Opening Iran’s Black Box

By David Macilwain

Source

Ukraine Flight 752 a0457

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But perhaps it was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flights leaving IKA before PS 752 Jan 8th 3737c

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

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

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

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

احذروا الفتنة القادمة.. فيلم مُسيء للصحابة

نور الدين أبو لحية

كاتب وأستاذ جامعي جزائري

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

تظاهرة في لندن تندد بجرائم “الكراهية ضد الإسلام”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Mohammad Mosaddegh 82014

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

Nobody thought even he was quite so stupid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The need to continually demonize Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His explanation was perfectly reasonable…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoldering resentment for at least 70 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By John W. Whitehead

Source

 

US Army Soldiers 6dfce

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

It’s time to bring our troops home.

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

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

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

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

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

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

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

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

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

Take President Trump, for instance.

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

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

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

War spending is bankrupting America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That needs to change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are seeing this play out before our eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We failed to heed his warning.

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

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

Iran Ukraine Crash – A Propaganda Wet Dream

By David Macilwain

Source

Iran Ukraine Crash 65aba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OPCW Official Ordered Deletion Of ‘All Traces’ Of Dissenting Report On ‘Douma Chemical Attack’ – Wikileaks

Source

By Staff, Agencies

The leadership of the chemical weapons watchdog took efforts to remove the paper trail of a dissenting report from Douma, Syria which pointed to a possible false flag operation there, leaked documents indicate.

In an internal email published by the transparency website WikiLeaks on Friday, a senior official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] ordered that the document be removed from the organization’s Documents Registry Archive and to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever.”

The document in question is a technical assessment written by inspector Ian Henderson after a fact-finding mission to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, in the wake of an alleged chlorine gas attack.

Western politicians and media said at the time that the government forces had dropped two gas cylinders as part of an offensive against terrorist forces, killing scores of civilians.

The OPCW inspector said evidence on the ground contradicted the airdropping scenario and that the cylinders could have been placed by hand. Considering that the area was under the control of anti-government forces, the memo lands credence to the theory that the so-called rebels had staged the scene to prompt Western nations to attack their opponents.

The final report of the watchdog all but confirmed that Damascus was behind the incident, but in the past months an increasing amount of leaked documents and whistleblower testimonies have emerged, pointing to a possible fabrication. The OPCW leadership stands accused of withholding opinions contravening the West-favored narrative and using misleading language to report what the inspectors found on the ground.

The alleged email was written by Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW. Its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, but the organization never said any of the previously leaked documents were not real.

Another document published on Friday outlines a meeting with several toxicology experts and their opinions on whether symptoms shown and reported in alleged victims of the attack were consistent with a chlorine gas poisoning.

“The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure,” the document said, adding that the chief expert suggested that the event could have been “a propaganda exercise.”

The Douma incident in April 2018 spurred Western governments into action, with the US, the UK and France delivering a barrage of missiles at what was dubbed chemical weapons sites in Syria days after.

Pro Tip: Mentally Replace All Uses of “Conspiracy Theorist” with “Iraq Rememberer”

By Caitlin Johnstone

Source

Powel Iraq 3c62d

I watched the film Official Secrets the other day, which I highly recommend doing if you want to rekindle your rage about the unforgivable evil that was the Iraq invasion.

Which is a good thing to do, in my opinion. Absolutely nothing was ever done to address the fact that a million people were murdered with the assistance of government lies just a few short years ago; no new laws were passed mandating more government transparency or accountability with its military operations, no war crimes tribunals took place, no new policies were put into place. No one even got fired. In fact we’ve seen the exact opposite: the people responsible for unleashing that horror upon our species have been given prestigious jobs in government and media and the US government is currently collaborating with the UK to set the legal precedent for charging under the Espionage Act any journalist in the world who exposes US war crimes.

The corrupt mechanisms which gave rise to the Iraq invasion still exist currently, stronger than ever, and its consequences continue to ravage the region to this very day. The Iraq war isn’t some event that happened in the past; everything about it is still here with us, right now. So we should still be enraged. You don’t forgive and forget something that hasn’t even stopped, let alone been rectified.

Apart from the howling rage surging through my veins during the film, the other thing I experienced was the recurring thought, “This was a conspiracy. This is the thing that a conspiracy is.”

And, I mean, of course it is. How weird is it that we don’t use that word to describe what the architects of that war did? Conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.” From the secret plan between the NSA and GCHQ to spy on and blackmail UN members into supporting the illegal invasion which is the subject of Official Secrets, to the mountain of other schemes and manipulations used by other government bodies to deceive the world about Iraq, it’s absolutely insane that that word is never used to describe the conspiracy within the Bush and Blair governments to manufacture the case for war.

The engineering of the Iraq war was a conspiracy, per any conceivable definition. So why isn’t that word reflexively used by everyone who talks about it?

Easy. Because we haven’t been trained to.

The use of the word “conspiracy” is studiously avoided by the narrative managers of the political/media class who are tasked with the assignment of teaching us how to think about our world, except when it is to be employed for its intended and authorised use: smearing skeptics of establishment narratives. The pejorative “conspiracy theory” has been such a useful weapon in inoculating the herd from dissident wrongthink that the propagandists do everything they can to avoid tainting their brand, even if it means refraining from using words for the things that they refer to.

This is why the word “collusion” was continuously and uniformly used throughout the entire Russiagate saga, for example. It was a narrative about a secret conspiracy between the highest levels of the US government and the Russian government to subvert the interests of the American people, yet the word “conspiracy” was meticulously replaced with “collusion” by everyone peddling that story.

Max Blumenthal

@MaxBlumenthal

A self-described “former Rolling Stone fact-checker” called me (what else?) a “conspiracy theorist.” But when challenged, this was the best she could do. 🤣 https://twitter.com/MeredithLClark/status/1200447148858445827 

Syria narrative managers on Twitter have been in meltdown for a week ever since the Rolling Stone podcast Useful Idiots featured oppositional journalist Max Blumenthal talking about the US-centralized empire’s involvement in the Syrian war and its pervasive propaganda campaign against that nation. The entire site has been swarming with high-visibility blue-checkmarked thought police demanding the heads of the show’s hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper for giving this evil “conspiracy theorist” a platform to say we’re being deceived about yet another US-led regime change intervention in yet another Middle Eastern nation.

Narrative managers use the “conspiracy theorist” pejorative to shove skepticism of establishment narratives into the margins of political discourse, far away where it can’t contaminate the mainstream herd. Whenever you see a dissenting interpretation of events getting too close to mainstream circles, as with Blumenthal appearing on a Rolling Stone podcast, Tulsi Gabbard saying on national television that the US government has armed terrorists, or Tucker Carlson interviewing Jonathan Steele about the OPCW leaks, you see an intense campaign of shrieking outrage and public shaming geared at shoving those dissident narratives as far into the fringe as possible by branding them “conspiracy theories”.

My suggestion then is this: whenever you see the label “conspiracy theorist” being applied to anyone who questions an establishment narrative about Syria, Russia, Iran or wherever, just mentally swap it out for the term “Iraq rememberer”. When you see anyone shouting about “conspiracy theories”, mentally replace it with “Iraq remembering”. It makes it much easier to see what’s really going on: “Oh those damn Iraq rememberers! Why can’t they just trust their media and government about what’s happening in Syria instead of indulging in Iraq remembering?”

Rania Khalek

@RaniaKhalek

The regime changers have been melting down for days bc @kthalps and @mtaibbi interviewed @MaxBlumenthal on their @RollingStone podcast. They can’t stand seeing an antiwar voice anywhere near the mainstream. Check out the episode that’s driving them mad https://youtu.be/5Pb7Q5aSmi0 

Powerful people and institutions secretly coordinating with each other to do evil things is the absolute worst-case scenario for the rest of the population; it is precisely the thing we fear when we allow people and institutions to have power over us. We need to be able to talk about that worst-case scenario occurring, especially since we know for a fact that it does indeed happen. Powerful people do conspire to inflict evil things upon the rest of us, and we do need to use thoughts and ideas to discuss how that might be happening. We are not meant to think about this, which is why we’re meant to forget about Iraq.

The Iraq invasion was like if a family were sitting around the dinner table one night, then the father stood up, decapitated his daughter with a steak knife, then sat back down and continued eating and everyone just went back to their meals and never talked about what happened. That’s how absolutely creepy and weird it is that the news churn just moved on after a conspiracy within the most powerful government in the world led to the murder of a million human beings, and now we’re all somehow only supposed to care about Trump’s rude tweets.

Never forget the Iraq war conspiracy, no matter how hard they try to make you. They did it before, they’ve done it again in Libya and Syria, and they’ll continue to attempt it in the future. When you sound the alarm about this they will call you a conspiracy theorist. All they’re really saying is that you’re one of those annoying pests who just won’t shut up and forget about Iraq.

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