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Military Industrial Complex - The Hunger Games Economy

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The Hunger Games Economy
Jeff Faux: Dreams of Wall St. and Military Industrial Complex are not compatible with dreams of American middle class
io
Jeff Faux is the Founder and now Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He is an activist, economist and writer, He has written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development. His latest book is “The Servant Economy; Where America¹s Elite is Sending the Middle Class.”
Transcript
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
There's been some debate amongst the American governing elite about America's place in the world and its declining power. Barack Obama went to Australia not long ago and declared that America will continue to be an Asia-Pacific power. And the issue of the Brzezinskian grand chessboard is still very much on their mind. But what does this maintaining America's position in the world mean for ordinary Americans? Who's going to pay for all this? When it comes to competitiveness, it really means wages, although that word doesn't get talked about very much, not in the mainstream press or in the halls of Congress.
Well, it does get talked about in a piece written by Jeff Faux, and he's now joining us. Jeff is a founder and distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He's an activist, economist, and writer. He's written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development, and his latest book is The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class. Thanks very much for joining us, Jeff.
JEFF FAUX, AUTHOR: Oh, it's great to be here, Paul. Thank you.
JAY: So, I mean, clearly we are dealing with a different world. And it's not just that it's militarily different, in the sense that China's now somewhat of a power, so is Russia and—back somewhat of a power—I mean, nothing on the scale of the United States, but the geopolitics and chessboard has changed somewhat. But where it's changed a lot more is with this massive industrial capacity in areas of the world where 20, 30 years ago there was nothing like it—advanced technology, high-quality production, very low wages. And America wants to maintain its competitiveness in all of this. So talk a bit about that and what that might mean for ordinary Americans, and maybe what the word competitiveness means.
FAUX: Well, I think—start from what I think is the basic assumption, and that is the United States can no longer satisfy the three great dreams that have driven American politics over the last decades. The first dream is the dream of Wall Street and business for unregulated access to speculative profits. The second dream is the dream of the military and foreign-policy elite and the military-industrial complex for global hegemony. The third dream is the dream of ordinary Americans for a rising living standard.
Now, we can have one out of three, certainly. Two out of three, maybe. Three out of three? No way. So in effect the decision is being made right now—or has been made—by this country's elite.
There's a lot of talk in Washington, as you know, about the grand bargain between Republicans and Democrats over budgets and taxes. But the real deal has already been cut. The average American income in real wages is going to decline over the next 10 years, 15 years, as far into the future as we can see. Now, this has been coming for a long time. It's not just about the recession and it's not temporary. As you probably know, for the last 30 years we've had stagnant wages in America. After wages rise steadily since World War II, they flattened out after 1979 and essentially have been flat.
So the question is: if wages were flat, how come everything looked so good? That is, people went to shopping centers and bought cars and houses during those 30 years that ended in 2008. And the reason is two. One, family incomes kept up because we sent more members of the family to work, usually the wife. Now there are more women than men in the labor force so that that strategy for most people is exhausted. The second is debt. People weren't getting raises, but they were getting access to cheaper and accessible credit. That has evaporated with the collapse of the financial sector.
JAY: Jeff, before you continue, let me ask: so if this process more or less began in the '70s, why? What happened? Why? If you could—you know, to some extent one could say that third dream of ordinary Americans, you know, to own a house, send the kids to college, not to be terrified of losing their job, to some extent that's—dream was still possible, at least in the early '60s.
FAUX: Oh, yeah. And the reason—.
JAY: So what happens?
FAUX: Yeah. There are three things that happened since the end of the '70s. The data starts from 1979; the kink in the curve starts from 1979. One was globalization, and by that I mean, essentially, exposing American workers to a very brutal and competitive global labor market before they were prepared.
Second, the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. A lot of that had to do with the decline of unions. But it affected union members and nonunion members. The second thing that happened was the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. This was not just about weaker unions, but weaker unions played a key role, not just for union members, but for people who aren't union members. Because unions were strong—or certainly stronger than they are now—the threat of unionization kept the bosses and kept the employers from cutting wages too much, cutting pensions too much, even though they would have liked to. So weaker unions, weaker bargaining positions [crosstalk]
JAY: And is weaker unions and bargaining positions linked to number one, which is globalization and the threat of moving offshore?
FAUX: That's right, certainly linked to number one. And number three, later, was the shredding of the safety net, the real value of the minimum wage, and the kinds of New Deal protections for labor that have been frayed away over the last 10 or 15 years.
But on the first, on globalization, there's something very important here to remember, and that is it not only affected working people, but it changed the culture of the American elite. You know, if you go back to the early part of the 20th century, labor and capital were in fierce struggles. But both labor and capital knew that they needed each other and were stuck in the same country. So, you know, when Henry Ford raised the wages of his Ford employees to $5 a day, the Wall Street guys said, Henry, what are you doing here? I mean, you can't pay—you're spoiling these people, you're paying them too much. And Henry Ford, who was a SOB union buster, said, look, I've got to pay them enough to come in to make the cars, but I also need to pay them enough to buy the cars. So it was an economy in which, while there were labor and capital disputes, we were all in it together.
What happened—what's happened since the 1980s is that globalization, the deregulation of trade and investment, has allowed the American commercial and economic elite to roam the world in search of lower wages, in search of government subsidies by Third World countries, etc.
JAY: Yeah, so you now have a situation where they saved GM and Chrysler, but workers'—starting worker wages go from, what, $26 to $14 an hour, and you probably couldn't buy a new car at $14 an hour.
FAUX: Exactly. And unlike Henry Ford, the people who run the Ford Motor Company today, you know, have other people they can use to sell their cars to. And so high wages, which we sort of learned after the 1930s were good for the economy because it created consumer demand and consumers bought the goods that were being produced, high wages in America are no longer what they were. They're now a threat to multinational corporations who still produce and sell things. And that's been a critical change.
JAY: They also seem to no longer think they need an educated workforce. I used to—in the '50s and '60s, all this talk about, you know, America will compete because it's going to be the most educated working class and this and that, they don't seem to care anymore. The public school system can go to hell and they don't seem to care.
FAUX: They don't care. But that's sort of the last excuse of the political governing class. I mean, whether it's, you know, Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton, they're all the so-called education presidents, and their answer to this decline in living standards and wages is not to worry, just go get an education. Barack Obama was in Florida about a year ago touring the country, saying the way we're going to compete in the world is to out-educate everyone.
Well, first what's obvious: that we're shrinking the schools, we're laying off teachers, kids can't go to college because it costs too much. But second, which is really important, we are not creating jobs for educated young people. You go into Apple, in the Apple Store, there is the future. And it's not the technology. It's in all those smart college-educated kids working as retail clerks for $10, $12 an hour. The Bureau of Labour Statistics—government agency—projects that between 2010-2020, the largest, fastest-growing occupations in this country, of the ten largest and fastest-growing, only one requires a college education.
JAY: Well, Jeff, we're going to pick this up in part two, and what I'll be asking in part two is it seems to me while this may make sense for Apple and it may make sense for a lot of individual companies to drive wages down and have more and more service jobs, as an economy somebody's got to be making money to buy all this stuff, and that seems to be where the rub is. So join us for part two of our series of interviews with Jeff Faux on The Real News Network.

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Iran

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نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد Image

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نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

سیر و سیاحتی به مناسبت 61 مین سالگرد کودتای ننگین 28 مرداد

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

پیش از اینکه با سنبه وسوندی سنباننده به سفتن مدخل ومجرای، بحثی تاریخی، در مورد کودتای 28 مرداد سال 1332 خورشیدی ایران را، باز کنم، لازم می بینم که نخست بطور مختصر و مرخم ومفید، اشاراتی نیز داشته باشم به شیوها وشگردهای شیادانه و شعبده بازانه تعداد بسیار، بسیار اندکی از مائوئیست های متاسیون شده و کمونيیست های Quisling شده به همراه مونارکیست های منحط و متواری، مومیایی شده، که درطی دهه های گذشته، بویژه پس از انقراض و اضمحال یا انحطاط بساط سلطه و سیطره ارتجاع ، استعمار و استکبار جهانی در ایران، که اغلب بخاطر مزد و معاش در جهت ارتزاق و ارتشاف شخصی و شکمی، با تغذیه از اسناد استفراغ زده شده و آروغ زده شده ارتجاع جهانی، بسان رجاله گان سیاسی، با رجزخوانی رذیلانه، برای رضی و راضی نگهداشتن دشمنان دژنام ایرانی، در رسانه ها و روزنامه های باصطلاع فارسی زبان زیر سیطره و ساطور سیاه سازمان های اطلاعاتی lntelligency چون CIA امریکا و MI6 انگلستان و DGSE فرانسه، BND آلمان و موساد اسرائیل بنام صدای امریکا و رادیوی فریب و Fradulent فردا، بی بی سی، رادیوی RFI، رادیوی دویچه وله فارسی، صدای شوم Zionism جهانی، یعنی اسرايیل، البته با مدد سفسطه ولی با سکسکه سفیل ، سفیهانه و سالوسانه، علیه سیمای ستبر مردم ایران یا سخن پراکنی کرده یا با کمک مستقیم و غیر مستقیم Benefit سیاسی ارتجاع جهانی، مرتکب نسک و نشر و جهل، جوزن وجادوگری تاریخی شده اند، و بارها و بارها به کرات و مرات با کراهت و گژبینی گزند گونه در سنگر گزیزگاه دشمن با کرنش و کمر خم کنی خماننده ولی با نیش و نیشتر و نیرنگی فریبنده، برای توجیه و تطهیر و تبرئه عاملان و قاتلان و خائنان داخلی و خاری کودتای 28 مرداد، نوکربابانه یا نطق کرده یا نسک نگاشته اند. لطفآ بقیه را در video توجه فرمائید!

 


گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image

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گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
Reference:BRICS
1-Putin and BRICS form Seed Crystal of a New International Monetary Pole
William Engdahl | July 25, 2014
2-BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance
By RT: Published time: July 15, 2014 18:14
3-BRICS against Washington consensus
BY By Pepe Escobar “Asia Times: Jul 15, '14”
4-Dollar dying; multi-polar world in offing
By F.William engdahl
4-US Dollar Suffers Serious Setback
By By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
5-Throwing BRICS at Israel
By Johnny Punish
نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب Image

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نیک پاکپور - دیو داعش و نقش غرب

دیو داعش و نقش غرب

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

گوینده آنچه را که مربوط به ریشه سعودی،سلفی،سیاه ایی، زهش یا زایش، پیدایش یا پالایش تاول یا تکاثر،ترسناک،تروریسم تکفیری میشود را در یک ویدئویی،بتاریخ 24 فوریه 2014 میلادی،با نوضیح و نفسیر، و بر پایه پویش پروسه تیک پژوهشی،تکوینی،تاریخی،در جهت آژیرنده و آگاه کننده، مورد ارزیابی و آنالیز منطقی قرار داده ام

ولی بعد و بنیاد پحث امروز گوینده بطور اختصار و در حد اختیار،اختصاص دارد به حوادث دهشتناک و دردناکی که بطور فزاینده و فژاگن در کشور همسایگی،ما ایرانیان یعنی کشور عراق جریان دارد.


 

Europe

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Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence Image

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Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence

TRNN hears from both sides of the debate on whether to vote for independence from the United Kingdom

Special Report: Scots in Their Own Words on Independence
TRNN hears from both sides of the debate on whether to vote for independence from the United Kingdom - September 17, 14

Coproduced by Alan Knight and Tim Mitchell in Scotland
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: The people of Scotland head to the polls on Thursday to vote on whether to get independence from the United Kingdom. Scotland has been part of the U.K. for the past three centuries but has its own local parliament. Some Scots, who make up about 8 percent of U.K.'s population, want more local governance and freedom from London, who often vote in more right-wing governments than Scotland does. Prime Minister David Cameron, a Tory, is a staunch opponent of independence, and his government has embraced neoliberal policies and austerity at the cost of the social safety net.
DAVID CAMERON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: And it's my duty to be clear about the likely consequences of a yes vote. Independence would not be a trial separation; it would be a painful divorce. And as prime minister, I have to tell you what that would mean. It would mean we no longer share the same currency. It would mean the Armed Forces we built up together over centuries being split up forever. It would mean our pension funds being sliced up at some cost. It would mean the borders we have would become international and may no longer be so easily crossed.
NOOR: Some banks and financial institutions have threatened to leave Scotland if it cedes from the U.K., and opponents warn the country could face economic crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED VOTER: And the reason I'm voting no is 'cause I think the Union is better the way it is, because there's various other companies that are wanting to leave Scotland if Scotland becomes independent, and I don't think--personally, my own view is I don't think Scotland will survive as an independent country. And the reason that is is because they're going to put a 5 percent tax rise on your wages every month. There's been [statuses (?)] about that, but your wages don't go up. So that means, like, [incompr.] paying 20 percent, and that's my insurance and tax every week. So [incompr.] paying twenty-two and a half percent every week, that's twenty-two and a half percent of your wages gone. And as I said, the wages don't go up. So there's no point.
~~~
INTERVIEWER: Can you give us your reasons for voting yes?
GRANT SMITH, VOTER: Growing up in Scotland and then living in England for ten years I saw quite a big change, big difference, really, in coming home and getting a chance to be part of it and just a better future for our children, my child.
~~~
ALICE MCGENILY, VOTER: I think it's a golden opportunity for Scotland to be independent. But it's education I'm concerned about, whether it's going to be best for rest to stay with the U.K. or to be an independent country.
INTERVIEWER: Could you expand on that a little?
MCGENILY: Yeah. I'm just worried that there's going to be cuts, more cuts if we become independent, and whether it would be better just to stay with the U.K. for security.
~~~
NOOR: But some Scots feel pro-independence voices are being marginalized by the media. About 1,000 people rallied in front of the BBC's Glasgow offices on Sunday, September 14. Here are some of their voices.
EVE BRADLEY, VOTER: We're voting yes in the upcoming referendum. I'm a first-time voter. And I'll be voting yes because I know too many people that have voted for a government and their vote hasn't counted, and Scotland needs to be run by Scotland and not Westminster.
LAURA MCNEILL, VOTER: I'm going to be voting yes for Scottish independence, because I think that Scottish people have been suppressed for years and years and we don't really have a voice in the way that our country is run at the moment.
ERIN BRADLEY-SCOTT, VOTER: I'm voting yes because I want Scotland to be run by the people of Scotland. I don't want our big political decisions to be made in a foreign country--which, hopefully, will soon be a foreign country. And I'm with our Catalan brothers and sisters as well, because I lived in Barcelona for a while, and I know that they've got their head up against a brick wall, and the future for Catalonia's not as bright as the future of Scotland, and I'm just really getting geared up for everything. I'm so energized by the positivity that's surrounding the referendum. It's definitely been a positive thing for Scotland. And it's fantastic to see so many young people getting energized. And I wish we had the /ɪmˈpɛtju/ that the Catalans have got. It's amazing just to see nearly 2 million people out in the streets. Here we've got a couple of thousand out to protest against the blatant bias of the BBC, which I think is atrocious.
End

CrossTalk: Sanctions in action Image

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CrossTalk: Sanctions in action

When the blame game turns into sanctions wars. With no the political crisis in Ukraine far from over, the West and Russia trade sanctions against the other. Which side is more vulnerable? Which side can endure the most pain? CrossTalking with Liam Halligan, Art Franczek and Mitch Feierstein.Watch all CrossTalk shows here:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL75A81D67D2955F81 (Sep 2009 - Feb 2011)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K12YqkZDcnaHfDd5cptKhs9 (Mar 2011 - Jul 2012)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K1wI7Kcpxfq6NviCKYKjXAn (Jul 2012 - current)RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Scottish Independence or Scotland In Dependence? - Geneva Business Insider Image

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Scottish Independence or Scotland In Dependence? - Geneva Business Insider

This month on the Geneva Business Insider, James and David preview next week's Scottish independence vote and the various political forces that are clashing as the Scottish people go to the polls. We discuss the push for NATO membership, EU membership and a central bank for "free" Scotland and how it undermines the entire push for independence. We also examine the latest on the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and the specter of a cyber-hacking bank bailout.

Middle east

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Is the anti-ISIS Campaign an Attempt to Renew War Against Assad? Image

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Is the anti-ISIS Campaign an Attempt to Renew War Against Assad?

Glen Ford: The U.S.-Saudi strategy of using jihadists as proxies in their wars is collapsing before our very eyes

Bio
Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.
Transcript
Is the anti-ISIS Campaign Attempting to Renew War Against Assad?SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Also, welcome to this edition of The Glen Ford Report. Glen is coming to us from Plainfield, New Jersey.
Glen, thanks for joining us.
GLEN FORD, EXEC. DIRECTOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thanks for having us.
PERIES: So, Glen, you want to do an update to a segment you have already done on the ISIS, and particularly pending President Obama's speech on Wednesday. So what are you working on?
FORD: Well, we actually have been working on this for the last three years. We've been predicting that the jihadists that the U.S. and its allies have been using as proxies, as foot soldiers in the imperial wars in North Africa and the Middle East, that those proxies would turn against the United States. We said that three and a half years ago. And now it is dramatically transpiring.
So, as an update, it's now become quite clear, and it will becoming more clear in the next few days, that the U.S. is going to try to turn this anti-ISIS campaign--a campaign that President Obama seems physically very uncomfortable with, for some very fundamental reasons--they're going to try to turn this anti-ISIS military campaign into a renewed war against the Syrian government. And he has already telegraphed that it will be a long war. Long wars mean very expensive wars. He says it will be a three-year campaign. In short, under the guise of taking the war against ISIS, this air war against ISIS, deep into Syria, the U.S. is going to attempt to become the air force for those so-called moderate Syrian rebels, forces that actually don't exist, but become an air force for them as the United States and its NATO allies did for the jihadists in Libya three years ago.
And to create this force on the ground that actually does not exist in terms of moderates, the United States wants to give those folks these imaginary people. I'm sure that they will somehow appear if the United States gives them the $500 million that Obama has set aside for them pending congressional approval.
But this is a bankrupt policy. The United States is doubling down on the bankrupt policy, even as it has collapsed, because it has no other choice. That is, the U.S. and its allies don't have any natural allies as foot soldiers in the region. Everybody hates the United States. To be associated with the United States is treason in that part of the Arab and Muslim world. So you have to get Islamists and get some kind of convergence, temporary can political convergence with them in order to attack the people that you want to attack, which is the secular governments of Libya, now destroyed, and of Syria, which the U.S. is in the process of attempting to destroy.
So the project continues. Now it has this stop-ISIS, humanitarian, anti-beheading flavor, but the mission is still the same. And therefore we can say with absolute certainty that the United States is going to try to act as an Air Force for supposed Syrian moderates over the next three years in Syria, using the presence of ISIS as an excuse.
And what they've also doing here--and you see more and more of this in The New York Times and The Washington Post and all these other corporate opinion leaders. You see them including this line that's always come out of the so-called Free Syrian Army, that there somehow is a relationship between the government of President Assad in Syria and ISIS, that Assad avoids attacking ISIS, and ISIS avoids attacking Assad. This, of course, is ridiculous, not based in fact, but it's the political line they're putting forward to somehow justify these forces that they are assembling, supposedly to attack ISIS, engaging against the Assad government, which has been the target all along and was why the United States armed and financed all of these jihadists, including ISIS, which is godfathered by the Americans and the Turks and the Qataris and the Saudis and NATO in general.
PERIES: Glen, when we have seen such horrific depictions of beheading of American citizens, what is a more rational response to these kinds of incidences?
FORD: Well, it's no more pleasant to die from being incinerated by U.S. drones or U.S. manned aircraft or just conventional weapons of any kind than being hands-on beheaded. In fact, the United States leads the world in industrial killing. I don't think that you are I would opt to be obliterated by the drone as opposed to being beheaded. I don't think I'd have a choice in the matter. But I do know that a lot more people are obliterated by industrial-strength war as carried on by established powers than by the ISISs (if that's the plural) of the world.
PERIES: And finally, Glen, I know that given how critical you have been about President Obama's foreign-policy, you probably wouldn't get to his ear. But if you were to be able to whisper some common sense in his ear before the upcoming address on Wednesday, what would you be saying to him?
FORD: The point here about this ISIS story--and it is a huge story. And the story is not about the savagery and beheading that ISIS's troops engaged in. The real story is that the U.S.-Saudi strategy, long-standing, 40 years of using jihadists as proxies in their wars, is collapsing before our very eyes. It has collapsed totally in Libya, where it was so prominently used, in that there is a war going on in which the Saudis and the Qataris are on opposite sides of the jihadist war, that is, jihadists who are fighting their own minds. Whatever that is that is. And those who are more aligned with the West are fighting it out on the ground. And the Egyptian leaders--Sisi is acting as the new Mubarak, and even closer to home for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Emirates are all arguing among themselves and calling each other names in terms of which jihadists they are supporting. And the reason they are doing that is because they are afraid for the safety of their own heads now that this jihadist Jeannie has been let out the bottle. Those of the big stories. Not American journalists getting beheaded.
PERIES: Thank you so much for joining us, Glen.
FORD: Thank you.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

US to arm Kurdish - Fueling Fight Image

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US to arm Kurdish - Fueling Fight
Fueling Fight: US to arm Kurdish forces in Iraq to battle ISIS militants
Published on Aug 12, 2014
Militia forces in Iraq's Kurdistan are to be armed by US in an attempt to prevent it falling fully into the hands of ISIS militants. RT's Gayane Chichakyan reports
Plitting Iraq by US -

574 views

Plitting Iraq by US - 'US interested in Iraq'
US fighter jets bomb ISIS artillery, 'Washington only interested in splitting Iraq'

Published on Aug 8, 2014
US military aircraft have conducted an airstrike on artillery used by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Rear Admiral John Kirby said the attack took place to help defend Kurdish forces near Erbil, Iraq

United state

»
Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana Image

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Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana

Patrick Nightingale, Defense Attorney says that decriminalization is only a step towards addressing the real problem of disproportionate arrests in African American and minority communities

Philadelphia Decriminalizes Marijuana
Defense attorney Patrick Nightingale says decriminalization is only a step towards addressing the real problem of disproportionate arrests in African-American and minority communities - September 19, 14

SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, recently announced that the marijuana bill that goes into effect on October 20 will not legalize marijuana, only decriminalize it. While this is a step forward and it might reduce the number of people arrested and stuck with criminal records, it will not eliminate the over-policing of African-Americans and Latin communities under the auspices of the war on drugs, which is a major problem that most major cities in the United States experience.
Now joining us from Philadelphia to discuss all of this is Patrick Nightingale. Patrick is a practicing criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, Patrick was a prosecutor with the Allegheny County district attorney's office in Pittsburgh.
Thanks for joining us, Patrick.
PATRICK NIGHTINGALE, FORMER PROSECUTOR, LEAP: Thank you very much. And on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I would like to thank you for welcoming us onto your show.
PERIES: You're most welcome.
Patrick, let's outline the problem and the solution that the legislation is trying to get at.
NIGHTINGALE: The problem that activists in Philadelphia, Philadelphia NORML, their chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, had been tracking arrest data in Philadelphia for small amounts of marijuana and for marijuana paraphernalia since 2008. And what they found was a striking, a shocking disparity in rates of arrest amongst defendants of color, primarily in the African-American community. What they found were arrest rates as high as 85 percent of all arrests during that five-year period of time were people of color despite evidence and anecdotal evidence and surveys that suggest that rates of marijuana consumption between whites and blacks are fairly even. So what they recognized was a grossly disproportionate system of arrests. And they sought about trying to find a way to address that.
And what they did was they approached Philadelphia's city council and a sympathetic councilmen, Councilman Jim Kenney, who was willing to author an ordinance that would change the way City of Philadelphia police interact with and handle small amounts of marijuana cases. And that ultimately led to the ordinance that the mayor is going to sign.
PERIES: And what is the history here? What is the particularity of the relationship between the Philadelphia police and the low-income communities or minority communities, as you have put it?
NIGHTINGALE: It's similar to the problems facing any urban environment. Unfortunately, urban environments have a certain concentration of people who are considered to be low-income. There are a number of, disproportionate amount of, say, 911 calls in lower-income communities. And police resources are deployed according to those types of demographics.
So, unfortunately, what we have is because of a dense population in an urban environment, low-income situation in an urban environment, you're going to have pretty significant police presence in these types of neighborhoods, as opposed to neighborhoods that aren't generating as many 911 calls. In Philadelphia, that means that there is an increased police presence in neighborhoods primarily of color.
And as a result of that increased police presence, you have quite literally--I don't want call it a war on Philadelphians, 'cause I don't think that's how the Philadelphia police see their role. However the net effect of that has been a very strained relationship with the police and with Philadelphians over something as simple as small amounts of marijuana, where in other parts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other parts of southeastern Pennsylvania, certainly here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we don't arrest people; we give them a summons to appear for court.
PERIES: And from what I understand from this piece of legislation or bill, the courts will still be handling a majority of the citations given, yes?
NIGHTINGALE: Well, any citation that is issued, a person still has the right to contest it before a magistrate. Now, if someone is cited in Philadelphia under their new ordinance and they are facing a $150 fine, they're free to contest that. But then the remedy is for them to be charged with a misdemeanor, small amount of marijuana charge, and face a criminal conviction. So, yes, as with any fine, crime, whether it's civil or criminal, there is redress within the courts. However, it would be ill-advised to turn down the opportunity for a noncriminal civil citation and opt to be charged criminally. That really wouldn't make much sense.
PERIES: And from what you see, will this piece of legislation really get at the problem?
NIGHTINGALE: I think that it is an effective first step. Ultimately, when, as you said when we were beginning the program, the war on drugs has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, and especially communities of color. Since the war on drugs has started, we have seen a spike in our federal prison population, primarily people of color, in this country, and it is pegged right to the war on drugs. I don't want to say the war on drugs was racist ab initio, but certainly it has had that type of effect.
For example, in the federal system we used to have 100 to 1 powder to crack cocaine disparity, meaning that if you had five grams of crack cocaine, you were facing the exact same punishment as someone who had 500 grams of powder cocaine. That was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, but recently that disparity has been reduced to 18 to 1. Why 18 to 1? I do not know, but there continues to be this type of institutional disparity that results in a disproportionate number of primarily young black men and young Hispanic men filling up our prisons. And as long as the war on drugs continues in that respect, I think we're going to see the same type of disparate racial makeup of our prison population.
So this ordinance is an excellent first step to reduce that type of police presence at the very lowest level, because we know that someone possessing a small amount of marijuana isn't the issue, isn't the problem. We know that that person isn't going to be getting into fights, isn't going to go home and get engaged in domestic violence situations. So where can we look at the number-one cause of police-citizen encounters? It's going to be these small-amount cases. So we can really help to reduce the overbearing law enforcement footprint in these communities and rebuild some of the trust with these communities that law enforcement critically needs in order to solve serious crimes, crimes of violence, homicide, burglaries, home invasions, you name it.
PERIES: Patrick, while we'll probably all agree that this is a step forward, do you think Philadelphia should go in the same route of where a lot of states and a lot of cities have been deregulating it and legalizing it for health use as well as personal use?
NIGHTINGALE: Philadelphia cannot do that. Here in Pennsylvania, in our Constitution, we have a home rule charter. And that home rule charter sets forth that a city, a municipality such as Philadelphia may enact ordinances or legislations if it's necessary because it's not addressed on the statewide level, but it does not permit the city of Philadelphia to, for example, opt out of enforcing the Controlled Substances Act. Philadelphia cannot declare marijuana legal in Philadelphia. Marijuana is still illegal to possess. The city of Philadelphia Police Department is still free to make an arrest and charge a marijuana offense. Other law enforcement agencies that may be working within the jurisdiction of the city of Philadelphia, for example, a college, a university police department may still arrest and charge that. So the idea or the notion of Philadelphia has somehow exempted themselves from Pennsylvania's Controlled Substances Act isn't entirely true. This is more a step forward, a common sense agreement between the Philadelphia police, the mayor, City Council, and the people of Philadelphia that here is a different way the police can approach enforcing marijuana laws in Philadelphia.
What we need is statewide action. And right now in Pennsylvania, we're very close to possibly passing a very comprehensive medicinal marijuana bill. It has very strong support in the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House. But we're running out of time. We don't know if we'll be able to get that passed before the end of the 2014 legislative session. And we have a governor's election that could stymie our efforts to get this passed within the next couple of months. But what we need is statewide action. We need statewide medicinal marijuana. We need statewide decriminalization. And ultimately, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition believes that we need to get law enforcement out of the issue of cannabis regulation in the entirety and leave it up to responsible adults to act however they choose to act, consistent with responsibility and principles of liberty.
PERIES: And, Patrick, one final question to you. Is the police force in Philadelphia on board in terms of this bill?
NIGHTINGALE: Yes, that is the significant difference, because they were not on board when it was first passed back in June. In fact, the chief of police said that in his opinion they were statutorily required to continue to make arrests for small amounts of marijuana. The activists in Philadelphia Chris Goldstein, Derek Rosenzweig, N. A. Poe, they did an excellent job working with Councilman Kenney to convince the police that this is a reasonable alternative, it does not improperly infringe on police power, it does not illegally infringe on police power, and police are free to continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. And I think that that was the type of reinforcement that the chief needed to know that it wasn't City Council trying to strip his department of its legitimate and statutorily authorized powers.
PERIES: Patrick, thank you so much for joining us today.
NIGHTINGALE: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to be on your show.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
End

Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels Image

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Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels

As a new poll shows most Americans think Obama’s ISIS strategy will fail, activists are challenging Congress to reject military solutions

Progressive Caucus Split on Issue of Arming Syrian Rebels
As a new poll shows most Americans think Obama's ISIS strategy will fail, activists are challenging Congress to reject military solutions - September 19, 14

Bio
Jessica Desvarieux is a multimedia journalist who serves as the Capitol Hill correspondent for the Real News Network. Most recently, Jessica worked as a producer for the ABC Sunday morning program, This Week with Christianne Amanpour. Before moving to Washington DC, Jessica served as the Haiti corespondent for TIME Magazine and TIME.com. Previously, she was as an on-air reporter for New York tri-state cable outlet Regional News Network, where she worked before the 2010 earthquake struck her native country of Haiti. From March 2008 - September 2009, she lived in Egypt, where her work appeared in various media outlets like the Associated Press, Voice of America, and the International Herald Tribune - Daily News Egypt. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in journalism. She is proficient in French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and has a working knowledge of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Follow her @Jessica_Reports.

David Hooper 2014 “Anatomy of a Great Deception” Image

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David Hooper 2014 “Anatomy of a Great Deception”

This "docu-thriller" from father-turned-filmmaker, David Hooper takes us on a journey of awakening that begins with an innocent question. Soon, his life is turned upside down as he grapples with the life-changing conclusions of his findings. The film was made to wake up his friends and family. Now, it's poised to wake everyone else.Visit my website for lots of mind freeing information.http://www.freeyourmindaz.com/

9/11: “Anatomy of a Great Deception”
By David Hooper

This “docu-thriller” from father-turned-filmmaker, David Hooper takes us on a journey of awakening that begins with an innocent question. Soon, his life is turned upside down as he grapples with the life-changing conclusions of his findings.
The film was made to wake up his friends and family. Now, it’s poised to wake everyone else.

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  • 60,000 Syrian Kurds flee to Turkey within 24 hours amid ISIS advance
    60,000 Syrian Kurds flee to Turkey within 24 hours amid ISIS advance By RT Some 60,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours, fleeing Islamic State (IS) militants who are advancing on dozens of villages close to the border.READ MORE: 46 Turkish hostages abducted by ISIS in Iraq releasedTurkey opened a stretch of the border on Friday after Kurds fled their homes, fearing an attack on the border town of Ayn al-Arab, a Kurdish commander on the ground said.Local Kurds also said they fear a massacre in Kobani, whose strategic location has been blocking the militants from gaining more power in northern Syria."Kobani is facing the fiercest and most barbaric attack in its history," Mohammed Saleh Muslim, the head of Syria's powerful Kurdish Democratic Union, told AP.Lokman Isa, a 34-year-old farmer who escaped with his family, told Reuters: “They [Islamic State] have destroyed every place they have gone to. We saw what they did in Iraq in Sinjar and we fled in fear.” He added that Kurdish forces fighting against the radical group have only light weapons. Syrian Kurds wait near Syria border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)The Islamic State militants are known to be using rockets, artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles."I would have fought to my last drop of blood against Islamic State but I had to bring the women and children," Mustafa Saleh, a 30 year-old water industry worker, said."The United States, Turkey, Russia, friendly countries must help us. They must bomb Islamic State. All they can do is cut off heads, they have nothing to do with Islam," he added.READ MORE: US Senate gives Obama authority to arm 'moderate' Syrian rebelsMeanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that 60,000 people have crossed the 30-kilometer stretch of open border since Friday. Syrian Kurds carry their belongnings near the Syrian border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)At least 100 villages have been evacuated since Tuesday, when the assault began. Since then, over 300 Kurdish fighters have come to Syria from Turkey to fight against the militants.Eleven Kurdish civilians, including boys, were executed in the villages near Kobani, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights."The Islamic State sees Kobani like a lump in the body, they think it is in their way," said Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the organization.Mustefa Ebdi, director of a local radio station called Arta FM, confirmed the killings of the civilians. Speaking from the northern outskirts of Kobani, he told Reuters that the “Islamic State is killing any civilian it finds in a village.”On his Facebook page, Ebdi put the total number of dead at 34 civilians – including women, the elderly, children, and the disabled. He also stated that 200 villages have been evacuated.The news comes on the backdrop of the US and dozens of other countries drafting a roadmap for military action against IS in Syria, after the group took control over vast territories in Iraq and Syria Syrian Kurds wait near Syria border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)READ MORE: Enemy or victim? Syria and West in ISIS eraOn Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the US Central Command has a plan to take “targeted actions against ISIS safe havens in Syria,” including striking infrastructure. The US is also set to arm 5,000 opposition fighters.Syrian President Bashar Assad responded one day later, saying the fight against terrorism must begin by placing more pressure on those countries which are supporting and financing insurgents in Syria and Iraq.Almost a week ago, the House of Commons Library stated that UK airstrikes against Islamic State extremists in Syria could be illegal without the agreement of Assad’s government or a UN Security Council resolution.
  • US Pushes Iran To Red Line
    US Pushes Iran To Red Line By Nikolai BOBKIN | 21.09.2014 | 00:01 "Strategic Culture Foundation" Iranand six world powers (Russia, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and China) began an expert-level meeting about Tehran's nuclear program on Thursday, September 19, part of efforts to reach an agreement by late July on how to resolve a decade-old dispute that has stirred fears of a Middle East war. SeyedAbbas Araghchi, the Iranian Deputy Ministerfor Foreign Affairs, said before the talks kicked off that those serious differences remained but Iran hoped to achieve positive results with the 5+1 group and especially talking with the United States, Russia and China. There are clear signs that Iran is not prepared to pay any price. The respect for Iran’s rights and achievements of Iranian scholars is a red line not to be crossed.On November 24, 2013, the Geneva interim agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action, was a pact signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consists of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement. It represents the first formal agreement between the United States and Iran in 34 years. The implementation of the agreement began on January 20, 2014. At first the senior level talks were scheduled to last till July 20, 2014, then the date was moved to the November of this year. The Geneva interim agreement is in force only one year after the date of signature, so a new agreement is supposed to see light before November 24. There is little time left, the situation is critical. The United States understands it. No matter that, the State Department implements special policy.State Secretary John Kerry says he wants to reach an agreement of universal importance but, like before, he insists on concession on the part of Iran. He hopes Iran will demonstrate ingenious and well thought over approach to prove it is ready for cooperation. The US stance envisions that compromises and lifting of sanctions should be linked to concessions on the part of Iran which have no relation to the nuclear program.Meeting Finland’s Foreign Minister in Tehran Rouhani condemned this policy saying, “Today also we are ready to continue the talks until reaching a final agreement and if the G5+1 intention in the talks is not to pile up pressure on Iran to prevent its scientific and technological progress, the way for agreement is open.” He noted that Iran will not accept any discriminatory approach which runs counter to international laws and wants to be provided with absolute rights alike other members of the International Atomic Energy Agency.While emphasizing that the Geneva talks resulted in conclusion of a short-term deal which was later extended, the President said, “Our red line is our scientific development and research on nuclear fields and Iran will by no means negotiate its defense potential, including its missile program.”Obviously, the Washington’s demands are unacceptable. For instance, the White House insists on reduction of Iran’s missile potential.The Russian delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He said in his interview to RIA-Novosti on September 16 that the US stance on Iran nuclear issue is counterproductive and negatively affects the prospects for reaching an agreement at the New York round of talks. According to him, there should be no restrictions on Iranian missile program. Russia has never supported such approach and it never will. That’s where the parties stand before the talks kick off. Foreign Policy writes that the Western policy on Iran is wrong. If the policy is not rectified it would be extremely hard to expect a positive result at the Iran-Sextet meeting. The gist of the problem is whether the US and other NATO states really want to close the Iranian dossier soon. With demands unanswered they have a pretext to continue imposing sanctions and maintain leverage over Iran. But Iran is adamant not to cede to pressure.For instance, Iran has refused to cooperate with the United States on the Islamic State. On September 15, Iran spurned an American request for cooperation in the fight against Islamic State militants, but the United States said the door remains open to a rare opportunity to make common cause with its principal adversary in the Middle East. Iran’s rebuff came as world powers meeting in the French capital agreed to use “any means necessary” to combat the militant force surging in Iraq and Syria. Iran believes the Americans are forming the coalition against the Islamic State to justify their presence in the Middle East. This point of view is expressed by Iranian supreme leader ayatollah Ali Khomenei. He tweeted his disdain for the international effort and revealed a back-channel U.S. offer of unspecified cooperation against the militants. Khamenei said Iran rejected the U.S. request because of Washington’s “evil intentions,” the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The Reuters news agency quoted Khamenei as telling Iran’s state television that the U.S. request was “hollow and self-serving,” echoing Iran’s claims that Western nations are seeking to expand their influence in the region as part of the campaign against the Islamic State. “I rejected US offer to Iran about the IS because US has corrupted its hands in this issue. Mr. Zarif rejected US Secretary of State’s offer too.” he said. This was the first time the US attempts to make a deal with Iran on the Islamic State issue became public.The fact that Iran made public its refusal to seek compromises with the United States to the detriment of its national interests is a clear signal that Tehran has drawn a red line in its contacts with Washington.Americans are trying to make a deal with Iran behind the Moscow’s back. The idea is to substitute Russian oil flowing to the world market with the Iranian supplies in exchange for lifting the sanctions. Western media outlets spread rumors about the Iran’s intention to take advantage of the Ukraine’s crisis and start oil exports to Europe. The stories are made go round that Tehran agrees to let NATO forces cross its territory. They make it heard on the grapevine that Iran is ready to suspend its support of the Syrian government in exchange for ending the sanctions regime. All these rumors have nothing to do with reality. It’s nothing more than just shooting the wind. The real relationship within the Iran-USA-Russia framework is quite different. Iranians are sober-minded people, they take all the offers coming from Washington with a grain of salt. This is the right attitude. All the attempts by the United States to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran go down the drain being doomed from the very start. Iran believes the United States has not refused its long time desire to change the political system in Iran. So there is no ground to expect the talks to successfully end till the date assigned according to the Geneva agreement - November 24.Moreover, just a few weeks before the next round of talks the United States took new measures to complicate the relations with Tehran. On August 29, the US imposed sanctions on more than 25 businesses, banks and individuals it suspected of working to expand Iran's nuclear program, support terrorism and help Iran evade existing sanctions. The measures bar Americans from engaging in transactions with any of the designated parties, freeze their assets and block their property under US jurisdiction. Washington said its actions were still consistent with its commitment to provide sanctions relief in exchange for steps to halt the program. In a statement, US Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said that Washington's action in imposing the new sanctions "reflects our continuing determination to take action against anyone, anywhere, who violates our sanctions." Senior administration officials said the latest round of sanctions included action against the Russia-based Asia Bank, which Washington says was involved in converting and delivering US dollar bank notes to the Iranian government. They also targeted firms that have helped Iran support President Bashar Assad's government in Syria. No doubt the move will negatively affect the outcome of talks.The recently imposed US sanctions against Iran will hinder the talks over the country's nuclear program, the Iranian foreign ministry has warned. The comments came as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the country should "resist" the measures. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham said the new sanctions would jeopardize a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, the official IRNA news agency reported on August 30. "These actions have a negative and non-constructive impact on the trend of the talks. The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects any unilateral and self-serving interpretation of last year's Geneva deal," she said adding that «Iranstrongly believes that the sanctions are against commitments made by the United States under the Geneva deal." Rouhani also attacked the sanctions, saying they were an "invasion of the Iranian nation". He said: "We should resist the invasion and put the invaders in their place. We should not allow the continuation and repetition of the invasion." The Iran's state television also said the move violated an interim agreement reached with world powers under which western nations agreed to ease sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear activities.The United States pays little attention to what Tehran says. The officials stress that the action did not constitute an expansion of the sanctions regime, but rather the enforcement of existing sanctions. It looks like Iran, Russia and China should work out the new initiatives of their own in case the West breaches the Geneva accords. Geography, energy riches, human potential and military might make Iran a powerful and stable Middle East state, this fact is indisputable. The idea of Tehran’s international isolation put forward by Washington is archaic and out of date since a long time ago. Keeping Iran aside at the time terrorists have occupied a third of Iraqi territory seriously threatens international peace efforts. The Middle East badly needs Iran to be powerful and independent remaining immune to the efforts of the United States to exert pressure on its decision making process.Under the circumstances, the first thing Russia and China should do is to withdraw from the sanctions’ regime that was supported some time ago by these two states at the United Nations Security Council. Lifting the ban on military cooperation with Tehran is a timely and justified decision.The US unilateral sanctions have always been illegal. Now it has become an instrument of blackmail used against the United Nations that actually transferred the issue the “big six”. The Organization actually keeps away from tackling the issue. The participation in the negotiation process of Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, is illegal – the Commissioner has no justification for being a party to the talks. When it comes to Iran, Western negotiators dance to the Washington’s tune the very same way they do defining their policy on Ukraine.
  • ECIPS Issues Extensive Security Border Alert for ISIS Infiltration
    ECIPS Issues Extensive Security Border Alert for ISIS Infiltration By VT The European Centre for Information Policy and Security (ECIPS) issued a extensive alert to borders after the announcement of President Obama on Wednesday to proceed with Airstrikes against ISIS targets.The ECIPS President Baretzky said that this warrants an immediate alert to border police to bring awareness throughout the EU and its allies in contagement to the risks associated with this decision. President Baretzky said that Borders are not adequate protected and ISIS will exploit new ways to infiltrate the states of the EU and US.Should ISIS play the “The Trojan Horse” as it may, then this could be a huge vulnerability according to ECIPS and it could lead to more aggression and retaliation of ISIS. The main problems surrounding the ideologies of ISIS is that it is not been here for decades but for centuries and it’s a psychological warfare long in advanced stages. A kind of cancer that needs to be rooted out according to some experts.According to the ECIPS there could be as much as 5000 Europeans involved in fighting with ISIS and as much as several hundred US citizens. President Baretzky said that the dogma of Obama’s statement “ It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” is vastly underestimated and urged their departments to do proper homework before assuming that ISIS will be under control.The Belgium Jewish Museum Shooter incident of May this year in Belgium is one example of the pre-staging of ISIS. ECIPS warned on numerous occasions that this incident has deeper tentacles, and as it turned out, the Belgium Jewish Museum Shooter was a ‘ISIS Torturer’ in Syria as revealed by media recently.The President of ECIPS, Ricardo Baretzky said that. “We need to step up security now at Borders, before it’s too late. A proper ID control and a ISIS database is vital for the security of Europe passport control offices. “ Obama risks trying to solve a fundamentally political problem by military means will only escalate some predicts. The problem at present is that nobody really knows how many ISIS members there are within eth EU or the USA. the number could be in the thousands.President Baretzky said the danger with this “Obama methods” are that one cannot kill a believe with fire and ammunition. The problem with ISIS is that it is based on a religious ideology and perception of how the world should look like rather than a methodology of violence and war. “Thus we have to be logical and tackle these problems by its roots rather than coming to hastily conclusions of how to react, if not then it could in fact perpetuate the problem rather than changing it, Baretzky said.Exclusive for Border Police Magazine BORDERPOL           Hungarian Ministry of Interior and Hungarian National Police supports World BORDERPOL Congress
  • How the US Helped Create Al Qaeda and ISIS
    How the US Helped Create Al Qaeda and ISIS The War on Terrorism is Terrorism By GARIKAI CHENGU "Counter punch" Much like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS) is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.The fact that the United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history.The CIA first aligned itself with extremist Islam during the Cold War era. Back then, America saw the world in rather simple terms: on one side, the Soviet Union and Third World nationalism, which America regarded as a Soviet tool; on the other side, Western nations and militant political Islam, which America considered an ally in the struggle against the Soviet Union.The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom recently remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”During the 1970′s the CIA used the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a barrier, both to thwart Soviet expansion and prevent the spread of Marxist ideology among the Arab masses. The United States also openly supported Sarekat Islam against Sukarno in Indonesia, and supported the Jamaat-e-Islami terror group against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan. Last but certainly not least, there is Al Qaeda.Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980′s. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda, which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan.America’s relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. Depending on whether a particular Al Qaeda terrorist group in a given region furthers American interests or not, the U.S. State Department either funds or aggressively targets that terrorist group. Even as American foreign policy makers claim to oppose Muslim extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy.The Islamic State is its latest weapon that, much like Al Qaeda, is certainly backfiring. ISIS recently rose to international prominence after its thugs began beheading American journalists. Now the terrorist group controls an area the size of the United Kingdom.In order to understand why the Islamic State has grown and flourished so quickly, one has to take a look at the organization’s American-backed roots. The 2003 American invasion and occupation of Iraq created the pre-conditions for radical Sunni groups, like ISIS, to take root. America, rather unwisely, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s secular state machinery and replaced it with a predominantly Shiite administration. The U.S. occupation caused vast unemployment in Sunni areas, by rejecting socialism and closing down factories in the naive hope that the magical hand of the free market would create jobs. Under the new U.S.-backed Shiite regime, working class Sunni’s lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Unlike the white Afrikaners in South Africa, who were allowed to keep their wealth after regime change, upper class Sunni’s were systematically dispossessed of their assets and lost their political influence. Rather than promoting religious integration and unity, American policy in Iraq exacerbated sectarian divisions and created a fertile breading ground for Sunni discontent, from which Al Qaeda in Iraq took root.The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) used to have a different name: Al Qaeda in Iraq. After 2010 the group rebranded and refocused its efforts on Syria.There are essentially three wars being waged in Syria: one between the government and the rebels, another between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and yet another between America and Russia. It is this third, neo-Cold War battle that made U.S. foreign policy makers decide to take the risk of arming Islamist rebels in Syria, because Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, is a key Russian ally. Rather embarrassingly, many of these Syrian rebels have now turned out to be ISIS thugs, who are openly brandishing American-made M16 Assault rifles.America’s Middle East policy revolves around oil and Israel. The invasion of Iraq has partially satisfied Washington’s thirst for oil, but ongoing air strikes in Syria and economic sanctions on Iran have everything to do with Israel. The goal is to deprive Israel’s neighboring enemies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of crucial Syrian and Iranian support.ISIS is not merely an instrument of terror used by America to topple the Syrian government; it is also used to put pressure on Iran.The last time Iran invaded another nation was in 1738. Since independence in 1776, the U.S. has been engaged in over 53 military invasions and expeditions. Despite what the Western media’s war cries would have you believe, Iran is clearly not the threat to regional security, Washington is. An Intelligence Report published in 2012, endorsed by all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, confirms that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Truth is, any Iranian nuclear ambition, real or imagined, is as a result of American hostility towards Iran, and not the other way around.donate nowAmerica is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance.By rapidly increasing both government secrecy and surveillance, Mr. Obama’s government is increasing its power to watch its citizens, while diminishing its citizens’ power to watch their government. Terrorism is an excuse to justify mass surveillance, in preparation for mass revolt.The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions. Since George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” in October 2001, it has cost the American taxpayer approximately 6.6 trillion dollars and thousands of fallen sons and daughters; but, the wars have also raked in billions of dollars for Washington’s military elite.In fact, more than seventy American companies and individuals have won up to $27 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last three years, according to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity. According to the study, nearly 75 per cent of these private companies had employees or board members, who either served in, or had close ties to, the executive branch of the Republican and Democratic administrations, members of Congress, or the highest levels of the military.In 1997, a U.S. Department of Defense report stated, “the data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and an increase in terrorist attacks against the U.S.” Truth is, the only way America can win the “War On Terror” is if it stops giving terrorists the motivation and the resources to attack America. Terrorism is the symptom; American imperialism in the Middle East is the cancer. Put simply, the War on Terror is terrorism; only, it is conducted on a much larger scale by people with jets and missiles.Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com
  • Turkey, Islamic State and USA
    Turkey, Islamic State and USA By Mikhail AGHAJANYAN | 19.09.2014 | 00:01 "Strategic Culture Foundation" The Turkey’s contemporary Middle East policy is inconsistent. On September 11 in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) the foreign chiefs of the United States of America, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Persian Gulf monarchies declared their intention to “eradicate” the Islamic State. It’s worth to note that Iran and Syria were not among the participants.Just before the event Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Dovutoglu had held a meeting of the cabinet to announce that Turkey would not take part in ground operations and other actions on the Iraqi soil limiting its role to intelligence gathering and logistics.US State Secretary John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have recently visited Turkey. Each time the President Erdogan’s press-service did not elaborate saying only that the fight against terrorists in the Middle East continues.Intelligence collection is not a big thing. Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighbouring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants. It will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations. The decision echoes the country's refusal to allow the United States to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.Turkey then also refused America permission to use its air bases to attack the regime of Saddam Hussein. The decision of Turkey’s government greatly complicates the US mission. This policy has its reasons and justifications. Turkish consulate in Mosul workers are kept hostages by Islamic State militants. The involvement in joint operations with the US intent of moving the combat area to Syrian soil may put Turkey on the brink of open conflict with Iran. Middle East experts know for sure that President Obama is on shaky ground. His intent to bomb the Islamic State in Syria may lead to implications hard to predict at present. Some time ago the US President excluded boots on the ground in Iraq. Now he means it. In near future the United States may increase special operations forces presence in the northern part of Iraq under the pretext of providing training for Iraqi regular forces and Kurdish peshmerga formations. At the same time the Iraqi army will move to the forward edge of combat area. The composition of the would-be coalition is still to be defined.Turkeyhas not refused the idea of establishing a buffer zone on the ground and no-fly zone near the Syrian border. Ankara came out with an idea of moving its troops to Syria but it was not supported by the Unites States. Turkey believes that establishing a buffer zone at the border will separate Syrian “moderate” opposition forces supported by Ankara and the Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State radicals. Turkey wants Iran to an agreement that would envision Turkish control over the buffer zone in exchange for Iranian control over Iraq’s eastern provinces.These plans have been rejected by the United States and Iran making Turkey isolate itself from taking active part in the coalition. Washington has no leverage over Turkey. The US hopes to make things precise after the United Nations Security Council says “Yes” to the operation in Iraq.Turkey’s parliament approved two months ago the decision permitting the armed forces to conduct operations in Syria. It will have to prolong the permission next month. The US does not let Turkey act as it wants to. At the election time Erdogan considered different scenarios. A commandos operation in Mosul to free hostages was on the table. The military came to conclusion the operation was impossible without American support.***Two years ago the Turkish Justice and Development Party held the fourth convention on September 30, 2012. It was a claim to the leadership in the Middle East. Hamas leader Khaled Mashal told Erdogan then that he was not only the leader of Turkey but rather the leader of the whole Islamic world. It’s not the case anymore. According to the Wall Street Journal, Turkey's Middle-East Dream Becomes a Nightmare today. (1)The United States stands in the way of Turkey’s independent Middle East policy. Any attempt to deviate from toeing the Washington-defined line leads to misunderstanding and factions becoming public domain. Erdogan has said recently he has not talked to President Obama directly for a long time. The confession shows how tense the relations have become.(1) Soner Cagaptay, Turkey's Middle-East Dream Becomes a Nightmare // The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2014.
  • Turkey opens border to Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIL terror
    Turkey opens border to Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIL terror By presstv Turkey has opened its southern border to allow thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing the ISIL Takfiri group enter the country.The terrorists have reportedly been closing in on Kurdish communities following the takeover of dozens of villages in Syria’s Kurdish region.TV footage showed groups of exhausted Syrian Kurds, most of them women and children, crossing into the southeastern Turkish village of Dikmetas on Friday.Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Azerbaijan Republic that more that 4,000 Syrian refugees were sheltered.“We will take in our brothers fleeing ... from Syria or any other place without any ethnic or sectarian discrimination,” Davutoglu said. “Their needs will be met. This is a humanitarian mission.”Syrian Kurds, fleeing clashes between ISIL and Kurdish fighters in the Kurdish town of Kobane and the surrounding areas, have been massing along the Turkish border since Thursday.Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus also warned that ISIL terrorists had advanced seven or eight kilometers within the Turkish territory.“We have worked on a worse-case scenario which would see us subjected to an influx of more than 100,000 refugees,” he said.Some 1.5 million Syrian refugees have taken refuge in Turkey in over three years of conflict in Syria. Damascus says Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar support terrorist groups in the region.DB/HSN/HRB
  • US, Canada military report Russian military planes at border
    US, Canada military report Russian military planes at border By RT American and Canadian military reported intercepting Russian military aircraft near Alaska and Canada this week. Neither country’s airspace was violated.There were two separate incidents involving Russian military planes near North America. On Wednesday, two Mig-31 fighter jets were spotted in a US air defense identification zone (ADIZ) off the Alaska coast, with the US Air Force scrambling two F-22 jets to intercept them. The US also identified two Tu-95 long-range bombers and two Il-78 refueling tankers nearby.On Thursday, two Russian Tu-95 bombers flew into Canada’s ADIZ and were intercepted by two Canadian F-18 jets.ADIZ is a zone projecting from a country’s coastline closely monitored by the military for possible threats. The US and Canada ADIZ extends some 200 miles into the sea.Since Russia renewed long-range air missions for its air force, Russian military aircraft have regularly flown near the US. In the past five years, the US has scrambled its fighter jets some 50 times to shadow the Russians, said John Cornelio, spokesman for NORAD and NORTHCOM."We do not see these flights as a threat," he said.Some media linked the encounters with the annual Vostok military exercise currently underway in Russia’s east.
  • The Geopolitics of World War III
    The Geopolitics of World War III "VT" Editor’s note: This was received by friends. This is a powerful piece. Please take the time to watch the videos and make sure everyone you know has a chance to see this.—The real reason Russia and Syria are being targeted right now. Contrary to popular belief, the conduct of nations on the international stage is almost never driven by moral considerations, but rather by a shadowy cocktail of money and geopolitics. As such, when you see the mouthpieces of the ruling class begin to demonize a foreign country, the first question in your mind should always be “what is actually at stake here?”For some time now Russia, China, Iran, and Syria have been in the cross hairs. Once you understand why, the events unfolding in the world right now will make much more sense.The U.S. dollar is a unique currency. In fact its current design and its relationship to geopolitics is unlike any other in history. Though it has been the world reserve currency since 194 this is not what makes it unique. Many currencies have held the reserve status off and on over the centuries, but what makes the dollar unique is the fact that since the early 1970s it has been, with a few notable exceptions, the only currency used to buy and sell oil on the global market.Prior to 1971 the U.S. dollar was bound to the gold standard, at least officially. According to the IMF, by 1966, foreign central banks held $14 billion U.S. dollars, however the United States had only $3.2 billion in gold allocated to cover foreign holdings.Translation: the Federal Reserve was printing more money than it could actually back.The result was rampant inflation and a general flight from the dollar.In 1971 in what later came to be called the “Nixon Shock” President Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard completely.At this point the dollar became a pure debt based currency. With debt based currencies money is literally loaned into existence.Approximately 70% of the money in circulation is created by ordinary banks which are allowed to loan out more than they actually have in their accounts.The rest is created by the Federal Reserve which loans money that they don’t have, mostly to government.Kind of like writing hot checks, except it’s legal, for banks. This practice which is referred to as fractional reserve banking is supposedly regulated by the Federal Reserve, an institution which just happens to be owned and controlled by a conglomerate of banks, and no agency or branch of government regulates the Federal Reserve. Now to make things even more interesting these fractional reserve loans have interest attached, but the money to pay that interest doesn’t exist in the system. As a result there is always more total debt than there is money in circulation, and in order to stay afloat the economy must grow perpetually.This is obviously not sustainable.Now you might be wondering how the dollar has maintained such a dominant position on the world stage for over forty years if it’s really little more than an elaborate ponzi scheme.Well this is where the dollar meets geopolitics.In 1973 under the shadow of the artificial OPEC oil crisis, the Nixon administration began secret negotiations with the government of Saudi Arabia to establish what came to be referred to as the petrodollar recycling system. Under the arrangement the Saudis would only sell their oil in U.S. dollars, and would invest the majority of their excess oil profits into U.S. banks and Capital markets. The IMF would then use this money to facilitate loans to oil importers who were having difficulties covering the increase in oil prices. The payments and interest on these loans would of course be denominated in U.S. dollars.This agreement was formalized in the “The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation” put together by Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974.Another document released by the Congressional Research Service reveals that these negotiations had an edge to them, as U.S. officials were openly discussing the feasibility of seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia militarily.In the United States, the oil shocks produced inflation, new concern about foreign investment from oil producing countries, and open speculation about the advisability and feasibility of militarily seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia or other countries. In the wake of the embargo, both Saudi and U.S. officials worked to re-anchor the bilateral relationship on the basis of shared opposition to Communism, renewed military cooperation, and through economic initiatives that promoted the recycling of Saudi petrodollars to the United States via Saudi investment in infrastructure, industrial expansion, and U.S. securities.The system was expanded to include the rest of OPEC by 1975.Though presented as buffer to the recessionary effects of rising oil prices, this arrangement had a hidden side effect. It removed the traditional restraints on U.S. monetary policy.The Federal Reserve was now free to increase the money supply at will. The ever increasing demand for oil would would prevent a flight from the dollar, while distributing the inflationary consequences across the entire planet.The dollar went from being a gold back currency to a oil backed currency. It also became America’s primary export.Did you ever wonder how the U.S. economy has been able to stay afloat while running multibillion dollar trade deficits for decades?Did you ever wonder how it is that the U.S. holds such a disproportionate amount of the worlds wealth when 70% of the U.S. economy is consumer based?In the modern era, fossil fuels make the world go round. They have become integrated into every aspect of civilization: agriculture, transportation, plastics, heating, defense and medicine, and demand just keeps growing and growing.As long as the world needs oil, and as long as oil is only sold in U.S. dollars, there will be a demand for dollars, and that demand is what gives the dollar its value.For the United States this is a great deal. Dollars go out, either as paper or digits in a computer system, and real tangible products and services come in. However for the rest of the world, it’s a very sneaky form of exploitation.Having global trade predominately in dollars also provides the Washington with a powerful financial weapon through sanctions. This is due to the fact that most large scale dollar transactions are forced to pass through the U.S.This petrodollar system stood unchallenged until September of 2000 when Saddam Hussein announced his decision to switch Iraq’s oil sales off of the dollar to Euros. This was a direct attack on the dollar, and easily the most important geopolitical event of the year, but only one article in the western media even mentioned it.In the same month that Saddam announced he was moving away from the dollar, an organization called the “The Project for a New American Century”, of which Dick Cheney just happened to be a member, released a document entitled “REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century”. This document called for massive increases in U.S. military spending and a much more aggressive foreign policy in order to expand U.S. dominance world wide. However the document lamented that achieving these goals would take many years “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”. One year later they got it.Riding the emotional reaction to 9/11, the Bush administration was able to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and pass the patriot act all without any significant resistance.There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and this wasn’t a question of bad intelligence. This was a cold calculated lie, and the decision to invade was made in full knowledge of the disaster which would follow. They knew exactly what was going to happen but in 2003, they did it anyway. Once Iraqi oil fields were under U.S. control, oil sales were immediately switched back to the dollar. Mission accomplished.Soon after the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration attempted to extend these wars to Iran. Supposedly the Iranian government was working to build a nuclear weapon. After the Iraq fiasco Washington’s credibility was severely damaged as a result they were unable to muster international or domestic support for an intervention. Their efforts were further sabotaged by elements within the CIA and Mossad who came forward to state that Iran had not even made the decision to develop nuclear weapons much less begin an attempt. However the demonization campaign against Iran continued even into the Obama administration.Why?Well, might it have something to do with the fact that since 2004 Iran has been in the process of organizing an independent oil bourse? They were building their own oil market, and it wasn’t going to be tied to the dollar. The first shipments of oil were sold through this market in July of 2011.Unable to get the war that they wanted, the U.S. used the U.N to impose sanctions against Iran. The goal of the sanctions was to topple the Iranian regime. While this did inflict damage on the Iranian economy, the measures failed to destabilize the country. This was due in large part to Russia’s assistance in bypassing U.S. banking restrictions.In February of 2009 Muammar Gaddafi, was named chairman of the African Union. He immediately proposed the formation of a unified state with a single currency. It was the nature of that proposed currency that got him killed.In March of 2009 the African Union released a document entitled “Towards a Single African Currency”. Pages 106 and 107 of that document specifically discuss the benefits and technicalities of running the African Central bank under a gold standard. On page 94 it explicitly states that the key to the success of the African Monetary Union would be the “eventual linking of a single African currency to the most monetary of all commodities – gold.” (Note that the page number is different on other versions of the document that they released.)In 2011 the CIA moved into Libya and began backing militant groups in their campaign to topple Gaddafi and the U.S. and NATO pushed through and stretched a U.N. nofly-zone resolution to tip the balance with airstrikes. The presence of Al-Qaeda extremists among these rebel fighters was swept under the rug.Libya, like Iran and Iraq had committed the unforgivable crime of challenging the U.S. dollar.The NATO intervention in Libya segued into a covert war on Syrian. The armories of the Libyan government were looted and the weapons were shipped via Turkey to Syrian rebels groups working to topple Assad. It was already clear at this point that many of these fighters had ties to terrorist organizations. However the U.S. national security apparatus viewed this as a necessary evil. In fact the Council on Foreign relations published an article in 2012 stating that “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”(Hat tip to theantimedia.org for catching this.)Let’s be clear here, the U.S. put ISIS in power. In 2013 these same Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels launched two sarin gas attacks. This was attempt to frame Assad and muster international support for military intervention. Fortunately they were exposed by U.N. and Russian investigators and the push for airstrikes completely fell apart when Russia stepped in to broker a diplomatic solution. The campaign for regime change in Syria, as in Libya has been presented in terms of human rights. Obviously this isn’t the real motive.In 2009, Qatar put forth a proposal to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Assad however rejected this, and in 2011 he forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward cutting Qatar and Saudi Arabia out of the loop completely. Not surprisingly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been the most aggressive regional players in the push to topple the Syrian government.But why would this pipeline dispute put Syria in Washington’s cross hairs? Three reasons:1. This pipeline arrangement would significantly strengthen Iran’s position, allowing them to export to European markets without having to pass through any of Washington’s allies. This obviously reduces the U.S. government’s leverage.2. Syria is Iran’s closest ally. It’s collapse would inherently weaken Iran.3. Syria and Iran have a mutual defense agreement, and a U.S. intervention in Syria could open the door to open conflict with Iran.In February of 2014 this global chess game heated up in a new venue: Ukraine. The real target however was Russia.You see Russia just happens to be the worlds second largest oil exporter, and not only have they been a thorn in Washington’s side diplomatically, but they also opened an energy bourse in 2008, with sales denominated in Rubles and gold. This project had been in the works since 2006. They have also been working with China to pull off of the dollar in all of their bilateral trade.Russia has also been in the process of organizing a Eurasian Economic Union which includes plans to adopt common currency unit, and which is slated to have its own independent energy market.Leading up to the crisis in Ukraine had been presented with a choice: either join the E.U. under an association agreement or join the Eurasian Union. The E.U. insisted that this was an either or proposition. Ukraine couldn’t join both. Russia on the other hand, asserted that joining both posed no issue. President Yanukovich decided to go with Russia.In response the U.S. national security apparatus did what it does best: they toppled Yanukovich and installed a puppet government. To see the full evidence of Washington’s involvement in the coup watch “The ukraine crisis what you’re not being told”This article from the Guardian is also worth reading.Though this all seemed to be going well at first, the U.S. quickly lost control of the situation. Crimea held a referendum and the people voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. The transition was orderly and peaceful. No one was killed, yet the West immediately framed the entire event as an act of Russian aggression, and this became the go to mantra from that point on.Crimea is important geostrategically because of its position in the Black Sea which allows for the projection of naval power into the Mediterranean. It has also been Russian territory for most of recent history.The U.S. has been pushing for Ukraine’s inclusion into NATO for years now. Such a move would place U.S. forces right on Russia’s border and could have potentially resulted in Russia losing their naval base in Crimea. This is why Russia immediately accepted the results of the Crimean referendum and quickly consolidated the territory.Meanwhile in Eastern Ukraine, two regions declared independence from Kiev and held referendums of their own. The results of which overwhelmingly favored self rule.Kiev responded to this with what they referred to as anti-terrorist operations. In practice this was a massive and indiscriminate shelling campaign which killed thousands of civilians. Apparently killing civilians didn’t qualify as aggression to the West. In fact the IMF explicitly warned the provisional government that their 17 billion dollar loan package could be in danger if they were not able to put down the uprising in eastern Ukraine.While the war against eastern Ukraine was raging elections were held and Petro Poroshenko was elected president. It turns out that Poroshenko, was exposed by a leaked diplomatic cable released by wikileaks in 2008 as having worked as a mole for the U.S. State Department since 2006. They referred to him as “Our Ukraine insider” and much of the cable referred to information that he was providing. (A separate cable showed that the U.S. knew Poroshenko was corrupt even at that point.)Having a puppet in place however hasn’t turned out to be enough to give Washington the upper hand in this crisis. What does Washington do when they have no other leverage? They impose sanctions, they demonize and they saber rattle (or pull a false flag).This isn’t a very good strategy when dealing with Russia. In fact it has already backfired. The sanctions have merely pushed Russia and China into closer cooperation and accelerated Russia’s de-dollarization agenda. And in spite of the rhetoric, this has not led to Russia being isolated. The U.S. and NATO have put a wedge between themselves and Russia, but not between Russia and the rest of the world (look up BRICS if you are unclear about this).This new anti-dollar axis goes deeper than economics. These countries understand what’s at stake here. This is why in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis China has proposed a new Eurasian security pact which would include Russia and Iran.Consider the implications here as the Obama administration begins bombing in Syria which also has a mutual defense agreement with Iran.This is not the cold war 2.0. This is World War 3.0. The masses may not have figured it out yet, but history will remember it that way.Alliances are already solidifying and and a hot war is underway on multiple fronts. If the provocations and proxy wars continue, it’s only a matter of time before the big players confront each other directly, and that is a recipe for disaster.Does all of this sound insane to you? Well you’re right. The people running the world right now are insane, and the public is sleep walking into a tragedy. If you want to alter the course that we are on, there’s only one way to do it. We have to wake up that public. Even the most powerful weapons of war are neutralized if you reach the mind of the man behind the trigger.How do we wake the masses you ask? Don’t wait for someone else to answer that for you. Get creative. Act like you children’s and grandchildren’s futures depend on it, because they do.
  • How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign
    How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR CampaignBusiness as Usual in Manhattan By ARUN GUPTA "Counter Punch Weekend Edition September 19-21, 2014" I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch.Welcome to the “People’s Climate March” set for Sunday, Sept. 21 in New York City. It’s timed to take place before world leaders hold a Climate Summit at the United Nations two days later. Organizers are billing it as the “biggest climate change demonstration ever” with similar marches around the world. The Nation describes the pre-organizing as following “a participatory, open-source model that recalls the Occupy Wall Street protests.” A leader of 350.org, one of the main organizing groups, explained, “Anyone can contribute, and many of our online organizing ‘hubs’ are led by volunteers who are often coordinating hundreds of other volunteers.”I will join the march, as well as the Climate Convergence starting Friday, and most important the “Flood Wall Street” direct action on Monday, Sept. 22. I’ve had conversations with more than a dozen organizers including senior staff at the organizing groups. Many people are genuinely excited about the Sunday demonstration. The movement is radicalizing thousands of youth. Endorsers include some labor unions and many people-of-color community organizations that normally sit out environmental activism because the mainstream green movement has often done a poor job of talking about the impact on or solutions for workers and the Global South.Nonetheless, to quote Han Solo, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”Environmental activist Anne Petermann and writer Quincy Saul describe how the People’s Climate March has no demands, no targets,and no enemy. Organizers admitted encouraging bankers to march was like saying Blackwater mercenaries should join an antiwar protest. There is no unity other than money. One veteran activist who was involved in Occupy Wall Street said it was made known there was plenty of money to hire her and others. There is no sense of history: decades of climate-justice activism are being erased by the incessant invocation of the “biggest climate change demonstration ever.” Investigative reporter Cory Morningstar has connected the dots between the organizing groups, 350.org and Avaaz, the global online activist outfit modeled on MoveOn, and institutions like the World Bank and Clinton Global Initiative. Morningstar claims the secret of Avaaz’s success is its “expertise in behavioral change.”That is what I find most troubling. Having worked on Madison Avenue for nearly a decade, I can smell a P.R. and marketing campaign a mile away. That’s what the People’s Climate March looks to be. According to inside sources a push early on for a Seattle-style event—organizing thousands of people to nonviolently shut down the area around the United Nations—was thwarted by paid staff with the organizing groups.One participant in the organizing meetings said, “In the beginning people were saying, ‘This is our Seattle,’” referring to the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial that was derailed by direct action. But the paid staff got the politics-free Climate March. Another source said, “You wouldn’t see Avaaz promoting an occupy-style action. The strategic decision was made to have a big march and get as many mainstream groups on board as possible.”Nothing wrong with that. Not every tactic should be based on Occupy. But in an email about climate change that Avaaz sent out last December, which apparently raked in millions of dollars, it wrote, “It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.”Here’s what seems to be going on. Avaaz found a lucrative revenue stream by warning about climate catastrophe that can be solved with the click of a donate button. To convince people to donate it says we need Occupy-style actions. When the moment comes for such a protest, Avaaz and 350.orgblocked it and then when it did get organized, they pushed it out of sight. If you go to People’s Climate March, you won’t find any mention of the Flood Wall Street action, which I fully support, but fear is being organized with too little time and resources. Nor have I seen it in an Avaaz email, nor has anyone else I’ve talked to. Bill McKibben of 350.org began promoting it this week, but that may be because there is discontent in the activist ranks about the march, which includes lots of Occupy Wall Street activists. One inside source said, “It’s a branding decision not to promote the Flood Wall Street action. These are not radical organizations.”Branding. That’s how the climate crisis is going to be solved. We are in an era or postmodern social movements.The image (not ideology) comes first and shapes the reality. The P.R. and marketing determines the tactics, the messaging, the organizing, and the strategy. Whether this can have a positive effect is a different question, and it’s why I encourage everyone to participate. The future is unknowable. But left to their own devices the organizers will lead the movement into the graveyard of the Democratic Party, just as happened with the movement against the Iraq War a decade ago. You remember that historic worldwide movement, right? It was so profound the New York Times dubbed global public opinion, “the second superpower.” Now Obama has launched an eighth war and there is no antiwar movement to speak of.Sources say Avaaz and 350.org is footing most of the bill for the People’s Climate March with millions of dollars spent. Avaaz is said to have committed a dozen full-time staff, and hired dozens of other canvassers to collect petition signatures and hand out flyers. Nearly all of 350.org’s staff is working on climate marches around the country and there is an office in New York with thirty full-time workers organizing the march. That takes a lot of cheddar. While the grassroots are being mobilized, this is not a grassroots movement. That’s why it’s a mistake to condemn it. People are joining out of genuine concern and passion and hope for an equitable, sustainable world, but the control is top down and behind closed doors. Everyone I talked to described an undemocratic process. Even staffers were not sure who was making the decisions other than to tell me to follow the money. It’s also facile to say all groups are alike. Avaaz is more cautious than 350.org, and apparently the New York chapter of 350.org, which is more radical, is at odds with the national.But when the overriding demand is for numbers, which is about visuals, which is about P.R. and marketing, everything becomes lowest common denominator. The lack of politics is a political decision. One insider admitted despite all the overheated rhetoric about the future is on the line, “I don’t expect much out of this U.N. process.” The source added this is “a media moment, a mobilizing moment.” The goal is to have visuals of a diverse crowd, hence the old saw about a “family-friendly” march. Family friendly comes at a high cost, however. Everything is decided by the need for visuals, which means organizers will capitulate to anything the NYPD demands for fear of violence. The march is on a Sunday morning when the city is in hangover mode. The world leaders will not even be at the United Nations, and they are just the hired guns of the real climate criminals on Wall Street. The closest the march comes to the United Nations is almost a mile away. The march winds up on Eleventh Avenue, a no-man’s land far from subways. There is no closing rally or speakers.An insider says the real goal was to create space for politicians: “If you can frame it as grandma and kids and immigrants and labor you could make it safer for politicians to come out and support. It’s all very liberal. I don’t have much faith in it.”When I asked what the metrics for success for, the insider told me media coverage and long-term polling about public opinion. I was dumbfounded. That’s the exact same tools we would use in huge marketing campaigns. First we would estimate and tally media “impressions” across all digital, print, outdoor, and so on. Then a few months down the road we would conduct surveys to see if we changed the consumer’s opinion of the brand, their favorability, the qualities they associated with it, the likelihood they would try. That’s the same tools Avaaz is allegedly using.Avaaz has pioneered clickbait activism. It gets people to sign petitions about dramatic but ultimately minor issues like, “Prevent the flogging of 15 year old rape victim in Maldives.” The operating method of Avaaz, which was established in 2007, is to create “actions” like these that generate emails for its fundraising operation. In other words, it’s a corporation with a business model to create products (the actions), that help it increase market share (emails), and ultimately revenue. The actions that get the most attention are ones that get the most petition signers, the most media coverage, and which help generate revenue.begging slogans6Avaaz has turned social justice into a product to enhance the liberal do-gooding lifestyle, and it’s set its sights on the climate justice movement.The more dramatic the emails the better the response. It’s like the supermarket. The bags and boxes don’t say, “Not bad,” or “kinda tasty.” They say “the cheesiest,” “the most delicious,” “an avalanche of flavor,” “utterly irresistible.” That’s why climate change polls so well for Avaaz. It’s really fucking dramatic. But it’s still not dramatic enough for marketing purposes.One source said the December 2013 email from Avaaz Executive Director Ricken Patel about climate change was a goldmine. It was headlined, “24 Months to Save the World.” It begins, “This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you,” and then says the climate crisis is “beyond our worst expectations” with storms and temperatures “off the charts.” Then comes the hook from Patel, “We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.”Telling people there is 24 months to save the world is odious, as is implying an online donation to Avaaz can save the planet.The same overblown rhetoric is being used for the People’s Climate March: It’s the biggest ever. There is “unprecedented collaboration” with more than 1,400 “partner” groups in New York City. Everything comes down to this one day with the “future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history.”Presumably the orderly marchers behind NYPD barricades will convince the governments of the world that will meet for the Climate Summit that won’t even meet for another two days that they need to pass UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon’s “ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.”Moon is now joining the march. But it’s hard to find details, including on the Climate Summit website, as to what will actually be discussed there. The best account I could find is by Canadian journalist Nick Fillmore. He claims the main point will be a carbon pricing scheme. This is one of those corporate-designed scams that in the past has rewarded the worst polluters with the most credits to sell and creates perverse incentives to pollute, because then they can earn money to cut those emissions.So we have a corporate-designed protest march to support a corporate-dominated world body to implement a corporate policy to counter climate change caused by the corporations of the world, which are located just a few miles away but which will never feel the wrath of the People’s Climate March.Rather than moaning on the sidelines and venting on Facebook, radicals need to be in the streets. Join the marches and more important the direct actions. Radicals need to ask the difficult questions as to why for the second time in fifteen years has a militant uprising, first Seattle and then Occupy, given way to liberal cooptation. What good is your radical analysis if the NGO sector and Democratic Party fronts kept out-organizing you?Naomi Klein says we need to end business as usual because climate change is going to change everything. She’s right. Unfortunately the organizers of the People’s Climate March didn’t get the memo. Because they are continuing on with business as usual that won’t change anything.One prominent environmental organizer says that after the march ends, “The U.N. leaders are going to be in there Monday and Tuesday and do whatever the fuck they want. And everyone will go back to their lives, walking the dog and eating brunch.”The future is unwritten. It’s not about what happens on Sunday. It’s what happens after that.Arun Gupta contributes to outlets including Al Jazeera America, Vice, The Progressive, The Guardian, and In These Times.
  • The History of ISIS Beheadings: Part of the “Training Manual” of US Sponsored Syria
    The History of ISIS Beheadings: Part of the “Training Manual” of US Sponsored Syria “Pro-Democracy” TerroristsBy Julie Lévesque "Global Research" The recent beheadings of three Westerners, Foley, Sotloff and Haines, at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) has sparked a wave of indignation and strong condemnation by Western heads of state.For anyone aware of what has been truly going on in Syria from the outset of the war in March 2011, there is something unusual in these strong statements, which are now the object of a wave of “humanitarian bombings” under a counter-terrorism mandate directed against the Islamic State.Lest we forget, from the outset of the war on Syria in March 2011, the US and its allies supported so-called “Freedom fighters” largely composed of the Al Nusrah and ISIS brigades. Trained in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, these pro-democracy terrorists were routinely involved in atrocities including beheadings directed against Syrian civilians.Double standards? In the course of the last three years, no Western leader made any statements in regards to these atrocities committed by “Muslim extremists”. They passed virtually unnoticed. No concern was expressed by the international community in this regard. With some exceptions, these beheadings were barely the object of media coverage.Is it because the “freedom fighters” integrated by ISIS and Al Nusrah forces were beheading Syrian civilians rather than Westerners. Was it because the victims of these atrocities were opposed to the bloody “pro-democracy revolution” sponsored by US-NATO against the government of Bashar Al Assad?Why are Western leaders only appalled now? Is it because now Westerners rather than Syrians are being decapitated?These recent beheadings of American and British nationals, whether authentic or not, are obviously exploited to pave the way for a military intervention in Syria. This is a basic propaganda technique used time and time again to gather support for war and the mainstream media is there to convey this propaganda.The mainstream media’s role is not to inform people but to appeal to their emotions and manipulate them into approving what they would otherwise refuse.Westerners don’t want to go to war in the Middle East again? Show them one of their fellow countrymen getting his head cut off by a “Muslim” and they will change their mind. And you don’t even need to show anything, just say that people in high office have seen the horrific act and have their media mouthpieces repeat what they have said. It works every time.This tactic can either be considered as an appeal to fear and/or an appeal to emotions:An appeal to fear (also called argumentum ad metum or argumentum in terrorem) is a fallacy in which a person attempts to create support for an idea by using deception and propaganda in attempts to increase fear and prejudice toward a competitor. The appeal to fear is common in marketing and politics. (Wikipedia)The appeal to emotions, or argumentum ad passiones is a logical fallacy which uses the manipulation of the recipient’s emotions, rather than valid logic, to win an argument.” (Wikipedia)If this technique is used rather than valid arguments, it’s in part because it always works like a charm and this is what the mainstream media is for, but also because the “valid arguments” which could be used to intervene could only be lies and easily refuted, as this article will attempt to demonstrate.Several independent media have questioned the authenticity of the beheading videos and some experts have clearly qualified them as “fake”, at least in the cases involving journalists Foley and Sotloff. The true identity of both men has also been questioned, especially Sotloff’s, who has known ties to the Israeli secret service (Mossad), and has been allegedly photographed behind a machine gun belonging to the Syrian rebel fighters.As “Operation Mocking Bird” has documented, journalism is the best cover for an intelligence operative. Several former CIA officers have confirmed that it is used to plant stories that are picked up by news outlets as facts when they actually are propaganda pieces (see CIA Manipulation: The Painful Truths Told by Phil Agee and John Stockwell about false reports generated by the CIA). The DC based “producer” of the terror videos, SITE, with its close links to the Pentagon and the FBI, is also suspicious and tends to point to a major propaganda stunt originating in the US.For the purpose of this article we will however examine the situation and the reaction of Western leaders from the point of view that these beheadings actually took place and that the videos are authentic.Beheadings from Western-backed rebels: “business as usual”Atrocities committed in Syria were reported from the outset of the unrest in 2011 by independent media. It took some time for the mainstream media to mention those atrocities, but since 2012, many reports have been published by the mainstream press, in spite of which the prevailing discourse on Syria remained essentially the same: the “tyrannical Assad regime” was brutally repressing a “pro-democracy rebellion” and the West was still expressing its unyielding support for the “pro-democracy fighters”.The only difference was that at some point the U.S. authorities had to admit the presence of terrorist groups among the “moderate rebels” even though these so-called moderate rebels were never clearly identified. Even former CIA operative Bob Baer said in a CNN interview following Sotloff’s alleged beheading that “there are no moderate rebels in Syria”.Here are only a few excerpts of various mainstream and independent articles and videos mentioning beheadings by rebels in Syria in 2012 and 2013, including reports from the UN and Human Rights Watch, which are usually used to support “humanitarian interventions” abroad.The video you can find here was published on July 3, 2013 and shows a Christian priest and another Christian being decapitated. The host of the web site explains:WARNING GRAPHIC: A priest and another Christian were beheaded before a cheering crowd by Syrian insurgents who say they aided and abetted the enemy, President Bashar Assad’s military, foreign media reported. An undated video that made the Internet rounds on Wednesday showed two unnamed men with tied hands surrounded by a cheering crowd of dozens, just moments before their heads were cut off with a small knife, Syria Report said. The attackers in the video then lifted the head for show, and placed it back on the body. The incident took place in the countryside of Idlib, the media report said. (RAW: Syrian Rebels Behead Christians, Military.com, July 3, 2013)This Daily Mail article from December 2012 describes how another Christian was beheaded and his body fed to dogs in a town close to the Turkish border, where most rebel fighters are said to transit into Syrian territory:Christian Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped and beheaded by rebel fighters in northern town of Ras Al-Ayn on the Turkish border.News came as pro-government forces celebrated their victory against rebels near Aleppo Airport.Syrian rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to dogs, according to a nun who says the West is ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic extremists.The nun said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits.She said his headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. He had recently married and was soon to be a father…Sister Agnes-Mariam de la Croix said: ‘His only crime was his brother criticised the rebels, accused them of acting like bandits, which is what they are.’There have been a growing number of accounts of atrocities carried out by rogue elements of the Syrian Free Army, which opposes dictator Bashar al-Assad and is recognised by Britain and the West as the legitimate leadership.‘The free and democratic world is supporting extremists,’ Sister Agnes-Miriam said from her sanctuary in Lebanon. ‘They want to impose Sharia Law and create an Islamic state in Syria. (Nick Fagge, Syria rebels ‘beheaded a Christian and fed him to the dogs’ as fears grow over Islamist atrocities, Daily Mail, December 31, 2012)The term “rogue elements” is used to create distance from and excuse the FSA, but the frequency of beheadings and other atrocities committed by rebel fighters prove the contrary.The German magazine Der Spiegel published in March 2012 a story featuring an “executioner” part of a “burial brigade”, some sort of death squad “responsible for the arbitrary execution of 350-400 people” who expressed “their opposition to the rule of terror of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)”:This single “burial brigade”, according to the executioner’s testimony, was responsible for the arbitrary execution of 350-400 people including “prisoners” and “traitors”. The “traitors” are Sunni civilians within the occupied urban and rural areas, who express their opposition to the rule of terror of the Free Syrian Army (FSA):“Since last summer, we have executed slightly fewer than 150 men, which represents about 20 percent of our prisoners,” says Abu Rami. … But the executioners of Homs have been busier with traitors within their own ranks than with prisoners of war. “If we catch a Sunni spying, or if a citizen betrays the revolution, we make it quick,” says the fighter.According to Abu Rami, Hussein’s burial brigade has put between 200 and 250 traitors to death since the beginning of the uprising.” (Ulrike Putz, Syria: Atrocities Committed by US-NATO Sponsored “Opposition”. Executioner for Syria’s “Rebels” Tells His Story, Der Spiegel Online, March 30, 2012)In this independent report from Human rights investigations, a child is shown using a machete to cut a man’s head off and mentions the involvement of the Free Syrian Army (if you wish to see the video, click on the link to the original article):Extensive and horrifying footage of an incident in which two men are executed by beheading in which a child participates now comes from two different sources.Footage posted to YouTube by Voice of America Arabic (Radio Sawa) anchor and journalist Zaid Benjamin, shows a child hacking a prisoner’s neck with a machete. In fact, different footage of the same incident was previously shown on 26 November on Sama TV (A Syrian channel) as part of a segment which demonstrated the difference between Turkish propaganda on the Syrian conflict and the actual reality.The footage shown by Sama was edited to remove the most graphic content, but shows more of the background to the incident. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade involved is apparently the Khalid ibn al-Waleed brigade. (Syrian rebels use a child to behead a prisoner, Human rights investigations, December 10, 2012)A United Nations report from June 2013 describes what appears to be the same scene:Syrian opposition forces recruited a 14-year-old boy from Homs as a fighter and had a child take part in beheading two government soldiers, according to a United Nations report…The report drew attention to video footage, submitted by the Russian mission to the UN in Geneva, showing the decapitation of two regime soldiers, with a child responsible for one beheading. “Following investigation, it is believed that the video is authentic and the men were soldiers, killed as depicted,” the UN panel said. (Flavia Krause-Jackson and Sangwon Yoon, Beheadings by Syrian Rebels Add to Atrocities, UN Says, Bloomberg, June 4, 2013)Even the very conservative Economist reported in October 2013 about an “assault by rebels, led by al-Qaeda affiliates” against Alawites considered to be “heretics” by the jihadists.This was day one of an assault by rebels, led by al-Qaeda affiliates, on Syria’s northwestern coastal region. Early in the morning bands of opposition fighters overran a government checkpoint and pushed into an area of ten villages, carrying out killings that Human Rights Watch, a New York-based pressure group, says may amount to crimes against humanity. Local residents reported indiscriminate gunfire and murder.Home to Syrians of all creeds, the area is also the heartland of the Alawites, the esoteric Shia offshoot to which the ruling Assad family belongs and whose adherents the jihadists consider heretics. Over the course of the operation, Human Rights Watch says the fighters killed 190 civilians. Residents and hospital staff in Latakia, the nearest city, spoke of burned bodies, beheaded corpses and graves being dug in backyards. Two hundred people from the area remain hostage. (S.B., The war in Syria – Rebel atrocities, The Economist, October 13, 2013)The BBC also commented on the same Human Rights Watch report:The report names 190 civilians killed by the rebels, including at least 57 women, 18 children and 14 elderly men. The total number of dead is likely higher because many residents remained missing and bodies were buried in mass graves, it adds…A doctor at a hospital in Latakia said several of the bodies had multiple gunshot wounds, stab wounds or had been decapitated. Some were burnt or had their feet bound, he added…HRW says Islamist rebel groups – which include foreign fighters – are financed by individuals in Kuwait and the Gulf. It calls on the UN to impose an arms embargo on all groups credibly accused of war crimes. (Syria rebels executed civilians, says Human Rights Watch, BBC, October 11, 2013)Like every Western mainstream news outlet, the BBC has been biased on the Syrian issue and has defended the Western-backed Free Syrian Army right from the beginning. Confronted with this evidence of atrocities by the ones they kept promoting as being pro-democracy freedom fighters, the public broadcaster attempted to whitewash the Free Syrian Army with a somewhat absurd and contradictory statement:HRW says about 20 opposition groups took part in the offensive and that five were involved in the attacks on civilians – the al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Jaysh al-Muhajirin wa al-Ansar, Ahrar al-Sham and Suqour al-IzzNone are affiliated to the Western-backed Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, though SMC chief Gen Salim Idris did say at the time that fighters under his command participated in the assault… (Ibid.)The phrasing is very insidious since it leads the reader to believe that if the groups which committed the assault are not linked to the Western-backed FSA, the latter did not participate in the assault. But the FSA DID participate in the assault since “fighters under [the FSA General’s] command participated in the assault.”The US was Supporting ISIS via the Free Syria ArmySalim Idriss, who was replaced in February 2014 by Col Abd al-Ilah al-Bashir, even declared in November 2013, one month after the publication of the HRW report, that his relationship with ISIL (ISIS) was “good”:“My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good… I communicate almost daily with brothers in ISIL to settle these disputes and issues. The issues are being overinflated by the media.”(FSA General Declares Support for ISIS & Al-Nusra)He also said in a previous interview in January 2013 that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra constituted “about 10% of the FSA”, a statement which also contradicts the BBC analysis. He said he didn’t know why it is listed as a terrorist organization because all he saw was “good morals and brave and heroic fighting against the regime” and added: “They did not exhibit any abnormal behavior which is different from that of the FSA.” (Ibid.)Should we conclude that “normal behavior” for the Western-backed FSA and ISIS includes beheading people?The Human Rights Watch report from October 2013 explicitly states that the murders committed in “Operation to Save the Coast” in the Syrian region of Latakia were committed by 20 groups including ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra AND the FSA. It also clearly indicates that individuals from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, know to be Western allies, funded and planned the “Operation to Save the Coast” and that the foreign fighters entering Latakia at the time almost did so entirely from Turkey, a NATO member.One “Western diplomat raised the concern to Human Rights Watch that in general the number of nationals from European countries going into Syria to fight was ‘greater than the number of those who went from Europe to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq.’”The testimony from a doctor working in the National Hospital in Latakia said “they had received 205 corpses of civilians killed during the August 4-August 18 operation” with “decapitation observed in most bodies.”So if we summarize, over 200 civilians were killed in this single operation, most of them were decapitated, most probably by Western-backed foreign fighters transiting through a NATO member state.Where was the disgust, the horror and the outrage from Western leaders back then?It is quite obvious that the decapitations of hundreds of Syrian civilians by Western-backed forces would completely destroy the propaganda and prove that Assad was telling the truth when he said he was fighting a foreign terrorist invasion. That’s why this report was not much talked about and the narrative stayed the same in the Western media.But all other subsequent attempts to justify a military invasion in Syria failed and now we are faced with the most absurd scenario: the West pretends it must intervene against its own deadly creation: ISISThe recent ISIS beheadings are just another pretext to intervene militarily in Syria. The hundreds of decapitations of Syrian nationals which have been committed by the Western proxy soldiers for years prove that this is just another PSYOP to gather support for another war in the Middle East.Below you will find longer excerpts of the Human Rights Watch report mentioned above.ANNEX“You Can Still See Their Blood” – Executions, Unlawful Killings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside Human Rights Watch, October 2013Fourteen residents and first responders told Human Rights Watch that they witnessed executions or saw bodies that bore signs of execution… including in some cases corpses that were bound, and bodies that had been decapitated. A doctor working in the National Hospital in Latakia who was receiving the dead and wounded from Latakia countryside told Human Rights Watch that they had received 205 corpses of civilians killed during the August 4-August 18 operation. The doctor showed Human Rights Watch a medical report the hospital prepared on August 26 stating that the, “[c ]ause of death in several of them [the bodies] was multiple gunshot wounds all over the bodies, in addition to stab wounds made with a sharp instrument, given the decapitation observed in most bodies…IV. Opposition Groups Involved in August 4 AttacksThe operation launched by opposition fighters in Latakia countryside on August 4, termed the “Campaign of the Descendants of Aisha the Mother of Believers,”[138] the “Barouda Offensive,”[139] and the “Operation to Liberate the Coast,” or the “Operation to Save the Coast” (herein after Operation to Liberate the Coast) was a coordinated preplanned assault by armed opposition groups on Syrian military positions and unguarded Alawite villages that lasted from August 4-August 18. On the first day of the operation, opposition fighters killed civilians on numerous occasions. In many cases evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch suggests they killed them knowing them to be civilian and that they were playing no part in combat…Of the 20 or more groups that were involved in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast” … five groups were among the principle planners, fundraisers, and executors of the offensive… These groups are:-Ahrar al-Sham-Islamic State of Iraq and Sham-Jabhat al-Nusra-Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar-Suquor al-Izz….The Islamic State of Iraq and ShamIn 2006, the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq was changed to the Islamic State of Iraq.[156] This group is now operating in Syria under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).[157] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the group’s leader and he has sworn loyalty to the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.[158] According to the opposition activist who spoke to Human Rights Watch, Abu Ayman commanded the group during the August Latakia offensive.[159]Abu Jaafar from ISIS has also been identified as the first deputy commander of the operation.[160]Multiple opposition sources identify ISIS as one of the leading groups involved in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast.”[161]Videos posted by opposition groups on YouTube also show ISIS’s involvement in the offensive on August 4.[162]On August 6 the opposition activist that spoke to Human Rights Watch also said that the ISIS played a key role in abducting and holding civilian hostages from the villages.[163] According to an opposition military leader from Latakia working on the hostage exchange, as of early September ISIS was holding 110 to 120 hostages.[164]V. Other Groups Involved in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast”…Free Syrian Army under Salim Idriss’s CommandNotably, several statements from Salim Idriss, the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, reflect that fighters under his command participated in the operation. In a video posted on August 11 and apparently filmed in Latakia countryside, Idriss states:I am here [in Latakia countryside] today to get a picture on the true achievements and the big successes that our fellow revolutionaries have achieved in the coastal campaign and to respond to the charges that claim incorrectly that we will end our operations here on the coastal frontlines. We are here today to assure everyone that our chief of staff is cooperating fully with the coastal military front command regarding their military activities. We are not going to withdraw as was falsely claimed but on the contrary, we are cooperating to a great extent in this operation.[211]… [T]he participation of Idriss and fighters under his command in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast” appears clear ….VI. Financial Support to OperationLargely based on information posted by individuals in the groups who participated in the “Operation to Liberate the Coast” and their supporters on social media sites, Human Rights Watch has identified several individuals, principally from Gulf countries, who actively fundraised for the operation and for support to the groups involved. There is no evidence that the fundraisers and financiers knew at the time that they gave their support about the abuses that would or were taking place in Latakia countryside. However future support to the five groups principally involved in planning, fundraising, and executing the attack on the villages may make these individuals complicit in war crimes or crimes against humanity if these groups continue to commit abuses. …On August 3 al-Suwan tweeted that he supports the Islamic brigades in Latakia countryside. [291] On August 5 and 7, al-Suwan tweeted a thank you to donors from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar …VII. Access of Foreign Fighters to SyriaAccording to Syrian security officials, media reports, western diplomats, and direct observations by journalists and humanitarian workers who visited the area in the past, many foreign fighters operating in northern Syria gain access to Syria via Turkey, from which they also smuggle their weapons, obtain money and other supplies, and sometimes retreat to for medical treatment. [314]According to a humanitarian worker in Turkey, based on his observations, foreign fighters entering Latakia governorate do so almost entirely from Turkey, even flying into Hatay airport where they are picked up by other foreign fighters and facilitators.[315]A western diplomat told Human Rights Watch that diplomats from several EU member state missions in Ankara are very concerned about the transiting of nationals from European and other countries through Turkey to Syria.[316]Another Western diplomat raised the concern to Human Rights Watch that in general the number of nationals from European countries going into Syria to fight was “greater than the number of those who went from Europe to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq.” (emphasis added)