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Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone

By Shamus Cooke | CounterPunch | July 31, 2015

The road to war is paved with a thousand lies. A fresh fib was tossed on the lie-cluttered warpath to Syria, when it was announced that the U.S. and Turkey would create a “safe zone” inside of Syria — supposedly to be aimed against ISIS.

This “safe zone” is a major escalation of war, but it was described in soft tones by the media. In reality a “safe zone” is a “no-fly zone,” meaning that a nation is planning to implement military air superiority inside the boundaries of another nation. It’s long recognized by the international community and U.S. military personnel as a major act of war.  In a war zone an area is made “safe” by destroying anything in it or around that appears threatening.

Turkey has been demanding this no-fly zone from Obama since the Syrian war started. It’s been discussed throughout the conflict and even in recent months, though the intended target was always the Syrian government.

And suddenly the no-fly zone is happening — right where Turkey always wanted it — but it’s being labeled an “anti-ISIS” safe zone, instead of its proper name: “Anti Kurdish and anti-Syrian government” safe zone.

The U.S. media swallowed the name change without blinking, but many international media outlets knew better.

For instance, the International Business Times reported “ [the safe zone deal]… could mark the end of [Syrian President] Assad…”

And the Middle East Eyreported:

“…[the safe zone] marks a breakthrough for Turkey in its confrontation with the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. If the no-fly zone does come into being it will be a body blow for Assad and his supporters”

Even U.S. media outlets acknowledged that the primary goal of Obama’s safe zone ally, Turkey, was defeating the Kurdish fighters and the Syrian government, both of whom have been the most effective fighters against ISIS.

Syrian regime change is also the goal of the ground troops who will be filling the void left by ISIS, who the New York Times labeled “relatively moderate Syrian insurgents,” a telling euphemism.

The New York Times confirmed the goals of the safe zone allies:

“…both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority…”

If the Syrian government wasn’t the target of the safe zone, then Syrian government troops would be the ones to control the safe zone post ISIS, as they did before ISIS. And if regime change wasn’t the target, then the Syrian government would have been consulted and coordinated with to attack ISIS, since Syria is involved with heavy fighting against ISIS in the same region that the safe zone is being carved out.

These steps weren’t taken because the “safe zone” plan is much bigger than ISIS.

Obama hasn’t detailed who the “relatively moderate” fighters are that will control the safe zone, but it’s easy to guess. We only have to look at the Syrian rebels on the ground who are effective fighters and control nearby territory.

The most powerful non-ISIS group in the region recently re-branded itself as the “Conquest Army,” a coalition of Islamic extremists led by Jabhat al-Nusra — the official al-Qaeda affiliate — and the group Ahrar al-Sham, whose leader previously stated that his group was “the real al Qaeda.” The Conquest Army actively coordinates with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and is also populated with U.S.-trained fighters.

These groups share the ideology and tactics of ISIS, the only difference being their willingness to work with the United States and Turkey. It’s entirely likely that once the “safe zone” operation starts, many ISIS troops will simply change shirts and join Jabhat al-Nusra, since there is no principled difference.

Obama knows that the foreign ground troops controlling the “safe zone” are targeting the Syrian government; consequently, U.S. military planes will be acting as the de-facto air force for Al-Qaeda against the Syrian government.

Thus, direct military confrontation with the Syrian government is inevitable. President Assad is already attacking ISIS in the area that the U.S.-Turkey alliance wants to make “safe” via its coordinated military operation. Syrian fighter jets will eventually be targeted, since the goal is to allow extremist groups a “safe zone” to continue their attacks on the Syrian government after ISIS is dealt with.

This danger was also acknowledged by the New York Times:

“Whatever the goal, the plan [safe zone] will put American and allied warplanes closer than ever to areas that Syrian aircraft regularly bomb, raising the question of what they will do if Syrian warplanes attack their partners [“relatively moderate rebels”] on the ground.”

The answer seems obvious: U.S. and Turkish fighter jets will engage with Syrian aircraft, broadening and deepening the war until the intended aim of regime change has been accomplished.

This is exactly how events developed in Libya, when the U.S.-NATO led a “no-fly zone” that was supposedly created to allow a “humanitarian corridor,” but quickly snowballed into its real goal: regime change and assassination of Libya’s president. This epic war crime is still celebrated by Obama and Hillary Clinton as a “victory,” while Libyans drown in the Mediterranean to escape their once-modern but now obliterated country.

If Obama’s goal in Syria was actually defeating ISIS, this could have been achieved at any time, in a matter of weeks. It would simply take a serious and coordinated effort with U.S. regional allies, while coordinating with the non-allies already fighting ISIS: Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah.

If Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Jordan were involved in the fight on ISIS it would be quickly strangled of cash, guns, and troops, and be massively out-powered. War over.

The only reason this hasn’t happened is that the U.S. and its allies have always viewed ISIS as a convenient proxy against Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran, not to mention leverage against the Iran-friendly government of Iraq.

Turkey remains the biggest obstacle to defeating ISIS, since it’s been helping it for years. ISIS has long used the Turkish border to escape Syrian government attacks, seek medical assistance, and get supplies and reinforcements. ISIS is so welcomed inside Turkey that ISIS promotes Turkey on social media as the international transit hub for jihadis wanting to join ISIS. Turkish immigration and customs looks the other way as does the Turkish border control.

In discussing the “safe zone,” the U.S. media always ignore the concept of national sovereignty — the basis for international law. The boundaries of countries are sacred from the standpoint of international law. The only just war is a defensive one. When one country implements a no-fly zone in another country, national boundaries are violated and international law is broken by an act of war.

The Obama administration is aware of the above dynamics, but has again tossed caution to the wind as he did in 2013, during the ramp up to its aborted bombing campaign against the Syrian government.

A U.S.-Turkish no-fly zone will deepen an already regional war: Iran and Hezbollah have recently ramped up direct support of the Syrian government. As Turkish and the U.S. military enter the war space for the first time, confrontation is inevitable. Confrontation is the plan.

July 31, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", War Crimes, Deception, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Viet Nam a Half Century Later

vietnam

By David Swanson | War Is A Crime | July 30, 2015

Jimmy Carter called a war waged in Vietnam by the United States — a war that killed 60,000 Americans and 4,000,000 Vietnamese, without burning down a single U.S. town or forest — “mutual” damage. Ronald Reagan called it a “noble” and “just cause.” Barack Obama promotes the myth of the widespread mistreatment of returning U.S. veterans, denounces the Vietnamese as “brutal,” and has launched a 13-year, $65 million propaganda program to glorify what the Vietnamese call the American War:

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away . . . They pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans.

Which ideals might those have been? Remember, this was the bad war in contrast to which World War II acquired the ridiculous label “good war.” But the Pentagon is intent on undoing any accurate memory of Vietnam. Members of the wonderful organization, Veterans For Peace, meanwhile have launched their own educational campaign to counter the Pentagon’s at VietnamFullDisclosure.org, and the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee has done the same at LessonsOfVietnam.com. Already, the Pentagon has been persuaded to correct some of its inaccurate statements. Evidence of the extent of the killing in Vietnam continues to emerge, and it has suddenly become universally acceptable in academia and the corporate media to acknowledge that presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon secretly sabotaged peace talks in 1968 that appeared likely to end the war until he intervened. As a result, the war raged on and Nixon won election promising to end the war, which he didn’t do. There would seem to be at work here something like a 50-year limit on caring about treason or mass-murder. Imagine what it might become acceptable to say about current wars 50 years hence!

And yet, many lies about Vietnam are still told, and many truths are too little known. After Nixon sabotaged peace negotiations, U.S. and Vietnamese students negotiated their own People’s Peace Treaty, and used it to pressure Nixon to finally make his own.

“Suppose Viet Nam had not enjoyed an international solidarity movement, particularly in the United States,” writes Madame Nguyen Thi Binh. “If so, we could not have shaken Washington’s aggressive will.”

The People’s Peace Treaty began like this:

Be it known that the American and Vietnamese peoples are not enemies. The war is carried out in the names of the people of the United States and South Vietnam but without our consent. It destroys the land and people of Vietnam. It drains America of its resources, its youth and its honor.

We hereby agree to end the war on the following terms, so that both peoples can live under the joy of independence and can devote themselves to building a society based on human equality and respect for the earth. In rejecting the war we also reject all forms of racism and discrimination against people based on color, class, sex, national origin, and ethnic grouping which form the basis of the war policies, past and present, of the United States government.

1. The Americans agree to the immediate and total withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Vietnam.

2. The Vietnamese pledge that, as soon as the U.S. government publicly sets a date for total withdrawal, they will enter discussions to secure the release of all American prisoners, including pilots captured while bombing North Vietnam.”

Nine leaders of the U.S. antiwar movement of the 1960s have put their current thoughts down in a forthcoming book called The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement. The movement of the 1960s and early 1970s was widespread and dynamic beyond what we know today. It was part of a wider culture of resistance. It benefitted from the novelty of televised war and televised protest. It benefitted from hugely flawed but better-than-today economic security, media coverage, and election systems, the impact of the draft, and — of course — the creativity and courage and hard work of peace activists.

Those contributing to this book, and who recently returned to Vietnam together, are Rennie Davis, Judy Gumbo, Alex Hing, Doug Hostetter, Jay Craven, Becca Wilson, John McAuliff, Myra MacPherson, and Nancy Kurshan. Their insights into the war, the Vietnamese culture, and U.S. culture, and the peace movement are priceless.

This was a war that Vietnamese and Americans killed themselves to protest. This was a war in which Vietnamese learned to raise fish in bomb craters. This was a war in which U.S. peace activists illegally traveled to Vietnam to learn about the war and work for peace. This is a war in which people still die from weapons that explode these many years later or from poisons that take this long to kill. Third-generation victims with birth defects live in the most contaminated areas on earth.

Nixon recorded himself fretting about the People’s Peace Treaty with his staff. Two years later, he eventually agreed to similar terms. In the meantime, tens of thousands of people died.

And yet the Vietnamese distinguish clearly, as they always did, U.S. peace advocates from the warmongering U.S. government. They love and honor Norman Morrison who burned himself to death at the Pentagon. They carry on without bitterness, hatred, or violence. The rage still roiling the United States from the U.S. Civil War is not apparent in Vietnamese culture. Americans could learn from Vietnamese attitudes. We could also learn the lesson of the war — and not treat it as a disease called “the Vietnam syndrome” — the lesson that war is immoral and even on its own terms counter-productive. Recognizing that would be the beginning of health.

July 31, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Deception, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

‘Rubber stamp for endless detention’: Judge rejects Gitmo detainee’s legal challenge

RT | July 31, 2015

A federal judge has rejected a legal challenge from a Guantanamo Bay inmate who said his continued imprisonment was unlawful since President Barack Obama had declared an end to the war in Afghanistan. The detainee has been held for 13 years.

The challenge brought by lawyers for detainee Muktar Yahya Najee al-Warafi said the Obama administration’s statement that the war in Afghanistan had come to an end made their client’s detention unlawful under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force of 2001. The authorization provides legal justification for imprisoning foreign fighters captured overseas.

The plaintiff’s argument also pointed to President Obama’s January 2015 speech declaring that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.”

The Washington, DC federal judge, Royce Lambert, wrote in his 14-page opinion that the president’s statement notwithstanding, the government had offered “convincing evidence the US involvement in the fighting in Afghanistan, against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces alike, has not stopped,” and that al-Warafi’s detention remains legal.

“A court cannot look to political speeches alone to determine factual and legal realities merely because doing so would be easier than looking at all the relevant evidence,” Lambeth wrote, according to a report by the Associated Press. “The government may not always mean what it says or say what it means.”

Brain Foster, a lawyer for al-Warafi, said the judge’s opinion amounted to “a rubber stamp for endless detention” and would review the opinion to decide whether to appeal.

Foster also took to Twitter to say al-Warafi had worked in medical clinics in Afghanistan, a position that would provide him with protection under The Geneva Conventions.

Al-Warafi, a Yemeni, was captured in Afghanistan by the Northern Alliance in 2001 before being detained by the US at Guantanamo in 2002.

More than 700 inmates have been held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, at a cost of more than $5 billion, since it opened in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The facility has been mired in scandal throughout its history, with allegations of torture, force feeding and sexual abuse.

