Archive | November 26th, 2016

Myriad ways CIA tried and failed to assassinate Fidel Castro

NOVANEWS

The father of the Cuban Revolution remains unbeaten by his foes even in death. We look over the most dramatic assassination plots on El Comandante – from character-assassinations by way of LSD, to Italian mobsters, tuberculosis wetsuit, and exploding cigar.

“If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal,” Castro is famously quoted as saying. Cuba’s ex-intelligence chief Fabian Escalante – the person tasked with guarding Fidel’s life – puts the number of attempts at 638. The man also claimed to Reuters in a 2010 interview that the John F. Kennedy assassination could well have been an attempt to expedite the process of removing Castro from power: the American president, some said, was not doing enough. Of course, by the time of Kennedy’s 1963 shooting death in Dallas, Texas, there had already been numerous attempts on Castro’s life – intended to bolster Kennedy’s own reputation back home as a strong president, with his administration exerting great pressure on the CIA to take care of it. It is fitting then to start at the beginning.

1) Getting the Mafia to do it 

When a sizable cache of classified CIA documents, amicably called ‘Family Jewels,’ was finally released in 2007, Cuban communists felt a sense of vindication, finally gaining the ability to publicly accuse the United States government of what they claimed was already common knowledge.

Cuban president Fidel Castro 08 January, 1989 © Rafael Perez

In the summer of 1960, the CIA recruited former FBI agent Robert Maheu. He became the go-between from the agency to two prominent Italian gangsters on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List – Santo Trafficante of the Miami Syndicate, and Salvatore Giancana – Al Capone’s successor in Chicago. They were gotten hold of by way of Las Vegas mobster Johnny Roselli. A payment of $150,000 was on the table. According to the declassified documents, Giancana suggested using poisoned pills – six of them. But despite gaining access to officials inside the Cuban government, the plan had been unsuccessful, and was later scrapped in the run-up to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. It is said the agency was able to retrieve all the poison pills.

The closest the Americans got to killing Castro was with a poisoned chocolate milkshake, Escalante claimed to Reuters. According to the 2007 documents, another batch of poison was delivered through the Mafia in 1963 in a bottle of Bayer aspirin pills. An opposition group, it was believed, had a good chance. But the plot failed when a disguised waiter did not manage to lace Castro’s milkshake in the cafeteria of the then-Hilton Hotel (now Havana Libre), as the pill got stuck in the freezer – where it was hidden – and broke apart when the assassin attempted to dislodge it from the wall.

2) Contaminating an entire broadcast studio with LSD with the intention of eroding public trust

Fidel Castro

This was not just about spiking drinks or cigars. The CIA went all-out. After a failed attempt to embarrass El Comandante by having his beard fall out due to boots spiked with chemicals, the agency had opted for a box of cigars spiked with LSD. The plan was to have Castro burst into laughter during a televised interview, thus subjecting him to ridicule in the public eye. But it was not just cigars. The CIA planned to lace the entire studio. This plot was not implemented, but was high in the running for ways to spark a national uprising against Castro.

3) Tuberculosis-laced scuba gear that followed the exploding sea shell 

Fidel Castro © Alberto Korda

The CIA had back-paddled on another of its ingenious plans to kill Castro, leading to the poisoned scuba gear idea. The agency knew the revolutionary was an avid diver. The plan had been to attract El Comandante with a sea shell practically impossible to miss, having been painted in colors bright enough to attract him. Castro would swim closer to inspect it, whereupon a lethal amount of explosives would detonate. But the idea was aborted due to impracticality, the declassified documents claimed. So the spies went the more practical way: lacing Castro’s scuba gear with tuberculosis to trigger a deadly skin disease. The man who was supposed to give Castro the suit had opted to give him an ordinary one, it turned out.

4) Evolution of the poison cigar – the exploding cigar

Fidel Castro © Reuters

According to a Saturday Evening Post report on November 4, 1967, a CIA agent had approached a New York cop with the idea of handing Castro an exploding cigar during a UN meeting. That was reportedly after the plan to poison the cigar had been abandoned. This was despite the poison having already been injected into the cigar, with the CIA dismissing the person tasked with carrying the plan out in the final stages.

However, the exploding-cigar plan also failed due to the double agent changing his mind at the last instant.

5) Femme fatale 

One of Castro’s many lovers – CIA informant Marita Lorenz, was also tasked with poisoning Castro in a daring operation involving a secret unit tasked with the assassination – Operation 40. According to the FBI, Lorenz had become a “contract agent” for the CIA, and willingly accepted the task of assassinating him following a miscarriage or an abortion – a story she told in 1959. Castro’s reaction to her not having the child had reportedly enraged her so much, she had eagerly taken up the task. And so she met with CIA double agent Frank Sturgis in 1960, who had handed her a bottle of poison pills.

Lorenz was to drop one into her lover’s drink, containing enough poison to kill him within 30 seconds. But as with the countless other attempts, it did not succeed because Lorenz herself could not go through with it. The mission was wrought with pitfalls. According to Ann Louise Bardoch’s ‘Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana,’ Lorenz recalled that “They said, ‘we want you to take him out.’” But, “I knew the minute I saw the outline of Havana I couldn’t do it.”

Even then, she had made the mistake of stashing the pills in her pot of cold cream, in fear of being discovered by customs. The substance had stuck to the pills, and Lorenz couldn’t unmix the two. As she attempted to flush the pills down the toilet, Castro –who had got wind of the plot – walked in with a cigar. He removed his handgun from the holster, and handed it to Lorenz with the words: “Did you come to kill me?” According to Lorenz, he handed her the gun and puffed on his cigar with his eyes closed.

“He made himself vulnerable because he knew I couldn’t do it. He still loved me and I still loved him.”

She feared the CIA would kill her for being with Castro after the foiled assassination attempt. Upon her return to Miami, Lorenz never again met with Castro. Later, however, she had a daughter with another Latin American military leader, Venezuela’s Marcos Perez Jimenez.

According to Escalante, it was the Cuban revolutionary’s vigilance and the efforts of his security apparatus that kept him alive all those years. Numerous books have been written on the matter.

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Fidel Castro, Cuba’s longtime leader, dies at 90

After years of dealing with failing health, Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution who steered the country through decades of a US economic blockade, has died, state media report.

Castro died in Havana on Friday at 10:29pm local time, Cuban television said. His death was announced by his brother Raul, who took the reins after Fidel stepped down.

“According to the will expressed by comrade Fidel, his body will be cremated”, Raul said.

Castro led the country from 1959 to 2006, when an intestinal condition nearly led to his death. He ceded power to his brother first provisionally, and then formally in 2008. In his last years, he mostly stayed out of the public eye, only occasionally providing commentary on events in Cuba.

Soviet Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev (left) and Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro (right) on the Mausoleum attending a rally to mark Castro's arrival in the USSR. Castro was the first foreign leader to stand on the tribune of Lenin's mausoleum in Red Square. © Yuryi Abramochkin

Nuclear subs, bear cubs & Fidel Castro’s other legendary adventures in the USSR (RARE PHOTOS)

His passing marks the end of an era for many. Castro was the last remaining leader from the group of old school communist leaders including Chinese Mao Zedong, Korean Kim Il-sung and Soviets Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev.

Dictator or national hero, Castro was called many things along the way, as he rose from being a student activist protesting against oppressive regimes to becoming the president of Cuba.

In February 1959, the Cuban Revolution brought Castro to power as the prime minister. He was backed by the so-called 26th of July Movement, and Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara. Together, they managed to oust US-backed President Batista.

After failing to maintain ties with Washington, Cuba became isolated from its neighbor as the US chose to cut all trade links with the Caribbean state. In 1961, the island nation fended off a CIA-backed invasion known as the Bay of Pigs.

Upon taking office, Castro quickly found a new ally, as the Soviet Union supplied Cuba with arms, cars, and industrial equipment to keep it running.

But the nations’ alliance brought more than mutual benefits. Cuba and Russia became key players in the Cuban Missile Crisis – arguably the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold War, which almost ended in a nuclear show-down.

READ MORE: Fidel Castro says he’s nearing the end in farewell speech

In October 1962, Castro agreed to house Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuban territory, a move that followed the deployment of US missiles in Turkey. Washington was furious over the development, and pledged to use force if necessary to prevent it. The countries’ leaders, Kennedy and Khrushchev, eventually agreed to a compromise.

The US government has always been open about its feelings toward communist Cuba. It remains unknown how many times the CIA tried to assassinate Castro, but some Cuban officials set the number as high as 600. This figure includes the notorious incident when Castro’s cigarettes were found to be stuffed with explosives.

After passing power to his brother Raul, Fidel was still considered the main moral authority in Cuba. Occasionally, he also met with foreign dignitaries like Pope Francis in 2015 and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in February.

Under Raul’s leadership, Cuba has experienced a slow transformation as he has introduced some market-style economic reforms in the largely socialist country. He also agreed to restore diplomatic ties with the United States in December, taking a step away from decades of rivalry. Fidel was skeptical about the rapprochement, but did not oppose it.

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FIDEL CASTRO-IN ENGLISH

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem, Sr

Image result for FIDEL CASTRO PHOTO

FIDEL CASTRO

By: Teresinka Pereira

is this the

last poem,

the last memory,

homage, hope

to go to embrace you

there were the palm trees

waving in the wind

call to social equality

with love and justice?

 

Commander Fidel Castro,

for a long time

the capitalist vultures

announce your death

and their howls of beasts

of bad augury

leave me with biternness

in my mouth and petrify me

with so much sadness!

I can’t say good-by:

with passing years

history will redeem you

while we prepare ourselves

to follow your commands

until it’s our time

to return like you

to the land of all

where we can rest.

 

 

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The Lie of the 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led to the U.S. Invasion of Iraq

New-York-Times

The mainstream media (MSM) has declared war on alternative media websites labeling them “Fake News” ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. The New York Times editorial board expressed their frustration in an article calling for the censorship of alternative and social media‘Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News’ which claimed both social media platforms (Facebook and Google) has not been aggressive enough in blocking fake news sites:

Most of the fake news stories are produced by scammers looking to make a quick buck. The vast majority of them take far-right positions. But a big part of the responsibility for this scourge rests with internet companies like Facebook and Google, which have made it possible for fake news to be shared nearly instantly with millions of users and have been slow to block it from their sites

Some of the websites named in a fake news list by Melissa “Mish” Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College in Massachusetts including 21st Century Wire, Activistpost.com, Globalresearch.ca, Lewrockwell.com, Naturalnews.com and Project Veritas (who released undercover videos of the DNC attempting to rig the elections) and others have exposed the lies by MSM propaganda. The MSM has lost its credibility and at the same time lost viewers at unprecedented levels. on April 17, 2016, the Associated Press reported on how the U.S. population viewed the MSM ‘Poll: Getting facts right key to Americans’ trust in media’ said that “Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions.” Now they want to stop the alternative media from becoming a credible source for news. The New York Times is calling for the censorship of the alternative and social media by blocking “misinformation”:

Blocking misinformation will help protect the company’s brand and credibility. Some platforms have suffered when they have failed to address users’ concerns. Twitter users, for instance, have backed away from that platform because of abusive trolling, threatening posts and hate speech, which the company hasn’t been able to control.

Mr. Zuckerberg himself has spoken at length about how social media can help improve society. In a 2012 letter to investors, he said it could “bring a more honest and transparent dialogue around government that could lead to more direct empowerment of people, more accountability for officials and better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.” None of that will happen if he continues to let liars and con artists hijack his platform

Just to be clear, there are a number of websites that do spread misinformation including those in the alternative media, but it is fair to say that they never have caused the deaths of millions of people like The New York Times when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. A recent example is the U.S. led war against Iraq in 2003. After the September 11th attacks, the George W. Bush administration made a false accusation that the Iraq government had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) which led to a U.S. invasion eventually toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The U.S. led war turned out to be a calculated plan by The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think-tank who wrote the secretive blueprint called ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century’ to remove Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath party from power. The blueprint was originally written for the neocon lunatics who served under then-President George W. Bush including Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to establish an “international Security order” dominated by the United States. According to the document:

In broad terms, we saw the project as building upon the defense strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the Bush Administration. The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted in the early months of 1992 provided a blueprint for maintaining U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests

PNAC was founded by neoconservatives William Kristol, a political analyst, media commentator (Fox News, ABC News) and the founder and editor of The Weekly Standard and Robert Kagan, an author, columnist, and foreign-policy commentator who is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. Kagan is also the husband of Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs appointed by President Obama who helped orchestrate a coup against the Ukrainian government of the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych. The blueprint for regime change in Iraq was planned way before George W. Bush became President in 2001:

Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein

However, Judith Miller (who is currently an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute) and The New York Times played a crucial role for the Bush administration. Miller wrote one of the main articles on Iraq’s “WMDs” that justified the Bush administration’s agenda to topple Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath party. The article was not just “fake” news telling a lie that deceived the public, it destroyed a sovereign nation. The U.S. war against Iraq killed more than 1.4 million Iraqis (according to www.justforeignpolicy.org estimates) and more than 4,400 U.S. troops and tens of thousands permanently injured. The Iraq War also displaced millions of Iraqis thus creating a refugee crisis in neighboring countries including Syria. The destabilization of Iraq has also created a terrorist recruiting base that has spread throughout the Middle East including Syria.

The New York Times published Miller’s article on April 21st, 2003 ‘AFTER EFFECTS: PROHIBITED WEAPONS; Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, An Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert’ which claimed that an Iraqi scientist confirmed that the Iraqi government had WMDs:

They said the scientist led Americans to a supply of material that proved to be the building blocks of illegal weapons, which he claimed to have buried as evidence of Iraq’s illicit weapons programs. The scientist also told American weapons experts that Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990′s, and that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda, the military officials said.

The Americans said the scientist told them that President Saddam Hussein’s government had destroyed some stockpiles of deadly agents as early as the mid-1990′s, transferred others to Syria, and had recently focused its efforts instead on research and development projects that are virtually impervious to detection by international inspectors, and even American forces on the ground combing through Iraq’s giant weapons plants

On April, 22, 2003, Miller appeared on the PBS News hour and spoke about her evidence on what she described as a “Silver Bullet” from an Iraqi scientist who allegedly worked on Saddam’s weapons program:

RAY SUAREZ: The task of finding that definitive proof falls in part to specialized teams within the U.S. Military. New York times” correspondent Judith Miller is reporting on the search conducted by units of the 75th exploitation task force. And she joins us now by phone south of Baghdad. Judith Miller, welcome back to the program. Has the unit you’ve been traveling with found any proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

JUDITH MILLER: Well, I think they found something more than a “smoking gun.” What they’ve found is what is being called here by the members of MET Alpha– that’s Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha– what they found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we’ve called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them firsthand, and who has led MET Team Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions that have kind of challenged the American intelligence community’s under… previous understanding of, you know, what we thought the Iraqis were doing.

RAY SUAREZ: Does this confirm in a way the insistence coming from the U.S. government that after the war, various Iraqi tongues would loosen, and there might be people who would be willing to help?

JUDITH MILLER: Yes, it clearly does. I mean, it’s become pretty clear to those of us on the ground that the international inspectors, without actually controlling the territory and changing the political environment, would never have been able to get these people to step forward. I mean, you can only do that when you know there is not going to be a secret policeman at your door the next day, and that your family isn’t going to suffer because you’re talking. And that’s what the Bush administration has finally done. They have changed the political environment, and they’ve enabled people like the scientists that MET Alpha has found to come forth. Now, what initially the weapons hunters thought they were going to find were stockpiles of kind of chemical and biological agents. That’s what they anticipated finding. We now know from the scientist that, in fact, that probably isn’t what we’re going to find. What they will find, and what they have found so far, are kind of precursors; that is, building blocks of what you would need to put together a chemical or a biological weapon.

But those stockpiles that we’ve heard about, well, those have either been destroyed by Saddam Hussein, according to the scientists, or they have been shipped to Syria for safekeeping. And what I think the interpretation of the MET Alpha people is, is why he did this. They believe that Saddam Hussein wanted to destroy the evidence of his unconventional weapons programs, and that’s what he has done– not only since 1995, but also in the weeks and months that led up to the war itself. There was mass destruction. And the scientist who has been cooperating with MET Alpha has actually said that he participated in… he kind of watched, you know, a warehouse being burned that contained potentially incriminating biological equipment. So clearly what Saddam Hussein wanted to do was cover his weapons of mass destruction tracks. And that means that the whole shape of the hunt here on the ground for unconventional weapons is changing

The problem with Miller’s assertion that Iraq had WMDs is that it relied on an Iraqi exile named Ahmed Chalabi who wanted “regime change” against Saddam Hussein’s government. James Moore of The Guardian wrote ‘How Chalabi and the White House held the front page: The New York Times has burned its reputation on a pyre of lies about Iraq’described Chalabi as a convicted criminal who embezzled millions from his Petra Bank in Amman, Jordan. Moore said the following:

Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and authority on the Middle East for the NYT, appears to have been the most reliant on Chalabi. In an email exchange with the NYT’s Baghdad bureau chief John Burns, Miller said Chalabi “had provided most of the front page exclusives for our paper”. She later said that this was an exaggeration, but in an earlier interview with me, Miller did not discount the value of Chalabi’s insight. “Of course, I talked with Chalabi,” she said. “But he was just one of many sources I used.”

Miller refused to say who those other sources were but, at Chalabi’s behest, she interviewed various defectors from Saddam Hussein’s regime, who claimed without substantiation that there was still a clandestine WMD programme operating inside Iraq. US investigators now believe that Chalabi sent these same Iraqi expatriates to at least eight Western spy agencies as part of a scheme to convince them to overthrow Saddam

Mr. Moore mentioned Miller’s article which was co-written with Michael R. Gordon and published by The New York Times on September 8th, 2002 titled ‘THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE IRAQIS; U.S. SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A-BOMB PARTS’ claiming that Saddam was “building a uranium gas separator to develop nuclear material”:

If spies wanted a trophy to show what happens when their craft is perfectly executed, it would be a story written by Judith Miller on the front page of the New York Times on a Sunday morning in September 2002. She wrote that an intercepted shipment of aluminum tubes, to be used for centrifuges, was evidence that Saddam was building a uranium gas separator to develop nuclear material.

The story had an enormous impact, one amplified when national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state Colin Powell and vice-president Dick Cheney all did appearances on the Sunday-morning talk shows, citing the first-rate journalism of the liberal NYT. No single story did more to advance the neoconservative cause

Here is the original excerpt from Miller’s original September 8th 2002 New York Times article:

More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.

In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped

According to Moore (and many other journalists, researchers and alternative media outlets), Judith Miller’s story was completely false and that the “the aluminum tubes were covered with an anodised coating, which rendered them useless for a centrifuge, according to a number of scientists who spoke publicly after Miller’s story.” Moore continued“the tubes, in fact, were almost certainly intended for use as rocket bodies.” Lastly, Moore quoted what Miller had told him about her sources which lead to the WMD hoax:

“I had no reason to believe what I reported was inaccurate,” Miller told me. “I believed the intelligence I had. We tried really hard to get more information and we vetted information very, very carefully.” A few months after the aluminum tubes story, a former CIA analyst explained to me how simple it had been to manipulate the correspondent and her newspaper.

“The White House had a perfect deal with Miller,” he said. “Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated. She also got the Pentagon to confirm things for her, which made sense, since they were working so closely with Chalabi. Too bad Judy didn’t spend a little more time talking to those of us who had information that contradicted almost everything Chalabi said.”

The New York Times was clearly embarrassed by Miller’s articles after the fact that Miller was wrong all along about the WMDs that led up to the invasion of Iraq. Nothing was ever found. On May 26th, 2004, the editorial board admitted their wrongdoing. The article ‘FROM THE EDITORS; The Times and Iraq’ stated that “We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq’s weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists” which blames U.S. and other intelligence agencies (which do share the blame to an extent). The editorial piece continued “We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves.” Well, they do turn the light on themselves, sort of:

But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.

The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on ”regime change” in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.)

Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations – in particular, this one

The New York Times admittance that their journalistic principals had failed was too little and too late. The MSM in particular The New York Times relied on “fake” evidence from Ahmad Chalabi for years (since 1991 to be exact). The MSM failed the Iraqi people who suffered enormously under a pack of lies that destroyed their country. When Washington uses “propaganda” or fake news reports against a sovereign nation, the outcome is always “regime change” that sometimes leads to an all-out war. The MSM has time and time again been guilty of perpetrating fake news stories to assist in Washington’s Imperial agenda. The Iraq War was the biggest lie of the 21st century. What other fake news stories will appear on the MSM websites and newspapers in the future regarding Syria, Russia, China, Iran, the Palestinians, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and even the U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump? To answer that, we just don’t know, but it is up to the alternative media to decipher the “fake” stories and bring out the truth. It is just a matter of time that the MSM will falsify another story; let’s just hope it won’t lead to another war in the process.

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Trump Just Put “Net Neutrality” on Death Row

trump-2

Open internet advocates this week expressed concern that Present-elect Donald Trump‘s two appointments to his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transition team spell doom for net neutrality.

That policy, approved in a 2015 FCC ruling, ensures a level playing field on the internet by preventing internet service providers (ISP) from creating “fast lanes” that give special treatment for content creators or web companies that pay extra fees. The ruling was hailed as “the biggest win for the public interest in the FCC’s history.”

The Trump transition site announced the appointments of former Verizon consultant Jeff Eisenach and former Sprint lobbyist Mark Jamison Monday. Like Trump, the two are critics of net neutrality.

“If President-elect Trump were the least bit sincere about his claims to ‘drain the swamp’ of lobbyists and special-interest operatives, he couldn’t have done much worse than selecting these two,” writes Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy at Free Press. He continues:

Both have deep financial ties to the telecom industry. They’ve spent time at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where so-called scholars do double-time as corporate lobbyists and consultants, rarely disclosing their conflicts of interest.

For its part, AEI has received support from the AT&T Foundation—the phone giant’s charitable arm. Previous clients Eisenach has consulted for include Verizon, which had him on its payroll as he testified before Congress against issues like Net Neutrality. The New York Times made Eisenach the poster child for undue corporate influence over policymaking in a lengthy investigative piece that exposed his many conflicts.

Jamison directs the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida where he’s extolled the virtues of competition-crushing media mergers as innovative and good for the public. The Center doesn’t make public its full list of corporate sponsors, but its advocacy for every takeover involving AT&T is a good clue.

ThinkProgress also notes that

Eisenach was part of former President Ronald Reagan’s Federal Trade Commission and FCC transition teams. The resulting FCC agency repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which required media to portray contrasting perspectives in news coverage of public issues. Jamison, who also teaches at the University of Florida, has staunchly opposed the FCC’s policies to improve internet access and options in low-income and rural areas.

Anne Jellema, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, also expressed concern, telling the Guardian that the “appointments certainly don’t look like good news for net neutrality.”

“But President-elect Trump has promised to be a ‘president for all Americans,’” she added. “If he’s serious about this promise, we trust the transition team will pay heed to the over three million comments submitted just last year by Americans of all political stripes calling for strong net neutrality, and will respect the recent decision by a federal appeals court to uphold the FCC’s Open Internet order.”

According to Chris Lewis, vice president at Public Knowledge, “if folks want to eliminate these very important consumer protections that are wildly popular across ideological lines, the question is how are they going to protect an open internet if they eliminate these rules?”

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Britain’s Terrifying New Surveillance Laws – “Nothing to do with Fighting Terrorism”

NOVANEWS
 
Municipal police officers watch screens in the video surveillance control room of the municipal police supervision centre in Nice

I have been saying for a long time now that the British government is forcing unprecedented new surveillance laws and expanding its illegal spying operations over its own population (and others), without court orders or proper oversight. Its purpose is nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have strongly criticised these powers as even they can see where these draconian authoritarian powers are going. Eventually, the full degrading of encrypted services will lead to a massive fall in trust in their business operations, not that any of them are to be trusted in the first place.

Democracy has failed the people of Britain yet again. Labour, in opposition, ended up fully supporting these new powers.  Even Shami Chakrabarti, the British Labour Party politician and newly ascended member of the House of Lords, former director of Liberty, an advocacy group which promotes civil liberties and human rights lay completely silent. Her credibility built up over a decade lies in tatters having abandoned her principles by abstaining, effectively supporting the bill. And why did Labour support the bill?  Their pathetic self-serving excuse was that the government had agreed to include protection from state surveillance for trade union activities. How naive. GCHQ have been spying on them all for years, why would they stop now? For a promise? Idiots!

(Summary (Services Parliament UK) of the Investigatory Powers Bill:

A Bill to make provision about the interception of communications, equipment interference and the acquisition and retention of communications data, bulk personal datasets and other information; to make provision about the treatment of material held as a result of such interception, equipment interference or acquisition or retention; to establish the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and other Judicial Commissioners and make provision about them and other oversight arrangements; to make further provision about investigatory powers and national security; to amend sections 3 and 5 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994; and for connected purposes.) 

What you don’t know is that the government included a section in the new law that actually criminalises “unauthorized disclosures” of any information relating to its new surveillance orders. This has been designed to stop whistleblowers or leakers from coming forward and revealing wrongdoing by our own government, police and security services. Punishment for breaches is a prison sentence of up to 12 months, a fine, or both. How’s that for democracy. Prison for revealing that the British government is breaking it’s own laws!

What you also don’t know is that these laws give the government powers to surveil journalists in complete secrecy. Contacts and sources are no longer protected. The MP’s expenses scandal would never have come to light under these laws. Journalists and their anonymous sources who broke this story would be behind bars, careers and lives ruined. That’s what this government, under Theresa May wants, to stop stories about the antics of politicians and bankers, offshore tax havens and other scandals negatively affecting a population who just voted against the establishment under the guise of Brexit.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)  have launched a major challenge. The government’s response is to dismantle the those laws in favour of its own rules with a so called ‘British Bill of Rights’. Make no mistake, it will trample all over our civil liberties and rights as they have already demonstrated with this Bill.

Many citizens believe that because everyone in the UK is being surveilled then nobody in particular is being targeted and that if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear – how wrong everyone is.

The mainstream media went into frenzied overdrive when it came to a Heinz baked beans advert which sought to teach viewers how to bang the can like a drum, which has been banned over fears people might cut their hands (supported with just 15 complaints). The commercial showed people drumming on Heinz Beanz tins to play the rhythm of a song with the strapline Learn the #CanSong”. The same MSM have largely remained silent over the crushing of civil liberties and any last vestiges of privacy for the entire population, and therefore, there has been no public outcry as there has been for banning a song about a baked bean can.

The government and their agencies have access to everything you do from the second your alarm clock wakes you (if you use a mobile phone) to the time you go to sleep. Every website, every app, what subscriptions you pay for, how much you earn, what you spend it on, any personal suspicions you may have about your health, relationships, working environment, your friends and family and acquaintances. They don’t need your passwords. It gets worse though.

If you search google for an embarrassing health issue or join the 3 million who called the NHS 111 service, the government knows. It knows if you, a friend or an acquaintance of yours has joined a protest group objecting to say, fracking. You are implicated by your friends. Facebook tried to sell on-line lenders credit scores by ‘judging’ American borrowers’ creditworthiness. Thankfully, it failed, but not for trying. What do you think the government will attempt to do assisted by these ubiquitous and often nefarious corporations whoring themselves as they do today for a buck?

Local government can now hunt you down for non payment of council tax or parking/speeding fines or non payment of tax to HMRC, which they have already been doing. Even the Food Standards Agency and Gambling Commission, police, military, secret services, British Transport Police, Dept of Health, Dept for Work and Pensions, Health and safety Executive – all, and many more, will have access at will to your personal data. They will know through location data how fast you were driving, where you went and who you met, and if they so desire, what you discussed. You should be truly shocked by now. There should be a realisation by now what the government thinks about you and that you are personally under suspicion.

The minimum office or rank that each person within those organisations must be if they want access to your records is not high. In the police, any viewer must be an inspector or a superintendent, for instance. Or a manager in the aforementioned list. There are hundreds of thousands of individuals who can now peer into your world completely undetected. You have no idea who that person might be or what they want. The government has little oversight into managing it.

About 5.5 million people work in the public sector in Britain, that is exactly one quarter of the entire working population in full time work. Imagine that your job application to the local council was turned down because a ‘friend’ on Facebook attended a protest march against a much despised project such as HS2, or that you searched Google for cancer symptoms, or depression, even if the search was for a parent or relative? Fancy having a mortgage loan declined, not because you’re not creditworthy, but because you had a dispute when HMRC wrongly assessed your annual tax as they did with 4 million people last year. With the continual privatisation of Britain’s NHS will insurance companies discriminate against your health issues? Of course they will. Will this be extended to house or car insurance, of course it will – eventually.

Cybercrime against the population will soar. In America, there is an epidemic of hackers who have stolen tens of millions of healthcare records and sold them to the highest bidders. In Britain, since the beginning of 2016 there has been a sharp spike in the number of extortion attempts against hospitals using ransomware. The police won’t reveal the extent of the attacks or what information may have been taken but its a ransom, so its serious.

A few years back HMRC lost the very personal records of 25 million British children, the Police lost details of witnesses with links to serious criminal investigations, a safety assessment of a nuclear power plant in north-east England was lost, the Dept for Work and Pension lost the data of millions of passwords and personal data. How does the government think it has any chance of protecting the very personal and intimately private details of the entire population from hackers (and corporations who would pay dearly for such information). The answer is simple, they can’t.

Private corporations such as Internet Service Providers or ISP’s will be storing most of this data, and their record of data security is just as abysmal. Hackers robbed the bank account details of thousands from Vodafone, 6 million had private data at risk from 3 Mobile this year, BT, Sky Broadband and Yahoo – all victims to hacking attacks, the latter losing 500 million accounts worldwide in just one attack.

Should we be worried that the government has explicitly legalised intelligence agencies and the police the interference with (ie. hacking) your electronic equipment by covertly downloading the contents of your phone or remotely accessing your computer, or downloading spyware/malware that at the least will damage the equipment itself. Or that they now oblige communications companies to hand over full and detailed records of data and remove encryption when requested – at will, or indeed that they can create warrants for authorities to examine “Bulk Data Sets” such as medical records and tax histories without going to court.

Former MP and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, Julian Huppert has called the Bill “terrifying.” He said on openDemocracy: “Some of the powers in the Bill are deeply intrusive, and with very little possible justification. All of us want to be safe, and protected from terrorists and the like – but the evidence that these powers are needed is thin indeed. However, the cost to all of our privacy is huge.”

Let’s be clear, this is all of Theresa May’s doing in her disastrous role at the Home Office. Britain is adopting a closed, nationalistic and authoritarian approach of government which is supported by both political parties. Your chances of being killed by a terrorist in Britain is lower than being killed by your toaster. But your chances of being personally negatively affected by your government have just increased dramatically. At the very least the government has just changed your private behaviours because now you know you are being watched all the time, just as if an agent was standing over your shoulder.

Welcome to the panopticon, you deserve everything you didn’t bother fighting for. Your grandparents did though and so did theirs. Wake up for god’s sake!

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Obama: End The Embargo on Cuba Before Trump Presidency

NOVANEWS
 
obamatrump

THE election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States, where he will be in office alongside Republican Party majorities in both houses of Congress, raises new threats to Cuba.

The Obama administration has not gone far enough with its Cuba policies: the blockade is still in place, Guantanamo Bay is still illegally occupied and US interference in Cuba continues. Nevertheless, the limited progress that has taken place, including the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, has been a welcome move in the right direction.

This progress is now under serious threat from a Trump administration.

This week Trump appointed the pro-blockade lobbyist Mauricio Claver-Carone to his transition team, which may give an insight into a change in direction of US Cuba policy.

Claver-Carone is the executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates, “a non-partisan organisation dedicated to the promotion of a transition in Cuba towards human rights, democracy and the rule of law” and he also serves on the Board of Directors of the US-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee (USCD PAC), which describes itself as “the largest, single foreign-policy political committee in the United States.”

USCD PAC spent $600,000 in the most recent elections, with large donations going to pro-blockade, anti-Cuba candidates including Marco Rubio.

Claver-Carone is also editor of Capitol Hill Cubans, a blog largely dedicated to attacking President Barack Obama’s Cuba policies.

“In short, Obama’s new course for Cuba has made a bad situation worse,” he writes.

A strong supporter of the blockade, he writes how “sanctions are an important tool of leverage for democratic change, particularly in a post-Castro era.”

Despite the huge fines carried out by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) towards companies for trading with Cuba due to blockade legislation — which have reached over $14 billion under the Obama administration — Claver-Carone wrote last week how “companies […] feel protected by the Obama administration’s current policy,” and in a sign of what to expect when Trump arrives in the White House, he wrote: “That will change in 65 days.”

Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, who in the House of Representatives has called for the reversal of Obama’s Cuba policies, has suggested that a change in direction will happen quickly. “All of these things that the president has done as unilateral concessions to the Castro regime, the days are numbered to all of those,” he said. “I expect it to happen pronto.”

Just days before the election, Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and new vice president-elect said: “Well let me make you a promise: When Donald Trump is president of the United States, we will repeal Obama’s executive orders on Cuba.

“We will support continuing the embargo until real political and religious freedoms are a reality for all the people of Cuba. Donald Trump will stand with freedom-loving Cubans in the fight against communist oppression.”

Trump was at one time supportive of improving relations, although he said he’d have got a “better deal” than Obama.

But he changed his line on Cuba when speaking to a Cuban-American crowd in Miami in October. He said: “All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them — and that is what I will do, unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”

Recent months have shown how Trump can change his line on arguments from day to day and depending on the audience.

Without any experience in public office, the team Trump constructs around him may give an insight into his administration’s Cuba policies and the appointment of Claver-Carone suggests Trump may stick to his Miami-crowd anti-Cuba line and reverse attempts towards normalisation. Many names that are being reported as candidates for high level positions are hard-line, staunch anti-Cuba politicians including John Bolton and Newt Gingrich.

Bolton accused Cuba of developing chemical weapons in 2002 when undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. And in recent months he said he’d “put them right back on the terrorism list.”

Gingrich was speaker for the 1996 Helms-Burton blockade legislation and in 2011 called for a much more aggressive policy toward Cuba to bring about a “Cuban spring” and “usher in democracy.” He said the US should use every “non-military tool’’ available against the island, including covert operations “exactly as Reagan did in eastern Europe.”

The recent United Nations general assembly vote of 191 to 0 in favour (with the US and Israel abstaining) of ending the embargo demonstrates that international support for ending the US blockade and normalising relations with the island is at an all-time high.

But a Trump administration with many leading anti-Cuba figures, alongside an already hostile Republican-controlled Congress, clearly poses huge threats to Cuba.

The Cuban people have resisted over five decades of US aggression, US-backed invasion, terrorism, assassination attempts and subversion and will continue to resist and defend their independence and sovereignty.

In light of the new threats to Cuba, international solidarity is clearly now more important than ever.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign calls on President Obama to use his executive powers to repeal those remaining parts of the blockade legislation which fall under his jurisdiction in his remaining time as president.

In the forthcoming months it is critical that we maintain pressure on the US government to continue on the path to normalise relations with Cuba and ultimately to end its 54-year blockade against the island and illegal occupation of Guantanamo Bay.

Ollie Hopkins is Cuba Solidarity Campaign campaigns officer. To hear more about the ongoing US blockade of Cuba and much more, come to the Latin America Conference on Saturday November 26, Congress House, London. For tickets and information: mstar.link/Adelante16

Posted in USA, CUBAComments Off on Obama: End The Embargo on Cuba Before Trump Presidency

Moscow Accused of Propagating “Fake News”: EU Resolution on “Russian Propaganda”

NOVANEWS

 

russian-media-bans-2
There’s news. There’s fake news. And then there’s “pseudo” news, which according to the European Parliament, encompasses any Russian media which doesn’t adhere to a Western narrative and neglects to present an entirely pro-EU perspective on world events.

In a completely bonkers move this week, the EU Parliament approved a resolution to counter “Russian propaganda” and the “intrusion of Russian media” into the EU. The resolution was adopted with 304 MEPs voting in favor, 179 MEPs voting against it and 208 abstaining. The most bizarre part, however, is that the resolution lumped Russian media in with Islamist propaganda of the kind spread by terror groups like the so-called Islamic State. Thus Russian media is put on the same level with videos of ISIS beheadings and incitements to mass murder.

According to the resolution, Russian media exists to “undermine the very notion of objective information or ethical journalism,” and one of its methods is to cast all other information “as biased or as an instrument of political power.”

The real hypocrisy here is that this last part almost exactly describes how Brussels regards any media critical of its own actions. The resolution criticizes channels like RT for casting other news sources as biased or as instruments of political power while smearing anyone who associates with the Russian media as Kremlin puppets, bought and paid for by Vladimir Putin — and yet the irony appears completely lost on them.

Act as I say, not as I do

The totally barmy resolution also “notes with regret” that Moscow uses meetings with EU counterparts only for propaganda purposes, rather than for establishing a “real dialog” with Brussels. Another statement ripe with irony, given Brussels just a couple of weeks ago hosted an EU-Russia summit, the aim of which was to foster “mutual understanding” between Russia and the EU — without inviting any representatives of the Russian government. Instead, they asked obscure and practically unknown opposition figures with zero power or influence inside Russia. As noted by RT columnist Bryan MacDonald, this would be like Brussels hosting a summit to discuss the future of the United States and inviting the Green Party’s Jill Stein while ignoring the two parties that actually hold power. Under Brussels’ own definition, one could easily argue that the EU is trying to “undermine political cohesion” in Russia just as it accuses Moscow of doing in Europe.

Unfortunately, this ludicrous report is not a one-off. It appears to be part of an all-out attack on the Russian media coming from every angle. One of the most surprising developments comes from the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which apparently prides itself on protecting journalists and press freedom worldwide. RSF has declared that it will no longer give interviews to any reporters from the Rossiya Segodnya group, which includes RT and the Sputnik news agency.

Similarly, a couple of weeks ago US State Department spokesman John Kirby refused to acknowledge an RT reporter as being on an equal footing with other journalists in the briefing room. Kirby point blank refused to treat Gayane Chichakyan as being “on the same level” because she represented a “state-owned” outlet — despite AP reporter Matt Lee stepping in to defend her.

Now, while RT may be state-funded, one very much doubts that Kirby would chastise a reporter from, say, the virulently anti-Russia BBC, whose Trust members are all appointed by the Queen on the advice of UK government ministers. He probably also doesn’t worry too much about US government-funded media like the CIA-founded RFE/RL, which operates for the exclusive purpose of undermining the Russian government and spreading pro-US information. Around the same time as Kirby’s comment, RT’s video agency Ruptly was banned from attending a Pentagon media event because the agency is a “Russian propaganda platform.”

Now, if RT was spreading false information, all these concerned think tankers, government agencies, and politicians might have a point. But you would be hard-pressed to turn on RT any day of the week and hear one of its anchors spreading blatant lies. You might hear a different editorial slant than you would on CNN, but in a world dominated by Western corporate media, alternative viewpoints are necessary and refreshing.

Meanwhile, the British Parliament is set to hear another report denouncing public figures for their alleged links to Russia and the Russian media. Neo-McCarthyism has indeed gone global. The British report, cautiously and tastefully named ‘Putin’s Useful Idiots’ was written by Andrew Foxhall of the notorious neocon think tank the Henry Jackson Society. The report challenges the credibility of politicians or public figures who appear sympathetic to Russia and proposes a crackdown on such individuals.The British report even suggests news laws which could force politicians to declare all of their media appearances, presumably so those who appear on the likes of RT can be smeared as Kremlin agents and Putin’s puppets.

This is incredible and truly worrying. What is going on here should not be confused with anything to do with protecting democracy and the credibility of journalism. In fact, what the EU is doing is engaging in an all-out attack on journalism, much the same way they would accuse unfriendly governments of cracking down on the spread of information that did not suit the prevailing narrative. But dangerously, they are doing it under the guise of concern for democratic principles and values.

These people are suggesting it is nothing short of treasonous to hold an opinion that goes against the acceptable government-sanctioned consensus. In any other part of the world, this is the kind of mentality and action that Brussels and London criticize as a severe violation of media freedom and nothing short of state repression.

If the European project is solid as a rock, surely Brussels has nothing to worry about. But if a couple of Russian media outlets present such a grave threat to its existence, there must be some serious cracks in the foundations. Ultimately, it speaks to the fragility of the union that the EU so quickly throws its “values” out the window when the going gets tough.

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Iran’s president condoles death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro

In this handout picture released by Estudios Revolucion, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) is received by former Cuban president Fidel Castro (R) in his house in Havana, on September 19, 2016. (Via AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has extended his condolences to the Cuban government and nation as well as the Latin American people over the death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro.

In a message to Cuba’s President Raul Castro on Saturday, Rouhani said the death of the “indefatigable combatant and leader of Cuba’s Revolution” caused deep sorrow and grief for him.

“At a time that the world’s oppressed nations are suffering from the violation of the most basic and fundamental human principles such as peace, justice and freedom, there are fortunately noble men and combatants who do not give up the struggle until the last days of their lives to raise the justice- and freedom-seeking flag,” the Iranian president said.

Rouhani met with Fidel Castro during a one-day state visit in Havana on September 19. Rouhani visited Cuba after attending the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Venezuela.

Earlier on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his condolences over Fidel Castro’s death, saying he was a unique figure in the fight against colonialism and exploitation and was an icon of independence-seeking fights of the oppressed nations.

Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro, one of the world’s longest-serving and most iconic leaders, died on Saturday at the age of 90, his younger brother and successor as president, Raul, announced the news on state television.

Castro famously led a guerrilla campaign that gained popular support and ousted US-backed Cuban dictator General Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959. He was then named prime minister.

Castro ruled Cuba for five decades, until 2006, when he temporarily ceded power to his brother Raul because he had to undergo surgery. The transfer of power became official in 2008.

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Fidel Castro Ruz. His Legacy Will Live Forever

NOVANEWS
 
Fidel-Castro 2

Today, November 25, 2016 Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution has passed. His legacy will live forever. 

The Cuban Revolution constitutes a fundamental landmark in the history of humanity, which challenges the legitimacy of global capitalism.

In all major regions of the World, the Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration in the relentless struggle against colonial domination and US imperialism.

Fidel Castro was the embodiment of these struggles against global capitalism, committed to a World of Peace, a World of truth, where people join hands,  a World of understanding, a World of tolerance and respect.

Fidel Castro was “a man of tremendous integrity, with an acute mind and sense of humor, committed in the minute detail of his speech to social progress and the advancement of humankind, conscious of the dangers of the US led war and the Worldwide crisis, with exceptional skills of analysis and understanding of his fellow human beings, with a true sprit of internationalism and a tremendous knowledge of history, economics and geopolitics.” (quoted from my 2o10 introduction)

Fidel’s passing occurs at a time of crisis and upheaval of the World capitalist system.  

The World is at a critical crossroads. At this juncture of our history, most progressive movements towards socialism have been destroyed and defeated through US led wars, military interventions, destabilization campaigns, coups d’etats.

The socialist project in Cuba prevails despite the US economic blockade, CIA intelligence ops and dirty politics.

Let us be under no illusions. Washington’s intent is not only to destroy and undermine the Cuban Revolution but also to erase the history of socialism.

Fidel Lives.

The battle against war and neoliberalism nonetheless prevails. 

For the concurrent demise of neoliberalism and militarization which destroy people’s lives,

For the outright criminalization of America’s imperial wars,

For a World of Social Justice with a true “responsibility to protect” our fellow human beings,

Long Live Fidel Castro  

Fidel Castro Ruz at the United Nations General Assembly in 1960 (left)

*      *      *

Below is the introduction of my conversations with Fidel Castro on World War III and the Dangers of Nuclear War followed by the transcript of Fidel’s statement on the Dangers o Nuclear War

To read the full text of the conversations click here

Conversations with Fidel Castro: The Dangers of a Nuclear War

first published in November 2010

In October 2010, I had the opportunity of spending several days at Fidel Castro`s home in the suburbs of Havana. Our conversation and exchange which was subsequently published focussed on the dangers of nuclear war.

I had read Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during my high school days in Geneva, Switzerland and later at university in Britain and the US. When meeting him in person, I discovered a man of tremendous integrity, with an acute mind and sense of humor, committed in the minute detail of his speech to social progress and the advancement of humankind, conscious of the dangers of the US led war and the Worldwide crisis, with exceptional skills of analysis and understanding of his fellow human beings, with a true sprit of internationalism and a tremendous knowledge of history, economics and geopolitics.

On a daily basis, Fidel spends several hours reading a large number of detailed international press reports (As he mentioned to me with a smile, “I frequently consult articles from the Global Research website”…).

We focussed in large part on the dangers of nuclear war. Fidel Castro has the knack of addressing political details while relating them to key concepts. We also covered numerous complex international issues, focussing on the role of prominent political personalities, heads of State, authors and intellectuals. On the first day, when I met Fidel at his home, he was reading Bob Woodward’s best-seller The Obama Wars which had just been released. (See Picture below).

In this broad exchange of ideas, Fidel was invariably assertive in his views but at the same time respectful of those whom he condemned or criticized, particularly when discussing US presidential politics.

Fidel is acutely aware of the mechanisms of media disinformation and war propaganda and how they are used to undermine civil rights and social progress, not to mention the smear campaign directed against the Cuban revolution.

A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in our discussions was the ‘Battle of Ideas”.  The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” can change the course of World history.

In addressing and understanding this Worldwide crisis, commitment to the Truth and analysis of the lies and fabrications which sustain the corporate and financial elites is of utmost importance.

The overriding powers of the Truth can, under appropriate conditions, be used as a revolutionary instrument, as a catalyst to unseat the war criminals in high office, whose role and position is sustained by propaganda and media disinformation.

In relation to 9/11, Fidel  had expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Cuban people, with the victims of the tragic events of September 11 2001, while underscoring the lies and fabrications behind the official 9/11 narrative and how 9/11 has been used as a pretext to wage war.

Our focus was on nuclear war, which since our meeting last October [2010] has motivated me to write a book on the Dangers of Nuclear War. (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario. Global Research, Montreal, 2011)

The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.

The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, a “responsibility to protect” condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back:  human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.


Fidel Castro Ruz, October 15, 2010

Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.

This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

In his October 15, 2010 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:

“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.

“The Battle of Ideas” must be developed as a mass movement, nationally and internationally, waged by people across the land.

Fidel Castro Ruz has indelibly marked the history of both the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century.

Below is the transcript and video of Fidel’s historic October 15 2010 speech focussing on the dangers of a nuclear war, recorded by Global Research and Cuba Debate in his home in Havana in October 2010.

The American and European media in October 2010 decided in chorus not to acknowledge or even comment on Fidel Castro’s October 15, 2010 speech on the Dangers of Nuclear War. The evolving media consensus is that neither nuclear war nor nuclear energy constitute a threat to “the surrounding civilian population”.

*       *       *

Fidel Castro’s October 15, 2010 Message on the Dangers of Nuclear War

The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. This was candidly foreseen by scientist Albert Einstein who was able to measure their destructive capability to generate millions of degrees of heat, which would vaporize everything within a wide radius of action. This brilliant researcher had promoted the development of this weapon so that it would not become available to the genocidal Nazi regime.

Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation and of the totality of all the peoples on the planet.

Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

The World’s peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their Right to Live. When the life of humankind, of your people and your most beloved human beings run such a risk, nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late.

Albert Einstein himself stated unmistakably: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. We fully comprehend what he wanted to convey, and he was absolutely right, yet in the wake of a global nuclear war, there wouldn’t be anybody around to make use of those sticks and stones.

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 15, 2010

The following pictures wer taken after the filming of Fidel’s speech against Nuclear war, October 15, 2010 . Below is a Toast to World Peace.


Left to Right. Fidel Castro, Film Crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon


From Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Dalia Soto del Valle, Michel Chossudovsky. A Toast for World Peace. 


From Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Dalia Soto del Valle, Alexis Castro Soto del Valle, Randy Alonso Falcon and Michel Chossudovsky (Left)

Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Randy Alonso Falcon, Michel Chossudovsky, October 15, 2010. Copyright Global Research 2010

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