Sunday, June 12, 2016

News, opinions and views from the Alternative Media .. Week ending June 12

Ken Stone at HamiltonCoalitionToStopTheWar
Dispatch From Syria – Bride of the Desert

Until today, our Second Tour of Peace had not been exposed to any semblance of military combat. We hadn’t heard a single rifle shot or the thud of any bombs or artillery shells. We hadn’t seen any armoured vehicles or warplanes in action in any of the liberated areas we travelled in Syria. In fact, in the government-held areas, you really wouldn’t notice there was a war going on (except for the endless checkpoints). The security situation in Syria, according to our hosts, had improved immensely since the agreement for a partial cessation of hostilities was signed in Geneva at the end of February, 2016.

Today would be a little different. Today, we were going to be the first group of tourists actually to tour the ancient site of Palmyra.

Like Damascus, Palmyra was a settlement built around an oasis in the desert. Both Damascus and Palmyra were important stops for caravans along the Syrian Silk Road. Palmyra was turned into a flourishing city, complete with  two temples, an ampitheatre, and an arch of triumph by the Romans. It was renowned in the ancient world as “the bride of the desert.” Today, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Ever since the site was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in heavy fighting two weeks ago, in coordination with bombing by the Russian air force, and support from Iranian, Hezbollah (Lebanon) and Palestinian allies, everybody in Syria wants to go there and see for himself and herself just how much damage the terrorist mercenaries caused. But it’s up to the Russian sappers to say when the site will be open to the general public...

On the Bilderbergers, from someone who has been talking about them for a long time at the risk of being labelled a "conspiracy agent".

Much more here.

More   here from the late Jim Tucker's "Bilderberg Diarg"

Arina Tsukanova at StrategicCulture
Shocking UN Report Lists Crimes by the Ukrainian Authorities

 The 13th report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine between 16 November 2015 and 15 February 2016, when the Minsk Agreements were in force, has come as a shock to Kiev.

According to the UN, more than three million people live in the areas directly affected by the conflict. The exact number of people who have left Ukraine-controlled territory is still unknown, although rough estimates range from 800,000 to 1,000,000 people. The Ukrainian government has estimated that more than a million people have left southeast Ukraine for Russia, Belarus and Europe. This figure does not match that of the Russian federal migration service, however: in 2015, around four million Ukrainians crossed the border, with nearly 2.6 million settling in Russia. More than a million people have arrived from southeast Ukraine. Residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are permitted to live freely in Russia....

.... Since the Minsk ceasefire agreements entered into force (i.e. since 15 February 2015), there have been 843 civilian casualties – 235 killed (216 adults and 19 children) and 608 injured (554 adults and 44 children). At the same time, the UN mission notes that it is unable to attribute some of the victims to either side of the conflict. It also emphasises that the real number of those killed and injured could be higher than that given in the report.

The number of people missing is particularly shocking. The Ukrainian side has reported 741 persons missing, while the DPR has registered 420 missing persons. In addition, the UN mission has ascertained that approximately 1,000 bodies held in morgues in government-controlled territory have still not been identified.....

Interesting vid. Abby Martin talks to Dr Mark Crispin Miller of NYU

Col Ann Wright at ConsortiumNews
S. Korean Villagers Sued for Anti-Base Protests

The South Korean Navy filed a civil lawsuit against 116 individual anti-base protesters and five groups including the Gangjeong Village Association demanding $3 million in compensation for alleged construction delays caused by protests over the past eight years.
In one of the longest, strongest protests against more military bases around the world, the villagers of Gangjeong, Jeju Island, South Korea, have achieved international recognition of their spiritual and corporal resistance and persistence in trying to preserve unique natural features of their community, the Gureombi Rocks.

Samsung, the primary contractor for the $1 billion project, precipitated the action by filing a lawsuit against the government for slowdown of work caused by the protests because Samsung’s profit margin was impacted by the protests....
Glenn Greenwald at TheIntercept
Credibility of Brazil’s Interim President Collapses
as He Receives 8-Year Ban on Running for Office
It has been obvious from the start that a core objective of the impeachment of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was to empower the actual thieves in Brasilia and enable them to impede, obstruct, and ultimately kill the ongoing Car Wash investigation (as well as to impose a neoliberal agenda of privatization and radical austerity). A mere 20 days into the seizure of power by the corruption-implicated “interim” President Michel Temer, overwhelming evidence has
emerged proving that to be true: Already, two of the interim ministers in Temer’s
all-white-male cabinet, including his anti-corruption minister, have been forced to
resign after the emergence of secret recordings showing them plotting to obstruct
that investigation (an investigation in which they, along with one-third of his cabinet,
 are personally implicated).

But the oozing corruption of Temer’s ministers has sometimes served to obscure his own. He, too, is implicated in several corruption investigations. And now, he has been formally convicted of violating election laws and, as punishment, is banned from running for any political office for eight years. Yesterday, a regional election court in São Paulo, where he’s from, issued a formal decree finding him guilty and declaring him “ineligible” to run for any political office as a result of now having a “dirty record” in elections. Temer was found guilty of spending his own funds on his campaign in excess of what the law permits.....

Craig Murray at his blog
My Metropolitan Police Evidence on Torture and Extraordinary Rendition

This is a transcript of the evidence I gave, at their request, to the Metropolitan Police. I published scans of the witness statements yesterday, and a commenter has kindly transcribed them to make them web searchable. I was interviewed by the Police both at my home and at their headquarters, and it was made very plain to me that not only Sir Mark Allen, but Tony Blair, Jack Straw and numerous officials in the FCO and the Security Services were in the frame. I confess I therefore always expected the Establishment would have the case dropped despite overwhelming evidence.

I first offered this evidence to the Gibson Inquiry, I was treated by that Inquiry as an important witness and Judge Gibson ordered the FCO to give me full access to all documents I saw while Ambassador, to refresh my memory. No. 10 panicked at this and other evidence that Gibson was doing a genuine job, and the Gibson Inquiry was closed down by Cameron with the active complicity of Nick Clegg. I was then told by the Gibson secretariat that the Metropolitan Police were taking over aspects of that inquiry. I was then contacted and interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and gave this evidence.

The Director of Public Prosecutions having corruptly closed down the criminal case, the matter is now purportedly under investigation by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament – consisting entirely of “trusties” of the security services. They have continually and repeatedly refused requests by me to give evidence. I last heard from them on 15 December 2015, a simple acknowledgement of a receipt of a communication.

As nobody can claim my evidence is untrue due to the amount of documentary report, the Establishment simply ensures it does not get heard by any inquiry or court. When the House of Commons ....

Wayne Madsen at IntrepidReport
Second Zurich Insurance exec’s suicide
 amid renewed interest in 9/11 culprits
Posted on June 2, 2016 by Wayne Madsen   
Amid renewed public interest in determining the identities of all the culprits behind the 9/11 attacks, comes word that a second executive with one of the World Trade Center’s insurers has died from “suicide.”

Zurich Insurance Group’s former CEO Martin Senn was reported to have shot himself at his vacation home near Davos in Switzerland. No suicide note was found by police. Senn resigned as CEO of the insurance giant last December after the company experienced losses from the still-unexplained large explosions in Tianjin, China, last August.

WMR reported on August 21, 2016: “WMR’s sources from throughout Asia are reporting the same thing: the massive August 12 explosion that completely obliterated the Binhai New Area of the special economic zone city of Tianjin appears to not have been the result of an accidental chemical explosion but from state-sponsored industrial sabotage. The initial explosion was followed by a series of other explosions, said to be from combustible materials stored in the port and warehouse area. Moreover, WMR’s sources report that the nature of the initial shock wave and secondary fireball indicates that the conflagration may have been caused by a tactical nuclear bunker buster bomb hidden in a shipping container.”

Our report continued: “Among the 117 deaths from the explosion were a number of firemen. Some 70 people, most of them...

Sophie Shevardnadze talks to Pakistan's ex-chief of spy bureau

Eric Zuesse at TheSaker
Obama Slams Door in Putin’s Face: Says if Putin doesn’t want Russia’s retaliatory forces eliminated, he’ll need to be the one to press the nuclear button first

Actions speak louder than mere words, and U.S. President Barack Obama has now acted, not only spoken. His action is to refuse to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s biggest worry about recent changes in America’s nuclear strategy — particularly a stunning change that is terrifying Putin.

On Sunday June 5th, Reuters headlined “Russia Says U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defence System”, and reported that, “The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington’s missile defence programme, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative ‘very dangerous’.”

Russia’s concern is that, if the “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” system, that the United States is now just starting to install on and near Russia’s borders, works, then the United States will be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, and this system, which has been in development for decades and is technically called the “Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System”, will annihilate the missiles that Russia launches in retaliation, which will then leave the Russian population with no retaliation at all, except for the nuclear contamination of the entire northern hemisphere, and global nuclear winter, the blowback from America’s onslaught against Russia, which blowback some strategists in the West say would be manageable probems for the U.S. and might be worth the cost of eliminating Russia.

That theory, of a winnable nuclear war (which in the U.S. seems to be replacing the prior theory, called “M.A.D.” for Mutually Assured Destruction) was first prominently put forth in 2006 in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs, headlining “The Rise of Nuclear Primacy” and which advocated for a much bolder U.S. strategic policy against Russia, based upon what it argued was America’s technological superiority against Russia’s weaponry and a possibly limited time-window ....

From JudicialWatch
Judicial Watch: Justice Department Documents Reveal 
Widespread Use of Fast and Furious Weapons by Major Mexican Drug Cartels – Linked to at least 69 Killings
From December 2012 to March 2016, 94 Fast and Furious weapons were seized; Fast and Furious weapon found in “Chapo” Guzman hideout

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today released Justice Department documents showing that weapons sent from the U.S. into Mexico as part of the Obama administration’s Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning program have been widely used by major Mexican drug cartels.  According to the new records, over the past three years, a total of 94 Fast and Furious firearms have been recovered in Mexico City and 12 Mexican states, with the majority being seized in Sonora, Chihuahua and Sinaloa.  Of the weapons recovered, 82 were rifles and 12 were pistols identified as having been part of the Fast and Furious program.  Reports suggest the Fast and Furious guns are tied to at least 69 killings....

Mark Taliano at American Herald Tribune
"Fake Humanitarians" and "Fake Leftists" taking Canada down the wrong path 

There's really no excuse for supporting the NATO/terror position. We've seen the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, now Syria, all built on lies, all beneath the guise of "humanitarian interventions". Since people with any sense of historical memory can not legitimately plead ignorance, supporters of the terrorist invasion of Syria fall into the category of "fake humanitarians". They aren't "progressive" or "left" when they support the criminal violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Canadian peace activist Ken Stone, recently returned from Syria, expresses similar sentiments in his newly released book, Defiant Syria|dispatches from the Second Tour of Peace to Syria.  He explains,

    “The point for me is to ask why otherwise intelligent people can fall for such shit (referring to a 2015 New Internationalist magazine article: “The forgotten revolution of Syria”), and not once but repeatedly.  It’s not as if Syria is the very first government targeted for regime change by the USA.  It’s not that people are unaware of the fact that the first casualty of war is the truth … there is never a shortage of “leftists” in the West who can be either bought or convinced through incredible naivété, warped political outlook, or Eurocentric arrogance, that the motives of Empire are good.”

People such as Ken, who have visited Syria and have seen with their own eyes the devastation wrought by Western-supported terrorists against civilization, have less tolerance for the lies, the propaganda  and the “fake humanitarians” who enable it all.

Stone doesn’t mince words when he describes some of his on-the-ground observations of Homs, Syria; observations fortified by his historical memory of NATO's imperial destruction elsewhere:

    “Judging from the many corpses found buried around the city, some of which were missing eyes and various internal organs, many have speculated that the mercenaries ran a lucrative trade in human organs, besides their human trafficking in Syrian women, boys, and children, and their other rackets such as rapine and pillage … The terrorist organizations were working in accordance with a well-rehearsed imperial script here in Homs.  The KLA, NATOs foot soldiers in Kosovo (formerly part of Yugoslavia) also ran an organ smuggling operation out of a house in Pristina in 1999.”........

Ingrid Carlqvist brings us up to date on the rape epidemic in Sweden

Dennis J Bernstein at ConsortiumNews
Calling Out Drone War as a War Crime

Leading the charge against the U.S. “drone war” — now a key part of the Pentagon’s forward fighting strategy — is an unlikely individual, Colonel Ann Wright, who spent most of her adult life as a diplomat, working in the U.S. State Department.

Colonel Wright reopened the U.S. embassy in Kabul in 2001. But in 2003 she took an action that would transform her life. She resigned her position in opposition to the then-impending U.S. invasion of Iraq. Since then, she has become a full time global peace activist.

She also is one of the most vocal and convincing opponents of U.S. drone policy, a collection of activists who call themselves Creechers because – for seven years – they have marched on Creech Air Force Base, also known as Creech Drone Base, in the Nevada Desert, just 60 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Creech is a key part of the extensive and expanding U.S. drone war operation, which launches lethal drone strikes half a world away.

The protests are spearheaded by Code Pink and are always peaceful, but militant and intense. They consider the U.S. drone war, supervised directly by President Barack Obama, as an ongoing war crime. They do not consider this hyperbole. They say it is a clear-cut case of the slaughter of hundreds of innocent civilians, with many fleeing women and children among the victims.

We caught up with Colonel Wright on her way to an anti-drone symposium at the ....

Yves Smith at NakedCapitalism
...Amid growing pressure, Vancouver’s mayor,
Gregor Robertson, has stepped up his call for a tax on empty homes, arguing that if a home is being treated like a business then it should be taxed accordingly. From Bloomberg (video above):

    “We’re looking at new regulation and a carrot-and-stick approach to making sure that houses aren’t empty in Vancouver,” Robertson said, including a tax on vacant homes. “If you’re not using your property — either living in it or renting it out — then you have to pay more tax. Because effectively it’s a business holding, and should be taxed accordingly.”

UBC Professor, Tom Davidoff, has gone further, arguing for Vancouver to introduce taxes for those that own homes in Vancouver but do not pay taxes in the city:

    “People who purchase homes but aren’t landlords, of course that would include vacant homes. But would also include homes run by so-called astronaut families, where people might actually live in the homes but nobody pays taxes in Canada”…

    “If people who live and work here are being outbid for homes by people who do not live and work here and don’t pay taxes here, that other class of homebuyers ought to be paying higher property taxes”…

    “We would take you to an extra 1.5% property tax if you’re not a landlord, if you don’t pay income tax, if you’re not a CPP recipient where you haven’t lived in the home for a long time. So we protect people who have been working in the community for a long time”…

Mark Wilkerson at TomDispatch
The Iraq War isn’t Over; it is waged here, in our Hospitals every Day

Memorial Day is over.  You had your barbeque.  Now, you can stop thinking about America’s wars and the casualties from them for another year.  As for me, I only wish it were so.

It’s been Memorial Day for me ever since I first met Tomas Young.  And in truth, it should have felt that way from the moment I hunkered down in Somalia in 1993 and the firing began.  After all, we’ve been at war across the Greater Middle East ever since.  But somehow it was Tomas who, in 2013, first brought my own experience in the U.S. military home to me in ways I hadn’t been able to do on my own.

That gravely wounded, living, breathing casualty of our second war in Iraq who wouldn’t let go of life or stop thinking and critiquing America’s never-ending warscape brought me so much closer to myself, so bear with me for a moment while I return to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, and bring you — and me — closer to him.

In that spring of 1993, I was a 22-year-old Army sergeant, newly married, and had just been dropped into a famine-ridden, war-torn Third World country on the other side of the planet, a place I hadn’t previously given a thought.  ....

From ZeroHedge
Does Bilderberg Really Run The World? 
One Chart To Help You Decide
With the Bilderberg 2016 meeting now humming along at the Taschenbergpalais hotel in Dresden, deep behind closed doors and protected by heavily-armed guards, many have wondered: just how hyperbolic are allegations that the Bilderbergs run the world.
To help readers decide, here is a chart laying out the linkages and various connections - financial, political, statutory and otherwise - between the handful of people who comprise the Bilderberg core and the rest of the world....


From JinhanNews
State forces have continued to set fire to the houses 
one by one in Sirnak. As smoke covers the city's sky, there is a burning smell all over the city.

The state's genocidal attacks have continued in Sirnak for 88 days. State forces have continued to set fire to houses in many neighborhoods of city after the announcement of "operation ended" in the city. As many houses and workplaces have been set on fire in Gazipasa Neighborhood, the houses in Yenimahalle Neighborhood have been burned and demolished by diggers.

As many houses have been destroyed with explosives since morning, some houses have been set on fire by state forces.

Meanwhile, the houses and workplaces in Cumhuriyet, Dicle, Yesilyurt, Aydinlikevler and Bahçelievler neighborhoods have been demolished. Special forces have opened fire on houses and workplaces in Vakifkent, Tekser, Gündogdu, Ömerköy and Atatürk neighborhoods under the name of "fine-search".

As black smoke rises from the city, there is a burning smell all over the city....

Brian Becker at AnswerCoalition
I was with Muhammad Ali on his hostage-release trip to Iraq
— and the media has it all wrong
The story of Muhammad Ali’s trip to “rescue American hostages” is back in the media since the June 3 death of this unique individual: boxing’s greatest fighter, and perhaps one of the most beloved and inspiring figures of the 20th century.

President Obama’s comments on the Iraq trip were republished in a USA Today article that ran immediately following the news of the champ’s death: “We admire the man who has never stopped using his celebrity for good — the man who helped secure the release of 14 [sic] American hostages from Iraq in 1990,” wrote President Obama.

Gone but a week and Ali's courage in the face of government opposition is quickly being re-written by the same forces that he stood up against. His legacy and courage demand that history be recounted truthfully.

I was the central organizer of Muhammad Ali's peace delegation that traveled to Iraq in 1990, the delegation to which Saddam Hussein released 15 American hostages.

The idea for the delegation came from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who asked me to be the organizer of the trip on his behalf. Other anti-war activists joined us.

Unfortunately the current telling of this story largely misses or ....

From AraNews
400 ISIS militants killed, 90 villages liberated
 in the SDF-led battle for Manbij north Syria
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday that at least 400 militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) have been killed since the start of the ongoing military campaign aimed at liberating Manbij in northern Syria from ISIS.

In the ongoing operation, launched on 31 May, the Kurdish-led SDF and allied Manbij Military Council have recaptured some 90 villages and farms in the countryside of Manbij.

“Our forces have also cut off all roads linking Manbij with other Syrian cities, imposing a complete siege on ISIS inside the city after retaking the Manbij-Aleppo road,” SDF official Habun Osman told ARA News. ....
Nil Nikandrov at GlobalResearch
Regime Change in Bolivia: 
US Intelligence Preparing to Oust President Evo Morales?
US intelligence agencies have ramped up their operations intended to remove Bolivian President Evo Morales from office. All options are on the table, including assassination. Barack Obama, who sees the weakening of Latin America’s “hostile bloc of populist states” as one of his administration’s foreign-policy victories, intends to buoy this success before stepping down.

Washington also feels under the gun in Bolivia because of China’s successful expansion in the country. Morales is steadily strengthening his financial, economic, trade, and military relationship with Beijing. Chinese businesses in La Paz are thriving – making investments and loans and taking part in projects to secure a key position for Bolivia in the modernization of the continent’s transportation industry. In the next 10 years, thanks to Bolivia’s plentiful gas reserves, that country will become the energy hub of South America. Evo Morales sees his country’s development as his top priority, and the Chinese, unlike the Americans, have always viewed Bolivia as an ally and partner in a relationship that eschews double standards....

...The program’s first fruits have been the emergence of social protests (recent marches by disabled citizens were staged at the suggestion of the American embassy), although Evo Morales’s administration has evinced more concern for the interests of Bolivians on a limited income than any other government in the history of Bolivia.....

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