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Neocons Concoct Threat of “Iranian Hackers” to Justify Preemptive “Counterattack” Against Iran

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | August 10, 2018

WASHINGTON — Several reports in both American and Israeli media have recently been circulating the claim that Iran is increasingly likely to respond to draconian U.S.-imposed sanctions by conducting “cyberattacks” against the United States. According to this narrative, “Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies,” prompting the U.S. to consider launching a preemptive “counterattack” in response.

Quoting anonymous U.S. government officials, think tanks and “experts,” these articles assert that the sanctions the U.S. re-imposed on Iran this Tuesday are “likely to push that country to intensify state-sponsored cyber-threat activities,” activities that one expert called “the most consequential, costly and aggressive in the history of the internet, more so than Russia.”

However, upon closer examination, it is clear that these warnings of an imminent Iranian cyberattack are dubious at best — aimed at ending the U.S.’ isolation on the issue through dishonest intelligence, while also justifying a U.S. “preemptive counterattack” on Iran’s infrastructure in a bid to further destabilize the nation, in service to the Trump administration’s overall goal of regime change in Iran.

Chatter by whom?

Most of these articles, in introducing the “threat” posed by Iranian state-sponsored hackers, state that they originated with “cybersecurity and intelligence experts.” However, just sentences later, when these experts are quoted they specifically state that no evidence of such a threat even exists.

For instance, an Associated Press story, which begins with the statement that “the United States is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions,” quotes Priscilla Moriuchi — director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future, a cyber-threat intelligence company — as saying the following just two sentences later:

While we have no specific threats, we have seen an increase in chatter related to Iranian threat activity over the past several weeks.”

In saying so, Moriuchi essentially admits that there is no threat from Iranian hackers, merely stating that there has been a jump in “chatter” related to Iranian threat activity. Notably, the “chatter” is not attributed, meaning that this increase could be a result of U.S. or Israeli intelligence hyping the possibility of a threat, not necessarily Iranians or their allies threatening a cyberattack.

Considering the source

Furthermore, Moriuchi is hardly unbiased, as her company, Recorded Future, counts among its clients several U.S. weapons manufacturers like Raytheon, and also regularly collaborates with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as well as technology companies that double as U.S. military contractors, such as Google and Palantir. Notably, Recorded Future was initially funded by both Google and In-Q-Tel, the venture-capitalist arm of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In addition, this report and others rely on the analysis of equally flawed “experts” to make their case. For instance, NBC cites “Iran expert” Behnam Ben Taleblu, who states that “Iran has a penchant for using such tools against the West.” However, Taleblu is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the hawkish neo-conservative think tank that has long championed preemptive bombings against Iran.

The FDD is so stacked with notorious neo-conservatives that it has long been called the successor to the now-defunct think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which was instrumental in promoting the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses. The FDD is also closely associated with National Security Adviser John Bolton, who promised just last year that the Iranian government would be toppled before 2019. However, NBC left out this important context, merely calling the FDD “a conservative think tank in Washington.”

From left to right: Behnam Ben Taleblu, Priscilla Moriuchi, Nomran Roule

Another “expert” quoted in these articles was Norm Roule, who was introduced as “the former Iran manager for the office of the Director of National Intelligence.” Roule, who recently told the press that he believes that Iran “will muster its cyberforces in response” to U.S. sanctions, is a 34-year veteran of the CIA and, more importantly, a senior adviser to the group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).

UANI is a think tank stuffed to the brim with Iran hawks, counting among its current members former Senator Joseph Lieberman; Richard Dearlove, former head of the UK’s MI6; Tamir Pardo,  former general director of Israel’s Mossad; and Jeb Bush. UANI was originally co-founded by Richard Holbrooke, John Bolton and Meir Dagan — another former general director of the Mossad. Thus, given their associations to organizations that have long promoted the destruction of the Iranian state, Roule’s analysis, much like Taleblu’s, can hardly be considered impartial or objective.

Self-isolated U.S. seeks a way out of the trap

The U.S.’ warning of an imminent Iranian cyber-threat in response to the U.S.’ decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal, and its subsequent decision to reimpose harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, comes at a crucial time, as many key countries, including many important U.S. allies, have declined to follow the U.S.’ lead on isolating Iran and have even rejected it outright.

Indeed, as opposed to isolating Iran, the U.S. has become isolated itself, as E.U. countries have banned companies from complying with U.S. sanctions efforts and other key nations like China have refused to halt Iranian oil imports despite U.S. threats. However, were U.S. warnings of an “Iranian cyber-threat” to convince these countries, particularly Europe, that Iran was indeed on the offensive despite its desperate efforts to keep JCPOA alive, the U.S.’ isolation in terms of its Iran policy could well end.

The Iranian government seems to have caught on to the U.S.’ game but seemed to think that rather than simply being intended to intensify Washington’s isolation campaign, the fear mongering over “Iranian hackers” was aimed at justifying imminent U.S. aggression against Iran.

In a statement given to NBC by Alireza Miryousefi, spokeswoman for Iran’s UN delegation, she stated that “Iran has no intention of engaging in any kind of cyber war with the U.S.,” adding, “from our perspective, it’s more likely the U.S. wants the supposed suspicion of an attack as rationalization for a cyberattack against Iran.” Miryousefi went on to call the U.S. “the most belligerent cyber-attacker of any nation in the world, repeatedly attacking military and civilian targets across the world, including in Iran.”

Indeed, the U.S. famously targeted Iran’s civilian nuclear program with the Stuxnet virus it had jointly developed with Israel. It infected over 200,000 machines and destroyed around 20 percent of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, even the media reports themselves hint that this is the case, stating that while “the U.S. has not yet decided whether it will retaliate in the event of an attack,” it is already preparing new sanctions to impose on the country whether or not an attack occurs and is also building “a case for its more confrontational stance” in a bid to convince its wary allies to join its aggressive Iran policy.

The reports also openly state that a “preemptive attack” against Iran is currently being debated by the Trump administration, but notes that officials are “divided” over the measure. However, given the increasing likelihood that Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who had supported JCPOA, is on the way out of the administration, the growing chorus of Iran war-hawks in the White House could soon make such “divisions” a thing of the past.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s nukes, not Syria: Man kicked out from Trump-Putin summit says AP misquoted him

Security removes Sam Husseini before the Putin-Trump press conference in Helsinki. © Lehtikuva/Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Reuters
RT | July 18, 2018

Political activist and writer Sam Husseini, who was ousted from a joint media conference by Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, accuses the media of lying about his goal at the event. He had a question about Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Husseini, a contributor to The Nation who also wrote for a number of major media outlets as well as the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), was evicted from a media conference held by the two presidents on Tuesday in Helsinki.

The news agency Associated Press (AP) quoted him as saying that he had a question “on Syria’s nuclear policy” and the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia.

Husseini says AP misquoted him and that he wanted to hear Putin’s and Trump’s opinion on Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal, the existence of which the Jewish state neither acknowledges nor denies.

In further tweets Husseini called the AP story by Jari Tanner a “piece of garbage” that has spread to other media outlets. He added his ousting from the event was falsely attributed by many to Russian officials, while in fact the decision was made by Finnish security. The statement even made it to his Wikipedia page.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

AP’s slanted report on Gaza Return March, corrected and annotated

The Associated Press’s news story on the upcoming Great Return March echoes Israeli talking points…

By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | March 30, 2018

The Associated Press, a (usually) trusted name in global news, has been unmasked for its pro-Israel bias, and the ruse continues.

Today’s exhibit is of particular significance, as the people of Gaza are about to embark on a large-scale nonviolent protest. True to form, AP has cranked out a Hamas-bashing, Israel-congratulating piece that fails to provide the accurate information its readers deserve. The report largely replicates Israel’s public relations strategy.

Below are excerpts from the AP article with commentary that will fill in some of the gaps and clear up some misrepresentations. Truth matters.

AP: Gaza’s embattled Hamas rulers are imploring people to march along the border with Israel in the coming weeks in a risky gambit meant to shore up their shaky rule, but with potentially deadly consequences.

Many Americans fail to recognize what is going on in Gaza for precisely this reason: nearly every word of this paragraph is problematic. Hamas has not imposed some kind of tyrannical regime over Gaza; their rule is shaky in that Israel has such a chokehold on the territory that the people are starving to death. There is little governing going on.

Grassroots movements have been in the making for years decades, even because Palestinians dont need to be told they should resist the occupation. Many can see their original homes in what is now Israel or the location of their villages from the fence imprisoning them. They remember every day; they pray to God to bring them back home. Their people are being slowly, systematically eradicated.

 The gambit is indeed risky because Gazans will be nonviolently protesting while in the crosshairs of Israeli snipers, and the potentially deadly consequences of the initiative will almost certainly involve unarmed Palestinians dying.

Israel has essentially promised this outcome: Major General Yoav Mordechai vowed, We intend to do everything to prevent violent demonstrations and terror demonstrations. While Palestinians have made it clear that they will not so much as throw rocks, Israel has 100 sharpshooters at the ready, drones lined up to drop tear gas canisters, and thousands of troops armed to the teeth.

AP: But the first-of-its-kind protest also comes at a low point for the Islamic militant group and the 2 million residents of Gaza, where conditions have deteriorated since Hamas seized control of the territory from the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Conditions have indeed deteriorated, but this statement is misleading: Hamas was voted into office by the people of Gaza, and Israel collectively punished them for this by imposing a blockade. Combine that with multiple “wars” against the essentially unarmed population with thousands killed and tens of thousands left homeless. “Conditions have deteriorated” is an understatement.

AP: Beginning Friday, Hamas hopes it can mobilize large crowds to set up tent camps near the border. It plans a series of demonstrations culminating with a march to the border fence on May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s establishment, known to Palestinians as “the Nakba,” or catastrophe.

Lets take a minute to unpack the phrase that tried to sneak past. The Nakba is not just an Arabic name for the anniversary of Israels birth: it is the name for the forced exile of 75% of their population and the loss of 78% of their land. This catastrophe occurred in 1948, and tens of thousands of Palestinians who live in Gaza today are among those refugees.

AP: The group aims to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people for the effort, though it hasn’t been able to get such turnouts at past rallies. Nonetheless, a jittery Israel is closely watching and vowing a tough response if the border is breached.

Israel lives in a constant state of jitter, but why? Because the stones in Palestinians’ hands are so dangerous? Because the rockets are so deadly? (See here) Or because if Palestinian voices are heard, Israel will be exposed?

AP: An Israeli-Egyptian blockade, along with three wars with Israel and a series of sanctions by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, have left Gaza’s economy in tatters. Unemployment is well over 40 percent, tap water is undrinkable and Gazans receive just a few hours of electricity a day.

Israel is the occupying power over Gaza. The occupation is now in its 6th decade, and the blockade in its 11th year. Israel has an obligation as occupier to maintain the lives and wellbeing of the occupied. Egypt and Abbas are minor players in this situation.

AP: “Hamas has realized it’s besieged from three sides; Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, political science professor at Gaza’s al-Azhar University. “It feels the crisis is suffocating.”

All Gazans are suffocating, not just Hamas. That is why this movement is happening right now. This is not some ploy by a terrorist organization to make trouble for Israel. It is the organic response of Palestinians who can endure no more, who must resist.

AP: [Mkhaimar Abusada] said that for Hamas, the protests can divert attention from their domestic woes while avoiding renewed war with Israel. “They think busying Israel with this issue may put it under pressure,” he said.

What the people actually think is that perhaps this time, the world will pay attention and finally realize that the level of cruelty and injustice being perpetrated on Palestinians is a huge, ongoing crime against humanity. The hope is not to busy Israel but to seek the rights that have been promised them by international law: the right to self-determination, the right to return to the land from which they were exiled, the right to be heard and to receive justice.

AP: A combination of social pressure and curiosity in a territory with few options for recreation could help attract people.

This statement shows an inexcusable level of ignorance: it assumes that Palestinians are content with a never-ending, illegal occupation and blockade; that they would not be inclined to march in resistance against their oppressor; and above all that people attending the protest would come for recreational purposes.

AP: Israel opposes any large-scale return of refugees, saying it would destroy the country’s Jewish character.

Its hard to decide how to respond to this statement. Yes, having refugees pour into ones country can be upsetting to ones culture. The Palestinians were willing to take in Jews in the early 20th century, at a high social cost. The thanks they got for this gesture was to be themselves made refugees. Of course Israel opposes the return of non-Jews. But return they must, according to international law and consensus.

AP: Israeli Cabinet Minister Yoav Galant said, “Hamas is in distress. They are using in a cruel and cynical way their own population in order to hurt them and to hurt Israel.”

Israel has massive military might, and Israel and AP both know it. With one of the most advanced armies in the world, $10 million a day in military aid coming from the US, at least 100 nuclear weapons, and a military that is armed to the teeth, this march is not going to hurt Israel in any reasonable sense of the word. The only real pain the state can anticipate is the fear of being found out.

AP: “We will try to use the minimum force that is needed in order to avoid Palestinians wounded and casualties. But the red line is very clear. They stay on the Gazan side and we stay in Israel.”

Only time will tell what minimum force looks like, but in a nation where children can be imprisoned for years if they are suspected of throwing a stone, chances are Palestinians will die.

Most Western media, if they cover this event at all, will publish inaccurate, biased accounts that will make the Palestinians out to be the aggressors. They will completely fail to ground the story in the context of illegal occupation and blockade, not to mention dispossession and forced exile. Israel will come out looking like it acted in self-defense, and the injustice will continue unchecked as it has for lo these many years. 


Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eritrea “Massacre” That Never Happened

By Mela Ghebremedhin | Black Agenda Report | November 8, 2017

Mass protest. Mass rally. Indiscriminate gunshots. Mass casualties and death. These are some of the sensationalist words and phrases used to create buzz and portray events as simply black and white. They are often also used without nuance or context. Recently, Eritrea made the headlines after a group of teenagers walked down the streets of Asmara to voice their discontent at their school being closed. Shouting “Allahu Akbar”, the boys, mostly aged around 14-15, were walking from their neighborhood, Akria, towards the Ministry of Education.

Many Eritreans on the sidewalks, in shops and restaurants, and otherwise within the city center looked on in confusion, particularly with the chants of “God is Great” in Arabic. Generally, such loud, public proclamations are rare in a society long known for its sense of collective tolerance and respect. After some members of the group threw stones at several policemen, authorities dispersed the crowd and fired some shots into the sky. In total, the entire incident lasted several minutes, with no casualties or injuries.

However, almost instantly, reports of the incident were twisted, mashed, mixed and remade to provide an account that was quite far from the reality. One of the most culpable was Aljazeera. Lately, it seems that anything negative is a treasure for Aljazeera. Associated Press, reporting from Ethiopia, the BBC, and others followed not too long after. The statement by the US Embassy in Eritrea, warning its citizens from going to the city center, was also somewhat ironic considering that people in the streets of Asmara are far safer than those in the US, who must regularly confront police brutality and killings, stop and frisk campaigns, regular mass shootings, and general violence.

Ironically, as more time passed by, the more twisted the reports became. By Wednesday, the story was completely distorted. The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured. Notably, it was overlooked that the source for the claim was the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO), which is based in Ethiopia and is an internationally recognized terrorist group.

The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured.

Expectedly, news outlets jumped on the new “fact” of multiple deaths and the story quickly began trending on Twitter. Repeated efforts at clarifying and providing an accurate account of the event were made by Eritreans, located both in the Diaspora and on the ground in Asmara, but they were largely ignored. Instead, self-titled experts on Eritrea and acknowledged regime change activists fueled the fire, and spread inaccurate, false accounts. Others would continue the lies by shifting the source of the youths’ discontent, and also claiming that the Internet, telephone lines, and power in the capital were cut – despite things proceeding as normal in the city. Soon afterwards, almost as expected, the AJStream started sending private messages to many on Twitter, inviting them on their show. Obvious, right?

It is hard to understand how, instead of pursuing the truth or trying to provide an objective, balanced account, mainstream media rejected information or views of people tweeting from on the ground in Asmara, dismissing them as “supporters of the dictatorship” or “regime sympathizers.” What mainstream media failed to understand, however, is that the great majority of Eritreans – regardless of gender, class, or faith – were disappointed and angry towards the youngsters. Eritrea is not a country divided along religious or ethnic lines.

Shortly after the brief, small incident things returned back to normal. Some men – ordinary civilians – did stay out during the night, but only to ensure that there would be no more incidents. Notably, no militia or army personnel were called in to stand guard; in Eritrea, the people themselves have a sense of ownership and civil responsibility, and the prevalent attitude was that no such incidents should happen again. Women even brought them food and drinks, and it was quite telling that both Muslims and Christians were standing together in solidarity and community, side by side. However, on the other side of the world, the media and the Internet were abuzz with fake news and false accounts.

It should be noted that, by law, Eritrea follows a secular system where religious schools and national curriculum of education are separate. The issue with the school being shut down was that some of the speeches by the staff were found to be radical and could have posed a threat to the tolerance and peace prevailing within the country. Similarly, in the past, other schools, such as Cathedrale (Catholic) and St. Mary’s (Orthodox), were also closed down illustrating that this latest closure had nothing to do with discrimination.

According to Eritrea’s National Charter of 1994, “the diverse cultures of Eritrea should be a source of power and unity. The national system should be secular, separate from religion, yet respectful of the equality of religions” (PFDJ 1994:9). This vision was enshrined during the long, bitter armed struggle where people from all layers of Eritrean society – regardless of religious background – came together to win the country’s independence.

In today’s Eritrea, implementing a secular system has helped ensure peace and tolerance in a region known more for its ethno-religious volatility, violence, and tensions. What mainstream media and individuals looking for storm and chaos in a general sea of calm totally fail to understand is that Eritreans have a long history of struggle. Eritreans paid a heavy price for independence and sovereignty, and the people condemn any signs of conflicts, violence, discrimination, or division. Thus, despite the continuous efforts to disturb this harmony, the country remains united and will continue to work toward a society based on peace, love, tolerance, and mutual respect.

Mela Ghebremedhin is a freelance journalist based in Asmara, Eritrea.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coming Deripaska Case Versus AP May Open Worm Can

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 03.04.2017

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska is all over mainstream media front pages over alleged misdeeds involving former Donald Trump aid Paul Manafort. The latest sensationalist claims revolve around a supposed Associated Press “scoop” that attempts to link Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin more closely together. The insanity that is a new McCarthyism threatens not only American ideals, but a world in a vice grip of globalist madness. If Deripaska proves the mainstream wrong the whole house of chaos cards may fall. Here’s some thoughts on that.

The AP “scoop” in question condemns Deripaska and Manafort inside some 007 spy plot to influence the political landscape in America. Reporters Jeff Horwitz and Chad Day claim Manafort proposed to Deripaska:

“A confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.”

The fact that business dealings  between Manafort and Deripaska were already on the record is largely ignored, since the American public never heard of either of these two men before the neo-liberals dredged up these stories. The aim of discrediting or invalidating the Trump presidency has stepped up a notch. However, the power behind the Democrats’ mudslinging may have a surprise in store. Deripaska has just threatened to sue the pants off the AP and the rest of the FAKE NEWS outlets via a Wall Street Journal ad he took out. In the ad the Russian billionaire calls the AP report a flat out lie, and warns of the legal and financial consequences. He basically applies a “cease and desist” demand on western media.

So far AP, the Washington Post and all the others have yet to “desist”, and they are fanning the flames even faster now that Deripaska and Manafort will probably testify before congress. How can they stop? The so-called “New Democratic Order” is showing once again its “all in” desperation to cling to its western world dominance in every meaningful sector from media to academia, and banking to politics. The battle lines are drawn, and drawn clearly. Most people already see it’s “us” against “them”. The fascist-like liberals have opened every bag of dirty tricks in their arsenal.

Eight years of Barack Obama in the White House has led to a jagged split down the middle of America – and a catastrophic international crisis. All around us we see and hear the hateful chanting of spoilers and spoil sports, movie stars and lifetime politicians moaning and groaning, and once trusted media turned to tabloid journalism. It’s like we are all children of the absolute worst divorce case ever. The liberals playing the role of the unfaithful but still vexed wife, accusing the husband on her right of everything he did, and what he did not do. America is down to blows, and much of the world is right behind, and the media is promoting the coming deathmatch.

Look at this NBC News report suggesting Paul Manafort was involved in money laundering with Russia via accounts at Cyprus banks. Let me quote here:

“A bank in Cyprus investigated accounts associated with President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for possible money-laundering, two banking sources with direct knowledge of his businesses here told NBC News.”

Manafort issued an official response, which you can read here. But what’s readily apparent is the cherry picking of business dealings between any Democratic Order enemies and the Russians. In short, the simple job of NBC of the AP is to connect the easy dots of international business. As Manafort says in his response; “NBC has not chosen to share all of the information in its possession.” The AP reporters neglected to tell their audience Manafort’s closing of his accounts was on account of the Cyprus bank mess of 2012-2013. Reporting only selective facts, as we all know, leads to skewed conclusions. The AP wants you to believe in the anti-Trump message – period.

It’s amazing to me that no one so far has noticed this latest sensationalism as a redux of the now notorious Panama Papers, which we all know was funded and distributed by George Soros? That’s right folks, everyone from Bloomberg to McClatchy DC Bureau has already tried this defamation bit before. The Democratic Order lost out slinging Panama mud on Trump before the election, and now they repackaged the Panama Papers for a new congressional inquiry. What’s amazing to me is how US senators and vice presidents are left out of these inquiries, and how Ukraine oligarchs ties to America are forgotten here. Ah yes, they’re trying to show ONLY Putin-Trump collusion.

It’s miraculous that the investigative journalists who put their name on the Panama Papers could not turn up the rest of the world’s billionaires in their subsequent work. This list of “Power Players” has Saudis and Qatar sheiks, the brother-in-law of the Chinese president, but no western oligarchs to speak of. And since most “oligarchs” these day are from America, how is that even possible? Sorry, more speculation on my part – but logical speculation it is. But let me get to the point in all this.

When Senator John McCain spoke of the “new world order under tremendous strain” at the Brussels forum recently, he made the ultimate Freudian slip. Not that this Democratic Order is hiding these days, but whining and moaning as if “it” is a living thing? Well, this living thing has only one purpose. Donald Trump promised a pragmatic approach to rebooting America-Russia relations – if it is at all possible. The only way the hegemonic order can prevent their plans against Russia being foiled is to destroy any likelihood of a west-east reboot. Trump and Putin signing a pact for everlasting world peace – it would now be reported as a money laundering scheme, or an Adolf Hitler deal to take over the world. And there you have it.

Oleg Deripaska did not do anything Richard Branson or any other billionaire did. If congress and the press are going to investigate any Russian or Cypriot deal connected to anybody Trump or Putin knows, then it should investigate ALL deals. How about John Fredriksen the world’s biggest tanker fleet owner who is Cyprus citizen out of Oslo, Norway? Maybe investigating ousted oligarch and Putin enemy Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s transfer of Yukos shares to Jacob Rothschild should be looked into? Or how about investigating why Penguin Random House (owned by Bertelsmann) has fronted the Obamas $65 million dollars for a book nobody cares about? That’s right, the German media conglomerate that props up Angela Merkel and the “new order” is paying off Obama ahead of schedule.

I’ll leave you with that can of worms to ponder…

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

AP Erases Video of Israeli Soldier Shooting Palestinian Boy

Stonewalls Queries during “Sunshine Week: Your Right to Know”

By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | March 17, 2006

In the midst of journalism’s “Sunshine Week” – during which the Associated Press and other news organizations are valiantly proclaiming the public’s “right to know” – AP insists on conducting its own activities in the dark, and refuses to answer even the simplest questions about its system of international news reporting.

Most of all, it refuses to explain why it erased footage of an Israeli soldier intentionally shooting a Palestinian boy.

AP, according to its website, is the world’s oldest and largest news organization. It is the behemoth of news reporting, providing what its editors determine is the news to a billion people each day. Through its feeds to thousands of newspapers, radio and television stations, AP is a major determinant in what Americans read, hear and see – and what they don’t.

What they don’t is profoundly important. I investigated one such omission when I was in the Palestinian Territories last year working on a documentary with my colleague (and daughter), who was filming our interviews.

On Oct. 17, 2004 Israeli military forces invaded Balata, a dense, poverty-stricken community deep in Palestine’s West Bank (Israel frequently invades this area and others). According to witnesses, the vehicles stayed for about twenty minutes, the military asserting its power over the Palestinian population. The witnesses state that there was no Palestinian resistance – no “clash,” no “crossfire.” At one point, after most of the vehicles had finally driven away, an Israeli soldier stuck his gun out of his armored vehicle, aimed at a pre-pubescent boy nearby, and pulled the trigger.

We went to the hospital and interviewed the boy, Ahmad, his doctors, family, and others. Ahmad had bandages around his lower abdomen, where surgeons had operated on his bladder. He said he was afraid of Israeli soldiers, and pulled up his pants leg to show where he had been shot previously.

In the hospital there was a second boy, this one with a shattered femur; and a third boy, this one in critical condition with a bullet hole in his lung. A fourth boy, not a patient, was visiting a friend. He showed us a scarred lip and missing teeth from when Israeli soldiers had shot him in the mouth.

This was not an unusual situation. When I had visited Palestinian hospitals on a previous trip, I had seen many such victims; some with worse injuries. Yet, very few Americans know this is going on. AP’s actions in regard to Ahmad’s shooting may explain why.

We discovered that an AP cameraman had filmed the entire incident. This cameraman had then followed what apparently is the usual routine. He sent his video – an extremely valuable commodity, since it contained documentary evidence of a war crime – to the AP control bureau for the region. This bureau is in Israel.

What happened next is unfathomable. Did AP broadcast it? No. Did AP place the video in safe-keeping, available for an investigation of this crime? No.

According to its cameraman, AP erased it.

We were astounded. We traveled to AP’s control bureau in Israel. With our own video camera out and running, we asked bureau chief Steve Gutkin about this incident. Was the information we had been told correct, or did he have a different version? Did the bureau have the video, or had they indeed erased it. If so, why?

Gutkin, repeatedly looking at the camera and visibly flustered, told us that AP did not allow its journalists to give interviews. He told us that all questions must go to Corporate Communications, located in New York. He explained that they were on deadline and couldn’t talk. I said I understood deadline pressure, and sat down to wait until they were done. When he called Israeli police to arrest us, we left.

Back in the US later, I phoned Corporate Communications and reached Director of Media Relations Jack Stokes, AP’s public relations spokesman. I had conversed with Stokes before.

Over the past several years I have noticed disturbing flaws in AP coverage of Israel-Palestine: newsworthy stories not being covered, reports sent to international newspapers but not to American ones, stories omitting or misreporting significant facts, critical sentences being removed from updated reports.

I would phone AP with the appropriate correction or news alert. One time this resulted in a flawed news story being slightly corrected in updates. In a few cases stories were then covered that had been neglected. In many cases, however, I was told that I needed to speak to Corporate Communications. I would phone Corporate Communications, leave a message, and wait for a response. Most often, none came.

Several times, however, I was able to have long conversations with AP spokesman Stokes. None of these conversations, however, ever ended with AP taking any action. Some typical responses:

  • The omitted story was “not newsworthy.”
  • The story deemed by AP editors to be newsworthy to the rest of the world – e.g. Israel’s brutal imprisonment of over 300 Palestinian youths – was not newsworthy in the US (Israel’s major ally).
  • Burying a report of Israeli forces shooting a four-year-old Palestinian girl in the mouth was justified.
  • Misreporting an incident in which an Israeli officer riddled a 13-year-old girl at close range with bullets was unimportant.

Despite this unresponsive pattern, when I learned firsthand of an AP bureau erasing footage of an atrocity, I again phoned Corporate Communications. I no longer had much expectation that AP would take any corrective action, but I did expect to receive some information. I gave spokesperson Stokes the numerous details about this incident that we had gathered on the scene and asked him the same questions I had asked Gutkin. He said he would look into this and get back to me.

After several days he had not gotten back to me, so I again phoned him. He said that he had looked into this incident, and that AP had determined that this was “an internal matter” and that they would give no response.

Palestinian boy

Footage of this boy being intentionally shot by an Israeli soldier was erased by the Associated Press. Photo: Reuters

While I should have known better, I was again astounded. AP was blatantly violating fundamental journalistic norms of ethical behavior, and clearly felt it had the power to get away with it.

Journalism, according to the Statement of Principles of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, is a “sacred trust.” It is the bulwark of a free society and is so essential to the functioning of a democracy that our forefathers affirmed its primacy in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, one of the four major pillars of journalistic ethics is to “Be Accountable.” According to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics:

“Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

“Journalists should:

  • Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
  • Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.”

Finally, this week, on deadline with a chapter about media coverage of Israel-Palestine, I again tried to confirm some of my facts with AP. Certainly, I felt, during “Sunshine Week” AP would respond. As part of the Sunshine campaign, AP’s CEO and President Tom Curley is traveling the country giving speeches on the necessity of transparency and accountability (for government) and emphasizing “the openness that effective democracy requires.”

“The trend toward secrecy,” AP’s President has correctly been pointing out, “is the greatest threat to democracy.”

I emailed my questions to AP, talked to Stokes by phone, and again was told he would get back to me. Again, I got back to him. Then, in a surreal exchange, he conveyed AP’s reply: “The official response is we decline to respond.” As I asked question after question, many as simple as a confirmation of the number of bureaus AP has in Israel-Palestine, the response was silence or a repetition of: “The official response is we decline to respond.”

The next day I tried phoning AP’s President Curley directly. I was unable to reach him, since he was on the road giving his Sunshine Week speeches (“Secrecy,” Curley says, “is for losers”), but I left a message for him with an assistant. She said someone would respond.

I am still waiting.

It is clearly time to go to AP’s superiors. The fact is, AP is a cooperative. It is not owned by Corporate Communications spokespeople or by its CEO or even by its board of directors. It is owned by the thousands of newspapers and broadcast stations around the United States that use AP reports. These newspapers, radio and television stations are the true directors of AP, and bear the responsibility for its coverage.

In the end, it appears, the only way that Americans will receive full, unbiased reporting from AP on Israel-Palestine will be when these member-owners demand such coverage from their employees in the Middle East and in New York. As long as AP’s owners remain too busy or too negligent to ensure the quality and accuracy of their Israel-Palestine coverage, the handful of people within AP who are distorting its news reporting on this tragic, life-and-death, globally destabilizing issue will quite likely continue to do so.

In the final analysis, therefore, it is up to us – members of the public – to step in. Everyone who believes that Americans have the right and the need to receive full, undistorted information on all issues, including Israel-Palestine, must take action. We must require our news media to fulfill their profoundly important obligation, and we must ourselves distribute the critical information our media are leaving out.

If we don’t take action, no one else will.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Carnage and Inhumanity in Syria from Wielding a Mighty Pen

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 23.10.2016

An Associated Press story parroted by hundreds of mainstream media outlets today is symbolic of all that is wrong in world news today. Sarah El Deeb paints a heroic portrait of a jihadist stronghold with, calling the embattled city the “Jewel” of Syrian rebellion. With personal touches and misleading nuance, the AP writer condemns Russia and Assad’s Syrian army, while at the same time creating 270,000 holdouts at a modern Alamo. The piece is ludicrous in its clear propaganda speak.

Russia and Syria have been bombing the streets of eastern Aleppo into rubble, as Al Nusra and other extremists congealed against Assad’s legitimate government are holed up with tens of thousands of hostages at gun and knife-point. Ordinary residents held hostage, not even allowed to leave as humanitarian corridors open up, are lumped in with the “head choppers” and snipers, and the suicide bombers Washington and its allies have sponsored.

The writer makes use of an infant born in Aleppo, the child of Ibrahim al-Haj, in order to add credibility to utter contrivance. Mother’s milk, starvation, and an uncertain future from the AP are provocative indeed. Then, there it is again, the “jewel” emblem:

“Families like al-Haj’s across Aleppo’s opposition-held eastern districts are wrestling with how to get by day to day. They’re also weighed down with the fear that all their dreams for the crown jewel of the opposition’s territory are on the verge of collapse.”

In the midst of the most horrific regime change in the last 30 years, Associated Press pounds out a fantasy tale of a “shining city” at peace with the world before the current siege began. El Deeb spins a handsome tale of Aleppo, independent from horrid Assad, and trading with Turkey and the world on its own accord! Reading the fantasy my mind wanders to the uneducated reader in America, and whole people’s wondering why the great hope America has not rode in guns blazing already. Then I snap-to and wonder at how many people Associated Press has gotten killed these last 5 years?

The AP cocktail is a mix of liquid democracy, Operation Inherent Resolve, and soap opera detergent sales turned to TOW Missile request. The relentless Russian air assault, brutal Syrian soldiers feared for their massacring ways, and little Laith the infant make for a powerful propaganda punch. At least, that is, if one knows nothing about what has happened in Syria. The author ends the piece with a domestic note of husband-wife squabbling straight out of NBC afternoons studios. Bickering over there being no bread, unfortunate family featured in this are leveraged like crowbars in order to pry tears and anger from American readers.

There’s no mention in the article about hospitals turned into terrorist triage centers and sniper nests. Sarah El Deeb, whose work also appears in The Times of Israel and Military Times, never goes so far as to tell readers about how Laith and his family cannot leave, even with a ceasefire, for fear of being gunned down by these “rebels”. No, these little children and their parents are Jihadists too, at least in her eyes. The whole of east Aleppo is united as one, like Texans holding out against the evil Mexican President General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The former ARD German Radio producer is not the only biased reporter on the Aleppo beat though. From the BBC to the Boston Herald everybody has the same story. Unfortunately the story is not accurate, and because it is not many more people are going to die.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense was blamed not long ago for bombing an aid convoy. Like most such stories, it went away after some scrutiny. Even though the US broke a previous ceasefire and even attacked Assad’s forces, AP fails to carry that side. When the humanitarian corridors opened up this time, the Russian Ministry of Defense was ready, live streaming the checkpoints so there could be no false flag or provocation before the world. Next we heard reports of killings in east Aleppo, and no civilians taking their bombarded children from the militarized zone. Still, the mighty members of the Associated Press corps were silent. The News York Times, the US State Department, and even France’s Francois Hollande scream and scream; “Those barbarian Russians! War crimes, war crimes!”

But the real crime is committed with the mighty pen, at least its digital equivalent. The New York Times picks up an AP report and tells of the mysterious evacuation that isn’t. It’s as if everyone left there is waiting to be tucked under Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s wing. Maybe they are willing to sacrifice their children to the Jihad, but somehow I doubt it. The Associated Press is culpable, and I hope each and every one of them takes my admonition personally. This is the end of truth in media, the carnage of the pen.

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blatant Lie: AP “Fact Checks” Directly Contradict AP’s Own Reporting on Syria

Land Destroyer | October 10, 2016

The Associated Press (AP) through a gimmick it calls “AP FACT CHECK,” claimed after a recent US presidential debate that presidential candidate Donald Trump was untruthful about Syrian President Bashar Al Assad fighting the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS).

AP’s article, “AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrong that Assad fights IS,” claims:

Not true. Syria’s President Bashar Assad considers the Islamic State group to be among numerous “terrorist” groups that threaten his government, but his military is not fighting them. It is focused on combatting Syrian opposition groups, some of which are supported by the United States. The fight against the Islamic State militants is being waged by a U.S.-led coalition, with help from Turkey, by training, advising and equipping Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters.

However, despite AP’s claims, AP’s own reporting directly contradicts its “AP FACT CHECK,” as pointed out by Syrian activist and geopolitical commentator Mimi Al Laham in a recent Tweet.

In their April 2016 article, “After Palmyra, Syrian troops take another IS-controlled town,” AP would report that:

A week after taking back the historic town of Palmyra, Syrian troops and their allies on Sunday captured another town controlled by the Islamic State group in central Syria, state media reported.

The push into the town of Qaryatain took place under the cover of Russian airstrikes and dealt another setback to the IS extremists in Syria. An activist group that monitors the Syrian civil war said that government forces are in control of most of the town after IS fighters withdrew to its eastern outskirts.

The advance came a week after Syrian forces recaptured Palmyra from IS and is strategically significant for the government side. The capture of Qaryatain deprives IS of a main base in central Syria and could be used by government forces in the future to launch attacks on IS-held areas near the Iraqi border.

Not only does AP directly contradict its own reporting on Syrian forces over the past year with its recent and clearly disingenuous “AP FACT CHECK,” it also contradicts claims that Russia is also uninterested in fighting ISIS – admitting clearly that Syrian government gains against the terrorist organization took place under the cover of Russian airpower.

Also, AP would even report that Russian ground forces were present at Palmyra, directly on the front with ISIS.

AP’s May 2016 article, “Russia builds military camp near ancient site in Palmyra,” would admit:

Russia has built a military encampment inside a zone that holds the UNESCO world heritage site in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, where Islamic State militants were driven out recently by pro-government forces.

The Russian military described the camp Tuesday as “temporary,” saying its few housing units were being used by explosives experts who are removing mines left behind by the militants, and that the Syrian government had given approval to build the camp.

It is uncertain why AP has resorted to such blatant, clumsy lies, especially under a series of articles it is boldly calling “AP FACT CHECK.” However, it is clear – based on AP’s own reporting – that they are in fact lying intentionally and in direct contradiction to their own reporting.

It is also interesting how AP boldly titles its recent series as “AP FACT CHECK” yet provides no citations or evidence for its “fact checking.”

AP has perpetuated intentional lies dressed up as news reporting for years, if not from its inception, deceiving global audiences regarding everything from “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, to the characterization of political conflicts ranging from the so-called “Arab Spring” to political instability in Southeast Asia.

Caught in a blatant lie contradicting its own reporting should put the world on notice that AP is not a legitimate news service, nor should it be trusted as a journalistic source until those responsible for “AP FACT CHECK” are exposed, condemned, and expelled from AP, and AP provides a proper explanation as to how such blatant lies could cross its pages in the first place.

For the Syrian and Russian soldiers and airmen who bravely died fighting ISIS in combat AP itself reported on, no greater disservice could be done than to deny such combat even took place. AP’s recent “AP FACT CHECK” was meant to portray recent political debates in a certain light, but instead, it has only managed to cast AP itself as illegitimate, deceitful, and untrustworthy.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“ISRAELI ARMY BEGINS DEPLOYING IN JERUSALEM AGAINST ATTACKS” – Deconstructing AP bias

By Alison Weir | Associated Press Deconstructed | October 15, 2015

Once again, the Associated Press provides a blatantly slanted news report on Israel-Palestine. The problem is, AP’s slant is only blatant to those who know the full facts. This is the article that hundreds of newspaper wire editors around the US, most of whom have never visited the region and whose information comes largely from AP, are seeing. Below I will discuss AP’s October 14 news report. I will quote the AP report in full, commenting below each section about what it contains and does not contain.

By Aron Heller

As is typical, AP’s story is written by an individual with strong connections to Israel. Aron Heller grew up in Israel, graduated from Tel Aviv University, and may be an Israeli citizen. It is likely that he or members of his family have served in the Israeli military. None of this is disclosed to AP readers. [We’ve noticed that, hours after this appeared, the byline for this same basic story is now given as “Tia Goldenberg,” who is probably updating it.]

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military began deploying hundreds of troops in cities across the country on Wednesday to assist police forces in countering a wave of deadly Palestinian shooting and stabbing attacks that have created panic across the country.

According to what seem to be the figures at the time of the article, Israelis have killed 30 Palestinians and injured somewhere between 1,100 and 1,400 since the beginning of the current violence, while Palestinians have killed 7 or 8 Israelis and injured about 30. Yet, Heller’s focus is on Israelis.

 Israel was created in 1948 through violently pushing off their ancestral land hundreds of thousands of the Muslims and Christians who originally constituted the large majority of the population on the land (these are the Palestinians; the Palestinians who stayed within the borders of what is now Israel are called by Israelis and those who follow the Israeli line “Israeli Arabs”).

Since 1967 Israel has maintained an illegal and often brutal occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. The human rights of Palestinians both inside the Green Line (Israel) and in the Occupied Territories (the West Bank and Gaza) are frequently violated, and over the decades thousands have been rounded up and imprisoned, often with minimal if any judicial processes. None of this context is included in Heller’s story.

The military’s planned deployment of six companies marks the first implementation of measures by Israel’s security Cabinet to counter the attacks that have intensified dramatically in recent days.

Heller continues his focus on Israelis. In the past few days Israelis have killed eight Palestinians, including a three-year-old, a thirteen-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, and a 26-year-old pregnant woman. Yet, these appear of no concern to Heller.

The Cabinet met late into the night and announced steps early Wednesday that included allowing police to seal off points of friction or incitement.

Heller fails to report that the original incitement came from the Israeli government; see below.

Many of the recent attackers have come from Arab areas of Jerusalem, prompting calls to seal off those neighborhoods to contain potential attackers. In a new step, Israeli forces placed makeshift checkpoints in Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem to monitor traffic leaving the areas.

As in most US media reports, readers are not told that Israel’s acquisition of Jerusalem was done through unlawful military actions. Nor are readers informed that the Palestinians in Jerusalem originally constituted the large majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants, a population that Israel has attempted through the years to push out as it works to “Judaize” the area.

The Cabinet, which was meeting again Wednesday, also decided to strip residency rights and demolish homes of some attackers and draft hundreds more security guards to secure public transport.

Heller fails to note that destroying family homes – which in addition to containing the spouse and children of alleged attackers, also often contain grandparents, cousins etc – constitutes collective punishment, making large numbers of men, women and children who are innocent of any alleged crime homeless. Collective punishment is illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Israeli police said 300 soldiers had already been incorporated into their deployment on the streets of east Jerusalem, where many of the assailants are from.

Heller neglects to mention that Israeli forces have assailed large numbers of Palestinian men, women, and children. Again, he focuses on Palestinian violence, not the greater amount of violence perpetrated by Israel.

In new violence Wednesday, Israeli police said they shot and killed an Arab man after he pulled out a knife and attempted to stab them. His identity was not immediately known.

Heller reports the Israeli version of this death without bothering to confirm it with eyewitnesses. He doesn’t even bother to learn the dead man’s age or anything about the human being that Israeli police just killed. He also uses Israel’s term “Arab,” rather than calling the man Palestinian, a more accurate terminology that also implies a history of the area that Israel has tried to erase.

In recent weeks, eight Israelis have died in a string of stabbings, shootings and the stoning of a car, while 30 Palestinians have been killed – 13 of them identified by Israel as attackers, the rest killed in stone-throwing clashes with Israeli forces.

Finally, in the eighth paragraph, Heller mentions that Israelis have killed 30 Palestinians. And it finally comes out – put another way, but certainly not the way Heller chooses – that Israeli forces have killed at least 17 people that even Israeli spokespeople don’t accuse of criminality.

Heller fails to note that crowd control in most civilized nations does not usually consist of live ammunition. Such a lethal method of crowd control is used by Israel only against non-Jews. When extremist Jewish Israelis riot and throw stones, Israeli forces do not have a policy of using live ammunition in which people are shot in the head. In some instances Israeli claims that those killed had stabbed or were about to stab Israelis have been refuted by video and eyewitness testimony.

In addition, Heller errs in saying that all the other Palestinians killed by Israel were killed in stone-throwing clashes. Some were killed at close range, for example; another was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Much of this is documented by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. However, it appears that Heller relies entirely on Israeli military reports for his information and does not seek additional information.

Heller also fails to note that the term “clashes” largely denotes Israeli soldiers in full combat gear with the latest weaponry firing at unarmed protesters.

Israel’s internal security minister said Wednesday that the bodies of dead Palestinian attackers would not be returned to their families for burial.

Again, Heller takes Israeli officials’ word that these were all “attackers,” even though eyewitnesses and videos have refuted this claim in a number of cases.

Gilad Erdan said the funeral processions of Palestinians who killed Israelis often turn into “an exhibition of support for terror and incitement to murder.” He said Israel should not allow them to “enjoy respect and ceremonies” after their deaths.

Heller fails to report that to many Palestinians and others these are resistance fighters defending their population. Instead, Heller quotes the Israeli official view without interviewing Palestinians or others to report their viewpoint and information, which has been reported widely in the Palestinian media. Heller appears to only use official Israeli sources.

The funerals are a frequent flashpoint for clashes and often include calls for revenge. Erdan suggested the attackers be buried without fanfare in distant cemeteries where previous Palestinian killers have been buried.

Israel provides no proof that those it kills and buries in its sometimes secret cemeteries were actually attackers. Second, as discussed above, those who actually were combatants could validly be seen as members of a resistance movement fighting a far more powerful force illegally occupying their land. Yet, Heller calls them “Palestinian killers.” He never refers to Israelis who have killed Palestinians – in fact, far more – as “Israeli killers.”

The comments come after a particularly bloody day Tuesday in which a pair of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks in Jerusalem killed three Israelis and another two attacks took place in the normally quiet Israeli city of Raanana. Three Palestinians, including two attackers, were also killed.

A few days ago Israelis killed five Palestinians, including a 10-year-old; a few days before that Israelis killed six Palestinians; and not long before that they killed seven Palestinians in one day. However, for Heller It is only the day in which three Israelis are killed that is “particularly bloody.”

The government has been unable to stop the violence, carried out mostly by young Palestinians unaffiliated with known militant groups and apparently acting on their own. The violence erupted a month ago over the Jewish New Year, fueled by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations.

Heller leaves out an event that took place five days before the Jewish New Year: Thousands of Palestinians gathered at a village in the occupied West Bank to mourn the excruciating death of a young mother burned in an arson attack by Israeli settlers. The attack had also killed her husband and infant son. Her four-year-old son, while burned on 60 percent of his body, has so far survived. Israel, worried that Palestinians would demonstrate at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, restricted access to the Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

This was just one of what the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports were a spate of “nationalist hate crimes, known as ‘price-tag’ attacks, by suspected Jewish settlers. Such groups have warned in the past there would be a price to pay for any action by Israeli authorities they regard as hostile to the Jewish settlement movement or to far-right religious beliefs.”

None of this makes it into Heller’s story.

Heller also leaves out many other incidents that took place in the days before the Jewish New Year, including:

  • The Israeli Tax Authority rejected a claim for compensation by officials of the Catholic Church demanding compensation for the burnt Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, which was burnt in an Israeli terrorist arson attack, last June.
  • Dozens of Palestinians, including children, were injured on Friday evening and early night hours, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, during clashes that took place after Israeli fanatics assaulted an 8-year-old child, while Israeli soldiers invaded homes and fired gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets.
  • Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon confirmed, on Wednesday, that Israeli occupation authorities know who burned the house of the Dawabsha family, in July, but failed to identify them.
  • Palestinian medical sources reported, Friday, that four young men were wounded, one moderately, after Israeli soldiers assaulted the weekly protest in Kufur Qaddoum, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
  • Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and colonies, in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, leading to scores of injuries.
  • The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Thursday, that detainee Bilal Kayed is ongoing with the hunger strike he started on September 5, demanding his removal from solitary confinement.
  • The Israeli Prison Authority renewed, Thursday, the Administrative Detention order against a hunger striking Palestinian journalist, for three additional months, without charges or trial.
  • Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday morning, five Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including a teenager walking to school in Jerusalem.
  • Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and clashed with scores of students as they were heading to school.
  • Several Palestinians fishing boats were attacked, on Thursday morning, by Israeli navy fire close to the shore in the Sudaniyya Sea, northwest of Gaza City.
  • Reporters from RT (Russia Today) traveled to Gaza to look into last year’s report that 90% of Gaza’s water is undrinkable. As they sampled water from different parts of the coastal Strip, they found that the report is accurate – the water throughout Gaza is dirty, salty and undrinkable.
  • Israeli forces, on Wednesday morning, threw teargas grenades on the Kharabtha Boys School, near Ramallah, causing tens of suffocation cases among students.
  • A group of Israeli extremists, living in illegal Israeli colonies in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, burnt on Wednesday at dawn, Palestinian olive orchards and farmlands.
  • About five Israeli military machines, Tuesday night, entered the town of Khuza’a near Khan Younis city, southern Gaza Strip, to raze agricultural lands.
  • Report on Israeli actions Sept 12-13.
  • etc.

Heller mentions Palestinian concerns about Israeli changes to the status quote at one of the holiest sites in Islam and reports they were denied by Israel, but fails to inform readers that Jordan, Egypt, the Arab League, and the UN also protested Israeli actions at the site. Heller also omitted information that Jewish extremists openly call for the destruction of the site. He also fails to mention “Israel’s numerous efforts to restrict Muslim prayer at the mosque and the increasing presence of Jewish worshippers, who are protected by troops when they visit the compound,” as journalist Barbara Erickson reports in an analysis on the New York Times‘ similar pattern of omissions. Erickson reports:

“In recent weeks, for instance, Israel has prevented women from entering the Al Aqsa area, retained the identify cards of worshippers, allowed Jewish extremists to enter the mosque compound for “tours,” restricted the entry of students attending schools in the Al Aqsa compound and confiscated land in an Islamic cemetery next to the mosque.

“After the latest incursion, the director of the mosque compound, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, said that Israel occupation authorities “have imposed their sovereignty over [the mosque compound] by power of force.” Israel controls who enters and exists, he said, and officials use force against anyone who challenges them.

“This is a cry of alarm from a site revered by millions of Muslims throughout the world, but it found no mention in the Times. Instead, we receive the Israeli spin on this tragic saga as the newspaper glosses over the expansionist aims of a Zionist state.”

None of this is in Heller’s story, which only reports, as usual, an Israeli official statement denying Israeli culpability, and suggests that Palestinian views are illusory. Heller omits the statement by the heads of Christian churches in Jerusalem expressing concern at Israel’s violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel says the violence has been fueled by what it says is rampant incitement against Jews and Israelis on social media spread by Islamic groups and the Palestinian leadership. In a briefing to foreign journalists Wednesday, Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said it had less to do with political differences and more with anti-Semitic incitement to create a religious war.

He showed Palestinian videos and animations that glorified the stabbings of Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem and the killing of a Jewish settler couple in the West Bank in front of their children.

He also quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ recent statement where he blessed “every drop of blood spilled for Allah” and that Jews desecrated a Jerusalem holy site with their “filthy feet.”

“This is not new. It is just a new wave of terrorism and violence and this time it’s totally clear that the main approach here is a religious approach,” Steinitz said. “It’s all about horrible, anti-Jewish, racist incitement.”

Heller reports, without question or context virulent accusations by an Israeli official, while failing to provide counter statements by Palestinian officials and others.

He fails to mention the Palestinian boy with head injuries and broken legs lying on the ground whom Israeli soldiers reportedly let bleed while Israeli spectators looked on, cursing him. (More details and video here.)

Also missing from Heller’s report are Israeli attacks on Palestinian hospitals and medics, a Palestinian woman who was shot dead by Israeli forces while her hands were up, the 10-year-old Palestinian boy kidnapped and blindfolded by Israeli soldiers, and the 13-year-old boy whose leg was scheduled to be amputated after he was shot by Israeli soldiers. There is virtually no mention of Palestinians injured and maimed by Israelis, even though there are over 1,400.

Palestinians say the violence, coming at a time when prospects for gaining independence appear nil, is the result of years of occupation and failed peace efforts.

Finally, in his 18th paragraph, Heller provides Palestinian information.

“Israel is an occupier in Jerusalem. It should end its occupation. This is the key to peace and stability,” said Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official.

“Decisions such as the ones adopted by the Israeli Cabinet pour gasoline on the fire,” he added. ” Measures of collective punishment and killings and arrests and demolishing houses and confiscation of lands will only lead to the escalation of the situation.”

For the first and only time in his very long article, in the final quarter of his story, Heller quotes Palestinians.

The clashes erupted last month when young Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, hurling stones and firebombs at police.

Heller leaves out the dozens of Israeli soldiers and settlers who assaulted Al-Aqsa Mosque. He ignores the mother and infant burned to death the previous month, and the ongoing Israeli attacks, kidnappings and destruction that have taken place week after week, month after month, year after year against Palestinians.

Israeli attacks against Palestinian men, women, and children, it appears, simply don’t matter to AP on the same scale as attacks on Israelis.


For history on Israel-Palestine see The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict and Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.

For a statistical study of AP coverage see: Deadly Distortion: Associated Press Coverage of Israeli and Palestinian Deaths


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest.


UPDATE:

The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department has issued a report on the violence from Sept 13-Oct 13 that shows that Israeli forces committed 29 confirmed killings, 1,100+ injuries, 398 raids, 607 detentions, 316 temporary detentions, 482 flying checkpoints, 735 Israeli gunfire attacks, 6 home demolitions, 81 destruction/confiscations of properties, 10 assaults on medical sector, 197 incidents of settler terrorism/violence.

The report states:

Over the past month, Israel has killed 29 Palestinians. According to Amnesty International some of the recorded cases amount to “extrajudicial killings.”

On September 22nd at 7:43 am, an Israeli soldier shot several bullets at Hadil Hashlamon and killed her for allegedly ‘holding a knife’ when she stopped to pass one of the many checkpoints inside Hebron’s old city. Israeli officials refuse to release the video footage that shows the entire sequence of events.

Marcel Leme, a Brazilian national and an International Human Rights Observer, was a few meters from the scene. He presented a written report with still photos of his testimony (published on Blog Sanaúd-Voltaremos). Leme said: “The woman remained froze on the other side of the metal barrier, behind her there was a wall. She did not move, speak, scream or react. She has never tried to attack any soldiers and did not even get closer to them. Then the Israeli soldiers started opening fire at her some five or six times. The soldiers were now about 3 meters away from her.”

Since the beginning of October, many Palestinians have been killed in cold blood for allegedly holding a knife. So far, not one investigation has been launched to determine the truth. Other Palestinians have been killed by “Israel’s indiscriminate an even deliberate” use of fire on demonstrators according to Human Rights Watch.

The report provides the names of the 29 Palestinians killed by Israel during the past month:

Hadeel Saleh Al-Hashlamoun 18 Hebron 22 September 2015 2 Ahmad Izat Khattatbah 26 Beit Foriek/ Nablus 24 September 2015 3 Muhanad Shafik Halabi 19 Jerusalem 3 October 2015 4 Fadi Samir Alloun 19 Jerusalem 4 October 2015 5 Hufaytha Othman Suliman 18 Tulkarm 4 October 2015 6 Abdel Rahman Shadi Obidulalah 11 Bethlehem 5 October 2015 7 Amjad hatim Al Jundi 17 Hebron 7 October 2015 8 Wisam Jamal Faraj 20 Jerusalem 8 October 2015 9 Thaer Abu Ghazaleh 19 Jerusalem 8 October 2015 10 Ahmad Jamal Salah 20 Jerusalem 9 October 2015 11 Mohammad Al-Ja’bari 19 Hebron 9 October 2015 12 Abdel-Majid Al-Waheedi 20 North Gaza 9 October 2015 13 Ahmad Al-Hirbawi 20 Central Gaza 9 October 2015 14 Shadi Husam Dolah 20 Gaza 9 October 2015 15 Zeiad Nabil Sharaf 20 Gaza 9 October 2015 16 Mohammad Hisham Al-Raqab 15 Khan Yunis 9 October 2015 17 Adnan Abu Aliyan 22 Khan yunis 9 October 2015

INJURIES

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 1,100 Palestinians have been injured, including 200 children, since the beginning of October. Additionally 400 Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition and 700 with rubber-coated bullets. The following examples highlight incidents where the Israeli army fired on children: ๏ On September 15th at Al-Ram’s North junction, Israeli forces shot three persons, including two children, during a protest against the Israeli occupation and the continued storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound by extremist Jewish settlers. Israeli forces started by shooting rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at unarmed Palestinian civilians leading to the wounding of: Basil Ayoub Mohammed Al-Salaymeh (17 years old), Mahmoud Shaker (15 years old), and Qusai Mohammed Abed Rabbo. They were all sent to the hospital for treatment. ๏ On September 18th near Al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp the Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protestors. As a result Mohammad Safi (16 years old) was injured. ๏ On October 11h The Israeli military launched missiles (in 2 consecutive strikes) on Al –Zaytouneh neighbourhood located in southeast Gaza and in southwest Gaza. This resulted in the injury of four members of the same family including a child: Mohammad Hassan (5 years old). Israel claimed that it targeted a training area for Palestinian gunmen.

ISRAELI RAIDS AND ARRESTS OF PALESTINIANS

Israeli forces have carried out at least 400 raids in the State of Palestine over the past month. Additionally, more than 600 Palestinians have been arrested. This includes the detention of a security guard at Al-Aqsa mosque compound – and the assaulting of Sheik Omar Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and another Security guard – to allow the Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel, accompanied by several Israeli settlers to enter the holy site.

NO. NAME AGE DISTRICT DATE

18 Jihad Zayed Obied 22 Central Gaza 9 October 2015 19 Ishaq Badran 16 Jerusalem 10 October 2015 20 Mohammad Saed Ali 19 Jerusalem 10 October 2015 21 Ibrahim Ahmad Awwad 28 Hebron 10 October 2015 22 Rahaf Yahia Hassan 2 Gaza 11 October 2015 23 Noor Rasmi Hassan (5months pregnant) 30 Gaza 11 October 2015 24 Marwan Hisham Barbahk 10 Khan Yunis 10 October 2015 25 Khalil Omar Othman 15 Khan Yunis 10 October 2015 26 Ahmad Abdallah Sabah Sharkah 15 Ramallah 11 October 2015 27 Mohammad Nathmi Shmasnah 23 Jerusalem 12 October 2015 28 Hasan Khaled Manasra 15 Jerusalem 12 October 2015 29 Mustafa Adel Khatib 17 Jerusalem 12 October 2015

See Full Report

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Misleading AP tales can’t damage ‘Teflon Iran’

By Sharmine Narwani | RT | August 22, 2015

When a US media outlet broke a misleading story on the Iran nuclear file this week, many in the West found themselves rushing to defend the Iranian position. Only a few months ago, they would have been the ones to leak, seed and spread the disinformation.

The Associated Press (AP) on Wednesday published an “exclusive,” claiming to have seen a draft of a hotly debated ‘confidential agreement’ between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the monitoring organization that safeguards the peaceful nature of member-states’ nuclear programs.

AP’s “unsigned draft” heavily suggests that Iran will, in effect, be investigating its own controversial military facility – Parchin – on behalf of the IAEA.

This made the deal’s critics howl with outrage. US politicians and pundits opposing the Vienna agreement between the UN Security Council P5+1 and Iran, quickly hit the media circuit – with AP’s sketchy details – to cement their case against the historic nuclear deal.

But then what followed was quite instructive on The New Order Of Things.

US administration officials, the director general of the IAEA, former IAEA officials  and a whole host of American media outlets stepped in to make the counter-argument. On behalf of the Iranians, mind you.

Not much was heard from the Islamic Republic itself.

Before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was concluded on July 14, Iran stood alone in what amounted to a global ‘public diplomacy’ onslaught against its peaceful nuclear program. No matter what information, data points, sampling or intrusive inspections Tehran offered up since 2002, it was always one more ‘question mark’ behind its accusers.

I recall a frustrated letter penned by Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, to the Agency’s board of governors on June 17, 2009, in which he argued:

“After six years of the most robust and intrusive inspection in the history of the Agency, and in spite of the continuous declaration of the Director General (of the IAEA) in over 20 reports to the Board of Governors, that there is no evidence of diversion of nuclear materials and activities to prohibited purposes (i.e., weaponization), the issue is still on the agenda. The simple question is: Why?”

He goes on to allege that the issue of Iran’s nuclear program remains on the table because of the political motivations of a few nations, who would like to turn the Agency into a “watchdog, with maximum intrusiveness in safeguards in order to interfere in the national security… of member states, under the pretext of proliferation.” Read his September 4 letter which outlines Iran’s grievances in detail.

Laptops, dossiers, dodgy foreign scientists, secret nuclear sites… the whole gamut of Hollywood-inspired smoking guns were tossed Iran’s way – usually seeded by the Israelis, Americans, Brits or the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a formerly US-designated terrorist group now happily embraced by Congress.

The problem with much of this manufactured evidence on Iran’s nuclear program was that the IAEA would use it as a pretext for more questions – often without allowing the Iranians to review the material in order to “protect” their sources. How could the Iranians respond to something they couldn’t examine?

All this changed when the JCPOA was agreed upon in Vienna in July. But the Americans have spent over a decade creating a cottage industry of flimsy evidence focused on Iranian “nuclear bombs” and “terrorism,” and Washington is now facing the monster it spawned.

An Iranian official explained this to me in Vienna, before the deal: “These are not real issues. This is more a matter of the US trying to prove the credibility of past issues. It was wrong, they know they were wrong, but they have a need to stick to the script.”

Twelve years of American credibility on the Iran ‘story’ is on the line, after all.

Some Facts about the IAEA and Parchin

On the issue of inspections at Parchin – this is a military facility that allegedly, pre-2003, dabbled in something the Americans ‘find suspect.’ In 2005, on two separate occasions, the Islamic Republic “voluntarily provided access” to the IAEA to inspect the site.

Since then, Western sources allege that Parchin has been “swept” and remodeled. So, either way, there is nothing anybody is going to find there 10 years later. Access to the site for a final inspection is more an exercise for Washington to tick a box for public consumption.

Nevertheless, the IAEA is a technically professional agency that has politically served western P5 (US, UK, France) interests for much of the past decade, and so it isn’t going to do this job haphazardly.

The IAEA says it has “hundreds” of confidential agreements with member-states. They manage access to non-standard sites all the time – the difference is only in how the access is customized to suit the needs of both parties. The Agency’s head Yukiya Amano, says:

“I can state that the arrangements (with Iran) are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way. The Road-map between Iran and the IAEA is a very robust agreement, with strict timelines, which will help us to clarify past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.”

Whatever the process, the IAEA will obtain Parchin environmental samples whose origins and sanctity are unimpeachable. IAEA Inspectors could oversee the sampling, GPS-tracking devices could be strapped onto local inspectors – who knows? The Agency is bound by confidentiality to its agreements with members. Those are the rules.

Where’s the media interest in IAEA safeguards outside of the Iran inspections regime? The Agency has, over the years, amassed considerable tools and networks to ensure the quality of its results. These include a sprawling inventory of 45,000 pieces of equipment of 140 different varieties, 20 qualified laboratories worldwide, access to satellite data to supplement physical analysis, and 850 staff members from 95 different countries. Furthermore, the Agency has 182 safeguard agreements in force with member-states, has conducted more than 2,700 inspections, generated 3,000 safeguards statements and reports, and currently has more than 193,500 ‘significant quantities’ of nuclear materials under safeguard.

So the AP story claiming ‘self-inspection’ has already been challenged by experts galore this week – by former IAEA officials and inspectors here and here, and by Amano himself, who expressed dismay at the “misleading” information circulating about the Parchin inspection in a rare public statement on this issue.

The IAEA safeguards practices continue to evolve, both according to the challenges they confront and to improve efficiencies. A member of an IAEA team assembled to test the viability of off-site environmental sampling told me recently that they had conducted an exercise in a Mideast state to take samples from outside the perimeter of a target facility. Perhaps some of those lessons will have already been applied to the Parchin inspection protocol – but likely only if the process was found to meet IAEA standards.

More facts, less spin

Hot button issues like Parchin and other ‘possible military dimensions’ (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program will not go away anytime soon. But the debate has changed already with the entrance of atypical ‘deal defenders’ – a crop of elite, Western establishment politicians, journalists and analysts – who are pitching the arguments that Iran has previously been unable to make heard.

JCPOA opponents are short of material to fling at deal defenders these days. The Vienna agreement is basically a fair one (if implemented according to its stated intent) that has been scrutinized ad infinitum by six world powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran, after all.

So silly minutiae, non-issues that play well to the suggestible masses, grabs the headlines instead. Take another issue that has had some airtime on social media and in the US press recently: Three weeks ago, another AP report headlined that Iran will not allow US (and Canadian) IAEA inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities. Newsweek magazine said, for JCPOA opponents, this step “will only compound doubts over whether the IAEA will be able to oversee the terms of the deal.”

But Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi insisted the Vienna agreement mentions that inspectors “should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

And an IAEA spokesperson provided further context by referencing an August 28, 1961 memorandum by the Agency’s director general on “inspectors,” which states:

“The (member) State shall inform the Director General, within 30 days of receipt of such a proposal, whether it accepts the designation of that inspector… If a State, either upon proposal of a designation or at any time after a designation has been made, objects to the designation of an Agency inspector for that State, it shall inform the Director General of its objection. In this event, the Director General shall propose to the State an alternative designation or designations.”

This is standard procedure for member states of the IAEA – nothing suspect or unusual here. It is common sense that a nation will not allow nationals from adversarial or hostile states to inspect its national security-related or prized technological sites.

It is highly unlikely that Iran will veer from the letter and intent of the JCPOA now or in the foreseeable future. The Islamic Republic has been subject to the most intrusive inspections in the history of the IAEA and has taken tremendous hits from an international sanctions regime that sought to strangle Iran’s economic and political systems – all in service of cleaving to its “inalienable right” to pursue an indigenous civilian nuclear program.

In Iran’s view, “international law” serves the country best – and Tehran’s public and private fights are mostly about foreign actions that circumvent the rule of law as applied to relations between states – via illegal or unjust sanctions, sabotage, propaganda, blackmail, assassination, etc.

The JCPOA helps Iran plod along its desired nuclear and economic trajectory with legally-binding ‘safeguards’ against the external trickery and ploys it has been subjected to in the past. Providing, of course, those same Western parties don’t exploit loopholes and revert back to their old tricks, as Iranian conservatives constantly warn.

In its past nuclear-file battles, Tehran usually lacked two key weapons: the ability to fight back against evidence it was not allowed to see, and the ability to communicate its messages to a global audience.

In one fell swoop, the Vienna agreement provided both tools. Buried in the details of the JCPOA is one line regarding any concerns the IAEA has about undeclared nuclear materials, activities or locations: “The IAEA will provide Iran the basis for such concerns and request clarification.”

An Iranian negotiator privately told me in Vienna that the deal must provide Tehran with direct access to any evidence suggesting inconsistency in its nuclear activities. Iran has been denied this in the past. With evidence to touch and feel, it will be much easier for Iran to refute or disprove allegations against it.

Post-deal – and as long as US administration calculations remain pro-deal – Iran’s opponents no longer have an unfettered ability to use the UNSC P5 and IAEA to float unsubstantiated charges against Tehran. This is why we can expect the charges to now come hard and fast through media channels and “leaks.”

And that brings us to Iran’s second “gain” in the aftermath of the Vienna agreement. Having bought into and become fully vested in the JCPOA, the six powerful members of the P5+1 will act, in a sense, as a communications channel for the Iranians, whose ‘facts’ have long been ignored in the media. It is currently in the interest of the P5+1 to make this deal ‘stick’ – and so Iran has experienced enormous relief in its counter-messaging activities related to its nuclear file.

The Islamic Republic just became ‘Teflon Iran.” And Western punditry and establishment figures seeking to spoil the JCPOA environment can now expect a lot more mutiny from within.

