Archive | October 10th, 2014

Seeing through the Deceptions: The Truth about War

NOVANEWS
Global Research

Mainstream media consistently distributes disinformation to push the war agendas of the very institutions of power that keep them on the air.

Time and again, we have seen how deceptive reports have sent the West headlong into yet another conflict: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… the list is long and growing.

Many media portals exist proclaiming to have real, legitimate news, but unless they are 100% independent it becomes difficult to know to what extent their newscasts are imbued with spin.

In battling this onslaught of disinformation, the Global Research website remains completely independent: no funding from governments, foundations or institutions. It exists solely on account of the contribution of its readership.

As Graeme MacQueen writes:

Today, more than ever before, war depends on deception. To oppose war without seeing through the deceptions currently being practiced by governments of the West is to act in vain. I have visited many websites that attempt to offer alternatives to the mainstream media, but I have been disappointed repeatedly by their inability or refusal to challenge these myths and deceptions.

Global Research bravely takes on this task, and that is why it is a vital resource for us all. This is why I have made its website my homepage and why I have taken out a membership. I hope you will do the same. – Prof. Graeme MacQueen (for list of articles, click here), Co-editor, Journal of 9/11 Studies

Please help Global Research continue to deliver the truth, the real news that remains unreported, under-reported or downright manipulated by corporate news media. Scroll down to find out about our different annual and monthly membership options (all of which include free book offers!) and how you can support independent media.

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NATO Head: ‘We Can Deploy Our Troops Wherever We Want’

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Statement by Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg flouts NATO’s post-Cold War agreement with Russia that it will not permanently deploy combat troops to eastern and central Europe

New NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, pictured when he was Prime Minister of Norway, February 23, 2010. (Photo: Policy Network/flickr/cc)

New NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, pictured when he was Prime Minister of Norway, February 23, 2010. (Photo: Policy Network/flickr/cc)

In a challenge to post-Cold War de-escalation agreements, the new secretary-general of NATO declared on Sunday that the alliance can deploy its troops “wherever we want to” in Eastern Europe. The statement came just a month after the alliance pledged to develop “rapid response” military forces aimed at countering Moscow.

Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway, took the helm of NATO last week as secretary-general, replacing outgoing Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

During his ongoing visit to Poland, Stoltenberg told Polish state broadcaster TVP, “Next year, at the ministerial meeting, we will take decisions regarding the so-called spearhead but, even before it is established, NATO has a strong army after all. We can deploy it wherever we want to.” He continued, “These capabilities already exist. We have them, and we can deploy them in individual regions. And this is only an add-on to what the alliance already has.”

He made these comments despite the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, in which the alliance agreed to avoid “permanent stationing of substantial combat forces” to Eastern and Central Europe. But critics charge that NATO has been flouting the spirit of this and other post-Cold War agreements for years, through its expansion to include Baltic states and potentially Georgia and Ukraine, and more recently, its recent military expansion towards Russia.

NATO, which is led and majority funded by the United States, is itself a creation of the Cold War. More than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the alliance is engaged in numerous military conflicts, including the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, as well as the expanding U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria.

At NATO’s summit last month, the alliance approved the rapid response force but rejected a request from Poland for the permanent stationing of thousands of troops in the country, citing pacts with Russia.

John Feffer, author and co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Common Dreams that Stoltenberg’s statements on Sunday do not necessarily mark an immediate shift in policy, but rather, send a message to Russia: “This is a signal to Russia that ‘even though we didn’t accept Poland’s proposal, we still might go ahead and do that if Russia does something we don’t like.'”

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The GMO Biotech Lobby’s Emotional Blackmail and Bogus Claims: Monsantos Genetically Modified Crops Will Not Feed The World

NOVANEWS
Global Research

There are 7.2 billion people on the planet. There will be 9.6 billion by 2050. The demand for food will double… [Using GM food and data science is] the only thing that will enable us to feed the planet without encroaching on the forests and wetlands….This represents a business opportunity, but from a societal perspective, its very important. Robert Fraley, CEO of Monsanto, Winner of the World Food Prize 2013 [1].

The claims made by Monsanto do not stack up. Issues pertaining to the weaponisation of food aside [2], GM food represents little more than a massive business opportunity, a way of enriching a handful of people, all carried out under the guise of altruism.

Its difficult, in the short term, figuring out how I am going to make money dealing with people who dont have money. But in practice the development of agriculture at a village level is something that could make an enormous amount of business sense over time. – Robert Shapiro, former CEO of Monsanto (quoted in the CBAN report Will GM Crops Feed The World).

By development, what Shapiro really meant was allowing Monsanto to take control of agriculture and strategic policy decisions and destroying traditional methods, knowledge and practices in order to recast them in its corporate image [3].

The following quote is indicative of the pro-GMO lobbys use of emotional blackmail when forwarding its cause and the smearing of anyone who rejects GM crops as being an enemy of the poor and a hypocrite. Such statements are based on spurious claims about the efficacy of GMO technology and divert attention away from the true nature and causes of hunger and food poverty.

It is shameful to me that the leaders of some South African countries who are apparently well-fed, would rather see their populations go hungry then eat the same food we consume daily in the United States. – US Republican Senator Charles Grassley, 2003 (quoted in the CBAN report Will GM Crops Feed The World).

Proponents of GM crops claim that we need such technology to address hunger and to feed a growing global population. We are told by the GM biotech sector that GM crops are essential, are better for the environment and will provide the tools that farmers need in a time of climate chaos. It claims that GM crops provide higher yields and higher incomes for farmers around the world.

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) has just released a fully referenced report [4] that dissects each of these claims and dismisses them one by one. Readers are urged to consult the full report, but its main findings are presented below.

