Archive | January 2nd, 2014

MI5 relies on “Muslim” informants and organisations for intelligence

NOVANEWS
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Dame Eliza Manningham Buller became the director-general of M15 in 2002 and resigned in 2007.

Britain’s domestic intelligence service, M15 collaborates with “Muslim” informants who sometimes monitor sermons in mosques and tell the police about suspicious worshipers.

Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller who was the former head of MI5 told the BBC there were numerous “Muslim” agents who feedback crucial information about members of their community to the police. According to the former head of MI5 without their help the security services would not be as effective at finding potential “terrorists”.

During her radio interview she spoke alongside an anonymous informant whose voice was read by an actor to protect his identity.

Describing the undercover agent she said: “This is a brave man and we all have to be grateful to him.”

The informant said he was recruited by the police seven years ago and worked with M15 to combat “Islamic extremism”.

He said claimed he did not receive a salary from the police but was reimbursed for his expenses.

He added that he intended to educate people about how forthcoming Muslims are to protect British society.

Manningham-Buller became the director-general of M15 in 2002 and resigned in 2007.

Muslim organisations

During the radio appearance, the “Muslim informant” said a large number of Muslim organisations worked with the British police.

A statement on the M15 website said the organisation does not investigate any group or individual on the grounds of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. There are 2.8 million Muslims in England.

It said: “The security service is committed to protecting the security of all UK citizens, of every faith and ethnic group”.

One of the main “anti-terrorism” groups working in Britain is the government-funded Quilliam Foundation (QF) headed Maajid Nawaz and Usama Hasan, both of whom are very unpopular among mainstream Muslims. QF openly declares that they work with the security services to prevent violent extremism.

Following the conviction of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south London, it came to public knowledge that the M15 had attempted to recruit Adebolajo, but the man had turned down a cash offer to inform on Muslims within his community.

Sources

5Pillarz

 

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EGYPT: رئيس الأركان الأمريكي: السيسي حليف لنا ولإسرائيل

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Privacy Rights

NOVANEWS

by  Franklin Lamb,   Beirut

Why do they want to know everything, but can't catch the Israelis?

Why do they want to know everything, but can’t catch the Israelis?

The answer to this question is being pondered across America in light to the two seeming mutually contradictory US Federal Court decisions handed down this month from Courts in Washington DC and New York.

The legal issue of what rights are left to American citizens that can prevent governmental intrusions into their privacy and also governmental invasions using heavy handed searches and seizures following the launching of the Bush administrations ‘war of terrorism’ has gained new impetus following disclosures by former National Security Agency analyst turned whistle blower, Edward Snowden. Without Snowden’s patriotic leaks, no legal challenge could have been brought to the NSA practices.

Now that two US Federal District Courts, with identical powers under the US Constitution have seemingly reached opposite results on the same legal issue involving the right of the NSA to conduct ‘metadata’ searches and store the information of scores of millions of unknowing Americans the issue is likely going to have to be decided by the US Supreme Court. As predicted, appeals were immediately filed from the Trial Courts decision in both cases.

Initially, civil libertarians were encouraged earlier this month when in light of the Snowden revelations of massive US government spying on Americans and millions of foreigners, Federal Description: Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on 12/16/13 that the bulk collection by the National Security Agency of cell phone data (everyone you called, when you called them and where you were when you called them) of Americans violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and is “Orwellian”.

Judge Leon explained that we now use our smartphones for a wide variety of personal activities in which we have the expectation of privacy, and probably we have more expectation of privacy from our phones now than we did from a pay phone in the 1980s. He made the point that cell phones today includes a citizens, location when one makes a call and becomes a GPS made the call, functioning essentially as a GPS.

He wrote, “It’s one thing to say that people expect phone companies to occasionally provide information to law enforcement; it is quite another to suggest that our citizens expect all phone companies to operate what is effectively a joint intelligence-gathering operation with the Government.”

Judge Leon focused on whether the NSA massive surveillance violated the 4th Amendment which provides: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

He writes:

“The threshold issue that I must address, then, is whether plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated when the Government indiscriminately collects their telephony metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets. If they do – and a Fourth Amendment search has thus occurred– then the next step of the analysis will be to determine whether such a search is ‘reasonable.’”

Judge Leon found that the NSA when it demands citizens telephone metadata is conducting a search, and that it is most likely an unreasonable search of our personal effects according to the Fourth Amendment, since there is no specific suspicion of wrongdoing by any individual whose records are demanded.

He immediately granted the Plaintiffs request for an injunction that blocks the collection of phone data for the plaintiffs and orders the government to destroy any of their records that have been gathered. As is common Federal Court practice, the judge stayed action on his ruling pending a government appeal, recognizing in his 68-page opinion the “significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”

No sooner had the Judge Leon decision been published and was encouraging civil libertarians to argue that the US Constitution still protects some citizen rights against government abuse than US Federal District Judge William H. Pauley III in New York ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects enormous troves of phone records is legal, making the latest contribution to an extraordinary debate among courts and a presidential review group about how to balance security and privacy in the era of big data.

In just 11 days, the two judges and the presidential panel reached the opposite of consensus on every significant question before them, including the intelligence value of the program, the privacy interests at stake and how the Constitution figures in the analysis. The latest decision could not have been more different from one issued by Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, who ruled that the program was “almost Orwellian” and probably unconstitutional.

Judges Leon and Pauley have starkly differing understandings on how legal that program is. Judge Pauley, whose courtroom is just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers stood, endorsed arguments made in recent months by senior government officials — including the former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III — that the program might have caught the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had it been in place before the attacks.

Wrote Judge Pauley: “While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful,” Judge Pauley wrote on Friday. “This court finds it is.”

Judge Pauley decided to ignore several compelling US Constitutional issues and applications of its provisions to the NSA case. He chose to avoid 4th Amendment prohibitions on unreasonable government searches of private papers and effects. As Professor Juan Cole recently reminded us, the 14th Amendment was the basis for a recent Supreme Court ruling forbidding law enforcement from using GPS tracking without a warrant.

The courts decided that following someone around 24/7 as a “search” because such intensive monitoring of a person’s movements goes beyond just glimpsing the individual in public. NSA collection of metadata from cell phones track individuals just as a GPS devices do.

Other applicable US Constitutional provisions ignored by Judge Pauley include the 1789 Federalist promoted 9th Amendment, which a majority of the Founding Fathers wanted as guarantees that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The 9th Amendment is clearly designed to block the government from constraining people’s private behavior. As Cole points out, not only are they protected from specific violations of their rights (attempts to curb speech, the press, religious belief or peaceable assembly) but they are also protected as a free people from government intrusions.

There are additional provisions in the constitution and in the history of court rulings that prescribe privacy for individuals from government intrusion. In fact, although “privacy” is not mentioned in the US constitution, the Supreme Court found in Connecticut v. Griswold that American citizens had a constitutional right to use birth control and that the state could not arbitrarily come into the bedroom and prohibit it.

Some of the justices referred to the 9th Amendment, which says “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” That is, the government can’t just wake up in the morning and decide to constrain people’s private behavior. Not only are they protected from specific violations of their rights (attempts to curb speech, the press, religious belief or peaceable assembly) but they are protected in general as a free people from government intrusions.

Judge Pauley also ignored the relevant application of the 14th Amendment. In Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 497 (1965) a landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protected a right of privacy, justices referenced the due process clause of the 14th amendment, which commands that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The late great Justice William O. Douglas argued that the Bill of Right’s specific guarantees have “penumbras,” created by “emanations from these guarantees and that these penumbras help give the Bill of Rights life relevance to today’s struggle to protect our civil rights.

It was Douglas’ interpretation of the US Constitution that, the “spirit” of the First Amendment (free speech), Fourth Amendment (freedom from searches and seizures), Fifth Amendment (freedom from self-incrimination), and Ninth Amendment (other rights), as applied against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, creates a general right to privacy that cannot be unduly infringed.” In his view there exists as part of the US Constitution a penumbra of privacy.

