Category Archives: War Propaganda

Readers Comments Show anti-Putin Propaganda Not Working

By Mike Whitney

November 23, 2014 “ICH” – “Counterpunch” – Anyone who follows the news regularly, knows that the media has done everything in its power to smear Vladimir Putin and to demonize him as a tyrant and a thug. Fortunately, most people aren’t buying it.

Yes, I’ve seen the polls that say that Putin and Russia are viewed “less favorably” than they were prior to the crisis in Ukraine. In fact, here’s a clip from a recent PEW survey which seems to prove that I’m wrong:

“Across the 44 countries surveyed, a median percentage of 43% have unfavorable opinions of Russia, compared with 34% who are positive.

Negative ratings of Russia have increased significantly since 2013 in 20 of the 36 countries surveyed…

Americans and Europeans in particular have soured on Russia over the past 12 months. More than six-in-ten in Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the U.S. and the UK have an unfavorable image of Russia. And in all but one of these countries negative reviews are up by double digits since last year, including by 29 percentage points in the U.S., 27 points in Poland, 24 points in the UK and 23 points in Spain.” (Russia’s Global Image Negative amid Crisis in Ukraine: Americans’ and Europeans’ Views Sour Dramatically, PEW Research)

These results strongly suggest that the public blames Moscow for the fighting in Ukraine and (presumably)agrees with the prevailing storyline that Putin is a vicious aggressor who seized Crimea in order to rebuild the Soviet Empire. The problem with the PEW survey is that the results are based random samples of nationwide face-to-face or telephone interviews.

Why is that a problem?

It’s a problem because the man-on-the-street hasn’t the foggiest idea of what’s going on in Ukraine. All he knows is what he’s heard on TV. So, naturally, when he’s asked to offer his opinion on the matter, he’s going to regurgitate some variation of the official version, which is that Putin is responsible.

But try asking someone who’s actually been following events in Ukraine that same question, and you’re going to get an entirely different answer. Among the people who follow the daily developments in Ukraine, roughly two out of three support the Russian position. This isn’t something you’re going to find in the survey data, but if you take the time to comb the comments lines in the international media, you’ll see what I’m saying is true.

I hadn’t figured this out until last week’s G-20 Summit in Brisbane when Canada’s PM Stephen Harper brusquely greeted Putin saying, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”

The incident immediately became headline news around the world as journalists for all the major media heaped praise on Harper for courageously “shirt-fronting” the dastardly Putin. What was left out in the media’s account of the exchange, was Putin’s crisp retort, which was, “Unfortunately it is impossible, (for us to leave Ukraine) because we are not there.”

Touché. As you might expect, Putin’s response did not fit with the media’s narrative, so it was scrubbed from the coverage altogether.

The Harper incident was a particularly big deal in Canada where all the newspapers ran gushing articles lauding the prime minister for his righteousness and fortitude. Oddly enough, however, only a small percentage of the people who commented on the dust-up, saw Harper as the hero. Here’s a few samples of what ordinary people had to say. This is from BobsOpinion:

“Harper embarrasses Canadians again on the international stage. It will take years for Canadians to re-build our international relationships and to re-build our reputation.”

This comment is from redondex:

“Harper made a childish and baseless remark to Putin and walked off with a grin of a proud five year old spoilt kid. All Harper achieved was to ridicule himself in front of the rest of the world. That is our leaders usual behavior.”

This is from Makman1:

“I was under the impression that a proper democracy would first use negotiating as a way to understand the divergent groups involved in the Ukrainian revolution and then apply a political solution, if possible. The present Ukrainian government immediately used force. PERIOD! The Harper government, instead of using its “influence” to attempt to defuse a complex situation blindly followed the actions of the USA. If Harper really cared at all he would ask his foreign minister to get directly involved with Russian and Ukrainian counterparts and help reach a compromise…. Hopefully, Harper is not supporting Ukrainian right wing fascists?”

This is from Jörð:

“It’s not wise for Harper to follow America’s lead on every foreign policy. The USA government has a terrible track record when it comes to getting things right in foreign lands. Also Putin was correct when he responded to Harper’s comment by saying “It’s impossible, we are not there.” Technically Russia is not “In” the Ukraine.”

This is Time4Change:

“This is another example of Harper BLUSTERING backed with NO SUBSTANCE! Why are there NO SANCTIONS on the Russian Energy Giants Rosneft and Rostec? Could it be the hundreds of billions of $s the Russians have invested in the tar sands have caused Harper to be the SOFTEST on ACTIONS while shouting the loudest.”

And this is from Mt Athabaska:

” …one day Harper will reach puberty on global affairs.”

It’s worth noting that these comments were lifted from article that was published by theCanadian Broadcasting Corporation. I was shocked at how harshly Harper was criticized by his own countrymen. I was also surprised that the author’s obvious anti-Putin bias had virtually no impact on the opinions of the people who commented on the incident. In fact, it appeared to make many of them mad.

I should also mention that I omitted all of the comments that lambasted Harper for hiding in a broom closet “while a gun battle ensued in a nearby hallway of the Parliament building in Ottawa” in early October. (See here: Needless to say, Harper’s comical performance at the G-20 hasn’t convinced anyone that he’s the courageous leader he imagines himself to be.)

The media is increasingly worried that it’s losing its ability to persuade people to support policies that only serve the interests of elites. The media has rolled out all the heavy artillery in its campaign to demonize Putin, but the strategy hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s backfired quite badly leading some publications to cancel their comments section altogether.

And the response from readers has been huge too, mainly because the standoff between two nuclear-armed adversaries has galvanized the publics’ attention. For example, in the CBC article I cited above, more than 2,500 comments have been posted already, while many of the other articles on Ukraine or Putin have exceeded 6,000 comments. This just shows how closely people are following events and how passionate they feel about the policy.

And, as we said earlier, this isn’t just a Canadian phenom either. For example, here are a few of the comments I picked up from an article in the conservative UK Telegraph in an article titledGlobal economy to suffer as Putin quits G20 early.

Zeug Gezeugt:

“The US supports the neo-Nazi ethnic cleansing campaign in east Ukraine, Russia supports the Russian speaking Ukrainian majority in the east against it. Pretty simple really, and the US enforced sanctions can only harm EU Russian relations, a win-win all round for the neoconservative hawks.”

Pamela Cohen:

“So, the media tells us in the Title that Putin is to blame when the Global economy suffers, because he left the G20 early. What stupidity. And what a statement in bringing warships as their targeted President attends yet another meeting. Good for Putin. Blame the US-backed coup and looting and 4000 deaths on Putin, and blame the Ukrainian plane that shot down a passenger flight on him, too. Then shun him at a world meeting, as if he doesn’t have the right and responsibility to defend his country’s borders, Naval base, pipeline and brothers in the Ukraine as they are shelled and killed by US manipulation.

Instead of shock and awe and intruding where they didn’t belong like the US in all the Mid-Eastern countries according to long-ago made plans, Putin sends humanitarian aid and the people vote in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Putin-not all Americans are stupid sheep. My apologies for the onslaught of ignorance and imperialism. You are standing up to bullies of the worst kind. The world needs peaceful solutions to restore the harm of NWO fanaticism and corrupt bankers. Hold the line.”

MP Jones: “The US never ended the cold war and the ‘useful idiots’ in this context are us in Europe and the UK.”

Richard N:

“Most British people are deeply unconvinced by the flood of US and EU propaganda over Ukraine, trying to cast Russia as the villain – when the civil war there was caused directly by the US and their EU side kicks backing a coup to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country, Ukraine.”


“With due respect to the author, you say that his (Putin’s) popularity will rise at home as a consequence of this. Please read the message boards North American and European, you will find his popularity seems to have increased everywhere.

Guess the Brains behind 5 eyes and snooping will now have to move into the new reality of the power of the internet to provide information which they would not like others to get. Just a question of time before they make their next move – Censorship!”


“If, the ‘Seven Dwarfs’ (US, UK, EU, Japan, Australia, Canada, and South Africa) like bullies, weren’t so obsessed with beating Russia or China into a corner, rather than bringing Russia or China into their corner; the world would be a better place. Co-operation works better than devastation.”

John Derbyshire :

“Why all this Anti Russian propaganda. The fools who run the West keep creating bogeymen Bin Laden, ISIS, oddly both had connections to Western Powers. So as we face an economic down in the world economy we need another bogeyman, and up pops Putin in the Capitalist controlled media!

People seem to have short memories of pre Putin era, when Yeltsin backed by the West led the country to economic meltdown. Maybe he has scant regard for democratic institutions, but do Western governments support the views of the people!

All of this came about when the United States pushed Nato’s borders eastward and involved themselves in the Ukraine, particularly Mr Kerry. Russia felt itself threatened not by demands of democracy a device used by the worlds superpower, but the growing influence of the United States in the region. The fact that the USA exploited ethnic tensions only shows what was their intention in the region.”


“If the objective is to make Mr Putin appear isolated on the world stage in order to make him less popular at home, it isn’t working and also shows a profound misunderstanding of the Russian mind-set. ‘

Our Western political leaders also have a profound misunderstanding of strategy. Just about everything they do in relation to Russia is wrong and gains the West nothing. But they do like willy waving. Just a pity they do so much damage while they are at it.”

RedBaron9495: “With the public, the effect is rebounding and probably starting to gain Putin more support and worldwide sympathy. This British news forum is good example of that. They made the mistake of going into overkill…..and the public are wising up to the propaganda. They seen this all before prior to Iraq 2003 invasion…and again with Gaddafi.”

Circle of DNA :

“Well, the lives of average folks in Russia has been drastically improved since Putin took the reins of power. He defends Russian interests, fights the empire of chaos, and is massively supported by his people. He is also well educated and a first class statesmen. What is there not to like about him?”

Alltaxationistheft: “The Russian people appreciate how lucky they’ve been for Vladimir Putin to be around at the right time to resist the Neocon supremacist Wolfowitz doctrine…

Since the 1990s , the war mongering maniacs in the West have been planning to asset strip, and plunder Russia via ”liberal democracy”, claiming its natural resources while funding serial inter-ethnic tribal wars via US allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia…

In the 1990s, Russian people were driven into starvation ,prostitution and suicide under pro American ”Liberal” US corporate puppet Yeltsin… but Putin kicked the CIA EU Mossad lunatics out and has been re-building a Russia into a world power ever since.”


“The classless western free (loading) world that produces very little except paper currency, lies and bullshit. I am surprised Mr. Putin came and surrounded himself with such low life scum.
When all the western oligarchs hate someone as much as they hate President Putin, you know he has to be doing something right.”

There’s no need to be selective. Curious readers should go to any editorial platform that covers the crisis in Ukraine and judge for themselves if what I’m saying is true or not. The comments above are in no way extraordinary. What they do show, however, is that the media is losing the propaganda war in pretty stunning fashion, and that’s a huge victory for ordinary people. It’s very difficult for elites to prosecute their criminal wars or implement their rip-off economic policies when people can clearly see what they’re up to.

Now check out this article in the German paper Zeit Online where the author bemoans the media’s loss of influence. The article is titled “How Putin Divides”:

“Why do so many German citizens judge the crisis in Crimea in a completely different way than politicians and the media?

In my 30 years of experience with debates, I have never seen anything like what is now happening in Germany in the dispute over Russia and Crimea….

Unless surveys are misleading, two-thirds of German citizens, voters and readers stand opposed to four-fifths of the political class – in other words, to the government, to the overwhelming majority of members of parliament and to most newspapers and broadcasters. But what does “stand” mean? Many are downright up in arms. And from what one can gauge from letters to the editor, the share of critics seems significantly higher now than what was triggered by Sarrazin’s inflammatory book back then.” (Zeit Online)

Did you catch that part about the “two-thirds of German citizens.. stand opposed to four-fifths of the political class…and to most newspapers and broadcasters”?

That’s a triumph in itself, isn’t it? And what is the issue they disagree about?

They disagree “about the conflict between an aggressive autocrat (Bad Vlad) and Western democracies.”(the Washington-led troublemakers)

Here’s more from the same article:

“…the legitimacy of international law is being questioned in an offensive manner, while the legitimacy of Putin’s nationalist-imperialist ideology is being seriously considered….. It doesn’t do any good to accuse the majority of sheepishness or base economic selfishness, even if that seems to be the driving motive of some business leaders… The issue goes deeper, much deeper.” (How Putin Divides, Von Bernd Ulrich, Zeit Online)

“The legitimacy of international law is being questioned”?!?

Have you ever read such crybaby gibberish in your life?

Why is “the legitimacy of international law is being questioned”? Because people don’t accept blindly what they read the papers and hear on the news anymore? Because corporate editors no longer control how people think about issues? Because people are using their critical thinking skills to see through the lies and bullshit that idiots like the author ladle out in heaping doses every day? Is that why?

It seems to me that that’s a positive development, that people should question whatever they read in the papers and look for other sources of information before they form an opinion.

The bottom line is that no one believes the goofy propaganda the western media is trying to ram down the everyone’s throat anymore.

As kyle555 at Zero Hedge says: “India, China, Brazil and a host of other countries, representing more than half the world’s population, aren’t buying the western imperialist narrative on Ukraine. Nor are major segments of the domestic populations of the countries that are warmongering against Russia.”

Nor do they believe that US wars are a force for good in the world. Here’s strannick at Zero Hedge:

“Russia has seen firsthand the American dream for other nations, as American backed Oligarchs pillaged Russia while it’s people starved and were impoverished. Putin loves his country, and won’t sit on his thumbs while America attempts to encircle it through proxies while rationalizing its actions through corrupt MSMedia propaganda.”

Nor are they buying the “Putin is Hitler” crappola.

This is from smacker:

“People see in Putin a proud national leader who has the guts to stand up to our own criminals and who has over 80% support from his own population. That is enough to admire the guy, whatever else he might be.”

This is from Gaius frakkin’:

“A lot of the hatred from the political puppets in the West is due to Putin’s popularity. They’re jealous sociopaths who yearn to be respected and admired as much as him. The fact that Putin’s popularity is never mentioned is the key tell.”

And this from Joe Tierney:

“Vladdy-Poot is hammering home the point that the euros need to stop being America’s bitches, think for themselves, consider the terrible “costs” accruing to them for “wearing the blue dress” for America.

…America’s “global chaos ploy” is failing. Its cynical, “throw everyone under the bus” strategy just to cut across the rise of Russia-China is exposed for what it is – America cares nothing about the euros or anyone else. All it cares about is its own global dominance in perpetuity, no matter the “costs” to the rest of the world, including its friends and allies.

Putin has balls the size of the moon, and you can damn well bet that right now Russia and Putin are secretly being cheered on a grand scale around the globe.”

There’s a reason why, according to Gallup, Trust in Media (is at an) All-Time Low. It’s because the corporate media is the most perfidious, double-dealing, hypocritical institution in the country today. That’s why the anti-Putin propaganda has fallen on deaf ears. It’s because most people know you can’t believe anything you read in the news.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

The Corporate Media’s Dubious Syria Coverage

By James F. Tracy

Global Research, February 11, 2014

news1Western news media reportage on the rampant criminal activities of foreign-backed paramilitary groups operating within Syria still relies heavily on unreliable sources frequently referred to as “activists.” Such spokespersons routinely claim the Syrian military are committing atrocities against the Syrian population. The reports are often disputed by the Bashar al-Assad government and proven suspect or false when additional information is unearthed by independent researchers and alternative news media.

In July 2012 UK journalist Charlie Skelton reported that Western news outlets remain willing accomplices in a propaganda campaign being carried out by public relations practitioners. According to Skelton, “the spokespeople, the ‘experts on Syria’, the ‘democracy activists’ … The people who ‘urge’ and ‘warn’ and ‘call for action’” against the Assad regime are themselves part of a sophisticated and well-heeled propaganda campaign to allow NATO forces to give Syria the same medicine administered to Libya in 2011. “They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change,” Skelton reports,

and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.[1]

One needn’t look far for current examples of such uncertain reportage and sourcing from eminent news organizations. For example, a prominent February 8, 2014 story from Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, titled, “Aleppo Bombings Kill 23, Activists Say,” carries the lead, “At least 23 people have been killed as a regime helicopter dropped barrel bombs on an opposition-controlled district in Syria’s largest city Aleppo on Saturday, activists said.”[2]

The New York Times reports, “Rebel and government groups have each been accused of massacring civilians, and the government has stepped up air attacks on Aleppo with barrages of improvised ”barrel bombs” packed with high explosives that activists say have killed more than 200 people.[3]

Similarly influential papers such as the Washington Post also remain unabashedly forthright in their reliance on such sourcing. A recent Associated Press piece carried in the paper, titled, “Activists: Syrian Forces Launch New Aleppo Strikes,” quotes the Aleppo Media Center, a self-described “anti-Bashar Assad activist group.” Post readers are assured the entity “has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting.”[4]

Likewise, in November 2013 the BBC, whose Syria coverage tilts strongly toward “activist” observations, cites the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to break the story of Syrian government air strikes “kill[ing] dozens in Aleppo.“ As Skelton noted in his 2012 exposé, “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is commonly used as a standalone source for news and statistics” which are taken at face value and parroted by corporate media. While SOHR sounds like a credible and non-partisan human rights outfit, “’They’ are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry,” Skelton observes. In 2011 Reuters reported that when Abdulrahman “isn’t fielding calls from international media, [he] is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”[5]

The analysis suggests how despite the fact that those regularly quoted as authorities on Syria are often far-removed from what is transpiring on the ground and thus involved in a more far-reaching disinformation program to confuse the public on the calculated murder and chaos being carried out throughout Syria by Western-financed mercenary forces.

With the foreign-backed destabilization of Syria now well over two years old, major corporate-owned and government-backed news media, perhaps amazingly, continue to rely on such questionable entities as sources. Indeed, a Google search of “activists say” and “Syria” yields 919,000 results.

A more careful LexisNexis database search for “Syria,” “Assad,” “government” and the phrases “activists say” or “activists report” in the subject headings or text of news items for conventional print outlets indexed for June 1, 2012 to February 7, 2014 yields a data set consisting of close to 2,000 pieces—1,638 newspaper articles, 205 BBC broadcast transcripts, and 148 web-based articles.[6] A total 134 articles appeared in the New Zealand Herald, 52 in the Washington Post, 38 in the New York Times, 30 in the Financial Times, and 28 in the International New York Times.

The following table breaks down the news outlets that, based on the above search parameters, appear to have used so-called “activists” as sources 20 or more times since June 1, 2012.

News Outlet News Articles / Transcripts Referencing “Associated Press”
British Broadcasting Corporation 205
New Zealand Herald 134 43
Belfast Telegraph Online 97  –
Washington Post 52 26
Daily Star (Lebanon) 38  –
New York Times 38 5
Today’s Zaman (Turkey) 36  –
The National (UAE) 34 21
Anadolu Agency 32  –
Bismarck Tribune 30  –
Financial Times 30 15
Scotsman 29  –
Guardian 28  –
International New York Times 28 8
The Capitol (Annapolis MD) 26 13
McClatchey Tribune 26  –
Times of Oman 26  –
Salt Lake City Tribune 25 23
Times & Transcript 24 5
Times (London) 23  –
The Mirror 22  –

About 13.5% of the sample (270) either reference the Associated Press as a source or are AP wire stories. A search for “Associated Press” within the search results yields 270 articles, including a significant number appearing in the New Zealand Herald (43), the Washington Post (26), The National (21), the Bismarck Tribune (15), and the International New York Times (8). A far smaller number of the overall sample (33) reference “Reuters.”

Combined with an acquiescent news media that are arguably complicit in such deception, the end result amounts to sheer propaganda selling the “Syrian revolution” and further conditioning world public opinion for the inevitability of gradual regime change or even more direct military intervention.

After over two decades of phony atrocity stories and tall tales involving Middle Eastern bogeymen and their legion hordes—from babies being thrown out of incubators in Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait to bin Laden’s alleged 9/11 attacks, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, and Muammar Gaddafi’s fabricated “crackdown” on his people—the public should well understand that much of corporate news media merely function as a well-oiled propaganda machine where “special interests” pull the strings. This is particularly the case when the true powers that be seek to undermine sovereign governments and carry out programs of wholesale terrorism and destruction against their populations.


[1] Charlie Skelton, “The Syrian Opposition: Who’s Doing the Talking?” Guardian, July 12, 2012.

[2] “Aleppo Bombings Kill 23, Activists Say,” Anadolu Agency, February 8, 2014.

[3] Anne Barnard and Mohammad Ghannam, “Dozens Are Killed in Syrian Violence, Even Amid Preparations for Peace Talks,” New York Times, December 23, 2013, 12.

[4] “Activists: Syrian Forces Launch New Aleppo Strikes,” Associated Press / Washington Post, February 1, 2014.

[5] Skelton, “The Syrian Opposition”; “Coventry: An Unlikely Home to Prominent Syria Activist,” Reuters, December 8, 2011.

[6] A search including the past tense phrases “activists said” or “activists reported” would have likely retrieved an even larger sample.

Another Fake US Terror Alert

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, September 27, 2013

CIA-Hollywood-400x301Here we go again. Another fake alert. They’re strategically time. They’re wearing thin. They lack credibility. They repeat with disturbing regularity.

No terror threat exists. Washington lied claiming one. It’s not the first time. More on that below.

On September 25, the State Department headlined “Worldwide Caution,” saying:

“The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests throughout the world.”

“This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated February 19, 2013, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.”

“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas.”

“Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.”

“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.”

“Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where US citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.”

US sponsored state terrorism globally represents a real threat. Don’t expect the State Department to explain.

Its dirty hands are involved in waging war on humanity. Many tactics are used.

They include involvement in subversion, sabotage, targeted assassinations, cyber attacks, and lawless aggression among others.

Alleged Al Qaeda/affiliated groups planned terror attacks against US and Western interests abroad don’t wash.

They’re fake. Whatever happens, if anything, will be another US/Western/Israeli provocation.

They’ll be false flags used as justification for planned crackdowns and other aggressive acts.

These schemes are wearing thin. They change the subject. They divert attention from pressing domestic issues.

They justify wrongdoing. At times, they precede false flags.

Bush officials used color-coded alerts. They ranged from Green (low), Blue (guarded), Yellow (elevated), Orange (high) to Red (severe).

On April 26, 2011, a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) replaced them. Then Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said:

“Today I announce the end of the old system of color-coded alerts. In its place, we will implement a new system that’s built on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact you – the public – we will tell you.”

“We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities.”

Every post-9/11 terror alert was fake. Alleged threats didn’t exist. This time is no different. So-called intelligence, chatter or other claimed information doesn’t exist.

In early August, a fake terror warning followed alleged Al Qaeda intercepted electronic communications. None whatever existed. It didn’t matter.

The State Department headlined “Temporary Post Closures and Worldwide Travel Alert.” It affected over 20 US embassies and consulates.

Despite no reason to do so, they were shut because of “increased security concerns.”

Orders came at Ramadan’s close. They followed Russia granting Edward Snowden asylum. They came three days after fake Israeli/Palestinian peace talks began.

They’re during worsening economic crisis conditions. They affect growing millions. They’re when Washington plans more austerity. They divert attention from what concerns ordinary people most.

The initial August 3 and 4 closure was extended throughout the week. A White House statement said:

“Early this week, the President instructed his National Security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the American people in light of a potential threat occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.”

“Given the nature of the potential threat, throughout the week, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco has held regular meetings with relevant members of the interagency to ensure the US Government is taking those appropriate steps.”

“This afternoon, National Security Advisor Rice chaired a meeting with the Principals Committee to further review the situation and follow-up actions.”

“The President has received frequent briefings over the last week on all aspects of the potential threat and our preparedness measures. After today’s Principals meeting, the President was again briefed by Amb. Rice and Ms. Monaco.”

On August 4, the State Department issued an update on embassy and consulate closures, saying:

“Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts.”

“This is not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including local employees and visitors to our facilities.”

All so-called terror alerts, warning, cautions, and related announcements are fake. They’re issued for political advantage. They generate fear.

They justify wrongdoing. What’s planned remains to be seen. Post-September 30, a potential government shutdown looms.

On October 17, America’s debt ceiling is reached. If Congress doesn’t raise it, the Treasury runs out of money.

Syria remains on the boil. Efforts continue to discredit Iranian President Hassan Rohani.

separate article called his September 25 General Assembly address eloquent, straightforward, honest and important. He spoke truth to power. He did so sincerely and candidly.

He’s falsely accused of being a holocaust denier. CNN interviewed him.

FARS News headlined “CNN, Amanpour Should Account for Fabrication of President Rouhani’s Remarks,” saying:

“The American news channel CNN fabricated the Iranian President’s remarks in response to the network’s question about the Holocaust in an interview which was aired on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

“During the interview, CNN aired an English translation of President Rouhani’s remarks which were totally inaccurate and untrustworthy, and in some parts contained sentences which were not at all uttered by the president.”

His correctly translated remarks were:

“I have said before that I am not a historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of historical events, but generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews, the same way that if today any crime is committed against any nation or any religion or any people or any belief, we condemn that crime and genocide.”

“Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemned, (but) the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers. I am not a history scholar.”

CNN’s Translation: “I’ve said before that I am not a historian and then, when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it.”

“But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that Nazis committed towards the Jews as well as non-Jews is reprehensible and condemnable.”

“Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, the taking of human life is contemptible, it makes no difference whether that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim, for us it is the same, but taking the human life is something our religion rejects but this doesn’t mean that on the other hand you can say Nazis committed crime against a group now therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it.”

“This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an even-handed discussion.”

FARS News said most of CNN’s last paragraph translation was deceptively added, fabricated, or completely altered. Doing so shows willful intent.

Headlines followed. They called Rohani a holocaust denier. Haaretz headlined “Rohani says Nazis committed ‘reprehensible” crime against Jews, but did he disavow Holocaust denial?”

According to the Holocaust History Project, deniers claim three things:

(1) “First, they contend that, while mass murders of Jews did occur there was no official Nazi policy to murder Jews.”

(2) “Second they contend that there were no homicidal gas chambers, particularly at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where mainstream historians believe over 1 million Jews were murdered, primarily in gas chambers.”

(3) “And third they contend that the death toll of European Jews during World War II was well below 6 million. Deniers float numbers anywhere between 300,000 and 1.5 million, as a general rule.”

According to Haaretz, “Rohani might still be considered a Holocaust-denier, albeit a much smoother one than” his predecessor.

previous article quoted Ahmadinejad’s comments. He was often misquoted. He’s no holocaust denier. Claims otherwise are lies.

In September 2007, he spoke at Columbia University. “I’m not saying (the holocaust) didn’t happen at all,” he said. This is not the judgment that I’m passing here.”

He said this and related issues are politicized. It’s part of Washington’s longstanding anti-Iranian hostility.

It’s unchanged. Rohani feels its sting. He’s no holocaust denier. Whatever he says, does or plans will be held against him.

Expect it no matter how well intended. Expect Washington to take full advantage. Longstanding anti-Iranian hostility remains fixed.

So does America’s war on humanity. Fake terror alerts are tactics used to wage it. Advancing imperial priorities matter most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War

By James Corbett

Global Research, September 14, 2013
Global Research TV 2 January 2012

This GRTV production by James Corbett was first released in January 2012. In the light of the recent media disinformation campaign in relation to Syria, we bring this carefully researched video-documentary report to the attention of GR readers. 

As the drums of war begin to beat once again in IranSyria, the South China Sea, and other potential hotspots and flashpoints around the globe, concerned citizens are asking how a world so sick of bloodshed and a population so tired of conflict could be led to this spot once again.

To understand this seeming paradox, we must first understand the centuries-long history of how media has been used to whip the nation into wartime frenzy, dehumanize the supposed enemies, and even to manipulate the public into believing in causes for war that, decades later, were admitted to be completely fictitious.

As the US and Iranian governments escalate tensions in the already volatile Straits of Hormuz, and China and Russia begin openly questioning Washington’s interference in their internal politics, the world remains on a knife-edge of military tension. Far from being a dispassionate observer of these developments, however, the media has in fact been central to increasing those tensions and preparing the public to expect a military confrontation. But as the online media rises to displace the traditional forms by which the public forms its understanding of the world, many are now beginning to see first hand how the media lies the public into war.…

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The term “yellow journalism” was coined to describe the type of sensationalistic, scandal-driven, and often erroneous style of reporting popularized by newspapers like William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. In one of the most egregious examples of this phenomenon, Hearst’s papers widely trumpeted the sinking of the Maine as the work of the Spanish. Whipped into an anti-Spanish frenzy by a daily torrent of stories depicting Spanish forces’ alleged torture and rape of Cubans, and pushed over the edge by the Maine incident, the public welcomed the beginning of the US-Spanish war. Although it is now widely believed that the explosion on the Maine was due to a fire in one of its coal bunkers, the initial lurid reports of Spanish involvement stuck and the nation was led into war.

In many ways, the phrase infamously attributed to Hearst in reply to his illustrator “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war,” apocryphal as the story may be, nevertheless perfectly encodes the method by which the public would be led to war time and again through the decades.

The US was drawn into World War I by the sinking of the Lusitania, a British ocean liner carrying American passengers that was torpedoed by German U-boats off the coast of Ireland, killing over 1,000 of its passengers. What the public was not informed about at the time, of course, was that just one week before the incident, then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill had written to the President of the Board of Trade that it was “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the United States with Germany.” Nor did reports of the attack announce that the ship was carrying rifle ammunition and other military supplies. Instead, reports once again emphasized that the attack was an out-of-the-blue strike by a maniacal enemy, and the public was led into the war.

The US involvement in World War II was likewise the result of deliberate disinformation. Although the Honolulu Advertiser had even predicted the attack on Pearl Harbor days in advance, the Japanese Naval codes had already been decipheredby that time, and that even Henry Stimson, the US Secretary of War, had noted in his diary the week before that he had discussed in a meeting with Roosevelt “how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves,” the public were still led to believe that the Pearl Harbor attack had been completely unforeseen. Just last month, a newly-declassified memo emerged showing that FDR had been warned of an impending Japanese attack on Hawaii just three days before the events at Pearl Harbor, yet the history books still portray Pearl Harbor as an example of a surprise attack.

In August 1964, the public was told that the North Vietnamese had attacked a US Destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin on two separate occasions. The attacks were portrayed as a clear example of “communist aggression” and a resolution was soon passed in Congress authorizing President Johnson to begin deploying US forces in Vietnam. In 2005, an internal NSA study was released concluding that the second attack in fact never took place. In effect, 60000 American servicemen and as many as three million Vietnamese, let alone as many as 500,000 Cambodians and Laotians, lost their lives because of an incident that did not occur anywhere but in the imagination of the Johnson administration and the pages of the American media.

In 1991, the world was introduced to the emotional story of Nayirah, a Kuwaiti girl who testified about the atrocities committed by Iraqi forces in Kuwait.

What the world was never told was that the incident had in fact been the work of a public relations firm, Hill and Knowltown, and the girl had actually been the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. Once again, the public was whipped into a frenzy of hatred for the Hussein regime, not for the documented atrocities that it had actually committed on segments of its own population with weapons supplied to them by the United States itself, but on the basis of an imaginary story told to the public via their televisions, orchestrated by a pr firm.

In the lead-up to the war on Iraq, the American media infamously took the lead in framing the debate about the Iraqi government’s weapons of mass destruction NOT as a question of whether or not they even existed, but as a question of where they had been hidden and what should be done to disarm them. The New York Times led the way with Judith Miller‘s now infamous reporting on the Iraqi WMD story, now known to have been based on false information from untrustworthy sources, but the rest of the media fell into line with the NBC Nightly News asking “what precise threat Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction pose to America”, and Time debating whether Hussein was “making a good-faith effort to disarm Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” Reports about chemical weapons stashes were reported on before they were confirmed, although headlines boldly asserted their existence as indisputable fact. We now know that in fact the stockpiles did not exist, and the administration premeditatedly lied the country into yet another war, but the most intense opposition the Bush administration ever received over this documented war crime was some polite correction on the Sunday political talk show circuit.

Remarkably, the public at large has seemingly learned nothing from all of these documented historical manipulations. If anything, the media has become even bolder in its attempts to manipulate the public’s perceptions, perhaps emboldened by the fact that so few in the audience seem willing to question the picture that is being painted for them on the evening news.

Later that year, CNN aired footage of a bombed out Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, falsely labeling it as footage of Gori, which they said had been attacked by the Russians.

In 2009, the BBC showed a cropped image of a rally in Iran which they claimed was a crowd of protesters who assembled to show their opposition to the Iranian government. An uncropped version of the same photograph displayed on the LA Times’ website, however, revealed that the photo in fact came from a rally in support of Ahmedinejad.

In August of 2011, the BBC ran footage of what they claimed was a celebration in Tripoli’s Green Square. When sharp-eyed viewers noticed that the flags in the footage were in fact Indian flags, the BBC was forced to admit that they had “accidentally” broadcast footage from India instead of Tripoli.

Also that month, CNN reported on a story from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claiming that eight infants in incubators had died in a hospital in Hama when Syrian authorities cut off power in the area. Some news sites evencarried pictures of the infants. The images were later admitted to have been taken in Egypt and no evidence has ever emerged to back up the accusations.

As breathtaking as all of these lies, manipulations and so-called “mistakes” are, they in and of themselves don’t represent the only functions of the media for the war machine. Now, the US government is taking the lead in becoming more and more directly involved with the shaping of the media message on war propaganda, and the general public is becoming even more ensnared in a false picture of the world through the Pentagon’s own lens.

In 2005, the Bush White House admitted to producing videos that were designed to look like news reports from legitimate independent journalists, and then feeding those reports to media outlets as prepackaged material ready to air on the evening news. When the Government Accountability Office ruled that these fake news reports in fact constituted illegal covert propaganda, the White House simply issued a memo declaring the practice to be legal.

In April 2008, the New York Times revealed a secret US Department of Defense program that was launched in 2002 and involved using retired military officers to implant Pentagon talking points in the media. The officers were presented as “independent analysts” on talk shows and news programs, although they had been specially briefed beforehand by the Pentagon. In December of 2011, the DoD’s own Inspector General released a report concluding that the program was in perfect compliance with government policies and regulations.

Earlier this year, it was revealed the the US government had contracted with HBGary Federal to develop software that create fake social media accounts in order to steer public opinion and promote propaganda on popular websites. The federal contract for the software sourced back to the MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

As the vehicle through which information from the outside world is captured, sorted, edited and transmitted into our homes, the mass media has the huge responsibility of shaping and informing our understanding of events to which we don’t have first-hand access. This is an awesome responsibility in even the most ideal conditions, with diligent reporters guided by trustworthy editors doing their level best to report the most important news in the most straightforward way.

But in a media landscape where a handful of companies own virtually all of the print, radio and television media in each nation, the only recourse the public has is to turn away from the mainstream media altogether. And that is precisely what is happening.

As study after study and report after report has shown, the death of the old media has accelerated in recent years, with more and more people abandoning newspapers and now even television as their main source of news. Instead, the public is increasingly turning toward online sources for their news and information, something that is necessarily worrying for the war machine itself, a system that can only truly flourish when the propaganda arm is held under monopolistic control.

But as citizens turn away from the New York Times and toward independent websites, many run and maintained by citizen journalists and amateur editors, the system that has consolidated its control over the minds of the public for generations seems to finally be showing signs that it may not be invincible.

Surely this is not to say that online media is impervious to the defects that have made the traditional media so unreliable. Quite the contrary. But the difference is that online, there is still for the time being relative freedom of choice at the individual level. While internet freedom exists, individual readers and viewers don’t have to take the word of any website or pundit or commentator on any issue. They can check the source documentation themselves, except, perhaps not coincidentally, on the websites of the traditional media bastions, which tend not to link source material and documentation in their articles.

Hence the SOPA ActProtect IP, the US government’s attempts to seize websites at the domain name level, and all of the other concerted attacks we have seen on internet freedoms in recent years.

Because ultimately, an informed and engaged public is far less likely to go along with wars waged for power and profit. And as the public becomes better informed about the very issues that the media has tried to lie to them about for so long, they realize that the answer to all of the mainstream media’s war cheerleading and blatant manipulation is perhaps simpler than we ever suspected: All we have to do is turn them off.

Tune into Global Research TV for the latest video updates from Global Research!

A Syrian Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Congress Ready To Be Flattered Into Killing More Syrians

By William Boardman

September 05, 2013 “Information Clearing House – When it comes to war, isn’t our account overdrawn?

When the president asks Congress for a blank check for war, why does the Congress fret about setting a limit on war powers instead of just saying “NO” to any check? What happened to checks and balances (as if we all didn’t know)?

Already quislings of both parties in the Senate – Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Pat Roberts of Kansas – are staking out the “compromise” position of a limited war in response to President Obama’s proposal for an open-ended war authorization.  According to Leahy, Democratic senate staffers are working on an alternative authorization for killing Syrians.

Several Republican senators, including John McCain of Arizona, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina just want the Obama administration to start killing people, the sooner the better, their only caveat being that the president should have a plan.

McCain wants the US to do more – he hasn’t said how much more, or if he would accept any military limitations.  “It can’t just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles,” McCain said, describing a weapon that doesn’t exist outside of military fantasy.

Rand Paul offers tepid resistance, flatters president for obeying law

One of the few clear voices opposed to the US engaging even “surgically” in the Syrian civil war is Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who calls the president’s proposal an effort to “save face and add bad policy to bad policy.”  Paul also said:

“I would ask, ‘How do you ask a man to be the first to die for a mistake?’ I’m not sending my son, your son or anybody else’s son to fight for a stalemate.”

With as mealy a mouth as anyone, Paul stands with the apparently overwhelming majority of our elected leaders, bravely telling reporters he was “proud” of the president for coming to Congress for war-making support. Translation: “Oh thank you, Mr. President for not acting like a dictator and embarrassing us with our complete lack of spine to oppose your imperial enterprise (which is, after all, our imperial enterprise, too, but we really don’t like having to say so and some of us even blush).”

Conventional wisdom on September 2 predicted that the Senate would endorse whatever the president wants to do, just not as long as he might want to do it.  The prediction for the House is generally iffy, but House Minority Leader Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California is cheerleading from the front of the war bandwagon.

Such actual Congressional opposition to the whole idea of putting the US any deeper into Syria for any reason comes from a few representatives in the House:

• Republican Chris Gibson of New York, an Army veteran with multiple foreign deployments: “I hope my colleagues will fully think through the weightiness of this decision and reject military action. The situation on the ground in Syria is tragic and deeply saddening, but escalating the conflict and Americanizing the Syrian civil war will not resolve the matter.”

• Democrat Betty McCollum of Minnesota: “Unilateral U.S. military action against the Syrian regime at this time would do nothing to advance American interests, but would certainly fuel extremist groups on both sides of the conflict that are determined to expand the bloodshed beyond Syria’s borders.”

• Republican Devin Nunes of California: “The apparent chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime is an appalling, unconscionable act by a bloodthirsty tyrant. The ‘limited’ military response supported by President Obama, however, shows no clear goal, strategy, or any coherence whatsoever, and is supported neither by myself nor the American people.”

The blank check comes with no due date, late fees, or penalties

The White House draft “authorization for use of United States armed forces” is problematical from the first “whereas,” which asserts as a fact a charge that remains in dispute:

“Whereas, on August 21, 2013, the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, killing more than 1,000 innocent Syrians….”

If this premise is wrong, as seems quite possible, than the following seven “whereas paragraphs are mostly accurate but irrelevant, with some demagoguery thrown in to persuade or intimidate Congress.

But even if the premise turns out to be correct, the “authorization should be unacceptable for the unlimited scope of action allowed to the president, who still uses the 2001 AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) against terrorism to justify his authority to wage war by whatever means he chooses in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali, and elsewhere.  That law remains open-ended and unmodified by Congress, allowing the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force” against pretty much anyone he “determines” deserves to be attacked.

The new authorization gives the president the freedom “to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria,” which seems as if it’s at least limited to the geography of Syria, and only as long as there’s a conflict there.  Of course, it implicitly leaves it up to the president to determine what a “conflict” is and even, arguably, what “Syria” is.

Such limitation is a chimera.  Unfettering the president from even that illusory constraint, the authorization goes on to allow him to respond to any “proliferation” inside – or outside – of Syria “of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons….”

And just in case that’s not broad enough to let the president do most anything he chooses, the authorization goes on to allow him to do anything necessary to “protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.”

When protecting against a “threat,” nothing is ruled out, no matter how crazy paranoid the threat may be.  In post-9/11 United States, threat perceptions don’t have much restraint on the paranoid crazy.

In a fundamentally cowardly Congress, members are unlikely to oppose this kind of threat to the national interest, especially now that they getting their egos stroked by the White House.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

This article was first published in Reader Supported News

US to Give Military Support to Syrian Rebels as ‘Red Line’ Crossed

Three Things Young People Should Know to Save the World

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By David Swanson 

June 07, 2013 “Information Clearing House –   Of course, old people should know these things too, and some small percentage does know them, but energy seems better invested in trying to teach them to young people who have less to unlearn in the process.
1. Obedience is extremely dangerous. 
This seems like it must be either wrong or misleadingly incomplete.  And that would be true if we were talking about children.  If a two-year-old is about to run in front of a car, please do yell “stop!” and hope for as much obedience as possible. 
But I’m talking to young people, not children. 
When you grow up, your obedience should always be conditional.  If a master chef appears to be instructing you to prepare a revoltingly bad dinner but wants you to obey his or her instructions on faith, you might very well choose to do so, considering the risk to be tolerable.  If, however, the chef tells you to chop off your little finger, and you do it, that will be a sure sign that you’ve got an obedience problem.
This is not a trivial or comical danger.  The majority of volunteers in experiments are willing to inflict severe pain or death on other human beings when a scientist tells them to do so for the good of science.  Watch this video of such an experiment.
Had the actor in this experiment who pretended to be a scientist told the participants to cut off their little fingers, I bet they wouldn’t have done it.  But they were willing to do far worse to someone else.  The good old Golden Rule is a counter to this deficiency, but so is resistance to blind obedience.  Most suffering in the world is not created by independent individuals, but by large numbers of people obeying when they should be resisting.
Here’s a story in the news right now about a man deeply upset that he sat at a desk and obeyed orders and killed over 1,600 people.  This was not an experiment, but tragically real.  Watch this video:
We should think about how not to put ourselves in positions in which we are expected to blindly obey.  It is possible to find jobs that don’t include that unhealthy expectation.  And we should prepare ourselves to refuse immoral instructions whenever we receive them.  As we’ll see below, we all do receive them all the time. 
2. People in power manipulate us into acceptance
Several years ago a lot of people were protesting the U.S. war in Iraq.  The president and most of Congress and most of the big media outlets were busy giving out the impression that such protests were ignored or even counter-productive.  But former president George W. Bush’s memoirs recall the Republican Senate Majority Leader secretly telling him the pressure was becoming too great and they’d need to end the war.  Bush signed an agreement with the government of Iraq to leave in three years.
In 1961 the USSR was withdrawing from a moratorium on nuclear testing.  A protest at the White House urged President Kennedy not to follow suit.  Posters read “Kennedy, Don’t Mimic the Russians!”  One protester recalled their action for decades as having been pointless and futile, until he found an oral history interview with Adrian Fisher, deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.  Fisher said that Kennedy had delayed resuming testing because of the protest.
A delay in a policy we oppose is not as good as a permanent ban, but if those protesters had known they were being listened to they would have come back day after day and brought their friends and possibly achieved that permanent ban.  That they imagined they weren’t being listened to appears ridiculous if you read enough history.  People are always listened to, but those in power go to great lengths to give the impression of not paying any serious attention.
Lawrence Wittner interviewed Robert “Bud” McFarlane, President Ronald Reagan’s former national security advisor, asking him whether the White House had paid much attention to protests demanding a “freeze” in nuclear weapons building.  “Other administration officials had claimed that they had barely noticed the nuclear freeze movement,” Wittner said.  “But when I asked McFarlane about it, he lit up and began outlining a massive administration campaign to counter and discredit the freeze — one that he had directed . . . .  A month later, I interviewed Edwin Meese, a top White House staffer and U.S. attorney general during the Reagan administration.  When I asked him about the administration’s response to the freeze campaign, he followed the usual line by saying that there was little official notice taken of it.  In response, I recounted what McFarlane had revealed.  A sheepish grin now spread across this former government official’s face, and I knew that I had caught him.  ‘If Bud says that,’ he remarked tactfully, ‘it must be true.'”
It’s funny: even when protesting government lies or government secrecy, people tend to fall for the lie that the government is ignoring you.  Yet, in 2011, when a relatively tiny movement began to take to the streets under the banner of “Occupy,” the government rolled out a massive effort of infiltration, eavesdropping, harassment, brutality, and propaganda — while, of course, claiming to have noticed nothing and done nothing about something so unworthy of notice.
Those in power don’t restrict themselves to directing you toward inaction.  They also work on moving you toward doing lots of things that seem effective but aren’t.  The way to keep the nation safe, they say, is to go shopping!  Or lobby for this watered-down pathetic piece of legislation!  Or devote all your activist energy to election campaigning, and then go home and collapse in exhaustion as soon as the election is over — exactly when you should be gearing up to demand actions out of whoever won the election.  These activities that have little impact are depicted as serious and effective, while activities that historically have had tremendous real impact (organizing, educating, demonstrating, protesting, lobbying, heckling, shaming, nonviolently resisting, producing art and entertainment, creating alternative structures) are depicted as disreputable and ineffective and lacking in seriousness.
Of course, being active is much more fun than not.  Of course, the influence you have is always possible even if undetected (you might inspire a child who goes on to do great things years later, or slightly win over an opponent who takes a few more years to see the light).  Of course, we have a moral duty to do everything we can regardless of the ease of success.  But I’m convinced we’d see a lot more activism if people knew how much they are listened to.  So tell them! And let’s remember to keep telling ourselves. 
3. Doing nothing is obeying a deadly order
Imagine writing a story about a village that faces possible destruction, and for the most part the people don’t do anything to prevent it. 
That’s not how stories are written. 
That’s the world we live in and fail to recognize. 
We are being instructed to sit at a desk and zap the earth to death, and we’re compliantly zapping away.  Only the zapping doesn’t look like zapping, it looks like living.  We work and eat and sleep and play and garden and buy junk at the store and watch movies and go to baseball games and read books and make love, and we don’t imagine we can possibly be destroying a planet.  What are we, the Death Star?
But a sin of omission is morally and effectively equivalent to a sin of commission.  We need to be saving the earth and we’re not doing so.  We’re allowing global warming and other major environmental destruction to roll ahead.  We’re allowing militarization and warmaking to advance.  We’re watching the concentration of wealth.  We see the division of society into castes.  We know we’re building prisons and drones and highways and pipelines while closing schools and condemning our grandparents to poverty.  We are aware that we’re funding multi-billionaires with our hard work while fueling mass suffering, bitterness, rage, frustration, and violence.
We see these worsening cycles and we sit still.
Don’t sit still.
Sitting still is mass-murder.
Don’t obey anyone who tells you to sit still.
Don’t search for a leader.
Don’t sell your conscience to a group or a slogan or a political party.
Don’t listen to me unless something I say makes sense.
David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Peddling Islamophobia

Islamophobia has always been a bipartisan affair, and “warmonger Judith Miller is happy to be its shill”
By Charlotte Silver
May 02, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Al-Jazeera” – In her own words, Judith Miller has devoted her career to covering “threats to our country”. Her service to this end includes significant if dubious accomplishments. Most widely known for fabricating and peddling many of the biggest lies that sold the country on the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Miller also helped propagate Israel’s myth that Palestinian political party Hamas had a “dangerous” network in the United States. The latter propelled the migration of Hamas onto the US’ list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and saw US citizen Muhammad Salah perniciously labelled a “terrorist”. 
Now, Miller has seized on the Boston bombings as an opportunity to advocate for increased surveillance of Muslim communities, à laNew York City. In a wholly laudatory article for the Wall Street Journal, Judith Miller speculates how the NYPD, with their cunning combination of psychological and detective work, would have handled the Tsnarnaev brothers – and likely saved the day. 
“In the dozen years since 9/11, the city has developed a counter terror program that is a model of how to identify and stop killers like the Tsarnaev brothers before they strike,” she said. 
Miller seems blithely unconcerned with mass murderers like James Eagan Holmes, Adam Lanza or Michael Page who killed a combined total of 45 people in the last year. The only “killers” Miller thinks our law enforcement should be worried about are Muslim ones. 
Radicalisation theory
Miller heaps praise on the NYPD’s implementation of the “radicalisation theory” – a pseudo-scientific barometer of an individual’s predisposition to committing an act of terror – into police practice, and the department’s infiltration and surveillance of exclusively Muslim communities since 9/11. In disingenuously euphemistic terms, Miller characterises the latter as the NYPD’s “continuing effort to understand Muslim communities”. 
This rank ethnic profiling programme, tellingly named the Demographics Unit (later re-named the “Zone Assessments Unit”), is housed within the NYPD’s CIA-built Intelligence Division and has overseen the systematic and indiscriminate spying on Muslim communities. 
The programme gathers such critical information as which cafes offer Al Jazeera news for customers, which businesses sell halal products and how many times Muslims pray during the day. The Demographic Unit is thorough and extensive: “The NYPD monitored Muslim Student Associations from Philadelphia to New Haven… and mosque crawlers [NYPD informants] had spied and reported on… more than 250 mosques,” according to a recent report produced by the CLEAR Project, AALDEF and MACLC. This report documents the fear, fragmentation and erosion of trust in law enforcement the programme creates within Muslim communities in the greater New York City area. Muslims might be forgiven for doubting the authenticity of the lofty aim of “understanding” Judith Miller attributes to the NYPD in her WSJ article.
According to Miller’s assessment, it is these tactics that have allowed the NYPD to effectively stop 16 terror plots in New York City. 
Never one to be overly concerned with facts that do not suit her position, Miller omits details, including the fact that some of those 16 plots some were “manufactured” and it was not the NYPD’s surveillance programme that successfully thwarted any of them. Justin Elliott of ProPublica broke down the inflated – yet oft-cited – list of “prevented” attacks in NYC, showing the mendacity of crediting the NYPD for keeping the city safe from “terror”. 
Thomas Galati, the commanding officer of the NYPD Intelligence Division put it plainly last June: “I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report, and I’m here since 2006… and I don’t recall other ones prior to my arrival.” 
Miller’s article cites heavily from Mitchell Silber’s and Arvin Bhatt’s 2007 report “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat“. The report, prefaced by New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, provides the foundational logic for NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims and suggests that all Muslims are on a path that leads toward terrorism. Although the report has been thoroughly denouncedand repeatedly ridiculed, its rationale has nevertheless become normalised. So while Judith Miller has been widely discredited, the views she espouses on this subject are not. 
Spying programme
In January, the Congressional Research Service issued a report called “American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat” that reflects the persistent dominance of the so-called radicalisation theory in discussions surrounding terrorism. 
In its critique of the report, the ACLU notes that CRS is “charged with providing objective policy analysis for members of Congress”. The ACLU points out that while CRS acknowledges the problems with Silber’s and Bhatt’s report, it accepts that “the adoption of a particular belief set is a precursor to violent action” and “continues to hew closely to the model of radicalisation it promotes”. In other words, casting the entire Muslim community as a potential threat is considered “objective” analysis rather than racist rhetoric. 
Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office writes
The faulty assumption that radical thoughts lead to violence drives many of the inappropriate law enforcement actions against Muslim-American communities and political activists that, like the NYPD surveillance programme, violate civil rights but don’t actually improve security.
In advocating for increased surveillance, Miller is likely to be criticised for echoing the likes of Republican Representative Peter King. But, perhaps inconveniently for Democrat apologists, it was John Brennan – Obama’s lead counterterrorism adviser before his promotion to the director of the CIA – who defended the NYPD’s spying programme in the face of criticism last year. 
And why wouldn’t he? The surveillance of Muslim communities was never an exclusively New York – or Republican – enterprise. The number of informants embedded in Muslim communities throughout the country remains at record highs under Obama; and according to Trevor Aaronson’s The Terror Factory, the rate of FBI-orchestrated terrorism sting operations has only increased under Obama’s watch. 
Islamophobia has always been a bipartisan affair, and long-time liar and warmonger Judith Miller is happy to be its shill.
Charlotte Silver is a journalist based in San Francisco and the West Bank. She is a graduate of Stanford University. 
Follow her on Twitter: @CharEsilver

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Chemical Weapons Claims a ‘Barefaced Lie,’ says Syrian Minister

April 27, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“RT” – Without hard evidence, American accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria fall short of UN proof standards, says a UN chemical inspector. And in the way proposed, a probe would only result in an Iraqi scenario, the Syrian information minister told RT.
The anti-Assad lobby in the UN is using the chemical weapons scare as a new way to exert political and economic pressure on the Syrian government, the country’s information minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi told RT.
“First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie,” he told RT. “I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it – not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues.”
Syria itself made the official request to the UN to investigate the incident in Khan al-Assal, which is an “important and brave step,” al-Zouabi stressed.
“It proves once again that the whole policy of the Syrian government is targeted against use of any kind of weapons of mass destruction by anybody: terrorists, Israel or any other neighboring state,” he said.
The United States pretends that there are no terrorists acting on Syrian territory at the same time being a country “involved in the biggest terror acts in the world,” the minister claimed. “The US is concealing that Qatar is financing terrorists, supply weapons to them. Thus, the US is basically involved in what is happening in Syria.”
‘Iraqi scheme of inspections’
In all their “absurdity and deceitfulness,” al-Zouabi explained, such statements by some Western governments are made in pursuit of basic goals.
“Their aim is, first, to cover those who are really behind use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal, and secondly, to repeat Iraq’s scenario, to pave the way for other investigation inspections. To provide, based on their results, maps, photos of rockets and other fabricated materials to the UN, which as we know, opened the way to the occupation of Iraq.”
Russian foreign ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich meanwhile said that the UN Secretary-General’s initial positive reaction to Syria’s appeal for an investigation“underwent a drastic change under the influence of a number of states.”
“The management of the UN Secretariat demanded that Damascus agree to the establishment of a permanent mechanism for inspection throughout Syrian territory with unlimited access to everywhere,” Lukashevich explained.
“The proposed scheme of inspections is similar to those used at the end of the last century in Iraq, which, unlike Syria, was under UN sanctions.” After months of silence, the UN is now referring to information from France and Britain about other cases of alleged use of chemical weapons last year, which Lukashevich believes demonstrates a highly politicized approach.
“It’s difficult to understand why leaders of the UN Secretariat preferred to follow those who are concerned not about exact steps towards the suppression of use of chemical weapons in the Syrian crisis, but about changing the ruling regime of a sovereign state.”
Inspectors on standby
The United Nations again pushed on Thursday for unconditional and unfettered access for its team of investigators, which has been on standby in Cyprus since Syria refused it access nearly three weeks ago.
“We do not trust the American and British experts from a political point of view,” al-Zouab explained. “We also do not trust their qualifications. Their aim is to juggle with facts.”
“We won’t mind if Russians would be among the experts, quite the contrary, we only welcome this idea. We are quite sure in their high qualification and ability to clearly see into such matters.”
Experts from Russia and China however were not included in the team to ensure it wasn’t biased, according to the United Nations.
At the time Russian EU envoy Vitaly Churkin criticized “this kind of logic,” saying in that case he “would recommend excluding all NATO countries too.” Syrian officials maintain that they are ready to accept “a neutral and honest technical team to visit the village of Khan al-Assal” in the province of Aleppo.
The Syrian opposition meanwhile is also dead set against the inclusion of Russian and Chinese experts in the investigation team.
“The Russian side has no status allowing it to conduct a fair and impartial criminal investigation,” the Syrian National Council said in a statement, because Russia “is a major supplier of conventional and strategic weapons to the Syrian regime, as well as the main political guarantor of it staying in power.”
“The UN needs to immediately investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” an anonymous member of the council told AFP. “Should it find the regime used such weapons, it must act immediately, at least by imposing a no-fly zone.”
No samples whatsoever
Whether or not illegal chemical agents were used by either side during the Syrian conflict can only be determined by analyzing samples collected at the scenes of alleged attacks, said the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which despite not being a United Nations body, collaborates with the UN on such inspections.
None of the governments and intelligence agencies accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons have presented any of the evidence that would be required for a clear analysis, such as soil, blood, urine or tissue samples, said Michael Luhan, a spokesman for OPCW.
But even if samples were provided, the OPCW would never get involved in testing something that its own inspectors did not “gather in the field” because of the need to “maintain a chain of custody of samples from the field to the lab to ensure their integrity,” said Luhan.
“This is the only basis on which the OPCW would provide a formal assessment of whether chemical weapons have been used.”
Meanwhile, waiting for a green light to enter Syria, members of the UN team “have been collating and analyzing the evidence and information that is available to date from outside,” Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said on Friday.
‘US retains the ability to act unilaterally’
“With varying degrees of confidence” the American intelligence community has determined that “the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons,” US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Thursday.
Giving the statement added significance, early afternoon on Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced that the Obama administration has a number of options in regards to handling such reports – including direct use of military force – and that United States retains the ability to ‘act unilaterally’ in choosing one.
Just hours later, President Obama himself said, “horrific as it is…to use potential weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line with respect to international norms and international law.” His remarks came after a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in the Oval Office, amid mass demonstrations against deployment of US troops on Jordanian border with Syria.

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US, UK Diabolic Lie: Syria Used Chemical Arms

Creating a Pretext for War on Syria

By Stephen Lendman 
April 27, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – What’s ongoing now bears eerie resemblance to events preceding Bush’s Iraq war. Obama’s replicating a familiar scenario.
Waging war requires a pretext to do so. When none exists, it’s invented. It’s easy. Lies substitute for truth. Claims about Syria using chemical weapons don’t wash. Repetition gets people to believe them. We’ve seen it all before.
Colin Power’s infamous February 5, 2003 Security Council speech led to war. It was shameless deception. Later he admitted WMD claims were false. It was too late to matter.
Plans were set. The die was cast. Weeks later, America bombed, invaded and occupied Iraq. The cradle of civilization was destroyed. No WMDs existed. It was well-known but ignored. More on that below.
Powell lied claiming them. US media scoundrels repeated what demanded renunciation. A New York Times editorial headlined “The Case Against Iraq,” saying:
“Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the United Nations and a global television audience yesterday with the most powerful case to date that Saddam Hussein stands in defiance of Security Council resolutions and has no intention of revealing or surrendering whatever unconventional weapons he may have.”
A (no longer available online) Washington Post editorial headlined “Irrefutable,” saying:
“….it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.”
Months later, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report titled “WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications” said the Bush administration “systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs.”
Asked about the report, Powell stood by his Security Council testimony, saying:
“I am confident of what I presented last year. The intelligence community is confident of the material they gave me. I was representing them.”
“It was information they presented to the Congress. It was information they had presented publicly and they stand behind it, and this game is still unfolding.”
Powell’s speech was bald-faced deception. He willfully lied, saying:
“The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are US sources. And some are those of other countries.”
“Some of the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.”
“….Iraq’s behavior show(s) that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.”
“We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.”
“The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had. They have never accounted for all the organic material used to make them.”
“And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well-documented.”
He claimed Saddam stockpiled “between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agents.” He added that “(t)here can be no doubt that (he) has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”
In August 1995, Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel, defected to the West. He headed Iraq’s weapons programs. US intelligence officials debriefed him. He said “All weapons – biological, chemical, missile and nuclear were destroyed….Nothing remained.”
The New York Times and other US media sources reported his comments.
CNN’s Brent Sadler asked him: “Can you state here and now – does Iraq still to this day hold weapons of mass destruction?”
He responded: “No. Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction. I am being completely honest about this.”
In the run-up to March 2003, media misinformation replaced earlier headlines. It’s standard practice. It repeating again now. Obama appears heading for full-scale war on Syria.
Big lies launch wars. In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said “All war is based on deception.” Fear, misinformation and duplicity enlist public support. Naked aggression is called humanitarian intervention.
Libya 2.0 looms. Fabricating chemical weapons use looks like pretext for full-scale war. Secretary of State John Kerry claims Syria launched two chemical weapons attacks.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said using them “violates every convention of warfare.”
On April 25, the Los Angeles Times headlined “US lawmakers call for action on Syria’s chemical weapons,” saying:
They want quick action.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D. CA) warned that without decisive action, “President Assad may calculate he has nothing more to lose.” He might “further escalate this conflict.”
“It is clear that ‘red lines’ have been crossed and action must be taken to prevent larger scale use,” she added. “Syria has the ability to kill tens of thousands with its chemical weapons.”
Senator John McCain (R. AZ) said “(i)t’s pretty obvious the red line has been crossed.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D. CA) believes Assad’s testing the international community. “The administration has said (chemical weapons use is) a game changer, but it’s not clear what that new game will look like.”
“I think it is incumbent on the international community to take strong action.”
A same day LA Times editorial headlined “A ‘red line’ on Syria,” saying:
“If the Assad regime has indeed used chemical weapons, the US must honor its commitment to act.”
“(U)se of chemical weapons would represent a reckless escalation of Assad’s war on his own people.”
“Yes, the president must be sure before he acts; but if it is proved that Assad has crossed the ‘red line,’ Obama must respond.”
Chicago Tribune editors headlined “The pink line,” asking: “If Assad used chemical weapons, what will Obama do?”
He “drew a clear red line last August….(He) ‘put together a range of contingency plans,’ but he didn’t spell them out.”
“Now there’s mounting, though not yet conclusive, evidence that if Assad hasn’t stormed across that red line, he may be tiptoeing on it.”
Tribune editors want more decisive action. “We’ve long argued that the US should directly arm the rebels.”
Operating covertly from southern Turkey, CIA operatives have been doing it all along. It’s handled through a network of intermediaries. Weapons are also entering from Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.
Tribune editors urge more. Impose a no-fly zone “to ground Assad’s air force.” Doing so is an act of war.
“(B)omb access roads where chemical weapons are transported, to make moving (them) difficult if not impossible.”
Bombing anywhere assures doing it everywhere considered strategically important. Tribune editors urge war. They’re not alone.
On April 25, Wall Street Journal editors headlined “Chemical Weapons and Consequences: Syria calls President Obama’s bluff on WMD,” saying:
“As President of the United States, I don’t bluff,” said Obama.
He “famously said (it) in March 2012, warning Iranian leaders that he would not allow them to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Last month he said:
“I’ve made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who follow his orders: We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists.”
“The world is watching; we will hold you accountable.”
“Or not,” said Journal editors. “Israel will have to consider its own military options to secure the stockpiles if the US won’t act….”
“Presidents who are exposed as bluffers tend to have their bluff called again and again, with ever more dangerous consequences.”
Official accusations are familiar. So is heated rhetoric that follows. Obama heads closer to full-scale intervention. Reports say around 20,000 US troops will be deployed in Jordan.
On April 26, Obama hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington. Perhaps they discussed invasion plans.
A Final Comment
While meeting with King Abdullah, Obama stopped short of saying Assad crossed a “red line.” Earlier he warned doing so would unleash “unspecified consequences.” Likely he meant direct US intervention.
“Horrific as it is when mortars are being fired on civilians and people are being indiscriminately killed, to use potential weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations crosses another line with respect to international norms and international law,” he told reporters.
“That is going to be a game changer. We have to act prudently.”
“We have to make these assessments deliberately. But I think all of us….recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations.”
Sorting things out requires “increased urgency,” he stressed.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said “(h)e retains all options to respond.” Further reports will explain more.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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Why Western Democracy is Mind Control and Invisible Government

Humanitarian Propaganda
By Nicolas Bonnal 
“The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”
– Disraeli
April 03, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“Pravada” – The more Western democracy wants to establish democracy in the world, the more it works undemocratically, whether in Tripoli, Brussels or in Washington. Yet it is very hard nowadays to resist its impeccable and humanitarian propaganda. This is why we must seize the origins of this dark strength.
Let’s go back to the twenties of last century: we are facing the fascinating confrontation of western propaganda, bolshevist propaganda, fascist, Ku Klux Klan or Nazi propaganda; and everywhere capitalism trying to sell its products and stuff.
In 1928, Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, publishes a famous book about modern propaganda and advertising, which synthesizes the advancements of modern mind control, after a terrible World War and a decennial of technical improvement and modern art of conditioning the masses through radio, movies and press.
Basically Bernays states that days of democracy are over, if they have happened once. Everything is linked to science, manipulation, mind control and invisible wire-pullers when it comes to politics. This is also what had predicted Moses Ostrogorski, a Russian researcher and shrewd observer of American political parties at the end of the nineteenth century. This expression of wire-puller has been popularized later, in front of incomprehensive masses, by famous movie (and book) the Godfather. The masses of consumers, voters or travelers never do what they want; they just do what they are told to do. Read this sentence for instance:
There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. 
Reading again this book has amazed me since it is a work written in a rather cynical, provocative and controversial tone. Bernays could not write such stuff nowadays, for we are maybe in more totalitarian times, which mean more sophisticated, satisfied and blinded times. He could be labeled conspiracy theorist!
Those who are behind the scenes have been dubbed here the manipulators of symbols, the deciders, the technocrats sometimes. Bernays writes in his clerical style: As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.
The citizen of tomorrow needs to be standardized as most as possible. This system was established first in America, then in Western Europe then, with the fall of the wall, everywhere else. The last resistant countries, some Moslem nations, have been recently destroyed, pulverized indeed. This is because we must conform:
From some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.
This is basically what utters with some imprudence and arrogance Bernays in his book: a good reader of Babbitt, the masterwork of Upton Sinclair denouncing the standardized bourgeois citizen of America, Bernays sees in America the laboratory of the future to create the mixed-up, robotic and standardized citizen of the one world republic!
The extraordinary, growing, and sane standardization of stores, offices, streets, hotels, clothes, and newspapers throughout the United States…
All this stuff basically serves one purpose like in the Bible, when the psalmist and Job are comparing themselves to the bird captured by the fowler: the ensnarement of the mind.
There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea.
Politicians are mere products like soap and pasta. Even war is a product you can sell with some propaganda salsa. To create a war against Syria is not more complicated than to create a war against Germany a century ago! Writes Bernays:
The manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental clichés and the emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities, the terror and the tyranny of the enemy.
And Bernays does not believe that universal literacy can create a freer man; on the contrary the well-informed citizen is the more manipulated:
But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought.
We should now promote a non-reader citizen! Yet he would be a victim of manipulators of images and symbols carried on his cellular phone, that omnipresent companion and transmitter of alienation.
In politics too Bernays sees no reasons to be more romantic:
Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at most three or four.
The modern world is such divided between hidden elite of manipulators and a big mass of manipulated (and happy to be so) people, a herd victim of the global mind control:
But clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically. In the active proselytizing minorities in whom selfish interests and public interests coincide lie the progress and development of America.
We do know how cruel and irresponsible these ‘active proselytizing elites’ can be nowadays. In order to be realistic and not only pessimistic, Bernays adds that humanity is a gregarious species and that modern science, this great liberator of our superstitions, has thus described our brain (this was prior to psychoanalysis founded by his uncle):
This assumed that the human mind was merely an individual machine, a system of nerves and nerve centers, reacting with mechanical regularity to stimuli, like a helpless, will-less automaton. It was the special pleader’s function to provide the stimulus which would cause the desired reaction in the individual purchaser.
Thanks to God, to save us from modern science and propaganda, we have the psalms:
Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. 
Nicolas Bonnal

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The Spies Who Fooled the World

Video Documentary – BBC – Panorama

Panorama reveals how key aspects of the secret intelligence used by Downing Street and the White House to justify the invasion were based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies. Peter Taylor tracks down some of those responsible.

Broadcast March 18, 2013 – Posted March 21, 2013

Poll: Americans Prepared for Military Action Against Iran

The Power Of Propaganda
By Nathaniel Botwinick

March 20, 2013 “Information Clearing House –NR” — According to a new Pew poll, 64 percent of Americans believe that it’s “more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons than to avoid a military conflict.” They point out that “majorities across nearly all demographic groups” agree — 80 percent of Republicans prioritized preventing a nuclear Iran over avoiding military conflict, but a majority of Democrats, 62 percent, did too. As President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in Israel today to discuss the Iran question, among other issues, it appears the American public is ready to support the president if he decides a military intervention against Iran is necessary.

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Assad Preparing to Use Chemical Arms, says Israel’s Military Intel Chief

War Pimp Alert

Maj. Gen. Kochavi tells Herzliya Conference Syria’s president has yet to give order to use the weapons, but preparations for use are advanced; on Iran, says Tehran does not think attack on nuclear facilities is likely anytime soon.

By Gili Cohen

March 14, 2013 “Information Clearing House –Haaretz” – The head of Israel’s military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad is preparing to make use of his chemical weapons cache, although he has yet to give an order for them to be used.

“Syria is no longer a whole country,” Kochavi, told the 13th Annual Herzliya Conference. Instead Syria should be seen as two countries, one belonging to Assad and the other to the rebels, he said, with the caveat that this was a slight exaggeration of the situation. Much of the country is now under rebel control, including areas on the outskirts of Aleppo, Kochavi added. 

In fighting the Syrian opposition, the Assad regime has increased its use of advanced weaponry against civilians themselves. Signs of the uptick in violence include the Syrian military’s use of Scud and M-600 missiles on populated areas of the country. To date, the number of such rockets fired on civilians stands at 70, Kochavi said. 

Iran and Hezbollah’s efforts to stabilize the country are also on the increase, according to the intelligence chief. Hundreds of fighters from a special Hezbollah unit are on Syrian soil today. Some have lost their lives in battles with the rebels. Those who perished have been buried in secret so that their identities would not become public, Kochavi told the conference. 

Aside from these operatives, a Syrian “people’s army” has been active in the country for the past six months. The group comprises some 50 thousand people, operates alongside the Syrian military, and is trained by Hezbollah operatives with Iranian funding. 

Kochavi also addressed Iran’s nuclear program. According to Israeli estimates, the regime has still not made a decision to produce a nuclear bomb. Although, Kochavi added, “that is where it is heading.” 

“Iran does not expect an assault by the international community on its nuclear facilities, not in the foreseeable future,” Kochavi said. The main challenge to Tehran’s nuclear program is the survival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime.

The weight of sanctions against the country will become an increasingly decisive consideration in Iran’s decision, he added, although, “so far it has not caused them to change their policies.” As long as Iran does not see a high likelihood of attack against its nuclear facilities, “Iran under pressure will continue to advance its nuclear plans,” Kochavi said.

© Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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Iran Can’t Build Nuke Without Tripping Alarm Bells, US Says

Engineering Consent For Attack On Iran?

Intelligence director James Clapper says Tehran still has not decided whether to pursue militarization of nuclear program

By Associated Press.

March 12, 2013 “Information Clearing House –AP – WASHINGTON  – Iran cannot enrich uranium to the point of being able to make a bomb without the international community finding out, a top US intelligence official said Tuesday while delivering an otherwise sobering report on worldwide threats.

National Intelligence director James Clapper told a Senate panel that Tehran is developing nuclear capabilities to enhance its security and influence and “give it the ability to develop a nuclear weapon.”

