Archive | July 25th, 2015

I$raHell Murders Palestinians with Impunity

NOVANEWS
Image result for gaza war photos
by Stephen Lendman
Israel considers Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem free-fire zones. It’s always open season on Palestinian lives – 17 murdered so far this year by Israeli security forces, individuals threatening no one.
A weekly average of 38 others were wounded. Last year, Israel killed 46 Palestinians in the West Bank alone.
On Thursday, its forces stormed Falah Abu Maria’s Hebron home – an illegal act they conduct multiple times daily, terrorizing innocent Palestinian family members.
They confronted Maria’s son Muhammad, shot him in the pelvis for no apparent reason and left his son Ahmad injured by shrapnel. Then killed Maria when he tried protecting his sons from soldiers firing indiscriminately.
They shot him multiples times in the neck and chest. He never had a chance. Another son Haidar said “seeing his two sons drowning in their blood, my father couldn’t stand idle and started to fistfight with the soldiers who fired live bullets at his chest and he died shortly afterwards.”
“My father was unarmed when the soldiers decided to kill him, he is just an innocent carpenter, but the Israeli forces don’t distinguish between armed and unarmed” Palestinians.
By the time medical help arrived, it was too late. After undergoing surgery, Muhammad is OK in stable condition.
Maria is the third Palestinian killed this month. On Wednesday Israeli forces killed Muhammad Ahmad Alawneh in Birqin village near Jenin. Emergency surgery  couldn’t save him.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) demanded international intervention to stop Israeli “organized crimes.”
It wants its officials responsible for cold-blooded murder held accountable in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On July 24, clashes erupted between Maria’s mourners and Israeli security forces. Eight Palestinians were injured.
Israel attacked grieving friends relatives and village residents with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas. At least three victims required hospital treatment.
Israel closed entrances to Beit Ummar village. Mourners chanted slogans condemning Maria’s murder. They demanded a response to the “crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people.”
Maria’s wife said Israeli forces raid the family home and others in Beit Ommar repeatedly. Village residents hold frequent protests against land theft to expand nearby settlements.
Murdering three or more Palestinians monthly is all in a day’s work for thuggish Israeli security forces operating unaccountably. When investigations are conducted, whitewash nearly always follows. Rare exceptions involve symbolic wrist-slap punishments alone.
Palestinians wanting to live free are gunned down in cold blood with virtually no chance for redress. Children are as vulnerable as adults.
Colonization, apartheid, institutionalized racism, militarized occupation and state terror define Israeli policy. So does mass murder and targeted killings at its discretion.
Ruthlessness permeates daily life. Fundamental rights don’t exist. Rule of law principles don’t matter. Militarized brutality affects daily life.
Life in Occupied Palestine includes land sea and air attacks, multiple daily neighborhood incursions, slow-motion genocide, separation walls, checkpoints, ethnic cleansing, targeted killings, bulldozed homes, dispossessions, isolated communities, mass arrests, torture, gulag imprisonment, and denial of fundamental rights guaranteed under international law Israel’s spurns with impunity.
Washington funds its killing machine generously – intends increasing it by nearly 50% beginning in 2018 for 10 years plus extra amounts for various projects.
Israel wages daily war against millions of defenseless Palestinians. They’re no match for its ruthlessness.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on I$raHell Murders Palestinians with Impunity

$1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb

NOVANEWS
 Image result for US dollar photo
by Stephen Lendman
When investing becomes gambling, bad endings follow. The next credit crunch could make 2008-09 look mild by comparison. Bank of International Settlements(BIS) data show around $700 trillion in global derivatives.
Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes.
The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time.
Ellen Brown calls the “derivatives casino…a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme” – slowly crumbling under its own weight.
For years, Warren Buffett called derivatives “financial time bombs” – for economies and ordinary people.
Unless collateralized or guaranteed, their worth depends on the creditworthiness of counter-parties. Earnings on derivatives are “wildly overstated,” Buffett explains – because they’re “based on estimates whose inaccuracy may not be exposed for many years.”
When corporate bosses ask financial executives how profits look in any quarter, they, in turn, ask how much do you want, then manipulate things to oblige when told.
Since 2008, too-big-to-fail banks consolidated to much greater size than ever. They’re financial and political powerhouses controlling world economies to their own advantage.
Civilization’s only hope is smashing them – dismantling them into small, impotent pieces, or ideally putting money back in public hands where it belongs.
It’s too important to be privately controlled. Financial predators entrap small/weak nations into unrepayable debt peonage like Greece, bleed them dry, and thirdworldize developed ones into dystopian backwaters – while they grow richer and more powerful than ever ahead of the whole corrupt system going bust, decimating billions worldwide in greater human misery than already.
Washington Post editors support what demands condemnation. Don’t worry, be happy, they say. On July 23, they headlined “The Fed’s stance on banks and capital makes good sense.”
Half-intelligent economics students know better. The Wall Street owned, controlled and operated Fed is the problem, not the solution. Monied interests buy politicians like toothpaste. They write business friendly legislation, getting Congress to pass it in return for generous campaign contributions and other special favors.
America’s economy and financial system are house-of-cards disasters waiting to happen. Not according to WaPo editors.
“(T)he US financial system has made significant progress toward being less bailout-prone since” the dust settled on the 2008-09 crisis, they said.
“(B)ig banks are considerably better capitalized than” half a decade earlier – enough to “withstand (another) ‘Great Recession.”
The source: The Wall Street controlled Fed’s last ‘stress test’ assessment made public in March – ignoring the monstrous derivatives ticking time bomb weighing them all down along with the entire financial system.
WaPo editors endorse too-big-to-fail banks. They tout so-called “economies of scale and greater ‘soft power’ for US foreign policy.
Near the end of his tenure, Bill Clinton signed legislation repealing Glass-Steagall (the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – letting insurance, investment and commercial banking merge) and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (permitting unregulated commodity and derivatives trading).
A casino culture of anything goes persists. When counter-parties don’t have funds to pay on demand, bubbles begin deflating. It’s just a matter of time before current market mania ends.

