Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

It is check and mate for Israel in Golan Heights

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | July 27, 2017

Israel has suffered a big setback in the Syrian conflict with the deployment of Russian military police in the safe zone being established in south-western Syria near the Golan Heights. The Russian Defence Ministry announced the deployment on Monday. Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said in Moscow that Russian forces had set up checkpoints and observation posts in the southwest de-escalation zone. The Russian general said that the US, Israel and Jordan have been informed of the deployment.

The boundaries of the de-escalation zone were agreed upon between Russia and the US on the eve of the meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. According to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Israel’s security considerations had been taken into account while finalizing the de-escalation zone. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since openly voiced rejection of the US-Russia agreement, arguing that the deal does not adequately address Israel’s threat perceptions regarding Iranian and Hezbollah presence in the south-western regions of Syria.

The Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman was on record that Jerusalem has set certain red lines. “We will not tolerate any Iranian presence on the border and we will continue to act against that,” he said. Quite obviously, Israel does not trust Russia. Israel suspects that it is only a matter of time before Shia militias and Hezbollah start quietly infiltrating south-western Syria, setting up the Assad regime and its Iranian friends to consolidate control over the border areas near Israel and Lebanon.

In reality, though, all this is a major strategic play. Israel has long paid, supplied and supported the extremist groups (including al-Qaeda and ISIS groups) controlling the area where the de-escalation zone is being set up. Israel even provided fire support for these terrorist groups whenever they came under attack by the Syrian government forces.

Israel was hoping that the area could somehow remain as a zone of ‘frozen conflict’, which could be incrementally annexed by Israel. Israel’s preference, therefore, was that the de-escalation zone near Golan Heights should be enforced by the US – and not Russia. But then, Washington does not want to get entangled. As a commentary in the Atlantic magazine put it this week,

  • Pentagon is focused on operations in Mosul and Raqqa hundreds of miles away—commanders on the ground would surely see a U.S. military presence in south-western Syria as a costly and unnecessary diversion of manpower in the fight against the Islamic State. Given limited intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance assets in the region, it is also unlikely that U.S.Central Command would be happy diverting scarce ISR platforms to monitor the ceasefire… All this… means that the Trump-Putin ceasefire is likely to hand Russia the keys to south-western Syria.

That is more or less what is unfolding on the ground. The US-Russia agreement envisages the supervision of the de-escalation zone area by Russian military police.

It is check and mate for Israel’s interventionist policy in Syria. The Russian monitors will react harshly if Israel plays the spoiler’s role. Plainly put, the Israeli dream of territorial expansion into south-western Syria as part of a ‘Greater Israel’ (even beyond the occupied Golan Heights) has crash landed. Israel’s Plan B was that as part of any Syrian settlement, the international community should at least legitimise Israel’s occupation of Golan Heights. That is also not going to happen.

Netanyahu’s credibility once again takes a big blow. Two years ago, his ‘red line’ over the Iran nuclear programme – that Israel would act on its own militarily against Iran, etc. – turned out to be sheer bluster. Now he has drawn a ‘red line’ in Israel’s northern front regarding Iranian presence in Syria, but lacks the capacity to enforce it. The international community is simply ignoring his tantrums once again.

Significantly, the US has done nothing to oppose a massive Hezbollah operation which began last week to take control of the heights on the Lebanon-Syrian border that were under the occupation of various insurgent groups such as Ahrar, al-Qaeda, ISIS (some of whom were Israel’s bedfellows.) The Iranian media reported today that Hezbollah fighters have scored a stunning victory. Of course, it is hugely important for Hezbollah (and Iran) to ensure that the Lebanon-Syria border remains open.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plot thickens in great game over post-ISIS Iraq and Syria

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | July 26, 2017

The post-ISIS future of Iraq and Syria has been a topic of animated discussion among American think tankers, the assumption being that the US is staging a military comeback in Iraq and well on the way to establishing a long-term presence in Syria. But political winds are blowing in an opposite direction.

The ‘working visit’ by Iraq’s vice-president Nouri Maliki to Moscow this week signals the revival of Russia’s historical role as Iraq’s key partner. Maliki’s remarks in Moscow are very revealing:

  • “It’s well known that Russia has historically strong relations with Iraq, therefore we would like Russia to have a substantial presence in our country, both politically and militarily. This way, a balance would be established that would benefit the region, its peoples and its countries.”
  • Baghdad believes “in Russia’s role in solving most of the key international issues as well as improving stability and balance in our region and worldwide.”
  • A Russian presence in Iraq would bring the necessary balance which cannot be “undermined in a political sense in favour of any external party.”
  • “Today we need Russia’s greater involvement in Iraqi affairs, especially in the energy field. Now when we are done with Islamic State, Iraq needs investments in energy and trade.”
  • Moscow and Baghdad “should enhance… cooperation in countering terrorism in the region. We believe that both our countries are targets for terrorists and those who stand behind them.”

Maliki’s remarks found positive resonance with the Russian side. While receiving Maliki, President Vladimir Putin emphasised military-technical cooperation and a “proactive” role in that area. Putin cast the Russian-Iraqi relationship in the broader framework of “the situation in the region in general.” The latter remark takes into account the Iraq-Syria-Iran regional axis as a bulwark against terrorism.

The unity of Iraq and Syria is a core issue for Russia. Maliki told Putin that the fractured Iraqi polity where political power “continues to be divided on the religious or ethnic principle between the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Arabs, the Kurds, Christians and Muslims” becomes a breeding ground for terrorism and, therefore, Baghdad has prepared a “special project” to address this systemic deficiency. The Kremlin readout quoted Maliki as saying,

  • “The idea is to restore real democracy, when the power is based on the victory of a political majority rather than on the assignment of quotas to various movements.”

In sum, Baghdad hopes to switch to a political system based on the ‘one-man, one-vote’ principle of representative rule, as in Syria or Iran. Clearly, the aim is to block foreign power from manipulating the minorities against the majority Shia community. No doubt, it will be a major reform not only in politico-economic terms, but also from the geopolitical perspective. Principally, Baghdad intends to resist any US-Israeli attempt to create an independent Kurdistan.

Maliki’s ‘working visit’ to Russia coincides with the signing of a defence agreement between Iraq and Iran. Maliki had signed an arms deal with Russia in 2012, estimated to be in the region of $4.2 billion (which couldn’t be implemented due to pressure from the Obama administration.) In sum, we’re witnessing a back-to-back effort by Iran and Russia to push back at the US.

Fundamentally, Iraq’s power calculus is getting reset. The tens of thousands of Iraqi Shi’ite militia trained and equipped by Iran, who played a decisive role in defeating the ISIS, will likely get integrated into the Iraqi security forces. These battle-hardened militia, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashed al-Shaabi in Arabic) have moved into the deserts held by ISIS west of Mosul, massing around the town of Tal Afar and have taken a border crossing between Iraq and Syria.

They are in control of highways bisecting the Sunni heartland in western Iraq, which are used as vital military and civilian supply lines connecting Iran with Syria. According to official Iraqi figures, the Popular Mobilization Forces now number about 122,000 fighters. Clearly, the military balance in the region is dramatically shifting against the US (and Israel.) The Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah warned recently that hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite fighters in the region will jointly resist any future Israeli invasion.

In geopolitical terms, Russia and Iran have shared interest in the unity and stability of post-ISIS Iraq and Syria. Unsurprisingly, China is not far behind them, either.

Thus, China’s Special Envoy to Syria Xie Xiaoyan is currently on a regional tour. While in Tehran on Tuesday, he stressed that China’s stance vis-à-vis the Syrian endgame is similar to Russia and Iran’s. Xie announced that China is “ready to act upon its responsibility to reconstruct Syria and we are prepared for it.” (here and here)

Incidentally, on Tuesday China’s Exim Bank signed an agreement in Tehran on a financial package of US$1.5 billion for the upgrade of Iran’s trunk railway line connecting Tehran with Mashaad (near Turkmenistan border.) No doubt, Xie’s visit to Tehran flags that China has set its eyes on Iran as the gateway leading to Iraq and Syria.

Since March 2016 a China-Iran “Silk Road train” has been running once a month from Yiwu in China’s eastern Zhejiang province to Tehran. Its frequency is expected to increase once trade picks up. The “Silk Road train” slashes travel time from 45 days via sea route to less than 14 days. Clearly, China is positioning itself to play a major role in the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria and will be on the same page as Russia and Iran. 

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Deep State” Then and Now

By Edward Curtin | July 17, 2017

“… since grasping the present from within is the most problematic task the mind can face.” – Frederic Jameson

Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself from the past and laughed or grimaced at the way you were dressed or your hair style? It’s a common experience. But few people draw the obvious conclusion about the present: that our present appearance might be equally laughable. The personal past seems to be “over there,” an object to be understood and dissected for its meaning, while the present seems opaque and shape-shifting – or just taken-for-granted okay.  “That was then,” says the internal voice, “but I am wiser now.” Historical perspective, even about something as superficial as appearance, rarely illuminates the present, perhaps because it makes us feel ignorant and unfree.

This is even truer with political and social history.

