Aletho News


Climate Change ‘Hardest Hit’


Mr Dunlop, who’s now with the Association for the study of Peak Oil and Gas, says Australia will be one of the hardest hit by a rise in global temperatures. “We’re one of the driest continents on the earth and the effects on Australia will be more severe than elsewhere.” ABC News, May 2013

Australia’s top intelligence agency believes south-east Asia will be the region worst affected by climate change by 2030, with decreased water flows from the Himalayan glaciers triggering a ‘cascade of economic, social and political consequences’. The dire outlook was provided by the deputy director of the Office of National Assessments, Heather Smith, in a confidential discussion on the national security implications of climate change with US embassy officials. — Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 2010

The effects of climate change will impact more severely on the economy of Papua New Guinea than on any other in the Pacific, according to a new report by the Asian Development Bank. – ABC News, Nov 2013

Research reports that Bangladesh is one of the hardest hit nations by the impacts of climate change. — UK

There seems to be consensus in the developed world that Africa will be the hardest hit or most affected region, due to anthropogenic climate change. – YouLead Collective, a young generation of climate leaders, Nov 2014

Vietnam is likely to be among the countries hardest hit by climate change, mainly through rising sea levels and changes in rainfall and temperatures. – International Food Policy Research Institute, 2010

Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim stated today that “The Small Island Developing States are among the hardest hit by climate change.”  — as reported by the Norwegian media, Nov 2011

Maldives’ economy hardest hit by climate change: Asian Development Bank. The Maldives is the most at-risk country in South Asia from climate change impacts, said the report titled ‘Assessing the costs of climate change and adaptation in South Asia.’ – Minivan News, Aug 2014

According to the latest data modelling, climate change is likely to have the strongest impact on Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden –

Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece are the countries that would be worst affected by global warming, according to a European Union report. The EC Joint Research Commission (JRC) report, released on Wednesday, takes into account four significantly sensitive factors: agriculture, river flooding, coastal systems and tourism. — Sofia News Agency, Nov 2009

The economies of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, including Malta, are forecast to suffer the most adverse effects of climate change, according to a new report drawn up by the European Environment Agency. —, July 2010

Climate change is faster and more severe in the Arctic than in most of the rest of the world. The Arctic is warming at a rate of almost twice the global average —

China’s Poor Farmers Hit Hardest by Climate Change. Declan Conway, a University of East Anglia researcher who has studied climate change’s affect on China’s farmers, told Reuters that people in remote communities in China’s poorer regions are particularly exposed to climate hazards. — Circle Of Blue, Dec 2012

Report: Middle East, African Countries to Be Hardest Hit by Climate Change — CommonDreams, Dec 2012

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

Egypt Lists Hamas as “Terrorist Organization”

Al-Akhbar | January 31, 2015

An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas and listed it as a terrorist organization.

Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood which the Egyptian authorities have also declared a terrorist group and have repressed systematically since the army ousted one of its leaders, Mohammed Mursi, from the presidency in 2013.

“The court ruled to ban the Qassam Brigades and to list it as a terrorist group,” said the judge of the special Cairo court which deals with urgent cases.

Egypt had previously banned Hamas from operating in Egypt.

Egyptian officials claim weapons are smuggled from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip into Egypt, where they end up with militant groups fighting to topple the Western-backed Cairo government.

Islamist militants based in Egypt’s Sinai region, which has a border with Gaza, have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since Mursi’s political demise. The insurgency has spread to other parts of Egypt, the most populous Arab country.

Hamas on Saturday dismissed Egyptian media accusations for the group of standing behind deadly attacks in the Sinai Peninsula.

“Neither Hamas nor the Gaza Strip have anything to do with what happened in Sinai or any other place in Egypt,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

Barhoum termed claims by Egyptian media that Hamas was behind the attacks as “an attempt to demonize” the Palestinian group.

“Hamas does not interfere in the affairs of any Arab country, particularly Egypt,” he said.

The Palestinian faction has repeatedly denied accusations that it has carried out attacks in the North African state, saying it cannot act against Egypt’s national security.

Since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi rose to power in Egypt in 2013 and was elected president, the country’s relationship with the besieged Gaza Strip has worsened.

In November, Egypt decided to create a one kilometer-deep buffer zone in the Sinai Peninsula along the border with Gaza by clearing more than 800 houses, displacing more than 1,100 families, and destroying and neutralizing hundreds of subterranean tunnels.

Gaza, which has been under a brutal illegal Israeli blockade for almost eight years, relied heavily on smuggling tunnels across the Egyptian border to obtain vital supplies. The only border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has also been routinely closed, leaving many Palestinians stranded or without access to important medical treatment.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has also repeatedly condemned the militant attacks in Egypt and denied any involvement.

However, the Sisi regime has clamped down severely on Mursi supporters. The crackdown has left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 15,000 imprisoned, with hundreds sentenced to death in trials the United Nations described as “unprecedented in recent history.”

(Reuters, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

CIA, Mossad Behind Killing of Imad Mughniyeh, Washington Post Confirms

Al-Akhbar | January 31, 2015

A report from the Washington Post on Friday confirmed that the CIA and Israel’s spy agency Mossad were behind an elaborate plot to kill Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in a 2008 car bomb attack in Syria.

Citing former intelligence officials, the newspaper reported that US and Israeli spy agencies worked together to target Mughniyeh on February 12, 2008 as he left a restaurant in the Syrian capital Damascus.

He was killed instantly by a car bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of a parked car, which exploded shrapnel in a tight radius, the Post said.

On January 19, Jihad, Mughniyeh’s 24-year-old son, was also killed by Israeli forces in Syria, along with five Hezbollah members and and an Iranian general in a helicopter airstrike near the city of Quneitra.

The bomb that killed Mughniyeh, built by the United States and tested in the state of North Carolina, was triggered remotely by Mossad agents in Tel Aviv who were in communication with the CIA operatives on the ground in Damascus.

“The way it was set up, the US could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” a former US intelligence official told the newspaper.

The CIA declined to comment to the Post about the report.

According the newspaper, the authority to kill required a presidential finding by George W. Bush. Several senior officials, including the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and the national security advisor, would have had to sign off on the order, it added.

The newspaper said that during the Iraq war, the Bush administration had approved a list of operations aimed at Hezbollah, and according to one official, this included approval to target Mughniyeh.

“There was an open license to find, fix and finish Mughniyeh and anybody affiliated with him,” a former US official who served in Baghdad told the Post.

According to the newspaper, American intelligence officials had been discussing possible ways to target the Hezbollah commander for years, and senior US Joint Special Operations Command agents held a secret meeting on the issue with the head of Israel’s military intelligence service in 2002.

“When we said we would be willing to explore opportunities to target him, they practically fell out of their chairs,” a former US official told the Post.

Though it is not clear when the agencies realized Mughniyeh was living in Damascus, a former official told the newspaper that Israel had approached the CIA about a joint operation to kill him in Syria’s capital.

The agencies collected “pattern of life” information about him and used facial recognition technology to establish his identity after he walked out of a restaurant the night he was killed.

In 2013, an Al-Akhbar investigation into the 2008 assassination revealed that Mossad, under the leadership of Meir Dagan at the time, was responsible for the operation, which took around six weeks to implement, from A to Z.

Mossad and CIA have repeatedly planned and carried out assassinations on Hezbollah’s senior commanders and members in Lebanon and Syria.

In 2013, Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Laqqis was assassinated in the suburbs of Beirut, an attack that the resistance group said was orchestrated by Israeli intelligence.

On Friday, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah spoke about the latest attack on Hezbollah members in Quneitra, stressing that Israel had “planned, calculated and took a premeditated decision to assassinate” Hezbollah fighters.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

January 31, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon Silent on Current Use of DU in Iraq

By David Swanson | War is a Crime | January 30, 2015

Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). . . . Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, ‘There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed.'”

This week I have left an email message and a phone message for Mark Wright at the Pentagon. Here’s what I emailed, after consulting with Wim Zwijnenburg of

Recent reports by CENTCOM have noted that 11% of the U.S. sorties have been flown by A-10s , and that a wide range of attacks on tanks and armored vehicles have taken place.  Can you confirm that  PGU-14 30mm munitions with depleted uranium in the A-10s (and any other DU weapons) have not been used during these attacks. And if not, why not? Thanks!

I sent that email on January 28 and left a voice message January 30.

You’d think there’d be lots of reporters calling with the same question and reporting the answer. But then it’s only Iraqis, I guess.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

In Memory of Anthony Lawson

Published on January 31, 2015

Anthony Lawson passed away on the 8th of January, 2015 due to colon cancer. This video will be the final one on his channel.

The months leading up to his death were filled with much anguish and confusion, as after an operation to fix his inguinal hernia there were a series of follow-ups and other procedures to determine the causes of the severe back pain that followed. In the end, the cancer was discovered on New Year’s Eve, far too late to have anything done, and his mental state as a result was too erratic for him to truly know what was wrong.

The medical costs have placed the family in a tight situation, so if anyone would like to make a donation, however small, please send an email to

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | 4 Comments

Ukraine chief of staff ‘thwarts Western allegations’ by admitting no combat with Russian troops

RT | January 30, 2015

The Ukraine army’s chief of staff has admitted that Kiev troops are not engaged in combat with Russian units, thereby thwarting all Western allegations of Moscow’s “military invasion,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

“Yesterday afternoon the Chief of the General Staff – Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – Viktor Muzhenko officially acknowledged during a briefing for foreign military attachées that Russian troops are not involved in the fighting in the country’s southeast,” Konashenkov said on Friday.

Given the fact that Muzhenko directly supervises military operations in the southeast, “his statement is a legal fact, which thwarts numerous accusations made by NATO and Western states” concerning Russia’s alleged “military invasion” in Ukraine, the spokesman added.

The Russian Defense Ministry, however, was puzzled by a statement from Muzhenko’s subordinate, Sergey Galushko, made several hours later. According to Galushko – an employee of the Department of Information Technology – Russian troops are located in the so-called “second echelon.”

On Thursday, Muzhenko said “the Ukrainian army is not engaged in combat operations against Russian units.” He added, however, that he had information about Russian individuals fighting in the country’s east. He also said the Ukrainian army has everything it needs to drive off armed units in Donbass. His speech was aired by Ukraine’s Channel 5 television, owned by President Petro Poroshenko.

Commenting on Muzhenko’s statement, Galushko said that reporters were only allowed at the open part of the meeting. He said that later, during the closed part, the chief of general staff said that Russian units are “in the second tier.”

Muzhenko himself did not elaborate on the initial statement.

Kiev began a military assault on eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions in April 2014, after they refused to recognize the country’s new, coup-imposed authorities. According to UN estimates, more than 5,000 people have died as a result of the conflict.

READ MORE: US plays ‘instigator’s role’ in Ukraine crisis – Russian UN envoy

Since the start of Kiev’s military operation, Ukraine and Western states have repeatedly alleged that Russia has a military presence in the country’s east. Moscow has refuted those claims on multiple occasions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s arguments on Wednesday, calling on those who believe the opposite to prove their point. “I say it every time: if you are so sure in stating that, confirm it with facts. But no one can or wants to provide them,” he said.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said it has not registered any movement of military vehicles at the Russia-Ukraine border checkpoints it observes, according to a statement made on January 22.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

‘Group-Thinking’ the World into a New War

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | January 30, 2015

If you wonder how the lethal “group think” on Iraq took shape in 2002, you might want to study what’s happening today with Ukraine. A misguided consensus has grabbed hold of Official Washington and has pulled in everyone who “matters” and tossed out almost anyone who disagrees.

Part of the problem, in both cases, has been that neocon propagandists understand that in the modern American media the personal is the political, that is, you don’t deal with the larger context of a dispute, you make it about some easily demonized figure. So, instead of understanding the complexities of Iraq, you focus on the unsavory Saddam Hussein.

This approach has been part of the neocon playbook at least since the 1980s when many of today’s leading neocons – such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan – were entering government and cut their teeth as propagandists for the Reagan administration. Back then, the game was to put, say, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega into the demon suit, with accusations about him wearing “designer glasses.” Later, it was Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and then, of course, Saddam Hussein.

Instead of Americans coming to grips with the painful history of Central America, where the U.S. government has caused much of the violence and dysfunction, or in Iraq, where Western nations don’t have clean hands either, the story was made personal – about the demonized leader – and anyone who provided a fuller context was denounced as an “Ortega apologist” or a “Noriega apologist” or a “Saddam apologist.”

So, American skeptics were silenced and the U.S. government got to do what it wanted without serious debate. In Iraq, for instance, the American people would have benefited from a thorough airing of the complexities of Iraqi society and the potential risks of invading under the dubious rationale of WMD.

But there was no thorough debate about anything: not about international law that held “aggressive war” to be “the supreme international crime”; not about the difficulty of putting a shattered Iraq back together after an invasion; not even about the doubts within the U.S. intelligence community about whether Iraq possessed usable WMD and whether Hussein had any ties to al-Qaeda.

All the American people heard was that Saddam Hussein was “a bad guy” and it was America’s right and duty to get rid of “bad guys” who supposedly had dangerous WMDs that they might share with other “bad guys.” To say that this simplistic argument was an insult to a modern democracy would be an understatement, but the propaganda worked because almost no one in the mainstream press or in academia or in politics dared speak out.

Those who could have made a difference feared for their careers – and they were “right” to have those fears, at least in the sense that it was much safer, career-wise, to run with the herd than to stand in the way. Even after the Iraq War had turned into an unmitigated disaster with horrific repercussions reaching to the present, the U.S. political/media establishment undertook no serious effort to impose accountability.

Almost no one who joined in the Iraq “group think” was punished. It turns out that there truly is safety in numbers. Many of those exact same people are still around holding down the same powerful jobs as if nothing horrible had happened in Iraq. Their pontifications still are featured on the most influential opinion pages in American journalism, with the New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman a perfect example.

Though Friedman has been wrong again and again, he is still regarded as perhaps the preeminent foreign policy pundit in the U.S. media. Which brings us to the issue of Ukraine and Russia.

A New Cold War

From the start of the Ukraine crisis in fall 2013, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every mainstream U.S. news outlet have behaved as dishonestly as they did during the run-up to war with Iraq. Objectivity and other principles of journalism have been thrown out the window. The larger context of both Ukrainian politics and Russia’s role has been ignored.

Again, it’s all been about demonized “bad guys” – in this case, Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s elected President Vladimir Putin – versus the “pro-Western good guys” who are deemed model democrats even as they collaborated with neo-Nazis to overthrow a constitutional order.

Again, the political is made personal: Yanukovych had a pricy sauna in his mansion; Putin rides a horse shirtless and doesn’t favor gay rights. So, if you raise questions about U.S. support for last year’s coup in Ukraine, you somehow must favor pricy saunas, riding shirtless and holding bigoted opinions about gays.

Anyone who dares protest the unrelentingly one-sided coverage is deemed a “Putin apologist” or a “stooge of Moscow.” So, most Americans – in a position to influence public knowledge but who want to stay employable – stay silent, just as they did during the Iraq War stampede.

One of the ugly but sadly typical cases relates to Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, who has been denounced by some of the usual neocon suspects for deviating from the “group think” that blames the entire Ukraine crisis on Putin. The New Republic, which has gotten pretty much every major issue wrong during my 37 years in Washington, smeared Cohen as “Putin’s American toady.”

And, if you think that Cohen’s fellow scholars are more tolerant of a well-argued dissent, the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies further proved that deviation from the “group think” on Ukraine is not to be tolerated.

The academic group spurned a fellowship program, which it had solicited from Cohen’s wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, because the program’s title included Cohen’s name. “It’s no secret that there were swirling controversies surrounding Professor Cohen,” Stephen Hanson, the group’s president, told the New York Times.

In a protest letter to the group, Cohen called this action “a political decision that creates serious doubts about the organization’s commitment to First Amendment rights and academic freedom.” He also noted that young scholars in the field have expressed fear for their professional futures if they break from the herd.

He mentioned the story of one young woman scholar who dropped off a panel to avoid risking her career in case she said something that could be deemed sympathetic to Russia.

Cohen noted, too, that even established foreign policy figures, ex-National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, have been accused in the Washington Post of “advocating that the West appease Russia,” with the notion of “appeasement” meant “to be disqualifying, chilling, censorious.” (Kissinger had objected to the comparison of Putin to Hitler as unfounded.)

In other words, as the United States rushes into a new Cold War with Russia, we are seeing the makings of a new McCarthyism, challenging the patriotism of anyone who doesn’t get into line. But this conformity of thought presents a serious threat to U.S. national security and even the future of the planet.

It may seem clever for some New Republic blogger or a Washington Post writer to insult anyone who doesn’t accept the over-the-top propaganda on Russia and Ukraine – much as they did to people who objected to the rush to war in Iraq – but a military clash with nuclear-armed Russia is a crisis of a much greater magnitude.

Botching Russia

Professor Cohen has been one of the few scholars who was right in criticizing Official Washington’s earlier “group think” about post-Soviet Russia, a reckless and mindless approach that laid the groundwork for today’s confrontation.

To understand why Russians are so alarmed by U.S. and NATO meddling in Ukraine, you have to go back to those days after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Instead of working with the Russians to transition carefully from a communist system to a pluralistic, capitalist one, the U.S. prescription was “shock therapy.”

As American “free market” experts descended on Moscow during the pliant regime of Boris Yeltsin, well-connected Russian thieves and their U.S. compatriots plundered the country’s wealth, creating a handful of billionaire “oligarchs” and leaving millions upon millions of Russians in a state of near starvation, with a collapse in life expectancy rarely seen in a country not at war.

Yet, despite the desperation of the masses, American journalists and pundits hailed the “democratic reform” underway in Russia with glowing accounts of how glittering life could be in the shiny new hotels, restaurants and bars of Moscow. Complaints about the suffering of average Russians were dismissed as the grumblings of losers who failed to appreciate the economic wonders that lay ahead.

As recounted in his 2001 book, Failed Crusade, Cohen correctly describes this fantastical reporting as journalistic “malpractice” that left the American people misinformed about the on-the-ground reality in Russia. The widespread suffering led Vladimir Putin, who succeeded Yeltsin, to pull back on the wholesale privatization, to punish some oligarchs and to restore some of the social safety net.

Though the U.S. mainstream media portrays Putin as essentially a tyrant, his elections and approval numbers indicate that he commands broad popular support, in part, because he stood up to some oligarchs (though he still worked with others). Yet, Official Washington continues to portray oligarchs whom Putin jailed as innocent victims of a tyrant’s revenge.

Last October, after Putin pardoned one jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, neocon Freedom House sponsored a Washington dinner in his honor, hailing him as one of Russia’s political heroes. “I have to say I’m impressed by him,” declared Freedom House President David Kramer. “But he’s still figuring out how he can make a difference.”

New York Times writer Peter Baker fairly swooned at Khodorkovsky’s presence. “If anything, he seemed stronger and deeper than before” prison, Baker wrote. “The notion of prison as cleansing the soul and ennobling the spirit is a powerful motif in Russian literature.”

Yet, even Khodorkovsky, who is now in his early 50s, acknowledged that he “grew up in Russia’s emerging Wild West capitalism to take advantage of what he now says was a corrupt privatization system,” Baker reported.

In other words, Khodorkovsky was admitting that he obtained his vast wealth through a corrupt process, though by referring to it as the “Wild West” Baker made the adventure seem quite dashing and even admirable when, in reality, Khodorkovsky was a key figure in the plunder of Russia that impoverished millions of his countrymen and sent many to early graves.

In the 1990s, Professor Cohen was one of the few scholars with the courage to challenge the prevailing boosterism for Russia’s “shock therapy.” He noted even then the danger of mistaken “conventional wisdom” and how it strangles original thought and necessary skepticism.

“Much as Russia scholars prefer consensus, even orthodoxy, to dissent, most journalists, one of them tells us, are ‘devoted to group-think’ and ‘see the world through a set of standard templates,’” wrote Cohen. “For them to break with ‘standard templates’ requires not only introspection but retrospection, which also is not a characteristic of either profession.”

A Plodding Pundit

Arguably, no one in journalism proves that point better than New York Times columnist Friedman, who is at best a pedestrian thinker plodding somewhere near the front of the herd. But Friedman’s access to millions of readers on the New York Times op-ed page makes him an important figure in consolidating the “group think” no matter how askew it is from reality.

Friedman played a key role in lining up many Americans behind the invasion of Iraq and is doing the same in the current march of folly into a new Cold War with Russia, including now a hot war on Russia’s Ukrainian border. In one typically mindless but inflammatory column, entitled “Czar Putin’s Next Moves,” Friedman decided it was time to buy into the trendy analogy of likening Putin to Hitler.

“Last March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine, supposedly in defense of Russian-speakers there, was just like ‘what Hitler did back in the ‘30s’ — using ethnic Germans to justify his invasion of neighboring lands. At the time, I thought such a comparison was over the top. I don’t think so anymore.”

Though Friedman was writing from Zurich apparently without direct knowledge of what is happening in Ukraine, he wrote as if he were on the front lines:

“Putin’s use of Russian troops wearing uniforms without insignia to invade Ukraine and to covertly buttress Ukrainian rebels bought and paid for by Moscow — all disguised by a web of lies that would have made Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels blush and all for the purpose of destroying Ukraine’s reform movement before it can create a democratic model that might appeal to Russians more than Putin’s kleptocracy — is the ugliest geopolitical mugging happening in the world today.

“Ukraine matters — more than the war in Iraq against the Islamic State, a.k.a., ISIS. It is still not clear that most of our allies in the war against ISIS share our values. That conflict has a big tribal and sectarian element. It is unmistakably clear, though, that Ukraine’s reformers in its newly elected government and Parliament — who are struggling to get free of Russia’s orbit and become part of the European Union’s market and democratic community — do share our values. If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine’s new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger.”

If Friedman wished to show any balance – which he clearly didn’t – he might have noted that Goebbels would actually be quite proud of the fact that some of Hitler’s modern-day followers are at the forefront of the fight for Ukrainian “reform,” dispatched by those Kiev “reformers” to spearhead the nasty slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

But references to those inconvenient neo-Nazis, who also spearheaded the coup last February ousting President Yanukovych, are essentially verboten in the U.S. mainstream media. So, is any reference to the fact that eastern Ukrainians have legitimate grievances with the Kiev authorities who ousted Yanukovych who had been elected with strong support from eastern Ukraine.

But in the mainstream American “group think,” the people of eastern Ukraine are simply “bought and paid for by Moscow” – all the better to feel good about slaughtering them. [See’sSeeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]

We’re also not supposed to mention that there was a coup in Ukraine, as the New York Times told us earlier this month. It was just white-hat “reformers” bringing more U.S.-sponsored good government to Ukraine. [See’s “NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.”]

In his column, without any sense of irony or awareness, Friedman glowingly quotes Natalie Jaresko, Ukraine’s new finance minister (leaving out that Jaresko is a newly minted Ukrainian citizen, an ex-American diplomat and investment banker with her own history of “kleptocracy.”)

Friedman quotes Jaresko’s stirring words: “Putin fears a Ukraine that demands to live and wants to live and insists on living on European values — with a robust civil society and freedom of speech and religion [and] with a system of values the Ukrainian people have chosen and laid down their lives for.”

However, as I noted in December, Jaresko headed a U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine that involved substantial insider dealings, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled.

Jaresko served as president and chief executive officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development with $150 million to spur business activity in Ukraine. She also was cofounder and managing partner of Horizon Capital which managed WNISEF’s investments at a rate of 2 to 2.5 percent of committed capital, fees exceeding $1 million in recent years, according to WNISEF’s 2012 annual report.

In the 2012 report, the section on “related party transactions” covered some two pages and included not only the management fees to Jaresko’s Horizon Capital ($1,037,603 in 2011 and $1,023,689 in 2012) but also WNISEF’s co-investments in projects with the Emerging Europe Growth Fund [EEGF], where Jaresko was founding partner and chief executive officer. Jaresko’s Horizon Capital also managed EEGF.

From 2007 to 2011, WNISEF co-invested $4.25 million with EEGF in Kerameya LLC, a Ukrainian brick manufacturer, and WNISEF sold EEGF 15.63 percent of Moldova’s Fincombank for $5 million, the report said. It also listed extensive exchanges of personnel and equipment between WNISEF and Horizon Capital.

Though it’s difficult for an outsider to ascertain the relative merits of these insider deals, they involved potential conflicts of interest between a U.S.-taxpayer-funded entity and a private company that Jaresko controlled.

Based on the data from WNISEF’s 2012 annual report, it also appeared that the U.S. taxpayers had lost about one-third of their investment in WNISEF, with the fund’s balance at $98,074,030, compared to the initial U.S. government grant of $150 million.

In other words, there is another side of the Ukraine story, a darker reality that Friedman and the rest of the mainstream media don’t want you to know. They want to shut out alternative information and lead you into another conflict, much as they did in Iraq.

But Friedman is right about one thing: “Ukraine matters.” And he’s even right that Ukraine matters more than the butchery that’s continuing in Iraq.

But Friedman is wrong about why. Ukraine matters more because he and the other “group thinkers,” who turned Iraq into today’s slaughterhouse, are just as blind to the reality of the U.S. military confronting Russia over Ukraine, except in the Ukraine case, both sides have nuclear weapons.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Canada introduces new anti-terrorism laws

Press TV – January 31, 2015

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has introduced new anti-terror laws, which significantly expands the powers of the country’s spy agencies.

The proposed legislation announced on Friday would allow anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be taken into custody for up to a week without any charges.

The law would make it a felony for any person to call for a terrorist attack, even without making any specific threat.

In addition, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), would receive additional powers to track and arrest suspects, including preventing Canadian citizens from traveling abroad for terror purposes by cancelling their plane or other travel reservations.

Furthermore, authorities will have the right to remove terror-related material posted on any Canadian website.

Harper said the new law is required as militants have declared war on Canada and it would be wrong to ignore their threats.

The proposed law still has to be approved by the country’s parliament. However, the legislation is likely to be adopted as Harper’s Conservative administration holds the majority of seats in the assembly.

The legislation has drawn criticism from a number of figures including, opposition leader Tom Mulcair, who expressed concern about oversight and abuses.

Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, also voiced concern over the proposed law, saying it has a “potential” of suppressing expression.

Harper’s proposal comes in the wake two so-called terrorism-related attacks in the capital of Ottawa and in the city of Quebec last October.

On October 22, 2014, an armed assailant, identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed a soldier at the country’s national war memorial in the capital and then stormed the parliament before being shot dead by police.

In another incident just two days earlier, a radicalized Quebec man, identified as Martin Couture-Rouleau, was shot dead by police after he ran down two soldiers, killing one of them, with his vehicle near a military compound.


Canada monitors all internet downloads  January 28, 2015

Canada police allowed to search phones  December 12, 2014

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

‘Ukraine is pretext for US lobby to go on with sanctions against Russia’

RT | January 30, 2015

Anti-Russian sanctions are imposed as a hard neo-conservative lobby in America puts pressure on some European countries to go along with these sanctions, and to persuade other countries to do the same, journalist Neil Clark, told RT.

RT: The EU has extended individual sanctions but refrained from new economic restrictions. Why haven’t they gone further do you think?

Neil Clark: Well, it’s interesting, isn’t it? I think this reveals to us the split that there is within the EU. Because what we’ve got really, we’ve got the hard-line countries led unfortunately by Britain, countries like Poland, Lithuania and some others who really want an extension of sanctions. And then we’ve got the more realistic members, the countries that actually want to see these sanctions lifted. Of course, we remember just three weeks ago Francois Hollande, the French President, said that the EU hoped that sanctions would soon be lifted. And of course that would have caused a lot of horror among the anti-Russian camp. So I think what we saw [on Thursday] is the evidence of a real split. We haven’t had these measures that some people wanted, for example some of the more anti-Russian elements have been calling for Russia to be banned from the SWIFT banking system. And what we’ve seen is an extension of the existing sanctions so I think that this reflects the split within the EU at the moment.

RT: Russia’s been under American and European sanctions since last March. How much has it helped resolve the Ukrainian crisis?

NC: Well I think it’s very important to realize…Ukraine is really a pretext for these sanctions. What we’ve got is an anti-Russian lobby, a neo-conservative lobby in America which has for years wanted to sanction Russia. You go back to 2003 and you got neocons calling for Russia to be sanctioned. …This campaign for Russia to be sanctioned stepped up after the events in Syria in 2013 when Russia blocked a war against Syria…And then the Ukrainian situation kicked off as it were.

So I think it’s very important to realize it really that it has really nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine. These sanctions are being imposed, I’m afraid, because of a hard anti-Russian lobby in America and pressure’s been put on certain European countries that are very close to America to go along with these sanctions and to persuade other countries to go along with these sanctions.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that when we talk about Ukraine the offenses launched by the Ukrainian government forces coincided with visits of high-ranking US officials. And I think that there would have been quite a lot of concern among this anti-Russian lobby in Washington when Francois Hollande did say three weeks ago that he would like to see sanctions lifted.And then what happens? American officials go to Ukraine and we get another offensive against the people in the East. Then the fighting there is used as a pretext for continuing on with the sanctions.

RT: There have been calls for the West to arm the Ukrainian army. Is that on the cards?

NC: It all really depends on what happens in Europe. It is actually crucial at the moment. We saw last night that vote at the Council of Europe – just how divided it was: 35 to 34. So I think there are certain countries in Europe… Poland has been called the 51st state of America, Poland is following the American line, and Britain unfortunately is. But there are other countries, Austria for example, who don’t really want to go down this road, who want to have a return to proper working relations with Russia, because Europe needs Russia. Europe needs a good working economic relationship with Russia. So it’s all a battle going on within the European Union now as to which fraction will actually prevail… So I think the hawks would love to see hard weaponry going to Ukraine, would love to see this conflict continue. But the more sensible countries in Europe want to see an end to it and get back to normal relations with Russia which is in Europe’s interest.

RT: On Wednesday two Russian bombers were detected flying over the Channel which provoked an outcry in the British media as they supposedly ‘disrupted UK aviation’, though these bombers didn’t violate other countries’ borders. What do you think about this situation?

NC: Well I think it’s very interesting, isn’t it, that this big news story happened when the EU was discussing the issue of sanctions with Russia. And I think it happened before, when we had…this debate about whether to extent or deepen sanctions, increase sanctions on Russia…And headlines that come up, you know “Russian bombers over the Channel”, but then we found out that it wasn’t exactly as it was first reported. So I think that in this anti-Russian climate we‘ve got to be careful when we look at the news headlines. There is an agenda going on, there is anti-Russian lobby in the West unfortunately which wants to keep this going and to keep more excuses and pretexts for the sanctions on Russia. So I think we have got to keep cool heads and you know look at bigger context of the stories and it seems quite interesting that every time we are getting these discussions about sanctions on Russia, that this sort of incidents seem to occur.


UK fighter jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers

EU foreign ministers extend sanctions against Russian officials, E. Ukraine rebels

EU Parliament wants to keep Russia sanctions, set ‘benchmarks’ for lifting them

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Commissioner Bratton Equates NYC Protests With Paris Terror Attack

By Sue Udry | Dissent News Wire | January 29, 2015

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced today the formation of a new, elite unit that will be specially trained and equipped to deal with dangerous situations like the hostage situation in Australia, lone wolf attacks and… protests.

According to CBS News New York, Bratten really truly did conflate terrorism and protests.

 “It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,” the commissioner said.

In order to address these situations, all equally perilous apparently, Bratton told a news conference that the 350 member Strategic Response Group will “be equipped and trained in ways that our normal patrol officers are not. They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.” In addition, the officers will have smartphones and tablets so they can be kept up to date on what is being said over social media.

Those smart phones and tablets may prove to be more dangerous to communities than the new weapons. Josmar Trujillo provides this analysis at :

It’s hard to imagine a more Orwellian future for high-poverty, high-crime communities than one in which technology intensifies the criminal justice spotlight on their neighborhoods. Funneling more cops and surveillance into certain neighborhoods all but assures that you’ll find more crime there—especially the low-level type via Broken Windows. Indeed, if by being predictive police are looking to be prophetic, then it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Communities of color are most familiar with a cycle in which cops aggressively look for crime, arrest and document crime, then set out to aggressively look for more crime in a city with less and less crime. Technology, though, adds in a new element wherein it normalizes aggressive, racialized policing through a veneer of color-blind efficiency. As people become data plots and probability scores, law enforcement officials and politicians alike can point and say technology is void of the racist, profiling bias of humans.

In case smart phones and machine guns aren’t enough, Bratton wants more surveillance.  CBS reports that

Bratton is also calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to outfit all new subway cars with cameras that would be monitored on the train by an officer in the conductor’s booth, as well as at an off-site location.

Bratton pitched the unit as a way to keep from pulling beat cops away from their neighborhoods. The police unions are in support of the new unit, but the Gothamist reports that support is not unanimous. Priscilla Gonzalez, Organizing Director of Communities United for Police Reform, gave this statement.

Initial reports of Commissioner Bratton’s plans suggest the opposite of progress. His demands for less oversight of the NYPD and a more militarized police force that would use counter-terrorism tactics against protestors are deeply misguided and frankly offensive. We need an NYPD that is more accountable to New Yorkers and that stops criminalizing our communities, especially when people are taking to the streets to voice legitimate concerns about discriminatory and abusive policing. Despite growing evidence that discriminatory broken windows is a failed and harmful policing strategy, Commissioner Bratton stubbornly continues to defend and expand it.

Tell Bratton: Protest is NOT Terrorism!

Tell Commissioner Bratton that you are outraged he is equating protests with terror attacks, and wants to treat them with equal force. The streets of NYC don’t need more heavily-armed police on the loose.


311 or 212-NEW-YORK (639-9675) outside NYC


Send Online Message

Commissioner Bratton

NYPD Switchboard: 1-646-610-5000



January 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: The Rules of Engagement with Israel Are Over


A Hezbollah supporter with the words “time for retribution” written on her hand attends a memorial ceremony to honor six Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria by an Israeli airstrike, during which Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah made a televised speech. Al-Akhbar/Marwan Tahtah

Al-Akhbar | January 30, 2015

“Don’t try us,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah told Israel in a televised speech Friday broadcast during a memorial ceremony to honor the six Hezbollah fighters and the Iranian general killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier this month.

On January 18, an Israeli helicopter airstrike on the Syrian city of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights killed six fighters of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, including a commander, Mohammed Abu Issa, and the son of assassinated senior commander Imad Mughniyeh, as well as Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi.

Hezbollah has been fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad in Syria against rebels in the nearly four-year Syrian conflict.

According to Nasrallah, who spoke for an hour and a half, Israel had “planned, calculated and took a premeditated decision to assassinate” the fighters, saying that the motive behind the attack was crystal clear.

Hezbollah’s chief said that while Israel isn’t worried about thousands of armed militants from the al-Nusra Front — al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria — near territories it occupies, the Zionist state “was scared on January 18 of six unarmed Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian in civilian vehicles.”

Observers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) confirmed in a report published in December documenting cooperation and coordination between the Israeli army and militant groups in Syria.

The UNDOF report said that observers witnessed several meetings between rebel leaders and Israeli army forces between December 2013 and March 2014, in addition to witnessing the transportation of injured militants to Israeli hospitals following confrontations between the militants and the Syrian army near the occupied Golan border.

Nasrallah said that those killed in the Quneitra attack showed a “fusion of Lebanese-Iranian blood on Syrian soil, and reflects the unity of the cause and the unity of the fate of the countries in the axis of resistance.”

“When the blood of Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians and Iranians unites, we will enter an era of triumph,” he added.

The deaths of Allahdadi and Issa revealed that commanders were present on the ground alongside fighters, Nasrallah said, adding that Jihad Mughniyeh’s death showed how entire families and not just individual members were joining the resistance.

Nasrallah extended his condolences to the families of the Hezbollah fighters as well as the families of the eight Lebanese soldiers who were killed last week in clashes with al-Nusra Front militants in the area of Tallet al-Hamra near Ras Baalbek on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Nasrallah’s remarks came two days after Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack against an Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) convoy in Israeli-occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms that left a number of Israeli soldiers dead.

According to Israeli figures, two soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded, although Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar news channel said the toll was much higher.

“They killed us in broad daylight, we kill them in broad daylight … they struck two of our vehicles, we targeted two of their vehicles,” Nasrallah said, likening the Quneitra strike to the one by Hezbollah in Shebaa.

“The only difference is that we announced that Israel struck our fighters in Quneitra half an hour after the attack, whereas the Israelis didn’t,” Nasrallah continued, adding that the number of casualties on the Israeli side was “debatable.”

The Shebaa Farms area is a mountainous, narrow sliver of land rich in water resources measuring 25 square kilometers (10 square miles). It has been illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, although Lebanon has never ceased to call for its restitution.

Israel occupied most of southern Lebanon for 22 years until 2000 and the two countries are still technically at war.

“The Israelis can’t kill our people and then go to sleep … their farmers can’t stay in their fields and their soldiers can’t stroll up and down the border as if they merely killed mosquitoes,” Nasrallah said, asserting that the Zionist state would pay a price for all of its criminal actions even if that meant going to war with Israel.

“We don’t want war but we are not afraid of going to war,” Nasrallah assured. “I think the Shebaa attack was a clear message … Israel was humiliated on Wednesday.”

Nasrallah said Hezbollah would retaliate against any future Israeli attacks on its members “whenever, however and wherever,” adding that the Hezbollah “no longer cares about the rules of engagement anymore.”

“Don’t try us,” Nasrallah defiantly said to Israel.

Since the January 18 airstrike, troops and civilians in northern Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine and the occupied Golan Heights have been on heightened alert and Israel has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor unit near the Syrian border.

“Israelis have been on edge ever since they targeted our fighters in Quneitra,” Nasrallah stated.

Following Wednesday’s attack, Israeli forces hit several Lebanese villages along the border, killing a 36-year-old UN peacekeeper.

Israeli warplanes routinely violate Lebanon’s airspace and have launched several attacks against Syrian targets in recent months, some reportedly carried out from over Lebanon.

On Thursday, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), said Israeli fighter jets penetrated deep into Lebanese airspace, startling residents as the jets flew over the capital Beirut. Israeli jets were also seen flying over southern Lebanese towns.

Nasrallah said Israel has violated Lebanese’ sovereignty and the 1701 UN resolution “thousands of times” and “on daily basis.”

Moreover, Nasrallah slammed the Arab League as “nonexistent” when it came to fighting Israel and supporting Palestinians, saying the 22-member league has served Israel more than the Palestinians. He gave the 51-day Israeli summer assault on Gaza that left 2,300 Palestinians dead as an example of the Arab League’s failure.

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Wednesday’s attack was the “most severe” Israel had faced since 2006, when its war with Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel and the US: a Troubled Romance

By Robert Fantina | CounterPunch | January 30, 2015

It is sometimes interesting to see the many hoops the United States jumps through to accommodate the brutal whims of Israel. With Palestine ratifying the Rome Statute, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) beginning its initial investigation of possible Israeli war crimes committed against the Palestinians, more such information is leaking out.

Israel, it is reported, is pressuring nations that fund the ICC, however inadequately, to either reduce or suspend that funding altogether. Reports are that poor Israel is being rebuffed at every turn, with the major funding nations saying they have no intention of making such adjustments. The U.S., this writer is sure, would cease all funding for the ICC, if it had ever deigned to join. But no international body, it seems, has the right to judge the soldiers and/or leaders of the self-described ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ for illegal invasions, wanton killing of civilians, or torture of political prisoners. So Israel, which has in the past successfully demanded that the U.S. cease any aid to Palestine, can’t rely on the U.S. to pull the plug on the ICC.

All this comes at a very awkward time for the troubled romance between Israel and the U.S., a time when perhaps the final nail has been hammered into the coffin of the dysfunctional bromance between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. In March, Mr. Netanyahu will visit the U.S. to give Congress his instructions regarding U.S. negotiations with Iran. This, in all likelihood, will torpedo the delicate, years-long negotiations that Mr. Obama, with support from much of the international community, has been spearheading. But the general direction of these negotiations has been displeasing to Mr. Netanyahu, and he will inform Congress of that fact in no uncertain terms. Congress, always responsive to the holders of the purse strings, will fall into line. So what if it means that more young Americans will be sent to kill and die in another war? What is this, when funds are needed for one’s next re-election campaign?

A presidential spokesperson said that Mr. Netanyahu’s forthcoming visit to the U.S. is a slap in the face of Mr. Obama. And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, an international joke if ever there was one, is said to be particularly peeved. Did he not, as has since been reported, contact at least fifty world leaders in December, begging and pleading with them on Israel’s behalf, to vote down a resolution being introduced at the United Nations, that would have mandated an end to the Israel occupation of Palestine by 2017? Was he not successful in procuring Israel’s desire at the expense of the basic human rights of the Palestinians? And then, within days, to have Mr. Netanyahu spit in his eye! Oh, the shame of it! One is confident that Mr. Kerry will send a strongly-worded message to someone in Israeli diplomatic circles, perhaps a staff member responsible for cleaning the guest bath at the ambassador’s residence.

A reasonable person might ask what response to this is most appropriate. Unfortunately, we have moved far beyond reasonable when the U.S. tramples the basic human rights of an entire nation to please a powerful lobby, and when a member of the House of Representative invites a world leader to address Congress without mentioning it to the president. But let’s play the ‘what if’ game anyway.

The U.S. gives Israel $3 billion a year, with no strings attached. One might think that that would give the U.S. some leverage in getting Israel to adapt its behavior in some way. Might not the U.S. say that the next gift, perhaps a shipment of bombers, is contingent on a cessation of new, illegal settlement activity? Or perhaps an end to the brutal blockade of the Gaza Strip? Some adherence to international law, it seems, could be tied to continued U.S. funding.

But no, there is no precedent for such actions; in fact, the reverse is true. There is historical precedent for simply writing a blank check to Israel. In 1988, an Israeli journalist commented that “One may say no to America and still get a bonus.” Nothing has changed in twenty-seven years.

So there we are. In March, Mr. Netanyahu will be in town to address Congress and participate in that even more important governing body, AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee). Most of Congress will join him there, where the real governing takes place, to bow and scrape before the holders of the biggest checkbooks. Heaven forbid they spend as much time or energy with constituents; what a waste of valuable time! Money, it is said, talks, and the members of Congress always have a listening ear.

Fortunately, the rest of the world is looking in another direction, recognizing the arrogance of Mr. Netanyahu, the cruelty of the occupation, the hypocrisy of the U.S. and the ineffectual administration of Mr. Obama. The work of the ICC will continue slowly, but it will continue. Without Israel’s cooperation, which it has vowed not to provide, there may be no just outcome, but the focus is on Israel. While an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the reputation of an accused who gets off on the technicality of refusal to cooperate is more than a little tarnished. Israel’s long walk toward international isolation is accelerating. And the U.S. is only expediting it.

Whatever the next several months bring for Palestine, Israel and the U.S., only a few things are sure: Palestinians will continue to suffer under the brutal, apartheid Israeli regime even as more and more nations recognize it; Israel will continue to draw almost universal condemnation, with the U.S. being the main holdout, for the brutal occupation of Palestine, and the U.S., long seen outside its own borders as the world’s main terrorist nation, trampling on the human rights of entire nations simply to ensure the filling of corporate coffers, will do nothing to dissuade the world from that opinion. The U.S. and Israel will impede the march of justice, but increasingly it is obvious that they cannot stop it.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment