Monday, September 26, 2016

CIA Torture Whistleblower: 'Quest for Peace Must Be Part of Election'

Common Dreams | Sep 24, 2016 | Andrea Germanos

"Our country is in crisis," John Kiriakou says

CIA whisteblower John Kiriakou as depicted in artist Robert Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth" series.  (Credit: Robert Shetterly)
The CIA agent who was jailed for blowing the whistle on the United States' illegal torture program has made a statement about what the nation's electorate must demand from White House hopefuls this election season.

The whistleblower, John Kiriakou, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to releasing the name of an officer implicated in a CIA torture program to the media and violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

"Our country is in crisis, whether it is because of our apparently seamless escalation into a permanent wartime economy, our inability to wage peace in the Middle East and South Asia, or our national compulsion to prosecute and humiliate national security whistleblowers," he said in a statement.

"The quest for peace must be a part of our presidential election. Instead of arguing which candidate would be more likely to use drones, more likely to bomb our enemies, real or perceived, or more likely to use the stick, rather than the carrot, we must demand that those candidates commit themselves to the pursuit of peace both here and abroad.

"Without peace, we will continue down the long road toward anarchy and hatred," he added.

Kiriakou made the statement ahead of receiving on Sunday the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.

SAAII said in a statement that the whistleblower "was the first U.S. government official to confirm (during a national news interview in December 2007) that waterboarding—which he described as torture—was used to interrogate al Qaeda prisoners. Kiriakou also stated that he found U.S. 'enhanced interrogation techniques' immoral, and that Americans are 'better than that.'"

Kiriakou has previously said that "the entire torture program was approved by the president himself," and that he doubts the U.S. government "would ever have the guts to charge someone at the level of a Dick Cheney or of a CIA director ... with crimes against humanity."

Has your DNA been altered by GMOs?

Natural News | Sep 26, 2016 | David Gutierrez

If you are eating genetically modified foods – including essentially any product containing corn or soy that has not been certified organic or free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – the modified genes in those GMOs might be negatively influencing your body's own DNA.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has warned that studies have linked consumption of GMOs with health problems, including reproductive dysfunction (including infertility), organ damage, immune dysfunction, insulin disorders and accelerated aging. The mechanisms by which such harms occur remain unclear, but at least some of them might come from changes that GMOs cause to the DNA of organisms other than those deliberately "modified" by genetic engineers.

GMO DNA passes into your blood

The biggest question is this: Does eating GMOs modify your DNA? The short answer is: Possibly. No one really knows.

GMOs are produced through horizontal gene transfer, which involves splicing genes from an external source (either another organism, or a synthetic gene engineered in a lab) into the genome of a living creature. This process is so new that it remains unclear if this horizontally transferred DNA might behave in ways different from traditional, "vertically transferred" DNA (that is, inherited from one's ancestors).

Some bacteria have been shown to horizontally transfer DNA between species; it is unclear if this can occur among more complex organisms, as well. If so, there could be biological pathways in place allowing engineered DNA from GMOs to move into the human genome.

This concern remains mostly theoretical, but at least one study showed that DNA from GMOs can indeed leave your food and enter your bloodstream. Could it be taken up from there by some of your cells and incorporated into your genome?

A 2014 paper in PLOS One analyzed the results of four prior independent studies on more than 1,000 human participants who had eaten GMO foods, including derivatives such as high-fructose corn syrup, soy protein, or meat from animals fed GMOs. The researchers found that DNA fragments derived from GMO plants were indeed found in the bloodstream, rather than being broken down as GMO companies claim.

"In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA," the researchers wrote.

The DNA found was "cell-free DNA," which floats outside of cells and is not known to play any physiological role. Thus, the study does not prove that the human genome is being modified by GMOs – but it does refute a main claim of GMO proponents, and raises some important concerns.

GMOs hijack beneficial bacteria

In at least one area, however, a diet containing GMOs has been shown to lead to genetic changes: in the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the human gut. These roughly 100 trillion organisms – collectively known as the microbiome – play important and complex roles in regulating everything from metabolism to immune function to mood and cognition. Microbiome dysfunction has even been linked with autism.

Studies have shown that DNA from GMO foods can pass into human gut bacteria. For example, gut bacteria have been shown to incorporate the insecticide-producing Bt gene found in many GMO foods, thereby producing pesticides within the human body.

Small changes to the microbiome can produce big changes. A 2015 study found that emulsifiers (common food additives) caused changes to the gut microbiome that caused inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and metabolic syndrome.

Prior research has shown that people with IBD and metabolic syndrome both have different makeups to their microbiomes than people without those diseases. Notably, both diseases have increased dramatically in prevalence since the mid-20th century, suggesting environmental causes.

Sources for this article include:

Yemen Resistance Shatters Saudi Arabia Territorial Integrity

If Saudi Arabia continues to exude control and political confidence from behind the billions of dollars its large coffers have offered its elite by way of immunity, the kingdom never planned for Yemen Resistance to rise a colossus against its theocracy … and yet it did.

Against all odds, and one may add despite all odds, the poorest of all nations, the most downtrodden of people managed by the strength of their arms to not only push again several military super-powers, but also to breach al-Saud’s borders to sing defiant freedom.

Brought together by the fires of war, Yemen the nation-state was reborn in the defiance of its most revered revolutionary – the one man, who, far away from the corridors of power has breathed sovereignty and pride back into the hearts of his countrymen: Sheikh Abdel-Malek al-Houthi.

Today Yemen stands not a broken shell of nation under the boot of a multinational military coalition, but a country in a state of grand resistance against oppression. While many have recognised in Yemen’s fight that of humanity’s struggle against oppression, too many still have allowed for superficial signs of wealth to cloud their judgement. Yes, Yemen is poor, under-developed and arguably rough around the edges … But it still should be given the courtesy of its future.

Yemen is entitled to its future … and most importantly its mistakes. Freedom is a natural right, not a Western monopoly. Sovereignty and territorial integrity are enshrined in international law as inalienable rights, not privileges reserved to the mighty and the strong.

Yemenis today are no longer playing by Western powers’ rules. “We have been sold to the insanity and hysteric imperialism of al-Saud by those very Western capitals which vowed to promote our freedom and civil liberties,” noted Dr Hassan al-Wazeer, a retired geopolitical analyst, and former presidential advisor.

He added, “We have been betrayed … our motherland was breached, our waterways have been occupied, our skies have been invaded, our people held ransom so that our wealth, our pride, our future could be sold to Riyadh, and returned to the control of Western imperialism. But Yemen was never in its history breached. Yemen cannot be breached! Yemen’s future will not be forfeited, and our people will fight until our blood is spent entirely.”

Indeed, Yemen has yet to be conquered …

Yemen in fact has done some conquering of its own – or rather it is its lands Yemen went to reclaim from under the feet of Arabia’s most vicious theocracy: Wahhabist Saudi Arabia.

Hidden by an obedient media, certain truths about Yemen’s war have yet to surface. Yemen its need to be said, asserted and clamoured is winning this atrocious genocidal war of attrition. Yemen you most certainly never could have imagined has held its own against the military kraken the kingdom unleashed against its people.

As its towns, cities and villages have burnt bright red under Saudi Arabia’s coalition relentless, and as Kim Sharif (a prominent human rights activist) put it “hysterical” bombing, Yemen Resistance Movement, backed by all northern tribes have built a popular army capable of shaking even the golden throne of al-Saud centennial monarchy.

Three centuries after Nejd dynasty imprinted on the Hejaz to finally give it its name: Saudi Arabia – which translates as the land of al-Saud, it is the impoverished tribes of Yemen which seek liberation and justice for their kin, and all kin after that.

18 months into this bloodbath Western media have insisted on calling an exercise of democracy-building Yemen has reasserted its presence in the southern Saudi Arabian provinces of Najran, Asir and Jizan – those very lands which were stolen by a greedy monarchy for their natural resources.

Should it be made whole once more Yemen’s natural resources will surpass by far that of the kingdom. According to recent studies, which findings were confirmed by the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Yemen’s oil reserves would account for 30% of the world’s reserves, outbidding Saudi Arabia itself.

Yemen needs no one to find a way out of poverty, it only requires its territorial integrity -which right was challenged and tramples over by Riyadh megalomania.

As of mid-September military sources within the Yemeni Resistance Movement have confirmed that Asir, Najran and Jizan tribesmen have joined in with their troops against al-Saud. Far from opposing Yemen’s efforts, Southern Saudi Arabia is learning to call itself Yemeni again.

If this sounds farfetched consider for a moment what religious oppression those former Yemeni provinces have had to endure under al-Saud rule. The kingdom you ought to remember is not kind towards those religious groups which refuse Wahhabism. In 2008 Human Rights Watch published a damning report against the kingdom when it testified to the cultural and religious genocide Ismailis in Najran faced.

It read: “Official discrimination in Saudi Arabia against Ismailis encompasses government employment, religious practices, and the justice system. Government officials exclude Ismailis from decision making, and publicly disparage their faith. Following the clashes in April 2000, Saudi authorities imprisoned, tortured, and summarily sentenced hundreds of Ismailis, and transferred hundreds of Ismaili government employees outside the region. Underlying discriminatory practices have continued unabated.”

Ismailis, Zaidis, Twelvers, Sufis, Sunnis … all those communities have faced the intolerant blade of Wahhabism. Why would they not yearn to return to Yemen’s flag and live in peace once more? Why would they not aspire to a life of dignity and freedom following decades a brutal oppression?

Saudi Arabia has become a devolution onto itself, a theofascist gangrene propped by its oil revenues and Islam pilgrimage. Still Riyadh continues to benefit from Western friendships … still its monarchy has been allowed a sit at Democracy’s table for it carries in its wake shiny gold coins.

Yemen can no longer afford to sit idle. It is death after all the kingdom has pledged to bring Yemen. It is political and religious enslavement Riyadh wants to manifest in Southern Arabia.

And so Yemen Resistance Movement is marching on against the kingdom – the sons of Hamran against the sons of Nejd – Free Arabia against the Caesars of our time.

Saudi Arabia surrender yourself, for you are surrounded” … the Resistance sings. It is such defiance which now could inspire a grand regional awakening and spell the end of an empire.

Catherine Shakdam is the Director of Programs of the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Voices from Syria: “The US-Supported Terrorists Control Occupied Territories with Unspeakable Barbarism”

Global Research | Sep 25, 2016 | Mark Taliano

Jad Nasr lives in Syria.  He’s 29, and he has a Master’s in English literature.  He sometimes uses his considerable talents by serving as translator for high Syrian dignitaries, such as the Grand Mufti.

He also has the scar from a bullet wound in his chest, and he receives death threats.  He explains that terrorists shot him because they didn’t want to hear the truth.  Presumably, the terrorists prefer their own version of the “truth”, as dictated by Wahhabi – supporting al Jazeera and Safa TV… as well as all  mainstream media messaging promulgated by the West.

Jad’s story is not pleasant, and it highlights what Syrians have to endure on a daily basis.  He says that his brother was kidnapped last year, and that the terrorists tortured him and destroyed his knees.  Now he can’t walk.   He also told me that his cousin, who was serving in the Syrian Arab Army, lost his leg when Wahhabi suicide bombers attacked his military vehicle. Another cousin was kidnapped in 2012, and remains in captivity.

The terrorists have a talent for kidnapping. Nasr explained that in one operation, they used false flag tactics to capture tanks, and ultimately to capture thousands of Syrian soldiers at Douma, Syria.

The terrorists also like to showcase their defensive tactics.  One of their favorites is to use captives as human shields. Nasr’s testimony and video evidence demonstrate kidnapped individuals being put in cages, and used as human shields in town squares.  Needless to say, when the terrorists occupy towns or parts of towns and cities, they are necessarily using human captives as shields, and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) takes tremendous risks by fighting house to house, as they do.

Whereas the U.S, for example, carpet bombed Falluja in Iraq, the SAA, doesn’t have that “luxury” since it avoids killing Syrian civilians at all costs.

The terrorists control occupied territories with unspeakable barbarism.  A witness to the massacre at Adra described the scene in these words:
The rebels began to attack the government centers, and attacked the police station—where all the policemen were killed after only a brief clash because of the large numbers of the attackers. They (the attackers) then headed to the checkpoint located on the edge of the city before moving to the clinic, where they slaughtered one from the medical staff and put his head in the popular market. They then dragged his body in front of townspeople who gathered to see what was happening. Bakery workers who resisted their machinery being taken away were roasted in their own oven. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters went from house to house with a list of names and none of those taken away then has been seen since.’
When the Syrian army would try to enter Adra the Jihadists would throw women and children from the 20,000 people it captured off the top floors in front of the army.”

Nasr also discussed the lies propagated by imperialists, and believed by multitudes.  He says that for the first three weeks of the so-called “revolution”, police and security personnel were ordered to not carry guns.  It was during this time that 15 of Nasr’s friends were killed by so-called “peaceful protestors”.

These same “peaceful protestors” were the spearhead of the Western-orchestrated “regime change” operations, wherein the Muslim Brotherhood and foreign operatives played central roles. The “Arab Spring” was a foreign intelligence operation from the beginning.

Recent estimates suggest that terrorists from about 100 countries are currently infesting Syria. This, he says, coupled with the legal interventions of the “Axis of resistance”, and the illegal war crimes of NATO and its allies, means that the dirty war on Syria is increasingly a world war.

Those of us who still believe the war lies are enabling imperialists who are pushing us towards the unthinkable.