  • Hunger is caused by poverty and inequality. People are generally hungry not because of insufficient agricultural production but because they do not have money to buy food, access to land to grow food or because of complex problems like food spoilage, poor food distribution systems and a lack of reliable water and infrastructure for irrigation, storage, transport and financing.
  • If these deeper problems are not addressed and as long as food is not reaching those who are hungry and poor, increased agricultural production will not help reduce food insecurity.
  • We already produce enough food to feed the worlds population and did so even at the peak of the world food crisis in 2008. Current global food production provides enough to feed ten billion people.
  • The world produces 17 percent more food per person than it did 30 years ago and yet the number of food insecure people is still very high.
  • The recent food price crises of 2008 and 2011 both took place in years of record global harvests, clearly showing that these crises were not the result of scarcity.
  • The GM crops that are on the market today are not designed to address hunger. Four GM crops account for almost 100 percent of worldwide GM crop acreage. All four have been developed for large-scale industrial farming systems and are used as cash crops for export, to produce fuel or for processed food and animal feed.
  • GM crops have not increased yields and do not increase farmers incomes.
  • GM crops lead to an increase in pesticide use and cause further harm to the environment. Pesticide reduction was the primary selling point for Bt cotton adoption in India, but overall pesticide use has not decreased in any state that grows Bt cotton, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh.
  • GM crops are patented and owned by large corporations. These companies profit
  • From the sale of GM crops and royalties on GM traits, while small-scale farmers round the world bear the increased cost of buying seeds and the risks that come with using GM crops. GM crops reduce choice but increase risk for farmers, while the likes of Monsanto dominant the agritech sector and rake in enormous profits.

The main message is that hunger, food security and feeding the world is a political, social and economic problem and no amount of gene splicing is capable of surmounting obstacles like poor roads, inadequate rural credit systems and insufficient irrigation [5].

The answer to food security, food democracy and local/national food sovereignty does not lie with making farmers dependent on a few large corporations whose bottom line is exploiting agriculture to maximise profit.

As with other reports [6,7], the CBAN report concludes that we need to support diverse, vibrant and sustainable agroecological methods of farming and develop locally-based food economies. After all, it is small farms and peasant farmers (more often than not serving local communities) that are more productive than giant industrial (export-oriented) farms and which produce most of the world’s food on much less land [8]. And in line with previous findings, not least those of Helena Paul [9], it also states that experience with GM crops shows that the application of GM technology is more likely to enhance and entrench the social, economic and environmental problems created by industrial agriculture and corporate control.

Notes

1]http://www.globalresearch.ca/ weaponization-of-the-food- system-genetically-engineered- maize-threatens-nepal-and-the- himalayan-region/30512

2]http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/ business/industries/consumer/ article4069203.ece

3]http://www.globalresearch.ca/ independent-india-selling-out- to-monsanto-gmos-and-the- bigger-picture/5395187

4]http://www.cban.ca/Resources/ Topics/Feeding-the-World

5] Glover, Dominic. 2010. Exploring the Resilience of Bt Cotton s Pro-Poor Success Story. Development and Change, 41(6), pp.955-981.

6]http://unctad.org/en/ PublicationsLibrary/tdr2013_ en.pdf

7]http://www.unep.org/dewa/ agassessment/reports/IAASTD/ EN/Agriculture%20at%20a% 20Crossroads_Global%20Report% 20(English).pdf

8]http://www.grain.org/article/ entries/4929-hungry-for-land- small-farmers-feed-the-world- with-less-than-a-quarter-of- all-farmland

9]http://www.theecologist.org/ News/news_analysis/2267255/gm_ crops_are_driving_genocide_ and_ecocide_keep_them_out_of_ the_eu.html

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Keiser Report – Global Death Spiral ”VIDEO”

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Jr

RT

The term “vicious cycle” applies to the world economy. Another way to look at is the Great Unwinding. Assets bought with debt are crashing in value causing even more assets to show up in fire sales. As for the money borrowed to buy these declining assets, the loan agreements will make good kindling.

A promise to pay is only as good as the promiser – and bankruptcy changes the game. Loans are financial assets and as banks have to write then off, they also have to lower their reserves which lowers the amount of money they can lend which reduces asset prices…a vicious cycle and we’re far from the end of it. In fact, we’re only at the end of the beginning.

 

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Here’s Everything Wrong with the White House’s War on the Islamic State

NOVANEWS

The Obama administration’s war plans in Iraq and Syria are illegal, ill-conceived, and destined to fail. Here’s what the U.S.—and you—can do instead.

If Barack Obama owes his presidency to one thing, it was the good sense he had back in 2002 to call George W. Bush’s plans to go to war in Iraq what they were: “dumb.” (The war was many other things too—illegal, cynical, not to mention disastrous—but “dumb” was pretty good for a guy running for Senate back when both parties had largely lined up behind the war.)

Since then, Obama’s had his ups and downs with the antiwar voters who delivered his 2008 nomination and subsequent election. But throughout the arguments over drones, Afghanistan, Libya, and NSA spying—among other issues—Obama could always come back to these voters and say: Hey, at least I ended the war in Iraq. What do you think the Republicans would have done?

But now, with scarcely a whisper of serious debate, Obama has become the fourth consecutive U.S. president to launch a war in Iraq—and in fact has outdone his predecessors by spreading the war to Syria as well, launching strikes not only on fighters linked to the Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) but also on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and al-Khorasan.

This was no minor escalation. According to the Washington Post, the United States and its Arab allies dropped more explosives on Syria in their first engagement there than U.S. forces had dropped over all of Iraq in the preceding month. It was the largest single U.S. military operation since NATO’s intervention in Libya was launched back in 2011.

