Bahraini girls protest against oppression of journalists


Girls hold placards 'I am a journalist not a terrorist' at protest in Bahrain

Daily The Nation in Pakistan writes about this photo:

Bahraini girls hold placards reading “I’m a Journalist not a Terrorist” during an anti-government protest in the village of Sitra, south of Manama.

The Structure of Tyranny in Bahrain. A study of the Balance of power within the ruling family: here.

Britain and Iraq war re-start


This video from the USA says about itself:

Fox News: Iraq Chaos Proves Bush Right

16 June 2014

A Monday segment on Fox News asserted that President George W. Bush — who invaded Iraq under false pretenses, and then signed the agreement to withdraw all U.S. troops by 2012 — had been right all along because ISIS, an al Qaeda splinter group, was threatening to take over the country…

See also here.

By Richard Bagley in Britain:

Corbyn takes ministers to task over Islamic State

Saturday 13th September 2014

LABOUR leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn told ministers yesterday that Islamic State extremists “didn’t come out of nowhere” as war drums sounded during an emergency Commons debate.

The Islington North MP confronted junior minister David Lidlington a day after Downing St publicly slapped down Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond for suggesting there would be no British air strikes on Syria.

Mr Corbyn urged that Britain should not “automatically intervene everywhere and create the problems of tomorrow.”

But evasive Europe Minister Mr Lidlington, left in London to hold the fort for party “big guns” deployed to Scotland, pooh-poohed the idea that the rise of the brutal Islamic State (IS) is linked to the Iraq invasion and arms sales to the region.

And the minister parroted the Number 10 line that the government had not yet been “asked to take decisions about any possible military action.”

Warning bells repeatedly sounded as he evaded direct questioning in a session prompted by Tory John Baron, an ex-army captain who quit the front benches in 2003 over Iraq.

Mr Baron explained he had tabled an emergency question “given our past errors in our interventions — whether it’s going to war on a false premise in Iraq or the disastrous morphing of the Afghan mission into one of nation-building, or even Libya.”

With MPs now on a one-month break for party conference season, he said, “we must not allow Parliament to be presented with a fait accompli on our return.”

But Mr Lidlington did nothing to calm fears that Number 10 could be poised to act without MPs’ consent and sign up to bombing raids on Syria, where Britain has already spent £600 million to support rebel forces.

The scope of British involvement will become clearer next week after a Paris summit on Monday where “a detailed consideration of the part which countries can play” would take place.

“While wanting to put the matter to Parliament as rapidly as possible, it does need to have freedom to act in case of an urgent threat to the security of the UK or in case of impending human disaster,” he added.

‘Islamic State’ is a slur on our faith, say leading Muslims. Imams call on David Cameron and others to stop using phrase which they say gives credibility to a terrorist organisation: here.

The Iraqi army has killed scores of civilians by dropping illegal bombs on residential areas in its fight against the Islamic State (Isis): here.

ISIS murders another journalist, more escalation?


This June 2014 video from Armenia is called Turkey Roundup: ISIS, Kurds and the Genocide.

By Mike Head:

ISIS murders another US journalist, Steven Sotloff

3 September 2014

A repugnant video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), purporting to show the beheading of an American journalist, Steven Sotloff, has already been seized upon by Washington and its allies to justify further intensifying the military intervention in Iraq, with Syria the likely next target.

Sotloff’s barbaric murder was the second by ISIS of a freelance US journalist in as many weeks, following that of James Foley. It was accompanied by a threat to kill a British hostage, David Haines.

The footage shows Sotloff, 31, who was kidnapped in northern Syria just over a year ago, dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape. As in the previous video of Foley, this one then shows Sotloff’s severed head resting on his corpse.

The young man, originally from Florida, had worked for several publications, including Time, the Christian Science Monitor, World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy, reporting from many parts of the Middle East, including Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and finally Syria. Former colleagues, associates and editors paid tribute to his courage and dedication.

Sotloff’s family yesterday said they were aware of the video, which was yet to be verified by the US administration, and were grieving privately. He was executed despite a televised plea a week ago from his mother, Shirley, to the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to spare his life.

The family had known of Sotloff’s capture for a year, as had the US government, but his plight was not made public until he was shown on the video of Foley’s murder. A masked killer threatened his life in the event of further US airstrikes against ISIS.

As with Foley’s beheading, ISIS justified the heinous act as retaliation for the US bombing campaign in Iraq, referring this time specifically to the air strikes around the Mosul Dam and the northern Iraqi town of Amerli, previously under siege by ISIS. Over the past month, the US has conducted more than 120 bombing raids in Iraq.

On the video, Sotloff’s executioner declares: “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State… So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”

To murder individual journalists for the ongoing crimes being committed by their country’s government—which are opposed by millions of Americans—underscores the reactionary outlook of ISIS and other Al Qaeda-linked groups.

These atrocious killings, together with those of captured Syrian soldiers, have nothing to do with the aspirations of the oppressed masses of the Middle East for liberation from imperialist violence and domination. ISIS represents the interests of disaffected sections of the Arab and Muslim bourgeoisie, which seek to exploit the predatory drive of the US for hegemony over the energy-rich region, and whip up sectarian divisions, for their own capitalist agenda.

In turn, this barbarity is being seized upon by the Western ruling elites and their media outlets to overcome the broad hostility of their populations to the launching of a renewed war in the Middle East.

Even before the video of Sotloff’s beheading was verified, the American media and political establishment ratcheted up the drumbeat of demands for the Obama administration to escalate its military campaign and extend it into Syria. Referring to Obama’s comment last week that his administration did not yet have a “strategy” for Syria, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said Sotloff’s killing would heighten pressure on Obama to devise a strategy to combat ISIS.

Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would introduce a bill giving Obama authority to order air strikes in Syria. Representative Ed Royce, a California Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for more aggressive action against ISIS. “Working with key allies, the United States needs to be acting urgently to arm the Kurds on the ground who are fighting them, and targeting ISIS from the air with drone strikes,” he said.

There was no immediate response from Obama, who was about to leave for a weeklong trip to Europe and a NATO summit meeting, focussed on the escalating confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the video depicted an “absolutely disgusting, despicable act.” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the killing “demonstrates that we are dealing with pure evil” and “abundantly justifies what Australia and other countries are doing to assist people who are threatened by this murderous rage.”

Such statements are hypocritical to the core. The roots of the emergence of ISIS, formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, lie in the US financing and backing of the Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the 1980s. The organisation emerged in Iraq in the midst of sectarian violence encouraged by the US occupation, expanding into Syria as part of the US-backed regime change operation against President Bashar al-Assad.

As long as ISIS was carrying out its beheadings and other atrocities in Syria, directed against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the US and its partners remained silent on the barbarity of the Islamists, because they were supposedly fighters for “freedom” and “democracy.” It was not until ISIS swept into Iraq, taking advantage of the utter devastation and sectarian divides produced by the US occupation, that ISIS’s crimes were suddenly denounced as “terrorist” slaughters.

Now, the horrific murders of journalists are being turned into a pretext for another full-scale war of aggression in the Middle East, driven by the same underlying agenda—to exercise unchallenged US domination over the entire region.

Don’t escalate Ukraine war, United States intelligence veterans say


This video about the Iraq war and the USA says about itself:

WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception

8 March 2013

Directed by MediaChannel Editor-in-Chief, Danny Schechter

This documentary is about the media itself, viewed as a weapon system: Weapons of Mass Deception. Those weapons drove a media war, a war that many now believe perverted freedom of the press in order to manipulate public support for a real war.

Rather than challenging official assertions, most media outlets, used patriotism as a promotional tool, pandered to unjustified fears and nationalist sentiment, extolled the brilliance of military technology, and uncritically trumpeted the Bush administration’s “product.”

From remembering the Maine to the Gulf of Tonkin and now ten years after smoking guns and mushroom clouds, what have we learned?

From Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in the USA:

Don’t get fooled again on Ukraine

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, veteran US intelligence professionals urge her not to be swayed by dodgy evidence into backing conflict with Russia

We are long-time veterans of US intelligence.

We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the Nato summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the US-led attack on Iraq.

We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then — we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now.

Twelve years ago, former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq.

In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the US State Department and Nato officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried earlier this week to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as “a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift.”

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration — who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy.

One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on “intelligence” that was dubious at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days.

More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the Nato summit.

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s chequered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington.

This was abundantly clear on the day before the US-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish prime minister, he told his Parliament: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.”

Photos can be worth a thousand words — they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analysing and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence.

Suffice it to say that the images released by Nato on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine.

Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were “increasingly distressed at the politicisation of intelligence” and told him flatly: “Powell’s presentation does not come close” to justifying war.

We urged Bush to “widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic.

Although President Vladimir Putin has until now shown considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can “shock and awe.”

In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

If the photos that Nato and the US have released represent the best available “proof” of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the Nato summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative.

Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of Nato is anathema to the Kremlin.

According to a February 1 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the US embassy in Moscow to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, US ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to Nato membership for Ukraine.

Lavrov warned pointedly of “fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.”

Burns gave his cable the unusual title “Nyet Means Nyet: Russia’s Nato Enlargement Red Lines,” and sent it off to Washington with immediate precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest, Nato leaders issued a formal declaration that “Georgia and Ukraine will be in Nato.”

Just last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of parliament that he has requested, the path to Nato membership is open.

Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favourite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d’etat in Kiev.

“Yats is the guy,” said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said: “f*ck the EU.”

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in south-eastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation.

But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev.

There were very few reports coming from the ground in south-eastern Ukraine.

There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

According to the “press service of the President of Ukraine” on August 18, Poroshenko called for a “regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the east of the country,” adding, “we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances.”

At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces.

According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the “Russian invasion.”

That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by Nato and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that “the Russians are coming.” (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq).

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centres.

And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence.

But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point — mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come. This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying.

What is to be done at this point?

In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership of Nato is not on the cards — and that Nato has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia — and especially not in support of the rag-tag army of Ukraine.

Other members of Nato need to be told the same thing.

This memorandum from the steering group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity first appeared on www.coleenroley.com.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in agreement on a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, but the statement was ambiguous and a top rebel figure said no cease-fire was possible without Ukraine withdrawing its forces: here.

UKRAINE RETRACTS ‘CEASE-FIRE’ LANGUAGE “The office of President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine said Wednesday that he and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had a similar understanding about what was needed to achieve a cease-fire in southeastern Ukraine, but it retracted a statement it had made earlier in the day that said the two men had agreed to a ‘lasting cease-fire.’ The initial statement, posted on the presidential website, went too far in describing the results of a telephone call between the two leaders as having reached a cease-fire, said a spokesman, noting that a revised version would be posted shortly.” The news, which comes just as President Obama is landing in the Baltics, is doing wonders for the markets despite an undercurrent of uncertainty. [NYT]

German President Gauck threatens Russia with war: here.