There are still 116 detainees at the prison. Speaking at national security conference in Aspen, Colorado on July 24, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it “doesn’t make fiscal sense” to keep Guantanamo open.

Johnson said that it costs nearly $900,000 per year to house each prisoner at Guantanamo, amounting to a total cost of more than $100 million per year. In comparison, he said the cost of housing an inmate in a high-security federal prison was $80,000.

July 31, 2015 Posted by | War Crimes, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama and Kerry Play with Fire on Iran Agreement

By Sheldon Richman | Free Association | July 29, 2015

Barack Obama and John Kerry are playing with fire. They presumably want Congress and the American public to accept the nuclear agreement they and four other governments struck with Iran, but they work against their own objective by accepting the false premise of their opponents: namely, that Iran’s regime is untrustworthy, dangerous, bent on becoming a nuclear power — and containable only by a U.S. readiness to wage war.

Who knows if the president and secretary of state really believe this? But they ought to know that this premise is wrong.

Their incentive to accept the false premise is obvious. Neither wants his obituary to declare that his greatest achievement was to persuade Iran not to develop a weapon it had no intention of developing.

On announcing the deal Obama said, “Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region. Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”

Likewise in remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Kerry said, “So this isn’t a question of giving them [Iran] what they want. I mean it’s a question of how do you hold their program back, how do you dismantle their weapons program….”

Hence, Obama and Kerry endorse the claim that Iran was seeking to build nuclear weapons. The long negotiating process was based on that premise. So they must now insist that the agreement contains leak-proof verification, because like their opponents, Obama and Kerry say the Iranians cannot be trusted. But the hawks demagogically ignore that part of the administration’s case and claim the agreement does depend on trust; Iran can and will cheat, the hawks say, no matter what verification measures are in place. They can even quote Wendy Sherman, leader of the U.S. negotiating team, who once told a Senate committee, “We know that deception is part of the [Iranian] DNA.”

That’s some great way for Obama and Kerry to sell their agreement.

It would be better for Obama and Kerry to tell the truth for once: Iran has not been seeking a nuclear bomb. This has long been well-understood by American and Israeli intelligence and military agencies. As former CIA analyst Ray McGovern points out, George W. Bush had to give up plans to attack Iran in 2007 because a National Intelligence Estimate signed by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies found that Iran had stopped (alleged) research on nukes four years earlier. This conclusion was renewed regularly in subsequent years. In fact, as Gareth Porter notes, “US national intelligence estimates during the Bush administration concluding that Iran had run such a program, including the most famous estimate issued in November 2007, were based on inference, not on hard intelligence.”

We have many other indications of Iran’s non-interest in nukes, all of which are documented by Porter, the man who literally wrote the book on the case. (See Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.) We know, for example, that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, issued a religious edict (fatwa) against nuclear weapons. We know that when Iran could have bought weapons-related equipment from an illegal Pakistani network, it did not. We know that for years Iran tried every way to avoid having to enrich uranium for its power plants but was thwarted each time by the U.S. government. Finally, we know that when the Iranian government could have made chemical weapons to retaliate for Iraq’s U.S.-backed chemical warfare against Iran in the 1980s, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini forbade it on religious grounds.

Despite this, it is open season on Iran. Most everyone feels he can level any charge against it without providing a scintilla of evidence. Most common is the charge that Iran is the “chief state sponsor of terrorism.” But does anyone bother to prove it? It requires no proof. It’s the Big Lie, and it serves the war party’s agenda. (For evidence to the contrary see these two pieces by Ted Snider.

The P5+1 agreement, though unnecessary, is preferable to war. Obama and Kerry should stop thinking about their legacies and start leveling with us.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Egypt Policy Breeds Terrorism

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | July 29, 2015

Like a stopped clock, even rabid neoconservatives can be right once in a while. A good case in point is a recent open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by such neocon luminaries as Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams, Reuel Gerecht and Ellen Bork, calling on the Obama administration to “press the Government of Egypt to end its campaign of indiscriminate repression in order to advance a more effective strategy for countering violent extremism.”

The Obama administration, which helped blow up Libya and Syria in the name of human rights, has resumed arms shipments to the military regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which seized power from a democratically elected government in 2013. Washington’s double standard not only undercuts U.S. credibility internationally, it also jeopardizes important security interests in the region.

As the letter from the “Bipartisan Working Group on Egypt” rightly warns, “State violence — several thousand killed during street demonstrations, tens of thousands of political prisoners, hundreds of documented cases of torture or forced disappearance, sexual assault of detainees or family members, reported collective punishment of Sinai communities possibly with weapons provided through U.S. military aid — is creating more incentives for Egyptians to join militant groups.”

The letter adds, “By carrying out a campaign of repression and human rights abuses that is unprecedented in the country’s modern history, and by closing off all avenues of peaceful expression of dissent through politics, civil society, or media, Al-Sisi is stoking the very fires he says he wants to extinguish.”

Just three days before the group sent its letter to Kerry, Human Rights Watch reported that Egyptian security forces, operating with “nearly absolute impunity,” have killed hundreds of dissidents in recent months, detained more than 40,000 suspects, and “forcibly disappeared” dozens of people. University students in particular have been targeted for mystery disappearances and killings.

The government has also jailed some 18 journalists for publishing reports that conflict with government-approved messages. Its massacre of roughly 1,000 protesters in Cairo in August 2013 ranks as one of the worst single-day atrocities in the region.

Government repression is growing more, not less, severe with time. President al-Sisi recently issued an executive decree giving himself the power to fire officials at independent state institutions. The government is also fast-tracking legislation to further crack down on press freedoms, including, for example, heavy fines for contradicting official statements on terrorist attacks. Human rights organizations have termed it “a blatant violation of the constitution.” The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said the proposed law “turns journalists into mere conveyors of the state’s official data.”

Yet the tepid response of Kerry’s State Department is to endorse Egypt’s “fight against terrorism,” while expressing the “hope” that the final version of Egypt’s new counterterrorism law will respect “individual rights.” The New York Times rightly called the statement “laughable.”

