Archive | July 10th, 2016

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Hostile Media Coverage and Economic Sabotage

NOVANEWS
 
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Political scientists could work out the correlation between the downright hostile media coverage and official measures by the U.S. and allied governments.

Member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas are natural targets for the relentless psychological warfare of Western news media, because they form a resistance front to the foreign policy imperatives of the United States government and its allies. Right now, Venezuela is the most obvious example. Daily negative coverage in Western media reports invariably attack and blame the Venezuelan government for the country’s political and economic crisis. Similar coverage is applied to the governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Cuba’s revolutionary government led by Raul Castro and also to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega.

By contrast, the permanent economic sabotage, the attacks on democratic process and the cynical promotion of violence by the dysfunctional Venezuelan opposition gets a free pass. Likewise, U.S. and European news media have virtually nothing to report about Argentina’s abrupt plunge into crisis with 40 percent inflation and a dramatic increase in poverty after barely six months of Mauricio Macri’s corruption tainted government. Nor has coverage of the chronic complicity of the Mexican government in covering up the disappearance of of the 43 Ayotzinapa students or the mass murder of striking teachers in Oaxaca matched the hysteria applied by Western media to Venezuela over bogus human rights concerns.

No doubt political scientists could work out the correlation between adverse or downright hostile media coverage and official measures or announcements by U.S. and allied governments. What’s clear in general is that Western media coverage actively and purposefully serves U.S. and allied government foreign policy preparing the ground for otherwise categorically inexplicable measures of diplomatic and economic aggression. For example, the self-evidently absurd declaration by President Obama that Venezuela constitutes a threat to the security of the United States or the anti-humanitarian failure of the U.S. government to lift the illegal economic blockade of Cuba despite President Obama’s duplicitous avowals recognizing the blockade’s political failure.

Venezuela and Cuba are close, loyal allies of Nicaragua, now in an election year. Nicaragua’s Sandinista government has faced a Western media assault over the last month or so with the U.S. government issuing a travel alert. The alert warns U.S. travelers to Nicaragua to be wary of “increased government scrutiny of foreigners’ activities, new requirements for volunteer groups, and the potential for demonstrations during the upcoming election season in Nicaragua…. U.S. citizens in Nicaragua should be aware of heightened sensitivity by Nicaraguan officials to certain subjects or activities, including: elections, the proposed inter-oceanic canal, volunteer or charitable visits, topics deemed sensitive by or critical of the government.” In a video mixed message about that alert, the U.S. Ambassador to the country, Laura Dogu, states that the advisory should in no way deter tourists from the United States visiting Nicaragua.

The travel alert appears to have been provoked by the experiences of a U.S. academic and also two U.S. government functionaries who were asked by the Nicaraguan authorities to leave the country in June. The official U.S. reaction has a lot in common with the mentality described in “Orientalism,” Edward Said’s intricate psycho-cultural map of Western perceptions of Muslim countries. Said writes, “The scientist, the scholar, the missionary, the trader or the soldier was in or thought about the Orient because he could be there or could think about it with very little resistance on the Orient’s part.” Translated to the Americas, the attitudes and behavior of Said’s orientalist are clearly present among U.S. Americanists, both governmental and non-governmental, and their regional collaborators.

The latest example of Americanist hubris here in Nicaragua has been a remarkably unscholarly outbursby Evan Ellis, the professor of the U.S. College of War who was expelled by the Nicaraguan government while attempting an unauthorized investigation of Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal. Ellis’ ill-tempered diatribe repeats a familiar litany of downright falsehoods, wild speculation and poisonous calumnies, attacking Nicaragua’s Sandinista government led by Daniel Ortega as a dictatorship. It appeared in Latin America Goes Global, closely associated with the center right Project Syndicate media network. Project Syndicate lists among its associate media right-wing media outlets like Clarin and La Nación in Argentina, Folha de Sao Paulo and O Globo in Brazil and El Nacional in Venezuela.

So it is no surprise that in Nicaragua its associate media outlet should be the virulently anti-Sandinista Confidencial, which published the Spanish version of Ellis’s attack, making Ellis’ accusations of dictatorship look stupid. Addressing Chinese involvement in Nicaragua’s proposed interoceanic canal, Ellis displays his ignorance of Nicaragua’s relationship with both China and Taiwan. His tendentious, ahistorical analysis betrays the mentality of an unreconstructed Cold Warrior in all its inglorious torpor. That ideological straitjacket prevents Ellis from even beginning to appreciate Daniel Ortega’s hard-headed but deep commitment to promoting peace and reconciliation based on genuine dialog. Western political leaders and their media and academic shills perceive that commitment as a sign of weakness, which explains a great deal about repeated failures of Western foreign policy all around the world.

Around the same time as the Ellis affair, Viridiana Ríos a Mexican academic associated with the U.S. Woodrow Wilson Center left Nicaragua claiming police persecution. Ríos entered Nicaragua as a tourist but then proceeded to carry out a program of interviews with various institutions for her academic research. The curious thing about her claims is that she was never actually interviewed by any Nicaraguan official, either of the police or the immigration service. But she claims her hotel alerted her to a visit by police, in fact if it happened at all more likely immigration officials, who presumably left satisfied because otherwise she would certainly have been interviewed. Ríos then supposedly contacted the Mexican embassy who allegedly and inexplicably advised her to leave for Mexico. The upshot is that Ríos visited Nicaragua only to suddenly fear, for no obvious reason, being disappeared by government officials who could easily have detained her had they so wished. Rios then, with no complications, left Nicaragua, the safest country in the Americas along with Canada and Chile, and went home to Mexico, a country with 28,000 disappeared people.

Around the same time, as the reports about Ellis and Ríos, the Guardian published a disinformation scatter-gun attack on the Nicaraguan government also firming up the false positive of Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega’s presidency as a dictatorship. The dictatorship accusations are complete baloney. Neither Ellis nor the Guardian report faithfully that even center-right polling companies agree that support for Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista political party runs at over 60 percent of people surveyed while the political opposition barely muster 10 percent support. Similar polls show massive confidence in both the police (74 percent ), the army (79.8 percent)and satisfaction with Nicaragua’s democracy (73.9 percent). Another common theme in the attacks by Ellis and the Guardian is the supposed suspension of the construction of Nicaragua’s planned interoceanic canal, based on yet another false positive -the bogus hypothesis that the canal has no finance.

The basis for this claim is sheer speculation based on the afterwards-equals-because fallacy, typified by another unscrupulous and disingenuous Guardian article from November 2015 offering zero factual support for the claim that the Canal ‘s construction has been postponed for financial reasons. That report and numerous others reflect the outright dishonesty of the Canal’s critics. From the outset the canal’s critics accused the government and HKND, the Chinese company building the canal, of moving too quickly and failing to take into account environmental concerns and also for an alleged lack of transparency. When the government and the HKND took on board recommendations from the ERM environmental impact study to do more environmental studies, the Canal’s critics changed tack, accusing the government of covering up that the Canal has been delayed because HKND has run out of money. That claims seems to originate in Western psy-warfare outlets in Asia like the South China Morning Post and the Bangkok Post which have consistently run attack pieces on HKND’s owner, Wang Jing.

This standard operating intellectual dishonesty by NATO psy-warfare outlets like the Guardian, omits various inconvenient facts. For example, preparatory work on the Canal route continues with various studies in progress, including aerial surveys by an Australian company, one of whose pilots, Canadian Grant Atkinson tragically died in a crash late last year. This year, the government reached a conclusive agreement with local indigenous groups affected by the Canal after an extensive process of consultation. This year too, Nicaragua has signed a memorandum of understanding with Antwerp’s Maritime Academy to train the pilots who will guide shipping through the Canal and also a cooperation agreement with the UK Hydrographic Office for training and advice in relation to the hydrographic maps the Canal will need. This is hardly the behavior of people managing a project in crisis. That said, the global economic environment right now is so uncertain that investors in any large project let alone one as huge as the Nicaraguan Canal will certainly be wary.

The global economic context and the Canal’s geostrategic aspect receive a more rational treatment than Ellis’ self-serving rant in an article by Nil Nikandrov. Even Nikandrov seems to accept as fact the Guardian’s entirely speculative claim that the Canal’s financing is in crisis, but he rightly treats Ellis’s Cold War style anti-Sandinista hysteria with amused scepticism. In fact, neither Nikandrov nor Ellis make the obvious point that the strongest geostrategic reality in relation to the Canal is that, should U.S.-China tensions in the South China Sea accentuate into outright confrontation, China could not defend militarily the strong investment by Chinese companies in Nicaragua’s Canal. In any case, Nikandrov, rightly points out with regard to Nicaragua’s economy, “Nicaragua’s socioeconomic progress, Nicaraguans’ improved standard of living, and the stability and security there (compared to the increase in crime in most Central American countries) can all largely be credited to President Ortega.”

But even that reality can be turned on its head in the hands of a butterfly columnist as Bloomberg’s Mac Margolis demonstrated in his July 4 article Nicaragua Prospers Under an Ex-Guerrilla.” Just for a change Bloomberg’s editors omitted their trademark “unexpectedly”, usually slipped in to any headline reporting unpalatable news. But the premier U.S. business news site could only finally recognize the incredible progress achieved by Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government by at the same time smearing and denigrating President Ortega in the process. On the positive side Margolis recognizes, “the Nicaraguan economy grew 4.9 percent last year and has averaged 5.2 percent for the last five. Although three in 10 Nicaraguans are poor, unemployment and inflation are low. Public sector debt is a modest 2.2 percent of gross domestic product.”

That apart, Margolis writes, “Ortega’s critics know a darker side. Consider the ever-accommodating Nicaraguan Supreme Court, which last week deposed opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre as head of the Independent Liberal Party – essentially clearing the way for Ortega to run unchallenged in the November elections.” This is identical to the dishonest argument in Nina Lakhani’s Guardian article. Montealegre’s PLI had around 3 percent support, under the new PLI leader that seems to have crept up to around 5 percent. The Supreme Court decision made no difference to the fact that Nicaragua’s political opposition has been incapable of a serious electoral challenge to Daniel Ortega since before the last elections in 2011. Since then Daniel Ortega’s popularity has grown while support for the Nicaraguan opposition has collapsed. Implicitly contradicting himself, Margolis acknowledges that fact but goes on to make speculative, fact-free accusations of corruption, directly in relation to Nicaragua’s proposed Canal.

Without being specific he hints at widespread opposition to the Canal in Nicaragua, writing “a shadowy project that Ortega farmed out to Chinese investors led by billionaire Wang Jing. Ground has yet to be broken on the US$50 billion development, but Nicaraguans have raised a stink over the lavishly generous terms of the deal”. While opposition to the Canal certainly does exist, 73 percent of people in Nicaragua support it. Evan Ellis mentions an alleged opposition demonstration of 400,000 people, which is simply untrue. The biggest demonstration against the Canal drew about 40,000 people back in 2014 when Nicaragua’s political opposition bussed people to a march from all over the country. Plenty of information is available about the Canal and Margolis has no facts to back up his baseless accusation of corruption “I’d wager a fistful of Nicaraguan córdobas that ‘Presidente-Comandante Daniel’ has something he’s uneager to share.”

Only the crass Americanist mind set could provoke such presumptuous contempt for the opinion of the great majority of Nicaraguans. Margolis really seems to believe Nicaraguans are so stupid as to support a President who he alleges is self-evidently corrupt. In fact, Margolis’ discredited protagonist, Eduardo Montealegre, has precisely the kind of corruption tainted track record so familiar from the U.S. government deregulation of Wall Street. Montealegre was the Nicaraguan Treasury Minister under a U.S. supported right wing government and oversaw a massive bailout of Nicaragua’s rotten banking system from which his own bank benefited directly at the time. Perfectly natural then for a Bloomberg columnist to highlight Montealegre while attacking Daniel Ortega who rescued Nicaragua from precisely that culture of abject corruption. This banal irrational attack on Daniel Ortega deliberately obscures the reasons for Nicaragua’s economic success, which shows up current US and European economic policy as faith based nonsense.

Domestically, President Ortega has prioritized poverty reduction, implementing very successful socialist redistributive policies and extensive infrastructure development. Overseas, his Sandinista government has dramatically diversified commercial and development cooperation relationships, in particular structuring Venezuela’s aid in a way equivalent to deficit spending, whose success contrasts sharply with the mindless futility of current Western economic policy. Contradicting the Bloomberg article, Nil Nikandrov is much closer to reality when he writes that Ortega is, “a faithful defender of Nicaragua’s interests on the international stage and enjoys the support of the vast majority of Nicaraguans.” As the NATO country psychological warfare media crank up their attacks on Nicaragua in an election year, it remains to be seen whether Nikandrov is right when he argues, “the subversive activities of the U.S. intelligence services and their ‘strategy of chaos’ will not work in Nicaragua.”

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Militarization And Police Violence in America

NOVANEWS
Swat officers on the scene of the shooting

Hardly a day goes by without news of a police killing.  And each time we hear from scholars and observers that the police is too militarized.   No doubt!

In 2014, I was flattered to have been approached by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Shasta Chapter to be their keynote speaker to address Government Secrecy, Drones, and Militarization.  After each police involved death, I would revisit my notes and wonder why I never published them.   After watching this video clip on my FB page on July 10, 2016, I decided to share an excerpt from the ACLU address of April 13, 2014.

(Of note, at the time of the talk, “Black Lives Matter” had not appeared on the national stage, nor had the training of police in Israel been fully exposed; as such, these very important factors were not included in the talk/excerpt below.  The following is simply talking points stringed together and lacks the flow and flare of academic writing.)

Historians and political scientists have warned us about  dangerous war fever sweeping the United States. Today we have gone beyond that.

The “Global War on Terror”, a war indefinite in duration, against an ill-defined and shifting enemy, al-Qaeda, [ISIS did not exist in the official narrative at the time] is now being armed in Syria [“moderates”] without a clear explanation of American strategy or a specific definition of victory, or even a way to measure progress in the struggle has taken its toll on civil liberty.  The problem of militarization poses a danger to the very character of American government and society.

In his first public interview after retiring from active duty in 2003, General Tommy Franks identified the single most dangerous possibility offered by an endless war on terrorism: An attack with weapons of mass destruction “just to create casualties … to terrify” could lead “the western world, the free world” to forfeit its “freedom and liberty,” to lose its democracy, and “begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty event, … to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

Over half a century ago,  Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson concluded that  “by giving way to the passion, intolerance and suspicions of wartime, it is easy to reduce our liberties to a shadow, often in answer to exaggerated claims of security.”.

That day is here.  Not only are we under constant surveillance, but  take for example the kill list.  A list which began under the Bush administration as a rationale for murdering suspect citizens of countries with which the United States was not at war has become Obama’s kill list and the scope of the list has been expanded to include the execution, without due process of law, of U.S. citizens accused, without evidence presented in court, of association with terrorism. And this is accepted by the people. No protests.

The Framers of the Constitution recognized such dangers when they carefully subordinated the military to civilian authority and attempted to limit the power of the President to initiate war.

Gregory Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington said that principle of civilian control of the military—an early building block of American democracy-  has become the  civilian subjugation to the military.

Today, the degree to which  society’s institutions, policies, behavior, thought, and values are devoted to military power and shaped by war are alarming.

The incursion of military recruiters and teachings into the public school system is well known.  Presidents favor speaking to captive audiences at military bases, defense bases, and on aircraft carriers.  Lawmakers’ constant use of “support our troops” to justify defense spending.   TV programs and video games like “NCIS,” “Homeland” and “Call of Duty,” to reality show “Stars Earn Stripes,” demonstrate that Americans are subjected to a daily diet of stories that valorize the military while the storytellers pursue their own opportunistic political and commercial agendas

Former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged publicly in an October 24, 2003, interview in the Washington Times: “We are in a war of ideas, as well as a global war on terror. Ideas are important, and they need to be marshaled, and they need to be communicated in ways that are persuasive to the listeners.”

This was part of his Information Operations Roadmap.   As part of the plan,  public affairs officers were given the task of briefing journalists.  In 2005 it came to light that the Pentagon paid the Lincoln Group (a private company) to plant ‘hundreds of stories’ in Iraqi papers in support of U.S. Policies

But now, we see that this war has been internalized, whether you look at drones, kill list, or militarization of the police force.

During the Clinton administration, Congress passed what’s now known as the “1033 Program,” which formalized  Reagan administration’s directive to the Pentagon to share surplus military gear with domestic police agencies. Since then, millions of pieces of military equipment designed for use on a battlefield have been transferred to local cops—SWAT teams and others—including machine guns, tanks, armored personnel carriers, etc.

The Pentagon’s 1033 program has exploded under Obama.

Bill Clinton also created the “Troops to Cops” program which offered grants to police departments who hired soldiers returning from battle, contributing even further to the militarization of the police force.

In a 2005 PBS documentary, David Grossman, a retired US Army Lt. Colonel spoke of training law enforcement groups worldwise to kill: “most of what I do is I train military and law enforcement in what I call the bulletproof mind.” “Prior preparation is that one variable in the equation that we can control ahead of time, and one of the key things is embracing the responsibility to kill.  So when I teach, one of the things I believe we need to do is embrace this word “kill.””

Is it any wonder that [Mayor] Bloomberg proudly bragged of “hav(ing) my own army in the NYPD” and who used that army to spy on peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors?

And what of “to protect and to serve”?

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Europe’s Economic Crisis Has Spread from the Periphery to the Core

NOVANEWS
Drapeau sur carte d'Europe

We’ve noted for more than 5 years that the European crisis would spread in the following order … more or less:

Greece → Ireland → Portugal → Spain → Italy → UK

We also warned that the EU’s approach to economic problems in the periphery would lead the cancer to spread to the core. For example, we’ve repeatedly warned that:

  • Bailing out the big European banks would just transfer the risk to the people
  • Propping up stocks and asset prices won’t get Europe out of the crisis
  • Covering up fraud by the European banks would sink the economy

Now, the IMF is forecasting that Italy could be in recession for two decades … and that it’s weakness could spread to the rest of the system.

Britain is – of course -in trouble.  But it’s not just Brexit …

Europe has been stuck in a downturn worse than the Great Depression for years.  The former Bank of England head Mervyn King said recently that the “depression” in Europe “has happened almost as a deliberate act of policy”. Specifically, King said that the formation of the European Union has doomed Europe to economic malaise.

He points out that Greece is experiencing “a depression deeper than the United States experienced in the 1930s”.

The depths of Greece's depression

(Indeed, some say that the UK was smart to get out while it could.)

Even Germany’s largest bank, and the bank with the highest exposure to derivatives anywhere in the world – Deutsche Bank – is in big trouble.

Here’s its stock price:

DeutscheAnd here’s its market capitalization:

Deutsche Bank Market CapIn May, Moody’s downgraded Deutsche to a mere 2 notches above junk.

And credit default swaps – bets that a company is in risk of failing – against Deutsche have absolutely skyrocketed:

https://news.markets/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/DB5yrCDSspread-750x462.png

Deutsche Bank’s chief economist just said:

Europe is extremely sick and must start dealing with its problems extremely quickly, or else there may be an accident.

He’s calling for a $166 billion dollar bailout of European banks.

Similarly:

BlackRock Inc. Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand said earlier this month the European Commission should allow governments to take temporary equity stakes in their banks, similar to what the U.S. did with its Troubled Asset Relief Program during the 2008 crisis.

Europe has made bad choices since the 2008 crisis … so Europe’s economic crisis has spread from the periphery to the core.

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Report from Greece’s Kos Island: The Daily Harassment and Social Plight of the Refugees

NOVANEWS
A Syrian refugee child sits at an abandoned school in the Wady Khaled area, northern Lebanon

That’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I remember my week on Kos earlier this summer. One week is clearly not a long time, but it was more than enough time to see that there has been no let up in the authority’s on going cruel behaviour towards all the refugees and migrants on the island. I read in the online newsnet of a popular swiss newspaper „Tagesanzeiger“ (Tagensanzeiger.ch/newsnet vom 30.10.2015), that even a middle-right-wing politician from Switzerland was able to recognise that the circumstances on the Greek island of Kos are deliberately made and wanted by the local politicians and state authorities. Deterrence, as they keep saying is necessary… it is the endless mantra you hear from the Greek state.

The Hotspot 

The hotspot on Kos is located outside of a small village called Pili which is about 15km out of Kos town. From the village there is a dusty road to the Camp. It is out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a high fence with a lot of nato-barbed wire…that’s the type with the razor blades…The people inside the Hotspot are allowed to go out, but no one besides UNCHR and Praksis ( a Greek NGO) have permission to enter the camp.

For the refugees and migrants it is unusual for a family to make a walk to the village for example, because they don’t have keys for their cabins and so they can not lock the doors. A friend from Syria who we met on the road to the camp, told us, that one day she asked one of the police guards at the entrance to give her the key for her family’s cabin, because there had been some thefts. Her family wanted go out of the camp together, like families do but they were scared to leave their belongings in an unlocked cabin. The answer of the policeman was no. And the reason for the no, was that he said ‘you will loose the key, and than I will have to pay 50 Euros to get another’. It was not enough that the policeman was treating her like a small kid. For even when our friend offered to sign an official paper that she would take full responsibility in case she lost the key, the answer was still no.

We wanted to visit this friend in the camp or at least in front of the entrance so that we could talk together. Our journey to the hotspot started with us asking locals where it is and how we can get there. They looked at us like we came from a different planet. Like why for god’s sake do you want to go there? Anyway, when we arrived at the camp, there was a policeman who told us to wait. He left and when he didn’t come back after 10 minutes one of us walked further up the road to ask at the main entrance. When my friend got to about 50 metres before the gates to the camp, there was a policeman who asked her not who she is, but what she is, thinking she has permission to come there. She replied that she is a human being and that she wants to visit a friend who was inside the camp. This was reason enough for another policeman to start shouting at her: ‘Go! Go away!’ My friend was coming back to us and the shouting policeman followed her in a car. In the meantime another friend and I, were just standing around in front of the fence. When the policeman saw this he continued shouting ‘go away’. I told him in a friendly way that it would be nice, if he could speak more kindly to us. Unfortunately this appeared to be impossible for him and he began to shout out his orders to me like ‘show me your passport! Tell me where you are from? What is your name?’ And so on. I decided not to show him my passport, because his only reason for this demand was ‘because I am a policeman“. I told him in a friendly way that this was not a good reason. Inevitably he then began to yell at one of my friends who was standing next to me. He is a refugee, and that’s why we needed to leave after I had told the policeman that it would be better for him if he looked for another job as he seemed unable to deal calmly with situations like this.

We finally met our friend from Syria in the middle of the route back to the town out in middle of nowhere.

The Food Situation 

The refugees and migrants inside of the hotspot are not allowed to handle any food by themselves. There is one woman, hired by the authorities, who is running the kitchen of the camp. As our friend told us, the food is often burnt and unfit for human consumption. Now, during Ramadan, the kitchen is not making any kind of arrangements for the people fasting. They distribute the food only once and when the sun is going down it is all cold, every day. One day, someone from Pili brought some special food for the fasting people to eat after sunset. The woman who runs the kitchen took all of it and our Syrian friend was complaining again and again, that it is not OK to steal the food which was specially brought for Ramadan. It was 2 days before she gave some of this food to the residents of the camp. Our friend also told us, that it is completely arbitrary who gets clothes or shoes from the hotspot warehouse. In the warehouse they have a lot of donated hygiene products, but the residents only get given a small bottle of shampoo, lotion or whatever which is needed for personal hygiene. Of course, people can buy their own stuff, if they have any money at all…

Painting from a Syrian refugee in the Kos hotspot,June 2016

Painting from a Syrian refugee in the Kos hotspot, June 2016

Medical Care 

If you look from outside of the village to the hotspot you can see a huge white caravan inside the camp, on a hill. It is a real eye catcher, because there is a huge red cross on it. When I ask my Syrian friend how the medical care is working, she responded with a sad smile, ‘it is only a caravan, there is no medical-staff working at all…’.

If someone needs medical care, they must go to a doctor in Kos town. If it turns out, that they need special medical care, the doctor writes a medical certificate recommending that they need to go to Athens. It was like that, our Syrian friend told us, with a little child in the camp. The parents went to the police with the medical certificate, to be told by the police, that they are not allowed to travel, and anyway that the kid is fine. Do policeman in Greece have a high medical education as well? Or is it just more negligence which characterises the whole system?

Women and child protection 

In the hotspot all the residents are mixed. That means, that unaccompanied women, families, kids and single men are not separated. For all the refugees and migrants coming from Muslim majority societies where gender separation informs much of daily life and arrangements this is problematic. Women in particular, but also men find this mixing uncomfortable. But when we consider the situation inside the camp it poses a huge problem. People are bored, people don’t have any idea about their future life, they are not allowed to do anything, most of them don’t have any money left, are often traumatized from their escape or by war, and so on and so on. When we are aware of all these circumstances, it is not that hard to guess, that it could be difficult. Our friends in the camp were especially alarmed when some of the men started drinking alcohol which led to really inappropriate behaviour or even worse against women and children. Some of the family members went to the police, who are always around in the camp, to ask them for help in this situation. The answer of the police was: ‘Not our problem’. Abandoned and ignored yet again.

Our friend was not even allowed to take her young niece outside the camp, even when she showed the police, that she has the same family name as her niece. It was only possible, when the father and her brother, came to the gate, to prove that she is his sister and the kid’s aunt. The policeman said that he will allow it for one time only, but in the future, only her father can take her outside of the camp…

Our Syrian friend told us, that her only wish she has for her, her family and all the other refugees is, that someone is telling the world what is happening on Kos and on many of the other Greek islands at this time.

Police station in Kos Town

We came to Kos from Switzerland to help a refugee from Syria who was in prison there because he had been caught trying to travel without papers. We had met him earlier in Samos and then in Athens and he had become a friend. We wanted to support him with a lawyer and to get him out of prison. By the time we arrived, the police in the main police station in Kos town had finally decided to let him out. They told him to leave the island quickly, but how this could happen when he did not have papers nor money? As ever the police told him that this was not their problem.

We also wanted to visit the other refugees and migrants in the cell in the main police station in Kos town. When I walked into the station to request that I would like to see the prisoners, the police woman at the desk told me that ‘there are no prisoners here’. It was clear that she was lying straight in to my face. Even when I asked her again, that I wanted to visit the prisoners inside and that I know that there are some including a few who had already been in for month, she told me the same lie. The police woman then started yelling at me and asked me if I don’t understand. She said that people are held in the cell for just one day, then they are transferred to the hotspot. It was a very weird situation, because our friend who had just got out from prison had told us a lot about the horrible conditions inside and how many were held for weeks at a time. There are between 5 to 10 men in a cell with one hole in the floor as a toilet. He said they were not allowed their mobile phones, they had no privacy, the food was disgusting and they experienced inhumane and disparaging treatment by the police. For example, our friend told us that the most of the police address the prisoners inside only as « malacca » which means asshole.

The second time we went to the police station to visit the inmates, at least the policeman behind the desk did not lie, but he told us to leave in rough way. Two of us went behind the building to see the window where the people are in the cell and where some of them were waving and shouting. The policeman jumped up from his chair very quickly so we needed to leave, so not to put our Syrian friend in danger.

Our experiences have been very clear; that the actions by the police on Kos are totally arbitrary and their only concern is to show their power. They are rude, unfriendly and seem to deal with any attempt to show solidarity by shouting and yelling.

A Hotel for refugees and migrants 

In the centre of Kos town there is a hotel, run by UNHCR for refugees and migrants. People with special needs, illness, trauma or unaccompanied pregnant women with small kids are housed in this hotel. We met many wonderful refugees there and the hospitality they showed us in their small hotel rooms was really overwhelming. We spent a few hours with two families from Syria and a funny 17 year old boy.

One of the women who had escaped from Syria with her sister and her husband told us, that her sister has epilepsy. She and her husband are taking care of her, but a few days ago her sister tried to jump from the balcony on the 3rd floor of the hotel. It was clear to see that the woman was desperate and really afraid about what happened to her sister. She went to he UNHCR to ask for psychological support for her sister, but the only thing they told her was: ‘sorry, but we cannot do anything for you’. Seriously? The refugee agency of the UN cannot do anything? If not them, then who?

Conclusions

We came for a week but in those 7 days we yet again confronted the same cruelties we had seen before in Samos and in Athens. We saw police who were totally unsuited for working with vulnerable people, we saw agencies like UNCHR whose contributions were so limited and seemed incapable of offering what was needed. And we met refugees and migrants who despite all these humiliations struggled to stay sane and human and who showed us kindness and friendship which stood in the starkest contrast to the authorities. They knew they could expect little or nothing from the system and placed much hope in ordinary people who they thought could help if only they knew what was going on. Sadly, we are not so sure…….

Posted in Europe, SyriaComments Off on Report from Greece’s Kos Island: The Daily Harassment and Social Plight of the Refugees

Theresa May, Britain’s New Islamophobic Prime Minister

NOVANEWS

Image result for Theresa May CARTOON

A quick Google news search for “Theresa May and “Abu Qatada” reveals over 2,000 mainstream media articles in the last three days combining both. This is hardly surprising, as in her speech announcing her candidacy for Tory leader (and thus PM) May dwelt on her deportation of Abu Qatada as evidence she was qualified for the job. The May supporting Tory MP who was put up for Sky to interview immediately afterwards managed to say “Abu Qatada” three times in a two minute interview.

Abu Qatada should indeed be a powerful symbol – but not the symbol he has become, a hate figure. He should rather be a symbol of the hate-filled and intolerant place Britain has become, and the dreadful injustice meted out to individuals both by the state and the media.

Abu Qatada spent, over a thirteen year period, a total of nine years in jail in England despite never being charged with any crime. It is not just that he was not convicted. He was never charged. Nine years, think about it. In all that time, neither he nor his lawyers were ever permitted to see the accusations or evidence against him.

Britain has draconian anti-terrorism laws that would make a dictatorship blush. It is an offence to “glorify” terrorism. It is specifically “terrorism” for me to write, here and now, that Nelson Mandela was justified in supporting the bombing campaign that got him arrested. I just knowingly committed “glorifying terrorism” under British law. It is specifically “terrorism” to deface the property in the UK of a foreign state with a political motive. If I spray “Gay Pride” on the Saudi embassy, that is terrorism. We also have secret courts, where “terrorists” can be convicted without ever seeing the “intelligence-based” evidence against them. We have convicted young idiots for discussing terror fantasies online. We have convicted a wife who “must have known” what her husband was doing (at least that one was overturned on appeal).

Yet even with the bar so low it is resting on the ground, from his first arrest in 2001 to his deportation in 2013, through innumerable arrests, police interviews, wiretaps, computer seizures and searches, no evidence against Abu Qatada was ever found which would stand up in court. It is worth noting that if almost any of the vast number of accusations the tabloids made against him had been true, for example if he had actually said in sermons the things he was stated to have said in the UK press, he could have been charged and convicted. But investigation by the police and security services found every single one of these claims to be false.

It is true that Theresa May did succeed in deporting him. To Jordan, where he faced charges of association with terrorist groups. In two trials, one before a military tribunal, Abu Qatada was found not guilty of association with terrorism and all other charges. It should be very plainly understood that the Jordanian monarchy is no friend at all to Palestinian salafist clerics like Abu Qatada, and he had good reason to fear being deported there. But even they found that the evidence Abu Qatada is a terrorist does not exist.

Now I have never met him, though I have met his lawyers and doctor. Abu Qatada holds views with which I do not agree; I dislike the bigoted in any religion. But his main crime appears to have been to be a Palestinian cleric with a perfect comic opera appearance for the right wing media to make up quotes and hate stories around.

Abu-Qatada_2111808c

This picture is taken from a hilarious Daily Telegraph article in which that author complains that Abu Qatada had “fooled us again” – by the dastardly expedient of not actually committing any crimes.

So if you are proud of a world in which people against whom there is not one shred of court-worthy evidence, who have never been charged, can be detained for nine years and then deported, vote for Theresa May as PM. I expect the Tories will, happily.

Abu Qatada should indeed be a symbol. He should be a symbol of the deepest national disgrace of unjustified imprisonment and of the foul place the United Kingdom has become under successive far right Labour and Tory governments. And I say far right with deliberation. In what other kind of country could the story of Abu Qatada happen?

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Britain’s Iron Lady 2.0?

NOVANEWS
 
Theresa_May_-_Home_Secretary_and_minister_for_women_and_equality

Described by a former associate as “hard as nails,” perhaps Theresa May is the second “iron lady of the Western World” designate, what former prime minister Margaret Thatcher once called herself.

Separately, she defiantly said

“(t)o those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the ‘U’ turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation effective Wednesday, saying it’s “clear (Home Secretary) Theresa May overwhelming (has Tory) support (to become Britain’s) next prime minister.”

“And so…(o)n Wednesday, I will…go to the Palace and offer my resignation, so we will have a new prime minister…by Wednesday evening” – a change of heart after Cameron earlier announced he’d step down at the party’s October convention.

May now becomes UK prime minister designate – current home secretary since 2010, Maidenhead MP since 1997, former Conservative party chairman, House of Commons shadow leader, as well as active in other shadow ministerial roles.

After leading candidate to succeed Cameron, former London mayor Boris Johnson, pulled out of contention, May emerged as Tory leadership frontrunner.

From 1977 to 1983, she worked for the Bank of England – from 1985 to 1997 serving as an Association for Payment Clearing Services International Affairs financial consultant and senior advisor.

On Wednesday, she’ll become Britain’s second female prime minister, Binoy Kampmark earlier remarking she did “her invaluable bit to undermine privacy on the pretext of protecting security.”

She’s tough on immigration, favoring closed, not open borders – certain to continue partnering with Washington’s imperial wars.

Portraying herself as a unity leader stands in stark contrast to Labour MP Angela Eagle describing the political scene as “dangerous times for our country.”

Watch what May does, not what she says. Be dubious about her blustering “Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it.”

“There will be no attempts to remain inside the EU. There will be no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, no second referendum.”

“I will make sure that we leave the European Union.” What monied interests on both sides of the Atlantic want she’ll deliver, likely manipulating public sentiment to reject what was previously approved.

Delaying initiating the Brexit process by invoking Lisbon Treaty Article 50 until yearend begins the manipulative process to exert political over popular will.

It remains to be seen how May governs overall. Given Britain’s deplorable history since 1980s Thatcherism, reason for encouragement is absent. Dirty business as usual remains triumphant.

Leaders are chosen to assure it. Voters have no say whatever. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, saying “May has not set out an agenda and has no right to govern. She has not won an election, and the public must have their say” belies reality unfolding in plain sight.

By mid-week, Britain will have a new prime minister, likely no different from the deplorable current one.

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Shootings in Dallas: Violence, Police Authority and Black Lives Matter

NOVANEWS
black-lives-matter

“When we include, we find ourselves.” — USC President Max Nikias, 2016 Annual State of the University Address

Dallas has been known for its notorious shootings in the past. In 1963, its claim to the books of murderous posterity was affirmed by the shooting of President John F. Kennedy.  On July 7, it became even more notorious, this time for the slaying of five police officers by gun suspect Micah Johnson. Dallas bore witness to the closure of a good deal of the downtown area to Dealey Plaza, where Kennedy had been shot.

A degree of background filling is necessary for the scene.  There were two recent fatal shootings that had taken place prior to these onslaught in Dallas, that of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.  Both deaths had registered emotions and stirred protests, one of which was the gathering in question in Dallas on Thursday.

Trigger happy policing has become something of a modus operandi in the frontier mentality of law enforcement. Bullets come before negotiation; arrests are inconveniences of afterthought.  In 2015, 1000 people were slain in police operations, a third of them black.

In Baton Rouge, Sterling was shot in ghoulish circumstances, lying on the ground before the authorities trained their guns on him.  Gov. John Bel Edwards had a rather feeble observation, thinking that the shooting should be a basis for revised law enforcement training.  “That’s one way we are going to come out of this tragedy better than we were before.”[1]

Such comments make the assumption that the nasty streak in a culture can be neatly amputated.  In terms of an institutional culture, police officers know how far they can go.  “Use of force” complaints previously lodged against two white police officers connected with Sterling’s killing suggest a familiar pattern.

Castile was shot in Minnesota by Jeronimo Yanez.  Since that shooting, attempts have been made to excuse the killing on the basis that it was not motivated by race but by “the presence of that gun and the display of that gun”.  Not that it makes much of a consequential difference: one is either shot by a racially fearful police officer, or an incompetently crazed one.

The circumstances remain sketchy, and do nothing to alleviate the sense that the use of the gun remains a default position in the highly militarised police forces of the United States.  According to Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, Castile was shot several times after explaining to the officer that he had a gun, with a legal permit, and was again shot on reaching for his wallet.[2]

A response to such killings has been the Black Lives Matter movement, one initiated in 2013 by Alicia Garza who used Facebook to say that, “Black people. I love you. I love us.  Our lives matter.”

This has been said to be, potentially, the next civil rights movement in the United States, though no revolutionary movement was ever effectively launched on a hashtag.  The movement has also been seen as outside the bounds of respectability, employing “disruptive, discomfiting tactics” that upset “established black leaders”.[3]

Johnson was said initially to be one of a few enterprising snipers, and was eventually killed by an explosive robotic device after hours of negotiations proved fruitless.  Johnson, it was said, was taunting and teasing his targets.

According to Dallas police chief David Brown, “The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter.  He said he was upset about the recent shootings, he was upset at white people.”  One guiding principle captivated him.  “The suspect said he wanted to kill white people especially white officers.”

Ideology and causes are often only deemed respectable if they stick to the realms of adjusted decency.  If change is to be affected, neither boat nor cradle shall be rocked.  Such a view fails to match the expectations of historical change.

Changes in society are affected according to several jolts, some comprising of hefty violence, some of the more reformist tendencies.  The United States itself is not alien to such shocks of violence, be it the Civil War for the sanctity of the Union, the campaigns against slavery and Jim Crow, and gun culture itself.  Some also come from servants disenchanted with the US project; the Dallas shooter was himself a military veteran, and one deeply affected by that experience.

A storm has been unleased with these killings.  A very polarised state is fracturing further, with remarks being made by former Representative Joe Walsh that the shootings of police officers could be laid straight at the feet President Barack Obama.  This suggestion is as absurd as any other, given that Obama himself has been criticised as being all too lenient in the face of police brutality.

“Cops trying to do their job are killed in the streets,” tweeted Walsh on July 8.  “Narrative turns to action. This is a dangerous time.”[4] In the social media flurry, Walsh insisted that “BLM should be categorised as a hate group.” (Do not hate those who shoot you; hate those who protest at being shot at.)

While the police have been dishing it out extensively for years to the black community, often with murderous effect, retaliation was bound to come.  A movement scolded for being narky and lacking respect became a sounding board for some who felt that violence was merely logical, the last refuge for the desperate.  This is hardly an excuse, but it constitutes some explanation.  The motor of revenge tends to be a hungry, and not always rational one.

Walsh, in his blood curdling talk, may well have been correct about one aspect of his tirade: this was war, though the ones with the weapons for too long have been the supposed protectors of the public welfare.  Fittingly, in a country where the gun is a fetishized saint, deliverance tends to come full circle.  The calculus of violence has a certain grim smoothness to it.

 

Notes

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One Country’s Disturbing Project to Build a Complete DNA Databank of Every Citizen

NOVANEWS
One Country’s Disturbing Project to Build a Complete DNA Databank of Every Citizen and Foreign Visitor Is Already Underway
 

Anyone planning a visit to Kuwait later this year may be in for a shock when they find they’ll have to give the government not just their passport, but also their DNA. A 2015 law requiring all citizens, residents and visitors to provide DNA to the government’s database will go into effect later this summer, according to Kuwaiti officials, making the small Gulf nation the first country in the world to legislate mandatory DNA collection.

The $400 million database will store the DNA samples of at least 3.3 million people—a mandate that international privacy and legal analysts are concerned is excessively broad.

“No other country in the world wants to include everyone,” said Barbara Prainsack, a professor of social science at King’s College London and an expert in bioethics and genetics. “This is a very significant step that has never been taken before.”

Almost everywhere else in the world, those who aren’t suspected criminals, terrorists or government employees are generally excepted from biometric data collection of this nature.

“A universal database would not hold in the case of human rights litigation because the idea that you could at some point commit a terrorist act would not be seen as proportional to the right to privacy,” Prainsack said.

Such indiscriminate collection violates the international standards for privacy established by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Kuwait ratified. The covenant requires DNA databases to be extensively regulated and proportionately narrow in scope.

In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that broad collections of non-criminal DNA likewise violated an individual’s right to privacy. The decision affected collection procedures in the United Kingdom, which had previously retained fingerprints and DNA from suspects not charged of any crime indefinitely.

Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch, a U.K.-based advocacy group, called the database “out of step” with an emerging human rights consensus that has emphasized narrowing DNA collections. The U.K. government, Wallace noted, destroyed millions of samples in its database after the 2008 ruling.

Kuwaiti authorities have not clarified the details of how they plan to implement the DNA database, according to several human rights advocates. The law forbids refusing or falsifying one’s DNA sample, but safeguards about how individual samples will be shared, stored and processed have not been made public.

“The law says that for anyone working with DNA improperly there will be criminal fines and potential prosecution,” Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch’s Kuwait researcher, explained. “But that doesn’t get at the heart of the bigger issues, which are who gets access to the data and why. Judicial oversight is also currently not in the law as it been written.”

In response to a May 2015 ISIS suicide bombing in the country’s capital, the Kuwait National Assembly passed the mandatory DNA collection legislation as a counterterrorism measure that June. Kuwaiti officials told the Kuwait Times that the database would not only solve crimes more quickly in the case of terrorist acts, but also help to identify bodies in natural disasters.

But genetic experts, researchers and civil rights advocates fear that the government might expand the uses of the database beyond its original purpose—a concern known as “function creep.” In response to fears that the database might be used to reveal sensitive information about health or paternity, senior officials said that “the test is not done to diagnose any disease or obtain medical information because such information is part of individuals’ privacy and the law bans access to it.”

Bioethics advocacy organizations like GeneWatch have also raised concerns that DNA databases could be used to track individuals at scenes of protest, especially in regimes where freedom of speech is restricted. “Totalitarian regimes have often tried to build databases on all citizens to develop targets that they’d like to discriminate against,” Wallace said.

Wafa Ben Hassine, a legal analyst and former fellow with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the information revealed by DNA could further be “used to discriminate against people who are non-citizens.” In particular, human rights advocates fear that the database could be used to exclude the country’s stateless Bidoon population, which numbers around 100,000. Nationwide DNA testing could be used to establish genealogical markers of ancestry that would exclude Bidoon claims to citizenship. “People are worried this law is being said to fight terrorism, but is actually trying to eliminate as many bids for nationality as possible,” Willes explained.

The unprecedented scope of Kuwait’s plans, however, may make their implementation difficult. As databases increase in size, so do the potentials for false matches. Massive databases may actually prove less efficient in the case of terrorism, by increasing the amount of time spent on an investigation and possibly resulting in miscarriages of justice, according to Wallace.

Building such a massive database also takes time. Willes said that it appears “unlikely” that the program will be implemented in the summer timeframe suggested by authorities.

When Humans Rights Watch officials met with Kuwaiti officials in February, delegates from Kuwait had just returned from Washington where they had discussed managing their database with the FBI, Willes said. “The result of that trip,” she said, “was U.S. officials telling this Kuwaiti delegation they had no idea how you would manage something like this on a national level.”

The U.S. government has no doubt set an example: the FBI currently houses the world’s largest biometric database, storing DNA, fingerprints and other identifiers from a range of criminal and civilian settings. The U.S. also collects biometric information from travelers at national and international customs, which can be shared across federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Kuwaiti officials, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment, told the Kuwait Times in January that their database would be “at par” with those in the U.S. and the U.K. If all goes as planned, they may even exceed the FBI’s capacious precedent.

Posted in KuwaitComments Off on One Country’s Disturbing Project to Build a Complete DNA Databank of Every Citizen

Confirmed! NATO And EU Will Meld Into One Super Organization

NOVANEWS

Image result for NATO-EU FLAG

The Warsaw NATO summit brought us many things. From another Obama hotel workout, including some nifty pink headphones, to more Russia is evil fear mongering, as NATO members continued to echo their undying support for a bankrupt, neo-nazi infested Ukraine…that no one really wants to touch.

What the NATO summit did bring the world, more than anything else, was the admission that NATO and the European Union will become one and the same.

OK so it was not exactly stated in such a fashion, but we all got the hint. It was telegraphed to us by Mr. NATO himself, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, when he said,

“It is a very successful summit because it is a summit with a lot of substance, and it is historic because it is a summit that takes place at a decisive time for our security…This summit is important because…[it] reflects that we are bringing the NATO-EU cooperation to a new level, and that is important for NATO, it’s important for the European Union and it’s important for all the people living in Europe and North America.”

The two behemoth super structures will begin their honeymoon period focusing on two issues together…cyber threats and EU migration.

The European Union and Nato said in a joint declaration that they will seek to expand their co-operation in responding to cyber threats and organise parallel and co-ordinated exercises starting early next year.

Remember that NATO, just a few months back, declared that a cyber attack on one member state would be seen as an attack on the alliance, and warrant a military response. All of this was later followed by a never ending media blitz on how Russian hackers were stealing everything under the sun (and in Hillary’s server basement), up until Guccifer 2.0 debunked the entire charade.

Likewise NATO declared that it is ready to use its military capabilities to help the European Union cope with the migrant influx.

Sputnik News has more on NATO’s migrant helping hand…

The European Union is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of people leaving conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty and seek asylum in Europe.

“What can NATO do about migration? Migration is a big challenge for the European Union and the European society. What is NATO as a military alliance has to contribute to that? And I think we have large military capabilities that could be applied alongside mainly the EU, which has the lead here, not supplant the EU, not to take over the job, but simply compliment the EU. And I think on Saturday you will hear some announcements of how NATO can get into that effort alongside the EU as a complimentary force,” Doug E. Lute said at the 2016 NATO Future Leaders Summit in Warsaw.

NATO is set to help remedy a migrant issue that they so handily created in the Middle East and North Africa, with their bombs, away no-fly zones, that removed stable leaders of stable countries, in exchange for chaos and tribal state conflicts.

We are sure that the NATO – EU super state will be a success. How could it not be…with the track record these two organisations have going for them.

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NATO Summit Warsaw: Europe’s Soldiers Held Hostage

NOVANEWS
Image result for NATO CARTOON

In the wake of the NATO summit in Warsaw, western once again misinforms and mischaracterizes in the public forum. One headline speaks for all, “The Nato summit might just make Vladimir Putin think again”, via The Telegraph is all wrong, a partial truth to observe.

US President Barack Obama has put European satraps to good use once again. Acting tough, putting forth a supposed “united front” against the every mythical aggression of Putin, this hyperbole has been with us now some years. Only this time Mr. Obama and his little EU puppets betrayed the reality of America’s and Britain’s war on Russia. The Telegraph article, by Charles Crawford, one of Her Majesty’s former diplomats, is emblematic of the west’s psychotic drumbeating. The former diplomat, who now pecks out diatribe for the likes of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and other obviously subversive media, sums up Warsaw with this:

“If you want to play tough, we Nato folks can play tough too. We’re not as confused and divided as we look! Therefore what? Why not get back to all that dull dialogue?”

I am not sure I have ever heard anyone (even the criminally disturbed) refer to themselves as “NATO folks”. This slippage reminds me of something Barack Obama would chide over the teleprompter. No doubt Crawford must have identified with “We had to torture some folks”, back when Her Majesty was interested in busting up Yugoslavia. But that is another tale worth telling later on. The focus today should be on what really took place in Warsaw. And Putin and Russia running scared in the face of a notoriously inept NATO is not the moral of this story.

If Vladimir Putin is scared at all, if Russians have the slightest concern over NATO’s new battalions stationed in Estonia and elsewhere. Nato Secretary General Stoltenberg called the Warsaw decisions the “biggest reinforcement of Nato’s collective defense since the Cold War,” and with some idiotic pride, I might add. For those of you out there thinking though, Putin and Russia are afraid for the hapless soldiers Obama and the Brussels idiots have painted targets onto! Are you reading me now?

Romania has a big, red, bullseye painted onto the Aegis land based ABM system Obama just installed there. Poland gets one too, and Putin warned of consequences to these omni-strike weapons systems. But the real tragedy in all this misguidance from Washington is laser sighted onto those men and women in combat boots, on the ground at the borders of Russia. For the obtuse among you, Putin’s worry now is being forced to kill soldiers from tiny nations that might not even present a danger to Russia at all. NATO is putting hostages in front of the second most powerful military in the world, and daring the Russians to retaliate at all. This is the act of cowards, and I speak for veterans of a score of wars. Putin is accused of perpetuating “asymmetric warfare” on Eastern Europe already, but it is Washington and Brussels actually engaged in unconventional attacks.

American citizens, or even those in France and Germany, sit comfortably far away from Moscow. Comfortably, that is, as long as Russia does not mobilize fully as in World War II. Four battalions, under the leadership of US, UK, and German commands will reinforce Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a rotational basis. Romanian and Bulgarian troops will lead Black Sea contingencies, and nations from Canada to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have pledged token forces. Given the capabilities of the Russian military at present, one can only envision these forces as I have suggested, as multinational hostages of America, held out in front of an increasingly desperate new imperialism.

Lastly, the official NATO announcement from these Warsaw meetings absolutely brands leadership as liars. This is strong language, I know, but look at how the Romania ABM site was billed initially. Supposedly, the land based Aegis facility was sold to the Romanians and the world as a deterrent to non-existent Iranian ballistic missiles! According to the NATO pages, leaders also decided to declare Initial Operational Capability of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence. Stoltenberg bills the ABM capability now, as a package deal with the Baltics capabilities:

“This means that the US ships based in Spain, the radar in Turkey, and the interceptor site in Romania are now able to work together under NATO command and NATO control.”

The victims of any mix-up in western geo-strategy now in place, now we all see the warmongering psychopaths emerge triumphant. The war of wit versus the witless edges closer, to a real cataclysm only a sociopath could welcome. The west pokes steel bayonets disguised as the flowers of democracy at Moscow, and Putin’s rescue of Crimea is used as the rationale for war. America invades the world, twists arms, detains and snuffs out anyone in the way, and then pretends to ride the white horse.

The reality of this Warsaw summit is ludicrous. The people of Europe duped and betrayed again, but fascists and imperialists reincarnated. I hope when the war starts, some alien on another planet remembers some Earthlings tried to stop it. I know God knows.

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