Category: Psy – Ops

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Groups Issue Warning: Pro-Corporate TPP Could Kill the Internet

“What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship.”

Digital rights groups warn that TPP “will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money.” (Photo: Getty)

The “disastrous” pro-corporate trade deal finalized Monday could kill the Internet as we know it, campaigners are warning, as they vow to keep up the fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

“Internet users around the world should be very concerned about this ultra-secret pact,” said OpenMedia’s digital rights specialist Meghan Sali. “What we’re talking about here is global Internet censorship. It will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.”

“The TPP will criminalize our online activities, censor the Web, and cost everyday users money. This deal would never pass with the whole world watching—that’s why they’ve negotiated it in total secrecy.” —Meghan Sali, Open Media

TPP opponents have claimed that under the agreement, “Internet Service Providers could be required to ‘police’ user activity (i.e. police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content.”

Among the deal’s provisions are rules that could criminalize file-sharing, whistleblowing, and breaking digital locks, even for legitimate purposes. Of course, because the contents of the pact have been negotiated largely in secret, the exact implications of the TPP on user rights is yet to be seen.

However, Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Maira Sutton wrote on Monday, “We have no reason to believe that the TPP has improved much at all from the last leaked version released in August, and we won’t know until the U.S. Trade Representative releases the text. So as long as it contains a retroactive 20-year copyright term extension, bans on circumventing DRM, massively disproportionate punishments for copyright infringement, and rules that criminalize investigative journalists and whistleblowers, we have to do everything we can to stop this agreement from getting signed, ratified, and put into force.”

Furthermore, “The fact that close to 800 million Internet users’ rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements,” Sutton added, referring to the auto and dairy tariff provisions that reportedly held up the talks.

“The fact that close to 800 million Internet users’ rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge online hinged upon the outcome of squabbles over trade rules on cars and milk is precisely why digital policy consideration[s] do not belong in trade agreements.”  —Maira Sutton, EFF

With a major protest against the TPP and other secret trade deals planned for November in Washington, D.C., EFF is crowdsourcing slogans related to how the TPP threatens digital rights and freedoms around the world.

“Successive leaks of the TPP have demonstrated that unless you are a big business sector, the [U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR] simply doesn’t care what you have to say,” wrote EFF’s Jeremy Malcolm.

“Enough’s enough,” reads the group’s call-to-action. “The time for whitepapers and presentations is past. The USTR has failed us, so now it’s time for the public to rise up and take their message about the TPP’s threats to user rights to Congress, which has the ultimate authority to approve or reject the deal for the United States.”

Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

New York Times headline corrected

A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”

The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.

Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.

If you read US corporate media coverage of this incident, however, US culpability would likely not be evident. Instead, readers would learn that a hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and that people died. Who exactly carried out the bombing would not be clear.

cnn us air attack

“Air Attacks Kill at Least 19 at Afghanistan Hospital; US Investigating,” wrote CNN (9/3/15). Who carried out those attacks? Never asked is who else could possibly have bombed the hospital. What other air forces are attacking Kunduz? Did the bombs magically fall from the sky? CNN provides no answer.

“Aerial bombardments blew apart a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the battleground Afghan city of Kunduz about the time of a US airstrike” CNN said. The blowing apart of the hospital just appears to be a temporal coincidence.

fox us investigate airstrike

Fox News‘ headline (10/3/15) reads “US Officials Investigate Airstrike in Afghanistan That Killed at Least 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital.”

The New York Times completely rewrote and changed the title of its report on the bombing seven times. Early on October 3, the Times published an article headlined “Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 9.” Minutes later, it changed the headline to “Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” Two hours after, it became “Afghan Hospital Hit by Airstrike, Pentagon Says.” Then “US Investigates After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” before finalizing as “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital.”

The over 20 versions of the article published in the Times‘ website can be seen at the website NewsDiffs, which monitors edits to pieces published in large new outlets. Because the Times changed the web URL for the article when changing the headlines, there are three separate entries on NewsDiffs.

newsdiffs nyt us bombs afghan hospital

Not one of the five New York Times headlines indicated that the US was responsible for the bombing. The final title, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” which was published in print, fails to acknowledge that it was the US who dropped those bombs, which explains why it is blamed.

