News Items – 02.14.17

Foreign Policy: “The United States Used Depleted Uranium (Chemical Weapons) in Syria”

The Guardian: “US fired depleted uranium at civilian areas in 2003 Iraq war, report finds” (More on that)

This is why US claims of chemical weapons use in Syria by the Assad government — which are both false and used as a preemption to allow an invasion of Syria (aka a “false flag,” which, despite crazies claiming are behind everything [like Alex Jones], are far more common than assumed, even in the electronic and economic spheres, especially in this specific NATO-member scenario, Turkey) — are morally bankrupt: even if Assad did use sarin in Ghoutta, it would be right in line with what the US — an outside force with no legal authority to conduct operations within Syria, unlike Russia, which agreed to have Assad step down as early as 2012, which the US denied in favor of protracted “both sides to lose” war — did in the very same country…and Iraq in 2003…and Iraq a decade before that…and Iran via Saddam Hussein before that…and Vietnam before that…and so on, ad nauseum (napalm was even invented at Harvard). The US even issued sanctions on Syria for the alleged 2013 attack as late as 2017 (US depleted uranium was used in 2015), while it was covertly funding the jihadist opposition since 2011, despite knowing from a CIA study on the subject that this nearly never works, and had planned on overthrowing the government since at least 2006, and probably far earlier than that, while knowing that a “Salafist principality” would form in Syria and Iraq in 2012 by the very jihadist groups we and our allies (the Gulf states, Turkey, France, and UK) were funding (especially Turkey and Saudi Arabia, for divide-and-rule tactics along sectarian lines). Why? It was for yet another geopolitical pipeline battle in the long-running game being played on Eurasian chessboard. This is not to say that Syria hasn’t committed absolutely abhorrent war crimes, as well as Russia in its new role as a Middle East power player with its Syrian client state (something we as Americans should be well acquainted with), but we must focus on our own crimes first, for two reasons: they’re the most widespread in the world; and those are the crimes which we have the most ability to actually change or prevent.

Notable takeaways from FP: “The oil trucks hit in November 2015 were also unarmored and would qualify as soft targets, the researchers who performed the analysis of the 2003 targeting cache contend. The trucks, in fact, were most likely manned by civilians rather than Islamic State members, according to U.S. officials. … Earlier in the campaign, both coalition and U.S. officials said the ammunition had not and would not be used in anti-Islamic State operations. In March 2015 [the same year DU was used], coalition spokesman John Moore said, ‘U.S. and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.’ Later that month, a Pentagon representative told War is Boring that A-10s deployed in the region would not have access to armor-piercing ammunition containing DU because the Islamic State didn’t possess the tanks it is designed to penetrate.”

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Military Times: “The U.S. military’s stats on deadly airstrikes are wrong. Thousands have gone unreported” (More)

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Both Trump and Clinton are a danger for world peace,” an interview with Daniele Ganser — professor of history and future energy systems at St. Gallen’s University, Switzerland; former professor of conflict analysis at Basel University, Switzerland; former Swiss Foreign Ministry expert on civil peace and human rights promotion; and whose doctoral thesis at ETH Zurich (Albert Einstein’s alma mater) was the indispensable book, “NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe.”

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WIRED: “Edward Snowden’s New Job: Protecting Reporters From Spies

WIRED: “Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching

The Guardian: “GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media

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How The Century-Old Debate Over ‘American Empire’ Still Resonates,” an interview with Stephen Kinzer — senior fellow at Brown University and former New York Times journalist in 50+ countries.

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Here are quotes from John Matlock — former US Ambassador to the Soviet Union — from an interview with Deutsche Welle (Germany’s CNN, basically):

“Is NATO obsolete? Absolutely! It was formed to prevent a Communist Soviet Union from encroaching on Western Europe. Russia is not capable of confronting and dominating the rest of Europe. … To think that our disputes will be solved by military posturing is a dangerous illusion. … The sort of military jockeying that NATO and Russia are indulging in today reminds me of the geopolitical games played by the Great Powers in 1914. Are our leaders incapable of learning anything from history? … Russia is not going to attack a small NATO neighbor, and the US should under no circumstances go to war with Russia. This is an insane idea. … [If there had been] no Western or US involvement in Ukraine during the Maidan uprising, there would probably have been no Russian annexation of Crimea or support for the insurrection in the Donbass.”

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John Pilger released his fantastic new documentary, The Coming War, for free online.

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2001: “Syria and Iran: the great game,” by Alastair Crooke — former MI6 officer European Union diplomat whose expertise is in “covert diplomacy” with militant groups.

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Juan Cole — Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan:

Can Peak Gerrymandering by GOP be Challenged by Progressives?

After Miller’s Mega-Lies, time to rev back up the Reality Based Community

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Here’s an interview by La Repubblica with William Binney — a 36-year NSA veteran cryptomathematician, who was Technical Director of World Geopolitical and Military Analysis (the NSA’s technical director of the world, basically) and founder of the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, where he and five others created the original automated surveillance programs. Here’s a notable quote:

“I was filing a complaint against the US government because it was basically violating the Constitution of the United States, which is what I call treason against the founding principles of our country. The people involved in this were: the director of the CIA, the director of the NSA, the White House, as well as members of the Congressional Committee, the House Committee, and members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the FBI and the Department of Justice. These are all leading members of the United States government, people fucking with them don’t really last that long. I wanted my lawyer to know I was in this fight with everybody, if anything happens, I didn’t do it. Later on we experienced the FBI attacking us, the Department of Justice fabricating evidence against us and trying to use the Espionage Act against us to put us in jail for 35 years. We caught them and we threatened them with malicious prosecution and said: OK, let’s go to court, and so they dropped the whole hot potato. That is the only reason we are not in jail.”

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UN News Centre: “Reported killings in DR Congo town could amount to serious rights violations – UN rights arm

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CNN: “Jews hand Muslims keys to synagogue after Texas mosque burns

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Reuters: “Head of U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran continuing commitment to deal

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CBC: “Big pharma approach to drug R&D challenged by UN panel

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CBC: “Universal drug plan would save billions, UBC researchers say

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Trump is following the authoritarian playbook,” by Ruth Ben-Ghiat — professor of history and Italian studies at New York University.

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The Guardian: “Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown

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The Independent: “Steve Bannon ‘connects network of white nationalists’ at the White House

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A must read: “Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism,” by Todd Pierce — former US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Major.

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Reuters: “Duterte targets Philippine children in bid to widen drug war” — “Before Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs had even begun, allies of the Philippines president were quietly preparing for a wider offensive. On June 30, as Duterte was sworn in, they introduced a bill into the Philippine Congress that could allow children as young as nine to be targeted in a crackdown that has since claimed more than 7,600 lives. The bill proposes to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9 years old to prevent what it calls ‘the pampering of youthful offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it.'”

Here’s an interactive NYT photo essay on the subject, and here’s Amnesty International’s report on it last month.

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ABC: “Pakistan mourns 13 killed in Lahore suicide bombing” — “A breakaway Taliban faction, the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which targeted policemen escorting a rally by pharmacists protesting amendments to a law on drug pricing.”

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Here’s Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone interviewing Bernie Sanders on “where we go from here.”

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Academic paper: “Capitalism, Covert Action, and State-Terrorism: Toward a Political Economy of the Dual State,” by Nafeez Ahmed of Insurge Intelligence (the most recent must-read piece at aforementioned Insurge Intelligence can be read here) — Visiting Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University; whose research onroot causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest; recipient of the Routledge-GCPS Essay Prize, Naples Prize for outstanding literature, and Project Censored Awards. Here are some more readings from today from Nafeez Ahmed:

2010: “Oil or Terrorism: Which Motivates U.S. Policy More?

2007: “NATO’s The Strategy of Tension” (more on this from professor Daniele Ganser)

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Academic paper: “Political violence, the ‘War on Terror’ and the Turkish military,” by Tim Jacoby — professor of state formation, conflict and development in Turkey at the University of Manchester. Here’s the PDF from Sci-Hub. Abstract:

Abstract: “This paper looks at the impact of the ‘War on Terror’ on political violence in Turkey. It begins by tracing the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the management and support of Turkey’s militarised government since Ankara joined the Alliance in 1952. Here, it is suggested that a triangular concert of agents from the Turkish state’s intelligence and special-forces organisations, operatives from Washington, and right-wing activists and paramilitaries have been an important feature of regime formation and maintenance. By the mid-1990s, these covert structures came under increasing social pressure, leading to a period of considerable reform. However, the War on Terror and the West’s subsequent turn towards a greater emphasis on security has, it is argued, begun to undo, enervate or obstruct the implementation of many of these reforms. The result, it is concluded, is that elements of the Turkish state unhappy with recent policies have been emboldened and, since the collapse of the Partiya Karkareni Kurdistan’s (PKK) unilateral ceasefire in 2004, have started to exert a growing influence.”

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Here’s Democracy Now’s show for 02.14.17, and here are selected headlines:

Milwaukee: 20,000 March for ‘Day Without Latinos, Immigrants and Refugees’

Trump’s Muslim Ban Suffers Two More Legal Blows

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Ishaan Tharoor of the Washington Post: “Why listing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group is a bad idea” — Here’s more on this from Juan Cole — Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

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The Global Surveillance Regime‘s cheerleaders finally discovered that privacy existswhen it can be used to prevent the discovery of Trump’s obvious corruption and conflicts of interest: “U.S. House tax panel will not seek Trump tax returns: lawmaker

“A congressional tax oversight committee will not seek U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax returns despite calls from Democrats for a review to determine possible business ties to foreign countries including Russia, the panel’s Republican chairman said on Monday. Defying decades of precedent, Trump has refused to release his tax documents, which Democrats say could show whether his business empire poses any conflicts of interest as he moves forward on issues ranging from tax reform to foreign relations. ‘If Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans?’ House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters. ‘Privacy and civil liberties are still important rights in this country, and (the) Ways and Means Committee is not going to start to weaken them.'”

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Patrick Cockburn — one of the most knowledgeable Middle East correspondents — via The Independent:

Netanyahu’s hysterical rhetoric on Iran seeks to divert attention from West Bank settlement building

Now the High Court will decide if Brexit Britain is complicit in the devastating conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Donald Trump will spark a war with Iran – which is great news for Isis

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Micah Zenko — senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations — via Foreign Policy: “The U.S. Military Is Reporting Alternative Facts” about its airstrikes in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq since October 2001.

Micah Zenko on Trump’s airstrikes right as he came into power: “On the first, second, and third day of his presidency, Trump authorized drone strikes in central Yemen. These operations cumulatively killed five SUSPECTED members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to the U.S. Central Command.” (emphasis added)

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University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:

The Most (and Least) Empathic States of America

Suffering May Lead to Extreme Political Beliefs

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The Intercept: “Foreign Spies Must Be Bored by How Easy Trump Makes Their Jobs

“Apparently untroubled by the possibility that foreign intelligence services might have made the minimal effort required to plant operatives among the guests, or wait staff, Trump was photographed discussing North Korea’s surprise missile test with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as waiters removed dishes and aides used their phone flashlights to illuminate sensitive documents. Several images of the spectacle were posted on Facebook a short time later by a new member of the club, Richard DeAgazio, who paid Trump $200,000 to join Mar-a-Lago in December, when it was clear that one of the perks would be access to the new president of the United States. After DeAgazio cheerfully described to the Washington Post his untrammeled view of the crisis being discussed in public — and said that Trump dining on the terrace, with the club members, ‘just shows that he’s a man of the people’ — he changed the settings on his Facebook profile to make the images private. Having made them public for more than 12 hours, however, ensured that screenshots were made by journalists and, one would expect, every foreign intelligence agency of even minimal competence. … Trump’s lax approach to secure communications drew comment from those old enough to remember the presidential campaign of 2016, when his main argument was that Hillary Clinton should be jailed for having used a private email account as secretary of state. One smartphone app, for flashlights, has even been used by Chinese spies. … For a clue as to just how easy that might be, consider that the Palm Beach Post reported in December that Mar-a-Lago hires dozens of temporary foreign workers each year, using the federal government’s H-2B visa program.”

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The Intercept: “As Tensions Rise, Steve Bannon and ISIS Get Closer to Their Common Goal: Civilizational War

Washington Post: “Jihadist groups hail Trump’s travel ban as a victory” (Here’s why)

Washington Institute, 2014: “Poll: ISIS Has Almost No Popular Support among Arab Publics

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MuckRock’s going after the CIA’s cupcake recipes after getting one where a CIA official preserved his son’s restaurant newspaper article forever in CIA documents. They also found documents on a mandatory CIA staff retreat on Valentine’s Day.

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The Guardian: “No non-citizens voted in voter fraud case cited by White House

“A case cited by the White House as evidence that non-citizens cast illegal votes in American elections did not actually involve any non-citizens voting, the latest in a series of misleading statements on the subject by the administration. … In a series of emails to the Guardian this week, Huckabee Sanders said she had in fact been referring to a public corruption case from 2011 that differs significantly from the description she gave in her MSNBC interview. … To support his allegations, Trump has cited supposed research by Gregg Phillips, a conservative social media user. Phillips claimed that a project he led called VoteStand found that 3 million people had voted illegally in the US. Phillips has declined to publish any research or provide any evidence for his claims. The president has also falsely stated that a Pew study supported his claimthat millions of people voted illegally, despite the study’s author refuting this repeatedly.”

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Here’s a huge dose of faith-in-humanity restoration: “New Jewish-Muslim coalition urges action against hate crimes

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The Intercept: “Dark Essays By White House Staffer Are the Intellectual Source Code of Trumpism

The Intercept: “48 Questions the FBI Uses to Determine if Someone Is a Likely Terrorist

 

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