Sunday, 18 March 2012

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then its.....Ben Goldacre and the 'Media's MMR Hoax'

Ben Goldacre is a highly influential Science Journalist. He has a weekly column in the Guardian and his own website called He also has a book out called Bad Science. The thrust of this book is that Ben is going to explain to his readers what 'bad science' is. Judging from the merchandise on offer on his store, Ben thinks the MMR vaccine is safe, that Nutritionists are 'quacks', and it also looks like he's got his own slogan "i think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that". He also has a penchant for rubber ducks, they adorn his blog and have provided the inspiration for the title of my piece. 

It was recommended to me that I read his blog post titled the 'Media's MMR Hoax' (which is also features as a chapter in his book). The thrust of the post is that Goldacre will explain how it wasn't Wakefield et al that should be held responsible for the 'MMR hoax', instead it was the untrained and hysterical media. The implicit assumption Goldacre makes is that the MMR vaccine was, and is, safe.  While Goldacre is no doubt a talented writer, I was actually somewhat surprised at  much of his reasoning, logic but mostly the lack of information for the topic at hand.  I have offered a critique of this article below. I hope those that read it will have a rethink about the suitability of Dr Goldacre as an authority figure in the MMR-Autism debate.  If you are not familiar with Goldacre's original article you will find it here

There are two concurrent themes in Goldacre's piece, i) that vaccines are safe and the evidence clearly shows this, and ii) that an uneducated and unskilled media are to blame for influencing the public to think otherwise. The red font below is from Goldacre's original piece.

Goldacre begins with the vaccines are safe theme and and really starts the ball-of-misinformation rolling with...
“The MMR and autism scare, for example, is practically non-existent outside Britain.” 
Oh dear, if Ben Goldacre is this mis/un-informed, then already I'm already beginning to doubt his credibility to comment in this area. For example, CNN listed the Autism MMR vaccine controversy as one of the top stories of 2008. See what CNN have to say about this here. In fact Autism and vaccines have been very big news indeed outside of Britain, with the US Government conceding that multiple vaccinations were responsible for the later seizures of Hannah Poling. See the verbatim US Government concession here on the huffington post and and also this article also on the huffington post on the same topic. But the most glaring omission of all is that the Japanese government banned the MMR jab in 1993 due to serious side effects following vaccination. This lead to millions of dollars in compensation to victims families. Read more here and here.

Surely, Ben Goldacre has the resources available to him to check what’s happening outside the UK?. The fact that theses stories escaped him, or that he saw no relevance in them, does not fill me with confidence that he is sufficiently informed to offer a valid opinion on this area. Anywho, it's still early doors, perhaps this was an uncharacteristic slip up, lets see...

 On to the hepatitis B vaccine and France in the 1990s... 
“But throughout the 1990s France was in the grip of a scare that hepatitis B vaccine caused multiple sclerosis.”

What was that catchphrase again? Oh yeah...'I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that'...

Firstly, it looks like it was a little bit more than a  "scare", (with the associated implication that it was just a ‘state of mind’), at least according the the French courts that awarded compensation to sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS), which occurred following vaccination against hepatitis B.
"A French court has upheld a lower court ruling that found a link between GlaxoSmithKline's hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis (MS) and has ordered the company to pay two women who contracted MS after receiving the vaccine an as-yet undetermined amount of compensation."  Agence France Presse ( (05/03/01)
Courts in the US are also compensating Hep B vaccine victims see here and here
I wonder why this Harvard study, published in Neurology in 2004, failed to catch Dr Goldacre's eye? The authors concluded "These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS, and challenge the idea that the relation between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood." Oh well, you don't catch them all I guess.

Goldacre's commentary predates the Neurology study of October 2008 that showed exposure to the Hepatitis B vaccine in children was associated with a 50% increased risk for CNS inflammatory demyelination.So we can't blame him for missing this particular study. The study also showed that for children who got the GlaxoSmithKline's Engerix B vaccine, their risk was elevated by 74%. Among Autism Spectrum Disorder children with confirmed multiple sclerosis, the risk increased by 177% (read more here). I 'm sure Goldacre's website addendum is in the pipeline, if not I look forward to seeing the study discussed in the next edition of Bad Science.

And how about the thoughts of Dr Mark Girard, commissioned as a medical expert by French courts in the French criminal investigation into the introduction of universal Hepatitis B vaccination in France? This is what he had to say on the matter:
"Whilst the risk factors for babies have changed little, there is now impressive evidence that for a preventive measure, hepatitis B vaccine is remarkable for the frequency, variety and severity of complications from its use. The toxicity of this vaccine is so unusual that, even if crucial data are regrettably concealed or covered by Court order, scientific evidence is already far higher than normally needed to justify severe restrictive measures." see more
 More on Girard's work here

After the simplistic and nonchalant treatment of Hep B vaccines in France, Goldacre shifts his lens to the US... 
“In the US, the major vaccine fear has been around the use of a preservative called thiomersal, although somehow this hasn’t caught on here, even though that same preservative was used in Britain.”  

Thiomersal? That's a peculiar sounding substance, but it's only a preservative how bad can it be? Let's google it and see...hmm, ah well, I guess the question should be 'how bad is mercury?' A  quick browse on Wikipedia yields this piece of info...
"Mercury and its compounds have been used in medicine, although they are much less common today than they once were, now that the toxic effects of mercury and its compounds are more widely understood. The element mercury is an ingredient in dental amalgams. Thiomersal (called Thimerosal in the United States) is an organic compound used as a preservative in vaccines, though this use is in decline" see more
Click here for 45 studies that have found links between mercury and ASD, MS and various other neuorodegenerative disorders. Also check out the compilation of approximately 80+ studies on the toxicity of Thiomersal, again in peer reviewed scientific and medical journals.  Perhaps there is something to this whole thiomersal 'fear' thingy?

By this point, we can safely say Goldacre is uninformed, yet he does clearly possess the journalistic 'street smarts' to keep himself out of trouble. For example, he says the 'fear’ never really caught on in the UK; he could merely be saying that people in the US are more simply informed about vaccines? But the implication is clearly that there was nothing to fear in the first place. He cleverly doesn't commit and offers no opinion on whether he thinks thiomersal is safe or not.  He also veers well clear of discussing any actual evidence on the matter. It would seem that Goldacre doesn't want to talk himself into a position that he suspects is untenable. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that all of his readers are this shrewd, and some who read this piece will come away thinking thiomersal is safe.

With Hep B and thiomersal  out of the way it's now time for the whooping cough vaccine to get the Goldacre treatment...

“In the 1970s there was a widespread concern in the UK, driven again by a single doctor, that whooping-cough vaccine was causing neurological damage.”

Again, we see the same Goldacre slickness, he doesn't name the 'single Doctor'. He refuses to commit. Were the concerns justified? The implication is they weren't but Ben ain't gonna say that, it's left for the reader to fill in the blanks.  Is he criticizing this single doctor or praising him/her for generating this concern? It reads more like scorn than praise, but let's look a little deeper into this to see if he/she warrants praise or criticism.  This Guardian article, should offer a little more clarity on the matter. Here's an excerpt:
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has finally admitted that thousands of babies in this country were inoculated with a batch of toxic whooping cough vaccines in the 1970s.
Some experts believe that these Trivax vaccines - which had not passed critical company safety tests - may have caused permanent brain damage and even fatalities in young children. In 1992, the family of an Irish boy, Kenneth Best, who suffered brain damage from one of these toxic vaccines, was awarded £2.7 million in compensation by the Irish Supreme Court. Despite a long and fierce battle with the drug giant, the boy's family finally won this historic case after his mother Margaret made a startling find when sifting through tens of thousands of company documents. She discovered that the Trivax vaccine used on her son, from a batch numbered 3,741, had been released by the company despite it having failed to pass a critical safety test. Documents revealed that the 60,000 individual doses within this batch were known to be 14 times more potent than normal.
At the time the Irish judge accused GlaxoSmithKline - then known as Glaxo Wellcome - of negligence and attacked the company's poor quality control at its Kent laboratory. Immunology experts condemned Glaxo in court for what one US scientist described as an 'extraordinary event'. Last year an investigation by The Observer found evidence to suggest that vaccines from this faulty batch, which may have wrecked Kenneth Best's life, had also been used in Britain.
I know the media can get it wrong at times but surely we can trust the Guardian, right? Or would Goldarce have us believe that the reporting of the above documented facts was some sort of Guardian driven 'media hoax' also?  Goldacre goes on to say ...“because if the vaccine for hepatitis B, or MMR, is dangerous in one country, it should be equally dangerous everywhere”. And guess what, countries around the world are finding the same vaccines to be dangerous, funny that
...Last year Australia temporarily banned their seasonal flu vaccines after 23 children experienced convulsions and were hospitalized following their vaccination. The same year, Sweden found the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine increased the chance of children under 19 years old developing narcolepsy by 400%. If 400% wasn’t bad enough, Finland’s study found the same vaccine increased a child’s risk of developing narcolepsy by 900%! Thankfully those countries took action and banned the vaccine for children.  read more
In 1977, a Russian study found that adults exposed to ethylmercury, the form of mercury in thimerosal, suffered brain damage years later. Studies on thimerosal poisoning also describe tubular necrosis and nervous system injury, including obtundation, coma and death. As a result of these findings, Russia banned thimerosal from children's vaccines in 1980. Denmark, Austria, Japan, Great Britain and all the Scandinavian countries have also banned the preservative. read more
Goldacre continues...
“and if those concerns were genuinely grounded in the evidence, especially in an age of the rapid propagation of information, you would expect the concerns to be expressed by journalists everywhere.”

Er, but if they're all as uninformed as you are Ben then, probably not. Thankfully, thousands of scientists and journalists are documenting and reporting on the dangers of vaccines. The trick is to do the research.

Under the guise of discussing the media's initial 'low-key' treatment of Wakefield et als original studies, Goldacre tries to undermine important findings with some cleverly crafted pot shots...

“The study itself was fairly trivial, a “case series report” of 12 people – essentially a collection of 12 clinical anecdotes ….For things as common as MMR and autism, finding 12 people with both is entirely unspectacular.”

This is a little misleading, the initial points of interest were not MMR and Autism but that the children shared ASD as well as inflammation of the large intestine and swelling of the lymph glands in the intestinal lining. However, the study also revealed that parents of 9 of the children associated the onset of symptoms ASD with MMR vaccination. This finding was and is interesting and certainly warrants further investigation. Perhaps not 'spectacular' but definitely interesting. In all, Wakefield's case study served it's purpose well; it generated a new hypotheses that have been tested in subsequent research.  For example:
  • Horvath, Papadimitiou et al, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Gastrointestinal Abnormalities in Children With Autistic Disorder , Journal of Pediatrics, 1999 November, Vol 135 (5), pp559-563
  • Wakefield, Anthony et al, Enterocolitis in Children with Developmental Disorders , American Journal of Gastroenterology, Sept 2000, Vol 95, No. 9, pp2285-2295
  • Furlano, Anthony et al, Colonic CD8 and T-Cell Infiltration With Epithelial Damage in Children with Autism , Journal of Pediatrics, 2001; 138; No. 3, 366-372
  • Paper by Dr. Timothy Buie, Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, presented to the Oasis 2001 Conference for Autism, Portland, Oregon, November 2001  
  • Ashwood, Murch et al, Royal Free Hospital, London, Intestinal Lymphocyte Populations in Children with Regressive Autism: Evidence for Extensive Mucosal Immunopathology , Journal of Clinical Immunology, Vol 23 No. 6 Nov 2003 pp504-517
Goldacre increases the pace a little...
“In 2001 and 2002 the scare began to gain momentum. Wakefield published a review paper in an obscure journal, questioning the safety of the immunisation programme, although with no new evidence.” 

Maybe I'm missing something here, but should there be new evidence in a review paperAs most scientists will tell you, evidence doesn’t  have an expiry date, it accumulates. This is why review papers are so useful. Funnily enough, Goldacre is  in fact tacitly admitting there was indeed preexisting evidence. It's also not really clear what particular paper Goldacre is referring to here. He refers to the journal as 'obscure' but I'll leave it up to the reader to decide. Here is a link to Wakefield's publication record (up to circa '09). As you can see it is extensive and publications in 'obscure' journals are certainly the exception and not the rule.

“He published two papers on laboratory work using PCR (a technique used in genetic fingerprinting) which claimed to show measles virus in tissue samples from children with bowel problems and autism.” 

Here comes Ben's street skills again, notice how he describes how Wakefield's research ‘claimed’ to show…'.  Funny how these peer reviewed studies can only  muster a grubby ‘claim’. The implication is  that these studies amount to nothing more than just unfounded ‘claims’ rather than important scientific findings that merit serious consideration.We’ll later see that when it’s research that's more in line with the Goldacre stance, 'claim' mysteriously goes AWOL, leaving behind a glistening and definitive set of findings.  Some might argue that these are cheap linguistic parlour tricks, but let's not be too judgmental, there is a certain craftiness about them that is quite compelling. 

Goldacre now shifts gears and really starts to 'large up' the media's role in the' MMR hoax'. He's main argument here is that the media took a trivial piece of research (Wakefield's study), misinterpreted it, and using all manner of deceptive tactics, blew it out of all proportion, and scared the British public half to death in the process...

"The coverage rapidly began to deteriorate, in ways which now feel familiar and predictable. Emotive anecdotes from distressed parents were pitted against old men in corduroy with no media training. The Royal College of General Practitioners press office not only failed to speak clearly on the evidence, it also managed to dig up anti-MMR GPs for journalists who rang in asking for quotes. Newspapers and celebrities began to use the vaccine as an opportunity to attack the government and the health service, and of course it was the perfect story, with a charismatic maverick fighting against the system, a Galileo-like figure. There were elements of risk, of awful personal tragedy, and of course, the question of blame: whose fault was autism?"

Okay Goldacre senses that we've entered the 'championship rounds'  and now it's time to crank it up a notch or two. Linguistic tricks are ditched, instead it's time for some conceptual restructuring, Goldacre style. Under the guise of criticizing the media for portraying the MMR-Autism story unfairly, Goldacre cleverly tries to frame the argument as a battle between emotion and irrationality on one hand, and reason and objectivity on the other. Goldacre would have us believe that representing emotion and irrationality is Wakefield, his mob of angry parents and a handful anti-MMR GPs'. On the side of reason, are a lone group of sober scientists in their corduroys. They're re not in it for the 'hero-worship', Goldacre implies, they are in it to uphold science and protect the masses from their own irrational beliefs.

What Goldacre attempts here is to disguise the true reality of why parents, scientists and GPs alike question the safety of the MMR vaccine. The reality is that this story 'broke', spread and remains as important as ever, because of research published in scientific journals, by corduroy wearing scientists. The evidence indicating that vaccines are unsafe did not start and end with Wakefield et al It continues to this day and continues to be published in scientific journals. Meanwhile, it's actually the very media that Goldacre chastises, that are discrediting the evidence that vaccines are, in fact, far from safe. The fact that Goldacre earlier jokes of defending the 'heretic'(referring to Wakefield) is a tacit admission of how complete the media demonisation of Wakefield has been.  We only need take a look at the following list of studies to see that it is the world of science, rather than media, that is the biggest threat to Goldacre & Cos position, i.e. that the MMR vaccine is safe. 

Goldacre also talks about how the media ignored the research that supported the idea that the MMR vaccine was safe but then ‘squealed’ loudly when they found research that suggested otherwise.  I find this media bias that he talks about a little hard to swallow.  Google News has an interesting feature that allows you to search news from particular years. I tried a search for “MMR vaccine” and this is what I found for 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005-2007. Even better, you can try search google's newspaper archive, try different search terms e.g. "MMR Autism". From playing around with this for a little while the bias seems to have been against an Autism MMR link. This is by no means meant to be definitive, but it’s a starting point towards adding some degree of scientific methodology to the issue of media bias and the MMR vaccine. I'm not sure how Goldacre arrived at his 'media hoax' conclusions, perhaps he did a more thorough analysis? he doesn't really say, so I guess we don't really know.

Goldacre continues...

"And while most other politicians were happy to clarify whether their children had had the vaccine, you could see how people might believe the Blairs were the kind of family not to have their children immunised: essentially, they had surrounded themselves with health cranks. There was Cherie Blair’s closest friend and aide, Carole Caplin, a new age guru and “life coach”. Cherie was reported to visit Carole’s mum, Sylvia Caplin, a spiritual guru who was viciously anti-MMR (“for a tiny child, the MMR is a ridiculous thing to do. It has definitely caused autism,” she told the Mail). They were also prominently associated with a new age healer called Jack Temple, who offered crystal dowsing, homeopathy, neolithic-circle healing in his suburban back garden, and some special breastfeeding technique which he reckoned made vaccines unnecessary."

Ben's leaving nothing to chance, if his readers haven't been hoodwinked by his manufactured 'Reason versus Irrationality' dichotomy, then the false paradigm of  'anti-MMR quacks' versus 'pro-MMR rational scientists', should do the trick.  Those who opt not to have their children inoculated with the MMR are under the influence of ‘cranks’ and ‘quacks’. These are not rational people, they are misguided soles that don’t understand science and how it works, for if they did they would surely know that the MMR vaccine is safe.  This is all very clever stuff, but unfortunately, these underhand tactics do influence and shape peoples' views. 

Nevertheless, it is peer reviewed research and scientific rigor that remains the biggest threat to mass acceptance of MMR vaccination, not the media and not Tony and Cherie Blairs' ‘life coaches’ and ‘spiritual gurus’. By the by,  it's an often used trick in academia that if you want to try and discredit an opponent or a piece of work, that you try and find some way of associating it/them with homeopathy. Goldacre, rather crudely, manages to associate skepticism on the safeness of MMR with homeopathy, via the Blairs and their associates.  This is perhaps not Goldacre's most seamlessly crafted insinuation, but hey, he got there in the end.

Goldacre contiues...
“Journalists are used to listening with a critical ear to briefings from press officers, politicians, PR executives, salespeople, lobbyists, celebrities and gossip-mongers, and they generally display a healthy natural scepticism: but in the case of science, generalists don’t have the skills to critically appraise a piece of scientific evidence on its merits. At best, the evidence of these “experts” will only be examined in terms of who they are as people, or perhaps who they have worked for. In the case of MMR, this meant researchers were simply subjected to elaborate smear campaigns.”

Er, kettle pot black etc etc. A little rich considering how uninformed this piece has been.  If Goldacre does actually consider himself one of the experts that has ‘the skills to critically appraise a piece of scientific evidence on its merits’ then lets give him the benefit of the doubt and just say that he had a real 'off day' when he put this piece together.

“Any member of the public would have had very good reason to believe that MMR caused autism, because the media distorted the scientific evidence, reporting selectively on the evidence suggesting that MMR was risky, and repeatedly ignoring the evidence to the contrary.”

This certainly is not true today (and from searching media archives doesn't seem to hold up for back then either). Thanks to clever smear tactics, such as those employed by Goldacre in this article, anyone questioning the safety of MMR vaccines today is likely to be labelled a ‘quack’, ‘crank’ or ‘kook’, before they begin to defend their point or cite the relevant evidence. 

"In the case of the PCR data, the genetic fingerprinting information on whether vaccine-strain measles virus could be found in tissue samples of children with autism and bowel problems, this bias was, until a few months ago, quite simply absolute. You will remember from earlier that Wakefield co-authored two scientific papers – known as the “Kawashima paper” and the “O’Leary paper” – claiming to have found such evidence, and received blanket media coverage for them. But you may never even have heard of the papers showing these to be probable false positives."

By now we are familiar with Goldarce's linguistic tricks, he again describe Wakefield’s findings as ‘claims’ and then remarks that they are ‘probable false positives’.  This is very unbecoming for 'a man of science' like Goldacre. On what basis are these false positives? Was his methodology flawed? Did samples get mixed up? How does one find a vaccine strain measles virus in intestinal tissue, if in fact (as Goldacre insinuates), it wasn’t there?

Goldacre then describe two studes (D’Souza et al 2006 & Afzal et al 2006) that failed to find vaccine strain measles in the intestinal tissue of children with autism. Notice that he doesn't describe these findings as 'claims', funny that.  But at least we are discussing actual evidence, so kudos to Goldacre for that. So so surmise; Goldacre has presented his readers with two studies finding MMR stain measles in the intestinal lining of children with autism and bowel problems, and two that did not, yet the reader is 'guided' to think that a link between MMR and autism is absurd. Nice try Ben

He then turns his sights to Dr Arthur Krigsman…
“Dr Arthur Krigsman was claiming he had found genetic material from vaccine-strain measles virus in some gut samples from children with autism and bowel problems. If true, this would have bolstered Wakefield’s theory, which by 2006 was lying in tatters…. What was this frightening new data? These scare stories were based on a poster presentation, at a conference yet to occur, on research not yet completed…Two years after making these claims, the study remains unpublished.”

We've no good reason to doubt Krigman’s findings, but Goldarces makes us feel like we should doubt them anyway? He also cleverly tries to shape the reader to feeling that evidence for a link between MMR and autism 'hinged' on whether or not Krigsman could get this research into a journal. The reader is lead to believe that this Krigsman study is the only research out there that might just support a link between autism and MMR. Again this is total nonsense from Goldacre. Below is a small sample of research that supports a link between MMR and autism, again, these somehow escaped Goldarce.

Singh, Nelson, Jensen and Bradstreet, Abnormal Measles Serology and Autoimmunity in Autistic Children , Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 109 (1) S232, January 2002, and also presented to the 102nd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 2002
Bitnun et al, Measles Inclusion-Body Encephalitis Caused by the Vaccine Strain of Measles Virus , Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal, 1999, 29 855-61 (October)
Bradstreet, O'Leary, Sheils et al, Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Children with Regressive Autism by TaqMan RT-PCR: A Report of Three Cases , summarized at the Institute of Medicine, February 2004 and subsequently published as Bradstreet, Dahr et al, Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Children with Regressive Autism: A Report of Three Cases , Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol 9, No. 2 Summer 2004
Wakefield, Stott and Limb, Gastrointestinal Comorbidity, Autistic Regression and Measles-Containing Vaccines; Positive Re-challenge and Biological Gradient , Medical Veritas 3 (2006) 796-802

I hope by now we are aware and thus somewhat 'immune' to the deceptive tactics that Goldacre employs to manipulate his readers. Instead of debate the evidence he employs ad hominem tactics to undermine the credibility of authors that don’t take his view. He uses terms such as 'quack', 'crank' and 'kook' to scare the unwitting to accepting his story. The reality is that Goldacre's own work is weak and misleading, although cleverly crafted to avoid blatant falsehoods.  He creates false dichotomies, such as the 'scientific pro MMR camp' fighting a lone battle versus the axis of media, emotional parents and anti-MMR ‘quacks’.  We have seen that these dichotomies are patently false.  The reality is that good science supports a link between MMR and autism, and thus it is good science that is the real threat to Goldacre & Cos blindly pro MMR stance. Don't be swayed and bullied into accepting the Goldacre narrative, it's not all that clever or even all that scientific either.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Historical data suggests suggests there has been no benefical effect of vaccines

Check out & for more information
The folks &  childhealthsafety have done a great job at compiling this highly relevant information in one place.

They conclude

"The main advances in combating disease over 200 years have been better food and clean drinking water. Improved sanitation, less overcrowded and better living conditions also contribute. This is also borne out in published peer reviewed research:

The questionable contribution of medical measures to the decline of mortality in the United States in the twentieth century“. McKinlay JB, McKinlay SM, Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1977 Summer; 55(3): 405-28.

Symposium: Accomplishments in Child Nutrition during the 20th Century. Infant Mortality in the 20th Century, Dramatic but Uneven Progress” Myron E. Wegman School of Public Health, University of Michigan: J. Nutr. 131: 401S–408S, 2001."

 Some of the significant charts are pasted below

Friday, 9 March 2012

Dr Andrew Wakefield: his side of the story

Dr Andrew Wakefield sits somewhere between Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and that woman in the UK that threw a cat in a wheelie bin, as one of the most demonized personalities of the last 20 years. How many people though have dared to listen to his side of the story? Take the time, its' worth it

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Polio Vaccines - What they won't tell you on the BBC

I highly recommend this article, great work by Neil Z. Miller

- Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute

Friday, 2 March 2012

Empire's Double Edged Sword: Global Military + NGO...

[excellent article by Tony Cartalucci at]

Land Destroyer: Empire's Double Edged Sword: Global Military + NGO...: Tearing down sovereign nations & replacing them with global system administrators. by Tony Cartalucci

Part 1: Imperialism is Alive and Well

February 18, 2012 - The British Empire didn't just have a fleet that projected its hegemonic will across the planet, it possessed financial networks to consolidate global economic power, and system administrators to ensure the endless efficient flow of resources from distant lands back to London and into the pockets of England's monied elite. It was a well oiled machine, refined by centuries of experience.

While every schoolchild learns about the British Empire, it seems a common modern-day political malady for adults to believe that reality is organized as their history books were in school - in neat well defined chapters. This leads to the common misconception that the age of imperialism is somehow a closed-chapter in human history. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Imperialism did not go extinct. It simply evolved.

Imperialism is alive & well

There are several pertinent examples illustrating how imperialism is still alive and well, and only cleverly disguised with updated nomenclatures. What we know today as "free trade" actually derives its origins from economic concessions the British frequently extorted from nations under its "gunboat diplomacy" strategy - that is, anchoring gunboats off the coast of a foreign capital, and threatening bombardment and military conquest if certain demands were not met.

Colonial Southeast Asia circa 1850's. Thailand/Siam
was never colonized but made many concessions.

In the mid-1800's, Thailand, then the Kingdom of Siam, was surrounded on all sides by colonized nations and in turn was made to concede to the British 1855 Bowring Treaty. See how many of these "gunboat policy" imposed concessions sound like today's "economic liberalization:"

1. Siam granted extraterritoriality to British subjects.
2. British could trade freely in all seaports and reside permanently in Bangkok.
3. British could buy and rent property in Bangkok.
4. British subjects could travel freely in the interior with passes provided by the consul.
5. Import and export duties were capped at 3%, except the duty-free opium and bullion.
6. British merchants were to be allowed to buy and sell directly with individual Siamese.

A more contemporary example would be the outright military conquest of Iraq and Paul Bremer's (CFR) economic reformation of the broken state. The Economist enumerates the neo-colonial "economic liberalization" of Iraq in a piece titled "Let's all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist's dream:"

1. 100% ownership of Iraqi assets.
2. Full repatriation of profits.
3. Equal legal standing with local firms.
4. Foreign banks allowed to operate or buy into local banks.
5. Income and corporate taxes capped at 15%.
6. Universal tariffs slashed to 5%.

Nomenclatures aside, nothing has changed since 1855 as far as imperialist "wish-lists" go. The Economist argued, as would any 18-19th century imperialist, that Iraq needed foreign expertise to catch up, justifying the evisceration of their national sovereignty and the foreign stewardship (theft) of their resources. Unlike Siam, Iraq refused to concede to the "gunboats" of modern-day Wall Street & London, and often as the British did during the "glory days" of the empire, they made good on their threats.

Image: The Anglo-Zulu War. Causus belli - diamonds & imperial expansion.

And just as the British did when they found diamonds beneath Zululand during the late-1800's, spurring them to invent a causus belli to justify the destruction of the Zulu Kingdom, the schemers of modern-day global imperialism likewise invented a dubious pretext to invade Iraq before commencing its plundering.

Image: Anglo-Zulu War. Mission accomplished. The city of Ulandi burns and the British go about dividing Zululand into 14 chiefdoms led by compliant, obedient proxies. The British took great care to cultivate rivalries between the 14 chiefdoms to ensure they would never again unite and challenge British hegemonic ambitions throughout the region.

At the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, the British despoiled Zululand, divided it into 14 separate cheifdoms, each led by a proxy obedient to the British Empire. The British ensured that these 14 cheifdoms harbored animosities toward one another and fostered petty infighting between them to ensure British interests would never again be challenged by a unified Zulu threat. Today we see what seems to be the "accidental" consequences of military interventions leadeing to vicious, protracted fighting and in some cases civil wars, in Iraq, now in Libya (which also had a direct proxy installed as PM), Pakistan where plans exist to literally carve up the nation Zululand-style, and Syria. These are not accidental but intentional. Divide and conquer is a classic military stratagem that has not escaped the interests and attention of Wall Street & London.

Video: Dwight D. Eisenhower exit speech on January 17, 1961, warning us of the military industrial complex.

: Iraq For Sale. Remember that military industrial complex President Dwight Eisenhower warned America about? The ultimate bottom line with the Iraq War was that it should never have been fought in the first place.

If people can study history and see today's events are simply the relabeled repeating of what empire has been doing for centuries, the public as a whole will be less likely to go along with what is in reality an exploitative, murderous crime spree of global proportions - merely sold to us as justified intervention. One need only look at how Iraq has been despoiled and the profits that have been garnered by Fortune 500 corporations, while soldiers and Iraqis alike pay the price with their minds, bodies, blood, futile destinies, and lives.

Part II: British Imperial Administration (proto-NGOs)

A book of invaluable use in understanding British imperial administration is "Colonial Georgia: A Study in British Imperial Policy in the Eighteenth Century." Published by the University of Georgia Press and written by Trevor Reese, it successfully endeavored to illustrate "practically every facet of British colonial policy" using Georgia as a case study.

The colony of Georgia, in what is now the southern United States, was founded by what is essentially a proto-NGO - and in this case an organization dedicated to "prison reform." What it really did, was assess suitable prisoners in London who could be sent to Georgia to fulfill the needs of the Crown. Beginning as the "Associates of Dr. Bray" and later becoming the "Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America," or simply the Georgia Trustees, it encapsulates perfectly the use of noble-intentioned networkers to exploit human tragedy for the benefit of the elite.

Image: One face of the Georgia Trustee's seal. It featured the Latin motto, "Non Sibi Sed Aliis" which means, "Not for self, but for others." Truly a proto-NGO, a "system administrator." The significance of the mulberry leaf, the silkworm, and the cocoon? The silk that Britain's new colony of Georgia was going to export to London to enrich the empire. "For others" indeed.

While many may argue that prisoners in London were better off being shipped to Georgia, the underlying point is the dictation of one's destiny for the benefit of another, irregardless of whether or not such exploitation results in a thriving new life in Georgia, or death defending British expansion in the New World. The same cost/benefit analysis could also be made for slavery, but done so in spite of its essential immorality.

Protestantism for England was also a precursor to modern day NGOs. Religious denominations were divided directly along political lines in 18th century Europe, and when shiploads of Protestants were sent to Georgia, so followed the political networks they represented. Again, noble-intentions were, and to this day are, in the forefront of many devoted to these political functionaries, and much good has been done in their names, but ultimately the purpose of each empire's church was to establish a bottom-up network of people who believed they were fulfilling noble, higher intentions, when in reality they were simply serving the elite of their respective empires. Unfortunately, despite the noble intentions and great works of many of these people, when the time came for the Crown to use these networks for less than noble causes, organizational indoctrination was used to marshal men to it. And just like modern NGOs today, Protestant organizations interfaced with and supported directly the primary regional administrators, in Georgia's case, the Georgia Trustees.

In Reese's book, he even notes on page 21, "in sanctioning the Georgia project the British Government was not motivated by any such charitable intentions as inspired the Trustees. The Ministry was not much interested in the plight of insolvent and unemployed debtors, but it was concerned about the defense of the empire." Similarly today, NGOs have truly dedicated people "inspired" as the "Trustees" were, but ultimately they are carrying water for their sponsors, who almost always end up being George Soros, the OCED, the US State Department's National Endowment for Democracy, and other purveyors of global corporate-fascist imperialism.

The British Empire's interests in Georgia were economic, while the rouse used to fill and administer the colony was altruistic. Another key characteristic to imperialism is keeping subjects dependent. Reese offers on page 27, "the danger of these [private or charter provinces] lay in the scope they provided for the construction of independent authorities, and this was contradictory to the whole principle of colonization."

This, within the contest of mercantilism - essentially the exportation of raw materials from the colonies, which would be refined in Europe, and then imported back into the colonies as manufactured goods - meant servile dependency, both politically and economically - despite the fact that even then, many features of "democracy" could be found throughout the colonies. Today's concept of "free-trade" agreements ensure that resources, manufacturing, refinement, and consumption are equally interdependent on a global scale despite the fact that technology now exists to make any state or province, let alone nation, fully independent economically.

Image: Despite the good intentions, the religious causes, and loyalty to the crown, the ultimate destination of all these good intentions wrought was the "Board of Trade" which managed the unending flow of wealth out of Britain's colonies and into London.

Like NGOs of today, the administrative networks that made up the British Empire were in many cases entirely dependent on grants from London, as local contributions were almost never adequate. Reese notes on page 39, "constant need of money made the Trustees permanently dependent on Parliament, without whose support their colony could not be maintained." The British Empire maintained a careful balancing act to ensure that its networks received enough resources to fulfill their purpose, but never enough to become independent. Financial policy conformed to imperial standards and while local policy was set by local administrators, it interlocked with the Board of Trade back in London - just as local NGOs now interlock with international organizations in accordance to rule and norms defined by international institutions.

Reese quotes Vincent Harlow in his epilogue, who said of Georgia's eventual independence from Great Britain, "men's minds indeed conceive new thoughts and plan new projects, but out of ancient thinking and under potent influence of long-established characteristics."

Part III: Re-imagining Imperialism for the 21st Century

We have already seen some examples of how imperialism is very much alive and well. We also saw how imperialism was implemented by the British, but how exactly is it being implemented today? And why are people willingly going along with it?

Video: Thomas Barnett describes the building of an army of "system administrators" (aka civil society) to expand into "peace spaces" while US global military conquers "battle spaces." Soros' Revenue Watch along with the National Endowment for Democracy have created just such an army of NGOs. And just as soldiers witlessly promote imperialism believing they are fighting for "freedom," these NGOs expand Wall Street and London's global hegemony, believing they are promoting "human rights."

The term "system administrators" was used by US military strategist Thomas Barnett before a cackling audience at a 2008 TED Talk titled, "The Pentagon's New Map for War & Peace." At about 18 minutes into his talk he begins explaining a concept of reforming the military into two separate forces, the "US enabled Leviathan force" and the "system administrators."

One takes down the existing networks of targeted nations through air campaigns, special operations, or invasions, and consists of military assets including armor, fighters and bombers. The other consists of system administrators who then build upon the ashes left by the "Leviathan force" or the chaos sown by a foreign-backed destabilization. The system administrators consist of everything from NGOs, international organizations, and contractors, to civil affairs officers (psychological warfare), and when necessary, soldiers and Marines.

Barnett warns that if anyone attempts to interfere with the construction of the West's "system administrator" networks, the "Marines are going to come over and kill you." This perhaps like British garrisons did to tamp down dissatisfaction amongst their colonies.

Image: The Boston Massacre. Resistors to the "system administrators" beware, try to stop them and "the Marines are going to come over and kill you."

The talk was given in 2008, and already we see solid steps being taking to expand and utilize just such a force. Barnett said of the special operations "trigger pullers" that he wanted the rules to be "as loose as possible." Just recently, the Corbett Report and Media Monarchy reported the expanded role proposed for "elite" military forces. Admiral William McRaven of Special Operations Command was said to be seeking "more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed."

Video: Special Operations Command is looking for more "autonomy" in deploying where "intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed." This "loosening of rules" was part of building the double edged sword of neo-imperial conquest, the global army & system administrators.

Additionally, between 2008 and 2011 before the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the US State Department and its network of global facilitators embarked on a campaign to raise a literal army of NGOs and opposition groups to begin overthrowing governments and building the very global administration network Barnett presented at TED. It was just recently reported in, "Soros Big-Business Accountability Project Funded by Big-Business" that a similar army of NGOs is being mobilized to erect system administrators focused on managing the resources of targeted nations. Called Revenue Watch, and focused primarily on Africa and Southeast Asia it represents the "system administration" approach complimenting aggressive moves made by AFRICOM in Africa, and the declaration of America's "Pacific Century" in Asia.

It is quite clear that Barnett's proposal doesn't necessarily need the "US-enabled Leviathan force" to tear down targeted networks as seen in the US-funded Arab Spring. Fomenting unrest, up to and including armed insurrection falls short of overt military intervention and utilizes assets Barrent descibed in the Levithan force such as "trigger pulling" special operations, as well as civil affairs units, NGOs, and contractors from the system administration side.

In Libya for example, NGOs and civil affairs advisers began the unrest in February of 2011 while weapons were covertly moved in to arm fighters to overthrow the Qaddafi government. International organizations like the ICC were used to poison public opinion against the Libyan government using information supplied to them from NGOs, while NATO began preparing for a full scale air campaign. Once the bombing began, it was only a matter of incrementally increasing the torrent of special operations forces, arms, and other facilitators to fill in the void left by NATO's relentless air campaign. Thus the forces of Leviathan and the system administrators worked in tandem, one clearing a path through the old, the other building new networks to facilitate the installment of long-time US resident and Petroleum Institute chairman, Abdurrahim el-Keib, as PM.

In nations where military options like this are not an option and would be difficult if not impossible to ever justify, like Thailand for example, the full weight of Wall Street and London's support is thrown behind system administrators and suitable opposition movements that will make appropriate proxies if the targeted sovereign networks can be torn down.

In Thailand's case, that proxy is Thaksin Shinawatra, a former Carlyle Group adviser, and recipient of extensive US backing, including lobbying services from fellow Carlyle member James Baker and his firm Baker Botts, Bush's personal envoy to Iraq Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, and PNAC signatory Kenneth Adelman of Edelman. During Thaksin's term in office from 2001 until a coup ousted him in 2006, upon the eve of which he was literally reporting to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, he had committed Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq and allowed the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.

He now currently leads the forces of a "color revolution," the stand-ins for Barnett's occupation force, since such a Western force is untenable. This included his documented use of armed militants in 2010 during an attempted insurrection. They are billed the "red shirts" or United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and have met with Soros' Open Society-funded Human Rights Watch, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S.–ASEAN Business Council in an April 2011 Washington D.C. visit.

LinkImage: It is clear that NGOs and opposition movements many believe are spontaneous, indigenous, and independent are in fact part of a larger network for the sole purpose of imposing and maintaining global system administration. This is not a web of elaborate, vague associations. In each case there is direct path of funding leading back to Western foundations and the think-tanks that devise policy for them, all funded and chaired by the Fortune 500 of Wall Street and London. (click image to enlarge)

There are also circles of academia being produced to support efforts to undermine and overthrow Thailand's sovereign indigenous networks, most notably "Nitirat" or the "Enlightened Jurists" whose audiences consist almost entirely of Thaksin's red shirts, and even included Thaksin's US registered lobbyist, Robert Amsterdam sitting in the front row.

Finally there are the NGOs like propaganda outfit Prachatai, which receives 1oo's of thousands of dollars a year from the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros' Open Society, and USAID. NED also funds the Campaign Committee for Human Rights, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), and the Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants. In addition to sharing the same foreign sponsors, each cross-posts the other's work, each signs petitions on the others behalf and each perpetuate identical agendas. While their mission statements claim to promote "freedom," "democracy," and "human rights," one cannot help but wonder how they reconcile the backgrounds of their sponsors and the "international" organizations they interlock with, with the causes they allegedly promote, with the work they actually carry out.

Image: Clearly there are "strings attached" to NGO Prachatai's funding from the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House who regularly contributes posts, support, and award nominations to the Thai "independent journalists." It is also clear how these same interests are involved in the support of Thaksin Shinawatra, the imperial proxy of choice for Thailand. (click image to enlarge)

The National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiary Freedom House features boards of directors much resembling a revolving door, with current and former members of Congress, the US State Department, corporate lobbying firms, and corporate board members of some of the largest corporations on earth including Exxon, Boeing, Ford, and Goldman Sachs constantly shifting in and out of government, big-business, and NGO positions. They are, just as the British were, "not motivated by any such charitable intentions," as inspire the well-intentioned people drawn into the cause of NGOs like Prachatai they fund.

Their hope is to eventually diminish the power and influence of Thailand's own indigenous networks, by gradually building up the capacity of Wall Street & London's system administrators. Just like in the example of Georgia, ignorance and good intentions are used to swell the ranks of these networks, and just like in Georgia, they are kept purposefully dependent on the constant and substantial support provided by Wall Street & London, as local contributions are almost never enough. And while many of these people may believe they are committed to a "higher cause," they are simply soldiers of another kind within an imperial system perfected over centuries of trial and error.

The activists on the ground may be of genuine good-intentions but surely there are some who realize the conflict between their stated mission and the insincere intentions of those funding them from abroad. Just like the army, this system of NGOs perpetuates itself on the ignorance of the general population - of those drawn in by their good intentions to contribute to what they believe is a noble cause, and those throughout society who see these networks spreading across the planet with no idea of what their true purpose is.

Trevor Reese leaves us with one more relevant observation concerning the state of imperialism in the 18th century that still very much applies today:

"In the Eighteenth century, colonial affairs were subsidiary issues in English political life; Sir John Seeley's dictum that the British people founded an empire in a fit of absence of mind is true in the sense that imperial expansion seldom commanded public attention. Although there wer always a few critics in the country who expressed anti-imperialist sentiments and feared that the empire would ultimately escape from the control of the mother-country, they represented only a small minority. Generally, when people thought about the colonies, which was not often, they regard them with mild approval, and believe in the advantage of an empire even though they knew little about it."
In the same way, today many people remain in the dark about what Wall Street & London do overseas. While military interventions grab headlines and create a brief but confusing diversion for most, they are but mildly aware of the concept of NGOs, let alone how they work in tandem with the creeping war machine making its way from Tunisia to Thailand and everywhere in between.

While today's media is able to project images onto our perception of what an NGO is, with pictures of smiling Africans clutching bags of USAID rice, thriving wildlife, and sprouting, dew covered seedlings, in reality it is a centralized operation built to tear down the old world, and replace with a new one. One that does not answer to the people that inhabit it on anything but the most superficial of levels, but rather to the people that rule over it - the monied elite, as they always have, with the most vicious feeding their competitors ruthlessly into their maw and gladly expanding into the place left at the table.

Link Part IV: Empire's Weakness is Independence

Empires require subjects. Without subjects there is no empire. There is no fleet, there are no Marines, there are no imperial administrators. There are no laborers to gather and send resources back to be refined, no one to refine them in the factories and send them back, and surely no one to buy these manufactured goods when they arrive.

Empire requires subjects to be preferable ignorant, easily manipulated, indoctrinated in a manner that motivates them to carry out their necessary function within the empire reliably. They need subjects that believe in the empire and most importantly, they need subjects who are hopelessly dependent on it. It is no coincidence then that nations declared their "independence" from England in pursuit of their freedom.

Image: By boycotting the British system, the Founding Fathers were already free and independent men by the time they signed the Declaration of Independence. The coming war would be to defend that freedom.

Before the great battles of the American Revolution took place and the victory that followed, the Founding Fathers took it upon themselves to declare their independence not only by writ, but also by action. Our Founding Fathers ceased the import of British goods, they created their own monetary system, they assembled their own militias, and most importantly they formed their own government based upon their own values, not King George's self-interest.

This truly measurable independence turned out to be the key to their success, for independence is freedom, and freedom from tyranny is victory. The battle they fought was not one to free themselves, instead, it was fought to defend the freedom from the British system they had already achieved.

In "Naming Names: Your Real Government" a list of the most common, reoccuring corporate-financier interests and the think-tanks they use to create, promote, publish, and execute their policy was provide. The article concluded by stating:

"These organizations represent the collective interests of the largest corporations on earth. They not only retain armies of policy wonks and researchers to articulate their agenda and form a consensus internally, but also use their massive accumulation of unwarranted influence in media, industry, [across a global network of NGOs,] and finance to manufacture a self-serving consensus internationally.

To believe that this corporate-financier oligarchy would subject their agenda and fate to the whims of the voting masses is naive at best. They have painstakingly ensured that no matter who gets into office, in whatever country, the guns, the oil, the wealth and the power keep flowing perpetually into their own hands."

Video: Voting is not an option. Noam Chomsky in 1993 regarding NED: "It's about what you would expect from a bipartisan democracy campaign - it's an attempt to impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful, without interference by the mob but within the framework of formal electoral procedures."

This is confirmed in a talk given by Noam Chomsky in 1993, where he stated or the National Endowment for Democracy's work, "it's an attempt to impose what is called democracy, meaning rule by the rich and the powerful, without interference by the mob but within the framework of formal electoral procedures." Quite clearly it is, along with Open Society, and the vast network of system administrators being built up across the planet, working in witless tandem with NATO, building in the swath of destruction it leaves behind the homogeneous workings of a global corporate-financier-run empire.

If the world is indeed run by corporate-financier interests, and voting is not only futile but gives the population a false sense of security, what can we do instead to declare our independence from modern empire?

On a daily basis, across the planet, billions of people witlessly pay into this empire, buying their products, paying them their attention on diversions like TV, radio, and at the theater, and participating in systems, organizations, and causes that like the "Georgia Trustees" may have started out working for prison reform, ended up handing the empire another thriving colony to exploit. It is clear then that vast campaigning, elections, rallies, and protests are not necessary or even viable options in dismantling this system - rather our daily decisions to boycott their corporations, pull the plug on our TVs, switch off the radio, leave the theaters empty and refuse to recognize the legitimacy of corporate-backed institutions and organizations on both national and international levels.

Video: The Fab Lab. Turning consumers into producers with manufacturing technology, open source collaboration, and innovation. It also opens the doors for communities to work together and solve their own problems, rather than waiting for them to be solved by disingenuous elected representatives.

Instead, find local solutions, pursue self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and leverage technology to do for ourselves tomorrow what we depend on corporations to do for us today. We can start today, by simply "voting" local with our wallets, "voting" to read, watch, and listen to truly independent media instead of Hollywood - or better yet - creating our own content ourselves. The same could be said with the news. Stop humoring the professional liars on BBC who get caught in serial scams involving paid-for documentaries, biased reporting, and flat out lying to their audience. There is a thriving alternative media that already proves the merits of doing more, doing better, and doing it all ourselves.

As concluded in "The Real Revolution,"
"They need us, we don’t need them. That’s the big secret. We get our freedom back as soon as we take back our responsibilities for food, water, security, the monetary system, power, and manufacturing; that is independence. Independence is freedom, freedom is independence. We’ll never be free as long as we depend on the Fortune 500 for our survival.
Fixing these problems unfolding overseas starts with fixing the problems in our own backyards. Boycott the globalists, cut off their support, undermine their system, and they lose their ability to commit these atrocities. That will be a real revolution and it can start today. Not burning cities and masked rebels waving flags, but communities no longer dependent and fueling a corrupt system we all know must come to an end."

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Russia, China Confirm Boycott of NATO’s “Enemies of Syria” Conference in Tunisia; Goal is Bombing, Civil War, Failed State, Warlords on Libyan Model

Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
February 25, 2012

[download video] [download audio]

Top US officials have called for the urgent provision of weapons, intelligence and funds to the Syrian opposition for use against President Bashar al-Assad.

Press TV has interviewed Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and a historian, in New York who emphasizes that the violence and upheaval in Syria are not caused by indigenous rebellion and discusses reports that French and British forces are now training rebel Syrians. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Looking at the history of US and Syria relations beset with attempted coups etc., how should we look at the current crisis within Syria and the US role in pursuing regime change there?

Tarpley: I think it’s important that this representative that you mentioned has made this point in front of this conference, the so-called Friends of Syria, but we should remember that the entire destabilization of Syria is nothing but a foreign interference. That’s really 90 percent of all there has ever been.

This is not an indigenous rebellion. There is no uprising. There is no widespread political opposition willing to go all the way to fighting and killing.

Rather, these are death squads; they are deployed by NATO; they’ve been armed by NATO. We have reports of British and French officers commanding units of the rebel Syrian… Free Syrian Army; we’ve got reports of foreign fighters like the infamous Belhadj from Libya commanding groups of Libyans that have been deployed in this fight.

We’ve got reports of CIA Joint Special Operations Command; assets being committed to this; we’ve got reports of rebel units – the Free Syrian Army once again with uzi machine guns that they could only have gotten from the Israelis or indeed being armed with Milan anti-tank missiles, which are pretty much NATO state-of-the-art, so it is a foreign intervention.

The goal of this conference, this gaggle in Tunisia – they call it Friends of Syria – again, with friends like that you don’t need enemies. The Russian Foreign Ministry said we’d better call this the Enemies of Syria because what they want to bring is bombing, civil war followed by a failed state.

The point of this conference was not to increase the smuggling and shipment of weapons because that’s been going on pervasively, they wanted to gin up, and still want to gin up, because there are two more days of this conference, hysteria to launch an armed invasion. In other words, they’re trying to assemble a coalition of the willing, of the type we saw in Iraq and carry out an armed invasion with a bombing campaign and then a ground war if that proves to be necessary, at it will in this case, or it would.

So, that’s what they aimed for. Now I think their conference has turned out to be a fiasco; Russia didn’t come; China didn’t come; Lebanon didn’t come. They wanted 70 countries… as of yesterday they thought they’d get 70 countries, then it went down to 67 and I think the actual total is about 50.

And of those that came, Saudi Arabia then walked out saying that this conference was not good enough; it was not imperialist enough; it was not aggressive enough; there wasn’t enough effort behind the overthrow of the Assad government, which seems to be the obsession of the Saudi royals.

And then what actually went on was also… there was no… it was disappointing for the imperialists in the sense that there was no Syrian government representative. And they were not able to agree on the Syrian National Council because you’ve got all of these contending groups: you’ve got Gallion of the Syrian National Council; you’ve got Rahman of the Syrian Observatory; you’ve got Kadaam; you’ve got all these other groups – they can’t agree.

It’s a splintered, fragmented group and the main force within it would actually seem to be al-Qaeda as al-Zawahiri told us last week and as James Clapper (US National Intelligence Director) here in Washington has confirmed.

I think the first day would have to be scored an absolute fiasco and we had the Arab Street; we had hundreds and hundreds of normal Tunisians coming out against imperialism for Syria and many of them for Assad. The whole thing took place under conditions of siege. Hilary Clinton was forced to retreat to her hotel and cower in her boudoir. This is a pretty sad result for the first day.

Press TV: Let’s discuss another key player in the region, that being Israel. In the 90s, there was talk of peace between Syria and Israel yet now Israel too is of course promoting Assad’s fall. How important is that in this current crisis?

Tarpley: It simply shows, in case there was any doubt, that this is an imperialist operation from the word go. And we even have elements of the Syrian opposition, of this thin layer of political mercenaries that act as front men for what is overwhelmingly a death squad operation, some of these political spokespersons have said if NATO won’t help us and if the UN won’t help us… they’re calling on the Israelis to invade the country, overthrow Assad and then give them I don’t know what freedom. It shows the absolute degeneracy and depravity of these people calling themselves the Syrian opposition.

And once you say that, you want your country bombed, you want your country invaded and not even invaded by NATO, but invaded by the Israelis… this goes beyond all previous definitions of degradation and I think you can see that these are tiny groups that are fomented by organisms like the National Endowment for Democracy and similar groups here in Washington.

Press TV: For the other Arab regimes in the region should the way Syria has been treated by the West be a forewarning that their day, too, is coming soon as loyalty clearly doesn’t exist within the chambers of power in the US?

Tarpley: Absolutely. We have a rampage of the State Department and the CIA, which ultimately targets all independent countries; anybody who has any kind of independence, sovereignty or the ability to say no either to NATO or to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank or the World Trade Organization (WTO), those countries are targeted.

Now, for the moment the monarchies have been left alone, but I foresee a time somewhat down the road when that might change and certainly Russia, China and many, many others, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Algeria and all kinds of other countries, Venezuela have all seen that what’s being attempted here is to institutionalize a kind of a permanent destabilization of the world.

Trotsky had the permanent revolution. A lot of these Neo-Trosky-ites who run US foreign policy seem to want to have the permanent destabilization of all countries; it’s a permanent revolution against the modern state. And that will not spare anybody in the long run.