Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

By  Whitney Webb
Source

FOIA Release of 9 11 Dancing Israelis thru the FBI Federal Bureau Of Investigation 347 views edited edited 9e910

For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrestsmade in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.

The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.

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According to a former high-ranking American intelligence official who spoke to the Jewish Daily Forward in 2002, the FBI concluded in its investigation that the five Israelis arrested “were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ, served as a front.” At least two of the men arrested were determined to have direct links to the Mossad after their names appeared in a CIA-FBI database of foreign intelligence operatives. According to one of their lawyers, one of the men, Paul Kurzberg, had previously worked for the Mossad in another country prior to arriving in the United States. Another of those arrested, Oded Ellner, subsequently stated on Israeli TV that the five Israelis had been in New York at the time “to document the event,” meaning the attack on the World Trade Center.

The FOIA release of the photos is notable because responses to prior FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, had previously claimed that all of the photos taken by the Israeli nationals had been destroyed in January 2014. The photos themselves are heavily redacted, making it impossible to see the Israelis’ facial expressions. However, previously declassified yet heavily redacted FBI reports state that the Israelis are “visibly happy” in nearly every photo, even when the burning towers are in the background. The photos released are also not original copies and instead appear to be photocopies of photocopies of the original pictures. In addition, of the original 76 pictures developed by authorities from the camera in the Israelis’ possession, only 14 were released.

However, three of these photos — despite the heavy redaction and poor quality — are damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested — Sivan Kurzberg — was seen in a photo “holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background,” according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Times reportfrom November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos — images #7 and #8 in the collection — whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 ‘01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn’t seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only two out of the 14 pictures carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a “construction worker” to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report).

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In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 strongly appear to have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks. Kurzberg is seen in both images that display the visible date of September 10, 2001.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo — particularly the state of the towers — is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

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Yet, in either scenario, Kurzberg had simulated the burning of the World Trade Center the day before the attacks took place. That the FBI concluded that Kurzberg was party to a Mossad surveillance operation at the time of his arrest would then suggest that Israeli intelligence also had foreknowledge of the attacks.

Notably, the relevant section of the FBI report that asks “1. Did the Israeli nationals have foreknowledge of the events at WTC and were they filming the events prior to and in anticipation of the explosion?” is redacted in its entirety, suggesting that the FBI did not determine the answer to that question to be an emphatic “no.”

One of the 9/11 loose-ends coverups?

If images 5 and 7 were indeed taken the day prior to the attack, the question then becomes why the FBI officially concluded that the arrested Israelis had no prior knowledge of the attacks? One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that “Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel].” If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel’s government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel’s behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees’ release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft’s first clients.

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI  — in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they “determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.” However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel’s own government subsequently acknowledgedthat the five Israelis had indeed been involved in “clandestine intelligence activities in the United States.”

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion — that “none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack” — was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

“Tourists” with cash-stuffed socks, box cutters, and explosives?

Beyond the photos and observed activities of the so-called “Dancing Israelis,” it is worth revisiting several other suspicious circumstances linked to their arrest that clearly show that the men in question were hardly the “tourists” they had claimed to be. One often cited example is the fact that one of the men, Oded Ellner, had a “white sock-like sack filled with $4,700 in cash,” as well as maps of the city with certain places highlighted, and box cutters. In addition, the van in which the Israelis were arrested was “oddly” lacking “equipment typically used in a moving company’s daily duties,” according to the FBI, and residue of explosives was found in the van.

Of the explosive residue, the declassified FBI report states:

A search of the van and individuals was conducted at the time of the vehicle stop. The vehicle was also searched by a trained bomb-sniffing dog which yielded a positive result for the presence of explosive traces. Swabs of the vehicle’s interior were taken, and those samples were sent to the FBI laboratory for further analysis. Final results are still pending.”

In total, the FBI reported that four items related to explosives were found in the ban and are labeled in the report as “Fabric Sample (Explosive Residue),” “Control Swabs – SA [ – ] Gloves,” “Control Swabs – (Bomb Suits),” and “Blanket Samples For Explosive Residue.” In addition, a VHS tape and some still photographs found in the van “were sent to Laboratory Examiner [ redacted ] (Explosives Unit).”

In addition to the strange nature of some of the Israelis’ possessions in the van and on their person, the company that employed them — Urban Moving Systems — was of special interest to the FBI, which concluded that the company was likely a “fraudulent operation.” Upon a search of the company’s premises, the FBI noted that “little evidence of a legitimate business operation was found.” The FBI report also noted that there were an “unusually large number of computers relative to the number of employees for such a fairly small business” and that “further investigation identified several pseudo-names or aliases associated with Urban Moving Systems and its operations.”

The FBI presence at the Urban Moving Systems search site drew the attention of the local media and was later reported on both television and in the local press. A former Urban Moving Systems employee later contacted the Newark Division with information indicating that he had quit his employment with Urban Moving Systems as a result of the high amount of anti-American sentiment present among Urban’s employees. The former employee stated that an Israeli employee of Urban had even once remarked, “Give us twenty years and we’ll take over your media and destroy your country” (page 37 of the FBI report).

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by…the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001.”

The company’s owner — Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen — had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC Newsthat “Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius, in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company — Granite Telecommunications — that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the “Dancing Israelis,” which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI’s Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the “Dancing Israelis” had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested “was visibly disturbed by the Agents’ questioning regarding his personal email account.”

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the “Dancing Israelis” has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the “Dancing Israelis,” were in relation to an investigation of “an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to ‘penetrate government facilities.’”

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had “intelligence expertise” and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the “Dancing Israelis,” had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are ‘tie-ins’ but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: ‘Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.’”

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME: “Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?”

CAMERON: “Well it’s very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It’s more when they put it all together a big question they say is, ‘How could they have not known?’ — almost a direct quote, Brit.”

9/11 as a big — and acknowledged — Israeli win

If the “Dancing Israelis”, and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the “Dancing Israelis,” why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained “Dancing Israelis,” Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country.”

While Marmari’s statement may suggest one reason some of the “Dancing Israelis” were so “visibly happy” in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu — the current Israeli prime minister — told the New York Timesthat “It’s very good,” before quickly adding “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari’s claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said:

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. … They won’t get in our way. They won’t get in our way… 80 percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu — who at the time was not in political office — held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center by “militant Islam” in his 1995 book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism. In that book, Netanyahu had posited that Iranian-linked “militants” would set off a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center.

During his press conference on the day of the attacks, Netanyahu also asserted that the 9/11 attacks would be a turning point for America and compared them to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Netanyahu’s statement echoes the infamous line from the “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” document authored by the neoconservative think tank, the Project for a New Ameican Century (PNAC). That line reads. “Further, the process of transformation [towards a neo-Reaganite foreign policy and hyper-militarism], even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Then again, years later In 2008, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu had stated that the September 11 attacks had greatly benefited Israel. He was quoted as saying: “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”

Indeed, it goes without saying that the aftermath of 9/11 — which involved the U.S. leading a destructive effort throughout the Middle East — has indeed benefited Israel. Many of the U.S.’ post-9/11 “nation-building” efforts have notably mirrored the policy paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” which was authored by American neoconservatives — PNAC members among them — for Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.

That document calls for the creation of a “New Middle East” by, among other things, “weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria” and “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” As is known now, both of those main objectives have since come to pass, each with strong Israeli involvement.

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Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times

May 19, 2019

Note by The Saker: I normally don’t post open letters, but in this case I made an exception since this latter is also an analysis and because of the importance of this issue.

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

To the Editor in CHIEF

Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times

NYT – 18 May 2019
Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say
Subtitle:
Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.

This introduction is accompanied by a picture of a man in rags, pushing a shopping cart through a garbage dump site. You, NYT, say it is in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the man looking for recyclables. The photo could be from anywhere, the same with a picture further down in the text – depicting a young woman nursing a baby in the dark – you say in a typical Venezuelan blackout.

This is a flagrant misrepresentation of what’s going on in Venezuela.

The New York Times is known for selecting photos from places of misery, could be slums from anywhere in the world, and placing them where it is most convenient to propagate a lie story – a story meant to demean a country in the public opinion, a country that the empire wants to subdue by bashing and insulting it – so the public – the braindead western public, notably in the US and Europe, will tolerate or even scream for a “humanitarian invasion” from the friendly US of A.

Why don’t you NYT’s shameful liars tell the full truth?

Who is responsible for the collapse, the lack of food, medicine, blackouts – actually for all of the collapses that you described in your manipulating master piece of deceit and propaganda? – And many more ‘collapses’ that you don’t even mention?

The NYT article compares Venezuela with “Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe, the fall of the Soviet Union, and Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s”. The Times is completing its baseless preposterous accusation by saying, “the crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all. Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.”

The economist your article quotes is none less than the former chief economist of the IMF, Harvard professor, Kenneth Rogoff, one of the most neoliberal, bordering on neofascist, economists you could have chosen. But that figures. Impressing with name calling. No matter how biased they are; no matter that they too defend the US hardline – invade Venezuela to safe the people.

Whom do you think you impress with such names? The ignorant, of course, and – yes – there are plenty of them in the great and unique US of A; and your key objective and that of most MSM is to keep them ignorant, so the exceptional nation can continue sowing misery around the globe for the benefit of a few – killing millions and millions of innocent people, for power, the theft of resources and world hegemony.

Aren’t you – the Editor in Chief – ashamed for putting up a totally false scenario? – One of lies and half-truths, all with the objective of further brainwashing the western public – into becoming warmongers, like your criminal government, and like your criminal paper. Yes, the NYT is a criminal paper, for doing what it does: Lying after lying to sway public opinion towards war, towards killing – mass-killing, mass-murder, that’s what your government has been doing for the last 70 years – all under false flags and lies, pretending fighting terrorists, yet, fomenting terrorism, while building up the base for world hegemony – and insane profits for the American war industrial complex – the oligarchs of death.

Did you know – you must! – that the US economy could not survive PEACE; that this sadistic and satanic economy depends on war, permanent war? That the war machine manufacturing complex and its associated industries and services account for more than 50% of the US GDP? And do you realize – you should! – that the US’s economic output is one of destruction – of killing, of annihilation – instead of building and developing human knowledge and wellbeing, the intrinsic thrive of human society – evolving in conscience, integrity and conscientiousness towards living well for all?

How is that for an exceptional nation? – Indeed, an exceptional nation, a nation in disrespect of all international laws and conventions – just breaching the Vienna Convention to which the US is party – by violating the diplomatic code, invading the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and a few years ago, by seizing Russian diplomatic properties in Washington and New York. Wonderful precedents for other unaligned and disobedient countries to prepare for – but also for other countries – if and when they wake up and take their courage into their mind and fist – to do the same to US Embassies on their soil. What would Washington do? Does Washington even consider such a possibility? I guess not. But it’s the easiest thing to do – retaliate.

It would just take a number of countries acting in solidarity, simultaneously – and Bingo! – the emperor will be standing there with his pants down.

Your paper didn’t mention this little diplomatic episode that happened a few days ago in the context of lawlessness, of breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations which entered into effect in April 1964, one of the few sacrosanct UN Conventions on diplomacy of which the US is a signatory.
—-

Back to the Venezuelan “misery” you, Mr. Editor in Chief, and the NYT are so eager to report on. Why don’t you say that the United States of America – the self-proclaimed exceptional nation, with war criminals leading it – is responsible for far most of the suffering of Venezuela, through its totally illegal (who cares in Washington about legality) sanctions, blockage of food and medical imports, theft and confiscation of some US$ 130 billion in Venezuelan assets and reserve funds in US banks and around the world, economic blackmail and strangulation that has, according to economists Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington D.C. and Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, caused the death of some 40,000 Venezuelans.

This racist, misogynist and neofascist government, centered in and around the Swamp of Washington, is responsible for most of the suffering in the world today, by planting wars and conflicts – eternal war on terror; the same terrorists, trained, funded and armed by the very Washington, the CIA, the Pentagon, NATO and the spineless European puppets – for power, domination and theft of resources.

Does the NYT ever report on this? – Why can’t you, the NYT and YOU, the Editor in Chief, for once be honest and stand up for true journalism? – Because you would lose your job? Right, that’s it, isn’t it? – So, why don’t you pull out your card of ethics that you subscribed to in the school of journalism – from deep-deep down in your soul – look at it, internalize it – and think how much more you will be gaining in esteem around the world, if you bring the truth to the people, rather than keep lying – and brainwashing the world into war, misery and death? – Try it. You may be surprised.

Don’t you think, Dear Editor in Chief, sooner or later this lie-propaganda, this abject non-journalism will haunt you eventually all the way into the grave?

People will wake up, the empire will fall, it’s just a matter of time. What will you do then?

Switch sides? – You truly think, you really honestly think, people will believe you? – And I mean you and your paper, the once-upon-a-time highly reputed New York Times? That the people are so dumb to forever buy your lies, your untruths? – It’s now or never that you should switch sides. You may feel the brunt for a while from those who pretend running the world, but deep down in your soul you still have a spark of ethic left. Pull it out. Bring it to light. It will reward your life forever.
—-

Largely thanks to you, the NYT and your think-alike AngloZionist mass-media colleagues and partners in crime – which encourage people to call for wars, for invasions, conflicts and regime change, all based on your deceit, misinformation and false flags – as a disgraceful result of these lies millions and millions of people have been killed around the globe. Estimates put the figure at between 20 and 25 million since the end of WWII – all by the US, NATO, and their proxies and vassalic European minions.

By repeatedly spreading lies and deception, you are creating a false truth, indoctrinating people into consensus for wars and more wars, for invading and killing more innocent people, for the benefit of a few kleptomaniac oligarchs, stealing natural resources and, especially, of the corrupt war machine. Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, had it right, when he said: Give me control of the media and I convert the people into a herd of pigs. Most of the western populace is already a herd of pigs.

Venezuelans are no herd of pigs. They, and Cubans, Nicaraguans, Bolivians, Iranians, Syrians, Russians, Chinese – and many other sanctioned, blackmailed and suffocated people, have been resisting and will continue to resist, no matter what it takes to bring the empire to its knees. Let’s face it, the latest amok race around the globe dishing out sanctions and more sanctions – from Venezuela, to Iran, to China, to North Korea, to Syria, to Iraq – by the ultra-dangerous, sadistic warrior-jokers, Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams, Pence – and not to forget, the Goldie-Lock of incompetence in the White House – with a fleet of the largest warplane carriers encircling the seas of Iran and the Gulf of Hormuz – these people and the scenarios they create, are a true reflection of hopelessness befalling a fading empire.

You, the New York Times, could help bringing this abject war on terror, the merciless killing of millions to an end, accelerate the downfall of the empire, by spreading the truth – the truth that you, Editor in Chief, as well as many of your colleague journalists know – by stepping out of your MSM-box, making a 180-degree U-turn, siding with the people, the 99.99% who crave PEACE. – You would earn and receive an enormous THANK-YOU.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same — In Gaza

May 14, 2019, RT.com -by Eva Bartlett

Since Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s interim president, rhetoric emanating from Washington has grown increasingly familiar. It echoes the bombastic & hollow humanitarian-crisis type of war propaganda which has been used repeatedly in resource-rich nations, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria. And now we’re seeing it […]

via Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same — In Gaza

Escalated Trump Regime War Threats Against Iran

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Preemptive Trump regime war on Iran would be madness. Israel should be wary about what it’s long pushed for.

If war on Iran happens, its cities, military, and nuclear facilities will be vulnerable. So will US regional bases, troops and warships.

Knowing it could be attacked by US and/or Israeli forces, Hezbollah could aid Tehran by missile strikes on Israeli and US targets. If Russia got involved to defend its regional interests as it did in Syria, global war could follow.

All of the above is why I doubt the Trump regime will go this far, continuing to exert maximum toughness on the Islamic Republic by other means — notably by escalated sanctions war to crush its economy, heated rhetoric, and saber rattling, hoping for regime change by these actions.

Yet Pompeo, Bolton, Netanyahu, and likeminded extremists in both countries are so hostile toward Iran, making anything possible, even unthinkable war on the nation, risking dire consequences if launched.

It could happen by accident or design, perhaps by a CIA/Mossad false flag, a US tradition since the mid-19th century, 9/11 the mother of them all.

According to the Wall Street Journal on Monday, an unnamed Trump regime official accused Iran of “likely (being) behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz,” the Journal adding:

“The assessment (was) not conclusive…The US official…didn’t offer details about what led to the assessment or its implications for a possible (Trump regime) response.”

On Monday, a similar AP News report cited an unnamed Trump regime official, saying an “initial assessment (of what happened to Saudi and UAE tankers) is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” were responsible — a bald-faced Big Lie.

Pompeo falsely accused Iran of “escalating a series of threatening actions and statements in recent weeks.” 

Days earlier, a State Department statement said the Trump regime “hold(s) (Iran) accountable for activities that threaten the region’s stability and harm the Iranian people. This includes denying Iran any pathway to a nuclear weapon” it doesn’t seek.

Iran’s nuclear program has no military component, affirmed multiple times by the IAEA and US intelligence community.

In its annual assessments of global threats, time and again it stated that no evidence suggests the Islamic Republic is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

Claims otherwise by Trump regime hardliners and Israel are bald-faced Big Lies.

On Monday, Trump said “(i)f they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens with Iran.”

Fact: Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries, threatening none now except in self-defense if attacked, its legal right under the UN Charter and other international law.

Fact: Iran seeks regional peace and stability. Its ruling authorities abhor nuclear weapons, wanting them all eliminated.

Fact: Not a shred of evidence suggests Iran had anything to do with alleged sabotage to Saudi and UAE tankers over the weekend.

Fact: Lots of evidence shows the Islamic Republic intends no actions to give the Trump regime a pretext for war.

Fact: Tehran seeks mutual cooperation with regional and world community nations.

Fact: Throughout the Islamic Republic’s history, seven US administrations sought regime change — from Jimmy Carter to Trump.

Fact: US war plans were drawn against Iran years ago, never implemented, updated over time. The possibility of US aggression against the country is greater by the Trump regime than any time before.

So far, US actions have been restricted to sanctions war, hostile rhetoric, and saber-rattling. How far the Trump regime intends to go against Iran remains to be seen.

Bolton and acting US war secretary Patrick Shanahan reportedly drew up a plan to deploy up to 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks Pentagon forces or resumes activities Washington can claim are all about pursuing nuclear weapons — no matter how false.

The plan reportedly was discussed by Bolton, Shanahan, CIA director Gina Haspel, DNI Dan Coats, and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph (“fighting Joe”) Dunford.

It’s unclear if Trump was briefed so far. Pompeo and Bolton have been escalating hostile rhetoric toward Iran for months. Fake Mossad intelligence warned of a possible Tehran plot against US regional forces.

Not a shred of credible evidence suggests such a plan exists. Big Lies repeated enough get most people to believe them. All wars are based on lies and deception.

In response to phony claims of an Iranian threat to US Middle East forces, the Pentagon deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the region.

In April, Trump falsely declared Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group, an unprecedented action against a nation’s military. US moves against Iran greatly escalated tensions, heightening the risk of war.

All post-WW II US wars were against nations threatening no one, naked aggression by any standard, none authorized by Congress or the Security Council.

On Monday, Pompeo met with his UK, French, and German counterparts in Brussels, along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, discussing Iran.

She was quoted saying that the EU strongly opposes “military escalation” against Iran, urging “maximum restraint and avoiding any escalation on the military side,” adding:

“Pompeo heard that very clearly today from us, not only from myself, but also from the other ministers of EU member states” on where they stand on this issue.

“We, as you know, as the European Union, always encourage dialog and diplomatic engagement. This has always been our commitment. This is what we are practicing, including with Iran.”

EU/NATO countries are involved in virtually all US wars of aggression, Washington’s so-called “coalition of the willing.” Will Iran be an exception if the Trump regime attacks the country? Heavy pressure will be brought to bear on its key countries to get involved if things go this far.

Mogherini was less than candid, claiming “(t)here is full determination on the European Union’s side, and also all the member states expressed that today very clearly on continuing to implement it at full the nuclear deal with Iran.”

Since Trump’s JCPOA pullout last May, EU actions belied its supportive rhetoric for the deal, failing to follow through on promises made.

It’s why Iran gave Britain, France and Germany “60 days to meet their commitments, especially in the banking and oil sectors,” adding:

“Whenever our (legitimate) demands are met, we will, to the same extent, resume the commitments. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic will be suspending more commitments stage by stage.” 

“In line with protecting the security and national interests of the Iranian people,” the Supreme National Security Council said it’ll suspend some of its voluntary commitments, relating to enrichment and storage of uranium and heavy water — according to its rights under JCPOA articles 26 and 36.

“Iran stands ready to continue its consultations with the remaining parties to the deal at all levels, but it will swiftly and firmly react to any irresponsible measure, including returning the case (of Iran’s legal nuclear program) to the Security Council or imposing more sanctions.”

Iran, Russia and China fully comply with JCPOA provisions. The Trump regime illegally pulled out of the binding agreement. Britain, France and Germany failed to fulfill their obligations, delaying and equivocating instead.

Will they change their behavior in the weeks ahead to save the deal, or will they surrender to US demands like countless times before?

Avoiding US war on Iran may depend on their JCPOA compliance. How they’ll act is very uncertain. The jury remains out on this vital issue.

Note: Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles ordered the withdrawal of its Mendez Nunez frigate from the Middle East combat group led by the USS Abraham Lincoln over heightened tensions with Iran. 

Will other NATO countries take similar actions to avoid the risk of war with the Islamic Republic?

 

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: Washington Couldn’t Create a More Convenient Villain

By Tony Cartalucci
Source

With US-backed militants having already reached the full extent of their gains on the battlefield and now facing incremental but inevitable defeat – the US appeared to be out of time and out of options.

Then suddenly – as if on cue – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – alleged leader of the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) was resurrected after US claims he had died years early, and provided the US with the perfect pretext to militarily intervene in Syria anyway.

A July 2014 BBC article titled, “Isis chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears in first video,” would claim:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamist militant group Isis, has called on Muslims to obey him, in his first video sermon.  Baghdadi has been appointed caliph by the jihadist group, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The sudden wave of violence unleashed by ISIS across Iraq and Syria was on such a scale that only state sponsorship could have accounted for it.

Creating the Perfect Enemy

In fact – the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as early as 2012 had even noted a Western and Persian Gulf-led conspiracy to create what it called at the time a “Salafist” [Islamic] “principality” [State] precisely in eastern Syria where ISIS would eventually find itself based.

The DIA document would explain (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would state:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

The goal had been to further isolate the Syrian government in aid of Washington’s ultimate goal of overthrowing Damascus. When growing numbers of extremists failed to do this, the US then used the presence of ISIS as a pretext for a revised version of the direct military intervention Russia had thwarted just a year earlier.

For one year the US posed as fighting ISIS while simultaneously seizing Syria’s oil fields and building an army of militants it had hoped to use to both push ISIS into Syrian government-held territory, and with which to fight the Syrian government itself.

A U.S.-backed anti-government fighter mans a heavy automatic machine gun, left, next to an American soldier as they take their positions at Tanf, a border crossing between Syria and Iraq (Hammurabi’s Justice News/AP)

By 2015, Russia began its own military intervention. It immediately targeted ISIS supply lines leading out of NATO-member Turkey – something the US has failed to do up to and including today, isolating the terrorist group within Syrian territory before Russian air power along with Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah ground forces encircled and eliminated them along with Al Nusra and other extremist groups everywhere west of the Euphrates River.

On the American-occupied side of the Euphrates, ISIS persisted until just this year and at times was even protected from pursuing Syrian and Russian forces by a US-declared exclusion zone.

It is now clear US efforts to overthrow the Syrian government have failed. It is also clear that Washington’s pretext for illegally occupying Syrian territory is no longer politically tenable.

Just as America’s presence in Syria was becoming increasingly awkward and unsustainable, al-Baghdadi has again emerged – just in time – to grant the US victory in eastern Syria but to also remind the global public that ISIS is still an enduring threat that will require America’s continued presence in the region.

The US response to al-Baghdadi’s reemergence was telling, even complimentary. An AFP/New York Times article titled, “ISIS releases first videotape of Baghdadi in five years, US vows to track down surviving leaders of militant group,” would report:

The United States vowed on Monday (April 29) that it would track down and defeat surviving leaders of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) movement after its elusive supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared to speak in a newly released videotape.

The US-led coalition against the group will fight across the world to “ensure an enduring defeat of these terrorists and that any leaders who remain are delivered the justice that they deserve”, a State Department spokesman said.

US hegemony requires the US military to maintain a presence around the globe – which in turn requires a perpetual pretext to do so. Just as the US deliberately created ISIS to serve as a pretext for illegally occupying Syrian territory remain there indefinitely – it has and will continue to use ISIS’ convenient expansion worldwide to justify a continued, global US military presence worldwide as well.

Washington Couldn’t Create a more Convenient Villain 

Students of history would be hard pressed to find similar examples of a military or political leader like al-Baghdadi who openly, even eagerly conceded defeat and grant a supposed adversary a massive political victory. So convenient and artificial is al-Baghdadi’s most recent reappearance and all of his alleged activities in the past that many around the globe are questioning the veracity of the video and of al-Baghdadi himself.

Considering America’s own Defense Intelligence Agency has all but admitted the US deliberately created ISIS in the first place – it takes no stretch of the imagination to conclude they created al-Baghdadi as well.

The summation of ISIS’ fighting capacity is drawn from its admitted state sponsors – both Saudi Arabia and Qatar – as admitted by US politicians themselves, the UK Independent would report.

Riyadh, Doha, and in turn, those underwriting both regimes in Washington – are the true “leaders” of ISIS – arming, funding, and directing the terrorist organization – with al-Baghdadi a mere figurehead who emerges when the needs of Western foreign policy and propaganda require.

If the US could create a villain to consistently serve Washington’s interests both in Syria and around the globe, they would have difficulty creating one more ideal than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Should Pakistan expect US withdrawal from Afghanistan? — Agha Hussain

Posted originally to CRSS on 12 may 2019. Diligent minds in Pakistan pay adequate attention to the Indo-US strategic partnership across Asia. However, with this partnership as the framework, analysts may find it difficult to explain why the US began peace talks with the Afghan Taliban and negotiations as to when and how the US […]

via Should Pakistan expect US withdrawal from Afghanistan? — Agha Hussain

A ” normal nation” to Mike Pompeo is one that regularly, invades, occupies and attacks other nations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks in Finland: “What we’ve been trying to do is to get Iran to behave like a normal nation.”

Iran hasn’t attacked a country in over 200 years. The US however has invaded/destabilized: Vietnam Nicaragua El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Grenada Panama Iraq Yugoslavia Afghanistan Libya Syria Ukraine Yemen & others Who’s really the one in need of a behavior correction here?

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