Archive | July 28th, 2016

Medical Care in Gaza, Two Years on from the 2014 Attacks

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Nazi Targeted Hospitals and Health Clinics
Infographic:
 
Palestinians-rushed-to-Al-Shifa-Hospital-After-Shujaya-market-bombed-Gaza

The 2014 attacks on Gaza killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and injured 11,000, leaving approximately 900 with permanent disabilities. As our latest infographic shows, needing to access care after the conflict struggle to do so due to the nine-year blockade and closure of Gaza, and the damage caused to Gaza’s health sector in 2014.

During the attacks 17 hospitals, 56 primary health clinics, and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed, and 16 medical workers lost their lives while on duty.Last year, we partnered with the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights to highlight some of these cases in our No More Impunity: Gaza’s Health Sector Under Attack report, and called for thorough, independent investigation into potential violations of international humanitarian law. This year, we have revisited the victims and survivors of these attacks, to ask how the lack of accountability or access to justice has affected their lives.

Last month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) highlighted the continuing challenges for Gaza’s health system, including shortages of medicines and long waiting lists for surgeries caused by operating room personnel shortages. Their report also found that progress made in rehabilitating damaged health infrastructure. All of the damaged facilities have been or are in the process of being rehabilitated, though the Al Wafa Hospital – featured in our report – has not been rebuilt.

This week, writing in The National about his team’s struggle to provide adequate care to patients in their temporary site, Al Wafa Hospital Director Dr Basman Alashi said:

“Though we hope to rebuild, we cannot do so in the same place for fear of being attacked again. Our only hope is to rebuild on a new site, but even this cannot guarantee our safety in Gaza. The prospect of new attacks hangs over us.”

With the blockade still in place, patients continue to struggle to access adequate health services inside Gaza, and are often prevented or delayed when seeking to travel abroad for urgent care. Though progress has been made in rebuilding after the 2014 attacks, Al Wafa remains in ruins

Medical Aid for Palestinians has joined with 42 other aid and faith organisations to call for an end to the blockade and closure of Gaza.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, GazaComments Off on Medical Care in Gaza, Two Years on from the 2014 Attacks

What Theresa May Forgot: North Korea Used British Technology to Build Its Nuclear Bombs?

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When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea’s nuclear dream come true.

The reactors at Calder Hall on the Sellafield site, then called Windscale, were opened by the young Queen Elizabeth in 1956. But it was never meant as a commercial civilian nuclear plant: the real purpose was to make plutonium for nuclear bombs.

North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

In the debate on Trident nuclear WMD renewal in Parliament last week, the new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a peculiarly ill-informed speech – demonstrating her political career that has virtually no experience in security or defence affairs – made, inter alia, the following unsupported assertions:

  • ” … today the threats from countries such as Russia and North Korea remain very real.”
  • “North Korea has stated a clear intent to develop and deploy a nuclear weapon, and it continues to work towards that goal, in flagrant violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
  • “North Korea is the only country in the world to have tested nuclear weapons this century, carrying out its fourth test this year, as well as a space launch that used ballistic missile technology. It also claims to be attempting to develop a submarine-launch capability and to have withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
  • “Based on the advice I have received, we believe that North Korea could already have enough fissile material to produce more than a dozen nuclear weapons. It also has a long-range ballistic missile, which it claims can reach America, and which is potentially intended for nuclear delivery.”

It reminded me of the similarly ill-informed former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his speeches to MPs trying to win them over with dodgy ‘advice’ from British intelligence, to go to war by invading Iraq in 2003.

MPs have short memories, despite the Chilcot Report on the Iraq invasion disaster not yet two weeks old, and 472 motley MP fools backed May and Trident replacement. As with the Iraq invasion, MPs will in future have to admit their regrets at being fooled. And again, they ignord the thousands of demonstrators outside, calling for Trident to be abandoned.

Britain’s nuclear proliferation ‘secret’

But May was right in one way. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons. But what she did not say was they did it with copied British bomb-making technology.

There is significant evidence that the British Magnox nuclear plant design – which was primarily built as a military plutonium production factory – provided the blueprint for the North Korean military plutonium programme based in Yongbyon. Here is what Douglas (now Lord) Hogg, then a Conservative minister, admitted in a written parliamentary reply in 1994 to Labour MP Llew Smith:

We do not know whether North Korea has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. North Korea possesses a graphite moderated reactor which, while much smaller, has generic similarities to the reactors operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc. However, design information of these British reactors is not classified and has appeared in technical journals.

The uranium enrichment programmes of both North Korea and Iran also have a UK connection. The blueprints of this type of plant were stolen by Pakistani scientist, A Q Khan, from the URENCO enrichment plant in The Netherlands in the early 1970s.
(see David Albright, Peddling Peril, 2010 pp 15-28, Free Press, New York)

This plant was – and remains – one-third owned by the UK government. The Pakistan government subsequently sold the technology to Iran, who later exchanged it for North Korean Nodong missiles.

A technical delegation from the A Q Khan Research Labs visited North Korea in the summer of 1996. The secret enrichment plant was said to be based in caves near Kumch’ang-ni, 100 miles north of the capital, Pyonyang, where US satellite photos showed tunnel entrances being built.

Hwang Jang-yop, a former aid to President Kim Il-sung (the grandfather of the current North Korean President) who defected in 1997, revealed details to Western intelligence investigators. (Levy A, Scott-Clark C Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Global Weapons Conspiracy, 2007, p.281, Atlantic Books)

Magnox machinations

Magnox is a now obsolete type of nuclear power plant ( except in North Korea) which was designed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in the early 1950s, and was exported to Italy and Japan The name ‘magnox’ comes from the alloy used to clad the fuel rods inside the reactor.

The reactors at Calder Hall on the Sellafield site – then called Windscale, and operated by the UKAEA – were opened by the young Queen Elizabeth on 17th October 1956. But it was never meant as a commercial civilian nuclear plant: the real purpose was to make plutonium for nuclear bombs.

The UKAEA official historian Kenneth Jay wrote about Calder Hall, in his short book of the same name, published to coincide with the opening of the plant, referring (p.88) to“major plants built for military purposes, such as Calder Hall.” Earlier, he wrote (p.80): ” … The plant has been designed as a dual-purpose plant, to produce plutonium for military purposes as well as electric power.”

The term Magnox also encompasses:

Nuclear ‘self sufficiency’ on the Korean peninsula

Olli Heinonen, senior fellow at the internationally reknown Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University in the US has explained how North Korea obtained its uranium enrichment capability. He wrote five years ago:

The pre-eminence of Juche, the political thesis of Kim Il Sung, stresses independence from great powers, a strong military posture, and reliance on national resources. Faced with an impoverished economy, political isolation from the world, and rich uranium deposits, nuclear power-both civilian as well as military-fulfills all three purposes.

History and hindsight have shown a consistency in North Korea’s efforts to develop its own nuclear capability. One of the first steps North Korea took was to assemble a strong national cadre of nuclear technicians and scientists. In 1955, North Korea established its Atomic Energy Research Institute. In 1959, it signed an agreement with the Soviet Union to train North Korean personnel in nuclear related disciplines. The Soviets also helped the North Koreans establish a nuclear research center and built a 2 MW IRT nuclear research reactor at Yongbyon, which began operation in 1969.

Throughout the 1970s, North Korea continued to develop its nuclear capabilities, pursuing a dual track approach that was consistent with the idea of nuclear self-reliance. While engaging in discussions to obtain Light Water Reactors (LWRs) from the Soviet Union, North Korea proceeded with parallel studies on graphite moderated gas cooled reactors, using publicly available information based on the Magnox reactor design.

North Korea also carried out plutonium separation experiments at its Isotope Production Laboratory (IPL), and successfully separated plutonium in the same decade. The North Koreans worked on the design of a reprocessing plant for which, the chemical process was modeled after the Eurochemic plant.

Eurochemic was a research plant dedicated to the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. It was owned by thirteen countries which shared and widely published technologies developed. The plant, located in Dessel, Belgium, operated from 1966 to 1974.

When negotiations to acquire four LWRs from the Soviet Union failed, North Korea had already embarked on its indigenous nuclear program. Throughout the 1980s, North Korea constructed a 5 MWe reactor, fuel fabrication plant, and a reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, with no known documented external help and with minimal foreign equipment procured.

When the joint statement on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was concluded in December 1991, all three facilities had been fully operational for a number of years, with two additional (50 MWe and 200 MWe) graphite moderated gas cooled reactors under construction.

Why enrich the people when you can enrich uranium?

North Korea’s closed society and isolationist position has made it immensely difficult to accurately gauge its nuclear activities. Pyongyang has gone to great lengths to hide much of its nuclear program, including its enrichment route.

Nevertheless, there have been indications, including procurement related evidence, that point in the direction that North Korea has been actively pursuing enrichment since the mid-1990s, with likely exploratory attempts made up to a decade earlier.

It is clear that North Korea received a key boost in its uranium enrichment capability from Pakistan through the A Q Khan network. Deliveries of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, special oils, and other equipment from Pakistan to North Korea in the late 1990s were acknowledged by former Pakistani President General P. Musharraf in his memoirs, In the Line of Fire.

President Musharraf also wrote that, separately, North Korean engineers were provided training at A Q Khan’s Research Laboratories in Kahuta under the auspices of a government-to-government deal on missile technology that had been established in 1994. In all likelihood, North Korea also received the blue prints for centrifuges and other related process equipment from the Khan network during that period of time.

In the late 1980s, North Korea acquired vacuum equipment from a German company. While such equipment was primarily meant for North Korea’s fuel fabrication plant then under construction, some of the vacuum pumps could have been used for enrichment experiments. But additional attempts made in 2002 to again acquire vacuum technology after the completion of the fuel fabrication plant strongly pointed to its use for enrichment purposes.

Evidence of North Korea’s procurement activities in the late 1990s to the early 2000s showed its objective to achieve industrial or semi-industrial scale enrichment capacity, based on a more efficient Pakistani P-2 centrifuge design. In 1997, an attempt was made to acquire large amounts of maraging steel suitable for manufacturing centrifuges.

UK contributes again – by exporting high strength aluminium

In 2002 / 2003, North Korea successfully procured large quantities of high strength aluminium from Russia and the United Kingdom, another requirement in making centrifuges.

A simple tally of the amounts and types of equipment and material sought by North Korea suggests plans to develop a 5,000-centrifuge strong enrichment capacity. This appears consistent with a separate earlier enrichment offer A Q Khan had made to Libya.

For North Korea to have embarked on procuring equipment and materials meant for a (semi-)industrial scale enrichment facility, it is highly likely that the known Uranium Enrichment Workshop (UEW) at Yongbyon, which in reality approximates a full sized facility, is not the only one that exists. More workshops would have been needed to serve as test beds for pilot cascades of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges prior to (semi-)industrial scale enrichment operations.

While we have signs of North Korea’s enrichment goals, the final picture remains unclear given that the actual amount of items procured remains unknown. This problem is compounded by the fact that the North Koreans have and are continuing to source nuclear material and equipment from several parties. Moreover, there remains a high degree of uncertainty concerning the level of North Korea’s enrichment technology development.

In April 2009, after expelling IAEA inspectors, North Korea publicly announced for the first time that it was proceeding with its own enrichment program. To reinforce its intentions, North Korea followed up with a letter to the UN Security Council on September 3 to confirm that it was embarking on an enrichment phase.

In November 2010, the North Koreans unveiled to Siegfried Hecker, a pre-eminent nuclear expert and former director of the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, an enrichment facility in Yongbyon with 2000 centrifuge machines similar to the P-2 version, built with maraging steel rotors. (S. Hecker, ‘Redefining Denuclearization in North Korea’, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 20, 2010.)

Implications and consequences

On March 22, 2011, North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, portrayed Libya’s decision to give up its nuclear weapons as a mistake that opened the country to NATO intervention following its domestic Arab Spring uprising.

Such conclusions drawn by North Korea make an already difficult case to engage North Korea to give up its nuclear weapon deterrence that much harder. At the same time, the alternative of disengagement will in all likelihood bring about greater problems.

In engaging North Korea, several key hurdles have to be tackled. First, North Korea shows a poor proliferation record. It was the suspected supply source of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Libya via the A Q  Khan network – the uranium gas used in centrifuges to separate out the fissionable 235U needed in nuclear bombs from non-fissionable 238U.

There is also mounting evidence that North Korea was involved in the construction of a secret nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour in Syria that was subsequently destroyed in 2007. It is plausible that North Korean personnel assisted Syria in building the reactor. (North Korea’s Nuclear Enrichment: Capabilities and Consequences‘, 38 North.org; 22 June 2011).

Lessons of history

This sorry tale has several important lessons for us today. First – and this must never be forgotten – the UK’s early ‘atoms for peace’ nuclear power programme was specifically designed and intended to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. And it was not just nuclear waste from Calder Hall that went for plutonium extraction at Windscale, but from other sites that were meant to be purely civilian such as Hinkley Point.

The UK is therefore guilty of ‘breaking the rules’ that are meant to separate civil and military nuclear activities, and its complaints of other states doing the same all carry the unmistakeable whiff of ripest humbug.

Second, for all its public position of seeking to restrain nuclear proliferation, the UK is actually one of the world’s most egregious nuclear proliferators: providing arch-nuclear enemy North Korea with both the Magnox technology it has used to produce plutonium for atom bombs; and the high strength aluminium it has used for its uranium centrifuges.

So when Theresa May stands up in Parliament and proclaims that we need the Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, remember: it is a threat that the UK created in the first place, providing both the nuclear reactor technology and the centrifuge materials to make it happen.

And when the UK cites the nuclear threat from North Korea as a reason to spend an estimated £200 billion on the next generation of Trident, we can be sure that North Korea and other countries aspiring to their own nuclear weapons are applying precisely the same logic to the British nuclear threat.

And that considering the UK’s history of aggressive regime-changing interventions in Iraq and Libya, the hundreds of (up to 225) nuclear warheads in its possession, and its ability to target them accurately anywhere in the world, North Korea’s fears are probably a great deal better founded than Mrs May’s.

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NATO Psychological Operations (PSYOP) to Influence Emotions and Sway Public Opinion

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Psychological Operations or PSYOP are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of organizations, groups, and individuals.

The beginning of interest in post-Cold War information operations can be traced to the UN intervention in Somalia and the Rwanda Genocide. Relatively honest and direct reporting from these war zones meant that the public opinion of Western countries was a factor that had to be considered by the political classes. Hence the  complaining at the time about the so-called “CNN Effect” which forced the politicians to send and/or withdraw troops irrespective of what the elites actually wanted to happen at the time.

The early methods of influencing the public opinion by manipulating the media, though reasonably effective, were not enough. We have seen their strengths and limitations during both wars against Iraq, in which the bulk of the media was effectively co-opted through the process of frequent press briefings (featuring no shortage of videos showing NATO bombs unerringly falling toward their obviously evil targets) and later by “embedding” the mostly male reporters in military units, which naturally had the dual effect of stroking their egos and adopting the military’s point of view.

Still, in spite of all that, it proved impossible to control the narrative, and the public support for the various US and NATO wars collapsed under the pressure of inconvenient news coming even from mainstream media which clearly maintained a degree of independence. But if you fast-forward a decade, to the current wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine, and others, it is clear that something has changed. There is one dominant narrative that is being pushed by literally every mainstream media source, irrespective of their ostensible ideological bent. No matter where you turn, you read or hear about Assad’s “barrel bombs”, Gaddafi’s “massacres”, or “Russian aggression.”

These reports invariably represent a point of view that is not only completely one-sided, but also factually wrong, even on the most basic of issues. How did US and NATO manage to achieve such an amazing discipline within the supposedly free and independent Western media?

There are essentially three parts to the answer:

  • state oversight of the media;
  • co-opting individual reporters;
  • disseminating propaganda through covert means.

The first two are obvious enough and have long been practiced. Media corporations are just that–corporations, subject to variety of laws and regulations whose enforcement can be used to steer individual outlets toward adopting a desired point of view. Individual reporter’s coin of the realm is “access” to privileged information, which may be granted or withheld depending on their effectiveness as government propagandist. The third, the covert dissemination of propaganda, is new, and that factor likely explains the lack of variation from one media outlet to the next. The media are no longer merely encouraged to toe the official line–they have the stories planted for them to pick up through social media and other unofficial channels.

The so-called investigations of the MH17 disaster is a case study, though a fairly crude one due to Ukraine’s crude methods of information warfare. But it is evident that nearly all the “evidence” implicating Russia or the Novorossia insurgents was prepared by Ukrainian secret services, then laundered through social media, before being presented to Western audiences as the truth, the only truth, and nothing but the truth.

NATO is conducting similar operations which are harder to identify and counter because they are more sophisticated, better institutionalized, and provided with higher levels of funding. The United Kingdom, for example, maintains the 77th Brigade whose subunits include the Media Operations Group and the shadowy 15th Psychological Operations Group that has been dubbed the “Twitter detachment.” Germany has established the ZOpKomBw, or the Bundeswehr Rapid Communications Center.

In the US, information operations against the US population appear to be the responsibility of the intelligence community, which is understandable considering the taboo on US military operations on US territory. As such, they remain largely out of public scrutiny, though their handiwork can be readily seen in the form of unverifiable reports from a variety of war zones, and even placing specially prepared “witnesses” in front of Congressional committees. Even non-NATO countries like Sweden are following suit by establishing their own information operations units intended for waging information war on its own population. At the NATO level, information operations are coordinated by NATO doctrine JP 13-3 Information Operations, with practical applications honed by alliance-wide exercises such as the Multinational Information Operations Experiment (MNIOE).

Western voters have been accepting of all these measures because they were sold to them as part of their countries’ counter-terrorism measures. What they failed to take into account is that terrorism is a phenomenon that knows no borders, with the enemy already present among Western societies. Which means that, if counter-terrorist information operations are to be effective, they also have to be aimed at Western publics.

In the short-term, information operations may be effective in manufacturing popular support for policies that otherwise no free society would accept. In the longer term, bypassing the public opinion means the elites are now more free than ever to embark on highly dangerous international adventures that will likely backfire and lower even further the already low standing of the elites. Therefore the fact that the so-called “free world” elites increasingly have to resort to such dirty tricks in order to stay in power means that their grasp on power is slowly weakening.

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The 1967 Nazi Attack on the USS Liberty

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USS_Liberty

For a number of years Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Tom, after whom the F-14 Tomcat fighter is named, expressed to me his concern that US politics and foreign policy was in the clutches of Israel and that America was being led into war with the Arab Middle East. Admiral Moorer and the State Department and Pentagon at that time did not think that war with the Arab countries served the interests of the United States. However, Admiral Moorer thought that the war could not be avoided because of the hold Israel has over the US government.

What convinced him of this was Washington’s coverup of the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Libertywhich resulted in 208 killed and wounded Americans. Tom was disheartened that Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the current US senator, for career reasons had cooperated with the coverup. Tom worried that careerism had destroyed the integrity of the US military.

Last month was the 49th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the American ship. I raised the issue of the USS Liberty eight or nine years ago in a syndicated newspaper column, which, as I suspected would be the case, only a few news sources dared to publish. However, the article editor at Hustler magazine saw the article and contacted me. He said that Hustler was popular among US sailors and now that they were again thrust into needless war they should be aware that the US government could sell them out without notice. Would I write the USS Liberty story for the sailors so they would be aware of the betrayal that might await them?

I had already seen that Admiral Moorer’s prediction that Israel would have us in war against the Arabs had come true. I still hear his bitter statement that “no American president can stand up to Israel.” Tom was deeply wounded by the betrayal of the US Navy by the Commander-in-Chief. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff was powerless before the Israel Lobby.

I understood that to take on this task meant much work. I would have to hunt down USS Liberty survivors and interview them. I would have to find Captain Ward Boston and a pilot or commander of the rescue fighters that Washington called back, denying protection to the American sailors aboard the USS Liberty. They would have to be willing to talk. I undertook the task, and the story is below.

*        *       *

Surviving Sailors Break Their Silence 40 Years After Israeli Attack on US Navy Ship

by: PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Hustler Magazine, July 2008

June 8, 1967 — the fourth day of the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan — was a beautiful day in the Mediterranean. The USS Liberty was in international waters off the coast of Egypt. Israeli aircraft had flown over the USS Liberty in the morning and had reported that the ship was American. The crew, in close proximity to the war zone, was reassured by the presence of Israeli aircraft. But at 2:00 p.m. sailors sunbathing on the deck saw fighter jets coming at them in attack formation. Red flashes from the wings of the fighters were followed by explosions, blood and death. A beautiful afternoon suddenly became a nightmare. Who was attacking the USS Liberty and why? The attack on the Liberty was an attack on America.

The Liberty was an intelligence ship. Its purpose was to monitor Soviet and Arab communications in order to warn both Israel and Washington should the Soviets enter the war on behalf of its Arab allies. The Liberty was armed only with four machineguns to repel boarders. Its request for a destroyer escort had been denied.

The assault on the Liberty is well documented. With no warning, the Liberty was attacked by successive waves of unmarked jets using cannon, rockets and napalm. The attacking jets jammed all of the US communications frequencies, an indication they knew the Liberty was an American ship.

The air attack failed to sink the Liberty. About 30 minutes into the attack three torpedo boats appeared flying the Star of David. The Israeli boats were not on a rescue mission. They attacked the Liberty with cannon, machineguns and torpedoes. One torpedo struck the Liberty mid-ship, instantly killing 25 Americans while flooding the lower decks. The Israeli torpedo boats destroyed the life rafts the Liberty launched when the crew prepared to abandon ship, sending the message there would be no survivors.

At approximately 3:15 two French-built Israeli helicopters carrying armed Israeli troops appeared over the Liberty. Phil Tourney could see their faces only 50/60 feet away. He gave them the finger. Surviving crewmembers are convinced the Israelis were sent to board and kill all survivors.

The Israeli jets destroyed the Liberty‘s communication antennas. While under attack from the jets, crewmembers strung lines that permitted the ship to send a call for help. The USS Saratoga and the USS America launched fighters to drive off the attacking aircraft, but the rescue mission was aborted by direct orders from Washington.

When the Liberty notified the Sixth Fleet it was again under attack, this time from surface ships, the Fleet commander ordered the carriers America and Saratoga to launch fighters to destroy or drive off the attackers. The order was unencrypted and picked up by Israel, which immediately called off its attack. The torpedo boats and the hovering helicopters sped away. Israel quickly notified Washington that it had mistakenly attacked an American ship, and the US fighters were recalled a second time.

The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded. Although the expensive state of the art ship was kept afloat by the heroic crew, it later proved unsalvageable and was sold as scrap.

Why didn’t help come?

No explanation has ever been given by the US government for Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s orders for the Sixth Fleet to abort the rescue mission. Lt. Commander David Lewis of the Liberty told colleagues that Admiral L. R. Geis, commander of the Sixth Fleet carrier force, told him that when he challenged McNamara’s order to recall the rescue mission, LBJ came on the line and said he didn’t care if the ship sank, he wasn’t going to embarrass an ally. The communications officer handling the transmission has given the same account.

A BBC documentary on the Israeli raid reports that confusion about the attacker’s identity almost resulted in a US assault on Egypt. Richard Parker, US political counsel in Cairo, confirms in the BBC documentary that he received official communication that an American retaliatory attack on Egypt was on its way.

The US government’s official position on the USS Liberty corresponds with Israel’s: The attack was unintentional and a result of Israeli blunders. This is the official position despite the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State Lucius Battle, and a long list of US Navy officers, government officials and Liberty survivors are on record saying the Israeli attack was intentional.

According to Helms, Battle and the minutes of a White House meeting, President Johnson believed the attack was intentional. Helms says LBJ was furious and complained when The New York Times buried the story on page 29, but that Johnson decided he had to publicly accept Israel’s explanation. “The political pressure was too much,” Helms said

US communications personnel, intelligence analysts and ambassadors report having read US intercepts of Israeli orders to attack the Liberty. In one intercept an Israeli pilot reports that the Liberty is an American ship and asks for a repeat and clarification of his orders to attack an American ship. One Israeli who identified himself as one of the pilots later came to America and met with US Representative Pete McCloskey and Liberty survivors. The pilot said he had refused to participate in the attack when he saw it was an American ship. He was arrested upon returning to base.

The Liberty flew the US flag. The ship’s markings, GTR-5, measured several feet in height on both sides of the bow. On the stern the ship was clearly marked USS LIBERTY. Mistaking the Liberty for an Egyptian ship, as Israel claims to have done, was impossible.

Tattered flags show ferocity of the attacks

The Israelis claim the Liberty flew no flag, but two US flags full of holes from the attack exist. When the first flag was shot down, crewmen replaced it with a flag 7 feet by 13 feet. This flag with its battle scars is on display at NSA headquarters at Ft. Mead, Maryland.

Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the current US senator, ordered Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and Captain Ward Boston to hold a court of inquiry and to complete the investigation in only one week. In a signed affidavit Captain Boston said President Johnson ordered a cover-up and that he and Admiral Kidd were prevented from doing a real investigation. Liberty survivors were ordered never to speak to anyone about the event. Their silence was finally broken 12 years later when Lt. Commander James M. Ennes published his book, Assault on the Liberty.

It is now established fact that the attack on the Liberty was intentional and was covered up by President Johnson and every administration since. There has never been a congressional investigation, nor has the testimony of the majority of survivors ever been officially taken. Moreover, testimony that conflicted with the cover-up was deleted from the official record.

Disgusted by the US government’s official stance discounting the survivors’ reports, Admiral Tom Moorer, retired Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, organized the Moorer Commission to make public the known facts about the attack and cover-up. The Commission consisted of Admiral Moorer, former Judge Advocate General of the US Navy Admiral Merlin Staring, Marine Corps General Raymond G. Davis and former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins.

The Commission’s Report concluded:

That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.

That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the US Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack.

That surviving crew members were threatened with ‘court-martial, imprisonment or worse’ if they exposed the truth; and [the survivors] were abandoned by their own government.

That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history.

That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation.

Why did Israel attack the Liberty? Was something super secret going on that is so damaging it must be protected at all cost?

Some experts believe Tel Aviv decided to sink the Liberty because the ship’s surveillance capability would discover Israel’s impending invasion and capture of Syria’s Golan Heights, an action opposed by Washington. Others believe Israel was concerned the Liberty would discover Israel’s massacre of hundreds of Egyptian POWs, a war crime contemporaneous with the attack on the US ship. Still others believe that Israel intended to blame the attack on Egypt in order to bring America into the war. It is known the US was providing Israel with reconnaissance and that there were joint US-Israeli covert operations against the Arabs that Washington was desperate to keep secret.

Survivors with whom I spoke said the attack was the easy part of the experience. The hard part has been living with 40 years of official cover-up and betrayal by the US government. One survivor said that he was asked to leave his Baptist church when he spoke about the Liberty, because the minister and fellow church-goers felt more loyalty to Israel than to a member of the congregation who had served his country. His church’s position was that if our government believed Israel, the survivors should also.

Survivor Phil Tourney said that “being forced to live with a cover-up is like being raped and no one will believe you.”

Survivor Gary Brummett said he “feels like someone who has been locked up for 40 years on a wrongful conviction.” Until the US government acknowledges the truth of the attack, Brummett says the survivors are forced to live with the anger and dismay of being betrayed by the country they served.

Survivor Bryce Lockwood has been angry for 40 years. The torpedo that killed his shipmates, wrecked his ship and damaged his health was made in the USA.

Survivor Ernie Gallo told me he “has been haunted for four decades” by the knowledge that his commander-in-chief recalled the US fighters that could have prevented most of the Liberty‘s casualties.

Every American should be troubled by the fact that the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense prevented the US Sixth Fleet from protecting a US Navy ship and its 294-man crew from foreign attack. They should also be troubled that the President ordered the Navy to determine the attack was unintentional.

This article is based entirely on doumented sources and on interviews with six USS Liberty survivors, as well as Captain Ward Boston and Bill Knutson, the executive officer of the USS America fighter squadron dispatched on the first aborted rescue mission.

 

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Hillary Clinton, A Threat to All Humanity ”Video”

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World War III is “On the Table”. Her Candidacy Must be Opposed

Hillary_Clinton_(24338774540)

The world looks on in horror as Hillary Clinton heads to Philadelphia to be nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the presidency.

Yet still the leading lights of the so-called “progressive” movement argue that it is the left’s duty to vote for this neocon warmonger.

But the consequences of this strategy may well lead directly to nuclear war. This is the GRTV Backgrounder on globalresearch.ca

The nuclear option is on the table.  Hillary Clinton constitutes an existential threat against all of humanity.

Her candidacy must be opposed. 

Produced by James Corbett

Posted in USAComments Off on Hillary Clinton, A Threat to All Humanity ”Video”

Nazi regime announces new illegal resettlement plan for Negev Bedouins

NOVANEWS

Nazi Jewish regime authorities Monday announced the approval of plans to build a new township for Bedouin community in the Negev desert, according to Zionist media, in a continuation of what rights groups have said is Nazi Jewish discriminatory policy of forcibly transferring Bedouins to zoned townships to make room for Jewish communities.

The planned township is expected to be built just south of Segev Shalom, another Bedouin township, and would transfer at least 7,000 Bedouins from the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The approved village would comprise of an area of approximately 9,000 dunams (2,224 acres), while providing housing to some 9,000 residents, The Times of Israel reported.

The proposal to expand the area of Segev Shalom was challenged in Nazi Supreme Court last year, as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who assisted in the court proceedings, argued that any expansion of the town would be followed by the forcible removal of Bedouins from unrecognized villages, particularly from Wadi al-Naam.

Wadi al-Naam residents and human rights groups presented an alternative planning proposal to the Supreme Court in April last year, which presented 15,000 dunams of land for a town separate from the densely populated neighborhoods of Segev Shalom.

According to Haaretz, Nazi National Planning and Building Council recommended to the court the construction of the township in January in cooperation with village residents. However, residents of Wadi al-Naam have reportedly not been consulted about the approved plans.

Wadi al-Naam is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Nazi state. According to ACRI, more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.

While Bedouins of the Negev are Palestinan citizens, the villages unrecognized by the government have faced relentless efforts by the Nazi authorities to expel them from their lands in order to make room for Jewish homes.

The classification of their villages as “unrecognized” prevents Bedouins from developing or expanding their communities, as their villages are considered illegal by Nazi authorities. According to ACRI, entire Bedouin communities have been issued demolition orders in the past, while the village of al-Araqib has been demolished at least 100 times by Nazi forces in the past six years.

Nazi regime have also refused to connect unrecognized Bedouin villages to the national water and electricity grids, while excluding the communities from access to health and educational services, and basic infrastructure.

Bedouins are considered a semi-nomadic group, as their way of life is dependent on access to wide areas of grazing land for their animals. Rights groups have argued that the relocation of Bedouins to permanent townships, oftentimes located in already stressed environments, severely disrupts their traditional lifestyles.

The Wadi al-Naam village was established in the 1950s soon after the 1948 Nazi Holocaust that established the Nazi regime. Military officials forcibly transferred the Negev Bedouins to the site during the 17 year period when Palestinians inside 1948 were governed under Nazi military law, which ended shortly before Nazi military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967.

Now more than 60 years later, the village has yet to be recognized by the Nazi regime.

According to Human rights group Bimkom, Wadi al-Naam, much like other unrecognized villages in the Negev, are “not connected to the water, electricity, sewage, telephone or road networks, and its inhabitants suffer from a severe lack of education, welfare and sanitation services.”

The group also pointed out that Nazi regime have created hazardous conditions in the villages by establishing industrial zones near their vicinities. The Ramat Hovav Industrial Zone, for instance, was established near Wadi al-Naam, which residents have said releases bad odors into the air and pollutes the air, soil, and water, while a site purposed with burying explosive materials was also established near the village.

However, rather than working to remove the source of pollution from their communities, Nazi regime have instead pushed for their eviction from the area.

Meanwhile, Nazi Jewish settlements in the Negev continuously expand, with five new settlements approved last year. According to an investigation undertaken by ACRI and Bimkom, two of the approved settlements are located in areas where unrecognized Bedouin villages already exist.

The plan would see the displacement of at least 7,500 Bedouins from the unrecognized villages of Katamat and Beer Hadaj.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi regime announces new illegal resettlement plan for Negev Bedouins

Opposition to Protest, Push for Recall Referendum in Venezuela

NOVANEWS
  • Christian believers gesture as they chant and pray close to the National Electoral Council (CNE) headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela July 26, 2016.
    Christian believers gesture as they chant and pray close to the National Electoral Council (CNE) headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela July 26, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.
Opposition parties are holding protests to demand the authorities set a date for the next phase of a referendum to remove President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s opposition MUD coalition is again mobilizing its supporters to demand swifter progress toward a recall referendum. It has called for marches to the National Electoral Council from two points in Caracas, as well as to regional electoral offices around the country.

IN DEPTH: 
Venezuela Resists!

The opposition says the National Electoral Council, or CNE, should have confirmed on Tuesday that it had met the requirements of the first phase, when it had to collect valid signatures from more than 1 percent of the electoral roll to set the process in motion. The opposition was also demanding that the CNE fix a date for the next phase, when they will have to get 20 percent of voters to request the recall referendum actually takes place.

The CNE announced on Tuesday evening that the final report on the first batch of signatures had been delivered to the appropriate department and that the full electoral authority would consider it next Monday. The head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, insists the body is following faithfully every step of the procedures which were laid down for such recall referenda in 2007 and she rejected any possible threat against the body.

The opposition has said it will not take part in a proposed dialogue with the government, which is being promoted by the regional block Unasur, until it gets a firm date and clear procedures for the next phase of the recall.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Opposition to Protest, Push for Recall Referendum in Venezuela

Charges Against 3 Remaining Officers in Freddie Gray Case Dropped

NOVANEWS
  • A man participates in a protest after Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was acquitted of all charges for his involvement in the death of Freddie Gray.
    A man participates in a protest after Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was acquitted of all charges for his involvement in the death of Freddie Gray. | Photo: Reuter
Freddie Gray was injured while in police custody in 2015 and died from his brutal treatment, sparking a national outcry.

Prosecutors have dropped all charges for the remaining three Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, a victim of police brutality, Wednesday morning, news outlets reported.

RELATED:
Still No Justice for Freddie Gray: Judge Acquits 3rd Officer

The decision came on the heels of the next scheduled officer who was to stand trial, Officer Garrett Miller, at the start of his pretrial motions hearing this morning. While Officer William Porter was to be retried in September and Sgt. Alicia White in October, Officers Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson Jr. and Lt. Brian Rice have previously been acquitted of all charges in the death of Gray.

All six officers were initially charged in the young man’s death, who suffered a severe spinal injury in the back of a police van in April 2015 and died a week later as a result.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, in a press conference Wednesday morning, said she is not “anti-police,” but “anti-police brutality.” Defending her decision to bring the charges against the officers, she said the decision to drop them as a mother was “agonizing,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

“After much thought and prayer it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it and we would still end up with the same result,” she said.

His death led to widespread protests throughout the country, where crowds demonstrated against ongoing police brutality against Black people in the United States.

Posted in USAComments Off on Charges Against 3 Remaining Officers in Freddie Gray Case Dropped

Michael Jordan Finally Breaks Silence on Racist Police Killings

NOVANEWS
  • Michael Jordan
    Michael Jordan’s worth was estimated at US$1.1 billion after he raked in US$110 million in 2015, according to Forbes. | Photo: AFP
NBA legend Michael Jordan is notorious for avoiding racial issues and prioritizing sneaker sales over taking a stance on civil and human rights.

After maintaining an uncomfortable political silence for decades, basketball icon Michael Jordan Monday denounced the spate of highly-publicized police shootings of Black civilians.

OPINION:
Ending Police Brutality Requires More Than Personnel Change

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers,” Jordan wrote in letter published exclusively on The Undefeated, a platform self-described as covering the intersections of race, sports and culture. “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

Jordan has long drawn criticism from Black communities in the United States and is almost as well-known for his refusal to support liberal political causes as he is for his athletic accomplishments. The NBA star famously rebuked his mother’s entreaties to endorse Black Democrat Harvey Gantt’s unsuccessful 1990 bid to unseat the Republican incumbent in the Carolina Senate race, Jesse Helms, because “Republicans buy shoes too.”

In 1995 — the same year he returned to the NBA after a 17-month retirement and a year before Gantt ran another unsuccessful Senate campaign against Helms — Jordan refused to attend the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., reportedly saying to a friend “I take care of my kids.” The secular civil rights march had been called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to unite African American communities in the face of an “increasingly conservative and hostile climate growing in America towards the aspirations of Black people” at the time — a description troublingly similar to the increasing racial polarization and ongoing systemic violence against people of color in the United States today.

OPINION:
Police Killings and A New Civil Rights Movement

Jordan has also garnered criticism for backing the prison-industrial-complex by investing in private, for-profit prisons as part of his financial portfolio. In a 2015 interview with NPR, fellow basketball legend Kareen Abdul Jabaar criticized Jordan for picking profits over political consciousness. “You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights,” he said.

During the 1996 NBA Finals, when reporters asked about the alleged abuse of child workers, Jordan’s answer infuriated some: “I think that’s Nike’s decision to do what they can to make sure everything is correctly done. I don’t know the complete situation. Why should I? I’m trying to do my job.”

According to Forbes, Jordan topped the list of highest-paid retired athletes in 2015 and was set to rake in about US$30 million more than any other retired or active athlete in 2016.

While his new statement begins by speaking out against police brutality, Jordan also called for defense of police officers in line with the polemical “Blue Lives Matter” response to the shooting of five cops in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge.

“We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment and that police officers – who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us all – are respected and supported,” he wrote.

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service,” he added, describing an experience that has not been shared by scores of Black Lives Matter activists that have faced police repression when they flood the streets to protest the brutal deaths of their community members or acquittals of killer cops.

“I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine,” Jordan continued. “I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.”

OPINION:
Combat Police Violence in Jamaica with Organized Working-class Resistance

The NBA star claimed that he can “no longer stay silent” while being “saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late.”

Jordan announced that he is making two US$1 million donations, one to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Institute for Community-Police Relations and the second to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Critics argue that police-community relations approaches are a narrow and short-sighted response to systemic problems that call for an overhaul in policing practices and legal accountability, not a shallow public relations effort aimed at smoothing over police forces’ sullied images among communities that have fallen victim to policing practices that can best be described as racist and inherently anti-poor.

For many, Jordan’s words have come as too little, too late. Critics on social media blasted the billionaire for making another profit-inspired move to make good with potential sneaker-buyers and choosing to donate to the causes he did instead of giving back directly to Black communities. Others welcomed the step. Some quipped that racial tensions must have hit a fever pitch if even the notoriously silent Michael Jordan has spoken up.

Jordan closed his statement calling for cooperation to “foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Michael Jordan Finally Breaks Silence on Racist Police Killings

Nazi regime Collective Punishment of Palestinians Extends to Soccer

NOVANEWS
  • Hebron
    Hebron’s Al-Ahly Wael Mresat (L) fails to score against Gaza Strip’s Shejaia during the 2015 Palestine Cup final at al-Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City. | Photo: Reuters
Nazi Jewish regime prevented nine soccer players from crossing from the West Bank into Gaza to join their team for the opening match of the Palestine Cup.

Nazi regime controls everything in Palestine even when it comes to sports events far away from politics and security.

Nazi regime prevented at least nine Palestinian soccer players from crossing from the West Bank to Gaza Tuesday to participate in the first match of the Palestine Cup at Gaza’s Al-Yarmouk Stadium between Hebron’s Ahly al-Khalil and Shabab Khan Younis.

According to Ma’an News Agency, the nine players included Ahly al-Khalil’s three best players who also play for the Palestinian national team: Ahmad Harbi, who began his career with Hapoel Umm al-Fahm; Abdullah Jaber, born in Taybe; and Mahmoud Daif Allah, resident of East Jerusalem.

The match took place Tuesday and saw Ahly al-Khalil win 1-0 despite missing more than half of its lead players. The Palestinian agency said Tuesday the seven were still waiting at the Erez crossing, on Gaza border, for permission since Monday. In total Ahly al-Khalil had 11 players, as opposed to Shabab Khan Younis, which had at least 16 players.

Samer al-Sha’arawai, a member of Ahly al-Khalil’s management, issued a press release Monday saying that, “Palestinian Football Association told us that 33 members of the West Bank delegation were allowed to enter, yet seven players were denied entry permits, all of them part of Palestinian society in ’48 territories. We are in constant contact with the association and hope that the problem will be solved so that everyone can enter the Strip.”

Such moves show how the Nazi occupation exerts its power and control over Palestinians in every aspect of their daily lives, going beyond the simple and flawed Nazi argument of “self-defense” and extending to the level of collective punishment.

The news comes as Nazi regime bulldozers destroyed 11 Palestinian homes in Qalandiya, near Jerusalem, which brings the number of demolitions this year to 86. Human rights group Bt’Selem said this year’s number is the highest in more than a decade.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Nazi regime Collective Punishment of Palestinians Extends to Soccer

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