Archive | September 18th, 2017

USA: Unethical medical testing on children ”VIDEO”

NOVANEWS

Image result for NAZI Unethical medical testing on children

THEY CALLED IT “RESEARCH”
“AGAINST THEIR WILL” BY ALLEN M. HORNBLUM

Unethical medical testing on children.

They called it “research.”

Grim stuff and largely unreported.

The speaker is Allen M. Hornblum author of “Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America.”

Who ran it?

MDs and researchers. Well paid every step of the way.

Posted in USA, Health, Human RightsComments Off on USA: Unethical medical testing on children ”VIDEO”

Signs of hope in the Middle East? Don’t hold your breath

NOVANEWS
Middle East map

By James M. Dorsey

Optimists see hopeful signs that the Middle East may be exiting from a dark tunnel of violence, civil war, sectarian strife and debilitating regional rivalries.

The Islamic State (IS) group is on the cusp of territorial defeat in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia may be groping for an exit from its devastating military intervention in Yemen. Gulf states are embarking on economic and social reform aimed at preparing for the end of oil.

Haltingly, Gulf states may be forced to find a face-saving solution to their more than three-month-old crisis that has pitted a United Arab Emirates-Saudi led alliance against Qatar and there may even be an effort to dial down tension between the kingdom and Iran.

Hamas, the Islamist faction that controls Gaza, said it was willing to negotiate with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about joint rule of the strip and move towards long overdue elections.

At first glance, reasons for optimism. But don’t hold your breath. Optimists base their hopes on shifting sands and tentative suggestions that protagonists may be looking for ways out of the malaise.

Yet, none of the indicators involve actions that would tackle root causes of the Middle East multiple conflicts and problems. In fact, some of the solutions tossed around amount to little more than window dressing, while others set the stage for a next phase of conflict and strife.

Intra-Palestinian strife

Talks between the feuding Palestinian factions have repeatedly failed. It was not clear whether Hamas would be ready as part of a deal to put its armed wing under Mr Abbas’s control – a key demand of the Palestinian president that the Islamists have so far rejected. It also remains to be seen how Israel would respond. Israel together with the United States, Saudi Arabia and the UAE sees Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Beyond Palestine, the contours of future conflict are already discernible. If Myanmar’s Rohingya are the 21st century’s rallying cry of the Muslim world, the Kurds could be one of its major fault lines.

Iraq’s multiple imbroglios

Disputes over territory, power and resources between and among Sunni Muslims, Shias and Kurds that fuelled the rise of IS in Iraq are resurfacing with its demise. In a twist of irony, a recent poll showed Sunnis were for the first time more positive about Iraq’s future than the country’s majority Shias.

Reconstruction of Sunni cities in the north, destroyed by the fight against IS, is key to maintaining a semblance of Iraqi unity. With no signs of massive reconstruction gaining momentum, old wounds that have driven insurgencies for more than a decade could reignite IS in new forms. “All the writing is on the wall that there will be another ISIS,” said former Iraqi Foreign Minister and Kurdish politician Hoshyar Zebari, referring to the group by another of its acronyms.

Kurdish independence

The initial flash in the pan threatens to be the fact that Iraqi Kurds are certain to vote for independence in a unilateral referendum scheduled for 25 September. If the independence issue did not provide enough explosives in and of itself, the Kurds’ insistence on including in the referendum the ethnically mixed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk and adjacent areas further fuelled the fire.

The referendum and the dispute over Kirkuk reopen the question of what Iraqi Kurdistan’s borders are even if the Kurds opt not to act immediately on a vote for independence and to remain part of an Iraqi federation for the time being.

The issue could blow a further hole into Iraq’s already fragile existence as a united nation state. Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi has denounced the referendum. His efforts to persuade the Iraqi parliament to fire Kirkuk governor Najm al-Din Karim for backing the poll as well as for calls for parliament to withdraw confidence in Iraqi President Fuad Masum and sack ministers and other senior officials of Kurdish descent could push the Kurds over the edge.

Iraqi military officials as well as the Iranian-backed Shia militias that are aligned with the military have vowed to prevent the referendum from being held in Kirkuk. “Kirkuk belongs to Iraq. We would by no means give up on Kirkuk even if this were to cause major bloodshed,” said Ayoub Faleh aka Abu Azrael, the commander of Imam Ali Division, an Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militia.

A possible fight may not be contained to Kirkuk. Kurdish and Iraqi government forces vie for control of areas from which IS has been driven out, stretching westwards along the length of northern Iraq. Mr Al-Abadi warned that he would intervene militarily if the referendum, which he described as unconstitutional, provoked violence.

Turkey and Iran vs Iraqi Kurds

Add to that, the ganging up on the Kurds by Iran, Turkey and the United States. The US backs the Iraqi government even if it put Kurdistan on course towards independence when it allowed the autonomous enclave to emerge under a protective no-fly zone that kept the forces of Saddam Hussein at bay. Breaking with the US and its Arab allies, Israel has endorsed Kurdish independence.

Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Iranian Al-Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani have warned the Kurds on visits to Iraqi Kurdistan to back away from the referendum. Iran has threatened to close its borders with the region.

Describing the referendum as “a matter of national security,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “no one should have doubt that we will take all the necessary steps in this matter”. Turkey fears that Kurdish independence would spur secessionist aspirations among its own Kurds, who account for up to 20 per cent of its population and that an independent Kurdistan would harbour Turkish Kurdish insurgents already operating from the region.

Mr Al-Abadi alluded to possible Turkish and/or Iranian military intervention to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdistan by suggesting that the referendum would be

a public invitation to the countries in the region to violate Iraqi borders… The Turks are very angry about it because they have a large Kurdish population inside Turkey and they feel that their national security is threatened because it is a huge problem for them. And, of course, the Iranians are on the same line.

Syria’s Kurds

The Kurdish quest for some form of self-rule is likely to manifest itself in Syria too. The US backs a Syrian Kurdish militia aligned with Turkish Kurdish militantsin its fight against IS. The militia that prides itself on its women fighters is among the forces besieging the IS capital of Raqqa.

The Kurds are hoping that an end to the war in Syria will leave them with an Iraq-style autonomous region on the Turkish border – an aspiration that Turkey, like in Iraq, vehemently opposes. The target of strikes by the Turkish air force, the Kurds hope to benefit from the force’s shortage of pilots because of mass purges in the wake of last year’s failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The air force last month ordered all former fighter pilots flying for Turkish airlines to report for service.

The Kurds may provide the first flashpoint for another round of volatility and violence, but they are not the only ones. Nor are sectarian and other ethnic divisions that are likely to wrack Iraq and Syria once the current round of fighting subsides.

Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar

Eager to find a face-saving exit from its ill-fated invasion of Yemen that has pushed the country to the edge of the abyss, Saudi Arabia will have to cope with a populous country on its border, many of whose citizens harbour deep-seated anger at the devastation and human suffering caused by the Saudis that will take years to reverse.

Similarly, the three-month-old rift between Qatar and an alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE is likely to leave deep-seated scars that will hamper integration among the six Gulf states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Middle East’s only functioning regional organisation prior to the crisis. A failure of talks between Qatar and its detractors, mediated by US President Donald J. Trump, even before they got started, suggested that a resolution to the crisis is nowhere in sight.

Coping with the fallout of the crisis and the Yemen war, simply adds to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s woes as he prepares to at some point succeed his ailing father, King Salman. Prince Muhammad, who is popular among the country’s youth in expectation of economic and social change, has already had to backtrack on some of the promised change. Foreign lenders have moreover indicated a lack of confidence as they head for the exit rather than explore new opportunities.

In addition, Prince Muhammad has signalled concern about opposition to his proposed reforms within the kingdom’s ruling Al Saud family, determination to avoid political change, and willingness to rule with an iron fist. Prominent religious scholars with significant followings and activists have been arrested in recent weeks while dissenting members of the ruling family have been put under house arrest.

The optimistic view may be that the Middle East is six years into an era of political, economic and social change. If historic yardsticks are applicable, that amounts to one-third of a process of transition that can take up to quarter of a century to work itself out. There is little reason to believe that the next third will be any less volatile or violent.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle EastComments Off on Signs of hope in the Middle East? Don’t hold your breath

“The More You Watch, The Less You Know”. Preferred Conclusions – The BBC, Syria and Venezuela

NOVANEWS
 

As the late media activist Danny Schechter wrote, when it comes to the corporate broadcast media: ‘The more you watch, the less you know.’

Schechter’s observation only fails in one key respect: ‘mainstream’ output does tell us a lot about which foreign governments are being lined up for regime change.

In 2013, it was remarkable to see the BBC reporting claims from Syria on a daily basis in a way that almost always blamed the Syrian government, and President Assad personally, for horrendous war crimes. But as the New York Times reported last month, the picture was rather less black and white. The US was embroiled in a dirty war that was ‘one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A’, running to ‘more than $1 billion over the life of the program’. Its aim was to support a vast ‘rebel’ army created and armed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to overthrow the Syrian government.

The BBC’s relentless headline stories were mostly supplied by ‘activists’ and ‘rebels’ who, in fact, were militants attempting to overthrow Assad, and whose claims could not be verified. Veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn described the problem afflicting virtually all ‘mainstream’ reporting on Syria:

‘All wars always produce phony atrocity stories – along with real atrocities. But in the Syrian case fabricated news and one-sided reporting have taken over the news agenda to a degree probably not seen since the First World War… The real reason that reporting of the Syrian conflict has been so inadequate is that Western news organisations have almost entirely outsourced their coverage to the rebel side.’

There was a simple reason why ‘rebel’ claims were uncontested: they originated from ‘areas controlled by people so dangerous no foreign journalist dare set foot among them’. The additional point being that ‘it has never been plausible that unaffiliated local citizens would be allowed to report freely’.

This was obvious to everyone, doubtless including the BBC, which nevertheless produced a tsunami of ‘rebel’-sourced propaganda. Crucially, these stories were not balanced attempts to explore the various claims; they sought to establish a version of events justifying regime change: ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ were ‘good’, Assad was ‘bad’ and had to go. Journalist Robert Parry explains:

‘The job of the media is not to provide as much meaningful information as possible to the people so they can exercise their free judgment; it is to package certain information in a way to guide the people to a preferred conclusion.’

The BBC campaign was clearly inspired – whether consciously or otherwise – by a high-level decision to engineer regime change in Syria.

The key moment arrived in August 2013 when the US came very close to launching a major attack against Syrian government forces, supposedly in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, Damascus. Only the UK parliament’s rejection of the case for war and warnings from US generals on doubts about the claims, and likely fallout from regime change, prevented Obama from attacking.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Particularly disturbing was the fact that, as the possibility of a direct US regime change effort faded, so too did the steady flow of BBC atrocity claims. It was as if, with the goal temporarily unattainable, the propaganda tap was simply closed. It was later re-opened ahead of an anticipated, pro-war Clinton presidency, and then as part of an attempt to push president-elect Trump to intensify the Syrian war.

‘Well, Shock, Shock, It’s The Oil!’

This year, we have witnessed a comparable BBC propaganda blitz on Venezuela centred around opposition claims that President Maduro has ‘eroded Venezuela’s democratic institutions and mismanaged its economy’.

The BBC campaign has again been characterised by daily reports from Venezuela presenting a black and white picture of the crisis: Maduro ‘bad’, opposition ‘good’. The BBC has again promoted the sense of an escalating crisis that will inevitably and justifiably result in regime change. It is no surprise, then, to learn from the Independent:

‘The head of the CIA has suggested the agency is working to change the elected government of Venezuela and is collaborating with two countries in the region to do so.’

CIA director Mike Pompeo said he was ‘hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there’.

No eyebrows were raised in a US political culture obsessed with unproven claims of Russian interference in last year’s US presidential elections. Last month, Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, commented on Venezuela:

‘We don’t talk about it but a military option, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue.’

Pompeo’s and Trump’s statements indicate a continuation of US policy that supported a 2002 coup that temporarily overthrew (then) President Chavez and which ‘was closely tied to senior officials in the US government’.

Political analyst Ricardo Vaz notes the ironic fact that ‘many of the opposition leaders’ denouncing Maduro’s alleged attacks on democracy, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, ‘were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt’.

US interest in Venezuela was explained with admirable candour in a classified US government document from December 12, 1978:

‘OUR FUNDAMENTAL INTERESTS IN VENEZUELA ARE:1. THAT VENEZUELA CONTINUE TO SUPPLY A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF OUR PETROLEUM IMPORTS AND CONTINUE TO FOLLOW A MODERATE AND RESPONSIBLE OIL PRICE POSITION IN OPEC…’

According to the respected BP ‘Statistical review of world energy’ (June 28, 2015), proven oil reserves in Venezuela are the largest in the world, totalling 297 billion barrels.

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, naturally shares Trump’s and Pompeo’s view of the country, commenting:

‘We are evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution.’ (Our emphasis)

The fact that Tillerson was chairman and chief executive officer of the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, from 2006-2016, having joined the company in 1975, might give cause for pause in considering the ‘change of conditions’ he has in mind. In 2007, the Evening Standard reported:

‘BP and the other majors are taking a hard line with Chavez, demanding conditions and compensation for [Venezuelan policy changes]… Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson said that unless the negotiations produce a profitable proposal, “we won’t be staying”.’ (‘Oil giants face reserves blow in Venezuela grab,’ Evening Standard, April 30, 2007)

And of course Trump has left us in no doubt about who is the rightful owner of the world’s oil:

‘I wasn’t a fan of Iraq, I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you – when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that: “Keep the oil!”… So we shoulda kept the oil. But okay, maybe we’ll have another chance… But the fact is: we shoulda kept the oil.’

Our search of the Lexis database (August 30, 2017) for UK national press articles mentioning ‘Tillerson’, ‘Exxon’ and ‘Venezuela’ over the seven months since Tillerson was made Secretary of State generated precisely three hits. None of these discussed oil as a possible motive driving US policy – a taboo subject.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast describes why and when Venezuela became an Official Enemy of the West:

‘Well, shock, shock, it’s the oil! Chavez, back in 2000, 2001, decided that he wasn’t going to give it away anymore… Big US oil companies were paying a royalty for Venezuela’s super-heavy oil of about 1 per cent – 1 per cent! – okay. And for the regular oil, the heavy oil, it was 16 per cent. So the oil companies were keeping 84 per cent, and Chavez said: “You’re going to have to pay 30 per cent, you can only keep 70 per cent of our oil… You gotta split off a bit for the people of Venezuela.” And, of course, that made him enemy number one – not to Americans, but to America’s landlords, the oil companies.’

Regional specialist Mark Weisbrot commented recently on the Venezuelan opposition’s US allies:

‘These right-wing U.S. politicians – with much cooperation from all of the U.S. administrations of the past 15 years – have consistently fought to overthrow the Venezuelan government. This is all they can think about, regardless of the consequences of escalating violence, increased suffering, or even civil war.’

Weisbrot’s overly-optimistic conclusion:

‘The U.S. strategy of “regime change” has contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of people — mostly civilians — in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. It has also had a hideous history in the Americas. Hopefully something has been learned from these crimes and tragedies.’

The BBC’s Propaganda Blitz

In numerous ‘reports’, the BBC has presented damning criticism of the Venezuelan government, often with no or nominal balance. We will sample below from a large number of similar offerings with a few related examples from other corporate media.

On May 6, the BBC published a piece titled: ‘Venezuela protests: Women march against Maduro’. The article reported:

‘The US has also expressed concern about what UN ambassador Nikki Haley called a “violent crackdown”.’At least 36 people have died and hundreds have been injured in weeks of protests.’

This gave the impression that a government ‘crackdown’ was responsible for the deaths. But the truth was more mixed. In July, Venezuela Analysis reported that since violent anti-government protests began on April 4, there had been 14 deaths caused by the authorities and 23 direct victims of opposition political violence, with 61 deaths disputed or unaccounted for.

Like so many BBC articles, this one focused on claims that Venezuela is a ‘dictatorship’:

‘”The dictatorship is living its last days and Maduro knows it,” former MP Maria Corina Machado told AFP news agency at the women’s march.’

The BBC even included a comment presumably intended to remind readers of the infamous toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad (in fact orchestrated by US forces):

‘Meanwhile video posted on social media purportedly showed the pulling down of a small statue of Hugo Chavez in the western town of Rosario de Perija.’

In similar vein, a May 9 BBC piece included the comment:

‘The secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS) likened the country to a dictatorship.’

While recognising that the Maduro government certainly merits criticism for mishandling the current situation, ‘both economically and politically’, political analyst Greg Wilpert noted that

‘none of the arguments against the democratic legitimacy of the Maduro government hold much water’. Moreover, ‘polls repeatedly indicate that even though Maduro is fairly unpopular, a majority of Venezuelans want him to finish his term in office, which expires in January 2019’.

Western media devoted intense coverage to Maduro’s decision to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly in July. In response, the Trump administration extended sanctions. Mark Weisbrot commented:

‘The pretext for the sanctions is that the new Constitutional Assembly will essentially carry out a coup d’etat, abolishing the National Assembly – which the opposition won by a wide margin in December 2015 – and allowing President Nicolas Maduro to cancel presidential elections, which are due next year.’

But as Weisbrot noted, such a cancellation ‘will not happen automatically’ as a result of the Constituent Assembly election, and so ‘it does not make sense that the sanctions should be triggered by the election itself’.

On May 11, the BBC published ‘Inside Venezuela’s anti-government protests’. The first comment relayed by the BBC:

‘There’s no freedom of expression here in Venezuela. There’s no freedom of any kind.’

Media analyst Joe Emersberger describes the reality:

‘The biggest lie told over the past fifteen years about Venezuela is that its media is cowed by the government and that it has rendered the opposition voiceless.’

He adds:

‘In fact the protests and the leading opposition leaders’ take on the protests are being extensively covered on the largest private networks: Venevision, Televen, Globovision. If people abroad sampled Venezuela’s TV media directly, as opposed to judging it by what is said about it by the international media and some big NGOs, they’d be shocked to find the opposition constantly denouncing the government and even making very thinly veiled appeals to the military to oust Maduro.’

The BBC’s second quoted opinion:

‘We’re here to put an end to the dictatorship in Venezuela, so that our children can grow up in a free Venezuela.’

There was no balance and there have been no similar compilations looking ‘inside’ Venezuela’s pro-government protests. One would hardly guess that Maduro was elected president on April 14, 2013 in a democratic election.

In a May 12 report, ‘Venezuela protests: a week in pictures’, the BBC included two successive photo captions, which read:

‘People angry with the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been taking to the streets almost daily since the beginning of April.’

And:

‘Many have been injured, and there have been close to 40 protest-related deaths.’

 

This again suggested that people ‘angry with the government’ had been killed. Opposition violence has included bomb attacks on police, grenades thrown at the supreme court building from a helicopter, a government supporter burned alive, shootings, attempted lynchings, and so on. This violence was not mentioned by Paul Mason when he condemned ‘Maduro’s crackdown’ in the Guardian. A New York Times op-ed under the title, ‘Venezuela Needs International Intervention. Now.,’ commented in similar vein:

‘President Nicolás Maduro has responded with an iron fist. More than 50 people have been killed, 1,000 injured, and 2,700 arrested…’

The bomb attack on Venezuelan National Guard soldiers shown in this video, severely injuring several of the soldiers and cheered by people watching, would of course have been described by all US-UK media as a ‘terror attack’, if it had happened in the West.

The Guardian published a similar photo gallery of anti-government protestors, but not of pro-government protestors. The compilation came with remarkable captions of this kind:

‘Drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s 2013-14 revolt, young protesters in Venezuela carry Viking-like shields as they battle government security forces during protests against President Nicolás Maduro’

One photo caption read:

‘”Miraflores on fire” is written on the front of this shield. Miraflores Palace is the president’s official workplace’

Another:

‘The opposition says President Maduro has created a dictatorship. The last parliamentary vote held in 2015 gave the opposition a majority but the government has repeatedly blocked any attempts to oust Maduro’

The BBC’s May 16 piece was titled, ‘Venezuela: Teenager killed as mass protests rage’. A May 18 BBC piece maintained the sense of developing crisis: ‘Venezuela: Soldiers sent to quell looting amid protests’. On May 22, a BBC report opened with these words:

‘”Venezuela is now a dictatorship,” says Luis Ugalde, a Spanish-born Jesuit priest who during his 60 years living in Venezuela has become one of the South American nation’s most well-known political scientists.’

The BBC later offered another ‘inside’ look at anti-government protestors: ‘Apathy to activism: Venezuelan students on why they protest.’ Mario Bonucci, rector of the University of the Andes, was quoted:

‘This is an institution where you can speak your mind freely without fear of repercussion and that’s uncomfortable for this government.’

A remark that again ignored the fact that widespread criticism of Maduro’s government is published and broadcast by many Venezuelan media. The BBC offered no balancing comment.

The 2002 Coup – Telling Omissions

On July 9, the BBC wrote of opposition leader Leopoldo López:

‘Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has praised the decision to release from prison one of the country’s main opposition leaders, Leopoldo López…’Mr López was serving a 14-year sentence for inciting violence during anti-government protests in 2014, a charge he has always denied. The Supreme Court said he was released on health grounds.’

Leopoldo López

There is rather more to be said about Lopez. Venezuela Analysis commented:

‘Lopez is also well known in Venezuela for his active participation in the April 2002 coup against the democratically elected president Hugo Chávez. During the coup, using his authority as Mayor of Chacao, he led the illegal arrest of Minister of Justice Ramón Rodríguez Chacín.’

The report continued:

‘In a joint appeal with Maria Corina Machado, López called on citizens to join his “La Salida” campaign (“The Way Out”), described the government as a “dictatorship” and called on Venezuelans to “rise up” emulating the example of January 23, 1958 (when a popular uprising overthrew the Perez Jimenez dictatorship). The message was clear: Venezuela was a dictatorship, the government had to be overthrown by force.’

The Guardian also reported on Lopez:

‘Security agents have since seized two opposition leaders from their homes after they called for protests against the vote.’

Joe Emersberger pointed out some telling omissions:

‘Umm no. Leopoldo Lopez – while already under house arrest – made a video in which he called for a military coup. Don’t try this while under house arrest in the UK, where you can get put away for Facebook posts advocating a riot (even if you are not under house arrest at the time).’

Writing for OffGuardian, Ricardo Vaz asked of corporate media performance:

‘Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.’

Numerous journalists have attempted to use the Venezuelan crisis to also attack Jeremy Corbyn as part of the relentless smear campaign against him. In The Times, David Aaronovitch wrote of the Venezuelan revolution:

‘I believe we need to know why you [Jeremy Corbyn] think it’s failed.’

This from the columnist who has tirelessly backed wars of ‘liberation’ generating mass death and utter disaster in IraqLibya and Syria.

Conclusion – Enforcing ‘The Truth’

The goal of a mass media propaganda campaign is to create the impression that ‘everybody knows’ that Saddam is a ‘threat’, Gaddafi is ‘about to commit mass murder’, Assad ‘has to go’, Corbyn is ‘destroying the Labour party’, and so on. The picture of the world presented must be clear-cut. The public must be made to feel certain that the ‘good guys’ are basically benevolent, and the ‘bad guys’ are absolutely appalling and must be removed.

This is achieved by relentless repetition of the theme over days, weeks, months and even years. Numerous individuals and organisations are used to give the impression of an informed consensus – there is no doubt! Once this ‘truth’ has been established, anyone contradicting or even questioning it is typically portrayed as a shameful ‘apologist’ in order to deter further dissent and enforce conformity.

A key to countering this propaganda is to ask some simple questions: Why are US-UK governments and corporate media much more concerned about suffering in Venezuela than the far worse horrors afflicting war-torn, famine-stricken Yemen? Why do UK MPs rail against Maduro while rejecting a parliamentary motion to suspend UK arms supplies to their Saudi Arabian allies attacking Yemen? Why is the imperfect state of democracy in Venezuela a source of far greater outrage than outright tyranny in Saudi Arabia? The answers could hardly be more obvious.

Posted in USA, Media, Syria, UK, VenezuelaComments Off on “The More You Watch, The Less You Know”. Preferred Conclusions – The BBC, Syria and Venezuela

“The Muslim Problem” and Racism in UK Media

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“The Muslim Problem” and Racism in UK Media: Thousands Call on Press Regulator to Hold Inquiry

Almost five thousand people have emailed IPSO, the press regulator calling for an inquiry into racism in the UK media, in the wake of a column in the Sun which referred to ‘The Muslim Problem.’

The demand for an inquiry was originally made by the National Union of Journalists with Chris Frost, the NUJ ethics council chair saying that,

“IPSO should launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press. IPSO claim to be set apart from their predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, because they can run investigations and do monitoring – now is the time to prove it.”

Campaign group Global Justice Now has encouraged people to email IPSO , saying that

“We support the National Union of Journalists in their call for Ipso to launch an immediate investigation into the prevalence of Islamophobia, racism and hatred espoused in the press.”

The email also calls for the Sun journalist Trevor Kavanagh who wrote the controversial column to stand down from the board of the press regulator, as it seems inappropriate that the subject of so many complaints should play an integral role in the regulatory body.

Kahra Wayland-Larty, a campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“There seems to be a real sense of impunity in certain sections of the UK press, that they can print the most horrendous slurs and dehumanising stories about Muslims, migrants and refugees and get away with it. This serves to normalise racism, and put hate-filled content right into the mainstream, which is fuelling the hostile environment on the streets of the UK and subsequently resulting in the spike of often violent hate crimes we’re seeing against these communities. The press regulator can’t just sit idly by while much of the media descends into a frenzy of racist and Islamophobic  hatemongering against whole sections of UK society.”

Jewish and Muslim groups in the UK also came together to issue a formal complaint to IPSO about the Sun column, which they likened to Nazi Propaganda.

Posted in UKComments Off on “The Muslim Problem” and Racism in UK Media

Taliban Attacks NATO Convoy ”Video” 

NOVANEWS

On Friday, a Taliban suicide bomber driving a car bomb slammed into a convoy of NATO forces near Kandahar Airbase in Trank Pul area of Kandahar province.

Kandahar provincial governor spokesperson, Fazal Bari Baryalai, said the attack “totally destroyed” one of the vehicles carrying Romanian soldiers.

NATO’s spokesperson confirmed a “small number” of soldiers were wounded. However, the Taliban news agency Voice of Jihad claimed that at least seven NATO soldiers were killed in the attack.

According to Afghan sources, Afghan Army bases in Abgarmak and Chinaee areas in Ghormach district of Faryab province in northern Afghanistan are under the Taliban siege for two months now.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said that the Afghan army is now working to reopen the way to the bases. Meanwhile, the Afghan military airdrops supplies to the besieged soldiers.

The Taliban is expanding rapidly in northern Afghanistan, especially in Faryab province. On Thursday, Voice of Jihad announced that the Taliban captured 5 villages – Qarai, Chakna, Balai Bam and Jawdana – in the province.

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Putting a target on the back of Occupy ” VIDEO”

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Image result for Occupy LOGO

A WALL STREET/FBI/DHS COLLABORATION
NO WARNING TO OCCUPY LEADERS

Fletcher Prouty made it clear…

You don’t have to actively kill a political figure, you just have to remove security at the critical time.

Thus, the Secret Service non-protection of John F. Kennedy in Dallas and the fact the Los Angeles Police didn’t have a single officer at the Ambassador Hotel the night that Robert F. Kennedy was killed.

Then there is the fact that the FBI knew that sketchy Saudis were taking flight training in Florida and Minnesota, but ignored the reports of its own field agent and let them proceed.

Then there is Occupy, the movement that spoke to the American people’s outrage over the multi-trillion scam that was the Wall Street bailout. Wall Street partners kept all the money they stole from the markets and citizens were given the bill to clean up the damage.

Here’s the punchline:

The FBI knew that the leaders of Occupy Houston were being targeted for assassination – and did not warn them.

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US Seeks to Monopolize Cyberwarfare

The use of information to enhance martial power goes back to the beginning of human civilization itself, where propaganda and psychological warfare went hand-in-hand with slings, arrows, swords and shields.

The most recent iteration of this takes the form of social media and cyberwarfare where tools are being developed and deployed to influence populations at home and abroad, to manipulate political processes of foreign states and even tap into and exploit global economic forces.

In the beginning of the 21st century, the United States held an uncontested monopoly over the tools of cyberwarfare. Today, this is changing quickly, presenting an increasingly balanced cyberscape where nations are able to defend themselves on near parity with America’s ability to attack them.

To reassert America’s control over information and the technology used to broker it, Jared Cohen, current Google employee and former US State Department staff, has proposed a US-created and dominated “international” framework regarding cyberconflict.

His op-ed in the New York Times titled, How to Prevent a Cyberwar,” begins by admitting the very pretext the US is using to expand its control over cyberwarfare is baseless, noting that “specifics of Russia’s interference in the 2016 America election remain unclear.” 

Regardless, Cohen continues by laying out a plan for reasserting American control over cyberwarfare anyway, by claiming:

Cyberweapons won’t go away and their spread can’t be controlled. Instead, as we’ve done for other destructive technologies, the world needs to establish a set of principles to determine the proper conduct of governments regarding cyberconflict. They would dictate how to properly attribute cyberattacks, so that we know with confidence who is responsible, and they would guide how countries should respond.

Cohen, unsurprisingly, nominates the US to lead and direct these efforts:

The United States is uniquely positioned to lead this effort and point the world toward a goal of an enforceable cyberwarfare treaty. Many of the institutions that would be instrumental in informing these principles are based in the United States, including research universities and the technology industry. Part of this effort would involve leading by example, and the United States can and should establish itself as a defender of a free and open internet everywhere.

Cohen never explains how this US-dominated framework will differ from existing “international” frameworks regarding conventional warfare the US regularly abuses to justify a growing collection of devastating conflicts it is waging worldwide.

And as has been repeatedly documented, the United States’ definition of a “free and open internet everywhere” is an Internet dominated by US tech companies seeking to enhance and expand US interests globally.

Cohen ironically notes that:

Cyberweapons have already been used by governments to interfere with elections, steal billions of dollars, harm critical infrastructure, censor the press, manipulate public conversations about crucial issues and harass dissidents and journalists. The intensity of cyberconflict around the world is increasing, and the tools are becoming cheaper and more readily available.

Indeed, cyberweapons have already been used, primarily by the United States.

Jared Cohen himself was directly involved in joint operations between Google, Facebook, the US State Department and a number of other US tech and media enterprises which before and during 2011 set the stage for the so-called “Arab Spring.”

It included the training, funding and equipping of activists years ahead of the the uprisings as well as active participation in the uprisings themselves, including providing assistance to both protesters and militants everywhere from Libya to Syria in overthrowing governments targeted by Washington for regime change.

One such tool used in these efforts was described in a UK Independent article titled, Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim,” which would report that:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed.

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.

The article would continue, mentioning Jared Cohen by name:

The email detailing Google’s defection tracker purportedly came from Jared Cohen, a Clinton advisor until 2010 and now-President of Jigsaw, formerly known as Google Ideas, the company’s New York-based policy think tank.

In a July 2012 email to members of Clinton’s team, which the WikiLeaks release alleges was later forwarded to the Secretary of State herself, Cohen reportedly said: “My team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.”

Would Cohen’s more recently proposed “framework” have prevented the United States’ use of these cyberweapons against sovereign states to undermine sociopolitical stability, overturn entire governments and plunge them into enduring chaos many still remain in 6 years later? Most likely not.

What Cohen and the interests he represents are truly concerned with is that nations are now not only able to recognize, prepare for and defend against US cyberwarfare, they may be capable of retaliating against the US.

Cohen’s proposal for an international framework to govern cyberwarfare simply seeks to define it in terms that leaves the US with both an uncontested monopoly over cyberwarfare as well as the means to wield it globally with absolute impunity.

It would be not unlike current “international” frameworks used to govern conflicts between nations which the US has used to justify an expansive, global campaign of extraterritorial war stretching from North Africa to Central Asia and beyond.

Such frameworks have become enablers of injustice, not a deterrence to it.

As nations from Iran to North Korea are discovering, the only true means of defending oneself from foreign military aggression is creating a plausible deterrence to dissuade foreign nations from attacking. This is done by creating a price for attacking and invading that is higher than the perceived benefits of doing so.

Nations like Russia and China have already achieved this balance with the United States in terms of conventional and nuclear warfare, and have now nearly established a similar deterrence in terms of cyber and information warfare. For the rest of the world, developing cyberdefense is not as costly as conventional military or nuclear arsenals, making cyberwarfare a corner of the battlefield unlikely to be monopolized by the US as it had done at the turn of the century.

Ensuring that no single nation ever has the opportunity to abuse such a monopoly again means exposing and confronting efforts by those like Google’s Jared Cohen and his proposal for an “international framework” for cyberwarfare that resembles the same sort of enabling the United Nations provides the US in terms of proliferating conventional conflicts across the globe.

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Trump Threatens North Korea with “Effective and Overwhelming” Military Force

NOVANEWS
 

In the wake of North Korea’s missile launch, US President Trump and his top officials have once again threatened to use military force to end the supposed threat posed by the small, economically backward country and its limited nuclear arsenal.

Speaking at an Air Force installation outside Washington, Trump condemned North Korea and declared that the US would “defend our people, our nations, and our civilization, from all who dare to threaten our way of life.”

Against the backdrop of a nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bomber, Trump told the assembled Air Force personnel:

“After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.”

Trump and his top officials have repeatedly stressed that “all options are on the table” and hinted the US would use its vast nuclear capability against North Korea.

The UN Security Council has issued a statement after its emergency session on Friday condemning North Korea’s latest test of an intermediate range missile that flew over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean as “highly provocative.”

Under pressure from Washington, the UN Security Council on Monday imposed its harshest sanctions yet on North Korea over its sixth nuclear test on September 3. The latest resolution banned the purchase of North Korean textile exports, restricted the hire of its guest workers and capped its oil imports.

Yesterday’s statement called on all UN member states to “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all the sanctions. At the same time, it stressed the need to “reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula” and to promote “a peaceful and comprehensive solution.”

Trump, however, has already dismissed the latest UN sanctions. Speaking on Tuesday, he declared that the UN vote was “just another very small step, not a big deal,” adding that he did not know “if it has any impact.” He said that the sanctions would pale in comparison to “what ultimately will have to happen” to North Korea.

Yesterday, senior Trump officials warned that time was running out for any diplomatic solution.

At a White House briefing yesterday, national security adviser H.R. McMaster underscored the willingness of the US to use military force.

“For those who have said, and been commenting about a lack of a military option, there is a military option.”

While saying that “now it [military force] is not what we would prefer to do,” McMaster warned that time was short.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” he said.

Speaking at the same briefing, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggested that the UN had run out of options and she would support the use of the military against North Korea.

“There is not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here when you have cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil to [North Korea],” Haley said. “So, having said that, I have no problem with kicking it to [US Defense Secretary James] Mattis because I think he has plenty of options.”

The provocative US threats of war are also directed at putting even more pressure on China and also Russia to strong-arm the Pyongyang regime into capitulating to US demands to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Beijing and Moscow to take “direct actions of their own.” He called on all countries to implement UN sanctions but singled out China saying that it supplied North Korea with “most of its oil” and Russia as the “largest employer of North Korean forced labour.”

“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson declared.

Earlier this week, US Assistant Treasury Secretary Marshall Billingslea accused China of circumventing UN sanctions and assisting in the trade of banned goods with North Korea. He claimed to have evidence of Chinese and Russian collusion in the smuggling of coal out of North Korea.

Billingslea said that the Trump administration had told China that if it wished to avoid further sanctions, the United States needs to “urgently” see action. The US has already imposed bans on a number of Chinese individuals and entities, including the Bank of Dandong, over their alleged business dealings with North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on that the US has “sent a message that anybody that wanted to trade with North Korea, we consider them not trading with us. We can put economic sanctions to stop people trading.”

Mnuchin’s comments echo those of Trump who threatened to cut off trade with China if it did not end all business dealings with North Korea. The threats make clear that the Trump administration’s reckless escalation of the confrontation with North Korea is part of a broader strategy aimed at undermining China, which is regarded by the US as the main obstacle to its regional and global hegemony.

China and Russia are caught in a bind. Both countries have opposed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs because the US has exploited them to justify its military build-up throughout Asia.

Beijing is also concerned that South Korea and Japan will use North Korea as a pretext to develop their own nuclear arsenal. South Korea’s defence minister has already suggested that the US return tactical nuclear weapons to his country.

At the same time, China and Russia do not want to see either a war in their backyard on the Korean Peninsula or a political crisis in Pyongyang that could be exploited by Washington to install a pro-US regime.

The Russian foreign ministry yesterday joined with China in condemning North Korea’s latest missile test over mainland Japan, but at the same time criticised the US for its “aggressive” role in the crisis.

“Regrettably, aggressive rhetoric is the only thing coming from Washington,” a spokesman said.

China and Russia are continuing to push for a resumption of negotiations based on a halt by the US and South Korea on large joint military exercises, in return for North Korea suspending further nuclear and missile tests. The US has repeatedly dismissed any pause in its war games with South Korea.

In response to the latest North Korean missile test, the South Korean military fired a short-range ballistic missile into waters 250 kilometres off its east coast. The South Korean President Moon Jae-inbluntly warned North Korea that “we have the power to destroy North Korea and make it unable to recover.”

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Saudis Zio-Wahhabi: War Crimes in Yemen

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Accused of War Crimes, Saudis Investigate Themselves and Find No Wrongdoing

Amid international calls for an independent inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen, the Kingdom has investigated itself and found it has done nothing wrong.

Countries including China, the Netherlands, and Canada have pushed forward with a U.N. Human Rights Council draft resolution to establish an independent investigation into Saudi war crimes against civilians in the small war-torn nation of Yemen.

This week, Human Rights Watch also accused the coalition of committing war crimes.

Though these allegations have been circulating and documented for years, little has been done to stop the Saudi attacks, and the Saudis and their U.S. and Arab allies have worked to undermine efforts to uncover wrongdoing.

The minimal efforts made towards accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict,” U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in Geneva this week.

The U.N. has documented 5,144 civilian deaths, mainly from the Saudi-led coalition.

The Saudis said they did not object to the current push for an inquiry but claimed it was bad timing. According to Abdulaziz al-Wasil, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Geneva:

“We have no objection (to) the inquiry itself, we just have a discussion about the timing.Whether this is the right time to establish an international commission with the difficulties on the ground, and we knew in advance that they will face tremendous obstacles in terms of access.”

In the meantime, the Saudi government has set up its own panel to investigate potential war crimes and misconduct. Reuters reported on the Saudi panel’s findings, noting it concluded that “a series of deadly air strikes largely [was] justified, citing the presence of armed militiamen at the homes, schools and clinics that were targeted.”

Reuters continued:

The Joint Incidents Assessment Team said on Tuesday it had discovered mistakes in only three of 15 incidents it reviewed, and maintained the coalition had acted in accordance with international humanitarian law. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has long been running the coalition fighting in Yemen as the country’s defense minister, a title he still retains.”

The panel’s legal advisor, Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour, told journalists this week that, in one example, the Saudi coalition struck a water welling drill after mistaking it for a ballistic missile launcher.

However, the Saudis have been criticized for their longstanding pattern of targeting critical infrastructures such as agriculture, warehouses, and hospitals – in far more than just fifteen incidents. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) claimed in early 2016 that the Saudis had attacked hospitals in more than 100 incidents, ultimately scaring Yemenis away from seeking medical help. The coalition has also been implicated in the cholera epidemic that has infected over half a million people since April.

The United States and the United Kingdom are complicit in this targeting of Yemen, which the Saudis view as a proxy war against Iran as they attempt to reinstate a former ruler who was ousted by Houthi rebels, a group they are now fighting. There is minimal evidence that Iran is backing the Houthis.

In addition to arming the Saudis with billions of dollars worth of weapons, which are being used to commit the alleged war crimes in Yemen, the western nations have military officials in the Saudi command room in control of air strikes.

British officials even schemed with the Saudis to paradoxically secure the repressive regime a spot on the U.N.’s human rights council. The U.S. remains a staunch Saudi backer at the U.N., as well, expressing opposition to the independent inquiry introduced this week.

Like the Saudis, the U.S. has brushed off civilian casualties at the hands of their military. In accusing the Saudis of war crimes this week, Human Rights Watch also called on U.S. lawmakers to curb the killing. They wrote:

“So far, the US government has been content to keep the weapons to Riyadh flowing so long as Saudi Arabia pretends it’s been fighting a clean war. But its empty promises have proved devastating – and deadly – for Yemeni civilians.

“Congress should make clear the US is no longer willing to be complicit in Saudi war crimes.”

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Germany: Trial of Neo-Nazi Terror Group Whitewashes Role of Intelligence Services

Featured image: Beate Zschäpe (Source: Tagesspiegel)

After more than four years of proceedings, the German federal prosecutor’s office ended its summation on Tuesday and demanded a lifelong sentence and subsequent preventive detention for Beate Zschäpe. Zschäpe is the surviving member of the trio of neo-Nazi terrorists known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU). The federal prosecutor, Herbert Diemer, also called for long prison sentences for other defendants on trial in Munich.

Over the course of seven days, the prosecution laid out in detail the case against the accused. Excluded from the trial and from prosecution from the very beginning were state agencies, in particular the German domestic intelligence agency, the Office for Constitutional Protection, which is heavily implicated in the crimes of the NSU.

As a member of the NSU, Zschäpe was involved in 10 murders and over 30 attempted murders, three bomb attacks, and 15 robberies. The state prosecutor claimed she bore especial guilt, even though she may never have shot any of the victims herself. If the court follows the recommendation of the prosecution, Zschäpe will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Diemer also demanded long prison sentences for four other defendants. He requested 12 years’ imprisonment for the former neo-fascist NPD (German National Democratic Party) functionary Ralf Wohlleben, as an accessory to murder in nine cases. Wohlleben had, amongst other services to the NSU, supplied the “Ceska” pistol used by the group to murder nine immigrants.

André Eminger is to be sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment. He was found guilty of being an accessory to attempted murder. Eminger rented the camper used by NSU members Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos in June 2004 to drive to Cologne, where they planted a bomb in the city’s Keupstraße. The court followed the request of the federal prosecutor to detain Eminger in court. Until now he had remained free.

Holger Gerlach helped Zschäpe and her companions, Mundlos and Böhnhardt, to live undetected by providing them with identity papers. Gerlach has been charged with supporting a terrorist organization and the prosecutor has demanded he serve a five-year prison sentence.

The prosecutor also requested a youth penalty of three years for Carsten S., who procured the weapon on behalf of Wohlleben. The prosecutor adjudged that S. deserved a mitigated sentence after making a full confession.

The role of the domestic intelligence agency was never considered by the court. Diemer had already given the intelligence services a clean bill of health at the start of the trial. Its agents had made a decisive contribution to the investigation, Diemer claimed. There were no persons pulling the strings to be uncovered. Any other interpretations were “senseless rumours” and a “will-o’-the-wisp.”

As the WSWS wrote at the start of the trial, the entire NSU proceedings were structured to cover up the involvement of the state in the crimes of the NSU. At an early stage the prosecutor’s office concluded that the NSU consisted of just three people, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, who died under mysterious circumstances before their arrest, and Beate Zschäpe. Any investigation into other NSU members was thereby excluded from the start.

Several parliamentary investigation committees have concluded that the NSU must have consisted of more than three members. Members of the neo-Nazi organization “Blood and Honour,” which has since been banned, supported the trio when they went underground. They collected money for the gang at neo-Nazi concerts and applauded their crimes in their publications.

Lawyers, who represent the relatives of victims in the case, have repeatedly maintained that the NSU must have consisted of a larger group of neo-Nazis.

Lawyer Stephan Kuhn, who represents a victim of the bomb attack in the Cologne Keupstraße, told Spiegel Online earlier this week that explosives and 20 various firearms had been found in the last apartment to be occupied by Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe. The origins of 17 of these weapons had not been ascertained. “This is a clear indicator of other supporters that the prosecutor has not investigated.” There are also further indications that others around the NSU had not been identified.

Lawyers for the victims have repeatedly raised these claims in court together with evidence pointing to the involvement of state agencies. For their part, intelligence officers and their undercover agents who were summoned as witnesses refused to provide statements, declared they could not remember, or simply lied.

It is now known that about 40 undercover agents and informers were in contact with the three NSU terrorists. The neo-Nazi group Thuringian Homeland Security, in which the trio initially became radicalised, was the creation of undercover agent Tino Brandt, who built up the organisation with money provided by the secret service. After the trio went “underground” in 1998, they were covered up by the secret services for the following 13 years.

The exact extent of the collaboration between the secret services and NSU remains unclear. It is documented that the Hessian secret service agent Andreas Temme was actually at the scene of the murder of one of the victims, Halit Yozgat, in Kassel in 2006. Temme has alleged absurdly he knew nothing of the murder and has been backed by his superior officers. Other agents have received similar cover from higher-ups.

The Thuringian investigative committee notes in its final report that the search for the NSU terrorists was so amateurish as to lead to the “suspicion of deliberate sabotage.”

In his interview with Spiegel Online, Kuhn also reported that the prosecutor’s office had suppressed evidence that could have demonstrated collusion between the intelligence agencies and the NSU. According to Kuhn, the prosecutor’s office “structured the investigations in such a way that it could decide which results of the investigation should be submitted to the court and which should not.”

There were a total of nine other investigations against potential supporters, which were to be pursued separately, plus a broader investigation (structural procedure) of unknown supporters, in particular suppliers of weapons. In these proceedings, the lawyers of the sub-defendants would not have the right to inspect files.

“If the prosecutor’s office did not wish the parties to the proceedings to be aware of an interrogation, he ensured that the interrogation of the witness took place in the structural procedure. This provided the legal leeway to prevent the presentation of an interrogation in court,” Kuhn said.

The prosecutor also requested on a number of occasions that the court reject applications by the lawyers of the civil case claimants for the interrogation of witnesses. Kuhn said,

“The federal prosecutor’s office thus used its position in a manner that indicated it feared certain investigations could reach the public domain.”

As one example, he cited the application by a subsidiary lawyer to invite to the stand a former official of the secret service, with the cover name Lothar Lingen. Lingen had admitted to the federal prosecutor’s office he had intentionally destroyed files related to the NSU to prevent their content being revealed.

“He said that based on the number of undercover agents in Thuringia nobody would have believed that the federal constitutional protection did not know about the NSU.”

The prosecutor’s office claimed in the trial, against its better knowledge, that this was speculation and that Lingen would not be recalled as a witness.

It is evident that, despite the attention to detail in the case of the five accused, the aim of the NSU trial was to conceal the role played by secret services. This has taken place as more information emerges about the activities of the far-right in the security agencies and German army (Bundeswehr).

The German army officer Franco A., who had registered as a Syrian refugee and planned the assassination of politicians, received cover from superiors and was part of a larger network involving the far-right Identity movement. A. also had connections to a terror cell in Rostock, which planned political assassinations. The cell included a policeman and a lawyer.

Last week, the federal administrative court in Leipzig ended its long-standing trial of Joachim Freiherr von Sinner, the former head of the foreign secret service BND in the city of Mainz. Von Sinner had taken down two photographs of Christian Wulff, then the German president, because he opposed Wulff’s statement that Islam belonged to Germany. The court decided against any punishment for von Sinner based on his right-wing extremist views on politicians and Islamism.

“Here the threshold for punishment has not yet been exceeded,” declared judge Ulf Domgörgen.

According to the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, von Sinner had planned “exercises of a paramilitary nature” with fellow thinkers from the police, the Bundeswehr and the BND. The aim of such exercises was to make the “resistance” against Muslims as effective as possible. All proceedings against von Sinner have been terminated.

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