A Day in the Death of British Justice

August 13th, 2021

By John Pilger

Source

(Originally Published on Mintpressnews on August 12, 2021)

“What has not been discussed today is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life.” — Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange

Isat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority.

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the US against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the US. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the US campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries like Haiti, India’s campaign of torture in Kashmir, the British government’s secret agreement to shield “US interests” in its official Iraq inquiry and the British Foreign Office’s plan to create a fake “marine protection zone” in the Indian Ocean to cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of return.

In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, he is a gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is transparent, and accountable.

Yesterday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition.  Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the US’s infamous prison system.

Professor Michael Kopelman, a world authority on neuro-psychiatry, had said Assange would find a way to take his own life — the direct result of what Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur on Torture, described as the craven “mobbing” of Assange by governments – and their media echoes.

Those of us who were in the Old Bailey last September to hear Kopelman’s evidence were shocked and moved. I sat with Julian’s father, John Shipton, whose head was in his hands. The court was also told about the discovery of a razor blade in Julian’s Belmarsh cell and that he had made desperate calls to the Samaritans and written notes and much else that filled us with more than sadness.

Watching the lead barrister acting for Washington, James Lewis — a man from a military background who deploys a cringingly theatrical “aha!” formula with defence witnesses — reduce these facts to “malingering” and smearing witnesses, especially Kopelman, we were heartened by Kopelman’s revealing response that Lewis’s abuse was “a bit rich” as Lewis himself had sought to hire Kopelman’s  expertise in another case.

Lewis’s sidekick is Clair Dobbin, and yesterday was her day. Completing the smearing of Professor Kopelman was down to her. An American with some authority sat behind her in court.

Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Britain Assange
Stella Moris after attending the first hearing in the Assange extradition appeal in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

The implication was that this somehow lessened Kopelman’s medical diagnosis: that Julian, locked up in solitary in Belmarsh prison and facing extradition to the US on bogus “espionage” charges, had suffered severe psychotic depression and had planned, if he had not already attempted, to take his own life.

For her part, Judge Baraitser saw no contradiction. The full nature of the relationship between Stella and Julian had been explained to her in March 2020, and Professor Kopelman had made full reference to it in his report in August 2020. So the judge and the court knew all about it before the main extradition hearing last September. In her judgement in January, Baraitser said this:

[Professor Kopelman] assessed Mr. Assange during the period May to December 2019 and was best placed to consider at first-hand his symptoms. He has taken great care to provide an informed account of Mr. Assange background and psychiatric history. He has given close attention to the prison medical notes and provided a detailed summary annexed to his December report. He is an experienced clinician and he was well aware of the possibility of exaggeration and malingering. I had no reason to doubt his clinical opinion.

She added that she had “not been misled” by the exclusion in Kopelman’s first report of the Stella-Julian relationship and that she understood that Kopelman was protecting the privacy of Stella and her two young children.

In fact, as I know well, the family’s safety was under constant threat to the point when an embassy security guard confessed he had been told to steal one of the baby’s nappies so that a CIA-contracted company could analyse its DNA. There has been a stream of unpublicised threats against Stella and her children.

For the US and its legal hirelings in London, damaging the credibility of a renowned expert by suggesting he withheld this information was a way, they no doubt reckoned, to rescue their crumbling case against Assange. In June, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin reported that a key prosecution witness against Assange has admitted fabricating his evidence. The one “hacking” charge the Americans hoped to bring against Assange if they could get their hands on him depended on this source and witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant.

Thordarson had worked as a volunteer for WikiLeaks in Iceland between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, as several criminal charges were brought against him, he contacted the FBI and offered to become an informant in return for immunity from all prosecution. It emerged that he was a convicted fraudster who embezzled $55,000 from WikiLeaks, and served two years in prison. In 2015, he was sentenced to three years for sex offenses against teenage boys. The Washington Post described Thordarson’s credibility as the “core” of the case against Assange.

Yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Holroyde made no mention of this witness. His concern was that it was “arguable” that Judge Baraitser had attached too much weight to the evidence of Professor Kopelman, a man revered in his field. He said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children.

If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you have a better grasp than I who have sat through this case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled nobody. Judge Baraitser – whose hostility to Assange personally was a presence in her court – said that she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not matter. So why had Lord Chief Chief Justice Holroyde spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There, he now waits for the High Court’s final decision in October – for Julian Assange, a life or death decision.And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court trembling with anguish? Why is this case “unusual”? Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the Department of Justice in Washington – — who got their big chance under Trump, having been rejected by Obama – a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case against a principled journalist sunk as surely as Titantic?

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

I sat with Stella in the court’s colonnade while she drafted words to say to the crowd of media and well-wishers outside in the sunshine. Clip-clopping along came Clair Dobbin, spruced, ponytail swinging, bearing her carton of files: a figure of certainty: she who said Julian Assange was “not so ill” that he would consider suicide. How does she know?

Has Ms. Dobbin worked her way through the medieval maze at Belmarsh to sit with Julian in his yellow arm band, as Professors Koppelman and Melzer have done, and Stella has done, and I have done? Never mind. The Americans have now “promised” not to put him in a hellhole, just as they “promised” not to torture Chelsea Manning, just as they promised ……

Britain Assange
A WikiLeaks supporter gives leaflets to passing drivers, during the first Assange extradition appeal hearing in London, Aug. 11, 2021. Matt Dunham | AP

nd has she read the WikiLeaks’ leak of a Pentagon document dated 15 March, 2009? This foretold the current war on journalism. US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s “centre of gravity” with threats and “criminal prosecution”. Read all 32 pages and you are left in no doubt that silencing and criminalising independent journalism was the aim, smear the method.

I tried to catch Ms. Dobbin’s gaze, but she was on her way: job done.

Outside, Stella struggled to contain her emotion. This is one brave woman, as indeed her man is an exemplar of courage. “What has not been discussed today,” said Stella, “is why I feared for my safety and the safety of our children and for Julian’s life. The constant threats and intimidation we endured for years, which has been terrorising us and has been terrorising Julian for 10 years. We have a right to live, we have a right to exist and we have a right for this nightmare to come to an end once and for all.”

Tehran Hits back at US-Saudi Talks: All Must Learn Iran Can’t Be Subject of Their Negotiations

August 11, 2021

Iran flag

In reaction to the US-Saudi talks about Iran, the Iranian Embassy in the UK said that all must learn that Iran cannot be the subject of their negotiations

Referring to the conversation between the US and Saudi foreign ministers about Iran and the region, the Iranian Embassy in the UK in its Twitter account wrote on Tuesday, “All must learn that Iran cannot be the subject of their negotiations. This way proved to be fruitless.”

“Rather she would be the powerful party of any negotiations. Provided her potency is recognized as the pillar for regional security and its interests are respected accordingly,” the embassy said, according to Mehr news agency.

The Embassy’s tweet came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a tweet said, “Spoke again today with Saudi Foreign Minister @FaisalbinFarhan about the recent Iranian attack in the Arabian Sea and our ongoing security cooperation. We also discussed support for a ceasefire in Yemen and the need for progress on human rights.”

Source: Iranian media

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

August 08, 2021

By Cynthia Chung for The Saker Blog

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything “authoritative” mixed with the desperate incredulity that “everybody couldn’t possibly be in on it!” is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. “Question everything” has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no.

The social behaviourist sick joke of having made everyone obsessed with toilet paper of all things during the start of what was believed to be a time of crisis, is an example of how much control they have over that red button labelled “commence initiation of level 4 mass panic”.

And can the people be blamed? After all, if we are being lied to, how can we possibly rally together and point the finger at the root of this tyranny, aren’t we at the point where it is everywhere?

As Goebbels infamously stated,

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State [under fascism].”

And here we find ourselves today, at the brink of fascism. However, we have to first agree to forfeit our civil rights as a collective before fascism can completely dominate. That is, the big lie can only succeed if the majority fails to call it out, for if the majority were to recognise it for what it is, it would truly hold no power.

The Battle for Your Mind

Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.

– William Sargant “Battle of the Mind

It had been commonly thought in the past, and not without basis, that tyranny could only exist on the condition that the people were kept illiterate and ignorant of their oppression. To recognise that one was “oppressed” meant they must first have an idea of what was “freedom”, and if one were allowed the “privilege” to learn how to read, this discovery was inevitable.

If education of the masses could turn the majority of a population literate, it was thought that the higher ideas, the sort of “dangerous ideas” that Mustapha Mond for instance expresses in “The Brave New World”, would quickly organise the masses and revolution against their “controllers” would be inevitable. In other words, knowledge is freedom, and you cannot enslave those who learn how to “think”.

However, it hasn’t exactly played out that way has it?

The greater majority of us are free to read whatever we wish to, in terms of the once “forbidden books”, such as those listed by The Index Librorum Prohibitorum[1]. We can read any of the writings that were banned in “The Brave New World”, notably the works of Shakespeare which were named as absolutely dangerous forms of “knowledge”.

We are now very much free to “educate” ourselves on the very “ideas” that were recognised by tyrants of the past as the “antidote” to a life of slavery. And yet, today, the majority choose not to…

It is recognised, albeit superficially, that who controls the past, controls the present and thereby the future. George Orwell’s book “1984”, hammers this as the essential feature that allows the Big Brother apparatus to maintain absolute control over fear, perception and loyalty to the Party cause, and yet despite its popularity, there still remains a lack of interest in actually informing oneself about the past.

What does it matter anyway, if the past is controlled and rewritten to suit the present? As the Big Brother interrogator O’Brien states to Winston, “We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not? [And thus, are free to rewrite it as we choose…]”

Of course, we are not in the same situation as Winston…we are much better off. We can study and learn about the “past” if we so desire, unfortunately, it is a choice that many take for granted.

In fact, many are probably not fully aware that presently there is a battle waging for who will “control the past” in a manner that is closely resembling a form of “memory wipe”.

***

William Sargant was a British psychiatrist and, one could say, effectively the Father of “mind control” in the West, with connections to British Intelligence and the Tavistock Institute, which would influence the CIA and American military via the program MK Ultra. Sargant was also an advisor for Ewen Cameron’s LSD “blank slate” work at McGill University, funded by the CIA.

Sargant accounts for his reason in studying and using forms of “mind control” on his patients, which were primarily British soldiers that were sent back from the battlefield during WWII with various forms of “psychosis”, as the only way to rehabilitate extreme forms of PTSD.

The other reason, was because the Soviets had apparently become “experts” in the field, and out of a need for national security, the British would thus in turn have to become experts as well…as a matter of self-defence of course.

The work of Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, had succeeded in producing some disturbingly interesting insights into four primary forms of nervous systems in dogs, that were combinations of inhibitory and excitatory temperaments; “strong excitatory”, “balanced”, “passive” and “calm imperturbable”. Pavlov found that depending on the category of nervous system temperament the dog had, this in turn would dictate the form of “conditioning” that would work best to “reprogram behaviour”. The relevance to “human conditioning” was not lost on anyone.

It was feared in the West, that such techniques would not only be used against their soldiers to invoke free-flowing uninhibited confessions to the enemy but that these soldiers could be sent back to their home countries, as zombified assassins and spies that could be set off with a simple code word. At least, these were the thriller stories and movies that were pumped into the population. How horrific indeed! That the enemy could apparently enter what was thought the only sacred ground to be our own…our very “minds”!

However, for those who were actually leading the field in mind control research, such as William Sargant, it was understood that this was not exactly how mind control worked.

For one thing, the issue of “free will” was getting in the way.

No matter the length or degree of electro-shock, insulin “therapy”, tranquilizer cocktails, induced comas, sleep deprivation, starvation etc induced, it was discovered that if the subject had a “strong conviction” and “strong belief” in something, this could not be simply erased, it could not be written over with any arbitrary thing. Rather, the subject would have to have the illusion that their “conditioning” was in fact a “choice”. This was an extremely challenging task, and long term conversions (months to years) were rare.

However, Sargant saw an opening. It was understood that one could not create a new individual from scratch, however, with the right conditioning that was meant to lead to a physical breakdown using abnormal stress (effectively a reboot of the nervous system), one could increase the “suggestibility” markedly in their subjects.

Sargant wrote in his “Battle of the Mind”: “Pavlov’s clinical descriptions of the ‘experimental neuroses’ which he could induce in dogs proved, in fact, to have a close correspondence with those war-neuroses which we were investigating at the time.”

In addition, Sargant found that a falsely implanted memory could help induce abnormal stress leading to emotional exhaustion and physical breakdown to invoke “suggestibility”. That is, one didn’t even need to have a “real stress” but an “imagined stress” would work just as effectively.

Sargant goes on to state in his book:

“It is not surprising that the ordinary person, in general, is much more easily indoctrinated than the abnormal…A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioural patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions.”

Sargant then goes over the phenomenon of the London Blitz, which was an eight month period of heavy bombing of London during WWII. During this period, in order to cope and stay “sane”, people rapidly became accustomed to the idea that their neighbours could be and were buried alive in bombed houses around them. The thought was “If I can’t do anything about it what use is it that I trouble myself over it?” The best “coping” was thus found to be those who accepted the new “environment” and just focused on “surviving”, and did not try to resist it.

Sargant remarks that it is this “adaptability” to a changing environment which is part of the “survival” instinct and is very strong in the “healthy” and “normal” individual who can learn to cope and thus continues to be “functional” despite an ever changing environment.

It was thus our deeply programmed “survival instinct” that was found to be the key to the suggestibility of our minds. That the best “survivors” made for the best “brain-washing” in a sense.

Sargant quotes Hecker’s work, who was studying the dancing mania phenomenon that occurred during the Black Death, where Hecker observed that heightened suggestibility had the capability to cause a person to “embrace with equal force, reason and folly, good and evil, diminish the praise of virtue as well as the criminality of vice.”

And that such a state of mind was likened to the first efforts of the infant mind “this instinct of imitation when it exists in its highest degree, is also united a loss of all power over the will, which occurs as soon as the impression on the senses has become firmly established, producing a condition like that of small animals when they are fascinated by the look of a serpent.

I wonder if Sargant imagined himself the serpent…

Sargant does finally admit: “This does not mean that all persons can be genuinely indoctrinated by such means. Some will give only temporary submission to the demands made on them, and fight again when strength of body and mind returns. Others are saved by the supervention of madness. Or the will to resist may give way, but not the intellect itself.”

But he comforts himself as a response to this stubborn resistance that “As mentioned in a previous context, the stake, the gallows, the firing squad, the prison, or the madhouse, are usually available for the failures.”

How to Resist the Deconstruction of Your Mind

He whom the gods wish to destroy, they first of all drive mad.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “The Masque of Pandora”

For those who have not seen the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight” directed by George Cukor, I would highly recommend you do so since there is an invaluable lesson contained within, that is especially applicable to what I suspect many of us are experiencing nowadays.

The story starts with a 14 year old Paula (played by Ingrid Bergman) who is being taken to Italy after her Aunt Alice Alquist, a famous opera singer and caretaker of Paula, is found murdered in her home in London. Paula is the one who found the body, and horror stricken is never her old self again. Her Aunt was the only family Paula had left in her life. The decision is made to send her away from London to Italy to continue her studies to become a world-renowned opera singer like her Aunt Alice.

Years go by, Paula lives a very sheltered life and a heavy somberness is always present within her, she can never seem to feel any kind of happiness. During her singing studies she meets a mysterious man (her piano accompanist during her lessons) and falls deeply in love with him. However, she knows hardly anything about the man named Gregory.

Paula agrees to marry Gregory after a two week romance and is quickly convinced to move back into her Aunt’s house in London that was left abandoned all these years. As soon as she enters the house, the haunting of the night of the murder revisits her and she is consumed with panic and fear. Gregory tries to calm her and talks about the house needing just a little bit of air and sun, and then Paula comes across a letter written to her Aunt from a Sergis Bauer which confirms that he was in contact with Alice just a few days before her murder. At this finding, Gregory becomes bizarrely agitated and grabs the letter from Paula. He quickly tries to justify his anger blaming the letter for upsetting her. Gregory then decides to lock all of her Aunt’s belongings in the attic, to apparently spare Paula any further anguish.

It is at this point that Gregory starts to change his behaviour dramatically. Always under the pretext for “Paula’s sake”, everything that is considered “upsetting” to Paula must be removed from her presence. And thus quickly the house is turned into a form of prison. Paula is told it is for her best not to leave the house unaccompanied, not to have visitors and that self-isolation is the best remedy for her “anxieties” which are getting worst. Paula is never strictly forbidden at the beginning but rather is told that she should obey these restrictions for her own good.

Before a walk, he gives as a gift a beautiful heirloom brooch that belonged to his mother. Because the pin needs replacing, he instructs Paula to keep it in her handbag, and then says rather out of context, “Don’t forget where you put it now Paula, I don’t want you losing it.” Paula remarks thinking the warning absurd, “Of course I won’t forget!” When they return from their walk, Gregory asks for the brooch, Paula searches in her handbag but it is not there.

It continues on like this, with Gregory giving warnings and reminders, seemingly to help Paula with her “forgetfulness” and “anxieties”. Paula starts to question her own judgement and sanity as these events become more and more frequent. She has no one else to talk to but Gregory, who is the only witness to these apparent mishaps. It gets to a point where completely nonsensical behaviour is being attributed to Paula by Gregory. A painting is found missing on the wall one night. Gregory talks to Paula like she is a 5 year child and asks her to put it back. Paula insists she does not know who took it down. After her persistent passionate insistence that it was not her, she walks up the stairs almost like she were in a dream state and pulls the painting from behind a statue. Gregory asks why she lied, but Paula insists that she only thought to look there because that is where it was found the last two times this occurred.

For weeks now, Paula thinks she has been seeing things, the gas lights of the house dimming for no reason, she also hears footsteps above her bedroom. No one else seems to take notice. Paula is also told by Gregory that he found out that her mother, who passed away when she was very young, had actually gone insane and died in an asylum.

Despite Paula being reduced to a condition of an ongoing stupor, she decides one night to make a stand and regain control over her life. Paula is invited, by one of her Aunt Alice’s close friends Lady Dalroy, to attend a high society evening with musical performances. Recall that Paula’s life gravitated around music before her encounter with Gregory. Music was her life. Paula gets magnificently dressed up for the evening and on her way out tells Gregory that she is going to this event. Gregory tries to convince her that she is not well enough to attend such a social gathering, when Paula calmly insists that she is going and that this woman was a dear friend of her Aunt, Gregory answers that he refuses to accompany her (in those days that was a big deal). Paula accepts this and walks with a solid dignity, undeterred towards the horse carriage. In a very telling scene, Gregory is left momentarily by himself and panic stricken, his eyes bulging he snaps his cigar case shut and runs after Paula. He laughingly calls to her, “Paula, you did not think I was serious? I had no idea that this party meant so much to you. Wait, I will get ready.” As he is getting ready in front of the mirror, a devilish smirk appears.

Paula and Gregory show up to Lady Dalroy’s house late, the pianist is in the middle of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 in C minor. They quickly are escorted to two empty seats. Paula is immediately immersed in the piece, and Gregory can see his control is slipping. After only a few minutes, he goes to look at his pocket watch but it is not in his pocket. He whispers into Paula’s ear, “My watch is missing”. Immediately, Paula looks like she is going to be sick. Gregory takes her handbag and Paula looks in horror as he pulls out his pocket watch, insinuating that Paula had put it there. She immediately starts losing control and has a very public emotional breakdown. Gregory takes her away, as he remarks to Lady Dalroy that this is why he didn’t want Paula coming in the first place.

When they arrive home, Paula has by now completely succumbed to the thought that she is indeed completely insane. Gregory says that it would be best if they go away somewhere for an indefinite period of time. We later find out that Gregory is intending on committing her to an asylum. Paula agrees to leave London with Gregory and leaves her fate entirely in his hands.

In the case of Paula it is clear. She has been suspecting that Gregory has something to do with her “situation” but he has very artfully created an environment where Paula herself doubts whether this is a matter of unfathomable villainy or whether she is indeed going mad.

It is rather because she is not mad that she doubts herself, because there is seemingly no reason for why Gregory would put so much time and energy into making it look like she were mad, or at least so it first appears. But what if the purpose to her believing in her madness was simply a matter of who is in control?

Paula almost succeeds in gaining the upper-hand in this power-struggle, the evening she decided to go out on her own no matter what Gregory insisted was in her best interest. If she would have held her ground at Lady Dalroy’s house and simply replied, “I have no idea why your stupid watch ended up in my handbag and I could care less. Now stop interrupting this performance, you are making a scene!” Gregory’s spell would have been broken as simple as that. If he were to complain to others about the situation, they would also respond, “Who cares man, why are you so obsessed about your damn watch?”

We find ourselves today in a very similar situation to Paula. And the voice of Gregory is represented by the narrative of false news and the apocalyptic social behaviourist programming in our forms of entertainment. The things most people voluntarily subject themselves to on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Socially conditioning them, like a pack of salivating Pavlovian dogs, to think it is just a matter of time before the world ends and with a ring of their master’s bell…be at each other’s throats.

Paula ends up being saved in the end by a man named Joseph Cotten (a detective), who took notice and quickly discerned that something was amiss. In the end Gregory is arrested. It is revealed that Gregory is in fact Sergis Bauer. That he killed Alice Alquist and that he has returned to the scene of the crime after all these years in search for the famous jewels of the opera singer. The jewels were in fact rather worthless from the standpoint that they were too famous to be sold, however, Gregory never intended on selling these jewels but rather had become obsessed with the desire to merely possess them.

That is, it is Gregory who has been entirely mad all this time.

A Gregory is absolutely dangerous. He would have been the end of Paula if nothing had intervened. However, the power that Gregory held was conditional to the degree that Paula allowed it to control her. Paula’s extreme deconstruction was thus entirely dependent on her choice to let the voice of Gregory in. That is, a Gregory is only dangerous if we allow ourselves to sleep walk into the nightmare he has constructed for us.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass

The author can be reached at https://cynthiachung.substack.com/

  1. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of forbidden books, which were judged to be dangerous to the faith and morals of Roman Catholics, and had a suspicious gravitation towards works by platonic humanists. Among the banned works would include those of Dante, Erasmus and all of Machiavelli’s books. For more refer to my paper on this subject

Western Media Parrots “Israeli” Lies: July 2006 War An Example

18/07/2021

Western Media Parrots “Israeli” Lies: July 2006 War An Example

Western Media Bias towards ‘Israel’: 

By Dr. Ibrahim al-Moussawi*

Western media generally has always played a pivotal role in misinforming rather misleading the public instead of supplying them with correct information and news; in short not telling them the truth.

All preaching and rhetoric of honesty, fairness, accuracy and transparency become obsolete, especially when it comes to our region and specifically to what used to be called the Arab Israeli conflict. To be more specific, the Western-backed ‘Israeli’ occupation to Palestine has the lions share in the field of propaganda. A propaganda which aims at polishing the ‘Israeli’ Image and distorting the Palestinian one.

This issue was not only limited to occupied Palestine and the resistance there but it has extended and stretched to include all those who resist or fight the US ‘Israeli’ occupation in any place in the region. Lebanon is not an exception.

The examples about the Western media bias towards ‘Israel’ are numerous. If we recall the ‘Israeli’ occupation of Lebanon we can find so many.

First and most importantly, the terminology.

The Western media presents ‘Israel’ as “a peaceful democratic ‘state’ which is always “defending itself against fanatic terrorists and dictator regimes and countries.” These definitions are not only misleading and incorrect but they are very dangerous because they justify the ‘Israeli’ continuous crimes against its enemies in most of the cases they are innocent civilians and children.

The big lie that ‘Israel’ and its Western allies tried to sell was that Palestine was empty without people and the ‘Israelis’ made a miracle as they came and turned the desert into a heaven on earth. This is the translation of the ‘Israeli’ slogan: a land without people to people without land.

In July 2006 war, the writer of this article has had the opportunity to meet scores of Western journalists from different European and American nationalities. I did so many interviews and answered hundreds of questions. It was a real and complete shock how most of the media personnel are grossly misinformed about the basics or the alphabet of the issue.

I had to inform many of them about the nature of the struggle and how it started and how does it unfold and manifest itself every now and then.

The ‘Israeli’ narrative is the one prevalent: “‘Israel’ is a civilized tolerant entity, it is a victim, and it is seeking to live in harmony, coexistence and peace with its surroundings, while its ‘enemies’ are pursuing every effort to destroy it.”

The ‘Israeli’ aggressions, incursions, occupations are crucial and necessary and they are actions of “self-defense.” ‘Israel’ resorted to them as a last choice and only after it has exhausted all other means.

The mainstream media in the West and in many so-called Arab outlets especially in the Gulf region has the ‘Israeli’ narrative as their official line of news. This is very telling about the size and severity of the distortion taking place.

If the journalists and media people who are supposed to inform people with accuracy about the real ongoing events and the facts are that ignorant, manipulated and biased, what one can expect from the average person in the street. This is a systematic distortion of facts with catastrophic consequences on many levels.

If the Western official line of media is biased to ‘Israel’ and telling lies to people to support ‘Israel’, then the responsibility of the informed activists and human rights advocates is very big. With the presence of social media and public applications and platforms the alternative media should be activated.

An urgent action is needed to be organized and coordinated by all those individuals and organizations who are fully aware of the situation to inform the world public about the real facts.

The task and mission performed by our media outlets as an axis of resistance is very distinguished and significant but it is not sufficient to strike the necessary balance with pro-‘Israeli’ media.

More voices are needed here, they are there we only need to make them join the circle to build our system and narrative. This is very urgent, crucial and vital now more than any time in the past.

*Dr. Ibrahim al-Moussawi is a Member of Hezbollah’s Bloc at the Lebanese Parliament. He is also a Professor of Media Studies and Social Studies at the Lebanese University. He obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Zakharova: OPCW Disproves Navalny’s Poisoning Story, West Fabricated It (Rossiya-24)

Zakharova: OPCW Disproves Navalny’s Poisoning Story, West Fabricated It (Rossiya-24)

July 13, 2021

Translated and subtitled by Leo.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) itself unwittingly denied the version of Navalny’s poisoning. It’s hard to make a different conclusion to the OPCW report presented this week. In the document, it is said that the organization, with the request of Germany, formed a technical commission to check the information about the poisoning of the Russian citizen even from August 20th. Basically from the moment that the blogger started ‘feeling sick’ on board the plane, flying from Omsk to Moscow.

The reason for this malaise was not and couldn’t be understood by anyone. As the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova commented, in order to appeal to the OPCW, Germany had to have on-hand some primary data about the poisoning.

Maria Zakharova: “It means that the whole story was being prepared ahead of time. If by August 20, in that moment when the doctors didn’t get a chance to start the primary analysis, and make at least some conclusions, the OPCW already answered to Germany’s request. And they sent their experts on chemical weapons poisoning. It’s a falsification.”

Emergency help for Navalny after the unexpected plane landing in Omsk was done by ambulance paramedics from a local hospital. They were the first to do research on the status of his organs with all possible poison substances, including synthetic ones. And they received a negative result.

Already two days later, the blogger landed in Berlin from a special flight for his further treatment. Germany and other Western countries accused Russia of poisoning. However, the data from the analysis on the basis of which this conclusion was made, overlooking the numerous official inquiries made by Moscow, neither Berlin nor the OPCW provided them with it. And now without any analysis, it has emerged that the version of using a battle-poison substance against Navalny, was knitted by white threads.

Al Mayadeen English: To Defy Monopolies

July 1 2021

Visual search query image

Ghassan Ben Jeddou 

Source: Al Mayadeen

We, the family of Al Mayadeen, are all treading the path of freedom in the face of hegemony and supremacy.

Al Mayadeen Family Welcomes Its Newest Member

On the ninth anniversary of the launch of Al Mayadeen Media Network, we were late in issuing Al Mayadeen net in English, yet here it is; our first English platform is now officially released, after two previous Arabic and Spanish editions.

Indeed, it was an amiss delay, we admit that, but to be honest, it was intentional… This step was not among our political, professional, and financial priorities. Moreover, we aimed first to consolidate our base media system that marked our start, to avoid any risk of being overburdened; otherwise, our plans would have gone awry, and our potentials would have been scattered.

Our main concern was to address the Arab public opinion. Who can forget the circumstances under which Al Mayadeen was established prior to the actual fulfillment of our dream? Who can forget that we were in the midst of blood-shedding and destructive Arab, regional, and international conflicts? Can we ever forget the “Decade of Fire” fueled by media outlets blinded and driven by all forms of ignorance and distortion campaigns, to the extent that they actually became essential collaborators in crimes and destruction? We were and still are at the heart of the public opinion battle.

Launching Al Mayadeen website in Spanish was based on a well-considered strategic media decision. We, the Al Mayadeen family, are part of the Global South, in the frame of a true engagement and belonging and not only as a biased partner. The Global South is rich and embraces tens of languages and diverse cultures. Yet, we dare say, it enjoys the same humanitarian options and strategic prospects, all treading the path of freedom in the face of hegemony and supremacy. To that end, Al Mayadeen Español, our second online making, was born.

And today, in chronological and not in preference order, we introduce our third online making, Al Mayadeen English. The time has finally come for this new project to step into the light and shine. This constitutes a new stage in formulating discourse and presenting rich content to our English-speaking followers. There is more to say, but everything will be left at the appropriate time.

We address every speaker and reader of the English language, wherever they may be. We are not going to confine ourselves by aiming for a particular type of audience. We will not corner ourselves in one direction. We’re not going to constrain ourselves to ignorant propaganda and incitement showmanship. At the same time, we will not lose our editorial, cultural, and political identity in the name of fraudulent openness. We will not drain ourselves in conceptual battles. We will not waste our efforts in hypocritical and opportunistic appeasement.

We have been very clear and vocal about our public policies, which we announced since establishing Al Mayadeen. With our pens and voices, we will defend our right to free and boost pluralistic media. We will stand against worldwide media unilateralism. Due to our friends support in international media, we will contribute to establishing a professionally sound and fearless media environment. Open to new cultures, yet politically and strategically steadfast; Al Mayadeen English is for everyone.

It is Al Mayadeen English; its focus will be on the new generations and renewed minds, using modern and scientific language. The news platform is welcoming and accessible. This feature will allow our social media platforms to expand to every home and business; with nothing other than positive engagement, it will be a voice for the free people. It will be a platform that respects reason – unreservedly.

Al Mayadeen is a constructive force in our Arab media environment. It is also a force of influence in public opinion.

Al Mayadeen English joining Al Mayadeen Online is a modest yet well-established step. It is rooted, unwavering, and resilient. It constitutes of a young crew led by an intelligent and creative administration. Thus, this site may usher in a new era for Al Mayadeen.

Today, a website and social media platforms are launched, but tomorrow, it could be greater!

We wish Al Mayadeen English all the luck and success.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Imam Khamenei: Westerners’ Impudence Strange, Odd

28/06/2021

Imam Khamenei: Westerners’ Impudence Strange, Odd

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei criticized French government and other Western states for being just so-called advocates of the human rights and said Westerners’ effrontery is something strange and odd.

Imam Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting held in Tehran on Monday with Judiciary Chief, and Iran’s president-elect, Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi and staff of the office.

The meeting was held in commemoration of the June 28 martyrdom of Ayatollah Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti – the first Judiciary chief of Iran – and 72 others in 1981.

The Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization [MKO] terrorist outfit was behind the attack.

As His Eminence noted, MKO at that time did commit a big crime against the Iranian nation.

“Members of the MKO terrorist group are walking free in France and other European countries,” Imam Khamenei said.

“The French government and others shamelessly preach human rights despite hosting these killers, supporting them, and even giving them the podium in their national parliaments,” His Eminence said. “That is to say, the brazenness of these Westerners is really an extraordinary and strange thing.”

Their confession to those crimes and murders are available, Imam Khamenei underlined, noting that “however, they are freely living in and traveling to France and other European countries which are so-called supporters of the human rights.”

Imam Khamenei also thanked Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi for bringing about a great change to the Judiciary since he assumed office more than two years ago.

“In these two years and a few months that he was in charge of the Judiciary, he really worked hard, he strove, and good things were achieved in the Judiciary,” Imam Khamenei said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, His Eminence hailed the June 18 presidential election as “truly an epic”, saying no one can take the magnificence of the election away from the country. 

“Where in the world is it common to see that all members of the opposition propaganda apparatus get actively involved to scare people away from voting in the election,” Imam Khamenei said.

“Attempts are still made – they [the opposition] write letters and speak via the cyberspace – to deny the greatness of this election, but to no avail,” His Eminence said.

“This effort is in vain. Analysts who had their eyes fixed on this election understand what has happened.”

‘Many US commentators have never BEEN to countries they comment on, see entire world from Washington perspective’ – Stephen Kinzer

moi

June 27, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Much of Western media is a mixture of sensationalist accusations and fear mongering about ‘enemy’ states. It is difficult to find perspectives divorced from US foreign policy, American journalist Stephen Kinzer has told RT.

I asked the author and journalist Stephen Kinzer how the corporate media came to be so devoid of honest content and discussed the rise of censorship by Big Tech.

Kinzer is a Boston Globe columnist and formerly a correspondent for the New York Times. With over two decades of experience reporting from around the world, including areas being targeted by American imperialism, Kinzer can offer a much needed critique on the state of journalism today.

He started as an independent journalist in Central America in the mid-70s, when few journalists were going there, later reporting from Central Asia, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Europe.

I’m sometimes asked why I developed a different perspective on the world than many other people who comment in the American press,” he told RT. “I always seem to be the skunk at the foreign policy garden party. Why is that?

Upon reflection, I think it has to do with the way that I learned about the world. Many people who write about the world in the United States learned about the world the same way: they went to international relations schools, they went to work on congressional staffs, then they worked at think tanks. And they’re very steeped in this Washington-centric view of the world.”

Unlike such journalists and commentators, Kinzer learned journalism by going places and writing firsthand what he saw and heard.

I learned about the world from the perspective of the people who were the victims of American foreign policy. I was in the places where people were getting bombed. I saw American foreign policy from the perspective of the rest of the world.”

Having myself learned journalism the same way, I appreciated his words. And I had a followup question about the concept of journalistic qualifications, something my detractors have claimed I lack.

According to Kinzer, there are many qualifications for being a journalist that are much more important than what school you went to or what you studied.

The most important one is independent thinking. The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative,” he said. 

In his view, many American journalists are merely stenographers. 

They’re sitting down at a press conference, they write down what some government spokesman says, then they go and print that in a newspaper. You hardly even need to have a sentient human there, you can get an algorithm to probably put most of those stories together.

And when you want to have a story that’s very well-sourced, they call the State Department, and the Defense Department, and several think tanks, and some congressmen. And they think, ‘Well I sure covered the landscape on this one!’”

But that, Kinzer argues, is not what covering the landscape is about. 

The great qualification you need for a journalist is the confidence to go out and see for yourself, and believe that your eyes are actually telling you more than press releases from some other country.

Indeed, much of the lies and war propaganda about Syria, for example, have come from journalists situated in Istanbul, Beirut, or North America, most who have never been to Syria, or if they have – not in the past decade.

It’s amazing to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are,” Kinzer said. “It’s because they are seeing the entire world from Washington’s perspective, and don’t think there is any other perspective worth having,” he added.

It’s truly amazing, I’ve seen the decline of this profession into such willing subservience. We don’t have any core of regular columnists or people trying to challenge established narratives. We do have voices that pop up periodically, but they’re so drowned out by the regular columnists who just voice the same tropes over and over again,” Kinzer said. 

The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most of what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.”

Tremendous desire of CIA to control news 

In 2014, German journalist and editor, Udo Ulfkotte, told RT he had been forced to publish works not written by him under his own name (or risk being fired), including things “written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.” 

According to Kinzer, the CIA “has had a massive, long-term effort to influence” the Western media dating back to the Cold War era. 

The CIA has placed its own people, people who are on its payroll, in the offices of major news outlets over many decades. There was a large project the CIA called ‘Operation Mockingbird’ aimed specifically at trying to influence the US press, and particularly what the US press writes about the world,” he said. 

He recalled that in 1954, “when the CIA was planning to overthrow the government of Guatemala… because its president was ‘communist’, a New York Times reporter there started writing stories saying that actually the president is not communist and that land reform is only answering a desperate need of starving Guatemalans.” 

At CIA Director Allen Dulles’ request, the publisher agreed to keep the correspondent, Sydney Gruson, out of Guatemala. 

Now that’s an extreme example. But, the motivation behind it is still there. There is a tremendous desire on the part of the CIA to control news.” 

While not surprised that the CIA would interfere in journalism, Kinzer was emphatic about his disgust that journalists toe the line.

What I don’t like is that journalists go along with this! Power has so many levers, why should journalists become yet another one of them. We are the ones that are supposed to be questioning. It’s the job of reporters not to submit themselves to that.

‘Press a button, and the narrative changes’

Kinzer also noted how media narratives can suddenly change, like a switch has been flipped. 

It’s so interesting that when power decides to change the narrative, it happens right away.

I can remember just six months ago turning on my PBS News Hour, in the US, and seeing a very longreport with General Dunford and Kelly Ayotte and a bunch of these right wingers who had come up with a big report about Afghanistan. And it was about why we can’t leave Afghanistan, we have to stay. It was a 10-minute report, and no other voices, nobody came on to say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s nonsense.’ Everybody was saying, ‘We have to stay in Afghanistan forever.’

Suddenly, the president of the United States decides, OK, we’re gonna withdraw. And now, suddenly, it’s acceptable to say, ‘That whole Afghanistan thing was a disaster.’ Somebody just has to press a button, then the narrative changes, then everybody is allowed to say what the president said. But if you had said it one day before, you would have been in a lot of trouble.

You have to wait for the general narrative to change, then you can change your narrative, but don’t do it until power tells you it is acceptable to change.”

Later in our conversation, he gave the example of writing about Israel, which he said was hard to do, until recently.

Suddenly, in recent weeks even, it’s become a little more OK to be critical of Israeli policies, because some people in Washington are now a little more critical.

Big Tech censorship on the rise

In the past several years, there has been an increase in social media giants deciding what content is acceptable and what “violates” so-called “community standards.” And as I wrote recently, it has gotten to the point where Twitter issues scary warnings about “unsafe” or “spammy” content from websites the social media platform deems dangerous, potentially scaring readers away. 

Commenting on the matter, Kinzer said that “the power of private companies to decide what people see and don’t see is greater now than ever.

As for censorship by the outlets he has written for, Kinzer said he was lucky to be writing from places that editors really didn’t have the knowledge to tell him how to report. “Nobody called me and said ‘I know everything about Uzbekistan and this is wrong.’”

That said, he does maintain that in writing his columns, some subjects are either taboo or you would have to frame them in the usual anti-Russia manner common in Western media.

It’s very hard to get a story in the American press about Russia that’s anything other than fitting into the cliches. I’ve had trouble writing about Russia, because the narrative that Putin is something other than a killer is not welcome in the United States. And I’ve had trouble writing about Syria. And of course, it’s very difficult to write about Israel.

Lather, rinse, repeat

On the 10-year anniversary of the war on Syria, I wrote about how, mind-bogglingly, Western media and pundits continue to repeat the cliched and debunked rhetoric and lies that have been recycled year after year.

Kinzer addressed this technique, the repetition of narratives.

I had an editor at the New York Times years ago who told me: A lot of journalism is about repetition. And boy does the American press do that. We have been told certain things about certain countries so many times over. And it just seems like the truth.

“‘The evils that have taken hold of Russia. The daily genocide that’s happening under the killers in Syria…’ You don’t need to go, you don’t need to check, it’s just like the air, it’s like an obvious fact.

I even see it in what’s happened to the Pulitzer Prize for International Journalism,” he said, adding that in 2020 it “predictably” went to a series of reports on “how evil Russia is” and this year – to a series of reports on “how evil China is.” 

The Pulitzer, he argued, is supposed to encourage original reporting, “not people that just scribble down what officials say, and then put it in nicer prose, and use phrases that are calculated to make people believe that government opinion is actual fact.

The job of journalists is to rebel against the narrative. We are out there as the eyes and ears of the world. If you don’t want to do it, fine, but don’t pretend that you’re doing it, and sit in your little cubicle and think of the stereotypes you’ve been fed and just regurgitate them. That is not journalism, it’s just public relations.”

In conclusion, Kinzer recalled a quote by Mark Twain: “The majority is always wrong. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

Indeed, time and again when the majority has written about “weapons of mass destruction,” “chemical attacks,” Iraqi troops “killing babies in incubators,” and other Washington-contrived narratives, those courageous few who have stood up against those lies-based-narratives have proven to be honest journalists. 

If only more journalists would follow.  

Sailing into Black Sea trouble: the right of innocent passage (with some caveats of course)

Sailing into Black Sea trouble:   the right of innocent passage  (with some caveats of course)

June 25, 2021

by Nat South for the Saker Blog

HMS Defender’s highly visible transit past the Crimea coastline, off Cape Fiolent, is the latest bout of heated tensions in the Black Sea and in this article, I’d like to present some aspects relating to UNCLOS and consider some interesting issues that have been revealed following the incident.

The UK sailed a warship, HMS Defender, inside 12nm territorial waters near to the main Russian naval base of Sevastopol. The location of the event was subsequently corroborated by satellite imagery and AIS data. Also nearby was the Dutch warship HHLMS ‘Evertsen’, (not in territorial waters apparently), according to radio communications. Still in the Black Sea at the was the US Navy destroyer, ‘USS Laboon’, (which has now since left the Black Sea).

The incident was quickly escalated via the media and on social media. Interestingly, a BBC journalist crew and a Daily Mail reporter were on board the vessel and the BCC showed footage and gave accounts of the events, (more on this later).

The Russian MoD was VERY quick in releasing information, its version of events, which ultimately caused a flurry of lurid headlines, given the reported spectacular nature of actions, including the firing of warning shots, taken to get the Royal Navy destroyer to leave territorial waters. Although the journalist onboard reported that the shots were out of range, the UK MoD denied that this happened, (see tweet below).

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The whole package of information needs to be treated with a pinch of salt and to emphasise that there some kernels of truth are hidden away in the mass of posts, articles and reports.

Part 2 — dates and events

Some more context with regards to the political dynamics at play, needs to be added as well, given that:

  1. Self-declared adversarial state, (part of current state policy) and NATO member, who consider Russia as a near-peer adversary.
  2. 22 June: The Nazi operation to invade the USSR started in 1941.
  3. 22 June:   Signing of joint UK-Ukrainian military agreement onboard HMS Defender in Odessa on military.
  4. Ongoing NATO activities and exercises in the region, (Sea Defender 21 just finished.
  5.  Large-scale ‘Sea Breeze 21’ soon to happen, (28 June — 10 July). The U.S. lead annual will be headed by Ukraine will lead 32 countries in a naval exercise including Israel, Brasil, Japan and South Korea, (personnel, aircraft or ships);
  6.  Annual MCIS— ongoing in Moscow.
  7. Signing end of May of a Russia and UK protocol updating the bilateral IncSea agreement.

Durable and worthwhile, (long-game) diplomacy got kicked into touch, several times over, considering some of the events and dates listed above, (22 June in particular, as it is a highly significant day, so the timing could be viewed in a jaundiced manner by Russia).

A very poorly thought-out stunt pulled by the UK government, that could have easily backfired, just over a pretext of demonstrating the UK’s policy on non-recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, via several nautical miles. The Russian Navy head called the incident: ” a crude, ops-ended provocation”.

Back to the past and present, one of naval gunboat ‘diplomacy’ to score futile points in the “rule-based international order”. This one incident has temporarily but very visibly overshadowed diplomat events such as MSC or the post work after the Biden-Putin Summit, as it once more shows the disparity between rhetoric and actions on the grounds.  Certainly, Washington would have known of the UK intentions relating to the passage of HMS Defender, (see later).

Part 2 – UNCLOS aspects

It isn’t quite an open and shut cases of innocent passage transit, as some would like to portray and leave like that.  The transit was vigorously challenged by the Russian authorities, more intensely than the last time that a British destroyer, HMS Dragon tried in the same area back in autumn 2020, (but without the attendant intense media storm). There are some factors to consider that are different to HMS Dragon’s voyage, (more later), which have a bearing on how this incident developed in the way it did.

There are several provisions in UNCLOS that are specific to innocent passage, (Article 17 outlines the right and Article 18 defines it). In a nutshell, naval ships as well as commercial ships may be permitted “innocent passage”, as a key right under UNCLOS, but there is a list of caveats attached.  As always with UNCLOS, there’s more than what first meets the eye.

On the face of it, HMS Defender was proceeding as per the right and definition under UNCLOS. Western experts, media outlets and politicians leave like that. The consensus generally is on ‘innocent passage” as a right enshrined in UNCLOS, as long it genuinely innocent. Of course, a coastal state can respond or resort to this if innocent passage is deemed not to fully meet the criteria of innocent passage.  Zooming in on Article 19 (2), which outlines the situations when a coastal state can act:

  • (a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;
  • (b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;
  • (c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;  (x)
  • (d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State; (x)
  • (e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;
  • (f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;
  •  (g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;
  • (h) any act of willful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;
  • (i) any fishing activities;
  • (j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;
  • (k)  any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State; (x)
  • (l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage. (x)

(x) is my denotation — possibility of where the coastal state could deem the passage of HMS Defender as being non-innocent). Explanations for this are given later on.

It has to be noted that Russia took the steps as contained in Article 25, to prevent and force the warship to leave territorial waters. Additionally, a number of examples are outlined later on in this article that highlight the potential categories that fall under a non-innocent passage, as also noted under Article 30 of UNCLOS.

Bearing in mind that a combination of Russian Coastguard and naval ships were shadowing the two NATO warships that had left Odessa in Ukraine, movements and activities would have been duly logged by the escorting ships.

Part 3 — Certain aspects

Quick run through of some of the issues to consider:

a. Gunnery exercises (as initially mentioned in the radio comms) taking place in nearby area, (seen as an exclusive pretext some Western Think Tank experts and pundits), but the publication and the radio comms between the Russian coastguard and HMS Defender, indicate the application of Article 24 (2)

Taking note of this part of Article 25: “suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security, including weapons exercises. Such suspension shall take effect only after having been duly published.”

Article 25(3)

(Yet the referred published  NAVAREA expired on 21 June).

The closed areas were mentioned in many articles when they were first published back in April 2021, the Kommersant published an article including a map of these areas:

Source Kommersant

Back in April 2021, a coastal warning No 152/21 was issued “on the temporary suspension of the right of innocent passage for foreign warships and state-owned vessels” for the Black Sea near the entrance to the Kerchenska Strait and around the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula during the period from April 24 to 31 October 2021.  This was followed by another warning No 0392/21.

Effectively, Russia created an obstacle and limitations on only navigation of warships and government-owned vessels. (The aspect that the think tank experts and pundits miss completely). To note, that this is situation of suspending the right to innocent passage is provided under international law, not you would hear much about it, under the status of “occupying power”, irrespective of whether Russia is the ‘coastal state’ or not. This status is confirmed by the UN Assembly Resolution 68/292, (For further details – legal opinion provided by Stefan Tamlon on Russia’s restrictions of warships in the Black Sea). This maritime precedent was set by the U.S. in 2004 in Iraq. Thus, the current administration of a territory is a distinct element as to the question whether Russia has lawfully gained Crimea or not.

b. No prior notification or authorisation for transit. — Contentious  and thorny issue all round. Not going down any of those rabbit holes now.

c. Initial disregard of multiple radio requests to change course, followed by refusal to comply with directions. (Radio comms) (Just that alone would suffice getting an Article 30 situation requirement to “leave the territorial sea immediately’).

The catch-all for the coastal state to use: “any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage. “.

One thing is for sure, Russia has not stated publicly the reasons why it took issue to the transit of HMS Defender, under UNCLOS.

d. The UK stated that HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route.  (see image).

There is a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in area, (internationally recognised by the IMO), so this is what is being referred to and referred to in Article 25 of UNCLOS.  This is also mentioned in the BBC report:

However, the use of a TSS as part of an innocent passage is somewhat made irrelevant given the BBC report that consider the ship making a “deliberate move to make a point to Russia.” Not exactly innocent passage in the cited context given.  (See also point 2 on mode of operation below to see how the concept of using an internationally or legally (as the BBC reported) recognised transit route got mangled and made a farce of. This is not the same as transits through the Dover Straits, (straits is the keyword here and there is a huge difference in re UNCLOS rules).

A TSS is used to regulate the traffic at busy, confined waterways or around capes, notably for commercial ships, and the one off Folient Cape partly runs just inside the 12 NM. Yet, via the Coastal Warnings, the TSS from Cape Khersones to Cape Aitodor was out of bounds to NATO and other foreign warships.  HMS Defender duly ignored these yet deliberately chose to voluntarily comply with an IMO-approved routing for a short period of time that happens to skirt inside the 12NM, to validate its ‘innocent passage” claim under Article 22 of UNCLOS. Warships can voluntarily comply with a TSS in the same way as they can comply with AIS requirements.

According to the Russian coastguard video screenshot of the radar screen, the two ships’ tracks and projected course are clearly visible.

Close up of screen

Strange indeed, that HNMS Evertsen managed not to need to pass through the TSS in the same way as HMS Defender, in order to sail from Ukraine to Georgia.

Part 4 -Things of interest to note

  1. Media

The presence of a BBC and Daily Mail journalist ought not be ignored, one it reaffirms that the BBC  is the state broadcaster, any information, reporting would be deliberate slanted. As such, the Russian military provocation will be recorded and reported.  It does make me wonder if the ‘innocent passage’ wasn’t that innocent, if the BBC gets a spectacular scoop, which could be seen as being as an “act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State” under UNCLOS. (The box has now been ticked for the next incursion by a British warship) — handy to note response by journalist that it is common to have journalists on ships when in the Black Sea. Nice for the UK MoD to have handily arranged press coverage but also at the same time, clumsily bolstered a number of legal implications for any future FONOP challenge.

“Our correspondent, who had been invited on board the ship before the incident happened, saw more than 20 aircraft overhead and two Russian coastguard boats which at times were just 100m (328ft) away.”

The BBC reporter outlines the events in an article:

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57583363

Cringeworthy headline from the Daily Mail

Text Description automatically generated

(Notice the cannon shots, those warning shots fired at a very safe distance & elevation by the Russian Coastguard, which the UK MoD and Pentagon spokesman claim as Russian lies).

2. Mode of operation

The first thing to stand out is this part mentioned by the BBC journalist:

“The crew were already at action stations as they approached the southern tip of Russian-occupied Crimea. Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded.”

“Already at Action Stations”, not a normal mode of operations for a naval ship on an ‘innocent-passage, add in the fact that weapons systems had been loaded, (something more than likely to have been noticed by the Russian ships shadowing the destroyer). Double ‘no’ normal mode of operating a warship, jeopardizing and likely voiding its ‘innocent passage” by having carried out these actions alone.

Normal mode of operation is the basis for an innocent passage, otherwise it is likely fall under one of the categories listed in Article 19(2).

“As they approached the southern tip”, meaning as they entered the TSS parallel  to the coast, (see note about TSS above) on a “routine transit” at action stations, (explanation). (See 0:13s in BBC report, “hands to action stations”).

Passage can only be declared to be innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State.  Is it peaceful, is it in good order for a warship to transit with weapons loaded and at action stations? No, not in my book and if an incident like this happened with another non-US or non-NATO vessel, the would be absolute howling from the rafters on the negative behaviour and activities.

Another important aspect to consider re Article 19 is: “any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;”.  There is no information in open sources or media to suggest that this was being done.  However, if the crew were already at ‘action stations’, then part of this is collect information on military activities in the area, at sea and in the air, so it could be construed that this was indeed happening.  Certainly not “normal mode of operation” either.

Whether it was prejudicial to the coastal State, that’s open to debate, but the timing and location do not do anything to reduce tensions or improve security conditions. Another element to consider is the deployment of an US intelligence gathering military aircraft in the area, certainly collecting information on the Russian activities and response at the same time.   If HMS Defender was really on an innocent passage, then it is just coincidental that the US military is flying in the area? Not to mention what HNLMS ‘Evertsen’ could provide in support on the other side of the 12NM limit if in area, (judging by Russian radio comms, the ship was in the area and the wording used by the RN watchkeeper, “ both of our vessels” 0:55s radio comms on video).

I’m not going to discuss the maritime security aspect as viewed by Russia to the incursion of an UK warship, or the relationship of the UK and Ukraine, as I presume the reader will be aware of the hostile nature and geopolitical environment anyway.

The mission planners and commanding officer of HMS Defender knew what they were doing,  by carrying out a mission, of a nature as to affect the security or welfare of the coastal state, to activate a military response, by carrying actions coming from a country that has Russia as adversarial state in its military doctrine, sailing under 12nm, from the main Russian Black Sea Fleet base.

Hubris and provocation.

Part 5 — Conclusion

There has been numerous controversial debate and international disputes relates to the innocent passage of warships since the early days of UNCLOS, the incident will be just one in the latest of events, fondly termed as a FONOPs by Washington.

The bottom line that the right of “innocent passage” will be invariably subject to the interpretation and application relevant to the national law adopted by the coastal state.  The issue that blurs this is the recognition of sovereignty as a coastal state, (Ukrainian rather than Russian in this area). However, since there are so many nuances involved, it is too complex to outline it all here.

Proving a point based on selected application of international law norms, that suit the narrative and agenda, rather than to maintain or defuse overall tensions, was the objective of the Royal Navy ship, sabre-rattling and hubris well demonstrated. HMS Defender stated “mission confidence and not provocative”.  No attempt to keep tensions at bay or to keep the door ajar for security detente. But the shots to do this were called from Whitehall.

To say that the British warship had international law on its side is ridiculous, by stating that it was in recognised international seaway but also at action stations, and while US and Dutch military units are operating in the area, is stretching the understanding of the concept of ‘innocent passage”. That’s just from the glimpse of information available in the public domain, but the story of the moral superiority of a ship on ‘innocent passage” is in tatters. This particular incident will undoubtedly set the baseline for any future challenges of this kind in the Black Sea. More trouble on the horizon is forecast for the next NATO warship.

Dirty, dark secrets of D Day France, 1944, with crucial background in World War II China and Japan

June 16, 2021

Reposted by special permission from The Greanville Post

DIRTY, DARK SECRETS OF D-DAY FRANCE, 6 JUNE 1944 (Pushing back against revisionist history!)

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

28 May, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

The Western leadership and establishment media have once again derided the Syrian presidential vote, but the people don’t care. They’re too busy celebrating the outcome of the election and the defeat of terrorism in their country.

The irony of media outlets and pundits from America tweeting about what they view as the failure to hold free and fair elections in Syria was not lost on some.

wrote yesterday of the jubilation I saw in eastern Ghouta, where Syrians were celebrating the arrival of election day and proudly voting. I also noted that people “in eastern Ghouta were put through a hell that most of us, living safely far from war, cannot begin to fathom.” Back in 2018, I had seen their tortured faces shortly after their liberation. That made seeing them this week smiling incredibly moving.

Just ahead of the vote, I predicted there would be Western cynicism if President Assad won again, which would mean the West had failed in its regime-change project. I was right.

Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian, of Syriana Analysis, tweeted a thread about the mass celebrations around Syria, including in Homs, once dubbed the “capital of the revolution” by the delusional crowd, and Aleppo, the city the Western media said “fell” when it was liberated of the terrorists who reportedly murdered up to 11,000 civilians via their bombings and snipings.

He also noted that the media’s claims of Sunni Muslims hating Assad had no basis in reality (never mind the fact that the First Lady is Sunni, as are many in top leadership positions), tweeting photos of masses of Sunnis voting.

The Guardian, guilty of some of the filthiest war propaganda against Syrians, and usually reporting from Istanbul, deemed the 2021 elections “fake” and a “sham”. But the Guardian has never liked to give voice to the vast majority of Syrians in Syria, preferring instead to quote al-Qaeda-linked “media activists” and “unnamed sources”. So, it’s hardly surprising it would denigrate the event that Syrians are currently celebrating around the country.

Likewise, the BBC, another contender for the most outstanding war propaganda on Syria, unsurprisingly cited the “opposition” as calling the elections a “farce”.

The Western media likewise bleated “farce” when Syria provided 17 witnesses to testify at the Hague against the claims that Syria had used a chemical agent in Douma – a narrative that has been thoroughly debunked. And they’re still lying after all these years.

This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.
It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.https://t.co/AX1Zwbg0g0— John Pilger (@johnpilger) May 27, 2021

Speaking to Syrian media yesterday in Douma, Assad said of the West’s derision of the elections: “The best response to colonialist countries with histories of genocide and occupations was the mass turnout of the people for the vote.”

And, regarding what the West thinks of the legitimacy of those elections, he concluded: “Your opinions are worth zero, and you are worth 10 zeros.”

Amen to that.

On Wednesday, the government extended the time in which people could vote by an additional five hours, as they did back in 2014, due to the high turnout. It even had to provide more voting boxes. In fact, in 2014, in Lebanon, which hosts the largest per capita population of Syrian refugees in the world, voting was extended not merely by five hours, but by an entire day.

As I wrote recently, Western nations have closed Syrian embassies globally to prevent those eligible from voting. But interestingly, as I learned from political analyst Laith Marouf in our discussion this week, “Syrians in the US went to the embassy at the UN and voted. That was a direct challenge to American hegemony, since the Americans closed the Syrian embassy in DC. But there is still a Syrian embassy at the UN, and that they can’t touch, the Americans. So many people showed up at the UN headquarters, waving flags, and so on.”

According to Marouf, in Beirut, tens of thousands Syrians went to the Syrian embassy last week, but “members of the Lebanese Forces party cut the roads towards the embassy and attacked cars and buses carrying Syrian citizens,” allegedly killing one in front of his children and on national live television.

“The other two countries that host the majority of Syrian refugees or immigrant populations, Germany and Turkey, again blocked the Syrian votes from happening,” he said. 

Marouf spoke of the candidates, noting there were three: a leader of the opposition, a former minister, and President Assad.

“They have been vetted through security, making sure that they stand for the sovereignty of Syria, given that Syria has been living under a global war of terrorism, led by the US.”

On the ground on election day

I wrote on election day of the vibrance and peace I witnessed in Douma, and tweeted about the celebrations, about the Syrians singing and dancing.

One woman in Irbeen, a village in eastern Ghouta, told me“Today is historic. He is writing victory, a renewed victory for Syria, the general and protector of Syria, Bashar al Assad. The people you see coming, do so by their free will.”

A side note: from the cross necklace she wore, I knew the woman was a Christian. The “rebel” terrorists the West supports and whose sadistic death cult they would have installed to govern Syria would have persecuted, even killed, women like her.

And that’s the crux of it: Syrians aren’t just celebrating the leader they overwhelmingly love and respect, they’re celebrating the defeat of this terrorism in their country and of the imperialists’ regime-change project in Syria.

A Syrian-American friend, Johnny Achi, flew to Syria expressly to vote in the elections. He told me“I’m a Syrian citizen and have lived in the United States for about 30 years. I’m here in Damascus to exercise my rights and duties as a Syrian citizen, since the US chose to close our embassies. As long as the embassies are closed, we’re going to keep making the trip here, to exercise our duty and our democratic right.”

“I chose Douma, in eastern Ghouta, under the ‘rebels’ until 2018, to show that there is a big turnout here, that people are happy to be back in a government-controlled area. Everyone I talked to is so jubilant that they got rid of all of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, and all those brigades that were making their lives miserable,” he said. 

In Achi’s view, the US would not have accepted any of the candidates, no matter who won.

“They decided that this election was illegal. Their excuse this time is how can you have a democratic election when you have land under occupation? But the land is occupied by Turkey and the US. If they would leave us alone, we would have freed those three provinces and would have all 14 provinces under Syrian control,” he said. “But this vote will help us liberate those provinces still under occupation.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/7DqvJwn3oLQ?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

The pundits will opine, the media will screech, but aside from addressing that, I don’t care, and Syrians don’t care because they’re too busy celebrating.

On Thursday, while the votes were still being counted, I passed through Umayyad Square, a massive roundabout in central Damascus, where a party was beginning. Later in the evening, I returned, staying until after the votes had been counted and Assad had been declared the winner. Electric doesn’t even begin to describe the mood of triumphant Syrians celebrating their victory.

I’ve been coming to Syria since 2014, making 15 visits in all, gathering many heartbreaking testimonies, being caught up in many dangerous encounters with mortars and terrorist sniper fire. I, too, celebrate the return of peace to Syria. But, moreover, I celebrate the Syrians’ shunning of Western diktats and for continuing to live their lives as they choose.

As I stood filming cheering Syrians, the results were announced. The crowd went wild and the party continued. Of course, Western media outlets won’t accept Assad’s 95.1% result, but those Syrians simply do not care. They know the West has lost the plot.

Stayed till after midnight, amazing energy. pic.twitter.com/RlCaWlXxf1— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 27, 2021

RELATED LINKS:

Douma: Three Years On: How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

SYRIA: My Published Articles From and on Syria (2014-2021)

Phony History: Why There Will Be No Peace in Judea, Palestine, Israel or Whatever

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor 

-May 30, 202102

No surprise to anyone, but there is no reliable history of the Jewish people.  It isn’t just them, when it comes down to history, everyone lies.  I have been on “government sponsored” tours of sites all over the world. 

I have had French tell me a Roman ruin from 100AD was built by a French king 300 years ago.  In Hungary, Roman ruins are dated a thousand years or more after they were built, to support a heritage that never happened. 

 Entire religions, entire historical epochs are erased, cleansed from history.  History is a liar.

Roman Ruins are Commonly ‘Borrowed’

The lies of history are peddled by universities funded by more liars, liars and thieves buying more lies from more liars and thieves.  In the last 20 years, television documentaries have debunked 75% of what we have accepted as history and done so with scholarship “above the norm.”

What is the “norm?”  A historical fact is any lie that has more than two people agree to it.  What historians call “fact,” any cop would call a “shaky alibi.”

There is no bigger historical liar than the history of Judea, the Roman province that now includes a state Jews choose to call Israel.

With a UN vote coming up that President Obama has already promised to veto, a vote giving what may actually be the majority from that region national rights they have been denied, we are talking about the Palestinians, there are suggestions for “talks.”

There can be no talks because there is no basis for talks.  Talks are based on ideas and understandings and the history of the region, be it from 1948 onward on since Exodus and the Egyptian escape, is all total bull, invented mythology made up to support wild claims or simply entertain.

Follow the Israeli Attack Arrows

Jews are told Palestinians are terrorists because of a version of the 1948 war that Israel teaches their people and is taught in America because of Israeli influence.  It is false.

The Suez Canal war of 1956 isn’t taught either.

Many incidents such as the Lavon Affair and the USS Liberty are simply erased because they don’t fit.

That Israel staged the 1967 war as a sneak attack on Egypt, done with considerable help from the US, Britain and France, is another historical secret as is the 1973 war when Israel was kept afloat by the entire military strength of the United States.

Why do you think the Arabs cut off America’s oil?

It was because America sent its military to defend Israel when the Arabs tried to get the land back that was stolen during the sneak attack of 1967?

If much of this is strange to you, you have an Orwellian education, meaning “no education  at all.”

We could start with 1948.  Palestinians owned Palestine along with some Jews and Christians.  Europeans of Jewish faith, armed to the teeth by the US, France and Britain, invaded and pushed the Palestinians off their land.  Fighting back is called “terrorism.”

The Zionist European Invasion Was Successful – American Intel Reported They Would Easily Defeat the Arabs

This is simple historical truth.  Problem is, until Israelis and Americans are willing to accept the real truth, they can never talk to anyone.  Who wants to talk to a deluded bigot?

It gets worse, not just for Jews.  Muslims and Christians are ‘full of it’ as well.

Lost Tribes – MarkChagall

First of all, there is no historical proof that any “Israeli” kingdom ever existed anywhere.  There is no proof, despite decades of “faith based” archeology, phony science, phony history and phony propaganda that Moses or Noah or Abraham ever existed.

In fact, the “holy texts” were long proven forgeries, invented to justify land theft, wild stories of angels and gods giving things away, wildly contradictory, childish in scope and unsupported by science, by evidence and even reason.  “They made it all up.”

What is represented as the “tribes of Israel” was a minor group of largely polytheistic tribes at war with each other and anyone, one of dozens of such groups, who disappeared from the sands of time.

Wild stories that talk of magical beings giving them land and power, not entirely different from the writings of Homer, don’t change that.  Homer wrote much better.

Things we know.  When the crusaders came to Jerusalem in the 1096, there were no Jews there.  There were lots of Christians, however.  You see, until 650AD, Judea had been entirely Christian, meaning everyone who lived there was Christian.

This was part of the Byzantine/Roman empire which had, controlled the region for many centuries.  Back in the early 300’s, Constantine legalized Christianity and, in the process, made it illegal for Jews to hold Christian slaves.

"Lost Tribes" "Salvador Dali"
Lost Tribes – Salvador Dali

Why was this an issue?  Try finding out.  History erased all of that, the same history that parted the Red Sea.

Between 135AD and 350AD, Jews and Christians in the Middle East hated each other.

The Christians, most at least, had actually been Jews who converted.  It is part of that “Christ’ thing we call “Christianity” today.  You remember, the “messiah” thing?

History tells us that Jews fought the Romans during the first century, ending 73AD or so.  Then they all got on boats and went elsewhere in the Roman empire with a few staying behind.

However, there are no records of any of this.  No records of them leaving.  No records of them arriving.

No records of them living anywhere else.  No records of their traditions in the Roman empire, though, for instance, there were always Jewish settlements in each Roman city.

The old Jewish section of Rome is right off Via Arenula today.

What is a wild claim, however, is that Jews were expelled, moved to the Roman empire and ended up all living in Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia and, mostly Russia.

You see, you couldn’t move there then.  The Visigoths and even nastier people ran those places.

Visigoths – They Did Not do Neighbors Well

They weren’t part of the Roman empire, never were.

There is no record of Jews leaving Judea, no record of them arriving in the Roman Empire at the time claimed, no record of them living there and no record of them all heading out to Russia and Poland, where 90% of Europe’s Jews had lived for centuries.

There is no historical record of any of this.

There is, however, a historical record of a people from Russia called the Khazars who converted to Judaism and created a great empire nearly as large as the United States.

The “Jewish areas” of Russia and Europe were the eastern portion of Khazaria.

One could assume that all Jews in Russia or Poland, just as Helen Thomas said, were from there and had never been from Judea.  We can prove Jews lived there as Khazars.  We cannot prove Jews moved there from Judea.

Does this mean that Jews from that region who, after World War II, chose to move to Palestine were bad people?  No, of course not.  What it does mean is that they never came from there.  Is that important?

Only if the wild and insane claim that a convenient mythology allows one people to steal from another. However, this is the nature of phony history, phony religion and mythology.  Jews from Russia and Poland look pretty much like everyone else from there.

Byzantine Mural – When Jews were Christians – Before They Were Muslims

Other points.  The most likely thing is that Palestinians were once Byzantine Christians and before that Jews.  Why?  There is no proof they came from anywhere else.

There is proof they have been where they are pretty much forever.  There is also proof that people who lived there were, at one time, Jews, then Christians and eventually Muslims.  Why change religions?

Governments created incentives for people to change religions, some involved taxes, others involved serious persecution.

This religious persecution in Judea went on for centuries, Jews persecuting Christians and, later, Christians persecuting Jews.

This was long before Islam existed. This is real history.

Before Muslims became “terrorists,” Jews claimed Christians were “terrorists.”

Then Christians said Jews were all “thieves” and “mongrels” and had killed Christ.  Can we prove Christ existed?  Actually no, we can’t.

However, the Gospels, such as they are, most burned, some horribly mistranslated, are something of a record, much more of a record than the wild discussions of Moses and “mana” and being lost in Sinai for 40 years.

Would any of it stand up in court?  Not for a friggin’ minute!

So, where does this leave us?

Palestinians are probably, by genetic definition, if such exists, the only real Jews.

Most Jews are probably from ethnic groups pushed into Europe, no different than every other migration.  The idea of claimed “immunity” to two thousand years of historical resettlement, religious realignments and the total lack of either archaeological or rational written records as a basis of decades of warfare is insane.

 We could just as easily be talking about the Phoenicians or Philistines or Hittites or Babylonians, the Greeks, the Ottomans or even Egyptians as having historical claim to Palestine.

Lord Balfour (left of pitcher) – Reception at the Tel-Aviv Municipality in 1925

Something we can come closer to proving is that a corrupt British politician named Balfour, back in 1917, loaded with gambling debts, wrote a short document to a wealthy and even more corrupt banker offering some kind of deal on land that he didn’t control.

This was during World War I.  Turkey controlled Palestine entirely, had for centuries.  There were Jews in the Turkish empire.  Turkey invited them there in the 15th century to help run things.  These Jews were, however, Europeans mostly, persecuted in Europe, where they had come to from, not Judea certainly, and welcomed to the Middle East by Muslims.

This is real history.

Britain had no right to cut a “deal” more likely tied to the kind of political payoffs and blackmail used to push President Obama into his humiliating speech to the UN.  The “Balfour thing” which is brought up continually had then and has now NO LEGAL STANDING WHATSOEVER.

Balfour could have been running the mortgage department at today’s Bank of America.

It is time that those that call themselves Israeli’s admit they are resettled Europeans like most of us here in America, taking advantage of a poorly armed and primitive population just as Britain, Spain and later the United States did in North America, like Europe did around the world during the colonial era, like one population did to another since time immemorial.
A few classes in Hebrew, discarding Yiddish traditions, doesn’t change history, it only erases heritage.

Supposedly “mechanisms” and “organizations” are in place, since 1945, to prevent such things.  A civil war in Libya was carefully orchestrated based on such mechanisms and organizations, an intervention under identical circumstances that exist in Israel or Syria.

Zionism in Action – Being a Light Unto the World ?

But the United States is defending Israel and Russia is defending Syria.

Thus, the great world powers, such as they are, have maneuvered the world through a century of atrocity.

This time the United States is attempting to justify prehistoric barbarism of the Israeli occupation of Palestine using language carefully crafted by “advisors” with the ethical and moral authority of  the worst criminal elements of our time.

Use of force to dispossess a people is ethnic cleansing.  Separating people by walls in apartheid.  An armed enclosure filled with men, women and children is a concentration camp.

This is Palestine today, what is called the “State of Israel.”  This is why an American veto is important because the rest of the world sees the truth.

We are asked to endure a century of warfare and economic chaos because of the desire by some to validate bizarre mythologies that are little more than a veneer for something darker.

Israel isn’t about Jews.  Israel is just another issue, strong strangling the weak, the clever controlling the many through deception.

Because of Israeli control of media, a few square miles of sand, some stolen and built with senior citizen vacation condos, some farmed by Asian slaves, much still barren and inhospitable, land no American would park an abandoned tractor on, is costing America and Europe a century of economic survival, costing generations of lives, all based on, not just mythology but a continuing stream of carefully crafted lies.

Settlement?  Talks?   Based on?

Ashkenazi Jews are Turkic Khazars

Khazaria – 600 to 850 AD

BIOGRAPHY

Gordon Duff, Senior EditorSenior Editor , VT

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014

gpduf@aol.com

OPCW scandal: Jimmy Dore and Aaron Mate take it apart

May 2, 202121

Funding? Yes, please!

Source

April 28, 2021

moi

If you want to know about my funding, read this post I wrote some years ago. I no longer waste my time engaging one on one with people on this.

You might also read my “About me” page.

Then, kindly consider the donate button on the right side of my blog, or consider supporting me on Subscribestar.

I am nominally on Patreon, but after its censorship of colleagues, I decided to leave that platform and no longer publish there.

A big thank you to the many people over the years who have supported me! I literally couldn’t have done this without you.

Also, watch this short conversation with someone who actually worked in Canadian corporate media and knows what he is talking about.

As for those determined to find something nefarious about my writings, I write what I want to write, the end. Although, hey, suggestions are always welcome, but that doesn’t mean I will write about whatever is suggested.

Now, for those suspicious types, I would suggest investing some of your energy into looking into how CBC, BBC and other Western state media are funded and ask yourselves whether perhaps that is an indicator of why they lie all the time. Nonstop. Just lie, lie, lie, whitewash terrorismspew propaganda, lie some more…

It’s 2021, those still consuming corporate and Western state media as “news” are a lost cause.

Donate

Another Navalny Drama Fizzles Despite Hungry Western Media

Another Navalny Drama Fizzles Despite Hungry Western Media

Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

April 27, 2021

The indulgence and fawning must have given Navalny a sense of impunity, reinforcing his megalomania and attention-seeking, Finian Cunningham writes.

After three weeks allegedly on a hunger strike, the Western-lionized Russian blogger Alexei Navalny has thrown the towel in. The decisive factor was the Russian authorities refusing to kowtow to a Western orchestrated drama.

Another factor is that Navalny is a conman and stooge of Western intelligence services. To carry out a real hunger strike is perhaps one of the most traumatic, mentally excruciating feats of self-sacrifice. To witness yourself wasting away to death must summon the deepest convictions of righteousness.

I remember living through the Irish Republican hunger strike 40 years ago which resulted in the death of 10 prisoners in a British state prison. The first one of those men to die was Bobby Sands who at the age of 27 passed away in a coma on May 5 after 66 days of refusing food. It was one of the grimmest periods in the 30-year conflict with Britain that ravaged Ireland.

Few political prisoners undertake hunger strike, and fewer still see it through to the horrendous end. Only those dedicated to a righteous cause could ever contemplate overcoming the gravest challenge.

That’s why everything about Navalny’s supposed hunger strike reeks of a sham aided and abetted by the fawning Western corporate media. The apparent collaboration in this drama also indicates the relationship of a stooge orchestrated by Western state intelligence.

When the 44-year-old convicted embezzler declared that he was going on a death-fast on March 31, the Western media kept pace with sensational headlines detailing his supposed declining health. We were told about pains, aches, and numbness, “torture”, “imminent death” and so on. Even though the Russian prison authorities released video footage of Navalny swaggering around his shared dormitory remonstrating with a guard over some petty issue.

The British state-owned BBC reported that prison authorities were using dastardly tricks such as putting savory meals beside Navalny’s bed. The BBC never gave any such concerned coverage to Bobby Sands and his Republican comrades who were abused inhumanely by British prison guards. Indeed, the British media portrayed the then Margaret Thatcher government as justified in its treatment of “Irish terrorists”.

Instead of the grim fate supposedly facing Navalny, the Western media reported his social media statements with an air of jocularity. “My friends would laugh if they saw me now walking around like a skeleton,” said Navalny in one of his Instagram posts. How is it that a purportedly persecuted prisoner has the liberty to use social media and generate Western headlines? The inappropriate humor also betrays a lack of credibility in his supposed journey of death.

All the while, the Russian authorities were monitoring Navalny’s health and maintaining that his condition was “satisfactory”.

U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were reportedly impressing on Russian President Vladimir Putin their concern over Navalny. Again, such high-profile intervention is a reflection of the political orchestration going on. It is so disproportionate to the reality that it is an absurd giveaway of scripted drama.

It soon became clear, however, that the Russian state would not be bullied by psycho-drama. Its laws and sovereign affairs are not open for hypocritical Western lecturing.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 after spending five months in Germany in flagrant violation of his parole terms for a suspended jail sentence over a fraud conviction in 2014. While in Germany, Navalny cooked up the outlandish drama that he had been poisoned with a military nerve weapon on the direct orders of Putin. No evidence has ever been provided to support his claims but the Western media and governments have endorsed the narrative as if gospel truth.

The indulgence and fawning must have given Navalny a sense of impunity, reinforcing his megalomania and attention-seeking. He was therefore shocked when he was arrested on returning to Russia from Germany and again when the Russian federal authorities ordered in February that his suspended sentence be converted to two-and-half-years behind bars.

While in prison, Navalny began demanding the “right” to have his private doctors visit him over alleged leg numbness and back pain. How’s that for arrogance!

One wonders how the BBC would have reported it if Irish Republican prisoners were making such a demand from the British state.

In any case, Russian authorities faced down the intense Western media campaign aiming to make a hero out of the “starving” Navalny. Prison doctors maintained that he was being adequately cared for. One may speculate that the Russian authorities spotted the fake drama from an early stage. You can’t pull off a harrowing hunger strike without an iron will – which Navalny and his handlers do not have because their cause is a fake pretext for destabilizing Russia’s internal politics and undermining the government.

Realizing that the battle of wills – and shills – was not going to be won, the next necessary ploy was to create an off-ramp for Navalny in order to avoid farcical embarrassment.

His personal doctors started “warning” on April 18 through obliging Western media headlines that Navalny “could die any day” due to his deteriorating condition. That was after 19 days of supposed hunger strike. Strangely, Navalny’s doctors were somehow able to give such a dire prognosis without actually examining him personally.

Then on April 23, the BBC and other Western media outlets ran headlines such as: ‘Navalny urged to end hunger strike’.

Within hours, the convicted conman declared that he was coming off his alleged fast to the death.

So, there you have it. The end of another drama in which the Western-lionized hero cheats death twice in only a matter of months. First, from alleged poisoning with a deadly nerve agent, and secondly, from an anguish-filled three-week hunger strike (at least according to Western media).

At this point, Navalny’s intel scriptwriters and Western media are the only ones going hungry.

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

April 19, 2021

Amazing news over the week-end: President Lukashenko has declared that Biden gave the order to kill him in a coup organized by the CIA.  Now, we all know that Lukashenko says all sorts of things, many of them false or plain silly.  Except that the Russian FSB has confirmed it all!  According to the Russians, a joint operation of the (Bielorussian) KGB and the Russian FSB has uncovered the plot early on and the Russians monitored the full operation until they had enough evidence to arrest all the plotters.  Not only do the Russians have videos of their meetings, they also intercepted their Zoom videoconferences (Zoom users, use Jitsi instead!).

So far so good.  But it gets better!

Unlike the US/UK and others, the Russian FSB did not say that they were “confident” that it was “highly likely” that this operation took place.  They released all the footage of a meeting of the plotters in Moscow which confirms it all (I don’t have the time to translate that footage, but I am confident that somebody will – if you come across an English language translation, please post it in the comments section below!).

One not familiar with such operations might be baffled over why this meeting took place in Moscow and not in Warsaw or Riga.  There are several reasons for that:

  • There is a practically open border between Belarus and Russia, which form “а unified state”, and there is nothing easier for the (supposed) Bielorussian traitors (from the military) to jump in a car and get to Moscow.
  • Using Warsaw or Riga would dramatically reduce what the CIA calls “plausible deniability” for the US and NATO.
  • Yes, meeting in Moscow was still stupid, but no more stupid than the failed US coup to do to Maduro when the US did exactly what they tried to do to Lukashenko.  The fact that both operations failed is par for the course for the (mostly clueless) CIA.
  • The main plotter, a very well-known anti-Lukashenko activist, is a double national Bielorussian and US American and for him to move to Minsk for that meeting would be very dangerous.
  • Last, but not least, the Bielorussian KGB operates in a very tightly controlled Bielorussian society whereas Russian is an open and liberal society, so one could have (mistakenly) thought that a meeting in Moscow would have been a better idea.

Interesting story, no?

Also, if you wonder whether it is credible that the FSB saved Lukashenko – I will remind you that it was the Russians who saved Erdogan from a US-backed coup which was also supposed to include Erdogan’s murder (the Turks practically admitted it publicly several times).

But it gets even better!

As soon as the accusation of a CIA plan to murder Lukashenko in a coup came out, they did what they always do: denied it against all evidence and created a huge distraction: the US colony known as the “Czech Republic” declared that the explosion of a weapons depot in the Czech Republic in 2014 was a Russian sabotage involving…   … wait for it… … drum roll…. the very same Petrov and Boshirov whom the UK accused of poisoning the Skripals!

Friends, the Czechs released this story withing ONE HOUR of the Bielorussian news!  One hour, seriously!

The Czechs immediately expelled 18 Russian diplomats and the Russian reciprocated by expelling 20 Czech diplomats leaving only 5 in Moscow.  So if we use the English expression about the “shitting hitting the fan”, then it would also be fair to refer to the Czechs as “shit shields” for the Empire 🙂

By the way, the official Czech investigation in 2014 concluded that the explosion was caused by negligence, not sabotage but, really, who cares?  After all, look at these accusations, all as unproven and as silly as this one: (partial list in no special order)

  • Russian invaded the Donbass
  • Russia shot down MH-17
  • Russia tried to poison the Skripals
  • Russia murdered Berezovskii
  • Russia tried to poison Litvenenko
  • Russia tried to poison Navalnyi
  • Russia murdered Boris Nemtsov
  • Russia murdered Politkovskaia
  • Russia tried to poison Yushchenko
  • Russia interfered in two US elections
  • Russia hacked the DNC computers
  • Russia paid Afghans to kill US soliders
  • The Russian shot down the aircraft of the Polish president over Smolensk
  • The Russian tried to organize a coup in Montenegro
  • The Russians organized the movement for an independent Catalonia

To repeat, none, NONE of these accusations were ever proven or even substantiated.  ALL of these accusations are solely based on the putatively undeniable credibility of the western special services.

And, of course, the western “Russia experts” all fully endorsed this nonsense (hey, that is what these so-called “experts” are paid to do; as somebody who once was a member of the IISS, I know these “experts” and their “expertise” well enough – I even resigned from the IISS in protest over its total subservience to US anti-Russian narratives).

And people who call themselves “democrats” and people capable of critical thought buy all this shit with no doubts whatsoever, none.  They don’t even see how pathetic and clueless they really are…

So the Czechs (and their US masters) are running a well rehearsed and “safe” track because they all know that the western audience is fully accustomed to hear the following:

We accuse Russia of X, we say that our special services have evidence, but we won’t present any; as for the western media, they will, of course, trust the western special services, because they are “democratic” and, therefore, “trustworthy” (Iraq anybody?!).

Another trick, which the Czechs used in this case, is this: on the first day announce urbi et orbi that “we will soon release all the incontrovertible evidence we have” and then simply declare it classified because it is important not to show the Russians the evidence of their own, putatively Russian, operation.  As for the western press, they, of course, simply forget about that and go onto the the next Russia bashing story.

It is simple, but with the kind of sheep the western regimes deal with, it is also effective.

Finally, when truly desperate, you can count on the MI6 run Bellincat to get their “evidence”, I kid you not, from the social media on the Internet.

And, again, the western sheep “eat it all up”, with appetite and gusto!  Sic transit gloria mundi indeed!

Still, accusing the self same two putative GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov shows how desperate the Czechs were too cook up some story literally overnight.  Now they look stupid beyond any conceivable explanations for such a massive and, frankly, hilarious faceplant.

Will the people of the Czech Republic now revolt in outrage against the sheer idiocy of their leaders?  Nah, of course not.  After all, we are living in a post-truth (and, I would argue, post-logical) world where the only thing which matters is to follow the SS motto of “my honor is fidelity” and blind obedience to the masters of the day.

What about the US in all this?  Would “Biden” really be crazy enough to try to murder a foreign leader?

Well, as I like to say, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, right?  How many foreign leaders has the CIA actually murdered and how many did she only try, and fail, to murder?  (Note: somebody ought to compare the number of foreign leaders murdered by the US and the USSR.  I am sure that the comparison would be both shocking and very telling).  How about the official (White House admitted) murder of General Soleimani?  Was that operation not far more dangerous than to use locals to try to assassinate a weakened and embattled leader like Lukashenko?

So, you tell me: true story of “Russian disinformation”?

The Saker

PS: in case you wonder, the Russians are laughing hysterically and scratching their heads wondering what in the world happened to a once civilized western society.

PPS: by the way, the Russian FSB also arrested the Ukie consul in Saint Petersburg at the moment when he was receiving classified information from what he thought was an agent.  He will be expelled.  It was a great week end for the FSB – there will be lost of medals handed out for this good work.

UPDATE1:  Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry’s chief spokeswoman has now officially confirmed it all on Russian TV.

UPDATE2: The Kremlin just confirmed the Putin and Biden discussed this topic during their telephone conference.

UPDATE3: Got to love the western media, not a word about the coup, all about the Czech fairy tale.

Bashing Russia for US-Orchestrated Ukraine Aggression

April 18, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

All the news that’s fit to print is banned in NYT editions — state-approved reinvented reality featured instead.

Since the Obama/Biden regime installed Nazism in Ukraine over seven years ago, US-orchestrated intermittent war raged against Donbass by puppet regime conscripts.

Since February, things dangerously escalated.

On Friday, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Militia Deputy Chief of Staff Eduard Basurin said the following:

Ukrainian fighters violated the Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire 36 times over the past week.” 

They used US/Western-supplied mortars, IFVs, anti-aircraft guns, and grenade launchers to target 16 DPR townships.

Last July, Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire were signed at a Contact Group meeting — to reinforce and control the indefinite ceasefire in effect since July 21, 2019.

Attempts to resolve years of conflict since 2014 by Russia, the DPR and  LPR (Lugansk) People’s Republic failed because US-controlled Ukraine wants endless war, not restoration of peace and stability.

Since US-orchestrated aggression by Kiev forces on Donbass began escalating in February, the NYT and other establishment media falsely blamed Russian forces for crimes of war, against humanity, and related rule of law breaches by Ukrainian conscripts.

On Friday, the Times turned truth on its head by falsely claiming that Russian forces in their own territory threaten Ukraine.

So-called Donbass (DPR and LPR) separatists refuse to live under the scourge of US-installed fascist tyranny — nor should any one.

On all things Russia — and other nations free from US control — the Times and other establishment media invent their own falsified reality, based on state-supplied talking points.

No Russian buildup in its own territory threatens cross-border attacks.

No Russian US election meddling or cyberattacks occurred — what Washington and its imperial allies repeatedly inflict on targeted nations, along with endless wars by hot and/or other means, the highest of high crimes on nonbelligerent states threatening no one.

No annexation of Crimea occurred, no Russian disinformation — a longstanding Times speciality.

A litany of bald-faced Big Lies defines all its reports on Russia and other independent nations, hard truths suppressed.

No Russian show of force cross-border threat exists.

The US is frustrated because for over a century, Russia remains proudly independent of US imperial control.

Except for the aberrational 1990s, Russia hasn’t and isn’t about to roll over for any foreign power, clearly not imperial USA — at war on humanity at home and abroad.

Moscow aims to restore peace and stability to Europe’s heartland — polar opposite US rage for endless wars worldwide.

Russia isn’t pressuring Ukraine or any other countries.

In stark contrast, the US pressures, bullies, bribes and smashes other nations into compliance with its hegemonic will.

What works at times against some easy-to-roll-over weak nations fails against Russia, China, Iran and other sovereign states that won’t sell their soul to a higher power anywhere outside their borders.

The Times and other establishment media long ago abandoned journalism as it should be — operating instead as a collective mouthpiece for wealth, power and privilege.

Lies, Big Lies, mass deception, and state-approved propaganda is what they do, truth and full disclosure banished on issues mattering most.

Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

April 15, 2021

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation — in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; to engage in and facilitate malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies and partners; to foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; to pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; to undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states — constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.  I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1.  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(a)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General:
(i)    to operate or have operated in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or any other sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State;
(ii)   to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, any of the following for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation:
(A)  malicious cyber-enabled activities;
(B)  interference in a United States or other foreign government election;
(C)  actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad;
(D)  transnational corruption;
(E)  assassination, murder, or other unlawful killing of, or infliction of other bodily harm against, a United States person or a citizen or national of a United States ally or partner;
(F)  activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners; or
(G)  deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or the use of physical assets;
(iii)  to be or have been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of:
(A)  the Government of the Russian Federation;
(B)  an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(C)  an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(iv)   to be a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of the Russian Federation;
(v)    to be a spouse or adult child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (a)(ii) or (iii) of this section;
(vi)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
(A)  any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(B)  any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(vii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, a government whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to chapter V of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations or another Executive Order, and to be:
(i)    a citizen or national of the Russian Federation;
(ii)   an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches); or
(iii)  a person ordinarily resident in the Russian Federation.
(c)  any person determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in or attempted to engage in, cutting or disrupting gas or energy supplies to Europe, the Caucasus, or Asia, and to be:
(i)   an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation; or
(ii)  an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches).
(d)  The prohibitions in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
Sec. 2.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:
(a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 3.  (a)  The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of noncitizens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.
(b)  The Secretary of State shall implement this authority as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish.
(c)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this order as it applies to the entry of noncitizens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
(d)  Such persons shall be treated by this section in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
Sec. 4.  (a)  Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 5.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 6.  For the purposes of this order:
(a)  the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(b)  the term “Government of the Russian Federation” means the Government of the Russian Federation, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, and any person owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of the Russian Federation;
(c)  the term “noncitizen” means any person who is not a citizen or noncitizen national of the United States;
(d)  the term “person” means an individual or entity; and
(e)  the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury.  All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9.  Nothing in this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof.
Sec. 10.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 11.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 15, 2021.


Syria rejects ‘fabricated’ OPCW report on alleged 2018 gas attack in Saraqib

Source

By VT Editors -April 15, 2021

Press TV: Syria has dismissed as “false and fabricated” the results of a probe by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into an alleged chemical attack in the northwestern city of Saraqib on February 4, 2018.

On Monday, the OPCW released the findings of its Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which blamed the Saraqib incident on the Syrian government.

“The report reached the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, at approximately 21:22 on 4 February 2018, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force under the control of the Tiger Forces hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder. The cylinder ruptured and released chlorine over a large area, affecting 12 named individuals,” it claimed in a report.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the OPCW’s “misleading report,” written by “an illegitimate and incredible team,” fabricates “facts” to incriminate the Damascus government.

“This report has included false and fabricated conclusion which represents another scandal for the OPCW and the inquiry teams that will be added to the scandal of the reports of Douma incident in 2018, and Ltamenah in 2017,” it said.

“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns, in the strongest terms, what has been included in the report of the illegitimate so-called ‘Investigation and Identification Team’ and rejects all its context.”

The ministry also stressed that the Syrian government categorically denies using toxic gases in Saraqib or in any other city or village, affirming that the army has never used such materials during most difficult battles carried out against armed terrorist organizations.

It further reiterated that Syria categorically rejects the use of chemical weapons at any time or place, saying, the country “has never used any chemical weapon and can’t use it.”

Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the United Nations and the OPCW.

It believes that false-flag chemical attacks on the country’s soil have been staged by foreign-backed militants in a bid to pressure the government amid army advances.

https://if-cdn.com/dM0G7Br?v=1&app=1

Revelations suggest that the OPCW may have intentionally doctored its findings about alleged gas attacks in Syria to avoid implicating the foreign-backed militants.

Damascus has repeatedly urged the chemical weapons watchdog to avoid politicizing Syrian issues.

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Two Ambassadors to Syria with Wildly Different Analyses

MARCH 30 ,2021

By Rick Sterling

Source

In the past few months, Grayzone journalist Aaron Mate has interviewed two former ambassadors to Syria: former UK Ambassador Peter Ford and former U.S. Ambassador Robert S. Ford.  

The two ambassadors have a common surname but dramatically different perspectives. This article will compare the statements and viewpoints of the two diplomats.

UK Ambassador Peter Ford (PF)

Newsnight: Peter Ford warns of 'bloodbath' if Syria's Bashar al-Assad goes  | World | News | Express.co.uk

Peter Ford trained as an Arabist and served in the British foreign service in numerous cities including Beirut, Riyadh, and Cairo. He was Ambassador to Bahrein from 1999 to 2003, then Syria from 2003 to 2006.  From 2006 until 2014 he was a senior officer with the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.  

The interview with UK Amb. Peter Ford (PF) shows why he is exceptional former diplomat. He analyzes and criticizes western aggression against Syria. 

PF describes the current situation:

“The Syrian government forces control about 70% of the country. There’s that pocket of jihadi fighters controlling Idlib province and a couple of patches of neighboring provinces, and then you’ve got the big—what I call the wild east of Syria—the big triangle of land up all the way along the thousand miles along the Turkish border and then down the Iraqi border, and that is effectively a US protectorate. There are US forces there being helped on the ground by basically Kurdish militia, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces.”

PF describes the crushing economic sanctions:

“It’s utterly shocking…The policy has been effective in the sense that Syrian people are suffering every day. There are long queues for bread, long queues for gasoline. The policy of sanctions and denial of assistance for reconstruction has been effective, but what kind of policy is it that tries to immiserate a whole country? It’s delusional because it’s not even going to work….

“The experience of 10 years of this conflict is that the Syrian government is amazingly resilient. They’ve been on the ropes many times in this conflict and pulled through largely because they have the support of great swaths of the Syrian populace. Assad is not going to buckle under this new increased economic pressure. It is utterly delusional to believe that this cynical, callous policy could work.”

PF analyzes the US troops in north eastern Syria.

“By their mere presence, they’re preventing the advance of the Syrian government forces. The result is that the Syrian people are denied the great oil and grain wealth of that triangle, the territory. And, so the war over the last year has been more an economic war than a military war…

“The troops are there basically as a tripwire, a deterrent, so that if the Syrian government forces advanced, they would trip over a few American soldiers and that would incur the massive intervention of the US Air Force. This is what it comes down to. They don’t even need big numbers of troops to create the tripwire.

“Even so, it’s interesting that the architects of this policy in the permanent government of the US found it necessary to deceive the head of the executive, the President, keep him in the dark about the numbers…. So, the deceit that has gone on—on every level—is jaw-dropping to me as a former ambassador and an insider in the British system. I find it absolutely incredible.”

PF describes what the war is and is NOT about.

“US policy is NOT about installing in Syria a democratic government, because there is no prospect of that while the US is effectively supporting Islamist fanatics, and while it’s supporting elsewhere in the Middle East regimes like the feudal regime of Saudi Arabia. No, it’s not about democracy. It’s about helping Israel on the one hand and scoring points against Russia on the other. And when it comes down to it, that is what this whole war is really about, from the US standpoint.”

PF analyzes accusations Syrian government used chemical weapons.

“The world has amnesia over Iraq, the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the Colin Powell dossier proof presented to the UN. It’s like Groundhog Day when you hear the claims made about Assad, the use of chemical weapons.

“In the first place, it would make no practical sense for Assad to use chemical weapons; it could only ever have been an own goal. If he wanted to invite heavy Western intervention, he would not have gone about it any other way. You’d have to be incredibly either twisted or delusional to believe that Assad could have been so stupid as to do the one thing—use chemical weapons—which would bring about, or possibly bring about, his obliteration.

“I’m quite convinced this is an elaborate hoax. A series of hoaxes. It’s very revealing that not one of the alleged instances of use of chemical weapons was investigated on the ground by any UN or other international investigations, with the sole exception of Douma. And why Douma? Because that was a piece of territory that the government forces managed to recover immediately after the alleged incident, so that the US and its allies were unable to keep away the international investigators…. That ultimately is the purpose of the chemical weapon hoaxes—to justify the occupation of northeast Syria and the continuing cruel economic pressure.”

PF comments on the senior staff from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons who say they did NOT find evidence of chemical weapons attack and their findings were changed by management.

“These gentlemen [from OPCW]) drafted a report stating that they found evidence that was consistent with staging of an incident, rather than an authentic incident. And ever since, they have been vilified, condemned, undermined. And the campaign against the truth goes on and on and on….”

PF comments on the role of the “White Helmets”.

“The White Helmets’ role is absolutely crucial, pivotal to the Western effort to undermine Syria through these accusations of use of chemical weapons. I think, basically, what happened is that Western governments realized that after the Iraq debacle, that if they were going to use claims about WMD, chemical weapons, whatever, again, they were going to have to produce some kind of smoking gun.

“And this is the role of the White Helmets. They produced the phony pictures of phony incidents which constitute the smoking gun. And that is absolutely pivotal to the propaganda to justify the bombing and the relentless economic and military pressure on Syria…. Western governments [have] been funding the White Helmets to the tune of about $50 million a year. That’s peanuts compared to what they see as the advantages of bringing Syria to its knees.”

PF predicts what may happen ahead.

“I think things are likely to get worse, rather than better.

“What we’ll probably see is simply a continuation of the status quo. The current policies will simply be extended…. to prolong the conflict, to prevent Assad gaining military victory, the continuation of economic warfare to try to bring Assad to his knees and force him to sign a suicide note, which would be acceptance of elections on US terms. I’m sure these policies will be continued.

“But there’s a question mark over whether policy might not become even more adventurous and interventionist with a beachhead of a few thousand soldiers already occupying part of Syria. I greatly fear that Biden might be tempted to increase those numbers, put some military pressure on the Syrian government forces, create more no-fly zones. Already, there’s effectively a no-fly zone over that big triangle of territory that’s occupied by the US forces and Kurdish allies. An attempt might be made to create the no-fly zone of Idlib, which would be ironic. It would mean that the US Air Force was the air wing of al-Qaeda…

“I’m definitely not optimistic. And I fear things could get even worse.”

US Ambassador Robert S. Ford (RSF)

Two Ambassadors to Syria with Wildly Different Analyses - LA Progressive

Robert S. Ford was a U.S. diplomat in numerous cities including Algiers and Cairo. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Bahrein from 2001 to 2004, then Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Baghdad from 2004 to 2006. As an Arabic speaker,  he may have helped Ambassador John Negroponte launch the “El Salvador option” (death squads) in Iraq.  Robert S. Ford was Ambassador to Syria from the end of 2010 until 2014 when the US terminated diplomatic relations with Syria. He has continued as an unofficial advisor on Syria policy.

In contrast with the Peter Ford interview, the interview with US Ambassador Robert S. Ford (RSF) is a case study in public relations. Interviewer Aaron Mate asks important questions but RSF deflects the questions, claims ignorance of new revelations, and repeats standard talking points on Syria.

RSF acknowledges there has been “mission creep” for US troops in Syria.

“American troops were sent into Syria originally to fight ISIS.  Now that that job is more-or-less finished, we have a sort of mission creep where now the American forces are there not to defeat ISIS—ISIS is already defeated…   But now, so what are the Americans doing?  Well, now they sort of changed the mission to putting pressure on Damascus, the Assad government, trying to get the Iranians out, trying to limit the Russian influence.”

RSF implies the sanctions on Syria are just.

“Sanctions is a different question, Aaron.  I think a lot of it is emotional here in the United States.  There’s a desperate desire for justice after all the war crimes committed in Syria.  And I think getting rid of the sanctions is going to be a much harder battle to fight in the Congress.  So, the sanctions have very strong approval in Congress…”

RSF maintains the initial protests were “almost entirely peaceful”

“In March and April, May into June, the protests were almost entirely peaceful. That’s not to say there was no violence.  In the first protest, for example, in Daraa, in which we’re now coming up on the 10-year anniversary, yeah, the protesters did attack the telephone office [Syriatel] that’s owned by Bashar al-Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf.  They did attack a court building…”

[Fact check: RSF neglects to mention seven police were killed in the “almost entirely peaceful” Daraa protest.]

RSF acknowledges US allies were sending weapons early but claims the US began sending weapons in 2013.

“Those countries [Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey] did send in weapons before the Americans…

 “I supported arming factions of the Free Syrian Army as early as the summer of 2012.  And it took the president a year to get to a decision.”

[Fact check: US Central Intelligence Agency was sending weapons from Benghazi Libya to Syria in Oct 2011.]

RSF compares the Free Syrian Army to the anti-Nazi resistance in WW2.

“The United States never gave anti-tank weapons to al-Qaeda…. the number might be half a dozen.

“I want you to think about this in historical context. Do you think when the Americans airdropped weapons into the French resistance against the Nazis in France, do you think the Nazis never got their hands on any of those air drops?… 

“The leakage to the al-Qaeda elements, there was a small amount of leakage, but much, much, much more of their weaponry came from the Assad government, either, because the Assad soldiers were corrupt, as we said, we talked at the start about corruption.  They sold them, or in some cases, they surrendered, and with that, huge caches of weaponry made their way into al-Nusra hands.  The amount of material that al-Nusra got from the United States wouldn’t have lasted them for a day of combat.”

Fact check:  This claim is preposterous. As reported by Janes Defense, the US supplied nearly one thousand TONS of weapons in December 2015, much of which ended up in Nusra (Al Qaeda) hands. Nusra obtained weapons when they over-ran Syrian military bases, but otherwise they were amply supplied with weapons by the Gulf monarchies, Israel, Turkey, the US and UK. 

RSF claims the Syrian government has primary responsibility for the war and are the “bad guys”.  

“What I hope your listeners will take away from this is that it is not an equal combat on both sides; is not an equal responsibility on both sides.  One side from the beginning was using torture and shooting at innocent people, thousands of arrests.  And one side was trying peacefully, for a very large part, to bring about change.  And, unfortunately, in this instance, the bad guys won.”

Fact check:  The campaign against Syria has been waged by a coalition of western powers, Turkey, Israel and the Gulf monarchies. About 121 thousand Syrians in the Syrian army and militias have died defending their country.

RSF claims that Syria is responsible for the war refugees and destabilizing its neighbors.

“Even had Turkey, Qatar and the United States, Saudi Arabia, stayed out of it, there still would have been huge refugee flows trying to escape from those same brutal Syrian security forces, and they still would have flooded the borders of Lebanon and Jordan and of Turkey, which is itself destabilizing, particularly in Lebanon, but some places like Jordan, Turkey.  Therefore, you can’t just say that all these other countries intervened in sovereign Syrian territory.  The Syrian government itself was taking actions which were destabilizing to its neighbors.”

Fact check: Most refugees fled when their neighborhoods were taken over by militants and became battle zones, NOT because they were afraid of Syrian security.

RSF criticizes Turkey but thinks Syrian government bears primary responsibility.

“I’m never going to justify the Turks allowing Salafi jihadists to go into Syria.  I think that I’ve already said that that was a bad mistake.  And we criticized them at the time of playing with snakes.  I’m never going to justify it.  But I have to say, Aaron, that in the end, they came in response to what the Assad government was already doing.  And so, the principal responsibility … do the Americans have a share of responsibility?  Of course, we do.  Yeah.  It was our anti-tank missiles blowing up Syrian government tanks, and not just a few; I mean, hundreds of them.

“I think we have to go back to where it started in 2011.  And that’s with the Syrian government…”

RSF says he is not aware of the huge scandal at the OPCW but believes Syria has used chemical weapons.

“I’m not familiar with that controversy within the OPCW…. 

“But I guess I would just say this, Aaron.  There’s plenty of documentation by the UN’s joint investigative group with the OPCW that looked at incidents in Syria chemical weapons use, from 2013 onwards.  They’ve issued several reports…. So, the 2018 incident, I don’t know about that report, but I have no doubt whatsoever that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on multiple instances, the same government that bombs hospitals, the same government that bombs bakeries, the same government that kills people in detention routinely.  Look at the photos that were brought up by the military defector.  You know, why would you think they wouldn’t use chemical weapons?  Why would you think they would suddenly have moral scruples against these?   It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

[Fact check: the OPCW scandal has confirmed manipulation of that organization by the US and west. The “military photographer” refers to the ‘Caesar torture photos’ propaganda stunt.]

RSF wants to increase humanitarian aid to Syria refugees.

“Something the Americans could do that would be hugely helpful is to increase humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees that number some five million, particularly in Lebanon, where their living circumstances are precarious, very precarious, but also in Jordan and Turkey…  I’d like to spend less on the military operation and much more on humanitarian aid.

“And then there is the issue of Northwest Syria, Idlib, where the UN is in charge of an operation getting humanitarian aid to some two million displaced Syrian civilians.”

[Fact check and observation:  Idlib province is dominated by Nusra (Al Qaeda). Robert Ford seems to want to perpetuate the AQ stronghold and refugee crisis by supplying aid to Idlib and foreign countries while preventing return of refugees and rebuilding war torn Syria.]

Conclusion

Both ambassadors speak Arabic and have intimate knowledge of Syria.

Robert S. Ford criticizes some past decisions and tactics, but not the assumptions or right of the US to violate the UN Charter and commit aggression against Syria.

Meanwhile, Peter Ford is doing his best to expose the reality of the situation, contrary to government and media bias and falsehoods. Like Daniel Ellsberg, Scott Ritter and Katharine Gun, he is using his special knowledge to publicly challenge the claims and assumptions of western policy. With Ellsberg it was about Vietnam. With Ritter and Gun, it was about Iraq. With Peter Ford, it is about Syria.

The full interview with UK Ambassador Peter Ford is well worth watching or reading.

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