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Media’s Propaganda War on Syria in Full Flow

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | June 30, 2017

If you wish to understand the degree to which a supposedly free western media are constructing a world of half-truths and deceptions to manipulate their audiences, keeping us uninformed and docile, then there could hardly be a better case study than their treatment of Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

All of these highly competitive, for-profit, scoop-seeking media outlets separately took identical decisions: first to reject Hersh’s latest investigative report, and then to studiously ignore it once it was published in Germany last Sunday. They have continued to maintain an absolute radio silence on his revelations, even as over the past few days they have given a great deal of attention to two stories on the very issue Hersh’s investigation addresses.

These two stories, given such prominence in the western media, are clearly intended to serve as “spoilers” to his revelations, even though none of these publications have actually informed their readers of his original investigation. We are firmly in looking-glass territory.

So what did Hersh’s investigation reveal? His sources in the US intelligence establishment – people who have helped him break some of the most important stories of the past few decades, from the Mai Lai massacre by American soldiers during the Vietnam war to US abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2004 – told him the official narrative that Syria’s Bashar Assad had dropped deadly sarin gas on the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 was incorrect. Instead, they said, a Syrian plane dropped a bomb on a meeting of jihadi fighters that triggered secondary explosions in a storage depot, releasing a toxic cloud of chemicals that killed civilians nearby.

It is an alternative narrative of these events that one might have assumed would be of intense interest to the media, given that Donald Trump approved a military strike on Syria based on the official narrative. Hersh’s version suggests that Trump acted against the intelligence advice he received from his own officials, in a highly dangerous move that not only grossly violated international law but might have dragged Assad’s main ally, Russia, into the fray. The Syrian arena has the potential to trigger a serious confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers.

But, in fact, the western media were supremely uninterested in the story. Hersh, once considered the journalist’s journalist, went hawking his investigation around the US and UK media to no avail. In the end, he could find a home for his revelations only in Germany, in the publication Welt am Sonntag.

There are a couple of possible, even if highly improbable, reasons all English-language publications ignored Hersh’s story. Maybe they had evidence that his inside intelligence was wrong. If so, they have yet to provide it. A rebuttal would require acknowledging Hersh’s story, and none seem willing to do that.

Or maybe the media thought it was old news and would no longer interest their readers. It would be difficult to sustain such an interpretation, but at least it has an air of plausibility – except for everything that has happened since Hersh published last Sunday.

His story has spawned two clear “spoiler” responses from those desperate to uphold the official narrative. Hersh’s revelations may have been entirely uninteresting to the western media, but strangely they have sent Washington into crisis mode. Of course, no US official has addressed Hersh’s investigation directly, which might have drawn attention to it and forced western media to reference it. Instead Washington has sought to deflect attention from Hersh’s alternative narrative and shore up the official one through misdirection. That alone should raise the alarm that we are being manipulated, not informed.

The first spoiler, made in the immediate wake of Hersh’s story, were statements from the Pentagon and White House warning that the US had evidence Assad was planning yet another chemical attack on his people and that Washington would respond extremely harshly if he did so.

Here is how the Guardian reported the US threats:

The US said on Tuesday that it had observed preparations for a possible chemical weapons attack at a Syrian air base allegedly involved in a sarin attack in April following a warning from the White House that the Syrian regime would ‘pay a heavy price’ for further use of the weapons.

And then on Friday, the second spoiler emerged. Two unnamed diplomats “confirmed” that a report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had found that some of the victims from Khan Sheikhoun showed signs of poisoning by sarin or sarin-like substances.

There are obvious reasons to be mightily suspicious of these stories. The findings of the OPCW were already known and had been discussed for some time – there was absolutely nothing newsworthy about them.

There are also well-known problems with the findings. There was no “chain of custody” – neutral oversight – of the bodies that were presented to the organisation in Turkey. Any number of interested parties could have contaminated the bodies before they reached the OPCW. For that reason, the OPCW has not concluded that the Assad regime was responsible for the traces of sarin. In the world of real news, only such a finding – that Assad was responsible – should have made the OPCW report interesting again to the media.

Similarly, by going public with their threats against Assad, the Pentagon and White House did not increase the deterrence on Assad, making it less likely he would use gas in the future. That could have been achieved much more effectively with private warnings to the Russians, who have massive leverage over Assad. These new warnings were meant not for Assad but for western publics, to bolster the official narrative that Hersh’s investigation had thrown into doubt.

In fact, the US threats increase, rather than reduce, the chances of a new chemical weapons attack. Other, anti-Assad actors now have a strong incentive to use chemical weapons in false-flag operation to implicate Assad, knowing that the US has committed itself to intervention. On any reading, the US statements were reckless – or malicious – in the extreme and likely to bring about the exact opposite of what they were supposed to achieve.

But beyond this, there was something even more troubling about these two stories. That these official claims were published so unthinkingly in major outlets is bad enough. But what is unconscionable is the media’s continuing blackout of Hersh’s investigation when it speaks directly to the two latest news reports.

No serious journalist could write up either story, according to any accepted norms of journalistic practice, and not make reference to Hersh’s claims. They are absolutely relevant to these stories. In fact, more than that, the intelligence sources he cites are are not only relevant but are the sole reason these two stories have been suddenly propelled to the top of the news agenda.

Any publication that has covered either the White House-Pentagon threats or the rehashing of the OPCW report and has not mentioned Hersh’s revelations is writing nothing less than propaganda in service of a western foreign policy agenda trying to bring about the illegal overthrow the Syrian government. And so far that appears to include every single US and UK mainstream newspaper and TV station.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

ISIS “Coincidentally” Appears Along China’s One Belt, One Road

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 01.07.2017

Two Chinese teachers based in Pakistan’s southwest province of Baluchistan were reportedly abducted and murdered by militants from the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS).

CNN, in an article titled, “‘Grave concern’ over Chinese teachers reportedly killed by ISIS in Pakistan,” would attempt to portray the act of terrorism as a random strike aimed at China’s expanding economic activity abroad.

In reality, the terror attack was very precise in terms of location and purpose, and fits into a larger pattern of violence and political instability that has plagued Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and China’s ambitions there for years.

US Using Proxies to Disrupt China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 

Baluchistan, and more specifically, the port city of Gwadar, serve as the central nexus of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is a complex and expanding system of rail, roads, ports, and other infrastructure projects built jointly with the Pakistani government to facilitate regional economic growth – and an integral component of the much larger One Belt, One Road initiative.

Disrupting China’s economic lifelines to the rest of the world is an open objective of US policymakers. A paper published in 2006 by the Strategic Studies Institute titled, “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral.” identified Gwadar by name as one of several components of China’s “String of Pearls.”

The report states explicitly in regards to a possible “hard approach” toward Beijing that:

There are no guarantees that China will respond favorably to any U.S. strategy, and prudence may suggest to “prepare for the worst” and that it is “better to be safe than sorry.” Is it perhaps better to take a hard line towards China and contain it while it is still relatively weak? Is now the time to keep China down before she can make a bid for regional hegemony? Foreign policy realists, citing history and political theory, argue that inevitably China will challenge American primacy and that it is a question of “when” and not “if” the U.S.-China relationship will become adversarial or worse.

What better way to contain China’s regional ambitions than to mire economic development in places like Baluchistan with armed militancy, or obstruct it altogether with a US-backed independence movement in the province?

US policymakers have noted just that. In a 2012 paper published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace titled, “Pakistan: The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism” (PDF), it would be stated unequivocally that (emphasis added):

If Baluchistan were to become independent, would Pakistan be able to withstand another dismemberment—thirty-four years have passed since the secession of Bangladesh—and what effect would that have on regional stability? Pakistan would lose a major part of its natural resources and would become more dependent on the Middle East for its energy supplies. Although Baluchistan’s resources are currently underexploited and benefit only the non-Baluch provinces, especially Punjab, these resources could undoubtedly contribute to the development of an independent Baluchistan.

