Satellite Photos of Iran Doubted

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell cited satellite photos allegedly revealing WMD stockpiles, but the proof proved bogus. Now, similar claims are justifying a war with Iran, but the “evidence” again is speculative at best, Gareth Porter writes for the Inter Press Service.

By Gareth Porter

News stories about satellite photographs suggesting efforts by Iran to “sanitize” a military site that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said may have been used to test nuclear weapons have added yet another layer to widely held suspicion that Iran must indeed be hiding a covert nuclear weapons program.

But the story is suspect, in part because it is based on evidence that could only be ambiguous, at best. The claim does not reflect U.S. intelligence, and a prominent think tank that has published satellite photography related to past controversies surrounding Iran’s nuclear program has not found any photographs supporting it.

The original Parchin clean-up story by Associated Press correspondent George Jahn, published March 7, reported that two unnamed diplomats from an unidentified country or countries it was not made clear how many were involved told him that satellite photos “appear to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles” at the site.

The two diplomats said they suspected Iran “may be trying to erase evidence” of tests of a “neutron device used to set off a nuclear explosion” because “some of the vehicles at the scene appeared to be hauling trucks and other equipment suited to carting off potentially contaminated soil from the site.”

However, a third diplomat told Jahn he “could not confirm that,” and Jahn was shown no photographs to back up the description offered by his two anonymous sources. Three other diplomats with whom Jahn spoke were apparently unaware of such photographs.

The satellite photographs described to Jahn did not come from U.S. intelligence. Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Giraldi told IPS that a U.S. intelligence official had confirmed to him that the officials in question were not talking about intelligence provided by U.S. intelligence.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland refused to answer specific questions at a March 8 briefing about whether U.S. intelligence had such satellite photos or whether the U.S. believes that such intelligence exists. She referred to such intelligence only in the conditional tense.

“Any evidence that Iran is seeking to cover its tracks would raise only further concern about the true nature of the program,” she said.

That means that the officials were either from Israel or one of its three European allies the British, French and Germans who have been working closely with Israel to undermine and finally force a revision of the U.S. intelligence community’s 2007 conclusion that Iran has not worked on developing a nuclear weapon since 2003.

Israel provided a series of documents to the IAEA after that intelligence estimate – as recounted by former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in his 2011 memoir – aimed at proving that Iran had secretly tested a detonator for an implosion device and had worked on a neutron initiator as recently as 2007. The timing of the story – just after the possibility of an IAEA inspection visit to the site had been suggested by Iran – is also suspect.

The allegation of a clean-up at the site would provide a convenient explanation for the failure of the IAEA to find evidence to support the suggestion in its November 2011 report that Iran constructed a large containment vessel for hydrodynamic tests of nuclear weapons at Parchin.

Reflecting the degree to which the alleged intelligence has been given credence by being amplified without any questioning by the rest of the news media, an AFP report Saturday suggested that, even if Iran now agrees to an IAEA visit to the Parchin site, “it will find itself accused of having cleaned up the site beforehand.”

Further casting doubt on the motive behind the story, the same allegation was made to the same AP reporter more than three and a half months earlier. On Nov. 22, Jahn reported that a single official of an unidentified state had “cited intelligence from his home country, saying it appears that Tehran is trying cover its tracks by sanitizing the site and removing any evidence of nuclear research and development.”

That assertion came in the wake of the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in November, as the IAEA Safeguards Department was planning to request a visit to the site at Parchin, where the agency had just reported nuclear weapons-related testing had been carried out in a large explosive containment chamber, according to unnamed “Member States.”

The claim of satellite intelligence showing Iranian efforts to clean up a site at Parchin has not been supported by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), the Washington, D.C. think tank that had defended allegations in last November’s IAEA report about foreign expertise having assisted in the alleged construction of a containment vessel at Parchin in 2000.

Paul Brannan, a specialist on interpretation of satellite photography for ISIS, told the New York Times that he had looked at many photos of Parchin but so far had not found any photographs of the “specific site” – meaning the site at which the unnamed officials had claimed there were equipment and vehicles indicating possible removal of evidence of past tests.

But Brannan went even further to say he could not find any photographs of sites at Parchin that suggested clean-up. He told the Times the presence of various kinds of equipment in the vicinity is not an indication of removal of evidence by Iran.

