Archive for April, 2013

Privacy issues with China’s Qihoo 360 Technology are becoming more public [Global Times]

Posted in China on April 30, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 10, 2013

China’s Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq:QIHU), whose free antivirus software has captured more than 80 percent of the market — estimated at about 1.5 billion people — is being accused of stealing confidential information from hundreds of millions of users.

Early last month, National Business Daily, a Chinese economic news outlet, published a story titled “The Mystery of 360 Black Box,” accusing Beijing-based Qihoo of inserting illegal software into its antivirus software and Internet browser and stealing users’ private information and business secrets to gain more market share and serve its own interests. The report described the conduct as “cancerous cells of the Chinese Internet.”

The National Business Daily article cited a third-party programmer who goes by the name “Independent Investigator” as saying that Qihoo 360 used the backdoor of its software in conjunction with its cloud service to steal user information and uninstall competitors’ software from users’ computers. The article said Qihoo has for years been using its products to gather personal information such as email addresses, medical records, financial information and passwords.

The ensuing discussion and public attention saw users abandon Qihoo’s antivirus software in droves. In the city of Nanjing, one user even took Qihoo to court, alleging that its 360 Internet browser uploads users’ surfing history to the company’s server.

The news story reflected concerns that date back several years and have in at least one case resulted in a lawsuit. The plaintiff in that suit said consumers’ suspicion and anger at Qihoo are well justified. The company’s explanations for having collected private information without consent have been unsatisfactory.

Concerns about Qihoo increased last fall when Wan Tao, a well-known former hacker who now leads a nonprofit called IDF Lab that monitors Internet threats, investigated Qihoo. Specifically, IDF spent about two weeks studying the 360 security browser’s v5.0.8.7 version, and on Nov. 26, 2012, Wan and his team published a report on 360, documenting a hidden backdoor of the software. The IDF report alleged that “through its application, 360 security Internet browser has downloaded DLL files from 360 servers and applied them without user knowledge, providing no clear file application and usage explanation.”

Aware of the highly sensitive nature of the overall issue as well as its own investigation, Wan explained some of the precautions IDF took in conducting its research.

“We had the test results quite some time ago, but we took some time, and we made the wording more neutral,” said Wan. He said the purpose of the tests was to raise awareness, not to make a profit. Before publishing, IDF contacted Qihoo, asking its tech team to provide answers to some questions. But the only response came from Qihoo’s public relations team, consistently denying IDF’s requests for answer, said Wan. In fact, he added, they not only denied requests for information but also suggested IDF was engaging in attempted extortion.

Concerns about privacy with Qihoo products led Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) earlier this year to remove Qihoo apps from its App Store, including core products such as 360 Mobile Phone Guard and its Internet browser.

Qihoo’s chairman, Zhou Hongyi, has long maintained his company’s innocence, saying the criticisms stem from rivals’ resentment at his company’s competitive successes.

Article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/773944/Privacy-issues-with-Chinas-Qihoo-360-Technology-are-becoming-more-public.aspx

“Boston and Venezuela: Terrorism There and Here” by Dr. James Petras [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, Egypt, FBI, Hugo Chavez, Iraq, Libya, NATO invasion, Obama, Pakistan, Police, Police State, Russia, State Department, Syria, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Venezuela on April 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 26, 2013

Introduction

Two major terrorists’ attacks took place almost simultaneously: in Boston, two alleged Chechen terrorists set off bombs during the annual Boston Marathon killing three people and injuring 170; in Venezuela, terrorist-supporters of defeated presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, assassinated 8 and injured 70 supporters of victorious Socialist Party candidate Nicolas Maduro, in the course of firebombing 8 health clinics and several Party offices and homes. In the case of Boston, the terrorist spree resulted in one further fatality – one of the perpetrators; in Venezuela, some of the terrorists are under arrest but their political mentors are still free and active – in fact they are now presented as ‘victims of repression’ by the US media.

By examining the context, politics, government responses and mass media treatment of these terrorist acts we can gain insight into the larger meaning of terrorism and how it reflects, not merely the hypocrisy of the US government and mass media, but the underlying politics that encourages terrorism.

Context of Terrorism: From Chechnya to Boston : A Dangerous Game

Chechnya has been an armed battleground for over two decades pitting the secular Russian State against local Muslim fundamentalist separatists. Washington , fresh from arming and financing Muslim jihadis in a successful [sic] war against the secular Soviet-backed Afghan regime in the 1980’s, expanded its aid program into Central Asian and Caucasian Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union.

Russian military might ultimately defeated the Chechen warlords but many of their armed followers fled to other countries, joining armed, extremist, Islamist groups in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and later Egypt, Libya and now Syria. While accepting Western, especially US arms, to fight secular adversaries of the US Empire, the jihadis’ ultimate goal has been a clerical (Islamic) regime. Washington and the Europeans have played a dangerous game: using Muslim fundamentalists as shock troops to defeat secular nationalists, while planning to dump them in favor of neo-liberal ‘moderate’ Muslim or secular client regimes afterwards.

This cynical policy has backfired everywhere – including in the US. Fundamentalists in Afghanistan took state power after the Soviets pulled out. They opposed the US, which invaded Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and have successfully engaged in a 12 year war of attrition with Washington and NATO, spawning powerful allies in Pakistan and elsewhere. Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan serve as training bases and a ‘beacon’ for terrorists the world over.