Judge Pauley ignored these and other Constitutional applications in order to uphold the NSA informational gathering project in spite of the fact that the NSA, every minute for the past 7 years and until today, is abridging the privileges and immunities of a free citizenry. They are depriving us of liberty without due process of law, for the reason that they have failed to obtain a judicial warrant based on grounds of specific evidence of wrong-doing.

Judge Leon, in Washington, took the opposite view, saying the government had failed to make the case that the program is needed to protect the nation. “The government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the N.S.A.’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature,” he wrote.

Where these conflicting US Constitutional decisions leave the American public concerned with civil liberties and the disappearance of privacy is in a profound quandary with respect to the issues raised by Edward Snowden.

Snowden described in his Christmas address, carried by British Channel 4 and widely aired on the internet the legitimate concern of all people who values individual liberty and privacy: A child born today might “never know what it means to have a private moment to them, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought.” People walk around with a tracking device in their pockets, he noted, and as we now know, the NSA is collecting the metadata of those phones, which includes location information.

With words likely to become part of Law School curriculum, Mr. Snowden said that “this disappearance of privacy is important because privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

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US Universities of Shame

NOVANEWS 

by Stephen Lendman

US Universities of Shame

previous article discussed the American Studies Association (ASA). It’s the nation’s oldest and largest organization involved in the interdisciplinary study of US culture and history.

Members include academics, researchers, librarians, and public officials and administrators.

Academic ones represent many disciplines. They include history, literature, religion, art, architecture, philosophy, music, science, ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, education, and gender studies among others.

On December 16, ACA members voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. They did so justifiably. They did so overwhelmingly.

Their December 4 resolution supported social justice. It opposed “all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, discrimination, and xenophobia…”

It stood in “solidarity with aggrieved peoples” everywhere. It did so righteously. It did it honorably. It did the right thing. It did it because it matters.

It said America “plays a significant role in enabling” Israel’s occupation, its “illegal settlements and (its) Wall in violation of international law…”

It supports “systematic discrimination against Palestinians.” It’s had a “devastating impact on (their) well-being…” Their fundamental rights are denied.

Palestinian academic freedom is denied. ASA “is dedicated to the rights of students and scholars to pursue education and research without undue state interference, repression, and military violence” everywhere.

It “resolved (to) honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”

It’s justified, it said, for the following reasons:

  • US military and other support for Israel;
  • Israel’s systematic violation of international laws and UN resolutions;
  • the harsh impact of its longstanding occupation;
  • “the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights,” and
  • strong ASA member support.

Their resolution is binding until Israel stops violating human and civil rights, as well as international law. It doesn’t apply to Israeli scholars. ASA supports their academic and related rights.

In response to ASA’s boycott, four US universities cancelled their memberships. They include Brandeis, Penn State, University of Indiana, and Kenyon College.

Indiana University president Michael McRobbie affirmed his support for wrong over right. He did so disgracefully. He issued a statement, saying:

“Indiana University joins other leading research universities in condemning in the strongest possible terms the boycott of institutions of higher education in Israel as proposed by the American Studies Association and other organizations.”

“Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them.”

“Indiana University strongly endorses the recent statement on this matter by the Association of American Universities and the long-standing position in this area of the American Association of University Professors.”

“Indiana University values its academic relationships with colleagues and institutions around the world, including many important ones with institutions in Israel, and will not allow political considerations such as those behind this ill-conceived boycott to weaken those relationships or undermine the principle of academic freedom in this way.”

“IU stands firmly against proposals that would attempt to limit or restrict those important institutional relationships or this fundamental principle.”

“Indiana University will contact the ASA immediately to withdraw as an institutional member. We urge the leadership of the ASA and other associations supporting the boycott to rescind this dangerous and ill-conceived action as a matter of urgency.”

Other US universities issued statements opposing ASA’s boycott. Doing so supports Israel’s worst crimes. It’s done reprehensibly.

Culpable schools include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Maryland, University of Indiana, Wesleyan University, and New York University.

It bears repeating. Opposing ASA’s courageous stand endorses Israel’s worst crimes. It supports occupation harshness. It supports militarism writ large.

It opposes Palestinian liberation. It’s against their right to live free on their own land in their own country.

It supports longstanding Israeli crimes of war, against humanity, and slow-motion genocide. It shames their academic reputation in the process. It destroys their credibility.

It gives pause to what they teach in classrooms. Supporting wrong over right has no place in academia. It has no place anywhere. It demands unflinching opposition.

Harvard‘s Drew Gilpin Faust said the following:

“Academic boycotts subvert the academic freedoms and values necessary to the free flow of ideas, which is the lifeblood of the worldwide community of scholars.”

“The recent resolution of the ASA proposing to boycott Israeli universities represents a direct threat to these ideals, ideals which universities and scholarly associations should be dedicated to defend.”

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh and senior vice president/provost Many Ann Rankin issued the following joint statement:

“We firmly oppose the call by some academic associations – American Studies Association; Asian-American Studies Association – to boycott Israeli academic institutions.”

“Any such boycott is a breach of the principle of academic freedom that undergirds the University of Maryland and, indeed, all of American higher education.”

“Faculty, students, and staff on our campus must remain free to study, do research, and participate in meetings with colleagues from around the globe.”

“The University of Maryland has longstanding relationships with several Israeli universities. We have many exchanges of scholars and students. We will continue and deepen these relationships.”

“In the United States, we can disagree with the governmental policies of a nation without sanctioning the universities of that nation, or the American universities that collaborate with them.”

“To restrict the free flow of people and ideas with some universities because of their national identity is unwise, unnecessary, and irreconcilable with our core academic values.”

Wesleyan University president Michael Roth called ASA’s boycott “a repugnant attack on academic freedom, declaring academic institutions off-limits because of their national affiliation.”

He “deplore(s)” what he calls ASA’s “politically retrograde resolution…Under the guise of phony progressivism, the group has initiated an irresponsible attack on academic freedom. Others in academia should reject this call for an academic boycott.”

Roth ignores important facts.

The Alternative Information Center (AIC) explained. It published a report titled “Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories.”

Numerous Israeli universities have long disturbing histories. They support colonization, occupation and apartheid.

They turn a blind eye to Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. They include:

  • Tel Aviv University;
  • Bar-Ilan University;
  • Hebrew University;
  • Haifa University;
  • the Weizman Institute;
  • Peres Academic Center;
  • Technion;
  • the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center;
  • Haddasah College;
  • Judea and Samaria College for Engineering;
  • Jordan Valley College; and
  • Hollon College among others.

Nearly all Israeli academic institutions give IDF soldiers academic benefits. Doing so increases in times of war. It shows support for lawless aggression.

At the same time, many Israeli academics oppose their government’s policies. They do it in writing. They do so publicly. They courageously support right over wrong. They risk their careers doing it.

Israeli Arab citizens comprise over 20% of Israel’s population. Less than 10% have BA degrees. Less than 5% have master’s degrees. Around 3% hold doctorates.

Only about 1% of Israeli institutions of higher learning are Palestinians. Israeli colleges and universities reject three times as many Arab applicants as Jewish ones.

Blatant discrimination is policy. Hebrew and Arabic are official Israeli languages. No major Israeli academic institution offers courses conducted in Arabic.

Palestinians not registered as students are treated differently from Jews. Hebrew University requires police-issued character references to visit its campus. It’s to ensure they’re not “terrorists.”

Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and others have separate campuses in Occupied Palestine. They’re situated on stolen Palestinian land.

High ranking military and security officials hold positions in Israeli universities. Doing so legitimizes their crimes of war and against humanity.

Academic freedom is a universal principle. Not in Israel. Political dissent is discouraged. It’s stifled. Anti-government activism risks trouble.

Students face disciplinary action. Academics are shunned by their colleagues. Some risk dismissal. Israeli academic freedom is more illusion than reality.

The campaign against South African apartheid included academic boycotts. Numerous well-known organizations supported it.

It was harsher than the global BDS campaign. It virtually spurned South African colleges and universities altogether. It did so for their complicity with apartheid. It was a model for future boycotts.

Israel is more vulnerable economically than South Africa. BDS and supportive boycotts are politically and psychologically damaging.

They build on their own momentum. Their pressure is effective. Doing the right thing is more than its own reward. When sustained, it gets results.

BDS is stronger and more effective than ever. Omar Barghouti co-founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

On December 13, he headlined “On Academic Freedom and the BDS Movement,” saying:

ASA’s “academic boycott of Israel provides fresh evidence that (BDS) may be reaching a tipping point on college campuses and academic associations.”

Israel “treat(s) (it) as a ‘strategic’ threat.” John Kerry called it an “existential threat” to Israel.

BDS “represents the overwhelming majority of Palestinian society,” said Barghouti. It “seeks to realize basic Palestinian rights under international law.”

It does so by “applying effective, global, morally consistent pressure on Israel and all the institutions that collude in its violations of international law…”

Judith Butler is a UC Berkeley philosopher. She co-directs its Program of Critical Theory. She calls BDS:

“the most important contemporary alliance calling for an end to forms of citizenship based on racial stratification, insisting on rights of political self-determination for those for whom such basic freedoms are denied or indefinitely suspended, insisting as well on substantial ways of redressing the rights of those forcibly and/or illegally dispossessed of property and land.”

Supporting it is a universal imperative. ASA supports justice. It’s not alone. In April, the Association for Asian-American Studies endorsed an academic boycott.

It was the first US academic association to do so. It won’t likely be the last. Justifiable initiatives have legs. They attract growing numbers of followers.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Truth drowns out misguided illusions. Spreading it is essential. Influential voices do it best.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland unanimously called for “ceas(ing) all cultural and academic collaboration (with the) apartheid state of Israel.”

The French-Speaking Belgian Students (FEF) represents 100,000 members. It adopted “a freeze of all academic partnerships with Israeli academic institutions.”

UC Berkeley and other North American universities called for divesting from Israeli companies. Those profiteering from occupation were targeted.

Calls for boycotting Israel are increasing. Legal scholar Noura Erakat says doing so represents “an ethic of legitimate dissent.”

Francis Boyle supports BDS based on the South African anti-apartheid model. So do many other distinguished academics and public figures.

It’s no longer taboo to do so. It’s a vital imperative. It’s important to urge others to do it. It’s essential to hold Israel accountable.

BDS has nothing to do with compromising academic freedom. It has everything to do with demanding long denied justice.

Barghouti calls boycotting Israeli academic institutions vital. They’re complicit “in planning, implementing, justifying or whitewashing aspects of Israel’s occupation, racial discrimination and denial of refugee rights.”

Collusion takes many forms. Doing so spurns Palestinian rights. Zionism harms Jews and Arabs alike. It’s the enemy of peace, equity and justice.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (UNESCR) calls academic freedom:

  • “the liberty of individuals to express freely opinions about the institution or system in which they work,
  • to fulfill their functions without discrimination or fear of repression by the state or any other actor,
  • to participate in professional or representative academic bodies, and
  • to enjoy all the internationally recognized human rights applicable to other individuals in the same jurisdiction.”

The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights said:

“All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.”

“The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis.”

Academic freedom requires letting all views be aired freely. It obligates institutions of higher learning to do so.

Peace, equity and justice requires holding Israel accountable. Ignoring its crimes of war and against humanity no longer is acceptable.

Academic institutions and others need to be in the forefront for justice. Failure to do so destroys their credibility.

A Final Comment

On December 27, Francis Boyle wrote Harvard president Faust. He responded to her opposition to ASA’s academic boycott. He wrote as follows:

Dear President Faust:

“I notice your condemnation of the ASA Boycott against Israel in today’s New York Times.”

“I note for the record that Harvard has never once apologized to those of us Harvard Alums who participated in good faith in the Harvard Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign against Israel when your predecessor Larry Summers accused us of being anti-Semitic – a charge which he refused to defend against me as related below.”

“As a matter of fact, Harvard is so notoriously anti-Palestinian that the late, great Edward Said refused to accept Harvard’s top chair in Comparative Literature when Harvard offered it to him.”

“As a loyal Harvard alum I spent an entire evening with Edward at a Chinese Restaurant in Manhattan trying to convince Edward to take this Chair.”

“I thought it would be good for Harvard to have Edward teaching there. As a lawyer and a law professor, I can be quite persuasive.”

“But Edward would have none of my arguments. As Edward saw it, Harvard was so anti-Palestinian that Harvard would have thwarted his intellectual creativity to move there.”

“So Edward stayed at Columbia. Of course Edward was right. And the anti-Palestinian tenor and orientation of Harvard has certainly gotten far worse since when Edward and I were both students at Harvard.”

“Harvard should be doing something about its own longstanding bigotry and racism against the Palestinians. Not criticizing those of us trying to help the Palestinians suffering from Israeli persecution, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and outright genocide.”

Yours very truly,

Francis A. Boyle

Professor of Law

Harvard isn’t alone among major US academic institutions. Support for Israel’s worst crimes is widespread. So is spurning fundamental Palestinian rights.

International law affirms them. It high time discriminatory US academic institutions did so. Nothing less is acceptable! Not now! Not ever!

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Washington Plays Russian Roulette with Missile Defense

NOVANEWS

Iskandar

Iskandar

By F. William Engdahl, author Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

In his recent annual meeting with the media, Russian President Vladimir Putin replied to a question about the rumored placement of Russian Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad next to Poland.

He stated that US missile defense remains a threat to Russian national security and that Russia has the right to place Iskander missiles in Kalingrad, but claimed that that step had not yet been taken. Putin added however that putting Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad would be a logical response to American plans to build a missile defense system in Europe.

What few in the West outside a handful of military experts grasp however, is that the US project to install so-called Ballistic Missile Defense missiles and special radar in Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey and Bulgaria is the most provocative act of Washington to the very existence of Russia and risks putting the world on a hair-trigger to a nuclear war. 

Putin’s remarks followed a report in the ardently-pro US German daily, Bild Zeitung. Several days before the Putin remarks, Bild newspaper reported that secret satellite imagery showed Iskander-M missiles stationed near the Polish border. Both Bild and mainstream US and European media portrayed the Kaliningrad report as a confirmation of a Russian aggressiveness, a return to the Cold War. In point of fact, for Washington and the US military, the Cold War never ended. Washington’s’ Missile Defense is the most extreme provocation imaginable in a nuclear era. It is an atomic version of Russian Roulette that makes the likelihood of a preemptive reaction by Moscow against Polish missiles or Czech AMD radar highly logical. A bit of background is useful.

Putin in Munich

In February 2007, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addressed the annual Munich, Germany International Conference on Security, formerly the Wehrkunde Conference. Delivering a keynote speech that was extraordinary by any standards, Putin’s remarks caught many in the West by surprise:

NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders…[I]t is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to

ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact?[1]

Putin continued in his remarks,

[I]t is impossible to sanction the appearance of new, destabilizing high-tech weapons…a new area of confrontation, especially in outer space. Star wars is no longer a fantasy – it is a reality…. In Russia’s opinion, the militarization of outer space could have unpredictable consequences for the international

community, and provoke nothing less than the beginning of a

nuclear era.

Plans to expand certain elements of the anti-missile defence system to Europe cannot help but disturb us. Who needs the next step of what would be, in this case, an inevitable arms race?  [2]

 

The Russian Foreign Ministry officially replied to the Washington AMD announcement at the time in 2007, declaring, “The US intention to deploy missile defense components, which will become strategic military facilities in direct proximity to Russian borders, is the source of special concern. We will have to bear in mind the prospective facilities in further Russian military-political steps and military planning. Such plans contradict NATO commitment to restrain the deployment of forces, which was made in the Russia-NATO Founding Act.” [3]

In January 2007, shortly before Putin’s critical remarks in Munich, the Pentagon had announced US plans to deploy an anti-ballistic missile defense system in

Europe. The Pentagon claimed that the deployment was aimed at protecting American and NATO installations against threats from enemies in the Middle East, explicitly Iran, not from Russia.

Following Putin’s Munich remarks, the US State Department issued a formal comment noting that the Bush Administration was “puzzled by the repeated caustic comments about the envisaged system from Moscow.” In further statements, Washington insisted that the European AMD deployment was aimed at the potential threat of an Iranian missile attack on a European NATO country or on the USA itself. As Putin pointed out in his Munich remarks, that made no military sense. “As we say in Russia, it would be like using the right hand to reach the left ear.” [4]

Now, some seven years later, even as Moscow has facililtated a diplomatic solution to both the Syrian and Iran entanglements of Washington, Washington has expanded that AMD ring around Russia to missile sites in Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria as well as Poland and the Czech Republic. Crucial to grasp why Moscow refuses to accept the US missile deployment is what it would do to the balance of peace.

Calling Washington’s Bluff

The Russian government lost no time responding  to the recent P5+1 breakthrough between Washington and Tehran on negotiating a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. On November 25, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told western media in Rome, “If the Iran deal is put into practice, the stated reason for the construction of the defense shield will no longer apply.” [5]

Moscow called Washington’s bluff that its Missile deployment in Europe had been aimed not at Russia but at Iran. Washington was quick to reply.

On December 16, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared, “the P5+1 Joint Plan of Action, concluded between Iran and P5+1 member states regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, “does not eliminate the need for US and European allies to continue implementing missile defense plans in Europe.” Hagel went on to say, “NATO missile defense efforts pose no threat to Russia,” and urged that both sides continue consultations on future missile plans in Europe. [6] Hagel didn’t bother to explain why the Teheran agreement did not eliminate the US AMD “need.”

President Putin added, “Iran’s nuclear program once served as the key reason for deploying missile shields. And what do we have now? Iran’s nuclear problem is fading, while the missile shield remains in place. Moreover, it is still developing.” [7]

Missing Link to First Strike Primacy

To dispense with niceities, Hagel is simply lying.

As the former head of President Reagan’s anti-missile defense Pentagon program, Colonel Robert Bowman told this author in a telephone interview in 2009, the developing US Anti-Missile Defense “shield” around Russia, far from being defensive, is offensive in the extreme. Bowman called the AMD deployment, “the missing link to a First Strike.” [8]

The US is pursuing the possibility of nuclear war with its only present nuclear rival, Russia, as ‘thinkable,’ something that is really and truly ‘mad.’

The first nation with a nuclear missile ‘defense’ shield (AMD) would de facto have ‘first strike ability,’ because they would be able to cripple the other’s nuclear retaliation strike by knocking the missiles out of the air. The US nuclear missile defense shield, which had been under top secret development by the Pentagon since the 1970s involves a ground-based system that could respond to a limited missile attack.

There are presently five parts to the US AMD system, including phased array radar installations that could detect a launch of enemy missiles and track them. In theory once the detected missiles had been launched and were confirmed to be targeting the United States or any other specific target, the next phase would be to trigger one or more of the one-hundred interceptor missiles to destroy the enemy ballistic missile before it reached US air space.

Once the US AMD is up and operational around Russia, the temptation by some in the Pentagon and White House (not that any mentally unstable person would ever occupy the White House), to launch a nuclear first strike against Russia’s nuclear arsenal would be overwhelming. That nuclear “primacy” has been the Pentagon’s dream since the 1950’s.

In a March 2006 article in the leading US foreign policy magazine, Foreign Affairs, two senior US military analysts remarked,

If the United States’ nuclear modernization were really aimed at rogue states or terrorists, the country’s nuclear force would not need the additional thousand ground-burst warheads it will gain from the W-76 modernization program. The current and future US nuclear force, in other words, seems designed to carry out a pre-emptive disarming strike against Russia or China.[9]

It’s little wonder then if Russia has or is about to deploy Iskander missiles and take other measures to counter the mad Washington AMD deployment.

Endnotes:

[1] Vladimir Putin, Rede des russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin auf der 43. Münchner

‚Sicherheitskonferenz,’ München, 10.2.2007.

[2] Ibid.

[3] F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, 2009, edition.engdahl, Wiesbaden, p. 22.

[4] Vladimir Putin, op. cit.

[5] RT, Lavrov: No need for European missile defense shield if Iran deal a success, RT.com, November 25, 2013, accessed in  http://rt.com/news/lavrov-missile-shield-iran-265/.

[6] RT, US to deploy ABM systems in Europe despite P5+1 deal with Iran, RT.com, December 17, 2013, accessed in

http://rt.com/news/hagel-shoigu-missile-defense-356/.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Robert Bowman, Lt. Colonel, USAir Force (Ret.), Statement made during a telephone interview with the author, March 15, 2009. Bowman was Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the Air Force Space Division until 1978. In that capacity, he controlled about half a billion dollars worth of space programs, including the “Star Wars” programs, the existence of which was (at that time) secret.

[9]  Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006, p. 51.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Washington Plays Russian Roulette with Missile Defense

In the name of Allah Most Merciful Most Gracious

NOVANEWS

zpfile000

By Kadir Mohmand

It is time for the United States, NATO, and UNAMA to leave Afghanistan. With the widespread, systemic corruption of the Afghan government, drug trafficking, foreign occupation of Afghanistan and the foreign interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, the scheduled 2014 Afghan presidential election must be postponed and not held under these circumstances.

 The 2014 presidential election under occupation will be a fraud. It must be postponed. Because the Native Afghans in the Pashtun areas, who are the majority, and Afghan Muslims in the north of Afghanistan, who have lawfully opposed the war and occupation, have not been allowed to register to vote. Therefore, they will not be able to vote. Fraudulent Afghanistan elections will cause further bloodshed and further chaos. I have heard from an influential Afghan, who is actually working in the field that many of the provinces will not be able to participate in the election like Nuristan and Nangarhar Provinces.

zpfile001

He told me there would be no elections taking place in Nuristan provinces and many others. He mentioned that the Karzai government might move these provinces’ election polling places to Kabul, which just does not make sense. I was also told that in the open market, voter registration cards are selling like hot cakes. There already is so much fraud.

There are just too many problems with this process to hold a legitimate election. Our tax dollars will just be wasted. Right now so many areas in Afghanistan are being excluded from the election process it really will not be an election by the majority of Afghans. Karzai will sign a bilateral security agreement if he gets what he wants from the United States which is to choose the candidate that will become the next president so that his influence continues and his personal wealth continues to grow. The United States is negotiating with him. I believe this kind of dealing is shameful. It must stop.

zpfile002

The United States does not need to spend millions more on these fraudulent elections. Before any elections should be held,  the United Nations , France, China, Russia, England and the United States need to act and hold peace negotiations now with the Afghan Freedom Fighters  to reach an agreement that can lead to true peace and stability.

Even if Secretary Kerry, Ambassador James Dobbins, and U.S. Senator Carl Levin depict the war and occupation as positively impacting Afghanistan, in reality the war and occupation have had enormous negative effects on Afghanistan.

warcrimes

uswarcrimes#12

The United States’ war in Afghanistan is beyond the scope of self-defense allowed by Article 51. Self-defense can only legally take place when an armed attack takes place against a state. The Afghan government in 2001, the Taliban, did not attack the United States on 9/11. Nineteen individuals, 15 from Saudi Arabia, attacked the United States. Individual Afghans did not attack the United States.

That is a fact. No evidence has ever been produced by the United States to the contrary. Propaganda, speculation and expert opinions in the media do not constitute credible and relevant evidence. Furthermore, there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the US or another UN member country.

Self- defense can only be used to repel an attack. Immediately after the tragic events of 9/11, the attacks stopped. There was no imminent threat to attack the US by the Afghan government before or after 9/11. I believe the United States during the past thirteen years of war and occupation has collectively punished and scape goated the Afghan people. Many war crimes have been committed against the Afghan people which need to be lawfully prosecuted in international and/or national tribunals.

uswarcrimes#7

First, during the past thirteen years of war and occupation, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been killed. I believe the United States and NATO are responsible. In addition, during these past thirteen years, Afghanistan has become one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The corruption in Afghanistan is systemic and not just in Kabul. It starts in Washington D.C. Aid monies and other funds knowingly have been given to Afghan war lords and communist war criminals, who have used those monies to grow their enormous personal wealth.

The U.S. has given truckloads of money to corrupt government officials, who do not govern. They do nothing for the ordinary Afghans. They only wait for their suitcases of money to arrive. Some U.S. officials and contractors are also unlawfully getting rich from this war and occupation. Unlike what ordinary Americans are led to believe, very little infrastructure has been constructed. Kabul still is without water and sewage systems.

The villages in the rural areas have faced destruction and contamination because of the war and occupation. Pashtun villagers have been killed, maimed, and forced to leave their villages. I think there has been genocide committed against certain groups such as the Pashtuns and other groups, who disagree with the war. Only a few luxury buildings with expensive stores and hotels have been built to serve the war profiteers.

Second, in 2001, before the war, there was very little drug trafficking if any, in Afghanistan. During these past thirteen years, Afghanistan has become a narco-state. It is now the main exporter of heroin. There is a hundred billion dollars in profit for the war profiteers from this war which is a great environment for the drug trafficking. Until the drug trafficking is stopped this war will not end. I have been told that the Karzai government and family, and some U.S. contractors and officials are involved in this drug trafficking. In addition, the United Nations has reported that 1.6 million Afghans are addicted to heroin. This increase in addiction has led to an increase in AIDS.

Third, due to the environmental contamination caused by uranium –tipped weaponry and western nuclear waste dumping, there has been an increase in cancer and birth defects. I visited many hospitals throughout Afghanistan and well respected medical doctors showed me the evidence. They were greatly concerned about the long term effects on the Afghan people.

When I went to Helmand Province, around the vast REE deposits  I found out that the U.S., NATO and other  countries were dumping nuclear waste and other chemical and contaminated waste nearby there. I was told by Afghans, who lived in that area, that  the U.S. and NATO already has been excavating REEs and other minerals from that area. I also was informed that   the west is bombarding and bulldozing the Pashtun villages on or near the perimeter of these areas.

The villagers are killed or forced to leave their villages. I have been told that special forces rape members of villagers’ families as a way to force them to leave also. In the Afghan culture, rape is very shameful and families leave their village out of shame. I think that there are war crimes being committed such as genocide and ethnic cleansing.  I believe before the   United States’ and NATO’s  withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. and NATO  and other countries, who  contaminated the areas, they need to remove and remediate those areas.

Fourth, with all of this corruption, greed, war, and drug trafficking, child abuse and prostitution have become rampant.  When I was in Afghanistan many prominent and educated Afghans  informed me about this problem and showed me evidence  regarding the child prostitution trafficking. I was outraged to hear western officials and consultants say that this child sexual abuse and prostitution were part of the Afghan culture. Therefore, implying that it is no big deal. This sexual abuse is not part of the Afghan culture and never has been accepted by the Afghans. I know this fact because my father and many family members were in charge of police and security for Afghanistan before the Soviet war and occupation. Child molesters and pimps were prosecuted and faced severe punishment such as the death penalty.

Fifth, I believe the CIA and their agents and collaborators need to stop assassinating and intimidating through kidnappings and torturing the Pashtun leaders such as tribal leaders,  university faculty and students, religious scholars and other professionals, who have lawfully opposed war, occupation and the corrupt  Karzai government. I think these terrorist acts must stop immediately. Some of my educated Afghan colleagues are documenting these war crimes so that eventually these crimes can be lawfully prosecuted in tribunals. I believe Afghans deserve justice just like the Jewish, Bosnian, Rwandan war crimes victims deserved and received justice.

Sixth, I believe that one of the main problems is that the Afghan communists, many who are war criminals from the 1980s, are in high level and middle level positions in the Afghan government. I have been told that the Afghan translators and interpreters, who are Northern Alliance or communists hired by the United States, have been giving misinformation to the United States and NATO, which has resulted in many war crimes and ethnic cleansing of the Afghan/Pashtun.  In addition, , the United States has hired many of them to work for the U.S. government, in the CIA, State Department, Department of Defense, VOA Voice of America, Azadi radio, etc. Theses communists again are causing the division of Afghans and problems in Afghanistan. Instead of prosecuting these communist war criminals in international tribunals, the U.S. governments pays them enormous amounts of money such as to the communist war criminal and war lord, Rashid Dostum, who receives at least $100,000 per month from the U.S. government. These communists are like chameleons, who will change their colors and loyalties for a dollar. I believe the United States government is stupid to support their involvement in the Afghan government, to pay them, and to trust them.

Ambassador Dobbins and Secretary Kerry continually highlight that that 85 % of Afghan women have cell phones and 70 television stations and hundreds of radio stations are broadcasting in Afghanistan. These stations are mainly operated by communists and war profiteers. The war lord and war criminal,Rashid Dostum has his TV station and radio.

Media is important in an open society. However, those Afghans who oppose the war, occupation and corrupt Karzai administration are not allowed to have stations and programs, and to speak out.

I believe this war and occupation needs to end. I think that the United States government, NATO and the United Nations need to leave Afghanistan because they are causing the problems.

I believe Secretary John Kerry and the U.S. Government need to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s government and election. The U.S. government tells the Afghan Freedom Fighters and all others to abide by the Afghan Constitution and not interfere in the upcoming election. Yet, I believe based on Secretary Kerry’s prior actions as a Senator immediately after the last Afghan presidential election and his actions now reveal that the U.S. Government and Secretary Kerry are interfering with the Afghan election and not following the Afghan Constitution.

Last year when I was in Afghanistan and met with Abdullah Abdullah and Northern Alliance regarding ways to achieve peace, I was told that in 2009 then Senator John Kerry promised Abdullah Abdullah that if he did not run in a second round in the fraud -ridden 2009 presidential election, then the U.S. Government would let him be the president in the 2014 election.

Then Senator Kerry pressured Abdullah Abdullah to back off and just let Karzai continue as the puppet president.   Now already, Secretary Kerry is talking with the Punjab ISI, Russia and other neighboring governments to have Abdullah Abdullah, a minority Panshiri, as the next president.  It appears that Afghanistan is going to have another puppet president, Abdullah Abdullah, because the U.S., Pakistan and Russia do not want a Pashtun president with a strong Afghan Islamic government.

This type of interference is déjà vu for the Afghans.  In 1989, Pakistan, the U.S., and Russia negotiated to bring as Afghan president non-Pashtuns, such as Rabbani and Mojaddedi instead of Khalis Baba and other Pashtun mujahideen leaders.  Instead, many of the Pashtun leaders at that time were assassinated such as General Abdul Hakim Katawazi, Professor Said Bahauddin Majrooh, Azizulrahman Ulfat, and Wali Karokhail.

Again, I believe the same interference in Afghanistan’s government and elections is happening because the U.S. government, Pakistan, Russia and others do not want a strong Afghan Islamic government, which is led by a Pashtun. They are sidelining the Pashtuns.  These countries want a weak puppet that they can control. It is common knowledge that money to back candidates, such as Abdullah Abdullah, is given through CIA and other intelligence channels, U.S. AID and other ways. Just like in the United States’ elections now, money wins the elections and controls the process.

I think the United States should not be interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and elections like it has done in recent years in Honduras under Ambassador Hugo Llorens watch and it is presently doing in Afghanistan ( Ambassador Hugo Llorens is again on the scene as deputy of the mission.).

If ordinary Americans and Afghans truly knew what was happening behind the scenes, I think patriotic Americans and Afghans would not like such actions. Americans do not allow other countries to interfere in its country’s internal political affairs and elections, why should Afghans be subjected to such interference? The same puppets, warlords, war criminals are again the candidates for the Afghan fake election in 2014. It is shameful.

Seventh,  I believe to stop this blood shed and further chaos, the United Nations , France, China, Russia, England and the United States need to act and hold peace negotiations now with the Afghan Freedom Fighters  to reach an agreement that can lead to true peace and stability and a complete withdrawal of western troops. .

My father has always told me that if you identify a problem you must always provide a solution.  The solution is for the west to leave the Afghan people alone and let them determine their own future. Afghans have already suffered thirteen years of war, occupation and interference in their internal affairs. I believe enough is enough.  The Afghan natives have always considered from the Indus River to Amu River as Afghanistan.  They have always fought the foreigners to defend this area and keep it independent.

Afghanistan needs to follow God’s law, Shariah law, which is a model system of Islamic life is contained inShariah law. Shariat Law means the straight path, straight way, and the divine law and system for social, economic, political and all aspects of life.  Sharia  law comes from two sources the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Shariat is best translated the “Right Way of Religion”. Surah 45, Verse 18 of the Holy Quran states, “Then We put thee on the (right) Way Of Religion: so follow Thou that (Way), And follow not the desires Of those who know not.”  Please see the attached peace plan.

It is time that U.S., global and Afghan scholars meet to discuss and analyze the current war approach, which has only escalated war and created more instability. They need to evaluate ways to end the war and bring peace. To date, I believe that  the only advice that the U.S. government has been relying upon  when forming its foreign policy and war strategy for Afghanistan has been from  military think tanks, scholars with former national security , DOD and intelligence backgrounds and careers; basically all war mongers and war profiteers.

For example, the United States has relied upon  advice  from the Kagans, the  RAND corporation, and Afghan Americans like Zalmay Khalizhad, Ehsan Bayat, and former Afghan communists, who are now working for the U.S. Department of State,  Voice of America, CIA and Department of Defense.  I believe these war profiteers will do anything for a dollar, which is the main reason the United States is in such a mess and Afghanistan is a narco-state and so corrupt. 

Any forced-signing of the bilateral security agreement would only escalate the war in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.  I think the war strategy diplomacy needs to change to a peace negotiation strategy with the Afghan Resistance, which is supported by the majority of Afghans.  The current U.S. war approach with its proposed bilateral security agreement is just a formula that perpetuates the continuation of occupation, division, corruption and war. I believe  the bilateral security agreement, which allows permanent  U.S. military bases and troops in Afghanistan,  will not lead to true peace and stability, as the presence of such foreign troops on Afghanistan’s soil only causes more war as evidenced by the past thirteen years.

Again, I believe it is time for the United States, NATO and UNAMA to leave Afghanistan, they are causing the problems.

Sincerely,

Kadir A. Mohmand

Former Representative of the Afghan Freedom Fighters for North America during the 1980s

Posted in AfghanistanComments Off on In the name of Allah Most Merciful Most Gracious

2014 Predictions

NOVANEWS 
by Stephen Lendman

2014

Some are best guesses. Others are easier to make. For billions worldwide, 2013 was grim. Expect 2014 to be no better. For many it’ll be worse.

Conflicts without end continue. Waging them threaten humanity. War profiteers never had it better.

Washington bears most responsibility. One nation after another is ravaged, destroyed and plundered.

It’s the American way. Advancing its imperium matters most. So does benefitting the nation’s privileged class.

War criminals and crooks run things. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. They’re waging war on humanity.

They’re ravaging the world for unchallenged dominance. Millions of lost lives don’t matter. It’s a small price to pay, they claim. So is unspeakable human misery.

Whole continents are carved up for profit. Resources are plundered. Ordinary people are exploited. America has been at it for centuries. Post-WW II, things accelerated.

Post-9/11, they spun out-of-control. Expect a bloody 2014. Expected more death, destruction and human misery. Expect it globally.

Expect merchants of death to keep profiting hugely. Expect corrupt politicians to get their share. Expect America’s most disadvantaged to be left increasingly on their own out of luck.

Safety net protections are on the chopping block for elimination. In 2014, expect more erosion. Republicans and Democrats agreed. So did Obama.

He spent his entire tenure shifting wealth disproportionately to Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites.

He’s a job destroyer, not creator. He’s doing nothing to stop offshoring many of America’s best jobs. He’s letting them be replaced with low pay/poor or no benefit ones.

He’s continuing America’s race to the bottom. He’s got more of the same in mind. He pretends otherwise. He says one thing. He does another. He scorns the rights of ordinary people. He’s done it since his Chicago days.

He’s pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super-wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-civil and human rights, anti-labor, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and just.

He’s polar opposite what most people want, need, and won’t get with him as president. Nor with congressional Democrats in lockstep with Republicans on issues mattering most.

Only a Democrat president would do what Republicans on their own wouldn’t dare. Obama is a stealth corporatist hardliner. He’s been this way throughout his political career.

It elevated him to America’s highest office. It’s pay back time for power brokers who chose him. They wouldn’t have done it otherwise.

On December 28, Congress and Obama cut off extended unemployment benefits. They harmed 1.3 million Americans. They did so when they most need help. They did it disgracefully.

In 2014, they’ll end them for another 3.6 million jobless Americans. They’ll lose out through no fault of their own. Emergency benefits were previously extended from 40 to 73 weeks.

They’re now 26 weeks. It’s when growing millions of Americans can’t find work. Highly touted recovery is fake. Main Street Depressions conditions persist.

Bipartisan cruelty makes things worse. Help when most needed is denied. Imagine any country anywhere doing it. Imagine the world’s richest one.

Imagine heartlessness writ large. Imagine criminals running today’s America. Its wealth goes for warmaking, corporate handouts, and benefits for super-rich elites.

Ordinary people are betrayed in the process. Washington’s FY 2014 budget deal benefits privileged interests. It does so at the expense of popular ones.

Winners include bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Losers are millions of unemployed, underemployed, and impoverished people, government workers, retirees, veterans and active duty military personnel.

Corporate handouts remain policy. So do tax cuts for the rich. In 2014, more are planned. Both parties agreed. So did Obama.

They conspired quietly. Media scoundrels said nothing. Corporate rates will drop from 35% to either 28 or 25%. Most large companies already pay less than half that amount.

Many pay much less. Some pay nothing. Others get rebates in profitable years. Tax breaks under Bush and Obama added around $10 trillion to their balance sheets.

Much was shifted to offshore subsidiaries. Doing so avoids US taxes altogether. It’s unknown how much corporate wealth sits in tax havens.

A previous article discussed a Tax Justice Network (TJN) report. It’s titled The Price of Offshore Revisited.” It explains what insiders won’t discuss.

It estimates up to $32 trillion of hidden and stolen wealth stashed largely tax-free secretly. It was published in July 2012.

Huge profits and ill-gotten gains were accumulated since then. Perhaps $40 – 50 trillion remain hidden tax free today. It represents a black hole of unfairness.

It comes at the expense of billions worldwide. Ordinary Americans get lump of coal harshness. Expect more of the same in 2014. Bipartisan complicity assures it.

Expect 2014 to be tougher than ever for growing millions. It’s planned. It’s baked in the cake. It’s coming.

Obama demands it. He’s the Grinch who stole fairness. He’s done it throughout his tenure. He’s got lots more hard times in mind. Austerity writ large remains policy.

Obama’s waging war on ordinary people. He heads a homeland police state apparatus. Expect meaner and nastier year ahead policies.

He wants vital safety net protections eliminated. They’re coming when longterm unemployment, underemployment, hunger, homelessness and human misery are growing.

On November 1, $11 billion in food stamp cuts over three years took effect. It’s the first time since Franklin Roosevelt instituted the first Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It began in May 1939.

The program ended temporarily when conditions warranting it no longer existed. In 1959, Eisenhower reinstated it.

Jack Kennedy’s first Executive Order expanded it. Lyndon Johnson enacted the 1964 Food Stamp Act.

He called doing so “a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance.”

It’s vitally important. It provides food for growing millions unable to afford enough. In the 1980s, cutbacks began. Clinton continued them.

They’re prioritized more now than earlier. Recipient benefits drop to under $1.40 per person per meal. Imagine the impossibility of proper nutrition on that amount.

Imagine the effect on children. Imagine the harm to America’s elderly, ill or weak. Imagine too little food leaving millions hungry most days.

Imagine the unimaginable in the world’s richest country. Imagine it because it’s official policy.

Imagine agribusiness handouts growing at the same time. Imagine bankers and other corporate favorites getting theirs.

Feeding America’s poor doesn’t matter. Nearly 50 million need food stamps to eat.

Since 2008, recipients increased over 70%. Perhaps 80% by end of 2014. It comes at a time hunger in America is growing.

Privately run food banks are more than ever hard-pressed. A previous article discussed AP headlining “Exclusive: Signs of Declining Economic Security.” It said:

“Four out of 5 US adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.”

It’s a disturbing “sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.”

“Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.”

Government data are manipulated to distort. Conditions are much worse than reported. America is the United States of Unfairness, Cruelty, Inequity, and Injustice.

Throughout Obama’s tenure, things got worse, not better. Ordinary Americans today suffer more than at any time since the Great Depression.

Year 2014 promises worse. Increased austerity assures it. Imagine force-feeding it when vital aid is needed more than ever since the 1930s. Imagine anti-populism becoming official US policy.

Imagine Obama and Congress mandating it. Imagine them leaving America’s most disadvantaged hung out to dry.

Imagine them wanting vital safety net protections destroyed altogether. Imagine them thirdworldizing America. Imagine them turning it into a dystopian backwater.

Imagine kleptocrats stealing the nation blind. Imagine corrupt politicians letting them. Imagine paradise for America’s privileged class. Imagine Kafkaesque harshness for all others.

Imagine deepening repression. Imagine America’s war on Islam continuing. Imagine its war on terror waged more ruthlessly than ever. Imagine state terror institutionalized as official policy.

Imagine harder than ever crackdowns on nonbelievers. Imagine America’s surveillance society operating more lawlessly.

Imagine freedom increasingly disappearing in plain sight. Imagine America more unfit to live in than already. Imagine constitutional and international law protections no longer helping.

Imagine police state harshness replacing them. Imagine full-blown tyranny approaching. Imagine the unimaginable.

Imagine 2014 potentially being America’s worst year ever. Imagine conditions becoming too intolerable to bear. Imagine harder than ever hard times reaching new depths.

A Brief Summary

Expect 2014 to include:

  • direct and proxy wars continuing without end;
  • new ones beginning;
  • America’s wealth increasingly transferred to corporate and privileged interests;
  • ordinary people increasingly on their own sink or swim; a race to the bottom continuing;
  • America’s disadvantaged harmed most;
  • poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger and homelessness worse than ever in modern times;
  • bipartisan complicity assuring it;
  • social safety net protections increasingly eliminated;
  • freedom disappearing in plain sight;
  • police state harshness increasing;
  • local police collaborating with federal authorities;
  • NSA watching everyone more closely;
  • Washington increasingly waging war on ordinary people;
  • full-blown tyranny approaching;
  • America more than ever unfit to live in;
  • 2014 exceeding the worst of Orwell’s 1984.

It does already. It’s not getting better. Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan. Obama heads its police state apparatus. He plans the worst of all possible worlds.

Expect 2014 to be grim. Expect growing millions to suffer horrendously. Expect greater global misery. Expect despair to replace hope.

Expect the American dream to disappear altogether. It’s more illusion than reality for most people. George Carlin once said you have to be asleep to believe it.

Nightmarish conditions persist. Expect worse ones next year. Happy tidings await better times. Maybe some day. Not now. Not next year. None whatever in sight.

Posted in USAComments Off on 2014 Predictions

2013 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

NOVANEWS 

The tide is rapidly closing in on this year but there is still time to reflect on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2013 ~ which I summarize as the Good with the political emergence of Elizabeth Warren, the Bad reality of the growing poverty and social inequality of America and the persistent Ugly eye sore and continuing injustice of Guantanamo

tide of change

by Allen L Roland

I’m glad 2014 is coming to a close ~ I’m tired of living on the edge, of watching the poor get poorer and the rich get richer, of witnessing the seeming triumph of selfishness over altruism, of experiencing the slow erosion of the planet through climate change and global warming as well as the common deep disappointment in our political leaders ~ that is until now.

T.S. Eliot quote

These words of truth from T.S. Eliot give me hope going into 2014 for the changing tide of time always brings new voices ~ and one of the bright populist voices of 2013 is Elizabeth Warren. She is also my early leading candidate for president in 2016.

Elizabth Warren claims victory

Warren’s recent support for raising Social Security benefits is exactly what we need to shift the national discussion on retirement income from the negative to the positive. As Dean Baker correctly writes in AlterNet ~ While Social Security does keep most seniors out of poverty, the $1,300 average monthly benefit is certainly not enough for a comfortable retirement for people who lack another source of support. A modest increase in benefits to retirees in the bottom half of the income distribution would make a big difference in their standard of living at relatively little cost to the program.”

Here’s her recent short speech on the Senate floor on the retirement crisis ~ “This is partly about math, but it’s partly about our values. This is about what kind of a people we are, what kind of a country we are trying to build.6 minute video

Poverty in America

The BAD of 2013 is the crippling poverty that exists throughout America ~ Poverty, joblessness, and economic insecurity are a daily reality for the vast majority of the American population. According to WSWS ~ By one survey, four in five Americans have lived in near-poverty, been unemployed, or used welfare for a year or more during their lives and replacing one big-business politician with another will do nothing …  and the only way to address the vast social problems of poverty and social inequality that loom over contemporary society is to build a political party that represents working people, armed with a program of reorganizing society on the basis of meeting social needs, not the enrichment of the super-wealthy.” See article ~

And get this, Nearly 40 percent of all workers in the country made less than $20,000 last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration ~ and more than 50% made less than $30,000 a rear which doesn’t include figures on benefits such as health insurance or pensions. That’s below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four and close to the line for a family of three. On average, these workers earned just $17,459.55.

Guantanamo prisoner picture

Twelve years too long. Of the 779 prisoners kidnapped and subjected to extraordinary rendition by the United States government, 693, or 89%, have been freed because there was no evidence against them. 79 more prisoners have been cleared for release years ago but are still being held. (photo: Reuters)

The UGLY is the continuing injustice of Guantanamo ~ A testament to the shame and disgrace of the 9/11 official story as well as the ongoing isolation, torture as well as civil rights violations of the prisoners of Guantanamo ~ the vast majority of who are innocent.

Everyone has heard of Guantanamo and most people know it’s bad ~ but you have no idea that it is well beyond bad and is still America’s ugliest symbol of moral injustice.

Video BBC : 47 minute must see Video

Never give up

So there you have it, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as the tide of change erases 2013 but voices are being raised, and true leaders of the people are emerging as America faces a mid-term election in 2014 as well as another opportunity to return to our true moral values, and very possibly change history.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Posted in USAComments Off on 2013 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

War Criminals By Default

NOVANEWS

ScreenHunter_2504 Dec. 30 10.41

By Alan Hart

My last thought for 2013 is that for their failure to co-operate and coordinate to make the United Nations work to stop the slaughter and destruction in Syria, the leaders of the five permanent and controlling members of the Security Council – the U.S, Britain, France, Russia and China – are war criminals by default.

And I agree with an end of the year review comment by Basma Atassi for Al Jazeera. As more videos emerged of atrocities, “the international community’s inaction continued to give Syrians the message that their human worth is insignificant. The perpetrators (on all sides) have a free ride to kill and the victims have no place to go for justice.”

There are only two ways to run this world of ours.

One is in accordance with the rule of law and respect for the human and political rights of all people. In this way of managing Planet Earth, the governments of all nations, no exceptions (so including those of Israel and the U.S.), would be called and held to account by the Security Council and punished as necessary and appropriate when they demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and their various treaty obligations and other commitments.

The other way is in accordance with Jungle Law.  For some years it has been my view that our leaders are taking us back to the jungle. What has been allowed to happen in Syria has only reinforced my fear on this account.

From the moment in April 2011 when the Syrian army was deployed to quell the uprising and fired on demonstrators across the country, it ought to have been obvious (I’m sure it was) to the governments of the major powers that the minority Alawite standard bearers, President Bashar al-Assad and his top military and other security people, would kill and kill and kill to stay in power and, if necessary, would die fighting rather than let go the levers of their power.

In my analysis the real tragedy is that something could have been done at a very early stage to stop the killing and destruction. What was needed was for President Obama to have a private conversation with President Putin along something like the following lines.

“It’s not in any of our interests that this conflict be allowed to escalate and spread. What’s your price for using your influence to require Assad to step down and make way for elections? I understand, of course, that you’ll only be able to use your influence to this effect if there is a firm and absolute guarantee that after elections the wellbeing and security of the minority Alawite population will be assured. There must be no recriminations and revenge for decades of police state rule by the Ba-ath Party of Assad father and son. I give you my word that the United States, through the Security Council, will play its necessary role in making good this guarantee… And one more thing, Vladimir. I also give you my word that the U.S. will not seek to make use of regime change in Syria as a means of trying to have Russia kicked out of Tartus, the only Mediterranean naval base for your Black Sea Fleet.”

If Obama had been wise enough to take such an initiative, I think it much more likely than not that he would have got a positive response from Putin.

It’s worth noting that after the G20 Summit in Mexico in October 2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that during the meeting President Putin had shifted his position and wanted Bashar al-Assad out of power. Cameron said:

“There remain differences over sequencing and the shape of how the transition takes place, but it is welcome that President Putin has been explicit that he does not want Assad remaining in charge in Syria. What we need next is agreement on a transitional leadership which can move Syria to a democratic future that protects the rights of all its communities.”

Probably Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was partly right when he said that Cameron’s statement about Putin’s position was “not corresponding to reality.” But Putin did say, “It is important after regime change, if it happens, and it must happen only by constitutional means, that peace comes to the country and bloodshed stops.” The reality as it seemed to me at the time, and which Cameron put his own spin on, was that Putin had indicated that he could live with regime change in Syria if it happened by constitutional means. And that’s why I think it was much more likely than not that Obama would have got a positive response from Putin at a very early point in the conflict if he had had the wisdom to make his case along the lines I suggested above.

A question arising is why didn’t Obama take such an initiative to protect the best interests of all concerned? My guess is that it was more than a lack of wisdom and global leadership on his part. For far too long he was listening to those (Zionism’s verbal hit men in particular) who were telling him that regime change in Syria, assisted as required by American military force and therefore on American-and-Israeli terms, was a necessary step on the road to regime change in Iran.

Today I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that Putin is as alarmed as his Western counterparts by the prospect of Jihadists of various kinds establishing a safe haven and engine room in Syria. I also think Lavrov was correct when he recently indicated, by obvious implication, that behind closed doors American and Western European leaders are beginning to understand that they may now need Assad and his ruthless war machine if the forces of violent Islamic fundamentalism are to be prevented from having a permanent base in Syria from which to create regional and even global havoc.

The next test of what if anything is left of Obama’s credibility as a leader who can bring positive influence to bear on events in Syria is fast approaching. With a Geneva meeting to chart the way to ending the conflict scheduled for 22 January, he has to decide whether or not Iran should be a party to the talks. Russia and Lakhdar Brahimi, the very experienced UN Special Envoy to Syria and chief mediator, insist that Iran must be represented to improve the prospects of the Geneva talks being something less than a complete failure. I agree.

The Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress, plus Israel’s Arab state allies of convenience in the Gulf led by Saudi Arabia, are opposed to Iran’s participation in the Geneva talks. Will Obama have the will and the courage to defy them?

Posted in SyriaComments Off on War Criminals By Default

Are They Trying to Kill US All?

NOVANEWS 

Obama Disregards Court Order on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

factory farm

By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Nothing exemplifies more clearly the corporate takeover of democratic government than the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approach to Food Inc’s routine use of antibiotics in animal feed. Thirty-six years after their 1977 finding that this practice jeopardizes human health, the FDA has given feed manufacturers three years to voluntarily remove antibiotic supplements from feed. What you won’t hear on the six o’clocknews is that the the FDA move directly violates a March 2012 court ruling ordering them to ban the practice outright

Farm animals consume approximately 80% of antibiotics produced in the US. No one knows why routine consumption of antibiotics makes animals grow faster. Following this discovery in the 1950s, adding them to feed became standard practice on the gigantic factory farms that steadily replaced family farms. Producing animals that grow bigger and faster translates into higher profits. Especially in the overcrowded sheds and feedlots where fecal contamination creates the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Killing Americans By Creating Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

Pumping antibiotics indiscriminately into the environment turns out to be even more effective in breeding deadly antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” which are subsequently transferred to people through their food. This was confirmed by an April 2013 FDA finding revealing that more than 80% of raw turkey, pork, beef and chicken contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 2 million Americans a year contract drug-resistant infections every year, resulting in approximately 23,000 deaths. Prior to the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, people routinely died of pneumonia brought on by flu and the common cold. It’s frightening to even think of returning to that era.

The 1998 EU Ban

To curtail the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the EU banned antibiotics in animal feed in 1998. In the US, meanwhile, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) launched petitions in 1999 and 2005 demanding the FDA launch a similar ban.  On learning of the FDA’s intention to opt for a voluntary ban, they, along with Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, filed suit in federal district court. In March 2012, the judge ruled that the voluntary program violated the FDA’s statutory duty (i.e. was illegal) and ordered them to enact a total ban like the EU.

From the ruling:

“[T]he statutory scheme requires the Agency to ensure the safety and effectiveness of all drugs sold in interstate commerce, and, if an approved drug is not shown to be safe or effective, the Agency must begin withdrawal proceedings. The Agency has forsaken these obligations in the name of a proposed voluntary program, Guidance # 209, and acted contrary to the statutory language.”

and

“[FDA] must evaluate the safety risks of the petitioned drugs and either make the finding that the drugs are not shown to be safe or provide a reasoned explanation as to why the Agency is refusing to make such a finding.”

Obama Appeals

So why, you might ask, is the Obama administration ignoring this obvious public health crisis, proceeding with a voluntary program and wasting taxpayer dollars on appealing the ruling? Obviously it has a lot to do with the Food, Inc lobby, which spent $71 million on campaign contributions and $95 million on lobbying in 2012. When our elected leaders place the wishes of their corporate benefactors over the welfare of their constituents, human life becomes very cheap.

I’m happy to report Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is an exception. Slaughter, 84, has been in Congress since 1987. In March 2013, she introduced her Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act bill for the fourth time. The bill would ban non-therapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics in food animal production.

How the Public Can Help

My initial reaction to this total disregard for human life (are they trying to kill us all or what?)  is to go for the pitchforks. It’s clear from her interview with Food Safety News that Slaughter herself is pretty angry with the Obama administration.

However she proposes a more moderate approach, namely a public boycott of hormonally and antibiotic treatment animals.

“Food babe” Vani Hari, who also thinks the new FDA rule is a joke, recently appeared on CNN (which would lose their broadcast license for promoting insurrection) with recommendations on how consumers can avoid tainted meat.

  • Buy direct from farms. Hari provides links on her website to connect online with farmers markets and CSA buying clubs.
  • Stick with USDA certified organic foods that also meat the highest standard Animal Welfare Rating Standards (i.e. that aren’t produced by factory farms).
  • Cut back on meat and dairy by substituting other healthy high protein foods, such as nuts, peanuts, and dried beans.
  • Follow Mark Bittman’s advice in a recent New York Times oped, and lean on your local supermarket to stock and label antibiotic-free meat and dairy products.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

 

Posted in USAComments Off on Are They Trying to Kill US All?

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