If ever there was any need to prove that the US — not just under Bush but also under Obama — is using the “Iranian nuclear threat” as a manufactured pretext and cover for an entirely different policy of imposing regime-change on Iran, one only need remember the Turkey/Brazil nuclear deal with Iran, and how Obama pulled the rug out from under its own allies after they had gotten a “Yes” from Iran to terms that the Obama administration itself had endorsed in a letter just 1 week earlier — thus again moving the goalpost to ensure that the nuclear threat pretext would be kept alive.
This is what IAEA director Elbaradei wrote about that deal in his book, Age of Deception:
On May 17, 2010, in a joint declaration, Iran, Brazil, and Turkey announced they had reached an agreement on a fuel swap. Iran would send twelve hundred kilograms of LEU to Turkey, in a single shipment, to be held in escrow while Iran’s research reactor fuel was being fabricated. It was a leap forward-particularly because it signaled the willingness of new players, Turkey and Brazil, to take an active role in resolving the diplomatic impasse.
But the very next day, in a masterstroke of diplomatic futility, the P-5+1 announced that they had reached agreement on a fourth Security Council resolution to escalate sanctions on Iran for not bringing its enrichment program to a halt. Hillary Clinton called the fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil a “transparent ploy” on Iran’s part to avoid new sanctions.
I was dumbstruck and, to say the least, grievously disappointed. Once again, as I noted in an interview with Jornal do Brasil, the West had refused to take yes for an answer. Brazil and Turkey were outraged. Ahmadinejad urged the United States to accept the fuel swap as a move toward openness and dialogue. At the Security Council, Brazil voted against the sanctions-to no avail. The Western powers once more had touched a solution with their fingertips, only to brush it away.
When I had first proposed the fuel swap, Iran had produced about fifteen hundred kilograms of enriched uranium, so the agreement would have removed most of Iran’s inventory from the country. By the time of the agreement with Turkey and Brazil, the stock had risen to about twenty-five hundred kilograms, which of course made the agreement less attractive to the Americans as a diplomatic point of entry, since Iran would be retaining a “significant quantity.” Iran also had not committed, in the agreement, to stop enriching to 20 percent, although Ahmadinejad had hinted that they would do so.
The Western powers were not happy about these aspects of the deal, but it was obvious to me that they could easily and successfully have addressed these issues in the early stages of negotiation. It was incomprehensible and somewhat naïve to ask Iran-or any country, for that matter-to give up everything before the start of talks and expect a positive response. But the pattern was familiar: nothing would satisfy, short of Iran coming to the table completely undressed.
Demanding that Iran give up her rights before entering into negotiations was the same tactic that the Bush administration had been using in order to prevent any peaceful resolution to the standoff. These ‘excess demands’ — including that Iran give up enrichment entirely (“zero enrichment) before any negotiations — are imposed on Iran by the US precisely for that reason. In fact, Iran has long been making compromise offers that would address any real nuclear-weapons concerns, only to see them ignored or deliberately undermined by the US making illegal demands on Iran:
In 2005 Iran was ready to discuss an upper limit for the number of its centrifuges and to maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for weapons. Tehran also expressed its readiness to allow intrusive inspections, even in non-declared sites. But at that time Europe and the US wanted to compel Iran to ditch its enrichment programme entirely.
Iranians assume that this is still the European and US goal, and that for this reason the security council insists on suspension of all Iranian enrichment activities. But the goal of “zero centrifuges operating in Iran, permanently or temporarily” is unrealistic, and has contributed greatly to the present standoff.
Among the justifications provided later for the rejection of the Turkey/Brazil deal by Obama was that since Iran had continued to enrich uranium, the 1200 lbs that were to be exported did not constitute a significant-enough amount of Iran’s stockpile of enriched Uranium.
However, actual nuclear scientists pointed out too that even if Iran had agreed earlier to the same deal, the actual difference in the amount of enriched uranium in its stockpile would not have been significantly different:
“We have calculated just what the differences in the proposed sequences and timing of the swap really amounted to. The answer is: very little… Indeed, if the swap had been agreed when it was first proposed last October, by the time the fuel rods would have been ready the following October, there would be no difference between the two positions.”
“Thus, at very little actual, technical cost, Iran has appeared to make a significant concession. The US and its allies should have beaten Iran to it, but they didn’t. The question now is whether we could accept Iran’s “yes” as an answer.“
Ceasing enrichment was in fact never part of the original conditions to a deal that Obama endorsed just weeks earlier as the Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim pointed out:
“It wasn’t on the agenda. Nobody told us, ‘Hey if you don’t stop 20 percent enrichment, forget the deal.’
In fact Iran would never have accepted such a demand and had consistently refused this precondition on talks for a while. After all, this entire deal was meant to be a “confidence-building” measure, not a permanent end to the standoff, and Iran had been demanding that their enriched uranium go to a third, neutral country to be held in escrow until Iran actually received the promised nuclear fuel in exchange, precisely because it didn’t trust the US to come through on its promises.
Nor was this the first time that the US killed-off a potential peaceful resolution to the standoff: the same happened in the EU-3 negotiations with Iran during the Paris Agreement affair of 2005, in which the Europeans and Iranians were engaged in negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program — limits that were supposed to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment — but apparently the EU negotiators themselves didn’t know that the Brits and Americans had already agreed not to recognize Iran’s right to enrichment, regardless of what they had been telling the Iranians.
Ultimately, and Peter Jenkins stated in an interview with Scott Horton in 2012
The Israelis don’t want to see peace between the US and Iran.
And that has not changed. The fact is, the Obama administration can’t make a deal with Iran, even if it wanted, because Obama can’t lift the sanctions on Iran due to the influence of Israel in Congress, and Congressional action would be required to lift the US sanctions on Iran – -without which there can be no deal.
The US routinely shares private information about its citizens of Arab and Palestinian descent with Israel, the New York Times revealed yesterday.
In an Op-Ed in the newspaper, James Bamford said that the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden told him that the US “routinely passed private, unedited communications to Israel”.
Documents leaked by Snowden reveal that the US passes on “unevaluated and unminimised transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content,” to Unit 8200, an elite Israeli intelligence department.
He said the intercepts included communications of Arab and Palestinian-Americans, whose relatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories could become targets based on the information.
Whistleblower Snowden said this is ”one of the biggest abuses we’ve seen”, Bamford reported.
Bamford cited a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and Unit 8200 outlining transfers that have occurred since 2009.
Snowden, a former NSA contractor, is wanted by the US on espionage charges after leaking thousands of secret NSA documents.
He claimed asylum in Russia, where he has been granted a three-year residency that allows him to travel abroad.
Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine.
The Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group (SITE) was co-founded by Rita Katz in 2001.
In 2003 Katz authored a book, Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America, which she published using the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”
In the book Katz explains how she took on the trappings of a Muslim woman to infiltrate the meetings of radical Muslim terrorists. The plot is unlikely, especially when one considers that such secret fundamentalist gatherings are almost always segregated along gender lines and no woman, however elaborate her costume, would be granted entry without her identity being firmly established.
SITE Intelligence Group consists of Katz and two “senior advisers,” one of whom is Bruce Hoffman, the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and former director of the RAND’s Washington DC office.
The SITE Intelligence Group “constantly monitors the Internet and traditional media for material and propaganda released by jihadist groups and their supporters,” the company’s website announces.
“Once obtained, SITE immediately translates the material and provides the intelligence along with a contextual analysis explaining the source of the material and its importance to our subscribers.”
In 2003 and 2004, SITE received financial support from the US government. Also in the early 2000s SITE was on contract providing consulting services to the FBI.
It would appear that SITE has abandoned its non-profit status and now relies on corporate and individual subscriptions for revenue. In 2005 the private mercenary contractor Blackwater hailed SITE as “an invaluable resource.”
The majority of “jihadist groups” operate one or more media outlets that produce and publish “the group’s multimedia, and in some cases, communiqués and magazines,” SITE explains on its website.
“These media units involve production teams and correspondents who report directly from the battlefield, and craft propaganda to indoctrinate and recruit new fighters into the group’s ranks.” SITE provides no direct links to the jihadist groups’ websites or multimedia productions from its own platform.
Katz describes SITE as geared toward international Islamic jihad. “[W]e at SITE for over a decade monitor, search, and study the jihadists online,” she explains.
We have been studying and monitoring the jihadists online, which also as they get more sophisticated, we follow their techniques and study them. And based on that, we could predict where they will be uploading their video.
After all, we have to remember that much of this propaganda is being posted online. Their releases are released online [sic]. So they have to be able to use certain locations to upload their releases before they are published.
Though routinely overlooked in the flurry of front-page coverage corporate media have allotted the three beheading videos–the most recent of which featured Scottish aid worker David Cawthorne Haines–it is common knowledge that SITE uncannily secures terrorist statements and videos well before the US’s wide array of lavishly-funded intelligence services.
For example, as the Washington Post reported in 2007,
[a] small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 … It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By mid-afternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.
The video later proved to be fraudulent.
With the above in mind, one may ask, If parties within a US presidential administration or the State Department sought to bypass the potential scrutiny of a wide-ranging intelligence community concerning such matters, while simultaneously providing itself with the means to effectively propagandize the American public toward a broader end, what better way than to contract the services of an entity such as SITE?
If there is some merit in the above appraisal, the arrangement is now being pushed to an extreme by the Obama administration to pave the road toward a long-sought goal: war with Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime. Indeed, services such as SITE’s are a potent and valuable means for moving public opinion, as they have done in recent weeks concerning military action against the Islamic State. Along these lines, a decade ago both John Kerry and George W. Bush credited the latter’s re-election to a surreptitious appearance by Osama bin Laden via video tape several days before the vote.
Playing a role similar to SITE, IntelCenter acts as an intermediary between Al-Qaeda’s supposed media arm, As-Sahab, and major media. In other words, “they acquire the tapes and pass them on to the press, and have occasionally even predicted when tapes would be released beforehand,” Paul Joseph Watson reports.
“IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, who used to be the director of intelligence at a company called IDEFENSE, which is a Verisign company. IDEFENSE is a web security company that monitors intelligence from the Middle East conflicts and focuses on cyber threats among other things. It is also heavily populated with long serving ex-military intelligence officials.
As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.
Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.
In a CNN on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.
“The video shows the beheading of Steven Sotloff,” Katz cautiously begins after being queried on the document’s authenticity.
The location from where the video was obtained from is the location where ISIS usually uploads their original videos to [sic]. The video shows a clear message from ISIS that follows the same message that it had before. And in fact within a short time after our release, ISIS’ account on social media indicated that within a short time they would be releasing the video, only we actually had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release. (emphasis added)
This unusual statement alongside SITE’s remarkable abilities, should put news outlets on guard concerning the reliability of SITE statements.
Undoubtedly this is a great deal to ask from a news media that all too frequently participate in orienting public opinion toward war, a feat it has once again accomplished with the aid of SITE.
The interests and alliances of the transnational entities owning such media make them poised to profit from the very geopolitical designs drawn up by SITE’s corporate and government clients–the most important of which may be those seeking to broaden Middle Eastern conflict. No doubt, the wide-scale acceptance of such propaganda is also the result of the vastly diminished critical capacities of the broader public, now several decades in the making.
 “Services,” SITE Intelligence Group, , accessed September 15, 2014,
 Berni McCoy, “So, a ‘Charitable Organization’ Released the bin Laden Video,” Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007, http://journals.democraticunderground.com/berni_
 “SITE Institute,” Sourcewatch.org, Center for Media and Democracy, n.d.
 “Media Groups,” SITE Intelligence Group, n.d., accessed September 15, 2014.
 Karl Penhaul, Pamela Brown, Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon, Paul Cruickshank, “Joan Rivers on Life Support; Chilling Words From ISIS Terrorist; How to Fight Radical Recruitment” (transcript), CNN, September 2, 2014.
 Joby Warrick, “Leak Severed a Link to Al Qaeda Secrets,” Washington Post, October 9, 2007.
 Paul Joseph Watson, “Another Dubious Osama Tape Appears When the Neo-Cons Need It Most,” Prisonplanet.com, July 16, 2007.
 Ibid. See also, Kurt Nimmo, “Sotloff Video Found by Group Responsible For Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,” Infowars.com, September 3, 2014.
President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah movement, which he commands, have unleashed a media campaign against Hamas and the resistance. If pressure from the Palestinian public fails to stop the campaign, Abbas may achieve politically what Israel failed to achieve militarily: forcing the Palestinian presidency to choose “peace with Israel” over national reconciliation.
It appears that President Abbas has, indeed, prioritised “peace with Israel.” He has devised plans for resuming negotiations, and is still banking on American support for such talks. This is the only explanation for the current anti-Hamas media campaign.
Abbas sent his negotiators — Saeb Erekat, Majed Faraj and Maen Erekat — to Washington, where they met with US Secretary of State John Kerry a week ago last Wednesday. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki described the more than two-hour meeting as “constructive”. Abbas then prepared to obtain an Arab mandate, which seems guaranteed in advance, for his plans from the 142nd session of the Arab foreign ministers conference, held in Cairo this week.
However, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power poured cold water over the Palestinian Authority (PA) president’s bid to obtain US backing for his plan, which he intends to put before the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly. The proposal would end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza within three years, during which period negotiations would resume within three months with the occupying power over its borders with the Palestinian state.
“We don’t think there are shortcuts or unilateral measures that can be taken at the United Nations or anyplace else that will bring about the outcome that the Palestinian people most seek,” Power said in a press conference last week. “To think that you can come to New York and secure what needs to be worked out on the ground is not realistic.”
This clearly translates into an unequivocal US “No.” The Palestinian president’s new plan has run up against the same American wall that Palestinian negotiators have faced since negotiations were adopted as a strategic approach. The Zionist route remains the only way these negotiators can access the White House and the UN Security Council.
There can be only one explanation for this plan. It is in fulfilment of a Palestinian promise not to resist the occupation and to offer the occupying power the opportunity to agree to yet another futile round of negotiations. Such negotiations will give Israel the time it needs to turn the Givaot colony into a major settler city on the 4,000 dunams of Palestinian land that it has just seized by declaring it “state land”.
The purpose of this appropriation is to separate the Hebron and South Bethlehem governorates in the West Bank. It is also a means to deflect international humanitarian pressure in reaction to Israeli war crimes in Gaza, to evade Israel’s obligations to the truce agreement with the resistance in Gaza, and to fuel internal Palestinian tensions until they reignite once more.
It was not Hamas or the resistance that described Abbas’s new plan as a “spurious process”. It was independent Palestinian figures who expressed their views in a statement read out by Mamdouh Al-Akr, general commissioner of the Independent Organisation of Human Rights, on 2 September in Ramallah. They called for an urgent meeting of the unified leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), in accordance with the Cairo agreement of 2011, so that it can serve as a frame of reference for the Palestinian will and take critical national decisions.
Activating the unified leadership framework of the PLO will put President Abbas’s call for a “single Palestinian central authority”, uniquely empowered to “determine matters of war and peace”, into its concrete national context. Only this context can confer legitimacy on a Palestinian leadership that does not derive its authority from resisting the occupation in all forms.
Moreover, the currently missing “electoral legitimacy” is no longer sufficient in and of itself to allow Palestinian decisions on war and peace to remain in the hands of a leadership that is the product of elections that were held with the approval of the occupation power and in the framework of agreements signed with it.
The Palestinian presidency has dropped the available option of resistance from the lexicon of its negotiating strategy, let alone the option of war, which is not available. The PA, in coordination with the occupation’s security apparatus, has become “the security proxy for the occupying power, rather than an instrument to end the occupation and establish the state,” as Palestinian analyst Hani Al-Masri wrote on 26 August.
As a result, the occupying power, alone, holds the keys to the decision of war, which it continues to repeat, and to the decision of peace, which it still refuses to take.
It appears that President Abbas is working against the tide of Palestinian public opinion, as voiced in a recent survey conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) in Ramallah. According to this poll, only 22 per cent of respondents supported a resumption of negotiations, while 53 per cent said they regarded resistance as “the more effective way” to realise the creation of a Palestinian state.
The results of the PCPSR poll contradict all the charges levelled by the president and Fatah against the resistance and Hamas. Of those polled, 79 per cent believe that the resistance emerged victorious from the recent war, while 86 per cent support the defensive use of rockets.
Respondents gave very low ratings to the performance of the Palestinian president, the PA, the national unity government and the PLO, while the approval rating for Hamas was 88 per cent.
What is the substance of this media campaign against Hamas? It ranges from blaming Hamas for prolonging the war and for the consequent loss of lives and material damage, to adopting the Israeli narrative regarding a Hamas-engineered “coup attempt” against the president in the West Bank and the existence of a “shadow government” in Gaza that prevents the national unity government from functioning.
Then there are the charges of keeping Fatah members under “house arrest”, of “opening fire on civilians”, and of “selling emergency relief on the black market.” On top of these come the accusation that Hamas has violated “the law that defines the colours and dimensions of the flag.”
President Abbas’s instructions to create a “committee to hold a dialogue” with Hamas to discuss the “fate of the national unity government,” as announced by Amin Maqboul, secretary of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, does little to encourage optimism. The national unity government, national reconciliation, the Cairo agreement of 2011, the unified leadership framework that it stipulated, and the reactivation of the PLO, all stand at a crossroads.
This is because of the confrontation stirred by the systematic smear campaign that President Abbas and the Fatah movement are waging against Hamas and the resistance. The campaign has created a media smokescreen behind which the occupation authority can conceal its foot-dragging in carrying out its obligations under the truce agreement, which will probably be echoed in Israeli procrastination on continuing with truce talks due to be held in Cairo.
It should also be stressed that to accuse the resistance and Hamas of prolonging the war is to exonerate the occupation power of responsibility. The Israeli media was quick to capitalise on this, further proof of the extensive coverage the campaign has received.
Indeed, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev virtually reiterated it verbatim when he said that the Egyptian initiative was on the table from 15 July and that while the Arab League and Israel had approved the initiative, Hamas rejected it, only to turn around and agree to it a month later. “If [Hamas] had agreed then to what it agrees to now” it would have been possible “to avoid all that bloodshed,” he said.
The investigatory commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council will most likely cite the president’s charges to strengthen the claims of the occupying power, as these charges would be regarded as “testimony of a witness from the other side.”
Abbas says that while the “final toll” from the most recent war in Gaza was 2,140 dead, “if added to the number of dead in previous wars, and those who died during the period of the Shalit problem, the number would be 10,000 dead and wounded, in addition to the 35,000 homes that were totally or partially destroyed.”
When Abbas says that “it would have been possible” to avert the human and material losses of the recent conflict he is effectively blaming the resistance, not the occupation, for the last war on Gaza and the two wars since 2008 that preceded it.
The spectre of discord once again hovers over Palestinian unity, with Palestinian opinion divided over a programme of negotiations versus a programme of resistance. This is the breach through which Arab and non-Arab “axes” penetrate into the Palestinian interior, deepening rather than mending Palestinian rifts.
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories
The Economist’s Bello column this week has a column entitled “Memory is not history“, which argues that “there are dangers [in South America’s] intellectual fashion for “historical memory”.” It goes on to accuse “the left” of “rewriting history” – in fact, of imposing “memory” over an accurate “history”.
I would argue that the piece contains several important distortions, aside from trying to lump together a region from Colombia down to the Southern Cone.
The historical truth silenced by “memory” is that the cold war in Latin America was fought by two equally authoritarian sides.
But it was not. To take the example of Argentina, yes, there were Montoneros and there were incidences of left-wing violence before the 1976 coup. But to suggest that the small leftist group, which was largely destroyed before the military took power, was in any way equivalent to the forces of the State is very far off the mark.
The Economist points out that some human rights groups in Argentina tend to use the figure of 30,000 disappeared and it contrasts this with the nearly 9,000 victims recorded by the CONADEP commission. It is inaccurate and unfair to use the CONADEP list to undermine estimates of the disappeared, and I explained why in detail years ago. See also here for more on the numbers.
None of this mitigates the inexcusable barbarity of Pinochet or of the Argentine junta.
The problem is that it does. You can’t equate State terrorists with their victims, suggest that calculations of the disappeared are deliberately inflated, and then claim that you’re not weakening the accounts of the dictatorships’ crimes.
Memorials are a shorthand, yes. You can’t include the whole complexities of a country’s experiences on a plaque. Memory, in its wider sense, tends to include the testimonies of victims and relatives and it encompasses a whole range of commemorative acts, both formal and informal. Pulling out the memory/history dichotomy and reiterating the dos demonios theory (“each side was as bad as the other”) is a means of obscuring human rights abuses and seeking to paper over the crimes of the past.
While the United States, United Kingdom and NATO are pushing for war with Russia, it behooves people and their governments around the world to take a clear stand for peace and against violence and war, no matter where it comes from. We are at a dangerous point in our history of the human family and it would be the greatest of tragedies for ourselves and our children if we simply allowed the war profiteers to take us into a third world war, resulting in the death of untold millions of people.
NATO’s decision at its summit in Wales (September 4-5) to create a new 4,000 strong rapid reaction force for initial deployment in the Baltics is a dangerous path for us all to be forced down, and could well lead to a third world war if not stopped. What is needed now are cool heads and people of wisdom and not more guns, more weapons, more war.
NATO is the leadership which has been causing the ongoing wars from the present conflict in the Ukraine, to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and others.
NATO’s latest move commits its 28 member states to spend two percent of their gross domestic product on the military, and to establish a series of three to five bases in Eastern Europe where equipment and supplies will be pre-positioned to help speed deployments, among other measures.
This decision by the United States/NATO to create a high readiness force with the alleged purpose of countering an alleged Russian threat reminds me of the war propaganda of lies, half-truths, insinuations and rumors to which we were all subjected in order to try to soften us all up for the Iraq war and subsequent horrific wars of terror which were carried out by NATO allied forces.
According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) observation team, NATO’s reports, including its satellite photos which show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside sovereign territory of Ukraine, were based on false evidence.
While NATO is busy announcing a counter-invasion to the non-existent Russian invasion of Ukraine, people in Ukraine are calling out for peace and negotiations, for political leadership which will bring them peace, not weapons and war.
This spearhead military force will be provided by allies in rotation and will involve also air, sea and special forces. We are also informed by a NATO spokesperson that this force will be trained to deal with unconventional actions, from the funding of separatist groups to the use of social media, intimidation and black propaganda.
No doubt the current Western media’s demonization of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people, by trying to inculcate fear and hatred of them, is part of the black propaganda campaign.
NATO’s latest proposals of 4,000 soldiers, and a separate force of 10,000 strong British-led joint expeditionary force also proposed, is a highly aggressive and totally irresponsible move by the United States, United Kingdom and NATO. It is breaches the 1997 agreement with Moscow under which NATO pledged not to base substantial numbers of soldiers in Eastern Europe on a permanent basis.
NATO should have been disbanded when the Warsaw Pact disintegrated but it was not and is now controlled by the United States for its own agenda. When speaking of NATO, one of President Bill Clinton’s officials said “America is NATO”. Today NATO, instead of being abolished, is re-inventing itself in re-arming and militarizing European states and justifying its new role by creating enemy images – be they Russians, IS (the Islamic State), and so on.
In an interdependent, interconnected world, struggling to build fraternity, economic cooperation and human security, there is no place for the Cold War policies of killing and threats to kill and policies of exceptionalism and superiority. The world has changed. People do not want to be divided and they want to see an end to violence, militarism and war.
The old consciousness is dysfunctional and a new consciousness based on an ethic of non-killing and respect and cooperation is spreading. It is time for NATO to recognize that its violent policies are counterproductive. The Ukraine crisis, groups such as the Islamic State, etc., will not be solved with guns, but with justice and through dialogue.
Above all, the world needs hope. It needs inspirational political leadership and this could be given if President Barack Obama and President Putin sat down together to solve the Ukraine conflict through dialogue and negotiation and in a non-violent way.
We live in dangerous times, but all things are possible, all things are changing … and peace is possible.
In his address to the nation outlining his strategy to defeat ISIS last week, President Obama made three important points regarding Syria:
1) He would not hesitate to bomb ISIS on Syrian territory even without permission from Syria, a UN resolution, or Congressional authorization.
2) He would not coordinate his attacks on Syrian territory with the Syrian government because, as the State Department claimed, that government has no legitimacy.
And, most importantly:
3) He vowed to increase US support for the “moderate” rebels in Syria, which have been fighting, with US backing, to overthrow the Syrian government for three years.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost.
This, certainly not by accident, creates the false impression that ISIS and the Assad government in Syria are on the same side and that only the “moderate” rebels in Syria can defeat both ISIS and Assad.
The fantasy of Obama’s plan to fund, arm, and train the “moderates” in Syria to be the leading edge in the US war on ISIS was completely laid bare just days after his speech, as the Syrian “moderates” signed a non-aggression pact with ISIS at a meeting just outside Damascus.
They agreed they would not fight each other until they defeat the Assad government, which, strangely enough, is the US goal as well.
When placed in the proper context, recent events in Ukraine emerge as part of a pattern of “silent coups” typical of the era of President Barack Obama in which “regime change” is disguised as “democracy promotion” but actually overturns democratically elected leaders.
The Ukrainian coup unfolded in three stages: the establishment of the justification for the coup, the coup itself, and the exploitation of the coup to move Ukraine into the American sphere. All three stages bear the Obama administration’s fingerprint of looking like democracy even as the democratic will of a population is negated and reversed.
These modern coups are unlike the classic military coups executed by earlier U.S. presidents, such as those that removed Mossadeq in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 and Allende in Chile in 1973. Nor are they like President George W. Bush’s “regime change” involving overt U.S. invasions. The Ukrainian coup was so disguised as to be unrecognizable as a coup. The Obama-era coups require no tanks and few guns. They usually don the trappings of “pro-democracy” domestic protests.
The first stage establishes the justification for the coup. It pretends to be the expression of the public will through mass democratic expression in the streets. But it actually amplifies the voice of a disaffected and defeated minority. This pattern under President Obama took shape in the streets of Tehran in 2009 after the people of Iran made the mistake of once again choosing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as their president – not the choice America wanted, so the choice had to be changed.
Next, the complaints of the U.S.-desired but defeated Hossein Mousavi and his Green Movement were picked up and amplified by the West, claiming that the election had been fraudulent, justifying a popular uprising for “regime change.” Except that the result hadn’t been forced on the people.
Despite frequent promises to furnish evidence and despite frequent opportunities to do so, Mousavi never delivered the case for electoral theft. And, as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself pointed out, this was no narrow victory where the rigging of a few votes or even a few hundred thousand votes could steal a victory. “How can they rig eleven million votes?” the Ayatollah asked of an election that got about an 85 percent turnout and saw 40 million people cast ballots.
But it is not just the titanic challenge of moving millions of votes from one side of the electoral ledger to the other. The polls, both before and after the election, continually showed that the votes were always there for Ahmadinejad. Former U.S. national security officials Flynt Leverett and Hilary Mann Leverett have documented that 14 methodologically sound polls — run externally by experienced Canadian and American polling organizations and internally by the University of Tehran — demonstrated the predictability, reasonableness and legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s 62.5 percent vote total.
On election night, the University of Tehran’s polls showed Ahmadinejad vacuuming up 57 percent of the vote. In post-election polls, between 55 percent and 66 percent of voters said they had voted for Ahmadinejad (who had a strong base of support among poorer Iranians and especially among rural voters whose opinions were less noticeable to the Western press).
The Western refusal to recognize the democratically elected Ahmadinejad coupled with the credence and amplification that America gave to the exaggeratedly popular Green Movement created the umbrella under which Mousavi’s movement could take to the streets and attempt the removal of a regime unwanted by Washington.
Such a coup-in-disguise exploits one of the potential troubles with democracy. It is the nature of democracy that the majority of people, not the unanimity of people, get to select the government. Even if a government wins a convincing 62.5 percent of the vote, that leaves a sometimes dissatisfied 37.5 percent of the people to take to the streets.
In a large country like Iran, where 40 million people voted, that translates into 15 million people who can take to the streets. When picked up by a sympathetic Western media, protests by even a fraction of those numbers can create the appearance of a mass social movement that justifies supporting what appears to be a popular demand for a change in regime. A “pro-democracy” social movement is born.
In Iran, a group that could not change the government through the democratic electoral process appeared to make a strong “democratic” case to change the government through social pressure. A mass minority protesting in the streets produced a cry heard more loudly around the world than a silent majority in a secret polling booth. It was still the minority, but – in such cases – “democracy” can be wielded as a weapon against democracy. If you can’t bring about the government you want in the polls, bring it about in the streets.
This Iran experiment of legitimizing a coup by transforming the minority, which failed to democratically change the government at the polls, into a mass movement expressing the “public will” to change the government in the streets fell short of its goal although creating a widespread impression in the West that Ahmadinejad’s reelection was illegitimate.
Other ‘Silent Coup’ Attempts
Four years later, a similar silent coup attempt appeared in the streets of Venezuela. With the death of Hugo Chavez, America saw the opportunity for the first time since 1988 to have a leader elected in Venezuela who did not insist on his country’s autonomy from the U.S. But, to America’s dismay, the people voted to continue the Bolivarian Revolution by electing Chavez’s chosen successor, Nicolás Maduro.
The Western media lens immediately focused not on the election of Maduro and Chavez’s party but on the claims of fraud issued by Maduro’s opponent (and Washington’s choice) Henrique Capriles. Despite Maduro agreeing to an audit of the voting machines, despite Capriles never filing his legal charges, despite 150 electoral monitors from around the world – including the Carter Center – certifying the election as fair and despite recognition by every other country in the world, the U.S. State Department continued not to recognize the Maduro government and continued to call for a recount and review.
When Capriles called his democratically defeated supporters to the streets, the Western media lens, as in Iran four years earlier, focused on and amplified the protests. As with Iran, Washington’s refusal to recognize the elected government and the U.S. legitimization of the protests provided cover to the opposition while it attempted to overturn the election results and overthrow the elected government.
Once again, “democracy promotion” was wielded as a weapon against democracy. Yet, in Venezuela, the experiment failed again, as it may have in Turkey and Brazil where Washington also looked with disfavor on the election outcomes.
In Brazil, Lula da Silva won 61.3 percent of the vote in 2002 and 60.83 percent in 2006. In the most recent election, in 2010, Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, won a majority 56.05 percent of the vote. In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, far from declining in popularity, had seen his government’s actions rewarded with increasing voter support: 34 percent in 2002, 46.66 percent in 2007 and 49.83 percent in 2011. Nevertheless, in both countries, the defeated minorities took to the streets to attempt what they could not achieve in the polls.
This silent coup technique would prove more successful in Egypt where the democratically elected Mohamed Morsi would be removed from office not by democracy and the ballot box but, at least in part, by the defeated minority walking out of the polls and into the streets. “Democracy promotion” protests in Cairo and elsewhere set the stage for Morsi’s ouster by the Egyptian military.
The Ukrainian ‘Success’
The first stage of the Ukrainian coup — the establishment of a justification for the coup — fits this same pattern. As Seamus Milne said in the Guardian, the protest in the streets of Ukraine was “played out through the western media according to a well-rehearsed script. Pro-democracy campaigners are battling an authoritarian government.” But, he adds: “it bears only the sketchiest relationship to reality.”
Though President Viktor Yanukovych is often portrayed in the Western media as a dictator who was flown in by Russia, the man the protestors were trying to remove on the streets was elected in 2010 by a plurality of 48.9 percent of the people in elections declared fair by international observers.
So this was not a mass “pro-democracy” movement ousting an unelected dictator. As in Iran, Venezuela and Egypt, this was the case of the losers of the last election trying to reverse those results by going into the streets. But, to make the script work, Western governments and media alter the roles and turn the democratically elected president into the undemocratic one and the opposition into the democracy.
Thus, the West cooperated in the de-legitimization of the elected government of Ukraine and the legitimization of a coup. Such a silent coup is made to appear “democratic” by making it look like a heroic “peoples” movement arising spontaneously from the street.
Having legitimized the cause of the coup-makers, the second stage is the silent coup itself. In this stage, the silent coup is disguised as the shuffling of the legal and constitutional workings of a nation’s parliament. Once again, the coup is executed by wielding “democracy” as the chief weapon.
This aspect of the silent coup – making it appear as simply a discontented population leading to a dispute among constitutional institutions – was developed and perfected in Latin America. During Obama’s presidency, it first appeared in Honduras where democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was whisked out of the country in a kidnapping at gunpoint that was dressed up as a constitutional obligation because Zelaya had announced a plebiscite to determine whether Hondurans wanted to draft a new constitution (since the old one favored the privileged oligarchy).
The political establishment – hostile to Zelaya’s proposal – falsely translated his announcement into an unconstitutional intention to seek reelection. The ability to stand for a second term would have been considered in the constitutional discussions, but was never announced as an intention by Zelaya.
The Honduran Supreme Court declared the President’s plebiscite unconstitutional; the military kidnapped Zelaya; and the Supreme Court charged Zelaya with treason and declared a new president. In other words, it was a coup in constitutional disguise. As American diplomatic cables made clear, the U.S. State Department knew the change in regime was a coup cloaked in the costume of a constitutional act. (Nevertheless, the result of the coup was supported by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.)
The second appearance of this coup pattern occurred in Paraguay when the right-wing Frederico Franco took the presidency from democratically elected, left-leaning Fernando Lugo in a replay of the parliamentary coup. As in Honduras, a coup was made to look like a constitutional transition.
The right-wing opposition opportunistically capitalized on a skirmish over disputed land that left at least 11 people dead to unfairly blame the deaths on President Lugo. It then impeached him after giving him only 24 hours to prepare his defense and only two hours to deliver it. Embassy cables again show that the U.S. was prepared to permit this kind of coup.
The Ukrainian coup is the third incarnation of this pattern of silent coup during the Obama administration. The coup that removed Viktor Yanukovych was disguised to appear as the workings of parliamentary democracy (after street protests in Kiev – supported by U.S. officials – and violent clashes between police and demonstrators created a crisis atmosphere).
With the clashes growing more intense, the parliamentary process that removed the democratically elected leader of Ukraine had three phases. In Act I, after Yanukovych had reached an agreement guaranteed by three European nations to accept reduced powers and to call early elections so he could be voted out of office, government security forces withdrew from the streets leaving public buildings unguarded. That allowed protesters to take control.
In Act II, the opposition made sure that it had the numbers and the strength to take over the parliament by pouncing when, according to the UK Guardian, “many of the MPs for southern and eastern Ukraine were absent from the session. Instead they were at a pre-scheduled congress of regional politicians in Kharkiv” and by intimidating those who remained who were loyal to Yanukovych.
Journalist Robert Parry wrote that neo-Nazi right-wing protesters occupied the government buildings “and forced Yanukovych and many of his allies to flee for their lives.”
In Act III, political parties that held just a minority of the Ukrainian parliament — mostly from the west — dismissed Yanukovych, favorably altered the constitution and formed a new government and began passing new laws often unanimously under intimidation. Parry wrote that “With Yanukovych and many of his supporters fleeing for their lives, the opposition parties seized control of parliament and began passing draconian new laws . . . as neo-Nazi thugs patrolled the scene” – a coup in constitutional disguise.
So, what was really a coup was made to look, as in Honduras and Paraguay, like the legitimate democratic actions of the parliament.
Creating a Pretext
The original issue used as a pretext for the coup was Yanukovych’s abandonment of an economic alliance with the European Union in favor of an economic alliance with Russia. But polls clearly demonstrate that the numbers on each side of the choice paralleled the numbers in the 2010 election: a nearly even split. So, the side that took over in the streets and in the parliament was the same side that lost in the 2010 election and did not represent a democratic change of the people.
As in Honduras and Paraguay, the silent coup in parliamentary disguise was assisted by the West. The trigger for the coup was consistently presented in the West as Yanukovych simply abandoning the E.U. in favor of Russia. But the West pushed him into a situation that made the crisis inevitable.
According to Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at Princeton, “it was the European Union, backed by Washington, that said in November to the democratically elected President of a profoundly divided country, Ukraine, ‘You must choose between Europe and Russia’.” Cohen added that Washington and the E.U. rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer of collaboration for the E.U., America and Russia all to help Ukraine without forcing it to choose.
Having said that Yanukovych must choose one or the other, the West then made it impossible for him to choose the West. Robert Parry reported that the E.U. was “demanding substantial economic ‘reforms,’ including an austerity plan dictated by the International Monetary Fund.” Russia, however, offered $15 billion in loans without such demands.
And in addition to the austerity measures, Cohen added that the E.U. proposal also “included ‘security policy’ provisions . . . that would apparently subordinate Ukraine to NATO.” The provisions compelled Ukraine to “adhere to Europe’s ‘military and security’ policies.”
In effect, the West forced Yanukovych to choose Russia, thus setting the stage for the violent protests in the street. The U.S. government then protected and nurtured those protests. Both Sen. John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Victoria Nuland publicly endorsed and supported the protesters’ undemocratic demand for regime change.
Washington then provided cover and legitimacy to the violent movement in the street by condemning not the protesters’ fire bombs and other acts of violence but the police response. And America did more than rhetorically support the protest: it helped finance the disruptions.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was created by Ronald Reagan in 1983 to, according to Robert Parry, “promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states.” Allen Weinstein, its original project director, said in 1991 that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the C.I.A.”
Parry reported that the U.S.-government-funded NED listed a staggering 65 projects that it funded inside Ukraine, creating “a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired.” (In a September 2013, op-ed in the Washington Post, NED President Carl Gershman had referred to Ukraine as “the biggest prize.”)
In other words, NED money financed projects that helped drive the coup, but there was apparently much more U.S. money than what NED supplied. In December 2013, Victoria Nuland told an audience at the Ukraine Foundation Conference that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in a “democratic Ukraine.”
But Nuland said more than that. She accidentally revealed the American handwriting on the Ukrainian coup script. In an intercepted phone call that was made public, she was caught plotting who the Americans wanted to be the winner of the regime change. She told the American ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, that Arseniy Yatsenyuk was America’s choice to replace Yanukovych (and he did).
Pyatt also refers to the West needing to “midwife this thing,” a metaphorical admission of America’s role in the coup. At one point, Nuland even seems to say that Vice President Joe Biden, himself, would be willing to do the midwifery.
The Third Stage
Having made what was clearly a coup appear to be the legitimate shuffling of parliamentary democracy, the new government was ripe to advance to the third stage: moving Ukraine into the American sphere. Like the silent justification of the coup and the silent coup in constitutional disguise, the moving of Ukraine into the American sphere was a silent takeover: no invasion necessary.
The new government formally asked to ally itself with the patrons who helped place it in power in the first place. On Aug. 29, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk—the very man Victoria Nuland was caught naming as America’s choice to replace Yanukovych – announced that his cabinet had approved a bill putting an end to Ukraine’s non-aligned status that would pave the way for “resumption of Ukraine’s course for NATO membership.” The bill will now be sent on to parliament.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen responded immediately to Yatsenyuk’s announcement by reminding the world of NATOs 2008 decision that Ukraine would become a member of NATO if it so wanted and added that NATO would “fully respect” Ukraine’s intention to join.
So the silent coup had set the stage for the silent takeover of Ukraine by the West, as Ukraine slides out of Russia’s orbit and into NATO’s, a hostile takeover of a country in democratic disguise.
On its own, the Ukrainian intervention clearly has the markings of a U.S.-backed coup. But, removed from isolation and placed into the context of other coups and attempted coups that have taken place during Obama’s presidency, the Ukrainian coup can be seen to be the culmination of a pattern of coups made to look not like coups but like the admirable exercise of “democracy.”
Ted Snider has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on analyzing patterns in U.S. foreign policy and history.
Beyond conspiracy theories – which are often justified in an era where everything appears as though it is part of a plan or a scheme – we have the right to ask why the majority of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had all been incarcerated in the same prison at Camp Bucca, which was run by the US occupation forces near Omm Qasr in southeastern Iraq.
In the context of conspiracy theories, there are a lot of rumors about links between IS and the US intelligence or affiliated organizations. But to what extent are these theories credible? Is there evidence that corroborate them?
These questions seem legitimate, provided that ready-made answers are not accepted without convincing evidence. However, it is difficult to get this kind of evidence, and we might need another Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks to learn the real truth about the relationship between IS and US intelligence.
Yet not having this evidence should not prevent us from trying to gather some clues that may not amount to definitive evidence, but which will no doubt question the narrative that fully exonerates US intelligence from involvement with the jihadis.
First of all, most IS leaders had passed through the former U.S. detention facility at Camp Bucca in Iraq. So who were the most prominent of these detainees?
The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tops the list. He was detained from 2004 until mid-2006. After he was released, he formed the Army of Sunnis, which later merged with the so-called Mujahideen Shura Council.
What happened during Baghdadi’s detention in Bucca remains a mystery. Some press reports said he had been detained as a “civilian” in prison for 10 months in 2004, while other reports stated he was captured by the US forces in 2005 and held for four years at Camp Bucca. This latter possibility is unlikely, given that Baghdadi had formed the Army of Sunnis and joined the Mujahideen Shura Council shortly before the assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June 2006. This is while bearing in mind that this council was established in January 2006, which makes it more likely that Baghdadi had been released either in late 2005 or early 2006.
It should be noted that after the Army of the Sunnis merged with the Mujahideen Shura Council, the Americans were able to successfully hunt down the leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq, starting with Zarqawi in 2006, and not ending with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir in 2010, the death of the former being the event that paved the way for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to become the organization’s leader.
Another prominent IS leader today is Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was a former officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. This man also “graduated” from Camp Bucca, and currently serves as a member on IS’ military council.
Another member of the military council who was in Bucca is Adnan Ismail Najm. He was known as Osama al-Bilawi (Abu Abdul_Rahman al-Bilawi). IS named the operation for the “invasion of Mosul” after him. He was detained on January 2005 in Bucca, and was also a former officer in Saddam’s army. He was the head of a shura council in IS, before he was killed by the Iraqi army near Mosul on June 4, 2014.
Camp Bucca was also home to Haji Samir, aka Haji Bakr, whose real name is Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi. He was a colonel in the army of the former Iraqi regime. He was detained in Bucca, and after his release, he joined al-Qaeda. He was the top man in ISIS in Syria, but was killed in Aleppo in the first week of January 2014.
According to the testimonies of US officers who worked in the prison, the administration of Camp Bucca had taken measures including the segregation of prisoners on the basis of their ideology. This, according to experts, made it possible to recruit people directly and indirectly.
Former detainees had said in documented television interviews that Bucca, which was closed down in September 2009, was akin to an “al-Qaeda school,” where senior extremists gave lessons on explosives and suicide attacks to younger prisoners. A former prisoner named Adel Jassem Mohammed said that one of the extremists remained in the prison for two weeks only, but even so was able to recruit 25 out of 34 inmates who were there. Mohammed also said that U.S. military officials did nothing to stop the extremists from mentoring the other detainees.
While Camp Bucca is the common denominator among most IS leaders, another one is the fact that a majority of them were officers in the Baathist army, which explains the ease with which the radical group has been able to infiltrate the clans and coax some of their leaders into joining its ranks.
Another noteworthy point is that none of the leaders who had emerged out of Bucca and who were subsequently killed, were killed in U.S. airstrikes, but rather at the hands of the Iraqi army, the Syrian army, or in fighting with other armed groups.
What had happened in Bucca then? What were the circumstances that made all those former detainees subsequent leaders in the extremist group? These questions require answers and serious investigations. No doubt, we will one day discover that many more leaders in the group had been detained in Bucca as well, which seems to have been more of a “terrorist academy” than a prison.
The final point that cannot be ignored is that the creation of ISIS has greatly weakened al-Qaeda.
A member of the Ukrainian parliamentary probe into the Odessa massacre has retracted her signature under the document, saying it was heavily redacted after signing. Multiple Odessa news outlets published what they said was the original probe conclusions.
Svetlana Fabrikant, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and secretary of the parliamentary commission probing into the massacre in Odessa on May 2, as well as other episodes of violence in eastern Ukrainian cities, withdrew her signature under the commission’s report, saying it was “different” from what she had signed.
“Regrettably, other members of the commission made some adjustments to the document after I had signed it,” she said. “After the document was published on the official website of the parliament, I found my signature under a different document – and I cannot agree with this document,” Itar-Tass quotes her as saying.
After the comparison of the version published by the parliament and the one obtained by Odessa media outlets, it can be concluded that the ‘redacted’ version got rid of witnesses’ accounts implicating the involvement of Andrey Parubiy, then-secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, in organizing the Odessa massacre.
Parubiy resigned from his post in August.
The final version of the report presented by Kiev is also reportedly missing witnesses’ accounts about the involvement of about 500 radicals who have been transferred to Odessa with the help of the region’s governor, Vladimir Nemirovsky. It also failed to mention the head of Odessa branch of the Udar party, Andrey Yusov, and other Euromaidan leaders who allegedly instigated radical nationalists to set ablaze the Trade Unions House.
Svetlana Fabrikant said that Parubiy, as well as the chief of Ukraine’s Security Council, Valentin Nalivaichenko, and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov refused to talk with the commission’s members during the investigation.
“Key participants in those developments had never showed up at the commission’s sessions. The reluctance of officials to provide explanations to the commission is an eloquent answer. What kind of openness and joint work can we speak about?” Fabrikant said, claiming that the authorities wanted to soft-pedal the investigation of the Odessa tragedy.
At least 48 people died, and over 200 were injured, in a series of events that led to an inferno in the Trade Unions building on May 2. After clashes erupted between anti-government protesters and radicals supporting the Maidan-imposed authorities in Kiev, the latter set on fire the Trade Unions House, where anti-Kiev protesters found refuge, as well as their tent camp.
The actual death toll could be much higher, as many of those who managed to escape the flames were then either strangled or beaten with bats by radicals, according to numerous witness reports.
“The Ukrainian authorities are seeking to drag out the investigation. Those who were behind the tragedy have not yet been named,” Nikolay Skorik, the former governor of the Odessa region and a member of the investigation commission, told the media.
The official version of the report does not arrive at any significant conclusion into the causes of death for those trapped inside the burning building. It says that after the camp of anti-Kiev activists had been set on fire, people tried to find shelter in the Trade Unions House that was also set ablaze.
Forensic examination revealed that nine people had died from carbon monoxide intoxication, 13 had died from combustion gas intoxication, 12 had died from burns, eight had died from injuries as they jumped out of windows, and six had died from gun wounds. One of those killed in the Trade Unions House has not yet been identified.
Ferguson PD Lies About Why It Released Videotape Of Store Robbery, Lies Some More When Confronted With The Facts
In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, the Ferguson Police made several ill-advised moves. The biggest was the paramilitary force that greeted protests, looking for all the world like a unit flown in from Kabul, followed shortly thereafter by the detainment of several journalists. The decision to withhold the officer’s name was also received poorly, but this was complicated by one baffling move — the release of a store surveillance tape that appeared to show Brown stealing cigarillos from a local store shortly before he was shot dead.
This tape’s release was purely self-motivated. Even the Dept. of Justice — which had stepped in shortly after everything went to hell in Ferguson — advised against it. The only conceivable reason for the release was a post-facto “justification” of Officer Darren Wilson’s decision to shoot an unarmed man several times.
But the Ferguson PD tried to cover up this motivation. Matthew Key at TheBlot has dug into the events surrounding the release of the surveillance tape and found nothing but Ferguson PD lies.
The chief of police for the Ferguson Police Department misled members of the media and the public when he asserted that his hand was forced in releasing surveillance footage that purported to show 18-year-old resident Michael Brown engaged in a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store minutes before he was fatally shot by a police officer.
The tape — released on the same day the PD belatedly revealed the name of the officer who shot Brown — was supposedly released as the result of “multiple” FOIA requests from journalists and other citizens.
“We’ve had this tape for a while, and we had to diligently review the information that was in the tape, determine if there was any other reason to keep it,” Jackson said at the press event. “We got a lot of Freedom of Information requests for this tape, and at some point it was just determined we had to release it. We didn’t have good cause, any other reason not to release it under FOI.”
But another FOIA request exposed this claim for what it is. TheBlot used a FOIA request to obtain all FOIA requests sent to the Ferguson PD. And it couldn’t find a single one that specifically requested that tape.
Last month, TheBlot Magazine requested a copy of all open records requests made by members of the public — including journalists and news organizations — that specifically sought the release of the convenience store surveillance video. The logs, which were itself obtained under Missouri’s open records law, show only one journalist — Joel Currier with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — broadly requested any and all multimedia evidence “leading up to” Brown’s death on Aug. 9.
With that lie uncovered, the Ferguson Police decided to double down. A statement issued to TheBlot claimed that multiple other FOIA requests were made orally, due to heavy traffic to the city’s website and email server. Possibly believable, but was anyone logging these verbal requests? And could this be where the multiple requests for the surveillance video originated? The answers are “yes,” “well, actually no,” and “shut up.”
The first response:
City of Ferguson attorney Stephanie Karr said that “many requests were made verbally due to the fact that the City’s website and email were down at several points during that week” and that “city personnel cataloged all requests and treated them in the same manner as it would any Sunshine Law request.
So, if they were logged, there’d be some record of a bunch of people asking for the release of the surveillance tape, right? Cue backpedal #1:
Karr responded to a request for comment Saturday afternoon by denying the City of Ferguson had a log of verbal records requests.
“You assume that the Custodian of Records, somehow, logged every single question, statement or request for information, verbal or otherwise, made to every single police officer, city employee, consultant, appointed official or elected official,” Karr told TheBlot by e-mail. “That assumption is, quite simply, wrong and unrealistic.”
Actually, TheBlot didn’t “assume” anything. It simply took Karr’s first statement at face value. Apparently, everything about the first statement was a lie. On top of that, the Ferguson PD may have violated the Sunshine Law by not logging requests it filled or denied. TheBlot has a request in for the logged verbal FOIA requests and in the meantime notes that the PD is still withholding both the incident report for the shooting (which may not even exist) as well as the incident report for the robbery.
Just a little more evidence pointing towards the unreliability of public officials, especially when caught in the middle of misconduct. Not only has the PD apparently lied about its reasons for releasing the tape, but it continues to withhold information about its involvement in the shooting of Michael Brown. Earlier, it claimed Officer Wilson suffered injuries — possibly severe — during his “interaction” with Brown. Those have proven false as well, with Wilson’s own post-shooting text messages saying nothing about sustaining an injury as well as citizen video showing Wilson standing around the shooting scene for several minutes without seeking medical attention.
Odds are, no one directly requested this video. The release of the video coincided with the forced release of the officer’s name in a blatant attempt to provide justification for his actions. While undoubtedly true that the city’s website and email server have been hit pretty hard during the past few weeks, that’s no excuse for city employees to fulfill or deny FOIA requests without documentation — especially when its track record so far shows an urge to bury and obfuscate.
The New York Times has one of its typically racist articles making fun of Iranians for their “conspiracy theories” — this time about who created ISIS.
The irony is that this is the same NY Times that helped promote the US lie about “WMDs in Iraq”
Meanwhile I am reminded of NeoCon Michael Ledeen’s rant about how “creative destruction” is our middle name.
Things are getting pretty “creative”, huh Michael? “Faster please” indeed.
The Iranians and the Iraqis and most of the rest of the world think that the Saudis (as US allies) created ISIS and for good reason.
And lets remember a point:
During the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the FBI had an informant named Emad Salem among the bombers, who offered to substitute a harmless substance for the bomb material but this was rejected by his FBI handlers.
Was this an “Iranian conspiracy theory too? No, it was reported even by the NY Times.
So what makes you just assume that the US and her allies aren’t behind ISIS?