My Last Talk with Gary Webb: “I Knew It Was the Truth and That’s What Kept Me Going”

NOVANEWS

by RICHARD THIEME

I was heartsick. Just knowing that Webb was alive was enough to keep me going through difficult nights.

The Mercury News says that “Webb, an award-winning journalist, was … perhaps best known for sparking a national controversy with a 1996 story that contended supporters of a CIA-backed guerrilla army in Nicaragua helped trigger America’s crack-cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. The ‘Dark Alliance’ series in the Mercury News came under fire by other news organizations, and the paper’s own investigation concluded the series did not meet its standards. Mr. Webb resigned a year and a half after the series appeared in the paper. He then published his book, `Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.’

Of course the newspaper did not report that he resigned only after months of commuting to a dead-end assignment 150 miles from his family and home to which he had been exiled. Forced to work so far from his family, Webb grew depressed and made a sane choice.

So he was not a stranger to depression. Conspiracy stories are already suggesting that his suicide was something else, but I know he would want more than anything for solid investigative work to stitch together all of the pieces, that we not impose a pattern prematurely. That’s what he did for his stories and it’s the least we can do for him.

Besides, why kill him now? As I said in my blog-piece three days ago:

Voices of clarity and conscience are effectively controlled and spun into irrelevance rather than silenced. Marginalization is more effective than assassination it leaves no dead heroes as leaders, after all – and there’s no blood.

Webb understood that.

His Dark Alliance series was attacked not for what it said (the CIA initially denied then later admitted there were connections between operatives and drug cartels) but for what attackers claimed it said. Webb expected that kind of distortion and created a web site loaded with primary documents, transcripts and audio tapes of interviews so interested parties could read and hear for themselves what sources had said. It was one of the first times the Web was used to support a mainstream story that way and the site had over a million hits.

But a person can only say “I didn’t say that … I didn’t say that …so many times. The mass mind soon accepts the oft-repeated distortion as reality.

Or as a friend, a political consultant, recently said, “You can’t always change reality but you can always change the facts.”

Or as Joseph E. Levine said, “You can fool all of the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough.”

Or as I said three days ago:

the manipulation of the herd by the substitution of symbols and images largely irrelevant to matters at hand, used so efficiently in the recent election, makes persons of clarity and conscience feel impotent and ineffective.

In May 2000, I was exploring a story with some dark edges to it. I was anxious and needed encouragement to persist. I asked Gary about the consequences of his investigation and its impact on his life. Above all, was it worth it?

“Yes,” he said. “The CIA admitted it. I know it was the truth, and that’s what kept me going. I knew I was right.

He added, “My eyes were wide open. I knew what I was getting into. My kids suffered but I had the paper behind me – I thought.” After his paper withdrew its support, he drew on the energy of people who knew the truth of the streets. “Support came from all sorts of places,” he said. “Especially African Americans.”

And his wife? “She was OK with it,” he laughed. “She was used to me getting death threats.”

Webb joked that colleagues often said he was naive rather than cynical. We agreed that a cynic might be nothing but a disappointed idealist. If we accept reality as it is without expectations to the contrary, we’re never disappointed.

Gary spoke of his work in terms that I used for ministry. He had been mentored by a journalist who taught him that his work was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Thats what the best bishops taught me too.

I was once asked by Jean Feraca on Wisconsin Public Radio, why are so many of your heroes assassinated?

She rattled off Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Jesus.

Maybe, I said, assassination is the ultimate form of censorship for those who cant help but tell the truth.

Dark Alliance was Gary Webb’s best shot at doing that.

“You get one chance in a lifetime to do the right thing,” he said. “If you don’t do it, you surrender, and then they win.”

The passion for truth and justice is not a sprint. It’s a long-distance run that requires a different kind of training, a different degree of commitment. Our eye must be on a goal that we know we will never reach in our lifetimes. Faith is the name of believing in the transcendent, often despite all evidence to the contrary.

But what are the options?

Webb knew what he was up against. He said of the CIA, “Richard, these are the worst people on earth that you’re dealing with – they lie, plant stories, discredit and worse for a living and have the resources and the experience.

But somebody’s got to do it [tell the truth]. Otherwise they win.

The choice is to do the work – or surrender.”

And I am grieving for someone who did the work. And never surrendered.

Rest in peace.

Posted in USA0 Comments

A Momentous Movement in Ferguson: Why We Must Stand With the Black Community

NOVANEWS

by MARY SCULLY

Something momentous & historical is emerging in Ferguson, Missouri: the rebirth of Black power after two unarmed Black teens were gunned down by police. There are hundreds of Black kids across this country murdered by police in a governmental war on Black youth which includes massive incarceration for minor offenses. But media ignores all this & masks racism with pity in stories about “Black on Black violence”, teen pregnancy, drug gangs, & fatherless families–adding up to an image of lawless dysfunction in the Black community.

Prominent Black civil rights organizations like the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH (Jesse Jackson’s group) & Urban League sold their political souls a long time ago when they began accepting & soliciting financial support from Wall Street. They now rely heavily on donations from Microsoft, Exxon, Kodak, Wachovia, PepsiCo, Comcast-NBC, AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner, ABC-Disney, Sprint, T-Mobile. Corporate & foundation funding is the main way civil rights (& immigrant rights) organizations become tamed & no longer responsive to violence against & vilification of the Black community.

Black “leaders” like  Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson rush to outbursts in the Black community not to lead opposition to systemic racism but to peddle voting as an alternative to independent Black political action that would drive these assaults back. Black power is what is needed, not another wimpy-assed, mealy-mouthed Democrat in Congress, like the kind that make up the Black Congressional Caucus.

What makes the Black community of Ferguson so momentous & historic is that despite the intervention of Sharpton & Jackson to rein in militance, they are forging a Black power movement & turning their backs on compromise & those who counsel it. Not only do they continue protests & legal challenges to the cops, but at a meeting last weekend, 3,000 people gathered in a St. Louis arena to hear the NAACP & other Black mis-leaders speak. A section of that crowd, described as the youth, stood up & turned their backs on the president of the NAACP & started chanting opposition. Some commentators have called this an “intergenerational” conflict & it may well be lead by youth. But these establishment civil rights organizations have been dormant for a few interminable decades & there are plenty of older people just itching to engage in struggle against the violent assaults on their kids.

Media reporting of the emerging movement in Ferguson has been grotesque, as usual when reporting on the Black community. They claim protests become violent “when demonstrators & police clash.” That’s like saying cops murder unarmed Black teens when they put their heads up against the barrel of their guns. Protestors are unarmed & demanding their rights under the US Bill of Rights to protest on-going police brutality. The caption to this photo read: “The St. Louis area has been struggling to heal since riots erupted in suburban Ferguson following Brown’s death.” Riots!? That’s what they call exercising your rights in the Black community to justify police assault. “Struggling to heal?” You send phalanxes of riot cops to a healing!? Is that like Obama sending marines to address the Ebola epidemic?

Missouri officials and media are extremely concerned about those “outside agitators” converging on Ferguson. They damn well better get used to it. St. Louis is the epicenter of an emerging Black power movement. Political resistance in the Black community has always been countered with extreme police violence, as we witnessed in the Civil Rights & Black power movements. This emerging social movement is of the greatest consequence to overcoming violent systemic racism in the US & like the Civil Rights movement, it is a call to arms demanding active solidarity across this country. Those who can, should hot foot it to Ferguson to stand with the Black community; those who can’t, should help organize rallies, speak-outs, protests in their own cities.

There will be no social transformation in the US without the leadership of Black activists, including Black women, steeled in uncompromising struggle against racism & every form of social hatred. To be part of that momentous cause requires standing with the Bill of Rights and with the Black community in Ferguson, Missouri.

Posted in USA0 Comments

US State Department Regulations Against Free Speech to “Shape and Sustain a… Democratic World”

NOVANEWS
Global Research
thought police

The State Department says I shouldn’t write this article. They have regulations that tell former employees like me what we should and should not say, and that’s wrong in America.

As some readers may know, I am former employee of the Department of State, and after publishing a book critical of State’s efforts in the previous Iraq War, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (American Empire Project) I was subjected to a year of leg albattles, including threat of prosecution.

But standing up for your rights is a part of having those rights. A free society is based on a marketplace of ideas, that free speech thing we all learned about in civics class. We all need to hear from all sides to become the “informed citizenry” that Thomas Jefferson said was so essential to a democracy. And who better to enlighten the public about how their government really works than former federal employees, the people who were on the inside, now private citizens?

It would be wrong then for a former employer, as codified into its agency regulations, to expect its retirees to “refrain from engaging in activities of any kind, including writing manuscripts or giving speeches, which would be prejudicial to the foreign policy interests of the United States.” But that is exactly what the U.S. Department of State does.

They even wrote it down, stating:

Former employees are expected to refrain from engaging in activities of any kind, including writing manuscripts or giving speeches, which would be prejudicial to the foreign policy interests of the United States.

Former employees are encouraged to make public appearances and write manuscripts for unofficial publication which constructively contribute to the interests and objectives of the Department of State and the Government.

So let’s get this straight. Private citizens, who happened to once work for the State Department in some capacity, perhaps not even one directly connected to policy issues, are expected to not say anything in a public forum against the interests of the United States? And they are encouraged to say things that contribute to the objectives of the Department of State?

Though this all smacks of some sort of Orwellian attempt to coerce, er, expect, a class of private citizens to propagandize, um, engage in activities, that use their authority and reputation as former State Department employee to promote only the side of a discussion that supports the government’s position, I’ll play along. I have to right, as a Good Citizen?

But I think the problem will be in how the State Department and I might differ on just what the “interests and objectives of the Department of State and the Government” are that I am told because I once worked there I must support.

But let’s start with something we can agree on. The State Department’s Mission Statement says in part that the agency should seek to “Shape and sustain a… democratic world.” I agree. But I disagree that admonishments to spew the government line as a private citizen, as State wants, contribute to that goal. Instead, I believe that exercising my First Amendment rights as a private citizen contribute much to democracy. Bleating out the party line is for countries ruled by parties. Did you know that North Korea’s interests and objectives include claiming Kim Il Sung invented the television? I guess their former employees are encouraged and expected to write nice things in comments on YouTube and stuff.

Welcome to another episode of Post-Constitutional America, where the old rules do not apply. See something, say something, unless you used to work for the State Department and what you say does not agree with the government’s version of things.

But oh! Some feel that is too much, too dramatic. Fair enough. The whole problem is not that State can ever enforce these rules– they can’t– it is that they exist as a testament to how they think. It’s that whole idea of “loyalty” above all else, and of course the hypocrisy of saying how important dissent is while trying very hard to stifle it. At the end of the day such things erode employees. So many just kind of give up and stop caring too much about what they do and just glide through the motions.

BONUS: The same section of regulation quoted above also says “The State Department will be glad to furnish, upon request, advice, assistance, and copies of printed publications to former employees who wish to obtain information on particular subjects.” Or not. I have asked State for comment and “advice” on these regulations and have not received any response.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Leaked Documents Expose Secret Contracts Between NSA and Tech Companies

NOVANEWS
Global Research
Stingray-government-dissapears-evidence-data-spying-NSA

Internal National Security Agency documents published by the Intercept earlier this month provide powerful evidence of active collaboration by the large technology corporations with the US government’s worldwide surveillance operations. The documents give a glimpse of efforts by the American state—the scale and complexity of which are astonishing—to penetrate, surveil and manipulate information systems around the world.

Reportedly leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the documents catalogue a dizzying array of clandestine intelligence and surveillance operations run by the NSA, CIA and other US and allied security bureaucracies, including infiltration of undercover agents into corporate entities, offensive cyber-warfare and computer network exploitation (CNE), theoretical and practical aspects of encryption cracking, and supply chain interdiction operations that “focus on modifying equipment in a target’s supply chain.”

The trove of documents, made available in their original forms by the Intercept , are largely comprised of classification rubrics that organize NSA secrets according to a color-coded scale ranging from green (lowest priority secrets), through blue and red, to black (highest priority secrets).

The secret facts organized in the leaked classification guides supply overwhelming evidence that the NSA and Central Security Service (a 25,000-strong agency founded in 1972 as a permanent liaison between the NSA and US military intelligence) rely on cooperative and in some cases contractual relations with US firms to facilitate their global wiretapping and data stockpiling activities.

Blue level facts listed in the documents include:

* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with US industry in the conduct of its cryptologic missions”

* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with US industry as technical advisors regarding cryptologic products”

Red level facts include:

* “Fact that NSA/CSS conducts SIGINT enabling programs and related operations with US industry”

* “Fact that NSA/CSS have FISA operations with US commercial industry elements”

Black level facts include:

* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with and has contractual relationships with specific named US commercial entities to conduct SIGINT [signals intelligence] enabling programs and operations”

* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with specific named US commercial entities to make them exploitable for SIGINT”

* “Facts related to NSA personnel (under cover), operational meetings, specific operations, specific technology, specific locations and covert communications related to SIGINT enabling with specific commercial entities”

* “Facts related to NSA/CSS working with US commercial entities on the acquisition of communications (content and metadata) provided by the US service provider to worldwide customers; communications transiting the US; or access to international communications mediums provided by the US entity”

* “Fact that NSA/CSS injects ‘implants’ into the hardware and software of US companies to enable data siphoning”

Particularly damning are facts reported by a leaked classification schema detailing operation “Exceptionally Controlled Information (ECI) WHIPGENIE,” described in the document’s introduction as covering NSA “Special Source Operations relationships with US Corporate Partners.”

According to the ECI WHIPGENIE document, unnamed “corporate partners” facilitate NSA mass surveillance as part of undisclosed “contractual relations,” through which “NSA and Corporate Partners are involved in SIGINT ‘cooperative efforts.”’

Among the classified TOP SECRET items listed in the ECI WHIPGENIE document is the fact that “NSA and an unnamed Corporate Partner are involved in a ‘cooperative effort’ against cable collection, including domestic wire access collection.”

As part of WHIPGENIE, the document further states, the FBI facilitates NSA partnerships with industry that are both “compelled and cooperative” in nature. In other words, the NSA carries out domestic wiretapping and “cable collection” operations with the cooperation of at least one US corporation.

These revelations are especially significant in light of persistent claims by the major tech and communications corporations that their involvement in the surveillance operations is strictly involuntary in nature.

Last year, a leaked NSA PowerPoint presentation titled “Corporate Partner Access” showed that the volume of data transferred to the agency by Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft during a single 5-week period was sufficient to generate more than 2,000 intelligence reports. The companies all defended their actions by claiming they were forced to furnish data by the government.

Other documents contained in the trove detail the NSA’s development of sophisticated offensive cyber-warfare capabilities targeting the information systems of foreign corporations and governments. These programs highlight the threat of outbreaks of electronic warfare between competing capitalist elites, which could provide the spark for full-fledged shooting wars.

One document, titled “Computer Network Exploitation Classification Guide,” states that NSA, CSS and the NSA’s in-house hacker unit, the so-called Tailored Access Operations (TAO), engage in “remote subversion” as well as “off-net field operations to develop, deploy, exploit or maintain intrusive access.”

Another classification guide, titled “NSA / CSS Target Exploitation Program,” covers target exploitation operations (TAREX), which are said to “provide unique collection of telecommunication and cryptologic-related information and material in direct support of NSA / CSS.”

TAREX also involves “physical subversion,” “close access-enabling exploitation,” and “supply chain enabling,” the document shows, through which the surveillance agencies intervene directly to modify and sabotage the information systems of rival states.

TAREX operations are supported by outposts located in Beijing, China, South Korea, Germany, Washington DC, Hawaii, Texas and Georgia, and TAREX personnel are “integrated into the HUMINT [human intelligence] operations at CIA, DIA/DoD, and/or FBI,” according to the document.

On top of the electronic surveillance, infiltration and cyber-warfare operations themselves, the intelligence establishment has launched a slate of secondary operations designed to protect the secrecy of its various initiatives, as shown in another leaked document, titled “Exceptionally Controlled Information Listing.”

These include:

* AMBULANT, APERIODIC, AUNTIE—“Protect information related to sensitive SIGINT Enabling relationships”

* BOXWOOD—“Protects a sensitive sole source of lucrative communications intelligence emanating from a target”

* CHILLY—“Protects details of NSA association with and active participation in planning and execution of sensitive Integrated Joint Special Technical Operations (IJSTO) offensive Information Warfare strategies”

* EVADEYIELD—“Protects NSA’s capability to exploit voice or telephonic conversations from an extremely sensitive source”

* FORBIDDEN—“Protects information pertaining to joint operations conducted by NSA, GCHQ, CSE, CIA, and FBI against foreign intelligence agents”

* FORBORNE—“Protects the fact that the National Security Agency, GCHQ, and CSE can exploit ciphers used by hostile intelligence services”

* OPALESCE —“Protects Close Access SIGINT collection operations, which require a specialized sensor, positioned in close physical proximity to the target or facility”

* PENDLETON—“Protects NSA’s investment in manpower and resources to acquire our current bottom line capabilities to exploit SIGINT targets by attacking public key cryptography as well as investment in technology”

* PIEDMONT—“Provides protection to NSA’s bottom line capabilities to exploit SIGINT targets by attacking the hard mathematical problems underlying public key cryptography as well as any future technologies as may be developed”

* And others…

The number and character of the NSA’s “protection” programs gives an indication of the scope of its activities.

The latest round of leaked NSA documents underscores the absurdity of proposals aimed at “reforming” and “reigning in” the mass surveillance programs, which, propelled by the explosive growth of social inequality and the rise of a criminal financial oligarchy, have enjoyed a tropical flourishing since the 1970s, acquiring an extravagant scale and diversity.

Posted in USA0 Comments

Police State USA: Feds Continue Orwellian Surveillance of Social Media

NOVANEWS
Global Research
social-media-surveillance-1024x1011

Even amid the public outrage and pushback in the wake of whistleblower revelations about the global spy network, the establishment continues to push forward with justifications about why it is in our best interest to be under their constant watch. 

Social media is a playground for data harvesters of all stripes, but it is now apparent that it is becoming the single most pursued line of open surveillance.

I reported recently about Twitter’s ChatterGrabber program that is “used to monitor tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, public sentiment involving vaccines, and gun violence and terrorism, serving as an early warning system for public health officials through suspicious tweets or conversations.” That story was followed shortly after by the announcement that Twitter would open up its entire database to MIT beginning with its very first Tweet in 2006. We know that Facebook has used their algorithms to go beyond surveillance and actually manipulate the emotions of users as a type of psychology experiment. And the list goes on.

Now The Hill is reporting on a federal program that even has one member of the FCC saying that it “seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.”

While some have defended new modes of biosurveillance and social media tracking to identify and counter heightened public health risks, no one except social engineers can tolerate the tracking of political speech – for the simple reason that it blankets both sides of the political spectrum, and everything in between. The above-mentioned MIT program using Twitter’s full database hinted at studying political language, but this new program leaves no doubt:

The “Truthy” study, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is being developed by Indiana University researchers to study how popular ideas and jokes spread throughout popular culture. One focus is the spread of “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution,” researchers said. (emphasis added) 

And a new term is born: social pollution . Not much of a stretch to see how this could merge with hate speech in the political arena and be used to silence legitimately dissenting voices.

The press release below frames the Indiana University study. It’s a shameful use of public data, university tools and taxpayer funds. Combined with corporate social media platforms, this is fascism at its finest.

My emphasis and parenthetical comments added.

  1. We study how individuals’ limited attention span affects what information we propagate and what social connections we make, and how the structure of social networks can help predict which memes are likely to become viral.
  2. We explore social science questions via social media data analytics. Examples of research to date include analyses of geographic and temporal patterns in movements like Occupy Wall Street, societal unrest in Turkey, polarization and cross-ideological communication in online political discourse, partisan asymmetries in online political engagement, the use of social media data to predict election outcomes and forecast key market indicators, and the geographic diffusion of trending topics.
  3. Truthy is an ensemble of web services and tools to demonstrate applications of our data mining research, from visualizing meme diffusion patterns to detecting social bots on Twitter.

The current focus of the project follows three directions:

  1. Modeling efforts to better understand how information spreads, why some memes go viral,competition for attention, the role of sentiment on the diffusion process, the mutual interaction between traffic on the network and the emergent structure of the network.
  2. Analyzing differences in meme diffusion patterns between different domains, such as news and scientific results, and the correlations between certain online behaviors and offline events.
  3. Expanding the platform to make the data derived from our analyses of meme diffusion and from our machine learning algorithms more easily accessible and thus more useful to social scientists, reporters, and the general public.

In an ironic turn of events, the project has itself become the target of a disinformation campaign online and on TV. Read our post: The Truth about Truthy.

***

Yes, real ironic. I encourage you to go ahead and read “The Truth about Truthy” linked above – If the program itself is Orwellian, the defense of it is doubly so.

If you’d like to contact Indiana University’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research to express your distaste for its cooperation with the surveillance-industrial complex, you can do so here: http://cnets.indiana.edu/contact/

Posted in USA0 Comments

WHAT ‘DEMOCRACY’ REALLY MEANS IN U.S. AND NEW YORK TIMES JARGON: LATIN AMERICA EDITION

NOVANEWS
BY GLENN GREENWALD 
Featured photo - What ‘Democracy’ Really Means in U.S. and New York Times Jargon: Latin America Edition

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

One of the most accidentally revealing media accounts highlighting the real meaning of “democracy” in U.S. discourse is a still-remarkable 2002 New York Times Editorial on the U.S.-backed military coup in Venezuela, which temporarily removed that country’s democratically elected (and very popular) president, Hugo Chávez. Rather than describe that coup as what it was by definition - a direct attack on democracy by a foreign power and domestic military which disliked the popularly elected president – the Times, in the most Orwellian fashion imaginable, literally celebrated the coup as a victory for democracy:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.

Thankfully, said the NYT, democracy in Venezuela was no longer in danger . . . because the democratically-elected leader was forcibly removed by the military and replaced by an unelected, pro-U.S. “business leader.” The Champions of Democracy at the NYT then demanded a ruler more to their liking: “Venezuela urgently needs a leader with a strong democratic mandate to clean up the mess, encourage entrepreneurial freedom and slim down and professionalize the bureaucracy.”

More amazingly still, the Times editors told their readers that Chávez’s “removal was a purely Venezuelan affair,” even though it was quickly and predictably revealed that neocon officials in the Bush administration played a central role. Eleven years later, upon Chávez’s death, the Times editors admitted that “the Bush administration badly damaged Washington’s reputation throughout Latin America when it unwisely blessed a failed 2002 military coup attempt against Mr. Chávez” [the paper forgot to mention that it, too, blessed (and misled its readers about) that coup]. The editors then also acknowledged the rather significant facts that Chávez’s “redistributionist policies brought better living conditions to millions of poor Venezuelans” and “there is no denying his popularity among Venezuela’s impoverished majority.”

If you think The New York Times editorial page has learned any lessons from that debacle, you’d be mistaken. Today they published an editorialexpressing grave concern about the state of democracy in Latin America generally and Bolivia specifically. The proximate cause of this concern? The overwhelming election victory of Bolivian President Evo Morales (pictured above), who, as The Guardian put it, “is widely popular at home for a pragmatic economic stewardship that spread Bolivia’s natural gas and mineral wealth among the masses.”

The Times editors nonetheless see Morales’ election to a third term not as a vindication of democracy but as a threat to it, linking his election victory to the way in which “the strength of democratic values in the region has been undermined in past years by coups and electoral irregularities.” Even as they admit that “it is easy to see why many Bolivians would want to see Mr. Morales, the country’s first president with indigenous roots, remain at the helm” – because “during his tenure, the economy of the country, one of the least developed in the hemisphere, grew at a healthy rate, the level of inequality shrank and the number of people living in poverty dropped significantly” - they nonetheless chide Bolivia’s neighbors for endorsing his ongoing rule: “it is troubling that the stronger democracies in Latin America seem happy to condone it.”

The Editors depict their concern as grounded in the lengthy tenure of Morales as well as the democratically elected leaders of Ecuador and Venezuela: “perhaps the most disquieting trend is that protégés of Mr. Chávez seem inclined to emulate his reluctance to cede power.” But the real reason the NYT so vehemently dislikes these elected leaders and ironically views them as threats to “democracy” becomes crystal clear toward the end of the editorial (emphasis added):

This regional dynamic has been dismal for Washington’s influence in the region. In Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, the new generation of caudillos [sic] have staked out anti-American policies and limited the scope of engagement on developmentmilitary cooperation and drug enforcement efforts. This has damaged the prospects for trade and security cooperation.

You can’t get much more blatant than that. The democratically elected leaders of these sovereign countries fail to submit to U.S. dictates, impede American imperialism, and subvert U.S. industry’s neoliberal designs on the region’s resources. Therefore, despite how popular they are with their own citizens and how much they’ve improved the lives of millions of their nations’ long-oppressed and impoverished minorities, they are depicted as grave threats to “democracy.”

It is, of course, true that democratically elected leaders are capable of authoritarian measures. It is, for instance, democratically elected U.S. leaders who imprison people without charges for years, build secret domestic spying systems, and even assert the power to assassinate their own citizens without due process. Elections are no guarantee against tyranny. There are legitimate criticisms to be made of each of these leaders with regard to domestic measures and civic freedoms, as there is for virtually every government on the planet.

But the very idea that the U.S. government and its media allies are motivated by those flaws is nothing short of laughable. Many of the U.S. government’s closest allies are the world’s worst regimes, beginning with the uniquely oppressive Saudi kingdom (which just yesterday sentenced a popular Shiite dissident to death) and the brutal military coup regime in Egypt, which, as my colleague Murtaza Hussain reports today, gets more popular in Washington as it becomes even more oppressive. And, of course, the U.S. supports Israel in every way imaginable even as its Secretary of State expressly recognizes the “apartheid” nature of its policy path.

Just as the NYT did with the Venezuelan coup regime of 2002, the U.S. government hails the Egyptian coup regime as saviors of democracy. That’s because “democracy” in U.S. discourse means: “serving U.S. interests” and “obeying U.S. dictates,” regardless how how the leaders gain and maintain power. Conversely, “tyranny” means “opposing the U.S. agenda” and “refusing U.S. commands,” no matter how fair and free the elections are that empower the government. The most tyrannical regimes are celebrated as long as they remain subservient, while the most popular and democratic governments are condemned as despots to the extent that they exercise independence.

To see how true that is, just imagine the orgies of denunciation that would rain down if a U.S. adversary (say, Iran, or Venezuela) rather than a key U.S. ally like Saudi Arabia had just sentenced a popular dissident to death. Instead, the NYT just weeks ago uncritically quotes an Emirates ambassador lauding Saudi Arabia as one of the region’s “moderate” allies because of its service to the U.S. bombing campaign in Syria. Meanwhile, the very popular, democratically elected leader of Bolivia is a grave menace to democratic values – because he’s “dismal for Washington’s influence in the region.”

Posted in USA0 Comments

Wake Up America: The FBI Murdered Journalist Michael Hastings Before He Reavealed New Government Info

NOVANEWS

Michael Hastings warned his coworkers that the FBI was investigating him. Hours later he was dead. His body was later cremated, without his family’s permission. Hastings was a rare breed of reporter: he was brave, and he told the truth, no matter the consequences. His 2010 Rolling Stone article took down US general Stanley McChrystal, and he was working on a new, possibly more damaging piece – so damaging he wouldn’t reveal to his wife what he was working on, to protect her. He faced death threats for his work, and many believe the threats were finally carried out.

These clips were broadcast on a mainstream station – CW6 San Diego – although the reporter mentions that most media outlets were ignoring the story. And no wonder – she received a threat herself for her coverage, and if Hastings death was a warning, of course other reporters are going to take heed. – See more at: http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/assassination-studies-1/michael-hastings-death-was-no-accident.html#sthash.ympds78F.dpuf

 

Posted in USAComments Off

Wake Up America: Iowa Police Force Pregnant Woman In Labor To Ground At Gun Point ”VIDEO”

NOVANEWS

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Pregnant Iowa woman in labor forced to ground at gunpoint by cops for speeding on way to hospital.
(NYDailyNews) Rachel Kohnen and her husband, Ben Kohnen, were rushing to the hospital in time to have their fourth child on Tuesday morning. Cops used tire spikes to stop the car and ordered the couple to the ground after they refused to pull over.

Posted in USA0 Comments

US airdrops arms to Kurds fighting against ISIL in Kobani

NOVANEWS

The US military says the supplies were designed to "enable continued resistance" against ISIL. (File photo)

The US military says the supplies were designed to “enable continued resistance” against ISIL. (File photo)

The US military says its cargo aircraft successfully airdropped arms and ammunition to Kurds fighting against ISIL terrorists in the northern Syrian city of Kobani.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that three C-130 transport planes conducted airdrops of small-arms weapons, ammunition and medical supplies in the vicinity of Kobani on Sunday.

It said the airdrops, which have been provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq, were “intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL’s attempts to overtake Kobani.”

The CENTCOM also said that American fighter jets have carried out more than 135 airstrikes against ISIL in Kobani since early October.

“Combined with continued resistance to ISIL on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed ISIL advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of ISIL combat equipment and fighting positions,” it said.

Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.

The ISIL advance in the region has forced tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee into Turkey, which is a stone’s throw from Kobani.

Turkey continues to block any delivery of military, medical or humanitarian assistance into Kobani where the ISIL terrorists are feared to be aiming at massive bloodletting.

This comes as the US and its Arab allies have been backing ISIL as a tool to put more pressure on the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The group has committed heinous crimes in Syria and Iraq, where they have seized large swathes of land.

Posted in Iraq, USA0 Comments

Washington Admits: FSA Equals Fictitious Syrian Army

NOVANEWS 

Hold on a minute. Congress has approved $500 million to train a new cohort of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing bases for that undertaking. But at Obama’s seminal war council on «coordinating» plans there was not one representative from the much-vaunted moderate rebels who are assigned this crucial military role. 

by Finian Cunningham

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama participates in a meeting hosted by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with more than 20 foreign chiefs of defense to discuss the coalition efforts in the ongoing campaign against ISIL. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command also participates in the meeting at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Oct. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

US President Barack Obama hosted a top-level war council this past week in Washington with the military leaders from 21 countries in attendance – under the official remit of coordinating tactics to defeat the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq.

The titular American commander-in-chief spoke with the gravitas of a decorated soldier. «This is going to be a long-term campaign and like all military campaigns there will be ups and downs», said Obama to the assembled military chiefs at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington DC.

Obama ISIS council

Obama’s presumed military authority was something of an achievement, considering that he is, by profession, a community activist, a professor of constitutional lawyer, and a former senator. The 53-year-old politician has never served a single day of his life in the US military, let alone seen combat action or having been awarded medals for bravery.

But that’s not the only anomaly that sprung to mind about Obama’s war council in Washington. Together with the usual Western allies of Britain, France, Canada and Australia, there were military top brass from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Yet, all these Middle Eastern «partners» are documented as having deep logistical links with the Islamic State and other related jihadist terror groups marauding in Syria and Iraq.

Joe Biden, the US vice president, admitted this terror connection between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab oil monarchies in a public debate at Harvard University earlier this month. Although Biden was later forced into making cringing apologies to the said offender countries, his initial blundering confirms the paradox that the US-led anti-terror coalition is comprised of, well, state-sponsoring terrorists.

The terror sponsors include the US and Britain, who together spawned the Al Qaeda-linked network in their laboratory of illegal occupation of Iraq from 2003 onwards. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) later mutated into Islamic State (IS, ISIL or ISIS) during the West’s covert war for regime change in Syria, which has been raging since March 2011, with a death toll of nearly 200,000, more than six million people displaced, and half of Syria’s 23 million total population living in dire humanitarian conditions, according to the United Nations.

The open secret of weapons supplies to extremists from the US, coordinated by its Central Intelligence Agency and routed through Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, is not even a matter of controversy in the Western media. It has already been reported with mundane indifference by mainstream Western media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph.

A further striking anomaly from Obama’s war council in Washington – scarcely reported in the Western media, not surprisingly – was the complete absence of military representatives from the much-heralded «moderate Syrian rebels».

Bear in mind that Obama’s strategy for allegedly eradicating the IS extremists is based on two fronts. The first is the coordinated aerial bombardment of militants, involving warplanes from the US, Britain, France, Australia and all of the above Arab states; the second is the purported training of «moderate» Syrian rebels, who will take the fight to the Jihadists on the ground. With the anticipated defeat of IS and related extremist Islamist groups, such as Jabhat al Nusra and Ansar al Sham, the Western-backed «moderate» rebels will then be empowered to pursue their noble rebellion against the «despotic» Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad – or at least so goes the theory.

President Obama has already won the backing of the US Congress to train vetted, moderate Syrian rebels with a budget of $500 million – in a revamp of the Free Syrian Army. The American military training is to take place in undisclosed camps located in Saudi Arabia, as well as now Turkey belatedly offering its territory for that same purpose following top-level negotiations in Ankara last week with US former marine General John Allen.

Hold on a minute. Congress has approved $500 million to train a new cohort of the supposedly moderate and secular Free Syrian Army; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing bases for that undertaking. But at Obama’s seminal war council on «coordinating» plans there was not one representative from the much-vaunted moderate rebels who are assigned this crucial military role.

A US official attempted to explain the absence of Syrian rebels at the Washington summit by saying that such a participation was «not ready at this stage, and there is still a lot of training to do».

In other words, the so-called moderate rebels that the US is touting do not actually exist. It’s therefore less a case of Free Syrian Army and more a case of Fictitious Syrian Army.

This conceptual void has long been pointed out by many observers of the Syrian conflict. The notion of a moderate Free Syrian Army fighting a virtuous fight against a tyrannical regime is but a figment of Western government and media imagination, aimed at giving the Western powers a political and moral cover to indulge in its criminal regime change machinations against Syria.

Many of the supposed FSA brigades are in fact integrated with the extremist networks of IS, al Nusra and Ansar al Sham. Not only fighters, but also weapons and funding are recycled in a revolving-door relationship between these groups. Yes, there have been feuds, but this infighting is borne out of turf wars over criminal booty, not anything to do with ideological ethics.

However, Western governments and their dutiful media cannot admit this reality because that would leave them open to public vilification. Hence, they have projected the illusion, with Western media assistance, that there is a «moderate» legitimate Syrian opposition, whom the West supports and whom the West is concerned to elevate over «rogue» terror groups.

This fiction was apparent from the resounding absence of any such nominated moderate group at the Washington anti-IS summit.

It was also confirmed in a subsequent report from the McClatchy Washington Bureau, published Wednesday, the day after Obama’s war council. Under the headline ‘It’s official: US will build new Syrian rebel force to battle Islamic State’ the newspaper reported that «the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists».

Forget about the misnomer of the «old Free Syrian Army». There was never one to begin with. The point to take away is that the US is in effect admitting that there isn’t a force worth talking about.

Retired Gen. John Allen briefs reporters at the Pentagon, May 23, 2012 — Now, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Times of Israel

Retired Gen. John Allen briefs reporters at the Pentagon, May 23, 2012 — Now, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Times of Israel

McClatchy quotes General John Allen, the US envoy to the anti-IS coalition, as saying: «At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA».

It’s worth clipping the following editorial paragraphs from the same McClatchy report:

«For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the US ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA.

«Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida [sic] loyalists of the Nusra Front.

«This time, Allen said, the United States and its allies will work to strengthen the political opposition and make sure it’s tied to «a credible field force» that will have undergone an intense vetting process.

«It’s not going to happen immediately», Allen said. «We’re working to establish the training sites now, and we’ll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out».

This is a stunning admission, hardly picked up in the Western media. Washington is confirming that there is no such thing as a moderate rebel force in Syria. But what Washington and its fellow state terrorist sponsors are doing is throwing $500 million into a project of creating the semblance of «a credible field force». This creation will then give Western powers and its Arab allies a legitimacy to escalate their criminal covert war for regime change in Syria. 

No wonder Obama warned his war council in Washington that this would be a «long campaign». For the arsonists have become the fireman, the poachers have become gamekeepers, and the deluded have become the therapists.

Posted in Syria, USA0 Comments

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

Shoah’s pages

Join our mailing list

* = required field