Archive | August 3rd, 2017

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

This article was first published on November 26, 2016 in the immediate wake of the 2016 US presidential elections

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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America’s Record of Murder and Mayhem Since 1945: Some of the Worst Hits

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The United States has killed, maimed, displaced, and otherwise harmed an astonishing number of people (according to Ward Churchill) in its 241-year record of murder and mayhem – including more than 20 million killed in 37 nations since 1945.

Direct Assault

A distinction exists between those Uncle Sam has directly assaulted and those he has more indirectly attacked. Examples of direct assault are numerous and horrible to contemplate.

The history of direct U.S.-military mass killing since 1945 includes:

* The firebombing of Tokyo: roughly 100,000 Japanese civilians incinerated when U.S. bombers created the greatest firestorm in history.

Hiroshima (146, 000 killed with a single bomb – what U.S. president Harry Truman called “the greatest thing in history”) and (80,000) Nagasaki: savagely unnecessary and arch-criminal atom-bombings carried out even though the U.S. high command knew that Japan was defeated and ready to accept U.S. surrender terms).

Four million killed in Korea to prevent national unification under Left and Soviet-allied power there between 1950 and 1953.

* The “crucifixion of Southeast Asia” (Noam Chomsky’s term at the time): the U.S. and its allies killed at least 3 million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians between 1962 and 1975. (Operation Phoenix, a CIA and military operation, alone killed 40,000 Vietnamese – more than wo-thirds the total U.S. body count in the so-called Vietnam War)

*Iran Air Flight 655: on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes crossed into Iranian waters and shot down an Iranian civilian plane, blowing 290 people out of the sky. (The Vincennes’ commander was granted an award for “exceptionally meritorious conduct.”)

*The “Highway of Death”:  U.S. fighter jets engaged in a frenzied slaughter of tens of thousands of surrendered Iraqi troops in 1991. (The Lebanese-American journalist Joyce Chediac testified that “U.S. forces continued to drop bombs on the convoys until all humans were killed. So many jets swarmed over the inland road that it created an aerial traffic jam, and combat air controllers feared midair collisions…. The victims were not offering resistance…it was simply a one-sided massacre of tens of thousands of people who had no ability to fight back or defend.”)

*Fallujah: the U.S. Marines waged chemical warfare and used radioactive ordnance in the process of leveling a great Iraqi city in April and November of 2004.

*Bola Boluk: an Afghan village where U.S. bombers blew 113 civilians (including dozens of children) to bits in May of 2009.

The U.S. drone war  program (2001 to present), aptly described by Noam Chomsky as “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times”: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports a minimum number of U.S. 3,734 drone strikes with nearly 10,000 killed, including 1,427 civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen “since the Bureau began collecting data.”  (Chomsky’s description referred to Obama’s drone record; Trump has dramatically increased drone strikes).

Bayda Province, Trump’s first blood: US Navy special forces carried out a raid – planned under the Obama administration and handed off to the incoming Trump team – that killed 25 civilians, including 10 children in the mountainous Yakla region of Yemen’s Bayda province. One of the children killed was an eight-year-old girlNawar al-Awlaki, daughter of the Islamist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed on the order of Barack Obama in a September 2011 US drone strike in Yemen. Nawar’s older brother, 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, was killed in a second drone strike soon afterwards. The continued U.S.  slaughter of akl-Awlaki’s children was consistent with Trump’s campaign claims that he would kill the relatives of terrorist suspects – a war crime. The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” Trump pronounced on  Fox News in December 2015.

Proxy Killing

Dreadful as such moments of direct imperial butchery may be, the United States may well have killed, maimed, and displaced more people indirectly, through proxies and clients.

In 1954, a CIA-orchestrated coup removed the democratically elected Guatemalan and Left government of Jacobo Arbenz. Over the next four decades, U.S.-backed right-wing Guatemalan regimes killed tens of thousands of peasants, workers, students, and activists.

In 1960, the CIA killed the Congo’s first independent head of state, the Left anti-colonialist leader Patrice Lumumba. The United States subsequently backed the brutal Congolese dictator Joseph Mobuto, who killed hundreds of thousands. (The U.S. has since been significantly responsible for as many 3 million deaths in that resource-rich country ever since. It sponsors and protects the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, whose body count in his own country and Congo runs into the tens of thousands.)

In 1965 and 1966, the United States worked with Britain and Australia to help orchestrate the overthrow the democratically elected Left government of Indonesia and the subsequent massacre of somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million Indonesian peasants, workers, intellectuals, and activists. Coup General Suharto received rich military and economic assistance from the U.S. over three decades of subsequent authoritarian rule.

In December of 1975, Suharto got a green light from his sponsors in Washington to invade East Timor. The Indonesian military received advanced weaponry from the United States and the U.S. client Israel as it brutally annexed the poor island nation and killed at least 180,000 of its inhabitants.

In 1973, a CIA-engineered coup overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of Chilean president Salvador Allende and replaced him with the fascist butcher and close U.S. all General Augusto Pinochet.  Pinochet’s regime killed 30,000 workers, students, peasant, intellectuals and activists killed while introducing U.S.- (University of Chicago-) imported economic policies during the 1970s and 1980s.

A U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-equipped fascist regime in Argentina and allied death squads killed as many 30,000 workers, students, intellectuals, and activists in that country between 1974 and 1983.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, Washington, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan created the extremist Islamo-Wahhabist forces that became al Qaeda and the Taliban as part of the U.S. Cold War with the Soviet Union and to destabilize a pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. These Sunni jihadist forces have killed hundreds of the thousands of people in Southwest Asia and the Middle East ever since.

U.S.-sponsored authoritarian regimes in Central America killed over 300,000 people during Ronald Reagan’s two terms. Lavish funding, training and equipment from Washington fueled this epic bloodshed. Victims were murdered and maimed as punishment for—and warnings against—participation in popular struggles to redistribute land and improve working and social conditions for peasants and workers in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Tens of thousands of Iranians were executed with U.S. economic, political, and military assistance and sponsorship by the Iranian dictator Mohammad Reza Shah Palevi, who was installed into power after a CIA-engineered coup overthrew Iran’s democratically elected Left government in 1953.

Between 1980 and 1988, the U.S. backed Iraq in an epic war with Iran. This horrific conflict produced at least 1 million Iranian casualties, including 300,000 soldiers killed and untold thousands still suffering from Iraqi chemical weapons developed with U.S. assistance.

The U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-armed Israeli government has killed hundreds of thousands if not millions (estimates vary) of Palestinians. It is a major recipient of U.S. military assistance as it continues to impose its vicious apartheid and settlement regime on the Palestinians with an iron fist.

An estimated 465,000 Syrians have been killed or gone missing in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, a conflict that has been significantly fueled by the U.S. and allied powers including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Saudi Arabia, the most reactionary government on Earth, has slaughtered untold tens of thousands of dissenters and ethnic (Shia Muslim) minorities with U.S. arms, economic assistance, and diplomatic cover. It is home to the extreme Sunni-Wahabbist ideology that has fueled mass-murderous jihadists affiliated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State, which have received lavish funding from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi kingdom is a prized U.S. ally that has been visited by both President Obama and Trump in recent years. Trump went to Riyadh last May to seal a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis.

Untold tens of thousands of Black Africans died at the at hands of the U.S. supported apartheid regime of South Africa during the Cold War era.

U.S.-backed regimes and paramilitary forces (especially the UNITA armies that waged war on socialist Angola in the 1970s and 1980s) have killed many hundreds of thousands if not millions more in Africa since 1945. (Many hundreds of thousands of Congolese have died at the hands of the U.S.-sponsored Rwandan regime and related Congolese death squads in the post-Mobuto era. The current significantly U.S.-instigated South Sudanese civil war has killed an estimated 300,000.)

This is a very partial list. For a more comprehensive record, see William BlumRogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Common Courage, 2005) and Ward ChurchillOn the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Arrogance and Criminality (AK Press, 2003).

Given this record, it is hardly surprising that the United States has long been the nation that is most viewed by people the world over as the greatest threat to peace and security on the planet. This while the imperial homeland’s reigning media and politics culture claims that the United States is an exceptionally noble and democratic force for good and liberty the world over, leaving untold millions of U.S. Americans childishly clueless about the eternally and absurdly asked question: “why oh why do they hate wonderful us?”

Featured image is from the author.

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Venezuela: 10 Dead, 200 Voting Centers Attacked as US Sanctions Maduro

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Featured image: CNE President said Venezuela voted “massively” for the National Constituent Assembly. | Photo: EFE

The U.S. government slapped sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro one day after the South American country saw record turnout in National Constituent Assembly (ANC) elections amid deadly opposition violence. 

On Monday, the US Treasury Department labeled the elected Venezuelan leader a “dictator” and froze his alleged assets in the United States. The measure was legally authorized under Executive Order 13692, which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 and brands Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security.

For his part, Maduro fired back at the White House, calling the move an “expression of impotence [and] desperation”.

“They [the US] see Latin America as a lapdog that wags its tail and nods yes. It’s an irate reaction because the Venezuelan people and its president disobeyed [the US’] order to suspend the National Constituent Assembly,” he declared.

“I don’t obey imperial orders and moreover [I am] against US imperialism,” the head of state continued.

Mixed reactions

The sanctions come on the heels of ANC elections that saw 8,089,4320 Venezuelans turn out to vote, a figure that surpasses the 7,587,579 votes Maduro received in his narrow 2013 election victory.

In the lead-up to the elections, Washington sanctioned 13 top Venezuelan officials and threatened “strong and swift economic actions” if the initiative to redraft Venezuela’s constitution went ahead.

Despite the high turnout, the US State Department has refused to recognize election and several close US allies have followed suit, including Canada, Spain, the UK, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama. The European Union similarly expressed “grave doubts as to whether the election result can be recognized”.

For its part, Russia dismissed the international chorus rejecting the result as “destructive”.

“We hope that those members of the international community who want to reject the results of the Venezuelan elections and increase the economic pressure on Caracas, show restraint and renounce these destructive plans that can sharpen the polarization of Venezuelan society,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, regional leftist governments, including Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, congratulated Venezuela on the successful election.

Image result

Bolivian President Evo Morales (Source: Global Risk Insights)

In particular, Bolivian President Evo Morales hit out at Mexico and Colombia, whom he said would do well to “have their own constituent assembly… to change their capitalist system, their imperialist system”.

Within Venezuela, the result sparked condemnation from the country’s right-wing opposition coalition, the MUD, as well as Attorney General Luisa Ortega.

The MUD, which boycotted the elections despite repeated overtures from the government to participate, has raised allegations of voter fraud, but has yet to provide evidence to back its claims.

“We do not recognize this fraudulent process, for us it is null and void,” declared Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles.

As the MUD candidate against Maduro in 2013 presidential elections, Capriles refused to recognize his narrow defeat, calling on his supporters to “vent their anger” in the streets. Eleven people were killed in the ensuing post-election violence.

International electoral observers, for their part, reported that the electoral process was transparent.

“[Venezuelans] have concurred in a civic and peaceful manner to exercise their right to vote in a free, universal, direct, and secret election as expressed in Article 63 of the Bolivarian Constitution,” stated the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America, which is composed of ex-presidents and electoral monitoring officials from throughout the region.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced the preliminary results on Sunday evening, but it has yet to release the state-by-state vote breakdown as well as the full list of candidates elected. On Monday, the electoral body was the target of a cyber attack by opposition hackers that shut down its website for a number of hours, together with that of Venezuela’s state television network.

Violent unrest claims 10 lives 

Sunday’s vote was rocked by deadly anti-government violence aimed at preventing the election from taking place.

On the eve of the vote, an ANC candidate for the communes sector was assassinated in Bolivar state. Children’s rights activist and community organizer Felix Pineda Marcano (39) was gunned down in his home in Ciudad Bolivar on Saturday evening. Authorities are actively investigating the murder, which they believe could be politically motivated.

Meanwhile, over the course of the day, 200 voting stations were besieged by opposition militants across the country, according to Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

In Tachira state, National Guard Second Sergeant Ronald Ramirez was shot in the head and killed near a military installation in La Grita.

The Public Prosecution (MP) has reported 9 other deaths over the course of the day’s events.

In addition to Ramirez, two unnamed adolescents and a third man by the name of Jose Cardenaswere killed in Tachira state. In Merida, Angelo Mendez and Eduardo Olave were killed in the early hours of the morning before voting began, while Jose Sanchez also lost his life under unknown circumstances.

In Lara state, Luis Zambrano (43) was reportedly shot dead in an anti-government protest in Barquisimeto. Elsewhere in Sucre state, the MP confirmed the death of Democratic Action youth leaderRicardo Campos during an opposition protest in the early hours of the morning.

A man by the name of Haidar Ocando was likewise killed in Zulia state, though no further details are yet known concerning the cause of death. The MP has dispatched state district attorneys to investigate all of the fatalities.

Meanwhile, the heavily pro-opposition Altamira neighborhood of eastern Caracas was the scene of another roadside bomb attack targeting a Bolivarian National Police motorcycle caravan.

As captured on camera, the police motorcyclists are seen driving down Francisco de Miranda Avenue when suddenly a bomb goes off, producing a giant explosion as onlookers cheer.

Eight officers were injured in the blast with first, second, and third degree burns. The Public Prosecution is investigating.

The incident marks the second time in a month that large-scale explosive devices has been used in the wealthy eastern Caracas municipality of Chacao. On July 10, seven National Guard officials were injured in a similar remote-detonated explosion.

In total, the Interior Ministry has reported that 21 state security personnel suffered gunshot wounds over the course of the day. Forty-nine people were arrested for attacks on military personnel on Sunday.

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Mass Palestinian Outpouring Defeats ‘Israel’ Land Grab at al-Aqsa Mosque

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Featured image: Masses of Palestinians praying outside al-Aqsa Mosque (Source: Liberation News)

Mass civil disobedience of thousands of Palestinian people has defeated an Israeli attempt to take territory around al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem by installing barricades and metal detectors at entrances.

“The spirit of unity amongst Jerusalemites today has been extraordinary. People from all walks of life, practicing Muslims and non-practicing Muslims and even Christians, have taken part in directly protesting the closure of Al-Aqsa. We all recognize the significance of this battle, and so we all resist,”  according to Jalal Abukhater, who lives in East Jerusalem (Electronic Intifada, July 25).

For two weeks Palestinian worshippers refuse to go through metal detectors, and prayed in the thousands in the streets outside the compound, day and night. Thousands of jubilant, chanting Palestinian surrounded the Israelis removing the final security obstacles in the early hours of July 27. A celebratory fireworks display was held in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Western media has given scant coverage to this important struggle, nor to the increasing repression which ignited it. Corporate media reporting on Palestine, when it does happen, often obscures the issues. For instance, recent reporting in the New York Times and other outlets gives the impression that Israel has some claims at al-Aqsa. The reality is that Israel’s presence there violates international law.

The compound, known to Muslims as the Holy Sanctuary, includes the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is one of the holiest shrines for Muslims all over the world, as well as an important symbol of Palestinian identity. The shrine in located in the West Bank, which Israel has illegally occupied for 50 years. No government recognizes Israeli sovereignty there.

Rightwing groups, some funded by the Israeli government have long sought to occupy this sanctuary, even to destroy the Islamic holy sites at the al-Aqsa mosque compound and replace them with a Jewish temple.

Israel’s unilateral installation of metal detectors and barricades at the shrine was a challenge to the Palestinian Muslim authorities who govern the Sanctuary and to Palestinian sovereignty in this holy site. The Palestinian National Authority, Fatah, Hamas and the Waqf religious trust that administers the site all backed the boycott. The Palestinian Authority even suspended its security cooperation with Israel in protest. .

Protests spread to Jordan

Jordan is the legal custodian of the shrine. Israel’s encroachment there even provoked protest from Amman, an Israeli ally and U.S. client. Adding insult to injury, an Israeli security guard in the Israeli embassy compound in Amman who shot dead two Jordanians was given a hero’s welcome on his return to Israel by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Hundreds responded by demonstrating outside the Israeli compound on July 28, demanding that the Israeli embassy be closed.

Boycotters withstood repeated Israeli attacks

The al-Aqsa boycotters withstood repeated attacks by Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades, and spraying the protesters with water hoses. More than 1,000 Palestinians were injured according to the Palestinian Red Crescent and three Palestinians killed.

East Jerusalem leaders were arbitrarily arrested. The Palestinian al-Makassed hospital, where the wounded were treated, was stormed twice by Israeli soldiers and police The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that journalists covering al-Aqsa were punched in the chest, hit on the head with batons, tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets by Israeli security forces.

On July 27, just one hour after the mosque reopened without metal detectors, as thousands poured in, Israeli soldiers attacked the crowd with stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and water hoses, wounding 100, and prohibiting all men under 30 from entering. By July 28, however, all Palestinians had won their right to enter the mosque, and more than 10,000 came to worship, according to the Waqf.

50 years of Israeli provocations

The metal detectors were installed following a July 14 incident. Israel maintains that men coming out of Al-Aqsa mosque that day shot dead two Israeli occupation police guarding the compound. But Israeli police have no business on Palestinian land which is not theirs to “guard,” and their presence, particularly at this shrine, is a provocation. The site, which Israel calls the Temple Mount, has been the scene for Israeli government and rightwing provocation since it was seized in 1967.

For example, those who seek to destroy the mosques are allowed to tour the Holy Sanctuary grounds on a daily basis under military protection. They try to provoke Palestinian worshippers by shouting and singing Israeli anthems.

Life in Jerusalem’s Old City is constantly disrupted by Israeli security forces that strut through the streets and alleys fully armed, threatening and humiliating Palestinians. The Israeli invasion increases on Fridays, when thousands come to worship. Barricades are put up and the police block the roads so that thousands of worshippers must walk single file surrounded by heavily armed soldiers. IDs are checked, and police arbitrarily denying worshipper’s entry into the Old City where the shrines are located.

“Al-Aqsa is also central to Palestinian economic and social activity in Jerusalem, said Abukhater. Palestinians also view Israel’s measures at al-Aqsa as part of an ongoing effort to erase all Palestinian life in the city, ” said Abukhater.

“I see the decline of the city in growing poverty, disappearing street vendors, the total absence of nightlife and the lack of public hangout places and cafes… Palestinian traders in Jerusalem depend largely on the vast numbers of worshippers who regularly make their way to al-Aqsa,”  he added. (Electronic Intifada, July 25)

Israeli settlers not “innocent victims”

In the midst of this struggle, on July 21 a young Palestinian man wielding a knife killed three Israelis in the West Bank Israeli settlement of Halamish. Much of the western media has derided this as “killing of innocent civilians.” A close look at the residents of Halamish reveals they are far from innocent. They are the front line of Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land. Settlers from Halamish regularly burn the olive trees of neighboring Palestinians, attack the villagers, and take their land and water. For several years Palestinian have held protest marches against Halamish violence. The Israeli military suppresses the protests, while doing nothing to curb the settler violence.

A more realistic picture of settler behavior can be seen in a video circulating on Facebook and available on Electronic Intifada. It shows scores of settlers storming a Palestinian home in Hebron and terrorizing the family living there while Israeli soldiers do nothing. The settlers returned the next day under military escort, took over two of the three floors, and moved in their own furniture.

“Abu Rajab” family resist the theft of their house as Israeli settlers and soldiers try to occupy/seize it – Dura city, south of West Bank.

U.S. funds Israeli repression

This blatant and gut wrenching repression wouldn’t be possible without the billions of dollars in financial, military and political assistance that the U.S. gives to Israel each year. U.S. aid to Israel should be stopped, and the money used instead to meet human needs here at home. No U.S. elected official, will raise this demand. Instead, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for people in the U.S. to support the international boycott against Israel which protests the occupation of Palestine!

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“Mother of All Bombs”: The Dark Sides of Afghanistan’s MOAB Tragedy are Unfolding

NOVANEWS
  

Featured image: A Massive Ordnance Air Blast– or more commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs -(MOAB) weapon is prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center on March 11, 2003. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The GBU-43/B (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) which is colloquially known as “Mother of All Bombs” is a term that is still clinging on to our minds, importantly for its malignant consequences leaving in the ground. The appalling health impacts that are coming into the surface open the door for researches into further potential aftereffects.

An array of reasons has been placed behind the use of MOAB including mine extraction. Zahir Qadeer, an Afghan Member of Parliament alleged that a blast of this magnitude was needed to generate a crack in the mountain and enable mining process to proceed. He refused MOAB wrecked any harm to the Islamic State’s strongholds even though they are abounding there.

The use of destructive weapon as such could kill several birds with one stone. It earned Donald Trumpsomewhat uplift in status amid disgraces whirling around White House at that time. It also played a commercial advertisement for purchasers of the US arms, in part for being over-hyped.

In an interview, an Afghan environment protection expert explained that MOAB-like bombs exposes hazardous chemicals into air that causes cancer, respiratory and digestive problems, deformities in babies, strokes, high blood pressure and weakened vision. It severely contaminates food and water that even stay afloat to affect next generation.

A psychologist, Jaffar Ahmadi, described that such blasts spawn psychological disorders and fear among the affected population. The stricken people, he says, feel petrified and insecure. According to data, MOAB annihilates living things within a range of five km and its effects persist in air for decades. It also robs away oxygen for inhalation in a matter of several km from epicenter.

The Kabul-based Killid Group ventured into villages where MOAB-hit people had a ton of words to utter. A resident of Asad Khil village, Ghazeer, said that the bomb has born health hazards. He told Killid group:

“My Children are scared to sleep at night. Our skin is itching; small spots have appeared on the bodies of all people here. Our throats hurt. We are scared”

Another interviewee from the same village, Noor Bibi told the media group that the fierce explosion has almost blinded her. She acknowledges that:

“The bomb turned people blind and deaf. I can’t see anything, my skin is itching, my four grandchildren have chest problems and they also complain about their eyes”

In 2001, a day after the US soldiers first set foot in Afghanistan and captured Bagram airbase, it aerially attacked the final Al-Qaeda sanctuaries in notorious Tora Bora district in eastern Afghanistan. The air campaign continued until December 6 so intensely that a missile would land every two minute. It incurred great human fatalities and extensive financial loss. According to history records, the explosions would produce ear-splitting sound that caused ear-bleeding in many districts.

Sometime later, investigations found that the US had used short-range nuclear missiles. It left behind scores of creepy instances such as a drop in animal breeding in the area, a dramatic fall in agricultural products, and a few goats gave birth to defective babies.

Some British media reported that radioactive materials have also been observed in the area. Following the US bombings in many southern provinces, several babies were born eerily unlike normal humans, which doctors associated with the existence of radioactive material.

Afghanistan is far ill-equipped to move into timely investigations and take on preventative measures in sites where fatal exposures have been reported following the use of vicious weapons. A senior WHO official told BBC’s One Planet that no demand was made by Afghan authorities regarding the investigation of depleted uranium used by the US forces in 2001.

A Canadian investigation group initiated a research right after the US invasion of Afghanistan into the use of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU). The group found a startling degree of uranium in Afghans as result of testing urines which, in some samples, was multifold the result of Gulf War victims. At the time, the hospitals recorded a mounting number of malformed babies. Even the wildlife and plants were infected.

The Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC) chief Dr. Asef Dracovic in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2002 said that the US forces used more DU weapons in Afghanistan than they used in the Persian Gulf War and the Balkans War. He said:

“A large number of health specialists in Afghanistan and international observers regard the risen number of birth defects to be the direct result of the US dropping of DU bombs on Afghanistan”.

Uranium is most likely used in warheads to maximize the effectiveness and destructivity of the weapon. According to reports, by comparison, the US-UK armed forces have used three times more uranium-based weapons in Afghanistan than they did in Iraq or in the Balkans. The reports elaborate that the Weapons of Mass Destruction used in Afghanistan are more powerful than those used in Iraq and possibly elsewhere.

U.S. forces and Afghan commandos are seen in Asad Khil near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 17, 2017. U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Thursday struck an Islamic State tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon every used in combat by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) Photo: Rahmat Gul, STF / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

U.S. forces and Afghan commandos are seen in Asad Khil near the site of a U.S. bombing in the Achin district of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 17, 2017. (Source: Rahmat Gul, STF)

The UMRC concluded two different types of researches with fruitful findings. They recognized the utilization of uranium-based weapons by discovering mysterious forms of metal in Afghan soil samples, as well as found out symptoms of illnesses associated with DU contamination. They, as did a Canadian research group, analyzed urines from residents of eastern Jalalabad city of Afghanistan with positive results.

Dr. Wazir, a surgeon at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital gave accounts of instances that bolstered the allegations of DU use near Tora Bora district in 2001. He said that a 10-year-old boy with superficial injuries died from respiratory problems after the bombing. Among dozens of cases, three other teenage patients, dr. said, who were rushed to hospital with minor wounds from the bombings, succumbed hours after breathing difficulties and internal bleeding.

Victims of such weapons suffer without injuries, burns or other forms we witness in ordinary blasts. There is, instead, bleeding from mouth, nostrils, ears, bleeding through urine and stool, vomiting and others that are signs of agony.

Many Taliban members assaulted by the US airstrikes in 2001 have died the same way. Surprisingly, some Taliban affiliates who survived the bombings, died after returning to their native villages. Their families were baffled about their weird reactions in moments leading to death. The weapon’s implications were as severe as in some cases it melted the rifles of the Taliban in their hands, yet there was no trace of burn in bodies.

Another independent DU researcher, Dai Williams described there has been 50 to 100 times greater health hazards in Afghanistan than had been in Balkans from the usage of uranium-based weapons, depleted uranium or other forms of uranium.

As a postscript to the use of dangerous weapons in Afghanistan, Pakistan buried a huge heap of nuclear waste in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan. An Afghan environment protection expert, Humayun Kazem explained that Pakistan availed the opportunity of amicable relations with the Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001 and reached out to southern Helmand province to dispose of its nuclear wastes. According to his accounts, it now needs billions of dollars to be safely decontaminated. There is no report of human infections from exposure to the buried wastes so far.

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Trump, ‘Israel’ and the Pursuit of War on Iran: Trump Hopes that Iran Will Violate Nuclear Deal

NOVANEWS

The Trump administration is relentless in its push for war against Iran. The New York Times reported that Trump has ordered his national security aides to find a way to accuse the Iranian government of violating its nuclear agreement they signed in 2015 with what is known as the P5+1 under the Obama Administration. The New York Times report by David E. Sanger titled ‘Trump Seeks Way to Declare Iran in Violation of Nuclear Deal’ said that President Trump “has instructed them to find a rationale for declaring that the country is violating the terms of the accord.” 

Although last month, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley (who is a war hawk) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives committee on Iran’s nuclear and said that “In reference to the JCPOA, we’re not seeing any sort of violations of that” although she did mention that “They’re going to continue their nuclear capabilities and we just gave them a lot of money to do it with” following Trump’s view that the Iran’s nuclear deal was bad to begin with.

According to The New York Times report

“U.S. officials have already told allies they should be prepared to join in reopening negotiations with Iran or expect that the United States may abandon the agreement, as it did the Paris climate accord.”

One important aspect of the Nuclear Deal is that it can be abandoned because it was not necessarily a treaty since Obama did not have full support of the Senate that was dominated by the Republicans who most are anti-Iran and in the pockets of the Israeli lobby. According to Sanger:

Mr. Trump has enormous latitude to abandon the accord. It was never a treaty because President Barack Obama knew that opposition to the agreement in the Republican-dominated Senate was so great that he could never get the two-thirds majority needed for ratification. Instead, he made an executive agreement, one that his successor could eliminate by merely disregarding the accord’s requirement to waive sanctions against Iran.

The Trump Administration has notified international inspectors in Vienna that “the possibility of demanding access to military sites in Iran where there is reasonable suspicion of nuclear research or development” the report continued “If the Iranians balk, as seems likely, their refusal could enable Washington to declare Tehran in violation of the 2-year-old deal.” What would that mean? For starters, the U.S. would impose harsh sanctions against Iran which would see retaliatory actions by the Iranians including the complete elimination of the U.S. dollar in its oil trades.

Trump is so eager to accuse Iran of violating the nuclear deal that he even hesitated to certify that Iran complied with the nuclear agreement.

“Trump initially balked at certifying, for a second time since he took office, that Iran is in compliance with the agreement. He later reluctantly approved the certification” according to the report.

Parties who signed on to the nuclear agreement which includes Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia do not share Trump’s view. Trump told The Wall Street Journal that “We’re doing very detailed studies” and according to Trump “I think they’ll be noncompliant.” Trump surely hopes that Iran would be non-compliant.

It seems that the Trump administration is looking for any excuse to go to war with Iran even though Russia and China will back Iran if the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia were foolish enough to launch an attack on the Islamic Republic. Does the Trump Administration realize that Iran is not Iraq? The U.S. is setting itself up for another humiliating defeat, perhaps worse than Vietnam. Iran has a capable military plus a population (whether they are for or against the Iranian government) that would join the fight to defend their homeland. Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and Syria would also prepare for war against Israel and the U.S. Besides a devastating military confrontation, Washington’s war with Iran would have enormous repercussions for the U.S. economy including the fact that Iran, Russia and possibly China would most likely dump the U.S. dollar in retaliation.

Trump wants to destabilize and eventually destroy Iran so that Israel can dominate the Middle East, something that the Israeli’s would appreciate. If you follow the money, the U.S. and Israel have a mutual interest in the Middle East and that is to control its vast natural resources and its Arab population.

A war against Iran seems inevitable, however, it is important to note that Iran has a strong military (stronger than even North Korea) that can defend itself and with Russia and China on its side, the U.S. would be in a lose-lose situation. However, one important fact to consider is that the U.S. usually goes to war against weaker nations like Panama or Grenada and even Iraq who was already weakened by a decade of sanctions under then U.S. president Bill Clinton which paved the way for George W. Bush’s invasion in 2003.

Iran is not the only nation targeted for war, North Korea is also on the list as Nikki Haley said in a recent statement

“The time for talk is over. The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all.”

The Trump administration is edging towards war in two continents which would cost trillions of dollars which the U.S. economy can not afford.

A war with Iran seems inevitable. North Korea and even Venezuela are also on Washington’s list for a future military conflict or regime change. One thing is certain, Trump will enter a new war in the foreseeable future following his predecessors long legacy of war, death and destruction.

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Venezuela – The National Constituent Assembly Is in Place – But the Fight for Sovereignty Isn’t Over

NOVANEWS
 

Venezuela has voted on 30 July for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente) with a resounding close to 8.1 million votes, or over 41% of the total eligible electorate. The figure was confirmed by the president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena. The Chavistas battle cry before the elections was Venceremos! – Ché Guevaras favored revolutionary slogan. And the day after, 31 July, the victorious Ganamos! Accompanied by dancing in the streets.

To counter the mainstream presstitute mass media slandering of Venezuela, calling the legitimate democratically elected President a dictator, and that the vote was illegitimate and against the present Venezuelan Constitution – lets explain upfront what the Constitution says:

Article 347 of Venezuela’s constitution:

“The original constituent power rests with the people of Venezuela. This power may be exercised by calling a National Constituent Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new juridical order and drawing up a new Constitution.”

Article 348 states

“(t)he initiative for calling a National Constituent Assembly may emanate from the President of the Republic sitting with the Cabinet of Ministers; from the National Assembly by a two-thirds vote of its members; from the Municipal Councils in open session, by a two-thirds vote of their members; and from 15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry.”

Article 349 states

“(t)he President of the Republic shall not have the power to object to the new Constitution. The existing constituted authorities shall not be permitted to obstruct the Constituent Assembly in any way.”

The process to vote for the ANC is complex but highly democratic. The 30 July election chose 545 members to the National Constituent Assembly, of which two thirds (364) were elected on a regional or territorial basis, and one third (181) by sectors of professions or activities, i.e. students, farmers, unions of different labor forces, employees, business owners – and so on. This cross-section of people’s representation is the most solid basis for democracy. See also:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-is-venezuela-in-the-white-houses-crosshairs/5594240.

The 8.1million pro-ANC vote may, at first sight, with 41% of total eligible voters not constitute an absolute majority, but they are a legitimate majority analyzed from different perspectives. The only historic data we currently have on Venezuela is the one from the 1999 Constitution (still valid today), which President Hugo Chavez Frias, elected in 1998, initiated after asking the people whether they agreed to the drafting of a new Constitution. He received an overwhelming 80% support.

Assuming that on average about 20% to 25% of the electorate do not vote (based on the past 19 elections since the Bolivarian Revolutionary Government took over in 1998), of the 20 million eligible electorate, about 15 million could be expected to vote. With 8.1million ANC supporters, the National Constituent Assembly resulting from the 30 July elections is a clear majority, about 54%.

The election result is another resounding victory, when compared to the opposition’s plebiscite, illegally held a week earlier. The opposition claims having received 7.2 million votes against the ANC. However, by all observers, including internationals, this is a highly questionable and probably vastly inflated figure, based on their election boots which were a fraction of those of the ANC election process countrywide. Plus, the announced result cannot be checked, as the voter’s bulletins were burned by the opposition, as soon as they informed the public of the plebiscite’s result. However, even assuming this figure was correct – which it most likely isn’t – the total alleged votes cast between the official ANC process and the illegitimate referendum would amount to 15.3 million, of which 8.1 million represents about 53%, or an absolute majority of the votes cast.

For analysis sake, let’s just look at the curious composition of votes the oppositions claims having received. In their referendum people had to respond with yes, or no to three questions, with each one being a leading question against the ANC. Each one of the three answers counted for one vote, thus, there were up to three votes per person. The same people also were allowed to vote in several districts. During the press conference held by the opposition, a journalist asked whether it was correct that one voter could cast his / her vote 17 times. The answer of one of the directors was yes, but it may be discovered at the final count. There were also stories of 10-year old kids and other minors voting. Also, there are 101,000 eligible voters abroad – but according to the opposition, the votes received from Venezuelans living outside Venezuela were almost 700,000.

The illegitimate – yes, illegitimate – opposition vote is pure farce. Though it can never be checked, since the votes were burned and given the above details, the promulgated results of 7.2 million votes against the ANC would have to be discounted by at least 30% to 50%. Yes, illegitimate, as the Constitution does not allow interference from anybody, once the ANC process has been launched.

Curiously though, the opposition, having the majority in the National Assembly could have initiated themselves an National Constituent Assembly. They didn’t. They could have actively participated inPresident Maduro’s ANC vote and presented their own candidates as they would have, had they respected the principles of democracy. They didn’t do that either. It is clear, they are not interested in a democratic process. They are not interested even in dialogue, one of Mr. Maduro’s priorities for conflict resolution. They want a violent ‘regime change’ – that’s what their Washington masters want and pays them for.

Image result for venezuela national constituent assembly

Maduro expressed gratitude for the solidarity of the peoples of the world with the country’s Constituent Assembly process. (Photo: AVN via Granma)

The most vociferous critics of the process came from the usual villains, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, NYT, even The Guardian, but so far relatively few from the EU and her members. One of the countries that sticks out most with her unsolicited comment is “neutral” Switzerland, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on President Maduro, to cancel the elections for the new National Constitutional Assembly in ‘respect of democracy’. It further declared through the Swiss state-run radio-TV station, SRG, that the elections were illegal, as they are against the Constitution – which is a blatant lie, the Swiss Executive is aware of, but it pleases for sure Washington.

The Trump Administration also said it would not recognize the vote and slammed more heavy sanctions on Venezuela, among them, blocking President Maduro’s alleged ‘assets held in the US’. This in itself is a massive and ridiculous propaganda falsehood. It must be clear to any dimwit, that President Maduro does not have assets in the US. Washington forced ‘sanctions’ will probably also follow from its European vassals.

The right-wing puppet leaders (sic) in Latin America have of course also immediately played to the tune of their northern masters. The first one to do so was Peru’s President Pablo Kuczynski, saying that his government would not recognize the result of the elections. But who cares what Peru thinks about sovereign democratic Venezuela? – His arrogance went as far as calling upon the Peruvian Prime Minister to form a committee that should look into possible actions Peru could and should take against Venezuela. If one knows the level of corruption that literally runs Peru – one of the worst, if not the worst of all Latin America – and the way Kuczynski was ‘elected’, or rather shoed in by his Washington Masters, one can just chuckle in disbelief. If there was any un-bought, uncorrupted functioning legal system in Peru – the last five consecutive Presidents would now be in jail for corruption and crimes against humanity, including the present one.

Of course, Colombia and Mexico, among the staunchest vassals of the northern empire were also accusing Venezuela’s ANC initiative as being illegitimate, anti-democratic, for the sole purpose of allowing President Maduro to become a dictator and to bend the new Constitution so that he may stay President for life. None of this is of course intended or in the cards, or indeed allowed under the Constitution and the National Assembly still in place. In fact, according to the Constitution, neither the President or the National Assembly which is not being resolved or replaced by the new National Constituent Assembly, have a right to interfere in ANC’s process of drafting a new Constitution.

On a recent visit to Mexico, the ultra-right-wing (Tea Party) CIA chief, Mr. Pompeo, pledged for both Mexico and Colombia to help assure that the situation in Venezuela is being corrected. Let’s not forget, Colombia’s President Santos (the latest Peace Nobel Laureate!) has already several months ago asked Brussels to send NATO troop to Colombia. They may already be there. With a 2,200 km porous border between Colombia and Venezuela, infiltration of Colombian and NATO troops into Venezuela would not be complicated.

Among the few but strong supporters of the ANC and which called for the world to respect this legitimate and democratic process, were Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Iran, China and Russia. Others may follow. So far Brussels has only been mumbling. What remains to be seen is how these countries, notably Russia and China, would react, when it comes down to the wire with a possible CIA / US / NATO instigated coup à la Maidan, in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2014.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 16: An expatriate Venezuelan casts her ballot during an unofficial referendum, or plebiscite, held by Venezuela's opposition against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro's government on July 16, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Voting was conducted across 2,000 polling centers in Venezuela and in more than 80 countries around the world amidst a severe crisis in Venezuela. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Source: MR Online

Why did President Maduro call now for a National Constituent Assembly to modify or redraft the current Constitution? – The answer is simple. Dictators around the world, like France under Macron, the UK under Mme. May, and probably soon Germany under Mme. Merkel, would call for Martial Law to clamp down ‘legitimately’ on the peoples’ rights and carry through their atrocious militarization and austerity programs, as well as to ’selectively curtail foreign influence’.

President Maduro, instead, follows democratic principles to the core. The purpose of a new or reality adjusted Constitution has precisely to do with foreign interference to the detriment of Venezuela’s economy. They include outside orchestrated food and medical supply shortages; from Miami manipulated black-market vs. official exchange rates, ruining local purchasing power, thereby causing inflation and a sagging economy; foreign news networks deadly propaganda; and infiltration of foreign trained, armed and funded violent terror groups to help organizing the relatively small Venezuelan elitist opposition to cause havoc and civil unrest – as we have seen over  the last several months in the runup to these ANC elections. The US State Department funded NED – National Endowment for Democracy – is a key sponsor of violent opposition in Venezuela, as well as elsewhere in the world. The new or adjusted Constitution is expected to allow the government to sovereignly control its borders and its economy with whatever means it has to take to keep the criminals out and regain full sovereignty.

These vicious foreign supported groups have cost the life of some 110 people during the last few months leading up to the ANC vote, through the most horrendous acts of terror, including lynching, burning alive, shooting, looting of shops, attacking and destroying schools, public infrastructure, police headquarters and more. There is no end to the list of heinous crimes committed by the so-called opposition – which is nothing else as a tool for the Washington tyrant-in-chief, who will not let go until he has achieved ‘regime change’.

The presstitute doesn’t present this real picture of things. They portray the violence and dead toll as the government’s responsibility. In fact, thanks to the diligence of national police and the 200,000 military forces deployed throughout the country in the last couple of weeks to protect the population, the voters, in the leadup to the elections, violence and dead tolls were kept in check. Violent outbreak would have most likely been even more atrocious without the military deployment.

A new puppet government would return Venezuela to the pre-Chavez years – or most likely much worse – giving away Venezuelans world’s largest hydrocarbon deposit is to US petrol giants and torturing Chavistas and anybody who had in the past opposed and still opposes the violent undemocratic, oppressive servile-to-Washington elite.

What’s next for Venezuela? – Well, it’s not over. The National Constituent Assembly is just the first step. The rabid bulldog will not let go. He keeps attacking and biting relentlessly and without merci sovereign democratic and un-obedient Venezuela. The steady internal foreign instigated economic and social decay, the build-up to what prompted President Maduro to initiate the ANC vote, was very reminiscent of the fascist 9/11/1973 CIA instigated military coup in Chile.

The Chile coup was also preceded by artificially and outside instrumented shortages of food and medical supplies – paying people to protest in the streets. The only difference there is that the Chilean army was split and high ranks defected President Allende. This doesn’t seem to be the case in Venezuela. – The overwhelming people’s support for the ANC has further cemented the solidarity within the Bolivarian Republic – and given the revolution new energy. Venezuela will prevail. Venceremos!

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70 Years On, Palestinians Are Still Locked in the Same Position. “The Right of Return”, The Palestinian Refugee Problem

NOVANEWS
 

Few people know that, as a condition for admission to the UN in 1949, Israel accepted UN Resolution 194, which stipulates that Palestinians who fled or were expelled during the Jewish takeover of 1947-49 in Palestine, have the right of return. 

As with every other legitimate claim that Palestinians have made about their situation over the long years since the Nakba, pro-Israel supporters have effectively drowned them out. They continue to do sotoday with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement call in typical fashion, by plumbing “the depths of dishonor” in the words of one US foreign policy expert:

 …The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth… The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its view.

Israel’s fake framing and hypocritical “disputation” of Palestinian legitimate claims may not be unique in the annals of war propaganda – after all, the adage that “every conflict is fought on at least two grounds: the battlefield and the minds of the people via propaganda” is well known.

But Israel’s propaganda war on the Palestinian people is particularly diabolical, starting with its use of the words “conflict” and “war”.  Israel (and much of the world) uses the former to obscure the revolutionary nature of the Palestinian struggle and the latter to obscure Israel’s powerful grip on a largely unarmed people and their lands and property.

War is “a state of armed conflict between societies”, but if one of the said societies is under the military and political control of the other society and rises up in revolt, as in one intifadatwo intifadas, three intifadas – maybe, Jerusalem intifada, said societies can no longer be meaningfully described as at war with each other. (See also The Palestinian Revolution).

Along similar lines of disputation, the 50-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is said to be not really an occupation.  It is often described, in the pages of the New York Times and other media under the influence of Israel’s “narrative” as “disputed territories” or “disputed settlements” to propagate the fiction that Israel has an equal claim to these territories of historic Palestine as do the Palestinians.

The legal nonsense behind this particular piece of “war propaganda” on Israel’s part rests on the fact that Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank on April 24th, 1950 was not recognized internationally (ironically for this lame “legal” argument, neither is Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem) and is aimed to allow Israel to colonize occupied territory and move its Jewish population to it regardless of what UNSC Resolution 242 and the Geneva Conventions have to say on the matter.

The International Court of Justice in its landmark 2004 advisory opinion regarding Israel’s annexation/apartheid wall made it clear that what matters form a legal perspective is the status between Jordan and Israel as  two “high-contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention”, not the status of  sovereignty.

Fraudulent references and allegations along similar lines can be traced way back to the language used in the Balfour Declaration. One example in that document is the reference to “non-Jewish communities”. Explaining the galling and deceptive nature of such a reference, Joseph Mary Nagel (J.M.N.) Jeffries comments in 1939 in Palestine: The Reality:

… We have Palestine with 91 percent of its people Arab and 9 percent Jew at the time of the Declaration. It was an Arab population with a dash of Jew. Half of the Jews were recent arrivals … By an altogether abject subterfuge, under color of protecting Arab interests, they set out to conceal the fact that the Arabs to all intents constituted the population of the country. It called them the non-Jewish communities in Palestine! … it is fraudulent. It was done in order to conceal the true ratio between Arabs and Jews, and thereby to make easier the suppression of the former.

And so it continues. It’s only recently that the Palestinian right of return has begun to be discussed again with any seriousness – thanks partly to the BDS movement, which clearly subscribes to the following sentiment published in 2010 in BNC e-magazine commemorating the 5th anniversary of the BDS call of July 9th 2005:

There is hardly a right that is more morally urgent and more legally compelling than the Palestinian right of return. Regardless of who they are, where they came from, or when they became homeless, refugees the world over have an inalienable right to return to their homes.

When news first started surfacing in 2012 about the tragic flight of Palestinian refugees from Yarmouk camp in Syria in 2014, many wrote about their plight without mentioning the obvious, that these people belong in their own homeland, Palestine, and that it is Israel, not Arab countries, that must take them in as a matter of international law as well as humanity and morality. It was as if such commentary were taboo, or a lost cause or both.

For example, Ramzy Baroud concluded a passionate article on these refugees with:

The international community and Palestine solidarity groups everywhere must place Palestinian refugees on the top of their agenda. Food should never be a weapon in this dirty war, and Palestinians should never be starving to death, no matter the motive or the logic.

The obvious appeal should have referenced the right of return, which Baroud and others subsequently began to address seriously on social media.

More galling yet is the hypocrisy of Israel’s so-called liberals who criticize Israel for its rejection of Eritrean and other refugees, but say not a word about Palestinian refugees. Refugee washing is what it is.

Israel has yet to respect the obligation regarding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as specified in UN Resolution 194. On the contrary, after the Zionists’ unilateral declaration of “independence” from Palestine’s own native non-Jewish population in 1948, Israel began destroying hundreds of forcibly depopulated Palestinian villages in order to prevent Palestinian refugees from returning and confiscated the land they left behind.

Israel continues to do the same in Jerusalem today and the occupied territories generally. In the process it renders refugees twice over and displaces many, just as it continues to deny return to displaced Palestinian citizens of Israel to their property within Israel and to force Palestinian Bedouins from their traditional lands in the Palestinian Ghor (the Jordan Valley) and the Naqab to plant Jewish communities there instead.

In Gaza, we have witnessed the ghoulish spectacle of Israeli immigrant Jews across the border in the very same city (al-Majdal Asqalan) from which its Palestinian inhabitants were trucked to the Gaza Strip watching and cheering the obliteration of whole Palestinian families.

The Palestinian refugee problem extends to both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. More than one million (23%) UNRWA registered refugees live in Gaza, and nearly 760,000 (16%) live in the West Bank; no “land swap” will resolve their status or the status of Palestinian refugees and exiles worldwide or those displaced within Israel itself.

BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights examines the right of return through different lenses and concludes unequivocally that Israel’s denial of this right violates an established body of law:

1. The Right of Return in Customary Law of 1948
2. The Right of Return in the Law of Nationality.
3. The Right of Return in Humanitarian Law
4. The Right of Return in Human Rights Law
5. State Practice (Opinio Juris) Implementing the Right of Return of Refugees

The conclusion (on page 83 of the pdf document) begins like this:

Discussion of the implementation of the right of return of the 1948 Palestinian refugees raises all sorts of questions regarding the nature of the state of Israel and the legality of its actions vis-à-vis the 1948 Palestinian refugees, including obstruction of their right of return, the subsequent purported denationalization and the illegal confiscation of their entire massive private property and land-holdings.

Consequently, it will come as no surprise to learn that supporters of the Zionist position (who hold that all these actions are perfectly legitimate) have labored long and hard to challenge the legal validity of Resolution 194, and specifically paragraph 11(1) which delineates the right of return. Following are responses to some of the most prevalent arguments which have been raised to challenge and argue against the binding nature of paragraph 11(1) of Resolution 194.

What’s more, Palestinian right of return is not only just, it is also feasible and practical as this new infographic from Visualizing Palestine shows.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on 70 Years On, Palestinians Are Still Locked in the Same Position. “The Right of Return”, The Palestinian Refugee Problem

The West and International Terrorism

NOVANEWS
 

It is important to tell the truth. Terrorism in its various manifestations is generated and fomented by the aggressions of the West throughout the world.

Aggressions against whole nations. Aggressions of the past, but above all domination, plunder and the slow and inexorable destruction of national economies and the social fabric of a increasingly large number of countries.

A total of 55 wars implemented directly or by proxy by the West including US-NATO since the beginning of the 20th century.

The fallacious discourse propagated in the international political arena continues to legitimize Western warfare operations, by hiding the factors behind them. This assertion is corroborated by all those who have understood the underlying stratagems of propaganda of power politics. Two of them, Noam Chomsky and André Vltchek, proposed an analysis of this global situation in a book published by Éditions écosociété, entitled “The Wes’ Terrorism [L’Occident Terroriste]. From Hiroshima to the Drones’ War”. They give a picture of past centuries:

“There are certainly two ways of talking about terrorism, because terrorism is not considered as such when it is practiced (and in a much more deadly form) by those who, Their power, are adorned with virtue. ”

“Since the end of the Second World War, Western colonialism and neo-colonialism have caused the death of 50 to 55 million people, most often in the name of lofty ideals such as freedom and democracy. Yet the West manages to escape with impunity and to maintain, in the eyes of the rest of the world, the myth that it is invested with some moral mission.”

How does it work? Both authors criticize the fatal legacy of colonialism and the shameless exploitation of natural resources of the planet in the West. This book of interviews is augmented by two articles published in the wake of the attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, denouncing Western hypocrisy for terrorism ‘It has largely contributed to developing’.

The theses propagated in the West are those of the conquerors. All those who oppose the policies of intervention in the world by the Western powers are labeled terrorists or enemies of democracy. In this context, there is no mention of the process of militarization of economies and societies.

The capitalist state takes over the world’s political and social scene and acts in a dictatorial way in collaboration with the mainstream media which echo this situation by normalizing it in the eyes of the public.

Lies and false truths are then propagated ad nauseam, all supported by experts selected to corroborate them. It is the spread of the single thought so much decried in recent decades. It is the general wandering which develops the syndrome of the enemy and attacks on the individuals with the so-called terrorist profile according to the definition proposed by the Western experts.

I. Terrorism defined by the West

People gathering, chalk drawings and flowers for the victims. The largest message says (translated from French), Brussels is beautiful, with further inscriptions of Stop violenceStop warUnity, and Humanity. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Terrorism defined in the West (by the Western establishment) corresponds to all forms of activity that threaten the interests of those who control the heart of the capitalist world. The popular demonstrations in the streets of major metropolitan areas demanding the protection of their rights and social justice, associations fighting for the protection of these rights and, strictly speaking, progressive states are considered as a threat.

The attacks in Paris in November 2015 and those in Brussels in March 2016 made it possible to reaffirm the fallacious discourse of the Westerners. This tracking of the jihadists, this concentration of the news directed towards so-called radicalized and dangerous individuals has not yet allowed a reflection on the true supporters of international terrorism. Yet the war on terror should be elucidated in the eyes of the general public. On the contrary, it is being sought to speak of it as a search for individuals around the world who “threaten” the global security of the planet. 

II. Terrorism practiced by the West

It is important to tell the truth. The attacks in Paris and in Brussels lead nation states to adopt measures to control the people and thus militarize the civil society and it institutions. This regime, Latin America has known it for decades with the prolonged reign of several dictatorships and, in particular, in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. A permanent state of siege and the loss of all civil rights and fundamental freedoms. This is what is now taking shape in Europe’s Shengen space. Deployment of police and armed forces, increased control of people’s movements, multiple searches, monitoring of strategic sites such as nuclear power stations and military bases. It will increasingly be the expression of state terrorism exercised over all citizens. A worrying prospect at the highest point.

III. Radicalization. A concept that applies well to the contingents of national armies

Another misleading conception diffused from all sectors of human activity: The phenomenon of radicalization. Individuals would be trained to develop radical thinking and to act violently to the detriment of innocent citizens. According to this view, this behavior appears to be the result of indoctrination and deep deviance. In this speech, it is forgotten that soldiers of the national armed forces around the world are trained to perform warlike actions, to kill human beings and, above all, to obey the orders dictated by the commandments. Can their actions be characterized as radical? These soldiers accept two elements: “Kill or be killed”. How can we conceal this reality and repeat that these soldiers are there to defend their country? They are trained to destroy an “enemy” that is taken care of in collective thought.

IV. Double Standards.

The West’s victims are acknowledged. The victims in poor countries are “statistics”. Examples: Brussels and Aden

This is exactly what we saw with the attacks in Brussels and those that took place a few days later, on March 25, in Yemen. The Brussels attacks, which killed 34 people and more than 200 wounded, resulted in a considerable deployment of police and armed forces and caused a global shock and concern. Yemeni suicide car bombs against three dams held by loyalist forces in the large port city of southern Yemen killed at least 22 people (Journal Le Devoir, 26 and 27 March 2016, P. 5). A dispatch appears at the bottom of an inner page. No tribute is paid to the victims. These events, which took place in Yemen as well as those that mark the invasion wars of the West in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conclusion

The Paris and Brussels attacks revealed, once again, the blindness of the West over the terrorist actions which they continue to perpetrate in vast regions of the world.

The Global War on Terror delivered by the United States since 2001 Caused the Death of 1.3 Million People according to a Report entitled “Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the War on Terror” Organizations International Association of Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW, 1985 Nobel Peace Prize), Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Global Survival.

This report asserts, based on various sources, including governmental, that the death toll of 1.3 million deaths is “a low estimate” and does not take into account other countries in conflict (Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria ). 500 deaths a day in Iraq.

Here we take up the conclusion of Michel Collon analyzing the attacks in Brussels:

“The attacks are not inevitable, they are the result of a policy. Conducted in Washington. Then to London and Paris. Brussels following slavishly. Gentlemen, you are therefore jointly responsible. Do we have the right to debate it – in “democracy” – or will you still be pressing for the media to be silent? “.

***

Translated from the French original

Jules Dufour, Ph.D., C.Q. is Professor Emeritus, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),  Knight (Chevalier) National Order of Quebec, Member of the World Commission on Protected Areas the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland, Member of the Universal Circle of Ambassadors for Peace, Paris.

Sources

AFP. 2016. Le Yémen secoué par trois attentats. Journal Le Devoir, les 26 et 27 mars 2016, p. C 5.

CHOMSKY, Noam et André Vltchek.  L’Occident terroriste. D’Hiroshima à la guerre des drones. Montréal, Éditions écosociété. 176 pages.  Traduit de l’anglais par Nicolas Calvé.

COLLON, Michel. 2016. Attentats de Bruxelles : non, monsieur le premier ministre !Mondialisation.ca et investigaction.net. Le 23 mars 2016. En ligne :

http://www.mondialisation.ca/attentats-de-bruxelles-non-monsieur-le-premier-ministre/5516181

DUFOUR, Jules. 2010. L’Occident et la diabolisation : Pour un changement radical du discours global. En ligne :

http://www.mondialisation.ca/l-occident-et-la-diabolisation-pour-un-changement-radical-du-discours-global/21739

DUFOUR, Jules. 2015. La militarisation planétaire s’intensifie. Les drones de combat sèment la terreur et la mort. Montréal, Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM). Le 3 mars 2015. En ligne :

http://www.mondialisation.ca/la-militarisation-planetaire-sintensifie-les-drones-de-combat-sement-la-terreur-et-la-mort/5434583

DUFOUR, Jules. 2015. L’aube du XXIème siècle. Plus d’armements. Plus de guerres. La spirale de la terreur et de la mort se poursuit (1ère partie). Montréal, Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM). Le 2 avril 2015. En ligne :

http://www.mondialisation.ca/laube-du-xxieme-siecle-plus-darmements-plus-de-guerres-la-spirale-de-la-terreur-et-de-la-mort-se-poursuit/5440161

DUFOUR, Jules. 2015. L’aube du XXIème siècle. Plus d’armements. Plus de guerres. La spirale de la terreur et de la mort se poursuit.  Les interventions et occupations militaires de l’Occident dans le monde. Irak, Syrie, Libye et Gaza (2ième partie). Montréal, Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM). Le 6 avril 2015. En ligne :

http://www.mondialisation.ca/laube-du-xxieme-siecle-plus-darmements-plus-de-guerres-la-spirale-de-la-terreur-et-de-la-mort-se-poursuit-2ieme-partie/5440984

DUFOUR, Jules. 2015. Le grand réarmement planétaire 2015. L’humanité se retrouve face à un grave danger d’extinction. Montréal, Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM). Le 14 novembre 2015. En ligne:

http://www.mondialisation.ca/le-grand-rearmement-planetaire-2015/5488806

IPPNW GERMANY, PSR (Physician for Social R[J1] [J2] [J3] [J4] [J5] [J6] responsibility) et PGS (Physician for Global Survival). 2015. Body Count. Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the “War on Terror” Iraq Afghanistan Pakistan. Mars 2015. 100 pages. En ligne :

http://www.ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Frieden/Body_Count_first_international_edition_2015_final.pdf

REUTERS ET AFP. 2016. 34 morts et plus de 200 blessés dans les attentats de Bruxelles revendiqués par l’État islamique. JOURNALDEMONTREAL.COM. Le 22 mars 2016. En ligne :

http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2016/03/22/attaques-a-bruxelles

WIKIPÉDIA. Terrorisme d’État. Dernière mise à jour : Le 23 février 2016. En ligne :

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorisme_d%27%C3%89tat

WIKIPÉDIA. Guerre contre le terrorisme. Dernière mise à jour : Le 22 février 2016. En ligne :

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerre_contre_le_terrorisme

Note: The text has been revised  by Lolita Memi, inf,,Quebec City, Canada

To go further, on the terrorist attacks in Brussels, see articles in English by Michel Chossudovsky:

Is the ISIS Behind the Brussels Attacks? Who is Behind the ISIS?, 22 mars 2016

Fake Video Used in News Coverage of Brussels Terror Attacks, 22 mars 2016

Media Manipulation: More Fake Video Reports of the Brussels Terror Attacks, 23 mars 2016

Paris, Brussels… The Role of “Massive Casualty Producing Events”. The Roadmap to a Police State, 24 mars 2016

The Brussels Attacks: What is True, What is Fake? Three Daesh Suspects at Brussels Airport, 25 mars 2016

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on The West and International Terrorism

Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits

NOVANEWS

On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The latest round of violence comes as The New York Times reports that Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year-old war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly $1 trillion. Trump reportedly discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of minerals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. We speak with Jodi Vittori, senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. Jodi spent 20 years in the U.S. military, where she served in several countries, including Afghanistan. She has received numerous military awards, including two Bronze Stars. We also speak with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

TRANSCRIPT:

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. On Wednesday, two U.S. soldiers died after a suicide car bomber rammed a NATO-led convoy near a major U.S. military base in Kandahar. The attack came a day after at least 33 Afghan worshipers died when suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in the city of Herat. The dead included the father of an Afghan teenage girl who made international headlines recently when she took part in a robotics competition in the United States. The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is intensifying its air war in Afghanistan. During the month of June, the U.S. carried out 389 airstrikes — the highest monthly total in five years. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is seeking to send another 4,000 U.S. troops to join the 8,700 currently in Afghanistan.

This comes as The New York Times reports Trump may have found a reason to prolong the nearly 16-year war: Afghanistan’s untapped mineral deposits, which could be worth nearly a trillion dollars. Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit the country’s mineral wealth. The Times reports Trump discussed Afghanistan’s vast deposits of metals and rare earth metals with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and is reportedly considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials.

We’re joined now by two guests. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, she has made many trips to Afghanistan, including one earlier this year, has twice been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Jodi Vittori is a senior policy adviser for Global Witness on Afghanistan policy. She’s joining us from Washington, D.C.

Kathy Kelly, let’s begin with you. The casualties only continue to mount. Your response to what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?

KATHY KELLY: Well, it seems that the United States has been exacerbating a war that seems unlikely to change, even if the United States sends 4,000 or many more than that number of troops over to Afghanistan. When they had 100,000 troops, they weren’t able to substantially change the direction, which now has the Afghan government in charge of 60 percent of the districts within Afghanistan, and the Taliban and other warlords in charge of 40 percent of the districts but also commandeering many of the roadways that lead into major cities.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to an interview, when Bill O’Reilly was still on Fox News. It’s an interview with President Trump, who said the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil. Even though he was opposed, he said, to the war in Iraq, once the U.S. was in there, it shouldn’t have left until it took Iraq’s oil, following the 2003 invasion.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I always said take the oil. If you would have taken the oil, there would be no ISIS, because they used that to fuel their growth.

BILL O’REILLY: But if you — if you took the oil, the Iraqi oil, you would have to put in U.S. troops to do that, and then that would have started another round of it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you would have made a lot of money with the oil, and you would have had assets. And to the victor belong the spoils and all of that. But forget that.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that might be very instructive, Jodi Vittori — you’re a former military soldier — when looking at what President Trump’s intentions are for Afghanistan right now. The New York Times reporting Trump is being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan in a bid to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. Can you explain what you found?

JODI VITTORI: Sure. It’s a troubling parallel to the 2012 reports that you just noted out when it comes to Iraq and oil. In the case of Afghanistan, a report this morning that President Trump is deeply troubled that he — he acknowledges that the United States is not winning in Afghanistan. He doesn’t like the strategy that his generals have given him from his national security staff. And for some reason he has leaned towards this sort of vague plan put forward by the head of the private security company DynCorp, Stephen Feinberg, who was a major campaign contributor to the Trump campaign, that somehow the United States would come in, they would send — DynCorp would send in their private security forces, that would somehow control these mining areas, including areas with the mineral lithium in it, which is important for our cellphone batteries and so forth, and somehow extract that, secure it so that other companies could extract that, and — it’s unclear — apparently, take that money to pay back the United States for the invasion of Afghanistan. Obviously, troubling on a conflict of interest level, an ethics level, a human rights, social level. And, frankly, it’s just completely impractical, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Kathy Kelly, when you hear this and read this piece in the Timesabout exploiting Afghanistan for its mineral wealth, and hearing the previous comment about President Trump, even if he says he was supposed to the war in Iraq, “Once you’re there, take their oil,” your thoughts?

JODI VITTORI: Obviously —

KATHY KELLY: I think it’s repugnant.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s get Kathy Kelly’s response and then yours, Jodi.

KATHY KELLY: Well, that it’s repugnant for the United States to believe that we somehow should be able to subordinate the rights and the hopes and the possibilities for another country to serve our national interest. We have no right whatsoever to take over resources in Afghanistan. And we’ve already caused so much death and destruction. We should be paying reparations for that.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Jodi Vittori, can you talk about the mineral industry and who’s currently benefiting from it in Afghanistan, in the midst of this longest war in U. S. history?

JODI VITTORI: Certainly. In 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that Afghanistan, at the time, had up to $1 trillion in minerals in reserve under the ground there. Not all of that would be able to be pulled out economically, and that was at a time when these mineral prices were at their high point. That estimate is certainly not accurate now. Afghanistan is awash in minerals. Just its geography is incredible when it comes to minerals, and possibly natural gas, as well.

But right now, those who are benefiting seem to be primarily groups like the Taliban and groups like the various warlords and corrupt politicians in the country. What we don’t see is the Afghan people normally getting a benefit from this mining. There is actually a tremendous amount of mining in Afghanistan. The German development agency GIZ estimates that about 3 to 6 percent of the population is involved in mining or its upstream or downstream activities. And yet, at the same time, a lot of that is really going into the hands of nefarious characters. The United Nations has estimated that, after narcotics trafficking, the second-largest source of revenue for the Taliban is illegal mining and coring in Afghanistan. And Global Witness has done reports, for example, on the role that lapis plays, both in the hands of illegal armed groups, various corrupt officials in patronage networks and the Taliban itself. So, it’s very, very troubling in the country.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on Trump Considers Prolonging Afghan War to Secure $1 Trillion in Untapped Mineral Deposits

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