Saturday, February 28, 2015

Freedom Flashback: John Pilger - The War On Terror - Truth & Lies

John Pilger | Feb 28, 2015

John Pilger dissects the truth and lies behind the 'War on Terror', investigating the discrepancies between American and British justification for 'war' and the facts on the ground in Afghanistan and Washington DC.

The insolvability of the US-Russia stand-off: The psychopath's problem with Russian facts

© Metro (UK)
What passes for 'objective
information' in the Western media
SOTT | Feb 28, 2015 | Joe Quinn

In case you haven't noticed, a war has been raging all around you for the past 12 months. Not a 'hot' war, but a massive propaganda war of the kind that usually precedes such military action.

The US' full-spectrum disinformation offensive against Russia began in earnest back in 2006 with the death by polonium poisoning of anti-Putin campaigner Alexander Litvinenko. Despite the fact that, before Litvinenko, the only murderers with previous form for death-by-polonium were those responsible for the murder of Yasser Arafat, the Western media immediately and persistently pointed to Putin as the culprit in Litvinenko's murder.

Earlier this year a UK government inquiry into his death began and the same allegations, based on the "everyone knows Putin's a thug" school of a priori, evidence-bereft, legal argumentation were made. One small piece of information revealed by the inquiry that completely undermined the claim that Putin had anything to do with the death of Litvinenko was, however, studiously ignored by the Western media.

According to the British government's story, the arch 'anti-Putin crusader' was dispatched by two FSB agents who administered the radioactive poison to him by offering him the rest of the pot of tea (about half a cup) they had ordered in a London hotel. The problem with this claim is that Litvinenko himself spontaneously arranged the meeting with the two men just a few hours before he met them. So to believe that the two agents killed their former compatriot, we have to assume that they somehow suspected that Litvinenko was going to ask them for a meet-up and had been carrying around a stash of Polonium for just such an occasion. In addition, one of the agents introduced his 8 year old son to Litvinenko, even telling him to shake his hand, after Litvinenko had drunk some of the supposedly radioactive tea. Litvinenko's wife, Marina, told the inquiry that at the time of his death Litvinenko was working for MI6.

Putin's somewhat famous speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference is presented as the moment when Russia publicly and unilaterally 'broke' with the West. But Putin's comments in Munich were made on the back of several years of US and British government covert and overt attempts to destabilize the Russian government and force it to accept the reality that the anglo-American empire rules supreme. Rather than bow to this pressure, Putin chose to administer a dose of truth and reality to the warmongers:
"The history of humanity certainly has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn't happened in world history? What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.

It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious, not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.

And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

Incidentally, Russia - we - are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves. Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?"
Since that speech, Russia has been on a collision course with the USA and its subservient ideologues in the EU. While Russia made concrete efforts to redress the imbalance in the unipolar world by establishing multi-lateral economic, political and social links with non-empire-aligned countries (BRICS), the USA and EU continued their demonisation and destabilization campaign against the Russian government. Along with the concerted anti-Putin media campaign, tactics have included the funding and training of 'opposition' groups within Russia, an attempt to frame Russia for the shooting down of a civilian airliner, economic and political sanctions, speculative currency attacks, manipulating energy markets to Russia's (and most everyone else's) detriment, and of course organising the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government to impose a gaggle of pusillanimous quislings who could be relied on to launch a war against the ethnic Russians of Eastern Ukraine, all in an effort to bait Russia into a war with Ukraine, and potentially Europe.

All of these maneuvers (and others) have been for the purpose of instigating 'regime change' in Russia to prevent the emergence of a new, more equitable world order led, in large part, by Russia. The anglo-American empire rules supreme today because its agents have spent the last 100 years (more in the case of the UK) infiltrating, manipulating, subverting, and blackmailing other governments. They have also repeatedly waged war on the people of other nations and consistently plundered their resources. Built on this edifice, the anglo-American empire cannot continue to rule supreme without continuing to appropriate the wealth (human and natural) of other nations. It is not hard to see how Putin's moves towards the creation of a more equitable global economic order so perplexes the agents of empire, and drives them to take increasingly extreme measures to thwart Russian intentions.

When writing or speaking on the Ukraine crisis, most geopolitical pundits in the alternative media, (including leading lights like William Polk, who worked at the US State Dept. under JFK, and former Asst. Sec. of the Treasury under Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts) spell out the rather basic causes of - and propose solutions to - the current impasse: that US/NATO interfering in Ukraine is viewed, understandably, by Russia as a direct attack on its interests; that the US would never accept similar treatment by Russia (like Russia sponsoring a coup in Mexico and the installation of anti-US Mexican government); and that the US/NATO should accept this and back down or run the risk of embroiling the planet in nuclear war. The aforementioned William Polk recently wrote:
"We must recognize that the Ukraine is not part of our sphere of influence or dominance. It is neither in the Western Hemisphere nor in the North Atlantic. On the Black Sea, the concept of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an oxymoron. The Black Sea area is part of what the Russians call 'the near abroad'. [...]

The danger, of course, is that , for domestic political reasons - and particularly because of the urging of the neoconservatives and other hawks - we may not accept this geostrategic fact. Then, conflict, with all the horror that could mean, would become virtually inevitable."
Polk hints at what I have already explained above - that the preservation of US global hegemony requires that US 'hawks' ignore facts. The "domestic political reasons" refer to the need for the US to continue doing what it is doing. For one thing, current US energy consumption levels require that it seek oil abroad. And that's just one factor. Imperial war and plunder are the glue that holds the US economy together, an economy that is extremely unbalanced between rich and poor, and between debt and credit. Any sane analyst can see that the United States is in dire need of radical restructuring and sound governance.

But there is more to this problem than mere cognitive dissonance on the part of US policy-makers. Psychopaths make up an estimated 2-6% of the global population, although they are not spread equally across the world.

In a paper titled 'The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated Evolutionary Model', Linda Mealey of the Department of Psychology at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, addressed the increase in psychopathy in American culture by suggesting that in a competitive society - one in which capitalism dominates, for example - psychopathy is adaptive and likely to increase. She writes:
I have thus far argued that some individuals seem to have a genotype that disposes them to [psychopathy].

[Psychopaths] always appear in every culture, no matter what the socio-cultural conditions [...]

Competition increases the use of antisocial and Machiavellian strategies and can counteract pro-social behavior.

Some cultures encourage competitiveness more than others and these differences in social values vary both temporally and cross-culturally [...] Across both dimensions, high levels of competitiveness are associated with high crime rates and Machiavellianism.

High population density, an indirect form of competition, is also associated with reduced pro-social behavior and increased anti-social behavior.

The conclusion is that the 'American way of life' has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that it is an adaptive "life strategy" that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly genetic terms. What is more, as a consequence of a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who are not genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming "effective" psychopaths, or "secondary sociopaths."

It's not that capitalism is psychopathic per se; rather, when the ingredients that go into successful capitalism - entrepreneurship, innovation, hard work, long-term vision, and 'that pioneering spirit' - become corrupted and diverted towards satiating (though never succeeding) pure greed, you know that psychopathy has taken hold. The specific term used by Andrej Lobacewski in Political Ponerology to describe this process was 'ponerization'. Just as people and animals can be infected with parasites that take over their minds and cause them to behave in utterly self-destructive ways, so too are 'isms' (ideologies) and organizations (up to and including national governments) morphed over time and used to mask psychopathic activity. [Lobacewski, by the way, was a Polish psychologist and part of a clandestine network of researchers studying this phenomenon in Communist Eastern Europe in the early to mid-20th century.]

Given that centers of power, influence, corruption and greed would attract psychopathic individuals of a particular 'caliber', we can presume that psychopaths are probably overrepresented in the US government (high population centers, competitiveness and anti-social behavior = job in government). Most academic studies agree that most psychopaths lack foresight, specifically the ability to imagine the consequences to themselves of their actions. They see only that which they want to see, and what they want is based on their primitive unconscious drive for domination and destruction. To the psychopath, rules and facts are annoying things that they continually strive to circumvent or deny. They are all too willing to impose rules on others, but never for a moment consider that those rules might also apply to them.

For the 'common' or 'garden variety' psychopath, this often leads to repeated arrests and stints in jail, from which they fail to learn anything, other than ways to avoid getting caught again, which also usually fail. Circumstantial evidence suggests, however, that some psychopaths - they could be called 'ambitious' - are able to understand that their inclinations are not acceptable in normal society (although they cannot understand why), that the rules are a threat to them, and that elevating themselves above 'normal' society where different rules apply (or they get to make the rules) is the best way to facilitate the free expression of their domineering and destructive impulses, without suffering any negative consequences. A position of power and influence in a monolithic and monumentally corrupt organisation like the US government is, therefore, the perfect place for a psychopath to ply his trade. But once in that position, and (rightly) convinced of his immunity to consequences, the psychopath will revert to ignoring facts and rules and, certainly, show no regard for the negative consequences of his actions for others.

And so we come back to William Polk's problem that "for domestic political reasons - and particularly because of the urging of the neoconservatives and other hawks - we may not accept [the] geostrategic fact [that] Ukraine is not part of our sphere of influence or dominance". This is true, but from the point of view of the psychopaths in the US government (and beyond) who are directing US policy towards Russia, "domestic political reasons" have little to do with their non-acceptance of the facts. For these psychopaths, at the level of their primitive drives, the problem with the facts is the facts themselves: they conflict with what they want. And as I have noted, what they want is to dominate and, when necessary to achieve that domination, to destroy. Their positions of power and influence combined with their unique ability to totally disregard facts and instead 'create their own', is the core problem facing humanity today. It's solipsism with a profoundly narcissistic slant all the way around. It's greed and control, not for some even remotely noble end, (although all manner of noble narratives and justifications are used to bamboozle the normal people of this world into going along with the psychopathic agenda), but as an end in itself.

This is the truth of the situation with which we are confronted. Yet the idea that our 'authority' figures are inhuman predators bent on global domination and control for its own sake is almost impossible for the average person to accept because it is so fundamentally inhuman, alien even. This is the reason the comfortable (yet hopelessly naive) lie that "Putin is a thug" (for example), and that the US government is attempting to secure 'freedom and democracy' for all, is accepted by the masses.

If You Want To See What The U.S. Broadband Market Really Looks Like, Take A Close Look At West Virginia

© unknown
Tech Dirt | Feb 27, 2015 | Karl Bode

from the dysfunction-junction dept

While sexy Google Fiber deployments get the lion's share of media attention these days, it's the notably less sexy service in states like West Virginia that continue to perfectly exemplify just how broken U.S. broadband really is. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has quietly done an amazing job the last few years chronicling West Virginia's immense broadband dysfunction, from the State's use of broadband stimulus subsidies on unused, overpowered routers and overpaid, redundant consultants, to state leaders' attempts to bury reports highlighting how a cozy relationship with companies like Frontier, Verizon and Cisco has led to what can only be explained as systemic, statewide fraud on the taxpayer dime.

It's of course the one-two punch of regulatory capture and the resulting lack of competition that are to thank for West Virginia's problems, which certainly aren't unique across the country. In state after state, the largest, incumbent ISPs throw cash at the state legislative process, allowing them to literally write state telecom law aimed at protecting their uncompetitive geographical fiefdoms from real competition. Because the nation's suffering through a particularly nasty bout of partisan nitwit disease, when someone tries to do something about it, they're ironically assailed as anti-business, anti-American, or anti-states' rights.

I tend to focus on West Virginia as a shining example of this dysfunction because things have gotten so bad there, local players have stopped even the slightest pretense that the entire legislative process isn't under the thumb of the country's biggest and wealthiest telecom companies. Case in point is this latest report by Eyre citing complaints by West Virginia Delegate Randy Smith, who says things have reached the point where nobody, from any party, can get a bill through the West Virginia legislative process if it doesn't first get approval from Frontier Communications. From a recent post to his Facebook page:
"As you know, Frontier Communications is the only game in town for many rural communities in West Virginia when it comes to Internet service. After introducing the legislation, I spoke with someone in leadership and was told it'd go nowhere because it would hurt Frontier. In other words, Frontier has its hands in our state Capitol...No wonder they're called Frontier. Those are the kinds of speeds you'd expect on the American frontier in the 17th century."
What reckless, dangerous bills was Smith trying to pass? One would have restricted ISPs from advertising their service as "broadband" unless it offered speeds of 10 Mbps (the FCC's new definition is already 25 Mbps, or 10 Mbps for rural subsidized service). Another would have allowed consumers to take complaints about poor broadband service directly to State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey -- if the state Public Service Commission refused to hear their complaints. But because both would have marginally threatened Frontier's monopoly in the State, they weren't even seriously considered. Frontier's facing a lawsuit in the state for long repair delays and for advertising broadband speeds users can't actually get.

Again, West Virginia's certainly not unique; the ISP stranglehold over the state legislative process just tends to be more sophisticated and better obfuscated in larger States. Regardless of the state, attempts at reform are usually assailed by those professing to adore free markets, when more often than not what they really adore is being able to abuse government to help protect mono/duopoly revenues. That's why, although it was massively overshadowed by the net neutrality vote the same day, yesterday's FCC vote to begin gutting protectionist, ISP-written state laws is an incredibly important first step toward returning some degree of power back to local communities while taking the fight directly to the bloated and corrupt broadband industry status quo.

“Net Neutrality”: a Net Increase in Statism, or a Net Reduction?

