Feb 292012
 
Global Research
By Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that Al Qaeda and other organizations on the US “terror list” are supporting the Syrian opposition.

Clinton said: “We have a very dangerous set of actors in the region, al-Qaida [sic], Hamas, and those who are on our terrorist list, to be sure, supporting – claiming to support the opposition [in Syria].” [1] (Click here to watch video)

Yet at the same time, in the above BBC interview the US Secretary of State repeats the threadbare Western claim that the situation in Syria is one of a defenceless population coming under “relentless attack” from Syrian government forces.

There is ample evidence that teams of snipers who have been killing civilians over the past year in Syria belong to the terrorist formations to which Clinton is referring to.

As Michel Chossudovsky points out in a recent article: “Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups – covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence – have conducted terrorist attacks directed against government buildings, including acts of arson. Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers, including mercenaries, have targeted the police, armed forces as well as innocent civilians. There is ample evidence, as outlined in the Arab League Observer Mission report, that these armed groups of mercenaries are responsible for killing civilians. ??While the Syrian government and military bear a heavy burden of responsibility, it is important to underscore the fact that these terrorist acts – including the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children – are part of a US-NATO-Israeli initiative, which consists is supporting, training and financing  ‘an armed entity’ operating inside Syria.” [2]

The admission at the weekend by Hillary Clinton corroborates the finding that armed groups are attacking civilians and these groups are terroristic, according to US own definitions, and that the situation in Syria is not one of unilateral state violence against its population but rather is one of a shadowy armed insurrection.

Clinton’s admission retrospectively justifies the stance taken by Russia and China, both of which vetoed the proposed UN Security Council Resolution on 4 February, precisely because that proposal was predicated on a spurious notion that the violence in Syria was solely the responsibility of the Al Assad government.

Clinton also acknowledges in the BBC interview that there is “a very strong opposition to foreign intervention from inside Syria, from outside Syria” – which tacitly concedes the fact that the Syrian population is aware that the so-called oppositionists within their country are Al Qaeda-affiliated mercenaries.

Meanwhile, the US Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have separately issued statements that they are willing to send arms to Syria to support the insurrection against the Damascus government. Given the still substantial popular support for the government of Bashir Al Assad, such a declaration by Saudi Arabia and Qatar towards a fellow Arab League member state signifies an unprecedented interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Indeed, legal opinion could argue that it constitutes a self-indicting act of international aggression.

Besides, such a declaration by Saudi Arabia and Qatar of being willing to arm Syrian insurrectionists, can be seen as a cynical cover for what is already taking place. It is known that the Gulf monarchical states are already supplying weapons illicitly to the self-styled Syrian Free Army, along with Turkey and Israel.

So far, the US is officially maintaining the fiction that it is not involved in supplying arms to Syria even though Washington has demanded “regime change” and in spite of evidence that Western covert forces, including American, British and French operatives, are actively engaged with the opposition groups.

It is richly ironic that the unelected fundamentalist Sunni regimes of the Persian Gulf are supporting Al Qaeda affiliated groups within Syria purportedly to “bring about democratic reforms”. This is the same dynamic that prevailed in Libya where the overthrow of that country’s government by Western and Gulf Arab powers has now led to a collapse in human rights and social conditions.

Once again, Syria is indicating the same alignment of allies: Washington, London and other NATO powers comfortably in bed with Sunni/Salafist tyrants and terrorists, claiming to be supporting democratic freedom and human rights.

Of course, the real agenda has nothing to do with either democratic freedoms or human rights – as the awry alignment of allies clearly indicates. Rather, this is about Washington and its proxy powers trying to engineer regime change throughout the Arab World and beyond to conform to geopolitical objectives, principally the control of raw energy. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are but a sequence of stops on a global roadmap of permanent war that also swings through Iran. Russia and China are the terminal targets.

Washington is evidently prepared to use any means necessary to assert this agenda: illegal wars, death on a massive scale, possibly triggering global war and the use of nuclear weapons. But surely the most preposterous mask is the “war on terror”, when it is seen – from the words of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – that Washington is now openly collaborating with the supposed “terrorist enemy” to bring about regime change in desired countries.

If somehow the weasel words from Washington could be taken at face value, then if it were serious about wanting regime change to facilitate democracy, human rights and world peace, the first regime that pre-eminently qualifies for such change is Washington itself.

Note

[1] Transcript of Clinton interview on BBC, 26 February, 2012:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1202/S00690/interview-with-kim-ghattas-of-bbc.htm

[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29234

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Feb 282012
 
9/11 Truth News
Cosmos

One of the first juicy bits to trickle out of Wikileaks release of 5 million Stratfor emails is the comment from Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President of Intelligence, that the Imam of the controversial so-called Ground Zero mosque is an “FBI operational asset.” Burton, who was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Deputy Chief of their counterterrorism division, made the comment on an email chain regarding a New York Observer article, Untangling the Bizarre CIA Links to the Ground Zero Mosque. The controversy surrounding the “Ground Zero mosque” overwhelmingly dominated the news and discussion surrounding the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

UPDATE: The above was posted about an hour after the GI Files had been announced. It seems relatively minor compared to some of the other items coming out, but still quite interesting and perhaps important. Now, 12 hours later, it’s apparent that the scope of issues involved in the GI Files release will be immense. Spying on activists, insider trading, money laundering, “sexual control” of assets and mind-boggling arrogance and incompetence seem to be only the tip of the iceberg.

Here is the full Wikileaks GI Files press conference, which took place a few hours ago:

Cass Sunstein even gets a mention, in connection to the Bhopal tragedy and cover up, of all things.

Video streaming by Ustream



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Feb 282012
 
Committee releases report examining Dover military mortuary where remains of unidentified victims were ‘mismanaged’

The North Pool of the 9/11 memorial in New York.

The Pentagon has revealed that partial, incinerated remains of some September 11 victims that could not be identified were sent to a landfill.

The number of victims involved was unclear according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday, but it involved some of those killed when a terrorist-hijacked airplane struck the Pentagon, killing 184, and another crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, killing 40, in the September 11 attacks against the US in 2001.

The Pentagon released the report by an independent committee that was asked to examine practices at the military’s mortuary at Dover, Delaware, the first stopping point for fallen troops coming home from war overseas.

“We don’t think it should have happened,” the committee chairman, retired General John Abizaid, told a Pentagon news conference.

The panel was formed after an investigation revealed last November that there was “gross mismanagement” at the Dover facility and body parts had been lost on two occasions. After that investigation, news reports said that some cremated partial remains of at least 274 American war dead were dumped in a Virginia landfill until a policy change halted the practice in 2008.

Tuesday’s report was explaining the old policy, and said:

“This policy began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the … crash site could not be tested or identified.”

It said the partial remains were cremated, then given to a biomedical waste disposal contractor who incinerated them and took them to a landfill.


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Feb 282012
 
AUPHR
Tom Nelson

Jen Nessel, CCR, (212) 614-6449, press@ccrjustice.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Jayne Kaszynski, Olympia Food Co-op, 360-357-1106 x11, publicrelations@olympiafood.coopThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed Over Boycott of Israeli Goods

Court Finds Suit Is Effort to Chill Boycotters’ Public Statements On Issue of Public Concern

February 27, 2012, Olympia, WA and New York, NY – Today, in a lawsuit brought against current and former members of the Olympia Food Co-op board of directors for their decision to boycott Israeli goods, a Washington State court dismissed the case, calling it a SLAPP – Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation – and said that it would award the defendants attorneys’ fees, costs, and sanctions. The judge also upheld the constitutionality of Washington’s anti-SLAPP law, which the plaintiffs had challenged.

In a court hearing last Thursday, lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP argued that the court should grant the defendants’ Special Motion to Strike and dismiss the case because it targeted the constitutional rights of free speech and petition in connection with an issue of public concern.

“We are pleased the Court found this case to be what it is – an attempt to chill free speech on a matter of public concern. This sends a message to those trying to silence support of Palestinian human rights to think twice before they bring a lawsuit,” said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

On Thursday, the courtroom was filled with interested observers, and boycott supporters held a rally outside the courthouse. Today, the courtroom was filled to overflowing and many co-op supporters spilled into the hallway.

“We’re thrilled that the court saw fit to protect the board’s right to free speech. This decision affirms the right to engage in peaceful boycotts without fear of being dragged through expensive litigation,” said Bruce E.H. Johnson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, who drafted Washington State’s Anti-SLAPP law.

Also at the hearing on Thursday, the court denied plaintiffs’ motion for discovery, which sought to depose defendants and obtain documents. The defendants’ attorneys had argued that lengthy depositions and voluminous document production is precisely the type of burden the anti-SLAPP statute was intended to prevent. Before the case was filed, the plaintiffs sent the co-op board members a letter indicating that plaintiffs would bring a “complicated, burdensome, and expensive” legal action if the co-op did not end the boycott.

“Today’s victory is not only for the Co-op, but one for free speech,” said Jayne Kaszynski, spokesperson for the Olympia Food Co-op, and one of the defendants in the case. “We look forward to returning all of our energy to the Co-op’s mission.”

SLAPPs are lawsuits that target the constitutional rights of free speech and petition in connection with an issue of public concern Although many cases that qualify as SLAPPs are without legal merit, they can nonetheless effectively achieve their primary purpose: to chill public debate on specific issues. Defending against a SLAPP requires substantial money, time, and legal resources, and can divert attention away from the public issue and intimidate and silence other speakers. Washington State’s Anti-SLAPP statute was enacted in 2010 to deter such lawsuits.

The boycott is part of a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel for what boycotters say are violations of international law and the denial of Palestinian human rights. The lawsuit seeks to prevent enforcement of the boycott policy and to collect monetary damages against the 16 past and current board members. The case was filed by five co-op members, purporting to bring the suit on behalf of the co-op itself, which has approximately 22,000 members.

The Olympia Food Co-op is a nonprofit corporation that was formed in Olympia, Washington in 1976. The co-op seeks to make good food accessible to more people while encouraging economic and social justice, and it has a long history of social justice work. In 2010, the board passed a resolution by consensus to boycott Israeli goods.

The case is Davis, et al., v. Cox, et al., Case No. 11-2-01925-7 in the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Thurston County. For more information and today’s argument, and to view filings in the case, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights case page.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is counsel on the case with CCR cooperating counsel Barbara Harvey from Detroit, Michigan, and Steven Goldberg from Portland, Oregon, along with Seattle attorneys Bruce E.H. Johnson and Devin Smith of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. For more information about Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, visit http://www.dwt.com/.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.

The Olympia Food Co-op is a member-based, not-for-profit, natural foods grocery store with two locations in Olympia, WA. The Olympia Food Co-op has provided healthy, organic and local food to the Olympia area since 1977, with an emphasis on promoting social and environmental responsibility. The stores are collectively managed and largely volunteer-run. Visit www.olympiafood.coop.


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Feb 282012
 
MondoWeiss

Ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous

Graphic from the Occupy AIPAC website – www.occupyaipac.org

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of the most powerful lobby organizations in the country. AIPAC’s clout helps fuel a never-ending cycle of violence in the Middle East.

Here are ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous.

1. AIPAC is lobbying Congress to promote a military confrontation with Iran. AIPAC – like the Israeli government – is demanding that the U.S. attack Iran militarily to prevent Iran from having the technological capacity to produce nuclear weapons, even though U.S. officials say Iran isn’t trying to build a weapon (and even though Israel has hundreds of undeclared nuclear weapons). AIPAC has successfully lobbied the U.S. government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran, including trying to cut off Iran’s oil exports, despite the fact that these sanctions raise the price of gas and threaten the U.S. economy.

2. AIPAC promotes Israeli policies that are in direct opposition to international law. These include the establishment of colonies (settlements) in the Occupied West Bank and the confiscation of Palestinian land in its construction of the 26-foot high concrete “separation barrier” running through the West Bank. The support of these illegal practices makes to impossible to achieve a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

3. AIPAC’s call for unconditional support for the Israeli government threatens our national security. The United States’ one-sided support of Israel, demanded by AIPAC, has significantly increased anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East, thus endangering our troops and sowing the seeds of more possible terrorist attacks against us. Gen. David Petraeus on March 16, 2010 admitted that the U.S./Palestine conflict “foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.” He also said that “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

4. AIPAC undermines American support for democracy movements in the Arab world. AIPAC looks at the entire Arab world through the lens of Israeli government interests, not the democratic aspirations of the Arab people. It has therefore supported corrupt, repressive regimes that are friendly to the Israeli government, such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Events now unfolding in the Middle East should convince U.S. policy-makers of the need to break from AIPAC’s grip and instead support democratic forces in the Arab world.

5. AIPAC makes the U.S. a pariah at the UN. AIPAC describes the UN as a body hostile to the State of Israel and has pressured the U.S. government to oppose resolutions calling Israel to account. Since 1972, the US has vetoed 44 UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. President Obama continues that policy. Under Obama, the US vetoed UN censure of the savage Israeli assault on Gaza in January 2009 in which about 1400 Palestinians were killed; a 2011 resolution calling for a halt to the illegal Israeli West Bank settlements even though this was stated U.S. policy; a 2011 resolution calling for Israel to cease obstructing the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees; and another resolution calling for an end to illegal Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and the occupied Golan Heights.

6. AIPAC attacks politicians who question unconditional support of Israel. AIPAC demands that Congress to rubber stamp legislation drafted by AIPAC staff. It keeps a record of how members of Congress vote and this record is used by donors to make contributions to the politicians who score well. Members of Congress who fail to support AIPAC legislation have been targeted for defeat in re-election bids. These include Senators Adlai Stevenson III and Charles H. Percy, and Representatives Paul Findley, Pete McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, and Earl F. Hilliard. AIPAC’s overwhelmingly disproportionate influence on Congress subverts our democratic system.

7. AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel by labeling critics as “anti-Semitic,” “de-legitimizers” or “self-hating Jews.” Journalists, think tanks, students and professors have been accused of anti-Semitism for merely taking stands critical of Israeli government policies. These attacks stifle the critical discussions and debates that are at the heart of democratic policy-making. The recent attacks on staffers at the Center for American Progress is but one example of AIPAC efforts to crush all dissent.

8. AIPAC feeds U.S. government officials a distorted view of the Israel/Palestine conflict. AIPAC takes U.S. representatives on sugar-coated trips to Israel. In 2011, AIPAC took one out of very five members of Congress—and many of their spouses—on a free junket to Israel to see precisely what the Israeli government wanted them to see. It is illegal for lobby groups to take Congresspeople on trips, but AIPAC gets around the law by creating a bogus educational group, AIEF, to “organize” the trips for them. AIEF has the same office address as AIPAC and the same staff. These trips help cement the ties between AIPAC and Congress, furthering their undue influence.

9. AIPAC lobbies for billions of U.S. taxdollars to go to Israel instead of rebuilding America. While our country is reeling from a prolonged financial crisis, AIPAC is pushing for no cuts in military funds for Israel, a wealthy nation. With communities across the nation slashing budgets for teachers, firefighters and police, AIPAC pushes for over $3 billion a year to Israel.

10. Money to Israel takes funds from world’s poor. Israel has the 24th largest economy in the world, but thanks to AIPAC, it gets more U.S. taxdollars than any other country. At a time when the foreign aid budget is being slashed, keeping the lion’s share of foreign assistance for Israel meaning taking funds from critical programs to feed, provide shelter and offer emergency assistance to the world’s poorest people.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has influence on U.S. policy out of all proportion to the number of Americans who support its policies. When a small group like this has disproportionate power, that hurts everyone—including Israelis and American Jews.

From stopping a catastrophic war with Iran to finally solving the Israel/Palestine conflict, an essential starting point is breaking AIPAC’s grip on U.S. policy.


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Feb 282012
 
Russia Today

Volunteer reapers (“Faucheurs volontaires”), beekeepers
and anti-GMO activists put a placard in front of the
Regional Direction of Agriculture on
February 21, 2012 in Toulouse

Despite requests made under the Freedom of Information Act for correspondence out of the White House, the Obama administration is refusing to comply with calls to disclose discussions with Monsanto-linked lobbyists.

The US-based non-profit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is demanding that the White House comply with a FOIA request for information that might link the Obama administration with lobbyists tied to the Monsanto corporation. Monsanto, an agricultural biotech company that rakes in billions each year, has become the enemy of independent farmers in recent years after the corporation has sued hundreds of small-time growers and, in many cases, purchased farms that are unable to compete in a court of law. As Monsanto’s profits grow and the group comes close to monopolizing the market for American agriculture, the company has at the same time thrived due its use of controversial genetically-engineered seeds.

Three-hundred thousands organic farmers across America are currently trying to take Monsanto to court to keep the corporation from continuing its war on independent growers. As a case is composed, the PEER group suspects that the White House’s refusal to comply with the FOIA request could be because Monsanto has some powerful friends on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Particularly, PEER is trying to pry correspondence that came into the inbox of a White House policy analyst from a lobbyist with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which represents Monsanto and other manufacturers of genetically-engineered seeds. The White House says that disclosing the full details of the email could give competing companies an advantage as lobbying secrets are unearthed for the world, but PEER thinks the truth is much worse than that.

“We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” PEER staff counsel Kathryn Douglass tells the Truthout website. “The White House’s legal posture is as credible as claiming Coca Cola’s secret formula was ‘inadvertently’ left in a duffel bag at the bus station.”

Michael Taylor, a former attorney for the US Department of Agriculture and lobbyist for Monsanto, was recently appointed to a federal role as the deputy commissioner for foods at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, the FDA shot down requests from consumer protection groups to label genetically modified products as such. With a White House-Monsanto connection already established with the appointment of Taylor, PEER and others are interested in what other ties could exist between the two.

The inquiry from PEER stems from an earlier email obtained in which biotech lobbyist Adrianne Massey confronts a White House official with regards to if and how the administration is dealing with a lawsuit PEER had filed. In that instance, PEER had fought and won to keep genetically-engineered crops from being planted in wildlife refuges. PEER is now suing the White House for the rest of that correspondence and other related emails.


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Feb 282012
 
BushStole04
Kurt Nimmo

Former president Bill Clinton is among nominees for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reports. Jan Egeland, the European director of Human Rights Watch, mentioned Clinton after the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was considering two hundred and thirty one names.

Nobel Prize winner Obama learned how to sell mass murder as humanitarianism from Clinton.

In 2009, the current war criminal in chief, Barry Obama, was chosen as peacemaker. The Committee said Obama received the award “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” Obama was continuing and amplifying upon Bush’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time, making him a perfect candidate for the hypocritical “award” doled out by the ossified Norwegian Nobel Institute and its secretariat.

In 1999, Bill Clinton was one of the world’s leading war criminals. He had surpassed the crimes of his predecessor and “brought to the commission of war crimes a new eclectic reach and postmodern style,” Edward S. Herman wrote at the time. “A skilled public relations person, he has refined the rhetoric of humanistic and ethical concern and can apologize with seeming great sincerity,” a parlor trick Obama has attempted to emulate.

Clinton bombed the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Sudan, killing untold numbers. In the latter case, he bombed a pharmaceutical plant.

His putrid crown was the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq. “UNICEF reports that in 1999 more than 1 million Iraqi children under 5 were suffering from chronic malnutrition, and some 4,000-5,000 children are dying per month beyond normal death rates from the combination of malnutrition and disease,” writes Herman. “Death from disease was greatly increased by the shortage of potable water and medicines, that has led to a 20-fold increase in malaria (among other ailments). This vicious sanctions system, causing a creeping extermination of a people, has already caused more than a million excess deaths,” a toll that has exceeded the toll of “all so-called weapons of mass destruction [nuclear and chemical] throughout all history,” according to John and Karl Mueller.

Clinton and NATO specialized in targeting civilians like these Albanian refugees.
In Yugoslavia, Clinton targeted civilian infrastructure and civilian facilities – houses, hospitals, schools, trains, factories, power stations, and broadcasting facilities. Noted journalist John Pilger added “housing estates, hotels, libraries, youth centers, theaters, museums, churches and 14th century monasteries on the World Heritage list” to Clinton’s target roster. According to Yugoslav authorities, 60 percent of NATO targets were civilian, including 33 hospitals and 344 schools, as well as 144 major industrial plants and a large petro-chemical plant whose bombing caused a pollution catastrophe.

Not long after Clinton ran out of targets, the BBC reported that the use of depleted uranium in Serbia would cause 10,000 extra deaths from cancer. Scientists at Kozani in northern Greece reported that radiation levels were 25% above normal whenever the wind blew from the direction of Kosovo while Bulgarian researchers reported finding levels eight times higher than usual within Bulgaria itself, and up to 30 times higher in Yugoslavia.

Considering the fact that the Nobel Prize is now a cheap artifact awarded to war criminals and psychopaths, Clinton should be a shoo-in. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, and more than 200 other nominees should be dropped from consideration.

Bill Clinton, war criminal extraordinaire, is the ideal choice.


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Feb 282012
 
CBS DC

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance.

The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.

Some of that money — it’s unclear exactly how much because the program has little oversight — has paid for the cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods. It also paid for computers that store even innocuous information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.

When NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly was filled in on these efforts, his briefings were prepared on HIDTA computers.

The AP confirmed the use of White House money through secret police documents and interviews with current and former city and federal officials. The AP also obtained electronic documents with digital signatures indicating they were created and saved on HIDTA computers. The HIDTA grant program is overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The disclosure that the White House is at least partially paying for the NYPD’s wholesale surveillance of places where Muslims eat, shop, work and pray complicates efforts by the Obama administration to stay out of the fray over New York’s controversial counterterrorism programs. The administration has championed outreach to American Muslims and has said law enforcement should not put entire communities under suspicion.

The Obama administration, however, has pointedly refused to endorse or repudiate the NYPD programs it helps pay for. The White House last week declined to comment on its grant payments.


John Brennan, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, last year called the NYPD’s efforts “heroic” but would not elaborate. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose department also gives grant money to the NYPD and is one of the lead federal agencies helping police build relationships with Muslims, has refused in recent months to discuss the police tactics. Tom Perez, the Justice Department’s top civil rights lawyer, has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the NYPD.

Outside Washington, the NYPD’s efforts drew increased criticism last week. College administrators at Yale, Columbia and elsewhere issued harsh rebukes for NYPD’s infiltration of Muslim student groups and its monitoring of school websites. New Jersey’s governor and the mayor of its largest city have complained about the NYPD’s widespread surveillance there, outside New York’s police jurisdiction.

The White House HIDTA grant program was established at the height of the drug war to help police fight drug gangs and unravel supply routes. It has provided about $2.3 billion to local authorities in the past decade.

After the terror attacks, law enforcement was allowed to use some of that money to fight terrorism. It’s unclear how much HIDTA money has been used to pay for the intelligence division, in part because NYPD intelligence operations receive scant oversight in New York.

Congress, which approves the money for the program, is not provided with a detailed breakdown of activities. None of the NYPD’s clandestine programs is cited in the New York-New Jersey region’s annual reports to Congress between 2006 and 2010.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not respond to questions the AP sent to him in two emails about the White House money and the department’s intelligence division.

Most of the money from the White House grants in New York and New Jersey has been spent fighting drugs, said Chauncey Parker, director of the program there. He said less than $1.3 million was spent on vehicles used by the NYPD intelligence unit.

“Those cars are used to collect and analyze counterterrorism information with the goal of preventing a terrorist attack in New York City or anywhere else,” Parker said. “If it’s been used for specific counterterrorism effort, then it’s been used to pay for those cars.”
 

Former police officials told the AP those vehicles have been used to photograph mosques and record the license plates of worshippers.

In addition to paying for the cars, the White House money pays for part of the office space the intelligence division shares with other agencies in Manhattan.

When police compiled lists of Muslims who took new, Americanized names, they kept those records on HIDTA computer servers. That was ongoing as recently as October, city officials said.

Many NYPD intelligence officers, including those that conducted surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods, had HIDTA email addresses. Briefing documents for Kelly, the police commissioner, were compiled on HIDTA computers. Those documents described what police informants were hearing inside mosques and which academic conferences Muslim scholars attended.

When police wanted to pay a confidential informant, they were told to sign onto the HIDTA website to file the paperwork, according to a 2007 internal document obtained by the AP.

Parker said the White House grant money was never used to pay any of the NYPD intelligence division’s confidential informants. The HIDTA computer systems, he said, are platforms that allow different law enforcement agencies to share information and work.

“I am shocked to hear that federal dollars may have helped finance the NYPD’s misguided efforts to spy on Muslims in America,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., one of 34 members of Congress who have asked the Justice Department and House Judiciary Committee to investigate the NYPD.

The connection between NYPD and the White House anti-drug grant program surfaced years ago, during a long-running civil rights lawsuit against police. Civil rights attorneys asked in court about a “demonstration debriefing form” that police used whenever they arrested people for civil disobedience. The form carried the seal of both the NYPD Intelligence Division and HIDTA.

A city lawyer downplayed any connection. She said the NYPD and HIDTA not only shared office space, they also shared office supplies like paper. The NYPD form with the seal of a White House anti-drug program was “a recycled piece of paper that got picked up and modified,” attorney Gail Donoghue told a federal judge in 2003.
The issue died in court and was never pursued further.

Last week, the controversy over NYPD’s programs drew one former Obama administration official into the discussion.

After the AP revealed an extensive program to monitor Muslims in Newark, N.J., police there denied knowing anything about it. The Newark police director at the time, Garry McCarthy, has since moved on to lead Chicago’s police department where President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is now the mayor.

“We don’t do that in Chicago and we’re not going to do that,” Emanuel said last week.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the NYPD surveillance in his state was “disturbing” and has asked the attorney general to investigate. Christie was New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor and sat on the HIDTA executive board during 2006 and 2007 when the NYPD was conducting surveillance in New Jersey cities. Christie said he didn’t know that, in 2007, the NYPD catalogued every mosque and Muslim business in Newark, the state’s largest city.
“I kind of think I would have remembered that,” he said on Fox Business News last week.


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Feb 282012
 
Global Research
Felicity Arbuthnot

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” (J.EdgarHoover, 1895-1972.)

Smelt any proverbial rats, lately? If not, you have not been paying attention, there are plenty about.

Consider for instance this: “Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now” and “must step aside …” Hilary Clinton (Asia Times, 9th February 2012.)

“I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault  … and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones.  Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now.  He must step aside …” said President Barack Hussein Obama. (i)

Yet responsibility for US victims, in their hundreds of thousands, spanning Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, are wholly unaccountable – and uncounted..

Responsibility for tyrannicide (including the horrific, state sponsored assassinations of Osama bin Laden and others, Libya’s Head of State, Colonel Quaddafi, have, seemingly entered a Presidential memory hole.)

“This (Syria’s) is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can get its credibility back either internationally or with its own people”, Britain’s little Foreign Secretary, William Hague, chimed in obediently, from the Washington script, on Sky News.

“Because the regime is so intransigent, because it is conducting ten months unmitigated violence and repression – more than 6,000 killed, with 12,000 or 14,000 in detention and subject to every kind of torture and abuse – it is driving some opponents to violent action themselves”, concluded Hague.

Hypocrisy reigns supreme. Walking distance from Hague’s office: “living in style and protection”, is Bashar Al Assad’s Uncle Rifaat, under whose Defence Brigades onslaught killed up to perhaps thirty thousand people in the city of Hama, which was also partially destroyed, Falluja style. The thirtieth anniversary of  a truly terrible event is commemorated today, 25th February. (See Robert Fisk, Independent, 25th February 2012.)

Of Libya, in March 2011, Obama stated: “Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead, and he must leave. Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable. And the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met.”(ii.)

An anomaly (apart from the script similarity): In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya,  deaths resultant from US-UK and “allied” actions are: “impossible to verify”, by Washington and Whitehall.

Indeed, this month, the (UK) Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence, issued a Report, after an Inquiry in to operations in Libya, stating that: “Britain has no way of knowing how many civilians died in the Libyan conflict as a result of Nato bombing.” (iii)

Back in March 2011, however, the exact figure of Quaddafi’s victims was “known.” Coincidentally, it was also exactly 6,000, stated a “political analyst” – using remarkably State Department-similar phraseology.(iv)

As under Saddam Hussein in Iraq (with no diplomatic presence) in Libya and now little in Syria – with no point of contact bar, seemingly, a satellite dish fitter, in Coventry, England, alleged to be the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” – exact death and casualty figures are always miraculously available.

A new nemesis appears on the horizon – or “Arab street”- and precise numbers are trumpeted. Yet when Western forces, “Viceroys”, “Intelligence” services, “mentors” and myriad, general meddlers, mercenaries and marauders pitch up, murder and occupy, none are available.

Of course no proposed invasion (sorry, “humanitarian intervention”) regime change and accompanying mass  slayings would be complete without forces of a wicked tyrant switching off electricity to babies incubators.

For anyone who has forgotten the details, the (1990-1991) Iraq model went like this: vast US government employed PR agency, Hill and Knowlton (“we create value by shaping conversations: we start them, we amplify them, we change them. We can connect seamlessly with all of your audiences…”)produced a fifteen year old girl called “Nayirah”, a “Kuwaiti with first hand knowledge of … her tortured land.”

“I volunteered (tears) at the Al Addan Hospital .. I saw the Iraqi soldiers ..with guns, they took fifteen babies out of incubators, left them on the cold floor and took the incubators.”

Strangely, no one asked why she didn’t pick them up and wrap and tend to them, or checked who she really was.

She was the daughter of Saud al Sabar, the Kuwaiti Ambassador to US. The incubators story of course, was a complete fabrication.
October 10th 1990, Amnesty presented evidence against Iraq with Hill and Knowlton at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill. Amnesty International trustingly endorsed the incubator story. Apparently never investigating who “Nayirah” was, and in a charged situation, whether propaganda might not be rampant.

“Amnesty US Executive Director, John Healey, compounded the incubator baby story in testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 8th.January 1991. The carpet-bombing of Iraq began nine days later.”(v)

Amnesty, enjoined by Human Rights Watch, are amongst the most enthusiastic champions of Syrian intervention and onward to Armageddon. Glen Ford writes all you ever need to know.(vi)

The first Syria incubator baby story surfaced last August. “Syrian government troops”, had cut the electricity. It was quickly exposed as beyond questionable.(vii)

Another one came up on 8th February (viii) with numbers varying from eighteen poor mites, to a subsequent eighty. With both tales, as the Iraq version, no distraught parents, extended family, were found, no funeral gatherings, then the stories, too, quietly vanished.

Coincidentally, the current Speaker of the eighty eight Member Arab Inter-Parliamentary union, which backs intervention in Syria, is Kuwaiti, Ali Al-Salem Al-Dekbas, calling for all Syria’s Ambassadors to be expelled, confrontation with Russia over her stance – and in remarkable US-speak, for swift intervention, to stop the Syrian government “killing (their own) people.” (Reuters, 4th February 2012.)

The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, is Suzanne Nossel, formerly Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Assistant for International Organization Affairs, at the State Department. She has also previously worked for Human Rights Watch.

She: “… has launched several campaigns against Iran, Libya and Syria.”(viii)

The allegation that Kuwait gave Amnesty $500,000 for backing the Iraq incubator baby story has never gone away. But the little island, famously once called:”An oil company posing as a state”, with population just   2,595,628 (July 2011) which  includes 1,291,354 non-nationals, also has powerful American-proxy clout.

In 1999, an agreement was signed between the USA and Kuwait for a permanent US force to be stationed there, in twelve facilities (there are a further eight “spares”, seemingly not currently in use.)

The agreement for the bases, incidentally, was named: “Operation Desert Spring.”(x)

Here is a further coincidence. In March 2010, Libya was voted, near unanimously, on to the UN Human Rights Committee, after a glowing Report on human rights progress. After a ferocious campaign by Geneva based UN Watch(xi) not only were they expelled from it, but nineteen months later, their country lay in ruins, their leader lynched and most of his family dead.

Last November, Syria was elected to the Committee and the fifty eight Member Arab board added their votes to the country’s place on UNESCO panels.

UN Watch railed that: “Western  democracies, unanimously elected Syria to a pair of Committees – one dealing directly with human rights issues – even as the Bashar al-Assad regime maintains its campaign of violence against its own citizens.“ Syria’s Committee places, as Libya before it, died a death.

Amnesty’s Ms Nossel, unsurprisingly, has spoken at a number of events with UN Watch Director, Hillel Neuer, a Montreal born attorney, whose career has included serving as a judicial law clerk for Justice Itzhak Zamir, at the Supreme Court of Israel.

In March last year, there seemed a glimmer of hope that the US and “allies”, would back away from repeating the tragic disaster that was unfolding in Libya – and had already struck Afghanistan and Iraq.

Secretary of State Clinton committed on CBS  (27th March 2011) that the US would not intervene in the way it had in Libya.

Now, it seems, a miracle is needed, as it emerges Saudi Arabia and Quatar are among those subsidizing insurgents with vast sums – as French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced that the EU is about to further tie the government’s hands, by freezing the assets of the Syrian Central Bank, from 27th February. Syria is already under a crippling raft of sanctions.(xii) France was, of course, one of the leading and most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the destruction of Libya.

At the same “Friends of Syria” Conference in Tunis (24th February 2012) UK Foreign Minister William Hague declared that the UK recognized the insurgents and Hilary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton called Russia and China:”despicable”, for their veto at the UN, which may well have blocked further “intervention.”

The US said it will consider military assistance to the insurgents – a representative of them said they were already receiving “western aid.”

With “friends” like these, Syria certainly needs no enemies.

The US has, of course, “despicably”, vetoed thirty five UN peace Resolutions relating to the Middle East(xiii) including  on“Operation Cast Lead”, the 2008-2009 Israeli Christmas-New Year onslaught on Gaza, and Israel’s 2006 blitzkrieg of Lebanon.

A “new world map.”

Chillingly, no outrage, or cries of “despicable” has been given to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement, in Switzerland, the day before the Tunisia conference, that there: “would be no Lebanon in the new world map.”(xiv)

He stated, further, that an Israeli strike against Lebanon would be supported by the United States and Gulf States countries.

There surely is a wildlife park of elephants in the room. Given George W. Bush’s “Crusade”; the belief by extreme right Israeli circles in their control of the Middle East: “from the Nile to the Euphrates” and General Wesley Clark’s revelations of 2007, that the Pentagon planned:“(taking) out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”, there is an obvious question, sparked by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s confidence over a Lebanon attack:

Are these AIPAC and Israel’s wars?

Notes

i. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/04/obama-condemns-unspeakable-assault-in-syria/?hpt=hp_t2

ii. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2057191,00.html

iii. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/295199/20120208/nato-libya-civilian-death-toll-mps.htm#ixzz1lzVEfpgS

iv. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/168203.html

v. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keywords=0520083989 (For timely reminder that propaganda sells wars, well worth revisiting. A crash course.)

vi. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29422

vii. http://electronicintifada.net/blog/ali-abunimah/how-cnn-helped-spread-hoax-about-syrian-babies-dying-incubators

viii. http://bikyamasr.com/56287/18-babies-killed-in-syrias-homs-as-power-cut/

ix. http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/us-state-departmentfake-ngo-conflict-of.html

x. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Kuwait

xi. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24151

xii. http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/factbox-sanctions-imposed-on-syria

xiii. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/UN/usvetoes.html

xiv. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/228277.html