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Even facing what under any circumstances is a perfect storm; President Putin delivered an extremely measured performance at his annual press conference and Q&A marathon.

 

The perfect storm evolves in two fronts; an overt economic war – as in siege by sanctions – and a concerted, covert, shadow attack to the heart of the Russian economy. Washington’s endgame is clear: impoverish and defang the adversary and force him to meekly bow to the Empire of Chaos’s’ whims. And bragging about it all the way to “victory.”

The problem is Moscow happens to have impeccably deciphered the game – even before Putin, at the Valdai Club in October, pinned down the Obama doctrine as “our Western partners” working as practitioners of the “theory of controlled chaos.”

So Putin neatly understood this week’s monster controlled chaos attack. The Empire has massive money power; a great deal of influence over the world’s GDP at $85 trillion, and the banking power behind that. So nothing easier than using that power through the private banking systems that actually controls central banks to create a run on the ruble. Think about the ‘Empire of Chaos’ dreaming of driving the ruble down by 99% or so – thus wrecking the Russian economy. What better way to impose imperial discipline on Russia?

The “nuclear” option

Russia sells oil in US dollars to the West. Lukoil, for instance, would have a deposit in US dollars in an American bank for the oil they sell. If Lukoil has to pay wages in rubles in Russia, then they will have to sell the US dollar deposits and buy in Russia a ruble deposit for their bank account. This in effect supports the ruble. The question is whether Lukoil, Rosneft and Gazprom are hoarding US dollars overseas – and holding back. The answer is no. And the same applies to other Russian businesses.

Russia is not “losing their savings”, as Western corporate media gloats. Russia can always require foreign companies to relocate to Russia. Apple, for instance, may open a manufacturing plant in Russia. The recent Russia-China deals include the Chinese building factories in Russia. With a depreciated ruble, Russia is able to force manufacturing that might have been located in the EU to be located in Russia; otherwise these companies lose the market. Putin somewhat admitted that Russia should have been demanding this much earlier. The – positive – process is now inevitable.

And then there’s a “nuclear” option – which Putin didn’t even have to mention. If Russia decides to impose capital controls and/or imposes a “holiday” on repayment of larger debt tranches coming due in early 2015, the European financial system will be bombed – Shock and Awe-style; after all, much of the Russian bank and corporate funding was underwritten in Europe.

Exposure to Russia per se is not the issue; what matters is the linkage to European banks. As an American investment banker told me, Lehman Brothers, for instance, brought down Europe just as much as New York City – based on inter-linkages. And yet Lehman was based in New York. It’s the domino effect that counts.

Were Russia to deploy this “nuclear” financial option, the Western financial system would not be able to absorb a shock of default. And that would demonstrate – once and for all – that Wall Street speculators have built a ‘House of Cards’ so fragile and corrupt that the first real storm turns it to dust.

It’s just a shot away

And what if Russia defaults – creating a holy mess out of the country’s $600 billion debt? This scenario reads as the Masters of the Universe telling Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi to create credits in the banking systems to prevent “undue damage” – as in 2008.

But then Russia decides to cut off natural gas and oil from the West (while keeping the flow to the East). Russian intel may wreak non-stop havoc in pumping stations from the Maghreb to the Middle East. Russia may block all the oil and natural gas pumped in the Central Asian ‘stans’. The result: the greatest financial collapse in history. And the end of the ‘Empire of Chaos’s’ exceptionalist panacea.

Of course this is a doomsday scenario. But don’t provoke the bear, because the bear could pull that off in a flash.

Putin was so cool, calm, collected – and eager to delve into details – at his press conference because he knows Moscow is able to move in total autonomy. This is – of course – an asymmetrical war – against a crumbling, dangerous empire. What those intellectual midgets swarming the lame duck Obama administration are thinking? That they can sell American – and world – public opinion the notion Washington (European poodles, actually) will brave nuclear war, in the European theater, in the name of failed state Ukraine?

This is a chess game. The raid on the ruble was supposed to be a checkmate. It’s not. Not when deployed by amateur scrabble players. And don’t forget the Russia-China strategic partnership. The storm may be abating, but the match continues.

http://rt.com/op-edge/215675-putin-economic-sanctions-us-oil/

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Antiwar.com’s Dan Sanchez has just reported on leaked emails that reveal that the Obama regime exerted influence over the movie The Interview “to encourage assassination and regime change in North Korea”.

Regarding the threats of bombings of theaters if the film was shown, Obama has been personally encouraging people to “go the movies” anyway, while hardliners like Mitt Romney have specifically encouraged people to go see The Interview.

This is not the first time strongman Obama has been closely involved with promoting or influencing Hollywood movies spouting negative propaganda about countries Obama and the US want to invade and conquer.  Michelle Obama personally presented the Academy award for “best picture” for the film Argo.

Argo whitewashed the history of US aggression and genocide against Iran.  Since 1953, the US has been an accomplice in the torture and killing of over a million Iranian citizens, thousands with chemical weapons.

The Interview almost certainly whitewashes the history of US genocide against Korea, and apparently depicts US forces causing the North Korean leader’s head to explode.

In its aggressive attacks against North Korea in the early 1950s, the US intentionally targeted civilians and flattened entire villages and cities, including Pyongyang.  The attacks killed up to 4 million people, mostly civilians, most of whom were killed by the US, many through direct and intentional targeting, such as the machine-gunning of women and children by US soldiers at No Gun Ri.

Scholar Chalmers Johnson finds the North Korea of today a proud, struggling nation that, unlike the US public, is very aware of what was done to it by the US, and sees the aggressive, threatening stance the US has since maintained towards that country.

Johnson also notes that the worst act committed against Koreans by a “Korean” government was the bayoneting of thousands of students by the US-backed South Korean dictatorship in the late ’80s.

The Interview would almost certainly be another exercise in genocide denial for the US, a country that has gotten away with all of the crimes, including multiple genocides, it has thus far committed.

However, though we may be happy when Holocaust deniers and the like decide to hold their tongues, it is extremely unfortunate that Sony’s decision not to release such a film was brought about not by free will but threats of violence from unknown sources, which are to be condemned as threats against speech itself.

According to the leaked emails, Sony was hesitant about depicting the assassination of the North Korean leader, but was “encouraged” by the Obama regime to go forward with it.

It may be useful to imagine how we would feel about the reverse: a slapstick buddy comedy about the infiltration of the country considered the most dangerous in the world – the USA, not North Korea – and the “comedic” assassination of Obama by having his head catch on fire and explode.

It is also relevant to note that North Korea’s official complaint about the film, that it incites terrorism against North Korea (which is what the Obama regime apparently intended), is the same reason the US government has given countless times over the course of its existence to justify brutally crushing free speech and protest – facts all but fully ignored or suppressed in dominant US discourse.

And, as Antiwar.com and Wired report, “North Korea almost certainly did not hack Sony”.

Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets.  Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Follow Robert and UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/leaked-emails-obama-exerted-influence-interview.html

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New polls show that – even after the Senate torture report showed that torture is unnecessary and doesn’t work – Americans still think torture is necessary and works.

Why?

Because they still don’t know the truth … because the mainstream media has hidden it from them. Specifically, Americans still believe that torture works to produce helpful intelligence that helps keep us safe.

Americans wouldn’t support torture if they knew the following facts, proven beyond any doubt:

They have, from the beginning, been trying to prevent an investigation into war crimes.

  • The detainees held up as “poster boy” justifications for torture actually prove the opposite

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/americans-support-torture-dont-know.html

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This article originally appeared at RT


RT’s five YouTube channels combined have hit the 2 billion views benchmark, strengthening the channel’s role as the leading news provider on the popular video hosting service.

RT content on Youtube has generated over 3 times as many views as CNN & Euronews respectively, and 2.5 times Al Jazeera’s viewership.

Over 540 million views were generated by the network to date in 2014.

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Jon Stewart spent the first segment of tonight’s Daily Show diving into a former vice president’s Meet the Press appearance and asking, “Is Dick Cheney a righteous warrior or a psychopath?” Stewart called Cheney the “best-slash-worst” on this particular issue, and mocked him for setting the nation’s moral bar pretty low by defining the event of 9/11 as torture that the U.S. has not sank to.

And what amazed Stewart is how after all these years, Cheney is “impervious to doubt” and the thought that maybe any of what he says is “complete bullshit.”

Stewart concluded, “George W. Bush, thank you for not dying while you were in office.”

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Abby Martin talks to Laurel Krause, co-founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal about the Kent State massacre cover-up 43 years on, and the news that the UN Human Rights Council will be looking into the US government’s actions on that day.

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Previously an outspoken critic of Iranian government, was interviewed by Australian media in 2001, loved Western society…

December 15, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) As predicted, the suspect amid the “Sydney Siege,” has long been on the radar of Australian law enforcement, as well as a frequent visitor to Australia’s court system.

Before that, however, he came to Australia as a political refugee, an opponent of what he called the “Iranian regime,” and was even interviewed by Australia’s ABC network in 2001 as part of an ongoing anti-Iranian propaganda campaign.

It has been revealed that long-time agitator, alias “Man Haron Monis,” also known as “Manteghi Boroujerdi,” was the suspect amid the so-called “Sydney Siege” hostage crisis. Monis/Boroujerdi claims to be a Shia’a religious leader and is often seen in press photos dressed as one.

Despite this, he was at the center of a hostage crisis requesting the flag of the “Islamic State” terrorist organization be delivered to him while claiming association with other ISIS “brothers.”

Neither Islamic nor a state, ISIS is led by US, Israeli, and Saudi-backed Wahabi terrorists, promoting a perversion of Sunni Islam – the bane to both genuine Sunnis and Shia’a worldwide and against which both the nations of Syria and Iran are fighting.

Monis/Boroujerdi rose to infamy amid two notable incidents – one being his involvement in the stabbing death and burning of his ex-wife – the other being his controversial campaign of sending hate-letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers killed during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The latter was used extensively to stir up division across the pro and anti-war political divide.

more @ http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2014/12/who-created-cartoon-character-man-haron.html

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‘It was July 2005 and Jack Straw was in combative mood. During a parliamentary debate, the then foreign secretary insisted that there was no need for a judicial inquiry into the UK’s role in extraordinary rendition – “unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States”.

But the publication last week of a long-awaited US Senate intelligence report has raised fresh questions about what the UK knew about the CIA’s torture programme – and in particular the role played by an obscure overseas British territory.’

Read more: Diego Garcia guards its secrets even as the truth on CIA torture emerges

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Whether a tyranny labels itself as communism, fascism. dictatorship, monarchy, they all fall under the umbrella of despotism. How can we tell if our nation of liberty and civil rights is sliding towards a system run by despots? Knowing the signs are critical, especially when they are happening all around us.

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‘Those planning on visiting (or merely driving around) Washington or New York City today may want to consider a plan B. AsReuters reports, “thousands of demonstrators were expected in Washington and New York on Saturday to protest the killings of unarmed black men by U.S. police and to urge Congress to protect citizens.

Organizers said the protests would be among the largest over police tactics and the killings of black males by officers in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri.

“It’s open season on black people now,” New York march co-organizer Umaara Elliott said in a statement. “So we demand that action be taken at every level of government to ensure that these racist killings by the police cease.”’

Read more: Thousands Of Protesters Swarm Washington, NYC: ‘Don’t Expect To See Obama Here, Black Issues Don’t Matter To Him’

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SF Chronicle

PORTLAND, Ore. — A 22-year-old man arrested in connection with a shooting outside an alternative high school in Portland has ties to a gang, as do two of the victims, police said Saturday.

Sgt. Pete Simpson said Lonzo Murphy is a person of interest in the Friday shooting, but officers aren’t prepared to say whether he was the gunman, Simpson said.  

Authorities are trying to find two other people connected to the shooting near Rosemary Anderson High School. Three were hospitalized, including a 16-year-old girl who was critically wounded, and a fourth person was grazed by a bullet and treated at the scene.

Simpson says two male victims have ties to gangs. The victims are students or in affiliated job training programs, authorities said.

“The nexus of it had to do with gang activity,” Simpson said outside police headquarters. “The proximity to the school was happenstance, if you will. It doesn’t sound like it had anything to do directly with the school.”

Investigators received information that led them to look for Murphy, Simpson said. He was pulled over early Saturday and arrested on a parole violation. Officers found a handgun “consistent with what we were looking for related to this case,” Simpson said, but officers can’t say yet whether it was tied to the shooting.

After the arrest, investigators searched Murphy’s apartment, which is located five blocks from the shooting scene.

Police identified the hospitalized victims as Taylor Michelle Zimmers, 16, who was in critical condition; David Jackson-Liday, 20; and Labraye Franklin, 17.

Olyvia Batson, 17, was treated at the scene after a bullet grazed her foot.

Police have designated Jackson-Liday as a gang member, a formal process that requires officers to develop evidence and provide the alleged gang member an opportunity to appeal, Simpson said. Franklin is known by officers to be affiliated with a gang but has not been designated a gang member, he said.

Zimmers and Batson have no apparent gang affiliations, Simpson said.

Portland police have said they saw a spike in gang crime over the summer and have complained they don’t have adequate resources to address the problem. A man died in a drive-by shooting in June and another man was killed in a separate shooting. A 5-year-old boy also was shot in the leg while playing at an apartment complex.

A Multnomah County report on gang activity released in June said crime in the county that includes Portland actually decreased from 2005 to 2012. As inner-city Portland gentrifies, the report said, criminal activity is shifting from northern neighborhoods to areas farther east, including the city of Gresham.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/Gang-ties-cited-in-school-shooting-arrest-in-5955513.php#/0

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Before Obama made his Amnesty speech last Thursday I thought of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe. One brick after another sealed the fate of an unsuspecting murder victim in Poe’s classic mystery story. We could all benefit if we began to interpret every action of the New World Order as part of an elaborate step by step scheme to kill the majority of Americans and to reduce the remaining survivors to Debt Slavery.

We need to define the term NWO before we explain their plans to exterminate at least 5 to 6 billion people. I guarantee you that many of those billions of human beings look a lot like you and me. Some of us might even be on the US government’s secretive Main Core list of people to be Disappeared the night before Bankers see people with pitchforks in the streets. This means that the Bankers only have to be worried that you might become justifiably be angry after they steal all of your pensions, savings and investments while inflating prices and cutting your wages 50 to 60%.

In 2007 a Swiss study at the Federal Institute of Technology revealed that 20% of all international trade was controlled by 147 corporations. These companies share Board of Director members. These companies include the Too Big To Jail Banks, the top insurers, the major Arms suppliers, major oil companies, the Pharmaceutical giants, some major industrial and High Tech corporations and that especially vile entity  known as Monsanto.

David Rothkopf, a Kissinger associate, wrote Superclass. He said the West is run by 30 Families and their 6,000 Minions.

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and David Rockefeller founded both the Bilderberg Society and the Trilateral Commission. America had an election once in which there were two major party candidates and one independent running for President. The Republican was a member of the Bilderberg Society headed by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe and by David Rockefeller in North America. The Democrat was a member of the Trilateral Commission headed by David Rockefeller in North America and by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe. And for those who felt like rebellion there was the Independent candidate who was a member of the Trilateral Commission headed by David Rockefeller in North America and by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in Europe.

The Bilderberg Society has an annual meeting at which Tech Giants, oil companies, Banks, insurance companies, Arms Suppliers and others get together with politicians like Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Tony Blair and miscellaneous slithery operatives like Richard Perle to discuss issues in private. The Bilderberg Steering Committee has an agenda prepared in advance which is given them from representatives of the 30 Families and their primary Minions. Richard Perle was the architect of both the invasion of Iraq and of Obama’s proxy wars against Libya and Syria. Perle is a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.

The agenda is given to the Bilderberg meeting by the Steering Committee. It is discussed until consensus is reached and the participants agree to implement it over the coming year.

Every candidate for President since 1988 has had direct history as a CIA asset as well as membership in either the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderberg Society with one exception. That would be George W Bush whose father was the Executive Director of the Trilateral Commission and a CIA Director. In his case blood lines count. Robin Cook was Labour Foreign Secretary under Tony Blair before the Iraq war. He and Blair concluded that George Bush was not the real President of the United States. Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger ran Bush’s administration for the 30 Families.

Henry Kissinger who is a member of both the Bilderberg Society and the Trilateral Commission said, ‘Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.’

His counterpart in the Democrat party is Zbigniew Brzezinski. He has been a longtime mentor of Barack Obama. He said, ‘It is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.’

Barack Obama is a Teleprompter Reader. He is no more President of the United States than was George W Bush.

Obama is America’s Destroyer in Chief. Amnesty will bankrupt America and drive crime through the roof. The illegal aliens he allowed into the country have become burdens to local taxpayers. They demand services and produce no tax revenue. They have burdened us with Enterovirus D68, active Tuberculosis, Giardia, scabies and other diseases.

Even if they do find work, the illegal aliens will need enormous subsidies in Food Stamps, housing, education and healthcare. Employers might be inclined to hire them and to fire the Native Born because Obamacare offers them $3,000 in healthcare subsidies per illegal alien. The elderly in America are forced to continue working because their pensions and retirement funds are evaporating. What happens to them when when men and women in their 60s have to compete against 20 year-olds who come with Obamacare subsidies for their employers?

We are told that as many as 40% of the jobs the illegal aliens came to do will disappear in 15 years. So just exactly what will that 8 year-old boy from Guatemala do when he turns 23?

Obama under Open Borders has allowed career criminals to enter the US. He has allowed juveniles with Gang Tattoos to cross the border even if they told Border Patrol they killed people back home. Obama gave them bus tickets to their destination of choice. The FBI did a Gang survey in 2011. They found that the US had 1.4 million Gang Members and their numbers were growing at 40% every 4 years. That meant we could expect 1,960,000 Gang Members in 2015 even without Open Borders. The majority of Gang Members  are Spanish speaking.

They are for the most part first or second generation illegal aliens. MS-13 is a Central American Gang that works as foot soldiers for the Sinaloa drug cartel. They are also allied with the Mexican Mafia which runs the Mexican gangs inside the California state prisons. The Sinaloa Cartel is a primary ally of the CIA.

Mexico has killed 130,000 people in their gang wars. In Mexico the Drug Cartels kill honest cops and reporters. Open Borders means that we will have more than 2 million Gang Bangers to lead the way when the Dollar Dies. The Drug Gangs will be organizing Nationwide Food Riots. They will be using their best soldiers to raid pharmacies, gun shops and National Guard Armories. The Drug Cartels have already made Death Lists of American cops they deem to be excessively courageous and honest. When the time is right, they will go down those Death Lists until the America you knew ceases to exist.

The major Mexican Cartels have close working relationships with the CIA which flies drugs into the US by the plane load and sells them guns. The US banks launder their drug money. Without the cooperation of the Banks the Drug Cartels would be out of business. Big Banks launder a trillion dollars a year in illegal drugs and weapons. They also launder $500 billion in political bribes internationally.

Russian Jewish gangs have been operating out of Mexico City in close cooperation with the Mexican Gangs so we have come full circle. The Opium business replaced the African slave trade. 90% of the ships involved in that trade were Jewish owned. His Majesty’s Jewish Government waged two Opium Wars against China to expand the Opium trade which had replaced slavery as a money maker.

The Race Riots in Ferguson Missouri were the work of the Department of Justice and the people brought in from around the country to stir things up. One veteran fireman pointed out that those fires in Ferguson were set by professionally trained arsonists. The fires were designed to burn businesses to the ground before the fires could be put out. The National Guard seems to have been held back on the first night so organized rioters could shoot at firemen and other first responders. Attorney General Eric Holder had called the Governor and asked him to restrain the National Guard.

That these businesses had been employing black people is of no concern either to Eric Holder or to Barack Obama.

Eric Holder is a law partner at Covington and Burling. When his fellow partner Lanny Breuer retired from the DOJ as head of its powerful Criminal Investigation Division, he made $4 million a year back at their old firm. Why so much? That is $2,000 an hour after expenses for a 2,000 hour work year. Covington and Burling receives monthly retainers of $50,000 to $100,000 from every Too Big To Jail Bank in the country.

We have come full circle from the Race Riots to the Drug Cartels and the Banks. The self-appointed elite decided to take down America as we are the center of what is left of the resistance to the New World Order.

This is a Death Match. The Foundations have done numerous studies in which they conclude they only need a billion or so of us to work to support them. The Georgia Guidestones say they only need 500 million commoners.

That means they want 6 billion or more of us common folk to die.

At some point, if we are to survive, we will have to learn to say No. Until that day the NWO will add one brick after another to America’s Wall of Doom.

http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/amnesty-one-brick-in-americas-wall-of-doom-race-riots-another/

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Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper read the same script, word for word, that the Hidden Hand has told them to read – or else

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The Big Story Torture Everyone Is Missing

While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn’t address the big scoop regarding torture.

Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S.  torture program.

Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:

The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures [and] waterboarding.

McClatchy filled in important details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabiandothers had told them were there.”

Holiday Gift Baskets – Chocolate Covered Almonds Gift Tin – 40 oz.

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”  Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.

As Truthout reported:

Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).

***

The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is EXPLOITATION, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”

In a subsequent report, Truthout notes:

Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one of the DOD’s most effective interrogators as well a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, said ….  “This is the guidebook to getting false confessions, a system drawn specifically from the communist interrogation model that was used to generate propaganda rather than intelligence”  …. “If your goal is to obtain useful and reliable information this is not the source book you should be using.”

Interrogators also forced detainees to take drugs … which further impaired their ability to tell the truth.

And one of the two main architects of the torture program admitted this week on camera:

You can get people to say anything to stop harsh interrogations if you apply them in a way that does that.

And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.

For example:

And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.

According to NBC News:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves

Details here.

Today,

Today, Raymond McGovern – a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials – writes at former Newsweek and AP reporter Robert Parry’s website:

But if it’s bad intelligence you’re after, torture works like a charm. If, for example, you wish to “prove,” post 9/11, that “evil dictator” Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda and might arm the terrorists with WMD, bring on the torturers.

It is a highly cynical and extremely sad story, but many Bush administration policymakers wanted to invade Iraq before 9/11 and thus were determined to connect Saddam Hussein to those attacks. The PR push began in September 2002 – or as Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card put it, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

By March 2003 – after months of relentless “marketing” – almost 70 percent of Americans had been persuaded that Saddam Hussein was involved in some way with the attacks of 9/11.

The case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, a low-level al-Qaeda operative, is illustrative of how this process worked. Born in Libya in 1963, al-Libi ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from 1995 to 2000. He was detained in Pakistan on Nov. 11, 2001, and then sent to a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was deemed a prize catch, since it was thought he would know of any Iraqi training of al-Qaeda.

The CIA successfully fought off the FBI for first rights to interrogate al-Libi. FBI’s Dan Coleman, who “lost” al-Libi to the CIA (at whose orders, I wonder?), said, “Administration officials were always pushing us to come up with links” between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

CIA interrogators elicited some “cooperation” from al-Libi through a combination of rough treatment and threats that he would be turned over to Egyptian intelligence with even greater experience in the torture business.

By June 2002, al-Libi had told the CIA that Iraq had “provided” unspecified chemical and biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that soon found its way into other U.S. intelligence reports. Al-Libi’s treatment improved as he expanded on his tales about collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq, adding that three al-Qaeda operatives had gone to Iraq “to learn about nuclear weapons.”

Al-Libi’s claim was well received at the White House even though the Defense Intelligence Agency was suspicious.

“He lacks specific details” about the supposed training, the DIA observed. “It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.”

Meanwhile, at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Maj. Paul Burney, a psychiatrist sent there in summer 2002, told the Senate, “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

Just What the Doctor Ordered

President Bush relied on al-Libi’s false Iraq allegation for a major speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, just a few days before Congress voted on the Iraq War resolution. Bush declared, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”

And Colin Powell relied on it for his famous speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, declaring: “I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.”

Al-Libi’s “evidence” helped Powell as he sought support for what he ended up calling a “sinister nexus” between Iraq and al-Qaeda, in the general effort to justify invading Iraq.

For a while, al-Libi was practically the poster boy for the success of the Cheney/Bush torture regime; that is, until he publicly recanted and explained that he only told his interrogators what he thought would stop the torture.

You see, despite his cooperation, al-Libi was still shipped to Egypt where he underwent more abuse, according to a declassified CIA cable from early 2004 when al-Libi recanted his earlier statements. The cable reported that al-Libi said Egyptian interrogators wanted information about al-Qaeda’s connections with Iraq, a subject “about which [al-Libi] said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up with a story.”

According to the CIA cable, al-Libi said his interrogators did not like his responses and “placed him in a small box” for about 17 hours. After he was let out of the box, al-Libi was given a last chance to “tell the truth.” When his answers still did not satisfy, al-Libi says he “was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and fell on his back” and then was “punched for 15 minutes.”

After Al-Libi recanted, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements, a fact recorded in a footnote to the report issued by the 9/11 Commission. By then, however, the Bush administration had gotten its way regarding the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous U.S. occupation was well underway.

***

Intensive investigations into these allegations – after the U.S. military had conquered Iraq – failed to turn up any credible evidence to corroborate these allegations. What we do know is that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies, with al-Qaeda considering the secular Hussein an apostate to Islam.

Al-Libi, who ended up in prison in Libya, reportedly committed suicide shortly after he was discovered there by a human rights organization. Thus, the world never got to hear his own account of the torture that he experienced and the story that he presented and then recanted.

Hafed al-Ghwell, a Libyan-American and a prominent critic of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime at the time of al-Libi’s death, explained to Newsweek, “This idea of committing suicide in your prison cell is an old story in Libya.”

Paul Krugman eloquently summarized the truth about the torture used:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

Torture Program Was Part of a Con Job

As discussed above, in order to “justify” the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create a false linkage between between Al Qaida and Iraq. And see this and this.

But this effort started earlier …

5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.

He also said “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.

Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.

And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.

And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.

Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.

Indeed, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reports that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this.

Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”

Cheney made the false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 on many occasions.

For example, according to Raw Story, Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker in September 2003 – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied:

It’s not surprising that people make that connection.

And even after the 9/11 Commission debunked any connection, Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime , that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties.

Again, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this, this, this.

Even then-CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted “crap” in its justifications for invading Iraq.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – who sat on the National Security Council – also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11.

Top British officials say that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change even before Bush took office.

And in 2000, Cheney said a Bush administration might “have to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power.” And see this.

The administration’s false claims about Saddam and 9/11 helped convince a large portion of the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. While the focus now may be on false WMD claims, it is important to remember that, at the time, the alleged link between Iraq and 9/11 was at least as important in many people’s mind as a reason to invade Iraq.

So the torture program was really all about “justifying” the ultimate war crime:  launching an unnecessary war of aggression based upon false pretenses.

Postscript:   It is beyond any real dispute that torture does not work to produce any useful, truthful intelligence.  Today, the following question made it to the front page of Reddit:

Why would the CIA torture if torture “doesn’t work”? Wouldn’t they want the most effective tool to gather intelligence?

The Senate Armed Services Committee report gave the answer.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/doesnt-mainstream-media-discuss-torture-issue.html
Sam's Club Merry Monday - 12/15

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Like many people, I grew up watching numerous television shows and mainstream movies depicting a world in which the common police officer stood as a sentinel of civilized society against a seething underbelly of violence and chaos just beneath the surface of the world around us. Through public schooling, we were indoctrinated to fear the drug culture as a breeding ground of gangland destruction and to worship law enforcement officials as the only barrier between us and a cocaine-frosted wasteland. We were led to believe that every day police were holding back a tide of crime and terrorism. The so-called “thin blue line” was an indispensable part of a safe and prosperous nation.

To criticize or present opposition to the institution of state and federally funded law enforcement is often considered tantamount to treason – or, at the very least, it is considered unpatriotic. After all, we have all been told every moment of our lives that a world without police would immediately turn into a frothing, frenzied orgy of mass insanity and that average human beings cannot be trusted to take responsibility for the day-to-day security of their neighborhoods and towns. Official doctrine today demands a designated warrior class, separate from the rest of us, to handle the protection and care of weakling citizens.

Now, it is important to note that there are in fact many good people working in the field of law enforcement. This is not under debate and not relevant to the point I am about to make. The problem is not necessarily with all the individuals who make up law enforcement; the problem is with the existence and mandate of the institution itself. I personally do not “hate” cops per se (though some of them deserve to be hated). But I do hate corrupt government structures, and law enforcement has become the grasping arm of the elitist machine.

The downfall of any policing system arises when individuals are separated from the responsibility for their own security and society is delegated into classes of protectors, or sheepdogs, and sheep.  As I have outlined in many articles, government itself has become an entity foreign to the interests of the American people. Through the false left/right paradigm, elitists have taken away the ability of the public to participate in civic duties and to preserve our principles rather than sacrifice them in the name of the “greater good.” City and state police are not subject to the tides of political elections, even if elections actually mattered. They are part of an unaccountable bureaucratic monstrosity that shifts only according to the whims of the establishment.

The existence of a separate government-controlled warrior class has caused crisis and catastrophe all throughout human history. Invariably, this warrior class ends up exalting itself as superior to the functions and values of the citizenry, rather than maintaining a sense of duty to the citizenry. The claim that the average American is not capable of proper self-security or community security is perhaps the most successful lie of the past century. This is not to say that warriors do not exist. Some people develop the proper mindset, while others do not. However, becoming a warrior is a personal psychological and spiritual pursuit meant to overcome the detriments of fear and has nothing whatsoever to do with government recognition. The fact that many law enforcement officials often refer to non-LEOs as “civilians” is a rather laughable example of the delusions of the government-paid bureaucratic warrior class in action, fantasizing as if they have been deployed to Afghanistan while writing speeding tickets in suburbia.

In the early days of America, the common citizenry through the formation of the militia WAS the warrior class. Every last able-bodied person was a sentinel and defender of the peace. The sheriff, the only elected and constitutional form of law enforcement, often had a posse, which was, again, made up of regular citizens. There was no exalted Praetorian Guard — only friends, family and neighbors.  There was no need for a government dominated law enforcement structure back then, nor is there a need for one now.

The militia system was slowly eroded over decades and replaced with centralized law enforcement under the direct influence of the political elite. Currently, using the Department of Homeland Security and the integration of “fusion centers,” the police are now an army under direct federal control, equipped with military-grade technology through the 1033 program. When Barack Obama called for the creation of a “civilian national security force” just as powerful and well-funded as the military back in 2008, this is clearly what he was referring to. The results of police militarization are thoroughly negative.

In my recent article ‘The Ferguson conundrum solved by community security,’ I discussed the complete lack of LEO protection against looting and arson during the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, which led the Oath Keepers to provide security for innocent business owners, filling the void left behind. Law enforcement officials were apparently too busy harassing peaceful protesters and journalists to deal with the threat of a burning city, or too busy guarding government building and revealing where their true loyalties rest.  I have heard arguments that the Ferguson police were not to blame for the failure because they were under orders from their superiors and under pressure from the federal government.  While I would note that each individual officer has the right and the duty to refuse immoral orders, regardless of whether or not LEO’s refused to protect businesses out of personal choice, or out of fear of losing their jobs, the fact remains that the public is often left to face criminality without the aid of police.  And, because this is an undeniable reality, the public must take back responsibility for its security.

Whether one believes that the shooting of Michael Brown was justified or not, the police response after the fact only reinforced public expectations of corruption. Ferguson is only one example in a multitude of police abuses, and these abuses are not relegated to any one ethnicity. Leftists are not wrong when they point out the dangerous evolution of law enforcement into a government goon squad (the liberty movement was warning the world about it long before the left ever figured out what was going on). But in their half-sighted examinations, they make the mistake of believing police abuse is purely race-related. In reality, police abuse is universal — from Tamir Rice, the black 12-year-old in Cleveland shot dead by police less than two seconds after their arrival for having a toy gun in his pants, to the murder of Kelly Thomas, a white homeless man shot with a stun gun in the face and beaten for 10 minutes straight in the street until dead by California police for the crime of “not sitting still as ordered.”

In nearly all of these cases of overt police force, even when video evidence clearly indicates wrongdoing, LEOs are acquitted by the system. The reason for this should be obvious: The establishment must keep the warrior class happy, content, and untouchable; otherwise, the they loses power. No corrupt system is going to punish its own unless utterly necessary to its survival, because if it did, it would then have to admit that it is not entirely trustworthy, causing the people to question whether its existence is more dangerous than the villains it is supposed to protect us from. Government generally only cares about perpetuating its own existence; it does not care about the safety of the populace.  In this way, police become a kind of Mafia or cult with their own set of rules outside of the purview of the rest of society and immune to any form of justice.

What is truly disturbing are the lengths to which some Americans (and other law enforcement) will go to rationalize any and all actions taken by police, even if they result in the death of an innocent. The Stockholm Syndrome certainly seems to be at work as portions of the public continue to worship LEOs as saviors who can do no wrong.  Mention the idea of getting rid of state police, and the LEO fan club cries out in terror like children separated from their parents at a crowded shopping mall.  In the end, though, all children must eventually grow up and start taking care of themselves.

At bottom, police are not protectors of the public good, not even in a technical or legal sense. Law enforcement organizations have even argued in the Supreme Court that their job is NOT to prevent crime but to enforce the law after the fact, and they have won using this assertion. That is to say, a police officer is NOT legally required to protect a person from harm, only to institute state policy once a crime is committed.

What government law enforcement is admitting to in its argument is that it does not provide security, which is what we in the liberty movement have known all along. The only service police provide is to clean up the mess left over when the carnage of a crime has subsided. If law enforcement has any purpose at all, it is to keep the public in check and in line – to promote the farce that without government protection, chaos will rule.

The communist Cheka, a security organization founded by Vladimir Lenin at the beginning of the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, was notorious for random arrests and killings of civilians in the name of peace and security. Many communist Russians, true believers in the Bolshevist cause, refused to accept that the Cheka were capable of criminal abuse. They assumed that those killed must have been enemies of the state, just as the government proclaimed. And when they themselves were arrested for no apparent reason, they wrote letters from the gulags to Stalin, naively believing that he would save them from what must have been a bureaucratic error.

In fact, the Cheka had been given orders directly from the state to fill a quota of arrests in order to justify the constant propaganda the state produced warning of agents of “capitalist evil” around every corner. The Cheka, the secret police, were given warrior-class status and free reign to assert their authority over anyone, at any time, for any reason. America is only a short step away from a similar nightmare, and many in our nation suffer from the same naive faith in statism as the Russians did years ago.

The only way to avoid such a horror is to remove state-sanctioned law enforcement from the picture entirely.  Is this “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”?  No.  Rather, it is saving the baby from a swirling virulent cesspool.

As we saw in grand scale in Ferguson, LEOs are essentially useless to the public. In response, members of the Ferguson community welcomed the Oath Keepers and their Community Preparedness Team strategy. In time, Oath Keepers CPT will train locals to provide their own protection without need for any outside aid. When locals provide their own security, when every citizen is a member of the warrior class, abuse is far less likely because the watchmen have no motivation to abuse themselves.

Arguments that this will lead to a culture of “warlords” invariably pop up when discussing the concept of community based security.  Of course, when every member of a community is trained to defend themselves, abusive warlord do not last long, but then again, neither do abusive governments, which I suppose is the true reason why decentralized community security is treated with such disdain.  This is yet another contrived attempt to insinuate that the American people cannot be trusted with their own defense, but the government can.  It is built around the illusion that state police are somehow “impartial observers” and actors.  This has simply never been so.  State controlled police have every motivation to protect state interests, and as long as they are given free license to do whatever they please without consequence, most of them will continue to do so.  Impartiality is non-existent in the world of law enforcement.

Police misconduct has a cumulative effect on a culture. We do not forget all of the oversteps of the past; we merely file them away until we finally reach a breaking point. It is important for LEOs to understand that while they may have a relative immunity to legal reparations, they are not immune to the rage of the populace and will likely find their fragile warrior personas rather inadequate when that day arrives. For the true constitutional police out there, it is time to take sides, either with good American people or with the corrupt establishment. It is impossible to serve both. The illusion of the “thin blue line” is quickly fading. The only question now is: What is going to replace it? The establishment would have you believe there are only two options: total chaos or martial law. But there has always been a third alternative they seek to suppress: the return of community defense, the resurgence of localized responsibility and the victory of personal liberty over false security.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-11/thin-blue-line-serves-no-purpose

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