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Inside the UN Resolution on Depleted Uranium

By JOHN LAFORGE | CounterPunch | November 6, 2014

On October 31, a new United Nations General Assembly First Committee resolution on depleted uranium (DU) weapons passed overwhelmingly. There were 143 states in favor, four against, and 26 abstentions. The measure calls for UN member states to provide assistance to countries contaminated by the weapons. The resolution also notes the need for health and environmental research on depleted uranium weapons in conflict situations.

This fifth UN resolution on the subject was fiercely opposed by four depleted uranium-shooting countries — Britain, the United States, France and Israel — who cast the only votes in opposition. The 26 states that abstained reportedly sought to avoid souring lucrative trade relationships with the four major shooters.

Uranium-238 — so-called “depleted” uranium — is waste material left in huge quantities by the nuclear weapons complex. It’s used in large caliber armor-piercing munitions and in armor plate on tanks. Toxic, radioactive dust and debris is dispersed when DU shells burn through targets, and its metallic fumes and dust poison water, soil and the food chain. DU has been linked to deadly health effects like Gulf War Syndrome among U.S. and allied troops, and birth abnormalities among populations in bombed areas. DU waste has caused radioactive contamination of large parts of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and perhaps Afghanistan.

The measure explains that DU weapons are made of a “chemically and radiologically toxic heavy metal” [uranium-238], that after use “penetrator fragments, and jackets or casings can be found lying on the surface or buried at varying depth, leading to the potential contamination of air, soil, water and vegetation from depleted uranium residue.”

The main thrust of the latest UN resolution, “Encourages Member States in a position to do so to provide assistance to States affected by the use of arms and ammunition containing depleted uranium, in particular in identifying and managing contaminated sites and material.” The request is a veiled reference to the fact that investigators have been stymied in their study of uranium contamination in Iraq, because the Pentagon refuses to disclose maps of all the places it attacked with DU.

In the diplomatic confines of UN resolutions, individual countries are not named. Yet the world knows that up to 700 tons of DU munitions were blasted into Iraq and Kuwait by U.S. forces in 1991, and that U.S. warplanes fired another three tons into Bosnia in 1994 and 1995; ten tons into Kosovo in 1999, and approximately 170 tons into Iraq again in 2003.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW.org), based in Manchester, England and representing over 160 civil society organizations worldwide, played a major part in seeing all five resolutions through the UN process and is working for a convention that would see the munitions outlawed. In October, ICBUW reported that the US military will again use DU weapons in Iraq in its assaults against ISIS “if it needs to”. The admission came in spite of Iraq’s summer 2014 recent call for a global ban on the weapons and assistance in clearing up the contamination left from bombardments in 1991 and 2003.

The new resolution relies heavily on the UN Environment Program (UNEP) which conducted radiation surveys of NATO bombing targets in the Balkans and Kosovo. It was a UNEP study in 2001 that forced the Pentagon to admit that its DU is spiked with plutonium. (Associated Press, Capital Times, Feb. 3, 2001: “But now the Pentagon says shells used in the 1999 Kosovo conflict were tainted with traces of plutonium, neptunium and americium — byproducts of nuclear reactors that are much more radioactive than depleted uranium.”)

The resolution’s significant fourth paragraph notes in part: “… major scientific uncertainties persisted regarding the long-term environmental impacts of depleted uranium, particularly with respect to long-term groundwater contamination. Because of these scientific uncertainties, UNEP called for a precautionary approach to the use of depleted uranium, and recommended that action be taken to clean up and decontaminate the polluted sites. It also called for awareness-raising among local populations and future monitoring.”

The “precautionary principle” holds that risky activities or substances should be shunned and discouraged unless they can be proved safe. Of course, instead of adopting precaution, the Pentagon denies that DU can be linked to health problems.

John LaForge works for Nukewatch and lives on the Plowshares Land Trust near Luck, Wisc.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Path out of the Reversible Straitjacket of the Political Duopoly

By Sam Husseini | Vote Pact | November 5, 2014

In perhaps the best mainstream report during the election season, the typically firmly D.C.-based Steve Inskeep went knocking on doors in Colorado and came across a woman, Ili Bennett, who told him she’s felt some excitement from both Elizabeth Warren — and in the past, the Tea Party.

Said Inskeep: “I think you’ve hit on something insightful here. And I want you to help me with this a little bit because the Tea Party, those are some very conservative people — Elizabeth Warren, very liberal person. But they both represent deep unhappiness with the way things are. And it sounds like they both struck a chord with you. Am I right?” He was and it’s not one woman in Colorado of course. Politico headline today states: “Exit polls 2014: Voters hate everyone.” It might seem that way to the insiders at Politico, but actually it’s that voters mostly just hate the establishment of both political parties, which to Politico might seem like “everyone”. And this isn’t new. From 2010: “CNN Poll: Majority angry at both political parties.”

The problem is that people feel they have virtually no where to go and can’t translate that anger to action. There is a de-facto anti-establishment, populist majority. But the entire structure of politics, media and elections is designed to keep them divided and prevent such populists from the left or right or wherever from coalescing politically. Third parties coming from either the left (Green, Socialist) or the right (Constitution, Libertarian) are automatically dismissed by the vast majority as potential spoilers. (I’ve set up VotePact.org to solve exactly this problem.)

Some sectors of the media have lauded the Republican establishment’s stepping into the primary process and preventing Tea Party candidates from getting nominations in so-called “swing states.” Those looking for salvation in presidential elections from the likes of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or their Republican mirror images will have to bear in mind the obstacle in the primaries is “electability” (as defined by the establishment) and it’s a virtual certainty that candidates who seem serious about delivering real change will be denied any nomination. Rather, such candidates will likely mostly function as a way of keeping voters on the establishment party reservation, endorsing the ultimate nominee.

As for midterm elections, part of the equation is lower and lower voter turnout — the “leadership” of the parties is in effect firing and further marginalizing the public and their alleged bases.

The establishment will attempt to produce their own version of “bipartisanship” — pro-establishment bipartisanship that is. The mantra of “change” is being used to peddle the never ending use of the Reversible Straitjacket of the Democratic and Republican establishments. This manifests itself as “seesaw politics” and what I’ve called the guillotine pendulum, helping ensure the continuity of what some call the Deep State.

The major corporate media frequently focus on marginal differences between the two major parties, but the areas of agreement between them are sizable in terms of economic, trade, civil liberties, foreign policy and other issues. On these and other critical issues, the establishments of the duopoly are frequently aligned together against their alleged bases, explaining why the public “hates everyone”. Crazy public. Politicians of both parties talk about helping the little guy and then do the bidding of corporate interests.

Now, the political narrative is that Washington is dysfunctional and “can’t agree on anything”. The the general public is clearly being prepared to embrace whatever pro-corporate monstrosity President Obama and presumptive Senate Majority Leader McConnell agree on.

So, predictably, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting: “American businesses are hoping the dust will settle from Tuesday’s GOP takeover of Congress with new attention on corporate taxes, immigration, trade and energy, top priorities that have eluded breakthroughs in recent years. A post-election landscape that includes a more sharply divided government is likely to lead to continued frustration over some items on businesses’ wish list. At the same time, a reshaped political landscape could lead Congress and the White House to seek legislative breakthroughs on some economic issues before the 2016 election season heats up.”

So, the big business agenda on taxes and corporate trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership could well be advanced by establishment Republicans in Congress working with the Obama administration. This could well extend to other issues such as civil liberties, more war, etc.

The anti-establishment forces either still in the Democratic Party or that have given up on the electoral process all together should join with those deluding themselves into looking for the Republican Party for some salvation. They should work toward building new institutions that adopt their best beliefs.

And this must go beyond voters. There should be candidates running for Democratic and Republican nominations who — once the establishment ensures their defeat in the primaries — are willing, jointly perhaps, to bolt and not back the party’s establishment nominees.

The day after election day is the most important. Now is the time to reach out across the partisan divide and find populists on the other side to work with. You have nothing to lose but your perpetual chains.

Sam Husseini founded VotePact.org which encourages voters to pair up with their political “mirror image” and vote for their preferred candidates rather than the “lesser evil” offered by the establishment.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , | Comments Off on A Path out of the Reversible Straitjacket of the Political Duopoly

The Silence of the Israelis on ISIS

By Stephen J. Sniegoski | Consortium News | November 5, 2014

In the war on the Islamic State, the alleged scourge of humanity, little is heard about the position of America’s much-ballyhooed greatest ally in the Middle East, if not the world, Israel. Now the Islamic State has been conquering territory in very close proximity to the border of Israel. But Israel does not seem to be fearful and it is not taking any action.

And the Obama administration and American media pundits do not seem to be the least bit disturbed.  This is quite in contrast to the complaints about other Middle East countries such as Turkey that are being harshly criticized for their failure to become actively involved in fighting the Islamic State.

For example, a New York Times editorial, “Mr. Erdogan’s Dangerous Game,” begins, “Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once aspired to lead the Muslim world. At this time of regional crisis, he has been anything but a leader. Turkish troops and tanks have been standing passively behind a chicken-wire border fence while a mile away in Syria, Islamic extremists are besieging the town of Kobani and its Kurdish population.”

An article in the Boston Globe read “Turkey has failed Kobani, Kurds.”  An editorial in the USA Today was titled “Turkey waits as ISIL crushes Kobani.”

Neocon Charles Krauthammer in “Erdogan’s Double Game” compared Turkey’s failure to come to the defense of the Kurds in the surrounded border town of Kobani to Stalin’s unwillingness to aid the uprising of Polish nationalist forces in Warsaw in 1944, thus allowing the latter’s destruction at the hands of the Nazis.

“For almost a month, Kobani Kurds have been trying to hold off Islamic State fighters,” Krauthammer wrote. “Outgunned, outmanned, and surrounded on three sides, the defending Kurds have begged Turkey to allow weapons and reinforcements through the border. Erdogan has refused even that, let alone intervening directly.”

Even the normally antiwar Noam Chomsky expressed support for protecting the Kurds. “With regard to Kobani, it is a shocking situation,” Chomsky opined. “This morning’s newspaper described Turkish military operation against Kurds in Turkey, not against ISIS, a couple of kilometers across the border where they are in danger of being slaughtered. I think something should be done at the UN in terms of a strong resolution to call for a ceasefire.”

“It is hard to impose the use of force,” Chomsky continued, “but to the extent that it can be done try and protect Kobani from destruction at the hands of ISIS, which could be a major massacre with enormous consequences.” Chomsky added that “the strategic significance of the town in the Kurdish region is pretty obvious, and the Turkish role is critical in this.”

Israel’s Reticence

Returning to the issue of Israel, the fact of the matter is that Israel acts to protect its own national interests.  At the current time, the primary goal of the Islamic State is to purify Islam rather than attack non-Muslims.

In response to Internet queries as to why the militant group wasn’t fighting Israel instead of killing Muslims in Iraq and Syria, its representatives responded: “We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.”

As justification for this stance, the group cited the position of the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who began his caliphate by fighting against those he deemed apostates who still professed to be followers of Islam. (Shiites hold a negative view of Abu Bakr and his policies). Also cited was Saladin, who fought the Shiites in Egypt before conquering Christian-controlled Jerusalem.

Considering the Islamic State is targeting Muslims, the Israeli government does not see it as a significant enemy at this time. And it is reasonable for Israeli leaders to believe that the Islamic State would never move on to attack their country because it will never be able to conquer its major Islamic foes, though American military involvement would further secure Israel from any possible threat from the Islamic State.

Moreover, the fact of the matter is that the Islamic State actually benefits Israel by causing problems for those very states that do actively oppose Israel and support the Palestinians, such as Syria. What the Islamic State is causing in the Middle East is perfectly attuned with the view of the Israeli Right — as best articulated by Oded Yinon in 1982 — which sought to have Israel’s Middle East enemies fragmented and fighting among themselves in order to weaken the external threat to Israel.

Currently, these divisions are not only plaguing Syria and Iraq, but also Turkey, where ethnic Kurds are rioting because of the government’s unwillingness to help their brethren in Syria, and Lebanon, where the Shiite group Hezbollah — allied with Iran, Israel’s foremost enemy — is being assailed by the radical jihadist Nusra Front, which has the support of many Lebanese Sunnis. [See Jonathan Spyer, “The Shia-Sunni War Reaches Lebanon,Jerusalem Post, Middle East Forum, Oct. 17, 2014.]

More than this, the Netanyahu government is trying to take advantage of the Islamic State’s aggression by falsely claiming that Hamas is its equivalent. In an address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 29, Netanyahu asserted that “Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel. But Hamas has a broader objective. They also want a caliphate. Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists.”

Thus, Netanyahu claimed that it is wrong for countries to criticize Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians in its conflict with Hamas, pointing out that “the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.”

In short, Netanyahu maintained that the Islamic State and Hamas were essentially identical, “when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”

National Interest

Now there is nothing strange about Israel’s position here. It is simply acting in its own national interest. There is no reason to fight a group that doesn’t threaten it. Furthermore, it is in Israel’s interest to try to make it appear that it is acting for the good of all humanity when attacking Hamas, and though these arguments are unlikely to sway any UN members, the prime minister did provide ammunition to the Israel lobby and its supporters that could be used to persuade some gullible Americans.

It can be argued that if Israel openly entered the fray as a member of the anti-Islamic State coalition, it would be counterproductive. Since many Arabs see Israel as their major enemy, Israel’s involvement in the war would turn them against fighting the Islamic State and maybe even cause some of them to support that militant jihadist group as an enemy of Israel.

So it might be understandable that the United States would not demand that Israel participate in the war against the Islamic State, just as it did not expect Israel to fight against Saddam Hussein. Although this might be understandable, if true it would mean that Israel could not really be an ally of the United States in the Middle East because it could not participate in America’s wars in the region, which is the very raison d’état of an ally.

Conceivably, Israel could covertly support the enemies of Islamic State. Israel has been doing just that in regard to Syria. During the past two years it has launched airstrikes against Assad’s forces which has helped the rebels. Israel takes the position that any attacks on its territory from Syria are the responsibility of the Assad government even if they are made by the rebels.

Moreover, just like the United States, Israel has provided training for Syrian rebels. For example, Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir al-Noeimi, currently the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of the Free Syrian Army, secretly trained in Israel in 2013 after being admitted into the country for medical treatment. [See “Report: Commander of Syrian Rebels Trained in Israel, Jewish Press News Briefs,”  Feb. 24, 2014. In regard to Israeli participation in training Syrian rebels, see: Jason Ditz, “Report Claims US, Israeli Trained Rebels Moving Toward Damascus,”  Antiwar.com, Aug. 25, 2013,; Jinan Mantash, “Israeli analyst confirms link between Israel, ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels,” Alakbar English, Oct. 17, 2014.]

Staying Out of the Fray

Israel’s pro-rebel activities in the Syrian conflict have not been counterproductive in that they have not caused any of Assad’s many Arab enemies to abandon their effort to remove his regime. But it is not apparent that Israel is taking any steps like this regarding the Islamic State, and the United States does not seem to be pressuring it to do so.

What this means is that Israel is not really any type of ally of the United States. It does not bend its foreign policy to aid the United States but only acts in its own interest. It takes actions against the Assad regime because the latter is an ally of Iran and provides a conduit for weapons being sent to Israeli’s enemy Hezbollah.

Israel’s inaction toward the Islamic State, despite its close proximity, should actually provide a model for the United States to emulate. It shows that the Islamic State should not be regarded as a threat to the faraway United States. And this lesson is further confirmed by the fact that the nearby Islamic countries,  which should be far more endangered than the United States, do not seem to be fighting hard against it. It would seem that the fundamental way for the United States to face significant attacks from the Islamic State is to attack it first, which is exactly what it is now  doing.

Considering Israel’s inactivity, it is ironic that in the United States it is the supporters of Israel, such as the neoconservatives, who have taken the lead in pushing for a hard-line American military position against the Islamic State. [See Jim Lobe, “Project for a New American Imbroglio,” LobeLog Foreign Policy,  Aug. 28, 2014.]

Neocon Max Boot, for example, wrote about the need for “a politico-military strategy to annihilate ISIS rather than simply chip around the edges of its burgeoning empire,” which would “require a commitment of some 10,000 U.S. advisors and Special Operators, along with enhanced air power, to work with moderate elements in both Iraq and Syria.”

Fred and Kimberly Kagan have developed a strategic plan involving up to 25,000 American ground troops to combat the Islamic State, which I have already discussed at length. Some of the other noted members of the neocon war-on-the-Islamic-State chorus include Bill Kristol, John Podhoretz, Dan Senor, David Brooks, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Danielle Pletka (vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute), and, as noted earlier, Charles Krauthammer.

Needless to say, neither the neocons, nor any other mainstream commentators for that matter, have uttered a word about Israel’s inaction. As Scott McConnell wrote in August in The American Conservative, “over the past two generations thousands of articles have been written proclaiming that Israel is a ‘vital strategic ally’ of the United States, our best and only friend in the ‘volatile’ Middle East. The claim is a commonplace among serving and aspiring Congressmen. I may have missed it, but has anyone seen a hint that our vital regional ally could be of any assistance at all in the supposedly civilizational battle against ISIS?”

However, it would be far wiser for the United States to follow the example of Israel here — and, in fact, always follow the example of Israel by adhering to national interest (that of the United States, of course, not Israel) — than to follow the advice of those American supporters of Israel who have, because of their influence on American Middle East policy, involved the United States in endless wars creating a regional environment beneficial to Israel from the perspective of the Israeli Right.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Al-Arabiya echoes Zionist rhetoric in reporting about al-Aqsa

By Zeinab Hawi | Al-Akhbar | November 6, 2014

It was rather normal for Al-Arabiya news channel to retract its story about the unprecedented closure of al-Aqsa Mosque on October 28. The channel may have thought that the terminology it used would go unnoticed. However, Al-Arabiya later deleted the story from its website after having caused an online backlash for echoing Zionist rhetoric.

In an act further promoting Zionist terminology, the Saudi news channel replaced al-Aqsa Mosque with the “the holy compound,” a term usually reserved for Zionists in their reference to the holy site.

In fact, Israel had closed the mosque following the shooting of hardline Rabbi Yehuda Glick [allegedly] by Palestinian Mutaz Hijazi, with Al-Arabiya reporting the news as, “A right-wing Israeli activist was shot and wounded last night as he left a conference promoting a campaign to permit both Jews and Muslims to pray at the holy compound.”

The channel, hence, adopted the terminology used by Zionists. This caused an angry backlash over social media websites, with activists accusing Al-Arabiya of committing “political and religious treason” by adhering to the “Zionist plan” to Judaize Palestine.

However, after thoroughly reading Al-Arabiya’s report, one would notice that the channel not only resorted to Zionist terms, but framed the story in a manner that reflected the channel’s policy that complies with Zionism. The term “occupation” did not appear, not even by chance, and the channel opted to use “Israeli police” instead. Moreover, the story depicted Jewish hardliners present at al-Aqsa on an equal footing with Palestinians.

The story was hence reported as follows, “the Israeli police closed the Noble Sanctuary… in a rare step aiming to prevent clashes between Muslims and Jews.”

The hardline rabbi who was calling to “open the doors of the Noble Sanctuary for Jews” and promoting “prayers that gather both Muslims and Jews” is for Al-Arabiya a simple “right- wing Israeli activist.”

The scandalous coverage did not stop there; it also “reassured” that the Palestinian shooter – “the sole suspect” in the incident – was shot and killed by a police special force unit at his house in Abu al-Thuri neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Al-Arabiya did not settle for such biased reporting, it also quoted the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center as saying that the rabbi is in “critical but stable” condition and that he underwent surgery after being shot in the chest and abdomen.

The closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque apparently meant nothing for the Saudi channel. It was more interested in reassuring the public about the health of the injured Zionist and making sure that the shooter “got what he deserved.”

In the end, it is not merely about adopting the Zionist settlers’ policy to change the understanding of the issue and the terminology used to define it, but it is about adopting a process aimed at wiping out the cause of not just a people but an entire nation, which the Saudi channel and its affiliates are slowly paving the way for.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

POLITICAL BUNRAKU

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | November 6, 2014

For those who are not familiar, Bunraku is an old form of Japanese puppet theater, its distinctive characteristic being that the puppeteers are on the stage with their puppets, dressed in black so that the audience can pretend not to see them.

While many old art forms have conventions that are unrealistic by modern standards, there is something particularly unsatisfying about bunraku: you can pretend not to see the puppeteers but you cannot fail to see them.

Bunraku, as it happens, offers a remarkable metaphor for some contemporary operations of American foreign policy. So many times – in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Venezuela, Egypt – we see dimly the actors on stage, yet we are supposed to pretend they are not there. We can’t identify them with precision, but we know they are there. Most oddly, the press in the United States, and to a lesser extent that of its various allies and dependents, pretends to report what is happening without ever mentioning the actors. They report only the movements of the puppets.

One of the consequences of this kind of activity is that many people, including many of your own, come simply not to believe you, no matter what newspapers and government spokespersons keep saying. Another consequence is that because many knowledgeable people no longer believe you, when it comes time to enlist the support of other nations for your activities, you must use behind-the-scenes pressure and threats, stretching the boundaries of alliance and friendship. After all, your major government friends and allies have sophisticated intelligence services themselves and are often aware of what you are trying to do.

Still another consequence is that many people start doubting what you are saying concerning other topics. In the United States, a fairly large segment of the population does not believe the official version of a great deal of comparatively-recent American history, including explanations of John Kennedy’s assassination, of events around 9/11, of the downing of TWA Flight 800, of what Israel was doing when it attacked an American spy ship in 1967, and of the CIA’s past heavy connections with cocaine trafficking – just to name a few outstanding examples.

Government in America feels the need only to go so far in its efforts to explain such matters because the doubters and skeptics, though many, are not a big enough segment of the population to matter greatly in political terms, and it is simply brutally true that the great passive mass of people are never well informed about anything outside their own lives. America is a place, as relatively few people abroad understand, where people must work very hard. Its industrial working class went through a great depression since, say, 1960, many of them now holding low-paid service jobs. Its middle-class workers have seen real incomes decline for decades, which sometimes provides part of the incentive for both parents in a family to work and for them to move into America’s great suburban sprawl of lower land costs as well as to embrace stores such as Wal-Mart with their bare-bones costs. Many Americans work so hard, they have little time to be concerned or informed about government, satisfying themselves that a few minutes with corporate television news is adequate, a phenomenon favoring the government’s interests since on any important and controversial subject the television networks (and the major newspapers) do the government’s bidding, mostly without being asked. American corporate news, especially in matters of foreign affairs, resembles nothing so much as nightly coverage of a banraku performance.

Selling stuff, whether it’s widgets or religion or political ideas, is at the core of American life, and America’s one unquestionably original creation in the modern world involves the disciplines of marketing, advertising, and public relations – all highly artful aspects of selling stuff. The success of these methods has long been proved in American commerce, but they are no less effective when applied to other areas. So, it should hardly surprise that the same “arts” are heavily employed by and on behalf of government in propaganda and opinion-manipulation around its acts and policies. Indeed, we see America’s entire election system today having been reduced to little more than a costly, massive application of these crafty skills, and no department or agency of government is ever without its professional, full-time spokespeople and creative back-up staff, making sure that whatever words or numbers are spoken or printed never slip beyond what those arts have conjured up. Unacceptable photos, say those of women and children smashed by bombs or missiles hurled into the Mideast, are made simply to disappear much as they were in 1984.

Government knows, too, that the American political system is heavily stacked against people with doubts ever gaining serious influence. Ninety-five percent of Senate elections go to incumbents, and because only one-third of the Senate faces re-election at any given election, a majority on some new matter is virtually impossible to build. The presidential candidates of the only two parties with a hope of being elected are almost as carefully groomed and selected as the party chairman of a former communist-bloc country, and generally about as surprising in their views.

And always, time makes people forget, even with the most terrible issues. After a generation or two, there are relatively few people who are even aware there was an issue. In the case of the most overwhelming and terrifying event of my life, the Vietnam War, polls show a huge number of young Americans today don’t know what it was or when it occurred.

These are the key factors permitting an American government to commission horrific acts abroad resembling those of the bloodiest tyrant, all while it smilingly prances across the international stage as democracy’s self-designated chief representative and advocate. As for the great mass of people, the 95% of humanity living outside the United States, no one in America’s government ever gives them a moment’s thought, unless they step out of line.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

Israeli forces demolish three houses, and several water pipes and roads in village near Nablus

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Sofian Maher and a local resident near their destroyed home near Khirbet Al-Tawil
International Solidarity Movement | November 4, 2014

Khirbet Al-Tawil, Occupied Palestine – Early on Monday morning, while the inhabitants of the village of Khirbet Al-Tawil, near Aqraba (Nablus), were sleeping, eight military vehicles, and 30-40 Israeli soldiers entered the village.

Within two hours the military had demolished three houses, and several water pipes and roads.

The water pipes destroyed were new and scheduled to be turned on Monday. The Aqraba community had funded these water pipes as part of the municipal water system.

Of their destruction, Sami Dariyah, stated: “They are trying to prevent people from living in this area. This is their clear policy.”

Due to the continuing demolition of houses, electricity lines, water lines and other living necessities, the farmers have fled to the city of Aqraba and departed their lands in Khirbet Al-Tawil. Sami Direyah grew up near Khirbet Al-Tawil and remembers the many houses and shops that used to be there.

Khirbet Al-Tawil is part of Area C (under full Israeli military civil and security control), which means the army can choose which buildings and activities are ‘allowed’. Sami wonders how their existing community, their farms and their 100-year-old houses, can suddenly become illegal.

Even though the three demolished houses were nearly 100 years old, dating back to the British occupation, they were all still active homes for families like the Mahers. The residents of the houses were not given any warning of the military’s planned visit. Sofian Maher, a former resident of one of these homes, spoke to ISM and explained that this is not the first time the military has paid a visit to Khirbet Al-Tawil. In May of this year the village’s Mosque was demolished, together with four houses, four cottages, and two barns. Less than one month ago the power line was cut by the military, leaving the village without electricity.

Sofian Maher explained to ISM that his family tried to rebuild their house after it was demolished in May. While rebuilding, Sofian’s family lived in a donated tent, which the army soon tore down. The family then moved into old stone huts that were built, long ago, to house animals while shepherding. Periodically the military returned and destroyed the newly rebuilt portions of their house.

The family is now trying to rebuild their home for the fourth time.

To further make the area uninhabitable, the military has destroyed large sections of the road leading to the remaining farms.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli forces demolish three houses, and several water pipes and roads in village near Nablus

Gaza residents lose faith in international aid

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MEMO | November 6, 2014

It has been more than three months since the end of the war on Gaza however Fadl Misbah, 41, is still living as others are, in a house which is covered in plastic sheets and which is not suitable for winter.

Fadl, whose family is made up of 13 members, said: “We are always subjected to extreme cold, and this is the case for most people whose homes were destroyed in the war. My children sit in this place and raindrops fall from the roof of the house which is made up of nylon sheets which do not protect us from the elements or the cold.”

“We have heard a lot about the donor conference to reconstruct Gaza, however they are working so slowly and we no longer believe what the international institutions are saying or what they are promising.”

“The occupation is the main problem; it allowed 440 tonnes of cement to enter Gaza 20 days ago during [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon’s visit to show a positive side to itself in front of the world, but after that it didn’t allow any more items into Gaza. Solving our problem will need contracts to be signed, and that’s if it is resolved at all,” Fadl said.

“International institutions have appealed to intervene and find a solution to this disaster, which hundreds of families whose homes were destroyed during the war on Gaza are now living through.

The West must be mobilise itself and not be satisfied by its silence. Those who call for human rights and advocate for it on behalf of those who are oppressed have exposed this world. It has no credibility.”

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

ICC: Israel Committed ‘War Crimes’ but It’s Not Our Problem

teleSUR | November 6, 2014

International Criminal Court (ICC) lawyers believe that Israel is guilty of “war crimes” for the raid on an aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010 that killed nine Turkish activists. However, they have also decided that the case does not meet their criteria for prosecution, according to court papers seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

On May 31, 2010, the Israeli military forcefully boarded six civilian ships from the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” that were traveling from Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid and construction materials to the besieged region. The army boarded the ships in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

The activists on board say they did not put up a fight, however the Israeli army insists that they were met with resistance – which led to several activists being killed, including eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin on the Mavi Marmara boat.

The ICC does not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in either Turkey, where most the boats were registered, or Israel, since neither are members of the ICC. However, the Mavi Marmara was registered to the Comoros Islands, which is a member, making the crimes on board eligible for ICC investigation.

“The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction have been committed in the context of interception and takeover of the Mavi Marmara by IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers on 31 May 2010,” read the papers.

But the papers also added that prosecutors had decided the crimes “were not of sufficient gravity to fall under the court’s jurisdiction,” reported Reuters. Their evidence and criteria for making this decision however, remained vague.

“Not having collected evidence itself, the Office’s analysis in this report must therefore not be considered to be the result of an investigation,” the paper read.

However, according to the ICC website, considering individuals guilty of war crimes does make them eligible to be tried under the ICC.

“The mandate of the Court is to try individuals rather than States, and to hold such persons accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression…”

The Indian Ocean State, another ICC member, referred the raid to court, which obligated the ICC to begin preliminary examinations into the matter, according to their mandate.

“The Prosecutor’s decision marks the first time a State referral by an ICC States Party has ever been rejected by … Prosecutor without even initiating an investigation,” said lawyers Rodney Dixon and Geoffrey Nice in a statement.

“It confirms the view expressed by politicians, civil society organizations, NGOs and commentators from many quarters that Israel has a ‘special status,'” they added.

The report comes the same day that Bulent Yildirim, president of the Turkish NGO Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) – one of the NGOs who organized the flotilla – praised the ICC, expecting that they would announce on Thursday that Israel is guilty of “war crimes.”

The ICC’s final decision is likely to anger other Turkish activists, but also Ankara who accused Israel of mass murder after the IDF attacked the flotilla.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Over 309,000 Ecuadoran Children Leave Work For Schools

teleSUR | November 5, 2014

Rafael-Correa-15oct13During a meeting Wednesday with the journalists in the coastal, economic hub of Guayaquil, Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa said that over 309,000 children had quit working to attend school.

According to official estimates, the number of working children decreased from 17 to eight percent.

Correa reiterated his commitment to eliminate child work in Ecuador, and sharply criticized the recent initiative of Guayaquil’s mayor, Jaime Nabot, to inaugurate a statue representing a shoeshine boy in the city center.

The head of state called the statue a “shame”, saying “(it) is not part of the folklore, it is part of exploitation.”

During the inauguration, Nebot himself took a picture simulating the act of having his shoes shined by the boy depicted in the statue.

“While the oligarchy builds statues about our exploitation, we build schools so children can keep studying,” added Correa.

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , | Comments Off on Over 309,000 Ecuadoran Children Leave Work For Schools

Millions of Cell Phone Users’ Internet Activity Secretly Tracked for Years by Verizon and AT&T

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | November 6, 2014

Verizon and AT&T have been snooping on millions of Americans’ online browsing habits for years, all without users’ knowledge or approval.

The activity involves the use of “supercookies” placed on unencrypted web pages by the telecommunications companies that can’t be turned off by cell phone users, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Even customers who don’t use either provider can have their browsing monitored. If a user connects through a Verizon tower, their web use habits are subject to scrutiny as well. As many as 100 million people have had their internet browsing tracked by the two providers.

EFF contends that the use of the supercookies, or Unique Identifier Headers (X-UIDH), violates the federal Communications Act. X-UIDH allows Verizon and AT&T to “monitor their customers’ browsing history and create permanent identification profiles of their habits, likes, and interests. Once installed, the supercookies cannot be deleted nor evaded, even if customers clear their cookies, use private browsing modes, disable third-party cookies, or select ‘Do Not Track’ in their settings,” according to Nadia Prupis at Common Dreams.

Verizon customers can opt-out of the program, but the company still collects data on their browsing history. Verizon does not include government or corporate clients in the program, so it apparently has a way to let personal use customers avoid being tracked as well.

Mobile users who want to see if they’re being spied upon can go to AmIBeingTracked.com or lessonslearned.org/sniff.

To Learn More:

Verizon and AT&T Using Undeletable ‘Supercookies’ to Track Customers (by Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams )

Verizon Injecting Perma-Cookies to Track Mobile Customers, Bypassing Privacy Controls (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

AT&T Says It’s ‘Testing’ Unique Tracker On Customers’ Smartphones (by Kashmir Hill, Forbes )

Verizon is the Only Telecom that Retains Text Message Content (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments