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The Iowa Speech Bernie Sanders Never Delivered

By John V. Walsh | CounterPunch | January 19, 2016

Good evening. I have purchased this television time tonight on every available media outlet here in Iowa, just days in advance of the 2016 caucuses. I address you, because the choice you make in a few days time could well determine whether we live in peace or go to war, possibly nuclear war. The very survival of humanity could hang in the balance. And it hinges on whether you vote for me or for my principal opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let us be blunt, she has never seen a war she did not like. And looking at the wars of the last 25 years, she has been an ardent supporter in every case and a principal architect of most of them.

This campaign in Iowa has a bit of déjà vu to it. In 2008, Iowans gave a victory to Barack Obama in the caucuses, the first step in derailing the Clinton presidential candidacy back then. You did so because Obama presented himself as the peace candidate whereas Hillary Clinton was already known as an implacable hawk. You voted for peace. Unfortunately, Obama let you down and pursued a more warlike course, in no small part due to pressure from then Secretary of State Clinton and her allies in and out of government. I do not intend to let you down. I want to make that crystal clear tonight.

My new view of America’s place in the world in the 21st Century, which I wish to enunciate this evening, is a further development of my vote against the Iraq War. In short I now commit myself to a principled anti-interventionist stand. Let us have no more wars. That is within our power. My present view results from an intense discussion with activists in my campaign and more importantly from progressives who refused to join the campaign because of my earlier weak stance on interventionism. I thank them. I owe far more to them than those who simply went along to get along. I hope that those who refused to sign on to the campaign will do so now. I welcome them in advance and congratulate them on their integrity.

Perhaps the shortcomings of my earlier views had to do with my devotion to Israel. But we must face facts: Israel is an apartheid state, as former President Jimmy Carter so forcefully and eloquently demonstrated in his book, “Palestine. Peace Not Apartheid.” We can no more claim to be just in supporting Israel than we could when we supported apartheid South Africa. I now repudiate my earlier defense of Israel’s barbaric bombing of defenseless Gazans. I was wrong to defend that criminal action. And I commit myself to ending apartheid in historic Palestine in a decisive way.

Perhaps I have also been too committed to the idea of a campaign that is polite. But that too has been wrong. By any reasonable standard Mrs. Clinton is a war criminal and mass murderer. And no war criminal deserves to be treated with kid gloves. To do so is to disrespect the thousands of American lives unnecessarily lost because of her policies. And it is to disrespect the millions of Muslims and others in the Middle East and North Africa who have lost lives, families, loved ones, home and hearth. She criticizes Donald Trump for his statements about some Muslims. But her charge rings hollow when there is so much Muslim blood on her hands. Killing is worse than slandering by far.

But let me be more specific. The Clinton administration of the 1990’s enjoyed the benefit of the end of the Cold War. It could have opened an era of peace. Instead of treating Russia with respect and taking a stance of peace, the Clintons repeated the error of the Treaty of Versailles, lording it over Russia and beginning the expansion of NATO to the East. That expansion has culminated in the coup and crisis in Ukraine engineered by a protégé of both Ms. Clinton and Mr. Cheney, the arch neoconservative Victoria Nuland. And that action has pushed us deep into a new Cold War with Russia, which according to former Secretary of Defense in the Clintons’ administration, William Perry, makes nuclear war a greater threat today than in the first Cold War! That is the precipice to which Mrs. Clinton and other neoconservatives and “humanitarian” warriors have driven us.

Ms. Clinton has not been satisfied with the development of a Cold War in Europe alone. She has also, along with President Obama, set us on a course of conflict with China, with her so-called “pivot to Asia,” using Japan as the cat’s paw for new anti-China confrontations.

The Chinese idea of a win-win interaction among nations, indeed the plea for it by China, has fallen on deaf ears in our media and has been firmly rejected by Ms. Clinton and her cabal in the Obama administration.

With regard to China I must ask: What is she thinking? For over a year now, China now has been the number one economy in the world in Purchasing Power Parity terms according to the IMF. It is now building up its arms at a more rapid pace in response to our threats. The antagonism of our government to China in an attempt to weaken it and bring it down is a futile course and a dangerous one. It needs to be reversed at once, as does our bellicosity to Russia.

I also note in fairness to Barack Obama, that his administration, since the departure of Secretary Clinton, has moved, however gingerly, into more peaceful waters where she did not wish to sail. The opening to Cuba and then to Iran and some signs of a developing détente in the meetings of Secretary Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov are testimony to that. They did not occur while the belligerent Hillary Clinton was at the helm of State.

Let me finally say something about the emails on Benghazi that Ms. Clinton decided to hide in her secret server, illegally I might say. I have tried to be gallant on this issue, not least because some in Congress have used it in a trivial and partisan way. That was wrong of me, because Ms. Clinton like the rest of us should not be above the law. But focusing on the crime of hiding the emails may distract from greater crimes in the actual content of the emails.

Seymour Hersh has laid out the case that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the site for a gun running operation to jihadists in Syria. This is what the CIA calls a “rat line,” a term we should all be familiar with and consign forever to the past. The late U.S. Ambassador who served under Mrs. Clinton was most likely involved in implementing that “rat line.” Of course that gun running and destabilization of both Libya and Syria on Mrs. Clinton’s watch has resulted not only in hundreds of thousands of dead but has also precipitated the massive immigration crisis engulfing Europe. We need a full investigation of the intervention in Libya, the illegal gun running, including Mrs. Clinton’s role in it. Her illegally hidden emails may well contain crucial information on this matter. We need to see them, all of them, before the Democratic Party makes its choice of a candidate for President.

Thank you for listening to this message. I hope you will vote for me in the caucuses coming up in just a few days. The avoidance of nuclear catastrophe and perhaps the very survival of the human race may well depend upon the rejection of those, like Mrs. Clinton, who would lead us down a road to more wars and conflict.

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Examples of U.S. Foreign Policy Dysfunction

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | October 27, 2015

If the U.S. is to ever change its foreign policy based on dominance and aggression to a foreign policy based on diplomacy and respect for international law, there needs to be a foundation of realistic assessments. Foreign policy decisions need to be based on reality not fantasy and propaganda.

Unfortunately, dysfunction, deception and propaganda extend across the spectrum from Congressional Republicans to Hillary Clinton to the White House to Bernie Sanders. The following are recent examples:

Benghazi Hearings in Congress ignore important issues to focus on superficial

Congress recently held hearings on what happened in Benghazi Libya leading up to the death of Ambassador Stevens. The hearings focussed on what former Secy of State Clinton knew, when she knew it and whether she should have ordered more security. Before that, millions were spent exploring the email home server issue.

Meanwhile the root cause of Stevens’ death and consequences of the US/NATO overthrow of the Gaddafi government have been ignored. The hearings were silent on the deaths of tens of thousands of Libyans, the eruption and expansion of terrorism within Libya and beyond and the massive numbers of refugees fleeing across the Meditarranean. Instead of evaluating the consequences of “regime change” in Libya, Congressional members focused on cheap political advantage.  Mainstream media said nothing about the shallowness of the hearings; they were happy to report on political maneuvering and whether or not Clinton would lose her temper or be able to get “above the fray”.

Points which would have been informative to explore include:

  • Were the claims of imminent ‘massacre’ in Benghazi exaggerated and largely false? These claims paved the way to the UN Security Council resolution and NATO imposed No Fly Zone. Was it a fake emergency?
  • Who authorized the transition from “protecting civilians” to a campaign of attack and Libyan government overthrow? UN Security Council members China and Russia both say there were deceived and that the US and NATO violated the UN Security Council resolution.

Politicians and much of the media have portrayed Gaddafi as “crazy” for many years. For readers interested in a reality check, see the short video of Gaddafi’s speech to the Arab League in 2008 as he points out the contradictions of acknowledging Israel on the 1967 boundary, as he warns the Arab League leaders of plots and coups, and as he says “we might be next” (for assassination).  For a concise contrast of Libya before and after the NATO backed invasion see this article aptly titled “From Africa’s wealthiest democracy under Gaddafi to Terrorist Haven after US Intervention”.

Clinton advocates No Fly Zone for Syria despite U.S. military opposition and Turkey turning against it.

U.S. military leadership has generally opposed the “no fly zone” idea.  They have made clear that a “no fly zone” begins with military attacks on anti-aircraft positions and is an act of war. They have underscored that imposing such a zone in Syria would be vastly more difficult than in Libya where there were no sophisticated anti-aircraft installations. Even then it took seven months of intense bombing to overthrow the Tripoli government. The risks in Syria would be huge with a significant chance of international war. The idea is reckless and irresponsible for the following reasons:

  • The areas are controlled by armed opposition groups, predominately Jabhat al Nusra (Al Qaeda). Very few civilians remain in the areas proposed for NFZ in Syria. Most have fled to areas under Syrian government control, especially around Latakia and Tartous. Other have gone to Turkey. The proposal is basically to make US and NATO the air force for Al Qaeda. Amazing.
  • If it was imposed, the No Fly Zone would more likely become an “intense conflict zone” rather than a “safe zone” as promoted by interventionists.  It would bring USA and NATO directly into the conflict which is what the proponents want.
  • There already exists a “safe zone”. It’s called the Turkish border.

Of crucial importance, the second Turkish Parliamentary elections are this coming Sunday November 1. Polls indicate the ruling “Justice and Develpment Party” (AKP) will probably lose majority control of the parliament. It’s possible they will lose power altogether. Either way, this will put a stop to the schemes for an all powerful Turkish President (Erdogan) and continuation of the war on Syria. All three non-AKP parties in Turkey oppose the current policies supporting war and terrorism in Syria.

Clinton’s NFZ proposal is opportunistic and out of step with reality in Syria and Turkey.

White House continues anti-Assad lies as they are further exposed in Turkey

The White House must know very well that Assad government forces did NOT carry out a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus in August 2013. They must be acutely aware of this because they could not get the U.S. Intelligence to agree with the statement that Assad was behind the atrocity back in Fall 2013.  Instead of the usual “U.S. Intelligence assesses with high confidence …..” they had to substitute the “US Government assesses …..” Although rarely remarked or noted in mainstream media, this was a significant deviation.

Despite this, and the investigations of the most acclaimed US investigative journalists (Seymour Hersh, Robert Parry, Gareth Porter, Russel Baker) which all point to the Assad government NOT being responsible, just a couple weeks ago the White House spokesman asserted the Assad government “used chemical weapons against his own people”.

Meanwhile last week in Turkey two deputies of the social democratic party CHP held a press conference to expose the evidence of Turkish involvement in shipping sarin to Syria and the refusal of the Erdogan government to pursue the investigation or charge the culprits.

This evidence, including wire taps, supports the conclusions of Hersh and others, that the chemical weapons used in Damascus on August 21, 2013 were supplied by Turkey to armed “rebels”. This further exposes the fact free propaganda that “Assad used chemical weapons on his own people”. Politicians and mainstream media outlets such as PBS Frontline just keep repeating it.

Bernie Sanders joins the absurd propaganda campaign against Venezuela and former leader Hugo Chavez

As recently reported at Venezuelanalysis, Bernie Sanders referred to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a “dead communist dictator”.  It’s nonsense, just like the White House claim that Venezuela is a “threat to US national interests”. It’s sad that Sanders is following that path.  Chavez was a socialist not communist; he was a member and leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.  Between 1998 and 2013 Chavez and the PUSV competed in elections seventeen times.  They won every time except once. Elections in Venezuela are vastly more free and fair than elections in the US. They have high turnout, they have very active and hard campaigning, there is a paper trail to verify the accuracy of the electronic voting, over 50% of the electronic votes are matched to the paper votes to confirm the accuracy of the vote counting.

National Lawyers Guild and Task Force on the Americas (and others) have sent many delegations to Venezuela. They have observed conditions including the voting process. National Lawyers Guild’s statement on the 2013 election concluded the Venezuelan elections were “well organized, fair and transparent”.  They added: The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections,” said NLG attorney Robin Alexander.

So why in the world is Bernie Sanders promoting false propaganda that Chavez was a “communist dictator”?

Task Force on the Americas, based in the SF Bay Area, has written a letter to the Sanders campaign asking him to review and correct his inaccurate statement.

Conclusion

There is profound need for dramatic changes in U.S. foreign policy. Given that over 55% of the discretionary budget of the U.S. goes to the military, it’s likely that positive changes in domestic policy will depend on changes in foreign policy. The starting point has to be realistic assessments of conditions in other countries, sincere examinations of the consequences of past actions and a genuine commitment to abiding by international law.  As we can see from the above examples, there is a long way to go.

Rick Sterling is a retired engineer and co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be emailed at: rsterling1@gmail.com.

October 28, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Hillary Clinton Emails Show Violation of Freedom of Information Law

By Sheryl Attkisson | September 1, 2015

The newly-released batch of Hillary Clinton emails provides further proof that Freedom of Information (FOI) law has been blatantly violated. The documents include material directly responsive to a FOI request I made back in 2012 after the Benghazi terrorist attacks on the U.S. compounds. However, the material was not produced at the time, as required by law. Once again, there appears to be nobody who holds government officials and agencies accountable for their routine violation of this law. So the infractions occur frequently and with impunity. If nobody polices our government officials and agencies–if they are above the law–then how does a lawful society function?

Click here to view the WSJ database of emails. One of the many emails that should have been provided under FOI in 2012, but was not, is to Clinton from Huma Abedin on Sept. 14, 2012. Others include Clinton communications on Benghazi with her chief aide Cheryl Mills.

September 1, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

The US Hand in Libya’s Tragedy

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | April 21, 2015

The mainstream U.S. news media is lambasting the Europeans for failing to stop the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea as desperate Libyans flee their war-torn country in overloaded boats that are sinking as hundreds drown. But the MSM forgets how this Libyan crisis began, including its own key role along with that of “liberal interventionists” such as Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power.

In 2011, it was all the rage in Official Washington to boast about the noble “responsibility to protect” the people of eastern Libya who supposedly were threatened with extermination by the “mad man” Muammar Gaddafi. We also were told endlessly that, back in 1988, Gaddafi’s agents had blown Pan Am 103 out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The R2Pers, led by then-National Security Council aide Power with the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, convinced President Barack Obama that a “humanitarian intervention” was needed to prevent Gaddafi from slaughtering people whom he claimed were Islamic terrorists.

As this U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign was about to begin in late March 2011, Power told a New York City audience that the failure to act would have been “extremely chilling, deadly and indeed a stain on our collective conscience.” Power was credited with steeling Obama’s spine to press ahead with the military operation.

Under a United Nations resolution, the intervention was supposed to be limited to establishing no-fly zones to prevent the slaughter of civilians. But the operation quickly morphed into a “regime change” war with the NATO-led bombing devastating Gaddafi’s soldiers who were blown to bits when caught on desert roadways.

