My Common Sense Politics
Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Posted by Gordon Duff and Members of the Dept. of Energy 9/11 Investigation Team
DOE Investigators Cite Veterans Today Investigations and Disclosures as Preventing a New 9/11
[ Editor's Introduction: Over the past few weeks, members of the "official 9/11 groups" have come forward -- years late, no new ideas, nothing to offer. The real 9/11 report, initially released by the Russians, now supported directly by both the team that wrote it at the U.S. Department of Energy and the IAEA, have been following the aftermath of their revelations.
The text below is theirs. When they talk of "morons," these are America's top nuclear physicists, the people who build the bombs that supposedly keep us safe at night making these observations.
When it is published in Veterans Today, it is here because we are also nuclear weapons officers, NATO nuclear commandos, weapons assemblers and, while VT Editor Clinton Bastin was still with us, the editorial home for America's top nuclear weapons designer.
We are intelligence agents, nuclear weapons experts, academics, spies, engineers, military officers -- all unpaid, all standing against the pattern of deceit, of secrecy and of horrific injustice.
For two months now, we have published the most advanced weapons physics papers ever to be made available to the public. We have answered challenges, we have learned lessons ourselves, read Khalezov's works, basked in his insights, but we have done more as well.
In Khalezov, we find the unseen hand of someone working with him. We see an agenda, and we see both brilliance and great cleverness.
Moreover, in groups like Architects and Engineers for 9/11, we see something else. We don't like it. We see dogma, ignorance, deceit and bullying. We see cheap propaganda, and we see several wolves in sheep's clothing among them.
We have been the victim of a great resurgence of activity on their part -- childish attacks, bad science, misrepresentation and time-wasting. As we see it, much of 9/11 is solved. We use best evidence, best science. and when and if better science comes by, we reassess. After all, we are not insane, we are not incompetent, we are not petty narcissists, we are not amateurs, we are not A and E 9/11.
Comments will be reviewed by some of the world's top scientists. Questions answered. Input is desired. VT has readers with nuclear weapons backgrounds, with advanced experience and their comments are welcomed.
One more thing: We are also intelligence professionals. When amateurs try to deceive, we smile. No bread crumb could ever leave a trail so clear, a trail so needed. We thank the thieves, the liars and the fools for their hubris.
We also thank Dmitri Khalezov for his efforts and personal sacrifice.]
To answer the sound issue, questions “vital” to A and E 9/11:
1. Where was the sound of the jets hitting the building. How loud was that? 50 floors up, over 500 feet above you and over 1500 feet from the TV cameras.
2. Where was the sound from the cutting charges exploding.
3. Where was the sound from the nano thermite going off.
4. How loud was the sound of the collapsing buildings.
5. If you are over 500 feet below the sound at street level and over 1500 feet away, sound travels up and out. You don’t hear much. The same with the shock wave.
6. All underground explosions took place 50 feet below you and 1500 feet or more from the cameras. You get a shock wave traveling thru the ground, with a dust blast from the over pressure of less than 6 psi for a small 1.5kt nuke. Just as happened.
The air burst above the 50th floor blew out 200 X 200 X 200 square feet of building space, over 20 floors, in less than 3 seconds. Vaporized, gone, What does that? (Root Beer bottles exploding?)
That’s about 8 million cubic feet of space destroyed in less than 3 seconds. 40,000 tons of steel just disappears in less than 3 seconds. What does that? Godzilla or King Kong? Just look at the pictures.
I write both as a Democrat (which Barack Obama merely claims to be, but shows by his actions that he is not) and as an American (which he, unfortunately, actually is, but which Republicans often deny), in the hope of preserving the honor not just of my Country, but of my Party, both of which he violates routinely.
When President Obama refused to allow the prosecution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their manifest crimes, after they had been in office (their having lied this country into invading a country that was no imminent threat to the United States, tortured people, violated the 4th Amendment by unleashing the NSA against the American public, unleashed Wall Street crooks against the American people via MBS frauds, etc.), Obama thereby took upon himself Bush’s and Cheney’s crimes, as being his own. Those crimes still need to be prosecuted — now by America prosecuting Obama himself, for his covering them up: he still does it, after all of these years. Those crimes are no less heinous and, indeed, no less treasonous, now that a so-called “Democrat” is hiding them, than they were when his self-acknowledged Republican predecessors, and now in some cases even the fake “Democrat” Obama himself, were and have been and still are perpetrating them. They still need to be prosecuted, in order for the U.S. to possess any honor going forward, and any realistic hope of a better future for our nation. Without accountability, there is nothing but dictatorship. That’s the reality of our situation. The people who possess power without accountability are our dictators: they stand above the law; we stand below the law, as their subjects, no longer as authentically American citizens, for they have stolen our democracy from us, and made it into their own kingdom, instead. This is not America; and for us to accept it as if it were, would be for us to defile our great Founders, who waged their Revolution in order to defeat such tyrants — tyrants who now have come back from the dead, only with different faces and names.
On 11 July 2014, Rebecca Gordon at rinf.com bannered, “America: Where the ‘Good Guys’ Torture,” and she noted that:
There are several important reasons why the resurgence of torture remains a possibility in post-Bush America:
Torture did not necessarily end when Obama took office.
We have never had a full accounting of all the torture programs in the “war on terror.”
Not one of the senior government officials responsible for activities that amounted to war crimes has been held accountable, nor were any of the actual torturers ever brought to court.
She documented each one of her points, the last two of which are urgent indicators of the necessity for Democrats (yes, Democrats, since Obama claims to be one of us) to bring forth in the U.S. House of Representatives an impeachment resolution and proceedings against the worst “Democratic” President in U.S. history, or else we shall be implicitly accepting his crimes as being unpunished crimes by our Party, in the person of Obama, just like the Republican Party accepts Bush’s and Cheney’s crimes as being unpunished crimes by their Party, in the persons of Bush and Cheney. And, if Obama’s crimes are acceptable by our Party, then our Party is an embarrassment to our country and should be dissolved, just as the Republican Party has long been an embarrassment to our country and should have been dissolved when they turncoated into Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” and began their ideological war to restore (but now nationwide) the racist Confederacy that President Abraham Lincoln (the only and last great Republican) had heroically slammed down. The bullet of John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln’s reformist Republican Party, and brought us, instead, the Party of America’s northern aristocracy — but now it has become, ever since Nixon, the Party of America’s southern aristocracy, who are even worse. Without the solidly Republican South, that Party would simply collapse as a national party — it would stand no chance of electing future Presidents.
However, there are two more reasons why Obama needs to be impeached, removed from office, and then prosecuted for treason:
I have previously documented that “Obama Definitely Lied About Having Intent to Prosecute Banksters,” and so won’t repeat that here. But suffice it to say in summary: Obama did publicly promise to pursue and prosecute any bankster-CEO criminality that had been involved in crashing the American economy in 2008, and Obama’s promise turned out to be a blatant lie. By contrast, he had told the banksters themselves the very opposite in private, barely two months into his Presidency, and he kept that promise to them, the promise that he had made in secret. He told them, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I want to help. … I’m not out there to go after you. … I’m going to shield you from public and congressional anger.” And he did precisely that, as is shown, for example, by:
On 15 November 2011, Syracuse University’s TRAC Reports … headlined “Criminal Prosecutions for Financial Institution Fraud Continue to Fall,” and provided a chart showing that whereas such prosecutions had been running at a fairly steady rate until George W. Bush came into office in 2001, they immediately plunged during his Presidency and were continuing that decline under Obama, even after the biggest boom in alleged financial fraud cases since right before the Great Depression. And, then, on 24 September 2013, TRAC Reports bannered “Slump in FBI White Collar Crime Prosecutions,” and said that “prosecutions of white collar criminals recommended by the FBI are substantially down during the first ten months of Fiscal Year 2013.” This was especially so in the Wall Street area [the source of the 2008 collapse].
The President is the head of the Executive branch of our Government; he’s responsible for prosecution of criminals, and this includes his powers over the Department of Justice, the SEC, and all other enforcement agencies, to hire and fire the heads of those agencies. But instead, the most elite and harmful crooks actually receive his (and consequently those agencies’) protection from prosecution.
Furthermore, he has done essentially nothing to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 crash, as was documented by Alexander Arapoglou and Jerri-Lynn Scofield headlining, “The Looming Threat That Could Initiate the Next Economic Collapse” indicating that only sham-enforcement occurs under Obama, and that only sham-legislation has been passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama. While Congress has been corrupt, this President has been opposed to their being anything but corrupt; so, he has provided no leadership whatsoever except of a merely rhetorical kind, and except, in his actions and not his words, to protect the biggest crooks: the megabank CEOs, who get mega-rich from these crimes and keep their loot while the U.S. public bails out the banks they’ve looted from the top.
PERPETRATING ETHNIC CLEANSING ABROAD:
Finally, just as President Bush defiled the Presidency by unwarrantedly invading Iraq in 2003 and lying through his teeth all the way there and afterward about it, Obama has defiled the Presidency in 2014 by overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine and lying through his teeth all the way and afterward, about that. And Obama’s crime in Ukraine is even worse than Bush’s crime in Iraq, because it’s much more dangerous, with even bigger stakes and risks (all of which are purely downside for both the American and the Ukrainian peoples — much as Bush’s Iraq-invasion also was, for both Americans and Iraqis).
A terrific video compilation, with tapped phone-conversations and other damning proofs, shows that there can be no reasonable doubt that the February 2014 Ukrainian coup — which produced the civil war in Ukraine — was engineered from the U.S. White House. However, unreasonable doubt has been circulated by the White House’s agents, in the form of misrepresenting the evidence as being less conclusive than it really is. Consequently, the following will present in detail the most damning single piece of evidence of all, an item of evidence which is mentioned only briefly, and only briefly excerpted, in that video (the one just linked to), but which is far more conclusive when it’s presented in full, as it will be here: this is the 25 February 2014 phone conversation between two EU officials immediately after the coup.
This conversation goes by so fast so that a transcript of it is really necessary, in order for one to be able to absorb the full import of what’s happening and being revealed there. Consequently, what now follows will be the transcript of this entire astounding phone call, with explanatory notes added in brackets for the reader’s comprehension of what was being referred to by these officials, in this phone-call that shows the truly astonishing extent of Obama’s depravity — a depravity that clearly shocked these EU officials, even while they seemed to have been resigned to it.
Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet phones the EU’s foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton, to report on the findings of his February 25th inquiry for the EU, into the situation in Ukraine right after the coup that had just overthrown Ukraine’s democratically elected (in 2010) President Viktor Yanukovych:
By Eric Zuesse
28 August, 2014 Countercurrents.org
The U.S. Government installed in February 2014 the current Ukrainian Government , which started Ukraine's civil war against the residents in Ukraine's southeast , who reject this Government. The U.S., and the Ukrainian Government that the U.S. installed, call the residents there "terrorists," for refusing to be ruled by the people that the U.S. imposed in February to lead Ukraine .
According to the man whom we installed to lead Ukraine, "by now about 50 thousand soldiers and officers appear participants in the antiterrorist operation: 'Thousands are wounded. Many families were left without a breadwinner'." That quotation is from an article that was published on August 11th by the Press Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian Government. Their press release was quoting Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whom Obama's agent Victoria Nuland had selected on February 4th (18 days before the overthrow) to become the Prime Minister of Ukraine. (The transcript of the complete phone call in which the EU came to know that the U.S. had engineered this regime-change is in italics here .)
And here is the result of the bombs that our people have been dropping on those 'terrorists.'
And here is what these 'terrorists' themselves have to say about that.
Western 'news' media don't report this news, which is why all of it might come as a shock to 99% of Americans, and of the residents of other NATO countries. (That's why I provide those links: so that you can easily verify these things for yourself.)
We call this a "free press" and a "democracy." This is what America is trying to impose worldwide. But there is lots of resistance to it, not only in Ukraine, but worldwide.
People throughout the world believe overwhelmingly that the United States is the greatest threat to world peace ; and if our invasion and corrupt and disastrous occupation of Iraq don't suffice to make the point, then our coup and installation of nazis into control over Ukraine certainly should.
Why Are We Doing This?
It's not by happenstance; it's by careful design. A reader-comment at the site of a specialist on Ukraine described in the following words the February coup:
Otto Tomasch "daisygarden”:
I am Ukrainian. At present I do not live in Kiev (I lived before), but by chance, at that time I was in Kiev.
1) There was about 20 000 p [eople] on Maidan [in the public demonstrations to bring down the corrupt President Yanukovych; like all of Ukraine's Presidents, Yanukovych was very corrupt]
2) most of them were paid (Right Sector, Nazis) by US.
3) [also] lots of paid addicts [and] unemployed
4) some naive people [unpaid] (including my son, educated but ignorant), in search of democracy.
The U.S. paymasters wrote the script, and directed the show . (It's ugly.) The 20,000 Maidaners did not. On 13 December 2013, Victoria Nuland, Obama's agent masterminding the operation along with the CIA, said "We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine," and she used euphemisms such as "democracy" to describe our objectives there, but the people whom she chose to run the post-coup Government did not restore the democracy that we overthrew; they actually ended it -- that's what they were being paid to do.
The real reason we are doing all this in Ukraine, is so that the voters who had elected the Ukrainian President that we overthrew on February 22nd will be removed from Ukraine, and so that the U.S. will thus in the future get Ukrainian leaders 'elected' in Ukraine whom our leaders (America's aristocrats, the people who actually fund American politicians' campaigns) want to be 'elected' to lead Ukraine.
This is the new way for one country's aristocracy to control another country: now that the international standard is ‘democracy,' the cheapest way for aristocrats to control another country is to get rid of the voters who elect leaders that ours don't want to lead those countries.
Posted Aug 28 2014
As the Labor Day holiday approaches, ask yourself how often you see unions represented on corporate-owned television. On the highest-profile public affairs shows, the answer is basically never.
According to a search of the Sunday morning talkshows for this year (January-August), not a single representative of a labor union appeared on any of the four network programs (NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's This Week, Fox News Sunday and CBS's Face the Nation).
Ironically, the one union leader discussed substantively on any of the programs was Ronald Reagan, the famously anti-union former president. He came up as an answer in an ABC "Powerhouse Puzzlers" quiz (3/2/14) as the only president to have headed a labor union, the Screen Actors Guild.
And it's not that the shows couldn't have used a voice for working people. While normally preoccupied with Beltway politics, these shows touched on issues like poverty, jobs and workers' rights. There were even discussions of efforts to organize college athletes (Meet the Press, 3/23/14; Face the Nation, 3/30/14).
But representatives of organized labor were not part of these conversations. The closest labor came to the Sunday chat show circuit was when Meet the Press (6/29/14) aired an excerpt of a Clinton Foundation event that included two quotes from Sara Horowitz of the Freelancers Union, which is not a certified union but a nonprofit organization that brokers health insurance for independent workers.
The Sunday shows did, however, find time to hear the views of corporate America. Guests that were identified as current or former corporate CEOs made 12 appearances, including former AOL head Steve Case (Meet the Press, 4/6/14), Apple CEO Tim Cook (This Week, 3/30/14) and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (Fox News Sunday, 6/22/14). Former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican political candidate Carly Fiorina made four appearances.
Introducing a segment with FedEx chair Frederick W. Smith and former UBS Investment Bank chief Robert Wolf, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace (5/4/14) announced:
We got a lot of numbers about the economy this week, but not a clear picture of where we stand. To help sort it out, we brought in two of America's leading business executives.
None of the Sunday show hosts were ever similarly moved to bring in any of America's leading labor representatives to give us a clearer picture of where we stand.
Posted by Rebecca Solnit
August 28, 2014
One evening over dinner, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called “Men Explain Things to Me.” Every writer has a stable of ideas that never make it to the racetrack, and I’d been trotting this pony out recreationally every once in a while. My houseguest, the brilliant theorist and activist Marina Sitrin, insisted that I had to write it down because people like her younger sister Sam needed to read it. Young women needed to know that being belittled wasn’t the result of their own secret failings; it was the boring old gender wars. So lovely, immeasurably valuable Sam, this one always was for you in particular. It wanted to be written; it was restless for the racetrack; it galloped along once I sat down at the computer; and since Marina slept in later than me in those days, I served it for breakfast and sent it to Tom later that day.
That was April 2008 and it struck a chord. It still seems to get reposted more than just about anything I’ve written at TomDispatch.com, and prompted some very funny letters to this site. None was more astonishing than the one from the Indianapolis man who wrote in to tell me that he had “never personally or professionally shortchanged a woman” and went on to berate me for not hanging out with “more regular guys or at least do a little homework first,” gave me some advice about how to run my life, and then commented on my “feelings of inferiority.” He thought that being patronized was an experience a woman chooses to, or could choose not to have -- and so the fault was all mine. Life is short; I didn’t write back.
Young women subsequently added the word “mansplaining” to the lexicon. Though I hasten to add that the essay makes it clear mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.
The battle for women to be treated like human beings with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of involvement in cultural and political arenas continues, and it is sometimes a pretty grim battle. When I wrote the essay below, I surprised myself in seeing that what starts out as minor social misery can expand into violent silencing and even violent death. Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to women, two Liberians and a Yemeni, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Which is to say, that safety and full participation is only a goal.
This is a struggle that takes place in war-torn nations, but also in the bedroom, the dining room, the classroom, the workplace, and the streets. And in newspapers, magazines, and television, where women are dramatically underrepresented. Even in the online gaming arena women face furious harassment and threats of assault simply for daring to participate. That’s mostly symbolic violence. Real violence, the most extreme form of silencing and destroying rights, takes a far more dire toll in this country where domestic violence accounts for 30% of all homicides of women, annually creates about two million injuries, and prompts 18.5 million mental health care visits. It’s in Cairo’s Tahrir Square too, brutal gender violence where freedom and democracy had been claimed.
Having the right to show up and speak are basic to survival, to dignity, and to liberty. I’m grateful that, after an early life of being silenced, sometimes violently, I grew up to have a voice, circumstances that will always bind me to the rights of the voiceless. Rebecca (August 19, 2012)
Men Explain Things to Me Facts Didn't Get in Their Way By Rebecca Solnit
I still don't know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen. The people were all older than us and dull in a distinguished way, old enough that we, at forty-ish, passed as the occasion's young ladies. The house was great -- if you like Ralph Lauren-style chalets -- a rugged luxury cabin at 9,000 feet complete with elk antlers, lots of kilims, and a wood-burning stove. We were preparing to leave when our host said, "No, stay a little longer so I can talk to you." He was an imposing man who'd made a lot of money.
He kept us waiting while the other guests drifted out into the summer night, and then sat us down at his authentically grainy wood table and said to me, "So? I hear you've written a couple of books."
I replied, "Several, actually."
He said, in the way you encourage your friend's seven-year-old to describe flute practice, "And what are they about?"
They were actually about quite a few different things, the six or seven out by then, but I began to speak only of the most recent on that summer day in 2003, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, my book on the annihilation of time and space and the industrialization of everyday life.
He cut me off soon after I mentioned Muybridge. "And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?"
So caught up was I in my assigned role as ingénue that I was perfectly willing to entertain the possibility that another book on the same subject had come out simultaneously and I'd somehow missed it. He was already telling me about the very important book -- with that smug look I know so well in a man holding forth, eyes fixed on the fuzzy far horizon of his own authority.
Here, let me just say that my life is well-sprinkled with lovely men, with a long succession of editors who have, since I was young, listened and encouraged and published me, with my infinitely generous younger brother, with splendid friends of whom it could be said -- like the Clerk in The Canterbury Tales I still remember from Mr. Pelen's class on Chaucer -- "gladly would he learn and gladly teach." Still, there are these other men, too. So, Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book I should have known when Sallie interrupted him to say, "That's her book." Or tried to interrupt him anyway.
But he just continued on his way. She had to say, "That's her book" three or four times before he finally took it in. And then, as if in a nineteenth-century novel, he went ashen. That I was indeed the author of the very important book it turned out he hadn't read, just read about in the New York Times Book Review a few months earlier, so confused the neat categories into which his world was sorted that he was stunned speechless -- for a moment, before he began holding forth again. Being women, we were politely out of earshot before we started laughing, and we've never really stopped.
I like incidents of that sort, when forces that are usually so sneaky and hard to point out slither out of the grass and are as obvious as, say, an anaconda that's eaten a cow or an elephant turd on the carpet.
Posted by Veterans Today
[ Editors Note: The ongoing crime here is that Kiev has thrown every roadblock it could in front of this Red Cross and Russian supplied aid convoy.
The goal has been to deny the Russians the higher moral diplomatic victory and the deflection that will be for the never ending attempts for Kiev to frame Russia as the aggressor.
This was all done with a corresponding total stand down by the US and EU to intercede to make Kiev stop the general shelling which has killed all of the civilians and destroyed the infrastructure of the region.
So the West is in total denial of the principles for which it claims as the basis of their foreign policy, freedom, democracy, stability, and the right to live ones life in peace and security. They have become the War of Terror...literally.
Sadly, while we do see some growing resistance to Western aggression toward Russia with East Ukraine as the sacrificial lamb, that is based primarily on the economic boomerang of the sanctions on Russia. I have not heard a single "concerned" European politician object to what the West has done on moral grounds. There is nothing but a black hole on the moral discussion.
Where is the humanity of the Western people? We see it nowhere.
What we are seeing here is the death of any Western claim to any morality at all. It is a self-immolation under sedation as they seem totally numb to it despite the death and destruction they have caused all around them.
I have been editorializing on this consistently. A fish stinks from the head, and the failure of Western leadership, with few exceptions, has been the biggest contributor to the group failure.
But the Western people cannot escape blame for the decline because they have failed to put real leaders into power. So they deserve to get what they have voted for and are not innocent victims… like those targeted by their criminal and terrorist foreign policies.
Will they wake up one morning and smell the carnage? I worry as we are really getting late in the game on this thing. And despite the lock on corporate media that the thugs have, access to alternative media is universal now so no one can claim they were not able to find out what was really going on.
Nothing will really change until we have a major leadership change, and that looks like it will require a major change in the people themselves, like waking up out of their coma to understand the disaster the end result of the current path will be. Take a look at Syria…and who caused it. That is a big clue… Jim W. Dean ]
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
Posted by Stephen Lendman
Israel threatens press freedom. Repressive Knesset legislation targets speech, assembly, association, and the right to dissent. So does Kafkaesque justice.
Military censorship bans, buries or sanitizes information about its crimes of war and against humanity it wants suppressed.
It willfully suppresses what everyone needs to know. It does so on the spurious pretext of national security.
It gags foreign correspondents. It forces them to abide by a Censorship Agreement. Its main provisions are:
- preventing publication or broadcast of what’s called security related information;
- permitting news and analysis of political issues except when they include what Israel calls classified information; and
- informing the media which issues demand approval; they’re subject to change; they include two main issues – state security and Jewish immigration from nations hostile to Israel.
Interpretations are crucial. Israel’s hardline government wants things its way.
Free expression is eroding. Protests are prohibited for political reasons. Patriotism is stressed over truth.
Nonviolent resistance is suppressed. Academic freedom is endangered. Historian Ilan Pappe moved to London.
He’s notably anti-Zionist. Israel made him feel like public enemy number one. He received death threats. He left for his own safety.
Fundamental freedoms greatly eroded under Netanyahu’s government. Hardliners want Jewish and Arab citizens to swear loyalty to a “Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state,” as well as its emblems and values.
Historical revisionism is rife. History books are rewritten. Nakba teaching and commemoration are banned. The term is verboten.
Netanyahu once called it anti-Israeli propaganda. It’s Palestine’s defining issue.
Israeli thought control targets dissent and uncomfortable truths. Journalists are especially vulnerable.
According to the Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms (MADA):
July was “unprecedented” in the commission of Israeli crimes against Palestinian journalists and media freedoms.
MADA general director, Mousa Rimawi, said it’ll be remembered “as the most violent and bloody month in the history of the Palestinian press.”
Nine journalists were killed. So was media activist Najaia Hai. By early August, Israeli forces killed six more.
At least a dozen others were injured. The homes of 16 press members were destroyed. Eight media outlets were shelled.
The IDF disrupted broadcasts of various TV and radio stations. It targets truth-telling web sites.
In July, MADA noted 76 media freedom violations in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Rogue states operate this way. They want control over what’s reported. They want their message alone getting out.
In times of war, they want information about their crimes of war and against humanity entirely suppressed.
By Ali Abunimah
20 August, 2014 Electronicintifada.net
Palestinians look at an unexploded Israeli missile, which witnesses said was fired by an Israeli aircraft on a street in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, 3 August. (Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)
A few days before he was killed trying to disarm an unexploded Israeli missile, Hazem Abu Murad, the head of Gaza’s bomb squad, estimated that Israel had dropped between eighteen to twenty thousand tons of explosives on Gaza since 7 July.
As I write, Israel has resumed its heavy bombardment after a nine-day truce ended without a long-term ceasefire agreement.
If Abu Murad’s estimate is right, then the explosive power Israel has fired on Gaza by land, sea and air so far is roughly equivalent to one of the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan in August 1945.
The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was rated at 13 kilotons – the equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of high-explosive TNT – while the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was rated at 21 kilotons.
Abu Murad, who died along with five other people on 13 August, estimated that about one thousand tons of unexploded munitions remained. There are more than 1,900 people killed in the ongoing Israeli assault – that is more than one out of every thousand of Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents.
Israel constantly publishes claims about how many mortar shells or rockets have been fired from Gaza – it claims for instance that 3,360 rockets were fired from Gaza between 8 July and 6 August.
It is well known that the rockets have caused minimal damage and casualties, and most fall in so-called “open areas.”
But even the number, which is supposed to sound impressive and justify the attack on Gaza, is actually minuscule compared with the volume of ordnance Israel fires into Gaza.
Estimates based on partial information from Israeli sources indicate that Israel has fired tens of thousands of artillery shells into Gaza and dropped a bare minimum of six thousand tons of bombs from the air. Abu Murad’s on-the-ground estimate is certainly plausible.
And the evidence suggests that contrary to Israeli official propaganda about the care taken to protect civilians, the vast majority of Israeli munitions are inaccurate and indiscriminate in the context of densely-populated areas where they have been widely used in Gaza.
This probably explains why Israel is so coy about publicizing the number of missiles, bombs and shells it fires at Gaza.
What is not in doubt – given the vast scale of killing and destruction inflicted in Gaza, as documented in UN satellite images – is that it is indeed an enormous number.
In one of the most severely hit areas, Khuzaa and al-Qarara in the southeastern Gaza Strip, the UN counted 2,493 destroyed structures, 1,243 severely damaged structures and 2,014 impact craters.
The Israeli military itself states that between 8 July and 5 August, “aerial, naval and ground forces struck 4,762 terror sites across the Gaza Strip.”
Of course we know that Israel defines everything it bombs as a “terror site,” so this number includes thousands of civilian homes, mosques, businesses and other civilian objects and infrastructure.
We also know that Israeli munitions factories were “working in shifts, 24 hours a day” to provide enough ammunition and shells to forces attacking Gaza.
During the attack, the Obama administration also replenished Israeli stocks from a one billion dollar weapons stockpile the US keeps in Israel. This included 120 mm mortar rounds and 40 mm grenades.
Israeli sources provide some information that allows us to generate a more accurate picture of the quantity of explosives Israel fired, and why their impact was so lethal and indiscriminate.
Indiscriminate artillery fire
The easiest type of munition to estimate is artillery shells. On 14 August, Haaretz published the following information, sourced to a “senior official of the general staff” of the Israeli army (emphasis added):
The estimated cost of the total ammunition used in Gaza fighting is estimated at about 1.3 billion shekels [$370 million]. According to the army’s figures, 39,000 tank shells, 34,000 artillery shells, and 4.8 million bullets were supplied during the fighting. Senior military figures estimate that land forces alone used at least 60 percent of the 5,000 tons of ammunition given to them, but the IDF [Israeli army] cannot yet evaluate it accurately.
According to the same senior staff officer, most of the ammunition came from Israeli production lines. Some of the ammunition was purchased from the US during hostilities, within the “advance placement” program. Additional ammunition and fighting equipment, along with medical equipment, were also ordered during hostilities, using an expedited procedure via the Defense Ministry.
Israel expert Dena Shunra notes that the concern here is cost – this is a move in budget negotiations in which the army seeks more money – and that is the context in which the numbers are revealed.
If, as reported, 60 percent of the stores were used, that would mean 23,400 tank shells, 20,400 artillery shells and 2.9 million bullets. That is almost two bullets for every man, woman and child in Gaza.
But, by at least one account, this is a woeful underestimate. According to the website Israel Defense, citing military sources, the Israeli army fired “not fewer than 40,000 155 mm artillery shells” into Gaza.
The most common artillery munition Israel employs is the 155 mm M107 high-explosive shell, according to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report titled “Indiscriminate Fire”:
M107 shells are extremely deadly weapons. The expected lethal radius for a 155 mm high explosive projectile is reportedly between 50 and 150 meters and the expected casualty radius is between 100 and 300 meters. IDF [Israeli army] officials have said that the error radius for a 155 mm shell is usually 25 meters. Therefore, if shells are lobbed as close as 100 meters to populated areas, as allowed under an IDF policy … or even closer, as sometimes happened, it greatly increases the likelihood of civilian casualties.
When the shells explode they can spread about 2,000 fragments in all directions. Sometimes they fail to explode and “become potentially explosive duds,” according to Human Rights Watch.
“Israel Military Industries, a state-owned arms producer and exporter, produces the M107 shell, although Israel has also imported 155 mm shells from the United States,” Human Rights Watch says.
What this means in practice is that Israeli shelling is indiscriminate because an “error radius” of 25 meters in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood like Shujaiya is as good as firing randomly into people’s houses.
Four times as many shells as during “Cast Lead”
When you do something again and again, placing great faith in it, investing enormous amounts of money in it, only to see indifferent or even negative results, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a neutral observer questioned your sanity or asked you if you were part of some cult. Yet few Americans question the sanity or cult-like behavior of American presidents as they continue to seek solutions to complex issues by bombing Iraq (as well as numerous other countries across the globe).
Poor Iraq. From Operation Desert Shield/Storm under George H.W. Bush to enforcing no-fly zones under Bill Clinton to Operation Iraqi Freedom under George W. Bush to the latest “humanitarian” bombing under Barack Obama, the one constant is American bombs bursting in Iraqi desert air. Yet despite this bombing -- or rather in part because of it -- Iraq is a devastated and destabilized country, slowly falling apart at seams that have been unraveling under almost a quarter-century of steady, at times relentless, pounding. “Shock and awe,” anyone?
Well, I confess to being shocked: that U.S. airpower assets, including strategic bombers like B-52s and B-1s, built during the Cold War to deter and, if necessary, attack that second planetary superpower, the Soviet Union, have routinely been used to attack countries that are essentially helpless to defend themselves from bombing.
In 1985, when I entered active duty as an Air Force lieutenant, if you had asked me which country the U.S. would “have” to bomb in four sustained aerial campaigns spanning three decades, among the last countries I would have suggested was Iraq. Heck, back then we were still helping Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, sharing intelligence that aided his military in pinpointing (and using his chemical weapons against) Iranian troop concentrations. The Reagan administration had sent future Bush secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld there to shake Saddam’s hand for a photo op. We even overlooked Iraq’s “accidental” bombing in 1987 of a American naval vessel, the USS Stark, that resulted in the death of 37 American sailors, all in the name of containing Iran (and Shia revolutionary fervor).
It’s said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but Saddam didn’t remain a friend for long. Emboldened by U.S. support in his war with Iran, he took Kuwait, only to initiate the first round of devastating U.S. air raids against his military during Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991. As these and subsequent bombing campaigns damaged and debilitated Iraq, contributing to Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, the Shia majority in that country found common cause with Iran, strengthening one branch of militant Islam. At the same time, the general destabilization of Iraq from a generation of air war and invasion has led to a Sunni revolt, the strengthening of an al-Qaeda-style movement, and the establishment of a “caliphate” across significant parts of Iraq (and Syria).
Now, given that less-than-stellar record, does anyone want to hazard a guess about the next American response to peoples and leaders our government doesn’t like in Iraq or the rest of the Middle East? My money is on more bombing, which surely requires explanation.
Cranking Out Bombers
If one weapon captured the image of the former Soviet Union, it was the main battle tank. From T-34s during World War II to T-72s near the end of the Cold War, the Russians cranked them out like sausages. And if one weapon captured the image of the U.S., then and now, it has surely been the bomber, whether of the strategic or heavy variety (think B-52) or the tactical or fighter-bomber variety (think the F-105 in the Vietnam years, the F-15 “Strike Eagle” in Iraq, and for the future, the most expensive weapons system of all time, the F-35). As the richer superpower, the U.S. cranked out high-tech bombers like so many high-priced sausages.
“The bomber will always get through.” That article of faith, first expressed in 1932 by Stanley Baldwin, thrice Prime Minister of Britain, was seized upon by U.S. airpower enthusiasts in the run-up to World War II. Despite decidedly mixed and disappointing results ever since, bombing remains the go-to choice for American commanders-in-chief.
What we need in 2014 is a new expression that catches the essence of the cult of U.S. air power, something like: “The bomber will always get funded -- and used.”
Let’s tackle the first half of that equation: the bomber will always get funded. Skeptical? What else captures the reality (as well as the folly) of dedicating more than $400 billion to the F-35 fighter-bomber program, a wildly over-budget and underperforming weapons system that may, in the end, cost the American taxpayer $1.5 trillion. Yes, you read that right. Or the persistence of U.S. plans to build yet another long-range “strike” bomber to augment and replace the B-1 and B-2 fleet? It’s a “must-have,” according to the Air Force, if the U.S. is to maintain its “full-spectrum dominance” on Planet Earth. Already pegged at an estimated price of $550 million per plane while still on the drawing boards, it’s just about guaranteed to replace the F-35 in the record books, when it comes to delays, cost overruns, and price. And if you don’t think it’ll get funded, you don’t know recent history.
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 17, 2014 "ICH"
The Western media have proved for all to see that the Western media comprises either a collection of ignorant and incompetent fools or a whorehouse that sells war for money.
The Western media fell in step with Washington and blamed the downed Malaysian airliner on Russia. No evidence was provided. It its place the media used constant repetition. Washington withheld the evidence that proved that Kiev was responsible. The media’s purpose was not to tell the truth, but to demonize Russia.
Now we have the media story of the armored Russian column that allegedly crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The disreputable BBC hyped the story without investigating. The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.
The media story is preposterous for a number of reasons that should be obvious to a normal person.
The first reason is that the Russian government has made it completely clear that its purpose is to de-escalate the situation. When other former Russian territories that are part of present day Ukraine followed Crimea, voted their independence and requested reunification with Russia, President Putin refused. To underline his de-escalation, President Putin asked the Russian Duma to rescind his authority to intervene militarily in Ukraine in behalf of the former Russian provinces. As the Russian government, unlike Washington or EU governments, stresses legality and the rule of law, Russian military forces would not be sent into Ukraine prior to the Duma renewing Putin’s authority so to do.
The second reason the story is obviously false is that if the Russian government decides to invade Ukraine, Russia would not send in one small armored group unprotected by air cover or other forces. If Russia invades Ukraine, it will be with a force capable of rolling up the rag-tag Ukrainian forces, most of which are semi-private militias organized by nazis. The “war” would last a few hours, after which Ukraine would be in Russia’s hands where it resided for hundreds of years prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Washington’s successful efforts in 1991 to take advantage of Russian weakness to break apart the constituent provinces of Russia herself.