Archive | November 15th, 2015

Attack in France = State Sponsored Terror, But Which State?

NOVANEWS
Global Research
terror jihad mi5 cops

Reports indicate an unprecedented terrorist attack has unfolded in France, with over 150 dead, many more injured and reports still trickling in regarding the full-scale of the violence. The  BBC in its report, “Paris attacks: Bataclan and other assaults leave many dead,” stated:

France has declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 120 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

Eighty people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert hall and took dozens hostage.

The siege ended when security forces stormed the building.

People were shot dead at bars and restaurants at five other sites in Paris. Eight attackers are reported to have been killed.

The BBC has also released a graphic indicating at least 5 separate locations where the attacks unfolded, while other media organizations have reported that both bombs and small arms were employed, including military rifles.

How Did France’s Expanding Surveillance State Miss This? 

On a scale significantly larger than the previous Paris terror attack carried out against several targets across the capital in January of this year ending in the death of 12, the Western media is already assigning blame to the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS/ISIL) or those “inspired” by ISIS.

It was in the wake of the January attacks that France expanded its already towering surveillance state. The Guardian in an article titled, France passes new surveillance law in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack,” reported:

The new law will allow authorities to spy on the digital and mobile phone communications of anyone linked to a “terrorist” inquiry without prior authorisation from a judge. It forces internet service providers and phone companies to give up data upon request.

Intelligence services will have the right to place cameras and recording devices in private homes and install so-called keylogger devices that record every key stroke on a targeted computer in real time. The authorities will be able to keep recordings for a month and metadata for five years.

One of the most contentious elements of the bill is that it allows intelligence services to vacuum up metadata, which would then be subject to analysis for potentially suspicious behaviour. The metadata would be anonymous, but intelligence agents could follow up with a request to an independent panel for deeper surveillance that could yield the identity of users.

Despite having allegedly lacked these capabilities before the “Charlie Hebo attack,” it would be revealed shortly after that indeed, French security agencies were extensively familiar with the attackers years beforehand – letting the suspects “drop from their radars” just 6 months before the attack occurred, precisely the amount of time generally required for planning and executing such an attack.

Slate Magazine would report in their article, The Details of Paris Suspect Cherif Kouachi’s 2008 Terrorism Conviction,” that:

Kouachi was arrested in January 2005, accused of planning to join jihadists in Iraq. He was said to have fallen under the sway of Farid Benyettou, a young “self-taught preacher” who advocated violence, but had not actually yet traveled to Iraq or committed any acts of terror. Lawyers at the time said he had not received weapons training and “had begun having second thoughts,” going so far as to express “relief” that he’d been apprehended.

CNN would report in an article titled, France tells U.S. Paris suspect trained with al Qaeda in Yemen,” that:

Western intelligence officials are scrambling to learn more about possible travel of the two Paris terror attack suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, with new information suggesting one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with al Qaeda in that country, U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Additional information from a French source close to the French security services puts one of the brothers in Syria.

The Wall Street Journal would reveal in an article titled, Overburdened French Dropped Surveillance of Brothers,” that:

The U.S. provided France with intelligence showing that the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo massacre received training in Yemen in 2011, prompting French authorities to begin monitoring the two brothers, according to U.S. officials. But that surveillance of Said and Chérif Kouachi came to an end last spring, U.S. officials said, after several years of monitoring turned up nothing suspicious.

It is abundantly clear that the “Charlie Hebo attack” suspects were dangerous terrorists, tracked by the government because of this fact, but inexplicably allowed to continue on with their activities until they inevitably carried out a deadly act of terrorism on French soil – an act of terrorism quickly exploited to ramrod through unpopular security bills and further perpetuate France’s unpopular role in America’s various extraterritorial military adventures abroad, including the West’s proxy war in Syria.

Images: The “Charlie Hebo attack” suspects, were tracked by French security agencies for a decade before the attack unfolded – with the suspects dropping off French authorities’ radar for precisely the 6 months they needed to plan and carry out their grand finale. 

.

Those involved in this most recent attack will also likely be revealed to have been tracked by French security agencies long before the attacks – this is because the attacks will, by necessity, need to be linked to the Syrian conflict to justify the recent appearance of France’s largest warship, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, off the coast of Syria, and the much larger Western military intervention needed in order to save a proxy war that has been all but lost by the West.

State Sponsorship – But Which State? Gladio Extra 

As the refugee crisis expanded in Europe, it was warned that it would be purposefully manipulated to create maximum hysteria to justify more direct military intervention in the West’s losing proxy war in Syria.

In a previous report titled, Can Pan-European Hysteria Save NATO’s Syrian War?,” it was warned that:

What is taking form is a controlled strategy of tension, where far-right groups are being arrayed against the migrants and their European supporters, to create hysteria and eventually violence that will be leveraged by those who orchestrated it.

Permissive immigration policies and self-imposed quotas ensured a virtual tidal wave of migrants coming into Europe, while long-cultivated racist and xenophobic political groups – holdovers from NATO’s notorious “Gladio” Cold War stay-behind networks – attempted to create backlash and hysteria in the streets regarding a migrant “invasion.”

Image: ISIS is clearly state-sponsored, but not by any of the nations the West seeks to overthrow in the wake of terrorist attacks carried out on Western soil. Likely the terrorists who spilled blood on Parisian streets this week were armed, trained, and funded by the West itself and its own allies in the ongoing proxy war in Syria. 

All that was left to complete the equation was an incredible act of galvanizing violence that would create the long-absent public support the West needed to justify further meddling in Syria – public support that the narratives of “helping freedom fighters,” recycled lies regarding “weapons of mass destruction,” and tales of “barrel bombs” failed to generate.

Among the targets in this most recent attack was a football stadium hosting a French-German match attended by French President François Hollande himself – which is particularly important to note since foreknowledge of Hollande’s location would have required significant planning and preparations. The choice of attacking a football stadium is also significant, considering that undoubtedly the primary demographic attending the football match would have been those most vocally opposed to the expanding refugee crisis.

Image: Conveniently, the French flagship, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle seen in this file photo, was just sent to Syria’s coast last week. It is now poised to take part in any expanded military campaign predicated on the attacks that just unfolded in Paris, by attackers likely funded, armed, and trained by the West itself.  

In other words, it was an attack designed specifically to provoke French public opinion into supporting action.

The scale of the attack is that of a military operation. It would have required a large group of well trained militants, well armed and funded, with experience in planning and executing coordinated military operations, moving large amounts of weapons clandestinely, experts in the use of weapons and explosives, as well as possessing intelligence capabilities used to somehow circumvent France’s increasingly colossal surveillance capabilities.

Like the terrorists and their supply lines pouring out of NATO-territory into Syria itself, clearly with immense state sponsorship behind them, those involved in the most recent attacks in Paris are also clearly the recipients of state-sponsored funding and training.

While France will undoubtedly try to use this attack to justify further intervention in Syria to topple the government in Damascus, it was most likely France’s own allies in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even Paris itself who were directly or indirectly involved in the training, arming, and funding of those who spilled blood on Parisian streets this week.

The first and most important question in examining any great crime is “cui bono?” or to whose benefit? Attacking Paris, and in particular a football match full of nationalists already increasingly violent and hysterical seems to only benefit a government seeking further justification to wage wider war abroad – a war it is currently losing and a war it currently lacks wide public support to continue fighting.

It now, all so conveniently, has the support it was looking for.

Posted in FranceComments Off on Attack in France = State Sponsored Terror, But Which State?

Last Imprisoned Member of Angola 3 Won’t Be Released, Faces New Trial

NOVANEWS
Map of Angola
Sputnik 

On Monday, a federal appeals court overturned a district judge’s ruling that the last member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, a man who has been in solitary confinement most of the last four decades, must be freed and not face another trial.

In June, District Court Judge James J. Brady ruled that Albert Woodfox must be released and prohibited the court from retrying him. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, decided that Brady overstepped his bounds and “abused his discretion” in making that ruling.

“If ever a case justifiably could be considered to present ‘exceptional circumstances’ barring re-prosecution, this is that case,” Judge James L. Dennis, the only judge to dissent against the 2-1 decision, wrote of the ruling. He went on to cite Woodfox’s failing health, four decades in solitary, and the unconstitutional convictions that landed him there.

Woodfox is imprisoned for an incident in 1972, when he was imprisoned at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, for an armed robbery. During his time there, a prison guard was stabbed to death.

Woodfox and another prisoner, Herman Wallace, were accused of the murder, despite no evidence linking them to the crime. They have maintained that they were accused due to their criticism of the prison and their affiliation with the Black Panther Party.

The third member of the “Angola 3,” Robert Hillary King, was convicted for another, separate crime. He spent 29 years alone in solitary before being released in 2001.

In 2013, Wallace died only a few days after his conviction was overturned on grand-jury-discrimination grounds.

Due to the fact that all the key witnesses are dead and thus will not be able to offer testimony at a new trial, the prosecution has proposed that stand-ins read the deceased witnesses’ prior testimony from transcripts, the New Yorker reported.

Supporters have asserted that, given the circumstances, there is no way that Woodfox will receive a fair trial.

Posted in AfricaComments Off on Last Imprisoned Member of Angola 3 Won’t Be Released, Faces New Trial

US needs boots on the ground to ‘occupy & govern’ Syrian territories

NOVANEWS
RT 

Washngton needs “boots on the ground” in Syria in addition to its air campaign against ISIS, which is not fruitful despite some progress. US Air Force secretary has admitted that “ground forces” is a must in order to “occupy” and “govern” parts of Syria.

In her comments, Secretary Deborah Lee James stressed the importance of the US-led air campaign, but admitted that airstrikes need to be backed by ground forces.

“Air power is extremely important. It can do a lot but it can’t do everything,” James said, just two days after Secretary of Defense Ash Carter supported President Obama’s “willingness to do more” in terms of US troops on Syrian ground.

“Ultimately it cannot occupy territory and very importantly it cannot govern territory,” James told reporters at the Dubai Airshow. “This is where we need to have boots on the ground. We do need to have ground forces in this campaign.”

When it comes to support, the US should assist the “Iraqi army, the Free Syrians and the Kurds” in the fight against Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), James said.

Joined at the news conference by the head of Air Force’s Central Command, Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr, the civilian chief of the US Air Force also said that the US sought to speed up the resupply of munitions used by its allies in campaigns against IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

“That’s a key message that I’m going to be taking back to Washington, and it’s one that we are working pretty hard,” she told reporters, stressing that the Air Force is committed to a quicker process of approving foreign military sales.

“We need to redouble our efforts and get the message delivered back home that it is important to give much more quick consideration if at all possible,” she said.

Last week, Secretary Carter said that the US needed “much more than airstrikes” to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

“I don’t think it’s enough. I think we’re looking to do more. But the fundamental strategy in Iraq and Syria for dealing with ISIL and dealing a lasting defeat to ISIL is to identify then train, equip, and enable local forces that can keep the peace,” Carter said.

On October 30 the White House announced that it is planning to send up no “more than 50 troops” [special forces] to advise “moderate opposition” in Syria on the ground.

The White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed that “these forces do not have a combat mission” while telling the reporters that the US has shown “a desire to intensify those elements of our strategy that have shown the most promise.”

According to a report from Lebanon’s satellite television channel, Al Mayadeen, American military advisors already arrived in Syria last week and started training “moderate rebels” near the city of Salma, located in the western province of Latakia.

The recent development contradicts President Obama’s 2013 promise not to put any “American boots on the ground in Syria” while also bringing up the issues concerning the previous failures of the US train and equip program.

The Pentagon gave up on the training part of the project in October, after senior Obama administration officials admitted that the US had only trained a handful of fighters, despite the program’s $500 million budget.

In September, it was revealed that one group of trainees had surrendered one quarter of their US-supplied weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in exchange for safe passage through territory held by another rebel group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

The rebel training program’s $500 million budget in 2015 was in addition to the $42 million the Pentagon had already spent in 2014 to set it up.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US needs boots on the ground to ‘occupy & govern’ Syrian territories

The U.S. Spends $5.9 Billion on Foreign Military Financing

NOVANEWS

Guess What 2 countries received 75% of the Total ?

According to the U.S. State Government 2013-2015 Foreign Assistance report, an estimated $5.9 billion was spent on foreign military funding alone in fiscal year 2014.  This is equivalent to 17% of the estimated $35 billion spent on total global aid discussed in our previous article. U.S. foreign military aid to countries ranged from $200,000 to $3.1 billion. Of the top 10 recipients, two countries received 75% of the $5.9 billion. Take a look on the map below to see who is getting the most foreign military financing from the U.S.

 

Below is a ranking of the the top 10 recipients and their respective world regions.

  • Israel: $3.1B (Middle East)

  • Egypt: $1.3B (Africa)

  • Iraq: $300M (Middle East)

  • Jordan: $300M (Middle East)

  • Pakistan: $280M (Asia)

  • Lebanon: $75M (Middle East)

  • Philippines: $50M (Asia)

  • Colombia: $29M (Latin America)

  • Tunisia: $20M (Africa)

Research conducted by the World Bank shows that the on average, countries spend approximately 2.2% of GDP on the military. Israel, Iraq, Jordan and Pakistan allocated above average spending towards their military in 2014. The data shows that each country spent approximately 5.2%, 4.3%, 3.5%, and 3.4% of GDP, respectively, on military expenditures. These countries are also part of the top 5 recipients of U.S. foreign military financing, totaling $4.0 billion.

Funding by World Region

Approached from a different perspective, approximately 87% of the $5.9 billion was distributed among two of five world regions. The Middle East tops this list, followed by Africa.

  • Middle East: 64%

  • Africa: 23%

  • Asia: 7%

  • General Programs: 4%

  • Europe: 1%

  • Latin America: 1%

An interesting point to note is that while the Latin American region received only 1% of foreign military financing, Colombia made the top 10 list with $28 million. The second highest recipient in Latin America was Mexico, with $7 million of U.S. funding. On the other hand, Africa received roughly 23% of military aid; however, five African countries made the bottom of the list, receiving $200,000 each (Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Botswana, Tanzania, and Uganda). Of the 74 countries that received U.S. foreign military funding, not all received aid in proportion to its geographic region.

Past, Present, and Future

Allocation of foreign military financing may differ over time as the social, economic, and political climate changes across the globe. In the past three years; however, foreign military financing has been relatively consistent, with $5.7 and $5.9 billion distributed in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and $5.6 billion requested in 2015. Additionally, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Pakistan made the top 5 in all three years, receiving roughly the same amount of aid year over year. It is difficult to predict future foreign military financing allocations; however, if remaining consistent, five countries will receive approximately 89% of these distributions, leaving 69 other countries to receive the remaining 11% of funds

Posted in USAComments Off on The U.S. Spends $5.9 Billion on Foreign Military Financing

The Enduring Crime of ‘Agent Orange’

NOVANEWS
By Gary G. Kohls 

Fifty years ago next month (December 1965), with the urging of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the rubber stamp approval of President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the United States Air Force started secretly spraying the forests of Laos with a deadly herbicide that was known as Agent Orange.

Operation Ranch Hand, whose motto was “Only We Can Prevent Forests” (a shameful takeoff of Smokey the Bear’s admonition), was a desperate, costly and ultimately futile effort to make it a little harder for the National Liberation Front soldiers from North Vietnam to join and supply their comrades-in-arms in the south.

Both the guerrilla fighters in the south and the NLF army had been fighting to liberate Vietnam from the exploitive colonial domination from foreign nations such as imperial France (that began colonizing Vietnam in 1874), then Japan (during World War II), then the United States (since France’s expulsion after their huge military defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954) and then against its own nation’s U.S.-backed fascist/military regime in South Vietnam that was headed by the brutal and corrupt President Ngo Dinh Diem.

(Incidentally, the nepotism in Diem’s iron-fisted rule was almost laughable, with one brother being the Catholic Archbishop of Vietnam, a second brother being in charge of the Hue district, and a third brother being the co-founder of the only legal political party in South Vietnam as well as Diem’s principal adviser. True democracies do not criminalize political parties.)

The aim of the National Liberation Front was to unite the north and the south portions of the country and free it from the influence and occupation of foreign invaders. The leader of the liberation movement since its beginning was Ho Chi Minh, who had made sincere appeals to both President Woodrow Wilson (after World War I had weakened France’s colonial system) and President Harry Truman (after the Japanese had taken over Vietnam during World War II and then surrendered to the U.S. in 1945).

Each appeal asked for America’s help to liberate Vietnam from their French colonial oppressors and each one fell on deaf ears, even though Ho Chi Minh had frequently incorporated the wording and spirit of America’s Declaration of Independence in his continuous efforts to achieve justice for his suffering people.

Agent Orange’s Ecological Devastation

Operation Ranch Hand had actually been in operation since 1961, mainly spraying its poisons on Vietnam’s forests and crop land. The purpose of the operation was to defoliate trees and shrubs and kill food crops that were providing cover and food for the “enemy.”

Operation Ranch Hand consisted of spraying a variety of highly toxic polychlorinated herbicide solutions that contained a variety of chemicals that are known to be (in addition to killing plant life) human and animal mitochondrial toxins, immunotoxins, hormone disrupters, genotoxins, mutagens, teratogens, diabetogens and carcinogens that were manufactured by such amoral multinational corporate chemical giants like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, DuPont and Diamond Shamrock (now Valero Energy).

All were eager war profiteers whose CEOs and share-holders somehow have always benefitted financially from America’s wars. Such non-human entities as Monsanto and the weapons manufacturers don’t care if the wars that they can profit from are illegal or not, war crimes or not; if they can make money they will be there at the trough.

They are however, expert at duping the Pentagon into paying exorbitantly high prices for inferior, unnecessary or dangerous war materiel. One only needs to recall Vice President Dick Cheney’s Halliburton Corporation and that company’s no-bid multibillion dollar contracts that underserved U.S. soldiers during the past three wars, but enriched any number of One Percenters.

Agent Orange was the most commonly used of a handful of color-coded herbicidal poisons that the USAF sprayed (and frequently re-sprayed) over rural Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It was also used heavily over the perimeters of many of the U.S. military bases, the toxic carcinogenic and disease-inducing chemicals often splashing directly upon American soldiers. (But “stuff happens” as Donald Rumsfeld would say).

The soil in and around some of the U.S. and ARVN (Army of the Republic of Viet Nam) military bases continue to have extremely high levels of dioxin. The U.S. military bases where the barrels of Agent Orange were off-loaded, stored and then pumped into the spray planes or “brown water” swift boats are especially contaminated, as were those guinea pig “atomic soldiers” who handled the chemicals.

The Da Nang airbase today has dioxin contamination levels over 300 times higher than that which international agencies would recommend remediation. (Guess which guilty nation is doing nothing about Agent Orange contamination of the sovereign nation of Vietnam?)

It is fair to speculate that any American GI who spent any time at bases such as Da Nang, Phu Cat and Bien Hoa in the 1960s and 1970s may have been exposed. U.S. Navy swift boat crews that sprayed Agent Orange on the shores of the bushy rivers that they patrolled were often soaked by the oily chemicals that were sprayed from the hoses. Secretary of State Kerry, who commanded a swift boat as a U.S. Navy lieutenant, are you listening?

The poisonous spraying continued for a decade until it was stopped in 1971. The South Vietnamese air force, that had started spraying Agent Orange before the U.S. did, continued the program beyond 1971.

Chemical That Never Stops Poisoning

Agent Orange was a 50/50 mixture of two herbicides: 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid). Other herbicide agents were mixtures of other equally toxic polychlorinated compounds, but every barrel was contaminated by substantial amounts of dioxin, one of the most toxic industry-made chemicals known to man.

The toxicity of the herbicidal chemicals known as “dioxins” or “dioxin-like compounds” is due to the chlorine atoms and the benzene molecules (or phenyl groups) in the compound to which they are attached.

Dioxins have very long half-lives and are thus very poisonous to the liver’s detoxifying enzymes that humans and animals rely on to degrade synthetic chemicals that get into the blood stream. The fatty tissues of exposed Vietnam vets, even decades after exposure, continue to have measureable levels of dioxins.  …

According to Wikipedia, “War crimes have been broadly defined by the Nuremberg Principles as ‘violations of the laws or customs of war,’ which includes massacres, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism, mutilation, torture and the murder of detainees and prisoners of war (realities that abounded at places like My Lai and other massacre sites).  Additional common crimes include theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.”

According to that definition, anybody with a smidgen of awareness of what really happens in any combat zone would have to conclude that every war that the U.S. military has ordered its young soldiers to go off and fight and kill in, especially the many corporate-endorsed, Wall Street wars, was laden with war crimes.

Four million innocent Vietnamese civilians were exposed to Agent Orange, and as many as 3 million have suffered diagnosable illnesses because of it, including the progeny of people who were exposed to it, approximating the number of innocent Vietnamese civilians that were killed in the war.

The Red Cross of Vietnam says that up to 1 million people are disabled with Agent Orange-induced illnesses. There has been an epidemic of birth defects, chronic illnesses, fetal anomalies and neurological and mental illnesses since the “American War.”

Most thinking humans would agree that destroying the health and livelihoods of innocent farmers, women, children, babies and old people by poisoning their forests, farms, food and water supplies qualifies as a war crime.

Disrespecting Sickened Veterans

According to Wikipedia, the chemical companies accused in an Agent Orange Vietnam veterans’ class action lawsuit in 1984 (against seven chemical companies that got Agent Orange contracts from the Pentagon) denied that there was a link between their poisons and the veterans’ health problems.

On May 7, 1984, as is usual for Big Corporations that know when they are losing, the seven chemical companies settled out of court for $180 million just hours before jury selection was to begin. The companies agreed to pay the $180 million as compensation if the veterans dropped all claims against them, with 45 percent of the sum to be paid by Monsanto.

Many veterans were outraged, feeling that they had been betrayed by the lawyers. Fairness Hearings were held in five major American cities, where veterans and their families discussed their reactions to the settlement, and condemned the actions of the lawyers and courts, demanding the case be heard before a jury of their peers. The federal judge refused the appeals, claiming the settlement was “fair and just.”

By 1989, the veterans’ fears were confirmed when it was decided how the money from the settlement would be paid out. A totally disabled Vietnam veteran would receive a corporate-friendly maximum of $12,000 spread out over the course of 10 years. By accepting the settlement payments, disabled veterans would become ineligible for many state benefits such as food stamps, public assistance and government pensions. A widow of a veteran who died because of Agent Orange would only receive $3,700.

According to Wikipedia, “In 2004, Monsanto spokesman Jill Montgomery said Monsanto should not be liable at all for injuries or deaths caused by Agent Orange, saying: ‘We are sympathetic with people who believe they have been injured and understand their concern to find the cause, but reliable scientific evidence indicates that Agent Orange is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.’”

Talk about governmental and corporate disrespect for military veterans who have been sickened by military toxins or physically or psychologically wounded in battle! Such shabby treatment of returning veterans has been the norm after every war, including the “bonus army” revolt of the 1930s when thousands of poor, disabled and/or unemployed World War I vets marched on Washington, DC, demanding the bonus that had been promised them in the 1920s. Rather than receiving justice, Generals Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower ordered their troops to burn the bonus army’s temporary villages and disperse the vets empty-handed. …

I conclude this essay by listing the currently-accepted list of diseases that the Veteran Administration acknowledges can be caused by exposure to Agent Orange. This applies to American veterans, but one can be certain that the consequences are a hundred times worse for the Vietnamese people who were sprayed and who are still being exposed to it in the soil for the last 50 years.

The VA says that certain cancers and other health problems can be caused by exposure to Agent Orange and the other herbicides during their military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits if they have one of these diagnoses:

Amyloidosis, Chronic B-cell Leukemias, Chloracne, Type II Diabetes Mellitus, Hodgkins Disease, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Ischemic Heart Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers (including lung cancer), Hairy Cell Leukemia, Soft Tissue Sarcomas and spina bifida in infants of Agent Orange exposed Vietnam veterans.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Enduring Crime of ‘Agent Orange’

A Palestinian Call for “Unarmed Warfare”

NOVANEWS
Image result for gun photos
By Jonathan Cook 

Behind the headline news of clashes between Palestinian youths and armed Israeli soldiers, Israel has – as ever – been quietly tightening its grip on Palestinians’ lives in the occupied territories.

Last week in Hebron, a current flashpoint, 50 embattled families still living in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, faced a new restriction on movement designed to help free up the area for intensified Jewish settlement.

Some of Tel Rumeida’s residents could be seen silently queuing at the local checkpoint to register their ID cards. Anyone not from the neighbourhood and not on the military’s list will be barred from entering.

Their response differed starkly from the reaction 21 years ago, when residents faced a similar order. Then, the entire neighbourhood refused to register. Israel punished them with a curfew for six months, allowing the families out for a few hours a week to buy food.

How to respond to military orders of this kind stands at the heart of a debate that has revived among Palestinians about the relative merits of armed struggle and non-violent resistance.

A poll in the early summer showed 49 per cent of Palestinians aged between 18 and 22 supported an armed uprising. By September, after the first clashes in Jerusalem, that figure had surged to 67 per cent.

The volatility can in part be explained by an inevitable thirst for revenge as Palestinians watch compatriots being killed and maimed by Israeli soldiers.

But it also reflects a void of Palestinian leadership and strategy. Instead, Palestinians have been buffeted into polarised camps that, put simply, pit Hamas’ rhetoric of armed struggle against the stalled diplomacy of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.

Non-violence once earned a central place in Palestinian resistance to occupation. During the first intifada of the late 1980s, Palestinians engaged in mass civil disobedience: they refused to cooperate with the military authorities, burnt their ID cards, refused to pay taxes and held strikes.

That approach never entirely ended. Today it finds expression in the weekly protests and marches by villages against Israel’s steel and concrete barrier eating away at Palestinians’ agricultural lands. These protests remain largely peaceful, even in the face of unceasing army brutality.

But the use of non-violence has been limited to local struggles, waged with the aim of small, isolated victories. It has also invariably coexisted with more violent approaches, from stone-throwing to the current knife attacks.

Much of the blame falls to Abbas, who has appropriated the language of non-violence while failing to harness it to a national strategy of resistance. Even the PA’s support for the villagers’ battles against Israel’s wall has been less than half-hearted.

In the minds of many Palestinians, non-violence has become tainted by association with Abbas’ years of ineffectiveness: his desperate and unsuccessful attempts both to push Israel into peace talks and to cosy up to Washington. The nadir was his declaration of the “sacred” status of the PA’s security coordination with Israel.

It has also not helped that prejudicial demands for non-violence are regularly made of Palestinians by outsiders and dishonest brokers such as Washington. Last month US secretary of state John Kerry singled out Palestinians for blame in the latest clashes. “There’s no excuse for the violence,” he scolded, ignoring decades of Israel’s violent suppression of Palestinian efforts at liberation.

Nonetheless, some Palestinian intellectuals are advocating non-violent resistance as they warn against an armed uprising. Palestinians have a right in international law to resist the occupation, even violently, but this group emphasises the futility of violence faced with Israel’s military superiority. Theirs is a pragmatic argument.

In an article headlined “Don’t go out to die, Palestine needs you alive”, journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh called on Palestinians to “channel the national anger toward mass protest”. Reminding Palestinians that the western world created the conflict and must fix it, Daragmeh warned: “It will not do so if we commit suicide.”

Similarly, Palestinian businessman Sam Bahour has coined the term “smart resistance”, arguing that all the Palestinian factions should commit to non-violent resistance as a way to national liberation.

Both have drawn on earlier strategies of communal solidarity and collective sacrifice – as demonstrated by Tel Rumeida’s inhabitants two decades ago.

One of the architects of the first intifada’s non-violent resistance, Mubarak Awad, recently reminded Palestinians that it is no soft option. “It’s about using nonviolence militantly, like a kind of unarmed warfare,” he told an interviewer.

He suggests instead refusing to carry Israeli-issued IDs, defying curfews, blocking roads, planting trees on sites intended for settlement, tearing down fences, staging sit-ins and and inviting mass arrests to fill to breaking point Israel’s jails.

Such actions require mass participation, mobilising women, children and the elderly – the very groups likely to be excluded by armed struggle.

And, as Awad notes, non-violence also needs a people trained in its techniques and principles. That is why he has translated into Arabic the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Political organisers and strategists like Awad have always topped Israel’s list for arrest. He was jailed and tortured at the start of the first intifada and later expelled to the US.

The power of disciplined non-violent resistance, he adds, is that it forces on the occupier a heavy burden: to “deal with our willingness to stand up for ourselves with nothing but our bodies and hearts”.

It forces Israelis to “choose what kind of people they are”, and creates division and dissent among the oppressor population, weakening its resolve.

It is a challenging message, especially when Israel is so ruthlessly crushing Palestinian hope and dignity. But Awad argues that it is precisely by demonstrating an irrepressible humanity that Palestinians can again discover hope, reclaim their dignity and win freedom.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on A Palestinian Call for “Unarmed Warfare”

Twenty-six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) that Obama Does Not Want You to Know About

NOVANEWS
Global Research
ISIL invasion

This article was first published in November 2014.  

Recent developments confirm what is known and documented: Washington is behind the Islamic State (ISIS) and at the same time it is behind the moderate Al Qaeda terrorists, which the Obama administration is supporting as part of America’s campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). And they expect us to believe that they are committed to waging a campaign against terrorists.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was until 2014 called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

Al Nusra is an al Qaeda affiliate which has committed countless atrocities in Syria.  It is now considered by the Obama administration as the “Moderate Opposition”. 

America’s “anti-terrorist campaign’ consists in supporting a so-called “moderate” Al  Qaeda entity (Al Nusra)  with a view to going after another al Qaeda entity entitled The Islamic State, formerly designated as Al Qaeda in Iraq.  

“Al Qaeda is going after Al Qaeda”, and both wings of al Qaeda are supported covertly by US intelligence. 

Both ISIS and Al Nusra are protected by the Western military alliance. Both Al Qaeda entities are used to destroy Syria and Iraq. The air campaign allegedly against ISIS does not target ISIS, it targets Syria and Iraq, schools, hospitals, factories, residential areas, government buildings, roads, bridges, etc. 

Both Al Qaeda affiliated entities are being used to destroy Iraq and Syria as nation states.

The terrorists  are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance.

US-NATO-Israel are state sponsors of terrorism, providing training, weapons and money to various terrorist formations. 

The endgame is “regime change” in Syria and the fragmentation of Iraq.  

Michel Chossudovsky, September 03, 2015

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

\

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been  -from a military standpoint-  a rapid and expedient surgical operation  

In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie.  Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.

It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of  the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.  

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA

1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a century since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. 

2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan.  In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

3. Since the Reagan Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network.

Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades.  It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

4. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”

5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)

6. The Islamic State (ISIL) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة‎).

China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

7. The ISIL brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.

8.  NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011. According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)

9.There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.

10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

11. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programsimplemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar

.

12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL.Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

13. Israel  has supported  the ISIL and Al Nusrah brigades out of the Golan Heights.

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See  image below:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″

Inline images 1

SYRIA AND IRAQ

14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers  of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

16  The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US.  Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.

17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

18.  The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)

19. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.

20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.

original

America’s “War on Terrorism” By Mchel Chossudovsky

These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa  and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc,  create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.

21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

23 The Terrorists R Us:  While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State,  Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.

24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication.  It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.

The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.

25.  The “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly  associated with the jihadists.

26  Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.

The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.

The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council.  The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.

The Big Lie has become the Truth. 

Say no to the “Big Lie”. Spread the message.

The truth is ultimately a powerful weapon.

Please help us continue. We rely on the support of our readers.

Consider donating to Global Research. 

For Peace and Truth in Media, Michel Chossudovsky

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on Twenty-six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) that Obama Does Not Want You to Know About

Far-right Jewish settler rabbi: Paris attacks are payback for the Holocaust

NOVANEWS


The quote from Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, was first reported by the Walla! news agency.

JPOST

A religious Zionist cleric from a Jewish settlement on the West Bank told mourners on Saturday during the funeral of an Israeli father and son gunned down by Palestinian terrorists that the attacks in Paris were deserved due to what Europeans “did to our people 70 years ago.”

The quote from Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, was first reported by the Walla! news agency.

“The wicked ones in blood-soaked Europe deserve it for what they did to our people 70 years ago,” Lior said.

The controversial rabbi once wrote an approbation for a book called The King’s Torah that was co-written in 2009 by radical settler figure Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, which permitted killing civilian non-Jews in times of war.

He was summoned by police for questioning on grounds of incitement to violence but refused to report for questioning, saying the Torah was not open to police investigation. He was subsequently arrested and brought for questioning but no charges were made.

Last year, Lior published a letter saying that Jewish law permits destroying the entire Gaza Strip to bring peace to the south of the country.

Lior said that he had received questions about whether Jewish law permits harming a civilian population not directly involved with the combatants.

He first cited the opinion of the Maharal of Prague, a renowned 16th-century rabbi, who wrote that a nation under attack can wage a fierce war against the assaulting nation, and that it is not obligated regarding the safety of people who are personally involved in hostilities.

“At a time of war, the nation under attack is allowed to punish the enemy population with measures it finds suitable, such as blocking supplies or electricity, as well as shelling the entire area according to the army minister’s judgment, and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing deterring steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior wrote.

Addressing the hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi continued to say that “in the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the defense minister to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the South will no longer suffer and to prevent injury to our people, who have been suffering for so long from the enemies surrounding us.”

“Talk of humanitarianism and consideration are nothing when weighed against saving our brothers in the South and across the country and the restoration of quiet to our land,” he said.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, FranceComments Off on Far-right Jewish settler rabbi: Paris attacks are payback for the Holocaust

Elderly German Lady sentenced to 10 months in prison for doubting Auschwitz extermination claims

NOVANEWS
By Michael Hoffman 

Ursula Haverbeck

Hamburg District Court, Nov. 11, 2015 — 87-year-old Ursula Haverbeck has been sentenced to imprisonment in Germany for doubting that people were “exterminated” by “gassing” in the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

The defendant, in good spirits, reiterated her doubts in the courtroom. She arrived without a lawyer, and defended herself. Some fifty of her supporters crowded the courtroom and the hall outside.

She was accused of giving an interview to the German magazine Panorama in which she stated that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp but a labor camp. The mass murder of Jews had not taken place, she said.

Haverbeck, former chairwoman of the now-banned freethought association, “Collegium Humanum,” told the judge,”Here, I stand.”

Turning to the prosecutor she asked, “How do you as a lawyer prove the accusation that Auschwitz was an extermination camp?” Her request for a revisionist historian to give evidence that at Auschwitz no one had been gassed, was rejected by Judge Jönsson who stated: “It is futile to argue with people who do not accept the facts.”

The German government prosecutor maintained that the defendant’s “fanatical delusion” had not abated and that, despite her advanced age, Ursula Haverbeck must be sentenced to 10 months in prison without parole. The judge agreed and the sentence was imposed.

In 2009, Haverbeck was fined thousands of dollars in the District Court of Bad Oeynhausen, for having given offense to Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews.

Posted in GermanyComments Off on Elderly German Lady sentenced to 10 months in prison for doubting Auschwitz extermination claims

Higher Ed’s Scrutiny Gap: Is Corruption Getting a Free Press?

NOVANEWS
By David Mihalyfy 

As a University of Chicago Ph.D. candidate, I’ve not only undertaken investigative reporting of my home institution, the famed Obama library site and a college rankings powerhouse, but also used that odd opportunity to sort out consequences from causes and identify our higher ed system’s major problems.

Currently, higher ed’s greatest flaw is its pre-modern, pre-democratic institutional structure: although 99.9% of universities are permanently dependent on taxpayer-funded student loans and research grants, their ultimate authorities are either self-appointing or politically appointed and thus face inadequate checks-and-balances against corruption.

In other words, vital stakeholders like alumni and frontline mission fulfillers of educators and researchers can’t say “enough!” with a simple vote, even when “badmin” seek personal prestige through unduly hasty building campaign or counterproductive cover-ups, or they even go and start blatantly self-enriching through CEO salaries and crony contracts.

This fundamental problem, however, is compounded by a second, even less discussed problem, higher ed’s “scrutiny gap” – that is, the blind spot in press coverage that gives colleges too much free rein with our tax money.

What’s more newsworthy than 8 college administrators receiving $7.6 million through pay raises over 5 years, each getting $450,000 to $3.3 million as a result, and not only that, but in the middle of trustee contracts and even as the school heads toward a credit downgrade? And at the main Obama Library contender of the time, and eventual winner?

That was my striking and substantiated factoid, but publication was difficult even in this best case scenario of a “juicy story”, a situation that in its particulars opens up circumstances plaguing higher ed coverage as a whole.

First off, our country has not completely confronted how universities are legalized old boys clubs tapped into public coffers and set on silently bleeding us dry.

Unaware that pretty much all universities couldn’t function without massive infusions of taxpayer cash, many people I’ve met still give kneejerk reactions like “They’re private!” or “That’s their problem!” when faced with obscene administrative salaries or misbehavior at UChicago or elsewhere.

Accordingly, neither CEO salaries nor crony contracts are seen as symptoms of a single common problem, though similar actions at somewhere like the Environmental Protection Agency would hoist up red flags and maybe even lead to congressional investigations.

More than this, though, any given university out there experiences practically no consistent press scrutiny.

Thorough coverage of all our country’s colleges is beyond the capacity of trade publications like the Chronicle of Higher Educationand Inside Higher Ed.

Among geographically limited journalists who could conceivably provide local monitoring, institution-specific stories are infrequent and tend to focus on already-developing scandals of “public” institutions, likely due to the pernicious belief that so-called “private” institutions somehow don’t involve our tax money.

Furthermore, laudable exceptions like the Mercury News coverage of San Diego State crony contracts and the attention of Crain’s Chicago Business to University of Chicago finances show that reporters must have patience for and comfort-level with bureaucratic process and number-crunching.

That said, the numbers of such skilled journalists are rapidly thinning. Thus, the “in-house PR firms” of schools’ communications offices can run scrimmage even more effectively, a problem increased by the exemption of so-called “private” schools from sunlight laws like FOIA despite their receipt of tax money hand-over-fist.

Tellingly, I once met a reporter for a well-regarded alternative newspaper at an activist event, and started speaking about the third trustee contract I’d discovered at University of Chicago, to an Obama bundler for parking garage construction, perhaps with cost overruns.

“Oh,” she was like, glancing to somewhere else in the room. “Sounds complicated.”

Nevertheless, media skepticism exists towards freelance investigative reporters.

In my own case, freelancing a straight news piece did not meet with success despite multiple drafts and multiple submissions to higher ed and city news sites, even though some reporting has since resurfaced in places like Crain’s Chicago Business.

Fortunately, a tangential freelancing acquaintance mentored me and recommended that I fold original reporting into “big picture” think pieces in order to maximize chances at publication.

Doubly fortunately, known forums like Jacobin and CounterPunch took an interest and ultimately published that work.

All the same, despite its dearth and social necessity, such serious freelance reporting is very rare, given the required levels of charity and luck.

Beyond these forums, student newspapers seem even less prone to provide the needed scrutiny, sadly.

In addition to the entrance barriers that all reporters face, undergraduates can lack the life experience sometimes necessary to identify and properly frame issues, and their population turnover can militate against the collective memory needed to tease out scandals and sustain long-term series.

True, student newspapers associated with journalism programs and faculty journalist advisers seem to produce better coverage.

For example, the student newspaper of Chicago’s open-enrollment Columbia College admirably identifies and memorably conveys challenging process-and-budget stories. Last spring’s coverage was especially notable; it highlighted a sham of a community input process and the strange decision to simultaneously increase class size and add in high-level, high-earning administrators.

In comparison, the University of Chicago student newpaper’s coverage of a nationwide publicitygetting restrictive elevator policy failed to challenge the school’s president and clearly ask “Who started it?”, while a recent editorial on Aramark’s food, service and health and safety violations fails to mention how the Chairman of the Board of Trustees was a former CEO.

Still other stories read like puff piece press releases from the in-house PR firm of the school’s News Office.

“An organ of the state,” a Slavic Studies professor friend once cracked.

Anecdotally, too, the reporters know that they can’t ask certain questions about pay when granted interview with administrators, because otherwise they’d sacrifice the material that fills their pages.

Such uncertain reporters are also prone to manipulation by News Office personnel, word-on-the-street goes; brush-offs work, as do sly suggestions of “better angles” that derail investigations ultimately benefitting the institution but not its exploitative administrators. I myself have encountered such challenges in pressing simple inquiries on who began the restrictive elevator policy, only to meet with official communications from a then-News Office staffer and current Carnegie Mellon Vice President, who mocked “several false premises you are clinging to, despite our best efforts to help you understand.”

Ironically, then, our country values the students who could get attention with incisive stories but are unsure in confrontation with authority figures, while the less elite students who understand the situation and have the skills to communicate it don’t get much of our attention at all.

Even worse? When some well-known institutions like Butler do produce good papers, badmin are doing their best to gut them and avoid any oversight whatsoever, as Inside Higher Ed has importantly reported.

In sum, then, between public unawareness and sporadic, decreasing media attention at best, higher ed oligarchies can run rampant if they wish, to the degree that they can escape bad publicity and any ensuing public outcry.

Within current laws, however, hope rests in increased public awareness about the use of taxpayer investment, the ambitiousness of competent reporters, and the unionization efforts of precarious faculty, among whom increased security will foster exposure of abuses as well as better instruction.

More importantly, though, our country needs to tie receipt of public monies to better legal oversight that directly takes on badmin through reforms like mandatory sunlight laws, conversion to civil service pay scales, and most of all a ban on trustee contracts alongside opening up their positions to election.

Under such reforms, journalists would have increased tools like a more broadly applicable FOIA, but less material due to less corruption.

Could we be so lucky that higher ed muckrakers will have so much less work to do?

Yes, when we face the crisis around us and reform higher ed, deeply.

Waste of our resources may be festering now, but everyone out there knows that the current path of American higher ed is unsustainable, and that a day of reckoning is coming.

Posted in USAComments Off on Higher Ed’s Scrutiny Gap: Is Corruption Getting a Free Press?

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

November 2015
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30