Saturday, January 10, 2015

UPP Dissolution the End of Korea's Democratic Experiment?

The End of Democracy in the Korean Peninsula

via Global Research Montreal

December 18, 2014

PRESS RELEASE [update below]

A path breaking decision which will have far reaching impacts on civil and political rights in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is forthcoming.

A decision from the Constitutional Court in South Korea regarding the dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) is imminent.

On November 5, 2013, the South Korean government requested that the Korean Constitutional Court initiate dissolution proceedings against the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), the third largest political party in Korea, following the arrest of one if its members, the parliamentarian Lee Seok-Ki.

Representative Lee (image above) was accused (allegedly on trumped up charges) and later convicted of violating South Korea’s national security law and for planning a future incitement of violence. The incitement of violence charge was reversed by the ROK Court of Appeals. His case is now pending on appeal before South Korea’s Supreme Court.

A vote in favor of dissolution of the UPP by the Constitutional Court would carry significant implications for political expression and civil rights in South Korea. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, South Korea is obligated under international law to protect freedom of assembly and expression. After a year of hearings into the matter, there is little or no evidence that the UPP is a “threat” to the South Korean constitutional or legal order, and there is a risk that dissolution would be little more than an attempt by the government to chill political speech with which it disagrees.

As part of its efforts to avoid dissolution, the UPP consulted with American lawyers and secured a legal opinion from the law office of Comar Law in San Francisco, which submitted legal opinions both to the Korean Constitutional Court as well as to the United Nations, asking that the judges side in favor of the rule of law and freedom of political expression.


We have just been informed that the UPP has been dissolved by an 8-1 vote of the Constitutional Court. It is a sad day for The Republic Korea which has been precipitated back to the era of martial law.

This decision is a de facto repeal of parliamentary democracy, whereby an opposition party can be silenced for opposing the policies of the ROK government of Mrs. Park Geun-hye.

UPP leader Lee Jung-hee said the ROK has been “degraded into a dictatorship,”

Political debate regarding the reunification of the two Koreas is considered to constitute treason.

President Park Geun-hye is the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee of the period of martial law, which is now being glorified as an era of successful economic growth.

For Media inquiries

Inder Comar, Esq., Comar Law, San Francisco, California, Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal,

Fascist Shelling of Donetsk Kills and Injures Soldiers and Civilians

Heavy Shelling in Donetsk Jan. 7-9

via New Cold War

Report by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 9 January 2015 (excerpt). This report is for media and the general public

The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The JCCC reported an increased number of ceasefire violations, the majority occurring in and around the Donetsk airport.

The SMM visited the three main hospitals in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk. The directors of the hospitals reported severe shortages of various drugs and fuel, although some supplies had been received from the Russian Federation. Staff, they said, had not been paid since November.

At one of the hospitals, the director said 98 patients on dialysis machines were in danger of dying if the machines were not immediately maintained. He also said that a 74 year-old man had been admitted that day, suffering from head injuries, having been hit by shrapnel outside his home on the south-western outskirts of the city in the early hours of the morning.

At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, and the Russian Federation Major-General, representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, said that the security situation in “DPR”-controlled areas had markedly deteriorated in the previous 24 hours, to an extent not seen since 15 December.

In the 24 hours preceding 08:00hrs, 9 January, they said they had recorded 91 ceasefire violations, 50 of them at the Donetsk airport. 

Among the recorded incidents during this period, they said that the use of heavy weapons was particularly pronounced, with 12 cases involving the use of BM-21 Grad rockets, 19 artillery shelling incidents, and 44 uses of mortars. Four Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and nine wounded, and two “DPR” and two “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) members killed in the violence, they said. Six civilians had also been injured on the south-western outskirts of Donetsk, they added.

In the 24 hours JCCC reporting period – the SMM heard sporadic volleys – every three to four hours – of incoming and outgoing shelling, usually 10 to 15 rounds at a time, in and around the Donetsk airport. The SMM also independently verified that a number of shells had struck a residential area in the south-western suburbs of the city.

In government-controlled Makarove (26km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed heavy outgoing and incoming artillery and mortar shelling, and small arms fire. A Médecins Sans Frontières aid convoy attempting to reach “LPR”-controlled Luhansk was forced to turn back as a result of the shelling. On leaving the town, the SMM saw approximately 100 Ukrainian troops with a Howitzer artillery piece moving in the direction of the town.

A representative of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation told the SMM in Dnepropetrovsk that they dispatched a humanitarian convoy of fourteen trucks to Dnepropetrovsk that morning, destined for government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He said the convoy had been co-ordinated with the regional police in Dnepropetrovsk and the Dnepro-1 volunteer regiment. The commander of the regiment told the SMM that his regiment had checked the documents and content of the trucks before allowing them to proceed.

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit:

Excerpt from the SMM report of the 24 hours ending 18:00 hours, Ukraine time on Jan 8, 2015:

… At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) HQ in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, and the Russian Federation Major-General, representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, both said the security situation, particularly in areas controlled by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) had deteriorated considerably in the preceding 24 hours. They said that in the 24 hours preceding 08.00hrs on 8 January, there had been 66 ceasefire violations reported, 29 in government-controlled territory and 37 in “DPR”- or “LPR”- controlled territory. Eighty percent of the incidents were recorded at or in the environs of the Donetsk airport. The remainder were in government-controlled Debaltseve or in “LPR”-controlled territory.

Pedophiles and Politics: Researchers Closing In On Pervert Perps in High Places

Pedophiles in Politics: An Open Source Investigation

by The Corbett Report

As 2015 begins, high-profile cases involving accusations of pedophilia in the highest ranks of political power are making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.

MPs Caught in Pedophile Network

The first case involves the exposure of five VIP pedophile rings operating in Britain in the 1970s and 80s that have been researched in a dossier compiled by John Mann, an MP for Bassetlaw in the Midlands, which was then submitted to the London Metropolitan Police for further investigation. These five rings all included at least one current or former member of parliament, with a total of 24 politicians having been identified in Mann’s dossier. Six of those 24 are currently serving members of the UK government, including three MPs and three members of the House of Lords. As an MP himself, Mann enjoys parliamentary privilege to name the accused politicians in the House of Commons but has said he will not do so because he believes the accusations should be investigated by police first.

The Met are already investigating claims made by an alleged victim of the network that a Conservative MP strangled a boy to death during one of the ring’s sex parties, and that he personally witnessed two other boys murdered by the gang, including one who was run over in broad daylight. Mann has also indicated that he believes two men may have been murdered as part of a cover-up of the network’s activities.

One of the hurdles in investigating the claims is the Official Secrets Act, which prevents the disclosure of state secrets and “sensitive” information. “It is clear there are a lot of people who could provide a lot of information, potentially vital information, to support ongoing criminal investigations,” Mann said regarding the investigation. “But they are not doing so because of the Official Secrets Act. They are fearful of not only breaking the law but the potential effect on their pension. This is absolutely crucial if we are to get some of these ex-officers coming forward and to get prosecutions of some of the former MPs.” He has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to lift the restrictions, allowing former officials to speak up about what they know about the case, but so far there is no indication that this has been done.

Epstein Accuser Names Names

Meanwhile in the United States a similarly shocking set of allegations are emerging from a Florida court case surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, the prominent American financier and billionaire who was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. In the years since his conviction, dozens of women have come forward to accuse him of abuse, and he has made 17 out-of-court settlements in various civil cases arising from these accusations. There is now an ongoing federal civil suit in Florida in which two women are alleging violations of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act in the remarkable plea deal that saw Epstein emerge from the scandal with a single count of solicitation of underage prostitution and a 13-month prison sentence.

