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14 June 2015 @ 02:33 pm
Pentagon research uses IBC data to sanitise US violence  
Iraq Body Count: Undercounting Death With Pro-war Cash
June 10, 2015

The Pentagon used IBC data for pro-occupation propaganda
By Nafeez Ahmed Information Clearing House, Medium

An official funding document confirms that the Iraq Body Count (IBC), a widely-respected antiwar group monitoring Iraq War casualties since its inception in 2003, has received core funding from government agencies complicit in the Iraq War, since 2009. A close review of evidence in the public record also reveals that in 2006, the Pentagon used IBC’s data to legitimise US violence under the military occupation of Iraq.
In an earlier investigation, I reported that IBC’s directors received funding from US, Swiss, German and Norwegian government foreign affairs agencies that had directly supported the war.
This funding was received through a parallel casualty-recording programme at the Oxford Research Group (ORG), run by the same directors. The funding, however, was not disclosed to the scientific journals publishing papers by IBC directors, which analysed the Iraq War in the same period.
An official document in the public record from one of IBC’s funders, however, shows that the ORG programme was being run by the IBC, which was therefore directly supported by this funding.

Response and counter-response
Last week, Brian Dean, a longtime IBC supporter and blogger, wrote a response dismissing this investigation as nothing more than a “smear piece.”
Leading left wing Guardian columnist George Monbiot took to Twitter to promote Dean’s blog, describing my IBC story as “pernicious bullshit.” He accused me of promoting a “witch-hunt” against IBC based on “no evidence.”
IBC’s Josh Dougherty, a senior researcher at the organisation, similarly described my follow-up rebuttal to Dean on Twitter as “16,000(!) more words of pure bullshit,” indicating IBC’s complete denial of my reporting.
[Image - Josh Dougherty, Senior Researcher at the Iraq Body Count (2003)]
Dougherty’s tweet was favourited by the Iraq Body Count’s official Twitter handle.

Lies, damn lies and statistics
IBC’s blanket denial as per Dougherty, however, contradicts information published by one of its own grant-givers.
In Brian Dean’s defence of IBC, which received a resounding endorsement from Dougherty, Dean claimed repeatedly that the IBC had not received any funding from the governments of the US, Switzerland, Germany or Norway.
However, an entry in the 10th Anniversary Impact Report of one of IBC’s early funders, The Funding Network (TFN), reveals that the IBC itself was funded by these governments according to its own directors.
The July 2012 impact report describes the activities of TFN, a grant-giving body, and the charitable causes TFN has funded. Among the examples of successful impacts showcased in the report is a case study authored by IBC directors, John Sloboda and Hamit Dardagan.
The entry, titled “Iraq Body Count,” describes how TFN funding enabled IBC to obtain financial support from the US, Swiss and German governments. The document also confirms that as far as the IBC’s own directors are concerned, for all practical purposes Iraq Body Count is indistinguishable from the casualty recording programme run through the Oxford Research Group, along with the project it seeded known as ‘Every Casualty.’
The TFN report shows that grants received by IBC financed further development of the IBC website, and also “funded IBC personnel to establish a process at the Oxford Research Group (ORG) to produce a consultation document which was circulated to 250 other stakeholders worldwide with an interest in casualty recording.”
https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/898/1*dYFhwYpTbHXTuz1tMda-YA.png
Excerpt from The Funding Network 10th Anniversary Impact Report, authored by “Iraq Body Count — John Sloboda & Hamit Cardigan, Oxford Research Group
The ORG process, established by IBC, led “to the establishment of the Every Casualty programme which aims to put in place a casualty recording requirement within the international system that ensures that every casualty of armed violence around the world is correctly identified and publicly acknowledged.”
Sloboda and Dardagan go on to confirm that:
As a result of TFN’s support, we now have the support of other major funders including the Swiss and German governments and the US Congress-supported United States Institute for Peace. This has allowed us to establish partnerships with a wide range of NGOs, including virtually all the recognised casualty recording organisations around the world.”
The TFN impact report thus clarifies that Sloboda and Dardagan established the Every Casualty programme at ORG in their capacity as “IBC personnel,” and that the development of the ORG programme was led by IBC.
The report shows that IBC’s founding directors, Sloboda and Dardagan, do not meaningfully distinguish between the Every Casualty programme and IBC.
In the same document, the longstanding organisational overlap between ORG and IBC, especially with regard to funding, is described by ORG founder Dr. Scilla Elworthy. She recounts her excitement at:
“….Oxford Research Group becoming the second highest funded project in TFN history with a total amount raised over the years of £58,000 for our Iraq Body Count initiative.”
https://d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/1425/1*b3nOFM0Ezm3mybyocODq3A.png
Excerpt from The Funding Network 10th Anniversary Impact Report
The statement by Dr. Elworthy, ORG’s founder, confirms that IBC is equivalent to ORG’s casualty recording “initiative.”
The TFN report thus confirms that the first major grant of $100,161 from the US Institute for Peace (USIP) in 2009, was secured by Sloboda for IBC through ORG. The grant was to “define and test a generalizable framework for enumerating the casualties of armed conflict” by drawing on “a newly-created international network of casualty recording practitioners.”
Since then, the IBC-run Every Casualty programme at ORG has secured funding from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Foreign Office, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some of this funding was used to launch Every Casualty as an independent organisation, under the directorship of IBC personnel. All four governments weresupportive of the 2003 Iraq War.
While IBC’s aims would appear noble, their relationships with the very government agencies complicit in the Iraq War underscores serious conflicts of interest.

Systematic undercounting
New peer-reviewed scientific research from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) out last week proves clearly that casualty counting methods advocated by IBC and Every Casualty systematically undercount death tolls on conflicts, and cannot be taken as a true reflection of the nature of violence in conflicts.
In a paper published this month by the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (the International Association for Official Statistics), HRDAG analysts Dr. Patrick Ball and Megan Price identify serious limitations to data produced by groups like IBC and Every Casualty.
“In our analyses of mass violence in Guatemala, Kosovo, Perú, Colombia, and Timor-Leste,” they write referring to their work studying conflicts over the last 20 years, “we have repeatedly found that the amount of missing data can be surprisingly large: in the chaos and fear that surrounds conflict,violence often goes unreported and consequently victims remain hidden from view.” [emphasis added]
Access to “complete data” is rare for studies of conflict violence. “What we have instead are snapshots of violence,” which in statistical terms are known as “convenience samples” that cover:
"...an unknown proportion of the total number of cases of violence. It is mathematically difficult, often impossible, to know how much is undocumented, and consequently missing from the sample.” [emphasis added]
Despite this, IBC personnel, including founding director John Sloboda, have repeatedly treated the IBC database as largely complete for analytical purposes, as illustrated by their blanket efforts to infer trends in violence a practice that Ball and Price note is “highly misleading.”
IBC personnel have published reports and papers attempting to describe patterns of violence, and to provide casualty figures, for Syria and Iraq.
Yet according to Ball and Price, in both countries “the multiple data sources that cover these conflicts tell conflicting narratives and are not appropriate for quantitative analyses aimed at answering questions about patterns of violence.”
HRDAG draw on the work of a team led by Dr. Dustin Carpenter of Columbia University Medical Center, who note that correlations between certain types of events and media reporting of those events can generate data patterns that simply reflect the limitations of reporting, rather than actual violence on the ground.
Ball and Price warn that researchers might for instance “erroneously conclude that most victims in Iraq were killed in large events, whereas this may be an artifact of the data collection.” An even more damaging and false conclusion “might be reached if large events are centered in certain geographic regions or attributed to certain perpetrators.” Inappropriate interpretations could result in “incorrect decisions regarding security measures, intervention strategies, and ultimately, accountability.”[emphasis added]
Most significantly, they quote Dr. Carpenter et. al who wrote:
"Citing partial tallies as if they were scientific samples confuses the public, and opens the press and scholars to being manipulated in the interests of warring parties.”
Similarly, in a 2013 paper in The Lancet, public health experts Prof. Richard Garfield and Prof. Frederick Burkle Jr. point out that in the “passive surveillance” method used by IBC, “no special effort is made to find those deaths that go unreported.” IBC’s data is:
“… inherently biased because of scarcity or absence of independent verification, variation in original sources of information, and underestimation of mortality from violence… In research circles, random cross-sectional cluster sampling survey methods are deemed to be a more rigorous epidemiological method in conflict settings.”
They acknowledge, though, that so far such studies have been significantly hampered in Iraq, due to worsening security conditions and other factors. The true impact of the war remains difficult to determine to this day.

Pentagon research uses IBC data to sanitise US violence
While there is no indication that IBC has deliberately undercounted violence in Iraq, - its lower numbers compared to the findings of epidemiological surveys - have been of increasing interest to the US government and the Pentagon.
In their 2013 paper in The Lancet, Garfield and Burkle Jr. point out:
"Although initially critical of the IBC findings, US and coalition governments and the political right increasingly became dismissive of the peer-reviewed mortality estimates, asserting that the deaths reported in the lower estimate sources [like IBC and others such as the Brookings Iraq Index] were accurate.”
The risk of “being manipulated in the interests of warring parties,” as Dr. Carpenter warned, was very real in the case of IBC’s inherently partial tally.
A figure at the Pentagon who displayed early interest in IBC’s low numbers is Colin Kahl, who is currently National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Deputy Assistant to President Obama.
From 2005 to 2006, Prof. Kahl, then a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, conducted research at the Bush administration’s Department of Defense under a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship on counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq.
His Pentagon research resulted in a Foreign Affairs article published in Nov/Dec 2006, in which Kahl used the IBC database of violent deaths to prove that the US military’s conduct in Iraq was exemplary by historical standards, and continuing to improve. His Foreign Affairs piece concluded from analysis of the IBC data that:
“… a careful review of US conduct during the Iraq war reveals no broad pattern of systematic civilian victimization by US forces. US compliance with noncombatant immunity in Iraq has been higher than critics often assert, and adherence has increased over time as the US military has tried to correct its procedures in reaction to instances of noncompliance. Observed through the narrow lens of the laws of war, the US military has gone to commendable lengths to comply with the principles of distinction and proportionality in Iraq.”
The implications of this cannot be understated: The research for Kahl’s late 2006 Foreign Affairs piece, which sanitised the US role in violence in Iraq using IBC data, was conducted by Kahl under his fellowship at the Pentagon from 2005 to 2006
."
It was, in other words, Colin Kahl that first saw the utility of IBC’s work to the Pentagon’s policy goals in Iraq.
After the October 2006 publication of the Lancet survey which found that 655,000 Iraqis had been killed due to the 2003 invasion and occupation, President Bush dismissed the survey during a White House news conference. “I don’t consider it a credible report. Neither does Gen. Casey,” he said, referring to the top ranking US military official in Iraq, “and neither do Iraqi officials” working with US occupying forces.
Kahl’s Foreign Affairs article, based on two-year research under his CFR fellowship at Bush’s Pentagon, came out a month after the Lancet study.
In an interview about the article at the time, Kahl specifically dismissed the Lancet findings citing his Pentagon research. Instead, he said, while IBC’s figures are likely to undercount deaths, “most estimates of the Iraqi civilian casualties put the totals somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000, but the Iraq Body Count data is the only one that breaks it down by who is doing the killing.”
Explaining his findings, he said:
The article claims that by a historical standard, the United States is doing reasonably well. Does that mean the United States has never killed innocent civilians? No. In fact the United States has undoubtedly killed thousands of Iraqi civilians, and we shouldn’t trivialize that. On the other hand, in a single night of bombing in Tokyo 85,000 Japanese civilians were killed on purpose by the United States. Are we seeing carnage like that in Iraq by US forces? No, so I think we need to keep in mind that war is hell, and civilians are going to die and the only way to prevent that is to not fight the war in the first place.
But also keep in mind, that when we fight its incumbent upon us to take every precaution necessary, and the article argues that the United States military has done a reasonably good job by historical standards, and that that its performance has been improving over time. Could it still get better? The article concludes that it could
.”
Needless to say, if the Lancet estimates - or substantively higher estimates - were anywhere near accurate, such claims would be unsustainable.
Throughout his Pentagon-sanctioned article, Kahl deploys IBC’s data to justify his overlapping assumptions of supreme US benevolence in its conduct of war: that the US has always formally intended to minimise civilian casualties, and that killings of Iraqi civilians are reprehensible aberrations from that benign intent, which do not represent the general character of US military operations.
This, however, is fundamentally contradicted by authoritative testimonials from unembedded journalists in Iraq and Iraq War veterans, who confirm that media reporting failed to pick up on major and routine violent incidents against Iraqi civilians by US forces.
As I wrote in my first story on IBC, Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) has compiled testimony from dozens of US soldiers who served during the war, documenting that commanding officers routinely ordered the establishment of “free fire zones” in civilian areas where there were supposedly “no friendlies”, but where only civilians were actually visible. IVAW’s work provides first-hand evidence of countless cases of high-level orders to shoot at anyone, with senior officers guaranteeing no recriminations. Such incidents were never reported by the media - until IVAW published them.
In corroboration, Iraq journalist Salah Hassan told the unembedded journalist Dahr Jamail that, “In Fallujah and other cities” occupation forces committed “many crimes freely because there were no journalists there.”
Jamail himself, in his book Beyond the Greenzone: Dispatches from an Umembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, confirmed that he had witnessed numerous cases and evidence of violent deaths that neither Arabic nor English media ever noticed.

USIP, Colin Kahl, and Iraq casualty bias
In January 2007, Colin Kahl and John Sloboda were together in Washington DC at an off-the-record USIP panel, where Sloboda delivered a presentation about IBC’s views of the Iraq War death toll at an off-the-record USIP panel. By that time, Kahl was now an adviser to the soon-to-be president, Barack Obama, as part of the latter’s Iraq Policy Expert Group.
Previous reports at INSURGE intelligence show that USIP was directly complicit in the Bush administration’s military occupation of Iraq, having established an office in Baghdad through which USIP staff liaised with senior officials from the US military, Coalition Provisional Authority, and Iraqi government.
USIP has also demonstrated a particular bias on the question of the death toll from the war, as well as responsibility for violence.
The Bush administration’s Iraq Study Group convened by USIP concluded in its December 2006report that the bulk of violence was due to “a Sunni Arab insurgency, Shi’ite militias and death squads, al-Qaeda, and widespread criminality.” Meanwhile, “the presence of US troops is moderating the violence.”
The report claimed that sectarian attacks that killed Iraqis, and roadside bombs targeting US personnel, were being undercounted - rather than deaths of Iraqis due to US forces. The report recommended that the “Director of National Intelligence” and the “Secretary of Defense” support changes “in the collection of data about violence and the sources of violence in Iraq.”
Since inception, federal law requires the US Secretary of Defense to be a USIP board member, among other senior government officials.
Sloboda and Kahl’s USIP panel occurred just one month after USIP published the Iraq Study Group report.
The USIP panel also included two other participants: Michael O’Hanlon, senior author of the Brookings Iraq Index; and Les Roberts, a co-author of the 2006 Lancet Iraq death toll survey.
Roberts, whose Lancet study concluded that the war had taken the lives of well over 650,000 Iraqis, was outnumbered at the USIP meeting three-to-one - loboda, Kahl and O’Hanlon were all staunch advocates of a far lower Iraq War death toll derived from ‘passive surveillance’ methods - that is, monitoring of media and other public record accounts of violence.
At the USIP panel, Sloboda said in criticism of the 2006 Lancet survey that “We do not think [the death toll in Iraq] could possibly be 10 times higher” than IBC’s figures
In the summer of 2007, Kahl published a paper in the International Security journal, largely reiterating his argument developed in Bush’s Pentagon, that US military conduct in Iraq had been exemplary by historical standards.
He once again drew heavily on Iraq Body Count data and arguments by IBC personnel, in particular to argue that the 2006 Lancet findings were the by-product of “some significant sampling bias or other problem.”
By November that year, Colin Kahl was among a list of people, including Hamit Dardagan, Josh Dougherty, and Madelyn Hicks (all IBC personnel) who received thanks from future IBC adviser Michael Spagat for “sharing insights with me that were useful in the presentation of this document.”
The presentation concerned a talk delivered by Spagat, a professor of economics at Royal Holloway University, titled ‘How Many Dead (Really?): Fact and Fiction Regarding Civilian Casualties in Iraq.’ The presentation at George Mason University in November 2007 attempted to critique the larger Iraq death toll estimates from the 2004 and 2006 Lancet surveys.
Spagat summarily dismissed the latter respectively as containing “little, if any, useable information” and possessing “serious quality problems and a number of unexplained anomalies,” before concluding that “IBC is the best source on violent killings of civilians in Iraq.”
By 2008, Sloboda and Dardagan had incorporated Conflict Casualties Monitor as the nonprofit company running IBC.
That year, Colin Kahl, as director of Center for a New American Security’s (CNAS) Middle East Security Programme, lead authored a CNAS report on US policy in Iraq. The report, co-authored with CNAS founder and then CEO Michele Flournoy, also drew on IBC data to argue that the “security situation in Iraq had significantly improved due to the influx of additional US troops utilizing improved counterinsurgency techniques.”
Kahl was still on the Obama Campaign’s Iraq team at this time. As for Flournoy, she had previously been a senior Pentagon official under the Clinton administration, serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. In late 2008, she was a Review Team Lead at the Pentagon for Obama’s transition, before being appointed as Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy under Bush administration hangover Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
In September 2008, Kahl presented his and Flournoy’s findings at another USIP panel. Once again, the panelist who was critical of the US role in Iraq, Charles Knight - co-director of the Project for Defense Alternatives - was outnumbered three-to-one.
While Knight had argued that the US intervention in Iraq had been an unmitigated disaster, and that the US military presence was the main factor in galvanising sectarian violence, Colin Kahl and two other panelists — including USIP senior fellow Rend al-Rahim Francke, who was appointed by Bush administration as Iraqi ambassador to the US from 2003 to 2005 - largely agreed that the surge strategy was generating lasting success, implying that “some US military presence will be necessary for the near to medium-term.”
The following year, Colin Kahl would also join Flournoy in the Pentagon. Obama appointed Kahl to the post of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, a position he held until December 2011.
Also in 2009, USIP authorised its first major grant to John Sloboda for IBC to run what would become ORG’s Every Casualty programme, which has been followed by further core funding since then.
At that time and for the duration of much of USIP’s funding to ORG-IBC, USIP’s Executive Vice President was Tara Sonenshine, a colleague of Flournoy in the Clinton administration, who had served as Director of Foreign Policy Planning and Deputy Director of Communications for the National Security Council, as well as Special Assistant to the President. Like Flournoy and Kahl, Sonenshine also went on to join the Obama administration from 2012 to 2013 as Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Diplomacy.
In 2010, Michael Spagat formally joined the IBC-run Every Casualty programme, receiving a two-year grant from ORG for casualty-recording research.

Michael Spagat, the Pentagon and NATO
Spagat was already well-known to defence circles. From 2004 to 2007, he received grants totaling $334,135 from a Pentagon contractor, Radiance Technologies, to develop databases on armed violence in Colombia and Mexico. Radiance’s raison d’etre is to provide “operational support for the Department of Defense (DoD), armed services, intelligence agencies, and other Government organizations.”
Radiance’s Pentagon work in this period on Latin America was on behalf of the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), but the project also covered countries in the Middle East, including Iraq.
In 2009, Spagat collaborated with IBC director Madelyn Hicks to create the ‘Dirty War Index’, (DWI) a tool to measure human rights abuses in armed conflicts. The DWI has, however, been heavily criticized by the statistics experts at HRDAG, who question its “basic utility and applicability.” The DWI could, due to underreporting of extreme violence, artificially “inflate the proportion of ‘clean’ outcomes, obscuring what they are intended to measure” - namely, illegal violence against civilians.
Spagat and Hicks worked with Lt. Col. Ewan Cameron, then Head of Health Services Development at NATO Headquarters Regional Southern Command in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to adapt the DWI tool to create “the Civilian Battle Damage Assessment Ratio” (CBDAR) - a new metric that would purportedly help minimise civilian casualties from NATO operations.
Although the CBDAR metric was claimed by NATO to have reduced civilian casualties in southern Afghanistan, this claim has been contested by another IBC advisor, Prof. Marc W. Herold, of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire. Herold documentedan increase in Afghan civilian casualties in the same period, rather than a decline.
In April 2010, the same year Spagat was consulting for the USIP-funded IBC programme at ORG, the journal Defence, Peace and Economics, published Spagat’s major critical review of the 2006 Lancet survey of Iraqi deaths.
In a footnote, Spagat once again acknowledged the input of Colin Kahl, who at the time of publication was a senior Pentagon official for Middle East affairs. Spagat also acknowledged IBC personnel, namely John Sloboda, Hamit Dardagan, Josh Dougherty, and Madelyn Hicks.

Whose fraud?
In his response to my original investigation, Brian Dean makes much of my allegations of statistical fraud on the part of IBC scholars, especially Spagat. Yet it was Spagat and other IBC personnel who first laid charges of fraud at the door of the Lancet teams.
Spagat’s paper drew on similar arguments he had tested earlier in his 2007 presentation at George Mason University, where he had also acknowledged Kahl’s “insights.” As with that presentation, Spagat’s 2010 paper leveled serious charges of fraud, negligence, and ethical breaches at the 2006Lancet Iraq death toll survey.
However, in my previous investigation I undertook an in-depth analysis of each of Spagat’s core criticisms of the Lancet survey, finding that, to the contrary, almost all of his arguments were spurious, and in several cases I found that Spagat had created statistical artifacts based on entirely false assumptions about Iraqi society to prove his accusations of fraud.
My investigation even led statistics expert Prof. Andrew Gelman of Columbia University, a critic of the Lancet survey based on Spagat’s work who felt that my original report had not sufficiently represented his negative opinion of the survey, to concede in the Washington Post that:
Ahmed may be correct that the Burnham study was performed well and that Spagat’s criticisms are baseless and that my acceptance of Spagat’s criticisms were misinformed — as I wrote above, I know nothing about Iraq.”
As is widely acknowledged, the IBC provides a valuable service in collating data from media reports and other sources about violent deaths in Iraq. There is no evidence that IBC deliberately undercounts deaths.But this investigation confirms that the US government and the Pentagon has sought to use IBC’s work for its own ends, namely to draw attention to lower counts of civilian deaths, and to legitimise US military policies in Iraq.
In total, four pro-war governments are currently involved in funding IBC and IBC personnel since 2009, none of which has been declared in the scientific journal articles related to the Iraq War by IBC authors.
In particular, Colin Kahl, a senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration, has consistently used IBC data to sanitise US violence in Iraq, and to dismiss the higher estimates of epidemiological studies in the Lancet.
IBC personnel, especially Spagat, Hicks, Sloboda and Dougherty, have played the lead role in casting doubt on the Lancet studies, and higher death toll estimates in general. The result of their concerted campaign has been a widespread perception that IBC’s lower count of violent deaths is the most accurate, while higher estimates are completely bogus.
But if the higher Iraq death toll estimates of the Lancet, other surveys and studies are correct - some of which imply total deaths of over 1 million Iraqis to date since 2003 - this would corroborate the point made by HRDAG and others, that IBC’s data is really nothing more than a useful but inherently limited snapshot of the true scale of violence and its impact in Iraq.
In which case, the allegedly profound patterns of violence IBC scholars are inferring from their media-based conflict data - not just for Iraq, but for Syria and other conflicts - are simply statistical artifacts reflective of the serious limitations of embedded corporate media reporting on wars in which the US and Western Europe have strategic interests.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Anglia Ruskin University. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye.
He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.
Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (2010), and the scifi thriller novel ZERO POINT, among other books. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

This story is published by INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project. Support us to break the stories that no one else will — become a patron of independent, investigative journalism for the global commons.
 
 
 
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 01:44 pm (UTC)
SHADE the Motion Picture
[Nothing is what it seems]
Oct 15, 2013 UnboundProductionsUS
Shade exposes the true power structure embedded in our global reality, showing the true controllers their plans to Geo-engineer our planet and control the populace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4VFYRaltcc
DVD order dets and credits at youtube
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC)
Ring Of Power (Full Length Documentary) 5:02:53
Ring Of Power (Full Length Documentary)
From the mystery religions of ancient Egypt to the Zionist role in 9/11, "Ring Of Power" puzzles together the missing pieces of our human story. Find out how an Illuminati network of international bankers and European royalty have turned the world's nations and citizens into their debt slaves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CObE4Cnuw5k
DVDs http://www.helpfreetheearth.com/DVD-ROP-detail-buy1.html
Links to more informative vids at youtube.
H/t A01A
Leads in with a 9/11 orthodoxy bombardment of logic. Continues by treating sacred cows to an onslaught of facts.
Anyone watching this and still believing Netanyahu, Bush, Cheney, Mossad, the CIA, and senior military are angels of truth rather than (directed) evil enemies of humanity needs to see a psychiatrist. Denial is no longer an option.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC)
You don't need philosophy, just a clear understanding that bad people are doing bad things to the planet and its life forms. It isn't the common people that are bad.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC)
Russian assault on Iceland's fleet
Russian tall ship rams 2 coast guard vessels in Reykjavik (VIDEO)
Published time: June 14, 2015
The world’s second largest sailing ship, Russia’s Krusenstern barque, has rammed two Iceland Coast Guard vessels in the port of Reykjavik, considerably damaging the deck of one of the vessels.
Local tugs were apparently a little over-enthusiastic while pulling the Russian ship on Thursday. The Krusenstern was preparing to head out of Reykjavik’s harbor, which required it to be turned around with the help of local tugs, according to TASS.
But due to an unsuccessful maneuver – reportedly a ruptured towing hawser – the Russian ship’s bowsprit collided with two coast guard ships, the Baltic State Academy of Fishing Fleet, Krusenstern’s owner, told the FlashNord news agency.

[...]Although the tugging operation that reportedly led to the accident was performed by local tugs, Iceland’s naval command insists the Russian side should pay for the damage to the Coast Guard vessels. The Iceland Monitor reports the barque will remain in port while the damage is being assessed.
Full + pics http://rt.com/news/267082-kruzenshtern-barque-rammed-reykjavik/
dan
Hans-Martin Dampf
this happens when drunk russians operate stolen german products ;)
you mean drunk icelandic tug boat operators.....
you know how many icelanders it takes to drive a tug boat, one and a fifth...
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC)
Local gov (Common Purpose) supports our enemies
Drugs, arms, tobacco: British councils’ opaque, unsavory investments exposed
Concern is mounting over UK local authority investment practices, as scrutiny of council pension fund investments uncovers links to the arms trade, tobacco companies, and the global pharmaceutical industry.
http://rt.com/uk/266818-unethical-investment-ukcouncils/
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
Out from the cold: Snowden leaks forced British spies’ pullout from Russia, China - report
The British MI6 secret service had to suspend operations of its field agents due to imminent exposure in “hostile” countries such as Russia and China, caused by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks, the Sunday Times reports.
http://rt.com/news/267067-british-spies-russia-china/
Likely BS, I doubt that the Ruskies were unaware of UK spies as for the UK being unaware of RU spies.
Supportive propaganda for the most deceptive "most transparent" US gov prosecution case.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC)
2014 Gaza offensive was ‘unfortunate yet lawful’ – Israel ahead of UN probe results
Israel has released a report that argues Operation Protective Edge against Hamas Gaza during the summer of 2014 was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the findings of the UN war crimes investigation into the war, which is due to be released this week.
http://rt.com/news/267121-israel-gaza-war-lawful/
Watch Cameron defend the indefensible Khazar jewish Israeli regime while attacking humanists that pour scorn on the deceit.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
Georgian capital flood: 12 killed, zoo animals escape, several shot dead
(PHOTOS, VIDEO)
The city of Tbilisi has suffered an incessant and torrential downpour that resulted in flooding of the low-land areas of the Georgian capital at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. The death toll has been climbing, with numerous buildings deluged.
http://rt.com/news/267073-tbilisi-flood-wild-animals/
Spot the bear in the vid.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
China confirms test of new hypersonic strike vehicle 'Wu-14'
The Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the fourth test of a hypersonic nuclear delivery vehicle, which the US called an “extreme maneuver,” amid rising tensions between the two powers in the South China Sea.
http://rt.com/news/267115-china-tests-hypersonic-missile/
Hypersonic - 3,840-7,680 mph
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
The CIA Finally Declassified Its Report On Saudi Links To 9/11. Here's What It Says
By Max Fisher
June 13, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "VOX" - Late on Friday, the CIA's Office of the Inspector General finally released the findings of its internal investigation, concluded in 2005, into intelligence failures leading up to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The few sections left un-redacted in the 500-page report do not appear to offer any major revelations.
But they do touch on a question that has swirled around US inquiries into 9/11 since the first weeks after the attacks: was there any involvement by the government of Saudi Arabia?
The report claims no conclusive answer, but states it found no evidence that "the Saudi government knowingly and willingly supported the al-Qaeda terrorists." However, its sources speculated that rogue Saudi officials may have been involved — a long-running suspicion.
More http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42129.htm
Judith
Why would Bob Graham, former Senator of Florida, claim the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 commission report implicate the Saudi government as well as other Saudis if it were not true. I doubt he would put his reputation on the line for some publicity stunt. He is not alone in these revelations. Justin Raimondo recently wrote a column based on a comment made by another senator who read those hidden pages which Raimondo interpreted as Israeli involvement as well. I'll believe Bob Graham before I'll trust what the CIA has to say about things.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:45 pm (UTC)
Re: The CIA Finally Declassified Its Report On Saudi Links To 9/11. Here's What It Says
Something that has bugged me for a long time. Wrt the gold that was being hauled out of the WTC basement, how did it survive a nuke explosion (explosions) that vaporised the building?
It lends credence to the theory that small nukes at various levels above ground caused the collapses.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:47 pm (UTC)
Can Syria Survive?
By Robert Fisk June 13, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent"
It’s a dangerous equation in the Syrian war that the further you are from Damascus, the more Bashar al-Assad’s regime seems doomed. And the more you drive around the vast area still held by government forces – and I’ve just completed around 1,100 miles of mountains, desert and battle fronts – the more you realise that the war will go on. And on. And that the Syrian army, outgunned and at times frighteningly outnumbered by its Islamist enemies, is not about to collapse.
But here are a few grim facts. Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra are now attacking the Syrian military in rows of suicide trucks, and along fronts so wide that the army often doesn’t have the manpower to withstand them. Rebel logistics are hi-tech and better than the Syrian army’s, and a lot of their communications systems are American. The insurgents have hundreds of anti-armour wire-guided TOW and Milan anti-tank missiles and can afford to fire three – even four – rockets at a single Syrian tank, knocking out its fire-control circuits so that its ammunition explodes and its soldiers are burnt to death.
At Palmyra, in Homs province, between 1,800 and 2,000 Isis fighters were confronted by an army which could not withstand their constant attacks. In the two days before they retreated, Syrian troops smashed their way briefly into forward Isis positions, only to discover piles of “tactical vests” – advanced body armour – thermal missiles, stacks of Muslim prayer books in Russian (apparently belonging to Chechen fighters), enough sidearm ordnance for each rebel to carry 10,000 rounds of ammunition each, and stacks of Snickers chocolate bars. Even Isis, it seems, marches on its stomach.
American “experts” talk glibly now of how the Syrian army will make a “planned retreat” to the mountains of the Alawites, the Shia sect of President Assad, and try to keep open the road from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast via Homs.
Syrian “experts” – a lot closer to the battle than the think-tank boyos in Washington – speak of a more political strategy. What the regime must do, they say, is hold on to the major cities in a line from Aleppo south through Hama and Homs to Damascus (Deraa in the south may or may not be included in the plan) and deprive either Nusra or Isis of a potential capital in Syria. Isis’s present capital, Raqqa, is a fag-end of a city in the desert and even Palmyra, symbolic though its loss has been, is no metropolis from which rebels can claim national sovereignty.
Timeline: The emergence of Isis
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42128.htm
Recommended
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 06:53 pm (UTC)
As Our Cities Crumble... Feeding the Beast!
By Philip A Farruggio June 13, 2015 "Information Clearing House"
We live in a very shrewd Military Industrial Empire. Those who run things, the very rich and powerful, created and sustained this phony two party system to divide us and, more importantly, keep the key issues from our consciousness. Rather than have the American public focus on what really ails our nation, they occupy many of us with gay marriage, abortion, immigration and of course the evil entitlements which are ( they say ) destroying our economy. This writer says hogwash! As important as those issues are, they pale compared to what is destroying our economy.
It'll happen pretty soon, when many state and city workers in our biggest municipalities get that letter in the mail. The letter will perhaps inform them that their pension funds are in jeopardy. Many of America's sixty one largest American cities have amassed $ 118 billion in unfunded healthcare liabilities AKA legal promises to pay healthcare benefits to municipal workers beyond the employee contributions to finance these funds. Imagine if we had ' Medicare for All ' to help alleviate employers ( including government ones ) from having to subsidize healthcare? Oh well, that is but the ' tip of the iceberg ' for our economic woes. The right wing would love to have us believe that it is those ' lazy government workers ' that cause all our city and state woes. More Hogwash! There are lazy workers in the corporate world, along with plenty of lazy bosses. What is destroying our cities, counties and states is the lack of federal block grants and revenue sharing to aid them in building better infrastructure. Jefferson County , Alabama, home to the city of Birmingham, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 over a $ 3.14 billion sewer bond debt. Menasha, Wis. defaulted on bonds in 2007 it had issued to fund a steam plant which has since closed, leaving the city permanently in the red. Strafford County, N. H. has to regularly borrow money to cover its short term cash needs after it spent 2/3 of its budget on a nursing home, which lost $ 36 million from '04- '09.Taylor , Mich. has a large deficit and is vulnerable due to significant declines in the tax base, and above average unfunded pension obligations- a national epidemic when unemployment surges along with dead end low paying box-store jobs....
Continues http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42131.htm
Solution provided. Doesn't involve staking the beast unfortunately.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
Canada Committed Genocide
By Jesse Staniforth June 13, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Toronto Star"
Perhaps the most controversial issue to follow the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has been the affirmation that the government of Canada had committed “cultural genocide” against Indigenous people through the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) system.
The word “cultural” seems to suggest that the IRS system was designed to destroy cultures but not people, a fact far from the reality of Residential Schools. “Cultural” is a civilizing adjective: it says that our policies were not truly evil, just deeply misguided.
Already this strangely diplomatic term has been a flashpoint among people unwilling to admit that our country committed any kind of genocide, even one eased by a reductive adjective. Our history must make these critics uneasy. The IRS system, though its mandate did not include deliberately killing members of Canada’s Indigenous populations, was active in the following crimes, each of which constitutes genocide under the UN’s convention on Genocide (1948):
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Canada did not pack Indigenous people onto train cars and send them to be gassed, or march them into fields and execute them with machine-gun fire. However, our country committed not “cultural” genocide, but just regular genocide.
We forcibly took children from families — sometimes at gunpoint — and flew them to remote locations they could not escape — sometimes in tiny handcuffs — where they were submitted to a program of forced labour and “education” designed to destroy their cultures and civilizations. This desire to destroy cultures seems to be the reasoning for various public figures’ use of the adjective “cultural” before genocide. The other reason, I presume, is that some cling tightly — and childishly — to the idea that Canada has always been on the side of goodness and justice, and they find it very hard to accept, admit, and announce that we are a country that committed a program of genocide that lasted for many decades.
Continues http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42124.htm
The church, state and royalty stand accused.
"The first case in the docket of the ICLCJ commenced on November 6, 2012 and addressed the deliberate genocide of indigenous children in Canada by the Vatican, the Crown of England and other parties. In its final verdict of February 25, 2013, the Court and its fifty eight sworn citizen jurors successfully indicted and prosecuted thirty defendants for perpetrating or concealing this genocide. These defendants included then-Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, former Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Elizabeth Windsor “Queen of England”, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

After an exhaustive presentation of the evidence of crimes by church and state in Canada, and a refusal by the defendants to respond or refute the evidence, all of the defendants were found guilty of criminal conspiracy and Genocide, and were sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison and the forfeit of all the wealth and property of their estates and institutions. Citizen arrest warrants were issued, and on August 4, 2013, the Vatican and Crown of England were declared to be transnational criminal bodies under international law, and were lawfully disestablished."
http://itccs.org/what-is-the-international-common-law-court-of-justice/
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
The Birth of a Nation
Posted on June 13, 2015
First Constitutional Convention of the Republic of Kanata to convene in Toronto
October 30-November 1, 2015
Open Delegate system allows voice and vote to any sworn citizen
Issued by the Provisional Council of the Republic
Winnipeg: 13 June, 2015 (Republic News Service)
The first Constitutional Convention of the Republic of Kanata will convene in Toronto on Friday, October 30, 2015.
The three day gathering will formally adopt a Constitution for the Republic and elect a Congress to serve as the legitimate provisional government. Any sworn citizen of the Republic may register as a Convention delegate and receive full voice and vote at all of its proceedings.
“On January 15 we proclaimed the Republic and its common law as a lawful entity. After the Convention, we’ll have a constitutional framework for our nation, and a new government to make Kanata and its vision a reality” said Colin Sullivan, Secretary of the Provisional Council in Winnipeg.
A Convention Organizing Committee (COC) is administering the event and is formulating policy papers for debate and adoption on six general areas:
1. Government
2. The Law
3. Civil & Internal Affairs
4. Nation States within the Federated Republic (Indigenous Nations, Anglia and Quebec)
5. The Economy & Environment, and
6. International & Foreign Affairs
All citizens and local Republic Conveners will receive copies of the position papers and Registration material before the Convention. This material will also be posted in a special section at www.kanatarepublic.ca
More http://itccs.org/2015/06/13/the-birth-of-a-nation/
Way to go.
clothcapclothcap on June 14th, 2015 09:01 pm (UTC)
9/11: Israel’s Masterpiece
Posted on May 14, 2012 by Lost Scribe
9/11 is rarely mentioned as one of many Israeli manufactured events. The mountain of evidence implicating the Israeli Mossad is overwhelming.. and still growing.
In the annals of history, no event has ever been so thoroughly dissected by as many disparate humans as the 9/11/01 Massacre. Hundreds of real people were scorched and roasted alive in an explosive conflagration. And yet, with such unprecedented scrutiny tearing at the carelessly pressed seams of the official conspiracy theory fairytale, it’s an ineffable wonder indeed how even a decade after the event, Israel, specifically Israeli Mossad and its extended octopus Zionist terror network largely escape the view of the overwhelming majority of the major researchers.
Lost in the endless debates of how (nano-thermite, directed energy weapons, mini-nukes, TV fakery) is the far more important, who and why.
It is a mind-numbingly painful exercise to disprove the official fairytale of OBL and his band of 20 jihadists, mostly because no evidence for the assertion exists. In reality, this is the greatest conspiracy theory ever presented for mass consumption. Afghanistan asked for evidence of his involvement, repeatedly offering to extradite him to the US upon delivery of the evidence.
iMAGE - Obama has used Osama as needed until May Day (May 1st) 2011 when it was announced that he was executed. Bin Laden, meanwhile, had died 10 years earlier in 2001.
Unfortunately, such evidence didn’t exist as Cheney remarked in a rare moment of transparency: “So we’ve never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.” Even Bin Laden’s profile on the FBI most wanted list, until his laughably fake execution in May 2011, never mentioned 9/11 as one of his dastardly deeds.
Most of the fake bin Laden videos originate from ex-Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) soldier Rita Katz through her SITE Institute. Mossad asset Ben Venske assists Katz through Intel Center by releasing unintentionally hilarious videos of American Al-Qaeda “jihadist” and ex-anti-muslim jewish extremist Adam Yahiye Gadahn, AKA Adam Pearlman. Pearlman just so happens to be the grandson of a former director of the Judeo-Masonic strong-arm organization, known as the ADL of B’nai B’rith, named Carl Pearlman. Jewish Al-Qaeda.
The official fairytale had many incredible highlights. Our personal favorite might be what was originally reported as Mohammad Atta’s inferno-retardant passport floating down, unscathed, after the towers fell, onto the rubble and into the safe comforting hands of the FBI. Atta, of course, had a busy several days prior to 9/11 being titillated aboard Jack Abramoff’s yacht, complete with halal strippers, cocaine and alcohol, essential ingredients to fulfill Jihad on foreign land. Later this report was revised and it was claimed the passport belonged to another alleged hijacker of Flight 11, Satam al Suqami.
Continues http://www.lostscribemedia.com/news/911-israels-masterpiece/

Not forgetting Wikispooks' piece - 9-11/Israel did it
https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

Edited at 2015-06-14 10:45 pm (UTC)