Archive | March 21st, 2015

UK to spend even more money to “protect Jewish institutions”

NOVANEWS

About a week ago, we reported that on a trip to Europe, Ira Forman, America’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and a leading Jewish activist, declared that “many Jewish bodies in Europe are being bankrupted by the growing need for security measures.” While visiting Stockholm, Forman went on to tell European journalists:

Every Jewish community in western Europe certainly needs security support. Many of them are being bankrupted by the money they have to spend to protect their institutions.

The organized Jewish community and the Jewish owned and controlled mass media constantly hypes, exaggerates, and even manufactures the threat of “anti-Semitism” in order to generate sympathy for the Jewish people, perpetuate their status as a benevolent, harmless, persecuted minority, and to ensure Jews continue to receive special privileges, including government funding for security.

As if on cue, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Thursday the Unite Kingdom would increase spending on security for Jewish institutions, organizations, and schools. San Diego Jewish World reports:

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Thursday, March 19, welcomed an announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron to increase spending to better protect Jewish institutions in the UK against potential terror attacks. “The measures Mr. Cameron proposed are exemplary, and will no doubt make a difference,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

“We welcome the British government’s strong commitment to the protection of the Jewish community, and we hope that other European governments make similar commitments soon. Islamist terror and anti-Semitism must be stopped if we want to preserve a vibrant Jewish life in Europe,” said Lauder.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the WJC’s member in the UK, also welcomed Cameron’s promise to increase funding. “We hope that this will provide a model to tackle other forms of hate and violence in UK society, including Islamophobia, homophobia and violence against disabled people. We will continue to work alongside other groups in order to tackle all forms of hatred in our society,” the Board declared in a statement.

In Wednesday’s speech to the Community Security Trust in London,Cameron pledged “to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got,” adding that “no disagreements on politics or policy can ever be allowed to justify racism, prejudice or extremism in any form.” Cameron said an additional £3 million ($4.4 million) a year would be allocated to the protection of synagogues and other potentially vulnerable Jewish community buildings, in addition to the £7 million ($10.3 million) provided in Wednesday’s budget to fund guards for all Jewish private schools and colleges.

“If the Jewish community does not feel secure then our whole national fabric is diminished. It is not just about the enormous contribution you all make to our society – it is more profound than that. It is a measure of the vigor of our institutions and the health of our democracy that the Jewish community feels safe to live and flourish here. It is about the strength of the values that we stand for,” Cameron said.

He also made it clear that while Britain was a tolerant country, Islamist hate preachers would be expelled. He also defended Israel: “When people talk of trying to boycott Israel – you will never be alone,” Cameron said, adding: “When students on campus are afraid, when shechita is under threat, when Jewish institutions need extra security – you will never be alone.”

Pointing out the right of “Israel to defend its citizens, a right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality,” Cameron praised Israel as “an extraordinary nation.”

Cameron’s promises to increase government funding specifically to “protect Jewish institutions” comes at a time when thousands of White British children – young boys and especially girls – are being groomed, trafficked, raped, and abused, largely by Muslim immigrants Jewish politicians, pundits, and public policy makers worked so hard to allow into the United Kingdom. Has Cameron said anything publicly about the abuse of White British children by hostile Third World aliens, let alone indicate he is willing to spend government funds and resources on their well-being?

Can it be any more obvious how traitorous the entire Western political establishment is? Can it be any more obvious how completely subservient our politicians and political parties are to international Jewry and the Jewish state of Israel?

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“Rwanda’s Untold Story”

NOVANEWS

UK Calls on Rwanda to Restore BBC Broadcasting in Kinyarwanda

Global Research
carte_rwanda

The U.K. Foreign Office called on the Rwandan government to lift the ban on its BBC broadcast in the language of Rwanda and Burundi in Rwanda. The government banned the native language broadcast after the BBC broadcast Rwanda’s Untold Story,” a documentary [posted below] which upends conventional belief about the Rwandan massacres of 1994 and the government in Rwanda today.

Transcript

KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Landau: Earlier this week, the British Foreign Office called on the Rwandan government to lift its ban on the BBC broadcast inside Rwanda in the country’s native Kinyarwanda language. The Rwandan government suspended the broadcast and accused the BBC of “genocide denial” last October, after it had broadcast the documentary “Rwanda’s Untold Story” in the U.K.

“Rwanda’s Untold Story” challenges the conventional wisdom about the Rwandan massacres of 1994. U.S. academics Alan Stamm and Christian Davenport told the BBC producers the vast majority of those who died in the massacres were Hutus, not Tutsis.

Rene Mugenzi

Rene Mugenzi

Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s former officers and officials told the BBC that Kagame did not mobilize his army to save Rwandan Tutsis but to seize power in Rwanda. And Belgian scholar Filip Reyntjens told the BBC that President Kagame is the greatest war criminal in office today.

KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Rene Mugenzi, a Rwandan exile and activist in London. She filed this report.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: BBC Gahuza, the BBC broadcast in the language of Rwanda and Burundi, is produced in London with Rwandan and Burundian journalists based in London, Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda and Burundi share the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa ethnic demographics, speak the same language, and share much of the same history characterized by rivalry between majority Hutu and minority Tutsi.

BBC Gahuza continues to broadcast on its FM signal in Burundi and on the internet, where a few people with internet access in Rwanda can hear it. Before the Rwandan government banned the FM broadcast in Rwanda, it reached the entire country, including even rural villages. Rene Mugenzi, Rwandan exile and founder of the Global Campaign for Rwandan Human Rights, said that it had been Rwanda’s only real news broadcast.

Rene Mugenzi: That radio is the only Rwandan language-speaking radio that has programs that have all the voices from different backgrounds, different opinions, and that brings the real news, which is not controlled by the Rwandan government. That radio was the most popular radio in Rwanda because it was the only one that the population can trust 100 percent in terms of providing political and security news, because in Rwanda, local media is much controlled.

BBC Gahuza is the only radio service broadcasting in the Rwandans’ native language that “brings the real news,” Mugenzi says. This is a 2011 story on BBC Gahuza’s website.

BBC Gahuza is the only radio service broadcasting in the Rwandans’ native language that “brings the real news,” Mugenzi says. This is a 2011 story on BBC Gahuza’s website.

It cannot dare criticizing the government or interviewing people who also criticize the government. That radio was providing the free media the way it should be.

KPFA: Mugenzi said that he and fellow exiles in London and around the world welcomed the BBC documentary “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” which finally brought much of what they had been saying for 20 years to a major media audience with global influence.

Rene Mugenzi: After that program, most of the Rwandan community in the U.K. and the other countries have been very, very happy towards that program, because the program has been able to portray what most of us have been saying for the past 20 years – the reality of what really happened in Rwanda, what really happened in 1994 and what is happening now.

And because most of the media have been portraying images which have been sponsored or influenced by the Rwandan government, this documentary was very major, very breakthrough in showing the truth about what happened.

KPFA: In a statement calling for restoration of the BBC Gahuza broadcast in Rwanda, the British Foreign Office also called on the Rwandan government to respect human rights and cited human rights abuses including the arrest and disappearance of dissidents, lack of due process for detainees, the murder of former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karageya, multiple assassination attempts on the life of former Rwandan Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, and the ongoing imprisonment of political opposition leaders including Victoire Ingabire.

Mugenzi said that was welcome, but that the Foreign Office had cited Rwandan human rights abuses in Rwanda many times before, and that if the British government is serious, it will suspend aid and impose sanctions on top officials responsible.

If the British government is serious, it will suspend aid and impose sanctions on top officials responsible.

In 2011, Mugenzi went to Amnesty International with evidence that Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army was guilty of massacring 8,000 Rwandan Hutu people in an Internally Displaced Persons, or IDP camp in southwestern Rwanda in 1995. Shortly after that, the BBC and the London Independent reported that British police had warned Mugenzi and another Rwandan exile, Jonathan Musonera, that they were in danger of being assassinated by agents of the Rwandan government in the U.K.

For PacificaKPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News,CounterpunchColored Opinions and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening NewsKPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.

 

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Cuba – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

NOVANEWS
Global Research
USA Cuba

Direct from Havana, 20 March 2015.

On 17 December 2014, President Obama declared that 55 years of embargo didn’t work in bringing ‘freedom’ to Cuba. He proposed reestablishing diplomatic relations with the southern neighbor. An emotion of joy shook the world, especially Latin America. Raul Castro received wires and calls of congratulations. Cubans cheered “we won, we won!” – The US Congress right wing was not quite ready for this initiative and, indeed, there was no concrete mention of how and when the ‘blockade’ would be lifted.

Surely, Washington wants to impose its conditions. Washington conditions never serve an ally, let alone a foe. Washington conditions are always set to first serve the ‘national interest’- i.e. the interest of the US corporate and financial elite. Most vassals simply accept. Their happiness to be recognized in the Washington camp compensates for all the pitfalls Washington hegemony imposes. Just look at Europe with the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact) which – currently being negotiated in secret! – if approved by the neoliberal European Commission, spells not only disaster for European generations to come, but means the EU being literally colonized by the US; slavehood for EU citizens.

Cuba will not accept such conditions, for sure. Cuba has already set some of its own conditions, one of them being the return of Guantanamo, originally and under past Cuban puppet governments a 99-year concession that has expired years ago. Guantanamo today is pure theft. The criminal capture of a piece of another country’s territory, so that no US law could be applied to the crimes committed there. Torture of so-called ‘terrorists’ and terrorist suspects in the US-stolen enclave of Guantanamo are well and alive. No US law can stop the crime. International laws are ignored by empire. Washington, the exceptional nation, is above all laws. If a judge, national or international, doesn’t conform, he is simply removed or eliminated.

Two days after Obama’s bold initiative, on 19 December 2015, he went to the Washington Press Club to tell a horde of puppet journalists, conservative politicians and onlookers that soft measures, like reestablishing diplomatic relations with Havana might be more successful in bringing the desired regime change to Cuba than more years of isolation. He couldn’t have been more direct and more honest about his intention. The Cuban Government and whoever else listened didn’t miss the point.

Isolation has been gradually fading over the past years. Russia and China and many ‘amigos’ in Latin America and Europe – Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, France, to name just a few – have established almost regular trading relations with Cuba. Despite the constant threat of ‘sanctions’ by empire. It is high time for the White House to change tactics if it doesn’t want to lose out to its arch-enemies Russia and China.

Many  Cubans have a sense of disillusion, that they simply welcome any possibility of change. When asked, almost all say, ’it’s a good thing. We are looking forward to it’. However, they are discrete. Nobody openly complains and less so to curious foreigners. When prompted about how they think Washington will help them, they don’t know. They just want change. Not regime change, to be sure, a better life. They want hope. They want a chance for future generations. Cubans are not hungry. But they see an enormous disparity between themselves and the rest of the world. Especially when they see plane loads of tourists arriving, spending multiples of their monthly incomes for one night in four or five star hotels.

They are not jealous per se, but they see the enormous difference between themselves and those who have access to foreign exchange, including some Cubans who receive money from their families in the US, Cubans able to travel abroad as artists or academics, or Cubans able to mount small businesses with the help of friends and families abroad. They see that something is not quite right. And this in a country where social and economic equality is one of the Government’s priorities.

Cubans are not afraid of hard work. Cubans are creative; they have great ideas; they are highly educated; they know what is going on in the world, much better than the average European, or North American for that matter. Cubans are inventive. They have savvy for advancing their country and improving living conditions for themselves.

