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The Right To Know What Is In Your Food: California Preparing To Vote On Labeling GMO Food

There are those who are trying to save themselves from the many different negative affects of consuming GMO food. Californians want to force all food contain modified genes to be labeled as such. With so much of our food being produced in the State of California this would be a major win for peoples’ rights to know what is in the food they eat.

Is The End of Monsanto Near? Prop 37 Succeeding as Nations Ban GMO Crops

Anthony Gucciardi
Infowars.com
September 28, 2012

Is the end of Monsanto within reach? It has certainly been a rough couple of weeks for the mega corporation as the real dangers surrounding GMOs are being brought to the attention of consumers on a global scale like never before.

It all started with the monumental French study finding a serious link between the consumption of Monsanto’s Roundup-drenched GMOs and massive tumors. Being called the ‘most thorough’ research ever published on the real health effects of GMOs, the study led to even larger victories.

After the study not only did France call for a potential worldwide ban on GMOs pending the results of their in-depth analysis, but Russia’s major consumer rights organization announced a ban on both the importation and use of Monsanto’s GMO corn.

Prop 37 Can Label Monsanto Out of Existence

And now, the Proposition to label all GMOs in the state of California is showing massive success. If Prop 37 passes, it won’t just affect California. It is very likely that other states will not just take note, but adopt similar legislation. Through this legal mechanism, we can essential label Monsanto out of existence. This is possible when considering that the average consumer is actually opposed to GMOs and heavily in favor of proper labeling.

In a major Los Angeles Times poll, registered California voters in favor of labeling outnumber pro-GMO voters by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Altogether, a whopping 61% of those polled reported supporting the Prop 37 labeling initiative. Only 25% reported opposing it.

If GMO-containing products are properly labeled, the simple fact of the matter is that less people will buy them. As of right now, very few people are even aware of what they are putting in their mouth. In fact, if the public knew that they were consuming GMOs which were linked to massive tumors and organ failure, the overwhelming majority would abandon such products. Without labeling, however, they have no idea. The same can also be said for other ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and aspartame.

As Yes on 37 campaign manager Gary Ruskin explains:

“Monsanto, DuPont, and Coca-Cola do not want Californians to know what’s really in their food and drinks, because they fear consumers will turn away from their genetically engineered ingredients and pesticides that go with them.”

If they knew they were eating mercury in the HFCS and consuming an artificial sweetener with over 42 associated diseases, then major change would occur – change that includes forcing manufacturers to abandon these ingredients in order to stay profitable. And after all, Monsanto’s number one goal is profit. This is a company that has been caught running ‘slave-like’ working conditions in which ‘employees’ were forced to buy only from the company store and were not allowed to leave the area or their pay would be withheld.

If Monsanto’s profits were to plummet, their political reign would likely follow as well. Without an endless amount of cash to throw at crushing Prop 37, already contributing $4 million to fuel anti-labeling propaganda in California, the corporation’s massive grasp on the world of science (continually censoring studies and funding pro-GM research) and politics would virtually cease to exist.

It is essential that we ensure the passing of Prop 37 in a bid to generate the literal end of Monsanto. Once consumers actually know that they’re putting genetically modified creations into their body, real change will occur within the food supply.

This article first appeared on Anthony’s site NaturalSociety.com.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Danger: GMO Corn Causes Cancer In Rats. Are We Killing Ourselves?

Our grocery stores are becoming filled with products that are genetically modified, but we have not been told all the facts about the effects of consuming food with modified DNA. There has been many people who have warned of the problems with consuming GMO foods. Even Monsanto(one of the leading companies producing GMO crops) purposely limits the amount of GMO foods in their own cafeterias. Studies on the effects have been limited due to companies like Monsanto using the patents which they hold on these crops as a legal protection against independent studies looking into their genes. Finally a study has looked into the results of rats consuming GMO corn. Here are some of the results….

New GMO study: Rats fed lifetime of GM corn grow tumors, 70% of females die early

Mike Adams
naturalnews.com
September 19, 2012

Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

The study has been deemed “the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.” News of the horrifying findings is spreading like wildfire across the internet, with even the mainstream media seemingly in shock over the photos of rats with multiple grotesque tumors… tumors so large the rats even had difficulty breathing in some cases. GMOs may be the new thalidomide.

“Monsanto Roundup weedkiller and GM maize implicated in ‘shocking’ new cancer study” wrote The Grocery, a popular UK publication. (http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/topics/technology-and-supply-chain/monsant…)

It reported, “Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.”

The Daily Mail reported, “Fresh row over GM foods as French study claims rats fed the controversial crops suffered tumors.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Fresh-fears-GM…)

It goes on to say: “The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.”

The study, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. You may find yourself thinking it is absolutely astonishing that no such studies were ever conducted before GM corn was approved for widespread use by the USDA and FDA, but such is the power of corporate lobbying and corporate greed.

The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was just presented at a news conference in London.

Findings from the study

Here are some of the shocking findings from the study:

• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.

• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.

• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organic damage including liver damage and kidney damage.

• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that’s grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that’s in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.

Read more

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Russia suspends import and use of American GM corn after study revealed cancer risk  

  • The European Food Safety Authority orders review in to the research, conducted at a French university
  • Russia’s decision could be followed by other nations
  • Experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats – two years
  • The findings found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage
  • The same trials also found minuscule amounts of a commonly used weedkiller, Roundup
  • Both the GM corn and Roundup are the creation of US biotech company Monsanto

By Sean Poulter

PUBLISHED: 11:15 EST, 25 September 2012 | UPDATED: 01:57 EST, 26 September 2012

Russia has suspended the import and use of an American GM corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage.

Separately, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has ordered its own review in to the research, which was conducted at a French university.

The decision by Russia could be followed by other nations in what would be a severe blow to the take-up of the controversial technology.

Cancer risk? A farmer shows two corncobs of genetically engineered corn by U.S. company Monsanto, right, and two normal corncobs from Germany, leftCancer risk? A farmer shows two corncobs of genetically engineered corn by U.S. company Monsanto, right, and two normal corncobs from Germany, left

Historically, biotech companies have proved the safety of GM crops based on trials involving feeding rats for a period of 90 days.

However, experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats – two years.

The findings, which were peer reviewed by independent experts before being published in a respected scientific journal, found raised levels of breast cancer, liver and kidney damage.

The same trials also found evidence that consumption of minuscule amounts of a commonly used weedkiller, Roundup, was associated with a raised risk of cancer.

Both the GM corn, which carries the name NK603, and Roundup are the creation of US biotech company Monsanto.

The decision by the Russians to suspend authorisation for the American GM corn threatens to trigger a transatlantic commercial and diplomatic row.

Contentious: A combine harvests corn in a field near Coy, Arkansas. The decision by the Russians to suspend authorisation for the American GM corn threatens to trigger a transatlantic commercial and diplomatic row Contentious: A combine harvests corn in a field near Coy, Arkansas. The decision by the Russians to suspend authorisation for the American GM corn threatens to trigger a transatlantic commercial and diplomatic row

Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said today that it has suspended the import and use of the Monsanto GM corn.

Rospotrebnadzor said the country’s Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study.

It has also contacted the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers to ask for the EU’s position on the corn’s safety.

Consumer scepticism in the UK and Europe means GM corn is not on supermarket shelves here, however it is fed to farm animals, including hens, pigs and dairy cows.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Is America Capable Of Provoking War

If you don’t think that the government is willing or capable of purposely provoking a war, then maybe you should ask  Patrick Clawson, director of research at The Washington Institute how America should handle Iran. Here is a video of Patrick Clawson explaining what might be the best way of finally bringing some sort of a resolution to all the tension dealing with Iran. In short…. It would be better to, as an example, sink an Iranian submarine in order to push Iran to the point of battle.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Has The Federal Reserve Opened The Door to Hyperinflation in America

      The Federal Reserve has announced that they will be turning on the printing presses indefinitely. Unlike earlier rounds of quantitative easing the Federal Reserve has not announced any time restrictions for the how long they will continue to pump money into the economy. We should be really worried about the future inflation that will come as a result of throwing so much into the economy. The American people owe interest on every dollar created by the Federal Reserve. They are only transferring money to the banks while also ensuring that America owes interest to the Fed (the Federal Reserve is owned by some of the very same banks which will profit off of them printing money). We are only transferring wealth from the tax payers to the banking class.

Via: Infowars.com

New Banker Bailout Disguised As QE3

Latest move represents huge transfer of wealth from the middle class to the elite

Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Friday, September 14, 2012

While Ben Bernanke’s announcement that the Federal Reserve will embark on an open ended scheme to purchase $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month has been touted by the establishment media as the beginning of “QE3″ it is in fact nothing less than another banker bailout in disguise.

While many have rightly attacked the Fed’s policy of printing money as a band aid that does little to solve the economy in the long term, this new move isn’t even about that. The policy announced yesterday will merely see the Fed use taxpayer money to purchase more bad debt in the form of junk mortgage-backed derivative based securities that have been sold over and over again.

This has nothing to do with getting the economy going again and will only serve as yet another huge wealth transfer from the middle class to the elite.

While the fed claims the move will facilitate more lending it will do nothing of the sort. As the China Securities Journal reports today, “QE3 is not likely to result in more loans.”

“The truth is that it isn’t as if banks are hurting for cash to loan out,” writes Michael Snyder. “In fact, right now banks are already sitting on $1.6 trillion in excess reserves. Just like with the first two rounds of quantitative easing, a lot of the money from QE3 will likely end up being put on the shelf.”

Indeed, after the TARP bailout back in 2008, the Federal Reserve paid the big banks to withhold loans, because the bailouts are not about reinvigorating the real economy, they are about propping up the stock market for the rich while the real economy goes to the dogs.

QE1 and QE2 both did absolutely nothing to rescue the economy. Despite a massive injection of quantitative easing over the last four years, the unemployment rate in the United States has barely improved.

In addition, the “wealth gap” between rich and poor has vastly increased. This again illustrates how actions such as the one announced yesterday have nothing to do with helping the little guy get back on his feet and everything to do with the concentration of financial power into fewer hands.

As George Washington’s Blog points out, “This is just another bailout for the big banks. (If the government had instead given money directly to the consumer, we would be out of this economic slump by now).”

“Bernanke claims that the main justification for QE3 is to boost employment. This is slightly ironic, since Bernanke’s policies are largely responsible for creating high unemployment in the first place. The real justification is to try to artificially prop up asset prices. But that approach has been proven to be an absolute failure.”

Indeed, the Federal Reserve admits that its new program will do little to alleviate the suffering of jobless Americans.

“I want to be clear — While I think we can make a meaningful and significant contribution to reducing this problem, we can’t solve it. We don’t have tools that are strong enough to solve the unemployment problem,” Bernanke said yesterday.

The fact that we haven’t seen massive inflation since the start of the Fed’s so-called quantitative easing policies illustrates how the money is not even being pumped back into the economy. The only real inflation has been in the luxury sector because the rich are getting richer and spending more while the poor continue to live on or below the poverty line.

QE3 is merely another massive wealth transfer and a tool of waging economic warfare on the poor and middle class, another manifestation of neo-feudalism to destroy America and have the global bankers pose as the saviors.

The economy is being destroyed by design so that the elite can exploit the fear and chaos caused by the collapse in order to centralize power and control. This can also be seen over in Europe where Jose Manuel Barroso is exploiting the crisis in a bid to turn the EU into a “federation”.

Bernanke’s latest move is merely a continuation of the engineered takeover of the U.S. economy and will achieve nothing aside from enriching the wealthy to an even greater degree while ensuring the rest of us continue to see outliving standards decline on the path to economic serfdom.

Original Article

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The EU Looks to Finally Kill Nationalism

The European Union is moving closer and closer to the dreams of the tyrants of their past, a United States of Europe. The calls for the end of nationalism are becoming louder and louder in the face of total economic meltdown, and the possible attempts of countries to eventually leave the union. As the Untied States had to do in it’s own Civil War the central government will need to increase it’s power in order to preserve the union, even if it is against the wishes of those being governed.

The whole world is being ushered into an age of the death of nationalism(for those who try to denigrate nationalism it is called xenophobia, because phobias are inherently seen as bad). This is the dream of communists and globalist a like, a world of blocs. We have seen the birth of the ideas, now comes the realization of the law. Europe will be first to solidify such dreams. Will the secret attempts of an American Union succeed once our economic woes reach the level of Europe’s crisis is now?

Also see Nigel Farage’s always poignant rebuttals to the EU’s creeping dictatorship to have some sense made of the most recent happenings.

Via: Reuters

HIGHLIGHTS-EU’s Barroso calls for federation of EU states

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on Wednesday for the European Union to become a federation of nation states.

In a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Barroso outlined sweeping changes to the 27-member bloc, including modifying its treaty and highlighting what he said was a need for countries to share sovereignty.

Following are some excerpts from Barroso’s speech:

ON GOAL OF EU FEDERATION:

“We will need to move towards a federation of nation states. This is our political horizon.

“I call for a federation of nation states. Not a superstate. A democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and its citizens are better equipped to control their own destiny.

“Creating this federation of nation states will ultimately require a new treaty.

“A deep and genuine economic and monetary union can be started under the current treaties, but can only be completed with a new treaty.”

……

Read more

Nigel Farage’s Rebuttal of Barroso’s State of Union Speech

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Government is Arming To The Teeth….Against Who?

For sometime now citizens have been concerned about the trend of government agencies buying large amounts of ammunition. The quantities being bought are only continuing to increase. Some estimate that the current quantities being acquired could sustain a war for years.The ammunition is hollow point ammunition. Many of those who are trying to downplay these concerns are claiming that the ammo is purely for training purposes. Anyone who shoots would know that you would not waste hollow point ammo on training exercises.

We have to start to ask, who is the government planning to fight or defend themselves against?

Via: infowars.com

Social Security Administration To Purchase 174 Thousand Rounds Of Hollow Point Bullets

Preparing for civil unrest? Ammunition to be delivered to 41 locations across U.S.

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First it was the Department of Homeland Security, then it was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and now the Social Security Administration is set to purchase 174,000 rounds of hollow point bullets that will be delivered to 41 locations across the country.

A solicitation posted by the SSA on the FedBizOpps website asks for contractors to supply 174,000 rounds of “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition.”

……

A rash of solicitations by federal agencies for hollow point bullets in recent months has stoked fears that the government is preparing for civil unrest caused by a financial collapse on a scale similar or even larger to scenes already witnessed in Europe over the last two years.

As we reported yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put out a contract for 46,000 rounds of hollow point bullets along with 500 paper targets.

Despite initially asking the bullets to be delivered to the National Weather Service, NOAA claimed this was a “clerical error” and insisted the ammunition was being sent to the Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement. Why powerful hollow point bullets that are designed to tear apart internal organs are needed for practice shooting at paper targets has not been explained.

Back in March, Homeland Security purchased 450 million rounds of .40-caliber hollow point bullets that are designed to expand upon entry and cause maximum organ damage, prompting questions as to why the DHS needed such a large amount of powerful bullets merely for training purposes.

This was followed by another DHS solicitation asking for a further 750 million rounds of assorted bullets, including 357 mag rounds that are able to penetrate walls.

The DHS recently put out an order for riot gear in preparation for the upcoming DNC, RNC and presidential inauguration. The U.S. Army is also busy buying similar equipment.

The DHS also recently purchased a number of bullet-proof checkpoint booths that include ‘stop and go’ lights.

Read whole article

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Syrian Example: How The West Forments And Controls Revolutions To Suit Their Plans

The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?

The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …


guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 July 2012

Rami Abdulrahman

The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdulrahman, speaks on the phone in his home in Coventry on December 6, 2011. Photograph: Reuters

A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.

This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.

It’s a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation business. The mainstream news media have, in the main, been remarkably passive when it comes to Syrian sources: billing them simply as “official spokesmen” or “pro-democracy campaigners” without, for the most part, scrutinising their statements, their backgrounds or their political connections.

It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.

Though it is not yet stated US government policy to oust Assad by force, these spokespeople are vocal advocates of foreign military intervention in Syria and thus natural allies of well-known US neoconservatives who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq and are now pressuring the Obama administration to intervene. As we will see, several of these spokespeople have found support, and in some cases developed long and lucrative relationships with advocates of military intervention on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The sand is running out of the hour glass,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday. So, as the fighting in Syria intensifies, and Russian warships set sail for Tartus, it’s high time to take a closer look at those who are speaking out on behalf of the Syrian people.

The Syrian National Council

The most quoted of the opposition spokespeople are the official representatives of the Syrian National Council. The SNC is not the only Syrian opposition group – but it is generally recognised as “the main opposition coalition” (BBC). The Washington Times describes it as “an umbrella group of rival factions based outside Syria”. Certainly the SNC is the opposition group that’s had the closest dealings with western powers – and has called for foreign intervention from the early stages of the uprising. In February of this year, at the opening of the Friends of Syria summit in Tunisia, William Hague declared: “I will meet leaders of the Syrian National Council in a few minutes’ time … We, in common with other nations, will now treat them and recognise them as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

The most senior of the SNC’s official spokespeople is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani.

Bassma Kodmani

Bassma Kodmani at BilderbergBassma Kodmani of the Syrian National Council. Photograph: Carter Osmar

Here is Bassma Kodmani, seen leaving this year’s Bilderberg conference in Chantilly, Virginia.

Kodmani is a member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council. Kodmani is close to the centre of the SNC power structure, and one of the council’s most vocal spokespeople. “No dialogue with the ruling regime is possible. We can only discuss how to move on to a different political system,” she declared this week. And here she is, quoted by the newswire AFP: “The next step needs to be a resolution under Chapter VII, which allows for the use of all legitimate means, coercive means, embargo on arms, as well as the use of force to oblige the regime to comply.”

This statement translates into the headline “Syrians call for armed peacekeepers” (Australia’s Herald Sun). When large-scale international military action is being called for, it seems only reasonable to ask: who exactly is calling for it? We can say, simply, “an official SNC spokesperson,” or we can look a little closer.

This year was Kodmani’s second Bilderberg. At the 2008 conference, Kodmani was listed as French; by 2012, her Frenchness had fallen away and she was listed simply as “international” – her homeland had become the world of international relations.

Back a few years, in 2005, Kodmani was working for the Ford Foundation in Cairo, where she was director of their governance and international co-operation programme. The Ford Foundation is a vast organisation, headquartered in New York, and Kodmani was already fairly senior. But she was about to jump up a league.

Around this time, in February 2005, US-Syrian relations collapsed, and President Bush recalled his ambassador from Damascus. A lot of opposition projects date from this period. “The US money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005,” says the Washington Post.

In September 2005, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) – a research programme initiated by the powerful US lobby group, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The CFR is an elite US foreign policy thinktank, and the Arab Reform Initiative is described on its website as a “CFR Project” . More specifically, the ARI was initiated by a group within the CFR called the “US/Middle East Project” – a body of senior diplomats, intelligence officers and financiers, the stated aim of which is to undertake regional “policy analysis” in order “to prevent conflict and promote stability”. The US/Middle East Project pursues these goals under the guidance of an international board chaired by General (Ret.) Brent Scowcroft.

Peter SutherlandPeter Sutherland pictured at the Bilderberg conference. Photograph: Hannah Borno

Brent Scowcroft (chairman emeritus) is a former national security adviser to the US president – he took over the role from Henry Kissinger. Sitting alongside Scowcroft of the international board is his fellow geo-strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who succeeded him as the national security adviser, and Peter Sutherland, the chairman of Goldman Sachs International. So, as early as 2005, we’ve got a senior wing of the western intelligence/banking establishment selecting Kodmani to run a Middle East research project. In September of that year, Kodmani was made full-time director of the programme. Earlier in 2005, the CFR assigned “financial oversight” of the project to the Centre for European Reform (CER). In come the British.

The CER is overseen by Lord Kerr, the deputy chairman of Royal Dutch Shell. Kerr is a former head of the diplomatic service and is a senior adviser at Chatham House (a thinktank showcasing the best brains of the British diplomatic establishment).

In charge of the CER on a day-to-day basis is Charles Grant, former defence editor of the Economist, and these days a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a “pan-European thinktank” packed with diplomats, industrialists, professors and prime ministers. On its list of members you’ll find the name: “Bassma Kodmani (France/Syria) – Executive Director, Arab Reform Initiative”.

Another name on the list: George Soros – the financier whose non-profit “Open Society Foundations” is a primary funding source of the ECFR. At this level, the worlds of banking, diplomacy, industry, intelligence and the various policy institutes and foundations all mesh together, and there, in the middle of it all, is Kodmani.

The point is, Kodmani is not some random “pro-democracy activist” who happens to have found herself in front of a microphone. She has impeccable international diplomacy credentials: she holds the position of research director at the Académie Diplomatique Internationale – “an independent and neutral institution dedicated to promoting modern diplomacy”. The Académie is headed by Jean-Claude Cousseran, a former head of the DGSE – the French foreign intelligence service.

A picture is emerging of Kodmani as a trusted lieutenant of the Anglo-American democracy-promotion industry. Her “province of origin” (according to the SNC website) is Damascus, but she has close and long-standing professional relationships with precisely those powers she’s calling upon to intervene in Syria.

And many of her spokesmen colleagues are equally well-connected.

Radwan Ziadeh

Another often quoted SNC representative is Radwan Ziadeh – director of foreign relations at the Syrian National Council. Ziadeh has an impressive CV: he’s a senior fellow at the federally funded Washington thinktank, the US Institute of Peace (the USIP Board of Directors is packed with alumni of the defence department and the national security council; its president is Richard Solomon, former adviser to Kissinger at the NSC).

In February this year, Ziadeh joined an elite bunch of Washington hawks to sign a letter calling upon Obama to intervene in Syria: his fellow signatories include James Woolsey (former CIA chief), Karl Rove (Bush Jr’s handler), Clifford May (Committee on the Present Danger) and Elizabeth Cheney, former head of the Pentagon’s Iran-Syria Operations Group.

Ziadeh is a relentless organiser, a blue-chip Washington insider with links to some of the most powerful establishment thinktanks. Ziadeh’s connections extend all the way to London. In 2009 he became a visiting fellow at Chatham House, and in June of last year he featured on the panel at one of their events – “Envisioning Syria’s Political Future” – sharing a platform with fellow SNC spokesman Ausama Monajed (more on Monajed below) and SNC member Najib Ghadbian.

Ghadbian was identified by the Wall Street Journal as an early intermediary between the US government and the Syrian opposition in exile: “An initial contact between the White House and NSF [National Salvation Front] was forged by Najib Ghadbian, a University of Arkansas political scientist.” This was back in 2005. The watershed year.

These days, Ghadbian is a member of the general secretariat of the SNC, and is on the advisory board of a Washington-based policy body called the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) – an organisation co-founded by Ziadeh.

Ziadeh has been making connections like this for years. Back in 2008, Ziadeh took part in a meeting of opposition figures in a Washington government building: a mini-conference called “Syria In-Transition”. The meeting was co-sponsored by a US-based body called the Democracy Council and a UK-based organisation called the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD). It was a big day for the MJD – their chairman, Anas Al-Abdah, had travelled to Washington from Britain for the event, along with their director of public relations. Here, from the MJD’s website, is a description of the day: “The conference saw an exceptional turn out as the allocated hall was packed with guests from the House of Representatives and the Senate, representatives of studies centres, journalists and Syrian expatriats [sic] in the USA.”

The day opened with a keynote speech by James Prince, head of the Democracy Council. Ziadeh was on a panel chaired by Joshua Muravchik (the ultra-interventionist author of the 2006 op-ed “Bomb Iran”). The topic of the discussion was “The Emergence of Organized Opposition”. Sitting beside Ziadeh on the panel was the public relations director of the MJD – a man who would later become his fellow SNC spokesperson – Ausama Monajed.

Ausama Monajed

Along with Kodmani and Ziadeh, Ausama (or sometimes Osama) Monajed is one of the most important SNC spokespeople. There are others, of course – the SNC is a big beast and includes the Muslim Brotherhood. The opposition to Assad is wide-ranging, but these are some of the key voices. There are other official spokespeople with long political careers, like George Sabra of the Syrian Democratic People’s party – Sabra has suffered arrest and lengthy imprisonment in his fight against the “repressive and totalitarian regime in Syria”. And there are other opposition voices outside the SNC, such as the writer Michel Kilo, who speaks eloquently of the violence tearing apart his country: “Syria is being destroyed – street after street, city after city, village after village. What kind of solution is that? In order for a small group of people to remain in power, the whole country is being destroyed.”

Ausuma MonajedAusuma Monajed. Photograph: BBC

But there’s no doubt that the primary opposition body is the SNC, and Kodmani, Ziadeh and Monajed are often to be found representing it. Monajed frequently crops up as a commentator on TV news channels. Here he is on the BBC, speaking from their Washington bureau. Monajed doesn’t sugar-coat his message: “We are watching civilians being slaughtered and kids being slaughtered and killed and women being raped on the TV screens every day.”

Meanwhile, over on Al Jazeera, Monajed talks about “what’s really happening, in reality, on the ground” – about “the militiamen of Assad” who “come and rape their women, slaughter their children, and kill their elderly”.

Monajed turned up, just a few days ago, as a blogger on Huffington Post UK, where he explained, at length: “Why the World Must Intervene in Syria” – calling for “direct military assistance” and “foreign military aid”. So, again, a fair question might be: who is this spokesman calling for military intervention?

Monajed is a member of the SNC, adviser to its president, and according to his SNC biography, “the Founder and Director of Barada Television”, a pro-opposition satellite channel based in Vauxhall, south London. In 2008, a few months after attending Syria In-Transition conference, Monajed was back in Washington, invited to lunch with George W Bush, along with a handful of other favoured dissidents (you can see Monajed in the souvenir photo, third from the right, in the red tie, near Condoleezza Rice – up the other end from Garry Kasparov).

At this time, in 2008, the US state department knew Monajed as “director of public relations for the Movement for Justice and Development (MJD), which leads the struggle for peaceful and democratic change in Syria”.

Let’s look closer at the MJD. Last year, the Washington Post picked up a story from WikiLeaks, which had published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables. These cables appear to show a remarkable flow of money from the US state department to the British-based Movement for Justice and Development. According to the Washington Post’s report: “Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the state department has funnelled as much as $6m to the group since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”

A state department spokesman responded to this story by saying: “Trying to promote a transformation to a more democratic process in this society is not undermining necessarily the existing government.” And they’re right, it’s not “necessarily” that.

When asked about the state department money, Monajed himself said that he “could not confirm” US state department funding for Barada TV, but said: “I didn’t receive a penny myself.” Malik al -Abdeh, until very recently Barada TV’s editor-in-chief insisted: “we have had no direct dealings with the US state department”. The meaning of the sentence turns on that word “direct”. It is worth noting that Malik al Abdeh also happens to be one of the founders of the Movement for Justice and Development (the recipient of the state department $6m, according to the leaked cable). And he’s the brother of the chairman, Anas Al-Abdah. He’s also the co-holder of the MJD trademark: What Malik al Abdeh does admit is that Barada TV gets a large chunk of its funding from an American non-profit organisation: the Democracy Council. One of the co-sponsors (with the MJD) of Syria In-Transition mini-conference. So what we see, in 2008, at the same meeting, are the leaders of precisely those organisations identified in the Wiki:eaks cables as the conduit (the Democracy Council) and recipient (the MJD) of large amounts of state department money.

The Democracy Council (a US-based grant distributor) lists the state department as one of its sources of funding. How it works is this: the Democracy Council serves as a grant-administering intermediary between the state department’s “Middle East Partnership Initiative” and “local partners” (such as Barada TV). As the Washington Post reports:

“Several US diplomatic cables from the embassy in Damascus reveal that the Syrian exiles received money from a State Department program called the Middle East Partnership Initiative. According to the cables, the State Department funnelled money to the exile group via the Democracy Council, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit.”

The same report highlights a 2009 cable from the US Embassy in Syria that says that the Democracy Council received $6.3m from the state department to run a Syria-related programme, the “Civil Society Strengthening Initiative”. The cable describes this as “a discrete collaborative effort between the Democracy Council and local partners” aimed at producing, amongst other things, “various broadcast concepts.” According to the Washington Post: “Other cables make clear that one of those concepts was Barada TV.”

Until a few months ago, the state department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative was overseen by Tamara Cofman Wittes (she’s now at the Brookings Institution – an influential Washington thinktank). Of MEPI, she said that it “created a positive ‘brand’ for US democracy promotion efforts”. While working there she declared: “There are a lot of organizations in Syria and other countries that are seeking changes from their government … That’s an agenda that we believe in and we’re going to support.” And by support, she means bankroll.

The money

This is nothing new. Go back a while to early 2006, and you have the state department announcing a new “funding opportunity” called the “Syria Democracy Program“. On offer, grants worth “$5m in Federal Fiscal Year 2006”. The aim of the grants? “To accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.”

These days, the cash is flowing in faster than ever. At the beginning of June 2012, the Syrian Business Forum was launched in Doha by opposition leaders including Wael Merza (SNC secretary general). “This fund has been established to support all components of the revolution in Syria,” said Merza. The size of the fund? Some $300m. It’s by no means clear where the money has come from, although Merza “hinted at strong financial support from Gulf Arab states for the new fund” (Al Jazeera). At the launch, Merza said that about $150m had already been spent, in part on the Free Syrian Army.

Merza’s group of Syrian businessmen made an appearance at a World Economic Forum conference titled the “Platform for International Co-operation” held in Istanbul in November 2011. All part of the process whereby the SNC has grown in reputation, to become, in the words of William Hague, “a legitimate representative of the Syrian people” – and able, openly, to handle this much funding.

Building legitimacy – of opposition, of representation, of intervention – is the essential propaganda battle.

In a USA Today op-ed written in February this year, Ambassador Dennis Ross declared: “It is time to raise the status of the Syrian National Council”. What he wanted, urgently, is “to create an aura of inevitability about the SNC as the alternative to Assad.” The aura of inevitability. Winning the battle in advance.

A key combatant in this battle for hearts and minds is the American journalist and Daily Telegraph blogger, Michael Weiss.

Michael Weiss

One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”

Some of Weiss’s interventionist writings can be found on a Beirut-based, Washington-friendly website called “NOW Lebanon” – whose “NOW Syria” section is an important source of Syrian updates. NOW Lebanon was set up in 2007 by Saatchi & Saatchi executive Eli Khoury. Khoury has been described by the advertising industry as a “strategic communications specialist, specialising in corporate and government image and brand development”.

Weiss told NOW Lebanon, back in May, that thanks to the influx of weapons to Syrian rebels “we’ve already begun to see some results.” He showed a similar approval of military developments a few months earlier, in a piece for the New Republic: “In the past several weeks, the Free Syrian Army and other independent rebel brigades have made great strides” – whereupon, as any blogger might, he laid out his “Blueprint for a Military Intervention in Syria”.

But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy thinktank.

The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle. The Society is run by Alan Mendoza, chief adviser to the all-party parliamentary group on transatlantic and international security.

The Henry Jackson Society is uncompromising in its “forward strategy” towards democracy. And Weiss is in charge of the message. The Henry Jackson Society is proud of its PR chief’s far-reaching influence: “He is the author of the influential report “Intervention in Syria? An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards”, which was repurposed and endorsed by the Syrian National Council.”

Weiss’s original report was re-named “Safe Area for Syria” – and ended up on the official syriancouncil.org website, as part of their military bureau’s strategic literature. The repurposing of the HJS report was undertaken by the founder and executive director of the Strategic Research and Communication Centre (SRCC) – one Ausama Monajed.

So, the founder of Barada TV, Ausama Monajed, edited Weiss’s report, published it through his own organisation (the SRCC) and passed it on to the Syrian National Council, with the support of the Henry Jackson Society.

The relationship couldn’t be closer. Monajed even ends up handling inquiries for “press interviews with Michael Weiss“. Weiss is not the only strategist to have sketched out the roadmap to this war (many thinktanks have thought it out, many hawks have talked it up), but some of the sharpest detailing is his.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The justification for the “inevitable” military intervention is the savagery of President Assad’s regime: the atrocities, the shelling, the human rights abuses. Information is crucial here, and one source above all has been providing us with data about Syria. It is quoted at every turn: “The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA [Voice of America] that fighting and shelling killed at least 12 people in Homs province.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is commonly used as a standalone source for news and statistics. Just this week, news agency AFP carried this story: “Syrian forces pounded Aleppo and Deir Ezzor provinces as at least 35 people were killed on Sunday across the country, among them 17 civilians, a watchdog reported.” Various atrocities and casualty numbers are listed, all from a single source: “Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP by phone.”

Statistic after horrific statistic pours from “the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (AP). It’s hard to find a news report about Syria that doesn’t cite them. But who are they? “They” are Rami Abdulrahman (or Rami Abdel Rahman), who lives in Coventry.

According to a Reuters report in December of last year: “When he isn’t fielding calls from international media, Abdulrahman is a few minutes down the road at his clothes shop, which he runs with his wife.”

When the Guardian’s Middle East live blog cited “Rami Abdul-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” it also linked to a sceptical article in the Modern Tokyo Times – an article which suggested news outlets could be a bit “more objective about their sources” when quoting “this so-called entity”, the SOHR.

That name, the “Syrian Observatory of Human Rights”, sound so grand, so unimpeachable, so objective. And yet when Abdulrahman and his “Britain-based NGO” (AFP/NOW Lebanon) are the sole source for so many news stories about such an important subject, it would seem reasonable to submit this body to a little more scrutiny than it’s had to date.

The Observatory is by no means the only Syrian news source to be quoted freely with little or no scrutiny …

Hamza Fakher

The relationship between Ausama Monajed, the SNC, the Henry Jackson hawks and an unquestioning media can be seen in the case of Hamza Fakher. On 1 January, Nick Cohen wrote in the Observer: “To grasp the scale of the barbarism, listen to Hamza Fakher, a pro-democracy activist, who is one of the most reliable sources on the crimes the regime’s news blackout hides.”

He goes on to recount Fakher’s horrific tales of torture and mass murder. Fakher tells Cohen of a new hot-plate torture technique that he’s heard about: “imagine all the melting flesh reaching the bone before the detainee falls on the plate”. The following day, Shamik Das, writing on “evidence-based” progressive blog Left Foot Forward, quotes the same source: “Hamza Fakher, a pro-democracy activist, describes the sickening reality …” – and the account of atrocities given to Cohen is repeated.

So, who exactly is this “pro-democracy activist”, Hamza Fakher?

Fakher, it turns out, is the co-author of Revolution in Danger , a “Henry Jackson Society Strategic Briefing”, published in February of this year. He co-wrote this briefing paper with the Henry Jackson Society’s communications director, Michael Weiss. And when he’s not co-writing Henry Jackson Society strategic briefings, Fakher is the communication manager of the London-based Strategic Research and Communication Centre (SRCC). According to their website, “He joined the centre in 2011 and has been in charge of the centre’s communication strategy and products.”

As you may recall, the SRCC is run by one Ausama Monajed: “Mr Monajed founded the centre in 2010. He is widely quoted and interviewed in international press and media outlets. He previously worked as communication consultant in Europe and the US and formerly served as the director of Barada Television …”.

Monajed is Fakher’s boss.

If this wasn’t enough, for a final Washington twist, on the board of the Strategic Research and Communication Centre sits Murhaf Jouejati, a professor at the National Defence University in DC – “the premier center for Joint Professional Military Education (JPME)” which is “under the direction of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

If you happen to be planning a trip to Monajed’s “Strategic Research and Communication Centre”, you’ll find it here: Strategic Research & Communication Centre, Office 36, 88-90 Hatton Garden, Holborn, London EC1N 8PN.

Office 36 at 88-90 Hatton Garden is also where you’ll find the London headquarters of The Fake Tan Company, Supercar 4 U Limited, Moola loans (a “trusted loans company”), Ultimate Screeding (for all your screeding needs), and The London School of Attraction – “a London-based training company which helps men develop the skills and confidence to meet and attract women.” And about a hundred other businesses besides. It’s a virtual office. There’s something oddly appropriate about this. A “communication centre” that doesn’t even have a centre – a grand name but no physical substance.

That’s the reality of Hamza Fakher. On 27 May, Shamik Das of Left Foot Forward quotes again from Fakher’s account of atrocities, which he now describes as an “eyewitness account” (which Cohen never said it was) and which by now has hardened into “the record of the Assad regime”.

So, a report of atrocities given by a Henry Jackson Society strategist, who is the communications manager of Mosafed’s PR department, has acquired the gravitas of a historical “record”.

This is not to suggest that the account of atrocities must be untrue, but how many of those who give it currency are scrutinising its origins?

And let’s not forget, whatever destabilisation has been done in the realm of news and public opinion is being carried out twofold on the ground. We already know that (at the very least) “the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department … are helping the opposition Free Syrian Army develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training.”

The bombs doors are open. The plans have been drawn up.

This has been brewing for a time. The sheer energy and meticulous planning that’s gone into this change of regime – it’s breathtaking. The soft power and political reach of the big foundations and policy bodies is vast, but scrutiny is no respecter of fancy titles and fellowships and “strategy briefings”. Executive director of what, it asks. Having “democracy” or “human rights” in your job title doesn’t give you a free pass.

And if you’re a “communications director” it means your words should be weighed extra carefully. Weiss and Fakher, both communications directors – PR professionals. At the Chatham House event in June 2011, Monajed is listed as: “Ausama Monajed, director of communications, National Initiative for Change” and he was head of PR for the MJD. The creator of the news website NOW Lebanon, Eli Khoury, is a Saatchi advertising executive. These communications directors are working hard to create what Tamara Wittes called a “positive brand”.

They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy. Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.

But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Uncategorized