© N/A

In an article I wrote several years ago (“Free Market Reforms and the Reduction of Statism,” The Freeman, Sept. 1, 2008), I stated some principles that are relevant to the current debate on “net neutrality”:

Some forms of state intervention are primary. They involve the privileges, subsidies, and other structural bases of economic exploitation through the political system. This has been the primary purpose of the state: the organized political means to wealth, exercised by and for a particular class of people. Some forms of intervention, however, are secondary. Their purpose is stabilizing, or ameliorative. They include welfare-state measures, Keynesian demand management, and the like, whose purpose is to limit the most destabilizing side-effects of privilege and to secure the long-term survival of the system.

Unfortunately, the typical “free market reform” issuing from corporate interests involves eliminating only the ameliorative or regulatory forms of intervention, while leaving intact the primary structure of privilege and exploitation.

The strategic priorities of principled libertarians should be just the opposite: first to dismantle the fundamental, structural forms of state intervention, whose primary effect is to enable exploitation, and only then to dismantle the secondary, ameliorative forms of intervention that serve to make life bearable for the average person living under a system of state-enabled exploitation….

When the state confers a special privilege on an occupation, a business firm, or an industry, and then sets regulatory limits on the use of that privilege, the regulation is not a new intrusion of statism into a free market. It is, rather, the state’s limitation and qualification of its own underlying statism. The secondary regulation is not a net increase, but a net reduction in statism.

On the other hand, repeal of the secondary regulation, without an accompanying repeal of the primary privilege, would be a net increase in statism. Since the beneficiaries of privilege are a de facto branch of the state, the elimination of regulatory constraints on their abuse of privilege has the same practical effect as repealing a constitutional restriction on the state’s exercise of its own powers.

We see this focus almost entirely on the secondary regulations, to the exclusion of primary interventions, in the mainstream libertarian debate on net neutrality. For example, in the latest anti-net neutrality article at Reason (Nick Gillespie and Robert Mariani, “Net Neutrality, Title II Proponents ‘Assume Nothing Has Changed’ Since 1995,” Feb. 23), the authors cite “telecom activist” Daniel Berninger in arguing against Obama’s proposal to extend Title II “common carrier” status to Internet service providers. To do so, Berninger warns, would “essentially destroy innovation.” Fortunately, he reassures us, everything is just fine as it is.

Berninger argues that virtually all the problems that proponents of Title II regulation and Net Neutrality worry over — such as the blocking of specific websites and the deliberate slowing of traffic — haven’t occurred precisely because ISPs are subject to market competition and must constantly innovate to keep customers happy.

Anyone who regularly follows Mike Masnick’s coverage of telecom issues at Techdirt might be pardoned for suspecting that all this competition and innovation, with attendant rising connection speeds and falling rates, is happening in an alternate universe. Here in the regular universe the rest of us live in, unlike Berninger’s Bizarro world, the so-called “competition” and “innovation” in the telecom industry more closely resembles Paul Goodman’s description of a classic oligopoly market, with three or four players “competing with fixed prices and slowly spooned-out improvements.”

Back in 2006 Berninger himself, far from talking about how rosy and competitive things were, was emphasizing the special privileges the telecoms had received. And back then he opposed net neutrality because it would prevent enforcing common carrier status on these privileged monopolies.

In the ongoing argument about network neutrality, it’s been pointed out that the telcos have abused the public benefits they’ve received, but Daniel Berninger, points out another public resource they’ve been given that they’d rather we all overlook: tremendous amounts of state-owned right-of-way across the country. The real meat of Berninger’s argument, though, is that in many cases, the state laws giving telcos this right-of-way access require them to act as common carriers — meaning that they can’t discriminate against content, and that net neutrality may already be enshrined in local laws….

In fact, telecoms collected around $200 billion in excess rates in return for a promised fiber-optic buildout they never delivered on. They were given these rate hikes back in the ’90s in return for their promise to build local fiber-optic infrastructure for high-speed Internet access — something like the ultra-high-speed, reasonably priced Internet service widely available in Western Europe. Then they just pocketed the money and never built the infrastructure. In fact fiber-optic construction is down about 60% now, and prices are exorbitant. The caps and other fine print mean the service I get from AT&T costs over $100 most months, with constant service slowdowns, fadeouts and flat-out disconnections. After repeated complaints and service calls to see what the problem was, I was finally told by a service rep they were basically just not going to come out any more because there was nothing obviously wrong and I was more trouble than I was worth. Comcast’s “customer retention associates” are notorious for bullying customers into staying, and employees do nifty things like changing customer names on billing addresses to insults and slurs. That’s not the kind of thing that happens in a competitive market where companies “must constantly innovate to keep customers happy.” It’s what happens when your only choices between the wireless monopoly on whatever terms it offers, and dialup service. From what I hear, most customer experiences with AT&T, Cox, Verizon and Comcast are similar.

And on top of all this, the telecoms put enormous lobbying efforts into passing state laws against competition. In Chattanooga, “the Gig” is a municipal wireless network using spare capacity of a local fiber-optic infrastructure originally created for the electrical utility. It offers a gigabyte per minute — about fifty times the national average — for a modest $70 a month (I tested my wireless connection speed just now at about 1.1 megabyte per minute — thanks, AT&T!).

Hundreds of municipalities across the country have similar infrastructures, created to serve local governments or school districts, that could offer service like Chattanooga’s and bring genuine competition into local wireless markets. But that’s illegal in about half the states, thanks to telecom lobbying. ISPs say it would be “unfair” to have to compete with low-cost, high-quality municipal service when they invested all that money in their own infrastructure on the assumption they could make it back in service rates. Only, as we saw above, they didn’t invest all that money in building infrastructure. They just robbed consumers of hundreds of billions for nothing.

And now, like classic monopolists, they want to engage in price discrimination based on how much the customer can afford to pay.

Against this background of monopoly privilege and extortion, are net neutrality rules an increase in government intrusion into the market? Or are they a partial restriction on a previous state grant of enormous, abusive power to the telecoms? You tell me.

As I see it, the telecom monopolies amount to nothing more than a branch of the state, and their extortionate rates are just state-enabled robbery. Given the special privileges they’ve been granted — free rights of way, hundreds of billions in excess charges for promises they didn’t deliver on, restrictions on real competition — net neutrality is just a very modest restriction on their state-granted power to abuse us.

That’s not to say I favor net neutrality as an ideal solution. Just that, so long as those primary grants of privilege are in place, a “libertarian” debate centered entirely on whether or not to restrict the abuse of such privilege is nothing but a sham.

Rather than net neutrality, I would far prefer a genuine free market reform based on removing all those privileges. I’d remove all legal restrictions on cheaper, higher quality wireless competition from municipal fiber-optic infrastructure — preferably with the local wireless service run as a consumer cooperative rather than by government. I’d also let ratepayers take back that $200 billion they were robbed of in the form of muni wireless cooperative equity in the telecom companies. Or maybe just seize the fiber optic infrastructure from Verizon, Comcast et al and march the boys in the C-suites to the guillotine — that’s always an option, too.

Forced Blood Draws, DNA Collection and Biometric Scans: What Country Is This?

© LA Activist
The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation
Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases—these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.

Worse, on a daily basis, Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are all guilty until proven innocent.

Thus far, the courts have done little to preserve our Fourth Amendment rights, let alone what shreds of bodily integrity remain to us.

For example, David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No drugs were found. During a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic, during which a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. Nothing illegal was found. Nevertheless, such searches have been sanctioned by the courts, especially if accompanied by a search warrant (which is easily procured), as justified in the government’s pursuit of drugs and weapons.

Close to 600 motorists leaving Penn State University one Friday night were stopped by police and, without their knowledge or consent, subjected to a breathalyzer test using flashlights that can detect the presence of alcohol on a person’s breath. These passive alcohol sensors are being hailed as a new weapon in the fight against DUIs. However, because they cannot be used as the basis for arrest, breathalyzer tests are still required. And for those who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, there are forced blood draws. One such person is Michael Chorosky, who was surrounded by police, strapped to a gurney and then had his blood forcibly drawn after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. “What country is this? What country is this?” cried Chorosky during the forced blood draw. Thirty states presently allow police to do forced blood draws on drivers as part of a nationwide “No Refusal” initiative funded by the federal government.

Not even court rulings declaring such practices to be unconstitutional in the absence of a warrant have slowed down the process. Now the police simply keep a magistrate on call to rubber stamp the procedure over the phone. That’s what is called an end-run around the law, and we’re seeing more and more of these take place under the rubric of “safety.”

The National Highway Safety Administration, the same government agency that funds the “No Refusal” DUI checkpoints and forcible blood draws, is also funding nationwide roadblocks aimed at getting drivers to “voluntarily” provide police with DNA derived from saliva and blood samples, reportedly to study inebriation patterns. When faced with a request for a DNA sample by police during a mandatory roadblock, most participants understandably fail to appreciate the “voluntary” nature of such a request. Unfortunately, in at least 28 states, there’s nothing voluntary about having one’s DNA collected by police in instances where you’ve been arrested, whether or not you’re actually convicted of a crime. The remaining states collect DNA on conviction. All of this DNA data is being fed to the federal government. Indeed, the United States has the largest DNA database in the world, CODIS, which is managed by the FBI and is growing at an alarming rate.

Airline passengers, already subjected to virtual strip searches, are now being scrutinized even more closely, with the Customs and Border Protection agency tasking airport officials with monitoring the bowel movements of passengers suspected of ingesting drugs. They even have a special hi-tech toilet designed to filter through a person’s fecal waste.

Iris scans, an essential part of the U.S. military’s boots-on-the-ground approach to keeping track of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, are becoming a de facto method of building the government’s already mammoth biometrics database. Funded by the Dept. of Justice, along with other federal agencies, the iris scan technology is being incorporated into police precincts, jails, immigration checkpoints, airports and even schools. School officials—from elementary to college—have begun using iris scans in place of traditional ID cards. As for parents wanting to pick their kids up from school, they have to first submit to an iris scan.

As for those endless pictures everyone so cheerfully uploads to Facebook (which has the largest facial recognition database in the world) or anywhere else on the internet, they’re all being accessed by the police, filtered with facial recognition software, uploaded into the government’s mammoth biometrics database and cross-checked against its criminal files. With good reason, civil libertarians fear these databases could “someday be used for monitoring political rallies, sporting events or even busy downtown areas.”

As these police practices and data collections become more widespread and routine, there will be no one who is spared from the indignity of DNA sampling, blood draws, and roadside strip and/or rectal or vaginal searches, whether or not they’ve done anything wrong. We’re little more than economic units, branded like cattle, marked for easy identification, and then assured that it’s all for our “benefit,” to weed us out from the “real” criminals, and help the police keep our communities “safe” and secure.

What a bunch of hokum. As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, these databases, forced extractions and searches are not for our benefit. They will not keep us safe. What they will do is keep us mapped, trapped, targeted and controlled.

Moreover, what if you don’t want to be forced to trust the government with your most intimate information? What if you don’t trust the government to look out for your best interests in the first place? How do you protect yourself against having your blood forcibly drawn, your DNA extracted, your biometrics scanned and the most intimate details of who you are—your biological footprint—uploaded into a government database?

What recourse do you have when that information, taken against your will, is shared, stolen, sold or compromised, as it inevitably will be in this age of hackers? We know that databases can be compromised. We’ve seen it happen to databases kept by health care companies, motor vehicle agencies, financial institutions, retailers and intelligence agencies such as the NSA. In fact, 2014 was dubbed the Year of the Hack in light of the fact that over a billion personal data records were breached, leaving those unlucky enough to have their data stolen vulnerable to identity theft, credit card fraud and all manner of criminal activities carried out in their names.

Banks now offer services —for a fee—to help you in the event that your credit card information is compromised and stolen. You can also pay for services to protect against identity theft in the likely event that your social security information is compromised and misused. But what happens when your DNA profile is compromised? And how do you defend yourself against charges of criminal wrongdoing in the face of erroneous technological evidence—DNA, biometrics, etc., are not infallible—that place you at the scene of a crime you didn’t commit?

“Identity theft could lead to the opening of new fraudulent credit accounts, creating false identities for criminal enterprises, or a host of other serious crimes,” said Jason Hart, vice president of cloud services, identity and data protection at the digital security company Gemalto. “As data breaches become more personal, we're starting to see that the universe of risk exposure for the average person is expanding.”

It’s not just yourself you have to worry about, either. It’s also anyone related to you—who can be connected by DNA. These genetic fingerprints, as they’re called, do more than just single out a person. They also show who you’re related to and how. As the Associated Press reports, “DNA samples that can help solve robberies and murders could also, in theory, be used to track down our relatives, scan us for susceptibility to disease, or monitor our movements.”

Capitalizing on this, police in California, Colorado, Virginia and Texas use DNA found at crime scenes to identify and target family members for possible clues to a suspect’s whereabouts. Who will protect your family from being singled out for “special treatment” simply because they’re related to you? As biomedical researcher Yaniv Erlich warns, “If it’s not regulated and the police can do whatever they want ... they can use your DNA to infer things about your health, your ancestry, whether your kids are your kids.”

These are just a few of the questions we should be asking before these technologies and programs become too entrenched and irreversible.

While the Fourth Amendment was created to prevent government officials from searching an individual’s person or property without a warrant and probable cause—evidence that some kind of criminal activity was afoot—the founders could scarcely have imagined a world in which we needed protection against widespread government breaches of our privacy on a cellular level. Yet that’s exactly what we are lacking.

Once again, technology has outdistanced both our understanding of it and our ability to adequately manage the consequences of unleashing it on an unsuspecting populace. As for all of those databases being sold to you for your safety and benefit, whether or not they’re actually effective in catching criminals, you can be assured that they will definitely be snatching up innocent citizens, as well.

In the end, what all of this amounts to is a carefully crafted campaign designed to give the government access to and control over what it really wants: you.

American Sniper vs. Baghdad Sniper

© East News/ Associated Press
Sputnik | Feb 26, 2015 | Pepe Escobar

Chris Kyle's story is now enshrined in celluloid, taking over $300 million at the box office, but the Islamic Army in Iraq also had its legend, "Juba" – the Baghdad Sniper.

A Texas jury found former Marine Eddie Ray Routh guilty of capital murder; in 2013 he shot to death former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the man behind American Sniper – the book later turned into a blockbuster movie directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also made his mark, post-verdict, by tweeting "JUSTICE!"

It didn’t matter that Routh’s attorneys — and his family – insisted he suffered from psychosis, caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Texas prosecutors easily brushed it off – "proving" Routh’s episodes of PTSD were provoked by alcohol and marijuana.

 American Sniper – the movie – could not but become a pop culture phenomenon in the US. Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, is Dirty Harry in combat gear – a specialist in dehumanizing the faceless "enemy" as he eviscerates them one by one. The "enemy" happened to be defending the homeland against an invading/occupying force.

Poetic justice does intervene, and the Ultimate Sniper also becomes dehumanized himself. He is diagnosed with PTSD.
In a cruel twist of fate, he ends up eviscerated back home, on a firing range, by someone he was trying to help; a serviceman with – you guessed it – PTSD.
 For every US soldier killed in 2014, no less than 25 veterans committed suicide. For the second year in a row, the Pentagon has lost more troops to suicide than to combat. Ah, but in Texas, this stuff is for sissies.

Kyle, according to his own version, made more than 300 kills as a sniper for SEAL Team 3. After he left the military, his atonement was to help with war veterans facing PTSD, usually taking them to – what else — shooting.

Clint Eastwood is way more nuanced than he is given credit for — as his deceptively shallow interviews over the years may imply. It just might be that, appealing for the basest instincts, he may have enshrined yet another American hero to better deliver an anti-war movie.

Which brings us to the American Sniper’s ultimate opposite number: Juba.

Aiming for that lone shot

"Juba" was the nickname given by the invading/occupying US forces to an Iraqi pop phenomenon; a sniper who became legendary for his kills in southern Baghdad. He was a ghost. Nobody knew his name, how did he look, even whether he was Iraqi or not.

Juba became a legend across the Arab world because he only targeted "coalition" soldiers – as in the invading/occupying troops, all heavily protected by armored vehicles, body armor and helmets. Translation; he only killed Americans who were led to believe – by the Pentagon and the corporate media machine — they were "liberating" Iraq from Saddam, who was allied with al-Qaeda and "attacked us on 9/11". I heard this straight from many a soldiery mouth – no irony intended.
Juba scored kills from up to 200 meters away – something that American Sniper would be hard pressed to accomplish.
Juba was infinitely patient, and devastatingly accurate. He would fire only one shot – and then change his position. He never fired a second shot. He aimed for the tiniest gap in the soldiers' body armor, and target their lower spine, ribs or above the chest. No US specialist sniper team was ever able to track him.

That explains, in a nutshell, why Juba became an urban legend in Baghdad, the Sunni triangle, and beyond. What is virtually certain is that he was a member of the Islamic Army in Iraq (jaysh al islāmi fī'l-'irāq). A hero of the resistance against the invaders, of course, but far from a Salafi-jihadi.

The Islamic Army in Iraq, by the mid-2000s, was the number one resistance group against the Americans, as promoted by former Iraqi vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi. They were all former Ba'athists – Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds working together. And so was Juba – who was thought to be Sunni. But that was never totally confirmed.

By the mid-2000s, the resistance could not but be popular – with the "liberation" entailing over 50% of Iraqis being undernourished; at least 1 out of 3 literally starving; and at least 50% of the whole population living in abject poverty.

By the end of 2005 the Islamic Army in Iraq released a 15-minute video of Juba’s Greatest Kills. By mid-2006 all sorts of figures were circulating about his real tally. That included feats such as Juba eviscerating a four-strong marine scout sniper team in Ramadi, in the "triangle of death", all of them with a single shot to the head.

US snipers were always deployed in teams of at least two, a shooter and a spotter. A spotter had to be extremely experienced, using very complex calculus to factor, for instance, wind variations and drag coefficients. Juba, instead, was a loner.

Rebel with a Dragunov

The Islamic Army of Iraq liked to boast that Juba – and other snipers – were trained essentially by the book 'The Ultimate Sniper: An Advanced Training Manual for Military and Police Snipers' (Paladin Press, 1993; expanded edition in 2006), written by retired US sniper John Plaster.

What a fabulous post-Cold War tale; tactics may have been borrowed from the (American) invader; but the weapon of choice was Russian.

Juba's usual "nest" – where he holed up before a kill — was invariably decorated by an assortment of bed mattresses, which muffled the sound of his Dragunov sniper rifle, also known as SVD; a semi-automatic designed by Evgeniy Dragunov in the former USSR in the late 1950s. The SVD has always been highly regarded as the world's first purpose-built military precision marksman’s rifle. So considering the close relations between the USSR and Saddam’s Iraq, no wonder the Ba'athist military was familiar with the Dragunov.
Juba's trademark "souvenir" also became as legendary as his Invisible Man persona; a lone bullet casing, and a few words jotted down in Arabic: What has been taken in blood cannot be regained except by blood. The Baghdad Sniper.
There was a time in late 2005, early 2006, when I was following the Iraqi resistance closely even when I was not on the ground, that I flirted with the idea of writing a screenplay about Juba. He was a sort of Camus-style hero for a great deal of Iraqis; an existential rebel, but with a Dragunov. In the end I discarded the idea, considering that only an Iraqi would be able to fully examine the psychology of the Baghdad sniper.

Today, the Baghdad sniper may survive only as the ghost of a faded urban legend. Baghdad itself changed its status from mostly Sunni to mostly Shi'ite – and its new fears center on the fake ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Caliphate. American Sniper, on the other hand, is touring the planet as a digital celebrity hero, even as US right-wingers loudly complained neither Clint Eastwood’s movie nor Bradley Cooper got any Oscars. It only goes to show — once again — that since Vietnam, the only place the Empire of Chaos wins its wars is in Hollywood.

The Entire Case for Sanctions Against Russia Is Pure Lies

© The People's Voice
Washington's Blog | Feb 27, 2015 | Eric Zuesse

U.S. President Barack Obama has stated many times his case against Russia — the reason for the economic sanctions. In his National Security Strategy 2015, he uses the term “aggression” 18 times, and 17 of them are referring specifically to only one country as “aggressive”: Russia. However, not once does he say there what the “aggression” consisted of: what its target was, or what it itself was. He’s vague there on everything except his own target: Russia.

For those things (what Russia’s “aggression” consists of), Obama’s only statement that has been even as lengthy as moderately brief — since he has never presented it at any more length — was his interview with Fareed Zacaria of CNN on 1 February 2015, which happened to be a statement given only three days short of the first anniversary of his agent’s, Victoria Nuland’s, having selected, on 4 February 2014, whom the next leader of Ukraine would be, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (she called him “Yats”) after the democratically elected and sitting Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, would become overthrown, which happened 18 days later, on 22 February 2014. (It was nothing like Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution”. This wasn’t democratic; it was a coup.)

Obama said there, in this CNN interview, that the reason for the sanctions against Russia was that, 

“since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine  not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine  since that time, this improvisation that he’s been doing has getting  has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the integrity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, has isolated Russia diplomatically, has made Europe wary of doing business with Russia, has allowed the imposition of sanctions that are crippling Russia’s economy at a time when their oil revenues are dropping. There’s no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia. The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit, to Russia. The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over.”

That’s all; he didn’t mention the subsequent shooting-down of the Malaysian airliner over the conflict-zone in Ukraine on 17 July 2014, which was the incident that he used, after the first set of sanctions, in order to get the European Union to increase the sanctions against Russia (and that incident will be discussed at the end of this article because he simply didn’t mention it in this, his lengthiest statement on the cause of the sanctions). His entire reason there — and no reason at all was given in his National Security Strategy 2015 for calling Russia “aggressive” — was “the annexation of Crimea.”

What, then, are the facts on that matter, of Crimea?

First, we must make note of the fact that this annexation occurred on 16 March 2014, when Crimeans went to the polls and voted in a referendum on whether to remain ruled by the Ukrainian national Government in Kiev, as they had been ruled only since 1954, or instead by the Russian national Government in Moscow, as they had been ruled from 1783 to 1954; and we must also keep in mind that this referendum had occurred as a direct result of Obama’s coup against the man, Viktor Yanukovych, for whom Crimeans had voted at around 75% throughout Crimea. In the United States, that type of election, one in which the leading candidate had received 75% of the vote, would be called a “landslide.” 

How would Americans feel if they had voted 75% for a President in 2010, for a six-year term, only to find him overthrown in an extremely violent coup four years later by a foreign power that they despised and feared as an aggressor, as Crimeans overwhelmingly, and by far more than 75%, felt about the United States? Specifically, if you’ll look there (at that link) at those polls by Gallup (and you can get to each one of them there by just two clicks, so it’s quick), what you’ll find is that even before Obama’s February 2014 coup which overthrew the Ukrainian President whom nearly 80% of Crimeans had voted for, the Crimean people overwhelmingly wanted to secede from Ukraine — and, especially now they did, right after the President for whom they had overwhelmingly voted, Viktor Yanukovych, had been overthrown in this extremely bloody coup. Furthermore, in April 2014, Gallup again polled Crimea, and they found that 71.3% of Crimeans viewed as “Mostly positive” the role of Russia there, and 4.0% viewed it as “Mostly negative”; by contrast, only 2.8% of Crimeans viewed the role of the United States there as “Mostly positive,” and a whopping 76.2% viewed it as “Mostly negative.” During the intervening year (i.e., both before and after Obama’s coup and the resulting secession-referendum), Crimeans’ favorability toward America had plunged down to 2.8%, from its year-earlier 6%. Clearly, what Obama had done in Ukraine (his violent coup in Kiev) had antagonized the Crimeans. And, as if that weren’t enough, the 2014 poll provided yet more evidence: “The 500 people that were sampled in Crimea were asked [and this is crucial] ‘Please tell me if you agree or disagree: The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status [whether to rejoin Russia] reflect the views of most people here.’ 82.8% said ‘Agree.’ 6.7% said ‘Disagree.’”

But there turned out to be even more evidence that the referendum-results in Crimea had been accurate: Even after just one click (not even two) from there, you’ll see the following information, also with a link to its source:

Because both of those two Gallup polls had been paid-for by the U.S. Government, Canada’s Government wanted its own read on the Crimean situation; and, so, they hired a different polling organization to do their own poll. However, the Canadian Government got no better news than the U.S. Government had gotten: 82% of Crimeans “Fully endorse” Crimea’s having become part of Russia; 11% “Mostly endorse” it; 2% “Mostly disapprove”; 3% “Don’t know”; and only 2% “Fully disapprove.” Or, to put it simply: 93% approve; 3% don’t know, and 4% disapprove. The results of the referendum had been 96% to rejoin Russia. 4% voted against. That’s like the 4% who disapproved of the return to Russia, in the Canadian-sponsored poll.
In a situation like that, what can one say of President Obama’s statement against Russia: “The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over.”

Which country had engaged in conquest here? Did Russia conquer Crimea, as Obama constantly alleges? Or did the United States conquer Ukraine? Is Putin the aggressor? Or is Obama?

Obama knows the answer to that question. He isn’t an ignorant man. He had hired Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to head the State Department, and they had hired Dick Cheney’s chief foreign-policy advisor Victoria Nuland to run the operation to take over Ukraine. (And they kicked off the coup a day earlier than the Maidan demonstrations even started, but the operation had been long planned regardless.) Obama knew that both Clinton and Kerry had voted for the invasion of Iraq and that both have also been lifelong supporters of the CIA’s Gladio operation that hired Hitler’s and Mussolini’s intelligence operatives in order exploit not only anti-communist sentiment but anti-Russian sentiment in Eastern Europe (and here’s the much lengthier BBC documentary on that), so as for the U.S. to take control of Eastern European countries and strip Russia of its western allies and take Russia over, as well, for an unchallenged American Empire, which Obama constantly refers to as “the one indispensable nation,” meaning that all other nations are “dispensable.” Obama has a consistent record as being supportive of the Gladio operation, and of the CIA’s other specifically anti-Russian operations, though his statement to Fareed Zakaria on CNN pretended that Obama had been friendly toward Russia when Dmitry Medvedev was Russia’s President, throughout Obama’s first term. (He can pretend that, because it helps deceive people to think that Putin must be overthrown, that Putin is ‘the problem.’)

All during Obama’s first term, he was continuing the preparations at the CIA, State Department, etc., to conquer Russia by surrounding it with recently recruited hostile NATO member states, thus far: Croatia and Albania in 2009 under Obama; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in 2004 under Bush; Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland in 1999 under Clinton — that’s a total of 12 formerly Russia-friendly nations which have switched to become members of the anti-Russia military club: NATO.

Obama is having trouble bringing Ukraine into that club, because Putin has set a red line at Ukraine, both because of its size and because of its having, ever since 1783, Russia’s key naval base, in Crimea. President Obama knew that he would be crossing this red line by seizing Ukraine as he did in February 2014, but he did it anyway; and Putin responded by using Russia’s existing military in Crimea to protect Crimeans so that they could have a peaceful and honest referendum, which Putin knew, just as well as Obama did, would overwhelmingly favor rejoining Russia.

Yet now, Obama has the nerve to say that it’s Putin instead of Obama who has been the aggressor here and who should be subject to “regime change.” (Of course, if Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush becomes the U.S. President, then there will be continuity of the existing U.S. imperial regime, which actually started in earnest in 1980, long before Putin came to power.)

Regarding the shoot-down of the MH17 Malaysian airliner (the pretext for Obama’s getting the EU to support increased anti-Russian sanctions): the U.S.-Ukrainian account of the downing is that pro-Russian rebels shot it down by mistake, with a missile. For this, Obama blamed Russia, and his agents who run European governments and the EU went along with that and hiked their economic sanctions against Russia; but, nobody in power believed it, because the postulated scenario is absurd to anyone who knows anything. However, even if that scenario had been true, yet still, Obama definitely caused the Malaysian airliner to be downed. Furthermore, the reason why the official ‘investigation’ into the downing is not being made public is that Obama’s own Ukrainian Government was given veto-power over everything that will be in it, and they won’t allow the additional evidence, above and beyond the already dispositive evidence that has been revealed but not publicized, to be included in it; so, the report is not issued. The Ukrainian Government weren’t able to prevent the decisive proof that their own Air Force plane had intentionally shot it down from leaking out; but the Western press have cooperated with Obama to suppress that information. More information keeps leaking out supporting that earlier proof; but, actually, additional proof isn’t even needed. Publication of the existing damning evidence is. However, no one will be able to suppress the ‘findings’ by the official ‘investigation.’ So: it doesn’t yet exist, and maybe it never will.

In other words: President Obama planned and executed an operation to take over Ukraine for the United States; and for then using that country as a springboard to ‘justify’ sanctions against Russia, including sanctions that have been added, on the basis of Obama’s operation shooting down the Malaysian airliner in order to be able to stir up yet more hatred against Russia. And here is how the ‘news’ media in the West have reported on all that.

If it seems like George Orwell’s 1984, that’s because it is.


Friday, February 27, 2015

“You Can Say ‘Lawyer’ All You Want Motherf****r” Detainees from Chicago’s Police “Black Site” Speak Out

© The Free Thought Project

Chicago, IL — It was discovered this week that the Chicago Police Department has been operating a secret “black site” facility on the city’s west side.

Inside a warehouse, Homan Square has long been the home to secretive police work. Attorneys as well as protesters, tell a tale of being systematically being denied their constitutional rights while being held.

In an eye-opening report, the Guardian blew the top right off of Pandora’s box, leaving the CPD and their media spin factory backpedaling.

Up until now, if you mentioned that the Chicago police took you to some unmarked warehouse and held you captive with no due process, people would think you were nuts. For this reason, all those who’ve been held in this repugnant secret prison, have been voiceless — until now.

The very night we reported on the Guardian’s discovery, we were contacted by one of CPD’s victims. He was held in this torturous black site not only without due process, but without food and water as well.

Another victim of Chicago’s terrorist apparatus took to Reddit to voice his experience of being inside. In his post, the man who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, spoke out about his experience inside. He was brought to Homan Square after six heavily armed police officers kicked in his door and kidnapped him for being in possession of a plant that is legal in other parts of the country.

He talks about only asking for his lawyer and not talking about anything else. He explains how this led to the staff of Homan Square replying, “you can say lawyer all you want motherf****r, you won’t see one until tomorrow.”

The anonymous poster goes on to say, “I want to state that I was not tortured, but I did hear another man in the room next to me screaming in pain asking to go to the bathroom and for water.”

The Reddit user’s description of the facility is exactly like the one given to us by a man who we’ll identify as Roger.

Roger contacted us Tuesday night after our report on Homan Square went out. His story is similar to the Reddit poster’s story, but it is far more ominous.

Roger tells us that he was in his father’s house when a swat team burst in to serve a search warrant. During the raid, one of the officers threw a flashbang grenade right by Roger’s son.

According to Roger, police claimed that a “John Doe” had tipped them off that there were drugs and guns in the house.

After searching the residence and finding no drugs nor guns, they took Roger’s father’s $6,000 tax refund which he had a receipt for.

They also took Roger.

Roger explained to the Free Thought Project how he felt on the way to Homan Square. “So they start driving down Roosevelt, they turn on to Kedzie and right onto South Homan. Then, I’m fearing, like what is this? ‘Take me to Area 4. I don’t belong here,'” Roger told the police.

Area 4 is the actual police station, but police didn’t want Roger at an actual police station. They wanted to shake him down first — off the record.

Roger told us about the “FBI and SWAT tanks on the 1st floor” that he saw as they brought him up to the now infamous second floor.

“All the way to the right is where they take people in because they got cages on the second floor. The first floor is where the SWAT and FBI tanks are,” Roger recalls.

“I was held for 24 hours,” Roger said, “My people couldn’t find me because I wasn’t in jail.”

“They kept bringing in pics of old friends of mine asking questions. But I kept to myself. I got no food and no water, and it was hot as hell. I couldn’t sleep and was hungry as hell,” Roger tells the Free Thought Project.

The next day Roger was finally taken to Area Four where he was booked on a possession charge and released. He told us that during the escapade, police put drugs in his pants pocket.

Since the story of Homan Square broke, many local news stations have been downplaying the reality of this site’s existence. But their spin doesn’t change anything.

Homan Square lets the Chicago police detain people, interrogate them, deprive them of food and water, torture them, or worse; all before a single record is created. If the individual gets injured or dies while in police custody, it’s entirely unaccounted for.

The very existence of such a place is indeed a threat to every free person in this country.

The Stage Is Set For The Syrian Invasion

Example of Lying Bastards
© Fellowship of the Minds
Zero Hedge | Feb 27, 2015 | Tyler Durden

One week ago, when reporting on the latest bizarre plan presented by the Pentagon, namely providing Syrian rebels (but only the moderate ones, not the jihadists like al Nusra, or, well, ISIS) with B-1B Bomber air support in their attacks on ISIS, when we wrote that this "means in the coming weeks and months look forward to a surge in false flag "attacks" blamed on the Assad regime, aiming to give Obama validation to expand the "War against ISIS" to include Syria's regime as well."

We didn't have long to wait: in an entirely unsourced Time article written today by Aryn Baker, the Middle East Bureau Chief, the stage for the second attempt at invading Assad regime is finally set.

The article, titled "Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS" is essentially an essay that, as the title suggests "proves" that the Syrian leader is, in fact, quite close with ISIS and derives strategis benefits from his relationship, which is why he won't attack them, and thus by implication is just as bad as ISIS and worthy of America's wrath.

How does Baker build up her propaganda? First, she cits a "Sunni businessman who is close to the regime but wants to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions from both ISIS supporters and the regime" and who "trades goods all over the country so his drivers have regular interactions with ISIS supporters and members in Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in Syria, and in ISIS-controlled areas like Dier-ezzor." According to this Syrian version of Amazon:
The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has long had a pragmatic approach to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Even from the early days the regime purchased fuel from ISIS-controlled oil facilities, and it has maintained that relationship throughout the conflict. “Honestly speaking, the regime has always had dealings with ISIS, out of necessity.”
"Honestly speaking" of course being used quite loosely, considering that it is by now no secret that ISIS, in the words of General Wesley Clark, "got started through funding from our friends and allies", most notably Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and according to some even the CIA is involved so, no: honestly speaking, if anything, the Assad regime has been doing its best to stay away from ISIS, which at least on paper, was created as a result of extremist Al Nusra factions, who were fighting Assad in 2013, and were funded and weaponized by the US.

Of course, none of that is mentioned. What is, however, duly emphasized is the goalseeked conclusion that Assad and the Islamic State are like two peas in a pod:
Assad does not see ISIS as his primary problem, the businessman says. “The regime fears the Free Syrian Army and the Nusra Front, not ISIS. They [the FSA and Nusra] state their goal is to remove the President. But ISIS doesn’t say that. They have never directly threatened Damascus.” As the businessman notes, the strikes on ISIS targets are minimal. “If the regime were serious about getting rid of ISIS, they would have bombed Raqqa by now. Instead they bomb other cities, where the FSA is strong.” That said, the businessman does not believe that the regime has a formal relationship with ISIS, just a pragmatic one. “The more powerful ISIS grows, the more they are useful for the regime. They make America nervous, and the Americans in turn see the regime as a kind of bulwark against ISIS.”
Actually, the "Americans" see ISIS as the perfect false flag placeholder to build up yet another case about invading Damascus, after the humiliation of the bumbled attempt to use a doctored YouTube clip showing paid actors following what the CIA guaranteed was an Assad "chemical weapon" attack as a pretext to launch an invasion on Syria in the first attempt to topple Assad. It took an escalation that involved numerous Russian ships side by side with US cruisers in the Mediterranean before John Kerry realized that building Qatar's nat gas pipeline to Europe is not worth rising World War III over, and promptly backed off.

This time, ISIS is the bait.

Back to the Time article, where next we get the next "source" of information:
A senior Western diplomat who specializes in the Syrian civil war agrees that ISIS is seen as an asset by Assad. “They will do whatever it takes to devalue the opposition, even if it means strengthening ISIS. They know that if it comes to choosing between the black flag [of ISIS] and Damascus, the international community will choose Damascus.” And the strategy has worked extremely well. “The way it’s going now, it’s a matter of months, not even a year, that the moderate opposition is so weakened that it won’t be a factor anymore. So in just a few months from now the regime will be able to achieve its strategic goal of forcing the world to choose between Damascus and the black flags.”
Actually, according to that logic, the "international community" will choose both Damascus and the "black flags", in fact the community will be delighted to have the "flags" as a cover in an invasion, both air, sea and ground, toppling Assad and replacing him with yet another US-puppet regime (whose fate, following such sterling examples as Egypt, Libya and Iraq will be just spectacular), one which will be glad to accept Qatar and Syria hush money, while thousands of kilometers of pipes are laid under the territory in attempt to dethrone Gazprom as the provider of first and last resort to Europe... which as a reminder is what it is all about.

The anonymous "western diplomat" continues:
... by ignoring the conflict between the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime to focus purely on ISIS may solve problems in the short term, says the diplomat, “but there will be more problems to come. These are the ingredients for a further escalation of the conflict — alienating large parts of the Sunni population, so that they have no choice but to join ISIS. Not for ideological reasons, but because they will do whatever it takes to overthrow the regime in Damascus.” Not only that, it will widen the geographical boundaries of the conflict by making this a fight of all Sunnis. “It’s a clear recipe for further escalation well beyond the geographical boundaries of the current conflict.”
Which is why in order to prevent further escalation in the future, the US will be delighted to provide much more escalation right now.

And here is the piece de resistance of the article that may as well have been written by a 6th grader who is about to flunk propaganda class:
Damascus believes that once it has neutralized most of the opposition, it can then defeat ISIS with ease. “ISIS alone, the regime can deal with them. What Assad wants is international recognition of his legitimacy as Syria’s President,” says the businessman. “When the war is over, he can easily handle ISIS with the help of Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”
So let's get this straight:
  1. A "terrorist" group which was created and funded by US allies in the middle east (there are many) is fighting a war on behalf of a regime that the US and its allies in the middle east are desperately trying to topple; a "terrorist" group which until recently did not exist and which, inexplicably according to the author, Assad refuses to fight because.... unlike the US he has not seen the dreadful beheading movies which lead to so much daily water cooler talk across the US?
  2. Ths US now believes that "ISIS is seen as an asset by Assad" and that the moderate (this distinction is key: their flag has a pink skull and crossbones as opposed to the red one used by the "non-moderate") opposition which spawned ISIS in the power vacuum following the incomplete first US invasion of Syria in the symmer of 2013, is about to be destroyed by the same ISIS.
  3. Assad is confident he can "defeat ISIS with ease" once he has destroyed his so-called moderate enemies; the same ISIS which the US has been "fighting" now for half a year, and achieved absolutely nothing.
  4. We know all those due to an essay of amateur propaganda caliber, which derives its entire narrative and conclusions based on two anonymous sources.
At this point we probably speak for everyone when we say: just invade Syria already, and let's proceed to the inevitable, and quite understandable, Russian retaliation, because frankly this endless propaganda and false-flaggery is now as obvious and pathetic as the Greek default which is also about 5 years overdue.

* * *

P.S. from Aryn Baker's LinkedIn profile:
  • Producing breaking news, features, analysis and investigative stories from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan for the world’s most influential English language weekly newsmagazine.
  • Frequent reporting travel to countries affected by the changes of the Arab Spring, from Syria to Saudi, Yemen, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya, as well as continued reporting in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which I have been covering since 2003.
  • Managing a widespread network of stringers, fixers and translators to enable thorough coverage of a rapidly changing region for both the magazine and the associated website.
  • Maintaining contacts with diplomats, politicians, think tanks, influential actors, activists and intelligence sources in all regions in order to provide context and analysis for on-the-ground reporting.
  • Working with world-renowned photojournalists on story development and logistics.
Among her previous articles one can find "The YouTube War"