UK approves Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to US

June 17, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

In a blow to press freedom around the world, London bows to US pressure and approves the extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

A dark day for press freedom: UK approves Assange’s extradition to US

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the US government’s request to extradite Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, according to her department.

The interior minister “must sign an extradition order if there are no grounds to prevent the (extradition) order from being made,” and the courts had found none. Assange has 14 days to file an appeal, according to the Home Office. 

A dark day for press freedom

In a tweet, WikiLeaks wrote that his extradition is a “dark day for press freedom and for British democracy The decision will be appealed.”

US reviews Israeli plans for strikes against Iranian targets in Syria

16 Jun 2022

Source: Wall Street Journal

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US pre-screens raids launched by “Israel” against Syria.

US al-Tanf military base in Syria.

“Israel” secretly coordinates with the US on many of the airstrikes it conducts in Syria, according to current and former US officials.

What was the US role in Syria?

Behind the curtains, current and former officials say that for several years, many Israeli missions have been reviewed in advance for approval by senior officials at US Central Command and the Pentagon.

This means that the formal coordination was previously unknown, and the secrecy surrounding it demonstrates how Washington has sought to support its Israeli ally.

The US review, according to the WSJ, mainly focuses on Israeli missions in eastern Syria that pass close to the US occupation’s Al-Tanf base.

The vast majority of those Israeli airstrikes were authorized by the United States, but the officials claim the US military does not assist “Israel” in selecting its targets. The US does not review all Israeli operations in Syria they claimed. It is a “well-developed and deliberate process,” one former US official said. This cannot but mean that the operations they choose to review are targeted and singled out. 

Read next: The US, a bandit in Syria

“In northeast Syria and in the vicinity of al-Tanf, the US mission is solely securing the enduring defeat of ISIS, working with our local partners,” a US defense official claimed. “We won’t discuss the details of the steps we take to reduce the risk to our forces and to the mission.”

Read next: Al-Mayadeen sources: US Military base in Al-Tanf Targeted with Missiles

US direct intervention 

While the US has generally approved the strikes under review, current and former officials claim the US has occasionally asked “Israel” for changes.

The US urged “Israel” to pause its strikes at least twice in order to avoid complicating the battle space while the US military was engaged in “sensitive operations”, they claimed.

However, US officials say that a portion of Israeli airstrikes don’t pass near Al-Tanf base and thus aren’t reviewed by the US, including the latest Israeli aggression on Damascus Airport

As per the WSJ report, the US military also doesn’t review Israeli airstrikes in Iraq, which “Israel” hasn’t officially confirmed, but US officials say have occurred.

Read next: Israeli occupation launches aggression on Damascus

What is the US doing in Syria?

Besides being an occupation that backs armed groups for its own operations and agenda in the region, the US occupation forces continue to steal Syrian oil by smuggling it from their bases in Syria to their bases in Iraq.

Convoys of tens of vehicles, including tankers loaded with stolen oil from oil fields occupied by US forces in Syria, are frequently seen crossing toward northern Iraq, in addition to trucks loaded with military equipment.

The US interference in the crisis-stricken Middle Eastern country continues to be exposed, from occupation to military agenda and the theft of oil.

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The Empire Strikes Back: Imperialism’s global war on multipolarity

June 15, 2022

This is a series of talks where each talk is short and one can enjoy the long video in shorter pieces.  An absolute must-listen is the convenor’s (Radhika Desai) opening statement which explains so clearly the concept of multi-polarity or pluripolarity.

The second one by Victor Gao brings a new view to how China perceives these changes in our world.

Ben Norton from Multipolarista takes a look at the influence of socialism in the Belt and Road Initiative.

All of these are worth listening to, and it is easy as the presentations are short, and one can come back to it.

Topics include: * NATO, AUKUS and the military infrastructure of the New Cold War * The evolving China-Russia relationship and the West’s response * The Biden administration’s undermining of the One China Principle * Solomon Islands and the West’s plan for hegemony in the Pacific * NATO’s plan for Ukraine and how this impacts China * Prospects for sovereign development in the Global South

Speakers: * Victor Gao (Vice President, Center for China and Globalization) * Ben Norton (Editor, Multipolarista) * Li Jingjing (Reporter, CGTN) * Jenny Clegg (Author, ‘China’s Global Strategy: Toward a Multipolar World’) * Danny Haiphong (Author, ‘American Exceptionalism and American Innocence’) * Chris Matlhako (SACP Second Deputy General Secretary) * Mustafa Hyder Sayed (Executive Director, Pakistan-China Institute) * Professor Ding Yifan (Senior Fellow, Taihe Institute, China) * Ju-Hyun Park (Writer and organizer, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development) * Rob Kajiwara (President, Peace For Okinawa Coalition) * Sara Flounders (United National Antiwar Coalition, International Action Center) * Yury Tavrovsky (Chairman, Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development)

Yemen Truce Offers Rare Opportunity to Pivot toward Peace, Shouldn’t Be Lost – UN Envoy

June 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen hailed the extension of a two-month nationwide truce between Saudi-led coalition and the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, stating that the ceasefire “offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost.”

“The truce continues to deliver tangible benefits to the Yemeni people. And as of today, eight round trips flights between Sanaa Airport and Amman and Cairo have taken off. Hudaydah Port continues to see increased and regular flow of fuel, which is considerably easing chronic fuel shortages,” Hans Grundberg said during a meeting of the UN Security Council session in New York on Tuesday.

“In addition to introducing measures that help alleviate civilian suffering in Yemen, the United Nations-mediated truce contributes to significant military de-escalation and reduction in civilian casualties across Yemen and beyond its borders,” he added.

“However, we still see record civilian casualties from landmines as civilians moved through areas that were previously inaccessible due to fighting before the truce. The truce has also enabled the United Nations to convene direct discussions between the warring sides for the first time in years, and in Amman, Jordan last month, my Office convened two meetings for the military representatives of the parties to discuss setting up joint mechanism for addressing, managing, and preventing incidents that threaten de-escalation efforts,” the official said.

“The truce offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost,” Grundberg said.

The senior UN official called for the reopening of roads into the besieged southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition forces seized another Yemen-bound oil tanker carrying thousands of tons of fuel for the crisis-stricken country in flagrant breach of an ongoing UN-brokered ceasefire.

Essam al-Mutawakil, a spokesman for the Yemeni National Oil Company, said in a statement on Tuesday said the coalition did not allow the Princess Halima tanker, which was carrying 23,920 tons of gasoline, to dock at Yemen’s western port of Hudaydah and offload its cargo.

Mutawakil added that the ship was seized despite being inspected and cleared for the port call by the United Nations staff, and having obtained necessary entry permits.

He stressed that the Saudi-led coalition is still practicing piracy against oil tankers despite the fact that they have acquired entry permits from the United Nations.

Furthermore, a Yemeni military official said the Saudi-led coalition forces and their allied militants have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire at least 132 times during the past 24 hours.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

‘Israel’s’ Self-destruction Mechanism

June 11, 2022

By Staff | Ynet

Former director of the Zionist spy agency, Mossad, Tamir Pardo wrote in an analysis piece published by Ynet that there is much talk about the dangers ‘Israel’ is facing.

In the article entitled “Stopping the Clock on ‘Israel’s’ Self-destruction Mechanism,” Pardo said: “Some say Iran is the greatest threat, while others claim it is the Palestinians who pose a larger risk to our existence. But in my view, we ourselves are the greatest danger this ‘nation’ is faced with because of our tendency for self-destruction, which we have perfected over the recent years.”

Just like in days of old when faced with the Roman occupation, brother will kill brother, spilling blood across the land. The Roman legions stood by and waited patiently for the Jews to almost complete the work for them. We must stop this before the point of no return…, he urged his audience.

“Now we are polarized from within and our enemies are once more patiently waiting for an opportune moment to destroy us.”

After four consecutive election cycles, he went on to say, a new government was formed that had mustered a scant parliamentary majority, but those who have been ousted from power after 12 years refuse to recognize its legitimacy. They even refuse to address the prime minister by his title. The author also elaborated on his topic:

When a leader of a massive Knesset faction refuses to make even such a symbolic gesture, this shakes the foundations of our ‘democracy.’

That same opposition also boycotts each and every of the opposite side’s legislations. All oppositions can and must oppose government initiatives, but the current opposing bloc in the Knesset votes against laws vital to national security, public interest, and even its own ideology in violation of the basic social contract upon which the ‘democratic’ system is predicated.

Public discourse in ‘Israel’ is characterized by a lack of tolerance and by verbal abuse toward anyone holding a differing worldview.

The Knesset has shown itself to be a negative example of proper conduct and its behavior has seeped into ‘Israeli’ society.

Since 1967, ‘Israel’ has had no defined borders. In the 55 years that have passed since the Six-Day War, ‘Israeli’ governments, left and right, refused to annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into ‘Israeli’ territory.

Today, three generations of ‘Israelis’ have never known a different reality. We lack a strategy and cannot define the ‘state’ we hope to see in centuries to come.

No politician has been willing to state a goal for ‘Israel.’ Most just roll their eyes and avoid having to make a decision. None want to take the responsibility for territorial concessions, but all understand that annexation of the West Bank would lead to the demise of the Zionist dream…

Any Zionist can understand that without a Jewish majority, there can be no Jewish ‘state,’ as Pardo refers to it. “Nowadays, there are Jews who prescribe to the Zionist idea between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean and those who do not.”

The Hebrew word for border can be used to mean the physical boundary around a ‘country,’ but also the moral boundaries of normal behavior.

Intolerance of opposing views, violence in all its forms and sidelining of the gatekeepers of our ‘democracy’ are just part of the manifestations of our lack of boundaries, borne from avoiding the critical conundrum we all face: What kind of ‘Israel’ do we want to see and what are its borders?

Andrei Martyanov: Change of Narrative

May 29, 2022

Please visit Andrei’s website: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
and support him here: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=60459185

Amnesty urges UAE to free 10 inmates kept beyond sentences

 May 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

The ten UAE citizens were among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

Amnesty International called on the UAE, on Monday, to “immediately” release ten men who it said were being arbitrarily detained after serving their sentences.

They were detained “under the guise of counter-extremism counseling,” according to Amnesty.

The ten UAE citizens were among 69 nationals arrested in 2012 and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in 2013.

They were also among 94 defendants, including 13 women.

In a statement, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Lynn Maalouf said, “These men have already spent a decade behind bars for daring to speak out against the Emirati authorities or being perceived as political opposition, and now this injustice is being prolonged past their long-awaited release dates.” 

“UAE authorities must immediately release anyone detained beyond the completion of their prison sentence, and cease the unlawful practice of arbitrarily extending prison terms,” Maalouf stressed.

The sentence was based on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, which Amnesty International criticized as “grossly unfair”, slamming the charges as “bogus”.

According to the official WAM news agency at the time, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced 56 of the 94 defendants to ten years in prison each.

Five defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison each, while eight others who were tried in absentia were sentenced to 15 years, according to the report.

A total of 25 people, including all 13 women arrested during the crackdown, were acquitted.

Their trial was considered the largest in the UAE’s history.

This is clear proof that the UAE continues to violate serious human rights, including arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, repression of free expression, and violation of the right to privacy. 

Go deeper: The Pegasus Project: UAE as a Model

Furthermore, UAE has continued to deny stateless people the right to nationality, limiting their access to a variety of basic services. Death sentences were handed down by courts, and executions were reported.

The brutal invasion of Iraq: Media – he made an unfortunate mistake

May 19, 2022

This speaks for itself and needs no comment.

Kingdom of Blood: Saudi Regime Beheads Two Activists from Qatif Province

May 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Saudi kingdom of blood has yet another time committed a heinous crime against the peaceful activists of the Shia-populated Qatif province.

As part of a heavy-handed crackdown led by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] against political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners, the Riyadh regime executed two young men from the Qatif over trumped-up allegations of involvement in terrorist activities.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior alleged in a statement on Saturday that the death sentences were carried out against Hussein Ali Al Abu Abdullah and Mohammad Khodr al-Awami.

The ministry further claimed that the Saudi nationals “collaborated with terrorist groups, fomented unrest and insecurity in the country, possessed weapons, ammunition as well as rocket-propelled grenades and attempted to disrupt national security.”

Last month, two human rights organizations filed a complaint at the United Nations against arbitrary executions in Saudi Arabia, especially after the execution of dozens of prisoners in a single day in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights [ESOHR] and Reprieve, a UK-based non-profit organization of international lawyers and investigators, said the Riyadh regime openly declared its disregard for international principles as well as its commitments and obligations through the executions of 81 men, 41 of whom were Shia Muslims, in March.

Social media users have reported heavy deployment of Saudi security forces in the city of Qatif to crush any protest against the recent execution of scores of dissidents.

State news agency Saudi Press Agency said on March 12 that the authorities had executed 81 people in one day on a variety of offences.

The 2022 executions exceeded the total number of Saudi Arabia’s punishments by death throughout last year.

Back in early January 2016, Saudi authorities also executed 47 people, including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who had vociferously called for democracy in the kingdom and advocated anti-regime protests. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif, Eastern Province, in 2012.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed more than 900 prisoners in an increasing rate. In 2019 alone, Saudi Arabia set a record number of executions after authorities executed 184 people, despite a general decrease in the number of executions around the world.

Ever since MBS became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Human rights activists warn that Saudi officials are planning to execute over 40 teenagers over their participation in anti-regime protests in the Shia-majority Qatif region.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Interpreting Turkey’s Opposition To Finland & Sweden’s Planned NATO Membership

14 MAY 2022

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

The more that President Erdogan exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power.

Turkish President Erdogan said on Friday that his country isn’t supportive of Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership because of their governments’ backing of the terrorist-designated PKK. This Kurdish separatist group is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks across the decades, but its Syrian wing, the YPG, is regarded by the US-led West as a key ally against ISIS. Ankara and Washington’s polar opposite stances towards that branch are the reason why they began falling out in the middle of the last decade. This issue has once again come to the fore in light of two recent events.

The first is of course Finland and Sweden’s planned NATO membership, while the second is the US’ decision to waive its anti-Syrian sanctions in the YPG-controlled northeast of the Arab Republic. President Erdogan also expressed his opposition to that move on the same day that he condemned those two countries’ support of Kurdish terrorists. These developments created the opportunity for the Turkish leader to once again raise awareness of his country’s stance towards that group and its regional branches in the hopes of pressuring the US-led West to distance themselves from it.

The challenge that he’s forced to confront, however, is that his mutual defense ally considers terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists to be more important regional partners than his own country. The reason for this is that its Syrian branch serves as the US’ proxies for continuing its military occupation of the agriculturally and energy-rich northeastern region as well as its means for manipulating its stalled constitutional reform process. From the perspective of the US’ grand strategic interests, these objectives are considered to take precedence over retaining ties with its decades-long Turkish ally.

Although it’ll never be openly admitted, America might also be preparing to employ these same Kurdish groups as anti-Turkish proxies in the scenario that those countries drift further apart and Washington considers it advantageous to utilize them as a means for punishing its wayward ally. It’s this possibility that concerns Turkish strategists the most since it could prove to be extremely destabilizing for their geostrategically positioned civilization-state. That’s why President Erdogan uses every relevant opportunity to pressure the US-led West to cut off its Kurdish proxies.

It’s extremely unlikely that this well-intended campaign against America will ever succeed though, but it at the very least raises maximum global awareness about its unprincipled policy of literally endangering the security of its decades-long mutual defense ally all for the purpose of advancing its interests vis a vis Syria at Turkey’s expense. Furthermore, it should go without saying that the US’ European partners like Finland and Sweden are unlikely to change their governments’ policy of wholeheartedly supporting terrorist-designated Kurdish separatists because Washington exercises hegemonic influence over them.

Even so, Turkey can still hit those two countries where it hurts the most by continuing to talk about their scandalous support of the PKK. That’s because a disproportionate share of their influence is derived from their soft power, particularly the impression that they’re supposedly neutral, principled, and peaceful states that are shining examples in all respects for the entire international community. The dark reality, however, is that their backing of the PKK exposes them as American stooges. Moreover, it also suggests that their so-called “humanitarian policies” are actually anti-humanitarian to the core.

Finland and Sweden essentially consider the Kurds to be a so-called “oppressed minority” in West Asia, including in Turkey. Their unipolar liberal-globalist worldview is such that they believe that those people deserve the US-led West’s full support as a result, to which end they aim to disguise their tacit endorsement of those separatist-terrorist Kurdish groups like the PKK on a so-called “humanitarian basis”. Its Syrian wing’s rebranding as anti-ISIS fighters who saved their people from their terrorist rivals’ planned genocide of them endeared the PKK in the hearts and minds of many Westerners.

This in turn facilitated the US-led West’s efforts to continue supporting them in all respects on a false humanitarian pretext. The more that President Erdogan talks about this and exposes the manipulative means through which countries like those two NATO aspirants support terrorism against the Turkish people, the more that their international reputations will be damaged, which will in turn harm their influence seeing as how Finland and Sweden’s are disproportionately derived from their soft power. In other words, this is an asymmetrical response to the threat that they pose to his country’s security.

That said, it remains unclear whether Turkey will formally block their NATO membership, which could provoke an intensification of the US-led West’s years-long Hybrid War against it that he might not be prepared for fully defending against at this time. If he ultimately supports their applications, then it can be considered that he did so knowing that the alternative could have been an exacerbation of the threats that his formal allies are nowadays posing to Turkey’s national security. In any case, it’s clear that Turkey’s troubled ties with the US-led West won’t improve anytime soon no matter what happens.

Turkey Opposes Sweden and Finland Joining NATO

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Turkey has opposed the alliance intentions of the Scandinavian nations, claiming they are like ‘a guesthouse for terrorists’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared on Friday that Ankara opposes the possibility of Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO because he believes the two Scandinavian nations harbor ‘terrorists’.

By ‘terrorists’, the Turkish leader meant militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist movement operating in southeastern Turkey, and members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), an outlawed Turkish communist party.

The statement came after Helsinki and Stockholm demonstrated their intention to join the US-led military alliance.

“We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland [joining NATO], but we are not favorable towards it. At this point, it is not possible for us to have a positive approach,” the Turkish president told journalists.

“Scandinavian countries are unfortunately almost like guesthouses for terrorist organizations. PKK and DHKP/C are nested in Sweden and the Netherlands. And I’m going even further, in their parliaments,” he added.

In April, concerned with Russia’s military action in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland started to consider dropping their neutral status and joining NATO. Top Finnish officials have already supported the initiative. Sweden is set to decide on its accession to the military bloc on May 15.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that the US-led organization would be eager to include both nations and would make the accession process move quickly.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that it regards the expansion of NATO as a threat to its national security. The Kremlin has also warned Sweden and Finland that they would compromise their security, rather than improve it, by joining the alliance.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

RT

‘Israel’ Preparing Teams to Assassinate Hamas Leaders Abroad

May 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Zionist occupation regime has reportedly told foreign allies that it is readying teams to carry out the targeted killing of leaders of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement group who live abroad.

Unnamed intelligence sources told Britain’s The Times newspaper in an article published Monday that a “clear message” needed to be sent to Hamas.

While the resistance group has not taken responsibility for most of the operations carried out since March 22 that have left 19 ‘Israeli’ occupiers killed, Hamas leader in Gaza Yehya Sinwar has repeatedly called for Palestinians to retaliate in the form of operations targeting the ‘Israeli’ occupiers. Hamas then has publicly praised the perpetrators, encouraging more operations.

The report said that any potential targeted killings are more likely to take place in other countries in the region where Hamas leaders live, with Lebanon and Qatar given as examples.

The report said targets could include Saleh al-Arouri, a deputy leader of Hamas who splits his time between Qatar, Turkey and Lebanon and is in charge of West Bank operations.

The newspaper also named Zaher Jabarin, a senior figure in Hamas.

The report said that Hamas is thought to have been warned of the potential resumption of targeted killings, by the intelligence agencies of a number of countries in Europe and the Middle East.

Normalization Mode On: ‘Israeli’ Aircraft Lands in Riyadh

 May 3, 2022 

By Staff

After taking off from Tel Aviv, ‘Israeli’ media reported that a private ‘Israeli’ jet of type 9H-JPC landed in Riyadh on Monday.

According to ‘Israeli’ Channel 11 correspondent Itay Blumental, a private executive jet, 9H-JPC, took off from the ‘Israeli’-occupied Palestinian territories and headed to Riyadh, making a diplomatic stop in Amman.

The ‘Israeli’ journalist said normalization is underway between Saudi Arabia and the ‘Israeli’ entity.

This is not the first time an ‘Israeli’ aircraft lands in Saudi Arabia, or ‘Israeli’ planes are allowed to pass in the kingdom’s airspace, especially amid the ongoing normalization between the two sides, though it hasn’t been officially announced yet.

Most recently, visits by Zionist figures to Saudi Arabia intensified, as it has been unveiled that many Saudi figures inside the kingdom are in contacts with ‘Israeli’ individuals.

In 2020, ‘Israeli’ media outlets confirmed that a bilateral meeting was held between former Zionist PM Benjamin Natanyahu and Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Saudis ’Let Down’ By US’ Declining Support for Yemen War

 May 3, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

A Saudi royal complained about the United States’ lack of commitment to defending the kingdom from retaliatory attacks by Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, even as Riyadh continues to violate a recent ceasefire deal.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, who is also a former Saudi intelligence chief, expressed disappointment about Washington’s declining support for Saudi Arabia, and said Riyadh feels “let down” by the United States in tackling security threats to the kingdom by the Yemeni resistance movement.

“Saudis consider the relationship as being strategic, but feel as being let down at a time when we thought that America and Saudi Arabia should be together in facing what we would consider to be a joint, not just irritant, but danger to the stability and security of the area,” the prince said in a video interview with Saudi newspaper Arab News published on Monday.

“We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, and perhaps at this time it’s one of the downs, particularly since the president of the United States in his election campaign said that he will make Saudi Arabia a pariah and of course he went on to practice what he preached,” Faisal added.

Ties between Washington and Riyadh have been shaky after US President Joe Biden took office and since the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents.

Shortly after taking office last year, the US president declared that he would end “American support for offensive operations in the war.” A year into his presidency, however, the White House keeps approving weapons sales to the Riyadh regime.

Hundreds of Americans have on several occasions held demonstrations in major cities to denounce the bloody Saudi-led war on Yemen, urging Congress to support a proposal that would end the “unconstitutional” US involvement in the aggression.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western states. The objective was to bring back to power a Riyadh-friendly regime and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

Shortly after the onset of the war, the regime in Riyadh also triggered a tight blockade on Yemen, where the population is in dire need of basic supplies such as food and medicine.

The Saudi-led war has stopped well short of all of its goals, despite killing hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

A ceasefire agreement between the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has been invading and occupying the war-ravaged country since 2015 and Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement was mediated by the United Nations on April 2, but Riyadh has on multiple occasions violated the truce by bombing civilian areas across the impoverished country.

Gazprom: Gas supply halted to Bulgaria, Poland until payment in rubles

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Gazprom announced it would halt Russian imports to Bulgaria and Poland until their dues are paid in rubles.

Russia gas to Poland resumes, but no word on Bulgaria.

Russia’s Gazprom announces the suspension of gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland due to the non-payment of dues in rubles.

Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Wednesday that it had completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria’s largest natural gas distribution company Bulgargaz and Polish oil and gas company PGNiG, as the companies failed to pay for gas in rubles.

As of the end of the business day on April 26, Gazprom Export had not received payments for gas supplies in April from Bulgargaz and PGNiG in rubles.

“Gazprom has completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz (Bulgaria) and PGNiG (Poland) due to non-payment in rubles … Gazprom Export has notified Bulgargaz and PGNiG of the suspension of gas supplies from April 27 until the payment is made in accordance with the procedure established by the decree (of Russian President Vladimir Putin],” the company said in a statement.

The energy giant added that it will reduce transit to third countries if Bulgaria and Poland begin to withdraw gas from the transit flow without authorization.

Earlier today, Russian gas shipments to Poland under the Yamal contract were interrupted today, Wednesday, according to data from European Union gas transmission operators, amid heightening fears that Russia may cut supply to the allies of Ukraine in what the latter refers to as “gas blackmail”.

Russia announced it would suspend gas imports to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday, following blasts in a breakaway region of neighboring Moldova that prompted Kiev to accuse Moscow of attempting to extend the Ukraine war into Europe.

In response to the draconian set of sanctions imposed on Russia following its operation, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom informed Poland and highly dependent Bulgaria that it would cut off supply.

Explosions targeting the state security ministry, a radio tower, and a military unit in neighboring Moldova’s Transnistria – held by Moscow’s forces for decades – occurred last week in response to a Kremlin commander’s accusations that Russian speakers in the nation were repressed.

Earlier, Russia had warned against the NATO expansion to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, calling it a life-or-death situation.

This raised concerns that Moldova could be next in Russia’s attempt to secure its borders against the NATO expansion in the region, contrary to all agreed-upon laws and covenants.

“Russia wants to destabilize the Transnistrian region,” Mykhaylo Podolyak, a Ukraine presidential aide, claimed.

“If Ukraine falls, tomorrow Russian troops will be at Chisinau’s gates,” he said, referring to Moldova’s capital.

The US expressed similar worries but stopped short of endorsing Kiev’s claim that Russia was to blame.

“We fully support Moldova’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Will the war keep extending? 

With armaments pouring into Ukraine, Germany declared Tuesday that it will supply anti-aircraft tanks, reversing its previously criticized cautious posture.

Britain will also push Kiev’s allies to “increase” military production, including tanks and planes, to assist Ukraine, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss calling for a “new approach” to fight Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine,” she is set to say, according to pre-released remarks.

“Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes — digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this,” she will add.

Truss will also urge Europe to cease Russian energy imports “once and for all,” depriving Moscow of a crucial source of leverage over its reliant western neighbors.

Bulgaria, which is nearly entirely reliant on Russia for its annual gas consumption, said it had received information from energy behemoth Gazprom that supplies would be suspended beginning Wednesday. 

Poland’s PGNiG gas company, too, announced that Moscow will turn off the taps, even though its Prime Minister stated that the country’s gas storage facilities were 76% full and that it was prepared to get necessary supplies from other sources.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine Weekly Update (07- 13 April 2022)

 April 14, 2022

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

Eight Palestinians, including 2 children and 2 women, were killed, and 48 others, including 6 children, a girl and 2 who lost their eyes, were wounded by Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF) fire while tens of others suffocated and sustained bruises in separate incidents in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. 

On 10 April 2022, a Palestinian woman was shot dead by IOF near an Israeli checkpoint in Husan, western Bethlehem.  More information available here.  On the same afternoon, IOF killed another woman in Hebron, claiming she stabbed an Israeli soldier near the Ibrahimi Mosque and killed another Palestinian after directly targeting him in al-Khader village, Bethlehem, claiming he threw  stones and Molotov Cocktails.  More information available here. 

On 11 April 2022, a child succumbed to wounds he sustained a day earlier in Jenin.  More information available  here.

On 13 April 2022, IOF killed a lawyer without justification while their troops withdrew from Nablus after conducting a widescale incursion in the city, wounding 3 Palestinians, including a child.  More details available here. In the afternoon, IOF killed a Palestinian and wounded 6 others during clashes when IOF withdrew from Silwad village in Ramallah.  During the incursion, IOF surrounded 2 houses; one was uninhabited, and opened fire at them, detaining the residents inside and then beating and arresting 3 of them. On the same afternoon, IOF opened fire and killed a child with several bullets in Husan village, western Bethlehem.  They detained his body and took him with them but few hours later his body was delivered.  IOF claimed that the child was targeted after he was seen trying to throw Molotov Cocktails at a military checkpoint in the area.

Most of them were victims of excessive use of force that accompanied suppression of peaceful protests and gatherings and they were as follows:

07 April: 4 fishermen were wounded with rubber bullets and then arrested by IOF when the latter chased 2 fishing boats sailing within the allowed fishing area (8 nautical miles ) off Rafah shore, southern Gaza Strip.  They were released the next day, but their boats were

confiscated.  Another chase recurred in the same area and IOF arrested 3 other fishermen and confiscated their boat.  A child sustained teargas canister shrapnel wounds in his hand, and another Palestinian was arrested in clashes erupted during IOF’s incursion into al-Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah.  In the afternoon, IOF again suppressed Palestinians gathered in Bab al-‘Amoud in occupied East Jerusalem and arrested 3 of them, including a child, after assaulting them.  This recurred the next day after setters gathered and chanted slogans against Arabs and Muslim; during which, IOF arrested and severely beat up a Palestinian.

08 April: 3 Palestinians were wounded, including 2 children, with rubber bullets during IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in Qalqilya.  A Palestinian child lost his eye when IOF directly targeted him with a rubber bullet during their suppression of protesters in northern East Jerusalem.  More details available here.  IOF wounded 3 Palestinians near Gate 104 near the annexation wall, northern Tulkarm, during their attempt to enter Israel for work.  In the afternoon, a Palestinian was wounded with a rubber bullet in his foot and 2 others were arrested, including a child, during clashes with IOF in Kafr Malek village in Ramallah.

09 April: 13 Palestinians, including a child and a girl, were wounded; 2 sustained serious wounds in clashes during IOF’s incursion into Jenin refugee camp to surround the house of the Palestinian who carried out the shooting in Tel Aviv in Jenin.  The area witnessed clashes between IOF and members of Palestinian armed groups; as a result, one of the latter was killed.  IOF arrested 2 Palestinians; one of them was wounded, and later withdrew. 

10 April: a Palestinian was wounded with a bullet in his waist and others suffocated in clashes during IOF’s incursion into Yabad village, Jenin.  IOF arrested 8 Palestinians after raiding their houses and 3 shops, damaging their contents, and later withdrew. A Palestinian also sustained bullet shrapnel wounds in his hand and 3 others were arrested in similar circumstances in the eastern neighborhood in Jenin.  Another Palestinian was wounded with a bullet in the right thigh in clashes during IOF’s incursion into al-Bireh, northern Ramallah.  Moreover, two Palestinians were arrested in clashes during IOF’s incursion into ‘Aqabet Jaber refugee camp in Jericho.

11 April: a child was wounded with a bullet in his right leg, and 9 Palestinians were arrested, including a national security officer, during IOF’s incursion into Kafr Qalil village and the down suburb adjacent to the village, eastern Nablus.

12 April: IOF wounded 4 Palestinian university students after raiding Khadouri University’s campus in Tulkarm.  In the next day, an Israeli Special Force raided the university in a civilian car and opened fire at a student, visitor, and a security officer whom they arrested after wounding him.  Further information available here.

13 April: 7 Palestinians were wounded, including one in critical condition and another lost his eye by a rubber bullet that penetrated his eye in clashes during IOF’s incursion into Bita village, southeastern Nablus. Also, IOF wounded a Palestinian near the annexation wall, southern Tulkarm, when they targeted workers in their attempt to infiltrate in order to work in Israel.  In the afternoon, a young man was wounded in his chest with shrapnel of a sound bomb fired by IOF in their incursion into Kobar village, Ramallah.  IOF arrested 4 Palestinians and later withdrew.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF opened fire 3 times at agricultural lands in access restricted areas, eastern Khan Younis. Also, five IOF shootings were reported on fishing boats mostly off the northern, southern, and western Gaza shores.

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 28 Palestinians, including 7 children and 2 women, and wounded 235 others, including 45 children, 2 women, 2 paramedics and 10 journalists: all in the West Bank, except 5 fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

This week, settlers carried out 9 attacks in the West Bank, wounding 6 Palestinians, including 2 with bullets, and damaging many vehicles. The details were as follows:

07 April: setters from “Beit El” settlement, northern al-Bireh, threw stones at the Palestinian car traveling on the main street adjacent to the settlement and leading to al-Jalazone refugee camp.  No injuries were reported.  On the same day, settlers from “Shiloh” settlement, eastern Ramallah, threw stones at the Palestinian cars traveling on Ramallah-Nablus main street.  no injuries were reported.

08 April: 2 Palestinians were wounded with bullets when settlers opened fire at the Palestinian vehicles in Tarmesi’yah village, Ramallah.  IOF’s patrols arrived and took the wounded to an Israeli hospital.  On the same day, a Palestinian vehicle sustained damages after settlers threw stones near Ras Karkar intersection, western Ramallah.  Also, settlers sneaked into Sinjil village, eastern Ramallah, and opened fire at a house.  No injuries were reported.

09 April:  a Palestinian sustained wounds in his face when he was working in a kindergarten near his house in the closed Martyrs Street neighborhood in H2 area in Hebron.  Settlers from “al-Daboya” settlement outpost threw a stone at him.  in the afternoon, settlers beat up an elderly when the latter was herding his sheep in al-Hafasi pastoral areas surrounding ‘Inab settlement, eastern Tulkarm.  Also, settlers stormed agricultural lands in ‘Anabta

village, eastern Tulkarm, and raised the Israeli flag on the roof an agricultural room.  Settlers also threw stones and sprayed pepper gas at a Palestinian and his wife in an agricultural room in Kafr al-Deek, western Salfit.

So far this year, settlers carried out 95 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank.

Land razing, demolitions, and notices

On 10 April, IOF confiscated a bulldozer and a truck for Palestinians in Tarmesi’yah village, Ramallah.

On 12 April, IOF uprooted 2 tents; one is residential and the other is for grazing sheep in Kafr Malek in Ramallah, under the pretext of building in an archeological area and within Area C.

Since the beginning of 2022, IOF made 40 families homeless, a total of 244 persons, including 47 women and 113 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 50 houses and 5 residential tents. IOF also demolished 29 other civilian objects, razed 174 dunums and delivered 49 notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

 IOF carried out 210 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During this week’s incursions, 131 Palestinians were arrested, including 7 children. 

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 2260 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 1360 Palestinians were arrested, including 153 children and 14 women. IOF also conducted 12 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 27 Palestinians, including 14 fishermen, 11 infiltrators, and 2 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Israeli collective punishment and closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

On 09 April 2022, Major General Ghassan Alian, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), announced collective punitive measures against Jenin, northern West Bank, following the shooting in Tel Aviv carried out by one of the city’s residents. 

The announcement published on ‘Alian’s Facebook page says: “following the latest incidents in Jenin and upon the Israeli Defense Minister’s decision: businessmen from Jenin are not allowed to enter Israel, and Arabs in Israel are not allowed (neither in cars nor on feet) to enter or exit via al-Jalbou’a and Barta’a crossings.  Also, the rock rubble will not be transferred via DTD at crossings in Jenin, and due to security concerns, family visitations to Palestinians in Jenin will not be allowed (within the 5000 approved permits)                                                                          

The Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s February monthly update on the Gaza crossings.

 In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 93 temporary military checkpoints this week and arrested Palestinians at those checkpoints. The majority of the checkpoints were in Hebron (39) and Bethlehem (17).  Jerusalem also witnessed many restrictions on freedom of movement in Ramadan,

So far in 2022, IOF established at least 1056 checkpoints and arrested 59 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

Talking Reality Theories, With Airika Dollner, the Amazing Creative Mind of Art With Aim

 

Eva Bartlett

Some months ago, while chatting about world events, media lies, and how people who dare to think critically are often dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”, we joked about being “reality theorists”, and I liked the sound of that term. Our plans to have a conversation got delayed, but finally came about the other morning.

In our first conversation, Airika and I discussed a variety of things, from Palestine to Syria to Ukraine and more. Airika is a phenomenal researcher & very expressive, articulate, woman. We’ll be having these conversations a lot more frequently, on a wide range of issues, particularly things she has researched deeply.

Israeli Occupation Forces Kill Palestinian Youth, Wound 11 Others in Ramallah (VIDEOS)

April 14, 2022

Omar Olayan, 20, was killed by Isreali forces near Ramallah. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces on Wednesday night killed a Palestinian youth and wounded 11 others in the town of Silwad town, north of Ramallah, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed in a press statement that Israeli forces fatally shot Omar Olayan, 20, with a live round in the chest and wounded 11 others during a raid in the central West Bank town.

Israeli soldiers also detained three young men, all members of the Hamed family, then opened fire at a house and shouted through loudspeakers in the town, demanding that another young man surrender.

Meanwhile, dozens of people took to the streets to confront the heavily-armed Israeli troops who fired live bullets at the crowds in Silwad.

The town’s medical sources said that several people were injured by live ammunition, including a serious injury, and medical teams were unable to reach some of them until late Wednesday.

The casualties were ultimately evacuated to several hospitals in Ramallah city.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

Leaked files expose Britain’s covert infiltration of Palestinian refugee camps

Under the guise of improving the plight of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees, an initiative by the British Foreign Office has ulterior motives that impact Lebanese domestic politics.

April 13 2022

The British government has infiltrated Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps, ostensibly to use those demographics to political advantage. Otherwise, why not assist them through UNRWA?Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Kit Klarenberg

In February, Lebanese journalist Mohammed Shoaib was arrested on suspicion of collusion with Israel’s Mossad spy agency. The writer who worked for Al-Jaras, confessed that the notorious spy agency secretly paid him to author “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah articles, receiving a paltry $30 to $70 per article.

In particular, Shoaib was tasked with writing hit jobs on the “Iranian occupation” of Lebanon, and falsely linking Hezbollah with the August 2020 Beirut port blast, drug trafficking, and murder of political activists.

It is also alleged that Mossad specifically requested his work incite hostility towards Palestinian refugees in the country who number almost 300,000. In all, Lebanon hosts more than 1.7 million refugees and has the largest per capita population of refugees in the world.

Roughly half inhabit camps administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they endure abysmal living conditions, overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to justice, and other unspeakable hardships. The 11-year, foreign-backed crisis in neighboring Syria has also prompted Palestinian refugees there – and Syrian citizens – to seek sanctuary in Lebanon.

Given Israel’s track record of multifaceted crimes against the Palestinian people, that they are targeting an already vulnerable refugee population for propaganda purposes is hardly surprising. Nonetheless, Israel is not the only hostile foreign country resorting to these tactics.

Leaked files reviewed by The Cradle reveal the British Foreign Office has for many years secretly meddled in Lebanon’s refugee camps, courtesy of ARK, a shadowy intelligence cutout run by probable MI6 operative Alistair Harris. London’s agenda is rather different than Tel Aviv’s, however – it seeks to subtly stir up revolutionary fervor, and exploit them as unwitting foot soldiers in its ongoing clandestine war against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

‘Community Engagement’

The documents indicate ARK has been operating in all 12 camps since 2009, implementing British-funded “programming” of various kinds. This experience has granted the company “granular understanding” of their internal political, economic, ideological, religious and practical dynamics, and led to the establishment of a “diverse delivery team” and array of “local contacts” with “access throughout all camps and gatherings,” meaning community-level discussions and activities of residents can be spied upon and influenced.

This intimate, insidious insight is reinforced by “daily monitoring of neighborhood-level WhatsApp groups,” with “any new information, such as affiliation between a local group and a faction, or conflict between factions” documented by ARK’s in-house “stakeholder tracker.”

Typically, ARK has engaged in small-scale initiatives in the camps, including the restoration of streets and cemeteries, recycling initiatives, assisting in the launch of small businesses, providing income to disadvantaged and disabled residents, creating nurseries and daycare centers, and even launching a community hub, Sawa Coffeeshop. It serves to this day as “a popular place for youth to gather and promote civic engagement in their community and a shared Palestinian identity that bridges factional differences.”

In submissions to the Foreign Office dating to May 2019, ARK proposed ramping up these activities significantly. It pledged to create “Community Leadership Committees” in each camp, composed of hand-picked “stakeholders” – including NGOs, youth activists, women’s organizations, and representatives of neighborhood armed groups – to identify “quick impact projects” that could be implemented therein. These projects aim to “counter threats to social stability in the camps, create or improve livelihood opportunities, and provide better access to services.”

A social media platform created by ARK, Nastopia – which boasted 20,000 “highly invested” followers on Facebook at the time, a figure that has almost doubled since – was forecast to be fundamental to these efforts.

The page, run by a 24-strong team of ARK-trained “youth reporters”, would be used to recruit local participants, increase awareness and demand for “community engagement and improved conditions” among camp residents.  Other activities include the promotion of Foreign Office-financed projects and to publicize “success stories” generated by them, while “promoting Palestinian culture and a sense of belonging, and tackling social injustice.”

Nastopia was “already [an] effective voice for connecting Palestinian communities, particularly youth” by that point. ARK cited a recent “Camps Films Festival” organized by the platform, covered by Al-Jazeera, which showcased “films portraying life in the camps and what it means to be Palestinian,” and in the process provided “positive examples of a shared identity.”

All along, the Nastopia page was to be monitored with “community feedback” on the assorted initiatives gauged to identify areas in which these activities “could be adapted to maximize impact.” Specialist training provided to its staff meant the platform could also serve “as a forum for online and offline discussion about social injustices [and] virtual space to talk about topics considered taboo in the camps,” allowing ARK to burrow even deeper inside the heads of refugees.

‘Active Citizenship’

If the obvious surveillance and manipulation dimensions of ARK’s project weren’t troubling enough, it takes on an acutely sinister character when one considers a key objective of “highlighting successful initiatives” in the camps was to “[enhance] the audience’s confidence in their own ability to contribute to social change.”

A Foreign Office-commissioned Target Audience Analysis conducted by ARK in March 2019 sought to pinpoint a segment of Lebanon’s population that could be mobilized to “affect positive social change,” and methods by which tensions between sectarian communities could be reduced, in order to unify them in opposition to the country’s ruling elite. Reading between the lines, it gives every appearance of a blueprint for the overthrow of the Lebanese government.

An ideal audience was duly identified, representing 12 percent of the population, who disavowed violence but did not reject “other forms of contentious politics,” and could be “influenced” to engage in “behaviors leading to positive social change,” such as protests and community initiatives.

The only questions for ARK were: “What might be done to enable other Lebanese to have similar confidence in their potential to contribute to positive social change?” and “how might this segment of the population … be grown to include a larger fraction of the public?”

The answer, ARK proposed, was to both covertly and overtly promote the message that “change is possible and ordinary citizens have a role to play in achieving change,” by way of propaganda campaigns and civil society initiatives “[highlighting] where change has been achieved or where threats to Lebanon’s stability have been countered.” This would demonstrate to the country’s diverse population that “barriers” to reform can be overcome, by taking matters into their own hands.

Providing evidence of “responsive government at local levels” was crucial for reinforcing “principles of active citizenship” among Lebanon’s population – and the analysis specifically cited Syrians and Palestinians, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, as representing an “important part” of the country’s demography, to be motivated in this manner.

In other words, Foreign Office activities in the refugee camps form just one fragment of a wider, clandestine, multi-channel assault on public perceptions in Lebanon that Britain has been waging against its democratically-elected government.

A mobilized force

One can judge these efforts by their fruits. In October 2019, seven months after ARK’s Target Audience Analysis was supplied to the Foreign Office, large-scale protests engulfed the streets of Beirut, which have ebbed and flowed ever since, and generated enormous amounts of western media coverage along the way.

The extent to which ARK’s Foreign Office-funded meddling in Lebanon influenced this incendiary unrest may never be fully quantifiable, but it may be significant that in July that year, thousands of refugees across several camps began demonstrating in unison, demanding the government immediately reform employment laws barring them as “foreign workers” from numerous professions.

This turmoil was arguably the spark that ignited the entire “October Revolution” – and in one of its Foreign Office submissions, ARK refers to how it “takes pride” in ensuring refugees recruited to its illicit schemes receive “annual leave, sick leave, and health insurance,” despite this not being “legally necessary” due to local legislation “discriminating against Palestinians.”

Who benefits?

The influence of ARK on Lebanon’s impending general election in May, the country’s first since the riots began, is even more unambiguous. Several news outlets have hailed the unprecedentedly high profusion of young candidates vying for office – 80 in total, many of them women.

A clandestine Foreign Office project influenced by the aforementioned Target Audience Analysis sought to enlist Lebanese youth as “agents of change”, fostering among them a culture of active political participation, in order that they could better “hold political institutions and individuals accountable,” and increase “electoral participation” in favor of opposition parties.

Under its auspices, ARK convened “boot camps” in “priority areas” of Lebanon, cultivated “a national group capable of pushing for greater change” composed of young women, and created social media assets and youth-focused websites featuring political interviews, question-and-answer sessions, coverage of boot camp meetings, “calls to action,” and “humorous messaging campaigns.” Activity on these assets was scheduled to ramp up ahead of the 2022 elections.

Clearly, irrespective of the outcome of the Lebanon May elections, the ultimate victors won’t be the parties and candidates that secure office, or the average Lebanese citizens who elected them, but Britain – for whatever form the next government takes, one way or another, it will serve London’s financial, ideological, military, and political interests.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

They Saw and Heard the Truth — Then Lied About It: Media on Donbass Delegation Omitted Mention of Ukraine’s 8 Year War on the Autonomous Republics

 

Photos from site of Ukraine’s March 14 missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Source

-by Eva K Bartlett, April 5, 2022

*Following is a lengthy overview of my recent re-visit to the Donbass, on a two day media delegation, with a brief critique of some of the media’s slanted reporting. It is also a follow up from my 2019 visit to hard hit areas of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It is now 8 years of Ukraine’s war on the people of the Donetsk & Lugansk Republics.

Point of impact of March 14 Ukrainian missile attack on Donetsk. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

In the last week of March, I stood on a central Donetsk main street next to two of the impact points of a Ukrainian missile attack that had killed 21 civilians and injured nearly 40 more on March 14. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) maintains that their military intercepted Ukraine’s Tochka-U ballistic missile, and that not all of the cluster munitions inside had exploded in the city streets, thereby lessening the already terrible bloodshed it caused. Indeed, if all of the munitions had exploded, it would have been a bloodbath more horrific than the 21 killed.

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

Near the ATM, there were flowers and candles laid in memory of the civilians murdered that day, with haunting photos nearby depicting the aftermath of the bombing, the grisly scenes of the dead and the maimed—scenes you will generally never see blasted across Western corporate media, just as the same media were silent when terrorism struck civilian areas in Syria.

I’m intimately familiar with war zones, and with Western corporate media’s white-washing of the perpetrators’ crimes (Israeli crimes against Palestinians; Western-backed terrorists’ crimes against Syrians; Ukrainian military and Nazi crimes against the civilians of the Donbass—and also against Ukrainians proper), so the lack of media coverage on this recent Ukrainian war crime doesn’t surprise me.

They don’t report on it, or the myriad Ukrainian war crimes prior, because it doesn’t suit their narrative, a narrative that erases the eight years of Ukraine’s war against the four million people of the Donbass republics, killing at least 14,000 people, to give a modest estimate.

War crimes investigator, Ivan Kopyl, spoke about Ukraine’s March 14 attack, noting, “The warhead of a Tochka-U missile contains 50 cassettes of cluster munitions. We managed to find 28 traces of cluster explosions on the soil…A Tochka-U missile changes its orientation just before landing, so after it flies on a trajectory it makes a turn and falls vertically down before detonating at a certain height. The fragments then shower the surface in a radius of approximately 150 meters.”

I have one of those cluster fragments, a twisted and jagged square-shaped piece of metal—seemingly harmless looking on its own, but deadly when flying through the air at high speed, in great numbers.

The attack occurred around noon, when this central city street—not a military area, but a civilian one—would have been busy. Photos show a gutted bus and gutted cars. Pensioners, Koply noted, would have been lined up at the ATM right where the blasts occurred. “There was also damage to a yard where there are two kindergartens – there were several craters there,” he noted.

The strike on the heart of the city is among the latest in Ukraine’s litany of war crimes.

Ukraine again bombed Donetsk following the March 14 attack. Donetsk News Agency reported on March 30 that the Ukrainian forces’ bombing had killed one person and seriously injured four others. One of the girls injured in that attack fell into a coma, the DPR Ombudsman noted.

And just now, there’s been news of another Ukrainian Tochka-U attack. According to RT, at least 50 people (including 5 children) were killed at a railway station in Kramatorsk, where thousands of people were waiting for evacuation trains. Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR People’s Militia, stated that the attack was a missile containing prohibited cluster munitions.

Gonzalo Lira writes:

“This is a fragment of the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station…The AFU has blamed the Russians, but this picture of the missile shows that it is indisputably a Tochka-U rocket — used exclusively by the Ukrainian side. It’s the same kind of missile that two weeks ago hit the center of Donetsk and killed 27 civilians.

What’s that saying? Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times . . .”

As of March 31, the Ombudsman reported that there’s been 6,010 deaths, including 96 children, since Ukraine’s war began in 2014. And that’s only with regards to the DPR. In the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), which has also been under Ukrainian fire since 2014, as of late February, 1,762 civilians had been killed, including 35 children.

During my 2019 visit to the DPR, I went to the northern city of Gorlovka, of which I wrote:

“Gorlovka was hardest hit in 2014, especially on July 27, when the center was rocked by Ukrainian-fired Grad and Uragan missiles from morning to evening. After the dust settled and the critically-injured had succumbed to their wounds, at least 30 were dead, including five children. The day came to be known as Bloody Sunday.

A monument commemorates the Gorlovka victims of Ukrainian bombings and sniping from 2014-2017. Near a sculpture of an angel, over 230 names fill the marble slabs, the first dedicated solely to children, 20 of them.”

Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

At the site of the March 14 bombing, DPR head Denis Pushilin spoke, outlining the chronology the last 8 years, from the violent coup in Ukraine and subsequent increase in radical Ukrainian nationalism, to the two republics’ decision to push for autonomy, to Ukraine unleashing hell on the 4 million people and continual violations of the (2014 & 2015) Minsk Agreements and the massive amounts of weapons pumped from the West to Ukraine (see also). [*Note: I’ll be adding a subtitled clip of his words in the next day or two.]

School and Hospital shelled by Ukrainian forces

The town of Volnovakha—on the road between Donetsk and Mariupol further south—was secured by DPR forces nearly two weeks prior to our visit. Entering the town, we passed destroyed homes and buildings, which was expected, as there was heavy fighting to liberate the area held by the Ukrainian forces.

As they did in their copy-paste reporting on liberated areas of Syria, most Western media reports on Volnovakha focus on the destruction, without any context as to why it occurred—these residential areas were occupied by Ukrainian forces, and not all of the destruction was from DPR forces’ fighting against the Ukrainian forces: the Ukrainian forces themselves fired on homes, and according to hospital staff, on the hospital itself.

In addition to not giving this context, most Western media in general depict the liberating forces as deliberately and wantonly destroying everything in sight. Some media went as far as to claim that Putin himself had destroyed the town. This cartoonish narrative, so prevalent in Western reports whitewashing terrorism in Syria and now in whitewashing Ukrainian forces’ crimes, unfortunately does achieve its intended effect: duping Western viewers into believing the opposite of reality–that the liberators are the war criminals.

Again, just as terrorist factions in Syria occupied schools and hospitals, so too do Ukrainian forces, including in Volnovakha. When DPR forces had liberated the city, they found foreign weapons used by Ukrainian forces inside the hospital. [See also: Western Media Quick to Accuse Syria of ‘Bombing Hospitals’ – But When Terrorists Really Destroy Syrian Hospitals, They Are Silent]

In a central area of Volnovakha, Russian soldiers handed out humanitarian aid to lines of residents, including: bags of canned goods, fresh bread, water.

According to Alexander Yurievich Kachalov, the interim mayor, Ukrainian forces used civilians as human shields. “They made sure to destroy as much infrastructure as possible. They bombed buildings in order to leave ruins after they left, to make it harder for us to restore.”

This was common in Syria. Terrorist factions destroyed buildings and vehicles when fleeing, while leaving mines and booby traps on streets and in houses, to kill still more civilians and soldiers.

A woman waiting in line for humanitarian aid said, “They say Russia did this. This wasn’t Russia, Ukraine did it, destroyed everything here! They shot at our hospital. I work there. The new children’s and infection units have been destroyed. The outpatient clinic was destroyed. And then they left. They took the medical staff’s car and went away.”

At the destroyed hospital, Chief Physician, Viktor Fedorovich Saranov, said:

“[The Ukrainian Army] were there. There were tanks on our territory. There were guns and Grads outside the territory.  I asked them to act in accordance with the Hague and Geneva conventions. I asked them to leave the hospital. They said it was war.

Many people come to us from nearby houses under fire. About 500-600 people came to our basement. We gave everyone three meals a day.

The second and third floors were occupied here. We were preparing for a long siege, and then it turned out like this: they conducted an attack. They evacuated the soldiers. And they mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day, when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.” The ICU, he said, had already been evacuated.

A woman who said she had worked at the hospital as a nurse for nearly 58 years said:

“On the 28th I was home alone. They soon started shelling. How can they do it with their local hospital? With patients here. They were laying in corridors, as they had been evacuated. They said there was no one in the hospital, no staff, no patients. This is a lie.”

Later, researching, I came across this news (*warning, graphic video at the link):

“Foreign mercenaries who were wounded in the Volnovakha hospital were shot by their own before leaving the city so that they could not tell anything. All the wounded have a control shot in the temple or the back of the head.”

On the road back towards Donetsk, we stopped at a school that had been shelled in late February.

According to Victoria Terichenko, head of the Dokuchaevsk city administration’s Department of Education, the shelling was by Ukrainian forces.

“Of course, Ukraine. There were only Ukrainian troops there. We had no military here, we were only civilians here.”

Fortunately, children weren’t at school at the time of the shelling, but Terichenko said a nursery school in the area had been shelled, with children inside, but again, fortunately, not on the side of the building shelled.

Horrors of Ukraine’s War on the People of the Donbass Republics

Ukraine’s relentless bombing and sniping of the people of Donbass is bad enough, along with it being ignored by Western press and politicians.

But in its eight years of warring on a people who rejected the rule of ultra-nationalists and Nazis, who just wanted to live autonomously, speak their own language, remember their history (Ukraine has rewritten history to glorify Nazis and Nazi collaborators and to vilify those who defeated Nazism, namely the Soviets), Ukraine has committed war crimes as heinous as ISIS and their co-terrorists in Syria, with more and more testimonies coming out of mass graves, rapes, torture of civilians and Donbass soldiers, beheadings. None of this shocking given the crimes these extremists commit against even Ukrainian civilians and journalists.

Along a sidewalk flanking a central park, there is a row of photos containing incredibly disturbing images of murdered LPR civilians.

Elders slaughtered on benches and in wheelchairs, the corpse of an infant, mass graves, a room used to imprison and torture people, the insignia of the notorious rapists and murderers of the “Tornado” battalion.

One photo shows Nazi graffiti left on a wall.

These are similar to the graffiti I saw in January 2009 left by Israeli soldiers who occupied the home of a Palestinian family, half of which had been killed by Israeli-fired White Phosphorous. One of the slogans written in Hebrew was: “Next time it will hurt more.” This, to the family whose infant had burned alive due to the White Phosphorous bombing, and whose surviving family members were badly mutilated from the prohibited weapon. In another house in eastern Gaza, likewise occupied and desecrated by Israeli soldiers, more hate and death graffiti had been left for the traumatized inhabitants.

Different people and places–same violent hatred of the population being targeted.

In the same park area, there is a monument to two journalists killed in 2014 by Ukrainian forces. Had these journalists been killed by Russia or Syria, their names would have been on the front pages of news sites and TIME magazine covers. In Syria, dozens of journalists have been killed by terrorist forces, to the silence of not only Western media but also of the groups supposedly advocating for journalists’ rights and safety.

In Shchastia, north of Lugansk, more civilians received humanitarian aid in the liberated town.

Humanitarian aid being handed out in Shchastia, a town north of Lugansk, liberated in early March.

Western Delivered Weapons on Display

In the two republics, we saw some of the vehicles and weapons captured from Ukrainian forces. Telesur journalist Alejandro Kirk spoke to me about these captured weapons and vehicles, noting the many foreign made weapons sold to Ukraine. Western countries continue to sell weapons to Ukraine.

On March 20, journalist Alexander Rubinstein wrote of the West’s exorbitant shipping of billions of dollars in weapons to Ukraine over the years. He noted:

“At least 32 countries have announced their intention to ship billions of dollars in weapons into Ukraine for use against Russian forces in Ukraine. Photographic evidence shows that these weapons have already ended up in the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitaries – units which have already received training and arms the US and its NATO allies.

All of this builds on $3.8 billion in military aid from the United States to Ukraine, the training of 55,000 Ukrainian soldiers by Canada and the United Kingdom, and a longstanding CIA program aimed at cultivating an anti-Russian insurgency.

…weapons furnished by NATO allies have been placed in the hands of the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi former paramilitary organization incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.

The governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have presided over a massive program to train and equip Ukrainian soldiers for a full-scale war with Russia. Trainees have included top commanders of the Azov Battalion.

In late February, the European Union opened the floodgates of weapon shipments to Ukraine, approving financing through the aptly-named “European Peace Facility” to reimburse countries sending weapons to the country to the tune of $500 million USD. Another $55 million USD is earmarked for non-lethal military aid.

This February, the State Department announced $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, bringing “the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.”

Another $200 million was sent in early March, and following Zelensky’s March 16 appeal to Congress for more weapons, Biden is reportedly set to dole out another $800 in military aid including 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 9,000 anti-tank systems, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, 400 shotguns, 400 grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 tactical drones, 25,000 sets of body armor and 25,000 helmets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

These figures add to the $2.5 billion in military aid the US delivered between 2014 and the summer of 2021, bringing the total to $3.8 billion.”

Missing Context: What the Donbass People Have Endured In 8 Years of Ukraine’s War

After my September 2019 visit to the DPR, I wrote about the mostly elderly civilians I met who were living in battered homes damaged by Ukrainian shelling and heavy machine gun fire just 500 meters and 600 meters from Ukrainian forces. They remained there, they told me, mostly because they had nowhere else to go. Some spoke to me on camera, others were afraid of Ukrainian retaliation were they to be interviewed.

But their stories were all pretty much the same: at night, when the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) left, the Ukrainian terrorizing began, with shelling throughout the night.

I also met a couple who had been living for 6 years in the stinking, dank, basement of a battered school, after Ukrainian bombing destroyed their home.

The DPR press officer who accompanied me and provided translations, spoke of how Ukrainian forces used weapons prohibited under the Minsk Agreements.

Irina Dikun, head of the administration of Zaitsevo, another frontline village, spoke at length on the Ukrainian bombing that erupted nearly every night.

“They are destroying street by street in the town. They take one street and destroy it house by house. Then they turn to another street. There was a school, and a nursery school, before, but they were both destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.”

As in Syria, when schools and hospitals are actually destroyed (in Syria by terrorist factions), the same media that howls over militarized hospitals being targeted, the same media that also manufactures stories that never even occurred, is silent when the destroying is actually done, by Ukrainian forces.

In Zaitsevo, Irina explained fire trucks and medics couldn’t reach targeted homes, because the ambulances themselves became targets for Ukrainian forces (as happens in Gaza, where medics are targeted by Israeli forces, as I myself witnessed).

During that 2019 visit, I also interviewed some of the defenders of the DPR, painted by Western media as “separatists”, “pro-Russian forces” and other such descriptions meant to dehumanize. The same Western media so quick to humanize terrorists, including one who chewed the organ of a dead Syrian soldier.

One more relevant note from that visit: Dmitri asked what people in the West think about the fact there is a Nazi state in Europe. I replied that most people don’t know, because of the media whitewashing.

Which brings me to my recent return to the Donbass: I was curious to see whether the journalists on the same delegation as me would report truthfully, partial truths, or fabricated lies. As it turned out, my skepticism was warranted.

Distortions and Omissions of Some Western Media on the Ground in the Donbass

Telesur’s report gave the historical context needed to understand the present, including the coup in Ukraine, the active neo-Nazis in Ukraine (many of whom re entrenched in the Ukrainian army), the past eight years of Ukraine’s war on the Donbass, the 14,000 killed during these years, and the media blackout on the suffering of the Donbass people.

Sky News’ report was good, mentioning the civilians killed in Donbass by Ukraine’s war, including the March 14 attack and the school shelling, while also giving air time to the DPR’s Pushilin.

Neither of the two French channels’ (FranceInfo and TF1Info) reports on the delegation’s visit mentioned the March 14 Tochka-U attack, even though we visited the site & Pushilin spoke of it at length, much less the roughly 8,000 civilians killed in the two republics alone. I couldn’t find mention of the Azov or other Nazi battalions participating in the atrocities against the Donbass people, even though we heard about them and saw the graphic photo display in Lugansk. Their reports were framed as, “this is what Russia wants us to see,” regarding the humanitarian aid and reclaimed towns.

And of course, they focused greatly on the destruction, but not on the reasons for it, the implication being that the Russians and the “pro-Russian separatists” were responsible.

The chief physician of the hospital in Volnokava spoke at length and did specifically state the Ukrainian army had occupied the hospital, as did the nurse I cited, both of whom addressed the group of journalists.

FranceInfo’s mention of the hospital was framed as, “The Russians accuse the Ukrainians of having bombed it.” They included a few seconds of the chief physician saying he didn’t know who had done it, there were soldiers in the area, he didn’t know who.

But actually, the physician spoke to us for about several minutes, during which—as I wrote earlier—he did specifically talk about the presence of the Ukrainian army in the hospital.

One journalist asked: “Why did such destruction happen?” To which the chief physician replied, “I don’t know. They were military. And who they were: military, national battalions, army? I don’t know.”

That’s the bit France TV cherry picked, omitting his previous words about the Ukrainian army occupying the hospital, as well as omitting what he said afterwards: “There was Ukrainian territory on that side and the rockets were from that side. They mined the entrance to the intensive care unit. On the last day when they were leaving, they shot at the intensive care unit.”

Likewise, TF1Info included just a few seconds of the physician’s words on the Ukrainian cannons and machine guns at the hospital, but then followed up with the presenter’s caveat: it is one of the arguments often presented by the Kremlin—in spite of the fact that not only he, but the nurse and many people I encountered in the town specifically blamed the Ukrainian army for occupying the hospital and attacking it themselves when leaving.

If there were any further TF1Info reports from their journalist’s visit which might have included mention of Donbass’ dead, I couldn’t find them. Likewise, of FranceInfo.

This tactic of cherry picking quotes and omitting information is a standard corporate media war propaganda tactic and, unfortunately one seen over and over in Syria and elsewhere.

Journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote of one particularly horrific and sadistic terrorist massacre of 200 Syrian civilians, including 116 children, in April 2017, killed by an explosion as they were being evacuated from their terrorist besieged villages. She wrote of one traumatized woman who lost 20 family members (10 dead, 10 missing) having witnessed the attack.

“Then, after the filming session (by various agencies, including Dubai based Orient News & Qatari Al Jazeera) which lasted approximately ten minutes, she and the other parents were forced back onto the buses, at gunpoint, and locked inside. They had to watch, while the armed militia collected the dead, dying and mutilated bodies of their community’s children and flung them in the back of trucks and Turkish ambulances, before driving them away from their families in Rashideen.

Not one western media outlet questioned why these injured, dying and disoriented children were being piled on top of one another in the back of a truck that obviously belonged to Nusra Front.”

In fact, as they did routinely in their Syria coverage, media essentially relegated these dead civilians as unimportant, because their deaths didn’t fit the corporate narrative, even when civilians were repeatedly targeted by horrific terrorist bombings, mortars and missiles.

Global Media Abusing the Suffering of the Donbass to Further Anti-Russia War Propaganda, Just as They Did in Syria…

It is already bad enough that Western media generally don’t report on Ukraine’s relentless shelling of the Donbass, but all the more disgusting when it depicts a scene from the March 14 bombing of Donetsk as if it was a bombing of Lvov by Russia.

“The aftermath of the bombing of Donetsk by Ukrainian “Tochka-U” missile, used by Italian newspaper “La Stampa” as an image from Lvov
*Propaganda noted in this article: The Hard Facts about Ukraine and Donbass
At the site of the Tochka-U missile attack in Donetsk, photos of the moments after the bombing, including the scene depicted in Western media as in Lvov. Photo: Eva Bartlett, March 24, 2022.

This isn’t the only instance. More recently, various Western media have used footage showing a multi-story apartment building in Donetsk that was bombed by Ukraine on March 30 to infer that the scene depicted was actually of Ukrainian areas that had been bombed by Russia. If you followed the war propaganda around Syria, you would be aware that this practice is common, not accidental.

New York post using Donetsk bombing photo to infer the scene was Kiev or elsewhere, under Russian bombing. The article has since been updated, photo removed. They would say it was a mistake. With corporate media, it never is. Luckily, at the time, some observers caught the lie.

And as with war propaganda on Syria, some media will use footage not even from Ukraine:

I could add paragraphs of examples of how Western media did this in Syria, but for the sake of brevity will state simply that this is one of many deceitful and deliberate propaganda tactics used to both downplay the hell civilians are suffering under Ukraine’s bombing, and instead to pretend Ukraine is the victim. How the journalists that propagate such lies live with themselves, I’ll never understand.

Finally, a word to some in independent media who feel the need to denigrate Russia’s denazification operation in Ukraine by snidely putting “special operation” in quotation marks, or others who took to social media to tell the world they don’t like war, and denounced Russia for its military operation (to stop a war): The people of the Donbass don’t like war, they didn’t ask for Ukraine to unleash hell upon them. Such posturing disrespects the at least 14,000 killed by Ukraine’s war.

As journalist Roman Kosarev, who has covered the war eightyears, said: “Russia isn’t starting a war, Russia is ending one.

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