“There is no way to know whether or not the activity you see in a particular satellite image is cleansing or just regular work.” Brannan added, “There’s a lot of activity there always.”

The new alarm over alleged satellite images recalls the accusation by the George W. Bush administration in close consultation with Israel in 2004 that Iran was using high explosives to test nuclear weapons at Parchin.

ISIS Executive Director David Albright told interviewer Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio in July 2009 that he had “gotten a tip” in September 2004 that high explosives testing at Parchin “could be used for nuclear weapons.” ISIS then published a series of satellite photographs that the organization said were “consistent” with facilities for such nuclear testing.

The satellite images were then cited by Undersecretary of State John Bolton as alarming evidence of covert Iranian nuclear weapons work. The United States and its Western allies put strong pressure on the IAEA to get Iran to agree to a visit to Parchin.

But Bolton and the IAEA had only vague suspicions rather than hard intelligence to go on. The IAEA asked to visit four entirely different areas of the 24-square-mile Parchin facility for places that Israeli intelligence believed were consistent with some kind of nuclear- related testing activity.

The Iranians insisted that the IAEA inspectors could only visit one area per visit, even though they were allowed to visit five different buildings of their own choosing each time. The result was embarrassing visits in January 2005 and again in November that found nothing to justify the suspicions.

Another IAEA mission to Parchin that concedes that the information it had been given by those unnamed member states was false would deal a serious blow to the efforts of Israel and its European allies to refute the 2007 U.S. intelligence estimate.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006. [This analysis was originally published by Inter Press Service.]




How Dangerous Is Iran?

Israeli threats of war on Iran are not aimed at eliminating a nuclear bomb or even the imminent building of one, but rather to destroy Iran’s “capability” to build one in the future because Iranians are deemed irrational. But filmmaker Sean Stone says that’s not the Iran he saw in a recent trip.

By Sean Stone

According to the doctrine of pre-emptive war, Iran can be attacked based on its alleged desire to develop nuclear weapons, just as Iraq was attacked in 2003. In fact, Congress is currently debating whether a nuclear capability alone (which Brazil, Japan, and other countries enjoy) could justify the ‘preventive’ attack.

I believe it is time to negate this doctrine by postulating that Iran in fact has a right, as a sovereign nation, to a nuclear capability.

Having traveled to Iran recently, I can attest to the Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey’s reference to Iran as a “rational” actor. The Iranians have no interest in destroying America, or Israel, at the expense of one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world, dating back about 2,600 years.

Iran is currently surrounded by over 40 U.S. military installations, not counting Israel’s still-unaccounted nuclear arsenal. To assert that Iran would jeopardize its culture for a one-shot nuclear attack is a complete miscalculation of the Iranian spirit; that spirit gave rise to a revolution in 1979 against what they perceived as Anglo-American imperialism in the form of the Shah, much as our own revolution opposed British imperialism.

I agree with General Dempsey that an attack on Iran would not only be imprudent, it would be “destabilizing,” and for more than just Iran. What is at stake is much larger than Iran’s right to become a nuclear power; and based on the attitude of the political figures I spoke with in Iran, they understand this very well — should Israel, with or without American support, attack Iran’s nuclear or military infrastructure, it would be considered an act of war that may prompt World War III.

What I believe is currently being played out is an “endgame” scenario, by failing West European and American economies, threatening to explode what has historically been referred to by British imperialists as the Heartland of Eurasia: stretching from the Horn of Africa (guarding the shipping lanes of the Gulf) to Afghanistan and Pakistan (in Russia and China’s underbelly).

The Russians know this “Great Game” well, having played it with the British since at least the Crimean War of the mid-19th Century. So when Russia says it cannot accept the ongoing destruction of the Syrian government, or an attack on Iran, it is based on the understanding that such destabilization of this “Heartland” could ignite war between Shia and Sunni Muslims across the region, even affecting the Muslim populations of southern Russia and western China.

Iran is currently accused by the West of being a rogue state involved in spreading amorphous terrorism abroad. In reality, Iran has seen the destruction of the sovereign states in Afghanistan and Iraq, on its borders; and now, the Obama Administration is calling for the downfall of Iran’s ally, President Assad’s secular Syrian regime.

That country is quickly going the way of Lebanon in the 1980s, which could reignite sectarian violence from Lebanon to Iraq, and beyond. The chaos ensuing the overthrow of Assad will not only serve to radicalize the religious factions, as the Iraq war did after the fall of the secular Ba’ath Party, but such a strategy seems to have been predicted; retired General Wesley Clark reported in his 2003 book that the imperialist ‘neo-con’ faction within the U.S. Defense Department had plans for regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon and Iran, dating back to before Sept. 11.

In such a meltdown of nation-states, Israel will not be safe from retaliation by Hezbollah and Hamas; unless of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to use such violence to attempt an extension of Israel’s borders toward the Euphrates, according to the right-wing “Greater Israel” doctrine which desires an Israeli state from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq.

It would then seem the logic of this current escalation to war with Iran really has nothing to do with protecting Israel; the escalation will more likely sacrifice the Israeli people for the sake of a game of empire.

It is no wonder that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called the Anglo-American policy in the Middle East a “cult of violence.” As Putin understands, if we do not respect national sovereignty, who are we left to cooperate with in order to stop the radical political groups we allege as our enemy?

In point of little irony, most radical Al-Qaeda elements are derived from Saudi-style Wahhabism, which gave rise to the Taliban regime. Considering that Iranian Shi’ism is long-opposed to this brand of Sunni Islam, would it not make more sense for America to cooperate with Iran against Al-Qaeda and related extremist groups?

In the process of such diplomatic engagement, is it not possible that we make peace with the Iranian regime through a commonality of purpose and an exchanging of ideas?

The Iranian people, like the American people, are reasonable, but proud; if they believe in a right to nuclear capabilities, it is because they feel they have the same national right as do the Israelis or Pakistanis, both of whom have already weaponized the region. And according to their Supreme Leader, Iran is not desirous of nuclear weapons, for he has said that even “the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”

If we are thus serious about the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has signed, I’d personally like to see a nuclear weapon-free zone across the Middle East, which would mean accounting for the Israeli arsenal.

But if we continue on the current trajectory of giving “unconditional support” to Israel and its illicit nuclear arsenal — and if we continue to support the overthrow of nations who have not declared war on us — are we not creating the conditions for Iran to eventually desire a nuclear weapon, to prevent the destruction of its national sovereignty?

If we can succeed in staving off an imperialistic war in the coming years, I foresee a future of cooperation between Iran, Israel and America, based on a common republican spirit and tradition.

But if Anglo-American imperialism chooses to continue to smash nations and disregard borders, that imperial spirit will only breed more terrorism, not less. If we create a world without sovereign states with authority of law to rule over their people, who will we have left to deal with?

Countries do not always get along, but failed states never do. And should we risk war over the excuse of Iran’s nuclear program, we will be looking at a region of radicalized groups of all denominations, with very little authority over them, and tremendous resentment at what they will perceive as foreign imperialists. Such a day would be much worse than seeing a nuclear Iran.

Sean Stone is an actor, filmmaker and co-founder of Film Funds. [This article originally appeared at HuffingtonPost and is reprinted with the author’s permission.]




Slovakia Defies the Kochs and Cato

Exclusive: For the past decade, the people of the small central European nation of Slovakia have suffered under a harsh and corrupt “privatization” scheme devised by the Koch Brothers’ Cato Institute. However, in weekend elections, they defied their oligarchs by voting for a left-of-center “populist” party, reports Mark Ames.

By Mark Ames

On Saturday, the tiny EU nation Slovakia held parliamentary elections, and the results surprised the “experts”: The center-left party Smer, derisively described as “populist” in the American media, won in a record landslide, the first time a single party will control the majority in parliament in Slovakia’s post-Communist history.

The “populist” Smer won on an unexpectedly large turnout of 60 percent –the so-called experts had been assuring readers there’d be a low turnout of 40 percent.

The high turnout reflects real suffering for the people of Slovakia that goes well beyond mere cynicism, they’re suffering from real, mass impoverishment, brought on by a decade of brutal free-market reforms, which hit the privatized pensions especially hard. That’s where we Americans come in, specifically the Cato Institute, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Although there’s been almost no coverage of Slovakia’s mass protest movement, the country has seen the largest demonstrations since the Velvet Revolution. The protests were sparked in part by the “Gorilla” scandal, leaked recordings of Slovakia’s free-market politicians negotiating their bribes with bankers from a top hedge fund, Penta, in exchange for Penta’s lucrative privatization deals.

But what’s sustained the protests, and what brought people out to vote in droves for the “populists,” is the mass impoverishment that’s worsened life for most of Slovakia’s citizens, and first to suffer have been Slovakia’s pensioners, who are forced to subsist on roughly $400 per month.

Here’s where the Cato Institute, the libertarian think-tank founded by the Koch brothers, comes in, and where Slovakia’s problems become our problems.

In the early 2000’s, the co-chairman of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Privatization, José Piñera, played a key role advising and overseeing Slovakia’s mass pension privatization, which passed in 2003 under the free-market government of Mikulas Dzurinda. Today, Slovakia’s retirees are groaning under the austerity pain administered to them by the Cato Institute.

José Piñera, who has led Cato’s Social Security Privatization Project since the 1990s, has a dark history of administering pain on a nationwide scale: Piñera served in the military junta under Chile’s Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet, first as Pinochet’s Minister for Labor, helping suppress unions in one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world; later, Piñera oversaw Pinochet’s radical privatization of Chile’s pension program.

Today, Chile suffers one of the worst wealth inequality problems in the developed world. And for the past two decades, José Piñera, working at the Cato Institute, has been trying to impose the same pension austerity on Americans.

It’s a match made in Hell: Cato and the Koch brothers have been pushing to dismantle Social Security since the Kochs up the Cato Institute in the late 1970s. Thanks to the Cato Institute’s tireless efforts, today dismantling Social Security is practically gospel in the Republican Party, and not far off the top of the “To Do” list for some “centrist” Democrats either.

Sacking Slovakia

Cato’s José Piñera was brought in to oversee Slovakia’s pension privatization only after the 2002 elections put in power the free-market rightwing Democratic and Christian Union Party, led by Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. The pensions were privatized in 2003, along with a free-market program that lowered the top tax rate to a flat 19 percent, eliminated inheritance taxes, and generally shifted the burden down the economic scale.

The reforms were wildly unpopular with Slovaks, to the same degree that they were popular with Western bankers and banking institutions like the World Bank, which named Slovakia the world’s top economic reformer in 2004, and one of the top 20 business-friendly nations in the world.

In 2005, Bush’s ambassador to Slovakia co-authored a glowing article with Cato’s Marian Tupy, praising Dzurinda’s pension privatization, and noting Cato’s José Piñera’s role in making Slovakia’s pension reforms happen. In their article, they ominously compared Slovakia’s pre-reform pension “crisis” to America’s “crisis” in Social Security.

The timing of the joint Cato-Bush praise for Slovakia’s pension privatization was interesting for a couple of reasons:

First, because the same free-market government that Cato advised and Cato-Bush praised has now been implicated in cutting secret kickback deals with leading hedge fund to sell off Slovakia’s state assets in exchange for millions in bribes; and secondly, that year, 2005, was the year President Bush made his big push to privatize America’s Social Security program, with the Cato Institute as both the lead adviser and promoter.

The Bush-Cato plan to privatize Social Security began over dinner in 1997, when Bush was still governor of Texas. Ed Crane, the president of Cato, and José Piñera, Cato’s co-chair of the Social Security Privatization Project, flew to Austin to sell the future president on their plan to privatize Social Security.

According to the Washington Post: “Crane said that after Piñera’s presentation, Bush declared, ‘This is the most important policy issue facing the United States today.’”

As soon as Bush was elected President, he set up a commission to privatize Social Security, and staffed it with the Cato Institute’s free-market zealots. Unfortunately for them, the 9/11 attacks distracted the Administration. But in 2005, Bush made Social Security privatization his top priority for his second term, and once again, he put the Cato Institute in charge.

By the end of 2005, however, Bush’s presidency was practically in tatters as the country turned against his wars, and Hurricane Katrina made privatizing Social Security politically impossible. The project to do to America what Cato did to Slovakia was essentially abandoned, and the Cato Institute turned critic of Bush’s war on terror policies.

A Family Project

Lately, Cato’s José Piñera has seen his younger brother, billionaire Sebastian Piñera, making international news as Chile’s most unpopular president since democracy replaced the free-market military junta of Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet in 1990.

Thanks to younger brother Sebastian’s free-market privatization of Chile’s education system, the country has erupted in nationwide protests and violence on a level not seen since, well, Generalissimo Pinochet overthrew Chile’s democratically elected government in 1973, and installed a brutal regime that crushed dissent and murdered and tortured thousands, handing the economy over to free-market fanatics including Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Sebastian’s brother, José Piñera.

Neither age, nor time, nor working at the American-based Cato Institute, dining with future presidents and convincing them to gut the population’s Social Security, has mellowed this former Pinochet sidekick’s distaste for democracy. As Piñera wrote in 2003,

“To hand over a blank check to inherently unstable majorities concerning virtually all the major economic, social, and political issues of a society is to institutionalize instability, open the way to more serious abuses, and condemn a country to underdevelopment. How is anyone to make rational decisions about work, savings, and investment if key variables, such as taxes, labor legislation, and regulations, can be altered by 50.01 percent of the citizens through a vote that, in countries with low levels of education, can almost never be said to show the characteristics of an ‘informed vote’?”

On Saturday, the Slovaks voted overwhelmingly to reject the damage and plunder that the Cato Institute’s advisers wreaked on that tiny country’s citizens. Naturally, to free-market zealots like the Piñeras, the Kochs, the Cato Institute and the rest of the oligarchy’s minions, this only proves their point about why democracy must be “limited.”

The people can’t be relied on to vote the way oligarchs want them to, they can’t be relied on to react with cynicism and defeatism to all the news of political and corporate corruption.

The hope among the elites in Slovakia and elsewhere was that the voters’ mass impoverishment and anger would lead to a withdrawal from politics, but the high voter turnout turned out to be perhaps the greatest victory for the people of Slovakia. The politicians are to be expected to sell out and disappoint, but the more engaged in their democracy the people are, the more power they’ll have to eventually change their politics for the better, and finally bring an end to the rotten politics of oligarchy and plunder that mark our age.

Mark Ames is editor of The eXiled Online and author of the book Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and co-author with Matt Taibbi of The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia




Seeking Justice for Wall St.’s Victims

International agencies and global movements target human rights violators from small or isolated countries, but the idea of holding accountable the powerful and well-connected who cause much greater human suffering is considered unthinkable, a paradigm that Danny Schechter challenges.

By Danny Schechter

For the most part, journalists report what they know and hope that someone pays attention. With so many media outlets, brands, bloggers and sloggers out there, it is rare for challenging ideas to touch a larger nerve or get visibility beyond fragmented followings.

The idea of winning global attention is a far-off dream unless you break the biggest exclusive or win the first interview with, say, Jesus on his return to Earth. (And that could be ignored if your name isn’t Oprah, etc.)

Yes, sometimes going viral is the way to go, as is the case of a new video exposing the head of the Lords Resistance Army, the Ugandan terror crazies. But even then, stories are always flashing one minute, gone the next, unless other media outlets pile on and raise a story’s profile as happened in the United States during Watergate and other issues, mostly sex scandals, since.

By and large, you labor on in the media wilderness hoping the time will come when someone outside your world recognizes your value and gives you a bigger platform, usually more than just one TV interview or quote.

That may — I stress may with a small m — be happening to me. A few weeks back, the International Institute for Peace, Justice & Human Rights, a human rights NGO in Geneva that lobbies the UN, invited me to present my views on the relationship between the global financial crisis and human rights.

This is an issue I have been working on since 2005 when I started making the film “In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts.” After it burst, I followed up with a focus on financial times with “Plunder the Crime of Our Time” and the companion book The Crime of Our Time.

For nearly two years, I tried to raise the visibility of my arguments until better-funded films came along and Occupy Wall Street burst on the scene. I certainly wish it was my doing, but by then, there was something in the air, and who knows, I might have helped see the clouds. I write about that in my new book Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street.

Now a new moment has arrived. I will be in Geneva next week making the case for the financial crisis as a crime against humanity, an international offense that the UN was set up to prevent and now even prosecutes, however sparingly, in the International Criminal Court. (Needless to say, there have barely any prosecutions of financial criminals in the U.S. The New York Times runs a page-one headline, “High-Level Trials Have Been Absent,” but the story is about corruption in Afghanistan, not on Wall Street.)

Here’s how the speech I have written begins:

Leave it to a Harvard Business School Professor, deeply schooled in the nuances of corporate practice, to raise one of the most profound analyses to come out of a devastating financial crisis that has become a seemingly permanent feature of global life. Back in 2009, Professor Shoshanna Zuboff, argued that “crimes against humanity” had been committed by Wall Street’s financial manipulators.

“By refusing to consider the consequences of their actions, those who created the financial crisis exemplify the banality of evil,” she wrote. Quoting on, she noted in the pages of Business Week:

“Each day’s economic news leaves me haunted by Hannah Arendt’s ruminations on Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann as she reported on his trial in Jerusalem for The New Yorker 45 years ago. Arendt pondered ‘the strange interdependence of thoughtlessness and evil’ and sought to capture it with her famous formulation ‘the banality of evil.’ Arendt found Eichmann neither ‘perverted nor sadistic,’ but ‘terribly and terrifyingly normal.’”

She even found a way of comparing the economic catastrophe that so many of us are living through to the Holocaust, although back stepped, no doubt in fear of provoking too strong a dismissive reaction from those who see that crime as uniquely horrific in history. She wrote:

“The economic crisis is not the Holocaust but, I would argue, it derives from a business model that routinely produced a similar kind of remoteness and thoughtlessness, compounded by a widespread abrogation of individual moral judgment.

“As we learn more about the behavior within our financial institutions, we see that just about everyone accepted a reckless system that rewards transactions but rejects responsibility for the consequences of those transactions. Bankers, brokers, and financial specialists were all willing participants in a self-centered business model that celebrates what’s good for organization insiders while dehumanizing and distancing everyone else, the outsiders.”

It is precisely this framework though, steeped in moral as well as economic lessons that we need to adopt to judge the vast human rights implications of the decisions and practices that led to the massive unemployment, homelessness, foreclosures, downward mobility and poverty that grips our world.

Is there the slightest chance of a remote possibility that a UN body, made up, as it is by politicians and nation states, would acknowledge the need for, much less the desirability of, prosecuting financial institutions and the governments that cover up for them, often in the name of protecting the social and economic rights of vulnerable people caught in the matrix of downward mobility?

At a time when the “right to protect” is so much in vogue, that is, when it involves bombing and drone attacks that actually cause additional harm to vulnerable civilians trapped in wars, can it be reframed as an affirmative duty for an international body to step in where national governments are unwilling to tread to stand up for the rights of millions facing poverty and joblessness because of the deregulation and decriminalization by legislators compromised by corruption and payoffs.

In what everyone agrees is a GLOBAL crisis, is there not a need for Global solutions that go beyond somewhat stronger national regulations and “reforms” that have proven illusionary. Even the overdue Tobin Tax on financial transactions is not international and inadequate.

–Where are the global rules outlawing risky derivatives and casino-like gambling with people’s lives in financial markets?

–Where are the safeguards against the offshore hoarding of corporate funds and great fortunes? Are these abuses not as serious as insider trading?

–Where is the exposure of the economic austerity programs launched with official knowledge about the pain they will cause to ordinary people who are not responsible for the economic meltdown? Can the UN protect them?

–Where is the outrage against programs and policies that deepen economic inequality, or violently repress peaceful protests by citizens working for economic justice?

–Hasn’t the UN been tracking the international abuses against non-violent Occupy Movements worldwide?

–Is all the police overreach, surveillance, spying and the use of provocateurs to promote violence, not worthy of UN attention and condemnation as it is taking place worldwide and across borders?

–Where is the global determination to investigate more deeply, name and shame the financial violators of human rights, indict the guilty and prosecute them in the name of global justice?

–Why all the silence in the face of this ongoing onslaught against democracy and economic prosperity.

–Aren’t social and economic rights as worthy of upholding as political ones?

Isn’t it time to get serious or forever hang our heads in shame?

I will report next on what happened in Geneva, if anything.

News Dissector Danny Schechter writes the Newsdissector.net blog. He has written widely and made films about financial crimes. He hosts a radio show on PRN.fm. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org