Ertan Karpazli / World Bulletin
On July 22, 2013, the entire world tuned-in to witness the birth of a new heir to the English crown, George Alexander Louis, otherwise known as Prince George of Cambridge. As the first-born son of Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, he is the third in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William, and thus the continuation of the House of Windsor.
Although English royal family no longer plays a direct role in running the kingdom’s affairs, it is one of the oldest, wealthiest and most influential royal families in the world, and genetically connected to a much wider network of European royalty that has survived since the medieval ages. Until 1917, the House of Windsor used their original name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, indicating their Germanic roots, but as a result of the First World War against Germany, they decided to change their name to Windsor.
In fact, most of Europe’s royal families – including those of Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Austria and Spain – trace their bloodlines back to one another, and often find commonalities in the Catholic conquerors of the Iberian Peninsula (present-day Spain and Portugal), who brought an end to 900 years of Islamic civilization in Europe and expelled its Muslim and Jewish populations in the 15th and 16th centuries.
What is interesting is that as of Prince William, the forthcoming line of English kings and queens will trace their ancestry back to the Muslim Arabs who ruled the Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and 15th centuries, thanks to a certain woman known simply as Zaida of Seville.
Zaida of Seville was a Morisco (a Muslim who was forced to convert to Catholicism to escape persecution) who was born in the late 11th century in what is now southern Spain. There is a slight discrepancy regarding her identity. Some historians say that she was the daughter-in-law of Muhammad al-Mu’tamid, who was the king of Cordoba, while other historians say that she was in fact his daughter and therefore a princess of the Abbadid dynasty, which claimed lineage to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Others say that she was not the wife, but the concubine of Al-Ma’mun, the king’s son, who bore him two sons of his own.
Nonetheless, when the Almoravids, a Berber dynasty from Morocco, invaded southern Spain in 1091, Al-Ma’mun was killed and Zaida was captured. After escaping captivity, she fled to Seville. However, Seville also fell to the Almoravids, so she had no choice but to seek refuge with the Catholic king of Castile, Alfonso VI, in northern Spain.
Alfonso VI took Zaida into his palace and made her his concubine. At some point, she converted to Catholicism and took on the name Isabel (Elizabeth). Alfonso VI was recorded to have had a number of children but only one surviving son, Sancho, who was known to be the son of Zaida. He also had surviving daughters, two of whom by the names of Sancha and Elvira may or may not have been Zaida’s children, as there is a discrepancy as to whether or not they are hers or in fact the daughters of a later wife by the same adopted name.
Sancho died when he was just 14 or 15 years old in 1108 during the Battle of Ucles, so the crown was passed onto his half-sister Urraca. However, if in fact Sancha and Elvira were Zaida’s children, her lineage continued through them. Zaida’s supposed daughter Elvira married Roger II of Sicily. As for Sancha, she was married to Rodrigo Gonzalez de Lara of Castile.
Through two hundred years of Sancha’s descendants, Princess Isabella of Castile (1355-1392), who was the daughter of King Peter of Castile, married Prince Edmund of Langley, who was the Duke of York and son of England’s King Edward III. According to the family tree records of the late Princess Diana, she is linked to the descendants of Isabella Castile via Lettice Shirley (1619-1655), who married the 7th Earl of Clanricarde, William Burke. This makes Princess Diana’s son Prince William, and grandson Prince George, direct descendants of Zaida of Seville, meaning that the future kings of England trace their ancestry back to the Andalusian Muslims.
Another report in The Local suggests that Princess Diana and her offspring also descend from Zaida via another ancestor, the French Queen Marie de’ Medici (1575-1642), who was also a known descendant of Alfonso VI of Castile, although the report makes no explanation as to how exactly she was linked to Zaida.
Many historians have attempted to deny that Zaida ever took on the name Isabel, whereas others have claimed that she was not an Arab princess, but rather the daughter of King Louis VI of France, although chronologically speaking this is impossible. Although she was originally buried in Sahagun, her remains, along with her tombstone, were later moved to Leon in an attempt to cover up her existence. However, her grave is still found in Leon where the inscription on her tombstone reads in Latin, “H.R. Regina Elisabeth, uxor regis Adefonsi, filia Benabet Regis Sevillae, quae prius Zaida, fuit vocata”, meaning “here lies Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Alfonso, daughter of Aben-abeth, king of Seville; previously called Zaida”.
The former South African president, who died Thursday, was a revolutionary and a deep skeptic of American power.
Pic : Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
7. On the U.S. war with Iraq:
“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”
6. On Israel:
“Israel should withdraw from all the areas which it won from the Arabs in 1967, and in particular Israel should withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, from south Lebanon and from the West Bank.”
5. On the U.S. war with Iraq:
“All that (Mr. Bush) wants is Iraqi oil.”
4. Mandela on Castro and the Cuban revolution:
“From its earliest days, the Cuban Revolution has also been a source of
inspiration to all freedom-loving people. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of the vicious imperialist-orquestrated campaign to destroy the impressive gain made in the Cuban Revolution. … Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro.”
3. Mandela on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, his longtime supporter:
“It is our duty to give support to the brother leader … especially in regards to the sanctions which are not hitting just him, they are hitting the ordinary masses of the people … our African brothers and sisters.”
2. On the U.S. preparing to invade Iraq in a 2002 interview with Newsweek:
“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.”
1. On a Palestinian state:
“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Israel’s Fifth Column Never Sleeps
It is hard to believe that even though 64% of the American public favors a negotiated settlement with Iran over its nuclear program fully 37% of those polled also believe that the United States actually needs Israel’s permission before coming to any kind of agreement. To paraphrase the late great Mitt Romney, is that a percentage that we will never be able to reach no matter how good the arguments are for “taking responsibility” and restoring American sovereignty in the area of foreign affairs? One has to suspect that the percentage consists mostly of the Christian-Zionists, who lately have been conducting a large scale “action alert” email campaign directed at Congress and the White House to force the cancellation of talks. They are perhaps heeding the demand of Harvard Professor and professional Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz that the “entire pro-Israel community must unite” to stop any agreement.
Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas provided his own explanation for why “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” to the House of Representatives last Wednesday saying “There are many who have been aware of Scripture, and it has often been a guide in our relations with Israel. Some of us believe that the Bible is accurate. Certainly, so many prophesies have been fulfilled, and if that is true, this administration, unless they can find a verse that accurately says that those who betray Israel will be blessed, then this country is being dug in a deeper hole by this administration, and its betrayals of Israel’s trust and Israel’s friendship.” Gohmert, for all his sublime ignorance, is unfortunately not alone. By virtue of the evangelism and fine example set by the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin the scripture thumpers have escaped from the Bible Belt and are now to be found everywhere.
Congress is also doing its bit among the national security crowd, taking its lead from American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which supports “…congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts.” Leading Senators named Kirk, Schumer, McCain, Ayotte, Corker, Graham, and Menendez who have long been close to Israel are undercutting White House efforts to develop a formula that would break through the wall of mutual hostility between Tehran and Washington, insisting on new and harsher sanctions that would devastate the already struggling Iranian economy. Lindsey Graham even explained what we should all know about Iranians: “How do you define an Iranian moderate? An Iranian who is out of bullets and out of money.” Mark Kirk, who denounced a Kerry Senate briefing on the talks with Iran as “anti-Israeli,” apparently was briefed in advance by Israeli intelligence before the committee meeting began.
Even the normally somnolent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to be wavering under pressure from AIPAC, saying “I hope we can work something out with Iran, but I am a person who really believes in the State of Israel.” And Senator Rand Paul also appears to know where his bread is buttered, tweeting last Tuesday that “Amidst the chaos of the Middle East we have always had one friend that never leaves our side – Israel. As an ally, Israel has never wavered.”
AIPAC has sent memos and talking points to every congressional office and intends to buttonhole each congressman prior to the resumption of talks. It is also unleashing its media assets, which should surprise no one, but there is also the presence of senior Israeli officials on Capitol Hill, pressuring legislators and providing false information to discredit the White House. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dremer has been leading the charge, supported by Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennet, an extreme right-winger even by Israeli standards. They have been using fabricated numbers to demonstrate to congressmen that Obama is seeking to make significant cuts in Iranian sanctions. One might question why a congressmen like Kirk should be favoring information offered by the Israelis over what is being provided by the US intelligence community and even ask why Israelis should be on Capitol Hill at all lobbying to influence US policy. Also, why is the US mainstream media not reporting the story of direct Israeli interference in our political process?
The White House is trying to push back, urging restraint, but it almost certainly will find itself outnumbered when the Senate votes on two bills that will broaden sanctions and will require the US to support Israel militarily if it chooses to attack Iran. Even Secretary of State John Kerry seems mystified by what is occurring, noting that the United States is fully aware of all the issues involved and is not being “stupid” in its willingness to deal with Iran for the first time in 35 years. Clearly stressed after his repeated hours-long sessions trying to explain things to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he is even asking Israel how it can continue to justify stealing Arab land, a hitherto unthinkable rebuke that might possibly cost him his job. The Israeli government is already anonymously indicating that it has lost confidence in Kerry.
Well, Kerry should know better than anyone that he is confronted by a massive disinformation and influence buying campaign that is coordinated by the Israeli government to preserve its ability to deal with the Palestinians as it wishes while simultaneously creating the conditions that will eventually bring about an American attack on Iran. Here in the US we refer to the Quislings as the Israel Lobby, but something similar exists in many countries including France, Britain, Australia and Canada. It consistently and deliberately puts the perceived interests of the Israeli hard right government first before the interests of the countries that it operates in, though of course it always seeks to convince the audience that Israeli and local interests are identical. This is basically the argument being made and repeated ad nauseam about Iran, that the Mullahs are developing a nuclear weapon that will threaten the entire world. It matters not that the argument is a fabrication from start to finish.
On November 8th a desperate Netanyahyu reportedly made last minute appeals to Britain, France, Germany, and Russia to derail the Geneva talks with Iran, presumably under the not unreasonable assumption that he had leverage with their political leadership. The eventual willingness of the French government to carry water for him is only one indication of the power of France’s own formidable Israel Lobby. France is home to the largest diaspora Jewish community after the United States. It is wealthy and well educated and has long been prominent in French politics. The French Jewish organization the Conseil representatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF) is comparable to several American Israel Lobby components, to include AIPAC, in that it works actively on behalf of Israeli interests. It has endorsed every military action taken by Israel to include the bombing of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and the attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. One of its prominent members is presidential speech writer Paul Bernard and it even has as a Vice President a delegate in the French Chamber of deputies, Meyer Habib elected to represent French citizens living abroad in the Mediterranean region, most of whom are Israelis. Habib, a dual national and former Likud Party spokesman who divides his time between France and Israel, may have played a role in the French torpedoing of the Geneva talks with Iran when he passed on to Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius information he claimed to have received from his contacts in Israel suggesting that Netanyahu would immediately attack Iran if there were any agreement over its nuclear program.
To be sure, the French might also have been thinking of a possible large arms sale to Saudi Arabia, but as is usually the case it appears that the Israel Lobby influence was decisive. There was no genuine French interest that would have been sacrificed in coming to terms with Iran along the lines of a deal that was pretty much worked out and endorsed by the United States and others, but Fabius and President Francois Hollande thought otherwise. Hollande visited Israel on the weekend and addressed the Knesset early this week, promising that France would continue to take a very hard line with Iran, including possible demands that will likely make an agreement impossible.
If you don’t want to believe that there is something that equates to a coordinated Israeli effort to influence opinion by exploiting Diaspora Jewish communities I would refer you to last week’s speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Jewish Federations General Assembly, which is a quinquennial gathering of representatives of major Jewish organizations from all over the world. The Jerusalem meeting had in attendance many foreign Jews, including Michael Nutter Mayor of Philadelphia. In his keynote speech Netanyahu repeated over and over again that Israel is the “one and only Jewish State of Israel,” telling his audience that Jewish identity and Israel are one and the same thing, a viewpoint that many Jews would contest. He then went on to trot out his usual arguments about Iran’s wanting to destroy Israel and how Israel, always the victim of hateful neighbors, wants nothing but peace but has been rebuffed repeatedly by the Palestinians. He said the Jewish community cannot remain “silent on matter relating to our survival…We are charged with defending ourselves and we are charged with speaking up. And it is time now to speak up – all of us. All of us have to stand up now and be counted.”
Netanyahu’s vision is that world Jewry should and must stand up and support his policies, an interesting prescription that plays into the agenda of genuine anti-Semites who frequently question the loyalties of Diaspora Jews. Israel’s broader efforts to promote its own version of recent events in the Middle East are also coordinated and sustained by the Netanyahu government, frequently being referred to by the Hebrew word for media management, hasbara. Israel has a section of its foreign ministry that is dedicated to spreading its select narrative about Israel’s actions and it also encourages Diaspora Jews to support the effort by challenging critics and even disrupting their websites. Those who are most active and have an actual relationship with the Israeli government are referred to as sayanim. The Israeli government has also supported international efforts to tie up critics in court through the employment of Lawfare while also pressuring national and local governments to delegitimize or even declare illegal all criticism of Israeli government actions.
Canada has possibly the world’s most pro-Israeli government, its Prime Minister Stephen Harper having described Israel as a light that “…burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations – freedom, democracy justice.” He has also said “I will defend Israel whatever the cost,” an interesting proposition though he will likely have to go it alone as Canada has virtually no army and no ability to transport what they do have to the Middle East. The currently active Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism is seeking to define the “new anti-Semitism,” which will include any criticism of the State of Israel, and hopes to introduce legislation that will make it a hate crime and prosecutable. One critic has noted that it will soon be possible for Canadians to criticize their own government but not that of Israel.
Most Jews in the United States and elsewhere quite rightly reject being seen as little more than a political pressure group orchestrated by the extremist government of Benjamin Netanyahu, but one sees again and again how Jewish organizations, for whatever reasons, tend to go along with the program. Perhaps the successful effort to stall and possibly eventually derail negotiations with Iran will be a step too far as the role of the various groups working hand-in-hand with Netanyahu has become highly visible, forcing the lobbying to move out of the shadows where it normally operates. That AIPAC and CRIF and their counterparts in other countries are little more than proxies for the Israeli government is apparent and the people of the United States and France and elsewhere should begin to ask why such powerful organizations are able to operate without any restraint in promoting policies that actually harm local and national interests.
Published on Nov 8, 2013
A speech by Eugene Kaspersky at the Press Club in Canberra, Australia. The borad talk was designed to bring non-tech journos up to speed on infosec issues.
In it, he said a engineer friend told him Stuxnet had ‘badly infected’ the internal network of a Russian nuclear plant after the sophisticated malware caused chaos in Iran’s nuclear facilities in Natanz.
The malware, widely considered to have been developed by the US Government as a means to disrupt Iran’s nuclear enrichment plans, had crossed a physically separated ‘air-gapped’ network in the Russian plant after it was carried across on a USB device.
Balfour gave a “promise” for a Jewish Home Land, a land he had no right to promise, then Arafat legitimize the promise and gave away the land he never had a right to give away.
When we remember Balfour, we must remember Arafat and the PLO. Arafat and the PLO turned the Palestinians from proud successful professionals highly educated to a bunch of beggars and thieves.
96 years ago, Lord Balfour, foreign minister of Great Britain (not so great any more) a die hard Christian Zionists certainly an Anti-Semite gave his infamous letter to Baron Rothschild of what became known as the Balfour Declaration, promising the Zionists Federation of Great Britain and Ireland a “Jewish Homeland in Palestine”.
“ His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national homes for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it is being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
Lord Balfour like most if not all his contemporaries viewed the Jews as “aliens” separate from the English or German or Polish people. Anti-semitism at is worst.
This Declaration was incorporated into the treaty “Sevres” between the Ottoman Empire and became the blue print for the British Mandate of Palestine.
Long and behold years (1993) later comes Yasser Arafat to Washington in a grand ceremony at the lawn of the White House, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas legitimized Lord Balfour “promise” granting Israel and the Zionist movement full and unconditional recognition over Palestine, declaring the PLO as a “terrorists” organization and the years of deaths, destruction and the billions spent and the hundreds of thousands killed as “ terrorism” and not war of liberation, that the entire PLO is nothing but a lie and fraud.
Arafat dispatched the most incompetent, unfit, unprofessional team to negotiate Oslo in a deliberate contempt to the hundreds of thousands professionals within the Palestinian community.
In what is known as the “exchange of letters” between Arafat and Rabin, Arafat as head of the PLO gave the following letter:
“September 9, 1993
Yitzhak Rabin Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Prime Minister, The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era… I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments: The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security…the PLO accepts the United Nations Security Council Resolution2242 and 338…the PLO commits itself… to a peaceful resolution of the conflicts between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations…the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over the PLO elements and personnel’s in order to assure their compliance prevent violations and discipline violators… the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel rights to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regards to the Palestinian Covenant. Sincerely,
Yasser Arafat Chairman: The Palestine Liberation Organization.”
In response to such sweeping and unconditional recognition Yitzhak Rabin on the same day, issue a very narrow and limited letter that nowhere mentions Palestine or the rights of its people in Palestine it only gives recognition to the PLO.
“ September 9, 1993
Chairman: The Palestine Liberation Organization Mr. Chairman, In response to your letter of September 9, 1003, I wish to confirm to you that in light of the PLO commitments included in your letter, the Government of Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process”
One must keep in mind that Oslo I, the Accord and Oslo II of 1995 neither one promised a Palestinian statehood, never recognized UNSC resolutions 242 and 338, nor never promised to end the Israeli military occupation or stop the Jewish settlement movement.
In Oslo, Israel got the best deal in its history not even the American Congress could ever outdo. The PLO gave full and unconditional recognition to Israel and its Occupation, it took over the civil administration of the Israeli Occupied Territories, it created a security authority ($1.3 billions annual budget) for the sole purpose of providing security to members of the IDF and to the criminal Jewish land thieves and settlers, worst it agreed to pay for all of this, raising money from donors only to support and fund the Israeli military and settlers occupation.
Thus Arafat and now Abbas and the PLO were able to save Israel over $60 Billions in actual running costs of the Occupied Territories allowing Israel to use the savings to steal more land for its settlements.
The Palestinians today are much worst than they were before Oslo. Now they have to contend not only with the Israel military occupation, the armed settlers movements but also with racketeering ruthless corrupt incompetent Palestinian Authority. Arafat and the PLO turned the Palestinians to a bunch of beggars and thieves.
Arafat the icon of many Palestinian people was nothing but a big fraud, had nothing but contempt for the Palestinian people ruling the PLO as big time African dictator, together with his cronies looted tens of billions of the people’s money, billions that remained unaccounted for and aborting perhaps the most legitimate of all liberation movements.