Cuba has large agricultural areas, fertile land, but according to local academics, more than 50% of suitable agricultural acreage lies idle. Cuban farmers lack incentives. Government controlled prices do not cover costs, or leave insufficient margin for the hard work of farming. Cuba, with its 11 million inhabitants could be more than food self-sufficient. However, Cuba imports about 80% of food which it rations to its people.

None of the Cubans want to lose the tremendous achievements of their Revolution – one of the world’s best systems of health and education, a country of peace and tranquility – a country where crime is almost non-existent. What they want is a standard of living that corresponds to their capacities – physical, academic and entrepreneurial. When prompted, they also realize that Washington doesn’t bring the solution. The solution has to be found from within.

They see what Washington is doing to their brothers in Venezuela – sanctions, embargoes, outright economic warfare. – And for what? – To subjugate the people and to control their resources; colonization of the Bolivarian nation, the first step in taking back Obama’s ‘backyard’ – South America – the only part of the world, other than Russia and China, that has successfully detached itself from empire in the last couple of decades and so far resisted Washington’s attempts in meddling in South America’s sovereign affairs. They have created UNASUR and ALBA, solidifying their unity.

Cubans say we are strong. We have 56 years of revolution on our backs and in our hearts; we know how to defend ourselves. We have fought a civil war for more than 5 years and kicked the Yankees out. We have successfully defended ourselves against the empire’s aggression by air and sea, led by President Kennedy in 1961. We will do it again, if we must. Indeed, Cubans are strong. They are tenacious. They have tremendous will power.

But Cubans also must be reminded of today’s reality. Once Washington puts its heavy boots in a country, it’s (almost) impossible to get rid of them. If the boots are insufficient, the three-branched war machine will follow – bombs, ‘sanctions’ by economic fascism (neoliberalism) – and relentless propaganda. Everywhere they put their foot, they sow disaster, leave behind rubble and death, countless refugees, desolation for generations to come. Cubans know that.

I talked to dozens of people in the street, in restaurants, shops, libraries – from workers, to taxi drivers, to medical doctors, to economists, to professors and other academics, to artists and even an Angola war veteran – their views are consistent: ‘We can’t continue like this’. These people are all brilliant in their own ways. And they are all desperate for a better life with a vision towards the future. – But to repeat, not regime change at all, especially not Washington style, but internal change for a better life and a brighter future.

A cab driver told me, Cuba is wonderful, a bit tranquilo – even boring. But your country is flooded with tourists like never before, I countered. There is hardly an empty bed in Havana; you have more tourists than your infrastructure can reasonably absorb. Yes, he said. But almost all of them are ‘package tourists’. They come in prearranged, all inclusive tours. They are picked up in buses from the airport, brought to four or five star hotels, then driven around from one site seeing place to another; they eat in pre-arranged restaurants and then – hop, he flipped with his fingers – and off they are. None of them touches any local business; they don’t take taxis, they hardly talk to Cubans; they don’t see how we really live.

The money the international tourists pay for their tours is shared between the foreign travel agent and the Cuban government. None of it trickles down to us, the common people, who earn the equivalent of between 25 and 40 dollars a month, while a room in a 5 star hotel costs up to US$ 300 a night, or 15 to 20 times the monthly wage of the average Cuban. He didn’t sound jealous at all; just matter-of-factly.

Cuba’s economy is beset by multi-layered distortions – distortions as results of accumulated ‘corrections’ over the past 50 years that led to an economic and financial complexity, today unreformable by traditional means. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the pillars of the Cuban economy suddenly and for the Cubans apparently without warning imploded, corrections and counter-corrections multiplied Cuba’s economic conundrum.

For the past twenty-five years, Cuba has known a two-tier economic system of sorts. The country uses two currencies, one for local use, the Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible (CUC), mostly for foreigners and foreign trade. The CUC is closely linked to the US dollar, almost one-to-one. The conversion rate between the CUP and the CUC is 1 : 25. It takes 25 CUP for one CUC. The average Cuban monthly salary is between about 600 and 900 CUP, i.e. about 25 to 40 US dollars equivalent, the relation between the earnings is that of a worker versus a medical doctor. Of course, food, lodging, electricity, water and other services are state controlled and cheap; education, health and other social services are free. Nevertheless, this two-currency system creates an enormous gap between those with access to foreign exchange and those who simply live on their CUPs.

The Cuban GDP is said to be close to the equivalent of US$ 70 billion, although it is difficult to understand the arithmetic behind this indicator, given the monetary distortion. Total services, including tourism account for almost 75% of GDP, Industry, including nickel exports, for 20%, while agriculture contributes a mere 5% to Cuba’s economic output. Similarly, GDP growth over the past 5 years has been unstable, fluctuating, between 1% and 4 %; today it stands at about 1.4%.

Debt is about 37% of GDP, less than that of the average Latin American country. Foreign reserves are said to be US$ 10 billion, about 15% of GDP, a healthy reserve for a country with 11 million people. However, the reserve is left untouched, like money in a safe, with the expectation that it might attract foreign investors – and serve as a rescue and recovery fund for hurricane disasters.

The currency distortion exacerbated by the lopsided GDP composition and the unused reserve funds, one would think requires first and foremost an internal, perhaps radical restructuring of the economy. It could start with delinking the CUC from the dollar and devaluing the CUC to a level which would allow eliminating the local CUP, converting Cuba into a single currency system, a step taken by China, when they transformed their double currency system into a one-currency economy in 1984. This might mean starting from square one, so to speak – local production for local markets. Loosening at the same time Government control on local initiatives would bring the necessary incentives to restart the productive engine.

Argentina may serve as an example. When Argentina’s economy collapsed in 2001, the Government broke the peso-dollar parity, devalued the peso by some 60% and started afresh – local production for local consumption. With its own currency, Argentina gained back its economic sovereignty, thus, the ability to negotiate its foreign debt at its own terms. Over the next decade, Argentina grew on average by 8% – a highly distributive DGP growth, helping to reduce poverty from close to 70% in 2001 to way below 10% in 2014.

The solutions for an internal problem never come from outside and less so from the United States. Foreign investments usually come with strings attached, some with steel chains. Following the US and European conditions for their investments, might imply accepting the dictate of the IMF, World Bank and IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) neoliberal economic disaster policies. What these policies of economic fascism have done and are still doing to the world – so-called ‘structural adjustments’ in Africa, Latin America, Asia – and lately the manufactured Eurozone crises starting in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and even Italy – speak for themselves.

The latest example of empire’s destruction for dominance is Ukraine; first by a CIA / State Department / NATO inspired coup in February 2014, then by a civil war instigated by the newly US / EU-imposed Nazi-Government of criminal thugs in Kiev – civil war against the eastern Ukraine brothers, led by CIA mercenaries with NATO ‘advisors’ – and finally by an illegal financial war, theft of resources driven by debt, imposed by the infamous ‘troika’ – IMF, European Central Bank (ECB) and EC (European Commission).

Cuba’s sizable reserves might serve to initiate economic recovery in priority sectors like agriculture, telecommunication, tourism and rehabilitation of local infrastructure. The conditions and priorities for foreign investments should always be laid down by the host country. Foreign investors should be linked up with local enterprises as joint ventures, like China did, when it opened its borders to foreign investments in the 1980s. A foreign partner must never be allowed a majority holding. In the case of Cuba, priorities for foreign investors might include, among other sectors, cutting edge technologies in communication and computer sciences.

According to a Cuban economist, an academician, the multi-faceted complexity of economic distortions, combined with the need for investments and increased output efficiency, leads to fear of making the wrong decisions which leads to inertia which leads to a stagnant economy that lacks incentives for people’s initiatives. This vicious circle of inaction must be broken, but certainly not by an outside ‘change agent’, but from within.

From within – always with the credo ‘Hasta la Victoria Siempre!’

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Britain Imprisons Migrants

NOVANEWS
Global Research
political prisoners

Migrants seeking safe haven asylum are treated like criminals.

British media largely ignore what’s ongoing. A March 3 London Independent report was a rare exception proving the rule.

It headlined “Immigration centres: Act now to overhaul Britain’s ‘shocking’ detention of migrants indefinitely and in appalling conditions, say MPs.”

It bears repeating. Britain is more police state than democracy. Abused migrants seeking life and liberty are “held for years” under conditions resembling “high-security prisons,” the Independent reported.

Appalling treatment violates fundamental human rights. It’s “catastrophic” for detainees’ health and welfare.

Britain is the only EU country permitting longterm “locked up in limbo” with no right of appeal.

“Some lose hope and they try to kill themselves,” said one detainee.

“Some try burning themselves with whatever they can get. Some try hanging themselves in the shower.” Others slash their wrists.

“They think it’s the only way out. I’ve seen this with my own eyes.”

“Detention is a way to destroy people. They do not kill you directly, but instead you kill yourself.”

Thousands endure appalling treatment amounting to torture and other forms of abuse.

Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather chaired an inquiry into what’s going on. People detained longterm suffer “intense psychological damage,” she said.

Britain’s repressive migrant detention system desperately needs a total overhaul.

“Medical conditions in some centres (are) so bad that some detainees (aren’t) given treatment even after they tried to kill themselves,” said the Independent citing parliament’s report on migrant abuse.

Detainees are bullied, harassed, beaten and otherwise abused.

UNHCR’s Gonzalo Vargas Llosa said Britain’s policy of “routinely detaining asylum-seekers for reasons of administrative convenience” violates fundamental human rights principles.

“Detention is not only costly, but can have a lasting, detrimental impact on the mental and physical health of asylum-seekers.”

Shami Chakrabarti heads the UK-based Liberty civil and human rights group.

She calls Britain’s “scandal(ous) detention system one of the greatest stains on the UK’s human rights record in recent decades – a colossal and pointless waste of both public funds and human life.”

A Cameroon detainee said “(w)hen I asked for protection, my rights were confiscated and I lost my freedom.”

A Rwandan said “(y)ou are just a number, nothing. I attempted suicide twice.”

A Ghanian said “(y)ou’re left to rot. People just give up.”

In 2013, Britain detained over 30,000 asylum seekers. They continue treating them like criminals.

RT International alone features regular reports on what’s ongoing. US media ignore it entirely.

In February, RT discussed children imprisoned in UK immigration detention centers despite Whitehall’s commitment to end the practice.

According to Refugee Council’s Judith Dennis, “unaccompanied children arrive in the UK alone, frightened and often traumatized.”

They’re “thrown into adult detention centers” with no regard for their safety or welfare.

Last November, a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron from Oxford University’s Amnesty International, nine heads of Oxford Colleges and 61 senior professors called detainee treatment “contrary to the spirit of democracy, the Human Rights Act, and the United Nations Convention on Refugees.”

It said no one should be detained for administrative purposes “without trial, without time limit, without proper judicial oversight and with little chance of bail – and thus treated worse than criminals.”

Oxford’s Amnesty International president Jo Hynes said Britain “detains more migrants for longer and with less judicial oversight than any other country in Europe.”

A former Ugandan asylum seeker told RT she “just wanted to die.” She spent three months in detention.

She called conditions “horrendous.” Guards “don’t look at you as human beings. It’s true when they say we are animals.”

“Those (detained) without mental health issues end up with” them.

Over two-thirds of women in one detention facility are rape and torture survivors.

Detainees get so depressed, they stop eating, lose hope and want to die. Guards abuse women sexually.

Administrative assessments are made solely to determine who’s fit for deportation back to countries detainees fled from fearing for their lives, safety and welfare.

