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.

Is It an Act of War to Designate Iran’s IRGC as a Terrorist Organization?

By Prof. Anthony Hall

Source

The Israel Lobby’s Relationship to Trudeau, Trump and NATO

Trudeau Trump and the Israel Lobby 84c03

The Israel Lobby in Canada is demanding that the government of Justin Trudeau follow the lead of Netanyahu and Trump, the notorious duo of anti-Iranian warmongers. Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, has been leading the drive to have Canadian law brought into conformity with US and Israeli prototypes of post-9/11 terrorist designations.

At a press conference on January 13 in Canada’s Parliament, the Canadian branch of the US and Israeli-based ADL, demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) be designated as a terrorist organization. Canada has already designated the Quds division of the IRCG as a terrorist group. Iranian General Qassem Suleimani was the leader of the Quds force until he was assassinated on January 2 of this year.

Mr. Mostryn presented the Canadian government with something of an ultimatum with the following comment. “We are asking for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist group in Canada within the next 30 days. No further delays will be accepted by Canadians on this important public safety issue.”

There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates that Mr. Mostyn does not speak for all Jews in Canada or even for most of them. Certainly, this well paid functionary of the Israel Lobby does not speak for all Canadians when it comes to the issue of Canada’s relations with Iran. After the assassination of General Suleimani, Canadians have added cause to be skeptical about adopting the extravagant language and principles of the Israel Lobby as elevated to pre-eminence following 9/11.

After January 2, Canadian citizens and members of the global community generally are coming to understand better the lethal booby traps attached to pinning the status of “terrorist” on individuals and organizations without any due process whatsoever. The post-9/11 adoption of the principles of pre-emptive warfare promotes the ethos of shoot to kill first, worry later (if at all) about proof, justification and adherence to the older principles of international law. This ethos of kill first, deal with proof later, has essentially eliminated the legal principle that people, whether they be princes or paupers, are innocent until proven guilty.

The Displacement of Well-Founded Principles of International Law with the Pseudo-Laws of the Global War on Terror

The kind of agenda that Mr. Mostyn wants to import into Canada from Israel and the United States undermines the integrity and enforceability of international law. The United Nations and the International Criminal Court at the Hague are basically sidelined as credible organizations. The result is that officials effectively lack the capacity to command accountability from war criminals at the highest level.

The still-misrepresented events of 9/11 ushered in many transformations dramatically for the worse in the global community. These transformations include the negation of much of the juridical inheritance emanating from centuries of evolutionary progress in the community of nations. For the time being this juridical inheritance has been pretty much swept into the garbage bin leaving the world a much more dangerous place. Atrocities like the Israeli treatment of indigenous Palestinians or the extrajudicial Baghdad drone strikes of 2 January 2020 epitomize the subordination of the rule of law to the law of the jungle.

Senator Linda Frum

@LindaFrum

Favourite Senate Legal Committee witness ever. Will post ⁦shortly @davidfrum⁩ warnings against the inadequacies of Bill C76 to protect Canadian elections from foreign interference

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Setting Up NATO Soldiers and Iranian Soldiers to Kill Each Other to Advance

Israel’s Expansionary Ambitions

The decades-old Israeli push to pressure the United States and its “allies” into war with Iran was renewed in April of 2019. As reported in The Times of Israel, just days before an Israeli general election, Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Donald Trump for increasing his chances of being re-elected. Netanyahu’s thank you was for Trump’s political decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. In a Hebrew language tweet Netanyahu thanked Trump for “acceding to another one of my important requests.”

As Tamar Pileggi reported in The Times of Israel

Trump said his administration’s “unprecedented” designation “recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”…. Since taking office, Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, and recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

There is cause to be suspicious about the deadline announced for the Trudeau government’s ratification of the B’nai Brith Canada’s demand. To designate the whole armed forces of a foreign country as a “terrorist organization” is basically to declare war on the host country of that military organization. How is it in Canada’s interests or in the interests of the United States for that matter to give way to Israeli pressure pushing North America into a war with Iran?

The issue of time comes up because of recent announcements from the White House that Trump and Pompeo want to see NATO troops, including those of Canada, take over from US troops in Iraq. Trump needs this concession from NATO countries to meet an election promise. He has to have some symbolic bringing of US soldiers home from the Middle East prior to the US presidential election later this year.

Is it the goal of the Israel Lobby to push Canada and other NATO countries into a war posture with Iran after Trump bragged about assassinating “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world.” At the bidding of Trump, the NATO countries are pushed to enter a Middle East after it has been transformed by the criminal drone strike on the Iranian people’s most popular and beloved war hero?

Indeed, the admiration of General Suleimani, a real foe, not a pretend foe, of the Daesh proxy army is not limited to Iran, to the Muslim world or the Middle East. I can think of no military figure in the Western world that commands anything like the degree of respectful recognition that General Suleimani earned even from some that consider themselves enemies of the polities that the Quds force fought to help.

Is the issuing of the 30-day time limit by B’nai Brith Canada based on insider knowledge? Does the Israel Lobby in Canada know that there will soon be an influx of Canadian soldiers to replace US soldiers in Iraq? After the events of January 2, these US soldiers in Iraq and throughout the Middle East have had targets painted on their back by the war mongering of their Israeli-puppet Commander In Chief in the White House.

Is the rush to get the Canadian government to accept the terrorist designation part of a plan to encourage young NATO soldiers to kill young Iranian soldiers if they encounter one another in Iraq? Are we witnessing a plan to assemble NATO fighting forces in Iraq with the view that they would then be in a more strategic position to invade neighboring Iran?

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.

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”.

Boris Johnson Flies the Israeli Flag over Number 10

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Boris Johnson Netanyahu 4117f

Christians in the Gaza Strip are not allowed to visit holy cities such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas this year.  Israel says so.

Gisha, an Israeli rights group, said the ban points “to the intensifying of access restrictions between the two parts of the Palestinian territory,” calling it “a deepening of Israel’s separation policy” for the West Bank and Gaza. Christian leaders in Jerusalem complain: “Other people around the world are allowed to travel to Bethlehem. We think Gaza’s Christians should have that right, too.”

I well remember Gaza’s Catholic priest telling me, some years ago, that he hadn’t seen his family for 9 years. They lived just a few miles away in the West Bank but the occupying Israeli authorities warned that if he left Gaza they would not allow him back and his ‘flock’ would be without a minister.

If that isn’t religious warfare I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile, sinister moves are afoot in the UK to preserve Israel’s impunity for its crimes against the Palestinians and its contempt for international law. Boris Johnson’s new government is to pass legislation banning public bodies from imposing their own boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions (BDS) campaigns against foreign countries, including Israel, on the grounds that these “undermine community cohesion”.

Where’s the harm in BDS? It’s a peaceful response to Israel’s thuggery. It urges non-violent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands:

  1. Ending its unlawful occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall (international law recognizes the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel).
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

And how is Boris Johnson proposing to block BDS? Briefing notes accompanying the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, which sets out the Government’s program, say:

  • ● We will stop public institutions from imposing their own approach or views about international relations, through preventing boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries and those who trade with them.
  • ● This will create a coherent approach to foreign relations from all public institutions, by ensuring that they do not go beyond the UK Government’s settled policy towards a foreign country. The UK Government is responsible for foreign relations and determining the best way to interact with its international neighbors.

The notes point out that public institutions should not be pursuing their own foreign policy agenda with public money and there are concerns that such boycotts have legitimized anti-Semitism. The ban will apply to institutions across the public sector, not just councils, and will cover purchasing, procurement and investment decisions which undermine cohesion and integration.

Johnson is getting his knickers in a frightful twist over this. His party’s election manifesto had already pledged:

  • “We will ensure that no one is put off from engaging in politics or standing in an election by threats, harassment or abuse, whether in person or online.”
  • “We will champion freedom of expression and tolerance, both in the UK and overseas.”
  • “To support free speech, we will repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014, which seeks to coerce the press.”

The Conservatives also promised to champion the rule of law, human rights, free trade, anti-corruption efforts and a rules-based international system – all of which Israel refuses to comply with.

Johnson and his underlings just don’t get it. BDS is a legitimate, peaceful way of opposing the Israeli occupation. Furthermore, the foreign policies of successive UK governments have not met the approval of the British people. Far from it. There is no “coherent approach” or “community cohesion” and never will be with US-Israel axis pimps in control at Westminster.

Just look at our government line-up.

Johnson calls himself “a passionate Zionist”. He praised the ‘genius of Israel’ at a parliamentary reception marking 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and said he was proud of ‘Britain’s part in creating Israel’.

When the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution to set up an independent, international Commission of Inquiry to investigate all violations of humanitarian and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, with particular focus on recent events in Gaza, Johnson (then Foreign Secretary) couldn’t bring himself to vote for it.

Conservative glamour-girl Priti Patel, while International Development Secretary, had 14 meetings with Israeli politicians (including prime minister Netanyahu and his security minister) during a family holiday in Israel without telling the Foreign Office, her civil servants or her boss Theresa May, and without government officials present. This was not only a two-finger salute to the ministerial Code of Conduct but a gross breach of security. But what do you expect from a former vice-chair of Conservative Friends of Israel?

She was accused of freelancing in foreign policy and is said to have tried persuading colleagues to send British taxpayers’ money as aid for an Israeli forces project in the Golan Heights…. like we didn’t need the money here with 300,000 homeless and sleeping rough. She actually visited the Golan knowing it to be Syrian territory stolen in 1967 by the Israelis who have illegally occupied it ever since. Touring it with the thieving occupation army was a monumental diplomatic blunder. She was forced to resign. This bird-brain is now Home Secretary.

Muslim Sajid Javid, now Chancellor, remarked in December 2012: “Israel, the only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain….” He honeymooned in Israel and is a Conservative Friend of Israel. And he has proscribed Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah came into being as a resistance organization in response to the 1978 and 1982 Israeli invasions of Lebanon. Israel is delighted.

Michael Gove has described himself as “a proud Zionist” since he was a boy. He too is a Conservative Friend of Israel, believes BDS is anti-Semitic and that Israel is “free, democratic, liberal and western”.

Few people I know believe Israel has a friend in the whole world apart from those it has bought, threatened or terrorized into submission and, of course, the sad folk who have allowed themselves to be perverted by Christian-Zionist pastors and the Scofield bible.

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) seeks to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights and of international law.

“Failing to take action to hold Israel to account makes one complicit. Israel has been engaged in a global campaign to have laws prohibiting BDS introduced so that it can act with impunity. All those who believe in international law, human rights and freedom of expression must vigorously oppose this legislation.”

Nonbelligerent Iran v. Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel

By Stephen Lendman

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Times of Israel reported the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA…YOU? Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Why the UK Establishment Hates Jeremy Corbyn

By Johann Ross

Source

Jeremy Corbyn in Nottingham with Robin Hood statue 39d74

He’s been termed a ‘national security risk’ and an ‘enemy of the state’ by the mainstream media. On Sky News recently former Conservative and Times columnist Matthew Parris referred to his ‘mad’ conspiracy theories as he discussed with other journalists the danger of him being elected to power. One might think they were discussing a terrorist or criminal, but instead it was none other than Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, whose only crime has been to speak out against the harmful aspects of Britain’s foreign policy in recent years. Against regime change wars, against arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a supporter of Palestine – Corbyn has openly contradicted the establishment position for decades. Why? Because, like most conscious individuals, he deemed it to be immoral.

You see the problem with Jeremy Corbyn is that he tells the truth. Lord Finkelstein, writing in The Times on Wednesday, wrote a piece designed to send shivers down the spine of Britain’s most ardent capitalists. ‘How Lenin inspired Corbyn’s world view’ it was entitled, as he tried to persuade the public that the Labour leader threatens everything the UK establishment stands for. He quotes from a 2011 foreword written by Corbyn to the book Imperialism, in which he wrote,

“Since World War Two, the big imperial force has been the United States on behalf of global capitalism and the biggest, mostly US-based corporations. The propaganda for this has presented itself as a voice for ‘freedom’ and carefully and consciously conflated it with market economics.” He goes further to suggest that Soviet expansionism was different from that of the US:

“The influence of the Soviet Union around the world was huge, but tempered by an inadequate industrial base in comparison to the United States and the ruinously expensive arms race that hastened its decline, and eventual collapse in 1990. But the Soviet influence was always different, and its allies often acted quite independently.”

These ‘dangerous’ opinions are of course opposed by the establishment, whose very existence depends on a flourishing capitalist order.

The reason this subject has resurfaced of late is, of course, because of the 70th anniversary of NATO. This military alliance, consistently portrayed in the West as a force only for good in the world, has been criticized by Corbyn in the past for its ‘obsession with Cold War politics’ and for provoking Russia through its expansion into Eastern Europe.  Describing it as a ‘US tool’ for shaping policy in Europe, in his 2014 Corbyn article entitled ‘NATO belligerence endangers us all’ has dared to venture into territory that no other UK politician would dare go into. Suggesting that there were ‘huge questions surrounding the West’s intentions in Ukraine’, that NATO has been wrongly allowed ‘to act outside its own area since the Afghan war’ and that ‘it’s time we talked with Russia’ are statements strong enough to raise more than a few eyebrows in Westminster. Dismissed as crackpot conspiracy theories, there are very few mainstream journalists and commentators willing to tolerate such views for a second, let alone work out what they might mean.

Thankfully there are some who have been able to see past the propaganda that Corbyn is some kind of ‘Soviet sleeper’ and terrorist sympathizer intent on undermining national security and destroying Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the US, and as such he has got to the position he is in.  For the reality is that Corbyn’s mantra is essentially based on one basic principle: promote peace not war. And that is something which unfortunately is a huge threat to weapons manufacturers, from which the UK made £14bn last year, making it the world’s second largest arms exporter.

Therefore the ‘deep state’, will do everything it can to persuade the British public that Jeremy Corbyn is our enemy. Former MI6 head, Sir Richard Dearlove, writing in the Mail on Sunday last month warned ‘do not even think about taking the risk of handing this politician the keys of No.10’ as he boasted that neither Corbyn nor many of his close allies would have passed security vetting in order to join the agency. He asserted that Corbyn and his strategist, Seamus Milne, were ‘compromised by their past’ as they had ‘embraced the interests’ of Britain’s enemies. Dearlove, whose resilience has survived the criticism he faced over his role in the Iraq war, is still be listened to it seems. Indeed, his anti-Corbyn articles have featured regular in the mainstream press in recent years, along with several television interviews. And he is not the only former intelligence officer to have spoken out against Corbyn, despite the fact that the security services are supposed to remain neutral.

A recent article by Mark Kennard illustrates the extent to which this principle is being flouted. He writes “The stories — which quote former or current members of the army, navy and special forces, as well as MI5, MI6 and an ex-senior civil servant — have averaged one every six weeks since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in September 2015. There have, however, been significant spikes in frequency during the 2017 and 2019 general election campaigns.” Kennard goes on suggest that intelligence officers have in fact provided journalists in the mainstream media with secret documents as part of what he terms a ‘campaign’. It’s not hard to agree that this is a strong possibility. In 2018 the government’s Integrity Initiative scheme – an intelligence operation involving journalists and academics, designed to counter ‘Russian propaganda’ – was exposed, and it was found to be openly tweeting against Corbyn. This was one of the first indications that the media campaign against Corbyn could be orchestrated. In a previous interview with Professor David Miller at the University of Bristol, he also told me of the ‘unconstitutional animus’ towards the Labour leader which he said was operating in the same way as the Zinoviev case in 1924.

So the threat Corbyn poses is, in fact, nothing new – we’ve been here before with previous potential socialist governments. With baited breath one awaits the result of next week’s election; for if indeed Jeremy Corbyn does gain the keys to No.10 Downing Street we can only imagine what turmoil the establishment will be in…

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