Saturday, August 24, 2013

Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon

Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic) 

by Gilad Atzmon

The campaign against me and my work fell apart a while ago. I assume that my Jewish detractors came to realise that I enjoy their attention and use it to affirm my criticism of their tribal and exclusivist identity politics.

But yesterday I had a nostalgic moment reading Max Blumenthal dissing me publicly. When Blumenthal was asked about Israeli critics he ended up talking about the vile ‘anti Semites’, ‘neo Fascists’ and the ‘racists’ in the movements. Interestingly enough, he failed to remember any name but one – Gilad Atzmon.

Atzmon is a “pure anti Semite who believes that all of the problems of Israel flow not from colonialism but from Judaism.” said Blumenthal.

Apparently, not buying into the clumsy ‘colonial paradigm’ makes me into a ‘neo Fascist’, ‘anti Semite’ and a ‘racist’.

It is obviously clear that Blumenthal didn’t read a single word by me. I naively believe that if someone insists to criticise my work, he or she better spend some time to read me first. It is an established fact that Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah also called for my disavowal while admitting to Prof. Norton Mezvinsky that he has never read a single word by me. Tragically enough, the fear of intellectual exchange and open discourse is endemic within the Jewish progressive ghetto but also within some quarters of the solidarity movement.

However, those who are even mildly familiar with my thoughts know that Blumenthal reacts out of hysteria rather than knowledge. My scholarship is not concerned with Judaism (the religion) nor am I referring to Jews (the people). I am critical of Jewish Identity politics and Jewish ideology. I elaborate on Jewish-ness and Jewish culture as opposed to Judaism. Race, genetics or biology have never been part of my study. If anything, I am critical largely of Jewish secular politics and culture rather than the Jewish religion.

I am indeed critical of the ‘colonial paradigm’ which Blumenthal adheres to. Colonialism is defined traditionally as a material exchange between a settler state and a mother state. Israel is clearly a settler state, however, it is far from being clear what is its ‘mother state’.

Is it the USA, Britain or actually the Jewish people? In fact I argue adamantly that the colonial paradigm is there to divert the attention from the embarrassing fact that the Jewish State being racially driven, nationalist and expansionist is actually closer in its political nature to Nazi Germany rather than to South Africa.

I guess that Max Blumenthal, who operates within Jews-only political cells doesn’t like this equation. Yet, such an argument doesn’t make me into a neo Fascist or an anti-Semite. If anything, it secures my status as an out-spoken observant mind.

Unlike Blumenthal and his comrades, I also believe that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we are more than entitled to verify what its Jewishness stands for. Does this make me into a racist?

I guess that the huge lists of scholars and humanists who decided to endorse my work didn’t think so.

The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics 
in general and Jewish Left in particular, 
available on & 

But I also believe that since Max Blumenthal identifies politically as a secular Jew who operates within Jews-only political cells (and even signs on ‘Jewish letters’, as he himself admits below), is actually a legitimate case study of Jewish tribal political operation.

Sooner or later Blumenthal and his comrades will have to make an effort and tell us what their 'Jewishness' stands for. Is it a love of chicken soup they share, or is it something more profound?

Being an expert on the matter and an avid reader of Jewish history, I know pretty well why Blumenthal is tormented by my work. Jewish hegemony within radical movements always backfired. My work indeed exposes an intrinsic dishonest element within the Jewish Left in general and Jewish anti Zionism in particular. I guess that the vastly growing popularity of the descriptive abbreviation AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists), only suggests that Blumenthal & Co have a good reason to panic. In The Wandering Who I give this very panic a name – Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre – TSD).

I would like to take this opportunity and advise Blumenthal that killing the messenger is not going to rescue his cause: it would only attribute him the characteristics of just another Judas and he has himself to blame for it.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: There's a minority among--I wouldn't call them critics of Israel, but there are anti-Semites out there who happen to be neofascists and racists, who are building connections with a larger movement of Islamophobes, and who are sort of preternaturally or viscerally Islamophobic. They're just--and racist and afraid of the other. And Jews, of course, have been otherized. European Jews have been otherized for centuries. So, they're--you know. And, you know, I've covered white supremacists, white nationalism, neo-Nazis.
I've interviewed, you know, leaders and rank-and-file. And I remember I interviewed--I forget his name now, but I spoke to the publisher of the Institute for Historical Review, which is the leading publisher of historical revisionism or Holocaust denial, and I said, why do you--what do you have against the Jews? He said, you know, essentially, in a nutshell what he told me is that they're responsible for liberalism. So this kind of anti-Semitism flows from illiberalism or anti-liberalism. And a lot of the Jews who are attracted to Palestine Solidarity come from liberal backgrounds and are very, you know, tolerant. Many of them are queers. Many of them are, you know, anarchists. Many are standard liberals or leftists. But they're all people who would actually be hated by these kind of figures, these anti-Semites.
And so what we've been witnessing in the Palestine solidarity movement--and I've been an active part of this--from Palestinians and from, you know, Jewish supporters of Palestine Solidarity is an effort to completely clean the movement out of these kind of people.
And one person--I think one of the leading anti-Semitic critics of Israel--you couldn't even call him a critic of Israel. He's an ex-Israeli who pretends to be an anti-Zionist but is actually just a pure anti-Semite and who believes that all of the problems of Israel flow not from colonialism but from Judaism, is Gilad Atzmon. And I signed a Jewish letter denouncing him and basically telling him to get lost.
There's been a Palestinian letter organized by Ali Abunimah and, you know, a who's who of Palestine solidarity activists who say anti-Semitic freaks, get the hell away from us; we don't want any part of you. And there have been other efforts to castigate people who have advanced anti-Semitic critiques of Israel and of Jews in general. So, I mean, that's how I would respond is just judge the Palestine solidarity movement, which is an organized movement advancing, I think, a principled form of anti-Zionism, judge them by what they're doing. And they don't need pressure from pro-Israel groups. They don't need to be shamed to do this.
This is how they feel and this is how I feel. It's just we're genuinely disgusted by any form of racism. It's why we're disgusted by the Israeli government and by the structure of Israeli apartheid.

Attacking Gilad Atzmon: Can (and will) Independent News Producers Challenge the "Anti-Semitist" Label?

Independent News as Vehicle for Character Assassination

by Kim Petersen -  "Dissident Voice"

Common decency demands that when someone slanders you in a public forum that you should have the right to respond in that same forum.

TRNN is an independent news network that provides thought-provoking news, analysis, and commentary. TRNN is much more than news headlines. For the greatest part, news events are reported in context and with relevant background information. This distinguishes TRNN very much from state and corporate media news. In addition, TRNN senior editor Paul Jay is very adept at playing devil’s advocate, laying out the corporate media/government line whereby guest analysts can probe and expose propaganda and disinformation.

Since criticizing the corporate media is very much like flogging a dead horse and because getting the real news out there is so important, I tend to focus my media criticism on TRNN. For instance, I criticized TRNN for parroting a corporate-state media message about North Korea (without providing relevant background information).1 Its US electoral coverage in 2008 and 2012 was fundamentally anti-democratic because of its inordinate focus on the evilist parties rather than alloting equal coverage to all parties (albeit third party coverage did increase from 2008 to 2012).

Recently TRNN has been presenting a series called “Reality Asserts Itself.” Some fine insight has been provided by Chris Hedges, Vijay Prashad, and Max Blumenthal. However, in a recent installment of the show, Blumenthal engaged in, what can best be described as, character assassination. Blumenthal’s target was the jazz musician/author Gilad Atzmon. 2

At the beginning of the segment, Jay stated “some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.” Jay provided no examples of this. I am failing to see how criticism of a state can be construed as anti-the people. If someone criticizes the Canadian state, should he also be construed as anti-Canadian? I have heard of people who criticized the United States subsequently being denounced as anti-American, but outside of the examples of criticizing Israel or the US, have I seldom, if ever, encountered charges of being anti-the people because of criticizing the people’s state. Maybe what Jay claims could be true, but as its stands, what he has said is just an assertion. 3

Blumenthal responded “some who criticize Israel are anti-Semites.” This is likeliest true. And Jay agreed.

Blumenthal continued, charging that some of Israel’s critics are neo-fascists, racists, Islomophobic, and fearful of the Other.

Then Blumenthal launched into his character assassination of Gilad Atzmon “who,” claims Blumenthal, “pretends to be an anti-Zionist but is actually just pure anti-Semitic.” Without specific examples, Blumenthal’s charge amounts to pure ad hominem. Ad hominem, as Israel critic Noam Chomsky argued, is a despicable tactic:
If someone calls you an anti-Semite, what can you say? I’m not an anti-Semite? If someone says you’re a racist, you’re a Nazi or something, you always lose. The person who throws the mud always wins because there is no way of responding to such charges. 4

There’s something unsettling and peculiar in denouncing racism (holding derogatory opinions or beliefs about the entirety of a particular group – ethnic, religious, gender, national, etc.) and then engaging in, what can be labeled as, personism (holding derogatory opinions about a person based on who one believes – as opposed to knows — that person is).

Jay appeared caught-off-guard by Blumenthal’s calumny; he left the character assassination unchallenged, and he quickly moved on to the next topic.

Atzmon says Blumentahl has not read his book,5 The Wandering Who.6 ‎ Since Blumenthal did not provide evidence for his ad hominem other than hearsay, his acerbic position is mired in epistemological quicksand.

Jay also allowed his guest to denigrate historical revisionists — Holocaust deniers Blumenthal calls them. That might also be more ad hominem. The right to challenge the historical record and narrative must be inalienable, otherwise history risks becoming mere propaganda.7 Nonetheless, Blumenthal did proffer an explanation for his attack noting that historical revisionists told him they dislike Jews because they are liberals.

I have read Atzmon’s book. Unless it is racist to explore the relations among Jews and how they integrate or separate from others, view the Other, accept or oppose occupation, then the book is not anti-Semitic. There is a certain tribalism among Jews. This is true among many groups except the tribalism takes the form of allegiance to a nation state (referred to as patriotism) rather than to a pseudo ethnic/religious affiliation.

I do not need to defend Atzmon; he can do that quite well himself. What I will call for is Atzmon’s right to defend himself in the same forum.

Does TRNN want a free thinking viewership who consider the facts, analysis, and conclusions presented and arrive at their own reason-based conclusions after examining, discussing with others, cogitating over the facts, and testing the cogency of the logic? Or does TRNN want viewers who uncritically accept what is said on their reports as gospel? It must not be the latter as this would thoroughly undermine the raison d’être of the Real News.

Consequently, since TRNN has allowed its program to be used as a vehicle for character assassination, it is incumbent on an ethical, professional, self-respecting, viewer-respecting news organization to allow the maligned Gilad Atzmon a chance at an on-air rebuttal.


  1. See Kim Petersen, “Independent Media as Mouthpiece for Centers of Power,” Dissident Voice, 28 May 2010. []
  2. See “Israel, Anti-Semitism, and Negotiations Without End,” TRNN, 22 August 2013. []
  3. During this episode of “Reality Asserts Itself,” Jay and Blumental both disdained, and rightfully so, anti-Semitism, anti-Arabism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and racism in general. []
  4. From Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick’s documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media NFB, 1992. Cited in Kim Petersen, “Anti,” Dissident Voice, 6 April 2004. []
  5. Gilad Atzmon, “Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic),” 22 August 2013. []
  6. See review. []
  7. See Kim Petersen, “Progressivism, Skepticism, and Historical Revisionism: The Inalienable Right to Question History,” Dissident Voice, 19 December 2005. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at:

Friday, August 23, 2013

The End of American Democracy in Thirteen Government Secrets

Thirteen Things the Government Is Trying to Keep Secret from You

by Bill Quigley

The President, the Head of the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Justice, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the Judiciary, are intentionally keeping massive amounts of information about surveillance of US and other people secret from voters.
“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted…the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”   
 - US Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udal

Additionally, some are, to say it politely, not being factually accurate in what they are telling the public. These inaccurate statements are either intentional lies meant to mislead the public or they are evidence that the people who are supposed to be in charge of oversight do not know what they are supposed to be overseeing.

The most recent revelations from the Washington Post, by way of Edward Snowden, indicate the NSA breaks privacy rules or overstep its legal authority thousands of times each year. Whether people are lying or do not know what they are doing, either way, this is a significant crisis. Here are thirteen examples.

  • 1. The Government seizes and searches all internet and text communications which enter or leave the US.

On August 8, 2013, the New York Times reported that the NSA secretly collects virtually all international email and text communications which cross the US borders in or out. As the ACLU says, “the NSA thinks it’s okay to intercept and then read Americans’ emails, so long as it does so really quickly. But that is not how the Fourth Amendment works…the invasion of Americans’ privacy is real and immediate.”

  • 2. The Government created and maintains secret backdoor access into all databases in order to search for information on US citizens.

On August 9, 2013, The Guardian revealed yet another Edward Snowden leaked document which points out “the National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant.” This is a new set of secrets about surveillance of people in the US. This new policy of 2011 allows searching by US person names and identifiers when the NSA is collecting data. The document declares that analysts should not implement these queries until an oversight process has been developed. No word on whether such a process was developed or not.

  • 3. The Government operates a vast database which allows it to sift through millions of records on the internet to show nearly everything a person does.

Recent disclosures by Snowden and Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian demonstrate the NSA operates a massive surveillance program called XKeyscore. The surveillance program has since been confirmed by other CIA officials. It allows the government to enter a person’s name or other question into the program and sift through oceans of data to produce everything there is on the internet by or about that person or other search term.

  • 4. The Government has a special court which meets in secret to authorize access for the FBI and other investigators to millions and millions of US phone, text, email and business records.

There is a special court of federal judges which meets in secret to authorize the government to gather and review millions and millions of phone and internet records. This court, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court), allows government lawyers to come before them in secret, with no representatives of the public or press or defense counsel allowed, to argue unopposed for more and more surveillance. This is the court which, in just one of its thousands of rulings, authorized the handing over of all call data created by Verizon within the US and between the US and abroad to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The public would never have known about the massive surveillance without the leaked documents from Snowden.

  • 5. The Government keeps Top Secret nearly all the decisions of the FISA court.

Nearly all of the thousands of decisions of the FISA court are themselves classified as top secret. Though the public is not allowed to know what the decisions are, public records do show how many times the government asked for surveillance authorization and how many times they were denied. These show that in the last three years, the government asked for authorization nearly 5000 times and they were never denied. In its entire history, the FISA court has denied just 11 of 34,000 requests for surveillance.

As noted above, two US Senators warned the Attorney General ‘We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should stay when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”

  • 6. The Government is fighting to keep Top Secret a key 2011 decision of the FISA court even after the court itself said it can be made public.

There is an 86 page 2011 top secret opinion of the FISA court which declared some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs unconstitutional. The Administration, through the Department of Justice, refused to hand this over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation which filed a public records request and a lawsuit to make this public. First the government said it would hurt the FISA court to allow this to be made public. Then the FISA court itself said it can be made public. Despite this, the government is still fighting to keep it secret.

  • 7. The Government uses secret National Security Letters (NSL) issued by the FBI to seize tens of thousands of records.

With a NSL letter the FBI can demand financial records from any institution from banks to casinos, all telephone records, subscriber information, credit reports, employment information, and all email records of the target as well as the email addresses and screen names for anyone who has contacted that account. Those who received the NSLs from the FBI are supposed to keep them secret. The reason is supposed to be for foreign counterintelligence. There is no requirement for court approval at all. So no requests have been denied. The Patriot Act has made this much easier for the FBI.

According to Congressional records, there have been over 50,000 of these FBI NSL requests in the last three years. This does not count the numerous times where the FBI persuades the disclosure of information without getting a NSL. Nor does it count FBI requests made just to find out who an email account belongs to. These reported NSL numbers also do not include the very high numbers of administrative subpoenas issued by the FBI which only require approval of a member of the local US Attorney’s office.

  • 8. The National Security Head was caught not telling the truth to Congress about the surveillance of millions of US citizens.

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told US Senate on March 12 2013 that the NSA did not wittingly collect information on millions of Americans. After the Snowden Guardian disclosures, Clapper admitted to NBC that what he said to Congress was the “least untruthful” reply he could think of. The agency no longer denies that it collects the emails of American citizens. In a recent white paper, the NSA now admits they do “collect telephony metadata in bulk,” but they do not unconstitutionally “target” American citizens.

  • 9. The Government falsely assured the US public in writing that privacy protections are significantly stronger than they actually are and Senators who knew better were not allowed to disclose the truth.

Two US Senators wrote the NSA a letter objecting to one “inaccurate statement” and another “somewhat misleading statement” made by the NSA in their June 2013 public fact sheet about surveillance. What are the inaccurate or misleading statements? The public is not allowed to know because the Senators had to point out the details in a secret classified section of their letter.

In the public part of their letter they did say “In our judgment this inaccuracy is significant, as it portrays protections for Americans’ privacy as being significantly stronger than they actually are…” The Senators point out that the NSA public statement assures people that communications of US citizens which are accidently acquired are promptly destroyed unless it is evidence of a crime. However, the Senators wrote that the NSA does in fact deliberately search the records of American citizens and that the NSA has said repeatedly that it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the US whose communications have been reviewed under the authority of the FISA laws. The NSA responded to these claims in an odd way. They did not say publicly what the misleading or inaccurate statements were nor did they correct the record, instead they just deleted the fact sheet from the NSA website.

  • 10. The chief defender of spying in the House of Representatives, the Chair of the oversight intelligence subcommittee, did not tell the truth or maybe worse did not know the truth about surveillance.

Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Permanent Intelligence Subcommittee, repeatedly told Congress and the public on TV talk shows in July that there was no government surveillance of phone calls or emails. “They do not record your e-mails…None of that was happening, none of it – I mean, zero.” Later, Snowden and Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian disclosed the NSA program called X-keyscore, which intercepts 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other types of communications each day. Now the questions swirl about Rogers, whether he lied, or was lied to by those who engaged in surveillance, or did not understand the programs he was supposed to be providing oversight to.

  • 11. The House intelligence oversight committee repeatedly refused to provide basic surveillance information to elected members of the House of Representatives, Republican and Democrat.

The House intelligence oversight committee refused to allow any members of Congress outside the committee to see a 2011 document that described the NSA mass phone record surveillance. This has infuriated Republicans and Democrats who have tried to get basic information to carry out their mandated oversight obligations.

Republican Representative Morgan Griffith of Virginia wrote the House Committee on Intelligence on June 25, 2013, July 12, 2013, July 22, 2013, and July 23 2013 asking for basic information on the authorization “allowing the NSA to continue collecting data about Americans’ telephone calls.” He received no response to those requests.

After asking for basic information from the House Committee about the surveillance programs, Democrat Congressman Alan Grayson was told the committee voted to deny his request on a voice vote. When he followed up and asked for a copy of the recorded vote he was told he could not get the information because the transcript of the committee hearing was classified.

  • 12. The paranoia about secrecy of surveillance is so bad in the House of Representatives that an elected member of Congress was threatened for passing around copies of the Snowden disclosures which had been already printed in newspapers worldwide.

Representative Alan Grayson was threatened with sanctions for passing around copies of the Snowden information on the House floor, the same information published by The Guardian and many other newspapers around the world.

  • 13. The Senate oversight committee refused to allow a dissenting Senator to publicly discuss his objections to surveillance.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) tried to amend the surveillance laws to require court orders before the government could gather communications of American citizens and to disclose how many Americans have had their communications gathered, he lost in a secret 2012 hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He was then also prohibited from publicly registering or explaining his opposition for weeks.

These attempts to keep massive surveillance secrets from the public are aggravated by the constant efforts to minimize the secrets and maximize untruths.

Most notably, despite all this documented surveillance, on August 6, 2013, the President said on the Jay Leno show “We don’t have a domestic spying program.” This is, to say it most politely, not accurate. Some commentators think the government is perversely tying itself in knots and twisting the real meaning of words with flimsy legal arguments and irrational word games. Others say the President is engaged in “Orwellian newspeak.” Finally, more than a few say the President was not telling the truth.

Others who are defending the surveillance may not actually know what is going on but think they do because the government, like the President, is telling them there is nothing to worry about. For example, Senator Diane Feinstein, Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee, the congressional oversight committee which is to protect people from unlawful spying, and another chief defender of surveillance, publicly responded to Edward Snowden’s claims to have the ability to wiretap anyone if he had their personal email by saying, “I am not a high-tech techie, but I have been told that is not possible.” How that squares with revelations about the Xkeyscore program is not known. She also stated her committee’s position about protecting the privacy of people against government surveillance, “We’re always open to change, but that does not mean there will be any.”


Thomas Paine said eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

President Obama just promised the nation that he would set up an independent group of outside experts to “step back and review our capabilities – particularly our surveillance technologies.”

Days later Obama appointed the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the same person who has admitted he did not tell Congress the truth about the program, to establish a review group to assess whether surveillance is being done in a manner that maintains the public trust. After an uproar about the fox guarding the henhouse, the White House reversed itself and said Clapper will not choose the members of the group after all.

Who these members will be has not been made public as of the time this is written. Another secret? Stay vigilant!

Bill is a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and an active human rights advocate with the Center for Constitutional Rights. - billquigley.wordpress

Syria "Chemical Attack" Details Changing

Sarin Attack, Chemical Attack, No Attack? West Back-Pedalling on Syria 

by UK Column

Yesterday, the media were certain that 1,300 have died in a ‘chemical attack’ near Damascus in Syria, and already today that charge is receding rapidly, with more ambiguous ‘evidence’ and confusion from the mainstream press and the political bag men.

Also, Israel launched an air strike on Lebanon, supposedly in retaliation for 3 rockets which were fired into Israel by a fringe group “linked to al Qaeda”. Many feel that Israel is perhaps attempting to stoke up more sectarian division inside Lebanon with its latest illegal military action. Was it a false flag? Also, they cover the latest DHS/FBI “Iranian uranium” sting in the US this week.

Henningsen also breaks down the facade of noted ‘climate skeptics’ Christopher Booker, Christopher Monckton, and Nigel Lawson – who are all openly shilling for the fracking industry. Co-host Mike Robinson also reveals some new exclusive shocking footage of police aggression against Anti-Fracking protesters in Balcombe, West Sussex, England.

Brian Gerrish and Patrick Henningsen with a news update from the UK Column, including the media backtrack on the Syrian “chemical weapons” attack; Israel bombs Lebanon; Tam Dalyell calls for Tony Blair to be sent to the Hague; and richest 200 people own more of the world’s wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion…

Predictable Chorus Chimes for Syria Intervention

Growing calls for attack on Syria follow chemical weapons claims

by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

The report of a chemical weapons attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus has been seized upon by the Western powers and their regional allies as the pretext to push for direct military intervention.

Government denunciations combined with massive media coverage indicting the government of President Bashar al-Assad—before there has been any independent confirmation of the nature of the attack or a shred of evidence linking it to the regime—all point to a filthy, stage-managed provocation.

France, Syria’s former colonial oppressor, has taken the lead in this campaign, much as it did in the 2011 war for regime change in Libya.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Thursday declared that in response to the incident in Syria, “we need a reaction by the international community.... a reaction of (military) force.” While ruling out the deployment of French troops on the ground in Syria, he insisted on “a reaction that can take a form, I don’t want to be more precise, of force.”

Similarly, Turkey’s Islamist government, which has provided Al-Qaeda-affiliated gangs operating inside Syria with bases, arms and logistical support, pushed for a military response. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared Thursday that “all red lines” had been crossed in Syria, employing the phrase used by US President Barack Obama when he threatened US military action if the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

And Israel, which has warmed its hands over the civil war in Syria while continuing to occupy Syria’s Golan Heights, chided the Western powers for not carrying out direct military strikes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that aggression against Syria was necessary as a prelude to confronting Iran. “Syria has become Iran’s testing ground, and Iran is closely watching whether and how the world responds,” he said in a statement.

The Obama administration has thus far limited itself to demands that the Assad regime allow UN inspectors access to the site of the alleged chemical attack “without any interference or manipulation from the Syrian Government.” The fact that US-backed armed militias, including Al-Qaeda-linked elements, control the site and not the Syrian government is a matter of indifference to both Western governments and media that have echoed this demand.

Other elements within the US ruling establishment, however, have seized on the incident to demand military action. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain slammed Obama’s failure to act on his “red line,” declaring: “The word of the president of the United Sates can no longer be taken seriously.”

McCain argued that US attacks could destroy Syria’s air force within a “couple of days,” advocating a “no fly zone” and the provision of “the right kind of weapons” to the so-called rebels.

The demands for military intervention have been amplified by the breathless reports of American television, with faithful conduits for the CIA and the Pentagon like ABC News’s chief foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz reporting the allegations made by the Western-backed opposition as fact.

This has been accompanied by the broadcasting of images from YouTube videos posted by the “rebels” showing shrouded bodies and people being treated in medical facilities. Television announcers have given solemn warnings to viewers about the “disturbing images.”

Yet the same media showed little or no interest in presenting similar “disturbing images” from the slaughter of up to 2,000 unarmed demonstrators in Egypt over the past week. The begrudging coverage of these massacres reflects the interests and policies of the US government and ruling establishment, which have continued aid and support to the blood-soaked junta in Cairo, even as they threaten military action against Syria.

Absent from all of this reporting—and from the fulminations of various Western officials—is any critical consideration of why the Syrian government would carry out such an attack in the first place.

The alleged chemical attack came precisely on the first day that a United Nations chemical weapons inspection team invited into Syria by the Assad government was to begin its work. Is this a likely moment to carry out—just 10 miles from Damascus—what is being reported as the biggest chemical weapons attack internationally in decades?

Why would the Damascus regime resort to such weapons, under conditions where it is widely reported to be making steady military advances against the Western-backed Islamist militias? And why, if it were to carry out such an attack, would it not send its forces afterwards to take control of the area, but instead leave it in the hands of the “rebels” so that they could record the scene and post images of the victims on the Internet?

Among the many images that have been made available is one of the rocket that supposedly carried the chemical weapon, a patently homemade device that bears no resemblance to the munitions that Iran and Russia have supplied to the Syrian military.

While the Assad regime has nothing to gain from carrying out such an attack, and a great deal to lose, this is not the case for the Free Syrian Army and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front, which have become increasingly desperate in the face of advances by the Syrian military, stiff resistance from Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria and growing popular hostility to the sectarian atrocities of these Western-backed “rebels.”

That these forces have the capability to carry out such attacks is indisputable. They themselves have publicly bragged about access to chemical weapons, and the Turkish media reported the arrest of several of their members last May in possession of the nerve agent sarin. The far-right cutthroats of Al Nusra and other Al Qaeda-linked elements would have no compunction about carrying out such a mass slaughter in order to blame it on the regime and provoke US-NATO intervention.

When Carla Del Ponte, a leading member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, reported last May that there was “strong, concrete” evidence that sarin had been used by the Western-backed forces, Washington and its European allies simply ignored these findings. Such crimes are viewed as necessary in the prosecution of a vicious war for regime change that these powers have provoked and sustained.

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Pre-Emptive Reportage: Al Jazeera, Reuters Scoop Syria Chemical Attack BEFORE the Fact!

Exclusive-Photo- Al Jazeera, Reuters published the news of massacre in Syria one day before the massacre happened 

by Intifada Palestine

Al Jazeera, Reuters published the news of massacre in East Ghouta, Damascus one day before the massacre happened. Tens of videos were uploaded one day before the massacre. All these evidences show that the terrorists massacred people then recorded the scenes to deceive people of the world, but they were SO FAST and they gave themselves up.

These evidences show the massacre by terrorists in Syria and their struggle for making people to believe that Syrian Regime behind the massacre. You will see that the terrorists uploaded videos before the massacre their so-called allegation of the time when Syrian Army attacked with chemical weapons).

The news of so- called chemical wepaon attack by Syrian Regime was published by Al- Jazeera ( at 09: 28. Another pro- Syrian terrorists site:”Baath Regime used chemical weapons in East Ghouta, Damascus, Jobar, Ain Tarma, Zamalka, Western Ghouta, Muaddamiyah around 03: 30 am. The source said that the death toll may rise because the lack of equipments and medical sources… At the same time one of the well know pro-Syrian terrorists youtube account ‘SHAMSNN’ uploaded tens videos quickly between 03: 00 and 04: 00. MOST IMPORTANT evidence is that the uploading time is 20 August !!!BUT THEY ACCUSED SYRIAN REGIME FOR ATTACK ON 21 AUGUST!!!

Even if we regard the chemical attack as the 03: 30, it is impossible to take the film of the scene and uploading those tens of videos… this shows that terrorists prepared, organized all of the scenes beforehand then accused Syrian regime for a massacre that terrorists did. the more those terrorists come to an end the more they become brutal. They even do not have any mercy for the children and used them just to deceive people of the world. They gathered all civilians, children, women to certain areas and then kill them brutally then accuse Syrian Regime in order to legalize their brutality.

Terrorists in syria uploaded(20. 08. 2013) the video of their crimes in East Ghouta, Damascus and then blamed Syrian Govern for the attack at early time of 21. 08. 2013. If the crime had been made on 21. 08. 2013 then HOW did they upload the video on youtube page a day before the crime?
You can watch the video from here:

TPP: A Deepening US Hegemony

U.S. Economic Hegemony: Consolidation and Deepening of the Pacific Alliance Trade Bloc 

by Dana Gabriel - Be Your Own Leader

In a short period of time, the Pacific Alliance has emerged as one of the leading economic integration projects in Latin America. It aims to succeed where others have failed by creating a gateway to Asian markets and building a Pacific-rim trade deal. The U.S. and Canada are both pursuing deeper ties with the group and have been granted observer status. This is part of efforts to revive and expand their presence in Latin America. In some areas of integration, the Pacific Alliance has surpassed NAFTA. By merging the two together, it could be used to fill the void left by the collapse of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The Pacific Alliance was officially launched by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in June 2012. Its objectives include to construct, “an area of profound market-driven economic integration that will contribute to the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.” The group also seeks to, “become a platform for economic and commercial integration as well as political coordination with global outreach, particularly towards the Asia Pacific.” A key requirement in joining the Pacific Alliance is to have free trade agreements with all existing member states. Costa Rica recently received approval to become a permanent member. Other countries have also shown interest with a growing number requesting observers status. The goal of the Pacific Alliance is to go beyond traditional free trade deals and pursue even more liberalized economic policies.

The May 23, 2013 Pacific Alliance Summit in Cali, Colombia marked the next steps in the consolidation and deepening of the Latin American trade bloc. The presidents of the four founding member countries agreed to remove tariffs on 90 percent of the goods traded between them and to gradually eliminate duties on the remaining 10 percent. They also adopted measures to begin visa-free travel between member states and moved closer towards full labor mobility. In addition, the leaders announced the creation of a cooperation fund and ratified agreements to open up joint embassies and trade offices in Asia and Africa. They also pledged to continue to deepen regional financial integration.

The stock markets of Chile, Peru and Colombia have already been merged together and Mexico is expected to join them within the next year. While other Latin American countries are seeking to curb U.S. influence, Pacific Alliance members seem to have a willingness to maintain and increase ties with Washington.

Just days after the Pacific Alliance Summit, Vice President Joe Biden met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos where he praised the progress the economic bloc has made and also expressed interest in the U.S. joining as an observer country. On July 19, the Department of State announced U.S. participation as an observer in the group. While full membership may be far off, the U.S. is expanding cooperation with Alliance members. Over the years, there has been a steady erosion of U.S.-Latin American relations. Some analysts have pointed out that that both the U.S. and Canada’s grip on Latin America is loosening. This ties in with an article from Global Research which noted that the Obama administration is stepping up its strategy of regime change against the left-of-center governments in the region. The U.S. could use the Pacific Alliance as a means to recover political and economic influence in Latin America.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the Pacific Alliance Summit in May, it was expected that he would request full membership. Canada already achieved observer status back in November 2012. While Harper acknowledged their accomplishments, he said that it was too soon to decide whether Canada should join the trade bloc. During his trip, Harper also took the opportunity to meet with mining company executives. The Conservative government has been criticized for not putting enough emphasis on corporate accountability with regards Canadian mining operations in the region.

Maude Barlow explained that, “The Pacific Alliance, like Canada’s existing trade and investment deals in Latin America, puts the profits of those companies above anything else. The deals, like the Alliance, have nothing to say about the environmental and human rights impact of mining in the region.” 

The Pacific Alliance appears to be another attempt to accelerate the privatization of natural resources. It goes against the efforts of some Latin American countries that have joined together to fight the growing problem of investor-state privileges found in NAFTA-style trade agreements. These rules allow foreign corporations to sue for any potential profit losses related to government policies.

A recent article by Eric Farnsworth advocated linking NAFTA with the Pacific Alliance. He recommended that the leaders from both trade groups, “should consider meeting to forge a pragmatic economic agenda for cooperation. This offers an important opportunity to kick-start a common agenda with willing partners that has languished since the FTAA.”

Farnsworth also described how, “building out a NAFTA-Pacific Alliance economic relationship would improve the collective regional approach toward the Asia-Pacific region, which currently includes precisely the same Western Hemisphere nations within APEC and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations except Colombia. It would also offer a means to improve market efficiencies and update NAFTA without the need to re-open or re-negotiate its provisions.” 

There is an overlap between the Pacific Alliance and the much larger TPP trade talks. Both initiatives seek to bridge the Americas with Asia and create Pacific-based trade blocs. With the possibility of TPP negotiations dragging on and the difficulty the deal might have getting ratified by the U.S. Senate, the Pacific Alliance could open new doors to trade with Asian countries sooner.

In Latin America, there is a growing divide over the future of continental political and economic integration. Some countries have banded together to resist U.S. imperialism and any attempts to destabilize the region. There is also a move to end the destructive cycle of investment treaties and replace it with an alternative economic structure that better respects the sovereignty of nation states.

The Pacific Alliance stands as a counterbalance to some of the other regional integration efforts that are trying to protect against the dangers of globalization. It is designed to signal a commitment to free trade and open markets to its neighbours and to the rest of the world. In many ways, the Pacific Alliance represents a resurgence of the failed U.S. initiated FTAA which was part of an agenda to consolidate corporate control.

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader

Thursday, August 22, 2013

No Cigar for a Cruel Administration's Judicial Trickery

‘You Failed to Break the Spirit of Bradley Manning’: An Open Letter to President Obama

by Norman Solomon

Dear President Obama

As commander in chief, you’ve been responsible for the treatment of the most high-profile whistleblower in the history of the U.S. armed forces. Under your command, the United States military tried -- and failed -- to crush the spirit of Bradley Manning.

Your failure became evident after the sentencing on Wednesday, when a statement from Bradley Manning was read aloud to the world. The statement began: 
“The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life. I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country.”
From the outset, your administration set out to destroy Bradley Manning. As his biographer Chase Madar wrote in The Nation, “Upon his arrest in May 2010, he was locked up in punitive isolation for two months in Iraq and Kuwait, then nine more months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Prohibited from lying down during the day or exercising, he was forced to respond every five of his waking minutes to a guard’s question: ‘Are you OK?’ In his final weeks of isolation, Manning was deprived of all clothing beyond a tear-proof smock and forced to stand at attention every night in the nude.”

More than nine months after Manning’s arrest, at a news conference you defended this treatment -- which the State Department’s chief spokesman, P.J. Crowley, had just lambasted as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.” (Crowley swiftly lost his job.) Later, the UN special rapporteur on torture issued a report on the treatment of Manning: “at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

At a fundraiser on April 21, 2011, when asked about Manning, you flatly said: “He broke the law.” His trial would not begin for two more years.

Bradley Manning’s statement after sentencing on Wednesday said:

“It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.”

Public accountability is essential to democracy. We can’t have meaningful “consent of the governed” without informed consent. We can’t have moral responsibility without challenging official hypocrisies and atrocities.

Bradley Manning clearly understood that. He didn’t just follow orders or turn his head at the sight of unconscionable policies of the U.S. government. Finding himself in a situation where he could shatter the numbed complacency that is the foundation of war, he cared -- and he took action as a whistleblower.

After being sentenced to many years in prison, Manning conveyed to the American public an acute understanding of our present historic moment: “In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

“Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.”

Clearly, Mr. President, you have sought to make an example of Bradley Manning with categorical condemnation and harsh punishment. You seem not to grasp that he has indeed become an example -- an inspiring example of stellar courage and idealism, which millions of Americans now want to emulate.

From the White House, we continue to get puffed-up sugar-coated versions of history, past and present. In sharp contrast, Bradley Manning offers profound insights in his post-sentencing statement:

“Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy -- the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps -- to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light. As the late Howard Zinn once said, ‘There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.’”

Imagine. After more than three years in prison, undergoing methodical abuse and then the ordeal of a long military trial followed by the pronouncement of a 35-year prison sentence, Bradley Manning has emerged with his solid humanistic voice not only intact, but actually stronger than ever!

He acknowledged, “I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”

And then Bradley Manning concluded his statement by addressing you directly as president of the United States: “If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

You failed to break the spirit of Bradley Manning. And that spirit will continue to inspire.

Norman Solomon (born July 7, 1951 in Point Reyes Station, California) is an American journalist, media critic and antiwar activist. Solomon is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR). In 1997 he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, which works to provide alternative sources for journalists, and served as its executive director until 2010. -

Weapons of Mass Distraction Dusted Off for Syria Intervention Pitch

‘Chemical Weapons’ media propaganda in US, UK is designed to hide the truth in Syria

by 21st Century Wire - Special Report

Yesterday’s report of an alleged ‘chemical weapon’ attack near Damascus has prompted the US and UK media machines to spin into overdrive in the push for a military intervention and regime change in Syria.

Washington’s official response is predictable by now: “The White House is ‘deeply concerned’ about reports that chemical weapons were used by Syria’s government against civilians”.

In the UK, the mainstream media has put on a full-court press, clearly delivering a guilty verdict even before any claims can be independently verified, a coordinated trial-by-media which looks to be designed to coax a majority public support for either a direct supply of arms to the confab of ‘rebel’ insurgencies in Syria.

Pre-Iraq War talking points have been dusted off by the UK press and others, as the PR war begins for the hearts and minds of voters begins. It is alleged that hundreds have been killed by this latest ‘gas attack’ which is being compared by the UK media to Iraq where thousands of Kurds were gassed by Saddam Hussein in Halabja in 1988.

The focus of the UK and US government-media-complex led efforts to win public support for a “humanitarian intervention” similar that which was perpetrated in Libya in 2011, is now centred around the main victims of the conflict being portrayed as that of children.

No one within the government media complex is asking the most fundamentally important question here: were real military-grade chemical weapons actually used at all? The reason no one is asking this is because the answer to this question so far is a resounding ’no’, which means that despite all the media hype neither the UK nor the US governments have a case against the Assad regime regarding the use of chemical weapons during this conflict.

Media invent a ‘chemical weapons’ incident
In reality, this is nearly an identical government and media PR campaign to that which was launched in the run-up the invasion and bombing of Iraq in 2003.

Varying reports estimate between 90 and 500 killed in this incident, yet, the Guardian was quick to ramp-up the death toll to 1,400. Every media report of the incident is based on the same dubious source material, described by the Daily Mail as:

“Extensive amateur video and photographs purporting to show victims appeared on the Internet. A video puportedly shot in the Kafr Batna neighbourhood showed a room filled with more than 90 bodies, many of them children and a few women and elderly men.”

Today’s Daily Mirror led with the headline, “NOW THEY ARE GASSING OUR CHILDREN”, but when you actually read the article, the ambiguity of the claims becomes obvious. ”At first they were being affected by the gas. But now they’re dying in the regular shelling. The bombs just won’t stop.”

Rupert Murdoch’s newest war promotion paper, The Times, was even more ambiguous and misleading today, with one headline reading, “Horror video is no fake but cannot tell the full story”. This was referring to the Pièce de résistance of this latest chemical attack, a video of the dead. The Times went on to debunk itself, with Dan Kazela, a former chemical warfare officer stating the obvious, “You can’t autopsy a video”, adding, “In the end stages (of a chemical attack) there are tremors and convulsions. There are a lack of the immediate symptoms (in the footage). I am confused.” In other words, the videos do match the allegations.

If there was a military-grade chemical attack involving thousands of death, how come that entire area of the city was not evacuated, and how could videographers and photographers be on the scene so quickly after the attack without suffering the effects they claim to be documenting?

The Times continued in a desperate bid to cover all its bases with the next article entitled, “Ignore the conspiracists: We must find the truth”. This headline is a breathtaking example of high level propaganda, and mixed messaging. It implies that anyone who thinks that the Syrian government are innocent, or the rebel opposition guilty – of chemical weapons charges, is a conspiracist, and that “the truth” must be the opposite conclusions. The article goes on to attack the Russian press coverage of the conflict specifically, stating:

“The Russian press scrambles to demonstrate the depravity of the rebels – making much of the commander who who appeared on film to be eating the body parts of an opponent”.

It seems lost on this Times writer Roger Boyes, that the Russian press didn’t need to scramble, because the rebel cannibal in question was very depraved and was part of the insurgent-terrorist confab backed by both the US and UK governments.

The press continue their PR campaign to intervention in Syria with the headline image (see below) for the Mirror depicts an image of eight children sleeping, and it is a fact that no one can independently verify as yet who these children are and if indeed they were killed in a chemical weapons attack in Syria on Tuesday evening. Nonetheless, the story and pictures run in the press and the desired public perception is created.

IMAGE: Today’s headline on the UK Daily Mirror. Who are these children in the photo, are they alive and what exactly happened to them?

It’s important that the public educate themselves as to how propaganda campaigns work, particularly those run by the government media complex in countries like the US and the UK.

To demonstrate this, as well as an acute level of bias and pre-judgement by a cast of hand-picked pundits crowing for the establishment’s line on the Syrian issue, we can look again at today’s Daily Mirror. Notice the technique which is used ad nauseam by the British press which employs the use of mixed messaging, which makes the reader believe that the pundit is an objective commentator, when in fact, they are not. One pundit being used help to nail down the Foreign Office’s executive outcome in Syria, is Fawaz A. Gerges, a Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a man affiliated with Washington DC’s main advocate for war – the Council on Foreign Relations. Note the how the twists and turns are employed by this ‘expert’, only to end with the final verdict of guilt well before any real independently verified evidence has been returned. This is Propaganda 101 for a master’s degree in public opinion making:

GERGES/MIRROR: “We lack independent information to verify opposition claims about the apparent use of poison, and the counter claims of the Assad regime that it is a fabrication to divert attention from rebel losses in strategic Al Ghouta.”

21WIRE says: Seems objective enough. Carry on…

GERGES/MIRROR: “If the attacks have taken place, this would affect the “red line” established by Obama about the use of chemical weapons, and intensify the pressure on him to retaliate militarily against Assad.”

21WIRE says: He’s just flicked the switch for Washington and London’s predetermined outcome for Syria.

GERGES/MIRROR: “The British and French would probably join any US military strikes…”

21WIRE says: Here Gerges and the Mirror lay out what they want the public to accept as the inevitable outcome.

GERGES/MIRROR: “There are several unanswered questions. Why would the Assad government use chemical weapons while there is a UN team in Damascus?”

21 WIRE says: There they go again, sounding objective. How very nice. Carry on…

GERGES/MIRROR: “Why would the Syrian army deploy poison when it has gained the upper hand in Al Ghouta?”

GERGES/MIRROR: “Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this stage and trigger investigations?

21WIRE says: Now that sounds sensible. I’m interested again. Carry on…

GERGES/MIRROR: “This seems illogical, though Assad has confounded us before by irrationality and brutality. We should not be shocked.”

21WIRE says: We see the clear propaganda slight of hand here: President Assad is irrational and brutal – so according to this illustrious expert, without actually saying it, he’s planted the idea: Assad is capable of doing irrational and brutal acts like this insane chemical weapons attack in Damascus, even while the UN inspections team is nearby.

GERGES/MIRROR: “If Assad was intelligent, which he is not, he would allow the inspectors to visit the sites.”

21WIRE says: Clever, sort of. The Mirror and Gerges foreshadowing the pre-boxed outcome that if the Assad government will not allow inspectors in, it proves that he is guilty of the attack.

GERGES/MIRROR: “My instinct would be that he will say it is too dangerous for the UN to travel to Al Ghouta.”

21WIRE says: Too dangerous? It wasn’t too dangerous for all the ‘activists’ who managed to take pristine video and Mirror photo ops of the dead children lined up on the ground as the poison gas was in the air. Gerges is clearly doing a brief back-pedal here. But wait…

GERGES/MIRROR: “Finally, the burden of truth lies on the Assad regime.”

21WIRE says: This is NLP at its finest, and very skilled propaganda by the professor. The ‘burden of truth’ he is referring to is better know in the real world as ‘The Burden of Proof’. The west want the burden of proof to be on Assad regime – and not the opposition accusing the Syrian government of the crime – and that, Ladies and Gentleman, is the crux of this particular psy-op run by the government media complex.

21st Century Wire’s Patrick Henningsen appeared within hours of the attacks live on RT news on August 21st, and called out this very psy-op regarding “the burden of proof”. Watch:

What really happened this week

Only last month, Syrian forces found a large cache of chemical weapons in a Damascus warehouse belonging to the rebels. This is well documented, as RT reported:

Military sources reported that the militants “were preparing to fire mortars in the suburbs of the capital and were going to pack missiles with chemical warheads.”

A video shot by RT’s sister channel Russia Al Youm shows an old, partly ruined building which was set up as a laboratory. After entering the building, Syrian Army officers found scores of canisters and bags laid on the floor and tables. According to a warning sign on the bags, the “corrosive” substance was made in Saudi Arabia.

On July 7, the Syrian army confiscated “281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials” that they found at a cache belonging to rebels in the city of Banias. The chemicals included monoethylene glycol and polyethylene glycol. Any investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Damascus and Syria should begin with the above report.This week’s effort to hammer a guilty verdict down on the Assad regime is not the first this year. Both the American and British interests have rallied on multiple occasions to try and fabricate a series of ’chemical weapons’ incidents in Syria.

So if this latest alleged ‘nerve gas’ attack in Damascus reveals no real military-grade chemical weapons, then what type of weapons might have been deployed? Were they makeshift chlorine or bombs, or sulphur type bombs or mortars?

One similar incident took place with a series of chlorine bomb attack in Aleppo, Northern Syria in March 2013. Reuters, along with others, reported, “Alleged chemical attack kills 25 in northern Syria”, and stated:

“U.S. President Barack Obama, who has resisted overt military intervention in Syria, has warned President Bashar al-Assad that any use of chemical weapons would be a “red line”. There has, however, been no suggestion of rebels possessing such arms.”

Well, actually, there was suggestion, and evidence too. If the mainstream media had been doing their job, then they would’ve found what we found, published the following week on March 27 in a report by Patrick Henningsen entitled, Iraq 2.0: West will now lean on UN to delivery a WMD verdict in Syria, where, among other important revelations of western-backed al Qaeda attempting to create a chemical false-flag incident in Aleppo, we presented this:

“(…) Jordanian intelligence proceeded to facilitate the smuggling of chlorine gas from Jordan to the (terrorist) organization known as “Islamic State of Iraq”, the first to use chlorine gas technology (with the help of Jordanian Intelligence and Saudi Arabia) as a “chemical weapon” – a taboo issue in the media in the context of covering genocide….”

If any doubt remains as to the nefarious cloak and dagger antics being carried out through the western-controlled terrorist confab and rebel opposition in Syria, we need only look back a few months before, on Jan 29th, when the Daily Mail, and Yahoo News India, published a revealing news piece about a US and British-linked plan to stage a chemical weapons attack in Syria and blame it on Assad, entitled, “U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime’.

The Mail quickly pulled the story down within 24 hours, offering no formal retraction, but simply wiped it clean from their website, but we have a screen shot here:

One of the original leaks which led to this brief, but buried story, was contained in the Britam Leaks, which detailed the plan to be carried out via a private British defense contractor Britam Defense, which we are told got the green light from Washington and was to be financed by Qatar, as evidenced by this email contained in the documents cache:

It is clear now, more than ever, that this latest campaign for regime change in Syria is being rolled out like a carbon copy of Libya in 2011 and Iraq in 2003, only, this time the propaganda is much more complex, making it hard for the public – and the mainstream media as we have demonstrated – to actually follow the facts in the midst of all the sensational reporting and political grandstanding by the like of William Hague, the Tory Foreign Secretary in the UK.

Remember how the public was lied to and duped by the US and UK government in order to invade, rape, and occupy Iraq in 2003? Well, the same process is in motion again, with the same results waiting for us down the road – but only if you are naive enough to swallow the same propaganda again this time.

Remember those embarrassing scenes, like that of then US Secretary of State Colin Powell – going in front on the UN claiming that Saddam Hussein had a fleet of mobile chemical weapons labs manufacturing weaponised anthrax by the ton, infamously dubbed the “Winnebagos of Death”? It’s the same exact public perception campaign you are witnessing now regarding Syria.

You didn’t trust the government and their talking heads back then, so why trust them with a repeat performance now?

The truth is that the US, Britain, France and others, are involved in a proxy war having allied with Islamic terrorists and imported, non-Syrian militant brigades in Syria being financed by western allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar – the west will do anything to get a green light to upscale their illegal activities there.

Sure, their level of deceptive, high magic propaganda may even make Joseph Goebbels’s head spin, but whatever you do... don’t fall for it a second time.

Opening the Closed Chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Canadian groups demand end to secrecy, want all TPP chapters made public

by Council of Canadians

OttawaMinisters from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, including International Trade Minister Ed Fast, should stop their secret negotiations and immediately make public the 26 chapters of the TPP when they meet in Brunei this week, say Canadian groups, citing precedent for transparency in previous trade negotiations of this size and scope.

“It is a scandal that a far-reaching deal like the TPP could be signed in the coming months without anyone across the 12 participating countries having seen or had a chance to challenge some of the many new restrictions an agreement will put on our ability to govern in the public interest. The only acceptable road forward for the TPP is for ministers to publish the text now before it’s too late,” says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, a national grassroots activist and social justice organization.

“The TPP looks more like a corporate power grab than a trade deal from what we’ve seen of it. It would impose a free-market dogma on governments and override domestic laws in a way that would be rejected if put forward through democratic legislative processes,” says Raul Burbano, program director at Common Frontiers, a network bringing together labour, human rights, environmental, and economic and social justice organizations.

The Council of Canadians and Common Frontiers point out that only two of the 26 chapters relate to trade as most people understand it. The other chapters involve restrictions on government’s ability to make health policy, the criminalization of everyday uses of the Internet, new limits on access to affordable medicines, prohibiting ‘buy local’ policies (e.g. local food), encouraging privatization, discouraging the creation of Crown corporations or new public utilities, and empowering corporations to sue governments before private tribunals outside the court system when they’re unhappy with environmental or other measures that lower profits.

The groups point out that there is a precedent for transparency in a trade negotiation of this size and scope. In July 2001, responding to public pressure about secrecy in the negotiations toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), North and Latin American ministers published the full text of the agreement in four languages. Former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick called it an “important step” and an “unprecedented effort to make international trade and its economic and social benefits more understandable to the public.”

“What has changed in the past decade that it would no longer be in the interests of countries to make the economic and social benefits of deals like the TPP understandable to the public,” asks Trew.

The Council of Canadians and Common Frontiers have called for a week of action (August 22 to 31) to protest TPP secrecy in partnership with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and More information:


August 22, 2013


Stuart Trew, trade campaigner, Council of Canadians

Raul Burbano, program director, Common Frontiers

Nestle Free Loading on Backs of BC First Nations

Lax water laws in BC highlights need for recognition of Aboriginal Rights & Title

Joint News Release - August 21, 2013

Chilliwack, BC, Sto:lo Territory - There has been a lot of attention in recent weeks on BC's Water Act as the story broke about Nestle Waters' cost-free extraction of millions of litres of groundwater from the region known as Hope, BC. Not mentioned in the coverage to date is how Nestle operates on the traditional territory of the Chawathil First Nation; without compensation or consultation and without heed to the concerns of the Chawathil people.

"It’s no different than the way business has been done in this province since Europeans first arrived; but its time 'business-as-usual' practices change, because they're not working for our community and its fundamentally unlawful," stated Rhoda Peters, elected Chief of Chawathil First Nation. "We are not anti-business, but we want to see business operate in a way that respects our rights and ensures that our community is benefiting from the use of our lands and waters. Right now there is an opportunity for the provincial government to step up and do the right thing; to change what 'business-as-usual' looks like."

Aboriginal Rights and Title are a core piece of the Canadian constitution, and yet under the BC Water Act First Nations rights are not recognized and their expertise on a local level is often disregarded. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) have been at the forefront in advocating for the due respect and recognition of First Nations Rights and Title in BC.

"We as Indigenous Peoples have rights and a sacred responsibility to protect water for our people today and for the generations that follow," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "It is completely unacceptable for Nestle to remove water from Sto:lo Territory for free and without any consideration and consultation with the affected First Nations, particularly Chawathil First Nation. This issue certainly highlights the overarching failures and serious deficiencies of the provincial water management system, in particular the obvious lack of recognition of Chawathil’s constitutionally-protected Title and Rights to their territories and resources. UBCIC fully supports the Chawathil First Nation and the continued call by First Nations for the Province to step up and meaningfully engage and consult with First Nations on water management issues."

The WaterWealth Project out of Chilliwack, BC is another organization calling for an overhaul of the BC Water Act.

"To bring water legislation in BC into the 21st century, recognition and reconciliation of Aboriginal Rights & Title is essential, but it also offers an opportunity for wide-spread spread benefit to all people who call this region home.” explained Larry Commodore, two-time Chief of the Soowahlie First Nation and Community Advisor to the WaterWealth Project. "First Nations can provide traditional ecological knowledge stemming from the generations of stewardship over our home waters. A step in the right direction for the BC government should be to establish regional watershed authorities, similar to the Cowichan Watershed Board, providing a solution for First Nations and local governments to work together for mutual benefits.”

For more information or to arrange interviews:
Rhoda Peters, Chief, Chawathil First Nation, 604-869-9994
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, UBCIC, 250-490-5314
Larry Commodore, Community Adviser, WaterWealth Project, 604-703-2984

Additional Information:

UBCIC Submission to BC Water Act Modernization Initiative

Read more: Lax water laws in BC highlights need for recognition of Aboriginal Rights & Title
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Real News Reax on Manning Verdict

The Real News August 22, 2013


Advocates say sentence is a serious blow to whistleblowers and investigative
journalism, Manning plans to appeal and request President Obama for a pardon

Chris Hedges speaks to The Real News in an exclusive interview responding to
Wikileaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning being sentenced to 35 years in prison

Vijay Prashad: Obama Admin pursuit of Manning probably illegal under
international law

David Swanson: Private Manning becomes latest victim of President Obama's war on
whistleblowers and efforts should be made to remember him as a hero not a traitor

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Wiki Tells Us About Haiti's Paramilitary to Police Transformation

WikiLeaks Reveal: U.S. and UN Officials Oversaw Integration of Ex-Army Paramilitaries into Haiti’s Police Force

by Jeb Sprague - Haiti Liberté

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Haiti’s unelected de facto authorities, working alongside foreign officials, integrated at least 400 ex-army paramilitaries into the country’s police force, secret U.S. Embassy cables reveal.

For a year and a half following the ouster of Haiti’s elected government on Feb. 29, 2004, UN, OAS, and U.S. officials, in conjunction with post-coup Haitian authorities, vetted the country’s police force – officer by officer – integrating paramilitaries with the goal of both strengthening the force and providing an alternative “career path” for paramilitaries.

Hundreds of police considered loyal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's deposed government were purged. Some were jailed and a few killed, according to numerous sources interviewed.

At the same time, former soldiers from the disbanded Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH), who were assembled in a paramilitary “rebel” force which worked with the country’s elite opposition to bring down Aristide, were stationed – officially and unofficially – in many towns across the country.

As part of this, an extrajudicial strike brigade was assembled in Pétion-Ville. It carried out brutal raids (sometimes alongside police), often several times a week, in the capital’s coup-resisting neighborhoods, as documented in a November 2004 University of Miami human rights study.

The secret U.S. dispatches detailing the police force’s overhaul were part of 1,918 Haiti-related cables obtained by the media organization WikiLeaks and provided to Haïti Liberté.

The cables show that UN and U.S. officials saw the program as a useful way to disarm and demobilize combatants, but the implications of providing coup-making paramilitaries with government security jobs have been hidden or ignored.

The cables also make clear that the US officials – using “redlines” and “red flags” – took on a leading role in the “reforms,” minutely following the process of repopulating Haiti’s police.

Millions of dollars in funding for the demobilization and integration of the FAdH was gathered — mainly through the UN and the U.S. — but officials also looked to other governments for funding.

Immediately after the coup, the integration process was carried out by officials of the so-called Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH), under U.S., OAS and UN supervision. Then, starting in November 2004, a longer-term apparatus, the UN’s DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration) program, was set up. Part of its duties included a continued integration of some of the paramilitaries into the Haitian National Police (HNP).

The U.S. Embassy cables go into detail about the integration of paramilitaries into the HNP and other government agencies. One of the most revealing cables is titled “Haiti’s Northern Ex-Military Turn Over Weapons; Some to Enter National Police.”

The Mar. 15, 2005 cable provides an overview of a gathering two days earlier in Cap-Haïtien attended by Haiti’s de facto Prime Minister Gérard Latortue and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdès. The officials oversaw a “symbolic disarmament,” where more than “300 members of Haiti's demobilized military in Cap-Haïtien” turned in a token seven weapons and then boarded buses to the capital.

The UN and IGOH officials parked the paramilitaries at Port-au-Prince’s Magistrates’ School, where many other ex-soldiers were being placed.

The cable describes how previously high-level IGOH officials had made promises to the ex-FAdH paramilitaries. Some “of the ex-soldiers in Cap-Haïtien said they had been told by the PM's nephew and security advisor Youri Latortue and the PM's political advisor Paul Magloire that they would be admitted into the HNP,” explained the cable by U.S. Ambassador James Foley. “This raised a red-flag for us and the rest of the international community...”

But at the Mar. 13 meeting, Gérard Latortue “made clear this was not the case,” telling the paramilitaries “that integration into the HNP would be a possibility for some, but they had to understand that not everyone would make it into the police. Ex-soldiers not qualified for the HNP could be hired into other public administration positions (e.g., customs, border patrol, etc.),” Foley wrote.

But the UN and IGOH authorities wanted to keep some of the ex-military together as a cohesive unit prepped for integration into the police, the cable reveals. The officials handed the matter over to UNOPS, a wing of the UN that focuses on project management and procurement services.

Accordingly, “UNOPS has been working to relocate both the Managing Office [for Demobilized Military] and the approximately 80 individuals from the Magistrate's School to a former military camp in the Carrefour neighborhood outside of Port-au-Prince,” wrote Foley. (In March 2011, the author visited an ex-FAdH-run training camp in the Carrefour area.)

UN and U.S. officials appear to have often focused on achieving symbolic successes like the “demobilization” of paramilitary forces. “The symbolism of the ex-military disarming and leaving Haiti's second-largest city represents a significant breakthrough,” Foley concluded in his Mar. 15 cable.

At the time, around 800 ex-military men were being housed in Port-au-Prince, with UN help.

Of the 400 former soldiers integrated into the police, about 200 came in 2004 from the 15th graduating class of HNP cadets (called a “promotion” in Haiti), and 200 from the 17th promotion in 2005, the cables say.
The number 200 was no coincidence. The Embassy had told the IGOH that “the USG [U.S. Government] would not support more than 200 former military being included in Promotion 17” because “the USG was concerned that inclusion of ex-FADH in large numbers would detract from ongoing police reform measures; they therefore had to be closely scrutinized,” a May 6, 2005 cable explains.

This cable also reveals Washington’s dominance of the police force’s reconstruction. In a meeting, the Embassy told the HNP’s chief Léon Charles that “the practice of allowing a class of people to receive special quotas for class enrollment (as had happened with the ex-FADH) had to end,” wrote Foley. Dutifully, “Charles agreed and stated that the practice would end immediately.”

This did not mean that ex-soldiers wouldn’t continue to be integrated, only that “future recruitment drives would make no distinction with regard to the former military, but would also not discriminate against anyone for previous duty in the Haitian Armed Forces,” Charles said, according to the cable.

An Apr. 5, 2005 cable explains that the 16th promotion of 370 HNP cadets included “none of [those who] had a history of ex-FADH activity.”

In another Mar. 15, 2005 cable entitled “DG [Director General] Charles Update on Ex-FADH in the Haitian National Police,” Foley outlined how the process of integration was occurring with new HNP cadet classes.
“OAS officials charged with vetting police candidates reported approximately 400 ex-FADH candidates at the Police Academy on March 11 undergoing physical fitness testing,” his cable explained. The men, who had just previously served in paramilitary squads around the country, were vying for 200 slots in the HNP. The cable explains that a number of such individuals had been hired in prior months.

Police chief Charles, stated “that the ex-FADH from the 15th class who were rushed on to the streets last fall [of 2004] would return to class.” It was clear that officials felt somewhat worried about the new men they were bringing into the police force, so they decided that the ex-FAdH cadets from the 17th promotion would, upon graduation, “be deployed throughout Haiti on an individual basis and not as a group.”

Charles added that, among the 200 ex-FAdH in the 15th promotion, most “had been assigned to small stations in Port-au-Prince,” adding that, “although they were disciplined, they were older and physically slower.”

OAS officials noted that Haitian police officials who were now assisting the OAS in its vetting process feared some of the former soldiers they were interviewing: “HNP personnel assisting the OAS with the vetting program were afraid to interview some of the ex-FADH candidates out of concern they might be targeted if the panel disqualified an applicant.”

The U.S. embassy closely supervised how Haitian de facto officials conducted the integration, worried about the impact of any failures. Foley was pleased that Charles was holding ex-soldiers to “the same requirements as civilians for entrance into the HNP,” a policy resulting from “continuous pressure from us,” he wrote in the Mar. 15 cable. But Foley worried about “political pressures and decisions of PM [Gérard] Latortue, Justice Minister [Bernard] Gousse, and others,” his cable reported.

“We have raised this issue with them on countless occasions, pointing out the real danger the IGOH runs of losing international support for assistance to the HNP if the process of integrating ex-FADH into the police does not hew to the redlines we have laid down,” Foley wrote.

Embassy officials, along with the OAS mission, would “monitor the recruitment, testing, and training process, including a review of the written exam, test scores, and fitness results.”

Ambassador Foley added that “the pressure to bring ex-FADH into the HNP remains high.” He was likely referring to the calls made by some of Haiti’s most powerful right-wing politicians and businessmen, many having established relationships with the paramilitaries back when they were soldiers.

Furthermore, Chief Léon Charles was “worried that others in the IGOH had made unrealistic promises to the ex-FADH about jobs in the HNP in order to convince them to demobilize,” the ambassador wrote.

Charles “fretted that the Cap-Haïtien group set an example that others may follow, and indicated the IGOH could have over 1,000 former soldiers looking for jobs soon, including the 235 from Cap-Haïtien; 300 from Ouanaminthe; 200 from the Central Plateau; 150 from Les Cayes; 100 from Arcahaie, and 80 from St. Marc.”

The second Mar. 15 cable concludes “that the USG was willing to contribute $3 million to the DDR process but could not release the funds until the IGOH concluded an agreement with the UN on an acceptable DDR strategy and program.” The U.S. Embassy, playing a dominant role, was also clearly seeking to operate in accord with a transnational policy network — U.S. officials had helped to oversee other such integration processes in El Salvador and Iraq, and the DDR program has been deployed in a number of other countries where UN forces operate, such as Burundi, the Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Afghanistan, Nepal, and the Solomon Islands.

After Charles provided information on the monitoring and processes through which the ex-FAdH paramilitaries were integrated into the police force, Ambassador Foley remarked in an Apr. 5, 2005 cable: “The fleeting reply to requests for updates on human rights investigations demonstrate the HNP's inability to perform internal investigations.”

During their first year in office, IGOH authorities appear to have received far less oversight in their handling of ex-FADH integration into the police. “Until now, the Interior Ministry and/or the Managing Office [for Demobilized Soldiers] have been in charge of identifying possible ex-FADH candidates for the HNP,” Foley wrote in one of his Mar. 15 cables. Then he made clear Washington’s oversight: “This needs to change, so that ex-FADH candidates for the police come out of the reintegration/counseling process that the UN (with U.S. support through the International Organization for Migration) will manage.”

While former soldiers were being integrated into the HNP, hundreds of police who had been loyal to Aristide’s government were fired, their names and positions documented in a list put together by Guy Edouard, a former officer with the Special Unit to Guard the National Palace (USGPN). In a 2006 interview, Edouard explained that some of these former police and Palace security officers had been "hunted down" after the coup. Furthermore, with US support, Youri Latortue, a former USGPN officer and Prime Minister Latortue’s security and intelligence chief, had led efforts to "get rid of the people he did not like," Edouard said.

Gun battles continued to occur between the Haitian police and a handful of gangs in the capital’s poorest slums well into 2005, and on numerous occasions, police opened fire on peaceful anti-coup demonstrations. “April 27 was the fourth occasion since February where the HNP used deadly force,” explained a May 6, 2005 cable. The Embassy was vexed that “despite repeated requests, we have yet to see any objective written reports from the HNP that sufficiently articulate the grounds for using deadly force. Equally disturbing are HNP first-hand reports from the scene of these events. These are often confusing and irrational and fail to meet minimum police reporting requirements.”

The HNP, however, was working with UN forces in conducting lethal raids. Léon Charles acknowledged that UN troops had a “standard practice” of putting more lightly armed HNP forces in front of its units as they moved into Cité Soleil, and this “often resulted in the HNP overreacting and prematurely resorting to the use of deadly force,” the May 6 cable notes.

In a 2001 study published in the academic journal Small Wars and Insurgencies, researcher Eirin Mobekk explained in part how the U.S. worked to integrate large numbers of former soldiers into the HNP as Aristide, to thwart future coups, dissolved the FAdH in 1995. Washington’s strategy was to hedge in Lavalas with the new police force.

A decade later, this policy was resurrected. Just as Washington recycled part of the military force that carried out the 1991 coup, it (along with the UN and the IGOH) recycled part of the paramilitary force that carried out violence leading up to the 2004 coup.

The WikiLeaked cables reveal just how closely Washington and the UN oversaw the formation of Haiti’s new police and signed off on the integration of ex-FAdH paramilitaries who had for years prior violently targeted Haiti’s popular classes and democratically elected governments.

Jeb Sprague is the author of a forthcoming book on paramilitarism for Monthly Review Press. He has a blog at and tweets as!/jebsprague