Archive | August 4, 2015

U.S. Terrorism in Public Schools*

U.S. Terrorism in Public Schools*

By Justin Gardner

On Monday, we witnessed the disturbing video of a small 8-year-old student being bicep-cuffed by a cop and screaming in agony for several minutes. After watching such a thing we are left to wonder, how could this be possible in a supposed civilized society? What kind of school system believes that doing this to a child will improve their education experience?

The reality is that this video provides a rare glimpse into a frighteningly common practice in US public schools. Restraint and seclusion are used tens of thousands of times every year across the US, and that’s not counting the 15% of school districts that fail to report data.

Some school authorities actually believe this practice has educational or therapeutic benefits to the student, despite there being zero evidence. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that it poses physical and psychological danger, described in more detail below.

70% of children subject to restraint or seclusion have disabilities, just as the boy in the aforementioned video. Only 19 states have meaningful protections against these practices, and only 18 states even require parents to be informed when their children are put in restraint or seclusion. Restraints that impede breathing are forbidden in only 20 states.

To top it off, juvenile detention centres and mental health facilities have a far more defined legal landscape for the use of restraint and seclusion than public schools, where there is no federal law addressing this practice. Attempts were made to enact laws in 2009-2010 after a GAO report found shocking revelations, but nothing materialized.

In a striking bit of irony, we find perhaps the most comprehensive source of information on the issue is provided by the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The 2014 report was put together after several cases of students being traumatized or killed due to being restrained in school.

“This past August, an Arizona teacher used duct tape to restrain a second grader to a chair because she was getting up to sharpen her pencil too frequently. In December 2011, a Kentucky school district restrained a nine year-old child with autism in a duffel bag as punishment. The child’s mother witnessed him struggling inside the bag while a teacher’s aide stood by and did nothing. In Indiana, a teen was repeatedly left secluded in an unmonitored room for hours at a time during January 2011. On one occasion, he was prevented from using the bathroom and urinated on the floor. As punishment for urinating, he was secluded again in the same room the following day, where he screamed and banged on the door to be let out. When no one came to his aid, he attempted suicide by hanging himself. Thankfully, he survived. A sixteen-year-old boy with disabilities in New York did not. He died in April 2012, after being restrained face-down by at least four school staff members for allegedly refusing to leave a basketball court.”

Despite the clear emotional and physical trauma that can result from being restrained or secluded, in the few instances where it is discovered, families find no sympathy in the court system.

“A fourteen-year-old Georgia boy committed suicide after being repeatedly left alone for hours in a room comparable to a prison cell. School logs document that school personnel were aware that the boy had suicidal tendencies when they locked him in the room, but a court found that the actions of the school and staff involved did not constitute “deliberate indifference” to the child’s well-being.

A Minnesota teacher reportedly secluded an 8-year-old girl with communication, attentional, and hyperactivity disorders 44 times in one school year, despite objections from the mother and an independent behaviour consultant. The mother transferred the girl to private school and then filed suit against the school for failing to provide a free and appropriate education. The court dismissed the claim in part noting that such a challenge becomes irrelevant once a child transfers to a new district, even if he or she was in an “intolerable situation.”

A Florida teen was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and placed in a psychiatric facility as a result of a school’s use of dangerous restraints and repeated seclusions. However, the court did not find the school’s actions to be excessive or egregious.”

Who is behind the continued use of restraint and seclusion, in the face of repeated stories of tragedy and studies showing the lasting harm?

The National School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators, to name a couple. They say they need “maximum flexibility,” asserting that ““the use of seclusion and restraint has enabled many students with serious emotional or behavioral conditions to be educated not only within our public schools, but also in the least restrictive and safest environments possible.”

This primitive mentality, based on no evidence, is countered by several modern studies.

“In 2005, the Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions, and Seclusion issued a report detailing the risks associated with the use of these practices and providing guidance to parents about how to protect their children from abuse. In 2009, the National Disability Rights Network issued the first of three reports chronicling the wide variety of injuries and deaths that have occurred as a result of the use of seclusion and restraints, followed by similar efforts from the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. Even if children suffer no physical harm as the result of the use of seclusion and restraints, studies have shown they remain severely traumatized and may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result of their experiences, children who have been restrained have reported nightmares, anxiety, and mistrust of adults in authority. Students who are forced into unmonitored seclusion may also suffer psychological harm, including feelings of anger, depression, humiliation, despair, and delusion.”

The good news is that many school districts are adopting humane, effective methods of dealing with troubled students.

“Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety, and support improved academic outcomes for all students. More than 19,000 of the approximately 100,000 U.S. public schools are implementing PBIS and saving countless instructional hours otherwise lost to discipline. The premise of PBIS is that engaging instruction, combined with acknowledgement or feedback of positive student behaviour, reduces the need for unnecessary discipline and promotes a climate of greater productivity, safety, and learning. 22 PBIS schools apply a multi-tiered approach to prevention, using disciplinary data and principles of behaviour analysis to develop school-wide, targeted and individualized interventions and supports to improve school climate for all students.”


Related Topics:

Where Did Compassion Go?

Schooling, Violence and Your Child

Are Schools Preparing Black Boys… for Prison?

Boy Scout of America Encyclopaedia of Sexual Abuse 1947 -2005

Switzerland’s Central Bank just lost $52 Billion*

Switzerland’s Central Bank just lost $52 Billion*

The Swiss Franc is getting crushed.

moneyblackholeMost banks around the world couldn’t survive losing $50 billion in six months. But most banks don’t print their own money.

The Swiss National Bank, Switzerland’s central bank, announced on Friday that it suffered a first-half loss of 50.1 billion Swiss francs ($52 billion), the vast majority of which was from the decline in value of its holdings of euros.

The reason the bank held so many euros was that for several years, the bank maintained a peg against the euro, wherein it would not allow the value of the franc to rise above 1.2 euros, to prevent an expensive Swiss Franc from hurting the Swiss economy.

When the central bank lifted the peg earlier this year, it sent the value of the Franc soaring, and the value of its euro holdings falling. The central bank also lost money on its gold reserves, as the shiny metal has taken it on the chin of late.

Luckily for the Swiss National Bank, it can’t actually become insolvent, since it can simply print francs to cover any losses it suffers. The announcement caused the value of the Swiss Franc to tumble, falling as much as 0.4% against the euro on Friday.


Related Topics:

Iceland Wizens to Banksters Game with Plan to Remove Power of Commercial Banks to Create Money*

Why Central Banks HATE Cash and Will Begin to Tax It Shortly*

Criminal Syndicate with Links to Terrorism Infiltrated Bank of England*

British Government Firms Behind ISIS Oil Sales*

British Government Firms Behind ISIS Oil Sales*

By Nafeez Ahmed

In the scramble to access Kurdistan’s oil and gas wealth, the US and UK are turning a blind eye to complicity in ‘Islamic State’ oil smuggling.

Key allies in the US and UK led war on Islamic State (ISIS) are covertly financing the terrorist movement according to senior political sources in the region. US and British oil companies are heavily invested in the murky geopolitical triangle sustaining ISIS’ black market oil sales.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkish military intelligence have both supported secret ISIS oil smuggling operations and even supplied arms to the terror group, according to Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish officials.

One British oil company in particular, Genel Energy, is contracted by the KRG to supply oil for a major Kurdish firm accused of facilitating ISIS oil sales to Turkey. The Kurdish firm has close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish government.

Genel operates in the KRG with the backing of the British government, and is also linked to a British parliamentary group with longstanding connections to both the British and KRG oil industries.

The relationship between British and Kurdish energy companies, and senior British politicians, raises questions about conflicts of interest — especially in the context of a ‘war on terror’ that is supposed to be targeting, not financing, the ‘Islamic State.’

Kurds, Turks and blind eyes

One of ISIS’ most significant sources of revenue is oil smuggling. The Islamic State controls approximately 60% of Syria’s oil, and seven major oil-producing assets in Iraq.

Using a carefully cultivated network of intermediaries and ‘middlemen’ in the Kurdish region of Iraq, as well as in Turkey, ISIS has been able to produce a phenomenal 45,000 barrels of oil a day, raking in as much as $3 million a day in cash by selling the oil at well below market prices.

But the sheer scale and impunity of this oil smuggling network has caused local politicians to ask whether certain officials in the KRG and Turkey are turning a blind eye to these operations.

Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish officials have accused both the KRG and Turkish governments of deliberately allowing some of these smuggling operations to take place.

Tensions between the KRG and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad are escalating over who controls production and revenues from oil fields within the Kurdish region. Kurdish officials see the oil within the Kurdish-controlled territory of Iraq as a means to seek greater autonomy, if not potentially total independence, from Baghdad — whereas the Iraqi government seeks to ensure it retains sovereign control over all sales from its own oil fields, which include those in the KRG.

Those tensions reached a crescendo when the KRG began unilaterally selling oil by exporting it to Turkey, bypassing Baghdad.


KRG and Turkish authorities vehemently deny any role in intentionally facilitating ISIS oil sales. Both governments have taken measures to crackdown on smuggling operations, and US and UK authorities work closely with the KRG to identify ISIS smuggling routes.

Despite KRG arrests of Kurdish ‘middlemen’ involved in the ISIS black market oil sales, evidence continues to emerge that these measures are largely piecemeal, and have failed to address corruption at the highest levels.

According to a senior source in the Iraqi government’s ruling Islamic Dawa Party, US and Iraqi authorities have developed “significant intelligence confirming that elements of the KRG have tacitly condoned ISIS oil sales on the black market.”

The source, which has direct access to top Iraqi government officials, said that the KRG had originally seen the ISIS invasion of Iraq as an opportunity to consolidate Kurdish control over disputed territory, especially the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. The Kurds had not, however, anticipated how powerful ISIS’ presence in the region would become.

In the early period of the invasion last year, he said:

“Elements of the KRG and Peshmerga militia directly facilitated secret ISIS oil smuggling through the Kurdish province. This was known to the Americans, which shared intelligence on the matter with the Iraqi government in Baghdad.”

The issue inflamed tensions between Baghdad and the KRG, contributing to efforts by Hussein al-Shahrestani, then Iraq’s deputy prime minister for energy affairs, to crackdown on independent Kurdish oil exports.

His successor, new oil minister Adel Abdul-Mehdi, was brought in through a reshuffle in September last year that was engineered under US diplomatic pressure. Unlike Shahrestani, the source said, Abdul-Mehdi has a much more conciliatory approach to the Kurdish oil question, one which also happens to suit the interests of US and British investors in the KRG: “This has meant that Baghdad has also been much more lax on evidence of ISIS oil smuggling through the KRG.”

The source confirmed that under mounting US pressure,

“KRG authorities have taken serious steps to curb the illegal smuggling on behalf of ISIS. But the smuggling still continues, although at a more restrained level, with the support of elements of KRG’s ruling parties, who profit from the black market oil sales.”

Turkey also plays a crucial role in the ISIS oil smuggling operations according to the Iraqi source. As the end-point through which much of this oil reaches global markets, Turkish authorities have routinely turned a blind eye to the IS-run black market.

“The Turks have an acrimonious relationship with the Americans,” he claimed, but admitted that US intelligence is familiar with Turkey’s role:

“US intelligence is monitoring many of these smuggling operations in minute detail. Some of this intelligence has been passed on to us. The Americans know what is going on. But Erdogan and Obama don’t have a great relationship. Erdogan basically does what he likes, and the US has to lump it.”

The allegations have been confirmed by Turkish government officials and parliamentarians. In particular, a source with extensive connections to the Turkish political establishment including the office of the Prime Minister, said that Turkey’s support for Islamist rebels opposed to Bashir al-Assad’s reign in Syria began long before the emergence of the Islamic State, and was pivotal in the group’s meteoric rise to power.

Turkey, a longstanding NATO member, is part of the US-led coalition fighting IS, and has been integral to the region’s ‘moderate’ rebel training schemes supervised by Western military intelligence agencies.

“Turkey is playing a double-game with its Syria strategy,” said the source.

“Turkey has sponsored Islamist groups in Syria, including ISIS, since the beginning, and continues to do so. The scale of ISIS smuggling operations across the Turkish-Syrian border is huge, and much of it is facilitated with the blessings of Erdogan and Davitoglu, who see the Islamists as the means to expand the Turkish foothold in the region.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogon is the President of Turkey, and Ahmet Davutoglu is the country’s Prime Minister. Asked how this fits with recent Turkish operations to shut-down ISIS smuggling operations and target ISIS strongholds across the border, the source described the actions as too little, too late.

“These actions fit with Erdogan’s strategy of expansion,” he said.

“We are not trying to shut down the infrastructure of ISIS, we are attacking it selectively.”

A shadow network in broad daylight

The ISIS oil smuggling route — which encompasses the KRG and ends up at the Turkish port of Ceyhan — was recently investigated by two British academics at the University of Greenwich.

The paper by George Kiourktsoglou, Lecturer in Maritime Security and former Royal Dutch Shell strategist, and Dr Alec Coutroubis, Acting Head at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, attempted to identify suspicious patterns in the illicit oil trade.

Their extraordinary study, published by Maritime Security Review in March, examined the international route used by ISIS, based on “a string of trading hubs” comprising the localities of Sanliura, Urfa, Hakkari, Siirt, Batman, Osmaniya, Gaziantep, Sirnak, Adana, Kahramarmaras, Adiyaman and Mardin. “The string of trading hubs ends up in Adana [in southeast Turkey], home to the major tanker shipping port of Ceyhan.”

By comparing spikes in tanker charter rates from Ceyhan with a timeline of ISIS activities, the University of Greenwich analysis identified significant correlations between the two. Whenever the Islamic State fights “in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the… exports from Ceyhan promptly spike. This may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds.”

While the evidence is still “inconclusive” at this stage, the authors wrote that “there are strong hints to an illicit supply chain that ships ISIS crude from Ceyhan” to global markets. Since the launch of the ISIS oil venture in summer 2014, “tanker charter rates from Ceyhan re-coupled up to a degree with the ones from the rest of the Middle East.”

Though they could not be categorical, primary research including interviews with informed sources indicated that this was most likely “the result of boosted demand for ultra-cheap smuggled crude, available for loading” from the Turkish port.

Kiourktsoglu and Coutroubis call for “further research” on ISIS criminal ventures which “can potentially integrate it within the global economy.” The academics have previously given evidence before the parliamentary foreign affairs select committee regarding maritime security off the Somalian coast.

Their study also highlights failures in the US military approach to the ISIS oil operations. Although they commend how US, Turkish and Gulf air raids have “curtailed” the Islamic State’s “oil cashflows” by destroying some “oil manufacturing facilities,” this has not gone far enough. They report that:

“… extraction wells in the area of bombardments have yet to be targeted by the US or the air-assets of its allies, a fact that can be readily attributed to the at times ‘toxic’ politics in the Middle East.”

Despite large convoys of trucks transporting ISIS oil through government-controlled areas in Syria, Iraq and Turkey, “allied US air-raids do not target the truck lorries out of fear of provoking a backlash from locals.” As a result, “the transport operations are being run efficiently, taking place most of times in broad daylight.”

The public record

Evidence already in the public record corroborates the allegations of the Iraqi and Turkish sources, showing that corruption is endemic at both the origin and end-points of the ISIS smuggling route.

Informed observers inside and outside Turkey have accused the Turkish government of turning a blind eye to the smuggling of oil across the Syrian-Turkish border in its commitment to bringing down the Assad regime.

Prosecutor and witness testimony in Turkish courts revealed that in late 2013 and 2014, Turkish military intelligence had supplied arms to areas in Syria under Islamist rebel control, contributing directly to the rise of ISIS.

Turkish opposition MP Ali Ediboglu last year said that some $800 million worth of ISIS oil had been smuggled into Turkey. He also said that over a thousand Turkish nationals were helping foreign fighters join ISIS in Syria and Iraq through Turkish territory. Both, he alleged, are occurring with the knowledge and involvement of Turkish military intelligence.

In July 2014, Iraqi officials revealed that when ISIS had begun selling oil extracted from the northern province of Salahuddin,

“the Kurdish peshmerga forces stopped the sale of oil at first, but later allowed tankers to transfer and sell oil.”

Three months later, a KRG Interior Ministry document leaked to the Kurdish media outlet, Rudaw, showed that a former opposition MP, Burhan Rashid, had accused KRG institutions of facilitating the flow of funds and arms to ISIS militants in Iraq.

“A Kurdish political party in Erbil has supplied the ISIS militants with weapons and ammunition in exchange for oil,” Rashid is recorded as saying. The document revealed that the KRG chief public prosecutor had secretly prepared a lawsuit against Rashid for making the allegations.

The lawsuit, which apparently went nowhere, was an obvious effort to silence criticism. By January, however, an investigative committee led by the KRG interior minister and natural resources minister had largely corroborated Rashid’s allegations.

Kurdish parliamentary sources familiar with the final report of the committee, which remains secret, told Rudaw the report had confirmed:

“… a number of officials from the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Peshmerga have been involved in the illegal trade.”

Half a year later, the identities of officials investigated remain undisclosed, and no one has been charged, tried or sentenced. The KRG’s UK office did not respond to a request for comment.

The Nokan Group

Instead, a couple of months after the committee had reached its conclusions, evidence emerged that the Nokan Group, a major Kurdish company with close ties to the KRG, had been directly facilitating ISIS oil sales.

In a letter to the Nokan Group, Mark D. Wallace — a former US ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and CEO of the New York-based Counter Extremism Project — noted credible “reports that some Kurdish entities are in fact facilitating ISIS-related oil trade…

“Specifically, certain Kurdish companies are reportedly contracted to transport refined fuel from the ISIS-controlled Baiji refinery, north of Tikrit, Iraq, for delivery throughout the Kurdish region by Sulaymaniyah province authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the north-eastern region of Iraq.”

Trucks owned or operated by Meer Soma, a “subsidiary” of the Nokan Group, “are being used to transport refined petroleum products from ISIS-controlled refineries to Kurdish entities in or near Kirkuk,” wrote Ambassador Wallace in the letter dated 20th March 2015.

Wallace noted that according to the Kurdish press, Meer Soma is among several Nokan-controlled dummy companies operating on behalf of the group, to avoid public association with the parent firm.

According to a 2012 country report by the Paris-based business intelligence agency MarcoPolis, the Nokan Group is among the largest companies in the province, and “has interests” in Meer Soma.

In 2014, the same year that photographs of Meer Soma tankers transporting ISIS oil to Kurdish refineries were published online, the Nokan subsidiary’s website was deleted.

Ambassador Wallace’s letter has generated little more than silence. No response from the Nokan Group was received by Wallace. The Nokan Group could not be reached for comment.

Copies of the letter were sent to relevant Congressional committees, as well as John E. Smith, Acting Director of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The US Treasury did not respond to queries about what was done to investigate the allegations.

Even a spokesperson for the Counter Extremism Project, on behalf of which the letter was sent, declined to comment when asked to clarify the follow-up from US authorities.

Corruption, Nokan and the KRG

The Nokan Group is a conglomerate of companies owned and controlled by the Iraqi Kurdish political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which is one of the KRG’s ruling parties alongside the majority KDP.

The Kurdistan Tribune reports that Nokan is run from the general management office of the PUK in Sulaymani district. The newspaper estimates that, accounting for its 23 subsidiary companies, the Nokan Group’s net worth approaches roughly 4–5 billion US dollars, many multiples larger than its declared value.

The Tribune points out that the PUK business model is representative of private enterprise across the KRG — rife with corruption and nepotism, largely for the enrichment of political elites and their allies. “The economic model in Kurdistan monopolises the market for the benefit of a few and poisons the environment for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs),” observes the paper.

A lengthy report in The Nation found that the KRG’s patronage system was alienating and disenfranchising much of the population: “Many of the most profitable companies, such as those controlling construction projects, are owned by a Barzani or Talabani,” the heads of the two KRG ruling parties.

“But beyond the gleaming new suburbs, five-star hotels and flashy cars lies an ancient city in which critics say corruption remains a problem and the lines dividing government and business are unhealthily blurred,” noted the Financial Times.

Until last year, the PUK’s leader Jalal Talabani was President of Iraq. His son, Qubad Talabani, is currently Deputy Prime Minister in the KRG. Previously, the latter served as the KRG’s representative in the United States. In both capacities Qubad has played a key role in developing commercial relationships with the West, especially concerning oil.

Jalal Talabani’s other son, Pavel, oversees the KRG’s anti-terror squad in Sulaymani, which is run by PUK member Lahur Sheikh Jangi.

The elder Talabani’s sister-in-law, Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed, is the PUK representative to the UK responsible for media relations, as well as for the finances of the Nokan Group.

Qubad Talabani, incumbent KRG deputy PM, is slated to speak at the Kurdistan-Iraq Oil & Gas Conference to be held in London this November. The conference, organised by British firm CWC Group in partnership with the joint PUK-KDP government, is sponsored by a number of energy corporations including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, DNO, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, and the Qaiwan Group.

The Qaiwan Group, among the London conference’s platinum sponsors, is contracted to the KRG’s Ministry of Energy to design, construct and operate planned expansions to the Bazian oil refinery under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The current ‘phase three’ expansion, due for completion by 2018, aims to lift the refinery’s capacity from 34,000 to 80,000 barrels per day.

The Bazian refinery is, however, owned and controlled by WZA Petroleum — another subsidiary of the PUK’s Nokan Group, dominated by the Talabani family.

WZA Petroleum’s president is Parwen Babakir, in which capacity she is the principal owner of the Bazian refinery. Babakir is also the Chairman of the Nokan Group, and is in charge of the PUK’s oil and gas portfolio. She was previously appointed Minister of Industry in the Sulaymani district by Talabani from 2003 to 2007. She did not respond to questions concerning the Nokan Group’s alleged facilitation of IS oil sales.

While KRG government officials and their relatives are directly profiting from lucrative oil and gas contracts brokered by the KRG, the same officials — who are responsible for anti-terrorism in the Sulaymani province — oversee the Nokan Group, which is implicated in facilitating ISIS oil smuggling.

The British connection

A British energy company with strong backing from the UK political establishment operates the oil field supplying the Nokan-owned Bazian refinery.

The refinery, owned by the Nokan Group whose trucks were seen transporting IS oil through the Kurdish province earlier this year, is supplied from the KRG’s Taq Taq field. The oil field produces a total of around 100,000 barrels per day, most of which is shipped to local refineries. British-Turkish firm Genel Energy has a 45 percent stake in the Taq Taq field.

Genel Energy was formed from a $2.1 billion merger in 2011 between a UK firm, Vallares Plc, and a Turkish company, Genel Enerji. The firm is run by Tony Hayward, a former CEO of British Petroleum (BP).

Asked about Genel’s position on working with institutions allegedly involved in financing ISIS terrorism, Andrew Benbow, spokesperson for the Anglo-Turkish company, stated: “These are all questions to be asked to the KRG rather than ourselves.”

According to the final report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs’ inquiry into the British government’s policy toward the KRG, published in January 2015, Genel is the only major British investor in the province.

The report noted that the Kurdistan region holds an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil — in the same league as Libya and Nigeria — and a further 110 trillion cubic feet of gas, placing it around tenth or twelfth in the world for reserves. The KRG aims to export as much as 2 million barrels per day by 2020, a prospect of huge interest to Western companies including, according to the report, “Exxon, Chevron, Repsol, Total, the local giant KAR, and the British-Turkish company, Genel Energy.”

Just a month earlier, David Cameron’s then Energy Minister Matthew Hancock told the 4th Kurdistan-Iraq Oil & Gas Conference in Erbil, that Iraq “has a critical role to play in meeting the world’s future demand for oil.” Remarking that US oil production is “forecasted to peak in 2020,” he said that therefore “the world is expected to become ever more dependent on Iraqi supply.”

Iraqi oil production will treble to over 8 million barrels a day by 2040, he added: “Reserves in Kurdistan play a significant role in this increase. The region is not only thought to be one of the largest untapped areas of oil in the world, but also has significant gas potential.”

Genel Energy is positioned to profit massively from increased Kurdish output, bar an oil shock or other such wild card. Genel’s president, Mehmet Sepil, told the 2014 conference that his firm planned to play the lead role in exploiting 11 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Kurdish province.

A year earlier, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq had released a report from its fact-finding mission to the province, recommending that the Foreign Affairs Select Committee undertake this inquiry.

As part of that fact-finding mission, British Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, who is co-chair of the APPG on Kurdistan, visited the Taq Taq oil field being run by Genel Energy in November 2013.

Zahawi held shares in Genel Energy, according to the House of Commons Register of Interests, which shows that he declared his relationship to Genel in June 2013. According to Zahawi, he sold his shares in Genel on 30th April 2014.

Later in 2013, Zahawi was appointed by David Cameron to the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, with special responsibility for business and the economy, a post he still holds.

By June 2014, Zahawi was appointed as a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and played a key role in its inquiry into government policy.

“These are obviously very serious allegations which I was not previously aware of and that were not submitted to the Select Committee’s inquiry,” said Zahawi regarding the Ambassador Wallace’s letter concerning the Nokan Group. He explained that the committee would investigate ISIS funding sources in a further inquiry.

Zahawi also denied knowledge of the KRG’s internal investigation into support for ISIS terrorism, as well as the allegations concerning Genel’s relationship to Nokan. “As an ex retail shareholder,” he explained, “I have no more knowledge of the details of their operation than any other retail share holder or member of the public. I would suggest that you submit your evidence and questions to Genel directly.”

The APPG on Kurdistan is intimately connected to both the PUK-KDP run government and Western oil interests in the province. Gary Kent, who is Director of Labour Friends of Iraq, is paid directly by Gulf Keystone Petroleum — which is heavily invested in KRG oil assets — to provide secretariat services for the APPG.

The KRG and its UK arm also provide “administrative services” for the APPG, including “dinners for parliamentarians,” annual receptions, and funding group delegations to the province.

Describing the APPG on Kurdistan’s findings in January 2014, APPG Vice Chair Robert Halfon — who is now a Minister (without portfolio) in David Cameron’s new cabinet and Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party — told the House of Commons:

“Across the Kurdistan region, business is flourishing… and people are keen on British and foreign investment. Privatisation continues apace and huge property complexes are being built. There are significant oil and gas reserves, which, unusually in these parts, are used for the benefit of the country, not salted away in corruption. As I pointed out in an early-day motion [tabled with Zahawi and others]… the KRG can become an important ally in guaranteeing the UK’s future energy security.”

In January 2015, as the UK parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee released its inquiry report, Zahawi was back in the KRG as part of an official UK trade delegation led by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, recently appointed to the Prime Minister’s political cabinet.

Fracturing Iraq for oil

Although the KRG launched its investigation of ISIS terrorism financing by Kurdish officials while the British parliamentary inquiry was still ongoing, the inquiry report makes no mention of it, nor does it acknowledge that the KRG investigation had confirmed the allegations nearly a month before publication.

The parliamentary committee did not come across such allegations, nor had any such information ever been submitted to the inquiry, Zahawi said.

The 2015 UK parliamentary report repeatedly justifies calls for cementing British-KRG ties due to the KRG’s role as a reliable “partner in the fight against terrorism.”

While the parliamentary report goes to pains to emphasise the British government’s formal position in favour of a unified Iraq, it also leans heavily toward a federal solution granting the KRG considerable autonomy, based on its ability to exploit oil and gas resources in the province.

Pointing to the UK Foreign Secretary’s recommendation of “devo max” (maximum devolution) as the best possible model of democratic governance in Iraq, the report recommends that the British government should be prepared for “the possible consequences of Iraq’s break-up.”

The KRG’s “increased self-governance, or even independence, is itself rational, given its economic potential and demonstrable capacity for effective self- governance, and also understandable, given its recent history.” While the move to independence is not imminent, “it is a medium-term possibility, depending in large part on the Kurdistan Region’s energy export strategy, for which the UK Government should be prepared.”

In its reporting on Zahawi’s visit to KRG oil fields run by Genel Energy, The Independent observed that there is “no suggestion of any impropriety in relation to the Kurdistan APPG.”

But irrespective of parliamentary rules, the APPG’s brazen role in facilitating British oil and gas interests in the region is hardly a secret.

“We have taken the detailed reports from our delegations to UK ministers and other groups to promote the message that Kurdistan is open to business and to boost British connections in trade, culture and other fields,” the APPG declares on its website.

“This has helped change the UK’s approach to Kurdistan… The group’s reports helped overcome that erroneous assumption and persuaded the UK Government to send its first official mission to the Erbil Trade Fair — more British companies are expected at next month’s fair.”

Like many of the other interests involved, the UK Foreign Office (FCO) simply failed to respond when questioned about the British government’s relationship with regional authorities and firms implicated in the facilitation of IS black market oil sales.

Genel Energy CEO Tony Hayward has previously spoken out in defence of the KRG’s decision to ask the company to truck exports of crude oil from the Taq Taq field to Turkey. The Anglo-Turkish firm is receiving payments for these exports directly from the KRG, rather than from the Baghdad government, which had condemned them as illegal.

Until her resignation earlier this year, former Labour MP Meg Munn was chair of the APPG on Kurdistan alongside Zahawi. A former Foreign Office minister under Tony Blair, she is Vice Chair of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), an “executive non-departmental public body” sponsored by the Foreign Office that promotes parliamentary institutions abroad.

The WFD has been contracted for many years by the Foreign Office and UK Department for International Development (DFID) to augment the formal mechanisms of democracy in Iraq and the KRG.

Yet an independent review of the organisation’s work commissioned by the FCO in 2010 concluded that its own internal records “provide little evidence that the organisation is having significant, long-term and sustainable impact.” Rather, the review concluded:

“… the purpose of party support — strictly defined — is not to show demonstrable improvements in the functioning of democracy… [but] allows the parties to engage in activity that would be impossible for the FCO to undertake.”

This involves political activities “designed to help their ideological counterparts in other countries” and which facilitate “access to, and influence over parties in developing democracies,” thus supporting the “UK government’s diplomatic objectives.”

Thus, the WFD ultimately functions to promote British government interests. Its constitution stipulates that all fourteen members of its Board of Governors must be appointed by the British Foreign Secretary, with eight of them nominated by Westminster political parties. One WFD Annual Report concedes that:

“WFD offers the FCO and HMG [Her Majesty’s Government]… a focus on political work which the FCO or the Government could not or would not wish to undertake directly… where direct British government support could be interpreted as foreign interference.”

Despite its self-description as a “neutral convener” between demands for national unity and federalisation, the WFD’s entire national Iraq programme is run from the KRG capital, Erbil.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, for the WFD this has meant, according to the APPG’s 2011 report, promoting “a democratic market economy” safe for foreign capital penetration:

“The menu includes a smaller but smarter state, an active civil society, a free and professional media system and more private businesses.”

“Kurdistan is exploiting its oil and gas riches commendably and ahead of schedule through making good use of the private sector,” the APPG report under Zahawi and Munn’s watch enthused.

“European energy security will gain from their ability to supply gas through the projected southern energy corridor for a century. This deserves UK recognition and support.”

The eagerness of American and British oil companies to exploit Iraqi Kurdish resources, however, raises urgent questions as to whether US-UK government support for the KRG-Turkish oil nexus is undermining the war on ISIS, if not fuelling the terror group.

Neither the British nor American governments appear to be willing to answer these questions.


Related Topics:

U.K: Tory MP Behind ISIL Oil Trade*

U.S. is Buying Disputed Iraqi Kurdish Crude Oil*

Oil Drives U.S. and U.K. Airstrikes in Iraq*

U.S. Changes its Mind on Seizing Kurdish Iraqi Crude Oil*

The Last Four U.S. Presidents on What to Do with Iraq*

US Blocks Investigation into Theft of $1billion from Iraq*

Long time Coming: Blackwater Mercenaries Found Guilty for Crimes against Iraqis*

Eight Years on Former Blackwater Guard Gets Life for Iraq Genocide*

The Treasure at the Heart of Iraq

U.S. Rewarded Blackwater with $200+mn Contracts after Contract to Assassinate Iraqi Official*

Iraqi Forces have been Busy doing what U.S. Fails to Do*

Cheney to Face Trial for Crimes in Iraq *

A Staggering 271 New Vaccinations to Poison You*

A Staggering 271 New Vaccinations to Poison You*

By Christina England

In a recent article published by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., titled Children at Risk – Vaccines, Government & Big Pharma’s Dirty Money, he highlighted the fact that every vaccine introduced to the vaccine schedule guarantees its manufacturer millions of customers, increasing vaccine revenue by billions of dollars. However, it appears that a minimum of 56 doses of 14 vaccinations before the age of eighteen is not quite lucrative enough for the pharmaceutical industry, as according to Mr. Kennedy’s research, the CDC has 271 new vaccinations under development in the hopes that vaccine revenues will reach a staggering $100 billion by 2025.

Kennedy called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement and dysfunction,” making it crystal clear to readers that financial gain fuelled their decision making.

He wrote:

“Public health may not be the sole driver of CDC decisions to mandate new vaccines. Four scathing federal studies, including two by Congress, one by the U.S. Senate, and one by the HHS Inspector General, paint CDC as a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement and dysfunction with alarming conflicts of interest suborning its research, regulatory and policymaking functions. CDC rules allow vaccine industry profiteers like Dr. Offit to serve on advisory boards that add new vaccines to the schedule. In a typical example, Offit in 1999 sat on the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee and voted to add the rotavirus vaccine to CDC’s schedule, paving the way for him to make a fortune on his own rotavirus vaccine. Offit and his business partners sold the royalties to his rotavirus vaccine patent to Merck in 2006 for $182 million. Offit told Newsweek, “It was like winning the lottery!””

As more and more states are choosing to mandate vaccinations, his words are very worrying, and what he says next does nothing to alleviate public concern:

“Normally plaintiffs’ tort lawyers would provide a powerful check and balance to keep vaccines safe and effective and regulators and policymakers honest. But Pharma’s dirty money has bought the industry immunity from lawsuits for vaccine injury no matter how dangerous the product. An obliging Congress disposed of the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial, making it impossible for vaccine-injured plaintiffs to sue pharmaceutical companies for selling unsafe vaccines. That’s right! No class actions. No discovery. No depositions and little financial incentive for the industry to make vaccines safer.”

In other words, by mandating vaccinations, the government has made it impossible for parents to protect their children from being injected with harmful chemicals.

Mr. Kennedy concluded by stating that:

“Ending exemptions is premature until we have a functioning regulatory agency and a transparent process. The best way to insure full vaccine coverage is for the vaccine program to win back public trust by ending its corrupt financial ties with a profit-making industry.”

New Vaccines Being Introduced Every Day

To discover exactly which vaccinations the CDC is planning to introduce, I followed the links provided by Kennedy, which led to a 2013 document, titled Medicines in Development – Vaccines – A Report on the Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Vaccines.

The report, published by America’s biopharmaceutical research companies, stated:

“Today, biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 271 vaccines for infectious diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, allergies and other diseases.”

From page nine, the report listed the 271 vaccinations currently under development.

They included:

  • allergic asthma
  • peanut hypersensitivity
  • influenza (for pandemic and seasonal)
  • breast cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • lung cancer
  • malaria
  • cervical cancer (HPV gene E7)
  • smoking cessation
  • Lyme disease
  • cholera

Their list was endless, and while the majority of people consider vaccination a good idea, where does belief end and common sense kick in? How many vaccinations can our bodies tolerate?

How Many Vaccinations Are Too Many?

Although the CDC has listed a total of 271 vaccinations currently under development, in reality, this number could be even higher.

In 2010, News Medical published an article titled 395 new vaccines being developed for infectious diseases: PhRMA. The article stated:

“Scientists are also working to prevent, treat or cure other devastating diseases that mostly strike people in the developing world, such as the Ebola virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, typhoid and cholera.

Increasing attention is also being paid to “super bugs,” like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that have spread throughout the world. In the U.S., two million drug-resistant infections are reported each year, causing great suffering and costing the health system up to $34 billion a year, according to the Infectious Disease Society.”

Their words are very worrying; however, the title of the above-mentioned article is slightly misleading, because the actual number of vaccinations being developed is unclear. The authors stated:

“Critical challenges remain in the centuries-old battles against infectious diseases, particularly as bacteria and viruses mutate and as the threat of bioterrorism grows. Responding to this need, America’s biopharmaceutical research companies this year have 395 new medicines and vaccines in the pipeline to fight infectious diseases. All 395 are in later stages of development, meaning in clinical trials or under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review.”

In other words, there are 395 new medicines and vaccinations awaiting FDA approval and there is very little that anyone can do to prevent each and every one of them from being introduced.

Many New Vaccinations Being Tested in Developing World

It is a recognized fact that the developing world has been used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to test vaccines for decades. This has been proven in data and vaccine studies dating back as far as the 1970s.

It appears that nothing much has changed because meticulous research has proven that many of the vaccinations under development and listed by the CDC in 2013 are currently being tested throughout the developing world.

Trials Currently Taking Place in Thailand and Bangladesh

A number of HIV vaccine trials have been reported to have taken place in Thailand since 2009. Although scientists initially reported a moderate success rate in the early trials, a trial which took place in 2013 failed miserably, when 41 volunteers became infected with the virus.

In 2009, Bill Gates, who is keeping a close eye on the trials, published the following press release:

“Statement on Results of the Thai AIDS Vaccine Study – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Tachi Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the following statement today regarding the results of a major HIV vaccine study conducted in Thailand (RV 144).

Today marks a critically important milestone in the fight against AIDS.

For the first time, we have proof that a vaccine can provide protection against HIV infection in humans.

These results offer new hope that it’s possible to develop a highly effective vaccine with the power to break the back of the AIDS pandemic.

The scientific community must move with speed and urgency to build upon these findings. To accelerate the pace of progress, it will be essential to expand research striving for incremental improvements on this initial success. This will be a worldwide effort.

As research on HIV vaccines moves forward, we must also rapidly expand the use of existing, proven HIV prevention strategies, and continue exploring every other means to contain the pandemic.

We extend our thanks and heartiest congratulations to everyone who contributed to this historic milestone including the U.S. Army, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the Royal Thai Army, NIAID, Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases (GSID/VaxGen), Sanofi Pasteur, and especially the many Thai volunteers who enrolled in the trial.”

Interestingly, the Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, which was mentioned at the end of the press release, also receives funding from the Gates Foundation.

Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) Trials in Bangladesh

In July 2015, a group of researchers and scientists, headed by Firdausi Qadri, Ph.D., published a study in The Lancet, titled Feasibility and effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine in an urban endemic setting in Bangladesh: a cluster randomised open-label trial.

Although the trial was deemed a success and reported favourably in several mainstream newspapers and scientific editorials, the results told a different story.

The study examined three groups of participants:

  1. Non-vaccinated
  2. Vaccination only
  3. Those who received the vaccination and who were taught changes to their behavior, such as hand washing, with access to clean drinking water.

In the vaccination-only group, there was a 37% improvement and in the vaccination plus behavioral changes group there was a 45% improvement. As you can see, the results of the study only indicated a low to moderate percentage of improvement and the fact that the authors stated that they recorded no vaccine-related serious adverse reactions leaves this study open to interpretation.

It would have been interesting to have had a fourth group of participants. For example, those who had been educated in hygiene and had access to clean water but received no vaccination.

Sadly, however, scientists missed this opportunity.

Study Hailed a Success

According to many reports, the above results constituted a resounding success. The Sci Dev Net wrote:

“Firdausi Qadri, director of the vaccines centre at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease and Research, Bangladesh, who led the trial, says that the findings “show that a routine oral cholera vaccination programme in cholera-endemic countries could substantially reduce the burden of disease and greatly contribute to cholera control efforts.””

As a consequence of such reports, the vaccine is being used throughout the developing world. Outbreak News Today reported:

“Using the cholera vaccine to stop outbreaks

A global stockpile, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the Margaret A Cargill Foundation and the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, initially made 2 million doses of the vaccine available. In 2015, with funding from the GAVI Alliance, the number of doses available for use in both endemic hotspots and emergency situations is expected to rise to around 3 million.

Once again, on closer inspection, the study was found to be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who appear to have a monopoly on vaccinations used in developing countries.


How many vaccinations will be considered to be a sensible number? If all of the vaccinations currently under development are deemed a success, how many of them will be added to the schedule? As there is little research to determine which ingredients are in the vaccinations listed as “under development” by the CDC, many parents are concerned about their toxicity and how best to protect their children.

I will leave you with the wise words of Robert F, Kennedy Jr:

“Vaccine industry money has neutralized virtually all of the checks and balances that once stood between a rapacious pharmaceutical industry and our children.”


Related Topics:

New Federal Bill Lowers Standards on Poor Standards for Experimental Vaccine Licensing*

Mandatory Vaccines in the Rotting Apple*

The WHO’s Private Vaccine Laboratory*

Cuba to Export Cancer Vaccine to U.S.*

Australia, Forced Vaccines, and Ethnic Cleansing*

Pathologists Confirm Vaccines Responsible for Baby’s Death*

Mother Fights Back for Child Developmentally Disabled by Vaccines*

Damages of £120,000 Awarded for Narcolepsy Caused by Swine Flu Vaccine*

Waking Up to Vaccine Discrimination*

Mandatory Vaccines for Californian Schools*

13 Year Old World Karate Champion Forced to Quit After Gardasil Vaccine*

European Medicines Agency Investigating HPV Vaccines*

Journalist Wins Fifth Amendment Case*

Journalist Wins Fifth Amendment Case*

The U.S. government’s recurring threats to prosecute journalists who receive classified documents may have created an avenue for some reporters to evade testimony at least in civil cases – by asserting a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, says Marcy Wheeler.

By Marcy Wheeler

An appellate decision on the long-running dispute between a former prosecutor and the Department of Justice may provide a new way for journalists to protect their government sources. The decision came as a result of former prosecutor Richard Convertino’s effort to sue DOJ for Privacy Act violations tied to a 2004 leak to Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter, who reported that Convertino was under investigation by DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility for misconduct on a terrorism trial.

There are no heroes in the underlying suit. Convertino claims DOJ investigated him not for prosecutorial misconduct, but instead to retaliate for criticism of their conduct under the “war on terror” and testimony provided under subpoena to Congress. … But Convertino’s alleged conduct — withholding evidence from defence attorneys — was also inexcusable.

The dispute has sucked Ashenfelter up in a long-running fight over whether he should have to testify about his sources. He first tried to refuse by invoking reporter’s privilege, which a judge rejected. But when, in 2008, Convertino tried to depose the reporter, Ashenfelter invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to each question.

To defend doing so, Ashenfelter pointed to Convertino’s own claims that he had conspired with criminals at DOJ, as well as to a series of cases (including those under the Espionage Act) and public statements suggesting DOJ might prosecute someone for using documents illegally obtained from the government to do reporting.

On Friday, the Sixth Circuit upheld Ashenfelter’s right to invoke the Fifth Amendment to refuse to testify. The key part of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling found that Ashenfelter had a real concern that any testimony about the leak would implicate him in federal crimes; in his opinion, Judge Eric Clay pointed to 18 U.S.C. § 641, which prohibits receiving something known to have been stolen with the intent to use it for one’s own gain:

“Convertino’s complaint in his merits suit against the DOJ alleges facts that if proven could implicate Ashenfelter in the commission of one or more crimes, including the allegation that federal officials illegally provided Ashenfelter with two confidential OPR documents. If proven, this allegation would appear to establish that Ashenfelter ‘receive[d]’ a ‘record . . . of the United States or of [an] agency or department thereof,’ raising a risk of prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 641.

“In this setting, it requires very little ‘judicial imagination,’ if any, to comprehend that Ashenfelter could have reasonable cause to fear that answering questions regarding the source or sources of the leak would risk injurious disclosure.

Effectively, the court agreed that it would be possible for a journalist to be charged because he knowingly used government documents that had been stolen to do reporting, and therefore Ashenfelter could properly rely on the Fifth Amendment privilege to avoid testifying.

That conclusion is not surprising given that DOJ has considered similar charges against Julian Assange and the UK is still considering charges against journalists who have been working with documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

If the decision stands, it may present a new way for journalists to protect sources in civil cases, at least in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, where the decision will stand as precedent.

It wouldn’t offer much protection in criminal cases, because prosecutors could always give the journalist immunity to testify against sources. But it does represent an important recognition that in an era of witch hunts like that launched against James Risen — where even Judge Leonie Brinkema observed the prosecution would have liked to name Risen as a co-conspirator — journalists may have additional legal reasons to want to protect their reporting, beyond just a reporter’s privilege.


Related Topics:

First Amendment Rights – Citizens Can No Longer Collect Soil Evidence*

From Selma to Ferguson: Renewing the Right to Vote*