In recent years there has been a spate of books and articles detailing the CIA’s past Cold war cultural and political propaganda efforts, from the creation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) with its string of magazines, to its collaboration with many famous writers and intellectuals, including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Richard Wright, Irving Kristol, et al., and its penetration and working relationships with so many publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, the Paris Review, Encounter, etc. These exposés show how vast was the CIA’s propaganda network throughout the media and the world, and how many people participated in the dirty work.

Joel Whitney, in his recently published book, Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers (the word “tricked” ignores the eager accomplices), tells this scandalous story in illuminating detail. His account informs and nauseates simultaneously, as one learns how the CIA penetrated NGOs, television, universities, magazines, newspapers, book publishing, etc., finding willing collaborationists everywhere – scoundrels eager to spy on and betray even their friends as they deceived the public worldwide; how well-meaning leftist writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Garcia Marquez were tricked into lending their names and work to propaganda publications; how leftists were set against leftists in an elaborate effort to sow paranoia and confusion that could be used to put the Soviet Union in the worst possible light; and how many front organizations were created to secretly funnel money to support these endeavors and make and break careers. The story makes your skin crawl.

But that was then. What about now? Whitney doesn’t say, presumably because he doesn’t know; doesn’t have documentary evidence to name names.  This is not a criticism.  He does say that “we understand vaguely that our media are linked to our government still today, and to government’s stated foreign policy,” and he wonders if the ideology that drove the CIA’s past endeavors “remains with us. (I am reminded of Emerson’s words: “What you do (or don’t) speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”). Despite his use of tepid language about the present, especially that word “vaguely,” it seems that Whitney thinks similar propaganda activities are going on today, which is why a blurb for Finks at his publisher’s website (OR Books) and at amazon.com by James Risen of the New York Times, who has written two books about the CIA, strikes such an odd note. It reads:

It may be difficult to believe that the American intellectual elite was once deeply embedded with the CIA. But with Finks, Joel Whitney vividly brings to life the early days of the Cold War, when the CIA’s Ivy League ties were strong, and key American literary figures were willing to secretly do the bidding of the nation’s spymasters.

“Difficult to believe.” For whom?

“Once.” When? In the bad old days?

“When the CIA’s Ivy League ties were strong.” Does the CIA now recruit from community colleges?

Are these the good old days? Such language usage makes one wonder: is it just a quickly scribbled blurb or carefully chosen words?

The Future is Now

No doubt the archives and sealed documents will be pried loose through repeated FOIA requests in thirty or forty years and the moans and groans about today’s bad old days will fill the air. How could they have done such things? It’s just outrageous! But that was then, not now. It’s different now; we are older but wiser.

It’s hard to suppress a sardonic laugh, so I won’t. Today we are obviously drowning in CIA propaganda throughout the corporate mainstream media, and in the alternative online media as well. One has only to see “what they do, or don’t.” The documentation is in the doing, and it doesn’t take a genius to grasp how blatant it is. It is in no way “vague.” But it does take good faith, and a passion for truth, which is sorely lacking.  Why this is so is a key issue I will return to.

As in the past, some propaganda is obvious and other subtler and indirect. Yet it is relentless. There may or may not be a comparable Congress for Cultural Freedom today, but with advanced technology and the internet, it may not be needed. Methods may change; intentions remain the same. What was once done surreptitiously is now done blatantly, as I wrote in January: the deep state has gone shallow. Fifty years ago the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to be used to dismiss the truths expressed by critics of its murder of President Kennedy, and those of Malcom X, MLK, and RFK. All the media echoed the CIA line. While they still use the term to dismiss and denounce, their control of the MSM is so complete today that every evil government action is immediately seconded, whether it be the lies about the Attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc., the coup in Ukraine, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner there, drone murders, the looting of the American people by the elites, alleged sarin gas attacks in Syria, the anti-Russia bashing – everything. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc. – all are stenographers for the deep state.

Denying Existential Freedom

One of the first things an authoritarian governing elite must do is to convince people that they are not free. This has been going on for at least forty years, ever since the Church Committee’s revelations about the CIA in the mid-seventies, including its mind-control programs. Everyone was appalled at the epiphany, so a different tactic was employed. Just have “experts,” social, psychological, and biological “scientists,” repeat ad infinitum that there is no longer any mind control since we now know there is no mind; it is an illusion, and it all comes down to the brain. Biology is destiny, except in culturally diversionary ways in which freedom to choose is extolled – e.g. the latest fashions, gender identity, the best hair style, etc. Create and lavishly fund programs for the study of the brain, while supporting and promoting a vast expansion of pharmaceutical drugs to control people. Do this in the name of helping people with their emotional and behavioral problems that are rooted in their biology and are beyond their control. And create criteria to convince people that they are sick.

We have been told interminably that our lives revolve around our brains (our bodies) and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It is not coincidental that the U. S. government declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. How convenient! George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump — what a difference! But this is science and the welfare of the world. Science for idiots.

Drip by drip, here and there, articles, books, media reports have reiterated  that people are “determined” by biological, genetic, social, and psychological forces over which they have no control. To assert that people are free in the Satrean sense (en soir, condemned to freedom, or free will) has come to be seen as the belief of a delusional fool living in the past, a bad philosopher, an anti-scientist, a poorly informed religionist, one nostalgic for existential cafes, Gauloises, and black berets, but being totally out of it. One who doesn’t grasp the truth since he doesn’t read the New York Times or watch CBS television.

The conventional propaganda – I almost said wisdom – created through decades-long media and academic (don’t forget the pathetic academy) repetition, is that we are not free. Let me repeat: we are not free.

Investigator reporter John Rappoport has consistently exposed the propaganda involved in the creation and expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) with its pseudo-scientific falsehoods and collusion between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry. As he correctly notes, the CIA’s MKULTRA mind-control program has morphed into modern psychiatry, both with the same objectives of disabling and controlling people by convincing them that they are not free and are in need of a chemical brain bath.

Can anyone with an awareness of this history doubt there is a hidden hand behind this development? Once you have convinced people that they are not free in the most profound sense, the rest is child’s play.  Convinced that they are puppets, they become puppets to be played. Who would want to get people to believe they were not free?

Terrified to See the Current Truth

There are many excellent writers who, because they are truth seekers, have used logical analysis to deconstruct the patent propaganda of deep state forces and their media scribes. They do so through close reading (a skill once taught in schools) and historical knowledge without waiting for documentation, though sometimes it arrives from sources such as Wikileaks, FOIA requests, or government leakers like Edward Snowden or Chelsey Manning.  While not always definitive, many of these analyses clearly raise disturbing questions that give the lie to the presstitutes’ claims of innocent objectivity. Their arguments are laid bare so the CIA’s and deep-state’s handiwork shines through.  Robert Parry, Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Craig Roberts, John Pilger, James Petras, David Ray Griffin, Graeme MacQueen and many others have so demolished the propaganda that the question of why so many liberals and left-leaning people still refuse to accept the obvious echoes in the ears of those familiar with the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s machinations to set leftists and liberals against each other through media manipulation. While left and right-wing disinformation collaborationists are everywhere and the CIA obviously has its people placed throughout the cultural and media landscape, it is clear to me that there is something else involved.

So much of the ongoing propaganda travels under the banner of “the war on terror,” which is, of course, an outgrowth of the attacks of September 11, 2001, appropriately named and constantly reinforced as 9/11 in a wonderful example of linguistic mind-control: a constant emergency to engender anxiety, depression, panic, and confusion, four of the symptoms that lead the DSM “experts” and their followers to diagnose and drug individuals.  The term 9/11 was first used in the New York Times on September 12, 2001 by Bill Keller, the future Times’ editor.

Douglas Valentine, a true expert on the CIA and author of The CIA as Organized Crime and The Phoenix Program, has shown that the CIA’s highly structured assassination program in Vietnam – the Phoenix Program – is the template for “the war on terror.”  In other books he has shown how the CIA’s role in drug trafficking is directly linked to the massive increased usage of heroin and other street drugs, another face of the drugging of the country. Thus the “institutional” structure and consequent practices of one of the most ruthless propaganda and terrorist organizations of the United States’ deep-state (the Phoenix program) continues to this day here and abroad. To think that the Agency’s handiwork once carried on under the banner of the Committee for Cultural Freedom does not continue today would take extreme naïveté, the inability to reason, historical ignorance, plain bad faith, or a combination thereof.

Which brings me back to the issue of why so many “liberal” Democrats – those whose bibles are the New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Democracy Now, etc. – can only see propaganda when they can attribute it to Donald Trump or the Russians. Why has this group, together with their Republican and conservative fellow travelers, embraced a new McCarthyism and allied itself with the deep-state forces that they were once allegedly appalled by? It surely isn’t the policies of the Trump administration or his bloviating personality, for these liberals allied themselves with Obama’s anti-Russian rhetoric, his support for the U.S. orchestrated neo-fascist Ukrainian coup, his destruction of Libya, his wars of aggression across the Middle East, his war on terror, his trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization, his enjoyment of drone killing, his support for the coup in Honduras, his embrace of the CIA and his CIA Director John Brennan, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, etc. The same media that served the CIA so admirably over the decades became the media that became liberals’ paragons of truth. Why?

