Hypocrisies About Refugees

July 05, 2019

Hypocrisies About Refugees

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

Here are two visuals from the latest annual U.N. report about the world’s refugee situation, “UNHCR Global Trends 2018”, and though these images don’t pack the emotional punch of a child’s corpse that has just been washed upon a beach after drowning when his family had attempted to escape from a country that the U.S. and its allies were ‘trying to make free’ by bombing it to hell, each of these two pictures below contains a much bigger and more important message than does any such tear-jerking image or anecdote, but each of these pictures requires a bit of intelligence in order to understand it:

The first picture shows the result of the U.S. regime’s regime-change wars under Obama and Trump, in Syria and Venezuela especially. (Syria by using Al Qaeda in Syria to lead jihadists to bring down the Government, and Venezuela by strangulating sanctions that have produced an economic blockade which prohibits food and medicine from being able to reach the population). The 9-year earlier “UNHCR Global Trends 2009”, which covered the end of the George W. Bush Presidency, had reported that “There were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2009,” and that this was up from 42.0 million in 2008. The “UNHCR Global Trends 2007” said only that “available information suggests that a total of 67 million people had been forcibly displaced at the end of 2007”, and so there might have been a reduction during the later years of Bush’s Presidency. In any case, the number of “forcibly displaced people” was stable during the final years of Bush’s second term and the entirety of Barack Obama’s first term, until 2012. 2011 was the first year of the Arab Spring uprisings, which were a CIA production, as was documented by two books from Ahmed Bensada, each of which was well reviewed by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, in her two articles, one on 18 January 2014, and the other on 25 October 2015. Of course, the impression that the American public was presented about the Arab Spring uprisings is that those were spontaneous. Actually, Obama came into office in 2009 hoping to overthrow Syria’s Government.

So, whereas the numbers had been stable for Obama’s first term of office, all hell broke loose throughout his second term, with his invasions of Libya and Syria, plus his continuation of George W. Bush’s occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq. And, now, under Trump, the number is back again to GWB’s peak level and rising.

As I noted on June 30th under the headline “U.S. Government Tops All For Creating Refugees”, “the U.S. regime’s regime-change operations produce around half of the entire world’s refugee-problem.” That fact is shown in the second visual here. (Just look at Syria and Venezuela there.) What the first visual shows is that the U.S. regime’s attempts to overthrow the Governments of Syria and of Venezuela caused those global totals to soar. Those two nations alone accounted for nearly half of the global total, and part of the rest was from America’s prior invasions: Afghanistan, Iraq, the U.S.-backed coup in Honduras in 2009, etc. America’s invasions and attempted coups (such as in Venezuela) provided the dynamos that drove those rising numbers of refugees.

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton at The Gray Zone headlined on June 19th, “This celebrated Western-funded nonprofit collaborated with al-Qaeda to wage lawfare on Syria” and documented how U.S.-and-allied billionaires and the U.S. Government fund “lawfare,” a war in international courts, and not only a huge international propaganda campaign to demonize Bashar al-Assad, in order to overthrow him. I had previously documented that “U.S. Protects Al Qaeda in Syria”. Actually, Obama bombed Syria’s army at the oil center city of Deir Ezzor on 17 September 2016 in order to enable both Al Qaeda and ISIS to take over that city. The U.S. team talk a storm against “terrorism” but quietly (along with the monarchs of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar) sponsor it as being “boots-on-the-ground” fighters — proxies there, instead of U.S. troops — to bring down leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad.

So, when the U.S. and its allies complain about the refugee crisis, and pontificate against “dictators,” and assert international law when they are the worst violators of international law, maybe they enjoy fooling their own public, but outside the U.S. alliance, their lying and evil are obvious. It even shows up clearly in the UNHCR’s statistics (such as those visuals). Obviously, China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and other nations that the U.S. regime labels as ‘enemies’, are not to blame for those tens of millions of refugees. The U.S. and its allies definitely are to blame for it. This isn’t a situation where the pot is calling the kettle black, but instead it’s one where the pot is calling the fresh-fallen snow black, and in which only propagandistic ’news’ media refuse to reveal this to their audiences. The snow is white, and the U.S. regime and its allies are red, covered with their tens of millions of victims’ blood and flaming misery.

International poll after international poll finds that the country which is considered to be “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” by the most people worldwide is the U.S., but that Americans don’t think it’s true. So: who is right? Americans? Or the rest of the world? Now, why would people outside the U.S. believe that way? Maybe it’s because of “communist propaganda”? The most important thing to recognize is that the U.S. is a dictatorship. That scientifically demonstrated fact explains a lot. None of these sanctions and coups and invasions against countries that had never invaded nor in any way endangered the U.S. could exist otherwise than this, because any dictatorship is based upon lies. Invading Iraq was based upon lies. Invading Afghanistan was based upon lies. Invading Syria was based upon lies. Invading Libya was based upon lies. The economic sanctions against Russia are based upon lies.American foreign policies are based upon lies. It’s no wonder, then, why Americans are so misinformed.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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What’s Happening in the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave”?

Global Research, June 29, 2019

There’s something happening here/What it is ain’t exactly clear.” – Buffalo Springfield

The Sunday newspaper had been left on the park bench.  Its book page had lists of best-sellers, as if numbers two through ten could be the “best” along with number one.  Absurdities were everywhere for the taking.  On the Non-Fiction Hardcover list, numbers 3, 5, and 10 each had the word fuck in the title.  The books were published by two old and respected publishing houses: Harper and Little Brown.  However, something was odd, for the word fuck was spelled f*ck.  These books were about hope, acceptance, and living the good life, cliché topics in a feel-good culture: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Everything is F*cked, and Calm the F*ck Down.  It seemed you had to be f*cked first before you could accept the hope that the good life was coming your way. He wondered if these publishing houses thought that by eliminating the “u” they kept their hands clean and were not descending into the gutter with hoi polloi, while simultaneously titillating potential readers.  Did they think readers would be offended by the word fuck, but would not be by f*ck?  Then it occurred to him that he didn’t know what the fuck non-fiction books were anyway.  Maybe he had been wrong all his life and the opposite of up was non-up, not down.

*

On every table in the seaside resort’s breakfast room there was a brightly colored flower in a clear watered vase.  When he picked it up to smell the orange blossom, there was no smell and the water didn’t move.  He imagined an ersatz form of plastic happiness, a conjurer’s delight, where everything was a trick, nothing moved, not even water.

*

Leaving the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California where white and black Marines were regularly fighting and there were even some killings never reported by the press, the two young Marines escaped the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere on a weekend pass.  It was early February 1967, and they took an overnight bus up the coast to San Francisco where they wandered around and found a breakfast restaurant near Union Square. There they read in the newspaper that for the week of January 12-19 the U.S. military had suffered its highest casualty count so far in Vietnam: 144 killed, 1, 044 wounded, and 6 missing-in-action.  It jolted them awake more than the coffee.  Later that afternoon, the two naifs wandered into the Haight-Ashbury district were they were startled by the first waves of acid-dazed hippies, who would soon arrive in hoards for the “summer of love.”  In the evening when they visited a bar for some beers, the waitress who delivered their drinks was topless.  While they regarded this slight anomaly with manly indifference, she must have noticed their military haircuts that stood out among the longhairs, and so she served them buttons with their beers.  The buttons read: Vietnam Love It Or Leave It. Heading back to the base, they knew where they didn’t want to go.

*

The young man was studying for a PhD.  He was intent on learning what made the world and people tick.  He was attending a small seminar at the home of his professor, a famous German emigre who had worked for the Rand Corporation and U.S.  Intelligence. Each of the five students was to give a short presentation on the subject of fake news and the issue of knowledge, since the course concerned the sociology of knowledge.  The student began his presentation by quoting a famous philosopher’s words: “In formulating any philosophy, the first consideration must always be: What can we know?  That is, what can we be sure we know, or sure that we know we knew it, if indeed it is all knowable.

Or have we simply forgotten it and are too embarrassed to say anything?  Descartes hinted at the problem when he wrote, ‘My mind can never know my body, although it has become quite friendly with my legs.’ By “knowable,” incidentally, I do not mean that which can be known by perception of the senses, or that which can be grasped by the mind, but more that which can be said to be Known or to possess a Knownness or Knowability, or at least something you can mention to a friend.”  The student paused and the eminent professor said, “So very interesting.  Who is that philosopher?”  The student replied, “Woody Allen.”  “He is very perceptive,” said the professor, “and yet I have never heard of him.  I will have to read his work.”  The student realized he was in good hands with such U.S. intelligence and Rand Corporation experts, so he asked the professor’s wife for another glass of the German wine she was serving and toasted his good fortune with a wry grin. None of the other students got the joke.

*

A young man was reading a book that he highly recommended to his uncle.  Leafing through it, the older man came upon this passage: “the free individual is just a fictional tale concocted by an assembly of biochemical algorithms.”  So what was the point of reading such a book, he wondered, since doing so was an exercise in pre-programmed absurdity since there was no freedom.

*

You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says: “Shit Happens.”  Some people are just lucky, I suppose, and odd coincidences mark their lives. When he was just out of Columbia College and working for Business International Corporation, a known CIA front company, Barack Obama had a chance encounter with a young woman, Genevieve Cook, with whom he had a 1-2 year relationship.

Like Obama and at about the same time, Cook just happened to have lived in Indonesia with her father, Michael Cook, who just happened to become Australia’s top spook, the director-general of the Office of National Assessments, and also the Ambassador to Washington.

Of course, Obama’s mother, as is well-known, just happened to be living in Indonesia with Barack and Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian military officer under the command of General Suharto.

The CIA supported General Suharto’s coup against President Sukarno and the slaughter of over a million Indonesian Communists and Indonesian-Chinese.

Image: Indonesia massacre 1965

As is also well-known, it just so happened that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, trained in the Russian language, after teaching English in the US Embassy in Jakarta that housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia, did her “anthropological” work in Indonesia and Southeast Asia financed by the well-known CIA conduits, USAID and the Ford Foundation. Then there is Cook’s stepfather, Philip C. Jessup, who just happened to be in Indonesia at the same time, doing nickel-mining deals with the genocidal Suharto government.  Anyway, “shit happens.”  You never know whom you might meet along the way of life.

*

The hostess at the seaside restaurant had an eastern European accent, so he asked her where she was from.  She said, “Belgrade, Serbia.”  He told her he was sorry for what the U.S. government led by Bill Clinton had done to her country and that he considered Clinton a war criminal. She said the bombing in 1999 was terrifying, and even though she was young at the time, she vividly remembered it. It traumatized her, her parents, and her family.  Then she smiled and said that in the month she had been in the U.S. for her summer job, all the Americans she had met had been so friendly.  He welcomed her to the U.S., and as he was walking away, he remembered that Clinton’s savage bombing of Serbia that had killed so many Serbian children and other innocents had been code-named “Operation Noble Anvil.”  He wondered what kind of “noble” people would think of innocent children as anvils: “heavy usually steel-faced iron blocks on which metal is shaped,” and did the friendly Americans accept Clinton’s sick lies when he ended his March 24, 1999 war address to the American people with these words: “Our thoughts and prayers tonight must be with the men and women of our armed forces, who are undertaking this mission for the sake of our values and our children’s future. May God bless them, and may God bless America.”

*

The banal, 1967 hit song, “San Francisco” (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair), which was influential in enticing young people to come to San Francisco for the Summer of Love, was written by “Papa” John Philips, who attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and whose father was a Marine Corps Captain.  “Papa” John’s wife had worked at the Pentagon and her father was involved in covert intelligence work in Vietnam.  His neighbor and Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles) buddy was Jim Morrison of Doors fame, whose father US Navy Admiral George Morrison commanded U.S. warships in Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf during the “Tonkin Gulf Incident.” Frank Zappa, the father figure of Laurel Canyon’s many musicians who just happened to converge in one place at the same time where a covert military film studio operated, had a father who was a chemical warfare specialist at Edgewood Arsenal.  Stephen Stills, David Crosby and many other soon to be famous musicians all came from military and intelligence backgrounds and frolicked in Laurel Canyon.  Although they were draft age, none of them was drafted as they played music, dropped acid, and created the folk-rock movement whose music was catchy but innocuous and posed no threat to the establishment. But “shit happens.”  In his disturbing book, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, David McGowan raises the question: “what if the musicians themselves (and various other leaders and founders of the ‘movement’) were every bit as much a part of the intelligence community as the people who were supposedly harassing them?  What if, in other words, the entire youth culture of the 1960s was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake opposition that could be easily controlled and led astray….What if, in reality, they were pretty much all playing on the same team?”

*

The reporter was interviewing four of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s (image left) young “executive governors,” who were all dressed in three-piece business suits.  They were in the process of conducting Transcendental Meditation’s weeklong course leading to supernormal abilities, including, flying, levitating, disappearing, x-ray vision, and other siddhis, or supernormal powers.  Their recent press release had advertised the course as “a new breakthrough for human life on earth” for any person.  The reporter was a bit skeptical that people could be taught – for a large fee – to fly or disappear.

He asked one of the executive governors, “Can you literally rise into the air and move horizontally; can you see yourself and can others see you actually fly?” “Absolutely,” Larry Johnson replied without hesitation, “absolutely.  Once you eliminate all stress from your nervous system, you have unbounded, unlimited potential.  A human can achieve any desire he wants, flying is only one of them.”  “People will be skeptical,” the reporter continued, “How about a demonstration?”  “A public demonstration would cause too much of a ruckus,” said Johnson.  “And we couldn’t show you because we only do it for each other.  Actually, we do our techniques with our eyes closed, but we do peek out once in a while and see each other flying around the room.

You know, one of the siddhis is a technique for making yourself invisible, and the Mararishi has said, ‘Don’t peek out to see if you’ve disappeared.’” Johnson giggled and added, “We can also teach people to x-ray their own bodies and see through walls. Absolutely, absolutely.  It’s all about infinite correlation.  Absolutely.” As the battered reporter left the interview, he wondered if the Maharishi was a creation of the CIA.  He remembered John Lennon’s song lines about the Maharishi’s assistant:  “But he often spread rumors through his right hand man/Who used to be with the CIA”

*

What is “exactly clear” is that Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills, Neil Young et al.) toured with their Laurel Canyon buddies, the Beach Boys, in late 1967 (their other mutual bud, Charlie Manson, stayed out west presumably to work on his craft) and performed at a very odd venue for a “dissident” rock group, The U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  At that time nearly 500,000 American troops were waging war on the Vietnamese.  That concert was an odd happening, wouldn’t you say?

*

If  everyone actually looked, they’d see precisely what went down, “what’s going down,” and why we are going down.  If you think many of these things “just happen” for no reason, then I guess you are just “f*cked.”  Excuse me, but it’s true.  Does the asterisk help?

*

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Distinguished author and sociologist Edward Curtin is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/.

Provocations in the Gulf of Oman: Will John Bolton Get His War on Iran?

Global Research, June 16, 2019

“America’s declared policy should be ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its 40th anniversary…Recognizing a new Iranian regime in 2019 would reverse the shame of once seeing our diplomats held hostage for 444 days.” – John Bolton (January 15, 2018) [1]

LISTEN TO THE SHOW 

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Coincidentally or not, America’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran began within a month of John Bolton’s installment as National Security Advisor. On May 8th of 2018, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. was backing out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the U.S. under President Barrack Obama along with the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and the EU in July of 2015. Consequently, the sanctions imposed on Iran previous to the JCPOA were reinstated, and additional sanctions imposed by the end of the year.

In April of this year, the Trump Administration took the unprecedented step of declaring the Middle East country’s military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be a terrorist organization.

Two weeks later, the Trump Administration ended the waivers it had extended to other countries which had to that point allowed them to escape sanctions for purchasing Iranian oil. The aim of this manoeuvre being to strangle the Iranian economy by preventing its ability to profit from the sale of its main source of revenue.

Two weeks after that, Bolton announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and Air Force Bombers to the Middle East as part of an effort to “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

The following week, four tankers were attacked in the Persian Gulf. Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks.

America’s choke-hold on Iran’s economy continued to tighten with further sanctions on May 8th of this year, the anniversary of Trump’s JCPOA pull-out.

Two weeks after that, President Trump ordered 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East, and was able to declare an emergency over Iran, allowing the White House to circumvent Congress, and move ahead with arms sales to allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

By early June, the administration started sending out conciliatory signals. The President indicated he, unlike his National Security Advisor, was not seeking regime change in Iran, and shortly afterwards, Secretary of State Pompeo said the U.S. was prepared to engage the Iranians “without preconditions.”

Then, on Thursday June 13, two ships in the Gulf of Oman were fired upon. U.S. officials including Trump are pointing to Iran as the guilty party, although Iranian officials categorically deny the accusation.

Is the world now on a trajectory toward war? Perhaps even a world war? This daunting possibility is at the heart of this week’s Global Research News Hour radio program.

First up, we hear from prominent Canadian intellectual Michel ChossudovskyProfessor Chossudovsky, while not completely ruling out the possibility of a “bloody nose” operation or other forms of economic warfare, argues that the U.S. cannot expect to fight and win a conventional Iraq style conflict in light of developments in strategic regional alliances over the last decade. Chossudovsky explains his reasoning in the first half hour.

Our second guest, Yves Engler, brings a Canadian angle to the conversation by outlining the enmity America’s northern neighbour has expressed toward the Islamic Republic and that has not changed substantially since the more ‘progressive’ Trudeau Liberals took power in 2015. Engler details the factors influencing Canadian policy and how Canadians can hope to redirect relations in a more positive and peaceful direction.

Finally, the noted journalist and geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar shares his insights into America’s shifting attitudes toward the Iranian government, the recent attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman, and what these developments say about divisions within the Trump Administration, and the prospect of a bloody war and economic depression rivalling anything the world has seen in the 21st century. (See transcript below.)

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa and the award-winning author of 11 books including his most recent America’s Long War Against Humanity. He is also the founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization and editor of Global Research.

Yves Engler is one of Canada’s foremost Canadian foreign policy critics and dissidents. He is the author of nine books on Canadian foreign policy including The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (2009), and his most recent, Left, Right: Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada. His articles have appeared at rabble.ca, canadiandimension.com, and on his own site yvesengler.com.

Pepe Escobar is a veteran Brazilian Journalist, geopolitical analyst and Correspondent at large for Asia Times based out of Hong Kong. He has written for Tom Dispatch, Sputnik News, and Press TV, and RT. His articles appear in a number of websites including Global Research, and is a frequent commentator on radio and tv.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 264)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Transcript – Interview with Pepe Escobar, June 14, 2019.

Global Research: I want to refer to a recent article you mentioned about a devastating hammer that Iran can use against the United States in the event of an overt attack. And the US knows it. What have your sources disclosed about the Strait of Hormuz and Iran’s capacity to fight back against an attack?

Pepe Escobar: Exactly. Look, I think the last article I published about it was after the Bilderberg meetings in fact. Because I was asked to investigate about at least some of the stuff they were discussing inside Bilderberg. I had a good banking source in fact. They did not disclose much. You know very well at Global Research how Bilderberg works–

GR: Chatham House Rules

PE: Exactly – you betcha. But I got some interesting information about how they were seeing the results of the European parliamentary elections as a sort of victory because now everyone in Europe is more or less the center-left and the center-right and the Greens are more or less on the same page, but from the point of view of Bilderbergers, there was a victory.

But then, I was asking, look I’m sure they discuss about China and Iran and all that, and my source was saying look, I cannot talk about this for obvious reasons. But then I got information from someone who’s above Bilderberg, if you can put it this way. This is one of my best sources for years, in fact. American, the only thing I can say is American. It’s not European, it’s not Asian.

And he told me look, I know what they discussed about Iran because the key information is actually on Trump’s desk. We all know that Trump doesn’t read anything, but this information came supported by Wall Street guys. And I’m talking about the big guys. Blackstone, Sumner Redstone, Jamie Dimon from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs people including Goldman Sachs projections, you name it. So, Trump must have seen it at least, or at least somebody must have read it to him in two or three minutes.

And I had written about this before. Now more…the studies are more detailed. It’s about if, essentially, if the Strait of Hormuz is shut down, whatever the reason, it could be a false flag, like most probably what happened yesterday with the two tankers, the Norwegian tanker and the Japanese tanker transporting petrochemical products back to Asia, was not in the Strait of Hormuz, it was more on the open sea and the Gulf of Oman. If it was in the Strait of Hormuz, it would be much, much worse than what happened yesterday.

So the projections, including Goldman Sachs projections, if this happens and the Strait is closed, whatever the reason, because mostly insurers would not risk ensuring any vessel leaving the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, and then further afield, the price of the barrel of oil in less than 24 hours would be over 100, after one day or two, 200, after a week, 500, and there is some projections that after a while we would even reach 1000. And more than that, the implosion of Casino Capitalism as we know it, especially because of the…

And then we have different numbers. The derivatives, especially oil derivatives and other derivatives as well. There are all sorts of numbers concerning how many derivatives are out there, from 500 billion dollars, which is the official Bank of International Settlements figure to 2.5 quadrillion dollars, in fact. So, it gets very complicated. I had to fight with the… with Asia Times to say, look, you should publish all the figures, and they prefer to go for the lowest estimate. And one of my sources told me no, this is the… Swiss bankers know this figure, implying more or less his source was from the Bank of International Settlements, and he’s adamant that it’s 2.5 quadrillion dollars. So this means that the whole western economy would collapse in a matter of literally nanoseconds.

So, this was in my story for Asia Times. I also wrote about this for Consortium News and more, and for the past month or so, I discussed this with Iranians but not directly with the Revolutionary Guards. People who have access to IRGC information.

And always the IRGC are very secretive. They know, and they do have the necessary means to shut down the Strait, whichever way they want. And that’s why I got from my Iranian sources this time, they are so sure that the Americans won’t try anything stupid, because the Pentagon knows what Iran is capable of militarily. They know about all those missiles lining up the northern shore of the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side pointed at everything that moves in the Strait of Hormuz and also in the Gulf of Oman.

And that was the main reason that Trump wants to talk. And this was discussed at Bilderberg, every single thing that I’m telling you. Why? Because Mike Pompeo, at the last minute, scheduled that stop in Switzerland, especially in Bern, to talk to the president of Switzerland, but he also talked to the people at Bilderberg afterwards. Because Bilderberg was in Montreux, not very far. He went to Montreux as well. And they talk, and I’m sure they talk obviously no leaks whatsoever about it, but obviously Pompeo had to talk especially with Europeans who are terrified about this, and some Europeans knew about this information, because this information was circulated by bankers to European bankers as well. Bilderberg, everything connected. So this was the reason why Pompeo actually went to Switzerland at that time. This was an unscheduled stop; we have to remember this all the time.

So… but still we have the major problem on the table, which resurfaced yesterday. Are the neocons around Trump playing their last card to force him to do anything on a military side against Iran? Because if it’s…I would say we still don’t have a mega smoking gun, but it’s more or less sure that what happened yesterday was a false flag. We still don’t know exactly how it worked. But if that’s the case, and Trump saying today, no if they close the Strait of Hormuz it’s not going to be for long, which is a diversionist tactic, he knows, he should know by now what that would mean in terms of a disaster for the global economy.

So now we are way beyond this already, we are in a horrible stage where the United States has painted itself into a corner, saying, Pompeo saying, on the record, that to Iran they’re responsible without examining any evidence at all. Today, very, very important, earlier today, since yesterday and earlier today, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, guess who was in the same room? Putin, Modi, Xi, Imran Khan, and as an observer, Rouhani, President of Iran.

And obviously, they were discussing Iran. It was not on the final statement because Iran was an observer to the SCO. But they discussed, as far as, from my sources told me, it hasn’t leaked a lot so far, but they did discuss Iran, and Rouhani made a solemn promise, which was brilliant in geo-economic terms, to all SCO member nations: You’re going to have the… your companies, from any one of you, India, Pakistan, Russia, China, all the central Asians, all of your companies that invest the Iranian market, you’re going to have the best possible conditions anywhere. So, there’s going to be a lot of foreign investment from the SCO, companies from SCO member nations in the Iranian economy.

So, Iran, on the diplomatic side, they are doing very well. On the military side, as far as I know from my Iranian sources who know more or less in detail what the IRGC is doing, they tell me, look, they don’t care anymore, whatever the Americans say. And this comes straight from the top. from Ayatollah Khamenei when he says that it’s absolutely pointless to talk with the Americans. And Zarif is saying in a more diplomatic way to Ministers of Foreign Relations everywhere and leaders everywhere, including of course Putin and Xi. “We are ready for anything that happens, we want diplomacy of course, but if they ratchet up the pressure, we will ratchet up pressure from our side.” It’s getting to a very, very dangerous stalemate now, Michael.

GR: Yeah, I was wondering if you could address a point related… I guess you could call it palace intrigue in Washington. Because it’s been suggested by fellow Consortium News contributor of yours, John Kiriakou, that John Bolton’s days as national security advisor are numbered, given all the unwelcome provocations he’s directing at Iran. At the same time, the United States, Trump, presumably doesn’t want to have an unwinnable war on the eve of a major US presidential election campaign, nor does he want to bring down the global capitalist deck of cards. So, how… What options does he have? How can Trump avoid escalation with Iran without losing face at this point?

PE: Exactly, that’s a very good question. John’s information is very, very good. Because it ties with the information that I have from people in New York who do business with Trump. They told me the same thing. He’s absolutely furious, in fact, with the way he was painted into a corner by Bolton especially. Pompeo not so much. Pompeo is expected to go around blasting Iran. But Bolton is actually trying to implement something practical or false flag style on the ground. And now, Trump himself is painting himself into a corner. He is already accusing Iran of what happened in the Gulf of Oman on the record. How is he going to backtrack from that? Of course, now he cannot backtrack without just saying oh, look I was wrong, okay, here’s another tweet, I changed my mind!

So, it’s…what we know for sure is that he doesn’t want any kind of military scenario because he seems to know what that would imply. Considering the IRGC, their force, what they have, the missiles, and of course the financial angle, which is the derivatives crisis. At the same time, they keep ratcheting up the pressure under the so-called self-described maximum pressure campaign. And there’s no possibility of dialogue because this, what happened yesterday, was… when Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was talking to Khameini in Khameini’s office in Tehran, trying to defuse the whole situation, Japan as the intermediary, the messenger between Washington and Tehran, and this thing happens, this is completely cra– and anyone with an IQ higher than 12 can figure out that this doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would Iran attack a Japanese-owned tanker… the minute their prime minister is talking to the leader of the… This is completely absurd.

GR: And talking to the prime minister on behalf of Trump.

PE: On behalf of Trump – exactly, exactly! He had a letter. He had a letter which probably was sent by team Trump to Ayatollah Khameini. Khameini, from the beginning, he said look there’s nothing to talk about. In fact it’s fantastic. Somebody came up with two different pictures. Abe had the letter with him, he put it on the table when they were talking, and after a while he removed the letter from the table. A graphic sign that Khameini was not ready to read anything written by team Trump.

GR: Well, Pepe, I wish we had more time to discuss this, but, I know we’ve both got to go, but I want to thank you for lending your very knowledgeable voice to this critical discussion on breaking events.

PE: I hope this is helpful for everybody.

GR: We’ve been speaking with geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar. He joined us from Paris.

-end of interview –

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM out of the University of Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

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Notes:

  1. John Bolton (January 15, 2018), ‘Beyond the Iran Nuclear Deal: U.S. Policy should be to end the Islamic Republic before its 40th anniversary’, Wall Street Journal; https://www.wsj.com/articles/beyond-the-iran-nuclear-deal-1516044178

Former French Diplomat: Israeli Leaders Want Washington to Engage on Their Behalf in a “Proxy” Military Adventure Against Iran

ST

Created on Friday, 24 May 2019 20:52

(ST)– As a businessman lost in a foreign land, Trump doesn’t care about the art of diplomacy and is unable to have any empathy with the aspirations and feelings of other countries, according to the former French diplomat Prof. Michel Raimbaud, who believes that the “unpredictable President” proved to have adopted as a guideline number one at least for the beginning of his mandate “to destroy everything that Obama was proud of” and considered to be the bulk of his work, externally as well as internally, including the lessening of the conflict with Iran.

The veteran diplomat told the Syria Times e-newspaper: “Any state is good if buying American arms, and bad if refusing to do so or resisting the pressures or the interests of Washington. On this basis, Iran, deeply involved in the Syrian conflict and supporting the legal government along with the Hezbollah, is a Devil belonging to the Axe of Resistance, and having a “strategic” partnership with Russia.

Last but not least, Iran is of course perceived in the States as being a pitiless enemy of Israel.”

 

He pointed out that all the reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) do certify that Teheran has perfectly complied with the obligations imposed by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

A crazy story

Nevertheless, Trump’s administration decided on the 8th of May 2019 to withdraw from the Treaty and impose drastic economic sanctions on Iran, accused of developing a ballistic and atomic Program, under the pretext that the Islamic Republic itself had withdrawn (in retaliation).

“For a couple of weeks, America repeatedly threatened to come to War and managed to escalate the political and military tensions in the region. Let’s read to Trump’s tweets or listen to statements by high-ranking US officials (National Security Advisor John Bolton and State Secretary Mark Pompeo to begin with)…There is no doubt that America poses a threat to Iran and to the region at large, and not vice versa,” Prof. Raimbaud said.

He went on to say: “Trump now declares that he wants to negotiate with Iran, expecting the phone call from the Iranian leadership begging for negotiation. That’s a crazy story, but also a perfect illustration of the Nixon/Kissinger “Madman theory” which inspires – as I have noted very often – the neoconservative power in Washington in its comprehensive policy all over the planet and more specifically in the Arab and Muslim World (America must project abroad the impression that a part of its leadership consists of mad and unpredictable persons, in order to frighten and terrorize the enemies).”

He indicated that a single glance at the map of the Middle East provides the answer to the following question: “Does Iran pose a threat to the United States?”

“The Iranian Territory is physically surrounded and besieged by a dense and tight network of US bases, located in neighboring countries (including Turkey, a NATO member). And we must refer to the omnipresence of Israel in the region, as the real “Beating Heart” of the United States.”

“On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, thousands and thousands of miles away from the Middle East, have a look at the American borders or anywhere on the “new Continent  and you will search in vain to discover any trace of Iranian military presence.”

The professor, in addition, affirmed that the U.S. is responsible for the tensions and the danger of Global War for the time being.

“For the many “experts” who pretend to have some doubts about the real responsibility in the tensions and the danger of Global War for the time being, in the Middle East and elsewhere, I will recall that at least one gross third, if not fifty per cent, of the military expenses in the World, must be attributed to the United States of America,” he stated.

The diplomat added: “All the strategy supporters and blind allies of America should be conscious of this reality, but I am sure that they are…It is the case for Gulf monarchies and…. of course, Israel.”

He made it clear that the relationship between Iran and America until the Fall of the Shah could be qualified as “a strategic partnership against communism”, but the situation was radically disrupted with the advent of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the assault on the American Embassy in Teheran. Since then, the atmosphere between the two countries has remained very stormy and disturbed for the last forty years.

“In this context, the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) in July 2015, commonly known as the “Nuclear Treaty” between Teheran and the Six (US, UK, Germany, France, Russia and China) had slackened the tensions with the western Partners, this appeasement being searched by Obama for ambiguous reasons. The election of Donald Trump after a campaign very aggressive against Iran marked the re-starting-point of the ongoing wave of American hostility,” Prof. Raimbaud stressed.

He referred to the fact that Trump quickly understood that he wouldn’t be in a position to govern without integrating into his staff eminent representatives of the neoconservative “Deep State”, such as John Bolton…, in spite of their frank opposition to his electoral promises or commitments.

In a response to a question about the reason behind Israel’s silence amid growing US-Iran tensions, the diplomat said: “The Israeli government (all the more with Netanyahu) used to have and has got until today many obsessions with all the neighbors, that are considered as potential enemies, beginning with Syria and Hezbollah and Iran. It is well known that the Israeli leaders are dreaming of triggering a War against Iran, one of the countries which feed their nightmare. Having succeeded to make some friends in the Gulf on the basis of a common obsession on an “Iranian danger”, they have done everything and exerted any kind of pressure and blackmail on Washington to engage on their behalf in a “proxy” military adventure against Iran. That’s what is at stake for the time being.”

He concluded by saying: “Right now onwards, why would Israel find it necessary to say something when the tension has reached its upper degree. Why to water your flowers when it is pouring down….?”

US wants to control all the oil in the world

In this context, the International criminal lawyer Christopher C. Black told us that Israel stays quiet because the US orders it to be quiet.

“The US wants to control all the oil in the world if it can and also it wants to control Iran because it brings them closer to encircling Russia,” he said.

Iran does prose a possible threat to US military in the Gulf region.

The Syrian American journalist Steven Sahiounie replied to our question about Israel’s silence by saying: “the Israeli occupation is quiet because they want to appear not involved, but in fact it was Israeli occupation who sent the photos to the US which claimed to show missiles on small boats for Iran.  When all the media wanted to see the photos, the US quickly said new photos showed the missiles were returned.  The US military could not afford to prove that their intelligence is coming from Israel, when everyone knows that Israel is capable of fabrications in order to promote war against Iran.  Israel has to be silent and maintain a low profile.”

He underscored that Iran does prose a possible threat to US military in the Gulf region.

“There is no indication that Iran would attack the US assets, unless Iran was attacked first.  Iran does not want war, but they want sanctions relief, and they know an attack will not help them, in fact it would harm them, so there is no incentive to attack,” the journalist concluded.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

What Makes the EU So Rabidly Hypocritical

What Makes the EU So Rabidly Hypocritical

ERIC ZUESSE | 15.04.2019 | WORLD / EUROPE

What Makes the EU So Rabidly Hypocritical

Unlike America under Donald Trump, who is proudly psychopathic and went so far as to blurt out that his followers would accept his leadership even if he were to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, the European Union is so rabidly hypocritical (Trump would probably call it “politically correct”) that its leaders routinely moralize about ‘human rights and democracy’ even while their governments indiscriminately rob and slaughter people in foreign lands (as will be documented here). EU leaders assist US-led atrocities while using prettier language to describe their alleged motivation for these policies. Though the US Government also occasionally employs such verbal sucker-punches (insincere or “politically correct” rhetoric), such moralizing is now the exception for the US Government, and is no longer (as it had been under the immediately prior US President, Barack Obama) the routine American practice — very much like the EU’s was, and still remains: such ‘idealistic’ hypocrisy.

But even Obama wasn’t as hypocritical as EU leaders still are. The biggest difference between the US and the EU is that, whereas even under America’s Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning (and continuing to be predominantly sanctified) President Obama (the invader of Libya, Syria, Yemen, and more), America’s head-of-state repeatedly said that America is “the one indispensable nation” — meaning that all other nations are “dispensable.” By contrast, there is no EU leader, and not even any European head-of-state, who says, in the modern era, anything of the sort. Adolf Hitler infamously did it when reasserting “Deutschland über alles!” (i.e, that Germany is the one indispensable nation). But modern Europe’s leaders know better than to copy such rhetoric. (Trump’s version, of course, is “America first,” but this can mean many different things, and not only mean that “America is the one indispensable nation.” Obama’s version was far less ambiguous than Trump’s is, because Obama’s clearly means that every other nation is “dispensable,” and that only America is not. And, yet, still, Europe’s leaders accepted it — they accepted that their nations were and are “dispensable.” After all: they are vassals.)

America’s leaders are simply more honest about their psychopathy than modern Europe’s are. In fact, ever since at least the time of Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, “Greed is good” has been America’s unofficial, but clearly dominant, political philosophy — virtually the official American philosophy. How many European nations today publicly and proudly assert anything like that? Do any?

A recent example of the EU’s hyper-hypocrisy was headlined at the far-right UAWire Ukrainian news-site on March 31st, “EU urges Russia to stop attacks on Crimean Tatars”, which reported that,

The EU decisively condemns the arrest of 23 Crimean Tatars in police raids by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea on 27 and 28 March, said EU Spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijancic in a statement.

“A court in the Crimean peninsula, illegally annexed from Ukraine by Russia, has ruled that all 23 Crimean Tatars detained on 27 March and 28 March will be held in pre-trial detention until 15 May. They are accused of belonging to the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Russia but not in Ukraine. The European Union does not recognise the enforcement of Russian legislation in Crimea and Sevastopol and expects all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay,” Kocijancic stated.

“The recent detentions, as well as the prior searches of their private property, constitute the latest targeting of Crimean Tatars, human rights defenders, and people who have spoken out peacefully against the illegal annexation by Russia of the Crimean peninsula,” the EU spokesperson stressed…

Here is what Wikipedia says about that banned-by-Russia group:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hizb_ut-Tahrir

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic: حزب التحرير) (Translation: Party of Liberation) is an international, pan-Islamist political organisation, which describes its ideology as Islam, and its aim as the re-establishment of the Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) to resume the Islamic way of life in the Muslim world. The caliphate would unite the Muslim community (Ummah)[4] upon their Islamic creed and implement the Shariah, so as to then carry the proselytising of Islam to the rest of the world.[5] …

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in countries such as Germany, Russia, China, Egypt, Turkey,[14] and all Arab countries except Lebanon, Yemen, and the UAE.[15][16] In July 2017, the Indonesian government formally revoked Hizbut ut-Tahrir’s charter, citing incompatibility with government regulations on extremism and national ideology.[17] …

They declare the necessity of jihad so that Da’wah will be carried “to all mankind” and will “bring them into the Khilafah state,” and the importance of declaring “Jihad against the Kuffar without any lenience or hesitation;” (Ummah’s Charter),[97][117] as well as the need to fight unbelievers who refuse to be ruled by Islam, even if they pay tribute (The Islamic Personality).[97][118]

Do Europeans really want people such as this to be increasing in the EU? The Ukrainian regime that Obama had installed in February 2014 thinks it’s fine, but do Europeans, really? Obama had fooled Russia’s Government, at least until his 2012 re-election, to think that he wasn’t aiming like all his predecessors since at least the time of Reagan were aiming — for the US Government ultimately to conquer and absorb Russia into the steadily growing US empire — but after the bloody US coup right on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine in 2014, the EU has been clearly the US regime’s vassal in this conquer-Russia enterprise — participating in it, though reluctantly.

The EU’s leadership has consistently been working in secret to assist jihadists — mass-murderers and terrorists — whenever jihadists are fighting in the US-led international war against Russia and against any nation whose leadership (such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, and Nicolas Maduro) are either allied with or even just friendly toward Russia. Syria, and its President, Bashar al-Assad, constitute one particular example of this EU hypocrisy.

Here are examples of this US-EU support for jihadists that are trying to overthrow a Russia-friendly government:

On 10 December 2012, AFP bannered “Jihadists seize key north Syria army base”, and reported that, “Jihadists led by the radical Al-Nusra Front seized a strategic army base in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo on Monday, in a fresh setback for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. … On the political front, the EU gave a vital boost to the newly-formed Syrian opposition coalition, describing it as the ‘legitimate representatives’ of the Syrian people following talks in Brussels with its leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.”

On that very same day, December 10th, Britain’s Telegraph headlined and sub-headed “Syrian rebels defy US and pledge allegiance to jihadi group: Rebel groups across Syria are defying the United States by pledging their allegiance to a group that Washington will designate today a terrorist organization for its alleged links to al-Qaeda.” That report opened: “A total of 29 opposition groups, including fighting ‘brigades’ and civilian committees, have signed a petition calling for mass demonstrations in support of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist group which the White House believes is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq.” So: no one could reasonably doubt that America’s alleged ‘rebels’ in Syria were, in fact, loyal to al-Nusra. Yet, the EU and US continued supporting them.

Also on that same day, Bill Roggio at Long War Journal bannered, “Al Nusrah Front, foreign jihadists seize key Syrian base in Aleppo”, and he reported that, “The Syrian government has warned that rebels may also use chemical weapons after the Al Nusrah Front took control control of a chlorine factory in Aleppo last week. Islamists hold sway over new rebel military command.” So: it was already clear, even then, that the ‘rebels’ were interested in perpetrating against civilians a chemical-weapons attack that their supporters in the US and EU could then blame against Syria’s Government as being an alleged reason to invade Syria by their own forces in order to ‘protect the Syrian people and establish democracy and human rights there’, or similar lies.

The next day, December 11th, Roggio reported that “The Al Nusrah Front has by far taken the lead among the jihadist groups in executing suicide and other complex attacks against the Syrian military. The terror group is known to conduct joint operations with other Syrian jihadist organizations.”

And, on the very next day, December 12th, Roggio headlined “Syrian National Coalition urges US to drop Al Nusrah terrorism designation”. Anyone who, after this, didn’t know that the US and EU were supporting jihadists to take control over Syria, was very deceived, because the truth was now known, and was then being subsequently hidden from the public, by almost all of the subsequent ‘news’-reporting. But there were a few exceptions:

On 26 January 2013, Roggio reported that,

The Al Nusrah Front has now claimed credit for 46 of the 55 suicide attacks that have taken place in Syria since December 2011, according to a tally of the operations by The Long War Journal (note that multiple suicide bombers deployed in a single operaton are counted as part of a single attack).

Al Nusrah spearheads military assaults

Al Nusrah has also served as the vanguard for jihadist forces in the major attacks on Syrian military bases. In concert with allied jihadist groups such as the Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic Vanguard, Mujahedeen Shura Council, the Muhajireen Group, and Chechen fighters, the terror group has overrun three large Syrian installations since last fall.

On 20 April 2013, Reuters headlined “Rebels battle with tribesmen over oil in Syria’s east” and reported that, “The EU said this week it wants to allow Syria’s opposition to sell crude in an effort to tilt the balance of power towards the rebels.” The EU supported and backed the ‘rebels’ seizure and black-market sale of whatever oil they could steal from Syria. This was the EU’s ‘humanitarianism’.

On 22 April 2013, the AP headlined “EU lifts Syria oil embargo to bolster rebels” and opened: “The European Union on Monday lifted its oil embargo on Syria to provide more economic support to the forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime. The decision will allow for crude exports from rebel-held territory.”

On 1 May 2013, TIME bannered “Syria’s Opposition Hopes to Win the War by Selling Oil” and reported that, “Without an embargo, European companies can now legally begin importing barrels of oil directly from rebel groups, which have seized several oil fields in recent months, mostly around the eastern area of Deir Ezzor. That would provide the opposition with its first reliable source of income since the revolt erupted in Feb. 2011, and in theory hasten the downfall of Bashar Assad’s regime.” No mention was made, in any of this reporting, that this constituted aggression by the EU against the sovereign nation of Syria under the UN’s Charter and was therefore an international war-crime. The Western press didn’t care about such things — but only about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ and other such billionaires’ bumper-stickers for suckers.

On 22 February 2019, one of the UN’s top experts on international law, Alfred de Zayas, was interviewed for a half hour on the ways in which America and its allies are blatantly violating international law by attempting a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s Government, and by going even further and imposing sanctions against Venezuela’s Government because it was resisting this (in effect) economic invasion-by-means-of-sanctions. The EU is one of these invading countries, but some of its constituent states oppose the US-sponsored invasion.

On 31 March 2019, I headlined “EU Joins NATO’s War Against Russia” and reported on the EU’s knee-jerk increase of economic sanctions against Russia as being the initial phase — the sanctions phase — of the US regime’s wars to overthrow the leaders of nations that are friendly toward Russia (e.g., Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Viktor Yanukovych, and now Nicolas Maduro), and now (ever since the 2012 Magnitsky Act sanctions fraud against Russia) increasingly to apply Washington’s economic sanctions against Russia itself.

In international affairs, the EU therefore is clearly a stooge of the constantly aggressive US regime.

After all, the US regime had initiated and led the creation of the European Union. This scheme started as soon as FDR died and Harry S. Truman became America’s President. The death of FDR was also, in a sense, the death of any real democracy in the United States. Truman was forced onto the Democratic Party’s Presidential ticket in 1944 by the Democratic Party’s centi-millionaires against the will of FDR.Truman and Churchill started the Cold War, which increasingly became mass thought-control in America (culminating with Joseph R. McCarthy) and with the CIA’s operations Gladio in Europe and Mockingbird in the US itself. First, NATO, and then the EU, were born as part of that secret US strategy to conquerRussia even after the end of the USS.R and of its communism and of its Warsaw Pact counterbalance to America’s NATO anti-Russian military alliance. Ever since that time (1991), America’s controlling owners of international corporations (our billionaires) have also controlled — via European nations’ own super-rich — first, Europe’s national Governments, and then the EU itself. It secretly remains true even after the 1991 end of the Cold War on Russia’s side.

Consequently: when there’s a choice to be made between supporting jihadists (or other extremists such as — in Ukraine — nazis) or else to side with Russia (or any nation that’s friendly toward Russia), the American team always back the jihadists or other extremists, and they say it’s being done ‘for human rights and democracy’ and other such hypocrisies, while they perpetrate actual war-crimes, and make fools of their own publics, in order ultimately to conquer Russia. That’s doing it the “diplomatic” way, and they don’t like Trump’s doing it the “Greed is good” way. The directness of his greed makes themselves look bad. That’s why these super-hypocrites preferred Obama.

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

February 07, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

INTRODUCTION

This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hude such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military. …

29. … Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. …

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied]. …

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”. …

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means. …

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill. …

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”. …

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”. …

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures. …

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment. …

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him. …

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup. …

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change. …

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed. …

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country. …

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under. …

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

(NOTE: Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the U.S. empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.)

(NOTE: Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter: https://documents-dds-ny.un.. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.)

(NOTE: On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined

“Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”)

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

Yemen: US Arms in Hands of ISIL, Intelligence Fiasco for Washington

Amnesty: UAE Diverting Arms to Militias Committing War Crimes in Yemen

February 6, 2019

Logo of Amnesty International organization

Amnesty International accused the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday of diverting arms supplied by Western and other states to “unaccountable militias accused of war crimes” in Yemen.

“Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to syphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes,” Amnesty said in a statement.

“The proliferation of these fighting forces is a recipe for disaster for Yemeni civilians who have already been killed in their thousands, while millions more are on the brink of famine as a direct result of the war,” the human rights group said.

The UAE government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Amnesty statement.

The UAE has trained and armed thousands of Yemeni fighters, mostly in southern provinces and western coastal areas.

Many Western nations provide weapons and intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition, which has been since March 2015 waging a brutal war on Yemen.

Amnesty called on states to suspend arms sales to the warring parties until there is “no longer a substantial risk” they may be used to breach humanitarian or human rights law.

SourceReuters

Yemen: US Arms in Hands of ISIL, Intelligence Fiasco for Washington

Yemen: US Arms in Hands of ISIL, Intelligence Fiasco for Washington

Wed Feb 06, 2019 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The disclosed news on Saudi Arabia and the UAE delivering American arms and weaponry to al-Qaeda and ISIL terrorists is an intelligence ignominy for Washington, President of Yemen’s Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said.

Al-Houthi referred to US claims on sending American arms by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to Al-Qaeda and Salafi militias, saying US is responsible for killing Yemenis.

He said if it comes true, it will bring an intelligence scandal for the US meaning that the country has no mechanism to control its arms and has given weaponry to others with no conditions and against international regulations, Yemeni news outlet Al-Masirah reported.

Al-Houthi called for taking practical steps and decisions to stop US support of Saudi coalition against Yemen as the real roadmap for supporting peace in Yemen.

CNN reported on Monday that Riyadh is “transferring” American weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists and Salafi militias in Yemen, a report revealed.

Saudi Arabia and its main accomplice in the war on Yemen, the UAE, “have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape”, CNN said in the report, citing local commanders on the ground and analysts.

The report claimed that Ansarullah fighters have also managed to gain access to the weapons “exposing some of America’s sensitive military technology to Tehran”.

During his maiden state visit, US President Donald Trump went to Saudi Arabia where he signed a massive $110 billion arms deal with the oil-rich kingdom. According to the Department of Defense, the monarchy is breaking the terms of its arms deal with Washington.

The Monday report further suggested that the American president “has lost control over” the royal family, questioning whether it is “responsible enough to be allowed to continue buying the sophisticated arms and fighting hardware”.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

Official UN figures say that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March 2015. But the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) believes that at least 56,000 people have lost their lives in the war. The violence has also left around two-thirds of Yemen’s population of 27 million relying on aid amid an ongoing strict naval and aerial blockade. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Save the Children, a charity, has reported that more than 84,700 children under the age of five may have starved to death in Yemen since the Saudi regime and a coalition of its allies launched the brutal war on the already-impoverished nation.

Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million people in need and is seeing a spike in needs, fuelled by ongoing conflict, a collapsing economy and diminished social services and livelihoods.

A number of Western countries, the US, the UK, and France in particular, are accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

an Oxfam representative stated that the US, UK, and French governments are behind millions of people starving in Yemen because they are “supporting this war”.

“We have 14 million people starving,” Richard Stanforth, Oxfam UK’s regional policy officer for the Middle East, told RT, adding that “British, French, American governments are all behind this, they are all supporting this war”.

A UN panel has compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.

 

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