Britain’s Presumption of Guilt Towards Russia Invites Conflict and Chaos

Britain’s Presumption of Guilt Towards Russia

By 

RT News

March 16, 2018

Britain’s abandonment of due process has taken a dangerous and reckless leap, with Theresa May declaring economic sanctions and diplomatic expulsions for Russia’s “failure” to respond to allegations over the Skripal poisoning.

Provocatively, Moscow was given a 24-hour deadline to “answer” charges leveled by the British government that it was responsible for the attempted murder of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, who had been living in England since 2010 after a spy-swap deal.

Skripal (66) and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were apparently stricken with a deadly nerve agent in his adopted hometown of Salisbury on March 4 while strolling through a public park. The pair have been receiving treatment in intensive care ever since.

Earlier this week, the British prime minister asserted that the chemical weapon used was a Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok, and – on that basis – the Russian state was implicated in the attempted murder of the former spy. Skripal had been exiled from Russia in 2010 after he was convicted of treason as a double agent for British intelligence MI6.

The new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Moscow, which were announced by May in the House of Commons on Wednesday, constitute a reckless escalation towards conflict between Britain, its NATO allies, and Russia.

Moscow has said it will not stand for British punitive measures and is vowing to take reciprocal actions.

Washington and European states have quickly followed Britain’s lead in ramping up hostile rhetoric towards Russia, and issuing statements of “solidarity.” Relations between Russia and NATO states had already plummeted to Cold War depths before the latest row.

The invitation for more chaos and conflict comes with the abandonment of any pretense at upholding legal principles and standards.

Britain and its allies are relying on the inverted principle of “presumption of guilt” as opposed to “innocence.” Within days of the apparent poison attack on the Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the British authorities and media had rushed to judgement that the alleged attack was the work of the Russian state in an act of revenge for past betrayal. That motive does not stand up to scrutiny, noted former British ambassador Craig Murray.

Furthermore, the hypothetical Soviet-era nerve agent identified by the British authorities has not been independently verified. We are relying on official British claims. The alleged chemical may or may not have been used in the attack.

As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed, all requests from Moscow for access to the alleged poison as evidence have been refused by London. Such a refusal is a violation of the Convention on Chemical Weapons treaty, which mandates joint inspection of alleged incidents.

So, the British government imposed an ultimatum on Russia to provide “answers” to provocative charges without Moscow being given a fair chance to ascertain those charges. On the basis of that contemptible lack of due process, the British are calling on its NATO allies to escalate punitive measures against Russia.

There are even British media reports of Britain invoking NATO’s Article Five clause, which mandates the military pact to come to the defense of another member deemed to be under attack.

One senior British cabinet minister was quoted anonymously by The Independent as saying: “What happens will be an economic war, these will be economic measures. Russia’s economy is only half that of the UK… That doesn’t give us any pleasure at all, but we need the nations of Europe to behave within the rule of law and not like gangsters.

The logic is unhinged. British authorities are claiming to be acting within the rule of law against Russian “gangsters,” when in fact it is the British who are bludgeoning any legal standard of due process.

Paramount to due process is the presumption of innocence, which is the bedrock of international law and the United Nations’ Charter of Human Rights.

Canadian-based war crimes defense attorney Christopher Black says: “The presumption of innocence is the foundation stone of modern criminal justice. It is the pre-eminent factor in every trial. The accused is deemed to be innocent unless and until evidence that cannot be doubted establishes that the crime took place as claimed, and the accused is the person who committed it and had the intent to commit it.”

Black says that this is the exact opposite of what is taking place with regard to British claims over the latest alleged poisoning incident in Britain. The lawyer adds that the erosion of standard legal principle has been underway for several years due to political expedience by Western states. He points to the various ad-hoc war-crimes trials pushed by the United States and its NATO allies to convict political enemies in former Yugoslavia and Africa.

With regard to Russia and, in particular, the demonization of the government under President Vladimir Putin, the Western states have used the principle of “presumption of guilt” on numerous occasions, including the downing of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014; implicating Russia in Ukraine’s conflict; smearing Russia over sports doping and banning it from the Olympics; allegations of Russian “interference” in US and European elections; and blackening Moscow for “war crimes” in Syria.

In all cases, allegations are simply leveled and repeated ad nauseam without evidence ever being presented. Indeed, sometimes in spite of plausible counter-evidence.

Christopher Black continues: “The accusations against Russia from the MH-17 Malaysian airliner, Crimea, Ukraine, electoral interference, and so on, are all part of carefully orchestrated propaganda warfare aimed at reducing Russia’s prestige in the world, its range of friends and allies, and to paint it as the ‘evil other’ for the Western public, who are having their minds conditioned to prepare them for war.

The presumption of guilt towards Russia has now converged over chemical weapons and Syria.

In rallying Washington and European allies to back Britain’s “economic war” against Russia, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson this week said of conversations with his French counterpart: “The French government stressed particular concerns about Russia’s use of chemical weapons elsewhere, as is evident with their support to Assad’s murderous regime in Syria.”

On the basis of no evidence, dubious hearsay from terrorist-affiliated groups like the White Helmets, and the expedient presumption of guilt, Britain and its NATO allies are willing to go to war in Syria.

This week, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Syria and its Russian ally of carrying out chemical-weapons attacks, for which the “US is prepared to take military actions.

All this should be a lesson on why there is such a thing as legal standards and due process as a safeguard for international order. Once certain states start to assert “presumption of guilt” towards others, then all pretense of upholding law and order collapses into a descent of chaos and conflict.

Attorney Christopher Black goes further. He says that Britain and its NATO allies are not just derelict in their duty to abide by law. “As in the latest reckless statements concerning Russia and the alleged poisoning in Britain, the case can be made that the British and their allies are in fact guilty of war crimes by inciting the conditions for war.

Finally, there is one very obvious question that nobody seems to be asking, and that relates to the timing of Skripal’s alleged poisoning. Why would Russia do it now, just a week before the presidential election and three months before the World Cup?

It suggests total insanity on Moscow’s part. How could Russia possibly benefit from such an act? Skripal was previously in Russian custody and has lived in the UK for years. If Russia did want to poison him, as the UK has imagined, could it not have waited for a few more months?

It is not clear who benefitted from the inopportune timing of the incident, but certainly wasn’t Russia.

Reprinted from RT News.

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The US is Executing a Global War Plan

By Finian Cunningham

February 18, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – Washington is moving inevitably on a global war plan. That’s the grim conclusion one has to draw from three unfolding war scenarios.

Ultimately, it’s about American imperialism trying to assert hegemony over the international order for the benefit of US capitalism. Russia and China are prime targets for this global assault.

The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans. War plans which involve the moving of strategic military power into position.

Last week’s massacre of over 100 Syrian government forces by American warplanes near Deir ez-Zor was an audacious overt assault by the US on the Syrian state. The US, along with other NATO allies, have been up to now waging a seven-year proxy war for regime change against Russia’s ally, President Assad. The massacre last week was certainly not the first time that US forces, illegally present in Syria, have attacked the Syrian army. But it seems clearer than ever now that American forces are operating on the overt agenda for regime change. US troops are transparently acting like an occupation army, challenging Russia and its legally mandated support for the Syrian state.

Heightening international concerns are multiple reports that Russian military contractors were among the casualties in the US-led air strike near Deir ez-Zor last week.

Regarding North Korea, Washington is brazenly sabotaging diplomatic efforts underway between the respective Korean leaderships in Pyongyang and Seoul. While this inter-Korean dialogue has been picking up positive momentum, the US has all the while been positioning nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers in the region, along with at least three aircraft carriers. The B-2s are also reportedly armed with 14-tonne bunker-buster bombs – the largest non-nuclear warhead in the American arsenal, designed to destroy North Korean underground missile silos and “decapitate” the Pyongyang leadership of Kim Jong-un.

American vice-president Mike Pence, while attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, opening last week, delivered a blunt war message. He said that the recent detente between North Korea and US ally South Korea will come to an end as “soon as the Olympic flame is extinguished” – when the games close later this month. This US policy of belligerence completely upends Russia and China’s efforts to facilitate inter-Korean peace diplomacy.

Meanwhile, the situation in Eastern Ukraine looks decidedly grim for an imminent US-led invasion of the breakaway Donbas region. Pentagon military inspectors have in the past week reportedly arrived along the Contact Zone that separates the US-backed Kiev regime forces and the pro-Russian separatists of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Donetsk’s military commander Eduard Basurin warned that the arrival of Pentagon and other NATO military advisors from Britain and Canada indicate that US-armed Kiev forces are readying for a renewed assault on the Donbas ethnic Russian population.

Even the normally complacent observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), charged with monitoring a nominal ceasefire along the Contact Zone, have lately begun reporting serious advancement of heavy weapons by the Kiev forces – in violation of the 2015 Minsk Peace Accord.

If the US-led Kiev forces proceed with the anticipated offensive next month in Donbas there are real fears for extreme civilian casualties. Such “ethnic cleansing” of Russian people by Kiev regime forces that openly espouse Neo-Nazi ideology would mostly likely precipitate a large-scale intervention by Moscow as a matter of humanitarian defense. Perhaps that is what the US planners are wagering on, which can then be portrayed by the dutiful Western news media as “another Russian aggression”.

US-based political analyst Randy Martin says: “It is undeniable that Washington is on a war footing in three global scenarios. Preparation for war is in fact war.”

He added: “You have to also consider the latest Nuclear Posture Review published by the Pentagon earlier this month. The Pentagon is openly declaring that it views Russia and China as targets, and that it is willing to use nuclear force to contest conventional wars and what the Pentagon deems to be asymmetric aggression.”

Martin says that it is not clear at this stage what Washington wants exactly.

“It is of course all about seeking global domination which is long-consistent with American imperialism as expressed for example in the Wolfowitz Doctrine following the end of the Cold War,” says the analyst.

“But what does Washington want specifically from Russia and China is the question. It is evidently using the threat of war and aggression as a lever. But it is not clear what would placate Washington. Perhaps regime change in Russia where President Putin is ousted by a deferential pro-Western figure. Perhaps Russia and China giving up their plans of Eurasian economic integration and abandoning their plans to drop the American dollar in trade relations.”

One thing, however, seems abundantly clear. The US is embarking on a global war plan, as can be discerned from the grave developments unfolding in Syria, the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine. Each scenario can be understood as a pressure point on Moscow or China to in some way acquiesce to American ambitions for global dominance.

To be sure, Washington is being reckless and criminal in its conduct, violating the UN Charter and countless other international laws. It is brazenly acting like a rogue regime without the slightest hint of shame.