Yet, the biggest concern in Official Washington was a quote from an Obama aide that the President was “leading from behind” – with European warplanes out front in the air war – when America’s war hawks said the United States should be leading from the front.

At the time, there were a few of us who raised red flags about the Libyan war “group think.” Though no one felt much sympathy for Gaddafi, he wasn’t wrong when he warned that Islamic terrorists were transforming the Benghazi region into a stronghold. Yes, his rhetoric about exterminating rats was over the top, but there was a real danger from these extremists.

And, the Pan Am 103 case, which was repeatedly cited as the indisputable proof of Gaddafi’s depravity, likely was falsely pinned on Libya. Anyone who dispassionately examined the 2001 conviction of Libyan agent Ali al-Megrahi by a special Scottish court would realize that the case was based on highly dubious evidence and bought-and-paid-for testimony.

Megrahi was put away more as a political compromise (with a Libyan co-defendant acquitted) than because his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, by 2009, the conviction was falling apart. Even a Scottish appeals court expressed concern about a grave miscarriage of justice. But Megrahi’s appeal was short-circuited by his release to Libya on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

Yet the U.S. mainstream media routinely called him “the Lockerbie bomber” and noted that the Libyan government had taken “responsibility” for the bombing, which was true but only because it was the only way to get punitive sanctions lifted. The government, like Megrahi, continued to proclaim innocence.

A Smirking MSM

During those heady days of bombing Libya in 2011, it also was common for the MSM to smirk at the notion that Megrahi was truly suffering from advanced prostate cancer since he hadn’t died as quickly as some doctors thought he might. Then, in September 2011, after Gaddafi’s regime fell, Megrahi’s family invited the BBC and other news organizations to see Megrahi struggling to breathe in his sick bed.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, said, “I know my father is innocent and one day his innocence will come out.” Asked about the people who died in the Pan Am bombing, the son said: “We feel sorry about all the people who died. We want to know who did this bad thing. We want to know the truth as well.”

But it was only after Megrahi died on May 20, 2012, that some elements of the MSM acknowledged grudgingly that they were aware of the many doubts about his conviction all along. The New York Times’ obituary carried a detailed account of the evidentiary gaps that were ignored both during the trial in 2001 and during the bombing of Libya in 2011.

The Times noted that “even some world leaders” saw Megrahi “as a victim of injustice whose trial, 12 years after the bombing, had been riddled with political overtones, memory gaps and flawed evidence. … Investigators, while they had no direct proof, believed that the suitcase with the bomb had been fitted with routing tags for baggage handlers, put on a plane at Malta and flown to Frankfurt, where it was loaded onto a Boeing 727 feeder flight that connected to Flight 103 at London, then transferred to the doomed jetliner.”

Besides the lack of proof supporting that hypothesis was the sheer implausibility that a terrorist would assume that an unattended suitcase could make such an unlikely trip without being detected, especially when it would have been much easier to sneak the suitcase with the bomb onto Pan Am 103 through the lax security at Heathrow Airport outside London.

The Times’ obit also noted that during the 85-day trial, “None of the witnesses connected the suspects directly to the bomb. But one, Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the clothing that forensic experts had linked to the bomb, identified Mr. Megrahi as the buyer, although Mr. Gauci seemed doubtful and had picked others in photo displays. …

“The bomb’s timer was traced to a Zurich manufacturer, Mebo, whose owner, Edwin Bollier, testified that such devices had been sold to Libya. A fragment from the crash site was identified by a Mebo employee, Ulrich Lumpert. Neither defendant testified. But a turncoat Libyan agent testified that plastic explosives had been stored in [Megrahi’s co-defendant’s] desk in Malta, that Mr. Megrahi had brought a brown suitcase, and that both men were at the Malta airport on the day the bomb was sent on its way.”

In finding Megrahi guilty, the Scottish court admitted that the case was “circumstantial, the evidence incomplete and some witnesses unreliable,” but concluded that “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt” of Megrahi.

However, the evidence later came under increasing doubt. The Times wrote: “It emerged that Mr. Gauci had repeatedly failed to identify Mr. Megrahi before the trial and had selected him only after seeing his photograph in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court. The date of the clothing sale was also in doubt.” Scottish authorities learned, too, that the U.S. Justice Department paid Gauci $2 million for his testimony.

As for the bomb’s timer, the Times noted that the court called Bollier “untruthful and unreliable” and “In 2007, Mr. Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial, stolen a timer and given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.

“The court’s inference that the bomb had been transferred from the Frankfurt feeder flight was also cast into doubt when a Heathrow security guard revealed that Pan Am’s baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before the bombing, a circumstance never explored. Hans Köchler, a United Nations observer, called the trial ‘a spectacular miscarriage of justice,’ words echoed by [South African President Nelson] Mandela.”

In other words, Megrahi’s conviction looked to have been a case of gross prosecutorial misconduct, relying on testimony from perjurers and failing to pursue promising leads (like the possibility that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, not transferred from plane to plane to plane). And those problems were known prior to Megrahi’s return to Libya in 2009 and prior to the U.S.-supported air war against Gaddafi in 2011.

Yet, Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC and pretty much everyone else in the MSM repeated endlessly that Megrahi was “the Lockerbie bomber” and that Libya was responsible for the atrocity, thus further justifying the “humanitarian intervention” that slaughtered Gaddafi’s soldiers and enabled rebel militias to capture Tripoli in summer 2011.

Al-Qaeda Hotbed

Similarly, there was scant U.S. media attention given to evidence that eastern Libya, the heart of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion, indeed was a hotbed for Islamic militancy, with that region supplying the most per-capita militants fighting U.S. troops in Iraq, often under the banner of Al-Qaeda.

Despite that evidence, Gaddafi’s claim that he was battling Islamic terrorists in the Benghazi region was mocked or ignored. It didn’t even matter that his claim was corroborated by a report from U.S. analysts Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

In their report, “Al-Qaeda’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” Felter and Fishman analyzed Al-Qaeda documents captured in 2007 showing personnel records of militants who flocked to Iraq for the war against the Americans. The documents showed eastern Libya providing a surprising number of suicide bombers who traveled to Iraq to kill American troops.

Felter and Fishman wrote that these so-called Sinjar Records disclosed that while Saudis comprised the largest number of foreign fighters in Iraq, Libyans represented the largest per-capita contingent by far. Those Libyans came overwhelmingly from towns and cities in the east.

“The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21),” Felter and Fishman wrote, adding that Abu Layth al‐Libi, Emir of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al‐Qa’ida.”

Some important Al-Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions also were believed to have come from Libya. For instance, “Atiyah,” who was guiding the anti-U.S. war strategy in Iraq, was identified as a Libyan named Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.

It was Atiyah who urged a strategy of creating a quagmire for U.S. forces in Iraq, buying time for Al-Qaeda Central to rebuild its strength in Pakistan. “Prolonging the war [in Iraq] is in our interest,” Atiyah said in a letter that upbraided Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for his hasty and reckless actions in Iraq.

After U.S. Special Forces killed Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan, Atiyah became al-Qaeda’s second in command until he himself was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2011. [See Consortiumnews.comTime Finally Ran Out for Atiyah.”]

However, to most Americans who rely on the major U.S. news media, little of this was known, as the Washington Post itself acknowledged in an article on Sept. 12, 2011, after Gaddafi had been overthrown but before his murder. In an article on the rise of Islamists inside the new power structure in Libya, the Post wrote:

“Although it went largely unnoticed during the uprising that toppled Gaddafi last month, Islamists were at the heart of the fight, many as rebel commanders. Now some are clashing with secularists within the rebels’ Transitional National Council, prompting worries among some liberals that the Islamists — who still command the bulk of fighters and weapons — could use their strength to assert an even more dominant role.”

On Sept. 15, 2011, the New York Times published a similar article, entitled “Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya.” It began: “In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising. The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.”

Belhaj was previously the commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was associated with Al-Qaeda in the past, maintained training bases in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, and was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Belhaj and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group denied continued allegiance to Al-Qaeda, but Belhaj was captured during George W. Bush’s post-9/11 “war on terror” and was harshly interrogated by the CIA at a “black site” prison in Thailand before being handed over to Gaddafi’s government which imprisoned and – Belhaj claims – tortured him.

The Times reported that “Belhaj has become so much an insider lately that he is seeking to unseat Mahmoud Jabril, the American-trained economist who is the nominal prime minister of the interim government, after Mr. Jibril obliquely criticized the Islamists.”

The Times article by correspondents Rod Nordland and David D. Kirkpatrick also cited other signs of growing Islamist influence inside the Libyan rebel movement: “Islamist militias in Libya receive weapons and financing directly from foreign benefactors like Qatar; a Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, leads the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council, where Islamists are reportedly in the majority.”

It may be commendable that the Post and Times finally gave serious attention to this consequence of the NATO-backed “regime change” in Libya, but the fact that these premier American newspapers ignored the Islamist issue as well as doubts about Libya’s Lockerbie guilt – while the U.S. government was whipping up public support for another war in the Muslim world – raises questions about whether those news organizations primarily serve a propaganda function.

Gaddafi’s Brutal Demise

Even amid these warning signs that Libya was headed toward bloody anarchy, the excited MSM coverage of Libya remained mostly about the manhunt for “the madman” – Muammar Gaddafi. When rebels finally captured Gaddafi on Oct. 20, 2011, in the town of Sirte – and sodomized him with a knife before killing him – Secretary of State Clinton could barely contain her glee, joking in one interview: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The months of aerial slaughter of Gaddafi’s soldiers and Gaddafi’s own gruesome death seemed less amusing on Sept. 11, 2012, when Islamic terrorists overran the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. diplomatic personnel. In the two-plus years since, Libya has become a killing ground for rival militias, including some now affiliated with the Islamic State.

As the BBC reported on Feb. 24, 2015, the Islamic State “has gained a foothold in key towns and cities in the mostly lawless North African state [Libya], prompting Egypt – seeing itself as the bulwark against Islamists in region – to launch air strikes against the group. …

“IS has launched its most high-profile attacks in Libya, bombing an upmarket hotel in the capital, Tripoli, in January, and releasing a video earlier this month showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians it had kidnapped. On 20 February, it killed at least 40 people in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of al-Qubbah.”

Now, the chaos that the U.S.-sponsored “regime change” unleashed has grown so horrific that it is causing desperate Libyans to climb into unseaworthy boats to escape the sharp edges of the Islamic State’s knives and other depredations resulting from the nationwide anarchy.

Thus, Libya should be a powerful lesson to Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and the other R2Pers that often their schemes of armed “humanitarianism” can go badly awry and do much more harm than good. It should also be another reminder to the MSM to question the arguments presented by the U.S. government, rather than simply repeating those dubious claims and false narratives.

But neither seems to be happening. The “liberal interventionists” – like their neoconservative allies – remain unchastened, still pumping for more “regime change” wars, such as in Syria. Yet, many of these moral purists are silent about the slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Palestinians in Gaza, or now Houthis and other Yemenis dying under Saudi bombs in Yemen.

It appears the well-placed R2Pers in the Obama administration are selective in where that “responsibility to protect” applies.

Samantha Power, now serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN, remains the same self-righteous scold denouncing human rights abuses in places where there are American-designated “bad guys” while looking the other way in places where the killing is being done by U.S. “allies.” As for Hillary Clinton, she is already being touted as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

Meanwhile, the MSM has conveniently forgotten its own propaganda role in revving up the war on Libya in 2011. So, instead of self-reflection and self-criticism, the mainstream U.S. media is filled with condemnations of the Europeans for their failure to respond properly to the crisis of some 900 Libyans apparently drowning in a desperate attempt to flee their disintegrating country.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why to Say No to Susan Rice

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | December 3, 2012

President Barack Obama should ditch the idea of nominating U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State on substantive grounds, not because she may have – knowingly or not – fudged the truth about the attack on the poorly guarded CIA installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Rice’s biggest disqualification is the fact that she has shown little willingness to challenge the frequently wrongheaded conventional wisdom of Official Washington, including on the critical question of invading Iraq in 2003. At that pivotal moment, Rice essentially went with the flow, rather than standing up for the principles of international law or exposing the pro-war deceptions.

In fall 2002, as President George W. Bush and his administration were pounding the drums for war, Rice wasn’t exactly a profile in courage. A senior fellow at the centrist Brookings Institution, she echoed the neoconservative demands for “regime change” in Iraq and doubted the “need [for] a further [U.N. Security] Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions” on Iraq, according a compilation of her Iraq War comments by the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In an NPR interview on Dec. 20, 2002, Rice joined the bellicose chorus, declaring: “It’s clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It’s clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that’s the path we’re on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side.”

Rice also was wowed by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s deceptive speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. The next day, again on NPR, Rice said, “I think he has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.”

After the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, Rice foresaw an open-ended U.S. occupation of Iraq. In a Washington Post online forum, she declared, “To maximize our likelihood of success, the US is going to have to remain committed to and focused on reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq for many years to come. This administration and future ones will need to demonstrate a longer attention span than we have in Afghanistan, and we will have to embrace rather than evade the essential tasks of peacekeeping and nation building.”

Only later, when the Iraq War began going badly and especially after she became an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, did Rice take a less hawkish position. She opposed President Bush’s troop “surge” in 2007, a stance in line with Obama’s anti-Iraq War posture. During Campaign 2008, she also mocked one of Sen. John McCain’s trips to Baghdad as “strolling around the market in a flak jacket.”

The Ambitious Staffer

In other words, Rice fits the mold more of an ambitious staffer – ever mindful of the safe boundaries for permissible thought in Official Washington and eager to serve one’s political patron – than of a courageous foreign policy thinker who can see around the corners to spot the actual threats looming for the United States and the world.

Though Rice’s defenders might say there is nothing unusual in an aspiring foreign policy operative following the consensus or the instructions of a superior, there are plenty of troubling examples of innocent people getting killed when careerism overwhelmed wisdom and judgment. For instance, in 2003, CIA Director George Tenet, a malleable former congressional staffer, helped pave the way for the disastrous Iraq War.

Ironically, Rice’s eagerness to play the Washington game also landed her in the middle of the current “scandal” over her statements regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

On Sept. 16, Rice appeared on five (count them) Sunday TV shows, adhering closely to the CIA-provided “talking points,” which cited the likelihood of a spontaneous protest preceding the violent assault but which alluded to the tenuousness of the evidence available at the time.

Blinded by the limelight, Rice seems to have blundered into the controversy, giving little thought to the possibility that she was being put out front by then-CIA Director David Petraeus and Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who is the usual administration spokesman regarding terrorist attacks.  Brennan immediately flew off to Libya on a fact-finding trip, leaving Rice in the unaccustomed role of ‘splaining the attack in Benghazi.

Rice also wasn’t overly curious as to why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begged off on grounds she was “not going to offer any hypothetical explanations.”

Was Ambassador Rice too ambitious and/or too naïve?  For her it is a cruel irony that by letting her vision be blurred by the allure of five sets of klieg lights in one day, and the opportunity to embellish her persona for the top job at State, she has imperiled her own candidacy.

Loyal functionaries like Rice, with a penchant for doing whatever they are told do not expect to be mouse-trapped by their colleagues. But, if you can’t see that kind of thing coming – particularly when folks like Brennan and Petraeus are involved – you should not expect to become Secretary of State.

Understanding Benghazi

It also might have been smart for Rice to have taken the trouble to learn what U.S. officials were doing in Benghazi.  Did she know that, as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has revealed, the word “consulate” in the draft “talking points” was carefully changed to “mission”?

A prospective Secretary of State should know the difference. A “mission” is a group of officials abroad normally headed by a diplomat while a consulate is headed by a consul who normally handles commercial interests, serves the needs of citizens abroad and issues visas.

The difference between consulate and mission is more than semantic. Consulates, understandably, perform consular duties. Missions can do whatever. As my former CIA analyst colleague, Melvin A. Goodman pointed out in “The Why Behind the Benghazi Attack,” the hidden reality in Benghazi was not the alleged deception by Rice or the inadequate security measures.

The key secret was that the U.S. government had transformed the Benghazi “mission” into an operational CIA base spying on and seeking to neutralize extremist militias operating in eastern Libya. Thus, the “mission” was an inviting target for attack. In a limited sense, one could say the primary security failure was in not adequately anticipating this risk.

The more significant point is that, because of the anger resulting from U.S. policy in the area and the CIA role in implementing it, there is great doubt that “missions” like the one in Benghazi can ever be protected from the kind of organized assault launched on Sept. 11, 2012. And that probably includes gigantic, fortified installations like the U.S. embassies in Baghdad and Kabul.

A month before the U.S. presidential election, House Government Affairs Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, conducted a public hearing, in an attempt to prove that with adequate security measures the attack on the Benghazi “mission” could have been thwarted and American lives saved.

Issa’s star witness, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, joined others in bemoaning State’s refusal to provide additional security (partly due to congressional refusal to appropriate all the requested funds).

But Nordstrom shot a wide hole in the notion that more security could have saved the day. A 14-year veteran of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Nordstrom said the kind of attack mounted in Benghazi could not have been prevented.

“Having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half-dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault,” Nordstrom said. “The ferocity and intensity of the attack was nothing that we had seen in Libya, or that I had seen in my time in the Diplomatic Security Service.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sThe Real Blame for Deaths in Libya.”]

Whether media pundits are conscious of this or not, the interminable focus on what Susan Rice said and when she said it, as well as the inadequate security, divert attention from what the CIA was doing in Benghazi. No Establishment figure or media pundit wants to focus on that. And, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, recently conceded, no politician wants to risk appearing reluctant to support covert action against “terrorism.”

But a source with excellent access, so to speak, to former CIA Director David Petraeus, his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell, said publicly on Oct. 26 that the CIA was interrogating prisoners in Benghazi and that this may have been the reason the CIA base was so brutally attacked. More bizarre still, her comments were corroborated by Fox News!

If Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham were genuinely interested in what happened in Benghazi and why, would they not wish to look into that?

A C-Minus on Substance

President Obama has defended Rice against those who would “besmirch” her reputation, saying she “has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, professionalism, and toughness, and grace.”

Obama also said she had “nothing to do with Benghazi.” However, this does not appear to be entirely accurate. It is an open secret that Susan Rice, together with Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, now ensconced at Obama’s National Security Council, were big promoters of the so-called “responsibility to protect” and thus acted as prime movers behind the U.S. excellent adventure in Libya.

The charitable explanation is that last year, with a thoroughly naïve “Gaddafi-bad-guys-vs.-maybe-good-guys” approach, blissfully unaware of which elements they might be “protecting” or “liberating” in Benghazi, and with little planning regarding who might replace Gaddafi, they made their mark on Libya.

Are we to believe that they gave not a thought to the imperative felt by key NATO partners to exploit the fledgling “Libyan Arab spring” to ensure the continuing flow of high-grade crude? And did none of them take any lessons from the excellent adventure of going into Iraq with no serious plan for what might come next?

As for Ambassador Rice, as some have suggested, her judgment may be compromised by well-deserved guilt at having done nothing to stop the killing of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994 when she was White House referent for African affairs at the NSC under President Bill Clinton and acquiesced in his reluctance to call genocide “genocide.”

This presumably was why, when President Bill Clinton nominated Susan Rice to be Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997, the Congressional Black Caucus objected to the nomination, citing her membership in “Washington’s assimilationist black elite.”

The caucus got that right. Susan Rice has moved up the ladder by demonstrating an uncanny ability to ignore the interests of the oppressed – black or brown – whether in Rwanda or in Gaza. Her selective judgment on when to intervene in a foreign crisis normally follows the conventional wisdom of Official Washington, such as with Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

Ignoring Palestine’s Plight

Thus, her empathy for the “good guys” (whoever they may be) in Libya does not extend to the Palestinians. Like other myopic policymakers and spokespersons, Rice ignores the misery in Gaza and the West Bank because to do otherwise would cast her outside Official Washington’s perceived wisdom, which holds that no smart politician or pundit confronts Israel too directly or too frequently.

However, the fact that last Thursday the United States could muster only eight votes (beside its own), from the 193 member states of the General Assembly, to oppose giving Palestine the status of non-member observer state is surely a harbinger of defeats to come on this key issue.

Rice’s one-sided defense of Israel as it pummeled the defenseless Gazans last month was not only unconscionable, but in the long run counterproductive – not only for the U.S. but for Israel. Granted, Rice was speaking for the Obama administration but there are no indications that she has used her influence with the President to reshape U.S. policy significantly.

Her failure to dissent, which would surely undo her careful construction of a Washington career, continues even as Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yashai has acknowledged that Israel’s goal was to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages” and other Israeli officials casually liken their periodic bloodletting in Gaza to “mowing the grass.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sLikening Palestinians to Blades of Grass.”]

Washington’s public support for the carnage no doubt has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a sense of invulnerability even in the face of the stinging vote in the U.N. Thus, he retaliated for the U.N.’s affront by authoring 3,000 new homes for Jewish settlers and plans for thousands more in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On Friday, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor replied lamely, “We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction and announcements.”

As the Biblical advice states: By their fruits shall you know them. So look at the fruits of Rice’s policy making, including her one-sided defense of Israel before a world audience increasingly aware of U.S. hypocrisy, particularly on the key issue of Palestine.

It can surely be assumed that Susan Rice is intelligent enough to understand the moral depravity of U.S. policy on Palestine. Then why does she fall so easily in with extreme pro-Israel hawks and neocons on such issues? Presumably, she understands that such positioning is how to get ahead.

In playing for support from her fellow hawks, Rice remains the ambitious staffer more than the wise diplomat. And like an ambitious staffer, she senses that hawkishness is usually a safer career path than thoughtful diplomacy. This is not the kind of person anyone should want as Secretary of State.

Ray McGovern served as an Army officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | Comments Off on Why to Say No to Susan Rice

Libya attack a “catastrophic intelligence loss” for US

Al Akhbar | September 24, 2012

The attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya dealt a huge blow to US intelligence operations because CIA agents and contractors were among the Americans evacuated afterward, the New York Times reported late Sunday.

The CIA’s intelligence targets in unstable Libya included an Islamist militia that some have blamed for the September 11 attack in the eastern city of Benghazi and suspected members of al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate, the paper said.

More than two dozen Americans were rushed out of Libya after the attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens, three other Americans and 10 Libyan security officers.

They included about a dozen CIA operatives and contractors monitoring a variety of armed groups in the city, the paper reported.

“It is a catastrophic intelligence loss,” it quoted an American official who has served in Libya as saying. “We got our eyes poked out.”

However, the paper quoted another official as saying the United States was still collecting information via other techniques such as informants, intercepting mobile phone conversations and use of satellite images.

“The United States isn’t close to being blind in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” the second official said.

The paper also said that contrary to initial accounts, a consulate annex that was also attacked was never meant to be a “safe house” for the CIA.

Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced an official review of security at the US mission in Libya.

President Barack Obama’s administration initially said it believed extremists had not really planned the attack in Libya but simply taken advantage of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic trailer to mix in and attack.

The White House for the first time Thursday described the assault as a “terrorist attack” and said it could have links to al-Qaeda.

But a Republican lawmaker, Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, cast doubt Sunday over whether the protests even happened.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 24, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on Libya attack a “catastrophic intelligence loss” for US

The Sniped Tykes of Misrata?

Crimes Against Reality in Libya, part 3 | April 17, 2011

Misrata: An Illusion Under Siege

Misrata (alt: Misurata, Arabic: مصراتة) is Libya’s third largest city (after Tripoli and Benghazi), boasting in peacetime about 550,000 people. [1] Considered Libya’s commercial capital, it lies in the west of the country about 130 miles east of the capitol Tripoli. It was among the amazing number of Libyan cities, east and west, that fell to rebel control within just a few days of the revolt’s start on February 17. This flash of activity was much more violent and pre-planned than the world public realizes, but that was needed to seed the impression that the whole country had “voted” by popular action to secede from the capitol.

After the initial shock of this unprecedented mutiny, the loyalists in the army and within the “liberated” cities re-grouped with an early-March roll-back. In general, rebel support was too weak to last in the west, and caved easily, and by the 19th rebel control was limited to their de facto capitol Benghazi and points eastward. The only exception to this rule was vital and sizeable Misrata, then and for the last month the only western city even partially held by rebels.

As the last bastion of illusion against this being an East-West civil war as opposed to a nationwide popular revolt, Misrata’s fate is second only to Benghazi’s. One holds the key to the east, the other maybe half a key to the whole nation. Just as a threat of losing Benghazi spurred the first western airstrikes on March 19, the continued siege of Misrata is apparently ushering in another phase entirely. With its neighborhood-scale fighting, snipers, and mortars and rockets from afar, the city has been much changed. It’s been described as a living hell, with “unimaginable carnage,” hospitals overflowing, bodies piling up uncounted in the streets, as many as 2,000 killed. It’s been said Gaddafi is flattening the city, strangling it, and intends to slaughter every person in it.

However, on April 14, Professor Alan J. Kuperman wrote an excellent analysis citing Human Rights Watch information on Misrata “revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.” It does seem a bit more sloppy than he makes it sound, but Kuperman is probably closer to the truth of the matter than most. Since the fighting there started nearly two months earlier, he finds from HRW’s numbers:

[O]nly 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties. [2]

In the roughly 45 days since the siege began, 257 is only about six deaths per day, on average. That isn’t likely a complete number, but no more likely to be very far off. In reality it looks less like a genocidal massacre than the six weeks of low-level but NATO-prolonged urban warfare it is. Even presuming a gross margin of unreported deaths, 400 or even 500 dead is really not that high – at most about 0.1% of the population. If the government were trying to kill “as many people as possible,” with this much time to have done it, they are failing badly.

The last few days, April 14-16, have however seen a brutal new offensive by the government’s forces, by rebel reports, with a few dozen more killed in rocket attacks on Misrata, indiscriminately including women, children, and elderly. [3] Cluster bombs have reportedly been found. [4] The harbor was attacked again. The rebels predict a total slaughter will finally befall them without more NATO involvement soon. What they really mean is Misrata will no longer be a rebel town.

All these concerns, taken in context, helped the leaders of the US, UK, and France, who happened to be meeting in these bloody days, to jointly denounce, among other things, the “medieval siege” of Misrata. And it finally allowed them to make some new decisions (which we’ll be seeing shortly) on a core realization that all three nations have agreed on for four decades now. Essentially, Gaddafi must go. “It is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power,” they lied jointly on the 15th. [5]

Mystery Snipers Killing Kids?

Worse than the fairly indiscriminate death of distance shelling, the most incendiary new allegation is the mad tyrant Gaddafi sending snipers to Misrata to sit on rooftops, picking out children to shoot dead. Or so we hear. On April 8, a statement was issued in Switzerland:

“What we have are reliable and consistent reports of children being among the people targeted by snipers in Misrata,” UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva.  The information was based on local sources, Mercado said. She was unable to say how many children have been wounded or killed in this way. [6]

UNICEF, the United Nations wing for caring about children’s health and well-being, was naturally alarmed enough by these reports to announce they existed but weren’t verified – they’d go and have a look and then, perhaps, we’d hear about corroboration.

A cynic might see in this echoes of the incubator-baby stories of 1991 Gulf War fame. The tale of an Iraqi atrocity in Kuwait, killing dozens of premature babies for no clear reason, gave massive and emotional public support to the war effort. Later, the story was proven to be a complete lie, concocted by the Kuwaiti royal family and public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, Inc. [7] Again, the first part of that is happening with this news spreading like wildfire. And we shall see, and in short order, that the second half is already coming into focus along similar lines.

There’s no great reason to doubt the presence of snipers in the city, given the situation. Rebels allege African mercenaries as usual, military snipers from elite battalions, and most recently special female sharpshooters from Colombia’s FARC army. [8] One Libyan exile with contact in Misrata said the snipers were “Libyan mercenaries,” as well as some “from Mauritania, 2 from Colombia, 2 women, some from Chad, and others from origins of which we are not sure.” (more from this expert below). [9]

As far as people capable of making bullets fly in a war-torn city, we also cannot rule out armed loyalist citizens, possibly gone loco and trying to demoralize the traitors by killing their young. That wouldn’t exactly be a government strategy requiring regime change, but close enough for most. Or it could be a black-hearted rebel supporter trying to create another humanitarian disaster to be blamed on the regime. And it would be, of course, with no questions asked. The government itself claims snipers exist in Misrata – brought in by the rebels and affiliated with Hezbollah, says spokesman Khaled Kaim. Hezbollah denies this, and the evidence has yet to be shown [10]

Yousef bin Youssef on Snipers, Kids, and/or Targeting

A video from the Al Aan channel of the United Arab Emirates was posted April 9, with English subtitles, on rebel site LibyaFeb17.info. Entitled “Batallion snipers targeting children in Misurata,” the content is an interview with Yousef bin Youssef, onetime Misrata resident, in touch with others still there and amazingly informed (he’s the one with the sniper nationalities list). [9]

Asked if “children were actually being targeted by snipers there,” Youssef makes a long presentation with heavy use of the word for “targeted,” but only gives one bit of an answer to that question at the end. He starts with the government shelling of the city:

“[T]here are very serious risks when these populated zones are targeted – many injuries could occur … Families are being targeted daily … the targeting of children and civilians in large numbers … the targeting of Misrata is happening in every residential area … Gaddafi’s forces are systematically killing the entire population of the city of Misrata.”

He does get to children, noting that “a car with four children in it was targeted,” in fact a disputable incident at a check-point, killing one child an wounding another. [11] This is quite common in places like Iraq where a government is up against an insurgency. “In another neighborhood near Tripoli street,” Youssef added, “a child of two years was also targeted” in some unspecified way. He also lists several names with ages of “just a few” of the youngest “martyrs” killed by anything at all so far in this conflict.

He also brought cell-phone video footage of three injured children evacuated, from Misrata and Benghazi, to Turkey. One is a boy with his right arm amputated and the left one locked in a full cast, and one eye swollen shut. Another older boy is shown with both hands in casts. Both look more like mishaps in handling explosives than any sniper’s work. Their injuries are not explained. [9]

The Girl in Turkey: Right for the Heart

The only time in all Youssef’s interview where any sign of a sniper appears is with the third child, which he describes as:

“a small girl, no older than 4 years, who was targeted by a sniper’s bullet near the heart. But thank God, they removed the bullet, as you can see.” [9]

The hefty bullet is shown in a vial, and a precious little girl is shown curled up asleep in the hospital bed, barely saved from the government’s mad designs. And as proof the two were once together, her x-ray is also shown to the camera. A rib cage is visible, with a bullet appearing in the upper center (top image). That looks like medical proof she was shot by someone or other. And certainly the whole medical clinic setting lends credence to it.

Luckily I happen to have a clearer blow-up of this same image (see below, explained further below) to get some better detail. It looks like possibly a sniper bullet, but with an odd orientation. Unless the kid was doing cartwheels at the moment of impact, it was apparently fired up from a low angle, an inherently illogical scenario.

Further, the bullet is perfectly shaped, with no apparent deformation from entry and plowing through tissues firm enough to stop it entirely only halfway through.

This in turn might have something to with absolutely no sign of entry revealed by the x-rays. Following back the apparent bullet track suggests it must have entered her body on the left side (lower right in the image). Any possible “hole” in her side would be invisible from a frontal view. We should, however, see any broken chunks or deformation to the curve of her ribs where at least one should have been shattered. But not a single arc of this delicate 4-year-old rib-cage is disturbed that we can see.

While I don’t have the expertise to credibly rule out a real gunshot here, It seems to me that this image shows two things:
1) The girl was never shot.
2) A bullet was made to appear in her chest.
The fakery could be done in any photo-editing program, then sent to a device for developing the image on transluscent film to look real. Or it could be a simple x-ray image of the child with a bullet laid on her chest. But that’s sure as hell not how it was preseted to the world at almost exactly the same time as that April 8 UNICEF report.

The Boy in Misrata with the Same X-Ray Proof

Furthermore, at the same time, there was another child with a family claiming proof of a very similar sniper shot. The April 10 Human Rights Watch dispatch related the story of a five-year-old boy. He’s not in the main article for some reason, but is shown in the bottom picture with his mother and an x-ray image, with this extended caption:

Five-and-a-half year old Rakan Ahmed was playing in the street opposite the Italian Consulate on March 19 when a bullet entered his shoulder and passed by his heart, according to his parents, Hanan Faraj and Ahmed Muftah Burjid. There was fighting at the time about 500 meters away, they said, but no sound of gunfire close by. “Rakan’s uncle carried him inside,” Ahmed Muftah Burjid said. “We thought he fainted. There was no sound of a gunshot, no blood.” When the family arrived at the hospital, they saw the bullet from the x-rays, which the family shared with Human Rights Watch. “We were shocked,” Ahmed recalled. “We just thought he was tired.” [11]

This might sound strange, but is remarkably akin to what happened to WPC Yvonne Fletcher in London, 1984. Standing across from the Libyan embassy, she was shot by a high-powered bullet that entered the right shoulder at a steep angle, hit the heart, lung, and other vital organs, and passed out her lower left rib cage. [12] She died from all this within short order, but from the outside, she just collapsed, with no visible blood and officers at first acting as if she’d just fainted. [13] Gaddafi thug snipers pulled the trigger, it was decided, in both of these cases. Women and children were slaughtered, publics enraged. We have a precedent.

By the photo HRW ran (right), little Rakan does seem to be injured. He  has bandages on his left side over the owie (the exit wound after the entry on his right shoulder?). His mom helps show us by pulling up his arm and his shirt. He looks unhappy, but quite healthy and limber for only three weeks healing time after such a massive injury to the upper body.

The x-ray image shown to the right, shared by the family, reveals a bullet is or was once in there, stopped just where it was in the girl’s x-ray. It did not exit through his side or at all. Hmmm…

The bullet shown here has the same pristine profile, same orientation and implied, illogical, low-level entry. It clearly did not enter via his shoulder, as reported, in fact just stopping in the middle of him, halfway to his right shoulder. Beside the bullet match, this x-ray shows the same strange line running across, same light and dark patches, same … undisturbed rib cage.

It’s the same image, I can safely say, (aside from the circled left shoulder in Rakan’s print). See the comparison at left, complicated by low-resolution video, the different angles of view, and different backgrounds behind the translucent images (these are all corrected somewhat for the left image). Clearly they are too consistent to be anything other than the same, so this is of course my source for the above blow-up of the little girl’s chest shot.

The image could still be of a genuine child shooting, as my pathologist friend Rolfe at the JREF forum points out, but as she also notes with basic logic, it can’t be evidence for both of those kids being shot. [14] Nonetheless, it was presented within the same few-days span as just that. It should of course be noted that this doubling up is enough to change “child” to “children,” and leave the public imagining just how many. Imaginations over here tend to ignore the “reported” part and presume hundreds of things like this. But we have this kind of evidence for only two, one recovering in Turkey, the other all healed up in Misrata, neither with a single broken rib, judging by the single x-ray image between them.

All I can say is I’m glad the rebels are still able to fake these things in Photoshop and have it believed. If the international agencies like UNICEF and HRW were more exacting, we might see rebels actually shooting each others’ children to leverage stronger support for regime change efforts. At the moment, I wish Gaddafi would just step down and hand his country over to Wall Street and these manipulative little domestic proxies so this absurdity can finally stop.

Sources:

[1] Wikipedia. Misrata. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misrata
[2] Kuperman, Alan J. “False pretense for war in Libya?” Boston Globe. April 14 2011. http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-14/bostonglobe/29418371_1_rebel-stronghold-civilians-rebel-positions
[3] “Rocket barrage hits Misrata, NATO says Gaddafi must go” Times of India, April 15. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Obama-Sarko-Cameron-seal-deal-Oust-Gaddafi/articleshow/7996431.cms
[4] Murray, Craig. “Clusters of Hypocrisy.” April 16 2011. http://craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/04/clusters-of-hypocrisy/
[5] http://www.libyafeb17.com/2011/04/letter-on-libya-by-obama-cameron-and-sarkozy/
[6] Washington Post. UNICEF: Snipers targeting children in besieged Libyan city of Misrata. April 8. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/unicef-snipers-targeting-children-in-besieged-libyan-city-of-misrata/2011/04/08/AF5jO4zC_story.html
[7] http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0906/p25s02-cogn.html
[8] Daily Mail. April 15. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377349/Libya-16-women-children-rocket-blitz-Gaddafis-troops.html
[9] “Batallion snipers targeting children in Misurata.” April 9 posting of video interview with Yousef bin Youssef, on al Aan news. (Undated). http://feb17.info/media/video-interview-battalion-snipers-targeting-children-in-misurata-translated/
[10] Hezbollah denies any role in Libya’s uprising. Ya Libnan. April 14 2011. http://www.yalibnan.com/2011/04/14/hezbollah-denies-any-role-in-libyas-uprising/
[11] Human Rights Watch. “Libya: Government Attacks in Misrata Kill Civilians.” April 10 2011. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/10/libya-government-attacks-misrata-kill-civilians
[12]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Yvonne_Fletcher
[13] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdg0BGzKCmc
[14] “Baby Snipers…Propaganda? Or are they just that evil?” JREF discussion forum. Thread started April 8. http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=205780

Source link : http://12-7-9-11.blogspot.com/2011/04/sniped-tykes-of-misrata.html

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Sniped Tykes of Misrata?

Empire Destroys World and Itself

By Sean Fenley | Dissident Voice | September 15th, 2012

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results.

– Ed Husein, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

It has been said that America’s last liberal President was Richard Nixon. Nixon set up the EPA, OSHA, and created the Clean Water Act. Additionally, he had a better health plan than Obamacare, and proposed a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon also implemented price controls, which notably — in recent history — Hugo Chavez, has been attacked in Western media, for introducing on basic foodstuffs and household goods.

1981 is said to be the breaking point of when the modern Republican Party began its failure in accepting that government has a role to play in propping up — and, moreover, aiding and abetting — Americans’ livelihood and well-being: the much ballyhooed advent of the so-called Reagan Revolution. This began the coalescing of a system of essentially two neoliberal, militarist, Wall Street political parties largely indifferent to the needs of significant sections of the American population.

We should keep this in mind considering that we have just been enduring the revolting, gross, and gratuitously self-congratulatory (taxpayer funded) spectacles of the — decrepit, moribund and abounding with cretinism — duopoly conventions. So, what are we to make of things after envisaging these überlurid, radically self-aggrandizing, and entirely putrefactive celebrations? For one it’s clear to me that a battle royale between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson would be a marked improvement over the bromides, platitudes, and, undoubtedly, soon-to-be-broken promises of the plutocracy’s kept candidates of their choosing.

Clearing brush, pork rinds, arithmetic, surreptitious tax returns, “presidential” beer recipes and gaffing vice presidential candidates, are about the utmost the level of “cerebreality” that these folks, unequivocally, want to “ascend” toward. Celebreality is much more important anyhow! That is to say, what kerfluffle has a prominent Scientologist befallen him or herself into at the present moment! This stock in trade is all the more important than wars and peace, progressive taxation (or a Tobin tax), guaranteeing health care, poverty, the Great Recession, unemployment, and the greatest disparity of wealth in all of the Western world!

On the foreign affairs front, the French have lurched forward into the preeminent imperialist role in the decapitation, sacking and dismemberment of the Arab Republic of Syria. The “socialist” Hollande is now planning to arm Islamist guerrillas who include voluminous battle-hardened Salafis, and even — the sometime NATO/Western mortal enemy/adversary — Al Qaeda. The neocon enemy image, in fact, which has eroded so many civil liberties in America; cast aside the Constitution and metamorphosized the country into a police/surveillance society and/or (take your pick!) ultra-security state.

Now, of course, Al Qaeda has been reborn as an ally planting “American” values against a regime that is unequivocally authoritarian, but not without its positive attributes. Which includes tolerance of a mosaic of religious and faith traditions, exceedingly low cost university-level education, and government subsidy of many basic provisions, foodstuffs, household items, and everyday wares. In fact, in 2005 the Christian Science Monitor ran an article about what an agreeable experience — that so many Americans were having — studying Arabic in the capital city of Damascus. The Arab Republic of Syria, even with all of its drawbacks, is certainly preferable to the theocratic, anachronistic, strict sharia caliphate “alternative” proffered by precisely the wild-eyed militants that the NATO/Western countries are currently so myopically and narrow-mindedly backing, and so vehemently in support of. (Many of them are not from Syria by the way. They are being brought in from Libya, Chechnya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere — about 60% according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor, who was only recently in the country.)

The French are no doubt stepping up the brazen adventure/interventionism, whilst the American political silly season places handcuffs on some of America’s hegemony; that might spell trouble for Beltway spin doctors to massage, repackage, gussy up, and/or twist or otherwise festoon for the voting “riffraff”, “the great unwashed”, and “the rabble”. Better off not to patently and intentionally seriously over-complicate, a (previously) unsophisticated and garden variety flimflam/deception.

In Libya some Muslim radicals, that are now readily operating in that country — and exceedingly armed-to-the-gills — recently destroyed some sacred Sufi sites, to no doubt christen the US/NATO-brought “freedom” to that country. This, undoubtedly, reminds one of the benighted mentality that led the Taliban to bringing about the batty-headed, incoherent, and lunatic bombing of the Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Of course, the ignominious Ronald Reagan christened the inordinately fanatical mujaheddin, as much like America’s own Founding Fathers. And perhaps, ironically, today our “democrats” in Libya would seem to be of rather similar rearing, upbringing, tack, style, attitude, worldview and overall demeanor. No doubt, anyone of any other faith would have a difficult run-in with these folks — should they encounter them in a dark alleyway — or, for that matter, any place at all! And moreover, anyone who has been persistently following the events in Libya since the “mainstream” media lost all interest in them, was not, of course, surprised at all to the see the Benghazi consulate attack — and the needless deaths that occurred there (sadly), as a result.

The Christians in Syria, who predominantly support Dr. Bashar al-Assad, know precisely what kind of “freedom fighters” that the West has taken great relish in seemingly infallibly, consistently and unflinchingly backing. In fact, Patriarch Gregorios III of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, has cautioned against foreign interventionism in his country, and furthermore accused the Western media of negligently misreporting on the conflict. A Syrian nun, Sister Agnes Mariam, has recently recounted that she personally witnessed the beheading of nine Alawite Syrians. According to the Sister, they were murdered simply for being Alawite, by, of course, the Western-backed “democratic”, and indeed, raucous proxy forces.

Clearly, an agenda of stopping development on a multitude of levels is an aspect of the pernicious strategy that appears to be at work here. Freedom, human rights, women’s rights, and rights of speech and expression are thinly veiled patinas for domination and “creative destruction” of a ravenous, retrograde, ignoble, antediluvian, and in-illustrious breed. Of course, America has never acted truly consistently toward Wilsonianism, but this is, certainly, a far cry from it, indeed!

Seemingly, that once great beacon on a hilltop has become a beacon of benightedness, for sure. Allied with some of the most backward absolutist monarchies, and the most obtuse of “pious” militants, death squads, and “Godly” roving “religious” warriors, miscreants, and thugs. Unfortunately, for Americans and non-Americans alike, Americans have virtually no choice in this matter at their polling places in the ongoing presidential election/food fight/sham. Either of the two candidates  that are capable of winning will continue on with this sordid trash.

Fortunately, we seem to see other nations (and blocs) rising, unalike that of which we have envisioned in some time. Some examples, of course, include the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the BRICS. This sort of thing, I think, is most probably the beacon lying abreast of today’s enlightened hilltop for all to look upon with great positive portent, and the highest and the utmost of regard.

The wanting of a world with the ending of these vicious cycles of domination, with “great powers” dictating schemes to “lesser”, and “inferior” subsidiary client nations. Of course, the new power configurations aren’t going to be any guarantee of rule by the diminutive, the genteel, the dignified, the noble — and the altruistically and the courageously strong. But at least there is new hope within these nascent rising power configurations. There is hope for elements to originate and to fully consummate that will far outweigh, if it even had any, the positive elements of the previous (ancien) global de facto administration/regime.

Sean Fenley is an independent progressive who would like to see the end of the dictatorial duopoly of the so-called two party adversarial system. He would also like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future U.S. military, economic, foreign and domestic policies.

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Empire Destroys World and Itself