My apologies to Benjamin Disraeli for abusing his wonderful quote about statistics in my blog title.
In essence, any information, however factual, can be used to manipulate opinion; and is most frequently used in that manner. The recent barrage of U.S. media reports on ‘fake news’, of Facebook getting mainstream media to, laughably, monitor what is fake and is not fake in Facebook posts, the accusations of Russian (sorry Putin) manipulation of the US media for his own nefarious ends…. the list of ‘factual’ reports goes on and on.
What we do know as fact is that the media has frequently and knowingly, lied to their respective publics about news; particularly news about ‘foreign’ wars.
For instance, we know the media lied on behalf of the U.S. State Department about the reasons for war with North Korea in the 50s, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which was supposedly the rationale for war with “North’ Vietnam, the war in Kosovo against Serbia, the war in Iraq, the war in Libya, the war in Syria….and so on..
And U.S. media is not alone in blindly reporting press releases from government agencies- the U.K. media is amazingly compliant for one which espouses a ‘free press’, in reporting as ‘fact’ what is churned out from government reporting channels.
So , one might think that the world public would by now recognize that media tells lies and half-truths, or ‘selective truths’ – incessantly- for political ends. But for some reason; time after time; the public believes the next new set of ‘facts’.
And I am not for a minute suggesting that the Russian media is in any way free of the propaganda and lies that Western media indulge in daily; the difference for western publics, is that they are a new set of lies- or ‘half-truths’, or simply a different perspective. Hence they are extremely valuable in helping Westerners determine what the possible ‘real’ reality might be.
We have seen increasingly hysterical and far-fetched outbursts from Western politicians and their mainstream media (MSM) allies about ‘fake news ‘ because MSM is failing to deliver the goods to them. The public is slowly but increasingly becoming aware of other perspectives on international events; the open internet plays a very significant role in this. ‘Brexit’ was a prime example where enormous resources were poured into convincing the UK public that exiting the EU would be the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them-and yes the majority of voters voted for Brexit! In the U.S., the presidential election saw an astonishingly powerful alignment of MSM , politicians, celebrities etc lined up against Trump- and yes- using the archaic electoral college system, he won! The constantly repeated refrain about evil Assad and Putin in Syria and Aleppo has become to fray at the edges as many westerners see the Aleppan public dancing in the streets as the rebels are ‘evacuated’ to other places, and the true savagery of the ‘moderate rebels’ unveiled.
There is panic in Western political circles. What if the public really could make up its own mind, using multiple and divergent sources of information?
Russia therefore becomes a convenient bogey-man- haven’t we always feared the barbaric, savage and primitive Russian Bear? The consequence of using ‘external’ bogey-men is that politicians and media therefore imply that if you dont agree with their version of events, you must have been subtly manipulated by Communist (whoops!) I mean Russian, propaganda. The dangerous next implication, is that we have a fifth column in our midst; people who are not ‘true patriots’ because they dont believe the ‘correct’ party line..
This fear-mongering by MSM and politicians is therefore , a deliberate and direct attack on our democratic freedoms and rights.
The other hugely significant implication of the U.S Intelligence fear-mongering, is that if a a foreign media outlet indicates any support for one side or other of a political debate or election it is somehow undermining that country’s democracy. The implication being that all foreign media should have slavishly endorsed the Hilary campaign ( 99% of which did so as ordered)
The recent accusations by President Obama , the Democrat Party and others that Russia (and specifically Vladimir Putin) hacked Democrat emails to discredit Hillary Clinton in the presidential election are outlined in the State Department media release . The very reputable US based WordPress IT website ‘Wordfence’ concludes that the State Dept information provided is implausible in its intent to show that the hacking (if it occurred) , was Russian, and that the sources quoted in the State Dept memo are in fact outdated Ukrainian malware)
The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.
The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.
Rinf.com argues that Cloudstrike– the company contracted by the Democrat Party to investigate the ‘hacks” , and also the sole source of the State Dept info on the ‘hacks’, is strongly connected to the Ukrainian regime in Kiev , which is strongly ant-Russian for obvious reasons. We appear to be seeing, as we have time and time again, the U.S. ‘intelligence’ community being easily or (willingly ) conned by hostile vested interests determined to create hostilities where none are needed: think the Kuwaiti scam on Saddam’s Iraqi soldiers bayoneting incubator babies, the Libyan scam on Ghadaffi’s forces using viagra to rape civilians… the list goes on and on. Combine the lack of inteligence and analytical skills of the U.S. intelligence community with a deeply ingrained psyche that considers violence and war as the solution to everything, we have a problem….The current massing of hundreds of American tanks and other weaponry in the Baltic states is signalling that the U.S. war machine intends to strike soon .
The latest surreal reports of Trump being manipulated and blackmailed by Putin get even more scary. This is now evidence that the current US administration under Obama is trying to subvert the results of the US Presidential election so that they can continue in the buildup to war with Russia ..There is now overwhelming feedback from a multitude of specialist sources that these accusations by a ‘former’ MI6 agent are simply porkies.
Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections ( Office of the Director of U.S. National Intelligence)
Obama’s legacy; and this may well be his prime legacy- and one he may remember in his older years as he stands before the International War Crimes Tribunal, (once its decisions are no longer controlled by the U.S. State Department), was his omnipotent capacity to decide who shall live and who shall die by drone anywhere in the world, based on limited pieces of information provided on baseball cards. (a kind of Roman Emperor type role: – thumbs- up or down at the Coliseum)
Taken together, the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an over-reliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects. They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the U.S. has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents, in the process exacerbating the very threat the U.S. is seeking to confront. The Intercept
One might almost be forgiven therefore for coming to the conclusion that the intent of the U.S. targeted killing process is not to eliminate the sources of terror, but to exacerbate them.
As we have seen in many a colonial war, those who ‘hand in’ terrorists to the colonial power inevitably have their own agendas; feuding families and clans, or perhaps financial or property interests, but rarely because they are in fact ‘terrorists”. In addition we can be certain that US military and State Dept claims of minimal ‘collateral damage’ (accidental killing of civilians who get in the way of a drone missile’s large detonation area) are complete fabrications. And we can be certain too that drone operators have less than minimal knowledge of foreign cultural issues- e.g. the difference between a wedding party celebrating by firing automatic weapons into the air and a terrorist group in weapons training , let alone their drone “eyes” having sufficient definition to pick up who is who on the ground.
So, when dear President Obama gives the thumbs down on that particular baseball card, he really has no idea what he is agreeing to; other than that his decision will kill someone or more likely , quite a few people, out there . But of course, if that Hellfire missile with its 9kg warhead just happens to kill a few other ‘military-age males’ in the vicinity of the explosion, all to the good. By using remote killing mechanisms the US president can appear to take a Herod-like hands-off approach to the art of murder, with the added benefit of limited capacity of verifying what carnage has actually occurred on the ground.
In addition the United States’ penchant for targeting supposed ‘leaders’ of terrorist groups, rather than their supply lines, infrastructure or financial backers, means that drones can be used over and over to kill the next leader who takes the deceased’s place in the leadership line; or as in many cases , the United States simply ‘kills’ the same person over and over again; such is the usefulness of remote unverified killing.
United States government lawyers have in the past contorted themselves in all sorts of unusual positions to justify remote murder by executive order, much as their contracted psychiatrists managed to create a lofty argument that putting prisoners through ‘stress positions’ was not in fact totally illegal, inhumane torture and contravened international human rights on a grand scale.
President Obama has even been known to joke publicly about his life and death decision-making powers, not too dissimilar from his psychopathic Secretary of State , Hilary Clinton.
I hope I will be around to see them stand before the International tribunal.
The blog heading is one of Mark Twain’s quotes. But here is a much better one from Mr Clemens.
Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man”- with his mouth.
– “The Lowest Animal”- Mark Twain
Today, in my little part of the world; it is once again Anzac Day, originally commemorated to mark the bloody failure of the British Empire’s coordinated attack on Turkish positions in the Dardanelles at Gallipoli in World War One, but now, ( supposedly) it ‘acknowledges the sacrifice of all those who have died in warfare, and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.” Strangely however this commemoration of all who have died in wars is marked by artillery salutes, marching uniformed men and much fanfare about this country’s patriotism. We are encouraged to believe that Anzac Day now promotes a sense of unity, perhaps more effectively than any other day on the national calendar. People whose politics, beliefs and aspirations are widely different can nevertheless share a genuine sorrow at the loss of so many lives in war, and a real respect for those who have endured warfare on behalf of the country we live in. (New Zealand Government).
I for one, am appalled that the majority consensus in New Zealand appears to be that ‘plucky little New Zealand’ became a real country with its own identity, and not just a member of the British Empire, by maiming and killing its way through a series of foreign “adventures”. The one possible exception to this catastrophic jingoistic litany of murder and mayhem, is New Zealand’s very real contribution to the war against Nazi Germany and Japan during the Second World War, when a New Zealand invasion by the Japanese Imperial Army was a high probability at one point.
Every other war we have fought, we have fought at the behest of others- from the genocide inflicted on the Boers during the Boer Wars as part of the British Imperial Army’s need to maintain control of South African assets, the First World War’s bizarre clash of European monarchies , the staggering level of genocide inflicted on Koreans by the “Allies’ (including New Zealand naval bombardment of civilian areas) during the Korean War, our implicit involvement in American genocide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, our explicit connection to rendering of Afghan suspects to U.S. torture centres in Afghanistan, and our ongoing complicity in the Five Eyes intelligence project, which currently serves American and U.K. interests in promoting terrorism around the world and destroying human rights.
All in all, it is not a record I for one am proud of. Our ongoing subservience to the paranoid and psychopathic American war machine and its business interests, serves no-one’s interests on this planet, other than a few crazed right wing American idealogues and the military/industrial complex.
I was proud of my country when our prime minister of the time, Norman Kirk, sent frigates to Muroroa Atoll in the south Pacific, to protest the French destroying that island with nuclear bombs and contaminating the environment for thousands of miles. I was proud when our prime minister of the day, David Lange, announced we would henceforth be a nuclear-free nation, and even a little proud when prime minister Helen Clark refused to send significant ground troops to Iraq to support the American invasion there. But we have sunk to new lows since those times, in obsequiously following our U.S. masters into Iraq once more, to fight a stupendously foolish war in Afghanistan, and to mouth support for America’s duplicitous ‘war on terror’ while unconditionally supporting the key centres of terror in the world; Saudi Arabia and Turkey, along with support for the 60 year old brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine .
Despite successive New Zealand governments’ posturings that we are now a sovereign nation because of Anzac Day, when are we truly going to be a proud and independent nation who stands in truth for peace and international justice?
The Brussels nail bombing attacks occurred on the morning of March 22nd 2016; two in the departure area of Brussels international airport near the town of Zaventem seven miles from Brussels and one in the Maelbeek metro station in the centre of the city. 28 victims and three suicide bombers were killed, and 330 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
We now know that Turkey ‘deported’ the presumed key instigator of the Brussel’s attack to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, rather than to Belgium. Which meant, that rather than being detained as a terrorist in Belgium upon leaving the plane, he was instead permitted to drive back to Belgium from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport because he was not on any Netherlands wanted list. Poor bad luck? or was it-as has been suggested, a cosy arrangement between Turkey and the Israeli owned security firm ICTS International (owned by ‘former’ Shin Bet intelligence agency personnel) managing the security at the airport. You will perhaps recall that ICTS International is the same security agency that escorted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Christmas Day 2009 , without a passport or ticket, to a First Class seat on Northwest flight 253 at Schiphol Airport, and who then attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden inside his trousers.
