Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More evidence of the heartless air and ground attacks of Israel on thousands of mostly-non-militant men, women, and children of the Gaza strip. Ask your local TV station why they don't give you better coverage of such things. If they don't respond (which is likely) consider signing up with The Real News Network. It's free.


Original Here





"We Are Going through Hell" - Report from Gaza

On the 14th day of Operation Protective Edge, Gazan blogger Nalan al-Sarraj and TRNN Correspondent Yousef al-Helou discuss how Palestinians are responding to the massacre in Shujaiyeh, as well as the widespread support for the resistance against the siege - 31 min ago


More at The Real News

Bio 


Nalan al Sarraj is a Gaza-based blogger. She can be found on Twitter @NalanSarraj.

Yousef Al-Helou is a Palestinian journalist and correspondent for The Real News Network based in Gaza-Palestine. His work has been featured in a variety of media outlets including BBC, GRN, CBC Radio Canada, TV New Zealand, UN Observer, Reuters Institute, Middle East Monitor, Press TV, Al-Etejah TV, Maan News Network, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, PNN among many others. Yousef is a Reuters journalist fellow and a UN fellow as well and took part in many speaking tours in the UK/Ireland about his work experience, reporting in a war zone. Yousef covered the infighting between Fatah and Hamas as well as the two Israeli wars on Gaza in late 2008/early 2009 and late 2012, arrival of siege-breaking boats and many other major events since 2006. Yousef runs Gaza TV News page on Facebook that has more than 49,000 followers. Currently he is working on his research about the rise of citizen journalists in Gaza and their impact of public perception of Palestine in the West.

Both the U.S. government and that of Israel have been covering up the fact that Israel has been committing genocide against innocent Palestinian men women and children and lying about it, particularly via the despicable U.S. "mainstream media." Have you ever noticed U.S. TV announcers "accidentally" showing massive carnage within Gaza while purporting that the scene represented damage in Israel due to Hamas rockets? Those rockets have caused only 2 fatalities.


Original Here





"U.S. Complicity Brought Up to Date" in Israel's War against Gaza

Phyllis Bennis says the calls in Israel for genocide against Gaza are not only coming from fringe elements in the political establishment - July 21, 14


More at The Real News

Bio

Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow and the Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. She is the author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, Before and After: US Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis , Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer and Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Once again I've run into a censored embeded video. Who would not want you to see it? In any event you will have to go to the original to play the video. Use the link below. It's not what you see on TV.


MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014

Breaking: In Latest Attack on Gaza Medical Site, IDF Shells al-Aqsa Hospital; 5 Dead, Dozens Hurt





















http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/21/breaking_in_latest_attack_on_gaza

Topics      Gaza, Israel & Palestine                                                   

Guests

Dr. Mads Gilbert, Norwegian doctor providing medical assistance in Gaza. He recently recently submitted a report to the United Nations on the state of the Gaza health sector in 2014, titled "Brief Report to UNRWA: The Gaza Health Sector as of June 2014."

Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent reporting from Gaza. 

In breaking news from the Gaza Strip, at least five people were killed today and dozens wounded when the Israeli military shelled the al-Aqsa Hospital. It is at least the third Israeli military attack on a Gaza hospital since the ground invasion on Thursday. Speaking from Gaza’s overrun al-Shifa Hospital, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert accuses Israel of directly targeting medical facilities. Gilbert helped treat many of the victims of Israel’s attack on the Shejaiya neighborhood, where 72 people were killed. We also speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reporting from Gaza City. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finally there appears to be an irresistible force bearing down on the immovable objects that we know as the too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-jail criminal banks. May The Force be with us!


Did the Other Shoe Just Drop? Big Banks Hit with Monster $250 Billion Lawsuit in Housing Crisis



Friday, July 18, 2014

This is an excellent article on an event of global importance that has probably not been mentioned in the US "mainstream media," having the motto "All the news fit to print ...if permited by Washington." The only problem with this article is a large number of imaginative terminologies, which I translate as follows: Washington consensus = "international financial system"; vengeful Empire of Chaos = US foreign policy; the epitome of financial speculation = American vulture funds; Masters of the Universe = US financial speculation, vulture funds and hegemony; casino capitalism speculation "model" = US capitalism; Panopticon = armor and weapons; neoliberalism = leading to global totalitarianism; hegemonic Masters of the Universe gang = US and its European vassals




OpEdNews Op Eds

BRICS against Washington consensus

By (about the author)     Permalink

                                                                                       Headlined to H3 7/15/14


Cross-posted from Asia Times

BRICS establish $100 Billion Development Bank
to cut out Western dominance (image by YouTube)
The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis)Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises.

The devil, of course, is in the details of how they'll do it.

It's been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS's long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus -- the IMF and the World Bank -- as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The BRICS Development Bank -- with an initial US$50 billion in capital -- will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global scale. The model is the Brazilian BNDES, which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to US government's printed green paper with no collateral.

And then there's the agreement establishing a $100 billion pool of reserve currencies - the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), described by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as "a kind of mini-IMF." That's a non-Washington consensus mechanism to counterpunch capital flight. For the pool, China will contribute with $41 billion, Brazil, India and Russia with $18 billion each, and South Africa with $5 billion.

The development bank should be headquartered in Shanghai -- although Mumbai has forcefully tried to make its case (for an Indian take on the BRICS strategy, see here)

Way beyond economy and finance, this is essentially about geopolitics -- as in emerging powers offering an alternative to the failed Washington consensus. Or, as consensus apologists say, the BRICS may be able to "alleviate challenges" they face from the "international financial system." The strategy also happens to be one of the key nodes of the progressively solidified China-Russia alliance, recently featured via the gas "deal of the century" and at the St. Petersburg economic forum.

Let's play geopolitical ball

Just as Brazil managed, against plenty of odds, to stage an unforgettable World Cup -- the melting of the national team notwithstanding -- Vladimir Putin and Xi Xinping now come to the neighborhood to play top class geopolitical ball.

The Kremlin views the bilateral relation with Brasilia as highly strategic. Putin not only watched the World Cup final in Rio; apart from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, he also met German chancellor Angela Merkel (they discussed Ukraine in detail). Yet arguably the key member of Putin's traveling party is Elvira Nabiulin, president of Russia's Central Bank; she is pressing in South America the concept that all negotiations with the BRICS should bypass the US dollar. Emphasis the blogger.

Putin's extremely powerful, symbolic meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana, as well as writing off $36 billion in Cuban debt could not have had a more meaningful impact all across Latin America. Compare it with the perennial embargo imposed by a vengeful Empire of Chaos.

In South America, Putin is meeting not only with Uruguay's President Pepe Mujica -- discussing, among other items, the construction of a deepwater port -- but also with Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and Bolivia's Evo Morales.

Xi Jinping is also on tour, visiting, apart from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela. What Beijing is saying (and doing) complements Moscow; Latin America is viewed as highly strategic. That should translate into more Chinese investment and increased South-South integration.

This Russia-China commercial/diplomatic offensive fits the concerted push towards a multipolar world -- side by side with political/economic South American leaders. Argentina is a sterling example. While Buenos Aires, already mired in recession, fights American vulture funds -- the epitome of financial speculation -- in New York courthouses, Putin and Xi come offering investment in everything from railways to the energy industry.

Russia's energy industry of course needs investment and technology from private Western multinationals, just as Made in China developed out of Western investment profiting from a cheap workforce. What the BRICS are trying to present to the Global South now is a choice; on one side, financial speculation, vulture funds and the hegemony of the Masters of the Universe; on the other side, productive capitalism -- an alternative strategy of capitalist development compared to the Triad (US, EU, Japan).

Still, it will be a long way for the BRICS to project a productive model independent of the casino capitalism speculation "model," by the way still recovering from the massive 2007/2008 crisis (the financial bubble has not burst for good.)

One might view the BRICS's strategy as a sort of running, constructive critique of capitalism; how to purge the system from perennially financing the US fiscal deficit as well as a global militarization syndrome -- related to the Orwellian/Panopticon complex -- subordinated to Washington. As Argentine economist Julio Gambina put it, the key question is not being emergent, but independent.