He and the PLO were criminally responsible for the “forced” exile from Kuwait of some 350, 000 Palestinians long time resident of Kuwait who lost over $14 billions of assets. Yasser Arafat and the PLO never made accountable for such criminal and reckless disregards for the safety and security of Palestinian people. Never opened a board of inquiry in to the massacres of Sabra and Shatila.
More insulting is the decision taken by Yasser Arafat and his wife Suha to send his wife to Paris to give birth and reside, as if Gaza, well known as the baby factory” was not good enough for Arafat and his wife. The ultimate insult and contempt any leader could throw at his people.
Now that the forensic Swiss team from Lausanne came out with its recent report suggesting if not confirming that Yasser Arafat was assassinated through a high dosage of “polonium”. This report raised more questions that it answers.
1. Why 9 years ago, did his widow Suha Arafat, his family and the PLO leadership failed to demand a full autopsy immediately after his death and demand to preserve all the evidence and his medical records and failed to demand and open a formal coroner board of inquiry into his death given the rapid deterioration in his health in his last days?
2. Why does his widow Suha Arafat demand an international investigation into his death now and not immediately after his death…? Perhaps the millions she got from the PLO were too tempting at the time.
3. Why did the PLO and Fatah leadership failed to even open a formal inquiry into his death then, when they claim that Israel was out to kill Arafat? Well, Arafat was killed by some one, perhaps more than one within his very inner circles who had “ the smoking gun”.
Perhaps the present the PLO/ Fatah leadership knew of it, if not suspecting it but they were all too happy to see him out of the way having finished his mission for Israel. Now the new team in the leadership will continue with their journey to finish what Arafat started in Oslo. Sell what remains of Palestine.
In conclusion, Yasser Arafat and the PLO were and are nothing but a big fraud, a big lie, the most corrupt; incompetent failed “liberation” organization in the history of liberation movements.
When Arafat returned to manage the Jewish Occupation, he brought with him a collection of human trash to help him manage the task entrusted to him by Israel. That is why some 20 years later, there are no credible governing institutions with corruption, incompetence as the rule not the exception.
As a journalist I have spent the last four months with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and arrived in Germany over the weekend. I worked in Hong Kong as part of the WikiLeaks team that brokered a number of asylum offers for Snowden and negotiated his safe exit from Hong Kong to take up his legal right to seek asylum. I was travelling with him on our way to Latin America when the United States revoked his passport, stranding him in Russia. For the next 39 days I remained with him in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where I assisted in his legal application to 21 countries for asylum, including Germany, successfully securing his asylum in Russia despite substantial pressure by the United States. I then remained with him until our team was confident that he had established himself and was free from the interference of any government.
Whilst Edward Snowden is safe and protected until his asylum visa is due to be renewed in nine months’ time, there is still much work to be done. The battle Snowden joined against state surveillance and for government transparency is one that WikiLeaks – and many others – have been fighting, and will continue to fight.
WikiLeaks’ battles are many: we fight against unaccountable power and government secrecy, publishing analysis and documents for all affected and to forever provide the public with the history that is theirs. For this, we are fighting legal cases in many jurisdictions and face an unprecedented Grand Jury investigation in the United States. WikiLeaks continues to fight for the protection of sources. We have won the battle for Snowden’s immediate future, but the broader war continues.
Already, in the few days I have spent in Germany, it is heartening to see the people joining together and calling for their government to do what must be done – to investigate NSA spying revelations, and to offer Edward Snowden asylum. The United States should no longer be able to continue spying on every person around the globe, or persecuting those that speak the truth.
Snowden is currently safe in Russia, but there are whistleblowers and sources to whom this does not apply. Chelsea Manning has been subject to abusive treatment by the United States government and is currently serving a 35-year sentence for exposing the true nature of war. Jeremy Hammond is facing a decade in a New York jail for allegedly providing journalists with documents that exposed corporate surveillance. I hope I have shown a counter example: with the right assistance whistleblowers can speak the truth and keep their liberty.
Aggressive tactics are being used against journalists, publishers and experts who work so courageously to bring truth to the world. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum are all in effective exile. Barrett Brown is indicted for reporting on unethical surveillance practices. My editor Julian Assange has asylum over US threats, but the United Kingdom refuses to allow him to fully exercise this right, violating the law. The UK government also detained David Miranda under the UK Terrorism Act for collaborating with Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.
The UK Terrorism Act defines terrorism as the action or threat of action “designed to influence” any government “for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause”. It prescribes actions that interfere with the functioning of an “electronic system” (i.e. the NSA’s bulk spying program) or which the government alleges create a “risk” to a section of the public. It should be fanciful to suggest that national security journalism which has the purpose of producing honest government or enforcing basic privacy rights should be called “terrorism”, but that is how the UK is choosing to interpret this law. Almost every story published on the GCHQ and NSA bulk spying programs falls under the UK government’s interpretation of the word “terrorism”. In response, our lawyers have advised me that it is not safe to return home.
The job of the press is to speak truth to power. And yet for doing our job we are persecuted. I say that these aggressive and illegal tactics to silence us – inventing arbitrary legal interpretations, over-zealous charges and disproportionate sentences – must not be permitted to succeed. I stand in solidarity with all those intimidated and persecuted for bringing the truth to the public.
In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution – transparency. If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.
When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged. When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it.
Courage is contagious.
Sarah Harrison, Wednesday 6 November 2013, Berlin
When National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden first revealed himself in a video interview five months ago as the source of leaked documents exposing the NSA’s collection of phone and data records of U.S. citizens, he noted: “The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change.”
Despite the rapid pace of the NSA revelations, the subsequent claims and counterclaims of U.S. officials (and the fact that nobody possesses the policy, technical, operational, and legal background required to accurately characterize these stories and place them within a proper historical and global context), there’s still one thing that can no longer be denied: The Snowden-supplied documents have instigated a global conversation about U.S. surveillance that will undoubtedly result in changes to the scope and conduct of certain NSA programs. And in fact, it’s happening already.
Within the last week alone we have learned that the Obama administration authorized an internal review that brought to light the existence of a program used to spy on numerous world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (This investigation complements an independent review of U.S. surveillance efforts conducted by former officials and experts, which will present its findings by year’s end.) Even the staunch defender of the NSA, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, announced: “the committee will initiate a major review into all intelligence collection programs.” Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that U.S. electronic surveillance was “on an automatic pilot because the technology is there,” and “in some cases, it has reached too far inappropriately.” And for the first time since the Snowden leaks, White House spokesperson Jay Carney acknowledged the agency’s overreach saying, “We recognize that there need to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence.”
Yet, Snowden’s most meaningful and enduring impact will not be prompting U.S. electronic surveillance policy reform. Rather, what these five post-Snowden months have demonstrated is that inflating terrorist threats to justify expansive and invasive executive branch powers no longer resonates with the general public or most policymakers. That default appeal to 9/11 and vague warnings of terrorism that Bush and Obama administration officials relied upon to shape opinions and silence critics is no longer sufficient or acceptable.
Sill, intelligence officials continue to defend the NSA as just another federal agency dedicated solely to protecting American citizens from terrorism. In his opening testimony before the House Permanent Intelligence Committee last week, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander re-used this same old trope:
“First, how did we get here? How did we end up here? 9/11 — 2,996 people were killed in 9/11. We all distinctly remember that. What I remember the most was those firemen running up the stairs to save people, to there themselves lose their lives. We had this great picture that was created afterward of a fireman handing a flag off to the military, and I’d say the intelligence community, and the military and the intelligence community said: ‘We’ve got it from here.’”
Sorry, Keith: the NSA was not created on Sept. 12, 2001, but came into existence on Nov. 4, 1952. Its purpose was — and, in theory, still is — to collect and process communications intelligence in order to identify threats and opportunities for a range of diplomatic, military, and economic activities. (Preceded by the Armed Forces Security Agency, established in 1949, the Army’s Signal Intelligence Service (1930), and the Army’s Cipher Bureau (1917), the NSA was established with NSC Intelligence Directive No. 9 and authorized to be responsible for all national communications intelligence gathering.) It has been resourced and supported through its success and failures by senior decision-makers ever since for the unique information advantages that only it can provide. But, employing a selective narrative of the tragedy of 9/11 for political advantage, and rationalizing the NSA’s activities by directly linking them to Ground Zero should be condemned.
Likewise, General Alexander claimed that terrorist fatalities have never been higher:
“If you look at the trends in the [counterterrorism] arena, in 2012, it was the highest globally that it’s been ever. Over 15,000 people killed…. And yet, there has not been a mass casualty here in the U.S. since 2001.”
Here again, he’s resorting to playing fast and loose with facts. According to the State Department’s annual counterterrorism data — which, as of 2012, is compiled by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism — global terror deaths have generally decreased from a high of 22,719 in 2007, to 11,098 in 2012. To be fair, there are methodological problems with categorizing terror deaths, and Alexander might have used an alternative database. Nevertheless, there were no international terrorism mass casualty events in the United States before or after 2001. And overemphasizing the NSA’s role in either causing 9/11, or preventing subsequent 9/11s, misses the inadequate government-wide response to al Qaeda that the 9/11 Commission found, and diminishes the important counterterror activities of non-NSA agencies. Moreover, this logic implies both that 9/11 necessitated the NSA’s expanded authorities, and that the absence of additional mass casualty attacks requires that all existing authorities must remain intact.
Consider also a June 24 NSA document, obtained by Al Jazeera America via a Freedom of Information Act request, titled: “Media Leaks Master TPs (talking points).” The very first one, under “sound bites that resonate,” reads “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.” This 25-page document of behind-the-scenes media guidance for “Congress, the media and anyone else within the Obama administration surrounding the leak of information related to NSA surveillance activities,” only confirmed what Americans have been hearing all along from senior officials: rationalize NSA, CIA, DOD, DHS, or FBI conduct by repeating 9/11.
One can hardly blame General Alexander and NSA public affairs officers from promoting counterterrorism — and consciously omitting other missions — to justify and protect their authorities, or shield dedicated staffers from condemnation and scrutiny. Yet Americans increasingly recognize that our political discourse, protection of First Amendment rights, respect for civil liberties, and conduct of foreign policy are overwhelmingly determined by our perceptions of terrorism. Government officials who seek maximum authority with minimum transparency shape those perceptions by constantly re-reminding Americans about 9/11 and inflating terrorist threats.
Yes, U.S. officials have to manage their obligation to the public and Congress to describe their agency’s activities as completely and accurately as possible, without revealing classified sources and methods. But General Alexander’s way of relaying the NSA’s activities with selective language that plays upon America’s resonant fears of international terrorism is a failing strategy. As David Rohde wrote last week, “The United States’ obsession with al Qaeda is doing more damage to the nation than the terrorist group itself.” Nicholas Kristof further noted that: “For a dozen years, security has been an obsession, rarely constrained by a weighing of trade-offs, and to what result? We have sought every tactical advantage, and this sometimes leads — as in eavesdropping of foreign allies — to strategic losses.”
There’s yet another problem with this approach, one that journalists have (selectively) reported based on documents that show that what the NSA says it does simply not match up with what it actually does. This chasm between justification and practice leaves the agency open to charges of hypocrisy or deceit. As Scott Shane’s excellent survey of NSA activities summarizes: “Obama and top intelligence officials have defended the agency’s role in preventing terrorist attacks. But as the documents make clear, the focus on counterterrorism is a misleadingly narrow sales pitch for an agency with an almost unlimited agenda.” As the “mission” section of the NSA’s own website declares:
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) leads the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enables Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances.”
What recent reporting has proven is that the NSA is not, in fact, a rogue agency, but rather one that is doing exactly what its galactically broad and all-encompassing mission entails. The violation is in misleading the nation — indeed the world — as to what that mission is, shrinking it down to just one line of action. It is a pretense that the Obama administration and intelligence community officials should cease.
Snowden has brought forth a national debate about electronic surveillance that is not only worthwhile but long overdue. One hopes that it is broadened to protect U.S. citizens from the vastly more intrusive and comprehensive private sector surveillance and tracking as U.S. surveillance programs are investigated further. Snowden will likely play an essential role in changing how people think about state surveillance and personal privacy. Tolerating U.S. officials’ mischaracterization of the world as one of innumerable terror threats, and then misrepresent their agencies as responding solely to such inflated threats, is far more damaging than the activities of any one agency, including the NSA. But beyond that, officials are learning the hard way that simply shouting “terrorism” in a crowded policy debate is no longer a convincing call to action.
Latest Update about this issue: http://www.crestonnewsadvertiser.com/… – 2/11/11 article
**UPDATE: the label on Aquafina will soon be changed to spell out that it is just expensive tap water.
The craze of bottled water is a national obsession but tap water is usually safer for you, and often better tasting too. Using a hidden camera, Penn & Teller will take a look at the obsession.
Paris Jackson, the daughter of pop legend Michael Jackson, appears to be aware of a lot of things but her life took a turn for the worse in the past months. On June 5, the 15 year old entered UCLA Medical Center (the same hospital where her father died) after a suicide attempt as she reportedly “cut her wrists with a kitchen knife and took as many as 20 ibuprofen tablets.” It was then reported that Paris actually “didn’t want to die” as she was simply “looking for attention”. OddON July 13th, Paris was released from the hospital but was transferred to an “undisclosed residential treatment center” – one that was recommended by her doctors. She is therefore still under tight surveillance because, according to People magazine: “The feeling is that Paris is still a danger to herself.” Why is she still a “danger to herself” is she did this for “attention”? Things are unclear. Is there MK programming going on there?
One thing is for sure, Paris is definitely aware of the dark side of the entertainment industry. Through her Twitter account, she was looking to “educate” her fans know about it. Here are some of the tweets posted on her verified Twitter account.
Here, Paris refers to MJ’s song “They Don’t Care About Us”, a song that seems to be directed at the elite. “Tell me what has become of my rights/ Am I invisible because you ignore me? / Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame/ They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name/ I can’t believe this is the land from which I came/ You know I really do hate to say it/ The government don’t wanna see”
The video featured MJ singing next to a giant all-seeing eye as if to emphasize who he was singing about.
Trying to raise awareness?
Paris also posted a series of strange occult and secret society-related drawings.
A hexagram with all-seeing eyes and a bloody knife. 666 in the pool of blood
Symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star – the “female” equivalent of Freemasonry.
A fractured skull with sealed lips doing sign of secrecy.
The symbol of Freemasonry.It might be relevant to know that Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor who was ultimately charged with “involuntary manslaughter”, was a high level Freemason.
Conrad Murray in Masonic regalia.
According to “Freemasons for Dummies” Murray was grand lodge officer of “irregular” Masonic lodge.
“Dr. Conrad Murray was actually a member of the “United Most Worshipful Scottish Grand Lodge of Texas”, an irregular, unrecognized bogus group in the Houston area, that has absolutely nothing to do with the Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas F&AM, or any other regular, recognized form of Freemasonry. Within three years of joining, Murray was made a grand lodge officer, with the rank of Grand Medical Director, which is the title that appears on his officer’s collar in the photo.”
- Chris Hoddap, Michael Jackson’s Doctor, Conrad Murray’s Freemasonry
After learning about Paris’ suicide attempt, Conrad Murray, who is serving a four year prison sentence, sent Paris a creepy “support” message stating: “I love you as a precious father loves his own child and I always will.” These words are coming from the guy WHO IS IN PRISON FOR KILLING HER FATHER.
In short, Paris appears to be a bright young girl who is quite aware for her age. She however appears to be “tainted” and manipulated by the same dark forces that killed her father. Let’s hope things get better for her.
Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:12 CDT
Early in the morning on June 18, a brand new Mercedes C250 coupe was driving through the Melrose intersection on Highland Avenue in Hollywood when suddenly, out of nowhere, it sped up. According to an eye-witness, the car accelerated rapidly, bounced several times then fishtailed out of control before it slammed into a palm tree and burst into flames, ejecting its engine some 200 feet away.
A witness, Jose Rubalcalva, whose house stood adjacent to the crash, told Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks news network that no one could approach the burning car because it kept exploding. In a simulated full-frontal crash of a 2013 C250 coupe, the car doesn’t explode on impact nor does it launch its engine 200 feet.
In fact, said Nael Issa, a Mercedes Benz dealer in Long Beach, “The car has a crumble zone, so when it crashes it goes in like an accordion. And in some cases the engine drops down, so it doesn’t go into you.”
The driver in the fatal crash was Michael Hastings, a 33-year-old crack investigative reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, whose June 2010 article, “The Runaway General,” exposed the behind-the-scenes failure of top U.S. General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan – and, even more damagingly, revealed McChrystal’s mocking attitude toward the Obama administration, which ultimately led to the general’s resignation.
Four months after Hastings’s so-called accident, and despite scant coverage in the mainstream media, new facts and evidence continue to emerge raising serious unanswered questions about whether the journalist was assassinated, the breadth of unconventional cyber-techniques that may have been used, and who might have been responsible.
Threats, Fears and Lies
Hastings’s pivotal article for Rolling Stone actually went beyond revealing Gen. McChrystal’s flawed leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and his scorn for the Commander-in-Chief. In addition it drew on McChrystal’s former role as the commander of Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a covert elite unit whose kill operations are routinely unaccountable to government, resulting in scores of civilian deaths by U.S. hands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere that have gone unexamined and unpunished. (JSOC’s activities feature prominently in the book Dirty Wars by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, which was subsequently made into an award-winning film that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Hastings continued to report stories that illuminated the darker side of U.S. military actions, including an investigation into the Army’s deployment of psyops, or psychological operations, on U.S. senators visiting combat zones in order to secure more war funding.
In Hastings’s 2012 book,”The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, Hastings wrote about being approached by one of Gen. McChrystal’s aides. “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write,” said the unnamed aide, who afterwards apologized to Hastings for his remarks.
Hastings later wrote, “I wasn’t disturbed by the claim. Whenever I’d been reporting around groups of dudes whose job it was to kill people, one of them would usually mention that they were going to kill me.”
But never did those fears escalate the way they did during the final days and moments of Hastings’s life.
L.A. Weekly interviewed Hastings’s neighbor, Jordanna Thigpen, who said Hastings was convinced that he was a target of surveillance after reading about the Department of Justice’s seizure of AP phone records in May. He became even more wary, she said, when details about the NSA’s domestic spying programs emerged in early June through former contractor Edward Snowden.
“He was scared, and he wanted to leave town,” Thigpen said.
The story that Hastings was working on at the time of his death centered around CIA Director John Brennan, the chief architect of President Obama’s foreign drone program. It related specifically to Brennan’s role as the administration’s point man tracking investigative journalists and their sources in Washington.
This email from Stratfor, a CIA-connected private security firm whose emails were hacked and released to the public by Wikileaks in February of last year, reveals that Brennan was indeed behind the “witch hunts of investigative journalists.”
The night of his death, Hastings had contacted Wikileaks attorney Jennifer Robinson and sent an email to his colleagues at the news site BuzzFeed, saying he was working on a big story and was “going off the rada[r],” citing fears over federal authorities interviewing his friends. Hastings blind-copied his friend, the Staff Sgt. Joe Biggs, whom Hastings had known from his time embedded in Afghanistan.
According to L.A. Weekly, just hours before the deadly crash Hastings had asked to borrow his neighbor’s Volvo because he suspected his own car’s computer system had been hacked.
The Los Angeles Police Department said repeatedly it suspects no foul play. Questioned after Hastings’s death, the FBI confirmed that the journalist was not under any investigation.
But those statements were directly contradicted in September when redacted FBI documents surfaced following a Freedom of Information Act request by the news network Al Jazeera, which showed that Hastings was in fact under investigation for a story in which he had interviewed a U.S. soldier who had been captured in Afghanistan.
Is This What Cyber-Assassination Looks Like?
In an era of unsanctioned drone warfare – where a man operating a joystick in New Mexico can carry out the remote-controlled assassination of any person worldwide who shows up on the President’s “kill list” – it may not be far-fetched to imagine that similar capabilities, and techniques, are being employed closer to home.
Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings’s crash looked “consistent with a car cyber attack.”
What did he mean? According to Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego, any modern vehicle’s computer system made by any manufacturer can be hacked.
In a phone interview with Occupy.com, Savage described a series of experiments that he and his team conducted, in which they remotely hacked a car’s computer systems. “If you’re talking about where people have arbitrary control of a car, that takes a significant amount of time,” Savage said. “If you want to take it over and break it, that’s less complicated.”
Savage explained that all computers in a car are connected to one another, bridged by one component and compromised by that same component. As a result, he said, “We could listen to conversations in the car, and could take over everything in the drivetrain, like acceleration and brakes, through a cellular network.”
In terms of range and power to manipulate a vehicle remotely, he said, “We found vulnerabilities from 1,000 miles away.”
After the successful experiments were reported, Savage noted a huge response from manufacturers that spurred new innovations in cybersecurity for car computer systems. “They’ve spent millions of dollars on hiring new people, and acknowledged that [cybersecurity] is something they need to take seriously,” he said.
After the fiery crash, Hastings’s charred remains were quickly cremated, but not before the L.A. coroner released a report indicating the journalist had trace amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana in his system. Mainstream media jumped on the angle, eager to dismiss Hastings’s complex backstory in favor of the simpler line: he was another young, talented, but out-of-control drug addict who had tragically ended his own life.
Despite NBC Southern California plainly reporting that the drugs in Hastings’s body were ruled to have had nothing to do with the crash, it didn’t stop the media from smearing Hastings in its coverage.
“When Michael embarrassed [the media] by writing a story about what the military is actually up to, the universal refrain was, ‘How dare you!’” said Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks and a friend of Hastings. “Anytime someone sticks their head up and doesn’t go along, they’re universally despised by the establishment. They were jealous of him, too. The media was not a fan of Michael, at all.”
On a CNN segment broadcast shortly after Gen. McChrystal’s forced resignation, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan said, “Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.” Hastings’s “Runaway General” article had drawn Pentagon apologists out of the woodwork, who condemned him for breaking what anonymous sources for the Washington Post and ABC News called unspoken journalistic ground rules.
As Uygur further explained: “All the large media conglomerates have some tie to getting contracts from the government. Whether Comcast needed approval for a merger, or GE needed a defense contract, every one of those giant corporations needs something from the government. So it’s become a synergistic environment – Comcast gives the government something, the government gives Comcast something else.
“The implicit message is: Don’t rock the boat, and keep the gravy train coming,” Uygur said.
A Chilling Brand of Outsourcing
In the last four months, amid heightened tensions over government spying and a widening pursuit of whistleblowers, many have speculated that Hastings’s death was the product of a conspiracy involving the CIA, NSA, FBI or other federal agencies. What has been less discussed is the possibility that Hastings was assassinated by private contractors – conceivably the same types who were involved or affiliated with operations in Iraq or Afghanistan, thousands of whom remain active today.
Even after private defense contractors committed gross and punishable offenses overseas, those same firms continue to receive no-bid contracts from the U.S. government with zero accountability for their crimes. KBR’s showers electrocuted troops while their administrators forced gang-rape victims to sign mandatory arbitration agreements that prevented them from suing. Halliburton overcharged the government by tens of millions of dollars. And Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater/Xe, was himself implicated in a murder and has spoken of leading an anti-Muslim crusade through his company.
This infographic shows the alarming amount of money – some $3.3 trillion – spent on private military contractors since 9/11. But what rarely gets discussed, beyond the dollars wasted and the crimes committed by private war-profiteering corporations, is the pervasive, growing sense of domination of these mega-firms in the past decade that have solidified their rule over U.S. military and foreign policy decisions.
The question that Hastings’s unexplained death poses is whether those same private, militarized forces may be bringing the war home as they deploy technology and battlefield-honed tactics to ensure that deeper truths remain unseen — and that nothing threatens the bottom line.
“The government empowers these private individuals and corporations to do almost everything they want,” continued Uygur, “including hiring them to kill people. And you’re going to be surprised when they keep doing that with the same impunity they’ve always had? It’s only a matter of time.”
Hastings was a frequent contributor to The Young Turks, and Uygur said when Hastings moved to Los Angeles, they often talked before and after each show. Uygur said there were a lot of private contractors who didn’t like Hastings.
“At some point,” Uygur suggested, “will they take the law into their own hands, and say, ‘Well, if we were hired to kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan, why not kill them over here?’ Have they done that? I have no idea.”
In Search of the Facts
Just south of the Melrose intersection on Highland Avenue, in Hollywood’s Hancock Park neighborhood, the palm tree where Michael Hastings’s car crashed and exploded in flames in June remains scorched black about 20 feet high. Parts of the car are buried in the base of the tree, where a poster is attached that reads, “THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” on one line, and “#HASTINGS” on another. A military medal is also pinned to the tree, and these photos taken by a local woman of the Hastings memorial show it at its busiest earlier in the summer.
“His friends and family who know him, everyone says he drives like a grandma, so that right there doesn’t seem like something that he would be doing,” said Hastings’s friend, the Staff Sgt. Joe Biggs, in an interview with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly one week after the crash. “He had a lot of friends and family that cared about him. He had a good life to live. There’s no way he would be acting erratic like that and acting that out of control.”
Hastings’s last article, published on BuzzFeed, exposed Democratic Party leaders including President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin for their support of the same domestic spying programs they had criticized during the Bush years, but which they worked to expand under the Obama administration.
One of Hastings’s most remembered lines is this: “When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.” And as facts go, the truth behind Michael Hastings’s death, whether he was intentionally killed and by whom, may be opening a much bigger, broader and more dangerous story than the Americans he was writing for are prepared to face.
Review By David Ray Griffin
October 19, 2013 “Information Clearing House - There have been several good films and videos about 9/11. But the new film by award-winning film-maker Massimo Mazzucco is in a class by itself.
For those of us who have been working on 9/11 for a long time, this is the film we have been waiting for.
Whereas there are excellent films treating the falsity of particular parts of the official account, such as the Twin Towers or WTC 7, Mazzucco has given us a comprehensive documentary treatment of 9/11, dealing with virtually all of the issues.
There have, of course, been films that treated the fictional official story as true. And there are films that use fictional stories to portray people’s struggles after starting to suspect the official story to be false.
But there is no fiction in Mazzucco’s film – except in the sense that it clearly and relentlessly exposes every part of the official account as fictional.
Because of his intent at completeness, Mazzucco has given us a 5-hour film. It is so fascinating and fast-paced that many will want to watch it in one sitting. But this is not necessary, as the film, which fills 3 DVDs, consists of 7 parts, each of which is divided into many short chapters.
These 7 parts treat Air Defence, The Hijackers, The Airplanes, The Pentagon, Flight 93, The Twin Towers, and Building 7. In each part, after presenting facts that contradict the official story, Mazzucco deals with the claims of the debunkers (meaning those who try to debunk the evidence provided by the 9/11 research community).
The Introduction, reflecting the film’s title, deals with 12 uncanny parallels between Pearl Harbor and September 11.
The film can educate people who know nothing about 9/11 (beyond the official story), those with a moderate amount of knowledge about the various problems with the official story, and even by experts. (I myself learned many things.)
Mazzucco points out that his film covers 12 years of public debate about 9/11. People who have been promoting 9/11 truth for many of these years will see that their labors have been well-rewarded: There is now a high-quality, carefully-documented film that dramatically shows the official story about 9/11 to be a fabrication through and through.
This is truly the film we have been waiting for.
Availability: The film is freely available to the world at:
1. The film-maker’s own website, complete with detailed index: http://www.luogocomune.net/site/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=167
update from http://beforeitsnews.com 20th of oct. 2013
What Really Happened When the House Stenographer Was Pulled Off the Floor?
House stenographer Dianna Reidy (a very religious person as they say on FOX News) interupts Congress in Votation
here’s the transcript (thanks to
Allright, ready for the 3rd part ?
Hope you like my picks .
(Note : they have nothing to do with selling records but with their musical and poetry impact on myself)
Mannfred Manns Earth Band – Don’t kill it Carol Video here
The Guess Who – American Woman Video here
Ronnie James Dio – Push Video here
The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black Video here
Jethro Tull – Cross eyed Mary Video here
Ten years after – I love to change the world Video here
Ram Jam – Black Betty Video here
Queensryche – Suite Sister Mary Video here
King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man Video here
Queen – Brighton Rock Video here
stay tuned for the 4th part
Allright, ready for the 2nd part ?
Hope you like my picks .
(Note : they have nothing to do with selling records but with their musical and poetry impact on myself)
Sixto Rodriguez – Sugar Man Video here
The Marshall Tucker Band – Ramblin Video here
ZZ Top – La Grange Video here
Van Halen – Why can’t this be love Video here
Jeff Beck – It gets us all in the end Video here
Asia – Wildest Dreams Video here
Whitesnake – Don’t break my heart again Video here
Robert Palmer – Some like it hot Video here
Police – Synchronicity 2 Video here
Billy Joel – Pressure Video here
stay tuned for the 3rd part
Hope you like my picks
(they have nothing to do with selling records but with their musical and poetry impact on myself)
Enjoy / 100 to 90
Talking Heads – life during Wartime Video here
Derek and the Dominos – Layla Video here
Sweet – Love is like Oxygen Video here
Peter Gabriel – Solisbury Hill Video here
Boston – Don’t look back Video here
Gary Moore – Speak for yourself Video here
T-Rex – Bang a Gong Video here
Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to love Video here
Aerosmith – Dream on Video here
The Beatles – I want you Video here
Electric Light Orchestra – Shine a little love Video here
stay tuned ….. .
Former President Jimmy Carter, author of a new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,
is interviewed from his home in Plains, Georgia. He responds to a caller who asks questions concerning pressure put on the US political system and the resulting support of Israel.
The target of stray bullets and shells coming from Syria, the small Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar has also turned into a hub for Islamist militants – allegedly backed by Ankara.
(Note: Pic not avaliable due to Copyright.)
From Nevroz Algiç’s restaurant one can taste the spicy local food while enjoying the best views over the front line, literally across the street. The fighting is so close that gunfire can still be heard over the arabesque music blaring out of the loudspeakers.
Located 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southeast of Ankara, Ceylanpinar was once known for its gigantic agricultural complex. However, this city with a population of 40,000 is now yet another victim of the Syrian war. Since October 2012, four residents have been killed and dozens have been wounded by stray bullets, mortars and rockets.
“Before the new teachers would eat here and stay in this guesthouse but none of them wants to come here now. No one knows when the shooting will start or when will it finish,” Algiç tells DW. The bullet holes on these walls are a stark reminder of what’s happening round the corner. Still, material losses are not that important.
“My husband was wounded by shrapnel, my 10-year-old son is traumatized by the explosions and the older one quit university,” adds Algiç, sitting next to one of the broken windows. Behind her, a cargo train slowly moves across the no-man’s land between Turkey and Syria.
It was actually the Orient Express railway, built in 1911, that would help draw the borders of Syria and Turkey 10 years later. Berlin and Baghdad were finally connected but the Kurdish town of Serekaniye was cut in two: the one in Turkey was called Ceylanpinar, its Syrian counterpart was named Ras al Ayn.
On the road to Paradise
Like most others here, Mehmet also has cross-border family ties. The civil servant, who prefers not to disclose his full name, claims that the situation started worsening on a particular night last October.
“That night I saw armed people getting out a caravan of buses. I immediately called the police but they told me not to worry and said that everything was under control,” he told DW. Other residents also spotted armed men crossing the border into Syria. Apparently, they all got the same answer from the local security forces: ‘everything is under control.’”
“We often see buses around with all their curtains drawn. I have no doubt that their passengers are Islamists on the road to Paradise,” says Mehmet with a sad smile. He criticizes the “silence of the Turkish media on Ankara’s dark moves,” as he puts it.
“Here it’s not about rebels fighting [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, it’s Jabhat al-Nusra – an armed group close to al Qaeda – and Syrian Kurdish fighters engaging in brutal clashes.”
From the beginning of the uprising in March 2011, Syria’s Kurds vowed a “third way” – neither with Assad, nor with the insurgents. Theirs is a neutral position that has led to clashes with both sides, but in July 2012 they took over their stronghold areas, in the north of the country.
The YPG – the main Kurdish militia group – and the Free Syrian Army signed a ceasefire on July 12 in Ras al Ayn but Jabhat al-Nusra distanced iself from the truce.
Many local residents told DW that Ankara is hosting Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in a camp near an unchecked border crossing west of Ceylanpinar.
Ibrahim Polat, a local journalist for the Dicle News Agency, says the allegations are true and adds that Ankara’s alleged backing of Islamists goes even further:
“During the last months hundreds of fighters have been taken by Turkish ambulances from Syria to Ceylanpinar hospital and those with more serious injuries were taken to Balikdigol hospital in Sanliurfa, the provincial capital. Kurdish militiaman are systematically rejected in the local hospitals so they are taken to Qamishlo, Syria’s main Kurdish city,” he told DW.
Anonymous sources from both medical centers told DW that there are no wounded fighters in Ceylanpinar, but that several of them are still being treated in Sanliurfa.
From his office, Musa Çeri, District Governor and member of the AKP, the ruling party in Turkey, dismisses such claims as “false rumors.”
“It is ridiculous to believe that Turkey could possibly back terrorist groups of any kind. My government would never do such a thing,” he told DW, adding that the government of Ankara is “only” struggling to address the ever-growing number of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil – over 200,000 according to UN figures. “Our religion, Islam, compels us to meet the people’s needs,” he says.
Nonetheless, he doesn’t hide his concern for what he considers to be Turkey’s “most pressing terrorist threat.”
“The Syrian Kurdish fighters are nothing but a branch of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party. If they finally get strong in their areas, they can easily conduct terrorists attacks against us across the border,” he explains. One of Ankara’s biggest fears, he says, is a Kurdish autonomous region similar to that in northern Iraq on Syrian soil.
Meanwhile, Ismail Arslan, Ceylanpinar’s mayor, says his town is paying a high price for the war.
“There have been dead and wounded but people also move elsewhere, shops and business fold, property prices collapse.” And there is another price to pay, he says. “In Ceylanpinar, 60 percent are Kurds and 30 percent Arabs while Assyrians, Turks and members of other nationalities comprise the remaining 10 percent. The nature of the conflict is fuelling mistrust among us and causing a split between our people.”
Arslan says he prefers not to comment on the alleged camp nearby, but denounces Ankara’s role in the area.
“Turkey claims to be a democratic country but it is involved in a very dirty war,” he says. “I’m afraid our problems won’t end until Ankara stops supporting al-Qaeda-affiliated groups inside Syria.”
The Real Problem …
The fact that the Fukushima reactors have been leaking huge amounts of radioactive water ever since the 2011 earthquake is certainly newsworthy. As are the facts that:
- Scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are
- Radiation could hit Korea, China and the West Coast of North America fairly hard
But the real problem is that the idiots who caused this mess are probably about to cause a much bigger problem.
Specifically, the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.
If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States. Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.:
The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.
Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.
Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura calls removing the radioactive materials from the Fukushima fuel pools “an issue of human survival”.
So the stakes in decommissioning the fuel pools are high, indeed.
But in 2 months, Tepco – the knuckleheads who caused the accident – are going to start doing this very difficult operation on their own.
The New York Times reports:
Thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place.
The Telegraph notes:
Tom Snitch, a senior professor at the University of Maryland and with more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear issues, said “[Japan officials] need to address the real problems, the spent fuel rods in Unit 4 and the leaking pressure vessels,” he said. “There has been too much work done wiping down walls and duct work in the reactors for any other reason then to do something…. This is a critical global issue and Japan must step up.”
The Japan Times writes:
In November, Tepco plans to begin the delicate operation of removing spent fuel from Reactor No. 4 [with] radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. …. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction. Removing its spent fuel, which contains deadly plutonium, is an urgent task…. The consequences could be far more severe than any nuclear accident the world has ever seen. If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire. Any of these situations could lead to massive releases of deadly radionuclides into the atmosphere, putting much of Japan — including Tokyo and Yokohama — and even neighboring countries at serious risk.
CNBC points out:
The radioactive leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is far from under control and could get a lot worse, a nuclear energy expert, who compiles the annual “World Nuclear Industry Status Report” warned.
The big danger – and it was identified by Japan’s atomic energy commission – is if you lose water in one of the spent fuel pools and you get a spent fuel fire.
[Mycle Schneider, nuclear consultant:] The situation could still get a lot worse. A massive spent fuel fire would likely dwarf the current dimensions of the catastrophe and could exceed the radioactivity releases of Chernobyl dozens of times. First, the pool walls could leak beyond the capacity to deliver cooling water or a reactor building could collapse following one of the hundred of aftershocks. Then, the fuel cladding could ignite spontaneously releasing its entire radioactive inventory.
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.
Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.
“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
The operation, beginning this November at the plant’s Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said Gundersen and other nuclear experts.
That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the world’s most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.
No one knows how bad it can get, but independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”
The utility says it recognizes the operation will be difficult but believes it can carry it out safely.
Nonetheless, Tepco inspires little confidence. Sharply criticized for failing to protect the Fukushima plant against natural disasters, its handling of the crisis since then has also been lambasted.
The process will begin in November and Tepco expects to take about a year removing the assemblies, spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters by e-mail. It’s just one installment in the decommissioning process for the plant forecast to take about 40 years and cost $11 billion.
Each fuel rod assembly weighs about 300 kilograms (660 pounds) and is 4.5 meters (15 feet) long. There are 1,331 of the spent fuel assemblies and a further 202 unused assemblies are also stored in the pool, Nagai said.
Spent fuel rods also contain plutonium, one of the most toxic substances in the universe, that gets formed during the later stages of a reactor core’s operation.
“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said.
He was referring to an atomic chain reaction that left unchecked could result in a large release of radiation and heat that the fuel pool cooling system isn’t designed to absorb.
“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.”
The rods are also vulnerable to fire should they be exposed to air, Gundersen said. [The pools have already boiled due to exposure to air.]
Tepco has shored up the building, which may have tilted and was bulging after the explosion, a source of global concern that has been raised in the U.S. Congress.
The fuel assemblies have to be first pulled from the racks they are stored in, then inserted into a heavy steel chamber. This operation takes place under water before the chamber, which shields the radiation pulsating from the rods, can be removed from the pool and lowered to ground level.
The chamber is then transported to the plant’s common storage pool in an undamaged building where the assemblies will be stored.
[Here is a visual tour of Fukushima's fuel pools, along with graphics of how the rods will be removed.]
Tepco confirmed the Reactor No. 4 fuel pool contains debris during an investigation into the chamber earlier this month.
Removing the rods from the pool is a delicate task normally assisted by computers, according to Toshio Kimura, a former Tepco technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years.
“Previously it was a computer-controlled process that memorized the exact locations of the rods down to the millimeter and now they don’t have that. It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” Kimura said.
Corrosion from the salt water will have also weakened the building and equipment, he said.
And if an another strong earthquake strikes before the fuel is fully removed that topples the building or punctures the pool and allow the water to drain, a spent fuel fire releasing more radiation than during the initial disaster is possible, threatening about Tokyo 200 kilometers (125 miles) away.
ABC Radio Australia quotes an expert on the situation (at 1:30):
Richard Tanter, expert on nuclear power issues and professor of international relations at the University of Melbourne:
Reactor Unit 4, the one which has a very large amount of stored fuel in its fuel storage pool, that is sinking. According to former prime Minister Kan Naoto, that has sunk some 31 inches in places and it’s not uneven. This is really not surprising given what’s happened in terms of pumping of water, the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami, the continuing infusions of water into the groundwater area. This is an immediate problem, and if it is not resolved there is an extraordinary possibility we really could be back at March 2011 again because of the possibility of a fission accident in that spent fuel pond in Unit No. 4.
Mitsuhei Murata, a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland has officially called for the withdrawalof Tokyo’s Olympic bid, due to the worsening crisis at Fukushima, which experts believe is not limited to storage tanks, but also potential cracks in the walls of the spent nuclear fuel pools.
Japan Focus points out:
The spent-fuel pool … was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, and is in a deteriorating condition. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction.
If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire.
This is literally a matter of national security – another mistake by TEPCO could have incredibly costly, even fatal, consequences for Japan.
Like Pulling Cigarettes Out of a Crumpled Pack
Fuel rod expert Arnie Gundersen – a nuclear engineer and former senior manager of a nuclear power company which manufactured nuclear fuel rods – recently explained the biggest problem with the fuel rods (at 15:45):
I think they’re belittling the complexity of the task. If you think of a nuclear fuel rack as a pack of cigarettes, if you pull a cigarette straight up it will come out — but these racks have been distorted. Now when they go to pull the cigarette straight out, it’s going to likely break and release radioactive cesium and other gases, xenon and krypton, into the air. I suspect come November, December, January we’re going to hear that the building’s been evacuated, they’ve broke a fuel rod, the fuel rod is off-gassing.
I suspect we’ll have more airborne releases as they try to pull the fuel out. If they pull too hard, they’ll snap the fuel. I think the racks have been distorted, the fuel has overheated — the pool boiled – and the net effect is that it’s likely some of the fuel will be stuck in there for a long, long time.
In another interview, Gundersen provides additional details (at 31:00):
The racks are distorted from the earthquake — oh, by the way, the roof has fallen in, which further distorted the racks.
The net effect is they’ve got the bundles of fuel, the cigarettes in these racks, and as they pull them out, they’re likely to snap a few. When you snap a nuclear fuel rod, that releases radioactivity again, so my guess is, it’s things like krypton-85, which is a gas, cesium will also be released, strontium will be released. They’ll probably have to evacuate the building for a couple of days. They’ll take that radioactive gas and they’ll send it up the stack, up into the air, because xenon can’t be scrubbed, it can’t be cleaned, so they’ll send that radioactive xenon up into the air and purge the building of all the radioactive gases and then go back in and try again.
It’s likely that that problem will exist on more than one bundle. So over the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me that either they don’t remove all the fuel because they don’t want to pull too hard, or if they do pull to hard, they’re likely to damage the fuel and cause a radiation leak inside the building. So that’s problem #2 in this process, getting the fuel out of Unit 4 is a top priority I have, but it’s not going to be easy. Tokyo Electric is portraying this as easy. In a normal nuclear reactor, all of this is done with computers. Everything gets pulled perfectly vertically. Well nothing is vertical anymore, the fuel racks are distorted, it’s all going to have to be done manually. The net effect is it’s a really difficult job. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snapped some of the fuel and they can’t remove it.
And Chris Harris – a, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer – notes that it doesn’t help that a lot of the rods are in very fragile condition:
Although there are a lot of spent fuel assemblies in there which could achieve criticality — there are also 200 new fuel assemblies which have equivalent to a full tank of gas, let’s call it that. Those are the ones most likely to go critical first.
Some pictures that were released recently show that a lot of fuel is damaged, so when they go ahead and put the grapple on it, and they pull it up, it’s going to fall apart. The boreflex has been eaten away; it doesn’t take saltwater very good.
Like Letting a Murderer Perform Brain Surgery On a VIP
What’s the bottom line?
Tepco has an abysmal track record:
- Engineers warned Tepco and the Japanese government many years before the accident that the reactors were seismically unsafe … and that an earthquake could wipe them out
- The Fukushima reactors were fatally damaged before the tsunami hit … the earthquake took them out even before the tidal wave hit
- An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design
- Tepco knew right after the 2011 accident that 3 nuclear reactors had lost containment, that the nuclear fuel had “gone missing”, and that there was in fact no real containment at all. Tepco has desperately been trying to cover this up for 2 and a half years … instead pretending that the reactors were in “cold shutdown”
- Tepco just admitted that it’s known for 2 years that massive amounts of radioactive water are leaking into the groundwater and Pacific Ocean
- Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this
- Tepco’s recent attempts to solidify the ground under the reactors using chemicals has backfired horribly. And NBC News notes: “[Tepco] is considering freezing the ground around the plant. Essentially building a mile-long ice wall underground, something that’s never been tried before to keep the water out. One scientist I spoke to dismissed this idea as grasping at straws, just more evidence that the power company failed to anticipate this problem … and now cannot solve it.”
Letting Tepco remove the fuel rods is like letting a convicted murderer perform delicate brain surgery on a VIP.
Top scientists and government officials say that Tepco should be removed from all efforts to stabilize Fukushima. An international team of the smartest engineers and scientists should handle this difficult “surgery”.
The stakes are high …
Wed, 11 Sep 2013 16:09 CDT
This powerful social experiment set out to show us a glimpse of the disturbing discrimination many Muslims sadly face every day in America. I began watching this video thinking I would be left feeling disheartened and angry, but the words the soldier says at 5:05 are so powerful that I wish all people who held prejudice could hear him speak.
Israel vs Gaza 2009
100% self speaking evidence :
In the pic below the IDF was caught red handed using White Phosphorus over Gaza civilian areas in 2009. A Crime wich resulted in no reaction or action whatever by the UNSC or the western MSM .
i recall something like “Israel is only defending itself”! echoing troughout the MSM
Ok, the collective Human mind usually agrees to the right of defending, but does this really look like defending to you ?
As for now in 2013, there is still no real evidence supporting the use of CWs by Assad troops and video footage of the act itself seems obiously faked and/or previously staged but meanwhile western Main Stream Media and Neocons beating their war drums together against Assad and the 70% of the Syrian People supporting their President. (NATO confirmed the 70%)
MSM echoes : “Bomb Syria, bomb Assad”!
( with that similar “bomb Libya, bomb Gaddafi” from 2011 still ringing in my ears and that “bomb Iraq, bomb Saddam” echoing in my brain.)
But when it comes to the use of WMDs or CWs by western allies we can only whitness a rather “collective silence to complete denial” strategy by the MSM and their respective political and financial partners .
I begin to wonder for some time now when i watch MSMs reactions and opinions on this kind of issues and the shadows of some Operation Mockingbird crawls once again into my mind . Just the fact alone unnerves me that over 90% of the MSM is only in a few hands pointing to the suspiscious conclusion that the News on the MSM is in reality no real News but something more like strategic counterpropaganda .
Western MSM downplays facts on Gaza far to often while ranting propaganda against evil dictators in the ME and simultaniously hyping trivial BS (like todays Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber aso.) with the goal to distract and confuse the common peoples opinion on this serious issues.
Get over it, double standarts rule the so called civilized and democratic Politic World and their propaganda outlets for no UNSC was called upon this particulary Crime against Humanity wich took place in Gaza 2009 .
Fact is,: Israel has used white Phosphorus bombs on Gaza Civilian areas in 2009 and got away with it .
btw, Saddam used CWs (provided by the US) against Iran and got away with it too.
US used DU in Sebia, Iraq and Libya and still gets away with it .
no Truth, no Justice. no Peace !
Can you handle the truth ?
Here’s that famous “US will bomb 7 countrys in 5 years” speech from Gen. Wesley Clark again .
A must watch ………….
Investigative Project on Terrorism
Special to IPT News
Haifa, Israel - With seemingly limitless wealth and a penchant for often supporting both sides of the argument, the State of Qatar has become a highly significant player in Middle East power-politics. Recent events in Egypt and Syria, however, have put the brakes on Qatar’s ambitions. In this second part of his analysis of its attempt to influence regional politics, Paul Alster considers how much its flamboyant foreign policy, centered on furthering the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, might be coming back to haunt Qatar.
July 3 was not a good day for Mohammed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood’s man was ousted from power after just a year as Egypt’s president, having lost the essential confidence of the country’s powerful military leaders. July 3 was also a black day for the State of Qatar, the country which had nailed its colors and its money firmly to the Muslim Brotherhood mast, and which suddenly found itself the target of outrage on the Egyptian street and beyond.
Morsi came to power in a democratic election, but misinterpreted the meaning of democracy. He and his Muslim Brotherhood backers – primarily Qatar – appeared to believe that having won the election, they could run the country according to their decree, not according to democratic principles as the majority had expected. A series of draconian laws, a spiralling economic crisis, and a feeling on the Egyptian street that the Muslim Brotherhood was paid handsomely by foreign forces, spurred street protests of historic proportions, prompting the military to intervene.
With Morsi gone, Qatar suddenly became “persona non grata” in Egypt.
Qatar sought to extend its influence and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired view of how countries like Egypt, Syria, Libya, and others should be. Qatar was also playing a power-game against Saudi Arabia, another hugely wealthy regional power whose vision of an even more strictly Islamist way of life for Muslims drove a wedge between the two parties.
Another seismic change hit the region just nine days before Morsi’s fall. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani – in power since overthrowing his own father back in 1995 – voluntarily abdicated in favor of his 33-year-old son, Sheikh Tamim.
Tamim, educated in England and a graduate of the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy, became the region’s youngest leader, with the eyes of the world watching to see if he would maintain his father’s aggressive policy of extending Qatar’s regional influence. Few could have imagined that he would very quickly find himself at the center of a major political crisis as Egypt – a country in which Qatar had so much credibility and money invested – imploded before his eyes.
Within hours of Morsi’s departure, the streets of Cairo were awash with anti-Qatari banners accompanied by the obligatory anti-US and anti-Israel slogans. Al Jazeera – a staunch promoter of the Muslim Brotherhood view in Egypt – was vilified, its reporters attacked on the streets, its offices ransacked. Al Jazeera also had been hit seven months earlier after supporting Mohammed Morsi’s crackdown on young Egyptian demonstrators opposed to the rapid Islamisation of Egypt under the new government.
In the first part of my analysis of Qatar’s policy in the region, I focused on Al Jazeera’s huge influence on opinion in the Arab world and the West, portraying the Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood version of events in a way that the uninformed viewer might believe to be objective reporting. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Al Jazeera’s carefully crafted smokescreen as the moderate voice of the Arab world has taken a significant battering with the events in Egypt. That should serve as a wake-up call to those trumpeting the imminent launch of Al Jazeera America scheduled for August 20.
“There is a lingering perception in the U.S. –right or wrong – that the network [Al Jazeera] is somehow associated with terrorism, which could slow its progress in gaining carriage,” Variety Magazine‘s Brian Steinberg suggested last month.
Dubai-based writer Sultan Al Qassemi observed in Al-Monitor: “Qatar has dedicated Al Jazeera, the country’s most prized non-financial asset, to the service of the Muslim Brotherhood and turned it into what prominent Middle East scholar Alain Gresh [editor of Le Monde diplomatique and a specialist on the Middle East] calls a ‘mouthpiece for the Brotherhood.’” The channel has in turn been repeatedly praised by the Brotherhood for its ‘neutrality.’”
The Economist, reporting in January, reflected the growing dissatisfaction amongst many in the Arab world. “Al Jazeera’s breathless boosting of Qatari-backed rebel fighters in Libya and Syria, and of the Qatar-aligned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, have made many Arab viewers question its veracity. So has its tendency to ignore human-rights abuses by those same rebels, and its failure to accord the uprising by the Shia majority in Qatar’s neighbor, Bahrain, the same heroic acclaim it bestows on Sunni revolutionaries.”
In June, a vocal and agitated group of nearly 500 protesters took to the streets in Benghazi, Libya – the city where U.S Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three colleagues were killed last fall – demanding that Qatar stop meddling in Libyan internal affairs.
“Much of the opposition was directed at Qatar which protesters claimed was supporting Libyan Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Middle East Online reported at the time. “Analysts believe that Qatar is trying to take advantage from a scenario repeated in both Tunisia and Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood, which was an active participant in revolutions, seized power,” the story said.
To the casual observer, it might appear strange that the country that was perhaps as instrumental as any in helping bring about the downfall of the hated Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in Libya back in 2011 should be the target of such vitriol. Qatar, a close U. S. ally, was the main conduit through which weapons transfers were made to Libyan rebels who eventually overpowered forces loyal to the long-time dictator.
As Libyans attempt to create a new order in their fractured country, many now believe that the Qatari regime’s Salafist sympathies contribute to a growing influence of radical Islamist groups in Libya with similar ideological beliefs to the Qatari royals. Concerns had surfaced as early as January 2012.
“But with [Muammar] Gaddafi dead and his regime a distant memory, many Libyans are now complaining that Qatari aid has come at a price,” reported Time magazine’s Steven Sotloff. “They say Qatar provided a narrow clique of Islamists with arms and money, giving them great leverage over the political process.”
Sotloff quoted former National Transitional Council (NTC) Deputy Prime Minister Ali Tarhouni as saying, “I think what they [Qatar] have done is basically support the Muslim Brotherhood. They have brought armaments and they have given them to people that we don’t know.”
And then there’s the question of Qatar’s meddling in Syria’s civil war.
“I think there are two [Qatari] sources of mostly ‘soft’ power – their money and Al Jazeera,” Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli military intelligence, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “They are using their soft power to advance their regional goals. In Libya it was not necessarily a negative. In Syria they are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood [allied to the Free Syrian Army].”
“Now, what you have to assess,” Yadlin continued, “is whether the Muslim Brotherhood is better than Bashar [al-Assad], and whether the Muslim Brotherhood is better than the Jihadists and the Al Nusra Front [supported by Saudi Arabia].”
Yadlin’s pragmatic view reflects the dilemma of many considering intervention on behalf of the rebel forces in Syria. Is it better to try to arm the moderate elements of the FSA and have them replace the Assad regime? Would risking weapons supplied by the West and countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia falling into the wrong hands, possibly usher in an even more dangerous Jihadist regime that could destabilise the region even further?
Qatar played on these fears by presenting the Muslim Brotherhood as a relatively moderate force, but many now fear it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and no less dangerous than the Al Nusra Front terror group, which was added to the UN sanctions blacklist May 31.
Writing for the Russian website Oriental Review.org on May 23, Alexander Orlov reminded readers that Qatar was on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism during the 1990s, and sheltered Saudi nationals who were later revealed to have contributed to the 9/11 atrocities. He suggests that the U.S. turned a blind eye to Qatar’s previous record in return for using the massive Al Udeid facility as a forward command post in 2003 for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Orlov reminds us that Qatar was a major financier of the Islamist rebellion in Chechnya in the 1990s, and that after the Islamists had been routed by the Russian army, the [now former] Qatari emir gave sanctuary to one of the most wanted leaders of the Islamist rebellion, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, a figure who has inspired Chechen Islamists ever since. Yandarbiyev was subsequently assassinated by a car bomb in the Qatari capital Doha in 2004.
Qatar long ago signed up to the Muslim Brotherhood cause. It believed that this alliance would promote Qatar to being the foremost player in Sunni Muslim affairs at the expense of its main rival, Saudi Arabia. Recent events suggest that gamble may have blown up in its face.
Sheikh Tamim’s rise to power appears to have created an opportunity to mend bridges with Saudi Arabia after his father Sheikh Hamad’s antagonistic relationship with Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia was a key Brotherhood supporter from the 1950s until the 9/11 attacks. Then, in a bid to distance itself from the damning fact that 15 of the 19 bombers were Saudis, Riyadh insisted that Muslim Brotherhood radicalization of the bombers was a significant factor. Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad quickly stepped into the breach and became the Muslim Brotherhood’s biggest supporter, offering Doha as a base for spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
It is significant, then, that the new Qatari leader’s first foreign visit was to Saudi Arabia. He arrived there last Friday, reported the Gulf Times. “Talks during the meeting dealt with existing fraternal relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in various fields,” the official Qatar News Agency said.
Tamim’s outreach to Saudi Arabia suggests that the two countries may be on the verge of rapprochement. Where that development leaves the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar’s huge investment in underwriting the Egyptian economy, the funding of rebel forces in Syria, and Qatar’s previous foreign policy in the region, remains to be seen.
The choices Qatar’s newly appointed young leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, makes over the next few weeks and months may have a significant impact on regional politics and on Qatar’s future role on that stage for years to come.
“I suspect the Qataris will draw back somewhat,” former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan told Reuters. “Their infatuation with the Muslim Brotherhood has probably been dampened. They’re likely to come around to a position closer to the Saudis.”
Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist who blogs at paulalster.com and can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster
Investigative Project on Terrorism
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