It is, however, fully in keeping with the Obama administration’s “see-no-evil” policy toward Egypt of late. During a visit to Cairo last year, Kerry praised al-Sisi for expressing “‘a very strong sense of his commitment to human rights.” Then, in December, the United States delivered 10 Apache helicopters to support Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts. Finally, this March, the Obama administration lifted its partial freeze on military aid to Egypt, enacted in October 2013 to encourage movement toward free and fair elections in the country.

When Egypt started buying arms from France and negotiating with Russia, the administration suddenly decided that resuming its full $1.3 billion in annual military aid was “in U.S. national security interests.” That finding came despite the administration’s admission this June that “the overall trajectory for rights and democracy has been negative,” including “arbitrary and unlawful killings” and repressive new laws and executive initiatives that “undermine prospects for democratic governance.”

One factor in the administration’s calculus is its concern over rising numbers of Islamist terrorist attacks within Egypt. They include numerous guerrilla operations by the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State (Wilayat Sinai) and, more worrisome, the devastating car bombing of the Italian consulate in downtown Cairo this month. A campaign of urban terrorism could devastate the country’s economy and turn Egypt into a much greater crisis than Syria.

But as numerous human rights activists warn, Egyptian repression has become the most effective recruiting tool for anti-government extremists. The Muslim Brotherhood’s longstanding doctrine of peaceful political change has lost credibility with young activists, who refuse to submit passively to arrest and torture at the hands of state security forces.

Reflecting pressure from within its ranks, the powerful Islamic movement declared in late January, “We are at the beginning of a new phase where we summon our strength and evoke the meaning of jihad. . . [We] prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons and daughters, and whoever follows our path for relentless jihad where we ask for martyrdom.”

As one student of Egypt’s Islamists notes, “the matter has yet to be settled. Given the Brotherhood’s long history of non-violence, many members don’t find it easy to accept it now even in response to the Sisi regime’s clampdown. But the fear of losing ground is occupying the minds of Brotherhood leaders. The way many Brotherhood leaders are framing this is that if there is a war between society and the state, and if the society has taken a stance, the Muslim Brotherhood should not hinder society’s fight for freedom.”

Last year, Robert Kagan became one of the first neoconservatives to break with conservatives in Congress, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Netanyahu regime to warn about prospects for “a new Egyptian jihadist movement brought into existence by the military’s crackdown.”

“To Israel, which has never supported democracy anywhere in the Middle East except Israel, the presence of a brutal military dictatorship bent on the extermination of Islamism is not only tolerable but desirable,” Kagan wrote. But “In Egypt, U.S. interests and Israel’s perceptions of its own interests sharply diverge. If one believes that any hope for moderation in the Arab world requires finding moderate voices not only among secularists but also among Islamists, America’s current strategy in Egypt is producing the opposite result.”

Kagan’s pithy observations remain as true today as they were then. The advice that he and others in the Working Group on Egypt sent to Kerry last week—urging him to stop whitewashing Egypt’s regime and instead to pressure it to meet international human rights commitments and promote national reconciliation —is not simply humane but the wisest possible strategic counsel.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Scientific studies, data and history refute Pentagon’s climate/national security claims

Climate Depot’s Rebuttal

By Marc Morano – Climate Depot – July 29, 2015

Pentagon Spent $22,000 to Write 14-Page Report on Climate Change

If any Americans actually believe the climate claims linking ‘global warming’ to a rise in conflicts, no amount of evidence, data, logic or scientific studies will likely persuade them. But given the high profile nature of the Pentagon report, a rebuttal is necessary.

Obama has claimed that climate ‘deniers’ were a huge part of the problem. Obama explained: “Denying it, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security and undermines the readiness of our forces.”

Obama seems to be borrowing his claims from Rolling Stone Magazine :

See: Forget ISIS, skeptics are greatest threat?! – Rolling Stone: Climate ‘Deniers’ Put ‘National Security at Risk’

Also see: Paper: ‘Osama bin Laden cared more about global warming than GOP Sen. James Inhofe’

But actually believing the above statements endangers our capacity for rational thought and evidence based research. Actually believing Obama and his Pentagon’s climate claims, undermines our nation’s ability to distinguish real threats from politically contrived nonsense.

UN climate treaties and EPA climate regulations will not prevent wars, conflicts or impact the creation of terrorist groups.

The President seems to believe every modern malady is due to ‘global warming.’

See: White House doom: Climate change causes allergies, asthma, downpours, poverty, terrorism – Lists 34 effects

President Obama claimed that man-made climate change was partly responsible for the civil war in Syria. “It’s now believed that drought, crop failures, and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East,” Obama said.

First off, extreme weather is not getting more ‘extreme.’

See: Extreme weather failing to follow ‘global warming’ predictions: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Droughts, Floods, Wildfires, all see no trend or declining trends

Scientists reject notion that human-caused climate change led to war in Syria – ‘Human-influenced climate change impact on the drought conditions was almost certainly too small to have mattered’

Global warming is not a threat to the world, but global warming ‘solutions’ are. The estimated 1.2 billion people in the world without electricity who are leading a nasty, brutish and short life, will be the ones who “will pay” for global warming solutions that prevent them from obtaining cheap and abundant carbon based energy.

See: S. African activist slams UN’s ‘Green Climate Fund': ‘Government to govt aid is a reward for being better than anyone else at causing poverty’ — ‘It enriches the people who cause poverty’

Simple historical facts undermine the President’s claims about global warming and national security concerns.

Small Sampling of evidence countering President Obama’s claims.

Lord Christopher Monckton, Former Thatcher Adviser issues point-by-point rebuttal to Obama: ‘Does the ‘leader’ of the free world really know so little about climate?’ – ‘If this Obama speech was the very best that the narrow faction promoting the extremist line on global warming could muster for their mouthpiece, then the skeptics have won the scientific, the economic, the rational, and the moral arguments – and have won them hands down.’

‘All Large European Wars Occurred With CO2 Below 350 ppm’ Via Real Science website- Most Of The World’s Wars Occurred Below 350 PPM CO2 — ‘Now that we know that war is caused by global warming, I was very surprised to discover that the vast majority of wars occurred before 1988 – including the War of 1812′

UN Climate Chief: Middle East Was Peaceful When CO2 Was Below 350 PPM — UN’s Christiana Figueres: ‘Food shortages and rising prices caused by climate disruptions were among the chief contributors to the civil unrest coursing through North Africa and the Middle East’

Scientific studies comprehensively debunk the notion that rising carbon dioxide will lead to more wars.

Flashback: Debunked: the ‘climate change causes wars’ myth –Peer-reviewed paper ‘thoroughly eviscerates’ climate war claims — ‘The primary causes of civil war are political, not environmental’

‘A total takedown’ of myth by the Center for Strategic and International Studies — ‘Since the dawn of civilization, warmer eras have meant fewer wars. The reason is simple: all things being equal, a colder climate meant reduced crops, more famine and instability. Research by climate historians shows a clear correlation between increased warfare and cold periods. They are particularly clear in Asia and Europe, as well as in Africa’

Scientific American : ‘Greens Should Stop Claiming More Warming Means More War’

Follow the (military) money: Is the military ‘taking on climate change denialists’ or simply following the lead of its civilian leaders?

Conflict Deaths and Global Warming – ‘The problem is that the conflicts that are cited as examples of the phenomenon are located in areas known for both frequent conflict prior to the current warming period and for historical patterns of extreme climates similar to those seen today.’

Der Spiegel Demolishes Syria War-Climate Paper By Kelley et al.: ‘Hardly Tenable’…’Distraction From Real Problems’

Even BBC features harsh criticism of new study: ‘Their strong statement about a general causal link between climate and conflict is unwarranted by the empirical analysis that they provide’ — BBC: Rise in violence ‘linked to climate change’ — ‘Changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders’

Climate Depot Round Up Counters global warming/war claims:

Climate Depot’s rebuttal to Sen. John Kerry’s climate change/national security claims

Study: Cold spells were dark times in Eastern Europe: ‘Cooler periods coincided with conflicts and disease outbreaks’ –Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’: ‘Some of Eastern Europe’s greatest wars and plagues over the last millennium coincided with cold periods’ — ‘The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years’ War in the early 17th century, the French invasion of Russia in the early 19th century and other social upheavals occurred during cold spells. The team suggests food shortages could explain the timing of some of these events’

New study: Global cooling led to wars, famine and plagues in 1560-1660: Cold ’caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic catastrophes’

Global Conflict Not Linked to Global Climate Change — ‘Wars in Burundi, Chad, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Peru, the Comoros, Congo, Eritrea, Niger, and Rwanda are so numerous that I could probably make a statistical argument that one in five wars are due to the AFC winning the Super Bowl’

Discovery News: Cold times led to angry runts, famine, and war; warm times led to The Renaissance

Remarkably sane article in Science : Warm periods are good, cold periods are bad

Time Mag reports: ‘Peaks of social disturbance such as rebellions, revolutions, & political reforms followed every decline of temperature’ — ‘Number of wars increased by 41% in Cold Phase’ — ‘Peaks of social disturbance such as rebellions, revolutions, and political reforms followed every decline of temperature, with a one- to 15-year time lag’

Study: Climate change ‘NOT to blame’ for African civil wars — ‘Climate variability in Africa does not seem to have a significant impact on risk of civil war’

A UN IPCC Scientist’s New Study! ‘Global Warming Sparks Fistfights & War, Researchers Say': ‘Will systematically increase the risk of many types of conflict ranging from barroom brawls & rape to civil wars & international disputes’ — Climate Depot Responds

Extreme weather failing to follow ‘global warming’ predictions: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Droughts, Floods, Wildfires, all see no trend or declining trends

July 30, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Poll: Overwhelming US Majority Says Israel Should Receive No Aid Boost due to US / Iran “Deal”

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By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | July 27, 2015

67.8% of respondents to a Google Consumer Survey said Israel should receive no compensation for the US finalizing a deal with Iran over its civilian nuclear program, which was begun at the behest of the US when Washington’s puppet, the Shah, one of the world’s worst human rights violators, ruled over Iran.

Obama is currently offering Israel increased aid to compensate for the agreement.  Israel is the biggest recipient of US aid at over $3 billion per year, and Obama has increased aid to Israel after each of Israel’s major massacres in the Gaza refugee camp since Obama assumed power.

The major study of the issue of citizen impact on US government policy, conducted in 2014 by research teams out of Princeton and Northwestern universities, looked at nearly 2,000 policies and found that average-income US citizens have “near zero, statistically non-significant” impact on them, while the most affluent citizens essentially dictate policy.  This dynamic has been illustrated by previous research, such as by Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt.

Another issue to watch for: the “world’s most influential” think tank, the Washington-based Brookings Institute, has suggested (among other options), as a way for the US to gain dominance over Iran, making it appear that Iran has rejected a “great” deal, then using Israel to attack Iran.  (Note the above poll asks if Israel should be given long-range bombers and “bunker-buster” explosives.)

The US and Israel have both continued to make threats of force, criminal acts under the UN charter adopted by both countries, against Iran since the agreement, and Obama’s anti-democratic offering of increased aid to Israel could possibly signal that the “leave it to Bibi” strategy is still being entertained, along with any number of other goals.

Author is a US-based researcher focusing on force dynamics, national and global.  @_DirtyTruths

July 28, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 4 Comments

‘In the US, joking about war has become acceptable’

RT | July 23, 2015

Attempts at humor over bombing huge numbers of people, and inflicting death is increasingly considered acceptable and this has a subtle effect on the population, says David Swanson, blogger and activist, author of ‘War Is A Lie’.

US President Barack Obama made an appearance on America’s Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart taking the chance for a bit of light-hearted foreign policy banter.

RT: The situation in Yemen and Iraq is no laughing matter. Is it acceptable for the President to be laughing about these subjects?

David Swanson: It really isn’t. Jon Stewart jokes “We still get to bomb people, right?” and there is no stern rebuke from the President as there is when he is accused of allowing Americans to be held hostage in Iran and not caring about them and so forth, there is no offense taken, it’s all for laughs. Who are we bombing? President Obama has no idea specifically who he’s bombing not even with drone strikes and the tangled mess that Jon Stewart points to is far beyond what he listed. Making peace with Iran in order to fight a war with Iran, going to war in Syria on the opposite side in 2014 as you were told, as you head into 2013, US weapons in the hands of Islamic State, US allies funding IS – it’s an incredible mess and Jon Stewart, although it’s his last chance, last interview with the president, makes jokes instead of asking questions. He makes a joke about trying diplomacy for once after bombs, proxies and arming and so forth, but it’s a joke, Obama doesn’t answer. Jon Stewart could have said “Why, if diplomacy is an option in one case do you not use it in all these other cases?” He didn’t ask the question.

RT: How do jokes about foreign policy influence the public?

DS: A certain segment of the public including myself is not laughing about war and doesn’t think it’s a laughing matter, but I think it influences the public very subtly that jokes about war are acceptable. I heard a weapon’s contractor on national public radio in the US joke about wanting a big new invasion and occupation when another one might be ending – ha-ha. When jokes about things like sexual abuse or racism or all kinds of cruelty, anti-morality are absolutely not acceptable, absolutely excluded from public discussion in US media, but jokes about war, about bombing huge numbers of people to death, injury and trauma are acceptable and that does have an impact.

RT: Obama had previously joked about predator drones. Does that make the matter more mundane, perhaps more acceptable? Politically, how intentional are such jokes?

DS: It points to this huge contrast in the US between the immorality of war and any other kind of immorality. President Obama this week said that jokes about rape in US prisons are absolutely offensive and unacceptable; it’s not something that should ever be joked about. The US, I believe, is the first society in the history of the world where the majority of rape victims are male and it’s in prison and it’s an epidemic. He is absolutely right, don’t you joke about it. But when it comes to war, to murder with weapons of war, spying, massive surveillance and the whole package of militarism, jokes seem to be totally acceptable – even for the President speaking to the journalists and reporters who are actually supposed to know the horror and suffering of war.

July 23, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama regime moves to block release of Guantanamo force feeding tapes

Reprieve | July 23, 2015

The Obama administration last night asked a federal judge to reconsider her order to release the Guantánamo force-feeding tapes.

In the ongoing First Amendment battle by 16 press organizations seeking to publish the video tapes of former detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab being force-fed, Judge Gladys Kessler issued an order on July 10th that the government complete key redactions and prepare the tapes for release by September 30th.

Last night, however, the Obama administration filed a motion for reconsideration of that order with Judge Kessler. Justice Department lawyers claim in their filing that releasing the footage will aid extremist groups and say the press have no First Amendment right to the evidence.

The tapes were first filed to court as classified evidence in a legal challenge to prison conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Dhiab v Obama. 16 press organizations, including Associated Press, the Washington Post and the New York Times, intervened seeking the videos’ release to the public on press freedom grounds. Judge Kessler ordered them to be released; the Obama administration then appealed in what Judge Kessler called “as frivolous an appeal as I’ve seen.’

Meanwhile, the military nurse who objected to brutal force-feeding at Gitmo is today being presented with the Year of Ethics award by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The nurse, who has chosen to remain anonymous, previously faced dismissal from the military after he refused to force-feed detainees because of the suffering it was causing men held without charge or trial at the prison.

Commenting, Reprieve director and attorney for Abu Wa’el Dhiab, Cori Crider, said: “Judge Kessler said the Obama administration’s initial appeal was as ‘frivolous’ as she’d ever seen – well, the government decided to top that with another frivolous request for a do-over. Yet it has put no fresh evidence before the Court that would justify censoring the force-feeding tapes. Once again, the government’s argument boils down to the same old tripe: if people see the truth about Gitmo today, the ‘terrorists’ will win. We don’t deny the footage is upsetting stuff – some of it deeply so – but that’s precisely why it should be released. Americans deserve to see what is being done in their name. Releasing crucial parts of this footage will provide yet more reason the President should fulfil his promise to shut Gitmo down.”

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Single Payer and the Revolving Door

By Russell Mokhiber | CounterPunch | July 22, 2015

Another benefit of a single payer national health insurance system is that it gets rid of the obscenity of the revolving door between the health insurance industry and the government payer.

There is no revolving door because there is no door.

There is no door because the health insurance companies are put out of their misery.

One public payer. Everybody in. Nobody out.

If we had single payer, we wouldn’t be witnessing the obscenity we witnessed this month.

Take the case of Marilyn Tavenner.

She’s the Obama official who was in charge of the rollout of Obamacare.

She stepped down from her job in February and will become president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — the insurance industry lobbying group representing the likes of Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Taking her place at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is former UnitedHealth executive Andy Slavitt.

Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) says that Karen Ignagni, AHIP’s previous president and CEO, essentially had carte blanche in the White House as Obamacare was being crafted.

“She also was very influential in obtaining the concessions that protected the excess payments to the Medicare Advantage plans, measures which greatly benefit UnitedHealth Group and others,” McCanne says. “It seems more than a coincidence that UnitedHealth Group dropped out of AHIP shortly after the resignation of Karen Ignagni.”

“Without insider information, it is very difficult to determine the degree of control held by each of the players, but there is no question that HHS/CMS, AHIP, and UnitedHealth and the other insurers are all participating in advancing the privatization of Medicare by enhancing the private Medicare Advantage plans with our taxpayer dollars,” McCanne says. “It is particularly disconcerting that this agenda is supported by Congress and the Obama administration.”

“Imagine what those excess funds could do for our traditional Medicare program, especially in reducing out-of-pocket expenses for premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and catastrophic losses,” McCanne says.

“That would be far better than wasting them on the administrative excesses of the private insurers and on the dishonest activities they engage in to increase their profits by measures such as upcoding or gaming risk adjustment.”

Why is there no public outcry?

“It is simply because the Medicare Advantage plans are able to use about one-third of the extra funds to reduce deductibles and coinsurance, making them appear to be superior products, plus there is no need to purchase supplemental Medigap plans,” McCanne says. “Most of the beneficiaries who are satisfied with their private plans would not be inclined to support increased taxpayer funding of the traditional Medicare program since it doesn’t concern them anymore. And efforts to reduce Medicare Advantage funding to the same levels as traditional Medicare are met with loud protests orchestrated by AHIP. Those in the traditional Medicare program usually have supplemental retiree or Medigap plans with which they are satisfied, and thus they are not advocates for change either.”

“It is really difficult to explain to people that what is a good deal for them is a bad deal for all of us together since it perpetuates high costs and extraordinary administrative waste,” McCanne says. “If their programs seem to be working for them, they don’t want change.”

McCanne says that we need to improve the traditional Medicare program so that it is more comprehensive and provides greater value, and then use it to cover everyone.

“Our task is made much more difficult by the powerful forces that support corporate control of our healthcare system,” he says. “After all, they are the ones with the money. And Tavenner and Slavitt will be there as their agents, working inside and outside of the government. And most people won’t care.”

July 22, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Corruption, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Clinton Days Are Here Again!

By David Swanson | War Is A Crime | July 19, 2015

See if you can spot the mistake in this activist email I received recently:

“In 2001, the Clinton Administration handed George Bush peace, prosperity, and record budget surpluses. Eight years later, Bush handed Barack Obama two disastrous wars and a global economic crash that destroyed over 8 million American jobs. Now that President Obama has finally brought those jobs back – in the face of vicious GOP opposition – Bush’s brother Jeb is now blaming American workers for not working hard enough. If you’re as outraged as we are, please click here to sign Hillary Clinton’s petition telling Jeb Bush that Americans need a raise, not a lecture.”

OK, it was a trick; there’s more than one mistake. Let’s list a few:

Here are things Bill Clinton is now apologizing for: mass incarceration, Wall Street deregulation, the drug war, and corporate trade agreements. Here are a few of the things he should also be apologizing for: destroying welfare, creating media monopolies, expanding NATO toward Russia, creating a precedent for illegal NATO wars without Congressional or UN authorizations, and 500,000 children killed by sanctions in Iraq.

Here are a few little-known facts about President Barack Obama: the war on Afghanistan is more his than Bush’s by any measure, he had regularly voted to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senator, he broke his promised schedule for ending the war on Iraq and never fully ended it and soon revived it, he’s supported coups in Honduras and Egypt and Ukraine, he’s claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone, he’s expanded the military into numerous nations laying the groundwork for future hostilities, and his war on Libya followed the Clinton model of blatant illegality rather than the Bush Jr. approach of at least bothering to lie to Congress and the United Nations.

Another activist group sent me an email this week reading, in part: “The truth is, Republicans don’t want diplomacy to work. They want another costly war like the one they started in Iraq in 2003.” In reality, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate voted for the war on Iraq in 2002. The same parties hold the same branches now. There’s a wise saying that goes something like this: those who convince themselves of a bullshit version of history may be condemned to repeat what actually happened.

Those who study what actually happened may be less shocked to discover how grotesquely corrupt Hillary Clinton is, how murderous, how fervently she promoted that war on Iraq, how very long she has been so disastrous, how she out-hawks almost any hawk, how awful she is for feminism, how brutal she can be, how close she is to Wall Street Republicans and oil barons and Henry Kissinger, how hard it would be to actually elect her, how she used the State Department to market weapons and fracking and pushed weapons on governments she called soft on terrorism while waiving restrictions on sales to brutal governments that donated to her foundation, how she backs mass surveillance, how she believes in representing banks, and how greedy she is.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

MH-17 Mystery: A New Tonkin Gulf Case?

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | July 17, 2015

One year ago, the world experienced what could become the Tonkin Gulf incident of World War III, the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. As with the dubious naval clash off the coast of North Vietnam in 1964, which helped launch the Vietnam War, U.S. officials quickly seized on the MH-17 crash for its emotional and propaganda appeal – and used it to ratchet up tensions against Russia.

Shocked at the thought of 298 innocent people plunging to their deaths from 33,000 feet last July 17, the world recoiled in horror, a fury that was then focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Putin’s face emblazoned on magazine covers, the European Union got in line behind the U.S.-backed coup regime in Ukraine and endorsed economic sanctions to punish Russia.

In the year that has followed, the U.S. government has continued to escalate tensions with Russia, supporting the Ukrainian regime in its brutal “anti-terrorism operation” that has slaughtered thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev have even dispatched neo-Nazi and ultranationalist militias, supported by jihadists called “brothers” of the Islamic State, to act as the tip of the spear.

Raising world tensions even further, the Russians have made clear that they will not allow the ethnic Russian resistance to be annihilated, setting the stage for a potential escalation of hostilities and even a possible nuclear showdown between the United States and Russia.

But the propaganda linchpin to the West’s extreme anger toward Russia remains the MH-17 shoot-down, which the United States and the West continue to pin on the Russian rebels – and by extension – Russia and Putin. The latest examples are media reports about the Dutch crash investigation suggesting that an anti-aircraft missile, allegedly involved in destroying MH-17, was fired from rebel-controlled territory.

Yet, the U.S. mainstream media remains stunningly disinterested in the “dog-not-barking” question of why the U.S. intelligence community has been so quiet about its MH-17 analysis since it released a sketchy report relying mostly on “social media” on July 22, 2014, just five days after the shoot-down. A source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the reason for the intelligence community’s silence is that more definitive analysis pointed to a rogue Ukrainian operation implicating one of the pro-regime oligarchs.

The source said that if this U.S. analysis were to see the light of day, the Ukrainian “narrative” that has supplied the international pressure on Russia would collapse. In other words, the Obama administration is giving a higher priority to keeping Putin on the defensive than to bringing the MH-17 killers to justice.

Like the Tonkin Gulf case, the evidence on the MH-17 case was shaky and contradictory from the start. But, in both cases, U.S. officials confidently pointed fingers at the “enemy.” President Lyndon Johnson blamed North Vietnam in 1964 and Secretary of State John Kerry implicated ethnic Russian rebels and their backers in Moscow in 2014. In both cases, analysts in the U.S. intelligence community were less certain and even reached contrary conclusions once more evidence was available.

In both cases, those divergent assessments appear to have been suppressed so as not to interfere with what was regarded as a national security priority – confronting “North Vietnamese aggression” in 1964 and “Russian aggression” in 2014. To put out the contrary information would have undermined the government’s policy and damaged “credibility.” So the facts – or at least the conflicting judgments – were hidden.

The Price of Silence

In the case of the Tonkin Gulf, it took years for the truth to finally emerge and – in the meantime – tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and millions of Vietnamese had lost their lives. Yet, much of the reality was known soon after the Tonkin Gulf incident on Aug. 4, 1964.

Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1964 was a young Defense Department official, recounts – in his 2002 book Secrets – how the Tonkin Gulf falsehoods took shape, first with the panicked cables from a U.S. Navy captain relaying confused sonar readings and then with that false storyline presented to the American people.

As Ellsberg describes, President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced retaliatory airstrikes on Aug. 4, 1964, telling “the American public that the North Vietnamese, for the second time in two days, had attacked U.S. warships on ‘routine patrol in international waters’; that this was clearly a ‘deliberate’ pattern of ‘naked aggression’; that the evidence for the second attack, like the first, was ‘unequivocal’; that the attack had been ‘unprovoked’; and that the United States, by responding in order to deter any repetition, intended no wider war.”

Ellsberg wrote: “By midnight on the fourth, or within a day or two, I knew that each one of those assurances was false.” Yet, the White House made no effort to clarify the false or misleading statements. The falsehoods were left standing for several years while Johnson sharply escalated the war by dispatching a half million soldiers to Vietnam.

In the MH-17 case, we saw something similar. Within three days of the July 17, 2014 crash, Secretary Kerry rushed onto all five Sunday talk shows with his rush to judgment, citing evidence provided by the Ukrainian government through social media. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory asked, “Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?”

Kerry: “There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sKerry’s Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment.”]

Two days later, on July 22, the Director of National Intelligence authorized the release of a brief report essentially repeating Kerry’s allegations. The DNI’s report also cited “social media” as implicating the ethnic Russian rebels, but the report stopped short of claiming that the Russians gave the rebels the sophisticated Buk (or SA-11) surface-to-air missile that the report indicated was used to bring down the plane.

Instead, the report cited “an increasing amount of heavy weaponry crossing the border from Russia to separatist fighters in Ukraine”; it claimed that Russia “continues to provide training – including on air defense systems to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia”; and its noted the rebels “have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems, downing more than a dozen aircraft in the months prior to the MH17 tragedy, including two large transport aircraft.”

Yet, despite the insinuation of Russian guilt, what the public report didn’t say – which is often more significant than what is said in these white papers – was that the rebels had previously only used short-range shoulder-fired missiles to bring down low-flying military planes, whereas MH-17 was flying at around 33,000 feet, far beyond the range of those weapons.

The assessment also didn’t say that U.S. intelligence, which had been concentrating its attention on eastern Ukraine during those months, detected the delivery of a Buk missile battery from Russia, despite the fact that a battery consists of four 16-foot-long missiles that are hauled around by trucks or other large vehicles.

Rising Doubts

I was told that the absence of evidence of such a delivery injected the first doubts among U.S. analysts who also couldn’t say for certain that the missile battery that was suspected of firing the fateful missile was manned by rebels. An early glimpse of that doubt was revealed in the DNI briefing for several mainstream news organizations when the July 22 assessment was released.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sThe Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector.’”]

The Russians also challenged the rush to judgment against them, although the U.S. mainstream media largely ignored – or ridiculed – their presentation. But the Russians at least provided what appeared to be substantive data, including alleged radar readings showing the presence of a Ukrainian jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of MH-17.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov also called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems to sites in eastern Ukraine and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

On July 29, amid this escalating rhetoric, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of mostly retired U.S. intelligence officials, called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence.”

But the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had begun shifting away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible, funded by one of Ukraine’s rabidly anti-Russian oligarchs. [See Consortiumnews.com’sFlight 17 Shoot-down Scenario Shifts”and “Was Putin Targeted for Mid-air Assassination?”]

Last October, Der Spiegel reported that the German intelligence service, the BND, also had concluded that Russia was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND still blamed the rebels for firing it. The BND also concluded that photos supplied by the Ukrainian government about the MH-17 tragedy “have been manipulated,” Der Spiegel reported.

And, the BND disputed Russian government claims that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to MH-17, the magazine said, reporting on the BND’s briefing to a parliamentary committee on Oct. 8, 2014. But none of the BND’s evidence was made public — and I was subsequently told by a European official that the evidence was not as conclusive as the magazine article depicted. [See Consortiumnews.com’sGermans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case.”]

Dog Still Doesn’t Bark

When the Dutch Safety Board investigating the crash issued an interim report in mid-October, it answered few questions, beyond confirming that MH-17 apparently was destroyed by “high-velocity objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.” The 34-page Dutch report was silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who fired it.

In January, when I re-contacted the source who had been briefed by the U.S. analysts, the source said their thinking had not changed, except that they believed the missile may have been less sophisticated than a Buk, possibly an SA-6, and that the attack may have also involved a Ukrainian jetfighter firing on MH-17.

Since then there have been occasional news accounts about witnesses reporting that they did see a Ukrainian fighter plane in the sky and others saying they saw a missile possibly fired from territory then supposedly controlled by the rebels (although the borders of the conflict zone at that time were very fluid and the Ukrainian military was known to have mobile anti-aircraft missile batteries only a few miles away).

But the larger dog-not-barking question is why the U.S. intelligence community has clammed up for nearly one year, even after I reported that I was being told that U.S. analysts had veered off in a different direction – from the initial blame-the-Russians approach – toward one focusing on a rogue Ukrainian attack.

For its part, the DNI’s office has cited the need for secrecy even as it continues to refer to its July 22 report. But didn’t DNI James Clapper waive any secrecy privilege when he rushed out a report five days after the MH-17 shoot-down? Why was secrecy asserted only after the U.S. intelligence community had time to thoroughly review its photographic and electronic intelligence?

Over the past 11 months, the DNI’s office has offered no updates on the initial assessment, with a DNI spokeswoman even making the absurd claim that U.S. intelligence has made no refinements of its understanding about the tragedy since July 22, 2014.

If what I’ve been told is true, the reason for this silence would likely be that a reversal of the initial rush to judgment would be both embarrassing for the Obama administration and detrimental to an “information warfare” strategy designed to keep the Russians on the defensive.

But if that’s the case, President Barack Obama may be acting even more recklessly than President Johnson did in 1964. As horrific as the Vietnam War was, a nuclear showdown with Russia could be even worse.

~

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

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 3 Comments

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