Still, Russia and China are hardly likely to capitulate. Simply because the US ambition of unipolar hegemony is impossible to achieve. The post-Second World Order, which Washington was able to dominate for nearly seven decades, is becoming obsolete as the international order naturally transforms into a multipolar configuration.

When Washington accuses Moscow and Beijing of “trying to alter the international order to their advantage” what the American rulers are tacitly admitting is their anxiety that the days of US hegemony are on the wane. Russia and China are not doing anything illegitimate. It is simply a fact of historical evolution.

So, ultimately, Washington’s war plans are futile in what they are trying to achieve by criminal coercion. Those plans cannot reverse history. But, demonically, those plans could obliterate the future of the planet.

The world is again on a precipice as it was before on the eve of the First and Second World Wars. Capitalism, imperialism and fascism are again center stage.

As analyst Randy Martin puts it: “The American rulers are coming out of the closet to show their true naked nature of wanting to wage war on the world. Their supremacist, militarist ideology is, incontrovertibly, fascism in action.”

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by “Strategic Culture Foundation

What Next? US Bans All Russian Nukes?


By Finian Cunningham

February 07, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Provocatively and recklessly, the American Pentagon has recently accused Russia of threatening European allies with nuclear weapons. On the basis of this deplorable accusation, the US is embarking on a $1 trillion upgrade of its nuclear arsenal.

The American nuclear revamp not only puts it in potential violation of disarmament agreements; the move is also destabilizing nuclear forces and increases the risk of catastrophic global war.

If ever Washington’s reckless power politics were in doubt, this is surely the touchstone issue.

As with so many other allegations leveled by Washington against Russia – from election hacking to Olympic sports doping – the claim that Moscow is engaging in nuclear threats is far from evidenced. Indeed, one could say, it’s in the realm of fantasy.

But the insane claim is then used to justify Washington’s own reprehensible behavior.

In the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) published last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis states in the document’s preface that “Russia’s seizure of Crimea and nuclear threats against our allies, mark Moscow’s decided return to Great Power competition.”

Mattis goes on to make other claims against Russia, including that it is in breach of arms controls treaties to reduce nuclear stockpiles. He also alleges that Moscow is using “non-strategic nuclear systems to provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict,” and that Moscow is “lowering the threshold for first-use of nuclear weapons.”

At the same time, it was reported this week, even by US media, that Russia has fully complied with meeting its reduction targets for nuclear weapons prescribed by the 2010 New START accord.

In any case, the Pentagon’s anti-Russia accusations continue unabated. In particular, Washington claims that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by developing short-range land-launched cruise missiles. Moscow has denied any violation. Again, Washington does not present evidence to verify its claims.

Presumably, what Washington is referring to is the installation by Russia of Iskander ballistic missiles in its exclave territory of Kaliningrad adjacent to the Baltic states and Poland. This is also what the Pentagon appears to be referring to when it accuses Russia of “threatening our allies”.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite – a notorious Russophobe and ardent NATO cheerleader – recently said that the Russian Iskanders in Kaliningrad (range 500km) were threatening “half of Europe”.

But hold on a moment. Kaliningrad is Russian soil. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out, it is Russia’s sovereign right to position any of its forces anywhere on its own territory.

NATO’s warped logic has also been applied in the case of Russian military holding exercises on its Western flank. Last year, when Russia held its Zapad defense drills there were hysterical claims from NATO and the Western media that Moscow was about to invade the Baltic region.

Meanwhile, it goes without a hint of irony, that NATO has increasingly built up its forces and military maneuvers along Russia’s Western borders over the past decade and more. Yet, Washington and its allies get away – thanks to Western media servility – with the double-think that such force build-up on Russia’s borders is “defensive”; while any counter-move by Russia from within its territory is distorted as “outrageous” and “offensive”.

Getting back to the issue of nuclear weapons and allegations of Russia’s threat, the stark conclusion from Washington’s warped logic is that Moscow is not allowed to have any nuclear weapons.

Evidently, the US-led NATO military alliance is permitted to station warplanes, warships, troops and tanks on Russia’s borders, including anti-missile systems – all in violation of past agreements. But if Russia positions defensive systems on its own territory then it is behaving provocatively, illicitly, and threateningly. Which then on the basis of this absurd claim allows Washington to expand its nuclear forces against Russia – as the Pentagon is proposing to do in its latest Nuclear Posture Review.

 

Specifically, Washington is committing to a “more flexible use” of nuclear weapons, and the development of new submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as so-called “low-yield” ballistic warheads.

Such a move will potentially bring the US into severe breach of non-proliferation and arms control treaties. That is, the very malign behavior that Washington is provocatively accusing Moscow of.

Truly, Washington’s logic is an amalgam of Orwellian and Dr Strangelove.

Furthermore, an extremely sinister change in the American nuclear doctrine is its call for explicitly using “nuclear deterrence” in a scenario of conventional military conflict or, what it dubiously deems to be “new forms of aggression” by adversaries.

This is a highly dangerous move by the Pentagon to lower the trigger for deploying nuclear weapons – and on the basis of its faulty, politicized perception about what constitutes “aggression.”

For example, the US has repeatedly accused Russia of “hybrid warfare” with regard to the conflict in Ukraine. Russia is accused of instigating that conflict, when in reality, it was Washington and Europe’s meddling in the internal affairs of that country, resulting in a neo-Nazi coup in Kiev in February 2014.

The United States has continually accused Russia of engaging in “asymmetric warfare” from “cyberattacks” and “election interference”. Such claims have never been substantiated, let alone verified – yet they have been raised to the alarmist level of allegedly constituting a “national security threat”.

The anti-Russia political climate being whipped up by Washington – from “Russiagate” to cyberattacks, from sports doping to nuclear aggression – has reached the level of hysterical insanity where Russia by merely having a military defense system is now being traduced as somehow behaving criminally and offensively.

However, parlaying this perverse logic, the US is moving to increase its nuclear threats against Russia – in contravention of international agreements and any objective reasoning.

Even US media outlets like the Washington Post and US-based scientists warned this week that the new nuclear posture was a disturbing drift towards catastrophic war.

American history professor Colin Cavell, commenting for this column, said that the hegemonic mentality of the US ruling class is such that no other powers are tolerated to have weapons, even if for self-defense purposes.

Said Cavell:

“The US is a capitalist society. It is the preeminent imperialist power in the world today. As such, those who rule the US perceive that maintaining a class-divided society to be of paramount concern. Internationally, this translates into maintaining at least a two-tiered international system where the US is master and the rest of the world are its servants.  This will not change until capitalism is overthrown or destroys itself.”

This attitude of US rulers is ultimately tyrannical in their relations to the rest of the world. Ironically, American vice president Mike Pence this week accused North Korea of being “the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”

With regard to Russia, the logic of the US is this: You are not allowed to have nuclear weapons, nor even a viable conventional defense system. We, on the other hand, are allowed to threaten you with increasing menace of nuclear annihilation until you do as we demand.

In short, supreme arrogance. But an arrogance that will bring its own downfall.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by “Sputnik” –

– See Also –

Kissinger Says Chance For ‘Pre-Emptive Attack Is Strong’ On North Korea

Mattis Cites Kissinger to Call for New Nukes

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 22.01.2018 | WORLD / MIDDLE EAST

The Arab Spring: Restoration, Repression & Regime Change

The outbreak of mass protests in Tunisia this week comes on the seventh anniversary of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. This week, seven years ago, saw Tunisia’s strongman ruler Ben Ali fleeing for exile to Saudi Arabia. Before the month was out, Egypt’s longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak was also ousted. Back then, revolution was in the air and the region was convulsed with potential change. In many ways, arguably, it still is.

Seven years on it is appropriate that social protests have reemerged in Tunisia. That demonstrates the Arab Spring is still unfinished business. The potential change for full democracy did not occur back then, nor since. At least, not yet.

Tunisia was the first country where the uprisings in 2011 kicked off after a young street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolated in protest against poverty and state corruption. Today, protesters in Tunisia are still calling for liberation from political and economic oppression.

So, we may ask, what happened the Arab Spring and its promise for sweeping progressive change?

Before we review the momentous events, a note of clarification is needed. Back in the heyday of the Arab Spring some analysts posited that the social movements were part of a grand plan orchestrated by Washington to clear out despots who had passed their sell-by dates.

Authors like Michel Chossudovsky and William Engdahl were among those claiming a hidden hand from Washington as part of grand scheme. They point to communications between the State Department and certain protester groups, like the April 6 youth movement in Egypt, as evidence of a master-scheme manipulated from Washington. In that view, the Arab Spring was just another version of so-called Color Revolutions, which Washington did indeed orchestrate in other parts of the world, like Georgia and Ukraine in the early 2000s.

This author disagrees on what was the motive force behind the Arab Spring events. Admittedly, Washington did have a hand in the events, but more often this was reactionary, to curtail and divert the mass uprisings – uprisings which in this author’s observations were genuine popular revolts against the US and European-backed status quo serving international capital.

Instead of successful revolution, what happened the Arab Spring were three categories of reaction. Here we look at seven countries in the region to illustrate.

Restoration

Tunisians and Egyptians may have seen the backs of Ben Ali and Mubarak, but seven years on it is evident that the ruling system which both these strongmen oversaw has been restored. In Tunisia, the Nidaa Tounes party which Ben Ali patronized is in power as part of a coalition with the Nahda Islamist party. The ruling structure of crony capitalism remains in place. The government’s signing up to an IMF loan last year for $2.9 billion is conditioned on imposing harsh economic austerity cuts on the majority working-class population. The rule of international capital has thus been restored.

In Egypt, the Mubarak regime was restored through in July 2013. El-Sisi was a senior military holdover from Mubarak’s 30-year de facto dictatorship. Admittedly, Morsi’s ascent to power after Mubarak did not represent a pluralist democratic revolution. Morsi was beholden to the Muslim Brotherhood and his short-lived rule was associated with disturbing sectarian hostility. His government alienated secular Egyptian workers. Nevertheless, el-Sisi’s violent overthrow of Morsi can be seen as a reactionary restoration of the old regime. Like Tunisia, today Egypt resembles much of the status quo as before the 2011 uprisings.

Repression

Three countries illustrating this category are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. There were similar developments in other countries, such as Jordan, Oman, Morocco, but on a smaller scale.

After Ben Ali and Mubarak fled from power, the Arab Spring wave soon buffeted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen. Like Tunisia and Egypt, those three countries were ruled by US-backed despots. If the whole regional ferment was somehow a devious plot to renovate the status quo by Washington, as some authors contended, then why didn’t the despots in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain succumb to the State Department’s “human rights” proxies?

This author was in Bahrain when its protests erupted on February 14, 2011. For almost one month, the Al Khalifa monarchial regime was reeling from mortal insecurity.

The protests were mainly led by the majority Shia population against the Sunni self-styled king. Their demands, as far as this author observed, were for a worker-dedicated democracy, not a sectarian Islamic-style revolution. Bahrain’s protests were brutally repressed with the invasion of Saudi troops in mid-March 2011. The Saudi repression had the full backing of the US and Britain since the island state was and is a key military base for those two powers in the geo-strategic Persian Gulf.

Similar protests were unleashed in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the oil kingdom’s Eastern Province where the mainly Shia population have been historically marginalized by the hardline Sunni House of Saud. The protests in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia continue to this day. But Washington and London, along with Western media indifference, have given political cover for the ongoing repression of these protests.

In Yemen, the story is slightly different, in that the protest movement emerging in 2011 actually succeeded in ousting the US-backed regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012. Saleh was sidelined in a stitch-up deal overseen by the US and the Saudis to be replaced by his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The latter was prescribed as a “transition president” but ended up delaying the handover of democratic power that the Yemeni people had demanded in 2011.

No doubt that was part of the cynical US plan to restore the old order. However, the Houthi rebels grew tired of the charade and ousted the lingering Hadi by force of arms in September 2014. The US-backed Saudi war on Yemen that started in March 2015 has ever since been aimed at repressing the Yemeni uprising in order to restore their puppet Hadi.

Regime Change

Libya and Syria represent a very different category of reaction – namely, an opportunistic regime change carried out by Washington, its European NATO allies and regional client regimes. In mid-March 2011, the US, Britain and France exploited a UN Security Council resolution under the pretext of “protecting human rights” to launch a seven-month aerial bombing campaign on Libya. That war crime resulted in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and his murder at the hands of NATO-backed jihadists. Gaddafi had always been an object for Western imperialist hostility. Under the cover of Arab Spring popular revolts, the US and its allies got their chance for regime change in Libya. But seven years on, the regime change has proven to be disastrous for the people of Libya, turning the once socially developed country into a failed state of jihadist-warlord chaos. Cruel poetic justice is that Libya has haunted Europe ever since with a migration crisis owing to NATO’s criminal sabotage of that country and turning the failed state into a gateway for millions of migrants from the African continent.

In Syria, minor protests in mid-March 2011 were hijacked by US and European-backed provocateurs similar to Libya which then turned into a full-blown war. As many as 500,000 people were killed in the nearly seven-year war which was waged by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Turkey sponsoring jihadist mercenaries, who gravitated to Syria from dozens of countries around the world. The US-led regime-change plot to oust President Bashar Al-Assad failed mainly because Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah intervened with military support for the Syrian state.

However, the announcement this past week by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that American military forces are to expand their presence in Syria shows clearly that Washington’s audacious and criminal regime-change agenda persists.

Conclusion

The Arab Spring events in early 2011 were momentous. But seven years on, the progressive promise of the uprisings has yet to materialize. The recurrence of social protests in Tunisia this week is testament to the unfulfilled promise of democratic liberation for the mass of working people in that country and the wider region. The US and Europe had, and continue to have, a vested interest in maintaining the anti-democratic status quo in most of the region. The custodians of international capital managed to stymie revolution by a combination of restoration and repression. In Libya and Syria, the Western powers used the cover of the Arab Spring for opportunistic regime change with horrendous consequences.

Seven years on, the Arab Spring may seem to have been buried as a genuine popular revolutionary movement. But wherever the mass of people are oppressed by an oligarchic elite, hope for liberation will always spring eternal and is always a potential threat to the oppressors.

The Western powers may have partially succeeded in “managing” the Arab Spring. But the potential for revolt against the Western-backed capitalist order has not gone away. That potential is always there, even for an American or European Spring.

Comment

Readers are advised to check the the following posts, posted in 2012, exposing sectarian”Muslim” Brotherhood who hijacked the so-called “Arab Spring” missed a great chance to turn Arab’s people uprising into a second Arab Islamic revolution against the real ENEMY (Anglozionist Empire), because they thought to govern they have to please the Empire.

The events of the last five years have proved that I was right and on the right track. Moreover, old reader may remember my dispute with brother Daniel Mabsout on Syria, Egypt and the war on terror. Please also check:

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Iran ‘Ground Zero’ for US Regime Change

Iranians chant slogans as they march in support of the government near the Imam Khomeini grand mosque in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017

There seems little doubt that the surge in New Year protests across Iran was, at least in part, following a regime-change agenda set by the United States.

Public statements issued by US President Donald Trump and his senior officials all made strident calls in support of protesters while denigrating the Iranian government as a “brutal oppressor.” Arguably, that amounts to audacious incitement of sedition in a foreign state, and such American misconduct should be legally sanctioned.

What’s remarkable too is just how close the recent turmoil in Iran seemed to follow a well-worn US formula for regime change, including political statements of condemnation; biased media coverage to undermine the legitimacy of the target government; and the apparent hijacking of peaceful protests by violent provocateurs.

Such a formula has been used by Washington and its allies in dozens of countries over the decades, including more recently in Syria during the 2011 unrest that led to an all-out war.What is acutely resonant is the historical background. Iran was probably the first nation to have been subjected to American regime-change operations in the post-Second World War period, with the CIA-led coup carried out in 1953.

But first, let’s look at the flagrant attempts by the US to destabilize the Iranian government through highly pejorative and misleading public statements.

Last week, the American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley even claimed that “the Iranian people are crying out for freedom against their dictators.” A senior official in the US State Department also admitted that his government was communicating via social media with demonstrators in Iran.

Washington’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, openly said in a media interview this weekend that his government is seeking “political transition” in Iran – or, in other words, regime change.

Also this weekend, the US called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in an attempt to censure the Iranian government for the dozens of deaths incurred during the week-long protests. Haley declared: “The world is watching what Iran does.”

Iran, Russia, and China have berated the US for violating Iranian sovereignty by interfering in the country’s internal affairs. The brazen attempt by the US to fuel protests in Iran is indeed a serious breach of the UN Charter forbidding interference in any nation’s political matters. US regime-change policy is arguably criminal conduct.

It remains to be seen just how actively involved on the ground US agencies were in stoking the recent protests in Iran. The initial demonstrations that first broke out on December 28 in the city of Mashhad quickly spread to dozens of other urban centers. Iranian authorities have blamed the US and other foreign enemies for being behind the disturbances.A legitimate part of the rallies was motivated by genuine economic grievances among the population. But at the same time, the rapid escalation of violence and armed attacks on police stations suggest that a subversive plot was being orchestrated.

The role of the US news media, and to lesser extent European, in covering the Iranian unrest was also indicative of a geopolitical agenda. The American media, in particular, tended to portray the protests in a benign light as an uprising against an autocratic regime.

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, dismissed Iranian claims of foreign subversion. Haley’s dismissal contradicts the public statements and admissions of the US president and other senior officials.

However, Iran has sound reason to suspect a pernicious agenda seeking to exploit social protests.

In 2013, some 60 years after the 1953 coup in Iran, the CIA was obliged to disclose classified documents that prove the agency was behind that infamous event. The CIA worked covertly with its British counterpart MI6 to carry out Operation Ajax to overthrow the elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh intended to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, thereby threatening American and British interests.The coup ushered in the rule of the pro-Western Shah Pahlavi who opened up Iranian oil fields to American and British companies. The CIA and US military were lynchpins in the Shah’s regime and its brutal repression of Iranians until he was finally overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. For this reason, Washington has never forgiven the Iranian people and is why the US political establishment is driven by regime-change obsession in Tehran.

What is telling are the similarities between events then and now. The CIA-led coup in 1953 involved a propaganda campaign using news media outlets to undermine the government. The New York Times labeled Mosaddegh a “dictator” and compared him to “Hitler” and “Stalin”. Britain’s state broadcaster, the BBC, was also involved in the campaign to undermine the Iranian authorities, as Mark Curtis recounts in his book Web of Deceit.

Back in Washington and London, the political leaders implemented an economic embargo on Tehran and denounced it as a Soviet stooge.

When the coup got underway, the CIA is now on record admitting that it paid thugs and provocateurs to launch street violence in Tehran, which was blamed on the authorities ostensibly showing a heavy-hand.From the CIA and MI6’s point of view, the coup was a stunning success. The regime change opened up big oil interests. For the Iranian people, it meant years of vicious repression under the Shah and his CIA-trained SAVAK secret police.

In 1953, the CIA was only newly formed in the aftermath of the Second World War. What the Iran coup marked was a fateful turning point for the agency, and the nature of American governments ever since, with global repercussions. In its original formation, the CIA was only intended to serve as an “intelligence gathering” service to aid US presidents to formulate foreign policy.

What the coup in Iran marked was the beginning of a “secret government” within the US; one that was above the law and unaccountable. US presidents would come and go in elections, but the “deep state” of the CIA would remain. It assumed the powers to carry out regime change against any foreign government regardless of international law. Subversion and political assassination would become tools of this new US statecraft.

Once the CIA got the habit of regime change in Iran it could not stop. Since 1953, the American “secret government” has gone on to conduct dozens of such dirty operations around the world with deadly and horrific consequences for masses of people.While the recent social protests in Iran have subsided, nevertheless there also seems to be another, more sinister dimension to the Iranian disturbances – an illegal agenda of regime change promoted by Washington.

Given that Iran is “ground zero” for America’s historical worldwide practice of regime change, the threat to national security from foreign interference is an understandable concern.

Russia and China have taken the correct position in warning the US to cease adding instability in Iran. The Iranian people must be safeguarded from external meddling to resolve their own internal problems. The laughable irony is that while American politicians and media complain hysterically about others meddling in their country, they have no qualms about brazenly poking into Iran.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Syria, Russia & Iran shift to Diplomacy, While US and Allies Push for War

By Finian Cunningham

November 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – In a big week for Syrian peace talks, President Assad was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, where the leaders of Iran and Turkey are also to convene. Fittingly, perhaps, the US had no input into the renewed effort for peace in Syria.

Putin said that with the defeat of ISIS (Daesh, Islamic State) and other terror groups in Syria now virtually achieved, the parties to the conflict must underpin the political means to win the peace. Significantly, the talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi reinforce the earlier Geneva accord which assents to President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus as the sovereign authority of Syria.

The demand by Washington and its European allies for Assad to “stand down” has long ago expired. That void is a tacit acknowledgment the nearly seven-year covert war in Syria for regime change has been defeated or at least the covert war in its guise of Western-backed proxy militant groups.

The absence of US and European officials at the peace talks in Sochi this week speaks volumes about their pernicious role in the Syrian war.

While Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey endeavor to revamp the peace negotiations, it is significant that Pentagon chief James Mattis was last week saying that US military forces would be digging in further on Syrian territory.

The reluctance of US forces to pack up in Syria despite the demise of the terror groups is perhaps best viewed as part of a regional resurgence of an American military presence. Under President Trump – despite his election campaign promises – the level of US forces has increased substantially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deployment in Syria fits into this pattern of a regional buildup.

The increasing level of US military strength in the region also underlines the ominous signs of Saudi Arabia and Israel ramping up hostility toward Iran and Lebanon.

Last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said American forces would be staying in Syria despite the contradiction of terror groups being routed. Mattis’ claims that US forces have a legal United Nations’ mandate for their presence in Syria were dismissed by Russia and Syria as a flawed understanding of international law.

But even on Mattis’ own faulty reasoning, his claims are dubious. If US forces have a mandate to be in Syria to defeat terrorists, as claimed, then why are they there given the terrorists have been largely defeated?

Mattis said the new purpose of US forces were to “prevent ISIS 2.0” arising. Despite the fact that the Americans hardly ever engaged in fighting against ISIS, and indeed, as the BBC evenreported, gave the militants safe passage, including helicopter airlifting commanders out of harm’s way.

It was the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah who did all the heavy lifting to roll back the terror groups, which had been covertly armed and financed by the US and its NATO and regional client regimes. ISIS, Nusra, and all the other alphabet-soup terror groups were only ever a pretext for the US to deploy its warplanes and Special Forces in Syria – a presence which actually constitutes foreign aggression, as the Syrian government and Russia have repeatedly pointed out.

And yet here we have Mattis claiming that it was the US which defeated ISIS in Syria, and warning that the specter of this American asset reemerging as ISIS 2.0 is grounds for continuing to occupy Syrian territory. The Americans’ handy phantom-enemy is serving twice over. That is to “legitimize” the US intervening in Syria; and now to justify US forces staying there – just when the real victors against the terrorists, Syria, Russia, and Iran are trying to demilitarize the country.

RT@RT_com

‘There never was ‘revolution’ in #Syria, it was a premeditated war by foreign powers’ (Op-Ed by @EvaKBartletthttps://on.rt.com/8rai 

8:15 AM – Nov 3, 2017

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-Edge

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

rt.com

Far from the public view, US forces are scaling up their presence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Politico has called it an “official charade.” The Trump administration and the Pentagon are going behind the American people’s backs to deploy thousands more troops across the Middle East.

Much to the displeasure of Washington, Turkey disclosed last week that the US has 13 military bases in Syria. Russia, apparently, has only five bases, even though that country had a much greater military impact on defeating ISIS and other terrorist networks over the past two years.

One of the biggest US bases is near Kobani, about 140 kilometers from the northern city of Raqqa. This is the location no doubt where Mattis was referring to when he said last week that US forces would be digging in.

The US airbase at Kobani has been dramatically upgraded over the past year from what was a rough airfield accommodating only a select few types of aircraft to one now where “every type of air frame” in the Pentagon’s fleet can be landed, including the largest troop-carrying and cargo planes.

The US base at Kobani is also part of a chain of new airfields that connect from Qayarrah West in northern Iraq, to the Taqba Dam, also north of Raqqa.

Officially, there are supposed to be only 500 troops in Syria under the Pentagon’s Force Management Level policy. But as with Afghanistan and Iraq, the real numbers are believed to be much higher than what is officially acknowledged.

A large part of the false accounting arises because the Pentagon doesn’t count units which spend less than 120 days in the country. These units include engineers and troops who are charged with building bridges, roads, and landing strips.

There is a direct analogy here with how US and NATO forces underestimate force levels in the Baltic and Black Sea regions by arbitrarily not counting troops, warplanes and ships described as “rotating presence.” But if you rotate frequently enough, the force levels in effect become permanent and are much larger in practice than is officially admitted.

In addition to ensuring its proxies don’t come back as “ISIS 2.0” (how’s that for chutzpah!), Mattis also said that the expanded US forces were there to ensure the future peace talks in Geneva, resuming on November 28, would gain “traction.”

“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” said Mattis last week while in London meeting his British counterparts.

What this suggests is that Washington is using its illegitimate military occupation of Syrian territory as a way to leverage the political process. By forcibly holding on to Syrian territory, Washington is perhaps calculating that the Assad government might cede to its demands on standing down or allowing a defeated opposition more say in drawing up a new constitution.

If the US were genuinely committed to a political process in Syria, then why aren’t its diplomats giving momentum to the Russian-brokered talks in Sochi this week in preparation for the subsequent Geneva summit?

But even more sinister is the region-wide context of US force buildup – largely in secret unknown to the American public. With Washington’s client regimes, Saudi Arabia and Israel,pushing for a confrontation with Iran, directly or via Lebanon and Yemen, the expanding military presence in Syria indicates war in that country is far from over. Instead, it could be but a prelude to a more devastating regional conflagration.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by RT –

Trump Pushes War with Iran

Trump Pushes War with Iran

By Finian Cunningham

November 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Iran has responded furiously to what it called “reckless” Saudi threats after the latter accused Iran of “an act of war” in carrying out a long-range ballistic strike near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Iran categorically denied any involvement in the missile attack at the weekend, which reports say was mounted by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

However, the Saudi rulers were quick to accuse Iran of supplying the Houthi militants with the ballistic weapon and thereby carrying out an act of war on Saudi Arabia. No evidence was presented in support of the Saudi claims.

Nevertheless, the Saudi position was immediately backed up by US President Donald Trump who, while on a tour of Asia, asserted: “Iran just took a shot at Saudi Arabia.”

This automatic concurrence of views between Trump and the Saudi rulers suggests a level of concerted thinking by Washington and Riyadh, with the aim of incriminating Iran.

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s provocative accusations against Iran – which could serve as a pretext for a military escalation – are not just isolated bluster from Riyadh.

The alarming thing is that the Trump administration has been coordinating its hostile rhetoric towards Iran for several months now, along with Saudi Arabia and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. All three allies have been using virtually the same talking-points, making hollow accusations against Iran of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East region.

Trump’s threat to tear up the international nuclear accord with Iran and the reimposition of economic sanctions is also part of what appears to be an agenda of stoking a confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Before its 1979 revolution, Iran was a loyal client regime of the US. Washington, it seems, has never gotten over the loss of its Persian vassal state.

So, when the Saudi rulers accuse Iran of “an act of war” over the missile strike at the weekend, that suggests another step being taken in furthering a concerted agenda worked out by the US, Israel and the Saudis for setting up a conflict.

All of this has to be put in a much bigger regional context in which there has been a dramatic shift in geopolitical power. Russia, Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have emerged as new dominant political forces in the strategically vital Middle East.

The defeat of the US-led axis, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, in the proxy war in Syria is a momentous setback. The newly established dominance of Russia and Iran is anathema to the US and its regional clients.

This why the US and its client regimes are seeking to sow conflict elsewhere in the region and towards Iran in particular. It’s a nefarious consolation prize for having their regime-change plans spectacularly upended in Syria by Russia and Iran.

When Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Saudi Arabia at the weekend to tender his resignation, it was obviously a ploy to smear Iran and its ally Hezbollah. Hariri claimed in a Saudi television broadcast that he was running for his life to escape an assassination plot hatched by Iran and Hezbollah.

The sensationalist claims made by Hariri were dismissed by Iran as ridiculous. Even Lebanese President Michel Aoun treated the claims with derision, saying that he expects Hariri to return to Beirut immediately and explain his “surprise” resignation while standing in his own country, not from a TV studio in some foreign capital.

But the point is that the Saudi-Hariri publicity stunt appears to be yet another step in a concerted agenda to destabilize the region and provoke a confrontation with Iran.

Amid the turmoil over the past week, the Saudi royal family has embarked on a major purge of potential rivals within the kingdom. The purge is purportedly an “anti-corruption” crackdown. But it’s clear from the list of senior royals being arrested and detained that King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), are making an ambitious power grab to consolidate their autocratic rule.

MbS, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, has emerged as a vitriolic enemy of Iran, promising earlier this year that he would “take the battle to Iranian territory”. Saudi rulers and their Wahhabi fundamentalist version of Islam have always viewed Shia Iran as an apostate nation. But MbS has taken this traditional sectarian hostility to a higher level. And with Trump’s dubious blessing.

It is evident that the Saudi rulers are working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration and the Israeli leadership to deeply poison relations with Iran.

Trump’s first overseas visit as president was to Saudi Arabia, followed by Israel, during which he singled out and denigrated Iran as the region’s “number one” villain.

While dozens of Saudi royals, including government ministers, were being arrested over the weekend, Trump reportedly gave his tacit endorsement in a phone call with King Salman and the Crown Prince, according to the New York Times.

The NY Times also reported that only days before the crackdown, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner was in Saudi Arabia where he met with the rulers. There seems little doubt therefore that Trump was fully briefed on the forthcoming “night of the long knives” and that he gave a nod of approval.

What this points to is that the Trump administration is indulging the Saudi power grab as a quid quo pro in firming up the anti-Iran axis of Washington-Riyadh-Tel Aviv.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has long been urging a pre-emptive military strike against Iran. The previous US administration under Barack Obama rebuffed that belligerence, pursuing diplomacy instead with Iran, which resulted in the international nuclear deal that was signed in July 2015, along with Russia, China and the European Union.

Now, sinisterly, there is a wholly different and dangerous triumvirate in place – in the form of Trump, an ambitious young Saudi prince, and Netanyahu – all espousing overt hostility towards Iran.

The level of coordination in this US-led axis leaves one with the stark conclusion that Trump is willingly pushing a war with Iran.

It is just one more illustration of how destructive and nihilistic US foreign policy is in the Middle East.

Wars, deaths, violence, sectarian hatred never seem to satisfy Washington’s bloodlust.

But in taking on Iran, American intrigue may meet its final downfall. Especially too because the people of the region are increasingly becoming aware of how malicious American power operates.

Along with Iran, Russia has been vindicated as a power whose foreign policy is one of seeking genuine partnership and stability. A US-led war against Iran will be seen as a last desperate act of a decrepit American empire.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation –

See also – Trump may have pushed Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to war

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