‘The Economic System We Have Created Global Warming’:
An Interview with Naomi Klein Klaus BrinkbÃ¤umer and Naomi Klein / Der Spiegel
(February 25, 2015) — SPIEGEL: Ms. Klein, why aren’t people able to stop climate change?
Klein: Bad luck. Bad timing. Many unfortunate coincidences.
SPIEGEL: The wrong catastrophe at the wrong moment?
Klein: The worst possible moment. The connection between greenhouse gases and global warming has been a mainstream political issue for humanity since 1988. It was precisely the time that the Berlin Wall fell and Francis Fukuyama declared the “End of History,” the victory of Western capitalism. Canada and the US signed the first free-trade agreement, which became the prototype for the rest of the world.
SPIEGEL: So you’re saying that a new era of consumption and energy use began precisely at the moment when sustainability and restraint would have been more appropriate?
Klein: Exactly. And it was at precisely this moment that we were also being told that there was no longer any such thing as social responsibility and collective action, that we should leave everything to the market. We privatized our railways and the energy grid, the WTO and the IMF locked in an unregulated capitalism. Unfortunately, this led to an explosion in emissions.
SPIEGEL: You’re an activist, and you’ve blamed capitalism for all kinds of things over the years. Now you’re blaming it for climate change too?
Klein: That’s no reason for irony. The numbers tell the story. During the 1990s, emissions went up by 1 percent per year. Starting in 2000, they started to go up by an average of 3.4 percent.
The American Dream was exported globally and consumer goods that we thought of as essential to meet our needs expanded rapidly. We started seeing ourselves exclusively as consumers. When shopping as a way of life is exported to every corner of the globe, that requires energy. A lot of energy.
SPIEGEL: Let’s go back to our first question: Why have people been unable to stop this development?
Klein: We have systematically given away the tools. Regulations of any kind are now scorned. Governments no longer create tough rules that limit oil companies and other corporations. This crisis fell into our laps in a disastrous way at the worst possible moment. Now we’re out of time. Where we are right now is a do-or-die moment. If we don’t act as a species, our future is in peril. We need to cut emissions radically.
SPIEGEL: Let’s go back to another question: Are you not misappropriating the issue of climate change for use in your critique of capitalism?
Klein: No. The economic system that we have created has also created global warming. I didn’t make this up. The system is broken, income inequality is too great and the lack of restraint on the part of the energy companies is disastrous.
SPIEGEL: Your son Toma is two-and-a-half years old. What kind of world will he be living in when he graduates from high school in 2030?
Klein: That is what is being decided right now. I see signs that it could be a radically different world from the one we have today — and that change could either be quite positive or extremely negative. In any case, it’s already certain that it will at least in part be a worse world.
We’re going to experience global warming and far more natural disasters, that much is certain. But we still have time to prevent truly catastrophic warming. We also have time to change our economic system so that it does not become more brutal and merciless as it deals with climate change.
SPIEGEL: What can be done to improve the situation?
Klein: We have to make some decisions now about what values are important to us and how we really want to live. And of course it makes a difference if temperatures only rise by 2 degrees or if they rise by 4 or 5 degrees or more. It’s still possible for us humans to make the right decisions.
SPIEGEL: Twenty-six years have passed since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded in 1988. We have known at least since then that CO2 emissions from the burning of oil and coal is responsible for climate change. Yet little has been done to address the problem. Haven’t we already failed?
Klein: I view the situation differently given the enormous price we will have to pay. As long as we have the slightest chance of success or to minimize the damage, we have to continue to fight.
SPIEGEL: Several years ago, the international community set a target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Do you still consider that to be achievable?
Klein: Well, it’s still a physical possibility. We would have to immediately reduce global emissions by 6 percent a year. The wealthier countries would have to carry a greater burden, meaning the United States and Europe would have to be cutting emissions by around 8 to 10 percent a year. Immediately. It’s not impossible. It is just profoundly politically unrealistic under our current system.
SPIEGEL: You are saying our societies aren’t capable of doing so?
Klein: Yes. We need a dramatic change both in policy and ideology, because there is a fundamental difference between what the scientists are telling us we need to do and our current political reality. We can’t change the physical reality, so we must change the political reality.
SPIEGEL: Is a society focused on economic growth at all capable of fighting climate change successfully?
Klein: No. An economic model based on indiscriminate growth inevitably leads to greater consumption and to greater CO2 emissions. There can and must be growth in the future in many low carbon parts of the economy: in green technologies, in public transportation, in all the care-giving professions, in the arts and of course in education. Right now, the core of our gross domestic product is comprised of just consumption, imports and exports. We need to make cuts there. Anything else would be self-deception.
SPIEGEL: The International Monetary Fund makes the opposite claim. It says that economic growth and climate protection are not mutually exclusive.
Klein: They’re not looking at the same numbers as I am. The first problem is that at all these climate conferences, everyone acts as if we will arrive at our goal through self-commitments and voluntary obligations. No one tells the oil companies that, in the end, they are really going to have to give up. The second problem is that these oil companies are going to fight like hell to protect what they don’t want to lose.
SPIEGEL: You seriously want to eliminate the free market in order to save the climate?
Klein: I am not talking about eliminating markets, but we need much more strategy, steering and planning and a very different balance. The system in which we live is overly obsessed with growth — it’s one that sees all growth as good. But there are kinds of growth that are clearly not good. It’s clear to me that my position is in direct conflict with neo-liberalism. Is it true that in Germany, although you have accelerated the shift to renewables, coal consumption is actually increasing?
SPIEGEL: That was true from 2009 to 2013.
Klein: To me that is an expression of this reluctance to decide on what is necessary. Germany is not going to meet its emissions targets in the coming years either.
SPIEGEL: Is the Obama presidency the worst thing that could have happened to the climate?
Klein: In a way. Not because Obama is worse than a Republican. He’s not. But because these eight years were the biggest wasted opportunity of our lives.
The right factors came together in a truly historic convergence: awareness, urgency, the mood, his political majority, the failure of the Big Three US automakers and even the possibility of addressing the failed unregulated financial world and climate change at the same time. But when he came to office, he didn’t have the courage to do it.
We will not win this battle unless we are willing to talk about why Obama viewed the fact that he had control over the banks and auto companies as more of a burden than as an opportunity. He was a prisoner of the system. He didn’t want to change it.
SPIEGEL: The US and China finally agreed on an initial climate deal in 2014.
Klein: Which is, of course, a good thing. But anything in the deal that could become painful won’t come into effect until Obama is out of office. Still, what has changed is that Obama said: “Our citizens are marching. We can’t ignore that.” The mass movements are important; they are having an impact. But to push our leaders to where they need to go, they need to grow even stronger.
SPIEGEL: What should their goal be?
Klein: Over the past 20 years, the extreme right, the complete freedom of oil companies and the freedom of the super wealthy 1 percent of society have become the political standard. We need to shift America’s political center from the right fringe back to where it belongs, the real center.
SPIEGEL: Ms. Klein, that’s nonsense, because it’s illusory. You’re thinking far too broadly. If you want to first eliminate capitalism before coming up with a plan to save the climate, you know yourself that this won’t happen.
Klein: Look, if you want to get depressed, there are plenty of reasons to do so. But you’re still wrong, because the fact is that focusing on supposedly achievable incremental changes light carbon trading and changing light bulbs has failed miserably.
Part of that is because in most countries, the environmental movement remained elite, technocratic and supposedly politically neutral for two-and-a-half decades. We are seeing the result of this today: It has taken us in the wrong direction.
Emissions are rising and climate change is here. Second, in the US, all the major legal and social transformations of the last 150 years were a consequence of mass social movements, be they for women, against slavery or for civil rights. We need this strength again, and quickly, because the cause of climate change is the political and economic system itself. The approach that you have is too technocratic and small.
SPIEGEL: If you attempt to solve a specific problem by overturning the entire societal order, you won’t solve it. That’s a utopian fantasy.
Klein: Not if societal order is the root of the problem. Viewed from another perspective, we’re literally swimming in examples of small solutions: There are green technologies, local laws, bilateral treaties and CO2 taxation. Why don’t we have all that at a global level?
SPIEGEL: You’re saying that all the small steps — green technologies and CO2 taxation and the eco-behavior of individuals — are meaningless?
Klein: No. We should all do what we can, of course. But we can’t delude ourselves that it’s enough. What I’m saying is that the small steps will remain too small if they don’t become a mass movement. We need an economic and political transformation, one based on stronger communities, sustainable jobs, greater regulation and a departure from this obsession with growth. That’s the good news. We have a real opportunity to solve many problems at once.
SPIEGEL: You don’t appear to be counting on the collective reason of politicians and entrepreneurs.
Klein: Because the system can’t think. The system rewards short-term gain, meaning quick profits. Take Michael Bloomberg, for example … . .
SPIEGEL: . . . the businessman and former New York City mayor . . .
Klein: . . . who understood the depths of the climate crisis as a politician. As a businessman, however, he chooses to invest in a fund that specializes in oil and gas assets. If a person like Bloomberg cannot resist the temptation, then you can assume that the system’s self-preservation capacity isn’t that great.
SPIEGEL: A particularly unsettling chapter in your book is about Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group.
Klein: Yes. I wouldn’t have expected it.
SPIEGEL: Branson has sought to portray himself as a man who wants to save the climate. It all started after an encounter with Al Gore.
Klein: And in 2006, he pledged at an event hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative that he would invest $3 billion in research into green technologies. At the time, I thought it was truly a sensational contribution. I didn’t think, oh, you cynical bastard.
SPIEGEL: But Branson was really just staging it and only a fraction of that money was ever spent.
Klein: He may well have been sincere at the time, but yes, only a fraction was spent.
SPIEGEL: Since 2006, Branson has added 160 new airplanes to his numerous airlines and increased his emissions by 40 percent.
SPIEGEL: What is there to learn from this story?
Klein: That we need to question the symbolism and gestures made by Hollywood stars and the super rich. We cannot confuse them with a scientifically sound plan to reduce emissions.
SPIEGEL: In America and Australia, a lot of money is spent on efforts to deny climate change. Why?
Klein: It’s different from Europe. It’s an anger that is similar to that held by those who oppose abortion and gun control. It’s not only that they are protecting a way of life they don’t want to change. It’s that they understand that climate change challenges their core anti-government, free-market belief system. So they have to deny it to protect their very identity.
That’s why there’s this intensity gap: Liberals want to take a little bit of action on climate protection. But at the same time, these liberals also have a number of other issues that are higher on their agenda. But we have to understand that the hardcore conservative climate change deniers will do everything in their power to prevent action.
SPIEGEL: With pseudo-scientific studies and disinformation?
Klein: With all of that, of course.
SPIEGEL: Does that explain why you are connecting all of these issues — the environment, equity, public health and labor issues — that are popular on the left? Is it out of purely strategic considerations?
Klein: The issues are connected, and we also need to connect them in the debate. There is only one way that you can win a battle against a small group of people who stand to lose a lot: You need to start a mass movement that includes all the people who have a lot to gain. The deniers can only be defeated if you are just as passionate as them, but also when you are superior in numbers. Because the truth is that they really are very few.
SPIEGEL: Why don’t you believe that technology has the potential to save us?
Klein: There has been tremendous progress in the storage of renewable energies, for instance, and in solar efficiency. But climate change? I, in any case, don’t have enough faith to say, “We’ll come up with some invention at some point, so let’s just drop all other efforts.” That would be insane.
SPIEGEL: People like Bill Gates view things differently.
Klein: And I find their technology fetish naÃ¯ve. In recent years, we’ve witnessed some really big failures where some of the smartest guys in the room screwed up on a massive scale, be it with the derivatives that triggered the financial crisis or the oil catastrophe off the coast of New Orleans. Mostly, we as people break things and we don’t know how to fix them afterwards. Right now, it’s our planet that we’re breaking.
SPIEGEL: Listening to you, one might get the impression that the climate crisis is a gender issue.
Klein: Why would you say that?
SPIEGEL: Bill Gates says we need to keep moving forward and come up with new inventions to get the problem, and ultimately our complicated Earth, under control. You on the other hand are saying: Stop, no, we have to adapt ourselves to this planet and become softer. The US oil companies are run by men. And you, as a critical woman, are described as hysterical. It’s not an absurd thought, is it?
Klein: No. The entire industrialization was about power or whether it would be man or nature that would dominate Earth. It is difficult for some men to admit that we don’t have everything under control; that we have amassed all this CO2 over the centuries and that Earth is now telling us: Well, you’re just a guest in my house.
SPIEGEL: A guest of Mother Earth?
Klein: That’s too cheesy. But you’re still right. The oil industry is a male-dominated world, a lot like high finance. It’s very macho. The American and Australian idea of “discovering” an endless country and that endless resources can be extracted is a narrative of domination, one that traditionally casts nature as a weak, prone woman.
And the idea of being in a relationship of interdependence with the rest of the natural world was seen as weak. That’s why it is doubly difficult for alpha men to concede that they have been wrong.
SPIEGEL: There’s one issue in the book that you seem to steer clear of. Although you revile the companies, you never say that your readers, who are customers of these companies, are also culpable. You also remain silent about the price that individual readers will have to pay for climate protection.
Klein: Oh, I think that most people would be happy to pay for it. They know that climate protection requires reasonable behavior: less driving, less flying and less consumption. They would be happy to use renewable energies if they were offered them.
SPIEGEL: But the idea isn’t big enough, right?
Klein: (laughs) Exactly. The green movement spent decades educating people that they should compost their garbage, that they should recycle and that they should ride their bikes. But look at what has happened to the climate during these decades.
SPIEGEL: Is the lifestyle you lead climate-friendly?
Klein: Not enough. I bike, I use transit, I try to give speeches by Skype, I share a hybrid car and I cut my flying to about one-tenth of what it was before I started this project. My sin is taking taxis, and since the book came out, I’ve been flying too much. But I also don’t think that only people who are perfectly green and live CO2-free should be allowed to talk about this issue. If that were the case, then nobody would be able to say anything at all.
SPIEGEL: Ms. Klein, we thank you for this interview.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
LONDON (February 27 2015) — The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
“To initiate a war of aggression . . . ,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.
In 2011, NATO launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten.”
The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.” His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew . . . that if we waited one more day,” said President Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda.” Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for NATO’s inferno, described by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention.”
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s SAS, many of the “rebels” would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by NATO bombers.
For Obama, Cameron and Hollande, Gaddafi’s true crime was Libya’s economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa’s greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to “enter” Africa and bribe African governments with military “partnerships.”
Following NATO’s attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, “confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency.”
The “humanitarian war” against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent NATO to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War.” The West’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the NATO bombing over, and much of Serbia’s infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the “holocaust.” The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines.”
A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The “holocaust” was a lie. The NATO attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned.
This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its “natural market” in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. NATO, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo “peace” conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer’s duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day.
This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia — a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation — and the implementation of a “free-market economy” and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; NATO bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations â€“ 69 countries â€“ have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America’s modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as “sanctions.” The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.
“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” These were opening words of Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. “The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed — civilians and soldiers — during Obama’s time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion . . . Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation.”
He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter’s National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan’s first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan’s doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers.
“Every girl,” recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, “could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported.”
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, “there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution].” Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the “threat of a promising example.”
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorized support for tribal “fundamentalist” groups known as the mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in US arms and other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan’s first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests . . . would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar’s specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a “freedom fighter.”
Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and “destabilise” the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, “a few stirred up Muslims.” His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region.
In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia.
This was called “Operation Cyclone.” Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah — who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help — was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The “blowback” of Operation Cyclone and its “few stirred up Muslims” was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the “war on terror,” in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer’s message was and remains: “You are with us or against us.”
The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones,” “body counts” and “collatoral damage.” In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered.
In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world’s greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama’s victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA “kill list” presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each “hit” is registered on a faraway console screen as a “bugsplat.”
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, “The sovereign is he who decides the exception.”
This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture.
I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the “tragedy” of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places — just as the President himself kills them.
The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a “patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days.”
There are no heroic movies about America’s embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism.
In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens — as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the “father” of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of NATO, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its “new wave” hailed by the enforcer as “nationalists.”
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum,” including gays, feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get “the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry.” If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe — with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime.
She referred to the German Defence Minister as “the minister for defeatism.” It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading “neo-con” luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland’s coup did not go to plan. NATO was prevented from seizing Russia’s historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea — illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 — voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions.
More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping “the violence” caused by the “Russian invasion.” The NATO commander, General Breedlove — whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove — announced that 40,000 Russian troops were “massing.” In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine â€“ a third of the population â€“ have long sought a federation that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not “separatists” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous “states” are a reaction to Kiev’s attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history.” In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims â€“ “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says.” Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint.”
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained “pariah” role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: “The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army.” There were “individual citizens” who were members of “illegal armed groups,” but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for “full scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US SeNATOr James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell’s fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America’s most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently: “No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly.
“Yet across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established . . . . If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three â€“ much as it did into world war one a century ago â€“ all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason.”
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: “The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack . . . . In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”
In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. “Putin must be stopped,” said the headline. “And sometimes only guns can stop guns.” He conceded that the threat of war might “nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement”; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that “America has the best kit.”
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, “has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones.” He lauded Blair as a “Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist.” In 2006, he wrote, “Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran.”
The outbursts — or as Garton-Ash prefers, his “tortured liberal ambivalence” — are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash’s piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain.” This American “kit” will cost British taxpayers Â£1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas “investment.” She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.
They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth.
As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Help End Militarization on Our National Forests! Andy Stahl / Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
(February 28, 2015) — Did you know that rangers aren’t the only ones wearing a uniform on your National Forest lands? When you think of your National Forests, you probably don’t envision military jets screaming overhead, radiation-spewing mobile transmitters parked alongside public access roads or high-tech war games.
Yet that’s just what the Forest Service and the US Department of Defense have in mind for Washington state’s Olympic National Forest one of the most beautiful and untrammeled corners of your public lands and on your forests around the nation. [See story below for more details â€“ EAW]
But the Olympic proposal is not unique. Military installations dot the landscape of your public forests. From an Air Force bombing range on Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest to an Army research lab atop Colorado’s Pikes Peak to a mountain-warfare training center in Nevada Forest Service rangers are hardly the only ones in uniform on your National Forests.
Even more problematic most military activities on National Forests are not only inappropriate; they are illegal. Except in cases where Congress has specifically approved a military use of our National Forests, these activities violate forest plans and policy.
FSEEE is determined to put a stop to this unethical and illegal military takeover of the Olympic National Forest. We will win the fight against the Navy’s reckless scheme for this cherished forest, and then we will take the fight to any other National Forest that the Department of Defense treats like de facto military bases.
None of us at FSEEE harbor any ill will toward our nation’s military. We honor the brave men and women who serve our country. But our nation is founded on laws. The management of your precious National Forests is governed by laws. No individual, no entity including the US Department of Defensee should be allowed to ignore those laws.
With FSEEE’s help, local residents are fighting militarization on your National Forests. Now it is time for forest advocates like you to join us as we strive to end the illegal, unethical, dangerous and environmentally damaging military uses of your National Forests.
Please stand with us as we defend your precious public lands.
January 16, 2015 â€” A decision on a controversial Navy proposal to conduct high-tech military exercises in Washington’s Olympic National Forest will be delayed until next summer, Forest Service officials say.
The Navy wants to station three “mobile transmitters” on logging roads in a dozen locations in the national forest. The vehicles would emit electromagnetic signals mimicking hostile transmissions that Navy jets would try to identify and intercept.
Navy officials need a special use permit from the Forest Service to proceed with the plan.
Dean Millett, the Olympic district ranger charged with deciding whether to approve the Navy’s request, said the Forest Service received more than 3,000 comments on the plan.
He said Olympic National Forest officials may call in an “enterprise” unit to help analyze public input. That would consist of Forest Service employees skilled in evaluating controversial projects.
“Right now, we’re trying to determine how to handle all that feedback,” Millett said. “Very ballpark, I think it will be about mid-2015 before we know whether we’re going to approve the Navy’s request.”
Residents of the Olympic Peninsula are concerned the transmissions could harm people and wildlife. The Navy’s plan calls for deploying the transmitters up to 260 days a year.
When in use, operators would be required to place warning tape around the transmitters and to post signs advising of “Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard.”
Navy officials say the transmissions would be aimed up to the sky, and that they would pose no threat to humans or wildlife. They say the project would save taxpayers money and allow Navy pilots to spend more time with their families.
Currently, pilots must fly 400 miles from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to Mountain Home, Idaho, to conduct such training.
Local residents are also concerned about increased noise from the EA-18G Growler jets that fly over the national forest and the adjacent Olympic National Park. The Navy wants to add as many as 36 Growlers to its Whidbey Island fleet.
Port Townsend resident Karen Sullivan is helping organize opposition to the Navy’s plan. She says local residents are concerned about a marked increase in Navy activity on the peninsula and in surrounding waters.
Sullivan fears Forest Service officials feel obligated to allow the Navy to conduct war exercises on national forest lands.
“At all the public meetings, whenever the Forest Service was asked a question, it was the military person who answered,” she said. “The sense of entitlement that the Navy has with regard to the Olympic National Forest is pretty shocking.”
Navy officials have also proposed deploying mobile transmitters on the Okanogan and Colville national forests in Washington.
PS: None of us at FSEEE harbor any ill will toward our nation’s military. We honor the brave men and women who serve our country. But our nation is founded on laws. The management of your precious National Forests is governed by laws. No individual, no entity includiing the US Department of Defense should be allowed to ignore those laws!
In this video, Leonard Nimoy speaks on the presence of Jewish values in Star Trek.
Leonard Nimoy’s Last Wishes for Israel and Palestine Juan Cole / Informed Consent
(February 28, 2015) — Reprinted in honor of the passing of Mr. Nimoy, who inspired a generation.
Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, speaks out as a Jewish American in favor of a two-state solution and a divided Jerusalem.
“I reach out to you as someone who is troubled to see the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continue apparently without an end in sight.
“In fact, there is an end in sight. It’s known as the two-state solution — a secure, democratic Israel as the Jewish State alongside an independent Palestinian state. Even Israel’s nationalist Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has come to see this as the shape of the future. The problem is how to reach that end point. It’s something we should be concerned about — not only as world citizens, but as Americans.
“You might recall the episode in the original Star Trek series called, ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.’ Two men, half-black, half-white, are the last survivors of their peoples who have been at war with each other for thousands of years, yet the Enterprise crew could find no differences separating these two raging men.
“But the antagonists were keenly aware of their differences — one man was white on the right side, the other was black on the right side. And they were prepared to battle to the death to defend the memory of their people who died from the atrocities committed by the other.
“The story was a myth, of course, and by invoking it I don’t mean to belittle the very real issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. What I do mean to suggest is that the time for recriminations is over. Assigning blame over all other priorities is self-defeating. Myth can be a snare. The two sides need our help to evade the snare and search for a way to compromise.
“The Middle East is only getting more tumultuous. The upheavals throughout the region show that what happens in the Middle East can’t help but affect us in the United States. This year, we’ve seen oil prices rise sharply and America become involved militarily in Libya. The cost to American lives and our economy continues to rise at a time when unemployment and deficits are sapping our country’s strength.”
Nimoy’s letter is at Americans for Peace Now.
The episode “Let that be your Last Battlefield” is here
Slowing Global Warming a Moral Duty to Most Americans, Survey Finds Appeals based on ethics could be key to spurring action on global warming, according to poll results Al Jazeera America
(February 27, 2015) — A significant majority of Americans believe combating global warming is a moral issue that obligates them — and world leaders — to reduce carbon emissions, a new survey indicates. The Reuters/IPSOS poll of 2,827 Americans was conducted in February to measure the impact of moral language, including interventions by Pope Francis, on the climate change debate.
In recent months, the pope has warned about the consequences of failing to act on rising global temperatures, the impact of which is expected to disproportionately affect the lives of the world’s poor. The result of the poll, released Friday, suggests that appeals based on ethics could be key to shifting the debate over climate change in the United States.
Two-thirds of respondents said that world leaders are morally obligated to take action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. And 72 percent said they were “personally morally obligated” to do what they can in their daily lives to reduce emissions.
Poor countries often bear the brunt of climate change’s effects in terms of extreme weather, droughts and storms, and are often unable to fund infrastructure to mitigate the damage of disasters.
As part of his efforts to highlight climate change, the Pope visited storm-ravaged islands in the Philippines last month to console survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which scientists say was made stronger by warmer ocean temperatures. Haiyan left over 7,000 dead in the Philippines in 2013. Unable to recover, one year later over 25,000 still lived in tents and other temporary structures.
“When climate change is viewed through a moral lens it has broader appeal,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, a grassroots organization that mobilizes faith-based communities on politics and policy issues. “The climate debate can be very intellectual at times, all about economic systems and science we don’t understand. This makes it about us, our neighbors and about doing the right thing.”
Some observers believe the pope’s message can resonate beyond his own church. “The moral imperative is the way to reach out to conservatives,” said Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelic Environmental Network, a large evangelical organization that advocates for action on climate change.
Talking in terms of values is “the only way forward if we are to bring our fellow Republicans along,” he added. Moral questions are increasingly invoked in the climate debate — and not just among anti-carbon activists.
In a Feb. 12 speech to oil industry leaders in London, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden noted that “the issue is how to balance one moral obligation, energy access for all, against the other: fighting climate change.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency has also wrapped some of its anti-pollution initiatives in the language of “climate justice,” likening the battle against climate change to the mid-20th century fight for civil rights.
Pope Francis has vowed to make fighting climate change a centerpiece of his papacy, using his authority as head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to push political leaders toward a deal at a United Nations-sponsored conference in Paris this December that is aimed at cutting carbon emissions.
The pope has confronted critics of climate change science that finds human activities responsible for increases in global temperatures, saying in January that it is mostly “man who has slapped nature in the face.”
Sixty-four percent of those polled agreed with the pope that human activities are largely responsible for the rising Co2 levels that scientists say drive climate change.
The pope also criticized the negotiators at a global climate conference in Peru last December for “a lack of courage” and has promised to issue an encyclical — a letter setting out papal doctrine — on climate issues that he hopes will add momentum to getting a deal in Paris.
In turn, he has been attacked by those who deny the scientific findings on global warming for aligning himself with environmentalists. But only one in 10 of respondents saw him as a voice of authority on the issue, on a par with Democrats and Republicans in Congress and less than the percentage citing President Barack Obama (18 percent).
The poll respondents also said that United Nations scientists and popular US television host Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, carry more authority on climate change than US politicians.
(February 9, 2015) — When Pope Francis becomes the first pope to address a joint session of Congress, in September, many Catholic theologians and activists expect that he will focus on rising global economic inequality rather than on the hot-button cultural issues that often dominate US politics.
The pontiff continues to disappoint Catholic women pressing for equality in the church, reproductive rights and allowing birth control, and his recent endorsement of a Slovak referendum to ban marriage and adoption by same-sex couples has dismayed supporters of LGBT rights. But most papal observers don’t expect to see those issues addressed in Francis’ congressional speech. Instead, they predict that the pope will use his critique of the current global economic order to challenge his audience on the role of government in alleviating inequality as well as on immigration and climate change.
The central message of Francis’ papacy has been that “income and wealth inequality in our world is the source of social ills,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying group best known for its Nuns on the Bus campaigns challenging income inequality and pressing for immigration reform. “Until we remedy that, we won’t have any sort of real peace or good community.”
Francis’ view on the global economy, say Catholic theologians, is deeply rooted in Catholic social justice teaching that demands care for society’s most vulnerable to promote the common good. Francis’ critique of global capitalism, laid out in detail in his 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” decries the “economy of exclusion.” That phrase, said Meghan Clark, an assistant professor of theology and religious studies in moral theology at St. John’s University in New York, is based on his belief that “we’re in a state in which when someone isn’t ‘useful,’ they simply don’t even exist.”
The pope also uses the phrase “throwaway culture” to describe how people, like consumer goods, are used and cast aside, said Clark. He has used the phrase to critique rampant consumerism, abortion and neglect of the elderly. If he addresses abortion on Capitol Hill, she said, it would likely be through such a lens.
The Rev. David Hollenbach, the university chair in human rights and international justice in the theology department at Boston College, expects Francis to highlight the fact that the United States is “an extraordinarily privileged country with an enormous amount of wealth, especially at the very top.” Hollenbach added that the pope will likely further emphasize that the United States “has a very important role to play in shaping international economic policy in ways that could work to alleviate and advance further the reduction of poverty worldwide.”
Out of 535 members of the current Congress, 164 are Catholic, and 81 of those are Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center. Catholic activists such as Campbell and John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a Democratic-leaning advocacy group, have been critical of Republican economic policies, particularly those of House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, both Catholics.
“The pope is not going to offer detailed policy proposals, but I would expect him to be unambiguous about the moral dimension and the reality that so many are left behind in our global economy,” said Gehring. “Speaker Boehner and the Koch brothers won’t find endorsement of their policies from this pope.”
Some conservative American Catholics have claimed that free market economic policy is supported by the Catholic concept of subsidiarity, which calls for decision-making at the lowest, most local level of government possible. But more liberal theologians say that rather than call for less government intervention, subsidiarity, as part of a broader, holistic Catholic social justice tradition, requires government intervention to alleviate inequality.
Subsidiarity, said Clark, does not mean “smaller government is better.” She argued that was “simply a misreading and a misdefinition of Catholic social teaching.” Instead, “the flourishing of all levels is the priority,” requiring the state to step in if a local community is unable or unwilling to promote economic justice, she said.
She dismissed conservative claims that Francis’ critique of capitalism is drawn exclusively from his experience in Argentina and that he therefore does not understand the American economy. “Pope Francis knows very well what capitalism does and doesn’t do without government interventions,” she said.
Francis’ critiques of economic and political power are not directed solely at Republicans.
The economist Jeffrey Sachs has argued that Francis’ message is “fundamentally subversive of prevailing attitudes in the corridors of American power, whether on Wall Street or in Washington.” He is the director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. While Francis is in the US, he is expected to attend the U.N. summit on Sustainable Development Goals, which will address eliminating poverty and promoting environmental sustainability.
When the pope addresses Congress, said Gehring, “Plenty of politicians on both sides of the aisle will be squirming in their seats.”
But Francis does see politics as an “honorable vocation,” Gehring added. The pope will likely remind legislators that “public service is about serving the common good, not their own interests or party agendas.”
To some, though, it is anathema that the pope known for meeting the marginalized where they reside would make an appearance in a seat of global power. In The National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters, a Catholic commentator known for his liberal views on economic issues, wrote that he is “wary” of the pope’s visit. The “optics,” he argued, seem “all wrong, such a specifically political setting, and a powerful one too,” given that the pontiff typically visits “peripheries where Pope Francis is most comfortable and where he has repeatedly said he wants the church to be.”
But Campbell said she hopes the pope will use the occasion to remind the powerful that “governments have a responsibility to ensure that all of their citizens, all of their residents have all the basics they need to live in dignity.”
Francis, she said, “is very clear that the market is just as human as the rest of us and greed enters in. It’s the role of government to check greed,” through regulations covering areas such as banking, food safety, airline safety and other matters.
In the end, said Hollenbach, “Mr. Boehner may regret that he invited him.”
VATICAN CITY (February 9, 2015) — If you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option, Pope Francis said Monday (Feb. 9).
“When we hear that people have meetings about how to preserve creation, we can say: ‘No, they are the greens!'” Francis said in his homily at morning Mass, using a common name for environmental activists.
“No, they are not the greens! This is the Christian!” he said.
“A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us,” Francis continued. “And this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”
The pope — who took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment — has made care for the environment a hallmark of his papacy since he was elected nearly two years ago.
In fact, the pontiff is preparing a major document, called an encyclical, on the environment. It is likely to reiterate his frequent calls for governments and individuals to take steps to combat climate change, a phenomenon he attributes in part to human activity.
That conclusion, and his focus on protecting creation, as he calls it, has angered some conservative Catholics in the US, who see it as further evidence that Francis is pushing a liberal agenda that slights traditional Catholic talking points on issues like abortion and gay marriage.
The issue is likely to get more heated in the coming months: The encyclical is expected by July, and Francis will be making his first visit to the US in September.
In his homily on Monday in the chapel at his Vatican residence, Francis dwelt on the first reading of the Mass, the passage from Genesis that recounts the creation of the universe.
“In the ‘first creation,'” the pope said, “we must respond with the responsibility that the Lord gives us.”
“Even for us there is a responsibility to nurture the Earth, to nurture creation, to keep it and make it grow according to its laws,” he said. “We are the lords of creation, not its masters.”
Copyright Religion News Service LLC.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi
Trained by Israeli Mossad, NSA Documents Reveal Gulf Daily News & Global Research
(July 16, 2014) — The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest.” NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.
According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders.” Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.
Editor’s Note:Time Magazine has released on July 19, 2014 an article arguing that this story, which was reported by many Iranian sources including Iran News Agency, is a conspiracy theory from Iran and that it is not true. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that though the piece of news went viral on the net, Snowden did not refute the claims of the Iranian News Agency.
NSA Doc Reveals ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi is US, British and Israeli Intelligence Asset NSA documents add more detail to plan to destabilize Middle East Kurt Nimmo / Infowars.com
Editor’s Note:The validity of the document mentioned below cannot be verified due to the exclusivity of the Snowden cache. Cryptome sent a letter to various sources in possession of the documents, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitrias, Glenn Greenwald, ACLU, EFF and others demanding an accounting. The allegation about ISIS and al-Baghdadi, however, pairs up with other information demonstrating ISIS is an intelligence asset.
(JULY 19, 2014) — According to a document recently released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, now the Islamic State, is an intelligence asset.
The NSA document reveals the United States, Israel, and Britain are responsible for the creation of ISIS. Earlier this month, Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Jihad Party and former top al-Qaeda commander, told the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA.
ISIS is a well-armed and trained terrorist group now in control of large areas of Iraq and Syria. The NSA document states the group was established by US, British and Israeli intelligence as part of a strategy dubbed “the hornet’s nest” to draw Islamic militants from around the world to Syria.
Prior Evidence of al-Baghdadi Link to Intelligence and Military
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech,” the documents explain, according to Gulf Daily News, a Bahrainian source.
In June a Jordanian official told Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily ISIS members were trained in 2012 by US instructors working at a secret base in Jordan. In 2012 it was reported the US, Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi.
Al-Baghdadi was reportedly a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca, a US military detention facility near Umm Qasr, Iraq. James Skylar Gerrond, a former US Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said earlier this month the camp “created a pressure cooker for extremism.”
“Circumstantial evidence suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been mind-controlled while held prisoner by the US military in Iraq,” writes Dr. Kevin Barrett.
Creating a Fake Terror Threat
The hornet’s nest strategy was designed to create the perception that Israel is threatened by an enemy near its borders. According to the personal diary of former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett, however, Israel never took seriously an Arab or Muslim threat to its national security.
“Sharett’s diary reveals in explicit language that the Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any Arab danger to Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman. “They sought to maneuver and force the Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”
In 1982, Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, wrote The Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The white paper proposed “that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units” and the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run.”
The destruction of the Arab and Muslim states, Yinon suggested, would be accomplished from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions.
Islamists Unleash All-out Assault on
Iraqi Cities with US Weapons RT News
(June 12, 2014) — In Iraq, radical Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda are reportedly planning to take Baghdad, after successfully advancing in the north. It’s thought the government’s now asked the US to carry out drone strikes against the insurgents. Marina Portnaya explains how that might mean Washington engaging against its own military hardware.
(August 14, 2014) — There are three common rules when people discuss politics:
1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices
2) they don’t want to accept people of their tribe do awful things
3) they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems
A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the self proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq — was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.
Stories claiming this hoax have gone viral all over the web (example 1, example 2, example 3). This is simply not true. In fact I asked the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has had more contact with Snowden than most people — this question directly.
@ggreenwald Just to confirm, did Snowden ever say the ISIS chief al-Baghdadi was trained by Mossad? Hearing it all over FB
Glenn Greenwald âœ” @ggreenwald
@sunny_hundal I’ve never heard him say any such thing, nor have I ever heard any credible source quoting him saying anything like that. 9:37 AM – 6 Aug 2014
Furthermore, Edward Snowden’s lawyer called this claim a hoax too.
So where did ISIS money and the guns come from? I explain this briefly in my New Statesman article: “After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul.
“Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to Â£3m a day by selling the resource on the black market.
“The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.”
But America is still to blame, right?
In some ways, yes. The New York Times recently reported: “The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, someTimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.”
From there he joined al-Qaeda, and later split off into his own group which later became ISIS and Islamic State.
But what about all the pictures?
If you see any pictures, supposedly of al-Baghdadi meeting someone (like John McCain!), they’re also fake. McCain met some Syrian opposition leaders but he didn’t meet Baghdadi. These pics never reveal their source, Time, date or location. Unless a pic does that, so it can be verified, it’s a fake.
So where did ISIS come from?
ISIS were initially an al-Qaeda offshoot: “The Islamic State is the current incarnation of al-Qaeda in Iraq(AQI), which was created when Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden in October 2004. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was declared in October 2006, four months after a US airstrike killed Zarqawi (by tf support everette).
“This was not just a naming convention: according to its organizers, AQI ceased to exist at that point, as the ISI was intended to be a governing institution independent from al-Qaeda and a practical step toward ultimately declaring a Caliphate.”
But ISIS split from Al-Qaeda and went its on way to establish a Caliphate. Its only over the last year they have made serious inroads towards their aims and have therefore become much more prominent.
Now, stop spreading conspiracy theories please.
Update:. The Snowden Hoax How a Lie Traveled Around the World Before the Truth Could Get Its Boots On
In mid-July 2014, Time attempted an antiviral intervention against the first Internet hoax involving NSA leaker Edward Snowden. “Why Iran Believes the Militant Group ISIS Is an American Plot” read the headline above a lead that began, “Conspiracy theories are nothing new in the Middle East. . . .”
This particular rumor, said Time, had “assumed truthlike proportions through multiple reposts and links.” It postulated a secret US, British and Israeli op — codenamed “Hornet’s Nest” — hatching the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) to attract terrorists worldwide to so vex the region that Israel’s enemies would be in Biblical disarray.
Time traced the hoax to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which Time accused of “concocting an obviously fictional fake Snowden interview to bolster the narrative.” Six days later, IRNA reacted testily, complaining that Time (which it called “Times”) had smeared IRNA’s report as “fabricated” without once referring to its original source, The Intercept.
The problem is that journalist Glenn Greenwald’s online startup The Intercept, which since its February 2014 launch has posted 295 pages of NSA documents leaked by Snowden and numerous articles based on those leaks, hasn’t said a word about Israel’s national intelligence arm, the Mossad, grooming ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as chief stinger for the Hornet’s Nest. In the 30-day run-up to July 6, when the story first surfaced, The Intercept published just four articles, none of which mentioned Mossad or al-Baghdadi.
“Hornet’s Nest” occurs twice on The Intercept‘s website, in comments posted by reader Kelly on July 21 and July 29 — weeks after the hoax began — both in the context of Hamas being ill-advised to stir the metaphorical Israeli hornet’s nest causing the “entire swarm” to attack; her comment had nothing to do with a secret US, British and Israeli op involving ISIS. It’s also significant that in rebuttal to Time, IRNA neglects to include a single hyperlink to The Intercept or any of “several other news outlets” that IRNA claims “also published The Intercept story.” As we shall see, this omission of links to sources is de rigueur for articles spreading the hoax.
Ironically, among those failing to link crucial documents is Time itself, which somehow forgets to point us to what it calls IRNA’s “scoop” that supposedly started the fuss. Instead we’re linked to the Tehran Timess where Time says an English translation of IRNA’s scoop “recently” appeared — only to be confronted with the Tehran Time‘s home page, not any specific article.
Using the site’s search function, we get 50 hits on the keyword “Snowden,” but none more recent than April 2014 and none translating IRNA’s scoop. To conclude that IRNA “concocted an obviously fictional fake Snowden interview,” a reader must rely on the opinion of Time‘s Middle East Bureau Chief, Aryn Baker. That leaves rigorous debunkers unfulfilled.
Regrettably, not knowing the date of IRNA’s scoop, or being able to view its text online, complicates investigation. The earliest available evidence of the Snowden Hoax is a July 6 post in Arabic with a title that roughly translates as “Snowden: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the result of a three-nation intelligence cooperation.”
Its pseudonymous author is “shababek,” which is also the name of the website where it is posted within a German domain, www.shababek.de. All of the elements of the nascent hoax are in place.
Edward Snowden is said to have revealed that the NSA, together with Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6 and Israel’s Mossad, “paved the way for the emergence” of ISIS as part of “an old British plan known as the ‘Hornet’s Nest’ for the protection of the Zionist entity.”
Al-Baghdadi underwent “intensive,” year-long military training “at the hands of the Mossad.” The source of Snowden’s revelations is “The Andreasept” — aka The Intercept. And of course there are no hyperlinks.
Social media puts a face to “shababek.” The Twitter account @shababekT is active but contains only three tweets, in Arabic, all from August 2012 and two containing busted links to the website www.shababek.de. The profile photo shows a well-groomed, black-haired man in his 40s with goatee, dressed in a conventional business suit with necktie, above the name Kareem Al baidani.
The same photo adorns the Facebook page of Abosamir Albaidani, who posts in Arabic, most recently in October 2013, and self-identifies as a graduate engineer. Some of these posts too contain broken links to www.shababek.de. A different photo of the same man, taken later judging from his graying goatee, is on the Facebook page of Kareem Al-Baidani, who likewise posts in Arabic, mainly about Iraq and most recently in March 2014, and again with nonfunctional links to www.shababek.de.
Without reading Arabic, one can glean from the Internet that Kareem Al-Baidani is an Iraqi Shiite writer based in Munich, Germany. His Facebook photo is copyright Irak Heute Programm, which is German for Iraq Today program. A TV show by that name — “Al-Iraq Alyom” (Iraq Today) — appears on Al-Alam, an Arabic news channel broadcasting from Iran by the state-owned media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
These tenuous connections between an Iraqi Shiite writer and Iran’s state-controlled media are at most suggestive. We cannot say definitively that Kareem Al-Baidani is Hoaxer Zero, whose three-part inventions about the NSA, MI6 and Mossad hornet’s nest exposed by Edward Snowden found a ready audience, initially in the Middle East but soon around the world.
Nevertheless, we can note that a day after he posted the hoax online, it was picked up — word for word — on the Arabic website Iraq Now, with an expanded title: “Snowden: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the result of a three-nation intelligence cooperation and trained by the Israeli Mossad.”
The following day, the Arabic version of Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA) ran the story, again identical to Al-Baidani’s original but with a snappier headline: “Snowden: Baghdadi underwent an intensive course at the hands of Mossad.”
FNA was no stranger to Snowden-related stories of shady provenance. In January 2014 and in apparent seriousness, FNA published “Snowden Documents Proving ‘US-Alien-Hitler’ Link” to the effect that space aliens run the US government. (No jokes, please.) It linked to a piece posted the previous day at whatdoesitmean.com that relied on, but provided no link to, a “stunning” report from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Neither of these articles linked to any Snowden docs. And more than a year before, Fars had republished as straight reporting a piece from The Onion’s satirical website claiming that a Gallup poll found rural white Americans preferred Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran, over US President Obama. So it’s entirely consistent for a propaganda arm of the Iranian government to disseminate disinformation by invoking that internationally recognized paragon of truthfulness, Edward Snowden.
In this case, Fars would be especially motivated by a threat much closer to home than space aliens. About 90% of Iranians are Shia, which is the official state religion; only 9% are Sunni or Sufi. ISIS, by contrast, grew out of the Sunni insurgency and built its violent reputation by brutalizing Shia Muslims.
Naturally Iran would strive to defame the hated and feared ISIS and al-Baghdadi through association with the demonic three-headed hydra US, Britain and Israel.
Citing FNA as an impeccable authority, the hoax next began to spread in languages other than Arabic. Just two days after Kareem Al-Baidani’s brainchild emerged from its birth canal, Al-Manar — a Beirut-based Lebanese satellite TV station affiliated with the Shia Islamist terrorist organization Hezbollah — published the story in Spanish, titled “Snowden: el lÃder del EI fue formado por el Mossad israelÃ.”
Al-Manar added a decorative touch by illustrating its piece with a posed photo of NBC News anchorman Brian Williams and Edward Snowden taken to promote NBC’s May 2014 exclusive interview with the leaker, televised 41 days before Al-Manar published this article that never mentions said interview. The picture of two men seated pensively in front of tasteful, well-stocked wooden bookcases just looks good, is all.
Finally, three days into the hoax, an article appeared that linked to a reputable news outlet. At last! Baghdad-based Iraqi satellite TV network Alsumaria’s “Snowden: Al-Baghdadi is the product of three intelligence cooperation” identified its source with the familiar hyperlinked logo of Arabic CNN. Alas, this led merely to the homepage and no specific story. Good luck finding Alsumaria’s source.
The blog Going Global East Meets West soon followed suit by linking its story to the “original source” that turned out to be — you guessed it — Alsumaria’s report relying on an unspecified post at Arabic CNN. The Snowden Hoax had now become circular and self-contained. Whereas earlier versions simply omitted sources outright and unashamedly, subsequent iterations would cite them as sources.
Croah, however, replaced the purloined picture of Brian Williams and Snowden with paired photos of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Snowden seemingly glancing at each other with mutual distrust. This image would thereafter fortify other articles and tweets promoting the hoax.
Some tweets, such as one from rachida sahara @rachida_7, didn’t even bother citing a source when claiming “Snowden confirms that Al Baghdadi was trained by MOSSAD.” She simply attached that composite image, as if one picture proved a thousand falsehoods.
The same contrived image gilded the hoax’s first article in English, from Som Daily News, based in Somalia, East Africa. All of five sentences long, it was titled “Snowden confirms that Al Baghdadi was trained by MOSSAD.” (Putting the non-acronym MOSSAD in ALL CAPS apparently made it more evil.)
Four days later, the Som Daily News story was picked up by Gulf Daily News, the self-proclaimed Voice of Bahrain, headlined “Baghdadi ‘Mossad trained,'” and by a blog calling itself The Real Syrian Free Press Network, headlined “Strategy ‘hornet’s nest’: Snowden confirms that Al Baghdadi was trained by Mossad.” Just to be safe, The Muslim Timea then named both Som Daily News and Gulf Daily News as sources for “Baghdadi ‘Mossad trained’: Edward Snowden.”
Ten days in, the virus jumped the Atlantic. “ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi Trained by Israeli Mossad, NSA Documents Reveal” at the Canadian website Global Research cited as its source Gulf Daily News, which had cited as its source Som Daily News.
Having spread geographically from Germany to Iraq to Iran to Lebanon to France to Somalia to Bahrain to Syria, and linguistically from Arabic to Spanish to French to Persian to English, the readily adaptable Snowden Hoax was ideally positioned to infect North America. As a bonus, foreign outlets could now point to an ostensibly authoritative Western source, as happened the next day.
As its basis for “Former CIA Agent: ‘The Isis Leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi Was Trained by the Israeli Mossad,'” The Moroccan Timea cited the lofty-sounding, Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalization, a self-described “major news source on the New World Order” that runs the Global Research website.
On July 19, scarcely two weeks after Kareem Al-Baidani cooked it up in Munich and the same day Time sought to discredit it, the Snowden Hoax arrived in America. InfoWars, the website of popular broadcaster Alex Jones, gave us “NSA Doc Reveals ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi is US, British and Israeli Intelligence Asset.”
It led off with an Editor’s Note (never a good sign) stating that writer Kurt Nimmo’s piece was based on “a document recently released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden” (no link thereto), the validity of which “cannot be verified due to the exclusivity of the Snowden cache.” So it was released (to whom?) but nevertheless remains secret.
InfoWars said the cache was being kept by The New York Timea, The Washington Post, The Guardian, journalist Barton Gellman, filmmaker Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation and others, but didn’t speculate as to why none of those privileged parties had breathed a word about the Mossad training al-Baghdadi.
Those who had Snowden’s ear and his stolen documents were strangely silent on this sensational story, whereas those covering it hadn’t spoken to Snowden and were denied access to the documents about which they were reporting. Welcome to the upside-down, inside-out world of the Snowden Hoax.
As it happened, on August 6, Glenn Greenwald — principal keeper of the Snowden cache — did belatedly weigh in on the story. Starting more than three weeks before, 10 people had tweeted intermittently to Greenwald (renowned for his intense daily engagement on Twitter) alerting him to the hoax, providing links to false reports, and respectfully asking him to refute the fraud.
Finally, London-based freelance journalist Sunny Hundal tweeted: “@ggreenwald Just to confirm, did Snowden ever say the ISIS chief al-Baghdadi was trained by Mossad? Hearing it all over FB [Facebook].” Greenwald replied immediately: “I’ve never heard him say any such thing, nor have I ever heard any credible source quoting him saying anything like that.”
On August 10, Greenwald reiterated: “I’ve never seen anywhere where he said that, nor any documents that suggest it.” At exactly the same Time, down to the minute, Snowden’s ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner coincidentally concurred in a single-word tweet: “Hoax.”
A few days after The Moroccan Timea published “Former CIA agent: ‘The ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was trained by the Israeli Mossad,'” it appended its own
EDITOR’S NOTE, going InfoWars one better by using ALL CAPS: “Time Magazine has released on July 19, 2014 an article arguing that this story, which was reported by many Iranian sources including Iran News Agency, is a conspiracy theory from Iran and that it is not true.
Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that though the piece of news went viral on the net, Snowden did not refute the claims of the Iranian News Agency.” In the quaint intellectual discipline of logic, asserting that a proposition is true because it hasn’t been proven false is called argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance).
Since The Moroccan Times intrepidly elevates this informal fallacy to the level of an EDITOR’S NOTE, it’s doubtful they’d be much impressed by Greenwald’s or Wizner’s tweets. After all, it wasn’t Snowden himself refuting the hoax. So it must be true.
Two days after Greenwald spoke out, his rival WikiLeaks horned in, tweeting: “#Snowden docs reveal #ISIS trained by Mossad — falsely claims #Bahrain gov affiliated newspaper Gulf Daily News.”
A link was provided thereto. “It is,” WikiLeaks resumed in a follow-on tweet, “intentional fabrication by or accepted by the Bahraini government affiliated news site Gulf Daily News.”
WikiLeaks seemed unaware that Gulf Daily News almost word-for-word plagiarized the Som Daily News story published four days before. Over an hour later, WikiLeaks tried again, tweeting: “Ground zero for false ‘Snowden docs show ISIS leader trained by Mossad’ story goes back to last month in Algeria.”
In any case, Twitter’s part in the Snowden Hoax was instrumental. The first tweet connecting Snowden to al-Baghdadi was sent on July 8 in French by Karim, who in his Twitter profile calls himself an “Anti-Zionist patriot.
Fighting against lobbies slaving France.” His tweet contained no links, but attributed a quotation to Snowden that translates as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pseudo caliph) received intensive military training for 1 full year in the hands of Mossad.” No source was cited.
To measure its role in spreading the hoax, Twitter was searched to find tweets containing all three names “Mossad al-Baghdadi Snowden” within the 30-day range July 8 â€“ August 7, 2014. The results were entered into a database, omitting only tweets where the sender questioned the rumor’s authenticity. The goal was to capture tweets promoting the hoax, not doubting or disputing it. A total of 1219 tweets were compiled from 1016 unique senders.
Nearly 89% (903) of senders tweeted just once, accounting for 74% of the database. Among the 11% who tweeted twice or more (113 senders for a combined 316 tweets), only two hit double digits: @kelpo1002 (27), who tweets in French to more than 1K followers, and @AnonOperations2 (11), who tweets in English to 560+ followers.
Based on this analysis and on a visual review of every tweet collected, it seems unlikely any were generated by automated methods such as bots. These have the look and feel of genuine tweets from real people.
In conclusion, more than 30 days after its initial outbreak, the Snowden Hoax continues unchecked. Any notion that WikiLeaks might halt the spread was quickly dispelled, due mainly to their clumsily worded tweet: “#Snowden docs reveal #ISIS trained by Mossad — falsely claims #Bahrain gov affiliated newspaper Gulf Daily News.”
Some readers missed or misunderstood the throwaway “falsely claims” and took it as confirmation of the hoax by WikiLeaks, the organization Snowden himself has praised to the sky: “They are absolutely fearless in putting principles above politics. Their efforts to build a transnational culture of transparency and source protection are extraordinary. They run towards the risks everyone else runs away from.”
No surprise, then, that among the replies posted directly were these:
Sheba â€@sahi_100: “I could well believe this.”
Naheed R â€@naheedR: “Doesn’t surprise one bit. They all look like bad actors.”
Abdul Rahman @Engr_AR: “Agree, shame on Mossad.”
nu2twitr â€@4in4mation: “Filthy Zionist Jews are Behind ISIS Terror Group.”
Within 24 hours of posting, WikiLeaks’s tweet had been retweeted 465 Times by readers to their followers, and marked as a favorite 155 times. (In contrast, Greenwald’s by then three-day-old tweet still hadn’t made it out of single digits for either RTs or favorites.) Abandoning the orphaned “falsely,” some readers extracted the first clause as a standalone, unqualified endorsement, attributing to WikiLeaks the very untruth that WikiLeaks had sought to expose.
the hermawans â€@KerjaInterior: “RT @wikileaks: #Snowden docs reveal #ISIS trained by Mossad.”
Riswandha Risang â€@r_risang: “Snowden docs reveal that ISIS trained by Mossad â€“ Wikileaks.”
David Plater â€@PlaterDavid: “‘@wikileaks: #Snowden docs reveal #ISIS trained by Mossad.’ So @foreignoffice @StateDept What does yr intel say?”
Hell, David, at this point, after the feverish onslaught of a month-long infection by the Snowden Hoax, it might be a relief to see a tweet from the verified US Department of State @StateDept account conceding, once and for all, that Snowden’s phantom NSA documents and imaginary interviews do indeed prove that Mossad trained al-Baghdadi and that Operation Hornet’s Nest is real. Maybe then these loonies on the Internet will give it a rest.
Nah. Who am I kidding? They’re like the alien seed pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next!
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
(February 27, 2015) — Gathering world leaders for a cause is seldom an easy task. Last month, Paris saw one of the biggest solidarity displays after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The Paris events were so shocking internationally because they targeted one of the bastions necessary for any functioning democracy: freedom of expression.
But while joining the #JeSuisCharlie march might have been good publicity for many governments, the reality is that the majority of journalists and activists in the world face tremendous pressure and are subject to censorship from those same leaders.
A new type of authoritarianism is emerging at the global level characterized by autocratic leaders that hold on to power by crippling the opposition and organizing sham elections, while legitimizing their rule through a narrative of security and extolling their strategic importance for the US
Since the second part of the 20th century, democratization has been the dominating doctrine on the world’s agenda. Liberal democracies became the benchmark for most political systems, with the idea that economic growth, social development, and human rights would follow suit.
Optimism grew as more countries around the world seemed to be adopting democratic processes and putting in the rearview mirror the days of military dictatorships. This narrative evolved to such a point that now only three countries in the world openly accept they are not a democracy. However, in many cases democracy came only in the form of elections than with the complex institutions and processes that are needed.
That is the case in many countries in Africa, often with the backing of the United States and its endless crusade against terrorism. Under the guise of enforcing bilateral ties with strategically placed African countries, Washington has kept in power and has actively supported some of the worst dictators in the world.
Political rights have improved considerably in Africa; almost 1 billion people in the continent are expected to vote in their national elections. The problem is that elections in Africa do not necessarily produce representative governments. While there are indeed success stories, the continent’s democratic track record is rather superficial in most cases; the citizens barely have any influence on leadership beyond casting a vote.
This new form of authoritarianism provides the citizen — and international observers — with a facade that electoral democracies are flourishing, even if in reality traditional power elites monopolize all the institutions and resources that are required for a democracy to thrive,
African leaders have become specialists in disguising dictatorships in shiny democratic clothes. A party led by the same man for over 30 years and winning 98% of the legislative seats is not a proof of great leadership but a clear manipulation of the pillars of democracy.
Reporters without Borders rank Eritrea at the bottom of its 2015 World Press Freedom Index , while neighboring Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti rank 174, 172, and 170 respectively out of a total of 180 countries. Ethiopia has the second most journalists in exile after Iran.
What can explain this unfortunate convergence? The growing threat of al-Shabaab terrorists in Africa and the slow disintegration of Yemen on the other side of the coast have caught the attention of the US which has sought to befriend East Africa’s nasty leaders.
Smelling the opportunity, the governments passed harsh anti-terrorism laws that were then used to imprison journalists or political activists. Labeling any dissident opinion as a security threat while also impeding the work of independent media outlets has given the governments of the region the monopoly of every election with virtually no opposition.
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has won every election since 1995, Meles Zewani claimed victory in 4 consecutive elections until his death in 2012. Zewani ruled the country for 21 years with the EPRDF winning over 80% of the seats at a 90% voter turnout average.
While international observers often qualified the elections as “free and fair” they seldom give any explanations as to why would a man that had kept the country sunk in poverty — Ethiopia’s GDP per capita is 500 USD — had never faced opposition.
The next elections will be held this year and will be the first under Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgen, whose government charged 29 prominent activists and leaders in 2012 under a 2009 Anti-Terrorism law. The ERPDF’s censorship is not restricted to national media, foreign outlets like Voice of America and Deutsche Welle are routinely targeted in Addis Ababa, their personnel have received death threats and their satellite transmissions are often jammed.
The country is a strategic ally of the US, which operates a key drone base in Arba Minch and receives roughly half a billion dollars per year in aid.
Just like Ethiopia, Djibouti is ranked among the most repressive countries in the world according to most international statistics. The state controls all radio and television channels while opposition voices often face arrest. Like its neighbor, the US military maintains a massive drone base in the Camp Lemonnier facility.
Djiboutian president Ismael Omar Guelleh came to power in 1999 after being handpicked by his uncle who ruled unopposed for 22 years. After changing the constitution to be able to run for a third term, Guelleh has been re-elected twice. In the 2011 elections Guelleh won 80% of the votes after forbidding all demonstrations and prosecuting opposition leaders.
Apart for their economic interests, Ethiopia and Djibouti also coincide in their approach to treat political opposition as “terrorists.”
In 2009, the Djiboutian government slapped terrorism charges on the Dubai-based business man Abdourahman Boreh, accusing him of planning a grenade attack in the capital. Boreh’s assets were then frozen until November last year when the charges were questioned by a UK court. Boreh insist that the charges were politically motivated as Guelleh perceived him to be a viable political adversary.
Djibouti has capitalized on its strategic location to attract many foreign military bases, ensuring the steady investment of foreign governments who prefer to disregard the constant violations of human rights in the country. The newly enforced partnership between Djibouti and Ethiopia with the US will only consolidate modern authoritarianism as a staple of the region.
David Berggren is a Swedish security consultant currently based in New York. He spent the past 10 years working in several countries in Africa as a security adviser mainly working for NGOs.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
American Blogger Hacked to Death in Bangladesh Avijit Roy, an outspoken defender of secularism, attacked by men wielding machete Al Jazeera America
(February 27, 2015) — Machete-wielding assailants hacked to death an American blogger in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks in the South Asian nation on writers who support free expression.
The attack comes amid a crackdown on hard-line armed groups, which have increased their activities in Bangladesh in recent years.
Avijit Roy, a US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, and his wife and fellow blogger, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked on Thursday while returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed was seriously injured. It was the latest in a series of recent attacks on secular writers in Bangladesh.
Police retrieved two machetes from the site but have not yet identified any suspects.
They said they were investigating the involvement of Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group based in Bangladesh that claimed responsibility on Friday for the murder.
Roy’s family said he had received threats in recent weeks because he maintained a blog, Mukto-Mona (“Free mind”), that highlighted humanist and rationalist ideas and condemned religious intolerance.
“Islamist radicals are behind my son’s murder,” his father, Ajay Roy told reporters on Friday after filing a murder case with police. “We mourn, but we are not out,” read a black banner on the site.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, human rights activist Khushi Kabir questioned police inaction during the attack. Witnesses said that police and onlookers were present during the attacks, but no one came to help the victims. Police were not immediately available to comment on the accusation.
The Center for Inquiry, a US-based nonprofit group that Avijit Roy wrote for, said it was “shocked and heartbroken” by the murder. “Dr. Roy was a true ally, a courageous and eloquent defender of reason, science and free expression, in a country where those values have been under heavy attack,” it said in a statement.
While the US has not made a statement about Roy’s death, it has condemned recent violence, including deadly bus burnings and train derailments, in Bangladesh. “The United States is gravely concerned by the ongoing unrest and violence in Bangladesh,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement on Feb. 5. “All Bangladeshis must have the right and the ability to express their views peacefully.”
The Washington-based non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to investigate the attack and prosecute Roy’s killers.
â€œThis attack is emblematic of the culture of impunity that pervades Bangladesh, where the lack of accountability in previous attacks on the press continues to spurn a deadly cycle of violence,â€ said CPJ Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz in a release.
Media group Reporters Without Borders placed Bangladesh 146th among 180 countries in a ranking of press freedom last year.
In 2013 religious groups targeted several secular bloggers who demanded capital punishment for Islamist leaders convicted of war crimes during Bangladesh’s war for independence.
Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed that year in a similar attack near his home in Dhaka after he led a protest demanding capital punishment. In 2004, Humayun Azad, a secular writer and professor at Dhaka University, was also attacked while returning home from a Dhaka book fair. He later died in Germany while undergoing treatment.
Roy founded the popular Bengali-language blog Mukto-Mona, which featured articles on scientific reasoning and religion. He defended atheism in a January posting on Facebook, calling it “a rational concept to oppose any unscientific and irrational belief.”
Protesters said the attack on Roy and his wife happened partly because of the government’s failure to prosecute previous similar attacks. “The government cannot avoid its responsibility as it has failed to try similar crimes before,” Anwar Hossain, a university professor, told Al Jazeera.
Anujit Roy, his younger brother, said Avijit Roy went to Bangladesh earlier this month and had planned to return to the US in March.
Baki Billah, a blogger and a friend of Avijit Roy’s, told Independent TV that Roy had been threatened by people upset by his writing. “He was a free thinker. He was a Hindu, but he was not only a strong voice against Islamic fanatics but also equally against other religious fanatics â€¦ We are saddened. We don’t know what the government will do to find the killers. We want justice.â€
Islam is Bangladesh’s state religion, but the country is governed by secular laws.
Al Jazeera and wire services. Mahmud Hossain Opu contributed to this report.
(February 27, 2015) — This is the moment a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger was hacked to death in the street by militant Muslims after denouncing religious extremism.
Dr Avijit Roy, 42, from Atlanta, Georgia, was jumped by the gang of machete-wielding assailants last night in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh — leaving his injured wife standing over his bleeding body. He is well-known in Bangladesh for for his outspoken atheism.
An obscure militant group, Ansar Bangla 7, claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was in retaliation for his ‘crime against Islam’. The extremists also said he was singled out because he is a US citizen — and characterized the vicious killing as ‘revenge’ for attacks on ISIS in Syria.
Police said at least two men, who are believed to have links to Dhaka University, attacked Roy around 8.45pm and landed three strong, deliberate blows to the right side of his head.
They turned on his wife, Rafida Ahmed, when she tried to save him, then fled into the crowd, dumping their weapons as they ran. Police have expressed shock that extremists struck at a university book fair, which was heavily guarded.
Witnesses have even said officers and bystanders were there during the murder — but did nothing. Several onlookers told Al-Jazeera nobody intervened in the brazen attack, while even police chiefs had said they were baffled that a man could be murdered so close to the heavily-guarded area.
The United States today said the murder was ‘horrific in its brutality and cowardice’ and represents an attack on the ‘principles’ of Bangladesh.
Roy’s body was found in a pool of blood on Thursday night after the brutal attack. Ahmed, 45, is also a blogger. She is reportedly now in hospital with a deep cut to her head. Roy, who is a naturalized US citizen and also a bio-engineer, had been receiving death threats online for years. One Muslim fanatic, Farabi Shafiur Rahman, had reportedly posted threats on Facebook last year that Roy would be killed as soon as he returned to the country.
Roy and his wife were visiting the city of Dhaka for a book fair when they were set upon opposite the Dhaka University Central Mosque. Police have said the attackers likely have links to the university. Jubilant extremists writing on social media were quick to praise the attackers. The account for Ansar Bangla 7 made a post which linked the killing to Roy’s nationality — and American airstrikes on ISIS.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
(February 25, 2015) — According to an Israeli media report, Saudi Arabia has agreed to let Israeli warplanes fly over Saudi territory to save fuel while attacking Iranian nuclear sites, the latest indication of how the two former enemies have developed a behind-the-scenes alliance that is reshaping geopolitics in the Middle East.
“The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” a European official in Brussels told Israelâ€™s Channel 2 in a report broadcast on Tuesday and described in other Israeli media outlets.
Riyadhâ€™s only condition was that Israel make some progress in peace talks with the Palestinians, a stipulation that may be mostly cosmetic so the Saudis can save face with other Arab states without really interfering with an Israeli flyover to strike Iran.
Disclosure of this Israeli-Saudi military cooperation comes as the United States and five other world powers rush to finish an agreement with Iran to curtail but not eliminate its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for civilian purposes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to appear before the U.S. Congress on March 3 to undercut President Barack Obamaâ€™s negotiations.
The reported Saudi permission for Israeli warplanes to take a shorter route to bomb Iran also suggests that Netanyahu may be laying the groundwork for his own plans to attack the Iranian nuclear sites if the international negotiations are successful. Netanyahu has denounced a possible deal as an “existential threat” to Israel.
In recent years, Israel and Saudi Arabia have quietly begun cooperating on a range of mutual interests with the goal of blunting Iranâ€™s regional influence. For instance, they have sided with rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally, even if the victors might be Islamist radicals affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.
Elements of the Saudi royal family have long been known to support Islamist militants, including forces associated with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui identified leading members of the Saudi government as financiers of the terrorist network.
According to the story, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the groupâ€™s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics.
“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” Moussaoui said in imperfect English â€” “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.” Moussaoui also said he discussed a plan to shoot down President George W. Bushâ€™s Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States and considered so close to the Bush family that his nickname was “Bandar Bush.”
Moussaoui claimed, too, that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.
While the Saudi government denied Moussaouiâ€™s accusations, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified in recent years as financial backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow Assadâ€™s largely secular regime, with al-Qaedaâ€™s Nusra Front the major rebel force benefiting from this support.
Shared Israeli Interests
The Israelis also have found themselves on the side of these Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” — reaching from Tehran to Beirut — is the greatest threat to their interests.
In September 2013, Israelâ€™s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close Netanyahu adviser, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad. “The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview.
“We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who werenâ€™t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
In June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israelâ€™s perspective, if thereâ€™s got to be an evil thatâ€™s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.
That hostility toward Assadâ€™s regime has taken a tactical form with Israeli forces launching attacks inside Syria that benefit Nusra Front. For instance, on Jan. 18, 2015, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assadâ€™s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisers were engaged in operations against Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces, who have even received medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have found themselves on the same side in other regional struggles, including support for the militaryâ€™s ouster of the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but most importantly they have joined forces in their hostility toward Shiite-ruled Iran.
I first reported on the growing relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia in August 2013 in an article entitled “The Saudi-Israeli Superpower,” noting that the complementary strengths of the two countries made their alliance a potentially powerful influence in the world. Israel could wield political and media clout while the Saudis could use their oil, money and investments.
At the time, the story was met with much skepticism, but, increasingly, the secret alliance has gone public. On Oct. 1, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted at it in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.
Amid the bellicosity, Netanyahu dropped in a largely missed clue about the evolving power relationships in the Middle East, saying: “The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”
The next day, Israelâ€™s Channel 2 TV news reported that senior Israeli security officials had met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart in Jerusalem, believed to be Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States who was then head of Saudi intelligence.
Even the MSM
The reality of this unlikely alliance has now even reached the mainstream U.S. media. For instance, Time magazine correspondent Joe Klein described the new coziness in an article in the Jan. 19, 2015 issue.
He wrote: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia — Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal — sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Postâ€™s David Ignatius.
“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had â€˜crossed the Rubiconâ€™ and â€˜donâ€™t want to fight Israel anymore.â€™”
Israel and Saudi Arabia also have collaborated in efforts to put the squeeze on Russiaâ€™s President Vladimir Putin, who is deemed a key supporter of both Iran and Syria. The Saudis have used their power over oil production to drive down prices and hurt Russiaâ€™s economy, while US neoconservatives — who share Israelâ€™s geopolitical world view — were at the forefront of the coup that ousted Ukraineâ€™s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.
Saudi hostility toward Russia also surfaced in 2013 when Bandar met Putin and delivered what Putin viewed as a crude threat to unleash Chechen terrorists against the Sochi Winter Olympics if Putin did not reduce his support for the Syrian government.
According to a leaked diplomatic account of a July 31, 2013 meeting in Moscow, Bandar informed Putin that Saudi Arabia had strong influence over Chechen extremists who had carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Russian targets and who had since deployed to join the fight against the Assad regime in Syria.
As Bandar called for a Russian shift toward the Saudi position on Syria, he reportedly offered guarantees of protection from Chechen terror attacks on the Olympics. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” Bandar reportedly said. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”
Putin responded, “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism.”
Bandarâ€™s Mafia-like threat toward the Sochi games — a version of “nice Olympics you got here, itâ€™d be a shame if something terrible happened to it” — failed to intimidate Putin, who continued to support Assad. But Putin became obsessed with security at Sochi, distracting him from the worsening crisis in Ukraine where Yanukovych was ousted in a neocon-orchestrated coup on Feb. 22, 2014, a day before the Olympic torch was extinguished.
Now, with Obama nearing a possible agreement to rein in but not end Iranâ€™s nuclear program — against the wishes of the Israeli-Saudi tag team — the leak in the Israeli media suggests that Netanyahu with the support of Saudi Arabiaâ€™s royal family may be contemplating his own bombing campaign against Iran.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His latest book is Americaâ€™s Stolen Narrative
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Becky Bond / CREDO Action & MoveOn.org – 2015-02-27 01:51:00
We Saved the Internet! Historic Victory on Net Neutrality A Major Victory for People Power!
Becky Bond / CREDO Action
ACTION ALERT: Tell the Democratic FCC Commissioners: “Thank you for voting for strong Net Neutrality rules under Title II.”
(February 26, 2015) — Big Telecom pulled out all the stops to kill equality on the Internet — but it lost. And we won.
CREDO has been fiercely engaged in this fight for a decade — since George W. Bush deregulated broadband and opened the door for Big Telecom companies to discriminate on the Internet.
Most politicians thought we couldn’t win this fight. Some Democrats joined Republicans on the wrong side. Others expressed support but were simply too timid to speak out on behalf of the strongest rules.
But thanks to your activism, millions spoke out for the only solution that would make strong rules on Net Neutrality possible: the awkwardly named “Title II reclassification.” The president joined you in this call and today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to adopt historic Net Neutrality rules under the legal framework we’ve been demanding all these years.
We haven’t seen the final rules yet, but all reports suggest that this is a huge victory. Right now we need to thank the Democratic FCC commissioners — Chairman Tom Wheeler, Mignon Clyburn, and Jessica Rosenworcel — for standing up for Net Neutrality.
Let’s be clear: This wouldn’t have happened without you and the millions of other grassroots activists who spoke out for Net Neutrality. Big Telecom is used to getting its way in D.C. — and for good reason. Most Beltway insiders dismissed this kind of victory as impossible because Telecom giants usually have enough money and influence to play the insider game and get Democrats to support them or stay neutral. As a result they usually win.
That’s what happened in 2010, when President Obama’s first FCC Chair Julius Genachowski caved to Big Telecom and passed sham rules that his own lawyers warned him wouldn’t stand up in court.
But this time, we changed the game. Since the early days of this fight, CREDO got a lot bigger. Instead of being a 500,000-member organization, now we have more than 3 million progressives fighting for change.
New and fierce groups rose to prominence after the SOPA/PIPA fight — most prominently Demand Progress and Fight for the Future. We became close allies with those groups, organizing campaigns together and providing them with funding.
A new generation of Civil Rights leaders have are making Net Neutrality a major part of their equality agenda. ColorOfChange has grown into a powerful voice for protecting civil rights online. Because of their advocacy, and that of groups like the Center for Media Justice, the Media Action Grassroots Network, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Democrats who in the past have sided with telecom lobbyists changed their tune this time around.
The biggest progressive Web site, Daily Kos, also got deeply involved in the fight. MoveOn mobilized its members organizing nationwide rallies. Policy groups like Free Press pushed back in Washington, D.C. and made it clear that no insider compromise would get the backing of the grassroots. And then, one by one, other Internet businesses joined CREDO Mobile in the fight and got the attention of some of the most corporate-minded Democrats.
This powerful coalition of grassroots leaders, startups and tech companies, civil rights groups, lawyers, consumer and privacy advocates and netroots groups organized millions of people in every corner of the country to call out the toxic influence of Big Telecom in Washington, D.C., and demand real Net Neutrality.
This was a massive group effort, and no organization or business can claim sole credit for this victory. But CREDO activists played a major role, and not just since the Verizon lawsuit invalidated the weak rules adopted in 2010 — we’ve been doing this for a decade.
Since Verizon invalidated the old rules in court in January of 2014, over 310,000 CREDO members successfully urged Chairman Wheeler to protect Net Neutrality. Part of the reason that Chairman Wheeler did the right thing is probably that, after over 210,000 of us asked President Obama to support Title II, he did. We’ve made thousands and thousands of calls to the FCC, Congress and President Obama calling for strong rules that will protect the open Internet.
Not only have we organized, but CREDO has helped fund the movement for Net Neutrality by giving nearly a million dollars in recent years to incredible groups like Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color Of Change, the ACLU and Free Press.
We’re proud of the part we’ve played in this victory, but we have to remember that our wins are rarely permanent. We will have to defend these rules again and again and again. This is something that with your help we are prepared to do.
Chairman Wheeler’s Net Neutrality rules are already becoming the latest target for Republican paranoia and conspiracy theories. As we prepare for the next stage of this fight, let’s thank the FCC commissioners who listened when we spoke out, and voted to save the Internet.
Thank FCC Commissioners Wheeler, Clyburn and Rosenworcel for doing their part to save the Internet by passing strong Net Neutrality rules. Click the link below to sign the petition. http://act.credoaction.com/sign/nn_victory
Thank you for taking action.
Becky Bond is the Political Director of CREDO Action from Working Assets.
Victory on Net Neutrality! MoveOn.org
(February 26, 2015) — It’s time to jump for joy! We just made history. Together, we literally just saved the Internet from a corporate takeover. The Federal Communications Commission stood up to Comcast and Verizon and voted for real Net Neutrality — no fast lanes for the rich and slow lanes for the poor.1
This unlikely victory has been ten years in the making, at least. How did we get here? In a word (okay, in two words) — people power.
MoveOn members joined a remarkable array of allies to do what many considered politically impossible. We took on one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington — the cable industry — and through organizing, creativity, and persistence, we won.
We made a thank-you card for the FCC commissioners who stood with Internet users everywhere and voted for real Net Neutrality today.
This card is for you, too — the MoveOn community that for a decade has fought for common sense and equality on the Internet.
So here’s what just happened: In a party-line vote, the FCC voted to use the simplest, clearest, most legally sound tool to preserve Net Neutrality. It’s called Title II, and it allows the FCC to treat the Internet like a public utility, protecting it for all users.
Experts have long agreed that Title II reclassification is the commonsense way to go, but the extreme opposition of the wealthy telecom industry — who hoped to profit from charging for fast lanes — made the clear solution seem politically impossible to many even a year ago.
But grassroots leaders raised their voices for the commonsense solution and built a movement that brought together millions of Americans of all political stripes and proved too powerful for even the seemingly all-powerful telecom lobby.
It’s worth taking a brief look back a little farther to appreciate how we got to today.
In 2005, President Bush’s FCC unsurprisingly sided with the big cable companies to begin unraveling one of the founding principles of the Internet — that all content would be treated equally. When Congress tried to permanently change the rules to favor the telecom industry, the Save the Internet Coalition formed, bringing together unlikely allies such as MoveOn.org and the Christian Coalition.2 (For a bit of history, check out the 2006 MoveOn petition — MoveOn’s first on the issue. See petition below.) Together we stopped Congress from doing permanent damage then.
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama supported net neutrality. After he was elected, the FCC commissioners he appointed passed new open Internet rules meant to protect Net Neutrality — but they failed to reclassify the Internet as a public good, and in 2010, the order was struck down in court (in a case called, not surprisingly, Comcast v. FCC).3 In January 2014, an appeals court confirmed that ruling. We were back to square one, with Verizon and Comcast on offense.
When President Obama’s next FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, introduced new rules in April 2014 that would have made things even worse, we were ready.
Over the past year, Americans like you submitted four million comments to the FCC and made tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress and to individual phone lines at the FCC. Allies occupied the FCC’s front lawn and blocked the FCC chairman’s driveway. Civil rights organizers shaped public opinion by telling personal stories, not relying on corporate media.
We rallied outside FCC field offices that never hear from the public. We shared our stories — of artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, parents who rely on an equal playing field online for our livelihoods and to make a difference in the world. We called on President Obama to fulfill his promise to protect Net Neutrality — and he did.
President Obama sided with us for reclassification. Now the FCC is siding with us. We’ve won.
Congress will try to undo this, but we’ll keep fighting, and we’ll keep winning.
Net Neutrality is fundamental to the ability of grassroots activists to create their own media when mainstream corporate media ignores our stories. When our community wins something like this, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate. And when government agencies and politicians stand with us, it’s important to thank them.
This victory is ours. Let’s savor it, and then let’s keep defending the Internet.
Thanks for all you do.
— Maria, Victoria, Jadzia, Milan, and the rest of the team
1. “In Net Neutrality Victory, FCC Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility,” The New York Times, February 26, 2015
2. “How the Christian Coalition and MoveOn Helped Save Net Neutrality: A Buried Story of a Powerful Coalition,” The Huffington Post, February 25, 2015
3. “The Net Neutrality Battle Has Been Lost. But now we can finally win the war,” Slate, January 14, 2014 â€¨http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=303183&id=109050-23936879-J6cExpx&t=10
Want to support our work? We’re entirely funded by our 8 million members — no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way.
2006: MoveOn’s First Petition on Net Neutrality
Dear MoveOn member,
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities, plus MoveOn’s online organizing ability, will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon doesn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.
If Net Neutrality is gutted, MoveOn either pays protection money to dominant Internet providers or risks that online activism tools don’t work for members. Amazon and Google either pay protection money or risk that their websites process slowly on your computer. That why these high-tech pioneers are joining the fight to protect Network Neutrality  — and you can do your part today.
Then, please forward this to 3 friends. Protecting the free and open Internet is fundamental — it affects everything. When you sign this petition, you’ll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress. Votes begin in a House committee next week.
MoveOn has already seen what happens when the Internet’s gatekeepers get too much control. Just last week, AOL blocked any email mentioning a coalition that MoveOn is a part of, which opposes AOL’s proposed “email tax.”  And last year, Canada’s version of AT&T — Telus — blocked their Internet customers from visiting a website sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. 
Politicians don’t think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T ‘s CEO, who openly says, “The internet can’t be free.”
Together, we can let Congress know we are paying attention. We can make sure they listen to our voices and the voices of people like Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet and Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist,” who recently wrote this to Congress in support of preserving Network Neutrality:
My fear is that, as written, this bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity . . . . Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online.
The essence of the Internet is at risk — can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:
— Eli Pariser, Adam Green, Noah T. Winer, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action team
Thursday, April 20th, 2006
P.S. If Congress abandons Network Neutrality, who will be affected?
Advocacy groups like MoveOn — Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.
Nonprofits — A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
Google users — Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
Innovators with the “next big idea” — Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
Ipod listeners — A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
Online purchasers — Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices — distorting your choice as a consumer.
Small businesses and telecommuters — When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
Parents and retirees — Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
Bloggers — Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips — silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.
P.P.S. This excerpt from the New Yorker really sums up this issue well.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, as a national telephone network spread across the United States, AT&T adopted a policy of “tiered access” for businesses. Companies that paid an extra fee got better service: their customers’ calls went through immediately, were rarely disconnected, and sounded crystal-clear.
Those who didn’t pony up had a harder time making calls out, and people calling them sometimes got an “all circuits busy” response. Over time, customers gravitated toward the higher-tier companies and away from the ones that were more difficult to reach. In effect, AT&T ‘s policy turned it into a corporate kingmaker.
If you’ve never heard about this bit of business history, there’s a good reason: it never happened. Instead, AT&T had to abide by a “common carriage” rule: it provided the same quality of service to all, and could not favor one customer over another. But, while “tiered access” never influenced the spread of the telephone network, it is becoming a major issue in the evolution of the Internet.
Until recently, companies that provided Internet access followed a de-facto common-carriage rule, usually called “network neutrality,” which meant that all Web sites got equal treatment. Network neutrality was considered so fundamental to the success of the Net that Michael Powell, when he was chairman of the FCC, described it as one of the basic rules of “Internet freedom.”
In the past few months, though, companies like AT&T and BellSouth have been trying to scuttle it. In the future, Web sites that pay extra to providers could receive what BellSouth recently called “special treatment,” and those that don’t could end up in the slow lane.
One day, BellSouth customers may find that, say, NBC.com loads a lot faster than YouTube.com, and that the sites BellSouth favors just seem to run more smoothly. Tiered access will turn the providers into Internet gatekeepers. 
1. “Telecommunication Policy Proposed by Congress Must Recognize Internet Neutrality,” Letter to Senate leaders, March 23, 2006
2. “AOL Blocks Critics’ E-Mails,” Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2006
3. “B.C. Civil Liberties Association Denounces Blocking of Website by Telus,” British Columbia Civil Liberties Association Statement, July 27, 2005
4. “At SBC, It’s All About ‘Scale and Scope,” BusinessWeek, November 7, 2002
5. “Net Losses,” New Yorker, March 20, 2006
6. “Don’t undercut Internet access,” San Francisco Chronicle editorial, April 17, 2006
Celebrate the Net Neutrality Victory! The Daily Kos
(February 26, 2015) — In honor of today’s epic victory that preserves Net Neutrality and an open internet (plus municipal broadband!), here are some of the most viewed and shared Daily Kos articles on Net Neutrality from the past year.â€¨â€¨ Savor this victory — enjoy using the internet today!
â€¢ Biggest. Internet. Freedom. Victory. Ever.
â€¢ Now the Net Neutrality fight is serious — the porn sites engage
â€¢ Cartoon: Net Neutrality
â€¢ After nonsensical comments on Net Neutrality, conservatives rage against Ted Cruz
â€¢ In the ultimate Net Neutrality protest, web host throttles FCC connections
â€¢ FCC to AT&T : About those net neutrality threats . . .
â€¢ Lame anti-Net Neutrality group demonstrates its lameness
â€¢ Cartoon: Goodbye Net Neutrality. Hello gilded age Internet.
â€¢ Cartoon: Net Neutrality is Obamacare
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.