BREAKING: Personal message from Xi Jinping to Vladimir Putin: our friendship is unbreakable

April 27, 2017

by Alexander Mercouris for The Duran

BREAKING: Personal message from Xi Jinping to Vladimir Putin: our friendship is unbreakable

Chinese President Xi Jinping sends personal message of friendship to Russian President Putin on China’s behalf, scotching attempt by US to make trouble between them.

Russia’s President Putin has met in the Oval Hall of the Kremlin with Li Zhanshu, Director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China, and chief of staff of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The meeting was held directly after Li Zhanshu held talks with his Russian counterpart Anton Vaino, who is the head of the Russian President’s Executive Office and who is President Putin’s chief of staff.

I have previously explained who Li Zhanshu is, and why his visit is important, and the likely reason for his visit, which is the ongoing attempt by the Trump administration to cause trouble between China and Russia, and China’s and Russia’s concern to squelch any mistaken impressions which might be caused by that attempt.

That in turn explains the way the Chinese and the Russians – undoubtedly by pre-arrangement – used Li Zhanshu’s meeting with Putin to publicise a personal message from President Xi Jinping to Putin.  The Kremlin’s transcript of Li Zhanshu’s words reads as follows

Before my departure, I went especially to see President Xi Jinping and asked him what he wanted to pass on to you. He told me to say that today, Chinese-Russian relations are going through their best period ever in our history.

Today, our relations are deservedly called an example of relations between great powers, characterised by cooperation and mutual benefit. Today, our relations are very solid, mature, and are distinguished by strategic cooperation and a lasting nature.

He also said that despite the serious changes in the international situation, we will continue to work with you unfailingly adhering to three constants, namely: regardless of the circumstances, we will not change our policy of deepening and developing our strategic partnership and cooperation; our policy, based on joint development and prosperity, will not change; and our joint efforts to defend peace and justice and promote cooperation in the world will not change. These were the words of President Xi Jinping.

(bold italics added)

The “serious changes in the international situation” of course refers to the change of administration in Washington, and the new administration’s attempt to make trouble between China and Russia.  President Xi Jinping in his personal message to President Putin went out of his way to say that this attempt could not succeed, and that China’s strategic partnership with Russia “will not change”.

The message is of course primarily intended for the Trump administration.  The Chinese and the Russians scarcely need to reassure each other about the depth of their relationship, which they are of course far more informed about than anyone else.  However Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are anxious that there should be no illusions about it in Washington.  Alas, given the chaos in Washington, it is doubtful whether anyone there is paying attention.

The Questions Jonathan Ofir Prefers to Avoid

The Questions Jonathan Ofir Prefers to Avoid

April 27, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon:

In February 2016 a friend encouraged me to pay attention to a new Jewish dissident voice, Jonathan Ofir, an Israeli musician who didn’t agree with Zionism.  I watched Ofir’s statement , I detected a positive humanist inclination, I could see a glimpse of ethical thinking but I could also easily notice the usual duplicity but was hoping to be wrong. Since, at the time,  Ofir seemed to me a novice in the ‘anti Zionist business’ I let him enjoy the benefit of a doubt. I approached Ofir and asked to interview him. Ofir, initially reacted in a friendly and positive manner, he was happy to engage immediately in a phone interview but I actually insisted upon a written one, just to remove any possibility of me changing his words or taking them out of context. Ofir, once again agreed to a written exchange. However, this changed once he received the questions below. Within a short while I learned from him that he had to decline.  “This would be my first interview politically, and it’s not the focus I want to get into,” were Ofir’s exact words.

I never published this story. Ofir seemed to me an intelligent boy. I wanted to believe that time would make him into a truth teller, one who could point at the dark forces that fuel the Zionist project, organised Jewry and the controlled opposition.

I was obviously wrong. Ofir was quick to become a JVP merchant, a dedicated Jewish gatekeeper. I recently read a disgusting private exchange between Ofir and a peace activist where Ofir used the most abusive crypto Zionist tactics and argumentation (antisemitism, holocaust denial you name it.) I have since then witnessed Ofir disseminating the usual kosher progressive mantra. I am not impressed

I think that time is ripe for the rest of us to know what questions Jonathan Ofir would prefer to avoid. And if offir has a drop of integrity in his system he may want to answers these questions at least to himself. 

integrity-745x498.jpg

11 February 2016

Dear Ofir

I am in full support of your statement … however,,, some issues need elaboration andI would be very happy if you could address the following questions.

1. Your decision to present your moving appeal in English is a significant choice. Rather than talking to Israelis you talk about Israel. I went through a similar transition, rather than talking to Jews I made a decision to talk about Jews. 

What led to your decision?

2.  I am slightly confused by your attitude to Zionism:

a.      You seem to argue that Judaism and Zionism are distinct entities; is this really the case? Is there a clear dichotomy? Where does Judaism end and Zionism starts? After all, rabbinical Jews are atthe forefront of the racist crimes against Palestinians.

b.  I understand that some rabbinical communities are opposed to Israeli and Zionistcrimes, but they are certainly small in number and have limited influence, don’t you agree?

c.  Like you, I grew up in Israel. My experience was that Zionism was not a driving forcein our upbringing. It was an archaic idiom referring to some Diaspora figures that made it into streets names in Tel Aviv (Herzl, Pinsker, Zobotinsky etc.).  We joined the IDF because we were Jews not because we wereZionists. Do you really believe that Zionism,  that oldpromise to bring the Diaspora Jews to Zion, has once again become a driving force in Israel?

d. You say, “We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our saviour.” Were we really?  (by the way, I am not saying you are wrong, I am curious to know why you say what you say, I accept that Israeli society may have changed)

e. You say our soldiers died “primarily for Zionism?”  Maybe you want to define more clearly what Zionism is and what Zionism has meant for you. 

 f.   As you know, Israel is not a country it is a state, Palestine is the country. Soldiers die for ‘Medinat Israel’, the State of Israel. Some rabbinical Jews prefer to talk about Eretz Yisrael -the country of Israel. For them Eretz Yisrael is a holy Jewish continuum and they are willing to fight and die for it. Whether we like it or not, they are Judaically driven rather than Zionistically motivated. Is there a clear dichotomy between ‘the religion’ and ‘the political’ there?     

3. Do you really believe that the Jews or the Israelis can “stop it now”?

Have Jews ever stopped themselves voluntarily?

5.  “A state is not people” you say.  “A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance.” 

 Is Germany, France or Turkey just a paradigm of governance? Do we deny the existence of the Germans, French and Turks? Assuming that Palestine becomes a state, will we then deny the existence of the Palestinian people? Accordingly, what kind of people are the Jews, especially given that most of them are not physically connected to a land (the land of Israel) ? 

6. You rightly say “I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority.” Yet how could the Jews celebrate their Jewish collectivism while avoiding exclusivity or choseness?

7. You seem to defend Judaism in light of the tie between Judaism and Zionism and I am slightly confused:  are you an observant Jew? If not, why do you feel the need to defend Judaism?

8. Obviously, I agree with you that Israel and Zionism are engaged in horrendous crimes. 

But as far as I can tell, Jewish Bolsheviks were engaged in crimes of an even greater scale.  According to Yuri Slezkin, Jews were “Stalin’s willing executioners”. Neocons, a Jewish American political school have inflicted greater disasters than Israel or Zionism.

 Is it possible that Zionism is just one symptom of a disastrous Jewish political continuum?  

Can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence? 

Can you point at such a body in Jewish history?

Intel Vets Voice Doubt on Syrian Crisis

 

[ Ed. note – The article below, written by members of the organization Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, focuses mainly on the issue of faulty, or “politicized” intelligence assessments that may have been used to justify the April 6 US missile strike on a Syrian airbase. The writers are concerned that further escalations to the conflict may come about as a result of similarly fraudulent assessments. But in discussing the matter, they divulge a little-known tidbit of history–namely that the intelligence assessment leading up to the Iraq war in 2003 was overseen by a “veteran CIA intelligence analyst” by the name of Stuart Cohen.

While the signatories to the letter don’t say so, I am guessing, judging by the name “Cohen,” that the man they are referring to was/is Jewish. As they write:

The CIA vehemently denies that either Vice President Cheney or anyone at the White House put pressure on its analysts to alter their assessments. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the record of certainty – and arrogance – that existed in the mindset of senior intelligence managers and analysts only further erodes public confidence in the assessments produced by the CIA, especially when, as is the case with Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – the agency was found so lacking. Stuart Cohen, a veteran CIA intelligence analyst who served as the acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, oversaw the production of the 2002 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to make case for Iraq possessing WMD that was used to justify war.

According to Mr. Cohen, he had four National Intelligence Officers with “over 100 years’ collective work experience on weapons of mass destruction issues” backed up by hundreds of analysts with “thousands of man-years invested in studying these issues.”

On the basis of this commitment of talent alone, Mr. Cohen assessed that “no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal … and reached any conclusion or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached,” namely that – judged with high confidence – “Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council.”

As we now know, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. The war was fought under false pretexts. As Greg Bacon noted recently, “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish.” (The words are not Bacon’s but are quoted from Haaretz.) History now seems to be repeating itself. As the VIPS writers note, Israel now seems to be playing a major role in concocting the “politicized” intelligence assessments on the April 4 chemical weapons attack in Syria. ]

An Open Memorandum for the American People

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) and US Defense Secretary James Mattis, hold a news conference in Tel Aviv on April 21, 2017

From: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Subject: Mattis ‘No Doubt’ Stance on Alleged Syrian CW Smacks of Politicized Intelligence

Source

Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, during a recent trip to Israel, commented on the issue of Syria’s retention and use of chemical weapons in violation of its obligations to dispose of the totality of its declared chemical weapons capability in accordance with the provisions of both the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“There can be no doubt,” Secretary Mattis said during a April 21, 2017 joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, “in the international community’s mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all.” To the contrary, Mattis noted, “I can say authoritatively they have retained some.”

Lieberman joined Mattis in his assessment, noting that Israel had “100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against [Syrian] rebels.”

Both Mattis and Lieberman seemed to be channeling assessments offered to reporters two days prior, on April 19, 2017, by anonymous Israeli defense officials that the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian village of Khan Shaykhun was ordered by Syrian military commanders, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s personal knowledge, and that Syria retained a stock of “between one and three tons” of chemical weapons.

The Israeli intelligence followed on the heels of an April 13, 2017 speech given by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that, once information had come in about a chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the CIA had been able to “develop several hypothesis around that, and then to begin to develop fact patterns which either supported or suggested that the hypothesis wasn’t right.” The CIA, Pompeo said, was “in relatively short order able to deliver to [President Trump] a high-confidence assessment that, in fact, it was the Syrian regime that had launched chemical strikes against its own people in [Khan Shaykhun.]”

The speed in which this assessment was made is of some concern. Both Director Pompeo, during his CSIS remarks, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, during comments to the press on April 6, 2017, note that President Trump turned to the intelligence community early on in the crisis to understand better “the circumstances of the attack and who was responsible.” McMaster indicated that the U.S. Intelligence Community, working with allied partners, was able to determine with “a very high degree of confidence” where the attack originated.

Both McMaster and Pompeo spoke of the importance of open source imagery in confirming that a chemical attack had taken place, along with evidence collected from the victims themselves – presumably blood samples – that confirmed the type of agent that was used in the attack. This initial assessment drove the decision to use military force – McMaster goes on to discuss a series of National Security Council meetings where military options were discussed and decided upon; the discussion about the intelligence underpinning the decision to strike Syria was over.

The danger of this rush toward an intelligence decision by Director Pompeo and National Security Advisor McMaster is that once the President and his top national security advisors have endorsed an intelligence-based conclusion, and authorized military action based upon that conclusion, it becomes virtually impossible for that conclusion to change. Intelligence assessments from that point forward will embrace facts that sustain this conclusion, and reject those that don’t; it is the definition of politicized intelligence, even if those involved disagree.

A similar “no doubt” moment had occurred nearly 15 years ago when, in August 2002, Vice President Cheney delivered a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney declared. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” The message Cheney was sending to the Intelligence Community was clear: Saddam Hussein had WMD; there was no need to answer that question anymore.

The CIA vehemently denies that either Vice President Cheney or anyone at the White House put pressure on its analysts to alter their assessments. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the record of certainty – and arrogance – that existed in the mindset of senior intelligence managers and analysts only further erodes public confidence in the assessments produced by the CIA, especially when, as is the case with Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction – the agency was found so lacking. Stuart Cohen, a veteran CIA intelligence analyst who served as the acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, oversaw the production of the 2002 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was used to make case for Iraq possessing WMD that was used to justify war.

According to Mr. Cohen, he had four National Intelligence Officers with “over 100 years’ collective work experience on weapons of mass destruction issues” backed up by hundreds of analysts with “thousands of man-years invested in studying these issues.”

On the basis of this commitment of talent alone, Mr. Cohen assessed that “no reasonable person could have viewed the totality of the information that the Intelligence Community had at its disposal … and reached any conclusion or alternative views that were profoundly different from those that we reached,” namely that – judged with high confidence – “Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 kilometer limit imposed by the UN Security Council.”

Two facts emerge from this expression of intellectual hubris. First, the U.S. Intelligence Community was, in fact, wrong in its estimate on Iraq’s WMD capability, throwing into question the standards used to assign “high confidence” ratings to official assessments. Second, the “reasonable person” standard cited by Cohen must be reassessed, perhaps based upon a benchmark derived from a history of analytical accuracy rather than time spent behind a desk.

The major lesson learned here, however, is that the U.S. Intelligence Community, and in particular the CIA, more often than not hides behind self-generated platitudes (“high confidence”, “reasonable person”) to disguise a process of intelligence analysis that has long ago been subordinated to domestic politics.

It is important to point out the fact that Israel, too, was wrong about Iraq’s WMD. According to Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli Intelligence Officer, Israeli intelligence seriously overplayed the threat posed by Iraqi WMD in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War, including a 2002 briefing to NATO provided by Efraim Halevy, who at the time headed the Israeli Mossad, or intelligence service, that Israel had “clear indications” that Iraq had reconstituted its WMD programs after U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998.

The Israeli intelligence assessments on Iraq, Mr. Brom concluded, were most likely colored by political considerations, such as the desire for regime change in Iraq. In this light, neither the presence of Avigdor Leiberman, nor the anonymous background briefings provided by Israel about Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, should be used to provide any credence to Secretary Mattis’s embrace of the “no doubt” standard when it comes to Syria’s alleged possession of chemical weapons.

The intelligence data that has been used to back up the allegations of Syrian chemical weapons use has been far from conclusive. Allusions to intercepted Syrian communications have been offered as “proof”, but the Iraq experience – in particular former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s unfortunate experience before the U.N. Security Council – show how easily such intelligence can be misunderstood and misused.

Inconsistencies in the publicly available imagery which the White House (and CIA) have so heavily relied upon have raised legitimate questions about the veracity of any conclusions drawn from these sources (and begs the question as to where the CIA’s own Open Source Intelligence Center was in this episode.) The blood samples used to back up claims of the presence of nerve agent among the victims was collected void of any verifiable chain of custody, making their sourcing impossible to verify, and as such invalidates any conclusions based upon their analysis.

In the end, the conclusions CIA Director Pompeo provided to the President was driven by a fundamental rethinking of the CIA’s analysts when it came to Syria and chemical weapons that took place in 2014. Initial CIA assessments in the aftermath of the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons seemed to support the Syrian government’s stance that it had declared the totality of its holding of chemical weapons, and had turned everything over to the OPCW for disposal. However, in 2014, OPCW inspectors had detected traces of Sarin and VX nerve agent precursors at sites where the Syrians had indicated no chemical weapons activity had taken place; other samples showed the presence of weaponized Sarin nerve agent.

The Syrian explanation that the samples detected were caused by cross-contamination brought on by the emergency evacuation of chemical precursors and equipment used to handle chemical weapons necessitated by the ongoing Civil War was not accepted by the inspectors, and this doubt made its way into the minds of the CIA analysts, who closely followed the work of the OPCW inspectors in Syria.

One would think that the CIA would operate using the adage of “once bitten, twice shy” when assessing inspector-driven doubt; U.N. inspectors in Iraq, driven by a combination of the positive sampling combined with unverifiable Iraqi explanations, created an atmosphere of doubt about the veracity of Iraqi declarations that all chemical weapons had been destroyed. The CIA embraced the U.N. inspectors’ conclusions, and discounted the Iraqi version of events; as it turned out, Iraq was telling the truth.

While the jury is still out about whether or not Syria is, like Iraq, telling the truth, or whether the suspicions of inspectors are well founded, one thing is clear: a reasonable person would do well to withhold final judgment until all the facts are in. (Note: The U.S. proclivity for endorsing the findings of U.N. inspectors appears not to include the Khan Shaykhun attack; while both Syria and Russia have asked the OPCW to conduct a thorough investigation of the April 4, 2017 incident, the OPCW has been blocked from doing so by the United States and its allies.)

CIA Director Pompeo’s job is not to make policy – the intelligence his agency provides simply informs policy. It is not known if the U.S. Intelligence Community will be producing a formal National Intelligence Estimate addressing the Syrian chemical weapons issue, although the fact that the United States has undertaken military action under the premise that these weapons exist more than underscores the need for such a document, especially in light of repeated threats made by the Trump administration that follow-on strikes might be necessary.

Making policy is, however, the job of Secretary of Defense Mattis. At the end of the day, Secretary of Defense Mattis will need to make his own mind up as to the veracity of any intelligence used to justify military action. Mattis’s new job requires that he does more than simply advise the President on military options; he needs to ensure that the employment of these options is justified by the facts.

In the case of Syria, the “no doubt” standard Mattis has employed does not meet the “reasonable man” standard. Given the consequences that are attached to his every word, Secretary Mattis would be well advised not to commit to a “no doubt” standard until there is, literally, no doubt.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

Brady Kiesling, former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, ret. (Associate VIPS)

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator (GG-12) HQ, Department of the Army

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel (USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

Syria: a video-investigaton

April 26, 2017

Syria: The most important interview everyone needs to see… and understand the implications…

Shambolic Doings in Washington: ‘The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted’

 photo cbc_zpsr2hgteca.jpg

FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence.

By Philip Giraldi

There remains one good thing to say about Donald Trump: he is not Hillary. The boneheaded cruise missile attack in Syria would have occurred even earlier under President Rodham Clinton and there would undoubtedly be no-fly and safe zones already in place. Oh, and Ukraine and Georgia would be negotiating their entries into NATO to make sure that old Vlad Putin would be put on notice and understand that the days of namby-pamby jaw-jaw-jaw that characterized the Obama Administration are now ancient history.

Apart from that, I can only observe dumbstruck how yet again a candidate promising peace and dialogue could be flipped so quickly. Or maybe he never believed in anything he said, which is perhaps more to the point. Be that as it may, we now, after only ninety days in office, have a neo-neocon foreign policy and the folks clustered around their water coolers in the Washington think tanks are again smiling. And as the ruinous Syrian civil war continues thanks to American intervention, there are probably plenty of high fives within Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu government. Bibi again rules the roost.

The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted to hear Donald Trump’s latest factually exempt voyage into the outer reaches of the galaxy regarding Iran. Or perhaps The Donald is only having continuing digestive problems dealing with “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when dining with mortified Chinese leader Xi Jinping while simultaneously launching cruise missiles intended to send a message to Beijing’s ally Russia. It is inevitably Iran’s turn for vilification, so Trump, while conceding that the Iranians have been compliant with the nuclear weapons agreement they signed, also felt compelled to add that they continue to be a threat and have not entered into the “spirit” of the pact. Apparently the spirit codicil was somehow left out of the final draft, an interpretation that will no doubt surprise the other signatories consisting of Russia, China and the European Union.

To make its point that Tehran is somehow a cheater, the White House has ordered a 90 day review of Iran policy which will empower hardliners in that country in upcoming elections as well as nut cases like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on this side of the Atlantic. Iranian opposition groups like the terrorist Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) are already rising to the challenge by floating phony intelligence while Graham is currently advocating a preemptive attack on North Korea, conceding that it would be catastrophic for every country in the region while noting smugly that the carnage and destruction would not reach the United States. Too bad that Pyongyang’s fury cannot be directed straight to Graham’s house in South Carolina.

Graham is reportedly a good dancer and multitasker who can pivot back to Iran effortlessly as soon as Pyongyang is reduced to rubble, so those who want to deal with Iran sooner rather than later should not despair. As things continue to go south nearly everywhere, tension in the Middle East will no doubt lead to a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Persian Gulf that will require yet another ham-handed show of strength by the United States of Amnesia. There will be a war against Iran.

There have been a couple of other interesting stories circulating recently, all demonstrating that when Benjamin Franklin observed that we Americans had created a republic, “if we can keep it,” he was being particularly prescient. Robert Parry has observed that all the fuss about Russiagate is misleading as the only country that interferes with the political process in the U.S. persistently and successfully while also doing terrible damage to our national security is Israel. He wonders when we will have Congress convening investigative commissions to look into Israel-gate but then answers his own question by observing that it will never happen given who controls what in the United States. “No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate,” he concludes, but it is interesting and also encouraging to note that some Americans are actually starting to figure things out.

Continued here

Syrian War Report – April 26, 2017: Syrian Army Makes Important Gains In Homs Province

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

On April 26, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate Gen. Sergei Rudskoi announced that Russia had withdrawn half of its warplanes from the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria. Rudskoi said that the number of Russian aircraft in Hmeymim between November 10th, 2016 and January 10th, 2017 did not exceed 35 fighters; 80 UAVs. He added that the withdrawal of some warplanes comes after a decrease in the number of terrorists in Syria.

Pro-government forces, led by the Syrian Army’s 5th Assault Corps, recaptured the key ash-Shair gas filed and the ash-Shair gas plant from ISIS in the province of Homs. Earlier this week, government forces had captured a number of small hills near the ash-Shair field. Therefore, ISIS terrorists were pushed to withdraw from the area without stiff resistance.

The advance on ash-Shair is a part of the broader effort aimed at securing the countryside of Huwaysis and the nearby gas fields. If the Syrian army succeedes in this area, it will be able to secure the road between Salamiyeh and the T4 Airbase as well as gain control over gas fields located along the road.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), one of the largest groups in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), suspended its military operations with the US-led coalition in Syria, according to unconfirmed reports from some pro-Kurdish sources.

During the past two days, Turkish warplanes and artillery have bombed several YPG targets in northern Syria. Kurdish parties and groups in both Syria and Iraq have called the US-led coalition to establish a No-Fly zone against Turkish aircraft in northern Syria.

So far, the SDF has been continuing its operations against ISIS in the Raqqah countryside. However, it has not released any statement denying the YPG suspension of its anti-ISIS operations in Syria. Even if reports are not true, the Turkish actions have already delayed the SDF operation against ISIS.

The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed that the airstrikes will continue in both Iraq and Syria against what they described as “terrorist groups.” Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that Washington, Russia, and the Iraqi government were aware of the airstrikes and that Turkey would not allow the Sinjar Mount or northern Syria to be turned into a safe haven for PKK militants.

Zionist Forces Assault Hunger-striking Palestinian Prisoners on 11th Day of Strike

April 27, 2017

Prisoners behind bars

As some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners entered the 11th day of the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike, Israeli ‘Prison Service’ (IPS) forces on Thursday attacked two hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners being held in southern Israeli Ashkelon prison, according to the Media Committee for Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike — a joint committee formed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.

A lawyer from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Kareem Ajwah, said in a statement that that the two prisoners, Nasser Abu Hmeid and Saed Musallam, who is ill, were attacked by ‘IPS’ forces when they refused to stand for a search after the forces stormed into the prisoners’ room.

While Abu Hmeid and Musallam were directly attacked, three other prisoners in the room were injured on the face and head, and were moved to the prison’s clinic for treatment.

Separately, quoting Abu Hmeid, Ajwah reported that ‘IPS’ administration has been “conducting internal trials” for hunger-striking prisoners, imposing a series of punitive measures and fines of up to 500 “shekels” (The Zionist currency) for anyone participating in the strike, in addition to moving prisoners to solitary confinement for up to 10 days at a time.

“The condition of striking detainees are very difficult, due to the continued daily raids and storms of the prisons’ administration in an attempt to exhaust and humiliate the prisoners”, Abu Hmeid said, adding that ‘IPS’ has taken away salt — which in addition to water, is the only nutrition consumed by Palestinian hunger strikers — from all striking prisoners “as a means of pressure to end the strike.”

Abu Hmeid told the committee that striking prisoners have been boycotting medical examinations, highlighting that two prisoners identified as Nazih Uthman, who has heart disease, and Ibrahim Abu-mustafa , who has kidney and liver disease, were both moved by force to the prison’s field hospital.

Source: Ma’an News Agency

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France caught up in terrorism, victim of her own NATO allies

by Thierry Meyssan

France has just become the victim of a new terrorist attack, three days before the first round of her Presidential election. For Thierry Meyssan, Paris needs to stop talking rubbish and realise the importance of what this means. International terrorism, in which France herself participates, is commanded and used – even against her – by certain of her NATO allies.

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Attack on the Champs-Elysees, 20 April 2017.

At the beginning of 2017, we were informed that jihadists were preparing actions which were intended to force France and Germany to postpone their elections. It was not easy to discern:

- whether the aim was to postpone the French Presidential election (April-May), or the French parliamentary elections (June), or both;
- whether France was a target in itself, or if the actions in France were a preparation for future actions against Germany.

Among the candidates for the Presidential election, only François Fillon and Marine Le Pen have criticised the support offered by France to the Muslim Brotherhood. Fillon has even made it one of the recurring themes of his campaign.

Speech at Chassieu (Lyon), 22 November 2016.

We alerted our readers that the Press campaigns and the legal affairs launched against Donald Trump in the United States, and against François Fillon in France, were commanded by the same groups. We wrote that according to Messrs. Trump & Fillon,

« … it will not be possible to restore peace and prosperity without first putting an end to the instrumentalisation of Islamic terrorism, without freeing the Muslim world from the ascendancy of the jihadists, and without attacking the true source of terrorism: the Muslim Brotherhood. » [1]

At that time, the French, believing wrongly that the Muslim Brotherhood was just a movement within the Muslim religion, did not react. Later, I published a book , Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump, whose second part describes in detail, and for the first time, how this secret organisation, created and controlled by MI6, is run by the British secret services. It is this Brotherhood which, since the Second World War, has been attempting to transform Sunni Islam into a political instrument. All the leaders of jihadist groups without exception came from the Brotherhood – from Oussama Ben Laden to Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On 26 February, without explanation, François Fillon published a communiqué which was widely criticised:

« We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation: less than two months from the Presidential election, we are in a state of quasi civil war which is disturbing the normal course of the campaign (…) I say again that we are in a state of emergency, and yet the government does nothing (…) Today, in my rôle as ex-Prime Minister, as an elected member of the Nation, I solemnly accuse the Prime Minister and the government of failing to guarantee the conditions for a serene exercise of democracy. They have a very heavy respnsibility in allowing a state of almost civil war to develop, and which can only profit the extremes (…) Whoever the candidates are, they must have the right to express themselves, and the government must take the necessary measures so that the rioters and the enemies of democracy cease disrupting the Presidential campaign » [2].

On 17 April, the Police Nationale informed the four main candidates that there were threats to their security, and reinforced their protection.

On 18 April, M. (29 years old) and Clement B. (23 years old) were arrested while they were preparing an attack during a meeting in support of François Fillon.

On 20 April, a policeman was killed and two others seriously wounded during an attack on the Champs-Elysées.

François Fillon and Marine Le Pen cancelled the journeys they had planned for the 21 April. Following the movement, and althought here was no real threat to him at all, Emmanuel Macron did the same.

The responsibility of the next President of the French Republic

The security of the French people will be a central issue for the next five-year Presidential term. This question is all the more complex in that the recent terrorist attacks perpetrated on French soil have implicated three of France’s NATO allies – the US deep state, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

I have widely covered the question of the attacks in Paris (13 November 2015) and Brussels (22 March 2016). [3]. In my latest book, I indicate that while the responsibility for these attacks was claimed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Press, they were carried out by « independent commandos, with the exception of a common operator, Mohammed Abrini of MI6 » (p. 231) [4].

For years, the successive governments of Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé, and also the government of François Hollande and Laurent Fabius, have hidden their criminal activities from the French people, and the consequences for which they are responsible – terrorism intra muros.

It is absurd to believe that al-Qaïda and Daesh could be in possession of so much money and weaponry without the support of major states. It is absurd to believe that France could have participated in the remodelling operations in the « Greater Middle East » without suffering the counter-attacks. It is absurd to believe that it will be easy to fight international terrorism when it is commanded by our own NATO allies.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

 

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 27.04.2017

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

More than two dozen ex-U.S. intelligence officials urge President Trump to rethink his claims blaming the Syrian government for the chemical deaths in Idlib and to pull back from his dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*

SUBJECT: Syria: Was It Really “A Chemical Weapons Attack”?

1 – We write to give you an unambiguous warning of the threat of armed hostilities with Russia – with the risk of escalation to nuclear war. The threat has grown after the cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for what you claimed was a “chemical weapons attack” on April 4 on Syrian civilians in southern Idlib Province.

President Trump at a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on April 5, 2017, at which the President commented on crisis in Syria. (Screen shot from whitehouse.gov)

2 – Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.

3 – This is what the Russians and Syrians have been saying and – more important –what they appear to believe happened.

4 – Do we conclude that the White House has been giving our generals dictation; that they are mouthing what they have been told to say?

5 – After Putin persuaded Assad in 2013 to give up his chemical weapons, the U.S. Army destroyed 600 metric tons of Syria’s CW stockpile in just six weeks. The mandate of the U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW-UN) was to ensure that all were destroyed – like the mandate for the U.N. inspectors for Iraq regarding WMD. The U.N. inspectors’ findings on WMD were the truth. Rumsfeld and his generals lied and this seems to be happening again. The stakes are even higher now; the importance of a relationship of trust with Russia’s leaders cannot be overstated.

6 – In September 2013, after Putin persuaded Assad to relinquish his chemical weapons (giving Obama a way out of a tough dilemma), the Russian President wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he said: “My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this.”

Détente Nipped in the Bud

7 – Three-plus years later, on April 4, 2017, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev spoke of “absolute mistrust”, which he characterized as “sad for our now completely ruined relations [but] good news for terrorists.” Not only sad, in our view, but totally unnecessary – worse still, dangerous.

8 – With Moscow’s cancellation of the agreement to de-conflict flight activity over Syria, the clock has been turned back six months to the situation last September/October when 11 months of tough negotiation brought a ceasefire agreement. U.S. Air Force attacks on fixed Syrian army positions on Sept. 17, 2016, killing about 70 and wounding another 100, scuttled the fledgling ceasefire agreement approved by Obama and Putin a week before. Trust evaporated.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams)

9 – On Sept 26, 2016, Foreign Minister Lavrov lamented: “My good friend John Kerry… is under fierce criticism from the US military machine, [which] apparently does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.” Lavrov criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia on Syria, “after the [ceasefire] agreement, concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama, had stipulated that the two sides would share intelligence… It is difficult to work with such partners. …”

10 – On Oct. 1, 2016, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned, “If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region.”

11 – On Oct 6, 2016, Russian defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov cautioned that Russia was prepared to shoot down unidentified aircraft – including any stealth aircraft – over Syria. Konashenkov made a point of adding that Russian air defenses “will not have time to identify the origin” of the aircraft.

12 – On Oct 27, 2016, Putin publicly lamented, “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results,” and complained about “people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.” Referring to Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

13 – Thus, the unnecessarily precarious state into which U.S.-Russian relations have now sunk – from “growing trust” to “absolute mistrust.” To be sure, many welcome the high tension, which – admittedly – is super for the arms business.

14 – We believe it of transcendent importance to prevent relations with Russia from falling into a state of complete disrepair. Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Moscow this week offers an opportunity to stanch the damage, but there is also a danger that it could increase the acrimony – particularly if Secretary Tillerson is not familiar with the brief history set down above.

15 – Surely it is time to deal with Russia on the basis of facts, not allegations based largely on dubious evidence – from “social media,” for example. While many would view this time of high tension as ruling out a summit, we suggest the opposite may be true. You might consider instructing Secretary Tillerson to begin arrangements for an early summit with President Putin.

* Background on Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a list of whose issuances can be found at consortiumnews.com.

A handful of CIA veterans established VIPS in January 2003 after concluding that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had ordered our former colleagues to manufacture intelligence to “justify” an unnecessary war with Iraq. At the time we chose to assume that President George W. Bush was not fully aware of this.

We issued our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell’s ill-begotten speech at the United Nations. Addressing President Bush, we closed with these words:

No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is “irrefutable” or “undeniable” [adjectives Powell applied to his charges against Saddam Hussein]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.

Respectfully, we offer the same advice to you, President Trump.

* * *

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Eugene D. Betit, Intelligence Analyst, DIA, Soviet FAO, (US Army, ret.)

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, (ret.)

Thomas Drake, Senior Executive Service, NSA (former)

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Furukawa, Capt, CEC, USN-R, (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Brady Kiesling, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and counterterrorism officer, and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator, Department of the Army

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, and former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Sarah G. Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret), DIA (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

consortiumnews.com

Pres. Assad’s Full Text Int.: Terrorists receiving chemical weapons directly from Turkey

Source

President Bashar al-Assad stressed that what has been said on Khan Sheikhoun is a fabricated story, adding that the West and the United States blocked any delegation from coming to investigate as all narratives on Khan Sheikhoun and then the attack on Shairat airport was a false flag.

In an interview given to Russia’s RIA Novosti and Sputnik news agencies, President al-Assad said that we always announce that Syria is ready to cooperate with any country who is genuinely ready or wants or has the will to fight terrorism.

He added that he is  already aware that the West supports the terrorists and it doesn’t have a will to fight them.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Thank you, Mr. President, for giving an opportunity for this interview, and I will start with the recent tragic event in Aleppo, where the majority of those killed and wounded were children. Who do you think organized this crime, and on what purpose?

A few months ago, the same agreement was about to be implemented, but as you know, you’re talking about different factions, all of them are linked to Al Qaeda or al-Nusra Front, and one of those factions attacked the buses that wanted to transport the same civilians outside of al-Foua’a and Kefraya beside Aleppo, and they attacked those buses and they burned them, and it was shown on the internet, where they said “we won’t allow this reconciliation to happen, we’re going to kill every civilian that wants to use the buses,” and that’s what happened. When we thought that everything is ready to implement that reconciliation, they did what they announced, and they are al-Nusra Front, they didn’t hide themselves from the very beginning, and I think everybody agrees that this is al-Nusra.

Any specific group or al-Nusra itself?

No, because when you talk about al-Nusra, it’s their ideology, so different names – and as you know al-Nusra itself changed its name – so different names doesn’t mean changing the ideology or the behavior or the course of killing. So, it doesn’t matter what’s the name.

And how many people have died since the beginning of the war, at this point?

Actually, we can talk only about official numbers. It’s tens of thousands, not like what you hear in the media about hundreds of thousands. Of course, we can talk about thousands of missing people that we don’t know anything about their fate. This is the official number. But in the West, of course they add altogether the number of the terrorists, and a large amount of the terrorists of course they’re not registered at the state as killed or dead, and the same thing about the foreigners who came to Syria in tens or maybe hundreds of thousands to fight. So, the numbers that we’ve been hearing in the Western media during the last six years were not precise, it’s only to inflate the number just to show how horrible the situation, to use it as humanitarian pretext to intervene in Syria. So, as a state, we only talk about tens of thousands of victims till this moment.

So, you’re not agreeing with the number that the United Nations give?

No, because the United Nations doesn’t have any means to calculate the numbers, and actually no-one has, as I said, because you’re talking about different factions; foreigners, Syrians and terrorists and so on, so it’s complicated to tell. The only thing that we have are the official records. Of course, it must be higher than the official record, but we cannot just estimate and give any number.

I see. Yesterday, there were reports that al-Baghdadi was captured by the Russian and Syrian military at the border of Syria and Iraq. Can you confirm it?

No, no. That’s not true.

That’s not true?

No, no. That’s not true. Anyway, those borders are under the control of ISIS till this moment., it’s neither Syrian nor Russian, not even Western or American or any other one; it’s only ISIS who’s controlling those borders, so it’s safe for al-Baghdadi to be in that area.

Let’s talk a little bit about this missile strike from the United States. So, the Shairat airbase quickly returned to its operation, but many wondered why the Syrian Army didn’t hit the US missiles, didn’t try to down it, why?

Many people wonder about whether our air defense or the Russian air defense and they look at it as absolute power that can take down any missile. Technically, it’s complicated, because the missile must see its target, let’s say, our missile, and to see it you need a radar that can see every angle of the country which is impossible because you’re talking about terrain and topography, and as you know the cruise missiles use those terrain in order to hide from the radar, so it needs an intensive system to see every angle, in that way you can take it down. This is one.
Second, maybe a few people knew that the terrorists at the very beginning of the attacks, they started by destroying the Syrian air defense, which has nothing to do with what they called it that time the “peaceful demonstrations.” Most of the air defense are outside the cities in outlying areas, so they started attacking that air defense and it was affected dramatically during the crisis. So, you have many factors that could influence taking down those missiles.

So, how many items from the air defense system you lost during these attacks by terrorists before the US launched its attack?

A huge number, a huge number. It was the first target. The first target was the air defense. We don’t have to give a precise number now, because as you know it’s military information, but I can tell you more than fifty percent. Of course, the Russians, through their support to the Syrian Army, they compensated part of that loss with quality armaments and air defense systems, but this is not enough when you talk about a full country. It takes a long time to recover all your air defense.

Are there any concrete negotiations underway with the Russians regarding the purchasing of new air defense systems?

Yes, it’s always the case, before the war and during the war. Of course, we need more armaments after the war and because of the consumption, and this is part of the daily relation between the two institutions in the Ministry of Defense in Russia and Syria.

What kind of systems are you interested in now after the attack, like S-300, S-400, or what kind of system?

Usually we’re always interested in the last generation of any system, but that depends on what’s available, that depends on the policy of the vendor, which is Russia, and that depends on the prices. You have many criteria and that depends of course on the specifications that you’re looking for that could be suitable to your kind of war, to your army, to your terrain, to many other criteria that’s related to the air defense.

Has there been any talks of possible non-repayable deliveries, delivery for free from Russia, or is it a commercial contract?

In this situation, I mean our war, Russia looks at this war as more than Syrian war, and more than Syrian-Russian war. I think it’s the war of every country that wants to protect its citizens from the terrorists. So, when Russia supports our army, it not only protects the Syrian citizens, it also protects the Russian citizens, and I think the European and others. So, for them they don’t look at it as commercial war like the Americans; when they launch a war they calculated how much jobs can you create out of this war. They look at it as a war that needs to protect their citizens, our citizens, other citizens, the position of Russia, the balance, the political balance, the military balance around the world, as a great country. So, in that regard, you don’t look at the armaments as how much do they cost or how much do they bring as benefit or profit.

Alright. So, Damascus has said that it is ready for the mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to come and to investigate the Khan Sheikhoun incident. Have there been any contacts between you and this organization, and what are the possible dates for the arrival of the first team of experts?

Actually, since the first attack a few years ago that happened in Aleppo by the terrorists against our army, we asked the United Nations to send investigation delegation in order to prove what we said about the terrorists having gases used against our army, and later many incidents happened in that way, and they didn’t send any delegation. It’s the same now. We formally sent a letter to the United Nations, we asked them in that letter to send a delegation in order to investigate what happened in Khan Sheikhoun. Of course till this moment they didn’t send, because the West and the United States blocked any delegation from coming, because if they come, they will find that all their narratives about what happened in Khan Sheikhoun and then the attack on Shairat airport was a false flag, was a lie. That’s why they didn’t send. Now the only contact I think is between Russia and maybe the other countries in order to send that delegation. Till this moment, we didn’t have any positive news regarding any delegation coming.

What is your view of what happened there? Because there were a lot of different reports of different kinds, and misinterpretation and accusation of fake news. So, what happened there according to your information?

Actually, that area is under the control of al-Nusra Front which is Al Qaeda. The only information the whole world has is what this organization or this group – which is al-Nusra – published on YouTube, on the internet in general, and in different outlets, mainly Western outlets, so we cannot base our judgment on their reports. First of all, we don’t know if the site that we attacked that day half an hour before noon, about 11:30, was a chemical warehouse or depot or anything like this. And their story said that the attack happened at 6, 6:30 in the morning. We didn’t launch any attack at that time. So, you have two possibilities: the first one is that there was an attack at lunch time or at about 11:30. The other possibility that we believe in is that it was a false flag, there was no attack, all what we saw as pictures and videos was like the videos we’ve been seeing for the last year or two years or more regarding the White Helmets, the humanitarian Al Qaeda which is an elusive story, let’s say, it doesn’t exist anyway, and the picture that shows children being killed by Russian airstrike to discover later that it wasn’t a real picture, they put a boy, they covered him with mud and blood, fake blood of course, and so on. All these ploys could be part of them. That’s what we believe in, because the attack was already prepared, and they didn’t want to listen, they didn’t want to investigate; they only wanted to launch the attack. We believe it was a false flag for one reason and a simple reason: if there was gas leakage or attack, and you’re talking about 60 dead in that city, how could the city continue its life normally? They didn’t evacuate the city. No-one left the city, life continued as normal, and this is mass destruction. The other day, they attacked Shairat where they said there was the gas depots, and they attacked all the depots, and there was no gas coming out of that airport. No-one of our army officers or military staff, was affected by any gas. So, for us, there was no gas attack and no gas depot, it was a false flag play just to justify the attack on the Shairat base. That’s what happened.

So, the main version is that no chemical weapons or no chemicals were used there?

No, I mean even if you look at the pictures, you can see that the rescuers – presumable rescuers – were rescuing people without masks, without gloves, and they were moving freely. How? This is against all the specifications of the sarin gas that they talked about. They cannot, they would have been dead like the others, and you don’t know that those people who are lying on the ground were dead or not. You can fake this image, it’s very easy. So, you cannot just base your judgment on images and videos, especially made by Al Qaeda.

And what about possible future provocations like that, because our President Putin has said that there’s information that such kind of provocations could happen in the future. What is your assessment of this possibility?

Actually, this possibility is not only because of what happened recently. It happened before, and we had this possibility a few years ago, since the first time they used it in 2013, since that time it’s a possibility for us, and it’s been used, it wasn’t only a possibility, but this time the propaganda was different, because everybody was ready for the attack, so that was part of the agenda, part of the plan, it was one plan, it wasn’t two different incidents. So, of course it is a possibility. This is first, I mean because it happened before.
Second, because the regime in the United States hasn’t changed. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been attacking different countries in different ways without taking into consideration the Security Council or the United Nations. So, the deep regime hasn’t changed, the deep regime is the same that go and attack and kill and tell lies in order to justify what you are doing or what you have been doing. So, nothing has changed regarding the United States. They can do it any time, they can do something different, because their aim is to destabilize Syria, their aim is to change the government, to topple the government, and to bring their puppets instead, so they will do everything, for them the end justifies the means, no values, no morals at all, anything could happen.

And is there a threat of using of chemical weapons by the terrorists? And if so, from where do they get it? From which countries?

From Turkey. Directly from Turkey, and there was evidences regarding this, some of them have been shown on the internet a few years ago. You had many parties and parliament members in Turkey who questioned the government regarding those allegations. So, it’s not something hidden. Many in Syria knew that, and the only way, the only route for the terrorists to get money, armaments, every logistic support, recruits, and this kind of material, is through Turkey, they don’t have any other way to come from the north. So, it’s a hundred percent Turkey.

Let’s go to another point about the military situation. When will the Syrian Army start an operation to liberate Raqqa, and will the Kurdish units be involved, and will Russians be involved, and is there a possibility of cooperation with the Western coalition and Iraqi forces?

Regarding fighting terrorism, we always announce that we are ready to cooperate with any country who is genuinely ready or wants or has the will to fight terrorism. We didn’t even define which countries; any country including the West, taking into consideration that we already know that the West supports the terrorists and it doesn’t have a will to fight them. But we said whoever is ready, we are ready. Regarding the Syrian-Russian cooperation and talking about the Kurds, we always talk with different factions in Syria who are fighting the terrorists, and we had direct contact with the Kurds, and of course with the Russians regarding this. The question on how, you know that only a month ago our army was advancing from Aleppo towards the east, toward Raqqa, it wasn’t far from reaching Raqqa, and this is when the terrorists launched their attack against the middle of Syria, against the city of Hama, in order to protect ISIS in two areas: the eastern area is Hama, which is close to Palmyra after we liberated Palmyra recently, in order to slow the advance of the Syrian Army in that direction. The second one is toward Raqqa for the same objective. And actually because of that attack on Hama we had to slow down our attack – not stop it, to slow down – because part of the troops, Syrian Arab Army troops, in both directions have to come south and west to Hama in order to defend the city, and of course they repelled the attack and they succeeded, but at the expense of advancing in different areas. So, that will tell you about the relation between ISIS and al-Nusra, and the relation between ISIS and al-Nusra and Turkey, and of course Turkey means the United States, and the United States means France and the UK, and both mean Saudi Arabia, and so on. So, this is one choir actually, and they have one army, one proxy army, which is different factions, mainly Al Qaeda, mainly al-Nusra and ISIS. So, that’s why our advancement toward Raqqa has been slowed down, because we changed the priority because of different fronts of the terrorists.

I see. And regarding Turkey, you’ve mentioned, so in the north of Aleppo, in al-Bab, the Syrian Army is facing Turkey forces that have invaded Syria in breach of international law. Will the Syrian Army undertake any action to put an end to this Turkish intervention, and so when and how this could take place?

When you talk about the Turkish invasion, when you talk about the American troops – again, it’s an invasion – and when you talk about the terrorists on the ground, it’s one entity, there’s no difference. There’s one master who’s controlling all these factions. So, the priority now is to defeat the terrorists. When you defeat the terrorists, the Turkish army and any other army will be weak on the ground. Their real strength are their proxies, not their own army. In that regard, when you defeat the terrorists in different areas, it’s going to be very easy to expel any other one including the Turks; either they leave, or it’s your land, you have to defend it, you have to go and fight, you can’t say “they can stay” or “let’s negotiate.” No, you don’t negotiate; it’s your land, you defend it, you expel them, you fight them. But the priority now is to fight their proxies, because they are the strongest element on the ground.

And do you expect military escalation after the US missile strike, and can this result lead to direct confrontation between Syria and the United States?

Actually, as you know, they attacked the airbase from the Mediterranean, so you’re talking about hundreds of miles, sometimes thousands of miles away, which is out of our reach as Syrian Army. So, if we want to be realistic, we can say we don’t reach their ships in the Mediterranean, but if you talk about the troops on the ground, again, the same like the Turkish issue, when you defeat their terrorists – because the terrorists are their terrorists – this is where you can go and fight others who occupy the land. In that regard, the Americans, like the Turks, like any other occupiers, they have to get out by their will or by force.

Do you think that there can be an improvement in the bilateral relations between Syria and the United States?

We always try to look at the full half of the cup, but we couldn’t find it. We tried to see anything positive, we said that what this president, Trump, what he said, we said “promising,” I described it as promising, a few months ago. But actually, it’s not about what they promise, because we all know that the American officials say something and do something different, they’re never committed to their promises or their words. So, that’s what have been proven recently after the attack on Shairat; they say something and they do something different. So, in politics you don’t say “I wouldn’t do this.” Whenever there is a window of hope that this state or this regime can change its attitude toward respecting your sovereignty, toward more preventing of any blood-letting in your country, you have to cooperate. It’s not a personal relation, it’s not hate and love; it’s the interest of your own people. So, I cannot say this escalation has changed anything, because this escalation is the real expression of the reality of the American regime that’s been there for decades, it’s not new for the United States to do such a thing, but you need to deal with the United States as a great country, at least to make it refrain from any harmful effects, generally, I’m not talking only about Syria. When they change their behavior, we are ready, we don’t have a problem.

Have you tried to establish any contacts, or do you plan to have contacts with representatives of the Trump administration?

Not really, we don’t have any channel now between Syria and the United States regime or administration, we don’t have.

Okay, and how do you assess the emerging coalition between the United States and Kurdish units? Have you taken steps to prevent We don’t have control in that area, in the meantime, but talking about self-control or confederation or anything like this, when you don’t have war, when you have a normal situation, it’s going to be related to the constitution, because Syria is a melting pot of different cultures, different ethnicities, religions, sects, and so on. So, not a single part of this social fabric can define the future of Syria; it needs consensus. So, regarding what you mentioned, it’s better to wait to discuss the next constitution between the different Syrian shades of our spectrum, let’s say, and this is where we can tell how’s it going to be there. Our impression today is that the majority, the vast majority of Syrians, never believe in self-governance or confederation or anything. In this time, it’s being used as an excuse because there’s no government in that area. They say “we are governing ourselves because there is no government.” It’s an excuse for today, but when you have stability and the government taking control of the country, of course there’s no excuse to deal with such a situation unless there’s a constitution that allows a certain area to have its confederation or federation or any other way of governance.

And regarding the constitution, have you already started the project that is now debated in Geneva, and what do you think about the proposal of withdrawing the word “Arab” from the name of the country?

Again, as a government, we don’t own the constitution; it should be a Syrian consensus. If the Syrians don’t believe in the word of “Arab state,” what’s the meaning of having this word? Just because the government believes? No, we have to be the mirror of the majority of the Syrians, when we say yes or no. Our impression is that the majority of the Syrians, they adhere to this word, because this is their identity, the majority of Syrians are Arabs, and they believe in their identity. But again, I wouldn’t say that this is right or wrong till the Syrians have their own say in a referendum, before saying the President said he supports this word or he’s against that word. It means nothing in the meantime. It’s still early to discuss that point, it’s not a contention issue, I mean, nobody is discussing it now. A few people in Syria, mainly among the Kurds, mention this issue. It’s not a big problem.

And what is the most contentious issue, according to you?

To the constitution?

To the constitution, yes.

Being secular. Most of the factions that apparently joined the negotiations in Astana and part of them in Geneva, they don’t accept a secular state, they want it a religious state, Islamic state. This is the most important part of, could be, the disagreement regarding the constitution. Of course till this moment we haven’t started direct negotiations, but we know through the mediators what they propose, and what we propose.

So, we just talked about the situation in the north, and something is happening there down in the south. So, do you have any information about Jordan’s plans to deploy its troops in Syria in coordination with the United States under the pretext of fighting ISIS? Certain media reported. And if this is the case, do you think that there is a threat from the neighboring countries to dismember Syria?
We have those information, not only through the media, through the different sources, because you know we have the same tribes, the same families living on both sides of the borders, so they can see any changes in the mood or in the logistics, any new plans of the army you can see it on the ground. So, we have such information, but anyway Jordan was part of the American plan since the beginning of the war in Syria. Whether he likes it or not, he has to obey the orders of the Americans. Jordan is not an independent country anyway, whatever the American wants, it will happen, so if the Americans want to use the northern part of Jordan against Syria, they’re going to use it, so it’s not about Jordan, we don’t discuss Jordan as a state; we discuss Jordan as land in that case, because it’s the United States who defines the plans, who defines the players, and who endorses everything regarding Syria coming from Jordan, and many of the terrorists coming from Jordan, and of course Turkey, since day one of the war in Syria.

Let’s talk a little bit about the situation in Mosul. What is your estimate of the number of ISIS militants pushed out of the Mosul region into the Syrian territory? And to what extent did the coalition’s operation in Mosul and the withdrawal of terrorists strengthen the positions of ISIS here in Syria? Could this, for instance, lead to the full terrorist control over Deir Ezzor?

If we want to link different events with each other, we can have the answer. First of all, no-one has a precise number of ISIS coming to Syria because it’s a free border now; you don’t have regular borders, you don’t have Syrian Army, you don’t have police, you have no state there. So, no-one can tell you, but the estimation from the information that we have from the citizens in those areas, they talk about tens of thousands of fighters of ISIS coming to Syria. If you go back a few months ago when the alliance airplanes attacked our military site beside Deir Ezzor, they attacked one of the major sites, it’s a mountain called Thurda, which is a strategic mountain to protect Deir Ezzor from being in the hands of ISIS. They attacked our army for more than one hour, and they killed tens of our soldiers, and they said “sorry, it was a mistake,” although it is a big mountain, a huge mountain; you cannot make a mistake, it’s not a building. Then later, they started allowing the fighters coming from Mosul. Of course, they wanted to do a two-aspect operation. The first aspect is that the United States is attacking ISIS in Mosul, they are against ISIS, but at the same time, they are supporting ISIS and they allow them to cross the border from Iraq into Syria. It means they helped ISIS to come to Deir Ezzor and to undermine the Syrian Army who are defending Deir Ezzor. They wanted Deir Ezoor to fall into the hands of ISIS and maybe later in one of their plays like what happened in Jarablus, in Ein al-Arab, in different areas, they will make negotiations with ISIS to leave Deir Ezzor and to say that they liberated Deir Ezzor to send their proxies and puppets to attack them. Fortunately, the Syrian Army was resilient and strong enough to repel ISIS after the alliance attack a few months ago. Now, it’s advancing slowly, recapturing the area from ISIS slowly, but the situation today is better than yesterday and better than a week ago, and so on. So, your question is a hundred percent correct. That’s an American plan, and they allow them and they give them the cover to come to Syria.

So, it changes the situation, the military situation as you said, the threats from the north, from the Iraqi part of the borders, from Jordan, and the military missile attack from US ships. In this situation, are you going to ask Russia for more help to enhance the Russian assistance, including probably on the ground?

Actually, the Russian air forces were very effective and efficient during the last year and a half, little bit more, in supporting the Syrian Army, and everybody knows that since that support started in 2015, the balance has changed, and we could recapture Palmyra and Aleppo and many other areas, and we could defend Hama recently; it was a very huge and well-organized attack, but we could repel it. So, that support was very efficient, and of course, we shouldn’t forget the efficient support of the Iranians on the ground; they did not send troops, but with their officers, with their advisors, they played a very important role. So, I don’t think now there is a need for ground troops. Sometimes when there is intense attack on different fronts, as you mentioned, north, east, south, and in the middle, the Russian missiles attack from the sea. The Russian strategic bomber came from Russia to attack in Syria. So, the military support, the Russian military support is not limited to their base in Syria. Actually, they are aware about what the need of the fight; you have this fluctuation, but you don’t need troops on the ground till that moment. Maybe in the future if our enemies and their supporters, their terrorists, the proxies, change their strategy and bring more terrorists from around the world, and you have full armies of terrorists at that time, it could be needed, but at this moment, I don’t think it’s needed. What’s been done is good and enough.

Regarding the future of the political settlement, how do you see it, taking into account the low effectiveness of the Geneva talks? And can Astana replace Geneva as a main platform for negotiations? And another question: are there any people with whom you are ready to contact, to engage in direct talks from the opposition side, I mean from those who come to Astana, from the military factions, or in Geneva?

First of all, our estimation of Geneva is that it hasn’t started yet; till this moment, nothing, it’s a still-born, it’s dead, because, I mean if you want to buy utility in the market, the first you read on the box is the requirement, what’s the requirement for this utility to work properly, to deliver what you expect? The same for anything in this world. If you are talking about Geneva, it could be a good idea. Astana is a very good idea, but do we have the requirement for these two means to produce? Till the moment, no, because part of this event which is Russia, Iran, and of course Syria, they are willing to achieve a peaceful solution. They respect the sovereignty of Syria, they’re looking for the unity of Syria, they respect the Charter of the United Nations, the different Security Council resolutions, and so on, while if you look at the other party, the Western bloc with their allies in the region and their proxies, of course, they are in the other side. They are using these events only as a political umbrella for the terrorists, not for the political solution. So, the requirement is that to have one objective. Now, you don’t have one objective; you have different objectives, you have at least two objectives. You need to discuss it with the other side, let’s call them opposition, whether they are militants or political opposition, but they are different factions and they have different points of views. So, you are not talking about one entity. So, many of the requirements haven’t been provided yet in order for these initiatives to succeed till this moment. Now, are we ready to sit? Of course, in Syria we sat with the terrorists, and how can we make those reconciliations if we don’t sit with them? From the very beginning, we noted that there was no real and genuine political track for the reason that I just mentioned. So, I said let’s go and pave the way for your own political track, which is direct negotiations with the terrorists or militants in different areas, and tell them if you give up your armaments, I will give you amnesty and you go back to your normal life, live normally like any other citizen. Otherwise, if you are not part of this reconciliation, you can leave anywhere you want, and that’s what’s happening today and yesterday and every day, that’s happening from time to time, and that helped the stability in many areas in Syria, and that undermined the terrorists and their masters. So, yes, we are ready to sit with whoever could help us in stopping this blood-shedding in Syria, whoever, we don’t have any problem, we don’t have any taboo in that regard.

But you don’t have any preferences as well?

In what way, what do you mean?

In the way of having some concrete people, concrete names, with whom the Syrian government can talk directly?

No, sometimes, you can say I’m going to sit with political opposition, I wouldn’t sit with the militants, let’s say. I would sit with the opposition that’s not linked to Qatar or to Saudi Arabia or to France, and so on. It’s not part of the foreigner or foreign agenda against Syria, but at the end, the main question that you are going to ask before starting any negotiation: is he able to deliver? What can he do? If I sit with somebody who doesn’t have any influence on the ground, on the reality in Syria, what are we going to agree upon? It’s just a waste of time. So, actually we are very pragmatic in that regard; we say let’s sit with whoever can change the situation in two ways. The first one is to stop the killing, this is number one, this is a priority for every Syrian, not for the government; every Syrian. If you ask anyone, he’ll tell you we need security, we need stability, this is number one. Second, if you want to discuss it politically, you can talk about anything. You can talk about the constitution, the future of Syria, the political system that you want, the economic system; anything is going to be viable. It won’t be complicated that time, but without stability, you cannot achieve anything in any negotiation. That’s why I said, we went directly to talk to the militants, that is not our preference, as your question, but it’s the most effective in the meantime.

You’ve mentioned Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and recently Kazakhstan as a host country of Astana process invited… not invited, but proposed to invite more countries to this process, including Qatar and the Saudis, how do you think about that?

I think the more countries you have, the better, in different ways; you either have more support to this initiative and that will protect that initiative and raise the possibility of success, or you have the same countries that they are going to oppose it whether they are part of it or outside. But if they are part of it, you can point at them, you can tell them that you’re part of the problem and you have to help, and if you are genuine about helping, not only by your discourse and rhetoric, this is the initiative, be part of it and show us that you are against the terrorism, show us that you support what the Syrian people want. So, in both ways, it’s positive to invite whoever wants to come. So, I support what the Kazakhstani officials announced yesterday about expanding the participation in Astana.

Recently, the foreign ministers of Russia, Syria, and Iran assessed their talks in Moscow as a success. Would you like to build on this success and hold that trilateral meeting on a presidential level?

It’s not about the level, what they expressed in their statements, their views, it represents their presidents, because the minister of foreign affairs, he works with the president anyway. So, it’s not about which level, because whoever talks, any official, represents the whole government, the whole state. Maybe if there is a necessity in the future to do it, of course it’s a good idea, but for us in Syria, now the priority is to reach the objective. It’s not about the formalities, let’ say.

Let’s talk a little bit about the bilateral relations in the economic filed. So, recently, our Vice Prime Minster Dmitry Rogozin has visited Damascus and he said that there was an agreement to promote Russian companies in Syria, and that he received guarantees from you that Russian companies will be well-received and have priorities here. So, what are the specific mechanisms that were established to fulfill this purpose?

We have our laws regarding how to make contracts with the different companies. We already started with some of the companies after his visit, especially as the Western companies left Syria, not because of the security situation, not for security reasons, actually for political reasons. So, if we want to call it market, the Syrian market is free now for Russian companies to come and join and to play an important part in rebuilding Syria and investing in Syria. The most important part for me, and I think for them as well, is the oil field, the oil and gas, and some Russian companies now joined, let’s say, that sector recently during the last few months, and the process of signing the contracts, the final, let’s say, steps of signing the contracts is underway. So, that’s how I look at it.

Alright Mr. President. Thanks a lot for this interview. It was very frank and very interesting. Thank you very much.

Thank you for coming

Being in Time – USA Book Tour

April 26, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

https://www.amazon.com/

https://www.amazon.com/

Hello everybody. I am in the USA once again.  In the next 2 weeks I will be touring talking about my forthcoming book Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto. I will also play concerts in between,

Our first date is a NYC a panel discussion at Theatre 80 this Sunday, April 30.  Seemingly some unsavory characters aren’t happy about the intellectual gathering that includes Stanley Cohen, Prof Norton Mezvinsky, Michael Lesher and myself.  Jewish ethnic campaigner Bill Weinberg together with ultra Zionist Times OfIsrael’s writer Simon Hardy Butler  have been harassing and intimidating the Theatre for two weeks. Weinberg has now promised to bring the Antifa to the streets of NY. Bill Weinberg has managed to figure out that Being in Time is all about him. It is a complete expose of the tyranny of correctness and the duplicity of ID politics.

In 2-3 days I will publish my USA dates butfor the time being here is a brief announcement so you know where to expect me. Feel free to contact me via the site..

28-Apr Fri,  Jazz Concert NYCwith Saul Rubin, Ben Meingers and Keith Balla TBA

30-Apr Sun        NYC5PM @Theater 80,  80 St. Marks PlaceNew York, NY 10003 https://theatre80.wordpress.com/

1-May        MonMadison, WI Gilad Atzmon with Abandon Control Facebook live

2-May        Tue   Madison,   Gilad Atzmon debate challenge! 6.30pmMemorial Union 800 Langdon St, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 RSVP  https://www.facebook.com/events/407225126320097/

3-May        Wed Chicago, IL , Gilad Atzmon talk and book-signing ,Al-Nahda center7 pmdetails soon www.facebook.com/events

4-May        ThuAnn Arbor, MI    6.30 pm,  Gilad Atzmon talk and book-signing @ AADL, Downtown Branch Conference Room “A”, Fourth Floor, 343 S. Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

5-May        Fri     Denver, CO         Event TBA

6-May        Sat    Irvine, private event… contact Gilad for details in case you want to attend

7-May        Sun   LA, private event

8-May        MonLA,  7pm, Gilad Atzmon talk and book-signing The Hungarian Cultural Alliance , 1827 S Hope St, 90015 Los Angeles, California

9-May        Tue   LA, CA private event

10-May     Wed Portland, OR      Lucky Lab Brewpub (Hawthorne St. location, Portland) Gilad Atzmon talk and book-signing 6:30-ish pm to 10 pm.

11-May Thu       Saratoga, CA       Talk event 3:30pm Enjoy food and drinks. $10 cover suggested RSVP:   707-953-0226 ,

11 May Thus 7.30 Saratoga,   Joining Daniel Rayneud Trio at Café Pink House

Hope to see you on the road..

Gilad..

Did I write this?

Did I write this?

Russia condemns Israel’s attack on Syrian Army

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:05 P.M.) – The Kremlin’s Spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Thursday that Israel should avoid increasing tensions in the region by violating Syria’s sovereignty and attacking the Syrian government fores.

“We consider that all countries should avoid any actions that lead to higher tensions in such a troubled region and call for Syrian sovereignty to be respected,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, as quoted by Reuters News Agency.

Russia and Israel were in constant contact about the situation in Syria through various channels, said Peskov.

Russia, whose forces are helping President Bashar al-Assad fight Islamic State and other militant groups, regularly says it is the only foreign power operating on Syrian territory at the Syrian government’s invitation and has spoken out strongly against Turkish strikes as well as a recent U.S. strike.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, condemned Israel’s actions on Thursday morning, highlighting the violations committed by the Netanyahu regime.

“Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria and considers that they are unacceptable and contradict the principles and norms of international law,” said Zakharova.


’Israel’ Strikes near Damascus Airport: In Line With Our Policy to Stop Arms Transfer to Hezbollah

Local Editor

As part of the continuous aggression against the Syrian sovereignty and in support of the collapsing terrorist groups, “Israel” waged a new attack against Damascus airport.

 

‘Israeli' Minister: Strikes near Damascus ‘In Line With Our Policy to Stop Iran Arms Transfers'

In details, a Syrian military source confirmed that the military base southwest Damascus airport was subject to ‘Israeli’ missiles launched from the occupied territories.

It further highlighted that the “Zionist aggression led to explosions that resulted in some material losses.”

“The aggression won’t hinder us from continuing to fight and crush terrorism,” the source told official SANA news agency.

Earlier, the “Israeli” Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz confessed that the “incident” in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport is in line with Tel Aviv’s policy to prevent Iran’s advanced weapons from reaching Syria.

Katz told the ‘Israeli’ Army Radio that “the incident in Syria corresponds completely with ‘Israel’s’ policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran,” according to Reuters.

The ‘Israeli’ military declined to comment.

Meanwhile, conflicting unconfirmed reports emerged, suggesting either an airstrike or the bombing of a gas pipeline.

Asked if the Zionist army was involved in the incident, a spokeswoman for the ‘Israeli’ military said: “We can’t comment on such reports,” said al-Manar as cited by Reuters.

Damascus International Airport was the country’s busiest air hub before hostilities erupted in 2011. Since the onset of the Syrian war, most international airlines have ceased flights to Damascus.

The ‘Israeli’ military is widely believed to have attacked Syria’s anti-aircraft missile systems, but it rarely confirms such airstrikes.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

27-04-2017 | 11:34


Israeli Missile Shoots down ‘Target’ over Occupied Golan: Zionist army

April 27, 2017

Missile System

Israeli army shot down what it identified only as “a target” over the occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, hours after hitting a position near Damascus airport.

“The Patriot Aerial Defense System intercepted a target above the Golan Heights,” the official Israeli army Twitter account said, without elaborating.

Source: AFP

 

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Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition

April 25, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

GA: Ahead of our 30 April conference at Theatre 80 and following the desperate calls for censorship of the event Stanley Cohen wrote this wonderful piece on Counterpunch today. Please read and spread…   

http://www.counterpunch.org

by STANLEY L. COHEN

This coming Sunday, April 30th, at 5PM, there will be a panel discussion entitled “The Post Political Condition… Trump, Brexit, and The Middle East… What Next? at Theatre 80 located at 80 St. Marks Place on the Lower East Side (LES) of New York City.

Timely, and simple enough in its reach, this discussion will include myself and a number of intellectuals such as history professor Norton Mezvinsky, whistle blower Michael Lesher and author Gilad Atzmon. The panel will focus on the collapse of identity politics, the crises within new left thinking, and the future of liberal and progressive thought.

In particular, I will discuss“Insular View of the American Left” while Professor Mezvinsky will speak to “The Quagmire of Current Political Terminology in U.S. Society.” Mr. Lesher will explore dichotomy between “Jewish Identity and Jewish Religion” and Mr. Atzmon will address “The Tyranny of Correctness- deconstructing identity politics and understanding its origin.”

Although the panel will necessarily touch upon Zionism, Israel, and events in the Middle East, these topics will play but a small part in a much broader exploration of the political winds of today.

To some, the subject matter of the discussion is apparently of less consequence than the makeup of the panel itself. In particular, the presence of Gilad Atzmon, a onetime Israeli citizen and Jew who has since renounced both, has triggered an organized effort to bully the theatre into canceling the event or, failing that, to disrupt it.

I’ve long been accused of being a “self-hating” Jew largely because of my work as legal counsel for the political wing of Hamas and my fervent opposition to the state of Israel as one built from the marrow of ethnic cleansing.

Described as controversial because of my opposition to Zionism, and a long list of revolutionary clients and movements that have included more than a few accused of domestic or international terrorism, I’ve grown accustomed to being “shunned ” by the political opposition that rarely seeks to engage in public discussion or debate. That’s fine. For some, it’s so much easier to toss barbs from the safety of the shadows then it is to withstand open exposure for the weakness of one’s thought.

Yet, Gilad Atzmon presents another picture. Mr. Atzmon’s stinging criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity… perhaps even Judaism itself… have so enraged both Zionists and some anti-Zionists alike, that the mob seeks to silence him and thereby deny us all the benefit of his speech.

Censors of thought are not new to time or place. Throughout history, they have deigned to dictate the parameters of acceptable dialogue and, when unable to control the discourse, have sought to shut it down as if ideas are in themselves dangerous.

One need only look to recent events in Washington D.C. to understand that those who fear the market place of free ideas often seek to shutter it whether by economic intimidation or through resort to violence.

Just this past month, JDL (Jewish Defense League) imports from Canada brutally attacked, and seriously injured, a 55-year old Palestinian-American professor from North Carolina who had the temerity to pass an anti-AIPAC demonstration with his family.

The mindless brutality of the Canadian JDL members, that day, cannot be seen in a vacuum but rather must be viewed in the light of 50 plus years of terrorism carried out by its US counterpart, now formally designated as an outlawed terrorist organization.

Over these many years, the membership, indeed,  leadership of the American branch of the JDL… or “associate organizations”… have unleashed an unprecedented reign of terror which has produced dozens of convictions for crimes ranging from a plot to bomb the office of Arab-American Congressman Darrell Issa and the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Calif. to numerous bombings of foreign embassies and properties to attacks on US buildings to conspiracies of kidnap and murder to assaults on foreign nationals and US police. Countless other crimes, including murder and conspiracy to bomb, have been laid at the feet of the JDL but to date remain un-charged.

Despite this documented, nay, unprecedented history of violent attacks by zio-fascists upon free speech and association, neither the JDL of Canada nor its US counterpart will suppress this panel discussion at Theatre 80 or silence our voice. Ours is a community of free spirits and thinkers. Women and men directed by little more than the pursuit of truth and justice.

Indeed, long ago the community of the LES of New York City opened its arms to refugees who fled tyranny abroad and, in so doing, became a welcome host to the dissident, the politically unpopular, the revolutionary idea or person.

Today, that greeting is under attack by some who have failed to learn the history of this community that I have called home for most of my adult life. A journey down the hardscrabble, but exhilarating, road of this community of resistance can say far more than I can about the necessity of the exchange of ideas that will occur this coming Sunday evening at Theatre 80.

The History of Dissent on the Lower East Side

Long before the free speech battles of the 60’s, or the recent ones at Berkeley, there stood a proud tenement building at 208 East 13th Street in New York City.  More than a hundred years ago, it echoed with the booming resonance of resistance… a declaration of who we were at the time and, more important, who we could become if only we dared to challenge political and social orthodoxy.

Today, on the façade of that old battered 19th century tenement building on the LES of Manhattan sits a cracked and stained plaque that simply says “Emma Goldman lived here.” Enough said.

The same building was home to “Mother Earth,” Goldman’s periodical that promoted anarchist views and provided a platform for “radical” artists and militant ideas of the day… until it was closed as subversive by the government in 1917.

Goldman was a fierce and tireless supporter of “controversial” revolutionary struggles such as free speech, birth control, women’s equality, union organizing, workers rights, sexual freedom and peace.

Known as “Red Emma”, she was labeled by J. Edgar Hoover as one of the “most dangerous women” in the country.” Among her closest friends and comrades were Alexander BerkmanMargaret SangerRoger BaldwinMax EastmanJohn ReedDorothy Day and Floyd Dell… a veritable who’s who of radicals who, long ago, confronted political convention not all that different from that which seeks to intimidate or to silence us today.

In 1917, Goldman was sentenced to two years in prison after founding the No-Conscription League in protest against the draft.  It was one of several stints she did, beyond bars, for political beliefs that ranged from a year in prison for “inciting to riot”… for a speech she gave at a Union Square hunger demonstration where she told the poor to steal bread if they could not afford to buy it… to another one for illegally distributing information about birth control.  Following her arrest during the notorious Palmer Raids that began on November 7, 1919 (the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution), she was deported to Russia along with some 250 other “subversive aliens.”

While the Palmer Raids occurred throughout the United States with more than 10,000 arrests for subversion, they, in particular, targeted hundreds of high profile “militants” who were rounded up on the LES which was then home to a powerful and vibrant community of revolutionary thinkers and activists.

In the life blood of the LES, Goldman has been anything but the exception to the rule in a community that historically has been home to the dissident… the unconventional… those who see more to life than surrender to the whims of politically correct dogma or the constraints of “patriotic” mobs.

Dorothy Day heard the call of the LES.  Along with Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement which, with anarchists and communists, fought for the rights of the homeless, workers, women, immigrants and others disempowered by virtue of gender or class.

Although the Movement found its vigor in Christian charity and promoted a political strategy of total non-violence, Day was never one to shy away from direct action. Jailed for picketing the White House in support of women’s right to vote, while imprisoned for her offense, she helped organize a hunger strike at Occoquan Prison.

It is said that, over the course of a long life of civil disobedience, Day was arrested more than one hundred times. A poster memorializing her final arrest at age 76 declares “our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system.” It hangs from the wall of my office.

To Dorothy Day, peaceful resistance necessarily demanded of activists’ controversial speech that directly confronted the tyranny of the status quo…  something she excelled at while working as the editor of The Masses.

Based in “Alphabet City” in the LES, Masses was a radical magazine that reported on most of the major labor struggles of its day: from the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike of 1912 in West Virginia to the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913 and the Ludlow massacre in Colorado. It strongly supported Big Bill Haywood and his IWW, the political campaigns of Eugene V. Debs and vigorously argued for birth control and women’s suffrage.

Until closed by the government in 1917 for its anti-war and “anti-government” platform, The Masses featured a chorus of militant voices including such writers as John Reed,  Crystal EastmanHubert HarrisonInez Milholland,  Mary Heaton VorseLouis UntermeyerRandolf BourneArturo GiovannittiMichael GoldHelen KellerWilliam English WallingAnna StrunskyCarl SandburgUpton SinclairFloyd Dell and Louise Bryant. It also featured a host ofpolitical artists including John SloanRobert HenriMary Ellen SigsbeeCornelia BarnsRockwell KentArt YoungBoardman RobinsonRobert MinorLydia GibsonK. R. ChamberlainHugo GellertGeorge Bellows and Maurice Becker.

At other times, the radical history of the LES has been marked not just by controversial speech or passive resistance alone, but by direct action that, on occasion, has exploded into violence captivating the watch of the rest of New York City as if this one hundred square block area is very much of a different world.

Thus, on January 13, 1874, over 7,000 largely unemployed workers gathered in Tompkins Square Park, in the largest demonstration New York City had ever seen, to demand financial assistance from the City during an economic depression.

Ten and a half acres in total, the square-shaped park is bounded on the north by East 10th Street, on the east by Avenue B, on the south by East 7th Street, and on the west by Avenue A. It is abutted by St. Marks Place to the west.

Without warning, not long after the demonstration began, some 1,600 policemen charged the park and dispersed most of the crowd beating people throughout it with clubs. Others, on horseback, cleared the surrounding streets. Some of the demonstrators fought back in vain… attempting to defend the square. Hundreds were injured.

Samuel Gompers, himself a resident of the LES,  who founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and was scheduled to address the demonstration that day, described the events and his experiences:

“. . . mounted police charged the crowd on Eighth Street, riding them down and attacking men, women, and children without discrimination. It was an orgy of brutality. I was caught in the crowd on the street and barely saved my head from being cracked by jumping down a cellar-way.”

Little more than a century later, on August 6, 1988, Tompkins Square Park exploded yet once again when police attacked a large group of peaceful demonstrators protesting a newly established curfew intended to clear the park of activists, homeless and so-called squatters that had made increasing use of Tompkins Square for demonstrations against the City and its misuse of local community space. Bystanders, activists, neighborhood residents and journalists were caught up in the violence.

Despite a brief lull in the fighting, the mêlée continued until 6 a.m. the next day. Numerous injuries resulted with over 100 complaints of police brutality lodged following the riot. One headline in the New York Times summed up the events: “Yes, a Police Riot.”

St. Marks Place

If Tompkins Square Park is the heart of the East Village, St. Marks Place is its soul. James Fenimore Cooper lived at 6 St. Marks from 1834-1836. While there, he published his epic “A letter To My Countrymen.” It proved to be his most scathing work of social criticism in which he denounces the “slavery of party affiliations.”

In 1854 The Nursery for the Children of Poor Women…the first of its kind… was set up in a rundown house on St. Marks.

In 1917, Leon Trotsky arrived on St. Marks Place where he wrote for the Novy Mir (“New World”), then based at 77 St. Marks, while living with his family across the street in an apartment at 80 St. Marks. Just a few years earlier, Berkman and Goldman opened the progressive Modern School at No. 16 St. Marks. Among its teachers were famed muckrakers Jack London and Upton Sinclair.

In the 1940’s, W.H. Auden resided on St. Marks.  In the 60’s, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin co-founded the Youth International Party (“Yippies”) at No. 30 St. Marks and Lenny Bruce lived for a while, on the famed street, at No. 13. In 1966, Andy Warhol housed his Exploding Plastic Inevitable collective above the Electric Circus nightclub at 19-25 St. Marks… installing the Velvet Underground as the house band. During the same period, Debbie Harry lived at 13 St. Marks. Often were the occasions when a vibrant sweep down St. Marks Place would mean a chance encounter with Jack KerouacWilliam S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg… a longtime area resident.

Elsewhere on the Lower East Side, throughout the 60’s, political activists, movements and artists alike continued its well established tradition of serving as a safe haven for cultural diversity, political dissidents and controversial speech.

For example, just up the block from what had been the home of Charlie Parker, stands the Christodora House.  Located on Avenue B, directly across the street from Tompkins Square Park, the Young Lords and Black Panther Party maintained their respective headquarters during this period.

The Young Lords, in particular, played an important role in what was, and remains, a heavily Latino neighborhood… creating community projects similar to those of the Black Panthers but with a Latino flavor. Such projects included a free breakfast program for children, the Emeterio Betances free health clinic, community testing for tuberculosis and lead-poisoning, free clothing drives, cultural events and Puerto Rican history classes. The female leadership in New York pushed the Young Lords to fight for women’s rights.

80 St. Marks Place

The venue for Sunday’s panel discussion has a storied history itself in the LES.  Beginning as a nightclub during Prohibition, 80 Saint Marks Place was home to performers that included such Jazz greats as Thelonious MonkHarry “Sweets” EdisonJohn Coltrane and Frank Sinatra.

After Theatre 80 was established in the former nightclub, its tradition of diversity in the arts continued as it launched the careers of famous performers including the likes of Gary BurghoffBob Balaban and Billy Crystal, who once worked there as an usher.

Richard “Lord” Buckley, described by Bob Dylan in his book “Chronicles” as “the hipster bebop preacher who defied all labels”, had his final performance at Theatre 80 when his cabaret card was seized by police from the vice squad and his show closed.  Outraged, Buckley went to the local precinct to demand his card’s return. Not long thereafter he ended up dead in St. Vincent’s Hospital of an apparent stroke. That brought about a movement which eventually ended the Cabaret Card system in New York City.

Not many years later, the legendary play “Hair” was cast at Theatre 80. During the 1970s and 80s it also served as a revival house where one could see vintage films. Among those who attended, often to see their own body of work was Gloria SwansonJoan CrawfordMyrna Loy, Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell.

More recently Theatre 80 presented a play by noted poet, playwright, author and racial equality activist, Sonya Sanchez.  Fred Hampton Jr. was often seen at the theatre to attend events for famed radical defense attorney, Lynne Stewart, who recently died having been politically persecuted and imprisoned for her life’s work.

Actively involved in a wide range of community issues, the theatre, not long ago, along with Patti Smith, sponsored a concert to raise money for the victims of the Second Avenue gas explosion which caused two deaths, injured at least nineteen people… four critically… and completely destroyed four buildings between East 7th Street and St. Marks Place. It has held a number of so-called “truther” forums that explored the events of 9-11… an issue of burning interest to the local community.

Come this Sunday, the panel discussion will proceed in the ideal venue in the perfect community.  To be sure, at times, its participants will surely say things that may offend the sensibilities of some in the audience. On occasion, panel members will disagree with one another as the market place of ideas is not a group-speak but rather a challenge to explore diverse and often competing thoughts in the pursuit of truth.

Ideas may sting, they may hurt, and they may challenge us to explore issues that can cause great personal discomfort. That’s precisely what they are intended to do. There is no question that while the clash of ideas causes pain; the suppression of ideas causes greater harm… and sometimes pain is the stretch of growing.

Thanks to the refusal of Lorcan Otway, owner of Theatre 80, to surrender to howls of a few, join us this Sunday, April 30 at 5PM in the heart of the ongoing American evolution at Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place in the Lower East Side of New York City.

Will Jordan get involved in the southern of Syria? هل يتورّط الأردن في جنوب سورية؟

Will Jordan get involved in the southern of Syria?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It was not a coincidence that Daraa in the south of Syria was chosen to launch the fire ball, which became a world war on Syria, and it was not a coincidence the formation of the US operations room which is known by MOC in Jordan which organizes and trains the militants to fight in Syria, before Washington decided to be present directly under the cover of the fighting ISIS in the northern of Syria. The Syrian south forms the geopolitical entry to have control over the capital of Damascus and the Syrian borders with the Occupied Golan, which means what is related to the concept of the Israeli security which was and still the plea of the continuation of the war on terrorism.

All the attempts of organizing and assembling the militants to achieve the desired goals to threaten the security of the Syrian capital or to provide a real security belt for Israel have failed, despite the fact that the number of the armed groups became tens of thousands. It seems clear for the operations room of the war on Syria that what has not been achieved in the conditions of the rise of the armed groups and their progress will not be attainable in the conditions of their regression and the start of their decline despite the attempts of revival, either through the US strike at Al Shuairat Airport or through the threat to open the southern front under a Jordanian-Israeli-American- British partnership.

The Israelis who are supposed to be the owners of the main interest in forming the southern canton that is similar to the northern canton formed by both  the Americans and the Turks in the northern of Syria and was the farce of the Security belt sponsored by Moshe Ya’alon since he was the minister of the war, and nothing has left  of it but some Israeli bombs that were falling to protect A Nusra front in the depth of the Syrian south, and which are falling today near the border line, tried for several times to undermine the deterrence equations, but they were frustrated because these equations proved their stability, once on the day of their first raid on Quineitra and the martyrdom of Jihad Mughniyeh and the response in Shebaa’s farms, and in the two consecutive times for launching the Syrian missiles on their planes and their recognition that the equations change contrary to their interests.

The Saudis after getting the US approval tried to cover the presence of Al Nusra from the gate of Damascus’s invasion and the countryside of Hama, but their failure was abject, the victories of the Syrian army are still rolling. The Americans and the British people did not seem ready for more than sending special operations units under the slogan of war on ISIS, to entrust Jordan with a process to organize it and to cover the movement of the armed groups which were gathered and organized on the Syrian borders. It is an attempt to extract a part of the geography of the Syrian south under the title of safe areas for the Syrian immigrants as Turkey did, but the result will be the loss of Jordan and its falling into the trap that may lead to repercussions inside the borders and maybe in the capital. Syria today is different from yesterday and the international and the regional situation has changed radically. What is related to Israel has different considerations. So did the American and the British want to embroil Jordan in order to make the Jordanian territories a joint area that the units of ISIS which flee from Mosul and Raqqa across the Syrian and the Iraqi deserts can enter to?

 Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 


هل يتورّط الأردن في جنوب سورية؟

أبريل 25, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– لم يكن مجرد صدفة أن يقع الاختيار على درعا جنوب سورية لإطلاق كرة النار التي صارت حرباً عالمية على سورية، ولا من باب الصدفة أيضاً إنشاء غرفة عمليات أميركية عرفت بغرفة الموك في الأردن تتولى تنظيم وتدريب المسلحين للقتال في سورية، قبل أن تقرر واشنطن الانتشار المباشر تحت غطاء قتال داعش شمال سورية، فالجنوب السوري يشكل المدخل الجيوسياسي للإمساك بالعاصمة دمشق وبالحدود السورية مع الجولان المحتل، وبالتالي خط الاتصال بمفهوم الأمن «الإسرائيلي» الذي كان ولا يزال حذر مواصلة الحرب على سورية.

– فشلت كل محاولات تنظيم وتجميع المسلحين للدرجة التي تسمح بتحقيق الأهداف المرجوة بتهديد أمن العاصمة السورية، أو توفير حزام أمني حقيقي لـ«إسرائيل»، رغم بلوغ الجماعات المسلحة أرقاماً بعشرات الآلاف، ويبدو واضحاً لغرفة عمليات الحرب على سورية أن ما لم يتم تحقيقه في ظروف صعود الجماعات المسلحة وتقدمها، لن يكون بالمقدور تحقيقه في ظروف هبوطها وبدء انحدارها، رغم محاولات الإنعاش التي تلقتها سواء، بالضربة الأميركية لمطار الشعيرات، أو بالتهديد بفتح الجبهة الجنوبية بشراكة أردنية «إسرائيلية» أميركية بريطانية.

– حاول «الإسرائيليون» الذين يفترض أنهم صاحب المصلحة الرئيسية بتشكيل كانتون جنوبي يشبه الكانتون الشمالي الذي أنشأه كل من الأميركيين والأتراك شمال سورية، وكانت مهزلة الحزام الأمني الذي رعاه موشي يعالون منذ كان وزيراً للحرب، ولم يتبقّ منه إلا بضع قذائف إسرائيلية كانت تتساقط لحماية جبهة النصرة في عمق الجنوب السوري وصارت تتساقط اليوم قرب خط الحدود، وعندما حاول «الإسرائيليون» مرات كسر معادلات الردع أصيبوا بالإحباط لتكريسها وتثبيتها، يوم غارتهم الأولى على القنيطرة واستشهاد جهاد مغنية والردّ في مزارع شبعا، وفي المرتين المتتاليتين لإطلاق الصواريخ السورية على طائراتهم، واعترافهم بأن المعادلات تتغير بعكس مصالحهم.

– حاول السعوديون بعد الحصول على الموافقة الأميركية تغطية حضور النصرة من بوابة غزوة دمشق وريف حماة وكان الفشل الذريع، ولا تزال انتصارات الجيش السوري تتدحرج، ولا يبدو أن الأميركيين والبريطانيين مستعدون لأكثر من إرسال وحدات عمليات خاصة، تحت شعار الحرب على داعش، لإسناد عملية يريدون للأردن تولّي مهمة تنظيمها وتغطية حركة الجماعات المسلحة التي تمّ تجميعها وتنظيمها لعبة الحدود السورية، ومحاولة اقتطاع جزء من جغرافيا الجنوب السوري، والمشروع تحت عنوان المناطق الآمنة للنازحين السوريين كما فعلت تركيا، لكن النتيجة ستكون خسارة الأردن ووقوعه في فخ قد يؤدي لتداعيات داخل الحدود وربما في العاصمة، فسورية اليوم غير الأمس، والوضع الدولي والإقليمي تغيّرا جذرياً، وما يتصل بـ«إسرائيل» حساباته مختلفة، فهل يريد الأميركي والبريطاني توريط الأردن لجعل الأراضي الأردنية مشاعاً تدخله وحدات داعش الهاربة من الموصل والرقة عبر الباديتين السورية والعراقية؟

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israel Points Fingers At Assad While Stockpiling Its Own Chemical Weapons

Pot And Kettle: Israel Points Fingers At Assad While Stockpiling Its Own Chemical Weapons 

While Israel has been quick to condemn Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, the apartheid country has consistently refused to ratify the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, despite having the largest stockpile of WMDs in the Middle East.

Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for white phosphorous burns

In this Jan. 11, 2009, photo. Palestinian Akram Abu Roka is treated for burns at Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip. Human Rights Watch issued a report March 25 2009 that contained evidence Israel fired white phosphorous shells indiscriminately over the densely populated Gaza Strip.

TEL AVIV– During a visit to Israel, Secretary of Defense James Mattis declared at a press conference that the United States is confident that the Syrian government continues to hold stockpiles of chemical weapons, telling reporters on Friday: “I can say authoritatively they [the Syrian government] have retained some [chemical weapons]. It’s a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and it’s going to have to be taken up diplomatically.”

Mattis declined to elaborate on the approximate quantities of chemical weapons he accused the Syrian government of possessing, arguing that doing so could compromise sources of intelligence.

Israeli officials claimed earlier this week that the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, still possesses up to three tons of chemical weapons – the first specific intelligence claim regarding Syria’s chemical weapon stockpiles following the controversial chemical weapons attack that occurred in Syria’s Idlib Province earlier this month.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman – speaking alongside Mattis at the press conference – also refused to detail the latest accusations against the Assad regime, stating only that “we have 100 percent information that [the] Assad regime used chemical weapons against rebels.”

The Israeli government has not hesitated to accuse Syria of possessing and using chemical weapons. However, the country has also refused to ratify the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, despite having the largest arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Israel has also been caught using banned chemical weapons on several occasions, such as in Gaza and Lebanon. It has even occasionally admitted to doing so itself. But Israel has never been targeted by the international community for its use of chemical weapons, despite the fact that the U.S. has claimed it has a “moral obligation” to punish nations that do just that.

News coverage of Israel’s use of white Phosphorus on civilians during the 2014 assault on Gaza:

While the leaders of both the U.S. and Israeli militaries have asserted that Assad failed to declare all of Syria’s chemical weapons and have them destroyed, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed in 2016 that all Syrian government chemical weapons were destroyed. This conclusion was also corroborated by the U.S. government at the time, as well as by the Russian and Syrian governments.

In addition, the OPCW, whose fact-finding efforts have been active in Syria since 2013, has not found any reason to doubt this conclusion, as it still has yet to report its full findings regarding the Idlib gas attack. They have stated that sarin-like chemical weapons were likely used in the attack. Thus, the only sources suggesting that Syria continues to possess chemical weapons are anonymous intelligence sources referenced by two of the foreign governments most invested in the armed anti-Assad opposition within Syria.

As MintPress has previously reported, the gas attack that took place in early April is strikingly similar to a 2013 gas attack that pushed Assad to destroy the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stores. While intelligence provided by the U.S.-led coalition has also blamed Assad for the 2013 attack, former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and Professor Theodore Postol of MIT published a report a year later finding that the intelligence blaming Assad’s forces for the attack was grossly inaccurate.

Award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh later revealed through U.S. intelligence that the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, known as the al-Nusra Front, had the means, motive and opportunity to carry out the attack themselves.

The Idlib gas attack, which also took place in a region dominated by al-Nusra, shares many of the same hallmarks as the 2013 incident, as even mainstream media reports admit that Daesh (ISIS) and other insurgent groups active in Syria possess chemical weapons. Some chemical weapons experts have also argued that the attack never happened in the first place, claiming that it was staged.

However, these latest remarks from Mattis and Lieberman are likely setting the stage to blame the Syrian government for any future chemical weapon attacks within the nation – attacks that could be used to justify foreign military intervention. Russian intelligence warned not long after the Idlib gas attack that foreign-funded opposition rebels in Syria were preparing to carry out a chemical weapon attack on Syria, leading Putin to say at a press briefing: “we have information from various sources that such provocations — and I cannot call them anything else — are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including in the southern suburbs of Damascus, where they intend to plant some substance and blame the official Syrian authorities for its use.

Mattis’ recent statements suggest that if the Syrian government is blamed for a future chemical weapons attack, the U.S. could take military action against the Assad regime. He stated during Friday’s briefing that the Syrian government “would be ill-advised to try to use any [chemical weapons] again, we made that very clear with our strike.” Israel, which bombed Syrian government positions just this past weekend, would support the U.S. in any such action and perhaps join in, as Netanyahu called the U.S. strike on Syria a “forthright deed” aimed at stopping the use of chemical weapons

Boris “the clown” Johnson says UK willing to ignore International Law & join in with illegal air strikes against Syria

UK prepared to join strikes against Assad, says foreign secretary #SyriaWar

Boris Johnson also suggested that parliamentary approval might not be necessary

Johnson has said it would be ‘very difficult’ to say no, if the US asked for help (AFP)

The UK is prepared to take part in air strikes against the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, were the US to do so again, the British foreign secretary said Thursday.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Boris Johnson said that, if asked by the US, “I think it would be very difficult for us to say no”.

“I think it would be very difficult if the United States has a proposal to have some sort of action in response to a chemical weapons attack, and if they come to use and ask for our support,” Johnson said, “whether it is with submarine-based cruise missiles in the Med or whatever it happens to be … in my view, and I know this is also the view of the prime minister, it would be very difficult for us to say no”.

He also suggested that it would not be necessary to seek parliamentary approval to do so.

The UK parliament will soon sit in recess for six weeks, in the run up to a general election on 8 June.

Asked if going to parliament for approval for strikes was a precondition, Johnson said: “As I say, I think it would be very difficult for us to say no. How exactly we were able to implement would be for the government and the prime minister to decide.

“But if the Americans were once again to be forced by the actions of the Assad regime – and, don’t forget, it was Assad who unleashed murder upon his own citizens, weapons that were banned almost 100 years ago – if the Americans choose to act again, and they ask us to help, I think it will be very difficult to say no.”

In 2013, much anticipated US air strikes against Assad positions were called off after the UK’s then prime minister David Cameron failed to secure the necessary parliamentary support.

Earlier this month, the US launched cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in central Syria, in response to a chemical weapons attack earlier in the week, blamed by the West on the Syrian government.

Assad and his allies have consistently denied involvement, but Western intelligence agencies have found that the Syrian government carried out the sarin gas attack in Idlib, killing at least 87 civilians.

“There was unquestionably an attack using sarin gas against innocent civilians,” Johnson said on Thursday

WATCH: Settlers (Jewish terrorists) attack Palestinian school, harass students

Source

Settlers are caught on video throwing stones at a Palestinian school in Burin, and a settlement security guard fires his gun into the air. But the soldiers who arrive on the scene take no action against the attackers. 

By Yael Marom

School children in the West Bank village of Burin were harassed and attacked by settlers who threw stones at them and even fired a gun in the air last month, according to witness testimonies and video footage provided by B’Tselem.

In the late morning on Thursday March 16, two settlers approached the school, one of whom climbed the fence on the school’s perimeter and started photographing and cursing at the children in the playground. Several students responded by throwing stones, while their teachers tried to get them to go back inside to the classrooms

The footage, shot by a B’Tselem volunteer whose son is a pupil at the school, shows the settlers as they are moving back slightly from the school, at which point they are joined by a third settler. He is armed, and seems to be a member of the security team from the nearby Yitzhar settlement. As the video shows, they begin throwing stones in at the school and the armed settler fires into the air.

Soldiers from a nearby IDF outpost can then be seen arriving and standing beside the settlers, who hadn’t covered their faces. From the video footage, they appear to be having a calm discussion. The soldiers don’t arrest the settlers or even send them away from the school. Instead, according to witness testimony, someone from the army’s District Coordination and Liaison Office called the school principal, who then went outside to talk with the soldiers.

The soldiers showed the principal the photos that the settler who climbed the fence had taken earlier, and claimed that the students had been throwing stones at cars on a nearby road. Around 30 minutes later, teachers began sending students home in order to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

The soldiers’ conduct, B’Tselem said, “emphasizes once again that the military’s role in the West Bank — with regular backing from its senior ranks — is to almost exclusively serve the settlers. It’s not just that the soldiers do nothing to protect Palestinian residents, as is their duty; they also repeat the settlers’ claims.”

And indeed, incidents involving gangs of radical settlers attacking Palestinians with no intervention from the army are routine in the West. Most Israeli citizens ignore daily settler violence, which itself complements the structural violence meted out by the army in order to control the occupied territories.

Masked settlers attack Ta'ayush activists near al-Auja, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Screenshot)

Masked settlers attack Ta’ayush activists near al-Auja, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Screenshot)

 

On October 5, 2015, for example, dozens of masked settlers were filmed descending from Yitzhar towards Burin, throwing stones and setting fields on fire, all under the watch of an army patrol. A few months prior, IDF soldiers fired tear gas at students in the same school in Burin, as they were taking morning roll call. In November 2014, settlers from Yitzhar were again caught on camera heading towards the village of Urif and attacking with stones, bars and burning tires, again took place under the noses of Israeli soldiers.

Last Friday, several left-wing activists with Ta’ayush came under attack from a group of settlers armed with clubs and stones. The activists, who were in the al-Auja area of the Jordan Valley to accompany Palestinian shepherds who were being threatened by Israelis from the nearby radical Baladim settlement outpost, were themselves physically assaulted.

The following day, groups of settlers from Yitzhar, near Nablus, descended on the villages of Urif and Huwwara and attacked Palestinian residents, smashed car windows, damaged property and reportedly uprooted and set fire to olive trees.

In each instance, Israeli police and soldiers arrived on the scene during or just after the violence, and made no arrests. An IDF officer who was attacked by the settlers on the scene of the disturbance in the Jordan Valley was the only incident to have provoked a response from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

A representative of the IDF Spokesperson dismissed the video footage published here, saying that the “the editing of the film is biased and doesn’t reflect the reality.”

“On March 6, 2017, two Palestinians threw stones at cars on Route 60. The security coordinator of the small Yitzhar settlement and another resident who had stones thrown at them started to chase the suspects,” the IDF response continued. “During the chase they arrived at an Arab school close to where the stones had been thrown at them. The settlement security coordinator responded by firing into the air. An IDF unit arrived at the school immediately after in order to prevent further stone-throwing coming from the school.”

The IDF Spokesperson did not address the stone throwing by the settlers. The IDF likely believes ts duty is to stop Palestinians throwing stones by any means necessary, unless settlers are the ones doing the throwing. As we already know, the only stones the army considers potentially lethal are those thrown by Arabs.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Going Rabid

On Monday, April 25th, the AP headlined, «US general in Afghanistan suggests Russia arming the Taliban» and reported that U.S. Pentagon chief James «Mad Dog» Mattis was accusing Russia of violating the sovereignty of unnamed nation(s) and was supplying weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan — the very same group that the U.S. back in 1979 had begun arming in Pakistan so that the Taliban would invade Afghanistan and lure Soviet forces into Afghanistan, so as to make the Soviets «bleed» there, as the U.S. itself had bled in its Vietnam War. The U.S. National Security Advisor at that time went to Pakistan and rallied the Taliban there by saying «Your cause is right, and God is on your side!»

Mattis was also quoted in this news-report as saying, «We’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries».

The United States has, in fact, invaded Syria — routinely violating the sovereignty of that country. It’s aggression, in order to overthrow Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, who is allied with Russia. The U.S. also has been protecting any jihadist group in Syria that cooperates with Al Qaeda to overthrow Assad(The U.S. never abandoned the Cold War, but Russia did; and, ever since Russia did, in 1991, the U.S. government has secretly had a plan in place to bring every country that was allied with or part of the Soviet Union, except for Russia itself, into NATO or otherwise under control by the American aristocracy, and finally to take over Russia itself.) Syria consequently requested Russia to assist in defending the survival of its internationally-recognized-as-legal government, so as to prevent its downfall and replacement by the jihadist forces that the U.S. and its Saudi, Qatari and Turkish allies have been trying to replace by imposing a fundamentalist-Sunni, Al Qaeda approved, regime. Whereas the presence of Russia’s military in Syria was requested by the legal government and is therefore legal, America’s is not — the U.S. is instead officially an «invader» there — and yet Mattis is saying that the U.S. will impose international law against Russia, for vague allegations by Mattis of Russia’s «denying the sovereignty of other countries» — which the U.S. routinely does, and which it did excruciatingly in Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, and Syria since 2011, just to mention a few of the nations that the U.S. has recently destroyed. The U.S. government has long been in the regime-change business, especially to replace any ally of Russia, by an enemy of Russia.

However, Mattis, rabid as he is, is less rabid than is U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. On April 13th, Eli Lake of Bloomberg News bannered «Trump Said No to Troops in Syria. His Aides Aren’t So Sure». He reported that,

«Trump’s top advisers have failed to reach consensus on the Islamic State strategy. The White House and administration officials say Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and General Joseph Votel, who is in charge of U.S. Central Command, oppose sending more conventional forces into Syria. Meanwhile, White House senior strategist Stephen Bannon has derided McMaster to his colleagues as trying to start a new Iraq War, according to these sources. … Two sources told me one plan would envision sending up to 50,000 troops. … Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, opposed sending conventional forces into a complicated war zone, where they would be targets of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Iran and Russia. In Flynn’s brief tenure, he supported a deal with Russia to work together against the Islamic State and al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, similar to a bargain Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry’s tried and failed to seal with Moscow».

The reason that Kerry «failed to seal [the deal] with Moscow» is that the deal was reached on 9 September 2016 by Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but was destroyed by Obama eight days later by his bombing Syria’s army at Der Zor to allow ISIS to overrun the place.

Trump is taking over where Obama left off.

Russian Television reported (and U.S. ‘news’ media refused to report) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on April 6th, two days after the alleged sarin attack, as essentially demanding Putin’s capitulation, regarding the Syrian war:

«’It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their support for Bashar al-Assad.’ Tillerson added. Asked if the US will lead a regime change effort in Syria, Tillerson said that ‘those steps are underway.’»

Russians got the message, even if Americans did not. In other words, they know that the Trump Administration is continuing what had originally been the Obama Administration’s objective, prior to Russia’s entry into the war on Assad’s side on 30 September 2015: regime-change in Syria. The Trump Administration is apparently willing to go to war against Russia in order to remove Assad and replace him with a leader who is supported by the U.S., Sauds, and America’s other allies in the war to replace Syria’s existing government.

It’s not only Mattis who is «rabid». So is his President, Trump; and, if the even more rabid H.R. McMaster gets his way, so too will be the entire world.

Pleasing America’s «military-industrial complex» is hard to do, but Trump’s Administration is trying hard to out-do its predecessors, at that task

israel Aids ISIS

Israel Aids ISIS

by Stephen Lendman

Washington created and supports ISIS, along with other anti-government terrorists in Syria and elsewhere.
NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional rogue states supply them with weapons and other material support.
So does Israel. In June 2015, the Times of Israel quoted former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, saying “(w)e’ve assisted (anti-government terrorist groups in Syria on) two conditions. That they don’t get too close to (Israel’s) border, and…don’t touch the Druze.”
Israel provides hospital treatment for hundreds, maybe thousands, of terrorist fighters, calling it “humanitarian assistance,” according to Ya’alon, adding it’s “not in their interest” to publicize Israeli aid – including weapons and munitions supplied, along with Israeli air strikes, he failed to explain.
On April 24, FARS News reported increased US/UK/Israeli aid to al-Nusra terrorists – aiming “to create an autonomous region in Southern Syria, but the plan is confronted by Iran and Russia’s intensified intelligence and military operations.”
At the same time, Washington supports Kurdish fighters and terrorist groups in northern Syria. “Israel is (providing) logistical, intelligence and medical support for terrorist groups, and the Israel-West-Jordan operations room is supervising (their) activities.”
Russia, Damascus and Tehran oppose the establishment of autonomous regions in southern and northern Syria, supporting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On April 24, the American Herald Tribune said “Ya’alon has admitted to a tacit (Israeli) alliance with ISIS.”
On Israeli television, he said “(w)ithin Syria there are many factions: the regime, Iran, the Russians, and even al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
“In such circumstances, one must develop a responsible, carefully-balanced policy by which you protect your own interests on the one hand, and on the other hand you don’t intervene.”
“Because if Israel does intervene on behalf of one side, it will serve the interests of the other; which is why we’ve established red lines.”
“Anyone who violates our sovereignty will immediately feel the full weight of our power. On most occasions, firing comes from regions under the control of the regime.”
“But once the firing came from ISIS positions, and it immediately apologized.”
Israel has a longstanding alliance of convenience with regional terrorist groups and rogue states – including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt.
In December 2014, The Jerusalem Post said a “UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (report) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.”
Fact: All so-called anti-Assad rebel groups are terrorists. No moderates exist. All commit gruesome atrocities, including CW attacks – toxins supplied by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Fact: Pentagon contractors train terrorists in use of CWs. They make some on their own.
Western media suppress what’s most important to know about ongoing war in Syria. The country was invaded. Conflict isn’t civil. All anti-government forces are terrorists. No moderate rebels exist.
Washington, Israel and their rogue allies want regime change, Syrian sovereignty destroyed. Peace talks since 2012 accomplished nothing because Washington and Israel want another imperial trophy, Iran isolated ahead of plans to oust its government.
Russia is the only major power standing in the way of achieving these disturbing objectives. Putin is on the right side of history, resisting imperial lawlessness.
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