zaterdag 10 oktober 2015

Robert Scheer

Posted: Updated:


Go ahead and support Hillary Clinton, those of you for whom having the first female president is the top priority. She is by far preferable to Carly Fiorina, though of course no match for likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein (I know: You want to win). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a principled and electable person, is not available, and political integrity be damned.
Just admit that you will be voting for someone to be president of the world's most powerful nation who has not only been profoundly wrong on the two most pressing issues of our time--economic injustice and the ravages of unbridled militarism--but, what is more significant, seems hopelessly incapable of learning from her dangerous errors in judgment.
Like her husband, she is certainly smart enough to avoid advocating what President Obama has aptly termed "stupid stuff." However, the good intentions of the Clintons are trumped by opportunism every time.
For confirmation of the Margaret Thatcher hawkish side of Clinton, simply refer to her book "Hard Choices," which clearly is biased against choosing the more peaceful course and instead betrays a bellicose posturing that seems to harken back to the Goldwater Girl days that reflected her earliest political instincts.
What one finds is a litany of macho bleating in defense of bombing nations into freedom, leaving them fatally torn--Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. Honestly, wasn't Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state horridly devoid of accomplishment compared with that of John Kerry, who achieved long-overdue normalization of relations with Iran and with Cuba, to name two stunning accomplishments?
But it is in matters of economic policy--driving this election--where the failure of the Clintons is the most obvious, and where Hillary Clinton seems to be even less conflicted than her husband in serving the super rich at the expense of the middle class.
A continued deep deception in such matters was once again on full display in her major policy statement printed Thursday on Bloomberg. In an article headlined "My Plan to Prevent the Next Crash," Hillary began by blaming it all on nefarious Republicans led by President George W. Bush.
Of course, the Republicans have been terrible in their zeal to unleash Wall Street greed ever since the moderate Republicanism of Dwight Eisenhower came to be replaced by its opposite, the Reagan Revolution.
But the reality is that Ronald Reagan presided over the savings-and-loan scandal and as a result was compelled to tighten banking regulations rather than obliterate them. It remained for President Clinton, in his patented zeal to obfuscate meaningful political debate with triangulation, to enshrine into federal law that primitive pro-Wall Street ideology.
One key piece of that betrayal was the reversal of the New Deal wall between commercial and consumer banking, codified in the Glass-Steagall Act, which Franklin Roosevelt had signed into law. When Bill Clinton betrayed the legacy of FDR by signing the so-called Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, he handed the pen used in the signing to a beaming Sandy Weill, whose Citigroup had breached that wall and commingled the savings of ordinary folks with the assets of private hustlers--a swindle made legal by Clinton's approval of the legislation.
Hillary Clinton, in her statement this week, made clear that in opposition to positions taken by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and even John McCain she will not revive Roosevelt's sensible restriction if she is elected.
Instead, Clinton blamed Republicans for the fact that "In the years before the crash, as financial firms piled risk upon risk, regulators in Washington couldn't or wouldn't keep up." How convenient to ignore that Citigroup, the result of a merger made legitimate by her husband, was one of the prime offenders in piling up those risks before taxpayers provided $300 million in relief.
Brooksley Born, a head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Clinton's second term, made a heroic effort to regulate the nefarious marketing of dubious mortgage debt securities until Bill Clinton betrayed her by signing off on legislation that explicitly banned any regulation of those suspect mortgage derivatives, involving many trillions of dollars.
It was that president's parting gift to the banks but also to his wife, whose Senate career would come to be lavishly supported by Wall Street's mega-rich leaders. They are now quite happy to back a woman for president, as long as it's not someone like Brooksley Born or Elizabeth Warren who is serious in her concern for the millions of women whose lives were impoverished by Hillary Clinton's banking buddies.

Scott Ritter

The Trouble with Missiles

Become a fan Author, 'Dangerous Ground'

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On October 7, 2015, four ships belonging to the Caspian Sea flotilla of the Russian Navy fired 26 long-range "Kaliber" cruise missiles (officially referred to as the 3M-14 by Russia, or by its NATO designation, SS-N-30), at 11 targets inside Syria. According to the Russians, all 26 missiles hit their targets. According to unnamed Pentagon officials, four of the 26 did not, falling instead into a "mostly rural" area of Iran, where two of the missile's 1,000 pound warheads detonated, causing damage to some buildings and possibly several civilian casualties. Both the Russian and Iranian governments vehemently deny these claims, and the United States has provided no factually-based evidence to sustain these unsourced allegations.

On the surface, claims that four cruise missiles failed to reach their targets should have generated little alarm or concern among either military professionals or those in the media who report on such matters. After all, the United States has been employing naval-fired long range cruise missiles - the BGM-109, or "Tomahawk" - in combat operations since 1991, and the reality associated with operational malfunctions and other technical issues that arise from the employment of technologically advanced weapons systems are known all-too-well. During the Gulf War in 1991, 297 Tomahawks were attempted to be fired by the US Navy. Nine failed to leave their launch tubes, and six suffered booster malfunctions which caused them to fall into the water shortly after launch, representing a 5% failure rate on launch. Of the 282 missiles successfully launched, 245 hit their targets; 37 did not. The Pentagon claims that Iraq shot down between two and six Tomahawks, meaning that between 31 and 35 Tomahawks went "astray", or around 12% of the missiles launched. These calculations are consistent with the Pentagon's claims of an approximate 85% success rate for the Tomahawk during that conflict.

In the coming decade, Iraq continued to be the favorite target for American cruise missiles - 46 were attempted to be launched against a manufacturing plant outside Baghdad in January 1993 (42 left their tubes, 34 of which hit their intended target); 25 were fired at the Iraqi Intelligence Service's headquarters in June 1993 (23 of which launched, 16 hitting their target), 44 against Iraqi air defense sites in August 1996 (31 hitting their target), and 325 against a wide variety of targets in December 1998 (there is no data on how many of these actually hit their target - the Pentagon assigned a success rate of around 90%, meaning less than 300 did so.) In every instance, missiles went astray and struck unintended targets, causing significant damage and civilian casualties. Although the Navy began employing improved versions of the Tomahawk in the late 1990's, the problem with missiles going awry did not go away - the Serbian government reported missiles hitting the water and striking civilian buildings after a barrage of 13 Tomahawks was fired into Bosnia in September 1995, and later, in 1999, when some 219 Tomahawks were fired at targets in Serbia. Similar issues with malfunctioning Tomahawks plagued US cruise missile attacks against Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen over the years. And, more recently, ISIS has recovered the remains of two Tomahawk missiles launched on 22-23 September 2014 that failed to reach their targets (out of 47 launched.)

Operational failures, however tragic the consequences, are a reality of modern warfare, where increasingly sophisticated weapons systems like the Tomahawk are employed on a regular basis. While both Russia and Iran deny there were any operational failures among the 26 "Kalibr" cruise missiles fired at targets in Syria on October 7, it would not be surprising if there had been, and in any case such failures, in and of themselves, would not constitute headline-grabbing news. What drives the news-worthiness of the reporting is the political spin being put on the alleged missile failures by the Pentagon - that the Russian missiles don't work as advertised, and that Iranian territory was somehow violated as a result of these failures. The military value of precision-guided long-range cruise missiles has been amply demonstrated by the United States, and since 1991 American military forces have enjoyed a virtual monopoly on their use (Great Britain also fields the BGM-109 as a submarine-launched weapon, and has employed its Tomahawks on a limited number of occasions in joint military strikes together with the United States navy.) The fact that Russia has now joined the ranks of nations with an operational capability to strike with precision high-value targets at a range of nearly 1,000 miles is a clear propaganda victory for the Russians, one the Pentagon appears very keen on blunting through the release of its unsubstantiated claims of Russian missile failures.

The real story, according to the spin being placed on the story by the Pentagon (and willingly echoed by an all-too compliant American media) is the alleged violation of Iranian territory that occurred when these missiles hit earth. The goal in emphasizing this aspect of the story ("Russian missiles headed for Syria landed in Iran" announced CNN on its website) is clear - to generate some sort of political fallout within Iran over a violation of its territorial sovereignty. The United States knows all-to-well the potential backlash that can occur when a cruise missile goes astray - in late March, 2003, the United States was compelled to reposition ships in the Mediterranean and Red Seas when seven Tomahawk missiles intended for Iraq wound up on Turkish and Saudi Arabian soil, prompting both those governments to close their air space to American cruise missiles. Three other stray Tomahawks ended up hitting targets in Iran, prompting the Iranian government to file official complaints with the British and Swiss embassies (the Swiss represent American interests in Iran, given the lack of diplomatic relations between the two.) Perhaps the Pentagon was hoping to anger anti-Russian elements among the Iranian body politic, generating the same sort of diplomatic brouhaha it experienced in 2003.

If so, then whomever in the Pentagon who made the decision to leak the information about the alleged Russian missile failures has little or no appreciation of either history or current affairs. In 1991, the United States deliberately routed hundreds of its Tomahawk missiles over Iranian territory to take advantage of readily identifiable terrain features required by the guidance system of the BGM-109 to navigate toward its intended target inside Iran. This was done without any permission being sought by the United States, or given by Iran, prior to the missiles being launched, and understandably angered the Iranian government when it detected the missiles flying over its territory. This blatant disregard on the part of the United States for the territorial integrity of Iran in 1991 influenced the Iranian reaction in 2003, when it supported the American attack on Iran but protested the violation of its territory by the errant Tomahawk missiles.

Unlike the United States in 1991 and 2003, Russia not only sought the permission of Iran (and Iraq, for that matter, since the 26 "Kalibr" missiles launched in the Caspian Sea were required to pass over Iraqi territory as well prior to hitting their targets inside Syria), but fully integrated the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian militaries into the planning and implementation of the missile strikes. This coordination was announced by all four parties when they set up a joint planning and intelligence sharing apparatus in Baghdad last month, so any intent on the part of the Pentagon to somehow "expose" the Russian-Iranian military cooperation in Syria by announcing that Russian missiles fell into Iranian territory was misspent effort.

The crude nature of the Pentagon's blatant anti-Russian propaganda campaign following the Russian cruise missile attack inside Syria only underscores the difficult position the Russian missile attacks have placed the United States, both regionally and globally. The Russians have invited the United States to coordinate its military operations in Iraq and Syria with the new joint Russian-Iraqi-Iranian-Syrian headquarters in Baghdad; the Americans adamantly refuse to do so. As a result, the American embassy in Iraq receives a gruff warning from a Russian officer about the closure of Syrian airspace hours before Russian operations begin, compelling the United States Air Force to suspend operations in an effort to de-conflict military assets (in short, to prevent a situation where Russian and American aircraft might come into contact with one another.)

While American aircraft operate with the permission of the Iraqi government over Iraq, they have no such permission from the Syrian government for the operations conducted in the airspace of that nation, in effect placing the United States outside international law in that regard. The Russians, on the other hand, operate in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government, and as such its operations have a legal standing that take precedent over anything the United States (and the entire American-led anti-ISIS coalition) seeks to accomplish in Syria. The Russians, in effect, control the entirety of Syria's airspace, and are able to dictate the pace and scope of the American and coalition air strikes in Syria simply by doing business as it best sees fit - including launching cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea. The United States has no legal ground upon which to stand when it comes to protesting the Russian actions.

But the real harm comes from the loss of American prestige suffered as a result of Russia's stunning display of the kind of military prowess previously thought to be the sole purview of the United States military (and, to a lesser extent, its proxy, Great Britain), and the loss of face that comes with the accompanying regional and global realization that when it comes to the great game being played out today in regard to Syria, Russia holds nearly all the cards. The Russian missile strike was part of a major coordinated offensive launched by the Syrian Army, with Russian and Iranian military advice and assistance, against anti-regime forces that are supported by the United States and its allies. This new flexing of Syrian military muscle occurred simultaneously with the announcement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter of the suspension of the failed effort by the Pentagon to train and equip a viable anti-regime military force.

The message emerging from these dueling announcements is clear - while America scrambles to piece together the semblance of a coherent Syrian policy while Russia, together with its Iranian and Syrian allies, effectively executes one. This is the backstory that underpins the non-story of alleged Russian missile failures - Russia is succeeding while America fails. Given the track record of American policy in the Middle East over the past decade (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria), perhaps this is a good thing. One thing is for certain - the kind of empty propaganda ploys represented by the leaked "news" about Russian cruise missile malfunctions may resonate in American living rooms, but fall on deaf ears where they matter most, on the ground inside Syria, and in the homes of the Iraqi and Iranian citizens who support their respective nations efforts to shore up the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and stop the spread of ISIS.

Deadly Trail of Syrian Jihadists

GRAPHIC: Deadly trail left by retreating Syrian jihadists in Bahsa village (EXCLUSIVE)

Published on Oct 10, 2015

The Syrian Army has captured the village of Al-Bahsa in the Hama province. An RT crew went to witness the trail of destruction left behind by the militants over their two-month reign of terror.

VVD Normen en Waarden

EIGEN VOLK EERST. KOOP NEDERLANDSCHE WAAR. HET VVD-PATRIOTTISME. DAT IS WAT OVERBLIJFT VAN GEERT MAK'S  Western values and Western ways of thinking,' die volgens het orakel van bartlehiem voor de Russen niet 'van opperste belang' zijn.  Zijlstra straalt dezelfde pedante zelfgenoegzame betweterigheid uit als 'onze' neoliberale bestseller-auteur.

Halbe Zijlstra wil sober bestaan voor vluchtelingen

Door: Jan Hoedeman en Tobias den Hartog
10-10-15 - 10:15

’Er is een run op ons land die we moeten stoppen’

Halbe Zijlstra (VVD) wil asielzoekers ontmoedigen naar Nederland te komen. 'We kunnen de vluchtelingenstroom niet aan.' © Robin Utrecht.
Vluchtelingen moeten na het krijgen van een tijdelijke verblijfsvergunning veel van hun huidige rechten verliezen. Geen bijstandsuitkering meer, geen uitgebreide medische zorg en geen grote woning. Dat stelt VVD-fractievoorzitter Halbe Zijlstra in een interview met het AD.
Het was misschien leiderschap, maar wel het verkeerde
Halbe Zijlstra
Volgens de VVD is er een run op Nederland ontstaan door vluchtelingen die moet worden gestopt. Door een drastische versobering van de sociale voorzieningen, moet het voor asielzoekers minder aantrekkelijk worden om naar Nederland te reizen. Zijlstra slaat alarm en taxeert de stroom asielzoekers als 'een diepe, diepe crisis'.

Daarom moet de Vreemdelingenwet worden aangepast om er een einde aan te maken dat asielzoekers met een tijdelijke verblijfsvergunning dezelfde voorzieningen krijgen als degenen met een permanente. De medische voorzieningen die nu uitgebreid zijn, worden teruggesnoeid tot wat medisch noodzakelijk is.

Zijlstra: ,,Ooglidcorrecties, borstverkleiningen of -vergrotingen, complete tandrenovatie, dat soort zaken: echt niet.'' De VVD wil dat een bijstanduitkering verleden tijd is voor mensen met een voorlopige verblijfsvergunning. Zij worden gelijkgeschakeld aan asielzoekers die nog in procedure zijn. Zij moeten een ,,zuinig leefgeld''  krijgen voor eten en kleding.  Er moet een 'sober dak' boven hun hoofd komen.

Hij denkt aan 'containerachtige woningen'. Volgens Zijlstra kan dit alles zonder dat er een Vluchtelingenverdrag wordt opgezegd. Ook de tijdelijk verblijfsgunning van vijf jaar voor een asielzoeker moet bekort worden naar 1 jaar en ieder jaar worden heroverwogen. Dan wordt bekeken of een vluchteling in de eigen regio kan worden opgevangen. Volgens Zijlstra is het hoge vluchtelingenaantal te wijten te aan de 'uitnodigende' uitspraken van de Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel. ' Het was misschien leiderschap, maar wel het verkeerde.'

Volgens Zijlstra is de huidige situatie zwaarder dan de economische crisis, waar Nederland net bovenop is. Grenzen dicht is geen optie met `1027 onbewaakte kilometers', zo staat in het plan `Grenzen aan opvang'. Zijlstra zegt dat Nederland  reisdoel ,,numero twee'' is voor vluchtelingen. 'In Zuid-Europa zeggen ze: loopt u maar door, daar is West-Europa.'

President Putin's Speech in UN

Read Putin’s U.N. General Assembly speech

Russia's president blamed foreign intervention in North Africa and the Middle East for creating a terrorist-fueled "anarchy." (Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Monday and said the West was making an "enormous mistake" by not cooperating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against the Islamic State militant group. Here is the full text of his remarks.

PUTIN (THROUGH INTERPRETER): Your excellency Mr. President, your excellency Mr. Secretary General, distinguished heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a good occasion to both take stock of history and talk about our common future.

In 1945, the countries that defeated Nazism joined their efforts to lay solid foundations for the postwar world order.

But I remind you that the key decisions on the principles guiding the cooperation among states, as well as on the establishment of the United Nations, were made in our country, in Yalta, at the meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders.

The Yalta system was actually born in travail. It was won at the cost of tens of millions of lives and two world wars.

This swept through the planet in the 20th century.

Let us be fair. It helped humanity through turbulent, at times dramatic, events of the last seven decades. It saved the world from large-scale upheavals.

The United Nations is unique in its legitimacy, representation and universality. It is true that lately the U.N. has been widely criticized for supposedly not being efficient enough, and for the fact that the decision-making on fundamental issues stalls due to insurmountable differences, first of all, among the members of the Security Council.

However, I'd like to point out there have always been differences in the U.N. throughout all these 70 years of existence. The veto right has always been exercised by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, the Soviet Union and Russia later, alike. It is absolutely natural for so diverse and representative an organization.

When the U.N. was established, its founders did not in the least think that there would always be unanimity. The mission of the organization is to seek and reach compromises, and its strength comes from taking different views and opinions into consideration. Decisions debated within the U.N. are either taken as resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or do not pass.

Whatever actions any state might take bypassing this procedure are illegitimate. They run counter to the charter and defy international law. We all know that after the end of the Cold War — everyone is aware of that — a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if they were strong and exceptional, they knew better and they did not have to reckon with the U.N., which, instead of [acting to] automatically authorize and legitimize the necessary decisions, often creates obstacles or, in other words, stands in the way.

It has now become commonplace to see that in its original form, it has become obsolete and completed its historical mission. Of course, the world is changing and the U.N. must be consistent with this natural transformation. Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.

We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality. There would be less of a chain of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories.

What is the state sovereignty, after all, that has been mentioned by our colleagues here? It is basically about freedom and the right to choose freely one's own future for every person, nation and state. By the way, dear colleagues, the same holds true of the question of the so-called legitimacy of state authority. One should not play with or manipulate words.

Every term in international law and international affairs should be clear, transparent and have uniformly understood criteria. We are all different, and we should respect that. No one has to conform to a single development model that someone has once and for all recognized as the only right one. We should all remember what our past has taught us.

We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.

It seemed, however, that far from learning from others' mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.

But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.

It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas,  which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.

Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State. Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. And now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries.

First, they are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State. Besides, the Islamic State itself did not just come from nowhere. It was also initially forged as a tool against undesirable secular regimes.

Having established a foothold in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has begun actively expanding to other regions. It is seeking dominance in the Islamic world. And not only there, and its plans go further than that. The situation is more than dangerous.

In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.

To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.

We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.

Unfortunately, dear colleagues, I have to put it frankly: Russia is not an exception. We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. No one wants this to happen, does he?

Russia has always been consistently fighting against terrorism in all its forms. Today, we provide military and technical assistance both to Iraq and Syria and many other countries of the region who are fighting terrorist groups.
We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and Kurds (ph) militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.

We know about all the problems and contradictions in the region, but which were (ph) based on the reality.

Dear colleagues, I must note that such an honest and frank approach of Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of its growing ambitions, as if those who say it have no ambitions at all.

However, it's not about Russia's ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world. What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common interests, rather than ambitions.

On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.

Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.

The ideologists (ph) of militants make a mockery of Islam and pervert its true humanistic (ph) values. I would like to address Muslim spiritual leaders, as well. Your authority and your guidance are of great importance right now.

It is essential to prevent people recruited by militants from making hasty decisions and those who have already been deceived, and who, due to various circumstances found themselves among terrorists, need help in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms, and putting an end to fratricide.

Russia will shortly convene, as the (ph) current president of the Security Council, a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of threats in the Middle East.

First of all, we propose discussing whether it is possible to agree on a resolution aimed at coordinating the actions of all the forces that confront the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations. Once again, this coordination should be based on the principles of the U.N. Charter.

We hope that the international community will be able to develop a comprehensive strategy of political stabilization, as well as social and economic recovery, of the Middle East.

Then, dear friends, there would be no need for new refugee camps. Today, the flow of people who were forced to leave their homeland has literally engulfed first neighboring countries and then Europe itself. There were hundreds of thousands of them now, and there might be millions before long. In fact, it is a new great and tragic migration of peoples, and it is a harsh lesson for all of us, including Europe.

I would like to stress refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support. However, the — on the way to solve this problem at a fundamental level is to restore their statehood where it has been destroyed, to strengthen the government institutions where they still exist or are being reestablished, to provide comprehensive assistance of military, economic and material nature to countries in a difficult situation. And certainly, to those people who, despite all the ordeals, will not abandon their homes. Literally, any assistance to sovereign states can and must be offered rather than imposed exclusively and solely in accordance with the U.N. Charter.

In other words, everything in this field that has been done or will be done pursuant to the norms of international law must be supported by our organization. Everything that contravenes the U.N. Charter must be rejected. Above all, I believe it is of the utmost importance to help restore government's institutions in Libya, support the new government of Iraq and provide comprehensive assistance to the legitimate government of Syria.

Dear colleagues, ensuring peace and regional and global stability remains the key objective of the international community with the U.N. at its helm. We believe this means creating a space of equal and indivisible security, which is not for the select few but for everyone. Yet, it is a challenge and complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no other alternative. However, the bloc thinking of the times of the Cold War and the desire to explore new geopolitical areas is still present among some of our colleagues.

First, they continue their policy of expanding NATO. What for? If the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence, the Soviet Union have collapsed (ph) and, nevertheless, the NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure. Then they offered the poor Soviet countries a false choice: either to be with the West or with the East. Sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a grave geopolitical crisis. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine, where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used and the military coup was orchestrated from outside — that triggered a civil war as a result.

We're confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12th, 2015, can we put an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of the deadlock. Ukraine's territorial integrity cannot be ensured by threat of force and force of arms. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the interests and rights of the people in the Donbas region and respect for their choice. There is a need to coordinate with them as provided for by the Minsk agreements, the key elements of the country's political structure. These steps will guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized society, as an essential link and building a common space of security and economic cooperation, both in Europe and in Eurasia.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have mentioned these common space of economic cooperation on purpose. Not long ago, it seemed that in the economic sphere, with its objective market loss, we would launch a leaf (ph) without dividing lines. We would build on transparent and jointly formulated rules, including the WTO principles, stipulating the freedom of trade, and investment and open competition.

Nevertheless, today, unilateral sanctions circumventing the U.N. Charter have become commonplace, in addition to pursuing political objectives. The sanctions serve as a means of eliminating competitors.

I would like to point out another sign of a growing economic selfishness. Some countries [have] chosen to create closed economic associations, with the establishment being negotiated behind the scenes, in secret from those countries' own citizens, the general public, business community and from other countries.

Other states whose interests may be affected are not informed of anything, either. It seems that we are about to be faced with an accomplished fact that the rules of the game have been changed in favor of a narrow group of the privileged, with the WTO having no say. This could unbalance the trade system completely and disintegrate the global economic space.

These issues affect the interest of all states and influence the future of the world economy as a whole. That is why we propose discussing them within the U.N. WTO NGO (ph) '20.

Contrary to the policy of exclusiveness, Russia proposes harmonizing original economic projects. I refer to the so-called integration of integrations based on universal and transparent rules of international trade. As an example, I would like to cite our plans to interconnect the Eurasian economic union, and China's initiative of the Silk Road economic belt.

We still believe that harmonizing the integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union is highly promising.

Ladies and gentlemen, the issues that affect the future of all people include the challenge of global climate change. It is in our interest to make the U.N. Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Paris a success.

As part of our national contribution, we plan to reduce by 2030 the greenhouse emissions to 70, 75 percent of the 1990 level.

I suggest, however, we should take a wider view on this issue. Yes, we might defuse the problem for a while, by setting quotas on harmful emissions or by taking other measures that are nothing but tactical. But we will not solve it that way. We need a completely different approach.

We have to focus on introducing fundamental and new technologies inspired by nature, which would not damage the environment, but would be in harmony with it. Also, that would allow us to restore the balance upset by biosphere and technosphere (ph) upset by human activities.

It is indeed a challenge of planetary scope, but I'm confident that humankind has intellectual potential to address it. We need to join our efforts. I refer, first of all, to the states that have a solid research basis and have made significant advances in fundamental science.

We propose convening a special forum under the U.N. auspices for a comprehensive consideration of the issues related to the depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitat and climate change.

Russia would be ready to co-sponsor such a forum.

Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, it was on the 10th of January, 1946, in London that the U.N. General Assembly gathered for its first session.

Mr. Suleta (ph) (inaudible), a Colombian diplomat and the chairman of the Preparatory Commission, opened the session by giving, I believe, a concise definition of the basic principles that the U.N. should follow in its activities, which are free will, defiance of scheming and trickery and spirit of cooperation.

Today, his words sound as a guidance for all of us. Russia believes in the huge potential of the United Nations, which should help us avoid a new global confrontation and engage in strategic cooperation. Together with other countries, we will consistently work towards strengthening the central coordinating role of the U.N. I'm confident that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, as well as provide conditions for the development of all states and nations.

Thank you.



U.S. Finances Jihadists in Syria

US Senator Dick Black: US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are financing jihadists in Syria   

U.S. Terror 13

One Man's Mission: Justice for Iraq

Friday, 09 October 2015 10:06 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report 
Iraqis cross a busy border checkpoint between Kurdish- and Islamic State-controlled territory in Maktab Khalid, just west of Kirkuk, Iraq, Sept. 17, 2014. (Andrea Bruce / The New York Times)Iraqis cross a busy border checkpoint between Kurdish- and Islamic State-controlled territory in Maktab Khalid, just west of Kirkuk, Iraq, September 17, 2014. (Andrea Bruce / The New York Times)
While in Boston in 1994, full-time peace activist Bert Sacks made a decision that changed his life forever.
He decided to seek out a study produced by a group called the Harvard Study Team, which had reported to The Washington Post that the deliberate destruction of Iraq's civilian infrastructure by the US military, along with the US-led economic sanctions against that country, were likely to cause 170,000 Iraqi children to die.

Sacks refuses to ignore what is happening.

Unfortunately, that estimate would turn out to be far, far too low, as President Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, infamously boasted on national television when she said the price of 500,000 dead Iraqi children was "worth it." Albright went on to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
"Since that time 21 years ago, I could not leave this issue alone," Sacks, a kind, soft-spoken 72-year old activist from Seattle, told Truthout.
He went on to make nine trips into Iraq, the first one in 1996, as part of a Voices in the Wilderness delegation and in an effort to "educate myself and my fellow Americans about the disastrous effect of this policy on Iraqis."
For his efforts, in 2002, he was fined $10,000 by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for the heinous crime of bringing $40,000 worth of medicine to sick and dying Iraqi children in Basra, Iraq, during his second trip there in1997.
He refused to pay the fine. He then sued the OFAC over the fact that it fined him, but lost the case.
In turn, the OFAC sued him for the fine, plus another $6,000 in interest and penalties.
Most people in the United States have chosen to ignore the catastrophic situation the US government has caused in both Iraq and the greater Middle East. One could easily argue that both the catastrophe that is today's Iraq as well as the bloodbath in Syria stemmed from the US wars against Iraq, which began in 1991 and continue to this day.
Sacks refuses to ignore what is happening. He is a one-man movement, seeking justice, and continues to look for ways he can help the people of Iraq - and nothing the US government has thrown at him thus far has slowed him down.
"Making Life Uncomfortable for the Iraqi People"
Sacks was horrified by the 1991 Gulf War, but even more taken aback by the ensuing US-led sanctions.
"On March 22, 1991, I read a New York Times front-page story covering the UN report by Martti Ahtisaari on the devastating, 'near-apocalyptic conditions' in Iraq after the Gulf War," he explained.
The report read: "famine and epidemic [were imminent] if massive life-supporting needs are not rapidly met. The long summer ... is weeks away. Time is short."
The UN report recommended an immediate survey of civilian damage caused by the US bombing of Iraq and an immediate cessation of the sanctions in order to prevent "imminent catastrophe."
Sacks told Truthout that one particular sentence of that article "has stayed with me for nearly 25 years."

"What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions."

It says, "Ever since the trade embargo was imposed on Aug. 6, after the invasion of Kuwait, the United States has argued against any premature relaxation in the belief that by making life uncomfortable for the Iraqi people it will eventually encourage them to remove President Saddam Hussein from power."
"Even today it's hard for me to read this article without a deep feeling of shame, that my country would do such a thing," Sacks has written. "That there would not be a major uprising of citizens over what was such an unequivocal war crime against the most vulnerable part of the Iraqi population, the children."
"This is the practice of total war as followed in World War II," Sacks said. "No civilians are exempt from the war, not the elderly, not women, not even little babies."
It is all well documented to this day: how the US government deliberately targeted the civilian infrastructure of Iraq with bombing runs, then forbade the importing of critical components to rebuild water treatment facilities, electrical grids and hospitals, and forbade the import of medicine, as well as things as basic as food and pencils.
The US Defense Intelligence Agency published a 1991 document (available here) with the subject line, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities."
The document notes that Iraq was dependent upon the importation of equipment and chemicals needed to purify its water supply, and went on to add:
Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease ... The entire Iraqi water treatment system will not collapse precipitously ... full degradation of the water treatment system probably will take at least another 6 months.
The drumbeat of assaults carried out directly against the Iraqi people continued in the aftermath of the 1991 bombing campaign. On May 27, 1991, then-Secretary of State James Baker infamously stated, "... [W]e will never normalize relations with Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power." The statement effectively served as a death sentence to well over 1 million Iraqis, who died as a result of the sanctions between 1991 and 2003.
Less than a month later, on June 23, 1991, a Washington Post article titled "Allied Air War Struck Broadly in Iraq - Officials Acknowledge Strategy Went Beyond Purely Military Targets" was published.
The article quoted senior US military officers admitting that the worst civilian suffering resulted not from bombs that went astray, but instead from "precision-guided weapons that hit exactly where they were aimed - at electrical plants, oil refineries and transportation networks."
Pentagon analysts calculated that in 1991, Iraq had roughly the same electrical generating capacity it had in 1920, when things like sewage treatment and refrigeration were rare.
A military planning officer is quoted in the article, saying: "People say, 'You didn't recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage. Well, what were we trying to do with [United Nations-approved economic] sanctions - help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of sanctions." [emphasis added]
Col. John Warden III, deputy director of strategy for the US doctrine and plans for the Air Force, agreed that one purpose of destroying Iraq's electrical grid was that "you have imposed a long-term problem on the leadership that it has to deal with sometime."
"Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity," he said. "He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.N. coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree to do these things, we will allow people to come in and fix your electricity.' It gives us long-term leverage."
The strategy of using civilian deaths and suffering as "leverage" against a dictator was not only endorsed by members of the US military. In July 1991, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said that every bombing target in Iraq - including civilian infrastructure - was "perfectly legitimate," and added, "If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing."
Given that Cheney went on to become one of the leading hawks promoting the 2003 war against Iraq, which led to at least 1 million Iraqi deaths and counting, he clearly remained true to his word.
Iraqi Children
Sacks' concern about the impacts of US policy on Iraqi children continued to grow.
His trips into Iraq continued, as did his research findings about how the US military knowingly and deliberately destroyed targets that would cause the death and suffering of Iraqis, including children and babies.
A US Air Force publication, in 1995, cited Iraq as an example of "dual-use targeting." Mentioning airstrikes against Iraqi electrical power facilities during the 1991 war, the report stated, "As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate."
The same report went on to question whether Air Force doctrine supported or condemned these actions, but went on to conclude:
The US Air Force has a vested interest in attacking dual-use targets so long as dual-use target destruction serves the double role of destroying legitimate military capabilities and indirectly targeting civilian morale. So long as this remains within the letter if not the spirit of the law and the JWE [Christian Just-War Ethic], the Air Force will cling to the status quo.
Sacks was long since aware of a 1992 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, "Special Article: Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq," which concluded, "The Gulf war and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in mortality among Iraqi children under five years of age. We estimate that an excess of more than 46,900 children died between January and August 1991."
The report also showed that the researchers' data demonstrated a direct link between the 1991 war and sanctions to the subsequent increase in deaths, in addition to the reported epidemics of gastrointestinal and other infections - the exact diseases mentioned in the US Air Force publication.
But that was just the beginning of the sanctions and suffering. As Albright mentioned, at least half a million Iraqi children would go on to be killed by US policy, and at least that number of adults were killed by malnutrition, diseases and other health issues related to the destruction of infrastructure and sanctions.
In 1997, a New England Journal of Medicine report zeroed in on the human costs of the sanctions against Iraq. It mentioned the findings of the 1992 study, and went on to add that Iraqis were experiencing "suffering of tragic proportions ... [with children] dying of preventable diseases and starvation."

"To this day, there are still only a few rotating hours of electricity a day for most Iraqis."

As late as 2000, US Rep. Tony Hall visited Iraq and was shocked by what he found. In a letter to Secretary of State Albright, Hall said, "I share UNICEF's concerns about the profound effects of increasing deterioration of Iraq's water supply and sanitation systems on its children's health. The prime killer of children under five years of age - diarrhoeal diseases - has reached epidemic proportions and they now strike four times more often than they did in 1990."
All but one of the contracts for supplies Iraq needed were placed on hold by the US government. The contracts were for purification chemicals, chlorinators, chemical dosing pumps, water tankers and other related equipment. Of this, Hall added, "Holds on contracts for the water and sanitation sector are a prime reason for the increases in sickness and death."
Sacks told Truthout that he thinks about what happened - and continues to happen - daily.
"Whenever there's a power outage here in Seattle, and people complain about not having electricity for a few hours or days, I think of my first visit to a family in Baghdad in 1996. It was four months before they had any electricity and any water from the tap, after the US Air Force had destroyed nearly all of Iraq's generating capacity," he said. "To this day, there are still only a few rotating hours of electricity a day for most Iraqis, and nothing approaching the prewar 9,000 to 9,500 megawatt capacity Iraq had in 1990."
Sacks reiterated his amazement at the statements made by the Pentagon bombing planners who made it clear that the consequences of taking out Iraq's electricity were not unexpected, but were actually anticipated - and even desired.
"That meant no sewage processing for the 6 million people in Baghdad," he said. "And consequently no safe drinking water for the residents of Baghdad and everyone downstream who got their water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers."
Still Seeking Justice
Sacks stood as the sole defendant in the federal court case of The United States of America v. Bertram Sacks.
He took, in his own words from his testimony, this stance: "I contended that I couldn't pay the fine, because that would be giving money to an organization [the United States] that had committed an act of terrorism."
The judge dismissed the lawsuit.
That left the 2010 OFAC suit against Sacks, aimed at collecting the $10,000 fine, which he'd publicly refused to pay.

"I'll continue to do whatever seems practical to raise Americans' understanding of the horrendous mess we've made in Iraq."

"I wanted to take advantage of this second chance in court to raise the issue that US policy using the suffering and deaths of Iraqis, especially the most innocent and vulnerable, children under 5, to overthrow Saddam Hussein, came to constitute terrorism according to our own US legal code," Sacks explained. "Unfortunately, the judge denied me this chance by dismissing the government's case against me because the statute of limitations had run out."
Despite what Sacks saw as a setback, the suit prompted him to start his blog,, "to share with interested parties what I'd learned, and continued to learn, over the five years since then, including related issues," he said.
He is pleased that his research and statements regarding what he sees as war crimes, and even terrorism, remain a matter of federal district court and public records due to his case.
And Sacks is far from finished.
"I'll continue to do whatever seems practical to raise Americans' understanding of the horrendous mess we've made in Iraq and beyond, including what we're doing to our own country," he said.
As Sacks sees it, the real work now is clear: "to continue to study nonviolence - deep nonviolence, not just 'don't throw rocks' - and to learn to understand, internalize and apply it to Iraq issues, as well as to the many conflict situations we face today."
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission


Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.
His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

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