Rania Khalek, Blacklisted, Smeared & Silenced For Exposing NATO Destabilization Of Syria

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MINNEAPOLIS —  Though it’s been nearly six years, the subject of the Syrian conflict remains as contentious as ever. While those who characterize themselves as pro-regime change have monopolized the wider conversation on Syria, even the most tame opposition against foreign intervention, or the CIA-backed rebels—who now come in varying flavors of extremism—continues to be taboo.

Those who refuse to support U.S. military intervention in Syria and the CIA backed regime change operation there that has been well documented for over 25 years — are branded “Assadists” — and if you’re a writer or commentator?

Well, that gets you and your work blacklisted from publications and, in the case of journalists like myself and others who make up a long list of anti-interventionists far too long to mention here, even gets your speaking engagements shut down and kicked off of blogs, regardless of what topic they’re on.

It seems that opposing what clearly amounts to a NATO-imposed regime change operation in Syria in order to create the next Afghanistan in the Middle East and ultimately weaken Russia and Iran gets you characterized as a supporter of genocide.

But this is not a new phenomenon — we’ve been here before as recently as Libya and Iraq.

During the pro-war campaign against Libya, we were told, just as we were during previous conflicts, that military intervention was necessary in order to protect civilians from a madman.

The same loudmouthed pundits who led us down the bloody path of war have since been eerily silent in the aftermath — where Libya is now being overrun by groups like ISIS and the country is being described as a failed state.

In Iraq, we saw an energized anti-war movement smeared as being pro-Saddam, and now, despite what we’ve learned about both conflicts, history seems to be repeating itself. Many are now suffering a kind of collective amnesia over how war is peddled to the public.

Today we’re joined by Rania Khalek, an independent journalist who has become the latest victim  of an organized smearing and blacklisting campaign for her recent reporting on Syria. The organized campaign against her became so aggressive that several of her talks on apartheid in Israel were canceled after student groups were pressured to blacklist her events by pro-Syrian rebel activists who support US intervention and regime change.

The blacklisting of Rania Khalek garnered the attention of many notable scholars, activists and journalists including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Glenn Greenwald among others who signed a petition calling for an end to censorship and warning that there needs to be more open dialogue on Syria rather than silencing journalists

Iran congratulated over refugee policy which has welcomed millions of Afghans displaced by decades of US and NATO backed war

UN lauds Iran’s refugee settlement program

On Wednesday,  Sivanka Dhanapala, Sri Lankan diplomat and head of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Tehran, lauded Iran for its exemplary refugee settlement program which has welcomed millions of Afghans displaced by decades of US and NATO backed war and occupation.

In a world where you have multiple bad stories about hosting refugees, I think Iran is really a good news story. It’s a story that’s not told often enough,” said Sivanka Dhanapala.

The leadership demonstrated by the Iranian government has been exemplary in hosting refugees and keeping borders open,” he added.

His remarks came on the same day a Hawaii federal judge blocked a second attempt by the pro-Israel anti-Muslim Trump administration (Steve Brannon, Ben Carson, Mike Pompeo, Gen.  Mattis, Gen. John Kelly, etc.) to ban Muslim refugees and travelers from entering the United States.

On February 3, 2017, John Spritzler debunked the anti-Muslim propaganda by the pro-Israel Zionist pigs.

A majority of Americans support Trump’s recent travel ban Muslims from seven Muslim majority countries because since 9/11 there has been an intense BI-PARTISAN effort to make Americans fear Muslims, using lies and manipulation. The Big Lie was that 9/11 was done by “19 Muslims” when in fact it was an inside job designed to make us fear Muslims. Even before 9/11 the US ruling class supported Israel’s violent ethnic cleansing of non-Jews (Palestinians, who are mainly Muslims) from more than 78% of Palestine. There is absolutely no moral justification for this ethnic cleansing whatsoever. Its purpose is to force the Palestinians to resist the ethnic cleansing so that they can then be falsely portrayed in the West as evil antisemitic and anti-American Muslim terrorists,” wrote John Spritzler.

We’ve also worked with the government on incorporating refugees into a government-sponsored health insurance scheme which is a ground-breaking development not just for Iran but globally for refugees,” Dhanapala said.

He also praised a 2015 directive from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei which called on education administrators to allow all Afghan children, documented or not, to attend Iranian schools.

Islamic Republic has been a generous host for more than 3 million Afghan refugees as result of invasion and occupation of Red Army followed by US-NATO invasion and occupation. There are still over one million Afghan refugees being taken care by Iranian government and local charities. In addition to Afghan refugees, tens of thousands displaced people from wars in Iraq, Syria, and Bosnia took refuge in Iran. Tehran has refused to accept aid from the US and EU governments or NGOs for the refugees.

The office of the UNHCR was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950.

The UN has reported that 40,791 Afghans sought asylum in Europe in 2016, though most of those will likely be deported back to Afghanistan as the rising tide of Islamophobia pushes even the most liberal government towards increasingly xenophobic policies.

On Thursday, the organized Jewry mourned the defeat of pro-Israel anti-Muslim Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in Netherlands elections. Last year, Wilders was investigated for his close ties with Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Europe’s anti-Muslim individuals, political parties and organizations have long realized that the best way to hide their racism is to support the Zionist entity.

Turkey Begs Russia For S-400 Systems, Promises Not to Give Them to NATO, but can Erdogan Be Trusted?

Turkey Begs Russia For S-400 Systems, Promises Not to Give Them to NATO

Seems a bit risky to us

We reported earlier this week that Ankara is interested in a kebab-for weapons deal with Russia.

Yes, we are incorrigible — but we weren’t straying too far from the facts: Turkey is seeking a Russian load to buy Russian weapons, including S-400 anti-air systems.

Oddly enough, Moscow seems open to the idea. We can only hope that there is a very good reason for this — perhaps it’s part of behind-the-scenes negotiations about Syria or even a token of goodwill to sweeten the Turk Stream deal.

The obvious problem though is that Russia would be selling some of its most advanced military hardware to a NATO member. Which begs the question: Isn’t that a bit … risky?

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Probably. And apparently Turkey appreciates why this could be a concern for Moscow.

As TASS reports:

Turkey has no plans to integrate Russian-made S-400 long-range antiaircraft missile systems into the NATO structure, if they are purchased, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Thursday.

“The complexes that will be purchased won’t be integrated into the NATO system,” the defense minister was quoted by the TV Channel Haber 7 as saying.

Isik said on Wednesday there was progress in purchasing S-400 systems from Russia but the sides had not yet reached the stage of signing the agreement.

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We still say it’s a bad deal. But what do we know? Apparently nothing, according to Harvard University

Deranged Deputy NATO Commander, Adrian Bradshaw, Threatens War on Russia

By Stephen Lendman
3-4-17

Neocons infest Europe like Washington, eager for wars, deploring peace and stability, threatening humanity with their militancy.

Appearing on state-owned, operated and controlled BBC, deputy NATO commander General Adrian Bradshaw urged “a grand strategy” to counter a nonexistent Russian threat, including so-called “hybrid war.”

NATO Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. Collective self-defense is called for.

Attacking Russia could be the war to end all wars, humanity’s survival threatened like never before.

According to Bradshaw, invoking Article 5 is “a political decision, but it is not out of the question that aggression, blatant aggression, in a domain other than conventional warfare might be deemed” justifiable.

He lied, saying Putin may be trying to return Russia to the height of its power geopolitically. No evidence suggests it. Plenty refutes it.

Bradshaw sounds like a real-life deranged general Jack D. Ripper, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove film character. Militant Russophobia in America and Europe risks unthinkable nuclear war.

“The West must respond by using all the tools at its disposal – economic, political, diplomatic (and) military – to deter (nonexistent) Russian aggression,” said Bradshaw.

He wants Article 5 broadened to include pretexts for war beyond an “armed attack.” No credible evidence suggests Russian cyberattacks on America or other NATO countries.

Washington invents reasons for wars, pressuring other countries to support its aggression. Attacking Russia or China would be madness. Possible catastrophic nuclear war could follow.

A Final Comment

According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump vowed to stop North Korea from testing ICBMs, indicating possible military action against its nuclear capability, along with replacing its government with a US puppet regime – naked aggression if he orders an attack, besides Washington’s illegal wars in multiple other theaters.

He called Pyongyang’s recent missile test “absolutely intolerable.” America, its NATO allies and Israel test their own super-weapons, intending them for offense.

Threatened by the West, North Korea needs a strong defense. Throughout its post-WW II history, it never attacked another country.

In June 1950, it responded defensively to Truman’s aggression, initially using South Korean forces as US proxies.

Attacking the DPRK today could be devastating for East Asia, potentially affecting far more than the Korean peninsula.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. – See more at:

Are Russian diplomats being assassinated? (UPDATED)

Are Russian diplomats being assassinated? (UPDATED)

February 21, 2017

Since the death of Vitaly Churkin I see more and more speculations that Russian diplomats are being killed (example here and here)  This is exceedingly unlikely and I consider these speculations to be based on ignorance and a form of “clickbaiting”.  Here is why:

  1. So four senior Russian diplomats have died in one month.  Considering how many diplomats Russia has worldwide, this hardly a tsunami.
  2. They died in Ankara (murder), Athens (natural causes), New Delhi (disease) and New York (heart attack).  There is no pattern, no modus operandi, no common link between these men and their deaths.
  3. During the Cold War the US and Soviets had an understanding that they would not attack each other’s personnel simply because any such attack would trigger an immediate retaliation which both sides wanted to avoid.  There is absolutely nothing suggesting that this has changed.
  4. Killing diplomats is useless.  They don’t really take decisions but their symbolic value is immense.  Thus the benefit for murdering them is zero and the cost potentially a nuclear war.
  5. Russia is not the Palestinian Authority which had to ask for a French expertise to establish the real cause of death of Yassir Arafat.  If anybody hard murdered Russian diplomats the Russians would inevitably find out who did it and why and the retaliation would be terrible (all, repeat, all the Takfiri Chechen leaders have by now been killed by the Russians, as have been the units who killed the Russian pilot in Syria as have been the key Takfiri leaders in Aleppo).

Coincidences do happen and not everything is the result of a conspiracy.  In this case, there is exactly zero evidence of a plot by anybody to murder Russian diplomats and spreading rumors about that is unhelpful and distracting from the important issues.

The Saker

UPDATE: okay, I am not coming across, so let me try something different: call two authorities to my rescue.  First, Carl Sagan who used to say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“.  In this case, the claim is absolutely extraordinary: the murder of a senior diplomat is basically an act of war.  As for the evidence, at this time of writing it is exactly ZERO.  Nothing.  Ziltch.  Nihil.  My next expert authority is William of Occam who wrote “Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem” which meaning can be roughly rendered as “the simplest explanation is the best”.  For example, while it is definitely *possible* that Russian diplomats have been murdered, it is far more likely that they simply died.  Of course, I cannot prove a negative.  But at this point in time I repeat that this line of speculation is based on absolutely nothing, that there is no evidence at all while the the claim is truly extraordinary.  To simple speculate on the basis of a statistically irrelevant sample and arrive far reaching hypotheses is simply not “analysis”.  At best, this is idle gossip.  Frankly, I am kind of shocked and even disappointed that so many seem to miss the total lack of evidentiary support, nevermind any “proof”, for this hypothesis.

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Pentagon Wars and US Hegemony at the Root of Instability and Dislocation

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By Abayomi Azikiwe,

Washington Seeks to “Reassure” Europe at Munich Security Conference

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Pentagon wars and capitalist exploitation at the root of instability and dislocation

Members of the United States government spoke in Germany at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) held from February 17-19 in an effort to assuage growing fears in Europe over the apparent escalating official and public disaffection from the administration of President Donald Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence told the MSC that the U.S. commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was “unwavering.” Pence later said that the Russian Federation would be held accountable for actions internationally dispelling the myth that a Trump White House will lessen tensions with Moscow.

Republican Senator John McCain, however, raised questions about the stability of the current regime in Washington assessing that the Trump presidency was in “disarray and had a lot of work to do.” He cited the recent scandal and departure of National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn as firm evidence for his viewpoint on the White House.

Everyday across the U.S. there are demonstrations being held against Trump’s policies which are being enacted through executive orders and presidential memorandums.

From the concerns over escalating military tensions with Iran and China to the domestic protests against the targeting of Muslims, immigrants, women, African Americans, etc., people have come out in the millions to register their opposition. At the same time, high-ranking Democratic Party spokespersons have sought to blame unverified claims of interference from the Russian Federation into the 2016 national presidential elections for the contradictions in the present administration.

Excessive propaganda against Moscow has reached levels not seen since the years prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Socialist states of Eastern Europe. Trump is falsely portrayed by the corporate media as being too close to Russia while at the same time his appointees within the administration are continually voicing hostilities towards the Kremlin.

Sanctions enacted against Russia by former President Barack Obama remain in effect. The Pentagon military buildup within the NATO states in the closing days of the previous administration has not been withdrawn.

These are some of the factors that are fueling speculation over the stability and internal consistency of the Trump White House. During the period leading up to his inauguration, Trump held a conversation with the Taiwanese leader indicating a possible shift in the “one China” policy which has been in operation since 1979. Nevertheless, in recent days it has now been reported that Trump engaged in a conversation with the People’s Republic of China government saying that the “One China” policy is still enforce.

Background to the Munich Security Conference

The annual gathering of the MSC brings together officials and analysts to discuss the major questions surrounding the continuing hegemony of imperialism. Amid economic difficulties and massive population shifts throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe, the capitalist ruling class of Europe and North America are concerned over the impact of these developments.

This meeting was not only addressed by officials of the leading western imperialist states in Europe and North America. Contrastingly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke as well calling for the creation of a ‘Post-West World Order.” He described NATO as a relic of the cold war which is not serving the interests of peace and stability.

People’s Republic of China Foreign Minister Wang Yi utilized the summit to express the Asian nation’s opposition to the U.S. defense missile system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). The Republic of Korea government is scheduled to deploy the system by the end of 2017 ostensibly in response to missile developments taking place in the neighboring Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

In a post on its website, the MSC says: “Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become the major global forum for the discussion of security policy. Each February, it brings together more than 450 senior decision-makers from around the world, including heads-of-state, ministers, leading personalities of international and non-governmental organizations, as well as high ranking representatives of industry, media, academia, and civil society, to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges.”

This same entry goes on noting that: “In addition to its annual flagship conference, the MSC regularly convenes high-profile events on particular topics and regions and publishes the Munich Security Report. All its activities aim at offering the best possible platforms for a frank and open exchange of ideas and opinions.”

Nonetheless, there is a seemingly unease between the White House and the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany combined with the Brussels-based and U.S.-directed NATO military alliance.

Moreover, Merkel has clashed with other European states of the former socialist bloc such as Hungary in a dispute over the influx of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asian-Pacific countries. Pressure is emerging strongly from right-wing political parties not only in Germany but many other states including the Netherlands, Britain and France who are saying that the existing governments are not going far enough in curtailing immigration from these above-mentioned nations along with Eastern Europe.

In this MSC context what is often not discussed in detail are the reasons behind the current instability and dislocation around the world. The wars of occupation and genocide waged against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria and Yemen are to blame in part for the current crisis.

At the same time the role of international finance capital is also responsible for the mass poverty and economic underdevelopment. Over the last two years the impact of the over production of oil and natural gas has triggered problems of declining growth rates, growing unemployment and poverty. People are fleeing their home countries due to the horrendous social conditions that are in existence.

Several years prior, reports abounded of the phenomenal economic growth that was taking place in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. However, the dependence upon oil revenues in countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Russia, Nigeria, Angola, etc., has plunged millions back into poverty and uncertainty.

Domestic War Against People in the U.S.

Simultaneously huge sections of the U.S. population are being targeted for political and economic reasons by the administration.

A travel ban on people from seven African and Middle Eastern states was temporarily halted as a result of mass demonstrations and court actions. The Federal Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuity unanimously upheld a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the ban placed by a lower Federal Court in Washington State.

These efforts by the Trump administration represent the continuation of U.S. military policy against Africa and the Middle East. The populations of these states have been displaced by the war and economic policies of the imperialist governments led by the U.S. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA) has declared that the degree of displacement internationally is the worst on record so far in history.  Approximately 75 million people have been driven from their homes both internally and outside of their geographic borders.

Compounding the domestic attacks against people from Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iran and Iraq, the administration has intensified its targeting, detention and deportations of people from Mexico and other Central and South American countries. Many of these migrants have been displaced as well due to the economic policies of Washington which has made agricultural production and energy extraction largely non-viable industries within their national economies.

Trump administration Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John Kelly stated in a draft memorandum that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) along with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hire 10,000 new agents to pursue, detain and deport so-called “criminal aliens” from the U.S. Other reports which have been denied by the White House advance proposals which will federalize 100,000 National Guard troops to assist in the search and remove policy towards people considered as undesirables.

These policy initiatives are related to the promise made by Trump during the national presidential elections of 2016 to construct a wall along with border between the U.S. and the Republic of Mexico. Trump insists that the funding taken from the tax dollars of working families to build the wall will be authorized by Congress. Nonetheless, he says that a tariff on imported goods to Mexico will serve as a reimbursement for the expenses related to the building of the wall.

Any reasonable observers within the European Union (EU) member-states as well as the Russian Federation realize that the situation inside the U.S. is quite politically fluid. The burgeoning hostility towards the administration from various sectors of the population is bound to influence the attitudes of governments and civilian organizations in Europe.

 

Big Bad Russia vs Poor Little NATO: A Disinformation Primer (VIDEO)

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NATO officials make it sound like Russia has encircled the globe with military bases. Welcome to our upside down garbage-world!

Everyone feels bad for NATO and its Napoleon complex.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has even rolled out the red carpet for NATO. Poor little guy just needs some encouragement and positive reinforcement. Don’t mind the S-400s. Make yourself at home!

But apparently Washington’s “defensive alliance” demands pity and sympathy from the entire world. After all, look at how Russia rudely placed its country right next to all of NATO’s defensive military outposts.

Big bad Russia is being so mean to little ol’ NATO

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