Let me try to answer by referring to two articles that appeared side-by-side in The New York Times Magazine for May 28, 2017. Their content, style, and juxtaposition suggest an answer to the schizoid subtleties of master manipulators, and how cultural/political propaganda works in oblique ways off the front pages.

The cover story for that issue, “Aleppo After the Fall,” accompanied by the words “Life And Loss Amid The Ruins of Syria’s Fractious And Devastating Civil War” and a photo of a demolished Aleppo district, sets the tone, especially the lie in the words “civil war.” The war was started under President Obama in March 2011 by the United States/NATO/Israel with the arming of Islamist “freedom fighters” in an effort to overthrow President Bashar al Assad. But the Sunday morning Times reader is immediately told otherwise, as they have been for the past six years of carnage. Most probably don’t notice the deception as they flip to the table of contents where they see a photo of cream puffs and coffee.

As they sip their morning coffee and think about cream puffs, let’s imagine our readers turning to the first major story preceding the Aleppo piece by Robert F. Worth, a contributing writer for the magazine. It is an article titled “Empire of Dust” by Molly Young, also a contributing writer. It is a title that suggests further disintegration of a most serious nature (no, not the American Empire), yet it is an article about Amanda Chantal Bacon and the rise of the wellness industry. A photo of this “beatific” 34 year old entrepreneurial guru in a flowing white gown in a half-lotus position, seated on a marble kitchen countertop surrounded by some “magical” rocks, takes up an entire page. The photo, a Barthian signifier if ever there were one, is clearly meant to be deciphered by the Times’ clientele for secrets to the beautiful, luxurious, and peaceful life due to one of means and exquisite taste, one who will spend five dollars on a newspaper and live a balanced, Epicurean life of self-care and sophistication. Bacon’s massive light-filled kitchen with its marble countertops – a sine qua non of today’s “good life” – serves the usual elitist function of drawing in readers with a discerning, moneyed eye.

Alternately fawning and critical, Young begins by telling the reader, “The amount of time I waste finding and consuming alternative-medicine supplements for ‘brain function’ has made me at least 10 percent dumber, and that paradox is not lost on me. It was that impulse that made me pause last year at a fancy store in Brooklyn when I spotted a glass jar labeled ‘Brain Dust’.” From there Young takes us to Los Angeles, where she interviews the lifestyle guru Bacon, and we hear about Spirit Dust, Beauty Dust, Sex Dust, vaginal steaming, spirit truffles, and sunbathing the vagina, and to the Hamptons where she again spots Brain Dust in an expensive store that also sells “boeuf-bourguignon-flavored dog biscuits.” Young, having traversed the golden triangle – Brooklyn, L.A., and the Hamptons – tells us how Bacon captures her imagination even as she “was ashamed of its capture.” She drinks Power Dusted coffee with the Moon Juice founder who tells her, “I was told growing up in NYC that I had learning disabilities and mental illness. That was all the rage in the ‘90s.” (Presumably they are raging no longer.) After offering mild criticisms’ and writing that after visiting Bacon’s house she “wanted to move to California and eat bee pollen,” Young covertly orders bee pollen from her phone and ends by telling us that the Moon Juice bee pollen she has ordered “would arrive in two to four business days.” The reader is left to wonder who is dumber or smarter despite or because of the Brain Dust.

But if one is feeling brain dead, one can move or jump-cut to the next article, a piece of cosmopolitan gravitas meant to clarify who are the good guys and who the bad in the Middle East, specifically Syria.

Turning to this article on Aleppo, a juxtaposing of pornographic proportions, one is greeted with a two page photo of totally destroyed buildings in front of which walk a woman pushing a toddler in a stroller and a man pushing another toddler in a makeshift wooden cart covered in plastic sheeting. One flips from “Sex Dust” to disgust and heartbreak in a page turn. The reader is walked step-by-step into a piece of political propaganda, as Robert Worth tells us that “The Syrian tragedy started in a moment of deceptive simplicity, when the peaceful protesters of the 2011 Arab Spring seemed destined to inherit the future.”  This deception is then quickly followed with the claim that Assad used “chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in early April,” an assertion backed by no evidence and clearly refuted by Seymour Hersh, among others. Worth tells us that “the Syrian regime (note the sly use of the word regime, a staple of linguistic mind-control) and its Russian allies repeatedly bombed hospitals and civilian areas,” and that in the United States such actions were “widely deplored as a war crime comparable to the worst massacres of the Bosnian war during the 1990s.” One has to give credit to Worth for a masterful double-deception here, first by accusing the Syrians and Russians but not the United States of repeatedly bombing hospitals and civilian areas, and then segueing to the “Bosnian” war with nary a mention of the U.S./NATO conspiracy to dismantle Yugoslavia through proxies and the subsequent massive bombing of Serbia and Serbian civilians that were clearly war crimes committed by the liberal saint, Bill Clinton. Throughout this piece Worth repeatedly accuses the Assad government of war crimes and atrocities while whitewashing the United States. Immediately following his assertion of Syrian war crimes, he tells the Sunday Times’ readers that “ the State Department released satellite photographs suggesting that the regime is burning the bodies of executed prisoners in a crematory at the Sednaya prison complex, north of Damascus, in an alleged effort to hide evidence.” This claim is based on a totally discredited claim  made in February 2017 by Amnesty International, and Worth, knowing that there is no evidence for this, cagily uses the words “suggesting” and “alleged.” But juxtaposed with the war crimes assertions, only a careful reader searching for truth would notice the trick, surely not a Time Magazine reader already predisposed by the daily Times’s constant flow of government lies. Quoting a speech by Assad in which he claimed there was a “huge conspiracy” to dismantle and destroy Syria, Worth dismissively rejects this obvious truth by quoting an anonymous former regime official (a common tactic) who says he was shocked by the speech. If Assad had given a different speech, Worth notes, “the past six years would have unrolled very differently, and oceans of blood might have been spared.” This is the imperial mindset at its finest, all rolled into an extensive New York Times Magazine article meant to enlighten and inform its alleged sophisticated readers.

What I am suggesting with these magazine examples is that the old trick perfected by the Congress for Cultural Freedom to juxtapose cultural pieces with political ones is alive and well today, even if the CCF or its equivalent doesn’t exist, since it isn’t needed. Illiteracy has become the norm and stupidity the rule as the electronic revolution has destroyed people’s ability to concentrate or stay focused long enough to realize they are being taken for a ride by propagandists and that they are being purposely overloaded with information meant to create a felt need for “Brain Dust.” This has been going on for so long that to admit one is still being taken for a ride is equivalent to admitting to gullibility so profound that it must be denied. It is one thing criticize the politicians you hate – George W. Bush and Donald Trump for liberal Democrats and Bill Clinton and Obama for conservative Republicans – and to call them liars; but to contemplate the fact that the CIA has been lying to you through all these mouthpieces and your vaunted news sources are stenographers for the intelligence agencies is too much reality to bear. “I might have looked funny in that old photograph, but today I am with it and stylish.”

Sure.

Everything has become style today, and no doubt the CIA has learned that the trick is to hide truthful substance behind the style. Evidence is beside the point. Just assert things in a slick style. Assert them repeatedly, even when they have been proven false or fraudulent. Sex Dust and Power Dust may be absurd con jobs, but they sell. They meet a “need,” a need created by the society that has slyly equated power with sex for a population that has been convinced they have neither and need drugs to endow them with both. A piece about Brain Dust may not have the drawing power of a Paris Review interview with Ernest Hemingway or Boris Pasternak, but then there were no “lifestyle gurus” in those days when people read real literature, not today’s New York Times best sellers. Propaganda was more literary in those days; it had to have substance. In a “wellness culture,” it has to have style. Today the only time you hear the word substance, is in “substance abuse,” which is fitting.

The CIA is in the styling business; they’ve gone shallow. Everyone looks great that way, or so they think.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Police Spied on Over 1,000 Political Groups Over 40 Years

Sputnik – July 27, 2017

UK undercover police officers who adopted fake identities and infiltrated political groups in deployments often lasting several years spied on more than 1,000 such factions over four decades, the judge-led public inquiry into the scandal has revealed. It’s the first time the number of infiltrated movements has been officially confirmed.

The inquiry, set up to examine into police spying practices since 1968, was launched by then-Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014 following revelations police spies had gathered information on the grieving relatives and friends of Stephen Lawrence and Jean Charles de Menezes, formed long-term relationships with female activists and stolen the identities of dead children to create their pseudonyms.

More than a dozen official inquiries have been announced, but all others are internal and will remain confidential, overseen or carried out by the very forces involved in the scandal. The public inquiry has been much delayed, as police chiefs have attempted to block its investigations, arguing its proceedings should be private in order to protect their spies and spying techniques. The police have also submitted legal applications to keep the identities of their spies secret. It disclosed the figures after campaigners inquired how many political groups were known to have been infiltrated — although requests for a full list of the targeted organizations, and the fake identities used by undercover officers, were not answered. In the former instance, previous exposures suggest it will likely include environmental, anti-racist and animal rights movements, and both left wing and far-right parties and collectives.