The US invasion of Iraq and overthrow of President Saddam Hussein led to ten years of Al Qaeda and related-clerical terrorism in Iraq, wiping out the entire secular society. In the case of Libya and Syria , NATO and Gulf State arms have greatly expanded the arsenals of terrorist fundamentalists in North and Sub-Sahara Africa and the Middle East. Western-sponsored fundamentalist terrorists were directly related to the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington and there is little doubt that the recent actions of the Chechen bombers in Boston are products of this latest upsurge of NATO-backed fundamentalist advances in North Africa and the Middle East.

But against all the evidence to the contrary, Chechen terrorists are viewed by the White House as “freedom fighters” engaged in liberating their country from the secular Russians … Perhaps after the Boston terror attack, that appraisal will change.

Venezuela : Presenting Terrorism as “Peaceful Dissent”

The candidate of the US backed and financed opposition, Henrique Capriles, has lived up to his reputation for violent politics. In the run-up to his failed candidacy in the Venezuelan presidential election on April 15, his followers sabotaged power lines causing frequent national blackouts. His supporters among the elite hoarded basic consumer items, causing shortages, and repeatedly threatened violence if the election went against them.

With over 100 international observers from the United Nations, European Commission and the Jimmy Carter Center there to certify the Venezuelan elections, Capriles and his inner circle unleashed their street gangs, who proceeded to target Socialist voters, campaign workers, health clinics, newly-built low-income housing projects and Cuban doctors and nurses.

The “white terror” resulted in 8 deaths and 70 injuries. Over 135 right-wing street thugs were arrested and 90 were charged with felonies, conspiracy to commit murder and destroy public property. Capriles, violent political credentials go back at least a decade earlier when he played a major role in the bloody coup which briefly overthrew President Hugo Chavez in 2002. Capriles led a gang of armed thugs and assaulted the Cuban embassy, ‘arresting’ legitimate Cabinet ministers who had taken refuge. After a combined military and popular mass movement restored President Chavez, Capriles was placed under arrest for violence and treason. The courageous Venezuelan Attorney General, Danilo Anderson, was in the process of prosecuting Capriles and several hundred of his terrorist supporters when he was assassinated by a car bomb – planted by supporters of the failed coup.

Though Capriles electoral propaganda was given a face-lift – he even called himself a candidate of the “center-left” and a supporter of several of President Chavez’s “social missions”, his close ties with terrorist operatives were revealed by his call for violent action as soon as his electoral defeat was announced. His thinly veiled threat to organize a “mass march” and seize the headquarters of the electoral offices was only called off when the government ordered the National Guard and the Armed Forces on high alert. Clearly Capriles’ terror tactics were only pulled back in the face of greater force. When the legal order decided to defend democracy and not yield to terrorist blackmail, Capriles temporarily suspended violent activity and regrouped his forces, allowing the legal-electoral face of his movement to come to the fore.

Responses to Terror: Boston and Venezuela

In response to the terrorist incident in Boston, the local, state and federal police were mobilized and literally shut down the entire city and its transport networks and went on a comprehensive and massive ‘manhunt’: the mass media and the entire population were transformed into tools of a police state investigation. Entire blocks and neighborhoods were scoured as thousands of heavily armed police and security forces went house to house, room to room, dumpster to dumpster looking for a wounded 19 year old college freshman. A terror alert was raised for the entire country ad overseas police networks and intelligence agencies were involved in the search for the terrorist assassins. The media and the government constantly showed photos of the victims, emphasizing their horrific injuries and the gross criminality of the act: it was unthinkable to discuss any political dimensions to the act – it was presented, pure and simple, as an act of political terror directed at ‘cowering the American people and their elected government’. Every government official demanded that anyone, even remotely linked, to the crime or criminals face the full force of the law.

On the other hand and coinciding with the attack in Boston, when the Venezuelan oppositionist terrorists launched their violent assault on the citizens and public institutions they were given unconditional support by the Obama regime, which claimed the killers were really ‘democrats seeking to uphold free elections’. Secretary of State Kerry refused to recognize the electoral victory of President Maduro. Despite the carnage, the Venezuelan government did not declare martial law: at most the National Guard and loyalist police upheld the law and arrested several dozen protestors and terrorists; many of the former – not directly linked to violence – were quickly released. Moreover, despite the internationally certified elections by over 100 observers, the Maduro government conceded the chief demand for an electoral recount – in the hope of averting further right-wing bloodshed.

US Media Response

All the major Western news agencies, including the principle ‘respectable’ print media (Financial Times, New York Times and Washington Post) converted the Venezuelan political assassins into ‘peaceful protestors’ who were victimized for attempting to register their dissent. In other words, Washington and the entire media came out in full force in favor of political terror perpetrated against an adversarial democratic government, while invoking a near-martial law state for a brutal, but limited, act of terror in the US . Washington apparently does not make the connection between its support of terrorism abroad and its spread to the US .

The US media has blocked out discussion of the ties between Chechen terrorist front groups, based in the US and UK, and leading US neoconservatives and Zionists, including Rudolph Giuliani, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adleman, Elliott Abrams, Midge Dector, Frank Gaffney and R. James Woolsey – all leading members of the self-styled ‘American Committee for Peace in Chechnya’ (re-named Committee for Peace in the Caucasus after the horrific Beslan school massacre). These Washington luminaries are all full-throated supporters of the ‘war on terror’ or should we say supporters of ‘terror and war’ (“Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons” by former FBI official Coleen Rowley 4/19/13). The headquarters and nerve center for many ‘exile’ Chechen leaders, long sought by Russian authorities for mass terrorist activities, is Boston, Massachusetts – the site of the bombing – another ‘fact’ thus far ignored by the FBI and the Justice Department, perhaps because of long-standing and on-going working relations in organizing terrorist incidents aimed at destabilizing Russia.

Former Presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, after the bombing, stated that Chechens ‘were only focused (sic) on Russia ’ and not on the US (his Chechens perhaps). Interpol and US intelligence Agencies are well aware that Chechen militants have been involved in several Al Qaeda terrorist groups throughout South and Central Asia as well as the Middle East . The Russian government’s specific inquiries regarding any number of suspected Chechen terrorists or fronts have been given short shrift – apparently including the activities of one Tamerlan Tsarnaev, recently deceased.

(As a historical aside (and perhaps not unrelated), the Boston-based FBI was notorious from the 1970’s through the 1990’s for protecting a brutal gangster hit man, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, as a privileged informant, while he murdered dozens of individuals in the New England area.)

The Deeper Meaning of the War on Terrorism

US support for Venezuelan terrorists and their political leader, Henrique Capriles, is part of a complex multi-track policy combining the exploitation of electoral processes and the clandestine funding of NGO’s for “grass roots” agitation of local grievances, together with support for ‘direct action’ including ‘trial runs’ of political violence against the symbols and institutions of social democracy. The versatile Capriles is the perfect candidate to run in elections while orchestrating terror. Past US experience with political terror in Latin America has had a boomerang effect – as evident in the Miami-based Cuban terrorist engagement with numerous bombings, gun-running and drug trafficking within the USA, especially the 1976 car bombing assassination of the exile Chilean Minister Orlando Letelier and an American associate on Embassy Row in the heart of Washington, DC – an action never characterized as ‘terrorism’ because of official US ties to the perpetrators.

Despite financial, political and military links between Washington and terrorists, especially fundamentalists, the latter retain their organizational autonomy and follow their own political-cultural agenda, which in most cases is hostile to the US. As far as the Chechens, the Afghans and the Al Qaeda Syrians today are concerned, the US is a tactical ally to be discarded on the road to establishing independent fundamentalist states. We should add the scores of Boston victims to the thousands of US citizens killed in New York, Washington, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere by former fundamentalist allies of the US .

By siding with terrorists and their political spokespeople and refusing to recognize the validity of the elections in Venezuela, the Obama regime has totally alienated itself from all of South America and the Caribbean. By supporting violent assaults against democratic institutions in Venezuela, the White House is signaling to its clients in opposition to the governments of Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador – that violent assaults against independent democratic governments is an acceptable road to restoring the neo-liberal order and US centered ‘regional integration’.

Conclusion

Washington has demonstrated no consistent opposition to terrorism – it depends on the political goals of the terrorists and on the target adversaries. In one of the two recent cases – the US government declared virtual “martial law” on Boston to kill or capture two terrorists who had attacked US citizens in a single locale; whereas in the case of Venezuela, the Obama regime has given political and material support to terrorists in order to subvert the entire constitutional order and electoral regime.

Because of the long-standing and deep ties between the US State Department, prominent neo-con leaders and Zionist notables with Chechen terrorists, we cannot expect a thorough investigation which would surely embarrass or threaten the careers of the major US officials who have long-term working relations with such criminals.

The White House will escalate and widen its support for the same Venezuelan terrorists who have sabotaged the electrical power system, the food supply and the constitutional electoral process of that country. Terror, in that context, serves as its launch pad for a full scale assault against the past decade’s social advances under the late President Hugo Chavez.

Meanwhile, in order to cover-up the Chechen-Washington working alliance, the Boston Marathon bombing will be reduced to an isolated act by two misguided youths, lead astray by an anonymous fundamentalist website – their actions reduced to ‘religious fundamentalism’. And despite an economy in crisis, tens of billions of more dollars will be allocated to expand the police state at home, citing its effectiveness and efficiency in the aftermath of the bombings while secretly sending more millions to foment ‘democratic’ terror…in Venezuela .

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/boston-and-venezuela-terrorism-there-and-here/5333091

Why Does America Media Continue to Honour Henry Kissinger? [Globalresearch.ca / 21st Century Wire]

Posted in Cambodia, Fascism, George W. Bush, Laos, Nazism, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam, War crimes, World War II on April 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.” – Henry Kissinger (from Wikileaks’ “The Kissinger Cables”, as quoted by Amy Goodman [“WikiLeaks’ ‘Kissinger Cables’ underline the world’s debt to Bradley Manning”, The Guardian])

I simply cannot understand the way some Chinese and their allies deliberately overlook this man’s abject criminality, in particular the blatant war crimes. I suppose it’s because his enabling of the Nixon-Mao US-Chinese (anti-Soviet) bloc is seen as a good thing. In fact, I’m not inclined to see that event so positively. – Zuo Shou

“…Those who praise Mr. Kissinger for the opening to China but ignore his mass murder in Indochina shame human decency itself. By honoring Mr. Kissinger they dishonor themselves. And they are also blind to the careerist “Executive Branch mentality” he embodied, which poses a clear and present a danger to foreigners and Americans alike today…” – Patrick Henningsen, from below article

**************
April 23, 2013

by Patrick Henningsen
21stCenturyWire.com

It’s no surprise in 2013 to see the government media complex try it’s very best to preserve the delicate legacies of lauded members of the political establishment.

Look how much effort was poured into the media eulogies for Margaret Thatcher recently, only to see the whole facade come crashing down against the real weight of public opinion and negative feelings towards the iconic Iron Lady. In the end, even the all-powerful media could not hide her affinity with international friends like General Pinochet and Pol Pot.

In the American political theater, media treatment of men or women who are considered ‘political institutions’ tends to be much more vain and sycophantic, where junior anchors and talk show hosts will generally fall over backwards to secure 15 minutes with any such veteran, even a war criminal like Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger is widely regarded by most well-read people worldwide as the mascot for carpet bombing in Southeast Asia, regime change and last but not least – US domestic policy manipulation. You could say was the forerunner to the GW Bush era of making the illegal seem legal, and making the immoral seem moral. Although he regards himself as an American, it is rather disturbing to know that a US Administration – Nikon’s [sic] in this case, would allow someone with dual nationalist loyalties and who was not born in the US, to sit in one of the most important seats in Washington DC. There was a reason why he was inserted into that role at that specific time in history. America is still living with the repercussions of that oversight today.

Whether it’s the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, the Trilateral Commission, or the Council on Foreign Relations, Henry Kissinger has always been placed in the key steering positions in order to exact certain outcomes for those whom he really works for. Still, hopeless career media pundits will continue to paint him as an foreign policy guru, but the reality is that he was simply better at manipulating and politically blackmailing those around him than the next man.

Again, and like with his good friend Lady Thatcher, Henry Kissinger’s legacy will not be easy to contain within a few clever memes like, ‘foreign policy genius’ or ‘skilled diplomat’, and no matter what agit prop the media try to erect, there will be celebrations after the fact…

Henry Kissinger’s quote recently released by Wikileaks, ”the illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer”, likely brought a smile to his legions of elite media, government, corporate and high society admirers. Oh that Henry! That rapier wit! That trademark insouciance! That naughtiness! It is unlikely, however, that the descendants of his more than 6 million victims in Indochina, and Americans of conscience appalled by his murder of non-Americans, will share in the amusement. For his illegal and unconstitutional actions had real-world consequences: the ruined lives of millions of Indochinese innocents in a new form of secret, automated, amoral U.S. Executive warfare which haunts the world until today.

And his conduct raises even more fundamental questions: to what extent can leaders who act secretly ,illegally and unconstitutionally, lying to their citizenry and legislature as a matter of course, legitimately claim to represent their people? How much allegiance do citizens owe such leaders? And what does it say about America’s elites that they have honored a man with so much innocent blood on his hands for the past 40 years?

Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs between January 1969 and January 1973 – nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam – Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital – which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.

There is a word for the aerial mass murder that Henry Kissinger committed in Indochina, and that word is “evil”. The figure most identified with this word today is Adolph Hitler, and his evil was so unspeakable that the term is by now identified with him. But that is precisely why it is important to understand the new face of evil and moral depravity that Henry Kissinger represents. For evil not only comes in the form of madmen dreaming of 1000 year Reichs. In fact, in our day, it is more likely to be committed by sane, genial and ordinary careerists waging invisible automated war in far-off lands against people whose screams we never hear, whose faces we never see, and whose deaths go unrecorded and unnoticed. It is critical to understand this new face of evil, for it threatens not only countless foreigners but Americans in coming years. And no one has embodied it more than Henry Kissinger.

The planes he dispatched came by day. They came by night. Remorseless. Pitiless. Relentless. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Most of the people below had no idea where the bombers came from, why their lives had been turned into a living hell. The movie “War of the Worlds”, in which Americans are incomprehensibly slaughtered by machines is the closest depiction of what the innocent rice-farmers of Indochina experienced.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were forced to live in holes and caves, like animals. Many tens of thousands were burned alive by the bombs, slowly dying in agony. Others were buried alive, as they gradually suffocated to death when a 500 pound bomb exploded nearby. Most were victims of antipersonnel bombs designed primarily to maim not kill, many of the survivors carrying the metal, jagged or plastic pellets in their bodies for the rest of their lives.

Fathers like 38-year old Thao Vong were suddenly blinded or crippled for life as they lost an arm or leg, made helpless, unable to support their families, becoming dependent on others just to stay alive. Children were struck, lying out in the open, screaming, villagers unable to come to their aid for fear of being killed themselves. No one was spared – neither sweet, loving grandmothers nor lovely young women, neither laughing, innocent children nor nursing or pregnant mothers, not water buffalo needed to farm not the shrines where people had for centuries honored their ancestors and hoped one day to be honored themselves.

A farmer on the Plain of Jars in northern Laos wrote of being bombed by the U.S. in 1969 that “every day and every night the planes came to drop bombs on us. We lived in holes to protect our lives. I saw my cousin die in the field of death. My heart was most disturbed and my voice called out loudly as I ran to the houses. Thus, I saw life and death for the people on account of the war of many airplanes in the region of the Plain of Jars. Until there were no houses at all. And the cows and buffalo were dead. Until everything was leveled and you could see only the red, red ground.”

A 30-year old mother wrote that “at that time, our lives became like those of animals desperately trying to escape their hunters. Our lives were confided to the Lord Buddha. No matter when, all we did was to pray to the Lord to save our lives.”

A 39 year old rice-farmer wrote of the aftermath of a bombing raid: “The other villagers and I got together to consider this thing. We hadn’t done anything, nor harmed anyone. We had raised our crops, celebrated the festivals and maintained our homes for many years. Why did the planes drop bombs on us, impoverishing us this way?”

Mr. Kissinger exulted to President Nixon over this bombing, telling him that “it’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs … I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month … each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.”

Although Mr. Kissinger claimed he was only bombing enemy troops, guerrilla soldiers were largely undetectable from the air. Investigating the bombing of northern Laos, the U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee concluded that “the United States has undertaken a large-scale air war over Laos to destroy the physical and social infrastructure in Pathet Lao (i.e., guerrilla) areas. Throughout all this there has been a policy of secrecy. The bombing has taken and is taking a heavy toll among civilians.” These words apply to Mr. Kissinger’s bombing throughout Indochina. The villagers of Indochina were not “collateral damage”. They were the target.

Those who praise Mr. Kissinger for the opening to China but ignore his mass murder in Indochina shame human decency itself. By honoring Mr. Kissinger they dishonor themselves. And they are also blind to the careerist “Executive Branch mentality” he embodied, which poses a clear and present a danger to foreigners and Americans alike today. Adolph Hitler dreamed of conquering…the world. Mr. Kissinger destroyed millions of lives primarily to further his career by preventing a communist takeover while he held office. And it is this kind of institutional, bureaucratic mentality, combined with new machines of secret war, which threatens the humanity today far more than the crazed ideologies of the past.

In the end Mr. Kissinger failed, as the communists took over Indochina in the spring of 1975…

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-does-america-media-continue-to-honour-henry-kissinger/5332598

China denies border spat with India [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, India, PLA on April 28, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)
April 26, 2013

The Ministry of National Defense has rejected recent foreign media reports that border tensions with India have flared up and said both countries’ border troops are still communicating and coordinating through existing channels.

Media reports of Chinese border troops, military planes and helicopters crossing the Line of Actual Control into Indian side are “not true”, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a regular monthly news conference.

“The Chinese border defense troops always strictly abide by the relevant agreements reached by the two governments and are committed to safeguarding peace and tranquility in the border area between China and India,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry also denied that Chinese troops had trespassed on Indian territory and said it hopes to properly resolve the dispute through peaceful negotiations.

“We have confidence that the good momentum that the two countries are now developing will not be hindered by border issues,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Thursday.

A wide gap remains between the two sides over the border issue, and their interpretations of where the Line of Actual Control lies still differ. But a consensus has been reached that the gap can be narrowed only by political means, experts said.

Neither China nor India wants to see the border issues affect overall bilateral ties, and mechanisms and efforts in place are still working, said Sun Shihai, an expert on Indian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that the two countries began having meetings between special representatives on border issues in 2003.

“Confrontation is not welcomed by either side,” he added.

On Thursday, India’s foreign minister announced plans to visit China on May 9, saying the countries have a mutual interest in not allowing border disputes to “destroy” long-term progress in ties, according to AFP.

“I believe we have a mutual interest and we should not destroy years of contribution we have put together,” Salman Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a business event in New Delhi.

“I think it is a good thing that we are having a dialogue.”

While not directly linking his visit to the border dispute, Khurshid will be the most senior Indian official to visit Beijing since its new leadership took over at the beginning of the year.

China and India had a brief border war in 1962. More than a dozen rounds of talks have been launched since 2003 to resolve the border disputes.

A new step was made in 2012 when a mechanism for consultation and coordination regarding border issues has been officially launched. But bilateral ties have still been occasionally strained by the issue.

The border dispute is an issue left over from the history of Western colonialism, and both China and India are victims, according to Dong Manyuan, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

As both countries face the task of developing their own economies and keeping their rapid growth, border issues should not get in the way, the experts said.

“But we cannot expect the disputes to be solved overnight. We need to have patience on that,” Dong said.

Narrowing differences through peaceful negotiations is the right method, and China’s previous experience with solving border disputes with other countries has proved that, he added.

Article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8223124.html

Boston: This is what a police state looks like [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, DEA, FBI, Iraq, Obama, Psychological warfare, US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on April 28, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Steve Gillis on April 23, 2013

Boston — Using war jargon associated with Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities have repeatedly described the blasts that killed three people and injured 176 at the crowded Boston Marathon on “Patriots Day,” April 15, as “IED bombings,” for improvised explosive devices. Many of the injured suffered horrific amputations and shrapnel wounds.

Since then, a common sentiment shared among people here has been, “This must be what it looks like every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Over the next four days, people in the greater Boston area experienced a police state operation that many also described as a preview of martial law.

* Media: false reports and glorifying military *

Thousands of heavily armed and mechanized National Guard troops, military police, FBI SWAT teams and federal agents of every stripe — from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to the Drug Enforcement Administration — mobilized to assist the Boston police lockdown of the downtown area. At the same time, the media began a nearly uninterrupted 24/7 coverage of the “manhunt.”

TV newscasters breathlessly glorified a “courageous civilian” for allegedly tackling a “fleeing Saudi national” whose hands were “suspiciously burned” at the bombing scene. Boston police set up an armed guard at his hospital room and federal SWAT teams raided an apartment building in Revere known to house hundreds of international students, displaying bags of “seized evidence” to the cameras.

A CNN reporter repeatedly shared his scoop with the world, straight from “sources at the highest level of law enforcement,” that authorities were focusing on a “dark skinned, Black male seen with a package in surveillance video” at the scene shortly before the blasts.

The next two days, as armories, parks, fields and parking lots throughout the city became stages of military drilling and awesome weaponry, the media urged the public to share their photos with authorities and to scrutinize their neighbors. “Terrorism experts,” mostly retired military and CIA officers, theorized from studios of every network affiliate about “radical Islamist ideology,” “domestic and international terror organizations” and the “vulnerabilities of a free society to attack.”

A SWAT team dramatically arrived on camera in an armored personnel carrier, black-suited soldiers hanging off the sides, to raid a home in New Bedford. They never said why.

On April 15, President Barack Obama had declared, “Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.” He seemed to have forgotten about the drones. Then, on April 18, he arrived for a memorial service at Boston’s largest cathedral. The public was invited, but few besides “dignitaries” made it past the barricades. Obama received thunderous applause throughout the service, carried live, especially for the passage near the end when he said: “Yes, we will find you. And, yes, you will face justice. … But more than that, our fidelity to our way of life — to our free and open society — will only grow stronger.”

Shortly after Air Force One took off, surveillance photos of two “WANTED” suspects flashed on the TV, illuminated billboards, jammed Twitter and social media accounts, and blazoned across web and print headlines.

* 2 million under occupation *

On April 19, the nearly 2 million residents of Boston, Cambridge, Belmont, Watertown, Brookline and Newton awoke to a state of unprecedented military occupation and command. Government robo-calls to cell and home phones, starting before 6 a.m., announced that the entire greater Boston area was on lockdown and ordered everyone to “shelter in place,” later explained as “stay inside wherever you are.”

The military shut down all public transportation in the region, including commuter rail and taxis, and blocked off roads and highways throughout the city. Police stopped unaware motorists and pedestrians and ordered them off the street. All businesses were ordered closed, including grocery stores, medical facilities, government and social service agencies, schools and universities, and all but a few defiant family-owned restaurants complied. All cultural venues were shuttered and cancelled, from the Boston Red Sox, the Big Apple Circus, the Museum of Fine Arts, concerts, churches to every youth event during this week of school vacation.

Most people spent the next 20 hours watching breathless reporters cover the action of thousands of police and military, who had overnight completely taken over the approximately 200-square-mile area.

Hundreds of agents clad in black or camouflage, their rifles loaded and supported by armoured personnel carriers, Humvees and bomb units with German shepherds, ordered pajama-clad families, often barefoot, out of their homes during block-by-block, house-to-house searches.

In one early morning live telecast from Cambridge, a reporter lamented that it was unfortunate but necessary to film a weeping Muslim woman, clutching a baby to her chest, as male officers conducted a public hands-on search of her body and put her and her baby in a black SUV.

Hapless pedestrians of many nationalities and ages were shown handcuffed or face down on the sidewalk at bristling gunpoint. Some people were publicly strip-searched, as reporters explained that the police — seen throughout the day frantically running and yelling — cannot be too careful. As dozens of helicopters hovered low in neighborhoods throughout the city, police “gang” units and shopping mall security guards had people of all nationalities up against walls, especially young people of color.

On the Boston Globe’s blog, people learned that “Police ‘Revel’ at Photo of Dead Bombing Suspect.” A gruesome picture, reminiscent of the Abu Ghraib torture snapshots, showed a naked, mutilated corpse. This photo was said to be of 26-year-old suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev on a morgue slab, reportedly taken by a cop and then posted on social media sites. It clearly showed bullet holes and a surgical laceration, but no blast trauma which would have indicated that he had blown himself up with a suicide belt strapped to his chest — which had been urgently reported throughout the day as an explanation for the police behavior.

The military evacuated and shut down the entire campus of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, an hour’s drive from Boston, where Tsarnaev’s younger brother, Dzhokhar, had just begun college. Following his capture, the media showed crowds of U.S. flag-waving, openly alcohol-drinking, mostly young white people celebrating with police on Boston Common.

In the aftermath, timelines of the suspects’ activities have deleted what once was reported so definitely: that their apparent flight on April 19 and subsequent police chase, shortly after the President’s departure, began with their robbery at gunpoint of a 7-Eleven store in Central Square, Cambridge. Every media had reported that surveillance photos at the cash register proved it. As of April 22, it turns out that they had stopped for gas and candy bars and no robbery occurred there that night.

It also turns out — though you can no longer find it in media accounts — that authorities had photos of the alleged suspects well before President Obama landed the morning of April 18. According to live reports during the “manhunt,” the FBI tactically decided not to publicize the photos and initiate the Boston military lockdown until after the president’s speech.

The lead Boston Globe editorial on April 20 concluded: “The odds of more terror attacks are greater than the odds of losing our essential freedoms. This week has shown that we should tighten our security and loosen our concerns about minor limitations on our freedom of movement.”

Despite the blitz of pressure to accept this, many Bostonians disagree.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/04/23/boston-this-is-what-a-police-state-looks-like/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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SEE ALSO: “American democracy in shambles” [World Socialist Website]

22 April 2013

“With the imposition of a state of siege in Boston, a historical threshold has been crossed. For the first time ever, a major American city has been placed under the equivalent of martial law. The already frayed veneer of a stable democracy based on constitutional principles is in shreds…”

World Socialist Website full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/22/pers-a22.html

AND

“Why does Boston celebrate Martial Law with chants of ‘USA, USA’?” [21st Century Wire]

Full article link: http://21stcenturywire.com/2013/04/20/why-did-boston-and-america-celebrate-martial-law-with-chants-of-usa-usa/

AND

“The Boston lockdown and the Bill of Rights” [World Socialist Website]

By Tom Carter
25 April 2013

Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/25/bill-a25.html

Chinese defence paper warns of US “hegemonism” [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Australia, China, CPC, Diaoyu Islands, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Nukes, Obama, Pentagon, PLA, Serbia, Syria, Taiwan, Tibet, US imperialism, USA, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia - former FRY on April 27, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Chan
20 April 2013

The Chinese defence ministry issued a major white paper on Tuesday, in what amounts to a response to the aggressive US “pivot” to Asia. Entitled, “The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces,” the document warns of the danger of US “hegemonism.”

Confronted by the Obama administration’s efforts to undermine China strategically, as well as diplomatically and economically, Beijing is being forced to rethink its military doctrine, and prepare for a potential nuclear war instigated by Washington.

As part of the “pivot,” the Pentagon’s Air/Sea Battle strategy envisages a massive bombardment using conventional weapons of China’s basic command and communications infrastructure and missile forces to cripple the Chinese military. Aided by key allies such as Japan and Australia, the US would blockade the Chinese mainland by cutting key shipping routes through South East Asia for energy and raw materials from Africa and the Middle East.

For the first time, Beijing’s latest white paper stresses the protection of China’s maritime territories, overseas investments and shipping routes. “With the gradual integration of China’s economy into the world economic system, overseas interests have become an integral component of China’s national interests,” it states. “Security issues are increasingly prominent, involving overseas energy and resources, strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and Chinese nationals and legal persons overseas.”

Without naming the US, the paper refers to a country that “has strengthened its Asia-Pacific military alliances, expanded its military presence in the region, and frequently makes the situation tenser.” Japan, the principal US Asian ally, is specifically accused of “making trouble” over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkakus islands in the East China Sea.

The paper points to “signs of increasing hegemonism… and neo-interventionism.” This is a reference to the repeated military interventions led by the US, in particular since the late 1990s, from the bombing of Serbia to the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, the violent toppling of the Libyan regime in 2011, and the mounting intervention in Syria.

The paper also nominates threats to China’s “national unification.” Among them are “terrorism, separatism and extremism”—that is, separatist movements among national minorities such as Tibetans and Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslims that could be exploited by the US and other imperialist powers. At the same time, the paper warns that “Taiwan independence” forces and their activities are still “the biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.”

China continues to maintain a large military presence along its coastline facing Taiwan, including hundreds of thousands of Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops and an estimated 1,000 tactical ballistic missiles. The Obama administration, although aware of the extreme sensitivity of China’s claims over Taiwan as its integral territory, has begun selling billions of dollars of weapons to Taiwan. The US is also including Taiwan in its Asia-Pacific anti-ballistic missile network, which is part of the Pentagon’s preparations for a potential nuclear war against China.

The white paper refers to the first ever large-scale overseas evacuation mounted by China. During the Libyan war in 2011, some 35,860 Chinese nationals were pulled out with the assistance of Chinese warships and air force transport planes. As a result of the US- and European-led “regime change” operation, billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese investments were lost in Libya.

Yue Gang, a former officer in the PLA General Staff, noted on Sina.com that China has huge economic interests at stake. Total Chinese investment overseas has reached $US500 billion, and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2020. He said 81 million Chinese travelled overseas each year, half a million seamen were working around the world, and China operated a merchant fleet of 3,300 ships—the fourth largest in the world. As 55 percent of China’s energy production depended on imports and 93 percent of its exports relied on sea shipment, protecting China’s maritime routes was a vital question.

Yue noted that China’s military had only begun to face these tasks and lacked sufficient aircraft carriers or amphibious assault ships, as well as large transport planes capable of the “strategic lifting” of forces to distant regions.

In an effort to counter the mounting US threat, China’s military spending has steadily risen during the past decade, from $20 billion in 2002 to $114 billion this year. China has made some breakthroughs in military equipment. It is testing two prototype stealth fighters, the only nation to do so, apart from the US.

However, the US military budget of more than $680 billion dwarfs China’s. Moreover, the US possesses more than 5,100 nuclear warheads, compared to China’s estimated 240-400. The US has 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, while the Chinese navy has just one conventionally-powered carrier, and will take years to form a functional battle group with warplanes and escort warships. The US also has military bases and alliances throughout Asia and around the world.

The US media has focused on the fact that the white paper makes no mention of China’s long-standing “no first use” nuclear warfare policy. Beijing’s longstanding pledge not to launch a first nuclear strike has been reiterated in all previous defence white papers. Its omission from the latest indicates deep concerns that the US is developing the capacity to knock out China’s entire nuclear arsenal.

The US has never relinquished its “first strike” nuclear war doctrine. Moreover, it is clearly constructing the anti-ballistic missile systems to enable it to invoke that doctrine with impunity, by neutralising any Chinese counter-attack with nuclear weapons.

The Chinese white paper is another sign that Beijing is being compelled to respond to the Obama administration’s “pivot” that is aimed at preventing China from becoming a future threat to American global domination. Washington’s aggressive policies have dangerously inflamed flashpoints in Asia such as the Korean Peninsula and are fuelling an arms race throughout the region that can only lead to conflict and war.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/20/chin-a20.html

CIA’s criminal paramilitary actions grew after 9/11 [Workers World]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Assassination, Chile, China, CIA, Germany, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, Pentagon, Torture, US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Vietnam, World War II on April 27, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Prashanth Kamalakanthan on April 19, 2013

Created in 1947 as a successor to the espionage agency born during World War II for use against the U.S.’s imperialist rivals, Japan and Germany, the Central Intelligence Agency rapidly developed into an international arm of repression for U.S. imperialism against the world’s working-class and liberation movements. It especially targeted the Soviet Union, People’s China and the socialist camp during the Cold War.

The CIA never was restricted only to gathering information. It used this information to help carry out a long history of secret activities that range from attempted assassinations and regime change — for example, 1953 in Iran, 1954 in Guatemala — to the support of death squads — the Phoenix program in Vietnam — and fascist coups — Chile, 1973 — up to the wholesale buying-off of puppet politicians.

Though the CIA has always been an integral part of the state apparatus serving the imperialist ruling class, its tendency to operate secretly without government constraints has occasionally raised some opposition both outside and within the ruling-class establishment.

The most prominent efforts came in 1975 following the report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities chaired by Sen. Frank Church. President Gerald Ford then publicly banned political assassinations in 1976. Ford followed this effort in 1981 with the creation of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, to make sure the CIA stayed in line with orders from the government and in its relations with other state organs like the Pentagon and the FBI.

Despite these token gestures, in the post-9/11 era the CIA — like the other state organs — has increased all its powers. It operates a full-blown shadow paramilitary outside of any semblance of legality or accountability for its crimes. In the nearly six years after 9/11, the Intelligence Oversight Board found exactly zero CIA violations worth investigation.

The CIA has also taken on tasks that the Pentagon did earlier, before the U.S. military was stalemated by resistance forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is now in charge of extrajudicial drone killings, dragnet surveillance on all domestic communications, and a kidnapping/torture regime that spanned 54 countries.

Recent revelations by government whistleblowers shine new light on the agency’s vastly expanded crimes over the past decade.

Last week, McClatchy Newspapers obtained top-secret intelligence documenting how “contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al-Qaida and allied groups, the [Barack] Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified ‘other’ militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area.”

Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations has reflected on the report, writing that it “plainly demonstrates that the claim repeatedly made by President Obama and his senior aides — that targeted killings are limited only to officials, members, and affiliates of al-Qaida who pose an imminent threat of attack on the U.S. homeland — is false.”

The CIA’s documented practice of “signature strikes” on unnamed targets based on secret “pattern of life analysis” has long contradicted claims from top Obama administration officials that drones only target specific individuals characterized as “senior operational” and “high-level al-Qaida leaders.” Last week’s report showcases just how extreme the agency’s ignorance of its drone targets is, however. Even after the fact, in many cases the CIA cannot determine whom it has killed, forcing it to rely on fuzzy categories like “other militants” and “foreign fighters.”

Such nebulous designations have allowed for the murder of three U.S. citizens without legal justification, as well as unnamed thousands in as many as six Muslim countries where these bombings have disrupted the lives of millions who must fear each day that their children may be murdered from the sky.

The newly revealed case of Nek Muhammad again highlights the rogue nature of the assassinations program. In its first-ever drone killing inside Pakistan, the CIA secretly bargained with Pakistan to kill Muhammad — a militant tribal leader and a Pakistani, but not a U.S., target — in exchange for permission to use Pakistani airspace for its own assassinations. Claiming “covert action authority,” the CIA arranged to never acknowledge drone strikes inside Pakistan while the Pakistani government “would either take credit for individual killings or remain silent,” choosing the former option in Muhammad’s case. The agency has applied similar reasoning in its refusal to disclose in federal courts whether or not the drone program even exists.

The extreme veil of secrecy over which all CIA activities, and drone killings, in particular, are draped leads to a toxic unaccountability when crimes are uncovered. The contractual shelling of Muhammad’s compound in 2004 also killed several others, including two boys aged 10 and 16. CIA internal reports show a single civilian casualty in an April 2011 strike that actually killed “five women and four children,” after which John Brennan — Obama’s “assassinations czar” and newly confirmed CIA director — knowingly lied to the public to claim zero civilian drone casualties had ever occurred.

Throughout its history, the CIA has treated civilian populations as legitimate targets who could become “collateral damage.” A recent episode with still stinging repercussions was the plot to assassinate Osama bin Laden, an operation disguised as a polio vaccination campaign in one of the three countries that never eradicated polio.

Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani children now face the risk of exposure in a deeply suspicious climate that has already seen a dozen polio vaccinators assassinated in retaliation. Pakistanis still hold bitter resentment over the case of Ray Davis, a CIA contractor and ex-Blackwater mercenary who killed three men on the streets of Lahore before forcing the victims’ families to accept “blood money” and then fleeing the country.

Complementing the CIA’s growing illegality and inhumanity has been the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on the government whistleblowers who are supplying us with what little we do know about the agency’s abuses. As the CIA continues to destroy communities abroad, democratic rights within the U.S. wilt under the weight of unparalleled surveillance and censorship.

The CIA has always been a criminal organization directed against the workers and oppressed of the world. U.S. workers cannot and should not bear the burden of this globally despised shadow paramilitary.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/04/19/cias-criminal-paramilitary-actions-grew-after-911/

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.