Until the Western political pendulum swings back the other way.

Sharmine Narwani is a former senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University.

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Caribbean Water

By Rud Istvan | Climate Etc… | October 19, 2013

The Associated Press ran an alarming news piece on 9/6/13:  Climate Change Threatens Caribbean’s Water Supply

It was picked up and echoed around the world, from Time Magazine’s Space and Science section in the US to CBC Canada to ABC Australia to ZeeNews India. The headline was everywhere, repeated at the Huffington Post as ‘Caribbean water supplies severely threatened by climate change.” The AP story reported on contemporary expert warnings at an August 2013 UN conference in St. Lucia. The lead AP paragraph is quite clear:

“Experts are sounding a new alarm about the effects of climate change for parts of the Caribbean—the depletion of already strained drinking water throughout much of the region.”

Experts like Avril Alexander, Caribbean coordinator of Global Water Partnership:

“When you look at the projected impact of climate change, a lot of the impact is going to be felt through water.”

Experts like Lystra Fletcher-Paul, Caribbean land/water officer for the UN FAO:                    

 “Inaction is not an option. The water resources will not be available.”

Yet another anthropogenic global warming alarm, and just in time for IPCC AR5, whose newly released WG1 chapters 7 and 11 say there is high confidence that dry regions will get drier, wet regions will get wetter, and storms will get stormier. “But there is only low confidence in the magnitude.” These Caribbean experts are much more certain—Caribbean water resources will not be available.

Little in this MSM AP news is what it seems. Paragraph 2 starts out saying rising sea levels could contaminate Caribbean fresh water supplies. What a curious assertion. Less dense fresh water floats on top of salt water no matter the sea level. Excessive groundwater draw-down can cause saltwater intrusion from below. That is already a problem in urbanized Broward County, Florida despite proximity to the Everglades.  And on the Tuvalu atolls in the Pacific, where government owned tourist hotels have strained its very limited groundwater capacity. Tuvalu is another urban development problem, not AGW. It was caused by Tuvalu’s government itself, eager to develop ecotourism (diving) after their new Funafuti runway was built with World Bank financing.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Saltwater intrusion doesn’t apply much to Caribbean island groundwater. The islands are mountainous. Pico Duarte in the DR is 3098m. Pic la Selle in Haiti is 2680m. Jamaica’s Blue Mountain is 2256m. Cuba’s Pico Turquina is 1974m. Antigua’s ‘Boggy Peak’ is 402m. St. Croix’ ‘Mount Eagle’ is 355m.  Barbados is only hilly, with a maximum elevation of ‘just’ 343m. Barbados:

Barbados

Rising sea levels will not contaminate Caribbean fresh water supplies.

The AP reported that Jason Johnson, head of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, said the real issue is groundwater replenishment.

“Many Caribbean nations rely exclusively on underground water for their needs, a vulnerable source that would be hit hard by climate change effects. That’s the greatest concern. Those weather patterns may change, and there may not necessarily be the means for those water supplies to be replenished at the pace that they have historically been replenished.”

The AP noted some of the islands experienced an unusual dry spell in 2012. That’s weather. But Cedric Van Meerbeck, climatologist with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology & Hydrology, made the inevitable AGW connection:

“There are a number of indications that the total amount of rainfall in much of the Caribbean would be decreasing by the end of the century.”

Since 2012 was dry, and AR5 WG1 Chapter 7 executive summary says dry will get dryer, perhaps IPCC pronouncements are the indications. But regionally down-scaled GCMs cannot make such predictions on multi-decadal time scales. [1]

Intense rains fully ameliorated the unusual 2012 dry spell early in the usual 2013 Caribbean tropical storm season. AR5 WG1 7.6.2 also says wet will get wetter and storms stormier. That worries Barnard Ettinoffe, President of the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association:

“Heavy rains mean there’s not enough time for water to soak into the ground as it quickly runs off.”

Climate change causes dry to get drier and wet to get wetter according to AR5 WG1 11.3.2.3.1. It threatens Caribbean island water supply both ways!

What is actually going on was clued in the lead AP paragraph above—depletion of already strained water supplies throughout much of the region.

Much of the region is not correct. The AP story cites a 2012 study from British investment risk firm Maplecroft [2] saying Barbados is most at risk, but Cuba and the Dominican Republic also have high water security risk. On the large island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic has 2069m3 of renewable water per capita according the World Bank.[3] Cuba has 3381m3. The UK (another island for comparison sake) has 2311m3 but is not a water risk. The only way Cuba and the Dominican Republic could have a high water security risk rating (when the UK doesn’t) is through some illogic unrelated to water.

Barbados (although verdant, as the above picture proves) does have the least per capita renewable water in the Caribbean, only 284m3. That is because Barbados water consumption has doubled over the past 50 years [4] as its population has grown from ≈232K to ≈280K while its per capita GDP tripled from ≈$4k to ≈$12k. Water has become a major problem, and Barbados doesn’t have the oil wealth to import food (virtual water) or desalinate seawater like Saudi Arabia (86m3). Barbados’ water problem is anthropogenic, but not AGW. It is about unsustainable population growth and economic development on a smallish dryish island–just like on Tuvalu.

Another Caribbean country with current water problems is Antigua/Barbuda, at 590m3. Neither indigenous Caribbean tribes nor Spanish conquistadors settled those islands because of insufficient fresh water. The British did later. The country’s population has almost doubled from ≈54k in 1960 to ≈90k today. That always eventually causes finite resource problems. And now has in naturally dry Antigua/Barbuda.

Climate change does not threaten Caribbean water supplies. Population growth and economic development already do on some of the smaller islands. And they are using climate change to ‘extort’ financial aid (e.g. for desalination) from the usual rich ‘guilty’ AGW culprits.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change organized this regional conference (at St. Lucia’s luxurious Bay Gardens Hotel/Resort) for Caribbean environment ministers and politicians. The UN organizer’s locally televised purpose was to give “these less developed country ministers and politicians the information and tools to know what to ask for in the negotiations leading up to the new world agreements of 2015”. That starts at COP19 in Warsaw in November 2013.

It is no coincidence the conference was held on St. Lucia. Its minister presently heads the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).  AOSIS says its 44 member states comprise 30% of developing countries, 20% of UN member states, and 5% of world population. The AOSIS agenda for COP19 is clear from its PR after being disappointed at June 2013 Bonn meetings:

At the closing of the latest round of U.N. climate talks, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a group of 44 low-lying and coastal countries that are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, released the following statement:

“After losing two weeks to needless procedural wrangling, it is worth recalling the scale of the challenge we face and the precious little time remaining to meet it… Therefore an international mechanism to address the permanent injury our islands are experiencing [emphasis added] must be established this year at the Warsaw conference.”

Tuvalu is the AOSIS member most aggressively agitating for UN ‘climate change aid’, having experienced saltwater intrusion caused by government tourist hotel development. Hence the AP story’s odd second paragraph, which is unrelated to the Caribbean but right in the AOSIS (Tuvalu) lobbying sweet spot.

2010-01-19-Tuvalu copy

Hey mon, its Babylon politricks. (H/T to Bob Marley and Jamaica, a Caribbean island of 2.7 million people enjoying 2473m3 renewable water per capita and fantastic reggae music.)

[1] Pielke Sr., Regional Climate Downscaling: What’s the Point, EOS 93: 52-53 (2012)

[2] Maplecroft Global Risk Analytics, info@maplecroft.com

[3] Available at data.worldbank.org/indicator/ER.H2O.INTR.PC

[4] Barbados Free Press editorial on water rationing 2/28/10

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Caribbean Water

US attorney claims no knowledge of AP phone taps

RT | May 16, 2013

US Attorney General Eric Holder has claimed he was unaware of the subpoenas for AP’s phone records, but defended them as a necessary measure. Holder recused himself from the case that has been branded as an “unprecedented intrusion” into press freedom.

US lawmakers questioned the attorney general at a House Judiciary Committee about the two months of AP phone records obtained by the Justice Department without permission. In a session that saw the attorney on the back foot amid calls for his resign, he maintained his ignorance in the “ongoing matter.”

Flatly denying any prior knowledge to the subpoenas and who had issued them, he stated that he was 99 per cent sure that deputy attorney general James Cole had issued them.

“The matter is being supervised by the deputy attorney general. I am not familiar with the reasons why the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was because I’m simply not a part of the case,” Holder told the committee, adding he was confident that the people who are involved in the investigation adhered to Justice Department regulations.

Investigators wish to discern why it was necessary to gather so much information from AP phone records. The Justice Departments claims that the records were seized as part of an investigation into leaked data on a CIA operation in Yemen to stop an airliner bombing plot on the anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Holder stressed that the leak was very serious and had put the safety of the American people at risk and as such the Justice Department’s action was justified.

Passing the buck

The Justice Department admitted its surveillance of AP’s phone lines in a letter to the organization’s heads last Friday. AP’s Chief Gary Pruitt reacted with ire, condemning the intrusion as a gross violation of press freedom that is inexcusable. AP estimates that over 100 of its journalists were affected by the phone surveillance and has implicated the involvement of the attorney general, alleging that subpoenas require his signature to be carried out.

There was a degree of frustration at Holder’s answers during the hearing due to his inability to answer questions on the subpoenas and why the Justice Department failed to negotiate with AP prior to the subpoenas, which is usually standard practice in such situations.

“There doesn’t appear to be any acceptance of responsibility for things that have gone wrong,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., told Holder. He suggested that Justice Department office should stop by Harry S Truman Presidential Library and take a photo of the famous sign, “The buck stops here.”

The White House has also claimed ignorance, stating that it had no knowledge of “any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP.”

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Comments Off on US attorney claims no knowledge of AP phone taps