Archive | August 29th, 2016

Selected Articles: CIA “Failed” Turkey Coup Lays Groundwork for Broader Middle East War?


northsyria20160828 turkeyUS-NATO-Turkey Invasion of Northern Syria: CIA “Failed” Turkey Coup Lays Groundwork for Broader Middle East War?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, August 29 2016

In mid-July,  President Erdogan pointed his finger at the CIA, accusing US intelligence of having supported a failed coup directed against his government.   Turkish officials pointed to a deterioration of US-Turkey relations following Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the alleged architect of the failed coup. Erdogan’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was categorical: “If the US does not deliver (Gulen), they will sacrifice relations with Turkey for the sake of a terrorist”. Public opinion was led to believe that relations with the US had deteriorated. This was a hoax.


Fabricating Lies, Promoting Imperial Wars, Decimating Countries, Impoverishing Millions: Megaphone for Mass Murder

By Prof. James Petras, August 29 2016

The Financial Times editorial page carries a logo that proclaims: “Without fear and without favour”. Indeed the editors have shown no fear when it comes to. . . fabricating lies, promoting imperial wars decimating countries and impoverishing millions, whether in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Venezuela.  The fearless “Lies of Our Times” have been at the forefront forging pretexts for inciting imperial armies to crush independent governments.


This America, This House Divided, Cannot Stand

By Michael T. Bucci, August 29 2016

In an election cycle that has scored the lowest in human decency, civilized behavior and speech – from Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage to Donald J. Trump; a cycle characterized by hate, viciousness, competing scandals, voluminous unproven allegations, scapegoats, fear-mongering, incitements to violence, death threats, and general moral decline bordering on decadence, I advise no child be exposed to any of it – none!


Children, the Media, and Political Agendas

By Chandra Muzaffar, August 29 2016

The image of 5 year-old Omran Daqneesh rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo on 17 August 2016 has reverberated around the globe. Every major media outlet— from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to the BBC and Al-Jazeera — has highlighted the picture. It shows a little boy “sitting in an ambulance after the attack, his face, arms and legs caked in blood and dust…” It has become “a symbol for the suffering of children in Syria’s brutal five-year conflict.”


Banning Burkinis: The Politics of Beachwear

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, August 29 2016

For as long as women have gone to the beach to try to enjoy themselves, it seems, people have followed them there to pester them about their clothes. Selina Cheng, Quartz, Aug 24, 2016 Revolutions are often sparked by folly driven ideas about regulating human behaviour.  Banning the worship of symbols renders them more sacred than not; prohibiting certain items that would otherwise be embraced with general enthusiasm adds unintended zest.

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The Privatization of Water: Nestlé Denies that Water is a Fundamental Human Right

The current Chairman and former CEO of Nestlé, the largest producer of food products in the world, believes that the answer to global water issues is privatization. This statement is on record from the wonderful company that has peddled junk food in the Amazon, has invested money to thwart the labeling of GMO-filled products, has a disturbing health and ethics record for its infant formula, and has deployed a cyber army to monitor Internet criticism and shape discussions in social media.Originally published in December 2013

This is apparently the company we should trust to manage our water, despite the record of large bottling companies like Nestlé having a track record of creating shortages:

Large multinational beverage companies are usually given water-well privileges (and even tax breaks) over citizens because they create jobs, which is apparently more important to the local governments than water rights to other taxpaying citizens. These companies such as Coca Cola and Nestlé (which bottles suburban Michigan well-water and calls it Poland Spring) suck up millions of gallons of water, leaving the public to suffer with any shortages. (source)

But Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, believes that “access to water is not a public right.” Nor is it a human right. So if privatization is the answer, is this the company in which the public should place its trust?

Here is just one example, among many, of his company’s concern for the public thus far:

In the small Pakistani community of Bhati Dilwan, a former village councilor says children are being sickened by filthy water. Who’s to blame? He says it’s bottled water-maker Nestlé, which dug a deep well that is depriving locals of potable water. “The water is not only very dirty, but the water level sank from 100 to 300 to 400 feet,” Dilwan says. (source)

Why? Because if the community had fresh water piped in, it would deprive Nestlé of its lucrative market in water bottled under the Pure Life brand.

In the subtitled video below, from several years back, Brabeck discusses his views on water, as well as some interesting comments concerning his view of Nature — that it is “pitiless” — and, of course, the obligatory statement that organic food is bad and GM is great. In fact, according to Brabeck, you are essentially an extremist to hold views opposite to his own. His statements are important to review as we continue to see the world around us become reshaped into a more mechanized environment in order to stave off that pitiless Nature to which he refers.

The conclusion to this segment is perhaps the most revealing about Brabeck’s worldview, as he highlights a clip of one of his factory operations. Evidently, the savior-like role of the Nestlé Group in ensuring the health of the global population should be graciously welcomed. Are you convinced?

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Turkish Air Strikes Kill Civilians in US-Backed Invasion of Syria

Airstrikes in Syria

Turkey began bombing Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria Saturday as the US-backed incursion continued to spread. At least 35 civilians were killed in the air strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

US air power and military “advisers” have been backing the Turkish invasion since it was launched last Wednesday, ostensibly to clear Islamic State fighters from Jarablus, one of the last towns ISIS controls near the Turkish border. But Turkey’s overriding aim is to dislodge Kurdish militia forces previously backed by Washington from areas near the Syrian-Turkish border over which they have gained control, in order to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish enclave in the region.

As for the United States, its motive for supporting the Turkish offensive is its desire to escalate the war in Syria and create the conditions for the overthrow of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Ankara’s invasion is inflaming the five-year-old civil war, which has already claimed the lives of close to half a million Syrians and reduced the country’s population by over 5 million. It is being carried out in conjunction with US- and Turkish-backed Syrian “rebels” who are hostile to Kurdish forces.

Turkey claimed initially that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) would have one week to retreat east of the Euphrates River. But within a matter of hours, clashes broke out between the Syrian “rebels” mobilized by Turkey and the YPG. A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army said over the weekend that its forces had seized 10 villages from YPG troops and four from ISIS.

Turkey claimed to have killed 25 Kurdish “terrorists” in a series of bombing raids near Jarablus, and the first Turkish casualty was reported in connection with a grenade attack by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces.

The anti-Kurdish character of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation was underscored Saturday when video footage was released of members of the Sultan Murat brigade, a pro-Turkish Syrian “rebel” group, beating Kurdish prisoners in the village of Yusuf Beg and declaring them to be “PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] dogs.”

Washington’s readiness to throw its weight behind such sectarian forces reflects its contempt for the region’s peoples and stands as an indictment of all those who argue, in the name of “human rights,” that the US should intervene more aggressively in the conflict. The US double-cross of its Kurdish allies underscores the fact that Washington’s chief consideration is the consolidation of its geo-strategic dominance of the Middle East through the installation of a puppet regime in Damascus.

Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that the Kurds had to remain part of Syria.

“We are for a united Syria. We do not support an independent Kurd initiative,” he declared, before claiming that US support for Kurdish forces had been limited. He pointedly added, less than 48 hours after the initiation of the Turkish invasion, “We understand the sensitivities of our friends in Turkey with respect to this.”

The intervention of what is in effect a NATO force into Syria heightens the potential for a direct clash between Russia and the US, which could quickly spiral out of control and draw in the other major imperialist powers.

Following the talks between Kerry and Lavrov, which failed to reach any resolution, the Russian foreign minister took a swipe at the US and the Turkish incursion by noting that only Russia and Iran were operating inside Syria with the consent of the government. All other forces in the conflict, Lavrov said, were in violation of Syrian sovereignty.

At a briefing Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest sought to blame Russia and the Syrian government for the ongoing violence in the country, even though US forces were behind the latest Turkish escalation. “As long as Russia is willing to support the Assad regime’s murderous military tactics that often claim the lives of innocent women and children, the more difficult it is for a political solution to be reached,” Earnest stated. He added later that Russia’s actions “only fuel extremism” in Syria.

In response to a question on the creation of so-called safe zones within Syria, Earnest denied that this was being considered as a policy option by the Obama administration because it would require additional military forces. This was thoroughly disingenuous, given that Washington is backing a Turkish operation whose explicit goal is the creation of a zone in northern Syria controlled by Turkish troops.

Violence continued to spread within Turkey following a bomb attack Friday by PKK-aligned militants, which killed 11 Turkish police officers and wounded 78 people. PKK rebels launched a grenade attack on the airport in Diyarbakir Sunday, and a Turkish soldier and 10 PKK militants were killed in clashes in Hakkari province.

Speaking at a rally Sunday in Gaziantep, 30 kilometres from the Syrian border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made clear that Turkey’s intervention would be a long and bloody one. He indicated that Ankara would not distinguish between the PKK, with which it has been in a virtual state of war since last year, and the YPG in Syria. After vowing to wipe out Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Erdogan declared, “We are as determined about the PYD [Democratic Union Party], the separatist terror organisation’s Syrian wing… We will continue until we uproot this terror organisation.”

There has been a virtual blackout of the dramatic escalation of the Syrian conflict in the US media and it has not been raised as a major issue by either candidate of the two big business parties in the presidential election campaign. News coverage of Syria on Sunday focused on reports accusing the Assad regime of dropping barrel bombs on a civilian neighborhood in “rebel”-occupied Aleppo, while the killing of civilians by Turkish forces was passed over in virtual silence.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who enjoys the overwhelming backing of the military and intelligence establishment, has left no doubt about her readiness to vastly intensify US military operations in Syria after November, even if this means direct confrontation with Russia.

The Center for a New American Security think tank, which was co-founded by Michele Flournoy, a former Defense Department official who is reportedly on the short list for the secretary of defense position in a Clinton administration, called in June for a future US administration to authorize military strikes against Assad’s forces.

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Hillary Clinton’s Intimate Relationship with the Rothschild Banking Dynasty

Hillary Clinton’s Intimate Relationship with the Rothschild Banking Dynasty, The Shadowy Network of Super-Elites

It’s hard to think of a presidential candidate that has been at the heart of more scandals than Hillary Clinton. Each passing day seems to bring a new revelation which shines more light upon the corrupt and murky world that Clinton operates in. If Clinton is installed into the White House by the elite in the coming months, it will not only be the final death blow to the American Republic, but it will also drastically increase the probability that a major conflagration will occur between the global powers of the world in the near future.

Despite not being a big fan of Trump – due to the fact that I’m not convinced that he is an independent candidate, or that he is not a hawk himself – there is no doubt that Clinton will be a total abomination as President. In the majority of the mainstream media, there has been a clear propaganda campaign to demonise Trump at all costs, focusing the public’s attention on Trump’s antics rather than Clinton’s crimes. The real estate magnate is hardly a difficult person to ridicule, but considering the blatant crimes that Clinton has committed, she has practically been given a free pass by the mainstream media.

There is of course a very good reason why she has been given such a pass by the mainstream media: Clinton is the elite’s puppet of choice for President. Each passing day brings further confirmation of this fact, with her establishment backers including numerous Wall Street giants, the military-industrial complex, in addition to the likes of George Soros. On top of these interests, we can now comfortably add the infamous Rothschild banking dynasty to the list. As Zero Hedge reported in their August 21st article titled, Hillary Clinton Flies 20 Miles In Private Jet To Attend Rothschild Nantucket Fundraiser:

As we reported a few days ago, Bill and Hillary Clinton spent Friday night in Martha’s Vineyard celebrating Bill’s 70th birthday (posted here).  We’re sure it was a grand affair, well worth the heat Obama had to take from Louisiana flood victims to attend. Turns out the following morning, Hillary, not one to be bothered with traditional peasant forms of travel, awoke and took her private jet just 20 miles over to Nantucket where the Rothschild’s will be hosting a fundraiser.  The event is open to all…well anyone who can afford the $100,000 per person price tag.

In reality, this recent fundraiser is just the latest illustration of the connections between Clinton and the Rothschild family. Buried among the tens-of-thousands of emails sent to and from Clinton’s private servers when she was Secretary of State, were a series of exchanges that reveal the very intimate relationship between Clinton and Lynn Forester de Rothschild (or Lady de Rothschild).

In one email sent to Clinton on the 23rd of September, 2010, Lady de Rothschild wrote:

You are the best, and we remain your biggest fans. Sweet dreams and Godspeed with everything you are doing.

Another email sent from Lady de Rothschild to Clinton on April 9th, 2012, read:

Hi Hillary, Trust all is well. I have done some thinking about the ideas we discussed at dinner a couple of months ago. I have some further thoughts that I would love to run by you. Any chance you are free in DC at any time from the 16-20 of May? Or, any time or place that works for you. Lots of Love, Lynn.

Lady de Rothschild wrote in an April, 2010 email (under the subject “miss you”) to Clinton that: “I would love to catch up,” and “I remain your loyal adoring pal.” Hillary responds by writing: “I would love to see you but your days overlap w Karzai’s visit so I will have to get that settled before I can confirm a time but let’s make it happen. So I’m copying Lona and Huma so we can start planning. Much love, H.”

Lady de Rothschild married into the banking dynasty back in 2000, after reportedly meeting the billionaire financier, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, in 1998, at the annual Bilderberg conference – with the  matchmaker in all of this being none other than the war criminal and former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. A long-time fundraiser and supporter of Clinton, Lady de Rothschild is an influential friend to have, considering the power that has been vested in the banking dynasty for centuries.

Hillary is not the only politician who has a close relationship with the puppet masters however. In 2009, it was revealed that the British politician and former European Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson, who held the position of Business Secretary at the time, was running Britain for a brief period from a Rothschild estate in Corfu.

Rothschild: The Preeminent Banking Dynasty

Although the internet is awash with hyperbolic and speculative articles on the nature of the Rothschild family, there is no question they are one of the most influential, powerful and wealthiest dynasties in modern history. The Rothschild’s emerged as the preeminent banking dynasty in Europe in the latter period of the 18th century, and continued to expand and grow in successive generations. They understood that the most effective way to influence and control the political affairs of a country, was to create and manage the financial system of that country.  As the late Carroll Quigley – a historian, establishment insider and Professor at Georgetown University – wrote in his 1966 book, Tragedy and Hope:

“In time [the merchant bankers of London] brought into their financial network the provincial banking centers, organized as commercial banks and savings banks, as well as insurance companies, to form all of these into a single financial system on an international scale which manipulated the quantity and flow of money so that they were able to influence, if not control, governments on one side and industries on the other. The men who did this, looking backward toward the period of dynastic monarchy in which they had their own roots, aspired to establish dynasties of international bankers and were at least as successful at this as were many of the dynastic political rulers” (1998 printing: p.51).

Quigley continues:

The greatest of these dynasties, of course, were the descendents of Meyer Amschel Rothschild (1743-1812) of Frankfurt, whose male descendents, for at least two generations, generally married first cousins or even nieces. Rothschild’s five sons, established at branches in Vienna, London, Naples and Paris, as well as Frankfurt, cooperated together in ways which other international banking dynasties copied but rarely excelled (1998 printing: p.51).

Quigley then moves on to document some of the other “banking families” that shared similar traits to the Rothschild dynasty:

The names of some of these banking families are familiar to all of us and should be more so. They include Baring, Lazard, Erlanger, Warburg, Schroder, Seligman, the Speyers, Mirabaud, Mallet, Fould, and above all, Rothschild and Morgan. [These banking families] remained different from ordinary bankers in distinctive ways: … (5) They were almost equally devoted to secrecy and the secret use of financial power in political life. These bankers came to be called “international bankers” and, more particularly, were known as “merchant bankers” in England, “private bankers” in France, and “investment bankers” in the United States  (1998 printing: p.52).

What the relationship between Clinton and Lady de Rothschild demonstrates is that the political class, the corporate class and the banking class, are all connected in a shadowy network of super-elites. Or in the words of the legendary American stand-up comedian, George Carlin: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

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Children, the Media, and Political Agendas


The image of 5 year-old Omran Daqneesh rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo on 17 August 2016 has reverberated around the globe. Every major media outlet— from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to the BBC and Al-Jazeera — has highlighted the picture. It shows a little boy “sitting in an ambulance after the attack, his face, arms and legs caked in blood and dust…” It has become “a symbol for the suffering of children in Syria’s brutal five-year conflict.”

However, Chinese State broadcaster, CCTV, has suggested that “the video may have been partially staged and criticized the way it was used to stir pro-rebel sympathies.”  The footage of Omran was released by a group called the White Helmets which, it is alleged, is closely linked to the British military. The author of the footage Mahmoud Rslan, who describes himself as a war journalist and activist has ties to the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a rebel group which in July circulated a video showing the beheading of a 12 year-old Palestinian boy. It is said that the group had also conducted kidnappings and torture of journalists, aid workers and civilians in Aleppo. It was considered a “moderate” rebel group by the United States and received weapons from it.

It is significant that initially segments of the Western media blamed the airstrike that injured Omran upon the Russian air force. Russian authorities not only denied the baseless allegation but also accused the Western media of “cynical use of this tragedy in anti-Russian propaganda material.” They argued that “the damage shown in the footage published by world media outlets indicates a blast less powerful than that produced by an aerial bomb, considering that some of the glass in nearby buildings was not shattered.”  They instead suggested “that it may have been caused by a mortar shell …”

The cynical manipulation of tragedies in the Syrian conflict has occurred on numerous occasions. One other example that also featured a small boy was the case of 3 year-old Aylan Kurdi who was drowned off a Turkish beach on 2 September 2015 as he and his family sought to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. The media had hoped that the infant’s death would expose the cruelty of the Bashar Assad government in Damascus and persuade the Western public to endorse direct, active US led military intervention in Syria aimed at ousting Bashar. It did not happen. Instead, Europe was forced to re-appraise its stance towards refugees and compelled to accommodate a portion of them.

That it is ousting Bashar and not the plight of refugees or the suffering of children that is the primary concern of Washington, London and Paris and their regional allies in Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Qatar and Ankara becomes obvious when one looks at other situations in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) involving children.( The attitude of some Western and WANA governments towards Bashar may be changing )  When a UN report in June 2016 criticised the Saudi-led coalition for killing and maiming a large number of children in its military operations in Yemen, there was no moral outrage against Riyadh among ruling elites in the West or within the region. The media downplayed the UN report and when the UN Secretary-General was pressurised to remove the Saudi-led coalition from the black-list of violators of children’s rights in conflict zones, the mainstream media did not even whimper. It is a reflection of how the media protects certain interests in WANA which in turn are linked to global hegemony.

The media’s biased attitude and its utter lack of moral responsibility becomes even more blatant when one considers what happened in Iraq two decades ago. As a result of Anglo-American sanctions imposed through the UN Security Council, as many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died in the nineties. Was this stark fact projected through the principal media channels at that time as a way of igniting the world’s conscience so that young lives would not be snuffed out because of the desire of the powerful to control Iraqi oil and strengthen Israel’s position in the region? Did anyone see the victims of these inhuman sanctions on the front page of the Financial Times or through some special programme on CNN?

Perhaps an even worse example of suppression of the truth about the ordeal of the young would be that colossal catastrophe called Palestine. In the 2008-9 Israeli assault against Gaza, a disproportionately high proportion of those killed were children. The same pattern was repeated in the 2012 Israeli bombardment of Gaza. Israel aggression against Palestinian children reached its pinnacle in July 2014. In Operation Protective Edge, of the 1492 Palestinian civilians massacred, 547 were children. There has been no war in recent times in which more than one-third of those killed were children.

And yet how did the media react? Did the media put Israel in the dock? Apart from some principled voices on the margins, the mainstream European and American media were deafeningly silent in the face of this heinous crime against humanity.

All the examples we have provided illustrate a crucial point about the media.  When the major media outlets dramatize a particular event especially in relation to children and ignore or downplay other episodes, they are advancing the political agenda of some powerful actor. We should not be deceived. We would do well to remember the words of John Pilger, one of the most honest journalists of our time, “It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas and myths that surround it.”

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Global Geopolitics: EU Economic Sanctions against Russia “Might Remain in Place Indefinitely”

EU Lies to Moscow: Official Reveals Sanctions Not Related to Ukraine Peace Deal

Jan Tombinski, the European Union’s outgoing ambassador to Ukraine, has revealed that the EU’s sanctions against Russia are not really connected to the Minsk agreements on peace in eastern Ukraine, but on ‘Russian aggression’ against Kiev. Accordingly, the diplomat implied that anti-Russian sanctions may be extended indefinitely.

Interviewed by Ukrainian radio station Radio EC-Evropeiska Stantsiya on the eve of his departure earlier this week, the ambassador, who played a critical support role in the EuroMaidan riots which culminated in the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, explained that Russia’s ostensible obligations under the Minsk agreements were in no way connected to European officials’ decision to prolong anti-Russian sanctions.

Accordingly, Tombinski noted, the sanctions can be extended whether Russia ‘complies with its obligations’ or not. The diplomat did not reveal what exactly those “obligations” might be, given that Moscow is not even a direct party to the conflict, but a mediator. Instead, he suggested that the sanctions were connected with Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine and the “annexation” of Crimea, whose population voted overwhelmingly to break off from Kiev and rejoin Russia amid the instability that followed the 2014 coup.

Tombinski’s remarks, essentially revealing that EU sanctions against Russia might remain in place indefinitely, come at an unfortunate time for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A day prior to his comments, Merkel reiterated to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka the oft-used mantra that the EU’s sanctions were directly connected to Moscow living up to its commitments under Minsk.

Commenting on the apparent inconsistency between the talking points used by Brussels and Berlin, Azhdar Kurtov, a senior expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, told the Svobodnaya Pressa online paper that this not the first time Western leaders have effectively lied to Moscow about sanctions being connected to concrete actions. In fact, he suggested, it’s become somewhat of a tradition.

“It’s worth recalling that during the Soviet period, there was a legislative amendment created by US congressmen which limited US trade with our country.” Called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and in 1974, “it was approved in connection with alleged Soviet violations of the rights of citizens of Jewish nationality.”

“This piece of legislation remained in force several decades after the legal basis itself disappeared,” (and long after the Soviet Union itself ceased to exist). That law, Kurtov suggested, was never really connected to the persecution of Soviet Jews in the first place.

Now, the situation surrounding the modern-day anti-Russian sanctions is much the same, the expert suggested. “We’re seeing the same thing today. There is the formal aspect, linked to the fact that Russia is always being urged to ‘fulfill its obligations’, even though it is not even a subject to the Minsk agreements. But that’s not the main issue: even sticking to formalities, it’s necessary to read the text of these agreements. And that’s something no one wants to do, apparently.”

Kurtov pointed out that simply going back and reading the Minsk peace deal’s 13 points confirms that neither Moscow nor the self-declared Donbass republics are responsible for violating the agreement.

“These violations don’t exist because Minsk provides a coherent chain of actions [which must be fulfilled in order]. And this chain was broken – in the sense that it’s points were not carried out, not by the Donetsk or Lugansk republics, but by Kiev authorities. Therefore, even formally, there are simply no grounds for blaming Russia.”

In reality, the expert said, Western countries’ sanctions policy against Russia has never been about things like the alleged violation of human rights or failure to live up to some agreement. After all, Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s decision to fire into the Russian parliament in 1993 was, “from the perspective of refined Western democracy, a clear violation, for which sanctions could have followed, but they didn’t. This indicates that some other issues are at stake.”

“In my opinion, these circumstances are obvious: Russia has begun to consistently pursue an independent policy.” Throughout the 1990s, Kurtov recalled, Russia held a pro-American line in international relations, and eagerly listened to Western advisors’ advice on reforming the economy, which virtually collapsed as a result. The country’s armed forces were degraded, the latest weapons systems systematically destroyed, and Moscow withdrew from the areas around the world traditionally considered part of its sphere of influence.

Now, when we have begun consistently and firmly asserting our national interests, and have even come to serve as a kind of ‘guide’ to other countries wishing to do the same, the main blow [from the West] has been directed against us. Sanctions serve as one form of this kind of pressure. And so an excuse was invented – and more precisely, not invented but artificially constructed. After all, the coup in Kiev took place with the direct involvement of the West.

Fire, smoke and protesters on Maidan square in Kiev. February 22, 2014.
©Sputnik/ Andrey Stenin
Fire, smoke and protesters on Maidan square in Kiev. February 22, 2014.

Effectively, Kurtov suggested that the Ukrainian crisis beginning in 2014 “was just an excuse used to try to stop a trend that started in the early 2000s – the trend of Russia strengthening itself as an active player in global geopolitics.”

Of course, the analyst admitted that Western sanctions are harmful to Russia, insofar as they limit bilateral contacts, and damage economic and trade relations. On the other hand, Kurtov emphasized that Russia “must not allow the sanctions to string us along. It’s not necessary to fulfill their requirements, since new requirements will always appear in their place so long as their reasons are contrived and artificially constructed.”

Ultimately, the expert suggested that whatever else happens, Russia must push for cooperation on an equal basis, must strive “to make it so that the Russian position is properly understood not only by the political elites of other countries, but also by their people.”

For his part, Sergei Kalmykov, the deputy director of the Association of Military Diplomats, generally agreed with Kurtov’s assessment, suggesting that unfortunately, Washington “has always regarded Russia as a strategic adversary.”

This has been the case not just for decades, but for over a century. It’s worth recalling that as soon as the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which continued to function for an unjustifiably long period, was repealed [in late 2012], it was immediately replaced by the so-called Magnitsky Act.  Now, the Magnitsky Act has faded into the background, because the ‘Crimean issue’ and the whole situation around Ukraine has taken its place.

“What we’re seeing is a pure political con game – a con game which simply involves the juggling of a variety of motives and terminology, but which only has one goal: to prevent Russia from emerging as a leader in global geopolitics. And today the West is using any excuse to try to carry out this policy,” Kalmykov concluded.

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Fabricating Lies, Promoting Imperial Wars, Decimating Countries, Impoverishing Millions: Megaphone for Mass Murder

The Financial Times Narrative

The Financial Times editorial page carries a logo that proclaims: “Without fear and without favour”. Indeed the editors have shown no fear when it comes to. . . fabricating lies, promoting imperial wars decimating countries and impoverishing millions, whether in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Venezuela.  The fearless “Lies of Our Times” have been at the forefront forging pretexts for inciting imperial armies to crush independent governments.

Despite its pretentious scribblers and prestigious claims, the FT is seen by the Anglo-American financial class as a belligerent purveyor of militarist policies designed for the most retrograde sectors of the ruling elite.

What is most striking about the FT fearless fabrications on behalf of imperial militarism is how often their political and economic prognostications have been incompetent and flat out wrong.

Professor James Petras (right)

For the past ten years, the FT editorial pages have described China in economic crisis and heading for a fall, while in reality, the Chinese economy has grown at between eight and six percent a year.

For over a decade and a half, the FT editors claimed Russia under President Vladimir Putin presented an international existential threat to ‘the West’. In fact, it was the ‘Western’ armies of NATO, which expanded military operations to the borders of Russia, the US, which financed a neo-fascist coup in Kiev and the US-EU which promoted an Islamist uprising in Syria designed to totally undermine Russia’s influence and relations in the Middle East.

The FT’s economic gurus and its leading columnists prescribed the very catastrophic deregulatory formulas which precipitated the financial crash of 2008-09, after which they played the clownish role of “Mickey the Dunce” – blaming others for the failed policies.

The fearless FT scribes are currently leading a virulent propaganda campaign to promote the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

This essay will identify the FT’s latest pack of fearless lies and fabrications and then conclude by analyzing the political consequences for Venezuela and other independent regimes.

The Financial Times and Venezuela: From War in the Suites to Terror in the Streets

In covering the crisis in Venezuela, the FT has systematically ignored the ongoing campaign of assaults and assassinations against elected officials, security officers, military and police who have been murdered by the FT’s favored ‘opposition’.

The FT did not cover the horrific murders of an elected Chavista congresswoman and her two young children, who were executed (shot in the head) in broad daylight by opposition-paid hitmen.

These ongoing opposition terror campaigns against the elected government and the general public are systematicallyignored in the FTs ‘reports’ and on its editorial pages, which focus more on the shortages of consumer items.

The FT cover-up of rightwing terror extended to inventing a ‘possible’ army or National Guard plan to open fire on opposition demonstrators. In this case, the FT anticipated rightwing violence by laying the blame on the government in advance.

The FT covers-up the opposition business elite’s campaign of hoarding essential goods to create artificial shortages and panic buying. They deny the ongoing price gouging and pin the blame for shortages and long consumer lines exclusively on ‘regime mismanagement’.

The FT conveniently omits to mention that the decline in world oil prices has affected not only the economy of Venezuela but all countries dependent on commodity exports, including the Financial Timesfavorite neo-liberal regimes in Brazil and Argentina.

The Financial Times cites bogus ‘opinion’ polls, which wildly exaggerate the government’s declining popularity: In the recent elections Maduro’s supporters secured 40% of the popular vote while the FTclaims his support to be 7%!

US client regimes (Mexico, Peru, and Colombia) are the largest producers of illegal drugs and US banks are the largest launderers for narco-money. Yet the FT reports on “Venezuela’s role as a conduit for illegal drugs smuggled north to the US and east into Brazil, Africa and thence to Europe”. Drug enforcement experts all agree that Colombia,home to seven US military bases and with a regime closely linked to paramilitary-narco gangs, is the source of drugs smuggled through Venezuela. That Venezuela has become a victim of the violent Colombian narco-trade is never acknowledged by the elegant City of London pen-prostitutes.

The FT blames the re-emergence of ‘malaria and other possible diseases’ on the leftist Maduro government. In fact the recent ‘malaria outbreak’ (also cited by the New York Timespropagandists) is based on a single illegal gold miner.

The FT ignores how the US- backed neo-liberal regimes in Argentina and Brazil, which rule by presidential decree, have slashed public health programs setting the stage for much greater public health crises.

The Financial Times: Big Lies for Mass Murder

The Financial Times is waging an all-out propaganda war with one goal: To incite the violent seizure of power in Venezuela by US political clients.

In line with the Obama-Clinton ‘regime-change by any means’ policies, the FT paints a deceptive picture of Venezuela facing  ‘multiple crises’, representing a ‘destabilizing’ threat to the hemisphere, and on the brink of a global ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Armed with these deadly clichés, the FT editorial pagesdemand  “a new government soon and certainlybefore the 2018 elections”.

Recently, the FT proposed a phony legal gimmick – a recall referendum. However, since the opposition cannot initiate the vote in time to oust the elected President Maduro, the FT calls for “events which precipitate changes sooner” – a violent coup!

FT’s scenarios aim to precipitate a violent rightwing “march”, eventually provoking civil bloodshed in early September of this year.

The FT expects that “blood in Caracas will require an active Latin America response”(sic). In other words, the FThopes that a US-backed military invasion from neighboring Colombia would help eliminate the Chavistas and install a rightist regime.

The Financial Times, which actively promoted the NATO-led destruction of the government in Libya, now calls for a US-led invasion of Venezuela. Never ones to re-assess their promotion of ‘regime change’, the FT now calls for a violent coup in Venezuela, which will exceed that of Libya in terms of the loss of thousands of Venezuelan lives and the brutal reversal of a decade of significant socio-economic progress.

Without fear and without favor”, the FT speaks for imperial wars everywhere.


The US presidential elections take place just as the Obama-Clinton regime prepares to intervene in Venezuela. Using bogus ‘humanitarian’ reports of widespread hunger, disease, violence and instability, the Obama will still need Venezuelan thugs to provoke enough violent street violence to trigger an’ invitation’ for Washington’s Latin American military partners to ‘intervene’ under the auspices of the UN or OAS.

If ‘successful’, a rapid overthrow of the elected government in Caracas could be presented as a victory for Hilary Clinton’s campaign, and an example of her policy of ‘humanitarian-military interventions’ around the world.

However, if Obama’s allied invasion does not produce a quick and easy victory, if the Venezuelan people and armed forces mount a prolonged and courageous defense of their government and if US lives are lost in what could turn into a popular war of resistance, then Washington’s intervention could ultimately discredit the Clinton campaign and her ‘muscular’ foreign policy. The American electorate might finally decide against four more years of losing wars and losing lives. No thanks to the ‘fearless’ FinancialTimes.

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on Fabricating Lies, Promoting Imperial Wars, Decimating Countries, Impoverishing Millions: Megaphone for Mass Murder

Battle of the Hawks? Both Trump and Clinton Supported the 2011 War on Libya

Image result for Trump and Clinton CARTOON

As the US presidential election fast approaches in November, the greatest political spectacle of the year is in full swing. Say what you want about the US, but there is no other country that knows how to put a show on in the same way as our American friends. Trump vs. Clinton is the pay-per-view event of 2016, and it will continue to dominate the media headlines.

 Yet many media outlets fail to ask the most important and fundamental question pertaining to the presidential contest: is the fight rigged so that the establishment is the only winner? Clinton is evidently controlled by the establishment and will serve her masters loyally if installed into the White House, although her deteriorating health will be a worry for the puppet masters, as even puppets need to be able to dance on strings when needed. The real issue is whether or not Trump is the establishment outsider he claims to be, and will actually challenge the parallel government. Judging by the Wall Street connections of Trump’s advisers however, the elite seem to be in control of both major candidates, with the election merely serving as a political circus to distract the masses from the bankrupt economy and the perennial foreign wars.

Both Trump and Clinton Supported the Libyan War

The more digging you do into Trump, the more he seems to be just another flavour of the establishment. By looking at Trump’s stances on two previous wars, we can get an indication of what US foreign policy will look like under Trump. Although the real estate magnate has criticized both the wars in Iraq and Libya after the fact, he did support both imperial endeavours before they were launched. In a September, 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Trump was asked whether he would support a war in Iraq, in which he replied: “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” To be fair, this is hardly the most belligerent comments you’ve ever heard, but it is still disingenuous for Trump to claim he was against the 2003 war.

What should really worry those who are opposed to Western imperialism however, is the position Trump took on the 2011‘humanitarian’ intervention in Libya, which led to the complete destruction of the country. Despite criticizing Clinton for her pivotal role in the war, Trump himself was a major cheerleader of the intervention. In a video posted on one of Trump’s official YouTube channels from the 28th of February, 2011, the reality TV star couldn’t be more in favour of the war that caused such widespread devastation:

I can’t believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around – we have soldiers all have the Middle East – and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage… You talk about things that have happened in history; this could be one of the worst. Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives… Ultimately, the people will appreciate it; they’re going to end up taking over the country eventually, and they should pay us back.

Trump continues:

But we have to go in to save these lives; these people are being slaughtered like animals. It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We’re making decisions like trade embargoes – what does this have to do with a trade embargo? He’s [Qaddafi’s] killing people with machine guns in the streets. We should do it on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya [and] knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives. After it’s all done, we go to the protestors who end up running the country… and we should then say: by the way, from all of your oil, we want reimbursement.

Hillary the Hawk

Out of the two candidates, Clinton is clearly the number one pick of the establishment. Clinton is one of the most hawkish individuals in Washington, and she has supported every US military venture in recent decades. Clinton has received over $300,000 from war contractors in her presidential bid so far, the second highest amount (after Bernie Sanders) out of all the candidates who initially ran for the White House.  There is not one thinking person on earth that disputes Clinton’s hawkishness, as the evidence is too insurmountable to challenge.

Apparently establishment academics live in a world of their own however. In an article published by Vox – and republished by the Brookings Institution and European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) – on the 8th of August, two establishment academics engaged in the most absurd argument one has read in a while. Written by Jeremy Shapiro, a nonresident senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy and the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, and Richard Sokolsky, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the article was titled: Why Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be a foreign policy hawk as President.

Shapiro and Sokolsky start by acknowledging that every human being who has an IQ above single digits believes Clinton is a hawk, and that US foreign policy will be more aggressive under a Clinton administration. They then progress to document that she has supported countless wars and interventions in the last two decades: including in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya and in Syria. So far, so good. But then, with a not-so-subtle flip of reality, they try to argue that her hawkish history is not a good indication of how she will behave if she becomes President, claiming that Clinton will be more focused on domestic policy rather than foreign affairs.

From this article we can draw the following conclusion: Clinton’s reputation is so tarnished, and her warmongering so transparent, that the establishment has to engage in total damage control to try and keep her in the race. If Hillary wasn’t a woman, and didn’t have the weight of the establishment behind her, there would be absolutely no chance that she could win in a fair vote, considering the array of scandals she has been at the centre of. As Clinton has supported at least five major wars and interventions over the past two decades, there is no question that she would be hawkish as Commander-in-Chief.

Although Hillary is (rightly) lambasted for being a hawk, Trump should also be criticized for supporting illegal and immoral wars in the past. Trump’s brazen endorsement of military intervention in Libya in 2011 should be a warning as to the type of administration a Trump one would be. The evidence indicates that regardless of who is crowned the champion in November, we can expect US foreign policy to continue to be destructive and belligerent.

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Banning Burkinis: The Politics of Beachwear


For as long as women have gone to the beach to try to enjoy themselves, it seems, people have followed them there to pester them about their clothes. Selina Cheng, Quartz, Aug 24, 2016

Revolutions are often sparked by folly driven ideas about regulating human behaviour.  Banning the worship of symbols renders them more sacred than not; prohibiting certain items that would otherwise be embraced with general enthusiasm adds unintended zest.

Women have never been allowed much truck when it comes to fashion, even in areas of life where relaxation has been assumed.  The beach as place of relaxation became, in time, a place of police and religious control.  Sand, the sea, and titillation; permitting women a certain freedom of wear was all too much.  Those in the United States of the pre-First World War era, for instance, faced the ubiquitous tape measurer and expulsion for revealing too much leg, and much else besides.

Even after the slaughter of millions of human beings on the Western front between 1914 and 1918, with millions more perishing to Spanish influenza, a tired globe might well have given up on such urgent strictures on clothing.  The onset of global Depression, and collapsing markets, may well have encouraged people to throw in the towel and relax amidst the ruins.  Not in the US, with California’s Redondo Beach Ordinance in 1933 prohibiting swimsuits shorter than three inches.[1]

The reaction in France to the burkini, a claimed hotchpotch attempt to navigate the injunctions and directives of the Quran, while feeding off the supposed permissiveness of a Western society, has become a trigger-active minefield.  This is the flipside of Talibanised thinking, where fashion police move around and punish detractors for not abiding by the set code.  The more imaginative censors may well have had visions of sexed up Jihadists, feminised svelte terrorists keen to undermine a state not merely with purpose but appearance.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had a very clear reading about women rushing around in their newly made burkinis, nothing less, he suggested, as revolution in dress tampering with the normal order of things. “It’s the translation of a political project for a counter-society based on women’s enslavement.”

The humble burkini, in other words, was a battering ram against the secular idea, not to mention notions of gender equality (for one member of the National Assembly of France, a “gender prison” no less!) and national security.[2] Never mind that in appearance it looks awfully much like an adjusted wetsuit.

Cannes Mayor David Linsard was one of the first out of the blocks, insisting that clothing restrictions be introduced in the Riviera city.  Those not abiding by the ban face fines up to 38 euros.  Ange-Pierre Vivon from Corsica followed suit.  “Islamist fundamentalists,” he trumpeted, “have no business” on the island.

All this was too dramatic for Aheda Zanetti, the Australian designer behind the outfit, who was perplexed from the start at the zealous reaction from French authorities. “My first reaction is… Oh my God, it is just a swimsuit, for God’s sake.”[3]  Perhaps Zanetti was being genuine in her puzzlement, though it has been a masterstroke of free marketing.  Naturally, items of clothing can themselves become symbolic reference points, the mote in the eye of some institutions keen to stamp out a form of behaviour.  Not that they necessarily know how to do so.For Zanetti, the matter has been unnecessarily complicated by politically dirty hands and overly paranoid minds.  Choice is assumed on the part of the wearer. “Its symbolising freedom, healthy living, confidence; it’s symbolising a choice [these women] make.”  It hides the new mothers conscious of their post-natal figures; it conceals those concerned that they might be cooked to a pilchard before the summer sun.

Not so, insist such figures as journalist Hala Arafa, who sees direct links between fashion and fundamentalism.  “The fashion worn in the 21stcentury reflects the progress of (women’s rights)… The clothes worn by Muslim fundamentalist women are based on seventh century beliefs.”[4]

Arafa goes even further, insisting that the burkini itself promotes a “rape ideology,” an excuse for men to behave badly by “linking a woman’s honour” to her clothing.  This excuse has certain historical truck, though the issue of a fashion ban smacks of the very policing and linking of honour to clothing (in this case, forced adoption of a code) that should be avoided regarding women.

Gradually, the mines are going off in this debate, niggling the beasts of censorship.  For one, various social experiments are being conducted.  The group Trollstation, which entertains itself with gauging public reaction to such matters as the burkini, decided to conduct a simulated experiment on a British beach.

The designated “police officer” garnered some reaction from individuals after telling, as part of the prank, a burkini wearer to remove the outfit. “She’s obviously a Muslim… You cannot discriminate against her religion,” tooted a lady who rushed to rescue the damsel as guinea pig.  “You cannot do that.”[5]

So the tendency continues; woman wears an outfit either provocative in its skimpiness or provocative in its conservativeness. Authorities beset by ideology intervene.  The idea of control is never far away.  Nor is the morally obsessed tape measurer and politically charged censor.  Beaches as bastions of freedom?  Forget it.







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Abu Zubaydah: Guantanamo’s Torture’s

Abu Zubaydah: Guantanamo’s Torture’s ‘Poster Child’. Imprisoned for 14 Years without being Charged…

The ugly legacy of George W. Bush’s torture program continues to haunt U.S. foreign policy as the “poster child” for waterboarding, Abu Zubaydah, makes an appeal for his release from Guantanamo, writes Marjorie Cohn.

Last week, Abu Zubaydah, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 14 years without being charged with a crime, appeared for the first time before the U.S. military Periodic Review Board, which determines whether Guantanamo detainees will continue to be held as “enemy combatants.”

Zubaydah argued he should be released because he has “no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.” During his hearing, Zubaydah also said he had been tortured by the CIA, an allegation confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. The U.S. government maintains he is an enemy combatant.

Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Zubaydah

Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abu Zubaydah

When Zubaydah was apprehended in Pakistan in 2002, the Bush administration characterized him as “chief of operations” for Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s “number three” man. This was untrue, according to John Kiriakou, who led the joint CIA-FBI team that caught Zubaydah. Kiriakou confirmed that Zubaydah did not help plan the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Dan Coleman, a leading FBI expert on Al Qaeda, said Zubaydah “knew very little about real operations, or strategy.” Coleman’s observations were communicated to President George W. Bush. Nevertheless, the President scolded CIA Director George Tenet, saying, “I said [Zubaydah] was important, You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?”

Zubaydah was tortured repeatedly at the “black sites,” where the CIA subjected him to waterboarding 83 times. On one occasion, Zubaydah had to be resuscitated. An observer at the scene was quoted in the Senate torture report as saying Zubaydah was “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.”

In 2005, after the Abu Ghraib torture photos came to light, the CIA destroyed several hundred hours of videotapes of the interrogations of Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes likely depicted waterboarding.

Waterboarding is designed, according to Bush lawyer (now federal judge) Jay Bybee, to induce the perception of “suffocation and incipient panic,” i.e. the perception of drowning.

The Bush administration claimed it only used waterboarding on three individuals (the third being alleged 9/11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed). But a footnote in one of Bush lawyer Stephen Bradbury’s memos says waterboarding was utilized “with far greater frequency than initially indicated” with “large volumes of water” rather than small quantities as required by the CIA’s rules.

The CIA also withheld Zubaydah’s medication (as he recovered from severe injuries), slammed him into a wall, threatened him with impending death, shackled him in uncomfortable positions, and bombarded him with continuous deafening noise and harsh lights.

In one of his memos, Bybee wrote that the CIA told him, “Zubaydah does not have any pre-existing mental conditions or problems that would make him likely to suffer prolonged mental harm from [the CIA’s] proposed interrogation methods.”

Coffin-like Box

Bybee granted the CIA’s request to confine Zubaydah in a cramped box with a harmless insect and tell him it will sting him but it won’t kill him. Even though the CIA knew that Zubaydah had an irrational fear of insects, Bybee decided there would be no threat of severe physical pain or suffering if it followed this procedure.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

“[Zubaydah] spent a total of 266 hours (11 days, 2 hours) in the large (coffin size) confinement box and 29 hours in a small confinement box, which had the width of 21 inches, a depth of 2.5 feet, and a height of 2.5 feet,” according to the Senate torture report.

The torture of Zubaydah did not yield useful information. FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated him, wrote in the New York Times that any useful information Zubaydah provided was given before the “enhanced interrogation techniques” — Bush-speak for torture — were used.

In response to the torture, Zubaydah told his interrogators that Al Qaeda was planning terrorist attacks against the Brooklyn Bridge, Statute of Liberty, shopping malls, banks, water systems, supermarkets, nuclear plants and apartment buildings. He said Al Qaeda was close to building a crude nuclear bomb. None of this was ever corroborated.

The Torture Statute punishes conduct, or conspiracy to engage in conduct, specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. “Severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from either the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering, or from the threat of imminent death.

It is undisputed that waterboarding constitutes torture, which is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is also outlawed by the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty the United States has ratified.

Despite his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” President Barack Obama refuses to bring the Bush officials who tortured Zubaydah and others to justice.

Donald Trump has pledged to keep Guantanamo open and advocates a resumption of waterboarding. Indeed, he promised a Trump administration would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

Hillary Clinton opposes waterboarding. She said torture is an “open recruitment poster for more terrorists,” and “over the years, Guantanamo has inspired more terrorists than it has imprisoned.”

Meanwhile, Zubaydah languishes at Guantanamo, with no hope of release.

Joseph Margulies, one of Zubaydah’s lawyers, said his client is “the poster child for the torture program, and that’s why they never want him to be heard from again.”

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