Aletho News


Amnesty International – weaponizing hypocrisy for the US and NATO

Tortilla con Sal | Telesur | August 12, 2017

Over the last year, in Latin America, Amnesty International have taken their collusion in support of NATO government foreign policy down to new depths of falsehood and bad faith attacking Venezuela and, most recently, Nicaragua. The multi-million dollar Western NGO claims, “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion”. That claim is extremely dishonest. Many of Amnesty International’s board and most of the senior staff in its Secretariat, which produces the organization’s reports, are individuals with a deeply ideologically committed background in corporate dominated NGO’s like Purpose, Open Society Institute, Human Rights Watch, and many others.

Mexico has over 36000 people disappeared and abuses by the security forces are constant. Colombia has over 4 million internally displaced people with over 53 community activists murdered just in 2017. Amnesty International generally puts that horrific reality in context by including criticism of forces challenging those countries’ authorities. By contrast, its reporting on Venezuela and Nicaragua, like those of other similar Western NGOs, reproduces the false claims of those countries’ minority political opposition forces, all supported one way or another by NATO country governments.

In Venezuela and Nicaragua, Western human rights organizations exaggerate alleged government violations while minimizing abuses and provocations by the opposition. This screenshot of Amnesty International’s three main news items on Venezuela from August 9th gives a fair idea of the organization’s heavily politicized, bad faith coverage of recent events.

This is identical false coverage to that of Western mainstream corporate media and most Western alternative media outlets too. Amnesty International’s coverage minimizes opposition murders of ordinary Venezuelans, setting many people on fire, violent attacks on hospitals, universities and even preschools and innumerable acts of intimidation of the general population. That headline “Venezuela: Lethal violence, a state policy to strangle dissent” is a pernicious lie. President Nicolas Maduro explicitly banned the use of lethal force against opposition demonstrations from the start of the latest phase of the opposition’s long drawn out attempted coup back in early April this year.

Likewise, against Nicaragua, Amnesty’s latest report, kicking off their global campaign to stop Nicaragua’s proposed Interoceanic Canal, also begins with a demonstrable lie : “Nicaragua has pushed ahead with the approval and design of a mega-project that puts the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, without consultation and in a process shrouded in silence” That claim is completely false. Even prior to September 2015, the international consultants’ impact study found that the government and the HKND company in charge of building the Canal had organized consultations with, among others, over 5400 people from rural communities in addition to 475 people from indigenous communities along the route of the Canal and its subsidiary projects. There has been very extensive media discussion and coverage of the project ever since it was announced.

That extremely prestigious ERM consultants’ Environmental and Social Impact study, which together with associated studies cost well over US$100 million, is publicly available in Spanish and in English. Two years ago, it anticipated all the criticisms made by Amnesty International and was accepted by the Nicaraguan government, leading to a long period of analysis and revision that is still under way. Amnesty International excludes that information. Recently, government spokesperson Telemaco Talavera, said the continuing process involves a total of 26 further studies. Until the studies are complete, the government is clearly right to avoid commenting on the proposed Canal, because the new studies may radically change the overall project.

Amnesty International states, “According to independent studies of civil society organizations, along the announced route of the canal, approximately 24,100 households (some 119,200 people) in the area will be directly impacted.” But, the ERM study notes, “HKND conducted a census of the population living in the Project Affected Areas. The census determined that approximately 30,000 people (or 7,210 families) would need to be physically or economically displaced.” But Amnesty International’s report omits that contradictory detail, demonstrating how irrationally committed they are to the false propaganda of Nicaragua’s political opposition.

Amnesty International claim their research team interviewed “at least 190 people” concerned about the effects of the Canal. By contrast, the Nicaraguan government and the HKND company have discussed the project with around six thousand people in the areas along the route of the Canal. In that regard, even the local church hierarchy has criticized the way the Nicaraguan opposition have manipulated rural families on the issue of the Canal. But that fact too, Amnesty International omits. Their whole report is tailor made to supplement the political opposition’s campaign for US intervention via the notorious NICA Act.

The Nicaraguan government has made an express commitment to a fair and just resolution of the issue of expropriations. Its 2015 report on the Canal in the context of its National Development Plan, states : “The Nicaraguan government and HKND will guarantee that persons and families on the route of the Canal’s construction will have living conditions superior to those they currently have (without the Canal). To that end, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, via the Project’s Commission, will guarantee not just a fair and transparent indemnification of their properties, via negotiations and direct agreements with each family affected, but furthermore will promote actions to improve their economic conditions, health care, education, housing and employment.

But the Amnesty International report systematically excludes that and any other sources giving the government’s point of view, claiming it was unable to access primary sources either from the government itself or from among the Canal’s numerous advocates. However, secondary sources abound that categorically contradict Amnesty’s advocacy against the Canal. Their report specifically and extensively attacks the Law 840, facilitating the construction of the Canal and its sub-projects, but cynically omits a fundamental, crucial detail, while also failing completely to give relevant social and economic context.

The crucial detail is that Law 840’s Article 18 specifically states the Canal project “cannot require any Government Entity to take any action that violates the political Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua or the terms of any international treaty of which the State of the Republic of Nicaragua is a party.” Amnesty International completely omit that absolutely crucial part of the Law 840 from their report because it makes redundant their advocacy of opposition claims attacking the equity and legality of the Canal’s legal framework. The same is true of the relevant political, social and economic context.

Nicaragua’s political culture is based on dialog, consensus and respect for international law. All the main business organizations and labor unions in Nicaragua and all the main international financial and humanitarian institutions acknowledge that. President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo enjoy levels of approval of over 70%. There is good reason for that massive majority approval. Among many other factors, the precedents of how the Nicaraguan authorities have resolved relocating populations affected by large projects, for example the Tumarín hydroelectric project, completely contradict the scaremongering of the Nicaraguan opposition propaganda, so glibly recycled by Amnesty International.

Nicaragua’s current Sandinista government has been the most successful ever in reducing poverty and defending the right of all Nicaraguans to a dignified life. To do so, among many other initiatives, it has mobilized record levels of foreign direct investment. In that context, Law 840 explicitly protects the huge potential investments in the proposed Canal, while at the same time implicitly guaranteeing constitutional protections. Similarly, ever since the announcement of the Canal, President Ortega has repeatedly, publicly reassured people in Nicaragua that any families who may eventually be relocated should the Canal go ahead will get every necessary help and assistance from the government.

Just as it has done in the case of Venezuela, on Nicaragua, Amnesty International misrepresents the facts, cynically promoting the positions of the country’s right wing political opposition. In Latin America, under cover of phony concern for peoples’ basic rights, in practice Amnesty International, like almost all the big multi-millionaire Western NGOs, gives spurious humanitarian cover to the political agenda of the US and allied country corporate elites and their governments. The destructive, catastrophic effects of Amnesty International’s recent role in the crises affecting Syria, Ukraine and now Venezuela, are living proof of that.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 3 Comments

IRGC drone patrols In Persian Gulf will continue despite US psychological operations

Press TV – August 14, 2017

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has rejected US claims that a drone made an “unsafe approach” to an American aircraft carrier.

The IRGC’s drone division released a statement on Tuesday stressing that all aerial operations in Iran’s Air Defense Identification Zone are carried out in accordance with safety regulations, rejecting the claims by the US Navy.

“IRGC drone patrols in operations areas will continue with precision and in a continuous manner to safeguard the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran without taking heed to the psychological warfare operations of foreign forces present in the Persian Gulf,” added the statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said in a statement that an Iranian QOM-1 drone flew within 300 meters (1,000 feet) of aircraft based on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier in international waters on Sunday night, calling it an “unsafe and unprofessional” incident.

“Despite repeated radio calls to establish communications and remain clear, the QOM-1’s controlling station was unresponsive and the (drone) did not use any aircraft navigation lights while it made several passes in close proximity to Nimitz and its escort ships during active flight operations, coming within 1,000 feet of US aircraft,” he said.

Iranian forces are tasked with guaranteeing security within the country’s maritime borders, where they have been involved in a series of face-offs with US vessels for intrusion into Iranian territorial waters.

Iran has repeatedly warned that any act of transgression into Iran’s territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.

In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers. It has also conducted major drills to enhance its defense capabilities.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Palestinian Journalists Declare Hunger Strike

A journalist during a protest at Israel’s Ofer detention center in the West Bank (PLO/File)
By Jaclynn Ashly | IMEMC News | August 14, 2017

As local and international criticism continued to mount against the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s (PA) tightening noose on freedoms of expression in the occupied West Bank, seven Palestinian journalists imprisoned by the PA have begun a hunger strike after being detained under the controversial Cyber Crimes Law, approved by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last month.

Palestinian journalists Mamduh Hamamra, a correspondent for Al-Quds News, Al-Aqsa TV correspondent Tariq Abu Zeid, and freelance journalist Qutaiba Qassem all declared a hunger strike immediately after their detentions were extended by up to 15 days on Thursday, according to a statement released by Omar Nazzal, a member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and former prisoner of Israel.

Issam Abdin, a lawyer and head of advocacy at Palestinian NGO al-Haq, confirmed to Ma’an News Agency that four more Palestinian journalists –Al-Quds News correspondent Ahmad Halayqa, Shehab News Agency correspondent Amer Abu Arafa, and reporters Islam Salim and Thaer al-Fakhouri — had declared a hunger strike on Thursday to protest their detention.

The journalists had all been detained several days prior for allegedly violating the terms of the new law, according to Abdin.

All seven of the journalists reportedly work for media outlets that were among 30 sites blocked by the PA in June — all of which were reportedly affiliated with the Hamas movement, the ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip which has been embroiled in a bitter ten-year rivalry with the Fateh-led PA, or Abbas’ longtime political rival, Muhammad Dahlan.

While the move to block the websites in the West Bank was condemned at the time as an unprecedented violation of press freedoms in the Palestinian territory, Abbas took the crackdown on media to another level last month by passing the Cyber Crimes Law by presidential decree.

‘A draconian law’

In a statement on Thursday, Nazzal said that at least six of the imprisoned journalists — omitting al-Fakhouri — were being detained over allegations of violating Article 20 of the Cyber Crimes Law.

The article states that an individual could face at least one year in prison or be fined at least $1,410 for “creating or managing a website or an information technology platform that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state, the public order, or the internal or external security of the State.”

Meanwhile, “any person who propagates the kinds of news mentioned above by any means, including broadcasting or publishing them” faces up to one year in prison or a fine ranging from $282 to $1,410, according to the new law.

Abdin said that these “loose articles,” through which individuals would face imprisonment simply for publishing certain articles on their social media accounts, set the groundwork for arresting Palestinian journalists and “destroying the freedom of journalism work in Palestine.”

Nadim Nashif, the cofounder and director of Palestinian and Arab digital advocacy group 7amleh, called the law “terrible” and “draconian.”

“It’s the worst law in the PA’s history,” Nashif said. “It allows the PA to arrest anyone under unclear definitions.”

Nashif noted that not only did the law criminalize the creation, publication, and propagation of certain information deemed dangerous by the PA, it also ruled that individuals found to have bypassed PA blocks on websites through proxy servers or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) could face three-month prison sentences.

Nashif said that the law had dragged the West Bank “backwards.”

Despite Israel’s decade-long occupation of the West Bank and the more than 10-year political split with Hamas, “generally, the media and websites were left alone,” Nashif said. “They were not part of this political fight.”

“The PA is kind of breaking the last spaces of freedom of speech,” he said.

Palestinian journalists trapped between Hamas-PA divide

Rights groups were quick to condemn the detention of the journalists, claiming that the new law was aimed at rooting out political dissent against Abbas and the PA — likely under the auspices of the PA’s widely condemned security coordination with the Israeli state, although the PA has repeatedly stated that it has halted this policy since July.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a PA security official had initially said that at least five of the imprisoned journalists were arrested for “leaking information and communicating with hostile parties.”

However, Addameer added, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate contacted Palestinian security forces on Wednesday morning and were told that the journalists were detained “in order to pressure Hamas to release another journalist detained in the Gaza Strip,” referring to Fouad Jaradeh, a correspondent for official PA news channel Palestine TV who has been imprisoned in Gaza for more than two months.

Both Hamas and the PA have been criticized for carrying out retaliatory acts on individuals affiliated with the opposing group, most notably in the shape of politically motivated arrests and imprisonment.

Abdin said that Palestinian journalists have been “plunged into the Hamas-Fateh division,” as both groups have targeted journalists in order to quash opposition that could affect their political hold in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a statement on Wednesday that the journalists’ arrests were “part of a marked escalation of violations against media freedoms” in both the West Bank and Gaza.

However, the new law and Abbas’ moves to stifle dissent against the PA are “not just problematic for journalists,” Nashif said. “Any activist or individual who the PA thinks is an opponent can now be arrested without any clear reason.”

The PA has also been accused of conducting sweeping detention campaigns targeting Hamas-affiliated residents of the West Bank, while the PA has escalated measures in recent months to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.

A study by Palestinian think tank al-Shabaka documented the consequences of the PA’s security campaigns, “whose ostensible purpose were to establish law and order,” but have been perceived by locals as criminalizing resistance against Israel.

‘It’s illegal under Palestinian law’

Abdin pointed out that both the website blocking and the new cyber crimes law violated Article 27 of Palestinian Basic Law, which protects the press freedoms of Palestinian citizens, including their right to establish, print, publish, and distribute all forms of media. The law also guarantees protections for citizens who are working within the field of journalism.

The article also prohibits censorship of the media, stating that “no warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restriction shall be imposed upon the media,” unless a law violating these terms passed a legal ruling.

Abbas, however, has not received permission from the judiciary to approve these far-reaching restrictions on the press, according to Abdin.

Since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened in Ramallah, meaning that the vast majority of laws passed by the PA in the past ten years have been passed by Abbas, who extended his presidency indefinitely in 2009, via presidential decrees.

Al-Haq has pointed out that the new legislation violates international law, including Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Rights groups, activists, and journalists have demanded that the PA amend the law to abide by pre-existing Palestinian legislation, rescind its blockage of news sites, and end its practice of routinely arresting Palestinian activists, writers, journalists, and others for their political opinions.

Edited for the IMEMC by chris @

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

AIPAC video describes decades-long role in US laws against BDS

If Americans Knew – August 14, 2017

AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is a powerful Washington DC lobbying organization. In this 2016 video, AIPAC describes how it has successfully worked to create U.S. laws against boycotting Israel over its multitudinous violations of human rights and international law.

The video doesn’t mention the anti-boycott legislation working its way through Congress right now (S.720 / H.R. 1697) that AIPAC helped draft:

Such anti-boycott laws hurt everyone.

They interfere with Americans’ fundamental consumer rights and freedom of speech, often harm American businesses and thereby the U.S. economy, and damage American international relations.

They prevent peace and perpetuate violence in the Middle East. By helping to sustain Israel’s enormous power over Palestinians, they cause Israeli leaders to believe two things: they can ignore international law, and they don’t need to negotiate with Palestinians in good faith to reach a fair and lasting peaceful resolution.

Ultimately, AIPAC’s actions have hurt Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, and the many of others impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and by Israel’s various wars against its neighbors.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , , | 4 Comments

An Inconvenient Split?

By Paul Matthews | Climate Scepticism | August 13, 2017

In many ways, the climate debate has hardly changed since I got interested in it about ten years ago. Public opinion wobbles up and down with hardly any real change. The same tired arguments and claims come round again: every climate conference is the last chance to save the planet; the Arctic ice is always about to vanish in one or two years, or ten years; climate scientists continue to be accused of selecting data sets to create hockeysticks and manipulating data; and teams of climate scientists keep producing reports saying almost exactly the same thing as the previous reports, which then get misrepresented and hyped by the media.

So when something does appear to change it’s worth taking note of. I have a feeling that a split may be developing on the ‘warmist’ side, between what we might call the ‘extremists’ and the ‘moderates’. Here are three recent examples of this.


Some social scientists believe that telling people that there’s a consensus on climate change acts as a ‘gateway belief‘ leading to public action, even though their own data does not really support this claim. Others have questioned this, saying that consensus messaging is an unhelpful distraction, see Geoff’s recent post and also this paper that says that other factors such as scientific integrity are more important.

Uninhabitable Earth?

One of the most ridiculous recent alarmist articles was The Uninhabitable Earth, by a journalist for New Yorker magazine, full of doom, terror, alarm, starvation and plagues. Because of this, it got a lot of attention, which presumably was the intention, and it even has its own wikipedia page. While David Roberts at Vox said that trying to scare people in this way was fine, many mainstream climate scientists criticised the article. A team at Climate Feedback (usually used to attack sceptical articles in the media) said that its scientific credibility was low and it exaggerated the risks. New Scientist said that such doomsday scenarios were unlikely to happen, and even Michael Mann thought that the article overstated the evidence.

Gore’s sequel?

Al Gore has a new film out, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”. He’s currently in the UK promoting it, which started the recent Lawson kerfuffle.  Apparently his film has been an inconvenient flop at the box office.  It’s no surprise that Bjorn Lomborg in the Wall Street Journal says that the film misses a few inconvenient facts. But what is more inconvenient for Mr Gore is that the Guardian doesn’t like it either, describing it as “desultory and surprisingly vainglorious” and awarding it only two stars. Apparently it is “more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms”.

The left-leaning New Republic writes of The Troubling Return of Al Gore, saying “But not everyone on the left is celebrating Gore’s reemergence—and for reasons that sometimes contradict each other. Some worry he’s too polarizing a figure, and therefore could paralyze progress on climate change.” They also have a paragraph supporting the main hypothesis of this post: “This skepticism about Gore reveals a lot about the climate movement, which has fractured significantly since An Inconvenient Truth. Whereas a decade ago there was a relatively united focus on spreading awareness about climate change, today there is no clear consensus on how to fight it.”