Late last month, Virginia Roberts made headlines by submitting a motion to be added to the legal action in Florida. Those documents allege that Roberts was one of Epstein’s underage sex slaves and names both Prince Andrew, Duke of York and fifth in line for the British crown, and Alan Dershowitz, a well-known lawyer and author, as men with whom she was forced to have sex while underage. Buckingham Palace has emphatically denied the claims, and Dershowitz threatened to sue Roberts’ lawyers over the allegations but was instead counter-sued for defamation.

The scandal threatens to re-focus attention on the Epstein case, which raises many important questions about the billionaire’s connections with the rich and powerful. It has since been revealed that Epstein had 21 different phone numbers for contacting his friend Bill Clinton, who, court records allege, “frequently flew” on Epstein’s private jet between 2002 and 2005. The American tabloid press is now reporting that the new claims have created problems for Clinton’s marriage, with Hillary allegedly visibly angry at Bill at a recent public appearance.

Nothing New

Allegations of pedophilia networks amongst the political and entertainment “elite” are of course nothing new. In recent years Britain has been rocked by revelations of repeated, serial sexual abuse of children by popular children’s television entertainers Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris. These scandals have raised questions about institutional support for these activities at a number of levels, including the BBC, the political classes and even royal participation in the enabling and cover-up of the abuse.

Likewise in America, allegations of political pedophile rings date back decades, with the most notorious being the Franklin scandal in which Lawrence E. King Jr. was accused of running an elite child prostitution ring for Nebraska Republican Party members and high-ranking U.S. politicians. The story involves accusations that link the ring to CIA drug dealing, murder and cover up, including accusations of ritual abuse in the Bohemian Grove. The investigation was championed by former State Senator John De Camp and eventually brought before a grand jury in Douglas County but was eventually thrown out as a “carefully crafted hoax” and two of the alleged victims were themselves convicted of perjury after two other witnesses recanted their supporting testimony. Still, questions still surround the cover up of the case as documented in suppressed documentaries like Conspiracy of Silence.

Cover Ups

The question of whether the London Met will be adequate to the task of properly investigating Mann’s dossier is not an idle one. Just last year reports revealed that the Met had 260 crates of evidence documenting police corruption in the north-east corner of London alone. The evidence relates to Operation Tiberius, a 2002 investigation that concluded there was “endemic corruption” in the Metropolitan Police force and that organized crime networks had been able to infiltrate the Met “at will.” The report that issued from that investigation was 170 pages long, but only six heavily-redacted pages were provided to a parliamentary committee that had requested the information. Only a handful of the scores of then-serving officers and officials identified by the investigation were ever prosecuted.

In the Epstein case, as well, there are numerous questions surrounding the possibility of high-level cover up. In recent weeks it has emerged that Epstein struck a remarkable secret deal with the US Attorney’s Office that barred more than 500 pages of documents detailing negotiations of the deal and a staggering 13,000 documents from the investigation into Epstein’s activities that were shelved as a result of the bargain. Moreover, the victims were not told of the plea bargain until after it had been concluded. All of this resulted from the US Attorney Office’s pledge to avoid turning the case into a “media circus” and disclosing the names of people like Prince Andrew.

Clearing the Smoke, Smashing the Mirrors

As always with ongoing legal investigations, it is important to sort the credible from the incredible, the proven from the unproven, and the mere allegations from the actual findings of fact. Hoaxes, lies and moral panics have erupted in the past that have proven fraudulent in the long run.

So what are the credible sources in investigations like these? How can those with a monetary or other interest in slandering the rich and powerful be separated from those with credible claims of abuse? What bodies or institutions can be relied on to investigate claims of this nature, especially when they involve sitting politicians and others in the highest reaches of political or financial power?

These questions and others like them will be answered in an upcoming edition of The Corbett Report podcast. In the meantime, Corbett Report members are encouraged to sign in and leave their own thoughts on these issues, including sources for further reading on theses topics and discussion of why pedophilia accusations of high-ranking politicians continue to crop up, and what these claims might mean if they are indeed true.

Not a Corbett Report member? Sign up today.

Pointing Fingers at the Authors of Terror Acts

Who Should be Blamed for Muslim Terrorism?

by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch

A hundred years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have a pair of Muslim men enter a cafe or a public transportation vehicle, and then blow themselves up, killing dozens. Or to massacre the staff of a satirical magazine in Paris! Things like that were simply not done.

When you read the memoirs of Edward Said, or talk to old men and women in East Jerusalem, it becomes clear that the great part of Palestinian society used to be absolutely secular and moderate. It cared about life, culture, and even fashion, more than about religious dogmas.

The same could be said about many other Muslim societies, including those of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Indonesia. Old photos speak for themselves. That is why it is so important to study old images again and again, carefully.

Islam is not only a religion; it is also an enormous culture, one of the greatest on Earth, which has enriched our humanity with some of the paramount scientific and architectural achievements, and with countless discoveries in the field of medicine. Muslims have written stunning poetry, and composed beautiful music. But above all, they developed some of the earliest social structures in the world, including enormous public hospitals and the first universities on earth, like The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.

The idea of ‘social’ was natural to many Muslim politicians, and had the West not brutally interfered, by overthrowing left-wing governments and putting on the throne fascist allies of London, Washington and Paris; almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders.


In the past, countless Muslim leaders stood up against the Western control of the world, and enormous figures like the Indonesian President, Ahmet Sukarno, were close to Communist Parties and ideologies. Sukarno even forged a global anti-imperialist movement, the Non-Allied movement, which was clearly defined during the Bandung Conference in Indonesia, in 1955.

That was in striking contrast to the conservative, elites-oriented Christianity, which mostly felt at home with the fascist rulers and colonialists, with the kings, traders and big business oligarchs.

For the Empire, the existence and popularity of progressive, Marxist, Muslim rulers governing the Middle East or resource-rich Indonesia, was something clearly unacceptable. If they were to use the natural wealth to improve the lives of their people, what was to be left for the Empire and its corporations? It had to be stopped by all means. Islam had to be divided, and infiltrated with radicals and anti-Communist cadres, and by those who couldn’t care less about the welfare of their people.


Almost all radical movements in today’s Islam, anywhere in the world, are tied to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative, reactionary sect of Islam, which is in control of the political life of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other staunch allies of the West in the Gulf.

To quote Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi:

“It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant…”

The West gave full support to the Wahhabis in the 1980s. They were employed, financed and armed, after the Soviet Union was dragged into Afghanistan and into a bitter war that lasted from 1979 to 1989. As a result of this war, the Soviet Union collapsed, exhausted both economically and psychologically.

The Mujahedeen, who were fighting the Soviets as well as the left-leaning government in Kabul, were encouraged and financed by the West and its allies. They came from all corners of the Muslim world, to fight a ‘Holy War’ against Communist infidels.

According to the US Department of State archives:

“Contingents of so-called Afghan Arabs and foreign fighters who wished to wage jihad against the atheist communists. Notable among them was a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden, whose Arab group eventually evolved into al-Qaeda.”

Muslim radical groups created and injected into various Muslim countries by the West included al-Qaeda, but also, more recently, ISIS (also known as ISIL). ISIS is an extremist army that was born in the ‘refugee camps’ on the Syrian/Turkish and Syrian/Jordanian borders, and which was financed by NATO and the West to fight the Syrian (secular) government of Bashar al-Assad.

Such radical implants have been serving several purposes. The West uses them as proxies in the wars it is fighting against its enemies – the countries that are still standing in the way to the Empire’s complete domination of the world. Then, somewhere down the road, after these extremist armies ‘get totally out of control’ (and they always will), they could serve as scarecrows and as justification for the ‘The War On Terror’, or, like after ISIS took Mosul, as an excuse for the re-engagement of Western troops in Iraq.

Stories about the radical Muslim groups have constantly been paraded on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, or shown on television monitors, reminding readers ‘how dangerous the world really is’, ‘how important Western engagement in it is’, and consequently, how important surveillance is, how indispensable security measures are, as well as tremendous ‘defense’ budgets and wars against countless rogue states.


From a peaceful and creative civilization, that used to lean towards socialism, the Muslim nations and Islam itself, found itself to be suddenly derailed, tricked, outmaneuvered, infiltrated by foreign religious and ideological implants, and transformed by the Western ideologues and propagandists into one ‘tremendous threat’; into the pinnacle and symbol of terrorism and intolerance.

The situation has been thoroughly grotesque, but nobody is really laughing – too many people have died as a result; too much has been destroyed!

Indonesia is one of the most striking historical examples of how such mechanisms of the destruction of progressive Muslim values, really functions:

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the US, Australia and the West in general, were increasingly ‘concerned’ about the progressive anti-imperialist and internationalist stand of President Sukarno, and about the increasing popularity of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). But they were even more anxious about the enlightened, socialist and moderate Indonesian brand of Islam, which was clearly allying itself with Communist ideals.

Christian anti-Communist ideologues and ‘planners’, including the notorious Jesuit Joop Beek, infiltrated Indonesia. They set up clandestine organizations there, from ideological to paramilitary ones, helping the West to plan the coup that in and after 1965 took between 1 and 3 million human lives.

Shaped in the West, the extremely effective anti-Communist and anti-intellectual propaganda spread by Joop Beek and his cohorts also helped to brainwash many members of large Muslim organizations, propelling them into joining the killing of Leftists, immediately after the coup. Little did they know that Islam, not only Communism, was chosen as the main target of the pro-Western, Christian ‘fifth column’ inside Indonesia, or more precisely, the target was the left-leaning, liberal Islam.

After the 1965 coup, the Western-sponsored fascist dictator, General Suharto, used Joop Beek as his main advisor. He also relied on Beek’s ‘students’, ideologically. Economically, the regime related itself with mainly Christian business tycoons, including Liem Bian Kie.

In the most populous Muslim nation on earth, Indonesia, Muslims were sidelined, their ‘unreliable’ political parties banned during the dictatorship, and both the politics (covertly) and economy (overtly) fell under the strict control of Christian, pro-Western minority. To this day, this minority has its complex and venomous net of anti-Communist warriors, closely-knit business cartels and mafias, media and ‘educational outlets’ including private religious schools, as well as corrupt religious preachers (many played a role in the 1965 massacres), and other collaborators with both the local and global regime.

Indonesian Islam has been reduced to a silent majority, mostly poor and without any significant influence. It only makes international headlines when its frustrated white-robed militants go trashing bars, or when its extremists, many related to the Mujahedeen and the Soviet-Afghan War, go blowing up nightclubs, hotels or restaurants in Bali and Jakarta.

Or do they even do that, really?

Former President of Indonesia and progressive Muslim cleric, Abdurrahman Wahid (forced out of office by the elites), once told me: “I know who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. It was not an attack by the Islamists; it was done by the Indonesian secret services, in order to justify their existence and budget, and to please the West.”


“I would argue that western imperialism has not so much forged an alliance with radical factions, as created them”, I was told, in London, by my friend, and leading progressive Muslim intellectual, Ziauddin Sardar.

And Mr. Sardar continued:

“We need to realize that colonialism did much more than simply damage Muslim nations and cultures. It played a major part in the suppression and eventual disappearance of knowledge and learning, thought and creativity, from Muslim cultures. Colonial encounter began by appropriating the knowledge and learning of Islam, which became the basis of the ‘European Renaissance’ and ‘the Enlightenment’ and ended by eradicating this knowledge and learning from both Muslim societies and from history itself. It did that both by physical elimination – destroying and closing down institutions of learning, banning certain types of indigenous knowledge, killing off local thinkers and scholars – and by rewriting History as the history of western civilization into which all minor histories of other civilization are subsumed.”

From the hopes of those post-WWII years, to the total gloom of the present days – what a long and terrible journey is has been!

The Muslim world is now injured, humiliated and confused, almost always on the defensive.

It is misunderstood by the outsiders, and often even by its own people who are frequently forced to rely on Western and Christian views of the world.

What used to make the culture of Islam so attractive – tolerance, learning, concern for the wellbeing of the people – has been amputated from the Muslim realm, destroyed from abroad. What was left was only religion.

Now most of the Muslim countries are ruled by despots, by the military or corrupt cliques. All of them closely linked with the West and its global regime and interests.

As they did in several great nations and Empires of South and Central America, as well as Africa, Western invaders and colonizers managed to totally annihilate great Muslim cultures.

What forcefully replaced them were greed, corruption and brutality.

It appears that everything that is based on different, non-Christian foundations is being reduced to dust by the Empire. Only the biggest and toughest cultures are still surviving.

Anytime a Muslim country tries to go back to its essence, to march its own, socialist or socially-oriented way – be it Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, or much more recently Iraq, Libya or Syria – it gets savagely tortured and destroyed.

The will of its people is unceremoniously broken, and democratically expressed choices overthrown.

For decades, Palestine has been denied freedom, as well as its basic human rights. Both Israel and the Empire spit at its right to self-determination. Palestinian people are locked in a ghetto, humiliated, and murdered. Religion is all that some of them have left.

The ‘Arab Spring’ was derailed and terminated almost everywhere, from Egypt to Bahrain, and the old regimes and military are back in power.

Like African people, Muslims are paying terrible price for being born in countries rich in natural resources. But they are also brutalized for having, together with China, the greatest civilization in history, one that outshone all the cultures of the West.


Christianity looted and brutalized the world. Islam, with its great Sultans such as Saladin, stood against invaders, defending the great cities of Aleppo and Damascus, Cairo and Jerusalem. But overall, it was more interested in building a great civilization, than in pillaging and wars.

Now hardly anyone in the West knows about Saladin or about the great scientific, artistic or social achievements of the Muslim world. But everybody is ‘well informed’ about ISIS. Of course they know ISIS only as an ‘Islamic extremist group’, not as one of the main Western tools used to destabilize the Middle East.

As ‘France is mourning’ the deaths of the journalists at the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo (undeniably a terrible crime!), all over Europe it is again Islam which is being depicted as brutal and militant, not the West with its post-Crusade, Christian fundamentalist doctrines that keeps overthrowing and slaughtering all moderate, secular and progressive governments and systems in the Muslim world, leaving Muslim people at the mercy of deranged fanatics.


In the last five decades, around 10 million Muslims have been murdered because their countries did not serve the Empire, or did not serve it full-heartedly, or just were in the way. The victims were Indonesians, Iraqis, Algerians, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iranians, Yemenis, Syrians, Lebanese, Egyptians, and the citizens of Mali, Somalia, Bahrain and many other countries.

The West identified the most horrible monsters, threw billions of dollars at them, armed them, gave them advanced military training, and then let them loose.

The countries that are breeding terrorism, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are some of the closest allies of the West, and have never been punished for exporting horror all over the Muslim world.

Great social Muslim movements like Hezbollah, which is presently engaged in mortal combat against the ISIS, but which also used to galvanize Lebanon during its fight against the Israeli invasion, are on the “terrorist lists” compiled by the West. It explains a lot, if anybody is willing to pay attention.

Seen from the Middle East, it appears that the West, just as during the crusades, is aiming at the absolute destruction of Muslim countries and the Muslim culture.

As for the Muslim religion, the Empire only accepts the sheepish brands – those that accept extreme capitalism and the dominant global position of the West. The only other tolerable type of Islam is that which is manufactured by the West itself, and by its allies in the Gulf – designated to fight against progress and social justice; the one that is devouring its own people.

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Mind Who You Lay with Liberals: LNG Makes for Crooked Bedfellows

Woodfibre LNG proponent has history of fraud, tax evasion

by Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian

Permit me to make some observations about the LNG situation in Squamish. What the people of Howe Sound do is their affair. I can only give them the benefit, if any, of my experience over the years.

Sukanto Tanoto (right), the man behind the proposed Woodfibre LNG project

We are not dealing here with honest people – it is not hyperbolic to call them crooks. The powers behind Woodfibre LNG have been convicted of large tax evasion and substantial environmental degradation. Sukanto Tanoto, his family and associates have been consorts of the worst sort of financial manipulators in Indonesia – right up to the former President Suharto.

This from The Guardian:

…one of the world’s largest palm oil companies, owned by Sukanto Tanoto, was fined US$205m after being shown to have evaded taxes by using shell companies in the [British Virgin Islands] and elsewhere. The company has agreed to pay the fines.

Documents arising from the case show that Tanoto’s company, Asian Agri, systematically produced fake invoices and fake hedging contracts to evade more than $100m of taxes.

According to evidence contained in more than 8,000 papers, the company, which employs 25,000 people in 14 subsidiaries and owns 165,000 hectares of plantations, was engaged in “routine and systematic fraudulent accounting and book-keeping practices” using British jurisdictions.

Premier Clark and her poodle, Rich Coleman, expect this outfit to pay the piddling taxes imposed by the government on LNG plants.


The fix is in

I am by no means the only person to notice that the permit request by Fortis BC to upgrade its pipelines in order to feed the proposed Woodfibre plant precedes permission to build the plant. That’s because the “fix is in”.

From childhood we’re taught to respect the law and the “policemen” who enforce it. It rubs against the grain to think of breaking even a minor law.

What happens, however, if the laws are stacked in favour of the powerful and against ordinary citizens? What if the laws are so unfair as to be travesties of justice?

The place we, the public, look for protection is environmental assessment laws. So let’s look at The National Energy Board, in the news much recently, and see how they look after us.


Hearings called a “farce”

Some of the most damning evidence of the National Energy Board’s Kinder Morgan hearings came from a former BC Hydro CEO and deputy minister of energy for both Manitoba and Ontario, Mark Eliesen. He says this about the proceedings of the National Energy Board in the Kinder Morgan hearings, from which he resigned as an official intervenor:

In effect, this so-called public hearing process has become a farce, and this Board a truly industry captured regulator.

In addition to gutting the oral-cross examination feature of a public hearing process that supports proper questioning and an adequate level of due diligence, there are other Board decisions that have been made over the course of this hearing that reflect a pre-determined outcome.

The evidence on the record shows that decisions made by the Board at this hearing are dismissive of Intervenors. They reflect a lack of respect for hearing participants, a deep erosion of the standards and practices of natural justice that previous Boards have respected, and an undemocratic restriction of participation by citizens, communities, professionals and First Nations either by rejecting them outright or failing to provide adequate funding to facilitate meaningful participation.
(Emphasis added)

He closed his letter resigning as an intervenor thusly:

The National Energy Board is not fulfilling its obligation to review the Trans Mountain Expansion Project objectively. Accordingly it is not only British Columbians, but all Canadians that cannot look to the Board’s conclusions as relevant as to whether or not this project deserves a social license. Continued involvement in the process endorses this sham and is not in the public interest. (Emphasis added)

(Along with the presidency of BC Hydro, Eliesen sat on the board of Suncor Energy and was former CEO of the Manitoba Energy Authority and Ontario Hydro. In total, he has worked for seven governments and nine ministers of the crown.)


MP, MLAs avoid public meeting

What about expecting justice on the political front?

John Weston, the local Conservative MP, was not in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting to discuss the controversial permit application from Fortis BC, which involves test drilling in a wildlife management area for its its planned pipeline expansion. He had no reason to be absent – the Commons is not in session and, besides, as with all government backbenchers, he doesn’t do anything anyway. Surely he should’ve at least troubled himself to be there to report back to the government on the feelings of the people present, his constituents.

I understand that neither of the Liberal MLAs were there either. Same criticism as Weston. They have nothing else to do of any use but to report back to the government what they see and hear.

Did I go to unpleasant meetings such as this when I was in cabinet?

You bet your life I did. If I hadn’t, Premier Bill Bennett would have quite rightly tossed me out on my ass. Perhaps standards were different then but I can tell you about meetings I was at that would curl your hair!

Not only has there been no canvassing of public opinion by the provincial government, they have fallen all over themselves to support the project and in fact staked a phoney claim to the 2013 election based on $100 billion coming from LNG.

I could go on but suffice it to say that not only has the public not been consulted, there is no fair process by which it can be consulted unless it’s through local Councils. In every case in the Howe Sound area, the Councils have rejected the notion of an LNG plant in Squamish and concomitant tanker traffic. However, these Council decisions evidently don’t count with either the provincial or the federal governments.


Civil disobedience on the horizon

My own personal opinion is that nothing will be accomplished except by civil disobedience. I have held that opinion for a long time and it is certainly not because I am a violent person. My whole political life has been fighting elections not policemen.

The fact remains, however, that times come when the citizen has no other option. When all of the cards are stacked, when the hearings are fixed, when politicians are in bed with the powerful, when all the laws favour one side of a dispute, then what choice do people have?

The people of Burnaby did a fantastic job fighting Kinder Morgan. That battle is far from over, thanks to the courage of the citizens of the area. The entire country saw the weak take on the strong and at least hold their own.

I must be careful here – I am not physically able to do that which I preach. I’m sorry about that. I will, however, continue to say my piece and I presume that if I continue to press for civil disobedience I’ll be in contempt of something sufficient to be in trouble with the authorities.

Check out this preview of a forthcoming documentary on the Woodfibre LNG battle – by Squamish filmmaker Les McDonald

Cartoon Logic: Hebdo Attack Reveals Janus Head of Terror War

Conflict, not Cartoons: Hebdo Shows the Common Goals of Both Sides in Terror War

by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

Juan Cole has some insightful words on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. As he points out, the shooters were neither "attacking free speech" nor "defending Mohammed"; they were using a time-honored tactic of radical extremists (of all stripes): "sharpening the contradictions," hoping to provoke an overreaction that would lead to repression and persecution of Muslims in general -- thus helping the extremists recruit new members.

This is what bin Laden did with such spectacular success with 9/11: provoking an endless global war, with Western "interventions" and "targeted assassinations" and drone strikes that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people -- all of which, as our own security services tell us, have fed the flames of extremism and made the situation worse.

It would be nice if we tried a different approach, but this is not going to happen. By this time, the symbiosis between the West's military-industrial-security complex and the extremists it purports to fight is virtually complete.

The MISC holds the commanding heights of society now, and it is utterly dependent on a steady supply of terrorist attacks (and the constant production of new terrorist entities to fight) in order to keep its power, privileges -- and profits -- going strong. It is probably not too far-fetched to say that the modern American system -- a militarist state protecting the interests of a small, rapacious elite -- would collapse without terrorism. "Security" is the only "legitimacy" this system has. Its power rests entirely on the belief -- the completely unfounded, hysterical, hallucinated belief -- that only the System (with its wars, its death squads, its torture, its mass surveillance, etc. etc.) can protect "us" from terrorism … the very terrorism that the System itself foments and creates with its depredations.

And organized terror depends on the System feeding it recruits. (And of course, in many cases, feeding it directly with arms and money when it suits the System's agenda, as in the stoking of jihad in Syria, just to take one example.)

Cole writes:

"The horrific murder of the editor, cartoonists and other staff of the irreverent satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, along with two policemen, by terrorists in Paris was in my view a strategic strike, aiming at polarizing the French and European public.

"The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. .. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world. … In Paris, where Muslims tend to be better educated and more religious, the vast majority reject violence and say they are loyal to France.

"Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination ...

"This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this anagram). Ironically, there are reports that one of the two policemen they killed was a Muslim. …

"For those who require unrelated people to take responsibility for those who claim to be their co-religionists (not a demand ever made of Christians), the al-Azhar Seminary, seat of Sunni Muslim learning and fatwas, condemned the attack, as did the Arab League that comprises 22 Muslim-majority states."


While putting this together, hoping to add a few more thoughts, I ran across Tom Englehardt's latest piece, which deals with these same themes: the way the "War on Terror" is producing more terrorism -- to the benefit of our powerful national security profiteers and terrorist organisations … while the rest of us have to live with the growing chaos, insecurity, lack of liberty, depleted treasuries and broken economies this deadly symbiosis keeps producing. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some excerpts from his article that underscore and expand upon many of the points I was making above. The frame of Englehardt's piece is imagining how a visitor from January 1963, just months after the Cuban missile crisis, would confront the bizarro world of today.

He writes:

"... In these years the national security state triumphed in the nation’s capital in a way that the U.S. military and allied intelligence outfits were incapable of doing anywhere else on Earth ... They had been engorged by literally trillions of taxpayer dollars. A new domestic version of the Pentagon called the Department of Homeland Security had been set up in 2002. An “intelligence community” made up of 17 major agencies and outfits, bolstered by hundreds of thousands of private security contractors, had expanded endlessly and in the process created a global surveillance state that went beyond the wildest imaginings of the totalitarian powers of the twentieth century.

"... Its officials increasingly existed in a crime-free zone, beyond the reach of accountability, the law, courts, or jail. Homeland security and intelligence complexes grew up around the national security state in the way that the military-industrial complex had once grown up around the Pentagon and similarly engorged themselves. In these years, Washington filled with newly constructed billion-dollar intelligence headquarters and building complexes dedicated to secret work -- and that only begins to tell the tale of how twenty-first-century “security” triumphed.

"This vast investment of American treasure has been used to construct an edifice dedicated in a passionate way to dealing with a single danger to Americans, one that would have been unknown in 1963: Islamic terrorism. Despite the several thousand Americans who died on September 11, 2001, the dangers of terrorism rate above shark attacks but not much else in American life. Even more remarkably, the national security state has been built on a foundation of almost total failure. Think of failure, in fact, as the spark that repeatedly sets the further expansion of its apparatus in motion, funds it, and allows it to thrive.

"It works something like this: start with the fact that, on September 10, 2001, global jihadism was a microscopic movement on this planet. Since 9/11, under the pressure of American military power, it has exploded geographically, while the number of jihadist organizations has multiplied, and the number of people joining such groups has regularly and repeatedly increased, a growth rate that seems to correlate with the efforts of Washington to destroy terrorism and its infrastructure. In other words, the Global War on Terror has been and remains a global war for the production of terror. And terror groups know it.

"It was Osama bin Laden’s greatest insight and is now a commonplace that drawing Washington into military action against you increases your credibility in the world that matters to you and so makes recruiting easier. At the same time, American actions, from invasions to drone strikes, and their “collateral damage,” create pools of people desperate for revenge. If you want to thrive and grow, in other words, you need the U.S. as an enemy. ... This has, in other words, proved to be a deeply symbiotic and mutually profitable relationship.

"From the point of view of the national security state, each failure, each little disaster, acts as another shot of fear in the American body politic, and the response to failure is predictable: never less of what doesn’t work, but more. More money, more bodies hired, more new outfits formed, more elaborate defenses, more offensive weaponry. Each failure with its accompanying jolt of fear (and often hysteria) predictably results in further funding for the national security state to develop newer, even more elaborate versions of what it’s been doing these last 13 years. Failure, in other words, is the key to success.

"In this sense, think of Washington’s national security structure as a self-perpetuating machine that works like a dream, since those who oversee its continued expansion are never penalized for its inability to accomplish any of its goals. On the contrary, they are invariably promoted, honored, and assured of a golden-parachute-style retirement or -- far more likely -- a golden journey through one of Washington’s revolving doors onto some corporate board or into some cushy post in one complex or another where they can essentially lobby their former colleagues for private warrior corporations, rent-a-gun outfits, weapons makers, and the like. And there is nothing either in Washington or in American life that seems likely to change any of this in the near future.

"… Official Washington has ... invented a system so dumb, so extreme, so fundamentalist, and so deeply entrenched in our world that changing it will surely prove a stunningly difficult task."

Welcome to the new world of American insecurity and to the nightmarish inheritance we are preparing for our children and grandchildren.

Agency of Democratic Change: The CIA's "Helping" Hand

CIA’s Hidden Hand in ‘Democracy’ Groups

by Robert Parry - Consortium News

Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy stress their commitment to freedom of thought and democracy, but both cooperated with a CIA-organized propaganda operation in the 1980s, according to documents released by Ronald Reagan’s presidential library.

CIA Director William Casey

One document showed senior Freedom House official Leo Cherne clearing a draft manuscript on political conditions in El Salvador with CIA Director William Casey and promising that Freedom House would make requested editorial “corrections and changes” – and even send over the editor for consultation with whomever Casey assigned to review the paper.

In a “Dear Bill” letter dated June 24, 1981, Cherne wrote: “I am enclosing a copy of the draft manuscript by Bruce McColm, Freedom House’s resident specialist on Central America and the Caribbean. This manuscript on El Salvador was the one I had urged be prepared and in the haste to do so as rapidly as possible, it is quite rough. You had mentioned that the facts could be checked for meticulous accuracy within the government and this would be very helpful. …

“If there are any questions about the McColm manuscript, I suggest that whomever is working on it contact Richard Salzmann at the Research Institute [an organization where Cherne was executive director]. He is Editor-in-Chief at the Institute and the Chairman of the Freedom House’s Salvador Committee. He will make sure that the corrections and changes get to Rita Freedman who will also be working with him. If there is any benefit to be gained from Salzmann’s coming down at any point to talk to that person, he is available to do so.”

Cherne, who was chairman of Freedom House’s executive committee, also joined in angling for financial support from a propaganda program that Casey initiated in 1982 under one of the CIA’s top covert action specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., who was moved to President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff.

In an Aug. 9, 1982 letter to Raymond, Freedom House executive director Leonard R. Sussman wrote that “Leo Cherne has asked me to send these copies of Freedom Appeals. He has probably told you we have had to cut back this project to meet financial realities. … We would, of course, want to expand the project once again when, as and if the funds become available. Offshoots of that project appear in newspapers, magazines, books and on broadcast services here and abroad. It’s a significant, unique channel of communication” – precisely the focus of Raymond’s work.

According to the documents, Freedom House remained near the top of Casey’s thinking when it came to the most effective way to deliver his hardline policy message to the American people in ways they would be inclined to accept, i.e., coming from ostensibly independent sources with no apparent ties to the government.

On Nov. 4, 1982, Raymond wrote to NSC Advisor William Clark about the “Democracy Initiative and Information Programs,” stating that “Bill Casey asked me to pass on the following thought concerning your meeting with [right-wing billionaire] Dick Scaife, Dave Abshire [then a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board], and Co.

“Casey had lunch with them today and discussed the need to get moving in the general area of supporting our friends around the world. By this definition he is including both ‘building democracy’ … and helping invigorate international media programs. The DCI [Casey] is also concerned about strengthening public information organizations in the United States such as Freedom House. …

“A critical piece of the puzzle is a serious effort to raise private funds to generate momentum. Casey’s talk with Scaife and Co. suggests they would be very willing to cooperate. … Suggest that you note White House interest in private support for the Democracy initiative.”

The importance of the CIA and White House secretly arranging private funds was that these supposedly independent voices would then reinforce and validate the administration’s foreign policy arguments with a public that would assume the endorsements were based on the merits of the White House positions, not influenced by money changing hands.

In effect, like snake-oil salesmen who plant a few cohorts in the audience to whip up excitement for the cure-all elixir, Reagan administration propagandists salted some well-paid “private” individuals around Washington to echo White House propaganda “themes.”

In a Jan. 25, 1983 memo, Raymond wrote, “We will move out immediately in our parallel effort to generate private support” for “public diplomacy” operations. Then, on May 20, 1983, Raymond recounted in another memo that $400,000 had been raised from private donors brought to the White House Situation Room by U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick. According to that memo, the money was divided among several organizations, including Freedom House and Accuracy in Media, a right-wing media attack organization.

When I wrote about that memo in my 1992 book, Fooling America, Freedom House denied receiving any White House money or collaborating with any CIA/NSC propaganda campaign. In a letter, Freedom House’s Sussman called Raymond “a second-hand source” and insisted that “this organization did not need any special funding to take positions … on any foreign-policy issues.”

But it made little sense that Raymond would have lied to a superior in an internal memo. And clearly, Freedom House remained central to the Reagan administration’s schemes for aiding groups supportive of its Central American policies, particularly the CIA-organized Contra war against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo, Raymond outlined plans to arrange private backing for that effort. He said USIA Director Wick “via [Australian publishing magnate Rupert] Murdock [sic], may be able to draw down added funds” to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond recommended “funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center.” [For more details, see’s “Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda.”]

Questions of Legality

Raymond remained a CIA officer until April 1983 when he resigned so – in his words – “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this” propaganda operation to woo the American people into supporting Reagan’s policies.

But Raymond, who had been one of the CIA’s top propaganda and disinformation specialists, continued to act toward the U.S. public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country.

Raymond fretted, too, about the legality of Casey’s role in the effort to influence U.S. public opinion because of the legal prohibition against the CIA influencing U.S. policies and politics. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important “to get [Casey] out of the loop,” but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986.

It was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond said during his Iran-Contra deposition in 1987. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic affairs “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

As the Casey-Raymond propaganda operation expanded during the last half of Reagan’s first term, Freedom House continued to keep Raymond abreast of its work on Central America, with its attitudes dovetailing with Reagan administration’s policies particularly in condemning Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

Freedom House also kept its hand out for funding. On Sept. 15, 1984, Bruce McColm – writing from Freedom House’s Center for Caribbean and Central American Studies – sent Raymond “a short proposal for the Center’s Nicaragua project 1984-85. The project combines elements of the oral history proposal with the publication of The Nicaraguan Papers,” a book that would disparage Sandinista ideology and practices.

“Maintaining the oral history part of the project adds to the overall costs; but preliminary discussions with film makers have given me the idea that an Improper Conduct-type of documentary could be made based on these materials,” McColm wrote, referring to a 1984 film that offered a scathing critique of Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

“Such a film would have to be the work of a respected Latin American filmmaker or a European. American-made films on Central America are simply too abrasive ideologically and artistically poor.”

McColm’s three-page letter reads much like a book or movie pitch, trying to interest Raymond in financing the project: “The Nicaraguan Papers will also be readily accessible to the general reader, the journalist, opinion-maker, the academic and the like. The book would be distributed fairly broadly to these sectors and I am sure will be extremely useful.

“They already constitute a form of Freedom House samizdat, since I’ve been distributing them to journalists for the past two years as I’ve received them from disaffected Nicaraguans.”

McColm proposed a face-to-face meeting with Raymond in Washington and attached a six-page grant proposal seeking $134,100.

According to the grant proposal, the project would include “free distribution to members of Congress and key public officials; distribution of galleys in advance of publication for maximum publicity and timely reviews in newspapers and current affairs magazines; press conferences at Freedom House in New York and at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.; op-ed circulation to more than 100 newspapers …; distribution of a Spanish-language edition through Hispanic organizations in the United States and in Latin America; arrangement of European distribution through Freedom House contacts.”

The documents that I found at the Reagan library do not indicate what subsequently happened to this proposal. McColm did not respond to an email request for comment about the Nicaraguan Papers plan or Cherne’s earlier letter to Casey about editing McComb’s manuscript. Raymond died in 2003; Cherne died in 1999; and Casey died in 1987.

But it is clear that Freedom House became a major recipient of funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, which Casey and Raymond helped create in 1983.

Financing Propaganda

In 1983, Casey and Raymond focused on creating a funding mechanism to support Freedom House and other outside groups that would engage in propaganda and political action that the CIA had historically organized and paid for covertly. The idea emerged for a congressionally funded entity that would serve as a conduit for this money.

But Casey recognized the need to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. “Obviously we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor should we appear to be a sponsor or advocate,” Casey said in one undated letter to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese III – as Casey urged creation of a “National Endowment.”

A document in Raymond’s files offered examples of what would be funded, including “Grenada — 50 K — To the only organized opposition to the Marxist government of Maurice Bishop (The Seaman and Waterfront Workers Union). A supplemental 50 K to support free TV activity outside Grenada” and “Nicaragua — $750 K to support an array of independent trade union activity, agricultural cooperatives.”

The National Endowment for Democracy took shape in late 1983 as Congress decided to also set aside pots of money — within NED — for the Republican and Democratic parties and for organized labor, creating enough bipartisan largesse that passage was assured.

But some in Congress thought it was important to wall the NED off from any association with the CIA, so a provision was included to bar the participation of any current or former CIA official, according to one congressional aide who helped write the legislation.

This aide told me that one night late in the 1983 session, as the bill was about to go to the House floor, the CIA’s congressional liaison came pounding at the door to the office of Rep. Dante Fascell, a senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a chief sponsor of the bill.

The frantic CIA official conveyed a single message from CIA Director Casey: the language barring the participation of CIA personnel must be struck from the bill, the aide recalled, noting that Fascell consented to the demand, not fully recognizing its significance.

What the documents at the Reagan library now make clear is that lifting the ban enabled Raymond and Casey to stay active shaping the decisions of the new funding mechanism.

The aide said Fascell also consented to the Reagan administration’s choice of Carl Gershman to head the National Endowment for Democracy, again not recognizing how this decision would affect the future of the new entity and American foreign policy.

Gershman, who had followed the classic neoconservative path from youthful socialism to fierce anticommunism, became NED’s first (and, to this day, only) president. Though NED is technically independent of U.S. foreign policy, Gershman in the early years coordinated decisions on grants with Raymond at the NSC.

For instance, on Jan. 2, 1985, Raymond wrote to two NSC Asian experts that “Carl Gershman has called concerning a possible grant to the Chinese Alliance for Democracy (CAD). I am concerned about the political dimension to this request. We should not find ourselves in a position where we have to respond to pressure, but this request poses a real problem to Carl.

“Senator [Orrin] Hatch, as you know, is a member of the board. Secondly, NED has already given a major grant for a related Chinese program.”

Besides clearing aside political obstacles for Gershman, Raymond also urged NED to give money to Freedom House in a June 21, 1985 letter obtained by Professor John Nichols of Pennsylvania State University.

A Tag Team

From the start, NED became a major benefactor for Freedom House, beginning with a $200,000 grant in 1984 to build “a network of democratic opinion-makers.” In NED’s first four years, from 1984 and 1988, it lavished $2.6 million on Freedom House, accounting for more than one-third of its total income, according to a study by the liberal Council on Hemispheric Affairs that was entitled “Freedom House: Portrait of a Pass-Through.”

Over the ensuing three decades, Freedom House has become almost an NED subsidiary, often joining NED in holding policy conferences and issuing position papers, both organizations pushing primarily a neoconservative agenda, challenging countries deemed insufficiently “free,” including Syria, Ukraine (in 2014) and Russia.

Indeed, NED and Freedom House often work as a kind of tag-team with NED financing “non-governmental organizations” inside targeted countries and Freedom House berating those governments if they crack down on U.S.-funded NGOs.

For instance, on Nov. 16, 2012, NED and Freedom House joined together to denounce legislation passed by the Russian parliament that required recipients of foreign political money to register with the government.

Or, as NED and Freedom House framed the issue: the Russian Duma sought to “restrict human rights and the activities of civil society organizations and their ability to receive support from abroad. … Changes to Russia’s NGO legislation will soon require civil society organizations receiving foreign funds to choose between registering as ‘foreign agents’ or facing significant financial penalties and potential criminal charges.”

Of course, the United States has a nearly identical Foreign Agent Registration Act that likewise requires entities that receive foreign funding and seek to influence U.S. government policy to register with the Justice Department or face possible fines or imprisonment.

But the Russian law would impede NED’s efforts to destabilize the Russian government through funding of political activists, journalists and civic organizations, so it was denounced as an infringement of human rights and helped justify Freedom House’s rating of Russia as “not free.”

The Russian government’s concerns were not entirely paranoid. On Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman, in effect, charted the course for the crisis in Ukraine and the greater neocon goal of regime change in Russia. In a Washington Post op-ed, Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and explained how pulling it into the Western camp could contribute to the ultimate defeat of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents,” Gershman wrote.

“Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

With NED’s budget now exceeding $100 million a year — and with many NGOs headquartered in Washington — Gershman has attained the status of a major paymaster for the neocon movement with his words carrying extra clout because he can fund or de-fund many a project.

Thus, three decades after CIA Director William Casey and his propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. struggled to arrange funding for Freedom House and other organizations that would promote an interventionist agenda, their brainchild – the National Endowment for Democracy – was still around picking up those tabs. [For more details, see’s “The Victory of Perception Management” and “Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda” or Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Friday, January 09, 2015

I Was Ahmed Merabet: The Other Muslim Killed in Paris

Je Suis Ahmed Merabet 

by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance

How many media outlets bothered to tell us that the injured French policeman executed by terrorists on the pavement was a Muslim French policeman by the name of Ahmed Merabet?

These terrorists seemed like professionally trained maybe by a state intelligence service and yet “conveniently” forgot an identity card in the get-away car and are killed not apprehended.

The timing of this incident was suspicious. First it came a week after France voted in the UN Security Council to end the Israeli occupation that started in 1967 (i.e. with a sub-minimal demand supported by International law). Second, the terror attack happened just after the Israeli government said their largest number of immigrants in 2014 came from France and they want more colonial settlers.

What came to mind is the bombing of Jewish community centers in Baghdad in the 1950's that helped recruit needed Jews for Israeli colonial activities. In that case it was exposed to be a Mossad operation. We also recall the Lavon affair (Israeli bombings of American and British interests in Cairo blaming it on Egyptian nationals).

Whether this was yet another false flag operation or by rogue terrorists not left alive to be questioned, Zionists are milking it to the best of their (very large) media abilities and they talk endlessly about Muslims and Islam. When Jewish terrorists like Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon committed crimes, they was merely "deluded renegades" (but who became prime ministers of Israel). Why not call those in Paris also "deluded renegades"? But more importantly what are lessons to draw from all this?

I and many people around the globe work daily to challenge fundamentalism/ extremism (be it cloaked in Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or other cloak). We try to bring these deluded racist humans into reality. The best way is via positive action with insistence on human rights and international law  EVERYWHERE.

Freedom of speech is critical. The biggest enemy for all of us is fear (the opposite of love) that suppresses freedom of speech and makes for compliant "customers" rather than involved citizens. Our biggest ally is hope which springs from being at peace in our own hearts. It allows us to transform the world (not fight it). In the words of a wise friend (Chris R):

"If evil is explained as anything other than the fruit of a distracted mind, distracted by its own choice, you  divide the human race into the good and evil, and politics is impossible.....We cannot give up on anybody ... The alternative--giving up on someone--that's racism, for one thing, and it's never justified." [and I might add is a dead end road for humanity].

Our thoughts are with the victims' families including the family of Ahmed Merabet. Let us plant hope, love, and kindness in our hearts.

And we move positively and confidently to connect to our humanity and to nature.

إنجازات أول 6 شهور لمتحف فلسطين للتاريخ الطبيعي بدعمكم

Achievements of the Palestine Museum of Natural History since
launching in June 2014
في اجتماع المتطوعين لمتحف فلسطين للتاريخ الطبيعي يوم الاثنين

حددنا 5 أهداف لعام 2015 ونحتاج شراكتكم ودعمكم

In our volunteer meeting Monday for the Palestine Museum of Natural History, we reviewed and updated accomplishments (13 listed below) and we identified 5 goals for 2015. We could use your help.

In the immortal words of martyr Vittorio Arrigoni: Stay human

Mazin Qumsiyeh in Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine now blanketed in snow and it is still falling
HumanRights newsletter

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Big Abbas' Bluff: A Bid to Bring Israel to the Hague Court

Palestinians at the Hague: Abbas’ big bluff on war crimes bid against Israel

by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Intense pressure from Israel and the US last week on members of the United Nations Security Council narrowly averted Washington’s embarrassment at being forced to veto a Palestinian resolution to end the occupation.

The Palestinians’ failure to get the necessary votes saved the White House’s blushes but at a cost: the claim that the US can oversee a peace process promising as its outcome a Palestinian state is simply no longer credible.

Looming is the post-peace process era. Its advent appears to have been marked by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ decision in the immediate wake of the Security Council vote to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

Israel furiously opposes the move, justifiably fearful that its politicians, military commanders and settler-leaders may now be put on trial for war crimes.

But the Palestinian leadership has long been apprehensive about such a move too. Abbas has spent years postponing the decision to sign the Rome Statute, which paves the way to the ICC.

Israeli statements at the weekend implied that Abbas’ reticence signalled a concern that he might expose himself to war crimes charges as well. Israel had “quite a bit of ammunition” against him and his Palestinian Authority, said one official menacingly.

In truth, the Palestinian president has other, more pressing concerns that delayed a decision to move to the legal battlefield of the Hague.

The first is the severe retaliation the Palestinians can now expect from the US and, even more so, from Israel. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu began by halting the transfer of tax revenues Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. Israel is also preparing to lobby the US Congress to enforce legislation that would halt aid to the PA in the event of it launching an ICC action. More punishments are due to be announced.

In selecting the “nuclear option”, as Israeli analysts characterised it, Abbas has also left himself empty-handed in future diplomatic confrontations – and for no obvious immediate gain. War crimes allegations may take years to reach the court and, even then, be stymied by pressures the US will bring to bear in the Hague, just as it currently does in the Security Council.

But most problematic of all, as Abbas knows well, a decision to pursue war crimes trials against Israel threatens the PA’s very existence.

The PA was the offspring of the two-decade-old Oslo accords, which invested it with two temporary functions. It was supposed to maintain stability in the parts of the occupied territories it governed while serving as Israel’s interlocutor for the five years of negotiations that were supposed to lead towards Palestinian statehood.

It has excelled in both roles. Under Abbas, the PA has been doggedly faithful to the idea of the peace process, even as Netanyahu spurned meaningful talks at every turn.

Meanwhile, the PA’s security forces – in coordination with Israel’s – have kept the West Bank remarkably quiet even as Israel expanded and accelerated its settlement programme.

But as Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, argued on Sunday, the Palestinians’ move to the Hague court is further proof that the Oslo accords have expired.

Without a peace process, or any Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood, why would the PA continue to cooperate on security matters with Israel, let alone consider such coordination “sacred”, as Abbas termed it last year? If the accords are seen to be dead, the impression can only grow that the PA is nothing more than Israel’s security contractor, assisting in its own people’s oppression.

Until now, that reality had been partially obscured by Abbas’ image as the Palestinian peace-maker. But if the process is indeed over, the contradictions in the PA’s role will be dramatically on show.

Right now, Palestinian security forces are committed to coordinating with the very people the PA is intending to indict as war criminals. And by maintaining calm in the West Bank, the PA is furthering the building of the very settlements the Rome Statute defines as a war crime.

Abbas is in a bind. If he ends coordination and goes on the offensive, why would Israel allow the PA to continue functioning? But if his security forces continue to collaborate with Israel, how can he retain credibility with his people?

This leaves the Palestinian leader with only two credible strategic options – aside from dissolving the PA himself.

The first is to adopt a sophisticated model of armed resistance, though the PA has specifically rejected this in the past and is poorly equipped for it compared with militant factions like Hamas.

The other is to accept that Palestinian statehood is a lost cause and adopt a new kind of struggle, one for equal civil rights in a single state. But the PA’s rationale and bureaucratic structure preclude that. It is in no position to lead a popular struggle.

That is why Abbas will continue pursuing a Palestinian state through the UN, as he promised again at the weekend, undeterred by the realisation that it is unlikely ever to come to fruition.

The door to the Hague may be open, but Abbas is in no hurry to venture through it.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is .

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How Many Cops Does New York City Really Need?

NY cops prove they aren't really needed : Mayor deBlasio Should Fire Protesting Cops and Apply Payroll Savings to Better Things

by Dave Lindorff  - This Can't Be Happening

A huge number of entitled, mostly white cops in New York City, who have apparently been engaging in a two-week job action to protest their boss's (that's Mayor Bill deBlasio's) support for protesters against the police killing of Eric Garner, a black man busted for selling "loosie" cigarettes on the street on Staten Island, may be unintentionally offering the public a demonstration of their own irrelevance.

For two weeks now, the largest police force in the nation has essentially stopped making arrests. According to a lead story in the New York Times today, ticket issuance by police in this city of 8.4 million is down by 90 percent. The paper reports [1] that:

Most precincts' weekly tallies for criminal infractions -- typically about 4,000 a week citywide -- were close to zero.

And yet, New York continues to function normally, with people going about their business, secure on sidewalk, street, public transit and in their homes.

Could it be that the city has been wasting much of the nearly $5 billion it spends annually on its over 34,000 uniformed cops (15% of the city's budget)? Could it be that having all those cops cruising around neighborhoods harassing people -- mostly, statistics show, people of color and poor people -- by stopping them and frisking them, by busting them for "crimes" like public urination, smoking a joint, drinking a beer outside, selliing trinkets or "lossie" cigs, or just "looking suspicious" -- has been doing nothing to reduce major crimes and violence after all?

If this job action keeps up, and the city doesn't descend into a spasm of crime and mayhem, maybe Mayor deBlasio should live up to his early billing as a former radical activist and start sacking the protesting cops. He could start by retasking the NYPD intelligence staff (which has been wasting its time playing CIA and infiltrating mosques and Islamic centers). He should have them instead look over the photos of the officers, nearly all of them white, who publicly dissed him by turning their backs on his eulogies for the two cops who were murdered by a nut-job from Baltimore who decided to kill New York cops to avenge Garner's and Ferguson teen Michael Brown's slayings by police, and summarily fire them.

White NYPD officers turn their backs on New York 
Mayor Bill DeBlasio's eulogy for a slain cop.

He could instruct his police commissioner, William J. Bratton, to have his precinct captains submit him a list of all the officers under their jurisdiction who are refusing to do their jobs or who had disobeyed his order not to turn their backs, while in uniform, on Mayor deBlasio, and he should fire them too.

That would cut the bloated police force in the city down to size, and, because almost all of those dropped from the payroll would be white, it would go a long way towards making the NYPD much more reflective, racially, of the city they are policing.

If New York still continued, at that point, to function normally, without any evident surge in lawlessness, the Mayor would find himself suddenly with the funds he needs to do those progressive things that so far he has been blocked from doing by lack of funds and by obstruction from the governor, fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo -- things like universal preschool, rent subsidies for the poor, etc.

Even cutting the police payroll by $500 million a year would be a huge bonanza for the Mayor and the people of New York.

And other cities around the country would be watching. Heavily lobbied by fear-mongering police unions, they've all been blowing wads of taxpayer cash for years on ramping up their police forces. If the whiners on the NYPD who are upset that Mayor deBlasio was critical of the Staten Island borough DA's failure to prosecute Garner's killer, white officer Daniel Pantaleo, by engaging in a "no-arrests" job action, prove that they aren't really needed after all, it's inevitable that other financially strapped cities will try the same thing.

What the NYPD will be left with after such a mass firing would be a core of much more serious and dedicated cops, a more integrated and progressive and professionally committed department, and should evidence arise later of the need for more police, it would be an opportunity to select the best candidates for the job from other departments around the country, or from the national pool of newly unemployed cops.

Of course deBlasio should fire the protesting cops in his city for another reason too. Police love to see themselves as domestic soldiers, and to adopt military imagery, awarding ranks like sergeant, lieutenant and captain, wearing American flag lapel pins, medals and braids, and dressing up in military gear for SWAT raids and patrols, armed with the latest semi-automatic arms. But when they publicly diss their boss -- both the Mayor and the police chief who told them not to protest his eulogies -- they do something that uniformed military personnel would and could never do without facing a court martial. It is totally unacceptable for public employees whom the public has entrusted with a license to kill to disrespect and to refuse the orders of their supervisors and their ultimate boss -- the mayor.

Barack Obama, on assuming office, dithered in following through on one of his campaign promises to immediately end the Pentagon's ambiguous "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military by simply making it legal for gays and lesbians to serve openly. His fear of confronting the bigots in uniform, which caused him to delay taking the action until backed by a court order, sent the clear message that he was a pushover, and he never recovered from that. Had Obama simply issued his order as commander in chief, and then immediately fired any general or admiral who balked or protested, his presidency would likely have taken an entirely different course.

DeBlasio, still early in his first term as mayor of New York, is facing the same kind of crisis. If he bows to the protests of police rank and file officers angered at his principled stand in the Garner case, he will find it hard for anyone to take his pronouncements and policy proposals seriously going forward.

Meanwhile, while the mayor decides whether to be a decisive leader or a weak-kneed ditherer, we can enjoy the spectacle of police in New York demonstrating for all to see, how over-rated their "services" have been in the nation's biggest city.


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