Aletho News


A giant art installation targets predator drone operators



In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.


The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is a collaboration of artists who made use of the French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag #NotABugSplat

Children gather around the installation

Ground view of the gigantic poster of the child victim.

The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to FFR, lost both her parents and two young siblings in a drone attack. 

The group of artists traveled inside KPK province and, with the assistance of highly enthusiastic locals, unrolled the poster amongst mud huts and farms. It is their hope that this will create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators, and will create dialogue amongst policy makers, eventually leading to decisions that will save innocent lives.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

State Dept asks for budget to counter RT

RT | February 26, 2015

Citing RT’s influence, Secretary of State John Kerry asked US lawmakers for more money for propaganda and “democracy promotion” programs around the world.

“Russia Today (sic) can be heard in English, do we have an equivalent that can be heard in Russian? It’s a pretty expensive proposition. They are spending huge amounts of money,” Kerry said in the course of the budget hearing on Wednesday, apparently forgetting that Voice of America has been broadcasting in Russian since 1947.

Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), chairing the House Foreign Affairs Committee, opened the hearing with the allegation that “Russia’s military aggression is matched only by its propaganda.”

To Kerry’s approval, Royce went on to claim that “Russia is spending more than $500 million annually to mislead audiences, sow divisions, and push conspiracy out over RT television.”

Royce’s remarks echo the claim made by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) chief Andrew Lack last month, when he listed “Russia Today” (sic) in the same breath as ISIS and Boko Haram as one of the challenges facing his agency.

In reality, RT’s budget for 2015 is less than half the amount cited by Representative Royce – $225 million, according to the current exchange rate, or 13.85 billion rubles. By contrast, the US government media receives $721 million. The BBC World Service, which complained about RT “winning the information war” in January, is funded to the tune of $375 million a year.

In the budget proposal submitted by Kerry, the Department of State is asking for “$639 million to help our friends in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova as they seek to strengthen their democracies, withstand pressure from Russia, and to integrate more closely into Europe.” [PDF] Washington is also requesting over $2 billion – described as “a significant increase” – for “democracy, human rights, and governance programs.”

Read more: More money, more problems?

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 4 Comments

The Foiling of a Coup Plot in Venezuela

By GLORIA La RIVA | CounterPunch | February 25, 2015

A coup plot against President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution was thwarted this week as a retired Venezuelan Air Force general and 10 military and civilian opposition figures were arrested.

The bombing of the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, Telesur TV network, the Defense Ministry and other Caracas sites was to take place February 12, the one-year anniversary of violent anti-government attacks known as “guarimbas,” which caused 43 deaths. A Tucano EMB 312 bomber would have been flown by renegade Air Force First Lieutenant José Antich Zapata to destroy the targeted sites.

U.S. spokesperson Jen Psaki and the Venezuelan far-right are dismissing the plot claim, but video evidence, a map of the bombing targets, and other key evidence have been unveiled on national television, with more details promised. Washington’s role in previous plots has been proven before.

According to President Maduro, detained coup leaders have confessed their role. He spoke on national television Sunday morning, to reveal more facts and accuse the United States government of conspiring with coup plotters.

Antich Zapata received U.S. visas for himself and other conspirators from the U.S. embassy in Caracas, for escape from Venezuela in case the plot failed.

Maduro also said that the script of an eight-minute video by the coup group – to air once the government was overthrown – was written with the help of a U.S. embassy advisor.

Rightwing opposition involved

In obvious preparation for the failed coup, three of the most belligerent opposition figures – Maria Corina Machado, Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma – issued a “Call for a National Transition Agreement,” on February 11, the day before the overthrow was to take place. Lopez is currently awaiting trial for his role in the violent attacks last February.

The “transition agreement” is a plan for overthrow of the Bolivarian Revolution socialist project, including a demand for felony trials of current government leaders after the “transition,” the privatization of nationalized industries, and the takeover of PDVSA, the state-owned oil industry that has been the source of great social developments in Venezuela since 1999.

As if aware of a pending coup, German embassy representative Jorg Polster issued a letter of warning on February 5 to German citizens residing in Venezuela, to take unusual precautions such as in the event of “political unrest like that which began in the spring of 2014.” The letter suggests the German nationals obtain a two-week supply of food, water and emergency provisions of battery, radio and important documents. The letter also indicates a loss of electricity and Internet access could be a possibility.