Baluchistan’s independence would also dash Islamabad’s hopes for the Gwadar port and other related projects. Any chance that Pakistan would become more attractive to the rest of the world would be lost.

Not only would it be Pakistan’s loss regarding the Gwadar port, it would be China’s loss as well.

And while the paper attempts to claim the US stands nothing to gain from Baluchistan’s independence, the US State Department has spent years and an untold sum of money and resources supporting just such an independence movement. Additionally, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace itself hosted an event by the “Baloch Society of North America,” advocating US intervention in the province toward achieving “independence.”

The US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society via “Global Voices” funds a long list of organizations in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province advocating everything from autonomy to outright independence. This includes the Association for Integrated Development Balochistan (AID Balochistan), The Balochistan Point, and the Balochistan Institute for Development.

The US NED-funded Institute for Development Studies & Practices’s (IDSP) president regularly uses social media like Twitter to make and support statements calling for Baluchistan’s independence and depicting the province as a “colony” of Pakistan. So do virtually all other members of the above mentioned organizations funded by the US government.

The long list of US-funded Baluchistan-based organizations regularly link to op-eds and propaganda depicting violence in the province as one-sided and perpetuated by Pakistani forces alone – echoing the same sort of intentionally skewed public relations campaigns supporters of US-backed violence in Syria have undertaken since 2011.

And just like in Syria, the violence being spun, excused, or glossed over directly meshes with US interests – in this case – impeding Chinese-Pakistani cooperation in Baluchistan and beyond.

Violence in Baluchistan Benefits US Proxy War with Iran Also 

That the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for this latest attack, following in the wake of a larger attack on Tehran, Iran, is particularly significant. It was US policymakers who, in a 2009 Brookings Institution policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” would mention Baluchistan and Baluchi separatists by name as possible conduits, safe havens, and proxies for conducting armed conflict against Iran.

Creating violence in Baluchistan, Pakistan thus serves to not only mire Chinese ambitions across Asia, it assists Washington’s long-standing objective to encircle Iran with hostile state and non-state actors ahead of eventual regime change operations against Tehran.

Previously, the United States has attempted to use a variety of local groups to foment political instability and violence. Now it appears that all of its geopolitical mischief is being lumped under the catch-all, the “Islamic State.” In reality, the militants who kidnapped and murdered the two Chinese teachers in Baluchistan, Pakistan, were likely local militants the US has been backing for years, and whose role in destabilizing Pakistan is increasingly understood by local and global audiences.

Assigning blame to the Islamic State appears to be a means of disassociating America from the violence it is intentionally fueling across the region.

The Islamic State “coincidentally” appearing in virtually every geopolitical theater on Earth US interests are impeded or challenged by local and regional interests helps explain why not only the Islamic State exists in the first place, but explains how it has managed to survive and continue to thrive despite multinational efforts by nations like Russia, Syria, and Iran to defeat it.

Through state sponsorship, the Islamic State’s source of logistical, political, and military power ultimately lies in Washington, London, Brussels, Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha – where Russian-Syrian-Iranian military and political power cannot reach.

For those wondering where the Islamic State will strike next, one needs only to look at a  world map and identify where else US interests are being impeded by an increasingly multipolar world unwilling to yield to Wall Street and Washington’s corporate-financier monopolies. As illustrated in this recent and abhorrent attack in Baluchistan, Pakistan, important points along China’s One Belt, One Road project would be important places to look out for.

By targeting teachers, such terrorism seeks to incite fear across the very workers who are part of implementing this ambitious regional economic plan. It is a motive that resides far above the crude ideological motivations generally assigned to the Islamic State, and instead resembles well thought-out – if not sinister – geostrategic planning.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

How Accidental are America’s Accidental Civilian Killings Across the Middle East?

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | June 30, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said “civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation,” referring to America’s war against Islamic State.

How can America in clear conscience continue to kill civilians across the Middle East? It’s easy; ask Grandpa what he did in the Good War. Civilian deaths in WWII weren’t dressed up as collateral damage, they were policy.

Following what some claim are looser rules of engagement in place under the Trump administration, U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Iraq and Syria killed 1,484 civilians in March 2017 alone. Altogether some 3,100 civilians have been killed from the air since the U.S. launched its coalition war against Islamic State, according to the NGO Airwars. Drone strikes outside of the ISIS fight killed 3,674 other civilians. In 2015 the U.S. destroyed an entire hospital in Afghanistan, along with doctors and patients inside.

That all adds up to a lot of accidents — accidents created in part by the use of Hellfire missiles designed to destroy tanks employed against individual people, and 500 pound bombs that can clear a football-field sized area dropped inside densely inhabited areas. The policy of swatting flies with sledgehammers, surgical strikes with blunt instruments, does indeed seem to lead to civilian deaths, deaths that stretch the definition of “accident.”

Yet despite the numbers killed, the watchword in modern war is that civilians are never targeted on purpose, at least by our side. Americans would never intentionally kill innocents.

Except we have.

The good guys in World War II oversaw the rapid development of new weapons to meet the changing needs of killing entire cities’ worth of innocents. For example, in Europe, brick and stone construction lent itself to the use of conventional explosives to destroy cities. In Japan, however, given the prominence of wood construction, standard explosives tended to simply scatter structures over a limited area. The answer was incendiary devices.

To fine-tune their use, the U.S. Army Air Force built a full-size Japanese village in Utah. They questioned American architects who had worked in Japan, consulted a furniture importer, and installed tatami straw floor mats taken from Japanese-Americans sent off to internment camps. Among the insights gained was the need for incendiary devices to be made much heavier than originally thought. Japanese homes typically had tile roofs. The early devices tended to bounce right off. A heavier device would break through the tile and ignite inside the structure, creating a much more effective fire.

Far from accidental, firebombing Japan had been planned in War Plan Orange, written long before Pearl Harbor. As far back as the 1920s, U.S. General Billy Mitchell had said Japan’s paper and wood cities would be “the greatest aerial targets the world had ever seen.” Following the outline in War Plan Orange, the efforts were lead by Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay, who expressed his goal as “Japan will eventually be a nation without cities, a nomadic people.”

LeMay also helped run the U.S. bombing campaign against North Korea during that war, claiming that American efforts killed some 20 percent of the civilian population. The man many call the architect of the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara, worked for LeMay during the WWII firebombing campaign. McNamara as Secretary of Defense went on to order the use of napalm in Vietnam, often against undefended civilian targets. The accidents of civilian deaths in war turn inside tight circles.

The skill with which America tuned its WWII firebombing into an exquisite way to destroy civilians reached its peak on March 10, 1945, when three hundred American B-29 bombers flew virtually unopposed over Tokyo’s most densely populated residential area. They dropped enough incendiary bombs to create a firestorm, a conflagration that burned the oxygen out of the air itself.

What was accomplished? One hundred thousand dead, a million people made homeless. The raid remains the single most destructive act of war ever committed, even after Hiroshima.

The problem, however, for the U.S. with such raids was their inefficiency in killing civilians. The logistics of sending off 300 planes were daunting, especially when an hour or two of unexpected wind or rain could negate much of effort. There was no question firestorms were the very thing to systematically commit genocide in Japan. But what was needed was a tool to create those firestorms efficiently, and to make them weather-proof.

It would only take science a few more months after the Tokyo firebombing to provide that tool. A single atomic bomb meant one plane could do the work of 300. And the bomb would create a fire so powerful and large and hot that weather would have no effect; it was foolproof. There could be no better weapon for destroying whole cities and all of the people in them, and it has only been used by one nation. Twice, because the 85,000 killed in Hiroshima were not enough.

