Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SPYING ON AMERICANS : Obama's Backdoor "Cybersecurity" Wiretap Bill Threatens Political and Private Rights - Video

MI6 now cooperating with Obama criminal regime on "enhanced" spying on innocent citizens 

Antifascist Calling
By Tom Burghardt

Under the guise of "cybersecurity," the new all-purpose bogeyman to increase the secret state's already-formidable reach, the Obama administration and their congressional allies are crafting legislation that will open new backdoors for even more intrusive government surveillance: portals into our lives that will never be shut.

U.S. "intelligence" agencies:  Guilty until proven innocent
 As Antifascist Calling has frequently warned, with the endless "War on Terror" as a backdrop the federal government, most notably the 16 agencies that comprise the so-called "Intelligence Community" (IC), have been constructing vast centralized databases that scoop-up and store all things digital--from financial and medical records to the totality of our electronic communications online--and do so without benefit of a warrant or probable cause.

The shredding of constitutional protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment, granted to the Executive Branch by congressional passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) after the 9/11 attacks, followed shortly thereafter by the oxymoronic USA Patriot Act set the stage for today's depredations.

Under provisions of multiple bills under consideration by the House and Senate, federal officials will be given broad authority over private networks that will almost certainly hand security officials wide latitude over what is euphemistically called "information-sharing" amongst corporate and government securocrats.

MI5 in bed with U.S. spy agencies.....
As The Washington Post reported in February, the National Security Agency "has pushed repeatedly over the past year to expand its role in protecting private-sector computer networks from cyberattacks" but has allegedly "been rebuffed by the White House, largely because of privacy concerns."

"The most contentious issue," Post reporter Ellen Nakashima wrote, "was a legislative proposal last year that would have required hundreds of companies that provide such critical services as electricity generation to allow their Internet traffic to be continuously scanned using computer threat data provided by the spy agency. The companies would have been expected to turn over evidence of potential cyberattacks to the government."

Both the White House and Justice Department have argued, according to the Post, that the "proposal would permit unprecedented government monitoring of routine civilian Internet activity." are the snivelling, bedwetting sniggets of MI6
National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander, the dual-hatted commander of NSA and U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), the Pentagon satrapy that wages offensive cyberwar, was warned to "restrain his public comments after speeches in which he argued that more expansive legal authority was necessary to defend the nation against cyberattacks."

While we can take White House "objections" with a proverbial grain of salt, they do reveal however that NSA, the largest and most well-funded of the secret state's intel shops will use their formidable surveillance assets to increase their power while undermining civilian control over the military in cahoots with shadowy security corporations who do their bidding. (Readers are well-advised to peruse The Surveillance Catalog posted by The Wall Street Journal as part of their excellent What They Know series for insight into the burgeoning Surveillance-Industrial Complex).

This sweet-looking grandma is former MI5 Director Manningham-Buller, who operated in Washington as senior intelligence liaison officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during which time Iraq invaded Kuwait, sparking the Gulf Warand was busom buddies with convicted War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair

As investigative journalist James Bamford pointed out recently in Wired Magazine, "the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies" is "truly staggering."

CIA has spied, operated on U.S. soil since inception
In a follow-up piece for Wired, Bamford informed us that when questioned by Congress, Alexander stonewalled a congressional subcommittee when asked whether NSA "has the capability of monitoring the communications of Americans, he never denies it--he simply says, time and again, that NSA can't do it 'in the United States.' In other words it can monitor those communications from satellites in space, undersea cables, or from one of its partner countries, such as Canada or Britain, all of which it has done in the past."

Call it Echelon on steroids, the massive, secret surveillance program first exposed by journalists Duncan Campbell and Nicky Hager.

And with the eavesdropping agency angling for increased authority to monitor the electronic communications of Americans, the latest front in the secret state's ongoing war against privacy is "cybersecurity" and "infrastructure protection."

'Information Sharing' or Blanket Surveillance?

Among the four bills currently competing for attention, the most egregious threat to civil liberties is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA, H.R. 3523).

"Operation Paperclip" - Importing WWII Nazis into America
Introduced by Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), the bill amends the National Security Act of 1947, adding language concerning so-called "cyber threat intelligence and information sharing."

"Cyber threat intelligence" is described as "information in the possession of an element of the intelligence community directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity, including information pertaining to the protection of a system or network from: (1) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or (2) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information."

In keeping with other "openness" mandates of our Transparency Administration™ the Rogers bill will require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to establish procedures that permit IC elements to "share cyber threat intelligence with private-sector entities, and (2) encourage the sharing of such intelligence."

Possible CIA silver lining:  This idiot is now CIA Director

These measures however, will not protect the public at large from attacks by groups of organized cyber criminals since such intelligence is only "shared with certified entities or a person with an appropriate security clearance," gatekeepers empowered by the state who ensure that access to information is "consistent with the need to protect U.S. national security, and used in a manner that protects such intelligence from unauthorized disclosure."

CIA has murdered American journalists both inside and outside the United States borders

In other words, should "cleared" cyber spooks be directed by their corporate or government masters to install state-approved malware on private networks as we discovered last year as a result of the HBGary hack by Anonymous, it would be a crime punishable by years in a federal gulag if official lawbreaking were disclosed.

Congress, Senate could care less about CIA law violations
The bill authorizes "a cybersecurity provider (a non-governmental entity that provides goods or services intended to be used for cybersecurity purposes)," i.e., an outsourced contractor from any one of thousands of spooky "cybersecurity" firms, to use "cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information in order to protect the rights and property of the protected entity; and share cyber threat information with any other entity designated by the protected entity, including the federal government."

Furthermore, the legislation aims to regulate "the use and protection of shared information, including prohibiting the use of such information to gain a competitive advantage and, if shared with the federal government, exempts such information from public disclosure."

And should the public object to the government or private entities trolling through their personal data in the interest of "keeping us safe" well, there's an app for that too! The bill "prohibits a civil or criminal cause of action against a protected entity, a self-protected entity (an entity that provides goods or services for cybersecurity purposes to itself), or a cybersecurity provider acting in good faith under the above circumstances."

One no longer need wait until constitutional violations are uncovered, the Rogers bill comes with a get-out-of-jail-free card already in place for state-approved scofflaws.

Additionally, the bill also "preempts any state statute that restricts or otherwise regulates an activity authorized by the Act." In other words, in states like California where residents have "an inalienable right to privacy" under Article 1, Section 1 of the State Constitution, the Rogers bill would be abolish that right and effectively "legalize" unaccountable snooping by the federal government or other "self-protected," i.e., private entities deputized to do so by the secret state.

Social Media Spying

How would this play out in the real world? As Government Computer News reported, hyped-up threats of an impending "cyber-armageddon" have spawned a host of new actors constellating America's Surveillance-Industrial Complex: the social media analyst.

"Companies and government agencies alike are using tools to sweep the Internet--blogs, websites, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter feeds--to find out what people are saying about, well, just about anything."

Indeed, as researchers Jerry Brito and Tate Watkins pointed out last year in Loving the Cyber Bomb?, "An industrial complex reminiscent of the Cold War's may be emerging in cybersecurity today."

Brito and Watkins averred that "the military-industrial complex was born out of exaggerated Soviet threats, a defense industry closely allied with the military and Department of Defense, and politicians striving to bring pork and jobs home to constituents. A similar cyber-industrial complex may be emerging today, and its players call for government involvement that may be superfluous and definitely allows for rent seeking and pork barreling."

Enter social media analysis and the private firms out to make a buck--at our expense.

"Not surprisingly," GCN's Patrick Marshall wrote, "intelligence agencies have already been looking at social media as a source of information. The Homeland Security Department has been analyzing traffic on social networks for at least the past three years."

While DHS claims it does not routinely monitor Facebook or Twitter, and only responds when it receives a "tip," such assertions are demonstrably false.

Ginger McCall, the director of the Electronic Electronic Privacy Information Center's Open Government Program told GCN that the department is "explicitly monitoring for criticism of the government, for reports that reflect adversely on the agency, for public reaction to policy proposals."

But DHS isn't the only agency monitoring social media sites such as Facebook and Google+.

As Antifascist Calling reported back in 2009, according to New Scientist the National Security Agency "is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks."

Not to be outdone, the CIA's venture capital investment arm, In-Q-Tel, has poured millions of dollars into Visible Technologies, a Bellevue, Washington-based firm specializing in "integrated marketing, social servicing, digital experience management, and consumer intelligence."

According to In-Q-Tel "Visible Technologies has developed TruCast®, which takes an innovative and holistic approach to social media management. TruCast has been architected as an enterprise-level solution that provides the ability to track, analyze, and respond to social media from a single, Web-based platform."

Along similar lines, the CIA has heavily invested in Recorded Future, a firm which "extracts time and event information from the web. The company offers users new ways to analyze the past, present, and the predicted future."

The firm's defense and intelligence analytics division promises to "help analysts understand trends in big data, and foresee what may happen in the future. Groundbreaking algorithms extract temporal and predictive signals from unstructured text. Recorded Future organizes this information, delineates results over interactive timelines, visualizes past trends, and maps future events--all while providing traceability back to sources. From OSINT to classified data, Recorded Future offers innovative, massively scalable solutions."

As Government Computer News pointed out, in January the FBI "put out a request for vendors to provide information about available technologies for monitoring and analyzing socialavailable technologies for monitoring and analyzing social media." Accordingly, the Bureau is seeking the ability to:

• Detect specific, credible threats or monitor adversarial situations.

• Geospatially locate bad actors or groups and analyze their movements, vulnerabilities, limitations, and possible adverse actions.

• Predict likely developments in the situation or future actions taken by bad actors (by conducting trend, pattern, association, and timeline analysis).

• Detect instances of deception in intent or action by bad actors for the explicit purpose of misleading law enforcement.

• Develop domain assessments for the area of interest (more so for routine scenarios and special events).

So much for privacy in our Orwellian New World Order.
Backdoor Official Secrets Act

Social media "harvesting" by private firms hot-wired into the state's Surveillance-Industrial Complex will be protected from challenges under provisions of CISPA.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) pointed out, "a company that protects itself or other companies against 'cybersecurity threats' can 'use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property' of the company under threat. But because 'us[ing] cybersecurity systems' is incredibly vague, it could be interpreted to mean monitoring email, filtering content, or even blocking access to sites. A company acting on a 'cybersecurity threat' would be able to bypass all existing laws, including laws prohibiting telcos from routinely monitoring communications, so long as it acted in 'good faith'."

And as EFF's Rainey Reitman and Lee Tien aver, the "broad language" concerning what constitutes a cybersecurity "threat," is an invitation for the secret state and their private "partners" to include "theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information."

"Yes," Reitman and Tien wrote, "intellectual property. It's a little piece of SOPA wrapped up in a bill that's supposedly designed to facilitate detection of and defense against cybersecurity threats. The language is so vague that an ISP could use it to monitor communications of subscribers for potential infringement of intellectual property. An ISP could even interpret this bill as allowing them to block accounts believed to be infringing, block access to websites like The Pirate Bay believed to carry infringing content, or take other measures provided they claimed it was motivated by cybersecurity concerns."

More troubling, "the government and Internet companies could use this language to block sites like WikiLeaks and, both of which have published classified information."

Should CISPA pass muster it could serve as the basis for establishing an American "Official Secrets Act." In the United Kingdom, the Act has been used against whistleblowers to prohibit disclosure of government crimes. But it does more than that. The state can also issue restrictive "D-Notices" that "advise" editors not to publish material on subjects deemed sensitive to the "national security."

EFF warns that "online publishers like WikiLeaks are currently afforded protection under the First Amendment; receiving and publishing classified documents from a whistleblower is a common journalistic practice. While there's uncertainty about whether the Espionage Act could be brought to bear against WikiLeaks, it is difficult to imagine a situation where the Espionage Act would apply to WikiLeaks without equally applying to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and in fact everyone who reads about the cablegate releases."

And with the Obama regime's crusade to prosecute and punish whistleblowers, as the recent indictment of former CIA officer John Kiriakou for alleged violations of the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for disclosing information on the CIA's torture programs, we have yet another sterling example of administration "transparency"! While Kiriakou faces 30 years in prison, the former head of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who was responsible for the destruction of 92 torture videotapes held by the Agency, was not charged by the government and was given a free pass by the Justice Department.

As the World Socialist Web Site points out: "More fundamentally, the prosecution of Kiriakou is part of a policy of state secrecy and repression that pervades the US government under Obama, who came into office promising 'the most transparent administration in history.'"

Critic Bill Van Auken observed that Kiriakou's prosecution "marks the sixth government whistleblower to be charged by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act, twice as many such prosecutions as have been brought by all preceding administrations combined. Prominent among them is Private Bradley Manning, who is alleged to have leaked documents exposing US war crimes to WikiLeaks. He has been held under conditions tantamount to torture and faces a possible death penalty."

"In all of these cases," the World Socialist Web Site noted, "the World War I-era Espionage Act is being used to punish not spying on behalf of a foreign government, but exposing the US government's own crimes to the American people. The utter lawlessness of US foreign policy goes hand in hand with the collapse of democracy at home."

The current crop of "cybersecurity" bills are sure to hasten that collapse.

Under Rogers' legislation, "the government would have new, powerful tools to go after WikiLeaks," or anyone else who challenges the lies of the U.S. government by publishing classified information that contradicts the dominant narrative.

"By claiming that WikiLeaks constituted 'cyber threat intelligence' (aka 'theft or misappropriation of private or government information')," EFF avers, "the government may be empowering itself and other companies to monitor and block the site. This means that the previous tactics used to silence WikiLeaks--including a financial blockade and shutting down their accounts with online service providers--could be supplemented by very direct means. The government could proclaim that WikiLeaks constitutes a cybersecurity threat and have new, broad powers to filter and block communication with the journalistic website."

Since January, Obama has signed legislation (NDAA) granting the Executive Branch authority to condemn alleged "enemy combatants," including U.S. citizens detained in America, indefinite military detention without charges or trials, and with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asserting that the president has the "right" to assassinate American citizens anywhere on earth, its clear to anyone who hasn't drunk the Hope and Change™ Kool-Aid, that the architecture of an American police state is now in place.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

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This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

U.S. Fifth Fleet: Gulf Carrier Deployment "Routine" - Video

Sure it is - who would doubt the word of the war-criminal stacked Obama regime; U.S. Naval ships, personnel sitting ducks for Iranian Silkworm anti-ship missiles

by Joseph Logan

DUBAI (Reuters) -

The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet said on Tuesday the arrival of a second aircraft carrier last week to an area including the Gulf was part of a "routine, scheduled" deployment, after reports it was in response to heightened tension with Iran.

The Iranian Navy has maintained a very potent coastal flotilla of small craft capable of threatening major surface vessels using their powerful missiles and swarm tactics.
Iran spooked oil markets in late December when it threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, where a fifth of global oil exports passes, if there were any military strikes against the country or its nuclear facilities.

The despatch of the USS Enterprise to the Fleet's area of operations was scheduled and routine, a spokeswoman said in response to queries about the arrival of the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier alongside another carrier in the area which includes the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf.

"The USS Enterprise/Enterprise Strike Group is on routine, scheduled deployment to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility," Commander Amy Derrick-Frost said.

Iranian Navy missile boats typically carry 37mm guns fore, 12.7mm/14.5mm HMGs, 107mm MRLs and a pair of AShMs – CSS-N-2 Silkworm, C705 or C802 missiles made in China

"(It) does not indicate any change to our normal deployments and standard maritime operations... A two-carrier presence is not unusual and is very routine," she said.

The Fifth Fleet said late last year it would not allow any disruption of ship traffic through the Strait.

The presence of the USS Enterprise coincides with exercises organised by Bahrain's air force this week including 100 jet fighters from countries including Iran's Arab neighbours.

The United States said last month oil stocks, including emergency reserves, were sufficient to go ahead with a policy of pressuring Tehran over its nuclear programme by threatening sanctions on countries conducting oil-related transactions with Iran's central bank.

Additional reporting by Daniel Fineren; editing by James Jukwey.

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Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.

This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Iran Halts Spain Oil Exports, Mulls Supply Cut to Germany, Italy : Video

Yet another excuse for Obama criminal regime and his oil industry masters to fleece Americans; this only the beginning as Iran responds to acts of war sanctions:  Necrotic, tottering EU shoots itself not in foot but in head


Tehran has cut oil supply to Spain after halting crude export to Greece as part of its countersanctions against the European Union (EU), mulling oil supply cuts to Germany and Italy now, Press TV reports.

Employees at Repsol oil refinery in Cartagena in for nasty surprise
Informed sources who asked not to be named, confirmed on Tuesday that the measure is part of Iran's countersanctions in response to the EU’s earlier sanctions against the country’s oil and financial sectors.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said the country had stopped exporting crude to Greece, after having already halted crude sales to two Greek firms.

According to Press TV, Iran terminated oil sales to two Greek firms, major refiner Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil Hellas, on April 5, over their failure to pay for their crude purchases from Tehran.

The EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on January 23 to approve new unilateral sanctions against Iran aimed at preventing member countries from importing Iranian crude or doing business with its central bank.

It already has, EU was warned many times to back off propaganda
Following the session, EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, told reporters that the measure was meant to make Iran get back to its nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 comprising the US, the UK, France, China, Russia.

Subsequent to the EU measure, Iran announced on February 15 that it had decided to cut oil exports to six European countries including the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal.

On February 19, Iran’s Oil Ministry announced it had cut oil exports to British and French firms in line with the decision to end crude exports to six European states.

Iran's decision to impose countersanctions on the European countries has led to a hike in global oil prices, pushing gasoline prices in the US and the UK to record highs. The rising gasoline prices have become a major issue in the US presidential election campaign. 

Supposed Iran oil reserve breakdown

On March 23, President Barack Obama said tension with Iran had increased oil prices by USD 20-30 per barrel in international markets.

The US and EU accuse Iran of pursuing a military program under the cover of its nuclear energy work despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found no evidence to this end.

Tehran refutes their claims arguing that as a committed member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty it is entitled to peaceful uses of the nuclear energy.


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Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

Images:  Google royalty free unless otherwise attributed.

This news site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

From the Cold War to NATO's "Humanitarian Wars" - The Complicity of the United Nations : GRAPHIC IMAGES

This bogus excuse (as if Obama and Clinton give a damn about innocent civilian deaths) has now been used by Obama to invade sovereign countries and has demonstrated he can and will do it with his lapdogs NATO and the UN who are desperately attempting now to justify their corrupt existence, appease U.S. masters

Global Research
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Humanitarian wars, especially under the guise of the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P),” are a modern form of imperialism. The standard pattern that the United States and its allies use to execute them is one where genocide and ethnic cleansing are vociferously alleged by a coalition of governments, media organizations, and non-governmental front organizations. The allegations – often lurid and unfounded – then provide moral and diplomatic cover for a variety of sanctions that undermine and isolate the target country in question, and thereby pave the way for military intervention. This is the post-Cold War modus operandi of the US and NATO.

Obama/NATO/UN "Humanitarian War" in Fallujah, Iraq
In facilitating this neo-imperialism, the United Nations has been complicit in the hijacking of its own posts and offices by Washington.

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has been appointed a “special peace envoy” with a mediating role in Syria. Yet, how can Annan be evaluated as an “honest broker” considering his past instrumental role in developing the doctrine of R2P – the very pretext that has served to facilitate several US/NATO criminal wars of aggression? Furthermore, the evidence attests that the US and its allies – despite mouthing support for Annan’s supposed peace plan – are not interested in a mediated, peaceful solution in Syria.

From the Cold War to Humanitarian Wars

As the Cold War began to wind down in the late-1980s and early-1990s, NATO saw the opportunity that would arise from the geopolitical vacuum following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc. Not only did NATO begin transforming from a defensive organization into an offensive military body, the US-led alliance began to embrace a supposed humanitarian mandate for this purpose. It is through this purported embrace of humanitarianism that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was able to change into an offensive, interventionist military force – indeed the largest such force ever in the history of the world.

Obama/NATO/UN "Humanitarian War" in Afghanistan
NATO’s biggest military operation up until a decade after the Cold War was the First Persian Gulf War following the invasion in 1991 of Kuwait by Iraqi forces under the command of Saddam Hussein. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, at the time a US ally, was mired in a territorial oil dispute over colonial-era borders to which Washington at first appeared to show cool indifference. Immediately after Iraqi forces entered Kuwait, however, a strident US government and media campaign was mounted claiming the sanctity of Kuwait’s sovereign territory and the “defence of small nations.” There were also lurid media reports – later shown to be fabrications – of atrocities committed by Iraqi troops, such as the butchering of babies taken from hospital incubators. The international public was successfully manipulated to accept a US-led war against Iraq to ironically liberate the Emirate of Kuwait only to reinstate an absolute and despotic monarch.

Equipped with UN resolutions, the US-led NATO powers – along with a “coalition of willing” Arab states – launched a war on Iraq supposedly in the name of “humanitarianism.” Operations exclusively run by several NATO powers in Iraqi Kurdistan would also become the basis for NATO’s future humanitarian mandates. The precedent and tempo was now set for NATO’s subsequent “humanitarian” wars. The no-fly zones and legal semantics that were innovated by the Western powers to justify their intervention in Iraq were also applied by these same powers with regard to the former Yugoslavia. Variants of this humanitarian pretext for war included “upholding international law” and “international security” and were deployed for the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and again against Iraq in 2003 – the Second Persian Gulf War – this time to justify the all-out conquest of that country. The same rhetorical justification for military intervention was used by NATO powers to unleash a seven-month aerial bombing campaign in Libya in 2011 that led to the overthrow of the government and to the murder of the country’s leader Muammar Qaddafi. The thematic R2P is currently being amplified to decibel levels by NATO state governments and mainstream media with regard to Syria, where a NATO-led intervention is also covertly underway.

Yugoslavia: Srebrenica’s Sacrifice for NATO Intervention

On July 11, 1995, the forces of the Bosnian Serbs would march into the so-called UN Srebrenica Safe Area. The official NATO narrative is that UN troops agreed to withdraw from Srebrenica and let the Bosnian Serb forces take care of the local Bosniaks, but that once the Bosnian Serbs entered the area they proceeded to slaughter 8,000 Bosniaks. This would be billed as the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War.

Results of Bill Clinton/NATO "Humanitarian War" in Bosnia

In reality, the events of Srebrenica would be used and warped to justify a massive NATO response on the basis of public outrage. Bosniak leaders would also refuse to give the Red Cross the names of people who had fled Srebrenica, thus resulting in an inflated number of missing people. The number of the dead would later turn out to be significantly lower than originally reported. Media estimates also changed over time. The most senior UN official inside Bosnia-Herzegovina, Philip Corwin, would also lend his voice to those saying that the events in Srebrenica were distorted for political gain and military intervention by NATO.

Another Bill Clinton/NATO killing:  The words "humanitarian" and "war" are mutually exclusive (Note cooking pot in background)

Then US President Bill Clinton had actually instructed Alija Izetbegovic that 5,000 Bosniaks would need to be sacrificed to bring NATO into the war as a combatant. Surviving members of the Bosniak delegation from Srebrenica have stated on the record that Izetbegovic said that NATO would militarily intervene against the Republika Srpska if at least 5,000 dead bodies could be produced. The Fall of Srebrenica, a UN report issued on November 15, 1999, casually mentions this in paragraph 115. The Bosniak police chief of Srebrenica has also confirmed Clinton’s demand for a “sacrifice” from Izetbegovic to open the doors for NATO attacks against the Bosnian Serbs.

Clinton/NATO bear responsibility for deaths at Srebrenica

In the Bosnian War, all sides committed horrific atrocities. The crime of the Bosnian Serbs that appeared to rouse NATO was not ethnic cleansing. The crime of the Bosnian Serbs was that they were fighting to preserve Yugoslavia. Even Croats and Bosniaks in both Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina who wanted to preserve Yugoslavia and inter-ethnic peace were targeted, demonized, or killed. For example, the Bosniak Fikret Abdic was charged as a war criminal in Croatia after he fled Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Josip Rejhl-Kir, the Croat police chief of Osijek, was murdered by Croat nationalists for working to preserve the harmony between Croats and Croatian Serbs.


NATO intervened in Bosnia-Herzegovina to change the balance of power. The Bosnian Serbs were up until then the superior military force. Had NATO powers not internationalized the fighting and intervened, the Bosnian Serbs would have taken control of the country and maintained it as an integral part of Yugoslavia. This would have crippled or halted Euro-Atlantic expansion in the Balkans.

Clinton/NATO backed KLA inspired, committed atrocities

On January 15, 1999, the fighting in Racak between Serbian forces and the outlawed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which the US State Department itself labelled a terrorist organization, would be used to paint a similar picture of genocide and ethnic cleansing to justify war. By this time, the Serbs had successfully been demonized by NATO and the media as the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, so NATO’s efforts to vilify the Serbs were made relatively easy. It is a matter of public record that US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and the KLA leadership were working to create a humanitarian pretext for intervention. It was in this context that the US and NATO had pressured the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accept an arrangement where their military forces would leave Kosovo, but allowed the KLA to continue its attacks. This stoking of tensions is what NATO has tried to replicate in Syria through the so-called Free Syrian Army, which in reality is a terrorist organization linked to NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In the Arab World: Libya and Syria

In 2011, the humanitarian card would be played again by NATO, this time in the North African country of Libya. Colonel Qaddafi was accused of massacring his own people in Libya, particularly in Benghazi. Packaged with unverified claims of jet attacks and foreign mercenaries, this prompted the UN to permit the US and its NATO allies to impose another no-fly zone, as in Iraq and Yugoslavia. Illegally, the NATO powers arrogated the no-fly zone provision of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 to mount an aerial bombing campaign. The massive onslaught involving over 10,000 bombing missions was conducted in concert with NATO special forces and proxy militias on the ground. NATO warplanes targeted civilian population centres and civilian infrastructure, such as food stores and water and power utilities – acts that are war crimes under international law. Such a blatant campaign of state terrorism – obscenely in the name of “protecting human rights” – was instrumental in overthrowing the sovereign government in Tripoli and installing a proxy regime composed of an extremely volatile amalgam of opportunist para-militaries, terrorists, NATO intelligence operatives, and fractious tribal warlords. Recent reports of internecine bloodletting and revenge killing erupting across Libya, “post-NATO liberation,” attest to the real criminal enterprise of NATO’s regime change in Libya that was cynically perpetrated under the guise of protecting civilians.

Ghadafi taken out in "Humanitarian War" by fellow criminals Obama/NATO

Meanwhile, in Syria, the US and its cohorts have sought to replay the city of Homs like another Srebrenica, Racak, and Benghazi. They have sought to use the same tactic for inciting sectarian tensions and then blaming the government of President Bashar Al-Assad for conducting a “brutal crackdown.” The US and its allies are demanding that the Syrian Army stops fighting while the insurgent forces of the Syrian National Council’s Syrian Free Army are given a free hand to launch attacks, just as the NATO power demanded of the Yugoslav military while giving a green light to the KLA. Russian and Chinese demands that both sides observe a ceasefire offset this strategy.

Obama/NATO responsible for death of this Syrian protester
What stands in the way of yet another NATO intervention is a firm resolve by Moscow and Beijing at the UN Security Council as well as the alliance between Syria and Iran. Damascus and its allies, however, should be wary of more traps to tie Syria down politically and legally through one-sided agreements. Nor should the Syrians place their trust in the United Nations to act as an “honest broker.”

Kofi Annan and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Much praise is being given to Kofi Annan as the special envoy of both the Arab League and United Nations. There should, however, be caution applied when dealing with Annan. In this regard, his history with regard to humanitarian interventions needs to be assessed.

According to American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who was intimately tied to the balkanization of Yugoslavia, Annan was one of the most supportive figures for US foreign policy in the Balkans. Annan was actually instrumental in helping to put together the R2P doctrine with Canadian diplomats. Furthermore, the Ghanaian-born career diplomat owes his rise to power to senior Washington connections and specifically to the events of Srebrenica and the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was pushed aside by Washington to make way for Annan as the head of the United Nations.

Kofi Annan is also openly supportive of R2P. He participated as a panelist in a discussion about R2P (The Responsibility to Protect – 10 Years On: Reflections on its Past, Present and Future) held at the University of Ottawa on November 4, 2011. A week prior to this event, Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa and former Canadian ambassador to the UN, together with Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and former Canadian foreign minister, co-authored an article about R2P in the Ottawa Citizen (October 25, 2011). Both Axworthy, who was on the panel with Annan, and Allan Rock praised the war in Libya, calling it a victory for R2P.

At the panel, Annan was joined by the decidedly pro-NATO Canadian parliamentarian Christopher Alexander. Alexander is the parliamentary secretary to Peter MacKay. Mackay is the current defence minister of Canada and has voiced support for open wars against Syria and Iran. Christopher Alexander was also a Canadian diplomat in Russia for several years, the former Canadian ambassador to NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, and the deputy special representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The R2P panel was moderated by Lyse Doucet, a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and a friend of Alexander.

What is important to note about the R2P Ottawa panel is that it was largely supportive of R2P. Kofi Annan also voiced his support for NATO’s military intervention in Libya. When asked about using R2P in Syria, no firm answer was given by Annan. He did appear, however, to give his tacit support to intervention against Syria. Finally, both Annan and Axworthy proposed that regional organizations be given R2P mandates. For example, the African Union should be able to intervene on the behalf of the international community in African countries, such as Uganda and Sudan, or that the Arab League likewise be given an R2P mandate in countries, such as Syria.

These points are key factors. They should not be overlooked. Annan’s impartiality with regard to his latest pivotal task in Syria should be questioned, especially in light of his stated position on Libya and his generally supportive views for NATO military interventions.

Humanitarianism: The Face of Modern Imperialism

The NATO military interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya were and are colonial invasions masquerading as humanitarian endeavours. Moreover, what NATO did in Yugoslavia was to intervene incrementally to divide and conquer the country. According to General John Galvin, the former supreme commander of NATO, this was done because NATO officials knew that an all-out invasion during the disintegration of the country would result in a massive guerrilla war with high costs for NATO. It can also be added that such a NATO intervention would have had the inverse effect of unifying Yugoslavia instead of allowing the federal state to dissolve.

At the start of 2011, both Libya and Syria were holdouts to NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and they also had reservations about the EU’s Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). This effectively means that they were both resistant to Euro-Atlantic expansion. While popular protests in Bahrain and Jordan went unnoticed, all public eyes were directed by NATO state governments and corporate media towards Libya and Syria. This is because of imperialist interests to subvert both the latter Arab states – while the former mentioned states are allies and therefore must be bolstered despite their well-documented repressive conducts.

Atlanticism is on the march. Both NATO’s operations in the Balkans and the Arab World are intended to expand the Euro-Atlantic Zone. Its involvement in African Union missions in East Africa are also tied to this. For all observers who take a detailed look at the restructuring of states vanquished by NATO, this should be clear. Humanitarianism has become the new face of modern imperialism.
Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is a man whose face fits the deceptive humanitarian agenda of modern imperialism.

The above text is an adaptation of an article from the Journal of the Strategic Cultural Foundation (SCF).

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and award-winning author. He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He has been a contributor and guest discussing the broader Middle East on numerous international programs and networks such as Al Jazeera, Press TV, teleSUR and Russia Today. His writings have been published in more than 10 languages. Nazemroaya also writes for the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow. He is the author of a forthcoming book about Libya, The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa (2012).

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

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