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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
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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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(Full Video)اسلام واقعی Image

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(Full Video)اسلام واقعی

اسلام واقعآ موجود

نوسینده:نیک پاکپور

زنده،زنده سوزاندن خلبان اردنی به سبک سبعانه وسفاکانهٔ اسلام اصیل تازی.

ترکش و تکانی تاریخی برای بیداری و بسیجندگی درمورد شجره و شالودهٔ شقاوت گونهٔ شمشیرکشان یا شهسواران شرعی اسلام تازی که بدون ارتزاق و ارتشاف از خون اسراء و اسیرشدگان، خیمه و خرگاهٔ این آدمخوران، هیچگاه ودر هیچ برهه ایی از زمان ودر هیچ جایی از مکان برآفراشته نبوده و نخواهد بود!

سخنی مختصر و مرخم پیرامون پستی، پلیدی و پلشتی آنچه را که به عنوان جهل و جنون و جنایت یعنی "جنه سایت و کرایم، آگنست هومانیتی" یا جلوهٔ جنایت جلادان و جاهلان جندی پوش جندالله ايی، از نوع بهیمه های بدوی،بیابانی، بادیه نشینی بداندیش و بدسگال و بربر گونهٔ صدر اسلامی، علیه بقای بشریت قرن بیست یکمی، ناشی و نشئت گرفته از احکام و آیات و احادیث ابلیسانه و آدم کشانه و خونخورانهٔ انبیا، الیا و اوصیاء عصر جاهلیت جائر جزیه بگیر جزیرةالعرب وادی الاجنه، که از طریق غارت و غنیمت، قتل و قتال قرآنی قوم و قبایل قاصر و قسی ام لقرائی تازی النژاد که با قصاوت و قصابی و قمه کشی قصاص گران یا میرغضبان مرعوب شده و مجذوب شدهٔ مجموعه ای از ملایان، متولیان و مفتی یان و منادیان مرتعج و مفتخور و منفور مرگ و موت که بدون هیچ گونه تردید و توهمی برای تخریب و ترور تمدن بشری در محیطی خبیث، خمود و خرافاتی آلبته با معز ها یی مخلا و مفلوج و مومیائی شدهٔ آغشته و آمیخته به جهل و جهول جهادی مردم خاورمیانه و شمال آفریقا را با مدد مسجد و مزگت به مذلت و مسکنت مداوم سوق داده اند.

برای ما ایرانیان که خود را هم زادگاه و هم زایشگاهٔ سرزمین کهن زرفام، زرین زروان و زرتشت یعنی میراث داران واقعی آئین مردمی مانی، مهر و میترا و میترائیسم می دانیم ولی در طول تاریخ تاریک هزارو چهارصد سالهٔ تازش و تسلط تازیان، سنگینی سهمگین سبعانه و سفاکانهٔ قلاده و قمهٔ این سوسماران سمی، صحرائی از نوع خالدبن ولید و سعدوقاص را بر گردن ستبر و ستین خود با مزدوری و مددکاری مزوارنهٔ ستون پنجمی از تبار تهبکار تازیان یعنی شارحان شارلاتان، شیخان شیاد، و شعبده بازان شریر و شیطان، دعاخوانان و دروغگویان، ددمنشان و دکان دارن دین که با رسن و ریسمان رسولی ـ رمالی، رمه بانی به همراه مراوده گری و معامله گری با انواع و اقسام اجنه ادیمو و اجنهٔ آرالو، با البسهٔ عسکریان عربی ، عمامه ای، را تحمل کردهایم!

نتایج نجس و نکبت بار آن اینچنین بوده است که به جای تمدن و توانمندی و تبهور ملی، توتالیتاریسم توحیدی و تئو کراتیسم تازی را با اهرم و ابزار تهبکارانهٔ تهدید و تعزیر، توهین و تحقیر، تعصب و تحجر، تقلب و تقیه، ترور و تفتیش، تجاوز و تطمیع باقی مانده از تتمه و ته مانده و تفالهٔ تعفن بار فرهنگ فژاگن و فرتوت گونهٔ جزیرةالعرب یا جزیرةالعیوب خفتگان خرافاتی غار حراء را که بسان شبهٔ شومی،زهر و زهرابه خود را بر آسمان آریائی پارسیان گسترانیده است می تواند آژیری آگاه کننده، بیدار کننده و بسیجنده باشد تا برای یک بار هم شده بدور از بردگی و بندگی اثناعشری ـ عربی، آتراکسی بی وطنی را، با دفاعی میهان پرستانه به همراه ایستادنی  استادانه، بر بالای پایه های پایدار پلاتفرم محکم ملی، این عبودیت عربی و عمامه ای تهبکار و تازی تبار را با همه آخال و آشغال اش، را به تکفین در عدم سرای ابدی رهسپار سازیم!

داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه Image

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داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه

 داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه
ژرفشی پیرامون ژاژخایی بارک الحسین آل اوباما در مبارزه علیه ددمنشان داعش.
نویسنده وگوینده: نیک پاکپور
به باور گوینده، آنچه را که ما امروز در میین استریم مه دییا ” Mainstream media” غربی، به عنوان جنجال جنگی غرب علیه جهادیزم جانی، وحشی ـ وهابی، اسلامی ـ ارتجاعی، در منطقه خاورمیانه شاهد هستیم، در اصل و اساسش چیزی به جز یک رجز خوانی ره توریک گونه یا تبلیغات تعفن بار و تهوع آور، آغشته و آمیخته به انواع ترفندها، تزویرها، تحریک ها و توطئه های تموچین گونه برای تسخیر، تقسیم و تصرف و سپس تهی کردن و تخلیه کردن خاورمیانه از منابع، معادن و مینرال سرشار نفتی و گازی اش نمی باشد که از سالها پیش توست استراتژیست های ”Anglo-American” آلبته با سروری و سردمداری سبعانه و ساویج گونه زایونیزم جهاتی بطور مکارانه و مزورانه و میرغضبانه، مهندسی و معماری شده است

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

Europe

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UK: Scuffles at Pegida

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UK: Scuffles at Pegida's first ever UK rally

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Flares & chaos: Intense clashes erupt at rival rallies in Rome

Demonstrators with the anti-immigration Northern League party clashed with a rival rally in Rome. Scuffles also erupted with riot police. Activists threw bottles and flares while police tried to disperse protesters by firing tear gas grenades. The violence left four people injured. COURTESY: RT's RUPTLY video agency, NO RE-UPLOAD, NO REUSE - FOR LICENSING, PLEASE, CONTACT http://ruptly.tvRT 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/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (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.

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'Cruel murder of Boris Nemtsov is huge tragedy' – political analyst Dmitry Babich

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Middle east

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Islamic State

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Islamic State 'destroys ancient Iraq statues in Mosul

The video shows a black-clad man drilling through and pulling apart what appears to be a stone winged-bull Assyrian protective deity that dates back to the 9th Century BC.Analysts say the artefacts are unique and priceless although the museum does also house copies of some items.Ihsan Fethi, an Iraqi professor of architecture based in Amman, Jordan, told Agence France-Presse the destruction was "a terrible loss and an unbelievable act of cultural terrorism".Amir al-Jumaili, a professor at the Archaeology College in Mosul, told Associated Press: "I'm totally shocked. It's a catastrophe. With the destruction of these artefacts, we can no longer be proud of Mosul's civilisation

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Militants targets alleged SAA building with DIY rockets

Jabha al Shamiya targeted a regime building with Jahannam rocketsAl Aramiya, Aleppo 24/02/2015Snackbar warning, and ignore the mindless chatter at the beginning.► Subscribe to LiveLeak Channel for more videos: http://bit.ly/subliveleak

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ISIS releases video of Peshmerga fighters in cages

A new ISIS video shows ISIS parading caged Peshmerga fighters through a town in Iraq.

United state

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Shock Video: Police Tase Elderly Man With His Hands Up Image

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Shock Video: Police Tase Elderly Man With His Hands Up

Shocking video out of Florida shows police tasering an elderly man despite the fact that his hands are up and he appears to be offering no resistance.http://infowars.comFacebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

Kerry says US falling behind in media strategy, asks for more money to counter RT Image

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Kerry says US falling behind in media strategy, asks for more money to counter RT

Citing RT’s influence, Secretary of State John Kerry asked US lawmakers for more money for propaganda and “democracy promotion” programs around the world. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/lxicnz 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/+RTListen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttvRT (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.

Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones Launch "Head to Head" Image

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Jesse Ventura and Alex Jones Launch "Head to Head"

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  • Israel Wants US Congress to Add $300Mln for its Missile Defense Systems
    By Sputnik Israel decided to bypass the White House and Pentagon with its request for funding increase at a time when Israel's relations with the United States are strained.Israel asked US Congress to drastically increase funding for its missile defense program from $158 million, US President Barack Obama requested for fiscal year 2015, to almost $500 million, according to media reports. n early February, Yair Ramati, who heads Israel's missile defense organization, met with US lawmakers to outline the proposal asking additional funding for two missile systems.Israel seeks $250 million for David's Sling and $35 million for Arrow III, jointly produced by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries. David's Sling is aimed at intercepting large-caliber artillery rockets, cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles, while Arrow III is an anti-ballistic missile system.Israel decided to bypass the White House and Pentagon with its request for funding increase at a time when Israel's relations with the United States are strained over Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the US. Israeli prime minister is expected to speak before a joint meeting of US Congress, slated for March 3. The Obama administration claims the visit will only complicate the bilateral relations.
  • Russian Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov killed in the center of Moscow
    Boris Nemtsov (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok) By RT Famous Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in the center of Moscow. The shots came from a vehicle. Reportedly, Nemtsov had previously received death threats on social media sites."Boris Nemtsov was shot four times in the center of Moscow at Vasilyevsky spusk. Investigation team is working at the scene," Tass reports siting police sources. На Большом каменном мосту уже много журналистов11:00 PM - 27 Feb 2015 A law enforcement source told Interfax news agency that a white vehicle approached Nemtsov, fired the shots, and rushed away.Police have dubbed the operation to catch the killers 'Interception.'The Internal Affairs Ministry has confirmed the murder of Nemtsov.“[We] confirm that the man was killed in central Moscow, documents for the name Boris Efimovich Nemtsov have been found,” Interfax quoted the ministry’s press service as saying.According to police, Nemtsov was accompanied by a woman at the time of the murder. She is now being questioned."B. Nemtsov was walking on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge with a visitor from Ukraine. It was then when he was shot from a passing by car,” the ministry’s official representative, Elena Alekseeva, said, as quoted by Rossiya 24 TV channel.“The woman who was with him is currently being interrogated in a police department,” Alekseeva said.Earlier, Nemtsov’s colleague has confirmed his death."Unfortunately, I'm currently looking at the body of Nemtsov on the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge [near Vasilyevsky spusk]," a fellow member of his RPR-Parnas party, Ilya Yashin, confirmed to RIA Novosti. "I see the body, and a lot of police." Nemtsov served as Russian deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin. Though he was more involved in business than politics in recent years, Nemtsov voiced opposition to President Vladimir Putin, criticizing the government and its policies. Since 2012, he co-chaired the pro-business party RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party). Nemtsov’s assassination comes just one day ahead of the Vesna (“Spring”) opposition rally slated for March 1 in Moscow.Russian President Vladimir Putin was “immediately informed” about Nemtsov’s assassination, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.“Putin has stressed that this brutal murder has all [the] signs of a contract murder and is extremely provocative,” Peskov said.“The president has expressed his deep condolences to the family of tragically deceased Nemtsov,” he added.
  • First picture of the face of the angelic schoolboy who turned into reviled ISIS executioner...(Full Biography)
    From angel to devil: Mohammed Emwazi (left) pictured as a schoolboy in London. Today, he was revealed as the man behind the 'Jihadi John' mask (right) By Mail online EXCLUSIVE: First picture of the face of the angelic schoolboy who turned into reviled ISIS executioner. How polite west London pupil became bloodthirsty Jihadi JohnMohammed Emwazi unmasked as Islamic State murderer Jihadi John believed to have beheaded several hostagesPictured as a six-year-old schoolboy with classmates at a west London Church of England primary schoolSeen for the first time without his notorious black mask, he is a picture of innocence, smiling with his friendClassmates say he was quiet, popular and more interested in football than Islam, but changed at universityTeachers who knew him say they remember him as 'hard-working...everything you would ever want in a student'Emwazi listed his favourite computer game as 'Time To Kill' and book as 'How To Kill A Monster'Son of a mini-cab driver was born in Kuwait, but moved to Britain with his family at the age of sixHe was on a terror watch list, but managed to flee to Syria in 2012 despite being banned from leaving BritainMI5 and police had come into contact with him 12 times but blunders and lack of surveillance let him escapeDo you know Jihadi John? Please email news@dailymail.co.uk or call 0203 615 1866By Vanessa Allen and Paul Bentley and Lucy Osborne for the Daily Mail and Laurie Hanna and Martin Robinson for MailOnlinePublished: 22:31 GMT, 26 February 2015 | Updated: 14:14 GMT, 27 February 2015 Smiling at the camera with his church school friends, there is nothing to link this middle-class schoolboy to the merciless terrorist butcher Jihadi John.Arriving in Britain when he was six years old, Kuwaiti-born Mohammed Emwazi appeared to embrace British life, playing football in the affluent streets of West London while supporting Manchester United.Neighbours recalled a polite, quietly spoken boy who was studious at his Church of England school, where he was the only Muslim pupil in his class. Classmates: Emwazi (front row, second from left) pictured with classmates at the St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in west London. Friends described him as football-mad and popular The son of a Kuwaiti minicab driver, young Emwazi arrived in Britain speaking only a few words of English, and appeared more interested in football than in Islam.He went to mosque with his family, who spoke Arabic to each other, but wore Western clothing and became popular with his British classmates at St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in Maida Vale, West London.Former schoolmates were yesterday struggling to believe that the quiet boy they knew had been unmasked as the world’s most notorious terrorist.In a chilling twist, in a school yearbook from when he was 10, Emwazi lists his favourite computer game as shooting game "Duke Nukem: Time To Kill" and his favourite book as "How To Kill A Monster" from the popular children's Goosebumps series.He also lists his favourite band as pop group S Club 7, and when asked what he wants to be when he is 30, writes: 'I will be in a football team and scoring a goal.'Emwazi also listed his favourite colour as blue, his favourite animal as a monkey, his favourite cartoon as The Simpsons and chips as his favourite food. His role as Islamic State’s sadistic butcher was a far cry from the football-mad schoolboy who moved to Britain from Kuwait with his parents in 1993.Given a council flat overlooking the Regents Canal in the exclusive Little Venice area of West London, his father found work as a minicab and delivery van driver while mother stayed at home with Mohammed and his two younger sisters now 25 and 23.Three more children followed, all born after the family settled in Britain, and the family were said to be close, with both parents arriving at the school gate each day to collect their children.His family are not being named to protect their privacy.Former classmates at St Mary Magdalene said Emwazi had got into occasional fights after school assemblies, but said he was usually reserved and dedicated to his religion. One former classmate said: ‘It was a Church of England school and he was the only Muslim in our class. One time we had an RE lesson and he got up and talked about his religion.‘He wrote Arabic on the board to show us what it looked like and how it went in the other direction. He showed us a religious text and spoke about what his religion was about.‘That was when we were eight or nine. He mentioned fasting. His English wasn’t very good throughout primary school. He could only say a few words at first – like his name and where he was from. ‘He played football every lunchtime and at the after-school football club. Through football, he learned different words and expressions. Like all the guys, he always wanted to be the striker.‘He wasn’t so good in school, he was the bottom half of the class, but he was one of the sporty guys. He was popular.’Another told LBC: 'We were in the playground and Mohammed was running away from someone, I think he was just about to get into a fight. And as he was running another guy blocked his path. And he ran into a goal post and hit his head on a metal goal post and fell to the floor.'This was year six, we didn't see him for six weeks. He was not the same ever since that brain injury. I am telling you one million per cent. He was not the same'.After finishing primary school in 1999, young Mohammed moved to Quintin Kynaston Community Academy, in St John’s Wood, where he is believed to have studied alongside former X Factor judge and pop star Tulisa Contostavlos. Horrifying: Jihadi John has featured in the execution videos of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, aid workers Alan Hennings and David Haines, 22 Syrian soldiers and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto (pictured)Once there, he became more observant of his religion and began wearing more traditional Islamic dress, and his sisters began to wear the hijab.One younger sister, now 19, was a prefect at the school and completed a detailed ‘murder mystery’ film project about a female serial killer.Teachers said Mohammed was still ‘diligent, hard-working…everything you would want a student to be’ and neighbours said he was ‘like any other teenager’.It was only after he won a place studying computing at the University of Westminster that his behaviour began to change.The university has since been linked with several proponents of radical Islam, and Emwazi appeared to have fallen under their sway.He began attending different mosques and was known to associate with Bilal el-Berjawi, who was killed by a drone strike in Somalia three years ago. Unmasked: ISIS executioner 'Jihadi John', pictured here with American journalist Steven Sotloff, has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi from London. Sotloff's family have called for him to be caught and triedIn August 2009, after his graduation, Emwazi flew to Tanzania in East Africa with friends and told authorities they were going on a wildlife safari.But the group was refused entry and put on a plane to the Netherlands, where Emwazi later claimed he was questioned by an MI5 agent called Nick.The British officer accused him of planning to travel to Somalia to join the militant group Al Shabaab, he said, and said MI5 had been watching him.Emwazi denied the accusation – bragging that he would not take a designer Rocawear sweater in his luggage if he was planning to join Somalian rebels. JIHADI JOHN'S SIBLINGS: BROTHER FOLLOWS HATE PREACHER AND SISTER WROTE OF HOODED KILLER The younger brother of Mohammed Emwazi is a small-time criminal with hardline and outspoken Islamist views. It emerged yesterday that the 21-year-old from London follows a radical Muslim cleric – while his younger sister is a media student who once made a short film about a ‘hooded serial killer’.Emwazi’s brother – whom the Mail had decided not to name – is a member of the Woolwich Dawah group, who once harboured the killers of Lee Rigby.The university graduate, who like his sibling has taken a keen interest in computer networks, listens to the teachings of radical preacher Khalid Yasin. Several of his friends use images similar to those used by extremists online and last night at least one of his 68 friends on Facebook was displaying the black flag of Islamic State.He has also commented on videos, supporting one in which a woman is mocked for praying in a clumsy manner.He has at least two convictions, for handling a stolen police bicycle and a string of thefts at a shopping village – and has twice been hauled back for repeated breaches of community orders.His 19-year-old sister, like Emwazi, went to Quintin Kynaston school where she was a prefect and studied cinematography at A-Level. Her film, a ‘thriller’ depicting a hooded man chasing a girl through a school, was made as part of her coursework and contained themes about bullying.Writing about her studies online, the teenager – whom the Mail is not naming and whose face we are obscuring to protect her privacy – said: ‘It gives out a hidden message about ... how we humans shouldn’t stereotype people and pick on them because of what background they come from or the colour of their skin nor what they believe in. Also...that revenge is NEVER the right answer.’She is now thought to be studying media studies at Middlesex University.In emails to the campaign group Cage, Emwazi said: ‘He [Nick] knew everything about me; where I lived, what I did, the people I hanged around with.’‘Nick’ then tried to recruit the 21-year-old, Emwazi claimed, and threatened him when he refused to cooperate.Emwazi said the officer told him: ‘You’re going to have a lot of trouble…You’re going to be known…You’re going to be followed…Life will be harder for you.’On his return to Britain, Emwazi said his family told him they had been ‘visited’, and he claimed a woman he had been planning to marry broke off their engagement because her family had also been contacted and were scared.According to Emwazi, his family then began planning for him to travel to Kuwait to get him away from the ‘harassment’ he had suffered in Britain and he went to work for a computer programming company in the emirate. Home: Minicab driver's son Emwazi most recently lived at a flat in Queen's Park in west London In his account to Cage, he said security officers continued to visit his family and he decided to make a ‘new life’ in Kuwait, where he was once again planning to marry.But following a visit back to Britain in 2010 he said he was stopped at Heathrow Airport and barred from flying back to Kuwait, and claimed that he was interrogated by an aggressive officer who threw him against a wall, grabbed his beard and strangled him. Emwazi made an official complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, saying he had been assaulted by the officer.But court documents show he was also arrested himself later that year and charged with possessing five stolen bicycles, although he was later acquitted at court.Incensed by the decision to stop him returning to Kuwait, Emwazi told Cage he felt ‘like a prisoner’ in London.He said he was ‘a person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and country, Kuwait.’Friends told the Washington Post he was already talking wildly about travelling to Syria, where the uprising against Bashar al Assad was beginning in earnest.But he also applied for work in Saudi Arabia, taking a course to teach English and applying for work at language centres in the kingdom.Rejected by those, his father suggested he change his name in a bid to avoid any block from British authorities, and Cage said he changed his name by deed poll in 2013 to become Mohammed al-Ayan.He made one more attempt to fly back to Kuwait that year but was barred from leaving Britain again and disappeared from his parents’ home a week later.His parents reported him missing after three days but claimed it was four months before police arrived at their home and said they had information he was in Syria.His father, 51, told police they were wrong and that his son was in Turkey helping refugees from Syria, and the family are said to continue to deny that he is the masked IS executioner.Meanwhile, two British trainee medics who met Jihadi John in Syria said he had a fearless ‘nothing to lose’ attitude and was always ready for war.Speaking anonymously to ITV, they said the killer was unmarried and was probably picked for the executioner poster boy role because of the way he handled difficult situations.Describing him as an 'adrenaline junkie', they said he went to fight for the al-Nusra front, an Al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria, before moving to ISIS to further his ambitions.His attitude was revealed when he was stopped at a checkpoint by Free Syrian Army fighters.One said: 'He was at a checkpoint, from what I heard, and the people manning the checkpoint stopped him and forced him to get out.'From what I understand they were trying to rob him and, for a man with several weapons pointing at his face, he responded by pulling out his own weapon and pointing it at one of their faces'.Another said: ‘He seems like someone with not a lot to lose. There has been incidents where he has run into checkpoints and he dealt with people in a careless, gung-ho manner with disregard for his own safety. On the scene: Police officers near the property where Emwazi once lived with his family‘He was chosen most likely for his fearless mentality and he’s got nothing to lose. He obviously didn’t want to go back to the UK and he believed passionately in this cause and he believed that killing these people was the right thing to do.‘I remember he was quiet - not reserved quiet, he had a lot of friends and was social. In Syria he seemed to be a very busy man, he was always ready for war in safe areas.’They also said Emwazi seemed wealthy, adding: ‘All of his kit was expensive. Even the guns he had were extremely expensive and rare to find in that part of the world.’Asked if he disliked Britain, they said: ‘When I mentioned the UK to him he had a scowl on his face.‘He had no intention of returning and never identified himself as British, he said Kuwaiti or Yemeni. His jihadi name was Abu Muharib al Yemeni. He had no link to Britain unless you asked him are you British and he would say, "Kind of. I lived there for a long time".' Terror: Emwazi is believed to have been one of more than 700 foreign fighters in The Migrants Brigade who arrived in the Middle East three years ago to fight for the establishment of an Islamic caliphateA source who claimed to have met Emwazi in Syria told Channel 4 News that he was a member of one of the earliest groups from London who travelled to fight for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.He is believed to have been one of more than 700 foreign fighters in the Katiba al-Muhajireen (The Migrants Brigade) who arrived in the Middle East three years ago.Video shows Ibrahim al-Mazwagi, the first British jihadi known to have died in Syria, talking through his life in Syria with fellow fighters who proclaimed themselves a band of brothers. West London radical at centre of network that influenced 'Jihadi John' passed freely between UK and African terror hot spots for THREE YEARSThe man at the centre of a network that influenced the ISIS executioner identified as 'Jihadi John' was allowed to fly in and out of London to terrorism hot spots unchecked for almost three years.Bilal al-Berjawi passed through UK Border Control at least five times between 2006 and 2009 as he travelled between London and African terror cells.Over that period he was rising to prominence as a senior member of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia - returning to the UK only to raise funds and to marry. Bilal al-Berjawi (right) travelled freely between the UK and terror hubs in East Africa as he rose to prominence with al-Qaeda. He is believed to have radicalised Jihadi John (left) on his return visits to London It is believed that it was during these return visits to London that Al Berjawi became the driving force behind the radicalisation of 26-year-old Mohammed Emwazi, using his growing stature within the terror group to radicalise homegrown extremists. According to people who have moved in jihadi circles in west London, Emwazi began to be noticed 'five or six years ago', when al-Berjawi was still flying between the UK and Africa.'That's when he emerged, so to speak,' said one.Bilal al-Berjawi was killed by a drone strike in Somalia three years ago. By that point he was a key figure in al-Qaeda's East African operations.Originally from Lebanon, Berjawi first joined militants in Somalia in 2006 and then returned to Britain in 2007 on a fundraising venture.He left again in February 2009 with his friend Mohammed Sakr, who is of Egyptian origin, to travel to Kenya, telling their families they were going on a safari - the same front used by Emwazi when he flew to Tanzania in 2009.They aroused the suspicions of the manager of the hotel at which they were staying in Mombasa and when they moved to Nairobi, police raided the premises and they were deported.A laptop found at the premises contained extremist material including encouragement of jihad and instructions on making car bombs.Berjawi married a Somali woman in London, and in October 2009, they decided to slip out of the country again, without telling their families that they were leaving.All three were the subject of a manhunt, accused of crossing into Uganda to plot terrorist attacks that culminated in bomb attacks in Kampala in July 2011 that killed 74 people.Berjawi was said to be a senior figure with Al Qaeda in East Africa, a radical part of the Al Shabaab movement, and was known as one of its most active fighters.He was also responsible for securing weapons and for overseeing the contingent of foreign fighters.In an online obituary published in 2013, Al Shabaab said 'Abu Hafs' had been trained by two top military commanders of al-Qaeda in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.The government stripped both men of their British passports and they were killed in separate drone attacks in 2012. Jihadi John's old university was a 'hotbed of radicalism where students celebrated 9/11', claims ex-pupil - and extremist was even due to speak there TONIGHTJihadi John's former university was a 'hotbed of radicalism' where students 'celebrated 9/11', it has been claimed.A former student two years older than the Islamic State executioner has lifted the lid on his time at the university - as it's also revealed a talk by a Muslim extremist has been postponed due to 'security concerns'. Haitham al-Haddad was set to speak tonight, but the event will not go ahead as planned after it was revealed 'Jihadi John' studied computer programming at the university.Today, the terrorist was named as a university graduate from London who was able to flee to Syria despite being on an MI5 terror watch list.Emwazi is said to have travelled to the Middle East three years ago and later joined ISIS.Jihadi John has featured in the execution videos of British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, Japanese reporter Kenji Goto and Syrian soldiers.Former University of Westminster pupil Raheem Kassam, who campaigns against extremism at British universities, said the conditions at the university are right for the radicalisation of someone like Emwazi.Speaking today, he said: 'I once walked into a meeting of the Islamic Society where they were clapping and cheering the events of 9/11.'I did not know him, he would have been two years behind me, but I am utterly unsurprised. The university was nothing less than a hotbed of radicalism when I was there.'Universities across the country, the University of Westminster in particular, are being targeted by radical recruiters.'A University of Westminster spokesman said: 'We take these allegations very seriously. We condemn any behaviour that promotes terrorism and violence on any of our campuses.'We have strict policies to promote tolerance among our 20,000 student community, who come to study from over 150 nations. Any student found to be engaging in radicalised activity would be referred to disciplinary procedures. 'As a London-based university operating in a diverse multi-cultural city, we are fully aware of all the influences within this international city. 'With other universities in London, we are working together to implement the Government's Prevent strategy to tackle extremism.' TIMELINE OF TERROR: HOW JIHADI JOHN JOINED THE RANKS OF ISISA lobby group has released an extensive report on its contact with Mohammed Emwazi - the man reports have named as Islamic State militant Jihadi John.Cage, which deals with people who believe they have been mistreated at the hands of British authorities in anti-terror operations, claims it first came into contact with Emwazi in 2009 after he was contacted by MI5 on a safari holiday to Tanzania.The group claim Emwazi's family was told he had travelled to Syria in 2013. Here is a timeline of events in Emwazi's life as reported by Cage:    2009 - Emwazi completes a degree in computing from the University of Westminster. He arranges to marry a woman in Kuwait.    August 2009 - Emwazi travels to Tanzania with two friends for a Safari holiday. Upon arrival, all three are stopped at the airport in Dar-es-Salaam by border officials and refused entry. The men spend the night in a police station near to the airport in Dar-es-Salaam.    They are put on a plane to Schipol, Amsterdam, where they are questioned by a number of men, reportedly including an MI5 officer, who accuse him of attempting to travel to Somalia. Emwazi claims MI5 then tried to recruit him.    The men are released and allowed to return to Dover, where they are questioned again by anti-terror officers.     Emwazi claims the police spoke to his fiancee in Kuwait, ultimately leading her to call off the arranged marriage.    September 2009 - Emwazi leaves the UK to stay in Kuwait with his father's family.    May 2010 - After eight months working in Kuwait, Emwazi returns to the UK for an eight-day visit. He is stopped in Heathrow but allowed to continue. He returns to Kuwait eight days later in early June.     July 2010 - After spending a couple more months in Kuwait and making plans to marry a different woman, Emwazi decides to return home once more for a couple of days.     He is stopped in Heathrow airport from returning to Kuwait and questioned for six hours.     The following day he attempts to return to Kuwait but is told he cannot travel further than Dubai as his visa has been refused.     2012 - Emwazi passes a SELTA, teaching English language course with two other friends.     He applies to English language centres in Saudi Arabia and is rejected.    2013 - He changes his name to Mohammed al-Ayan.     He attempts to travel to Kuwait one last time but is prevented and questioned.     Three days after he is prevented from travelling to Kuwait, Emwazi leaves his parents' home to travel abroad.     After a further three days, his parents report him as a missing person.     Four months later, police arrive at the family home to explain they have information he has entered Syria.
  • 3 women risk torture in secret UAE detention over ‘I miss my brother’ tweet – Amnesty
    Reuters / Omar Sobhani By RT Three women questioned and detained by UAE police in February are “at risk of torture or other ill-treatment,” Amnesty International says. The sisters tweeted in support of their brother, a prisoner of conscience. Two Saudi women jailed for driving freed from prison The women – Asma, Mariam, and Alyaziyah Khalifa al-Suwaidi – disappeared after they were taken to a police station in Abu Dhabi on February 15, the human rights watchdog said in a Friday report. Prior to that, the three spoke out on social media to draw attention to their brother’s unfair trial.“Shortly after posting a tweet that said ‘I miss my brother,' Asma Khalifa al-Suwaidi and her two sisters were summoned by police and now have vanished as if into a black hole,” Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, said in a press release.The sisters' mother received a brief phone call the day after her daughters didn’t return home. A person claiming to be a state security official said: “Your daughters are fine,” with no further details. The sisters are believed to have no access to a lawyer, or to their family.Issa al-Suwaidi, the brother of the three women, is among 69 activists convicted in a 'UAE 94' trial after being held in secret detention for an alleged attempt to overthrow the government in 2013.“The authorities must recognize that attempts to silence critics and crush freedom of expression by resorting to deeply repressive tactics will backfire. They cannot arbitrarily lock up activists or their families indefinitely without charge, on a whim,” Luther said, adding that the detainees “must be immediately and unconditionally released, like all others detained solely for peaceful expression.”READ MORE: Amnesty slams UAE as ‘deeply repressive state beneath facade of glamour’Amnesty International has documented several cases when relatives of UAE 94 prisoners were “harassed, intimidated or arrested after criticizing proceedings or publicizing allegations of torture in detention on Twitter.” They were then taken to secret detention facilities to be held incommunicado for weeks or months.Last year, the NGO accused the United Arab Emirates of an “unprecedented clampdown on dissent” in its report titled 'There is no freedom here: Silencing dissent in the UAE.' It revealed scores of unnoticed torture and human rights abuses by authorities, veiled by the glamorous appearance of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Troll control: Twitter cracks down on abuse, spoofing
    Reuters / Dado Ruvic By RT According to Bhatnagar, “We [Twitter] now review five times as many user reports as we did previously, and we have tripled the size of the support team focused on handling abuse reports.”The “investment in tools and people” now allows Twitter “to handle more reports of abuse with greater efficiency,” added Bhatnagar.“So while we review many more reports than ever before, we’ve been able to significantly reduce the average response time to a fraction of what it was, and we see this number continuing to drop.” Bhatnagar wrote that the corporation is planning “to add several new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate our rules."“These new actions will not be visible to the vast majority of rule-abiding Twitter users – but they give us new options for acting against the accounts that don’t follow the rules and serve to discourage behavior that goes against our policies.”February’s updates are a part of the company’s long term plan that was announced in December. It aimed at reducing the number of abuse and spam cases by enhancing their in-product harassment reporting and making improvements to “block." Twitter head says platform 'sucks' at dealing with abuse problem Earlier in February CEO Dick Costolo took personal responsibility for inability of Twitter to deal with abusive users, saying he was “embarrassed” and vowed “stronger action to eliminate trolls.”“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years. It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day,” Costolo added.READ MORE: Twitter should ban racist words – MPIn December, British MP Luciana Berger, shadow minister for public health, urged the microblogging site to do more to stop abuse and to ban racist words, such as such as ‘kike’, a derogatory and anti-Semitic term for Jews which can never be used in a positive way.“At the height of the abuse, the police said I was the subject of 2,500 hate messages in the space of three days using the hashtag ‘FilthyJewBitch’,” Berger said in an interview with the Telegraph.
  • The unmasking of a British butcher: a Londoner who is steeped in innocent blood
    How did a minicab driver’s son called Mohammed Emwazi become the world's most notorious mass-murderer? By Cahal Milmo Author Biography , Kim Sengupta , Jamie Merrill (The Independent | News | UK) Thursday 26 February 2015 The masked executioner who as “Jihadi John” has come to embody the bestial violence of Islamic State was today revealed to be a British computer programmer who was known to MI5 and police for at least four years before he slipped away into Syria.The unveiling of Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait-born Briton who had lived in London for 17 years, as the figure appearing in the succession of grim online videos in which western hostages, including two Britons, are beheaded raised fresh questions about the ability of the security services to monitor extremists after it emerged he was on a UK terror watchlist.As the world’s media descended on the addresses where Emwazi was raised - ranging from a £800,000 mansion block apartment in leafy Maida Vale to his last known address on a gritty west London estate - debate raged on how the well-dressed and pensive son of a minicab driver became the blood-soaked poster boy of IS. Two police officers walk outside a flat in London (Reuters)The 27-year-old is believed to have left Britain in 2012 after first coming to the attention of MI5 in 2009 when he was detained with two others while travelling to Tanzania for a safari holiday, which intelligence officers believed was a cover for an attempt to join the Al Shabab terror group in Somalia. His week-long detention in Africa, apparently on British orders, and questioning by an MI5 officer were revealed by The Independent in 2010.Campaigners from human rights group CAGE yesterday claimed that Emwazi then became the subject of a campaign of harassment by MI5 to try to persuade him to become an informant between 2010 and 2012.Read more:'Jihadi John' named as Mohammed Emwazi from west London'Jihadi John' 'stopped by MI5' while on safari holiday in Africa in 2010Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's librariesThe man who is now a global symbol of the murderous zeal of IS alleged that he been prevented by the intelligence services from travelling to Kuwait where he had a new job and a fiancee and been left feeling “like a prisoner” on British soil.Asim Qureshi, research director of CAGE, who had been contacted by Emwazi over his complaints of intimidation, compared the Briton to Woolwich killer Michael Adebolajo, who was also claimed to have been the subject of recruitment approaches from MI5.He said both men had been the subject of “suffocating domestic policies aimed at turning a person into an informant but which prevent a person from fulfilling their basic life needs” and such actions had “left a lasting impression” on Emwazi. CAGE research director, Asim Qureshi (AP)Mr Qureshi also described the Arabic-speaking Briton as “extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew”.Such words were starkly at odds with the reality of Emwazi, a man happy to spout Islamist invective in his totemic London accent while being filmed as he raised a knife to the throats of kneeling victims who have included the British taxi driver Alan Henning and aid worker David Haines.After drifting between jobs as a computer programmer and efforts to leave Britain after gaining a foreign language teaching qualification, Emwazi seems to have left the UK in 2012 after changing his name by deed poll.Officials last night dismissed any suggestion that Emwazi’s ruthless slayings could be somehow linked to his encounters with British intelligence. A security source told The Independent that Emwazi had been a known member of an Islamist network and treated at all times in accordance with the law.A senior MP said last night that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was likely to seek answers from the security services about the information they held on Emwazi and their encounters with him. Sir Menzies Campbell, a longstanding member of the ISC, said the case appeared to have “echoes” of the Woolwich killing of soldier Lee Rigby and suggested a further increase in funding for the security services - recently raised by £130m - could be necessary.He said: “One of the difficulties here is you can’t keep on everyone all the time and… there’s no doubt that from time to time the security services have got to prioritise those upon whom they are conducting surveillance.”Sir Menzies added: “It does seem to me that, once again, we have to look at the resources which are available.”The true identity of “Jihadi John”, which was first made public by the Washington Post, is understood to have been known to British and American security officials for several months. It was kept out of the public domain while efforts were made to track him down and minimise the risk to remaining hostages.Such efforts had nonetheless stood only the slimmest chance of success. Emwazi, who had arrived in Britain at the age of six and was described by friends as a stylish dresser who was nonetheless careful to observe his Muslim faith, was part of a group of jihadis who kept guard over hostages in IS’s Syrian stronghold and negotiated with their families.Read more:Nine things we now know about 'Jihadi John'He was an 'extremely kind man', says Cage directorReleased captives said he worked with at least two other Britons and together they were dubbed the “Beatles”. But Emwazi showed only ruthlessness towards his victims, apparently participating in the waterboarding of hostages as well as their murders.The Briton, one of five children, graduated in 2009 with a degree in computer studies from Westminster University, which has been previously accused of serving as a “hotbed of radicalism”. Such claims are strongly denied by the university, which said it was “shocked and sickened” by the revelation of Jihadi John as one of its alumni.In Queen’s Park last, the area of London where Emwazi spent much of his upbringing, those who knew his family said they did not recognise him as the black-clad bogeyman of a global jihad. Alan Henning was abducted while delivering aid to Syrian children (PA)One woman, who went to school with two of his sisters, said: “I’m completely shocked. When I knew him he was a quiet boy. I’ve looked at the videos and honestly I can’t tell if it is really him. I couldn’t believe the horrible things they say he’s done.”Such incredulity was shared by Emwazi own family, who made it known through CAGE that they did not accept he is Jihadi John.His victims, however, said they were now one step closer to justice. In a statement, the family of American journalist Steven Sotloff said: “We want to watch him sentenced and see him sent to a supermax prison to spend the rest of his days in isolation.That’s American justice, that’s how we deal with things in this country.” Murdered by isisJames FoleyThe American photojournalist was the first Western hostage to be beheaded by Isis. The 40-year-old, who was kidnapped in November 2012, said he was “drawn to the drama of the conflict”.Steven SotloffThe Jewish journalist, 31, had Israeli and US citizenship, but described himself as a “stand-up philosopher from Miami”. He was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013.David HainesThe 44-year-old served in the RAF as an engineer and later worked for aid agencies. He was seized in March 2013 while surveying sites for refugee camps.Alan HenningThe taxi driver, 47, from Salford, was so moved by the plight of refugees in Syria that he decided to help deliver medical equipment. He was captured in 2013.Abdul-Rahman KassigThe 26-year-old, who served in Iraq with the US Army, returned in 2013 to help refugees. He converted to Islam, changing his first name from Peter.Kenji GotoThe video journalist, 47, from Japan, was described as a man of charm, vigour and confidence. He was captured last October and murdered in January.
  • Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Corporate Profits vs. Prison Reform
    By Peter B Collins | February 26, 2015 Peter B. Collins Presents Reporter Michael Ames As crime rates have dropped and opposition to mass incarceration has increased, calls for prison reform and an end to the “war on some drugs” have gotten louder. While Sen. Rand Paul has submitted reform legislation and almost-former Attorney General Eric Holder has initiated some modest changes, crusaders like Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Charles Schumer oppose any reform, including the rollback of minimum mandatory sentences that have filled our prisons with nonviolent offenders. For private prison operators like CCA and Geo, business is great, and getting even better due to tax dodges they began in 2013. Says Ames, “Investors are bullish” on the detention industry.*Michael Ames is an independent journalist who covers national politics and environmental issues. His article, Captive Market: Why We Won’t Get Prison Reform, is in the February 2015 edition of Harper’s Magazine. Read it here.Listen to the Preview Clip Here
  • The rise of fascism is again the issue
    By John Pilger (Asia Times) The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazis iconography is embedded in our consciousness.Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism."To initiate a war of aggression…," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission.Take the catastrophe in Libya. In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that "most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew ... that if we waited one more day," said President Barack Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.For Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande, Gaddafi's true crime was Libya's economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa's greatest oil reserves in US dollars.The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".Following Nato's attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, "confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency".The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to Western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59" might have been murdered.Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines".A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer's duplicitous tactics.The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia - a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation - and the implementation of a "free-market economy" and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country.It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - 69 countries - have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed."Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over." These were opening words of Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment."The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed - civilians and soldiers - during Obama's time as president.The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion … Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation."He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then president Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers."Every girl," recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, "could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported."The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former secretary of state Cyrus Vance later admitted, "there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]". Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the "threat of a promising example".On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised US$500 million in arms and logistics to support tribal "fundamentalist" groups known as the mujaheddin. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests ... would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan." The italics are mine.The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by prime minister Margaret Thatcher as a "freedom fighter".Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims".His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them.Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called "Operation Cyclone". Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah - who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help - was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.The "blowback" of Operation Cyclone and its "few stirred up Muslims" was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the "war on terror", in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer's message was and remains: "You are with us or against us."The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its "free fire zones", "body counts" and "collatoral damage". In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians ("gooks") were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered.In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room.He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat"."For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollock, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception."This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates Western culture.I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the "tragedy" of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places - just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood's violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a "patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days".There are no heroic movies about America's embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens - as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.No Western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe - with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine.At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D Kaplan, a leading "neo-con" luminary of the far-right Center for a New American Security, she was foreign policy advisor to the fascist Dick Cheney.Nuland's coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea - illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 - voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the Western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion".The Nato commander, General Breedlove - whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove - announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine - a third of the population - have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims - "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint".If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine's top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: "The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army".There were "individual citizens" who were members of "illegal armed groups", but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for "full scale war" with nuclear-armed Russia.On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell's fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, "No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly."Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established ... If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three - much as it did into world war one a century ago - all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: "The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack .... In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons."In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. "Putin must be stopped," said the headline. "And sometimes only guns can stop guns." He conceded that the threat of war might "nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement"; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that "America has the best kit".In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, "has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones." He lauded Blair as a "Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist". In 2006, he wrote, "Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran."The outbursts - or as Garton-Ash prefers, his "tortured liberal ambivalence" - are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash's piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber.On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: "The F-35. GREAT For Britain". This American "kit" will cost British taxpayers 1.3 billion pounds (US$2 billion), its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev's new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas "investment". She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden's son is on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine's rich farming soil.Above all, they want Ukraine's mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia's long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country's economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
  • Full-body transplants will be possible within two years, says controversial surgeon Sergio Canavero
    Sergio Canavero believes the technique could save the lives of people riddled with cancer By Ian Johnston (The Independent | News | UK) Wednesday 25 February 2015 The world’s first full-body transplant – in which someone’s head would be sewn onto a donor body – could take place in just two years, according to a controversial surgeon.Sergio Canavero, of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, believes the technique could save the lives of people riddled with cancer or whose nerves and muscles have wasted away, the New Scientist magazine reported.The operation was carried out on a monkey with a limited degree of success in 1970. The surgeons then did not join the spinal cord so the animal could not move and it lived only nine days until the head was rejected by the body’s immune system.However Mr Canavero said: “I think we are now at a point when the technical aspects are all feasible. “If society doesn't want it, I won't do it. But if people don't want it in the US or Europe, that doesn't mean it won't be done somewhere else. I'm trying to go about this the right way, but before going to the moon, you want to make sure people will follow you.”Other surgeons were sceptical.Harry Goldsmith, a professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, Davis, said: "This is such an overwhelming project, the possibility of it happening is very unlikely. I don't believe it will ever work, there are too many problems with the procedure.”Patricia Scripko, a neurologist at the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System in California, also doubted the operation would be possible, but said: “If a head transplant were ever to take place, it would be very rare. It's not going to happen because someone says 'I'm getting older, I'm arthritic, maybe I should get a body that works better and looks better.’”  
  • The Terrorists Aren’t Crazy, They’re Devout
    By Paul Sperry (No Compulsion February 25, 2015) Though Muslim terrorists praise Allah and Muhammad and even recite Islamic scripture when they strike, the White House insists “their actions are entirely inconsistent with Islam” and will explain “what the tenets of Islam actually are” at its summit on “extremism” this week. Good luck with that.Unless host President Obama plans on misquoting the Quran again, as he did in his Cairo speech when he falsely claimed Islam forbids killing, he’ll have a tough sell. Muslim terrorists aren’t “perverting” the teachings of Islam, they’re applying them.“There is a very strict interpretation of Islam that is wreaking havoc on all of us, and we have to be honest about it,” says Muslim reformer Asra Nomani. “To pretend this isn’t a reality of Islam in the world today is just a dance we’re playing to our peril.”She says it’s hard to argue with the Islamic State’s interpretation of Islamic doctrine, because it’s the “standard interpretation.” And therein lies the larger, unspoken, crisis facing the West:We’re not fighting heretics, or a few wing-nuts here and there. We’re fighting tens of thousands of organized, well-funded religious zealots activating a militant theology embraced by one-fifth of the world.Yet because these fanatics are using religious doctrine as a manual of war and conquest, we don’t dare study it, lest we disrespect a “great religion.” We even pretend the enemy isn’t studying it. As we skip over the first rule of warfare, the enemy attracts more and more recruits to its holy war.If our leaders want to know what’s really motivating the enemy, they’ll have to consult the Quran and hadith, the sacred reports of Muhammad’s sayings and deeds, which flesh out Quranic injunctions in greater detail. And also the Shariah, the moral and legal code of Islam developed directly from the Quran and hadith, which codifies whippings, amputations, beheadings and other barbaric punishments for “crimes against Allah.”This is the same doctrine the enemy is following. It informs its jihad against the West, its beheadings of infidels and apostates, and even its execution of cartoonists.Don’t be fooled by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and other Islamic apologists who say the terrorists who massacred Muhammad satirists in Paris weren’t enforcing Islamic law. The hadith, the second-most important source of Islamic faith and Shariah, clearly mandates the death penalty for blasphemy against Muhammad — a sentence that has “the unanimous agreement of all Islamic scholars in all the ages,” according to University of Delhi’s Mufti Obaidullah Qasmi.“According to these hadith, what happened in Paris was justified,” agreed Mohammad Zareef, author of “Allah or God?” adding that apologists and so-called moderate Muslim leaders invited to the White House are “deceiving” the American public about the true nature of Islam.“These hadith are the reason Muslim-ruled countries have laws against blasphemy,” Zareef said, noting that Saudi Arabia legislates death for insulting Muhammad, while even relatively moderate Jordan imprisons those who disparage the Muslim prophet.And don’t be misled by Obama, who last week maintained the Paris attack on a kosher deli was a “random” act of violence, even though the Muslim terrorist called a French TV station to say he was targeting Jews, just as the Mumbai terrorists before him targeted a Jewish center, slaughtering a rabbi and his pregnant wife.Such attacks are scripturally supported, Zareef says, pointing out that the Quran repeatedly curses Jews, referring to them as “apes” and “pigs,” while the hadith call for their killing. “Either the president doesn’t know anything about Islam and Muslims,” he said, “or he is lying.”Zareef adds that the Quran “encourages terrorism” against all infidels — citing surahs 2:216, 243-244; 3:157-158; 4:74; 8:12; 9:5; and 47:4-6 — while repeatedly directing the Muslim faithful to “smite at their necks,” which explains the Islamic State’s fondness for decapitating its victims.Of course, Muslims don’t call it “terrorism.” It’s known as jihad, a Quranic duty to physically “fight unbelievers in the cause of Allah.”The Quran promises those who die while fighting a special place in “Jennah,” the Muslim heaven. That’s why one of the Paris terrorists, Cherif Kouachi, once told French investigators if he died as a martyr in jihad he would be greeted by virgins in the afterlife, a carnal reward explicitly detailed in both the Quran and hadith.And that’s why Muslim youth even in America are taught to be “mujahid,” or warriors of Allah, and “shaheed,” martyrs for Allah. The most popular 7th grade textbook in Islamic schools in the U.S. — “What Islam Is All About” — lists jihad as a top duty of Muslims. “If anyone dies in a Jihad they automatically will go to Paradise” and receive a “great reward,” the text states on page 164, with ample citations from the Quran.And that’s why polls show majorities of Muslims abroad, and sizable shares of younger American and European Muslims, support suicide bombings. Even so-called mainstream Muslim leaders approve of such attacks. Suicide bombings are “an effective method of attacking the enemy and continuing jihad,” said Mazen M. Mokhtar, co-founder of the Washington-based U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations and head of the Muslim American Society.Added Mokhtar, “These are not people committing suicide because they are fed up with life; these are people who are sacrificing their lives for Allah.”Politically incorrect truth is, terrorists can find more than enough ammo in Islamic doctrine to justify their murderous rampages.There is a logic and reason to Islamic terrorism, one that we must understand to defeat it. What’s irrational is refraining from criticizing a belief system that isn’t just antagonistic and hostile toward the societies hosting it, but potentially lethal. By Paul Sperry