These were tactics of vengeance matched with weapons designed to carry them out as horribly as possible. They worked well: the firebombing campaign over Japan, including the atomic bombings, purposely killed more than one million civilians in just five months in 1945.

It was only after WWII ended, when accurate descriptions from Hiroshima began finding their way back to America, that the idea of firebombing as a way to shorten the war, to spare lives in the long game, came into full flower. The myth, that the atomic bomb was in fact a reluctant instrument of mercy, not terror, was first published in Harper’s Magazine in February 1947 under the name of Secretary of War Henry Stimson. The actual writing was done by McGeorge Bundy, who later as National Security Adviser helped promote the American war in Vietnam that took several million civilian lives.

The majority of Americans, recovering their consciences post-war, were thus nudged into seeing what was actually a continuation of long-standing policy of civilian genocide in Japan as an unfortunate but necessary step toward Japan’s surrender, and thus saved innumerable lives that would have been lost had the war dragged on. This thinking lives on today on politically correct ground under the banner of great powers having to reluctantly put aside what is moral in peace for what is expedient in war. A “fact of life,” according to the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

So look deeper into history if you want to understand the morality-free rise in civilian deaths across America’s battlefields in the Middle East. We don’t like to think of ourselves as the kind of people who willfully kill innocents, but we were pleased by it only a skip back in history; your grandfather flew missions over Japan to burn children to death. Accidents of course happen in war, but there is a dark history of policy that demands skepticism each time such claims are made.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

The Ugly Canadian II: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | June 30, 2017

When Justin Trudeau looks in the foreign policy mirror who does he see? Someone very much like Stephen Harper.

On the world stage Canada under Trudeau the Second has acted almost the same as when Harper was prime minister. The Liberals have followed the previous government’s posture on issues ranging from militarism to Russia, nuclear weapons to the Gulf monarchies.

Aping the ancien régime’s position, the Liberals recently voted against UN nuclear disarmament efforts supported by most countries of the world. As such, they’ve refused to attend the ongoing Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.

Earlier this month the Liberals released a defence policy that calls for 605 more special forces, which have carried out numerous violent covert missions abroad. During the 2015 election campaign defence minister Jason Kenney said if re-elected the Conservatives would add 665 members to the Canadian Armed Forces Special Operations Command over seven years.

The government’s recent defence policy also includes a plan to acquire armed drones, for which the Conservatives had expressed support. Additionally, the Liberals re-stated the previous government’s commitment to spend upwards of one hundred billion dollars on new fighter jets and naval ships.

Initiated by the Conservatives, last year the Liberals signed off on a government-contracted $15 billion Light Armoured Vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia. Trudeau has also maintained the Harper created Canada-Gulf Cooperation Council Dialogue, which is a platform for foreign ministers to discuss economic ties and the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The GCC includes the monarchies of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, which have almost all intervened in the devastating Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The Trudeau government has continued to isolate Canada from world opinion on Palestinian rights. They’ve voted against numerous UN resolutions supported by almost the entire world upholding Palestinian rights.

The Harper regime repeatedly attacked Venezuela’s elected government and in recent weeks the Liberals have picked up from where they left off. The Liberals have supported efforts to condemn the Nicolás Maduro government at the Organization of American States and promoted an international mediation designed to weaken Venezuela’s leftist government (all the while staying mum about Brazil’s imposed president and far worse human rights violations in Mexico).

In March the Liberals renewed Canada’s military “training” mission in the Ukraine, which has emboldened far-right militarists responsible for hundreds of deaths in the east of that country. In fact, Trudeau has significantly bolstered Canada’s military presence on Russia’s doorstep. Simultaneously, the Trudeau government has maintained Harper’s sanctions regime against Russia.

Nearly two years into their mandate the Liberals haven’t restarted diplomatic relations with Iran or removed that country from Canada’s state sponsor of terrorism list (Syria is the only other country on the list). Nor has the Trudeau regime adopted any measure to restrict public support for Canadian mining companies found responsible for significant abuses abroad. With regards to Canada’s massive and controversial international mining industry, it has been status quo ante.

A recent cover of Canadian Dimension magazine provided a cheeky challenge to Trudeau’s bait and switch. Below the word “SURPRISE!” it showed a Justin Trudeau mask being removed to reveal Stephen Harper.

The sober reality is that Trudeau represents a continuation of his predecessor’s foreign policy. I might even need to redo my 2012 book The Ugly Canadian, but this time with the tagline “Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy”.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | | 1 Comment

Which Canada are we supposed to commemorate?

By Greg Felton | July 1, 2017

He who controls the past controls the future; he who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, 1984

A country’s history is the living inheritance of all its citizens; unfortunately, they have little say in how governments “spend” their inheritance. The elected “trustees” determine the direction that a country takes and so become part of history, which means that they have the power to edit and co-opt the past to promote their present political and popular legitimacy.

In nominally democratic states like Canada, such co-optation is especially evident at a milestone, a time when a government stands atop the historical pyramid to bask shamelessly in the achievements and reputations of those who came before. Justin Trudeau, our current prime minister—or is that “photo-op minister”—is the very definition of such shamelessness: a callow, image-obsessed dilettante who brings no qualities to public office and equates schmoozing with governing.

Marking 150 years of nationhood should be a time for national unity, political optimism and satisfied reflections on the past, yet none of these applies. A political, moral, social and economic chasm divides the Canada of 1967 from the Canada of 2017. The only obvious similarity is that Trudeau is the son of the 1968 prime minister. To imply any sort of cultural or political continuity over these last 50 years amounts to spreading disinformation.

Unlike most Canadians, I can remember a Canada before “terrorism,” before neo-conservatism, before NAFTA, before MTV, before the Internet—when politics determined economic policy, not the other way around. I grew up self-consciously Canadian because I knew that my country was the sort of rational, humane democracy that Americans could only dream of.

Unlike the U.S., Canada does not worship the three toxins of God, guns and greed. This is a generally tolerant, peaceable, secular country where government was expected to participate in the economy, not be an impotent bystander. Our mixed public/private economy mitigated the inhuman cost of unenlightened self-interest, especially regarding medical care. In other words, the Canada where I grew up was a place where political debate was possible, regulation of foreign investment was defensible, and public spending was ethical. It may sound odd, but I grew up accepting the permanence of the idea of Canada. This was true even during the 1970s and early ’80s, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s pandering to Quebec and his grand obsession with national unity alienated much of Western Canada. We were a querulous nation, but a nation, nevertheless.

In foreign/military policy, Canada may have clung too much to the security blanket of UN peacekeeping, but its reputation as a humanitarian nation and an upholder of international law was never in doubt except where Israel was concerned. This Canada would never deliberately attack another country or engage in provocative again.

Now, jump to Canada 2017: a politician, professor or citizen who challenges the canonical dogma of privatization, free trade, lower corporate taxes or industry deregulation can expect to be marginalized or denigrated as a “socialist” or “communist.” To seek alternatives to U.S./Israeli provocations in the Middle East is to be denounced as a terrorism supporter or an apologist for Vladimir Putin. Every sphere of public life is now so controlled by an anti-intellectual clergy of economic and militaristic high priests that informed dissent on fundamental issues is treated as heresy and the “malefactors” in question can expect to be punished. Rational political discourse, the essence of democratic society, has given way to cognitive dissonance. Democratic 1968 Canada mutated into quasi-fascist 2017 Canada.

Lest readers recoil at the last statement, thinking I have overstated my disaffection for the ruling classes, I invite them to consider the record of the previous régime, including Stephen Harper’s unconcealed zeal to destroy Canada as a functioning political state and sell off its assets piece by piece. Because of Harper, Canada now supports torture, military aggression, corporate welfare (more so), active impoverishment of the citizenry and repression of civil liberties. It’s a sure bet that Trudeau will invoke the images and feelings of Canada’s past and gloss over inconvenient details like the Trans Pacific Partnership, selling arms to the butchers of Yemen (Saudi Arabia), participating in U.S./Israeli/NATO anti-Russian provocations, and selling out B.C. for the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. The present doesn’t offer much to celebrate, does it Harper Jr.?

It’s difficult to convey historical attitudes, feelings or national spirit in words, so let’s use an empirical example. The following three graphs will give some indication of how much worse off economically Canadians are today than they were at the dawn of the neo-fascist era.

The graph in the top left shows that Canada’s Gross National Product increased more than six times from 1981 to the first quarter of 2017. Over that same period the core consumer price index (top right) doubled. These are both positive economic indicators, and one might glean from them that Canadians enjoyed increasing prosperity. This would be a mistake and in the lower graph we see why. The corporate tax rate was nearly halved during this time, the implication of which should be obvious. As citizens were forced to pay a greater percentage of the tax burden, their disposable income fell as well as their ability to save. Essentially, people are subsidizing overpaid CEOs and foreign corporations, which now coerce governments into betraying the public good in the name of “free trade.”

Canadians are worse off today than they were 50 years ago. I cannot “celebrate” the 150th birthday of Canada because I cannot pretend that appearance is reality. The legacy of optimism, and gaiety that attended the 1967 centennial celebrations (Expo’67) has been squandered. Canada might still exist on a map, but the idea of Canada is gone and must be rediscovered. We must look backwards, not forwards.

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | 2 Comments

US court dismisses Yemen drone strike wrongful death suit

RT | July 1, 2017

A US appeals court has upheld a decision dismissing a lawsuit brought by a Yemeni man whose family was killed by a US drone strike. The plaintiff alleges that his family members were innocent bystanders when they were struck by the missile.

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which consisted of a three-judge panel, came to an agreement with lower courts that stated they, too, did not have the authority to judge government military actions. An August 2012 drone strike in Yemen, which killed, among others, Salem bin Ali Jaber and Waleed bin Ali Jaber, is what this case is based upon.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber is a Yemeni engineer. He and his family sued the US government for the deaths of Salem, his brother-in-law, and Waleed, his nephew. Jaber made the claim that the deadly strike was in violation of the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Statute.

Jaber’s family members were killed by a “signature strike,” which target individuals through information and data obtained from electronic devices such as mobile phones.

In 2015, the families of the two deceased men brought a case against the US government, then-President Barack Obama and other US officials, for “wrongful deaths.”

Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote a rare separate opinion, although she also wrote the decision in the case as the three-judge panel was unanimous.

“Of course this begs the question, if judges will not check this outsized power, then who will?”

The outcome that Jaber and his family wanted for the case was a declaratory judgement, which would make the court admit that the US violated international law governing the use of force when killing his family members with the drone strike.

Court documents from 2015 say the family made the claim that the hellfire missile attack by a US drone, which was deployed in the Yemeni village of Khashamir, which killed their family members, was unlawful.

Judge Brown didn’t hesitate to question some of the US government’s practices in the case.

“Of course this begs the question, if judges will not check this outsized power, then who will?” She continued, “the spread of drones cannot be stopped, but the US can still influence how they are used in the global community – including, someday, seeking recourse should our enemies turn these powerful weapons 180 degrees to target our homeland. The Executive and Congress must establish a clear policy for drone strikes and precise avenues for accountability,” Brown said in her opinion of the case.

Brown also stated that US congressional oversight is a “joke” and that “our democracy is broken.”

The other two judges on the panel did not join in Brown’s separate opinion, Reuters reported.

Read more:

  Families sue US govt, seek official apology over drone killings in Yemen

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment