IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Islamic Revolution Gauds Corps (IRGC) on Friday released the footage that has been recorded by its drone from the USS Boxer during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz in a move to counter the US president’s allegation that the American navy has downed the aircraft. [+VIDEO]

US President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that the USS Boxer had fired on an Iranian drone on Thursday, shooting it down in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House.

The US president claimed that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”

Minutes later the Pentagon also issued a statement to confirm the report, but did not claim that the drone was Iranian.

The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.

“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The top military brass in Tehran rushed to deny the claim. Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Friday that Trump’s statement was absurd and baseless, stressing that the false claim about downing an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was intended to increase tensions in international waterways and disrupting security in the Strait of Hormuz.

“Unlike Trump’s delusional and groundless claim, all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the US president, have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations,” the Armed Forces mouthpiece added.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran always feel duty-bound to protect, control, and safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with full vigilance while observing international regulations,” he added.

Hours later on Friday, the IRGC described the US president’s claim as “ridiculous”, and declared that it would release the footage collected by its drone from the US warship to prove the falsity of Washington’s claims.

“We will soon release the footage recorded by the IRGC Aerospace Force drone from the USS Boxer to expose Americans’ baseless claims to the public opinion of the world,” the public relations department of the IRGC announced today.

“The footage will show that the drone of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force was conducting its routine mission in the region before the arrival of the American vessel at the Strait of Hormuz,” read the communique, adding that the drone has sent footage of its “monitoring and surveilling the aforementioned ship both before and after the time that Americans claim”.

The statement added that after recording the footage from the US warship, the drone returned to its base intact.

“The marine and aerospace units of the IRGC vigilantly and continuously monitor the moves by the foreigners, particularly the terrorist forces of the US and the UK in the strategic region, based on their legal duties and for establishing security in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf,” it added.

The IRGC reassured that with its complete intelligence dominance and preparedness, it will deliver a proportionate response to any act of aggression and violation of the international law.

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The footage released by the IRGC has been recorded by the drone during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz over the USS Boxer.

IRGC Navy drones routinely fly over the strategic waterway of the Strait of Hormuz to ensure its security for free international maritime transportation.

The footage shows the trafficking of vessels through the Strait of Hurmuz before the arrival of the American warship and continues to cover the area after the US vessel moves forward and then keeps surveilling the USS Boxer.

The IRGC issued a statement after releasing the video on Friday evening, saying that the drone has been watching the USS Boxer and five other US warships accompanying it for three hours, from the time when they had not made an entry into the Strait of Hormuz to the time when exited the waterway.

“During this period, out drone bases have not observed and recorded any unconventional and threatening action by the US terrorist forces on the stated warship,” the IRGC statement reiterated.

“Hence, it is more evident and proved now that the claim raised by the US officials about the shooting down of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz without any (supportive) evidence has been baseless and a lie,” it added.

The footage indicates that it has been recorded by the Iran-made drone, Mohajer-4, an unmanned aircraft  designed and manufactured for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, with the maximum speed of 200km/phr and flight durability of 7 hours.

The claim by the US president has been refuted by a range of Iranian officials since it was first raised by Donald Trump at a White House event on Thursday. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet, “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else.”

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”, he said in sarcastic words.

The incident came almost a month after the IRGC shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormuzgan.

On Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the shooting down of a US spy drone over Iranian territorial waters by the IRGC shattered the US military awe.

“The operation to shoot down the US drone in Iran’s sky was successful in every aspect. The operation shattered the awe of the world arrogant power (US) and displayed the rotten and cracked skeleton of the arrogant powers to everyone,” General Hajizadeh said in the Northeastern city of Mashhad on Tuesday.

He added that the different dimensions of the operation will come in light throughout time.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami underlined Armed Forces’ full preparedness to give a strong response to enemies, saying that downing of a US spy drone over Iran’s territories proved the country’s high capability to defend itself.

“Downing of the US advanced and expensive Global Hawk spy drone by Iran’s integrated air defense surprised foreign experts about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military capability in defending the country’s borders and confronting the aggressors,” General Hatami said, addressing the Iranian parliamentarians in Tehran.

He underlined that all stages which led to the destruction of the spy drone, including detection, interception and destruction, were completed by using indigenized technology and military equipment, and said, “The Iranian Armed Forces are fully prepared to give a crushing response to any threat and stupidity by enemies and will make them regret their deeds.”

General Hatami stressed that the Iranian Armed Forces would powerfully continue enhancement of their defense power.

Also, last week, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri warned of his country’s strong and painful response to any enemy offensive.

“Undoubtedly, a hard and crushing response will be waiting for those who intend to harm Iran and its borders’ security,” General Baqeri said during a visit to the country’s Northeastern bordering areas on Wednesday.

He added that the Iranian people, including the Shiites and the Sunnis, along with the country’s Armed Forces would foil any enemy plots against Iran’s sustainable security.

His remarks came after the IRGC Aerospace Force shot down an American spy drone over the territorial waters of Iran near the Strait of Hormuz at dawn on June 20.

Also, US President Donald Trump said the US air force was “cocked and loaded” to attack three Iranian targets a day later, but he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare after being told that the airstrike might kill as many as 150 people.

Trump said in a series of tweets that he decided that the death toll was not a proportionate response to the Iranian shooting down of a US spy drone off the Iranian coast.

After Trump’s remarks, General Hajizadeh said that his forces could have shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.

“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh said, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.

“Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too,” he said, adding, “But we did not do (shoot down) it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.”

General Hajizadeh also stressed that Iran was not after war but was fully ready to defend itself, adding that the fate of the downed US spy drone was waiting for any intruding flying object.

“Our response to anything trespassing Iranian territory is like this, and if such acts of aggression are repeated, our response will also be the same,” General Hajizadeh said.

“We don’t embrace war but we are ready to fully defend the country,” he said.

“We possess a collection of US drones which is a proof that US has violated Iran’s airspace and shows that they don’t want to respect the international law,” General Hajizadeh said.

“If such an aggression is repeated, we will add other US (military) products to complete this collection,” he noted.

“The US measure was in violation of international law and we acted according to our legitimate responsibility,” General Hajizadeh said, adding, “It is possible that a US general or some operators were behind this American aggression, we don’t know that. But that measure (intruding into Iranian airspace) is a violation of international aviation rules by a spy drone which then received our natural response.”

Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that his country had retrieved parts of the spy drone that was shot down from the country’s territorial waters, rejecting Washington’s claim that the aircraft was targeted in international waters.

“(The) US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode and violated Iranian airspace,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, adding that the drone “was targeted near… Kouh-e Mobarak” region in the Central district of Jask in Hormuzgan province after the aircraft violated Iran’s airspace.

Zarif even provided the coordinates where the US aircraft was intercepted, and added, “We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.”

In an earlier tweet, Zarif stated that Iran “will take this US new aggression to (the) UN and show that the US is lying about international waters”.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that Tehran does not want war, “but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters”.

Meantime, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.

The incident sent “a clear message” to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, Salami stated.

“Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national interests,” the major general noted.

Also, earlier this month, General Salami said Iran’s military power and might had taken the military option off the table for the US, stating that the US was fearful of war against Iran.

“We have completely blocked the road to the enemies in the military field and we have reversed the balance. Under the current situation, it is the enemies who are concerned about war and this concern is displayed in their physical and tactical behavior,” General Salami said, addressing the commanders and personnel of Khatam al-Anbia base in Tehran.

He said the US exercised a similar offensive strategy in the political field first, but “eventually, they announced that they didn’t intend to go for a confrontation and called it a quit; in fact, this was a retreat to give them a chance to save themselves from a bottleneck they had created themselves.”

“Today, our global power is very well known and credited, and it includes an extraordinary deterrence capacity; we have managed to shatter the United States’ awe in the world public opinion” on the scene of action, General Salami said.

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Nasrallah: US-backed Axis Defeated, We Have Enough Missiles to Redraw the Map of the Middle East

 

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Transcript:

[…] Another element indicating (the improbability of a war against Iran) is the field data, and I mean the (triple) Summit which I have just mentioned. And we are now entering the (4th section of my speech devoted to the triple) Arab Summit (in Mecca on May 30-June 1). The Summit was convened in emergency. Why? There are two reasons, two clear reasons that are mentioned in the (final) statements (of the Summit).

The first reason… The first reason… I remember that during the first days of the war of aggression against Yemen, His Eminence the (Supreme) Leader, Sayed [Khamenei], said that the young (fighters) of Yemen would rub the Al-Saud’s noses in dirt. Some days ago, the Saudi (army) bit the dust (once again). That’s what happened.

The first reason (for the improbability of war against Iran), that I mentioned earlier, is that Saudi Arabia has recognized the fact that there was no way out against the missiles of the Yemeni army and Popular Defense Committees, which they call the ‘Houthi’ missiles, and against their drones, and my proof is what happened in Yanbu’ (strikes of a Yemeni drone against oil installations in Saudi Arabia). It is a failure, a complete disaster. On the technical, military, security levels, and on every other level, it is a colossal failure. And it is a great success for our Yemeni brothers.

And that’s why in the joint statement at the conclusion of the Arab Summit, from the first line, points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 only speak of Houthis, Houthis and yet again Houthis, as well as Iran. This clearly shows how much the issue of our Yemeni brothers is present and is the main cause for convening this triple Summit.

The second reason (indicating the improbability of a war against Iran) is that the Saudi regime and its allies understood with certainty that there will be no US war against Iran. You are dreaming (O Saudis), you spend your money for nothing and you incite for war to no avail. Trump will not fight for you, while it was your greatest hope. The last thing the Saudis had left was this hope (on which they have staked everything). Is there anything they can do? Do the Saud have alternatives (to prevail)? Who will go to war against Iran? The Saud themselves? While in Yemen, according to the information of the Saudis themselves, these young Yemeni fighters who have no army, no huge capacities, who are besieged, isolated, hungry, sick, whatever you want, but Saudi Arabia fails, is defeated and broken against them! And you (the Saudis) would go to war against (such a formidable power as) Iran? Who (will dare attack Iran)? Will they hire Netanyahu to launch a war against Iran? Let him first take care of his own problems (electoral and with Israeli justice)!

It’s the end of the road (for the Saud)! All their plans and hopes rested, in recent weeks, on Trump, on Trump’s incitement (to war), on Bolton, on Pompeo and all their fellow evil men in b or p, who were threatening to attack Iran and devastate this country. But it’s over. All their hopes were dashed.

That is why this Summit was convened in Mecca, as I said, to call the Arab and Muslim worlds and the Gulf countries for help. ‘Hasten therefore (to our help), O Arabs’ (cried the Al-Saud dynasty)! I wrote here… Where is this paper?… I wrote (a summary about it)… “Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart…” For who is responsible for the crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council? Saudi Arabia! “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit) to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart, of the Arabs it has crushed…” Is there a single Arab country left where Saudi Arabia has not created discord and division? And until now, up to this very day, there are Arab countries torn with civil wars, and Saudi Arabia is (the main) responsible. And there are Arab countries under threat of falling into civil wars (Algeria, Sudan…), and we must look (for the hand of) Saudi Arabia (behind it). “(Saudi Arabia convened the triple Summit to strengthen itself with the support of the Gulf it has torn apart), of the Arabs it has crushed and of the Muslims among whom it has spread the sedition of takfir.”

See Pakistan: Saudi Arabia wants to become stronger by getting the support of this country, while it propagated its takfiri ideology there among the Taliban, who created innumerable problems for the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people. Today, Saudi Arabia is calling on all these countries to save it (and get it out of the Yemeni quagmire).

First, regarding the Summit… I will conclude my remarks with a few words. Regarding the (Mecca) Summit, such is the context that explains it. It is a call for help, a cry for help, an intercessory request… You know it’s Ramadan (where all wishes can be fulfilled), so the Saudis make prayers, express wishes, cajole (the Arab governments) so that they’d fulfill their wishes, because of their failure and powerlessness, and because their hopes were dashed. The opposite Axis (United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia) isn’t in any case in a position of strength. It is in a position of weakness and failure, desperate, greatly confused and completely discouraged. This is the truth.

Second, let us consider the Joint Statement issued after the Summit. We see that it is composed of 10 points, which speak only of Iran and the “Houthis”, as they call them, but in the end of this Statement, as we commemorate the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), at the very end of this Statement, really the last two lines, we read: “And about the Palestinian cause, the main cause of the Arabs, the Summit has confirmed its commitment to the resolutions of the 29th Arab Summit (of April 2018) in Dhahran (Saudi Arabia), or Al-Quds Summit, and the resolutions of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis (in March 2019).” Period. They did not even devote two lines to Palestine! They gave it only a line and a half of their final Statement! That’s the importance of Palestine for the Arab Summit. I do not even know if they actually talked about it (during their discussions), I just read the final Statement.

And about the Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, there is a really funny thing, the 4th point. Listen to the 4th point (of the final Statement) of the Summit of the Council of the Gulf Cooperation: “Confirms the strength, harmony and resolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the unity of its members around a common line to face these threats.” And they say that while they are besieging Qatar! They have been besieging the State and the people of Qatar for over a year! It’s really hilarious, Uncle! By God, some people really don’t realize that they have become the laughing stock of the world! The whole world mocks them, demeans and humiliates them!

Another point about the Arab Summit, we have a duty to praise the position expressed by Iraq and the President of the Republic of Iraq. It’s a remarkable position, courageous and excellent. What a shame that the rest of the Arab Presidents, Kings and Emirs did not talk the same way! And the Iraqi delegation has not said that they wanted to wage war against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or anyone, nothing like it! They spoke in a balanced manner (without taking sides with Iran nor Saudi Arabia). You could do the same thing (and display a conciliatory neutrality). What prevented you from doing so, O Arabs? What a pity that (the participants of this) Summit, in spite of the failure, powerlessness and confusion (of Saudi Arabia), and the economic exploitation of the situation by the United States, have not talked in conciliatory terms about Iran, when Iran itself, a few days ago, said via its delegates that they were ready to talk with the Gulf states, and conclude pacts of non-aggression with them! Why did they not adopt the same open and conciliatory diplomatic language? If they had done so, their money, their safety, their security, their interests and even their dignity would not be violated by Trump morning and evening.

On the Arab Summit, I have one more thing to say: as a Lebanese party who participate in the government of Lebanon, we (Hezbollah) consider that the position of the official Lebanese delegation to the Arab Summit contradicts the Ministerial Declaration (of the Hariri government) and violates the commitments and promises of the Lebanese government, who received the confidence of the Parliament on the basis of this Declaration. Where is the promised neutrality, O official Lebanese delegation to the holy city of Mecca? You could have said… It was not even required that you take a position similar to that of Iraq. You could simply have said that the Lebanese government was committed to neutrality (in regional conflicts) and that such a stance was required in the national interest of Lebanon, which had to remain neutral, as it had done in previous Summits.

That is why we reject this position (expressed by the Lebanese delegation), which we consider unacceptable and condemn because it does not represent Lebanon. It represents only the members of the delegation (as individuals) or the political parties they belong to. It is impossible that this be the official position of Lebanon, a position which publishes a Statement with 10 paragraphs condemning Iran and only dedicates a line and a half to Palestine, the whole Statement expressing support for an Axis (US-Saudi-Israeli) against another (the Axis of Resistance).

Of course, the Future party could have made a statement of their own supporting eloquently the Final Statement of this Summit held in Holy Mecca, it is their natural right. We wouldn’t mind at all because (it is common knowledge) that we have opposite stances (on regional issues). We have already said that neutrality is not required of political forces. And we are the first not being neutral (and strongly and publicly announcing our stances against the US, Israel, the Saud…). But we agreed that the Lebanese government would remain neutral. The Lebanese State must remain neutral (because it is composed of both pro-American and pro-Iranian forces). And what happened in Mecca is contrary to the commitments and promises (made by the Future Alliance heading the government), and to Lebanon’s national interest.

This brings me to the last point (of my speech). (I’m sorry) for being so long, on this night of Ramadan, but it is a sensitive issue whose mention cannot be postponed. Regarding the delimitation of the (land and sea) borders (between Lebanon and Israel), as I have said repeatedly, as a Resistance, we have no problem and we comply with the decisions of the State. And for all that is happening at the borders, we leave everything in the hands of the State, whether what is happening is good or bad, right or wrong. Regarding the demarcation of our land and sea borders, we will respect all the decisions of State, (and we do not have a say).

And by making these statements, I do not exaggerate. Some brothers think that my words are conciliatory but do not coincide with reality, but no, I tell the strict truth when I say that we in Hezbollah trust the Lebanese officials who are in charge of this issue, and who are committed to upholding all Lebanon’s rights to land and water, in terms of maritime (space), oil and gas (resources present in the Mediterranean). We have (full) confidence in them, and that’s why we do not intervene in this issue. So much for the positive points, for I will now turn to a very different point.

On this issue, what are the United States striving to achieve through (their envoy) Mr. [David] Satterfield and his ilk? The USA are very strong to exploit all things, and exploit (all situations) in an evil way (in their interests and to our detriment). Since Lebanon needs a rapid delineation of borders, especially at sea, to (be able to exploit) oil and gas (resources at sea), and since Lebanon needs a calm situation in order to get financial loans —for we speak mainly about loans, not grants—, in this context, the United States come to… I hope that all the Lebanese will listen to me.

The United States wants to exploit the (indirect) negotiations (between Lebanon and Israel) on the demarcation of land and maritime borders to solve another adjacent, unrelated problem in the sole interest of Israel, and that Israel has been unable to resolve for years, namely precision missiles and the manufacture of precision missiles.

For over two years, (we have been contacted constantly by) ambassadors, embassies, foreign intelligence services, including those countries that consider us officially as terrorists, it does not bother them. They asked us the following questions, or (rather) addressed us the following messages: you have precision missiles, and this is something that Israel will not tolerate, and when Israel will learn their place (of storage), they will bomb them. That’s the message that we kept receiving for over two years. That’s (the first point).

The second point was the accusation that we’d have precision missile factories in Lebanon, which is (allegedly) a red line for Israel that will not be tolerated, and the warning that if Israel gets to know their location, they will bomb them. We hid this matter to the public for two years so as not to worry anyone, and to settle this matter behind the scenes. But some things happened during this week that lead me to speak out today because I think this whole issue will soon be discussed in the media, this topic being debated today in wider circles. I prefer to publicly state our position on this issue, rather than let the (State) officials being responsible for sending messages or answering questions (about this topic), and it is better that these answers come directly from me so that the United States, Israel and others receive them distinctly. (That’s better), isn’t it? That’s why I mention it.

Regarding the first point, the precision missiles issue, we are people who always tell the truth, we never lie. We can of course not reveal the truth without lying, or tell only part of the truth, but we never lie. That’s why when they asked us (if we had precision missiles), we answered that yes, we had precision missiles, and then you remember that two years ago, the tenth day (of ‘Ashura), I announced quite clearly that we have precision missiles able to hit all the targets required in the Zionist entity.

And today, on this (International) Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem),on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of this Day, I say to the world that yes, we have in Lebanon enough precision missiles to change the face of the region and (upset) all equations!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]

But I say nothing new. That’s what I said for ‘Ashura two years ago. And to all those who have asked us, we said yes, we had precision missiles. And to all those who said or transmitted messages (Israeli threats), we said that there was no problem… It’s been 1, 2 and 3 years that these messages circulate, and that our response has been given and reached Israel: any time they tried to intimidate us by speaking of Israel, of red lines, of unacceptable things, of bombing, of (a violent) reaction, etc., our answer was clear, and I then repeated it publicly (in an interview) with Al-Mayadeen TV and then in a live speech. And I’ll repeat it again: we said that against any aggression, any Israeli strike against any target related to the Resistance in Lebanon, be it missiles or anything else, Hezbollah will retaliate immediately, directly and with (great) force!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
And that’s why for 1 year, 2 years and 3 years now, they never bombed (Lebanon). And even more, Israel is going to the UN to (complain) that under the Al-Ahed football stadium, there would be missiles, and at such other place as well, (and then the UN) asks the government to verify if missiles are present at a given location, etc. It is not out of manners or decency that Israel does not strike our missiles. It is because we are strong that they don’t dare to do so (because they fear our retaliation), and that we will respond to any aggression by a similar attack, if not more!
[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
The issue of precision missiles was therefore over (with a dead end for Israel). No one can do anything against it. So the issue has been upgraded with the accusation of possession of precision missile factories (in Lebanon). A few months ago, a (Lebanese) official said that the United States had contacted him to tell him this and this. I replied: “My dear official —I do not say anything specific to protect his identity—, this information is false. We do not have —and I speak with complete frankness— we have no precision missile factory in Lebanon.” He asked if the Iranians had such factories in Lebanon. I told him that the Iranians had no factory in Lebanon, be it for precision missiles or other missiles, or anything at all.So far —I say so far, until tonight, until this International Day of Al-Quds—, there are no precision missile factories (in Lebanon). So the Americans left and came back later (with new charges), saying that there were such factories in such and such place, until what they said recently, namely that the process of delimitation of maritime borders was obstructed by the fact that in such region, there were precision missile factories. Again, several Lebanese officials asked me about it, and I said that it was not true. In this region, there are military facilities, supplies and equipment of Hezbollah, but no precision missile factory. That’s all.What is my point? These (false accusations) have been accompanied by various threats. I will not say what the threats were because there is no reason for me to reveal them, but several threats were made, so that Lebanon settles this issue (precision missile factories) and destroys such and such installations, razes them to the ground and terminates them. But my dear (US) friends, do you know who you are dealing with? In what world do you live (to believe that your threats can frighten Hezbollah)? It is absolutely inconceivable for us.In addition, we, in Hezbollah, are more trustworthy and reliable than the Americans and their predecessors, and more trustworthy and reliable than the Israelis and their predecessors. When I tell you that there is no precision missile factories, this means that there is none. And if there were such factories, I would have said this evening on TV that there are such factories, as I’ll prove it in a moment.I will explain my problem with this question and conclude my speech. My problem is that… That’s why I did not want to discuss this issue only with Lebanese officials, but I wish that we all (Lebanese) take part in it. The very discussion of such issues with the United States, merely allowing them to ask us about (our weapons), this door should be in my opinion closed. It is not their business, they have no right to inquire about our weapons. The US does not have any right to meddle in it. Whether there are precision missile factories in Lebanon or not, it is not their business. Israel, which is right next to us, manufactures missiles, warplanes, tanks, nuclear and chemical weapons. Let them go there and make the same requests! As for us, it is our right —and that’s what I want to add this evening—, it is our absolute right to possess any type of weapons to defend our country. And it is our absolute right to manufacture any type of weapons, because to have weapons, there are only three possibilities: either you buy them, or someone gives them to you, or you manufacture them.In Gaza, what do they do? They make them. In Yemen, what do they do? They make them. But the Saudi mentality is unable to conceive that Yemenis can manufacture their own missiles and drones (and they accuse Iran of supplying them). What do you want me to do about it? In Iran, what are they doing? They manufacture their own weapons! And we absolutely have the right to do the same. I affirm that the United States do not have the right to debate with us on this right. That’s the first point. How does it concern you? Whether we have such factories or not, it’s none of your business. I assure you that there are no such factories yet, but you have no right to ask me at the first place! Whether there are such factories or not, mind your own business! We have every right to have all the weapons that allow us to defend our country, whether we buy them, they are given to us or we manufacture them. That’s the first point.

Second, if the United States continue to bring this issue, I tell them this: we have all the technical and human capacity, thanks to our youth, to manufacture precision missiles, and we are perfectly able to import in Lebanon all the equipment required to open such factories. I declare tonight that if the United States continue to bring up this issue, let the whole world know that we will open precision missile factories in Lebanon!

[Audience: At your service, O Nasrallah!]
 
So far, we have no such factories (in Lebanon), but if they continue to bring up this issue, they will convince us to do so! Then, the government talks about many problems of the Lebanese industry. Today, one of the greatest evils in the world is arms sales… Why are you laughing, I’m serious! We are able to manufacture precision missiles and sell them to the world, and thus help the Lebanese Treasury. Is that okay with you?This is why I advise Satterfield to stay calm and do the job he is asked to do (without encroaching on our business), since he claims to be there to help… But who does he (really want to) help? Because you know that in general, the United States are not intermediaries. They are only there to lobby and defend the interests of Israel, and God help our Lebanese brothers responsible for these negotiations. Let Satterfield close this file and not waste his time in (idle) threats, and stop exerting himself. He should stop exerting himself (in vain).This is our natural right (to have all the weapons required), we will remain attached thereto, and threats lead to nothing with us. These threats are not new, but date back to 2 or 3 years. I have answered them, and I do not want to have to repeat myself, okay? Be it now, before or after, our position remains the same.In conclusion, O my dear and noble brothers, on this Day of Al-Quds, on this 40th year of the celebration of this Day, our (Resistance) Axis is in a position of strength, as is our front (the battlefield). It is true that in recent years we have made many sacrifices, but by the grace of the blood of martyrs, we got out of all these sacrifices stronger and more present. And it is full of strength, determination, faith and confidence that I tell you all that we can defeat the Deal of the Century and make it fail, and at the forefront the Palestinian people: when Palestinians are unanimous in their sovereign position, as I called it, about the Deal of the Century and the Conference in Bahrain (which are condemned by all factions), nobody can impose anything, neither to Palestinians nor to the region.When the Syrian people refuse to cede the Golan, Golan will never become Israel’s, even if Trump redraws maps and signs below, as announced by Netanyahu yesterday. Let them sign anything they want, do what they want, and say whatever they want, (it will be futile). If we stay present in the field, on all battlefields, if we remain attached to our rights, and above all, before, after and with everything, if we trust in God and in His promise of victory, if we believe in Him, in our peoples, in our generation, in our men, in our women, in our brains and in our minds and willpower, the future belongs to Al-Quds, and not to Trump or to all the insignificant midgets who work for Trump.Peace be upon the soul of the great Khomeini, who founded this Day, happy (al-Quds) holiday, and may God grant you victory and glory.

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

The War Crimes That Don’t Get Punished

By Ron Paul
Source

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) found himself in hot water recently over comments he made in defense of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who faces war crimes charges over his alleged conduct while serving in combat overseas. Gallagher is charged with stabbing a 15 year old ISIS member while in custody, of taking photos posing with the corpse of the teen, and with killing several civilians.

Defending Gallagher recently, Hunter put his own record up next to the SEAL to suggest that he’s an elected Congressman who has done worse things in battle than Gallagher.

That’s where Hunter’s defense earned him some perhaps unwanted attention. While participating in the first “Battle of Fallujah” in early 2007, by Hunter’s own account he and his fellow soldiers killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. They fired mortars into the city and killed at random.

In the sanitized world of US mainstream media reporting on US wars overseas, we do not hear about non-combatants being killed by Americans. How many times has there been any reporting on the birth defects that Iraqis continue to suffer in the aftermath of US attacks with horrific weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorus?

Rep. Hunter described his philosophy when fighting in Iraq:

“You go in fast and hard, you kill people, you hit them in the face and then you get out…We’re going to hurt you and then we’re going to leave. And if you want to be nice to America, we’ll be nice to you. If you don’t want to be nice to us, we’re going to slap you again.”

This shows how much Duncan Hunter does not understand about war. When he speaks of hitting people in the face until they are nice to America, he doesn’t seem to realize that the people of Fallujah – and all of Iraq – never did a thing to the US to deserve that hit in the face. The war was launched on the basis of lies and cooked-up intelligence by many of the people who are serving in the current Administration.

And that brings us to the real war criminals. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his fellow soldiers may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and even felt justified. Their superior officers, after all, established the rules of engagement. Above those superior officers, going up and beyond to the policymakers, the lie was sold to the American people to justify a war of choice against a country that could not have threatened us if it wanted to.

Vice President Dick Cheney knew what he was doing when he kept returning to the CIA headquarters, strong-arming analysts to make the intelligence fit the chosen policy. John Bolton and the other neocons knew what they were doing when they made claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction they knew were false. The Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans played its role in selling the lie. So did the media.

Edward Gallagher will face trial and possibly jail for his actions. Rep. Duncan Hunter may even face punishment – though perhaps only at the ballot box – for his admitted crimes. But until those at the top who continue to lie and manipulate us into war for their own gain face justice, the real criminals will continue to go free and we will continue pursuing a suicidal neocon foreign policy.

No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Whatever hopes of returning to normal life regular Afghans have had until recently, these days those are all but dissolving like a morning mist. The so-called Afghan reconciliation summit that was to be held in Qatar has been put on the back burner indefinitely. It was envisioned as a separate event, unrelated to the direct talks between the Taliban […]

via No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Julian Assange Is Being Murdered

By Craig Murray
Source

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We are seriously worried about the condition of Julian Assange. He was too unwell to appear in court yesterday, and his Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, found him in a state where he was unable to conduct a conversation and give instructions. There are very definite physical symptoms, particularly rapid weight loss, and we are not satisfied that genuine and sufficient diagnostic efforts are being made to determine the underlying cause.

Julian had been held for the last year in poor, highly confining and increasingly oppressive conditions in the Ecuadorean Embassy and his health was already deteriorating alarmingly before his expulsion and arrest. A number of conditions, including dental abcesses, can have very serious consequences if long term untreated, and the continual refusal by the British government and latterly the Ecuadoreans to permit him access to adequate healthcare while a political asylee was a callous denial of basic human rights.

I confess to feeling an amount of personal relief after his arrest that at least he would now get proper medical treatment. However there now seems to be no intention to provide that and indeed since he has been in Belmarsh his health problems have accelerated. I witnessed enough of the British state’s complicity in torture to know that this may be more than just the consequence of unintended neglect. That the most lucid man I know is now not capable of having a rational conversation is extremely alarming.

There is no rational reason that Assange needs to be kept in a high security facility for terrorists and violent offenders. We are seeing the motive behind his unprecedented lengthy imprisonment for jumping police bail when he entered political asylum. As a convicted prisoner, Assange can be kept in a worse regime than if he were merely on remand for his extradition proceedings. In particular, his access to his lawyers is extremely restricted and for a man facing major legal proceedings in the UK, USA and Sweden it is impossible, even were he healthy, for his lawyers to have sufficient time with him adequately to prepare his cases while he is under the restrictions placed on a convict. Of course we know from the fact that, within three hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, he was already convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term, that the state has no intention that his lawyers should be able to prepare.

I have asked before and I ask again. If this were a dissident publisher in Russia, what would the UK political and media class be saying about his being dragged out by armed police, and convicted and sentenced to jail by a judge without a jury, just three hours later, after a farce of a “trial” in which the judge insulted him and called him a “narcissist” before he had said anything in his defence? The Western media would be up in arms if that happened in Russia. Here, they cheer it on.

Below is a photo of Julian in the Embassy in happier times, during the Correa Presidency, with a truly amazing and strong group of people, every one of whose stories we can follow and learn from.

I should add that I am currently trying to see Julian personally with two other close friends, but obviously access is extremely difficult.

Julian’s personal possessions have been seized by the Ecuadoreans to be given to the US government. These include not only computers but his legal and medical papers. This is yet another example of completely illegal state action against him. Furthermore, any transfer must involve the stolen material physically transiting London, and the British government is taking no steps to prevent that, which is yet another of multiple signs of the degree of international governmental coordination behind the flimsy pretence of independent judicial action.

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Julian is imprisoned for at least another five months, even with parole (which they will probably find an excuse not to grant). After that he will be held further on remand. There is therefore no need for rush. The refusal of the Swedish court to delay a hearing on a potential extradition warrant at all, to allow Julian to recover to the extent he can instruct his lawyer, and the very brief postponement of the US extradition hearing in London, with the intimation it may be held inside Belmarsh prison if Julian is too unwell to move, are both examples of an entirely unaccustomed and unnecessary haste with which the case is being rushed forward. The mills of God grind slowly; those of the Devil seem to spin dangerously fast.

Finally, for those who still believe that actions against Julian, particularly but not only in Sweden, are in any way motivated by a concern for justice, particularly justice for violated women, I do urge you to read this excellent account by Jonathan Cook. As a summary of the truly breathtaking series of legal abuses by states against Assange, that the corporate and state media has been deliberately distorting and hiding for a decade, it cannot be bettered.

Washington’s Mighty Warriors: Draft Dodgers and Scoundrels

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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Remember Shakespeare’s line “he jests at scars that never felt a wound?” That epithet could have been written with National Security Advisor John Bolton in mind. Bolton was notoriously a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, like his current boss, not due to any scruples regarding what was occurring, but out of concern for his own sorry ass. He is now credibly believed to be the driving force behind the punishment being meted out to Venezuela and, far more dangerously, of the creeping escalation that is taking place in the Middle East that is seeking to draw Iran into a misstep that would lead to war. Bolton, who has received the “Defender of Israel” award, has long been an outspoken advocate for attacking Iran and now he has the power to do just that.

The psychopaths in the White House have been pretending that the United States “and its allies” are being threatened by Iran, a ridiculous conceit in and of itself as the Persians are hugely outgunned by the local U.S. presence as well as by the weapons in place in the region in the hands of the Saudis and Israelis. Israel is, one might recall, armed to the teeth through the beneficence of the United States and is also the region’s only nuclear armed power by virtue of the theft of U.S. technology and enriched uranium. The Saudis, meanwhile, are about to receive another $8 billion American made weapons due to the “Iranian threat.” That Trump has arranged the arms sale on his own questionable authority as an “emergency response” seems to bother some in Washington and the media, but no one will ultimately do anything about it as everyone inside the Beltway hates Iran due to the assiduous work of the Israel Lobby.

Trump has already sent bombers to the Persian Gulf region as well as an aircraft carrier and he is now adding 1500 more troops because the Iranian threat is reportedly increasing. The alleged threat itself is based on generic Israeli intelligence about what the Iranians might do if they choose to react to U.S. pressure. The intelligence reportedly suggests that there might be attacks on American diplomatic missions in Iraq, which has led to the evacuation of dependents and unnecessary staff from the posts in Baghdad and Irbil. It is also claimed that the Iranians were mounting anti-ship missiles on small coastal vessels to deploy against American warships.

The Pentagon claims that it has photographic evidence of the anti-ship missile threat, but Gareth Porter has demolished the analysis that has been produced by the White House, noting that the truly dangerous missiles are largely shore based and hidden.

The reality is that the Executive Branch of the federal government is essentially contriving a phony war supportive of no conceivable national interest that is based on lies and might even include a “false flag” operation that will condemn Iran for something it did not do. Some have compared it to the lead-up to Iraq, which is a fair judgment, but one has to suspect that the current situation is much worse as a war with Iran is potentially far more damaging to actual American interests than Saddam Hussein ever was. Iran will fight back and has capable defenses, which means Americans, not Israelis or Saudis, will die. So too will many thousands of innocent Iranian civilians. And there will be new trillions of dollars to add to the already crippling war debt being amassed Washington with absolutely nothing to show in return.

If there is any hope on the horizon it might be coming from a number of media reports that President Donald Trump has expressed considerable irritation with the advice he is getting from Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He reportedly began to see the light when the attempted coup in Venezuela did not develop as planned, resulting in some comments by the president that he had been misled into thinking that the regime change would be “easy.” He has since that time stated that he does not want war with Iran, though his actions would suggest otherwise, and some news reports suggesting that he is unhappy and at odds with Bolton in particular.

Unfortunately the desktop warriors who are currently calling the shots in Washington have no idea what they might be getting into. The only former soldier among them is Pompeo, who is a West Point graduate. He missed Vietnam and has never been involved in actual combat. He is also is a Christian Zionist who welcomes a major war in the Middle East in hopes that it will bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton has any real understanding that war means death. If Bolton has his way, many thousands will die and the United States will be reviled by nearly the entire world. President Donald Trump for all his self-proclaimed “genius” status does not appear to understand that reality either. For him, megadeaths and national humiliation might mean little more than the numbers on a balance sheet when one is reckoning up the costs of constructing a building.

This impending tragedy must be stopped. Back in 2003, a hundred thousand Americans gathered at the Washington Mall to protest against the drive to invade Iraq. Nothing like that has developed yet, but the people must rise up to demand that the government cease and desist from doing things in their name that do not help a single American but instead only bring death and destruction. Trump promised to do that when he ran for president. It is past time that he fulfill that promise.

Israel Terror-Bombs Syria With Impunity

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Israel partners with all US wars of aggression, notably against Syria, ruling regimes of both countries waging war on the country without declaring it.

What’s been ongoing since March 2011 is all about seeking regime change, wanting Syria colonized and exploited, Iran isolated, the same objective in play against its government — part of the US/NATO/Israeli aim for regional hegemony, the rule of law ignored, the human toll of no consequence.

Russian good faith efforts since 2012 for peace through Geneva, Astana, and Sochi talks failed because the US, Israel, and their imperial partners reject diplomatic conflict resolution. 

It’s why US-led forever wars rage in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, no end of them in prospect.

Israel has been terror-bombing Syrian targets on the phony pretext of countering nonexistent Iranian and Hezbollah threats throughout much of the war.

The only threats the US, NATO, and Israel face are invented ones. Real ones don’t exist so they’re invented to unjustifiably justify naked aggression on nations and groups threatening no one.

Israel admitted launching hundreds of preemptive strikes on Syrian targets. Former IDF chief General Gadi Eisenhkot earlier said “(w)e struck thousands of targets (in Syria) without claiming responsibility or asking for credit.”

In response to two reported rockets from Syria striking illegally occupied Golan, falling harmlessly, Israeli warplanes terror-bombed Syrian targets pre-dawn Sunday.

Throughout the war, no evidence suggests Syrian forces ever targeted Israeli territory. Clearly they’d be nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Attacking Israel would escalate war Damascus is winning and wants ended. Clearly its forces had nothing to do with striking occupied Golan on June 1.

Most likely, US/Israeli supported terrorists were to blame for the incident, giving the Netanyahu regime a pretext for a terror-bombing attack even though it needs none to do whatever it pleases — with full US support and encouragement, with the UN and world community failing to hold it accountable.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), on Sunday, “Syrian air defenses have confronted an Israeli attack targeted (on) sites in southwestern Damascus and Quneitra, a military source said,” adding:

“The aggression resulted in the martyrdom of three soldiers and the injury of seven others.” Reportedly most Israeli missiles were downed, some striking intended targets.

An IDF statement said Israeli warplanes and attack helicopters struck Syrian air defense, artillery positions, and “a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights front.”

According to Israeli military-connected DEBKAfile, Israeli warplanes “struck Iranian-Hizballah concentrations (sic) near Damascus.

DF admitted that no combat operations were ongoing in the area from which rockets were launched at Golan, suggesting it was false flag attack, perhaps jointly US/Israeli planned to wrongfully blame Syrian forces.

The IDF claim about Syria attacking Israeli military targets is belied by no injuries or damage reported, two reported rockets falling harmlessly, likely in open areas.

If Syrian forces wanted to strike Israeli positions, why were only two rockets involved, why not multiple missiles able to hit targeted sites accurately.

The claim about a Syrian attack is clearly phony. The same goes for falsely blaming Damascus for CW incidents. No evidence throughout the war suggests its forces ever used these banned weapons.

Indisputable evidence proved US supported terrorists used them numerous times, nearly always falsely blamed on Damascus for what it had nothing to do with.

War launched by Obama, escalated by Trump, rages in its ninth year with no near-term prospect for resolution because Washington rejects it.

On May 20, nearly 400 bipartisan House and Senate members called on Trump to “(i)ncrease pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria…to counter Iran’s support for Hezbollah as well as Russia’s support for…Assad…”

They urged tougher (illegal) sanctions and other (hostile) actions on these countries and Hezbollah, claiming nonexistent threats.

They want endless war continued, not ended. So do Trump regime hardliners.

US aggression in Syria follows the same pattern as Afghanistan and Yemen, both wars ongoing since October 2001 — raging endlessly with no prospect for resolution any time soon.

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