The New York Times‘ other story (10/4/15), “Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital,” was also substantially edited and rewritten numerous times. It’s likewise full of weasel words and quotes from the US government.

The Washington Post (10/4/15) also changed headlines and URLs for its reporting, making it difficult to track. It did choose a title acknowledging the US role in the attack, but attributed it to MSF, writing, “Doctors Without Borders Says US Airstrike Hit Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Dead.”

AP headlined an article (10/4/15) updating the death toll, “Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Airstrike.” The piece says, “A deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people, as the US and Afghan governments vowed to get to the bottom of the carnage.” Not mentioned is that the US government is responsible for the carnage.

Ambiguous, misleading and even downright dishonest language abounds throughout the coverage. US media spin the story to reflect positively on the culprit; they report that the US is investigating the atrocity, while failing to acknowledge that the US itself is responsible for the atrocity.

This technique is very reminiscent of the loaded language police departments use to downplay police brutality—language that is often repeated verbatim by journalists who just uncritically quote government press releases.

Not all media were as biased in the interest of the Pentagon, however. Even some US news outlets were clear and honest in their reporting.

slate us airstrike

Slate (10/3/15) was one of the few publications to report without the equivocation. “US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Kills at Least 19,” it said. The next day, Slate (10/4/15) followed up with the piece “Doctors Without Borders Says US May Have Committed War Crime.”

US: We Accidentally Bombed Hospital to Kill Taliban

After the attack, MSF released a statement saying “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces”—that is to say, NATO.

As details became clearer, the media narrative began to shift from one of obfuscation or even denial of the US bombing to one of apologism and justification. When it was obvious that the US and NATO were responsible for killing and wounding scores of people at a hospital, the US and Afghan governments began to fall back on the “human shields” excuse.

A Washington Post article (10/4/15) first titled “Afghan Official: Hospital in Airstrike Was ‘a Taliban Base,’” and subsequently changed to “Afghan Response to Hospital Bombing Is Muted, Even Sympathetic,” quotes Afghan government officials who claimed the “hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there.” Yet MSF’s aforementioned statement makes it clear that the US “repeatedly and precisely” bombed the hospital, not the surrounding areas, which were “left mostly untouched.”

The aid organization also explicitly denied fighters ever being anywhere inside the hospital compound.

In a statement titled “MSF Response to Spurious Claims That Kunduz Hospital Was ‘A Taliban Base,’” the aid organization wrote:

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as “collateral damage.”

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.

MSF also made it clear that its hospital “is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan,” and that its “doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.”

Despite MSF’s explicit denial of the allegations, US media continued to reiterate the claims of US and Afghan government officials.

Anonymous US military officials told Fox News (10/3/15) they “regret the loss” of scores of innocent lives, but “say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”

But wait, which was it? Was the bombing an accidental incident of “collateral damage,” as the government claimed at first, and as the media reverberated? Or was it a deliberate attack on the Taliban, who were supposedly firing from the hospital? It can’t be both; the two explanations contradict each other.

The fact that, when MSF’s points—and not just those of the US and Afghan governments—are considered, the human shields argument does not withstand close scrutiny aside, a blatant contradiction emerges in this narrative. The answer to this critical question remains unknown; the government, and the media that so obediently echoes it, do not clarify.

MSF's Kunduz hospital on fire, after being bombed by the US/NATO Photo: MSF

Striking, too, are the similarities to US reporting on Israeli airstrikes. In order to justify bombing hospitals in Gaza, the US-backed Israeli government often claims Palestinian militants use the medical facilities as bases. Israel’s military—which has itself used human shields many times—then says it is justified to bomb hospitals, UN shelters and other civilians areas.

US ally and NATO member Turkey borrowed Israel’s hasbara (public relations) tactic and claimed the same about leftist Kurdish militants in order to justify its killing of Kurdish civilians.

The Wall Street Journal (10/4/15) boldly steered clear of any posturing and openly justified the US bombing of the hospital. The unsigned editorial justified the mass killing of MSF aid workers by shifting the blame onto the Taliban insurgents. It even brought up the specter of Hamas, writing, “Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrorists hide near civilians. These Taliban tactics put the medical personnel and patients at risk.” The piece waxes poetic, and hagiographic; in a moment of undiluted American exceptionalism on blast, the Journal claimed that “no force in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than the American military.”

Remove references to the US and the Taliban in such media coverage, replace it with blanks, and you have a template media can use any time a US ally bombs civilians—A Guide to Defending War Crimes Committed by US Allies: “[Ally] did not actually want to bomb [civilian area], but [enemy] forced it to.”

Double Standards

When US enemies like Russia carry out airstrikes, all nuance is thrown out the window; US media drop their standards and gleefully accuse the enemies of war crimes. Yet when the US and NATO carry out airstrikes, journalists suddenly have a newfound skepticism. Their language immediately becomes ambiguous, their writing unclear; murky passages written in the passive voice are ubiquitous.

Official international bodies have not minced words about the bombing, nevertheless. The UN says the US attack on the Kunduz hospital was “inexcusable and possibly even criminal” (Australia’s ABC, 10/4/15). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein remarked, “If established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Wounded MSF staff after the US/NATO bombing of its Kunduz hospital Photo: MSF

MSF said the attack “constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” The aid group called the bombing a “war crime” and “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The humanitarian organization is demanding an investigation “by an independent international body,” not by the US, noting that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 10/3/15) pointed out the hypocrisy of the US warning about civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes while it bombs scores of doctors and patients in Afghanistan, a country it has militarily occupied for close to 15 years.

When Russia denies killing civilians in its airstrikes on Syria, US media are suddenly skeptical and thorough; yet when the US government makes the same claims, journalists just recycle its press releases.

Is the job of the media to just uncritically report what favored governments say? Or is it supposed to examine the truth of official claims? If it is supposed to be the latter, US media have abysmally failed in their duties in reporting on the US bombing of MSF’s Kunduz hospital.

Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer. His website can be found at and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

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Consortium News

US Tax Dollars and Ukraine’s Finance Minister

Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Special Report: Though touted as the face of reform inside Ukraine’s post-coup regime, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko enriched herself at the expense of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund – and USAID now says it’s missing some of the audit records detailing Jaresko’s dealings, reports Robert Parry.


By Robert Parry


The U.S. government is missing – or withholding – audit documents about the finances and possible accounting irregularities at a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund when it was run by Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who has become the face of “reform” for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev and who now oversees billions of dollars in Western financial aid.

Before taking Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, Jaresko was a former U.S. diplomat who served as chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by Congress in the 1990s with $150 million and placed under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine.

After Jaresko’s appointment as Finance Minister — and her resignation from WNISEF — I reviewed WNISEF’s available public records and detected a pattern of insider dealings and enrichment benefiting Jaresko and various colleagues. That prompted me in February to file a Freedom of Information Act request for USAID’s audits of the investment fund.

Read More Here

Consortium News

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

On Dec. 26, 2009, a U.S. Special Operations team flew from Kabul to Ghazi Khan village in the Narang district of Kunar province. They attacked three houses, where they killed two adults and eight children. Seven of the children were handcuffed before they were shot. The youngest was 11 or 12, three more were 12, and one was 15. Both the United Nations and the Afghan government conducted investigations and confirmed all the details of the attack.

U.S. officials conducted their own inquiry, but no report was published and no U.S. military or civilian officials were held accountable. Finally, more than five years later, a New York Times report on Joint Special Operations Command’s (JSOC) Seal Team 6 named it as the U.S. force involved. But JSOC operations are officially secret and, to all practical purposes, immune from accountability. As a senior U.S. officer told the Times, “JSOC investigates JSOC, that’s part of the problem.”

Accountability for the U.S. attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least 22 people, is likely to be just as elusive. The bilateral security agreement that President Karzai refused to sign, but which President Ghani signed in September 2014, provides total immunity from Afghan law for U.S. forces and officials. So whoever should be held legally responsible for the massacre at the hospital will only be subject to accountability under U.S. military and civilian legal systems, which routinely fail to prosecute anyone for similar war crimes.


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Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Kunduz after apparent U.S. airstrike

Humanitarian group calls bombing that killed 22 a war crime

CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2015 9:29 AM ETLast Updated: Oct 05, 2015 8:50 AM ET

  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Médecins Sans Frontières/AP)

The international humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said Sunday it had withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz after a deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people.

The humanitarian crisis in the city, which briefly fell to the Taliban last week before the government launched a counteroffensive, has grown increasingly dire, with shops shuttered because of ongoing fighting and roads made impassable by mines planted by insurgents.

The medical group, also known by its English name Doctors Without Borders, blames the 22 deaths on a U.S. airstrike. Afghan officials said helicopter gunships were returning fire from Taliban fighters who were hiding in the hospital.

But the organization is calling the bombing a war crime, with the executive director of its Canadian division telling CBC News that staff contacted both the U.S. and Afghan forces throughout, but the airstrike continued for another 35 minutes.

“Such attacks against medical facilities are grave breaches of humanitarian law,” Stephen Cornish told CBC News on Sunday. “At the time of this attack our surgery team were operating on a patient on the operating table who [then] died on that operating table.


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A Sukhoi 25 airplane © Vladimir Astapkovich
There isn’t a grain of truth in John Kerry’s statement the Assad government isn’t trying to stop ISIS; the Syrian army has been fighting terrorists, while the West watched the country being destroyed, says Syrian presidential adviser Bouthaina Shaaban.

RT:Russia has joined the fight against Islamic State. How long have you been negotiating the move with Moscow?

Bouthaina Shaaban: The dialogue between us [Damascus] and Moscow has been ongoing since the beginning of the crisis. And, as you noticed, that Russia and China took a double veto four times against all that the West was trying to impose on Syria. Because the West didn’t understand what’s happening in Syria, while Russia understood all the way along. So, the dialogue between Damascus and Moscow is ongoing… [since] a decade ago; but during this crisis it has been intensive, it has been real, it has been continuous.


READ MORE: Russian Air Force in Syria deploying over 50 planes & choppers – Defense Ministry


RT:Is the involvement of Russian aviation a game changer in the fight against IS?

BS: Well, there are no Russian troops on the ground as you heard Putin and Lavrov [saying] – “our assistance is only [fighter jets].” But it’s not only against IS. I don’t know why people… forget about Jabhat Al-Nusra, although the [UN] Security Council resolution spoke about or considered both Al-Nusra and ISIL as terrorist organizations.

Besides these, there are tens of terrorist organizations in Syria. There are thousands of mercenaries and terrorists coming from all over the world. So, we certainly hope that with the help of the Russian assistance we will be able to undermine terrorism in Syria and we’ll be able to restore peace and security in our country.


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President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House on Wednesday, saying the U.S. is leading a broad effort with allies to defeat the terrorist group ISIS that could include airstrikes in Syria, and an expanded air campaign and troop deployment in Iraq.

President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House on Wednesday, saying the U.S. is leading a broad effort with allies to defeat the terrorist group ISIS that could include airstrikes in Syria, and an expanded air campaign and troop deployment in Iraq. (Saul Loeb/Associated Press)


Consortium News

Exclusive: “Strategic communications” or Stratcom, a propaganda/psy-op technique that treats information as a “soft power” weapon to wield against adversaries, is a new catch phrase in an Official Washington obsessed with the clout that comes from spinning false narratives, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In this age of pervasive media, the primary method of social control is through the creation of narratives delivered to the public through newspapers, TV, radio, computers, cell phones and any other gadget that can convey information. This reality has given rise to an obsession among the power elite to control as much of this messaging as possible.

So, regarding U.S. relations toward the world, we see the State Department, the White House, Pentagon, NATO and other agencies pushing various narratives to sell the American people and other populations on how they should view U.S. policies, rivals and allies. The current hot phrase for this practice is “strategic communications” or Stratcom, which blends psychological operations, propaganda and P.R. into one mind-bending smoothie.

I have been following this process since the early 1980s when the Reagan administration sought to override “the Vietnam Syndrome,” a public aversion to foreign military interventions that followed the Vietnam War. To get Americans to “kick” this syndrome, Reagan’s team developed “themes” about overseas events that would push American “hot buttons.”

Tapping into the Central Intelligence Agency’s experience in psy-ops targeted at foreign audiences, President Ronald Reagan and CIA Director William J. Casey assembled a skilled team inside the White House led by CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr.


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Read More and Watch Video Here  : Obama prepared to order airstrikes in Syria against ISIL   David Jackson, USA TODAY




Oratory as a Weapon of Mass Deception

Obama at UNI used to say President Obama is a great orator.

In retrospect, particularly in view of his speeches over the past two years, I would have to modify my appraisal: Mr. Obama is a mind-numbingly effective orator — with major emphasis on ‘mind-numbing’ — whose powers of persuasion are both awe-inspiring and reality-altering.

But great? I think not.

You see, great orators don’t insult their audiences by lying and using their enormous gifts to wreak havoc on the world, demean other world leaders, and generally inflict listeners with self-serving propaganda.

Great orators ennoble, enlighten, inspire!

There is so much deception, obfuscation, manipulative innuendo, faulty logic, sheer raw hypocrisy in his recent U.N. speech, I could write volumes. But it’s not worth your time or mine, since so many of the lies upon which he built this petty and self-aggrandizing show have been repeated with such relentless regularity, they are part of the accepted collective wisdom of both the American public and the government propaganda apparatus, aka the main stream media.

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Just in case anyone had any doubts as to the US and NATO’s true purpose in Syria.  Here is your response loud and clear!


Russia establishes ‘no fly’ zone for NATO planes over Syria, moves to destroy “ISIS” – Pentagon freaks out


Check-mate. Putin outfoxes U.S. warmongers

You may, or may not, have noticed the growing body of evidence over the past year or two that strongly suggests that the U.S. government and its European “allies” are not really serious about destroying “ISIS”.

The first hint came early last year when the jihadi mercenaries took large swathes of Iraq and Syria, and the West did nothing but wring its collective hands and fret, and resolve to bolster the fighting capability of the wonderful “rebels”.

The second hint came this year when the U.S. and their partners began piecemeal airstrikes against “ISIS” that appeared to merely spur the head-choppers on to more success.

The third hint came with reports that weapons supplies being sent to “Syrian rebels” were ‘accidentally’ ending up in the hands of the head-choppers.

The most recent confirmation that Western politicians and military types effectively view “ISIS” as ‘their guys’ came in the last few weeks when the Pentagon reacted to news that Russia was in the process of establishing an air base in western Syria, from which to attack all foreign forces in Syria involved in the four-year-long attempted coup against the Syrian government.

Putin’s speech at the UN two days ago appears to have been the signal (one that was apparently missed by the Pentagon, perhaps because it was couched in clear, honest language) that Russia was about to ‘get real’ and make good on its intention to prevent the overthrow of Assad, defend the civilian population of Syria against ISIS, and solve the European ‘refugee crisis’ in the process.

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Russian anti-terror op in Syria Live updates

A Sukhoi-34 jet © Vladimir Astapkovich
The Russian military has launched airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets in Syria. The move was approved after a request from President Bashar Assad to Vladimir Putin, who has also expressed concern about the number of Russian extremists in the country.
  • 01 October 2015

    21:52 GMT

    The Russian Ministry of Defense has released two combat footage tapes showing the precise striking of Islamic State targets in Syria, as the Russian Air Force continues to engage hostile targets for the second day running.

    The first piece of footage shows a surgical strike carried out by Su-24 M fighter jets on an Islamic State command post near the village of Al-Latamna. According to the Ministry, the target was destroyed.


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 On Monday the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that the isolated Kurdish enclave of Kobani was “about to fall” to a massive, sustained assault from ISIS.
Also on Monday, Rooz Bahjat, a Kurdish intelligence officer stationed in Kobani said the city would fall within “the next 24 hours.”
By now ISIS was expecting to be slaughtering civilians by the score.

Instead, something totally unexpected happened – ISIS has been forced to pull back.

 A local Kobani official, Idris Nahsen, told AFP that fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had managed to push ISIS fighters outside several key areas after “helpful” airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition.
“The situation has changed since yesterday. YPG forces have pushed back ISIS forces,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, confirmed that ISIS fighters had withdrawn overnight from several areas and were no longer inside the western part of Kobani.
They remained in eastern parts of the town and its southern edges, said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, whose group relies on a network of sources inside Syria.
The number of dead in the overnight fighting was not clear, but Mustafa Ebdi, a Kurdish journalist and activist from Kobani, wrote on his Facebook page that the streets of one southeastern neighborhood were “full of the bodies” of ISIS fighters.

Kobani has been under attack by 9,000 ISIS jihadists, armed with tanks and heavy artillery for nearly a month. This is the largest manned assualt by ISIS in its short existance.
They are being opposed by just 2,000 Kurdish fighters with the YPG, the armed wing of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), without access to any heavy weaponry and short on ammunition.
To put this into perspective, 800 ISIS fighters routed 2 divisions of the Iraqi Army, totaling 30,000 heavily armed soldiers, in June.
In other words, the Syrian Kurds of Kobani weren’t supposed to stand a snowball’s chance in Hell.

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Think you can avoid glyphosate by buying organic? Think again. A new investigation by Tropical Traditions reveals that many products in the organic grain market in the U.S. contain glyphosate residue at levels almost the same as conventional grains.

Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News Editor

With over 80% of the U.S. food supply now reportedly contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate, many people are turning to USDA certified organic products to avoid this toxic chemical. Current USDA NOP (National Organic Program) standards do not allow the use of the herbicide glyphosate on organic crops.

However, a new investigation by Tropical Traditions has revealed that the U.S. organic grain market is contaminated with glyphosate.

Tropical Traditions has sold organic grains for years. After reading new research about the issue of “crop desiccation” done by using glyphosate on wheat and other grains just prior to harvest, Tropical Traditions decided to first test some commercial wheat products with wheat grown in Montana, North Dakota, and Canada. They sent the commercial samples to a well-known and respected laboratory to test for glyphosate.

All tested positive for glyphosate residue. The range was from 0.07 mg/kg to 0.09 mg/kg. Keep in mind this is glyphosate found in non-GMO crops. For a GMO crop such as GMO soybeans, which are sprayed heavily with glyphosate, the range is typically between 3.3 and 5.7 mg/kg. (Source.)

Next, Tropical Traditions tested the USDA certified organic grains from suppliers they had been using, sourced mainly from western states such as Montana and Idaho. Sadly, the presence of glyphosate residue was found in organic wheat and other organic grains, including organic barley, oats, spelt, and einkorn. The range was from 0.03 to 0.06 mg/kg, just slightly lower than the conventional grains that were tested.

The only organic grains that tested clean were organic rye and organic millet. There was also one variety of organic wheat from small-scale farmers in Wisconsin that tested clean from glyphosate.

Why Should We be Concerned about Glyphosate?

Glyphosate is in 80% of our food supply in the U.S., and some scientists believe it may well be the most toxic chemical ever approved for commercial use. Glyphosate is now linked to kidney disease, antibiotic resistant bacteria, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, depression, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cachexia, infertility, and developmental malformations. It destroys the microbiome of humans and plants, which is the root cause of many modern diseases.

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(NaturalNews) Some organic food experts are worried that the term used to describe non-genetically modified crops and produce may soon become nearly meaningless, thanks in large part to undue (read corporate) influence on the Department of Agriculture.

According to Jerome Rigot, PhD, writing in a blog posted at the Cornucopia Institute, which promotes food safety backed by science, it may no longer be accurate to rely on the USDA’s “organic” labeling as remaining “true to its mandate of assuring consumers that food under this label is truly healthy and grown or raised with minimal impact to the environment,” as well as respecting “the health and well-being of the workers and animals involved.”

Rigot notes that, among other concerns, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently downgraded its rating of the Agriculture Department’s organic seal and label. The director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Center for the magazine, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, testified to the National Organic Standards Board in late 2014: “Organic is slipping. And as a result, we have downgraded its rating from highly meaningful to meaningful.” He further noted that the rule of the magazine “is to help educate people about what organic means as well as what it doesn’t mean.”

Regarding these concerns, Rigot wrote:

As an example, the Cornucopia Institute filed formal legal complaints with the USDA in December 2014 against 14 giant poultry and dairy CAFOs (read: concentrated animal feeding operations or “factory farms”) for allegedly violating the USDA organic regulations requiring outdoor and pasture access. Each complaint was summarily dismissed, without an investigation, by the enforcement division of the National Organic Program (NOP), which stated, “The NOP has reviewed these complaints and has determined that investigation is unwarranted.”

Inept, corporatists or lobbyists

The determination was odd, says Rigot, because literally hundreds of high-res photos, satellite imagery and state regulatory documents were submitted as evidence to the NOP which, together, should have produced more than enough doubt to motivate someone to launch an investigation.

A former NOSB board member who manages the country’s first certified organic dairy farm, Kevin Englebert, was clearly disappointed by the NOP decision, seeing it as a lapse of the organization’s responsibilities.

“For the NOP to not even investigate these facilities means one of three things: 1) the personnel who made that decision are inept, 2) they are too close and friendly with corporate lobbyists and multimillion-dollar certifiers that are involved in the process, or 3) the most likely scenario, corrupt politicians are preventing them from enforcing the law,” he said, as quoted by Rigot, who intimated that elements of all three reasons might be at play.

He noted that the National Organic Program is a very small part of the Agriculture Department. However, many large corporations have a significant vested interest in organic foods, especially the processed foods industry (including General Mills, Smuckers, Coca-Cola, etc.), and similar to GMO corporations, they’ll do whatever it takes to expand their bottom line.

“Circumstantial evidence makes it reasonable to conclude that the same type of undue industry influence that appears to have prevented Vilsack and the USDA from acting quickly to end the Salmonella outbreak [in 2014] and limit the health toll is behind efforts to dilute the federal organic standards, control the NOP leadership, and limit or obstruct the ability of the congressionally authorized National Organic Standard Board from doing its job efficiently and with integrity,” Rigot wrote.

For more breaking news regarding organic agriculture, check out, powered by

Compromised board members

In September 2014, we reported that the Cornucopia Institute had conducted a study to examine the voting records and backgrounds of the 15 members of the NOSB.

The board is an advisory body created by the secretary of agriculture to make recommendations aimed at preserving and protecting the organic farming industry. What’s more, the board is also required to maintain and update the National List of Approved and Prohibited Substances – a list that identifies substances and other compounds that cannot be used in organic crop and livestock production.

The NOSB’s seats are supposed to be filled with members representing farmers, environmentalists, public interest advocates, handlers, retailers, scientists and a USDA certifying agent. However, Cornucopia found in its study that corporate representatives were filling seats intended for farmers and other independent organic industry stakeholders, often leading to decisions that were not beneficial to the organic food and livestock industry.

Details surrounding that study are posted here.


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Fight for the Future



Evan from FFTF


We gave every member of U.S. Congress a “grade” based on how they’ve voted on laws that affect your privacy and freedom. Click here to see how yours scored! You might be surprised.


So many politicians blatantly push for policies that harm all of us, just because the special interests that fund their campaigns want them to.

Because of this, Congress tries to hide — taking vague positions, pushing for watered down legislation, or remaining silent at critical moments.

This week, they’re expected to renew debate on CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that would give corporations sweeping legal immunity when they share your data with the government.

Now more than ever, it’s so important that we don’t let our lawmakers hide in the shadows.

Click here to find out where your members of Congress stand on government spying and abuse!

This scoreboard is a tool we can use to hold politicians accountable and demand they stand up for our basic human and Constitutional rights.

Surveillance will define our future. Let’s make sure the future isn’t terrible.

Click here to see how your representatives measure up, and tell them to oppose CISA!

For the Internet,

~Evan at Fight for the Future

P.S. As much as we’ve talked about how bad CISA is for expanding mass surveillance, there’s another side to the law that just made it even worse. Late last week, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island introduced an amendment to expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law that has been used time and again to persecute digital activists, including our friend Aaron Swartz. That’s despicable, and needs to be quashed immediately — so take action now to help kill CISA.

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