War planners are predicting that the latest conflict could rage for three years or longer, meaning Obama will bequeath to his successor a quagmire much like the one he inherited—the one he’d so distinguished himself by opposing and subsequently ending. That’ll make five U.S. presidents at war in Iraq and beyond in a row.

Polls show some significant public support for air strikes against IS, albeit alongside ample wariness about getting dragged in too far. Support for action against IS is easy enough to understand: Many fair-minded people otherwise weary of war in the Middle East are appalled by the brutality of IS and feel compelled to “do something” to stop them.

And we should do something. But not this.

We’ll come to regret this war, potentially long before it’s had three years to run its course. Here’s why.

This war is illegal.

So, first thing’s first: This war is unmistakably illegal.

Under international law—at least as defined by the UN Charter, to which the United States is a founding signatory—one country can only legally launch attacks inside another under one of three conditions: if the intervention is authorized by the UN Security Council; if it’s a cut-and-dry case of self-defense; or if assistance is requested by the other country’s government.

It’s true that in Iraq at least, the government requested U.S. assistance in stemming the spread of IS—an intervention promoted in Washington as part of an effort to prevent the genocide of Iraqi religious minorities like the Yazidis (remember them?). Yet the United States has continued launching strikes on IS positions in Iraq long after the crisis on Mt. Sinjar was putatively resolved.

But in Syria, not a single one of these conditions applies.

In a letter to the United Nations explaining its strikes on Syria, the Obama administration claimed that it had the right to attack IS positions that the Syrian regime was “unable or unwilling” to eradicate itself. IS, the administration argues, has used its strategic depth in Syria—where no U.S. intervention has been formally invited by the still-sovereign Assad regime—to attack Iraq, which has requested U.S. assistance.

Here it almost seems like the U.S. and Iraqi governments are taking a page from IS itself and attempting to erase the Iraqi-Syrian border. It’s true that IS is a big problem on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, but the government of Iraq simply has no legal authority to direct a third country to attack Syria. (Imagine a hypothetical scenario in which Russia attacks the United States because Syria requested help in warding off foreign intervention in its territory. This won’t happen, but it shows the inane implications of the administration’s rationale.)

Additionally, any claims the White House makes about “self-defense” at this stage are spurious, since U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that IS presently poses no threatto the U.S. homeland. This makes sense—after all, who has time for international terrorism when you’re also trying to conquer and govern new territory? No need to attack the “far enemy” when your objectives are achievable where you’re already fighting. (Unless, of course, the far enemy suddenly starts bombing you.)

Domestically, congressional authorization (if not a formal declaration of war) is required to launch sustained new military operations. Here the Obama administration is on even weaker ground. It claims that Congress’ 2002 war authorization in Iraq gives it some standing. But again, while the Middle East’s post-World War I borders may be arbitrary and problematic for a host of reasons, IS is currently the only party attempting to seriously argue that Syria and Iraq are not two different countries.

The administration is also leaning on the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF), which authorized using the military to track down the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. This has been quite liberally interpreted to authorize strikes against “al-Qaeda and its associated forces”—a reading of the law the Obama administration has used to justify drone strikes from Somalia to the Philippines—but even these legal gymnastics don’t seem to cover a group like IS, which split very publicly from al-Qaeda earlier this year.

That may be why the initial strikes targeted not only IS but also the al-Nusra Front and a group called al-Khorasan, which do appear to be linked to al-Qaeda. But while the White House has claimed that Khorasan—a previously unknown organization—was in the “execution phase” of some planned attack against the United States or Europe, the legal rationale for such “pre-emptive” strikes was thoroughly discredited by the last Iraq War. Moreover, U.S. counterterrorism officials have cast doubt on the administration’s claim that Khorasan posed an imminent threat to the United States. (And journalist Glenn Greenwald doesn’t believe the group exists at all.)

So why attack these other groups now? A likely explanation is that the White House is using these al-Qaeda-linked forces as a fig leaf to justify attacking IS—and getting involved in Syria more generally—under the previously passed AUMF. But getting mired down in Syria’s civil war—a war that began more than a decade after 9/11, and for entirely unrelated reasons—is a far, far cry from tracking down the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

This plan won’t work.

It should bother you that this war is illegal and unconstitutional. But even if you’re fed up with the legal niceties of the UN Security Council and the U.S. Congress, there’s simply no reason to believe that might is going to make right here.

Obama says the plan is to hammer IS targets from the air while bolstering partners on the ground—including the Iraqi Army, Kurdish fighters in Iraq, and “moderate” Syrian rebel groups—in a bid to roll back the advance of IS throughout Iraq and Syria without putting U.S. “boots on the ground” (never mind those 1,600 troops and advisers that have already been sent to Iraq, along with a likely undisclosed number of special forces).

As my colleague Phyllis Bennis is fond of saying, you can’t bomb extremism out of existence. She’s right.

For one thing, bombs cause civilian casualties, which are inherently radicalizing. “The U.S. bombs do not fall on ‘extremism,’” Bennis has written of the strikes on IS’ capital in Syria. “They are falling on Raqqa, a 2,000 year-old Syrian city with a population of more than a quarter of a million people—men, women, and children who had no say in the takeover of their city by ISIS. The Pentagon is bombing targets like the post office and the governor’s compound, and the likelihood of large number of civilian casualties, as well as devastation of the ancient city, is almost certain.”

A protracted air campaign is likely to cause a raft of unintended consequences. In Yemen and Pakistan, for example—the targets of the vast majority of U.S. drone strikes on alleged al-Qaeda “militants”—civilian populations have grappled with severe trauma and stressfrom living under the constant hovering drones. Terrorist recruiters have repeatedly sought to exploit this trauma—especially among the thousands of Yemenis and Pakistanis who have lost innocent loved ones. The best that can be said of these years-long campaigns from a national security perspective is that they’re holding actions. Al-Qaeda has certainly not been destroyed in either country, and it’s entirely possible that the drones themselves are providing a continued rationale for the group’s survival. It’s unclear why the Obama administration seems to think it can effect a different outcome in the vastly more complicated theater of Iraq and Syria.

Then there’s the problem of what comes after the bombs. If IS falls back under the weight of U.S. airstrikes, who moves in to secure the territory on the ground?

In Iraq, there are a few possibilities at this stage: the Iraqi Army, one of a number of Shiite paramilitary groups, or, in the north, Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

We saw the limitations of the Iraqi Army most dramatically earlier this summer in Mosul, where, after firing scarcely a shot, some 30,000 Iraqi soldiers turned the city—and millions of dollars worth of U.S.-supplied military equipment—over to just 800 attacking IS soldiers. In the years leading up to its capture of the city, IS had freely operated a lucrative protection racket among Mosul’s private businesses and cut deals with corrupt local leaders and members of Iraq’s security forces. So despite the Iraqi Army’s heavy footprint in Mosul—including a burdensome and much loathed system of traffic checkpoints—IS had beenconsolidating power there long before formally taking over.

The Iraqi Army turned Mosul over without a fight, but the result is often even worse when it decides to dig in its heels. While thousands of civilians fled Mosul fearing religious persecution by IS, thousands of others fled because they feared indiscriminate reprisal attacks by the Iraqi Army. These fears were well-founded—the Iraqi Army’s fondness for internationally banned barrel bombs was on full display in its failed efforts to retake Fallujah from Islamic militants earlier this year. The fact that so many Iraqis are more afraid of the Iraqi Army than IS says worlds about the political conditions that enabled IS to flourish in the first place.

Shiite militias, many of them backed by Iran and deeply implicated in Iraq’s post-invasion sectarian bloodletting, may prove more willing to fight than their counterparts in the military. Thousands of Shiite volunteers heeded a call by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani over the summer to help the Iraqi government protect Baghdad and Shiite holy places. But unleashing these irregular fighters amid a period of heightened sectarian tensions is a fraught proposition, particularly with IS deliberately baiting them by wantonly murdering Shiites and other non-Sunni Muslims. If these militias launch reprisal attacks against Sunnis—and scattered reports suggest that a few of them have—Iraq could descend back into full-blown sectarian war just when Iraq’s government needs to be courting Sunnis more aggressively than ever. Meanwhile, Shiite militias like Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah,  and the Badr Corps—some of which cut their teeth fighting U.S. occupation forces—are happy to fight IS but have refused to cooperate with American forces.

Finally, Kurdish fighters may prove more professional than their Shiite counterparts, but they also have a different set of goals. Kurdish groups have fought IS forces for years innorthern Syria, and, with help from U.S. airstrikes, peshmerga fighters in Iraq (and theirPKK allies from Turkey) have fiercely resisted IS’ efforts to push into Iraqi Kurdistan. But these fighters are ultimately most concerned about consolidating Kurdish territory—for example, they used the chaos of IS’ initial advance to seize control of the disputed (and oil-rich) Arab-Kurdish city of Kirkuk—and it remains to be seen how willing they’ll prove to risk their lives on behalf of Iraq’s central government, with whom the Kurds have a fraught relationship. Massoud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, has suggested he will push for a referendum on Kurdish independence as soon as it’s practicable, even if he’s working with the new Iraqi government for now.

In Syria, the options are even worse.

Outside IS itself, the most competent and cohesive fighting force in the country is probably the Syrian Army, which fights on behalf of a regime the Obama administration has refused to cooperate with and whose human rights abuses have been well documented. Though the Syrian government never formally consented to the strikes against IS on its territory, its evident pleasure at the development was hard to miss. After all, here was a coalition of Syria’s enemies abroad, scarcely a year removed from threatening to topple the Assad regime itself, now bombing its most formidable enemies at home.

Instead of dealing with the Syrian regime, the White House is betting it can vet, arm, and transform a gaggle of “moderate” Syrian rebels into a suitable counterweight to both Assad and IS. This has been a pipe dream of Washington’s war hawks for years, but it’s so fraught with problems it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, it’s extremely unlikely that the rebel forces considered acceptable by the Obama administration are suitably strong at this point to seriously contest either IS or Assad, much less both of them. The most effective rebel forces for the bulk of this conflict have been radical Islamists hardened by battle against U.S. forces in Iraq or the Russians in Chechnya, and amply funded by governments and private donors from the Gulf (and in IS’ case, a huge network of protection rackets, stolen bank assets, and oil sales).

Despite Congress’ approval of $500 million in new funds to train and arm other Syrian rebels, the CIA—which has been already been conducting a smaller-scale program in Jordan to do just that—is reportedly deeply skeptical about the plausibility of this plan, with one member of Congress reporting that CIA sources had described it as a “fool’s errand.” Marc Lynch, a Middle East expert at George Washington University, has argued that, given the diversity of rebel groups jockeying for influence in Syria, funneling more arms into the conflict is likely to complicate and prolong it, not help resolve it. And the University of Michigan’s Juan Cole has pointed out that even “moderate” groups forge tactical battlefield alliances with groups like IS and Nusra when the need arises, leading to a virtual certaintythat arms supplied by the United States could be traded to or seized by IS. This happened even with the Iraqi Army, so it’s a good bet that it would happen with Syrian rebel groups too (and indeed, some reports suggest it already has.)