Since the 2010 exposure of Mark “Stone” Kennedy as a long-term undercover infiltrator of activist groups in the UK and abroad, it has been determined at least 144 undercover police officers have been deployed to spy on political groups since 1968. Extensive profiles of 20 agents have been compiled by the Undercover Research group — as documented undercover agents typically spied on more than one group (whether at once or at different times), it’s almost certain the total number of undercover police officers that inveigled themselves in activist circles is several times what was initially thought.

The spies developed elaborate false identities supported by fake documentation provided by the state, and typically spent five years pretending to be political activists while they fed back to their superiors information about the activities of campaigners and the protests they organized. Moreover, officers testified in Court under their false names, withheld exculpatory evidence, acted as agent provocateurs and planned and participated in serious crimes.

The most notorious “spy cops” yet uncovered include Bob Lambert, who moonlighted as “Bob Robinson” in the Animal Liberation Front and London Greenpeace in the 1980s. Over the course of his deployment, he is alleged to have planted a fire bomb in a branch of department store Debenhams, committed perjury and co-authored the infamous “McLibel leaflet” — the pamphlet documented McDonald’s unethical practices, leading the fast food giant to sue London Greenpeace leaders Helen Steel and David Morris for defamation, in a case that lasted a decade. He also fathered a child with an activist.

In May, Andy Coles, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, resigned after being unmasked as an undercover operative who spied on animal rights groups from 1991 — 1995, under the pseudonym Andy Davey. In a lengthy profile, based on evidence collected by URG, it is noted suspicions about the bogus activist abounded contemporaneously, but were largely silenced due to “Davey’s” specialist IT skills.

Coles has also been accused of attempting to foster, and successfully fostering, sexual relationships with fellow activists. The practice is alleged to have contravened strict internal guidelines on undercover conduct, and has been dubbed by the Metropolitan Police as a “violation” of the victims’ human rights, and “an abuse of police power” that caused “significant trauma.” Nonetheless, examples of known police spies that didn’t do so, or attempt to do so, are exceptionally rare — leading some activists to suggest such practices were deliberate policy.

On July 25, the Home Office confirmed  the public inquiry would now be headed by a new judge, Sir John Mitting. He replaces Sir Christopher Pitchford, who stepped down after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

AIPAC threat to free speech

By Ron Forthofer | Dissident Voice | July 26, 2017

There is a Senate bill, along with a companion bill in the House, working its way through Congress with strong bipartisan support, that poses a significant danger to free speech. One would think this bill would be a big deal but, surprisingly, the bill has not received much coverage in the mainstream media.

Fortunately the American Civil Liberties Union is alert to efforts undermining free speech. Thus, in a July 20th article on the ACLU website about S. 720/H.R. 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Bryan Hauss, Staff Attorney, wrote:

The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel — making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Hauss continues:

The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement — a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

Amazingly, supporters of this bill seem to have a problem with calling on companies to respect human rights! Who would draft such a problematic bill that stifles free speech and nonviolent political action?

The Intercept website carried a July 19th article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim that said:

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year.

This AIPAC-influenced bill is consistent with AIPAC’s long-term pattern of advocating for the interests of a foreign nation, Israel. AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. and many members of Congress seem to automatically toe its line. Thus it is not surprising that 46 senators and 245 representatives have already signed on to the bill originally introduced on March 23rd.

Greenwald and Grim added that cosponsors include liberal Senators Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Maria Cantwell as well as conservative Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse. In the House, cosponsors include conservatives such as Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, and Peter King as well as liberals Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. Greenwald and Grim noted that these latter three members, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are cosponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

Many of the cosponsors claim they were unaware of the penalties that could be applied in the bill whereas a few others state that they have a different reading of the bill, particularly related to the criminal penalties.

In addition to using AIPAC and other groups to lobby Congress, Israel previously directly inserted itself into our legislative process. For example, in 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blatantly campaigned to derail the nuclear agreement with Iran. Also of concern, many U.S. and Israeli political experts thought Netanyahu clearly tried to sway the outcome in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

We must protect our free speech by opposing this highly questionable bill designed to benefit a foreign nation. In Colorado this means questioning Senator Bennet and Representatives Lamborn, Coffman and Buck, about their support for this appalling bill. We can also thank the other members of the Colorado delegation for not cosponsoring this terrible affront to free speech and the Constitution.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seven killed as Saudi forces intensify attacks on besieged Shia town

Awamiyah amid an ongoing crackdown by Saudi regime forces
Press TV – July 27, 2017

Saudi forces have waged a fresh wave of attacks against a besieged town in the kingdom’s Shia-populated Eastern Province, killing at least seven people and injuring several others over the past few hours.

The casualties were reported over the past 48 hours after Saudi regime forces, equipped with artillery and heavy weapons, launched a series of fresh attacks against Awamiyah, located some 390 kilometers northeast of the capital Riyadh.

Human rights activists and media outlets confirmed on Thursday that at least seven local Shia residents lost their lives after they were sprayed with bullets by Saudi forces.

There are reportedly several women and children among those injured in the raids. There are also at least two Indian refugee workers among those injured in the attacks.

The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.

On Wednesday, a series of video footage circulating on social media websites showed Saudi regime forces shelling homes and buildings in al-Jamima neighborhood and al-Mosara, the old quarter of the town of Awamiyah.

Several homes, business and historical sites have been totally destroyed or partially damaged across the region.

The Saudi regime forces in riot gear have also set up barricades and security checkpoint to prevent people from organizing any gathering or protest rally. Local residents complain that police deployed at the checkpoints are snatching and stealing their personal belongings.

Several main entrances to the region have been closed and the regime forces have imposed heavy restrictions on movement of the citizens.

Saudi authorities also shut down internet and mobile services across the area.

Residents have been forced to stay indoors as the regime has deployed snipers across the entire region.

Reports also indicate that garbage has piled up as Saudi forces continue to prevent relevant authorities from collecting trash across several areas.

The developments come as a fierce crackdown on protesters there enters its 77th day.

Awamiyah has witnessed an increase in anti-regime protests and an ensuing crackdown as Riyadh has insisted to destroy al-Mosara, claiming the neighborhood’s narrow streets have become a hideout for militants believed to be behind attacks on security forces in the region.

Shia activists who were among those killed in fresh attacks by Saudi regime forces in Awamiyah

Saudi authorities intend to turn al-Mosara into a commercial zone, despite warnings both by locals and the United Nations that the controversial plan would ruin the 400-year-old neighborhood’s historical and cultural heritage and could eventually lead to the forced eviction of hundreds of people from their businesses and residence.

Saudi troops equipped with heavy weapons have been deployed in Awamiyah since May 10, following fierce clashes between the regime forces and locals protesting against the destruction.

A large number of civilians have lost their lives in the ongoing heavy-tactic crackdown by the Riyadh regime since then.
A number of human rights groups and activists have expressed deep concern about the living conditions of people in Awamiyah, who are suffering from a severe water shortage and are using private generators to produce electricity.

On May 24, UN experts criticized the ongoing attempts to demolish al-Mosara and accused the Saudi kingdom of erasing cultural heritage, violating human rights, and forcing residents to flee their homes.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Ceasefire takes effect on Lebanese-Syrian border: Reports

Press TV – July 27, 2017

A ceasefire has reportedly taken effect on the Lebanese side of the border with Syria near the town of Arsal, where Hezbollah resistance fighters have been combating Takfiri militants over the past week.

Lebanon-based al-Manar television network and the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported on Thursday that the ceasefire in the Juroud Arsal area came into force at 0300 GMT and halted fighting on all fronts.

The NNA said the truce was part of a deal brokered by Lebanon’s general security agency chief, Major General Abbas Ibrahim.

Under the agreement, the report said, the remaining al-Nusra terrorists would withdraw from the region to Syria’s Idlib Province, parts of which are controlled by Takfiri militants.

It added that Ibrahim was expected to release a statement on the deal later on Thursday.

Hezbollah launched a major push last Friday to clear both sides of Lebanon’s border with Syria from “armed terrorists.” Lebanon’s army has not formally declared its role in the operation, but has shelled terrorist positions in the area.

On Tuesday, the resistance group’s media bureau announced in a statement that its battle to eliminate members of the Takfiri Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – previously known as the Nusra Front – militant group from the Syria-Lebanon border is 85 percent complete.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also said Wednesday that the operation to recapture the border area from Nusra was almost complete, and that nearly 100 percent of the territories that used to be controlled by the Takfiri terrorists were now liberated.

In August 2014, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Daesh terrorist groups overran Arsal, killing a number of Lebanese forces. They took 30 soldiers hostage, most of whom have been released.

Since then, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern frontier against foreign-backed terrorist groups operating in neighboring Syria.

Hezbollah fighters have fended off several Daesh attacks inside Lebanon. They have also been providing assistance to Syrian army forces to counter the ongoing foreign-sponsored militancy.

The movement has accused Israel of supporting Takfiri terrorists operating in the Middle East.

Israel, which continues to occupy Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Syria’s Golan Heights, is widely reported to be offering medical help to Takfiri terrorists injured in Syria. In December 2015, British newspaper the Daily Mail said Israel had saved the lives of more than 2,000 Takfiri militants since 2013.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment