News Releases

Paris: * “Rationales” * Regime Change * Refugees


Some politicians are criticizing Secretary of State John Kerry suggesting Tuesday that there was a “rationale” for the assault on satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, unlike the more recent attacks in Paris. But some analysts point to actual cold logic behind the recent attack as well.

SCOTT ATRAN, satran at
Atran is director of research at France’s National Center for Scientific Research and research professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and the University of Michigan. He just co-wrote “Paris: The War ISIS Wants” for the New York Review of Books, which states: “ISIS’s theatrical brutality — whether in the Middle East or now in Europe — is part of a conscious plan designed to instill among believers a sense of meaning that is sacred and sublime, while scaring the hell out of fence-sitters and enemies. This strategy was outlined in the 2004 manifesto Idarat at Tawahoush (The Management of Savagery), a tract written for ISIS’s precursor, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda…” See also: “What I Discovered From Interviewing Imprisoned ISIS Fighters.”

NAFEEZ AHMED, iprdoffice at, @NafeezAhmed
An independent investigative reporter, Ahmed is a columnist with Middle East Eye. His books include A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization. He just wrote the piece “ISIS Wants to Destroy the ‘Grey Zone’. Here’s How We Defend it,” which argues that part of what ISIS wants is Western countries to reject refugees.

Author of Syria Unmasked, Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN, for nearly 20 years. He just wrote the piece “Grasping the Motives for Terror,” for Consortium News. Earlier this year, he was featured on an news release, “Regime Change Refugees,” which states: “The Western leaders and media stay silent about the military intervention and regime change, interventions that have torn the refugees’ homelands apart.” He can also address the specifics of refugees in Europe and points to global warming as a factor in creating refugees from both Syria and the Balkans.

JAMES JENNINGS, jjennings at
Jennings is president of Conscience International, a humanitarian organization that delivers aid to Syrian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. Jennings said today: “Let’s not close our hearts just because politicians close our borders. Following the Paris attacks, fear mongering has become fashionable in Congress and in most governor’s mansions. But it is based on ignorance. Such paranoia is shameful, with the result that we are denying our values and living in a national security state best called Fortress America.

“The vetting process now in place is already a dreadful maze — a Rubic’s Cube of bureaucracies practically guaranteeing that few Syrians will ever set foot on our shores. The process takes up to three years and requires 21 steps with numerous agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, all required to sign off. There is next to no chance that a terrorist could get in under the present system. A greater threat is posed by considerable numbers of disaffected, angry young men who are already in the U.S.

“Our civic and religious traditions and the enormous good will of most of our citizens demand that we exercise compassion toward our fellow human beings. Just as in a disaster at sea, women and children should be admitted first, then the elderly, then men of good will of whatever age. Although the numbers the administration plans to admit to the United States are indeed miniscule compared to those entering Germany, we must still find it in our hearts to allow them to come, while simultaneously reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees abroad and the displaced in war-torn Syria itself.”

Clinton Foundation a “Money Laundering Operation” for “Influence Peddling” by Dictators

KEN SILVERSTEIN, ken.silverstein at, @kensilverstein1
Silverstein — a Washington, D.C. based investigative reporter and author of several books on politics and money — just wrote the piece “Shaky Foundations: The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends” for Harper’s Magazine. Silverstein writes: “After endless delays and excuses, the Clinton Foundation released its 2014 tax return as well as amended returns for the previous four years and an audit of its finances. That fulfilled a pledge made last April by Clinton Foundation acting CEO, Maura Pally, who acknowledged that the foundation had previously made a few unfortunate accounting ‘mistakes.’

“Journalists are going to be scouring through this new financial information and pumping out ‘balanced’ stories that evade what is already evident, namely that the Clintons have used their foundation for crass profiteering and influence peddling.

“If the Justice Department and law enforcement agencies do their jobs, the foundation will be closed and its current and past trustees, who include Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton, will be indicted. That’s because their so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich Clinton family friends. …

“It is beyond dispute that former President Clinton has been directly involved in helping foundation donors and his personal cronies get rich. Even worse, it is beyond dispute that these very same donors and the Clintons’ political allies have won the focused attention of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton when she served as Secretary of State. Democrats and Clinton apologists will write these accusations off as conspiracy mongering and right-wing propaganda, but it’s an open secret to anyone remotely familiar with accounting and regulatory requirements for charities that the financial records are deliberately misleading. …

“[A] Canadian charity called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership — which is run by one of Bill Clinton’s close friends, Frank Giustra — has been moving significant sums of money into the Clinton Foundation’s flagship in New York. There’s no way for the public to know precisely how much total money the CGEP has taken in over the years — or how much it has forwarded on to the Clinton Foundation — because, unlike in the United States, under Canadian non-profit law charities don’t need to report donors to tax authorities. Earlier this year, after being severely criticized by the Canadian press, the CGEP released the names of 24 of its donors, but more than 1,000 are still unknown. (CGEP wrote in an email that ‘going forward [it] will publicly disclose all future donors.’) …

“One money-laundering expert and former intelligence officer based in the Middle East — who had access to the foundation’s confidential banking information — told me that members of the royal family in Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, have donated money to the CGEP that has then been sluiced through to the Clinton Foundation. He told me that the CGEP has received money from corrupt officials in South Africa during the former regime of Jacob Zuma and from senior officials in Equatorial Guinea, one of the most brutal and crooked dictatorships in the world. ‘Equatorial Guinea doesn’t give to the Clinton Foundation in New York because it’s too embarrassing,’ he said. ‘They give the money anonymously in Canada and that buys them political protection in the United States. The Clinton Foundation is a professionally structured money-laundering operation.'”

Silverstein’s books include the recently-released The Secret World of Oil as well as The Radioactive Boy Scout.


The Guardian reports: “Since the Paris attacks on Friday night, France has been living under a nationwide state of emergency not seen since 1961. … The procedure harks back to the start of the Algerian war in the 1950s, giving exceptional powers to authorities…”

While some are claiming that increased government surveillance is needed after the attacks on Paris, TechDirt reports: “France Already Expanded Surveillance Twice In The Past Year — Perhaps Expanding It Again Is Not The Answer?

BARRY LANDO, barrylando at
Lando, who lives in London and Paris, is a former producer with “60 Minutes.” His books include Web of Deceit about the history of Iraq. His piece “Total War” notes that severe civil liberties restrictions were in place the last several months in France.

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures — was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Rowley wrote to the FBI Director again in February 2003 with some hard questions about the reliability of the evidence being adduced to “justify” the impending invasion of Iraq. She now warns of terror attacks being used as pretexts for official agendas. She also warns that bulk collection of personal data by government is not only counter to liberty, but counterproductive to the alleged goal of stopping attacks. See her piece in the Guardian: “The Bigger the Haystack, the Harder the Terrorist is to Find.”

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at
Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She blogs at

She just wrote the piece “Metadata Surveillance Didn’t Stop the Paris Attacks,” which states: “Since terrorists struck Paris last Friday night, the debate over whether encryption prevents intelligence services from stopping attacks has reignited. The New York Times and Yahoo reported on vague claims that the terrorists’ use of encryption stymied investigators who might have thwarted their plans. CIA Director John Brennan made equally vague comments Monday morning, warning that thanks to the privacy protections of the post-Snowden era, it is now ‘much more challenging’ for intelligence agencies to find terrorists. Jeb Bush piled on, saying that the United States needs to restore its program collecting metadata on U.S. phone calls, even though that program won’t be shut down until the end of this month.

“Following a terrorism incident as shocking as the Paris attacks, it is no surprise that politicians and the intelligence establishment would want to widen American spying capabilities. But their arguments are conflating the forest — bulk metadata collection — and the trees: access to individual communications about the attack. To understand why that’s the case, start with this tweet from former NSA and DHS official Stewart Baker: ‘NSA’s 215 program’ — and by association the far larger metadata dragnet of which the domestically focused phone-metadata program is just a small part — ‘was designed to detect a Mumbai/Paris-style attack.’

“Only it didn’t.

“The United States and United Kingdom’s metadata collection that focuses on the Middle East and Europe is far more extensive than the phone dragnet being shut down later this month, and its use has far more permissive rules. This dragnet is mostly limited by technology, not law. And France — which rewrote its surveillance laws after the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year –has its own surveillance system. Both are in place, yet neither detected the Nov. 13 plot. This means they failed to alert authorities to the people they should more closely target via both electronic and physical surveillance. In significant part, this system appears to have failed before it even got to the stage at which investigators would need to worry about terrorists’ use of encryption.”

Paris, Beirut and the “Weaponization of Grief”

RANIA MASRI, rania.z.masri at, @rania_masri
Masri is an activist in Beirut. She was featured on an news release about the attacks in Lebanon just before the attacks in Paris titled, “From Beirut After Bombing: ‘We are Not Numbers’.” She stresses the need for authentic solidarity, transcending sectarian and national boundaries.

Masri has long warned about U.S. wars feeding sectarianism and Gulf backing of groups like ISIS in Syria. She noted the piece in the Guardian: “Now the truth emerges: how the U.S. fuelled the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.” Masri also highlighted the recent speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who has been battling ISIS. As’ad AbuKhalil writes that Nasrallah in the speech is virtually alone among major figures in Lebanon: “He spoke against bigotry against Syrian refugee population and stressed that no matter how much ISIS strikes in Lebanon, the refugees should not be blamed or harmed in any way.”

JIM NAURECKAS, jnaureckas at, @JNaureckas
Naureckas is editor of FAIR’s magazine Extra! and just wrote the piece It’s True, Media Did Cover Beirut Bombings–About 1/40th as Much as They Covered Paris Attacks

He also wrote recently wrote: “Context-Free Coverage of Terror Helps Perpetuate Its Causes,” which states: “It feels callous to question the allocation of outrage; empathy is in such short supply in this world that one hesitates to question it when it emerges. But as a long-time citizen of New York City, I’m all too aware of the weaponization of grief. The outpouring of no-context, ahistorical sympathy after 9/11 helped pave the way for a violent reaction that killed in Iraq alone roughly 150 times as many people as died in Lower Manhattan that day — an opportunistic catastrophe that did more to mock than avenge those deaths.

“Just as the question of Al-Qaeda’s motives in 2001 provoked more self-congratulation than serious inquiry (Extra! Update, 10/01), coverage of Paris in 2015 tends to skirt over political realities. Thus the New York Times (11/13/15) could report: ‘A stunned and confused French capital was again left to wonder: Why us? Once again?’ The obvious answer was alluded to obliquely by a soccer stadium spectator: ‘With all the strikes in Syria, we’re not safe anymore.’

“Readers were presumed to know this referred to the French bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria, which began in September, following aerial attacks against ISIS’s positions in Iraq that started last year (CNN, 9/27/15). Just last week, France joined in intensified strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields in Syria (New York Times, 11/12/15). By last summer, Western airstrikes against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria had reportedly killed at least 459 civilians, including more than 100 children (Guardian, 8/3/15).”

Protecting National Security Whistleblowers: A New Program

ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy, is pleased to announce the launch of a new Whistleblower and Source Protection Program (WHISPeR). WHISPeR makes ExposeFacts the first journalistic organization to house a program dedicated entirely to providing affordable legal representation to whistleblowers and sources. See video announcement.

To head WHISPeR, ExposeFacts has brought in internationally renowned whistleblower and human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack  as National Security and Human Rights Director. Ms. Radack represents NSA whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and William Binney, CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and dozens of anonymous national security and intelligence whistleblowers and sources who have been fired, criminally investigated and punished for shedding light on government and corporate illegalities.

Ms. Radack will be joined by National Security and Human Rights Deputy Director Kathleen McClellan, whose decade-plus of legal experience advocating for civil liberties and human rights reforms provides invaluable expertise and support.

Launched by the Institute for Public Accuracy in 2014, ExposeFacts promotes whistleblowing with a unique blend of independent journalism, methodical organizing and public outreach. Institute for Public Accuracy Executive Director Norman Solomon said:

“The government’s unprecedented crackdown on ‘national security’ whistleblowers using the Espionage Act has created a chilling atmosphere for sources and journalists, giving rise to a larger war on information that the public has a right to know. At ExposeFacts, our message from the beginning has been, ‘whistleblowers welcome.’ With the launch of WHISPeR, headed by the unmatched legal powerhouse Jesselyn Radack, ExposeFacts can now provide affordable top-notch legal representation directly to some whistleblowers and sources.”

WHISPeR National Security and Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack said: “ExposeFacts is a cutting-edge initiative already recognizing the need for better source protection and making a tremendous positive impact for whistleblowers and investigative journalism. At WHISPeR, we provide journalists, sources, whistleblowers, and hacktivists with critical affordable legal protection, public advocacy, and the latest in encryption technology. It takes courageous individuals to speak truth to power. WHISPeR protects and amplifies their voices.”

For more information, contact at ExposeFacts:
Jesselyn Radack, jess at
Kathleen McClellan, kathleen at
Sam Husseini, sam at

After Paris: What Needs to Be Changed? * Interventions * Saudi

Aftermath of alleged coalition strike on Mosul May 21 2015 (via Mosul Atek)

President Obama, speaking from Turkey Monday claimed: “What’s been interesting is, in the aftermath of Paris, as listened to those who suggest something-else-needs-to-be-done, typically, the things they suggest-need-to-be-done are things we’re already doing. The one exception is there have been a few who suggested we put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground.” [Video at 3:15.] But these analysts give critical background, some pointing to continuing Western interventions and support for Saudi Arabia as major problems fueling the spiral of violence:

CHRIS WOODS, freelance.woods at, @chrisjwoods
Woods is with, which monitors “the international coalition’s airstrikes against Islamic State (Daesh) in Iraq and Syria.” While many are calling for more bombing of Syria in the past 466 days the group has documented that there have been over 2,800 strikes in Syria and another 5,300 in Iraq.

Author of Syria Unmasked, Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN, for nearly 20 years. He was also a longtime editor of the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World and executive director of the Middle East Research and Information Project. He just wrote the piece “Grasping the Motives for Terror,” for Consortium News which states: “In 2003, the U.S. (in partnership with the United Kingdom) attacked Iraq, seeking regime change from the former ally Saddam Hussein. Washington stayed for eight years until 2011, creating fiendish Islamic militias as part of a vicious counter-insurgency program created by much-admired U.S. General David Petraeus and later turned into doctrine at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“There was round-the-clock bombing, huge prison camps, torture and ongoing military operations throughout the country, leading to a tremendous loss of life among Iraqis (more than a million perished) and complete destabilization of the country.

“In 2011, the U.S. and various allies intervened again, this time in Libya, using air strikes and special operations forces to produce  another ‘regime change.’ The CIA and its Persian Gulf friends armed Islamic militias opposed to the Gaddafi government, while U.S. and allied air forces bombed the capital and other cities, overthrowing the government and creating internal violence and political chaos that continues down to the present.

“In short order, Washington again intervened in Syria — in yet another ‘regime change’ project. A peaceful Arab Spring protest was transformed by the Western powers and their regional allies as they armed and financed rebel groups (including Islamic groups). Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other regional allies had a hand in the conflict. …

“The evidence is clear. Decades of violent Western policies in the Middle East have caused state collapse, political chaos, civil war and immense human suffering. These policies must change if the terror threat is to decline and the peoples of the region are to enjoy a decent life again.”

ALI AL-AHMED, alialahmedx at, @AliAlAhmed_en
The French interior minister stated Sunday he would start the “dissolution of mosques where hate is preached.” Al-Ahmed is director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, which just released a report on “the Saudi government school in Paris and the content of its schoolbooks that promote terrorism and hatred.” He said today: “The solution for this tragedy is not to go around shutting down mosques in France. A huge problem has been the support and weapons the Saudi regime has gotten from France, the U.S. and other countries. Virtually no major political figure in the U.S. has spoken out about this. During the Democratic debate on Saturday, Hillary Clinton said: ‘Turkey and the Gulf nations have got to make up their minds. Are they going to stand with us against this kind of jihadi radicalism or not?’ which was somewhat interesting given how compromised she is by money she’s taken from despotic Saudi and GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] monarchies. Bernie Sanders called on the Saudis to get even more involved in Syria — that they should ‘get their hands dirty.’ The Saudis have through a variety of means fueled the tragedy in Syria and are now bombing Yemen, killing thousands. Their hands are plenty dirty and it’s past time to address that.” See: “France: Saudi Arabia’s New Arms Dealer.”

DAN LAZARE, dhlazare at
Lazare, author of numerous books including The Frozen Republic, just wrote the piece “How Saudi/Gulf Money Fuels Terror” for Consortium News, which states: “In the wake of the latest terrorist outrage in Paris, the big question is not which specific group is responsible for the attack, but who’s responsible for the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the first place. The answer that has grown increasingly clear in recent years is that it’s Western leaders who have used growing portions of the Muslim world as a playground for their military games and are now crying crocodile tears over the consequences.

“This pattern had its beginnings in the 1980s in Afghanistan, where the Central Intelligence Agency and the Saudi royal family virtually invented modern jihadism in an effort to subject the Soviets to a Vietnam-style war in their own backyard. It was the case, too, in Iraq, which the United States and Great Britain invaded in 2003, triggering a vicious civil warfare between Shi‘ites and Sunnis. …

“In December 2009, Hillary Clinton noted in a confidential diplomatic memo that ‘donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.’ In October 2014, Joe Biden told students at Harvard’s Kennedy School that ‘the Saudis, the emirates, etc. … were so determined to take down [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war … [that] they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad- except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.’ …

“In April 2003, Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 commission’s neocon executive director, fired an investigator, Dana Leseman, when she proved too vigorous in probing the Saudi connection. [See Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve, 2008), pp. 110-13.]

“Strangest of all is what has happened to a 28-page chapter in an earlier joint congressional report dealing with the question of the Saudi complicity. While the report as a whole was heavily redacted, the chapter itself wound up entirely suppressed. Although Obama promised 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser shortly after taking office to see to it that it was made public, it remains under wraps.”

Syria and Climate Change: Does Global Warming Fuel Conflict?

At the Democratic Party debate on Saturday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked: “You said you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security is climate change. Do you still believe that?”

“‘Absolutely,’ Sen. Sanders replied. ‘Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world, this is what the CIA says, they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict. …” [video]

EcoWatch reports: “Climate change will take center stage in Paris at the COP21 climate talks from Nov. 30 – Dec. 11.” See for upcoming events.

See new piece in TIME magazine: “Drought in Syria Has Contributed to Instability,” which states that while Sanders’ “plea attracted ridicule across the political spectrum, many academics and national security experts agree that climate change contributes to an uncertain world where terrorism can thrive. … A 2014 Department of Defense report identifies climate change as the root of government instability that leads to widespread migration, damages infrastructure and leads to the spread of disease. ‘These gaps in governance can create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism,’ the report says.”

CHRISTIAN PARENTI, christian_parenti at
Parenti is author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. He said today: “The growing crisis of war and state breakdown in the Middle East is partially driven by climate change. We have to deal with climate change — that is, drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — or face escalating chaos.”

Parenti is professor in the global liberal studies program at New York University. He has reported from conflict zones in the Middle East and studies the history of political violence.

He said U.S. policies “have repeatedly created failed states” in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

“Trying to overthrow [Syrian leader Bashar] Assad is a very bad idea. Assad is admittedly a dictator who inherited a state from his father but he is doing more than anyone to fight ISIS. Seeking his violent overthrow, as has been U.S. policy, is to court further disaster and a wider swath of misery.”

In an interview published earlier this year, “Climate Change, Militarism, Neoliberalism and the State,” Parenti stated: “Syria is a prime example. There has been a terrible drought there, which coincided with austerity measures imposed by the Assad government cutting aid to Sunni farmers. Many of them were forced to leave the land, partly due to drought, partly due to the lack of support to properly deal with the drought. Then, they arrive in cities, and there’s more austerity taking place. This is experienced as oppression by the Alawite elite against an increasingly impoverished Sunni proletariat who’ve been thrown off their land.

“This situation then explodes as religious conflict, which is really the fusion of environmental crises with neoliberal economic policies. Of course, the violent spark to all of this is the fact that the entire region is flooded with weapons. Some of these weapons are from the Cold War, and some of those guns are from recent U.S. militarism in the region. There were a lot of vets of the anti-U.S. struggle in Iraq who are Syrian — Mujahideen veterans who went to Iraq and came back to Syria and started to fight. There were Syrians who were selling guns to Iraqi underground groups. These groups were buying their guns back, and re-importing them to Syria.”

After Paris: Is the “War on Terror” Feeding Terror?

ABC News reports: “French President Francois Hollande is blaming ISIS for a series of attacks across Paris Friday night that left at least 127 dead and many more injured. Hollande called the attacks ‘an act of war’ in a speech Saturday morning local time, and said France ‘will be merciless’ against the ‘barbarians of the Islamic State group.'”

NAFEEZ AHMED, iprdoffice at, @NafeezAhmed
An independent investigative reporter, Ahmed is a columnist with Middle East Eye. His books include A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization. He will be attending the “Vigil in Solidarity with the People of Paris” tonight in London, organized by the Christian Muslim Forum.

Earlier this year, he wrote the piece “No Piers Morgan. This is how to destroy the Islamic State,” which states: “Uncontrollable rage and ritual denunciations are not going to defeat IS. To defeat IS, we need to recognize that this Frankenstein’s monster is neither simply a fault of ‘the West,’ nor of ‘the Muslims.’ It is a co-creation of the Western and Muslim worlds, specifically of Western and Muslim ‘security’ agencies who have lost all moral compass in the pursuit of geopolitical prowess, self-aggrandizement and corporate profiteering. Citizens of all faiths and none must stand together in solidarity to reject the violence perpetrated in our name on all sides.”

BARRY LANDO, barrylando at
Lando, who lives in London and Paris, is a former producer with “60 Minutes.” His books include Web of Deceit about the history of Iraq. He has written for numerous publications including the International Herald Tribune, Salon, Counterpunch and Truthdig. He just wrote the piece “France is on the Verge of … What?” which states: “‘Is France Ripe for an Authoritarian Regime?‘ What is remarkable about that op-ed piece in the conservative Le Figaro newspaper, is that it was written not in the wake of today’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris — but the day before. As I write, it is still unclear how many have been killed in the French capital — the reported total has reached at least 140 — but there is no question that the massacre could have a devastating impact on France’s already very shaky democratic institutions.” Lando lived in France for nearly 40 years and his wife is French.

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad at, @vijayprashad
Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. He was just on The Real News just before the Paris attacks talking about the recent Beirut and Baghdad attacks: “Is the ISIS Bombing in Beirut a Product of U.S. Policy in the Region?

On Twitter, he just listed “six terror lessons for Hollande,” which are being widely distributed on social media in graphic form:

“1. Grieve for those who have been killed. #terrorlessons no. 1.
2. Find out who did the killing through a forensic police inquiry. Bring them to justice. #terrorlessons no. 2.
3. Try to get to the root of the issue, to what provoked the inhumanity. #terrorlessons no. 3.
4. Erase the conditions of provocation. #terrorlessons no. 4.
5. Do not replicate provocation. #terrorlessons no. 5.
6. If you replicate the provocation (The Bush Strategy), the cycle of violence shall continue. #terrorlessons no. 6.”

PAUL GOTTINGER, paul.gottinger at, @paulgottinger
Gottinger is an independent journalist. He recently wrote an analysis of the”war on terror”: “Despite 14 Years of the U.S. War on Terror, Terror Attacks Have Skyrocketed Since 9/11,” which states: “Terror attacks have jumped by a stunning 6,500 percent since 2002, according to a new analysis by Reader Supported News. The number of casualties resulting from terror attacks has increased by 4,500 percent over this same time period. These colossal upsurges in terror took place despite a decade-long, worldwide effort to fight terrorism that has been led by the United States.

“The analysis, conducted with figures provided by the U.S. State Department, also shows that from 2007 to 2011 almost half of all the world’s terror took place in Iraq or Afghanistan — two countries being occupied by the U.S. at the time.”Countries experiencing U.S. military interventions continue to be subjected to high numbers of terror attacks, according to the data. In 2014, 74 percent of all terror-related casualties occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Syria. Of these five, only Nigeria did not experience either U.S. air strikes or a military occupation in that year.

“The U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilized Iraq and Syria, creating the conditions for the emergence of ISIS, which now controls large parts of the two countries. The invasion of Afghanistan has not been able to wrestle large sections of the country from the Taliban, leaving Afghanistan in state of perpetual war. And the air war to oust Muammar Gaddafi has left Libya in a state of chaos.

“The instability caused by these wars, along with the atrocities perpetrated by U.S.-led forces, which can be exploited for terrorist recruitment, have played a significant role in the increase of terrorism worldwide.”

From Beirut After Bombing: “We are Not Numbers”

Middle East Eye reports: “Beirut was left reeling on Thursday after two suicide blasts ripped through the Burj al-Barajneh neighbourhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

“At least 37 people have been killed, and 180 more injured, the Lebanese Red Cross said although the figures could yet rise further.

“The attack, which has been claimed by the Islamic State group, was the deadliest to hit Lebanon’s capital since the end of the civil war 25 years ago and comes after a period of relative calm. The last incident in Beirut happened last June when a suicide bomber blew himself up after police attempted to raid his Beirut hotel.”

RANIA MASRI, rania.z.masri at, @rania_masri
Masri is an activist in Beirut. She said today: “We are not numbers. I say this as I remember the 43 people killed and the 239 wounded in this terrorist attack on a neighborhood. We are not numbers.

“Among dead and injured are books/backpacks belonging to schoolchildren. …

“Terrorists blow up civilians in ‎Syria‬ and ‎Lebanon‬ and some media tacitly justify it, calling their homes ‘strongholds.'” For example, NPR states: “Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 37 In Hezbollah Stronghold Of Southern Beirut.”

As’ad AbuKhalil writes: “This Al-Qa`idah supporter doubles as a correspondent of Al-Jazeera (he was for years in Pakistan). Here he refers to the two terrorists who detonated bombs in the southern suburbs as ‘fida`iyyin’ [literally ‘those who sacrifice themselves’ or freedom fighters — historically has referred to Palestinian nationalists fighting Israel]. He also calls the bombing ‘professional.'”

Documents Expose FBI’s Targeting of School of the Americas Watch

ENDRIK VOSS, hvoss at
BILL QUIGLEY, quigley77 at
Voss is the national organizer for the School of the Americas Watch; Quigly is an attorney for the SOA Watch Legal Collective; Verheyden-Hilliard is the executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. Today the School of Americas Watch (SOAW) released a statement:

“For at least a decade, the FBI, through local law enforcement, utilized counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists working to close the School of the Americas, later renamed the Western Hemisphere for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

“Each November, SOAW organizes peaceful vigils and protests in Fort Benning, Ga., where the U.S. Army trains Latin American military officials and dictators responsible for the massacres of opposition groups, the creation of torture centers, and many other known crimes against humanity. Training at the SOA has continued despite public knowledge of graduates engaging in extrajudicial executions and repressing social movements in countries like Chile, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico.

“The lawyers from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund obtained the redacted documents from the FBI’s Field Office in Atlanta on behalf of SOA Watch. In the ten years of redacted documents, the FBI repeatedly admitted to SOAW’s ‘peaceful intentions.’ Regardless of this acknowledgement, the FBI continued to monitor for the potential of ‘more aggressive protest participants,’ ‘factions of a radical cell,’ and/or other pre-textual alarmist warnings to justify spying on protected First Amendment political activity.” You can read the FBI documents obtained by SOAW and a summary of them here. Also, see from Marcy Wheeler: “How to Make Peaceful Protestors of America’s Torture School Look Like Terrorists.”

The group added: “The uncovered documents show the bureau continued to deploy its Domestic Intelligence Terrorism Squad to monitor activity within the organization using confidential informants inside the movement to gather information. In addition, the FBI’s headquarters and counter-terrorism units were requested to provide the FBI’s Field Office in Atlanta with ‘all intelligence relevant to the SOA, so that this information can be provided to local/military law enforcement agencies.’ The vague, unspecified threat of future violence functioned as the annual excuse for the surveillance of peaceful dissent.”

Verheyden-Hilliard said today: “This unconscionable abuse by the FBI to use its counter-terrorism authority against peaceful political movements — from SOAW, to Occupy, to Black Lives Matter — makes it clear that the FBI cannot be its own watchdog, nor self-regulate. It is time for there to be legislatively enacted prohibitions on the FBI’s use of domestic terrorism authority against peaceful protest and First Amendment-protected free speech activities in the United States,”

SOAW added: “The FBI’s pattern of unwarranted surveillance, allusions to violence, and subsequent reports of peaceful activity continued for years. From 2000 through 2009, undercover agents and confidential informants consistently reported that SOAW-organized protests and vigils were ‘uneventful,’ ‘never expressed or exhibited a propensity for violence,’ and that ‘there has never been any significant incident of violence or widespread property damage.’ FOIA documents ultimately conclude that the demonstrations could comparatively be described as a ‘street festival.’ These documents once again reveal the true role of the FBI functioning as a political surveillance and intelligence operation that uses domestic terrorism authority against peaceful protesters and organizations.”

“SOAW activists from across the Americas are not intimidated, and will once again converge at Fort Benning, Georgia from November 20-22 to speak out against repressive U.S. policies, and to engage in nonviolent direct action (see”

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