But the report stopped short of saying a decision has been made.

“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” the report said.

Clapper explained that in the last year, Iran has made progress in working toward producing weapons-grade uranium. However, the report said Iran “could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of weapons-grade uranium before this activity is discovered.”

The assessment on Iran comes shortly before President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the world has until this summer — at the latest — to keep Tehran from building a bomb. The Israeli leader repeatedly has indicated Israel is willing to strike militarily to stop Iran, a step that would likely drag in the United States.

Clapper, testifying with newly installed CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director Robert Mueller to the Senate Intelligence Committee, also spoke about threats emanating from Syria and North Korea.

He said that both Iran and Syria had acquired ballistic missiles from Pyongyang

In Syria, President Bashar Assad’s inability to quash the uprising in his country increases the possibility that he will use chemical weapons against his people, Clapper said.

“We assess that an increasingly beleaguered regime, having found its escalation of violence through conventional means inadequate, might be prepared to use chemical weapons against the Syrian people,” he said. “In addition, groups or individuals in Syria could gain access to chemical weapons-related material.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence committee, described Syria as a “massive and still growing humanitarian disaster under way with no end in sight.”

The United Nations estimates more than 70,000 people have been killed in the civil war, which started two years ago against Assad’s rule.

The report said terrorist threats are in transition with an increasingly decentralized global jihadist movement. The Arab Spring, however, has created a spike in threats to US interests in the region “that likely will endure until political upheaval stabilizes and security forces regain their capabilities.”

An unpredictable North Korea, with its nuclear weapons and missile programs, was touted as the most serious threat to the United States and East Asia nations.

The outlook on North Korea comes as the communist regime announced that it was “completely scrapping” the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and has maintained peace on the peninsula for more than half a century. The Obama administration on Monday slapped new sanctions against North Korea’s primary exchange bank and several senior government officials as it expressed concern about the North’s “bellicose rhetoric.”

“The Intelligence community has long assessed that, in Pyongyang’s view, its nuclear capabilities are intended for deterrence, international prestige and coercive diplomacy. We do not know Pyongyang’s nuclear doctrine or employment concepts,” Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Although we assess with low confidence that the North would only attempt to use nuclear weapons against U.S. forces or allies to preserve the Kim regime, we do not know what would constitute, from the North’s perspective, crossing that threshold.”

North Korea, led by its young leader Kim Jong Un, has defied the international community in the last three months, testing an intercontinental ballistic missile and a third nuclear bomb.

“These programs demonstrate North Korea’s commitment to develop long-range missile technology that could pose a direct threat to the United States, and its efforts to produce and market ballistic missiles raise broader regional and global security concerns,” the report said.

Copyright Associated Press

AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers

By Jim Naureckas
March 07, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “FAIR” —  One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s deathcomes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):
Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.
That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?
Venezuelan Poverty Rate

Souce: NACLA’s Keane Bhatt
In case you’re curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here’s a chart (NACLA10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats–showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years. (For comparison purposes, there’s a similar stat for Brazil, which made substantial but less dramatic progress against poverty over the same time period.)
Of course, during this time, the number of Venezuelans living in the world’s tallest building went from 0 percent to 0 percent, while the number of copies of the Mona Lisa remained flat, at none. So you have to say that Chavez’s presidency was overall pretty disappointing–at least by AP‘s standards.

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Henry Kissinger: “If You Can’t Hear the Drums of War You Must Be Deaf”

By Alfred Heinz

February 15, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – NEW YORK – USA – In a remarkable admission by former Nixon era Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, reveals what is happening at the moment in the world and particularly the Middle East.

Speaking from his luxurious Manhattan apartment, the elder statesman, who will be 89 in May, is all too forward with his analysis of the current situation in the world forum of Geo-politics and economics.

“The United States is baiting China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

Mr Kissinger then added: “If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”

After pausing for a few minutes to collect his thoughts, Mr Kissinger, carried on: “We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job. We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time. It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance. How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up? The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can. Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli. Our young have been trained well for the last decade or so on combat console games, it was interesting to see the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game, which mirrors exactly what is to come in the near future with its predictive programming. Our young, in the US and West, are prepared because they have been programmed to be good soldiers, cannon fodder, and when they will be ordered to go out into the streets and fight those crazy Chins and Russkies, they will obey their orders. Out of the ashes we shall build a new society, anew world order; there will only be one superpower left, and that one will be the global government that wins. Don’t forget, the United States, has the best weapons, we have stuff that no other nation has, and we will introduce those weapons to the world when the time is right.”

End of interview. Our reporter is ushered out of the room by Kissinger’s minder.

This article was originally posted at

Lies, Damned Lies, and Newspaper Reporting

Have You No Shame?

By Annie Machon

February 01, 2013 “Huffington Post” – -Where to start with this tangled skein of media spin, misrepresentation and outright hypocrisy?

Last week the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence presented this year’s award to Dr Tom Fingar at a ceremony jointly hosted by the prestigious Oxford Union Society.

Dr Fingar, currently a visiting lecturer at Oxford, had in 2007 co-ordinated the production of the US National Intelligence Estimate – the combined analysis of all 16 of America’s intelligence agencies – which assessed that the Iranian nuclear weaponisation programme had ceased in 2003. This considered and authoritative Estimate directly thwarted the 2008 US drive towards war against Iran, and has been reaffirmed every year since then.

By the very fact of doing his job of providing dispassionate and objective assessments and resisting any pressure to politicise the intelligence (à la Downing Street Memo), Dr Fingar’s work is outstanding and he is the winner of Sam Adams Award, 2012. This may say something about the parlous state of our intelligence agencies generally, but don’t get me started on that…

Anyway, as I said, the award ceremony was co-hosted by the Oxford Union Society last week, and many Sam Adams Associates attended, often travelling long distances to do so. Former winners were asked to speak at the ceremony, such as FBI Coleen Rowley, GCHQ Katherine Gun, NSA Thomas Drake, and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray. Other associates, including CIA Ray McGovern, diplomats Ann Wright and Brady Kiesling and myself also said a few words. As former insiders and whistleblowers, we recognised the vitally important work that Dr Fingar had done and all spoke about the importance of integrity in intelligence.

One other previous winner of the Sam Adams Award was also invited to speak – Julian Assange of Wikileaks. He spoke eloquently about the need for integrity and was gracious in praising the work of Dr Fingar.

All the national and international media were invited to attend what was an historic gathering of international whistleblowers and cover an award given to someone who, by doing their job with integrity, prevented yet further ruinous war and bloodshed in the Middle East.

Few attended, still fewer reported on the event, and the promised live streaming on YouTube was blocked by shadowy powers at the very last minute – an irony considering the Oxford Union is renowned as a free speech society.

But worse was to come. The next day the Guardian newspaper, which historically fell out with Wikileaks, published a myopic hit-pieceabout the event. No mention of all the whistleblowers who attended and what they said, no mention of the award to Dr Fingar, no mention of the fact that his work saved the Iranian people from needless war.

Oh no, the entire piece focused on the tawdry allegations emanating from Sweden about Julian Assange’s extradition case. Discounting the 450 students who applauded all the speeches, discounting all the serious points raised by Julian Assange during his presentation, and discounting the speeches of all the other internationally renowned whistleblowers who spoke that evening, the Guardian’s reporter, Amelia Hill, focused on the small demo outside the event and the only three attendees she could apparently find to criticise the fact that a platform, any platform, had been given to Assange from his political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

So this is where we arrive at the deep, really deep, hypocrisy of the evening. Amelia Hill is, I’m assuming, the same Guardian journalist who was threatened in 2011 with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. She had allegedly been receiving leaks from the Metropolitan Police about the on-going investigation into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

At the time Fleet Street was up in arms – how dare the police threaten one of their own with prosecution under the OSA for exposing institutional corruption? Shades of the Shayler case were used in her defence. As I wrote at the time, it’s a shame the UK media could not have been more consistently robust in condemning the chilling effects of the OSA on the free-flow of information and protect all the Poor Bloody Whistleblowers, and not just come out fighting when it is one of their own being threatened. But such is the way of the world….

But really, Ms Hill – if you are indeed the same reporter who was threatened with prosecution in 2011 under the OSA – examine your conscience.

How can you write a hit-piece focusing purely on Assange – a man who has designed a publishing system to protect potential whistleblowers from precisely such draconian secrecy laws as you were hyperbolically threatened with? And how could you, at the same time, airbrush out of history the testimony of so many whistleblowers gathered together, many of whom have indeed been arrested and have faced prosecution under the terms of the OSA or US secrecy legislation?

Have you no shame? You know how frightening it is to be faced with such a prosecution.

Your hypocrisy is breath-taking.

The offence was compounded when the Sam Adams Associates all wrote a letter to the Guardian to set the record straight. The original letter is reproduced below, and this is what was published. Of course, the Guardian has a perfect right under its Terms and Conditions to edit the letter, but I would like everyone to see how this can be used and abused.

And the old media wonders why it is in decline?

Letter to the Guardian, 29 January 2013:

Dear Sir

With regard to the 24 January article in the Guardian entitled “Julian Assange Finds No Allies and Tough Queries in Oxford University Talk,” we question whether the newspaper’s reporter was actually present at the event, since the account contains so many false and misleading statements.

If the Guardian could “find no allies” of Mr. Assange, it did not look very hard! They could be found among the appreciative audience of the packed Oxford Union Debate Hall, and – in case you missed us – in the group seated right at the front of the Hall: the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Many in our group – which, you might be interested to know co-sponsored the event with Oxford Union – had traveled considerable distances at our own expense to confer the 10th annual Sam Adams award to Dr. Thomas Fingar for his work on overseeing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that revealed the lack of an Iranian nuclear weaponization program.

Many of us spoke in turn about the need for integrity in intelligence, describing the terrible ethical dilemma that confronts government employees who witness illegal activity including serious threats to public safety and fraud, waste and abuse.

But none of this made it into what was supposed to pass for a news article; neither did any aspect of the acceptance speech delivered by Dr. Fingar. Also, why did the Guardian fail to provide even one salient quote from Mr Assange’s substantial twenty-minute address?

By censoring the contributions of the Sam Adams Associates and the speeches by Dr. Fingar and Mr. Assange, and by focusing exclusively on tawdry and unproven allegations against Mr. Assange, rather than on the importance of exposing war crimes and maintaining integrity in intelligence processes, the Guardian has succeeded in diminishing none but itself.


The Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence:

Ann Wright (retired Army Colonel and Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst), Elizabeth Murray (retired CIA analyst), Coleen Rowley (retired FBI agent), Annie Machon (former MI5 intelligence officer), Thomas Drake (former NSA official), Craig Murray (former British Ambassador), David MacMichael (retired CIA analyst), Brady Kiesling (former Foreign Service Officer of US State Department), and Todd Pierce (retired U.S. Army Major, Judge Advocate, Guantanamo Defense Counsel).

Julian Assange | Sam Adams Awards | Oxford Union


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Western Media Ratcheting Up Anti-Iran Propaganda?

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

January 26, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – On November 22, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an alarming piece of news entitled “ Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age ”.   The “cyber-warriors” who are headed for organizations such as the CIA, NSC, FBI, the Pentagon and so on, are trained to stalk, “ rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook [emphasis added].  They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives.”

Not surprisingly, less than a month later,  it was rumored that Iran ‘s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei  had started a Facebook page.  The style and content of the site ruled out its authenticity , but the State Department was amused.  In spite of the potential for alarm,  State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland jokingly expressed Washington ‘s curiosity to see how many “likes’ Khamenei would receive.    This is no joking matter.   Any message on this page would be attributed to Khamenei with a potential for dangerous ramifications.

Barely a month later, on January 24, 2013,  Guardian’s blaring headlines exposed fake blogs and Facebook pages made for  BBC Persian’s Iranian journalists with claims that these were made  in order to harass, intimidate, and discredit the journalists.   These fake blogs, according to The Guardian charges, are not by the American Cyber Corps warriors, but are alleged to be the creation of the Iranian ‘Islamic cyber-activists’ in “what appears [emphasis added] to be an operation sponsored by the authorities”.

While truth is the fist casualty of war, journalists are also fair game thanks — in large part owing to the provisions of the Information Operations Road Map of 2003 (signed by the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and pursued by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta).  As part of the plan,  “ public affairs officers brief journalists ”.   In 2005 it came to light that the Pentagon paid the Lincoln Group (a private company) to plant ‘hundreds of stories’ in Iraqi papers in support of U.S. Policies.   The plan also called for “a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, “miniaturized, scatterable public address systems”, wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet. “

In light of such wide spread propaganda, deception and digital warfare by the Pentagon, and with the recent Los Angeles Times revelations of the Cyber Corps training,  truth become indistinguishable from falsehood and thus accepting or rejecting the authenticity of allegations by the Guardian becomes subjective, in spite of the reality of the victimhood of BBC journalists (ditto Radio Farda, VOA) whose reporting is not welcomed in Iran.

The broadcast of BBC Persian into Iran is problematic.  Leaving aside the illegality of it ( see article ), BBC Persian which was launched in early 2009, receives  significant funding from the United States .   To many Iranians,  no doubt including the Iranian government, BBC’s role was (and continues to be) a dark reminder of its past role in destroying Iran’s democracy in 1953 when, by its own admission, the BBC spearheaded Britain’s propaganda and broadcast the code which sparked the coup and the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh.

As if in a reenactment, the role of BBC Persian in the 2009 post-election unrest was significant.  Claiming that  BBC Persian Services was basing its reporting on “citizen journalists” and on the receiving end of “eight user generated communications per minute”,   their own report indicates that some of the reporting was impossible to verify.  Unlike BBC Persian (and VOA, Radio Farda, etc.), Wired Magazine did its homework fully.  In its report aptly titled “Iran: Before You Have That Twitter-Gasm…” , it revealed that the “ U.S. media is projecting its own image of Iran into what is going here on the ground.”   BBC Persian, true to its track record, and thanks to State Department funding, had a desire to trumpet in a new era in Iran ‘s history –  A historical change planned from without, with help from within.   Unlike 1953, it failed.

Once again, with the Iranian elections on the horizon, indications are that the recent elections in the United States and Israel will not produce a break-through in the US-Iran relations, or the foreign policy agenda of the United States toward Iran — warfare by other means, including propaganda.   Cognizant of this fact, either the Iranian government is bracing itself for a propaganda war by discrediting sites with a potential to propagate misinformation, which may explain duplicating the BBC (admittedly, a clever move), or, the American Cyber Corps has outdone itself with the ability to point the finger at Iran.

Either way, in launching its cyber warfare, the United States has crossed the Rubicon.  Cyber warfare, much like germ warfare, is dangerous, relentless, and without boundaries.   The casualties of such warfare will continue to rise – unstoppable.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

The US, Saudi Arabia, Propaganda and Tyranny in the Middle East

The ability to persuade people that the US opposes tyranny is a testament to the potency of propaganda
By Glenn Greenwald
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saus with Barack Obama
Saudi King Abdullah with US President Barack Obama. Photograph: Mido Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images
January 12, 2013 “The Guardian” — The most significant problem in political discourse is not that people embrace destructive beliefs after issues are rationally debated. It’s that the potency of propaganda, by design, often precludes such debates from taking place. Consider how often one hears the claim that the US is committed to spreading democracy and opposing tyranny in the Middle East in light of this fact froma New York Review of Books article by Hugh Eakin reviewing three new books on Saudi Arabia (via As’ad AbuKhalil):
“The US does more trade – overwhelmingly in oil and weapons – with Saudi Arabia than any other country in the Middle East, including Israel, and depends on close Saudi cooperation in its counterterrorism efforts in Yemen.”
Indeed, President Obama has repeatedly touted what he calls “the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia” and “the importance of our bilateral relationship” and often vows “to continue cooperating closely on a range of issues”.
In other words, the single most repressive regime in that region is also America’s closest ally. Eakin also notes that while Saudi leaders have exploited the rhetoric of the Arab Spring to undermine leaders its dislikes (primarily in Syria and Iran), its only direct action was to send its troops into Bahrain “to stave off a popular revolt and prop up the Bahraini monarchy” and use “its influence in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the alliance of autocratic Persian Gulf states, to pull together support for the beleaguered royal houses of Morocco and Jordan.” About all of this Saudi bolstering of tyranny, Eakin says: “The White House has remained silent.”
Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The US has been there every step of the way with its close Saudi allies in strengthening these same tyrannies. As the Bahraini regime has systematically killed, tortured, and imprisoned its own citizens for the crime of demanding democracy, the Obama administration has repeatedly armed it and trumpeted the regime as “a vital US partner in defense initiatives” and “a Major Non-NATO Ally”. The US continues to be a close partner of the Yemeni dictator (“elected” as the only candidate allowed on the ballot). And it stands as steadfastly as ever behind the Gulf State monarchies of Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar as, to varying degrees, they repress democratic movements and imprison dissidents.
There is, of course, a long-standing debate about whether there’s anything wrong with the US supporting and allying itself with repressive regimes. A popular strain of foreign policy thought has long held that the US should be guided primarily by self-interest rather than human rights concerns: hence, since the US wants its Fifth Fleet to remain in Bahrain and believes (with good reason) that these dictators will serve US interests far better than if popular will in these countries prevails, it is right to prop up these autocrats.
That’s all well and good, but then there should be nobody willing to believe US political leaders when they claim that they are engaging in military action or otherwise interfering in other parts of the world in order to subvert despotism and spread democracy. When President Obama stands up and says – as he did when he addressed the nation in February 2011 about Libya – that “the United States will continue to stand up for freedom, stand up for justice, and stand up for the dignity of all people”, it should trigger nothing but a scornful fit of laughter, not credulous support (by the way, not that anyone much cares any more, but here’s what is happening after the Grand Success of the Libya Intervention: “Tribal and historical loyalties still run deep in Libya, which is struggling to maintain central government control in a country where armed militia wield real power and meaningful systems of law and justice are lacking after the crumbling of Gaddafi’s eccentric personal rule”).
The US is not committed to spreading democracy and freedom in the US. “Freedom” and “democracy” are concepts it exploits to undermine regimes that refuse to serve its interests. Indeed, there is virtually an inverse relationship between how democratic a country is in the Muslim world and how closely allied the US is to it.
Yes, all of this is obvious and not novel to point out. Still, it needs to be pointed out because of how often the US government succeeds in leading people to believe that these are its goals. It’s just extraordinary that so many people are willing to believe and advocate that the US ever acts in the world with the goal of undermining tyranny when “the US does more trade – overwhelmingly in oil and weapons – with Saudi Arabia than any other country in the Middle East”. That this blatant sham is so widely accepted is a testament to the potency of propaganda, bolstered by the willingness of people to embrace self-flattering claims.
Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the Guardian. A former constitutional lawyer, he was until 2012 a contributing writer at Salon. He is the author of How Would a Patriot Act? (May 2006), a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power; A Tragic Legacy (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy; and With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful

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Moulding Young Minds: American Schools Preaching the Virtues of a War On Iran

What exactly are we teaching your children?

By Patrick Henningsen

December 19, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – I remember my history lessons in school. Among many things, I can recall Normandy, Patton’s march through France and the Battle of the Bulge, Korea, Vietnam and how about the millions of deaths on – as well as off, the fields of battle throughout history.

All in all, it was a tale of battles won and lost, and as was rightly put by my junior high school teacher – a tale of cautionfor future generations. But as young students, we were never taught to idiosyncrasies of ‘war-gaming’ a conflict in the future.
Nor can I recall getting lessons in school about using various aspects of asymmetrical warfare to encircle an enemy, or how admirable and clever it is to deploy terrorist units to bomb a country in order to ‘soften it up’ from within.
Unbeknownst to many people, there are school teachers who are delivering pro-war propaganda, indoctrinating young children with violent globalist military stratagem selling the concept of an inevitable war on the people of Iran as well as anyone else deemed as ‘Axis’ powers in relation to western central planning.
Interestingly, and quite horrific in fact, when challenged by his young (and extremely bright) female student over her idea of obtaining from a western pre-emptive intervention against Iran, the teacher addressing these students laid down a nonnegotiable maxim stating:
“… one of the rules (in this discussion) is you can’t do nothing”.
The female student followed his NLP intellectual diversion by rightly pointing out to him:
“But we (the US) are the only country in the world that’s ever used nuclear weapons”.
To which the teacher replies sharply:
“That’s irrelevant.”
It appears also towards the end of the video, that the class was being monitored by the principal’s office, who then summoned the student in question to the office. Orwellian – in the extreme.
This is the generation of children who may be asked – or drafted in to fight a coming war with Iran and others – so is this part of the indoctrination of future soldiers? Maybe.
Certainly here, it’s safe to say that teachers are grooming the next generation of compliant consumer spectators with some heavy indoctrination.
Watch the classroom exchange recorded by the student:

Immediately, the first thing that’s come to mind here is remembering what Cosby Stills and Nash tried to tell us – all those decades ago…

This article was originally posted at 21st Century Wire

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Syria Loads Chemical Weapons into Bombs; Military Awaits Assad’s Order

Presstitute and war pimp alert:
So far, intelligence sources say, bombs loaded with the components of sarin haven’t yet been loaded onto planes. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.
Visit for breaking newsworld news, andnews about the economy
By Jim Miklaszewski and M. Alex Johnson
December -6, 2012 “NBC News” — The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the “precursor” chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.

Sarin is an extraordinarily lethal agent. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces killed 5,000 Kurds with a single sarin attack on Halabja in 1988.

U.S. officials stressed that as of now, the sarin bombs hadn’t been loaded onto planes and that Assad hadn’t issued a final order to use them. But if he does, one of the officials said, “there’s little the outside world can do to stop it.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated U.S. warnings to Assad not to use chemical weapons, saying he would be crossing “a red line” if he did so.

Speaking Wednesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Clinton said the Syrian government was on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect that “an increasingly desperate Assad regime” might turn to chemical weapons or that the banned weapons could fall into other hands.

“Ultimately, what we should be thinking about is a political transition in Syria and one that should start as soon as possible,” Clinton said. “We believe their fall is inevitable. It is just a question of how many people have to die before that occurs.”

Aides told NBC News that Clinton was expected next week to officially recognize the main opposition movement, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, with which she is scheduled to meet in Morocco. Britain, France, Turkey and some key Arab leaders have already recognized the opposition.

Fighting intensified Wednesday in the 21-month civil war, which has left 40,000 people dead. The U.N. withdrew its personnel from Damascus, saying conditions were too dangerous.

The government said this week that it wouldn’t use chemical weapons on its own people after President Barack Obama warned that doing so would be “totally unacceptable.”

But U.S. officials said this week that the government had ordered its Chemical Weapons Corps to “be prepared,” which Washington interpreted as a directive to begin bringing together the components needed to weaponize Syria’s chemical stockpiles.

That process would involve mixing “precursor” chemicals for the deadly nerve gas sarin, which could be used in artillery shells, U.S. officials told NBC News, stressing that there was no evidence that process had as yet begun.

U.S. officials had long believed that the Syrian government was stockpiling the banned chemical weapons before itacknowledged possessing them this summer.

NBC News reported in July that U.S. intelligence agencies believed that in addition to sarin, Syria had access to tabun, a chemical nerve agent, as well as traditional chemical weapons like mustard gas and hydrogen cyanide.

Officials told NBC News at the time that the Syrian government was moving the outlawed weapons around the country, leaving foreign intelligence agencies unsure where they might end up.

Syria is one of only seven nations that hasn’t ratified the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, the arms control agreement that outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of such weapons.

Bombshells filled with chemicals can be carried by Syrian Air Force fighter-bombers, in particular Sukhoi-22/20, MiG-23 and Sukhoi-24 aircraft. In addition, some reports indicate that unguided short-range Frog-7 artillery rockets may be capable of carrying chemical payloads.

In terms of longer-range delivery systems, Syria has a few dozen SS-21 ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 72 miles; 200 Scud-Bs, with a maximum range of 180 miles; and 60 to 120 Scud-Cs, with a maximum range of 300 miles, all of which are mobile and are capable of carrying chemical weapons, according U.S. intelligence officials.

Visit for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy
See also –
US, allies said to be prepared to ‘rapidly’ intervene if Assad utilizes chemical weapons: Potential coalition partners include the UK, Turkey and even Israel; King Abdullah II says Jordan will not be a party to military intervention in Syria
Engineering Consent For Attack On Syria? Report: Syrian army loads bombs with chemical weapons: The signs that the Syrian army is losing control of the country are growing fast, so too are growing the chances of a foreign military intervention.
17 US warships now off Syria: The U.S. aircraft carrier “Dwight D Eisenhower” has arrived off the shores of Syria.
Thousands of American troops near Syrian shore on USS Eisenhower: “The muscle is already there to be flexed,” a US official told the London Times about the US military’s presence outside of Syria.
US and Europe accelerate plans for Syrian transition: The United States and like-minded governments are rushing to fund and legitimize a newly-formed Syrian opposition group amid fear that plans for a political transition are being outpaced by rebel military gains, US and European officials said.
Images embedded in this article by ICH and did not appear in the original item.

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The Personification of Self-righteousness

By Alan Hart

November 30, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – In the song Mack the Knife there’s a line about a body on the sidewalk “oozing” life. Last night there was a body, a living one, oozing self-righteousness. It was not on the sidewalk. It was at the speaker’s podium in the General Assembly. It was that of His Excellency Mr. Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, presenting lies as truth before the vote which overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state.

Peace, he asserted, “is a central value of Israeli society.” He went on: “The bible calls on us, ‘seek peace and pursue it’. Peace fills our art and poetry. It is a taught in our schools. It has been the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago.”
What crap! (Dictionary definition – “excrement, rubbish, dirt, worthless nonsense”).
But am I being fair to Prosor? There’s a case for saying that I am not and it’s this. The Zionist (not Jewish) states doeswant peace, has always wanted peace. The problem is that it wants peace on its own terms, terms which require the surrender of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians to Zionism’s will; terms which give the them the choice of accepting a few crumbs from Zionism’s table or being removed from it in a final ethnic cleansing.
Until last night I thought that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was the personification of self-righteousness, but Prosor is above even him in this field. Prosor’s self-righteousness is not only in his words as he speaks them, it’s in his eyes and his whole body language.
The message I got from watching and listening to him was this: “I know I’m a self-righteous son-of-a-bitch, and I know you know I am, but I don’t care. My country is the nuclear-armed superpower of its region. We don’t give a damn about this UN General Assembly. Only the Security Council matters and we – our leaders in Israel and our lobby here in the U.S – have the ability and the means to see to it that every American president vetoes any proposal that comes before the Security Council which is not to our liking.”
But still I found myself applauding Prosor for his performance, especially his concluding assertion that Israel wants peace and the Palestinians are “avoiding” it. Why?
The short answer was put into words by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book, Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in English in 1986, he wrote:
“No factor endangers Israel’s future more than self-righteousness, which blinds us to reality, prevents a complex understanding of the situation and legitimizes extreme behaviour.”
So I say to Prosor, Netanyahu, Lieberman and others – bring it on. Let’s have more and more of your self-righteousness.
In response to the post above a very dear Jewish-American friend, Rich Forer, e-mailed me with this comment. “I saw Prosor on CNN last night. I could barely watch. I was filled with revulsion for the very reasons you describe. I hope others who watched his Goebbels-like performance also saw through his sleazy lies and phony claims that Israel has always wanted peace.”

(video on the following link)

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Congress’s Shameful Support for Israeli Bombing

Take The Quiz
By Matthew Rothschild
November 20, 2012 “Progressive Magazine” — The Here’s a two-part quiz for you.
Late last week, Congress weighed in on Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
Question Number One: How many House members voted to condemn that bombing?
Question Number two: How many members of the Senate voted to condemn it?
If you guessed anything but zero and zero, you flunked the quiz.
Both the House and the Senate passed an identical resolution (pasted in at bottom), by a unanimous vote, that said that each chamber “strongly supports” Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.”
The only violence the resolution condemned was the violence from Hamas.
Not a peep about Israel’s violence.
Not a word about Israel’s assassination of Hamas’s military leader.
Not a word about Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.
Not a word about the suffering the Palestinians are enduring, or have endured, under Occupation.
You can’t get any more lopsided than this.
In fact, the lopsidedness led to some gruesome gloating on the part of, which describes itself as “The Global News Service of the Jewish People.”
“Unlike statements of support for Israel’s actions from the Obama administration, the resolutions do not call on both sides to exercise restraint or express regret at casualties on both sides,” said the JTA article.
To date, more than 90 people in Gaza have been killed, many of them children, and more than 700 Gazans have been wounded. Israel has lost three people to rocket attacks from Hamas.
Benjamin Netanyahu loves to come to speak before Congress. And no wonder: He has them in his pocket.
But this unconditional support for brutal Israeli actions won’t make Israel any safer. Killing and wounding so many civilians in Gaza only further incites hatred against Israel, and any military advantage gained by these bombings will quickly evaporate as Hamas regroups.
As Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery says, “The real remedy is peace. Peace with the Palestinian people.” Avnery recognizes that the rocket attacks from Hamas had become intolerable. But he notes that Hamas has already agreed to peace if there’s a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders that is approved in a Palestinian referendum.
But Israel and the U.S. Congress don’t seem to want to give peace a chance.
They vote time after time for war.
Here is the text of the resolution that unanimously passed the House. An identical one passed the Senate:
Whereas Hamas was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel;
Whereas Hamas has been designated by the Secretary of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization;
Whereas Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
Whereas Hamas has launched thousands of rockets and missiles since Israel dismantled settlements and withdrew from Gaza in 2005;
Whereas terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have fired approximately 900 rockets and missile shells into Israel this year, an increase from roughly 675 attacks in 2011 and 350 in 2010;
Whereas Hamas has increased the range of its rockets, reportedly with support from Iran and others, putting additional large numbers of Israelis in danger of rocket attacks from Gaza;
Whereas, on November 14, 2012, President Barack Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense; and
Whereas Israel, a fellow democracy, has an inherent right to self defense in the face of terrorist attacks: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
(2) reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
(3) urges the United Nations Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
(4) encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive Magazine
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “In the Petraeus Scandal, the FBI Ran Amok.”

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Journalistic Cliches: ‘Surgical Air Strikes’, ‘Rooting Out Terror’, and ‘Cyber-Terrorism’ Cannot Conceal Reality

Dissecting IDF Propaganda: The Numbers behind the rocket attacks

By Phan Nguyen 

November 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – In this brief study, I examine the many numbers cited by the Israeli military relating to Gaza rocket attacks into Israel.

To begin, Israeli spokespeople frequently remind the world that a million Israeli citizens are within range of Gaza rockets,twelve thousand of which have been fired into Israel in the last twelve years, inflicting thousands of injuries and several dead.
However, we are rarely told exactly how many people have been killed by these rocket attacks.
Counting the dead
Below is a list of all the fatalities of rocket and mortar attacks fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel in the entire history of these attacks. Throughout the years of rocket attacks into Israel, a total of 26 people have been killed altogether.
Date of attack Name Age Location Weapon
2004.06.28 Mordechai Yosephov 49 Sderot Qassam
2004.06.28 Afik Ohion Zehavi 4 Sderot Qassam
2004.09.29 Yuval Abebeh 4 Sderot Qassam
2004.09.29 Dorit (Masarat) Benisian 2 Sderot Qassam
2005.01.15 Ayala-Haya Abukasis 17 Sderot Qassam
2005.07.15 Dana Gelkowitz 22 Moshav Nativ Ha‘asara Qassam
2006.03.28 Salam Ziadin*  ? Nahal Oz Qassam
2006.03.28 Khalid Ziadin* 16 Nahal Oz Qassam
2006.11.15 Faina Slutzker 57 Sderot Qassam
2006.11.21 Yaakov Yaakobov 43 Sderot Qassam
2007.05.21 Shirel Friedman 32 Sderot Qassam
2007.05.27 Oshri Oz 36 Sderot Qassam
2008.02.27 Roni Yihye 47 Sderot Qassam
2008.05.09 Jimmy Kedoshim 48 Kibbutz Kfar Aza mortar
2008.05.12 Shuli Katz 70 Moshav Yesha Qassam
2008.06.05 Amnon Rosenberg 51 Kibbutz Nir-Oz mortar
2008.12.27 Beber Vaknin 58 Netivot Qassam
2008.12.29 Lutfi Nasraladin* 38 IDF base near Nahal Oz mortar
2008.12.29 Irit Sheetrit 39 Ashdod Grad
2008.12.29 Hani al Mahdi* 27 Ashkelon Grad
2010.03.18 Manee Singueanphon* 30 Moshav Nativ Ha‘asara Qassam
2011.08.20 Yossi Shushan 38 Be’er sheva Grad
2011.10.29 Moshe Ami 56 Ashkelon Grad
2012.11.15 Yitzchak Amsalem 24 Kiryat Malachi rocket
2012.11.15 Mira Sharf 25 Kiryat Malachi rocket
2012.11.15 Aharon Smadja 49 Kiryat Malachi rocket
Total fatalities in the history of rocket and mortar attacks
from Gaza into Israel: 26
Operation Cast Lead: December 27, 2008–January 18, 2009
Operation Pillar of Cloud: November 14, 2012–
The shaded rows in the table refer to fatalities sustained during Operation Cast Lead (December 27, 2008–January 18, 2009) and Operation Pillar of Cloud (November 14, 2012–).
Note that of the 26 fatalities from rocket and mortar attacks, more than one out of every four deaths occurred during these two operations, which were ostensibly designed to deter rocket attacks.
For the entire duration of the 2008 Hamas–Israel cease-fire—even after Israel had broken the cease-fire on Nov. 4—not a single person was killed by rocket or mortar fire into Israel. Yet approximately two hours after Israel’s commencement of Operation Cast Lead, one person in Israel was struck and killed by shrapnel from a Qassam rocket. Two days later, three more people were killed in Israel from Gaza rocket and mortar attacks.
And for an entire year before Operation Pillar of Cloud, not a single Israeli was killed by rocket or mortar. Yet approximately sixteen hours after Pillar of Cloud commenced, a rocket from Gaza killed three Israelis.
It was during both military operations that Israel endured the highest number of fatalities from Gaza rockets and mortars in the shortest time spans.
The data is too scant to a draw a more definite conclusion (and it is scant because fatalities are so rare), but one can suspect a pattern:
Rocket fatalities are more likely to happen during major Israel “anti-rocket” operations. Note that I say that fatalities are more likely to happen, rather than fatalities increase. Because fatalities are so rare, when they do happen in a burst, they appear more as instigations rather than incidental progressions.
This disputes the clichéd notion that rocket attacks are “designed to maximize civilian casualties.” Indeed, with such a low fatality rate and with the characteristic imprecision of the weapons, they cannot be expected to inflict a fatality most of the time.
At the same time, armed groups in Gaza are capable of increasing the likelihood of fatalities when prompted.
A verrry slow genocide
If we borrow the IDF’s claim that more than 12,000 rockets have been fired into Israel in the last twelve years (which I dispute later), we get a kill rate of less than 0.217%. Thus in order to secure a single kill, we should expect to fire about 500 rockets. However, if the goal is to specifically kill Jews rather than foreign workers and Palestinian laborers, then it gets harder. Only 21 Jews have been killed by this method, bringing the kill rate down to 0.175%.
If this sounds disturbing or even anti-Semitic, note that I am just testing the argument of the current Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, who, during Operation Cast Lead, co-wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming that the Gaza rockets and mortars were “more than a crude attempt to kill and terrorize civilians—they were expressions of a genocidal intent.”
Yet the statistics demonstrate that it is much less than a “crude attempt to kill.” One can imagine easier ways to kill a random person than to manufacture and fire 500+ homemade rockets.
As for genocide, at the going kill rate, it would require 4,477,714,286 rockets and mortars, and 4,477,714 years to kill all the Jews in Israel. This is assuming that Israel’s Jewish population does not increase. And of course we would need to factor in the limited range of the projectiles, which would require Israel’s non-growing Jewish population to all congregate in the western Negev by the year 4479726 CE, give or take a few years.
But by then, all of Israel’s Jewish population will have already been exterminated by the country’s other violent killer, automotive accidents.
It makes more sense, then, to suppose that there are political rationales for the firing of rockets and mortars.
The IDF’s mysterious deaths
Now that we’ve established that a total of twenty-six people have been killed by high-trajectory weapons from Gaza into Israel, let’s look at some of the numbers that the Israeli military has been peddling.
In keeping up with its social media focus, IDF 2.0 has been distributing infographics through Facebook, Twitter, and an official blog, encouraging subscribers to share the images. One recent infographic makes the following claims about the number of Israeli casualties from rocket attacks:

IDF Hamas rocket threat 1
First, let’s compare the IDF’s fatalities numbers to the numbers that I’ve established:

Number of rocket/mortar fatalities by year, 2006–2011
  IDF claim Established
2006 9 4
2007 10 2
2008 15 8
2009 2 0
2010 5 1
2011 3 2

For every year listed, the IDF’s rocket fatalities number is higher than what has been established. Could it be due to different interpretations of the figures? We can try to find out by examining the fatalities for each year:

In 2006, at the tail end of the second intifada, there were several Israeli fatalities, including a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, another suicide bombing in the West Bank, several shootings of soldiers and settlers in the West Bank,  two soldiers killed by sniper fire in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip, and the capture of Gilad Shalit in a Hamas/PRC operation that left two other soldiers dead. However, there were only two people who were killed in Israel by rocket strikes. Another two, a Bedouin father and son, were killed while attempting to move an unexploded Qassam rocket for salvaging. Their deaths are not listed in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs page as deaths by Palestinian attacks. Nevertheless, I included them in my listing, making four deaths by rockets in 2006.
For 2006, it is unknown how the IDF transformed four rocket fatalities into nine.
In 2007, two Qassam rockets killed two people in Sderot. There was one other incident in Israel that produced fatalities—a suicide bombing that killed three people in a bakery in Eilat. Beyond that, four soldiers were killed by gunfire in the West Bank, one settler was gunned down in a drive-by, another settler was stabbed to death by unknown assailants, and three soldiers were killed in separate gunfights in the Gaza Strip. Altogether, sixteen were killed, only two of whom were by rockets—not ten, as asserted by the IDF. The IDF’s claim is also contradicted by Shin Bet (the Israeli Security Agency), which reported that in 2007, “rocket fire killed two Israeli civilians.”
For 2007, it is unknown how the IDF transformed two fatalities into ten.
In 2008, eight people were killed by rockets and mortars from Gaza. Four were killed in the first half of the year prior to the “tahdiya” ceasefire. As soon as Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, four more people were killed by Gaza rockets and mortars. Yet the IDF graphic claims 15 fatalities. Again, this claim is contradicted by the Shin Bet, which reportedthat in 2008,
8 people (4 during the final days of December) were killed by high-trajectory fire (rockets and mortars) from the Gaza Strip.
For 2008, it is unknown how the IDF transformed eight fatalities into fifteen.
In 2009, there was one conflict-related civilian death in Israel by Palestinians: A Jewish Israeli taxi driver was strangled to death by three Palestinians as revenge for the IDF killing of a relative. Outside of that, a 16-year old boy in the Bat Ayin settlement was killed by a lone Palestinian with an axe, two police officers were shot to death in the Jordan Valley, a settler near Nablus was shot in a drive-by, and a soldier was killed by an explosive detonation on the Gaza border. No one in Israel was killed by rocket or mortar from Gaza, even though the IDF claims two.
This is corroborated by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), which stated that
In the two years since Operation Cast Lead there has been a significant decrease in the number of Israelis killed and wounded by terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. There have been five deaths, one civilian (a worker from Thailand) killed by a rocket attack [which was in 2010] and four IDF soldiers killed during counterterrorism activities.
At the start of 2009, during Cast Lead, nine IDF soldiers were killed in the Gaza Strip, four of which were by friendly fire. Of the remaining five, one was killed by a mortar round while the other was killed by an anti-tank missile.
For 2009, there were no deaths in Israel from Gaza rockets or mortars.  The only way to claim two fatalities would be to include the deaths of two soldiers engaged in a military invasion inside the Gaza Strip, which would be misleading for the message being conveyed by the infographic.
The IDF inexplicably attributes five deaths in 2010 to Hamas rockets and mortars. There were either nine or eleven Israeli fatalities relating to the Palestine/Israel conflict in that year, depending on the interpretation: the Shin Bet says there were nine fatalities relating to the conflict, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs records eleven. Of the eleven fatalities listed by the MFA, two were committed by a Palestinian criminal gang (one strangulation and one stabbing), one was a knifing of an IDF soldier in the West Bank, four settlers were killed by gunfire in their car on a segregated road near Hebron, two soldiers entered the Gaza Strip and were killed in a shootout with Palestinian gunmen, and one police officer was shot to death just south of Hebron. Only one fatality was due to a Qassam rocket.
For 2010, it is unknown how the IDF transformed one fatality into five.
In 2011, there were only two rocket fatalities. The third fatality could be attributed to the April 7, 2011 killing of Daniel Vlific by an anti-tank missile. I explain in the note below why his death is generally not considered a high-trajectory rocket/mortar fatality. However, in this case, the IDF graphic does depict anti-tank missiles as part of the “Hamas Rocket Threat,” so the count of three fatalities can be considered correct. (Note, however, that in another IDF graphic, also entited “Hamas Rocket Threat,” anti-tank missiles are not included, as their limited ranges would undermine the intended message of a far-reaching threat.)
Thus, for 2011, the IDF number is correct if we include an anti-tank missile strike on April 7.
In the infographic, all of the IDF’s fatality numbers are exaggerated, with the exception of the fatality number for 2011.
Wounded by “shock
The same IDF infographic lists the number of people injured by rocket/mortar attacks. Thus we learn, for example, that in 2008, 611 people were injured by rocket and mortar attacks:

IDF Hamas rocket threat 1b

For obvious reasons, counting the injured requires more subjective assessment than counting the dead. And when it comes to Gazan rockets and mortars, Israeli authorities push the limits of subjectivity.
Gaza rockets have produced so few casualties that in the absence of deaths and serious injuries, Israeli authorities have resorted to detailing how many people were “treated for shock,” which the press has duly noted over the years.
Thus we are treated to shocking reports such as this Nov. 12 Haaretz article, concerning a rocket that landed on the yard of a house in Netivot:
The hit on Netivot left no casualties, but 20 people were treated for shock after the incident. [My emphases here and below]
And here’s the Jerusalem Post on Nov. 15:
MDA [Israeli emergency medical responders] on Wednesday treated a total of 16 people for injury or shockafter a bevy of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israeli territory.
Injury or shock? How many of the 16 were physically injured?
According to MDA, two people were lightly injured in Beersheba, one from shattered glass and the other from falling down the stairs. Fourteen more were treated for shock as well, 12 in Beersheba and two in Sderot.
Though Haaretz may make a distinction between “casualties” and those treated for shock (which confirms that we are talking about acute stress response, rather than, say, hypovolemic or cardiogenic shock), not everybody does so.
The Shin Bet, for instance, claims that rocket attacks in 2007 “lightly injured more than 300 persons, most of whom suffered shock.”
The following year, the Shin Bet reported that out of the supposedly 630 Israelis wounded in “terror attacks” in 2008,
The majority of the wounded in 2008 (about 400 people) were wounded by high-trajectory fire from the Gaza Strip. This data includes victims of shock as a result of high-trajectory fire.
Shin Bet numbers on injuries aren’t available for every year, so let’s just compare the 2007 and 2008 rocket injuries number with the IDF’s:
Number of injuries from Gaza rocket and mortar attacks into Israel
  IDF Shin Bet
2007 578 more than 300 (most from shock)
2008 611 about 400 (including victims of shock)
How did the IDF come up with more than 200 injuries than the Shin Bet for each year? And are the Shin Bet figures subsets of the IDF figures (meaning the IDF also included hundreds of victims of “shock”), or are they different (meaning the IDF actually found much more than 200 additional injuries per year)?
Regardless, there seems to be some very loose playing with the numbers. Oh, but it gets looser…
Number of rockets and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza
For its latest invasion of Gaza, Israel unveiled a cool new feature that rivals all your iPad apps: the Rocket Counter widget. Now you never have to guess how many rockets have hit Israel. You only have to wonder why the numbers are so damn inconsistent:
IDF rocket counter
According to the IDF Rocket Counter widget, some time between Nov. 15, 2012 (left) and Nov. 16, 2012 (right), Gaza militant groups fired 24 rockets out of the year 2011.
The screenshot on the left shows the widget display on Thursday, November 15. The screenshot on the right shows the widget display a day later. On Thursday, the widget explained that there were 651 rockets that hit Israel in 2011. On Friday, the number changed to 627, despite the fact that the year 2011 is too recent to have made a comeback.
Moreover, supposedly 122 rockets had hit Israel between the time of the screenshots on Thursday and Friday (396–274=122). It would follow, then, that the full 2012 figure of 822 would also increase by 122, giving us a total of 944. Instead it jumped to 1,197, an increase of 375 (1197–822=375). What accounts for the 253-rocket surplus in 2012 and the 24-rocket deficit in 2011?
Part of the explanation may lie in another chart that the IDF has been peddling. The bar chart below, taken from the IDF blog, purports to show the number of rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

IDF bar graph

The Rocker Counter widget appeared on the same blog page, and on Thursday, it seemed peculiar that two IDF graphics on a single page gave contradictory reports on how many rockets were fired in 2011. Eventually the widget was perhaps adjusted to conform to the bar chart.
However, it still does not explain why the other widget numbers do not add up. Nor does it explain where the 651 figure came from.
To make matters even more complicated, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has long promoted the figures collected by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
Below is a comparison of the number of Gaza rocket and mortar attacks into Israel, accoording to both the IDF and the ITIC.
Number of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza,
by year, as reported by the IDF and the ITIC
2001 510 249
2002 661 292
2003 848 420
2004 1528 1157
2005 488 417
2006 1123 968
2007 2427 1536
2008 3278 2471
2009 774 266
2010 231 156
2011 627  n/a
2012 1197+  n/a
Note the wide discrepency for almost every year, with the IDF numbers being significantly higher than the ITIC numbers. We can add to the embarrassment by referring to a page about “The Hamas Terror War Against Israel” on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which reproduces both the IDF bar chart and rocket numbers as reported by ITIC—contradictory information, presented together in a single page by the Israeli government, in order to explain “The Hamas Terror War Against Israel.”
And then consider a quote by the Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, in an interview conducted on November 14:
This government has exhibited superhuman restraint: 2,500 rockets since 2009. Last month, 800 rockets. In the last week, 300 rockets. What government in the world wouldn’t have responded with war a long time ago?
No other Israeli agency claims that 800 rockets were fired in October 2012. Shin Bet claims 171 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza in October.
It can be argued that numbers ultimately don’t matter: One death is a death too many; one rocket is a rocket too many. But if that is the case, why do the IDF and related Israeli agencies need to inflate or fabricate numbers? Why has the numbers game been the cornerstone of Israeli rhetoric about rockets, as depicted in these other recent IDF graphics:

IDF zillion rockets
One of the most cynical uses of numbers is in this tweet by IDF spokesperson Maj. Peter Lerner:
IDF Lerner tweet

Perhaps inadvertently hinting at the causality (422 Gaza rockets fired since the start of Operation Pillar of Cloud), Lerner offers a circular argument, suggesting that the IDF military operation in Gaza is a justifiable response to the Gazan response to the operation itself. Operation Pillar of Cloud is necessary to prevent actions—which are a response to the operation—from ever happening. And the fact that it has since happened, justifies having made it happen, to prevent it from happening again.

The same reasoning applies to this new IDF graphic:
IDF three civilians
After a full year of no Israelis being killed by rocket fire from Gaza, Israel had to invade Gaza, prompting the new killing of three Israeli civilians, which provides retroactive justification for the prompting itself.

Still, this is part of the story. As much as the IDF loves to play with numbers, there are certain numbers that it avoids, such as the numbers behind the artillery fire leveled against Gaza, which rivals the number of rocket attacks from Gaza.
That will be treated in a future post.

Sources include, but are not limited to, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Officethe Israel Project, the Jerusaelm PostB’Tselem, and numerous press articles. I made a point of referring to official Israeli and pro-Israeli sources, and then cross-checking them with one another. Some ages and spellings of names vary in press reports.
* Five of the 26 fatalities were non-Jewish: Salam Ziadin, Khalid Ziadin, and Hani al Mahdi were Bedouin; Lutfi Nasraladin was Druze; Manee Singueanphon was a Thai national.
 The only non-civilian fatality in Israel, Sgt.-Major Lutfi Nasraladin was killed in a mortar attack on an IDF military base.
 Salam and Khalid Ziadin were killed while handling an unexploded Qassam rocket for salvaging. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not include the Ziadins in its list of “Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism.”
This list does not include:
1. Palestinians killed by rocket or mortar misfire in the Gaza Strip.
2. People killed by Gaza rockets and mortars targeted inside the Gaza Strip. Prior to the so-called Gaza “disengagement,” illegal Israeli settlements within Gaza were targeted by rockets and mortars. They were not aimed inside Israel, and none of the rocket counts that I describe in this article include rockets and mortars that were aimed inside the Gaza Strip. They also do not form part of the rhetoric that rockets and mortars from Gaza constitute an “existential threat” to Israel.
In Gaza settlements and the Erez Industrial Zone, rocket and mortar attacks inflicted eight civilian fatalities: three Israeli Jews, three foreign laborers from Thailand and China, and two Palestinian laborers from Khan Younis.
Additionally there were two IDF fatalities in Gaza settlements, including a soldier killed while on his way to guard duty in Kfar Darom and a soldier killed at an IDF outpost in the Morag settlement.
All other rocket and mortar fatalities within Gaza were directed against IDF soldiers engaged in military operations outside of settlements.
3. One fatality in Israel by anti-tank missile. The rockets-and-mortars rhetoric refers to high-trajectory ordnances deployed with the following qualities: indirect fire, which coupled with a high inaccuracy rate results in nondiscriminatory targeting; a wide range that encompasses significant portions of southern Israel; and a high deployment frequency.
Anti-tank missiles are direct-fire ordnances with a more limited range and have been used infrequently against civilian targets by Gazan armed groups. There has been one civilian fatality from an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel (Daniel Viflic, age 16, killed on April 7, 2011, near Kibbutz Sa‘ad, by an anti-tank missile that struck the bus he was riding in). B’Tselem does not include this instance in its count of rocket and mortar fatalities.
Phan Nguyen is a Palestine solidarity activist based in New York. Follow him on Twitter: @Phan_N
This article was originally posted at Mondoweiss

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Stop Pretending the US is an Uninvolved, Helpless Party in the Israeli Assault on Gaza

The Obama administration’s unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel is a key enabling force in the conflict

By Glenn Greenwald

November 17, 2012 “The Guardian” – – A central premise of US media coverage of the Israeli attack on Gaza – beyond the claim that Israel is justifiably “defending itself” – is that this is some endless conflict between two foreign entitles, and Americans can simply sit by helplessly and lament the tragedy of it all. The reality is precisely the opposite: Israeli aggression is possible only because of direct, affirmative, unstinting US diplomatic, financial and military support for Israel and everything it does. This self-flattering depiction of the US as uninvolved, neutral party is the worst media fiction since TV news personalities covered the Arab Spring by pretending that the US is and long has been on the side of the heroic democratic protesters, rather than the key force that spent decades propping up the tyrannies they were fighting.

Literally each day since the latest attacks began, the Obama administration has expressed its unqualified support for Israel’s behavior. Just two days before the latest Israeli air attacks began, Obama told Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas “that his administration opposes a Palestinian bid for non-state membership of the UN”. Both the US Senate and House have already passed resolutions unequivocally supporting Israel, thus earning the ultimate DC reward: the head-pat from Aipac, which “praised the extraordinary show of support by the Senate for Israel’s struggle against terrorist attacks on its citizens”. More bipartisan Congressional cheerleading is certain to come as the attacks continue, no matter how much more brutal they become.
In reflexive defense of Israel, the US government thus once against put itself squarely at odds with key nations such as Turkey (whose prime minister accused Israel of being motivated by elections and demanded that Israel be “held to account” for mounting civilians deaths), Egypt (which denounced Israeli attacks as “aggression against humanity”), and Tunisia (which called on the world to “stop the blatant aggression” of Israel).
By rather stark contrast, Obama continues to defend Israel’s free hand in Gaza, causing commentators like Jeffrey Goldberg to gloat, not inaccurately: “Barack Obama hasn’t turned against Israel. This is a big surprise to everyone who has not paid attention for the last four years” (indeed, there are few more compelling signs of how dumb and misleading US elections are than the fact that the only criticism of Obama on Israel heard over the last year in the two-party debate was the grievance that Obama evinces insufficient fealty – rather than excessive fealty – to the Israeli government). That the Netanyahu government knows that any attempt to condemn Israel at the UN would be instantly blocked by the US is a major factor enabling them to continue however they wish. And, of course, the bombs, planes and tanks they are using are subsidized, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer.
If one wants to defend US support for Israel on the merits – on the ground that this escalating Israeli aggression against a helpless population is just and warranted – then one should do so. As I wrote on Thursday, it’s very difficult to see how those who have cheered for Obama’s foreign policy could do anything but cheer for Israeli militarism, as they are grounded in the same premises.
But pretending that the US – and the Obama administration – bear no responsibility for what is taking place is sheer self-delusion, total fiction. It has long been the case that the central enabling fact in Israeli lawlessness and aggression is blind US support, and that continues, more than ever, to be the case under the presidency of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The US is not some neutral, uninvolved party. Whatever side of this conflict you want to defend – or if you’re one of those people who love to announce that you just wish the whole thing would go away – it’s still necessary to take responsibility for the key role played by the American government and this administration in enabling everything that is taking place.

Media coverage

Due to extensive travel the past few days, I’ve been subjected to far more television news coverage than is probably healthy, and it’s just been staggering to see how tilted US media discourse is: Israeli officials and pro-Israel “experts” are endlessly paraded across the screen while Palestinian voices are exceedingly rare; the fact of the 45-year-old brutal occupation and ongoing Israeli dominion over Gaza is barely mentioned; meanwhile, every primitive rocket that falls harmlessly near Israeli soil is trumpeted with screaming headlines while the carnage and terror in Gaza is mentioned, if at all, as an afterthought. Two cartoons perfectly summarize this coverage: here and here.
On a related note, the Nation’s Jeremy Scahill was interviewed on Tuesday night after a Sundance Institute panel on political documentaries which I moderated. Scahill, who is working on a documentary entitled “Dirty Wars” about the US violence in Yemen and other parts of the Muslim world, spoke for 12 minutes to We Are Change about Obama’s terrorism and foreign policies; I highly recommend it:

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Netanyahu: Engineering Consent For An Attack On Gaza

Preparing public opinion for upcoming slaughter in Gaza

Netanyahu’s remarks to foreign ambassadors in Ashkelon – 12 Nov 2012

PM Netanyahu: We’ll take whatever action is necessary to put a stop to this. This is not merely our right, it’s also our duty, and it’s something that I think is understood by any fair-minded person in any fair-minded government in the world.

Posted November 13, 2012
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Monday, 12 November 2012), made the following remarks at a meeting in Ashkelon with the foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel
“If an alarm is sounded, all of us have exactly 30 seconds to find shelter. This is the situation in which one million Israelis find themselves. That’s families, old people, children, babies – including the children who stand here.

A million Israelis, including many little children, like the ones here, are targeted on a daily basis, by people who took areas that we vacated, that the Government of Israel vacated, came in there, and are now hiding behind civilians, while firing on civilians, firing on our children. A million Israelis…

I don’t know of any of your governments who could accept such a thing. I don’t know of any citizens of your cities who would find it acceptable, or something that could proceed on a normal basis. I think the whole world understands that this is not acceptable. It’s something that the people of Israel cannot accept and it’s something that I, as the Prime Minister of Israel, cannot accept.

So we’re going to fight for the rights of our people to defend themselves. We’ll take whatever action is necessary to put a stop to this. This is not merely our right, it’s also our duty, and it’s something that I think is understood not only by you, who are here in Ashkelon today, but also by any fair-minded person in any fair-minded government in the world. They would understand that it’s our right to defend our people, and that is what we shall do.”

 See Also  Politicians split on possible Gaza operation: Rivlin: Election shouldn’t prevent IDF from taking action in Gaza; Knesset to hold special session on escalation in the South.
Palestinian militants agree to Gaza truce if Israel ends all military operations: In statement released after meeting summoned by Hamas, groups stipulate ceasefire on Israel’s ending of blockade on Gaza.

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Israel Lobby Calls for an ‘Iranian Pearl Harbor’

Pakistan’s Imran Khan Slams U.S. War On Terror

Propaganda- Lies And Distortions By CBC

‘A military solution is a disaster for the U.S.,’ Khan tells CBC’s Evan Solomon

Video Interview – CBC News – Posted October 27, 2012

The war on terror has been a costly failure and the use of drones is ratcheting up anti-Americanism and militants, says a popular politician vying to be Pakistan’s next leader.
In an interview on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Imran Khan said he’s the only leader promoting a peaceful solution to the decade-long conflict — and that his push for talks with the Taliban has wrongly branded him a pro-jihadist.
The founder of the Movement of Justice Party told host Evan Solomon he wants to spread the word to governments around the world — including Canada’s — that much blood has been spilled and money thrown “down the drain” in a costly war that will only be resolved through negotiations with the Taliban.
“Trillions of dollars spent. God knows how many hundreds and thousands of people killed. Is the world any safer?” he said.
Khan, visiting Toronto to speak about his country and raise funds for his political party, has said in the past he would shoot down American drones in Pakistan’s tribal areas. He told Solomon that if he’s elected, he would try to convince Western political leaders they are driving anti-Americanism and helping militants, and if they continued, he would take his case to the United Nations to have it recognized as a breach of sovereignty.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both support the use of drones as a tightly controlled strategy that pre-empts more intrusive military actions.
Khan, once a famous cricket star, entered politics in 1996 and has been slowly building up a base of supporters with his outspoken condemnation of the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

‘Taliban Khan’

While he’s been dubbed “Taliban Khan,” Khan insists he is not promoting violent tactics, but a peaceful resolution through dialogue with the people in Taliban tribal areas.
“Military strategy by itself has failed, and sadly, people like us who advocate a political settlement are called pro-Taliban,” he said. “If you win them over to your side, you win the war. If you push them on to the other side, it’s a never-ending war.”
Accused of failing to condemn the Taliban shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, he rejected the claims as “blatant propaganda.”
If elected, he said, he would be a friend of the U.S., but not “a stooge.”
“A friend should tell the other friend what is good for them. A military solution is a disaster for the U.S., it’s a disaster for the people of Pakistan.”
Asked by Solomon which U.S. presidential candidate he’d prefer to see in office, Obama or Romney, Khan remained coy.
“I would like that president to win the election who gives peace a chance, who stops this war on terror which is destroying my country, which is causing more anti-Americanism,” he said.
Imran Khan deplaned, interrogated at Toronto airport

By Geo TV

October 26, 2012 — TORONTO: Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, was deplaned from a New York bound flight at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Geo News reported.

Sources told Geo News that PTI chief and his entourage were deplaned and interrogated by immigration authorities.

Khan was questioned over his stance against US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the sources added.

After a while he and other PTI leaders were allowed to catch the next plane to New York.

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Billboard Wars – The Savage vs. the Civilized

Anti-Iran Hawks Maintain P.R. Offensive

The Most Hideous One Minute Video I’ve Ever Seen!


Possible attack on Iran and deaths of millions are cause of laughter for Hilary Clinton, United States Secretary of State.
Video Posted October 02, 2012
Is This Woman A Psychopath?

Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died”


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Nothing More Evil

By David Swanson 
October 01, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – A writer at the Atlantic named Conor Friedersdorf recently noted the level of evil many have been brought to support:
“Tell certain liberals and progressives that you can’t bring yourself to vote for a candidate who opposes gay rights, or who doesn’t believe in Darwinian evolution, and they’ll nod along. Say that you’d never vote for a politician caught using the ‘n’-word, even if you agreed with him on more policy issues than his opponent, and the vast majority of left-leaning Americans would understand. But these same people cannot conceive of how anyone can discern Mitt Romney’s flaws, which I’ve chronicled in the course of the campaign, and still not vote for Obama. Don’t they see that Obama’s transgressions are worse than any I’ve mentioned? I don’t see how anyone who confronts Obama’s record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, but I’d have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers.”
Not long ago, I attended a speech by Obama, along with thousands of his adoring cheerleaders formerly known as citizens. I asked him to stop killing people in Afghanistan, and the Secret Service asked me to leave. But, just now, I got a phone call from the local Obama office. They had my name because I’d picked up a ticket to attend the speech. The young woman wanted to know if I would come help phone other people. I asked if she was familiar with the president’s kill list and his policy of killing men, women, and children with drones. She said she knew nothing about that but “respected my opinion.” She hung up. Objecting to presidential murder is now an opinion, and willingness to be aware of its existence is an appendage to the opinion. If you don’t object to presidential murder by Democrat, then you simply arrange not to know about it. Thus, in your opinion, it doesn’t exist.
Some of my friends at this moment are in Pakistan apologizing to its government and its people for the endless murderous drone war fought there by our country. They’re meeting with victims’ families. They’re speaking publicly in opposition to the crimes of our government. And my neighbors, living in some other universe, believe most fundamentally, not that one candidate will save us, not that the two parties are fundamentally opposed, not that a citizen’s job is to vote, not that war is all right if it’s meant well — although they clearly believe all of those things — but, most fundamentally, they believe that unpleasant facts should simply be avoided. So, in a spirit of afflicting the comfortable to comfort the afflicted, here are a few from recent days:
We know that in the past “defensive” wars have been intentionally launched by fraud or provocation. We know that many in our government want a war with Iran. We know that several years ago then-Vice President Dick Cheney proposed disguising U.S. ships as Iranian and attacking other U.S. ships with them. We know that then-President George W. Bush proposed disguising a plane as belonging to the United Nations, flying it low, and trying to get Iraq to shoot at it. We know that there was no Gulf of Tonkin incident, no evidence that Spain attacked the Maine, no doubt that the weapons and troops on board the Lusitania were public knowledge, no question that FDR worked hard to provoke an attack by Japan, and so on. And we know that Iran has not attacked another nation in centuries. So, it almost goes without saying that Washington warmongers are contemplating ways to get Iran to make the “first move.” Assassinating scientists hasn’t worked, blowing up buildings doesn’t seem to do it, cyber-war isn’t blossoming into real war, sanctions are not sanctioning armed resistance, and dubious accusations of Iranian terrorism aren’t sticking. Exactly what do we have to do to get ourselves innocently attacked by the forces of evil?
The Israel Lobby to the rescue! Patrick Clawson, Director of Research at the Washington Institute Of Near East Policy, blurted out the following on video this week:
“Crisis initiation is really tough. And it’s very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran. . . . The traditional way America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests. Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into World War II . . . . You may recall, we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War I. You may recall that he had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall he had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the Maine exploded. And Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked, which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack. So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war. . . . I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean, look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Someday one of them might not come up. Who would know why? [LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE] . . . . We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier.”
This is serious advocacy for manufacturing a “defensive” and “humanitarian” war. This is not a war critic or a Yes Men prankster. The position of most elected officials in Washington, including the President, fits well with this. That position includes the ultimatum that Iran must cease doing what U.S. National Intelligence Estimates say it is not doing, namely building nuclear weapons. The goal at the bottom of all of this is war. The purpose of the war is not related to any of the excuses for it. The purpose is something else entirely. But it’s ugly, so it’s easier not to look.
We often forget that war is the worst thing there is. Hence our government’s shift in policy back to outsourcing a lot of the torture and insourcing the “cleaner” approach of assassination without torture. Hence, also, our common fantasy that war can be used to solve a problem that is somehow worse than war.
We also forget that torturing people can be crueler than experimenting on them. Torture has been given an acceptance in the United States during the past decade that “human experimentation” has not. So, we are still capable of a bit of shock when a story comes out like this one: During the 1950s and 1960s the U.S. Army sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide, apparently including radioactive particles, in poor neighborhoods in St. Louis and other cities, to test the results on the people who unknowingly breathed it.
At the end of World War II, the U.S. military’s Operation Paperclip brought nearly 500 Nazi scientists to the United States to work on U.S. weaponry. Many view their influence on the nascent military industrial complex as critical to its sadistic and sociopathic tendencies ever since. In fairness to the Nazis, it’s possible that they simply fit in well, serving the military of a nation with a long history of genocide, slavery, torture, and public deception. 
I came across a member of Veterans For Peace this week who’s been struggling many years as a result of experimental vaccines and drugs given to hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers during the Gulf War. We also learned this week that every prisoner in the Guantanamo death camp has been given experimental drugs without their knowledge or at least without their consent.
“A congressional investigation has revealed a top U.S. general in Afghanistan sought to stall an investigation into abuse at a U.S.-funded hospital in Kabul that kept patients in, quote, ‘Auschwitz-like’ conditions. Army whistleblowers revealed photographs taken in 2010 which show severely neglected, starving patients at Dawood Hospital, considered the crown jewel of the Afghan medical system, where the country’s military personnel are treated. The photos show severely emaciated patients, some suffering from gangrene and maggot-infested wounds. For TV viewers of Democracy Now!, please be warned: these images are extremely graphic and may be disturbing.”
Here’s what I’m trying to get at. If you try to think of something more evil than what we are now doing, you’ll fail. Name your evil: destroying the earth’s climate? President Barack Obama flew to Copenhagen to single-handedly derail any process for protecting the earth’s atmosphere. The only way in which to fantasize about greater evil is quantitative, not qualitative. We could drop more bombs. We could starve more children. We could experiment on more prisoners. In fact, this is what Lesser Evilism amounts to. A Lesser Evilist today is not choosing less evil policies, but the same policies in what he or she hopes will be lesser amounts. 
That might be a rational calculation within a polling place. But living it prior to and after an election, apologizing and cheering for one of two teams, as if self-governance were a spectator sport, is nothing other than complicity in the most hideous forms of cruelty and murder. That complicity is insidious. Evil begins to look like something else, because the Lesser Evilist, within his or her own mind, comes to view the Lesser Evil forces as good, if not glorious, if not saintly.
David L. Swanson is an American activist, blogger and author.

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Netanyahu’s war ultimatum at the UN

Failed UNGA-rithm: Pointless talks of war & peace flip-flop?

Israel Lobbyist Hints That ‘Pearl Harbor’ May be Needed to Get US Into War with Iran

Netanyahu: Iran six to seven months from nuclear bomb capability

The Art of Corporate Mind Control

Bread and Circuses

5 Minute Video

Television is the most powerful weapon of psychological warfare in history and yet it is a member of the family in most households. The programming that we are constantly assaulted with conditions us to a particular worldview. This fake reality changes our behavior making us less active and more compliant with society’s shortcomings.

Since television is controlled by a small handful of powerful corporations, viewers will never witness informing, truthful news and entertainment. As political and corporate power unite at an ever increasing rate, being informed is more important than ever.
People need to seek out independent and alternative unbiased sources on the internet for their information or we will continue to be manipulated by the corporate controlled media.

Thanks to Amilcar for bringing this item to our attention.
Most of humanity is in an absolute hypnotic trance that they’re put in from cradle to grave by constant repetition of a fake reality and when we wake up from this we will not be subservient. 
Jordan Maxwell: The bottom line is that the government is getting what they ordered. They do not want your children to be educated. They do not want you to think too much. That is why our country and our world has become so proliferated with entertainments, mass media, television shows, amusement parks, drugs, alcohol, and every kind of entertainment to keep the human mind entertained so that you don’t get in the way of important people by doing too much thinking. You better wake up and understand that there are people who are guiding your life and you don’t even know it. 
Steven Jacobson: Television is the most powerful weapon of psychological warfare in history. The programming that we are constantly assaulted by throughout our lives conditions us. It programs us to a particular worldview. Now, we may consider it normal because we were born into this system of lies and deception. And because we were born into this situation and our parents were born into it and have suffered from it, we don’t know any better. 
Aldous Huxley: What I may call the messages of Brave New World, but it is possible to make people contented with their servitude. I think this can be done. I think it has been done in the past. I think it could be done even more effectively now because you can provide them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with endless amounts of distractions and propaganda. 
George Carlin: But there’s a reason, there’s a reason. There’s a reason for this. There’s a reason education sucks and its the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. Its never gonna get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got, because the owners of this country don’t want that. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. 
Howard Beale: We know things are bad, worse than bad. They’re crazy. Its like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house and slowly the world were living in is getting smaller and all we say is please at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel belted radios and I wont say anything, just leave us alone. Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it and stick your head out and yell, I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore! You’ve got to say, Im a human being God damn it, my life has value!

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Eyeballing Iran? US Commissions 361 Cruise Missiles

US Navy to get 361 new Tomahawk cruise missiles, most of which are meant for Fifth Fleet destroyers based in Bahrain. Meanwhile, pressure to mount military strike against Tehran is permeating presidential campaign
By Yitzhak Benhorin
June 25, 2012 “Ynet News” — WASHINGTON – The United States has commissioned 361 new Tomahawk cruise missiles, and some 238 of them are meant to find their way to the Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, Ynet learned on Sunday. 
According to the Business Insider, the deal – inked on the backdrop of repeated deadlocks in the nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran – may suggest that the US is gearing for a possible military campaign against the Islamic Republic.
US defense contractor Raytheon won the deal, for a reported $331 million.
According to the report, the deal – which follows repeated statements by both Israel and the US that “all options are on the table,” and in view of Iran’s recent naval maneuvers and military exercises – is another sign that “all sides are getting ready for the possibility of military conflict.”
The missiles commissioned, the report added, “Will be designed to launch from submarines and the remainder from Navy ships currently operating with the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain east of Iran.” 
Similar missiles were used by the US against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya.
Additionally, the US Navy has commissioned 17,000 advanced submarine detection systems, for a reported $13 million.
‘Time to act’
Meanwhile, Washington is still trying to devise diplomatic ways to stem Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
Dennis Ross, who served as a special advisor on Iran on the National Security Council, said that the only way to get Iran to suspend its nuclear activities is to make it realize that the threat of war is real. He further suggested “calling Iran’s bluff” by offering Tehran civilian nuclear capabilities.
Former Secretary of State James Baker said that should nothing change and Iran does, within one year’s time, reach nuclear capabilities, then the US should be the one to lead a strike against it, because it has the necessary force to end Tehran’s nuclear program.
The pressure on US President Barack Obama to present a viable military option against Iran is growing, as 44 senators – Democrats and Republicans – demanded the he set clear preconditions for continuing the nuclear talks.
The pressure to mount a military strike is also permeating the presidential campaign: The Emergency Committee for Israel, a neo-conservative organization headed by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, aired a special spot in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – key states in the presidential elections – urging Obama to strike Iran.

“President Obama has spent four years talking – Iran has spent four year building a secret nuclear site,” the video says. “Obama is still talking and Iran has enough fuel for five nuclear bombs. Talking isn’t working – it’s time to act.”
Copyright © Yedioth Internet. All rights reserved

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