National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello and Jorge Rodriguez, mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas – both leaders of Maduro’s political high command – also appeared on television, denouncing Julio Borges, leader of the right-wing group, Primero Justicia (“Justice First” in English), as drafting the list of the 20-plus targets to be bombed.

An unfolding plot since January

A series of actions was planned by the counterrevolutionaries to lead up to February 12.

First step was economic destabilization through major corporate hoarding of goods to create empty stores and mass discontent. That has been taking place for weeks, with the right-wing then accusing the socialist government of economic failure.

The government countered with “Operation Dignity,” confiscating the hoarded goods for redistribution at fair prices to the population, and arresting the corporate conspirators.

The second step was internationally-generated false accusations of a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela by the U.S. and international allies of Washington.

It is thus no coincidence that on January 24, three right-wing former presidents of Latin American countries, Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Sebastian Pinera of Chile came to Venezuela and tried to visit jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Afterwards, they demanded his freedom and held a press conference accusing Venezuela of human rights violations.

On February 3, President Maduro warned Washington to stop its interventionist meddling, and accused U.S. officials of trying to bribe current and former government leaders to betray the government.

Via Telesur, he denounced U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s recent meetings with various Latin American leaders, in which he told them Maduro’s government would soon fall, and that the Petrocaribe program would be ended. Biden advised them to “keep Venezuela isolated.” Petrocaribe is the Venezuelan program that provides oil to Caribbean nations at a low price.

Telesur as target

Why was Telesur one of the targets to be bombed?

In 2002, when a fascist coup by a sector of the military and corporate opposition overthrew President Hugo Chavez from April 11 to 13, Venezuela’s revolution was new and a people’s media had not yet developed.

In the critical hours of the massive and spontaneous popular mobilization to demand Chavez’s release and return as president, the monopoly corporate media completely blocked out the news. It was clear that the Bolivarian process needed a revolutionary media to transmit vital information to the population.

Since then, dozens of community and television stations have been established; corporate violators of the new Communications Law have had their licenses revoked.

The Telesur network – promoting the integration of Latin America – was proposed 10 years ago by Chavez. It has become a vital conveyor of national and international information with a solid anti-imperialist prospective.

It provided uncensored live coverage and exposed the terror bombing by NATO/U.S. bombing of Libya.

Like the brutal bombing of Serbia’s national TV station, killing scores of journalists who courageously covered the criminal NATO/U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the planned bombing of Telesur was part of the plan to destroy the Revolution and install a fascist coup.

The smashing of this latest plot against Venezuela is a major blow to U.S. imperialism’s attempts to reverse the gains of the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela, the Cuban Revolution and all progress in Latin America.

Revolutionary mass organizations and the military high command are declaring their unity and defense of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

Vladimir Padrino Lopez, the Minister of Defense and Strategic Operational Commander of the FANB, stood with a large group of high-ranking military officers to denounce the military plot. “The Bolivarian Armed Forces reiterates its support and loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro Moros and reaffirms its commitment to the will of the people, with the Plan of the Homeland, in the building of Socialism.”

More than ever, it is vital that international solidarity be mobilized to demand an end to U.S. machinations in Venezuela and all Latin America. Progressive groups and leaders in Latin America are expressing their support for Maduro’s government. From March 5-7, organizations in several cities in the United States plan actions in solidarity with the Venezuelan Bolivarian government and its people in struggle.

The danger is not over. The lessons of Latin America in the 1960s, 1970s and the U.S. war against revolutionary movements everywhere shows that the struggle must continue to defend Venezuela’s gains and oppose U.S. imperialism’s counter-revolutionary schemes.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Forces Demolish Four Bedouin Homes in Negev

Al-Akhbar | February 25, 2015

Israeli forces demolished four Bedouin homes in the Negev desert in southern Occupied Palestine on Tuesday, Ma’an news agency reported, leaving dozens homeless.

Israeli forces, escorted by bulldozers, raided the Tel Shebaa area of Beersheba early Tuesday and demolished the properties on the pretext that they lacked building permits. Locals said the homes belonged to the al-Nabbari family.

One of the family members, Sufian al-Nabbari, 20, was arrested after attempting to prevent the demolition.

“We will not let go of our lands. More than 60 police officers arrived in the area and demolished our homes and livestock barns,” Mohammed al-Nabbari said. “They even chopped down our olive trees.”

The head of the regional council for Bedouin villages unrecognized by Israeli authorities, Attiya al-Asam, said that the “brutality” of demolitions has increased recently in Bedouin towns in Occupied Palestine.

On Sunday, Israeli authorities demolished four homes belonging to Palestinian Bedouins near the town of Hurah in the Negev desert.

In 2013, authorities said that the homes of the 1,500 residents of the village were to be demolished because the area had been converted into a closed military zone.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship complain of routine discrimination, particularly in housing, land access and employment.

There are about 260,000 Bedouin in historical Palestine, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south.

The Israeli government classifies approximately 40 villages in the Negev desert as “unrecognized,” arguing that the roughly 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living there cannot prove their ownership of the land and are hence living there “illegally.”

Claiming that most of the land in the Negev desert is Israeli “state property,” Israel has repeatedly demolished Bedouin homes in the area.

In November, the IOF razed the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev Desert for the 78th time in four years.

The village was demolished for the first time in July 2010, before being rebuilt with metal and wood.

Dozens of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship living in Araqib say that they have owned the land since before Israel came into being in 1948.

Israel has demolished 77 Palestinian homes and agricultural structures since the beginning of 2015, leaving 110 people homeless, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Meanwhile, Bedouins are regularly attacked by the IOF, who killed 22-year-old Sami al-Jaar in the southern Negev region on January 14. During Jaar’s funeral, a 45-year-old Bedouin man, Sami Ibrahim Zayadna, suffocated to death due to tear gas sprayed by Israeli forces. … Full article

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Dancing children attacked by Israeli forces

International Solidarity Movement | February 25, 2015

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On the 24th of February in occupied Al-Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces opened fire on dancing Palestinian youth, firing tear gas and throwing stun grenades at group of young children performing a traditional Palestinian dance as a form of protest in front of Shuhada checkpoint.

The fifteen young dancers, Palestinian girls and boys between the ages of six and twelve, gathered to perform dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance. They staged their dance in the open street in Bab Al-Zawiye (in the H1 – officially Palestinian Authority-controlled – part of Hebron) near Shuhada checkpoint, as part of a week of actions planned by Palestinian organizers around the annual Open Shuhada Street campaign. The children began performing under heavy military surveillance, as at least thirteen soldiers occupied roofs surrounding the entrance to the checkpoint.

Even before the demonstration had begun, Israeli forces closed Shuhada checkpoint to Palestinian men, only allowing a few women through. Shuhada checkpoint controls the main access between Bab Al-Zawiye and the the H2 (fully Israeli-controlled) neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. On the H2 side, the checkpoint faces Shuhada street, and soldiers restrict Palestinian access onto the short portion of Shuhada street where they are still allowed to walk.

“As soon as the dancing kids moved closer to the checkpoint, soldiers immediately attacked with two tear gas grenades and two stun grenades,” reported an ISM volunteer who witnessed the incident. “Israeli soldiers fired tear gas even though the children were not throwing stones.”

After first fleeing the assault, the Palestinian children managed to continue dancing even as around twenty soldiers and eight border police advanced from the checkpoint into Bab Al-Zawiye. Israeli forces threw a dozen stun grenades after a few youth began throwing stones at the checkpoint.

Clashes continued for about an hour and a half, as Israeli soldiers and border police fired even more rounds of tear gas, several additional stun grenades, and eventually rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth. Advancing further and further into the commercial center of Bab Al-Zawiye, they ended up shooting into the crowded streets of the city’s market area. Local activists reported that two Palestinians suffered injuries from rubber-coated steel bullets.

February 25 marks the 21-year anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre; in 1994 US-born extremist settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinian worshipers inside the Al-Khalil mosque and injured dozens more. In the time following the attack, Israeli authorities initiated a crackdown, not on those occupying the city’s illegal settlements, but on Palestinians. Israel put in place policies, including the closure of Shuhada street, which would eventually lead to Al-Khalil becoming the divided city it is today.

Children in H2, which includes Al-Khalil’s historic Old City and once-thriving market, constantly endure the violence and daily humiliations of Israeli military occupation. Children living in the neighborhoods of H2 are routinely tear gassed on their way to school and face arrest, attack and daily harassment at checkpoints. The Open Shuhada Street actions are a yearly expression of resistance to Israel’s Apartheid system, as Palestinians young and old demand and end to the occupation.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s New Asian Allies

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | February 24, 2015

It was another difficult week for Israel.

In Britain, 700 artists, including many household names, pledged a cultural boycott of Israel, and a leader of the Board of Deputies, the representative body of UK Jews, quit, saying he could no longer abide by its ban on criticising Israel.

Across the Atlantic, the student body of one of the most prestigious US universities, Stanford, voted to withdraw investments from companies implicated in Israel’s occupation, giving a significant boost to the growing international boycott (BDS) movement.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll found that two-thirds of Americans, and three-quarters of those under 50, believed the US foreign policy should be neutral between Israel and Palestine.

This drip-drip of bad news, as American and European popular opinion shifts against Israel, is gradually changing the west’s political culture and forcing Israel to rethink its historic alliances.

The deterioration in relations between Israel and the White House is now impossible to dismiss, as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama lock horns, this time over negotiations with Iran.

The US was reported last week to be refusing to share with Israel sensitive information on the talks, fearful it will be misused. A senior Israeli official described it as like being evicted from the “deluxe guest suite” in Washington. “Astonishing doesn’t begin to describe it,” he said.

The fall-out is spreading to the US Congress, where for the first time Israel is becoming a partisan issue. A growing number of Democrats have declared they will boycott Netanyahu’s address to the Congress next month, when he is expected to try to undermine the Iran talks.

Things are more precarious still in Europe. Several leading parliaments have called on their governments to recognise Palestinian statehood, and France rocked Israel by backing just such a resolution recently in the UN Security Council.

Europe has also begun punishing Israel for its intransigence towards the Palestinians. It is labelling settlement products and is expected to start demanding compensation for its projects in the occupied territories the Israeli army destroys.

This month 63 members of the European Parliament went further, urging the European Union to suspend its “association agreement”, which allows Israel unrestricted trade and access to special funding.

None of this has gone unnoticed in Israel. A classified report by the foreign ministry leaked last month paints a dark future. It concludes that western support for the Palestinians will increase, the threat of European sanctions will grow, and the US might even refuse to “protect Israel with its veto” at the UN.

Israel is particularly concerned about the economic impact, given that Europe is its largest trading partner. Serious sanctions could ravage the economy.

One might assume that, faced with these drastic calculations, Israel would reconsider its obstructive approach to peace negotiations and Palestinian statehood. Not a bit of it.

Netanyahu’s officials blame the crisis with Washington on Obama, implying that they will wait out his presidency for better times to return.

As for Europe, Netanyahu blames the shift there on what he calls “Islamisation”, suggesting that Europe’s growing Muslim population is holding the region’s politicians to ransom. On this view, the price paid for the recent terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen is Europe’s support for Israel.

Instead, Netanyahu has begun looking elsewhere for economic – and ultimately political – patrons.

In doing so, he is returning to an early Israeli tradition. The state’s founders were inspired by the collectivist ideals of the Soviet Union, not US individualism. And in return for attacking Egypt in 1956, Israel was secretly helped by Britain and France to build nuclear weapons over stiff US opposition.

In response to recent developments, Netanyahu announced last month that he was courting trade with China, India and Japan – comprising nearly 40 per cent of the planet’s population.

Last year, for the first time, Israel did more trade with these Asian giants than with the US. Much of it focused on the burgeoning arms market, with Israel supplying nearly $4 billion worth of weapons in 2013. A region once implacably hostile to Israel is throwing open its doors.

India, plagued by border tensions with Pakistan and China, is now Israel’s largest arms purchaser – and such trade is expected to expand further following the election last year of Narendra Modi, known for his anti-Muslim views.

He has lifted the veil off India’s growing defence cooperation with Israel, one reason why Moshe Yaalon last week became the first Israeli defence minister to make an official visit.

