Killing Julian Assange: Justice Denied When Exposing Official Wrongdoing

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The hideous treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues and many observers are citing his case as being symptomatic of developing “police state” tendencies in both the United States and in Europe, where rule of law is being subordinated to political expediency.

Julian Assange was the founder and editor-in-chief of the controversial news and information site WikiLeaks. As the name implies, after 2006 the site became famous, or perhaps notorious, for its publication of materials that have been leaked to it by government officials and other sources who consider the information to be of value to the public but unlikely to be accepted by the mainstream media, which has become increasingly corporatized and timid.

WikiLeaks became known to a global audience back in 2010 when it obtained from US Army enlisted soldier Bradley Manning a large quantity of classified documents relating to the various wars that the United States was fighting in Asia. Some of the material included what might be regarded as war crimes.

WikiLeaks again became front-page news over the 2016 presidential election, when the website released the emails of candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager John Podesta. The emails revealed how Clinton and her team collaborated with the Democratic National Committee to ensure that she would be nominated rather than Bernie Sanders. It should be noted that the material released by WikiLeaks was largely documentary and factual in nature, i.e. it was not “fake news.”

Because he is a journalist ostensibly protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, the handling of the “threat” posed by journalist Assange is inevitably somewhat different than a leak by a government official, referred to as a whistleblower. Assange has been vilified as an “enemy of the state,” likely even a Russian agent, and was initially pursued by the Swedish authorities after claims of a rape, later withdrawn, were made against him. To avoid arrest, he was given asylum by a friendly Ecuadorean government seven years ago in London. The British police had an active warrant to arrest him immediately as he had failed to make a bail hearing after he obtained asylum, which is indeed what took place when Quito revoked his protected status in April.

As it turned out, Julian Assange was not exactly alone when he was in the Ecuadorean Embassy. All of his communications, including with his lawyers, were being intercepted by a Spanish security company hired for the purpose allegedly by the CIA. There apparently was also a CIA plan to kidnap Assange. In a normal court in a normal country, the government case would have been thrown out on constitutional and legal grounds, but that was not so in this instance. The United States has persisted in its demands to obtain the extradition of Assange from Britain and London seems to be more than willing to play along. Assange is undeniably hated by the American political Establishment and even much of the media in a bipartisan fashion, with the Democrats blaming him for Hillary Clinton’s loss while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labeled him a “fraud, a coward and an enemy.” WikiLeaks itself is regarded by the White House as a “hostile non-government intelligence service.” Sending Julian Assange to prison for the rest of his life may be called justice, but it is really revenge against someone who has exposed government lies. Some American politicians have even asserted that jail is too good for Assange, insisting that he should instead be executed.

The actual charges laid out in the US indictment are for alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning to publish the “Iraq War Logs,” the “Afghan War Logs” and the US State Department cables. On May 23rd, the United States government further charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalizes any exposure of classified US government information anywhere in the world by anyone. Its use would create a precedent: any investigative journalist who exposes US government malfeasance could be similarly charged.

Assange is currently incarcerated in solitary confinement at high-security Belmarsh prison. It is possible that the Justice Department, after it obtains Assange through extradition, will attempt to make the case that Assange actively colluded with the Russian government, a conspiracy to “defraud the United States” to put it in legalese. Assange is unlikely to receive anything approaching a fair trial no matter what the charges are.

Assange’s prison term ended on September 22nd, but an earlier procedural hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court had already decided that a full hearing on extradition to the US would not begin until February 25th, 2020. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange would not be released even though the prison term had ended, because he was a flight risk. His status in the prison system was duly changed from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition and his final hearing would be at the high-security Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court rather than in a normal civil court. Belmarsh is where terrorists are routinely tried and the proceedings there permit only minimal public and media scrutiny.

Most recently, on October 21st, 2019, Assange was again in Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a “case management hearing” regarding his possible extradition to the US Judge Baraitser denied a defense team request for a three-month delay so that they could gather evidence in light of the fact that Assange had been denied access to his own papers and documents in order to prepare his defense. British government prosecutor James Lewis QC and the five US “representatives” present opposed any delay in the extradition proceedings and were supported by Judge Baraitser, denying any delay in the proceedings.

Another procedural hearing will take place on December 19th followed by the full extradition hearing in February, at which time Assange will presumably be turned over to US Marshalls for transportation to the Federal prison in Virginia to await trial. That is, of course, assuming that he lives that long as his health has visibly deteriorated and there have been claims that he has been tortured by the British authorities.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, who knows Julian Assange well, was present when he appeared in court on the 21st. Murray was shocked by Assange’s appearance, noting that he had lost weight and looked like he had aged considerably. He was walking with a pronounced limp and when the judge asked him questions, to include his name and date of birth, he had trouble responding. Murray described him as a “shambling, incoherent wreck” and also concluded that “one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes.”

The British court was oblivious to Assange’s poor condition, with Judge Baraitser telling the clearly struggling prisoner that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. Objections to what was happening made by both Assange and his lawyers were dismissed by the Crown’s legal representatives, often after discussions with the American officials present, a process described in full by Murray, who, after describing the miscarriage of justice he had just witnessed observed that Julian Assange is being “slowly killed in public sight and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing.” He concluded that “Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?” Indeed.

The Real US Mission in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

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US involvement in Syria has nothing to do with regional peace, stability and security, nothing to do with combatting ISIS.

It’s all about killing a nation, destroying its sovereignty, partitioning it for easier control, removing its legitimate leadership, installing puppet rule, plundering it, exploiting its people, eliminating an Israeli rival, isolating Iran, and enriching the US military, industrial, security complex from endless aggression.

On Thursday, US war secretary Mark Esper repeated what he said days earlier. Heavily armed Pentagon forces will continue controlling Syrian oil producing areas, on the phony pretext of “deny(ing) their access to ISIS — the scourge created and supported by the US he failed to explain.

During a Thursday joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds at the Pentagon, Esper said the following:

“Our National Defense Strategy emphasizes that our principal concern is the Indo-Pacific region” — to counter China’s sovereign independence, its growing regional and global influence, it economic, financial, military and technological development, he failed to explain, adding:

“I need to redeploy (Pentagon) forces to the area” to increase the US military footprint in a part of the world not its own.

Asked to comment on Trump’s remark about wanting to take Syrian oil, Esper said the following:

“Yeah, the – the mission is, as – as I’ve spoken to, and I’ve conveyed it to the commander, and that is, we will secure oil fields to deny their access to ISIS and other actors in the region (sic), and to ensure that the SDF has continued access, because those resources are – are important, and so that the SDF can – can do its mission, what it needs to do in the region (sic).”

Asked “(i)s that a new mission, he failed to say it’s part of the overall Pentagon objective to transform Syria into a US vassal state, plunder its resources, and achieve the other aims explained above.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US is stealing and smuggling $30 million worth of Syrian oil monthly “under the pretext of fighting ISIL.”

Separately, Zakharova explained that US/NATO-supported al-Qaeda-connected White Helmets are planning a new chemical weapons attack to be falsely blame on Damascus, saying:

“New confirmations of the information about the White Helmets’ activities emerge all the time.”

“According to the existing information, which the Syrian government regularly provides to the United Nations, the White Helmets, jointly with terrorists, are preparing new chemical provocations in Syria. They obviously aim at disrupting the peace process in the country,” adding:

They’re working with (US-supported) al-Nusra jihadists in Idlib province, the last major terrorist stronghold in the country — these elements heavily armed with US, other Western, Turkish, and Saudi-supplied weapons.

So-called ceasefire in northern Syria is illusory. On Friday, Russian reconciliation center head General Yuri Borenkov said 14 ceasefire breaches occurred in the last 24 hours alone — in Hama, Idlib, Aleppo, and Latakia provinces, adding:

Syrian forces in “Acre, Tel Rasha and Zuweiqat in Latakia province have been shot at by (US-supported) Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra) and foreign militants.”

On Friday, Southfront reported that “al-Qaeda (and) Turkish-backed radical militants launch(ed) (a) large-scale attack in northern Latakia” province “on Syrian military positions and civilian areas,” adding:

The assault “reportedly (was) led by” (US/Ankara-supported) al-Nusra jihadists, along with “(o)ther factions of the terrorist group and elements of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).”

“The new attack…coincides with a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-majority areas in northeast Syria. Radical SNA militants are leading the offensive, committing war crimes against civilians in the region.”

The struggle to liberate Syria from foreign occupation and plunder has miles to go because of US, NATO, Turkish, Saudi, and Israeli rage to eliminate the Syrian Arab Republic as it now exists.

What Keeps the Rich Up at Night Should Provide Inspiration to the Poor

By Danny Haiphong

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Halloween in America is a time to be frightened of horror films, costumes, and the health consequences of consuming too much candy. Horror films and costumes represent a fictionalized terror, one that deeply satisfies and reminds us of our own vulnerability. U.S. imperialism is a centuries-long nightmare that goes bump in the night. The terror of U.S. imperialism is very real and much scarier than anything Halloween has to offer. At the foundation of U.S. imperialism is a broad array of contradictions between the rulers of imperialism and those who suffer from imperial rule. It is only logical, then, that what keeps the rich up at night should provide inspiration and fuel to the cause of the poor and oppressed.

The ruling class in the United States, that .001 percent of the population which owns the means of production, takes on a “god”-like stature in American life. Billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and the rest are largely hidden from public life. Instead, a host of hirelings in the corporate media and in the halls of Washington articulate their ideological and policy interests. Celebrities glorify the lifestyle of billionaires through corporate-controlled distributors of culture also known as the television, film, and music industries. Politicians further normalize the “godliness” of the ruling class by ignoring their influence or defending their rule as a matter of democracy and “national security.” Of course, the deification of class rule would not be possible without the repressive and white supremacist state apparatus which imposes a regime of terror on the most dispossessed and darker hued peoples of the planet.

The United States, as the commander in chief of imperialist plunder, makes it as difficult as possible for poor workers and oppressed peoples to find inspiration from the maladies plaguing the rich. Corporate media and official Washington ignore or demonize those activists and journalists who fight to turn the nightmares of the rich into opportunities for social transformation. In Latin America, for example, millions are standing up to neoliberal rule. Bolivia and Argentina have elected leftist governments in recent weeks. The people of Chile have taken to the streets for over three weeks in opposition to neoliberal austerity. These developments have received little attention and zero positive coverage in the United States.

The surge of leftism in Latin America is not the only nightmare keeping the U.S. ruling class up at night. Imperialism, the system of monopoly and finance capital that the ruling class presides over, is in a state of crisis on several fronts. On the military front, Syria’s resilience in the face of eight years of proxy war has left the U.S. with few options to achieve its ultimate objective of full spectrum dominance in the region. The U.S.’s regime change war in Syria has failed and the head-chopping jihadists that the CIA and the Pentagon empowered are fighting alongside Turkey in a final standoff with the Syrian Arab Army. Trump’s mere signaling toward pulling U.S. troops from occupied Northern Syria has inspired great fear in the Pentagon and the military industrial complex generally. The Pentagon has since convinced Trump to double down on its occupation of Syria to ensure that the vast oil reserves in its northern territory cannot be used for reconstruction and development.

Military expansionism is often thought of a show of strength. However, in the case of the rich, reliance upon military force both at home and abroad help mask the broad decline of imperial rule. U.S. capitalism has become a short-term boon for the few and a long-term burden for the many. The U.S.’ share in the world economy is a fraction of what it was when it became the imperial superpower following World War II. Overall growth is virtually frozen. Workers haven’t seen a pay raise in forty years. Poverty, debt, and precarity are the only guarantees for nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population living under dead-end capitalism. Destroying the lives of whistleblowers like Julian Assange through massive investments in military and surveillance technology helps maintain the rule of the rich in the face of mass misery.

Economic decline and military expansionism are nightmares not because profits aren’t being made, but because the prospect of rebellion and unrest is the most frightening nightmare scenario for the rich. The U.S. capitalist economy is due for a periodic economic crisis on top of the 2007-2008 crash that workers have yet to recover from. Bernie Sanders and the revival of the word “socialism” among young workers are outgrowths of dead-end capitalism. The 2020 election has placed a spotlight on the fissures within the Democratic Party, once known for its iron-clad ability to keep social movements and left politics within the safe and corporate-controlled confines of the electoral arena. Democratic Party and Republican Party lieutenants are no longer seen as legitimate representatives of working-class Americans, which is why Sanders has become the most popular politician in the country and why Donald Trump, a billionaire with no political credentials, will likely win another presidential term should the Democratic Party choose to decapitate the Sanders campaign for a second time in four years.

While the many nightmarish aspects of system decline keep the rich up at night, they should inspire poor and working-class people to rise up against the system. Yet mass uprisings in the United States are not a common occurrence. Bernie Sanders is waging an electorally based movement inside of a corporate-controlled party. Labor unions such as the Chicago Teachers Union have used the weapon of the strike to unite oppressed communities to fight privatization and cutbacks to education. But this model is not the norm across the country. Despite an upsurge in labor unrest, many unions opt for a business model of organization that privileges compromises with the boss over the development of grassroots movements that threaten the entrenched power of capitalist bosses at the point of production. The UAW’s recent agreement that maintains a tiered workforce among other concessions to the bosses show the struggling occurring inside the American labor movement.

This is not to say that the strikes that occurred in Chicago schools and GM plants across the U.S. were not sources of inspiration. It is important, however, to analyze why the crisis of U.S. imperialism has not led to a massive rebellion inside of the United States. The fact remains that the working class in the United States is the most alienated class in human history. White supremacy and corporate power have never been more entrenched anywhere else in the world. Workers not only contend with their bosses, but also the largest military and police-state ever known. Workers not only search for a way to live under a low-wage capitalist system, but also do so in the presence of six corporations which own ninety percent of all media in the United States. There is thus no shortage of despair and distraction to keep workers in the United States from standing up to the powerful and uniting with the powerless.

Just like everything on this planet, systems are subjected to laws of scientific development. Systems rise and then fall due to their own inherent contradictions. The crises described in this article only scratch the surface of the contradictions facing U.S. imperialism at this juncture of history. Many of these contradictions are developing in a manner that should inspire workers and poor people in the U.S. to become agents of history. The people of Chile the people of Bolivia, and the people of Syria are revolting against the same system that is incarcerating, surveilling, and impoverishing workers in the United States. Their example should provide as much inspiration to U.S.-based social justice efforts as they inspire fear and dread in the rich.

Assange Extradition: What Happened to British Justice and Fair Play?

By Stuart Littlewood

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Why am I not surprised after reading Craig Murray’s alarming account of Julian Assange’s appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court this week?

Murray, a former UK ambassador and diplomat, is widely respected for his truth and accuracy. He reminds us: “The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election….

“The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defense was requesting more time to prepare their evidence, and arguing that political offenses were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.”

He provides chapter and verse on Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty 2007. “On the face of it, what Assange is accused of is the very definition of a political offense…. There is every reason to consider whether this charge is excluded by the extradition treaty, and to do so before the long and very costly process of considering all the evidence should the treaty apply. But Baraitser simply dismissed the argument out of hand.”

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser is severely criticized for failing to treat the two sides evenhandedly and for appearing to take instructions from the US Government people in the courtroom.

Assange’s defence team, according to Murray’s report, asked for the extradition hearing, scheduled for 25 February, to be delayed to allow more time for preparation. They have had very limited contact with their client in jail and haven’t been allowed to provide him with necessary documents. Assange has only just been given limited computer access and all his relevant records and materials were seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government. He’s had no access to his own materials in preparing his defence.

The team are also in touch with the Spanish courts about a legal case currently being heard in Madrid which will provide evidence showing how the CIA arranged for a contractor to spy on conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defense against these extradition proceedings. In normal circumstances, says Murray, this and other damning evidence would be enough to have the case thrown out.

However, Baraitser accepted the prosecution’s argument that there should be no extra time for the defense to prepare. And she ruled, without giving reasons, that there would be no separate consideration as to whether the charge was a political offense excluded by the extradition treaty.

“The extradition is plainly being rushed through in accordance with a Washington dictated timetable,” says Murray. “Apart from a desire to pre-empt the Spanish court providing evidence on CIA activity in sabotaging the defense, what makes the February date so important to the USA?”

The most sinister revelation came at the end. Baraitser announced that the substantive hearing in February will be held, not at an open and accessible venue like Westminster Magistrates Court, but at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, “the grim high-security facility used for preliminary legal processing of terrorists, attached to the maximum-security prison where Assange is being held”. Murray says: “There are only six seats for the public in even the largest court at Belmarsh, and the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again to a genuine account of her proceedings, like this one you are reading. I will probably be unable to get in….”

Craig Murray calls Assange his friend and is distressed by how his appearance has deteriorated after long confinement, and by his rapid aging and stumbling speech – “the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known” reduced to a “shambling and incoherent wreck”, says Craig. He is in such poor shape that there are fears Assange may not live to the end of the extradition proceedings.

Murray had been sceptical of claims that debilitating drugs were forced on Assange and his treatment amounted to torture. “Yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.”

Baraitser, says Murray, told Assange that if he was incapable of following proceedings, his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. And here’s a man who, by the very nature of the charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, and feared by the world’s super-power.

So how do his British captors explain his swift decline while in their care?

Murray describes the conditions under which Assange languishes at Belmarsh. “He is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.”

This is hardly the British justice we were brought up to admire and expect. So I have asked my MP to obtain an explanation from our Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP. A few simple answers would be appreciated:

  • Why is Assange held under the inhuman conditions reserved for terrorists when he’s no such thing and only on remand?
  • How does the Justice Department account for Assange’s poor physical and mental state?
  • Now that the Article 4 ‘cat’ is out of the bag why has the question whether political charges are excluded from the treaty not been addressed?
  • The US has had years to prepare its case, why not give Assange’s defense team more time, easier access and a sporting chance?
  • Why Belmarsh for February’s hearing, where the opportunity for public scrutiny is minimal?
  • Will District Judge Baraitser preside over the substantive hearing when, according to Murray, she has already failed to behave impartially?

Many will see the hand of the Dark State in this. Whatever one’s views on Assange there is no excuse for the vile treatment meted out to him.

US/Turkey Deal on Syria Like Carving up Cuba Scene from the Godfather Trilogy

BY Stephen Lendman

Source

Comment: Rick Sterling or Stephen Lendman, perhaps one must view the situation in Syria bearing both viewpoints, the latter’s below and the former’s in the previous post. A quagmire such as one in Syria is far too multi-faceted to be comprehended by looking through a singular lens. 

One of the trilogy’s most memorable scenes was in pre-liberated Cuba where mafia dons are seen carving up a cake representing the country.

The Hyman Roth character explains that “all of you will share” in plundering the island state in collaboration with its ruling authorities, adding:

“These are wonderful things that we’ve achieved in Havana, and there’s no limit to where we can go from here.” 

“This kind of government knows how to help business to encourage it…(W)e have now what we have always needed —real partnership with the government.”

Cuba’s strongman despot Fulgencio Batista was like Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, a figure Franklin Roosevelt called “a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

The characterization applied to Batista, today to all despots serving US interests and their own at the expense of peace, equity and justice.

Since early 2011, Obama’s war on Syria, now Trump’s, using ISIS and likeminded jihadists as proxy Pentagon/CIA foot soldiers continues.

It’s gone on endlessly because bipartisan US hardliners reject restoration of peace and stability to the country and others the US attacked aggressively.

They want all nations not controlled by the US transformed into vassal states, Assad and other independent leaders replaced by pro-Western puppet rule.

War in Syria is also about isolating Iran regionally, ahead of a similar scheme against its ruling authorities.

What’s going on in the Middle East post-9/11 is part of a US-led NATO/Israeli plot to redraw the Middle East map, carving up nations for easier control, looting their resources and exploiting their people.

Tactics include endless wars and chaos in one country after another, serving US imperial interests. Peace and stability defeat its aims.

Russia’s intervention in Syria four years ago changed the dynamic on the ground, most of the country liberated from the scourge of US-supported ISIS and other terrorists, Idlib province the key remaining battleground.

Infested with thousands of heavily armed US-supported al-Nusra jihadists, they’re holding around three million civilians hostage as human shields, defeating them requiring protracted struggle that’s winnable.

The greater issue is occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, its south bordering Iraq and Jordan by Pentagon troops.

As long as Syria is occupied by foreign forces, liberation remains unattainable.

The illegitimate October 17 US/Turkish deal leaves troops from both countries occupying and controlling Syrian territory — a flagrant international law breach, a scheme Damascus rejects.

It includes redeploying US forces in northern areas largely or entirely cross-border to Iraq and perhaps Jordan, unknown numbers remaining in Syria — thousands more sent to Saudi Arabia, increasing the Pentagon’s regional military footprint.

As portrayed in the Godfather trilogy, the US and Turkey agreed to carve up Syria’s north, ruling authorities of both countries wanting control over its oil-producing areas.

Damascus has no intention of relinquishing any of its territory to foreign occupiers, war likely to continue until all parts of Syria are liberated.

On Friday, Bashar al-Assad met with Kremlin special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

Discussing the latest developments on the ground, notably Turkish aggression and Erdogan’s deal with the Trump regime, Assad stressed that Syria’s liberation depends on halting Ankara’s offensive and freeing the country from foreign occupiers.

Russian officials affirmed support for Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, what the Kremlin backed throughout the war, along with restoration of peace and stability to the country.

On Saturday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Turkish terror-bombing and cross-border shelling continue for the second day following Thursday’s deal in Ankara, saying:

“(R)esidential neighborhoods in Ras al-Ayn and targeted places of worship from mosques, churches and monasteries, which caused the people fleeing the targeted areas” were struck, adding:

A “SANA reporter said that eight civilians were martyred and about 25 others were injured in the ongoing Turkish aggression on Syrian territory in and around Ras al-Ayn city despite the announcement of the Turkish regime reaching an agreement with Washington…”

“(G)roups of the Turkish occupation forces and their mercenaries infiltrated into Ras al-Ayn city and the surrounding villages and attacked with medium and light weapons the people in the villages of Lazka, Abah, Mraikiz, Bab al-Khair and Sheikh Hussein Tomb in Ras al-Ayn countryside.”

“The Turkish regime is launching offensive on a number of villages and towns in the countryside of Hasaka and Raqqa, which resulted in the martyrdom and injury of hundreds of civilians, including children, women and workers in the service sectors, and considerable material damage to service facilities, vital infrastructure such as dams, power and water plants.”

On Saturday, Southfront said the “northeastern Syria ceasefire is collapsing.” Turkish forces continue to attack sites, at least 28 civilians killed or injured.

AMN News said “Turkish forces (are) advanc(ing) (on a) key border city despite (Thursday’s) ceasefire” agreement, attacking Kurdish YPG fighters.

Hardline US and Turkish regimes can never be trusted, time and again agreeing to one thing, then going another way.

Is this what’s now playing out in Syria? What follows Thursday’s deal remains very much uncertain.

If past is prologue, there’s little reason for optimism.

Sorting Facts From Fiction About the US Withdrawal From Syria

By Rick Sterling

Source

The foreign policy elite is in an uproar. They claim we have abandoned our allies, they question how can America be trusted, they say the decision to withdraw from northern Syria was a gift to Russia, Iran, and Assad, to ISIS even. It is true that the U.S. and NATO policy of interventionism is failing, but that has been true since the invasion of Iraq or earlier. After the disastrous invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and an 8-year undeclared war on Syria, isn’t it time to question the foreign policy elite?

If one believes in the restoration of international law and the tenants of the UN Charter, then the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria is a good thing. Here are some facts and history that explain why.

Fact: Syria is not our country and U.S. troops were never authorized by its sovereign government to be there. Whether or not Washington likes Damascus is irrelevant, under international law U.S. troops have no right to be there. Even flights over Syrian airspace by the U.S. coalition are a violation of international agreements. The resposbilibility is on Syrians to defend their country against an invading Turkey, and if the Syrian government does choose to enlist support from another country, that is their right.

Fact: President Barack Obama was correct when he said that “putting boots on the ground” in Syria would be a “profound mistake.”  He later said, “We have a very specific objective, one that will not lead into boots on the ground or anything like that.” But the hawks prevailed. There were not only “boots on the ground”, but there was also a shifting rationale of their reasons for being there.

The U.S. and its myriad allies in the region have done all they can, short of a direct invasion, to overthrow the government of Syria. They have spent tens of billions of dollars on weapons, training, equipment and recruitment, all in direct contravention of international law. More than one hundred thousand Syrians have died defending their country against a foreign-sponsored army of mercenaries and foreign fighters.

Fact: The U.S. encouraged the emergence of the Islamic State. Why? Because it put pressure on the Assad government in Damascus and provided a casus belli the US. to enter Syria. While the U.S. carpet-bombed Raqqa, it looked the other way as hundreds of massive convoys carried oil from eastern Syria into Turkey to fund the ISIS operations. The U.S. carried out airstrikes against the Syrian Arab Army in the midst of a critical battle against ISIS near Deir Ezzor. In a now-famous secretly recorded conversation with Syrian opposition activists in New York, Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the United States was hoping to use ISIS to undermine the Syrian government. To put it bluntly, U.S. foreign policy was duplicitous and used terrorism as a tool. This, of course, is a well-documented fact.

After the U.S.-backed “Free Syrian Army” failed to overthrow the Syrian government, the U.S. sought out alternative means. They began to fund Syrian Kurdish militias known as the Peoples Protection Unit (YPG/YPJ). They gave the militias a new name, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and encouraged the group’s secessionist tendencies.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, home to the region’s most sizable Kurdish population, Kurds are fighting for their rights and have formed a political party (Peoples Democratic Party – HDP) to unite progressives of all ethnicities. In the 2015 Turkish election, the HDP emerged as the third most popular party and was able to stifle Erdogan’s election domination. The party is currently busy campaigning against Turkey’s invasion of Syria, dubbed Operation Peace Spring.

Back in Syria, Syrian Kurdish militias came to an agreement with the Syrian government on October 13, to jointly combat the Turkish invasion. The agreement specifies that the Syrian Arab Army will control and defend the entire area from Jarablus on the Euphrates River to Syria’s far eastern border with Iraq.

Advocates of U.S. intervention claim that the Kurds were fighting and dying “for us.” Yet, they were defending their own community. The extent to which they accepted and welcomed U.S. air support, equipment, weaponry, etc. was to their own benefit, not a favor to the United States. There were two parties using each other for their own benefit.

Syria Tanf

Whenever the United States attacks or occupies a country, it needs a rationalization. In 1991, it was false claims about incubators being stolen by Iraqi troops in Kuwait. In 2003, there were false claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In 2011 there were false claims of civilians being threatened by Libyan troops in Benghazi. All these claims were subsequently found to be either greatly exaggerated or entirely false.

One of the main justifications for a continued U.S. presence in Syria is that we must keep our word and not abandon Kurdish forces. This is a favorite rationalization for war. In Cuba, the CIA-trained Cuban exiles that attacked Playa Giron “were counting on us.” Fortunately, JFK resisted the pressure and said no. In Vietnam, the U.S. continued the war for a decade because “we could not let down our ally,” the governments of Saigon. Millions of Vietnamese were killed and 55,000 U.S. troops lost their lives because we could not “abandon” a government that was, in reality, little more than a proxy.

During the October 15 Democratic Debates, Joe Biden said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria was “the most shameful thing any president had done in modern history in terms of foreign policy.” This is absurd. Over one million died in Iraq including 4,500 and at least 100,000 severely injured U.S. soldiers. Joe Biden was an influential supporter of the 2003 Iraq invasion. Later, as Vice President, he supported the overthrow of the Libyan government. The country is still in chaos with tens of thousands dead. These two countries were devastated by U.S. action. It is evidence of shameless unaccountability in media and politics that Biden is a serious candidate for President after having destroyed so many lives at a cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In the same Democratic debates, Tulsi Gabbard was honest and accurate as she said that the plight of the Kurds in northern Syria is “yet another consequence of the regime change war we’ve been waging in Syria.”

Despite the howls of indignation and disinformation,  withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria is a step in the right direction.

عقوبات ترامب لن تغيّر الموازين وأميركا تفقد الهيمنة على العالم

أكتوبر 18, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كل المؤشرات الميدانية بالجغرافيا كما بالسياسة تفيد بأن أميركا تفقد السيطرة على النظام العالمي رويداً رويداً والبداية من برّنا وبحرنا..!

وان قيام الرئيس الأميركي بفرض عقوبات على العديد من دول العالم لن يحوِّل الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية المدوية في غرب آسيا والتي كانت السبب الرئيسي وراء ذلك الى نصر. وذلك للأسباب التالية:

1- إن المشهد الذي نراه الآن، في شمال شرق سورية، ليس نتيجة لعدوان أردوغان على سورية ولعبه على الحبال، وإنما هو جزء من دلالات الهزيمة، التي تلقاها المحور الصهيوأميركي في مسرح عمليات الشرق الاوسط والذي يعتبر أردوغان حلقة من حلقاته. فلا ننسى أن جيش أردوغان ومرتزقته يستخدمون دبابات / إم 60/ الأميركية التي تم تحديثها في إسرائيل ومجموعها 460 دبابة.

2. إن الانسحاب الأميركي من شرق سورية هو أيضاً لم يكن نتيجة لقرار مزاجي اتخذه الرئيس الأميركي، وإنما هو قرار مدروس وانعكاس للهزيمة الاستراتيجية نفسها، المشار إليها أعلاه، ويندرج في إطار توجّهات ترامب لخفض الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الانسحاب من سورية هو الخطوة الأولى لاستكمال الانسحاب من قواعد الجيش الأميركي كافة في المنطقة كلها، بما في ذلك تفكيك القاعدة العسكرية المقامة على أرض فلسطين والمسماة إسرائيل أو التخلي عنها في حال تعرّضها لهجوم مدمر .

1. وفِي هذا الصدد يجب التأكيد على ان الجانب الأميركي لم ولن يقدم أي ضمانات جديدة لـ إسرائيل بعد كل التطورات الدراماتيكية في شمال شرق سورية على وجه الخصوص، ذات البعد الاستراتيجي الدولي، والتي تؤذن ببدء عصر جديد، غير العصر الأميركي، يقوم على قاعدة العالم متعدّد الأقطاب.

2. وخير دليل على الهزيمة الاستراتيجية الأميركية في غرب آسيا هو ما نشرته صحيفة الإندبندنت البريطانية حول قيام الولايات المتحدة بسحب 50 قنبلة نووية / طراز B61 / من قاعدة انجرليك التركية، ونقلها الى قاعدة بوفيدزPowidz في بولندا /200 كم غرب وارسو / وقاعدة كونغالنيسيانو Michail Kongalniciano الرومانية الواقعة على بعد 30 كم إلى الشمال من ميناء كونستانسا الروماني الواقع على الساحل الغربي للبحر الأسود، حسب مصادر استقصاء صحافية متخصصة في هذا المجال.

3. اما دواعي ومسببات هذه الهرولة الأميركية، الى سحب قواتها من غرب آسيا وخفض نفقاتها العسكرية في هذه المنطقة من العالم، فتعود الى المأزق الاستراتيجي الأميركي الحقيقي والمتمثل في التحدي الاقتصادي والعسكري السياسي الصيني الروسي – وقريباً ستنضم إليهما الهند أيضاً – والمتمثل ليس فقط في النمو الاقتصادي الصيني الهائل وإنما في التقدم المرعب لصناعة السلاح الصينية الروسية ومعهما الهندية، والتي تستند الى قاعدة علمية – تكنولوجية تفتقر لها الولايات المتحدة، بسبب إهدار مواردها المالية في جبال طورا بورا افغانستان ورمال الكويت والعراق، في حروب عبثية بينما استثمر الثلاثي أعلاه موارده المالية في التطوير المعرفي العلمي التكنولوجي والذي هو قاعدة الصناعة الحديثة وعالم المستقبل.

وما إيران إلا مثال على نجاح هذه الاستراتيجية، العلم والمعرفة، والتي حوّلت الدولة الى دولة صناعية هامة وعملاق إقليمي في أربعين عاماً فقط.

1. كما لا بدّ أن نتذكر، في هذا السياق، أن أسباب القلق الأميركي من مواجهة العملاق الاقتصادي الصيني، ومعه روسيا والهند مستقبلاً، لا تقتصر على مظاهر القوة الاقتصادية الصينية الروسية الهندية الحاليّة وإنما تصل الى الخوف من الإمكانيات المستقبلية وعدم وجود أي فرصه، لا للولايات المتحدة ولا للاتحاد الأوروبي للإبقاء على سياسة الهيمنة على مقدرات العالم، كما كان عليه الوضع حتى الآن. اذ ان روسيا تمتلك 40 من احتياطات العالم اجمع من كل شيء، سواء النفط او الغاز او المعادن او الثروات الطبيعية الأخرى مثل الخشب… فإذا أضفنا الفائض المالي الصيني وما يعنيه ذلك من إمكانات استثمار هائلة مضافة اليها العقول والأسواق الهندية الى الثروات الروسية، فإننا لا بد ان نصل الى الحقيقة القائلة، بأن استمرار الولايات المتحدة في إنكار الهزيمة والحفاظ على مستوى انتشارها العسكري الحالي، على صعيد العالم، سوف يؤدي الى نهاية الولايات المتحدة بالضربة القاضية وليس بالتفكك التدريجي الذي توقعته مجلة ذي ناشيونال انترست الأميركية، قبل ايّام على موقعها الالكتروني، بتاريخ 12/10/2019، إذ توقعت أن يحصل ذلك في حدود عام 2045.

2. اذن فالأزمة أعمق من أن يحلها نائب الرئيس الأميركي، في زيارة عابرة الى تركيا، ولا هي قابلة للحل من خلال عدوان أردوغان على شمال شرق سورية، والذي من أهم مسبباته محاولة اردوغان إشغال جنرالات الجيش التركي في مشاكل حدودية للتغطية على قيامه باعتقال المئات من زملائهم والزجّ بهم في السجون خلال السنوات الثلاث الماضية.

وهذا يعني أن جوهر المأزق الأميركي هو جوهر بنيوي انعكس في صورة سلسلة هزائم، منذ بداية القرن الحالي وحتى اليوم، وكذلك الأمر في موضوع العلاقة الأميركية. فطبيعة الأزمة اكثر بنيوية من ان تكون أزمة او خلافاً بسبب موضوع محدد، مثل العدوان الأردوغاني على سورية او شراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية او غير ذلك.

إنها أزمة خيارات تشير الى أن تركيا قد تكون بدأت تخط استراتيجية جديدة لتنجو بجلدها وتضمن مستقبلها بعيداً عن النهاية القاتمة للمعسكر الذي تنتمي له. وقد يكون هذ اهو السبب بالذات، الذي جعلها لم تعد محل ثقة الولايات المتحدة، التي ترى في التوجهات التركية الجديدة التفاهمات مع روسيا وايران حول سورية والسيل الجنوبي للغاز الروسي وشراء منظومات الصواريخ الروسية… قرائن وأدلة على أن تركيا لم تعد محل ثقة ولا بد من تدميرها.

وهذا ما يفسر سيل التهديدات الأميركية لها بفرض أقسى العقوبات عليها.

إنها السنن الكونية للتغيير.

ولن تجد لسنة الله تبديلا.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

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