Archive for January, 2015

The 10 most dangerous jobs in the US, and ‘police officer’is not one of them. [Workers World]

Posted in Police, USA on January 30, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Deirdre Griswold

Jan 15, 2015

Facts are very stubborn things. Very often they contradict what is considered general knowledge. Which raises the question: What is general knowledge? Isn’t it the opinions and attitudes fed constantly to the public through the dominant media? It takes big social upheavals to unseat the widespread lies that conveniently justify the status quo.

Take the question of dangerous jobs. We hear a lot these days about certain occupations being very dangerous…

…So let’s look at the official government figures on the 10 most dangerous occupations in the U.S. in 2011, the most recent year of data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here they are, in descending order, starting with the most fatalities per 100,000 workers in that occupation. Also listed are the total numbers of deaths that year in that category, as well as the median salaries for the type of work.

1. Fishing: 127.3/100,000, 42 fatalities, median salary $25,590

2. Logging: 104/100,000, 65 fatalities, $32,870

3. Pilots and flight engineers: 56.1/100,000, 71 fatalities, about $100,000

4. Refuse and recyclable material collectors: 36.4/100,000, 30 fatalities, $35,230

5. Roofers: 34.1/100,000, 60 fatalities, $34,220

6. Structural iron and steel workers: 30.3/100,000, 18 fatalities, $44,540

7. Helpers, construction trades: 26.8/100,000, 15, about $25,000

8. Farmers, ranchers, agricultural managers: 26.1/100,000, 268, $60,750

9. Truck drivers: 25.9/100,000, 485, $38,200

10. Natural resources and mining: 22.1/100,000, 721, $54,020

Did you notice something about this list? Something missing?..

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/15/10-dangerous-jobs-guess-whos-not/

Original article title: “10 most dangerous jobs. Guess who’s not there?”

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

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West should end its hypocrisy on anti-terror war [China Daily]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, France, Iraq, Nigeria, State Department, US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions on January 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Chen Weihua
Jan. 22, 2015

Senior US leaders invited sharp criticism at home for not attending last week’s solidarity rally in Paris against the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed. As a result, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris this week to make up for the mistake.

However, terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in Nigeria, where Boko Haram fighters killed hundreds of, if not more, ordinary people early this month, have not received the same attention in the US and the Western world as the Paris attack. Yet such double standards and hypocrisy of the Western world is nothing new.

Over the past few years, the US and some Western countries have not responded to the terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in Beijing, Kunming and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region the way they reacted to the Paris attack.

On several occasions, US State Department spokespersons have used the excuse that they need more information and investigation into the incidents in China to condemn them as terrorist attacks. But they did not ask any such question after the Paris attack.

Some Western news organizations have refused to describe the perpetrators at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province as terrorists, insisting on calling them “knife-wielding attackers”. And on the rare occasions that they have used the word terrorist, they put it within quotation marks as if the ruthless killers in China were any different from those in Paris or elsewhere in the Western world. One CNN report even posed the question, “Terrorism or Cry of Desperation?”, as if killing innocent civilians in China can be somehow justified.

Even though China and the US have common interests in fighting terrorism, some Americans still seem to believe that only those setting off bombs in New York are terrorists while those doing the same in Beijing or any other Chinese city demand a different description.

The West’s double standards are not restricted to China and Nigeria. The decade-old wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, but the mainstream media outlets in the US have largely ignored the tragedies and focused on the loss of their own troops.

If the number of civilian casualties is a measure of the intensity of a terrorist attack, tragedies like the Sept 11, 2001, attacks have occurred multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Western media don’t seem to care much about them.

Some Western observers have even found excuses for West’s inadequate response to the terrorist attacks in Kunming on March 1 last year in which 31 were killed and 141 injured. But by failing to immediately condemn the attacks against innocent civilians in Kunming and Xinjiang, these people have by default condoned the action of the perpetrators.

It is true that terrorists in the eyes of some could be freedom fighters in the eyes of others. That is why Osama bin Laden was a freedom fighter to the US in the 1980s but a top terrorist in the 21st century. And Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was still on the US terrorism watch list as late as 2008, years after stepping down as South Africa’s president.

There is no doubt that the US and its allies have failed miserably in their “war on terror” despite the more than 1,000 air strikes launched against the Islamic State group. In spite of the heavy bombardments, we have seen terrorists gaining strength and spreading their tentacles to more areas across the world.

And the Western world responds to this deadly threat with double standards.

The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA.

Article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-01/22/content_19373727_2.htm

Mass surveillance doesn’t stop terrorism: Snowden [Xinhua]

Posted in France, National Security Agency / NSA, Netherlands, NSA, Russia, Spain, U.K., US "War on Terror", US imperialism, USA on January 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

THE HAGUE, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) — American whistleblower Edward Snowden has reaffirmed his doubts about the effectiveness of massive wiretapping, citing the recent attacks in Paris as an example.

“France passed one of the most intrusive, expensive surveillance laws in all of Europe last year and it did not stop the attack,” Snowden said in an interview broadcast by Dutch TV channel NOS on Wednesday. “This is consistent with what we have seen in every country.”

The mass surveillance has not stopped a single attack in the United States, he said. “It didn’t stop the attacks in London, didn’t stop the attacks in Spain, didn’t stop the attacks in Boston.”

Snowden came to international attention in June 2013 after disclosing thousands of classified documents he acquired while working as a contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). He is charged in the United States with espionage and was granted asylum by Russia in August 2013.

Currently, the Dutch government is studying its new intelligence laws and the call for an even broader tapping capacity covering even all internet cable traffic such as emails.

Snowden said this is unnecessary and mass surveillance doesn’t prevent attacks or help capture terrorists, noting the Boston Marathon bombers who killed three people and wounded more than 260 in April, 2013, had been known to the NSA prior to the attacks.

“The problem with mass surveillance is that you are burying people under too much data,” he explained.

In July 2013, Snowden handed asylum applications to several countries, including the Netherlands. However, the asylum request at the Dutch Embassy in Moscow was chanceless, because the Netherlands has no embassy asylum anymore.

During the NOS interview in a Moscow hotel, Snowden admitted that he would still love to come to the Netherlands. For now he will continue to stay in Russia on a three-year residence permit that enables him to stay there until 2017.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/europe/europe/2015-01/22/c_133938443.htm

Spotlight: Snowden files unveil U.S. attempt to control Internet [Xinhua]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Germany, Internet Global Hegemony, Iran, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, U.K., US imperialism, USA on January 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — The world-shocking global surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is just the beginning of the spook organization’s sprawling efforts to control the Internet, show new revelations attributed to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA is “planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role” and seeking the ability to destroy enemy infrastructure remotely, German magazine Der Spiegel revealed in a recent report, citing “top-secret documents” from Snowden’s archive it has seen exclusively.

POLITERAIN, NOT SO POLITE

The Spiegel disclosure highlighted an NSA project code-named “Politerain,” which is operated by digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations, the department responsible for breaking into computers.

In its job posting, the program says it is “looking for interns who want to break things.”

On the basis of hacking into third-party computers, interns are also told to formulate plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network-enabled devices by attacking the hardware.”

Politerain spies, according to the leaked documents, have various programs for specific purposes. For example, Passionatepolka can be used to “remotely brick network cards,” Berserkr to implant “persistent backdoors” and “parasitic drivers,” and Barnfire to “erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments.”

Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was “developing an attacker’s mindset,” noted the German magazine.

SPYING IS JUST “PHASE 0”

Internal NSA documents, Der Spiegel said, indicate that surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0” in the U.S. digital war strategy.

The aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems, which is “the prerequisite for everything that follows,” the German magazine added, citing the files.

Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase 3 has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents.

At that stage, according to the report, NSA spooks can control and destroy “at will through pre-positioned accesses” critical systems and networks, which include anything important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation.

“The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is ‘real-time controlled escalation,'” said the Spiegel report.

D WEAPONS

Atomic, biological and chemical weapons are widely referred to as the ABC weapons. Now the list has been extended to D — digital weapons.

“The next major conflict will start in cyberspace,” Der Spiegel quoted one NSA presentation as saying. To that end, the U.S. government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare.

“For the 2013 secret intelligence budget, the NSA projected it would need around 1 billion dollars in order to increase the strength of its computer network attack operations. The budget included an increase of some 32 million dollars for ‘unconventional solutions’ alone,” revealed the report.

The NSA aims “to use the Net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money,” according to the Spiegel disclosure.

Among the D weapons is malware, and several programs of that sort have emerged in recent years that a number of indicators show are attributable to the NSA and its Five Eyes alliance, which also includes Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Spiegel report referred to Stuxnet, which was used to attack the Iranian nuclear program, and Regin, “a powerful spyware trojan that created a furor in Germany after it infected the USB stick of a high-ranking staffer to Chancellor Angela Merkel.” The latter was also used in attacks against the European Commission.

PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

In what is called a guerilla war over data, the Snowden files show, little differentiation is made between soldiers and civilians, and any Internet user could suffer damage to his or her data or computer.

The potential damage D weapons can inflict goes well beyond the online world. For example, if U.S. spies use Barnfire to destroy or “brick” the control center of a hospital, “people who do not even own a mobile phone could be affected,” Der Spiegel noted.

While launching cyber-attacks, intelligence agencies like the NSA have adopted “plausible deniability” as their guiding principle, seeking to make it impossible to trace the sources of the attackers, the German magazine added.

“It’s a stunning approach with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very foundations of the rule of law around the globe,” commented the magazine.

“This approach threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions,” it added.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2015-01/19/c_133929625.htm

French, European imperialists escalate Islamophobia [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Belgium, CIA, Economic crisis & decline, Fascism, France, Genocide, Germany, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iraq, Obama, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain, Syria, Torture, Turkey, U.K., Ukraine, US "War on Terror", US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, Yemen on January 26, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Fred Goldstein January 19, 2015

French, U.S. and British imperialism and their partners, each in their own way and for their own aims, are determined to escalate wars abroad and repression at home.

The French ruling class has imposed an undeclared state of siege on its own Muslim population and has used troops in North and West Africa to repress rebellions protesting the publication of Islamophobic cartoons in the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

French President Francois Hollande, of the misnamed “Socialist Party,” has declared that France is “at war,” echoing a previous statement by Prime Minister Manuel Valls. France has deployed 122,000 heavily armed troops and police throughout the country and has declared a “high alert.” Soldiers and police with heavy weapons patrol the streets, train stations and other public places. Raids have been carried out and dozens of people arrested.

In neighboring Belgium, the authorities deployed 300 troops to Antwerp and Brussels, carried out sweeps and shot two people dead in a raid in the town of Verviers. In Germany, Interior Ministry spokesperson Tobias Plate spoke of an “abstract high danger” as the authorities deployed 250 police in pre-dawn raids. The racist frenzy in France led to the stabbing death in a village outside Avignon of a Moroccan man, Mohamed El Makouli, by an Islamophobic neighbor.

Imperialists step up international aggression

The European imperialists are doubling down on their attacks abroad as well. The French government is flying Mirage jets over Iraq in a joint operation with the U.S. Instead of addressing the crushing poverty and racism suffered by the millions of French youth and workers of African or Middle Eastern ancestry, the answer of the regime is to deploy troops and step up surveillance in the oppressed communities and at airports.

Instead of pulling back from war on Muslim people in Iraq, Syria and North and West Africa, the Hollande regime is pressing ahead with the policies that led to the attacks against the unspeakable racism and chauvinism expressed by the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo.

Hollande and his fellow imperialists organized a mass march in Paris on Jan. 11 allegedly for “free speech,” which defended and celebrated the magazine that insulted the religion of nearly 2 billion oppressed people worldwide. In fact, you do not have to be religious at all to be revolted by the arrogant, insensitive depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in sexual poses and other objectionable images.