In this piece, La Stampa's Claudio Gallo introduces what could be the defining issue of the times: how neoliberalism -- ruling directly or indirectly most of the world -- is producing a disastrous anthropological mutation that is plunging us all into global totalitarianism (while everyone swears by their "freedoms").

It's always instructive to come back to Argentina. Argentina is imprisoned by a chronic foreign debt crisis essentially unleashed by the IMF over 40 years ago - and now perpetuated by vulture funds. The BRICS bank and the reserve pool as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank offer the possibility for dozens of other nations to escape the Argentine plight. Not to mention the possibility that other emerging nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran and Turkey may soon contribute to both institutions.

No wonder the hegemonic Masters of the Universe gang is uneasy in their leather chairs. This Financial Times piece neatly summarizes the view from the City of London -- a notorious casino capitalism paradise.

These are heady days in South America in more ways than one. Atlanticist hegemony will remain part of the picture, of course, but it's the BRICS's strategy that is pointing the way further on down the road. And still the multipolar wheel keeps rolling along.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.  He argues that the world has become fragmented into "stans" -- we are now living an intestinal war, an undeclared global civil war. He has published three books on geopolitics, including the spectacularly-titled "Globalistan: How the Globalised World Is Dissolving Into Liquid War". His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This is not the first time that Paul Craig Roberts and his colleagues have exposed flagrant rigging of the Comex (paper) gold market downward by market insiders. One possible motive for such manipulation "...is to operate and control Comex trading in a manner that helps the Fed contain the price of gold, thereby preventing its rise from signaling to the markets that problems festering in the U.S. financial system are growing worse by the day. This is an act of financial terrorism supported by federal regulatory authorities. Another motive is to help support the relative trading level of the U.S. dollar..." Blogger's recommendation: Buy real gold metal (not paper) now, because sometime in the not too distant future such rigging will no longer work, whereupon the value of gold metal will double or triple over night...


Insider Trading and Financial Terrorism on Comex

July 16, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler

July 16, 2014. The first two days this week gold was subjected to a series of computer HFT-driven “flash crashes” that were aimed at cooling off the big move higher gold has made since the beginning of June. During this move higher, the hedge funds, who typically “chase” the momentum of gold up or down, built up hefty long positions in gold futures over the last 6 weeks. In order to disrupt the upward momentum in the price of gold, the bullion banks short gold in the futures market by dumping large contracts that drive down the price and make money for the banks in the process.

As we explained in previous articles on this subject, the price of gold is not determined in markets where physical gold is bought and sold but in the paper futures market where contracts trade and speculators place bets on the price of gold. Most of the contracts traded on the Comex futures market are settled in cash. The value of the contracts used to short gold and drive down the price is well in excess of the actual amount of physical gold that is kept on the Comex and available for delivery. One might think that regulators would pay attention to a market in which the value of contracts outstanding exceeds by several multiples the amount of physical gold available for delivery.

The Comex gold futures market trades 23 hours per day on a global computer system called Globex and on the NYC trading floor from 8:20 a.m. EST to 1:30p.m. EST (the 8:30 a.m. opening time on the face of the graph below is a draftsman’s error). The Comex floor trading session is the highest volume trading period during any 23 hour trading period because that is when most of the large U.S. financial institutions and other users of Comex futures (jewelry manufactures and gold mining companies) are open for business and therefore transact their Comex business during Comex floor hours in order to achieve the best trading execution at the lowest cost.

The big hedge funds primarily trade gold futures using computers and algorithm programs. When they buy, they set stop-loss orders which are used to protect their trading positions on the downside. A “stop-loss” order is an order to sell at a pre-specified price by a trader. A stop-loss order is automatically triggered and the position is sold when the market trades at the price which was pre-set with the stop-order.

The bullion banks who are members and directors of Comex have access to the computers used to clear Comex trades, which means they can see where the stop-loss orders are set. When they decide to short the market, they start selling Comex futures in large amounts to force the market low enough to trigger the stop-loss orders being used by the hedge fund computers. For instance, huge short-sell orders at 2:20 a.m. Monday morning triggered an avalanche of stop-loss selling, as shown in this graph of Monday’s (July 14) action (click on graph to enlarge):


In the graph above, the first circled red bar shows the flash crash that was engineered at 2:20 a.m. EST, a typically low-volume, quiet period for gold trading. 13.5 tonnes of short-sales were unloaded into the Comex computer trading system. The second circled red bar shows a second engineered flash-crash right before the Comex floor opened at 8:20 a.m. EST. This was triggered by sales of futures contracts representing 27.5 tonnes of gold. A third hit (not shown) occurred at 9:01 a.m. This time contracts representing 40 tonnes of gold hit the market.

The banks use the selling from the hedge funds to cover the short positions they’ve amassed and book trading profits as they cover their short positions at price levels that are below the prices at which their short positions were established. This is insider trading and unrestrained financial terrorism at its finest.

As shown on the graph below, on Tuesday, July 15, another flash-crash in gold was engineered in the middle of Janet Yellen’s very “dovish” Humphrey-Hawkins testimony. Contracts representing 45 tonnes of gold were sold in 3 minutes, which took gold down over $13 and below the key $1300 price level. There were no apparent news triggers or specific comments from Yellen that would have triggered a sudden sell-off in gold — just a massive dumping of gold futures contracts. No other related market (stocks, commodities) registered any unusual movement up or down when this occurred:


Between July 14 and July 15, contracts representing 126 tonnes of gold was sold in a 14-minute time window which took the price of gold down $43 dollars. No other market showed any unusual or extraordinary movement during this period.

To put contracts for 126 tonnes of gold into perspective, the Comex is currently reporting that 27 tonnes of actual physical gold are classified as being available for deliver should the buyers of futures contracts want delivery. But the buyers are the banks themselves who won’t be taking delivery.

One motive of the manipulation is to operate and control Comex trading in a manner that helps the Fed contain the price of gold, thereby preventing its rise from signaling to the markets that problems festering in the U.S. financial system are growing worse by the day. This is an act of financial terrorism supported by federal regulatory authorities. Another motive is to help support the relative trading level of the U.S. dollar, as we’ve described in previous articles on this topic. And, of course, the banks make money from the manipulation of the futures market.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the branch of government which was established to oversee the Comex and enforce long-established trading regulations, has been presented with the evidence of manipulation several times. Its near-automatic response is to disregard the evidence and look the other way. The only explanation for this is that the Government is complicit in the price suppression and manipulation of gold and silver and welcomes the insider trading that helps to achieve this result. The conclusion is inescapable: if illegality benefits the machinations of the US government, the US government is all for illegality.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts teams up with two specialists in economic analysis, finding that the US Bureau of Economic Analysis has been 'cooking the books' for years, leading to "Years of understatement of inflation has resulted in years of overstatement of GDP growth." Then they show by means of graphs what has been happening to the TRUE GDP in the past 13 years, finding that "debt is a major and unappreciated issue for the US economy," leading irreversibly to "substantially lower living standards for the 99 percent" and warning that this monstrous debt could result in "a serious tumble in the value of the US dollar, more wealth contraction, higher inflation via import prices, and less US wealth available to support US debt." They summarize that "it cannot be long before Americans experience economic catastrophe."


The Deteriorating Economic Outlook

July 8, 2014 | Original Here                                              Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter

Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler, and John Williams

The third and final estimate (until the annual GDP revisions) of first quarter 2014 real GDP growth released June 25 by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis was a 2.9% contraction in GDP growth, a 5.5 percentage point difference from the January forecast of 2.6% growth. Apparently, the first quarter contraction was dismissed by those speculating in equities as weather related, as stock averages rose with the bad news.

Stock market participants might be in for a second quarter surprise. The result of many years of changes made to the official inflation measures is a substantially understated inflation rate. John Williams (www.shadowstats.com) provides inflation estimates based on previous official methodology when the Consumer Price Index still represented the cost of a constant standard of living. The 1.26% inflation measure used to deflate first quarter nominal GDP is unrealistic, as Americans who make purchases are aware.

A reasonable correction to the understated deflator gives a much higher first quarter contraction. The two main causes of inflation’s understatement are the substitution principle introduced during the Clinton regime and the hedonic adjustments ongoing since the 1980s that redefine price rises as quality improvements. Correcting for excessive hedonic adjustments gives a first quarter real GDP contraction of 5%. Correcting for hedonic and substitution adjustments gives a first quarter real GDP contraction of 8.5%.

Realistic economic analysis is a rarity. The financial press echoes Wall Street, and Wall Street economists are paid to help sell financial instruments. Gloomy analysis is frowned upon. Even negative quarters are given a positive spin.

Years of understatement of inflation has resulted in years of overstatement of GDP growth. Thinking about the many years of misstatement, we realized that the typical computation in nominal terms of the ratio of debt to GDP is seriously misleading.

Consider that debt is issued in nominal terms and repaid in nominal terms (except for a few Treasury bonds with inflation adjustments). However, nominal wealth or nominal GDP overstates real economic strength. The debt is growing, but both the nominal and real values of the output of goods and services are not keeping up with the rise in debt.

To understand how risky the rise of debt is, nominal debt must be compared to real GDP. Spin masters might dismiss this computation as comparing apples to oranges, but such a charge constitutes denial that the ratio of nominal debt to nominal GDP understates the wealth dilution caused by the government’s ability to issue and repay debt in nominal dollars. We know that inflation favors debtors, because debts can be repaid in inflated dollars.

The graph below shows three different debt to GDP ratios. The bottom line is nominal debt to nominal GDP, the financial press ratio. The middle line is the ratio of nominal debt to the official measure of real GDP. The top line is the ratio of nominal GDP to Shadowstats’ corrected measure of real GDP that puts back in some of the inflation that is no longer included in official measures. The basis for this corrected measure is also 2000, but as the GDP number for 2000 is lower due to correction, this graph begins with the ratio at a slightly higher point.



The nominal debt to GDP ratio shows that as of the end of the first quarter of 2014 total US Treasury debt outstanding is 103 percent of US GDP.
The ratio of Treasury debt to official real GDP shows debt at 136% of GDP.

The ratio of debt to real GDP deflated with more a more realistic measure of inflation, one more in keeping with the experience of consumers, puts US public debt at 185% of GDP. In other words, the burden of US debt on the real economy is almost twice the burden that is normally perceived.

The Shadowstats adjustment we made to real GDP does not fully correct for what we believe has been a growing understatement of inflation since the 1980s. The adjustment we made corrects the implicit price deflator for a two-percentage point understatement of annual inflation due to hedonic distortion. Real GDP with this correction since 2000 looks like this:



We have calculated the ratios of US public debt to nominal GDP and to two measures of real GDP. The ratios of debt to GDP would be much higher if we used total credit outstanding, or total public and private debt, and if we used the government’s unfunded liabilities. The fact seems clear that debt is a major and unappreciated issue for the US economy. The enormous debt, especially with the middle class economy largely offshored, implies substantially lower living standards for the 99 percent.

The first quarter contraction, especially our corrected number, implies a second quarter negative real GDP. In other words, the years of Quantitative Easing (money printing) by the Federal Reserve has not resulted in economic recovery from the 2008 downturn and has not prevented further contraction.

Massive money creation and huge fiscal deficits have protected the balance sheets of “banks too big to fail” but have harmed the American people. Retirees and pension funds have been deprived for years of interest income as the Federal Reserve engineered zero or negative interest rates for the sake of a handful of oversized banks.

The extraordinary creation of new dollars diluted the dollars held by peoples, companies, institutions, and central banks throughout the world, raising fears that the dollar would lose exchange value and its role as world reserve currency.

Washington’s use of financial sanctions to force other countries to bend to Washington’s will is causing countries to leave the dollar payments system. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advisor has said that the dollar must be crashed as the only way to prevent US aggression. The Chinese have called for “de-americanizing the world.”

The imperialistic US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which comes into full force July 1, 2015, imposes such heavy reporting costs on foreign financial institutions that these institutions might opt out of dollar transactions. All together, the result could be a serious tumble in the value of the US dollar, more wealth contraction, higher inflation via import prices, and less US wealth available to support US debt.

In view of this reality, why is Washington pushing its puppet in Kiev toward war with Russia? Why is Washington pushing NATO to spend more money and build more bases on which to deploy more troops in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, especially when Washington’s contribution will be the largest part of the cost? Why is Washington re-entering the Middle East conflict that Washington began by inciting Sunni and Shia against one another? Why is Washington constructing new naval and air bases from the Philippines to Vietnam in order to encircle China?

If Washington is this unaware of its budget constraints and its financial predicament, it cannot be long before Americans experience economic catastrophe.


John Williams, an expert on government economic statistics, has been a private consulting economist for more than thirty years (www.shadowstats.com). Dave Kranzler ( www.investmentresearchdynamics.com ) has years of experience in financial markets. Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Having a difficult time defeating terrorists in foreign countries, the Pentagon is now hiring think tanks to rationalize designating some classes of non-violent American demonstrators as "terrorists." Watch it here or read about it in the re-post below this one.


http://youtu.be/0zb1u_ySWQc

How the Pentagon is Bracing for Societal Collapse | Interview with Nafeez Ahmed


breakingtheset





Published on Jul 1, 2014
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Abby Martin interviews Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, journalist for The Guardian, about a recent article he wrote concerning the Pentagon's multimillion dollar project to study peaceful protest movements and prepare for the collapse of industrial society due to factors ranging from income inequality to climate change.

"Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists." -- Nafeez Ahmed


Thursday
12 June 2014
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements 

The Pentagon is funding social science research to model risks of "social contagions" that could damage US strategic interests. Photograph: Jason Reed/REUTERS




A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions." The project will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised."

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington "seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate," along with their "characteristics and consequences." The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.

Last year, the DoD's Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine 'Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?' which, however, conflates peaceful activists with "supporters of political violence" who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on "armed militancy" themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:
"In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but about supporters of political violence."
The project's 14 case studies each "involve extensive interviews with ten or more activists and militants in parties and NGOs who, though sympathetic to radical causes, have chosen a path of non-violence."

I contacted the project's principal investigator, Prof Maria Rasmussen of the US Naval Postgraduate School, asking why non-violent activists working for NGOs should be equated to supporters of political violence – and which "parties and NGOs" were being investigated – but received no response.

Similarly, Minerva programme staff refused to answer a series of similar questions I put to them, including asking how "radical causes" promoted by peaceful NGOs constituted a potential national security threat of interest to the DoD.

Among my questions, I asked:
"Does the US Department of Defense see protest movements and social activism in different parts of the world as a threat to US national security? If so, why? Does the US Department of Defense consider political movements aiming for large scale political and economic change as a national security matter? If so, why? Activism, protest, 'political movements' and of course NGOs are a vital element of a healthy civil society and democracy - why is it that the DoD is funding research to investigate such issues?"
Minerva's programme director Dr Erin Fitzgerald said "I appreciate your concerns and am glad that you reached out to give us the opportunity to clarify" before promising a more detailed response. Instead, I received the following bland statement from the DoD's press office:
"The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners. While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense's understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment."
In 2013, Minerva funded a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

From the outset, the Minerva programme was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for social and behavioural science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.

An internal Minerva staff email communication referenced in a 2012 Masters dissertation reveals that the programme is geared toward producing quick results that are directly applicable to field operations. The dissertation was part of a Minerva-funded project on "counter-radical Muslim discourse" at Arizona State University.

The internal email from Prof Steve Corman, a principal investigator for the project, describes a meeting hosted by the DoD's Human Social Cultural and Behavioural Modeling (HSCB) programme in which senior Pentagon officials said their priority was "to develop capabilities that are deliverable quickly" in the form of "models and tools that can be integrated with operations."

Although Office of Naval Research supervisor Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset that the project was merely "a basic research effort, so we shouldn't be concerned about doing applied stuff", the meeting in fact showed that DoD is looking to "feed results" into "applications," Corman said in the email. He advised his researchers to "think about shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field."

Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government's efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks "the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research" in a way that involves "rigorous, balanced and objective peer review", calling for such research to be managed instead by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The following month, the DoD signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NSF to cooperate on the management of Minerva. In response, the AAA cautioned that although research proposals would now be evaluated by NSF's merit-review panels. "Pentagon officials will have decision-making power in deciding who sits on the panels":
"… there remain concerns within the discipline that research will only be funded when it supports the Pentagon's agenda. Other critics of the programme, including the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, have raised concerns that the programme would discourage research in other important areas and undermine the role of the university as a place for independent discussion and critique of the military."
According to Prof David Price, a cultural anthropologist at St Martin's University in Washington DC and author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, "when you looked at the individual bits of many of these projects they sort of looked like normal social science, textual analysis, historical research, and so on, but when you added these bits up they all shared themes of legibility with all the distortions of over-simplification. Minerva is farming out the piece-work of empire in ways that can allow individuals to disassociate their individual contributions from the larger project."

Prof Price has previously exposed how the Pentagon's Human Terrain Systems (HTS) programme - designed to embed social scientists in military field operations - routinely conducted training scenarios set in regions "within the United States."

Citing a summary critique of the programme sent to HTS directors by a former employee, Price reported that the HTS training scenarios "adapted COIN [counterinsurgency] for Afghanistan/Iraq" to domestic situations "in the USA where the local population was seen from the military perspective as threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order."

One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to "identify those who were 'problem-solvers' and those who were 'problem-causers,' and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the 'desired end-state' of the military's strategy."

Such war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks.

James Petras, Bartle Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, concurs with Price's concerns. Minerva-funded social scientists tied to Pentagon counterinsurgency operations are involved in the "study of emotions in stoking or quelling ideologically driven movements," he said, including how "to counteract grassroots movements."

Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I am posting this for those of you who either read my 4th of July post without linking to the original work of Eric Zuesse or missed it entirely. This is what our government is doing to Russian speaking in Ukraine while claming falsely the Russia is the villain.


The U.S. Elite Run a Ukrainian Genocide While American Public Are Ignorant of It


Eric Zuesse

On Wednesday, July 2nd, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko resumed unlimited war against the residents of southeastern Ukraine, whom he calls “terrorists” for their wanting not to be killed by his troops. European leaders (especially Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France, and Putin of Russia) urged him not to resume his bombing campaign against the southeast, but the U.S. (specifically President Obama) supports the bombings, and that’s enough for Poroshenko; so, he did it. As the U.S. State Department said, “he has a right to defend his country.” Reuters reports that Poroshenko gave as his reason for the resumption, “to rid Ukraine of ‘parasites’.”  Adolf Hitler had given the same reason for ethnically cleansing his country.

Here are videos and photos of the Obama Administration’s sponsored ethnic cleansing to reduce the population in the areas of Ukraine that had voted overwhelmingly “the wrong way” in Ukraine’s final nationwide election, in 2010:  the areas of Ukraine that overwhelmingly chose as Ukraine’s President the man whom Obama’s coup overthrew in February 2014. After this ethnic cleansing, maybe Ukraine can have another nationwide election, which will produce the type of outcome that the U.S. Government likes. But on 25 May 2014, we held in Ukraine an election where people voted only in the pro-American portion of Ukraine, and only leaders who were acceptable to the U.S. White House were allowed onto the ballot.

America’s “news” media are not reporting on America’s ethnic-cleansing program in Ukraine. It’s happening in the dark, as far as the American public are concerned: they don’t know about it. But, here it is: this, is what they are hiding from you.

Washington’s people do not call this ethnic cleansing operation what it is; they instead call it Ukraine’s “Anti Terrorist Operation,” or “ATO” for short. The people we’re massacring are “Terrorists.” What they actually  are is simply the residents in the parts of Ukraine that had voted overwhelmingly for Viktor Yanukovych on 7 February 2010 to become President, the final nationwide election in Ukraine. And here these millions of “Terrorists” are now, being bombed by us, and fleeing to refuge in Russia (you can see it, and hear it happening, right there: those “Terrorists,” fleeing our bombs) — it’s part of our ethnic-cleansing operation, not of any Anti Terrorist Operation, at all. Because it is we, the United States itself, that are terrorizing them, to flee. And “we” — our Government, as if they  really represented us (which they obviously do not) — are therefore mass-murdering them. This is what the U.S. “news” media have been hiding from us, by stenographically reporting Obama’s lies, as if those lies represented truths instead of lies — just like Bush’s lies about “Saddam’s WMD” did, and the U.S. media did, before we invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003.

And the Government that Obama put in place in Kiev, which is a government by Ukrainian oligarchs whom Obama’s agent Victoria Nuland selected and placed in control, is now advertising on the television stations that those oligarchs own, advertising that the people who live in Ukraine’s southeast are destroying the country and must therefore be destroyed by patriotic Ukrainians. The government’s Defense Minister announces publicly that concentration camps are being established in order to deal with any who don’t flee. The message to those “Terrorists” is clear: flee, or else die. The government has even announced that the military volunteers who go to the southeast to do the killing are patriots, whose reward will be that they will receive the properties of everyone they kill.

A google-search of “Ukraine” at a typical U.S. news site yields little — and nothing at all about this slaughter that our Government is financing and put into place there. For example, at Huffington Post, the search produces articles about supposed “aggression” by Russia for its accepting Crimea back into the Russian Federation after all public opinion polls and a public referendum in that region, which had been Russian until 1954, showed massive public support there for rejoining Russia. (And a recent Gallup poll of Crimeans confirmed that they craved to rejoin Russia and are now delighted that they did.) HuffPo has only news-wire reports about Ukraine, mainly AP and Reuters, and typical headlines there are like “Russia Resumes Military Buildup Near Ukraine Border,” and “Ukraine Vows To Punish Rebels Who Downed Plane.” There’s nothing about the genocide. For example, there’s no mention that this “plane” had been carrying 49 troops to murder civilians in the southeast where a genocide is taking place to clear the land and terrify the residents to flee into Russia. It’s a classic ethnic-cleansing campaign, and Obama put it into place. Americans don’t know.

One article is a March 3rd poll, which showed “Few Americans want the United States getting involved in policing the political turmoil in Ukraine.” The presumption there was that “we” shouldn’t fix “their” problems.” Who knew that “we,” our own President, is the mastermind behind that “turmoil,” and of this actual ethnic cleansing campaign?

Similarly, http://www.pollingreport.com/ukraine.htm has many such poll-results, all showing a widespread public assumption that Russia initiated the “turmoil” and that the U.S. are just nice guys regarding Ukraine.

To see what a lie that impression is — a deception of the U.S. public by not only the “news” media but by the U.S. Government that’s behind this “turmoil” — clickhere and here and here and here and here, because you will then learn a great deal about this made-in-America horror story, which will only grow as the years roll by, just as is already happening in Iraq.

Remember Iraq? This one will be vastly worse. You’ll see. Just click on those links. You’ll see.

Because, if the American public doesn’t start investigating this now, then the results for all of us will be far worse, especially because this one could end in a nuclear war. And here is a video exposing the lies of the Obama Administration and its stooge-regime in Kiev about the May 3rd massacre in Odessa that sparked Ukraine’s civil war — our ethnic cleansing of the people who live in Ukraine’s southeast.

Barack Obama’s Ukrainian gambit is the most evil and worst part of his entire Presidency, and you will be shocked to learn about it, and how evil it is. Because the American press hasn’t told you about it. But it’s not too late for you to find out. (If you already know about it, please pass this article along to any of your friends who might not, and otherwise get the word out, by distributing this article far and wide, so that maybe this horror can be stopped if enough people learn of it.)

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.