Archive | April 18th, 2014

New study confirms: “The United States is no democracy… but actually an oligarchy” dominated by the economic elite

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Court documents: Fast and Furious guns flown back into Texas and New Mexico
(Photo: National Archives) Eleanor Roosevelt with David Rockefeller,Trygvie Lie, and Thomas J.Watson

Most Americans wake up every morning believing that they live in a democracy

By Mac Slavo | SHTFPlan

We have the right to vote, the right to work, and the right to freely express our opinions without threat of imprisonment or worse. Our political leaders often tout the United States as being a democracy of and for the people. We even spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year spreading this democratic influence to the rest of the world.

But a new study from researchers at Princeton and Northwestern University titled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens starkly contrasts the notion that America provides an equal playing field for every citizen, as it was intended to do at its founding.

After a multivariate analysis of key variables involving 1,179 policy issues the results provide “substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination,” wherein economic elites and organized groups representing business interests maintain “substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” while average citizens have little or no independent influence.

Essentially, you as an average American citizen have no say whatsoever as it pertains to public policy, legislation, or regulation.

A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.

Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America].

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.

(Via CommonDreams.org)

Given that even the Federal Reserve announced this morning that their policies make the rich much richer and the poor poorer, can anyone really argue with the fact that the political and socio-economic systems of this country are specifically designed to benefit the interests of the elite?

As Congress debates cuts to food stamps and unemployment insurance to the tune of a few billions dollars, the government pumps tens of billions into the coffers of investment banks and financiers on a monthly basis.

Those convicted of petty non-violent crimes like possession of marijuana could spend a lifetime in prison, while the individuals responsible for wiping away 40% of America’s wealth in the 2008 crash have not only avoided prosecution, but are rewarded within their respective organizations.

Whistle blowers spreading the truth to the masses about the duplicitous nature of politics and business have to hide in non-extradition countries to avoid prosecution for releasing “sensitive” material, all the while the elites who engaged in criminal acts like bribery, conspiracy and murder are hardly even given a second look.

And just last week we saw a perfect example of elite domination in the form of a land grab when hundreds of government officials converged on the ranch of a family that has been engaging in the same activity for over a century without any trouble. That is, until a conniving Senator with ties to foreign companies determined it was in the best interests of his pocket-book and legacy to force a rancher off public lands and put thousands of people in harm’s way just to achieve his ends.

The stories of such corruption and overreach against average Americans are countless and prove without a shadow of a doubt that, while we may call the United States of America a “democracy” or “republic,” it’s now only rooted in rhetoric and not reality.

Economic and political cyclical analyst Martin Armstrong warns that it is this very effect of moving power from the people to the elites that led to the failure of previous ‘democratic’ societies:

Dealing with Washington over the years taught me a lot. I have been inside the belly of the beast as well as on the outside. I have seen it all from every angle. Government is not run by democracy – it is a republic oligarchy pretending to be a democracy. Now a study is coming out an it confirms what I have seen over the years that this is just an American Oligarchy.

There is no hope of honest politics until there is major serious reform. We are at the same point in our history as the fall of the Roman Republic and for the very same reasons – outrageous corruption..

When we surrender our power, influence and money to the elite as we have done in modern-day America, then we have likewise surrendered to them our liberty.

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Pro-Russians in Donetsk deny calling for Jews to register

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rabbi

Activists backing Kremlin in eastern Ukraine deny issuing flyers telling Jews they must check in at occupied building

Times of Israel

ro-Russian separatists from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine denied any involvement in the circulation of flyers calling on Jews to register with separatists and pay special taxes.

The flyers were distributed earlier this week in the city, where pro-Russian separatists led by Denis Pushilin this month took over several government buildings and declared their secession from Ukraine as the Donetsk Republic amid a standoff with authorities.

The flyers were official-looking documents that carried what was presented as Pushilin’s signature, but the news site tvrain.ru on Wednesday quoted Pushilin as denying any connection to the flyers, calling them a provocation.

Jewish groups have expressed concerns over possible anti-Semitism amid rising tensions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have clashed with Ukrainians.

Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky told Israel Radio Wednesday that he expects immigration to Israel from Ukraine to double by the end of the year.

Last month Sharansky reported that there had already been a noticeable growth in the immigration numbers from Ukraine with the average growth double that of 2013.

Several anti-Semitic attacks, including a stabbing and the attempted torching of a synagogue, have occurred in Ukraine since the eruption in November of a revolution over the perceived pro-Russian policies of former President Viktor Yanukvych. He was ousted from power in February.

Many supporters of the revolution blamed pro-Russian provocateurs for the attacks.

On Tuesday, the news website novosti.dn.ua reported that the flyers were handed out that day by three unidentified men in balaclava masks carrying a flag of the Russian Federation.

According to the report, the men distributed the flyers next to a local synagogue. The website quoted unnamed sources from the local Jewish community as saying that the flyers were an attempt to provoke a conflict and blame the attack on the separatists.

The flyers said all Jews who are 16 years old and above should register at the government building, which separatist protesters are occupying, and pay a registration fee of $50 by May 3.

“Jews supported the nationalistic gang of [Stepan] Bandera in Kiev,” the authors wrote in reference to the Ukrainian Nationalist leader who in the 1940s fought with Nazi Germany against Soviet troops before he and his men took up arms against the German occupation.

The flyers also said Jews were hostile to the Donetsk Republic and that they were required to report any real estate and automobiles they own.

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Amnesty International calls on I$raHell to let Vanunu go

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Mordechai  Vanunu at ACRI offices, Jerusalem, June 2, 2004

Nuclear whistle-blower who was released from prison in 2004 should be allowed to leave I$raHell and speak to anyone he wants, rights group says.

Haaretz

Amnesty International called on Israel on Wednesday to lift restrictions on Mordecai Vanunu, a decade after he was released from an 18-year prison sentence for disclosing information to journalists about Israel’s nuclear program.

“The authorities’ continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu appears to be purely vindictive,” said Avner Gidron, senior policy adviser at Amnesty International. “The continued restrictions on his liberty have placed a severe strain on his mental and physical health and should immediately be lifted.”

Vanunu, a former technician at Israel’s nuclear reactor, is banned from leaving Israel and participating in Internet chats, and must seek permission to communicate with journalists or any foreign nationals. Amnesty International is calling on Israel to allow Vanunu to leave the country and exercise his rights to freedom of movement, expression and association.

Israel says the restrictions are necessary to prevent Vanunu from divulging further secrets, but Vanunu says he has no further information to reveal. The state told the High Court of Justice in December, as the court heard the seventh petition Vanunu has filed against the court order prohibiting him from leaving Israel, that the information he possesses from the time he worked at the nuclear reactor in Dimona about 30 years ago is still relevant and that its revelation would endanger Israel’s security.

“The government’s arguments that these severe restrictions are necessary for national security are ludicrous,” said Gidron.

Vanunu’s lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, said the information is no longer relevant. “We are talking about information gathered about the nuclear reactor in Dimona,” Feldman told the High Court in December. “The work ended in 1985 – in other words, [nearly] 29 years ago. This is information which has expired.”

Vanunu was convicted in March 1988 of treason and espionage after revealing details to Britain’s Sunday Times in 1986 about what he said was Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and sentenced to 18 years in jail. Israel maintains a policy of “nuclear ambiguity,” in which it officially refuses to confirm what foreign media say is a nuclear weapon arsenal.

Vanunu served 11 and a half years of his sentence in isolation because of the government’s fear that he would disclose information to unauthorized sources. He was released in April 2004.

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Leak reveals US plans for Syria no-fly-zone

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On a secret tape, top Turkish officials are heard discussing revived US designs for a no-fly-zone over Syria

A British Tornado fighter jet during refuelling operations above the Mediterranean sea as part of NATO operations over Libya (AFP)

The United States has drawn up plans for enforcing a no-fly-zone over Syria and shared them with allied governments, in a move that parallels the stages of NATO intervention that ended with the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi three years ago.

The US plans were mentioned in leaked tapes of a meeting in the Turkish foreign minister’s office on March 13. Ahmet Davutoglu is heard conferring on the matter with his Under-Secretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, Armed Forces’ Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Yasar Guler and the Director of the National Intelligence Organisation (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT)) Hakan Fidan.

The conversation was recorded shortly after the five permanent members of United Nations Security Council reached rare unanimity on Syria. In February, the council passed a resolution that called on all sides in the civil war to provide corridors for humanitarian aid to cross internal front-lines as well as international borders.

Russia has repeatedly resisted Western calls for the UN to support military action against the Assad government, and in discussions among Security Council members before the vote on humanitarian aid they insisted the resolution should include no enforcement provisions in case the Assad government failed to comply.

While US and Turkish officials have regularly consulted on the delivery of weapons and other war materiel to the rebel groups fighting the government of President Bashar al Assad, preparations for a no-fly-zone would mark a significant escalation in US involvement.

The disclosure of US plans for a no-fly-zone suggests air strikes have been revived as Washington’s preferred tactic in the campaign to remove Assad from power.  The Obama administration was on the brink of launching bombs and missiles on Syria following a chemical weapons attack last August, but backed down after Assad accepted a Russian proposal to abandon his chemical weapons arsenal.

In Libya in 2011, NATO gave the widest possible interpretation to a UN resolution authorising a no-fly-zone, using it to justify air strikes that destroyed Gadaffi’s air force as well as most of his tanks and armoured vehicles. The strikes changed the military reality on the ground and allowed rebel fighters to seize towns and villages across Libya.

Towards the end of the meeting, Sinirlioglu tells his superior about a consultation the Americans had held with the Turkish Chief of General Staff  three days earlier.   It was a regular event but on this occasion the content was unusual:  “The Americans in that meeting distributed the plans for the No Fly Zone. For the first time. Do you know that?” he asked. Davutoglu makes no comment.

The revelation was one of several explosive disclosures on the leaked tape about Turkey’s role in the war in Syria.   Davutoglu has not denied the tape’s authenticity.  Instead, he has called it a serious breach of national security, even “a declaration of war”.   His office was fitted with encryption and jamming devices to stop mobile and other phones being listened to by outsiders, suggesting that a bug must have been placed in the minister’s room itself.

In fury, the Turkish government banned access to YouTube, where recordings of the leaked tape were available. US officials have declined to respond to questions over the content of the leaked conversation. They confined themselves to condemning the ban on YouTube.

US plans for a no-fly-zone may also be linked to rising tension on the Turkish-Syrian border where warplanes from both countries have been watching each other closely for months. Turkey downed a Syrian helicopter in September and on March 22 this year Turkish missiles from a US-made F-16 brought down a Syrian MiG23 which had allegedly violated Turkish airspace.   Opposition politicians in Syria cast doubt on the claim and suggested the Turkish government was looking to provoke incidents that could be used to arouse patriotic feelings in advance of elections.

The foreign ministry tape confirmed that Turkey has been supplying Syrian rebel fighters with weaponry, an issue which is always denied by officials in public.    At one point, Davutoglu argues that guns and ammunition are not the main thing.   “We couldn’t get the human factor in order”, he says in an apparent allusion to the in-fighting between rebel groups and the difficulty of getting unified leadership among the dozens of fragmented local commanders.   Fidan, the MiT boss, adds “We sent around 2,000 trucks loaded with supplies”.  General Guler chips in: “Ammo is needed”.

The men also discuss whether to create a justification for sending Turkish troops and tanks across the border to protect a tiny island of Turkish territory inside Syria that houses the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman empire.   Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)  control the area near the tomb.  Fidan says it is easy to create a case for war.

He offers to send four men over the border who would fire missiles towards Turkey in a false flag operation.   Turkish tanks would then intervene just as they intervened in northern Iraq in the campaign against armed Kurdish separatists.  As the fighters on the Syrian side are linked to al-Qaeda it would be easy to get support for Turkey’s intervention since Turkey would have solid grounds in international law, he says.

Although the four men spend much of their time discussing ideas for expanding the war in Syria,  the overall tenor of the meeting tends to be one of improvisation and helplessness rather than crisis and urgency.   They complain that their Syria policy has little support from other political parties in Turkey.   Sinirlioglu deplores the fact that “national security has been politicised.  I don’t remember anything like this in Turkish political history.  It has become a matter of domestic policy”.

The foreign minister grumbles that Turkey should have gone to war over Syria in 2011.  Fidan sounds incongruous that they would intervene on behalf of a Turkish tomb when they did not to save millions of living Syrians.  Davutoglu says he finds it hard to get Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to engage on the issue.  “I have literally begged Mr Prime Minster for a private meeting”, he says.

Above all, the officials sense there would be massive reprisals within Turkey if they attacked Syria in a major way.  “The second after it happens, it’ll cause a great internal commotion. Several bombing events are bound to happen. The border is not under control”, laments the director of national intelligence.

His words stand as an epitaph for Turkey’s Syria policy three years after the crisis erupted.   Ankara first tried to negotiate with Assad, then it switched to support for Syria’s armed opposition, now it seems to be backing US plans for military strikes.   Meanwhile, the refugee crisis that is putting a huge burden on Turkey’s social and economic fabric looks set to grow.

 

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Syria: As the bombs fall, the people of Damascus rally round Bashar al-Assad

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 People in Syria see their country as being threatened by foreign powers, who are sponsoring the jihadist groups fighting President Assad Photo: EPA
People in Syria see their country as being threatened by foreign powers, who are sponsoring the jihadist groups fighting President Assad Photo: EPA

the Telegraph

It was a simple three-hour trip from Beirut to Damascus. The border crossing caused no problems, and thereafter the journey was interrupted by only a handful of checkpoints. My first impression of the Syrian capital, too, was that it is surprisingly safe. I saw no armed men on the streets during the journey to my hotel, and in the city centre life appeared to be continuing as normal. Residents even claimed that President Assad often drives himself to his office from the relatively modest flat where he lives, and can sometimes be seen stuck in the rush-hour traffic. When I had lunch at a restaurant with a government minister, there was no visible security at all.

But after only a few hours in this city, it becomes clear that Damascus is not normal in the slightest. Several of its suburbs are held by rebel fighters, who pound government-held areas with mortars. These do not have the range to reach the city centre, but most people live under the shadow of constant attack. It is as if the residents of Clapham had conceived a desire to annihilate Wimbledon and Brixton, and Islington had declared war on Camden Town.

As with the Blitz, these attacks appear completely random. Many of the shells land harmlessly, or do not explode. Others cause mayhem. On Tuesday, one struck a school in Bab Touma (St Thomas’s Gate), killing one child and wounding roughly 40. And over the past few days the volume of the bombardment has escalated sharply. An accountant who lives in the affluent suburb of Jaramana told me that his area had been hit almost 15 times before breakfast that morning.

On Palm Sunday, I went to the Old City and walked up Straight Street, following the route taken by St Paul after he had been blinded (Kokab, the scene of his Damascene conversion, is now in rebel hands). At the Greek Catholic church, I watched ceremonies of breathtaking beauty – in precincts that had been struck twice in the past week, though happily causing no injuries. On the way back, I passed a man looking dazed next to his ruined car. A mortar had struck it just a few minutes earlier. When I picked up the shell casing, it was still warm.

Over the past few days, I have talked to shopkeepers, students, soldiers, doctors, a dentist, MPs and government ministers (including the minister for tourism, who must have the most thankless job in the world). On the basis of these conversations, I would judge not just that support for the regime is holding up, but that President Assad could very well win a popular election, even if carried out on a free and fair basis. Such elections are in fact due: the president must hold a poll before July 17 if he is not to exceed his constitutional term of office. An announcement is expected soon.

Discussing this vote, I found – to my surprise – that even people outside the governing Ba’ath party, including some of Assad’s political opponents, said they would support him. Maria Saadah, an independent MP for Damascus, told me that her career as an architect had suffered because she did not belong to the Ba’ath, and that she had entered politics at the beginning of the crisis because she wanted to reform the system. But she added that the middle of a war against what she described as foreign-backed insurgents – which is how the regime ceaselessly depicts its opponents – was not the time for that. Syrian sovereignty, she said, had to come first.