Hollande is partly motivated by the fact that his popularity in France was at a dismally low point before the crisis. And he is struggling to fend off challenges from the fascist National Front Party, led by Marine le Pen, who got a quarter of the vote in the 2014 election for the European Parliament. It is characteristic of social democrats such as Hollande that the way they fight the right is to move to the right themselves and occupy the political territory of the National Front.

President Obama and his administration have been trying to bob and weave through the crisis. The Obama administration stayed away from the Paris demonstration. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris just blocks away at a conference, stayed away from the march.

Washington is universally hated by Muslims

This is for purely imperialist purposes. Washington is the most universally hated power by Muslims — from the Middle East to Pakistan, to Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia, and other parts of the world — for its wars of aggression, its drone strikes, its torture policies, its massacres of civilians, its prisons from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo, and more.

The recent exposure of the CIA torturers in the Senate Intelligence Committee report is filled with graphic descriptions of U.S. torture. These have been read around the world. Washington is trying to placate Muslim public opinion and has even banned references to “Islamic extremism.” In addition to the fact that the neocons and militarists in Washington despise French imperialism and do not want to increase its prestige, they certainly did not want to be identified with defense of the insult to the Prophet Muhammad at a time when they are escalating their attacks on Muslims in Iraq and Syria and at home.

Washington and the Pentagon have no intention of pulling back on their aggression. Obama held a joint press conference on Jan. 16 with his junior partner, British Prime Minister David Cameron, to announce common measures to “fight terrorism.” Cameron announced new cooperation in the war in Iraq and in Ukraine, among other gestures of imperialist subordination.

But Washington intends to keep leadership of the imperialist assault against the oppressed. While in Paris during the march, Eric Holder announced that the administration will host a summit in Washington on Feb. 18 on preventing violent extremism.

Washington recently announced a new deployment of 1,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They will be used to train carefully vetted, Pentagon-approved Syrian counterrevolutionaries in order to build up a 5,000-person force to continue the war against Syria and the Islamic State.

Washington is also behind the counterrevolutionary government of Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine, which is planning a new offensive to try to recapture the east from anti-fascist forces of resistance to a U.S.-Europe takeover.

Rise of Islamophobia

The background on the rise of Islamophobia is the growing economic crisis that is engulfing Europe. Islamophobia has become the battle cry of the ultra-right and fascist forces in Europe, just as racism, sexism and homophobia make up the battle cry of right-wing extremists and fascists in the U.S.

Fascist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic parties exist in France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Greece and other countries in Europe. Prior to the most recent publication of cartoons defaming the Prophet Muhammad, there were demonstrations throughout Europe demanding crackdowns on immigration and immigrants.

In recent days specific Islamophobic demonstrations have taken place in Germany and France. It is an illusion that Islamophobia can be stopped by a government ban of right-wing demonstrations.

The social soil for political reaction exists in France, for example, where the official unemployment rate is 10 percent and youth unemployment is 20 percent. At the same time, unemployment rates have reached 40 percent in the oppressed neighborhoods.

French capitalism, and European capitalism in general, has been unable to lift itself out of the global capitalist crisis which began in 2007. There has been no recovery for the European working class. Unemployment in the eurozone, as in France, is above 10 percent, and youth unemployment is double that. In some countries such as Greece and Spain unemployment is between 15 and 20 percent.

This is part of a general crisis of overproduction that has plagued the global profit system and which is intensifying every month. Right now the right wing has seized the advantage and is feeding on the discontent of the masses to garner support for divisive, racist ideology. This is aggravated by the inability of the capitalist governments to turn the economic situation around.

Persistent and growing unemployment should be a signal for a revival of the working-class movement. It is high time for the communists and progressive, anti-racist, anti-imperialist and pro-working class forces to unite to defend the Muslim population and push back the fascists.

Copyright © 2015 Workers.org

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/19/french-european-imperialists-escalate-islamophobia/

A Potemkin gathering of world leaders in Paris – Media fraud of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ support march exposed [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Egypt, France, Turkey on January 25, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Bill Van Auken
14 January 2015

A photograph posted on social media has revealed that the “world leaders” who had supposedly led the march in Paris on January 11, in the aftermath of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, were in reality assembled for a massive staged photo-op.

While in the media, photos and video of the leaders were almost invariably angled to give the appearance of massive crowds in their wake, one shot taken from above shows them standing bunched tightly together in barely a dozen rows in an empty street, cordoned off from the marchers by a heavy ring of security.

Nothing could more accurately symbolize the reactionary character of this assemblage of state officials and the fraud of their attempt to posture as defenders of human liberties.

At the center of those participating in the photo was French President François Hollande, whose approval ratings in recent months have plumbed new depths—around 15 percent at the end of last year. The president no doubt hopes that the events surrounding the attack on Charlie Hebdo will buttress his government as it pursues unpopular policies at home and abroad.

Aside from Hollande and his fellow European imperialist heads of state, their hands dripping with blood from the Middle East, to Africa to Ukraine, the marchers included Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose government has imprisoned more journalists than any on the planet, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, whose regime has massacred thousands and imprisoned tens of thousands of political opponents.

Also posing for the cameras (and in one shot waving to what was apparently a non-existent crowd) was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose regime has butchered thousands of Palestinians, while ruthlessly repressing Palestinian media…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/14/pari-j14.html

Commentary: Bigotry, arrogance behind freedom of expression by ‘headstrong’ weekly “Charlie Hebdo” [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-Islam hysteria, Islamophobia, Western nations' human rights distortions on January 25, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine brutally attacked…by [alleged] Islamic extremists, once again published Wednesday its latest edition with a caricature of the Muslim prophet on its cover — a blasphemous move in the eyes of the Islamic world — which has triggered outcry and protests in many countries.

Although the international community has strongly condemned the perpetrators and shown universal sympathy to Charlie Hebdo as it lost a number of best-known cartoonists and other staff members in the terrorist attack, the sympathy does not mean a global recognition of the journal’s depiction of Prophet Mohammed in its cartoon.

As a matter of fact, it is a common belief of many that the magazine has blasphemed others’ religious belief and stepped over the boundaries of freedom of expression.

By resuming publication of satirical cartoons, Charlie Hebdo seems to indicate to others its insistence on the standards of freedom of expression it has upheld.

It has also appeared that the magazine has drawn strength from its unswerving faith supported by at least the European society if not the entire international community.

It it is true that Charlie Hebdo has gained sympathy from the international community after the terrorist attack, its move to publish a caricature of the Muslim prophet on its cover once again in a confrontational manner on Wednesday is probably in [sic] overdrawing of such sympathy and support.

This time, a weeping Mohammed appeared on the cover, holding up a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), under the headline “All is forgiven.”

This is another defiant move by the satirical magazine, and also another reflection of bigotry and arrogance of on the part of the Western culture.

The Western society should be fully aware that the so-called “freedom of expression” and “legal standards” of it are applicable only to its own countries, and are not necessary appropriate to other nations or regions.

In other words, isn’t it an infringement on others’ freedom if some people view their own standards as universal standards and even compel others to accept them?

Undeniably, the West’s confrontational and bigoted mindset that has resulted in their arbitrary political and military interference with others has connection with the rampant emergence and spread of terrorism across the world today.

If terrorism is a powder keg, the interventionism and cultural exclusivism practiced by the West, to some extent, is one of the detonators.

In face of the terror attacks in Paris, one of the views that prevails in Western media is that the freedom of expression should be defended at all cost. Yet,…the West uphold standards for civilization that are recognized by themselves only in the style of religious zealots. Isn’t this another form of “extremist thinking”?

A civilized society should show inclusiveness, respect differences in culture and ideologies and knows how to mediate societal gaps. And any civilization that tries to deal with cultural differences with defiance and confrontation can not find peace and security it seeks [sic] in the first place.

The Western world should reflect on its own ideologies and approaches instead of persisting in executing its confrontational and exclusive approaches when communicating with other civilizations in a world that faces growing danger and threat from growing rampancy of terrorism.

[It should be noted the article fails to confront Western governments’ historic implementation of terrorist policies, both directly and by proxy. – Zuo Shou]

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/europe/europe/2015-01/17/c_133925820.htm