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The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 25th Anniversary

National Security Archive | November 9, 2014

The iconic fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago today shocked international leaders from Washington to Moscow, London to Warsaw, as East German crowds took advantage of Communist Party fumbles to break down the Cold War’s most symbolic barrier, according to formerly secret documents from Soviet, German, U.S., Czechoslovak and Hungarian files posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The historic events of the night of November 9, 1989 came about from accident and contingency, rather than conspiracy or strategy, according to the documents. Crowds of East Berliners, already conditioned by months of refugee flights to the West and weeks of peaceful mass protests in cities like Leipzig, seized on media reports of immediate changes in travel restrictions — based on a bumbled briefing by a Politburo member, Gunter Schabowski — and inundated the Wall’s checkpoints demanding passage. Television coverage of the first crossing that yielded to the self-fulfilling media prophecy then created a multiplier effect and more crowds came, ultimately to dance on the Wall.

The documents show that the actual collapse of the Wall began with Hungarian Communist reformers who proposed in early 1989 to open their borders to the West, while seeking particularly West German foreign investment to solve Hungary’s economic crisis. Hungarian Communist leaders checked in with Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in March 1989, letting him know they planned to take down the barbed wire; and Gorbachev — true to his “common European home” rhetoric — responded only that “we have a strict regime on our borders, but we are also becoming more open.” (Document 1) The Hungarian decision sparked a stream and then a flood of East German refugees.

Gorbachev himself unintentionally gave a signal that the Wall could fall in his press conference on June 15, 1989 after a successful visit to West Germany, where in response to a question about the Wall, he said that “nothing [was] permanent under the Moon” and connected German rapprochement to the building of the common European home. In fact, his conversations with Kohl and other members of the West German government created a real breakthrough in Soviet-FRG relations, which would stand Kohl in good stead in the difficult reunification talks during the next year (Document 2). Gorbachev especially reinforced the theme of European unity in his speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg where he presented his vision of the common European home on July 7, 1989. After speaking about an essentially united Europe based on universal human values, it would be hard to argue in favor of its continued division.

By August 1989, the Hungarian-initiated refugee crisis had become so acute that the West German embassy in Budapest had to shut down, unable to handle the hundreds of East Germans camped out there for visas. On August 19, Hungarian reformers even hosted a “Pan-European picnic” near the Austrian border, after which some 300 East Germans high-tailed across the former Iron Curtain. The subsequent negotiations on August 25, 1989 between Hungarian Communist leaders with West German chancellor Helmut Kohl and foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher show the Hungarian calculation that only the deutschmark could save them, and by mid-September the Hungarians lifted all East-West controls (Document 3).

East German demonstrators take to the streets in Leipzig, October 9, 1989.

Other world leaders were not at all eager for the Wall to fall, notably the British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who told Gorbachev on September 23 to ignore those NATO communiqués about German unification, that even her buddy, U.S. president George H. W. Bush opposed that kind of change (she would be wrong, when the time came. See document 4). As Gorbachev later commented to his Politburo on November 3, the West did not want German unification, but it wanted to prevent it “with our hands, to push us against the FRG” so as to head off any future Soviet-German cooperation — but Gorbachev believed European integration was the ultimate solution to Soviet economic problems (Document 6).

Czechoslovakia was closer to East Germany than Hungary was, and after Hungary opened its gates, Prague quickly filled with East Germans willing to dump their Trabant cars in the streets for a chance to clamber over an embassy wall and flee to the West. By November 8, Prague had become so choked with East Germans that the hard-line Czechoslovak Communist Party’s Central Committee made a demarche to East Berlin demanding they open their borders — a moment of pressure from fellow Communists that played a key role in the East German party’s decision to announce revised travel regulations the next day (Document 7).

The draft regulations were full of temporizing language and largely intended to let off steam while kicking the emigrant problem down the road. East Germans would have to apply for visas, and the vast majority who lacked passports would have to wait even longer for those. But the presentation of the new regulations came at the very end of a botched press conference from 6 to 7 p.m. Berlin time on November 9 by SED Politburo member Gunter Schabowski, who did not know the back story, the hedges, the limitations meant by the drafters of the documents. Visibly rattled from the shouted questions about travel and the Wall, Schabowski read from his briefing papers the words “immediately, without delay” when asked about the timing of the changes that would allow any East German to emigrate (Document 9).

Television news and the wire services as well promptly announced the opening of the borders, and in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy reinforced by TV coverage, crowds of East Germans massed at the border crossings and ultimately persuaded the senior official at the largest inner-city checkpoint at Bornholmer Strasse to open the gates (a story told in fresh detail by Mary Elise Sarotte in her new book, The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall). Once Bornholmer opened, other crossings soon followed; and within hours, people were chipping off souvenir fragments from the concrete panels formerly surrounded by a “death strip” in which earlier Wall jumpers had died.

So unexpected was the Wall opening that Helmut Kohl himself was not even in the country. Instead, the West German chancellor had gone to Warsaw to meet the new Solidarity leaders of that country, and work out some long-standing Polish-German tensions. The transcript of Kohl’s discussions with Lech Walesa show the Polish leader complaining that events in East Germany were simply moving too fast, and even predicting, presciently, that the Wall would fall in a week or two — at which point Kohl would have no time (or money) for poor Poland (Document 8).

In Washington, the George H. W. Bush White House greeted the fall of the Wall not with joy or triumphalism (that would come much later, when the President was running for re-election in 1992), but anxiety and even fear about instability. When questioned by reporters why he did not show more elation, President Bush replied, “I am not an emotional kind of guy.” (Document 10)

Bush’s caution and prudence were appreciated in Moscow, where Gorbachev’s messages to Kohl centered on preventing chaos and reducing instability, keeping “others within limits that are adequate for the time being….” (Document 11)

But at Gorbachev’s side, his foreign policy adviser Anatoly Chernyaev in private let loose with one of the very few high-level expressions of real joy about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Chernyaev’s diary entry for November 10, 1989 (Document 12) contains the coda for the demise of the Iron Curtain, “the end of Yalta” and the Stalinist system, and a good thing, about time, in Chernyaev’s remarkable view.

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, by Mary Elise Sarotte.

THE DOCUMENTS

Document 1: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Miklos Nemeth, Moscow, March 3, 1989.

Document 2: Mikhail Gorbachev Press Conference Excerpts, Bonn, June 15, 1989.

Document 3: Hungarian discussions (Nemeth/Horn) with West German leaders Kohl and Genscher, Bonn, August 25, 1989.

Document 4: Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher, Moscow, September 23, 1989.

Document 5: Anatoly Chernyaev diary excerpt, October 5, 1989.

Document 6: Notes from the Soviet Politburo Session, November 3, 1989.

Document 7: Demarche from the Czechoslovak Communist Party to the GDR SED, November 8, 1989 (original German language version).

Document 8: Record of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and Lech Walesa, Warsaw, November 9, 1989.

Document 9: Documents from the East German Communist Party (SED) and the transcript of the Gunter Schabowski press conference, November 9, 1989.[1]

Document 10: President Bush Remarks to Reporters, Washington D.C., November 9, 1989.

Document 11: Record of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, November 11, 1989.

Document 12: Anatoly Chernyaev diary excerpt, November 10, 1989.


NOTE

[1] Document 9 is courtesy of the German scholar Hans-Hermann Hertle, who was the first to reconstruct in detail the Schabowski press conference debacle, including his own transcription of the Schabowski video and publication of the backstory documents of drafts and SED decision making on travel regulations, in his seminal article, “The Fall of the Wall: The Unintended Dissolution of East Germany’s Ruling Regime,” in the Cold War International History Project Bulletin No. 12/13, Fall/Winter 2001, pp. 131-164.

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Household Wealth Falls Considerably for Majority of Americans

Center for Economic and Policy Research | November 6, 2014

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows that most households now have less wealth now than they did in 1989. The report, “The Wealth of Households: An Analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances,” presents data on household wealth by age cohort based on the results of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). The analysis shows little or no gains for the majority of Americans over the last 25 years, even in the years since the end of the recession. This is true of and particularly concerning for near retirees.

“This is especially bad for those nearing retirement,” said Dean Baker, a co-director of CEPR and an author of the paper. “Households in this age cohort will not have a chance to benefit from any strengthening of the economy and will only have the wealth they have accumulated to date to depend on in their retirement.”

The authors document several trends gleaned from the SCF. Between 1989 and 2013, average household net worth rose from $342,300 to $528,400 in 2013 dollars. However the average gains are misleading, as the population was older in 2013 than it was in 1989. More importantly, median net worth actually fell from $84,100 in 1989 to $81,400 in 2013, indicating that much of the gains of wealth accumulation went to those in the top quintiles. Other key points of the analysis include:

  • The median net wealth of near retirees (ages 55-64) was $165,700 in 2013, down from 177,600 in 1989.
  • The average non-housing wealth for the typical household in the 55-64 year old cohort was $89,300, compared to a peak of $160,700 in 2004.
  • The net wealth for the middle quintile (ages 35-44) of mid-career workers averaged $50,100, less than half the net wealth of the same quintile ($103,800) in 1989.
  • The average housing equity for the middle quintile of mid-career workers was also down considerably, from $63,500 in 1989 to $23,200 in 2013.
  • There was some improvement for the middle quintile of recent retirees who saw their average net wealth go up from $142,900 in 1989 to $239,300 in 2013, but this was still less than the peak of $270,700 hit in 2007.

When compared with the previous Surveys of Consumer Finances, it can generally be said that wealth grew in the United States from 1989 to 2007 and shrank from then on. At the time of the 2013 survey, the stock market had almost recovered to its 2007 peak. House prices had not. With house prices representing a larger share of assets for the bottom three fifths of Americans, this helped increase the differences in wealth between the top and the bottom. All in all, the results of the survey yield a pessimistic picture of economic progress since the end of the recession.

The full report can be found here.

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics | | Comments Off on Household Wealth Falls Considerably for Majority of Americans

Canada’s false flag terror: fingerprints of U.S. involvement

By Barrie Zwicker | Truth and Shadows| November 8, 2014

THE “TERRORIST” EVENTS of Wednesday October 22nd in Ottawa and two days earlier in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu bear all the hallmarks of a coordinated cross-border one-two punch false flag operation.

The first, the left jab hit-and-run killing of a Canadian soldier, would be the psychological softening up for the follow-up right cross, the killing of another Canadian soldier in Ottawa. Together they dazed the public to an extent that even the ostentatiously-iconic murder at the National War Memorial alone might not have achieved.

The context was within the intensification of the so-called “global war on terror” and in concert with the pro-military Stephen Harper government’s deployment of warplanes supposedly fighting “the terrorists” of the suddenly-emerging “Islamic State.” The first bombing sorties of Canadian F-18s took place hours after the violent acts of supposed “homegrown” and “self-radicalized” supporters of “Islamic jihad.”

Domestically the second outrage occurred on the very day the government was to introduce legislation giving the RCMP, CSIS and CSEC [FOOTNOTE: CSEC is changing its name (to CSE) so that it can continue to spy – and indeed do more spying abroad – but not have the word “Canada” associated with this spying. “Spy agency CSEC says goodbye to Canada” is the headline over an October 31st  Toronto Star story by Tonda MacCharles.

These coincidences of timing, I submit, are not coincidences at all but quite deliberately planned to maximize the intended impacts: greater public support for a new war in the Middle East, better chances for faster and less-questioned support in Parliament for the increased police and spy powers, and enhanced public approval ratings for the Harper government in the run-up to next year’s general election.

This article delves deeper into the timing including that the events happened, to the day, as military-intelligence “exercises” were taking place that precisely mirrored the “surprise” events. Other hallmarks include the prior involvement of government agents with both of the supposed jihadists, the fact that both were easy-to-manipulate “human wreckage” and the early “terrorism” branding led by the Prime Minister. Other hallmarks include the unfolding parade of memorable iconic elements and images, the “lone wolf” narratives, the dual role of the media in general to both to reinforce the official narrative and to fail to ask fundamental questions about it.

Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, especially, is tied to the “war on terror.” At the highest level of visibility, he’s a pawn marketed for public consumption to reinforce “global jihad” rhetoric.

On a subterranean level are two sets of fingerprints. One set shows the involvement of both Canadian and U.S. spy agencies and possibly other of the so-called “Five Eyes” (the others being the UK, Australia and New Zealand), not to mention the grotesquely corrupt FBI, with its record of mounting scores of false flag ops, that will be referred to later.

The second set of prints shows the work of the agencies’ gatekeeper “assets” in the media, in this instance in the USA as well as in Canada. They manipulate “the news.”

Telltale hallmarks of false flag ops

1 The timing – The exquisite timing of the National War Memorial outrage on the very day new laws were to be introduced by the Harper regime giving expanded powers to spook agencies – as well as additional cover for their “informants” so deep as to be impenetrable – is one hallmark of a world-class false flag op.

Added police powers at all times in any country, when an atmosphere of hysteria has been generated, are railroaded into laws in a flash, historically speaking. The new or expanded laws take decades to undo or ratchet down, if they ever are.

As Prof. Graeme MacQueen, author of an insightful and detailed new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy, (Clarity Press, Inc., www.claritypress.com, ISBN 978-0-9860731-2-0; EBOOK 978-0-9860731-3-7) writes, the timing of the 2001 “anthrax letter attacks” or the “anthrax attacks” was just as the USA Patriot Act “was being hurried through Congress.” The notorious bill, propagandistically entitled “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” Act, was signed into law October 26th, 2001, about three weeks after the first news of an “anthrax attack” broke. Bush followed up by giving his approval “to the first bulk domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).” Such are the sea changes set into motion by perfectly-timed false flag ops.

Interestingly MacQueen notes that “gradually the hypothesis became widespread that the [anthrax] attacks were the second blow in a ‘one-two punch’ delivered by terrorists, the first blow having been the attacks of 9/11.”

Ottawa has gone the U.S. government one better by compressing the time between introduction of “anti-terror” legislation and a false flag “terror attack” to hours. Ottawa also subjected MPs and others on Parliament Hill to the sounds of gunfire amidst fearful uncertainty, in a fast-moving operation, again outdoing the Americans.

These events have also taken place during the lead-up to Remembrance Day.  Government TV ads are in heavy rotation featuring World War I and World War II footage in black and white and colour, as well as video clips of Canadian peacekeepers. They send us to http://www.veterans.gc.ca/iremember. Stirring and nostalgic, these ads cannot be divorced from consideration of the impact of the Ottawa events. The ads (and much else) knit together in the public consciousness.

My wife and I almost always attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Toronto’s Old City Hall. (I posted a piece for this blog about the ceremonies in 2012) I tend to agree with predictions that turnout this year may exceed previous years. Remembrance Day speeches, as well as the whole setup of Remembrance Day ceremonies, tend to ennoble if not glorify war. This year the homilies are certain to make reference to the events in St-Jean-sur-Richeleau and Ottawa.

More than ever, this year the understandable sentiments of many will be channeled into reinforcing belief in the “reality” of the “war on terror.” Emotions will be manipulated into support for a militarized monopoly capitalist anti-life system of perpetual war and ever-increasing inequality.

Metrics are being reported that bear this out.  A front-page story in The Globe and Mail on November 7th reports “a steady stream of support for the military in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.”

Under the headline “Poppy sales a sign support for military surging after attacks,” Tristan Simpson reports. “Legion officials say those events have become emblematic of a renewed patriotism – and have sparked an increase in military support.”

2 Prior “involvement” of agents of the state

“Prior contact” with alleged terrorists is a virtually guaranteed hallmark of false flag ops.

Both Zehaf-Bibeau and hit-and-run killer Martin Couture-Rouleau were “known to authorities.” As the main front page headline of the Toronto Star had it of Couture-Rouleau on October 22nd: “RCMP had suspect on their radar for months.”

On page A4 on the next day in the same paper, an edition dominated by 17 pages of coverage out of Ottawa, is a half-page devoted to how much “a Canadian security source” knew about Zehaf-Bibeau’s past.

The usual phraseology is that agents of CSIS or the RCMP “had been in contact with” the criminals or “had (these individuals) under surveillance” or “had been monitoring their activities.”

Is it entirely coincidental that both “terrorists” – as Harper labeled both early and often – were Quebeckers? Quebeckers as a generality are cool to Harper and his “war on terror” rhetoric. But they might be expected to warm up to his “national security” agenda on the basis of fear — insofar as they buy the official narratives.

Canadian authorities, it was reported, asked the FBI to assist in the investigation of the “terrorist” events in Canada. The FBI’s record shows that the assistance would most likely be in sharing with their buddies north of the border in the finer points of how to mount a false flag op. Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory exposes the FBI’s inside role in creating “false flag terror.”

He writes that as of 2011 the FBI was involved in more than 500 cases of “manufactured” terror. References here can be found at http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/0…ainst-america/

In a 2011 article in Mother Jones, Aaronson wrote:

Since 9/11, there have been hundreds of arrests of “terrorist suspects” and 158 prosecutions. Of all the reported “major terror plots,” only three can’t be directly tied to terror suspects who were directly recruited, trained and supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Truth is, we also have questions about the other three.

In the case of the “anthrax attacks” the spider web of government agents and suspicious civilian players interacting with those initially put forward as anthrax terrorists and/or 9/11 “hijackers” was almost monolithic. Most were in Florida, within close geographic proximity. As MacQueen writes:

Academic researchers have largely tended to dismiss the Florida connections by accepting the FBI’s coincidence theory. … The question, however, is not whether actual hijackers were involved in sending out letters laden with anthrax spores: the question is whether fictions, verbal or enacted, were intentionally created to make this narrative seem credible. The [alleged hijackers] did not have anthrax, but the script portrayed them as likely to have it. [page 138]

The U.S. government repeatedly attempted to link the “anthrax attacks,” the “9/11 hijackers” and Iraq (remember Colin Powell’s now totally discredited dog-and-pony show at the UN?). But when those attempts fell apart, the domestic terror purveyors turned to Plan B, as MacQueen persuasively shows. Plan B was to finger a domestic “lone wolf,” scientist Bruce Ivins, who then became conveniently dead.

“The evidence suggests a grand plan, not an opportunistic foray,” writes MacQueen.

3 The chosen miscreants are “human wreckage”

It was Webster Tarpley, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA who described the typical patsy recruited for manipulation by spy agencies as “human wreckage.”

It’s easy to understand how such individuals can easily be manipulated through bribes, other inducements, threats or psychological pressure up to and including sophisticated brain-washing techniques. These are known to have been developed by “spy” agencies over decades and in this country go back at least to the CIA’s self-admitted funding of “psychic driving” experiments under the Project MK-Ultra mind control program on unknowing civilians at McGill University from 1957 to 1964 under the direction of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Ewen_Cameron).

Frequently mentally-disturbed people have been in trouble with the law. This was true of Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau. Zehaf-Bibeau was desperate, on the edge, unpredictable, wanted to die. Spy agencies find such people easily. The “chosen ones” will have Arabic names and be converts to Islam. Or have Middle East connections. Many combinations fill the bill to help the label “suspected terrorist” stick.

Run-ins with the law render disturbed individuals additionally vulnerable. Police or “intelligence” agents can promise to use their influence to gain shorter sentences if they’ve been convicted, more leniency if they’ve already been sentenced. Or get them off altogether. Conversely agents can threaten to use their influence to make things much worse for these individuals. Those promising or threatening often are in a position to deliver.

In this connection, the lead article in the Focus section of The Globe and Mail on October 25th by Doug Saunders actually describes, without his using the term, false flag ops by U.S. “authorities.”

It’s worth excerpting that section of his piece:

Authorities in the U.S. adopted the practice of catching lone-wolf figures in sting operations, in which they’d find disturbed young men online, provide them with prefabricated terror plots and (fake) weapons, and arrest them a moment before they were about to carry out their planned attack. This approach has been numerically successful – that is, it has intercepted a lot of putative terrorists – but many wonder if it’s simply making the problem worse, and turning police agencies into terrorism enablers.

“Often these are down-and-out losers in society who wouldn’t be able to pull off a decent attack on their own,” Dr. [Ramon] Spaaij, an Australian scholar with Victoria University and author of Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism, says, “but the undercover police provide the weapons and suggest the targets … what that does is it has sown a lot of bad blood in Muslim communities – we’re out there preying on vulnerable young people and turning them into terrorists.”

What Saunders, whose body of work I happen to greatly admire, fails to note is that these “sting” (e.g., false flag) operations generate thousands of fear-inducing headlines; this may be their main purpose. Readers, listeners and viewers are led to believe that police have caught “real terrorists.” These false flag ops contribute the bulk of the “proof” for the so-called “war on terror.” It’s a continuous psychological assault and distortion of reality through manufacture of “reality.” The impact goes ‘way beyond “sowing bad blood in Muslim communities.” It’s a main driver of the fictional “war on terror.”

Besides, “bad blood” in Muslim communities would be one of the goals of the authors of this continuous fakery. This “bad blood” would fulfill at least two functions. One is to keep many Muslims in docile fear mode in which they can be more easily controlled. Second is that less docile Muslims, especially young unstable men, will react with anger and possibly go off the deep end. Perfect.

This is the same entrapment technique used to create the “Toronto 18.” And this is the same modus operandi the police use when they enable or program or bribe or threaten their patsies to cause violence.

As University of Guelph professor Michael Keefer wrote:

The theatrical arrests of 18 (mostly young) Muslims in Toronto in the Summer of 2006 reinforced media-driven paranoia that homegrown terrorists were everywhere. The unraveling of the case two years later exposes to view yet again the sinister and disgraceful behavior of Canada’s security intelligence apparatus, which has formed a habit of confecting false accusations of terrorism against Canadian citizens. The threat to Canadian society is not a bunch of Muslim boys playing paintball, it’s an ideologically driven government willing to curtail our civil liberties.

4 The “lone wolf” or “lone gunman” narrative

Without doubt there are instances of demented individuals who perform outrages single handed. The USA provides the most examples by far, with a plethora of berserk gunmen mowing down innocent citizens in malls, on college campuses and elsewhere.

In politically-charged false flag ops, by definition in virtually all cases agents in the shadows pull the levers to bring about the outrages. In the three highest profile assassinations of the last century and arguably most impactful historically, those of JFK, RFK and MLK, the establishment narrative has been that lone gunmen were responsible, in each case in the face of much evidence to the contrary. Lee Harvey Oswald was known to have worked for U.S. intelligence. He’s a classic “lone gunman” who wasn’t. Others include James Earl Ray, allegedly the killer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who wasn’t, as proven in a civil trial in Memphis in 1999. The half white half black jury returned a verdict that civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was the victim of an assassination conspiracy involving the CIA and the U.S. Army and did not die at the hands of an unaided lone gunman.

In the case of Zehaf-Bibeau the likelihood of enablers is rendered very high because of many unanswered questions. Among them, how did a deranged misfit living in shelters obtain both a gun and a car needed for him to go on his rampage?

5 “Lone wolves” tend to become quickly deceased

From Lee Harvey (“I am just a patsy”) Oswald to Rolando Galman (who gunned down Benigno Aquino, Jr., former Philippine Senator, as he stepped off his plane, and then himself was gunned down) to “Boston bomber” Tamerlan Tsarnaev, patsies or hired assassins tend to become deceased – quickly. Dead men tell no tales. Typically, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau are no more.

In 2002 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft named scientist Steven Hatfill a “person of interest” in connection with the “anthrax attacks” of a year before. As Graeme MacQueen writes: “The FBI concentrated on investigating him, publicly and aggressively. A year later Hatfill sued the Justice Department for libel and eventually he received $5.82 million in compensation…”

The FBI – presumably after a massive search for patsy material – decided in 2008 that the “anthrax killer” was Dr. Bruce Ivins, who had been working on an anthrax vaccine at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“This time,” MacQueen writes, “the FBI faced no serious challenge from its chosen perpetrator because Ivins died shortly before he was to be charged with the crime. He was said to have committed suicide.” Tellingly, no autopsy was performed.

The death of an actual bona fide terrorist or, much more often the case, a recruited patsy (the classic being Oswald) obviates the possibility of a trial in a court of law (as distinguished from trial in the “court of public opinion”). Trial in a court of law carries with it the possibility of evidence emerging that could be damning to the state and the Crown’s case.

The bodies of killers, alleged killers or dead “terrorists” frequently are not dealt with appropriately. As Prof. John McMurtry of Guelph, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure, wrote in an October 29th essay: Zehaf-Bibeau “…went on a killing spree, with no known blood testing afterwards for the drugs he was evidently driven by, in the video record of his frenzied and super-charged behaviour, just as there was no known test of the body of crazed drive-over killer, Martin Couture-Rouleau. How extraordinary. How unspoken in the lavish profusion of other details… All such strange coincidences are part of the now familiar covert-state MO.”

The de facto executions of the killers or alleged killers are, however, less a necessity than a convenience to the national security state. This is because in those cases where the patsies, killers or alleged killers survive, their trials uniformly are fixed, as was the case with the “Toronto 18,” who rapidly became the Toronto nine, as charges were dropped against many of the teenaged “terror suspects.”

6 The branding

The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu events were instantly defined as “terrorism” by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons and thereafter were widely so defined by the military, by “intelligence experts,” RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and by many media players. (There are honourable exceptions to the general rush to judgment within the media. We identify some later.)

The “anthrax attacks,” MacQueen writes, “were the result of a [domestic] conspiracy meant to help redefine the enemy of the West, revising the global conflict framework from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror.”

The events in Ottawa were not meant to replace the global-conflict framework but rather to reinforce the new 2001 model: “Islam” as the permanent mortal enemy of “the West.”

The rhetoric, like ad copy, is part and parcel of the branding.

Buzzwords (“war on terror,”), code words (“national security”), snarl words (“terrorists,” “radical Islam,” “threats”) and purr words (“our allies,” “security”) as semanticist S. I. Hiwakawa dubbed them, displace rational thought.

Equal in impact to that of language repetition, if not greater, were the iconic elements. The National War Memorial and Parliament are about as iconic as one can arrange in Canada. So to have the shooter start at one, then skedaddle over to the other on the same crazed mission is to do so on iconosteroids.

Add to that: two worthy soldiers representing Everyman, all Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister, a car-jacked driver, a hero in the person of the gun-toting Sergeant-at-Arms, the heart-wrenching footage of Corporal Cirillo’s five-year-old son wearing his father’s regimental hat, the corporal’s pet dogs, the grieving spouses and relatives and more.

It would be a mistake to overlook that the flesh and blood victims, Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Office Patrice Vincent, also were symbolic. They represent “Canada’s military,” “our men and women in uniform” who “serve our country” who “made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Many of the iconic themes of October 22nd were pre-echoed in the Toronto 18 trials, one of them being the alleged planning by the teen-aged patsies and dupes of “blowing up Parliament” and “beheading the prime minister.”

7 “Security exercises” and the false flag curiously overlap

A hallmark of false flag ops is that military, security, police or “intelligence” exercises precede or run simultaneously with a false flag operation. Run-throughs are necessary for all complex maneuvers. A drill also justifies assembling the human and other resources required.

Perhaps the most egregious exercise was the one admitted to be taking place at the time of the “London 7/7” tube “terror bombings” of July 7th, 2007. Peter Power, managing director of crisis management for the firm Visor Consultants, in a live interview on ITV News that was aired at 8:20 p.m. on the evening of the bombings, tells the host “… today we were running an exercise …. 1,000 people involved in the whole organization … and the most peculiar thing was that we based our scenario on simultaneous attacks on the underground and mainland station and so we had to suddenly switch an exercise from fictional to real.” Elsewhere he said the exercise specified the same stations that the “surprise bombers” targeted, which would qualify as one of the most far-fetched coincidences of all time.

On the day of 9/11 a minimum of five military drills were underway. One of them, Vigilant Guardian, involved the insertion of false radar blips onto radar screen in the Northeast Air Defense Sector, a fact that even made it into the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report (although the others did not, which made the appearance of Vigilant Guardian a limited hangout).

All of which is relevant to what Mark Taliano wrote about the events in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa on October 31st: “The theory that U.S agencies were somehow implicated in the [Ottawa] tragedy is further reinforced by … Operation Determined Dragon, a joint Canada/U.S counter-terrorism drill…”

The first Canadian event, the fatal hit-and-run carried out by Couture-Rouleau, occurred on the first day of that drill, October 20th. From that day to 29th was the “execution phase” of a joint Canada-U.S.-NATO military-intelligence “linked exercise” named Determined Dragon 14 (in internal documents called “Ex DD 14”).

For details of Determined Dragon 14 one need look no further than the National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces website:

“Ex DD 14 will primarily focus on the lateral interface between NORAD, United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) specifically in cyber and space domains,” visitors to the site are informed.

  • Among the strategic objectives specified on the are to “enhance
  • interagency partnerships” and to “institutionalize
  • battle procedures with partners such as regional
  • and component commanders, the Strategic Joint Staff,
  • the Associate Deputy Minister (Policy), and
  • the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.” Another is
  • to enhance “bilateral planning with USNORTHCOM
  • and USSTRATCOM; and CJOC coordination with NORAD.

Under the heading “Linked Exercises” the Canadian site says that Ex DD 14 “is bound to other allied exercises by a common scenario and linked through multiple events:

  • Ex VIGILANT SHIELD, a NORAD-USNORTHCOM exercise focused on homeland defence and homeland security missions; and
  • Ex GLOBAL THUNDER, a USSTRATCOM-led exercise with the primary emphasis on exercising nuclear command and control capabilities.

It concludes that Ex DD 14 “offers an opportunity for regional joint task forces (RJTF) to leverage their own exercises.

For someone paying close attention to CBC-TV’s The National on October 25th, CBC senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault came close to giving away the game. Anchor Peter Mansbridge begins by saying there are “lots of questions” about the day’s events. After he hears the usual line from regularly seen Ray Boisvert, “ex-CSIS,” Mansbridge turns to Arsenault, “who’s been looking at this whole issue of radicalization for the past year or so” and asks her what she can say. Arsenault replies:

They [Canadian authorities] may have been surprised by the actual incidents but not by the concepts of them. Within the last month we know that the CSIS, the RCMP and the National Security Task Force engaged in, I suppose they, ran a scenario that’s akin to a war games exercise if you will where they actually imagined literally an attack in Quebec, followed by an attack in another city, followed by a tip that that “hey some guys, some foreign fighters are coming back from Syria.” So they were imagining a worst case scenario. We’re seeing elements of that happening right now. … [Canadian authorities] may talk today in terms of being surprised but we know that this precise scenario has been keeping them up at night for awhile.” [my emphasis]

Mansbridge shows no interest in this remarkable statement by his senior correspondent.

But truth activist Josh Blakeney of the University of Lehbridge who also was one of the first out of the block in nailing these events as false flags, comments:

What an amazing coincidence that Canadian intelligence ran a drill envisioning an attack first in Quebec, then another city. What are the chances that these mock terror drills are just a coincidence? In nearly every instance of a major terrorist occurrence in the West, it has been revealed that intelligence services were conducting war games exercises mimicking the very events that later come to pass. And now we have confirmation that Canada’s intelligence services were doing the same thing.

All of which would seem to reflect adequate “information exchanges” with “our U.S. partner” and other “allies.” Yet Harper’s new “anti-terror” legislation will merge Canadian spooks and military even more into the global apparatus that can manufacture terror incidents pretty well anywhere any time.

8 Media manipulation on both sides of the border

On the crucial propaganda front the evidence is that “U.S. officials” initiated journalistic input, and government agents planted within the media on both sides of the border meddled with journalistic output.

Key mainstream media stories as well as tweets “disappeared.” Stories disappeared from Google. Both U.S. and Canadian mainstream reports were altered significantly. This could only be carried out by internal gatekeeper agents. Inputs and outputs left permanent fingerprints of the overt as well as behind-the-scenes manipulation.

Students of false flag operations have learned – just as regular detectives have learned in regard to standard non-political crimes – the first 24 or 48 hours provide critical evidence, before the criminals can begin covering their tracks.

Amy MacPherson of Free The Press Canada hit the ground running in those first hours and days. On Tuesday, October 23rd she posted a lengthy piece, carried the next day on GlobalResearch containing damning evidence of rolling censorship on social media including Twitter and in mainstream media including the Toronto Star and the CBC.

Equally if not more damning are her frame grabs showing that U.S. news outlets were fed information by “U.S. officials” identifying Zehaf-Bibeau as the Ottawa shooter prematurely, before Canadian media were able to identify him.

With accompanying grabs, MacPherson writes: “While Canadian news personalities were at police gunpoint, American outlets like CBS News and the [always suspect] Associated Press had a full story to sell, complete with the dead shooter’s name.”

At 10:54 a.m. Eastern, when the National War Memorial crime scene was not yet secured, CBS News stated: “The gunmen [sic] has been identified by U.S. officials to CBS News as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national born in 1982.” MP Charlie Angus described gunshots around 10 a.m. American media had solved the murder 54 minutes later.

“By 4:58 p.m.” MacPherson notes, “the [CBS] story was edited to remove the shooter’s name, or any mention of the U.S. government’s knowledge.” She continues: “The only problem is no one could update the Google database quick enough with these changes, so the original information still appeared with general search results.

“The story was altered again in the evening, when the Canadian government allowed [her emphasis] the name of a shooter to be released and American media added law enforcement to their list of official sources. They also added a middle name, Abdul, to emphasize the suspect’s Islamic ties with an accusation of terrorism.”

She asks: “… how American intelligence knew the name of a ‘possible terrorist’ as the mayhem was still unfolding. How did Americans know when Canadians didn’t, and how was this information so widespread that American media and Google had access to distribute, but domestic reporters on the scene did not?

“Canadian parliamentary bureau chiefs didn’t possess the same information as their U.S. counterparts and faced the barrel of police guns as a press narrative was provided on their behalf by another country. If this is dubbed an act of terrorism that American sources had knowledge about to pre-report, then why weren’t steps taken to prevent the violence?”

Then there are the all-Canadian media anomalies. “The Toronto Star reported [that] multiple witnesses saw [Couture-Rouleau] with his hands in the air,” writes MacPherson, “when at least one police officer opened fire. They also say a knife was ‘lodged into the ground near where the incident occurred.’

“Well,” MacPherson continues, “that’s what the original story by Allan Woods, Bruce Campion-Smith, Joanna Smith, Tonda MacCharles and Les Whittington stated. A syndicated copy had to be located at the Cambridge Times, because a newer, edited version at the Toronto Star appeared dramatically altered by Tuesday.”

That article (changed without disclosure) claims Couture-Rouleau was an Islamic radical who emerged from the vehicle with a knife in his hands. No mention of eyewitnesses who saw his hands in the air and the knife lodged in the ground (an image seen later on CBC-TV news).

As MacPherson writes: “The article was more than edited and qualifies as being replaced entirely, having lost its tone, facts and spirit from the original published version.

If it weren’t for smaller papers carrying The Star’s original syndicated content, there would be little or no proof of the first comprehensive version, she adds.

9 Failure of media to ask fundamental questions

These include, first and foremost: “Is it possible that agents of the state had a hand in this outrage?” This question might not be as difficult to raise as one might imagine. Suppose it were handled this way:

“There’s a long and well-documented history of authorities staging iconic events aimed at stampeding their publics into supporting government initiatives, especially initiatives supporting existing or proposed wars. Examples include Colin Powell’s introduction at the United Nations of alleged compelling proof – subsequently proven false – that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. [pause] Can it be ruled out definitively that behind-the-scenes actors in government circles in Canada had no hand whatsoever in the events of October 22nd?”

Of course, for any media person to ask such a question would pre-suppose that those who reach the level of Parliamentary correspondent or, higher still, anchor of a national news program would have developed deep skepticism based on hard-won knowledge of the history of such operations.

It would further pre-suppose that, had they developed such a grasp of history, they would be promoted to those levels.

What can we say? We can say: “These things ain’t going to happen.”

The “failure” to ask fundamentally important fully justified questions based on documented history known to many readers, listeners and viewers deserves extensive treatment in itself. The “failure” represents, from the point of view of a cover-up, success for the real perpetrators.

Such unasked questions are masked by the repetitive posing of essentially superficial questions and questions that beg answers. Press conferences are rife with the acceptance of the official line along with questions about minutiae within the line. One also hears a lot of really dumb and repetitive questions.

The graphically impressive front page of The Globe and Mail had it on October 23rd: “The murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the storming of Parliament and the tough questions [my emphasis] arising from the chaos.”

The phrase “tough questions” in this context suggests – and their subsequent roll out reinforces – a central theme that buttresses the official line: that there have been “security lapses,” that these lapses are serious, that therefore “security agencies” need “more resources” to do their jobs “protecting our security” and “making us safe,” and so on and on.

Included among the questions most frequently trotted out by the media: “How can we strike a balance between “the need for greater security” on the one hand, and “the protection of privacy,” on the other.

This endlessly posed question has embedded within it several unexamined major premises, concealed significant historical facts and trends, as well as an ambiguity serving both concealments and that drives conclusions among readers, listeners and viewers that are ill-based, self-defeating and that inoculate those who are so manipulated against gaining greater understanding.

The premises include that privacy is ever and always a stand-alone good; that every person’s privacy is at risk equally with every other person’s; that privacy for each person or group means the same as for every other person or group; that in fact the two sides of the equation are security vs. privacy (as opposed, for instance, to security vs. freedom, although that equation – much more relevant – is raised fairly frequently) and that it is the good-faith activities of “security forces” that endanger “privacy.” Left out of the equation are the proven bad faith activities of “security forces.”

The concealments include that the threat to citizens can come from the good-faith actions of “security forces,” yes, but that in fact by a large preponderance come from rogue actions of “security forces” and “intelligence agencies,” both of which are virtually out-of-control now.

On protecting the identity of “intelligence sources

The historical record – not in the slightest acknowledged by the “security vs privacy” equation – shows conclusively that those most spied upon, whose personal security is threatened repeatedly, are those who question authority, those who are peaceful dissidents, those who seek and act for improvements to the status quo, specifically for more equality and justice, those who are left-of-centre up to and including revolutionaries. The danger posed to loss of privacy among those on the left is much greater than it is for those on the right or for those not politically involved at all, which is to say the vast majority of citizens. This historical record goes unaddressed in 99% or more of the discourse about the dangers of “loss of privacy.”

The large majority of people have little reason to fear the state, because they pose no perceived threat to the state. Accordingly, their need or wish to protect their privacy – for instance about their personal sex or financial lives – is of less interest to, is far less important to, the national security state than are the personal facts and political beliefs or acts of those on the left who pose a perceived threat to the status quo, however lawful or justified their words or actions may be.

Providing deeper, almost impenetrable, cover for informants, otherwise known colloquially as rats or ratfinks, is far from a pressing need for national security.

Rather, the history of informants shows that the majority, and in particular those who are chosen or come forward to “intelligence” agencies (or are assigned by these agencies), are owed much less protection from identity than they even now enjoy.

The case of RCMP informant Richard Young is just one that should give pause.

Young was recruited by the RCMP in British Columbia (he approached them) prior to 2007. He convinced them he had information on drug operations. An accomplished con man, he suckered the Mounties big time.

While they, through failure to carry out due diligence among other things, came under his spell he was taken under their witness protection program. Doing so is labour intensive and expensive. Under it, Young committed a murder, which is uncontested. The Mounties then did all in their considerable power to shield him from the consequences of that. This and more was documented by two CanWest reporters and then a Globe and Mail investigative team in 2007.

At the heart of the stupidity, naivete and wrong-doing by the RCMP was the continued insistence on protecting Young’s identity. Ultimately the Mounties’ failure and the harm done (wasted public money, a man getting away with murder under the protection of the RCMP, and the RCMP not properly held to account) were exposed by less than a handful of dedicated reporters.

A compelling but illegitimate reason for these agencies to seek total anonymity for their “informants” is that so many of these do not even qualify as such, but rather are individuals planted to manufacture false “intelligence” or carry out dirty tricks on targets chosen by these agencies. Documented history shows that typically the targets are law-abiding, well-informed, politically active (on the left) and even courageous citizens who nevertheless are considered “enemies of the state” by the security apparatus and its overlords.

Remember that the RCMP spied on Tommy Douglas to the extent that his dossier numbered 1,100 pages, only a few of which CSIS, which inherited the RCMP dossier, has released. The grounds for CSIS’s refusal are that it must protect the informants. This is the very group of unsavoury snitches that the Harper government wants to give deeper cover.

The otherwise much-touted need for transparency and accountability is not only forgotten within “terrorist threat” hysteria. It is turned on its head. It is claimed that transparency and accountability are threats to the public! And that anyone who suggests otherwise also is a threat. In a world of fear the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good.

The so-called “war on terror,” fed by the national security state to the public like slop to pigs, paves the way through regression to a world of “military tribunals” (an oxymoron), of Star Chambers, to a new Dark Ages.

Outcomes of this particular false flag op

√ It makes the task much harder for those warning the public of the dangers of the government’s legislation endowing intelligence agencies with greater powers, more resources, fewer restrictions and less transparency.

√ Providing the RCMP and other spy agencies with even more anonymity for informants is a particular danger, as noted at length above.

If the laws being pushed by Harper today go through, the RCMP, CSIS or CSEC in a similar case in the future would be even more enabled to waste the time of personnel and of other resources, and of taxpayer public money, for little or no gain in public safety or security.

√ Reduction of civil liberties:  easier detentions, extraditions

√ Increased invasion of privacy

√ Intimidation of legislative branch, as happened in spades in the USA in response to the “anthrax attacks.”

√ More pressure on the judiciary to bow to omnipresent low-level “terrorism” hysteria

√ Marginalizing of both the legislative and judicial branches

Increased integration of Canadian spy agencies with those  of “our” allies, so that the globalist integrated deception apparatus can operate even more freely and in ever more sophisticated ways.

√ Buttressing of the grand made-in-Washington pax Americana imperial design.

Honourable exceptions in the media

In fairness, quite a number of voices of reason, caution, skepticism and outright objection to the Harper government’s obvious exploitation of the events of the week of October 20th to forward its militaristic pro-American pro-Israeli agenda could be found. Unfortunately, as usual with false flags, these voices accepted the government’s version of what happened.

With this fundamental caveat in place, however, here are just a few individuals within the Canadian mainstream who made cogent arguments of dissent.

In the Toronto’s Star’s 17 pages of coverage on October 23rd Martin Regg Cohn cautioned: “The risk is that we will overreact with security clampdowns and lockdowns that are difficult to roll back when the threat subsides. The greater risk is that we will hunker down with over-the-top security precautions that pose a more insidious menace to our open society.” Tom Walkom pointed out the events were not unprecedented. In 1984 a disgruntled Canadian Forces corporal killed three and wounded 13 in Quebec’s national assembly. “We know,” Walkom continued, “that in a situation like this, facts are secondary,” and “at times like this, it is easy to lose all sense of proportion.” Haroon Siddiqui asked why, “if Martin Rouleau, a.k.a. Ahmad the Convert,” was in the crosshairs of CSIS and the RCMP for months, he was not being tailed. “Smoking out such suspects and throwing the book at them requires good policing, not wars abroad or the whipping up of fears at home for partisan political purposes.”

On October 27th in The Globe and Mail Elizabeth Renzetti quoted extensively from James Risen’s new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. “The war in question is the war on terror, which Mr. Risen, a Pulitzer-Prize winning security reporter for The New York Times, says has been used as an excuse to conduct a largely secret campaign to undermine Americans’ civil rights, spy on their communications and line the pockets of security consultants. As one reviewer said, it reads like a thriller – except, unfortunately, it’s not fiction.”

She quotes Risen: “Of all the abuses America has suffered at the hands of the government in its endless war on terror,” Mr. Risen writes, “possibly the worst has been the war on truth.”

On the same day in the Toronto Star Tim Harper wrote: “Here’s a vote for the power of time and perspective.” “And here’s a vote of confidence in a Parliament that will not jump to conclusions in the heat of the moment and a government that will resist the temptation to use last week’s events as an impetus to move into new, unneeded realms.” “Before we move too far, time and perspective should force us to ask whether we were dealing with mental health issues last week rather than terrorism, even as the RCMP said Sunday it had ‘persuasive evidence’ that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives.” “We must twin increased powers with increased oversight.”

On November 2nd, the Toronto Star published a long lead editorial headed “’Terrorism’ Debate: Get beyond the word.”

The second paragraph: “Down one path is a U.S.-like response to the perceived, though unsubstantiated, threat of terror: increased police powers and indiscriminate state snooping, the chipping away of civil liberties. This the way of the government.”

Down the other “is a more considered, deliberate approach that takes the rule of law as primary…” The choice, the editorial continues “ought to be fertile ground for a pivotal public debate but so far that conversation has been eclipsed by a lexicographical matter: whether we can rightly call the attack on Ottawa ‘terrorism.’”

It concludes: “As long as our leaders insist on reducing these complex issues to a binary debate over a slippery word, we cannot have the conversation we need nor choose the country we’ll become.”

Many writers of letters to the editors of these papers are in no mood to be panicked by inflated “terror” talk. “Denying [Zihaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau] their passports had the equivalent effect of putting them in cages and poking at them with a sharp stick. They broke out and two soldiers are dead.” This was from a retired RCMP officer, in The Globe and Mail.

False flag events benefit the Canadian right

Some commentators to their credit have observed that these events as played are calculated to pay off domestically to increase the Harper government’s chances of re-election next year.

Harper now holds a couple of aces for a winning electoral hand. One is his rightwing anti-taxes stance tied to producing a federal money surplus whatever the cost to the environment, science, social services (including more help for the mentally ill) and more. Some of that surplus is already being earmarked in the highest-profile ways as bribes (with their own money) to Canadians with children.

Last week’s events now constitute another ace. Leaders seen as standing tall against a “family-friendly” external enemy almost always benefit electorally. But this second ace is a fixed card. In this game there are five aces: clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds and false flags.

Only when a politically relevant portion of Canada’s and the world’s people understand the dominant agenda-setting function of false flag operations can decent people the world over begin a successful effort to replace the vast global inequality-and-death structure with a life-sustaining and fair socio-economic structure.

As Prof. John McMurtry of Guelph put it on October 29th in an essay entitled “Canada: Decoding Harper’s Terror Game. Beneath the Masks and Diversions”: “If the stratagem is not seen through, the second big boost to Harper will be to justify the despotic rule and quasi-police state he has built with ever more prisons amidst declining crime, ever more anti-terrorist rhetoric and legislation, ever more cuts to life support systems and protections (the very ones which would have prevented these murderous rampages), and ever more war-mongering and war-criminal behaviours abroad.

Adds McMurtry: “Harper rule can only go further by such trances of normalized stupefaction now reinforced with Canadian blood.”

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Canada’s false flag terror: fingerprints of U.S. involvement

China announces $40 bn Silk Road fund

The BRICS Post | November 8, 2014

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday announced China will contribute $40 billion to set up a Silk Road Fund to strengthen connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Xi said the goal of the Fund is to “break the bottleneck in Asian connectivity by building a financing platform.”

The new Silk Road Fund will be used to provide investment and finance for infrastructure, industrial projects along the “Belt and Road”, Xi said, referring to China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives.

He added that the fund will be “open” to investors from both within and outside Asia.

The Asian Development Bank has estimated that in the next decade Asian countries will need $8 trillion in infrastructure investments to maintain the current economic growth rate.

“The Silk Road boasts a 3-billion population and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential,” Xi said in September last year.

The Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C.

The 4,000-mile road linked ancient Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Arabic, Greek and Roman civilizations.

A new map unveiled by Xinhua shows the Chinese plans for the Silk Road run through Central China to the northern Xinjiang from where it travels through Central Asia entering Kazakhstan and onto Iraq, Iran, Syria and then Istanbul in Turkey from where it runs across Europe cutting across Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

The maritime Silk Road begins in China’s Fujian and ends at Venice, Italy.

In a landmark achievement, 21 Asian nations including China and India last month signed on a new infrastructure investment bank which would rival the World Bank.

One of the first projects of the new Bank is expected to be financing infrastructure projects along the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “Maritime Silk Road” re-establishment.

Meanwhile on Saturday in Beijing, the Chinese President stressed that efforts should be made to realize Asia’s connectivity by making Asian countries a priority.

“Asian countries are just like a cluster of bright lanterns. Only when we link them together, can we light up the night sky in our continent,” he said.

China will provide neighboring countries 20,000 training opportunities for connectivity professionals in the coming five years.

Experts say these new announcements will boost China’s global influence and enhance its soft power.

Apart from the AIIB, the BRICS new $100 billion Development Bank is also being headquartered in China.

“China has considerable experience in infrastructure planning and construction, and financing projects outside the country. As Finance Minister Lou Jiwei has said, China Development Bank’s commercial infrastructure loan is now far bigger than that of the World Bank and ADB combined. And surprisingly, this process started only 20 years ago,” write Asit Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, China scholars at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore.

 TBP and Agencies

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Critics Slam US Military’s ‘Disturbing’ Praise for Israel’s Gaza Offensive

Palestinians collect their belongings from under the rubble of a residential tower, which was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on August 24, 2014. (Photo: UN Photo-Shareef Sarhan/flickr/cc)
Common Dreams | November 7, 2014

Critics say it is “shameful” that a high-ranking U.S. military official suggested the Pentagon can learn lessons from Israel’s 50-day attack on Gaza this summer.

According the Jerusalem Post, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey made statements Thursday praising the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) for taking “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties” during Operation Protective Edge.

Dempsey told an audience at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: “We sent a team of senior officers and non-commissioned officers over to work with the IDF to get the lessons from that particular operation in Gaza.” He referred to the group of officers as the “lessons learned team.”

But Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said Israel’s tactics should not be replicated.

“It is very disturbing and shameful that U.S. military commanders believe that what Israel did in Gaza is something to be applauded,” Kudaimi told Common Dreams. “Five hundred dead children does not seem to be evidence that Israel was trying to not kill civilians. The seven-year siege on Gaza is not a policy to avoid civilian suffering.”

Israel’s recent seven-week military assault on Gaza killed at least 2,194 Palestinians, at least 75 percent of them civilians and over 500 of them children.

“At least 80 percent of the 100,000 Palestinian homes damaged or destroyed were refugee homes,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency reports.

The offensive damaged or destroyed over half of Gaza’s hospitals and health centers at a time when more than 11,000 were wounded, a UNRWA and World Health Organization joint investigation found.

Israel struck six UN schools sheltering Palestinians, including in cases where exact coordinates of the shelters were formally submitted by UNRWA to the Isreali military. These strikes alone killed at least 47 people and wounded hundreds.

Furthermore, Israel has been accused of potential war crimes by Amnesty International and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“It is very despicable that the U.S. continues to white-wash Israeli crimes while funding them through military aid,” said Kudaimi. “Dempsey’s statements are not shocking. Anyone who follows U.S. military policy, knows they too have problematic definitions of protecting civilians.”

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel to confiscate 3,200 acres of Palestinian land near Jerusalem

ctrl-alt-delete
Ma’an – 08/11/2014

JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities have delivered orders to the village of Beit Iksa north of Jerusalem ordering the confiscation of 12,852 dunums (3,176 acres) of Palestinian land, locals said on Saturday.

Locals told Ma’an that soldiers deployed at the military checkpoint at the entrance to the village delivered confiscation orders signed by the Israeli military commander in the West Bank Nitzan Alon that gave them until Dec. 31, 2017 to remain on their land.

Villagers said that soldiers informed them that an official from the Israeli military liaison would arrive on Monday to specify which lands would be confiscated, adding that the lands confiscated would be used for “military purposes.”

If carried out, the confiscation would dramatically reduce the land available to Beit Iksa’s 1,700 people, the majority of whom are refugees who fled to the area in 1967 after the existing population of the village was forced to flee by Israeli authorities.

Although located immediately next to Jerusalem, the village’s lands have been progressively confiscated and the village is surrounded on all sides by the Israeli separation wall. Villagers can no longer travel to Jerusalem without permits, and Palestinians not resident in Beit Iksa cannot enter the single Israeli checkpoint that allows access to the village.

Ninety-three percent of the village is under full Israeli military control, and a majority of the total land of the village falls in areas outside of the separation wall, meaning they have been de facto confiscated, including about 1,500 dunums (371 acres) where Jewish-only settlements have been built.

The head of the Beit Iksa village council Saada al-Khatib told Ma’an that according to the order and the maps that soldiers had shown them Saturday, the lands that will be confiscated are between parcels 7 and 8 and include Haraeq al-Arab, Thahr Biddu, Numus, and Khatab areas around the village.

Al-Khatib added that the Israeli authorities claim that the confiscation order has been under way since 2012, and that the new order issued on Saturday only emphasizes the old order.

The order will prevent dozens of farmers from reaching their lands, he said, calling upon Palestinian ministries and national institutions to support the village of Beit Iksa and its neighbors.

He added that the order came after the Israeli municipality announced the approval of 244 housing units to be built in the Ramot settlement, which was previously built on lands confiscated from the settlement.

Al-Khatib warned that the land confiscation orders being issued to many villages include his own aim to carry out the “Judaization” of Beit Iksa after sealing the village shut and surrounding it with a checkpoint and the separation wall, turning it into an 2,500-dunum prison.

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Pentagon Resists Call for Oversight Unit to Rein in Cost Overruns on Major Weapons Systems

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | November 8, 2014

Despite numerous examples of runaway costs on expensive weapons programs, the Defense Department is resisting calls to make changes to its process for ensuring quality control.

The Pentagon’s inspector general (IG) recently reviewed the work of the Office of the Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics and concluded in a report that it hadn’t “established an overarching quality management policy to ensure the consistent application of quality management system requirements across DoD components.”

In other words, do a better job of monitoring the development of new weapons systems before budget overruns result in soaring costs.

Not that there haven’t been a lot of examples of this problem:

·       The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle fell four years behind schedule and accumulated an overrun of $750 million.

·       The Advanced Threat Infrared Counter Measure/Common Missile Warning System got five years off-track at a cost of $117 million.

·       The F22A Raptor Advanced Tactical Fighter exceeded its budget by $400 million.

The USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship, took three years longer than planned to build and consumed an extra $846 million along the way.

The IG recommended the Pentagon create a central quality management oversight office to help reduce delays and cost overruns.

The response last month from the Defense Department was they don’t need another layer of bureaucracy. “While we agree there are benefits to central leadership, it already exists,” Katrina McFarland, director of Defense Acquisition Resources and Analysis, said according to Government Executive. These quality checks “are in many cases are working poorly right now for a very simple reason: a shortage of trained and qualified acquisition professionals in the quality field.”

The IG requested another response, this time one that addresses its concerns, by December 5.

To Learn More:

Pentagon’s Buying Managers Resist IG’s Call for Central Oversight Office (by Charles S. Clark, Government Executive)

Evaluation of Government Quality Assurance Oversight for DoD Acquisition Programs (Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense) (pdf)

Unnecessary Defense Acquisitions are a Costly Mistake for the Pentagon, Taxpayers (by David Williams, Townhall.com)

Majority of Pentagon Weapons Contracts Go Over Cost Estimates (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Stunning Cost Overruns in Weapons Development Programs (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism | | Comments Off on Pentagon Resists Call for Oversight Unit to Rein in Cost Overruns on Major Weapons Systems

Hungary under US pressure due to South Stream

politics.hu | November 6, 2014

The United States is putting Hungary under great pressure due to its objections to the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline and the expansion of the Paks nuclear power station, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Munich on Thursday evening, after an address delivered at the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

At a question and answer session, Orban said the pipeline and expansion project were primarily economic issues, but they had become entangled in “geopolitical, military-policy and security-policy issues” due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Washington interprets both issues as “getting closer to Russia”, whereas “we don’t want to get any closer to anyone; neither do we wish to distance ourselves from anyone.”

“We are not pursuing a Russia-friendly policy but a Hungary-friendly policy,” he added.

The prime minister said that construction of the South Stream gas pipeline and the Paks expansion were both in Hungary’s national interest.

The construction of South Stream, which is a “twin” of Nord Stream that supplies Russian gas to Germany, bypassing Ukraine, serves Hungary’s interests, ensuring secure gas supplies by eliminating risks posed by the situation in Ukraine, Orban said. Even if this project does not diversify gas sources, it does diversify delivery routes, he added.

Concerning the upgrade of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant at Paks, Orban said cheap energy was key in strengthening Hungary’s competitiveness. Unlike Germany, Hungary does not have vast funds to direct towards supporting renewable energy production, and the country’s own energy resources are scarce, he said.

The “only possible means” for Hungary to reduce its dependence on external energy resources is the expansion of the state-owned Paks nuclear plant, he said. Since the plant has been built using Russian technology it is “evident” that its expansion must be carried out in cooperation with the Russians, Orban said. Yet the US interprets this as Hungary’s “moving closer to Russia” at a time when its position is that Europe should instead “move away” from Russia rather than cooperate with it. This is why the US “is strongly opposed” to Paks, Orban said, noting the US “would have also been rather keen” on constructing its two new blocks. … Full article

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | Comments Off on Hungary under US pressure due to South Stream