WHO’s Conflict of Interest?

By David Macailwain

Source

Pompeo Meets Ghebreyesus 2e5bb

Last week the French National Assembly convened an inquiry into the “genealogy and chronology”  of the Coronavirus crisis to examine the evident failures in its handling and will interview government ministers, experts and health advisors over the next six months. While we in the English-speaking world may have heard endless arguments over the failures of the UK or US governments to properly prepare for and cope with the health-care emergency, the crisis and problems in the French health system and bureaucracy have been similar and equally serious. Given the global cooperation and collaboration of health authorities and industry, the inquiry has global significance.

Judging by the attention paid by French media to the inquiry, which comes just as France is loosening the lock-downs and restarting normal government activities, it is set to be controversial and upsetting, exposing both incompetence and corruption.

Leading the criticism of the Macron government’s handling of the crisis are the most serious accusations that its prohibition of an effective drug treatment has cost many lives, a criticism put directly to the inquiry by Professor Didier Raoult, the most vocal proponent of the drug – Hydroxychloroquine. At his institute in Marseilles, early treatment with the drug of people infected with Sars-CoV-2 has been conclusively demonstrated to reduce hospitalization rates and shorten recovery times when given along with the antibiotic Azithromycin, and consequently to cut death rates by at least half.

Raoult has pointed to the low death rate in the Marseilles region of 140 per million inhabitants compared with that in Paris of 759 per million as at least partly due to the very different treatment of the epidemic in Marseilles under his instruction. The policies pursued by local health services there included early widespread testing for the virus and isolation and quarantining of cases, aimed both at protecting those in aged care and in keeping people from needing hospitalization with the help of drug treatments.

It incidentally seems quite bizarre that some countries – notably the US, UK and Australia, are only now embarking on large testing programs – and claiming a “second wave” in cases – which Raoult calls a “fantasme journalistique”. The consequent reimposition of severe lock-downs in some suburbs of Melbourne, and in Leicester in the UK is a very worrying development.

The efficacy of HCQ and Azithromycin is well illustrated – one should say proven – by this most recent review of its use on 3120 out of a total of 3700 patients treated at the Marseilles hospitals during March, April and the first half of May. Unlike the fraudulent study published and then retracted by the Lancet in May, the analysis in this review is exemplary, along with the battery of tests performed on patients to determine the exact nature of their infection and estimate the effectiveness of the drug treatment. The overall final mortality rate of 1.1% obscures the huge discrepancy in numbers between treated and untreated patients. Hospitalization, ICU, and death rates averaged five times greater in those receiving the “other” treatment – being normal care without HCQ-AZM treatment – equivalent to a placebo.

The IHU Marseilles study and its discussion points deserve close scrutiny, because they cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated or biased, or somehow political, just because Professor Raoult is a “controversial figure”. There is a controversy, and it was well expressed by Raoult in his three hour presentation to the inquiry. His criticisms of health advisors to government include conflicts of interest and policy driven by politics rather than science. Raoult has been vindicated in his success, and can now say to those health authorities “if you had accepted my advice and approved this drug treatment, thousands of lives would have been saved.”

This is quite unlike similar statements in the UK and elsewhere, where claims an earlier imposition of lock-down would have cut the death toll in half are entirely hypothetical. As Prof. Raoult has also observed, the progress of this epidemic of a new and unknown virus was quite speculative, and its handling by authorities has failed to reflect that. In fact, one feels more and more that the “response” of governments all around the world has followed a strangely similar and inappropriately rigid scheme, of which certain aspects were de rigueur, particularly “social distancing”.

There seems little evidence that would justify this most damaging and extreme of measures to control an epidemic whose seriousness could be ameliorated by other measures – such as those advocated by Raoult’s Institute – which would have avoided the devastating “collateral damage” inflicted on the economy and society in the name of “staying safe”.

Prof. Raoult’s vocal and consistent criticism of the political manipulation of the Coronavirus crisis is hardly trivial however, to be finally excused as a “failure”- to impose lockdowns sooner, to have sufficient supplies of masks or ventilators, or to use more testing and effective contact tracing. What lies beneath appears to be, for want of a better word, a conspiracy.

As previously and famously noted by Pepe Escobar, French officials seemed to have foresight on the potential use of Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 infection, with its cheapness and availability being a likely hindrance to pharmaceutical companies looking to make big profits from new drug treatments or vaccines. Of even greater significance perhaps, was the possibility – or danger – that the vast bulk of the population might become infected with the virus and recover quickly with the help of this cheap drug treatment, while bypassing the need, and possibly interminable wait for a vaccine.

Now it can be seen that in Western countries the demand for a vaccine is acute, and the market cut-throat, despite assurances from many quarters that “vaccines must be available to all” and that “manufacturers won’t seek to profit” from their winning product. (the profit will naturally be included in what their governments choose to pay them) The clear conflicts of interest between health officials, public and private interests make such brave pronouncements particularly hollow. Just one case is sufficient to illustrate this, as despite its unconvincing performance in combatting the novel Coronavirus, the drug developed and promoted by Dr Anthony Fauci and company Gilead, Remdesevir, was rapidly approved for use following a research trial sponsored by the White House.

More concerning however is what appears to be a conflict of interest in the WHO itself, possibly related to the WHO’s largest source of funding in the Gates organization. While the WHO has not actively opposed the use of Hydroxychloroquine against the virus infection for most of the pandemic, neither has it voiced any support for its use, such as might be suggested by its obvious benefits, and particularly in countries with poor health facilities and resources.

Had the WHO taken at least a mildly supportive role, acknowledging that the drug was already in widespread use and there was little to lose from trying it against COVID-19, then it is hard to imagine that those behind the recent fabricated Lancet paper would have pursued such a project. Without claiming that the WHO had some hand in the alleged study that set out to debunk HCQ treatment, it should be noted that the WHO was very quick to jump on the non-peer-reviewed “results” and to declare a world-wide cancellation of its research projects on the drug. And while it had to rescind this direction shortly afterward when the fraud was exposed, the dog now has a bad name – as apparently intended.

This stands in sharp contrast to the WHO’s sudden enthusiasm for the steroidal drug Dexamethasone, recently discovered by a UK research team to have had a mildly positive benefit on seriously ill COVID19 patients:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to update its guidelines on treating people stricken with coronavirus to reflect results of a clinical trial that showed a cheap, common steroid could help save critically ill patients.

The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19 and was not observed in patients with milder disease, the WHO said in a statement late Tuesday.

British researchers estimated 5,000 lives could have been saved had the drug been used to treat patients in the United Kingdom at the start of the pandemic.

“This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the press release.”

There is something more than ironic in the WHO’s interest in a different cheap and available drug that has also been widely used for decades, but which is no use in protecting those people in the target market for the vaccine. To me, and surely to Professor Raoult and his colleagues, this looks more like protecting ones business interests and investor profits, at the expense of public health and lives.

Postscript:

It has just been announced that GILEAD will start charging for its drug Remdesevir from next week at $US 2340 for a five-day course, or $US 4860 for private patients. Generic equivalents manufactured in poorer countries will sell for $US 934 per treatment course. Announcing the prices, chief executive Dan O’Day noted that the drug was priced “to ensure wide access rather than based solely on the value to patients”.

It seems hardly worth pointing out that six days treatment with Hydroxychloroquine costs around $US 7, so for the same cost as treating one patient with Remdesevir, roughly four hundred could be given Hydroxychloroquine. If this is compounded by the effective cure rate, Remdesevir treatment costs closer to one thousand times that of HCQ. The addition of Azithromycin and Zinc doubles the cost of HCQ treatment, but also increases its efficacy considerably.

New Guiding Principles Have Emerged

May 23, 2020

Having Confidence In Your Case Is a Virtue or New Guiding Principles Have Emerged

Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

PART I

Living in a rich Western country is by far not without problems. Sure, until now, I do not suffer from material worries. No sanctions are imposed on the country. No bombs are put on the roads or fall from above. Police is not knocking on my door and I can move more or less without restrictions (no, no, I will not cry because of some limitations due to the Covid-19 crisis). I am even not forced to hate anyone or to believe in anything. As long as I pay my taxes and do not violate the laws, more or less nobody disturbs me. You may call this a privileged situation. You may even dream of such a life.

The other side is less funny. Whatever newspaper I open – whatever day – I find at least one article which is profoundly anti-Chinese, or anti-Iranian, or anti-Russian, or anti-Syrian. On the whole, this has stopped upsetting me, but still, it is really boring. And then there is the absence of all sense of logic. When US-ships are far from at home, in the Persian Gulf or in the South China Sea, say, then this is just „normal“ for these professional journalists. But when Iranian ships are going to Venezuela, then this is much less „business as usual“. Or, for them, more or less every problem of the USA is a result of the craziness of Trump. But miraculously, as soon as the USA act against China or Iran or Russia or Syria, then the Trump’s craziness is like blown away.

There is a big mental problem in the West: a sickly conviction in the own superiority combined with systematically blaming others for the own weaknesses. No, no, you cannot say that this is just the fault of the ruling classes or of the evil monopoly capitalists. It is not that simple. Quite many „ordinary people“ think in this way. Of all sorts of education or profession. And they have no real excuse. Still, I will not condemn them. I will not throw the first stone. Nevertheless, I would like to be less alone with my feelings, my convictions, and my ideas.

Since quite some time, I have named four guiding principles for me: autonomy, humility, perseverance, and positivity. Let me explain them a little bit. Autonomy stands for a proper mind. Feel, act, think in your own way, on your own responsibility. Support President Assad as one of the outstanding leaders of our time, even when many of your own friends and relatives see him as a criminal. Be just astonished by the existence and the amazing strength of Hezbollah as one of the authentic miracles nowadays, even when the government of a neighboring country has declared Hezbollah as a threat and when you can see no big protest in this neighboring country against this cowardly act.

Humility is crucial for a citizen in a Western country. After centuries of world domination, every criticism (in the West) of non-Western countries should be taboo. Not because of the (wrong) idea that non-Western countries are without problems or better by principle. Just by humility; you cannot life in a rich Western country and give lessons to others. This also includes accepting that the driving force for a better world is not a Western one; as citizens in a Western country, we are only a supporting force, at best. During this Covid-19 crisis, I was very disappointed by some genuine anti-imperialist Western people who were admiring Western scientists and professors as heroes, due to some criticism against their government. But what about scientists and professors in China, Iran, Syria, or Hezbollah? Stop thinking that Western scientists and professors are better.

Perseverance was not always easy for me. As a gifted child, things were sometimes too simple for me. I had to learn not crying about every small problem. You have to work hard for many years in order to get expert in some domain, even when you are gifted. This Western style of life with all these amusements and conveniences is not very beneficial for perseverance. And this ideology of just believe in yourself and realize your dreams is very lightweight.

Positivity is truly important. Being angry and full of hate cannot help much. Even when there is a reason. For example, I usually avoid writing about Israel, I even avoid thinking about Israel. This is merely in order to keep my mental health. I prefer by far to write and think about Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. My aim is another world, which, by the way, is already existing. I agree, blaming is sometimes necessary. But blaming is also quite easy. Look at this Covid-19 crisis. You cannot expect that your government makes no mistake during this crisis. What would YOU do in such a situation? Ok, it is probably not your job to govern. But even in your job, new, unexpected situations arrive and you have to struggle in order to find a solution. This might be difficult, even when you are well intended.

Overall, this is the logic behind my four guiding principles and I have tried to describe the „state of the art“ such as it existed some weeks ago. But meanwhile, my perspective has changed. I am still judging these principles as positive; however, I am now convinced that they are somewhat outdated and much too defensive. A step forward is urgently needed. What follows is a first try – which surely has to be adjusted subsequently.

PART II

In March 2020, in a joint letter to UN Secretary General Guterres, the ambassadors of eight countries, namely China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, urged that the present pandemic should not be politicized. They underlined that the fight against the pandemic is difficult – if not impossible – for countries facing sanctions. The latter are described as illegal, coercive measures of economic pressure.

The common action of these countries is highly noteworthy. It is well known that they all have to counter Western sanctions of different degrees, ordered by the USA. Even if there are rather big differences among the eight countries, let me try to treat them as a unity, as the representatives of the now world, together with some other forces, Hezbollah and Ansarullah in particular. From their point of view, what can be said concerning my four guiding principles?

Autonomy or independence are derived values. They are related to somebody else, you are independent of somebody. In particular, one may be autonomous or independent with respect to Western hegemony. Obviously, this does not correctly describe the current situation. Independence is no longer the big problem. The new forces have already taken their own way. They are neither imitating nor competing the Western system. They just try to advance, based on their own historical experiences and their own wisdom. They know that Western hegemony would like to stop them. While they take this threat seriously, they are not at all paralyzed by it. The hegemonists have become quite predictable, with few creative ideas. Of course, the possibility exists that they will act still more desperately. But this is life and one has to be prepared.

Advancing on their own way naturally needs competences. This was one of the advantages of the West in the past. But the new forces rapidly cutch up and are already in the lead in some domains. In short, the main task of the new forces (I repeat that, simplifying, I look at these forces as a unity) is resolving the problems and obstacles which they meet on their way, prudently, confidently, creatively, competently. So, „autonomy“ has to be replaced by something like „firm self-confidence and competence“.

I would say that arrogance is the most typical behavior of Western hegemonists. Certainly, humility is not an adjusted answer, the hegemonists would just laugh about. Humility is too weak and too defensive. Manifestly, strength and courage are required. Of course, they have to be combined with caution. Yet, we may be assured that the new forces have accumulated enough knowledge about Western tactics and tricks. The Western arsenal is quite limited. Essentially, it consists of a big mouth and nothing behind. Nevertheless, one should not be impressible nor provokable. I would like to propose something like „robustness and solidity“ instead of „humility“.

Perseverance is not enough. The new forces need a long-term strategy. The Western hegemony has lasted for some centuries while we may say that the new forces exist since some 100 years. These 100 years were however quite wild and unbalanced. At least, a lot of experiences was acquired. In some sense, the „youth“ of the new forces is now over. They have entered the age of adults. They take more and more responsibility.

Related to perseverance is the question of rigor. In the ascending period of Western hegemony, rigor was essential. In the middle of the last century, rigor was still a strength of the West. This is now over. The new forces show more rigor. Their societies are more serious and much less exposed to Western amusements and decadence. You may look at Hassan Nasrallah and Netanyahu with respect to rigor and you immediately see that there is no comparison; to the point that something in me strongly objects putting these two names in the same sentence, it is like a sacrilege. Here is another illustration: Clearly, Karl Marx was exemplary as a rigorous scientist. But the European left of today see rigor, seriousness, and discipline merely as suspect. Quite to the opposite of someone like famous German supermodel Claudia Schiffer who knows very well that without discipline, there is no career.

So, let us replace „perseverance“ by „perspicacity and rigor“.

Finally, what may signify positivity for the new forces? What immediately comes to mind is confidence. Confidence in their case, confidence in their struggle, confidence in their success. For example the confidence of the Chinese that they will reach their target of eliminating poverty in their country at the end of 2020. Or the confidence of the Syrians that they will liberate every inch of their country.

Some weeks ago, on May 9, I was very impressed by the text written for this blog by Faina Savenkova, a child of 11 years from Lugansk. Above all by her confidence. This is really a deciding factor. It is as she writes: „I know for sure […] that the war will end sooner or later, and we will create a new future.“

Accordingly, let us replace „positivity“ by „deep confidence“.

I recapitulate. My guiding principles have emerged from „autonomy, humility, perseverance, positivity“ to something like „firm self-confidence and competence, robustness and solidity, perspicacity and rigor, deep confidence“. This is less static, less neutral, less defensive as well as more dynamic, more purposeful, more optimistic. And more in line with existing reality. We may trust in this new world. Which is in the process of being created, before our eyes.

Who controls the British Government response to Covid–19? (Part 1)

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

“The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants” — Albert Camus

As Britain hurtles headlong towards neo-feudalist governance with heightened surveillance, micro-management of society and an uptick in fascistic policing of the draconian measures imposed to combat the “threat” of Covid–19, it is perhaps time to analyse the real forces behind this “new normal”.

There is now serious doubt over the correlation between lockdown and saving lives. Reality is creeping into the Covid–19 dialogue. It is becoming apparent that people are getting sick because they are being isolated and effectively living under house arrest, condemned as “murderers” if they so much as think about breaking curfew, being snitched on by neighbours for “gathering” more than two people together in their back gardens.

The following graph was produced by UK Column and demonstrates the lack of correlation between lockdown and “saving lives”:

Updated 21/4/20

The numbers game is acting in many instances as a smokescreen. It is impossible to rely upon “official” statistics, that vary wildly from one website to another: statistics that rely upon unreliable and sporadic testing procedures. and based upon death certificates that misrepresent the actual cause of death as Covid–19, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. Statistics, too, that were set in stone very early on in the development stages, when the perspective was limited and compressed, before a true picture could be seen. The newly emerging statistics are now increasingly undermining initial conclusions and pointing to the futility and negative consequences of lockdown.

It is now accepted that there is a high mortality rate among the elderly in care homes in the UK and globally — among the same elderly civilians who are being “asked” to sign DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate) forms. This amounts to signing their own death warrant, should they present any of the Covid–19 symptoms. They will be neglected, isolated from their families when at their most vulnerable and left alone to die, even though it is possible that they have not contracted the virus.

Instead of offering proactive and positive suggestions that will enable our immune systems to combat the disease, the British Government is ensuring conditions that will suppress immune systems to dangerous levels and create the perfect environment for Covid–19 to flourish.

Britain has now received an estimated 1.4 million new benefit claims for welfare payments, “about seven times the normal level”. The government has pledged to bail out “80% of pay of workers who are temporarily laid off” but I have personally spoken to self-employed individuals who find themselves falling between the cracks that qualify them for financial support and now face an indefinite period of time without income.

These measures are being imposed in a country that, since 2012, has seen an exponential growth in child poverty to potentially sub-Victorian levels. In March 2019, the number of children living in “absolute poverty” grew by a staggering 200,000 in a twelve-month period, to a total of 3.7 million. How will this number be further impacted by lockdown?

How did we arrive at this point? Who steered the UK Government towards this questionable and alarmist lockdown policy? The unexamined assumption is that conclusions were formed on the basis of sound epidemiological analysis and research by doctors and scientists who care about our welfare.

The reality is what we will examine in this article. Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College, was responsible for the modelling of a response to Covid–19. His virtual model was recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and it passed through into policy with virtually no scrutiny. Ferguson’s dramatic prediction of 500,000 deaths in the UK became the foundation of Boris Johnson’s U-turn from herd immunity to collective quarantine.

While some understood that Ferguson later reduced his mortality calculations, he actually doubled down on his projections on Twitter, insisting that without drastic lockdown measures being taken, the numbers would be even higher.

Who is Neil Ferguson?

Ferguson is acting director of the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC), which is based at Imperial College in London. According to Ferguson’s biography on the website, “much of [his] work is applied, informing disease control policy-making by public and global health institutions.”

The professor who derailed Johnson’s semblance of “herd immunity” strategy is no stranger to controversy and is described as having a “patchy” record of modelling pandemics by one of his academic peers, Professor Michael Thrusfield of Edinburgh University, an expert in animal diseases.

Ferguson was instrumental in the modelling of the British Government’s response to Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001, which Thrusfield describes as “not fit for purpose” (2006) and “seriously flawed” (2012). Thrusfield has highlighted the limitations of Ferguson’s mathematical modelling methods, and applied the doubts he expressed over FMD to the current Covid–19 “crisis” response.

An estimated twelve million animals were slaughtered as a result of Ferguson’s 2001 initiative. The farming community was devastated by suicides and bankruptcies that irretrievably altered the landscape of British agriculture — forcing healthy smallholdings into agri-corporate mergers and empowering the EU central governance in the agricultural sector.

Image copyright: Nick Green

Insight: Slaughtered on Suspicion, a documentary made by UK Column in 2015, provides a shocking insight into the suffering precipitated by Ferguson’s model and the “new normal” imposed upon Britain’s farming community. The following is a statement made by one of the contributors to the programme:

12,000,000 animals [Meat & Livestock Commission statistic] were slaughtered but that did not include lambs at foot, aborted lambs, calves or piglets. Further, tens of thousands of chickens were slaughtered in the early months — on welfare grounds, apparently. 88% of all animals slaughtered had not contracted FMD [source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs].

Great Orton airfield was used to slaughter sheep under the “voluntary” cull: that was anything but voluntary, and farmers not participating were ruthlessly threatened. There was only one mild case of FMD recorded from the thousands of blood tests done at Great Orton [source: DEFRA].

There was a travelator that ran from the slaughter tent at Great Orton to the graves. This ran 16 hours a day, transporting “dead” young lambs. Slaughtermen working there told me that many of the lambs were buried alive.

The man that advised Blair during this fiasco was, as many will know, Prof. Ferguson of Imperial College. He was [reportedly] sacked by DEFRA late on during the epidemic, but the damage had been done! Prof Ferguson was awarded an OBE in 2002 for his work during FMD 2001.” [Emphasis added]

In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 50,000 people would die from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, better known as “mad cow disease”, increasing to 150,000 if the epidemic expanded to include sheep. The reality is: “Since 1990, 178 people in the United Kingdom have died from vCJD, according to the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit at the University of Edinburgh.” (2017)

In 2005, Ferguson claimed that up to 200 million people would be killed by bird-flu or H5N1. By early 2006, the WHO had only linked 78 deaths to the virus, out of 147 reported cases.

In 2009, Ferguson and his team at Imperial College advised the government that swine flu or H1N1 would probably kill 65,000 people in the UK. In the end, swine flu claimed the lives of 457 people in the UK.

Now, in 2020, Ferguson and Imperial College have released a report which claims that half a million Britons and 2.2 million Americans may be killed by Covid–19. The report has still not been peer-reviewed; despite this and Ferguson’s glaring record of mathematical sensationalism, the British Government has adopted the devastating socio-economic lockdown that Ferguson has proposed.

Why is the British Government so quick to follow Ferguson’s plan?

1. GAVI and Imperial College

The VIMC is hosted by the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College. VIMC is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by “GAVI, the vaccine alliance” (GAVI’s own title for itself). Bill and Melinda Gates began funding Imperial College in 2006, four years before the Gates Foundation launched the Global Health Leaders Launch Decade of Vaccines Collaboration (GHLLDVC) and one year after Ferguson had demonstrated his penchant for overblown projections on mortality numbers from H5N1.

Up to the end of 2018, the Gates Foundation has sponsored Imperial College with a whopping $185 million. That makes Gates the second largest sponsor, beaten to the top spot on the podium by the Wellcome Trust, a British research charity which began funding Imperial College prior to Ferguson’s FMD débâcle and which, by the end of 2018, had already provided Imperial with over $400 million in funding. I will examine the Wellcome Trust’s connections in part two of this series.

Wellcome trust also has a focus on global immunization programmes.

The Gates Foundation established the GHLLDVC in collaboration with the WHO, UNICEF and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The following is taken from the Gates Foundation website:

The Global Vaccine Action Plan will enable greater coordination across all stakeholder groups – national governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and philanthropic organizations — and will identify critical policy, resource, and other gaps that must be addressed to realize the life-saving potential of vaccines.

The Collaboration’s leadership council at the time included the Director-General of the WHO, the Director of NIAID, the Director of UNICEF, the President of Gates Foundation Global Health, and the Chair of the African Malaria Alliance. The steering committee included the Director of Immunisation, the UK Department of Health, and many other representatives from the WHO, UNICEF and associated organisations. It is a cluster of immunisation-focused individuals controlling the policy of world health governing bodies, who claim to be neutral.

The WHO was nominated as the “directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system” and was set up to be responsible for “shaping the health research agenda”, among other tasks linked to the policy of global immunisation.

UNICEF, the “world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries” has on-the-ground access to children in over 150 territories and countries (2010).

We are already seeing the potential for some serious conflict of interest behind the Ferguson model on Covid–19, and this will become even more apparent as the connections are now made to an entire pharmaceutical complex potentially protecting its own interests over any genuine concerns for the health and welfare of global populations.

Gavi, the vaccine alliance

“Gavi is the Vaccine Alliance, which brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to vaccines for children, wherever they live.”

GAVI is funded and partnered by the same network that forms the GHLLDVC, with some noticeable additions: the World Bank and donor/implementing country governments. The Gates Foundation is a primary sponsor, but is topped by the British Government, which was instrumental in creating GAVI and is its largest donor.

While many sectors of British society have seen their living standards plummet, with the elderly severely neglected, a National Health Service in decline and homelessness on the increase, the British Government, via UKAID, has pledged £1.44 billion to GAVI for 2016–2020 and will be hosting the 2020 GAVI pledging conference, which is due to take place in June 2020 to “mobilise at least US$ 7.4 billion in additional resources to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.” (Emphasis added)

The conference promises to bring together political leaders, civil society, public and private donors, vaccine manufacturers and governments to support GAVI, the vaccine alliance — which boasts that it has “helped vaccinate almost half the world’s children against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases”. This claim will be met with praise from the pro-vaccine lobby but concerns over the efficacy and safety of these mass vaccination programmes must be taken into account, particularly when being tested in poorer, developing countries.

Global vaccination market revenue worldwide is projected to reach $59.2 billion by 2020; this number may well increase with the arrival of Covid–19. The British Government’s investment in GAVI alongside vaccine promoter Bill Gates must, again, raise the issue of conflicts of interest. To what extent is the British Government protecting its own assets in forcing the lockdown upon its population? Vaccines are set to be a major source of income for the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations, and the British Government is invested in that lucrative future.

The GAVI replenishment conference is to be hosted by a British Government whose lockdown policy is effectively shattering the domestic economy and is collectively punishing the most vulnerable in British society.

When Bill Gates partnered with GAVI twenty years ago, he had been considering where next to focus his philanthropy and was “increasingly focusing on the power and potential of vaccines”. It was Gates’ substantial sponsorship that launched GAVI, and ten years later Gates launched his own “vaccine decade” plan for the 2010s.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) 2012–2020, endorsed by the 194 member states participating in the World Health Assembly (2012), is led by the same members of the Gates “vaccine decade” consortium, promoted by the WHO, and brings together governments, elected officials, health professionals, academia, manufacturers, global agencies, research and development, civil society, media and the private sector — to promote global immunisation. This is a profit-driven corporate complex harnessing the “humanitarian” sector to lend credence to the claims of philanthropy, or more realistically, philanthrocapitalism.

2. GAVI and ID2020

A glance at the partner page of the GAVI website reveals that not only is GAVI heavily invested in immunisation campaigns, it is also closely connected to the Gates, Microsoft and Rockefeller Foundation seed-funded ID2020 project (Digital Identity Alliance), which incorporates Accenture, Microsoft (Gates), Ideo-Org and Rockefeller Foundation into the GAVI alliance, all with ties to the ID2020 initiative.

ID2020 is promoting the concept that there is a need for universal biometric verification, because “to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right,” as asserted on the ID2020 website. An article by journalist Kurt Nimmo for Global Research dismantles the “humanitarian” alibi for tyranny.

OffGrid Healthcare explains:

What they really want is a fully standardized data collection and retrieval format, and cross-border sharing of identities of the entire population of the planet, in order for the stand-alone AI-powered command center to work without a hitch, and for purposes of calculating everyone’s potential contribution, and threat to the system.

Nimmo describes the potential for Covid–19 to be used as cover for mandatory biometric ID. An April article carried by Reuters confirms the suspicion that biometric ID might soon be introduced, ostensibly to “help verify those who already had the infection and ensure the vulnerable get the vaccine when it is launched”. This may sound perfectly sensible to those who are buying the government strap-lines on Covid–19 but — as Nimmo warns us — “COVID–19 is the perfect Trojan horse for a control freak state itching to not only micromanage the lives of ordinary citizens but also ferret out critics and potential adversaries and punish them as enemies of the state.”

Prashant Yadav, senior fellow at the US-based Center for Global Development, has said:

Biometric IDs can be a gamechanger. They can help governments target population segments e.g healthcare professionals or the elderly population, verify people who have received vaccination, and have a clear record[Emphasis added]

Such statements can easily be interpreted as the harbingers of mandatory vaccination and the inclusion of biometric ID in the “humanitarian” package.

Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Technologies introduces an even more sinister projection into the mix. Armstrong talks about a digital certificate that verifies you have been vaccinated, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Microsoft, which will merge with ID2020. Covid–19 will be exploited to encourage us to accept digital implants and tracking devices that will enable authorities to keep an eye on us. Armstrong argues that just as 9/11 conditioned us to accept X-ray booths at airports, now we will be chipped alongside our dogs and cats.

The road to 2020 – the future for digital identity in the UK. (Title of Innovate Identity article June 2019)

At this point, it is worth remembering that UKAID is heavily involved in GAVI, and one presumes they are on board with the digital ID2020 project. Rob Laurence, director at UK-based Innovate Identity, presented proposals for the future of digital identity back in June 2019. The UK Government Verify scheme was identified as a fledgling version of the future of digital ID.

Laurence describes the digital ID “ecosystem” that is emerging: Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation at the Cabinet Office (the British Government’s co-ordinating department), will form a new Digital ID Unit to “pave the way for the government to consume digital identities from the private sector”. Laurence describes 2020 as the “now-or-never year for government and industry to collaborate” in the creation of an “interoperable digital identity market”.

Covid19 provides the opportunity that might just fulfil these predictions.

It is no coincidence that a British start-up — Microsoft-funded Onfido — has recently raised $100 million to “boost its ID technology” to enable the creation of “immunity passports” for governments “battling coronavirus”.

In December 2019, researchers at MIT created a “microneedle platform using fluorescent microparticles called quantum dots (QD) which can deliver vaccines and at the same time, invisibly encode vaccination history in the skin”: the QDs can be detected by specially adapted smartphones. The “new normal” will mean we are tracked and monitored by our own communication systems to an even greater and more intrusive extent.

The future is being modelled — but not for our benefit

In part one of this two=part series, my intention has been to raise questions over who is driving the British Government response to Covid–19. Those who have influenced the lockdown policy have very clear conflict of interest question marks over their agenda.

The scientific clique influencing government decisions is one that is incorporated into a for-profit Big Pharma industrial network which will, undeniably, benefit from the measures being taken by the British Government — a government that is financially embedded in the same complex.

Why are the views of epidemiologists, doctors, scientists, analysts and health advisors who challenge the lockdown being ignored or censored by the media and by government? Why is the government not widening the circle of advisors to take into account these opposing perspectives that might bring an end to the misery that is a consequence of enforced quarantine? Off-Guardian has recorded these views herehere and here. It is also worth following Swiss Propaganda Research for regular updates on emerging analysis and statistics that you will not always find in the mainstream media.

World Economic Forum report on the psychological experiment that is the Covid19 lockdown.

Instead, the British Government is effectively endorsing the breeding of distrust in society, the erosion of public assembly, the isolation and state-sanctioned euthanasia of the elderly, the emerging police state, snitch lines, loss of dignity and livelihoods, greater dependency upon the state for survival, depression, suicide and voluntary incarceration.

An article in New York Times reports on the death toll in care homes which “reflect a global phenomenon” in a world under lockdown.

The UN has issued a warning that the economic downturn could “kill hundreds of thousands of children in 2020”. Gates, the WHO, the British Government and UNICEF are focused on global immunisation for a “pandemic” that is not living up to the alarmist virtual projections sponsored by Gates and the Big Pharma complex, while children really will start to die from malnutrition, neglect and a myriad of consequence of extreme poverty generated by the “steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s” (IMF).

In part two, I will delve deeper into the interlocking interests of state and private corporate sectors that should not be interfering in policies which affect the welfare of British citizens. I will reveal how the same players are influencing the media response and ensuring that their interests are given the most powerful platforms to promote their agenda.

The questions must be asked: Who is really in charge of the Covid–19 response? Who benefits most? Who will suffer most from the long term consequences? And who will provide respite from those consequences when the “pandemic” has disappeared from view?

من وحي كلمة السيد نصرالله

ناصر قنديل

بالرغم من تأكيده على تخصيص كلمته للمناسبة الدينية التي يمثلها منتصف شعبان، أطلق الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله في كلمته جملة من العناوين، التي ترتبط بالأسئلة العميقة الثقافية والفكرية والوجودية التي طرحتها هذه الهيمنة المطلقة لجائحة كورونا على البشرية أفراداً وجماعات وعقائد وأنظمة وأنماط حكم، بصورة لم تطرح فيها من قبل. فالبشرية التي عرفت أحداثاً غيّرت مسارها في العلم عبر الاختراعات والمبتكرات والاكتشافات والثورات العلميّة، وفي الحروب العالمية والإقليمية، وفي الأمراض والأوبئة، وظهور الفلسفات والعقائد، والتي كانت لها آثار كمية ونوعية هائلة في مجال فعلها ومدى تأثيرها، في زمانها وما بعده، لم يحدث أن برزت ظاهرة تشغل البشرية كلها في وقت واحد على مساحة الكرة الأرضية كلها، وتصير شغلها الشاغل، بأجيالها، وأعراقها، كباراً وصغاراً، رجالاً ونساء، أغنياء وفقراء، متعلمين وغير متعلمين، حكاماً ومحكومين، وهم جميعاً مصابون بالتسليم بالعجز والضعف والذهول والحيرة، ومفروض عليهم السكون والشلل والانكفاء والتجمد، لشهور ليس لها رغم كل الجهود العلمية والحكومية، نهاية واضحة بعد.

مسار البشرية كان دائماً محكوماً بالسعي للتخلص من الشعور بالضعف، وتوظيف العلم والمال والسلطة كثلاثي لإبعاد هذا الشعور الذي كان يتحدّى البشر منذ بدء التاريخ، وتوهّم التخلص من هذا الشعور بالضعف أوقع البشرية في الطغيان. فالتهافت على المال كان أساس الجشع ليس باعتباره وسيلة للتمتع بخيرات الحياة وحسب، بل أيضاً كوسيلة لصد ضغوطها ودرء أخطارها، وها هو اليوم لا يفيد مالكيه لا بتحقيق التمتع ولا بضمان الشعور بالقوة، والتنافس والنزاع على السلطة كان دائماً رغم دوافعه ونوازعه العديدة مسقوفاً بالسعي للشعور بالقدرة على التحكم بمصادر الخطر، ومصادر القوة، ومصادر الثروة، لتحقيق أعلى درجة من السيطرة على المصائر، مصير مَن يمسك السلطة ومصير الآخرين، وها هي السلطة اليوم لمن يمسك بمقاليدها لا تنفع في التحكم بشيء، لا في الاقتصاد الذي كابر البعض لرفض وقف دورته، ولا في الأمان الشخصي والعام، والفيروس يجتاح كل يوم آلافاً جديدة ويقتل مئات جديدة، ولا يعرف الحاكم نفسه متى يكون هو من ضحاياه، رغم إمساكه بأزرار الحرب النووية التي ظنّ طويلاً أنها أعلى درجات الخطر، وقد وضعها تحت السيطرة، والسعي للعلم بصفته كاشف أسرار الكون والطبيعة والوسيلة المثلى لمواجهة النوائب واتقائها، وقد جمع منه البشر أفراداً وحكومات وجماعات، ما توهموا انه كافٍ ليمنحهم الشعور بالسيادة على مصائرهم ومصائر غيرهم، يقف هو الآخر عاجزاً، والفيروس يحصد علماء الفيروسات والأطباء، وأول العجز هو العجز عن فهم الذي يجري وتفسيره.

عودة البشرية إلى شعور الإنسان الأول بالضعف والعجز، تأتي بعدما دار الزمان دورته ومنح البشر الوهم بأنهم مسيطرون على كل شيء، ومن ميزات كورونا اليوم أنه يفرض على البشر الشلل، خلافاً لكل ما مر عليهم من أحداث كبار، كانوا يواصلون حياتهم في ظلالها، أو كان بعضهم على الأقل يفعل ذلك. وهذا الشلل التام، يجعل التأمل المشفوع بالعجز والخوف والضعف، فرصة للتفكير والتقييم، وإستخلاص النتائج، واولها وأهمها، الذي أراد السيد تسجيله هو أن ربط البشرية للإيمان بالخالق بمعيار الضعف وتخيل الاستغناء عن هذا الشعور سبب للتخلي عن الله، يوضع كخلاصة خاطئة مجدداً على الطاولة للنقاش. وفيما يسترد الإيمان اعتباره، كتسليم عميق بالعجز، يستردّ التدّين اعتباره أيضاً كضابط إيقاع أخلاقي بين البشر واستثمار مواردهم ومصادر قوتهم. فهو ليس التدين الذي يقسم البشر وينشر الكراهية بينهم، ويحرّض على الحروب والقتل، بل التدين الذي يردع عن كل أذى وينهي عن كل استثمار للعلم بما يؤذي الطبيعة والبيئة والإنسان، والتدين الذي يشجع على توظيف عقل البشر وعلومهم لتحقيق المزيد من رفاههم وخيرهم وصحتهم، بضوابط الأخلاق والقيم، ويدعو لكل ما يسهم بضبط اقتصاداتهم بمعايير الخير العام ومحاربة الفقر وإحقاق العدل، ورفع الظلم والاحتكار والاستغلال عن رقابهم وموارد رزقهم، تحت سؤال كبير يرتبط بزمن كورونا، عن ماذا نفع المال والعلم والسلطة أصحابهم، ليضمنوا أنهم من الناجين، خارج مشروع بشري للنجاة معاً، تاهوا عنه وأضاعوه بوهم أنهم قد استغنوا، وأنهم يسيطرون على مصادر الخطر ومكامن القوة.

عندما يربط السيد أطروحته بعقيدة الظهور والمهدويّة، فهو لا يغفل أبداً عن وضع المعيار أمام الناس بالعمل في مواجهة التحدي الواقعي. وهو هنا لا يطرح تحدياً غيبياً أو دينياً، بل يعتبر القرب من ملاقاة الغيبي والديني هو بدرجة القرب من مداواة جروح الناس، والسعي لخيرهم، وتأمين أسباب الحياة الكريمة لهم، وتوفير شروط الصمود لعائلاتهم بانتظار نجاح البشرية في التقاط أنفاسها وإيجاد علاج أو وقاية يتيحان الخروج من النفق المظلم.

كلمة السيد نصرالله في مناسبة دينية، لكنها محاولة لملاقاة الأسئلة الكبرى التي تجتاح البشرية، من موقع المتغير الكبير الذي رافق هذه الجائحة العالمية، ومحاولة للتأسيس لمفاهيم، ركيزتها ثقافة الإنسانية القائمة على الخير والتواضع والعمل، وهي ببعدها اللبناني الذي قد لا يكون اليوم ظاهراً بقوة، لكنه لن يتأخر عن الظهور كثيراً، فمعايير ومقاييس اختيار رجال ونساء الشأن العام في بلدنا، لم يعد ممكناً أن تبقى بمعايير الماضي، حيث السلطة لصاحب المال، والمال لصاحب السلطة، وهي دعوة للتفكير على نطاقنا الضيق، من ضمن التفكير البشري على النطاق الأوسع بنظام عالمي جديد، أي نظام لبناني جديد سيولد من رحم هذه المواجهة مع تحدي جائحة كورونا. فاليوم سيتقرر مصير مستقبل دور أصحاب المال، ومثلهم مصير الزعامات العريقة والعتيقة، واليوم سيتقرّر مستقبل دور المثقفين وجمعيات العمل الأهلي، ومستقبل الحكم على تجارب الأحزاب، ومعايير قيام الحكومات والحكم عليها، والشعب الذي يعيش هذه المحنة الصعبة لا بد أن يخرج منها وقد تعلّم الكثير الكثير.

Sick West Goes Viral

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM SATURDAY 4 APR 20

The world is in a sick place. We’re not just talking about the escalating coronavirus pandemic, serious though that is with global deaths doubling over the past week. What is also sick is the way gestures of solidarity are being cynically twisted.

Take the arrival of Russian medical aid to the US this week. That was promptly arranged after US President Donald Trump asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call for help in coping with the coronavirus crisis. Even before the Antonov-124 cargo plane touched down at JFK airport certain US media outlets were labelling the gesture of solidarity as a “propaganda gimmick” by the Kremlin.

It was surmised that the Russian response to the US request for aid was “to push efforts for relief from sanctions” imposed by Washington. The cynical inference is that supposed Russian conniving and deceit knows no bounds in the black art of manipulation.

A Russian made Antonov An-124, one of the biggest cargo planes in the world, is pictured on May 29, 2019, on the tarmac of the airport in Brest, Western France.

© AFP 2020 / FRED TANNEAU

How about just simply acknowledging the evident fact that Russia is sending vital medical help to the US at a time of need motivating by no other sentiment than basic humanitarian compassion? The fact that Russia has been slapped with numerous US sanctions over recent years since the Ukraine crisis as well as stemming from bizarre claims of Moscow meddling in the 2016 US presidential election – only goes to show Russia’s capacity for magnanimity. Simple as that folks.

The same pathetic distortion was earlier voiced regarding Russian and Chinese aid to Italy and other European countries stricken with the deadly virus.

This week a European Union so-called media watchdog warned that Russia and China were engaged in a disinformation campaign to “undermine public trust in national health-care systems”.

There are also reports of claims by US intelligence and other officials that China is to blame for spreading the disease because it deliberately under-reported the outbreak that initially occurred in December, thereby allegedly leaving Western nations ill-prepared to withstand the pandemic.

Those claims are patently false. China had alerted the world to the seriousness of the disease as early as January when it was itself getting to grips with the uncertain public health crisis. Western nations had three months to learn from China’s experience, as well as from neighboring South Korea, where authorities clamped down on the epidemic. But Western governments for various reasons, no doubt primarily due to budgetary costs, chose instead to ignore the threat.

Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in particular showed stupendous nonchalance bordering on callous indifference. Both of them dismissed the looming Covid-19 crisis as a “passing flu”. Only last week Trump was touting the US “getting back to business by Easter”.

What is abundantly evident is that the US, Britain and other Western states are not prepared to deal with the present crisis because of their rundown public health services. That structural problem is a matter of government neglect over many years to ensure that their citizens are adequately protected in a time of crisis. And that neglect stems from deliberate policy choices, such as showering the rich with tax breaks and squandering trillions on militarism, while relentlessly cutting funds for public services.

In short, the coronavirus crisis is a reflection of a deeper crisis in the capitalist system that prevails among Western states, as American professor Richard Wolff explains. Societal human needs are always sacrificed on the altar of elite private profit.

Men wearing protective masks stand as people hike along a section of the Great Wall in Badaling in Beijing, on its first day of re-opening after the scenic site's coronavirus related closure, China, 24 March 2020.

© REUTERS / THOMAS PETER

The fact that in the US and Britain there is a paltry number of test kits for checking the disease and a dearth of vital protective equipment for medical staff is a national disgrace due to inherent political and economic reasons. That is what needs to be focused on. That is where the public anger should be directed. Why have citizens been so abjectly betrayed by their governments whose first duty of care should be to protect them?

It is absurd and contemptible for certain media and pundits to try to distract from the central issue of bankrupt democracy by seeking to disparage Russia over humanitarian aid or scapegoat China for the systemic failures of Western governments.

One senses, however, that the ploys of Russophobia and Chinaphobia have become hopelessly threadbare in credibility. In Britain, for example, normally Conservative-supporting media are asking angry questions on their front pages about government dereliction. Are we to believe that such anger is the result of Russia and China “sowing disinformation to undermine public trust”?

No, it is simply a case of citizens realizing – slowly and painfully – that their governments and society organized on capitalist priorities is a shambles unworthy of the name “democracy”.

The sickness of smearing and blaming others instead of dealing honestly with inherent problems will only embolden the public even more to exact retribution from their culpable authorities. As millions of workers and their families reap poverty and illness, one senses too that the pitchforks are being taken down from the barn roofs.

Sickness in the West is going viral, but maybe some lasting benefit may come from this crisis in the end, if societies are overhauled for the greater good of citizens.

Finian Cunningham

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism (2019).

الوباء والسياسة (2

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

تعرّضت في مقالي السابق إلى الوباء وماذا يمكن له أن يغيّر في هذا العالم، من الأكيد أن تغيّراً جذرياً لا بدّ سيطرأ على أشكال التوحّش والغطرسة التي مارستها ولا تزال الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ومن ورائها الغرب الأوروبي الذي جعله عجزه وتراجعه يبدو أقلّ عدوانية.

يشمل التغيّر العالم بأسره، ففي حين تناصب الولايات المتحدة الصين العداء، ويتهمها وزير خارجيتها بومبيو أنها وروسيا تضللان العالم، في المقابل يرى العالم الصين وروسيا تبديان التزاماً عالياً بسلامة مواطنيهما وبسلامة الإنسان عبر العالم أجمع. روسيا التي تعاني من انخفاض مداخليها بسبب التراجع في الطلب على النفط وانخفاض أسعاره وهي ليست في حال جيدة، تحيل لإيطاليا مليون قناع واقٍ دون مقابل، وترسل طائراتها محمّلة بالأطباء والخبراء والأدوية والمعدّات لمساعدتها في السيطرة على الوباء. الصين بدورها والتي كانت أول من أصيب بالوباء وأول من تصدّى له ترسل بدورها الأطباء والمعدّات والخبراء وفرق الصليب الأحمر الصيني وعلى رأسهم الخبير شوشينغ الذي نجح في إدارة أزمة مدينة ووهان، وهو يقود اليوم الفرق الصينية – الإيطالية لمكافحة الوباء في مقاطعة لمباردي حيث تتكاثف حالات الإصابة، كما تبدي الصين استعدادها لتقديم المساعدة للولايات المتحدة في المجال ذاته ولا تلقي بالاً للتصريحات الأميركية المعادية، كوبا الفقيرة مالاً والغنيّة في الجود والعطاء ترسل إلى دول عديدة فرقها الطبية المشهود لها بالخبرة والمهارة التي كانت خير مَن كافح الإيبولا الأفريقية بالطبع تطوّعاً لا مأجورة.

مجلة فورين بوليسي (FOREIGN POLICY) الفصلية وفي عددها الصادر في 20 آذار/ مارس طرحت سؤالاً على فريق من السياسيين والمفكّرين الاستراتيجيين والجنرالات: كيف سيبدو العالم بعد الكورونا؟ تنوّعت الإجابات ولكنها اتفقت على مجموعة من النقاط والمشاهد في هذا المقال منها:

أولاً: أنّ المنتصر في حرب الكورونا هو مَن سيكتب التاريخ ويحدّد المستقبل.

ثانياً: أنّ الولايات المتحدة والغرب قد فشلا في إدارة العالم أثناء الأزمة، الأمر الذي سيعطي الصين ودول جنوب شرق آسيا دفة قيادة العالم.

ولما كانت التغيّرات الجذرية ستشمل العالم بشرقه وغربه، فما هو الممكن والمتاح ان يتغيّر على صعيد العالم العربي. يبدو أنّ أمام مشرقنا أكثر من فرصة متاحة تلوح في الأفق لإحداث انفراجات أو حلول في بعض الأزمات التي استعصت على الحلّ والانفراج، ولا ينقصها إلا توفر الإرادة السياسية لذلك بعد أن أنضجت التطوّرات المتلاحقة وعلى رأسها الوباء ظروفاً مناسبة، خاصة أنّ الطرق العنيفة التي تمّ اتباعها، قادت وستقود – في حال تواصلت – إلى مزيد من الخسران للجميع على حدّ سواء، الأمر الذي يسمح بالخروج من هذا النفق المعتم بمعادلة لا غالب ولا مغلوب.

البداية في اليمن التي دخلت الحرب عليها عامها السادس منذ أيام، ويزعم الطرف المعتدي أنها حرب يمنية ـ يمنية، وانه يقوم فقط بحربه من أجل دعم الحكومة الشرعية الزائفة لعبد ربه منصور هادي، ويرى كذلك في هذه الحرب امتداداً للحرب غير المباشرة التي أعلنها على إيران، وطالما ادعى السعودي انه سينقل الحرب إلى داخلها وأنه سيقلّم أظافرها ويحول دون تمدّدها في الإقليم، ومع بدء العام السادس نرى انه لم يحصد غير الزوان ولم يجنِ إلا الشوك، فهذه الحرب العبثية التي جعل من وقودها ناس اليمن وحجارتها بيوتهم الآمنة ومدارسهم ومستشفياتهم، قد عادت عليه بالهزيمة والخيبة وأكلاف تجاوزت نصف تريليون دولار، والتمدّد الإيراني لا يزال على تمدّده لا بل يزيد، وأصبح الحوثيون في وضع أقوى وأفضل وتحوّلوا بدورهم من لاعب يمني إلى لاعب إقليمي تصل دوائر نشاطهم إلى ضفاف غزة، عندما أعلن قائدهم عن عرضه لمبادلة أسرى سعوديّين لديه بسجناء فلسطينيين في السجون السعودية. يقيني أنّ نصف تريليون دولار التي أحرقت في هذه الحرب لو أنها استثمرت في نشاطات تنموية واقتصادية في اليمن لأعادته يمناً سعيداً متقدّماً متطوّراً، ولكانت كافية لا لوقف التمدّد الإيراني فقط وإنما لوقف أيّ تمدّد.

منذ أشهر وجه اليمنيون ضربة موجعة لمجمع «أرامكو» عطّلته عن العمل والإنتاج، ومنذ أيام قليلة بدأت صورايخهم البالستية تحوم فوق الرياض، في إشارة يمنية لتوسيع دائرة الاستهداف، وهي بذلك تضرب القلب من جسد الدولة السعودية. إنها فرصة سانحة لوضع حدّ لهذا العبث الدموي أمام جائحة الوباء، وأمام التراجع المريع في الطلب على النفط وأسعاره، فإمكانية الوصول إلى صيغة لا غالب ولا مغلوب من شأنها إخراج الفريقين من المأزق.

في سورية تتقدّم الدولة السورية بعسكرها وحلفائها بشكل متواصل. فالانتصارات التي أحرزها الجيش السوري في مواجهة الأتراك والجماعات المدعومة منهم، وترافقها مع المشروع الداعي لطرد الوجود الأميركي من المنطقة عقب اغتيال الفريق قاسم سليماني، قد بدأت تأخذ أبعاداً جدية، والاتصالات بين دمشق والأكراد المحبطين من الأميركان والخائفين من تركيا ترجح عودتهم إلى أحضان الدولة السورية فيما تنوء أنقرة بتراجعها المستمرّ وبأحمال تتزايد عليها، فأعداؤها بازدياد وحلفاؤها خذلوها، والجماعات المدعومة منها في حالة إحباط، أمام حقيقة أنّ خط النهاية لهذه الحرب قد أصبح معروفاً وأنّ الدولة السورية ستنتصر. جاء الوباء مترافقاً مع التراجع الشديد في سعر صرف الليرة التركية وتضاؤل قيمتها الشرائية، ومع انقطاع السياحة التي تمثل رافداً اقتصادياً مهماً، ومع عجز أصحاب المشاريع عن سداد ديونهم للبنوك، ومع تفاقم مشكلة اللاجئين السوريين الذين كانت تدفع بهم أنقرة إلى أوروبا قبل أزمة الوباء، فأوروبا اليوم أصبحت تتردّد في استقبال السائحين الأثرياء فكيف لها أن تستقبل اللاجئين؟

يوماً بعد يوم، ترتخي تلك الحبال التي كانت تطوق سورية، وقد تتحوّل بالقريب إلى أعمدة دعم الدولة السورية، الأمر الذي بدا واضحاً في إعلان الإمارات عن الاتصال الهاتفي الذي بادر إلى إجرائه ولي عهدها بالرئيس السوري وتأكيده له: «إنّ سورية بلد شقيق، لن نتخلى عنه، ولن نتركه وحيداً في هذه الظروف الدقيقة».

إنها أيضاً فرصة قد لا تتكرّر أمام الرئيس التركي ليخرج من الأرض السورية ويغسل يديه من دماء السوريين، ويحافظ على ماء وجهه وعلى شيء من مصالح بلاده المهدّدة في حال استمرّ في طريقه الحالي.

تعاني فلسطين من الاحتلال الجاثم على صدرها، وتعاني من حالة انقسام سياسي وجغرافي منذ العام 2007، وهو انقسام له أسبابه المتعلقة بالرؤى والبرامج وأسباب داخلية شتى، وقد كان للانقسام من يرعاه فمن جانب داخلي ظهرت على ضفتيه طبقة متنفذة مستفيدة من استمرار هذا الوضع الشاذ، ومن جانب آخر فإنّ قوى خارجية وأولاها الاحتلال وثانيتها داعمو الاحتلال وأصدقاؤه من عرب وغرب وقد وجدوا أنّ أكثر ما يضعف الحالة الفلسطينية هو الانقسام الذي يجب أن يستمرّ ويتعمّق، ولجأت تلك القوى إلى حدّ التهديد بقطع المساعدات وبإجراءات عقابية في حال حدوث مصالحة.

في الأيام الماضية، استطاع بن يامين نتنياهو بدهائه وقدراته الاستثنائية، على تفتيت خصومه وشرذمتهم والبقاء في رئاسة الحكومة، وسقط رهان كلّ من اعتقد أنه قد خرج من الحياة السياسية، لقد أثبت تفوّقه على كلّ خصومه، ووضع على هامش السياسة مَن أراد، وجعل أهمّهم يعمل في خدمته، ويبدو أنه يخطط للبقاء في رئاسة الحكومة لسنين طويلة مقبلة – ربما ما دام حياً -. سياساته واضحة ودعمه من أصدقائه في الإدارة الأميركية ثابت على الأقلّ حتى تشرين المقبل، الأمر الذي سيجعله مطلق اليدين لفعل ما يريد ومتى يريد، ولا يكفيه دعم واشنطن فقط وإنما يخدمه الانشغال العالمي بالوباء والانقسام الفلسطيني وحالة الهوان العربي.

أما آن للفلسطينيين والحال كذلك في كلّ من رام الله وغزة أن يتجاوزوا خلافاتهم وأن يتوحّدوا في وقت تمرّ فيه المسألة الفلسطينية في وضع دقيق وفي زمن حرج، يدعو الكلّ الفلسطيني لتدارك مخاطر المرحلة، في ظلّ الوباء ومخاطر التغوّل غير المسبوق لنتنياهو القوي، الذي لن يعطي شيئاً… هل تتوافر الإرادة؟ وهل تتفوّق إرادة الفلسطيني على الضغوط؟ هذا هو السؤال…

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Another Reminder of Western Barbarianism 

By Darko Lazar

During the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, the Western military alliance devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. The long list of targets included 19 hospitals, 18 kindergartens, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges. 

Several weeks into the military campaign, which was fiercely opposed by Russia and China, a total of five satellite-guided bombs, delivered by American B-2 bombers, slammed into the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. 

The attack on the symbol of Chinese sovereignty in the heart of the Balkans killed three Chinese nationals and wounded twenty others. 

Washington and Brussels claimed the attack was a mistake. But NATO’s increasingly bloody push eastwards would have unintended consequences. 

The Belt and Road Initiative vs. Western dictates 

Just a few months after the bombing of Serbia, Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin was quietly pushed out of office and replaced by the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin.

When Putin won his first election in 2000, he is rumored to have had two inauguration ceremonies. One was held in full view of the global media and another unfolded in the Kremlin’s underground chambers. 

There he was joined by a small group of Russian military officers and operatives from the country’s security apparatus. These men understood that it was only a matter of time before NATO bombs started falling on downtown Moscow, and the decision had been made to confront Western expansionism. 

In the years that followed, China and Russia would join hands with Iran to suppress American influence though the creation of a Eurasian union made up of sovereign and independent nations. 

This ambitious scheme reached Serbia in the form of Russian military hardware and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Beijing found a reliable partner in the government of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and in less than a decade, the Chinese poured billions of dollars in investments into the Balkan state. 

The investments propped up critical industries in Serbia, including a copper mine, a steelmaker, and a thermal power plant. While safeguarding tens of thousands of jobs and driving much-needed growth, the Chinese were also building new bridges, roads, and ports. 

Meanwhile, Vucic adopted an intelligent foreign policy – one made possible by the reemergence of a multipolar world. He reached out to both east and west and then took the best deal on the table. But the West had little to offer. 

Most of the exchanges with Brussels consisted of dictates. No longer able to bomb embassies, the West demanded Belgrade introduce ‘political reforms’ and restrict Chinese investments. 

Western political elites remained convinced that China and Russia have nothing to offer countries like Serbia that could rival joining ‘democratic’ Western alliances. 

The coronavirus pandemic delivered yet another serious blow to this arrogant and abominable point of view.     

Solidarity and fairytales

As coronavirus infections spiked dramatically across Europe earlier this month, Vucic declared that “European solidarity does not exist.” 

“This was a fairytale on paper,” Vucic said as he announced a state of emergency in his country. “Today I sent a special letter to the only ones who can help, and that is China.” 

He explained that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping “not only as a dear friend, but as a brother” to provide Serbia desperately needed assistance after the EU imposed a ban on exports of medical equipment.  

Once again, when time came for building bridges instead of destroying them, the great humanitarians of the West had nothing to offer. Meanwhile, Chinese gear and experts flooded Serbia virtually overnight.

Beijing’s assistance and strict measures imposed by the government early on helped Serbia stave off disaster.   

But Serbia isn’t the only country receiving planeloads of supplies from the east. Chinese medical equipment is being sent to Iran, Iraq, and a number of European states including Italy where over 10,000 people have thus far perished due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Italy – the first EU state to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019 – turned to China after its plea for help from its European neighbors was refused. 

Similar acts of solidarity came from the Russians and some Latin American states. The Cubans flew their doctors to Italy and were asked to return to Brazil where they were expelled in 2018 and labeled “Communist spies” by the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro. 

Meanwhile, Western powerhouses are looking inwards. As they cling onto stocks depleted by years of healthcare cuts, the Trump administration was reportedly caught offering piles of money for ‘exclusive rights’ to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imprisoned by their own twisted interpretations of human rights, many of these governments were slow to react. They hesitated in following the Chinese model and imposing drastic restrictions on freedom of movement. Instead they were worried about profits and how the stock markets would react. 

And even as the U.S. becomes the new epicenter of this pandemic, President Donald Trump expressed his readiness to potentially risk millions of American lives by reopening the country in just a few weeks.

This brutal face of capitalism is also on full display for Washington’s adversaries, namely Iran and Venezuela, where unilateral sanctions are preventing the delivery of desperately needed medical supplies.  

As such, Western governments and their policies are not only endangering individual nation states. At a time when a highly infectious disease is spreading at an unprecedented speed, these policies are threatening the entire global population. 

De omnibus dubitandum est

Despite extensive global coverage of this pandemic, very little is actually known about Covid-19. We don’t know how dangerous the virus is or its concrete consequences. And we certainly don’t have tangible details about what caused the outbreak. 

This leaves plenty of room for speculation, conspiracy theories, and even talk about aliens. Whatever the truth, biological warfare involving powerful political currents can never be ruled out. 

In an op-ed published more than two years ago, Al-Ahed pointed to the existence of hundreds of American military biological laboratories across the Eurasian continent. The labs were being used by the Pentagon to gather intelligence on microorganisms – vital for the creation of highly effective biological weapons. 

There is no doubt that the coronavirus transcends borders and religions and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. But that doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t helping further certain political agendas. 

The coronavirus has done what “Israel’s” politicians have failed to do for over a year. It’s brought an end to the political deadlock with indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to form the next government. 

By bringing the global economy to a screeching halt, Covid-19 has given birth to another Great Depression and paved the way for the collapse of certain governments. 

Equally important is the fact that the virus has the potential to determine the outcome of every single election process in the Western world for some time to come, including the U.S. presidential race. 

At times like these, it would be wise to remember the words of the late Danish philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaard who titled one of his books, De omnibus dubitandum est or “everything must be doubted”. 

ما أكثر العِبَر

بقلم د. بثينة شعبان

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يقول المثل العربي: «ما أكثر العِبَر وما اقلّ الاعتبار»؛ ذلك لأن الاعتبار يعني التفكّر في العبر وفهم المغزى الحقيقي لها والتصرف على أساس الدروس المستقاة منها، ونحن نجد اليوم عبراً لا تحصى في التجربة الإنسانية بكل أشكالها وتجلّياتها ولكن الاستفادة من هذه العبر محدودة أحياناً وتكاد تكون معدومة أحياناً أخرى.

 والمثال الأكبر والأهم والذي يشغل بال البشرية اليوم هو فيروس كورونا الذي صدف أن بدأ انتشاره في جمهورية الصين الشعبية وظنّ الآخرون أنهم في منأى عن هذا الخطر نتيجة البعد الجغرافي واختلاف العرق وأخذوا يطلقون نظريات لا علاقة لها بالعبر التي يجب أن تكون مستمدة من هذه الحال إلى أن بدأ بالانتشار في كلّ أنحاء المعمورة تقريباً وإن يكن بدرجات متفاوتة وبتفاوت أكبر في الاستعداد والتصدّي له.

والعبرة الأولى التي يجب أن يتعلمها الإنسان من هذه الكارثة الكونية هي أننا جميعاً مؤتمنون على سلامة هذا الكون وأن البشرية في قارب واحد وأن ما يؤذي أهلنا في الصين سيلحق الأذى بنا عاجلاً أو آجلاً، ولذلك علينا أن نعمل وفق الآية الكريمة «وتعاونوا على البرّ والتقوى ولا تعاونوا على الإثم والعدوان». ولكنّ القوى التي تعتبر نفسها فوق كلّ قانون وفوق الجنس البشري بدرجة، مع أنها منه، مازالت سائرة في الطريق الذي أوصل الجميع إلى هذه الحال التي لا يحسد عليها أحد، وما زالت تتبنى العقوبات والحظر والإرهاب والحرب والمنع والترهيب أسلوباً للتعامل مع الدول والمجتمعات البشرية خارج إطار حدودها ولم تفهم إلى حدّ الآن أن ارتدادات عقوباتها تصل إليها بطريقة أو بأخرى.
وعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر فقد استخدمت هذه الدول على مدى سنوات الإعلام المضلّل لتشويه صور الآخرين وإرسال أنباء مزيفة عمّا يجري على أرضهم وإقناع العالم أن هؤلاء يستحقون القدر الذي حلّ بهم والعقوبات التي تفرضها القوى الغربية أو المنظمات الدولية المؤتمرة بأمر هذه القوى أصلاً. واليوم وفي محاولة التصدي لفايروس كورونا نجد أن هذه الدول الغربية ذاتها وحكامها هم ضحايا إعلامهم المضلّل، الذي أضلّ بهم الطريق حتى عن قدراتهم وإمكاناتهم لمواجهة مثل هذه الكارثة التي تنتشر أذرعها الأخطبوطية إلى الجميع اليوم؛ ففي الوقت الذي كان يعتقد معظم الناس في هذه الدول وربما حكامها أيضاً وفي الدول التي مازالت تدور في فلكها بأنها تمتلك نظاماً ومؤسسات صحية وأساليب عمل قادرة على مواجهة أي خطر يعترض أسلوب حياتها، فوجئ الجميع بأن هذا التصوّر هو نوع من الوهم الذي لا يحاكيه الواقع أبداً وأن المؤسسات الصحية والقدرات الاحتياطية الموجودة لديها لمواجهة كارثة ما هي إلا قدرات ضعيفة ولا يمكن لها مواجهة هذه الكارثة التي تحلّ بالبلاد.

وفي الوقت الذي كان هذا الإعلام ذاته يبثّ الشعور بالتفوّق على الشرق والعالم برمّته اضطر بعد أن عايش أداء الصين المتميّز في التصدّي لهذا الوباء أن يعترف أن الصين مثال يحتذى وأن خير ما يمكن أن يقوم به أي بلد هو أن يستفيد من تجربة الصين في مواجهة هذا الوباء، ولحسن الحظ فإنّ الصين تصرفت بكِبَر وبدأت بإرسال مساعداتها وعرض الإفادة من خبرتها وأسلوب معالجتها لكل الراغبين في الاستفادة منها.

ولكنّ الغريب في الأمر هو أنه وبالرغم من أن العبرة من هذه الكارثة البشرية واضحة للعيان فإن الولايات المتحدة مازالت منشغلة بفرض عقوبات على إيران وروسيا وسورية، ومازال معاون وزير خارجيتها يستقبل الرأس المدبّر لإرهابيي الخوذ البيضاء، ومازال مسؤولوها يتحدثون بلغة تجافي الأدب والمنطق والواقع أيضاً عن «الفيروس الصيني» إمعاناً منهم في محاولة تشويه صورة الصين التي برهنت للعالم برمته أن أنظمتها التقنية والسياسية والتنظيمية وأخلاقها المجتمعية جديرة بالفعل لأن تكون أنموذجاً للعالم برمته. فقد دعت الصين إلى رفع العقوبات عن إيران من أجل مساعدتها لمكافحة فايروس كورونا وهذا أول درس يجب أن يكون قد توصل إليه الجميع من هذه الكارثة. وهذا هو الدرس المنطقي والإنساني والمعقول لمصلحة البشرية إذا كنا نؤمن فعلاً، أو توصلنا إلى الإيمان، بأن البشرية في قارب واحد وأن ما يصيب البعض يصيب الكل في النهاية.

في هذه الحال كما في أحوال شتّى وعلى مدى عقود برهنت النخب الرأسمالية الحاكمة في الغرب أنها تصمُّ آذانها وتغمض عينيها عن واقع وصل إلى عقر دارها، وعن ناقوس خطر يكاد صوته يصمّ سمع البشرية وذلك في محاولة ومكابرة منها لتبقي هيمنتها على العالم رغم ترهل أدوات قيادتها ورغم ظهور قيادات أكثر قدرة وحكمة على قيادة السفينة البشرية التي ننتمي لها جميعاً. ولكنّ هذه المكابرة، التي يعتبر الإعلام المضلّل أحد أهم أدواتها، لن تجدي نفعاً أبداً بعد اليوم ولا حتى على المدى القصير لأنّ الضرر وصل إلى الجميع ولابدّ لهم من مواجهته وبعد ذلك التعّرف إلى أسبابه ومحاولة معالجتها. مازالت الدول الغربية في سباق من أجل مصادر الثروة وطباعة الدولار والسيطرة الكاملة على منابع النفط في العالم ولا تريد أن ترى أن مقوّمات القوة لا تعتمد على الثروة المادية وحدها بل تعتمد على العلم والمعرفة والأخلاق أيضاً؛ «وإنما الأمم الأخلاق ما بقيت، فإن هم ذهبت أخلاقهم ذهبوا». وهذا ليس شعاراً وليس ترفاً وإنما حقيقة واقعة نلمسها عبر التاريخ.

اليوم يكتشف مواطنو الدول الغربية أن الشعور بالقوة والتقدّم والحضارة لا يرتكز على حرص عميق على الإنسان بل يرتكز على الثروة المادية فقط التي تمتلكها نسبة ضئيلة جداً من مواطني هذه الدول.

السؤال اليوم:

هل سيسجل التاريخ أن الحرب الكونية لمكافحة كورونا كانت أهم من الحرب العالمية الثانية في فرز القوى المؤهلة لقيادة العالم في المستقبل؟ وهل سيتمخّض العمل ضد هذا الفايروس عن قيم سياسية واجتماعية ونظم مختلفة تماماً عمّا عهدناه قبل كورونا؟ وهل سيصبح من الصعب بعد كورونا أن يلعب الإعلام المضلّل لعبته لأن الناس قد اكتشفت من خلال خطر الموت حقيقة الأمور ولا يمكن لأي قوة دعائية أن تعلّم الإنسان أكثر مما تعلمه من التهديد المباشر لحياته ووجوده؟

هل سيتذكر العالم تجربة كورونا بعد الانتهاء منها بأنها كانت الحدّ الفاصل الذي سقط بعده النظام الرأسمالي في الامتحان الأهم، وبرهن النظام الاشتراكي أنه الأجدر والأقدر على قيادة البشر لما فيه خيرهم وصحتهم وأمنهم وأمانهم؟ لا شك أن الإمبراطوريات لا تسقط بين عشية وضحاها وأنها تستغرق وقتاً ولكنّ هذا المفصل في مواجهة هذه المعضلة الصحية يبدو لي مفصلاً دقيقاً ومهماً جداً في تاريخ النظم السياسية وتقييمها وقدرتها على البقاء والمنافسة، وهل هذا يعني أن العالم سيشهد بعد كورونا تغييراً جذرياً في النظم والشرعة الدولية التي نظمت العلاقات بين الدول منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية وحتى اليوم؟

لقد شهد العقد المنصرم الذي نعيش عامه الأخير هذا العام استهتاراً متزايداً من الغرب بالشرعية الدولية وحقوق الإنسان وسيادة الدول، وشهد تجبّراً من الدولة الأقوى عسكرياً، وتدخّلاً من هذه الدولة وحلفائها وعملائها في الشؤون الداخلية للبلدان المستقلة، وطمساً للهويات وحقوق السكان الأصليين لا يمكن وصفه إلا بشريعة الغاب، كما شهد انتهاكاً للبيئة والمناخ والجغرافيا والتاريخ وكلّ ما منحنا الله إياه على هذه الأرض من ثروات طبيعية وتبدّل جميل في الفصول واختلاف في البيئة والجغرافية ما سبب احتباساً حرارياً وفيضانات وجفافاً وكوارث طبيعية لم يشهدها الإنسان من قبل. واليوم علّ هذه الكارثة التي حلّت بالبشرية من خلال فيروس لا يمكن رؤيته بالعين المجرّدة ويشكّل هذا التهديد الخطير للحياة البشرية برمتها؛ علّ هذه الكارثة تدفع البعض إلى التواضع وتخفّف من عوامل تجبّرهم واستكبارهم وجبروتهم على حيوات ومقدرات الآخرين، وعلّها أيضاً تدفع الإنسان للعودة إلى الأصول والاهتمام بالأرض والبيئة والمناخ والحضارة والتاريخ وإعادة الاعتبار للقيم الإيجابية المتوارثة من الآباء والأجداد والمبادئ الدينية الداعية إلى المحبة والسلام بعيداً عن العنصرية والاستكبار.

علّ هذا الفايروس يذكّر البعض بوهن الإنسان وضعفه أمام خطر من فايروس لا يُرى بالعين المجردة ويدفع هذا الإنسان إلى التخلّي عن سياسة العقوبات والاستهداف النابعة من التجبّر والاستكبار والعودة إلى التواضع والتفاهم والتصرّف كأعضاء في أسرة إنسانية واحدة والتي هي في الواقع جسد واحد إذا أصيب منه عضو تداعت له سائر الأعضاء بالحمّى والسهر.

   ( الاثنين 2020/03/23 SyriaNow) 

تحديات محور المقاومة… وتقدّم على مختلف المحاور

رأي سمير الحسن 

الخميس 27 شباط 2020

متواصلة بعناد، وبلا هوادة، عدوانية الغرب على الشرق. طاقة عدوانية غريبة باستمراريتها، وثباتها، وجبروتها، لا تلبث أن تتعدّى وتدمّر وتقتل وتخرّب، وإن خسرت فببعض ردّ فعل مقاوم من شعوب الشرق، الذي لم يغب عن لسانه طعم هذه العدوانية الشرسة على مراحل تاريخية مختلفة.

والاستعمار ليس أماً حنوناً، كما صوّره كاتبو التاريخ الحديث، ولا الإمبريالية أباً للشعوب. الأم وابنتها دمرتا الكرة الأضية، وحياة الشعوب عليها. جاء الاستعمار الفرنسي، ودخل دمشق، وأوّل ما قام به قائد القوات الفرنسية، الجنرال غورو، خلال الحرب العالمية الأولى، أنه قصد قبر صلاح الدين الأيوبي، أحد أبرز رموز هزيمة الصليبيين من الشرق، ورفسه بقدمه قائلاً: «يا صلاح الدين أنت قلت لنا إبان الحروب الصليبية: إنكم خرجتم من الشرق ولن تعودوا إليه. وها نحن عدنا فانهض لترانا في سوريا».

كرّس غورو النزعة الاستعمارية لبلاده، وللغرب برمّته؛ فالصليبية كانت أوروبية الطابع، ولم تنتمِ إلى دولة محدّدة، وقومية معيّنة. لم تكن جرمانية، تحديداً، ولا إفرنجية تحديداً، ولا أنكلو ساكسونية تحديداً. كانت كل ذلك، مع غيرها من مختلف القوميات الأوروبية. زرعت لمام شعوب من مختلف دول العالم مكان شعبٍ آخر في فلسطين، فكان الكيان الصهيوني. ثمّ تنبعث اتحاداً أوروبياً، بعد قرون طويلة على حدود الألفيتين الثانية والثالثة.

وتتجدّد العدوانية بصلافة وإصرار مع الوريث الأشرس، الإمبريالية الأميركية، فتستبيح العالم وتقتل وتدمر، ولا تكلّ عدوانيتها، كما لا يضعف إصرارها على العدوان. تغزو أفغانستان، ثم العراق، تستبيح أميركا اللاتينية بمؤامراتها، ولا تكلّ أمام هزيمة من هنا، أو ضربة من هناك، فتستعيد قوّتها، وتعيد هجومها العدواني، مستفيدة ممّا يشبه وحدانية سيطرتها وبطشها في العالم. تكرّس حضورها المباشر، وغير المباشر في سوريا والعراق ولبنان، مستهدفة تكريس سيطرتها، وكذلك محاولة مجابهة أي نهوض آسيوي، فتضع إيران في أول استهدافاتها، وتخطّط للصين منعاً لنهوض يقضّ مضاجعها.

جملة تحوّلات وانتصارات تكتيكية تُعزّز من حضور محور المقاومة في كل الساحات وتضع المنطقة في مرحلة التحرير المباشرة


لكنّ حركة التاريخ لا تعود إلى الوراء، بل تتقدم مهما كان ببطء، وفي ظل نهوض آسيوي غير منضبط، تعجز الإمبريالية الأميركية عن مجابهته، يتقدّم المحور الشرقي بتؤدة، خطوة خطوة، لا يريد للمجابهة أن تصل إلى ذروة عنفوانها، لأنه لا يريد أن ينجرّ وراء نزعة الإمبريالية الأميركية إلى تدمير الحياة البشرية على الأرض بمجابهة شاملة. وبقدر ما هي غريبة النزعة العدوانية بصلفها واستمراريتها، مستوى الرد الشرقي منضبط في الحدود المرسومة له: تقدم من دون تراجع، ولا تسرّع. يتضمن الرد في طياته قراراً نهائياً بالمجابهة حتى نهايتها، التي قد تطول تحت مؤثرات الضبط المرسومة لعملياتها على المستويات الاستراتيجية والاقتصادية والسياسية. لذلك، تطول المجابهات العسكرية المباشرة الشرسة في سوريا، واليمن، وتتخذ في العراق ولبنان منحى الحراك الشعبي.

في هذه الأجواء، نلاحظ تطورات ميدانية في سياق التحولات الاستراتيجية الواقعة في سياق مواجهة المشروع الأميركي في المنطقة. ولا بدّ من التوقف عند التطوّر العسكري على جبهتي اليمن وسوريا؛ هجومان يعبّران ضمناً عن الهجوم الشامل الذي تقوده جبهة المقاومة لدفع أميركا وحلفائها إلى مزيد من التراجع؛ فالجيش السوري دخل مرحلة متقدمة لحسم معركة إدلب. وفي اليمن، سجّل الجيش اليمني و«أنصار الله» تقدماً استراتيجياً على جبهة مأرب، والجوف، بعد النجاحات الكبيرة على جبهات نهم، وكتاف، ما يعني دخول الجيش السعودي مرحلة حرجة في اليمن.
في لبنان، قال فلتمان إذا لم تضعوا حداً لحزب الله، فسيعود لبنان إلى العصر الحجري. هي لغة الأم المزعومة بالحنون. «إما لبنان لنا، أو… لا لبنان». هكذا يريد الغرب لبنان الذي رسمه على قياس مصالحه، ومن أجل مخططاته، وواهم من لا يزال يعتمده وطناً قائماً بحدّ ذاته، موئلاً دائماً لأبنائه المقيمين فيه. وعندما حاول الحكم اللبناني التوجّه نحو الشرق، انطلقت الحركة التي يعتمدها فلتمان في استراتيجيته، إما لإعادة لبنان إلى أحضانه بالتمام والكمال، خالياً من المقاومة، أو لإعادته إلى العصر الحجري كما هدّد فلتمان، ابتداءً منذ السابع عشر من تشرين الأول / أوكتوبر المنصرم. وفي العراق، تتخذ الحركة منحًى أكثر تجذّراً، حيث تجمعت كل القوى الوطنية في المجابهة، يعزّزها الحضور الإيراني المقاوم الذي حسم قراره بإخراج الأميركي من المنطقة.

جملة تحوّلات، وانتصارات تكتيكية، تعزّز من حضور محور المقاومة في كل الساحات، عسكرياً وسياسياً، وتضع المنطقة في مرحلة التحرير المباشرة، كما تقرّبنا من الهزيمة النهائية لغورو الاستعماري، وفلتمان الإمبريالي، بانتظار تحقيق النصر الاستراتيجي، إن على المستوى العسكري أو الاقتصادي ــ وهو من أهم عناصر المجابهة ــ أو السياسي، مهما امتدت المجابهة، وطال أمدها.

*كاتب وباحث في الشؤون الاستراتيجية

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Opening Iran’s Black Box

By David Macilwain

Source

Ukraine Flight 752 a0457

As Western governments continue to poke at the Iranian bear, thinking it is busy licking its wounds, they should keep an eye on its claws, and not turn their backs, or their minds to other matters. But neither should we, because the regime changers have not abandoned their plans, nor written off their investment in creating this disorder, as the sudden resumption of NATO-backed “protests” in Iraq and Lebanon demonstrate. A new leader of Islamic State has even been launched into the fray in a timely fashion – on the third anniversary of Trump’s infamous inauguration.

It’s now twenty days since the ‘B’ team murdered their chances of a peaceful settlement in Iraq, but barely enough time for the Iranian bear to muster its strength after such a shock, though that strength is now many times greater and extends across its borders. Had that shock been isolated, with only the close involvement of Iraq, then the subsequent ballistic missile attack by Iran on US bases could have passed for a response, and even led to a peaceful pull-out of Western forces, as demanded by the Iraqi government.

But at that point, the two sides diverged, irreconcilably – the shooting down of Ukrainian flight PS 752 changed everything.

The argument over whether this pre-emptive extrajudicial assassination was a crime was partly down to opinion – on whether Qasem Soleimani was “a terrorist” who needed to be “taken out”,  or the Hero of Shia Islam who saved his Iraqi and Syrian brothers from brutal Salafists and Zionist occupiers. As a soldier in the war against the US coalition and its mercenaries, he was in some sense a legitimate target, but the US crime was in denying him the chance to die and kill in a fair fight. Being picked off by some gum-chewing coward a thousand miles away is the yardstick for US morality and criminality not lost on Iranians or Iraqis, or the IRGC which promptly declared the US army to be a terrorist organization.

For the 167 innocent passengers and crew on PS 752 however, there can be no such argument; their killing, accidental or not, was a crime because of its means, and someone may be held responsible, even if indirectly, as indeed they already are by those rushing to judgment in the West. Despite the initial qualification of the crash by most leaders and media as a “tragic accident”, it is now referred to simply as “the plane shot down by the Iranian military”, implicitly suggesting a civilian airliner was intentionally targeted. But just as with MH17, if Iran was responsible for shooting down a civilian plane carrying Iranians on its own territory it was quite clearly an accident, and should be treated as one – particularly as Iran’s leaders have accepted responsibility and apologized profusely.

But the similarity to MH17 goes further, as the consequences of the Iranian missile defense action for Western public opinion have been devastating for Iran but remarkably beneficial for her enemies, as noted before. On the back of this sudden turn around, the IRGC now appears as it has always been portrayed by Iran’s greatest foes – Israel and the US, while the Iranian government’s entirely reasonable abandonment of the farcical JCPOA provides just the excuse needed for NATO to step up the nuclear pressure and even re-introduce sanctions.

To an impartial observer – and in this case to all those aligned with Iran, Russia and China – this looks grossly unfair, and offensive to any sense of International law and justice.

America and its local allies and co-conspirators have committed a totally illegal political assassination as a provocation, which has led to an environment where hundreds of innocent people have died – including those in the stampede at Soleimani’s funeral. Rather than offering help and sympathy, and understanding of the circumstances behind this tragedy, Western regimes have exploited the disaster to their own ends, almost as if it were their intent.

But perhaps it was.

Forgetting the substantial evidence of covert planning for actions following the killing of the IRGC commander such as staged anti-government protest rallies, and even questions about the identity of the person who shot the video of the missile strike, a little giveaway in a second NYT report could be the clue Iran needs to close its case – that tricking the IRGC into shooting down PS 752 was an integral part of the operation that saw the IRGC leader first assassinated.

A few days after the New York Times publicized the missile video, unleashing a volley of abuse at Iran’s leaders for “lying” about it being a technical malfunction, but then needing to answer difficult questions on how the videographer just happened to be there with camera at the ready, the NYT put out a second report showing that two missiles had been fired:

“The New York Times has verified security camera footage on Tuesday that shows, for the first time, that two missiles hit Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8. The missiles were launched from an Iranian military site around eight miles from the plane.

The new video fills a gap about why the plane’s transponder stopped working, seconds before it was hit by a second missile.

An earlier Times analysis confirmed what Iran later admitted: that an Iranian missile did strike the plane. The Times also established that the transponder stopped working before that missile hit the plane. The new video appears to confirm that an initial strike disabled the transponder, before the second strike, also seen in the video, around 23 seconds later.”

As explained elsewhere, the absence of a transponder signal from a flying object immediately identifies it as hostile to a missile defense system, and it was generally accepted that the apparent failure of PS 752’s transponder just two minutes after take-off was what led to its tragic shooting down. The question was why did the transponder suddenly fail, or get disabled?

This was a key question being asked by those who suspected foul play, such as may have occurred two days earlier during “maintenance”, or through some cyber means. It was a question that also needed answering by the Bellingcat club, and the second NYT report and video was their answer.

But it doesn’t work! It really doesn’t work!

On hearing first of this second missile that “took out the transponder”, my thought was simply that this was ridiculous and impossible, but it took two days to realize just why:

Why did the missile defense unit fire the first missile at PS 752 when its transponder was working?

Flights leaving IKA before PS 752 Jan 8th 3737c

Nine other flights took off from Imam Khomeini Airport that morning, including a Qatar airways flight just 30 minutes earlier, and passed by the IRGC missile defense systems without notice – with their transponders operating normally. Their pilots would have been particularly conscious of the need to turn transponders on at take-off given the extreme tensions following Iran’s missile volley early that morning – about four hours before the Ukrainian jet took off bound for Kyiv.

Flight PS 752, which flies five times a week on that popular route for Iranian Canadians, followed the identical flight path to those earlier jets, according to Flight Radar 24. But this site is hardly the only one tracking aircraft and other movements in Iran. In a report on the Iranian missile strikes on Ain al Asad base, the NYT candidly admits that the NSA was following the movements of Iranian missile defense systems as well as monitoring IRGC communications networks “with spy satellites”, and anticipating a response to Soleimani’s murder following his funeral. But much evidence points to the use of these cyber-warfare systems to confuse and control Iran’s defenses, in the same way that the Western public is confused and controlled by disinformation and emotive propaganda coming from their own governments.

But Iran has the Black Box, and holds the Ace. Because if the “conspiracy” theory is correct – that enemy intelligence actions caused the “accidental” downing of the chosen aircraft, the electronic record from the flight recorders will prove it. It only needs to show that the first missile hit PS 752 one second after the transponder stopped working to turn this Iranian tragedy into a US coalition atrocity, and the most infernal and criminal conspiracy since the demolition of the Twin Towers.

Perhaps then it will finally be the citizens of the countries who suffer under the Great Satan’s boot who benefit from its Imperial Overreach.

احذروا الفتنة القادمة.. فيلم مُسيء للصحابة

نور الدين أبو لحية

كاتب وأستاذ جامعي جزائري

يتم التحضير لفتنة جديدة خطيرة في بريطانيا، وتتجسّد بفيلم مسيء للصحابة، يستبسل دُعاة الفتنة في الدعوة إليه.

تظاهرة في لندن تندد بجرائم “الكراهية ضد الإسلام”

كما أفلح الغرب وعملاؤه في تشويه المدرسة السنّية عبر أولئك الذين امتلأوا بالعنف والتطرّف فإنه يسعى بكل جهده لتشويه المدرسة الشيعية عبر أدعياء التشيّع الذين لا يختلفون عن السلفيين في تطرّفهم وتشدّدهم وسوء أدبهم.

وقد اُستعمل ذلك سابقاً ـ وأفلح فيه للأسف ـ عندما أثار بعض دُعاة التشيّع البريطاني قضايا خطيرة تتعلّق بعرض رسول الله (ص)، والتي تصدم كل مؤمن محب لرسول الله سواء كان سنّياً أو شيعياً؛ فلا يمكن لمُحب لرسول الله أن يرضى بالإساءة إلى عرضه.

وعلى الرغم من كثرة الفتاوى من جميع مراجع الشيعة في العراق وإيران والبحرين وباكستان وأفغانستان والهند وغيرها من المناطق التي يتواجد فيها الشيعة، والذين ردّوا على أولئك المُنحَرفين عن التشيّع وأئمة أهل البيت في هذا الشأن وغيره، إلا أن كل ذلك لم يستطع ـ بفعل الآلة الإعلامية الشَرِسة ـ من محو آثار تلك الفتنة العريضة، والتي لا نزال نعيش آثارها إلى اليوم.

وعلى منوال تلك الفتنة، يتم التحضير لفتنة جديدة خطيرة في بريطانيا، وتتجسّد بفيلم مسيء للصحابة، يستبسل دُعاة الفتنة في الدعوة إليه.

وللأسف فإن الدعوة إلى هذا الفيلم تتم عبر قنوات يستضيفها (نايل سات)، المملوكة للشركة المصرية للأقمار الصناعية، والتي استطاعت السعودية وغيرها أن تجبرها على إزالة قناة المنار، وغيرها من قنوات المقاومة، في نفس الوقت الذي تترك فيه قنوات أخرى تسبّ الصحابة، وتُسيء إلى أمّهات المؤمنين.

ولكن لأن تلك القنوات تقف موقفاً سلبياً من إيران والمقاومة، بل تحكم بتكفيرهم، فهي لذلك لم تر بأساً في أن يسبّ الصحابة أو يتعرّض لأمّهات المؤمنين، وخاصة أن غلوّهم وانحرافهم يخدم أهدافهم في خدمة الفرقة والفتنة بين المسلمين.

ولهذا لا نجد في الواقع مَن يواجه هذا الفيلم (نتحفّظ على ذكر اسمه كيلا نروّج له)، ويفتي بتحريمه وتحريم دعمه سوى علماء الشيعة ومراجعهم الكبار، والذين أصدروا الفتاوى والبيانات في ذلك.

لكن للأسف لا يستمع إليهم أحد، حتى إذا جاء دور الفتنة وخرج الفيلم، حينها يصحو أولئك الذين يحضّرون للفتنة، لا لينشروا تلك الفتاوى والبيانات المُحذّرة، وليشكروا مَن قدَّمها، ويعتذروا من التقصير في تفعيلها، وإنما ليتّهموهم بأنهم هم مَن أنتج الفيلم وأن الشيعة جميعاً هم الذين أساؤوا إلى الصحابة، وليس أولئك النفر المحدودين الذين يموّنهم الحقد الغربي والعربي.

ومن باب إقامة الحجّة على المسارعين للفتن قامت وكالة (فارس) الإيرانية ببحث حول آراء علماء الشيعة ومراجعهم الكبار حول الموقف من الفيلم، وقد خلصت من خلال بحثها إلى أن “مراجع الشيعة أفتوا وبشكل قاطع بضرورة التنبّه له، بل أجمع العلماء لا سيما مراجع الحوزة الدينية في قم المُقدّسة، أن أية مساعدة أو إبداء أيّ اهتمام أو مُشاهَدة للفيلم هو أمر حرام ومُخالِف للشرع”.

ومن الفتاوى والبيانات التي نقلتها في ذلك فتوى المرجع الديني آية الله ناصر مكارم شيرازي، ومما جاء فيها: “مما لا شك فيه أن أولئك الذين يساهمون في إعداد ونشر هذا الفيلم أو مشاهدته يرتكبون كبائر الذنوب خاصة في الظرف الحالي الذي يصب فيه أيّ خلاف بين المسلمين، في صالح الأعداء ويعتبر نصراً لهم.. والقيام بمثل هذه الأمور يحمل في طيّاته مسؤولية شرعية جسيمة، وهناك احتمال قوي بأن يكون للأعداء يد في ذلك وأنهم خطّطوا لإثارة مثل هذه الموضوعات.. وكل مَن يساهم في ذلك يُعتبر شريكاً في الدماء التي قد تُراق بسببه.. ولا بد من أن تقول للجميع أن مَن يبحث عن مثل هذه البرامج المُثيرة للخلافات، ليس منا”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله نوري همداني، والتي جاء فيها: “نحن ضد هذه الأنشطة ولا نعتبرها أبداً لصالح الإسلام، ونرى في أية مساعدة أو إبداء أي اهتمام أو مُشاهَدة للفيلم، حراماً وخلافاً للشرع”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله جعفر سبحاني، ومما جاء فيها: “في الظروف التي تعيشها البلدان الإسلامية في الوقت الحاضر والفتنة الكبرى التي أثارها الأجانب والتي أدَّت إلى تقاتُل المسلمين وتشريد الملايين من العراقيين والسوريين من منازلهم وأوطانهم ليلجأوا إلى الغرب، فإن إنتاج هكذا فيلم لا يُحقّق إلا مطالب الأعداء، وهو بعيد كل البُعد عن العقل والتقوى، وعلى هذا فإن إنتاجه حرام وأية مساعدة مالية له، تعاون على الإثم”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله صافي كلبايكاني، ومما جاء فيها: “لقد قلنا مراراً وتكراراً إن الشيعة ومُحبي أهل البيت يجب أن يكونوا دائماً حذرين وأن يحرصوا على نشر المعارف القرآنية والعترة النبوية وأن يتجنّبوا القيام بأيّ عمل قد يؤدّي الى الإساءة للإسلام والمذهب”.

وقبل ذلك فتوى وبيان السيّد علي الخامنئي، والتي أصدرها لا باعتباره مرجعاً فقط، وإنما باعتباره الوليّ الفقيه، والذي يعتبر الموالون له طاعته واجبة شرعياً، فقد سُئِل هذا السؤال: “ما هو رأي سماحتكم في ما يُطرَح في بعض وسائل الإعلام من فضائيات وإنترنت من قِبَل بعض المُنتسبين إلى العِلم من إهانة صريحة وتحقير بكلمات بذيئة ومُسيئة لزوج الرسول أمّ المؤمنين السيّدة عائشة واتهامها بما يخلّ بالشرف والكرامة لأزواج النبي أمّهات المؤمنين رضوان الله تعالى عليهن”.

فأجاب بقوله: “يُحرَّم النيل من رموز إخواننا السنّة فضلاً عن اتهام زوج النبي بما يخلّ بشرفها، بل هذا الأمر ممتنع على نساء الأنبياء، وخصوصاً سيّدهم الرسول الأعظم (ص)”.

ولم يكتف بذلك، بل هو يشير في خطبه كل حين إلى حرمة ذلك، وينبّه إلى أنه دسائس أجنبية، ويُسمّي التشيّع المرتبط بمثل هذا “تشيّعاً بريطانياً”، وليس تشيّعاً علوياً مثلما يُسمّى التسنّن الداعي إلى الفتنة “تسنّناً أميركياً” لا تسنّناً نبوياً.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراًالمصدر : الميادين نت

What’s Behind The West’s Hatred of Iran?

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Mohammad Mosaddegh 82014

Nobody saw that coming. Trump ordering Soleimani’s execution, I mean.

Nobody thought even he was quite so stupid.

It follows his last year’s caper when the “cocked and loaded” drama-queen ordered military strikes against Iran’s radar and missile batteries in retaliation for their shootdown of a US spy drone. He changed his mind with only minutes to spare on account of a reminder that such lunacy might actually cost human lives.

Plus the fact that the drone was eight miles from the coast, well inside the 12 nautical miles considered to be Iran’s territorial waters under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and it clearly represented a military threat and provocation. So he had no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack.  The United Nations Charter only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval. So his proposed action would have been illegal as well as unwise, but none of that seemed to enter into his calculations then, or now.

Before that we had Trump’s executive order in August 2018 reimposing a wide range of sanctions against Iran after pulling the US out of the seven-party nuclear deal for no good reason, a spiteful move that annoyed the EU and caused  all sorts of problems for other nations. And he was going to impose extra sanctions aimed mainly at Iran’s oil industry and foreign financial institutions.

“If the ayatollahs want to get out from under the squeeze,” warned US national security adviser John Bolton, “they should come and sit down. The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on.” To which Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani responded: “If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy described the sanctions as “unjust and harmful…. The reimposition of sanctions against Iran after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, which had been unanimously adopted by the Security Council with the support of the US itself, lays bare the illegitimacy of this action.”

The other countries party to the nuclear deal – Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK and the EU – vowed to stick with it and continue trading with Iran, some EU foreign ministers saying Iran was abiding by the agreement and delivering on its goal when Trump withdrew and they deeply regretted the new sanctions. Trump in turn called Iran “a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence and chaos.”  The irony of such a remark was, of course, completely lost on him.

I read today that the EU “will spare no efforts” to keep the nuclear deal with Iran alive though I doubt if Boris Johnson, passionate Zionist that he is, will be among them.

When it comes to aggression and dishonesty the US has form, and lots of it. Who can forget during the Iran-Iraq war the cruiser USS Vincennes, well inside Iran’s territorial waters, blowing Iran Air Flight 655 to smithereens and killing all 290 passengers and crew on board? The excuse, which didn’t bear examination afterwards, was that they mistook the Airbus A300 for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat manoeuvring to attack.

George H. W. Bush commented on a separate occasion: “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” Trump seems to have caught the same disease. And, from the outside, the White House itself seems home to the the sort of “murderous dictatorship” he describes.

The need to continually demonize Iran

When I say the West’s hatred of Iran, I mean primarily the US-UK-Israel Axis.  Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary filling in for Boris Johnson who had absented himself, has told Parliament: “In recent times, Iran has felt its intentions are best served through… the use of subversion as a foreign policy tool. It has also shown a total disregard for human rights.” This is amusing coming from the British government and especially a Conservative one which adores Israel, the world’s foremost disregarder of human rights and international law.

Britain and America would like everyone to believe that hostilities with Iran began with the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But you have to go back to the early 1950s for the root cause in America’s case, while Iranians have had to endure a whole century of British exploitation and bad behaviour. And the Axis want to keep this important slice of history from becoming part of public discourse. Here’s why.

In 1901 William Knox D’Arcy obtained from the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar a 60-year oil concession to three-quarters of the country. The Persian government would receive 16% of the oil company’s annual profits, a rotten deal as the Persians would soon realise.

D’Arcy, with financial support from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil, formed a company and sent an exploration team. Drilling failed to find oil in commercial quantities and by 1908 D’Arcy was almost bankrupt and on the point of giving up when they finally struck it big.  The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan.

Just before the outbreak of World War 1 Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, wished to convert the British fleet from coal. To secure a reliable oil source the British Government took a major shareholding in Anglo-Persian.

In the 1920s and 1930s the company profited hugely from paying the Persians a miserly 16% and refusing to renegotiate terms. An angry Persia eventually cancelled the D’Arcy agreement and the matter ended up at the Court of International Justice in The Hague. A new agreement in 1933 provided Anglo-Persian with a fresh 60-year concession but on a smaller area. The terms were an improvement but still didn’t amount to a square deal for the Persians.

In 1935 Persia became known internationally by its other name, Iran, and Anglo-Persian changed to Anglo-Iranian Oil. By 1950 Abadan was the biggest oil refinery in the world and the British government, with its 51% holding, had affectively colonised part of southern Iran.

Iran’s tiny share of the profits had long soured relations and so did the company’s treatment of its oil workers. 6,000 went on strike in 1946 and the dispute was violently put down with 200 dead or injured. In 1951 while Aramco was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis Anglo-Iranian declared £40 million profit after tax and handed Iran only £7 million.

Iran by now wanted economic and political independence and an end to poverty. Calls for nationalisation could not be ignored. In March 1951 the Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian, which had controlled Iran’s oil industry since 1913 under terms frankly unfavourable to the host country. Social reformer Dr Mohammad Mossadeq was named prime minister by a 79 to 12 majority and promptly carried out his government’s wishes, cancelling Anglo-Iranian’s oil concession and expropriating its assets.

His explanation was perfectly reasonable…

“Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.” (M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran, p. 525)

For this he would be removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.

Britain was determined to bring about regime change so orchestrated a world-wide boycott of Iranian oil, froze Iran’s sterling assets and threatened legal action against anyone purchasing oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries. The Iranian economy was soon in ruins…. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

America was reluctant at first to join Britain’s destructive game but Churchill (prime minister at this time) let it be known that Mossadeq was turning communist and pushing Iran into Russia’s arms at a time when Cold War anxiety was high. That was enough to bring America’s new president, Eisenhower, on board and plotting with Britain to bring Mossadeq down.

Chief of the CIA’s Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt Jr, played the lead in a nasty game of provocation, mayhem and deception. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi signed two decrees, one dismissing Mossadeq and the other nominating the CIA’s choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees were written as dictated by the CIA.

In August 1953, when it was judged safe for him to do so, the Shah returned to take over. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, and convicted of treason by the Shah’s military court. He remarked: “My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire… I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”

His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Zahedi’s new government reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, awarding the US and Great Britain the lion’s share – 40% going to Anglo-Iranian. The consortium agreed to split profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but refused to open its books to Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board.

The US massively funded the Shah’s government, including his army and his hated secret police force, SAVAK. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954. Mossadeq died on 5 March 1967.

The CIA-engineered coup that toppled Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and let the American oil companies in, was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission.

Smoldering resentment for at least 70 years

And all this happened before the Iran-Iraq war when the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its armed forces and chemical weapons arsenal which were used against Iran.  The US, and eventually Britain, leaned strongly towards Saddam in that conflict and the alliance enabled Saddam to more easily acquire or develop forbidden chemical and biological weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim to them.

This is how John King writing in 2003 summed it up…

“The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam’s army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology.”

And while Iranian casualties were at their highest as a result of US chemical and biological war crimes what was Mr Trump doing? He was busy acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump Castle, his Taj-Mahal casino, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan…. oh, and he was refitting his super-yacht Trump Princess. What does he know, understand or care about Iran and the Iranian people today?

On the British side our prime minister, Boris Johnson, was at Oxford carousing with fellow Etonians at the Bullingdon Club. What does he know or care?

The present Iranian regime, like many others, may not be entirely to the West’s liking but neither was Dr Mossadeq’s fledgeling democracy nearly 70 years ago. If Britain and America had played fair and allowed the Iranians to determine their own future instead of using economic terrorism to bring the country to its knees Iran might have been “the only democracy in the Middle East” today.

So hush! Don’t even mention the M-word: MOSSADEQ.

Come Home, America: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Wars-Without-End

By John W. Whitehead

Source

 

US Army Soldiers 6dfce

I agree wholeheartedly with George S. McGovern, a former Senator and presidential candidate who opposed the Vietnam War, about one thing: I’m sick of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.

It’s time to bring our troops home.

Bring them home from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.

The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world. Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Don’t fall for the propaganda, though: America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

Already, American military servicepeople are being deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere in anticipation of the war drums being sounded over Iran.

This Iran crisis, salivated over by the neocons since prior to the Iraq War and manufactured by war hawks who want to jumpstart the next world war, has been a long time coming.

Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton: they all have done their part to ensure that the military industrial complex can continue to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Take President Trump, for instance.

Despite numerous campaign promises to stop America’s “endless wars,” once elected, Trump has done a complete about-face, deploying greater numbers of troops to the Middle East, ramping up the war rhetoric, and padding the pockets of defense contractors. Indeed, Trump is even refusing to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in the face of a request from the Iraqi government for us to leave.

Obama was no different: he also pledged—if elected—to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce America’s oversized, and overly costly, military footprint in the world. Of course, that didn’t happen.

Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and now Iran) aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

War spending is bankrupting America.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors. Indeed, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.

Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.

Americans have thus far allowed themselves to be spoon-fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.

That needs to change.

The U.S. government is not making the world any safer. It’s making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the U.S. military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 human beings. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.

The U.S. government is not making America any safer. It’s exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government’s international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback.

The assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. military drone strike will, I fear, spur yet more blowback against the American people.

The war hawks’ militarization of America—bringing home the spoils of war (the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.) and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield—is also blowback.

James Madison was right: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” As Madison explained, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

We are seeing this play out before our eyes.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes and mounting death tolls.

Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

This is the “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

Eisenhower, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war machine that emerged following the war—one that, in order to perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.

We failed to heed his warning.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there’s not much time left before we reach the zero hour.

It’s time to stop policing the globe, end these wars-without-end, and bring the troops home before it’s too late.

Iran Ukraine Crash – A Propaganda Wet Dream

By David Macilwain

Source

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[Author’s note: I started writing this before the unexpected Iranian missile strikes on Ain al Asad base, and the “accompanying” tragic plane crash in Iran, but finish it with my latest thoughts on the path forward]

When we look back over events in the Middle East over the last six months, with the benefit of hindsight based on the latest developments, it appears that the assassination of Qasem Soleimani is actually the culmination of those events, in the minds of the men who planned this brutal, callous and cowardly attack on the “Hero of the Resistance”.

Those men – and women – who collaborated on this conspiracy intended to provoke Iran into taking military action against the US or its local allies where all else had failed, and now appear satisfied with the result – in their fundamental ignorance and Imperial hubris. Some seem to even imagine that Iran’s leaders and people will feel satisfied that they have hit back with a few missiles, and may now be prepared to agree to a cessation of hostilities – though this is hard to believe, and such people probably deserve the rude awakening that is yet to come.

Mohammed Javad Zarif, the consummate diplomat, and remaining lucid even under such extreme circumstances nevertheless made it clear; the carefully targeted missile strikes simply delivered a message – that no more drone missions or military activities would be possible from those US bases. The rest of the message was for the US and its coalition partners to leave the region. President Rouhani put it less diplomatically, and without Zarif’s humour; the US will leave the region and “its feet will be cut off – as Soleimani’s hands were cut off”, never to return.

Outside the Western establishment and media bubble, where Trump’s “response” to Iran’s effective ultimatum is discussed, it is tempting – and common – to dismiss the insanely provocative and grossly illegal behavior of the US government as “stupid” or as “Trump acting impulsively”. This misses the point, in my view, which is less appealing and seriously frightening – that the killing of Qasem Soleimani was a calculated and well-planned move by several members of the US coalition that was fully intended to provoke a final showdown with Iran, regardless of consequences in terms of death and destruction in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

And far from stepping back from war – as the West constantly pretends to favor – the collaborators in this infernal scheme are now doubling down on their crime. It may be unwise to make this claim against the country in which one lives – but there can be no beating about the bush following a statement from the Australian government leaders. Putting this first into necessary context, there remain some 300 Australian soldiers based at camp Taji just north of Baghdad, who like the US contingent have been asked to leave by the Iraqi government. They are a token but indispensable partner of the US coalition, much as John Howard was a token partner – with Bush and Blair – of the 2003 invasion, but like the Government, will do whatever the US does.

The original, and dubious, pretext for US deployment to Iraq in 1991 was again cited as applying to the current presence, though not even the Americans could believe that has any validity. It is abundantly clear that the US is not protecting any US citizens from attack other than those who are legitimate enemy targets in Iraq. Australian forces are on even shakier ground, claiming to be at the invitation of the US to assist in fighting Da’esh – an excuse cited again by Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne in an interview on the ABC’s AM program. And it is this interview and the Morrison government’s statements following a meeting of the National Security Committee which constitute “exhibit One” in the evidence that Australia is now a collaborator with those driving for war on Iran.

Despite some suggestions that the Government might reconsider its decision, taken last July but not “confirmed” till late August, to join the US and UK in a so-called “International Maritime Security Mission” in the Persian Gulf, Foreign Minister Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds are neither canceling nor delaying the deployment of HMS Toowoomba to the Straits of Hormuz – which coincidentally will leave from Perth on Monday 13th January. Their apparent determination to send the warship straight into the likely line of fire also comes despite the ongoing detention of British-Australian academic Kylie Moore Gilbert in Tehran, who went on hunger strike on Christmas Eve, by coincidence.

One should always be wary of coincidences, in time or space, as is illustrated by another such coincidence this week on the Iraqi battlefield.

At first and second glance the crash of Ukraine air flight PS 752 looked highly suspect, happening only hours after Iran’s ballistic missile volleys into Iraq, but reportedly crashing due to some technical fault. It also seemed impossible – as maintained by authorities till now – that a sophisticated Iranian missile battery could somehow “mistake” a civilian airliner flying up and away from Tehran for an incoming missile, plane or drone, even in the heightened tensions following the successful Iranian attack on US bases in Iraq.  How can it be explained that the plane that was hit – targeted – just happened to involve key members of the Western coalition, Canada and Ukraine, in some sort of echo of MH17? The remarkable appearance of Bellingcat amongst the wreckage, with an unverified video showing a missile hitting the plane seemed to confirm growing suspicions this was really another MH17 style provocation – until the Iranian government “admitted” a missile was responsible just 48 hours later.

At the time of writing nothing is certain except ‘cui bono’.  The same Western powers who cooperated to start this war on Iran by killing Hashd al Shabi soldiers at the key Islamic State border crossing near Al Qaim, and then assassinating Soleimani as he came to Baghdad following their funerals, are now the “beneficiaries” of the Ukraine air disaster. The sympathy for Soleimani expressed by millions of Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians and others around the world, and support for the fight of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against the Imperial barbarian invaders has now been turned on its head, at least in the Western media and amongst NATO leaders.

Overnight the IRGC has become – in the Western public mind – exactly what the US and Israel were claiming it was – as the reason to assassinate its leader, thanks to the actions of one allegedly “panicked” missile battery operator. It is a propaganda wet dream for Bellingcat and associates, who are now just a little too self-satisfied with a turn of events that supposedly took them by surprise – like the early riser who managed to film the missile hitting the plane – something that eluded the many stunned onlookers in Donbass when MH17 was shot from the sky.

Already those agents are stirring up protests, in Iraq and in Tehran, while failing to report the worldwide protests against war on Iran. They even seem to have forgotten what happened just a month ago, when Jeremy Corbyn’s threat to lead the UK away from America’s endless wars saw him wiped from the political map; this weekend he is leading anti-war protests in London, while the Five Eyes get into gear for this “war of choice”.

Nonbelligerent Iran v. Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The agenda of both countries are world’s apart. Iran is the region’s leading advocate of peace, stability, and mutual cooperations with other nations.

It fully observes its JCPOA and NPT obligations. It resists major power pressures, maintains its sovereign independence, and opposes neocolonialism, especially US-led Western domination.

It’s been a Non-Aligned Movement member since its 1979 revolution. At the NAM summit in Havana that year, Fidel Castro said the following:

The NAM’s purpose is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of non-aligned countries (in their) struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as as against great power and bloc politic.”

Like Cuba, Bolivarian Venezuela, and other nations unwilling to abandon their sovereign independence to a higher power in Washington, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s adherence to these principles made it a prime US target for regime change — notably because of its world’s third largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas deposits, along with being Israel’s main regional rival and challenging its revanchist aims.

Israel is nuclear-armed and dangerous, developing these weapons since the mid-1950s, its well-known open secret the official narrative conceals.

Its ruling authorities refused to sign the NPT or abide by its provisions. Nor do they permit IAEA inspections of their nuclear facilities.

According to the Federation of American Scientists and other experts, its nuke warheads can be launched by air, ground, sea, or sub-surface — able to strike targets in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It’s believed the Jewish state also has 100 or more laser-guided mini-nuke bunker-buster bombs — able to penetrate and destroy underground targets.

According to the establishment front organization Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), “US inspections of Israeli nuclear sites in the 1960s proved largely fruitless because of restrictions placed on the inspectors.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Joseph Circincione earlier said (e)veryone knows about Israel’s bombs in the closet.”

Yet the West fails to contest their threat to regional peace and security.

Iran’s nuclear program has no military component and never did, its ruling authorities wanting these weapons eliminated everywhere.

Unlike the US and Israel, permitting no inspections of their nuclear weapons sites, Iran’s legitimate nuclear facilities are the world’s most heavily monitored, its ruling authorities fully cooperating with IAEA inspectors.

Iran’s ballistic, cruise, and other missiles are solely for self-defense, its program fully complying with its obligations under Security Council Res. 2231, unanimously affirming the JCPOA nuclear deal.

No Iranian ballistic or other missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads, conventional ones alone. No evidence suggests otherwise.

Neither SC 2231 or any other SC resolutions prohibit Tehran’s legitimate ballistic missile development, testing and production. 

The right to self-defense is inviolable under international law, UN Charter Article 51 stating:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

The right of self-defense pertains solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression.

At the same time, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality — what US-dominated NATO and Israel ignore when waging preemptive wars.

Necessity permits only attacking military targets. Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones.

Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force, likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.

A fourth consideration requires prevention of unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatants.

Anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones.

Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries — what US-dominated NATO and Israel do repeatedly.

According to Israeli media Friday, the IDF conducted a missile test, launched from a military base in central Israel, a statement saying:

“The defense establishment (sic) conducted a launch test a few minutes ago of a rocket propulsion system from (its  Palmachim airbase south of Tel Aviv). The test was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned.”

The Times of Israel reported the following:

“Israel does not publicly acknowledge having ballistic missiles in its arsenals, though according to foreign reports, the Jewish state possesses a nuclear-capable variety known as the Jericho that has a multi-stage engine, a 5,000-kilometer range and is capable of carrying a 1,000-kilogram warhead.”

According to Haaretz, Friday’s test came “amid increasing tension between Israel and Iran and was intended to send a clear message.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif slammed Israel’s test, saying the following:

“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran. E3 (UK, France, and Germany) and US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia – armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes.”

The West has “fits of apoplexy over our conventional and defensive” missiles, capable of carrying conventional warheads alone.

In response to Britain, France, and Germany falsely accusing Iran of breaching SC Res. 2231 by developing “nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” by letter to UN Secretary General Guterres, Zarif responded sharply, tweeting:

“Latest E3 (Britain, France and Germany) letter to UNSG on missiles is a desperate falsehood to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling bare minimum of their own #JCPOA obligations.”

“If E3 want a modicum of global credibility, they can begin by exerting sovereignty rather than bowing to US bullying.”

On Monday, he tweeted: “@SecPompeo once again admits that US #Economic Terrorism on Iran is designed to starve, and in the case of medical supplies, kill our innocent citizens.”

Earlier to the E3 and EU, he tweeted: “To my EU/E3 Colleagues 

“Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA…YOU? Really?

Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months”

On Wednesday, US under secretary of war for policy John Rood falsely accused Iran of building up a “hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq,” adding:

“We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won’t go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur.”

A Wednesday NYT report, reading like a Pentagon press release, said:

“Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq (sic), part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power (sic)” — citing unnamed US military and intelligence officials, adding: 

Iran “pose(s) a threat to American allies and partners in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops (sic).”

Phony claims about any Iranian nuclear and regional threat posed by the nation were debunked time and again.

Tehran has military advisors in Syria and Iraq at the behest of their ruling authorities. They’re involved in combatting US-supported ISIS and likeminded jihadists.

The Islamic Republic threatens no other nations. US-dominated NATO and Israel threaten humanity.

 

Iran Unrest: Protests and Provocations

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Source

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When protests in Hong KongIraq, and Lebanon erupted, I was fully anticipating protests in Iran to follow. In 2018 alone, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) had spent millions of dollars in these countries (and elsewhere) to promote America’s agenda. However, I did not expect unrest in Iran to take place while I was visiting the country. In retrospect, I am glad that I was here to be witness to these latest events.

On Thursday, November 21st, friends took me to a very charming Iranian restaurant in the heart of the city. During our lunch, they talked about there being a price hike in gasoline. After lunch, we walked around the charming downtown area of Tehran, visited shops, and exhausted climbed into a cab. We asked the cab driver if he had heard anything about prices going up. He told us that this was just a rumor. As such, the increase in the price of gasoline took Iranians by surprise. Regrettably, the government of President Rohani had not explained the rationale behind the price increase PRIOR to the increase itself. In several parts of Iran, protests erupted. Perhaps justified, and they were peaceful. One could argue they were disruptive in that cars blocked roads, making it difficult for others, causing traffic jams, but there was no vandalism on the first day – not to my knowledge.

But calm soon gave way to violence. A friend who lives in the suburbs of Tehran, in Karaj, told me that on a single street in that sleepy suburb, protestors had set 4 banks on fire. Elsewhere, police stations were attacked, banks and gas stations set on fire. Businesses were set on fire and destroyed. People were sending text messages to each other giving locations of alleged protests in the hopes of gathering people in one spot or another.

This did not surprise me. I was certain that “swarming” tactic was being implemented (as I believe it was elsewhere mentioned above). First developed by RAND as a military and tactical tool, RAND’s publication “Swarming & The Future of Conflict” states:

In Athena’s Camp, we speculated that swarming is already emerging as an appropriate doctrine for networked forces to wage information-age conflict. This nascent doctrine derives from the fact that robust connectivity allows for the creation of a multitude of small units of maneuver, networked in such a fashion that, although they might be widely distributed, they can still come together, at will and repeatedly, to deal resounding blows to their adversaries. This study builds on these earlier findings by inquiring at length into why and how swarming might be emerging as a preferred mode of conflict for small, dispersed, internetted units. In our view, swarming will likely be the future of conflict.”

“Social conflict also features pack-like organizations, as exemplified by modern-day “soccer hooligans.” They generally operate in a loosely dispersed fashion, then swarm against targets of opportunity who are “cut out” from a larger group of people. The use of modern information technologies—from the Internet to cell phones—has facilitated plans and operations by such gangs (see Sullivan, 1997)”.

Swarming depends on robust information flow and is a necessary condition for successful swarming. In other words, by controlling communication and sending texts to ‘protestors,’ random groups are mobilized together in one or various spots. Chaos ensues, which naturally draws reaction. One is never aware of the origin of the messages. In one of her talks, Suzanne Maloney of Brookings seemed to know the exact number of cell phones in use in Iran. These messages increased in number, as did the vandalism and reaction to the destructive behavior. This was not the first time that this tactic had been used in Iran. But it was the first time that Iran’s adversaries were surprised, shocked even, to see that Iran was capable of shutting down the Internet so quickly in order to put a stop to the spread of violence and restore calm.

I drove around in Tehran from end to end, either with friends or in a cab, and took note of the streets. I watched both Iranian TV news and foreign media such as BBC Persian, VOA, Radio Farda, Saudi funded Iran International broadcasted into Iran through satellite (at times jammed) to encourage people to get out on the streets and to protest. Iran was covered under a blanket of snow. With freezing temperatures, I was amused to see BBC Persian show pictures of ‘demonstrators’ in T-shirts. I was angry to see Reza Pahlavi, the deposed Shah of Iran appear on Iran International encouraging people to get out onto the streets. I felt insulted on behalf of every Iranian when Secretary Pompeo retweeted an old tweet and then tweeted again that ‘he was with the Iranian people’ – not to eat, not to receive medicinal goods, not to address their desire for peace and security, but to endure all kinds of hardship and to be subjected to American terrorism (sanctions) and go out on the streets to protest in order to promote America’s agenda.

The hostile foreign media even showed pictures of a ‘protestor’ handing out flowers to security personnel – a symbol first used against the Pentagon in 1967 by a woman protesting the war in Vietnam (and later in the 2014 US-backed coup in Ukraine). Except I could not tell if the picture I saw streaming through the foreign media’s satellite television was Iran or not. The viewer was told it was. The symbol was powerful, but I doubt very much that it was an indigenous one.

With the Internet disconnected, foreign media propaganda then had its viewers believe people were calling from inside Iran; eyewitnesses were reporting events. A voice telling BBC, or Iran International, or …… what was going on. Just a voice which would not doubt then be picked up as eyewitness testimony and shared in all media outlets. The ease with which individuals in various target countries always manage to get directly through television stations has always fascinated me. No automated answer – just straight to the newsroom.

In all this, I can’t help but ask why it was that none of the banks and gas stations set on fire, buildings burnt and businesses ruined, were not located in the pro-West parts of Tehran. Their life continued without a hitch – homes safe, business safe. After all, the main reason for the gasoline price increase was to help the less affluent and the poor. Perhaps as Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute said of the CIA’s role behind the uprisings, Michael D’Andrea, aka “Ayatollah Mike” wanted them safe. Regardless of the reason, CIA/NED spent millions and failed – again.

Syrian Civilians Killed and Wounded due to Al-Nusra Front Shelling on Aleppo Neighborhoods

By Khaled Iskef

Source

al Nusra front targeting neighborhoods of Aleppo ac970

Seven people were killed and more than 30 others were injured on Thursday evening as a result of targeting Aleppo neighborhoods in northern Syria with homemade rockets and missiles by Al-Nusra Front militants.

Al-Nusra militants carried out their attacks from their positions in Al-Rashideen / 4 /area southwest of Aleppo city, where the shells hit Al-Jamailia, Al-Hamdaniya, Halap Al-Jadida , Al-Zebdieh, Al-Mashhad, Salah Al-Din and Al-A’zamiya neighborhoods.

Most of the casualties who reached hospitals were from Salah al-Din neighborhood in the south-east of the city, as the crowded popular market in the neighborhood was targeted, which also led to several fires in cars and houses. According to medical sources, an 8-year-old boy died along with three other adults as a result of being burned in a car that was hit directly by a missile.

Al-Nusra militants shelling continued for about 3 hours, after which the pace of the shells subsided in conjunction with Syrian Army intense targeting with rockets the positions of the militants in al-Rashideen area and the town of Khan al-Assal located in western Aleppo countryside.

The city of Aleppo recently has witnessed an increasing escalation by the militants of “Al-Nusra front” stationed in its surroundings through targeting residential neighborhoods with various types of shells, as was the case on Wednesday evening, which witnessed targeting Al-Hamdania, Aleppo.

Al-Jadida, Nile Street and Shahbaa neighborhoods with dozens of shells that resulted in material damages only.

ISIS Captives Offer a Convenient Pawn in Turkey’s Syria Chess Game

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

Turkey recently threatened to send 1,200 ISIS terrorists back to their countries of origin in the EU, the U.S., and the UK. Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Solyu, claimed that extradition would begin on Monday, November 11, ironically on Armistice Day. Ankara claimed it would even send back those whose citizenships have been revoked. How Turkey plans to follow through with this threat is another matter. Turkey’s history of both incubating terrorist groups and blackmailing the European Union is well known.

Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, had this to say about the Turkish ISIS deadline:

Turkey has manipulated the ISIS phenomenon from its very beginning, just as Pakistani military intelligence facilitated and manipulated the Taliban and Al Qaida. Just as Bin Laden was found under the noses of Pakistani security forces in Pakistan, so Al Baghdadi was found a couple of miles from the Turkish border in an area (Idlib) crawling with Turkish and pro-Turkish militias.”

Given the complexity of the situation, it is important to examine the reasons behind Ankara’s posturing and Turkey’s support for ISIS fighters when they serve Turkish economic and military interests at home and in Syria. Turkey’s interests may or may not overlap with those of the United States at any given moment, but there is a  synergy concerning oil interests and Syrian territory-annexation or occupation. Coincidentally, U.S. President Donald Trump also threatened to “drop jihadists” at Europe’s borders if the UK, France, and Germany refused to repatriate ISIS nationals. As Peter Ford told me:

Turkey’s threat to send ISIS prisoners to Europe is simple blackmail: stop whinging about Turkey’s behavior in Syria or we open the floodgates. In reality, Turkey has better uses planned for its ISIS foot soldiers and camp followers.”

No other country neighboring Syria has been so heavily invested in harboring terrorist groups on their territory and providing the porous borders required for the passage of these groups, arms, and equipment into externally-created conflict zones inside of Syria since the war against that country began in earnest in 2011. As Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said recently, in an interview with Syrian TV and the al-Ikhbarya channel:

…we are in one arena, the whole Syrian arena is one – a single theatre of operations.  From the furthest point in the south to the furthest point in the north Turkey is the American proxy in this war, and everywhere we have fought we have been fighting this proxy.”

On November 11, President Assad was interviewed by RT Going Underground, during the interview he pointed out:

Since ISIS started smuggling Syrian oil and looting Syrian Oil in 2014, they had two partners: Erdogan and his coterie, and the Americans, whether the CIA or others. ”

A prison break opportunity for ISIS fighters

October 9, 2019. Turkey launches “Operation Peace Spring,” ostensibly to push Kurdish separatist forces back from its borders with Syria. The move effectively allowed Turkey to take control of two cities, Ras Al Ain and Tel Abyad, where clashes are ongoing between Turkish proxy forces, made up of an assortment of extremist fighters that had previously occupied Idlib and other areas of Syria, and the Syrian Arab Army supported partially by the SDF Kurdish forces previously allied with the U.S. and supported by Israel.

A major beneficiary of this unlawful push into Syrian territory has been ISIS brides along with that followers and fighters that were imprisoned in the notorious Al Hol camp and other ISIS holding camps in the region. These dangerous ideologues see the Turkish incursion as an opportunity to escape their Kurdish captors and for the so-called ISIS brides to reunite with their husbands who are already in Turkey, according to their own testimony. One Russian ISIS bride told Kurdistan 24, a Kurdish media outlet:

We want Turkey to attack here. If the Turkish army comes to this area, I will be able to flee and meet my husband, who I know well is in Turkey.”

Turkey Syria ISIS

In the same interview, a French ISIS bride expressed hope that Ankara would invade the camp and enable their flight to Turkey. Under cover of one particular Turkish airstrike, an alleged 800 ISIS-affiliated individuals managed to escape the Ain Al Issa camp according to the same Kurdish media report.

Perhaps in an effort to justify his perceived abandonment of the Kurds, President Trump tweeted that the Kurds were deliberately releasing ISIS prisoners to draw the U.S. back into the conflict, a claim echoed by Turkish officials who claimed that the Kurds were taking money for releasing ISIS fighters or their families.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Brian Kilmeade over at @foxandfriends got it all wrong. We are not going into another war between people who have been fighting with each other for 200 years. Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost. “Let the USA pay,” they said…

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly. Big sanctions on Turkey coming! Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey? Never ending wars will end!

When Trump previously floated the idea of withdrawal from Syria in December 2018, the Kurdish contras threatened to release 3,200 ISIS fighters. While Kurdish leaders denied that this had ever been considered, the threat was enough to cause Trump to reel back from withdrawing from Syria.

A recent report from the New York Times claims that Al Hol camp contains some of the most violent and steadfast ISIS supporters, 10,000 women and children from 50 countries, two-thirds of the children under the age of 12. In the report, a woman interviewed in the piece stated that she was committed to bringing back the “caliphate” and that her children were on “God’s path” towards violent extremism.

report in the Spanish language El Pais, describes a “radical matriarchy” set up to facilitate escape for ISIS followers and overseen by a tyrannical female Emir. According to the report, these female extremists pay upwards of $ 9,000 to “ISIS traffickers” to bribe their SDF guards. El Pais describes the camp as a radicalization and indoctrination center where women and minors are being converted into extremist military cadres willing to persecute those who do not comply with the religious extremism being forced upon the camp’s inhabitants.

Shortly after Ankara’s military operation began, a senior Iraqi security expert, Hafez Al-Basharah, claimed that Washington was attempting to transfer 3,000 ISIS terrorists from Syria to Iraq where they would be transferred to a “safe area.” The U.S. would use the Turkish occupied zones inside Syria as a holding base for the ISIS fighters until their transfer to the three chosen bases inside Iraq.

Various Arabic language media outlets have reported that the United States is planning to produce a Super ISIS – an even more radical, violent version of the group’s previous incarnation. Hessam Sho’aib, a Syrian military expert on terrorist organizations, announced to Sputnik Arabic that various reports from U.S. “think tanks” indicate the heralding in of an ISIS renaissance in Syria and Iraq. The reports, according to Sho’aib, also allude to U.S. intelligence involvement in the birth of ISIS, its apparent demise, as well as its rebirth. A rebirth that would ensure the sustained recycling of terrorism and the perpetual destabilization of the region.

Certainly the U.S. faux withdrawal, the invasion of Turkish extremist proxies, the retreat of SDF prison guards as well as the apparent corruption of the remaining SDF factions in charge of the camps, have all contributed to the latter-day ISIS “Operation Breaking the Walls” which appears to be allowing followers and fighters to regroup, expand and reinforce their military capability on the borders with Syria. At the same time, the ISIS prison break gives Turkey the opportunity to blackmail other NATO member states into ignoring the atrocities and war crimes being committed by the assortment of extremist groups under Ankara’s command inside Syria.

Turkey plays both ends against the middle

The Turkish repatriation of foreign ISIS fighters has already begun, according to a report in Middle East Monitor. One American fighter has already been deported and travel plans are in place for seven German nationals affiliated with the terrorist group. It appears that Turkey’s threat was not idle and that the U.S.-led alliance in Syria may be about to reap what it has sown for the past nine years.

Turkey Syria ISIS

Waseem Ramli, a short-lived Syrian honorary consul representative in Montreal before the multiple neoconservative interests in Trudeau’s government campaigned to have him removed on the pretext of being loyal to the elected and internationally recognized Syrian government, referred to Ankara’s betrayal of their own NATO allies thusly:

For the past years we have been warning the western governments of what may happen if they continue supporting the continuation of the war in Syria but they never expected to be backstabbed by one of their own NATO allies!

Guess we will be seeing these governments scrambling to figure out how to deal with this situation  while they continue to refuse to acknowledge that their best option is opening a line of communication with the Syrian government.”

President Assad alluded to Ankara’s strategy in his interview with RT Going Underground:

Actually, the relation between Erdogan and the EU is two ways: they hate him but they want him. They hate him, they know that he is fanatic Islamist, they know this, and they know that he’s going to send them those extremists or maybe terrorists.”

Turkey is essentially playing both ends against the middle. ISIS was first allowed into Syria from Turkey. The Caliphate’s economy was able to flourish, enriched by millions of dollars of oil smuggled into Turkey and sold to Israel. ISIS was the perfect invention to fulfill Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations of toppling the Syrian government, annexing more Syrian territory, plundering resources, pillaging industry and finally eliminating the PKK Kurdish factions. Former Ambassador Ford asserts that U.S. Coalition policy makers were effectively acting in accordance with Turkey’s Syria policy:

The U.S. knew all this and turned a blind eye. As long as ISIS was advancing towards Damascus, what was not to like? Turkey got a free pass to support a terror group which curiously never mounted a significant attack against the U.S. beyond a few provocative beheadings but which gave the U.S. Coalition a pretext to put forces in Syria.”

Ford also pointed out that ISIS periodically commits atrocities on Turkish soil, conveniently, Ford says, “whenever Turkish assistance and subsidies were reduced for some reason. It appears, as Ford concluded, that “ ISIS was in the mafia protection business after all.”

Indeed, Turkey apparently used the thousands of conveniently collected ISIS prisoners held in Syria as additional manpower to reinforce the ranks of the swiftly rebranded “Syrian National Army,” a cynical attempt to portray former extremists and terrorist groups as a pseudo-nationalist “legitimate liberating force” under Ankara’s command. Ford says that many of the captured ISIS fighters were caught on their way to bolster the ranks of the pro-Turkish FSA and other extremist groups occupying Idlib.

It is no accident that many of the fighters who were caught in the end of days for the Caliphate were on their way to Idlib, to be recycled as pro-Turkish FSA. Or HTS (Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham), the Al Qaeda affiliate, tolerated when not actively assisted by Turkey. So Turkish help in freeing ISIS prisoners is no fanciful conspiracy theory.” (emphasis added)

The move would not be without precedent either, as Turkey allegedly recruited and retrained ISIS fighters to participate in Ankara’s Afrin land grab in February of 2018.

The latest bogeyman in the global terror portfolio

The U.S. Coalition has effectively given Turkey free rein to maneuver and recycle terrorist and extremist factions with impunity in order to achieve its political ambitions in Syria. That campaign has failed miserably, western journalists fleeing the north-east of Syria during the start of the Turkish operation came face to face with the monsters unleashed upon the Syrian people for nine years, by their governments in the West and their allies in the Gulf States and Israel.

Having described these extremist, sectarian gangs as “moderate rebels” for nearly a decade, the media was suddenly confronted by their bloodcurdling brutality and were tripping over their own narratives in their haste to condemn the Turkish proxies for their unbridled aggression against the U.S. and Israeli-backed Kurdish contras, media darlings for the anti-anti-war left in the West and Israel’s partitioning instrument to secure Syrian territory east of the Euphrates.

Israel Kurds Syria

The irony of the situation is not lost on Waseem Ramli, or indeed upon Peter Ford, who concluded:

Whatever the case, the irony is that Western governments would rather tie themselves in knots than accept the obvious solution which would be adopted automatically if these countries were serious about the ‘international rules-based system’ they preach at others: hand over the jihadis to face Syrian justice. Their crimes were committed on Syrian soil, overwhelmingly against Syrian victims. If a Syrian jihadi committed a crime on British soil, would we not absolutely demand they faced British justice? Instead, we behave like a tinpot dictatorship ourselves, autocratically stripping British citizens of their nationality.”

ISIS is the latest bogeyman in the global terror brand portfolio, serving a neoconservative agenda in the Middle East. Turkey has been the midwife and the curator of this and other terrorist groups on behalf of its NATO allies who are intent upon ushering in a new government in Syria and fomenting regional unrest. In 2017, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media advisor to President Assad, predicted that Erdogan would turn on his former allies. Two years later that prophecy is being fulfilled.

I hope that Europeans will discover who he is before it becomes too late. I mean it. Because two years ago when Merkel came to him to discuss the issue of refugees I said she is coming to the source of the problem. He is the origin of the problem.”

Al-Baghdadi Killing: Knocking off the Odd Man Out

By David Macilwain

Source

WH sit room Baghdadi strike f83a6

Following the alleged US raid and destruction of a house in NW Syria on 28th October where the notional leader of Da’esh was allegedly living, I spent some time analyzing photographs and satellite images of the site. While the main focus of commentary and skepticism was over whether Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had really died, in the way so graphically and poetically described by Donald Trump, inconsistencies and peculiarities surrounding the existence and destruction of the house went largely unnoticed.

And there were many! The first report from Al Jazeera, who had a local correspondent walking over the bombed site the following morning, conveniently identified its location near the village of Barisha in a “zoom-in” from Google’s satellite map, and the map displayed in their report was the same as the one that came up when I found it in a search on the 30th October. Inexplicably at the time, the house appeared to have already been destroyed!

Perhaps this also confused Al Jazeera, as they had identified one of the neighboring houses as the “suspected compound” hit in the strike, despite this house being clearly visible in the video report from Alaa Eddine Youssef which followed. This was before the Pentagon released drone footage of the operation and video of the subsequent airstrike, and before local scavengers and militants had removed material and altered the site’s appearance.

There were two possibilities to explain the aberrant Google satellite image, which showed a partly built or partly destroyed building as well as what appeared to be a large crater. The image accredited to Maxar Technologies 2019 could have predated the construction of the house, or post-dated its destruction, with the latter option obviously giving the lie to the US claims they had just launched the operation and that Al Baghdadi had only recently arrived there.

Given the appearance of the bombed site and the unconvincing and changing story from the White House, I chose to investigate this “conspiracy” option, postulating that the house shown in other satellite images in the media and in the Pentagon videos had been targeted months earlier, and the site then covered with loads of broken concrete and stone. Examining details in other areas of Syria demonstrated that the current Google satellite photo was taken later than mid-2017, and I assumed that the house must have been older than that.

Wrong assumption! On the verge of submitting this contentious claim, I noticed that one of the satellite images used in the media showing Abu Mohammed Al Halabi’s house also showed foundations of a new house nearby that didn’t appear in the currently available image on Google maps. Reports from different media sources had variously claimed that Al Halabi – a commander with the Hurras al-Din terrorist group – had bought the house two years ago, or sold it, or that the house had been built only two years ago.

Only at that point did I discover that “historic” satellite images can be viewed on Google Earth – but only on the downloaded desktop version and not on Google Chrome. Below is a composite of images from 2016, when none of the current buildings was present, up to the latest available there dating from September last year, when Al Halabi’s house was newly completed. The current satellite image on Google dates to January 2018, when excavations and preparations were being made. At the bottom right is an image from the Independent’s article of 28th October, supplied by Maxar but curiously printed upside down, in common with images displayed in other mainstream media reports. The foundations of a new house not visible in the image from September 2018, of which the walls now appear completed in current photographs, suggest the Independent’s image is from mid-2019.

Barisha house site changes 2016 19 1df5f

*(Satellite images 2016 to 2019, W Barisha. Open the image in new tab to enlarge.)

In the Al Jazeera report, Youssef states that the house was owned by Abu Mohammed al Halabi (“the Aleppan”), but that “he was not the target”. This implies that he might well have been the target – and for good reason; Al Halabi had a long dubious record of association with Hurras Al-Din, an extreme Salafist group closely allied to Da’esh, and one which the US claims to have been targeting. In recent months the US has launched a number of such strikes in Western Syria targeting members of Hurras Al-Din, including a recent one in a town not far from Barisha.

Abu Mohammed al Halabi, the nom de guerre of Mohammed Salama, who was notorious in Aleppo as a “trader and smuggler”, was also well known as a fighter and commander from back in 2014, when Liz Sly of the Washington Post wrote about his activities around the Turkish border crossing of Azaz, and his allegiance to Al Qaeda. At that time rival armed groups fought for control of this important point, which was a main supply route for “rebel-occupied” Aleppo. Bel Trew writing in the Independent also provides much detail on the circumstances and nature of Mohammed al Halabi’s relationship with Baghdadi, which sounds feasible but cannot be easily verified.

More to the point is the degree of cooperation between Turkish intelligence and these extremist groups, indicated by the evident freedom with which fighters could pass over the border crossing at Azaz, but also the crossing at Bab al Hawa – which coincidentally lies very close to where Al Halabi built his house last year. On one particularly notable occasion in late 2016, Turkey facilitated the transport of bus-loads of Al Qaeda fighters out of Syria at Bab al Hawa and back in through the Azaz crossing, where they went to provide support to the besieged insurgents in East Aleppo.

Halabi house pre strike Pentagon 47bb7

*(Halabi house pre-strike by Pentagon.)

Turkey’s support for various militant groups in NW Syria is hardly a secret, nor its early cooperation with the US in acting as a staging post for fighters and weapons from North Africa and elsewhere. Not to mention the long covert cooperation with IS in the oil-smuggling trade out of Eastern Syria. So we might greet with some skepticism Erdogan’s announcement that several members of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s family have just been detained in Azaz. One wonders if they may have been living there since the newly formed ISIL took over that section of the Turkish border in late 2013!

While this historic collaboration between Turkey and the US/CIA in assisting terrorist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda and Da’esh may appear to be currently faltering over the Kurdish question, their collaboration must go deeper than this, and a joint operation to “kill Baghdadi” must be considered feasible. But as with Bin Laden, the object of killing the terrorist group leader was not because he personally presented any further danger; confecting his death would achieve the same objectives.

Those objectives must be seen as the opposite of what they appear; rather than sealing the end of Baghdadi’s caliphate they allow it to be reborn under a different leader and with a different form. Just as Al Qaeda needed to die so that ISIS could be born from its ashes, so Baghdadi’s ISIS now needed to die so that its replacement – even under the same name – can provide the necessary Trojan Horse for the renewed war – on Iran. Mention of the “Khorasan” group in this context is worrying, as Khorasan is a region northeast of Tehran from where its leaders are presumed to come.

Having thus provided a rationale for the staging of a strike to kill Baghdadi, whose timing and actual target were not of primary importance, we may view the images of Al Halabi’s destroyed house without prejudice. Immediately it can be seen that the site does NOT look like that of a house that was bombed only the previous night. In fact, it doesn’t look much like the site of a bombed house at all!

Bombed houses Idlib comparison 0515b

*(Two bombed houses in Idlib.)

One of the things which sticks in the mind from the innumerable images of bombed buildings in Syria we have seen for the last eight years is the persistence of reinforced concrete slabs, such as would have formed the roof of Al Halabi’s house. The absence of any such slabs or visible fragments of that roof is remarkable by itself. Instead, in the area where the house stood is what appears to be a pile of pulverized and flattened material, surrounded by piles of rubble.

A close study and comparison of images of the remains of Mohammed Al Halabi’s house published in various different media on the 29th and 30th October reveals some strikingly aberrant features that make it impossible to believe the Pentagon’s – and the White House’s claim that the strike was carried out on the previous night. In the images below I have circled two piles of stone and concrete rubble which do not appear to have come from the house as a result of the explosion following the US airstrike. While the blast appears to have knocked over the perimeter wall quite cleanly on the south and west sides, there is simply no explanation for the presence of a large mound of rubble in that south-west corner of the compound, marked ‘1’.  If its origin was Al Halabi’s house, then it was pushed there with heavy machinery.

Halabi house site East and West views annotated 20f99

*(Halabi house east and west view, annotated.)

The second marked pile of rubble might have come from the garage beside the gates into the compound, whose angled broken roof slabs can be seen there, but it lies on the house side of where the building stood, and beside a small but living olive tree. By contrast, there are charred remains of two smaller buildings on the east side which look recent, as well as a large area of blackened olive trees extending from the north side of the compound towards a neighboring house. In initial reports of the bombing, shaky video of a fire and some small explosions taken from Barisha village were shown, and we might assume this was the result.

The exact position of these rubble heaps in relation to the house can be seen in the composite image below, where I have aligned and superimposed the walls of the compound visible in the Pentagon’s drone image with the line of the walls still clearly visible in a drone image of the site taken following the announcement of the bombing. The Pentagon image immediately preceded the bombing of the building, which was hit first at the point indicated by a purple cross, towards the southwest corner of the roof.

Drone view with house outline annotated 16e34

*(Drone view w/house superimposed, annotated.)

Other features visible more clearly in this view are the small truck – which appears to have been pushed over to the wall, and behind rubble heap ‘1’, and the outlines of the basement or “tunnel” entrance, which lay beneath the building’s tower section and the circular pad in front of it.

As is so often the case where false claims are made, it only takes one clearly observable fault to demolish the whole case; if one tip-truck load of rubble is where it shouldn’t be, why not the whole site? And why not the whole story?

The word “cover-up” springs to mind, and it will take more than a few truck-loads of concrete rubble to cover up the crimes committed by the Western allies and their proxies in Syria.

The Repression of Free Inquiry and Academic Debate Concerning 9/11 and Israel/Palestine Relations

By Prof Anthony Hall

Source

Anthony James Hall a7c9c

During the New Horizon Conference in Beirut earlier this autumn, the event’s Chair, Nader Talebzadeh, discussed with Prof. Anthony Hall the trials and tribulations of trying to render public service by contributing to public discussion on controversial topics. In the free-ranging conversation on the Nader Show, references were made to comparisons that can be drawn between the illegal tactics deployed against both discussants. In 2016 the administration of the University of Lethbridge suspended Prof. Hall without any due process whatsoever, even as in 2019 the US Treasury branch designated Dr. Talebzadeh as a “Global Terrorist” for the supposed crime of hosting intellectual exchanges at international conferences.

Both cases demonstrate the widening of the concept of “pre-emptive war” after 9/11. The concept of striking first, worrying about proof and evidence later, is fast being extended into the realm of civil society and international relations. In placing extensive emergency powers in the realm of executive discretion after 9/11, many of the protections attached to the principle that people are have been nullified and withdrawn. The war party is thus strengthened by putting in its hands many new means of unilaterally stifling the voices of its critics.

After 9/11 rights-bearing citizens were transformed into criminal suspects as police state and surveillance state tactics proliferated. The most recent examples of this approach are demonstrated by the imposition of new types of sanctions on Iranian as well as on Lebanese institutions and individuals. The attacks on the economic viability and reputations of the designated targets are advanced through unilateral actions mounted by Zionist cells deep within the US Treasury Department.

The Trump government’s imposition of sanctions without due process or any right of appeal makes a mockery of the United Nations and of international law. The degradation of the international system after 9/11 can be highlighted through the illumination of a telling contrast. Consider the differences between the unilateral impositions amounting to economic warfare on Iran and the thick walls of obstructions put in the way of the imposition of sanctions on Israel through the BDS campaign.

 

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