Psychologist and climate activist Adam Corner isn’t impressed either, saying that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel could just make climate rift worse. He says the film preaches to the converted and focuses too much on Gore himself, asking “wouldn’t a smarter choice, in terms of reaching beyond the usual suspects, have been for Gore to remove himself from the picture, dial down the Republican-baiting, and instead provide a platform for new, less politically divisive voices?” And here’s another review from a believer, describing the film as “just middling”.

It’s quite hard to find a positive review of the film. The Boston Globe is reasonably positive, saying that it has a number of memorable moments, but only gives it three stars.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Statement from The Rutherford Institute Regarding Violence at the August 12 Rally in Charlottesville

The Rutherford Institute | August 14, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE — That this weekend’s display of hate, violence and civil disorder resulted in the death of Heather Heyer is not just a tragedy for those who knew and loved Heather, but for all of us who believe that love is greater than hate and that freedom for all is imperative if we are to stand strong against the forces of tyranny that continue to batter this nation.

There is always the temptation following a tragedy to point fingers and find someone to blame in addition to those directly responsible for committing acts of violence. It is unfortunate that those leading the charge right now have chosen to cast the blame on civil liberties organizations that were compelled to stand up for the principles of the Constitution when the government failed to do so. To suggest that the ACLU of Virginia or The Rutherford Institute or the federal district court were in any way complicit in this weekend’s violence is to do a grave disservice to every individual who has ever fought and died for the freedoms on which this nation was founded.

The City of Charlottesville had several lawful options it could have pursued to prepare for this weekend’s anticipated clash between protesters.

1. The City could have chosen to close the downtown forum altogether and move all three permit-holders to McIntire Park. It did not do so. Instead, the City Manager created a clear First Amendment crisis by revoking only one of the three downtown permits granted for this weekend, by failing to provide any evidentiary-based factual support for its actions, and by waiting to act until mere days before the anticipated rallies were to take place.

2. The City should have ensured that police were under clear orders to maintain law and order by establishing clear boundaries and safeguarding the permit zones. In fact, the City made it clear in press statements and in legal filings that it was preparing for demonstrations downtown by both sides whether or not the Unite the Right rally’s permit for Emancipation Park was honored. According to news reports, more than 1000 armed police, riot teams plus the National Guard were deployed to maintain law and order at the August 12 demonstration. As indicated by its preparations for the July 8 KKK rally, the City and law enforcement were completely cognizant of the need to establish barriers keeping the two sparring sides apart and to ensure that all three permit holders’ rights to access their respective spaces were respected.

3. The First Amendment provides for the right to peacefully assemble in public. In other words, no permit is necessary for citizens to assemble in public. The permitting process simply provides for space to be reserved by a particular group at a particular space for a particular purpose. While the government has the discretion to refuse permits based on reasonable time, place and manner concerns, it may not discriminate against a group based on the content of their speech. Whether or not a permit had been issued for any of the three downtown parks on August 12, the protesters and counterprotesters made it clear that they planned to exercise their right to assemble. Many of those assembled maintained their commitment to peaceful, nonviolent action. The rights of those who exercised their First Amendment rights peacefully and lawfully were diminished by those who opted to act with violence and in clear violation of the law. There is no defense for such actions.

As Glenn Greenwald recognized in his article in The Intercept taking issue with those who attacked the ACLU (and The Rutherford Institute) for challenging the City of Charlottesville over its unequal application of the permitting laws, civil liberties advocates “defend the rights of those with views we hate in order to strengthen our defense of the rights of those who are most marginalized and vulnerable in society.”

The Rutherford Institute remains committed to preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution, even in those most difficult situations when doing so means defending the rights of those whose views may be hateful or unpopular.


The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated and educates the public on a wide spectrum of issues affecting their freedoms.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Media hyping North Korea threat to sell the public on another war

By Danielle Ryan | RT | August 14, 2017

It’s not every day that you’ll hear a news anchor be so upfront about the media’s worst proclivities — but last week, NBC anchor Brian Williams told a panel of guests that the media’s job was to “scare people to death” about North Korea.

Keep in mind that Williams is the same anchor who was widely ridiculed for waxing lyrical about the “beauty” of American missiles back in April when President Donald Trump bombed a Syrian air force base. Oh, and he’s also the guy who was suspended from his job for six months for making up a story about coming under fire in Iraq. Clearly, Williams has some issues with romanticizing war.

Anyway, what Williams said last week about the media’s role when it comes to tensions between the US and North Korea was remarkably revealing and forthright — even if he didn’t quite mean it that way.

Hyping the threat

Of course, escalating tensions between the US and North Korea are a clear cause for concern. The flippant way that American politicians have been talking about military action, which could have serious consequences for US allies in that region is heinous. The way Trump himself has ratcheted up tensions with threats of “fire and fury” the likes of which the world has never seen is irresponsible and is the kind of talk that sends the media into a frenzy.

Fox News recently did a segment on how sales of bunkers have gone up about 90 percent in the last two weeks. CBS Detroit reported on how “end of the world” preparation products, like gas masks and radiation antidote potassium iodide, are “flying off the shelves” in a local army supply store.

Media on the other side of the Atlantic are chiming in, too. The UK’s Sun newspaper published an actual World War 3 “survival guide” last week. It’s almost like they’re excited by the prospect of nuclear war.

Stories like these are the fruits of the media’s labor over the past few weeks. Their incessant hyping of the situation now has ordinary people stocking their shelves with doomsday supplies and installing nuclear bunkers on their properties.

Even a former State Department spokesman for the Obama administration has accused the media of “fanning the flames” when it comes to escalating tensions with North Korea.

Skewed coverage

Reading much of the coverage on the rising tensions with North Korea, it would appear that something major has changed recently — that North Korea has suddenly become an existential threat to the US in a way that it wasn’t before. It all seems so much more pressing and dangerous than it did last month.

But what actually happened? Aside from the fact that the leaders of both countries have been having a public shouting match, not a whole lot.

Yes, the US government’s Defense Intelligence Agency now believes North Korea has the capability to mount nuclear warheads on missiles, which could potentially be used to hit US targets. But North Korea has been claiming this capability since last March. So, that’s not new.

What is new is that the US intelligence community suddenly wants everybody to care about it. This shift should ring alarm bells, because it inevitably means that the US administration is beginning to construct a new narrative — a narrative it will need the media to fully support in the event that they decide to take military action against Pyongyang.

The narrative is that Kim Jong Un will, sooner or later, strike the US mainland, potentially with nuclear weapons — and that the US has no choice but to engage in ‘preventive’ war to stop him. The potential consequences — thousands dead in neighboring nations like South Korea and Japan — aren’t given nearly as much airtime or consideration. Who cares if they’re not Americans, right Lindsey Graham?

As ever, the media is more than willing to help the intelligence community construct their faulty narratives and sell the public on yet another useless military intervention based on evidence-free assertions that something bad will happen if the benevolent US military doesn’t jump in and stop it… by starting another war.

Capitalizing on ignorance

This narrative and the sensationalism with which it is spread relies primarily on the fact that the majority of Americans don’t know a whole lot about the history of their country’s relationship with North Korea.

If, for instance, the majority knew that the US had already mercilessly bombed North Korea for three years in the 1950s, they might be more willing to understand that country’s fears regarding US threats of “fire and fury” raining down on them.

Historian Bruce Cummings puts it simply: “We carpet-bombed the North for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.” The US effectively flattened the country, killed an estimated 3 million people (20% of the population), and “burned down every town”.

That is nothing short of pure evil — and yet today, Americans are left wondering why on earth North Koreans don’t like them? All the talk in the world about how oppressive the North Korean regime is, how all-encompassing North Korean propaganda is — will never erase that history.

A piece which appeared in The Intercept recently puts it well: “Millions of ordinary Americans may suffer from a toxic combination of ignorance and amnesia, but the victims of U.S. coups, invasions, and bombing campaigns across the globe tend not to.”

Balanced and nuanced coverage is far too much to hope for, though, when we already have one of the most watched news anchors in America proudly announcing that his job is to scare people to death.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer, journalist and media analyst. She has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Germany, Russia and Hungary. Her byline has appeared at RT, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, The BRICS Post, New Eastern Outlook, Global Independent Analytics and many others. She also works on copywriting and editing projects. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine Hosts US Military to Be Permanently Stationed on Its Soil

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 14.08.2017

United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees (C.B. – construction battalion), of the Naval Construction Force held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, July 25. According to the, the official website of the US Navy, the maritime operations center is one of three projects that are currently planned to be executed by the Seabees in Ochakov and will serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. The Seabees arrived in Ochakov in April to establish contracts, obtain construction permits and perform other logistical tasks for the maritime operations center project.

Maritime operations centers are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. The future Seabee projects in Ochakov include a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing.

«Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations, and increase bilateral training capabilities», said Lt. j.g. Jason McGee, officer in charge of Det. Ukraine.

In July, several US missile warships, including the USS Hue City Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Carney Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 NATO naval exercise held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event.

The drills were conducted in the ‘free game’ format in the Odessa and Nikolayev regions and the northwestern areas of the Black Sea. The practice scenarios cover amphibious warfare. The only country the forces could be training to assault is Russia.

During the exercise, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first visit to Ukraine (July 9) to demonstrate the political support of Kiev’s policy aimed at integration with the United States and NATO. He was accompanied by Kurt Volker, the newly appointed US Special Representative to the Minsk peace process, who is known as a hawk against Moscow.

The US political support is not gratuitous. In late June, the Ukrainian government took a decision to buy American coal from Pennsylvania, which is said to be almost twice as expensive as locally sourced in the Donbass – Ukraine’s traditional supplier of energy needs.

In July, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Foreign Policy of Ukraine», which determines membership of the Alliance as one of the country’s foreign policy priorities. Poroshenko said that a referendum on NATO membership would be held by 2020.

Ukraine takes part in a host of NATO exercises: Operation Fearless Guardian, Exercise Sea Breeze, Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident, Safe Skies and Combined Resolve. It became the first non-member country to contribute its troops to the NATO Response Force.

On June 8, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a bill called «On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (on Foreign Policy Course of Ukraine), setting NATO membership as Ukraine’s foreign policy goal, replacing the country’s non-aligned status.

The United States will deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Joint Staff is working with US European Command to determine what the lethal defensive aid to Ukraine would look like. The House version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) cuts military aid to Ukraine from the initial $300 million to $150 million, but it provides permission for lethal arms supplies. The idea is strongly supported in the Senate. If the legislation goes through, the weapons could be legally sent to Ukraine starting October 1. The money could be used to deliver over 900 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles designed to strike armored vehicles, fortified ground installations and low flying aerial targets at a distance of 50-2,500 meters.

Former President Barack Obama was unconvinced that granting Ukraine lethal defensive weapons would be the right decision in view of corruption widespread in Ukraine. Skepticism about sending weapons to Ukraine is common in Europe. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier opposed the idea. NATO Military Committee Chairman Petr Pavel has spoken against lethal arms deliveries to Kiev.

A recently published RAND study says that the country faces deeply embedded problems which cannot easily be solved by foreign-provided assistance.

A US military facility near Russia’s borders is a very serious threat to regional security. The Black Sea region is turning into a hot spot. US destroyers and cruisers visit the Black Sea regularly to provide NATO with long-range first strike capability. The Romania-based Aegis Ashore BMD system uses the Mk-41 launcher capable of firing Tomahawk long-range precision-guided missiles against land assets.

Romania has worked energetically to increase US and NATO force presence in the region. The US has recently taken the decision to send an additional 500 forces to the Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) forward operating base. A brigade-size multinational NATO force is based in Craiova, Romania. Nations which have pledged to contribute include Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United States. The unit is intended to facilitate the deployment of reinforcements. Georgia and Ukraine will be fully involved in the plans.

Romania calls for a regular trilateral format of joint naval exercises in the Black Sea, along with Turkey and Bulgaria, with the eventual participation of non-littoral NATO members.

The United Kingdom has decided to deploy four Typhoon aircraft to Mihail Kogalniceanu in 2017. Deveselu, Romania, is home for Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site and a target for the Russian military.

Bulgaria has offered to participate in the Multinational Framework Brigade stationed in Romania with 400 troops. In September, about 150 US Marines, part of the Black Sea Rotational Force, are due at Novo Selo, Bulgaria. This will be the first of three six-month rotations of about 150 US Marines, part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. Under the 2006 defense cooperation agreement, the United States has access to three Bulgarian military bases.

The US plans to deploy up to 2,500 troops at Novo Selo; the base can hold as many as 5,000 during joint-nation exercises with NATO allies. The facility’s upgrade is finished to add a helicopter landing zone and an air operations building. The base is expected to host US heavy tanks. A NATO maintenance support area is to be built in Sliven or Plovdiv. This is a serious military build-up turning Bulgaria into springboard to attack Russia or a target for the Russia’s armed forces.

It’s hardly a wise decision to militarize the country against Russia when 80 percent of Bulgarian exports and imports transit the Black Sea and tourism contributes heavily to the country’s economy, increased maritime militarization could have a widespread negative economic impact in case of heightened tensions, accidents or clashes.

Since September, 2016 US and Bulgarian aircraft conduct patrol flights in the Black Sea. The patrolling mission greatly increases the risk of an accident, especially with the Russian S-400 long range systems stationed in Crimea. Russian aircraft deployed in the Northern Caucasus and Rostov region are capable of controlling the whole Black Sea. President Putin has warned NATO about the consequences such a policy would lead to.

Non-Black Sea NATO members cannot stay in the Black Sea for more than 21 days, according to the Montreux Convention. NATO has three members with Black Sea ports in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as two more aspiring members in Ukraine and Georgia. Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Georgian navies have limited capabilities. Handing over to them some of other NATO members’ warships is an option under consideration. The ships could be reflagged to beef up permanent naval capabilities in the theater. US warships frequent the Black Sea to provide NATO with long-range first strike capability.

The Romania-based missile defense system as well as NATO air bases and headquarters will be targeted by Russian Kalibr sea- and air-based medium-range cruise missiles successfully tested in Syria some time ago. The active phase array antenna-based radar, located in Romania, can be countered by Russian ground and air-based electronic warfare systems.

In response to NATO growing presence, Russia has deployed S-400 long-range air-defense systems and Bastion-P (K-300P) anti-ship coastal defense missile systems equipped with Onyx missiles. These Mach 2.6 supersonic missiles are highly maneuverable, difficult to detect and have a range of nearly 300 kilometers. With the help of the Monolith-B radar station, the system is capable of obtaining over-the-horizon target designation many miles beyond the horizon. The long-range cruise missile capable Su-24 supersonic attack aircraft are already deployed in Crimea.

Russia has to react in view of massive militarization of the region against the background of high tensions. An accident may spark a big fire. The US military presence in Ukraine is a highly provocative step, which will very negatively affect the situation. Nothing justifies the whipping up of tensions in the Black Sea region, but the United States keeps on doing it with great vigor.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering the Rabaa massacre

By Amelia Smith | MEMO | August 14, 2017

Four years ago today the Egyptian army stormed a sit-in at Cairo’s Rabaa square and slaughtered 1,000 people who were protesting against the removal of the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohammed Morsi. People were shot, burnt alive and suffocated with tear gas. Security forces blocked the entrances so that ambulances couldn’t get in to treat the wounded.

What: Rabaa Massacre

When: 14 August 2013

Where: Egypt

What happened?

After Morsi was ousted in a military coup on 3 July 2013 the Muslim Brotherhood called for counter-protests at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares. Some 85,000 people joined the sit-ins.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood had been demonstrating outside the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo for 47 days when security forces attacked at around 6am on 14 August 2013.

Security forces shot indiscriminately into the crowd, set fire to the tents people had gathered in and threw tear gas into the masses. Armoured vehicles and bulldozers advanced on the protesters.

Some 1,000 people were killed, thousands injured and over 800 people were arrested.

What happened next?

Supposedly liberal figures like the author Alaa Al-Aswany endorsed the massacre, as did the state media. “They are a group of terrorists and fascists,” Al-Aswany said.

Despite the fact that the police and army opened fire and used excessive force, since that day not a single security officer has been brought to trial or been held accountable for the massacre.

In 2015 the government renamed the square after Hisham Barakat, the public prosecutor who presided over the acquittal of Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities widened their crackdown, not just targeting members of the Muslim Brotherhood but anyone who opposes the regime. They arrested thousands, tortured them, denied them medical attention in prison and forcibly disappearing them.

Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights both conducted independent investigations into the massacre and concluded that it had been launched on predominantly unarmed protesters.

Despite this the international community resumed arms exports to Egypt shortly after the massacre and have generally sought to strengthen ties with the Sisi regime.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Netanyahu Backs Partitioning Iraq for Kurdish State

teleSUR | August 14, 2017

During a meeting with a U.S. delegation, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed interest in partitioning Iraq.

The Prime Minister told the group of 33 congressmen that he favored the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the Arab country. Israel has a longstanding relationship with the Kurds, who remains one of its few non-Arab allies in the area.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a source who attended the meeting said Netanyahu referred to the Kurds as “brave, pro-Western people who share our values.”

Netanyahu previously spoke on the issue in 2014 when he said in a speech that Israel should “support the Kurdish aspiration for independence.”

Two months ago Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned about bids to break up Iraq, saying the partitioning of Arab countries serves the interests of Israel. “The Zionist regime seeks Iraq’s disintegration,” Larijani accused during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran.

A report published in the New Yorker magazine in 2004 said Israeli military and intelligence operatives were active in Kurdish areas and providing training for commando units.

According to the report, Israel has been expanding its presence in Kurdistan and encouraging Kurds, its allies in the region, to create an independent state.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments