Archive | March 4, 2016

NATO’s Military Commander Suggests very Few Terrorists are Entering with Refugees*

NATO’s Military Commander Suggests very Few Terrorists are Entering with Refugees*

By Carlyn Harvey

NATO’s top commander, U.S. general Phillip Breedlove, has tried to crush the public’s concern over the refugee crisis in one fatal blow. On 1 March, Breedlove told the U.S. Congress that ISIS (Daesh) is spreading “like a cancer” among refugees. This inflammatory language seems designed to incite distrust of the refugee population. But Breedlove is right, there is a tumour. It’s the fear-filled one he’s trying to grow in us. And it will spread, if we let it.

Of course, Breedlove’s claim that the refugee flow is “masking the movement” of terrorists, could have some validity. But without evidence, his argument has no more weight than that of Bill Frelick, director of the refugee rights programme for Human Rights Watch. Frelick says that the problem only amounts to “needles in haystacks”. He clarifies:

“It’s not to say that there aren’t dangerous needles in those haystacks, but overwhelmingly we’re talking about people who are seeking protection and bear no ill will”

Or, António Guterres’ claim — the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, that:

“It is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism, it is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees”

So, what does Breedlove have to back up his claim? According to the Guardian, not much. He responded to a call for evidence, from reporters, with the following:

“I can’t give you a number on the estimate of the flow.”

Breedlove does attempt to give some figures, relating to “foreign fighters”, but this just serves to muddy the waters. He gives no figures for terrorists. So, it’s hard to conceive how he came up his alarmist ISIS “cancer” claim, without even an estimate to go on. Or perhaps “can’t” here means “won’t”. Breedlove allegedly also said

“I’m not going to talk to you about intelligence”, at the news conference following his Congress appearance.

This is typical behaviour in the National Security ranks; making a statement on something, but saying they cannot reveal the evidence behind the claim. The expectation is that the public will accept the assertion as true, and that withholding evidence is warranted, when it comes from officials in these classified quarters.

But, unfortunately for General Breedlove, our brains are hardwired to question hypotheses without proof, especially in a post-Iraq war world. Information is power, and if it’s not provided, most words have none.

However, when it comes to the link between the refugee crisis and terrorism on our shores, there is plenty of evidence. Evidence that suggests very few terrorists are entering alongside refugees. We know, for example, that the Charlie Hebdo attackers were French nationals, not refugees. We know the Paris attacks were mostly carried out by European citizens, not refugees. We also know that the San Bernardino shooters, who killed 14 people at a social services centre in California, were not refugees.

And aside from terrorism, we know that – despite the initial media speculation – of the scores of people arrested following the Cologne assaults, only three were recently arrived refugees.

We can also be pretty sure that Breedlove’s comments are going to exacerbate the already disturbing levels of threatening, and violent, behaviour towards refugees. And they will likely contribute to the rising levels of Islamophobia across the developed world. His claims may also provide excuses for states to build up their borders. They will be able to seize on this to keep out the “swarm” of people desperately fleeing their shattered countries, as David Cameron so callously describes them.

It is dangerous for a high-ranking official to use his platform to make such provocative assertions. Although, as we recently reported, NATO’s behaviour of late has tended to err on the side of recklessness. There may be some truth to his claim, but terrorists determined to enter Europe will make attempts to do so, with or without this humanitarian crisis. Breedlove’s dramatic exaggeration of the level of risk will help no-one. Not refugees, the public, or the general path to peace. But then, peace is not really what NATO is all about.


Related Topics:

Interpol Reports 1 Percent of European Terrorism Was Carried Out by Muslims in 2014*

130,000 Refugees Vanished after Being Registered in Germany*

French Journalist Arrested for Exposing Israeli Connection to Paris False Flag*

“What do you think when you look at me?”

U.S. Sends 5,000 Tons of Ammunition to Germany ‘to help NATO alliance’*

U.S. Kept Plans to Reopen Military Base in Iceland from Icelandic PM*

International Criminal Network Caught Making Fake Passports in Russia*

The Hollywood Nina Simone Biopic That Has Infuriated Her Family and Fans*

The Hollywood Nina Simone Biopic That Has Infuriated Her Family and Fans*

By Robert Mackey

The imminent release of a Hollywood movie based on the life of Nina Simone, the iconic black pianist, singer and civil rights activist, has reignited a debate over the casting of Zoe Saldana, an actress of Dominican descent who had to dramatically alter her looks, by darkening her skin and wearing a prosthetic nose, to play the starring role.

Simone’s legacy matters because she was far more than an entertainer, as Adam Shatz explains in the current New York Review of Books:

Her most famous song, “Mississippi Goddam” was written in 1963, the same year as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and provided a sharper expression of the mood among young civil rights activists.

“This is a show tune, but the show hasn’t been written for it yet,” Simone coyly announces, before working herself into a furious assault on white counsels of patience:

Yes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie
Oh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies
I don’t trust you any more
You keep on saying, “Go slow!”

Two years later, Simone performed that song for marchers in Selma, Alabama, revising the lyrics slightly to: “Alabama’s got me so upset/ Selma makes me lose my rest/ Everybody knows about Mississippi goddamn!

The remarkable story of Simone’s life was told last year in an Oscar-nominated documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which was made with the full cooperation of her estate. Her daughter, Lisa Simone, was an executive producer of that film, and one of its main interview subjects.

But the fictional treatment, which focuses on her troubled later years, is unauthorized, and has antagonized her family and many fans. When it was first announced in 2012 that Saldana had been chosen, Lisa Simone voiced her strong objections.

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” she told Tanzina Vega of the New York Times. “Appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

She was not alone.

“A large part of Nina Simone’s work and advocacy was prompted by the challenges she faced for having dark skin and being rejected or criticized because of it,” Tiffani Jones argued at the time on her blog Coffee Rhetoric. Choosing a

“Black identified but racially ambiguous looking” actress to play her, Jones added, “seems like another deliberate attempt at erasing women who are visibly Black by the media and entertainment industry.”

An online petition, signed by 11,000 fans, even threatened a boycott of the film if the producers refused to pick another actress.

“Getting light complexioned actors to play the roles of dark complexioned historical figures is not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the persons they are portraying,” the petition read, “but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience. For too long Hollywood has gotten away with this practice of revisionist history.

According to her biographer, Alan Light, Simone herself struggled to overcome ingrained cultural perceptions of beauty that privileged white, European looks. In one undated diary entry, she wrote,

“I’m the kind of coloured girl who looks like everything white people despise or have been taught to despise – if I were a boy, it wouldn’t matter so much, but I’m a girl and in front of the public all the time wide open for them to jeer or approve of or disapprove of.”

As Daphne Brooks, a professor of African American Studies, Theatre Studies, and American Studies at Yale, observed in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

The debates surrounding Saldana’s casting were almost entirely limited to questions of colorism and racial authenticity politics (e.g., the question of how an Afro-Latina several shades lighter than Simone could “accurately portray” an artist for whom blackness and her own dark-skinned womanhood were central to both her music and her intersectional politics). The leaked-to-the-internet photos of Saldana blackfaced-up and donning a prosthetic wide nose, coupled with the actress’s unsophisticated remarks about racial formations in American culture, only fanned the flames of outrage.

This week, a trailer and a poster for the film surfaced, provoking another round of social media outrage.

Then on Tuesday, Saldana ventured to share a quote from the singer with her 689,000 Twitter followers, ahead of the film’s expected release next month.

“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me- No Fear… I mean really, no fear.” #NinaSimone

— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) March 2, 2016

The words she quoted were drawn from a stirring moment in a New York public television interview with Simone in 1968, when she was asked to explain what it means to be free.

Within hours, Saldana was publicly rebuked on the social network by Nina Simone’s estate, which seemed to channel her daughter’s anger.

The estate’s account also suggested that fans should protest the film’s release on April 22 by using that date to celebrate Simone’s legacy in other ways, and pointedly shared two YouTube clips: of Simone singing “Go To Hell,” and explaining to an interviewer why “black-ness” was so important to her.

In response to the uproar, Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET whose film company is distributing the movie, defended Saldana’s right to portray Simone, saying in a statement:

“The most important thing is that creativity or quality of performance should never be judged on the basis of colour, or ethnicity, or physical likeness.”


Related Topics:

The Black Madonnas of Europe: Between Racism and Hidden Adoration*

Messing with a Black Man’s Hair!

Black Women Targeted with Eugenics Drug*

White Supremacist Finds Out He Is Part Black*

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing: 12 Years a Slave, Racism & Black Cowardice

The Black Stereotype: Socially Engineered in the FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Real Black Leaders*

Bessie Coleman: The First Black Female Pilot*

The First Black Female Principal Dancer*

Netherlands Christmas: Black Pete*

Obama Anaesthetizing Black Resistance*

Discovering Black Identity*

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

Arrested and Held in Psych Ward Because Cops Didn’t Believe as a Black Woman She Owns BMW*

National Day of Zumbi: Awakening Black Consciousness in Brazil*

From Black Man’s Burden to African Renaissance*

Black History Month and Indigenous Americans*

NYPD Uses 1970s ‘Nuisance Abatement’ Law to Throw Innocent Black Families Out of Their Homes*

The U.S. Military Court Recent Decisions, and the Black Vote*

Black NYPD Officers Sue the Department, Were Pressured to Meet Quotas of Black Arrests*

Black Entertainers Raise over $100,000 in #JusticeForFlint, an Oscars Alternative*

The Collapse of Iraq’s Mosul Dam*

The Collapse of Iraq’s Mosul Dam*

By Felicity Arbuthnot

It is hard to believe anything more catastrophic could befall Iraq with perhaps three million dead, between the strangulating 1990 onward embargo and the illegal 2003 invasion. Nearly five million displaced since 2003, destruction of the UNESCO Award winning education system, as access to electricity, safe water – access to normality.

Destroyed or damaged by ISIS have been the eye wateringly haunting ancient sites in or near Mosul (dating back to 25th century BC), 3rd or second century BC in Northern Iraq: Hatra, 3rd or 2nd century BC; Nineveh, the Assyrian Capital; Nimrud, founded 3,500 years ago; Khorsabad, built between 717 -706 BC; the 4th century Mar Behnam Monastry. The 1226 CE (AD) Mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) and his tomb are no more and numerous other wonders are erased, as are museums and ancient literary treasures.

Before ISIS, under U.S.-U.K. occupation there was equal decimation under their bombs – and looting at their hands or under their watch.

Now though comes a truly apocalyptic warning – that Mosul itself, Baji, Tikrit, ancient Samarra whose ninth century, golden domed Mosque was destroyed under U.S. eyes (literally, since they were stationed there) on 22nd February 2006 and Baghdad, the “Paris of the 9th century” could be engulfed in a flood of literally biblical proportions.

“Iraqi engineers involved in building the Mosul Dam thirty years ago have warned that the risk of its imminent collapse …” (1) All cities, towns, villages on trajectory of the great Tigris river below the Dam would be swamped, with Mosul engulfed within four hours in an estimated sixty five feet (twenty metres) of water. Estimates are that it is possible one million people could die by the time the tsunami reached Baghdad.

The U.S. is taking the threat seriously enough to have warned, on 29th February, all American citizens to leave the country should the Dam be breached. (2) How precisely the approximately 15,000 Baghdad U.S. Embassy staff, a reported 16,000 mercenaries, plus other various spooks, special services, would make it from where ever they were to Baghdad airport before the deluge – and whether in the face of it flights would anyway risk coming in – seems not to have been addressed. Perhaps they could be helicoptered off the Embassy roof as in Vietnam.

Incidentally the U.S. Baghdad Embassy, the largest in the world, has swallowed up 104 acres of Baghdad and is nearly as large as Vatican City. It is situated beside the Tigris. Before it was built (completed in 2009) Embassy staff squatted in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Those believing in natural justice might be pondering on Saddam’s revenge.

The Mosul Dam (formerly the Saddam Dam) was built in 1984. Swiss designed, it was constructed by a German-Italian consortium. A fatal design flaw was the fact that it was built on porous bedrock.

“Water began seeping through in 1986, when it became apparent that the geological issues were worse than the consultants had predicted. From then on it required constant maintenance to fill the caverns being hollowed out by water running through the soluble bedrock. A total of 95,000 tonnes of grout of different types (have been) used over the dam’s lifetime”, states The Guardian’s detailed article (see 1.)

Nasrat Adamo, the Dam’s former Chief Engineer told the paper that only twenty four hour maintenance with constant grouting of the bedrock kept the Dam stable: “We used to have 300 people working 24 hours in three shifts but very few of these workers have come back. There are perhaps 30 people there now,” he said.

“The machines for grouting have been looted. There is no cement supply. They can do nothing. It is going from bad to worse, and it is urgent. All we can do is hold our hearts.”

Added to the increasing instability of the foundations due to lack of constant maintenance, “the bottom outlets are jammed”, this as the snows melt further north bringing a further deluge of liquid tonnage. As Nadir al-Ansari another engineer with the Dam at the time of construction put it:

“ … the Dam is not as before. The caverns underneath have increased. I don’t think the Dam will withstand that pressure.”


“If the Dam fails, the water will arrive in Mosul in four hours. It will arrive in Baghdad in 45 hours. Some people say there could be half a million people killed, some say a million. I imagine it will be more in the absence of a good evacuation plan.”

The Iraqi government’s farcical “evacuation plan” is to simply advise everybody the entire length of the Tigris river, from Mosul to Baghdad (355.45 km) to abandon their homes, farms, businesses and move 6 km away, just like that. How? To where?

The solution to the pressure on the Dam is to build a second one downstream as a further barrier, gigantic “filter”, in case of the catastrophic collapse.

Ironically, under Saddam Hussein’s government a second one, the Badush Dam was speedily started – in 1988 – as environmental insurance just two years after the problems with the first Dam came to light, 20 km downstream. With the implementation of the U.S.-U.K. driven U.N. embargo in August 1990 and Iraq importing about 70% of everything, the building materials were no longer available and the work on the Dam ceased. It has lain about 40% completed since.

The Mosul Dam was taken over by ISIS on 7th August 2014, adding to fears of a catastrophe, it was looted, but regained by the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces on August 19th. In “assistance” the US-led coalition made nine airstrikes in the vicinity of the Dam. What further damage, fissures to the fragile, endangered foundations have been created from the massive vibrations of such brainless recklessness is not known.

The bombing was in spite of a September 2006 report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warning: “In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world.” On 30th October 2007 another report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said that the Dam’s foundations could give way at any moment. Is there no intelligence, communication, joined up thinking amongst the US’ lethally armed forces?

In spite of all, no US puppet Iraqi government since the fall of Saddam Hussein nearly exactly thirteen years ago, has done anything meaningful and apparently, in spite of countless $millions going missing, have had no money to address a danger of such enormity. Those struggling to maintain the Dam were at one point reportedly not paid for months.

Finally after repeated warnings from experts and now $200 million from the World Bank, in December the government signed a contract with an Italian company, the Trevi Group, to address the massive technical problems, erosion and cavities under this vast structure with it’s current holocaustal potential. Italy has also agreed to send over four hundred troops to protect the site.

The government is remarkably sanguine, with Mehdi Rasheed of Iraq’s Water Ministry quoted as saying that: “Downstream we can do many things.” (What exactly?) However: “In the current situation that is not possible for the people in Mosul city.” (3) The population of Mosul was around two and a half million, now with ISIS there and the current disaster the exact number is unknown – and clearly uncared about by the Baghdad regime.

In April, in Rome, an international Conference is to be held to ponder on ways to avert this impending catastrophe. By then it might already have happened.

As Nasrat Adamo, the Dam’s former Chief engineer told The Guardian:

“Nobody knows when it will fail, it could be a year from now. It could be tomorrow.”

Time for America’s latest proxy’s in Baghdad to get going and the Italians to get on ‘planes – pronto, before a great swathe of “The Cradle of Civilization” makes the unthinkable tragedy of the New Orleans’ floods of 2005 look like a paddling pool.


Related Topics:

Cover-up of U.K.’s Role in Iraq Atrocities*

Saudis’ Anti-Shiite Provocation has Clear Geopolitical Goals*

The Secret Oil War Has Begun*

Illegal Mission Ends in 3 U.K. Forces Wounded in Iraq*

Stolen Iraqi Nuclear Material Story Happened Last Year, so Why Now*

European Parliament Calls for Action to Protect Religious Minorities against ISIS, “War Crimes” and “Crimes against Humanity”*

Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder*

Britain at Forefront of Deadly Mercenary Trade*

By Any Mean Obama Will have More War*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

U.S. and U.K. Flagrant Abuse of Int’l Law*

10 Examples of the CIA Using Secret Armies to Overthrow Foreign Governments*

U.S. Soldiers and Wikileaks Come Together to Tell the Truth about What’s Really Happening in the Middle East*

Reliving the Collapse of the Roman Empire*

Judge Anna von Reitz: We Are Determined There Will NOT Be a Third World War, We Want the Criminals Recognized as Criminals

U.S.-backed Proxies Use Ceasefire in Syria to ‘Regroup, Rearm and Prepare’*

Eye Witness Account inside Aleppo, Syria*

Eye Witness Account inside Aleppo, Syria*

By Jim W. Dean

Jane was with the American election monitor crew at the Syrian elections in June of 2014. A self-described hippie grandmother she had travelled the world like no one else I know.

And I mean light luggage adventure trekking all by herself to some of the most out of the way places, and thus had to get into like North Korea and Iraq in 2007, where she brought her own flack jacket.

We heard she had a blog but I did not have time to look at it until much later and found a lady doing what most people only ever dream of with her “walk about” as they would say down under.

We did not know if she was a trust fund lady, poisoned several well heeled husbands, won the lotto or a talented portfolio manager.

I occasionally get email from her and today popped up her Aleppo friends reporting into her blog about how the ceasefire was going. Sometimes good material just falls out of the sky and hits you in the noggin. The big road trips are a physical grind with the 20 to 25 hour plane rides to get there but you get to meet people you never would have.

With everybody having HD cameras we all are able to grab still shots and video to re-live old memories some day. For me they are not for my scrapbook, as having some good media to share with readers can help put some visual punch into a story. So I thank Ms. Jane for her citizen journalism and today’s report from friends she met in Aleppo, and wish God speed on her travelsJim W. Dean ]

Here’s what’s really going on right now in Aleppo, Syria — March 2, 2016
 … by  Jane Stillwater , Berkeley, CA

There’s good news and bad news from my friend in Aleppo this week. The bad news is that ISIS terrorists and their pal Turkey are breaking the ceasefire left and right. But what can you expect from liars and terrorists?

About the ceasefire agreement:

“Aleppo city is much more calmer since the beginning of the agreement, besides some violations that took place the first hours of the agreement, and yesterday at 21:50, when two mortars were shelled onto the government-held area, followed by ambulance sirens around 22:00. In general so far, however, Aleppo city is so calmer than before. No shells, no jets in the sky, no clashes. 80% better than before.”

Aleppo province:

“The situation in Aleppo province didn’t change much, according to the news. The terrorists attacked the liberated villages of Nobbol az-Zahraa with rockets, but there were no casualties. In other areas of the province, fighting is still on-going: Syrian Arab Army vs. Nusra and Da’esh; Kurds vs. Turks from the borders; Kurds vs. Terrorists; terrorists vs. other terrorists… Violations of the ceasefire are from the terrorist groups and Turkey.”

More ceasefire violations:

“Russians recorded 15 violations in Syria in the last 24 hours. Russia said as well that Nusra terrorists were shelling mortars in Latakya province from the Turkish borders (from Turkey). The Turks are targeting the Kurds in Tell Abyad border town, claiming fighting Da’esh on the media!”

On the road to Aleppo:

“Aleppo road had been finally liberated, but needs a lot of repairing. It had damaged so badly. Aleppo was isolated for almost a week of tough fighting to take it back. There were snipers and a lot of mines.”

High prices resulting from the illegal invasion:

“Prices, obviously, started to jump up because nothing was coming in to the city. Goods and fuel became expensive, partly because of the road battles, and partly because of the dollar rising price. The crisis traders and merchants were the happiest group of the situation! Prices will take some time till they go down, when goods and fuel start to enter the city, after repairing the road.”

Corruption vs. Heroism:

Electricity in short supply: “The thermal station of Aleppo that had been liberated lately by the Syrian Arab Army, needs billions of dollars to start working again. Before leaving it, the terrorists made sure to loot everything they can, and sabotage the rest. Even its fuel, they loot as much as they could, and burn the rest. Aleppo is without power (electricity) for 5 months now, and without water for more than 1 month. Repairing that station will need a miracle.”

And then my friend tells me to take care. How brave is that.


Related Topics:

U.S.-backed Proxies Use Ceasefire in Syria to ‘Regroup, Rearm and Prepare’*

Libya’s Interim Government Blasts U.S. Aggression*

Saudi Arabia Unleashes Frenzy of Attacks on Syrians*

20 Countries Involved in IS Bomb supply Chain*

French Troops with U.K., U.S. Support Engaged In War on Libya*

“Dirty Players in Geopolitics”: Letter to “Doctors Without Borders” (MSF)*

U.S. Sends 5,000 Tons of Ammunition to Germany ‘to help NATO alliance’*

Vladimir Putin’s Address on the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria*