Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are Biological Attacks Imminent?

*******
The Coming Biological Warfare Attack in America
By Paul McGuire
February 29, 2012
NewsWithViews.com
http://www.newswithviews.com/McGuire/paul119.htm
In recent years there have been many movies that have dealt with subject of biological warfare, plagues and pandemics. Movies like Contagion, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Outbreak and Twelve Monkeys show the horrifying results of biological warfare. Recent attempts to censor details of controversial influenza experiments that created a highly infectious form of bird-flu virus are unlikely to stop the information from leaking out, according to scientists familiar with the research.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention even launched a campaign on their blog, to educate the public about the extreme dangers of a pandemic entitled, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." The blog post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for "flesh-eating zombies" much like how they appeared in feature films like 28 Days Later and I Am Legend.”
The reality of biological or chemical warfare is deadly serious. Chip Beck, a retired Navy commander and former CIA station chief, stated in an editorial, Americans Don’t Have A Clue, in the August 27, 1998 edition of the Los Angeles Times, [see below] wrote that, “the public needs to be prepared for what may be a long and bloody battle when the bombers strike back.” Beck was referring to a terroristic attack against the United States. The possibility of World War III and a conflict in the Middle East escalates the possibility of a biological attack. The reality of Iranian and terrorist sleeper cells operating in the U.S. is a reality that must be considered. Beck writes:
"Imagine downtown Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, where 100,000 inhabitants from garbage collectors to CEO’s, in kindergarten classes to nursing homes, suddenly without warning begin drowning in their bodily fluids or suffocating on swollen tongues as mucous pours out from every orifice…people convulsing so violently that internal organs are displaced and then shut down in terrifying manifestations of agony."
Beck was trying to give a reality check to American’s who don’t understand the full implication of a biological terrorist retaliation.
Recently, the U.S. Government asked the editors of two prominent scientific journals to refrain from publishing the details of a controversial strain on the H5N1 strain of bird flu, in order to keep terrorists from recreating the weaponized flu strain for use as a bioweapon. In a December 22, 2011 article, by Steve Connor, in The Independent, “Too late to contain killer flu science, say experts… US government's hopes of suppressing details of controversial research may be doomed, say scientists.” Professor Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, said that the research, which was funded by the US Government, should never have been done. Professor Ebright warned that the Government should first have assessed the risks and benefits. Other scientists have commented that the decision comes too late because the information has already been circulated widely among flu researchers and scientists in numerous countries that would provide numerous opportunities to create a bioweapon.
Two teams of researchers, from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam and the other team by from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have submitted manuscripts on bird-flu virus to the journals Nature and Science. Their reports describe how they deliberately mutated the H5N1 strain of bird-flu into an “airborne” strain that can be transmitted in coughs and sneezes between laboratory ferrets, the best animal “model” of human flu. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) requested the deletion of key details of the methodology and viral genetic sequences from the reports prior before publication. The (NIH) acted on the instructions of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity which expressed serious concern that the information could be used to create a bioweapon.
In a report by The World Health Organization from Geneva, February 16-17, 2012, “Technical consultation on H5N1 research issues - consensus points,” (WHO) stated, “The laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses are currently stored in well-established research facilities with high security and high safety (BSL3+). There has been no safety breaches related to the storage of the laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses at these facilities. At the same time, the biosafety and biosecurity conditions under which further research is conducted on the laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses should be fully addressed by relevant authorities. This is a matter of urgency and should be achieved as quickly as possible. In the interim, the laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses should remain in their present locations. In addition, the current moratorium on research to enhance the transmissibility of H5N1 influenza viruses and the further research on the laboratory-modified viruses should continue until the conditions have been determined. Other research on H5N1 viruses should not stop.”
A certain degree of safeguards have been put in place regarding just one weaponized H5N1flu virus. The scientific community has expressed concern about this information getting into the wrong hands and the global pandemic that could occur. Biological warfare and future pandemics could be used by terrorists or escape from laboratories. Weaponized viruses and diseases could cause future pandemics to spread across the earth or nation very rapidly. Some Viral Hemorrhagic Fever causing agents like Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus and Bolivian hemorrhagic fever are highly contagious and deadly diseases, and could become pandemics.
The abuse of using antibiotics has created antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and super-bugs. These antibiotic super-bugs could cause the re-emergence of diseases like tuberculosis, which is currently producing a half a million new cases per year. China, India and other nations have approximately 50 million people who are infected with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Due to our open borders, America is now wide open to people coming from all over the world that are infected with a wide range of diseases, including strange flesh-eating diseases that are now infecting Americans. In 2003, there were concerns that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) could become a pandemic.
It is simply a matter of time until America experiences a biological warfare attack from a weaponized virus or bacteria that could kill hundreds of millions of people quickly. In the 14th Century, the Black Death killed 70 million people and kept coming back in cycles. The "Spanish flu,"1918–1919, was first diagnosed early in March 1918 in US troops training at Camp Funston, Kansas. By October 1918, it had become a worldwide pandemic on all continents, and eventually infected about one-third of the world's population or 500 million people. The “Spanish flu,” was deadly and virulent and it ended nearly as quickly as it began. In six months, some 50 million were dead. Some estimates put the total of those killed worldwide at over 100 million. The virus was recently reconstructed by scientists at the CDC studying remains preserved by the Alaskan permafrost. The H1N1 virus has a small, but crucial structure that is similar to the Spanish Flu.
In the event of a biological plague, such as the one in the movie, Contagion, America would be ruled by Martial Law quickly. Every military and scientific effort would be used to stop the spread of infection. Entire cities would be barricaded by military troops. If scientists believed that a city or town was terminally infected, that town or city would be burnt to the ground using the most powerful weapons available to contain the spread of the disease and keep anyone infected from escaping. The military would confine people to special zones, camps and cities. All free travel either by car, foot, air or boat would stop.
The transportation of people, animals, food, supplies, water and other things would stop instantly. Government organizations like FEMA would move into high-gear and control entire regions. The mysterious FEMA camps would be up and operational. It would become obvious what the FEMA coffins distributed around the United States were for. The elite would be escape to remote islands and massive underground cities. Piles of infected bodies, houses, buildings, towns and cities would be incinerated.
In the U.S. and globally all efforts would be made, no matter how destructive, to contain and destroy the outbreak. It is interesting to note, that in the Council on Foreign Relations, “Building a North American Community,” 59-page document that was published in 2005, which calls for the merger of Canada, Mexico and the United States. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. work together in a coordinated effort to stop a bird flu pandemic.
Obviously, this is serious stuff. The Bible says, “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” The best defense is to learn how to build up a super-immune system and have those nutritional, herbal and medical supplements on hand. I talk about the “signs of the times,” In my 3-DVD series, “Are You Ready for the Coming One World Government? One World Economic System and the Coming One World Religion?”
It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ spoke these words to His disciples regarding the end of the age, “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,(pandemics and biological warfare) and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:3-7
In Revelation 6:8 it says, “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” The pale horse represents the coming of plagues and diseases on a level the world has never seen before.
Paul McGuire: radio talk show host, author, feature film producer and television commentator.
Paul McGuire is the author of 22 books, such as the best-selling, “The Day the Dollar Died” and “Are You Ready for the Microchip? Paul is the host of the syndicated television show, The Paul McGuire Report. Paul McGuire hosted the nationally syndicated talk radio show, "The Paul McGuire Show" for 10 years. Paul McGuire is a television commentator and has been a frequent guest on the Fox News Network and CNN.
Paul is the producer of two science fiction films in Hollywood. The History Channel did a 2-hour special with Paul McGuire entitled “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.” Paul has interviewed numerous world leaders, Presidents and Prime Ministers. Paul lives in Los Angeles, California.
At fifteen years old, Paul was demonstrating with radical activist Abbie Hoffman and made an honorary member of the Black Panther Party. However, while studying “Altered States of Consciousness” at the University of Missouri, Paul had a miraculous experience hitchhiking in a remote area similar to the movie “Field of Dreams.” Paul re-thought his socialist and humanist world view and rejected it as completely false. Paul has devoted his life to communicating truth to people.
Website: PaulMcGuire.org
E-Mail: newmediavoice@aol.com
*******
Americans Don't Have a Clue
Commentary: Perspective on Terrorism
The public needs to be prepared for what may be a long and bloody battle when the bombers strike back
By Chip Beck
August 27, 1998
I question the timing of attacks against Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, not from a "Wag the Dog" scenario, but because Americans are not prepared. Politicians need to prepare the public for the horrors these actions may unleash.
Imagine downtown Los Angeles, New York or Washington, where 100,000 inhabitants, from garbage collectors to CEOs, in kindergarten classes to nursing homes, suddenly and without warning begin drowning in their own bodily fluids or suffocating on swollen tongues as mucus pours from every orifice, even while windpipes and blood vessels constrict, stopping the flow of air and blood. People in the streets and their homes convulsing so violently that internal organs are displaced and then shut down in terrifying manifestations of agony.
Or a bomb goes off near an abortion clinic. No one is injured in the small explosion. But 30 minutes after rescue squads, police, journalists and curious spectators converge on the scene, there are thousands of bodies, killed by nerve gas dispersed by the blast.
The public knows the military has biochemical response teams. What they aren't told is that the teams cannot prevent attacks. Their job is to clean up the "debris" (euphemism for the dead) after "the event" happens.
The magnitude of biochemical warfare waiting to erupt has long been hidden. Preempting this onslaught will require resources, commitment and losses far above what Americans expect or may tolerate. If Washington cannot justify the harsh measures needed to prevent disaster and win, then crucial mistakes were made in striking Afghanistan and Sudan.
Did Washington embark on the warpath only after considering all the consequences? I doubt it, but even if it did, the public remains ignorant.
In my career, I had friends killed in bombings, helped evacuate or rescue Americans under fire and thwarted one terrorist kidnapping attempt against a friend, only to have him captured later and killed. I tracked mercenaries and was targeted for assassination; I have been both hunter and hunted.
I have seen the United States, unable to eliminate world tensions, react without the will to finish what it started. Policies were feeble. Politicians miscalculated dangers. Adversaries were underestimated. Adequate goals were absent.
In Indochina, fear of regional conflict prevented America from expanding the ground war. Hanoi escalated, Washington vacillated.
America precipitously entered Angola, then abandoned victory when Washington couldn't defend its actions to Congress or the Organization of African Unity.
We called Beirut a vital national interest, but it was just a mistake.
We botched Central America until Moscow went out of business and saved us.
We stopped Desert Storm three days early and are paying for it.
I know. I was in all five conflicts.
I don't believe President Clinton without question on world or private affairs, but I'm confident that U.S. intelligence has substantive data that Bin Laden's group supported the Kenyan, Tanzanian, Saudi and perhaps World Trade Center bombings. Without it, the president would not have a dog to wag.
But it is necessary to question the timing, long-term objectives and expectations of the missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan. The public must understand the ramifications now, not later. For 18 years, Washington has shielded voters from scenarios of the mass destruction that officials know can be inflicted by terrorists using biological, chemical and low-grade nuclear weapons. Security agencies can't thwart catastrophe much longer. The public deserves to hear the worst-case scenarios.
Horrors of biochemical warfare are hidden to maintain public morale, divert attention and promote the impression that policy makers are in control of the collective destiny. They are not.
This administration needs to clarify what the U.S. will and won't do, what its tolerance levels are for reprisals or loss of life and projected expenditures of time and resources. For once, I'd like to know at what point we will cave in before the enemy knows--or if we intend to win at all costs.
Anything less than full disclosure about the threats and U.S. willingness to confront them invites disaster.
U.S. attacks bought time but did not eliminate the danger. The missiles created propaganda that terrorists will use to recruit new volunteers.
The world is more dangerous than Americans realize. Hostile acts inside U.S. borders have intensified since the Cold War. These latest developments only upped the ante.
Bin Laden issued a fatwa, a declaration of war, against America. If Washington is serious, Congress should declare war in return against these transnational terrorists. That formal declaration would allow more options, including targeting enemy leaders for death, something peacetime restrictions preclude.
War will be costly, but so will inaction. And whatever it will be, Americans need to think it through--with all the information.
Chip Beck is a retired Navy commander and former CIA station chief and clandestine service officer with experience in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, Europe and the former Soviet Union.
*******

Monday, February 27, 2012

Recession? ... Depression? ... What is Going On? (Part 6)

*******
Nearing retirement - and surviving on food stamps
By Elaine Quijano
February 24, 2012
(CBS News)
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57384915/nearing-retirement-and-surviving-on-food-stamps/
More than 12 million Americans are still unemployed and a lot of them depend on food stamps. But even with that assistance, CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano tells us many are struggling to get by.
*******
*******
Sixty-four-year-old John Manton can't afford to keep his refrigerator full these days.
"I have my bread and a piece of ham from a canned ham," he said.
He's still looking for work nine months after he was laid off from his job as a courier for a Philadelphia legal service. He's fallen out of the middle class and into poverty, and is barely making ends meet.
At a grocery store, Quijano asked Manton: "How strict are you with your budget?"
"I have to be very frugal, very frugal," he said. "It is the only way that I can survive."
A college graduate, Manton never imagined he would be grateful for the $149 he gets in food stamps every month. He stretches every dollar by using a calculator when he shops and skipping meals.
John Manton, 64, of Philadelphia uses a calculator to pinch pennies.
(Credit: CBS)
" You don't eat breakfast?" Quijano asked.
"No, I don't eat breakfast."
"Is that to save money?"
"Yes."
Manton is one of a record 46 million Americans now on food stamps, an increase of 20 million people since the Great Recession in 2007. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 41 percent of food stamp recipients live in households where someone does earn a paycheck -- the so-called "working poor." To be eligible for food stamps for a family of four, the maximum income is $29,064. For a single person, it's $14,160.
John Manton receives $780 a month in unemployment benefits which is due to expire in March. Mantonhas outlived the rest of his family. He's terrified if he doesn't find work soon, he'll lose his home.
"I've lived here since I was 12 years old," he said. "I am 64 now. I had hoped to retire when I'm 65. The government kept pushing up the age and now it's 66. These politicians are scaring the daylights out of me and I am sure other seniors. What's going to happen if they decide that I cannot go on Medicare until I am 68? Where is it all going to stop?
Manton said he'd rather earn a paycheck than receive food stamps, but he said it's the only option he has left.
*******
Living on Nothing but Food Stamps
By Jason Deparle and Robert M. Gebeloff
Published: January 2, 2010
CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After an improbable rise from the Bronx projects to a job selling Gulf Coast homes, Isabel Bermudez lost it all to an epic housing bust — the six-figure income, the house with the pool and the investment property.
Now, as she papers the county with résumés and girds herself for rejection, she is supporting two daughters on an income that inspires a double take: zero dollars in monthly cash and a few hundred dollars in food stamps.
With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.
About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.
*******
"Without food stamps we'd probably be starving," said Rex Britton, who has had trouble finding paving work and lives with his girlfriend, Amy Freeman.
*******
"It's the one thing I can count on every month - I know the children are going to have food." ISABEL BERMUDEZ, who has two daughters and no cash income.
*******
Kevin Zirulo shares a home in Lee County, Fla., with his brother and sister. They share a food stamp benefit of $300 a month.
*******
Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card.
“It’s the one thing I can count on every month — I know the children are going to have food,” Ms. Bermudez, 42, said with the forced good cheer she mastered selling rows of new stucco homes.
Members of this straitened group range from displaced strivers like Ms. Bermudez to weathered men who sleep in shelters and barter cigarettes. Some draw on savings or sporadic under-the-table jobs. Some move in with relatives. Some get noncash help, like subsidized apartments. While some go without cash incomes only briefly before securing jobs or aid, others rely on food stamps alone for many months.
The surge in this precarious way of life has been so swift that few policy makers have noticed. But it attests to the growing role of food stamps within the safety net. One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.
Here in Florida, the number of people with no income beyond food stamps has doubled in two years and has more than tripled along once-thriving parts of the southwest coast. The building frenzy that lured Ms. Bermudez to Fort Myers and neighboring Cape Coral has left a wasteland of foreclosed homes and written new tales of descent into star-crossed indigence.
A skinny fellow in saggy clothes who spent his childhood in foster care, Rex Britton, 22, hopped a bus from Syracuse two years ago for a job painting parking lots. Now, with unemployment at nearly 14 percent and paving work scarce, he receives $200 a month in food stamps and stays with a girlfriend who survives on a rent subsidy and a government check to help her care for her disabled toddler.
“Without food stamps we’d probably be starving,” Mr. Britton said.
A strapping man who once made a living throwing fastballs, William Trapani, 53, left his dreams on the minor league mound and his front teeth in prison, where he spent nine years for selling cocaine. Now he sleeps at a rescue mission, repairs bicycles for small change, and counts $200 in food stamps as his only secure support.
“I’ve been out looking for work every day — there’s absolutely nothing,” he said.
A grandmother whose voice mail message urges callers to “have a blessed good day,” Wanda Debnam, 53, once drove 18-wheelers and dreamed of selling real estate. But she lost her job at Starbucks this year and moved in with her son in nearby Lehigh Acres. Now she sleeps with her 8-year-old granddaughter under a poster of the Jonas Brothers and uses her food stamps to avoid her daughter-in-law’s cooking.
“I’m climbing the walls,” Ms. Debnam said.
Florida officials have done a better job than most in monitoring the rise of people with no cash income. They say the access to food stamps shows the safety net is working.
“The program is doing what it was designed to do: help very needy people get through a very difficult time,” said Don Winstead, deputy secretary for the Department of Children and Families. “But for this program they would be in even more dire straits.”
But others say the lack of cash support shows the safety net is torn. The main cash welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, has scarcely expanded during the recession; the rolls are still down about 75 percent from their 1990s peak. A different program, unemployment insurance, has rapidly grown, but still omits nearly half the unemployed. Food stamps, easier to get, have become the safety net of last resort.
“The food-stamp program is being asked to do too much,” said James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a Washington advocacy group. “People need income support.”
Food stamps, officially the called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, have taken on a greater role in the safety net for several reasons. Since the benefit buys only food, it draws less suspicion of abuse than cash aid and more political support. And the federal government pays for the whole benefit, giving states reason to maximize enrollment. States typically share in other programs’ costs.
The Times collected income data on food-stamp recipients in 31 states, which account for about 60 percent of the national caseload. On average, 18 percent listed cash income of zero in their most recent monthly filings. Projected over the entire caseload, that suggests six million people in households with no income. About 1.2 million are children.
The numbers have nearly tripled in Nevada over the past two years, doubled in Florida and New York, and grown nearly 90 percent in Minnesota and Utah. In Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit, one of every 25 residents reports an income of only food stamps. In Yakima County, Wash., the figure is about one of every 17.
Experts caution that these numbers are estimates. Recipients typically report a small rise in earnings just once every six months, so some people listed as jobless may have recently found some work. New York officials say their numbers include some households with earnings from illegal immigrants, who cannot get food stamps but sometimes live with relatives who do.
Still, there is little doubt that millions of people are relying on incomes of food stamps alone, and their numbers are rapidly growing. “This is a reflection of the hardship that a lot of people in our state are facing; I think that is without question,” said Mr. Winstead, the Florida official.
With their condition mostly overlooked, there is little data on how long these households go without cash incomes or what other resources they have. But they appear an eclectic lot. Florida data shows the population about evenly split between families with children and households with just adults, with the latter group growing fastest during the recession. They are racially mixed as well — about 42 percent white, 32 percent black, and 22 percent Latino — with the growth fastest among whites during the recession.
The expansion of the food-stamp program, which will spend more than $60 billion this year, has so far enjoyed bipartisan support. But it does have conservative critics who worry about the costs and the rise in dependency.
“This is craziness,” said Representative John Linder, a Georgia Republican who is the ranking minority member of a House panel on welfare policy. “We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government.”
Mr. Linder added: “You don’t improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work. You improve the economy by lowering taxes” so small businesses will create more jobs.
With nearly 15,000 people in Lee County, Fla., reporting no income but food stamps, the Fort Myers area is a laboratory of inventive survival. When Rhonda Navarro, a cancer patient with a young son, lost running water, she ran a hose from an outdoor spigot that was still working into the shower stall. Mr. Britton, the jobless parking lot painter, sold his blood.
Kevin Zirulo and Diane Marshall, brother and sister, have more unlikely stories than a reality television show. With a third sibling paying their rent, they are living on a food-stamp benefit of $300 a month. A gun collector covered in patriotic tattoos, Mr. Zirulo, 31, has sold off two semiautomatic rifles and a revolver. Ms. Marshall, who has a 7-year-old daughter, scavenges discarded furniture to sell on the Internet.
They said they dropped out of community college and diverted student aid to household expenses. They received $150 from the Nielsen Company, which monitors their television. They grew so desperate this month, they put the breeding services of the family Chihuahua up for bid on Craigslist.
“We look at each other all the time and say we don’t know how we get through,” Ms. Marshall said.
Ms. Bermudez, by contrast, tells what until the recession seemed a storybook tale. Raised in the Bronx by a drug-addicted mother, she landed a clerical job at a Manhattan real estate firm and heard that Fort Myers was booming. On a quick scouting trip in 2002, she got a mortgage on easy terms for a $120,000 home with three bedrooms and a two-car garage. The developer called the floor plan Camelot.
“I screamed, I cried,” she said. “I took so much pride in that house.”
Jobs were as plentiful as credit. Working for two large builders, she quickly moved from clerical jobs to sales and bought an investment home. Her income soared to $180,000, and she kept the pay stubs to prove it. By the time the glut set in and she lost her job, the teaser rates on her mortgages had expired and her monthly payments soared.
She landed a few short-lived jobs as the industry imploded, exhausted her unemployment insurance and spent all her savings. But without steady work in nearly three years, she could not stay afloat. In January, the bank foreclosed on Camelot.
One morning as the eviction deadline approached, Ms. Bermudez woke up without enough food to get through the day. She got emergency supplies at a food pantry for her daughters, Tiffany, now 17, and Ashley, 4, and signed up for food stamps. “My mother lived off the government,” she said. “It wasn’t something as a proud working woman I wanted to do.”
For most of the year, she did have a $600 government check to help her care for Ashley, who has a developmental disability. But she lost it after she was hospitalized and missed an appointment to verify the child’s continued eligibility. While she is trying to get it restored, her sole income now is $320 in food stamps.
Ms. Bermudez recently answered the door in her best business clothes and handed a reporter her résumé, which she distributes by the ream. It notes she was once a “million-dollar producer” and “deals well with the unexpected.”
“I went from making $180,000 to relying on food stamps,” she said. “Without that government program, I wouldn’t be able to feed my children.”
Matthew Ericson contributed research.
*******
Also See:
Recession? ... Depression? ... What is Going On?
(Part 1)
06 October 2008
(Part 2)
02 February 2009
and
(Part 3)
19 April 2009
and
(Part 4)
02 August 2009
and
(Part 5)
17 September 2010
and
Jobs, Jobs, Where are the Jobs?
(Part 1)
20 April 2010
*******

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't! (Part 3)

*******
Entertainment Sells Techno Tyranny
by Chris Goodmenbetter
(henrymakow.com)
February 20, 2012
http://www.henrymakow.com/mass_entertainment_sells_techn.html
Propaganda disguised as entertainment has Americans oblivious to the threat posed by technology to their liberty.
"Man was meant to be free and master of his own destiny, not some monitored cog in a dystopian machine."
SuperBowl 2012 has come and gone.
The primetime bread & circus accomplished what gladiatorial games have done since Roman times - distract the electorate from the actions of the self elected.
It's fitting that the "Patriots" lost while spectators were scrutinized by the best technological surveillance to date.
Such scrutiny typifies unfolding centralized real-time surveillance of the entire populace. Propaganda disguised as entertainment has left Americans oblivious to the threat facing their liberty and privacy.
America's human herders, the psychopathic elite, have determined that the best way to predict a society's future is to invent it using popular culture.
Weaponized Entertainment
There have been many instances of biometric surveillance in movies & T.V. the 2002 Steven Spielberg Film 'Minority Report' will aptly suffice.
The original story by author Philip K. Dick, upon which the film is based, makes no mention of the biometrics so integral in the movie. This sort of "strategic embellishment" is the movie industry's method of implanting a concept into the viewers mind so when he experiences it in real life, he is already familiarized. This process is known as predictive programming.
In this futuristic film, biometrical Iris scans, made automatically and from a distance, make payment on goods & services and also function as the de facto I.D. (a literal national 'EYE.D.').
One scene involves the protagonists' flight from capture by authorities after it's determined he is destined to commit a murder and is therefore guilty as charged.
While on a public subway train, a laser scans his eyes (along with all the other 'fare paying' passengers) and he is instantly pinpointed.
His eyes are similarly scanned in a shopping mall, spawning numerous holographic ad billboards crafted for him by name. "Welcome back to 'the Gap' Mr. Takahashi, how are those assorted tank tops working out for you?" says a holographic clerk.
By movies' end, the precog system is scrapped as unreliable yet nowhere during the film is any objection made against the surveillance state.
Micro Managing the Masses
Our societal managers believe that strict manageability of the masses makes for good business. Man was meant to be free and master of his own destiny, not some monitored cog in a dystopian machine.
Continual surveillance is unnatural. Ask any inmate if they like it. Many species of wild animals cannot breed in captivity or even die from the shock of capture. Given time, it negatively alters human behavior and physiology.
In the 2009 documentary 'We Live In Public', an internet entrepreneur willingly subjected himself to round the clock webcam surveillance before a worldwide internet audience. He eventually succumbed to the stress of being continually watched, and had a nervous breakdown.
It was his show and he had the option of not being surveilled. Would we have this option if a fascistic alliance of governments and corporations mandated our surveillance?
Why do "reality" TV shows like the imbecilic 'Big Brother' make it to prime time air? It's simple - to train the populace to associate surveillance, or lack of privacy, with success and acceptance.
Facebook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg says the age of privacy is over. Apparently privacy is over for everyone else, but not for him. He terminated his Google+ account because he didn't want to be tracked. Zuckerbergs' company is currently under German order to stop using biometrics (facial recognition technology) on it's users.
From Science Fiction to Fascism
The hazardous and intrusive "Rapist-Scan" full body biometric scanners (now used at many U.S. and International airports) first appeared decades prior in the 1990 film Total Recall.
The 30,000 biometric surveillance drones now planned to circle the skies of the continental United States, mimic those appearing in 1984's "The Terminator".
(Both films, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, were highly profitable, heavily promoted and widely distributed for maximum exposure.)
Between 2002 and 2006, the number of Homeland Security contractors increased from nine to 33,890 companies.
This dramatic, virus-like increase represents a tremendous capital investment. It also represents inevitable hordes of political lobbyists (read: paid professional bribers) itching to have their biometrics, surveillance and weapons systems made widespread by having laws like the Patriot Act, NDAA etc. passed. Thus we pay for our own enslavement.
Slavery is Freedom
If the ubiquitous "war on terror" represents big business, what chance does Liberty have?
The populace has been convinced that slavery is freedom. The natural intuition that something is terribly wrong has been preemptively short-circuited and dulled by the gradual I.V. drip of half-truths and indoctrination.
America, and eventually the rest of the First World, can realistically expect a nightmarish level of governmental intrusion within the next 5 to10 years. Look what Americans willingly put up with now.
Americans have ignorantly exchanged precious Liberty for comfort in a high-tech gilded cage. The "give me Liberty, or give me Death" spirit of rugged American individualism has changed to "ignorance is bliss".
Regaining freedom and your country cannot be conveniently achieved between commercial breaks. The surveillance state must be stopped.
*******
Resist Biometrics - Your Liberty Depends on It
by Chris Goodmenbetter
(henrymakow.com)
January 29, 2012
The vision of the goyim as cattle is coming true. Biometrics is the human equivalent of a dairy cow's ear tag.
It's official. The biometric cataloging of the human race has begun. India's intent to record it's entire nations' 1.2 billion people by iris and fingerprint scans signals a devious high tech human monitoring and control agenda.
Although no one ever asks for such systems, biometrics will be sold to the populace as cool, sexy, convenient, safe and secure but will eventually prove to be a living hell for everyone on planet earth. Most just don't know it yet.
--- To surveil and identify, sold as to serve and protect
In order to recognize biometrics as the human equivalent of a dairy cow's ear tag, a brief explanation is in order. One of many current biometrics systems is referred to as "facial recognition" technology.
When someone volunteers to get their drivers' license or passport, photos are required to have an unobstructed, relaxed, static, straight-on portrait face. The subjects' photo is then digitized and entered into a computer.
Via biometric software algorithms, the constant inter-relational dimensions are measured, such as height, width, relation of the nose to the eyes, mouth to chin's end etc.
Facial expressions, such as smiling for instance, alter these ratio calculations and are no longer allowed during photography. Based upon these unique facial landmarks, an identifying number is arrived at, assigned and data based. Biometrics standards are also internationalized.
Similar biometrical examples in sporadic use include fingerprint, palm, retinal & iris scans, gait and speech recognition and cranial thermal ( measuring unique thermal heat signatures of a persons' scalp) recognition.
In order to operate, these biometrics systems require some kind of input device to connect the real world with database, such as a person placing their hands on a scanner or peering into one.
Facial, cranial and gait recognition rely on vast networks of un-invited CCTV video cameras which, not surprisingly, account for their dramatic weed-like proliferation into society.
The physically dangerous full body x-ray scanners used at U.S. airports (now thankfully banned in several countries which initially had them) can peer right through clothing and record and store a 360 degree biometric profile for future use (travelers' personal ticket and/or passport info is stored in conjunction with their scan.)
Similar existing street level systems can scan anyone's body as they walk down the sidewalk without their even knowing it. These real time scans can then be compared to existing databases (which a subject previously provided at the airport, as example.)
Ultimately, biometrics offers a means to identify, surveil and monitor an entire populace's actions and whereabouts in real time. (see DARPA's Total Information Awareness Network)
Building the Database and Grooming the Populace
In February 2008, at a cost of one billion dollars per year, the FBI awarded a ten year contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a giant database of biometric data including fingerprints, iris scans, and DNA, which the FBI refers to as the "Next Generation Identification" (NGI). The goal is to have such personal data from every human being on file.
How perfect it is then that Lockheed Martin also be responsible for both the Canadian and British Census.
Like with any indoctrination form, it's important to get children friendly with biometrics as early as possible. SONY and Microsoft use facial recognition in their latest Playstation and XBOX. Why not - it's fun! Many schoolchildren are thumbscanning to get school lunches or take out library books. Childrens' cartoons abound with biometric references.
Familiarizing society with biometrics is critical to it's adoption. Through "patient gradualism" (or in similar military terms, "mission creep"), the slow change takes place while minimizing resistance and reaction. Humans are the most adaptable beings on the planet and if perceptions appear natural, we tend to accept them.
Personal Statement
I refuse to submit to a biometrics photo, iris or thumb scan. As a result, I am no longer able to legally drive a car, or get on a commercial airplane (international or domestic), despite 23 years on the road without a single accident or ticket (an insurance company's actuarial dream), as driver's licenses and passports now employ this loathsome technology.
You have to ask yourself: 'what's your own personal line in the sand'?
Michael Collins was instrumental in gaining Ireland's' independence from the British Crown.
He proved an indefatigable adversary who overcame Britain's' best not only because of his highly unorthodox (read: CREATIVITY) tactics but also undoubtedly due to the fact that the British authorities had no knowledge of him!
They had no known pictures, profiles or whereabouts of the man. Such un-predictable wildcards terrify monolithic oligopolies. Collins managed to free the Irish, from the back of a bicycle. If alive today, I doubt Collins would have submitted to biometrics either.
I recommend the movie "Michael Collins" with Liam Neeson as an introduction to the man.
We still have the power of choice, for the most part, as to who gets what information about ourselves but the only sure way to secure this information is to never divulge it in the first place. In an information war, databases are the weapon of your foe.
Observe wild animals in nature. They carry no I.D., roam as they please, occupy no database and yet somehow they are able to thrive. They are free.
As it stands, your average crow stands freer than most humans.
*******
The Wild and Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp
by Steve Washam
based on a telling by George Gordon
Some years ago, about 1900, an old trapper from North Dakota hitched up some horses to his Studebaker wagon, packed a few possessions - especially his traps - and drove south.
Several weeks later he stopped in a small town just north of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.
It was a Saturday morning--a lazy day--when he walked into the general store. Sitting around the pot-bellied stove were seven or eight of the town’s local citizens.
The traveler spoke, "Gentlemen, could you direct me to the Okefenokee Swamp?"
Some of the oldtimers looked at him like he was crazy.
"You must be a stranger in these parts," they said.
"I am. I’m from North Dakota," said the stranger.
"In the Okefenokee Swamp are thousands of wild hogs," one old man explained. "A man who goes into the swamp by himself asks to die!"
He lifted up his leg. "I lost half my leg here, to the pigs of the swamp."
Another old fellow said, "Look at the cuts on me; look at my arm bit off!"
"Those pigs have been free since the Revolution, eating snakes and rooting out roots and fending for themselves for over a hundred years. They’re wild and they’re dangerous. You can’t trap them. No man dare go into the swamp by himself."
Every man nodded his head in agreement.
The old trapper said, "Thank you so much for the warning. Now could you direct me to the swamp?"
They said, "Well, yeah, it’s due south--straight down the road." But they begged the stranger not to go, because they knew he’d meet a terrible fate.
He said, "Sell me ten sacks of corn, and help me load them into the wagon."
And they did.
Then the old trapper bid them farewell and drove on down the road. The townsfolk thought they’d never see him again.
Two weeks later the man came back. He pulled up to the general store, got down off the wagon, walked in and bought ten more sacks of corn. After loading it up he went back down the road toward the swamp.
Two weeks later he returned and, again, bought ten sacks of corn. This went on for a month. And then two months, and three.
Every week or two the old trapper would come into town on a Saturday morning, load up ten sacks of corn and drive off south into the swamp.
The stranger soon became a legend in the little village and the subject of much speculation. People wondered what kind of devil had possessed this man, that he could go into the Okefenokee by himself and not be consumed by the wild and free hogs.
One morning the man came into town as usual. Everyone thought he wanted more corn.
He got off the wagon and went into the store where the usual group of men were gathered around the stove. He took off his gloves.
"Gentlemen," he said, "I need to hire about ten or fifteen wagons. I need twenty or thirty men. I have six thousand hogs out in the swamp, penned up, and they’re all hungry. I’ve got to get them to market right away."
"You’ve WHAT in the swamp?" asked the storekeeper, incredulously.
"I have six thousand hogs penned up. They haven’t eaten for two or three days, and they’ll starve if I don’t get back there to feed and take care of them."
One of the oldtimers said, "You mean you’ve captured the wild hogs of the Okefenokee?"
"That’s right."
"How did you do that? What did you do?" the men urged, breathlessly.
One of them exclaimed, "But I lost my arm!"
"I lost my brother!" cried another.
"I lost my leg to those wild boars!" chimed a third.
The trapper said, "Well, the first week I went in there they were wild all right. They hid in the undergrowth and wouldn’t come out. I dared not get off the wagon. So I spread corn along behind the wagon. Every day I’d spread a sack of corn.
"The old pigs would have nothing to do with it. But the younger pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn than it was to root out roots and catch snakes. So the very young began to eat the corn first.
"I did this every day. Pretty soon, even the old pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn, after all, they were all free; they were not penned up. They could run off in any direction they wanted at any time.
"The next thing was to get them used to eating in the same place all the time. So, I selected a clearing, and I started putting the corn in the clearing.
"At first they wouldn't come to the clearing. It was too far. It was too open. It was a nuisance to them.
"But the very young decided that it was easier to take the corn in the clearing than it was to root out roots and catch their own snakes. And not long thereafter, the older pigs also decided that it was easier to come to the clearing every day.
"And so the pigs learned to come to the clearing every day to get their free corn. They could still subsidize their diet with roots and snakes and whatever else they wanted. After all, they were all free. They could run in any direction at any time. There were no bounds upon them.
"The next step was to get them used to fence posts. So I put fence posts all the way around the clearing. I put them in the underbrush so that they wouldn't get suspicious or upset, after all, they were just sticks sticking up out of the ground, like the trees and the brush. The corn was there every day. It was easy to walk in between the posts, get the corn, and walk back out.
"This went on for a week or two. Shortly they became very used to walking into the clearing, getting the free corn, and walking back out through the fence posts.
"The next step was to put one rail down at the bottom. I also left a few openings, so that the older, fatter pigs could walk through the openings and the younger pigs could easily jump over just one rail, after all, it was no real threat to their freedom or independence--they could always jump over the rail and flee in any direction at any time.
"Now I decided that I wouldn't feed them every day. I began to feed them every other day. On the days I didn't feed them, the pigs still gathered in the clearing. They squealed, and they grunted, and they begged and pleaded with me to feed them--but I only fed them every other day. Then I put a second rail around the posts.
"Now the pigs became more and more desperate for food. Because now they were no longer used to going out and digging their own roots and finding their own food, they now needed me. They needed my corn every other day."
"So I trained them that I would feed them every day if they came in through a gate and I put up a third rail around the fence.
"But it was still no great threat to their freedom, because there were several gates and they could run in and out at will.
"Finally I put up the fourth rail. Then I closed all the gates but one, and I fed them very, very well."
"Yesterday I closed the last gate and today I need you to help me take these pigs to market."
----------
The price of free corn
The parable of the pigs has a serious moral lesson. This story is about federal money being used to bait, trap and enslave a once free and independent people.
Federal welfare, in its myriad forms, has reduced not only individuals to a state of dependency; state and local governments are also on the fast track to elimination, due to their functions being subverted by the command and control structures of federal "revenue sharing" programs.
Please copy this parable and send it to all of your state and local elected leaders and other concerned citizens. Tell them: "Just say NO to federal corn."
The bacon you save may be your own.
*******
Also See:
Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't!
(Part 1)
14 April 2007
and
(Part 2)
21 May 2009
and
U.S. Civil Unrest, Crowd Control, and Detention Camps
21 October 2008
and
Martial Law? Revolution? What is in the Future?
24 July 2009
and
ID Cards - Soon Everyone will have One!
03 September 2009
and
Comrade, Welcome to the Police State!
(Part 1)
30 October 2009
and
(Part 2)
29 September 2010
and
Big Brother in the United Kingdom!
02 April 2010
and
America's Police State
03 January 2011
Do We Live in a Police State?
04 November 2011
and
Police State Canada!
01 December 2011
*******

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Global Warming - Fact or Fiction? (Part 2)

*******
74 die over past two weeks from cold weather in Romania
Reuters
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&stormfile=74_die_over_past_two_weeks_from_cold_weather_in_Romania_74_die_over_past_two_weeks_from_cold_weather_in_Romania_15_02_2012?ref=ccbox_weather_category2
February 15, 2012 — Bucharest, Romania (Reuters) Seventy four have died in Romania over the past two weeks in relation to the country's cold weather, according to the Romanian Ministry of Health.
Many European countries were affected by a severe cold snap over the past weeks, with the lowest temperatures falling to minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Romania, which has not experienced the worst of the cold, has nevertheless been caught unprepared. The country has the highest instance of cold-related deaths. Most of the victims have been homeless Romanians, who have frozen outside.
An inadequate social security system is considered as the main reason for the deaths. Nearly half of Romania's population lives below the poverty line.
And the tragedy comes at a time when Romanians have protested the government's recent austerity measures, which are further hurting social funding.
The most serious protests since President Traian Basescu came to power in 2004 were sparked by the resignation of prestigious public health official Dr. Raed Arafat earlier this month in protest against a new healthcare bill.
The protests turned against the government's austerity measures and unpopular policies, demanding the government and the prime minister to step down.
Romania's then-prime minister, Emil Boc, heeded the protests and stepped down. A new prime minister, former director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, was approved by parliament on Feb. 11.
Recent opinion surveys show that government approval has fallen below 20 percent as the country suffers during one of the worst winters in memory and the economy is in decline.
Many say that political instability is delaying the delivery of aid during this crucial time.
Beyond the unstable state of the country, poverty is also being cited as a reason for the deaths, as nearly half of country's population live below the poverty line.
*******
Also See:
Global Warming - Fact or Fiction?
(Part 1)
07 May 2007
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2007/05/global-warming-fact-or-fiction.html
and
Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions Bill, Global Warming - Who Benefits?
07 July 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/07/global-cooling-not-global-warming.html
and
Climategate
04 November 2009
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2009/11/climategate.html
and
Global cooling: Global warming myth-makers must now switch to "climate change"
16 January 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/01/global-cooling-global-warming-myth.html
and
Carbon Tax & the Global Warming Hoax
18 June 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/06/carbon-tax-global-warming-hoax.html
and
Biodiversity Replaces Climate Change as the Weapon for Political Control
22 October 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/10/biodiversity-replaces-climate-change-as.html
and
Climategate II: Liers Are Still Pushing Global Warming!
04 November 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/11/climategate-ii-liers-are-still-pushing.html
*******

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will Syria Be Next? (Part 1)

*******
Israel fiddles while Syria burns
Ever since Obama made a very deep bow when meeting King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, US- Saudi relations have gone downhill
Ted Belman
Sunday, March 4, 2012
“No peace, no war” has been the arrangement with Syria since 1973. The outcome of the present civil war in Syria has the potential to change that arrangement for better or worse. Israel has stayed out of the fray, at least publicly. No covert actions have yet come to light.
Like it or not, things are happening in Syria which will impact Israel considerably, so she should choose sides and try to affect the outcome.
The Obama administration has come out in support of the Syrian National Council (SNC) which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and is working in cahoots with Islamist Turkey. If they do succeed in taking over Syria, it would put Israel in greater extremis. The Muslim Brotherhood is sworn to its destruction, and Turkey is no friend. Luckily the SNC does not have popular support in Syria and is not gaining traction.
The recent Friends of Syria conclave held in Tunis failed to unify the 60-plus countries taking part. China and Russia were not invited. Nor was the National Coordination Board, consisting mostly left-leaning political parties and independent political activists, including three Kurdish political parties, and youth activists, invited. Nor was the Syria Democracy Coalition (SDC) which advocates a secular democratic federated state, invited.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly met with the SNC, but failed to have it recognized as the official opposition other than by Britain. It recognized them as a “legitimate representative” of the Syrian opposition, rather than “a representative of the Syrian people” or as many had wanted, “the sole representative of the Syrian people.” To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia walked out in disgust because the “friends” couldn’t or wouldn’t agree to supply arms to the Free Syria Army.
To make matters worse, the head of the SNC announced a few days later, that the SNC would have no problem dealing with Hezbollah if it supported a democratic change in Syria. This is an ominous sign of things to come.
Ever since Obama made a very deep bow when meeting King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, US- Saudi relations have gone downhill. Saudi Arabia is angry with Obama for pulling the rug out from under Mubarak and for suggesting reforms in Bahrain, her immediate neighbor. She is also very concerned that Obama has not dealt with Iran more forcibly. Syria is another example where she is at odds with the Obama administration.
Saudi Arabia is determined to bring about Assad’s downfall mainly because Syria is an ally of Iran, whom she sees as an existential threat. Also she does not want a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Syria because she sees the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat. She has encouraged al Qaeda to infiltrate Syria and has been supplying arms along with Qatar to the Free Syria Army. The war is far from over.
The Free Syria Army is made up mostly of defecting soldiers and officers. They are outgunned and out-numbered but have the support of the people and will fight on. Recently one of their representatives met with an Israeli journalist in secrecy to enlist Israel in their cause. He was opposed to the SNC and definitely opposed to Turkey dominating Syria. He argued that it was in Israel’s interest to remove the Assad regime as she would also be undermining Hezbollah and Iran two other of her enemies. Even so, he thought of Israel as the enemy and said it would take 20 to 30 years before normalization takes place and the Golan could be discussed. You would think that, given its great need for support, he would have offered to make peace with Israel immediately after the fall of Assad, without the Golan being returned, even if he couldn’t deliver on his promise.
Recently, a Syrian made contact with an IDF spokesperson on Face Book and wrote “We want to get rid of Assad and his regime and modernize Syria by promoting freedom of religion and freedom of thought. We do not want war with you and are definitely not interested in the Golan Heights.”
And this individual is not alone. The Syria Democratic Coalition (SDC) embraces a similar view. They have considerable support from the following minorities: Kurds, Christians, Druze, Assyrians and even the Alawites. They want a federated state in which each minority has a delineated region and in which federal government is a secular democracy. What could be bad? Currently they are more fearful of a state ruled by Islamist thugs than a state ruled by the present regime and so have not become active in the revolt so far.
It is time for Israel to get off the fence. She must meet with the SDC and determine the bona fides of the group and the extent of its support. She must outreach to Saudi Arabia to find common cause in both the support to be given and the outcome to be achieved. It is entirely possible that Saudi Arabia would agree to the vision of the SDC because that would stop the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood, undermine Iran and Hezbollah and strengthen Israel. She needs a strong Israel to oppose Iran and doesn’t see Israel as a threat.
But this is easier said than done. Israel is in a very delicate position. She is seeking Obama’s commitment to prevent a nuclear Iran. This is Israel’s dominant issue. She doesn’t want, in any way, to alienate Obama by working against his support of the Muslim Brotherhood dominated SNC. Similarly she doesn’t want to oppose Turkey’s plans for Syria. And she certainly doesn’t want Assad pushed to the brink. He may then choose the Samson option and use his WMD’s against his neighbours, especially herself. Just on Saturday it was reported that Assad has ordered his army to fire a barrage of missiles at Israel should there be military intervention.
Hezbollah and Iran have agreed to do likewise. Israel prefers to leave well enough alone. She also prefers to deal with one enemy at a time. To add to the complications, Syria and the Kurdish PKK operating in Turkey are allies as they both see Turkey as the enemy. In a way Syria becomes Israel’s ally as well.
Sometimes, fiddling is the best course of action.
Ted Belman is a retired lawyer and Editor of Israpundit.com. He made aliyah from Canada in 2009 and now lives in Jerusalem.
Ted can be reached at: tedbel@rogers.com
 *******
Syria: Seeking a Convenient Casus Belli
Alleged death of two Western journalists in Syria used to dance around UNSC veto
Tony Cartalucci
Infowars.com
Thursday, February 23, 2012
You are an embattled nation with the entire world watching. Your allies Russia and China just made a major decision at the UN Security Council in your favor with much of their reputation and future at stake. Western propagandists have been relentlessly making up news stories regarding your nation no matter what you do, for nearly a year, starting with “Gay Girl in Damascus” who Syrian activists insisted was still real even after doubts began to surface, and leading up to daily reports from “activists say” coming out of London, England.
Your choices: continue a campaign to restore order in Homs which is admittedly overrun by cross-border militants and foreign terrorists operating with NATO support and arms, fighting under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army.” Or, spend your time instead purposefully killing women and children in front of British and French journalists before plotting over easily-intercepted radios their spectacular deaths in front of a watching world?
*******
Image: Syria’s rebels are armed. Were they running loose in New York City, a military operation mobilized to neutralize them would not be described as a “massacre” by the corporate media.
*******
Quite clearly there is something wrong with this narrative being given to us by the West, who have established themselves by a comfortable margin as serial liars. Iraq lost a million sons and daughters to these lies. Libya likewise was portrayed as a nation “massacring civilians” when it is now clear these “civilians” were US State Department-listed terrorists of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who are now conducting nationwide murder sprees.
Reading any report out of the corporate-media, we find Syria’s campaign against admittedly armed rebels paradoxically referred to as a “massacre,” and an almost palpable fervor to justify circumventing the latest UNSC resolution veto. As news comes out of the death of two foreign journalists in Homs, Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin who sneaked into Syria and were operating there illegally to begin with, Western leaders are unanimously calling this the “breaking point.” France’s Nicolas Sarkozy even stated, “that’s enough now, this regime must go and there is no reason that Syrians don’t have the right to live their lives and choose their destiny freely.”
One wonders where Sarkozy’s moral fortitude was when in January, while covering a pro-Assad rally in Homs, French journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed in a rebel attack. Unbelievably, not only does this contradict the news we’ve been told all along of Assad persecuting a brutal campaign against peaceful protesters, but while the attack was condemned by France, it was the Syrian government who was blamed for not protecting their journalists from armed thugs. Where were the calls for the rebels to lay down their arms? Where was the cessation of political support for the “Free Syrian Army?” Where was the decision by NATO to discontinue their support for rebels who had now murdered a Western journalist?
Clearly, reason is not driving Western foreign policy, rather a search for a convenient “casus belli” to serve where their “responsibility to protect” doctrine has failed. We will not know what really happened in Syria this week regarding the two journalists allegedly killed there, so long as “activists say” is attached to each claim made about the events.
What we do know is that the West has long ago predetermined that regime change will occur in Syria, and that they will do anything necessary, at any cost to achieve it.
Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer Report
*******
Syria: NATO's Next "Humanitarian" War?
Online Interactive I-book
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, February 11, 2012
Introduction
“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, ...a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. ...[to] be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, ...
Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. ...Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus ...
Further : a “necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes”, would “provide a pretext for intervention... the CIA and SIS [MI6] should use ... capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.” (Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957)
In this online interactive I-book, we bring to the attention of our readers a selection of feature articles on the Syrian crisis.
Our objective is to dispel the tide of media lies and government propaganda, which presents the events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement".
The "protests" did not emanate from internal political cleavages as described by the mainstream media. From the very outset, they were the result of a covert US-NATO intelligence operation geared towards triggering social chaos, with a view to eventually discrediting the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad and destabilizing Syria as a Nation State.
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.
It is important to underscore the fact that these terrorist acts --including the indiscriminate killing of men and women and children-- are part of a US-NATO-Israeli initiative, which consists is supporting, training and financing "an armed entity" operating inside Syria.
The evidence confirms that foreign intelligence operatives, according to reports, have integrated rebel ranks:
"As the unrest and killings escalate in the troubled Arab state, agents from MI6 and the CIA are already in Syria assessing the situation, a security official has revealed. Special forces are also talking to Syrian dissident soldiers. They want to know about weapons and communications kit rebel forces will need if the Government decides to help.
“MI6 and the CIA are in Syria to infiltrate and get at the truth,” said the well-placed source. “We have SAS and SBS not far away who want to know what is happening and are finding out what it dissident soldiers need." " Syria will be bloodiest yet, Daily Star). (emphasis added)
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a creation of the US and NATO. The objective of this armed insurrection is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, including the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles with a view to eventually justifying a military intervention, under NATO's "responsibility to protect" mandate.
A NATO-led intervention is on the drawing board. It was drafted prior to the onset of the protest movement in March 2011. According to military and intelligence sources, NATO, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been discussing "the form this intervention would take".
US, British and Turkish operatives are supplying the rebels with weapons. Britain's Ministry of Defence confirms that it "is drawing up secret plans for a NATO-sponsored no-fly zone [in coordination with its allies] "but first it needs backing from the United Nations Security Council." (Syria will be bloodiest yet, Daily Star). According to these secret plans: "fighting in Syria could be bigger and bloodier than the battle against Gaddafi".(Ibid ).
A "humanitarian" military intervention modeled on Libya is contemplated. NATO Special Forces from Britain, France, Qatar and Turkey are already on the ground inside Syria in blatant violation of international law. Reports from British military sources (November 2011) confirm that:
"British Special forces have met up with members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)... The apparent goal of this initial contact was to establish the rebel forces' strength and to pave the way for any future training operations. ... More recent reports have stated that British and French Special Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from a base in Turkey. Some reports indicate that training is also taking place in locations in Libya and Northern Lebanon. British MI6 operatives and UKSF (SAS/SBS) personnel have reportedly been training the rebels in urban warfare as well as supplying them with arms and equipment. US CIA operatives and special forces are believed to be providing communications assistance to the rebels." Elite Forces UK, January 5, 2012 (emphasis added)
*******
*******
The Social and Political Context in Syria
There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent years, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The later include austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission's Concluding Statement, 2006).
Moreover, there are serious divisions within the government and the military. The populist policy framework of the Baath party has largely been eroded. A faction within the ruling political establishment has embraced the neoliberal agenda. In turn, the adoption of IMF "economic medicine" has served to enrich the ruling economic elite. Pro-US factions have also developed within the upper echelons of the Syrian military and intelligence.
But the "pro-democracy" movement integrated by Islamists and supported by NATO and the "international community" did not emanate from the mainstay of Syrian civil society.
The wave of violent protests represents a very small fraction of Syrian public opinion. They are terrorist acts of a sectarian nature. They do not in any way address the broader issues of social inequality, civil rights and unemployment.
The majority of Syria's population (including the opponents of the Al Assad government) do not support the "protest movement" which is characterised by an armed insurgency. In fact quite the opposite.
Ironically, despite its authoritarian nature, there is considerable popular support for the government of President Bashar Al Assad, which is confirmed by the large pro-government rallies.
Syria constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. It supports the struggle of the Palestinian people.
The objective of the US-NATO alliance is to ultimately displace and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the national economic elites and eventually replace the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US Islamic republic or a compliant pro-US "democracy".
Pro-government rally, Damascus, March 2011
*******
Pro-US Democracy
*******
The Insurgency: The Libya Model
The insurgency in Syria has similar features to that of Libya: it is integrated by paramilitary brigades affiliated to Al Qaeda, which are directly supported by NATO and Turkey.
Reports confirm that NATO and Turkey's High Command are providing the rebels with weapons and training: "NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces." (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)
Military sources also confirm that Syrian rebels "have been training in the use of the new weapons with Turkish military officers at makeshift installations in Turkish bases near the Syrian border." (DEBKAfile, Ibid). Recent reports confirm that British and Qatari Special forces are on the ground in the city of Homs, involved in training rebel forces as well as organizing the supply of weapons in liaison with the Turkish military.
As in the case of Libya, financial support is being channelled to the Syrian rebel forces by Saudi Arabia: "Ankara and Riyadh will provide the anti-Assad movements with large quantities of weapons and funds to be smuggled in from outside Syria" (Ibid). The deployment of Saudi and GCC troops is also contemplated in Southern Syria in coordination with Turkey (Ibid).
NATO's activities are not limited to training and the delivery of weapons systems, the recruitment of thousands of "freedom fighters"` is also envisaged, reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:
This recruitment of Mujahideen was part of NATO`s strategy in Libya, where mercenary forces were dispatched to fight under the helm of "former" Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj.
The Libyan model of rebel forces integrated by "Islamic brigades" together with NATO special forces has been applied to Syria, where "Islamist fighters" supported by Western and Israeli intelligence are deployed. In this regard, Abdel Hakim`s LIFG brigade has now been dispatched to Syria, where it is involved in terrorist acts under the supervision of NATO Special Forces.
The Central Role of US Ambassador Robert S. Ford
US Ambassador Robert S. Ford was dispatched to Damascus in late January 2011 at the height of the protest movement in Egypt. (The author was in Damascus on January 27, 2011 when Washington's Envoy presented his credentials to the Al Assad government).
At the outset of my visit to Syria in January 2011, I reflected on the significance of this diplomatic appointment and the role it might play in a covert process of political destabilization. I did not, however, foresee that this destabilization agenda would be implemented within less than two months following the instatement of Robert S. Ford as US Ambassador to Syria.
The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador, bears a direct relationship to the onset of the protest movement in mid-March against the government of Bashar al Assad.
Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As "Number Two" at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon's "Iraq Salvador Option". The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modelled on the experience of Central America.
It is worth noting that Obama's newly appointed CIA head, General David Petraeus played a key role the organization of covert support to rebel forces and "freedom fighters", the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc. Petraeus led the Multi-National Security Transition Command (MNSTC) "Counterinsurgency" program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with John Negroponte and Robert S Ford at the US Embassy in Baghdad.
*******
Ambassador Ford in Hama in July 2011
*******
The Insidious Role of the Western media
The role of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance in triggering an armed insurrection is not addressed by the Western media. Moreover, several "progressive voices" have accepted the "NATO consensus" at face value. The role of CIA-MI6 covert intelligence operations in support of armed groups is simply not mentioned. Salafist paramilitary groups involved in terrorist acts, are, according to reports, supported covertly by Israeli intelligence (Mossad). The Muslim Brotherhood has been supported by Turkey, as well as by MI6, Britain's Secret Service (SIS) since the 1950s
More generally, the Western media has misled public opinion on the nature of the Arab protest movement by failing to address the support provided by the US State Department as well as US foundations (including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)) to selected pro-US opposition groups.
Known and documented, the U.S. State Department "has been been funding opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, since 2006. (U.S. admits funding Syrian opposition - World - CBC News April 18, 2011).
The protest movement in Syria was upheld by the media as part of the "Arab Spring", presented to public opinion as a pro-democracy protest movement which spread spontaneously from Egypt and the Maghreb to the Mashriq. There is reason to believe, however, that events in Syria, however, were planned well in advance in coordination with the process of regime change in other Arab countries including Egypt and Tunisia.
The outbreak of the protest movement in the southern border city of Daraa was carefully timed to follow the events in Tunisia and Egypt.
In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that Islamic paramilitary groups are involved in terrorist acts. These same Islamic groups have infiltrated the protest rallies.
Western media distortions abound. Large "pro-government" rallies (including photographs) are casually presented as "evidence" of a mass anti-government protest movement. The reports on casualties are based on unconfirmed "eye-witness reports" or on Syrian opposition sources in exile. The London based Syria Observatory for Human Rights are profusely quoted by the Western media as a "reliable source" with the usual disclaimers. Israeli news sources, while avoiding the issue of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledge that Syrian forces are being confronted by an organized professional paramilitary.
The absence of verifiable data, has not prevented the Western media from putting forth "authoritative figures" on the number of casualties. What are the sources of this data? Who is responsible for the casualties?
Dangerous Crossroads: Towards a Broader Middle East Central Asian War
Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization of sovereign states through "regime change" is closely coordinated with military planning. There is a military roadmap characterised by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.
War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in "an advanced state of readiness" for several years.
US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a "humanitarian" military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO) would play a central role.
We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war.
There are at present four distinct war theaters: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya.
An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war.
In Part I of the online interactive I-Book, an introductory essay is presented.
Part II examines the nature of the US-NATO-Israel sponsored insurgency, including the recruitment of terrorists and mercenaries. It also includes an examination of a 1957 Anglo-American covert intelligence plan to destabilize Syria and implement "regime change". The 1957 plan envisaged the triggering of "internal disturbances as well as the mounting of "sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents" by the CIA and MI6. What this essay suggests is continuity, i.e. today's Intel. Ops, while more sophisticated than those of the Cold War era, belong to realm of DÉJÀ VU.
Part III examines the complicity of the "international community" focussing respectively on the role of non-governmental organizations, the dynamics within the United Nations Security Council and role of the Arab League, acting on behalf of Washington.
Part IV centers on the insidious role of the corporate media, which has carefully distorted the facts, providing systematically a biased understanding of the causes and consequences of the Syrian crisis.
Part V focusses on the broader military agenda and the process of military escalation in the Middle East.
The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign ("regime change") including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.
A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved. It would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon.
It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation.
A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.
Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, February 11, 2012
*******
Also See:
Unrest in Syria!
31 March 2011
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2011/03/unrest-in-syria.html
*******