Posted in USA, EducationComments Off on $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb

Phony Claims About Syria Retaining Chemical Weapons

NOVANEWS
Global Research
syria-chemical-weapons-afp-1-300x168

Since Obama began waging proxy war on Syria in March 2011, numerous false charges about Assad using chemical weapons followed – discredited by verifiable facts on the ground.

Clear evidence of imported takfiri terrorists using banned toxic agents was systematically covered up – even after Saudi Arabia was caught red-handed supplying sarin gas and other chemical toxins to anti-Assad elements.

Barrels containing banned chemicals were found marked “Made in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).” Protective masks were found. So were drugs used when inhaling chemicals.

On June 17, 2015, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headlined “Disposal of effluents from neutralised Syrian chemical weapons completed,” saying:

OPCW “welcomes the completion of disposal of effluents resulting from neutralisation operations aboard the US vessel Cape Ray.”

“These operations governed the destruction at sea of almost 600 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard and methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF) from Syrias chemical weapons programme. DF is a key precursor chemical for manufacturing nerve agent.”

On 12 June 2015, a OPCW team verified the disposal of approximately 335.5 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard effluents at the German Government facility, Gesellschaft zur Entsorgung von Chemischen Kampfstoffen und Rüstungsaltlasten MBH (GEKA MBH). This was a significant in-kind contribution by the Federal Republic of Germany.

“On 11 June 2015, Ekokem Riihimäki Waste Disposal Facility in Finland announced the disposal of 5,463 metric tonnes of DF effluents received from the Cape Ray.”

“This process was part of a commercial contract, which included destruction of other chemicals from Syrias chemical weapons programme. An OPCW inspection team will shortly deploy to Finland to verify completion of this process.”

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu called the above efforts

“yet another milestone on the path to eliminating chemical weapons stocks from Syria – one that was achieved in a safe and efficient way, thanks to the valuable support provided by the German Government and Finnish industry.”

“Of the 1,328 metric tonnes of chemical weapon agent declared by the Syrian Arab Republic, only 16 metric tonnes of hydrogen fluoride remain to be destroyed at the facility of Veolia ES Technical Solutions, L.L.C. at Port Arthur in Texas in the United States. The destruction of the 12 former chemical weapons facilities is also underway.”

A feature Friday Wall Street Journal article headlined “Mission to Purge Syria of Chemical Weapons Comes Up Short.”

The dubious source: US intelligence agencies complicit with the administration, State Department, other Washington agencies, Congress and go-along media scoundrels in vilifying Bashar al-Assad irresponsibly – spreading Big Lies about his activities, ignoring his responsible campaign to rid Syria of imported Islamic State and other terrorist groups operating as US proxies to oust him and his government, replacing it with a pro-Western puppet regime.

The Wall Street Journal outrageously called Assad’s full cooperation with OPCW inspectors “a ruse part of a chain of misrepresentations by President Bashar al-Assads regime to hide the extent of its chemical-weapons work.”

“…US intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didnt give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.”

Despite evidence otherwise, they claimed Assad “controlled where inspectors went, what they saw and, in turn, what they accomplished…according to the inspectors and officials.”

The above OPCW comments contradict these assertions. The only restrictions involved securing the safety of inspectors operating in a war zone. Their statements say nothing about restricted or impeded activities in any way. They suggest precisely the opposite – Assad’s full cooperation.

The Journal repeated the exposed Big Lie about Syria using sarin gas in Ghouta “kill(ing) some 1,400 people.” A British report suggested one-fourth this number.

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig John Murray, called John Kerry’s accusations about the Ghouta incident “sheer lies.” Independent evidence confirmed it.

The Journal cited US intelligence claiming (with no verifiable evidence) Assad “hid caches of even deadlier nerve agents, and that he may be prepared to use them if government strongholds are threatened by Islamist fighters.”

US intelligence claims it “tracked the regime’s increasing use of chlorine-filled bombs” earlier this year – despite no evidence proving it. Takfiri terrorists are known to have access to chlorine gas. They’ve shown willingness to use it. Incidents are wrongfully blamed on Assad.

The new US intelligence report is the latest propaganda effort to vilify Assad – perhaps prelude to greater efforts to oust him.

 

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Phony Claims About Syria Retaining Chemical Weapons

With New Spy Bill, France OKs Mass Surveillance

NOVANEWS
Image result for Mass Surveillance PHOTO
By Nadia Prupis

France’s highest constitutional authority on Thursday approved a sweeping, controversial new surveillance law that greatly expands the government’s spying powers, despite widespread human rights concerns.

Making only minor changes to the legislation, which was approved by Parliament in May, the Constitutional Council ruled on Thursday that the bill generally aligns with the French constitution—even as privacy and civil liberties groups continue to call attention to its egregious rights violations.

“By validating almost all surveillance measures provided in the Surveillance Law adopted on 25 June, the French Constitutional Council legalizes mass surveillance and endorses a historical decline in fundamental rights,” said La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based digital rights and civil liberties organization. “Only international surveillance has been deemed to be non compliant to the Constitution.”

The law gives French intelligence agencies power to tap phones and hack into computers; sweep up and analyze metadata of millions of civilians; and plant secret microphones, cameras, and ‘keystroke loggers’ in the homes of “suspected terrorists”—all without approval from a judge.

It also gives the government the power to authorize surveillance for reasons as vague as “major foreign policy interests” and preventing “organized delinquency.”

The government justified the bill by invoking recent attacks in Paris, which saw 17 people killed by gunmen in January at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher deli. President Francois Hollande’s move to have the law approved by the Constitutional Council is “unusual,” the Guardian writes. But while it is rare, Hollande’s motives are clear—the decision by the Council ensures that the law will not be challenged as illegal in the future.

By approving the bill, the Council “has disavowed its role as protector of fundamental rights and liberties,” La Quadrature continued. “By refusing to implement effective control over the intelligence services, it is rubber-stamping a historic step back for privacy and freedom of communication, thus undermining the very foundations of democracy. This evening the reason of state was brutally imposed over the rule of law.”

One of the most controversial provisions in the bill requires internet service providers and telecommunications companies to install equipment, referred to in previous debates as “algorithmic black boxes,” that sift through internet traffic and metadata for so-called “terrorist” activity and alert authorities when flagged. Opponents have warned that portion of the bill will “create permanent surveillance,” as Communist Senator Cécile Cukierman said during a June debate—a charge which officials deny.

The law comes into effect just two days after the United Nations Committee for Human Rights released a report warning that the bill “grants overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of vast and badly defined objectives” and calling on France to “guarantee that any interference in private life must conform to principles of legality, proportionality and necessity.”

[…] Privacy International, which submitted recommendations this month to the UNHCR on the right to privacy in France, said the bill legalized hacking. “Its use by any state authorities, particularly intelligence agencies, must be highly regulated to protect against abuses of power. Yet the bill makes no provision for judicial authorisation or oversight of hacking powers,” the organization wrote.

Posted in FranceComments Off on With New Spy Bill, France OKs Mass Surveillance

Building a Mass Surveillance Infrastructure Out of Light Bulbs

NOVANEWS
Image result for Mass Surveillance PHOTO
By Chad Marlow 

For almost a quarter century, General Electric’s corporate slogan was “GE: We Bring Good Things To Life.” Well, based upon a report in Sunday’s New York Times, the company may want to dig up that old slogan, repurpose it a bit, and roll it out as “GE: We Bring Mass Surveillance To Lights.”

According to the Times, “using a combination of LEDs and big data technology,” everyday street lights, as well as those used to illuminate parking lots, store interiors and other locations, will soon be equipped for mass data collection. Of course, the soft sell for this hybrid product—which, as reported by the Times and Reuters in 2013, is manufactured by several companies including GE and Sensity Systems—is based around largely benevolent goals. For one thing, the LED bulbs are far more energy efficient than the light fixtures currently used by most cities. That’s good. They also point out that the built in monitoring features can be used to ease traffic congestion and sense when garbage cans are full. Who wouldn’t like that? Of course, there’s more. These lightbulbs-of-the-not-so-distant-future will also be able to GPS track individual shoppers as they travel through stores. Wait. What? The light bulbs can function as tracking devices? We would have to imagine that if they can GPS-track shoppers in stores, they could work just as effectively to track people as they walk the streets of our cities and towns. In fact, if you traveled through Newark Liberty International Airport in the past year, these spy-bulbs lights were already watching you. And there’s more: the bulbs can be programmed to “pick() up on suspicious behavior.” What exactly does that mean? If two women wearing head scarves decide to chat in a parking lot after seeing a late night movie, are the police going to be notified?

I always figured Big Brother was going to be some giant face on a wall, not a tiny camera hidden inside a light bulb.

The ACLU strongly opposes the creation of infrastructures for ubiquitous mass surveillance including the widespread deployment of lightbulb spying technology. But what is particularly troubling here is the stealthy way in which the product is being marketed and pitched to the press; to wit, as an energy efficient light bulb with built-in monitoring technology. Given the limited use of the product as a lighting device and the broad scope of its tracking and surveillance features, what this product really appears to be is a mass surveillance device being disguised as an LED light bulb. I would bet that if we could see a breakdown of the device’s production costs, the lightbulb versus surveillance technology discrepancy would be equally pronounced.

There are no doubt an increasing number of cameras in our public spaces, but it would still be a big deal for governments to construct giant, stealth surveillance networks that are under their centralized control. And although these surveillance bulbs may have beneficial uses, I think we would be far better off keeping our privacy, finding other ways to combat full trash cans and traffic congestion, and not bringing mass surveillance to lights.

Posted in USA, UKComments Off on Building a Mass Surveillance Infrastructure Out of Light Bulbs

The Terrorism Pretext: Mass Surveillance is About Money and Power

NOVANEWS

Image result for cyber espionage PHOTO

By Bill Blunden 

“We are under pressure from the Treasury to justify our budget, and commercial espionage is one way of making a direct contribution to the nation’s balance of payments”

Sir Colin McColl, former MI6 Chief

For years public figures have condemned cyber espionage committed against the United States by intruders launching their attacks out of China. These same officials then turn around and justify America’s far-reaching surveillance apparatus in terms of preventing terrorist attacks. Yet classified documents published by WikiLeaks reveal just how empty these talking points are. Specifically, top-secret intercepts prove that economic spying by the United States is pervasive, that not even allies are safe, and that it’s wielded to benefit powerful corporate interests.

At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire Hillary Clinton accused China of “trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America.” Clinton’s hyperbole is redolent of similar claims from the American Deep State. For example, who could forget the statement made by former NSA director Keith Alexander that Chinese cyber espionage represents the greatest transfer of wealthin history? Alexander has obviously never heard of quantitative easing (QE) or the self-perpetuating “global war on terror” which has likewise eaten through trillions of dollars. Losses due to cyber espionage are a rounding error compared to the tidal wave of money channeled through QE and the war on terror.

When discussing the NSA’s surveillance programs Keith Alexander boldly asserted that they played a vital role with regard to preventing dozens of terrorist attacks, an argument that fell apart rapidly under scrutiny. Likewise, in the days preceding the passage of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 President Obama advised that bulk phone metadata collection was essential “to keep the American people safe and secure.” Never mind that decision makers have failed to provide any evidence that bulk collection of telephone records has prevented terrorist attacks.

If American political leaders insist on naming and shaming other countries with regard to cyber espionage perhaps it would help if they didn’t sponsor so much of it themselves. And make no mistake, thanks to WikiLeaks the entire world knows that U.S. spies are up to their eyeballs in economic espionage. Against NATO partners like France and Germany, no less. And also against developing countries like Brazil and news outlets like Der Spiegel.

These disclosures confirm what Ed Snowden said in an open letter to Brazil: terrorism is primarily a mechanism to bolster public acquiescence for runaway data collection. The actual focus of intelligence programs center around “economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.” Who benefits from this sort of activity? The same large multinational corporate interests that have spent billions of dollars to achieve state capture.

Why is the threat posed by China inflated so heavily? The following excerpt from an intelligence briefing might offer some insight. In a conversation with a colleague during the summer of 2011 the EU’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiddo Houben, described the treaty as an attempt by the United State to antagonize China:

“Houben insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a U.S. initiative, appears to be designed to force future negotiations with China. Washington, he pointed out, is negotiating with every nation that borders China, asking for commitments that exceed those countries’ administrative capacities, so as to ‘confront’ Beijing. If, however, the TPP agreement takes 10 years to negotiate, the world–and China–will have changed so much that that country likely will have become disinterested in the process, according to Houben. When that happens, the U.S. will have no alternative but to return to the WTO.”

American business interests are eager to “open markets in Asia” and “provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment.” At least, that’s how Hillary Clinton phrased it back when she was the Secretary of State. China represents a potential competitor and so American political leaders need an enemy that they can demonize so that they can justify massive intelligence budgets and the myriad clandestine operations that they approve. The American Deep State wishes to maintain economic dominance and U.S. spies have been working diligently to this end.

Posted in UKComments Off on The Terrorism Pretext: Mass Surveillance is About Money and Power

Seeking War to the End of the World

NOVANEWS
Image result for SYRIA-USA FLAG
By Robert Parry 

If the neoconservatives have their way again, U.S. ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the U.S. military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the U.S. Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending.

Like spraying lighter fluid on a roaring barbecue, the neocons also want a military escalation in Ukraine to burn the ethnic Russians out of the east and the neocons dream of spreading the blaze to Moscow with the goal of forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin. In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home.

Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple: arch-neocon Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and an early advocate of the Iraq War, and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who engineered last year’s coup in Ukraine that started a nasty civil war and created a confrontation between nuclear-armed United States and Russia.

Kagan, who cut his teeth as a propaganda specialist in support of the Reagan administration’s brutal Central American policies in the 1980s, is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post’s neocon-dominated opinion pages.

On Friday, Kagan’s column baited the Republican Party to do more than just object to President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal. Kagan called for an all-out commitment to neoconservative goals, including military escalations in the Middle East, belligerence toward Russia and casting aside fiscal discipline in favor of funneling tens of billions of new dollars to the Pentagon.

Kagan also showed how the neocons’ world view remains the conventional wisdom of Official Washington despite their disastrous Iraq War. The neocon narrative gets repeated over and over in the mainstream media no matter how delusional it is.

For instance, a sane person might trace the origins of the bloodthirsty Islamic State back to President George W. Bush’s neocon-inspired Iraq War when this hyper-violent Sunni movement began as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” blowing up Shiite mosques and instigating sectarian bloodshed. It later expanded into Syria where Sunni militants were seeking the ouster of a secular regime led by Alawites, a Shiite offshoot. Though changing its name to the Islamic State, the movement continued with its trademark brutality.

But Kagan doesn’t acknowledge that he and his fellow neocons bear any responsibility for this head-chopping phenomenon. In his neocon narrative, the Islamic State gets blamed on Iran and Syria, even though those governments are leading much of the resistance to the Islamic State and its former colleagues in Al Qaeda, which in Syria backs a separate terrorist organization, the Nusra Front.

But here is how Kagan explains the situation to the Smart People of Official Washington: “Critics of the recent nuclear deal struck between Iran and the United States are entirely right to point out the serious challenge that will now be posed by the Islamic republic. It is an aspiring hegemon in an important region of the world.

“It is deeply engaged in a region-wide war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf States and the Palestinian territories. It subsidizes the murderous but collapsing regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and therefore bears primary responsibility for the growing strength of the Islamic State and other radical jihadist forces in that country and in neighboring Iraq, where it is simultaneously expanding its influence and inflaming sectarian violence.”

The Real Hegemon

While ranting about “Iranian hegemony,” Kagan called for direct military intervention by the world’s true hegemonic power, the United States. He wants the U.S. military to weigh in against Iran on the side of two far more militarily advanced regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia, whose combined weapons spending dwarfs Iran’s and includes – with Israel – a sophisticated nuclear arsenal.

Yet reality has never had much relationship to neocon ideology. Kagan continued: “Any serious strategy aimed at resisting Iranian hegemony has also required confronting Iran on the several fronts of the Middle East battlefield. In Syria, it has required a determined policy to remove Assad by force, using U.S. air power to provide cover for civilians and create a safe zone for Syrians willing to fight.

“In Iraq, it has required using American forces to push back and destroy the forces of the Islamic State so that we would not have to rely, de facto, on Iranian power to do the job. Overall, it has required a greater U.S. military commitment to the region, a reversal of both the perceived and the real withdrawal of American power.

“And therefore it has required a reversal of the downward trend in U.S. defense spending, especially the undoing of the sequestration of defense funds, which has made it harder for the military even to think about addressing these challenges, should it be called upon to do so. So the question for Republicans who are rightly warning of the danger posed by Iran is: What have they done to make it possible for the United States to begin to have any strategy for responding?”

In Kagan’s call for war and more war, we’re seeing, again, the consequence of failing to hold neocons accountable after they pushed the country into the illegal and catastrophic Iraq War by selling lies about weapons of mass destruction and telling tales about how easy it would be.

Instead of facing a purge that should have followed the Iraq calamity, the neocons consolidated their power, holding onto key jobs in U.S. foreign policy, ensconcing themselves in influential think tanks, and remaining the go-to experts for mainstream media coverage. Being wrong about Iraq has almost become a badge of honor in the upside-down world of Official Washington.

But we need to unpack the truckload of sophistry that Kagan is peddling. First, it is simply crazy to talk about “Iranian hegemony.” That was part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rhetoric before the U.S. Congress on March 3 about Iran “gobbling up” nations – and it has now become a neocon-driven litany, but it is no more real just because it gets repeated endlessly.

For instance, take the Iraq case. It has a Shiite-led government not because Iran invaded Iraq, but because the United States did. After the U.S. military ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, the United States stood up a new government dominated by Shiites who, in turn, sought friendly relations with their co-religionists in Iran, which is entirely understandable and represents no aggression by Iran. Then, after the Islamic State’s dramatic military gains across Iraq last summer, the Iraqi government turned to Iran for military assistance, also no surprise.

Back to Iraq

However, leaving aside Kagan’s delusional hyperbole about Iran, look at what he’s proposing. He wants to return a sizable U.S. occupation force to Iraq, apparently caring little about the U.S. soldiers who were rotated multiple times into the war zone where almost 4,500 died (along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis). Having promoted Iraq War I and having paid no price, Kagan now wants to give us Iraq War II. [III!]

But that’s not enough. Kagan wants the U.S. military to intervene to make sure the secular government of Syria is overthrown, even though the almost certain winners would be Sunni extremists from the Islamic State or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Such a victory could lead to genocides against Syria’s Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other minorities. At that point, there would be tremendous pressure for a full-scale U.S. invasion and occupation of Syria, too.

That may be why Kagan wants to throw tens of billions of dollar more into the military-industrial complex, although the true price tag for Kagan’s new wars would likely run into the trillions of dollars. Yet, Kagan still isn’t satisfied. He wants even more military spending to confront “growing Chinese power, an aggressive Russia and an increasingly hegemonic Iran.”

In his conclusion, Kagan mocks the Republicans for not backing up their tough talk: “So, yes, by all means, rail about the [Iran] deal. We all look forward to the hours of floor speeches and campaign speeches that lie ahead. But it will be hard to take Republican criticisms seriously unless they start doing the things that are in their power to do to begin to address the challenge.”

While it’s true that Kagan is now “just” a neocon ideologue – albeit one with important platforms to present his views – his wife Assistant Secretary of State Nuland shares his foreign policy views and even edits many of his articles. As she told The New York Times last year, “nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.” [SeeConsortiumnews.com’s Obama’s True Foreign Policy ‘Weakness.’”]

But Nuland is a foreign policy force of her own, considered by some in Washington to be the up-and-coming “star” at the State Department. By organizing the “regime change” in Ukraine – with the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 – Nuland also earned her spurs as an accomplished neocon.

Nuland has even outdone her husband, who may get “credit” for the Iraq War and the resulting chaos, but Nuland did him one better, instigating Cold War II and reviving hostilities between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States. After all, that’s where the really big money will go – toward modernizing nuclear arsenals and ordering top-of-the-line strategic weaponry.

A Family Business

There’s also a family-business aspect to these wars and confrontations, since the Kagans collectively serve not just to start conflicts but to profit from grateful military contractors who kick back a share of the money to the think tanks that employ the Kagans.

For instance, Robert’s brother Frederick works at the American Enterprise Institute, which has long benefited from the largesse of the Military-Industrial Complex, and his wife Kimberly runs her own think tank called the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to ISW’s annual reports, its original supporters were mostly right-wing foundations, such as the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, but it was later backed by a host of national security contractors, including major ones like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provided training for Afghan police, and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplied software to U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan.

Since its founding in 2007, ISW has focused mostly on wars in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, including closely cooperating with Gen. David Petraeus when he commanded U.S. forces in those countries. However, more recently, ISW has begun reporting extensively on the civil war in Ukraine. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War.”]

So, to understand the enduring influence of the neocons – and the Kagan clan, in particular – you have to appreciate the money connections between the business of war and the business of selling war. When the military contractors do well, the think tanks that advocate for heightened global tensions do well, too.

And, it doesn’t hurt to have friends and family inside the government making sure that policymakers do their part to give war a chance — and to give peace the old heave-ho.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Seeking War to the End of the World

Missile Fields Scandalized from Top to Bottom

NOVANEWS
The Royal Regiment of Scotland military soldiers marching
By John Laforge 

Over the last several years, a surprising number of high-ranking military officers have been investigated, punished or fired over conduct unbecoming, sexual harassment, sexual violence, retaliation against subordinates, recruiting fraud and financial improprieties. In 2014, a Pentagon study found that reports of rapes and sexual assaults in the military increased eight percent, and this came on the heels of a 50 percent increase in reported rapes and sexual assaults in 2013.

Simultaneously, nuclear weapons-related scandals have rocked the Air Force and the Navy, resulting in hundreds of demotions, firings, courts-martial and forced retirements.

Just to note a few:  Feb. 5, 2014, “Navy Opens Inquiry into Cheating in Reactor Training”; April 18, 2014, “Another Charge in Navy Bribe Case”; Nov. 14, 2014, “Pentagon Studies Reveal Major Nuclear Problems”; and Jan. 7, 2015, “California: Navy Commander Admits Taking Bribes.”

Officers among the 9,600 personnel in the Minuteman III missile system have been accused of and penalized for distributing illegal narcotics, violating safety and security rules, failing proficiency exercises, sleeping at the controls, cheating on exams, “burnout,” sexual assaults, spousal abuse, and even illegally flying nuclear-armed Cruise missiles across the country. Two Pentagon reports in 2014 urged then Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to allocate between $1-10 billion to quickly fix management and infrastructure in the nuclear weapons system.

An Air Force study obtained by the Associated Press in 2013 found that court-martial rates in the Minuteman missile fields in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. A lengthy article by Nina Burleigh in the June 18 Rolling Stonereports there are currently four courts-martial – for drug use, rape, assault, sexual assault on an unconscious person, and larceny – underway at the Minot Air Force Base alone. Minot is the only AFB in the country to host both B-52 Stratofortress bombers and Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Missile field duty, whether in Minot, Wyoming or Montana, is understood by the personnel assigned to it as a career cul-de-sac, plagued with long hours of isolation and boredom, and haunted by high-level discussions of eliminating the missiles. The missileers’ jobs, and those of their colleagues and superior officers could be cancelled at any time, and even former Secretary Hagel signed a 2012 report recommending exactly that.

In 2014, the AP referred to, “a flagging sense of purpose,” “stunning breakdowns in discipline, training, morale, security, leadership,” and “a decrepit Minuteman III missile force that few airmen want to join and even fewer view as a career-enhancing mission.” Even the Air Force Secretary in 2013, Michael Donley, said during congressional testimony that he was worried that talk of reducing the nuclear arsenal was having a “corrosive effect” on his troops.

One independent investigation of the string of public scandals declared that the crimes and misdemeanors were symptomatic of a deep-seated problem: “an unambiguous, dramatic and unacceptable decline in the Air Force’s commitment to perform the nuclear mission.”

Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in 2013 that low morale among missileers is caused by the shrinking of the number of ICBMs. “You say, ‘My goodness, there’s only three [missile fields]. There’s no opportunity there’.” But former missile launch officer Bruce Blair, now a research scholar at Princeton University, told the press, “This dead-end career is not the result of shrinking nuclear arsenals, but rather because the Cold War ended decades ago …”

In an attempt to raise spirits, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, who directs 700,000 active-duty and reserve personnel, was reported Feb. 13, 2014 to be considering salary increases for the missileers, who make between $35,000 and $62,000 in base pay.

In the missile fields though, the numbing tedium of having had no mission for the 25 years since the end of the Cold War will not be relieved by a pay raise. Lacking an enemy to target—Minuteman missile warheads are reportedly aimed only at the open sea now, but can be quickly re-directed in a crisis—missile crews can’t be blamed for feeling useless. Overshadowed for promotion and commendations by the Air Force bombing campaigns and drone attacks in the terror wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and unable to deter attacks against US military or civilian targets around the world, the missile crews’ “morale is abysmal,” according to Blair, and they are “suffering a deep malaise.”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists put it this way: “Given the significant number of ‘expert’ studies that have appeared over the past five years suggesting that the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad should be deactivated, it is no wonder that morale has been a persistent challenge in the missile force …” You might say the missileers’ job is dead-ended in more ways than one.

Posted in USAComments Off on Missile Fields Scandalized from Top to Bottom

Nazi regime gives Jordan Zionist puppet helicopters for border security

NOVANEWS

16 Cobra combat helicopters transferred to Zionist puppet Hashemite king free of charge to help fight IS insurgensy

Nazi regime has given retired US-supplied Cobra combat helicopters to Zionist puppet King of Jordan to help the puppet fend off insurgent threats on the Syrian and Iraqi borders, a US official with knowledge of the deal said.

The handover, initiated last year, was approved by Washington, which provided mechanical overhauls for the aircraft before they were incorporated free of charge in Jordan’s existing Cobra fleet, the official said.

“These choppers are for border security,” the official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters.

Asked how many Cobras were transferred, the official said: “Around 16, though some may have been used by the Jordanians for spare parts” rather than kept intact.

Jordanian puppet’s and Zio-Nazi officials declined comment, as did the Pentagon.

I$raHell and Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, this week hosted US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who offered reassurances about the regional fight against Islamic State and the July 14 international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

I$raHell originally had two Cobra squadrons – each consisting of around 30 of the aircraft, which are designed to back ground troops with aerial surveillance as well as machine gun and rocket fire, and to be nimble enough to elude surface-to-air missiles.

One of the squadrons was disbanded in the mid-2000s and the other in 2013, with Nazi air force preferring the more powerful, US-supplied Apache helicopters also in its fleet and an expanded role for its thrifty and versatile pilotless drones.

The Jordanian air force has 25 Cobras in service, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. The Cobra’s manufacturer is Bell Helicopter, a Textron company.

Following Egypt, Jordan made peace with the Nazi regime in 1994. But the countries had maintained discreet security ties dating back to the early 1970s and Nazi regime has pledgedto step in should Jordanian Zionist puppet be threatened by Islamic State or other insurgents rampaging elsewhere in the Middle East.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, JordanComments Off on Nazi regime gives Jordan Zionist puppet helicopters for border security

Iran nuclear deal masks US and China arms race

NOVANEWS

Image result for IRAN-USA FLAG

 

My piece for American website Mondoweiss:

The global arms race has never been more lucrative. America and China are engaged in unprecedented levels of spending around the world to influence and shape global affairs. The effects are devastating on civilians but Washington and Beijing insists they’re “stabilizing” nations. It’s one of the deadliest myths of the 21st century.

Saudi Arabia has executed at least 100 people since January, half of which were for non-violent drug offences. The country’s bombing campaign in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and exacerbated a humanitarian catastrophe in the Arab world’s poorest nation.

None of these facts have any bearing on America’s attitude towards its close Middle Eastern ally. Between 2010 and 2014, both countries reached $90 billion of weapons sales that included planes and armored vehicles. Despite calls from activists to halt the huge increase in arms deals between Western nations and Saudi Arabia, Riyadh claims it fears the rise of Iran and Islamic State and is now the world’s biggest defense importer.

The effect on regional violence will be devastating with the Obama administration overseeing the largest expansion of weapons’ dealing in history. Washington is bribing Israel with arms to accept the Iranian nuclear deal (and despite the bluster Netanyahu will eventually accept it) while continuing to sell weapons to the dictatorial Egyptian regime. Jordan is receiving precision-guided missiles for its fight against Islamist militants and Bahrain, even after brutally crushing a pro-democracy movement in 2011, knew it would still receive military support from America.

A nuclear agreement between Washington and Iran is undeniably better than a military conflict but Muslim civilians in the region will pay a steep price. The Wall Street Journal captured the mood with its headline: “US seeks to ally concerns of allies on nuclear deal”. This is code for bribing autocracies with more weapons:

“The U.S. is specifically looking at ways to expedite arms transfers to Arab states in the Persian Gulf and is accelerating plans for them to develop an integrated regional ballistic missile defense capability, a senior administration official said.”

When US Secretary of State John Kerry talks of Tehran increasing instability in the Middle East, it’s worth remembering who is introducing so much defense equipment into the region. Arming dictatorial allies is one of the darkest legacies of the Obama era.

Defense contractors are excited about the prospect of increased tension in the Middle East. Insecurity leads to strong business. Defense company Lockheed Martin is predicting that foreign sales will soon represent 20 percent of its business. In a sign of its seriousness, the firm opened the Center for Innovation and Security Solutions in Abu Dhabi in late 2014 to assist the United Arab Emirates and design more efficient ways to partner with US allies. Another firm, Raytheon, is seeing increased sales with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and the UAE.

Grant Rogan, CEO of Blenheim Capital and a military sales expert, recently told Foreign Policy that American weapons’ deals could soon skyrocket. “The Saudis and Emiratis don’t trust the [Iranian nuclear] deal, no matter what the deal is”, he said. He expected advanced radar systems “happening in Saudi substantially faster if there’s no deal — or if it’s a deal that doesn’t defang Iran.”

However, America’s dominance of global arms sales is being challenged like never before. China is especially appealing to developing countries, keen on buying “military set meals”, a starter pack of basic defense gear. South Sudan has been a willing buyer despite the regime pursuing a brutal war against its civilian population. Although Beijing has spent billions of dollars building infrastructure in countless areas around the world in the last decade, including Africa, growing environmental, debt and labor issues have increased skepticism towards China’s development model.

“China’s leaders demonstrate little appreciation of the yawning gulfs that separate African people from their rulers, even in newly democratic nations”, writes journalist Howard French. Washington claims to believe in good governance and freedom of speech but its policies have entrenched authoritarianism across Africa under the guise of “fighting terrorism”.

China and America are now engaged in a race for African dollars, a continent with resources and a growing middle class to embrace and exploit. Founder of military contractor Blackwater, Erik Prince, works with Frontier Services Group alongside China’s biggest state-owned firm, Citic Group, to get some of the estimated $1 trillion Beijing intends to spend in Africa by 2025.

Despite China’s partial colonization of Africa, Washington has accelerated covert operations in the last years to support, train and arm militaries and rebel groups. American journalist Nick Turse, writing in his new bookTomorrow’s Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, explains how George W. Bush and particularly Barack Obama have engendered a pivot towards Africa “spanning almost fifty countries”. These include “drone assassinations in Somalia, a proxy war in Mali, shadowy ops in Chad and antipiracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea.” US Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a secretive organization with little strategic depth.

The effect, like in the Middle East, has been to hugely destabilize an already fragile continent. At an Obama-led US-Africa summit in Washington in 2014, African leaders were desperate for new weapons to fight wars that neatly fit with Washington’s “war on terror”. Think Nigeria’s battle against Boko Haram, one example of a US-backed army committing gross abuses of human rights in its battle against extremism.  The deadly reality is that American efforts have failed spectacularly, causing suffering for African civilians and increasing the chances of blowback on the American homeland.

The Global Peace Index released its 2015 report and found an increasingly unstable world. Arms dealing by China and America are directly contributing to this result and yet their involvement in this deadly trade is too rarely acknowledged.

Past the rosy headlines of an Iranian and American détente lies the grim reality for millions of civilians in Africa and the Middle East. For them, Washington and Beijing will continue selling weapons to leaders for whom the ideas of democracy and peace are foreign concepts.

Posted in USA, China, IranComments Off on Iran nuclear deal masks US and China arms race

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING