Archive | May 7th, 2012

JFK Special 3: Oswald was in the doorway, after all!

NOVANEWS

By Ralph Cinque (with Jim Fetzer)

So we begin with the Altgens photograph, where JFK is clutching his throat and you can even see a bullet hole in the windshield–a small, while spiral nebula with a dark hole in the center–where his left ear would be if it were visible, where it passed through:

Then we move toward the background images, where someone is looking out the doorway, where his identity has been disputed:  some say it’s Lee Oswald, others that it’s Billy Lovelady; but if it’s Lee Oswald, then he can’t be on the 6th floor shooting at JFK:

Then we look more closely and discover that that whitish-blur to the right-front of the man in the doorway is the obfuscation of someone, where the only reason for obfuscating an image would have been if someone had been there who should not have been:

But the only one who should not have been there was Lee Oswald, which led me (Jim Fetzer) to suppose that the man whose face and shirt had been obfuscated was Lee, who even told Will Fritz he was “out with Bill Shelley in front” during his interrogation:

where the features that have bee obscured can be identified more readily when they have been colorized, where I was convinced that Lee had been there, since there was no other (apparent) good reason to have obfuscated the face of anyone else:

and where the shirt on the man in the doorway seemed to be checkered like the shirt that Billy Lovelady was seen wearing both inside the Dallas Police Department (third above) and outside on the steps (below), shortly following the assassination of JFK:

but where K.D. Ruckman realized that the man on the steps (shown here) did not appear to be the same man in the Dallas Police Department (shown above), which meant that there appeared to be a “Lovelady imposter”, which would make a lot of sense if,

as Ralph Cinque had inferred, the man in the doorway was Oswald, where Lovelady’s face had been imposed upon him, the opposite of what had been done in creating the “backyard photographs” done by imposing Lee’s head on somone else’s body,

 

which Jim Marrs and I had explained, building on the prior work of Jack White, who had already shown that these photographs could not possibly be genuine, since they had exactly the same Oswald face on four different poses taken at four different times.

Where Ralph realized that he had more than enough proof to establish that Billy Lovelady (shown here in an FBI photograph wearing the shirt he said he had worn at the time) was not the same person as “Billy Lovelady” at the Dallas Police Departmant.

A Matter of Identity

by Ralph Cinque

Look at these two images, and tell me if it is the same man. If they are not the same man, then the entire official story of the JFK assassination falls completely apart.  Everything hinges on those two individuals being the same person.  If they are different human beings, then it’s all over for The Warren Report (1964):


The man on the left is Billy Lovelady, who worked at the Texas School Book Depository alongside Lee Harvey Oswald.  When the Altgens photo came out, many people, from all over the world, thought that the man standing in the doorway was Lee. But, it was quickly announced that, no, it was Billy. But, it was a hard sell. As much as they raved about how much Lee and Billy looked alike, Lee was 5’9” and weighed 135 pounds whereas Billy was 5’8” and weighed 170 pounds.  That’s a big weight difference, and it hardly makes them twins. And most agree that Doorway Man had a slender build, much like Lee.

And with Doorman wearing a loose-fitting, unbuttoned outer shirt over a notched t-shirt, it was a perfect match to Lee’s garb. But what was Billy wearing? That’s where it gets dicey.  At first, Billy said that he wore a red and white striped shirt and blue jeans. He told that to the FBI, and they wrote it down and sent it to the Warren Commission. And the shirt, which you can see above, was short-sleeved.  That immediately ruled him out as Doorway Man.  And keep in mind.  This is a default situation:  If it wasn’t Billy, then it had to be Lee. There were no other candidates, no other possibilities.  It had to be one or the other.  And so, the story had to be changed. Are you aware that other aspects of the assassination also got changed? For instance, they didn’t go with the “Magic Bullet” theory in the beginning.

At first, they said that JFK and Connally were struck by different bullets, which is also what Connally claimed. But then when they discovered that there had been a missed shot that nicked bystander James Teague, they had to account for all the wounds with just two bullets.  And since the last and fatal head shot was considered a solo event, they had to attribute all of the remaining seven wounds in two men to just one bullet, the so-called “magic bullet”. But, they definitely would not have gone that route if the fragment that hit Teague had not been found.  They weren’t going that route.  It’s like they hit a wall, and they had to go around it. Flexibility, it seems, is the key to effective story-telling when it comes to political assassinations.

Since they had to get Lovelady out of that short-sleeved shirt and into a long-sleeved one–for there to be any chance of him being Doorman–the story became that he actually wore a long-sleeved plaid, checkered shirt that day, like that worn by the DPD Lovelady on the left above.  As for what he told the FBI earlier, that was just a misunderstanding.  And to prove it, they came up with the image that you see on the right above. That is supposed to be an image of Billy Lovelady that was taken outside the Texas School Book Depository sometime after the assassination, where  you can see that he is wearing a long-sleeved, plaid, checkered shirt.

Comparing the “Loveladys”

Ain’t detective work grand? If you’re smart and cunning like Lieutenant Columbo, all the pieces come together, they fit like a glove, and there are no loose ends. Except in this case, Lieutenant Columbo would have been the first to point out that FBI Lovelady and TSBD Lovelady were not the same man.

What exactly do they have in common? The only thing I can see is a similar pattern of hair loss, but even that isn’t identical. Nothing else about them is even a good match, let alone a perfect one.  So, how is it that people came to accept that they were one and the same person? The answer is simple: the psychological power of officialdom.  When something comes from high above, that is, from government and media, it flies on the wings of authority, and the critical faculties of the mind shut down.  The very same thing is happening right now, this day, in perfect parallel with the events of 1963. Here’s what I mean:

It is now the one-year anniversary of the (alleged) assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. But, did he really live until 2011? Ten years earlier, in 2001, his kidneys were failing, and he was on dialysis. Do you know how long the average dialysis patient lives in the United States? About 5 years, and that’s with the best medical care. For a while, Osama was living in a cave. And he had a myriad of other health problems, including: diabetes, hepatitis, osteoporosis, and Marfan’s syndrome. [Editor’s note:  See Nicholas Kollerstrom, “Osama bin Laden:  1957-2001”, jamesfetzer.blogspot.com and David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (2009).]

The left picture below is Osama bin Laden from 2001 and to its right is an image from 2011 which was released by the Pentagon.   Which man looks older and which man looks younger? They say that he dyed his hair, but forget about that.  Compare their eyes, and hone in on the tired, old eyes of the “younger” Osama.  Compare the fullness of their faces, or I should say that lack of it in the older-looking, more decrepit Osama from 2001. Look at the firmness and solidness of the musculature around the shoulders of the latter-day bin laden compared to how he looked 10 years earlier. Those are some solid trapezoid muscles. What, was he lifting weights at his compound in Abbottabad?  With all his health problems and with the stress of living in a cave, living on the run, remaining in hiding as the most wanted man in the world, do you really think there is any chance that bin laden could emerge in 2011 in the obvious good, robust condition that you see above? We’re talking about 10 years on dialysis!

I happened to watch the movie, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, in which a man aged in reverse, where he got younger with each passing year. But, I needn’t have to tell you that that never happens in real life. People only age in one direction – from younger to older.  Osama, above, seems to have defied the laws of biology.  Apparently, he spent the whole time on a spaceship traveling at the speed of light so that he didn’t age, as per Einstein. But hey, he not only didn’t age, he actually got younger- a lot younger. And all while on dialysis! Heck, maybe we should all start doing it.

But the question is, why does any American believe that that second picture was really Osama bin laden? And the answer again is: the psychological power of officialdom.

But getting back to the two images of Billy Lovelady, there are people today, supposedly intelligent people, who are still arguing that they are the same person.

Allow me to re-present the basic points of comparison, most of which were laid out by Canadian researcher, Kelly Ruckman.   What follows is an excerpt from the last article in this series:

First, TSBD Lovelady’s head (right) is wider from front to back than is FBI Lovelady’s (left). Second, the slope of FBI Lovelady’s head is more vertical, and the angle of his forehead with the top of his head is more rectangular. On TSBD Lovelady, there is no angle at all, rather there is just a long, gentle, slope, like a ski slope, and it reminds me of the images we have seen of Cro-Magnon Man or Neanderthal. Third, FBI Lovelady seems to have a longer nose, and TSBD Lovelady seems to have a shorter, stubbier nose. Fourth, the hairlines are different. FBI Lovelady’s hairline at the temple seems to go straight up whereas TSBD Lovelady’s hairline angles back more. Fifth, the ears look different, with the real Lovelady’s on the left being longer and narrower. Remember that ears are very distinctive, like fingerprints.

Thank you Kelly Ruckman for pointing out the above. But there is a difference between the two of them which jumps out even more at me: their necks. TSBD Lovelady (right) has got a condition known as FORWARD NECK SYNDROME. Any orthopedist or chiropractor can see it at a glance. Instead of going up, his neck is going forward. FBI Lovelady (left) has a much more vertical neck. The basic, fundamental direction that it is going is UP. But on TSBD Lovelady (right), his neck isn’t going up so much. His neck is going more FORWARD, and that has the effect of shortening his neck. And that is something we can measure. Take a ruler and measure the length of the visible neck on each of them, going from the bottom of the ear to wherever the vertical line reaches the shirt. As I measure it, I get a full inch of neck length on FBI Lovelady, but only 2/3 inch on TSBD Lovelady. So, from the perspective of TSBD Lovelady, FBI Lovelady has 50% more length in his neck.

Next, I want you to drop a plumb line on each of them. And the way you can do it is to take a ruler and place it right behind the ear, and holding it vertical, track it down and see where it goes. With good posture, the ear should not be too much in front of the sagittal plane of the shoulder, and FBI Lovelady is doing quite well in that respect. His isn’t bad alignment. I like what I’m seeing. But TSBD Lovelady’s ear is much farther forward than that; his plumb line is well forward of his shoulder. He is really quite contorted, and he’s the kind of guy who is destined to have osteoarthritis of the neck.

In holding his neck forward like that, he has to do something to maintain his eyes level, that is, parallel with the ground, and what he’s doing is cocking his head back sharply at the very top of his neck. You may not be able to see it as well as I can, but if you were to see it on an x-ray, it would jump out at you. So, his neck is going forward, and at the very top of his neck, his head is rocking back on his neck. And that is like putting a heavy weight on a spring, compressing it. And that puts pressure on all the cervical joints, and over time, they wear out from it. The compressed cervical discs thin out until they are practically non-existent. Cervical disc herniations are also possible with this kind of posture.

Here’s another way you can tell the difference: look at the axis of FBI Lovelady’s ear. It’s pretty much vertical: straight up and down. Not perfectly so, but close. But, on TSBD Lovelady, the ear is rocked back more. It’s got more pitch to it. The line of greatest length through the ear is more diagonal, with the upper part back and the lower part forward. Again, it’s rocked back, and the reason it’s rocked back is because the whole head is rocked back. This is a very rigid, locked, dysfunctional posture that compromises mobility, flexibility, and coordination.

As a chiropractor, it’s a pleasure for me to look at FBI Lovelady because he has such nice lengthening in his neck and that translates into freedom of motion, lightness of being, and a generally expansive state of the body, which is what you want. But, it’s very distressful for me to look at TSBD Lovelady because he looks solid, rigid, steeped in stiffness, and destined for pain.

Is there any chance that Lovelady was just standing and comporting himself differently on the two days? No. There is absolutely no chance of that. Postural habits are deeply ingrained. They are the MOST deeply ingrained of all the habits you’ve got. It’s extremely hard to break them- even if you try, and there is no reason to think Lovelady was trying. And the reason that it’s so hard to change them is because your habitual way of carrying yourself is the only thing you know; it’s the only thing that feels right to you; anything else would feel way out of balance, terribly wrong, like you were going to fall. It’s like your own little world that you’re living in- your way of responding to gravity and other forces- and it’s the only one you can even conceive of.

Having been a chiropractor for 36 years, I can tell you that this one factor of the FORWARD NECK SYNDROME on TSBD Lovelady and its absence on FBI Lovelady completely eliminates any possibility that the two of them were the same man. It clinches it like different dental x-rays. It is not just a different position that TSBD Lovelady is holding his neck; he is anatomically fixed that way. He could not make his neck look like the FBI Lovelady’s no matter what he did. It would be anatomically impossible.

That concludes the excerpt, and I hope you are convinced now that the case for them being different individuals is solid and compelling. However, our opponents, including all lone-nutters and even some conspiracy theorists, say things like: “you can’t tell anything from old photographs,” “it’s too blurry to make precise comparisons,” “posture fluctuates from day to day,” (actually, it doesn’t) and more.  They have actually been fighting tooth and nail to defend the idea that those two disparate men are both Billy Lovelady. For lone-nutters, it may be that they are wise enough to realize that they have to cling to that claim or else they lose everything.  As for the CTs who are fighting me, I haven’t a clue as to what motivates them.

The Experts Speak

But, to ratchet it up a notch, I decided to seek the opinions of some other doctors whom I know. And in order not to bias them, I made no mention of the JFK assassination, and I made no mention of what my opinion is.  I certainly did not include the excerpt above. Here is all I said:

Doctors, I have a favor to ask of each of you. Please look at this composite picture of two men. I wish for you to tell me, based on anatomical comparisons, whether you think there is any chance they are the same individual. It’s important concerning some research I’m doing. Thank you.
Dr. Ralph Cinque

Now, let’s take a look at the results, and I am going to post them verbatim. And I am going to provide the names and locations of the doctors, just so that you know, without a doubt, that I am talking about real people. There is no bull-shitting going on here.

This is from Dr. David Peters, who is an eye doctor in Lockhart, Texas:

Hello Raffie!

Based on the bone structure, they do not appear to be the same person.

Pal David

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Dr. James Panzetta is a dentist from Virginia:

Hi Ralph:  I’ll give you my opinion.  I do not believe they are the same person.  My reasons are as follows:

1. The bridge of the nose on one man appears convex and the other appears concave.
2.  The lips appear different to me.  Bottom lip seems more retruded on the right than on the other.
3.  Eyes and eye brows appear different to me.
4.  Head and neck articulation appear different to me.
5.  Man on right has more robust chest.

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This is a response from Dr. Glenn Skene, a chiropractor, from Anaheim, CA:

Ralph,

I see them as two distinct individuals. True, they are both working on a good “reverse yamaka’ with their hairlines, but the ears are wrong, the cervical curves are way different, and so are the slopes of their shoulders. There is also the overall size difference- the guy on the left is slighter of build.
So, my analysis is: 2 different dudes, both bad dressers!

Glenn

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This is from Dr. Gary Skene, who is the brother of Glenn Skene, and also a chiropractor. He practices in Boca del Toro, Panama:

Ralph, they’re not the same guy. Their faces are different, and the guy on the right is a lot stockier. But, he also has that short, anterior bulldog neck, and the other guy doesn’t. Is someone really saying that they are the same guy? Who? I can’t believe it. I mean, I can’t believe that anyone would say that. They’re definitely not the same guy, and it’s not a matter of belief. Hey, when are you coming down here? You gotta see this place. Gary

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This is from Dr. Alan Goldhamer, a chiropractor from Santa Rosa, CA:

These appear to be two different individuals. I suppose picture quality and angle could alter perceptions, but many features appear to be different, including the noses, the ears, and especially the cervical anatomy.

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This is from Dr. Erwin Linzer, who is also a chiropractor from Santa Rosa, CA:

Hi Dr. Cinque

It looks to me like two different people. The ear size is different, and the jaw size seems different.

Dr. Erwin Linzner

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This is from Dr. John Wilbur who happens to be my dentist here in Austin TX:

They are not the same man. With enough surgery, you might be able to change the left man into the right one, but I can’t see it going the other way.

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This is Dr. Theresa Longo M.D., who is a pediatric intensive care specialist from southern Illinois.

Dear Ralph, I would have great difficulty saying that those two men are the same man. The man on the right has a very different slant of his forehead and brow, and his eye socket configuration is different too. And his whole face seems to plane farther back, that is, to be wider. They are two individuals. Theresa

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Finally, here is Dr. Ward Dean, a brilliant medical doctor, the author of several textbooks, two of which I have read: The NeuroEndocrine Theory of Aging (1992) and Biological Aging Measurement (1988), which has to do with fine observations and measurements of the human body, which therefore applies directly to what we are talking about. Dr. Dean said:

Ralph, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. They look like different men to me. Their cranio-facial features look distinct, and the man on the right looks heavier and older. And what a difference in physiognomy! The man on the left looks relaxed, but I wouldn’t want to tangle with that guy on the right. He looks mean! Just an impression. Ward

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *     *      *

I could continue posing the question it to other doctors, but since I’m getting a unanimous verdict- that they were different men- there is hardly any point. But please feel free to send the pictures around yourself to doctors or non-doctors. I asked doctors simply because they know anatomy and they are used to studying the human body. But, Jim Fetzer put it as well as anyone when he said that one of them looks like a man and the other like a gorilla. In lay terms, that’s as good a way as any to express the magnitude of the differences between them.

What does this mean?

What does all this mean? It means that the totality of the single gunman theory collapses to nothingness. Lovelady was not the one wearing the plaid checkered shirt on 22 November 1963, yet he posed in that shirt, or one like it, several times over the years, and as late as 1978, as photographed by Robert Groden. Lovelady knew very well that he was not the one wearing that shirt that fateful day in 1963. Rather, it was his imposter who wore it.

So, Billy Lovelady was part of, or at least became part of, the conspiracy. He was not the Doorway Man in the Altgens photo, which means that Lee Harvey Oswald has to have been. And if Lee was standing in the doorway during the shooting, he could not have been on the 6th floor doing the shooting.

This is open and shut. There is no longer any doubt about it. The image of Doorway Man in the Altgens photo is visual proof that Oswald was innocent. And all the pining of Vincent Bugliosi, Gerald Posner, John McAdams, S.V. Anderson, Max Holland, and others cannot change it or contradict it.  The only thing left to do now is to spread the word, one mind at a time. Unfortunately, the power and dominance of government and media are utterly on their side.

Even the talking heads mentioned above have got the hobnail boot of the state backing them up. Ironically, there can’t be more than a few individuals still living who were involved in any way with the assassination, and none of them are in power.  No one in power now can be considered the least bit culpable for the murder. Obama had nothing to do with it. Neither did Attorney General Eric Holder. So, why won’t they re-open the case?

The answer is that it’s not just the perpetrators who would be on trial if the case were reopened. It’s the integrity and the moral authority of the entire U.S. federal government and also the whole corporate media that would be on trial because they have been feeding us the lies for 48 years.  So, they are not going to cooperate; they are never going to cooperate. They correctly recognize that, ultimately, it is their own hides that are on the line, if not for the murder, then for the cover-up. 

They have already crossed the Rubicon concerning JFK, and there is no turning back for them. They are going to stick to their story to the bitter end- despite how preposterous it is and always was.  They control the television and radio broadcasts; they determine the content of the school books; and they know full-well about the psychological power of officialdom, and so they use it.  But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t win. You have to think of this as a guerrilla war.

We have the power of the internet. We have sister truth movements, such as the 9/11 truth movement and the Ron Paul movement, with whom to network. And once the light goes on in someone’s head, there will be no turning back for that person. We’ll have them on our side for life.  We can win this war of attrition.  So, please start now by urging every person you know and love to read this article. Help spread the truth about the murder of JFK.  Doing so will help galvanize the revival and restoration of our country. It really will.

 

Ralph Cinque, a chiropractor, health spa operator, and entrenpreneur, has published a series of articles on JFK at lewrockwell.com. His video series, “Visible Proof that Oswald was Innocent”, is archived on YouTube.

James H. Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a columnist for Veterans Today, where his most recent studies of the assassination of JFK can be found.

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Is Shale Gas a Real Energy Solution?

NOVANEWS

The new technologies to explode gas out of shale rock have serious consequences.

By F. William Engdahl* author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Poliltics

( May 4 2012) – There is a global rush to embrace a new technique to extract hydrocarbons from the Earth. From Germany to Poland and France, from China and above all in the USA where the technique of hydraulic fracturing of shale rocks is most developed, governments and major oil companies are producing huge volumes of shale gas.

A number of energy importing countries around the world are planning a major investment in extracting natural gas from their shale rock formations. The most ambitious plans are coming from China and from Poland in the EU. Germany is also heatedly debating the technique.

The US Government’s Department of Energy together with a Washington energy consultancy has just released a mammoth global report estimating resources of shale gas. Significantly, the report estimates that the largest untapped shale gas reserves worldwide lie in China. The study puts Poland and France at the top of the shale gas list in the EU. The rest of Europe they estimate has significant shale gas formations as well, though in smaller volumes where shale rock is present.

Even in Germany some states and private oil companies are seriously looking at shale gas. ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company is planning major projects in the densely-populated North-Rhein Westphalia region. The company’s head for Central Europe, Gernot Kalkoffen, stated in a recent interview, “Germany is most definitely an interesting market. We cannot achieve the energy strategy shift without gas.” ExxonMobil estimates shale gas is potentially available in six of Germany’s 16 states.

The US Energy Department estimates that Germany could have some 8 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, three years’ total consumption. Citizen protest groups and Parliamentary skepticism about health and safety of shale gas so far is braking a German shale gas bonanza. Not only ExxonMobil but also BASF’s Wintershall, Gaz de France, BNK Petroleum from the US and a daughter of Britain’s Royal Dutch Shell are salivating over German shale gas prospects.

The Polish government is in a state of near euphoria over the prospects of exploiting its shale gas resources. Prime Minister Donald Tusk calls shale gas Poland’s “great chance,” because it could cut its dependence on Russian gas, create tens of thousands of jobs (highly unlikely as gas is a capital-intensive not labor-intensive industry-w.e.) and fill state coffers. In tests at one well in northern Poland done last August, the Polish Geological Institute claimed that Hydraulic fracturing didn’t affect the quality or quantity of surface and ground water and didn’t cause tremors that would pose a threat to buildings or other infrastructure. The US oilfield services giant Schlumberger did the fracking.  Of course one test in one well is hardly conclusive, though the Tusk government doesn’t seem to care, as they push Brussels to back a major Polish shale gas exploitation program.

In China, shale gas looks about to take off as a major new focus for addressing the country’s enormous energy requirements. The governing State Council has recently approved shale gas as an “independent mineral resource,” and the Ministry of Land and Resources will conduct an appraisal of shale gas resources this year to expedite discovery and development of China shale deposits. Until now China’s rough mountainous terrain and lack of shale gas fracking know-how has kept it out of the shale gas game, with coal far the major source of electric power. The French oil giant, Total, has just signed a deal with China’s Sinopec to produce shale gas in China. China has around 31 trillion cubic meters of natural gas trapped in shale, some 50% greater than the United States according to the US Department of Energy estimate. These are volumes to make the head of any respectable state official spin.

In the US, oil industry people have quickly forgotten the recent scare about oil and gas depletion, popularly known as the Peak Oil theory, in their new euphoria over huge new volumes of gas and also oil obtained by fracking of shale and coal beds. Now even the Obama Administration is talking about a renaissance in domestic oil production. The reason is the dramatic rise in domestic extraction of gas from hydraulic fracking of shale, using new fracking techniques first developed by Halliburton, expensive techniques made financially attractive with the advent of $100 a barrel oil and record high gas prices since 2008.

Myth and reality: The Halliburton Loophole

Fracking techniques have been around since the end of World War II. Why then suddenly is the world going gaga over shale gas hydraulic fracking? One answer is that the record high oil and gas prices of the recent few years have made inefficient processes such as extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands or the costly fracking profitable. The second reason is the advance of various horizontal underground drilling techniques that allow companies like Schlumberger to enter a large shale rock formation and inject substances to “free” the trapped gas.

But the real reason for the recent explosion of fracking in the country where it has most been applied, the United States, is the passage of legislation in 2005 by the US Congress that exempts the oil industry’s hydraulic fracking activity from regulatory supervision by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by EPA to inject known hazardous materials — unchecked — directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.

The law is known as the “Halliburton Loophole.” That’s because it was introduced with lobbying pressure from the company that produces the lion’s share of chemical hydraulic fracking fluids—Dick Cheney’s old company, Halliburton. When he became Vice President under George W. Bush in early 2001, Bush immediately gave Cheney responsibility for a major Energy Task Force to make a comprehensive national energy strategy. Aside from looking at Iraq oil potentials as documents later revealed, Cheney’s task force used Cheney’s considerable political muscle and industry lobbying money to win exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

During Cheney’s term as vice president he moved to make sure the Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would give a green light to a major expansion of shale gas drilling in the US. In 2004 the EPA issued a study of the environmental effects of fracking. That study has been called “scientifically unsound” by EPA whistleblower Weston Wilson. In March of 2005, EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley found enough evidence of potential mishandling of the EPA hydraulic fracturing study to justify a review of Wilson’s complaints. The Oil and Gas Accountability Project conducted a review of the EPA study which found that EPA removed information from earlier drafts that suggested unregulated fracturing poses a threat to human health, and that the Agency did not include information that suggests “fracturing fluids may pose a threat to drinking water long after drilling operations are completed.” These warnings all were simply ignored by the EPA and White House.

The Halliburton Loophole is no minor affair. The process of hydraulic fracking to extract gas involves staggering volumes of water and of some of the most toxic chemicals known. During the uproar over the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Obama Administration and the Energy Department formed an advisory commission on Shale Gas. Their report was released in November 2011. It was what could only be called a “whitewash” of the dangers of shale gas.

The commission was headed by former CIA director John Deutch. Deutch sits on the board of Citigroup, one of the world’s most active energy industry banks, tied to the Rockefeller family. He also sits on the board of Schlumberger which, along with Halliburton, is one of the major companies doing hydraulic fracking. In fact, of the seven panel members, six had ties to the energy industry. Little surprise that the Deutch report called shale gas, “the best piece of news about energy in the last 50 years.” Deutch added, “Over the long term it has the potential to displace liquid fuels in the United States.”

Attempts by citizen organizations and individual litigants to force oil services company disclosure of the composition of chemicals used in hydraulic fracking have met a stone wall of silence. The companies argue that the chemicals are proprietary secrets and that disclosing them would hurt their competitiveness. They also insist the process is “basically safe and that regulating it would deter domestic production.”  This legal sleight of hand lets the fracking lobby have their cake and eat it too. They claim it is safe, refuse to say what chemicals are used and insist it be free from the Environmental Protection Administration rules under the Safe Drinking Water Act. If they are right about how safe their chemical fracking fluids are why are they afraid of regulation like other chemical companies?

Poisoned water

Endnotes:

The shale rock in which the gas is trapped is so tight that it has to be broken in order for the gas to escape. Therein come the problems. A combination of sand and water laced with chemicals — including benzene — is pumped into the well bore at high pressure, shattering the rock and opening millions of tiny fissures, enabling the shale gas to seep into the pipeline.

Not only does it liberate gas or in the case of Bakken in North Dakota, oil. It also floods the shale formation with millions of gallons of toxic fluids. A study conducted by Theo Colburn, director of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange in Paonia, Colorado, identified 65 chemicals that are probable components of the fracking fluids used by shale gas drillers. These chemicals included benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethanol, and nonylphenols. All of those chemicals have been linked to health disorders when human exposure is too high.

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, D. C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, who has researched fracture mechanics for more than 30 years, has said that drilling and hydraulic fracturing “can liberate biogenic natural gas into a fresh water aquifer.” In other words the chemicals and gas can pollute water aquifers.

A new study authorized by two New York State organizations, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, of the effects of fracking in the Marcellus Shale in New York and Pennsylvania puts the lie to the gas industry claims fracking is harmless to ground water. The study, just published in the journal Ground Water, concludes, “More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010…Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.” To date, little sampling has been done to analyze where fracking fluids go after being injected underground.

Contrary to the industry assertion that fracking takes place in rocks (shale) that are impermeable thereby preventing leaking of toxins into ground water, the scientists concluded, in a peer-reviewed article, that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as “just a few years.” Tom Myers, the study head who is an independent hydrologist whose clients include the US Government and environmental groups, states, “Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable. The Marcellus shale is being fracked into a very high permeability. Fluids could move from most any injection process.”

Inducing Earthquakes

Not only possible poisoning of the fresh water underground aquifers, hydraulic fracking is done with such force that it has been also known to cause earthquakes. In the UK, Cuadrilla was doing shale gas drilling in Lancashire. They suspended their shale gas test drilling in June 2011, following two earthquakes—one tremor of magnitude 2.3 hit the Fylde coast on 1 April, followed by a second of magnitude 1.4 on 27 May.  A UK Government study of the earthquakes, released this April concluded that the fracking drilling operations had caused the quakes.  Earthquake activity in fracking regions across the US have also been reported.

Alarmingly, in the case of exploiting shale gas in China, the largest shale formation lies in Sechuan Province in China’s east, one of the most active earthquake zones in Asia. Additionally, given the documented dangers to ground water from extensive fracking, China’s chronic water shortages are threatened as well.

The new technique of hydraulic fracking was first used successfully in the late 1990s in the Barnett Shale in Texas, and is now being used to liberate oil from beneath the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. But the largest shale gas fracking activity in the US has been a literal gas bonanza drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale that runs from West Virginia into upstate New York, estimated estimated to hold as much gas as the whole United States consumes in a century.  More recent estimates put the figure at half that or lower, suggesting the energy industry is using hype to promote its methods.

Good news… bad news

Good news is shale gas shows how wrong the peak oil lobby is about depletion of global hydrocarbons. Gas like coal and oil are according to their definition all “fossil fuels.” While we leave aside whether in fact they are from dinosaur detritus or fossilized algae, clearly the Earth is far from peaking in its hydrocarbon resources. Bad news is that the frenzy over shale gas and oil extraction is a highly dangerous and destructive method that is diverting valuable resources from finding abundant conventional gas or oil using advanced new methods to locate natural gas and oil in abundance. That will be the theme of a series of future articles in this space.

In a typical shale gas fracturing operation, a company drills a hole several thousand meters below surface; then they drill a horizontal branch perhaps one kilometer in length. As one expert described the fracking, once the horizontal drilling into the shale formation is done, “you send down a kind of subterranean pipe bomb, a small package of ball-bearing-like shrapnel and light explosives. The package is detonated, and the shrapnel pierces the bore hole, opening up small perforations in the pipe. They then pump up to 7 million gallons of a substance known as slick water to fracture the shale and release the gas. It blasts through those perforations in the pipe into the shale at such force—more than nine thousand pounds of pressure per square inch—that it shatters the shale for a few yards on either side of the pipe, allowing the gas embedded in it to rise under its own pressure and escape.”


  1. Vello Kuuskraa, et al, World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States,
  2. Advanced Resources International, Inc. prepared for U. S. Energy Information AdministrationOffice of Energy Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC, April 2011.
  3. Reuters, ExxonMobil to press on with German shale gas, January 26, 2012, accessed in ExxonMobil to press on with German shale gas.
  4. Stefan Nicola, Public slows Exxon’s German shale gas bid, UPI, April 13, 2011, accessed in
  5. Public slows Exxon’s German shale gas bid
  6. Dow Jones Newswires, Poland: Hydraulic Fracking Found Not To Affect Environment, March 02, 2012, accessed inPoland: Hydraulic Fracking Found Not To Affect Environment
  7. Forbes, China Closer To Joining Shale Gas Fracking Craze, February 13, 2012, accessed in
  8. China Closer To Joining Shale Gas Fracking Craze
  9. Earthworks, Halliburton loophole, accessed in Halliburton loophole.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Lisa Sumi, Our Drinking Water at Risk: What EPA and the Oil and Gas Industry Don’t Want Us to Know About Hydraulic Fracturing, April 7, 2005, accessed in Our Drinking Water at Risk
  12. John Deuss, quoted in Shale Gas Has Challenges But Study Group Holds Out Hope, November 18, 2012, accessed in Shale Gas Has Challenges, But Study Group Holds Out Hope
  13. Ibid.
  14. Cited in, Water Contamination from Shale Gas Drilling, accessed in Water Contamination from shale
  15. Cited in, Gasland, Wikipedia, accessed in GASLAND
  16. Abrahm Lustgarten, New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years, May 2, 2012, accessed in New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years.
  17. Ibid.
  18. BBC News, Fracking water pollution in Lancashire ‘extremely unlikely,’ accessed in
  19. UK England Lancashire.
  20.  John Daly, UK Govt Seismic Fracking Report Certain to Sharpen Debate, 20 April 2012, UK Govt. Seismic Fracking Report Certain to Sharpen Debate
  21. Bill Mckibben, Why Not Frack?, The New York Review of Books, March 8, 2012, accessed in Why-not-frack.

Posted in HealthComments Off on Is Shale Gas a Real Energy Solution?

May Day in Manchester and Chesterfield

NOVANEWS

CPGB-ML and Red Youth comrades participated in some of the May Day celebrations which were held around the country during the May bank holiday. In Chesterfield comrades distributed copies of We Want Freedom and Who Stole our Future and spoke to many working people about the role played by the Labour Party in retarding our fight back against the savage programme of cuts and austerity which are being inflicted upon the workers by the Tory and LibDem millionaires.

In Manchester comrades made the same points to Labour Party supporters and those misguided comrades from the revisionist club. Opening the eyes of those in the labour movement to the stark reality of the role played by social democracy is much harder than explaining the same thing to the masses. Comrades from the RCG were on hand to help hammer home the message and a more revolutionary May Day atmosphere prevailed!

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Justice Department should prosecute IsraHell Aerospace Ind. not just Stewart Nozette

NOVANEWS

Today IRmep Director Grant F. Smith confronted US Attorney Ron Machen on NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, DC.  At issue were Machen’s statements that the FBI had prevented Stewart J. Nozette from passing US military secrets to Israel.

by Grant F. Smith

“Justice Dept Bungled Israeli Spy Case”

 

On May 4, 2012 IRmep Director Grant F. Smith confronts US Attorney Ronald Machen about false statements made after Stewart Nozette attempted to sell $200 million-$1 billion in secrets to Israel Aerospace Industries, an organization with a history of espionage against the US.

Machen’s statement was demonstrably false.  Unfortunately, Machen publicly dodges the real question in favor of quibbling about putting espionage damage assessments into dollar figures.  The US Department of Justice shows no sign of getting tough on Israeli espionage, which costs the US billions of dollars.  (See the IRmep book “Spy Trade” for elaboration).

Nozette was recently sentence to 13 years in prison for attempted espionage for Mossad. IAI walked free.

 

Stewart David Nozette convicted for espionage against the United States

Key court filings at the Israel Lobby Archive


Grant F. Smith is the author of Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy,America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal. He is a frequent contributor to Radio France Internationale and Voice of America’s Foro Interamericano. Smith has also appeared on BBC News, CNN, and C-SPAN. He is currently director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C.

Also see:

 

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AMERICA’S UNREQUITED LOVE FOR ISRAHELL BENZION NETANYAHU’S ROLE IN CRAFTING THE “STRATEGIC ASSET” MYTH

NOVANEWS

By Maidhc Ó Cathail

http://thepassionateattachment.com/

From the Cold War to the War on Terror, Israel and its partisans have stressed the Jewish state’s role as a strategic asset to the United States in the Middle East. A recent Haaretz article, however, provides further evidence that this claim is little more than a self-serving myth.

In the article titled “David Ben-Gurion’s diary invites a rethink of Benzion Netanyahu’s extreme Zionist image,” Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev reveals that the current Israeli Prime Minister’s late father offered his propaganda services to Ben-Gurion’s government on at least two occasions. Writes Segev:

In 1956, Netanyahu proposed that Ben-Gurion employ him as a public diplomacy (hasbara) functionary, in the guise of a history professor, at one of the universities in America. He sought to work under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, and tailor his activity to its policy.

Ben-Gurion’s diary notes Netanyahu’s experience in such “public diplomacy”:

He told of a series of meetings with American statesmen, among them Dean Acheson, who had been secretary of state in the Truman administration. It seems that he spoke with them primarily about the danger of Soviet penetration of the Middle East.

The diary doesn’t record whether or not Netanyahu got the job, but from 1957 to 1968 he worked as a professor in Dropsie College in Philadelphia. If his 1956 propaganda proposal had been turned down, it certainly didn’t deter him from trying again:

In June 1968 Netanyahu paid another visit to Ben-Gurion, by then in retirement, and once again proposed a plan for Israeli propaganda in America. We must take action against the American left, he said referring to what was then called the New Left. Almost all are communist Jews, Netanyahu told Ben-Gurion, and once more proposed concentrating Israeli propaganda on the danger of Soviet penetration of the Mideast: If the Soviet Union takes over the Middle East, it will control the United Nations, he suggested arguing, and praised two of the Israel supporters he had found on the right flank of the Republican Party: Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon.

But if Israel really had been such an obvious strategic asset to the U.S. during the Cold War, there wouldn’t have been any need for Netanyahu and other hasbara agents to remind the Americans of Israel’s usefulness in countering “the danger of Soviet penetration,” would there?

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‘Green on blue’ killings reveal the farce of the Afghanistan war

NOVANEWS

More lies cannot sustain the occupation


The author is a former U.S. Army infantryman, Iraq war veteran and a member of March Forward!.
Today, May 7, the Associated Press reported yet another killing of a NATO troop by an Afghan National Army soldier. Last week, two U.S. soldiers were also killed by their Afghan “partners.”

BY KEVIN BAKER

“KABUL – Army Command Sgt. Major John Troxell is one of the highest ranking, most experienced U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan this year. His counterpart in the Afghan army has the same prestige.

“They trust each other, but whenever they meet one another, each soldier brings a personal security team.

“’I always have someone locked and loaded, passively watching,’ Troxell said.”

So begins an article posted by Adam Ashton April 20 on the The News Tribune online blog.Troxell is also one of the highest ranking senior non-commissioned officers in Afghanistan. This excerpt reveals how he feels about “his Afghan counterparts” and sheds light on the claim that the United States trusts Afghan soldiers.

The U.S. government has made its case for continuing the wildly unpopular, criminal war in Afghanistan, based on the claim that “progress” is being made and Afghan military forces will take over the job, allowing for a U.S. withdrawal. This is what President Obama recently reiterated during his surprise photo-op to Afghanistan, where he gave the illusion that the war was winding down and could soon be taken over by Afghan forces (he then proceeded to sign a pact that will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2024.)

If the occupation of Afghanistan is such a success and the end of the war is right around the corner, why does Troxell need a personal security team every time he meets his Afghan counterpart?

We have all heard the phrase, “If you lie and lie and lie, eventually you will get caught.” The U.S. government and its top military leadership have been caught yet again in a lie about their claims of Afghan support for U.S. goals and progress toward being able to turn over Afghanistan to reliably pro-imperialist forces.

Ashton’s post comes while what are referred to as “green on blue” killings are at an all-time high. What this means is that U.S.-funded Afghan soldiers are killing U.S. troops, becoming one of the biggest threats to the lives of U.S. soldiers.

CSM Troxell continues to spew lies and ignorance in the post, which quotes him as saying that soldiers should be cautious with new Afghan recruits: “Often, the Afghans are young and poorly educated. They have likely heard anti-Western propaganda all their lives.”

The post continues: “‘What we have to do is educate these young men,’ he said. His safety precautions are being replicated throughout the NATO headquarters where he works and its connected bases around Kabul.”

‘They have likely heard anti-Western propaganda all their lives’

For the past 10 years, the United States has waged a brutal occupation that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghan people and plunged their country into a chaotic quagmire—a country where over 92 percent of young men have never even heard of the 9/11 attacks or the World Trade Center. The war is at an all-time high in unpopularity among both U.S. and Afghan people as well as service members.

The Afghan people do not exactly “hear” anti-Western propaganda. They see it and feel it every day in the form of missiles, Apache strikes, night raids and the funerals of their family members.

This begs the question: What must these young men be educated in? It does not take a genius to realize that no one of any nationality wants to have their country occupied for any amount of time.

The ‘progress’ we have been dying for

Last year, an article featured a company commander who absurdly boasted that they can successfully maneuver 100 meters (about the size of a football field) from their combat outpost without being shot at—where before they would be shot at instantly upon leaving their outpost. Nine years to clear 100 meters … hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of tax dollars. Sounds like real progress.

Those 100 meters have come at a heavy price for people in the U.S. and an even heavier price for the people of Afghanistan.

As we see atrocity after atrocity erupt in Afghanistan, from the video of Marines urinating on the dead, the burning of Qurans, the Afghan kill team, the Staff Sgt. Bales massacre that left over a dozen Afghans dead in the middle of the night—should it really be any surprise that the people of Afghanistan are rejecting the U.S./NATO occupation of their country? Can anyone really blame them for doing so?

In fact, the reason so many U.S. service members turned against the wars after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan is because they realized: “If I was in their position, I would be doing the same exact  thing.”

The ‘partnership’ Washington boasts about

Ashton’s post continues to show the “partnership” between Afghan and US forces: “Flora is working with a three-star Afghan general at the Ministry of Defense’s ground forces command. Afghans are not allowed to bring weapons in American offices. A U.S. soldier always has a loaded weapon when entering the Afghan side of their complex.

“Likewise, on the Afghan air force wing of the base here, U.S. airmen wear their body armor and carry rifles to their work. Their Afghan counterparts are prohibited from bringing their weapons into joint facilities.”

This does not sound like a partnership between U.S. and Afghan forces against the Taliban as Washington and the Pentagon would have us believe, but rather a failing policy that is continuing to cause more suffering, death and misery. Opposition to the U.S./NATO occupation is so widespread, so popular, that it penetrates the highest levels of the Afghan government, police and military, in the “safest” of areas.

Of course, as far as CSM Troxell’s friends in the White House, Congress, the officer corps, the Pentagon and the parasitic war profiteers are concerned—they will never be placed in harm’s way. They are in no rush to end an occupation that they know is doomed to fail. In fact, this war was lost the day that it began.

The leaders of the military are consciously sending young men and women to their deaths knowing full well that the U.S. strategy is incapable of being successful. They are knowingly lying to our loved ones, friends, family members and the people of the United States. They are forcing an occupation on a sovereign people who overwhelmingly want us out, killing thousands.

No victory in sight for the corporate politicians and their financiers

Just recently, an 84-page report was released to the public by Lt. Col. Daniel Davis that destroys the castle of lies built by Washington regarding the “success of the Afghan war” and the promise that it will end.

Davis states that there is absolutely no way this war is winnable or has even affected the Taliban. “Even a cursory observation of key classified reports and metrics,” Davis explains, “leads overwhelmingly to the conclusion that over the past two years, despite the surge of 30,000 American soldiers, the insurgent force has gained strength….”

The report continues to state that the Afghan army and police are “a barely functioning organization” and that they often refuse to even leave cover to investigate possible insurgent activity.

President Obama’s promise that the U.S. forces will leave Afghanistan is premised entirely on replacement by Afghan puppet forces (also widely hated among Afghans). But those intended puppets are not dancing as Washington is assuring the public they will.

The reason there is such a lack of desire by the Afghan police and military to engage the Taliban is because even many among the Afghan police and military overwhelmingly disagree with the U.S. occupation. The United States has failed so miserably in Afghanistan that what should be the most pro-occupying force in the country, the Afghan military, has rejected the U.S./NATO-led debacle.

They are able to fill its ranks with the promise of a paycheck (in the second-poorest country on the planet) but actual support for the U.S. occupation is non-existent, not just among the populace, but among those on the U.S. payroll who are supposed to be the most dedicated supporters.

Why are we killing and dying for this?

What does this mean for enlisted service members? It shows that we have no reason to take part in their war and in fact have the right to reject participating in Washington’s tragic failure. The war is a massive tragedy for the Afghan people, who are not our enemies, and a disaster for us and our families.

As soldiers continue to return from the field of slaughter in Afghanistan, as more and more of the undeniable truth is revealed to us, we will continue to build against the officer corps and their lap dogs the senior non-commissioned officers like CSM Troxell. We will continue to raise the slogan that service members have the absolute right to refuse to take part in this war.

Those who are profiting and expanding their profits from these wars will soon find themselves with no one willing to lose their lives or kill for them.

The shameless lies told by the military leadership can no longer cover up the predatory aims of the war. No longer will national chauvinism work to trick service members into dying for the profits of Big Oil and the defense industry. The truth is on full display for the world to see.

The military has run out of places to hide their skeletons.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on ‘Green on blue’ killings reveal the farce of the Afghanistan war

U.S. joins call for countries to accept MKO members

NOVANEWS
US Department of State.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner released a statement on Saturday joining the call of the United Nations to member states to assist in the permanent relocation of eligible members of terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq.

 

Today, the fifth convoy of approximately 400 Camp Ashraf residents safely arrived at Camp Hurriya. The United States welcomes the continued cooperation of the Government of Iraq and the residents of Camp Ashraf with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq to complete the relocation process, as set forth in the December 25, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq. The United States appreciates the extensive resources expended by the Government of Iraq to provide for the residents’ safe relocation, and calls for continued adherence to the commitments in the MOU, especially those which provide for the safety, security, and humanitarian treatment of the residents.

With over half of the initial resident population now relocated to Camp Hurriya, the United States will be able to increase its focus on the safe relocation of the residents from Camp Hurriya out of Iraq. We join the call of the United Nations to member states to assist in the permanent relocation of eligible residents from Iraq.

To do its part, the United States has informed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other governments that we are willing to consider referrals of some individuals from the UNHCR. These referrals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable U.S. law. We urge our friends and partners in the international community to step forward and help achieve a humanitarian resolution.

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Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes

NOVANEWS

Reuters

At a meeting of Syria’s opposition, Muslim Brotherhood officials gather round Marxists colleagues, nudging them to produce policy statements for the Syrian National Council, the main political group challenging President Bashar al-Assad.

With many living in the West, and some ditching their trademark beards, it is hard to differentiate Brotherhood from leftists. But there is little dispute about who calls the shots.

From annihilation at home 30 years ago when they challenged the iron-fisted rule of Hafez al-Assad, the Brotherhood has recovered to become the dominant force of the exile opposition in the 14-month-old revolt against his son Bashar.

Careful not to undermine the council’s disparate supporters, the Brotherhood has played down its growing influence within the Syrian National Council (SNC), whose public face is the secular Paris-based professor Bourhan Ghalioun.

“We chose this face, accepted by the West and by the inside. We don’t want the regime to take advantage if an Islamist becomes the Syrian National Council’s head,” former Brotherhood leader Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni told supporters in a video.

The footage is now being circulated by Brotherhood opponents, seeking to highlight its undeclared power.

“We nominated Ghalioun as a front for national action. We are not moving now as Muslim Brotherhood but as part of a front that includes all currents,” said Bayanouni.

EGYPTIAN ROOTS

The Syrian Brotherhood is a branch of the Sunni Muslim movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. It was a minor political player before a 1963 Baath Party coup but its support grew under the authoritarian 30-year rule of Hafez al-Assad, as his minority Alawite community dominated the majority Sunni country.

Mindful of international fears of Islamists taking power, and of the worries of Syria’s ethnic and religious minorities, the Syrian Brotherhood portrays itself as espousing a moderate, Turkish-style Islamist agenda. It unveiled a manifesto last month that did not mention the word Islam and contained pledges to respect individual rights.

With backing from Ankara, and following the political ascendancy of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya since Arab Spring revolts broke out two years ago, the group is poised to be at the top of any new governing system in Syria.

Extending the loose Brotherhood umbrella to Syria will raise pressure on the U.S.-backed Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, where the local Brotherhood has been sidelined by laws that favor tribal politicians allied with the security apparatus.

Iraq’s Shi’ite rulers could also find they have a hardline Sunni government as their neighbor, and Lebanon’s Shi’ite guerrilla group Hezbollah would lose its main Arab backer.

EYEING VICTORY

Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say.

“We bicker while the Brotherhood works,” said Fawaz al-Tello, a veteran opposition figure who is a pious Muslim while being on the liberal end of the Syrian political spectrum.

“They have gained control of the SNC’s aid division and the military bureau, its only important components,” said Tello, a former political prisoner who fled Syria four months ago.

“But they still have to work more do to get support on the inside. Lots of clerics, activists and rebels do not want to be linked to them.”

Tello, however, acknowledged that the Brotherhood has clawed back influence inside Syria, especially in the cities of Homs and Hama and the rural province of Idlib on the border with Turkey, hotbeds of the revolt against Assad.

This is no small feat after three decades in the political wilderness. Unlike Arab rulers who tried to co-opt the movement by granting it limited operation, the Assads excluded it and all other opposition from the political system.

Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad’s forces killed, tortured and imprisoned tens of thousands of people after leftists and Islamists began challenging his rule in the 1970s.

The Brotherhood took the brunt of the repression, and a 1980 decree singled out membership as punishable by death.

Mulhem Droubi, educated in Canada and one of a younger generation of Brotherhood leaders, said the group is not primarily concerned with political prominence.

“We are a party that presents moderate solutions. We are not extremists, neither to the left nor to the right and our program is the most accepted by the Syrian street,” he said.

“We are working for the downfall of Bashar al-Assad and not to find a popular base. We leave competition for the future in a free Syria,” the softly spoken Droubi told Reuters.

Droubi, however, acknowledged that the road to democracy will be even more bloody, adding that the Brotherhood began supporting armed resistance in earnest a month ago.

The issue sharply divided the group in the 1980s, when it took up arms against the president. Assad’s forces killed nearly 20,000 people when they overran the city of Hama in 1982, where the Brotherhood’s armed division made it last stand.

Droubi said there is no dispute now about the need for armed resistance, alongside street protests against Assad.

“Too many of our people have been killed. Too many have been raped,” Droubi said, adding that Brotherhood was committed to a setting up a multi-party democracy if Assad is toppled.

Droubi pointed to a political program unveiled by the Brotherhood last month in Istanbul, which committed to multi-party democracy in a future Syria. It said a new constitution would be reached through consensus and guarantee fair representation for diverse ethnicities and religious groups.

“Our proposals are more advanced than the Brotherhood in other countries,” he said.

Bassam Ishaq, a Christian opposition figure who has worked with the Brotherhood within the SNC, said the manifesto bore the marks of the Brotherhood’s pragmatism.

“If they get a chance to seize power by themselves they will do it, but they realize that it will be difficult in country where 30 percent of the population are ethnic or religious minorities,” said Ishaq.

“The street has lost faith in leftist politicians. After the repression in the 1980s, the leftists dispersed. The Brotherhood kept together and rebuilt while in exile, aided by donations from wealthy Syrians in and support in the Gulf,” he added.

In a demonstration of their financial muscle, Brotherhood operatives were dispatched last month with suitcases of cash to a dusty camp for Free Syrian Army defectors in a Turkish region bordering Syria near Antakya.

Sources in the camp said the Brotherhood was supporting Colonel Riad al-Asaad, one of the first prominent defectors last year, now at odds with more senior officers who deserted later.

Colonel Asaad now sports a Brotherhood-style beard. Street activists who have had little to do with the Brotherhood are also being lured by promises of instant support for the revolt.

“I approached them and they instantly gave me 2,000 euros when I asked for help…and I am not even Ikhwan (Brotherhood),” said veteran activist Othman al-Bidewi, who regularly travels between Syria and the border region in Turkey to drum up support for street demonstrations against Assad in Idlib province.

“The Brotherhood wants to restore its political base. It is their right,” he added.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rise from the ashes

Zionist history: a short quiz

NOVANEWS

By Neve Gordon

 
Neve Gordon highlights the slide in Israeli political thought over the past 20 years with a quiz the answers to which “expose just how far right Israeli politics, as well as the public discourse informing it, have shifted”.

Take this test to find out how much you know about the gradual shift in Israeli political thought over the decades.

Not long after Israel celebrated its 64th birthday on 26 April, a friend prepared a quiz of sorts. She read out loud political quotes to about 10 guests who were having dinner at my house, and asked us to identify the politician who had uttered each statement.

Truth be told, none of my guests did very well on the quiz, but I thought that readers acquainted with Zionist history might do better and would be able to identify the source of each of the following statements. There is only one rule to this game: all search engines, including Google, are off limits.

The quiz

  • “Does a bad law become a good one just because Jews apply it? I say that this law is bad from its very foundation and does not become good because it is practiced by Jews… We oppose administrative detention in principle. There is no place for such detention.”
  • “We do not accept the semi-official view … wherein the state grants rights and is entitled to rescind them. We believe that there are human rights that precede the human form of life called a state.”
  • “We have learned that an elected parliamentary majority can be an instrument in the hands of a group of rulers and act as camouflage for their tyranny. Therefore, the nation must, if it chooses freedom, determine its rights also with regard to the House of Representatives in order that the majority thereof, that serves the regime more than it oversees it, should not negate these rights.”
  • “We would propose that the Knesset enact a law of its own free will, limiting its authority and stipulating that it will not tolerate any legislation that limits oral or written freedom of expression or association, or other basic civil and human rights to be enumerated before the constitution, law, and Justice Committee.”
  • “The day will come when a government elected by our people will fulfill the first promise made to the people on the establishment of the state, namely: to elect a founding assembly whose chief function – in any country on earth – is to provide the people with a constitution and issue legislative guarantees of civil liberties and national liberty… For the nation will then be free – above all, free of fear, free of hunger, free of the fear of starvation. That day will come. I can sense that it is coming soon.”
  • “Some say that it is impossible for us to provide full equal rights to Arab citizens of the state because they do not fulfill full equal obligations. But this is a strange claim. True, we decided not to obligate Arab residents, as distinguished from the Druze, to perform military service. But we decided this of our own free will, and I believe that the moral reason for it is valid. Should war break out, we would not want one Arab citizen to face the harsh human test that our own people had experienced for generations.”

Confused yet?

If you are having trouble identifying the author, you are not alone. After hearing the quotes, I, too, wondered why they were so difficult to decipher. But, following a few misguided guesses, I recognized the source of the difficulty. The quiz was counterintuitive, and not only because all of the statements were uttered by a single politician.

No doubt, time has done its work and what was once pronounced by the undisputed leader of the Israeli right, now sounds more like declarations coming out of the liberal and far left – such as Knesset members from Meretz and Hadash. Even the head of the Labour Party, Sheli Yichimovich, does not oppose administrative detention, and does not dare to claim that “there are human rights that precede the human form of life called a state”, probably for fear of losing potential voters.

My friend’s quiz managed to expose just how far right Israeli politics, as well as the public discourse informing it, have shifted over the years; so much so that, within the current political climate, declarations once uttered by former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who passed away 20 years ago, can now only be reiterated by leftists.

I have no doubt that if Menachem Begin, commander of the infamous Irgun militia during 1943-48, were alive today and would utter these very same statements in the Knesset, his own party members from the Likud – as well as the Israeli majority – would condemn him. Today, citizens who hold such positions are simply called “traitors”.


A version of this article first appeared on Al-Jazeera’s website.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Zionist history: a short quiz

‘Undercover Israeli combatants threw stones at IDF soldiers in West Bank

NOVANEWS

Testimony by commander of the Israeli Prison Service’s elite ‘Masada’ unit sheds light on IDF methods in countering demonstrations against barrier.

By Chaim Levinson

Undercover soldiers hurled stones in the “general direction” of IDF soldiers as part of their activity to counter weekly demonstrations in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, the commander of the Israeli Prison Service’s elite “Masada” unit revealed during his recent testimony in the trial of MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash).

Barakeh has been charged with assaulting a border guard in Bil’in who was attempting to arrest a demonstrator.

MK Mohammed Barakeh confronting IDF soldiers in Bil’in in 2005. MK Mohammed Barakeh confronting IDF soldiers in Bil’in in 2005.
Photo by: Reuters

Since 2005, the weekly protests against the separation barrier in Bil’in, which cuts the village off from much of its residents’ land, have attracted international attention as well as the participation of Israeli and international activists.

Several “Masada” fighters testified two weeks ago in Barakeh’s trial in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court. The fighters testified from behind a curtain and their identity is to remain secret. The central witness was “Fighter 102,” an officer in “Masada,” who told the court that “we were sent to counter the disruptions at the separation barrier in Bil’in. It was the first time I was undercover. Two men were arrested, they were Palestinians.”

When quizzed by defense attorney Orna Kohn if the undercover soldiers hurled stones, “102” answered that they did. When asked if he hurled stones toward IDF soldiers, he answered “in the general direction.”

The unit’s commander, “fighter 101,” who commanded the operation that day, shed light on the unit’s operational methods. “I was commander of the force, directed by the IDF, following intelligence about a huge demonstration due to take place in the Bil’in area. We had several forces in the field – one of them was an undercover force whose mission was to provide intelligence and carry out ‘quality’ arrests, if needed, and a rescue force which was wearing regular uniforms,” he revealed.

“An enormous demonstration began, coming down from the village. It seemed that the army was losing control. Some 500 demonstrators came down and ignored the orders of the deputy battalion commander, who was in charge of the operation, and simply passed by him without blinking. The army forces swiftly lost their ability to effectively control the situation,” the officer continued.

“At a certain stage the deputy battalion commander told me he had lost control and requested that we act to stop the demonstrators. We used equipment for dispersing demonstrations and managed to stop them. When the undercover unit reported, it identified ‘quality’ targets – that is substantial activists who led the demonstration, hurled stones and constituted a danger to the forces. I ordered the undercover forces to carry out arrests. I caught the back of a man who attacked one of my soldiers, and identified him as MK Barakeh. As far as I’m concerned if an undercover soldier arrested someone, he must be a quality target,” the commander told the court.

MK Barakeh originally faced four charges, but two were dropped in the preliminary proceedings. The second of the two remaining charges dates back to July 2006, when the prosecution alleges he assaulted a right-wing activist who attempted to attack peace activist Uri Avnery.

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