America Supports the Islamic State, Provides Advanced Weapons to ISIS Terrorists

NOVANEWS

Image result for CIA ISIS FLAG CARTOON

Global Research

Clear evidence shows Washington uses ISIS and other terrorist groups as imperial foot soldiers in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. Its so-called war on terror is a complete hoax, the media perpetuating the myth. 

Iraqi parliamentarian Awatif Naima accused US forces of “expanding their heliborne operations in Huweija, Beiji and Sharqat…with the goal of assisting the ISIL terrorist group.”

Iraqi forces witnessed airdrops of weapons, munitions, food and other supplies. Instead of combating ISIS, Pentagon commanders directly aid its fighters.

Last fall, Iraqi forces seized large amounts of ISIS-supplied US weapons, munitions and other military hardware, including anti-armor, anti-tank TOW missiles, as well as shoulder-launched, man-portable, surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) defense systems (Manpads) able to down helicopters and low-flying aircraft.

Naima’s outspokenness leaves her vulnerable. She said “an unidentified armed group assaulted me and MP for the coalition of state law Haider Mawla and directed their weapons at us” – taking Haider “to an unknown destination.”

She demanded Iraq’s Interior Ministry investigate to determine who was behind the incident. Does Washington want her and other US critics terrorized and silenced – to facilitate its war OF terror?

Why Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi continues supporting Washington’s plot to destroy his country he’ll have to explain, using, not combating ISIS terrorists, wanting Iraq balkanized into a Kurdish north, Shiite south and Sunni center.

Iraqi popular forces coordinator Jafar al-Jaberi also accused Washington of airdropping weapons to ISIS terrorists in areas they control – as well as recently liberated ones to encourage them to keep fighting.

Earlier, Iraqi forces downed two UK planes carrying weapons for ISIS in Anbar province. Iraqi parliament security and defense committee chief Hakem al-Zameli said he has photographic evidence of both downed planes and their military cargoes.

He explained Baghdad gets virtual daily reports about US-led coalition weapons and munitions airdrops to ISIS terrorists.

According to Anbar Provincial Council head Khalaf Tarmouz, weapons made in America, Europe and Israel are regularly delivered to ISIS fighters.

Caches were discovered. Eyewitnesses provided evidence. Iraqi parliamentarian Jome Divan calls the so-called US-led coalition “an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons.”

Everyone knows it, Haider doing nothing to publicly expose and try stopping it, as well as turning to Russia for support, what many Iraqi parliamentarians urge.

Last fall, US Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford warned Iraqi officials against accepting Russian help, saying they’ll lose so-called US aid – supporting, not combating ISIS.

On Thursday, Dunford arrived back in Baghdad for meetings with Abadi and US ambassador Stuart Jones – vowing more of the same kind of US help doing more harm than good. 

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on America Supports the Islamic State, Provides Advanced Weapons to ISIS Terrorists

The Drone Medal Revived!

NOVANEWS

Special Pentagon Distinguished Awards for Drone and Cyber-War Specialists

predator

Bad ideas never die at the Pentagon — nor do they fade away.  No — like no-win wars (Vietnam followed by Afghanistan, and so on), they keep coming back to haunt us.

According to today’s New York Times, the Pentagon is reviving the idea of special medals and awards for drone pilots and cyber-warfare specialists.

This was an idea shot down by former SecDef Chuck Hagel, but bad ideas live a phoenix-like existence at the Pentagon.

Back in July 2012, I wrote the following article for Huffington Post about “the drone medal.”  It still stands today.  There are plenty of military decorations and awards, already on the books, that “a grateful nation” can give to its drone operators and cyberwar experts.  Creating new decorations to celebrate the “chair force” — well, what more can I say?

The Drone Medal (July 2012)

News that the Pentagon is considering a special “Distinguished Warfare Medal” for drone pilots tells us much about the American war-making moment. Leaving aside issues of bravery or courage of drone operators, let’s first consider the name of the medal, with its stress on “distinguished warfare.”

Traditionally, U.S. military medals by their very names have stressed honor or service, such as our highest award, the Medal of Honor, or the Distinguished Service Cross. Other medals are specifically connected to aerial prowess and feats, such as the Distinguished Flying Cross or the Air Medal. Such medals are well named, linked as they are to skills demonstrated by air crews operating in harm’s way.

What are we to make of a medal named for prowess in “warfare,” especially when drone operators are completely isolated from the battlefield? For that matter, how can war by remote control be recognized and celebrated as a “distinguished” form of “warfare”? Wouldn’t it be more honest (and perhaps even more honorable) to name this new decoration the “Drone Medal,” with all that name implies?

In raising these semantic points, I wish to take nothing away from drone pilots. They train hard, they work long hours, and they’re dedicated professionals. What they don’t need is a new medal created especially for them, and I’m guessing most of them would agree.

The U.S. military already has a bewildering array of awards and decorations on the books. If a drone pilot does something especially noteworthy or meritorious, there already exist commendation, meritorious service, and distinguished service medals that can be awarded to recognize his or her contribution.

Honestly, the last thing our bloated military establishment needs is more medals. But if the Pentagon insists on creating a “Distinguished Warfare Medal,” we really should insist on calling the Department of Defense by its old (and, given recent events, much more accurate) name: the Department of War.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Drone Medal Revived!

Financial Markets and the Global Economy

NOVANEWS

What Really Happened In 2015, And What Is Coming In 2016…

Global Research
2015-2016-Public-Domain-460x502

A lot of people were expecting some really big things to happen in 2015, and most of them did not happen. 

But what did happen?  It is my contention that a global financial crisis began during the second half of 2015, and it threatens to greatly accelerate as we enter 2016. 

During the last six months of the year that just ended, financial markets all over the planet crashed, trillions of dollars of global wealth was wiped out, and some of the largest economies in the world plunged into recession.  Here in the United States, 2015 was the worst year for stocks since 2008nearly 70 percent of all investors lost money last year, and it is being projected that the final numbers will show that close to 1,000 hedge funds permanently shut down within the last 12 months.  This is what the early stages of a financial crisis look like, and the worst is yet to come.

If we were entering another 2008-style crisis, we would expect to see junk bonds crashing.  When financial trouble starts, it usually doesn’t start with the biggest and strongest companies.  Instead, it usually starts percolating on the periphery.  And right now bonds of firms that are considered to be on the risky side of things are rapidly losing value.

In the chart below, you can see that a high yield bond ETF that I track very closely known as JNK started crashing in the middle of 2008.  This crash began to unfold before the horrific crash of stocks in the fall.  Investors that saw junk bonds crashing in advance and pulled their money out of stocks in time saved an enormous amount of money.

Now, for the very first time since the last financial crisis, we are seeing junk bonds crash again.  In December, there was finally a sustained crash through the psychologically-important 35.00 level, and at this point JNK is sitting a bit below 34.00.  This stunning decline is a giant red flag that tells us that stocks will soon follow in the exact same direction…

JNK

In 2015, Third Avenue Management shocked Wall Street when they froze withdrawals from a 788 million dollar mutual fund that was highly focused on junk bonds.  Investors that couldn’t get their money out began to panic, and other mutual funds now find themselves under siege.  If junk bonds continue to crash, this will just be the beginning of the carnage.

One of the big reasons why junk bonds are crashing is because of the crash in the price of oil.  Over the past 18 months, the price of oil has plummeted from $108 a barrel to $37 a barrel.

There has only been one other time in all of history when we have ever seen an oil price crash of this magnitude. That was in 2008 – just before the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression…

Oil - Federal Reserve

Why can’t people see the parallels?

Crashes are happening all around us, and yet so many of the “experts” seem completely blind to what is going on.

Unlike 2008, the price of oil is not expected to rapidly rebound any time soon.  The following comes from CNN

Crude prices dropped a whopping 35% last year and are hovering around $37 a barrel. That’s a level not seen since the global financial crisis.

It won’t get better any time soon. Most oil experts believe prices will bounce back in late 2016, but they expect more pain first.

Goldman Sachs forecasts that oil will average about $38 a barrel in February, even lower than for most of 2015.

Meanwhile, the prices of industrial commodities have been crashing as well.  For example, the chart below shows that the price of copper started crashing hard just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and the exact same thing is happening once again right before our very eyes…

Price Of Copper

Things are unfolding just as we would expect they would during the initial stages of a new global financial crisis.

And we have already seen a full blown stock market crash in many of the largest economies around the planet.  For instance, just look at what has been happening in Brazil.  The Brazilians have the 7th largest economy in the world, and Goldman Sachs says that they have plunged into an “outright depression“.  In the chart below, you can see the sharp downturn that took place in August, and Brazilian stocks actually kept falling all the way through the end of 2015…

Brazil Stock Market

We see a similar thing when we look at our neighbor to the north.  Canada has the 11th largest economy on the entire planet, and I recently wrote a lengthy articleabout the economic difficulties that the Canadians are now facing.  2015 was a very bad year for Canadian stocks as well, and they just kept falling steadily all the way through December…

Canada Stock Market

Of course nobody can forget what happened to China.  The Chinese have the second largest economy on the globe, and news about their economic slowdown in making headlines almost every single day now.

Last summer, Chinese stocks crashed about 40 percent, and they did manage to bounce back just a bit since then. But they are still down about 30 percent from the peak of the market…

China Stock Market

And there is plenty more that we could talk about.  European stocks just had their second worst December ever, and Japanese stocks are down about 500 points in early trading as I write this article.

Here in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Dow Transports, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 all had their worst years since 2008.  As I mentionedthe other day674 hedge funds shut down during the first nine months of 2015, and it is being projected that the final total for the year will be up around 1000.

But we aren’t hearing much about this financial carnage on the news yet, are we?

Many people that I talk to still think that “nothing is happening”, but don’t you dare say that to Warren Buffett.

He lost 7.8 billion dollars in 2015.

How would you feel if you lost 7.8 billion dollars in a single year?

The truth, of course, is that signs of financial chaos are erupting all around us.  Corporate profits are plunging, the bond distress ratio just hit the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis, and corporate debt defaults have risen to the highest level that we have seen in about seven years.

If you run a business, you may have noticed that fewer people are coming in and it seems like those that do come in have less money to spend.  Economic activity is slowing down, and inventories are piling up.  In fact, wholesale inventories have now risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession…

Inventory To Sales Ratio - Federal Reserve

Do you notice a theme?

So many things that have not happened in six or seven years are now happening again.

History may not repeat, but it sure does rhyme, and it astounds me that more people cannot see that 2015/2016 is looking eerily similar to a replay of 2008/2009.

Another number that I watch closely is the velocity of money.  When an economy is running well, money tends to circulate efficiently through the system.  But when an economy gets into trouble, people get scared and start holding on to their money.  As you can see from the chart below, the velocity of money declined during every single recession since 1960.  This is precisely what one would expect.  And of course during the recession that started in 2008, the velocity of money plunged precipitously.  But then a funny thing happened when that recession supposedly “ended”.  The velocity of money just kept going down, and now it has fallen to an all-time record low…

Velocity Of Money M2

A big reason for this is the ongoing decline of the middle class.  In 2015, we learned that middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population for the first time ever.

But if you go back to 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

Meanwhile, the share of the income pie that the middle class takes home has also continued to shrink.

In 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has fallen to just 43 percent.

As the middle class is systematically destroyed, the number of Americans living in poverty just continues to grow. And those that often suffer the most are the children.  It may be hard for you to believe, but the number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.

60 percent!

How in the world can anyone dare to claim that “things are getting better”?

Anyone that says that should be ashamed of themselves.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is now accelerating once again.

Anyone that tries to tell you that “things are getting better” and that 2016 is going to be a better year than 2015 is simply not being honest with you.

A new global financial crisis erupted during the last six months of 2015, and this new financial crisis is going to intensify throughout the early months of 2016.  Financial institutions will begin falling like dominoes, and this will result in a great credit crunch around the world.  Businesses will fail, unemployment will skyrocket and millions will suddenly be faced with economic despair.

By the time it is all said and done, this new financial crisis will be even worse than what we experienced back in 2008, and the suffering that we will see around the world will be off the charts.

So does that mean that I am down about this year?

Not at all.  In fact, my wife and I are greatly looking forward to 2016.  In the midst of all the chaos and darkness, there will be great opportunities to do good and to make a difference.

What a great shaking comes, people go looking for answers.  And I think that this will be a year when millions of people start to understand that our politicians and the mainstream media are not telling them the truth.

Yes, great challenges are coming.  But now is not a time to dig a hole and try to hide from the world.  Instead, this will be a time for those that have prepared in advance to love others, help others and show them the truth.

What about you?

Are you ready to be a light during the dark times that are coming?

Please feel free to join the conversation by posting a comment below…

Posted in USAComments Off on Financial Markets and the Global Economy

Activists or Terrorists?

NOVANEWS

How Media Controls and Dictates ‘The Narrative’ in Burns, Oregon

1-oregon-militia-media

The majority of mainstream media reporting surrounding the Burns, Oregon, and Wildlife Refuge occupy protest has ranged from overly simplistic, to outright partisan. This story is a microcosm of media at its most divisive. 

At its core, the narrative has become reduced to the government versus the militia or the government versus the people depending on one’s vantage point. On average, the mainstream media’s most neutral narrative is as follows:

Father-son duo of the Hammond ranching family started fires, were found guilty, went to jail, and a bunch of ‘militant’ and ‘anti-government’ militia men don’t like what the federal government are doing and used the event to take over a federal building in the Malhuer Wildlife refuge.

Further to the left, the narrative looks more like:

“Armed Anti-government gang takes over federal building – Oregon community in crisis”(exact words from one mainstream media news anchor)

For most of the American media, that’s a good enough explanation. If it fits your political template, then that is all good. Case closed…?


Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum sits watch overnight with media looking on (Image Credit: Capital Blue/AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

News media have become brand shopping. Do you want quality, fun, style, and value? Are you loyal to the name? Pick your poison. Reporting a story often times becomes the selling of a larger agenda, each agenda point with its own out-of-the-box marketing campaign and the corresponding planning that goes with it.

The entire development, for major news networks, is much easier to navigate and is less confusing than constantly revising varying degrees of moderation and extremism between allegiance-switching groups in the Middle East.

For a “case closed” perspective of the events from the Department of Justice, District of Oregon, after court rulings on the Hammonds in October of 2015, read here and stop.

The first line of defense is to know that these events rarely, if ever, spawn up overnight and happen in isolation. For a review and thorough sequence of events, detailing how the situation has escalated to what it is now, read the following from 21WIREhere.

So is the media reporting events or peddling agendas? If they do both, maybe no one can tell the difference.

Things are not that easy and navigating through mainstream news media sludge takes work. Certainly, the White House’s gun-control marketing campaign this week has cast a convenient shadow over events in Oregon, and in order to force-in outside and unrelated issues, the matter at hand must be reduced to a quick and easy account by the media.

One could maintain that Oregon’s Malhuer Wildlife Refuge, the Hammonds, and militias have all become components for a guided tour on how to think. The reason for this is because any number of agendas and unrelated topics have been heaped upon the issue ranging from the Presidential race posturing, race itself, Islam, terrorism, gun control, and a host of distractive latch-on issues.

Simplify Matters

The contrasting sides are often set-up, or at least alluded to, immediately. This is what public relations operatives and political consultants refer to as “framing”. There are plenty of them working in media now, so don’t be surprised to see the exact same tactic deployed in politics as is commonplace in today’s ‘media’ industry.

In today’s media barrage, the title alone might suffice. A quick internet search of various article titles on the subject frame everything at a glance:

FBI Monitoring Armed Stand Off in Oregon National Wildlife Refuge

Armed Group Takes Over Federal Building Following Protest In Oregon

Oregon Armed Protest Leader Says Group Will Defend Occupied Building

The narrative is further presented as two sides with contrasting positions. Choose your position, and make your case. Most Americans will have been pre-conditioned to know where they are supposed to stand, and will quickly align accordingly. The framing here is usually a binary dialectic, or two sides only, with no grey area or middle ground. A or B, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, pro-government or anti-government, Jedi or Sith? We all know the drill. Here they are mainstream media style:

The Hammonds: Victims of over-reach by a federal government, or rogue ranchers who are above the law with a fondness for starting fires?

The Bundy’s and outside militias: Lending a hand to fellow ranchers who are too over-matched to fight for themselves, or unwanted instigators on a personal anti-government crusade?

The Bureau of Land Management: Caretakers and stewards of land and resources, or the very embodiment of big government imposing its will through a vantage point of official power and authority?

Over-simplified, binary arguments almost never present real events. In reality, there are two or more sides to a story or event. This is what most media outlets do not want you to understand, and this is where the “art of the delivery” comes in, by steering the audience to the “right” choice.

When reporting on the events in question in Oregon, the mainstream media imply, or outright allege, that protesters and the militia members who converged on the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge intend to draw first contact and start a shootout (as seen later in a CNN clip below). The analysis about a trigger-happy militia is pondered endlessly by mainstream news personalities, despite repeated statements to the contrary by organizers of the militias in question. This is followed by an endless string of pundits and experts expressing their righteous indignation that ‘the federal government can’t let these militants get away with this!’, and so on.

Activists or Terrorists?

Part of the process of “owning” the narrative and shaping public opinion is to define the problem and the people involved with quick and easily identifiable labels. Among other things, this allows the media to avoid doing any real investigation into the core issues, and simply surf the partisan waves.

In Burns, Oregon, this never happened. Instead the media have labeled the Hammonds as “arsonists” and the Bundys as “terrorists”.

Ammon-Bundy

The mainstream media have worked diligently to characterize the protest’s leader, Ammon Bundy (photo, left), son of now iconic Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, as an armed insurgent and a domestic terrorist. This is likely do to the fact that ‘journalists’ are unfamiliar with the fact that Ammon Bundy has stepped into a political role as a public and state lands advocate since 2014 – bringing attention to the thousands of ranchers and farmers in the southwestern states facing federal vs state land management issues, and has spoken publicly many times since the Bundy stand-off in 2014. Viewed through this prism, the Hammond protest and occupation of the Malhuer Wildlife Refuge is quite obviously a political event. But that’s not how the media are treating this.

Today saw one of the lowest points in partisan media. In one of the worst displays of hatchet-journalism by the mainstream media, the Oregon LIVE,  CNN and others, have begun digging through all the personal records and finances of the Bundy sons and other protesters, including their businesses loans, personal property records and even traffic violations – in a clear effort to try and slander them in public for matters not related at all to the public lands issue. If only the Oregon LIVE and CNN would apply that same level of effort to investigating the Hammond case, or for the thousands of other farmers who have been forcibly bankrupted and put out of business over the last two decades.

What “guilt-by-association” words better fit today’s on edge atmospherics than “terrorists and terrorism”? These are precisely the terms which media began saturating the internet with moments after this event hit the headlines. Various left-wing hashtag campaigns like #YallQaedaand #VanillaISIS were strewn all over Twitter and have been trending ever since. This has provided a soft cushion on which larger media ‘journalists’ and organizations can comfortably bounce around pejorative terms without receiving too much criticism. Here’s one choice example:

Tweet-1
See tweet here.

Amazingly, even long-established news organizations, such as the Washington Post, have published articles which question why the militia are not called ‘terrorists’, while Fox Radio ponders whether or not they are ‘patriots’ or ‘terrorists’.

The drive for the pejorative label is in full effect. This comes as no surprise, as the mainstream media have been swimming in confusion the last few years, with ever-fluctuating moderation levels of jihadists based upon what group is being backed by the West or its allies at any given moment. However, calling an American citizen or group ‘terrorist’ immediately defines where you stand with regards to protesters or members of the militia.

CNN gets right after it, throws down the gauntlet, and calls the militias in question terrorists without hesitation. The video below is a typical example of agenda driven “news reporting” that brings in unrelated issues of race, the Muslim religion, and loosely slapping a terrorist label over what might best be described as breaking and entering. Through their presentation, the event itself slightly matters and the story becomes everything but the event. Instead of an analysis into how the situation evolved, time is spent on painting a good versus bad narrative, which is done simply by applying the terrorist label to the militias. Watch:


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As seen toward the end of the clip, the true issue and fear for the establishment, as voiced through CNN’s television stars, is that people might see results from citizen movements with regards to a reverse order – of people controlling their government. If such an idea were to ever catch on, the people might actually believe that they own the country and public lands, and that would be intolerable. Proponents of a strong central government might fear that those whoadminister might return towards a “public service” model, as opposed to a federal service model.

In reality, the happy mediums between demands, law, authority, and obedience are more calculus, than single digit addition. In other words, it’s complicated, and no one hates complications more than media and partisan politicians. Through polarizing the issue, drawing sides, and picking a righteous winner, CNN sides with its apparent partner in Washington and presents the story in such a manner. You can even hear the sadness in the voices as they discuss the possibility that the government might “wait out” the militia instead of coming in with aggressive force and establishing ‘who is boss.’  It might behoove any good journalist or pundit to pause and ask: are the various militias in question really terrorists, and do their acts constitute terrorism?

Here is the definition of “domestic terrorism” and the “federal crime of terrorism” as delineated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): “Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

• Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

• Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and…

• Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

18 U.S.C. Sec 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:

• Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and…

• Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including Sec 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and Sec 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.).

Granted, America seems to be expanding this definition every year, as evidenced by the above inclusion of “retaliate against government conduct” on the list. This seems to indicate that any protest can be characterized as ‘terrorism’ should the government chose to press there. Those calling these militias ‘terrorists’, seem to be taking only “(ii)” from the above definition of Domestic Terrorism and are “running with it.”

Again, the FBI states in their own words above that the three characteristics are required. Nowhere does the FBI say, one of the above is terrorism, or some of the above is terrorism. As champions of the law and enforcing it, and assuming  care was taken to review the definitions by many, one would believe that they meant what they wrote—and wrote what they meant. The militia is a citizen’s right clearly stated in the US Constitution, but perhaps breaking and entering or ‘unlawfully’ occupying is not legal…. but terrorism?

What about committing the “federal crime of terrorism” from 18 U.S.C. (United States Code) Sec 2332b above? Clearly, the militias are there, openly, with guns and stating they will defend themselves if necessary. Or, are they simply there and carrying fire arms within the law (yes, it is legal to carry a gun in the US)? The definition might appear to be in the eye of the beholder, but from the government’s perspective, the definition seems highly elastic.

CNN and the Washington Post are telling you whom to side with through their narrative and ‘terrorist’ labels for the militias in question.

Depending on how one views the world with regards to the issue, along with their ability to process information presented to them, determines what side they are on, or if they are even on a side. Who has the bigger agenda and the bigger stake, the government, or the militias and ranchers? Is it really about Land Management and/or People Management, or are both inter-related?

Let’s start with the land itself. As noted in the Congressional Research Service’s 2014 document Federal Land Ownership, the United States governs, oversees, owns, or otherwise has authority and jurisdiction over land primarily through the following 5 agencies:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The Forestry Service (FS)
The Fish and Wild Life Service (FWS)
The National Park Service (NPS)
The Department of Defense (DoD)

Here is what Oregon looked like with regard to the above agencies and some of their sub-departments in 1996, now twenty years ago:

1-BLM-land-theft-map
Oregon Public Lands 1996. (Image: 
Wiki Commons)

The Federal Land Ownership document, cited above, also notes that the overall public land managed by the BLM has dropped nearly 25 million acres from 1990 to 2013. However, this comes mostly from almost 22 million acres within Alaska alone. Within Oregon, the state in question, the BLM alone has gained almost 550,000 acres to manage from the already color-dense map above, and is set to takeover another 2.5 million acres with the their proposed Owyhee Canyonlands ‘National Monument’ – an area larger than Yellowstone National Park – set to be shut-off to the state and placed under BLM control.

Part of the larger Department of the Interior (DOI), the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Mission Statement is: “To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” According to the BLM website, they oversee more than 245 million acres and over 700 million mineral and “sub surface” acres, with a multi-billion dollar budget and about 10,000 employees. The BLM also claims to be one of the few federal agencies that generate revenue, based largely on 4.3 billion dollars of onshore oil and gas development and numerous other “land deals” brokered by the BLM.

Hundreds of millions of acres is vast. Most people probably see the need for a diligent and upstanding management of it, to include the natural resources and wildlife found on the land, as well as the resources beneath it. Understanding that a “free for all” of destroying resources combined with a full bore resource grab would be adverse, many would likely contribute to the oversight of it. Being entrusted with such a job could be seen as an honorable undertaking – by citizens… for citizens. But when does stewardship and land management turn into ‘territorial control’ by Washington DC, which invariably leads to an institutional vendetta, or “sending a message”, or becomes a means to define boundaries between authorities and their subjects? Undoubtedly, this is what seems to be happening all over the western states, and with small farms being victims, picked off, one by one by a superior force – the federal government.

So the federal government in Washington DC is treating State public land as its “territory”, when, according to the US Constitution, it is not.

Watch as Oregon Congressman Greg Walden (R) delivers an incredibly detailed and impassioned speech on the Capitol floor yesterday, outlining the scale of this problem in his state:


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The fact that the mainstream media have not given this issue any serious consideration as journalists speaks to the systemic problem which the public now faces in a post-Fourth Estate America, where mainstream media’s interests are mostly married to those of central government. The public stand to lose a lot in this polarizing environment.

Many Constitutional purists and opponents of federal government “over reach” and abuse of power argue that the government doesn’t really own the land. By both the letter, and spirit of the law, there is a real Constitutional case to be made there. Unfortunately, it all quickly turns into a debate on power, control, and authority between the federal government and the states, further complicated by who happens to be in positions of authority for each.

They point to Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution which authorizes Congress to “exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful Buildings,” and they throw out the very premise of government land ownership outside of those parameters. The larger issue, beyond the Hammond family in particular, is also centered around jurisdiction — literally. Jurisdiction over land and resources inevitably stem from arrangements involving ownership and control. Who is in charge of what, and to what degree? Whose goals are ultimately being achieved and who is affected are things all citizens would be wise to ask themselves.

Are the Hammonds being crushed from above in accordance to what they did and were found guilty of and does the punishment fit?

The Oregonian reports:

There’s nobody in history who has gone to federal prison for burning a few acres of public property,” said Melodi Molt, a Harney County rancher and former president of Oregon CattleWomen. “It’s not right.” The Oregon Farm Bureau said the second prison term is “gross government overreach and the public should be outraged.” And then there is what some locals see as a government land grab.

The Hammonds in late 2014 agreed to pay the federal government $400,000 to settle a lawsuit seeking to force them to pay more than a $1 million in costs for fighting fires they set. The Hammonds paid $200,000 right away and paid the rest Thursday. The settlement also required the Hammonds to give the land bureau first chance at buying a particular ranch parcel adjacent to public land if they intended to sell. For some, this was evidence that the government all along was after the Hammond ground to add to its Steens Mountain holdings.

The Oregonian continues, stating that the Hammonds originally served jail time starting in 2012 under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). The father, Dwight Hammond, aged 73, was sentenced to three months and the son, Steve, to one year. A possible 5 year sentence, according to U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan at the Hammonds’ original 2012 sentencing, would be unconstitutional and “a sentence which would shock the conscience.” After serving their time, both father and son were dragged back in front of a federal bench and re-sentenced to a full 5 year term – in what many believe was just the latest chapter in a federal vendetta against the family, waged in part by then U.S Attorney for the State of Oregon, Amanda Marshall.

A New Yorker article unabashedly calls the AEDPA law, “… one of the worst statutes ever passed by Congress [headed by Bob Dole] and signed into law by a President [President Clinton]. The heart of the law is a provision saying that, even when a state court misapplies the Constitution, a defendant cannot necessarily have his day in federal court.”

So is this the new image of a terrorist breeding ground and rallying point?

1-Oregon-Cattle

(Image: 

Posted in USAComments Off on Activists or Terrorists?

Not Trusting Pentagon Investigation of Afghan Hospital Bombing

NOVANEWS
doctors without borders

Does Doctors Without Borders Deserve an Independent Probe?

The October 3 airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, carried out by the US, left 42 civilians dead and thousands of Afghans without access to emergency medical care.

The United States — often first in line to call for independent investigations of the actions of others — is blocking efforts to mount an international inquiry into the devastating raid.

Debris litters the floor in one of the corridors of MSF's Kunduz Trauma center. Photo credit: Victor J. Blue / MSFDebris litters the floor in one of the corridors of MSF’s Kunduz Trauma center. Photo credit: Victor J. Blue / MSF

Exhibit A of the US double-standard on accountability: the Obama administration’s reaction to the July 2014 downing of a Malaysian airliner over territory controlled by “Russian-backed separatists” in eastern Ukraine.

Referring to that tragedy, President Obama said, “[A]mid our prayers and our outrage, the United States continues to do everything in our power to help bring home their loved ones, support the international investigation, and make sure justice is done.” He also condemned the “separatists” for interfering with the crash investigation and tampering with evidence.

But that was when the Russians and their allies were the suspects. In the wake of the Afghan hospital bombing, the US has insisted it has the ability to investigate itself impartially, a claim Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) strongly rejects.

“Very Precisely Hit”

Supporting the MSF position is the fact that the official US story has changed numerous times. US forces first claimed the airstrike was carried out “against individuals threatening the force,” and that the nearby hospital was only collateral damage.

In response, MSF said “the main hospital building, where medical personnel were caring for patients, was repeatedly and very precisely hit during each aerial raid, while the rest of the compound was left mostly untouched,” suggesting the strikes were not a mistake.

Local Afghan forces attempted to justify the attack on grounds that Taliban fighters shot at US and Afghan forces from the hospital.

The MSF categorically denies this, saying that the Afghan statement “amounts to an admission of a war crime.” Hospitals are protected under laws of war.

The differing accounts of what happened that day only underscore the need for an independent, impartial body to conduct an investigation.

“Violations of the Rules of War?”

The US military completed its internal investigation in November. In contrast to earlier US statements, the latest report does not claim the bombing of the hospital was collateral damage inflicted while protecting US troops under fire from the Taliban. Instead, the report says that US forces intended to strike a nearby building where they believed insurgents were taking shelter, but that “human error, compounded by systems and procedural failures“ resulted in US forces striking the MSF compound instead. The communications systems malfunctioned, and personnel requesting and executing the strike “did not undertake the appropriate measures to verify that the facility was a legitimate military target,” said General John Campbell.

But MSF is not satisfied. Christopher Stokes, the organization’s General Director, said in a written statement dated November 25, “the US version of events presented today leaves MSF with more questions than answers. The frightening catalogue of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of US forces and violations of the rules of war.”

MSF has called on the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to launch an independent investigation. The IHFFC was established under the Geneva Conventions but has never been used since it was officially constituted in 1991. According to the group’s website, “The IHFFC stands ready to undertake an investigation but can only do so based on the consent of the concerned… States.”

However, the United States and Afghanistan are unlikely to give their consent, as they would prefer their own investigation to be accepted as definitive.

Doctors WIthout Borders condemns this stance in the strongest possible language.“We cannot rely solely on the parties involved in the conflict to carry out an independent and impartial examination of an attack in which they are implicated,” said MSF-USA Executive Director Jason Cone. “Perpetrators cannot also be judges.”

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Washington Turns Its Back on Saudi Brutality, Blames Everything on Iran

NOVANEWS
saudiss

In the New American Century, the concept of ‘human rights’ has become a relative concept.

The recent Saudi execution of the Shi’ite cleric and political activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr served as a reminder that the political establishment in Washington DC, and its media counterparts, may wax lyrical about ‘human rights,’ but at the end of the day its guiding principle is Vladimir Lenin’s who, whom dictum.

1-Nimr-al-Nimr

PROVOCATION: Saudi’s planned execution of Shi’ite cleric has become the new lightning rod for conflict in the region.

Sheikh al-Nimr was accused by the Saudi government of inciting terrorism and encouraging sedition. The cleric was a firebrand for sure and he made no qualms about expressing his loathing of the Saudi-Wahhabi regime that has oppressed the Shi’ites of the Arabian peninsula for over a century, his actual “crimes” wasn’t waging a violent campaign against the government, but daring to call for an end to the vicious institutional discrimination of Shi’ites and demanding they be treated as equal to their Sunni fellow citizens.

It should be noted that the Saudis encouraged violence and terrorism among Sunnis in Libya and Syria during the advent of the so-called Arab Spring, but ruthlessly suppressed al-Nimr and other Saudi Shi’ites seeking political and social reforms at the same time. The could be said for the Saudi-backed quelling of Shi’ite protests in nearby Bahrain.

That the Wahhabi establishment in Saudi Arabia hated and feared Sheikh al-Nimr and would not stand for his challenging their power comes as no surprise, the Saudi government is no friend of its resident dissidents and a pathological hatred of Shi’ites is firmly engrained in the government – sponsored Wahhabi sect’s theological outlook. So in light of that, the actions of the Saudis is hardly surprising.

What is perhaps, at least superficially, more surprising is the response of American politicians…

Pentagon Channel as Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby briefs reporters in the Pentagon Press Briefing Room March 27, 2014. Kirby outlined objectives of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's trip to Asia next week and as well took questions regarding the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine and search efforts for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Released)
Former Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby briefs reporters (Image Source: WikiCommons)

‘Optics’ Not Ethics

At the U.S. State Department, John Kirboffered up only that the White House had some vague “concern” about human rights, and refused to make a more decisive condemnation, despite the fact the State Department routinely denounces other governments for far less.

Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the execution raises serious questions,” though she never explained what these questions were, nor did she make a direct condemnation. One might wonder if Hillary’s muted response would have anything to do with the many millions of dollars in donations made to her globalist war chest, the Clinton Foundation by the Saudis.

Among the neoconservative pundit class, as outlined by the journalist Jim Lobe, the execution of al-Nimr was dismissed as a ‘minor’ item, or worse, outright defended, on the (false) pretext that the cleric was a ‘Iranian agent of influence’ (and therefore deserving of his fate). Lobe offers this quote from FOX News pundit and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer defending the Saudis, and taking a swipe at Obama for being insufficiently bellicose with Iran:

“Just last week the U.S. responded to the firing of the missiles, illegal firing of the nuclear-capable missiles by Iran by threatening trivial sanctions and then actually canceling, or postponing the sanctions, when the Iran protested and said they would increase their production of missiles. In other words, the U.S. would not even respond to an open provocation on the missile issue, and what they read is complete abandonment. They are now on their own, and then they’re not going to have to face the Iranians and their allies on their own. And if that means they have to execute a Shiite who is an insurrectionist in their country, he’s got to be executed.”

Krauthammer would have us believe that history started five minutes ago, and that someone like al-Nimr only exists because of the sinister machinations of Tehran’s ayatollahs, abetted by Obama’s “strategy of retreat.” This being the narrative promoted by the neocons and their fellow travelers in the in the American media, including an increasing number of what amount to shills on the Saudi payroll.

Another example of this anti-Iranian narrative being standardized is to be found in an interview Congressman Ed Royce (R), chair of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave to CNN in which he dissembled about the al-Nimr execution, instead blaming Iran and going as far to state that Saudis aggressive anti-Shi’ite policies is justified because of the supposed presence of the Iranian military in neighboring Yemen, an even more extreme and dishonest variation of the since debunked conspiracy theory that Iran is the secret hand behind the Houthi militia that ousted the Yemeni president previously installed by the Americans and the Saudis. In a most ridiculous case, Royce accuses Iran of trying to overthrow Middle Eastern regimes, which is rich coming from a man who has ardently supported the American “regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya.

Despite all the lofty rhetoric from Washington about human rights, democracy, and freedom for minorities, the response to the beheading of Sheikh al-Nimr are a reminder these things are merely rhetorical devices to undermine foreign governments that are insufficiently compliant toward Washington – as human rights concerns are dismissed for those regimes that are willing to do Washington’s bidding, and who have cash to throw around to politicians, think tanks and media outlets.

Make no mistake: the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr didn’t ‘just happen’ as per usual – it was planned, as were the reactions that we are currently witnessing on our TV screens. This event was designed to trigger a chain reaction of power-politics and forced-sectarian strife in the region – just as the assassination of assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand did in 1914.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues to prosecute one of the most brutal wars ever seen in Yemen (and hardly a tear from president Obama).

Posted in USA, Iran, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Washington Turns Its Back on Saudi Brutality, Blames Everything on Iran

Syria: US State Department Confirms Planned “Timeline” “Regime Change”

NOVANEWS
By RT
john_kirby

[Featured image: State Department Spokesman John Kirby. Source: Wikipedia]

A “working paper” written by US diplomats envisions Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ceding power to a new government by March 2017. The State Department confirmed the document was authentic, but denied that it represented official US policy.

The key points of the policy paper were published on Wednesday by the Associated Press. It envisions an 18-month political process, starting with talks in Vienna next month and ending in Assad’s resignation next year.

According to the document, by April there would be a “security committee” composed of members of the current government and opposition groups. By May, the Syrian parliament would be dissolved and a new transitional authority established, with the mission to draft a new constitution and pass reforms. The Syrians would vote on the constitution in a referendum scheduled for January 2017. Two months later, the paper says, Assad “relinquishes presidency; inner circle departs.”

At the press conference on Wednesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the paper was authentic, but tried to dismiss it as a working-level document written by a staff member.

“That kind of work is done here at the State Department all the time,” Kirby said, adding that it did not represent official US policy but merely laid out a potential timeline for the political process in Syria.

“All these are targets,” Kirby said. “Our hope and expectation is that the entire 18-month process will start this month.”

Does envisioning Assad’s departure next year, rather than right away, suggest that Washington wants to avoid a power vacuum that could be exploited by Islamic State, RT’s Gayane Chichakyan asked.

While acknowledging that the US wanted to avoid a collapse of Syrian institutions, Kirby said the US policy towards the Syrian president has not changed. He cited Secretary of State John Kerry as saying that “the exact timing of his departure isn’t something that we’re fixated on.”

In December, the UN Security Council passed a resolution endorsing the political process that would set up “inclusive and non-sectarian governance” in Syria, using the 18-month timeline framework referenced in the State Department document.

Kirby’s efforts to dismiss the document, and AP’s coverage of it, as somehow irrelevant irked the agency’s chief diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee, who at one point asked: “Are your arms a little tired, [from] the straw man you put up to knock down?”

Earlier in the briefing, Lee needled Kirby over the statements about North Korea that made it sound as if the Obama administration rejected reality.

“We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear armed state. And yet it is,” Lee said. “You also say this about other things. You say you’ll never accept Crimea as a part of Russia. Yet it is.”

“Isn’t it time to recognize these things for what they are and not live in this in this illusion, or fantasy, where you pretend that things that are, are not?” Lee asked, to chuckles in the briefing room.

“The short answer is, no,” Kirby retorted, denying that Washington lived in a fantasy world. Rather, he argued, there was a difference between dealing with reality and officially acknowledging it.

Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011, with fractious rebel groups backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the US demanding the ouster of President Assad. The conflict has claimed an estimated 250,000 lives and displaced millions. Russia and Iran have resisted all efforts by outside powers to determine Syria’s future, insisting that this would be a decision for the Syrians themselves.

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The Collective American Consciousness

NOVANEWS
America is to be Judged by its Citizens, not its Politicians…

USA

Global Research

America is to be judged by its citizens, not its politicians. But if Americans lose contact with one another; substitute real, tangible realities with virtual ones projected on internet and television screens; refuse to engage in the democratic process and choose passivity over involvement, nihilism over hope, fatalism over self-determination; remain complacent about if not ignorant of US actions and wars in the world; adopt definitions of themselves that are crafted by self-serving special interests, profiteers or merchants of war and hate running now for president from both political parties, they lose all concepts of who they are, what they stand for, and what really constitutes American values.

As it stands, Americans are on the cusp of recognizing that they are losing their historic identity, or the one they embraced before 9/11. 

In the collective American consciousness questing for material objects, success, fame, wealth, property and stock equities, together with a megalomaniacal drive for Empire to dominate a world now splitting itself into East and West, there remains no public figure speaking for “everyone”; for unity through diversity; for peace; for the poor, homeless, disabled and elderly; for children and young people who will inherit a financially bankrupt nation that cheerleads its populist billionaires who take all, avoid taxes, give little back, blame the scapegoat, and ignore the plight of others, particularly the plight of young generations who will inherit it all as they advance into tomorrow’s leadership positions. Who speaks for them?

Almost unconsciously, Americans salute a market-centric culture unaware it is controlled by Wall Street, bond traders, speculators, hedge funds and enormous multinational corporations and banking hegemons. Silicon Valley young technocratic tycoons provide proof of American superiority and exceptionalism and the momentous rewards capitalism bestows. The rewards of capitalism, however, go to the few and fewer and what are concealed in a sea of commercials and seamless hype are what many young people should already know; for during a majority of their years as mature adults America has been a nation of non-stop endless wars; has become the largest debtor nation in the world – debt that can’t be repaid and probably won’t be repaid. It has devolved into waves of police-sanctioned violence and murders, socially damaging hate-groups and vicious political vitriolic. When done in the name of competition and profits, it legally sanctions illegalities.

Young people have learned privacy is non-existent and social interactions take place using costly digital devices connected through toll booths owned by corporate networks behind whose one-way mirror sit both government and mega-corporations amassing personal information, biometrics, opinions, attitudes, consumer behavior, political affiliations, friendships, credit and banking details, and their psychographic profiles for private profit and for social and government behavior-mod programs and social engineering.

Many have learned a stable job of 40 hours per week with benefits, sick pay and vacation time is a luxury afforded a few. Some have learned to live at home with mom and dad at age 25 because they can’t afford high rents at meager wages, let alone purchase a home. Some will live through decades of paying-off college loans that delivered greater debt peonage than employment opportunity.  They have seen how credit is mistakenly viewed as an asset and used to salvage households that have undergone decades of stagnant wages. They have seen benefits accrue in accumulation of wealth for employers, corporations and investment banks.

Should they ever run for president, they know they will have to agree to kill “innocent people and children”, conduct drone operations on “targeted assassination” lists, approve and expand America’s seamless dragnet surveillance state, enlist people their age to die for wars they had no say in and no true understand of. If young people think the American Dream is over and act apart and clustered together in a swarm, they do so for good reasons: there are no public figures offsetting the “post 9/11 normal” with incisive alternatives, real debate, knowledgeable dissent and penetrative truths about the causes underlying America’s many imbroglios. It should be no surprise that most millennials didn’t vote in 2014 (87% stayed home).

But the “9/11 normal” in this country is not the normal I knew, is not the America that weaned me, is not the normal I wish to live under or see young people struggle with in order to survive. If any group is blameless in causing any one problem now afflicting America, it is they. But they are too young to have known a better time; some can’t imagine one; many have relegated America before 9/11 to the history books! This is how it seems for a millennial.

My employee was neither normal nor “new normal”, but an example of what UK economist Guy Standing calls “The Precariat: The New Dangerous Generation”. [1] This self-defined uneducated, politically unaware person who worked for me over five years suddenly presented a dangerous and threatening remark recently. Knowing she cannot find Chicago on the map; knowing she is encircled by friends and family with little grasp of government, American history or the democratic process,  she asked me to define a “white supremacist”, which I did in detail. Knowing she defines African-Americans as “dem people” and everything she hears about President Obama is that he’s “gonna take guns away”, I proceeded cautiously. At the finish, she replied to my explanation with emphatically shocking defiance.  She shouted back ferociously: “Obama should be assassinated!”

Keeping calm, I asked why he should be assassinated? “Because he’s not good for America,” she quipped. “Why isn’t he good?” I asked. She looked up and down, rolled her eyes, looked up and down and with a coy self-effacing smile beamed, “Gee, I don’t know.”

Her supervisor didn’t find the remark troublesome but did cite her for talking politics to a client and pulled her from my account. “You finally got to see who and what she really is,” stressed the supervisor. Later, in conversation, a police chief told me her inflammatory statement was to be considered a “form of free speech”; and I should “consider the source”. I replied that for many people who lived through three assassinations in the 1960s, a call for the killing of a president is not to be defended as free speech or viewed lightly. If a majority of Americans do find it defendable, America is in far worse shape today than at any other time in my 68 years, I answered. Although this worker is far from committing such an act, how many people does she represent who might try to commit this crime? No president need be assassinated when the legal system is available to remove one from office peacefully.

The worker is a “precariat” and does not represent America, nor do those who feel as she does. Police-violence and murders of young blacks by errant and rogue officers do not represent the standard for law enforcement and are illegal acts in both character and degree. Wall Street greed and asset-stripping neoliberalism are byproducts of a capitalism that has been unregulated, becoming voracious and predatory. America is a nation and capitalism is an economic and market system adopted by the nation. Capitalism is not a nation unto itself controlling its host country. Yet, the market system is striving to gain complete control over this nation at all levels through powerful economic institutions with support from libertarian zealots, “small government” conservatives to far-right extremists hoisting flags, a Constitution and a Bible.

The right-wing presently in control of the Republican party and exhibiting increasing power over Congress, the White House and media are not American but anti-American and unAmerican in my opinion. Indeed, they constitute a “fifth column” undermining democracy, peace, security, welfare and brotherhood which are the true historical hallmarks of our secular democracy. What seeds have been planted during the last decades – from the presidency of Ronald Reagan to financial capitalism, privatizations, off-shoring of jobs to the Pacific Rim and China, collapse of the country’s industrial base and infrastructure, neoliberal restructuring of public finances, neoconservative Empire building through endless wars of aggression, decimation of social and welfare programs that were won for all Americans in the 1930s and 1960s – have borne the bitter herbs today of hate, violence, religious bigotry, racism, and mounting threats of war with Russia and China in order to circumvent and abort an inevitable transition from a U.S. dominated unipolar world to a bipolar one.

Such a bipolar world challenges America’s “full spectrum dominance” and particularly threatens to dislodge the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency. The agents of this “post 9/11 new normal” are leading the nation into the grip of what Europeans today call by its rightful name: fascism, the merger of state and corporate power militarily enforced . Will Americans allow it?

European nations are seeing a rise of neo-Nazis and self-proclaimed fascists. [2] [3]  By reflecting popular discontent over imposed austerity, an influx of immigrants fleeing war zones in the mid-East, the perceived loss of national sovereignty to Brussels, the rise of fascistic right-wing parties in many EU nations are exploiting growing anti-government attitudes and creating political power formations in scenes highly reminiscent of the 1930s. In some respects, the propaganda diatribes and appeals by the Tea Party, Faith and Freedom Coalition and other U.S. “anti-government” groups of far-right libertarians, survivalists, white supremacists, militias, sovereign citizens, nativists and Christian theocrats bear comparison to programs and platforms of Pegida in Germany, National Front in France and Golden Dawn in Greece. [4]

More importantly, resemblances exist between the anti-government, anti-immigrant, racist, nativist and anarchistic rhetoric and appeals of these groups in both Europe and the United States with positions publicly endorsed and vocalized by Republican candidates for president, particularly by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. [5]  In the course of more than a decade, the GOP permitted itself to be hijacked by right-wing conservatives advancing today’s extremism in order to win elections and in winning perpetuate the rise of the corporate, banking and military-industrial state at the expense of workers and the social safety net. Populist far-right “people” movements from below and the corporate-military-intel-wealth “power elite” from above are twin forces undermining what remnants remain of American democracy. They will call it by many other names, but Europeans call it fascism.

Americans resist the label “fascism” because, as Sinclair Lewis observed eighty-one years ago, Americans are convinced “it can’t happen here”. [6] They are wrong. It can happen here, is happening here and the question becomes how far will it metastasize within the body politic? The frightening degree of popular interest measured by TV ratings of recent political debates where collective hate and war-mongering are staged as positive and constructive solutions to America’s imbroglios of crises further demoralizes the population and weakens the national immune system against this cancer metastasizing.

What is America, its people, culture and set of values? By mid-century, it was the leader of the world politically and economically. By the mid-60s, it boasted a “mixed economy” balancing the needs of profit with social welfare. It once fostered peace at home and in the world; it co-existed with its main rival, the Soviet Union, in a balance of power arrangement and in so doing avoided war. Two nuclear powers can only assure each other peace through sanity lest mutual destruction be the result if one or the other starts war – a fact obfuscated by today’s war mongers in Congress and on the presidential campaign platforms; their sociopathic threats are echoed without challenge in American mass-media, the very vehicles used to successfully engineer war-fever and hysteria on the basis of few facts, some lies, and reams of accusations lacking evidence. Americans fail to know the extent of its bombing campaigns, its coups, the number of dead innocents labeled “collateral damage” by the Pentagon, its purposeful destabilization of nations to secure resources and install puppet governments subservient to Washington. Few Americans suspect that the deaths of almost a million and injuries to millions more in the middle-east caused by American-NATO bombings might someday return in kind. Americans are fearful of terrorist acts within their country but fail to understand how we have sponsored, trained and financed terrorists to fight our “dirty wars” from the 1980s in Afghanistan to today in Syria and Iraq. Americans are fearful and thus paralyzed. What a perfect opportunity for a dictator and fascist to exploit.

“America is a moderate country with a slight tilt to the right,” claimed a friend in the mid-West. On the other hand, activist-historian William Blum claims America is not a force for good in the world but a rogue state that is the greatest threat to humanity. [7] [8]  People that largely ignore the rise of police powers, the surveillance state, the cost of endless wars, and the decline of civil liberties are called “sheeple” by critics. Members of the press and media who have abandoned their role as objective journalists and become public relations spokespeople for the State Dept., Pentagon, Wall Street and CIA are known as “presstitutes”. Taken together, democracy is replaced with mindless consumption of media propaganda leaving authorities and power-centers freedom of movement to act and control without constraint or opposition.

World leaders are tentatively understanding the need to act together to resolve global crises that are infecting all layers within societies. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to three minutes to minute citing nuclear wars and ecological cataclysms ahead given the current projectory. [9]  Pope Francis in his highly secular eco-enclyclical Laudato Si! outlines a basal text for a concerted trans-national approach to solve climate change, economic disparities and mushrooming military build-ups in nations. [10] Francis spoke frankly and truthfully when he bravely confessed to an unbelieving and disoriented world that World War III has already begun fought piecemeal. [11]  The Dalai Lama also spoke frankly when he said God wasn’t going to solve our problems. We created them and we need to fix them. God’s not going to do it for us. [12]

America is at war and is planning for greater ones, but its greatest war is the battle within itself. Who is America? What is America? What does America stand for? These questions will be answered but not without conflict, social disruption, acts of civil disobedience, emerging whistleblowers risking careers and livelihoods to speak truth in a sea of disinformation and eroding morality. Campaign officials expect the cost for this year’s presidential campaign to reach $5 billion, most of that money going into the coffers of network and cable TV which, in turn, will please their sponsors – political parties, power brokers and wealth sectors  – and media will remain a house of presstitution. [13] [14]

Democracy needs an informed electorate but Americans have been “dumbed down” enough to believe they have no power over government decisions and economic policies. They are paralyzed by it. In a relatively short span of time, beginning from September 11, 2001, democracy has been under attack by forces from within rather than from without. It has been stolen by hidden unelected financial, corporate and military-industrial cartels that have inculcated fear and exploited it as a pretext for citizens to relinquish liberties. By their own narrow vision induced by rampant consumerism, poor knowledge about government and economics, Americans have endorsed politicians who make wars, relegate human beings secondary to private profit and markets, who conquer dissent, diversity and strength-in-numbers using the mechanism of “identity politics”, who turn morality on its head by taking from the poor and giving to the rich, who call the peaceful weak and the warrior strong, who enshrine our Empire as “exceptional” and “indispensable” on the basis of myths that no longer exist and that fewer and fewer nations believe, including so-called “allies”.

Inscribed in the DNA of America is a deep-seated belief in “destiny”. America had it, lost it, and will someday regain it. It is not found in profits, property, gold, markets or Empire building. The work of ascertaining, identifying and perpetuating this destiny will fall upon tomorrow’s leaders selected from the ranks of millennials and those younger, Generation Z. It will live or die according to their wisdom or their folly. They will build upon a new paradigm or fail trying to resuscitate the old. They will be Lot of the Bible and move forward knowing only one step ahead, or be Sara who turned to salt by fixing her stare upon what was crumbling behind her. The first question to answer must be: What is the ideal world you wish for yourself, family, friends, community and nation? Once realized and empowered by sincere intent and motivation, it will materialize. The world of tomorrow begins in concept today. To more forward, don’t look back. Build it, and if it is for the common good of all Americans and all people of the world, “they will come”.

Others who staunchly support peace, world-wide harmony, justice, non-violence, democracy and the safety of mother earth are good people whose intentions, influence and silent acts now hold hope for our nation and world.

But many more good people must do something. And the time for doing it is now.

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive currently living in New England. He has authored nine books on practical spirituality collectively titled The Cerithous Material.

Notes:

[1] Standing, Guy (2014). The Precariat: The New Dangerous Generation. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN  9781472536167.

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-precariat-9781472536167/

[2] “Fear, Anger and Hatred: The Rise of Germany’s New Right“, Spiegel Online, December 11, 2015.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/refugee-crisis-drives-rise-of-new-right-wing-in-germany-a-1067384.html

[3] “WELCOME TO THE ‘RECHTSRUTSCH’: The far right is quietly making massive gains in Europe“, Business Insider, October 19, 2015.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-far-right-is-quietly-making-massive-gains-in-europe-2015-10?r=UK&IR=T

[4] “How does the Tea Party compare with European far right movements?”, Baker Institute for Public Policy.

https://bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/f6f08c52/IFRI-pub-SirkesTeaParty-2012-1-.pdf

[5] Cas Mudde, “The Trump phenomenon and the European populist radical right”, Washington Post, August 26, 2015.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/08/26/the-trump-phenomenon-and-the-european-populist-radical-right/

[6] Lewis, Sinclair (1935). It Can’t Happen Here. New York: Signet ISBN 9780451465641

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/293163/it-cant-happen-here-by-sinclair-lewis/9780451465641/

[7] Blum, William (2013). America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy. London: Zed Books ISBN-13: 978-1780324456

http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/americas-deadliest-export

[8] Kevin Zeese, “US Empire Reaches Breaking Point. Greatest Threat to Humanity. Time To End It, Global Research, July 20, 2014

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-empire-reaches-breaking-point-greatest-threat-to-humanity-time-to-end-it/5392310

[9] “It is Three Minutes to Midnight”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Janaury 19, 2015

http://thebulletin.org/clock/2015

[10] Pope Francis (2015). Encyclical Letter Laudato Si!, On Care for Our Common Home. Full text at Vatican web site.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

[11] Athena Yenko, “World War 3 Has Begun – Pope Francis”, Morning News USA, June 9, 2015.

http://www.morningnewsusa.com/world-war-3-has-begun-pope-francis-2323017.html

[12] Michael McLaughlin, “Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution”, Huffington Post, November 17, 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dalai-lama-terrorism_564b8975e4b045bf3df16e75

[13] Amie Parnes and Kevin Cirilli, “The $5 billion presidential campaign?” The Hill, January 21, 2016

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/230318-the-5-billion-campaign

[14] Julie Bykowicz, “Campaign ads are a feast for TV stations and they’re out to guard it from online competition”, Associated Press, December 9, 2015

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/12/09/tv-broadcasters-try-to-drum-up-more-campaign-ads

Posted in USAComments Off on The Collective American Consciousness

The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual

NOVANEWS

The Brutality of Imperialist Wars

A Recipe for Total War and Military Dictatorship. Part Two
Global Research
law of war

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE | PART FOUR

This is the second of four articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The first article was posted November 3.

The most menacing passages of the Pentagon’s Law of War Manual concern its relationship to other areas of law. According to the manual, the law of war is separate from and supersedes all other bodies of law, including international human rights treaties and the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights. This is nothing less than a formula for martial law, military dictatorship and the suspension of the Constitution.

Citing a legal treatise entitled “Military Law and Precedents,” the manual states that the law of war can supersede the Constitution: “‘On the actual theatre of military operations,’ as is remarked by a learned judge, ‘the ordinary laws of the land are superseded by the laws of war. The jurisdiction of the civil magistrate is there suspended, and military authority and force are substituted.’ Finding indeed its original authority in the war powers of Congress and the Executive, and thus constitutional in its source, the Law of War may, in its exercise, substantially supersede for the time even the Constitution itself …” (p. 10, emphasis added).

With the entire world declared to be the “battlefield” in the “war on terror,” this is a formula for the Pentagon to impose military dictatorship on all of Planet Earth.

When the Pentagon refers to the “law of war,” it is not referring to historic precedents or international treaties. The phrase “law of war,” in the context of the manual, is a euphemism for “the law according to the Pentagon.”

Under the Pentagon’s pseudo-legal framework, the “law of war” is an independent source of legal authority that overrides all democratic rights and sanctions arbitrary rule by the military. The manual states: “Although the law of war is generally viewed as ‘prohibitive law,’ in some respects, especially in the context of domestic law, the law of war may be viewed as permissive or even as a source of authority” (p. 14).


Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt

Changing a few words here and there, these doctrines could have been copy-pasted from the writings of the Nazi “crown jurist” Carl Schmitt (1888-1985). According to Schmitt’s infamous “state of exception” doctrine, under conditions of a national emergency, the executive is permitted to override democratic protections and disregard the rule of law. Under this doctrine, democratic rights are not formally abrogated, they are simply suspended indefinitely.

Schmitt’s “state of exception” doctrine was used as a legal justification for the 1933 “Act to Relieve the Distress of the People and the Reich,” also known as the “Enabling Act,” which codified Hitler’s dictatorship.

The Pentagon manual invokes Schmitt’s “state of exception” theory in all but name. Having claimed that the law of war is a “special” discipline of law, as opposed to a “general” discipline, the manual states that “the special rule overrides the general law” (p. 9). For added effect, a Latin legal maxim saying the same thing is cited: “lex specialis derogat legi generali.”

Thus, according to the Pentagon, the law of war is the exception to the general “law of peacetime.” Here we have nothing less than a Nazi legal doctrine, incorporated by the Pentagon into a major policy document.

“In some circumstances,” the Pentagon’s manual states, “the rules in the law of war [i.e., the rules invented by the Pentagon] and the rules in human rights treaties may appear to conflict; these apparent conflicts may be resolved by the principle that the law of war is the lex specialis during situations of armed conflict [again, the state of exception], and, as such, is the controlling body of law with regard to the conduct of hostilities and the protection of war victims” (p. 9).

In other words, whenever the Pentagon’s policies conflict with human rights treaties, the human rights treaties should be ignored.

The manual continues, “Underlying this approach is the fact that the law of war is firmly established in customary international law as a well-developed body of law that is separate from the principles of law generally applicable in peace” (p. 10). The implication is that during wartime, America’s vast military establishment is a “separate,” independent branch of government, subject to its own rules and accountable to no one.

Despite the references to the war powers of Congress and the executive under the American Constitution, the Pentagon’s conceptions are the opposite of the framework envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence, in its list of grievances against the British monarch, charges that the king “affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been fond of invoking the phrase “commander in chief,” which appears in Article II of the US Constitution, in a manner that turns its original meaning upside down. The American revolutionaries described the president as the commander in chief of the navy and army as a way of expressing the subordination of the military to civilian authority. This phrase was not meant to elevate the military, with the president as its head, into some kind of supreme authority over the rest of the state and the population.

The manual’s reference to “principles of law generally applicable in peace” has particularly sinister implications.

“Human rights treaties,” according to the Pentagon, are “primarily applicable to the relationship between a State and individuals in peacetime” (p. 22). Therefore, in “wartime”—including the “war on terror” of indefinite scope and duration—human rights treaties no longer apply.

This formula would allow the Pentagon to override more than just human rights treaties. The manual’s authors include the Bill of Rights and other guarantees of civil liberties in the category of laws that apply in “peacetime” only. The arguments made by the manual justify suspending the Bill of Rights altogether as a “peacetime” law that is superseded for the duration of the “war on terror.”

But why stop there? Aren’t elections also part of a system of laws “generally applicable in peace?” What about other civil liberties? What about the right to freedom of speech, or the right to form political parties? What about the right to trial by jury? What about the right to privacy, and the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment?” What about laws against racial discrimination? The right to a minimum wage?

Taken to its logical conclusion, the Law of War Manual would justify imposing a military dictatorship, suspending all democratic rights and rounding up and imprisoning all dissenters.

Should any reader think this analysis far-fetched, it should be remembered that one top American military man recently called for setting up military internment camps for “disloyal” and “radicalized” Americans. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (a Democrat) declared:

“If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right, and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”

He added, “We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning.”

Clark’s extraordinary proposals provoked no significant discussion or disagreement within the political or media establishment. None of the current presidential candidates from either major party has referred to Clark’s statement, presumably because they do not fundamentally disagree with it. There have been no consequences for Clark’s lobbying and consulting firm. The Pentagon’s manual makes clear that Clark was merely testing the waters, revealing plans that have been broadly discussed, developed and approved at the highest levels of the state.


Antonin Scalia

When asked last year about the military internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia responded, “You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing won’t happen again.” He added, in a formulation that mirrors the Pentagon’s manual, “In times of war, the law falls silent.”

The manual also features a heavy dose of the Obama administration’s trademark “balancing” rhetoric. Pursuant to this approach, a basic democratic right or legal principle will be affirmed in abstract terms. But then it will be “balanced” against some authoritarian counter-principle, with the result that the basic principle will be rendered meaningless. The Obama administration has invoked this formula repeatedly as its justification for NSA spying, as well as for drone assassinations.

The document states, “Civilians may not be made the object of attack, unless they take direct part in hostilities.” This seems clear enough, but then a “balancing” formula is introduced. “Civilians may be killed incidentally in military operations; however, the expected incidental harm to civilians may not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage from an attack, and feasible precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of harm to civilians during military operations” (p. 128).

In other words, after applying the “balancing” formula, it turns out that it is acceptable to kill civilians if, on balance, the expected “military advantage” outweighs the harm to civilians. This effectively makes the rule against killing civilians meaningless. In practice, the “balancing” formula translates to the unfettered power of military leaders to order mass killing and destruction.

The brutality of imperialist war

The manual features a chilling discussion of killing civilians. According to the Pentagon, massacres of civilians are permissible if they help achieve “operational objectives.”

The authors take pains not to state that the killing of civilians is prohibited per se. Instead, the manual indicates that “feasible precautions” should be taken to “avoid” civilian casualties, which should not be “excessive” or “unreasonable.” However, the manual defines “feasible precautions” as merely “those that are practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations” (p. 190).

The Pentagon’s manual authorizes mass killing of civilians as in the assault on Fallujah during the Iraq War

“For example,” the document states,

“if a commander determines that taking a precaution would result in operational risk (i.e., a risk of failing to accomplish the mission) or an increased risk of harm to their own forces, then the precaution would not be feasible and would not be required” (p. 191).

This is a blank check for mass killings of civilians if a military leader decides that failing to do so would be an “operational risk.” If exterminating the population of a hostile city would reduce the “risk of harm” to US forces, then the Pentagon manual would allow it.

This “balancing” formulation appears to contradict previous statements of American policy, such as the following remarks from 1987 by a State Department legal adviser: “[C]ivilian losses are not to be balanced against the military value of the target. If severe losses would result, then the attack is forbidden, no matter how important the target” [2].

The manual also codifies the tendentious “human shields” doctrine, whereby civilian deaths are blamed on the targets of indiscriminate bombing.

“A party that is subject to attack might fail to take feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians, such as by separating the civilian population from military objectives … the ability to discriminate and to reduce the risk of harm to the civilian population likely will be diminished by such enemy conduct” (p. 198).

This is merely a justification for collective punishment by another name. If the Pentagon identifies a “military objective” in a densely populated area, then the military supposedly has the legal right to obliterate the neighborhood with high explosives and blame the civilian population for being “human shields.” Collective punishment is, under international law, a war crime. It is designed to terrorize a population and discourage resistance.

The manual expressly authorizes targeted killings. “Military operations may be directed against specific enemy combatants,” the document states, adding, “US forces have often conducted such operations” (p. 201).

In support of targeted killings, the manual cites Obama’s speech on May 2, 2011:

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound [suspected of housing Osama Bin Laden] in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body” (p. 201).

The manual fails to mention that journalist Seymour Hersh has exposed the account given in Obama’s speech as a pack of lies.

Censorship and targeting of journalists as “unprivileged belligerents”

The manual’s proposed treatment of journalists as spies has evoked the only media attention to the document. “Reporting on military operations,” the manual states, “can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying” (p. 175).

The Pentagon goes on to authorize itself to “capture” and “punish” journalists, forbid journalists to work anonymously, and require that journalists obtain “permission” and “identification documents” from the US military to conduct their work.

The manual states:

“A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured. To avoid being mistaken for spies, journalists should act openly and with the permission of relevant authorities. Presenting identification documents, such as the identification card issued to authorized war correspondents or other appropriate identification, may help journalists avoid being mistaken as spies” (p. 175).

The document further states that journalists can be subject to military censorship. It declares:

“States may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy. Under the law of war, there is no special right for journalists to enter a State’s territory without its consent or to access areas of military operations without the consent of the State conducting those operations” (p. 175).

There is nothing here that would be out of place in the code of laws of a totalitarian police state. This legal framework, for example, would justify setting up a military internment camp to imprison each journalist who published material disclosed by Edward Snowden. There is nothing in the manual that would prohibit the Pentagon from launching drone strikes against targeted journalists who are deemed to be acting as “spies.” (If a journalist’s family and friends were killed in the drone strike, it would be the journalist’s fault for employing “human shields”).

Do we exaggerate? An article appeared in the recent spring/summer issue of the academic National Security Law Journal titled “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict/Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column” [3 Nat’l Sec. L.J. 278 (2015)]. In this article, West Point law professor William C. Bradford argues that academics who criticize the “war on terror” are “aiding the enemy,” such that they should be treated as “unlawful combatants” under the law of war.

Bradford, a professor at the prestigious United States Military Academy, goes on to argue that by criticizing the war on terror, certain professors are working in “the service of Islamists seeking to destroy Western civilization and re-create the Caliphates.” These professors, Bradford charges, are guilty of “skepticism of executive power,” “professional socialization,” “pernicious pacifism,” and “cosmopolitanism.”

Bradford recommends firing “disloyal” professors and imposing loyalty oaths at universities. He further recommends arresting and prosecuting professors for treason and for providing material support to terrorism. Finally, he argues that “disloyal” professors and the universities that employ them could be considered “lawful targets” for military attack under the law of war.

Bradford has also advocated a military coup (“What conditions precedent would be required before the American military would be justified in using or threatening force to oust a US president…?”) and genocide (“total war” until “the political will of Islamist peoples” is broken, or until “all who countenance or condone Islamism are dead”). The latter policy would include the targeted destruction of “Islamic holy sites.”

The journal subsequently repudiated Bradford’s article, calling it an “egregious breach of professional decorum,” and Bradford resigned from West Point on August 30. However, the episode provides a glimpse of what the Pentagon has in mind for its critics under the “law of war.” Bradford’s fascistic rants simply represent the doctrines expressed in the Law of War Manual taken to their logical conclusions.

The persecution of journalists such as Glenn Greenwald (and his partner David Miranda) and Julian Assange, together with whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, has already made clear that the American government will treat the exposure of official criminality as “espionage” and “aiding the enemy.” The Pentagon’s manual codifies this position and authorizes the military to carry out repressive measures against journalists.

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement on July 31 protesting the manual, pointing to the rising numbers of journalists killed and maimed while covering armed conflicts. “The Obama administration’s Defense Department,” the CPJ wrote, “appears to have taken the ill-defined practices begun under the Bush administration during the War on Terror and codified them to formally govern the way US military forces treat journalists covering conflicts.”

It is significant that the words “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” do not appear anywhere in the Pentagon’s manual.

In a section setting forth the Pentagon’s authority as an “Occupying Power,” the manual states that “for the purposes of security, an Occupying Power may establish regulation of any or all forms of media (e.g., press, radio, television) and entertainment (e.g., theater, movies), of correspondence, and of other means of communication. For example, an Occupying Power may prohibit entirely the publication of newspapers that pose a threat to security, or it may prescribe regulations for the publication or circulation of newspapers of other media for the purpose of fulfilling its obligations to restore public order” (pp. 759-60).

A footnote includes the caveat that “this sub-section focuses solely on what is permitted under the law of war and does not address possible implications of censorship under the First Amendment of the Constitution.” Presumably, the authors would contend that the First Amendment applies only in “peacetime,” and is “superseded” by the Pentagon’s “lex specialis” for the duration of the “war on terror.”

Notes:

[2] See The Position of the United States on Current Law of War Agreements: Remarks of Judge Abraham D. Sofaer, Legal Adviser, United States Department of State, Jan. 22, 1987, American University Journal of International Law and Policy 460, 468 (1987) (cited in the Law of War Manual, p. 247).

Posted in USAComments Off on The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual

Disseminating Fake Information: Conversations with State Department Propagandist Zionist Robert S. Ford

NOVANEWS
Former US Ambassador to Syria
220px-Robert_Stephen_Ford_US_State_Dept_photo

On the 3rd of January, before the blood of Saudi executed Sheikh Nimr had even dried, Ex Ambassador to Syria, Zionist Robert Ford (pictured left) tweeted this appalling piece of leading propaganda: 

ford on Nimr

Link to Tweet

This must firstly be compared to an equally insensitive and cynical propagandist, profiteering tweet from arch lie merchant, Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch. This dreadful piece of exploitative cynicism was subsequently deleted, perhaps after even Ken Roth realised he had overstepped the mark of decency.  This was Ken Roth’s attempt to overshadow the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz with further tired and universally discredited anti Assad propaganda.

I guess in Robert Ford’s favour he waited 24 hours before his display of disrespect towards a much loved and respected activist and campaigner against the Saudi regime’s despotism and brutality, supported of course by its Western cohorts.

Ken Roth on the other hand, could barely contain his excitement at being able to find another opportunity to attack Assad personally, tweeting his little gem on the same day as the US had relentlessly bombed one of the few remaining hospitals in Kunduz for over an hour.  30 people including nursing staff, patients and doctors were massacred, 37 injured in one of the worst incidents of civilian casualties in the 14-year war  by US forces seemingly oblivious to their screams for help and for the onslaught to stop.

It appears that disseminating fake information on Syria took priority over highlighting the US gross negligence and violations of rules of war.

Screenshot (314)

Of course we cannot ignore the fact that Ford is watching US and NATO [Israeli and GCC] plans for regime change in Syria floundering irreparably.  Sheikh Nimr’s execution was a desperate and appalling attempt to revive a Western/Saudi  engineered sectarian conflict that is being thwarted by Syria’s innate secularism and the unity of the majority of the Syrian people behind a President who has emerged from the eye of the almost 5 year  propaganda storm, as a symbol of resilience and unflappable dignity.

“As with Sheikh Zakzaky in Nigeria, Sheikh Nimr campaigned against the Saudi Wahhabi distortion of Islam and engineered division of the Muslim world along sectarian lines that did not exist prior to the Saudi propaganda, inflamed and fuelled by the West intent on partitioning the region to best serve Israel’s security and Western economic and resource agendas,” Vanessa Beeley, with Syrian Solidarity Movement, told Tasnim on Monday.

“From the reaction of certain US Congress representatives such as Robert Ford to the hideous execution of Sheikh Nimr Bagher al-Nimr by the despotic Saudi regime, it is clear that the Sheikh’s execution is a reaction to the US NATO floundering regime change policies in Syria,” she added.

“The US is determined to maintain perpetual sectarian conflict and anyone who dares to evoke unity and cohesion will not be tolerated.  Will this bring more extremism to the region?  Iran is more intelligent than this as is Russia.  Both countries have been sorely provoked and both are showing huge restraint and wisdom, unlike their antagonists,” Beeley said.

Now a little reminder about Robert Ford’s close relationship with “moderate rebel” FSA [Free Syrian Army] Colonel Okaidi.

Ford dark etc

Twitter Link 

One of the most senior “moderate” rebel commanders to be backed by the US and main recipient of Western aid, Col. Okaidi, is seen in a video, which has been authenticated by Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, speaking during interviews saying “My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good … I communicate almost daily with brothers in ISIL … the relationship is good, even brotherly.”

Okaidi admits al-Qaida is not any different from the FSA: “They [al-Nusra] did not exhibit any abnormal behavior, which is different from that of the FSA.”

The video shows Okaidi with ISIS Emir Abu Jandal celebrating a victory, as an ally ISIS fighter shouts “I swear to Allah, O Alawites, we came to slaughter you. Await what you deserve!”

US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who worked closely with Okaidi, himself admitted to giving material support to ISIS and al-Nusra, stating that he “absolutely does not deny” knowing that most of the rebels he backed fought alongside ISIS and al-Nusra ~ Steve Chovanec for Mint Press News

In response to Robert Ford’s tweet on Sheikh Nimr, I tweeted Camille Alexandre Otrakji‘s excellent article contesting  Ambassador Ford‘s analysis of the US intervention in Syria.

“The United States has the power to shape narratives around the globe … it has the power to name villains and heroes … it can decide who is on the right side of history and who is not.

Then it can promote the ones that it blessed while building international coalitions to punish the ones it condemned to the wrong side.

Usually it also punishes their people and their countries and sometimes neighboring countries, in the process… collateral damage … the price for freedom …

It is all done is a slick style that the narrative-building machine describes as “Justice” and “protecting the people” or “the price they need to pay to gain their freedom”, rather than the more impulsive or selfish motivators: “teaching them a lesson they won’t forget” or “protecting America’s interests (oil and defense sectors usually).”  ~  excerpt from Camille Otrakji’s article

This article seemed to cause sufficient consternation for Robert Ford to divert me to Direct [private] message on Twitter.  The following is the unedited conversation I had with Ford.

Ford:  Vanessa – rather than put a tweet out to thousands, in answer to your question, I do remember Camille’s long piece. I agreed with some of it. Some of it badly distorted things I had said and misinterpreted American policy and some of it ignored realities on the ground and what the Syrian government does. I wrote him a long response last spring. You can ask him to share it if he wants. I note that he didn’t publish it on his FB page, but that’s his right

Vanessa: Um did you not just tweet to thousands, utterly incorrect statistics from Syria. According to you Assad personally killed 200,000. That is a barefaced lie even by the US Government standards and to state that in conjunction with the heinous execution of Sheikh Nimr without even including his title out of respect for this visionary man of peace and unity and with no reference to the continuing policy of execution both in Saudi Arabia and globally by their Frankenstein monsters that your Government helped create..you are the propagandist sir, Camille’s article is at least well researched. Your statement is a lie, that we have all stopped believing.

You saw the execution of a Saudi Muslim faith leader and opposition speaker against the despotic Saudi regime as an opportunity for propaganda, both against Syria and Iran..shame on you. Where is your respect?

All figures coming out of Syria are skewed by your propagandists on the ground and you know that. Where are the figures on the US Coalition bombing civilian deaths in Syria? Al Bab, Aleppo bombing of civilians covered up by Congress. Where are the figures for the “rebel” mortar victims in Damascus and Homs & across Syria, the “mod reb” suicide bomb attacks across Syria, the “moderate rebel” snipers, the “rebel” hell cannon attacks in Aleppo? When are they ever mentioned by your pet UKFO CIA/Soros propagandists, aka the White Helmets?

Ford:  i take my figures from the syrian network for human rights which has activists inside syria and which documents victims by name. their estimates are lower than the syrian observatory. both have detailed reports on the internet that you can check if you wish. if you have more accurate data than these 2 organizations do, well, let’s see it. and where is your respect for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the assad regime? sheikh nimr was one man. i have a colleague who once met him and said he appeared reasonable. but i also regret more the death of many thousands of civilians. and i make no apologies for that.

Vanessa: If the SNHR is so reliable why has the UN stopped documenting victim figures from Syria because information from on the ground is so unreliable?

I presume, if they record names, you will have all 200, 000 names that you are claiming Assad killed?

Who are the activists supplying this information? Are they part of the agitprop shop set up by Avaaz in 2011 that included that bastion of truth, Danny Abdul Dayem and many other such embarrassing fakers..or the Syria Civil Defence, proven CIA/UKFO backed agents, embedded in Al Nusra and ISIS areas and allied with these terrorist factions against the Syrian people.

I can demonstrate SNHR connections to Governmental agencies with a vested interest in Syria regime change, the SOHR has been universally discredited.

You have failed to answer my question, where are the figures for the casualties of your proxy terrorist armies and gangs in Syria? Where are the figures of the mortar maimed and dead, fired by your “moderate rebels” into civilian areas? Where are your figures of civilians killed by your Coalition bombs or the essential infrastructure destruction by your bombs that ensures the starvation and privation of the Syrian people? Where are your figures for the SAA who make up the majority of the victims of this war on Syria, and they are the Syrian people.

And your comment about Sheikh Nimr is a blatant and woeful example of American exceptionalism..your colleague’s opinion of this courageous leader outweighs that of his tens of thousands of supporters and followers across the world.

I have respect for the Syrian civilians who are losing their lives and enduring the horror inflicted upon them by your terror gangs and “moderate rebels”, I have respect for those raped, crucified, tortured, shelled, bombed and torn apart by these monsters you have unleashed upon Syria. You are right I have, not one iota of respect for one of those terrorist lives lost. Nor should you!

They say silence speaks volumes….

In reality Ford is trying to play ‘neutral’ and a ‘good guy’ but still clinging to the Western script of events which is falling apart at the seams on a daily basis.

History alone will show what an awful debacle this plot against Syria has been.  It will take a few years for the true version of events to be accepted as “consensus reality” but that time will come.

The West took a side, moulded it , embellished it and armed it and it was not the side of the Syrian people.  The “rebels” such as they were did a deal with the Devil and brought the made-in-the-West  Devil to Syria on promises of money, status and a seat at the table of power when the “regime” change was completed. Both are seeing their agendas being dismantled before their eyes and both sides are making fatal mistakes in their propaganda efforts.

This is the neocolonial dance.  Merciless exposure of their fraudulence and disinformation campaign is needed to ensure they stumble into oblivion.

May the soul of the courageous Sheikh Nimr rest in Peace and may his legacy of unity and resistance against oppression live on through all of us.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on Disseminating Fake Information: Conversations with State Department Propagandist Zionist Robert S. Ford

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