If IS falls back, the United States is going to be responsible for the actions of whoever takes its place. And while many of these groups currently seem preferable to IS, we should not be enamored of our choices. In entering an extraordinarily complex conflict that has harvested hundreds of thousands of lives, the Obama administration stands to make hundreds of thousands of new enemies, whichever side it takes. And if anyone in Washington still remembers funding Osama bin Laden’s crusade against the Soviets in Afghanistan, they’ll know that even friends are fickle.

Finally, what if IS doesn’t fall back? What if it hides from U.S. airstrikes, harvests recruits from the families of slain civilians, or appropriates the weapons shipments sent to its putative rivals? Alternately, what if, bolstered by U.S. airpower, the Assad regime emerges triumphant in Syria? The Obama administration has defined both of these outcomes as unacceptable, but the White House has not outlined a contingency plan in either case. It’s an open secret in Washington that many of Obama’s generals are eager to send ground troops. That could lead to a major escalation of a war whose current scope has hardly been debated at all.

In a way, we’re still fighting the blowback from the first U.S. intervention in Afghanistan back in 1979, when the United States launched an ambitious campaign to support anticommunist jihadists in their fight against the Soviets—an effort that helped produce groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban. How long will this new war echo, and through what yet unforeseen corridors?

There are other options.

War, in short, is a terrible option.

But the fact remains that IS is a determined and brutal threat to millions of people on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border (and beyond, if you believe the ambitions expressed in some of its more fanciful maps). And given IS’ origins in al-Qaeda in Iraq—a group born and nourished in the chaotic years following the U.S. invasion—the United States bears no small share of responsibility for the current state of affairs. That means Washington should shoulder some of the responsibility for fixing it.

There’s plenty that the United States can do to weaken IS on the more technocratic front. To start, it can freeze the bank accounts of IS’ funders, negotiate partnerships with villages where oil pipelines run to cut IS’ oil revenues, and work with partners in Europe and Turkey to stem the flow of Western fighters into the conflict. The U.S. should also dramatically increase its support for the United Nations’ badly underfunded humanitarian assistance programs in Syria, and send support to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey that have absorbed millions of refugees.

More fundamentally, the White House must recognize that IS flourishes not simply because of its resources—and much less on account of its ideological appeal—but because of political breakdown on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

In Syria, a grinding civil war has been exacerbated by fits of sectarian bloodletting and theabsence of competent administration in rebel-held areas. In Iraq, a Shiite government has ruthlessly repressed the country’s minority Sunnis, turning a blind eye to roving death squads, arresting and torturing nonviolent Sunni activists, and discriminating against Sunnis in the public sector (especially in western Iraq, where jobs and patronage promised to the tribes who had previously turned on al-Qaeda, at great risk to themselves, withered on the vine). One wonders if the Obama administration saw the New York Times feature, published on the eve of its expansion of the war into Syria, which reported that six weeks of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq had failed to peel away IS’ support among the Sunni tribes still deeply suspicious of the Iraqi government, despite a recent change of personnel in Baghdad.

The answer, then, is political. But the current campaign of airstrikes and arms peddling threatens to deepen the political crises in Iraq and Syria, not resolve them. Instead, the Obama administration should work to ameliorate political conditions on each side of the border.

In Syria, it should convene rebel groups, the regime, civil society activists, and regional players like Turkey, Iran, Russia, and the Gulf States to restart negotiations for a political solution to the war. If there’s a silver lining to these latest airstrikes, it’s that the administration can use them as leverage to get Assad and the rebels to the table.

In Iraq, it should condition all further assistance on the development of a more inclusive political order that protects the country’s minorities—not just smaller groups threatened by IS like Christians, Turkmen, and Yazidis, but also the country’s millions of Sunnis. The administration could also link its nuclear negotiations with Iran to the political crisis in Iraq—quietly exploring, for example, an agreement to allow Iran to enrich more uranium for peaceful nuclear power generation in exchange for a pledge from Tehran to rein in the Iranian-backed militias most likely to sow sectarian discord in Iraq.

These are tall orders, and they’re unlikely to see quick results even if pursued aggressively. But given the horrendous legacy of U.S. wars in the region—and not to mention America’s failure to destroy even a single terrorist group after over a decade of continuous military mobilization—diplomacy is a much better option than the guaranteed failure we’re currently embarked on.

It’s not too late to change course.

Obama and his military planners have announced that they expect this new war to last for years. But that’s assuming Congress authorizes it.

Support for some kind action is quite broad in Congress, especially among party leaders. But as Frank Rich has observed, this support is about “an inch deep.” Few members are willing to vote on a protracted new war before a contested midterm election. They may take the issue up after the election if the war doesn’t look too disastrous yet, but that gives opponents of the conflict plenty of time to organize against it before a vote is held.

Arguing that some kind of authorization is inevitable, groups like the Congressional Progressive Caucus have focused their efforts on pushing a resolution that restricts the scope of the conflict while still permitting strikes on IS. Others, like Just Foreign Policy, have organized petitions urging a firm “no” vote on any kind of authorization whatsoever.

Personally I favor the latter approach—I don’t think this poorly considered war deserves a congressional vote of confidence, much less domestic legal authorization. If the last time the U.S. was on the edge of the abyss in Syria—when public opinion was much more resolutely opposed to intervention than it is now—is any indication, a vote could potentially be avoided altogether if it looks doomed to fail. Last year, the Obama administration resigned itself to jettisoning its war plans and pursuing a diplomatic trackto dispose of Assad’s declared chemical weapons arsenal, illustrating the power of organizing to avert a war even when it enjoys widespread elite support.

It’s not yet too late to educate your friends, neighbors, and lawmakers about the pitfalls of this new war and the availability of alternatives—you can send them this article, or one of many others like it, and find local groups in your community organizing against military intervention.

Maybe you’ll launch the career of the next rising star to recognize a “dumb war” before it’s fashionable.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iraq, SyriaComments Off on Here’s Everything Wrong with the White House’s War on the Islamic State

The body of Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Brad hospital 12 days ago .. and his son barred from entering Lebanon to collect his body

NOVANEWS

Image: the body of Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Brad hospital 12 days ago .. and his son barred from entering Lebanon to collect his body Fayez Abu Aid- special / refugees Net twelve days and the body of the Palestinian refugee Syrian

Palestinian refugee Syrian “Mohammed Suhail bin Abdul Rahman Ramadan,” was born in 1939 is in the hospital Baabda government to Beirut waiting from reimburse treatment costs incurred by him before that provide it away and get it out of the hospital and buried just like any other human beings . issue of elder Mohamed Ramadan raised on the pages of social networking (Facebook) through the prism of his books by “Khalil Smadi” on his reflect the extent of the suffering of the Palestinian refugees of Syria in Lebanon and incurred from the hardships caused by the reflection of the manifestations of the ongoing war in Syria him, and the decisions that taken by the Lebanese authorities against them, Kmenah from entering Lebanon and the non-renewal of their residence and then deport them to Syria, which has led to the dispersal of many families where can not the number of members who are in Syria to catch up with their families in Lebanon because of these actions, this is what happened with Ali Ramadan son of the late, who decided, upon learning of the death of his father, and the presence of his body in the hospital, to enter Lebanese territory to come out of his father from the hospital and is buried.

But the Lebanese General Security, and according to what stated by the son of the network refugees Net case between them and refused to enter Lebanon because Palestinian Suri, and added Ali I waited for hours and hours but to no avail, so I went back to Syria, but I will try again to re-attempt and I hope that allows me to enter Lebanon to bury my father and bid him farewell.motionless media and committees work my family reported the pages of social networking (Facebook), especially ones on the Transport News Palestinian refugees Syrians news of the detention of the body of the Palestinian refugee Syrian “Mohammed Suhail bin Abdul Rahman Ramadan” and refusing to take it out only after payment of the costs of treatment that was owed ​​him, and showed the extent of inequity and injustice suffered by the Palestinian refugee Syrian deprived of entry of most Arab countries, and therefore launched a number of activists Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon appeal appealed to the institutions and bodies of relief and charity to intervene in order to pay the amount and buried old Mohammed, government had met some of those institutions, the appeal was sent to the Committee on the Palestinians in Syria,

Lebanon’s delegate in Beirut to visit the hospital Baabda government, to see closely at the details of the subject and communicate with management hospital, which confirmed to him that the body of the patient is then due to the lack of receiving it, and the ceremony of burial. turn the Office of Refugees (UNHCR) in the Hamas movement to follow up the issue of the late Mohamed and continue with the Lebanese General Security in order to introduce his son to Lebanon, and the issuance of entry permits exceptionally Lebanese General Security To be able to enter Lebanese territory. As the Office of Refugee Affairs in the Hamas movement to secure an ambulance to transport the body of the deceased from the hospital and to prepare for his funeral. .. and Tomorrow is another day! followed ..

 

 

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs, LebanonComments Off on The body of Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Brad hospital 12 days ago .. and his son barred from entering Lebanon to collect his body

Silencing Mumia Abu-Jamal, Again

NOVANEWS

Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting: “Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) on Thursday sent an outraged letter to the Vermont college that will have Mumia Abu-Jamal as a commencement speaker, urging the school to revoke its invitation to the convicted cop-killer.

“’Is there any crime so heinous that Goddard would not reward the perpetrator with a spot as commencement speaker?’ Toomey asks in his letter to Robert Kenny, the interim president of tiny Goddard College. On Sunday the school is due to have Abu-Jamal address 20 fall graduates in a pre-recorded speech.” The Washington Post: “Goddard College sparks outrage with invitation to jailed cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.”NOELLE HANRAHAN, globalaudiopi at gmail.com
A private investigator and journalist based in Philadelphia, Hanrahan is director of Prison Radio. She edited Mumia Abu-Jamal’s book All Things Censored and for years has produced his recordings from death row and now from prison. He has always maintained his innocence and many human rights groups have charged irregularities in his trial. She helped produce the documentary “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal,” which features Alice Walker, Ramsey Clark, and Mark Lewis Taylor speaking about Abu-Jamal’s important place in education .

Hanrahan said today: “The mainstream media would do well to listen to [Mumia Abu-Jamal’s] always illuminating and insightful commentaries. His ability to speak truth to power, represents a clear challenge to American hegemony. So much so that the U.S. Senate, President Obama and the mainstream media continue to make the fact of his voice and his survival a touchstone.”

She notes that John Edgar Wideman, professor at Brown University has said, “If Mumia Abu-Jamal has nothing important to say, why are so many powerful people trying to kill him and shut him up?”

Posted in USAComments Off on Silencing Mumia Abu-Jamal, Again

ISIS, Turkey, and the Propaganda of Intervention

NOVANEWS
Global Research
turkey_syria-300x225

Today’s headlines are filled with reports of the imminent fall of the Syrian city of Kobani to forces of the Islamic State (ISIS). There are terrifying descriptions of an imminent massacre and the looming threat to Turkey as Islamic State forces move ever closer to the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkish President Erdogan waxes poetic about how he “warned the West” about the threat IS would pose and the dangers of inaction. It seems that everyone, including security experts and pundits, agree that the situation is critical and that US bombardment alone is powerless to protect the town or halt IS.

And yet, somehow lost amid the din of cries for intervention is the simple fact that it is US policy and the actions of the aforementioned Erdogan along with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Israel that created ISIS, nurtured it in its infancy, promoted its development, and unleashed it on Iraq and Syria. And now, for those same leaders, along with a chorus of interventionist voices in the media establishment, to sound the alarm is not only cynical and utterly disingenuous, it is a shining example of the arrogance of empire.

Kobani and the Story Not Being Told

As fighters of the Islamic State (IS) continue their charge towards the mostly Kurdish town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border, deep cracks in the edifice of the US-led coalition against IS have begun to emerge. Diplomatic infighting has shattered the illusion of a cohesive and unified coalition cobbled together by Washington. Not only have a number of countries been apprehensive about getting deeply involved in yet another unwinnable war in the Middle East led by the US, some ostensible allies have used the crisis as an opportunity to achieve political objectives. Perhaps the world leader in cynical opportunism this week is Turkish President Erdogan who has thus far refused to involve his forces in the war on Syria unless that war has as its ultimate aim the toppling of Syrian President Assad.

On October 7th, the NY Times ran a story with the headline Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the US which quoted a senior Obama administration official saying, “There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border…After all the fulminating about Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe, they’re inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe…This isn’t how a NATO ally acts.” While the obvious implication is that Erdogan could cost the US the chance at a successful anti-terror operation, there is a subtle subtext that has gone almost entirely unnoticed; Turkey sees in ISIS an opportunity, not a threat.

And this is precisely the point. IS is in fact a creation of NATO intelligence agencies (including Turkey), and it is achieving by force and propaganda what Washington, London, Riyadh, Doha, Tel Aviv, and Ankara never could – the expansion of the war in Syria.

Since at least late 2011, US intelligence has been working diligently along the Turkish-Syrian border to funnel arms and fighters into Syria in hopes of bringing down the Assad regime. As the NY Times reported in June 2012:

C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government… The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar… The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

It should be emphasized and repeated from the mountaintops that Erdogan’s government, according even to senior Obama administration officials, has been intimately involved in hosting, arming, financing, and providing safe haven to precisely the same terrorists who today are regarded as the greatest threat in the region. The notion that “Syria’s neighbors” are providing arms is a not so thinly veiled reference to the key role of Turkish intelligence in coordinating the attempted regime change inside Syria. And so, when Erdogan demands a No Fly Zone in Syrian airspace as a precondition for Turkish boots on the ground, he does so knowing that Syria would rightly interpret a Turkish invasion as, well, a Turkish invasion.

The notion that Turkey, the country perhaps most directly responsible for the rise of ISIS, is somehow failing NATO and the Kurds by not taking action is a complete inversion of reality. It is the equivalent of publicly reprimanding an arsonist for not actively helping fight the fire he started. If the so called “international community” were serious about demanding action from Ankara, perhaps it could start by asking the following questions:

  1. What is the relationship between Turkish intelligence, its secret base/training center at Adana, and the terror groups now subsumed into the group known as ISIS or the Islamic State? Does the Turkish government deny the countless media reports, including those by mainstream news outlets such as Reuters, alleging direct coordination of the terror elements inside Syria dating back to 2012?
  2. To what extent is Turkey using the rise of ISIS as leverage over both its “Kurdish problem” and its perceived regional rival in Iran?
  3. Why does Turkey reserve the right to use military force against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) which it regards as “terrorists,” while refusing to use military force to protect Kurds against actual terrorists? (Note: this is not to imply that Turkish military force inside Syria is acceptable)
  4. Does Turkey truly believe that it can effect regime change in Syria through ISIS proxies and still contain the threat to itself and its citizens?

Naturally, such questions are unlikely to be asked, but positing them is critical if we are to cut through the propaganda now emanating both from Ankara and Washington. Each interested party responsible for the destabilization of Syria (US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, et al) is busy trying to scapegoat the other in vain attempts to distance themselves from this crisis of their own making.

Kobani and Interventionist Propaganda

Recent days have seen a flood of stories describing the imminent massacre about to unleashed in Kobani by ISIS. Much of what has been written has noted the obvious hypocrisy of intervention – that it is never applied equally, but only when politically expedient for the intervening country. In particular, focus has been placed on US intervention on behalf of Iraqi Kurds, and the conspicuous refusal to intervene on behalf of Kurds in Syria.

Naturally, such a comparison begs the question as to the morality, not to mention political and military practicality, of such interventions. The implication is that “If it was good enough for Iraq, why shouldn’t it be good enough for Syria?” Never mind the fact that the US war in Iraq is one of the great crimes against humanity in recent decades, a nakedly imperialist war fought not for the Kurds, but for profit and geopolitical and strategic aims. Never mind the fact that Obama’s recent strikes inside Iraq had little to do with the Yazidi minority, and much to do with effecting regime change against Maliki and reasserting US influence in a country that had been moving rapidly into Iran’s sphere of influence.

The Guardian published a particularly well-written op-ed which made just such a parallel. The author poses the following question: “Why did the United States rush to protect Kurds in Iraq – when Isis fighters started advancing toward Irbil and embarking on a genocidal rampage against the Kurdish-speaking religious minority Yazidis – but do little to save Syrian Kurds in Kobani from the same threat?” There is a deception, or at the very least a clearly dishonest equivalence made between the two, implicit in this question. Namely, that intervention in either case is actually intended to achieve the publicly stated objective. It is not. Quite the contrary, such humanitarian concern is merely the pretext by which US-NATO-GCC is able to carry out its military option for effecting regime change in a country that has steadfastly resisted it for three and a half years.

The piece in the Guardian, like nearly every pro-intervention article written about Syria and ISIS betrays either an ignorance of, or more likely, tacit approval of, military aggression against Syria. Those who have been following the Syria conflict since 2011 know perfectly well that what we are witnessing is not a new development, but rather a realignment of propaganda strategy, a reframing of the issue from “down with the brutal dictator” to “down with ISIS.” This is the new false narrative with which the world is being presented. Either you must support military incursion into Syria without any coordination with the legally recognized government in Damascus, or you support ISIS and the slaughter of Syrian Kurds. This is a clever use of propaganda, not an honest examination of the material reality on the ground.

The responsibility for what happens in Kobani must be laid at the feet of the real perpetrators: ISIS and its patrons and sponsors in Ankara, Riyadh, Doha, and Washington. Those who posture as if there is simply no solution to the situation other than more American bombs would do well to actually investigate the causes of this cancer in the region, rather than proclaiming their commitment to eradicating the symptoms. Perhaps their investigation could start with a few real questions for Turkey and the United States?

Posted in TurkeyComments Off on ISIS, Turkey, and the Propaganda of Intervention

Analysts Sound Alarm on ‘Myth’ of Moderate Syrian Rebels

NOVANEWS

US reliance on ‘fantasy’ of moderate forces in Syria exposes misguided strategy of expanding war, warn experts.

A sign seen at a 2007 anti-war protest. (Photo: Thiago Santos/cc/flickr)

A sign seen at a 2007 anti-war protest. (Photo: Thiago Santos/cc/flickr)

The backing of so-called “moderate” rebels is a stated cornerstone of Obama’s expanding air bombardments on Syria, and Congress last month cleared the path for aiding, arming, and training armed groups in Syria, which have yet to be fully identified to the U.S. public. But as the expanding U.S.-led war on that country enters its second week, and the war on Iraq enters its eighth, analysts warn that U.S. military entanglement is built around myths and falsehoods regarding who these armed groups are, what support they can actually offer, and what they want.

“The proposition that there is a moderate Syrian opposition with enough military potential and—even more importantly—popular support inside Syria to overthrow the Assad government is a myth,” write Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett for Consortium News. “To claim in addition that these mythical moderate oppositionists can take on and defeat the Islamic State is either blatantly dishonest or dangerously delusional.”

Similar skepticism can be found across the political spectrum, including hawkish national security columnist David Ignatius, who wrote in the Washington Post, “The problem is that the ‘moderate opposition’ that the United States is backing is still largely a fantasy.”

Experts charge that Obama is deluded to think that the rebels back U.S. interests. Reese Erlich writes:

Contrary to conservative criticism, the Obama administration has tried to create pro-U.S. civilian and armed groups. Obama has failed, not because of “lack of leadership” but because Syrians won’t accept U.S. policy. In my interviews inside Syria and neighboring countries, Syrian rebels and opposition activists made clear they opposed the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington’s total support for Israel. Every Syrian I ever met wants Israel to return the Golan Heights seized in 1967, for example, but the U.S. isn’t interested in having that discussion.

Meanwhile, American allies such as Saudi Arabia have armed extremists such as the al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia’s ultra-right-wing interpretation of Islam shares many ideological similarities with al-Nusra and IS. Yet the U.S. plans to have Saudi Arabia train “moderate” Syrian rebels, which is like asking Al Capone to train Chicago police cadets.

Furthermore, it is not clear that leaders of the Syrian armed groups the U.S. points to as its closest allies even back the expanding U.S. war. Foreign Policy writer David Kenner writes:

America’s most plausible allies on the ground in Deir Ezzor, however, remain critical of the international effort. Foreign Policy interviewed six FSA commanders from the province who are currently exiled by the Islamic State and hiding outin southeastern Turkey. All of them were arrested at some point by the jihadist group; some were tortured. They all agree that the U.S. airstrikes in their home country are a bad idea.

FSA fighters and commanders complained to Foreign Policy that they have received no increase in support since the international effort to combat the Islamic State began, despite promises from the Obama administration that the United States would begin supplying arms to the rebels. The FSA fighters also disparaged the airstrikes, saying they would mainly kill civilians and give the Assad regime a chance to gain ground

The criticism of a strategy which relies on “moderate” rebels is just one of several deep concerns shared by analysts. Phyllis Bennis warns that, ultimately, there is no military solution to the rapid spread of ISIS. She writes:

[Y]ou can’t bomb extremism out of existence. The U.S. bombs do not fall on “extremism,” they are falling on Raqqah, a 2,000 year-old Syrian city with a population of more than a quarter of a million people – men, women and children who had no say in the take-over of their city by ISIS. The Pentagon is bombing targets like the post office and the governor’s compound, and the likelihood of large number of civilian casualties as well as devastation of the ancient city, is almost certain.

President Obama was right when he said there is no military solution to the ISIS crisis. Bombing Syria, without Congressional authorization, without United Nations approval, in direct opposition to the stated position of Syria’s government, will only make that crisis worse. It will give ISIS and its allies a new basis for recruitment, it will strengthen the repressive Syrian government, it will undermine Syria’s struggling non-violent opposition movement, and it will further tighten the links between ISIS supporters in Syria and in Iraq.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Analysts Sound Alarm on ‘Myth’ of Moderate Syrian Rebels

The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened ”VIDEO”

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Jr

 

Contrary to what the mainstream media has tried to convince you, it’s not at all a mystery how the fire started in Odessa, Ukraine and it’s not at all a mystery who started it. We owe it to the victims to expose what really happened.

Full Transcript and sources: http://scgnews.com/the-odessa-massacr…

 

 

 

Posted in UkraineComments Off on The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened ”VIDEO”

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