Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pentagon War Plans in 2001: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, & Iran

Comment: Just in case we forget the reasons for the current chaos...

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Police State USA

U.S. General Wesley Clark (ret.) revealed that he was informed, in the days following 9/11/2001, that the Department of Defense was planning wars with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan,  Iran.

Clark was regarded as an esteemed commander during his service from 1966 to 2000, and obtained the rank of 4-star general. He discussed the matter in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on March 2, 2007.

Here is the transcript of Gen. Clark’s account:
CLARK: About 10 days after 9/11, I went to the Pentagon, and I saw [Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary [Paul] Wolfowitz. I went downstairs to say hello to some of the people on the joint staff that used to work for me.
One of the generals called me in and said, “Sir, you gotta come in and talk to me.” I said, “Sir, you’re too busy.” And he said, “No, no! We’ve made the decision — we’re going to war with Iraq!” This is on or about the 28th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why!?” He said, “I don’t know!” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Did they find some information connecting Saddam to al Qaeda?” He said, “No, no, there’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess its like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time, we were bombing in Afghanistan. And I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, its worse than that.” He said– he reached over on his desk and he picked up a piece of paper, and he said, “I just got this from upstairs,” meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office. And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years. Starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off Iran.”



What can be made of this?

One explanation, as some suggest, is that it is not unexpected for the Pentagon to maintain ongoing contingency plans; keeping ready to pursue various far-fetched wars at all times. But even if that much is true, why would this seven-country invasion plan be put into official memos in the weeks following the 9/11/2001 attack? Those countries had nothing to do with the hijackings — yet American generals were being briefed about serious plans to attack. Why?

The proposed plan obviously did not pan out exactly as written, but it may have very well given us a look at the agenda of some very bloodthirsty policy-makers, as they tried to exploit the anguish felt following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Disturbingly, we cannot even be sure that “the plan” is not still being pursued. The Pentagon has maintained a steady course of aggressive foreign interventionism throughout both the Bush and Obama administrations. As we have witnessed, much of what General Clark revealed has ultimately moved forward, albeit with a modified timeline.

Iraq’s government was toppled by the U.S. during the bloody full-scale invasion in 2003. U.S. commandos have been operating clandestinely in Sudan since at least 2005. The U.S. has been operating Somalia since 2007, clandestinely and through missile strikes. Libya’s government was toppled with the help of U.S. missile support in 2009. The U.S. began its bombing campaign in Syria in 2014. Iran’s fate remains yet to be determined, but was a frequent target of pro-war rhetoric in the ’12 election cycle.

If one subscribes to the idea that it is the U.S. military’s proper role (and the U.S. taxpayers’ economic burden) to clean up every undemocratic cesspool on the planet, then this brand of foreign policy might make sense or seem appealing. But even if that much is accepted, one must acknowledge that the leaders and policymakers clamoring for war are the same folks who gave us the Patriot Act, the NDAA, the ACA, the TSA, mass domestic spying, giant bailouts, exponential debt growth, and so many other harmful policies.

Americans’ patriotism and support of democracy have long been exploited by leaders with a far less altruistic foreign policy agenda. The country is not being kept in a state of perpetual conflict because it is good for the USA, good for the world, or destined to promote freedom.

Could it be that the purpose of pursuing war is to be at war? War is the perfect tool to centralize and expand government, degrade civilian liberties, suppress dissenting voices, maintain high levels of state secrecy, unaccountably disperse large sums of taxpayer money, militarize law enforcement, spy on the people, among other things. As Randolph Bourne famously wrote, “War is the health of the state.”

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How a piece of 9/11 truth art made it into ‘official’ Ground Zero museum

Craig McKee
Truth and Shadows

Sometimes the truth can show up in the last place you’d think to look. 


 Freda’s “9-11 Questions.”

A work of art that challenges the official account of 9/11 has been accepted into the permanent collection of the 9/11 Museum in New York City. And surprisingly, the piece was created by an artist who is best known for his illustrations in the mainstream media.

Anthony Freda — who has contributed provocative political art to publications like The New York TimesTimeRolling StoneEsquireThe New Yorker, and Playboy — says he has no idea why the museum would accept his painting, titled “9-11 Questions.”

“I still can’t figure out what is in the museum’s mind letting me in there, because literally every part of my being is fighting against the official narrative that they are trying to promote,” he said in an interview. “The thing that fascinates me, and they admitted this, is that this is the only piece in the entire collection that questions the official narrative in any way.”

Freda met with museum staff for 90 minutes to donate the art and to answer questions about the images it contains. The entire exchange was filmed for a documentary called Behind Truth Art, which is planned for release in 2015. (This 30-minute preview shows highlights of the meeting.)

Museum officials told Freda that “9-11 Questions” will rotate with other works on display and that it may also be included in traveling 9/11 art shows organized by the museum. But he concedes that museum officials, now that they own it, can do whatever they want with the piece — including locking it in a vault forever.

Read more
 

Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA,’ Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’

Blacklisted News

In a December 19th interview in the Russian magazine Kommersant, George Friedman, who is the Founder and CEO of Stratfor, the ‘Shadow CIA’ firm, says of the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych that occurred on February 22nd of 2014: “It really was the most blatant coup in history.” Perhaps he is saying this because of the videos that were uploaded to the Web which showed it to be so, but this statement by him contradicts the description that is asserted by the U.S. White House and the European Union, and the Western press, which description is that Yanukovych’s overthrow was instead just the result of the U.S. Government’s $5+ billion expense since 1991 to establish ‘democracy’ in Ukraine

Friedman further says that “The Russian authorities can not tolerate a situation in which western armed forces will be [in Ukraine] a hundred kilometers from Kursk or Voronezh [in Russia]”, and that the goal of the U.S. is to “maintain the balance of power in Europe, helping the weaker party,” which he says is Europe. He furthermore says, “The United States considers the most dangerous potential alliance to be between Russia and Germany. This would be an alliance of German technology and capital with Russian natural and human resources.” So: the U.S. is trying to antagonize Germans against Russia. This will weaken both of them. However, that would be not a “balance of power” but an increasing imbalance of power in favor of the United States. The Russian interviewer failed to catch his inconsistency on that.

Friedman was consistent with the U.S. Government’s line that Russia is a threat to the U.S.; he said: “No American president can afford to sit idly by if Russia becomes more and more influential.” He said that this is especially the case in the Middle East, and regarding Syria. But he then clarified himself, “I’m not saying that Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict was the cause of the Ukrainian crisis, it would be a stretch.” Regarding Ukraine, he said: “The bottom line is that the strategic interests of the United States are to prevent Russia from becoming a hegemon. And the strategic interests of Russia are not to allow the US close to its borders.” He avoided even to mention the United States as possibly being a “hegemon” itself, one which is trying, along with its NATO allies, to crush Russia for its resisting America’s hegemony — that is, global dominance by America’s aristocracy.

Read more
 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lavrov: US is organizing a coup d'etat in Russia

Ukrainia

Russia’s foreign minister said that the US is stoking regime change in Russia with its sanctions.

There are serious reasons to believe that the US is using its sanctions in an attempt to destabilize Russia and change its current political system, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview to France 24. 

"I have serious reasons to believe that it is so. Some politicians don't even hide the fact," Lavrov said answering a question. 

He said Russia would not only survive the sanctions but would come out even stronger afterward. 

"As Vice President Biden said publicly, it was the US that ordered Europe to join sanctions against Russia," Lavrov said. "Unfortunately, for several years we overestimated the independence of the EU and several major European countries. This is geopolitics."

Lavrov recalled that several times in its history Russia had been in much worse situations but had always emerged stronger.  



Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Oil Coup

Mike Whitney
Global Research

“John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.” (Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia, Larry Eliot, Guardian)

U.S. powerbrokers have put the country at risk of another financial crisis to intensify their economic war on Moscow and to move ahead with their plan to “pivot to Asia”.

Here’s what’s happening: Washington has persuaded the Saudis to flood the market with oil to push down prices, decimate Russia’s economy, and reduce Moscow’s resistance to further NATO encirclement and the spreading of US military bases across Central Asia. The US-Saudi scheme has slashed oil prices by nearly a half since they hit their peak in June. The sharp decline in prices has burst the bubble in high-yield debt which has increased the turbulence in the credit markets while pushing global equities into a tailspin. Even so, the roiled markets and spreading contagion have not deterred Washington from pursuing its reckless plan, a plan which uses Riyadh’s stooge-regime to prosecute Washington’s global resource war. Here’s a brief summary from an article by F. William Engdahl titled “The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria”:

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Monday, 15 December 2014

USAID Exposed in Cuba - What it Tells Us About US Subversion Worldwide

Anthony Cartalucci
Land Destroyer

Revealed in an Associated Press (AP) investigation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had for two years attempted to create and exploit a social network within Cuba for the purpose of sparking unrest and overthrowing the Cuban government. The program was an abject failure, primarily because the Cuban government took the necessary measures to investigate, interrogate, and otherwise disrupt what was foreign-backed sedition.
AP would reveal in its report titled, "US co-opted Cuba's hip-hop scene to spark change," that:

The program is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba's communist government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports. 
The work included the creation of a "Cuban Twitter" social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous AP stories.
Far from the first time USAID and other US organizations claiming to be aiding in development but in fact engaged in political subversion, the Cuban program itself was based on another US-backed program used to topple the government of Serbia in 2000, AP would reveal.
The USAID operation involved money covertly funneled into Cuba through front companies and offshore banks. USAID, despite the evidence, has wholly denied the operation, as has other US organizations caught in blatant political subversion.
 

Read more



Researchers unearth time capsule buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams

USA Today


A time capsule buried in 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams was unearthed Thursday in Boston at the Massachusetts Statehouse, possibly the oldest such U.S. artifact ever uncovered.

About the size of a cigar box, the copper container — green from oxidation and caked in plaster — was found in the cornerstone of the “new” statehouse on Beacon Hill, which was completed in 1798.

As Boston Museum of Fine Arts Conservator Pam Hatchfield chiseled away for hours to free the box, five silver cons spilled from the stone block — measures of good luck tossed in when the capsule was entombed by the revolutionary heroes 219 years ago, officials told the Boston Globe. At the time, Adams was known as the governor, not a beer.

The world will have to wait a little longer to learn what’s inside. The museum will X-ray the box over the weekend and reveal its contents next week.

 

 

Skin deep tech: Cicret bracelet aims to turn your arm into 'new tablet'

 Still from youtube video (Cicret App & Bracelet)
Still from youtube video (Cicret App & Bracelet)

Reading emails on your skin may sound wacky, but not for the French designers working on a bracelet that projects your smartphone content onto your arm. To turn the surreal Cicret device into reality, the designers are seeking funding.

A video explaining how the device works has gone viral, racking up 4,222,427 views on YouTube at the time of this article’s publication. The Cicret website says the designers are still working on the prototype of the waterproof bracelet that promises to "make your skin your new tablet."

"Don’t trust any website selling it yet," they warn. 

The Cicret, activated with a twist of the wrist, is equipped with an embedded memory card, processor, accelerometer, micro USB port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But the key part is the so-called "pico-projector" and an array of proximity sensors. The pico projector projects the interface onto your arm. When you put your finger on the interface, you stop one of eight proximity sensors. The sensor sends the information back to the processor in your Circet bracelet. 

Read more (video)

Friday, 12 December 2014

Project Censored: Top 25 Stories of 2014 Subjected to Press Censorship

Wanttoknow

1. Ocean Acidification Increasing at Unprecedented Rate (For full story, click here
 
Our oceans are acidifying — even if the nightly news hasn't told you yet. It’s well known that burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air. Less understood is that 25% of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by oceans. The average acidity of surface ocean waters worldwide is more than 30% greater than at the start of the industrial revolution. The rising carbon dioxide in our oceans burns up and deforms the smallest, most abundant food at the bottom of the food chain. One vulnerable population is the tiny sea butterfly. In only a few short decades, the death and deformation of this fragile species could endanger predators all along the oceanic food web, scientists warn. This "butterfly effect" threatens fisheries that feed over 1 billion people worldwide. Our oceans may slowly cook our food chain into new forms with potentially catastrophic consequences. Scientists initially believed that fish would not be directly affected by ocean acidification, but recent research indicates otherwise. From clownfish (remember Nemo?) to walleye pollock (got fish sticks?) scientists have found that exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide scramble fish’s sense of smell, hearing, and sight. There is little funding for research on ocean acidification and its affects.

Sources: Julia Whitty, “10 Key Findings From a Rapidly Acidifying Arctic Ocean,” Mother Jones report, May 7, 2013. Craig Welch, “Sea Change, The Pacific’s Perilous Turn,” Seattle Times article, September 12, 2013. Eli Kintisch, “Snails Are Dissolving in Pacific Ocean,” ScienceNOW report, May 1, 2014.

2. Top Ten US Aid Recipients All Practice Torture (For full story, click here


Sexual abuse, children kept in cages, extra-judicial murder. While these sound like horrors the US would never support, the reverse is true: The top ten nations receiving US foreign assistance in fiscal year 2014 all are known to practice torture, and at least half are reported to be doing so on a massive scale. Yet, the US is a signatory of the United Nations' Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Israel received over $3 billion in US aid for fiscal year 2013-14, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Israel was criticized by the country's own Public Defender's Office for torturing children suspected of minor crimes. The next top recipients of US foreign aid were Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Iraq, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. All countries were accused of torture by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. When the US funds a highway or other project that it's proud of, it plants a huge sign proclaiming "your tax dollars at work." When the US funds torturers, the corporate media bury the story, or worse, don't report it at all.

Sources: Daniel Wickham, “Top 10 US Aid Recipients All Practice Torture,” Left Foot Forward article, January 30, 2014.

3. Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secret Deal to Help Corporations (For full story, click here


On Nov. 13, 2013, WikiLeaks published a section of a trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, or TPP. On the surface, the treaty is meant to facilitate trade among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam. However, there are a number of red flags. Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty, yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document.

Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty. The lack of coverage in corporate US media is disconcerting. Japanese, Australian, and Russian media discuss the TPP openly, while American news sources remain silent—even as the Obama administration attempts to fast-track it through Congress. Many criticized the secrecy surrounding the TPP, arguing the real world consequences may be grave. Doctors Without Borders wrote, "If harmful provisions in the US proposals for the [TPP] agreement are not removed before it is finalized, this trade deal will have a real cost in human lives."

Source: “Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP),” WikiLeaks release, Nov. 13, 2013. John Robles, “The TPP is a Corporate Coup D’état,” Voice of Russia report, Nov. 15, 2013. Zachary Keck, “Congress May Have Just Killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Diplomat article, Nov. 18, 2013. John Robles, “Trans Pacific Partnership is Like SOPA on Steroids,” Voice of Russia report, Nov. 23, 2013.

4. Corporate Internet Providers Threaten Net Neutrality (For full story, click here)


As this year's book from Project Censored went to press, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had just publicly revealed its proposed new rules for Internet traffic. A 3–2 vote by the FCC opened a four-month window for formal public comments on how strict those rules should be, and galvanized corporate media attention on the issue of net neutrality. By contrast, for months leading up to this development, independent journalists had been informing the public about the anticipated showdown over net neutrality and the stakes in that battle with virtually no media coverage. Since then, Verizon v. FCC has been well covered by both corporate and independent media. However, corporate outlets such as the New York Times and Forbes tend to highlight the business aspects of the case, skimming over vital particulars affecting the public and the Internet’s future. 

Sources: Paul Ausick, “Verizon Goes After FCC in Court Monday,” 24/7 Wall St. report, September 9, 2013. Cole Stangler, “Your Internet’s in Danger,” In These Times article, October 2, 2013. Jennifer Yeh, “Legal Gymnastics Ensue in Oral Arguments for Verizon vs. FCC,” Free Press article, September 10, 2013.

5. Bankers Remain on Wall Street Despite Major Crimes (For full story, click here)

Bankers responsible for rigging municipal bonds and bilking billions of dollars from American cities have largely escaped criminal charges. Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg, and Peter Grimm were dubbed a part of the "modern American mafia," by the Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, one of the few journalists to consistently cover their trial. Every day in the US, low-level drug dealers get more prison time than these scheming bankers who rigged auctions of municipal bonds, essentially stealing from projects intended to build public schools, hospitals, libraries, and nursing homes in virtually every US state. The three had been convicted in 2012 for this. However, in November 2013, those convictions were reversed on a technicality: Because it took federal prosecutors so long to build the massive case, the statute of limitations ran out. Meanwhile, disturbingly uninformed cable media "journalists" defended the bankers, saying they shouldn't be prosecuted for "failure," as if cheating vulnerable Americans were a bad business deal. Over the course of decades, the nation's bankers transformed into the modern mafioso. Unfortunately, our modern media changed as well, and are no longer equipped to tackle systemic, complex stories. 

Sources: Matt Taibbi, “Another Batch of Wall Street Villains Freed on Technicality,” Rolling Stone article, Dec. 4, 2013. Max Stendahl, “Former GE Execs Freed from Prison after Convictions Nixed,” Law360 article, Nov. 27, 2013. Janine Jackson, “Why Aren’t Big Bankers in Jail?” Extra! (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), Jan. 1, 2014. Matt Taibbi, “Gangster Bankers: Too Big to Jail,” Rolling Stone, Feb. 14, 2013.

6. The Deep State: Government “Without Reference to the Consent of the Governed” (For full story, click here


Concerned citizens are condemning the US government’s lack of transparency, accountability, and honest constituent representation. Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security, addressed the issue of the “deep state” that undemocratically orchestrates unchecked private agendas, while corporate media distract the public’s attention by focusing on traditional Washington partisan politics. Lofgren contended that, although the deep state is “neither omniscient nor invincible,” it is a “relentlessly well entrenched,” association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the US without reference to the consent of the governed.” Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the House Financial Services Committee incoming chairman in 2010, openly flouted constitutional rights when he stated, “My view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.” Corporate media do little to draw attention to the hidden wealthy elites who undemocratically control our government, because these elites own the major media

Sources: Mike Lofgren, “Anatomy of the Deep State,” Moyers & Company report, February 21, 2014.

7. FBI Dismisses Murder Plot against Occupy as NSA Cracks Down on Dissent (For full story, click here


In October 2011, when the Occupy movement arrived in Houston, protesters were subject to local and federal surveillance, infiltration by police provocateurs, and police assault. Months later, a document obtained in December 2012 from the Houston FBI office shows that the agency was aware of a plot to assassinate Occupy movement leaders—and did nothing about it. And in Arizona, law enforcement collaborated with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon divulging Occupy plans. The CEO claimed he was simply avoiding possible protests, and local law enforcement was happy to help. Government documents from the National Security Agency and other government offices revealed a grim mosaic of ‘counter-terrorism’ operations and negative attitudes toward activists and other citizens.

Sources: Dave Lindorff, “FBI Document—‘[DELETED]’ Plots to Kill Occupy Leaders’,” WhoWhatWhy article, June 27, 2013. Beau Hodai, “Dissent or Terror,” Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch/DBA Press, May 2013. Alex Kane, “How America’s National Security Apparatus—in Partnership With Big Corporations—Cracked Down on Dissent,” AlterNet report, May 21, 2013.

8. Ignoring Extreme Weather Connection to Global Warming (For full story, click here


News analyses have found mainstream media frequently report on severe weather changes without discussing global warming as a possible cause. A study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found extreme weather events in 2013 spurred 450 broadcast news segments, only 16 of which even mentioned climate change. National news outlets have fallen on the job as well, as The New York Times recently shuttered its environmental desk and its Green blog, reducing the number of reporters exclusively chasing down climate change stories. Unlike many journalists, ordinary people often recognize the threat of our warming planet. Over 400,000 protested in the People's Climate March in New York City alone, while simultaneous protests erupted across the globe, calling for government, corporate, and media leaders to address the problem. 

Sources: Peter Hart, “Weather—Without Climate,” Extra! report (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), Dec. 2, 2013. Dahr Jamail, “The Climate Change Scorecard,” Tomdispatch report, Dec. 17, 2013. Jamie Henn, “In the Wake of Haiyan, We Must Divest from Fossil Fuels,” YES! Magazine article, Nov. 12, 2013.

9. US Media Hypocrisy in Covering Ukraine Crisis (For full story, click here


The US battle with Russia over Ukraine's independence is actually an energy pipeline squabble, a narrative lost by mainstream media coverage. Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn fire from the media as a tyrant, without complex analyses of his country's socio-economic interests. As the media often do, they have turned the conflict into a cult of personality, talking up Putin's shirtless horseback riding and his hard-line style with deftness missing from their political analysis. Secretary of State John Kerry declaimed the Russian intervention as “a nineteenth-century act in the twenty-first century.” What Russia’s US critics seem to forget is the United States’ own history of overthrowing democratic governments, including the invasion of Iraq, which Kerry supported. Corporate media also fail to acknowledge that Putin ordered the occupation of Kiev after a coup led at least partly by neo-Nazis—conditions arguably less criminal than the US invasion of Iraq, which the US legitimized with false claims.

Sources: Robert Perry, “America’s Staggering Hypocrisy,” Consortium News article, March 4, 2014. Stephen F. Cohen, “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine,” article in The Nation, March 3, 2014. Nafeez Ahmed, “Ukraine Crisis is about Great Power Oil, Gas Pipeline Rivalry,” Guardian article, March 6, 2014.

10. World Health Organization Suppresses Report on Iraqi Cancers and Birth Defects (For full story, click here


The United States' legacy in Iraq possibly goes beyond death to a living nightmare of cancer and birth defects, due to the military's use of depleted uranium weapons, a World Health Organization study found. Iraq is poisoned. Much of the report's contents were leaked to the BBC during its creation. But the release of the report, completed in 2012 by WHO, has stalled. Critics claim the US is deliberately blocking its release, masking a damning Middle East legacy rivaling the horrors of Agent Orange in Vietnam. But Iraq will never forget the US intervention, as mothers cradle babies deformed from the womb, the continuing gifts of our invasion.

Sources: Denis Halliday, “WHO Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq Caused by Depleted Uranium Ammunition,” Global Research article, September 13, 2013. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, “What’s Delaying the WHO Report on Iraqi Birth Defects?” ZNet article, June 12, 2013.

More of the Top 25 Press Censorship Stories of 2014


11. Wealthy Donors and Corporations Set Think Tanks’ Agendas (For full story, click here

Think tanks provide information and analysis to policy makers and the public, making them increasingly influential institutions in our political process. However, many think tanks—including the Brookings Institution, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, and the RAND Corporation, among others—receive significant financial backing from extremely wealthy corporations and/or individuals. Because the law does not require public disclosure of donors’ identities, these relationships raise the issue of whether think tanks’ analyses and recommendations are tainted by donor agendas.

12. Pentagon Awash in Money Despite Serious Audit Problems (For full story, click here

Congress is expanding the Pentagon’s 2014 budget by $32 billion. The Pentagon currently receives over $600 billion, when its current budget is combined with supplemental war funding. One out of every five US tax dollars is spent on defense. Where does the money go? “The exact answer is a mystery,” wrote Dave Gilson for Mother Jones. “That’s because the Pentagon’s books are a complete mess.” As the Government Accountability Office dryly noted, the Pentagon has “serious financial management problems” that render its financial statements “inauditable.” 

13. Lawsuit Challenges Nuclear Power Industry Immunity from Liability in Nuclear Accidents (For full story, click here

A lawsuit filed by lawyers on behalf of 1,415 plaintiffs, including 38 residents of Fukushima and 357 persons from outside Japan, holds not only the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) but also Toshiba, Hitachi, and General Electric responsible for the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Historically, manufacturers and operators of nuclear power plants have been granted immunities in liability for accidents. The Fukushima case is a landmark challenge to nuclear power plant manufacturers’ immunity from liability in nuclear accidents. 

14. Evidence of Ongoing Wireless Technology Health Hazards (For full story, click here

Wireless phones emit radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) when in use. In May 2011, after the consideration of laboratory studies, studies of long-term use of wireless phones, and data on the incidence of brain tumors, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined RF-EMFs to be a “possible” human carcinogen. Other studies have shown an association between long-term mobile and cordless phone use with glioma and acoustic neuroma. 

15. Reporting Miscarriages, Criminalizing Pregnant Women’s Bodies (For full story, click here

A proposed bill before the Kansas state legislature would require women to report miscarriages at any stage in pregnancy. This has been described as the first step along the path to criminalizing pregnant women’s bodies. Under an amendment attached to House Bill 2613, doctors would be required to report all of their patients’ miscarriages to the state health department.

16. The Beef Industry Supports Feeding Cattle Chicken Poop (For full story, click here

The beef industry increasingly feeds cattle “poultry litter,” scraped from chicken coop floors, a practice that risks the spread of mad cow disease—yet the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has done nothing to stop it. In 1997, the FDA made it illegal to feed dead cows to living cows, the main cause of the disease. In response, the beef industry teamed up with the poultry industry to exploit a major loophole in the 1997 law. The poultry industry feeds the dead remains of cattle to chickens and other poultry; the mess created by poultry, known as “litter,” is then sold to the cattle producer who feed it to cattle that the public eats. 


17. Gaza Running Out of Drinking Water (For full story, click here

In Gaza, 1.7 million Palestinians currently live without clean drinking water. Over 80 percent of Gazans buy their drinking water, with some families paying as much as a third of their household income. Gaza relies on a single aquifer for all of its fresh water. It is contaminated with sewage, chemicals, and seawater. A recent United Nations report warned that “the aquifer could become unusable as early as 2016, with the damage irreversible by 2020.”

18. National Database of Police Killings Aims for Accountability (For full story, click here

Although the FBI tracks how many police officers die in the line of duty, it keeps no such record for how many civilians are killed by police each year. Recognizing a significant gap in the public records of civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers, D. Brian Burghart, the editor of the Reno News & Review and a journalism instructor at University of Nevada, decided to create a public database. Burghart has compiled a list of police agencies across the country to facilitate public record requests about fatal incidents. 

19. Agribusiness Giants Silence and Discredit Scientists Whose Research Reveals Health Threats of Herbicides (For full story, click here

Big Agriculture giants Monsanto and Syngenta have silenced the findings and destroyed the reputations of scientists whose research shows that the companies’ herbicides pose serious threats to human health. As one example among many, in Sept. 2012, Dr. Gilles-Éric Séralini published research in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. His findings showed the toxic impact of Monsanto’s herbicide and genetically modified corn. However, after publication, the journal made the unprecedented decision to retract the study. A new connection between the journal and Monsanto might account for the retraction. 

20. Estonia a Global Example of E-Government, Digital Freedom, Privacy, and Security (For full story, click here

Since Estonia regained independence in 1991, its government has sought to redesign the nation’s entire information infrastructure with goals of openness, privacy, and security. The technology platform that Estonia built to serve its citizens sets an example for the rest of the world. Each citizen has one identification number to use across all systems, from paper passport to bank records to any government office or medical care. This includes giving electronic signatures, filing taxes, and voting. Estonians elect their parliament online, and get their taxes back in two days. 

21. Questioning the Charter School Hype (For full story, click here

Charter schools have been heralded as the antidote to “failed” public schools, especially in poor urban communities of African-American and Latino/a students. Politicians and celebrities alike now advocate charters schools. However, charter schools have come under fire for not fulfilling the roles or achieving the results that their proponents have claimed. Instead of providing positive teaching and preparing children for the future, recent news reports have indicated that charter schools are subjecting students to padded cells, public shaming and embarrassment, poor instruction, and the negative consequences of financial corruption. 

22. Corporate News Media Understate Rape, Sexual Violence (For full story, click here

Media analysts observe how journalists refrain from using the word “rape” to describe incidents of sexual assault. Instead, news outlets downplay the humiliation and cruelty entailed in these acts by referring to them as “sex crimes,” “inappropriate sexual activity,” or “forced sex,” even though such acts are legally recognized as “rape.”

23. Number of US Prison Inmates Serving Life Sentences Hits Record (For full story, click here

The number of prisoners serving life sentences in the US state and federal prisons reached a new record of over 150,000 in 2012. Of these, 49,000 are serving life without possibility of parole, an increase of 22.2 percent since 2008. Keeping these prisoners locked up for life costs taxpayers around $1.8 billion annually.

24. Restorative Justice Turns Violent Schools Around (For full story, click here

Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia’s infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed both metal detectors and barred windows. The police predicted chaos. But, instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year the number of serious incidents fell by 90 percent.

25. US Military Balancing Budget on Backs of Disabled Veterans (For full story, click here

The US military has been engaged in a policy of forcing wounded and disabled veterans out of service to avoid paying benefits and to make room for new able-bodied recruits. Identifying injured combat soldiers as delinquent and negligent has lead to a practice called “chaptering out” which results in those soldiers being forced to leave the military without an honorable discharge. Because of this, thousands of soldiers have been discharged without federal benefits including health care, unemployment, and educational programs.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

America is on a “Hot War Footing”: House Legislation Paves the Way for War with Russia?

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research


America is on a war footing. While, a World War Three Scenario has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than ten years, military action against Russia is now contemplated at an "operational level". Similarly, both the Senate and the House have introduced enabling legislation which provides legitimacy to the conduct of a war against Russia.

We are not dealing with a "Cold War". None of the safeguards of the Cold War era prevail.

There has been a breakdown in East-West diplomacy coupled with extensive war propaganda. In turn the United Nations has turned a blind eye to extensive war crimes committed by the Western military alliance.

The adoption of a major piece of legislation by the US House of Representatives on December4th (H. Res. 758) would provide (pending a vote in the Senate) a de facto green light to the US president and commander in chief to initiate - without congressional approval - a process of military confrontation with Russia.

Global security is at stake. This historic vote - which potentially could affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people Worldwide - has received virtually no media coverage. A total media blackout prevails.

The World is at a dangerous crossroads. Moscow has responded to US-NATO threats. Its borders are threatened.

On December 3, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced the inauguration of a new military-political entity which would take over in the case of war.

Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war. (RT, December 3, 2014)
Read more

CIA torture report released: latest news

The Telegraph

CIA lied to Senate and White House on torture methods: report Torture 'brutal' and 'far worse' than CIA claimed US risks losing moral authority over torture, suggests Cameron CIA falsely claim UK terror plots foiled due to torture How waterboarding reduced even interrogators to tears
Key findings ; executive summary ; report in full


21.16 The Senate torture report implicates the UK and there is an urgent need “to get to the bottom of our own involvement”, said Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of Commons Treasury select committee, who led an investigation into so-called rendition flights, said the report. 

Quote It’s impossible to tell how much the report has been redacted or reduced, cut, to take out the extent of the involvement of other countries, in particular America’s closest ally the United Kingdom. 
I think it is quite likely that we will find that those redactions are very heavy. There is a non-aggression pact on this, where the UK on the basis of something called the control principle does not release information that they have been given by the United States security forces, and likewise the Americans don’t do so in reverse.” 
For that reason we may find that key chunks that we would have liked to see in this report have been omitted. But that is no substitute and the publication of report should be no substitute for us in the UK getting to the bottom of this.’

Read more

See also: Torture report revelations: Gestapo 2.0 - Hitler would be pleased


The Bank of England is preparing the next crash

Richard Murphy
Tax Research UK

The FT worries me this morning. First it said this:

The UK can have a growing banking sector without condemning itself to more frequent and costly financial crises, the Bank of England has said.

The sector is on course to double from its current size to more than 950 per cent of UK gross domestic product by 2050, far outstripping projected increases in other Group of 20 nations, the BoE said in a report published on Monday.

Then there was this:

The Bank of England says the vast majority of mortgage borrowers could handle interest rate rises of up to 2 percentage points, marking a significant shift in its stance on how higher borrowing costs will hit household finances.

The shift signals that the BoE is getting closer to changing policy and wants to reassure the public and financial markets that Britain’s borrowers can cope.

Both of which have to be read in the context of the FT noting last week that:

The new [Office for Budget Responsibility] forecasts show UK household debt rising even faster than previously thought in the next parliament (2015-20) to a record high of more than 180 per cent of gross domestic product.

And this has to also be noted in the light of the Resolution Foundation’s quite reasonable warning that maybe one million UK households would be plunged into debt crisis by the mortgage rate rises the Bank of England is now envisioning.

So, what is happening here? I suggest there are three things.

Read more

Monday, 8 December 2014

Another banker found dead under questionable circumstances

Zerohedge

52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack - a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals - was described as 'impeccable', 'sporty', 'cared-for', and 'successful' and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrpunded by riddles... Tack disappeared on November 5th...

Impeccable. Sporty. Cared for. Successful. Just some qualifications that are attributed to the 52-year-old from the Belgian Geert Tack Haaltert.

Geert Tack worked as a private banker for ING and managed portfolios of wealthy clients. The Belgian was much respected in the financial world and was known as an up and top professional. His sudden disappearance had the effect of a bombshell. "If Tack himself was having trouble he has managed to keep it well hidden", colleagues say.

Nobody then could have guessed that the man would not return on Wednesday, November 5th to his wife in their villa Vondelen.
And would be found dead this weekend off the coast of Ostend... On December 3, the body was found on the coast of Ostend and removed from the water. The prosecutor confirmed today that it is Geert Tack, but it is still awaiting further results of the autopsy for the exact cause of death. The results of toxicological testing are not yet known.The examiner states that the body showed no outward signs of violence.

Geert Tack rental car found abandoned
As Vermist comments, he was well-liked and successful but the situation of his disappearance remain odd to say the least...
What makes the case very mysterious are the rather peculiar circumstances under which he disappeared. A few weeks earlier Tack drove his car to the garage and then took a replacement car. Oddly enough, he used it much later, shortly before he disappeared. Meanwhile, the car, a Renault Espace, has been found in Knokke, but Tack's whereabouts are still unknown to this day. Also - why did he find it sometimes so difficult to get to sleep in the weeks before his disappearance? Why did he leave his laptop and cell phone at home that Wednesday morning ?Although a desperate act can not be excluded, there are also people considering the missing part of a preconceived plan. From his position Tack had the opportunity - whether or not forced by third parties - to run off with money from his clients. It is a hypothesis that is being seriously investigated by the federal police, but which colleagues refuse to consider. "He would never do something like that" said one of them with certainty. "Geert is a blameless man.
This is the 36th Dead Banker of the year (via Beforeitsnews):

1) David Bird, 55, long-time reporter for the Wall Street Journal working at the Dow Jones news room
2) Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG
3) William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank
4) Ryan Henry Crane, age 37, JP Morgan
5) Li Junjie, 33, Hong Kong JP Morgan
6) Gabriel Magee, 39, age JP Morgan employee
7) Mike Dueker, 50, who had worked for Russell Investments
8) Richard Talley, 57, was the founder and CEO of American Title (real estate titles)
9) James Stuart Jr. 70, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz
10) Jason Alan Salais, 34 year old IT Specialist at JPMorgan since 2008
11) Autumn Radtke, 28, CEO of First Meta, a Singapore-based virtual currency trading platform
12) Eddie Reilly, 47, investment banker, Vertical Group, New York
13) Kenneth Ballando, 28, investment banker, Levy Capital, New york
14) Joseph A. Giampapa, 55, corporate bankruptcy lawyer, JP Morgan Chase
15) Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, voormalig topbestuurder ANB/AMRO, Laren, Nederland
16) Juergen Frick, 48, CEO Bank Frick & Co AG, Liechtenstein
17) Benoît Philippens, 37, directeur BNP Parisbas Fortis Bank, Ans, België.
18) Lydia..., 52, bankier Bred-Banque-Populaire, Parijs
19) Andrew Jarzyk, 27, bankier, PNC Bank, New York
20) Carlos Six, 61, Hoofd Belastingdienst en lid CREDAF, België
21) Jan Winkelhuijzen, 75, Commissaris en Fiscalist (voormalig Deloitte), Nederland.
22) Richard Rockefeller, 66, achterkleinzoon elitebankier John D. Rockefeller, Amerika
23) Mahafarid Amir Khosravi (Amir Mansour Aria), 45, bankeigenaar, zakenman en derivatenhandelaar, Iran
24) Lewis Katz, 76, zakenman, advocaat en insider in de bancaire wereld, Amerika
25) Julian Knott, Directeur Global Operations Center JP Morgan, 45, Amerika
26) Richard Gravino, IT Specialist JP Morgan, 49, Amerika
27) Thomas James Schenkman, Managing Director Global Infrastructure JP Morgan, 42, Amerika
28) Nicholas Valtz, 39, Managing Director Goldman Sachs, New York, Amerika
29) Therese Brouwer, 50, Managing Director ING, Nederland
30) Tod Robert Edward, 51, Vice President M & T Bank, Amerika
31) Thierry Leyne, 48, investeringsbankier en eigenaar Anatevka S.A., Israël
32) Calogero Gambino, 41, Managing Director Deutsche Bank, Amerika
33) Shawn D. Miller, 42, Managing Director Citigroup, New York, Amerika
34) Melissa Millian, 54, Senior Vice President Mass Mutual, Amerika
35) Thieu Leenen, 64, Relatiemanager ABN/AMRO, Eindhoven, Nederland
36) Geert Tack, 52, Private Banker ING, Haaltert, België 


 ______________________________

See also: Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us

 

Friday, 5 December 2014

New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection

Gabriela Segura, M.D.
The Dot Connector Magazine


This article was first published in issue 13, volume 1 / 2011 of The Dot Connector Magazine, official publication of Sott.net.
"Comets are vile stars. Every time they appear in the south, they wipe out the old and establish the new. Fish grow sick, crops fail, Emperors and common people die, and men go to war. The people hate life and don't even want to speak of it." -Li Ch'un Feng, Director, Chinese Imperial Astronomical Bureau, 648, A.D.


In 2007, a meteorite fell in Puno, Southeastern Perú. José Macharé - scientist of the Geologic, Mining and Metallurgic Institute in Perú - said that the space rock fell near a muddy area by Lake Titicaca, making the water boil for around ten minutes, and mixing with the soil and emanating a gray cloud, the components of which remain unknown. Having discarded radioactive poisons, this toxic cloud is said to have caused headaches and respiratory problems in at least 200 persons from a population of 1500 inhabitants. Other than this event, how often do we hear about people getting sick due to a rock coming from space? How about birds, fish or other animals? Ancient astrologers cite comets as ill omens of death and famine, but are there any other causes other than the ones due to physical/mechanical consequences of comet impact devastation in our fragile environment of which we should be aware?

As a physician, I usually concentrate strictly on medical and health-related issues, not history or catastrophism. However, like so many other people, I see signs of atmospheric changes on our planet which, according to many experts, may well be due to increasing comet dust loading. When I read about increasing reports of fireballs all around the world, and I know that these factors must have an effect on the health of individuals and societies, it motivates me to do the research to find the connections so that I am better prepared for what may lie in our future. If our planet is entering a new cometary bombardment cycle, and if these comets harbor new species of microbes unknown to mankind's collective immunological systems (as may well be the case), then being forewarned is being forearmed. 


Read more

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Online news sites to be blacked out during next major catastrophic event?

Natural News

 (NaturalNews) According to what I'm hearing from several sources in my network of contacts, the U.S. government is putting systems in place to black out online news sites like Natural News, Drudge Report, The Blaze and many others. A practice run that took place earlier this week in California has already achieved this result and confirmed the technical ability to make it happen at will.

The recent outage of news sites experienced by internet users in California was reported by this article on BeforeItsNews.com and confirmed by The Washington Times, The Blaze and other sites. The Natural News reader service team also recorded numerous complaints from California users who were unable to reach our website even though our site was fully functional and serving pages worldwide.

What was especially telling about this outage is that it only affected online news sites while allowing other internet traffic to flow normally. This selective targeting of news websites could have been accomplished by "deep packet inspection used inside the routers that move information packets along the internet," reported Before Its News technical staff. "This technology allows ISP's to look inside the packets your computer sends and receives and then make a decision to allow the packets through, modify the packets or block them. This technique can also be used to slow or speed up traffic."

The selective targeting proves that this was not a general outage. The traffic blockage was specifically targeted to online news sites.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind

BBC News

Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain's pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.

He told the BBC:"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.

But others are less gloomy about AI's prospects.

The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.

Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next. 

Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.

Read more
 
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