Western ‘Political Correctness’ Does Not Make All People Equal

By Andre Vltchek

Source

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In the West, there is a new wave of political correctness at work: it is all about one’s sexual orientation; who has sex with whom, and how. Suddenly, the mass media in London, Paris and New York is greatly concerned about who has the right to change his or her sex, and who does not want to belong to any ‘traditional’ gender bracket.

Thinking about ‘it’, writing about it, doing it, is considered “progressive”; cutting edge. Entire novels are being commissioned and then subsidized, as far away as in the Asia Pacific.  Western organizations and NGOs (so-called “non-government organizations”, but financed by Western régimes), are thriving on the matter.

These days it is not just LGBT that are in the spotlight, glorified and propagandized; there are all sorts of new types of combinations that many people never even heard about, or imagined could exist.

Even some Western airlines do not call their passengers “ladies, gentlemen and children”, anymore, in order “not to offend” those who do not want to be any of the above.

Accept any sexual habit, repeat loudly, many times, that you have done it; then preferably write about it, and you will be lauded as progressive, tolerant, and even “left-wing’.

This is a discussion which is clearly encouraged, even invented by the Western regime: a safe discussion which is aimed at diverting dialogue from topics such as the fact that even in the West, a great number of people are living in fear and misery, and that the majority of neo-colonies of North America and Europe are once again being totally, shamelessly exploited.

Talking about poverty and exploitation, about military coups triggered by Washington are rarely spoken about. Such discussions are even being portrayed as old-fashioned, if not regressive.

Hype is, these days, all about the interaction of penises, of vaginas, or about the lack of such interactions. It is about one’s “identity” and about the right to change one’s gender. What you do with your private parts is much more important than billions of people who are forced to live in filthy slums. Surgery that is aimed at changing one’s gender is more newsworthy than the “regime changes” and consequent destruction of millions of human lives.

Such focus is totally fragmenting Western societies. It leads to extreme individualism and dark nihilism. What should stay behind closed doors is being brought out to the center of attention.

Don’t think that it is all a coincidence. It is clearly designed this way. Like the enormous flood of free pornography did not come from out of the blue. The hidden message is clear: watch as much free porn as you can in your free time, watch football, enjoy booze, and put your sexual identity at the very center of your existence.

Then, define all those who disagree with these sorts of lifestyles as ‘intolerant’, ‘backward’, and even ‘oppressive’.

Why is all this happening? Why are Western countries so obsessed with “sexual identities”?

The answer is simple: because those who are obsessed with their own bodies, desires, identities and endless “rights”, have hardly any time left to think about the rest of the world.

And vice versa: those who are passionately fighting for a better world, building people-oriented societies, sacrificing their own comfort and personal benefits; those individuals often have no time, or very little time, to think about the nuances of their sexuality. For them, sexuality is simply part of their life; often powerful and important, but it is definitely not their center of gravity, not their very essence.

And precisely this kind of optimistic, unselfish mindset is extremely dangerous for the survival of Western regimes, and the Empire itself.

I am all for people to have their right to choose how they want to express themselves sexually. As long as it is done discreetly, and without forcing anyone into anything.

But I am strongly against the so-called sexual identity monopolizing political narrative of entire nations.

There are much more important issues that Western societies should be concerned with, and obviously are not.

And the Empire knows it, and precisely for that reason it does everything possible to elevate sex and sexuality into something tremendously important, glorified, as well as untouchable. Terms and definitions then get confused: centering people’s identity around their genitals, gets defined as “their identity”. Their struggle for sexual rights is now being defined as “progressive”, even, bizarrely as left-wing.

It is, of course, an absolute nonsense. The fight for sexual rights is the fight for sexual rights: it is not right, or left.

There is absolutely no guarantee that a man who undergoes gender-changing surgery, would gain a deep interest in the US-triggered coup in Bolivia, or in the tremendous torment, inflicted by the West, on the people of Syria or Afghanistan.

I have discussed this issue, in depth, with my friends and relatives who happen to be professional psychiatrists and psychologists: Jung, who attacked Western imperialism as a clinical disease (pathology), has been criticized and discredited by almost all Western schools. While the self-centered Freud, has been glorified to this very day. He became untouchable in Europe and North America. We are all encourage to see ourselves through his eyes.

We are supposed to think and analyze the world in a Freudian way. To say “penis” or “vagina”, or to show them, and especially change them, is supposed to send a shiver up our backs, to make us feel heroic, progressive.

While the Empire murders millions of people worldwide. While British and North American children are suffering from hunger, while NATO is bringing our planet closer and closer to the next huge war which our humanity may not survive, people inhabiting the Empire are encouraged to think, to write and to fight for totally different issues than those that could save our humanity.

I have to report that, after working in some 160 countries of the world, on all continents, the issues that I am addressing above, are prevalent only in the West. Well, also in countries and territories that have been deeply indoctrinated by the West, like Argentina and Hong Kong, to give just two examples. Which makes one wonder what is really going on?

I am not talking about people being born gay or lesbian and then getting discriminated against (such discrimination should be, of course, confronted), or forced by brutal family practices (like I witnessed in Samoa) to unwillingly change their sexual identity. I am fully, and determinedly supporting people to have their rights, to practice what they feel like, and to be fully protected by the law.

I am addressing here this totally wild obsession with the topic. I am talking about forcing people in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and some European countries, to accept as essential a dialogue, which is absolutely irrelevant to more than 99% of the population on our planet. It is not about LGBT anymore. This is now about something absolutely else; about color shades, about nuances, about details: while the entire world is burning; in flames.

Can we please talk, finally about Hong Kong, Iraq, Bolivia, North Korea?

And as a writer, as a novelist, I reserve my right to create, to write as I want to! If I want to say,” ladies, gentlemen and children”, you can all stop reading me, but I will write it precisely as I want. You can go and read the latest generation of politically correct scribes. Although you know as well as I do, that you will never find any great literature created by them.

The Empire makes sure that many essential topics, including those like whether the world should continue to live under the boot of savage capitalism or whether it should be selecting socialism, hardly ever get discussed on the television screens, and on the front pages of the internet.

Gender changing surgery is now obviously a much more important topic in the U.K. and the U.S., than whether Western imperialism should be stopped, once and forever.

But remember: We will all burn if we burn. Heterosexuals, homosexuals, trans-gender individuals, even those whose sexual orientation I still do not understand. If there is a Third World War, we will all be fried.

Therefore, I suggest that we first try to disarm the Empire, stop savage capitalism, give freedom and the right to choose their destiny to all nations of the world, and then… Only then, shall we make sure that we support all the people of countless sexual orientation, that our humanity has.

But first things first, please!

Unfortunately, the majority of people do not have the capacity to fight on various fronts, for numerous causes. And they often choose to struggle for the issues that are extremely close to their waist.

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

 

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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

Iran Ukraine Crash 65aba

[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”.

As Yemen Starves, Billions in Donor Funds Fill the Coffers of International Aid Agencies

By Ahmed AbdulKareem

Source

Of the billions of dollars pouring into Yemen from international donors, only a trickle is actually reaching the people who need it the most reports Ahmed AbdulKareem.

SANA’A, YEMEN — The phenomenon of mercenarism in the impoverished Arab country of Yemen is not limited to the foreign fighters joining the Saudi-led coalition for money, but also includes UN relief organizations, international agencies, and their local partners who are ultimately denying Yemenis the food, healthcare, money and other aid they urgently need. Regardless of their goodwill.

According to a recent report, every ten minutes a child under the age of five dies from extreme hunger in Yemen, while six newborn babies lose their lives every two hours as a result of the continued deterioration of the health situation in the country. This, at a time when the country is riddled with aid agencies.

There are 22 million Yemenis in need of relief, including seven million at risk of starvation, and nearly two million children on the verge of dying from malnutrition according to UN reports, despite the massive sums of money allocated to Yemen from both the international community and regional organizations.


Moreover, 100,00 people die every year in the country as a result of diseases and epidemics, most of them children. Now, four years after the flow of donor funds into the war-torn country, these diseases and epidemics are increasingly emerging where aid, particularly medical assistance, was supposed to prevent their expansion.

According to United Nations Development Program (UNDP), poverty in Yemen has jumped from 47 percent of the population in 2014, before the war began, to a projected 75 percent by the end of 2019. That figure betrays the reality on the ground and suggests that donor money is simply not reaching Yemenis in need.

In 2018, the UN praised international donors for raising large amounts of money to tackle Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. Almost all of the $3 billion pledged has been either received by the UN or formally committed. In 2017, when the first pledging conference for Yemen was held, 94 percent of the pledges, $1.1 billion, was fulfilled, according to the UN.

However, this year, the United Nations announced that humanitarian needs in Yemen for this year amount to $2.96 billion, $2.1 billion of which has already been collected, while other countries pledged the remaining amount.

Where does the aid money go?

The United Nations annually declares and approves a public response plan involving local authorities including Yemen’s National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Recovery (NAMCHA).

By investigating official documents of the annual public response and its actual outcomes, as well as tracking the flow of millions of dollars of supplies and funds from aid programs, it becomes apparent that most donor funds go to the coffers of UN relief organizations and international and local NGOs. In other words, more than seventy percent of the aid is stolen off the top.

That money is distributed to dozens of UN agencies, international organizations and local NGOs. The largest recipients include the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

According to budget lists in the UN’s annual public response, 15-20 percent of grants are taken in the form of dues before they reach Yemenis. Then, an additional 45-60 percent of the grants go to relief organizations to cover operating and support expenses.

Yemen Food Aid

he scant food supplies of a displaced family hangs on the wall of a home in Lahj, Yemen, Feb. 11, 2018. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

Moreover, a review of the UN budget shows that grant money allocated to Yemen has been wasted on projects that are not a part of the UN’s annual public response plan. That money is supposed to go towards serving the needs of Yemenis based on research by civil society organizations and local authorities.

At a time when hundreds of residents, mostly women and children, die every day due to shortages of food and medicine, millions of dollars are being funneled into reproductive health projects such as the International Child Welfare Organization’s reproductive health project with a budget of $4,592,632 to distribute contraceptives and educational sex dolls.

The Yemeni minister of public health and population, Taha al-Mutawakel called on the United Nations and humanitarian organizations to clarify the fate of funds allocated to Yemen. Al-Mutawakel bemoaned how aid money has been squandered on cars and services instead of alleviating the sufferings of Yemenis. “Stop shedding tears for our children who get killed, whilst there is no credibility whatsoever in your international reports and they do not help assuage this tragic situation, he said from inside the Sabeen Maternal Hospital in the capital Sana’a.

 We are not demanding toys and video game consoles, but we are calling for incubators and other related devices to give children the right to life.”

 

Relief agency corruption trickles down to Yemen’s locals

Further analysis of public documents shows that a portion of aid money goes to the accounts of UN relief organizations via its procurement policy. Those organizations often allot excessive amounts of money to buy imported products, yet often end up buying those products from local markets or from abroad at lower prices than specified in their detailed humanitarian plan.

For example, in 2019, the World Food Program (WFP) budget included money to purchase 70 million liters of diesel at 92 cents per liter, for a total cost of $64.5 million. However, the domestic market price for diesel in just 75 cents per liter and the organization buys the diesel from Yemen Oil Company at the local price according to official agreements which have been reviewed by MintPress. That disparity means that a staggering $21,700,000 will end up in WFP coffers.

Relief organizations that have diverted donated food, medicine, fuel and money from desperate Yemenis amid their country’s five-year war also receive significant financial benefits by leveraging currency exchange rates. The procurement process and projects carried out by many of these organizations are paid for in local currency, not in U.S. dollars. In this way, organizations save substantial sums of money by engaging in a sort of currency speculation.

In addition, organizations workers have been caught selling relief items to local merchants who then trade them on the black market. Two merchants, as well as eyewitnesses, confirmed to MintPress that they were sold relief items bearing the WFP’s logo by the organization’s workers. Some residents engage in the sale of these items out of desperation and the need for money for medical treatment or to pay rent according to residents who spoke to MintPress.

Moreover, the scant food aid which millions of Yemenis rely on for their daily sustenance often doesn’t reach people until it is already expired, by that time often crawling with worms and cockroaches because of lack of proper storage facilities, constant power outages, or long hours in transport. Rotten food aid is sometimes burned as it is not fit for human consumption. To make matters worse, coalition forces have bombed bridges linking Yemen’s main port in Hodeida with Sana’a, the capital city, which has meant trucks loaded with vital supplies have to take other routes adding many hours to the journey.

Yemen Aid

The aftermath of a Saudi airstrike on a truck carrying UN World Food Program aid in Saada, February 11, 2019. Photo | Ali al- Shorgbi

Current conditions on the ground are seriously hindering the delivery and distribution of aid as the Saudi-led coalition is enforcing a commercial blockade on sea and air routes into the country, and placing restrictions on relief supplies where aid is subject to long inspection delays and in some cases, rejected altogether. The fate of the rejected aid is not known.

Inflated salaries and internal waste

Aid money isn’t just being squandered away on expired food and operating expenses. Some relief organizations, which often do not provide detailed financial reports on how aid money is spent, are riddled with financial mismanagement, corruption and nepotism. Donor money often goes to pay the inflated salaries of senior staff of international organizations, particularly to UN relief agency workers. The salary of just eight staff at the World Food Program in Yemen amounted to around $50 million.

According to the outcomes of a project for internally displaced people (IDPs) implemented by the UNHCR, the percentage of staff salaries, expenses and additional petty cash, which included the hiring of cars and houses for staff, makes up 64.3 percent of the project’s total budget. Just 35.7 actually went to IDPs. The salary of the manager for another UNHCR project implemented by the CARE organization reached $15,500 per month, although his contract stipulates a salary of $9,500 per month. Other documents showed his salary at $11,500 per month.

Yemen’s National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Recovery (NAMCHA) said there has been a deliberate waste of humanitarian aid funds allocated to the people of Yemen which amounts to a total of $4.2 billion, despite the humanitarian needs the Yemeni people not being met in 2019.

The United Nations has admitted to some incidents of corruption by aid workers, including a case in which a dozen of its aid workers enriched themselves from the billions of dollars in donated aid flowing into the country as well as from financial mismanagement.

In one particularly egregious case uncovered by the Associated Press, UN World Health Organization (WHO) employee Nevio Zagaria, an Italian doctor, arrived in Yemen in December 2016 after a four-year stint in the Philippines to lead the agency’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen. According to the AP’s investigation, the WHO’s Yemen office under Zagaria was riddled with corruption and nepotism.

Zagaria brought in junior staffers who worked with him in the Philippines and promoted them to high-salary posts that they were not qualified for. Two of them – a Filipino university student and a former intern, were given senior posts but their only role was to take care for Zagaria’s pet dog.

Even American organizations, whose work in Yemen carries an heir of exceptionalism since the United States in the largest single supplier of lethal weapons, information, and experts to the Saudi-led Coalition, has given Yemenis little more than crumbs. For example, in two projects implemented by American World Communities Organization, as well as a project from the American Mercy Corps, only 25 percent of aid went to people in need, while 75 percent went to the organizations and their workers.

The loss of donor funds by organizations is not without precedent. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) froze more than $239 million of funds intended for Syrian aid programs due to significant fraud after it investigated 25 reported cases, some two-thirds of which were directly related to outright theft and fraud. As in Yemen, most of the $5.5 billion in American aid was distributed through the United Nations and a host of partner organizations.

The simultaneous funding of war and aid

Areas along the frontline of Yemen’s ongoing war, such as the country’s western coast as well as border areas, are a priority for many relief organizations. Yet those organizations often provide little in the way of humanitarian support and instead have been found to be gathering intelligence or recruiting new fighters on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition, according to local residents. Many relief agencies have paid huge sums of money to the heads of local tribes. Two Yemeni tribal leaders, known locally as sheiks, told MintPress on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject, that they received payments from Mercy Core as an incentive to carry out secret tasks for the Coalition. The nature of those tasks was not revealed.

According to documents reviewed by MintPress and interviews with employees of relief organizations as well as eyewitnesses who spoke to MintPress, many organizations are working with groups classified by the United States as terrorists, including Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). For Example, the American Mercy Core allegedly contracted Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen’s Abyan province through an unauthorized Somali merchant to supply the group with foodstuffs and money.

Last week, authorities in Sana’a detained a number of U.N. humanitarian workers accused of spying, including two Jordanians who have since been released. Authorities accuse UN relief organizations of funding and conspiring with intelligence services to secretly target Yemenis, along with importing expired drugs and withholding fuel shipments.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two of its citizens conducting a humanitarian audit in Yemen were released and later flown home. The World Food Program, for its part, said that none of its workers were being held by authorities in Sana’a.

Amongst the largest donors and financiers of U.N relief organizations are the very same countries participating in the war on Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and supported by the United States.

Saudi Arabia United Nations Donation

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presents a donation to the UN’s Antonio Guterres during a meeting about Yemen, March 2018. Dennis Van Tine | IPx

Most of these organizations’ workers have political loyalty to ousted president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, or to the UAE or Saudi Arabi.

As a result of the lack of neutrality of a number of organizations, many Yemenis have not only been denied humanitarian aid, the risk to aid workers working in the country has grown. Last week, UN Deputy Humanitarian Chief Ursula Mueller warned the Security Council that attacks on aid workers have escalated in Yemen.

Corruption undermines the trust of civilians and donors

A number of Yemenis that spoke to MintPress said that they are not receiving any humanitarian assistance. Fatima, a 45-year-old mother of four, said she had not received food or medicine from aid organizations in four years. Fatima suffers from Inflammation of the spinal cord and relies on aid to get by. “No organization has helped us, where does the money go?” she asked.

Yemenis activists say that relief organizations, including UN organizations, are making a fortune in Yemen, asking the UN and international agencies to provide financial reports on how hundreds of millions of dollars that have been poured into Yemen since 2015 have been spent.

For its part, NAMCHA has called for the formation of an international committee to investigate the corruption of international organizations working in Yemen. However, the UN puts much of the blame on the Houthis, saying they have diverted donated food, medicine, fuel and money from desperate people over the course of the country’s five-year war.

The UN accuses the Houthis of corruption and stealing food and medicine for its own use. Yet most of the money squandered during humanitarian operations has been lost in the financing of marginal projects, procurement, transport and the distribution of medicines, food, and building materials, responsibilities which lie exclusively with relief organizations according to Transparency International.

The corruption of international relief organizations, as well as the bias they seem to harbor, undermines the trust of Yemen’s civilians on multiple levels. War-weary people don’t trust aid agencies to provide assistance and local authorities don’t trust the principled rhetoric around impartiality. Ultimately, this leads to donors not trusting that their money will reach the people who need it most.

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

Iran Unrest 44edf

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.

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