

We don’t want a confrontation in the Gulf, and, as ex-Admiral James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, says:

“Anytime a carrier moves close to shore, and especially into confined waters, the danger to the ship goes up significantly. … It becomes vulnerable to diesel submarines, shore-launched cruise missiles and swarming attacks by small boats armed with missiles.”

Which is a pretty good description of the coastal defenses and naval forces of Iran.

Netanyahu’s widening of Israel’s war with Iran and its proxies into Lebanon and Iraq — and perhaps beyond — and his acknowledgement of that wider war raise questions for both of us.

Israel today has on and near her borders hostile populations in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq. Tens of millions of Muslims see her as an enemy to be expelled from the region.

While there is a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs are temporary allies as long as the foe is Iran.

Is this pervasive enmity sustainable?

As for America, have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Does Israel Interfere in American Elections?

Ask Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 27, 2019

Does anyone remember what the Mueller investigation was all about? It was to determine whether the team surrounding candidate and then president-elect Donald Trump had colluded with a foreign power, presumed to be Russia. It did not discover any such collaboration to get Trump elected president, but it did discover a foreign nation that had directly intervened with key players surrounding president-elect Trump to get them to do it a favor. That country was Israel, but somehow the media never quite managed to pull it all together even if leading public intellectual Noam Chomsky was able to, saying “… if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies…”

This is how Jewish power works on behalf of the Jewish state. It is done right out in the open, at least if one knows where to look, and it operates by what the intelligence community would refer to as misdirection. That means that you never talk about Israel itself, except in a positive, laudatory fashion, you never mention Jewish power in America, and, finally, you have in reserve some fabricated threats that can be surfaced to dominate discussion and render Israel’s malign activity invisible.

Currently, the Russian threat is the enemy du jour. Even though we now know that “Russiagate” never existed in any serious form, it continues to be hyped by both the Democratic Party and by the accommodating media as the over-the-horizon threat to American democracy. It is now being claimed, minus any real evidence, that the Kremlin has a plan to ruin the upcoming 2020 election by way of nationwide tampering with the voting machines and the electronic tallying procedures. Oddly enough, the states, where the voting actually takes place, have not noticed any attempted Russian interference. As the story goes, if the Russians are successful, no one will have any confidence in the results and the American republican experiment will collapse in ruins.

No one is, of course, asking why Moscow would want to change a United States that, for all its power, is so politically inept and corrupt from top to bottom that it found itself unable to stage a coup in Venezuela. If the U.S. government collapses, it might well be replaced by something more authoritarian and, dare I say, more efficient, that would certainly pose a greater threat to Russia, so why would Putin want that?

Nevertheless, many people who should know better are hyping the threat. I sometimes peruse the Defense One website, a warmhearted place funded by defense contractors where all those people who want to blow up the world can share bon mots and grin about all the money they are making.

Last week I noted a particularly loathesome article on the site “Here’s what foreign interference will look like in 2020,” written by one Uri Friedman, who I presume to be – inevitably – an Israeli. Uri is very upset about all those evil countries that will be/might be interfering in the election, to include Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea and the United Arab Emirates – though he does exclude the one country that is most likely to interfere, which is, of course, Israel. Uri is described as a “a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel.” The Atlantic is in fact a media black hole, where all semi-literate journos of a globalist persuasion go to die.

Uri begins with the sub-headline, “The incentives for foreign countries to meddle are much greater than in 2016, and the tactics could look dramatically different” followed by:

“Russia is ‘doing it as we sit here.’ This stray line, buried in seven hours of testimony on Capitol Hill, wasn’t just Robert Mueller’s way of rebutting the charge that his investigation into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election amounted to a two-year, $32 million witch hunt. It was also a blunt message to the lawmakers arrayed before him, the journalists hunting for a bombshell, and the millions of Americans monitoring the proceedings: We’re all here fighting the last war, when we really should be bracing ourselves for the coming one. The Russians ‘expect to do it during the next campaign,’ the special counsel continued, and ‘many more countries are developing capability to replicate’ Moscow’s model.”

Friedman states that “It’s unclear whether the Russian government will reprise most infamous and innovative act in 2016: the hacking and leaking of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign” before moving on to the details of Moscow’s alleged subversion. He considers all allegations about Russia to be truthful even when they were never proven. The Democratic National Committee never cooperated with the FBI after their supposed hack, but instead used their own very suspect firm to do the investigation. And the Mueller investigation took that report at face value in spite of the company’s very clear conflict of interest.

That about sums up Friedman’s rather lengthy and convoluted argument, though he does omit any consideration of how many foreign elections the United States government acting through its intelligence agencies interferes in each year. Or indeed how much CIA Director John Brennan and the FBI’s James Comey themselves interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. But he does speculate that “This is the shoe that didn’t drop in 2016. A Senate Intelligence Committee report released in July found that while there’s no evidence that votes were altered or vote tallies manipulated during the past U.S. presidential election, the Russians likely targeted election systems in all 50 U.S. states, including research on ‘election-related web pages, voter ID information, election system software, and election service companies.’ In a couple of cases, the Russians succeeded in breaching state election infrastructure. Among the theories aired in the report about Moscow’s motivations is that it was cataloging ‘options or clandestine actions, holding them for use at a later date.’”

In other words, Friedman actually concedes that Russia didn’t do anything and the evidence that it is planning an attack for 2020 is thin to non-existent. But here in the United States, other foreign agents are hard at work to remove the two Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 “for Jewish reasons.”

Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss reports how the tale of powerful Detroit region-based Jews raising money and pulling in political markers to try to defeat Rep. Rashida Tlaib has been circulating on the web. Per Weiss, Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on a gathering of Jewish power brokers in Detroit three weeks ago, arranged by a leading Jewish organization, at which they vowed to raise money to get rid of Tlaib because she supports a boycott of Israel. Tlaib is a Muslim woman and is a U.S. born and raised Palestinian-American.

Tlaib responded to the story on twitter: “This type of hate never succeeds when the truth is on our side. Palestinians *are* dehumanized. Those who want to suppress the truth by trying to discredit me can #bringit. My sidy [grandmother in Palestine] taught me of the days where everyone lived side by side in peace & that is what I will fight for.”

The meeting was held at Bloomfield Hills Michigan branch office of the Jewish Federation, the largest Jewish group in the United States. It included many local Jewish leaders and potential political donors who are clearly not bothered by dual loyalty, but it did not appear to include anyone who actually lives in Tlaib’s district. Nevertheless, consensus was quickly established that “the Palestinian-American freshman in the 13th District [Tlaib] has got to go.”

One participant declared “We in this community will go against Rashida Tlaib” while another described how there had already been an approach to Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council president, who had been defeated in 2018 by Tlaib. Money was being raised for her campaign, according to another participant.

The thinking in the room was that the African-American community in the 13th Congressional District would support a single black candidate — likely Jones — and that candidate would also be able to draw on considerable pro-Israel support for funding and favorable media coverage.

There was some pushback, with a rabbi telling Kampeas that a Jewish organized effort to remove Tlaib would be “catastrophic.” He observed that it would be such an open and blatant demonstration of Jewish power that it would be a major setback to the effort to keep younger, more liberal Jews, who are suspicious of power politics, engaged.

The rabbi was being naïve. Removing politicians who are not fully on board with the Israel agenda is normal practice and has been for many years. Just ask Senators William Fulbright and Chuck Percy or Congressmen Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, and Cynthia McKinney. Criticizing Israel means not being reelected to Congress next time around, and it is not because Israel is greatly loved by voters. It is because Jewish-American citizens who are protective of Israel are willing to organize and collect money to support alternative candidates in any congressional district in the country, even where they do not reside, just as they plan on doing to Tlaib. Their goal is to defeat anyone who dares to say anything against Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of war criminals or, even worse, suggest that Palestinians just might be human beings and might actually have rights.

Israel has the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington but it operates as freely as it does by pretending that it has no power at all, that American involvement in the Middle East is driven by U.S. interests. That is complete nonsense and has been so for over fifty years as the Lobby has tightened its grip. Until more congressmen like Rashida Tlaib get elected and begin to speak out, the corrupt status quo will, unfortunately, continue to prevail.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , | 5 Comments

Why Hitler Declared War on the United States

By John Wear | Inconvenient History | 2017-08-31

Abstract

Establishment historians state that Adolf Hitler made a mistake when he declared war on the United States. For example, British historian Andrew Roberts wrote:[1]

“It seems an unimaginably stupid thing to have done in retrospect, a suicidally hubristic act less than six months after attacking the Soviet Union. America was an uninvadable land mass of gigantic productive capacity and her intervention in 1917-18 had sealed Germany’s fate in the Great War.”

Historian Martin Gilbert wrote in regard to Germany’s declaration of war on the United States:[2]

“It was perhaps the greatest error, and certainly the single most decisive act, of the Second World War.”

In this article I will explain why Hitler was forced to declare war on the United States.

American Steps Toward War

In his State of the Union address to Congress on January 6, 1941, Roosevelt outlined his plan for lend-lease aid to the anti-Axis powers. International law has long recognized that it is an act of war for a neutral government to supply arms, munitions, and implements of war to a belligerent. But Roosevelt brushed off objections to lend-lease based on international law. Roosevelt stated:

“Such aid is not an act of war, even if a dictator should unilaterally proclaim it to be.”

In this same speech, Roosevelt barred the door to suggestions of a negotiated peace:[3]

“We are committed to the proposition that the principles of morality and considerations of our own security will not permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers.”

President Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act into law on March 11, 1941. This legislation marked the end of any pretense of neutrality on the part of the United States. Despite soothing assurances by Roosevelt that the United States would not get into the war, the adoption of the Lend-Lease Act was a decisive move which put America into an undeclared war in the Atlantic.

It opened up an immediate appeal for naval action to insure that munitions and supplies procured under the Lend-Lease Act would reach Great Britain.[4]

On April 9, 1941, the United States entered into an agreement with a Danish official for the defense of Greenland. Roosevelt simultaneously illegally sent American Marines to occupy Greenland.[5]

In June 1941, Roosevelt agreed with Churchill to relieve the British troops in Iceland, and this was done with U.S. Marines on July 7, 1941.[6] Also in June 1941, Roosevelt ordered the closing of all the German and Italian consulates in the United States.[7]

Another step toward war was the adoption on April 24, 1941, by the United States of a naval patrol system in the Atlantic to insure delivery of munitions and supplies to Great Britain. The American Navy under this scheme was assigned the responsibility of patrolling the Atlantic Ocean west of a median point represented by 25º longitude. American warships and planes within this area would search out German vessels and submarines and broadcast their position to the British Navy. Roosevelt tried to represent the naval patrol as a merely defensive move, but it was clearly a hostile act toward Germany designed to help the British war effort.[8]

The first wartime meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill began on August 9, 1941, in a conference at the harbor of Argentia in Newfoundland. The principal result of this conference was the signing of the Atlantic Charter on August 14, 1941. Roosevelt repeated to Churchill during this conference his predilection for an undeclared war, saying:

“I may never declare war; I may make war. If I were to ask Congress to declare war, they might argue about it for three months.”

The Atlantic Charter was in effect a joint declaration of war aims, although Congress had not voted for American participation in the war. The Atlantic Charter, which provided for Anglo-American cooperation in policing the world after the Second World War, was a tacit but inescapable implication that the United States would soon become involved in the war. This implication is fortified by the large number of top military and naval staff personnel who were present at the conference.[9]

Roosevelt’s Orders to Shoot-on Sight German Ships and Submarines

Roosevelt’s next move toward war was the issuing of secret orders on August 25, 1941, to the Atlantic Fleet to attack and destroy German and Italian “hostile forces.” These secret orders resulted in an incident on September 4, 1941, between an American destroyer, the Greer, and a German submarine.[10] Roosevelt falsely claimed in a fireside chat to the American public on September 11, 1941, that the German submarine had fired first.

The reality is that the Greer had tracked the German submarine for three hours, and broadcast the submarine’s location for the benefit of any British airplanes and destroyers which might be in the vicinity. The German submarine fired at the Greer only after a British airplane had dropped four depth charges which missed their mark. During this fireside chat Roosevelt finally admitted that, without consulting Congress or obtaining congressional sanction, he had ordered a shoot-on-sight campaign against Axis submarines.[11]

On September 13, 1941, Roosevelt ordered the Atlantic Fleet to escort convoys in which there were no American vessels.[12] This policy would make it more likely to provoke future incidents between American and German vessels. Roosevelt also agreed about this time to furnish Britain with “our best transport ships.” These included 12 liners and 20 cargo vessels manned by American crews to transport two British divisions to the Middle East.[13]

More serious incidents followed in the Atlantic. On October 17, 1941, an American destroyer, the Kearny, dropped depth charges on a German submarine. The German submarine retaliated and hit the Kearny with a torpedo, resulting in the loss of 11 lives. An older American destroyer, the Reuben James, was sunk with a casualty list of 115 of her crew members.[14] Some of her seamen were convinced the Reuben James had already sunk at least one U-boat before she was torpedoed by the German submarine.[15]

On October 27, 1941, Roosevelt broadcast over nationwide radio his Navy Day address. Roosevelt began his Navy Day address by stating that German submarines had torpedoed the U.S. destroyers Greer and Kearny. Roosevelt characterized these incidents as unprovoked acts of aggression directed against all Americans, and that “history will record who fired the first shot.”

What Roosevelt failed to mention in his broadcast is that in each case the U.S. destroyers had been involved in attack operations against the German submarines, which fired in self-defense only as a last resort. Hitler wanted to avoid war with the United States at all costs, and had expressly ordered German submarines to avoid conflicts with U.S. warships, except to avoid imminent destruction. It was Roosevelt’s shoot-on-sight orders to U.S. Navy vessels that were designed to make incidents like the ones Roosevelt condemned inevitable.[16]

Despite Roosevelt’s provocations, the American public was still against entering the war. By the end of October 1941, Roosevelt had no more ideas how to get into a formal and declared war:[17]

“… He had said everything ‘short of war’ that could be said. He had no more tricks left. The hat from which he had pulled so many rabbits was empty.”

Even full-page advertisements entitled “Stop Hitler Now” inserted in major American newspapers by Roosevelt’s supporters had failed to sway the American public. The advertisements warned the American people that a Europe dominated by Hitler was a threat to American democracy and the Western Hemisphere. The advertisements asked: “Will the Nazis considerately wait until we are ready to fight them? Anyone who argues that they will wait is either an imbecile or a traitor.” Roosevelt endorsed the advertisements, saying that they were “a great piece of work.”[18]

Yet the American people were still strongly against war.

Roosevelt Provokes Pearl Harbor Attack

Provoking Japan into an overt act of war was the principal policy that guided Roosevelt’s actions toward Japan throughout 1941. Lt. Cmdr. Arthur H. McCollum, head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence, wrote an eight-action memorandum dated October 7, 1940, outlining how to provoke a Japanese attack on the United States.[19]

The climax of Roosevelt’s measures designed to bring about war in the Pacific occurred on July 25, 1941, when Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States. This brought commercial relations between the nations to an effective end, including an end to the export of oil to Japan.

Prince Konoye, the Japanese premier, requested a meeting with Roosevelt to resolve the differences between the United States and Japan. American Ambassador Grew sent a series of telegrams to Washington, D.C. in which he strongly recommended that such a meeting take place. However, Roosevelt steadfastly refused to meet with the Japanese premier.[20]

Foreign Minister Toyoda made a dispatch to Japanese Ambassador Nomura on July 31, 1941. Since U.S. Intelligence had cracked the Japanese diplomatic code, Roosevelt and his associates were able to read this message:[21]

“Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas… I know that the Germans are somewhat dissatisfied with our negotiations with the United States, but we wish at any cost to prevent the United States from getting into the war, and we wish to settle the Chinese incident.”

This obvious Japanese desire for peace with the United States did not change Roosevelt’s policy toward Japan. Roosevelt refused to lift the oil embargo against Japan. The Roosevelt administration was well aware that Japan imported approximately 90% of her oil, and that 75% to 80% of her oil imports came from the United States. Roosevelt also knew that the Netherlands East Indies, which produced 3% of the world’s oil output, was the only other convenient oil producer that could meet Japan’s import needs.[22]

On October 31, 1941, an oil agreement between Japan and the Netherlands East Indies expired. The Netherlands East Indies had promised to deliver about 11.4 million barrels of oil to Japan, but actually delivered only half of that amount. The Japanese Navy had consumed approximately 22% of its oil reserves by the time the war broke out.[23]

By the closing months of 1941, the United States was intercepting and breaking within a matter of hours almost every code produced by Japan.[24] In the last week of November 1941, President Roosevelt knew that an attack by the Japanese in the Pacific was imminent.

Roosevelt warned William Bullitt against traveling across the Pacific:[25]

“I am expecting the Japs to attack any time now, probably within the next three or four days.”

Roosevelt and his administration knew this based on the intercepted Japanese messages. This information was not given to the commanders at Pearl Harbor to enable them to prepare for and thwart the Japanese attack.

Adm. Husband Kimmel, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, states that if he had all of the important information then available to the Navy Department, he would have gone to sea with his fleet and been in a good position to intercept the Japanese attack.[26] Kimmel concludes in regard to the Pearl Harbor attacks:

When the information available in Washington was disclosed to me I was appalled. Nothing in my experience of nearly 42 years of service in the Navy had prepared me for the actions of the highest officials in our government which denied this vital information to the Pearl Harbor commanders.

If those in authority wished to engage in power politics, the least that they should have done was to advise their naval and military commanders what they were endeavoring to accomplish. To utilize the Pacific Fleet and the Army forces at Pearl Harbor as a lure for a Japanese attack without advising the commander-in-chief of the fleet and the commander of the Army base at Hawaii is something I am wholly unable to comprehend.[27]

The Rainbow Five Plan

On December 8, 1941, President Roosevelt made a speech to Congress calling for a declaration of war against Japan. Condemning the attack on Pearl Harbor as a “date which will live in infamy,” Roosevelt did not once mention Germany.

Hitler’s policy of keeping incidents between the United States and Germany to a minimum seemed to have succeeded. Hitler had ignored or downplayed the numerous provocations that Roosevelt had made against Germany. Even after Roosevelt issued orders to shoot-on-sight at German submarines, Hitler had ordered his naval commanders and air force to avoid incidents that Roosevelt might use to bring America into the war. Also, since the Tripartite Pact did not obligate Germany to join Japan in a war initiated by Japan, it appeared unlikely that Hitler would declare war on the United States.[28]

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor surprised Hitler. Hitler had never wanted Japan to attack the United States. Germany had repeatedly urged Japan to attack Singapore and the rest of Great Britain’s Far East Empire, but Japan refused to do so. After the war Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl said that Hitler had wanted Japan to attack Great Britain and the Soviet Union in the Far East, which would have set up a two-front war. Hitler thought Roosevelt would probably not be able to persuade the American public to go to war to defend Britain’s Asian colonies. Jodl said that Hitler had wanted in Japan “a strong new ally without a strong new enemy.”[29]

Hitler’s decision to stay out of war with the United States was made more difficult on December 4, 1941, when the Chicago Tribune carried in huge black letters the headline: F.D.R.’s WAR PLANS! The Washington Times Herald, the largest paper in the nation’s capital, carried a similar headline.

Chesly Manly, the Tribune’s Washington correspondent, revealed in his report what Roosevelt had repeatedly denied: that Roosevelt was planning to lead the United States into war against Germany. The source of Manly’s information was no less than a verbatim copy of Rainbow Five, the top-secret war plan drawn up at Roosevelt’s request by the joint board of the United States Army and Navy. Manly’s story even contained a copy of President Roosevelt’s letter ordering the preparation of the plan.[30]

Rainbow Five called for the creation of a 10-million-man army, including an expeditionary force of 5 million men that would invade Europe in 1943 to defeat Germany. On December 5, 1941, the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., cabled the entire transcript of the newspaper story to Berlin. The story was reviewed and analyzed in Berlin as “the Roosevelt War Plan.” On December 6, 1941, Adm. Erich Raeder submitted a report to Hitler prepared by his staff that analyzed the Rainbow Five plan. Raeder concluded the most important point contained in Rainbow Five was the fact that the United States would not be ready to launch a military offensive against Germany until July 1943.[31]

On December 9, 1941, Hitler returned to Berlin from the Russian front and plunged into two days of conferences with Raeder, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. The three advisors stressed that the Rainbow Five plan showed that the United States was determined to defeat Germany. They pointed out that Rainbow Five stated that the United States would undertake to carry on the war against Germany alone even if Russia collapsed and Britain surrendered to Germany. The three advisors leaned toward Adm. Raeder’s view that an air and U-boat offensive against both British and American ships might be risky, but that the United States was already unquestionably an enemy.[32]

On December 9, 1941, Roosevelt made a radio address to the nation that is seldom mentioned in the history books. In addition to numerous uncomplimentary remarks about Hitler and Nazism, Roosevelt accused Hitler of urging Japan to attack the United States. Roosevelt declared:[33]

“We know that Germany and Japan are conducting their military and naval operations with a joint plan. Germany and Italy consider themselves at war with the United States without even bothering about a formal declaration… Your government knows Germany has been telling Japan that if Japan would attack the United States, Japan would share the spoils when peace came. She was promised by Germany that if she came in she would receive control of the whole Pacific area and that means not only the Far East, but all the islands of the Pacific and also a stranglehold on the west coast of North and Central and South America.”

All of the above statements are obviously lies. Germany and Japan did not have a joint naval plan before Pearl Harbor, and never concocted one for the rest of the war. Germany did not have foreknowledge and certainly never encouraged Japan to attack the United States. Japan never had any ambition to attack the west coast of North, Central, or South America. Germany also never promised anything to Japan in the Far East. Germany’s power in the Far East was negligible.[34]

Roosevelt concluded in his speech on December 9, 1941:[35]

“We expect to eliminate the danger from Japan, but it would serve us ill if we accomplished that and found that the rest of the world was dominated by Hitler and Mussolini. So we are going to win the war and we are going to win the peace that follows.”

On December 10, 1941, when Hitler resumed his conference with Raeder, Keitel, and Göring, Hitler said that Roosevelt’s speech confirmed everything in the Tribune story. Hitler considered Roosevelt’s speech to be a de facto declaration of war. Since war with the United States was inevitable, Hitler felt he had no choice but to declare war on the United States. Hitler declared war on the United States in his Reichstag speech on December 11, 1941, stating among other things:

Since the beginning of the war, the American President Roosevelt has steadily committed ever more serious crimes against international law. Along with illegal attacks against ships and other property of German and Italian citizens, there have been threats and even arbitrary deprivations of personal freedom by internment and such. The increasingly hostile attacks by the American President Roosevelt have reached the point that he has ordered the American navy to immediately attack, fire upon and sink all German and Italian ships, in complete violation of international law. American officials have even boasted about destroying German submarines in this criminal manner. American cruisers have attacked and captured German and Italian merchant ships, and their peaceful crews were taken away to imprisonment. In addition, President Roosevelt’s plan to attack Germany and Italy with military forces in Europe by 1943 at the latest was made public in the United States, and the American government made no effort to deny it.

Despite the years of intolerable provocations by President Roosevelt, Germany and Italy sincerely and very patiently tried to prevent the expansion of this war and to maintain relations with the United States. But as a result of his campaign, these efforts have failed.[36]

Hitler ended this speech with a declaration of war against the United States. Roosevelt had finally gotten a declared war with Germany using Japan as a back door to war.

Closing Thoughts on Hitler’s Declaration of War Against the United States

No nation has ever been led into war with as many soothing promises of peace as the American public received from President Roosevelt. Most of the American public felt that the United States had entered the First World War under false pretenses. Polls consistently showed that the American public did not favor entry into a second war in Europe. Roosevelt assuaged these fears with statements such as “… I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours, thinking and planning how war may be kept from this nation.”[37]

The truth is that Roosevelt did everything in his power to plunge the United States into war against Germany. Roosevelt eventually went so far as to order American vessels to shoot-on- sight German and Italian vessels—a flagrant act of war. However, Hitler wanted to avoid war with the United States at all costs. Hitler expressly ordered German submarines to avoid conflicts with U.S. warships, except to prevent imminent destruction. It appeared that Hitler’s efforts would be successful in keeping the United States out of the war against Germany.

Hitler declared war on the United States only after the leaked Rainbow Five plan convinced him that war with the United States was inevitable. The extraordinary cunning of leaking Rainbow Five at the very time he knew a Japanese attack was pending enabled Roosevelt to overcome the American public’s resistance to entering the war. It allowed the entry of the United States into World War Two in such a way as to make it appear that Germany and Japan were the aggressor nations.[38]


Notes

[1] Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2011, pp. 193f.
[2] Gilbert, Martin, The Second World War: A Complete History, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989, p. 277.
[3] Chamberlain, William Henry, America’s Second Crusade, Chicago: Regnery, 1950, pp. 129f.
[4] Ibid., p. 130.
[5] Sanborn, Frederic R., Design For War: A Study of Secret Power Politics, 1937-1941, New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1951, p. 258.
[6] Churchill, Winston S., The Grand Alliance, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950, pp. 149f.
[7] Sanborn, Frederic R., “Roosevelt is Frustrated in Europe,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, p. 216.
[8] Chamberlain, William H., op. cit. (note 4),pp. 136f.
[9] Sanborn, Frederic R., “Roosevelt…,” op. cit. (note 7), pp. 217f.
[10] Ibid., p. 218.
[11] Chamberlain, William H., op. cit. (note 4), pp. 147f.
[12] Hearings Before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79 Cong., 2 sess., 39 parts; Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946, Part V, p. 2295.
[13] Churchill, Winston S., op. cit. (note 6), pp. 492f.
[14] Chamberlain, William H., op. cit. (note 4), pp. 148f.
[15] Newsweek, November 10, 1941, p. 35.
[16] “Roosevelt’s ‘Secret Map’ Speech,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 1985, pp. 125f.
[17] Sherwood, Robert E., Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948, p. 438; see also Churchill, Winston S., op. cit. (note 6), p. 539.
[18] Johnson, Walter, The Battle against Isolation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944, pp. 85-87.
[19] Stinnett, Robert B., Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor, New York: The Free Press, 2000, pp. 6, 8.
[20] Morgenstern, George, “The Actual Road to Pearl Harbor,” in Barnes, Harry Elmer (ed.), Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993, pp. 327-331.
[21] Hearings Before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, 79 Cong., 2 sess., 39 parts; Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946, Part XII, p. 9.
[22] Miller, Edward S., Bankrupting the Enemy: The U.S. Financial Siege of Japan Before Pearl Harbor, Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007, p. 162.
[23] Sanborn, Frederic R., Design for War, op. cit. (note 5), p. 424.
[24] Stinnett, Robert B., op. cit. (note 19), p. 83.
[25] Feb. 12, 1946, conversation between William Bullitt and Henry Wallace, from Henry Wallace Diary, Henry Wallace Papers, Library of Congress Manuscripts, Washington, D.C. Quoted in Tzouliadis, Tim, The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia, New York: The Penguin Press, 2008, p. 240.
[26] Kimmel, Husband E., Admiral Kimmel’s Story, Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p. 110.
[27] Ibid., p. 186.
[28] Meskill, Johanna Menzel, Hitler and Japan: The Hollow Alliance, New York: 1955, p. 40.
[29] Fleming, Thomas, The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War within World War II, New York: Basic Books, 2001, pp. 31f.
[30] Ibid., p. 1.
[31] Ibid., pp. 1f., 33.
[32] Ibid., pp. 33f.
[33] Ibid., pp. 34f.
[34] Meskill, Johana M., op. cit. (note 28), pp. 1-47.
[35] http://millercenter.org/president/fdroosevelt/speeches/speech-3325
[36] “The Reichstag Speech of 11 December 1941: Hitler’s Declaration of War Against the United States,” The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 1988-1989, p. 412.
[37] Chamberlain, William H., op. cit. (note 4), p. 98.
[38] http://www.veteranstoday.com/2008/06/16/rainbow-5-roosevelts-secret-pre-pearl-harbor-war-plan-exposed/

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 2 Comments

Iran tourist arrivals neared 8 million in early 2019: Tourism chief

Press TV – August 26, 2019

Head of Iran’s government department on tourism says around eight million foreigners visited the country in the last Iranian calendar year ending in March 2019.

“Some 7.8 million foreign tourists arrived in the country last year,” said Ali Asghar Mounessan, adding that the figure shows a 40-percent increase compared to the previous year.

Mounessan, who heads the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran (ICHTO), said each tourists coming to the country spends an average sum of $1,400 during his stay, adding that almost all the money earned from tourists should be viewed as pure income as investment has been very low compared to the revenues generated in the sector.

He said the boom in tourism arrivals and revenues have come despite sanctions imposed by the United States in the past year, adding that major accommodation places across the country have been booked up for months to come.

Mounessan, a deputy president whose department is planned to be turned into a ministry in the coming months, said the government would double the budget earmarked to the tourism and handicraft management as the sectors keep attracting massive foreign currency into the country.

The official also said that Iran eyes $2 billion worth of exports of handicraft, saying that all provinces across the country had huge potentials that could be used to meet the target.

Mounessan said the decision to turn the ICHTO to a ministry would also allow the government to have a better policy for protection of historic monuments and artifacts existing across the country, saying that would further boost arrivals of the tourists who are mainly interested in visiting Iran’s cultural heritage.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

US and Israeli Collectors Buy Up What Remains of Yemen’s Ancient Heritage

Four historic buildings in Sana’a’s old quarter, including the home of Saleh Ali al-Aeini, were destroyed by U.S. bombs dropped by Saudi warplanes in June, 2015. Photo – MintPress News
By Ahmed AbdulKareem – MintPress News – August 26, 2019

SANA’A, YEMEN — Yemen was once described as a living museum, but U.S. made bombs dropped by the Saudi-led Coalition’s jets have not only killed thousands of civilians and led to famine and the spread of disease but also pulverized the country’s rich architectural history and left its inimitable heritage at the mercy of the highest bidder.

“I remember how light filtered through the stained glass of the patterned crescent window (qamarias) onto the white gypsum plaster in the resting room (Deirmanah) on the top floor. At night, lights tossed dapples of color into the sky,” Saleh Ali al-Aeini recounted to MintPress from his partially destroyed high-rise apartment, continuing, “Now, only scattered glass remains amid a mound of dust and mud, thanks to American bombs.”

Saleh’s ancient tower-house was one of four historic buildings in the old quarter of Sana’a that were destroyed by U.S. bombs dropped from Saudi warplanes in June, 2015. The buildings’ many-storied tower-houses, three of them rising to 110 feet, were more than 2,500 years old. The newest of them was more than 1,000 years old, built long before the United States even existed as a nation.

The effects of airstrikes on the UNESCO-listed Old City, perched on a highland plateau more than 7,200 feet above sea level, can be noticed at a glance. Cracks show on the more than 1,975 densely-packed homes, threatening them with collapse. Labyrinths, hidden gardens, steam baths, busy markets and streets have all been affected by airstrikes on the city that was said to have been founded by Shem, the son of Noah. In fact, the ancient city has been targeted at least four times with over 30 airstrikes according to the General Authority for the Preservation of Historic Cities.

Yet Saudi airstrikes extend far beyond Sana’a’s historic sites — to Sadaa, Shibam Hadramout, Zabid in Hodeida, Shibam Kuban, east of Sana’a, Shabwa, Aden, Amran, Taiz, and other areas of the country’s history that have also fallen victim to coalition bombing. Airstrikes and shelling have destroyed at least 66 historic sites according to Muhannad al-Sayani, chairman of the Yemeni General Authority for Antiquities

Coalition raids have targeted ancient castles and forts, museums, religious shrines housing cultural treasures; and ancient dams, including the world-famous Great Marib Dam.

Al-Sayani told MintPress that targeting of the country’s historic sites by the Saudi-led Coalition is deliberate: “These are open sites, mostly in desert areas where weapons cannot be stored.” Following many of the attacks, the Coalition often accuses the Houthis of using archaeological sites as weapons depots; however, no evidence has been provided to substantiate these allegations.

The undersecretary of the General Authority for the Preservation of Historic Cities, Amat al-Razzaq Jahaf, told MintPress that most of the monuments or sites have been damaged or destroyed by Saudi airstrikes since the Saudi-led campaign began without any justification.

The United States says it does not make targeting decisions for the Coalition. But it does support Coalition operations through arms sales, the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft, and the sharing of intelligence. Just last Thursday, a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone was downed in the city of Dhamar near the historic Dhamar Museum, which was leveled by a direct Saudi airstrike in June 2015.

Nothing can bring these back

Al-Aeini’s wife, who told MintPress than an American-made bomb had destroyed her home and killed her sons, accused international aid organizations of neglecting their suffering. “Lots of organizations visited us and provided only [promises] without doing anything,” she went on, “We rebuilt a part of the house by ourselves, just to have shelter for me and my husband, without any help.” Yemen’s General Authority of Antiquities complained to MintPress that the country’s heritage has been neglected by international organizations and communities.

Now, the buildings — which have stood tall for thousands of years in the historic city that surrounds the remnants of al-Aeini family home — are subject to eroding foundations and ominous cracks that line their ancient walls built of mud and stone, as a result of repeated Saudi attacks and the inability of Yemen’s government to address the deterioration amid four years of Saudi bombardment.

To make matters worse, Yemen is in the midst of its rainy season, adding to the challenges in rebuilding archaeological sites that have been targeted. “Of course, what has been destroyed is still devastating and every day the dangers [to those sites] is multiplied due to our inability to carry out operations to reduce the aggravation of damage because of the costs of rebuilding,” Jahaf told MintPress. Al-Qasimi’s house in Sultan’s orchard in ancient Sana’a, which was destroyed in another Saudi airstrike, is an example of this.

“If peace is brought to Yemen — and with it, compensation is provided — infrastructure, roads, schools, and hospitals could all be rebuilt; but nothing can bring back the historic architecture that has been destroyed,” Mohaned al-Sayani, chairman of the Yemeni General Authority for Antiquities, told MintPress.

Centuries in building, seconds in destroying

“Here, generations of my grandparents lived; why is it that the Coalition can so easily destroy it?” Hashem Ali, who fled to Sana’a after airstrikes leveled his family home in the historic Rahban area of Saada, asked MintPress. “This is the first time in nearly 600 years that my family is without a home.”

The attack on ancient Sana’a was the first of many violent assaults on Yemen’s architectural history, but the worst hit historic area has been Yemen’s northern province of Saada, the hub of the ancient Minaean Kingdom of Ma’in, founded before the fourth century B.C.

Saada’s old city, which is among the world’s oldest human-carved landscapes, once consisted entirely of historic, centuries-old multi-story homes. Now, it has been wiped out, after Saudi Arabia declared it a military zone — even the city’s hand-carved wooden doors have been reduced to ashes.

Just hours after the Coalition issued a warning on May 10, 2015, dozens of airstrikes rained down on the historic city, including on the ancient al-Hadi Mosque, which was founded nearly 1,200 years ago and is the final resting place of Imam al-Hadi ila’l-Haqq Yahya, the Zaydi imam of Yemen.

Built c. 897, al-Hadi Mosque is the final resting place of Imam al-Hadi ila’l-Haqq Yahya, the Zaydi imam of Yemen. It has been targeted several times. Ali al-Shurqbai – MintPress News

To understand Saudi Arabia’s motivation to essentially exterminate Yemen’s heritage, one must understand Yemen’s history as well as that of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi-based Wahhabi faith, which provides religious justification for targeting heritage sites under the guise of eradicating polytheism.

In ancient times, Yemen was home to several flourishing civilizations — including Ma’in, Qataban, Hadramaut, Ausan, Himyar and Saba (Sheba), which lasted for 11 centuries and was mentioned in the Quran and other ancient holy books. The Saban civilization was marked by its distinctive architecture, based almost entirely on local building materials, a style unique in the Middle East.

In contrast to Yemen’s rich and ancient history, civilization did not make its way to the Arabian Gulf until the 1930s. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s fellow coalition war partner, didn’t take root until 1971.

Many Yemenis, including Saleh Ali al-Aeini, believe that Saudi Arabia harbors severe jealousy over Yemen’s history and heritage and the unique role that it has played in human history. According to some historians, that history spans 60,000-70,000 years, when the country received its first Homo sapiens who migrated across the Red Sea from Africa to the Middle East before traveling west to Europe and east to Asia and Australia.

Moreover, Wahhabism — the official state religion of Saudi Arabia, based on a puritanical and widely rejected interpretation of Islam — sees the preservation of historic and religious sites as tantamount to idolatry. The Wahhabi establishment in Saudi Arabia has not even spared the Kingdom’s own tombs and monuments in Mecca and Medina and shows special disdain for Yemen’s historic sites, especially those located in northern Yemen, the seat of the Shia Zaydis for over a thousand years.

Looting what was not destroyed

Yemenis see their historic sites as a social-cultural fabric linking generations to their early ancestors. “I’ve lived here for dozens of years but now I have no house; there are no more gatherings of my ones-loved on the weekend,” al-Aeini said. He continued: “Another thing to worry about is our remaining legacy being looted.”

Destruction from the air is not the only threat to Yemen’s ancient legacy. During their war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have established smuggling networks in the country to loot historic sites.

A.M.M., who asked to be identified only by his initials, worked as an antiquities smuggler for a security outfit based in the UAE. A.M.M. told MintPress that his team sold four 2,500-year-old mummies, a gilded Torah scroll, and dozens of bejeweled daggers from the early Islamic era. “They always stressed the importance of keeping [the items] from being damaged so that they will be accepted by their American friends,” he said.

The smuggling of Yemeni antiquities is often carried out by diplomats operating out of Yemeni embassies from Saudi Arabia, the UAE,  Bahrain and Egypt in return for lucrative sums of money allegedly provided by patrons from the United States and Israel. Yemen is the cradle to many civilizations and home to multiple faiths — particularly Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which all thrived in Yemen for millennia. For the Israelis, many of Yemen’s antiquities are seen as the rightful property of the Jewish people and there is reason to believe that Israel is also involved in the looting of Yemen’s heritage.

Officials in Sana’a say they have strong evidence that Yemeni artifacts are being sold off to American and Isreali buyers. “Artifacts featuring the Star of David or Jewish names are our priority; they often fetch a higher price than the other artifacts,” A.M.M told MintPress. “I sold one Hebrew manuscript to a UAE officer for $20,000,” he added.

Aden, in the eastern province of Marib, is favored by smugglers for shuttling stolen artifacts abroad. Here — according to the testimonies of a number of smugglers arrested by Houthi forces and now serving their sentences Sana’a’s Central Prison — smugglers are able to work in broad daylight in facilities provided to them by high-ranking officials in the ousted government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, with direct coordination of both Emirati and Saudi officials.

More weapons to destroy what remains?

“We want compensation to rebuild our house again,” al-Aeini said, perched atop the stone rubble of his destroyed ancient home. “We should get compensation from the Americans. American bombs have killed more of us than were killed in the September 11 attacks.”

Al-Aeini was sardonically referring to the duality of moral attitudes in the United States, where on one hand Saudi Arabia is asked to pay compensation to the families of victims of the September 11 attacks, yet do nothing for victims of the war in Yemen, who are often killed with U.S. weapons sold to Saudi Arabia. “If there hadn’t been an American bomb, I would be at home now with my children and grandchildren, but they took everything,” al-Aeini said.

Many Yemenis are pessimistic about the future of their heritage. They say President Donald Trump’s recently-announced sales of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will destroy what remains of their country’s legacy. The sale includes precision-guided missiles manufactured by Raytheon as well as precision guidance parts for Paveway IV bombs used on Eurofighter and Tornado warplanes — the same type that have been blamed for much of the destruction of Yemen’s historic sites and civilian casualties alike in the Saudi-UAE air campaign in Yemen.

An old Yemeni proverb used for generations to encourage the preservation of the country’s rich heritage reads Eli maluh awal maluh taley (Whoever has no first, has no second). Many Yemenis, al-Aeini among them, fear that Yemen is already losing its heritage, much like al-Aeini lost his home, to American weapons.

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Greenland Connection

Irrussianality | August 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump has been rightly mocked in the past week for his alleged desire to buy Greenland from Denmark. What on earth put this crazy idea into Trump’s head, people rightly asked. Fortunately, we now have an answer, courtesy of The Guardian’s US columnist Richard Wolffe – Russia put him up to it!

I see that until recently Wolffe was ‘vice president and executive editor of MSNBC.com’, which explains a lot – MSNBC having been the no. 1 cheerleader in the Russiagate scandal in the US. The Trump-Russia story long since jumped the shark, but somehow it keeps finding extra sharks to leap over. Let’s take a look at what Wolffe has to say.

Greenland doesn’t just bubble into Trump’s mind randomly … But it is very much on Russia’s radar. Earlier this year, Russia revamped its arctic circle military base on tiny Kotelny Island, which sits close to the shipping routes that are opening up as the polar region warms catastrophically.

There are unknown quantities of oil, gas and rare earth minerals in the arctic, and the region’s powers – Denmark among them – can either green light a global free-for-all or restrain the usual human plunder of one of the last pristine frontiers on the planet. You can guess where Russia sits on this spectrum of environmental concerns in the middle of our climate crisis.

It is one of the sickest Trump jokes that his half-baked idea of buying Greenland should be seen as American machismo when it is yet another sign of Putin’s puppet American presidency at work.

‘Lazy journalism’ was the response of a distinguished British guest I showed this article to at breakfast today. It was very typical British understatement. There’s no argument here, no flow of logic from facts to conclusion, just an assertion entirely disconnected from everything which has gone before. Why Russia’s Arctic interests should prompt it to persuade Trump to try to buy Greenland isn’t explained. In reality, the last thing Russia would want, in an era of US-Russian tension, is an expanded American presence in an area of great and growing important to the Russian economy. The idea that Trump wanting to buy Greenland is proof that he’s a Russian ‘puppet’ is beyond bizarre.

By now, of course, it’s no surprise that the editors at outlets like The Guardian seem to have lost all sense of responsibility when it comes to the case of Trump-Russia, and are happy to publish any type of drivel. But Wolffe’s article makes the mind boggle at the lack of intellectual competence required to gain top executive positions at MSNBC. Perhaps the only explanation for it lies in the realm of pop psychology. For according to psychological research, debunking conspiracy theories doesn’t stop people believing in them; in fact, believers who are shown that their theories are wrong end up on average believing in them even more fervently. This article illustrates the point: the Trump-Russia connection has become an article of faith, a religious belief so absolutely true that all facts have to be bended to fit it, while all the evidence to the contrary serves only to reinforce the faith even further. Russiagate may be nonsense, but if this article is anything to go by, it has turned the brains of a large section of the political left into mulch.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Panic Grips UK Beaches as Toxic Sea Incident Leaves People Coughing and Struggling to Breathe

Sputnik – 26.08.2019

Twelve days earlier a number of people on a UK beach in West Sussex suffered bouts of vomiting in the wake of a toxic plume sweeping the area, with a sunken warship investigated as a likely cause of the incident.

Three UK beaches have been on alert over a mysterious “toxic sea” incident, The Independent has reported, with emergency services in Essex summoned to Frinton, Walton, and Clacton on Sunday.

An investigation is currently underway after numerous incidents of beachgoers in Essex were reportedly left coughing and struggling to breathe after swimming, as people flocked to the seaside during a record-hot spell of bank holiday weekend weather. Authorities immediately issued a warning to families to stay out of the water.

​One of the people affected by the mysterious incident, Miram Lansdell, a mental health worker from Derbyshire, said one of her twin 10-year-old daughters told her it “hurt to breathe in”:

“My daughter started coughing. My other daughter was gasping and couldn’t form words because she couldn’t breathe well enough”.

According to the woman, after she had taken a dip in the water she also experienced difficulty breathing.

Ms Lansdell added: “My dad said he had been asked to get out of the water by a man on a boat. He asked why and the man said there had been a fuel spill. He said if anyone is having breathing difficulties they should probably call an ambulance”.

A spokesman for Tendring Disrtrict Council said: “We are aware of a number of people reporting feeling unwell at beaches in Walton, Frinton and Clacton. The advice from emergency services and health officials is to avoid going into the water at this time along this stretch of the Tendring coastline”.

The spokesperson added that ambulance teams on the scene had treated people for symptoms such as eye irritation and minor breathing difficulties.

“A very small number of people were subsequently taken to hospital for further tests but are in a stable and non-life-threatening condition”, the spokesperson said.

As the investigation is ongoing, the causes of the incident are unclear. However, some people have been speculating that the symptoms may have been caused by pollution from a fuel spill.

This has not been confirmed by police or ambulance services, who’ve said the cause is “unknown”.

​Sunday’s incident comes just 12 days after a number of people on a beach in Worthing, West Sussex, were left vomiting in the wake of a toxic cloud sweeping the area.

A sunken warship was investigated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as being the cause of the poisonous gas plume.

Records show dozens of cargo vessels and munitions ships containing weapons and poisonous gas were sunk in the English Channel during WWI and WWII. Experts fear the “rusting timebombs” are rupturing and causing deadly gases to rise to the surface and drift towards the coast.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

You’ll Never Be Lonely Again

By Helen Buyniski | Helen of Destroy | August 26, 2019

The pathologization of emotion has been on the march for decades, especially in the US, where fully one sixth of the adult population takes an antidepressant or other psychiatric drug. But with depression “conquered” by medication – even as both diagnosis rates and suicides are at an all-time high – the mental-health industry has a new target: loneliness. With pharmaceutical and even technological “cures” in the pipeline for this “condition,” once considered part of the normal human emotional experience but now framed as a dire health risk on the level of obesity and smoking, our very ability to think for ourselves hangs in the balance, and if that sounds like hyperbole, read on.

Nearly half of Americans polled last year by health insurer Cigna said they lacked meaningful relationships or companionship, while a third of people in industrialized societies report they are lonely, and this state of mind appears to significantly shorten one’s lifespan. A solutions-based society might examine why so many people feel alienated from their peers despite the constant connectivity of smartphones and internet. A symptom-focused model, however, simply looks to stop them from feeling that way by any means necessary – never mind the cause, and never mind the consequences.

Loneliness is “worse than obesity,” according to a raft of studies that have emerged linking the emotion to increased risk of premature death – as much as 50 percent, says one meta-analysis by Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad – and a dramatically lowered quality of life. And like obesity – big business not just for Big Pharma, but for gastric bypass surgeons, weight-loss gurus, and other parasitic professionals who have monetized the American public’s lack of self-control – anything that deadly requires medical intervention.

THERE’S A PILL FOR THAT

The University of Chicago’s Brain Dynamics Laboratory recently began an eight-week trial of the hormone pregnenolone, rounding up volunteers with “off-the-chart” scores on a psychological loneliness scale. Basing their treatment on animal studies suggesting the chemical can reduce the exaggerated threat reactions that they say characterize loneliness, they hope to normalize the lonely person’s self-centered hyper-vigilance, which drives them to both desire human connection and deal poorly with it.

Researchers insist the intention is not to cure loneliness with a pill, but the trial sets a precedent for doing just that. Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” is also being considered as a potential treatment based on promising animal studies. Enterprising psychiatrists have previously medicalized aspects of loneliness as “social anxiety” and prescribed tranquilizers or antidepressants, but loneliness itself has never been so directly in the pharmaceutical crosshairs.

And if the hormone trials flop, there’s always Prozac. Already, doctors have claimed antidepressants make patients more sociable, and these drugs have for years been used (and abused) for conditions aside from depression – off-label prescribing of the antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin was the basis of the largest pharmaceutical company lawsuit in history. If loneliness is not an emotion but a crisis to be resolved, in which the ends justify the means (however barbaric and harmful they may be), why not bring out the heavy artillery?

Mental health professionals writing about the loneliness epidemic discuss behavioral interventions, community programs, and counseling, but the introduction of a pharmaceutical solution may prove too tempting for a profession that has learned to love the quick fix a pill provides. Like depression, loneliness has myriad possible causes, some of which are natural and healthy reactions to life circumstances. Other, obviously situational, causes would (before the magic pill, at least) call for clear behavioral solutions. Would a psychiatrist reach for her prescription pad when confronted with a lonely person who only socializes through Facebook, even though social media use has been found to correlate strongly with loneliness and studies have shown that just a week away from the platform can bring “significant” improvements in well-being? In this case, at least, correlation equals causation. A solution to the patient’s loneliness seems obvious. But why force him to change his life when a pill will do the trick?

The loneliness plague is a real problem – the number of Americans who say they have no one to talk to has tripled since 1985, and the negative health effects are real. Alienation is epidemic. But medicalizing it will only make the situation worse, just as it has with depression. When the profit motive enters the equation and medicalization gives way to monetization, the incentive to get rid of the problem vanishes, replaced by the incentive to diagnose as many people as possible with the condition in order to “treat” them while the relevant drugs are still under patent. Nor is there any incentive to (or expectation of) cure – unlike most patients diagnosed with a treatable disease, individuals deemed mentally ill tend to remain on medication for years, if not for life. Each newly-diagnosed individual thus represents a sizable wad of cash on the table.

In a quick-fix society that prefers to treat the symptoms while ignoring the disease, a pill for loneliness will be embraced with all the fervor with which antidepressants were greeted before people began to realize that they cause suicidal and homicidal behavior, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and a host of other problems – and that they don’t actually cure depression. Those drugs are still doled out like candy, even after the scientific explanation for their effect (and that effect itself) have been debunked, because it’s easier to take a pill than to come to terms with one’s reasons for being depressed in the first place, especially if they’re reasonable responses to environmental factors. Nearly half of Americans struggle just to cover their basic financial needs every month; expecting the chronically stressed to enjoy the feel of the system’s boot on their necks is unrealistic. With a similar array of thorny societal causes as depression, loneliness is just as likely to be pharmaceutically exploited.

A loneliness pill would not address Americans’ emotionally unhealthy digitally-addicted lifestyles, a society-wide sickness and source of significant stress. It would instead allow them to socialize exclusively in an online sphere whose boundaries are set by billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, without experiencing any of the discomfort they would naturally feel at having their gregarious impulses folded, spindled and mutilated to fit an increasingly stringent set of behavioral restrictions. Nor would it confront societal programming that equates solitude with loneliness, with abnormality, and teaches children that if they are not driven to socialize, they are defective. It’s no coincidence that fictional dystopias from 1984 to the Handmaid’s Tale minimize the amount of “alone time” their citizens are permitted – time alone with one’s thoughts is time the state cannot control. But the police state of today is working to change that.

As human contact, including real-life socializing, has become a luxury – so says the New York Times, explaining that humans are expensive, screens and robots are cheap, and expecting the unwashed masses to be able to afford access to living, breathing humans like themselves is simply unrealistic – the “digital pets” millennials had as children have matured to “digital friends,” even digital lovers as they themselves have grown up. And these digital companions double as the eyes and ears of a shockingly intrusive surveillance state.

BRIDGING THE UNCANNY VALLEY

If the “loneliness pill” doesn’t work out, AI is waiting in the wings. Already seen as the future of at-home healthcare for aging populations under the care of cash-strapped governments, friendly, helpful robots could find their way into the homes of the lonely. And everyone gets lonely sometimes! Certainly, the mass deployment of robo-buddies circumvents the surveillance hurdle faced by in-home AI snoops like Amazon’s Alexa, which many Americans find creepy (and not just for its tendency to burst into sinister laughter unprovoked). Frame the intruder as a medical benefit, however, and some of that opposition falls by the wayside. After all, loneliness kills, and no one wants to die.

As lonely humans become accustomed to conversing with their robot pals, their expectation for real human contact will diminish, and their sense of loneliness with it. After all, you can’t miss what you never had. Already, given the stunted level of discourse on social media, many of us have found ourselves tricked into talking to bots, sometimes exchanging several messages before realizing our interlocutor is not human. The Voight-Kampff Test used by Philip K Dick’s “blade runners” to determine whether a suspect was human or android can be graded on a curve.

As the bar for “meaningful relationships” is lowered to the point where chatting with an AI can qualify, the loneliness epidemic vanishes – on paper, at least, and in US public health policy, sometimes that’s all that matters.

LONELY OR JUST ALONE?

The pathologization of loneliness will inevitably elide the difference between being alone and being lonely, as the mental health industry runs out of lonely people to treat with whatever therapeutic weapon wins this particular arms race and is forced to look further afield for patients. “Loners” – those dangerous types who actually enjoy solitude – are stigmatized as unpredictable weirdos who need to be brought into the fold. The man who shot up a Walmart in El Paso earlier this month was an “extreme loner,” according to media reports. Would we be reading about it if he was an “extreme extrovert,” someone so addicted to the company of other humans he couldn’t stand to spend a second alone? Extroversion is a characteristic of the psychopathic personality, yet extroverts are not stigmatized for this, or treated as potential serial killers because they feel compelled to socialize – instead, the “introvert killer” trope is reliably trotted out after every tragedy, even though it has been repeatedly debunked.

With no loneliness pill on the market – yet – it is impossible to predict what’s next for the creeping medicalization of the human emotional experience. But the surveillance state is muscling into the “mental health” sphere as never before. The Trump administration has reportedly embraced a new Health Advanced Research Projects Agency, modeled after the Pentagon’s DARPA, that will develop a method for analyzing “neurobehavioral signs” to determine whether someone is “headed toward a violent explosive act.” HARPA’s proposal suggests a “multi-modality solution, along with real-time data analytics” to be garnered from technologies like Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. And Amazon’s Alexa has moved one step closer to the companion-robot model, rolling out a medical feature earlier this year which could conceivably be deployed to “check on” individuals at risk for loneliness. The devices that have been surveilling us for years may thus become empowered to have us committed – for our own good, of course, and the good of society.

In the aftermath of recent mass shootings, Trump declared open season on the “mentally ill,” floating the idea of involuntary confinement and institutionalization, while governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo have proposed mental health databases that would affix an indelible scarlet letter to anyone seeking help with a psychological issue – effectively driving many of the people who actually need help away from the system out of fear of the repercussions for their personal and professional lives. The idea that “extreme loners” might find themselves medicated against their will, as a preemptive measure, is not far-fetched.

And Elon Musk’s Neuralink device proposes bringing the AI directly to your brain, “merging biological intelligence with machine intelligence,” so you never have to feel lonely again – or experience any inconvenient emotions. Musk envisions a future in which customers will have the devices installed in shopping mall kiosks, no more intrusive than an ear-piercing. Social scientists fear it’ll be “suicide for the human mind” – while no one knows for sure where consciousness resides, if it’s anywhere near our squishy grey matter, it doesn’t stand a chance against cold silicon precision. Even Musk acknowledges that Neuralink is an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach to a future AI takeover.

Implantable AI hands the state the tools to control our thoughts. Indeed, we will no longer be able to tell which thoughts are “ours,” and which come from the device implanted in our skull. Transhumanists speak glowingly of “merging with the machines,” forgetting (or perhaps deliberately omitting) that the machines have programmers, and those programmers work hand in glove with the military-industrial complex. If they get their way, you’ll never be able to feel lonely again, because Big Brother will take up residence inside your skull. Solitude – like privacy before it – will be a distant memory, assuming you’re permitted to remember it at all. And like privacy, children born today may never know what it is like to experience loneliness – nor will they ever have the pleasure of being alone with their thoughts.

(originally published in much shorter form on RT)

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments