| Dissent: Mandela eulogies reinvent his disturbing legacy!

Mandela Eulogies – Reinventing His Disturbing Legacy ~ Stephen Lendman. 

Mainstream praise is virtually unanimous. It ignores reality. It got short shrift. It reinvents Mandela’s disturbing legacy. It turned a Thatcherite into a saint. A previous article discussed it.

Editorials, commentaries, and feature articles read like bad fiction. Tributes are overwhelming. They reflect coverup and denial.

The true measure of Mandela is hidden from sight. It’s willfully ignored. Illusion replaced it.

Obama issued a disingenuous statement. He called Mandela “a man who took history in his hand, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”

They infest world governments. They run America. They inflict enormous harm. Mandela exceeded the worst of South African apartheid injustice. He deserves condemnation, not praise.

White supremacy remains entrenched. Extreme poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, and lack of basic services for black South Africans are at shockingly high levels. They’re much worse than under apartheid.

Mandela embraced the worst of neoliberal harshness. His successors followed the same model. They still do.

They’re stooges for predatory capitalist injustice. They’re figureheads. They enforce white supremacist dominance. They betray their own people in the process.

Black South Africans are some of the world’s most long-suffering deprived people anywhere. They suffer out of sight and mind.

Mandela could have changed things. He never tried. He didn’t care. He sold out to wealth, power and privileged interests. He did so shamelessly. His life ended unapologetically.

South African conditions today remain deplorable. Neoliberal harshness works this way. Business as usual is policy. Disadvantaged millions are ruthlessly exploited.

Privileged interests alone are served. Doing so reflects financial, economic and political terrorism. It’s commonplace globally. It infects Western societies. It plagues South Africa.

Injustice is deep-seated. It’s nightmarish in South Africa. Mandela’s legacy reflects the worst of all possible worlds short of war, mass slaughter and destruction.

Free market mumbo jumbo inflicts enormous pain and suffering. It empowers corporate interests. It benefits privileged elites. It does so at the expense of deprived millions.

Ordinary people don’t matter. They suffer out of sight and mind. They do so horrifically in South Africa. Major media ignore it. Mandela praise continues.

Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller headlined “Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95.”

Mandela was more enslaver than liberator. Not according to Keller. He called him “an international emblem of dignity and forbearance.”

He symbolized injustice. Keller called him “a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.” He ignored the enormous harm he caused. He turned truth on its head doing so.

Washington Post editors headlined “Nelson Mandela brought the world toward a racial reconciliation.”

They called Gandhi, King and Mandela transformative figures. They “helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives,” they said.

Gandhi and King deserve praise. Mandela deserves condemnation. Not according to WaPo editors.

“Mandela,” they said, “dismantl(ed) the strong web of racist ideas, with which certain Western thinkers had sought for more than a century to rationalize the subjugation of others through colonialism, segregation and disenfranchisement.”

Mandela continued the worst of these practices. Black South African suffering deepened on his watch. He did nothing to relieve it.

He’s gone, said WaPo editors. It’s “more important than ever – in a century marked so far by frightening eruptions of terror and religious intolerance – to keep before the world the name and example of Nelson Mandela.”

Doing so requires explaining facts, not fiction. It involves stripping away false illusions. It demands telling it like it is fully, accurately, impartially and dispassionately.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined “Nelson Mandela.” They called him a “would-be Lenin who became Africa’s Vaclav Havel.”

He was no Lenin. He defended capital’s divine right. He did it at the expense of social justice. He’s no candidate for sainthood.

Journal editors perhaps think otherwise. They called him an “all too rare example of a wise revolutionary leader.”

“Age mellowed him…He walked out of jail an African Havel…He opened up (South Africa’s) economy to the world, and a black middle class came to life,” they said.

Fact check

He sold out to powerful white interests. Apartheid didn’t die. It flourishes. Mandela deepened the scourge of injustice.

No black middle class exists. A select few share wealth, power and privilege. The vast majority of black society is much worse off than under apartheid.

Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. They called the “continent and world fortunate to have” Mandela. Neoliberal ideologues think this way.

Chicago Tribune editors headlined “Nelson Mandela, conscience of the world,” saying:

He “was more than just a symbol. His name was a clarion call for people across the globe in their struggles against oppression.”

“He personified the triumph of nearly unimaginable perseverance over nearly unimaginable tribulation.”

“His top priority was to oversee the creation of a new constitution, guaranteeing equality for all.”

“He also brought together disparate elements of the country, black and white, to address the grinding poverty and homelessness that afflicted his country.”

If one person could be called the conscience of the world, it would be Nelson Mandela.”

“The best way for us to truly honor his life, his suffering, and his memory is to uphold the values he embodied and fight the injustices he forced the world to confront. His inspiration is universal, his legacy timeless.”

Fundamental journalistic ethics require truth, full disclosure, integrity, fairness, impartiality, independence and accountability.

Tribune editors ignore these fundamental principles. So do their mainstream counterparts.

Los Angeles Times editors headlined “South Africa after Mandela.” They called him “one of the towering figures of the 20th century.”

“(H)e was revered around the globe for his vision and courage, and for the enormous personal sacrifices he made to right the wrongs that plagued his country,” they said.

LA Times editors reinvented history like their counterparts. It didn’t surprise.

Boston Globe editors headlined “Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013: A rare vision of magnanimity,” saying:

His “remarkable vision of leadership (helped) overturn South Africa’s vicious apartheid regime.”

He “was a pillar of grace, magnanimity, and restraint in victory.”

“His stable hand helped maintain (South Africa’s) status as a top economic engine on the African continent.”

He “proved that progress was possible.”

Privileged whites during his tenure benefitted hugely. Black society suffered horrifically. It still does. Mandela’s no hero. Don’t expect Globe editors to explain.

Major media editors turn truth on its head. They do it consistently. They do it repeatedly. Countless editorials and commentaries praised Mandela. They proliferate like crab grass. They’re still coming.

Headlines below reflect common sentiment:

“Nelson Mandela: a leader above all others”

“Nelson Mandela’s place in history.”

“Nelson Mandela, rest in peace”

“Nelson Mandela: Farewell to a visionary leader”

“Freedom is Nelson Mandela’s legacy”

“Nelson Mandela, historic icon of peaceful equality”

“Mandela, a moral force for the ages”

“Mandela, the transcendent ‘South African Moses’ “

It’s hard choosing which one is worst. Mandela was more pied piper of Hamelin than Moses. He was no patron saint of impoverished, oppressed and deprived South African blacks.

He sold out to power and privilege. His legacy reflects the worst of neoliberal harshness. Conditions during his tenure exceeded apartheid’s dark side.

They’re worse today. Inequality is institutionalized. So is apartheid. Democracy is more illusion than reality.

Black stooges serve white supremacist interests. Fundamental human and civil rights don’t matter. Corporate interests count most.

Government of, by, and for everyone equitably is nowhere in sight. Don’t expect scoundrel media editors to explain.

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| Predatory Zionism: Netanyahu exceeds Sharonian evil!

His crimes of war and against humanity remain unpunished. His bluster long ago wore thin. He’s a world class thug and then some.
Even Israeli insiders and former officials detest him. They do so for good reason. More on that below.
He’s heading Israel toward full-blown tyranny and ruin. It’s already a fascist police state. He makes more enemies than friends.
He mocks democratic values. He spurns rule of law principles. He enforces occupation harshness. He prioritizes apartheid cruelty.
It exceeds the worst of former South African inhumanity. Observers who know both say so.
In 2002, Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited Israel. He was “very deeply distressed” by what he saw. He condemned Israeli apartheid. It’s worse now than ever.
It “reminded (him) so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa,” he said.
He described “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.”
He said Israel would “never get true security and safety through oppressing another people.”
He attacked US Jewish political power groups, saying:
“People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful – very powerful.”
“Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.”
“Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet…and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”
“Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?”
“Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?”
Israel must either “strive for peace based on justice, based on withdrawal from all the occupied territories” or perish he said.
Others agree. Israel is its own worst enemy. Netanyahu exceeds the worst of his predecessors. None were profiles in courage. All were war criminals
One day Netanyahu will overstep once too often. Perhaps he’ll do so sooner than expected.
Without mentioning his name or Israel, Iranian President Hassan Rohani outshone him in New York. He made a fool out of him.
His candor, sincerity, straightforwardness, and honor stood out. Both leaders are polar opposites. Rohani urges peace, equity and justice.
Netanyahu prioritizes war on humanity and occupation harshness. He’s unfit to serve. He spurns peace. He menaces humanity. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.
Netanyahu heads a repressive police state apparatus. He cracks down hard on resisters. He enforces racist persecution. He stresses neoliberal harshness.
He’s an embarrassment to legitimate governance. He’s heading to New York this weekend. On October 1, he’ll address the General Assembly.
He embarrassed himself last year. He did so before a world audience. A previous article said his cartoon bomb went viral.
He looked more cartoonish than his prop. The Wall Street Journal compared him to Krushchev’s shoe-banging incident.
His “red line” bluster wore thin long ago. He’s waging war on Syria. He’s partnered with Obama doing so. They want Assad topple. Israel wants a regional rival removed.
Throughout Syria’s conflict, Israel’s waged undeclared war. It supplied opposition forces with weapons and munitions. It treated wounded anti-Assad terrorists in its hospitals.
It launched several cross-border ground attacks. It made one or more incursions. It conducted four air attacks. It may have more in mind.
Doing so constitutes lawless aggression. Netanyahu does it repeatedly. He ruthlessly attacks Gazans. Keeping them besieged suffocates them. Doing so reflects slow-motion genocide.
He authorizes dozens of weekly West Bank incursions. Families are terrorized pre-dawn. Homes are ransacked. Property is destroyed. Children are separated from parents.
Arrests are made. Torture and imprisonment follow. Palestinians are denied all rights.
Following the killing of an Israeli soldier on September 22, Netanyahu authorized collective punishment. He did so in Hebron’s Old Town.
Israeli forces attacked innocent men, women and children. They fired rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs. They beat resisters.
They searched, ransacked and damaged homes and property. They arrested innocent children and adults.
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) fieldworker  Abdul Latif al-Karaki reported the following:
“At approximately 22:00 on Sunday, 22 September 2013, a number of Israeli soldiers raided our house that is located in Tal’at Abu Hadeed area in the centre of the Old Town.”
“They kept my husband Abdul Latif al-Karaki (48), who is sick, and my sons outdoors.”
“In the meantime, I heard my daughter-in-law Reem (19) screaming inside the house. I hurried up and found her lying on the ground.”
“She told me that an Israeli soldier hit her in the belly although she is pregnant.”
“In the meanwhile, my sons and Israeli soldiers, who went out of the house, clashed and my daughter-in-law was taken by an ambulance of the Palestine Red Crescent Society to Hebron Hospital.”
“While going back home, a number of Israeli soldiers had stationed atop of a number of houses belonging to the families of Abu Hadeed and al-Fakhouri. Moreover, Israeli forces were arresting young men.”
Another PCHR fieldworker said:
“At approximately 18:30 on Sunday, 22 September 2013, Israeli forces were firing sound bombs and tear gas canisters at a number of boys, who threw stones at them in Qatyoun neighborhood that is about 70 meters away from my house.”
“Following the news of killing an Israeli soldier, Israeli forces moved into the area and closed it completely.”
“At approximately 01:00, over 13 soldiers raided my house and kept me and my 11-member family in a room.”
“They searched the house brutally, broke the windows and damaged the couches.”
“An hour later, they left the house. I looked out of the house and saw large numbers of soldiers raiding neighboring houses, arresting civilians and taking them towards Tareq Ben Ziad School.”
PCHR condemned what happened. Doing so violates core international law provisions. Netanyahu bears full responsibility. He considers Palestinians subhuman.
He treats them like nonpersons. He denies them all rights. He does so while no peace/peace talks continue. They were dead on arrival before beginning. They represent the greatest hoax in modern history.
Netanyahu deplores peace. His racist belligerence reflects it. He lets settlers attack Palestinians with impunity.
On September 19, dozens of extremist ones stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They performed Talmudic rituals. They committed other provocative acts before. They’ll do it again.
They did it at Islam’s third holiest site. The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque rank third after Mecca’s Sacred Mosque and Madina’s Mosque of the Prophet.
On September 27, Israeli forces prevented Palestinian worshipers under age 50 from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. They did so provocatively.
Clashes followed. Dozens of Palestinians were hurt. Others were arrested. Netanyahu authorized extreme brutality. Security forces take full advantage.
On the same day, hundreds of settlers visited Joseph’s Tomb. They did so provocatively. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers accompanied them. Clashes followed. Security forces responded belligerently. These type incidents repeat with disturbing regularity.
Jerusalem (Al Quds) is the epicenter of ethnic cleansing. Netanyahu wants the entire city Judaized. He wants Palestinians excluded.
He’s been dispossessing them one bulldozed home at a time. He’s stealing them land and property. He wants it for exclusive Jewish development. He already controls most West Bank land.
He wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas. He wants Palestinians confined to worthless scrub lands. He wants them isolated on bantustans.
September 28 marks the 13th anniversary of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s provocative Al-Aqsa Mosque visit.
It’s in Occupied East Jerusalem. The second Intifada followed. So did mass slaughter, arrests and unbridled brutality.
Netanyahu replicates viciousness his own way. Perhaps he has more mass killing in mind. It won’t be the first time. He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.
He ruthlessly waged war on Palestine throughout his tenure. It’s ongoing now.
Haaretz contributor Bradley Burston calls him “a bitter old man.” His “future (is) increasingly behind him.
He’s “letting history pass him by.” He’s “letting history pass Israel by.”
His “bottom-line is to settle the West Bank and East Jerusalem, even if that means settling on Palestinian-owned land.”
“Even if that means forcing Bedouin and other Arabs off their lands and destroying their rickety dwellings while leaving illegally squatting settlers in place, building their homes with brick, mortar, and government sanctioned water.”
“Even if that means alienating the United States and the majority of its Jews, further alienating Europe, and daring – begging – the United Nations to mire Israel ever deeper in isolation and international scorn.”
“Even if that means ever wider boycotts.
Even if – especially if – that means no peace.”
Gideon Levy reviles “the cursed Netanyahu years.” His “violent fingerprints” are everywhere, he says.
Eyal Megged calls him “a sad reflection of Homo Israelus.” He compares him to Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
He admitted he’s “not a statesmen of the premier league, but a neighborhood wheeler-dealer.”
“That’s the way I am, not a leader who makes history, just a hotheaded braggart.”
Netanyahu’s true stature is that and much more. He threatens humanity’s survival.
Amos Harel called Rohani the star in New York. Israel’s the “grumpy complainer.” Netanyahu has no clothes.
Yuval Diskin headed Shin Bet from 2005 – 2011. It’s Israel’s General Security Service. He calls Netanyahu “weak,” “wavering,” and unreliable.”
He obsesses over Iran. He does so irresponsibly. His judgment is sorely lacking. He drinks and smokes too much. He’s “scared and fickle”. He “shirk(s) responsibility.”
He represents “a crisis in leadership here, a crisis of values and total contempt for the public. Maybe people will think I’m exaggerating, but I’m telling you. From close up it looks even worse.”
He lacks “leadership qualities.” He has messianic ambitions. He’s-ideologically over-the-top and dangerous. He wants his stamp put on history.
He’s writing it the wrong way. “He wants to go down in history as (someone) who did something on” a grand scale.
His decision-making style is “zig-zag.” Associates don’t trust him. Diskin expressed concern for his children, saying:
“When I see the current leadership, I am worried about what we’ll leave for them.”
He’s not the only current or former Israeli official feeling this way.
A Final Comment
Netanyahu’s heading for New York. On October 1, he’ll address the General Assembly. On September 24, theJerusalem Post headlined “Netanyahu to compare Iran to North Korea in UN speech,” saying:
An unnamed Israeli official provided quotes from the most recent draft of his speech. Don’t be fooled, he’ll say.
“Iran must not be allowed to repeat North Korea’s ploy to get nuclear weapons.”
“(J)ust like North Korea before it, Iran professes to seemingly peaceful intentions.”
“It talks the talk of nonproliferation while seeking to ease sanctions and buy more time for its nuclear program.”
He’ll warn “a bad agreement (with Iran) is worse than no agreement at all.”
Netanyahu is like Obama. Both men have hegemonic ambitions. They wage lawless aggression to achieve them.
They’re serial liars. They’re war criminals multiple times over. They threaten humanity. Stopping their rage for war matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
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His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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| O’Bagy: Controversial Syria researcher fired over doctorate claim!

Controversial Syria Researcher Fired Over Doctorate Claim ~ Susannah GeorgeBuzzFeed.

Elizabeth O’Bagy’s ties to the Syrian opposition had become an issue.

A young researcher whose opinions on Syria were cited by both Senator McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry in congressional testimony last week has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for allegedly faking her academic credentials.

The institute issued a statement on its website concerning the researcher, Elizabeth O’Bagy:

The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.

O’Bagy and her op-ed drew scrutiny last week when the Wall Street Journal failed to disclose O’Bagy’s ties to an advocacy group backing the Syrian opposition and lobbying the US government to intervene in Syria. The Journal was forced to post a clarification that “in addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O’Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit operating as a 501(c)(3) pending IRS approval that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition.”

O’Bagy wrote in an email this Wednesday morning: “I was just fired from ISW and I’m no longer legally allowed to discuss my employment with them or affiliate it any way.”

In an interview conducted before O’Bagy was fired from ISW, she rejected claims that her research was compromised by her affiliation to the advocacy group, the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

“My research is completely separate” she said. “Every journalist and every researcher goes into the conflict with their own background and their own ideas.”

The Syrian Emergency Task Force didn’t respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

Rosie Gray contributed to this report.

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| Wall Street journalists stick to story about Prince Bandar “swipe” at Qatar!

Wall Street journalists stick to story about Prince Bandar “swipe” at Qatar ~ MEMO.

An article published in the Wall Street journal last week continues to reverberate in the Gulf States. In its 25 August edition Journalists Adam Entous, Nour Malas and Margaret Coker revealed that Prince Bandar had taken “a swipe” at Qatar when he said that the country was “nothing but 300 people … and a TV channel,” reportedly also saying “that doesn’t make a country.”

Soon after the quote by Prince Bandar was reported, Qatar’s foreign minister, Khalid Al Atiyah, responded via twitter saying that, “one Qatari citizen is worth an entire people and the Qatari people are equal to an entire nation.” He added, “This is what we teach our children, with all due respect to the others.”

Apart from reports of unease among Saudi officials, the prince’s remarks had also provoked outrage and acute embarrassment on a public level. Many Saudis viewed it as highly insulting. Social media activists took to cyberspace to offer apologies for what they perceived as a condescending remark toward a ‘brotherly state’.

Two days after the publication of the Wall Street Journal article, unnamed Saudi officials, in an attempt to diffuse tensions, denied the remarks attributed to the prince.

In the event, MEMO contacted the Wall Street Journal journalists behind the story. They confirmed that although Prince Bandar was himself was unavailable for a comment, their sources were credible and extremely knowledgeable. As such, they maintained that that they were sticking by their story.

MEMO’S analysts believe that in light of this reaffirmation by the Wall Street Journal, it would be difficult to refute the offending remark.

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| CONFIRMED: US claims against Syria – There is NO EVIDENCE!!

CONFIRMED: US Claims Against Syria – There is no Evidence ~ Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that the US is citing claims from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency fed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

CIA blues

The Wall Street Journal has confirmed what many suspected, that the West’s so-called “evidence” of the latest alleged “chemical attacks” in Syria, pinned on the Syrian government are fabrications spun up from the West’s own dubious intelligence agencies.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that the US is citing claims from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency fed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a repeat of the fabrications that led up to the Iraq War, the Libyan War, and have been used now for 3 years to justify continued support of extremists operating within and along Syria’s borders.

Wall Street Journal’s article, “U.S., Allies Prepare to Act as Syria Intelligence Mounts,” states:

One crucial piece of the emerging case came from Israeli spy services, which provided the Central Intelligence Agency with intelligence from inside an elite special Syrian unit that oversees Mr. Assad’s chemical weapons, Arab diplomats said. The intelligence, which the CIA was able to verify, showed that certain types of chemical weapons were moved in advance to the same Damascus suburbs where the attack allegedly took place a week ago, Arab diplomats said.

Both Mossad and the CIA are clearly compromised in terms of objectivity and legitimacy. Neither exists nor is expected to provide impartial evidence, but rather to facilitate by all means necessary the self-serving agendas, interests, and objectives of their respective governments.

That both Israel and the United States, as far back as 2007 have openly conspired together to overthrow the government of Syria through a carefully engineered sectarian bloodbath, discredits entirely their respective intelligence agencies. This is precisely why an impartial, objective third-party investigation has been called for by the international community and agreed upon by the Syrian government – a third-party investigation the US has now urged to be canceled ahead of its planned military strikes.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In an email on Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice told U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and other top officials that the U.N. mission was pointless because the chemical weapons evidence already was conclusive, officials said. The U.S. privately urged the U.N. to pull the inspectors out, setting the stage for President Barack Obama to possibly move forward with a military response, officials said.

The US then, not Syria, is attempting a coverup, with fabrications in place from discredited, compromised intelligence sources and the threat of impending military strikes that would endanger the UN inspection team’s safety should they fail to end their investigation and withdraw.

The Wall Street Journal also reiterated that the US is planning to fully sidestep the UN Security Council and proceed with its partners unilaterally:

…if the U.S. chose to strike, it would do so with allies and without the U.N., in order to sidestep an expected Russian veto.

The US proceeds now with absolute disregard for international law, all but declaring it has no intention of providing credible evidence of its accusations against the Syrian government. It is a rush to war with all the hallmarks of dangerous desperation as the West’s proxy forces collapse before the Syrian military. Western military leaders must consider the strategic tenants and historical examples regarding the dangers and folly of haste and imprudence in war – especially war fought to protect special interests and political agendas rather than to defend territory.

The populations of the West must likewise consider what benefits they have garnered from the last decade of military conquest their leaders have indulged in. Crumbling economies gutted to feed the preservation of special interests and the growing domestic security apparatuses to keep these interests safe from both domestic and foreign dissent are problems that will only grow more acute.

Outside of the West, in Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran, leaders must consider a future where Western special interests can invade with impunity, without public support, or even the tenuous semblance of justification being necessary.

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| NSA analysts ‘wilfully violated’ surveillance systems, agency admits!

NSA analysts ‘wilfully violated’ surveillance systems, agency admits ~  and agencies, theguardian.com.

NSA acknowledges that one analyst used agency tools to track former spouse but insists it has ‘zero tolerance’ for abuses.

NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

The abuses were related to misuse of the 1981 Executive Order 12333, which governs how US intelligence operations are used. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

The National Security Agency has admitted that some of its analysts deliberately abused its surveillance systems, with one analyst disciplined for using NSA resources to track a former spouse.

The agency said Friday it had found “very rare instances of wilful violations of NSA’s authorities” as officials briefed reporters that various agents had used the NSA’s controversial data monitoring capabilities to spy on love interests.

“NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and co-operates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate,” the NSA said in a statement. “NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”

It said none of the abuses involved violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the Patriot Act – violations of which have been highlighted by the Guardian based on documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Instead, the abuses were related to misuse of the 1981 Executive Order 12333, which governs how US intelligence operations are used.

The Bloomberg news agency reported that anonymous US officials had said there had been “a few cases” where NSA officials or contractors had used agency surveillance tools or data to spy on people in which they had romantic interests.

The Wall Street Journal also said anonymous officials had admitted that NSA analysts had abused their positions to monitor love interests. It said the practice is infrequent but “common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT”. The newspaper said that NSA employees or contractors found to have committed LOVEINT violations had been disciplined in each case.

In its official statement, the NSA did not directly address the issue of data monitoring for amorous purposes. The agency admitted that abuses had taken place over the past decade but did not specify what the nature of those abuses were.

The Senate intelligence committee was briefed this week on the “wilful violations” by the NSA’s inspector general’s office. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, issued a statement on the abuses.

“The committee has learned that in isolated cases over the past decade, a very small number of NSA personnel have violated NSA procedures – in roughly one case per year,” Feinstein said.

She said the incidents “in most instances did not involve an American’s information”.

“I have been informed by NSA that disciplinary action has been taken, and I am reviewing each of these incidents in detail.”

Last week the NSA’s director of compliance, John DeLong, said abuses “are taken very seriously.”

“When we make mistakes, we detect, we correct and we report,” he said.

Obama administration officials and intelligence overseers in Congress have described the Fisa and Patriot Act violations as inadvertent. The NSA this week declassified a secret Fisa court ruling from 2011 that revealed the agency had inadvertently scooped up, over a three-year period, as many as 56,000 emails of Americans not connected to terrorism.

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| Petrodollar mischief: Saudi Prince Alwaleed Loses UK Court Battle!

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Loses UK Court Battle ~ Ellen Knickmeyer, The Wall Street Journal.

For a man who carefully tends his brand, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s image took a hit in a London court this week, when a judge called his testimony unreliable and confusing and ordered him to pay $10 million to a former business associate.

Judge Peter Smith ruled Wednesday that the Saudi prince, a billionaire businessman, was wrong in refusing to pay commission to a Jordanian woman who helped Prince Alwaleed negotiate, from 2001 to 2006, the sale of a luxury jumbo jet to then-Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

The Jordanian consultant, Daad Sharab, filed suit in 2007 in London to compel payment. The High Court of Justice ruled on the case.

In a statement late Wednesday, Prince Alwaleed said he planned to appeal the decision, saying the verdict “had been unduly swayed by the Judge’s own view regarding Prince Alwaleed’s business negotiations with the Government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi.”

Prince Alwaleed underwent tough questioning in court, including Judge Smith asking if the prince lied in telling the Libyans, as Prince Alwaleed was closing the plane deal, that the $95 million plane actually cost him $135 million.

“It is not a lie. It is a tactic,” Prince Alwaleed told the judge on July 2, according to a detailed court room exchange reported by Forbes magazine.

Prince Alwaleed had testified that his understanding with Ms. Sharab was that he would pay her a commission at his discretion, and that he was not satisfied with Ms. Sharab’s performance.

The judge didn’t appear to believe the Saudi. According to an account published by the Bloomberg news service, the judge said in his ruling: “He is a man who is clearly prepared to write false letters” and the evidence “shows that I cannot accept his assertion that he never tells lies in contracts and written documents.”

Prince Alwaleed is known for having an active public-relations campaign, sending out photos and press releases several times a week on the prince meeting with everyone from Prince Charles of Britain to the mayor of Accra, Ghana.

Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed filed a letter of claim in a British court against Forbes magazine, after the magazine questioned the size of his fortune and downgraded his position on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people.

The Saudi prince, a nephew of King Abdullah, said Forbes had defamed Saudi Arabia by doing so.

Prince Alwaleed owns sizable stakes in corporations including Apple, Citigroup and News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

Most Saudi papers on Thursday carried no reports of the British ruling.

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Humility Pill

| Israeli hubris + 5 burning Questions on Russian S-300 Missile system sales to Syria!

5 Questions on Russian S-300 Missile System Sales to Syria ~ Mikhail FomichjowRIA Novosti.

Russian S-300 Missile system
Russian S-300 Missile system
MOSCOW, May 14 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) – If fresh media reports are true, Russia, Syria’s longtime supplier of military equipment, may soon provide Damascus – or already has – with advanced S-300 air defense systems, tipping the balance in the devastating 26-month conflict in the Middle Eastern country. But the “if” is a big one. The missile batteries would give Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime a powerful weapon against foreign air strikes – one of the options being bounced around as a form of international intervention – and could fracture the fragile accord on Syria reached last week between Moscow and Washington, which hope to get the warring sides to negotiate. But verifiable information about the S-300 deal is desperately scant: Was there a deal at all? What did it cover? Has any part of it been implemented? For now, what we know about the S-300 saga, from its origins to its implications, has been based on disappearing documents, anonymous sources, rumors, approximations and misunderstandings.

Here, RIA Novosti tries to unravel the mess and answer some of the big questions.

Is there really a deal to sell Russian S-300 systems to Syria? How do we know?

Technically, it’s all hearsay. The only solid piece of evidence was a 2011 annual report by S-300’s manufacturer, the Nizhny Novgorod Machine Building Plant, which mentioned a contract for the missile systems for Syria. The report has since vanished from the plant’s website, but was cited by the respected Vedomosti business daily at the time as saying that the contract was worth $105 million and that an unspecified number of S-300 systems were slated for delivery between 2012 and early 2013.

The S-300-P surface-to-air missile system

All other reports have been based on leaks by unnamed intelligence and diplomatic sources, including, most recently, in the prominent Russian daily Kommersant and the Wall Street Journal, which said last week that the deal includes four S-300 batteries and 144 missiles and has a price tag of $900 million, with deliveries to begin, possibly, by late summer. (One S-300 missile system is estimated by experts to cost some $115 million, plus $1 million or so per missile.) Damascus has never commented on the deal, and neither has the Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said Russia is following through on existing contracts to supply defensive weapons, including air defense systems, to Syria, but never says what precisely they are. The lack of clarity leaves room for wild guesses: Maybe the S-300 deal was never in the cards. Or maybe a number of complexes have already been shipped over the past two years, as some media reports alleged in December.

Who decides whether the deal goes through? Can the international community or any third parties affect the sale?

The deal is strictly between Moscow and Damascus – which is to say, it’s all in the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin. International treaties on arms trade are few and far between, and tend to cover things like strategic weapons and cluster bombs, not air defense systems, however advanced they may be. Meanwhile, all attempts to ban arms sales to Syria via the UN Security Council have been blocked by Russia. Of course, there is behind-the-scenes haggling and arm-twisting, but that’s unofficial.

Why are the S-300s dangerous? They’ve been on the production line since 1978 – aren’t they outdated by now?

The S-300 systems have been modernized repeatedly to remain state-of-the-art airplane- and rocket-destruction machines. The S-300PMU2 Favorit can launch six missiles at once, each capable of destroying aircraft flying at several times the maximum speed of the F-16 and F-22 fighter jets – the staples of the Israeli and US air forces, respectively – as well as intercepting ballistic targets. They can be suppressed or sabotaged by ground troops, but it is a tricky task. All this is to say, that the risk and cost of air attacks against Syria would rise dramatically (more on that directly below).

Who are the targets?

Not the Syrian rebels – they have no aircraft. And though you can technically reprogram the S-300 to hit ground targets, that would be akin to hammering nails with a tablet computer, given the price of $700,000 to $1.2 million per missile. However, any attempts by foreign powers to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, as was done in Libya in 2011, would end in what Igor Korotchenko, the editor of the Moscow-based National Defense magazine, described as “dozens of destroyed aircraft and coffins covered by star-spangled banners. Unacceptable.”

What’s the possible time frame? How long until Assad can shoot foreign fighter jets out of the sky?

The S-300 system deploys in five minutes – once it’s paid for, produced, tested, shipped, and manned by trained personnel. Some of this poses little problem: The Syrian government seems to have enough money in its pockets, and shipping from St. Petersburg to the Syrian port of Tartus takes about two weeks. That is, of course, provided the cargo does not get arrested in Finland, or the ship denied entry to European ports because its insurance was revoked – both true stories that happened to Russian ships reportedly carrying arms to Syria. Still, it would likely take a while before Damascus actually gets any missiles. The Wall Street Journal claims – citing US sources citing Israeli sources – that the shipments may begin arriving by August, while the London-based, Arab-language Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said they are already in Syria, though still under Russian supervision. However, according to Russian arms experts, the manufacturer is unlikely to have ready-to-ship S-300 systems lying on the shelves: Whatever leftovers there were from a deal with Iran, scrapped in 2010, were long ago snatched up by other customers such as Algeria, according to Ruslan Pukhov of the Center for Analysis of Strategy and Technologies, a for-profit research group in Moscow. This means the systems would need to be produced and test launches conducted, a job that would take about a year, Pukhov said. Furthermore, dozens or even hundreds of staff would have to be trained to operate the complicated machinery, which should take about six months. This would push Assad’s most optimistic deadline of owning fully operable S-300 complexes to November at best, with spring of 2014 being a more realistic estimate. Updated with S-300’s estimated cost and changing “missile complex” to “missile system” throughout.

S-300_PMU2 A

| Facebook hacked but says no user data compromised!

Facebook hacked, says no user data compromised ~ Heather Kelly, CNN.

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  • Facebook says it was hacked in January when employees visited a compromised website.
  • The social network has found no evidence that any user data was obtained by the hackers.
  • This is latest in a string of high-profile hacks this year. _______________________________________________________
(CNN) — Facebook says it was recently hacked, though it says no data about its more than a billion users was compromised.

The company described the “sophisticated attack” in a blog post on Friday, saying it took place in January when a small number of employees visited a compromised website that installed malware on their machines.

“As soon as we discovered the presence of the malware, we remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement and began a significant investigation that continues to this day,” Facebook Security said in the post.

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, is the latest high-profile site to be hacked this year. Twitter announced a similar intrusion earlier this month, and major news organizations including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have also admitted to being hacked.

The news sites attributed the breaches to hackers working for the Chinese government, but neither Facebook nor Twitter mention China when describing their attacks.

“Facebook was not alone in this attack. It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well,” said the blog post. “As one of the first companies to discover this malware, we immediately took steps to start sharing details about the infiltration with the other companies and entities that were affected. ”

Unlike Twitter, Facebook said it has found no evidence that any user information was compromised. Twitter said that user names, encrypted passwords and e-mail addresses for as many as 250,000 users were potentially grabbed by the hackers. It reset passwords for all affected accounts.

The string of hacks have primarily exploited vulnerabilities in the programming language Java, which is installed on most computers by default. Facebook said the site responsible for its attack took advantage of a previously unknown Java vulnerability, which Oracle patched on February 1.

In January, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert about the security-challenged software and recommended people turn it off on their computers. Apple turned off Java by default for its OS X users as a precaution. Full instructions on how to disable Java on any computer can be found on Oracle’s website. If you must use Java, make sure that you have downloaded the latest updates, which include key security patches.

Facebook said it will continue to work with law enforcement and others in the industry to prevent future attacks.

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FB Hack 1

Dislike FB 1

| US under spotlight over emerging evidence of Libya attack disrupting major CIA operation!

Attack in Libya disrupted major CIA operation ~ Bill Van Auken,  World Socialist Web Site.

The September 11 attack that claimed the life of the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans disrupted a major CIA operation in the North African country.

According to the New York Times, at least half of the nearly two dozen US personnel evacuated from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi following the fatal attack on the US consulate and a secret “annex” were “CIA operatives and contractors.”

“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” a US official who had been stationed in Libya told the Times. “We got our eyes poked out.”

The Times report describes the mission of the CIA station in Benghazi as one of “conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city,” including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia that has been linked by some to the September 11 attack, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.

It further states that the CIA “began building a meaningful but covert presence in Benghazi” within months of the February 2011 revolt in Benghazi that seized the city from forces loyal to the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Stevens himself was sent into the city in April of that year as the American envoy to the so-called “rebels” organized in the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC).

What the Times omits from its account of CIA activities in Benghazi, however, is that the agency was not merely conducting covert surveillance on the Islamists based in eastern Libya, but providing them with direct aid and coordinating their operations with those of the NATO air war launched to bring down the Gaddafi regime. In this sense, the September 11 attack that killed Stevens and the three other Americans was very much a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

There is every reason to believe that the robust CIA presence in Benghazi after Gaddafi’s fall also involved more than just surveillance. Libyan Islamists make up the largest single component of the “foreign fighters” who are playing an ever more dominant role in the US-backed sectarian civil war being waged in Syria with the aim of toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad. According to some estimates, they comprise anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 of approximately 3,500 fighters who have been infiltrated into Syria from as far away as Chechnya and Pakistan.

The CIA has also set up a center on the border between Turkey and Syria to oversee the funneling of arms, materiel, money and fighters into the Syrian civil war. Given the relationship established between the US agency and the Libyan Islamist militias during the US-NATO war to topple Gaddafi, it seems highly probable that the departure of such elements from eastern Libya and their infiltration into Syria would be coordinated by CIA personnel on both ends.

The government installed by the US-NATO war in the Libyan capital of Tripoli was apparently unaware of the size of the CIA presence in Benghazi, though the agency was supposedly cooperating with Libyan intelligence officials in monitoring the activities of the Islamists.

According to a report published September 21 in the Wall Street Journal, the attempt by Libyan government forces to coordinate a response to the militia assault on the US consulate and the “annex” used by the CIA was hindered by the refusal of American officials to provide the Libyans with GPS coordinates for the “annex,” which came under sustained assault and where two security contractors, former Navy Seals, were killed.

When the US and Libyan rescuers managed to evacuate some 30 Americans from the “annex” and bring them to the Benghazi airport, Libyan officials were stunned by the number of US personnel there and had to bring in a second plane to fly them all out.

“We were surprised by the numbers of Americans who were at the airport,” Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagour told the Journal. “We have no problem with intelligence sharing or gathering, but our sovereignty is also key,” he added.

In the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi, the question of security at US facilities has become a politically contested issue, with Republicans charging that the Obama administration had behaved irresponsibly in not having US military personnel protect Stevens and other personnel. They have also accused the administration of misleading the public by describing the assault on the two buildings as an outgrowth of a spontaneous demonstration over the anti-Islamic film that has triggered protests throughout the Muslim world, rather than a terrorist attack.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, a California Republican, last week declared the lack of military guards in Benghazi as “inconceivable” given an earlier attack on the Benghazi compound and other incidents of armed violence in the city.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the criticism by insisting that local security forces and a private security company that deployed Libyan guards had provided security “of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world.”

By late last week, administration officials had begun referring to the assault as a “terrorist attack.” With the US having deployed warships, drones and a 50-member US Marine rapid reaction force to Libya, this may be preparation for military retaliation.

In Libya itself, thousands of people marched in Benghazi on Friday against the militias. Crowds laid siege to the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia and another Islamist militia, the Rafallah Sahati brigade, leading to at least four deaths.

The demonstrations clearly expressed public anger over the sway of the Islamists over Benghazi, with participants talking of the need for “a new revolution.”

Late on Saturday, the authorities in Tripoli responded to the popular frustration. The Libyan army chief, Yusseff Mangoush, and national assembly leader Mohamed Magrief announced that “illegitimate” militias would have 48 hours to disarm and disband, or the army would use force.

What this meant was far from clear, however, as Libyan President Mohamed el-Megaref called upon Libyan protesters to leave the “legitimate” militias alone. The president demanded that the demonstrators stop attacks on militias that are “under state legitimacy, and go home.”

The spokesman for the national assembly went further. According to the Wall Street Journal, the spokesman, Omar Humidan, declared that while the militias “have wrong practices… serve their own agenda and have their own ideology… striking these militias and demanding they disband immediately will have grave consequences.”

He continued: “These are the ones that preserve security. The state has a weak army and no way it can fill any vacuum resulting in eviction of these militias… The street is upset because of the militias and their infighting. We are worried of the fallout in the absence of those militias. The state must be given time.”

The militias in Benghazi are almost all offshoots of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a jihadist group that had ties to Al Qaeda and whose leaders were abducted and tortured by the CIA as part of Washington’s “global war on terror.” This is the case with Ansar al-Sharia, which is responsible for providing security at the Al Jala hospital in Benghazi, as well as the Rafallah Sahati brigade, which has also been deployed as a security force in the city, including during the national elections.

In the aftermath of last Friday’s demonstrations, the militias struck back, claiming that the popular repudiation of their policies had been stirred up by supporters of the former Gaddafi regime.

The Rafallah al-Sahati militia announced Monday that it had rounded up 113 people for alleged involvement in the protests. A leader of the group claimed that most of those detained were former members of the Gaddafi-era military or supporters of the deposed president.

Libyan state television reported Monday that on the outskirts of Benghazi the bodies of six Libyan soldiers were found shot, execution style, with their hands cuffed behind them. It was also reported that an army colonel had disappeared and was believed to have been kidnapped.

According to the Wall Street Journal: “Some media reports accused militiamen of taking revenge on Gaddafi-era veterans in the military; in contrast, a military spokesman, Ali al-Shakhli, blamed Gaddafi loyalists, saying they were trying to stir up trouble between the public and the militias.”

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