RT reported on hundreds of asylum seeking detainees hunger striking for justice – protesting horrific conditions no one should have to endure.

A Harmondsworth detainee said “(m)ost (in the facility) are very angry. Two days ago two Pakistanis collapsed because they’d not had a meal” for days.

“We are not criminals. We are humans. We are not animals,” he said.

Refugee Council’s Lisa Doyle said “(i)t’s hardly surprising that people imprisoned inside Britain’s detention estate are protesting.”

“It’s extremely distressing for asylum seekers to be locked up when they haven’t done anything wrong with no release date in sight.”

“Ministers must accept that the cat is out of the bag. Immigration detention is inhumane, expensive and inefficient.”

“If the government wants to prove it’s serious about justice and protecting vulnerable people then it’s high time they consigned the whole system to the history books where it belongs.”

Detainees listed grievances in a letter to Britain’s Home Office. They complained of brutalizing treatment, inadequate healthcare and no legal help.

“Nobody’s listening. Nobody defends us,” said one detainee. “It’s no humanity. They are treating us like we are animals or less than animals.”

Thousands are detained under Britain’s Detained Fast Track (DTF) system – established in 2002 to handle asylum seekers.

A damning parliamentary inquiry published days earlier discussed abusive, inhumane conditions in UK detention centers nationwide.

MPs called for detaining asylum seekers a maximum 28 days.

The Detained Voices web site publishes firsthand accounts of detainee mistreatment.

Comments include saying food served is inedible. Conditions are terrible.

Facilities are infested with rats and bed bugs. Cells are like cages. Nobody cares about people locked up inside.

Some die from mistreatment, lack of care or suicide. Many call conditions harsher than prison. At least there you know when you’ll get out.

Detainees have no rights whatever. Most asylum seekers get deported back to home countries.

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US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

NOVANEWS
Global Research
MediaLiesTV

If you are a journalist writing about or a person concerned about issues like Free Speech, read or write in alternative media or news, Occupy movement, Ferguson, Gaza, Ukraine, Russia, police brutality, US interventionism, fair government, homelessness, keeping the government accountable, representative government, government intrusions like the NSA is doing, or you are liberal, progressive, libertarian, conservative, separation of church and state, religion, …

If you have a website, write, read, or like something in social media that strays outside the new lines the war isn’t coming, its now here.

What would we do?  Disrupt, deny, degrade, deceive, corrupt, usurp or destroy the information. The information, please don’t forget, is the ultimate objective of cyber.  That will directly impact the decision-making process of the adversary’s leader who is the ultimate target.”- Joel Harding on Ukraine’s cyber strategy.

Welcome to World of Private Sector IO (Information Operations)

IO or IIO (Inform and Influence Operations) defined by the US Army includes the fields of psychological operations and military deception.

In military IIO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of “Inform and Influence Operations”  is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences “think and act” in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audiences emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant.

Meet Joel Harding-Ukraine’s King Troll

According to his own bio- Joel spent 26 years in the Army; his first nine years were spent as an enlisted soldier, mostly in Special Forces, as a SF qualified communicator and medic, on an A Team. After completing his degree, Joel then received his commission as an Infantry Officer and after four years transitioned to the Military Intelligence Corps. In the mid 1990s Joel was working in the Joint Staff J2 in support of special operations, where he began working in the new field called Information Operations. Eligible Receiver 1997 was his trial by fire, after that he became the Joint Staff J2 liaison for IO to the CIA, DIA, NSA, DISA and other assorted agencies in the Washington DC area, working as the intelligence lead on the Joint Staff IO Response Cell for Solar Sunrise and Moonlight Maze. Joel followed this by a tour at SOCCENT and then INSCOM, working in both IO and intelligence. Joel retired from the Army in 2003, working for various large defense contractors until accepting the position with the Association of Old Crows.

According to TechRepublic -The career of Joel Harding, the director of the group”s(Old Crows) Information Operations Institute, exemplifies the increasing role that computing and the Internet are playing in the military. A 20-year veteran of military intelligence, Mr. Harding shifted in 1996 into one of the earliest commands that studied government-sponsored computer hacker programs. After leaving the military, he took a job as an analyst at SAIC, a large contractor developing computer applications for military and intelligence agencies.

Joel Harding established the Information Operations Institute shortly after joining the Institute at the Association of Old Crows; he then procured the rights to InfowarCon and stood it up in 2009. Joel is an editor of “The IO Journal”, the premier publication in the field of IO.  Joel formed an IO advisory committee, consisting of the 20 key leaders from Us and UK corporate, government, military and academia IO. Joel wrote the white paper for IO which was used as background paper for US Office of the Secretary of Defense’s QDR IO subcommittee.

For ten years the Association of Old Crows has been the Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Association, but there has been no concerted effort to rally the IO Community. This has changed, the IO Institute was approved as a Special Interest Group of the AOC in 2008 and we have already become a major player in the IO Community. This is especially important with the recent formation of the US Cyber Command, with the new definition of Information Operations coming out of the Quadrennial Defense Review, with a new perspective of Electronic Warfare and a myriad of other changes. The IO Institute brings you events, most notably InfowarCon. Our flagship publication is the IO Journal, already assigned reading by at least two military IO educational programs. IO classes are integrated with Electronic Warfare classes to educate, satisfy requirements and enable contractors to be more competitive.

When you look at the beginning of the NSA’s intrusive policies you find Joel Harding. Harding helped pioneer the invasive software used by government and business to explore your social networks, influence you, and dig out every personal detail. In Operation Eligible Receiver 1997 he used freeware taken from the internet to invade the DoD computers, utilities, and more. It’s because most of it is based in “freeware” that NSA snooping has a legal basis. If you can get the software for free and use it, why can’t the government use it on you?

Ukraine-Bringing it into Focus

Looking back at Joel Harding in 2012 seems like a different man. This is the same accomplished professional described above before Maidan. Here’s how he describes the Russian, Chinese, and American experience before his involvement in Ukraine.

…These experiences, and the fact that I spent nine years in Special Forces and that kind of thing, caused me to think.  Then I began to wonder.  How much of what we read and what we see is propaganda?  Not foreign propaganda, but domestic?  How much of that domestic ‘information’ is propaganda? …We are being smothered in one lie after another. All in the name of politics. It seems to me that these politicians are almost complacent with us behaving like suckling pigs, absolute ignorant morons…Free, unfettered, uncensored information exposes the lies their governments prefer to feed them, allowing their citizens to know and understand the truth.  Authoritarians, like dictators, communists, fascists and many sectarian or religious governments, are said to enhance their authority over their citizens with the use of filters.”

So I ask you, do you see more lies and propaganda here than I saw in China or Russia? I would say it depends on your perspective.  I see more lies aimed at us from our own politicians than I have ever seen anyplace else in the world…   you tell me. Are Americans more susceptible to propaganda?-Harding

Joel Harding has quite a different opinion in 2014 after taking control of Information Operations (IO) in Ukraine.

Part of USIA formed what is now called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the BBG, who oversee VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MEBN, Radio Marti and other international broadcasting bureaus – their mission is to broadcast “fair and objective” reporting to what I called ‘denied areas’, such as Russia – Harding

Ukraine

Febuary 22nd 2014 marks Harding’s first involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. “Yesterday I agreed to help present the information of this situation, bringing in representatives from many of the sources cited above.  It is time International Broadcasting is examined.”- Harding

On February 28th 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center. Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations. On March 1st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine.

Pravy Sektor

In early March 2014 US President Barrack Obama issued an executive order stating anyone challenging the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government was subject to US sanctions including US citizens. The way it is written journalists in the US wondered if they would be put on a terrorist list.

On March 3rd, only a few days into the new job Harding’s advice was “Now I have a thought bouncing around inside my head, which actually makes sense.  But the repercussions are wild, off the charts, bloody and may destroy a nation. ..If one looks at that graphic, natural gas pipelines run through Ukraine.  If one had the talent, one could close valves in any of those pipelines and shut down a major part of Russia’s exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand.

Bumping this up one step, blow up those pipelines, although that is going to make one helluva mess.

This would result in a Russian invasion.  End of story?  No.  Imagine trying to defend thousands of miles of pipeline.  Ukrainian insurgents would make Russia devote dozens of divisions of soldiers…” At the time Victoria Nuland was trying to court Pravy Sektor into legitimacy by offering money and support.

That same day Harding noticed

“Suddenly I have 510 people in Ukraine following this blog.  That is a..  let’s see, 510 divided by four, multiplied by 100 is a 12,750 percent increase in one day!  Gee, I wonder why?”- Harding

On March 16th Dimitri Yarosh answered. Yarosh threatened gaslines across Ukraine. The advice Harding gave threatened one of the only remaining sources of income remaining in Ukraine for the Kiev junta.

From that moment on Harding geared his public writing to Ukraine. He provided military advice, the unified press stories Ukrainian media put out, IO cyber tactics, military manuals, psy-op manuals, and unified the large international press cover the Eastern European emigre populations provided. Behind the scenes beyond creating new government ministries it’s easy to fathom the impact he is having.

For all you Ukrainian intelligence officers about to put the lives of your soldiers at risk, I urge you to take a few hours and study this book, from cover to cover…Be professional, be calm, and do your absolute best. No matter what the circumstances. Good luck.”- Harding

Throughout the past year Harding and others fleshed out the Ukrainian version of democratic “free speech” based on how he has concluded it should be in the USA. On December 12th 2014 Harding wrote “Ukraine is a bright shining star.  They approved a Minister of Information Policy. They received a National Information Strategy and are working on a counter propaganda center.  Hopefully they are going to remove the paywall at KyivPost.com.” – Kiev Post did just that. They Read Joel Harding?

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic is critical of Kiev’s decision to create the new ministry.

Dubbed “the Ministry of Truth” the new Ministry of Information Policy forbids journalists to write anything that is critical of the government policy.

“Wonderful news out of Ukraine.  I submitted some papers to this end.  I personally believe a few of my words survived.  I know others involved in other parts of this effort…Minister of Information Policy Yuri Stets has five missions…”-Harding

On February 23rd 2015 Harding tweeted the creation of the i-army. The next day it was announced to the world. “This effort is geared to contain what they call Russian propaganda in the west. “In late January, Ukraine’s Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, promised to create an “information-army” to fight Russian propaganda…”

War on Western Journalists, News sites, and Americans

On January 11th the peacemaker website went live with a mission to …In the future the Peacemaker site will be similar to the site of the Viennese Simon Wiesenthal Center, which since the late 1940s has been focused on tracking and catching Nazi war criminals. In the case of Ukraine, these will be criminals who destroyed the Ukrainian people — the traitors,collaborators, Russian and other mercenaries, and military personnel taking part the undeclared and therefore illegal war by Russia, he concluded…”

Under Ukrainian law journalists that disagree with Kiev’s policies are collaborators. They are subject to any mechanism Kiev can devise to stop them. In the case of RT Ruptly or the Guardian this means developing a strategy to ruin their reputations. The Interpreter was developed to that end. Kiev has gone so far as to petition the UK government to censure the Guardian for its coverage of events in Ukraine hoping to bully the publication into line. US broadcasters (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) have put RT on the same list as ISIS.

Who is a Propagandist?

Since Harding’s definition of propaganda is “any news coming out from your opponent”, a propagandist would be tightly defined as the enemy operative that writes the news. In this view any journalist or news outlet; both mainstream and alternative that publishes articles or video going against his agenda is propaganda or worse -active measures.

It is the term “active measures” below that needs to be keyed in on. Almost all of Joel Harding’s professional career has been devoted to Information Operations and developing a cyber offense to combat terrorists. A person employed in “active measures” according to its definition is committing political warfare against the USA , is a terrorist, and their writing is just short of a hot war.

The writings of 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire fit the bill describing a terrorist that is working to overthrow the US government because she writes about the injustices done in Gaza, and Syria.

Just by reading the titles it is obvious she is completely biased – anti-American, anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian and pro-Syria. She is entitled to her opinions but an educated reader will note her consistent bias. Shades of Soviet, now Russian, Active Measures.  Ask a well established distinguished person to write not slightly skewed, but highly biased articles bashing America and Israel.  I would guess if someone were to investigate Global Research.ca they would find funding leading right to PressTV.  I wouldn’t even be surprised to find a link to Rossiya Segodnya, RIA Novosti, Voice of Russia or RT. Welcome to Propaganda 101, 21st Century style.- Harding

Private citizen Joel Harding has used both his connections and training as an SF to create a private foreign IO army which today is over 40,000 strong with the sole purpose of destroying publications, journalists, and people that “he deems” as supporting Russian propaganda and people engaged in “Russian active measures.”Add into this that Harding wrote the white paper the doctrine of US Army Cyber Defense is based in, he pioneered the field of cyber warfare, developed the means and methods of the NSA and you have one of the most formidable practitioners on the planet. People spread throughout mainstream media that came after him were taught or mentored by him, his colleagues, and belong to the groups and associations he leads.

Long story short, if you write about social justice like Mairead Maguire, you are a targetable terrorist. It has been decided by private citizen Joel Harding. Today Ukraine is his project and if you are writing about it that’s what you stepped into.

In truth it doesn’t matter what you write about, his minions cover everything corporations and governments have an interest in. Ukraine isn’t the test case, America was through the NSA. America failed miserably guarding responsible free speech. Ukraine is the first full scale rollout operation. The people and methods employed will continue long after the Ukraine War is over if they win the information war we are all in.

Take it from someone who was hearing military drones 2 or 3 times a week for months, spent a month in a town “occupied” at times by both Pravy Sektor and the Natz Guardia, whose home shook for months because of the artillery and rockets, and at the end of that occupation found themselves only hours from becoming another “cleansing casualty” before we were rescued. As much as I have written about these things I had to leave many things unsaid.

From my experience YOU, where ever you are would rather face 100 men with the capabilities of Navy Seals, or Delta Force and heavy weapons than just 10 men with ¼ of Mr. Harding’s capabilities, intelligence, and connections. In the end 100 extremely trained warriors remain 100 men. Within months Harding has turned very few into a highly focused 40,000 and most of the propagandists he writes need to be dealt with by his army are Americans on American soil. That army is going to work influencing millions to go to war with Russia.

How Far Will Ukraine’s King Troll go to destroy You?

And there are many kinds of propaganda; let me focus on what we are mostly seeing being dumped on us by Russia …I’ll put them in a spreadsheet and send it to anyone wanting to help.  Together we’ll see if we can send that to enough people to make a case against him, embarrass him and make it impossible for his to show his face without being labeled a bad journalist, a liar, guilty of perjury, and a dirty propagandist…Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos.  Eyewitness accounts are suspect.  Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don’t know of any others). Harding Aug 31

Mechanisms of Enforcement

“They probably have been really frightened by the idea of bearing criminal responsibility sooner of later for their actions or for becoming persona non grata in the civilized world,” Herashchenko wrote.

It is also noteworthy that foreign intelligence services have become interested in the Peacemaker site — the CIA, FBI, European intelligence and counterintelligence. The reason in simple. The civilized countries, drawing on information on the pro-Russian militants-terrorists, will be able to create their own databases of suspicious persons and individuals that must be neutralized and isolated from society, he said.

Before discounting the underlined as having anything to do with you bear in mind that Harding “worked IO on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon and was one of the plankholders of the Joint Staff IO Response Cell.” The Security Service of Ukraine reached an agreement with Google Inc. to jointly fight with the Russian secret services, who are constantly spreading propaganda network in the Kremlin and sow panic among the population. – Harding

If you like Mairead Maguire are employing Russian active measures according to Harding’s definition, you are the Russian secret services he is talking about. She doesn’t write about Ukraine. You are the people to be isolated from society, “suspicious”, that must be neutralized. You are the journalists, activists, or people who read alternative news that must be put on lists with the CIA, FBI, INTERPOL, intel, and counter intel.

Who’s Getting Attacked?

Throughout 2014 Harding made it clear that journalists, writers, and scholars that publish articles at GlobalResearch were agents engaged in Russian propaganda and active measures. Like the labeling of Mairead Maguire it doesn’t need to be written remotely concerned with Ukraine, Donbass, or Russia, just against his agenda.

Global Research is a constant focus of his IO disrupt and destroy work through his private Cyber army in Ukraine.

GlobalResearch.ca. You are unprofessional for doing this, you do not deserve any association with the proud profession of journalism and you should be shut down. GlobalResearch.ca  Remember that name, put it on your “bad” list and spread the word. They are despicable, vile, the opposite of journalists. GlobalResearch.ca- Harding

Some of Ukraine’s IO army Targeted Websites

Propaganda. “The word is frequently used to describe any news emerging from one’s opponent.”- Joel Harding

RT.com, Sputnik.ru, Washingtonsblog.com, GlobalResearch.ca, OpEdNews.com, Anti-War.com, ZeroHedge.com. InfoWars.com, DemocracyNow.com, CounterPunch.com, RonPaulInstitute.org, PaulCraigRoberts.org, GreanvillePost.com….Small Sampling

These are only a few of the websites that have been targeted for attacks as Russian propaganda and active measures. The very recent jump in spam comments is just the beginning of a large unified effort.

People the IO army are Targeting

Topping the list in terms of importance is Congressman Alan Grayson who has been an outspoken opponent of intervention in Syria as well as Ukraine. Perhaps someone should tell him he’s being watched. Every Congressmen that is against interventionism or for human rights should look into why a private citizen can grind axes with Americans using a foreign government/ private IO army he is creating. It is in part a branch of the Ukrainian Military and under a ministryof the Ukrainian government that Harding helped create. He is also steering its efforts.

Below are Russian terrorists according to the definition “news emerging from one’s opponent.”

Peppy Escobar and Steven Lendman are both “active measures” agents for writing about John Kerry, the State Department, RT bashing, and of course Ukraine. Blog talk Radio host Dr. Rick Staggenborg both a veteran an d peace activist is labeled a Russian propagandist. Professor Michel Chossudovsky and every journalist and activist that publishes at GlobalResearch.ca which is a large list including Paul Craig Roberts and Robert Parry are Russian active measures agents in the Ukraine war and every “agendized news event they write on. Tyler Durden, connected writers and journalists are Russian propagandists. Deena Stryker, an editor at OpedNews is noted because of her PressTV interview for saying the US is engaged in a propaganda war.

All conspiracies aside it wouldn’t feel right without adding Alex Jones and Michael Rivera. Harding developed what seems to be a fixation about Jones and company a few years back. Its not that he hates Jones’ news sites any more than the others, but it is personal. Joel Harding’s favorite nephew rates Jones take on international events as more credible than what Harding has to say.

George Eliason – As for those documents, Eliason must have contacted the cyber-militia directly, because they haven’t made any public posts online since December. All of this was unusual enough to warrant further investigation into George Eliason’s online identity.

Only a short year ago very few people could even point out Ukraine on a map. During this past year an American has given the government and military of Ukraine the power and tools to attack people in the United States, Europe, and where ever you are reading this.

The people listed are only a few of many. If you have a blog, website and write about current events, you are included too.It shows is an across the board monolithic effort to destroy alternative news and free speech, journalists, and activists. If you are writing about Ferguson and police brutality, human rights, or responsible government -How how long does an organized IO army need to destroy your reputation, income, and work when its focus- is YOU. Whats next? Wait and see.

Mr. Harding, will it be assassination or character assassination? Will you hand this over to your UkrNazis or Pravy Sektor? Can you adequately respond to why you a private citizen can make Western journalists “bad guys, terrorists, Russian political warfare combatants and therefore targets in your war?

Posted in USA, UkraineComments Off on US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

Fear as Gold: The Currency of I$raHell Elections

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Netanyahu

Elections can be shots in the barrel of darkness.  Polls can prove the poorest of measures, masking expediency, calculation and, in the end, sheer desperation.  The voter finds form just before casting the ballot.  The mind can take leave of its senses.  The psychology of vulnerability can prevail.  

The Israeli elections of 2015 will be a textbook example of fear fastened to a mast of glaring despair.  If ever politics could be dismissed as the practice of dismissal and loathing, this election must be it.  Benjamin Netanyahu’s contemporary practitioners of those dark arts – Canada’s Stephen Harper, Australia’s Tony Abbott, and Britain’s David Cameron, were made to look amateurish, mere adolescents in their uses of narratives of doom.

Not since the days of the carnival-like Bush administration, when fear had the currency of gold, did we see anything like this in the context of a nominally democratic society.  “Every so often,” as the late Robin Williams reminded us of the former US Secretary of Defense, “Rumsfeld comes out and goes ‘I don’t where, and I don’t know when, but something awful’s going to happen.  That’s all for today.  No further questions.”[1]  That is the language of Homeland Security, Stasiland and police paternalism. It is the lingo of the wall and the garrison state.

Not that the Likud campaign did not try to sugar the effort with a touch of celluloid miracle. One tries to do one’s best to protect paradise. Foreign supporters of Netanyahu were rolled out in what counted as comic detritus.  “I watched Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before Congress,” claimed a vapid Chuck Norris on a YouTube video, “and I saw a man who loves his country with all his heart and soul.  I also saw a strong leader that is absolutely crucial for the safety of the Israeli people.”[2]

It came down to the last, tight days.  The polls were always going to be hard to read – a recent Israeli law prevented pollsters from earning their keep from Thursday on.  This laid the ground for the speculative and daring, though Netanyahu’s opponents were taking stock about readings that showed up to 60 percent of Israelis did not want him to continue in office.[3]  Last Friday, it seemed that Yitzhak Herzog’s Zionist grouping would lead by four seats.

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid provided the fiery summation prior to the polls.  Netanyahu had acted in merciless self-interest, calling “unnecessary” early elections to spite the constituency.  “Why?  Because you are disconnected.  You have no idea what it does to the citizens of Israel because you live in your aquarium and for a long time you don’t know who the people are and what really troubles them” (Jerusalem Post, Mar 12).

In an effort to push voters back into the Likud fold, Netanyahu of the aquarium employed rhetoric that was heated, spiced, and flamed.  “It was,” observed Gaid Wolfsfeld of the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya, “a scorched earth policy to stay in power” (New York Times, Mar 17).  It’s singeing character involved an assortment of nightmarish scenarios about race – what will those Arab Israelis do to the voting numbers?  The main party representing Israeli-Arabs, United List, was condemned as an extremist outfit.  Herzog’s grouping were excoriated as effete, cuddling up to sinister foreign forces.

Then came that most Machiavellian of plays – the issue of recognising a Palestinian state.  For Netanyahu, pitching in those last desperate hours against the very idea was the gamble of gambles, suggesting that the peace process was not only a shambles, but a dead shambles.  The strongman was refusing to yield to any prospects that might let insecurity via Israel’s vulnerable backdoor – Palestinians could not be trusted with either sovereignty or security.

Having attained electoral victory, Netanyahu has demonstrated how the reptile in politics can go far, one whose embrace of an economic version of reality can profit.  As Gigi Grinstein, founder of the Israeli strategy group the Reut Institute suggested, Netanyahu might well go “back to the two-state solution.”[4]

On Thursday, he did the rounds on American television claiming that the Monday rubbishing of a Palestinian state was not intended as a repudiation of his 2009 stance taken at Bar Illan University.  “I want a sustainable, peaceful, two-state solution,” proposed Netanyahu in an MSNBC interview.  “But for that, circumstances have to change.”

Before Fox News, the new Netanyahu showed very much what the old Netanyahu thought.  “I said we have to change the terms.  Because right now, we have to get the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table, break their pact with Hamas, and accept the idea of a Jewish state.” In an atmosphere of duplicity and pervasive double-think, a Likud deputy-foreign minister such as Tzachi Hanegbi can make a statement that Israel  “would be very delighted to renew negotiations” with the Palestinians.  Naturally, blame them for intransigence – they merely have nothing to negotiate with.

Even US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would say in a somewhat undiplomatic tone that the Israeli Prime Minister had chosen to remain vague and inconsistent on the issue. “If he had consistently stated that he remained in favour of a two-state solution, we’d be having a different conversation.”[5] The Obama administration has promised a strategic “rethink” regarding the two-state solution stance, but is hardly going to move beyond the state of current stagnation. Israel can’t be the ritual absentee in this matter.

The connoisseur of hopelessness won, but the costs of that victory will be telling. The insistence by Netanyahu to place Israel in a parallel stream of political consciousness, a garrisoned world ironically ghettoised and repellent of international convention and diplomacy, is finite in its realisation. It could also prove fatal.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Notes

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Fear as Gold: The Currency of I$raHell Elections

The CIA Just Declassified the Document That Supposedly Justified the Iraq Invasion

NOVANEWS
Global Research
cia_torture

Thirteen years ago, the intelligence community concluded in a 93-page classified document used to justify the invasion of Iraq that it lacked “specific information” on “many key aspects” of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

But that’s not what top Bush administration officials said during their campaign to sell the war to the American public. Those officials, citing the same classified document, asserted with no uncertainty that Iraq was actively pursuing nuclear weapons, concealing a vast chemical and biological weapons arsenal, and posing an immediate and grave threat to US national security.

Congress eventually concluded that the Bush administration had “overstated” its dire warnings about the Iraqi threat, and that the administration’s claims about Iraq’s WMD program were ”not supported by the underlying intelligence reporting.” But that underlying intelligence reporting — contained in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to justify the invasion — has remained shrouded in mystery until now.

The CIA released a copy of the NIE in 2004 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but redacted virtually all of it, citing a threat to national security. Then last year, John Greenewald, who operates The Black Vault, a clearinghouse for declassified government documents, asked the CIA to take another look at the October 2002 NIE to determine whether any additional portions of it could be declassified.

The agency responded to Greenewald this past January and provided him with a new version of the NIE, which he shared exclusively with VICE News, that restores the majority of the prewar Iraq intelligence that has eluded historians, journalists, and war critics for more than a decade. (Some previously redacted portions of the NIE had previously been disclosed in congressional reports.)

‘The fact that the NIE concluded that there was no operational tie between Saddam and al Qaeda did not offset this alarming assessment.’

For the first time, the public can now read the hastily drafted CIA document [pdf below] that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, a costly war launched March 20, 2003 that was predicated on “disarming” Iraq of its (non-existent) WMD, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and “freeing” the Iraqi people.

report issued by the government funded think-tank RAND Corporation last December titled “Blinders, Blunders and Wars” said the NIE “contained several qualifiers that were dropped…. As the draft NIE went up the intelligence chain of command, the conclusions were treated increasingly definitively.”

An example of that: According to the newly declassified NIE, the intelligence community concluded that Iraq “probably has renovated a [vaccine] production plant” to manufacture biological weapons “but we are unable to determine whether [biological weapons] agent research has resumed.” The NIE also said Hussein did not have “sufficient material” to manufacture any nuclear weapons. But in an October 7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, then-President George W. Bush simply said Iraq, “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons” and “the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.”

One of the most significant parts of the NIE revealed for the first time is the section pertaining to Iraq’s alleged links to al Qaeda. In September 2002, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld claimed the US had “bulletproof” evidence linking Hussein’s regime to the terrorist group.

“We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad,” Rumsfeld said. “We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical- and biological-agent training.”

But the NIE said its information about a working relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq was based on “sources of varying reliability” — like Iraqi defectors — and it was not at all clear that Hussein had even been aware of a relationship, if in fact there were one.

“As with much of the information on the overall relationship, details on training and support are second-hand,” the NIE said. “The presence of al-Qa’ida militants in Iraq poses many questions. We do not know to what extent Baghdad may be actively complicit in this use of its territory for safehaven and transit.”

The declassified NIE provides details about the sources of some of the suspect intelligence concerning allegations Iraq trained al Qaeda operatives on chemical and biological weapons deployment — sources like War on Terror detainees who were rendered to secret CIA black site prisons, and others who were turned over to foreign intelligence services and tortured. Congress’s later investigation into prewar Iraq intelligence concluded that the intelligence community based its claims about Iraq’s chemical and biological training provided to al Qaeda on a single source.

“Detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi — who had significant responsibility for training — has told us that Iraq provided unspecified chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qai’ida members beginning in December 2000,” the NIE says. “He has claimed, however, that Iraq never sent any chemical, biological, or nuclear substances — or any trainers — to al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan.”

Al-Libi was the emir of the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan, which the Taliban closed prior to 9/11 because al-Libi refused to turn over control to Osama bin Laden.

Last December, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a declassified summary of its so-called Torture Report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program. A footnote stated that al-Libi, a Libyan national, “reported while in [redacted] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons.”

“Some of this information was cited by Secretary [of State Colin] Powell in his speech to the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” the Senate torture report said. “Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [redacted] 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [redacted], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.”

Al-Libi reportedly committed suicide in a Libyan prison in 2009, about a month after human rights investigators met with him.

The NIE goes on to say that “none of the [redacted] al-Qa’ida members captured during [the Afghanistan war] report having been trained in Iraq or by Iraqi trainers elsewhere, but given al-Qa’ida’s interest over the years in training and expertise from outside sources, we cannot discount reports of such training entirely.”

All told, this is the most damning language in the NIE about Hussein’s links to al Qaeda: ”While the Iraqi president ”has not endorsed al-Qa’ida’s overall agenda and has been suspicious of Islamist movements in general, apparently he has not been averse to some contacts with the organization.”

The NIE suggests that the CIA had sources within the media to substantiate details about meetings between al Qaeda and top Iraqi government officials held during the 1990s and 2002 — but some were not very reliable. ”Several dozen additional direct or indirect meetings are attested to by less reliable clandestine and press sources over the same period,” the NIE says.

The RAND report noted, “The fact that the NIE concluded that there was no operational tie between Saddam and al Qaeda did not offset this alarming assessment.”

The NIE also restores another previously unknown piece of “intelligence”: a suggestion that Iraq was possibly behind the letters laced with anthrax sent to news organizations and senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy a week after the 9/11 attacks. The attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others.

“We have no intelligence information linking Iraq to the fall 2001 attacks in the United States, but Iraq has the capability to produce spores of Bacillus anthracis — the causative agent of anthrax — similar to the dry spores used in the letters,” the NIE said. ”The spores found in the Daschle and Leahy letters are highly purified, probably requiring a high level of skill and expertise in working with bacterial spores. Iraqi scientists could have such expertise,” although samples of a biological agent Iraq was known to have used as an anthrax simulant “were not as pure as the anthrax spores in the letters.”

Paul Pillar, a former veteran CIA analyst for the Middle East who was in charge of coordinating the intelligence community’s assessments on Iraq, told VICE news that “the NIE’s bio weapons claims” was based on unreliable sources such as Ahmad Chalabi, the former head of the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition group supported by the US.

“There was an insufficient critical skepticism about some of the source material,” he now says about the unredacted NIE. ”I think there should have been agnosticism expressed in the main judgments. It would have been a better paper if it were more carefully drafted in that sort of direction.”

But Pillar, now a visiting professor at Georgetown University, added that the Bush administration had already made the decision to go to war in Iraq, so the NIE “didn’t influence [their] decision.” Pillar added that he was told by congressional aides that only a half-dozen senators and a few House members read past the NIE’s five-page summary.

David Kay, a former Iraq weapons inspector who also headed the Iraq Survey Group, told Frontline that the intelligence community did a “poor job” on the NIE, “probably the worst of the modern NIE’s, partly explained by the pressure, but more importantly explained by the lack of information they had. And it was trying to drive towards a policy conclusion where the information just simply didn’t support it.”

The most controversial part of the NIE, which has been picked apart hundreds of times over the past decade and has been thoroughly debunked, pertained to a section about Iraq’s attempts to acquire aluminum tubes. The Bush administration claimed that this was evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapon.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice stated at the time on CNN that the tubes “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs,” and that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

The version of the NIE released in 2004 redacted the aluminum tubes section in its entirety. But the newly declassified assessment unredacts a majority of it and shows that the intelligence community was unsure why “Saddam is personally interested in the procurement of aluminum tubes.” The US Department of Energy concluded that the dimensions of the aluminum tubes were “consistent with applications to rocket motors” and “this is the more likely end use.”

The CIA’s unclassified summary of the NIE did not contain the Energy Department’s dissent.

“Apart from being influenced by policymakers’ desires, there were several other reasons that the NIE was flawed,” the RAND study concluded.

“Evidence on mobile biological labs, uranium ore purchases from Niger, and unmanned-aerial-vehicle delivery systems for WMDs all proved to be false. It was produced in a hurry. Human intelligence was scarce and unreliable. While many pieces of evidence were questionable, the magnitude of the questionable evidence had the effect of making the NIE more convincing and ominous. The basic case that Saddam had WMDs seemed more plausible to analysts than the alternative case that he had destroyed them. And analysts knew that Saddam had a history of deception, so evidence against Saddam’s possession of WMDs was often seen as deception.”

According to the latest figures compiled by Iraq Body Count, to date more than 200,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, although other sources say the casualties are twice as high. More than 4,000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and tens of thousands more have been injured and maimed. The war has cost US taxpayers more than $800 billion.

In an interview with VICE founder Shane Smith, Obama said the rise of the Islamic State was a direct result of the disastrous invasion.

“ISIL is a direct outgrowth of al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion,” Obama said. “Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

 

See released documents below

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War and the Global Economy

NOVANEWS

Financial Experts on “Why We Are Drifting Towards World War Three”

Global Research
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The Economist argues that there are ominous parallels between the conditions which led to the first world war and today:

“The United States is Britain, the superpower on the wane, unable to guarantee global security. Its main trading partner, China, plays the part of Germany, a new economic power bristling with nationalist indignation and building up its armed forces rapidly. Modern Japan is France, an ally of the retreating hegemon and a declining regional power. The parallels are not exact—China lacks the Kaiser’s territorial ambitions and America’s defence budget is far more impressive than imperial Britain’s—but they are close enough for the world to be on its guard.

Which, by and large, it is not. The most troubling similarity between 1914 and now is complacency. Businesspeople today are like businesspeople then: too busy making money to notice the serpents flickering at the bottom of their trading screens. Politicians are playing with nationalism just as they did 100 years ago. China’s leaders whip up Japanophobia, using it as cover for economic reforms, while Shinzo Abe stirs Japanese nationalism for similar reasons.”

The New Republic points out that global downturns can lead to war:

As the experience of the 1930s testified, a prolonged global downturn can have profound political and geopolitical repercussions. In the U.S. and Europe, the downturn has already inspired unsavory, right-wing populist movements. It could also bring about trade wars and intense competition over natural resources, and the eventual breakdown of important institutions like European Union and the World Trade Organization. Even a shooting war is possible.

The Telegraph notes that the economic crisis in Europe is increasing tensions:

Tensions between European countries unseen in decades are emerging.

(Indeed, Europe is stuck in a downturn worse than the Great Depression.)

Well-known economist Nouriel Roubini tweeted from the gathering of the rich and powerful at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year:

Many speakers compare 2014 to 1914 when WWI broke out & no one expected it. A black swan in the form of a war between China & Japan?

And:

Both Abe and an influential Chinese analyst don’t rule out a military confrontation between China and Japan. Memories of 1914?

Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world, PhD economist – wrote an article about the build up of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia titled, simply: “War Is Coming”.

Similarly, Ronald Reagan’s head of the Office of Management and Budget – David Stockman – is posting pieces warning of the dispute between the U.S. and Russia leading to World War 3.

Trend forecaster Gerald Celente – who has been making some accurate financial and geopolitical predictions for decades – says WW3 will start soon.

Investment fund manager and adviser Martin Armstrong has charted the “cycles of war” back to 600 BC … and says that we’ll have major wars between now and 2020.  He has written pieces recently entitled, “Why We will Go to War with Russia“, and another one saying, “Prepare for World War III“.

Investment adviser Larry Edelson – who has long studied the “cycles of war” – wrote last month:

This year … we will also be hit by another ramping up of the related war cycles.

***

All part and parcel of the rising war cycles that I’ve been warning you about, conditions that will not abate until at least the year 2020.

Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – saysthere will be “a major war”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.

Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war as epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.

Bad Economic Theories

What’s causing the slide towards war? We discuss several causes below.

Initially, believe it or not, one cause is that many influential economists and talking heads hold thediscredited belief that war is good for the economy.

Therefore, many are overtly or more subtly pushing for war.

Challengers Give Declining Empires “Itchy Fingers”

Moreover, historians say that declining empires tend to attack their rising rivals … so the risk of world war is rising because the U.S. feels threatened by the rising empire of China.

The U.S. government considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war. Therefore, the U.S. is systematically using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence.

Competition for Resources Is Heating Up

In addition, it is well-established that competition for scarce resources often leads to war. For example, Oxford University’s Quarterly Journal of Economics notes:

In his classic, A Study of War, Wright (1942) devotes a chapter to the relationship between war and resources. Another classic reference, Statistics of Deadly Quarrels by Richardson (1960),extensively discusses economic causes of war, including the control of “sources of essential commodities.”A large literature pioneered by Homer-Dixon (1991, 1999) argues that scarcity of various environmental resources is a major cause of conflict and resource wars (see Toset, Gleditsch, and Hegre 2000, for empirical evidence).

***

In the War of the Pacific (1879–1884), Chile fought against a defensive alliance of Bolivia and Peru for the control of guano [i.e. bird poop] mineral deposits. The war was precipitated by the rise in the value of the deposits due to their extensive use in agriculture.

***

Westing (1986) argues that many of the wars in the twentieth century had an important resource dimension. As examples he cites the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), the Six Day War (1967), and the Chaco War (1932–1935). More recently, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was a result of the dispute over the Rumaila oil field. In Resource Wars (2001), Klare argues that following the end of the Cold War, control of valuable natural resources has become increasingly important, and these resources will become a primary motivation for wars in the future.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan (and many world leadersadmitted that the Iraq war was really about oil, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And see this and this. Libya, Syria, Iran and Russia are all oil-producing countries as well …

Indeed, we’ve extensively documented that the wars in the Middle East and North Africa are largely about oil and gas. The war in Gaza may be no exception. And see this. And Ukraine may largely be about gasas well.

And James Quinn and Charles Hugh Smith say we’re running out of all sorts of resources … which will lead to war.

Central Banking and Currency Wars

We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. Brazilian president Rousseff said in 2010:

The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.

Jim Rickards agrees:

Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.

As does billionaire investor Jim Rogers:

Trade wars always lead to wars.

Given that China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa have joined together to create a $100 billion bankbased in China, and that more and more trades are being settled in Yuan or Rubles – instead of dollars – the currency war is quickly heating up.

Indeed, many of America’s closest allies are joining China’s effort … which is challenging America and the Dollar’s hegemony.

Multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:

What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a golddinar.

Senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:

Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal thinks the central banking initiative reveals that foreign powers may have a strong influence over the rebels.

This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.

Indeed, some say that recent wars have really been about bringing all countries into the fold of Western central banking.

Debt

Martin Armstrong argued that war plans against Syria are really about debt and spending:

The Syrian mess seems to have people lining up on Capital Hill when sources there say the phone calls coming in are overwhelmingly against any action. The politicians are ignoring the people entirely. This suggests there is indeed a secret agenda to achieve a goal outside the discussion box. That is most like the debt problem and a war is necessary to relief the pressure to curtail spending.

The same logic applies to Ukraine and other countries.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Kyle Bass writes:

Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusionWe believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.

Runaway Inequality

Paul Tudor Jones – founder of the Tudor Investment Corporation and the Tudor Group, which trade in the fixed-income, equity, currency and commodity markets – said this week:

This gap between the 1 percent and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist.

Historically, these kinds of gaps get closed in one of three ways: by revolution, higher taxes or wars.

And see this.

Distraction

Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:

A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.

***

“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”

Economist and investment manager Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:

Martin Armstrong – who has managed multi-billion dollar sovereign investment funds – wrote in August:

Our greatest problem is the bureaucracy wants a war. This will distract everyone from the NSA and justify what they have been doing. They need a distraction for the economic decline that is coming.

War Is Destroying Our National Security, Our Democracy and Our Economy

We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet a top Pentagon official say we’re no safer – and perhaps less safe – after 13 years of war. Indeed, war only PROMOTED the dramatic expansion of even worse terrorists.

Never-ending wars are also destroying our democratic republic. The Founding Fathers warned against standing armies, saying that they destroy freedom. (Update). Perversely, our government  treats anti-war sentiment as terrorism.

The Founding Fathers – and the father of free market capitalism – also warned against financing wars with debt. But according to Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the U.S. debt for the Iraq war could be as high as $5 trillion dollars (or $6 trillion dollars according to a study by Brown University.)

Indeed, top economists say that war is destroying our economy.

But war is great for the bankers and the defense contractors. And – as discussed above – governments are desperate for war.

So it’s up to us – the people – to stop wider war.

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South Africa’s Troubled Alliance and the Road Ahead

NOVANEWS
Global Research
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An Interview with Karl Cloete

The expulsion of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) from COSATU in November 2014 was a watershed moment in the post-apartheid labour movement. The expulsion is a product of, and has deepened further, the crisis in the Alliance between the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), as well as the internal crises of each of the three component parts of the Alliance.

In addition to fighting inside COSATU for a radical shift amongst South African trade unions, NUMSA also played a major role in the establishment of a new United Front which held its first People’s Assembly in December 2014 under the slogan Kwanele Kwanele! Enough is Enough! A formal launch will take place in April 2015.

These events come a year after NUMSA’s historic Special National Congress which called on COSATU to break from the Alliance; concluded that the possibility of the SACP returning to working-class struggle was ‘very remote’; resolved to take the lead in setting up a new United Front to bring together unions, social movements and community campaigns and also to explore the establishment of a new Movement for Socialism.

Sam Ashman and Nicolas Pons-Vignon interviewed Karl Cloete (in Johannesburg on 19 December 2014), the union’s Deputy General Secretary, about a tumultuous year and the road ahead in 2015.

Sam Ashman and Nicolas Pons-Vignon (SA-NPV): For those who are not in South Africa, they may look at the situation in COSATU with despair and think that perhaps it is NUMSA which is responsible for tearing apart a precious thing like COSATU and working-class unity. How would you respond to this?

Karl Cloete (KC): The unity talks to form COSATU started in 1981 and it took us four long years to agree on the formation of COSATU, its founding principles and policies, and so COSATU was only established in December of 1985. NUMSA was right in the centre of those unity talks, we did not ever apply to become a member of COSATU. COSATU was a product of collective struggle and the federation shook the South African landscape under the apartheid regime and played an important part in the 1994 democratic breakthrough. And so it could never be easy for NUMSA to find itself in a position where it would willfully undermine the continued existence of COSATU. But COSATU, particularly over the last eight years or so, has almost totally shed its independence. It has become embroiled in factional politics within the ANC and the SACP. The once glorious COSATU that used to be a campaigning formation has become an organization unable to take forward very critical struggles – around precarious work, around labour brokers and their impact, around unemployment, outsourcing, casualization, the privatization and commodification of services from national to local levels. COSATU has sadly turned almost into a lame duck, a sweet heart formation.

Since our expulsion, we have been doing two things. On the one hand we are going to the courts of law to appeal against our expulsion because we think the decision was not just unfair but not acceptable for reasons we have repeated over and over again. We have also been continuing to appeal for the convening of a COSATU Special National Congress (SNC). One of the purposes and objectives of this would be to accept that COSATU has been unable to carry out any of its resolutions since its September 2012 national congress which called for the radical implementation of the Freedom Charter and for a Lula moment in South Africa. This paralysis in COSATU has resulted in not a single resolution being implemented. We know that in Germany there are huge discussions about the introduction of a National Minimum Wage. Here we have allowed a situation where the ruling party says we will investigate over the next five years the modalities of a National Minimum Wage whereas in no time at all the ruling party signed into law the national youth wage subsidy, in law known as the Employment Incentive Tax Act, which provides very quickly for employers to get tax payers money to subsidize employing unemployed young people on lower rates of pay – though there is no certainty that the money would go into what it is intended for. COSATU has done absolutely nothing around championing the struggle for a National Minimum Wage which is essential given the huge levels of unemployment we have, and the kind of wage determination we have in the agricultural sector and so on. We think that NUMSA remained committed to a COSATU which is independent, worker controlled and democratic. COSATU has that history, and that is not something you walk away from very easily.

SA-NPV: The million dollar question may be, of course, how has COSATU got to be in such a parlous state, given its rich history?

KC: Here, firstly, we have to examine and re-examine the level of COSATU’s independence on the one hand, and the nature of its alliance with two political parties, the ANC and the SACP, on the other hand. Within that alliance, the role that COSATU as a formidable organization can play is probably limited to elections every five years, i.e. to forming part of the ANC’s election machinery. Beyond that, COSATU has a real struggle to influence policy. That has been the case over the last 20 years, it is not something which started yesterday. If you look at the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), it was a COSATU sponsored idea. In fact it originated within NUMSA as the Reconstruction Accord. We felt the new government should do certain things to reconstruct our country, to move away from white minority rule at the expense of the black majority and to have some redistributive policies to ensure the skewed ownership and control of the South African economy was addressed. Even the RDP became a compromize of sorts between the alliance partners but even after the compromizes the RDP office in the government was closed down, without consultation, and a new economic framework in the form of GEAR was introduced in 1996 and from then on we have seen an active neoliberal path undertaken by the ANC government.

If you fast forward to the National Development Plan, it follows exactly the same pattern. COSATU, a supposed alliance ‘partner’, is a mere rubber stamp for neoliberal policies. And so if you ask me what has gone wrong, it goes as far back as the RDP and the contestation over the direction which the South African economy must take immediately around the time of democracy. I think that it is useful for the ANC government to have a labour federation allied to itself, but one which will not make too many noises about where the country must go. Politicians say ‘yes were are in alliance but we are in government and you must allow us to govern.’ But on which policy platform do you govern? Cleary if the main constituency of the ANC is the working-class and the rural poor then many of the policies implemented by the ANC government are an attack on the working-class and the poor. COSATU is running alongside the bus, not having a driver’s seat, if it gets on the bus it doesn’t have a passenger seat, it has to stand on a very long journey and fatigue has set in. It is unable to fight back.

Secondly, you have another set of problems: the old question of wearing too many hats. So you have a President and a few other members of the Central Executive Committee like the former General Secretaries of the National Union of Mineworkers and NEHAWU, and others, who have multiple leadership roles. The President of COSATU sits on the Central Executive of COSATU but he is also a member of the SACP Central Committee, a member of the SACP Politburo, and a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee.

So COSATU can today take a position, for example let’s fight e-tolls in Gauteng but then you leave COSATU and you go and sit in the ANC NEC, and the ANC NEC says no, e-tolls are necessary, to expand public roads we need payment etc., and you are in compromising position. You have your COSATU CEC position, but you are persuaded differently in your ANC NEC position, and in your SACP position and you get stuck. And what happens invariably is that you compromize COSATU’s position to campaign against e-tolling.

The third problem in COSATU that has resulted in where we are now is that the ANC and the Party have started to say to COSATU that its outlook has become ‘oppositionist’, no different to the Democratic Alliance. We are told that we speak a language which is anti-ANC and anti-Alliance, that we work with civil society formations which are anti-ANC and anti-Alliance, and that as a trade union movement we have become ‘too political’ with very little time is spent on workplace, industry and sector related issues. These arguments are coming externally from the ANC. Internally you have to make choices. You have radical resolutions. You have programmes and campaigns. And so that contestation becomes factionalized – with one faction supporting the status quo and the ‘voice of reason’ coming from the ANC and SACP, and the other faction saying that our loyalty is to the membership, and to our resolutions, campaigns and programmes. And that tears the organization apart. This is why in the current crisis we cannot see the ANC as an objective mediator as it is the ANC, and the SACP, which is responsible for the crisis in COSATU in the first place.

That, in a nutshell, is the basis of where COSATU finds itself today.

SA-NPV: COSATU has now said that it will hold a Special National Congress in 2015. Do you think the unity of COSATU still can be saved? Or do you think the time has come for NUMSA, and the unions supporting NUMSA, to build a new independent federation?

KC: A couple of things need to be mentioned here. Firstly the dominant faction within the ‘voice of reason’ brigade is constituted by the mainly public sector unions. That is interesting for a number of reasons. The first reason is that in June 2013 at the SACP 13th National Congress in KZN there is a paper delivered that calls for a different way of organizing in the public sector. It is along the lines of ‘take responsibility for the revolution’ – i.e. public sector unions, unlike private sector unions, must appreciate that government has a number of programmes and unions must not be in opposition to those programmes. Unions must be for better public sector service delivery, even if it is under austerity measures and conditions. So your role must be different to those in the industrial sectors or mining. And so necessarily that perspective plays itself out within COSATU and it relates to my earlier point about the President of COSATU being a very senior member of the SACP and the ANC NEC etc. So there is a drive to impose on the federation the kind of perspective that says we must criticize government on occasion, but we must also take responsibility for the National Democratic Revolution. So increasingly there has developed a divide between private sector unions like NUMSA and FAWU and the public sector unions.

POPCRU, the police and prisons union, took a position in its October 2014 Central Executive Committee that says the union now regrets the September 2012 national congress resolution calling for a Lula moment. We now, it says, understand this to be an anti-ANC position and we understand this to be one of the reasons why NUMSA is calling for the establishment of a United Front and so we regret that we formed part of this resolution. POPCRU say also that it regrets taking part in the campaign against e-tolls because it is an anti-government campaign now bordering on criminality with people deciding not to pay what is owed to the government. In these two examples, I want to demonstrate that there is a divide between the public and the private sector unions. It is something that has existed for long time. A COSATU under a presidency from the industrial proletariat would be different. I think you can trace this divide and how the public sector unions are continuing and deepening their conservative perspectives. It has become clear in the public sector unions, if you voice a view against the conservative right wing leadership you get purged. There are a number of examples. In the teachers’ union the former president got suspended, the same in POPCRU, the same in SAMWU. At all levels there are purges. There is no tolerance of dissent. In SAMWU there have been unlawful suspensions, expulsions and dismissals of members. The courts have held up claims for reinstatement and the leadership has just ignored the courts’ rulings. This has brought many in the public sector to realize that the leaders of NEHAWU, SAMWU, the teachers’ union, POPCRU etc. have turned completely against their own constitutions and members and the levels of corruption in these unions are such that people are expelled if they speak out. Democratic practices are thrown out of the window. So people have decided it is time to challenge the dominance of a conservative, right wing and corrupt leadership in these unions who behave more as though they are shop stewards of the ANC and the SACP within the union.

This is the reason behind the call for the formation of a new public sector union. This has nothing to do with NUMSA, it would be wrong for us to call for this, but I do thing that people were inspired by the resolutions taken at the December 2013 NUMSA Special Congress where we said we need a COSATU, but not any COSATU, a COSATU which is independent, democratic, worker controlled, anti-imperialist, and socialist orientated, not a labour desk and a rubber stamp politically for others. Therefore if we want to see the unity of workers in South Africa then COSATU must break away from the Alliance. That is NUMSA’s call and people got inspired by it.

In COSATU at the moment you have eight other unions against the NUMSA expulsion.

They met together in joint national executive committees and decided to demand the unconditional reinstatement of NUMSA back into COSATU and said we will not participate in any of COSATU’s structures unless that happens and we will not participate in any ANC initiated discussions to resolve the issues in COSATU. And that must tell us – are we closer to regaining and reclaiming COSATU or are we at a tipping point? COSATU’s President says over and over again that NUMSA is expelled but metal workers must remain within the federation. The ANC, the SACP, and some within COSATU, have gone to the extent of helping to build a rival to NUMSA. That rival has now applied for membership of the CEC and so it is clear to us that they do not want NUMSA back. It is also clear to us that they want now to go to an SNC without NUMSA present. They refused to name the date for an SNC when NUMSA was inside COSATU. Now NUMSA is outside, they have finally given us a date. So I think that the expulsion is irreversible to them.

Why go to courts then, people ask us? Why not just move on? Partly because we want to expose the deliberate project to get NUMSA expelled and partly because we want to try to ensure there is respect for the rules of the federation as summed up in the constitution of COSATU. I personally don’t foresee a situation under the current leadership, even if there is a SNC, whereby COSATU can be rescued. That’s my personal view. The view of my organization is to fight to reclaim COSATU even if you need to use the courts, and if all else fails then you must begin the process of building a new labour federation. It is painful, when you give birth to something and you are no longer a part of it, a divorce of some sort, but you have to move on. The reality is that only 30% of workers in South Africa are organized into unions. And the major federations – COSATU, FEDUSA and NACTU – have resolutions saying one country, one federation, but they have not been able to make any significant steps in that direction. We think partly the reason for this is that COSATU remains inside the alliance, whilst NACTU and FEDUSA and other independent unions are currently non-aligned. So for the past 30 years there have been no mergers. This is a question of time. There will be a massive break from COSATU in my opinion. COSATU will continue to huddle along, crippled by big conservative unions, but it will be a COSATU which cannot follow its own advice as articulated in the September Commission which foresaw these developments and suggested there were a number of scenarios, one being that COSATU would not be able to transform itself to ensure that it remains relevant to workers. That’s the sad part, for me at least.

SA-NPV: Internationally public sector unions are often on the left and in the forefront of fighting austerity. In South Africa too, the huge public sector workers’ strikes of 2007 and 2010 challenged the idea that workers could not fight ‘their own’ government. Are the positions adopted by South African public sector unions more a question of the standpoint of the leaders, and not the members?

KC: I don’t want to sound like I follow a conspiracy theory, I don’t, but if you look at that big public sector strike, it was probably the last. If you look at the position taken by the SACP it has to be the last because the militancy of the membership was clear for all to see. And so over time you have had to tone down, tone down, and tone down. Move between that strike and collective bargaining now. The Minister of Finance in the Mid Term Budget categorically said do not expect more than an inflation related increase for public sector workers. This is taking collective bargaining out of the chamber into a unilateral statement. What kind of good faith bargaining is that? You go back to negotiations and the government representatives tell the public sector unions ‘but you’ve heard the minister, there is nothing we can do, even if we wanted to, this is what the minister and the government is saying.’ I would be surprised if that same militancy can be generated again. I see they have deferred negotiations to January next year because they are in deadlock. But I would be very surprised if the militancy of the rank and file would get close to the biggest strike we saw last time around. It is not that the membership don’t understand – they do. They understand clearly that many of them are not permanent workers and their union leadership do not address this, they understand the huge salary gaps within the public sector and they know that the leadership of their unions do not say anything about this, they would feel insulted when the minister of finance says public sector workers should not expect much and there is no suggestion of mass action coming from the leadership. So if the leadership should call strike action now it would simply be to cover their own weaknesses and to use workers to maintain the leadership’s status and position. So I think the project was a simple one. There’s the big strike, and the position on it taken by the ANC and the SACP, and fast forward to June 2013 when there is an appeal from the party to say that public sector unions cannot do what private sector unions can do.

SA-NPV: Why do you see a need to return to the mass democratic politics of the 1980s, and how do you see the United Front going forward?

KC: With South Africa becoming the service delivery capital in the world, we must appreciate that the neoliberal policies imposed on our people are resisted but that it is a leaderless resistance. It has no direction. Sometimes the protests get violent and the anger and frustration is not properly directed. And so we need a new United Front to bring together workplace and community struggles. We saw the beauty of it in March 2014 when NUMSA led a United Front battle and national strike against the employment incentive tax act and we intend, for the March 2015 budget, to have a national strike against austerity measures and what will emerge in municipality’s budgets so we address the water, the sanitation issues etc.

“Politically we have always believed in community and workplace struggles coming together.”

It is strange for us. One day the SACP says that NUMSA is a ‘workerist’ formation, the next day they say we are too political, go back to the workplace. But politically we have always believed in community and workplace struggles coming together. In the beginning of 2013 you will recall that Eskom wanted a tariff increase close to 18 per cent. We worked hard over the holiday of December 2012 and into 2013 making our presentation for the public hearings and we demonstrated and we threatened a national strike. Both the leadership of COSATU and individual unions and the SACP told us, you can’t behave like you are a federation. But our point was simply this: we could see that the federation was not doing anything to organize against this huge tariff hike. And that for me is a demonstration of how we should bring communities into worker action and worker action into communities. Like with the employment incentive tax act, we must take to the streets to bring communities and workers together. These must be the examples of what we do going forward.

It is not as though the ANC will abandon its neoliberal policy path. We know that they have abandoned the Freedom Charter and dumped the RDP. And so what we are contending with is a capitalist state which has taken over the ANC. As the ANC thought it would restructure and transform the state, we thought ourselves that swelling the ANC was necessary strategically. Well, many got swallowed up by the ANC instead. We could make no break or difference in direction. So we need this United Front to consistently and continually struggle against neoliberal policies. In fact People’s Power, as espoused by the ANC itself, has been abandoned and the masses have become spectators of being governed even if not to their benefit or in their interests. So this is a re-awakening. We have got to take our power back and say that if you want to change public education, for example, you have to struggle, whether over the content of the curriculum or over the basic infrastructure of education. The fact that in South Africa in 2014 a poor child can drown in a toilet pit must be a demonstration of that fact that there is just no political will or urgency to transform the old state.

In terms of housing too, the minister recently said that those who are under 40 can no longer get access to public housing. Is that not an attack on exactly those who can contribute to South Africa’s economy? But they are poor and housing is commodified in a way that does not speak to the needs of people. So the need for a United Front is non-negotiable if you want to change where this country is heading. We have been hijacked by a small black elite who feast on the state through tenders and through corrupt means, enriching themselves. Public funds go into the private residence of the president and parliament goes to great lengths to defend this disgrace. Parliament has turned into a complete circus, not producing any significant act speaking to the so called second radical phase of transformation. It is a pipe dream. If we don’t get onto the streets, we are not likely to change things.

SA-NPV: We have already seen an aggressive response to developments in NUMSA. Phones have been tapped, cars and offices broken into, laptops have been stolen, and three young shop stewards in KZN were murdered in August 2014. Going forward, how do you plan to take on this very clear opposition and threats from the state?

KC: Well, I always say, it will never be easy for the simple reason that the ANC is a 103 year old national liberation movement, though whether they are still such a movement is the better question to ask. In Africa and third world countries you will find huge sentimental attachment to the party that liberated the people. But, next door in Mozambique for example, you see huge and growing inequality and you see also the reduction in electoral support for the ruling party to 57 per cent. It tells you something. We have no illusions that it will be hard work. But it is necessary work politically to get people to regain their own confidence.

In South Africa you see the same electoral decline in support for the ANC. Many who have remained loyal to the ANC this time around decided not to vote. If you hone into some of the metros, the ANC has lost its grip. I am not a sangoma, but I think the ANC is likely to lose Nelson Mandela Metro – either to the DA or, alternatively, to the Left Platform. And this is what we must discuss at the launch of the United Front in April next year. Are we ready to field candidates for local government elections in 2016, and on what platform, or would a Workers’ Party have been formed to contest elections? The ANC is very nervous. In recent weeks the ANC president has been down to the Nelson Mandela Metro, Mantashe is camping out there, Jesse Duarte has been there too. In Gauteng, they are worried about Ekurhuleni, the City of Johannesburg, Tswane. The ANC in Gauteng has realized it is losing the middle class and it is turning against e-tolls as a result and fighting the national government around this question. How do you contest the ANC for electoral power? I don’t think the United Front should stand in every area, instead we should target areas because we want to build confidence and not contest to lose so we need to do a thorough assessment. We should maybe leave the city of Cape Town for now but I would certainly go into Nelson Mandela and Ekurhuleni. I think people when given a proper political and economic explanation will come closer to the fact that we need a political and economic alternative.

Many people know – I am still living in a shack in Orange Farm 20 years later, I still don’t have a tarred road, my child must wake up at 3am to walk to school by 8am, there is no public transport, in the school there are no desks, when it rains we have to huddle together. And it is this reality that opens up the space between the liberation talk and being a so-called disciplined force of the left but implementing right wing capitalist policies. In this process you expose also the political and ideological bankruptcy of the SACP which is embedded in the state and regards the state as a key site of struggle and yet cannot defend the miners that got killed at Marikana, calls Marikana a tragedy not a massacre, calls workers who want to organize on the mines ‘vigilantes’ and ‘counter-revolutionaries’ and this from a party supposed to unite the working-class. That will unravel for the ANC, for COSATU and for the SACP. And so it is going to be hard work.

When your power and wealth is threatened you are going to respond in a manner that will be brutal. We have seen that in all revolutions. But I guess somebody had to take the step and one must say that it is still a bit of a dream to wake up from. NUMSA had so eloquently defended the alliance of the ANC and SACP and yet came to this groundbreaking decision in December 2013 that we have no good story to tell, despite 20 years of democracy. Everything remains the same – the economy, social life, cultural life. Vavi has written an open letter to SACP members. NUMSA has also released its own critique of the SACP. The two together, just going by social media, definitely have potential to open up new thinking and expose very thoroughly how the SACP welcomed GEAR only to change track because of workers’ struggle. There is nothing they have not welcomed which is capitalist in character, and nature and content which is thoroughly exposed in the letter. They will come back with mudslinging and labelling of course but I think the point has been registered.

SA-NPV: How do you see NUMSA going forward as a trade union of metal workers? How far should NUMSA try to steer all these different processes and struggles?

KC: We have always said that NUMSA will remain a trade union and not transform into a political party. Our most recent Central Executive Committee 8-12 December 2014 pointed to the many things we will have to battle against as a trade union. The Free Market Foundation, for example, together with an employer body in the engineering sector NEASA, have a campaign to undo centralized, collective bargaining, to roll back workers’ gains and create a two tier labour market. That is our biggest fight going forward. We see de-industrialization and we think there is no better time than now to re-industrialize. Beneficiation is all about talk but there is no action or implementation. We can see forthcoming economic relations with China, particularly in terms of trade, are going to change the economic landscape. China is all about its national interest. If that means exploiting our mineral wealth and everything else for their development, supposedly under the theme of working with the South African government and creating more jobs and so forth, they will do it. It is going to be about how China can benefit from the South African economy.

So NUMSA has a task. We have bargaining in Eskom in 2015 and we have 2016 bargaining in all the metal and engineering sectors and autos. We have a plan up to our national congress in 2016 that requires internal union work to service the membership but also to speak to broader socio-economic issues. This is why when the United Front elected an interim committee it did not contain the General Secretary or the Deputy General Secretary. We took a conscious decision about that. We are the face of the organization as a trade union and we must continue with this. We are happy to provide assistance of course. When the time arrives for the Workers’ Party to be established, many of us will remain in the union because the union has a very specific task. The union should be militant against a Workers’ Party if that Workers’ Party should act against the interests of the working-class. You need that independence and distance. There is no guarantee that corruption would not enter a Workers’ Party because you operate within the framework of a capitalist state and good people become compromized.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed farm workers recently and called for a moratorium on farm evictions and the farm workers were laughing at him. We are saying that on all fronts that an alternative is necessary, but what NUMSA must never change is the foundation on which it rests – fighting oppression, discrimination and exploitation wherever it is in society and ensuring working-class control in the economy, dealing with gender inequality, taking up shop floor issues, health and safety, essentially remaining the same and relevant and recruiting also.

I guess for all of those reasons NUMSA is probably the only growing union in South Africa. We said in 2012 that by 2016 we ought to be 400,000 and we are getting closer. In July 2014 we had 346,000 members. In October and November we had a national recruitment campaign and registered at least 10,560 new members. The count for November is not yet complete. We have adopted the NUMSA service charter to make sure needs and aspirations of our members are attended to. You can’t feed workers with political slogans. Workers have to see you deliver in terms of conditions of employment and benefits and so on. And this is why we insist to be a union, to respond to the needs of workers is central and non-negotiable. What happens in addition are necessary add-ons. Whether it’s the United Front, building a new labour federation or building a new Workers’ Party it’s a whole host of things requiring lots of time, energy and commitment but that is where we are, and how we have to move forward.

SA-NPV: Finally, how do you situate NUMSA in relation to other international attempts to resist neoliberalism?

KC: We have taken a line which says we are holding on to our existing allies but we have made also many new friends internationally. The principle for us is very clear. We must do international work but not on a sectarian basis, on the basis of respect for others’ independence and political views, and their respect for ours, but realizing we are fighting a common enemy. So we have links with many countries. We have a programme with the MST in Brazil, and we have a new relationship with CONLUTAS in Brazil, but we are not walking away from CUT or PT in Brazil. Old friends and new friends must appreciate that we will work with anyone who shares our perspective. We are not going to shed our relationship with IG Metall in Germany but we are making new friends in Die Linke. In Sweden we have links with IF Metall and we have received an invitation from the new Social Democratic Party Prime Minister who is a former metal worker and union leader. We are working with comrades in Bolivia and excited about the return of Morales, in the U.S. we have many connections, and we recently received a big delegation from UNITE in the UK. It’s about retaining old and making new friends. We know, for example, there has been a breakdown between the CP and Syriza in Greece so we are likely to get cold winds and in particular countries there may be tensions. We will not interfere in those tensions but nobody must choose for us who we will work with. There are many campaigns we will be working on in different continents. We are doing an international study tour in January and February 2015 as part of exploring the new Movement for Socialism. We will be convening a national conference on socialism in February and by March we must report to the CEC our findings from the study tour. We are steaming ahead.

 

Posted in AfricaComments Off on South Africa’s Troubled Alliance and the Road Ahead

French Comedian Dieudonné Sentenced for “Condoning Terrorism” on Facebook

NOVANEWS
By RT
drapeau carte France 2

Amid a crackdown on hate speech and “condoning terrorism” online, a French court has handed out a two-month suspended prison sentence to prominent comedian and political activist Dieudonne over a Facebook post in the wake of Charle Hebdo attack.

The 49-year-old Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, or simply Dieudonne has been convicted for being “an apologist for terrorism” over a Facebook post he made following attacks in France that killed 17 people.

“I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” he wrote in a coined phrase on Facebook on January 11, four days after the Charlie Hebdo attack, allegedly making a mockery of the slogan “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) a global rallying cry against extremism. The second part of the phrase mimicked the name of Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four people at a Paris kosher supermarket.

Prosecutor Annabelle Philippe argued that Dieudonne is guilty of presenting “in a favourable light the acts committed by Amedy Coulibaly.”

“The feeling of hostility towards the Jewish community that Dieudonne kept up in front of a public attracted by his charisma increases his responsibility,” the court argued. The prosecution was seeking a harsher sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a potential 100,000 euro ($106,000) fine.

Dieudonne, who was not present at court during the sentencing on Wednesday, was also fined €30,000 ($35,000), which, if not paid, will result in a prison term.

According to French daily, 20minutes, Dieudonne argued in court on January 28 and February 4 that he has condemned the Charlie Hebdo attacks “without restraint and without any ambiguity.” Dieudonne also claimed at the hearing that he wished to participate in the march in Paris against the extremism, but the Interior Ministry had requested that he be “excluded” and treated as a “terrorist.”

The comic’s case was the most prominent case of several dozen investigated in France in connection to hate speech and allegations of “condoning terrorism.”

The comedian is known for his extreme right views and has been credited with inventing a hand gesturecalled the “quenelle,” interpreted by many as an inverted Nazi-like salute. He had previously been found guilty seven times for slander or anti-Semitic statements. A Paris court has also recently banned the sale of a DVD featuring Dieudonne on the grounds that it is anti-Semitic, condones the Holocaust and“collaboration with the enemy”.

Amid fierce debates in France over whether the authorities are guilty of double standards on freedom of speech, France blocked five websites suspected of condoning terrorism and spreading hate speech earlier in March. It marked the first usage of new anti-terrorism powers approved by parliament last year that allow such bans without court orders.

France is still on high alert under Operation Sentinel which mobilized over 10,000 troops on French soil to protect 682 sensitive sites across the country including religious sites, railway stations, airports, and tourist attractions in the wake of a rise in religious tensions following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.

Posted in FranceComments Off on French Comedian Dieudonné Sentenced for “Condoning Terrorism” on Facebook

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