Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | July 17, 2018

According to a new poll conducted by Ipsos  in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Politics, 51% of respondents agree (15% “strongly” and 36% “somewhat”) with the statement “American elections are fair and open.”

The Ipsos headline characterizes that percentage as “only half.” That’s akin to noting that “only half” of Americans believe the Earth is a flat disc of provolone cheese, balanced atop the fingertips of seven celestial belly dancers. “Only” half?

Republicans, males, people over 55, people making more than $50,000 a year, and whites are more likely to believe this bizarre claim than Democrats, females, younger voters, the under-$50k crowd, and non-whites, but even among the latter buy-in is disturbingly high.

That over-55 demographic is plenty old enough to remember that after Ross Perot made it onto the presidential debate stage in 1992 (as an independent) and 1996 (as the Reform Party’s nominee), the Commission on Presidential Debates added a 15% polling bar to its rules to ensure that only Republicans and Democrats need apply.

Every four years, the CPD — established after the National Commission on Elections recommended  “[t]urning over the sponsorship of Presidential debates to the two major parties” — makes millions in illegal in-kind campaign contributions to Republican and Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and no others, in the form of joint campaign commercials falsely advertised as “debates.”

Most disturbing: 49% of self-described “independent” voters — voters deprived of choice by a tangled web of ballot access laws expressly designed to keep third party and independent candidates off the ballot and campaign finance laws that keep them marginalized if they get over those ballot access hurdles — still believe in the Fair and Open Election Fairy.

American elections started becoming less fair and less open in the late 19th century when state governments started printing “Australian” ballots and controlling access to those ballots. Before that, American voters hand-wrote their ballots, orally dictated their ballots to election officials if they couldn’t write, or used pre-printed ballots provided to them by their parties or candidates of choice.

While movements for more fair and more open elections have made some advances since then — for example,  constitutional amendment to provide for female suffrage, and partial gains versus attempts to suppress the African-American vote — we’ve still got a long way to go.

As champions of addiction recovery like to say, the first step is admitting we have a problem. Fairies aren’t real. And American elections aren’t fair and open. Yet.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Russian Meddling Reversal Suggests US Becoming ‘Authoritarian’

Sputnik – July 19, 2018

Both media and political backlash being thrown against US President Donald Trump for his flip-flopping antics on whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election suggests that the Land of the Free is heading toward an authoritarian route, historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter told Sputnik.

POTUS spent a second day Wednesday attempting to reassure critics that he’d misspoken at the Helsinki summit on Monday, telling reporters that “there’s been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia.”

“All you have to do is look at the numbers, look at what we’ve done, look at sanctions, look at ambassadors not there, look unfortunately at what happened in Syria recently,” Trump told journalists. “I think President Putin knows that better than anybody — certainly a lot better than the media — he understands it, and he’s not happy about it. And he shouldn’t be happy about it, because there’s never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been.”

​Porter told Sputnik Radio’s Loud & Clear on Wednesday that 45’s decision to walk back his statements suggests that the US is going to be heading down a road where political heads won’t be able to speak freely.

“To me, this is really the primary case study of how this political system is moving at a very rapid pace toward a rather authoritarian — very authoritarian — political caste, in which it’s going to become much more difficult to take positions that are at odds with the extremely hardline new Cold War position of the combined political media and national security elites,” the historian told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

When asked what might be driving the media’s persistent critiques of Trump, Porter indicated that it might have to do both with corporate media simply not liking the president and wanting to appease national security officials.

“There’s no doubt that 95 percent of the corporate media is partisan against Trump and in fact feels personally that he’s a menace to the United States,” he told Kiriakou. “At the same time, I think that 100 percent of the corporate media believe that it is vital to the interest of those people who they are close to in the military, the intelligence agencies and the political elites, that the United States start a new Cold War with Russia and that it be pursued to the hilt both militarily and especially in terms of intelligence and counterintelligence activities on the part of the US government.”

But would the media have reacted the same way if it was former US President Barack Obama who’d acted as Trump has? Yes, with maybe just some slight differences, according to Porter.

“If Obama had taken anything like in substance the position that Trump was taking… I think that the answer is pretty much yes,” he said. “It would be very similar; it would be different, of course, but it would be strikingly similar.”

Noting that Obama wasn’t attacked or vilified for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2009, Porter indicated that the US’ stance on Russia took a pivotal turn in 2014 when Crimeans made a decision and voted to reunify with the Russian Federation.

“The single most important watershed, if you will, was Ukraine and the fact that Russia took that kind of action… despite the fact that the US government was taking a strong position in the ‘Ukraine crisis,'” Porter explained. “This was both an insult to the US power on one hand and an opportunity on the other, and I would argue in a sense that it’s the opportunity that’s more important here.”

“My guess is that that was seen as an opportunity to retake advantage of the situation to push for a major plus up in the [US] military budget for Russia and to play up the threat from Russia in a way that they could not do before that.”

“You have sort of a continued growth in this idea that Russia is the enemy, that it’s the new threat and a major challenge to the United States,” the historian said.

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Colombian Community Mourns the Loss of Another Social Leader

teleSUR | July 17, 2018

Another Colombian social leader was reportedly murdered in the municipality of Caloto, Cauca, a national human rights network confirmed Monday.

The father of a former FARC soldier, an active participant in the Association of Pro-Constitution Workers Zones of the Caloto Campesina Reserves, Luis Eduardo Dague was a leader in his community. He assisted in founding the Carmelo of the Municipality of Caloto Cauca community and worked on the El Carmelo Action Board and various union, trade, and agricultural groups, the human rights network Francisco Isaías Cifuentes reported.

Dague’s remains were found in the El Carmelo Monday morning with marks consistent with torture across his body, face, and neck. Experts say Dague was most likely stoned or beaten to death.

According to local reports, a group of soldiers was camped on property owned by the victim near the crime scene. This is the second murder registered in Cauca this week. On Sunday, the body of Jose Bayardo Montoya was found in Miranda, also allegedly beaten to death, his skull completely crushed.

The Human Rights groups denounced the recent violence, calling on the state to act accordingly and to uphold the rights to life, liberty, personal safety, as well as physical, and psychological integrity; saying, “The necessary legal actions to determine the collective and individual responsibilities for the homicide.”

Late last week, Colombia’s inspector general, Fernando Carrillo, accused elements of the country’s police and military of collaborating with criminal organizations to assassinate human rights defenders and community leaders.

While earlier this month, demonstrations were organized in Paris, Valencia, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Rome and Buenos Aires to protests the violence targeting social rights leaders.

Jaime Gutierrez, of the National Confederation of Community Action, told El Espectador: “Why do they kill leaders? Because we’re against illegal mining, because it’s us who denounce the drug routes.”

Despite government promises from outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos to address the paramilitary violence, the number of fallen social leaders continues to climb with over 400 deaths since the signing of the Peace Treaty signing in November 2016.

RELATED:

Colombia: State Agents Accused of Murdering Social Leaders

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Turkish journalist acquitted over exposing Ankara’s arms aid to Syria militants

Erdem Gul, Ankara bureau chief of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet (Photo: Hurriyet Daily News )
Press TV – July 16, 2018

A court in Turkey has acquitted a journalist of the center-left and opposition daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, who was being tried for espionage in a case about revealing state secrets by publishing footage of a video showing weapons shipment to pockets of Syria held by foreign-backed terrorists.

On Monday, Istanbul’s 14th Heavy Penal Court dropped charges against Erdem Gul, who used to serve as the paper’s Ankara representative.

In May 2016, the 14th High Criminal Court in Istanbul convicted former editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet daily Can Dundar and Gul following the publication of the video.

The two defendants were arrested and held in prison until Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that their rights had been violated and ordered their release.

Earlier this year, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the Istanbul court’s previous ruling on the case, and ordered Gul’s acquittal over lack of evidence.

Back in May 2015, Cumhuriyet daily posted on its website footage showing Turkish security forces in early 2014 intercepting a convoy of trucks carrying arms for the militants in Syria.

The paper said the trucks were carrying some 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons.

A screen grab from a video published on the website of Cumhuriyet daily on May 29, 2015 shows mortar shells in boxes intercepted on a truck destined for Syria.

Ankara denied the allegation and claimed that the trucks had been carrying humanitarian aid to Syria. However, lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party Enis Berberoglu defended the video, saying it was genuine.

Turkey stands accused of supporting militant groups fighting to topple the Damascus government since March 2011.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Russia has been helping Syrian forces in an ongoing battle in the province of Dayr al-Zawr as Daesh struggles to keep its last positions in eastern Syria.

The Russian military assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as the Syrians continue to recapture key areas from Daesh and other terrorist groups across the country with the backing of Russia’s air cover.

On May 21, the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces announced in a statement that complete security was restored to Damascus and its countryside after al-Hajar al-Aswad district and al-Yarmouk camp had been totally purged of Daesh terrorists.

The development was preceded by flushing the Takfiris out of the towns of Yalda, Babbila and Beit Sahem on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Chief Rabbi Vs. Labour Party

By Gilad Atzmon | July 17, 2018

The BBC reports this morning that Britan’s chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said Labour will be “on the wrong side” of the fight against racism unless it toughens up its anti-Semitism code of conduct.

Rabbi Mirvis said Labour’s new anti-Semitism definition sent “an unprecedented message of contempt to the Jewish community”.

Apparently the Chief Rabbi is not alone. The J Post reports this morning that “Sixty-eight British rabbis signed an open letter decrying antisemitism in the country’s labor Party and calling on the party to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.”

Labour has defended its new code as the most “comprehensive” of any party.

But one may wonder, why do we need a special definition for antisemitsm? Is a general and universal denouncement of racism, bigotry and discrimination of all kinds not sufficient?  Are Jews somehow special?

The new Labour code does endorse the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism and includes behaviours it lists as likely to be regarded as anti-Semitic – yet Jewish critics point out that it leaves out four examples from that definition:

*  Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country

*  Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour

*  Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations

*  Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

Far from being surprising, Corbyn’s Labour see Israeli criminality as a problem and insists upon the right to criticise the actions of the Jewish State and its lobbies in political, cultural and historical contexts.

Rabbi Mirvis attacked the omission of these examples by the Labour and said it was “astonishing that the Labour Party presumes it is more qualified” to define anti-Semitism than the Jewish community.

The Rabbi could be slightly confused here.  Jews are more than welcome to define antisemitsm, as they like, but the labour party has the duty to define what it regards as an anti Jewish bigotry in accordance to its own alleged universal values.

Mirvis said Labour risked being on the “wrong side of the fight” against racism and intolerance

I would argue however that the Labour party, Rabbi Mirvis and most British Jewish institutions are on the wrong side of history here. If racism and Bigotry are defined as the discrimination of X for being X (X=woman, Jew, Black, Muslim, Gay, White etc.), then for Britain to move forward and to sustain the spirit of the common law, it must oppose all forms of racism and bigotry all together and equally.

To fight racism we need to follow one simple universal guideline rather than looking for the specific demands of one group or another.

Support Gilad’s legal costs.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia arrests Islamic scholar over criticism of Bin Salman’s ties with Israel

MEMO | July 13, 2018

According to unofficial Saudi sources, the authorities have arrested the Islamic scholar, affiliated to Sahwa Movement (Awakening movement), Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, along with a number of his sons because of his position towards the ruling family’s policies in the country.

A Twitter account named “Moatqali Al-Ray” (Prisoners of Conscience) published a tweet in which it said that the arrest of Sheikh Al-Hawali, 68, came a few days after he published his book Muslims and the Western Civilisation in which he attacked the ruling family in Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed.

Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account said that the security forces raided Al-Hawali’s house. They covered his eyes and tied him and his son Ibrahim up. They also frightened children in the house and confiscated mobile phones and electronic devices.

Sheikh Al-Hawali’s newly published book is a 3000-page publication in which he wrote that the ruling family “has been wasting funds on fake projects.”

Sheikh Al-Hawali attacked the crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman and his ties with Israel, calling it a “betrayal”. He called to move away from what he described as “bin Zayed’s approach in the UAE.”

According to Arab media outlets, Sheikh Al-Hawali holds a doctoral degree in religions and beliefs. He is considered the most important scholar of Sahwa Movement in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the largest religious movement in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hawali is also one of the strongest opponents of the US and Israeli presence in the region. The Saudi authorities imprisoned him in the mid-1990s along with a large number of advocates of Sahwa Movement because of their opposing position against US forces entering to Saudi Arabia.

Since September last year, the Saudi authorities have launched an anti-Sahwa-Movement arrests campaign that included Islamic scholars Salman Al-Ouda, Ayed Al-Qarni and others.

July 15, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

NATO Is the Model Entangling Alliance

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 13, 2018

Suppose I had an unlimited power of attorney to sign your name as a co-signer on any loan I made with the bank. Every time I went to the bank and borrowed money, I could legally obligate you to pay my loan if I defaulted.

How would you like that? My hunch is that you wouldn’t be too excited about that arrangement.

That is precisely the authority that NATO has over the American people, only the obligation is much worse than a financial one. The obligation involves killing and dying. That is, NATO has the authority to obligate young Americans, both men and women, to kill and die for whatever overseas regime that NATO decides to admit as a member of the organization.

How does NATO work? If another nation attacks any member of NATO, the United States is automatically bound to come to its defense.

That is not the type of system on which the United States was founded when the U.S. Constitution called the federal government into existence. The founding principle was that it would be up to Congress to decide whether the country would, in fact, go to war against another nation. There would be nothing automatic about it. If Congress declared war, then it would be the president’s responsibility to wage war. But if Congress failed to declare war, the government could not legally go to war.

Unfortunately, the Constitution did not limit war to the defense of the United States. That means that if Congress decided to declare war against, say, Uruguay, simply because they didn’t like that country’s ruler, there was nothing in the Constitution that would preclude such a war.

However, as a practical matter, a founding principle was that the United States did not involve itself in wars in faraway countries. That foreign policy of “non-interventionism” was encapsulated in John Quincy Adams’s Fourth of July address in 1821, where he observed that America does not go abroad in “search of monsters to destroy.”

U.S. membership in NATO nullifies those founding principles. NATO now decides when the United States goes to war and, equally important, decides which countries the American people are obligated to defend. No congressional declaration of war is required. If, say, Russia were to invade Latvia, the American people, thanks to NATO’s decision to admit Latvia as a member, would be automatically bound to go to war against Russia.

NATO is a blank, signed check which the American people have handed to NATO bureaucrats, a check by which they have obligated the lives of American youth and America’s money in the defense of some faraway nation that NATO has decided to admit as a member.

Of course, it’s easy for people to say, “Jacob, this doesn’t really involve my children, my siblings, or me. We have a professional army.”

But let’s not forget something: Mandatory draft registration. The Pentagon requires every man to register for the draft when he reaches the age of 18. That’s not just some esoteric exercise. It is a very real, practical device that enables the Pentagon to seize millions of young men, if necessary, to wage a NATO war (or any other war that the Pentagon deems is important to get involved in).

Moreover, even though young American women are not forced to register for the draft, there is no doubt that they are as subject to being drafted to go fight, kill, and die in the defense of Latvia, Montenegro, Turkey, and every other member of NATO as young American men are.

Isn’t it amazing that Americans would object to granting someone a power of attorney to obligate them on loans but have no reservations about giving the president, the Pentagon, and NATO bureaucrats the unfettered power to seize their children, spouses, brothers and sisters, and even themselves and the authority to force them to kill and die in the defense of faraway nations, some of which, by the way, are quite autocratic and dictatorial?

Of course, it hasn’t always been that way. George Washington, the father of our country and the first U.S. president, declared “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.” Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and America’s third president, echoed Washington’s sentiments: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Two Conflicting Histories of the King Assassination

By Bill Willers | Dissident Voice | July 10, 2018

There are now in the public sphere two totally contradictory narratives of the assassination in 1968 of Martin Luther King, Jr. with each being advanced again and again over the years by respective advocates as if the other did not exist.

Attorney William Pepper, confidant of Martin Luther King, Jr., became convinced in 1978 that James Earl Ray, the officially declared lone gunman, was innocent. Years of investigation led to his 1995 book, Orders to Kill, in which Pepper presented evidence of governmental involvement in the assassination. Three years later, Gerald Posner, already famous for his support for the Warren Commission’s report concerning President Kennedy’s assassination, published Killing the Dream, a defense of the official governmental contention that Ray was the assassin. The King Family also believed Ray innocent, but due to governmental refusal to pursue a criminal trial, there was instead a 1999 civil trial, The King Family vs. Loyd Jowers et al. Jowers, who had admitted having received the rifle actually used in the shooting, was granted immunity to reveal all he knew. All facets of news media boycotted the trial, arguably the de facto “Trial of the Century”.

History A

The trial brought together three decades of accumulated information, much for the first time. James Earl Ray was shown as set up to take blame for the killing. Some Memphis policemen had met in Jim’s Grill, where Jowers worked, while planning the assassination. The fatal shot, rather than fired by Ray from a rooming house, as officially reported, was seen by eyewitnesses to have come from a brushy area across the street from the Lorraine Motel. Police units near the Lorraine were called away prior to the shooting, as were the “Invaders”, a gang being lodged at the Lorraine while coordinating with King on the planned sanitation worker’s strike. Inexplicably, within hours following the assassination the brushy area was cut to the ground by the city. Many witnesses were not interviewed, and those with accounts at odds with the governmental explanation were ignored.

The 30-06 rifle presented as the murder weapon had actually been discovered next to a shop door wrapped in a bedspread ten minutes before the shooting. Moreover, it had not been sighted in so could not have hit at point of aim, and bullets found with it did not match the bullet taken from King’s body. The bathroom from which Ray is supposed to have fired was seen by a witness to be empty at the time of the shooting, and observers saw Ray drive away from the area a quarter hour before the shooting. Jowers, who worked at Jim’s Grill, adjacent to the brushy area, was handed a still smoking rifle after the shot was fired, which rifle he hid until giving it the following day to a collaborator to throw into the Mississippi river.

US Army Intelligence maintained surveillance on King, who had become a problem for the Federal Government through his opposition to the Vietnam War and for his plans for a Poor People’s Campaign aimed at obstructing governmental function. Army photographers, positioned on a roof near the Lorraine, photographed the shooter lowering his rifle and departing the brushy area. There were multiple military snipers as backup shooters if needed. Elements of the military, CIA, FBI, Alabama National Guard, Memphis Police, and the Mafia were identified as components of a carefully organized conspiracy.

The trial ended with the jury unanimous in finding that King had been assassinated not by James Earl Ray but by means of a conspiracy involving Jowers (30%) and “others including governmental agencies” (70%). Although the trial did not make the news, a Washington Post editorial (December 12, 1999, pg B08) stated “The more quickly and completely this jury’s discredited verdict is forgotten, the better”. (Note: That editorial is apparently no longer available in the Post’s online archive). In 2003, Pepper published An Act Of State, a book detailing the court’s findings.

History B

In 2010, writer Hampton Sides published Hellhound On His Trail, like Gerald Posner’s 1998 book an elaboration of the official governmental report portraying James Earl Ray as lone assassin. Sides described movements of King and Ray during days leading up to King’s killing on April 4, 1968 and of the ensuing hunt by the authorities for Ray. In minute-by-minute detail, Sides has Ray, a racist interested in a reported bounty, following King to Memphis and renting a room in a boarding house with a clear view of the balcony outside King’s Lorraine Motel room. With King in view, Ray rests a recently purchased, scoped 30-06 on the bathroom windowsill and fires, mortally wounding King. Ray then wraps rifle and other items in a bedspread, runs from the building and, seeing police within view of his car, ditches the suspicious looking bundle next to a shop door. He then departs and is on the run until his arrest.

Meanwhile, King was hurried to ER at Catholic-run St. Joseph’s hospital, where Drs. Ted Galyon and Rufus Brown attended him. Shortly, others, including various specialists, entered. Ralph Abernathy remained in the room along with Reverend Bernard Lee. At 7:05 PM King was pronounced dead by Dr. Jerome Basso, who closed King’s eyes. The bullet found in King is reported by Sides to be consistent with ammunition purchased by Ray and found with his rifle.

Although Sides claims to have explored all available sources of data, including “court proceedings”, declares that he “drew from a wealth of memoirs written by the King Family”, and lists the King Center in his bibliography, there is mention neither of the 1999 trial nor of William Pepper’s two books, published years earlier than his 2010 book. However, and despite years of media censorship, awareness of both the trial and of Pepper’s books had spread by 2010, so one must conclude that Sides’ omissions were deliberate. The evasion of such a quantity of opposing information is fatal to Hellhound On His Trail as an objective history.

Nevertheless, in 2010, the same year as the release of Hellhound On His Trail, the PBS television program “American Experience” aired Roads to Memphis, a documentary film described as “the entwined stories of assassin James Earl Ray and his target, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The film, for which Sides was historical consultant, was based on his book and featured commentary by Sides himself, as well as by author Gerald Posner, an established supporter of the official governmental account. As the book, so the film, in that there was no mention of either the trial or of Pepper’s books. Like Hellhound On His Trail, Roads to Memphis serves as forceful support for the Government’s narrative.

2016: Pepper’s Magnum Opus

William Pepper published The Plot To Kill King, a 770-page detailed summation of the Government’s role in the killing with new material gathered since his 2003 book. Here, Pepper traced the long-term strategy to bring both King and Ray to Memphis. Half of the book consists of appendices revealing military, CIA, FBI, Memphis police and Mafia involvement in the assassination and supportive of Ray’s innocence. The claim by attorney Percy Foreman that he had never pressured his client into a rash, untimely guilty plea is shown to be a lie by a letter from Foreman in which he offers Ray money “… contingent upon the plea of guilty and … without any unseemly conduct on your part in court.” There is a photocopy of the letter in the book’s appendix.

Pepper writes, “At Hoover’s request, James [Earl Ray] had been profiled as a potential scapegoat.” Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s deputy at the FBI, and shown by Pepper to be a central figure in the conspiracy, paid a prison official to engineer Ray’s escape from a prison, so that this designated patsy could thereafter be managed by another conspirator, Raul Coelho, who would then guide Ray to Memphis. Tolson distributed cash, some of which apparently made its way to Jesse Jackson. Jackson, along with others within King’s group, is depicted as an informant paid by the FBI to relay information on King. There is also a report that it was Jackson who had King’s room changed from the ground floor of the Lorraine to the more exposed second floor with its open balcony, and who ordered the Invaders away from the Lorraine shortly before the shooting. Pepper claims that evidence indicates the actual shooter to have been Memphis Police sharpshooter Frank Strausser.

Mortally wounded, King was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where, surprisingly, “a large presence” of military intelligence officers had taken positions well before the shot was fired. More surprisingly, the hospital’s head surgeon, Breen Bland, accompanied by two men in suits, entered the hospital room in which King was being attended by medical staff. Bland is quoted as shouting, “Stop working on the nigger and let him die” and then ordering everyone out of the room. Personnel hearing the sound of men clearing their throats lingered behind and reported seeing Bland and his two accomplices spit on King, after which Bland smothered King to death with a pillow (Note: Pepper describes this in a 2017 lecture, here on Vimeo).

2118: PBS Takes a Stand 

In the spring of 2018 there were multiple airings on the PBS program “American Experience” of Hampton Sides’ 2010 film Roads to Memphis. This is renewed reinforcement by PBS of the Government’s depiction of James Earl Ray as lone assassin and an excellent illustration of how televised media can function as servant of the State.

Sides’ contention that he drew from memoirs of the King Family as part of his thorough research is at odds with a filmed interview by ABC of the entire King Family. From dialogue, as well as from the youth of the family members, it is clear the interview was pre-1999 Trial (Note: The link indicated is to a 2-hour piece available, at the time of this writing, on YouTube. Start at 1:03 for the 5-minute segment of the King Family interview). In it, Dexter King states, “Evidence I’ve seen or heard will vindicate or exonerate James Earl Ray”. When asked who was behind the assassination, Dexter continues, “I am told that it was part-and-parcel Army Intelligence, CIA, FBI”. When the interviewer says, “This is a staggering idea to carry around”, Dexter answers, with a short derisive laugh, “I think we knew it all along. It’s why we’re not, like, jumping out of our seats, because we’ve known for years.” How on earth could Sides (or Posner) have overlooked such as that?

Although the keepers of the nation’s information gates have striven to bury the results of William Pepper’s four decade quest for the truth of King’s death, millions by now have been exposed to the fact that two opposing explanations of King’s murder continue to exist. Theologian James Douglass, who attended the 1999 trial, later wrote an article in which he stated:

The Memphis trial has opened wide the door to our assassination politics. Anyone who walks through it is faced by an either/or: to declare naked either the empire or oneself.

Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He can be contacted at willer@uwosh.edu.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Persecution of Rafael Correa

By Joe Emersberger | CounterPunch | July 9, 2018

An Ecuadorean judge has issued an arrest order for former President Rafael Correa. Correa is accused of having masterminded an attempted kidnapping of the right wing former legislator, Fernando Balda, in 2012. Balda was in Colombia at the time evading a prison sentence in Ecuador for libel. The kidnapping was foiled within a few hours by Colombian police and the perpetrators were captured. Months later, Balda was deported to Ecuador where he served two years in jail.

As explained in other pieces for CounterPunch (here, here, and here) in 2017 Lenin Moreno was elected on a platform of continuing the policies of his left wing predecessor, Correa, who was first elected in 2006. Immediately after taking office, Moreno shifted very hard to the right and has therefore made it his main priority to accuse the government he was part of for ten years of being corrupt.

A week before the arrest order for Correa, I spoke with Virgilio Hernandez who was a member of the National Assembly while Correa was in office. Part of the interview was updated after the arrest order came out. A key point Hernandez makes is that the “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council whose members were hand-picked by President Moreno (details here on the reasons the body is unconstitutional) has sweeping powers over the judiciary and other authorities.

JOE EMERSBERGER: Could you please explain the various legal and constitutional problems with the way Correa is being pursued over the Fernando Balda case?

VIRGILIO HERNANDEZ:The obvious thing about the Balda case is its political functionality, the determined effort to prosecute the former president Rafael Correa for anything at all. The case is in its early stages but the prosecution has already perpetrated a series of irregularities, a series of violations of the institutional norms and of the rule of law that makes it absolutely clear that justice is not their goal. They are not pursuing a credible investigation of the facts. They are basically pursuing political objectives through the prosecution of Rafael Correa on frivolous grounds.

The first irregularity is that, according to our constitution, authorization to prosecute the ex-president should have been received from the National Assembly. In fact, it was requested by Judge Camacho on June 11. Unfortunately, a majority that exists in the assembly is an alliance between the Alianza País party [that Correa and his allies resigned from after they broke with President Moreno] and the Social Cristiano party [right wing legislators] and what did they do? On June 15, they voted through [by simple majority] a resolution saying that the assembly is not competent to respond to the judge’s request. Regrettably, the judge then disregarded her own authority, ignored the Organic Law of the Judicial Function, and followed through with a hearing to move the case forward when what she was supposed to do was demand that the National Assembly comply with her request – to vote on whether or not they authorize the prosecution of former president Rafael Correa [a 2/3 vote in favor is required for the prosecution to proceed]. Here is the first thing that that reveals political animosity, that the rule of law is not respected, that due process and the constitution are not respected.

Second (and this explains a huge blunder that was perpetrated in contextual terms) one must understand why the prosecution of the former president had to be authorized by the National Assembly. It was because the events to which he is being linked happened while he was president. The law says that for prosecution to proceed presidential immunity must first be removed for events that took place while he was in office. That’s the second irregularity.

A third irregularity is that in general a whole slew of authorities in our country are acting illegally. The acting attorney general was appointed by the “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council that has been overhauling the justice system by appointing interim prosecutors and an interim Judicial Council. The acting prosecutor has not been sworn in before the National Assembly as mandated by the constitution. Their authority is completely illegitimate.

A fourth irregularity is that the arguments used to link Rafael Correa to the Balda’s case [the attempted kidnapping] are utterly weak and confirm that there is a political vendetta being pursued against the former president. Let’s quickly go over those arguments.

First, the simple fact that he was president is used to argue that he was criminally responsible. Criminal responsibility is something very personal. It cannot be established that he has criminal responsibility for all acts perpetrated while he was in office. That’s a legal absurdity.

Second, the former president is linked through hearsay, from what other people have claimed, or by remarks attributed to the ex-president saying he wanted to see Balda (who was a fugitive from Ecuador’s justice system at the time) captured. Balda was also engaged in electronic espionage and a permanent destabilization effort against the government. There is not even anything documented that proves what Correa is claimed to have said about the case. It is all second hand.

Third, there are letters from people who are being prosecuted who say they alerted the former president about a kidnapping attempt, but it has been shown that these letters never reached the hands of the president. It’s another argument that turns out to be completely weak. There were people in government expressing interest in bringing Balda back to Ecuador but through legal processes – by getting him deported from Colombia [which he ultimately was]. In Ecuador, Balda had a criminal sentence to serve. The prosecutor goes after Correa even though the only thing that has been demonstrated is that Balda’s legal deportation from Colombia was being pursued. Moreover, former President Correa wasn’t even pursuing it. That was up to the authorities who were in charge of the internal and external security of the state. It’s another of the prosecutor’s arguments that are easily answered. Then there are a number of details having to do with checks that were issued and testimony by one “Raúl Ch”that are dubious, contradictory and undermine the prosecutor’s case.

In short, the arguments the acting prosecutor is using to pursue former President Rafael Correa are absolutely feeble. The judge disregarded the feebleness of those arguments, but additionally the case should not have even been allowed to proceed [without National Assembly authorization] but what they did next is worse. The judge, when determining pretrial conditions for Correa, established measures beyond what the prosecutor himself requested. The prosecutor requested that as a precautionary measure – given that the former president has collaborated with the investigation – that he appear regularly before the Ecuadorean consulate in Belgium. The judge responded in a very questionable way. First, she asked the acting prosecutor to reformulate his request for precautionary measures when that is the prosecutor’s job. She was clearly looking for the prosecutor to request pre-trial detention by arguing that the consulates do not have the competence to receive a person who appears by court order. This argument the judge made is absolutely false since the Foreign Service Law establishes that the consulates can comply with this kind of order from a judge. The penal code itself states that if a judicial authority establishes provisions, authorities of the state in general have to comply. Judge Camacho’s claim that the Foreign Service Law does not give consulates that capacity is completely cynical. It reveals political animosity.

And when she asked the acting prosecutor to reformulate his request – clearly looking for harsher pre-trial conditions – the persecutor reminded her “You have the authority to set them. This is what the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code says and therefore, if you so order that the consulates are obliged to accept this order you give them “. In the end the judge ordered that Correa must appear periodically [every 15 days] before a court here in the city of Quito even though it is common knowledge that he lives in Belgium. She made the legally inadequate claim that he has two addresses and therefore must periodically appear Quito. Everyone knows he lives in Belgium as he said repeatedly he was going to move to Belgium [where his wife is from] for several months before he finished his final term as president. The judge set an obvious trap for the former president not to appear and thus have an excuse to order pretrial detention.

JE: On social media I noticed that many of Correa’s detractors were totally enraged that judge Camacho requested National Assembly authorization and called for her to be sacked. Do you think she became more extreme in response to media and other pressures? [Moreno’s handpicked “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council appointed an interim Judicial Council which has announced that it will be evaluating all judges and dismissing those who “fail”.]

VH: All these arbitrary acts are possible because, as Noam Chomsky might say, the media has worked hard to “manufacture consent” for the idea that one way or another Correa must be indicted. It is very clear that the media play a central role. This persecution would not be possible without the big media networks and the use of media power.

Both the actions and the aversion shown by the acting prosecutor and the judge during the bond hearing clearly reveal that there will be no objective handling of the case – and also that the context that we live in Ecuador, when there are authorities that are hand-picked without any constitutional legitimacy by the “Transitional” Citizen Participation Council, sets up a scenario of political persecution. We are without a doubt living through “lawfare” here in Ecuador and it is directed towards Rafael Correa and the main leaders of the Citizens Revolution.

Now, what we feared has in fact happened. Correa appeared at the consulate in Belgium, but the judge ruled that this was a violation of his pre-trial conditions and replaced the order to appear in Quito with an order of pre-trial detention. She did all this in one hearing disregarding a requirement for 72 hours’ notice before changing the pre-trial conditions. Her stated justification for doing that was based on “procedural economy”, but in criminal matters one cannot invoke procedural economy if it violates rights as has now been done with Rafael Correa. All these arbitrary acts against the Citizen Revolution are perpetrated with the complicity of the media whose silence over unconstitutional actions are aimed at ending what they call “correísmo”

JE: There was a news article I read in El Telegrafo (a government run newspaper) that basically argued that prosecuting Correa is fine because former President Jamil Mahuad was also prosecuted (in a case that was initiated years before Correa first took office in 2007).

VH: When the judge asked for authorization to prosecute Rafael Correa, she cited the precedent that had previously been used to prosecute Jamil Mahuad. Authorization had also been requested by the national congress of that time. And although the Congress also said that it was not competent, let’s not forget that this decision was made with 2/3 of its members and not as in this case that is taken by a simple majority.

Mahuad’s defense team has argued that his case be dismissed on those grounds [of not being authorized].

JE: Looks to me like they have a valid argument, not that anyone should defend Mahuad’s disastrous policies.

VH: Yes and in fact and that was cited by the judge herself. The organic code of the judicial function is clear that authorization from the assembly is required in this case. It does not allow the judge to accept, as she did in Correa’s case, that the National Assembly returns her request saying it is inappropriate. According to what our legal regulations say, the National Assembly cannot assess whether or not a request from a competent authority (in this case a judge of the national court) is appropriate. It has to comply with what the judge requested. If that is not done, it violates the autonomy and authority of the judiciary if a judge’s order is disregarded.

JE: Do you think Mahuad’s case should have been halted on these grounds? 

VH: I don’t want to go into the details of something that I do not have very clear in my memory. My concern is relating what is happening at this time with the case of former President Rafael Correa.

JE: You were heavily involved with protests by indigenous groups like CONAIE during the 1990s against neoliberal economic policies. I’ve personally noticed since the 2010 coup attempt against Correa that they’ve become quite reactionary. They recently publicly “recognized” Cesar Trujillo, one of Moreno’s key handpicked members of the “Transitional” Council of Citizens Participation.

VH: Since about the end of the 1990s and the beginning of this century I would say what is evident in CONAIE is that a current became dominant that we’d call a “conservative indigenist” current that has put everything into what they call the “ethnic cause” and left aside the causes of social movements and the left in the country. That explains not only what you describe (these tributes to people like Cesar Trujillo) but also that in the last presidential campaign they openly supported the candidate of the oligarchy and the banks, Guillermo Lasso. It is very clear for almost two decades they lost course and have been useful to the oligarchic groups that have always rabidly opposed Rafael Correa and the Citizens Revolution.

JE: How is the new party the movement is working on organizing going to correct the errors that led to people like Lenin Moreno being in positions of leadership?

VH: The first thing we have to do now is to overcome the political blockade. The political persecution we face is seeking to dismantle all the laws and norms of the Citizens Revolution. Second we have administrative persecution that goes through an “acting” comptroller who also works illegally. They persecute many of the leaders of the Citizen Revolution that way. Third, there is a judicial persecution of former President Rafael Correa. The fourth element of persecution that must be identified clearly is the political blockade. So far they are preventing us from being able to organize ourselves politically even though it is a constitutional right. Therefore, before thinking about self-criticism and the mistakes we should not commit, at this moment our main priority is to break the political blockade. We seek legal recognition to be able to participate in the democratic arena. This will allow voters to continue supporting Citizens Revocation against this ongoing persecution we face.

JE: I am going to make a comment and you can tell me if you agree. I would say to Rafael Correa that he not be a martyr, that he seek political asylum so that his voice is not silenced. I think his ability to speak out, even if from afar in a limited way through social media and other venues, is crucial to overcoming the one-sided media landscape Moreno has established inside Ecuador.

VH: Actually, today, in a meeting of the national coordinators the movement – the group of legislators [who remained loyal to Correa] Andean parliamentarians, councilors of the city of Quito and other authorities of the movement – we have asked Rafael Correa not to come to Ecuador. We said conditions for a fair trial do not exist, conditions for due process do not exist and that therefore that he should not come and that he should seek international assistance to protect his security and freedom. We agree with your position and we have publicly expressed one like it.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Israel bans Palestinian TV channel

MEMO | July 9, 2018

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday banned Palestinian Al-Quds channel.

In a decree signed on July 3, Lieberman said the ban was based on Israel’s anti-terrorism law.

Under the decree, the channel will not be broadcast inside Israel

The decree did not give a reason for the ban, but Israeli authorities accuse the channel of being a propaganda tool for Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

There was no comment from the Palestinian channel on the Israeli ban.

Al-Quds channel broadcasts from Lebanon and has a correspondent based in Jerusalem.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel sentences rights activist to 8 years in prison

Firas al-Omari
Palestine Information Center – July 9, 2018

NAZARETH – The Israeli Central Court in Beersheba sentenced on Sunday the rights activist Firas al-Omari, 46, to eight years imprisonment.

Al-Omari, from northern Israel’s Arab town of Sandala, is an activist in the Islamic Movement (the northern branch) and head of Yusuf Al-Siddiq Foundation for prisoners’ affairs.

He was arrested in March 2017 for being allegedly affiliated to a banned organization.

The Israeli security authorities have embarked on arresting activists from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement following the right-wing government’s decision to classify it as a banned group in November 2015.

The northern branch of the Islamic Movement and its members are known for peacefully defending Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque against Israel’s violations.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Appeals court judge overrules decision to release Brazil’s former President Lula from jail

RT | July 8, 2018

An appeals court judge has overruled an order to release former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from jail.

The move backed a decision made earlier on Sunday by Federal Judge Sérgio Moro, who had blocked a third judge’s decision to free Lula.

The former president, who is widely known as ‘Lula,’ has been in prison since April 7, serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. He maintains he is innocent, claiming his conviction was politically motivated.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment