Friday, November 30, 2007

Exposing The Guardians Of Power

By John Pilger
November 30, 2007

What has changed in the way we see the world? For as long as I can remember, the relationship of journalists with power has been hidden behind a bogus objectivity and notions of an "apathetic public" that justify a mantra of "giving the public what they want."

What has changed is the public's perception and knowledge. No longer trusting what they read and see and hear, people in western democracies are questioning as never before, particularly via the internet.

Why, they ask, is the great majority of news sourced to authority and its vested interests? Why are many journalists the agents of power, not people?

Much of this bracing new thinking can be traced to a remarkable UK website, MediaLens.

The creators of Media Lens, David Edwards and David Cromwell, assisted by their webmaster, Olly Maw, have had such an extraordinary influence since they set up the site in 2001 that, without their meticulous and humane analysis, the full gravity of the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan might have been consigned to bad journalism's first draft of bad history.

Peter Wilby put it well in his review of Guardians of Power: the Myth of the Liberal Media, a drawing-together of Media Lens essays published by Pluto Press, which he described as "mercifully free of academic or political jargon and awesomely well researched. All journalists should read it, because the Davids make a case that demands to be answered."

That appeared in the New Statesman. Not a single major newspaper reviewed the most important book about journalism I can remember.

Take the latest Media Lens essay, "Invasion - a Comparison of Soviet and Western Media Performance." Written with Nikolai Lanine, who served in the Soviet army during its 1979-89 occupation of Afghanistan, it draws on Soviet-era newspaper archives, comparing the propaganda of that time with current western media performance. They are revealed as almost identical.

Like the reported "success" of the US "surge" in Iraq, the Soviet equivalent allowed "poor peasants [to work] the land peacefully." Like the Americans and British in Iraq and Afghanistan, Soviet troops were liberators who became peacekeepers and always acted in "self-defense."

The BBC's Mark Urban's revelation of the "first real evidence that President Bush's grand design of toppling a dictator and forcing a democracy into the heart of the Middle East could work" (Newsnight, 12 April 2005) is almost word for word that of Soviet commentators claiming benign and noble intent behind Moscow's actions in Afghanistan.

The BBC's Paul Wood, in thrall to the 101st Airborne, reported that the Americans "must win here if they are to leave Iraq . . . There is much still to do." That precisely was the Soviet line.
The tone of Media Lens's questions to journalists is so respectful that personal honesty is never questioned. Perhaps that explains a reaction that can be both outraged and comic.

The BBC presenter Gavin Esler, champion of Princess Diana and Ronald Reagan, ranted at Media Lens emailers as "fascistic" and "beyond redemption."

Roger Alton, editor of the London Observer and champion of the invasion of Iraq, replied to one ultra-polite member of the public: "Have you been told to write in by those c*nts at Media Lens?"

When questioned about her environmental reporting, Fiona Harvey, of the Financial Times, replied: "You're pathetic . . . Who are you?"

The message is: how dare you challenge us in such a way that might expose us? How dare you do the job of true journalism and keep the record straight?

Peter Barron, the editor of the BBC's Newsnight, took a different approach. "I rather like them. David Edwards and David Cromwell are unfailingly polite, their points are well argued and sometimes they're plain right."

David Edwards believes that "reason and honesty are enhanced by compassion and compromised by greed and hatred. A journalist who is sincerely motivated by concern for the suffering of others is more likely to report honestly . . ."

Some might call this an exotic view. I don't. Neither does the Gandhi Foundation, which on 2 December will present Media Lens with the prestigious Gandhi International Peace Award. I salute them.

'If Talks Fail, Israel Is Finished'

Olmert: 'If Talks Fail, Israel Will Be Finished'

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 30 November 2007

The state of Israel would be "finished" if prospects of a two-state solution collapsed, its Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has warned. Two opinion polls have shown widespread scepticism among the Israeli public about this week's Annapolis summit.

Mr Olmert told the liberal daily Haaretz: "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."

Mr Olmert's warning – raising however obliquely a highly sensitive comparison with apartheid South Africa – came as a poll in the newspaper showed that only 17 per cent thought the Annapolis conference a "success" – compared with 42 per cent who thought it was a "failure".

A similar poll in Yedhiot Ahronot showed 50 per cent judging the conference a failure, with 83 per cent saying they need not expect a "final status" agreement by the end of 2008, the timetable fixed by the summit.

Mr Olmert appeared to be half-borrowing an argument used by the Israeli left and increasing numbers of Palestinians that if the occupation is not swiftly ended and a Palestinian state established, the alternative is a single state in which both Palestinians and Israelis would eventually have equal rights – negating Israel's status as a "Jewish democratic state".

Unlike those critics of Israeli policy hitherto, he was careful not to declare explicitly that time for a two-state solution was running out, or venture a prediction of when such a "collapse" of the two-state solution might take place. Nor did he repeat the specific warning by the Israeli writer Amos Oz last week that the collapse of current efforts to negotiate a solution might lead to that very "demise" of the two-state solution. Oz said that the two alternatives to such a solution were either a single state or an "Israeli apartheid regime".

On the other hand his relatively apocalyptic warning is likely to be quoted back at him if the year of negotiations ushered in by Annapolis ends in the failure that most Israelis appear to expect.

Mr Olmert insisted that he had said similar things in an interview with the newspaper four years ago. In that interview, however. Mr Olmert was contemplating unilateral withdrawal from large parts of the occupied territories and strongly denounced the "Geneva Accord" – reached between the left-wing Israeli politician Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, now a key Palestinian negotiator.

The Geneva proposals – based on 1967 borders with "modifications" requiring an equal land swap, East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and extensive compensation for refugees – is thought to be close to the minimum that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, might seek to accept in any final status agreement.

The Haaretz poll indicated that despite their scepticism about the prospect of a negotiated agreement, 53 per cent wanted one on the main issues, with 38 per cent objecting to such an agreement.

The poll also showed that 22 per cent were now satisfied with Mr Olmert as Prime Minister after a slow rise since his record slump in popularity after the Lebanon war.

The police yesterday recommended against prosecuting him over his handling of the privatisation of the Bank Leumi when he was finance minister, citing a "lack of evidence" that he had interfered to benefit a friend.

China Targeting All 'Enemy Space Vehicles'

Report: China Targeting All 'Enemy Space Vehicles' Including GPS Satellites

Thursday, November 20, 2007
World Tribune

China’s anti-satellite and space warfare program includes plans to destroy or incapacitate 'every enemy space vehicle' that passes over China.

The annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, released last week, listed among Beijing's goals that of ensuring that Chinese space weapons are “conducted covertly so China can maintain a positive international image.” China has called for a ban on space weapons at the United Nations.

The report said that China also is developing civilian technology that can be applied to military space programs and is acquiring the “ability to destroy or temporarily incapacitate every enemy space vehicle when it is located above China,” the report said.

The Chinese also plan to attack U.S. global positioning system (GPS) satellites through various means, including anti-satellite weapons, high-energy weapons, high-energy weather monitoring rockets and ground attacks on earth-based stations. One section of the report, based on public and classified briefings, concluded there was a need for more information about Chinese activities and intentions.

Research from nearly 100 Chinese sources identified 30 proposals and recommendations by Chinese military leaders “regarding the development of space and counter-space weapons and programs.”

The military is also developing stealth satellites and a space program that will “provide key support for Chinese combat forces.”

“Some of these proposals appear to have been implemented already, as evidenced by January’s kinetic anti-satellite test and earlier laser incidents involving American satellites,” the report said.