Ties between Israel and China are deepening rapidly too. Beijing has become Israel’s third largest trading partner, while Israel is China’s second biggest supplier of military technology after Russia.

Last month the two signed a three-year cooperation plan, with China keen to exploit – in addition to Israel’s military hardware – its innovations on solar energy, irrigation and desalination.

Emmanuel Navon, an international relations expert at Tel Aviv University, claims that, despite its poor public image, Israel now enjoys a “global clout” unprecedented in its history.

Israel’s immediate goal is to future-proof itself economically against mounting popular pressure in Europe and the US to act in favour of the Palestinian cause.

But, longer term, Israel hopes to convert Chinese and Indian dependency on Israeli armaments – based on technology it tests and refines on a captive Palestinian population – into diplomatic cover. One day Israel may be relying on a Chinese veto at the UN, not a US one.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments


The truth is that the risk of an American being killed by terrorism is close to zero, having been calculated at 1:20,000,000

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | February 25, 2015

In the years since 9/11, American police alone have killed at least twice as many Americans as died in that single large event, the annual toll of police killings being somewhere between 500 and 1,000, the variation owing to many such events going inaccurately reported by police.

Each year, somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand Americans are killed in automobiles, the level having declined in recent years. Each year about 15,000 Americans are murdered, down from about 25,000 not too many years ago. Each year about 100,000 Americans are killed by medical malpractice. About 40,000 Americans commit suicide annually. These are just a few causes of death in America, not the largest ones but some of the more interesting.

Let’s get a rough total estimate of what has happened to Americans from these causes in the time since 9/11. Just using the low number in each case for fourteen years, 7,000 Americans were killed by their own police, 420,000 were killed by something parked in their garage, 210,000 were murdered by fellow citizens, 1,400,000 were killed by friendly family doctors, and there were 560,000 who just decided to pack it in for one reason or another. The total of these various causes of death rounds to 2, 600,000 deaths, nearly 867 times the number of Americans killed on 9/11, 867 collapsed sets of twin towers, nearly 62 collapsed sets of towers per year.

So why are we spending countless billions of dollars fighting terror, an almost insignificant threat to our well-being? We spend a total by various estimates of between 1 and 5 trillion dollars (yes, that’s trillion with a “t”), although such totals can never accurately be given owing to secrecy, false accounting, and the immense waste that is an inherent part of all military and intelligence operations. Even in the crudest military terms of “bang for the buck,” ignoring all the death and destruction and ethical issues, just as the military routinely does in its grim work, the War on Terror has to be the greatest misdirection of resources in all of human history.

Or is it?

Perhaps there are other reasons for the War on Terror, reasons never discussed in newspapers or on news broadcasts, reasons which make the expenditure of such colossal amounts against such an insignificant risk acceptable to those doing the spending? Unless American leaders are all lunatics, I think there must be.

Most people are aware that the War on Drugs has been a stupendous flop, with a great deal of resources having bought nothing except a general diminishment of personal freedoms, construction of new prisons, and make-work employment for many unnecessary police and prison guards. But each year the War on Terror spends many, many times the amount spent on the War on Drugs, and what has it bought us? A far greater debasement of freedoms, almost wiping clean parts of the Bill of Rights, raising to a high status in our society such dark and anti-democratic forces as security agents of every kind and the military, increasing exponentially the secrecy of government and thus giving voters no hope for an informed ballot, making countless future enemies in the world, and causing Americans willy-nilly to support filthy acts identical to the hateful work of military juntas who made tens of thousands of civilians disappear.

I think there are only a couple of explanations for this waste of resources which otherwise employed could have made the world an immeasurably better place. They are assisted greatly by what I’ll call the “crime in the news” effect, although I might just as well call it the “advertising effect,” because advertising works on people’s minds through its seeming omnipresence and repetition planting suggestions, suggestions not entirely different to those planted by the stage-performer hypnotist in the minds of his volunteers from the audience.

