Category Archives: War

NSA Surveillance Through the Prism of Political Repression


July 28th marks the 35th anniversary of the political assassination of two Puerto Rican independence activists, Carlos Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado, in the infamous Cerro Maravillai case. This case, which was widely followed among Puerto Ricans, involved an agent provocateur that led the activists to an ambush that resulted in their brutal murder by paramilitary agents within the colonial police force. The event led to two investigations, the second of which revealed a conspiracy to cover up both the assassination plot as well as the destruction and manipulation of evidence carried out by the colonial police and justice department, and well as the federal justice department and FBI. Cerro Maravilla symbolizes for many the most outstanding recent example of repressive measures, from surveillance to political assassination, unleashed by US imperialism against the anticolonial movement in Puerto Rico.

The recent revelations of NSA spying by Edward Snowden have provoked mass outrage across the globe. Much of the consternation comes from what is commonly understood as a violation of privacy. In the official media, Snowden’s actions have been framed as a debate between ‘national security’ and ‘privacy’. However, framing the question in these terms is pure subterfuge. The Puerto Rican experience shows that the true objectives of surveillance programs by intelligence agencies like the NSA, CIA, and FBI having nothing to do with ‘security’ or ‘protection’ but rather political repression. Systematic surveillance can only be understood as an essential part of state repression, the purpose of which is to intimidate those that question the status quo by promoting a culture of fear. One can never be separated from the other.

The systematic surveillance and repression of Puerto Rico’s anticolonial movement is obviously just one example of many. A brief historical sketch of US imperialism’s repressive efforts against anticolonial forces in Puerto Rico must begin with the political intrigues that preceded the 1898 military invasion as well as the martial law that characterized both military and civilian colonial governments in its immediate aftermath. This history goes on to include the surveillance and repressive attacks against the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party and its followers from the 30s through the 50s, which included massacres of unarmed civilians, political assassinations and imprisonments, the harassment and attacks against labor unions and newly emergent socialist organizations of the same period, as well as COINTELPRO operations against resurgent nationalist and socialist political formations during the 60s and 70s.ii Indeed, in 1987 it was revealed that over 130,000 files on individuals and organizations had been accumulated through systematic surveillance on the island. This history is an integral part of the parallel campaigns of systematic state repression unleashed within the United States against groups such as the Black Liberation Movement, the American Indian Movement, the Chicano Liberation Movement, radical labor organizations, progressive students and antiwar activists, as well as communists.iii As such, what constitutes a scandal for the broader public is in fact part of the daily reality for those that fight for freedom and an end to oppression.

Snowden’s revelation that the United States Security Group Command’s Sabana Seca installation, located in the northern coastal municipality of Toa Baja, is part of an international surveillance network, which includes the Fornstat program, comes to no surprise to Puerto Rican anticolonial activists. From Sabana Seca, US naval intelligence monitors and gathers Internet, phone, and other forms of communication. In 1999, Duncan Campbell and Mark Honigsbaum of The Guardian already highlighted the naval intelligence’s “Echelon” operations from Sabana Seca and other locations both in the US and internationally as part of joint US British surveillance programs.iv

What is critical to highlight about US imperialism in Puerto Rico is the continued military character of colonialism on the island. For the benefit of those that may be unaware or who take the position that US militarism characterized only the past history of colonialism in Puerto Rico, a few contemporary examples serve to illustrate the point. Over the past decade and a half, Puerto Ricans have mobilized en masse to oppose a proposed military radar system intended for the Lajas valley in the southwestern part of the island, to end the practice of using the eastern island of Vieques as a bombing range by the US military and its allies (It should be noted that there was also a successful campaign to end the militarization of Culebra island also off the eastern coast of the main island in the 70s), and in more recent times against a system of potentially toxic and environmentally destructive antennas used both by the military and cellular companies that have proliferated across the island. In an article in the current issue of Claridad, the spokesperson for the grassroots Coalition of Communities Against the Proliferation of Antennas, Wilson Torres, sheds light on the US military’s Full Spectrum Dominance program currently being implemented in Puerto Rico. v

Understood in the context of pervasive unemployment, which serves to ensure an ever present pool of recruits used as cannon fodder in US military campaigns throughout the world as well as the structural dependence of large parts of the colonial economy on the Pentagon, this picture constitutes the modified form of US militarism in Puerto Rico in the present context. One may add the militarization of the colonial police force in the ongoing attacks against residents of public housing and other marginalized communities to this reality.

It would not be difficult to draw parallels between much of what is described immediately above and the realities faced by many North Americans. Heavy-handed policing and economically depressed communities dependent upon military or prison industries are a familiar reality for many. Yet the notion that the United States of America is characterized by a repressive state is much more difficult for the average person to accept. The narrative of 9/11 provides the pretext that results in the conflation of national security and state repression in the minds of many.

Notwithstanding, the revelations about the NSA spying program have provoked the condemnation of all except the most recalcitrant sycophants of US imperialism. Yet, it is absolutely necessary to place these programs in the context of the long history of state repression and militarism. Those on the left must push to extend the public discourse beyond questions of personal privacy to a discussion of systematic political repression within increasingly militarized “liberal” democracies. The experiences of anticolonial activists and militant, class-conscious revolutionaries from Puerto Rico lend valuable insights that add to the discussion around the significance of what Snowden’s leaks reveal: systematic surveillance and state repression are two sides of the same coin.

An insightful comment by Marx, writing in the New York Daily Tribune about British imperialism in India during the mid 1800s and often repeated among Puerto Rican comrades, is a useful starting point for the US left:

“The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lies unveiled before our eyes, moving from its home, where it assumes respectable form, to the colonies, where it goes naked.”

Carlos Borrero is a New York based writer.

via NSA Surveillance Through the Prism of Political Repression » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

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The ‘Unnatural’ Death of Dr Kelly: The Forensic Pathology – The Subversion of Due Process Continues


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Andrew Watt ended his article with the post-mortem examination being carried out by Dr Nicholas Hunt on the evening the body was found 18 July 2003.  It was the penetrating smell of Lysol, lights and stainless steel in the mortuary of the John Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford, as well as the remains of a fit husband and father.   Nine police officers were in attendance, the most senior being Detective Chief Inspector Alan Young who was in charge of the investigation.  He was at the scene on Harrowdown Hill where the unidentified body was found by Louise Holmes.  In spite of his lead position in the inquiry into a missing person, and then a suspicious death, he was neither called to the Hutton Inquiry which started sitting 13 days later, nor did he submit a statement to it (1).  There is no obvious explanation for the presence of nine police officers at this very morbid autopsy given that the police had sprayed the word ‘suicide’ about earlier that day.  The size of the squad would surely have fitted better if murder was foremost in the minds of the investigating authorities.

The examination finished just after midnight.  Dr Hunt wrote up his report of his findings at the scene and of his post mortem examination the next day, the 19th of July.  He would have come to preliminary conclusions as to the cause of death and been helped in that by the early findings of Dr Allan the toxicologist.  That first report has never been published; it was not referred to by Dr Hunt when he gave evidence at the Hutton Inquiry (2)  The only report, and that is entitled Final Post Mortem Report – 25th July 2003, was published in October 2010, by the Ministry of Justice.  The only original copy of this in existence is a very poor ‘scan’.  An OCR and tidied version of this is here (3).  That the findings in the first report have never been made public was one among three  important concerns brought by this author to the General Medical Council in 2011, established by the Medical Act of 1858. (4)  This will be discussed later but suffice to say they were dismissed.

Dr Nicholas Gardiner, HM Coroner for Oxfordshire, opened an inquest as the law demands for all violent, unnatural or unexplained deaths on the 21st July.  It is surprising that transcripts of coronial hearings are seldom made.  The hearing would have been attended by Dr Hunt, the coroner’s officer and the police.  It would have been adjourned until more evidence had flowed in.  However, it can be inferred that the cause of death had been given by Dr Hunt. (5 )

Whilst this mouse of an inquest moved ever so quietly, an elephant had been trampling the undergrowth for the three previous days, starting at Harrowdown Hill.  Within three hours of the body being found, my Lord Hutton had been engaged to chair an ad hoc inquiry, by my Lord Falconer as Dr Watt has already described.  Miles Goslett recently reported in the Mail that Hutton had confirmed in a letter to Norman Baker MP that he had been asked to meet Lord Chancellor Falconer in his Lord’s office around noon of the 18th July and that he agreed to serve.(6)  At that point the subject, David Christopher Kelly CMG DSc had not been identified and no cause of death had been established.  This fixer was a friend of Blair’s when they were in chambers studying law!  He had assisted his friend the PM in bolstering the claim that there was a legal basis for a massive bombardment and invasion of Iraq rather than it being a supreme war crime as defined at Nuremberg.

It is salutary to consider that it took six and half years for the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq ‘War’ to be set up in which over one million Iraqi humans died, at least two million were maimed by customary calculation and four million were made refugees in Syria and Jordan.  It took the New Labour high command, the sofa cabinet, just three hours after the death of just one man to set up Hutton with the clear intention of containing the inquiry and ensuring safe conclusions.  The instruction given to Hutton was to ‘…urgently to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly’.  ‘Urgently’ can be interpreted as ‘nail this promptly’, ‘consider’ as ‘without especial accuracy’ and ‘circumstances’ as equalling the ‘media furore’ which obviously drove Kelly to an inevitable suicide.  It was not who the deceased was, and how, when and where he died which are the plain duties of a coroner.  It was the ‘circumstances’; and if anything showed the mind and the motives of this most evil cabal, that word is the nub.

The words of the two conversations (6) between Falconer in Westminster and his pal Blair on wing to Tokyo in the hour after noon that day have not, of course, been revealed.  That it was to do with an awkward corpse in a wood it is fair to assume.  After all, it was a central topic at the press conference in Tokyo where blood, or other medium, drained from Blair’s face with ‘Have you got blood on your hands Mr Blair’ from a Daily Mail journalist.  The obvious answer was that he had the blood of thousands upon thousands of people on his hands whereas the European only had one white man in mind at that moment.

Correspondence by Ms Albon of Falconer’s other office (he was also the Secretary of State in the Department of Constitutional Affairs – Mikado style) with the Oxfordshire coroner has a dictatorial ring to it.  It was recognised he had to reconvene his inquest in law but this mouse then had to be silent until the elephant had trumpeted the findings.  All this was engineered by the mechanism of Section 17a of the 1988 Coroner’s Act.  It had been applied for multiple deaths of common cause – Shipman, the Ladbroke rail crash and the sinking of the trawler Gaul.  It had at its root – efficiency in investigation, thoughtfulness towards loved ones and verdict as to the common cause.  There was no justification for invocation of Section 17a on top of this ad hoc inquiry other than to shackle the coroner and thus to subvert due process.  With a few ‘phone calls Falconer had made certain with this ad hoc ‘judicial’ inquiry that there would be no evidence under oath, no ability to subpoena  witnesses, no cross examination and no ability to call a jury.  The last thing he wanted was twelve good women/men and true.

The coup de grace for the mouse was this Section 17a.  There was a further hearing on the 14th of August at which an extraordinary death certificate was conjured up and registered four days later. The hearing was not publicised and again there was no transcript or reportage.  This officer of the Crown whose authority and duties stretched back to the 13th Century had been made into a small creature by power and cunning.   “The use of these powers to oust the Coroner’s jurisdiction …” is how Frances Swaine of Leigh Day & Co put it an excellent memorandum to the Attorney General in October 2010. (7)  (Leigh Day were initially instructed by Dr Frost; they did a large amount of excellent work without charge.)

A letter that Mr Gardiner wrote 6th of August to Ms Albon includes “The preliminary cause of death given at the opening of the inquest no longer represents the view of the Pathologist and evidence from him would need to be given to correct and update the evidence already received.”

(5 – section ONE).  This was brushed aside in a letter from lawyers acting for Dr Hunt who were reacting to this long letter from the author to the GMC listing his concerns about Dr Hunt’s performance.(5)  Whether his opinion had been changed or not, there was an absolute professional and legal requirement on him to reveal his initial report with its conclusions and his train of thought.

This principle has been tested in the case of Dr Kenneth Shorrock who is currently suspended for unknown reason from the Home Office list of forensic pathologists which was last updated 15th May 2013.   This extract from (5 – section ONE) –  “He was charged with serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council on eight counts I believe.  He had produced a second post-mortem report on a hospital patient which was indicative of negligence by the surgeon without any reference to his first report which had exonerated the surgeon.’

The surgeon was charged with manslaughter but was cleared.  He complained to the Home Office whose Scientific Standards Committee of the Policy Advisory Board opined that he had not ‘maintained the standards required’ and simply issued advice, its interest ending in July 2004.  The surgeon then complained to the General Medical Council.  Mr Vernon Coaker, Minister of State at the Home Office, said in a letter to the author 22 November 2008 “The GMC had been considering the complaint for, I believe, many months (prior to July 2005) and had, similarly, taken no steps to restrict Dr Shorrock’s practice.”

Of the greatest importance is the fact that he was called from Sheffield to examine the remains of Jean Charles de Menezes who had been shot with six hollow point bullets in the head as he sat in a ‘tube’ carriage 22nd July 2005.  Sheffield is 150 miles from London which has at least 8 forensic pathologists available.  The call to attend a headless Jean Charles was in spite of the fact that a charge of serious professional misconduct was hanging over him; the first hearing by the GMC Fitness to Practice Panel was only six weeks after the killing of Jean Charles.  There had been several adjournments of the GMC hearings of this charge which was first heard 5th of September 2005.  The nine page summary of the final hearing 19 February 2007 found him guilty of serious professional misconduct. (8 -HALPIN website)

This author wrote to five relevant authorities before the 22nd September 2008 inquest at the Oval, Kennington about this most improper instruction given to Dr Shorrock to take this case in the summer of 2005. There were no replies from any one of the five; this included the Public Solicitor to the inquiry and Justice4Jean.  Dr Shorrock’s evidence would be central at this inquest and would include the position and identity of each bullet prior to ballistic studies, and would thus indicate which weapon and which agent had injured Jean Charles beyond recognition IF the evidence had not been contaminated.  The Independent Police Complaints Commission does not have a reputation for being just but it did not take possession of the scene until 48 hours had elapsed.

The final hearing of five altogether took place on the 5th of February 2007.  The  GMC panel found him guilty of the charge of serious professional misconduct.  It found his actions “unprofessional, inconsistent, unreasonable, not based upon the medical and pathological information and likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute”.

Two professors of forensic pathology advised the panel:-

Vanezis – ‘He further stated that if a pathologist had reason to change his conclusions or opinion, an explanation should be given as to why he has deemed this necessary.’

Pounder – ‘ Dr Shorrock had a duty to make reference to the existence of the first report. In addition, the second report should have given the reasons for his change of view.

Many had written in support of Dr Kenneth Shorrock.  He was simply issued with a reprimand.

The reader has two forensic pathologists in examine.

One was lecturing at the Police Staff College, Bramshill, Hampshire when he was called to a corpse on Harrowdown Hill which was all about a supreme war crime.

The other was called from Sheffield to a most high profile unlawful killing at Southwell Tube Station, London.

Should the second have been on gardening leave until the GMC had considered the serious charge against him?  Or did Jean Charles not deserve the best within our law?

Should the first not have fully revealed the first post mortem report he wrote up on Dr Kelly on the 19th of July?  It is certain there was a FIRST report and Lord Hutton referred to it in his introduction.  Were the opinions as to the causes of death different in important ways between the 19th of July and the FINAL Post Mortem Report of the 25th of July.  It is clear the Coroner thought so.  That this gross defect slipped through is typical of much that happened at Hutton.  His professional and legal duty was made completely clear later in the case of Dr Shorrock.

We move on next to the Hutton Inquiry and its many defects.

Notes

http://chilcotscheatingus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/death-of-david-kelly-operation-mason.html

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090128221550/, http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/transcripts/hearing-trans33.htm

http://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:David_Kelly_Post-Mortem_Report

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Medical_Council

http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/23-articles/dr-david-kelly/144-letter-to-ms-c-f-floyd-investigation-officer-general-medical-council

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362659/Revealed-How-Blair-fixer-picked-judge-David-Kelly-Inquiry-just-hours-weapons-inspectors-suicide.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337661/David-Kelly-report.html

http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/23-articles/dr-david-kelly/146-s

via The ‘Unnatural’ Death of Dr Kelly: The Forensic Pathology – The Subversion of Due Process Continues | Global Research.

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Trial Comes To An End As The Government Alleges He ‘Aided The Enemy’


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While the world has become fixated on the NSA’s domestic and foreign surveillance activities in the past months, the trial of Private First Class Bradley Manning is coming to a close. Concluding arguments were heard today. The government, as BoingBoing notes, is trying to convict Manning using the Espionage Act, and slap him with the charge of ‘aiding the enemy.’ Manning has plead guilty to “lesser” charges.

We in technology must pay attention to those willing to leak from the government, given that such information has played a key role in the shaping of public opinion regarding piracy and privacy among other issues. The Snowden effect is material, and critical.

Firedoglake has done a masterful job of not only reporting on the case, but also live-blogging as much as possible.

The government alleges that Manning leaked not out of a desire to spread knowledge of government and military misdeed, but instead out of a lust for fame. His pride, it was asserted, was proven because the government produced a picture of a smiling Manning. Hard evidence, certainly.

At the same time, as Nathan Fuller pointed out, “Govt repeating over & over #Manning was obsessed about his own fame, craved notoriety. At same time arguing further he kept identity hidden.” If you can untangle the logic behind that argument, you are a better person than I.

Regarding the Collateral Murder video that showed needless civilian deaths, the government, according to Firedoglake merely stated that the clip contained “actions and experiences of service members conducting a wartime mission.” The government put a price on the “worth” of the Afghanistan and Iraq Logs that Wikileaks released to the public at $1.3 million and $1.9 million, respectively.

The idea of prosecuting Manning for “aiding the enemy” is worrisome, as it is an around-the-side charge: Manning provided information to the enemy because he gave it to a journalistic organization that published it, allowing the “enemy” to read it; this would make all leakers and whistle blowers potentially legally damnable on the same charge. If we set that precedent, investigative journalism will take a body blow.

From a pure journalism perspective, current treatment of reporters inside the courtroom would be laughable if it weren’t so blatantly intimidatory. I quote, to preserve the original voice, Alexa O’Brien:

Journalists sending me emails telling me soldier stationed right behind me with a gun.  I tell you, OVER THE TOP JUDGE LIND #Manning

And, for taste, Kevin Gosztola:

Armed military police officer leans over my shoulder & informs me not to have browser windows open during court proceedings #Manning

So, we aren’t being fed what could be called a full dish of the proceedings, because armed folks are telling people to knock it the hell off. We can disagree all evening about the guilt of Mannning, and the efficacy of leaks to the national discourse, and their potential denigration of our national security, but at least we can agree that threatening the press with soldiers isn’t in the best of taste.

When the verdict is given, we’ll update this post and bring you the news. That is, if the government allows the press to report it.

via Pfc. Bradley Manning’s Trial Comes To An End As The Government Alleges He ‘Aided The Enemy’ | TechCrunch.

FARC, Meet The IRA: Colombian Rebels Get Advice On Peace From Ex Guerrillas – All News Is Global |


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BOGOTA – Negotiators for rebel group FARC — engaged now in historic peace talks with the Colombian government — received an interesting visit in Havana last month. During a pause in negotiations with Bogota officials in the Cuban capital, FARC loyalists met with a group of former members of the IRA.

Indeed, the veterans of Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army would have worthwhile experiences to share with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the guerrilla “people’s army” in search of a peace deal after a decades-long war with the Colombian government.

Putting emphasis on their disarmament strategy implemented in the early 2000s, which eventually led to the success of the Northern Irish peace process, IRA members shared their experience.

Of course, the transition to a post-conflict Northern Ireland was by no means easy. In his paper The IRA disarmament process in Northern Ireland: lessons for Colombia, Vicença Fisas, director of the School for the Culture of Peace at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, warns that the Good Friday Agreement — signed in 1998 and marking the official start of the Irish peace process — did not explain in detail how to proceed with regard to disarmament. Instead, the agreement limited itself to expressing the advisability of disarmament, and inviting the parties to collaborate with the International Independent Committee for Disarmament (IICD).

There was much skepticism, Fisas recounts, even though it was clear that resolving the problems surrounding disarmament was essential to the negotiations. The IICD was led by Canadian General Jon de Chastelain, who was responsible for overseeing the gradual disarmament process and the destruction of collected weapons. In total, the IICD supervised four IRA disarmament acts between October 2001 and September 2005.

Guerillas weigh in

But it is not just former IRA members who have been in discussions with the FARC negotiators. There has also been talk about the continued presence of former Central-American guerrillas — from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador, now one of the country’s two main political parties following the 1992 peace process, and from the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua, also now a main political party — as well as others from South Africa.

To advance discussions about demobilization and disarmament, the FARC has also made enquiries about another sensitive topic: pardons and reparations to victims. “The simple fact that we are discussing these topics already enables us to move negotiations forward and, for this reason, there are some who dare to say that the final agreement could be very close,” says a source close to the negotiating process.

Regarding the thorny issue of disarmament, one proposal purportedly gaining favor is the possibility of surrendering weapons to the custody of an international or humanitarian organization. The FARC may have warmed to this idea after their meeting with the IRA, particularly if they have taken into account the fact that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has signalled that he won’t allow the group to enter politics while they are still armed. The government has viewed very positively the fact that the guerrilla group is taking an interest in successful peace processes from around the world.

The FARC aims to re-enter politics

Whatever route the negotiations may take, everything is pointing toward a single overarching objective: establishing political participation. This would be the logical next step following disarmament and the signing of an agreement to end the conflict. And the government’s recent decision to return legal status to the Patriotic Union (UP), the FARC’s political wing, is intricately linked to what is happening in Havana. In fact, according to sources consulted by El Espectador, the FARC has apparently started to solidify plans to fully re-enter the political arena, focusing on the local and regional elections in 2015.

This is why many people have not been surprised that the discussion about peasant reserve zones — one of the points still waiting to be discussed, now that the first topic on the agenda, namely agricultural policy, has been closed — has migrated from Cuba to Catatumbo in the blink of an eye, becoming one of the most important issues for protest leaders in that region. Next week Catatumbo protestors will be joined by more striking miners, and it is believed that other agricultural sectors will also go on strike. These sectors are key for the guerrillas, who are trying to establish new topics for discussion to help guide their position at the negotiating table in Havana.

The aim is for these protests to mark the beginning of the FARC’s agenda for the elections to Congress next year — if negotiations reach a final agreement in time — or the local and regional elections in 2015. That said, the FARC must convince the other side to allow different conditions for its political wing, given that the law currently requires any movement or party to collect almost 450,000 votes in order to maintain its legal status. This figure is almost certainly unattainable for the FARC, but there is talk of creating a “special peace circumscription” that would aim to guarantee its political survival at a national level.

Regardless of how the situation is resolved, both the government and the FARC are well aware that the decision from the Council of State (which advises the Colombia government on administrative matters) to legalize UP has enabled the talks in Cuba to take several gigantic steps forward. And although nobody will admit it, discussions about the international “blind eye” — which needs to be turned to crimes against humanity, drug trafficking and money laundering for the sake of the peace process — have been underway for a little while.

U.S. looks to be on board

Peace is the ultimate goal, and it is believed that the United States would be willing to respect the compromises made to end the conflict in Colombia. For the time being, it is understood that the negotiations in Havana must cover many points and pass through many sets of hands, but the FARC wants to enter politics, and legally.

Speaking to El Espectador from Havana, leader of the FARC Jorge Torres Victoria — better known by his alias Pablo Catatumbo — declined to comment on any progress that may have been made on the topics of demobilization, disarmament or legal immunity for the guerrilla leaders. “Those issues will be discussed in depth in the future,” he says. “What we have said is that we will talk about them very seriously — but when the moment to do so arrives, according to the timetable established for the talks. For now, those topics aren’t on the table.”

But the FARC negotiator did mention the current crisis caused by the peasant strikes in Catatumbo in the north of Colombia: “We are concerned by the way the government has handled the protests, because it openly contradicts the message about laying down our weapons in order to defend our ideas in the public space. But when the peasants protest, they are stigmatized and repressed.”

via FARC, Meet The IRA: Colombian Rebels Get Advice On Peace From Ex Guerrillas – All News Is Global |.

Israel to escalate ethnic cleansing


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Bedouin protest in Rahat against the Prawer Plan.PHOTO: SHIRAZ GRINBAUM / Activestills.org

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) has approved the first reading of the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev. More commonly known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, the bill allows for mass forced expulsions of the Palestinian Bedouin community from the Naqab (the Arabic name for the Negev desert).

According to the Israeli human rights group Adalah, if the plan is fully implemented it “will result in the forced displacement of up to 70,000 [Palestinian] Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel and the destruction of 35 ‘unrecognised’ villages”.

Approximately half of the Palestinian Bedouin population – around 90,000 people – live in 46 towns and villages located on just 5 percent of the land in the Naqab region. Israel currently recognises only 11 of these villages, despite the fact that they have existed since prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Palestinian Bedouin living in these villages are treated as “trespassers on State land” and are denied access to infrastructure including water, electricity, sewage, education, health care and roads. These services are deliberately withheld by the Zionist state as part of a war of attrition that seeks to “encourage” Palestinian Bedouin to leave their land. As a result, the Palestinian Bedouin community is one of the most socially and economically disadvantaged within Israel. According to Adalah, 67 percent of Palestinian Bedouin were classified as “poor” in 2009.

The original Plan was conceived by Ehud Prawer, the former Deputy Chair of Israel’s National Security Council, in 2011 – without any consultation with the Palestinian Bedouin community. In January, amendments to the bill were made by Benny Begin, the son of former Israeli PM Menachem Begin who had been a leader of the Zionist terror militia known as the Etzel (Irgun).

Begin’s amendments resulted in the removal of some of the more offensive language from the bill, which deemed Bedouins “squatters” on their own land, as well as legitimising the use of “reasonable force” to evict them. Both the original plan and the amended bill have been rejected by the Palestinian Bedouin community.

The Prawer-Begin bill will result in the largest single act of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel since the first decade following the creation of the Israeli state.

In 1948, Zionist terror militias carried out attacks on the Palestinian Bedouin living in the Naqab. Then the newly created Israeli military launched a full scale ethnic cleansing operation to expel Palestinian Bedouin from the region for “military reasons”.

Over the next two years between 70,000 and 90,000 Palestinian Bedouin were expelled from the region. This systematic ethnic cleansing would continue throughout the 1950s.

While the vast majority were pushed outside the boundaries of the Zionist state, approximately 10 percent would remain. They were evicted to the Siyag (meaning “fence” in Arabic) in the northern Naqab, where they were forced to live under military rule until 1966.

However, since the 1950s the Palestinian Bedouin have continually sought to return to their traditional lands. Israel has prevented their return both militarily and also by planting trees via the Jewish National Fund. While the JNF claims that it is rehabilitating the land, the main purpose of the tree planting is to ensure control of the land.

Haneen Zoabi, one of the 12 Palestinian Arab members of the Knesset, told the Jerusalem Post on 28 May that “This is not how a normal state or even a dictatorship treats its citizens because it is very obvious that the aim of this plan is to expel the Palestinian citizens from their land and develop the land for the Jewish population.”

“We didn’t immigrate to Israel, it was Israel that immigrated to us,” she added.

Since the Prawer Plan was first announced, Israel has demolished more than 1,000 Palestinian Bedouin homes in the Naqab, while at the same time announcing plans to plant forests, build military centres and establish new Jewish settlements in the place of Palestinian Bedouin villages that will be ethnically cleansed

via Socialist Alternative – Israel to escalate ethnic cleansing.

Syria is next…”kinetic air strikes”


t is official. During a Thursday morning Senate hearing, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should utilize the US military in Syria. This means that President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention.

Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using “kinetic strikes ” in Syria and said “the issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government ,” the Associated Press reported from Washington.

According to RT TV, a Russian news service:

Dempsey, 61, is the highest ranking officer in the US military and has been nominated by President Obama to serve a second term in that role. The Senate Armed Services Committee questioned him Thursday morning as part of the nominating process when Dempsey briefly discussed the situation in Syria.

Last month, the Obama administration concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons during the ongoing battles. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, “The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete.”

President Obama said previously that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and likely trigger American intervention. When the White House concluded Assad had relied on chemical warfare, Rhodes said, “both the political and the military opposition … is and will be receiving US assistance.”

This brings us to the question “Is this a setup where the reason given to start yet another war aimed at overthrowing yet another government of a foreign country that has been long planned in advance by the US?” Given our history, this is likely.

First of all, the evidence of chemical weapons use is itself sketchy. So far we only have a   CIA report , which was described by an American official who declined to be identified, which states that the United States has acquired blood, urine and hair samples from two Syrian rebels–one dead and one wounded–who were in a firefight with Syrian government forces in mid-March northeast of Damascus. The samples showed that the rebels were exposed to sarin.

Secondly, although US intelligence reports are tentative, our media has been portraying them as definitive. The press is raring to go on this, just like they were on Feb. 5, 2003 when Colin Powell spoke before the United Nations, claiming there was absolute proof that Saddam Hussein’s regime was armed to the teeth with Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Syria’s WMDs came from Iraq

How did the Assad regime come by these chemical weapons? It was reported in the New York Sun on January 26, 2006 that Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam “transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria. The Iraqi Revolutionary Guard moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria in advance of the U.S.-led action to eliminate Hussein’s WMD threat.”

Two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials. There were, all told, 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a June 4, 2002 collapse of the Zeyzoun Dam wiped out a village just below the impoundment, killing 20 people and washing away houses, cattle, hospitals, schools, water pumps and vehicles in five villages, stopping only when the water hit and joined the Orontes River more than 8 miles away.

There were also truck convoys into Syria. Both Israeli and U.S. intelligence observed large truck convoys leaving Iraq and entering Syria in the weeks and months before Operation Iraqi Freedom, John Shaw, former deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told a private conference of former weapons inspectors and intelligence experts held in Arlington, Va., in 2006.

It was reported in the Fall 2005 Middle East Quarte rly that Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, stated: “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.”

The U.S.A. provided Iraq with chem and bio capability

And here we come full circle. This report is from Common Dreams (Sept. 8, 2002):

The US and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials Iraq needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Reports by the US Senate’s committee on banking, housing and urban affairs — which oversees American exports policy — reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.

UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and established that these items were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.

It is clear that the US government knows about everything that goes on everywhere, all of the time. It has mastered this technique since before President Truman established the CIA following World War 2. Furthermore, it is undeniable that we have planned a complete takeover of the Middle East and its petroleum reserves since then.

Going to war with Syria will complete our encirclement of Iran, the last bastion of Middle Eastern oil reserves that America covets.

That pesky “al Qaeda”

Once again, our excuse for an exercise in American use of real weapons of mass destruction will be laid at the feet of the terrorist boogeymen that we ourselves create. This is from USA Today of June 14:

A Syrian rebel group’s April pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda’s replacement for Osama bin Laden suggests that the terrorist group’s influence is not waning and that it may take a greater role in the Western-backed fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The pledge of allegiance by Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri was coupled with an announcement by the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, that it would work with al Nusra as well.

The shadowy al Qaeda terrorist group that we attribute all of our woes to is a creature we devised to fight the Russians in Afghanistan back in the nether regions of public memory, when Osama bin Laden was our friend and hero. Why would we use them for our own ends to overthrow the Syrian government? For the same reason that we turned a blind eye when Israel attacked Lebanon a week ago, bombing southern Beiruit in the hopes of destroying the offices of Hezbollah.

It’s one more brick in the wall we’re building around Iran and its 150 billion barrels of oil, which make it second only to Saudi Arabia.

— 30 —

James R. Bailey is a 30 year veteran reporter, political activist, environmentalist, and homesteader in northern Wisconsin’s Chequamegon National Forest in the Town of Grand View. He was recently on the campaign staff of Wisconsin Secretary of State (more…)

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via OpEdNews – Article: Syria is next…”kinetic air strikes”.

LA Police Detectives Investigating Hastings Assassination Ambushed


A new Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) signals analysis (SIGNIT) report on the Obama regimes 18 June assassination of award winning American journalistMichael Hastings states that two Los Angeles police detectives involved in the investigation were themselves targeted for death just one week later.

According to this report, Russian signal analysts monitoring CIA-NSA-FBI “encrypted electronic communication traffic” in the Los Angeles area on 25 June observed a “rapid spike” of “noise” occurring between 0415-0445 Hrs (4:15-4:45AM PSDT) within a 12 block radius of the Hastings “kill zone” identified as North Highland Avenue and Melrose.

At 0437 Hrs (4:37 AM PSDT), this report continues, these same signal analysts reported an “urgent rise” in Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) emergency radio traffic too.

A comparison of these two anomalous events, this report says, showed that the “common link” between them was theattempted assassination by ambush of two LAPD detectivesdriving into their Wilshire Division police station parking lot on Venice Boulevard, and which was less than 3 km from the Hastings “kill zone.”

In what LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck called “a blatant attempt to assassinate two of the people who protect this community,” US media sources report that the two detectives were ambushed by as an yet unidentified assassin who approached their vehicle and unleashed a volley of shots slightly injuring both of the detectives before making his escape.

Chief Beck further stated that the gunman had to know that only police officers could enter the station through that gate and, therefore, that the people in the car were officers. About 200 officers, aided by helicopters and dogs, searched for the gunman, described generally as a black man in his 30s with a mustache and goatee, dressed in black and wearing a black cap.

This GRU report, however, states that these two detectives, who worked undercover for the LAPD burglary task force, were two of the first officers on the scene of the Hastings assassination the week prior and were “obviously sent a message” by Obama regime forces about the dangers of revealing what they knew.

According to Kimberly Dvorak, the only mainstream US investigative reporter reporting on Hastings assassination, the Obama regimes actions to cover up this high-profile murder have been successful as to date, she recently reported on San Diego’s News 6 television report: “Despite the LAPD’s categorization of the Hasting fatal accident as a “no (evidence of) foul play,” LAPD continues to ignore FOIA (CPRA in Calif.) requests made by San Diego 6 News for the police report, 9/11 call, autopsy, bomb squad and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection…”

Dvorak, in her News 6 report, further stated: “Hastings’ friend and confidant SSgt. Joe Biggs disclosed a macabre twist in the award-winning journalist’s death in a suspicious single-car accident. According to SSgt. Biggs, “Michael Hastings’ body was returned to Vermont in an urn.” This revelation provides another wrinkle in the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) handling of a case they labeled “no foul play” only hours after the writer’s death.”

As to the unprecedented Obama regime action of cremating Hastings body without his family’s permission either being sought or granted, the InfoWars News Service further reports:

“A witness to the aftermath of the Michael Hastings accident on June 18 in Hancock Park in Los Angeles, California told Infowars Nightly News that the journalist’s body was not badly charred as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The LAPD and the Los Angeles County Coroner were “trying their best” to hide the body from the witness, who asked to remain anonymous, when it was pulled from the vehicle approximately three hours after the fire was extinguished, between 7:20 to 7:40 AM.

After the ferocity of the fire, the witness expected to see a body charred beyond recognition. “What I saw was the full body,” she told Infowars Nightly News, “with a completely burned face, up to say the shoulders. From the shoulders down I saw the whole body, completely intact, not burned in any way.”

She identified the body as a “white guy about 25 to 30… a white young guy… I saw full, white arms.”

This contradicts the official story. “The body was badly charred and identified only as ‘John Doe 117,’ law enforcement authorities told The Times. Coroner’s officials were attempting to match dental records to help make a positive identification, according to authorities,” the LA Times reported.”

As to why the Obama regime, and now the LAPD, are continuing to cover-up Hastings assassination can be readily viewed in this map [below/see video HERE] showing the sheer impossibility of this award winning reporter who was running for his life having been killed by his vehicle hitting a tree, especially in light of the fact the debris field extends for nearly 300 meters (100 yards) clearly indicating an explosive event.

The Canada Free Press in their reporting on Hastings assassination also stated:

“According to most recent investigative findings, it appears that Mr. Hastings made multiple contacts with sources directly associated with the illegal NSA domestic spying program, and either recently acquired materials and/or information about the extent of, the targets of, and the recipients of the information of domestic spying program.

It is speculated that the latter information was of particular concern to as yet unidentified individuals holding positions of authority within the U.S. Department of Defense and their subcontractors, as well as certain parties within the Executive branch of the United States government.

Investigation and research suggests that Mr. Hastings might have obtained, or arranged to obtain information pertaining to the role of a particular high-ranking officer within the U.S. military overseeing the domestic aspects of the NSA project.”

To if the American people themselves will demand that the assassins of Hastings be brought to justice, it remains highly doubtful as their propaganda news media and elite classes, as always, seek to hide this brutal crime away from public notice as they have done too many other times to count.

Muslim wanted for terrorism in US sues Irish prison for preventing religious practices


Ali Charaf Damache (47), an Algerian with Irish citizenship, has begun to sue several Irish institutions claiming that he was not permitted to practice his Muslim religion while being held in a Cork prison in 2011.

The Irish Independent reports that Damache, who is wanted in the US on terror-related charges, has since been moved from Cork Prison to Cloverhill Prison in Dublin. He will remain there pending the outcome of the extradition request from the US.

Damache has since brought proceedings against the governor of Cork Prison, the Irish Prison Services, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General. He claims he was subjected to abuse and insults from both staff and inmates at Cork Prison and was prevented from practicing his religion.

In his claims, Damache says his constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention to practice his religion freely were violated while he was held in Cork Prison. He is also seeking damages.

Damache says he was not provided with halal meat, nor water to wash with before praying, nor an Iman for Friday prayers. He also said he had to use chamber pots in the cells and the hygiene in the prison’s toilet area was poor.

The action has been opposed by the State which denies his rights were breached. The action before Justice Elizabeth Dunne continues on Thursday.

Damache is famously connected to the ‘Jihad Jane’ case. The two reportedly conspired to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist whose 2007 portrayal of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, angered Muslims around the world.

Last year, Damache unexpectedly pled guilty to placing a menacing phone call to the Michigan-based attorney Majed Moughni. He was sentenced to four years in jail with the final year suspended. Due to time already served, Damache was released from custody.

However, upon being released, Damache was re-arrested in relation to extradition charges from the US in which he is accused of providing material support to terrorists. He is still being held in Cloverhill Prison in Dublin.

via Muslim wanted for terrorism in US sues Irish prison for preventing religious practices | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Every Military Option in Syria Sucks


Using lethal force to strike high-value targets inside Syria would require hundreds of U.S. aircraft, ships and submarines, while establishing a no-fly zone would cost as much as a billion dollars per month over the course of a year, according to a new analysis of military options there by the nation’s top military officer. Another option, in which the U.S. attempts to control Syria’s chemical weapons stock, would first require thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces, wrote Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey. Oh, and well over a billion dollars per month.

Under pressure to publicly provide his views on military intervention in Syria, Dempsey told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin what most people already knew: there are few good options. But for the first time, Dempsey provided an analysis of each option and its cost, providing new fodder for thinking about a conflict that has waged for more than two years, killed nearly 100,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.

Dempsey outlined five options, including training, advising and assisting the opposition; conducting limited stand-off strikes; establishing a no-fly zone; creating a buffer zone to protect certain areas inside Syria; and finally, controlling Syria’s chemical weapons. Any of those options would likely “further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime,” Dempsey wrote. But any or all of them could slip the U.S. into another new war. “We have learned from the past 10 years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state,” Dempsey wrote Levin in the memo, a copy of which was released publicly late Monday. “We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action.”

As requested after a heated exchange in the Senate on Thursday over U.S. policy in Syria, Dempsey dutifully gave the pros and cons for each option. But in what amounts to the most candid analysis of the Pentagon‘s thinking on Syria to date, Dempsey couched each as highly risky. Establishing a no-fly zone, for example, comes with inherent risk: “Risks include the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces,” Dempsey wrote. “It may also fail to reduce the violence or shift the momentum because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface fires – mortars, artillery and missiles.” Conducting limited strikes on high-value targets inside Syria could have a “significant degradation of regime capabilities” and would increase the likelihood of individuals deserting the regime. On the other hand, he wrote, “there is a risk that the regime could withstand limited strikes by dispersing its assets.” Retaliatory attacks and collateral damage from the U.S. strikes could create large and sometimes unforeseen problems, despite the best planning.

All of this would come, Dempsey argued, at a time of enormous budget uncertainty for the Pentagon that has forced furloughs of civilian workers, cuts to programs and allowed readiness rates to drop to low levels, Pentagon officials say. “This is especially critical as we lose readiness due to budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty,” Dempsey wrote. “Some options may not be feasible in time or cost without compromising our security elsewhere.”

Dempsey still hedged the issue of his own view in an unclassified forum, never quite providing what he would recommend to his boss, President Barack Obama. But he also conceded that intervention in some form could make a difference. “As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that the use of force will move us toward the intended outcome.”

It still amounts to the start of a new conflict after more than a decade getting out of two other ones.  “I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly, it is no less an act of war,” Dempsey wrote.

It was unclear if Dempsey’s letter, intended to appease Sen. John McCain and Sen. Levin, would prompt them to move forward on his reappointment to another two years as Chairman. A few days before the hearing, a senior officer from the Pentagon had provided a classified briefing for senior Hill members and officials, according to a senior Hill staffer. But the takeaway may have been what got McCain so fired up: Pentagon officials told Hill staffers there is no clear military direction on Syria because there is no clear policy guidance from the White House.

Now Dempsey’s reappointment as Chairman hangs in the balance as Levin and McCain seek additional information from Dempsey on Syria — knowing full well that the nation’s senior military officer is getting directions from the White House on Syria that are ambiguous at best.

The issue stems in part from how Dempsey handled himself last week when McCain demanded he provide his personal views on military intervention in Syria. Dempsey essentially refused to answer to McCain’s satisfaction, raising the question squarely: what should military officers say when they’re asked their personal opinion in public?

When senior officers shuffle up to Capitol Hill for confirmation or oversight hearings, they all must affirm their answer to one of a handful of boilerplate questions, but this one is often central to the veracity of their testimony: “Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the administration in power?”

It’s all very pro forma. As all officers appearing for testimony do, Dempsey answered the question in the affirmative. But he seemed to trip up on it later during the hearing.

Dempsey could have known it was coming. McCain, increasingly agitated at White House policy over Syria, tested him over his views on military intervention. “Do you believe the continued costs and risks of our inaction in Syria are now worse for our national security interests than the costs and risks associated with limited military action?” McCain demanded. But Dempsey would not answer the question directly, saying he would instead share his views privately with the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama.

“Senator, I am in favor of building a moderate opposition and supporting it,” Dempsey said during the tense exchange. “The question whether to support it with direct kinetic strikes is a president for a — is a decision for our elected officials, not for the senior military leader of the nation.”

McCain has now locked his confirmation until he gets more answers. There are two ways to look at Dempsey’s decision Thursday before the Senate panel. Some believe the general, well regarded but not known for rocking the boat, stood his ground and took a stand against a Congressional overseer thought to be bullying the administration over its Syria policy. Others were astounded that Dempsey seemed so cocky, even arrogant, at one point shooting a question back to McCain about “recent experience” with intervention — in Iraq.

Senior officers, experts and other observers all believe that Dempsey’s number one job was to obey what any senior officer will tell you is Golden Rule of confirmations: don’t filibuster, don’t grandstand and get confirmed. If Dempsey was being asked an uncomfortable question he couldn’t avoid, he should have politely asked to answer it in private session, they say.

“Military leaders, when they answer that question, they get from the Senate in the affirmative, they are absolutely committing themselves to providing their personal views to members of Congress,” one senior officer said. But those personal views aren’t always appropriate for a public setting such as a confirmation hearing, the officer said, and Dempsey did the right thing – even if he didn’t do it in the right way. “In my view, it was not inappropriate for Dempsey to withhold his views in that particular setting.”

Others agree, too. Some officials who are familiar with the process of preparing for testimony say commanders should be able to retain their best military advice for their commander-in-chief – not the public or members of Congress.

“Senior general officers, be they in command of a war or serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, are there to serve the commander-in-chief, as advisors or commanders, giving him their best military advice.”Look at judges up for confirmation: do they divulge what their decisions will be? No. Similarly, a senior general gives advice to the president. He’s not appointed to give advice to Congress, nor does he feel compelled to tell, in advance, what his advice and views are to anyone besides the president.”

There have been a number of cases in which senior officers are asked their opinion in a public hearing — and some give it. Most recently, Gen. James Mattis, then commander of U.S. Central Command in April was asked how many troops he believed should be left in Afghanistan after security responsibility is completely transferred to Afghans at the end of next year. His answer: 13,600. The response, from an officer who was about to retire but had been widely thought to have been under a gag order during that command, angered some in the White House and other political types. But individuals close to his thinking believe that that was his personal opinion and he didn’t mind sharing it publicly since it didn’t expose any state secrets or classified information. Dempsey’s predecessor, Adm. Mike Mullen, famously expressed his opinion about suspending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, telling the Senate what he thought, himself. “Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” Mullen said in February 2010. “No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” he said. “For me personally, it comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

It took some prodding. But Dempsey finally spoke up, too. But by presenting the options in Syria as an array that goes from bad to worse, it’s not clear if he enhanced his confirmation prospects – or made them worse.

via Breaking: Every Military Option in Syria Sucks – By Gordon Lubold | Foreign Policy.

Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman?


Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:

Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children

Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.

The boogeyman is the fictitious monster that haunts kids particularly when they are going to bed. In my case, he hid underneath my bed ready to grab my ankles and pull me under. To avoid him, I leapt into bed to avoid his reach. To avoid seeing him in case he came out, I covered my eyes with the blanket. I think my feelings and childhood fears of this imaginary creature are common.

Use of a boogeyman in the case of children could be to persuade them to go to bed early or eat their vegetables. “If you don’t do this, the boogeyman might get you”! None of as children wanted that, so we did as we were told. A boogeyman is also useful in the case of adults. In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen. The media outlets and the US government kindly supply us with ever-scarier boogeymen. Whether intended or not, the use of a boogeyman works well in persuading and obtaining compliance (getting adults to do something).

The boogeyman 75 years ago was scary. However, he lived less than ten years, and we eliminated him. The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazis and he lived in Germany. He was a threat to the freedom and constitutional rights of Americans. He invaded countries and killed our friends (read allies). For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.

Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then. The citizenry, young and old alike, complied with government requests and did what they could do to help eliminate the threat. That boogeyman disappeared through a war that ended in 1945.

Only a few years passed before a new, more global, boogeyman emerged. He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s. The communists were good boogeyman for decades, and represented the opposite of what we stand for. We were told they have no liberty or freedom, and this boogeyman does not want people of the world to have such inalienable rights like that.

Who would doubt this and not want to comply with government support in the elimination of this boogeyman? We largely complied, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of people were killed. We fought wars to ward off this boogeyman (Korea Vietnam, and other armed conflicts of smaller duration). We even helped some friends (read allies) fend off this boogeyman-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name some examples.

The government softened its stand (ended the terrorism) on this boogeyman, and people don’t perceive it a threat any more. This might be due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the despair we are told of in Cuba, and widespread trading with China and Vietnam In fact, it does not seem to matter that China is a communist country, we can travel there, trade with them, but for some reason, Cuba is off limits.

The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001. He is more nebulous than the former boogeymen, as he does not have a permanent address or place where we can easily find him like the Nazis or the communists. However, being so nimble and fast moving, he can be under your bed, like the boogeyman of childhood. He can be down the street and could be your neighbor. This new monster serves better than those of the past to incite fear and compliance. Lacking an address, we are inspired to chase him down in many places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and down the street from your house. He might even be in your home or office now. We even look for him at the airport every day.

The modern boogeyman has more places to hide, and a better strategy than his predecessors. This new boogeyman might even be friends of our friends (allies, or friends), as President George Bush warned us in his address on September 20, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress

We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. – Bush, George W. (September 20, 2001). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People”. The White House. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

Our government finds the current boogeyman scarier than his predecessors, as we have parked our constitution to pursue him. We have spent much money to catch him, and many are currently willing to be spied on to avoid him. As former President Bush said to congress, if you keep company with the boogeyman, we consider you an enemy. Obviously we are very serious about this newer boogeyman, and even willing to give up some things we fought boogeymen in the past for. That being our freedom and parts of the constitution (read Patriot Act).

Let us return to the definition of terrorism: It is systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Where did the latest boogeyman come from? Who is creating the fear and the real terrorist? Who wants to bring about a political objective?

Our prior two boogeymen were created by non-United States entities: German and Russian political movements. Maybe the current boogeyman was created because of our past and current follies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Is it really a boogeyman, or are the good folks that promote him (read terrorists) making him larger than he need be.

Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman. However, those wanting to make terror will not have an excuse to bring about a political objective and need this boogeyman. You decide- who are the real terrorists, and who wants political change? Who is who in this game? Is this not all absurdism?

via Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman? – OpenGov.US.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria: Cheer-leading Another Blood Bath in the Name of Peace


Lies, Perfidies and Tony Blair

“Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terrorism.”President Barack Obama, April 15th 2013.

Having learned nothing from the catastrophes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, it seems President Obama, the equally clueless UK Prime Minister Cameron and his culturally challenged Foreign Secretary William Hague are cheer-leading another bloodbath in formerly peaceful, secular, outward looking Syria.

Having covertly provided arms and equipment to insurgents from numerous different countries for over two years, they have now moved to the overt stage, a move over which even arch hawks such as former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former Republican Senator Richard Luger, six term leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged caution.

Luger said such action would boost extremists, with Brzezinski dismissing Obama’s talk of “red lines” as thoughtless and risking: “a large-scale disaster for the United States.”

During Brzezinski’s time as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter the decision was made to finance the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in response to Soviet deployment there. He’s had a bit of time to reflect on blowback and perhaps the 2,243 wasted US lives in that “graveyard of empires” – so far.

It seems however, the Washington and Whitehall regimes remain increasingly disconnected from reality. In spite of the plethora of gruesome images circulating on the internet of grinning terrorists holding up severed heads, cannibalizing body organs and summarily executing, they are to provide further arms to insurgency’s Hannibal Lecters. This, also regardless of the fact that Riad al-Assad, founder of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” is quoted as saying that suicide bombing is: “ an integral part of revolutionary action, of Free Syrian Army action.”

Meanwhile, less than a month after the murder of a soldier in London’s Woolwich by wanna be jihadists (with reported relationship with hard drugs) Britain’s increasingly rudderless ship of state allows entry to a controversial Saudi preacher, Muhamed Al Arefe, alleged to have made anti-Shia and anti-Semitic exhortations and who argues that a husband: “may use beatings to discipline his wife” as long as he beats her “lightly.”(i)

Informed friends from the Middle East charge bluntly that he recruits jihadists, as last week in visits Riyadh and Cairo. One added: “David Cameron may as well stand at the gate (of the Mosque) and hand out arms for the ‘good freedom fighters’ who will be heading to Syria after hearing Arefe’s sickening lies, sectarian incitement and calls for jihad against the ‘infidel regime.’ “

This was not a low key occasion. Arefe, spoke at the London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, built on land donated by King George V1 to the Muslim Community of Britain. The Cultural Centre was officially opened by the King in 1944. The Mosque, completed in 1978, which can hold over five thousand worshippers in the main hall alone, was designed by renowned architect Sir Frederick Gibberd. Quite a platform for any recruiter.

However, Obama and Cameron hardly need to arm terrorists, they are seemingly doing fine, via the US-UK-NATO last mega screw up: Libya.

This week it was reported (ii, iii) that weapons are flooding in to Syria from a Libya awash with weapons, “with spy chiefs saying” that the country has become a supermarket “of the world’s illegal arms trade.”

“Up to 3,000 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) have gone missing since the conflict” with more than “one million tonnes of weapons belonging to Colonel Quaddaffi” looted after his terrible death at the hands of NATO’s “allies.”

Potentially that is enough SAMs to down 3,000 airliners.

The Daily Mail understands that, unsecured: “ … there are now more weapons in Libya than in the entire arsenal of the British Army” according to MI6 estimates.

One internet video showed a stockpile of SAMs, which can hit an aircraft flying at 11,000 feet, in the hands of the Syrian insurgents. Used from airport perimeters anywhere, the result could be tragedy.

However, Akhbar Alaan TV reports(iv) Benghazi has been supplying weapons to the Syrian terrorists for “over a year.” With pictures they: “show the shipments from Libya, via Turkey to the Syrian opposition.”

The TV station’s reporter states:

“Their own Libyan revolution was supported by NATO … But these former Libyan rebels say the world is abandoning the Syrian opposition. And because of that Benghazi decided to act …”

Further:

“All these weapons are donated by former rebel units in eastern Libya … According to the Libyan organizer they also have shipped around 120 SAM 7 surface to air-missiles to Syria.”

Rebel units were, of course aided by US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, who arrived in a cargo ship loaded with arms (news, websites) and was murdered with colleagues in Benghazi on 11th September 2012.

According to the New York Times, Qatari C-17 cargo planes, capable of carrying a payload of over seventy tonnes, have picked up a weapons shipment at least three times this year, which were then delivered to the Turkish-Syrian border to be handed on to the “rebels.”

British-Libyan arms dealer Abdul Basit Haroun – who was a property developer in Manchester, UK for twenty years, until 2011 – has told Reuters that weapons are reaching Syria not alone by numerous flights, but on ships, concealed amongst humanitarian aid. Haroun has claimed that the authorities know about the shipment: “everybody knows.”

Further, Libyan Assembly Member Tawfiq Shehabi has said he supports the activities of people like Haroun, who was a brigade commander during the Libyan uprising: “After the end of the (uprising) he became involved in supporting the Syrian revolution … he does a good job of supporting the Syrian revolution.”

Claims are that permission for shipments is sought from and sanctioned by, Turkey. The UN has criticized Libya for proliferating weapons at an “alarming rate” and for “enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups.”(v)

Reuters interviewed Haroun and a reporter was taken to a container of weapons being prepared for delivery to Syria: “ … stacked with boxes of ammunition, rocket launchers and various types of light and medium weapons.”

Arms are flown in to “neighbouring countries on chartered flights”, several to Jordan as well as Turkey: “weapons were then transferred over the border.” (vi)

In Libya, the versatile Mr Haroun: “helps the government with state security, according to interior ministry spokesman Majdi al-Ourfi.”

Quite an own goal, NATO.

But no lessons have been learned. On Saturday (22nd June) the ridiculously named, eleven nation “Friends of Syria”, meeting in Qatar, agreed to supply: “all the necessary material” to the insurgents. Britain, with the US, is of course cheer-leading.

This in spite of warnings from such as Charles Lister, analyst at HIS – Jane’s Terrorist and Insurgency Centre – of the danger that weapons “almost invariably end up in the hands of” terrorists and extremists, and possibly even back in Britain.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the army, said last week he was: “very much in the camp of those who would not wish to be involved and intervene in any shape or form”, with Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded British forces in the Falklands War in 1982, saying it was: “absolutely ridiculous” to contemplate another intervention …and getting involved with something else” whilst still mired in Afghanistan after nearly twelve years.

“Our information from Doha says that five countries have decided to start arming us immediately, and four other countries will give us logistical and technical support and, at a later stage, arm the Free Syrian Army,” a spokesman for the opposition fighters, Loay Al Mikdad, said in an interview with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV.

Incredibly, with not a glance towards legality, the Doha plotters: “repeated their call for the establishment of a transitional governing body to which full executive powers would be transferred … Bashar Assad has no role in the transitional governing body or thereafter.”

However, Syria is a founding Member of the UN, one of the fifty one countries who signed to the Charter on 26th June 1945. Member States of the United Nations are bound by the UN Charter.

Article 2 (4) states:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Article 2 (1) The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign      equality of all its Members.

Article 2 (2) All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful  means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

Further:

The UN’s 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States directs:

“No state or group of states has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state.

“Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the state or against its political economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.”

Recalling the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State,

“Considering it essential that all States shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,

“In accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression.

Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing or encouraging the organization of irregular forces or armed bands including mercenaries, for incursion into the territory of another State.

“Every State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts, when the acts referred to in the present paragraph involve a threat or use of force.”

End Note. Lest we Forget.

That Middle East “Peace Envoy” Tony Blair [left] who lied his way in to the destruction of Iraq, kissed his welcoming host Colonel Gaddafi then betrayed worthy of any Judas, had also entertained President Assad.

In 2002, when Bashar al Assad visited Britain, meeting the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and dined with Blair at Downing Street, it was considered bestowing an honor on the President.

“According to documents, on Nov. 14, 2002, a desk officer covering Syria and Lebanon at the Foreign and Commonwealth office wrote: “You should be aware that President Bashar of Syria will visit the U.K. as a guest of government … This will include an audience with the queen. I have been advised that we need to consider whether the queen should bestow an honor on him.”(ix)

Blair is, of course, cheer leading for Syria’s destruction:

“A spokesperson for Tony Blair defended the actions of the government under the former PM, stating: “Engagement with Syria and Assad in 2002 was absolutely right …  Mr. Blair has said many times since that the situation has changed and Assad now has to go.”

Notes

..

VIA

A Round up of Bradley Manning News


Bradley Manning: Truth on trial?

Aljazeera.com
 available yet. Report. Published on Jun 24, 2013. This week, a special edition of the Listening Post with a special report on Bradley Manning and an exclusive interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
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Roundup on Week 3 of Bradley Manning’s Trial
Firedoglake
As the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who disclosed United States government information to WikiLeaks, enters its fourth week, the world’s focus is on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and his travel to Ecuador, where he has requested asylum.
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The 10 best whistleblowers in movie history
Perth Now
By disclosing top-secret materials from one of the world’s most secretive agencies, the NSA, Snowden will join the ranks of Mark Felt, Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning as a man who willingly gave up all the comforts and security of his life in an 
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Westwood gets political
USA TODAY
Westwood gets political. Known for her activism, Vivienne Westwood‘s latest collection shown in Milan included pictures of Bradley Manning, a US Army officer arrested in Iraq in 2010 on suspicion of passing classified material to WikiLeaks, pinned to 
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Comment: Obama’s list of enemies
SBS
Activists display a photo of US President Barack Obama and pictures of former US spy Edward Snowden and whistleblower Bradley Manning during a protest action in Berlin. (AAP). Meet the seven men US President Barack Obama considers enemies of the 
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I’m convinced people do care about NSA overreach
San Diego CityBEAT
On June 6, The Guardian began reporting on the most significant unauthorized government document dump since Bradley Manning smuggled out hundreds of thousands of State Department records while pretending to rock out to Lady Gaga. This time 
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America: Have We Lost Our Way?

OpEdNews
Gitmo, Bradley Manning, violating sovereignty willy nilly, drone strikes even on American citizens… Basic disrespect for the principles we have preached so self-righteously to the world, on a scale that makes even prior hypocrisies (Reagan’s Central 
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Letter: Real criminals rigged game against Manning

Buffalo News
Pfc. Bradley Manning reported war crimes, which clearly indicated U.S. criminality, according to three articles of the Geneva Conventions. According to Nuremberg principles laid down by the United States, Manning was required to report war crimes. Yet 
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The Eternal Rebel – Ronnie Kasrils
AllAfrica.com
As the state calcifies into corporate totalitarianism, as prominent rebels such as Julian Assange,Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are defamed by a bankrupt media and political class and hunted down as criminals, as change through the established 
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The Pursuit of Edward Snowden: Washington in a Rage, Striving to Run the World
Huffington Post
Too rarely mentioned is the combination of nonviolence and idealism that has been integral to the courageous whistleblowing by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. Right now, one is on a perilous journey across the globe in search of political asylum, 
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The Trouble with Low Standards
The National Interest Online
The Snowden disclosure of course comes as another famous leaker, Army PFC Bradley Manning, is being tried for espionage at Fort Meade, Maryland. There’s some indication that Snowden sees himself as a fellow traveler of Manning; he has described the 
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Secrets and fears of a paranoid government
ABC Online
As well as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, they’ve also charged a former CIA officer for revealing the names of colleagues involved in torture, a State Department advisor for leaking information about North Korea, and a senior executive at the 
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Snowden’s Asylum Request: ‘Unlikely I Would Receive Fair Trial or Proper 
Firedoglake
My case is also very similar to that of the American soldier Bradley Manning, who made public government information through Wikileaks revealing war crimes, was arrested by the United States government and has been treated inhumanely during his time in 
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Julian Assange: Edward Snowden Is ‘Safe And Healthy’
Huffington Post
 yet that Snowden’s fate is bound up with the assistance he receives from WikiLeaks, the noted transparency organization that came to its greatest fame three years ago when it released a massive cache of documents from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.
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Edward Snowden Realizes He Can’t Live Without WikiLeaks
National Journal
Edward Snowden may not have chosen to go the route of fellow Espionage Act indictee Bradley Manning by releasing sensitive National Security Agency documents through WikiLeaks. Part of that, he said, was because he wanted every single page 
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Edward Snowden and the High Price of Civil Disobedience
Slate Magazine
To get an idea of what Snowden is staring down, we can just look at the case of WikiLeaks sourceBradley Manning. He was held for two years without trial (and, by some accounts, tortured) for releasing classified document. In March 2012, the Guardian 
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Whither Snowden? NSA whistleblower skips Moscow-Havana flight
Christian Science Monitor
Though Snowden himself remains invisible, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño Aroca, read out a statement from him – reported by the Guardian – in which he compares himself with Bradley Manning, the former US army private currently on trial for 
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Julian Assange: Snowden is ‘Healthy, Safe and in Good Spirits’
TIME
Assange did tie Snowden’s case closely to that of Army private Bradley Manning, now on trial for leaking millions of pages of classified documents to WikiLeaks, in the episode that has made Assange an international celebrity. Assange said that U.S. 
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Snowden joins list of infamous political fugitives
NBCNews.com (blog)
 the founder of WikiLeaks, published reams of U.S. military and diplomatic documents. There have been no formal charges filed against him for the leaks, but Bradley Manning is currently on trial for allegedly giving WikiLeaks sensitive military 
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US Cracks Down on Leaks With Insider Threat Program
The Takeaway
Launched not long after Private Bradley Manning shared classified documents with the website WikiLeaks, the program gives government agencies greater authority to investigate and punish potential leaks. To discuss this we’re joined by Kel McClanahan, 
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Revenge of Assange as WikiLeaks helps US leaker
AFP
He linked his own fate not only with 30-year-old Snowden but with that of Bradley Manning, 25, the US soldier who is being tried on accusations of leaking the documents to WikiLeaks that were behind its first major information dumps in 2010. WikiLeaks 
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