Archive | January 17th, 2016

Hillary Clinton calls for new Iran sanctions due to missile test

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RT 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for new sanctions on Iran over its recent ballistic missile test. Her comments come as earlier economic sanctions are being partly lifted, after Iran fulfilled measures set by the nuclear deal.

“Iran is still violating UN Security Council resolutions with its ballistic missile program, which should be met with new sanctions designations and firm resolve,” Clinton said in a statement.

The former US secretary of state stressed that if she is elected president this year, she will take on Iran with a “distrust and verify” attitude.

Clinton also applauded Iran’s release of US citizens. “I am greatly relieved by the safe return of American prisoners from Iran.”

Latest media reports indicated that a detained American student, Matthew Trevithick, has already left Iran, while “logistical steps” are in process to send four other prisoners, including the jailed Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, home.

While lashing out at Iran for its missile tests, Clinton has apparently been fine with weapons being sent to some of its Middle Eastern neighbors, despite them being criticized for dismal human rights records.

Amid Clinton‘s presidential campaign, media reports have surfaced claiming that regional players, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have donated billions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. At the same time, those same nations had weapons deals approved by the US State Department when it was headed by Clinton.

“Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents,” International Business Times wrote in May 2015, citing a review of available records.

Meanwhile, US Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal joined Clinton’s call for more sanctions on Iran on Saturday, arguing its missile tests violated UN resolutions.

“Without delay, the United States should enforce sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program,” Blumenthal said.

Both Clinton’s and Blumenthal’s statements come as international economic sanctions imposed on Iran earlier due to suspicions that its nuclear program was being used to develop atomic weapons were formally lifted after the UN nuclear watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – released a statement saying Iran has fulfilled all of the measures required under its deal with six world powers.

“The report was submitted to IAEA board of governors and to the United Nations Security Council,” IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said on Saturday, adding that “it was issued after agency inspectors on the ground verified that Iran has carried out all measures required under the JCPOA to enable implementation day to occur.”

The JCPOA, known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Tehran and six world powers (the so-called P5+1 group comprised of China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany) on July 14, 2015. The deal entailed Iran shrinking its atomic program in return for the US, EU and UN lifting economic sanctions.

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The Doctrine of ‘Superior People’: The Bond between I$raHell and World Zionism

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By James Petras 

Introduction

The single greatest feat of Israel and its overseas missions has not been material success, or the military conquest of millions of unarmed Palestinians, it has been ideological – the widespread acceptance in the US of a doctrine that claims ‘Jews are a superior people.’

Apart from small extremist rightwing sects who exhibit visceral anti-Semitism and denigrate everything Jewish, there are very few academics and politicians willing to question this supremacist doctrine. On the contrary, there is an incurable tendency to advance oneself by accepting and embellishing on it.

For example, in August 2015, US Vice-President Joseph Biden attributed ‘special genius’ to Jews, slavish flattery that embarrassed even New York’s liberal Jewish intellectuals.

Israel’s dominant role in formulating US Middle East policy is largely a product of its success at recruiting, socializing and motivating overseas Jews to act as an organized force to intervene in US politics and push Israel’s agenda.

What motivates American Jews, who have been raised and educated in the US to serve Israel? After all, these are individuals who have prospered, achieved high status and occupy the highest positions of prestige and responsibility. Why would they parrot the policies of Israel and follow the dictates of Israeli leaders (a foreign regime), serving its violent colonial, racist agenda?

What binds a majority of highly educated and privileged Jews to the most rabidly rightwing Israeli regime in history – a relationship they actually celebrate?

What turns comfortable, prosperous American Jews into vindictive bullies, willing and able to blackmail, threaten and punish any dissident voices among their Gentile and Jewish compatriots who have dared to criticize Israel?

What prevents many intelligent, liberal and progressive Jews from openly questioning Israel’s agenda, and especially confronting the role of Zionist zealots who serve as Tel Aviv’s fifth column against the interest of the United States?

There are numerous historical and personal factors that can and should be taken into account to understand this phenomenon.

In this essay I am going to focus on one – the ideology that ‘Jews are a superior people’. The notion that Jews, either through some genetic, biologic, cultural, historical, familial and/or upbringing, have special qualities allowing them to achieve at a uniquely higher level than the ‘inferior’ non-Jews.

We will proceed by sketching the main outline of the Jewish supremacist ideology and then advance our critique.

We will conclude by evaluating the negative consequences of this ideology and propose a democratic alternative.

Jewish Supremacism

Exponents of Jewish Supremacism (JS) frequently cite the prestigious awards, worldly successes and high honors, which, they emphasize, have been disproportionately achieved by Jews.

The argument goes: While Jews represent less than 0.2% of the world population, they have produced 24% of the US Nobel prize winners; over 30% of Ivy League professors and students; and the majority of major US film, stage and TV producers.

They cite the ‘disproportionate number’ of scientists, leading doctors, lawyers and billionaires.

They cite past geniuses like, Einstein, Freud and Marx .

They point to the founders of the world’s great monotheistic religions – Moses and Abraham.

They lay claim to a unique learning tradition embedded in centuries of Talmudic scholarship.

Jewish supremacists never miss a chance to cite the ‘Jewish background’ of any highly accomplished contemporary public figures in the entertainment, publication, financial fields or any other sectors of life in the US.

Disproportionately great accomplishments by a disproportionate minority has become the mantra for heralding a self-styled ‘meritocratic elite’…. and for justifying its disproportionate wealth, power and privileges – and influence…

Challenging the Myths of Jewish Supremacists

There are serious problems regarding the claims of the Jewish Supremacists.

For centuries Jewish ‘wisdom’ was confined to textual exegesis of religious dogma – texts full of superstition and social control, as well as blind intolerance, and which produced neither reasoned arguments nor contributed to scientific and human advancement.

Jewish scholarship of note occurred among thinkers like Spinoza who revolted against the Jewish ghetto gatekeepers and rejected Jewish dogma.

Notable scientists emerged in the context of working and studying with non-Jews in non-Jewish institutions – the universities and centers of learning in the West. The majority of world-renowned Jewish scholars integrated and contributed to predominantly non-Jewish (Moslem and Christian) and secular institutions of higher learning.

Historically, highly talented individuals of Jewish origin succeeded by renouncing the constraints of everyday Jewish life, rabbinical overseers and Jewish institutions. Most contemporary prestigious scientists, including the frequently cited Nobel Prize winners, have little or nothing to do with Judaism! And their contributions have everything to do with the highly secular, integrated culture in which they prospered intellectually – despite expressions of crude anti-Semitism in the larger society.

Secondly, Jewish Supremacists persist in claiming ‘racial credit’ for the achievements of individuals who have publicly renounced, denounced and distanced themselves from Judaism and have dismissed any notion of Israel as their spiritual homeland. Their universal prestige has prevented them from being labeled, apostate or ‘self-hating.’ Albert Einstein, often cited by the Supremacists as the supreme example of ‘Jewish genius,’ denounced Israel’s war crimes and showed disdain for any tribal identity. In their era, Marx and Trotsky, like the vast majority of emancipated European Jews, given the chance, became engaged in universalistic organizations, attacking the entire notion that Jews were a ‘special people’ chosen by divine authority (or by the latter-day Zionists).

Thirdly, Supremacists compile a very selective list of virtuous Jews, while omitting areas of life and activity where Jews have disproportionately played a negative and destructive role.

After all is it Jewish ‘genius’ that makes Israel a leading exporter of arms, high tech intrusive spy systems and that sends military and paramilitary advisers and torturers to work with death squad regimes in Africa and Latin America?

Among the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are three Israeli Prime Ministers who waged wars of ethnic cleansing against millions of Palestinians and expanded racist ‘Jews only’ settlements throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. These include Menachem Begin (notorious career bomber and terrorist), Yitzhak Rabin (a militarist who was assassinated by an even more racist Jewish terrorist) and Shimon Peres. Among Jewish American Nobel ‘Peaceniks’ is Henry Kissinger who oversaw the brutal and illegal US war in Indo-China causing 4 million Vietnamese deaths; who wrote the ‘template for regime change’ by overthrowing the democratically elected government of Chilean President Allende and condemned Chile to decades of police state terror; and who supported Indonesia’s destruction of East Timor!

In other words, these Nobel recipients, who Supremacists cite as ‘examples of Jewish Supremacy,’ have sown terror and injustice on countless captive peoples and nations – giving the Nobel Peace Prize a dubious distinction.

Among the greatest billion dollar swindlers in recent US history, we d find a disproportionate percentage of American Jews – curiously not mentioned by the Supremacists in their usual litany: Bernard Madoff pillaged over $50 billion from his clients, Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Marc Rich are well-known names adding the distinction of ‘Jewish genius’ to a list of financial mega-felons.

Among the less respectable notables whose material successes have been tarnished by personal weaknesses – we have the billionaire and pedophile pimp, Jeffry Epstein; IMF President, rapist and debaucher Dominic Strauss Kahn, entrepreneur and ‘nudist’ Dov Charney, New York Governor and ‘repeat customer’ Elliot Spitzer, Congressman and exhibitionist Anthony Weiner and the fun-loving sports impresario who brought down FIFA, the piratical Chuck Blazer. Curiously, none of these extraordinarily successful notables have been cited as examples of Jewish Supremacy.

As we contemplate the millions of war refugees driven from the Near East and North Africa, we should credit the role of US neo-liberal and neo-conservative ideologues and policymakers –a disproportionate percentage of whom are Jews. Millions of Chilean workers suffered as Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys ‘advised’ Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet on dismantling the welfare state (even if it required the murder of trade unionists!). Ayn Rand (Alyssa Rosenbaum) and her fanatical free market epigones have savaged all progressive social legislation and turned the most retrograde forms of selfishness into a religion of ‘superiority’!

The disastrous US war against Iraq was largely organized, promoted and justified by a disproportionate percentage of US Jews (Zionists), including leading policymakers in the Bush and Obama administration – Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, David Frum, Shulsky, Levey, Cohen, Rahm Emanuel etc… They continue to push for war against Iran and should be seen as the ‘godfathers’ of the tragedies of Iraq, Syria and Libya where millions have fled.

The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression was largely due to the financial policies of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. The trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street by Ben Shalom Bernacke and Stanley Fischer, while Janet Yellen ignored the plight of millions of Americans who lost their homes because of mortgage foreclosures. In sum, Jewish Supremacists should proudly take credit for the American Jews who have been disproportionately responsible for the largest economic and foreign policy failures of the contemporary period – including the horrific suffering these have entailed!

Back in the more normal world of crime, Russian-Jewish mobsters dominate or share supremacy with the Italian Mafia in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and scores of cities in between. They display their unique genius at extortion and murder – knowing they can always find safe haven in the ‘Promised Land’!

On the cultural front, the finest Jewish writers, artists, musicians, scientists have emerged outside of Israel. A few may have immigrated to the Jewish state, but many other intellectuals and artists of note have chosen to leave Israel, repelled by the racist, intolerant and repressive apartheid state and society promoted by Jewish Supremacists.

Conclusion

The record provides no historical basis for the claims of Jewish Supremacists:

What has been cited as the disproportionate ‘Jewish genius’ turns out to be a two-edged sword – demonstrating the best and the worst.

Claiming a monopoly on high academic achievement must be expanded to owning up to the Jewish authors of the worst financial and foreign policy disasters – they too are ‘high achievers’.

Donations from financial billionaires, all ‘geniuses,’ have financed the war crimes of the Israeli state and made possible the expansion of violent Jewish settlers throughout occupied Palestine – spreading misery and displacement for millions.

In fairness, the most notorious Jewish swindler in contemporary America was even-handed: ‘Bernie’ Madoff swindled Jews and Goys, Hollywood moguls and New York philanthropists – he wasn’t picky about who he fleeced.

The latest fashion among Jewish Supremacist ‘geneticists’ is to extol the discovery of uniquely special ‘genes’ predisposing Jews to experience the ‘holocaust’ and even inherit the experience of suffering from long dead ancestors. Such ‘scientists’ should be careful. As Jazz artist and essayist, Gilad Altzmon wryly notes, ‘They will put the anti-Semites out of business’.

Ultimately, Jews, who have assimilated into the greater society or not, who inter-marry and who do not, are all products of the social system in which they live and (like everyone else) they are the makers of the roles they decide to play within it.

In the past, a uniquely disproportional percentage of Jews chose to fight for universal humanist values – rejecting the notion of a chosen people.

Today a disproportionate percentage of educated Jews have chosen to embrace an ‘ethno-religious’ Supremacist dogma, which binds them to an apartheid, militarist state and ideology ready to drag the world into a global war.

Never forget! Racialist supremacist doctrines led Germany down the blind ally of totalitarianism and world war, in which scores of millions perished.

Jews, especially young Jews, are increasingly repelled by Israel’s crimes against humanity. The next step for them (and for us) is to criticize, demystify and stand up to the toxic supremacist ideology linking the powerful domestic Zionist power configuration and its political clones with Israel.

The root problem is not genetic, it is collective political dementia: a demented ideology that claims a chosen elite can forever dominate and exploit the majority of American people. The time will come when the accumulated disasters will force the Americans people to push back, unmasking the elite and rejecting its supremacist doctrines. Let us hope that they will act with passion guided by reason.

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How Neocons Banished Realism

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By James W Carden 

In a widely remarked upon article for the online version of Foreign Policy last week, Harvard’s Stephen Walt asked a very good question. Why, Walt asked, are elite outlets like the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times “allergic to realist views, given that realists have been (mostly) right about some very important issues, and the columnists they publish have often been wrong?”

Walt then went on to do something pundits are generally loath to do: he admitted that he’d didn’t really know the answer. This is not to say that I do, but I think Walt’s question is worth exploring.

Why indeed? My own hunch is that we realists are a source of discomfit for the Beltway armchair warrior class not so much because we have been right about every major U.S. foreign policy question since the invasion of Iraq, but because we dare to question the premise which undergirds the twin orthodoxies of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism.

The premise, shared by heroes of the Left and Right, is this: America, a “shining city on a hill” (John Winthrop, later vulgarized by Ronald Reagan) “remains the one indispensable nation” (Barack Obama) and deprived of America’s “benevolent global hegemony” (Robert Kagan) the world will surely collapse into anarchy.

This strain of messianic thinking has deep roots in the psyche of the American establishment and so, in a sense, neoconservatism, which is really little more than a latter-day Trotskyist sect, is as American as apple pie.

Common though it is to trace, or conflate, the rise of American messianism to 1898 when the country first emerged as a global power, the cult of “American exceptionalism” has its roots in Puritan theology.

In his indispensable work, The Irony of American History, the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr cites a tract from 1650 in which the colonial leader Edward Johnson wrote that New England was “where the Lord would create a new heaven and a new earth, new churches and a new commonwealth together.” Niebuhr wrote that the Puritans had a “sense of being a ‘separated’ nation which God was using to make a new beginning for mankind.”

This strain of American solipsism was also noted with distaste by that most perceptive chronicler of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville who, in 1840, wrote that it was “impossible to conceive of a more troublesome and garrulous patriotism.”

The historian John Lamberton Harper has observed that the strain of messianic thinking was evident throughout the Nineteenth Century, reminding us that Indiana Sen. Albert Beveridge once claimed that the good Lord had “marked the American people as His chosen nation to finally lead in the regeneration of the world.”

And so on and so on.

Throughout the Twentieth Century, the messianic way of thinking became ever more firmly entrenched – particular among the governing class – as America continued what many felt was its inexorable rise to global supremacy. At the turn of the century prominent men of politics and letters such as Brooks Adams, Theodore Roosevelt and the geopolitical theorist Alfred MacKinder enthusiastically subscribed to the notion that “all signs point to the approaching supremacy of the United States.” Indeed, that this was so was an “inexorable decree of destiny.”

America’s entry into the First World War only deepened that sense of singularity. Here’s Walter Lippmann, who later in life became something like the dean of American realists, writing about President Woodrow Wilson in the New Republic in 1917: “other men have led nations to war to increase their glory, their wealth, their prestige … no other statesman has ever so clearly identified the glory of his country with the peace and liberty of the world.”

Decades later, during the Cold War, Lippmann regained his sanity, while TNR all but lost its. And indeed, it was during that 40-year-long “twilight struggle” between the U.S. and the USSR that the messianic consensus grabbed hold of the American mind and, to this day, has not let go. But the roots of that way of thinking, as we have seen, are deep and long predate the Cold War.

And so I would submit that the reason the three major American newspapers are “allergic to realism” is because they are part and parcel of an establishment that has, for well over a century now, been in thrall to a messianic vision of global supremacy.

 

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MH-17’s Unnecessary Mystery

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By Robert Parry 

As the whodunit mystery surrounding the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 nears the 1½-year mark, the Obama administration could open U.S. intelligence files and help bring justice for the 298 people killed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Instead, a separate mystery has emerged: why has the U.S. government clammed up since five days after the tragedy?

Immediately after the crash, senior Obama administration officials showed no hesitancy in pointing fingers at the ethnic Russian rebels who were then resisting a military offensive by the U.S.-backed Kiev regime. On July, 20, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on TV talk shows claiming there was a strong circumstantial case implicating the rebels and their Russian backers in the shoot-down.

After mentioning some information gleaned from “social media,” Kerry said on NBC’s Meet the Press: “But even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

Two days later, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a “Government Assessment,” also citing “social media” seeming to implicate the rebels. Then, this white paper listed military equipment allegedly supplied by Russia to the rebels. But the list did not include a Buk missile battery or other high-powered anti-aircraft missiles capable of striking MH-17, which had been flying at around 33,000 feet.

The DNI also had U.S. intelligence analysts brief a few select mainstream reporters, but the analysts conveyed much less conviction than their superiors may have wished, indicating that there was still great uncertainty about who was responsible.

The Los Angeles Times article said: “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [the designation for a Russian-made anti-aircraft Buk missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

That uncertainty meshed somewhat with what I had been told by a source who had been briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts shortly after the shoot-down about what they had seen in high-resolution satellite photos, which they said showed what looked like Ukrainian military personnel manning the battery which was believed to have fired the missile.

There is also an important distinction to make between the traditional “Intelligence Assessment,” which is the U.S. intelligence community’s gold standard for evaluating an issue, complete with any disagreements among the 16 intelligence agencies, and a “Government Assessment,” like the one produced in the MH-17 case.

As former CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote: “The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment,’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.”

In other words, a “Government Assessment” is an invitation for political hacks to manufacture what was called a “dodgy dossier” when the British government used similar tactics to sell the phony case for war with Iraq in 2002-03.

Demonizing Putin

Yet, despite the flimsiness of the “blame-Russia-for-MH-17” case in July 2014, the Obama administration’s rush to judgment proved critical in whipping up the European press to demonize President Vladimir Putin, who became the Continent’s bete noire accused of killing 298 innocent people. That set the stage for the European Union to accede to U.S. demands for economic sanctions on Russia.

The MH-17 case was deployed like a classic piece of “strategic communication or “Stratcom,” mixing propaganda with psychological operations to put an adversary at a disadvantage. Apparently satisfied with that result, the Obama administration stopped talking publicly, leaving the impression of Russian guilt to corrode Moscow’s image in the public mind.

But the intelligence source who spoke to me several times after he received additional briefings about advances in the investigation said that as the U.S. analysts gained more insights into the MH-17 shoot-down from technical and other sources, they came to believe the attack was carried out by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military with ties to a hard-line Ukrainian oligarch. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts” and “The Danger of an MH-17 Cold Case.”]

But that conclusion – if made public – would have dealt another blow to America’s already shaky credibility, which has never recovered from the false Iraq-WMD claims in 2002-03. A reversal also would embarrass Kerry, other senior U.S. officials and major Western news outlets, which had bought into the Russia-did-it narrative. Plus, the European Union might reconsider its decision to sanction Russia, a key part of U.S. policy in support of the Kiev regime.

Still, as the MH-17 mystery dragged on into 2015, I inquired about the possibility of an update from the DNI’s office. But a spokeswoman told me that no update would be provided because the U.S. government did not want to say anything to prejudice the ongoing investigation. In response, I noted that Kerry and the DNI had already done that by immediately pointing the inquiry in the direction of blaming Russia and the rebels.

But there was another purpose in staying mum. By refusing to say anything to contradict the initial rush to judgment, the Obama administration could let Western mainstream journalists and “citizen investigators” on the Internet keep Russia pinned down with more speculation about its guilt in the MH-17 shoot-down.

So, silence became the better part of candor. After all, pretty much everyone in the West had judged Russia and Putin guilty. So, why shake that up?

The Ukrainian Buks

Yet, what has become clear after the initial splurge of U.S. blame-casting is that U.S. intelligence lacked key evidence to support Kerry’s hasty judgments. Despite intensive overhead surveillance of eastern Ukraine in summer 2014, U.S. and other Western intelligence services could find no evidence that Russia had ever given a Buk system to the rebels or introduced one into the area.

Satellite intelligence – reviewed both before and after the shoot-down – only detected Ukrainian Buk missile systems in the conflict zone. One could infer this finding from the fact that the DNI on July 22, 2014, did not allege that Buks were among the weapons systems that Russia had provided. If Russian-supplied Buks had been spotted – and the batteries of four 16-foot-long missiles hauled around by trucks are hard to miss – their presence surely would have been noted.

But one doesn’t need to infer this lack of evidence. It was spelled out in a little-noticed report by the Netherlands’ Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) that was made public last October when the Dutch Safety Board issued its findings on the causes of the doomed MH-17 flight. (Since the flight had originated in Amsterdam and carried many Dutch passengers, Netherlands took a lead role in the investigation.)

Dutch intelligence, which as part of NATO would have access to sensitive overhead surveillance and other relevant data, reported that the only anti-aircraft weapons in eastern Ukraine – capable of bringing down MH-17 at 33,000 feet – belonged to the Ukrainian government.

MIVD made that assessment in the context of explaining why commercial aircraft continued to fly over the eastern Ukrainian battle zone in summer 2014. MIVD said that based on “state secret” information, it was known that Ukraine possessed some older but “powerful anti-aircraft systems” and “a number of these systems were located in the eastern part of the country.”

But the intelligence agency added that the rebels lacked that capacity: “Prior to the crash, the MIVD knew that, in addition to light aircraft artillery, the Separatists also possessed short-range portable air defence systems (man-portable air-defence systems; MANPADS) and that they possibly possessed short-range vehicle-borne air-defence systems. Both types of systems are considered surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Due to their limited range they do not constitute a danger to civil aviation at cruising altitude.”

MIVD noted that on June 29, 2014, “the Separatists captured a Ukrainian armed forces military base in Donetsk [where] there were Buk missile systems,” a fact that was reported in the press before the crash and attracted MIVD’s attention.

“During the course of July, several reliable sources indicated that the systems that were at the military base were not operational,” MIVD said. “Therefore, they could not be used by the Separatists.”

In other words, it is fair to say – based on the affirmative comments from MIVD and the omissions from the U.S. DNI’s “Government Assessment” – that the Western powers had no evidence that the ethnic Russian rebels or their Russian allies had operational Buk missiles in eastern Ukraine, but Ukraine did.

It also would have made sense that Ukraine would be moving additional anti-aircraft systems close to the border because of a feared Russian invasion as the Ukrainian military pressed its “anti-terrorism operation” against ethnic Russians fighters. They were resisting the U.S.-backed coup of Feb. 22, 2014, which had ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was in the east.

According to the Dutch Safety Board report, issued last October, a Ukrainian warplane had been shot down by a suspected air-to-air missile (presumably from a Russian fighter) on July 16, 2014, meaning that Ukrainian defenses were probably on high alert. The Russian military also claimed that Ukraine had activated a radar system that is used to guide Buk missiles.

Gunning for Putin?

I was told by the intelligence source that U.S. analysts looked seriously at the possibility that the intended target was President Putin’s official plane returning from a state visit to South America. His aircraft and MH-17 had similar red-white-and-blue markings, but Putin took a more northerly route and arrived safely in Moscow.

A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.

Other possible scenarios were that a poorly trained and undisciplined Ukrainian squad mistook MH-17 for a Russian plane that had penetrated Ukrainian airspace or that the attack was willful provocation designed to be blamed on the Russians.

Whoever the culprits and whatever their motive, one point that should not have remained in doubt was where the missile launch occurred. Remember that just three days after the crash, Secretary Kerry had said U.S. intelligence detected the launch and “We know where it came from.”

But last October, the Dutch Safety Board still hadn’t pinned down anything like a precise location. The report could only place the launch site within a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, covering territory then controlled by both Ukrainian and rebel forces. (The safety board did not seek to identify which side fired the fateful missile).

By contrast, Almaz-Antey, the Russian arms manufacturer of the Buk systems, conducted its own experiments to determine the likely firing location and placed it in a much smaller area near the village of Zaroshchenskoye, about 20 kilometers west of the Dutch Safety Board’s zone and in an area under Ukrainian government control.

So, with the firing location a key point in dispute, why would the U.S. government withhold from a NATO ally (and investigators into a major airline disaster) the launch point for the missile? Presumably, if the Obama administration had solid evidence showing that the launch came from rebel territory, which was Kerry’s insinuation, U.S. officials would have been only too happy to provide the data.

A reasonable conclusion from the failure to share this information with the Dutch investigators is that the data does not support the preferred U.S. government narrative. If there’s a different explanation for the silence, the Obama administration has failed to provide it.

Amid the curious U.S. silence, the most significant public finding by Western intelligence is that the only powerful and operational anti-aircraft-missile systems in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, belonged to the Ukrainian military.

Nevertheless, the mainstream “conventional wisdom” remains that either the ethnic Russian rebels or the Russians themselves shot down MH-17 and have sought to cover up their guilt.

Some of this certainty comes from the simpleminded game of repeating that Buk missiles are “Russian-made,” which is true but irrelevant to the issue of who fired the missiles, since the Ukrainian military possesses Russian-made Buks.

But much of this “group think” can be credited to the speed with which the Obama administration got its narrative out immediately citing dubious “social media” and exploiting the West’s disdain toward Russian President Putin. He was a ready-made villain for the story.

Lying First

A similar case occurred in 1983 when Korean Airlines Flight 007 penetrated deeply into Soviet territory and was pursued by a Soviet fighter that – after issuing warnings that were ignored – shot the plane down believing it was an enemy military aircraft. Though the Soviets quickly realized they had made a terrible mistake, the Reagan administration wanted to use the incident to paint the “evil empire” in the evilest of tones.

So, Reagan’s propagandists edited the ground-control intercepts to make it appear that the Soviets had committed willful murder, a theme that was presented to the United Nations and was gullibly lapped up by the mainstream U.S. news media.

The fuller story only came out in 1995 with a book entitled Warriors of Disinformation by Alvin A. Snyder, who had been director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division. He described how the tapes were edited “to heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible.”

In a boastful but frank description of the successful disinformation campaign, Snyder noted that “the American media swallowed the U.S. government line without reservation. Said the venerable Ted Koppel on the ABC News ‘Nightline’ program: ‘This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.’”

Snyder concluded, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”

In the case of MH-17, however, the falsehoods and deceptions are not simply some spy-vs.-spy propaganda game of gotcha, but rather obstruction of justice in a mass murder investigation. Whatever evidence the Obama administration has, it should have long since been made available to the investigators, but – so far – the official Dutch reports have indicated no such assistance.

While the U.S. government maintains its official silence, the Russian manufacturer has tried to provide details about the functioning of various generations of Buks and challenged the conclusion from the Dutch Safety Board of precisely which model likely brought down MH-17. The Dutch Safety Board cited a 9M38M1 missile using a 9N314M warhead that dispersed “butterfly or bow-tie” fragments that ripped through MH-17’s fuselage.

But Almaz-Antey reported that only older warheads and missiles of the 9M38 type have that signature. “The 9M38M1 missile has no H-shaped striking elements,” Almaz-Antey executive Yan Novikov said. According to the manufacturer, the Russian army had phased 9M38 missiles out years ago, but they remained part of Ukraine’s arsenal.

On Jan. 14, the Russian aviation agency issued its own report critical of the Dutch Safety Board’s understanding of the Buk models, saying that “the strike elements” in the 9N314M warhead did not match the composition of what was recovered from MH-17. Yet, the Dutch-led criminal investigation, which is being partly run by the Ukrainian government, has shown little interest in the Russian information.

‘Citizen Journalists’

The inquiry has been much more welcoming of leads from Bellingcat, a group of “citizen journalists” led by British blogger Eliot Higgins.

Despite having made significant mistakes in an earlier investigation of the Syria-sarin case in 2013 – including misstating the range of suspect missiles – Higgins has been treated as something of a savant on the MH-17 case, basing his analysis on photographs that popped up the Internet purportedly showing a Buk missile system heading eastward from Donetsk shortly before MH-17 was shot down.

Although one of the first lessons anyone learns about the Internet is to be cautious about what you find there, Higgins andBellingcat relied on the images to conclude that this battery was dispatched from Russia under the command of Russian forces. The bloggers went so far as to send a list of Russian soldiers’ names as suspects to the MH-17 criminal investigators.

There are, of course, problems with this sort of theorizing. First, it assumes that the photos on the Internet are genuine and not cleverly photo-shopped fakes. The Internet can be a devil’s playground for both amateur and professional disinformationists.

But even assuming that the photos are real, there is the question of why – if this cumbersome weapons system was lumbering around eastern Ukraine apparently for weeks – did Western intelligence services not detect it from overhead surveillance either before or after the shoot-down? From Bellingcat’s Internet photos, it appears there was no effort to conceal the Buk system, which curiously was headed eastward toward Russia, not westward from Russia.

Higgins also directed an Australian TV film crew to the supposed site in Luhansk where the Buk battery, minus one missile, supposedly made its getaway back into Russia. However, the location that the Australian crew filmed clearly was the wrong place. None of the landmarks matched up, but this journalistic fraud did nothing to diminish Bellingcat’s sterling reputation with mainstream Western news outlets which routinely repeat the group’s allegations. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Reckless Stand-upper on MH-17.”]

It turns out that it is an excellent business model for “citizen” bloggers to find “evidence” on the Internet to reinforce whatever the U.S. government’s propagandists are claiming. Since the U.S. government’s credibility is shaky at best, young hip Internet readers are more inclined to trust what they hear from bloggers – and when the bloggers echo what Washington claims, the mainstream media and well-funded think tanks will join in the applause.

Latest Speculation

Earlier this month, Bellingcat’s speculation identifying Russian soldiers as MH-17 suspects based on their assignment to a Buk battery was splashed across the international press, including Dutch television, London’s Telegraph and the British Guardian. The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty headlined its story, “Russian Soldiers Said Involved in Downing of MH17 Airliner,” complete with photos of Russian soldiers with their eyes blacked out, courtesy of Bellingcat.

“The Britain-based Bellingcat group said it had identified up to 100 Russian soldiers who may have knowledge of the movements of the Buk missile launcher that destroyed the Boeing 777 on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 on board,” RFE/RL reported, citing a quote that Higgins gave to the Telegraph : “We have the names and photos of the soldiers in the June convoy who traveled with the MH17 Buk, their commanders, their commanders’ commanders, etc.”

Higgins told Dutch TV channel NOS that Belligcat believed that at least 20 soldiers in an air-defense unit based in Kursk “probably” either fired the missile or know who fired it.

The Dutch-led prosecution team, which collaborates with the Ukrainian government and nations that suffered large numbers of deaths from the crash including Australia and Malaysia, welcomed the Bellingcat information and promised to “seriously study it.”

Not that the prosecution team has asked or appears interested, but one could also give the sleuths a list of Americans who almost certainly have knowledge about who fired the missile and from exactly where: CIA Director John Brennan, DNI James Clapper, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.

Any one of those officials could end the strange silence that has enveloped the U.S. government’s knowledge about the MH-17 shoot-down since five days after the tragedy and – by doing so – perhaps they could finally bring some clarity and justice to this mystery.

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Drone Strike Assassinates Prime Minister Cameron’s “Transparency” Mandate

NOVANEWS

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By Felicity Arbuthnot 

One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system … it’s about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters.

— David Cameron, First speech as Prime Minister, May 11, 2010

David Cameron has made “transparency” a mantra. In May 2010 he vowed to rip off the: “cloak of secrecy” around government, extending transparency and stating:

Greater transparency is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account.

He was specific, adamant even:

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since doing this job, it’s how all the information about government – the money it spends, where it spends it, the results it achieves – how so much of it is locked away in a vault marked sort of ‘private for the eyes of Ministers and officials only … By bringing information out into the open you’ll be able to hold government and public services to account.

In early July 2011 he declared: “We are creating a new era of transparency …” Later that month in a speech in Singapore he talked of “accountable and transparent institutions …”

In January 2013 he said one of the main priorities of the UK’s Presidency of the G8 was “transparency.” In November that year at the Open Government Partnership he again delivered a speech stressing the importance of the “transparency agenda.”

In fact, the only transparency is Cameron — you can see right through him.

Holding “government and public services to account?” In your dreams. For example, the UK illegally invading the air space of other countries, murdering people in extra-judicial executions, a pretty massive government undertaking. Questions should surely be asked and have been. “Transparency” and accountability have not only been unforthcoming, they have left the planet.

In August last year two British nationals fighting in Syria were killed in British drone strikes, they were Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, the latter not a “formal” target but killed anyway. Whilst many may be tempted to think “terrorists, serves them right”, this is the thin end of a very dodgy legal wedge. An illegal strike on a sovereign country, killings with no recourse to law – and only the government’s word on who they killed anyway, there will surely never be absolute proof.

Moreover, for all the word juggling, it seems Cameron’s government has followed in the footsteps of their Master, Barack Obama, and had the UK National Security Council draw up a “kill” list.

Defence Minister Michael Fallon denied there was such a list but confirmed in an impressive sleight of words:

… our job is to  … identify the terrorists and where we can forestall them. But if you’re asking me would we hesitate to take similar action again today, tomorrow, next week – absolutely not, we would not hesitate.

Assassination whilst illegally in or over another country is now renamed “forestalling.”

It should also be noted that it was not until December 2nd that the UK Parliament voted on Air Force intervention in Syria, a vote and actions anyway in murky legal territory, but the killings were undertaken under Führer Cameron’s auspices without MPs even being consulted, with, it transpires, the “kill” list drawn up “some months” prior to the August action with “a list of targets who would be subject to extra-judicial killing.”

“The Government” has also “refused to publish the advice it received from the Attorney General to justify the attacks.”

Further according to The Independent:

David Cameron said that Khan was involved in “actively recruiting (Isis) sympathisers and seeking to orchestrate specific and barbaric attacks against the West including directing a number of planned terrorist attacks right here in Britain …

However, no further evidence has been provided to substantiate these claims. Downing Street has said it cannot provide this information as it might compromise ongoing operations and legal cases …

Cameron seemingly morphs ever more into his hero Tony Blair – even down to seemingly having a compliant Attorney General in Jeremy Wright, QC. Few will have forgotten Blair’s, Lord Goldsmith, who changed the advice on the Iraq invasion from illegal to legal at a gentle tap on, not even a twist of, the arm.

Wright:  “… appearing before the Justice Select Committee said he acknowledged it was important in such exceptional circumstances that MPs should know that legal advice had been given, but insisted that its precise content could not be revealed. Asked why not, Wright said: “In part, it’s an obligation to ensure that legal advice taken by the government is as full and frank as it can be … It’s also important to take collective responsibility under cabinet government.”

So much for holding “government and public services to account.”

That was in September. On January 12th:

Members of the UK’s Parliamentary intelligence watchdog will not be allowed access to all intelligence or defence information relating to the new British practice of targeted killing by drone, the Prime Minister has said.

David Cameron was asked today by Andrew Tyrie MP whether the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) would be allowed to examine the military aspect of the targeted killing programme, and whether he would commit to the Committee’s security-cleared members being able to see all the relevant intelligence.

Mr Cameron refused on both points, stating that the ISC’s job was to examine intelligence, not military affairs, and that he could not give the commitment Mr Tyrie asked for regarding the Committee’s access to intelligence.  Mr Tyrie pointed out that what the Committee is allowed to see remains under the control of the Secretary of State, and that its work on targeted killing ‘could be rendered meaningless’ if it were barred from looking at the military operation.

Harriet Harman MP, chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is currently carrying out an inquiry into the issue. She asked whether he would publish the UK Government’s policy on drone strikes – Mr Cameron responded that he had already set out his position to the Commons, but that publishing a written policy might ‘get us into more difficulties.’

You bet!

In response, Kate Craig legal Director at the international human rights organization Reprieve stated:

In fact, the Government is under a legal obligation to formulate and publish a clear and unambiguous policy, especially when we’re talking about state killing.

Moreover, the Prime Minister’s refusals to share vital information with the ISC raises the disturbing possibility that – much like the controversial US drone programme – UK targeted killing may be beyond accountability and oversight.

Law, national and international, is clearly fast becoming a redundant irritant. Britain and America’s acts of terrorism seem ever more blatant and unaccountable. “Why do they hate us?” bleated George W. Bush.  Work it out.

As for Cameron’s “transparency” mantra, having been in mortal danger from the day of its unveiling it is now consigned to that great political cemetery of Prime Ministerial and Ministers’ towering falsehoods and humbug.

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Selling the wars ‘Vedio’

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

 

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The Pentagon budgets half a billion dollars to market its wars in the US. Call it public relations or call it propaganda, it’s meant to win the hearts and minds of Americans.

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Is Obama the Biggest Puppet in History?

NOVANEWS
By Steven MacMillan 

” Zionist Puppet Obama”  Shoah Photo

Out of all the political prostitutes in the Western world, one man stands out as the perfect illustration of a politician who works solely to serve his puppet masters. Even though the majority of politicians are controlled by economic and corporate elites, the current US President, Barack Obama, is the epitome of a man who is bought and paid for by special interests.

Obama was elected President in November 2008, and inaugurated in January 2009. From the very beginning of his Presidency, it was clear who the ” was beholden to. According to OpenSecrets.org, Obama’s top campaign donors in 2008 included: Goldman Sachs; JPMorgan Chase; Citigroup; Morgan Stanley; Microsoft; Google; and IBM. Considering Obama’s donors, it’s no wonder that (unlike Iceland) the US has not prosecuted the plethora of bankers and financial institutions that have engaged in fraud for years, and subsequently played a pivotal role in causing the financial crisis of 2007/08.

“I’ve now been in 57 states; I think one left to go”

In a bizarre speech in 2008, Obama said: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve travelled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states; I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go to, even though I really wanted to visit.” Did he simply make a mistake? Was he joking? Or was this just another slip from a person who is really just hypnotically going through the motions anytime he speaks, with no real interest in what he is saying. This bizarre statement is not an isolated one from the US President, as just a few months ago, Obama tried to argue that Russia bombing ISIL is only “strengthening ISIL.

The Narcissist

 In Greek mythology, Narcissus, the son of a river god, fell in love with his own reflection. Judging from his actions in office, Obama also appears to care more about himself than anything else. In a recent 33-minute speech, Obama referred to himself a whopping 76 times; a true mark of a narcissistic, arrogant and egocentric person. Perhaps he was trying to challenge Julius Caesar’s record, as the former Roman general penned the majority of the ‘Commentaries on the Gallic War,’ in which the word “Caesar” is used 775 times, according to the historian Robin Lane Fox.

Tears of Deceit

 Emotive propaganda 101; cry and weep during a highly controversial and political speech on gun control, pulling at the heartstrings of the American public to push a political agenda. In this piece, I’m not trying to underplay the death of innocent people, but merely point out the way in which Obama is emotively trying to manipulate the opinions of the American public in order to push through legislation. Whatever your personal views are on gun control in the US, Obama’s tactics should be denounced as deceitful and staged.

Remember, the man who stood up and gave an Oscar winning performance recently, is the same man who is the head of the country that is carrying out more drone strikes around the world than ever before; has been funding and arming terrorists to overthrow the secular Syrian government; bombed a hospital in Afghanistan which killed at least three children; destroyed and destabilized the nation of Libya (which previously had the highest standard of living in Africa); supports Saudi Arabia in its war crime in Yemen; tortures and interrogates people across the world; and countless other crimes that kill and maim innocent people, yet no tears are shed by the US President.

Was San Bernardino a Black Op?

 There are also some anomalies in many of the mainstream narratives regarding mass shootings in the US. The tragic shooting in San Bernardino for instance, which the mainstream media claimed was carried out by husband and wife, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, appears to conflict with some eyewitness accounts of the attack. Two reported eyewitnesses claim that the shoote were three tall white men wearing military gear.

Was San Bernardino a black op carried out by military personnel or mercenaries to further legitimize the push for gun control? It is difficult to conclusively say what actually happened, but the official narrative is a shaky one. It should also be noted that some investigative journalists have argued that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mass shootings under Obama, one of the most pro-gun control President’s in recent decades.

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Venezuela’s Upcoming Double-Confrontation

NOVANEWS
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By Gregory Wilpert
teleSUR

Venezuela is heading for two confrontations, each reinforcing the other – a political and an economic one. The future is very uncertain.

Following the Venezuelan opposition’s recent electoral victory in the Dec. 6 parliamentary elections, the opposition seems to be more determined than ever to steer towards an outright confrontation with the president. The goal is to destabilize the government as much as possible, with the aim of achieving his ouster before the end of the year.

The new National Assembly president said that his aim is to have a plan in place for president Maduro’s ouster within the first six months of 2016. Ramos Allup furthered this confrontation Jan. 6, when he swore in three opposition members as representatives, whose election the Supreme Court had previously put on hold due to electoral irregularities. On Monday, January 11, the Supreme Court thus declared that the National Assembly president had acted in defiance of the Court and that from now on all laws that the National Assembly passes are null and void, since the assembly had incorporated members into its body that should not be there.

The political confrontation between the legislature and the executive is thus programmed. The next conflict will be about the amnesty law, by which the opposition intends to free all so-called political prisoners, that is, all opposition figures who have been involved in violent protest of one kind or another, many of whom have been held responsible for deaths of innocent bystanders. Ramos Allup already warned Maduro that if he and the Supreme Court do not implement the amnesty law, he will begin removing ministers from Maduro’s cabinet: “Whether or not he accepts [the amnesty law] will not matter, to which we will say, ‘We do not accept his naming of ministers.’”

The options for the new opposition-dominated National Assembly to get rid of Maduro are several. As mentioned above, it can remove not only the ministers and the vice-president (though this could lead to new National Assembly elections if the vice president is removed three times in a row), remove the heads of other branches of government, such as the Supreme Court, the attorney general, or the National Electoral Council (with prior approval from either the Supreme Court or the attorney general), amend or reform the constitution (which then has to be submitted to a referendum), or call for a constitutional assembly (followed by a referendum).

Also, there is a lot of speculation that the opposition might try to organize a recall referendum against Maduro, but doing so would require the collection of 20 percent of registered voters’ signatures, which amounts over 3.8 million signatures. This latter course is a difficult undertaking. In comparison, when the opposition organized the recall referendum against president Chávez in 2004, it had to collect only 2.5 million signatures because the electorate was substantially smaller.

Aside from the project to remove Maduro and to give amnesty to its law-breaking supporters, the oppositional National Assembly also plans to introduce a number of laws that could undermine the Maduro presidency. A populist measure that the opposition has wanted to pass for a long time is to give ownership titles to the beneficiaries of the housing mission. Over the past five years the government has constructed one million public homes, which it has essentially leased to families in perpetuity, but without giving them a title that can be bought and sold. The reasoning behind this is to avoid the development of a speculative housing market of homes built with public funds. The opposition is betting that most public housing beneficiaries would prefer a saleable ownership title, so that they can sell the home and thereby possibly make a profit from it.

Another law that would probably get the president into trouble is a rumored project to dollarize the economy. It is obvious to everyone in Venezuela that the current economic situation of high inflation, frequent shortages of basic goods, long lines at supermarkets, and a massive black market for price-controlled products, is not sustainable. One “solution” to these problems that some opposition leaders have favored it to simply get rid of the local currency, the bolivar, and base the entire economy on dollars, just as Ecuador did in 2001. Aside from undermining the country’s economic sovereignty, such a move would also almost definitely mean major painful displacements for economy, leading to increased inequality and unemployment. No doubt the opposition would then try to blame Maduro for this, but it is possible of course that they themselves would end up carrying a large part of the blame, which is why the opposition will enter into this project neither unambiguously nor unanimously.

Other major projects on the opposition docket include the repeal of a wide variety of progressive laws that were passed during the Chavez and Maduro presidencies, beginning with the land reform, re-privatization of key industries, and the dismantling of price controls, among other things.

Finally, the opposition has also announced that it will convoke special investigation commissions. Among these are commissions to investigate corruption within the executive and another to investigate the credentials of newly appointed Supreme Court judges. The investigation of the judges could lead to the removal of several of these because the Supreme Court law allows for the removal of judges who do not meet the fairly tough requirements for appointment.

On the Chavista side of the confrontation the options for maneuvering are even tougher. Here the foremost issue for the government is how to deal with the on-going economic crisis, which is bound to get worse especially since the price of oil is tumbling. While the price of an average Venezuelan barrel of oil reached a high of US$55 per barrel in early 2015, the most recent figures point to half that amount, at US$27 per barrel. Unless this price recovers, this could be devastating for Venezuela, especially since 95 percent of the country’s export earnings and 50 percent of its fiscal budget come from the sale of oil.

The 50 percent collapse in the price of oil over the past eight months, however, means a far larger collapse in revenues because a large proportion of Venezuela’s oil is extra-heavy oil that is expensive to extract, reaching a high of around US$20-$25 per barrel, leaving relatively little to no profit at such low prices. In other words, a 50 percent drop in the price of oil represents a far larger than 50 percent drop in revenues for the state.

Maduro recently named a new cabinet, reshuffling many positions, but in the key position of vice president for the economic area, Luis Salas, Maduro appointed someone considered to be a proponent of the same policies as before, who says that price controls and the currency control must be maintained and that the government’s main weakness has been in the area of enforcement of existing policies. In other words, even though the country is now waiting for the announcement of a promised “economic emergency plan,” it seems doubtful that this plan will signal a significant departure from the economic policies so far.

The drop in revenues, combined with an inflationary spiral that the economic war of smuggling, hoarding, and speculation and that the black market for dollars have inflicted on Venezuela, signal a very difficult near-term future for Venezuela’s economy and everyone in it. Some economists warn of possible hyperinflation and of an inability to pay its foreign bills (balance of payments crisis).

In short, Venezuela is heading towards two confrontations simultaneously, where each threatens to exacerbate the other: one economic and the other political. What the prospects are for overcoming these confrontations is impossible to predict at this moment. Within the chavistasocial movements and the governing party, the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), more and more voices are calling on the government to organize a massive consultation process with the grassroots, which is something that Maduro has endorsed, but it remains an open question whether these will happen in time and if it does, whether it will be able to provide solutions that will allow the Bolivarian Revolution to move forwards, despite the reinvigorated opposition in parliament.

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Nazi occupation authorities extend remand of journalist, slap travel ban on MP

NOVANEWS

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Journalist Mujahed al-Saadi

Nazi occupation authorities (IOA) on Thursday extended the detention of a Palestinian journalist for eight days and slapped a travel ban on the Second Deputy-Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

PIC news reporter quoted local sources as stating that the Nazi court at the Jalama lock-up, in 1948 Occupied Palestine, extended the remand of journalist Mujahed al-Saadi for eight days pending further investigation.

Al-Saadi, working as a reporter and photojournalist for the Palestine Today TV Channel, was kidnapped by the Nazi occupation soldiers a couple of days ago from his own family home in the occupied West Bank province of Jenin.

Meanwhile, the IOA banned the PLC Second Deputy-Speaker, Hassan Khreisheh, from travelling to Turkey via the al-Karama border crossing.

Khreisheh was quoted by the Quds Press as saying that the IOA informed him of the ban after he had been detained for four hours at the al-Karama crossing and without specifying the reasons for the ban.

MP Khreisheh was on his way to Turkey to take part in a pro-Palestine event.

He said the IOA has renewed a travel ban to which he had been subjected to over the past seven years.

The MP said such arbitrary bans make part of Nazi attempts to quell anti-occupation voices overseas.

Khreisheh slammed the silence maintained by the Palestinian Authority (PA), chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, over Nazi bans on Palestinian MPs.

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Nigeria: Over 700 Shias missing after army raids

NOVANEWS
Image result for Nigeria army MURDER PHOTO

A Nigerian Shia group says more than 700 of its members are still unaccounted for a month after the deadly attacks by Nigerian forces against Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria.

In a statement released on Thursday, Ibrahim Musa, the spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), whose leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky is in police custody, said about 730 people have gone missing since December 12, 2015.

“These missing people were either killed by the army or are in detention” but their “whereabouts are still unknown and undisclosed,” Musa said.

He further noted that some 220 IMN members were in a prison, located in the city of Kaduna, the capital of the state with the same name, while others were in military custody elsewhere across the African state.

On December 12 last year, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the northern city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him. The Shias have categorically denied the allegations.

The following day, Nigerian forces also raided Zakzaky’s home and arrested him after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the IMN’s senior leaders and its spokesman.

Both incidents led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of Zakzaky’s sons. There has been no official death toll in the violence, but rights activists have put the number at over 1,000.

Musa said no Nigerian family had received a body for burial in the weeks since the Zaria violence.

The Shia cleric is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”

The IMN has called for Zakzaky’s unconditional release and for Abuja to respond to the “unjustifiable atrocities committed by the army.”

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