It has been demonstrated many times that daily reports of violent crime, even when the crimes occur outside a listening community, cause people to become apprehensive about many ordinary activities such as letting kids walk to school or go to the park to play. And no advertising campaign in history could begin to compare to the complete audience saturation of “terror this or that” in our newspapers, magazines, and on-air. Surely, no totalitarian government ever more completely blanketed its people with fearful suggestions than does America’s “free press” today. You literally cannot hear a news broadcast or read a newspaper with the word terror missing, a fact which keeps most people in an unquestioning frame of mind about what properly should be regarded as sinfully immense expenditures to no useful purpose, at the same time conditioning them to surrender precious freedoms. For most people, the fact is that fear overcomes both logic and courage.

Americans, along with people in other lands heavily under American influence, have voluntarily given up claims to what we believed were well-established rights. Yes, there is some controversy over the high-tech equivalent of Big Brother’s telescreens, over the construction of immense new or expanded agencies such as the TSA and NSA, and even some over a seemingly-endless set or wars, but much less than you might have expected. There has been relatively little controversy over America’s smashing its adherence to everything from the Geneva Conventions to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the complete disregard for established basic principles of common law in America’s international behavior goes largely unremarked, at least in America.

In a very real sense, America’s establishment, its government within the government consisting of leaders in security and the military and of its great corporations, has been given license to create a kind of Frankenstein monster which now stands ready with terrible powers to do its bidding. It certainly isn’t just terrorists who need fear, it is every person with the impulse in his or her breast for justice, fairness, and human decency, and it is every country which has an impulse for independence from America’s imperious declarations of how they should carry on their affairs. I don’t like the expression New World Order, but it does in fact communicate something of what has been pursued relentlessly by America’s establishment since 9/11 with an unbounded sense of its entitlement and privilege. The awesome creature it has brought to life – which already runs secret prisons, tortures, conducts non-judicial killings, and supports horrible governments in many places – is no respecter of principles or human rights or even basic decency. We all know from history and common experience that over time any well-funded, established, and privileged institution grows, altering the terms of its charter and spreading its influence always farther, just as today American intelligence, bound by charter not to spy on Americans, spies on them all the time through various technical arrangements effectively going around its charter.

This monster serves ambitions abroad – crush democracy anywhere it proves inconvenient or a barrier to the interests of America’s establishment, as in Ukraine and in Egypt and as attempted in Venezuela, but also crush old arrangements which have produced advancing societies in other lands, even though they are not yet democratic, as in Syria, Iraq, or Libya.

In a relatively short time the monster has made a chaotic wasteland of such previously prosperous lands as Iraq and Libya, and it is now hard at work doing the same to the lovely, ancient land of Syria where it is allied in its efforts with some of the ugliest violent fanatics you could hope to find anywhere. Its acts have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of deaths in these places, countless refugees and injuries, the destruction of much precious infrastructure, and left people to wallow in chaos for years to come.

It created a coup, and thereby a civil war, in Ukraine, reducing that impoverished land still further, and it allied itself for the effort with the kind of stormfront militia trash that even the pathetic FBI surely would infiltrate and investigate were they active in the United States. It did all this just to gain temporary psychological advantages over Russia, a country whose leadership today far better represents principles of international peace and good order – not without some distant echo of irony for those of us raised on a steady diet of Cold War propaganda – than those in Washington who never stop mouthing slogans about rights and democracy which they routinely ignore. We all have an immense investment in America’s reckless game of “playing chicken” with Russia, the only country on the planet capable of obliterating most of Western civilization. I’ve never liked frat-boy pranks and humor, but in this case the overgrown frat-boys at the CIA are guffawing over stupidities which risk most of what we hold precious.

But the monster serves also to intimidate America’s own population. Don’t hold big or noisy demonstrations against injustice, don’t complain too much about authorities and truly abusive police, don’t communicate with others who may be viewed as undesirables for whatever reasons by the government, and don’t describe any group which has been arbitrarily-declared terrorist as being merely freedom fighters – any of these acts or many others risks arbitrary powers that never formally existed before.

Homeland Security has stocked huge amounts of crowd-control equipment and weapons, and it was a military general who quietly announced a few years back that the Pentagon was prepared should martial law became necessary in America. America’s local police forces, long ago having earned an international reputation for violent, militaristic behavior, have been given surplus military-grade crowd-control equipment. The FBI seeks new authorities and capabilities regularly, the same FBI with such a sorry record, going back to its origins, of abusing authority.

In my mind, and I think in the minds of many, America’s posture towards the world resembles a pug-ugly bully confronting you on the street, someone who just will not let you pass until you give him what he demands. The bully is the country’s immensely wealthy and influential privileged establishment, having the country’s general population now completely in tow, fearful and intimidated, quite apart from being in large part underemployed or unemployed. The bully naturally pays no attention to international organizations and agreements, believing himself above the rules and constraints to which others hold. The organizations are either simply ignored or, as in the case of the UN, coerced into behaving along acceptable lines, America having spent some years recently refusing to pay its legally-required dues just to prove a point as well as having been involved in more than one cabal to unseat a disliked Secretary General.

And I fear this gives us just a hint of what is likely to come because, as we should never stop reminding ourselves, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The world’s hope for relief from a form of international tyranny comes from the growth of countries like Russia, China, India, and Brazil. I wish I could add the EU to the list, but it seems almost as supine and voiceless as America’s own general population or Canada’s present government. Only forces capable of saying “no” to America’s establishment and building interest blocs to oppose its excesses offer redress and relief in future, and it is only through political contention that new international organizations are likely to emerge, ones with some power and effect. Americans all give lip service to competition in economics, but the concept applies no less to the spheres of politics and world affairs. And Americans all give lip service to democracy, not realizing that its governing elites represent the tiniest fraction of the world’s population and resemble in their acts abroad about as aristocratic a government as ever existed.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

MEK Hoax Exposed

CASMII – February 25, 2015

GMP product photo

GMP product photo

The latest NCRI revelations of a new “Lavizan 3” facility has been sent to the right wing and pro-war media and has been playing in the US non-stop. The group claims it has photo of a “steel door” designed to prevent radiation leaks. (Washington Post).

Here’s a typical article. It links to the original report.

The report feature only one singular picture as proof, they say was taken from an underground bunker that is “anti nuclear radiation”. But the picture is from an Iranian safe company GMP It’s a product shot for their “explosive resistant” door.

Page 10 of NCRI Report, Feb 24, 2015

Page 10 of NCRI Report, Feb 24, 2015

The NCRI is a front organization controlled by the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), a violent terrorist organization at war with Iran. It has targeted and killed many civilians including American citizens since the 1960’s. The group was listed as a terrorist organization until 2012 in the United States.

The cult-like group has also perpetrated human rights abuses against its own members. But in the post-Iraq invasion era, it has become a vocal supporter of military action by US and Israel. MEK participated in assassination of Iranian scientists and has an established relationship with Israel. Read this National Interest article for some of the details.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

OSCE neglects its mandate in Ukraine – Moscow

RT | February 25, 2015

The OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine is not fulfilling its mandate to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire, Moscow charges. The monitors complain that they can’t verify withdrawal of weapons without additional data.

In its latest report, the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said its monitors are unable to verify the withdrawal until both Kiev and the rebels provide comprehensive “inventories, withdrawal routes and concentration points” for their respective arsenals.

The rebels say they have sent an inventory to the OSCE and that the observers are rejecting invitations to witness the actual movements of the weapons.

“Every day they have new conditions to put forward. For instance, [on Thursday] they demanded a concrete route for the artillery. Well, that heavy hardware doesn’t travel on the roads, but OSCE monitors wouldn’t care to go into the fields,” complained Eduard Basurin, a rebel spokesman.

The official added that the anti-government forces are not rejecting the OSCE’s role in tackling the withdrawal and that they want an increased presence of the monitors on the ground.

“We believe the OSCE’s role is crucial. Once again we confirm that we are interested in OSCE presence at all weapons-withdrawal events. The OSCE must be present to monitor the withdrawal of the weapons by both sides,” Basurin said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow regretted that the monitoring mission “showed a lack of proper effort to execute the functions entrusted to it” and avoids monitoring the withdrawal of weapons.

The OSCE confirmed that the number of reported violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has decreased. It added that a joint group of military monitors, which includes representatives from Ukraine, the rebel forces and Russia, provided a map of the conflict zone with “a definite line of contact agreed upon by all,” which can be viewed as a step forward in ending the violence.

Most complaints filed lately came from villages near Donetsk airport and the town of Shyrokoye, some 25km east of Mariupol, said the report.

The continued violence close to Mariupol, a large port under government control, is arguably the greatest danger to the fragile truce in Ukraine. Kiev accuses its opponents of preparing a full-scale invasion of the city, an accusation the rebels deny.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned on Wednesday that an attack on Mariupol would derail the entire peace process and demanded that Moscow prevent it.

“We’ve told the Russians clearly that if there was a separatist attack in the direction of Mariupol things would be drastically altered, including in terms of sanctions,” Fabius said in an interview with France Info radio station.

He also commented on UK’s plan to send military instructors to train Ukrainian troops, a step that’s escalating tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

“The Britons, who are not part of the discussions, have taken a hardline stance on the situation,” Fabius said in reference to British PM David Cameron’s Tuesday announcement. “We have also taken a firm position, but are pushing for the de-escalation of the conflict.”

France, along with Germany, was a major driving European power involved in brokering the Minsk peace deal in mid-February. Meanwhile in Britain and the US a large number of officials advocate for providing military aid to Kiev, which they say would serve as deterrent to Russia.

Moscow says the proposed inflow of weapons and the unwillingness of Kiev’s foreign sponsors to put pressure on them and make them hold fire only aggravates the situation.

Britain’s decision to send troops to Ukraine was hailed on Wednesday by Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, who said it was a step in the right direction and that Poland is keeping its own options open to help Kiev.

Germany said it is not planning to send troops or sell weapons to Kiev.

Read mor:

US arming Kiev would ‘explode’ situation in E. Ukraine – Russian Foreign Ministry

E. Ukraine artillery withdrawal focus of FMs meeting – as Poroshenko buys UAE weapons

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

US armor paraded 300m from Russian border

RT | February 25, 2015

NATO member Estonia has held a military parade in the border town of Narva, just 300 meters from the Russian border. Tallinn is a long-time critic of Moscow, which it accuses of having an aggressive policy towards the Baltic nation.

Tuesday’s military parade was dedicated to Estonia’s Independence Day. Chief military commander Lt. Gen. Riho Terras headed the troops as President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reviewed them.

Over 140 pieces of NATO military hardware took part in the parade, including four US armored personnel carriers M1126 Stryker flying stars-and-stripes. Another foreign nation, the Netherlands, provided four Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 tracked combat vehicles (designated CV9035NL Mk III by the Dutch).

Estonia also showed off its own howitzers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and other hardware. Over 1,400 troops also marched the streets of Narva.

The parade is an obvious snub at Estonia’s eastern neighbor Russia, whom it accuses of pushing aggressive policies in Eastern Europe. The Estonian government is among several vocally accusing Russia of waging a secret war against Ukraine by supplying arms and troops to anti-Kiev forces in the east.

Moscow denies the accusations, insisting that the post-coup government in Kiev alienated its own people in the east and started a civil war instead of resolving the differences through dialogue.

NATO seized the Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to argue for a military build-up in Eastern Europe, supposedly to deter a Russian aggression. The three Baltic States are among the most vocal proponents of this policy.

Russia sees it as yet another proof that NATO is an anti-Russian military bloc that had been enlarging towards Russia’s border and compromised its national security.

The Estonian government defended its right to hold whatever military maneuvers it wants in its territory.

“Narva is a part of NATO no less than New York or Istanbul, and NATO defends every square meter of its territory,” Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said in a speech in capital, Tallinn.

Historically Narva was a point of centuries of confrontation between Russia and Sweden, when the two nations fought for dominance in the region. The city changed hands several times and ended up under Russian control in 1704, serving as a military outpost for decades.

The city was again contested in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the dissolution of the Russian Empire it triggered. Narva took turns between being governed by the self-proclaimed Estonian Republic, occupying German troops and the Red Army until eventually becoming Estonian again under a peace treaty between Estonia and Russia.

It then changed hands between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the Baltics during World War II and went on to be part of an independent Estonia in 1991.

The city has a large number of ethnic Russians and a strong pro-autonomy movement, with some Estonian politicians fearing that it could be exploited now by Russia to sow dissent. Commenting on the issue in an interview with Washington Post, President Ilves said seeing Narva as a potentially separatist region “is stupid.”

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment