MatrixLeaks: 2013

FBI spying through a Web Camera

   - FBI has had secret webcam spying technology 'for several years'
   - Technique activates a webcam without turning on the recording light
   - The same malware has been used illegally by 'ratting' hackers

The US government has been able to secretly spy on its citizens through their computer’s webcams for several years, it has been revealed.

The FBI has long been able to activate a computer’s camera without triggering the ‘recording light’ to let the owner know the webcam is on, a former assistant director of its tech division has said.

Their usage of remote administration tools (RATs) comes to light as the world's most powerful technology firms call on Barack Obama to curb government spying on internet users.

Eye spy: The FBI can activate a computer¿s camera without letting the owner know it is recording, a former employee has revealed

The FBI have been able to use the spyware technology for years and have put it in place in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations, Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, told the Washington Post.

Although the FBI reportedly uses 'ratting' sparingly, they have been rejected remotely activating video feeds on at least one occasion, in Houston, Texas, in December last year.

The FBI were investigating a suspect in a bank fraud case, but the presiding judge ruled that the risk of accidentally obtaining information of innocent people was too great.

Hacking into webcams using remote administration tools, also known as ‘ratting’, to spy on women and ‘enslave’ them by controlling their computers and secretly filming and taking pictures is not a new phenomenon but has grown in the past year.

Earlier this year, tech site Arstechnica revealed that one of the 'slave forums' had 23 million total posts, where ‘ratters’ boasted about their ‘slaves’ posting pictures, mainly of women, unaware that they were being watched.

The FBI team use the same technique as ratters, by infecting the computer with a malicious software – ‘malware – through phishing.

By sending an email with a link, which could be to a website, an image or a video, the user is tricked into downloading a small piece of software onto their machine.

Once installed, the malware allows the FBI to take control of the computer and the webcam at any time, working similarly to the system large corporations use to update software and fix IT problems.

Here's looking at you, kid: The malware is activated by emailing a link which tricks the computer user to download a spying software onto their machine

‘We have transitioned into a world where law enforcement is hacking into people’s computers, and we have never had public debate,’ Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union told the Post.

‘Judges are having to make up these powers as they go along.’

Earlier today, CEO’s of Apple, Facebook, Google, AOL, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo united to call on the US government to cease online spying on its citizens.

The open letter to the President and Congress reads: 'We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.

'The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual - rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for change.

The rare show of unity by usually fierce competitors is seen as a reflection of the damage in public confidence inflicted by leaks from Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower.

Earlier this year he revealed how U.S. and British spy agencies were able to harvest huge amounts of data - including emails and search history - on millions of people by tapping into internet servers.

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Apartheid Amnesia

   How the GOP conveniently forgot about its role in propping up a white supremacist regime

On Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, the world is celebrating the former South African president and cheering for his recovery. The U.S. Congress even managed a rare display of bipartisanship for the occasion, with members of both parties taking turns to laud Mandela as they stood in front of the Statue of Freedom in Emancipation Hall. "At times it can almost feel like we are talking about an old friend," said Rep. John Boehner (R-OH.) "He never lost faith in the strength of the human spirit," added Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).Today, Nelson Mandela is a celebrated elder statesman that both Democrats and Republicans heap praise on.

This wasn't always the case. When Mandela was imprisoned and struggling to end apartheid, the Republican Party -- through the policies of the Reagan administration and the work of party activists -- opposed U.S. sanctions against the white supremacist regime. Though they didn't support apartheid by any means, they turned a blind eye towards the cruelty of the system and failed to support Mandela in his time of greatest need. Today, Republicans will cheer on Mandela, but the Republican Party's historical relationship with South Africa, and Mandela in particular, exposes a sad chapter in the history of the American right.

In 1985, Mandela's 22nd year in prison, then South African President P.W. Botha gave a speech affirming apartheid's rejection of "one-man-one-vote" and defending Mandela's imprisonment. The infamous "Rubicon Speech" fueled ongoing rioting in South Africa and prompted the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela's party, to call for the United States to impose sanctions.

President Ronald Reagan and the American right were not sympathetic to that request. "Our relationship with South Africa ... has always over the years been a friendly one," Reagan said in a 1985 radio interview, rejecting any change in policy. Televangelist Jerry Falwell went one step further and visited South Africa the week after Botha's speech to insist that sanctions were opposed "in every segment of every [South African] community."

Right-wing ambivalence toward apartheid in the 1980s was a product of South African support for the United States during the Cold War. In 1969 and early 1970, President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, then national security advisor, formulated a policy of increased communication with and relaxed criticism of the white regime. The apartheid system was unlikely to change anytime soon, the Nixon administration thought, so there was little point in pressuring a valuable ally who was working with the United States to contain Soviet influence in Africa.

When Reagan came to office in 1981, he launched a policy of "constructive engagement" with South Africa designed by Chester Crocker, his assistant secretary of state for African affairs. In line with Nixon's policy, constructive engagement was intended to deepen ties between the United States and the apartheid government in South Africa by prioritizing trade. Crocker was a true believer in the power of trade to open up the country to reform: It would eventually become too expensive to discriminate against blacks in the workplace, he thought.

Officially, the goal of the Reagan administration was to end apartheid. But its behind-the-scenes work revealed a startling degree of comfort with the South African regime -- or at least ignorance of how apartheid worked. For a July 1986 speech to the World Affairs Council in Washington D.C., Reagan rejected a moderate State Department draft and instead instructed his speechwriter, Pat Buchanan, to draft a version arguing that Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) employed "terrorist tactics" and "proclaims a goal of creating a communist state." (Buchanan later dismissed Mandela as a train - bomber and defended the hardline position.) Reagan himself never seemed to really understand the moral repugnance of apartheid. He  described the system in a 1988 interview with ABC's Sam Donaldson as "a tribal policy more than ... a racial policy."

While the Republicans were dragging their feet, the Democrats were leading the fight against apartheid. In 1985, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) went on a tour of South Africa that included a visit with Winnie Mandela to discuss her imprisoned husband. Upon his return, Kennedy introduced the Anti-Apartheid Act that eventually became law. In July 1986 hearings, then Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) thundered at Secretary of State George Shultz: "I'm ashamed of this country that puts out a policy like this ... I'm ashamed of the lack of moral backbone to this policy."

As it became clear that constructive engagement was failing, even moderate Republicans began to shift. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) broke with Reagan and argued for a sanctions program. Eventually, in 1986, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act with enough votes to override Reagan's veto. "I think he is wrong," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), explaining his break with the administration. "We have waited long enough for him to come on board."

Reagan, however, was not alone. An expansive Republican network supported a hardline stance on South Africa. From the Heritage Foundation to Republican lobbyists to the televangelists leading the religious right, the Republican Party -- with a few courageous exceptions -- didn't think that ending apartheid was as important as maintaining economic relations with South Africa.

The conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation was the main source of intellectual fodder for this position. During the debate over sanctions, Heritage's director of foreign policy studies, Jeff Gayner, argued that the United States should "cease advocating the release of Nelson Mandela" because of his links to terrorism and communism. Michael Johns, the African and Third World affairs policy analyst at Heritage (who would later go on to be a leading spokesman for the Tea Party, carried on the fight even after sanctions had been passed, arguing that capitalism was "the most efficient and promising anti-apartheid program."

Lobbyists hired by the South African regime also played a role in the perpetuation of the idea of Mandela as a threat. These groups lobbied and publicly attacked politicians who opposed the South African regime's interests. Republican operatives Marion Smoak and Carl Shipley led an aggressive campaign in 1982 to defeat Rep. Howard Wolpe (D-MI) because of his support for sanctions. Later, Smoak and Shipley hired now-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) as a lobbyist after he returned from his Mormon mission in South Africa.

Some of today's most recognizable political operatives also played a role in pushing the apartheid government's agenda. In 1985, following his term as national chair of College Republicans, Grover Norquist was brought to South Africa for a conservative conference, where he advised a pro-apartheid student group on how to more effectively make its case to the American public. While there, he criticized anti-apartheid activists on American college campuses: Apartheid "is the one foreign policy debate that the Left can get involved in and feel that they have the moral high ground," he said, adding that South Africa was a "complicated situation."

A young political operative named Jack Abramoff was also involved. From 1986 to 1992, South African intelligence services spent $1.5 million per year to fund the International Freedom Foundation, a lobbying group championing South Africa where Abramoff served as president. One of the group's missions was to delegitimize Mandela's ANC by linking it to Soviet communism. It was Abramoff who oversaw the full-page newspaper ads taken out by the organization attacking Mandela and who helped organize House committee hearings on the dangers of the ANC. When a 1995 Newsday investigation revealed the South African intelligence backing for the operation, Abramoff and advisory board members -- including Sens. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and James Inhofe (R-OK) -- pled ignorance.

But those who came closest to open support for apartheid were televangelists from the religious right. The socially conservative policies of the Afrikaans regime made South Africa a special cause for many televangelists. Jerry Falwell praised the "Christian country" for its abortion policy in the 1980s, and after his 1985 visit, called for "reinvestment" by U.S. companies and urged his followers to buy Kruggerand coins to help boost the South African economy.

Jimmy Swaggart, another popular televangelist, told his viewers that the conflict in South Africa was nothing less than a struggle between Christian civilization and the Antichrist. In his presidential campaign in 1988, televangelist Pat Robertson called advocates for sanctions the "allies of those who favor a one-party Marxist Government in South Africa." After his race ended, he became even more direct: "There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now," he said in 1992. And in 1993, he said on his show, "I know we don't like apartheid, but the blacks in South Africa, in Soweto, don't have it all that bad." At a time when the Dutch Reformed Church, the traditional theological backer of apartheid, was reversing its position, the American religious right provided new religious cover -- and they made the case to millions of Americans who tuned into their shows.

When Nelson Mandela was freed from jail in 1988, Republicans tried to sweep their support for his erstwhile jailers under the rug. President George H.W. Bush hosted Mandela at the White House and praised him as "a man who embodies the hopes of millions." Mandela gave a speech to Congress at which the assembled legislators, including many who had once voted against economic sanctions, interrupted him with three standing ovations and 12 rounds of applause.

Today, leaders of both parties have once again cheered for Mandela. What he really could have used was their help when he was imprisoned on Robben Island, trying to end apartheid.

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WikiLeaks - Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

   WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade deal

Details of a highly secretive, multi-national trade agreement long in works have been published by WikiLeaks, and critics say there will be major repercussions for much of the modern world if it's approved in this incarnation.

The anti-secrecy group published on Wednesday a 95-page excerpt taken from a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a NAFTA-like agreement that is expected to encompass nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product when it is finally approved: the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

US President Barack Obama and counterparts from 11 other prospective member states have been hammering out the free trade agreement in utmost secrecy for years now, the result of which, according to the White House, would rekindle the economies of all of those involved, including many countries considered to still be emerging.

“The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority,” Obama said during a Nov. 2011 address. The deal, he said, “has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia Pacific but for future trade agreements” by regulating markets and creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.

Upon the publication of an excerpt obtained by WikiLeaks this week, however, opponents of the act are insisting that provisions dealing with creation, invention and innovation could serve a severe blow to everyone, particularly those the internet realm.

Although the TPP covers an array of topics — many of which have not been covered by past agreements, according to Obama — WikiLeaks has published a chapter from a draft dated August 30, 2013 that deals solely on Intellectual Property, or IP, rights. Previous reports about the rumored contents of the TPP with regards to IP law have raised concern among activists before, with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation going as far as to warn that earlier leaked draft text suggested the agreement “would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate,” all of which is being agreed upon without any oversight or observation. Indeed, the thousands of words released by WikiLeaks this week has concreted those fears and has already caused the likes of the EFF and others to sound an alarm.

The IP chapter, wrote WikiLeaks, “provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarize themselves with the details and implications of the TPP,” an agreement that has largely avoided scrutiny in the mainstream media during its development, no thanks, presumably, to the under-the-table arguments that have led prospective member states to the point they’re at today.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower site who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year now, had particularly harsh words for the TPP in a statement published alongside the draft release.

“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” Assange said. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Within the IP chapter, the partaking nations in one excerpt agree to "Enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development,” but elsewhere suggest that the way in which such could be accomplished would involve serious policing of the World Wide Web. Later, the countries write they hope to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, utilization, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems.”

“Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges and increases in the penalties for infringement,” James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explained after reading the leaked chapter. “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine and profoundly bad for innovation.”

Opponents have argued in the past that stringent new rules under the TPP with regards to copyrighted material would cause the price of medication to go up: potentially catastrophic news for residents of member state who may have difficulties affording prescriptions. Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, has warned that US Trade Representatives privy to the TPP discussions have demanded provisions that “would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.” Indeed, the leaked chapter suggests drug companies could easily extend and widen patents under the TPP, prohibiting other countries from producing life-saving pills and selling them for less. Outside of the world of medicine, though, the implications that could come with new copyright rules agreed upon my essentially half of the world’s economy are likely to affect everyone.

                                            Protests against the TTP in New Zealand

"One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view," Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this."

WikiLeaks wrote in response that the enforcement measures discussed have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons.”

“Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards,” warned WikiLeaks. “The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence.”

According to the whistleblower site, the IP chapter also includes provisions that rehash some of the very surveillance and enforcement rules from the abandoned SOPA and ACTA treaties that were left to die after public outrage halted any agreement with regards to those legislation.

“The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s internet access,” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, explained to the website TorrentFreak.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, was abandoned last year after massive public campaign thwarted the US Congress’ attempt to censor access to certain internet sites where copyrighted content may be incidentally hosted. One of the bill’s biggest opponents, Kim Dotcom of file-sharing sites Megaupload and Mega, was quick to condone WikiLeaks for their release of the TPP draft and condemned those responsible for drafting a bill that he warned would have major consequences for all if approved, including residents of New Zealand such as himself.

According to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration and senior heads of state from other potential TPP nations have expressed interest in ratifying the agreement before 2014. All of that could now be put in jeopardy.

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - WikiLeaks - see here

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World of child cage fighting

   Kids as young as 5 fight in cages in disturbing legal sport

Kids' cage fighting is an unsettling event that has children fighting in cages after their parents sign them up to do this adult-type sport. According to Fox News on Wednesday, Nov. 6, kids as young as five years old are getting in cages and punching, kicking and even putting other children into chokeholds.

The Café Mom reports on Nov. 5 that the sport is growing in leaps and bounds and parents are standing by watching their young kids fighting in this MMA and Pankration organized sport. What goes through a parent’s head to put their child in a cage to kick and be kicked and to punch and be punched? This is a question coming from a lot of folks today who don't understand why anyone would put their child in potential danger and train them to be violent.

“Parents are signing kids up for MMA in droves to teach them how to defend themselves from bullies.” Boxing even looks like child’s play next to the kicking and punching witnessed in these cages.

Parents are witnessed urging their kids to stay in the cage despite their fears making them want to get out! Injuries are common and recently a pediatrician who appeared on “Good Morning America” said that the sport “can lead to significant injuries to the neck, bones and ligaments.”

This kid cage fighting is not at all like Karate that teaches mental and emotional restraint rather than physical dominance. Café Mom suggests that just in case you were wondering why kids are getting so violent these days, look no further.

The sport of kids fighting in cages is perfectly legal and believe it or not, it is not considered a form of child abuse by the law. All that is missing while watching these youngsters fighting is a window so the parents can bet on the outcome. What do you think, is this is a dangerous sport for such a young child? YouTube is full of these kids cage fighting matches. In the video above you can hear the parents cheering the kids on from the sidelines.

Parker, Arizona, United States: Kristofer "The Arm Collector" Arrey, 7, and Cross Betzhold, 6, prepare for their bout at a United States Fight League Pankration All-Star tournament held at the BlueWater Resort and Casino

   Children's MMA or Pankration is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States with an estimated 3 million kids involved

It is the heat of battle between two MMA fighters hemmed inside an industrial metal cage. One kicks, punches and strangles his way to brutal victory. His opponent breaks down and cries tears for his mother.

But this is not an unusual end to another televised brawl between two fully grown brutes, this is kids's MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, which is rapidly becoming one of the nation's fastest growing sports among children.

It is estimated that three million boys and girls, some as young as five-years-old launch themselves at each other weekly across the nation engaged in Pankration - some wearing no head protection and throwing punches boasting gloves little more than one-inch thick.

Critics call it barbaric and fear for the children's safety and the effect on their behavior.

Supporters compare it's benefits to boxing and traditional martial arts and claim that it encourages self-discipline, fair play and exercise.

Tears: Mason "The Beast" Bramlette, 7, cries after receiving a punch during 2013 California State Pankration Championships Youth Division

A New-York based photographer, Sebastian Montalvo, traveled across the country and compiled a photographic essay in which he attempts to shine a light onto the ferocious sport, giving names and faces to the little children whose parents are encouraging their fighting spirit.

One such child, is Kristopher Arrey. He is seven years old and his success in the MMA ring is so fearsome that he has earned the nickname 'The Arm Collector'.

In one striking and arguably disturbing image from Montalvo, Arrey is on his back, inflicting a painful choke-hold on another boy.

Once this fight ends in victory for Arrey, his defeated opponent, Mason Bramlette, who is also seven, is seen crying - an illuminating image which reminds the viewer exactly how old the fighter's are.

Montalvo told CNN that parental encouragement is key to the growth of MMA.

'Are you OK?' Montalvo heard the referee asking Mason as tears streamed down his face. 'Do you want to stop fighting?'.

His father urged his son to stay in the ring.

Indeed, Montalvo said that the key aspect of kid's MMA was how competitive the parents are.

'They're mega-competitive,' Montalvo said. They 'love their kids 100%' and 'they just want them to win.'

And while critics may reel at the sight of children placed in a ring and asked to fight like adults, supporters say it encourages a culture of losing fair and winning well.

'After every match, the kids are supposed to shake hands,' said Montalvo. 'One father started screaming at his son because he didn't want to shake hands after he lost.'

As MMA classes pop up around the country, some catering for children as young as five, there are concerns about the safety risks of young children taking part in such a violent contact sport.

A quick search of YouTube throws up countless videos showing boys and girls competing in MMA. Some of the videos are more violent than others, boys and girls in cages punching, kicking and choking each other.

Effort: Kristofer "The Arm Collector" Arrey, 7, chokes Mason Bramlette, 7, during 2013 California State Pankration Championships Youth Division. Pankration is a version of the popular Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)-style fighting that is adapted for children

Chris Conolley is an MMA teacher, who owns Spartan Fitness in Hoover, Alabama, he is quick to point out that what the kids get taught is very different from the adult version.

Rather than fighting each other, his pupils are taught the techniques to get in shape and have fun.

‘It's an outstanding way for them to get in shape, exercise. Childhood obesity now is a big issue [this can] get them on the right path conducive to fitness,’ Conolley said in an interview with Fox6 earlier this year.

Nevertheless injuries, especially concussions, are a constant risk and doctors recommend that children should always wear headgear even when training.

The kids of MMA are taking their cues from the 'Ultimate Fighting Championship' or 'UFC' where moves like the 'Ground Pound' and the 'Cobra Strangle' have millions tuning in every week.

Prominent critics of MMA for adults including Senator John McCain, who called it 'human cockfighting' and in 2008 wrote a letter to the governors of every state asking them to ban it.

'I think it's dangerous from a physical standpoint,' pediatrician Lisa Thornton told Good Morning America.

'It can lead to significant injuries to the neck and bones and ligaments.'

CNN photos -

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We're All Terrorists Now

British Accuse David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's Partner, Of 'Terrorism'

British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in "terrorism" when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents.

Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained and questioned for nine hours by British authorities at Heathrow on Aug. 18, when he landed there from Berlin to change planes for a flight to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

After his release and return to Rio, Miranda filed a legal action against the British government, seeking the return of materials seized from him by British authorities and a judicial review of the legality of his detention.

At a London court hearing this week for Miranda's lawsuit, a document called a "Ports Circulation Sheet" was read into the record. It was prepared by Scotland Yard - in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency - and circulated to British border posts before Miranda's arrival. The precise date of the document is unclear.

                                                                     David Miranda

"Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security," according to the document.

"We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people's lives," the document continued. "Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism..."

Miranda was not charged with any offense, although British authorities said in August they had opened a criminal investigation after initially examining materials they seized from him. They did not spell out the probe's objectives.

A key hearing on Miranda's legal challenge is scheduled for next week. The new details of how and why British authorities decided to act against him, including extracts from police and MI5 documents, were made public during a preparatory hearing earlier this week.

                                                                 Glenn Greenwald

British authorities have said in court that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Greenwald, who previously worked for Britain's Guardian newspaper, has acknowledged that Miranda was carrying material supplied by Snowden when he was detained.

In an email to Reuters, Greenwald condemned the British government for labeling his partner's actions "terrorism."

"For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none...They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism," he said.

Separately on Friday, media disclosed details of an open letter Snowden issued to Germany from his place of exile in Russia, in which he says his revelations have helped to "address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust" and added that "speaking the truth is not a crime."

Snowden said he was counting on international support to stop Washington's "persecution" of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance.

Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists, said that given the nature of the material that Miranda was carrying, a harsh response by British authorities was not unexpected.

"It seems that UK authorities were attempting to seize or recover official documents, to which they arguably have a claim," Aftergood said. "The authorities' action was harsh, but not incomprehensible or obviously contrary to law."

In a separate document read into the court record, MI5, also known as the Security Service, indicated British authorities' interest in Miranda was spurred by his apparent role as a courier ferrying material from Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based filmmaker, to Greenwald, who lives with Miranda in Brazil.

"We strongly assess that Miranda is carrying items which will assist in Greenwald releasing more of the NSA and GCHQ material we judge to be in Greenwald's possession," said the document, described as a "National Security Justification" prepared for police.

"Our main objectives against David Miranda are to understand the nature of any material he is carrying, mitigate the risks to national security that this material poses," the document added.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington had no comment on the court proceedings or documents.

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America, 1984 and New World

By Paul McGuire

In George Orwell’s 1984, the totalitarian state ruled by Big Brother was called “Oceania.” At the very center of the government of Oceania there were four large buildings that towered above the ghetto-like urban environment. They were enormous pyramid structures of glittering white, like the Illuminati pyramid prominently displayed on the back of the U.S. dollar with the words, Novus Ordo Seclorum, or New Order of the Ages which means New World Order. Orwell was obviously aware of the existence of the Illuminati.

In 1984, the Party which was only 2% of the population was at the top of the pyramid system. Big Brother’s totalitarian government controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. The Ministry of Truth, which controls all news media, entertainment, education, and art are like the six major corporations that control the vast majority of the content of our news media, television, film, music, books, and social media. That is why it is the exact same news stories that dominate every television channel each evening, all carefully scripted and totally controlled. With few exceptions, the mainstream marches in lockstep on any given news story or news event.

I was stunned when a very well known media pundit actually looked into the camera recently and said something to the effect of, “I actually do believe that President Kennedy was killed by one lone gun man, Lee Harvey Oswald.” Obviously, the expression on his face betrayed what he said. He was forced to say it because, no matter who you think killed President Kennedy, there is no way on earth anyone in their right mind could believe that it was the act of one gunman. This has been proven time after time and most recently by Dr. Jerome Corsi.

There is no such thing as conservative media, or even conservative media personalities, on television and radio for the most part. There is the illusion of a difference, but in reality, the media and the pundits are controlled like puppets on strings and they are moving society in the exact same direction.

In 1984, there is the Ministry of Truth, whose purpose is to revise history according to the politically correct dogma. The Ministry’s task is to destroy real historical documents and forge others more pleasing to Big Brother. The destruction of historical consciousness is so complete that even traditional songs and nursery rhymes are all but forgotten by the populace. InBrave New World there is no historical consciousness in “education,” just social engineering by the state. In America today, the majority of the “Evangelical church,” does not get its teachings from the Bible, but the Ministry of Truth and many Christian leaders cannot tell the difference.

The next step in establishing global control through the pyramid hierarchy of the Illuminati is through the science of Transhumanism and genetic engineering. This is predicted by Jesus Christ when He said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.”The Illuminati pyramid symbol on the back of the U.S. dollar reveals a hierarchal organizational structure with the slaves of Pharaoh god-king toiling to sustain the New World Order. On the other side of the dollar is the occult symbol of the Phoenix which also reveals a genetic hierarchy.

Ray KurzweiI, one of the world’s most cutting edge futurists, believes that things like computer-brain interfaces and nano-technology could transform mankind into a race of "biorobots," a mindless species of cyborgs, or the slaves of intelligent robots in what is called the “Singularity.” In his book, Big Brother: The Orwellian Nightmare Come True by Mark Dice, Dice comments that, “Kurzweil foresaw a large portion of the population would become politically neutralized, saying, “Although not politically popular, the underclass is politically neutralized through public assistance and the generally high level of affluence.”

Ray Kurzweil and other scientists, who are advocates of Transhumanism, believed that a global transformation will happen around 2045. Kurzweil believes that Artificial Intelligence, computers, nano-technology, robots, Androids and Cyborgs will collectively become vastly more intelligent than human beings.This event is called, “The Singularity.”

On Kurzweil states:

“The “nonbiological” intelligence created in that year will be 1 billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”

In Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World, he depicts a different view, a coming totalitarian state, where people are controlled through sophisticated mind control, brainwashing, and psychotropic drugs.

There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.

Both Huxley and Orwell envisioned dictatorships where the elites would use and create “lower classes.” In 1984,the lower classes are described as the “proles,” and a large segment of society is deliberately “dumbed down” by the state. The “prole” areas of 1984 are like the ghettos which contain an underclass of all racial groups. It is not an accident that chaos reigns. Gangs are permitted to rule. Prostitution is rampant and drugs like ecstasy, meth, crack, and heroin are freely available, while the television sets blare through the barred windows at night and the helicopters with powerful search lights fly over head like a scene in Blade Runner.In Huxley’s Brave New World, the lower classes, from the gammas down to the epsilons, are actually genetically engineered to be stupid, and they are given a mind-altering drug named “Soma,” to keep them thoroughly stupefied and compliant. Ironically, neurological science has discovered that certain teaching modalities can make people stupid and compliant. This neurological programming is imbedded in some of the sermons and theology of a growing number of churches in America. This explains the “deer caught in the headlights stare” of many Christians when they are presented with actual truth.

The development of an underclass is essential to a new global order. The reality is that the “Middle Class” is intentionally disappearing. This means the underclass or slave class must be kept ignorant, lack food with true nourishment, and be force fed a constant diet of pornography, “porn music videos,” hard drugs, alcohol, and imprisoned in a “pop culture” where people are obsessed with television shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol.” Television, film, and the media must constantly titillate in order to capture the attention of the masses. Britain’s Channel 7 has a new show called “Sex Box,” where couples will have sex live on TV.

However, Bible prophecy gives us a very clear insight into this global totalitarian state. When Jesus Christ was talking about the “days of Noah,” He was referring to the genetic engineering of fallen angels who produced the Nephilim by mating with human women. Prophetically, this will be a primary characteristic of the “Fourth Beast” which secularists refer to as the New World Order. The Phoenix on the back of the U.S. dollar is an occult symbol which goes all the way back to Phoenicia and the ancient Sumerians. In that geographic region, the fallen angels descended to Mount Hermon to breed with human women and give mankind all kinds of occult-based technology and science.

This is why pre-Flood civilizations like Atlantis were so technologically advanced. Sir Francis Bacon, the head of the Rosicrucians, a secret occult society which eventually became the Illuminati, planned that America would be the head of the New World Order and the “New Atlantis.” The name of the proposed global currency to be released in 2018 us called the Phoenix. Interspecies breeding is once again taking place between the DNA of the Nephilim and human DNA. In addition, the science of Transhumanism is making it possible to create a race of god men, like the Pharaoh god-kings who ruled Egypt.

But, quietly there is another race being bred composed of the DNA of all racial groups. These are the genetically created race of slaves that will be needed by the elite for the New World Order. They are being created through genetic engineering, psychotropic drugs, EMF waves, genetically modified foods and scientific mind control. The education modalities are designed to shut down parts of the brain, while claiming to raise intelligence.

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The Vatican Billions

   Origin of the Current Colossal Wealth of the Catholic Church

The current spectacular accumulation of wealth by the Catholic Church is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It really was initiated when the See of Peter was deprived of the Papal States by the Italians in 1870. These states included Rome itself and comprised almost one third of the Italian peninsula.

It was then that she began the accumulation of riches according to the success formula of the modern industrial and financial world. The main foundation stones however, were laid by Pope Benedict XV (1914-22) during and after the First World War (1914-18).

He originated today's Vatican policy that church and papal investments should not be limited by political or religious considerations, but instead should be handled purely on the basis of sound, good, concrete and profitable business.

The Vatican at that time had not the liquid resources which it received a decade later from Fascist Italy, but it had sufficient millions to invest in the world markets. Benedict XV, to prove that he meant business when he promulgated the new policy, promptly invested most of the Vatican's money.

Where? Shades of the crusading pontiffs! In Turkish Empire Securities! It was the beginning of a road which was to bring the Catholic Church into the ranks of the top billionaire corporations of the twentieth century.

By 1929, the time of the Lateran Treaty, the Vatican's State treasure had become an official fund. In that same year Mussolini turned over 1,750 million lire (the equivalent at that time of 100 million dollars) to the Vatican as a final settlement of the Roman question.

Pope Pius XI, no less a good businessman than Benedict, invested most of this vast sum in America immediately after the market collapse. The move was a profitable one, for, following the great depression of the thirties, the Church reaped colossal profits when the U.S. economy recovered.

But, while investing largely in the U.S., the Vatican was sufficiently astute to invest a good portion of the Lateran compensation in Italy itself. The results, by any standards, have been staggering. It is estimated that the Holy See presently owns between 10 and 15 per cent of all the stocks and shares registered on the Italian Stock Exchange.

The matter-of-fact British periodical, 'The Economist' put it: "It could theoretically throw the Italian economy into confusion if it decided to unload all its shares suddenly and dump them on the market."

This was confirmed a few years later by the Italian finance minister when, in February 1968, he declared that the Vatican owned shares worth approximately 100 billion lire.

The wealth of the Church, besides becoming an increasing moral embarrassment, had also become a financial dilemma. The Church found herself top-heavy with wealth, not only because of the laborious collection of money derived from thousands of religious, ecclesiastic and lay organisations, but equally because of the skill of top financial brains which, since the Second World War had invested the Vatican's billions in most parts of the world with dexterity second to none. Their skill, with the help of the global intelligence at their disposal, had truly turned the Vatican millions into billions.

   Special Investment Office Created

The accumulation of such colossal riches made the haphazard methods of the past obsolete, indeed, dangerous. The pope was compelled to set up a special Prefecture for Economic Affairs.

The Prefecture, directed mostly by American, French, German and other brains, has to operate mainly outside Italy, since the investments were spread over a global field. The celebrated Jewish house of the Rothschilds - who, incidentally had been lending money to the Vatican since 1831 - came once more to the fore with the buying, selling and amalgamating of millions of shares and other investments on behalf of the Vatican.

Vatican financial operations can trespass into semi-illegality at times because of their diversity and secrecy. Scandal erupted in the eighties to the astonishment of millions of Catholics and the chagrin of many who genuinely thought the Vatican was engaged only in charitable operations.

By and large, however, its investments are well looked after by those financial experts whose experience is second to none! The Vatican's traditional financial dealers are a mostly non-Catholic fraternity of Protestants, agnostics, non-Christians, Jews and even atheists.

Its traditional financial transactions have been handled for years by the great banking concerns of J. P. Morgan in New York (mostly for American investments), Hambros of London for British investments, and the Swiss Credit Bank of Zurich for European investments - without mentioning the Vatican's own concerns such as Banco di Roma, Banco Commerciale, Banco Santo Spirito.

Now, it must never be forgotten that all the above form only the "liquid" financial assets of the Holy See. We have entirely excluded the solid properties, real estate, land, industrial and commercial concerns owned and controlled by the Catholic Church in Italy, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, and North, Central and South America. To estimate the actual current values of the Churches tremendous possessions and real estate properties is an impossibility.

It must be remembered that the Vatican - or rather, the Catholic Church - owns thousands upon thousands of churches, cathedrals, monasteries, nunneries and sundry edifices throughout the Western world.

What is the value of the land upon which all these buildings stand, in current money? What is the value of the actual buildings themselves? If one should give modest prices for the humble parish churches and parish halls, what prices would an estate agent give, for instance, for St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Notre Dame in Paris, and St. Peter's in Rome, to mention only a few?

The claim that such property is not owned by the Catholic Church is like saying that a Communist dictatorship does not own anything because all the property is owned by the people.

When the Catholic Church sells a piece of land or buys one, the bishop as a rule signs the deed, which means his See becomes the owner or receives the money. Whether the transaction is localised to the diocese, or deputised from the national hierarchy or from the Vatican, is basically irrelevant since ultimately it concerns the property of the Catholic Church.

   Government Collected Millions for Vatican

In some countries, not only does the Church evade taxation, but the state itself collects taxation on her behalf. This absurdity has been one of the most extraordinary peculiarities of Germany, which "compels" German citizens to pay a "Kirchensteuer" (Church Tax).

It was first inspired by the Weimar Constitution of 1919, and confirmed by the pact between Hitler and the Vatican in their concordat of 1933. The Kirchensteuer was made constitutional in 1949, after the Second World War. The Catholic government - that is the Christian Democrats - not only enforced the church taxation upon an unwilling populace, it put the state machinery at the disposal of the church. Thus the Government collected the tax, enforced its payment, and then handed over the money thus collected to the Church.

Before the Second World War, the German citizens used to pay an average of two or three marks a year. By 1972, the figure rose to between fifty-five and sixty marks.

In Germany, therefore, the Vatican, besides enjoying outstanding financial benefits from its skilful penetration of the giant industrial concerns (as it did in Italy and in the United States), had its coffers replenished with additional millions from the Kirchensteuer, to the tune of some 350 million dollars a year. The scheme being the result of the political Catholicism which dominated the life of post-war Germany for so long.

   World's Biggest Stock Broker

The Catholic Church, therefore, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The 'Wall Street Journal' said that the Vatican's financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time.

Therefore, the Vatican was, and still is, the most redoubtable wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. No one knows for certain how much the Catholic Church was, or is worth in terms of dollars and other currencies, not even the pope himself.

That is the true situation borne out by a Vatican official who, when asked to make a guess at the Vatican's wealth today, replied very tellingly, "Only God knows."

See more:

Financial Scandals: The Hidden Wealth of the Catholic Church  1.

Financial Scandals: The Hidden Wealth of the Catholic Church  2.

Catholic Bank Invests in Guns, Tobacco, and Birth Control

Church of England has up to £10m invested in arms firm

Catholic bank owned pill shares

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Open letter to the President Barack Obama

   Hear the cry of the people!

The situation in Syria is worrying and once again the U.S., setting Themselves up as policeman of the world, seeks to invade Syria in the name of "freedom" and "human rights".

Your predecessor, George W. Bush, in his messianic madness in Place Knew how to religious fundamentalism to perform messianic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When Stated That He Talked to God and God Told him That I had to attack Iraq, porque I did was God's ruling to export "freedom" to the world.

You have spoken, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Rev. Luther King, Also a Nobel Peace Prize, of the need to complete the "Dream" of a shared table, of Whom was the Most Significant expression of struggle for racism civil rights in the world's first democracy slave. Luther King was a man who gave his life to give life, and as Such he is a martyr of our time. He was killed after the March over Washington, Because I Threatened To Remain civil disobedience with accomplices of the imperialist war against the people of Vietnam. Do you really think That to militarily invade another people is to Contribute to that dream?

                          Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize - author of the open letter to Obama

Arming rebels and then authorize the NATO intervention is not something new from your country and your allies. Nor is it new That the U.S. Intends to invade country clubs in charges of possession of weapons of mass destruction, que in the case of Iraq was not true. Your country has supported the regime of Saddam Hussein, que used chemical weapons to annihilate the Kurdish people and against the Iranian Revolution, and did nothing to punish it at That Time Because you were allies. However, now you want to invade Syria without even knowing the results of Investigation the UN is doing on authorization of the very Syrian government. Certainly the use of chemical weapons is immoral and reprehensible, but your government has no moral authority to justify an intervention.

The UN's Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said That a military attack on Syria Could worsen the conflict.

My country, Argentina, que is exercising the Presidency of the Security Council of the UN, has made ​​public its position against foreign military intervention in the Syrian Republic, Refusing to be "an accomplicit in Further deaths."
Pope Francis Also called on globalizing the order for peace and Decreed a day of fasting and prayer against the war on September 7, to Which We Adhere.

Even your historic ally, Great Britain, has refused (at least for now) to be part of the invasion.

Your country is transforming the "Arab Spring" into NATO's hell, provoking wars in the Middle East and unleashing the violence of international corporations. The invasion you Intend will lead to more violence and more deaths, as well as the destabilization of Syria and the region. For what purpose? The lucid analyst, Robert Fisk, has Stated That the (real) target is Iran, and to postpone the realization of the Palestinian state, and not the outrage That causes the death of Hundreds of Syrian children what motivates you to intervene militarily. And just when in Iran have won a moderate government, where there Could be tried to Contribute to peaceful negotiation scenarios to existing Conflicts. This will be a suicidal policy on your part and your country.

Syria needs a political, not military solution. The international community needs to support social organizaciones seeking peace. The Syrian people, like any other, has the right to self-determination and to define Their Own democratic process and we must help wherever They need us.

Obama, your country has no moral authority, legitimacy or legality nor to invade Syria or any other country. Much less after murdering 220,000 people in Japan by launching bombs of mass destruction.

No congressman parliament from the United States can legitimate what is ilegitimate, nor legalize what is illegal. Especially Considering what said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter a few days ago: "The U.S. does not have a Functioning democracy. "

The illegal wiretapping your government doing to the American people seem not to be quite efficient, Because According To a public poll by the Reuters agency, 60% of Americans Oppose the invasion That You pretend.
So I ask you, Obama, Who do you obey?

Your government has Become a danger to the international balance and to the American people themselves. The U.S. Has Become a Country That Can not stop exporting death to keep its economy and power. We will not stop trying to Prevent it.

I was in Iraq after the U.S. bombings in the early 90's, before the invasion That toppled Saddam Hussein. I saw a shelter full of children and women killed by tele-directed missiles. You call them "Collateral damages".

The peoples are saying ENOUGH wars!. Humanity claims for Peace and the right to live in freedom. The peoples want to transform weapons into plowshares, and the way to do it is to "DISARM THE ARMED consciences".

Obama, never forget we always pick the fruits of what we sow. Should Any human being bring peace and humanity, and indeed a Nobel Prize for Peace. I hope you do not end up turning the "dream of brotherhood" that longed Luther King, into a nightmare for people and humanity.

Receive the greeting of Peace and Good

Adolfo Perez Esquivel,
Nobel Peace Prize

September 4, 2013 

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Last Interview before the War

   President al-Assad: Syria will never become a western puppet state

President Bashar al-Assad stressed that Syria is a sovereign country that will fight terrorism and will freely build relationships with countries in a way that best serves the interests of the Syrian people.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper of Izvestia, President al-Assad stressed that "the majority of those we are fighting are Takfiris, who adopt the al-Qaeda doctrine, in addition to a small number of outlaws."

On the alleged use of chemical weapons, President al-Assad said that the statements by the US administration, the West and other countries were made with disdain and blatant disrespect of their own public opinion, adding that "there isn’t a body in the world, let alone a superpower, that makes an accusation and then goes about collecting evidence to prove its point."

His Excellency stressed that these accusations are completely politicised and come on the back of the advances made by the Syrian Army against the terrorists.

Here is the full content of the interview:

Q1 Interviewer:  Mr President, the most pressing question today is the current situation in Syria. What parts of the country remain under the rebels’ control?

President al-Assad:  From our perspective, it’s not a matter of labelling areas as controlled by terrorists or by the government; we are not dealing with a conventional occupation to allow us to contextualise it in this manner. We are fighting terrorists infiltrating particular regions, towns or peripheral city areas. They wreak havoc, vandalise, destroy infrastructure and kill innocent civilians simply because they denounce them. The army mobilises into these areas with the security forces and law enforcement agencies to eradicate the terrorists, those who survive relocate to other areas. Therefore, the essence of our action is striking terrorism.

Our challenge, which has protracted the situation, is the influx of large amounts of terrorists from other countries - estimated in the tens of thousands at the very least. As long as they continue to receive financial and military aid, we will continue to strike them. I can confirm that there has not been any instance where the Syrian Army has planned to enter a particular location and has not succeeded in eliminating the terrorists within it.

The majority of those we are fighting are Takfiris, who adopt the al-Qaeda doctrine, in addition to a small number of outlaws, so as I said this not about who controls more areas of land. Wherever terrorism strikes, we shall strike back.

Q2 Interviewer:  Yet, Western mainstream media claim that the terrorists control 40% to 70% of Syrian territory; what is the reality?

President al-Assad:  There isn’t an army in the world that can be present with its armament in every corner of any given country. The terrorists exploit this, and violate areas where the army is not present. They escape from one area to another, and we continue to eradicate them from these areas with great success. Therefore, I reiterate, the issue is not the size of the territories they infiltrate but the large influx of terrorists coming from abroad.

The more significant criterion to evaluate success is - has the Syrian Army been able to enter any area infiltrated by terrorists and defeat them? Most certainly the answer is yes; the army has always succeeded in this and continues to do so. However, this takes time because these types of wars do not end suddenly, they protract for prolonged periods and as such carry a heavy price. Even when we have eradicated all the terrorists, we will have paid a hefty price.

Q3 Interviewer:   Mr President, you have spoken of Islamist Takfiri extremists’ fighters who have entered Syria. Are they fragmented groups who fight sporadically? Or do they belong to a coherent major force that seeks to destroy the security and stability in Syria and the whole Middle East?

President al-Assad:  They have both traits. They are similar in that they all share the same extremist Takfiri doctrine of certain individuals such as Zawahiri; they also have similar or identical financial backing and military support. They differ on the ground in that they are incoherent and scattered with each group adhering to a separate leader and pursuing different agendas. Of course it is well known that countries, such as Saudi Arabia, who hold the purse strings can shape and manipulate them to suit their own interests.

Ideologically, these countries mobilise them through direct or indirect means as extremist tools. If they declare that Muslims must pursue Jihad in Syria, thousands of fighters will respond. Financially, those who finance and arm such groups can instruct them to carry out acts of terrorism and spread anarchy. The influence over them is synergised when a country such as Saudi Arabia directs them through both the Wahhabi ideology and their financial means.

Q4 Interviewer:  The Syrian government claims a strong link between Israel and the terrorists. How can you explain this? It is commonly perceived that the extremist Islamists loathe Israel and become hysterical upon hearing its name.

President al-Assad:   If this was the case, why is it then that when we strike the terrorists at the frontier, Israel strikes at our forces to alleviate the pressure off of them? Why, when we blockade them into an area does Israel let them through their barricades so they can come round and re-attack from another direction? Why has Israel carried out direct strikes against the Syrian Army on more than one occasion in recent months? So clearly this perception is inaccurate. It is Israel who has publically declared its cooperation with these terrorists and treated them in Israeli hospitals.

If these terrorist groups were indeed hostile to Israel and hysterical even on the mention of the word as you mention, why have they fought the Soviet Union, Syria and Egypt, whilst never carrying out a single strike against Israel? Who originally created these terrorist groups? These groups were initially created in the early 80’s by the United States and the West, with Saudi funding, to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. So logically speaking, how could such groups manufactured by the US and the West ever strike Israel!

Q5 Interviewer:   Mr. President, this interview will be translated into several international languages, and shall be read by world leaders, some who may currently be working against you. What would you like to say to them?

President al-Assad:  Today there are many Western politicians, but very few statesmen. Some of these politicians do not read history or even learn from it, whilst others do not even remember recent events. Have these politicians learned any lessons from the past 50 years at least? Have they not realised that since the Vietnam War, all the wars their predecessors have waged have failed? Have they not learned that they have gained nothing from these wars but the destruction of the countries they fought, which has had a destabilising effect on the Middle East and other parts of the world? Have they not comprehended that all of these wars have not made people in the region appreciate them or believe in their policies?

From another perspective, these politicians should know that terrorism is not a winning card you play when it suits you and keep it in your pocket when it doesn't. Terrorism is like a scorpion; it can unexpectedly sting you at any time. Therefore, you cannot support terrorism in Syria whilst fighting it in Mali; you cannot support terrorism in Chechnya and fight it in Afghanistan.

To be very precise, I am referring to the West and not all world leaders, if these western leaders are looking to achieve their interests, they need to listen to their own constituents and to the people in this region rather than seeking to install ‘puppet’ leaders, in the hope that they would be able to deliver their objectives. In doing so, western policy may become more realistic in the region.

Our message to the world is straightforward: Syria will never become a Western ‘puppet’ state. We are an independent country; we will fight terrorism and we will freely build relationships with countries in a way that best serves the interests of the Syrian people.

Q6 Interviewer:  On Wednesday, the rebels accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons; some Western leaders adopted these accusations. What is your response to this? Will you allow the UN inspectors access to the site to investigate the incident?

President al-Assad:  The statements by the American administration, the West and other countries were made with disdain and blatant disrespect of their own public opinion; there isn’t a body in the world, let alone a superpower, that makes an accusation and then goes about collecting evidence to prove its point. The American administration made the accusation on Wednesday and two days later announced that they would start to collect the evidence - what evidence is it going to gather from afar?!

They claim that the area in question is under the control of the rebels and that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons. In fact, the area is in contiguity with the Syrian Army positions, so how is it possible that any country would use chemical weapons, or any weapons of mass destruction, in an area where its own forces are located; this is preposterous! These accusations are completely politicised and come on the back of the advances made by the Syrian Army against the terrorists.

As for the UN Commission, we were the first to request a UN investigation when terrorists launched rockets that carried toxic gas in the outskirts of Aleppo. Several months before the attack, American and Western statements were already preparing public opinion of the potential use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. This raised our suspicion that they were aware of the terrorists’ intentions to use these weapons in order to blame the Syrian government. After liaising with Russia, we decided to request a commission to investigate the incident. Whereas we requested an investigation based on the facts on the ground, not on rumours or allegations; the US, France and the UK have tried to exploit the incident to investigate allegations rather than happenings.

During the last few weeks, we have worked with the Commission and set the guidelines for cooperation. First of these, is that our national sovereignty is a red line and as such the Commission will directly liaise with us during the process. Second, the issue is not only how the investigation will be conducted but also how the results will be interpreted. We are all aware that instead of being interpreted in an objective manner, these results could easily be interpreted according to the requirements and agendas of certain major countries. Certainly, we expect Russia to block any interpretation that aims to serve American and western policies. What is most important is that we differentiate between western accusations that are based on allegations and hearsay and our request for an investigation based on concrete evidence and facts.

Q7 Interviewer:  Recent statements by the American administration and other Western governments have stated that the US has not ruled out military intervention in Syria. In light of this, is it looking more likely that the US would behave in the same way it did in Iraq, in other words look for a pretext for military intervention?

President al-Assad:  This is not the first time that the possibility of military intervention has been raised. From the outset, the US, along with France and Britain, has strived for military intervention in Syria. Unfortunately for them, events took a different course with the balance shifting against their interests in the Security Council despite their numerous attempts to haggle with Russia and China, but to no avail. The negative outcomes that emerged in Libya and Egypt were also not in their favour.

All of this made it impossible for them to convince their constituents and the world that they were following sound or successful policies.

The situation in Libya also differs to that of Egypt and Tunisia, and Syria as I have said is very different from all these. Each country has a unique situation and applying the same scenario across the board is no longer a plausible option. No doubt they can wage wars, but they cannot predict where they will spread or how they will end. This has led them to realise that all their crafted scenarios have now spiralled out of their control.

It is now crystal clear to everybody that what is happening in Syria is not a popular revolution pushing for political reform, but targeted terrorism aimed at destroying the Syrian state. What will they say to their people when pushing for military intervention: we are intervening in Syria to support terrorism against the state?!

Interviewer:  What will America face should it decide on military intervention or on waging a war on Syria?

President al-Assad:  What it has been confronted with in every war since Vietnam… failure. America has waged many wars, but has never been able to achieve its political objectives from any of them. It will also not be able to convince the American people of the benefits of this war, nor will it be able to convince the people in this region of their policies and plans. Global powers can wage wars, but can they win them?

Q8: Interviewer:   Mr. President, how is your relationship with President Vladimir Putin? Do you speak on the phone? If so, what do you discuss?

President al-Assad:  I have a strong relationship with President Putin, which spans back many years even before the crisis. We contact each other from time to time, although the complexity of events in Syria cannot be discussed on the phone. Our relationship is facilitated through Russian and Syrian officials who exchange visits, the majority of which are conducted away from the glare of the media.

Q9 Interviewer:  Mr. President, are you planning to visit Russia or invite President Putin to visit Syria?

President al-Assad:  It is possible of course; however the current priorities are to work towards easing the violence in Syria, there are casualties on a daily basis. When circumstances improve, a visit will be necessary; for now, our officials are managing this relationship well.

Q10: Interviewer:  Mr. President, Russia is opposing the US and EU policies, especially with regards to Syria, what would happen were Russia to make a compromise now? Is such a scenario possible?

President al-Assad:   Russian-American relations should not be viewed through the context of the Syrian crisis alone; it should be viewed in a broader and more comprehensive manner. The US presumed that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was perpetually destroyed. After President Putin took office in the late 90s, Russia began to gradually recover and regain its international position; hence the Cold War began again, but in a different and subtler manner.

The US persisted on many fronts: striving to contain Russian interests in the world, attempting to influence the mentality of Russians closer to the West both in terms of culture and aspiration. It worked diligently to eliminate Russia’s vital and powerful role on many fronts, one of which is Syria.

You may be wondering, like many Russians, why Russia continues to stand by Syria. It is important to explain this reason to the general public: Russia is not defending President Bashar al-Assad or the Syrian government, since the Syrian people should decide their president and the most suitable political system – this is not the issue. Russia is defending the fundamental principles it has embraced for more than a hundred years, the first of which is independence and the policy of non-interference in internal affairs. Russia itself has suffered and continues to suffer from such interference.

Additionally, Russia is defending its legitimate interests in the region. Some superficial analysts narrow these interests to the Port of Tartous, but in reality Russia’s interests are far more significant. Politically speaking, when terrorism strikes Syria, a key country in the region, it would have a direct impact on stability in the Middle East, which would subsequently affect Russia. Unlike many western governments, the Russian leadership fully understands this reality. From a social and cultural perspective, we must not forget the tens of thousands of Syrian-Russian families, which create a social, cultural and humanitarian bridge between our two countries.

If Russia were to seek a compromise, as you stipulated, this would have happened one or two years ago when the picture was blurred, even for some Russian officials. Today, the picture is crystal clear. A Russia that didn’t make a compromise back then, would not do so now.

Q11 Interviewer:  Mr. President, are there any negotiations with Russia to supply fuel or military hardware to Syria? With regards to the S-300 defence system contract in particular, have you received it?

President al-Assad:  Of course, no country would publically declare what armaments and weapons it possesses, or the contracts it signs in this respect. This is strictly classified information concerning the Armed Forces. Suffice to say that all contracts signed with Russia are being honoured and neither the crisis nor the pressure from the US, European or Gulf countries’ have affected their implementation. Russia continues to supply Syria with what it requires to defend itself and its people.

Q12 Interviewer:  Mr President, what form of aid does Syria require from Russia today? Is it financial or perhaps military equipment? For example would Syria request a loan from Russia?

President al-Assad:   In the absence of security on the ground, it is impossible to have a functioning and stable economy. So firstly, the support that Russia is providing through agreed military contracts to help Syrians defend themselves will lead to better security, which will in turn help facilitate an economic recovery. Secondly, Russia’s political support for our right of independence and sovereignty has also played a significant role. Many other countries have turned against us politically and translated this policy by cutting economic ties and closing their markets. Russia has done the complete opposite and continues to maintain good trading relations with us, which has helped keep our economy functioning. Therefore in response to your question, Russia’s supportive political stance and its commitment to honour the agreed military contracts without surrendering to American pressure have substantially aided our economy, despite the negative bearings the economic embargo - imposed by others, has had on the lives of the Syrian people.

From a purely economic perspective, there are several agreements between Syria and Russia for various goods and materials. As for a loan from Russia, this should be viewed as beneficial to both parties: for Russia it is an opportunity for its national industries and companies to expand into new markets, for Syria it provides some of the funding necessary to rebuild our infrastructure and stimulate our economy. I reiterate that Russia’s political stance and support have been instrumental in restoring security and providing the basic needs for the Syrian people.

Q13 Interviewer:  Mr. President, do these contracts relate to fuel or basic food requirements?

President al-Assad:  Syrian citizens are being targeted through their basic food, medical and fuel requirements. The Syrian government is working to ensure these basic needs are available to all Syrians through trade agreements with Russia and other friendly countries.

Q14 Interviewer:  Returning to the situation in Syria and the current crisis. We are aware that you successively issue amnesties. Do these amnesties include rebels? And do some of them subsequently change sides to fight with the Armed Forces?

President al-Assad:  Yes, this is in fact the case. Recently, there has been a marked shift, especially since the picture has become clearer to many that what is happening in Syria is sheer terrorism. Many have come back into the mainstream of civil life, surrendering their weapons and benefitting from the amnesties to help them return to their normal lives. Most remarkably, there are certain groups who have switched from fighting against the army to fighting beside it; these people were either misled by what was propagated in the media or were initially militarised under threats from the terrorists. It is for this very reason that from the start of the crisis, the Syrian government has adopted an open door policy to all those who wanted to U-turn on the initial route they took against their country. Despite the fact that many people in Syria were opposed to this policy, it has proven to be effective and has helped alleviate some of the tension from the crisis.

Q15 Interviewer:  Mr. President, Syria’s relations with several states are collapsing consecutively, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Who are your true allies, and who are your enemies?

President al-Assad:   The countries that support us are well known to everyone: internationally - Russia and China, regionally - Iran. However, we are starting to see a positive shift on the international arena. Certain countries that were strongly against Syria have begun to change their positions; others have started to reinitiate relations with us. Of course, the changes in these countries’ positions do not constitute direct support.

In contrast, there are particular countries that have directly mobilised and buttressed terrorism in Syria. Predominantly Qatar and Turkey in the first two years; Qatar financed while Turkey provided logistical support by training terrorists and streaming them into Syria. Recently, Saudi Arabia has replaced Qatar in the funding role. To be completely clear and transparent, Saudi Arabia has nothing but funding; those who only have money cannot build a civilisation or nurture it. Saudi Arabia implements its agenda depending on how much money it commands.

Turkey is a different case. It is pitiful that a great country such as Turkey, which bears a strategic location and a liberal society, is being manipulated by a meagre amount of dollars through a Gulf state harbouring a regressive mentality. It is of course the Turkish Prime Minister who shoulders responsibility for this situation and not the Turkish people with whom we share a great deal of heritage and traditions.

Q16 Interviewer:  Mr. President, what makes Russian-Syrian relations so strong? Is it geopolitical interests? Or that they jointly share a struggle against terrorism?

President al-Assad:  There is more than one factor that forges Syrian-Russian relations so strongly. First of which is that Russia has suffered from occupation during World War II and Syria has been occupied more than once. Secondly, since the Soviet era, Russia has been subjected to continuous and repeated attempts of foreign intervention in its internal affairs; this is also the case with Syria.

Thirdly but no less significantly is terrorism. In Syria, we understand well what it means when extremists from Chechnya kill innocent civilians, what it means to hold under siege children and teachers in Beslan or hold innocent people hostage in Moscow’s theatre. Equally, the Russian people understand when we in Syria refer to the identical acts of terrorism they have suffered. It is for this reason that the Russian people reject the Western narrative of “good terrorists and bad terrorists.”

In addition to these areas, there are also the Syrian-Russian family ties I mentioned earlier, which would not have developed without common cultural, social and intellectual characteristics, as well as the geopolitical interests we also spoke of. Russia, unlike the Europeans and the West, is well aware of the consequences of destabilising Syria and the region and the affect this will have on the inexorable spread of terrorism.

All of these factors collectively shape the political stance of a great country like Russia. Its position is not founded on one or two elements, but rather by a comprehensive historical, cultural and intellectual perspective.

Q17 Interviewer:  Mr. President, what will occur in Geneva 2, what are your expectations from this conference?

President al-Assad:  The objective of the Geneva conference is to support the political process and facilitate a political solution to the crisis. However, this cannot be accomplished before halting the foreign support to terrorism. We expect that the Geneva conference would start applying pressure on the countries supporting terrorism in Syria, to stop the smuggling of weapons and the streaming of foreign terrorists into the country. When this is achieved, political steps can be easily pursued, most imperative of which is initiating a dialogue between Syrians to discuss the future political system, the constitution, various legislations and others.

Interviewer:   Thank you for your sincerity and for such a transparent discussion during this interview.

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