Archive | December 25th, 2015

Pro-Kurdish opposition leader meets Lavrov in Moscow

NOVANEWS

Turkey on brink of civil war

Andre Ivanov

Selahattin Demirtash, leader of the Pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democracy party of Turkey

Russia lays a mine under Erdogan – intends to normalize relations with the Kurds and Turkish opposition

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov may meet with the leader of the Pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democracy party of Turkey, Selahattin Demirtash, informed RIA Novosti with reference to its sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry. It is known that Demirtash arrives in Moscow on Tuesday, he had earlier expressed the desire to meet with Lavrov.

The People’s Democracy party is a serious political force in Turkey. According to the results of the last parliamentary elections, it received 13% of votes and formed its own faction, along with three other major political forces of the country. The main difference of the party of Demirtash from the others in that it openly supports the Kurds and opposes President Erdogan.

It is important to note that the planned meeting between Lavrov and Demirtash will take place amid a sharp deterioration in Turkey’s domestic situation. In the southeastern provinces predominantly populated by Kurds, there is currently fighting between the Kurdish militia and the Turkish army. Data on casualties from both sides varies, but we are talking about dozens of dead and wounded. On Sunday there were street battles in Istanbul between police and thousands of protesters demanding to stop the military operation. We can safely say that the internal political situation in Turkey is heating up, and not in favor of Erdogan.

Moscow today actually has all the cards. Dialog with the current political leadership of Turkey is impossible. Ankara still did not apologize for the downed Su-24 and is only trying to intimidate Moscow. The recent statement of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Chavushoglu that in case of a conflict Russia will be taken in seven days, cannot be classified as friendly.

Meanwhile Russia consistently emphasizes that it considers the Turks a friendly nation. Indeed, Erdogan and his party are not the whole country. Say, the USA actively uses internal contradictions in other countries for regime change. Maybe the time has come for Russia to act in a similar vein?

The head of the Russian Society of Friendship and Business Cooperation with Arab countries, Vyacheslav Matuzov, however, believes that Moscow is not yet ready to actively impact the domestic political situation in Turkey:

Vyacheslav Matuzov: The attitude towards the Kurdish liberation movement in Russia has always been positive. This is a normal situation, when our diplomats meet with their representatives. In my opinion, Russia is actively involved in the formation of opposition groups in Syria. The Kurds of Turkey are connected to the Kurds in Syria. Our country is just establishing working contacts with the Kurds, and this is positive. At a conference in Riyadh, the Kurds were ignored under pressure from Turkey, as Russia seeks to restore their role in the Syrian and Iraqi settlement. The U.S., for example, sent 50 special ops troops to the areas controlled by the Syrian Kurds, Americans have long taken into account the Kurdish factor.

Svobodnaya Pressa: Now we are talking about Turkish Kurds. Maybe we should try to support Erdogan’s opposition?

VM: The Kurdish movement of Turkey is actively engaged in Syria. The Turkish Kurdish Workers party (PKK) effectively controls Syria’s Northern areas. We have the right to maintain contact with the Kurds. Say, Obama met with the Russian opposition in Moscow.

I see a dialogue not as a jab against the Turkish authorities, but as support for Syrian opposition. Russian foreign policy is distinguished for a serious approach to solving international and regional problems, we won’t waste our time on some jabs towards the Turkish government.

The Director of the Center for the Study of Middle East and Central Asia Semen Bagdasarov believes that dialogue with Turkish opposition is essential:

Semen Bagdasarov: People’s Democracy party is not just a pro-Kurdish party, but also left. Now they have 59 seats in parliament, it is quite a strong opposition party to Erdogan. Supporting this party, we support the aspirations of the Turkish people to improve the life of not only the Kurds, but also the Turks. In my opinion, this is absolutely right.

There is also a major opposition Republican People’s party led by Kemal Kilichdaroglu, it is also necessary to talk to him. There is another far-right Party of Nationalist Revival, that is the “Grey wolves”, but a dialogue with them is impossible.

Yes, we need to meet with the leaders of the People’s Democracy Party and the Republican People’s party. By the way, Kilichdaroglu and Demirtash come from the people of Zaza, who have always been in the opposition.

SP: Is the establishment of relations of Moscow with the opposition related to the beginning of clashes with Kurds in Turkey?

SB: There are not just clashes in Turkey, it’s a civil war. Demirtash warned a few months ago that the country is on the verge of civil war, now it has begun. Following the statements of Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu that “the liberation of the territories from bandits has begun.” In fact, we are talking about ethnic cleansing, thousands of people are now fleeing from their towns and villages. The PKK has declared that the war has began.And naturally, we stand against ethnic cleansing, and will refer to the UN with condemnation. By the way, the sweeps are now conducted right on the border with Syria.

SP: What help can we provide to the opposition in Turkey?

SB: We need to meet, talk, provide all kinds of support. First of all, we must help the Syrian Kurds who are associated more with the PKK. Between the PKK and the People’s Democracy party there is a significant difference. The People’s Democracy party is in favor of a peaceful solution to the Kurd issue and the PKK is open to the use of force if necessary. In any case, Turkey should brace itself.

SP: Can Russia help the opposition to unseat Erdogan?

C Erdogan cannot be easily unseated, this is not a serious thought. He, apparently, is there for a long haul, although anything can happen. But we can still support the PKK, it will be a serious headache for Erdogan, Davutoglu and all their clique.

Demirtash is a very promising politician, – says a leading researcher of the Center for Asian and African Studies of the Higher School of Economics, Alexey Obraztsov. – He was a successful lawyer, but at some point decided to go first into the human rights movement and then into politics. Of course, he created a miracle. Until recently it was impossible to imagine that a party that did not hide it was a wing of the PKK would make it into the parliament. The first time it was elected into the parliament with fantastic numbers. On second elections, they still received mandates, despite enormous pressure. Demirtash can expect a bright political future if he, of course, will be able to survive in the current situation.

Russia doesn’t aim to gather opposition forces. They have gathered themselves long ago and established ties. If we set aside the far-right Party of Nationalist Revival, the People’s Democracy party and the Republican People’s party certainly are in touch.

In fact, why shouldn’t Lavrov meet with Demirtash? Turkey positions itself as a European state. And it is normal, when the leaders of parliamentary parties meet with representatives of diplomatic agencies of other countries.

SP: But the meeting will be held amid a troubled background.

SB: The Kurdish areas of Turkey have always been special, the situation has always been difficult there. At one time, Erdogan’s government has invested heavily into the adaptation of the Kurdish areas. Indeed, the imbalance between the regions was monstrous. For example, in Istanbul 15 years ago minimum wage was $400, and in the Kurdish areas not the minimum but the average salary was $150. A lot of money was invested in the regions. A ceasefire was signed with the PKK. Overall, if not pacification, but a long truce was established. But Erdogan now destroyed it.

SP: How can we use the current situation?

SB: For now, as our president said, the political dialogue with the Turkish leadership is impossible. And thus practical results from the proposed meeting of Demirtash with Lavrov are possible. Turkey should be occupied with internal problems, of which there are many. If these problems intensify, then the Turkish government will have something to deal with besides geopolitical games. By the way, now we see the reluctance of Erdogan to deal with internal problems instead of external.

The head of the International Union of Kurdish Public Associations Merab Shamoev says that the Kurds around the world today place high hopes on Russia:

Now Russia launched an air operation in Syria, and the situation in this country has changed. Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Despite the attempts to isolate Russia, it remains a great power. The Kurds of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran look up to Russia with great hope. Moreover, the Kurds do not stress the issue of secession, they advocate for autonomy, federal or confederate structure of the states, that is, in the framework of international law.

The Kurds need Russia and always talked about it. Demirtash comes to Moscow, and this speaks volumes. Europe, America is far and Russia is close. The Kurds and Russia’s have many common interests. It is a struggle against terrorism and the interest in maintaining the principles of international law.

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Turkish-ISIS Oil Trade: Kurdistan Regional Government, I$raHell, and UK

NOVANEWS
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Barzani and Erdogan

Turkish officials were involved in illegal transport of oil from Iraq long before the emergence of the so-called Islamic State(ISIL/ISIS/IS/DAESH). Their illegal trade expanded to the Syrian Arab Republic with the intensification of the conflict in Syria. Turkey, however, is not the only player involved in the illegal oil trade in Syria and Iraq. The operations of the Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy PLC, which works in Iraqi Kurdistan and Malta, illustrates the constellation of financial and energy sector interests involved.

General Energy PLC

Genel Energy PLC has its headquarters in the English Channel’s Crown Dependency of the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is an offshore tax haven governed by Britain’s monarchy as a separate entity from the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. With the involvement of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Cazenove, the Jersey-based energy company surfaced in 2011 after a £2.5 billion reverse merger takeover of Genel Enerji International Limited by Vallares PLC, an investment company setup by former BP oil conglomerate executive Anthony («Tony») Bryan Hayward, JNR Limited financier and banking dynasty scion Nathaniel («Nat») Rothschild, Nat’s financer cousin Thomas («Tom») Daniel, and Dresdner Kleinwort and Goldman Sachs investment banker Julian Metherell. Vallares is modeled on the Jersey-incorporated predecessor of Asia Resource Minerals PLC, Vallar (later BUMI PLC), which in 2010 raised £707.2 million in initial public offering and was co-founded by Nat Rothschild and Tom Daniel.

In June 2011, Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell quickly raised £1.35 billion (or $2.2 billion) for the deal between Valleres and Genel Enerji. Half this money came from investors in the US during the Jersey-based company’s initial public offering and involved investments from firms like the British asset management company Schroders and the Lloyds Banking subsidiary Scottish Widows. Two of Turkey’s richest men, Turkish billionaire business mogul and banker Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, who was appealing an eleven-year jail sentence for embezzlement at the time of the deal, and Genel Enerji CEO Mehmet Sepil, who was caught and fined for insider trading of shares from Heritage Oil by the British Financial Services Authority in February 2010, were given half of the new company by the quartet and issued a further £1.25 billion in equity from the deal.

It was agreed that Mehmet Karamehmet would be represented on the Genel Energy’s board by his daughter Gulsun Nazli Karamehmet Williams and Sepil would be represented by the lawyer Murat Yazici of Yazici Law Offices, who formerly represented Royal Dutch Shell, the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO), and Exxon from 1974 to 1989. Sepil was appointed president of Genel Energy PLC and given a «key executive role» as Metherell puts it, «a key member of the leadership» due to his «unique knowledge of Kurdistan». A former BP executive and chair of the Jersey-based Petrofac oilfield services corporation, Rodney Chase, and a former US ambassador to Turkey, Mark Parris, were reported as being part of the new company too.

War and Profit

This was a forecast in 2011 about Genel Energy’s expected production: «Genel owns stakes in valuable oil fields in Kurdistan, currently producing 42,000 barrels per day for the Turkish market. The new management, led by former BP boss Mr Hayward as chief executive, is planning to double output. ‘We want to be producing 110,000 barrels per day by 2012 and by 2015 the expectation is 150,000 barrels,’ Mr Metherell said».

Were escalated war and the plunder of Syrian oil foreseen and part of the equation? It is worth mentioning that the Anglo-Turkish energy company has been involved in illegal export of Iraqi oil to Israel, appeared to be working to integrate the energy infrastructure of the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel and Turkey, and was planning on announcing a deal to work with a «consortium responsible for oil and gas explorations in Lebanon» in 2012. This would all only be feasible if regime change in Damascus took place and compliant regimes were established in Syria and Lebanon. A noteworthy omission by Nat Rothschild to the British journalist Simon Goodley that certain locations in the world were outside of the limits of Genel Energy, including Venezuela and post-Soviet Central Asia, confirms that geopolitical rivalries are taken into consideration in the Anglo-Turkish company’s operations.

According to the South African journalist Khareen Pech, these interlocked directorship and companies are part of a labyrinth of networks that profit off insecurity and war. In this context, an earlier merger deal between Genel Enerji and Heritage Oil, another English Channel-based offshore company founded by mercenaries connected to the British military, that collapsed in 2009 should be examined with scrutiny. Explaining about Heritage Oil and Gas, Pech states thus: «In London, a similar web of companies can be found at the Heritage Oil and Branch Energy offices at Plaza 107. Over fifteen companies operate from this suite, share the same telephone numbers and the same UK-based directors and personnel. This clandestine approach to business enables EO and its British principals to operate and benefit from a hidden empire of corporate and military companies».

Funding Division: Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

In 2009, Genel Energy’s Turkish predecessor Genel Enerji began exporting oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish coast with the opening of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline. The port of Ceyhan is run by Botas International Limited, a Turkish state company that also operates the Turkish portions of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline that deliberately circumvents Russia and Iran exporting Caspian Sea oil from the Republic of Azerbaijan by going through Georgia and Turkey. According to Reuters, using sanitized language hiding the illegal nature of the operations, this «export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad’s federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights» inside Iraq.

 

Since 2002, the Turkish company had been illegally making inroads into Iraqi Kurdistan and slowly working to integrate the area’s energy infrastructure with Turkey through illegitimate trade agreements with local Kurdish chieftains that circumvented Iraq’s government in Baghdad and the Iraqi State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO). The Guardian also pointed this out in 2011, amidst similar circumstances involving a deal between Exxon Mobil and the Kurdistan Regional Government, by writing that with the British government’s support Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell categorically threw their «money and efforts into drilling rights obtained in [Iraqi] Kurdistan which have never been ratified by the federal government in Iraq».From an economic standpoint and in practice, Genel Energy is supporting the balkanization of the Middle East and Africa by providing revenues for breakaway republics and secessionist tendencies. The oil it is illegally exporting from Turkey is financing the Kurdistan Regional Government and helping Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani reject the constitutional authority of the Iraqi federal government. Genel Energy even calls itself «a partner for the Kurdistan Region» in its corporate literature. In 2012, in this regard, the Anglo-Turkish company secured an exploration license from the unrecognized government of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.

Comment: And yet the West is sanctioning Russia on the (false) accusation that this is what Russia is doing in east Ukraine.

The Israeli Connection and the Port of Ceyhan

It is also no coincidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed Massoud Barzani’s takeover of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in Iraq. Barzani and Netanyahu even called for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan simultaneously in 2014. In fact, with the help of Turkey and Genel Energy, the Kurdistan Regional Government used its energy links to Turkey to transport oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline to Israel. Large oil conglomerates, like BP and Exxon Mobile, were afraid to buy this oil publicly due to the threat it could pose to their existing deals in Iraq. Thus, according to Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resource Minister Ashti Hawrami, Israel and Malta became key actors for avoiding detection of the smuggled oil from Iraq. Reuters reported the following on June 20, 2014: «A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan’s new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer».Reuters also explained that the sale of oil from the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline that bypasses the network of energy pipelines controlled by the Iraqi federal government is crucial for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s drive for «greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq».

According to the conclusions of a University of Greenwich study authored by George Kiourktsoglou and Alec D. Coutroubis, oil export from the port of Ceyhan includes oil smuggled from Iraq and Syria to Turkey. Since 2014, according to the study’s analysis of the export data from Ceyhan, the «tanker charter rates from Ceyhan re-coupled up to a degree with the ones from the rest of the Middle East». While the authors of the report are inconclusive about the increased imports being «attributed to additional [Iraqi Kurdistan] crude, whose export via Ceyhan coincided with the rise of» the ISIL’s oil smuggling or as a «result of boosted demand for ultra-cheap smuggled crude», it can be confidently assessed that it is a result of both. Kiourktsoglou and Coutroubis also point out that «through the concurrent study of the tanker charter rates from the port» of Ceyhan and the timeline of the fighting with the ISIL it «seems that whenever the Islamic State is fighting in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the exports from Ceyhan promptly spike» which «may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds, badly needed for the supply of ammunition and military equipment».

The oil that Turkey is selling for the ISIL is being camouflaged with the oil that the Kurdistan Regional Government is illegally selling from Iraq. In fact, the ISIL has been transporting stolen Syrian oil into Iraq’s Ninawa Governorate and then from close proximity to the city of Mosul smuggling the oil into Turkey, where it is sent to Ceyhan for re-export. The Turkish military deployment in the Mosul District and its plans to establish a permanent military base are meant to protect these oil routes and dually maintain the flow of illegally sold Iraqi oil by the Kurdistan Regional Government and to secure the stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil taken by the ISIL.

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Sorry West, the Syrian people have chosen – Assad isn’t going anywhere

NOVANEWS
David Macilwain

On Sunday Syria’s President Bashar al Assad went with his wife Asma to a Christmas Mass concert in Damascus. For many people in the West, the photos that soon appeared of Bashar and Asma hugging and being hugged by small children, old men and young women would probably cause consternation or apoplexy – if they were to see them.

But this is unlikely, as Western media would exercise its duty of care to protect people from such an upsetting sight, and the public disorder that might result. It shouldn’t worry however that people’s perception of the Syrian leader might change for the better; it is simply not possible for this to happen, any more than it is possible that Syrians would change their minds about President Assad.

The Western media apparatus has strange standards of propriety – often finding it necessary to obscure the images of the wrong people. When some footage emerged of the now infamous ‘heart-eating rebel’, it was not his face which was blurred out to protect his identity but the body of the poor Syrian soldier this ‘freedom fighter’ had just disembowelled.

Showing how little things have changed in the two years since that event – one that should have been a ‘wake-up call’ for the ‘Free Syrian Army’s’ Western cheers squads – we saw a repeat of it only weeks ago following the shooting down of Russia’s bomber by Turkey. In deeply shocking footage of the Turkish insurgents celebrating over the bloodied body of the Russian pilot they had just murdered, it was his identity our media chose to protect us from. And those media – CNN Turk and Fox news – had no compunctions about revealing the identity of the leader of this group despite it spoiling their whole story, as he was immediately identified as not even Syrian, and anything but a ‘moderate rebel’.

Again this echoed the story of ‘Abu the organ-eater’ – who was interviewed at the time by Paul Wood of the BBC, and given rather a sympathetic hearing for his beliefs – that ‘all of Bashar’s Alawite dogs’ should meet the same fate as his victim.

When we consider how it is, how on earth it can be – that such false and misleading narratives about President Assad and the nature of the Syrian war still persist, we are examining the heart of the conflict. Maybe the very simplicity of this narrative is the key, as it is one which could so easily take hold in the minds of the unthinking masses. No amount of argument or reasoning, or even the evidence of their own eyes seems able to dislodge it from the collective psyche.

It is not just a simple, but rather a simplistic narrative, like one in a fairy tale – ‘once there was a big and very very bad tyrant who lived in an ancient castle with his terrible family, and rained down fire upon his unfortunate subjects, who only wanted to be free to practice their faith…’ And it is a fairy tale. Bashar al Assad’s family are Alawite muslims, like a million others in Syria, and millions more across the border in Turkey. But Syria has long been a proudly secular society – the Syrian ‘Arab Republic’ – where such distinctions of religion or ethnicity are not a basis for discrimination. Until the stirring up of sectarian tensions by the foreign fomenters of the armed insurgency many Syrians didn’t even know, or care about their neighbours’ religious affiliation – much as in the secular democracies of the West.

Emphasising this secular character of Syrian society, and quite contrary to the pervasive western fairy tales, the religious affiliations of both government and army members broadly reflect that of the community as a whole, with a majority being Sunni muslim. And apart from leading a government which is not ‘Alawite’, President Assad has led by example – his wife Asma is a Sunni muslim too.

Considering the attention given to ‘peace talks’ and plans for a ‘political solution’ to the Syrian conflict by Western governments, media and NGOs over the last four years, the passing of last week’s UNSC resolution with a ‘road-map’ for Syria’s future received astonishingly little attention. The actual details of what was agreed received even less, and we might imagine this was partly because some parties agreed under duress and were loathe to admit that they had actually agreed to a plan they had previously rejected. (The ‘duress’ could have been following Russia’s laying down the rules on who gets targeted in Syria, when the deployment of its SA-17 air defence system grounded US bombers supporting their ‘rebel forces fighing Da’esh’.)

Betraying the reality of the new plan, the media wasted no time in returning to familiar themes. ‘Russia was bombing ‘moderate rebels’ instead of Islamic State.’ ‘Russia was just propping up Assad’. ‘Assad was killing civilians again’. But we also had new interpretations on what had been agreed, before the ink was even dry on the paper, and before Kerry had time to contradict what he’d last said.

And one by one the leaders and representatives of the US, UK, France and Germany got back into the familiar groove – ‘Assad has lost all legtimacy’ – ‘a man who has killed his own people cannot be leader’ – ‘Assad can be part of the transitional government, before leaving’. How soon they forgot what even they had repeated, – as some great democratic aspiration – that ‘Syrians should decide who will be their leader’.

Which is of course what Sergei Lavrov, Vladimir Putin and Bashar al Assad himself have been saying for years. And Syrians have already decided – Assad is their man, for now and into the future, helping to rebuild the society he has worked so hard to save from the terrorist armies of the ‘Western allies’.

Syrians know that their survival is because of Assad – not in spite of him.

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The JFK Assassination: Why CIA’s Richard Helms Lied About Oswald

NOVANEWS
Not Ancient History — But Preamble to the Present
Global Research
Richard Helms

[Featured image: DCI Richard Helms, in the White House Cabinet Room. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from White House / Wikimedia]

The following essay is based on a talk given by Peter Dale Scott at the Third Annual JFK Assassination Conference in Dallas, 2015. (Produced by TrineDay Books, Conscious Community Events, and the JFK Historical Group.)

Why Helms Perjured Himself

I wish in this essay to show how Richard Helms first lied to the Warren Commission about the CIA and Lee Harvey Oswald. I argue that his performance, and that of other CIA officials up to the present, constituted significant obstruction of justice with respect to one of this country’s most important unsolved murder cases.

image right: Peter Dale Scott

Furthermore, we can deduce from the carefully contrived wording of Helms’s lies what the CIA most needed to hide: namely, that the CIA had recently launched a covert operation involving the name of Lee Harvey Oswald (and perhaps Oswald himself), only five weeks before President Kennedy was killed.

That operation—either in itself, or because it was somehow exploited by others—would appear to have become a supportive part of the assassination plot. It seems almost certain moreover that the “Oswald operation” became the focal point of the ensuing CIA cover-up, and of Helms’s perjury.

As I relate in my book Dallas ’63: The First Revolt of the Deep State Against the White House, there was culpable lying and cover-up from many others in high places, including individuals in the FBI, the Secret Service, ONI, and probably still more military intelligence agencies.

For example, the FBI first reported truthfully to both LBJ and the Secret Service on November 23 that a recording of someone calling himself “Lee Oswald” in Mexico City had been listened to by FBI agents in Dallas, who were “of the opinion that [the man in Mexico] was not Lee Harvey Oswald”.[1] Two days later Dallas FBI agents, along with the FBI Legat in Mexico City, reported falsely on November 25 that “no tapes were taken to Dallas”.[2] Subsequently the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) used this false report, compounded by false and misleading logic, to conclude that there was no “basis for concluding that there had been an Oswald imposter”.[3]

We should not conclude from the change in the FBI’s story about the tapes that either it, or still less the HSCA, was involved in the Kennedy assassination. It does however seem extremely likely that further investigation of the Oswald imposter in Mexico City would have, one way or another, have led to exposure of the CIA’s Oswald operation exposed in this essay.

The CIA and FBI were not alone in their post-assassination falsification of facts about Oswald. At one point even the Mexican government participated in this high-level cover-up: It supplied when needed a falsified bus manifest and later a falsified version of its statement taken from Cuban Consulate official Silvia Durán.[4]

Without doubt the post-assassination cover-up of what happened was high-level, and widespread.

But the CIA lies differ from those of other agencies in two important respects. First, the CIA was lying about Oswald before the assassination, as well as after. Specifically the CIA lied about Oswald on October 10, 1963, in two important and lengthy outgoing cables, DIR 74673 and 74830, about which I shall say much more.[5] Second, the CIA lies have also continued over time, and can be construed as an on-going obstruction of justice.

One does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to recognize this. Tim Weiner, a New York Times journalist, has written a well-informed book about the CIA, Legacy of Ashes. In that book he, like other mainstream journalists, describes Oswald as a lone assassin. And yet he still acknowledges that the conduct of James Angleton, the CIA’s Chief of Counterintelligence (CI), was “an obstruction of justice.”[6]

Richard Helms Lies to the Warren Commission, March 1964

Let us now look at Helms’s informative lies about the CIA and Oswald. On March 6, 1964, from Richard Helms sent an important memo to J. Lee Rankin of the Warren Commission staff. This memo was the first page of what we know as Warren Commission Document 692, the so-called “CIA’s Official Oswald Dossier.” In this memo, which was declassified in 1973, Helms wrote, “There is attached an exact reproduction of the Agency’s official dossier on Lee Harvey OSWALD beginning with the opening sheet dated 9 December 1960.”[7]

There was a lot concealed by this sentence. To begin with, the CIA did not have just one “official dossier” on Oswald but at least two. Helms was referring to the so-called 201 Counterintelligence file on Oswald. But there was at least one other official Oswald file, in the Office of Security. In addition we know of a so-called “soft file” on Oswald maintained in the Soviet Russia division of the CIA’s Department of Plans, and there may have been more.

Much more importantly, what Helms gave the Commission was far from “an exact reproduction” of the actual Counterintelligence Oswald file. Instead he transmitted a radically curtailed version of it in a new file of March 1964  (XAAZ 22592), which the CIA much later acknowledged was a file “prepared [the CIA’s word] for the Warren Commission.”[8] The word “prepared” is important. Like ONI, and almost certainly the FBI, Helms and the CIA did not deliver “an exact reproduction” of an original Oswald file, but of a file that had been belatedly “prepared” in March for others to see.[9]

CIA Lies about Oswald, October 1963

In the redaction of this 201 file prepared for the Warren Commission the CIA removed the most sensitive and relevant portion of the original: a series of cables in and out of CIA Headquarters concerning Oswald, beginning just six weeks before the assassination.[10] (It is clear from a much later CIA document that the original copies of these cables were located in Oswald’s Counterintelligence file, 201-289248).[11] In their place was a sanitized and in some respects inaccurate description of these messages, supplied earlier as Warren CD 347 of January 31, 1964. In September 1992 a CIA Memo to the National Archives admitted that these cables were only “added [i.e. restored] to the ‘pre-assassination’ [CIA’s quotes] file (XAAZ 22592) after the file was prepared for the Warren Commission.”[12]

(Helms’s memo described the January 1964 memo in the “prepared” file as covering “all substantive developments affecting CIA in the matter of Lee Harvey OSWALD from 9 October to 22 November 1963.” We shall have more to say about this contorted legal language below, when we come to discuss Helms’s perjury.

As most assassinations researchers know, the suppressed materials began with MEXI 6453, a cable from Mexico City on October 9, reporting that “an American male who… said his name [was] Lee Oswald” had spoken of meeting in the Soviet Embassy with the “Consul, whom he believed [to] be Valeriy… Kostikov.”[13] (The source for this cable was LIENVOY, a CIA tap on the Soviet Embassy telephone, which produced the tape listened to on November 23 by FBI agents in Dallas.)

The news in this cable was, if true, important and indeed explosive information. Kostikov was a known KGB agent, and the FBI believed he was also an assassination agent. True or false, the news would become even more sensitive after the Kennedy assassination was blamed on Oswald, setting off what I have called the “Phase One” story that the KGB night have been responsible for the president’s murder. It is now firmly established that this Phase One story (later replaced by the more innocuous Phase Two story that the president was killed by a lone nut) was the story used by Johnson to persuade Chief Justice Ear Warren and others to serve on the Warren Commission.

CIA headquarters, in response to this report, sent out two cables on October 10, which transmitted more information about Oswald that was in places both false and mutually contradictory. The cable to CIA Mexico began with the claim “Lee Oswald who called Sovemb 1 Oct probably identical Lee Henry Oswald… born 18 Oct 1939,” even though the authors of the cable knew very well the real name of the man born in 1939 was Lee Harvey Oswald; “Lee Henry Oswald” was a name invented in 1960 by one of the cable’s authors and used only in some CIA records.[14]

Of the other falsehoods, one will deserve further attention: the claim that “Latest HDQS info was [State] report dated May 1962 saying [State] had determined Oswald is still US citizen and both he and his Soviet wife have exit permits and Dept State had given approval for their travel with their infant child to USA.” [15]

3

This claim that CIA last heard of Oswald when he was still in Russia was not just absurdly false, it was a lie. The CIA had received many FBI reports since his return, and we know from their CIA Routing Sheets that some of those signing off on the October 10 cable had seen these reports. Just two weeks before the cable, the CIA had received an FBI report of September 24 on Oswald’s arrest in New Orleans; and the Routing Sheet for that report shows that two of the CIA officers who signed off on the cable (John Whitten and Jane Roman) had read it.[16]

(After the two falsified cables were released, CIA Counterintelligence officer Jane Roman was interviewed about them by John Newman and Jefferson Morley. Faced with the clear evidence of falsehood, Roman conceded, “Yeah, I mean I’m signing off on something that I know isn’t true.”[17])

Explanation for CIA October Lies about Oswald: a Counterintelligence LCIMPROVE Operation

One explanation for these pre-assassination falsehoods is relatively clear: the cables were part of a counterintelligence operation. This was confirmed by the release of the MEXI 6453 cable in 1993 with its “action indicator,” LCIMPROVE, no longer redacted.

An LCIMPROVE operation, the CIA later explained to the House Committee on Assassinations, referred to  “Counter Espionage involving Soviet intelligence services (worldwide)”,[18] LCIMPROVE operations had targeted Soviet officials in Oswald’s orbit since at least 1959, when one target was the Soviet consul in Finland (Gregory Golub) who issued Oswald a visa to enter the Soviet Union.[19] Another LCIMPROVE target in 1963 was a Soviet Embassy companion of Valeriy Kostikov, who was himself a target of a CIA recruitment operation (“REDCAP”).[20]

Another sign that the cables were part of an operation is that the October 10 reply to Mexico was authenticated by William Hood, the Chief of Operations for the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division.[21] In other words, a lie on October 10 in a cable about Oswald was not necessarily culpable, merely evidence of a counterintelligence operation.

As I have written in Dallas ’63, falsified copies of documents about Oswald, notably from the State Department, had been used as part of a mole hunt by CI Chief James Angleton from the time of Oswald’s 1959 “defection” to Russia.[22] However the CIA cables about Oswald in October 1963 were unprecedented: the first time that the CIA initiated false information about Oswald and shared it with other agencies.

All of this may have been authorized as part of a counterintelligence operation. But after the assassination Helms’s concealment of the existence of this operation from the Warren Commission was a different matter.

 Notes:

[1] Church Committee Staff memo of  March 5, 1976, 1; Miscellaneous Records of the Church Committee, NARA 157-10014-19168 , 3(LBJ); AR 250 (Secret Service). Cf. Memorandum of Belmont to Tolson of 11/23/53: “Dallas agents who listened to the tape allegedly of Oswald…and examined the photographs… were of the opinion that neither the tape nor the recording pertained to Oswald.” Quoted in NARA 157-10014-19168, 5; HSCA, “Oswald, the CIA, and Mexico City” (aka “Lopez Report”), Addendum to Footnote 614, 11 (518). [Throughout these footnotes WR, WH, and WCD refer to the Report, Hearings, and unpublished Documents of the Warren Commission (1964); AR and AH refer to the Report and Hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations or HSCA (1979). Legat refers to the FBI representative in Mexico City. NARA #000-00000-00000 refers to a document RIF (reference) number in the National Archives. All those cited in this essay can be seen on line by searching for them by the RIF 13-digit number on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website, http://www.maryferrell.org.]

[2] AR 250 (Dallas FBI agents); Lopez Report, 12 (519) (Legat). The Legat cable is reproduced in NARA 157-10014-19168, 8, but is mostly illegible.

[3] AR 250: “The committee determined that CIA headquarters never received a recording of Oswald’s voice. The Committee concluded, therefore [sic], that the information [that the two voices had been compared and found to be different] was mistaken and did not provide a basis for concluding that there had been an Oswald imposter.” But it was the Dallas FBI, not the CIA, who listened to the recording, which in any case was precisely not “a recording of [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s voice.“ The HSCA Report also said that “at 7:23 p.m. (CST) on November 23, `953, Dallas Special Agent-in-Charge Shanklin advised Director Hoover that only a report of this conversation was available, not an actual tape recording” (AR 250). In fact Shanklin’s cable read, “the actual tape from which this transcript was made has been erased” (Lopez Report, 12 (519).  Shanklin’s claim was based on an FBI cable to him from Mexico City saying “CIA has advised that these tapes have been erased” (FBI Cable of November 23 from Eldon Rudd to SAC, Dallas; FBI file MX 105-3702-12, NARA #124-10230-10430). This false claim by the CIA was reversed on November 24; see Scott,Dallas ’63, 25.

[4] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 95-96, citing 24 WH 673, 682; 25 WH 736 (bus manifest); Peter Dale Scott, Oswald, Mexico, and Deep Politics (New York: Skyhorse, 2013), 118-21 (Durán statement).

[5] NARA #104-10015-10052; NARA 3104-10015-10048.

[6] Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 230: Angleton’s “conduct was an obstruction of justice.”

[7] Warren CD 692, 1.

[8] Memo of 4  September “1982” [i.e. 1992] for NARA Reviewers, “Oswald 201 File, Pre-Assassination File,” 201-289248, p. 211, http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=95567&search=%22Oswald_201+File%2C+Pre-Assassination+File%22#relPageId=2&tab=page.

[9] For the ONI file prepared for Assistant Secretary of Defense McNaughton, see Peter Dale Scott, Dallas ’63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House, 83-84. The FBI HQ file on Oswald deposited in the National Archive, 105-82555, appears to have been falsified: what is now included as the first recorded serial, 105-82555-1, is apparently a substitute for the original first recorded serial; for the document, a 1959 news story from the Corpus Christ Times about Oswald’s defection, is clearly stamped “NOT RECORDED”.

[10] These cables, together with a CIA Mexico memo of October 16, 1963, are now in the National Archives (and MFF website) as records 104-10015-10047 through 104-10015-10053.

[11] “Russ Holmes Work File,” NARA # 104-10406-10009, 7.

[12] Memo of 4  September “1982” [i.e. 1992] for NARA Reviewers, “Oswald 201 File, Pre-Assassination File,” 201-289248, p. 211. The prepared file that became CD 692 with Helms’s memo of March 1964 was XAAZ 22595 (NARA # 1993.07.20.15:16:21:930270), not “22592” as reported in the 1982 CIA memo. The January 1964 summary (CD 347) was XAAZ 22594 (“A Collection of Cables,” CIA, NARA #104-10422-10021, p, 12/13). XAAZ 22593 concerned the “unidentified individual” who may or may not have been the person who identified himself as “Lee Oswald” in a phone call to the Soviet Embassy (CIA Draft Document, NARA # 104-10213-10022, p. 38). XAAZ 22593 is not on the MFF website.

[13] MEXI 6453 of 9 Nov 1963 to DIR, NARA #104-10015-10047.

[14] DIR 74830 of 10 Oct 1963 to Mexico City, NARA #104-10015-10048.

[15] DIR 74673 of 10 Nov 1963  to State, FBI and Navy, Subject: Lee Henry Oswald, NARA #104-10015-10052.

[16] CIA Routing and Record Sheet for DBA 52355, NARA #104-10015-10046.

[17] Jefferson Morley, “What Jane Roman Said; Part 3: The Interview,” http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/morley3.htm\; John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995), 405.

[18] “LIST OF NAMES RE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION INVESTIGATION,” NARA #104-10061-10115, 23 “Counter Espionage involving Soviet intelligence services (worldwide”), 23; cf. 22. Cf. Bill Simpich, “The JFK Case; the Office that Spied on its Own Spies,” http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/THE-JFK-CASE–THE-OFFICE-by-Bill-Simpich-100310-266.html.

[19] Bill Simpich, The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend, Part Two: An Instant Visa Gets the Marine into Moscow,” http://www.opednews.com/articles/THE-JFK-CASE–THE-TWELVE-by-Bill-Simpich-100830-157.htmll. Cf. e.g.  NARA #104-10172-10294, CIA Dispatch of 28 August 1959, REDCAP/LCIMPROVE, “Procuring of Female Companionship for Grigoriy Ye. Golub,”.

[20] E.g. NARA 104-10162-10316, Dispatch of 27 September 1963 from COS Mexico to Chief WH, REDCAP KOSTIKOV, HMMA-22179. September 27, the date of this dispatch, is the day “Lee Oswald” is reported to have entered the Soviet Embassy and Cuban Consulate.

[21] DIR 74830 to MEXI of 10 October 1963; NARA #104-10015-10048,.

[22] Scott, Dallas ’63, 43-74.

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UK using Muslim radicalization fear tactic to crack down on homeschooling

NOVANEWS
John Vibes
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan of the UK has recently voiced concerns that children are not receiving the proper brand of brainwashing and indoctrination from the government. Morgan called for a review of homeschooling and suggested that thousands of children are being “radicalized” by their parents.“There has always been the freedom in this country for people to educate their children at home. Many people do it very well, but we need to know where the children are and to be certain that they are safe. For every parent doing a brilliant job, there may be someone filling their child’s mind with poison. We just don’t know. We don’t have reliable figures,” a Department of Education spokesman said. 

The Department said that they were also concerned about what was being taught in private Muslim schools, and that they were intending to crack down on those as well.

“We have provided Ofsted with extra inspectors to eradicate extremism in education. We are working with them to address their concerns about home education being exploited, while safeguarding the rights of parents to determine how and where to educate their children,” the spokesperson said.

The government in any country is not concerned with the health and well-being of children, and they do not spend billions on education for the good of the children or the parents. They invest so much in schools, and care so much about them, because they want to be able to train children to be obedient citizens and indoctrinate them into the system of control that they are living under. In most schools, whether they are in Europe, America or North Korea, students are presented with a skewed, biased and nationalistic view of history. Generally, the historical curriculum in government school is skewed to portray the establishment in a positive light. History lessons make warmongers look like martyrs because the warmongers have control over the formation of these lessons.

The main focus of public education is to mold young minds into accepting authority and to teach them the very basic skills that they will need to be a part of the work force. Schools do not teach people how to think, but only what to think, or more accurately how to remember and regurgitate information which has been fed to them. The useful information that is taught in schools would realistically only take a few months per year to go over, but passing along this information is not what’s important to the public school system. What is important to them is the day to day structure of how the school is run which “socializes” and indoctrinates the children. This structure is designed to break the child’s spirit and teach them to be submissive to authority figures. It is also specifically designed to groom working class children for their future jobs, which will be at a corporation or bureaucracy of their choosing.

Homeschooling is still frightening to a lot of people because the idea of sending children off to a state institution for 12 years has become so deeply ingrained in Western culture, even though the government is obviously a horrible candidate for a babysitter. However, this is actually a relatively new practice and literacy rates have actually plummeted since the government got involved in education and forced parents to send their children to specific schools by law. That’s not to say that organized group learning isn’t a valuable thing, but there’s no need for government involvement for organized group learning to take place.

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Food stamp beneficiaries exceed 45 million for more than 4 years

NOVANEWS
Ali Meyer

 

The number of individuals receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, has exceeded 45 million for 53 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture.There were 45,415,445 beneficiaries of the food stamp program in September 2015, the latest month for which data is available. The number declined by 48,988 from August to September.

The USDA has been tracking data on participation in the program since fiscal year 1969, at which time average participation stood at about 2,800,000. This means that since then, participation in the program has increased by roughly 16-fold.

Maura Corrigan, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says that despite improvements in the economy, the program remains large and too few adults who benefit from the program are working.

“As a former state human services director who administered more than 70 federal means-tested welfare programs, I believe that one track is especially important for reforming welfare programs” she said. “Our nation’s simple three-word mantra should be: “Better Off Working.” Social safety-net programs, including SNAP, should expect and encourage work—and the dignity and responsibility that accompany it—from those who are able to do so.”

Additionally, she says that the program promotes adding beneficiaries to its rolls. “Rather than promoting self-sufficiency, SNAP’s predominant track record over the past decade has been to add participants to its rolls. Also, its eligibility definitions are in many cases vague, allowing it to deny fraud, waste, and abuse in the program, despite the reports of such behavior from citizens and caseworkers.”

The number of food stamp recipients first exceeded 45 million in May 2011. Since then, the number has consistently exceeded 45 million, hitting a record high of about 47,790,000 in December 2012.

Households on food stamps received an average benefit of $255.51 in September 2015, and total benefits for the month cost taxpayers $5.72 billion.

“SNAP is designed to be responsive to the economy, and this downward trend is an encouraging sign that the economic recovery is reaching struggling families,” said a spokesman for the USDA. “The best way to reduce spending in the program is to continue improving the economy and connecting recipients with job training and job placement assistance. USDA is focused on finding innovative, cost-effective strategies to help even more recipients find and keep gainful employment that enables them to support their families.”

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Turkish legal association sues police & intel agencies for complicity with ISIS slave trade

NOVANEWS

© Unknown

The head of a regional Turkish legal association says the organization has filed a criminal complaint against the Turkish authorities after a German documentary alleged that Islamic State are carrying out a slave trade of women on Turkish soil.

Bektas Sarkli, the head of Gaziantep Bar Association, has brought the suit against the Turkish law enforcement and intelligence agencies following allegations that Yazidi women and children were being trafficked.

“We decided to file a complaint after the allegations were made on German ARD TV. They alleged that the Yazidi people were traded by ISIS (Islamic State/IS) in a slave market here in Gaziantep. The prosecution must investigate this,” Sarkli said.

“If there is evidence, then the suspects must be caught and tried. If there has been neglect of duty on the side of the security forces or intelligence, then they must be punished,” he added.

The documentary followed a Kurdish man who buys back slaves that have been captured by Islamic State and returns them to their families.

The person contacts the terror group over the internet, before travelling to Turkey to complete the deal. The transactions allegedly take place in the city of Gaziantep, which is only 40 kilometers away from the Syrian-Turkish border.

The man in question says he has paid IS around US $2.5 million in 2015 to return women and children to their families.

The allegations have also been condemned by Mahmut Togrul, a Turkish MP from Gaziantep. He says that more needs to be done to try and stop the flow of IS fighters freely crossing the Syrian-Turkish border, while he also alleges that the Turkish authorities do not always regard IS as”terrorists.”

“During our observations here, we have shared with the Turkish public that ISIS was moving freely in Gaziantep and the city has become a support line for them. There is the presence of thugs from all over the world who are able to cross the border, while they even have the nerve to tell Turkish soldiers that they want to join ISIS. This means they have hundreds of contacts here,” he told RT.

“We reiterate our calls to the authorities that measures have to be taken. Subconsciously, the authorities still do not regard ISIS as a terrorist organization and their members as terrorists,”Togrul, who is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, added.

Up to 5,000 Yazidis kept as sex slaves

The Yazidis have been on the receiving end of some of the worst atrocities carried out by IS, with numerous mass graves having been uncovered in Iraq and Syria.

The jihadists argue that capturing Yazidi women is justified because they are “unbelievers” and do not follow Islam. According to a pamphlet released by IS at the end of 2014, members are permitted to have sex with Yazidi women, especially if those captured are virgins. If the woman is not a virgin, the manual reads that “her uterus must be purified” before intercourse.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Yazidi women are currently being kept as sex slaves by IS. They are frequently traded amongst the militants, while girls as young as eight are amongst those captured.

One woman who gave a firsthand account of the brutal nature of IS was Khalida. She spoke to RT about her barbaric experience after being captured by the militant group.

“They took the men out and then we heard the sound of gunfire. I was given to a Saudi Arabian and he took my son away for 40 days. I begged him to bring my son back and said my father would pay him money. He replied: ‘Your father will not pay up as he is an infidel.’ When they brought my son back I saw there were marks on his back where he had been severely beaten,” she said.

“They would not let me feed my baby girl. They would let me breastfeed her for three minutes and then they would take her away. They told me if I cried, they would kill both my children,” Khalida added.

However, the fate of those captured can be even worse, as Nadia Murad Basee Taha, who managed to escape from the terrorist group, told the UN.

“[My captor] forced me to serve as part of his military faction and he humiliated me every day. I implore you to get rid of Daesh (a derogatory terms for IS) completely. I went through this terrible suffering because of them. I have seen what they have done to boys and girls… All those who commit these crimes of trafficking and genocide must be brought to justice so that women and children can live in peace,” she said.

Some locals are trying to do their bit to help the plight of the Yazidi people. RT’s documentary channel caught up with Abu Shuja, who is trying to free as many Yazidi women and children as possible, despite having a $500,000 bounty from IS hanging over his head, while 15 of his accomplices have been killed by the terrorist organization.

“I will not give up my work. It’s not a problem that they have my picture, if they know my name. They would pay $5 million for my head, but I will not stop my work. I will not stop till the last prisoner is free,” he said.

With support from his family, who fear for his life but accept and praise what he has to do, Shuja continues freeing Yazidis from captivity.

“We all die eventually. Death only comes once. Dying twice would be a problem,” Shuja says. “I’d rather die a brave, honorable death than a shameful one.”

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14 year-old Canadian activist was targeted by GMO lobby

NOVANEWS
Allison Vuchnic

Rachel Parent, Canadian GMO labeling activist

Documents reveal a Canadian teenager and her activism on the issue of GMO labelling were the subject of emails strategizing how her message could be counterered.

At the time, Rachel Parent was 14 years old and had a growing social media following. Her message to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food was attracting attention – including from those who promote GMOs in the U.S. Their internal emails reveal they were discussing how they could counter her message.

“To think at this point, I was on their radar and I had no clue,” Parent said.

The strategizing was revealed in emails, along with thousands of other pages of documents released in a freedom of information request by US Right to Know (USRTK), a non-profit advocacy group funded by the Organic Consumers Association concerned with the safety of GMOs.

The documents shed light into the increasingly nasty and divisive public relations war over GMOs.

“It’s mostly scientists that they attack, but Rachel is a standout. The agrichemical industry is plainly quite threatened by this teenage schoolgirl, so that’s why they’re after her,” Gary Ruskin, the co-director of USRTK said.

The documents show that professors and academics were contacted by companies like Monsanto and the industry trade association’s public relations firm to provide expert opinion and offer credibility in a complicated debate.

But not all the academics revealed their connection to Monsanto or the agrichemical industry.

One professor at a renowned American university volunteered as a science expert to help spread a pro-GMO message. His name is Kevin Folta, chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida.

But to understand why Kevin Folta focused on Rachel Parent, is to understand his relationship with Monsanto and the agrichemical industry.

Folta began corresponding with Monsanto in 2013, according to emails released by USRTK. From there a relationship began with Monsanto, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and Ketchum, a public relations firm hired by the trade association, the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI).

“I’m glad to sign on to whatever you like, or write whatever you like….I’d be happy to write the op-ed on making decisions on facts,” Folta wrote in an email in October 2014 to Monsanto.

“He’s literally a mouthpiece for them…Monsanto says jump, and Kevin Folta says ‘how high’?” said Ruskin.

When asked, USRTK also said third-party academics were enlisted by the pro-GMO labelling side.

The documents show Folta wrote articles, blog posts, contributed to industry website GMOAnswers.com, attended public hearings, forums and events to explain and defend GMO technology; he also lobbied Congress and other government agencies.

During these appearances and in his writings Folta has repeatedly referred to himself as an “independent scientist.”

The documents reveal that Monsanto, the Biotechnology Industry Organization and Ketchum reimbursed Folta’s travel costs. After the emails were released, Folta admitted as much in his blog posts.

In August 2014, Monsanto also gave Folta an unrestricted $25,000 grant telling him in a letter it “may be used at your discretion in support of your research and outreach projects.”

Folta wrote in a blog post that he planned to use the grant for an outreach program, which covered the costs for me to travel and teach scientists how to talk about science.”

“Kevin Folta is one of the principal attack dogs of the agrichemical industry. He maintains extremely tight communications with Monsanto and the agrichemical industry’s PR firm Ketchum,” said Ruskin.

Folta vehemently denies these claims, telling Global News in an email, he is not an agribusiness GMO advocate. He said he speaks publically, writes, and joined the public relations campaign to defend GMO technology which he believes is safe, reiterating he speaks freely expressing his own scientific opinions.

“I don’t care about the companies. They don’t sponsor my work, I never received anything from them personally, I don’t care about them,” he wrote.

“Because I am effective at communicating the science, activists have tried hard to connect me to being some sort of pawn of these companies. It is nonsense.”

Charla Lord of Monsanto told Global News in an email, “the relationships between the public and private sector are critical and have existed for decades,” said Lord. “We see public-private collaborations as essential to the advancement of science, as well as to educating and sometimes correcting misinformation the public has about plant biotechnology.”

Trish Jordan, also of Monsanto Canada told Global News that Monsanto does not ask academics to keep their relationships with the company under wraps.

“No, absolutely not. We fully understand that transparency is expected. It’s a goal of ours,” Jordan said.

“Holding Activists Accountable”

In a 2013 email, a Monsanto executive contacted scientists and professors from various universities suggesting topics. That email proposed Folta write about “Holding Activists Accountable.”

The email to Folta went on to say: “Demonstrate how activists’ messages and tactics regarding Genetically Modified (GM) crops and plant biotechnology undermine worldwide efforts to ensure a safe, nutritious, plentiful and affordable food supply using responsible and sustainable agricultural practices.”

“The key to success is participation by all of you – recognized experts and leaders with the knowledge, reputation and communication experience needed to communicate authoritatively to the target groups. You represent an elite group.”

The email also suggested Folta show how “activist campaigns… spread false information that goes unchallenged and results In further erosion of the public’s confidence in agricultural innovation.”

Video about Rachel Parent

Later that year, while attending a roundtable in Washington, D.C., Folta was asked by public relations firm Ketchum to make a video about Parent.

The email request to Folta read, “How do you agree/disagree with 14-yr old GMO Labeling activist Rachel Parent, who is, in her own words ‘not anti-science’ but ‘for responsible science and ethical progress?'”

But, the email added, “we try to refrain from personally attacking folks, so don’t worry too much about Rachel specifically.”

Nine days later, a video appeared online that was quite specific, entitled, “How do you agree/disagree with 14 year old GMO Activist?”

The video discussed Parent’s activism, her belief that all GMO food products should be labelled, and addressed her apparent lack of scientific knowledge.

“So when I think about answering Rachel Parent, who’s the activist child – well, young woman – who’s running the website ‘Kids Right to Know…The things I just adore about Rachel is that she’s clearly very articulate, clearly intelligent,” Folta said in the video.

“The problem that I have is when Rachel starts to let non-scientific thinking really kind of cloud her final decision-making process.”

Parent said she finds the tone of the video “almost degrading.” She also defended the information on her organization’s website as scientifically sound.

“People can say whatever they want about me, but as long as I know what I am doing is right, their opinion doesn’t matter.”

Ketchum, the public relations firm for the industry trade association, said the question for the video about Parent was submitted by a user of GMO Answers.com. According to Ketchum, since 2013, GMO Answers has responded to “more than 1,000 questions by top experts in their field” from people submitting questions from around the world.

‘I have an idea. I can provide content’ 

Eleven months after the video was posted, Folta volunteered his own strategy to Ketchum: a website to counter Parent and her organization’s website, Kids Right to Know, according to an email obtained by Global News

“There was a discussion this morning about kidsrighttoknow.com, the junk information site piloted by Rachel Parent as a figurehead,” Folta wrote in an email to a Ketchum employee.

“Today, I purchased kidsrightotruth.com and want to populate this. I have no time, but I have an idea. I can provide content.”

“Can you see if ketchum might have some interest in actually hosting the site w/GMOanswers etc and maybe helping me with someone to do the design? I can provide content.”

The response from the Ketchum employee: “Kevin, I’ll kick this around to our team and see what they recommend!”

According to Ketchum, the website is not in development, “no, Ketchum is not working with Kevin Folta to design or host a website.”

“It was definitely eye opening,” said Parent. “On one hand I was really surprised and disappointed that a professor from a university would want to target and discredit our website, which is really dedicated to youth.”

“And on the other hand, I was pleased to know that Kids Right to Know is making an impact… so it was a bit of bittersweet.”

Despite her age, now 16, Parent has become the face for the GMO labelling battle in Canada. A Consumers’ Association of Canada – Decima Poll shows close to 90 per cent of Canadians want mandatory GMO labelling.

Health Canada and U.S. health and agriculture officials say GMOs are safe and scientific studies back that up. Industry, however, is concerned consumers are making decision based on fear, not facts.

Opponents, including Parent, disagree and believe the scientific research government regulators rely on is often funded by the same companies that benefit from the sale of GMOs.

She argued there is science that proves GMOs do pose a health risk, so labelling is needed.

Folta spoke about the unfounded concerns about GMOs during an appearance on a Global News morning show in Winnipeg in 2014, saying they are “very safe and very effective.”

University of Florida

As for the University of Florida, U.S. colleges place great importance on the independence of their research.

The university said in an August statement that “Folta has no relationship with Monsanto in research or teaching.”

As for the $25,000 grant given to Folta, Monsanto told Global News, “We were happy to support Dr. Folta’s outreach program to increase understanding of biotechnology….We funded Dr. Folta’s proposal through an unrestricted grant to the University of Florida. An unrestricted grant to a university is much like a gift: it can have no strings attached.”

According to the university’s statement, the funds were reallocated to “the campus food pantry.

The university said its decision to reallocate the $25,000 grant from Monsanto “came when his (Folta) home address and other personal information appeared among comments on Facebook. Obscene, inflammatory posts also appeared on Craigslist, presumably with the intent to incite local violent action.”

Folta also made a clear distinction that neither his research nor department was ever sponsored in his blog

“When people would ask me about Monsanto, I’d simply reply, “I don’t work with them,” or “They don’t sponsor my research,” wrote Folta. “Both statements are true. More importantly, both statements are the most telling questions a scientist can answer — Who are your collaborators? Who pays for your lab’s work?”

Folta admitted in a Sept. 2015 blog post there were “many things I could have done differently.”

He said many of the released emails and quotes have been taken out of context, and the focus is no longer on the science but on his actions. Folta has also stopped his blogging and curtailed his social media activity.

In the same post, he explains he has gone back into his records to provide a “complete accounting of my outreach and extension activities. You’ll find how much I was reimbursed for airfare, who paid for the rental car, and who bought the dinner. You’ll see how much was offered as an honorarium or speaker fee, and where that money went. The painstaking detail is necessary, and I think defines a new standard of transparency and a new tool to cultivate trust.”

As for Parent she continues her quest to get GMO ingredients in food labelled, and she knows she faces some serious opposition.

“We are still going strong with our message of right to know…we’re just appealing to simple transparency,” said Parent.

Global News requested an interview with Kevin Folta for this story, but was told by Folta the university denied the request.

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Congratulations on the Holiday Season

NOVANEWS

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

 

SHOAH Media wishes to express its warmest congratulations for the Palestinian people on the occasion of celebrating the birth of Prophet Mohammed and Christmas.

SHOAH hopes that we always celebrate the holiday season while peace has prevailed the land of peace and the Palestinian people has gained their right to self-determination, ending the occupation and establishing an independent state and to achieve freedom and prosperity.

Yours..

shoah.org.uk

 

 

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