IDF Offers Training Deals To Other Armies

Nov 29, 2007 23:14
Updated Nov 30, 2007 7:06

In line with IDF policy to upgrade relations with friendly countries that are involved in the war on terror, the military has set up a unit that is responsible for creating "package deals" for foreign armies that are interested in training alongside their Israeli counterparts.

The International Training Branch is part of the Ground Forces Command and is headed by Maj. Tal Lazaros. Its most recent initiative is to market the IDF's newly-built urban warfare center at the Ze'elim training base in the south to foreign militaries for training sessions. The center was opened a year ago and is an exact replica of a Palestinian town with hundreds of structures and even includes a mosque and a minaret.

Two weeks ago, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi offered the IDF's assistance to dozens of militaries engaged in the war on terror whose commanders participated in the annual NATO Chief of Staff conference in Brussels.

"This is in Israel's interest," an officer involved in the initiative explained. "We are all facing the common threat of terrorism and it is important that we work together."

For the IDF there is also an economic benefit from marketing the packages. In its two years of operation, Lazaros's unit has brought in tens of millions of shekels in revenue from selling training sessions to foreign militaries. The unit has even launched a Web site to market its wares -

In addition to the new urban warfare center, the unit is also trying to interest foreign militaries in coming to Israel to study the way the IDF combats the threat of roadside bombs, known universally as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).

Most foreign militaries that come to Israel for training, the officer said, are interested in learning Israeli techniques in Low Intensity Conflicts (LIC), such as urban and guerrilla warfare.

In addition to creating packages, the unit also holds six international courses annually for foreign military officers on C4I communications networking, logistics, and combat psychology. Next year, the unit is considering opening a new course at the IDF's School for Counter-Terrorism.

"The main purpose is cooperation," the officer said. "But Israel as a country benefits from having these foreign soldiers come here since they get to see what Israel and the IDF really are and not just what they read about in the news." Most recently, the unit facilitated the transfer of MK19 40mm machine guns to Poland, which had asked Israel to borrow the weapons.

"They said they needed the weapons and we loaned [them] to them," the officer said, adding that while he was not sure where they were today it was possible that the guns were fighting in Iraq together with the Polish contingent.

The unit has also assisted the State of Israel in strengthening diplomatic ties with other countries. Earlier this year, the Foreign Ministry asked the unit to send two explosives experts to Vietnam to teach officers there how to neutralize bombs that were left behind by the US during the Vietnam War.

World Faces Cyber War Threat

Friday, November 30, 2007‘

LONDON: A cyber cold war waged over the world’s computers threatens to become one of the biggest threats to security in the next decade, according to a report published on Thursday.

About 120 countries are developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon to target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities, Internet security company McAfee said in an annual report.

Intelligence agencies already routinely test other states networks looking for weaknesses and their techniques are growing more sophisticated every year, it said.

Governments must urgently shore up their defences against industrial espionage and attacks on infrastructure.

Cyber crime is now a global issue, said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs. It has evolved significantly and is no longer just a threat to industry and individuals but increasingly to national security.

The report said China is at the forefront of the cyber war. It said China has been blamed for attacks in the United States, India and Germany. China has repeatedly denied such claims.

The Chinese were first to use cyber-attacks for political and military goals, James Mulvenon, director of the Centre for Intelligence and Research in Washington, was quoted as saying in the report. The report was compiled with input from academics and officials from Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Nato.

Cyber-attacks on private and government web sites in Estonia in April and May this year were just the tip of the iceberg, the report warned.

Iran's Sonar-Evading Submarine

Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11-28) 14:42 PST TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran claimed Wednesday to have built a small submarine equipped with sonar-evading technology, saying the craft had been launched in the Persian Gulf.

The navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, was quoted by state television as saying the new Ghadir-class submarine is the second Iranian-built underwater craft outfitted with "state-of-the-art electronic equipment." He said it took 10 years to build.

The report showed a picture of a submarine, but it not clear that it was the Ghadir.

Official media said Iran's two domestically built submarines can fire missiles and torpedoes simultaneously but gave no information on the weapons' ranges.

Iran has been pushing an arms development program in recent years, producing its own jet fighters and armored vehicles and claiming to have built radar-avoiding missiles and other high-tech weapons. On Tuesday, it announced a new long-range missile.

But many of Iran's weapons development claims have not been independently verified, and analysts are skeptical of its claims to such weapons as a super-speed torpedo and radar-evading, anti-ship missile.

Iran described the Ghadir as a "light" submarine, presumably meaning it is smaller than the attack subs used by the United States and other industrial nations. Iran has provided very little information about the craft, including its dimensions or the size of its crew.

The Ghadir submarine is named for a site in the Arabian Peninsula that is holy to Shiite Muslims, who make up the overwhelming majority of Iran's 69 million people.

Iran has also three diesel-electric Russian made submarines. The submarines, while not as sophisticated or quiet as U.S. and Russian nuclear-powered craft, could be perceived by the West as a threat to vessels in the heavily traversed waters of the Persian Gulf.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the new submarine is part of Iran's drive toward self-sufficiency in arms production, the television report said.

"Today, you have been able to design and build many of the military requirements. We have become self-sufficient from other countries," Khamenei was quoted as telling navy commanders Wednesday.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic will defend itself should the United States or archrival Israel ever attack...

Somalia's Mystery Weapon, Eerie Iraq Parallels

By David Axe
November 27, 2007 9:55:00 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Thanks to the Web and other technologies, the homegrown guerrillas here are starting toact like insurgents in Iraq. Cue the improvised bombs, makeshift rocket-launchers, and text-message death threats.

These days, you can’t fight a war in isolation – not with websites, satellite phones, global shipping, 24-hour cable news and instant bank transfers. Anyone with a shared ideology, or a shared foe, can band together even if thousands of miles apart, using the same tactics to strike at the interests of the same global power. Thinkers like John Robb call this "Open Source Warfare."

Ironically, it’s for that reason that the U.S. gave the Ethiopia government the boost it needed to sweep south and destroy the Islamic Courts in Somalia. The Defense Department suspected the Courts of being friendly to Al Qaeda. But not because there were legions of extremists already running drills in the country. The suspected Al Qaeda tie, if it was indeed legit, was in all likelihood tiny. “You Americans,” one Somali professor scolded me the other day, “you’ll destroy an entire city to get three people.”

But the invasion didn't actually calm things down here. Instead, there's been more fighting -- and tactics that come straight of the jihadist playbook. Recently, there have been suicide bombings and improvised explosives – both new to Mogadishu. And these mysterious weapons, confiscated by African Union peacekeepers. Best I can tell, they’re Hezbollah-style Katyusha Qassam rockets, a relative rarity in this corner of the world, if my reading is correct. It’s a worrying omen for a country that’s already had its share of problems.

As in Iraq, a pre-emptive war targeting potential terrorists has backfired. Thanks to the U.S. intervention, Somali fighters now have common cause with extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere. Don’t believe me? A couple days ago a Somali journalist showed me an anonymous text-message death threat he’d received, apparently from the nationalist insurgent group Al Shabab.

It was signed “Al Shabab = mujahideen.” The local guerrillas had morphed into international jihadists.

2008 Deployments For Euro-Based US Troops

USAREUR Announces '08 Deployments For 4,200 More Troops

By Nancy Montgomery,
Stars and Stripes Mideast Edition,
Thursday, November 29, 2007

HEIDELBERG, Germany — Some 8,000 Europe-based soldiers will be heading to Iraq and Afghanistan next year, according to an announcement Wednesday from U.S. Army Europe.

Officials announced the upcoming deployments of some 4,200 soldiers to be sent between March and November, for an expected 15-month tour. Those units come mostly from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, headquartered in Kaiserslautern but with units based throughout Germany.

There are currently 13,500 Europe-based troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

The newly announced units are in addition to some 3,800 soldiers with the Baumholder-based 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, whose expected 2008 deployment was previously announced by the Department of Defense.

Additionally, a number of units scheduled for deployment next year originally were scheduled to deploy this year. Those units are marked with an asterisk (*).

All but one of the units deploying next year are based in Germany. The exception is the 1st Platoon (Postal), 111th Adjutant General Company, from Vicenza, Italy.

Numerous communities in Germany will be affected by the unit deployments, including Bamberg, Baumholder, Grafenwöhr, Hohenfels, Illesheim, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden.

The Units Deploying Next Year Are:

Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq)

V Corps will send:

54th Engineer Battalion (Combat)
370th Engineer Company (Combat)
3rd Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment (AH-64 Helicopter)
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command will send:
230th Military Police Company*
391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion*
68th Transportation Company*
212th Military Police Company*
486th Movement Control Team
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 793rd Military Police Battalion
69th Transportation Company
18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
51st Transportation Company
209th Army Liaison Team
574th Quartermaster Company
16th Sustainment Brigade
70th Transportation Company
406th Adjutant General Company (U.S. Army Reserve)
106th Financial Management Company
Detachment C, 106th Financial Management Company

The 95th Military Police Battalion will send seven Patrol/Explosive Dog Detection Teams and one Military Police Specialized Search Dog Team.

1st Personnel Command Will Send:

1st Platoon (Postal), 111th Adjutant General Company from Vicenza)
1st Platoon (Postal), 147th Adjutant General Company
2nd Platoon (Postal), 147th Adjutant General Company
3rd Platoon (Postal), 147th Adjutant General Company

266th Finance Command Will Send:

Detachment A, 8th Finance Battalion
Detachment C, 8th Finance Battalion

Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)

The 21st Theater Sustainment Command Will Send:

495th Movement Control Team
624th Movement Control Team
527th Military Police Company*

The 95th Military Police Battalion will send two Patrol/Explosive Dog Detection Teams; five Patrol/Explosive Dog Detection Teams; and a Military Police Specialized Dog Search Team

1st Personnel Command will send:

1st Platoon (Postal), 566th Adjutant General Company
3rd Platoon (Postal), 566th Adjutant General Company
International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan):
From 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command:
Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment

Air Force Grounds F-15s — Again

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Nov 28, 2007 17:48:21 EST

For the second time in less than a month, F-15 Eagles are grounded.

Air Combat Command announced today that A, B, C and D-model versions of the fighter would “stand down” for an indefinite period of time.

F-15E Strike Eagles, a larger and newer version of the fighters, are not grounded and continue to fly, ACC said.

Like the ordered grounding on Nov. 3, this decision stems from the Nov. 2 crash of a 27-year-old Missouri Air National Guard F-15C. That fighter broke apart between the cockpit and main fuselage as it flew an air-to-air combat training sortie.

Wednesday’s announcement comes 12 days after F-15 A-D units were told their jets could return to flight as each fighter passed a 15-hour-long inspection. As of today, about 90 percent of the F-15As, Bs, Cs and Ds had passed the inspection.

Air Combat Command spokesmen said the new concern involves cracks in metal supports called longerons near the cockpits. The longerons are metal rails that hold the fuselage of the aircraft together.

The latest decision to ground the jets was based on a metallurgical analysis of the jet that crashed Nov. 2. The investigation drew attention to the F-15’s upper longerons near the canopy of the aircraft that appear to have cracked and failed, ACC said.

Those longerons were covered in general by previous inspections but technical experts with the air logistics center assisting in the accident investigation board have recommended a specific inspection of the suspect area.

The F-15 program office at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga., is developing new inspection criteria for the jets. Originally manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, the A-models, the oldest of the service’s F-15s, have been flying since 1975 and were developed to replace the F-4 Phantom and take on the MiG-25. C-models came on line in the late 1970s. The B-model and D-model Eagles are two-seat trainer versions of the A and C planes.

Boeing, which purchased McDonnell Douglas a decade ago, delivered the last F-15 to the Air Force in 2004 and is now working to upgrade some of the older planes. The most recent model, the unaffected F-15E Strike Eagle, entered service in 1989 and is currently in use in Afghanistan.

Variants of the F-15 are also in use by the air forces of Israel, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Japan.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

'Islamofascism' Blinds U.S.

Published: Nov. 28, 2007 at 4:52 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The term "Islamofascism" dangerously obscures important distinctions and differences between groups of Islamic extremists, says a counter-terror think tank.

"Since Sept. 11 conservatives have continually lumped various groups and countries together … into one threat that they term 'Islamofascism,'" according to the National Security Network, a group of left-leaning former U.S. officials and experts in counter-terrorism and national security.

"The reality is much complicated," reads their report issued Wednesday. The groups and nations that make up the "Islamofascist" threat include al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian government institutions that they control, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In reality, the report says, "These various groups and countries have different intentions and capabilities, often work at cross purposes and are in some cases ideologically opposed to each other."

Escalating tensions across the region between Shiites and Sunnis only emphasize their divergent interests and intentions.

"By confusing these various threats, conservatives make it impossible to pursue effective policies," the report concludes, adding that the approach "has caused the United States to miss numerous opportunities, where it could have played these groups off of each other to America's benefit."

The term also "creates the perception that the United States is fighting a religious war against Islam, thus alienating moderate voices in the region who would be willing to work with America towards common goals."

"Dividing these groups and dealing with them separately is a far better policy than lumping them together," the report concludes.

© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

"Perfect Storm" Brewing For Western Economies

IMF Warns Of 'Perfect Storm' That Could Drag Britain Into Recession

Last updated at 08:47am on 29th November 2007

One of the world's leading financial experts has warned that a "perfect storm" could be about to hit Western economies.

There is rising concern that the U.S. economy will slip into recession next year dragging many Western economies - including Britain - down with it as the global credit crisis worsens.

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund has warned of a "perfect storm" caused by surging oil prices and the turbulence on the world's financial markets.

Its chief economist, Simon Johnson, said: "The combination of the global credit crunch and high oil prices could bring a big reduction in international trade from which no one would be immune."

Mr Johnson cautioned that the current projections for the American economy and those of Europe are "too optimistic" and would have to be downgraded.

Only last month, in its World Economic Outlook report, the IMF suggested the U.S. and the West would weather the current storms on financial markets but lowered its growth forecast for the American economy to 1.9 per cent this year and next from 2.9 per cent in 2006.

The Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, joined in the gloom.

It reported in its analysis from the American regions that "mortgage delinquencies are up significantly in many areas" and "homebuilding is not expected to recover until well into next year".

Britain's largest bank said it was "nervous about how the UK housing bubble will unwind".

HSBC believes the Bank of England may have to lower interest rates far more aggressively than has been expected if Britain is to avoid a crash in house prices.
HSBC says it expects the Bank of England to lower interest rates by 1.25 percentage points to 4.5 per cent by early 2009 as it seeks to repair the damage to the economy caused by the end of the house price boom and slowing output.

It also expects the pound to plummet against the American dollar, dropping back to $1.80 from last night's price of $2.07.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs cautioned that the shock waves from the American mortgage crisis meant growth in the American economy would slip to just 1 per cent next year and warned of a "recession risk".

There are increasing signs that the slowdown in the U.S. economy is shifting from housing and construction to overall output including orders for new cars, which fell by 1.4 per cent in October.

Demand for housing and cars have long been regarded as the cornerstones of American growth.

The latest data led London-based forecasters Capital Economics to predict that output in the U.S. will fall in the final months of this year.

If it were to fall for two consecutive quarters the American economy would be in recession.

Among the main causes of the current gloom about the global economy is the fall out from the collapse of the U.S.'s "trailer park" mortgage market.

The Bank of England has warned that credit conditions are tightening which means that the cash available for lending to consumers, housing and industry will shrink dramatically.
Evidence of the slowdown on the High Street came from DSG, which owns Curry's and PC World, warned that sales of items such as refrigerators and washing machines have slowed and is cautious about prospects for next year.

But there was some relief from world oil markets yesterday where the price tumbled 4 per cent to $90-a-barrel - well short of the near $100-a-barrel touched earlier this week.

Prices retreated after the American government announced that stockpiles in the U.S. are far larger than expected.

Spy Drones To Operate Over Florida

Snoop Drones: First Texas, Now Florida

By Kurt Nimmo
Thursday, November 29, 2007

“The Miami-Dade police department will begin experimenting with high-tech drones as law enforcement tools beginning next year,” reports Local 10.

“Although the military has been using unmanned aircraft systems for years, this will be the first time they are used in law enforcement…. Only the Miami-Dade police department and the Houston police department were given permission by the FAA to experiment with the drones.”
All of this is just the beginning, of course.

Next up, a special “agile air traffic system” which establishes “routine access to the national airspace for UAVs and other new vehicles,” according to Next Generation Air Transportation System, a plan enacted in 2003 by Bush and Congress under VISION 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176).

In 2004, “Access 5, a joint government-industry program was initiated. The program brings together NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense and six major industry members.

Their goal: to plan the safe, orderly and efficient integration of UAVs into civil airspace over the next five years.” In other words, expect UAVs in your neighborhood in the future.
In March of last year, a House of Representatives panel “heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring,” Declan McCullagh wrote for CNET News at the time.

In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie “Minority Report,” one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air–close enough to identify faces–and many more uses, such as the aerial detection of marijuana fields, are planned.
Or, as well, photographing those pesky antiwar and anti-globalization demonstrators. In fact, it appears the Pentagon or the Ministry of Homeland Security is one step ahead of local police departments. In September, during an antiwar demo in Lafayette Square, people reported “dragonflies or little helicopters” buzzing around, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

The robobugs could follow suspects, guide missiles to targets or navigate the crannies of collapsed buildings to find survivors.
Call them “beamed power micro UAVs,” as blogger David Hambling does. “Beamed power micro UAVs would have obvious limitations — they’re not going to be flying hundreds of miles away over enemy territory. But for covert surveillance in the domestic arena, they might be just the thing. I have no idea whether there are any dragonfly spies out there yet; but if there aren’t now, there soon will be.”

If the antiwar people in Washington are to believed, little dragonfly-sized snoop drones are already a reality. But then the CIA was cranking out similar devices more than a decade ago.

As for the larger cousins of the micro UAVs, back in December of 2002 Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner said “UAVs could be an effective means of watching the home front in the war on terror” while admitting “they’re quite intrusive,” not that intrusiveness and violating privacy ever concerned our rulers.

Among the agencies now committed to deploying UAVs are the Coast Guard and Border Patrol, both of which are moving to the Homeland Security Department. Other non-Defense Department agencies, such as the Transportation Department, are in the early stages of exploring possible security roles for drones. Meanwhile, the Energy Department, which set up a UAV program in 1993 to study clouds and climate change, has been developing high-altitude instruments to measure radiation in the atmosphere….

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, interest in UAVs among federal agencies has swelled, industry sources said. “There’s been a lot more activity over the last couple of months,” said one manufacturing executive who asked not to be named. “It’s been really intense. We’re doing things now that we wouldn’t have been doing a year ago.”
It appears everybody’s getting in on the action, so why not the local cops?

If you think they government will limit itself to studying clouds and so-called climate change, think again. Remember Operation TIPS, the supposedly stillborn effort to usher in a chapter out of George Orwell’s 1984? The FBI, CIA and NSA have snooped on — and infiltrated and sabotaged — the political opposition for decades (recall COINTELPRO, Operation Chaos, Project MERRIMAC, Project MINARET, Project SHAMROCK, ECHELON, NSA warrantless surveillance, etc., on and on, ad nauseam).

And then there was that confidential FBI memorandum sent to over 15,000 local law enforcement agencies back in October, 2003, urging them to be on the look-out for the “criminal activities” of protesters (for instance, using the “internet to recruit, raise funds, and coordinate … activities prior to demonstrations,” and “[d]uring the course of a demonstration … using cell phones or radios to coordinate activities or to update colleagues about ongoing events,” and other such suspicious behavior). During COINTELPRO in the 60s and early 70s, the FBI kept over 500,000 domestic intelligence files at their headquarters and an undetermined amount at regional offices.

Of course, we are told the drones in Texas — the maiden flight was supposed to be a secret, but an intrepid news team put the kibosh to that — will be used for monitoring traffic. No doubt the UAVs will be used for traffic, as local police are keen to increase revenues, but if history is any indicator, they will be taking orders from the feds as well — and the federal government, like any self-perpetuating leviathan, is interested in not only keeping tabs on political opponents but also destroying them, same as any other criminal organization does to the competition or those who might endanger their livelihood.

Local 10 News Video: Drones to Fly Over South Florida

[The following video was included by me, and was not part of the above article]


Related Material:

"Houston Police Employ Spy Drones"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

US Wages Covert War On Iraq-Iran Border

By Nelson Rand
November 28, 2007

SIDIKAN and IRBIL, northern Iraq - The United States-led war in Iraq has hardly affected the residents of Sidikan, a small Kurdish town nestled in the mountains where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey converge, but the surrounding area has fast become the frontline of another conflict.

In recent weeks, residents say, Iranian artillery shells have been heard almost daily, raining down on the nearby hills where anti-Tehran guerrillas of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) are based on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border. Since August, thousands of Kurdish villagers on the Iraqi side of the frontier have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the barrage.

"Iran is creating a lot of problems for the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG]," said the chief of security police in the nearby town of Soran, who only revealed his first name, Gafar. "Border areas are being shelled every day." The KRG is the governing authority of the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq, or Iraqi Kurdistan.

Seeking permission from his office to enter PJAK-controlled areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, Gafar told this correspondent that an executive order had been given at the beginning of November to forbid anybody going into such areas. This was followed by an official order announced on November 19 by the KRG banning journalists from traveling to bases of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), also in Iraqi Kurdistan, prompting strong criticism from media watchdogs such as Reporters Without Borders.

"Kurdistan is one of few regions in Iraq where local and foreign journalists can move about freely without constant risk to their lives," the group said in a statement on November 20. "This ban is a serious violation of their ability to report on the clashes in Iraq between the PKK's fighters and the Turkish army."

While the PKK has been in the international spotlight in recent weeks, with Turkey mounting cross-border raids and threatening to launch an invasion of Iraq, not so much attention has been given to the Iranian offshoot, the PJAK. The group has been waging an insurgency against Tehran since 2004, which recently has escalated. A guerrilla leader told the New York Times last month that PJAK fighters had killed at least 150 Iranian soldiers and officials in Iran since August.

Iran accuses Washington of backing the group, and while the US denies this, local and foreign intelligence sources say the accusation is most likely true. According to a former US Special Forces (SF) commando currently based in Iraq who spoke on condition of anonymity, Special Forces troops are currently operating inside Iran, working with insurgent forces like the PJAK. "That's what the SF does," he said. "They train and build up indigenous anti-government forces."

"The primary function of the Special Forces is to stand up guerrilla forces or counter-guerrilla forces," said another former SF soldier, retired Major Mark Smith. While he was not specifically aware of SF teams training the PJAK, he said it would not be surprising if they were. And "they would be training in an obscure border area or in a location denied to anyone not directly involved", he said.

He added that SF teams in Iran would be conducting strategic reconnaissance of possible nuclear and biological weapons sites, army headquarters, and significant individuals. "If they're not doing these things in Iran, then they are remiss in their duties at the upper echelons of their command," he said.

Operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have also been spotted in Iraqi Kurdistan recently, according to sources familiar with the agency, including the former SF commando. These sources explained that the agency's Special Activities Division (SAD) would be conducting the main component of the agency's operations in the area. SAD, whose existence became known in the autumn of 2001, is responsible for covert paramilitary operations - those with which the US government does not want to be overtly associated.

During the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, a SAD operative, Johnny Michael Spann, was the first American casualty of the war. Their unofficial motto is: "Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations."

When asked if CIA operatives were working in the border areas of the Sidikan region, police chief Gafar replied with a smile: "I am allowed to say no, but I am not allowed to say yes."

With or without US support, the PJAK poses a direct challenge to Iran's security. Claiming to have over 4,000 members, it is one of the largest - if not the largest - opposition group in the country. Expert in hit-and-run tactics, PJAK has proven to be a formidable force, launching daring raids and even shooting down an Iranian helicopter in September, according to the New York Times.

PJAK leaders claim to be receiving a steady flow of recruits from Iran's 3.7 million Kurds, who complain of cultural discrimination and of being economically depressed, despite inhabiting oil-rich lands.

Unlike its PKK cousins, the PJAK is not fighting for an independent Kurdish homeland. Rather, it is fighting for regime change - to replace Iran's theocracy with a democratic and highly federalized system that would grant autonomous rights not only to Kurds, but also to Azeri, Baloch and Arab regions of the country.

A major component of its struggle is to empower the Iranian population - and in particular women. According to the group's charter, 12 of the 21 members of the PJAK's elected legislature must be women, as well as three of the seven members of the leadership council. In addition, leaders say 45% of the group are women.

Although the PJAK is administratively, militarily and politically separate from the PKK, the two groups have strong ties and share allegiance to Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK leader imprisoned in Turkey. PJAK bases are also located within PKK-controlled areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, making the former susceptible to both Turkish military might and policies of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

As the KRG is delicately trying to please the Turks by cutting off links with the PKK (listed as a terrorist group by the United States and Turkey), the PJAK is feeling the heat as well because of its proximity, both geographically and politically, to the PKK. A PJAK representative in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, refused to be interviewed for this article, saying the group's Irbil office had been shut down at the beginning of November and that he had been instructed by his leadership not to talk to anybody and to keep a low profile until further notice.

Sources in Irbil also said government checkpoints were refusing to allow wounded PJAK guerrillas from entering its territory to seek medical treatment, which until recently was standard procedure.

But with likely support from the United States and the possibility of a US-led strike on Iran, these temporary constraints appear mere hiccups in an otherwise healthy geopolitical environment for the guerilla group. The PJAK seems destined for anything but demise.

As for the residents of Sidikan, who are within striking distance of both the Turkish and Iranian militaries, their future may not be as bright.

Nelson Rand is a freelance journalist based in Thailand. He has a master's degree in Asia-Pacific Policy Studies and is the author of the forthcoming book Into the Fire: Journeys through war and conflict in Southeast Asia.

(Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.)

"The Engineering Of Consent"

This is an example of American political meddling in its early form. Guatemala the "Banana Republic" was maipulated in the early 1950's.

This clip explains the CIA and American gov't involvment in toppling the elected gov't and the subsequent "installation" of a leader sympathetic to American business interests ie/ United Fruit.

How Contries Are Manipulated

Lawrence Of Arabia's Report On Mesopotamia

Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence, a.k.a. "Lawrence of Arabia" (1888-1935), British soldier and author, whose works include The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, achieved world renown for his exploits as Britain's military liaison to the Arabs during the rebellion against the Ottomans. Sent to Mecca on a fact-finding mission when the Arabs rose in revolt, in 1916, he soon became a friend of the Arab people and their struggle for independence is chronicled in his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, as well as Revolt in the Desert.

The sellout of the Arabs at Versailles, and the subsequent carving up of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious European powers, disgusted him, and he returned to England disheartened. In protest, Lawrence refused to accept medals from the King, and wrote numerous letters to the newspapers in favor of Arab independence. When British attempts to impose colonial rule on Iraq failed – in a way that, by the account below, seems awfully familiar – Winston Churchill asked Lawrence to help him draft a settlement.

In conjunction with this recent article by Niall Ferguson on the historical parallels between Britain's futile crusade in Iraq and our own, Lawrence's piece should be required reading for U.S. policymakers, whose sense of history seems to stretch only as far back as last week.

[ The above statement is from: AntiWar ]


A Report On Mesopotamia

By Ex.-Lieut.-Col. T.E. Lawrence,
The Sunday Times,
22 August 1920

[Mr. Lawrence, whose organization and direction of the Hedjaz against the Turks was one of the outstanding romances of the war, has written this article at our request in order that the public may be fully informed of our Mesopotamian commitments.]

The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

The sins of commission are those of the British civil authorities in Mesopotamia (especially of three 'colonels') who were given a free hand by London. They are controlled from no Department of State, but from the empty space which divides the Foreign Office from the India Office. They availed themselves of the necessary discretion of war-time to carry over their dangerous independence into times of peace. They contest every suggestion of real self- government sent them from home.

A recent proclamation about autonomy circulated with unction from Baghdad was drafted and published out there in a hurry, to forestall a more liberal statement in preparation in London, 'Self-determination papers' favourable to England were extorted in Mesopotamia in 1919 by official pressure, by aeroplane demonstrations, by deportations to India.

The Cabinet cannot disclaim all responsibility. They receive little more news than the public: they should have insisted on more, and better. they have sent draft after draft of reinforcements, without enquiry. When conditions became too bad to endure longer, they decided to send out as High commissioner the original author of the present system, with a conciliatory message to the Arabs that his heart and policy have completely changed.*

Yet our published policy has not changed, and does not need changing. It is that there has been a deplorable contrast between our profession and our practice. We said we went to Mesopotamia to defeat Turkey. We said we stayed to deliver the Arabs from the oppression of the Turkish Government, and to make available for the world its resources of corn and oil. We spent nearly a million men and nearly a thousand million of money to these ends. This year we are spending ninety-two thousand men and fifty millions of money on the same objects.

Our government is worse than the old Turkish system.

They kept fourteen thousand local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats, and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this rising this summer. We cannot hope to maintain such an average: it is a poor country, sparsely peopled; but Abd el Hamid would applaud his masters, if he saw us working. We are told the object of the rising was political, we are not told what the local people want. It may be what the Cabinet has promised them.

A Minister in the House of Lords said that we must have so many troops because the local people will not enlist. On Friday the Government announce the death of some local levies defending their British officers, and say that the services of these men have not yet been sufficiently recognized because they are too few (adding the characteristic Baghdad touch that they are men of bad character). There are seven thousand of them, just half the old Turkish force of occupation. Properly officered and distributed, they would relieve half our army there. Cromer controlled Egypt's six million people with five thousand British troops; Colonel Wilson fails to control Mesopotamia's three million people with ninety thousand troops.

We have not reached the limit of our military commitments. Four weeks ago the staff in Mesopotamia drew up a memorandum asking for four more divisions. I believe it was forwarded to the War Office, which has now sent three brigades from India. If the North-West Frontier cannot be further denuded, where is the balance to come from?

Meanwhile, our unfortunate troops, Indian and British, under hard conditions of climate and supply, are policing an immense area, paying dearly every day in lives for the wilfully wrong policy of the civil administration in Baghdad. General Dyer was relieved of his command in India for a much smaller error, but the responsibility in this case is not on the Army, which has acted only at the request of the civil authorities. The War Office has made every effort to reduce our forces, but the decisions of the Cabinet have been against them.

The Government in Baghdad have been hanging Arabs in that town for political offences, which they call rebellion. The Arabs are not at war with us. Are these illegal executions to provoke the Arabs to reprisals on the three hundred British prisoners they hold? And, if so, is it that their punishment may be more severe, or is it to persuade our other troops to fight to the last?

We say we are in Mesopotamia to develop it for the benefit of the world. all experts say that the labour supply is the ruling factor in its development. How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil? How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?

*Sir Percy Cox was to return as High Commissioner in October, 1920 to form a provisional Government.
World War I Document Archive

US Imperium To ReShape The Muslim World

The 'Triumphant' Neocons

By Robert Parry
November 27, 2007

Citing signs of military progress in Iraq, America’s neoconservatives are reasserting their vision of the United States as an imperial power that can reshape the Muslim world in a way favorable to the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv.

Casting aside the image of the war as a bloody quagmire, the neocons are again selling Iraq as a vital beachhead in the Middle East from which the United States can project power throughout the region and achieve victory over Islamic militants hostile to Israel.

...Krauthammer and other neocons also are back to baiting Democratic war critics for supposedly living in “a state of denial” and refusing to acknowledge President George W. Bush’s wisdom in dispatching more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops for a “surge” under Gen. David Petraeus.

“Even as evidence has mounted that General Petraeus' new counterinsurgency strategy is succeeding, Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq, reluctant to acknowledge the progress we are now achieving,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, a neoconservative Independent from Connecticut, in a Nov. 8 speech.

After nearly five years of carnage – the deaths of almost 3,900 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – the neocons finally see vindication for themselves, at least within the Washington news media where they maintain a powerful influence.

Though the neocon comeback may prove ephemeral if the Iraq War drags on and the U.S. position continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ...

...On the Republican side, the frontrunners in the presidential race are even more hawkish about fighting “World War III” against Muslim militants than Bush has been.

While Bush at least rhetorically calls for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said “we ought to double Guantanamo” and use it as a place to hold Islamic militants while denying them legal rights.

Not to be outflanked on the right, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has advocated “aggressive questioning” of terror suspects and has refused to label as torture “waterboarding,” a simulated drowning technique that dates back to the Inquisition.

Public Doubts

Still, the neocon strategy faces major obstacles, particularly public concern about the heavy toll that the Iraq War has taken on the U.S. military and the U.S. Treasury.

While an open-ended occupation of Iraq and renewed belligerence toward other unfriendly Muslim countries might be appealing to the neocons, the notion of endless war at whatever the cost has lost much of its allure to the American people.

As the U.S. dollar sinks, as domestic needs go unmet, as investors from Abu Dhabi bail out Citigroup and as communist China gets a stranglehold on U.S. debt, the neocon dream of an imperial America bestriding the world as a military colossus looks less and less sustainable.

More and more Americans also are growing leery of other tradeoffs implicit in the neocon plan for an imperial system – the acceptance of an all-powerful Executive, the elimination of inalienable rights for individuals, and the eradication of the Republic as envisioned by the Founders.

Though given short shrift by the national U.S. news media, this grassroots pro-Republic sentiment is reflected in the surprising support for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas on the Republican side and the growing doubts about Sen. Clinton on the Democratic side.

As the United States heads into Election Year 2008, the neocons may need all their media clout for making their case and all their skills at exploiting the fears of Americans to ensure that one of their favored candidates again lands in the White House.
[For more on the rise of the neocons, see Robert Parry's last three books, Lost History; Secrecy & Privilege; and Neck Deep.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

Terrorist Threat To Fort Huachuca, Unfounded

FBI: Widely Reported Terrorist Threat To Fort Huachuca Unfounded

National reports on terrorists crossing the border with the help of Mexican drug smugglers to attack the Army post in Sierra Vista are incorrect

By Aaron Mackey
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona
Published: 11.26.2007

A plot by dozens of foreign terrorists who purportedly planned to attack Fort Huachuca with rocket propelled grenades and mines has proved unfounded, an FBI spokesman said Monday.

The threat, detailed by a local television station and The Washington Times after information was recently leaked to them, involved Iraqi and Afghan terrorists working with a Mexican drug cartel to smuggle themselves and weapons across the U.S. border.

The terrorists reportedly were targeting Fort Huachuca, home of the Army’s intelligence center, which trains soldiers in interrogation and is home to a testing facility for sensitive electronic equipment.

The intelligence advisory compiled by several federal agencies said the attack was scheduled to occur in May. The information was passed on to Fort Huachuca commanders, who changed security practices in an effort to avoid an attack.

But the attack never occurred and was the result of bad information, said Manuel Johnson, an FBI spokesman based in Phoenix.

“A thorough investigation was conducted and there is no evidence showing that the threat was credible,” he said.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Art Of Mental Warfare

The Art Of Mental Warfare Opening Statement: Let The Media War Begin

Posted By David
Nov 19, 2007, 08:26

"The power elite expend such great effort in controlling our communication and information system because they fear the American public more than any other enemy. They understand that if they lose their grip on our mass media, their lies and injustices will be exposed to the very people who can put a stop to their crimes!"
For my opening statement I am going to say some things that are obvious to those of us who spend the majority of our time researching and analyzing power politics. We have come to understand that the mainstream media is an elaborate and sophisticated propaganda apparatus that is designed and utilized to deceive, manipulate, dumb down, distract and marginalize the American public. We realize that the mainstream media is not giving us the vital information that we need to develop informed opinions and participate in this so-called “democracy.”

However, the average US citizen still does not understand this. They are too busy working hard trying to make ends meet, trying to provide for their families, trying to pay off their homes, credit cards and debt. They don’t have the time to spend hours everyday researching issues that the mainstream media doesn’t even mention or discuss.

In fact, with hundreds of television channels, radio stations, magazines, newspapers and movies, the average citizen thinks the amount of viewpoints in the media are overwhelming and diverse. They don’t realize that the vast majority of media companies are controlled by a handful of the world’s most powerful interrelated corporate interests. They don’t realize that over the past 25 years we have experienced a scandalous concentration in media ownership and an all out attack on public TV and radio.

The number of corporations dominating the US mainstream media:

1983 = 50
1993= 14
2007 = 5

Government spending on public broadcasting per person:

Germany $85
UK $83
US $1.54
The US has the lowest per capita funding of public broadcasting in the industrialized world.

“Never before has censorship been so perfect. Never before have those who are still led to believe, in a few countries, that they remain free citizens, been less entitled to make their opinions heard, wherever it is a matter of choices affecting their real lives. Never before has it been possible to lie to them so brazenly. The spectator is simply supposed to know nothing, and deserve nothing.” - Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle
The censorship most prevalent today is the most dangerous form. Not the censorship of explicit words, sex or violence, but the censorship of any thoughts outside of elite corporate ideology. Any views that lead to critical thought on the prevailing elite market dominance are not allowed to enter into public consciousness (the mass media).

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth…. The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal…. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” - Malcolm X
The Imperial War

Since Cheney and Bush began their disastrous “War on Terror,” terrorism incidents have increased over 600%. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has created worldwide hatred toward America on an unprecedented scale. If we had a critical and informative media system, the Bush administration would have never been able to launch a war built on lies, distortion and misinformation - a war that has already claimed the lives of over 750,000 Iraqi civilians, and killed, wounded or maimed over 30,000 US soldiers. As costs continue to escalate, the war will cost the US taxpayer well over a trillion dollars - with billions of tax dollars stolen and unaccounted for!

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower
For those of us who have researched and read the strategy papers that have driven the Bush administration’s foreign policy - all written before 9/11 - specifically the Strategy of the Silk Route, James Baker’s and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Strategic Energy Policy, the Project for a New American Century’s Forces and Resources For a New Century and other crucial documents, we know that these documents clearly demonstrate that the war on terror is mostly a front for a geo-strategic imperial war designed to control the majority of the earth’s remaining oil supply. And the fact that this subject is almost never seriously discussed in the mainstream press is an edifying example of just how scandalous the mass media system has become.

This imperial war for resources brings us to the next urgent crisis of our time, the current and coming environmental catastrophe.

Environmental Crisis

The earth’s resources are being quickly depleted. As the three billion people in China and India become more modernized and begin living and polluting like the modern US consumer, the earth’s resources and fragile balance will become undone. Billions of people, literally billions of people, will die - from the lack of food and water that will lead to mass starvation, to the lack of medicine for treatable diseases and the spread of infectious diseases.

Half of the world’s population now lives on $2 per day or less.

Global warming is quickly making these numbers grow and we are already facing a crisis unprecedented in human history. The past three years have been the hottest three years ever recorded. In the early nineties leading scientists and organizations tried to inform us. In 1992, long before Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, 1700 of the world’s top scientists signed an official document, a Warning To Humanity, stating:

“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.”

In 1997, the World Watch Institute reported that storms would be, “more frequent, more intense, and more destructive.” Yet these dire warnings went unheard. Paid-off energy industry experts and lobbyists marginalized them, and they were never given fair coverage in the mainstream corporate media — media companies that have shared economic interests with the energy industry that they serve.

If you thought the recent upsurge in catastrophic hurricanes, tornados, heat waves, droughts and other climatic disasters have been bad, you need to understand that this was only the opening act, only a warning shot as to what lies ahead.

“The economy has now come to declare open war on humanity, attacking not only our possibilities for living, but our chances of survival…. When an all-powerful economy lost its reason - and that is precisely what defines these spectacular times.” — Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle
Economic Crisis

The war and environmental crisis will only exacerbate the current economic inequalities that have been growing ever wider. Even in the US, which once prided itself as being a nation with a thriving middle-class, the financial wealth of the top 1% of households now exceeds the combined wealth of 98% of households. That’s 1% having more wealth than 98% combined! The US now leads the industrialized world in inequality of wealth.

Right now, the American middle-class is hanging by a thread. The average American is in more debt today than ever. Consumer and household debt are at unheard of levels.

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation.One is by sword. The other is by debt.”– John Adams, US President

The economic top 1% has looted the economy and enslaved the US public like never before. Out of the recent trillions of dollars in tax cuts more than half has gone to the economic top 1%. Tax cuts for top 1% are larger than health, education, and all other initiatives combined.

But this is just the beginning of the theft from the American middle-class. Our federal debt has reached an all time high. It is reported over and over again that the federal debt has reached a staggering eight trillion dollars. However, based upon the Financial Report of the United States, issued by the Treasury Department - a report the corrupt corporate media has suppressed and not reported on - the true total federal debt is actually over $50 trillion! $50 trillion! We are paying over $300 billion each year in interest alone. Your share of the federal debt, as a taxpaying American, is already $400,000. That’s your share! $400,000 out of your pocket and it is growing even higher.

Political Crisis

We can no longer rely on a co-opted, bought and paid for political system. Our current politicians have proven over and over again that they only make bold moves when they act in the power and greed-addicted interests that they serve. The two-party system has become a sham! Greedy Republicans and weak Democrats serve the same corporate elite masters.

Last year’s change in Congress and the coming change in president are only changes on the surface. The overwhelming majority of us will be relieved when Bush and Cheney finally leave office, but Bush is just a figurehead, just a spokesman, just a puppet on a string! He will eventually leave, but the underlying system and institutions will remain in place. Bush did not decide to go into Iraq alone, he had the support of almost every member of the Senate and an overwhelming majority in Congress. And most importantly, he had the vital support and backing of the mainstream corporate press who brazenly and uncritically trumpeted the call for this disaster. Bush is just the fall guy now, a patsy for the elite interests he serves. The press and Congress will bash him, as they rightfully should, and he will now take the blame, as he rightfully should. But when he leaves office things will only appear to be better.

Just look at the newly empowered Democratic Congress. Despite their rhetoric, they have been incredibly weak and inept in stopping the Iraq war and cleaning up congressional corruption and ethics rules. They continue to pass legislation that funds the war without any meaningful timetable for withdrawal and have officially endorsed the Bush/IMF plan to rob Iraq of their oil. And another significant and underreported fact is that none of the war funding bills have included a proposed provision that would have required the Bush administration to get congressional approval for an attack on Iran.

The Democratic Congress has even been cutting secret “trade” deals that mean billions in corporate handouts. The Republican Party is dominated by Neo-cons who believe in world domination by military force, and the Democratic Party is in the hands of Neo-liberals who believe in domination by economic force - leaving 98% of Americans without any representation.
Fighting Back: The Media War

These are just some of the serious problems now staring us in the face. It is imperative that we start getting these messages out to the mainstream and quickly swing into action. We must get our message through elite corporate censors who seek to maintain the status quo and only half-heartedly attempt half-measures. The time for half-measures is over! We must begin to take bold actions now.

We need to widen the scope of debate and expand the spectrum of thinkable thought. We have to create a culture of accountability and destroy the support systems that have led us toward devastation. We must destroy the propaganda system and dismantle the concentration of media ownership!

“I think one has to say it’s not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems.”– Paul Wolfowitz

The power elite expend such great effort in controlling our communication and information system because they fear the American public more than any other enemy. They understand that if they lose their grip on our mass media, their lies and injustices will be exposed to the very people who can put a stop to their crimes!

The famed military strategist Carl von Clauswitz wrote in his study, On War, that the key to defeating an enemy is to identify and strike at “the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends.”

The mass media is the foundation of the elite power structure. Without domination of the mass media the elite power structure is a house of cards.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil,to one who is striking at the root.”– Henry David Thoreau
Once the people can get their message through elite censors, the necessary evolution will occur. And thanks to the internet the tide has begun to swing back in our favor. The internet has given us a major weapon to battle these entrenched interests.

The internet is the one method of mass communication where you can research news and information for yourself, where you can use your own critical thinking and judgment skills, where voices are not censored through elite corporate interests.

The internet has been for us what pamphlets were to our forefathers; a new form of mass communication that is not censored by elite interests.

People are going to the internet and finding out all the information and facts that the corporate media is not letting the public in on. So, right there, you have a critical mass of informed and outraged citizens.

“Never in my lifetime have people all over the world demonstrated greater awareness of the political forces ranged against them and the possibilities of countering them.” — John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

People are using the internet for organizing and movement building.

The corporate elite are well aware of this. They see an informed citizenship rising up. The elite do not want us getting together and discussing political issues. They want that to be something that the aristocracy decides, not you. That is why they are currently attacking the open architecture of the internet.

“Every new technology necessitates a new war.”– Marshall McLuhan
The internet has become the frontlines of the latest battle for justice, freedom and democracy. The internet is democracy’s last avenue. Cyberspace is our Underground Railroad.

The bottom line is that we are at the most crucial and pivotal time in human history. The actions we take within the next few years are of vital historical importance. Every one of us, whether we realize it or not, or whether we want to be or not, is in a war, a war unlike any other.

“You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”– Howard Zinn

And the train is racing toward devastation at a quickened pace.

Unless we evolve from passive, apathetic spectators into active participatory citizens and overthrow the corporate elite, we will eventually pay the ultimate price.

It’s just a matter of time… tick… tick… tick…

We are here to fight a war, an information war, a media war, a war for the survival and advancement of our species. However grandiose this may sound, it is the unfortunate reality of the current situation.

It is not a war that I want to fight, I wish I could ignore the power politics of the day, but I cannot, we cannot turn away from this crisis. When you see a major catastrophe heading your way you have to confront it and fight it with every tool at your disposal! Will you fight this war with us?

Sign up to get involved, stay informed and voice your own opinions and concerns.

Ending Terrorism

By Robert Thompson
Nov 25, 2007, 16:13

All decent folk throughout the world wish to put an end to terrorism, and we have to examine our consciences most carefully and honestly to consider how this can be done.

When we look to see who are active terrorists it rapidly becomes apparent that they tend to come from the ranks of supporters of one of many kinds of tyrant (or of a candidate for tyranny), every single one of whom wishes to impose or strengthen his or her totalitarian rule on all others.

The great British author, Eric Arthur Blair (who used the pen-name of George Orwell), wrote with deep perspicacity about the methods by which tyrants cling to their rule, and their tendency to use words to convey the opposite of their original meanings as a method of imposing or reinforcing their grip on power by thus hiding the truth.

We see this in our own time when the current President of the USA refers to his "War on Terra" (to describe systematic oppression, and I suspect that nobody in his entourage has ever dared to tell him that Terra is the Latin for Earth) and uses the words "Freedom" and "Democracy" to mean respectively "Servitude" and "Tyranny". In this he is merely following in the path of many of his predecessors, including in recent times both Ronald Wilson Reagan and William Jefferson Clinton. These are three examples of men for whom lying (which is in essence a form of contempt for all other human beings) has expanded from being the foundation of their distorted way of thought into becoming their whole way of life.

It remains however essential for all of us to find some way of ending terrorism, and part of the problem arises from the ease with which those setting up or running terrorist networks find new recruits.

In the case of state (or quasi-state) terrorism, this is done by "moulding" the education system, and having docile and utterly servile media doing whatever the ruler wishes them to publish, and this is very much the way in which the Neocon-Zionist rulers in the USA manage to make vast numbers of the people under their rule believe absolute nonsense. They managed to make many ordinary people, in the USA and elsewhere, believe that Saddam Hussein Takriti was behind the actions of his Wahabi enemies (whom the media have lumped together under the highly convenient name of al-Qaeda) when the latter attacked symbols of the power of the USA. They managed further, for some considerable time, to hide from the public in the USA the nature of the terrorist atrocities being committed by the invading Zionist storm troopers in Palestine and in neighbouring countries, and by troops from the USA in Iraq, even though the rest of the world has and had for some time been fully aware of these horrors.

The only way to break the hold of these evil, but extraordinarily brilliant, experts in propaganda is to give as many people as possible as much truthful information as possible, and there is no excuse for trying to simplify facts to the extent that they become untruthful. Lies, to be most effective, are simple, direct and uncluttered, but life is such that the truth, even if its essence is simple, is commonly more difficult to explain and often messy. People have to be taught this honestly, and not allowed to wallow in ignorance for the lack of anyone willing to explain. The fact that any truth is convoluted does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to explain, and we must not fall into the trap of telling half-truths because we underestimate our listeners' ability to understand awkward details and seeming inconsistencies.

Such modern terrorism as is committed by Islamists, those classified by the servile media as al-Qaeda, has arisen mainly as a result of the invasion and occupation of Palestine which accelerated from 1947 onwards, and more recently the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, where genuine causes seeking justice for the oppressed (many but not all of them followers of Islam) have been used by cunning power seekers to inflame hatred and a desire for revenge amongst dissatisfied persons whose weak understanding of Islam and of the Qur'an has been "moulded" to bring out the worst aspects of their personalities. In this, they are following in the footsteps of the ill-educated people in the USA who have been led to believe that Christianity requires them to kill and torture others in order to force them to join them in their servitude. In both cases, the sacred texts are used with careful selectivity to destroy their obvious clear original sense. Other violences arise from similar misuse of ancient religious texts and traditions, as where Zionists teach Jews that they are entitled to steal from, persecute, torture and kill the indigenous people of Palestine, or where certain Hindus in India believe that they are justified in burning trains full of passengers because the latter are Muslim. In both of these great traditions, the decent and the honest are shouted down by the raucous trouble makers, who see this as a way of seizing power and/or wealth, very often both.

If we are going to win the fight against terrorism, and it is a fight in people's minds more than on any battlefield or in any war, we have all got to admit the wrongs committed by our own countries and peoples against others and also do what we can to help the victims. This is particularly true of what is conveniently referred to as the "West" when we take stock of the wrongs done to those who were in the past weak and unable to resist. If we do not, those who were formerly feeble will build up their strength to seek revenge, and in the meantime many individuals will do whatever they can, however desperate it may seem, to make their perceived persecutors suffer. One of the most striking examples of this has been the number of young men whose despair has led them to be willing to commit murders by deliberately ending their own lives, the so-called "suicide bombers".

Unless a dialogue is engaged with the oppressed of the world, such horrors will continue, and it would be helpful if the people of every single "western" country could persuade their respective rulers to treat the victims of former and present persecution with respect and understanding. In today's world, the urgency is such that this should start immediately and simultaneously in the obvious parts of the world, Latin America, Africa and the Near and Middle East, but it should not end there. If mankind is to survive, we must all do whatever we can to bring understanding and compassion to bear among all the rulers of the world, but it is bound to be a long hard road to achieve success.

Terrorism can be ended, but not by brute force, since this merely reinforces the feelings of resentment which breed a desire for revenge. None of the measures announced by such criminal rulers as Mr George W. Bush, Mr Ehud Olmert and Mr James Gordon Brown (or by their representatives) will ever do more than recruit more to resist their greed and insensitivity. In other words, there is no point in papering over the cracks, the walls of the house have to be repaired properly.

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