This argument is very common. People here see their country as being threatened by foreign powers (above all Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all backed by the West) who are sponsoring the jihadist groups that make up the opposition. I was struck by the fact that this argument is not made only by the Alawite coterie around the president. I also heard it from Sunni Muslims, Christians and members of the various other cultural and religious groups that abound in Syria.

How can this square with the Western narrative that President Assad’s government, with the aid of a handful of tribal followers, is hell-bent on the destruction of the rest of the country? Consider the facts. Only a handful of members of Assad’s 30-strong cabinet (I was told two) are Alawite. The prime minister is Sunni, as are the interior minister, the justice minister, the foreign minister, even the defence minister. The delegation that travelled to Geneva for the failed peace talks several months ago was also almost entirely composed of Sunni Muslims (though they would probably reject sectarian terms, and prefer to think of themselves just as Syrians).

Nor is it merely the political class that thinks in this way. Last night I had dinner with a young doctor. He showed me a Facebook exchange that he had recently had with a former friend from medical school, who has joined the extremist opposition group al-Nusra. The doctor had put out a public status aimed at all jihadists asking them: “Please stop shooting at us with your mortars.” He was astonished to receive a reply from his friend: “I will put a bullet in your heads.” My doctor friend messaged him back: “I am not afraid of you.” This was followed by a horrifying response. “We love death, we drink blood. Our president is dead bodies. Wait for our exploding cars to kill you.”

There the matter rests for the time being. When I asked whether the doctor was afraid, he shrugged his shoulders and told me: “Of course he can come and kill me any time, just by putting a package in front of my door, or asking someone to come and shoot me.”

When I was in Bab Touma, I was approached by a shopkeeper, who insisted on taking me to his antiques shop. There, he served me tea and told me without rancour that no customers came to visit any more, and there were no jobs.

He walked me along an alleyway to his home and pointed to a destroyed balcony where his mother had liked to sit. Two months ago, she had been resting there as usual when she was killed by a direct hit from a mortar. “Your government,” he told me, “is the worst ever; they want Syria to be a democracy and ally themselves with Saudi Arabia, which has nothing to do with democracy.”

I have only been in Damascus a few days and have been out of the city just once, on a government-sponsored trip to the ancient Christian village of Maaloula, claimed back this week from rebel forces. I have not spoken to the opposition (travel in rebel-held areas is impossibly hazardous: many journalists have been kidnapped). I have been accompanied for much of the time by a government minder. I am well aware that the government has committed dreadful atrocities, though I suspect that some of the accounts have been exaggerated.

Nevertheless, I do think the words of my shopkeeper friend are worth pondering. If the insurgents who killed his mother win the war, there will be no Christian churches in Syria any more (just as there aren’t in Saudi Arabia at the moment). Life will be similarly terrible for many of the ordinary Muslims who make up the great majority of the population.

There are no “good guys” in Syria’s civil war. But we should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy its rich, pluralist and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam, of the kind favoured by Saudi mullahs. And for reasons that history may come to judge very severely, Britain, the United States, and the West have been aiding and abetting this project.

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In Damascus, a show of support for Assad [VIDEO]

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Canada Plans to Invade Syria

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Stephen-Harper-and-Netanyahu-400x224

Global Research

The pro-Israeli government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making diplomatic and military preparations for military intervention in Syria, leaked documents show.

Canada’s National Defense has drawn up at least five scenarios for the country’s military mission in Syria, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

In one scenario, Canada recognizes “a legitimate armed opposition group” fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

To justify a war on Syria, the National Defense alludes to “the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Syria, its impact on neighboring countries and … the importance of Middle East stability.”

Daniel Blouin, spokesman for the National Defense, has described such plans as “routine to significant international events.”

Separate documents reveal that Canada has been training alternatives to Assad’s government.

On Monday, the Syrian government said it holds the United States, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia accountable for previous and potential chemical attacks in the Arab country.

In letters addressed to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN Security Council Joy Ogwu, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stated that the countries involved in the conspiracy against Syria have sought excuses to justify their continued aggression.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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Jordan Warplanes Destroy Cars Along Syrian Border

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jordan-map

Antiwar.com

Jordanian warplanes attacked a destroyed an unspecified number of cars this morning along the border with Syria. The cars were camouflaged, though officials confirmed none of them were even suspected of affiliation to the Syrian military.

The official statement didn’t make any specific allegations of whose cars they were, but some reports said the cars had guns mounted on them and were believed to be affiliated with an unknown rebel faction.

Other than arresting the occasional smuggler, it is unusual to see much activity at all on the Syria-Jordan border, and indeed most of the rebel traffic in the area is of the US-backed rebels being trained by US forces inside Jordan, and going into Syria to fight.

That Jordan would go to the lengths of destroying the cars suggests whatever faction they were is not one of the run-of-the-mill groups they trained, but more likely one of the al-Qaeda affiliated groups more common along the Iraqi and Turkish borders.

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US Guantanamo detainee killed in Syria while leading NATO-backed death squad

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Ibrahim-Bin-Shakaran-300x170

Apr 17, 2014, New Eastern Outlook

The Long War Journal reported in its post, “Former Guantanamo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria,” that:

Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan who spent more than three years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before being released to Moroccan custody, has been killed while leading a jihadist group that fights Syrian government forces.

Bin Shakaran, who is also known as Abu Ahmad al Maghribi, Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, and Brahim Benchekroune, was “martyred, Insha’Allah, in battles for Hilltop # 45 in Latakia,” according to Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

Bin Shakaran led a jihadist group known as Sham al Islam, which is based in Latakia and is comprised primarily of fighters from Morocco, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Bin Shakaran created the group “not only to recruit fighters for the Syria war, but also to establish a jihadist organization within Morocco itself.”

Sham al Islam has been fighting alongside the al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, as well as Ahrar al Sham and the Army of the Emigrants and Supporters in an ongoing offensive in the coastal province of Latakia.

Curiously absent from The Long War Journal’s report is any mention of how Bin Shakaran made it into northern Syria in the first place. Clearly this is because it would involve mentioning Turkey, a long-standing NATO member, with NATO being the organization that invaded and occupied Afghanistan, and whom Bin Shakaran had been fighting and ultimately fled from before being captured.

The Long War Journal also makes mention of the Kavkaz Center, calling it “a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.” Only the Kavkaz Center had been backed by the now defunct US National Endowment for Democracy-funded ”Russian-Chechen Friendship Society.” While The Long War Journal poses as a stalwart fighter of terrorism, its Western-backed counterpart, the Kavkaz Center is promoting terrorism in Russia.

The Long War Journal” itself is a project of the Neo-Con Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). The FDD has counted among its membership US politicians and policy makers such as current US Vice President Joseph Biden, William Kristol, Steve Forbes, Charles Krauthammer, Paula Dobriansky – many of whom were signatories of the now notorious Project for a New American Century and who had been the chief proponents of the so-called “War on Terror” and the two costly conflicts fought in its name – the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The detention center in Guantanamo is part of the “War on Terror’s” legacy, a continuous point of contention between the US government and rights activists, and clearly a failure in its alleged role of keeping dangerous terrorists off the battlefield.

A Pattern That Fits Conspiracy  

What Bin Shakaran’s case appears to prove, is that Guantanamo, and the larger “anti-terror” network maintained by the United States is instead redirecting terrorists from NATO theaters of operation to conflict zones NATO is currently unable to directly intervene in. In Bin Shakaran’s case, that conflict zone is northern Syria. Bin Shakaran is joined by fellow US detainees like Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who was fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan, was briefly captured  in Malaysia and tortured by the CIA in Thailand, before then leading a NATO-backed assault on the Libyan government of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Other members of Bin Shakaran’s militant group were also Guantanamo inmates. This includes Moroccan-born Mohammed al Alami who Reuters reported on in their article, Former Guantanamo prisoner killed in Syria after joining Islamist brigade.” In it, Reuters stated:

A former prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base died fighting for anti-government rebels in Syria, according to an Islamist opposition group which posted a video of his funeral on YouTube. 

Reuters would add:

Alami, was the second known former Guantanamo detainee to be killed this year, Zelin added. A Saudi second-in-command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in July.

Throngs of terrorists, whose leaders are former inmates held in US custody, harbored, funded, and armed within NATO territory, and sent into Syria with NATO air and artillery cover fits the pattern of a conspiracy rather than a series of very unlikely coincidences.

It was in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism? that prophetically stated (emphasis added):
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

It is more clear than ever, with the West’s own warmongering policy makers admitting terrorists kept at their detention centers are now spearheading the fighting in a war of their own design, that the conspiracy described by Seymour Hersh in 2007 had been executed in earnest in 2011 and is continuing today.

The US and its axis partners are not waging a “War on Terror,” they are waging a “War of Terror.” While they will attempt to portray the appearance of Bin Shakaran and others in Syria as the unfortunate result of poorly planned policy, it was, by their own admission, all part of the plan, years before the so-called “Syrian Arab Spring” began.

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Now is the time to clip the wings of Australia’s Zionist lobby

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Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s exposure of the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on Australia’s body politic could be the beginning of the end of the lobby in that country, but that will happen only if we make sure that his message is kept alive and translated into political action.

Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein reminds us of the significance of Carr’s revelations.

Carr explains, in compelling detail, how Melbourne’s Zionist lobby pressures, romances, bullies and cajoles politicians to tow the most fundamentalist position over illegal Israeli colonies, Palestinian recognition at the UN, and even the language used to describe Israeli actions. He also claims that Israel lobby financing impacted the positions of elected politicians on foreign policy. Carr reports former [Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd telling him that about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community, and criticises Julia Gillard’s unfailing pro-Israel stance (see, for example, her effusive praise of the Jewish state after she received the Jerusalem Prize), pointing out that she would not even let him criticise Israeli West Bank settlements.

“It’s an appalling situation if Australia allows a group of [Jewish] businessmen [in Melbourne] to veto policy on the Middle East”, Carr summarises in frustration (unsurprisingly, local Zionist groups have responded with fury and defensiveness to the attack).

However, these appalling revelations should not be the end of the story. There is no time for those who care about Australia and about justice in the Palestine to rest on their laurels. As Loewenstein points, there is a lot more dirty laundry to be exposed. This includes

Bob Carr's Diary of a Foreign Minister

Bob Carr’s exposure of Australia’s Zionist lobby was made in his diary

the countless numbers of politician and journalists taken on free trips to Israel by the Zionist lobby, where they are often given a selective tour of the region. Tim Wilson, to take just one example,described an introduction to Israel which included a visit to a refugee camp in Bethlehem and a tour of the old city of Jerusalem, along with “meetings with politicians, academics and journalists” (organisers insist guests are “not controlled” and allowed open access).

These sponsored free trips are not junkets to be scoffed at.

Part of the softening of politicians to be receptive to the most extreme views on Israel and Palestine comes from those sponsored trips, coupled with relatively weak Palestinian advocacy and a post 9/11 context which paints Arabs with a discriminatory brush. These trips are not, as The Australian claimed last week, “to better understand its strategic fragilities from the ground” – that’s just lobby language. No, those trips – such as AIJAC’s [Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council] Rambam Israel fellowship – are in essence programs engineered to show journalists, human rights commissioners, advisors, student leaders and politicians the Israeli government perspective. More than a fair share of them return to Australia singing the praises of Israel, issuing caution over any end to the occupation in the process.

The extent of this aspect of the Israel lobby’s work is breathtaking.

Be astounded with this list, provided by the essential blog chronicler of the lobby, Middle East reality check, of all the media and politicians who have taken these trips over the last few years. This hand-holding can be perceived as one way to propagandise the elites against growing public support for Palestine, especially since few of these visitors seem to use their own initiative and visit Gaza or the West Bank for more than a few hours.

It is time to clip the wings of Australia’s Zionist lobby, which is doing immense damage to the country’s international standing. As Loewenstein says,

Posted in Europe, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Now is the time to clip the wings of Australia’s Zionist lobby

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