But the key issue that Western media consistently ignore, is their and their political masters’ support for anti-Assad rebel groups; who are in fact, terrorists. Their ‘moderate’ terrorists have been trained by Western intelligence and sited in Jordan and Turkey to inflict terror on Syrian populations. Hillary Clinton’s psychopathic need to kill and destroy is reflected in her weird emails using agents like Google and the Qatari terrorist supporting Al Jazeera media outlet. Now that , with a little help from Russian bombers, Assad ‘s military is inflicting serious losses on these terrorists groups in Syria- many are rushing ‘home’ to safety. But with all that training and nowhere to go-whats a good terrorist to do but blow up something close to home?
This all suits the US vacuous political and military establishment very well. Heightening fear and loathing about these ‘Islamic’ groups in European communities, and encouraging right wing imbecilic xenophobia, is incredibly useful to ensure that the Eurozone limits its citizens freedoms, expands its military and supports NATO weirdness.
To ensure we all believe that America is in fact attempting to destroy terrorists ( ie the long long looong war!) the US military prioritises killing heads of terrorist organizations- the key advantage of such vaunted actions is that they can never be corroborated – (unless of course ISIS agrees that their man has been killed)!, as opposed to destroying terrorist supply lines, banking activities, training camps, weapons supply routes etc, which can all be independently verified. The evidence is mounting that these fundamentalist Islamic terrorists are in fact nothing but mercenaries who can conveniently use the fear of Islamism to increase their impact on gullible Western populations.
As Pepe Escobar notes, NATO headquarters is less than 2 kilometers from the site of the Brussels terror; why choose a metro station to create an impact , rather than the central supposedly core of Western values sited at NATO headquarters? Soft targets are of course easy targets, but they clearly have less impact on Western political actions than hard targets….
If we are to believe the quoted media response from ISIS, that; ‘let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake part in the crusader campaign … [with] their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets.’, then this soft target response to the ‘11,111 air strikes launched by Western and Gulf states against targets in Syria and Iraq’, then this supposed ISIS response is certainly a circuitous route to conquering the crusaders.
Sibel Edmonds, ex-FBI operative, argues however that the proximity of the attacks to NATO headquarters is no coincidence, and simply forms part of a long sequence of CIA/NATO sponsored Gladio attacks in Europe- or in Belgium, the ‘stay-behind’ Gladio units were known as S.D.R.A. VIII , with strong connections to far-right organisations.
Despite his genetically ingrained Russophobic tendencies, Craig Murray makes the very good point that terrorists can in fact attack any soft target at will. Current anti-terrorist measures , such as at airports are a complete farce, largely useless, and result in long, vulnerable to attack, queues.
We live in a bizarre world of lies, disinformation, half-truths and extraordinary events where individuals with limited intelligence have accumulated great power, and are quite prepared to kill any number of innocents for their own foolish ends.
The attacks by Islamist extremists in Paris on 13th and 14th November are one of a long series of terrorist attacks in France. The characteristics of those supposedly involved are interesting: young males in their late 20s, association with drug-dealings, one whose recent employment was destroyed by a Police decision to shut down his part-owned café because of suspected drug-peddling, poverty and refugees- yet not a strong connection to an Islamic tradition of the extremist Wahhabist sect that espouses asceticism and the hatred of other non Sunni sects.
As with many other civilian targeted terrorists attacks around the world , they occurred the same day as a major Paris medical response drill to a terrorist attack; coincidence? -probably…
We need to acknowledge that Western intelligence services, particularly those governments heavily involved in destabilising Syria -eg France, have turned a blind eye to young men going to Syria to fight in the extremist Takfiri groups against the Assad government regime there. Small wonder then that France’s intelligence agencies were fully aware of the main perpetrators of the Paris attacks , and did nothing.
Despite some attempts, particularly by American mainstream media, to portray those joining ISIS and the other Al Qaeda offshoots in Syria as dedicated to Islamic values and a return to a ‘golden age’ of a caliphate; the reality appears very different. These are predominantly angry young men, dispossessed, poor with few prospects to make money or a career in the West, lured by promises of glory, violence and a new world where they are the rulers of destiny. Western Intelligence and Gulf State governments’ cynical manipulation of these dispossessed, has resulted in the catastrophe that is the Middle East. Over the past few years, the United States’ half-hearted attempts to destroy ISIS with limited bombing runs and a focus on destroying extremist leaders’ rather than extremist infrastructure, has led ISIS and the other Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq, to believe they are impervious to Western threats of force.
The recent extremely intensive aerial bombardment by Russian air-force and missiles of terrorist infrastructure in Syria, has changed the strategic balance. No more is it likely, as the Americans would have it, are we in for a ‘long war’ against ISIS. The militant groups are fast approaching the point where keeping large concentrations of militants on the ground and thereby ‘holding ground’, will be impossible. A resort to guerrilla tactics is therefore likely, but with vastly less impact on the Syrian population and landscape.
Small wonder the that France and the other colonialist governments in the West are concerned about the impacts of Russian attacks in Syria. Where else do the militants go; but home? We are likely therefore to see many more attacks in the West by disenfranchised Muslim youth, skilled in the use of explosives and weapons, in the months to come.
The shooting down of a Russian SU24 bomber close to the Syrian/Turkish border by a Turkish Airforce F16 on November 24th, has been downplayed in most media as something that is kind of unfortunate and will ‘blow over’.
The reality is somewhat different. This is the first time that a state agency (the Ankara Erdogan government) has explicitly supported its ISIS and Al Qaeda allies, along with the Turkmen mujaheddin allied with Al Qaeda: a state agency that has apparently ‘pretended’ to support the war against ISIS and now shows its colours- hence the ‘stab in the back ‘ statement by President Putin
The shooting down in what appears to be Syrian airspace is a serious violation , along with the not unexpected violation of the Geneva Conventions by the Turkmen ‘insurgents’ killing the parachuting ejected pilots in the air. NATO, while urging caution in the Russian response, clearly does not wish to see itself allied with such reckless actions by President Erdogan of Turkey, and has indicated its belief that the shootdown occurred in Syrian air-space.
The ramifications of this act are enormous, and will likely lead to significant internal rumblings by the Turkish military against this further slide of the Erdogan government towards Islamic extremism within and without Turkey. There are also clear lines of accountability to senior Turkish politicians benefiting from the sale of ISIS oil .
While the Russian government has requested the immediate discontinuation of Russian tourists visiting Turkey, the trade sanctions responses to Turkey are likely to be severe in an already vulnerable Turkish economy. The ongoing deployment of S300 and S400 anti-air batteries by the Syrians and Russians, along with the deployment of fighter air cover for Russian bombers is likely to result in a shootdown of Turkish fighters if Erdogan is not restrained. How will NATO respond? Whatever happens, the long term outcomes of this reckless action spell disaster for Turkey.
See the interesting and informative article by Gareth Porter on his interpretation of Turkey’s recent actions in Syria here
Reports are now coming thick and fast from both the Middle East and from the United Stated sources of the role the United States and its key allies have played in first establishing and then maintaining ISIS, Al Qaeda and numerous other salafist affiliates, under the flimsy guise of them being “moderate” jihadists.
As one more instance of this support, the recent debacle of a defeat for Iraqi troops against ISIS in Ramadi points to the clear decision by United States forces not to conduct airstrikes against ISIS positions, when there was every opportunity to do so., and the US recommendation to the Iraqi government not to deploy Shi-ite militias in Ramadi The United States is now aggrieved that Iranian military players are now directly involved in the re-taking of Ramadi for the Iraqi government .
The consistent intent for United States policy since the Iranian revolution in1979, has been to contain and eliminate any potential threat from Shi-ite groups that might negatively impact on the US supported Persian Gulf (Sunni) dictatorships. The Gulf State dictatorships have consistently demonstrated their unconditional support and loyalty for US and Israeli imperial policies in the region; unlike the Shi-ite states of Iran, Syria and now Iraq, who foolishly prefer a path of self-determination for their peoples.
The usual pack of neocon psychopaths , with John Bolton snarling in the lead, has been to attempt to ramp up the non-existent Iranian nuclear weapon threat, to provide unconditional support for Israeli genocide in Palestine and to support anything , regardless of international law or the rights of humanity, that will extend the United State’s power internationally. If that means using delusional Saudi and Qatari “princes” to find and resource even more psychotic ISIS military leaders,who believe that all Shi-ites must be exterminated; then so be it.
There is clear evidence of an ongoing policy by the neocons to destroy secular Middle East governments ( ie not specifically Sunni oriented governments) like Saddam’s Iraq, Libya, Syria, which can lead on to the ultimate goal for the US, Israel and the Saudis; the destruction of Shi-ite Iran. The Saudi bombardment of Yemen’s Houthi movement and all Yemeni civilians , is just a minor diversion in the larger game plan.
The recent public announcement by the US that it wil be funding training and arming “moderate” Syrian opposition forces to fight the Syrian Assad regime , is one more step in this bizarre and farcical journey of creating monsters to kill them. As has been clearly demonstrated; there is in fact no “moderate” opposition fighters. It is possible that at the beginning of the fight against Assad in the “spontaneous” Arab Spring uprising against him , that there were a few secular and moderate voices, but they have long gone. As this Department of Defence report for 2012 clearly indicates, the US knew well (even 3 years ago) that the Syrian opposition fighters that it supported and continues to support, were almost entirely composed of extremist jihadists and salafist ( anti-Shiite and anti any other non-Sunni sect)
Additional little snippets of the tight connection between Western governments and Middle East terrorist groups can be found in Seamus Milne’s account here. Or the recent post in the Levant Report documenting how the ISIS Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013
But even in these accounts, Western reporters are extremely cautious in ascribing a direct linkage between terror and the West ; one which now undoubtedly exists. Note how key Western governments are now happy to pay ISIS good prices for their stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil.
Or note ex-President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai’s view that the U.S is actively taking a two sided approach to creation and destruction of jihadist groups to serve its power interests.
Time and time again we are seeing reports in the mainstream U.S. and U.K. media that ISIS is here to stay for the long term; how hard it will be to eliminate them; and really, things are such a lot better for those people in Iraq, Libya and Syria now that ISIS and its Western subsidised offshoots are there. After all we have “law and order”-never mind that this “law” is an obscene psychopathic one As a “delightful ” example of this obscene Western view on that”Isis isn’t really that bad” -read this article in the U.K. Independent by Richard Barrett (who) was head of counter-terrorism at MI6 before spending nine years as the co-ordinator of the UN’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Team.
What you sow, so shall you reap……
A great article on where all that wonderful hardware comes from that ISIS uses at Antiwar.com http://original.antiwar.com/Dan_Sanchez/2015/06/15/where-does-isis-get-those-wonderful-toys/, which rather begs the question; who is training those little psychopaths in all this new hi-tech equipment?
And some additional information from Andrew P Napolitano at antiwar. com brings to the sunlight at least one war equipment ratline managed by Secretary of State Clinton to terrorists in Libya and Syria .
And from Sibel Edmonds, ex-American intelligence operative; a podcast on the role of the U.S. Black-ops community in establishing and maintaining various international terrorist groups
We learned recently from Paris that the Western world is deeply and passionately committed to free expression and ready to march and fight against attempts to suppress it. That’s a really good thing, since there are all sorts of severe suppression efforts underway in the West — perpetrated not by The Terrorists but by the western politicians claiming to fight them.
Read more here
What more do I need to say?