Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

Distorting Facts in the United States’ Wars / Eva Bartlett, Canadian journalist

Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

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The British state-funded BBC, which has a history of perverted war  propaganda against the people of Syria, a history of whitewashing the  crimes of terrorists in Syria, a history of flat out lying about events  in Syria, has decided to launch another smear against myself, Vanessa Beeley, researchers of the Working Group on Syria, a former ambassador to Syria, and others.

This is not just another character assassination, though, this is a serious threat against journalists and those speaking truth against establishment narratives. Thanks to those who have tweeted or spoken about this revolting attack.

On Twitter, Jonathan Cook lent his support.

Vanessa Beeley spoke on UK Column News about the matter.

And others on social media have expressed exceptional support to the journalists, academics and others targeted in the pending smear.

Following is the hostile, journalistic integrity-devoid email sent to me by a British state-funded hack (who is such a cowardly hack she hides her Twitter feed).

Since I frankly neither expect Chloe/the BBC to republish the entirety of any reply I give them, I’ll paste here the basic reply I sent–which I would elaborate on in depth were I to receive the BBC’s word that they would publish my full reply in full.

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply.

Will you?

If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full.

Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.

However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog. It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you:

Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times?

Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,

Eva

Chloe sent a similar but more detailed email to Vanessa Beeley, which Vanessa deconstructed at length on Twitter.

Chloe also previously harassed members of the Working Group on Syria,  Propaganda and Media–the group of academics and researchers whose scrutiny into the alleged Douma chemical attack led to the initial OPCW whistleblowers to speak out (long before others belatedly chased those leaks).

In a meticulously-compiled report exposing Chloe’s whitewashing details around the alleged Douma chemical attack, the Working Group detail the nature of the correspondence (harassment) from her/the BBC.

Since the loaded questions in her hostile email take issue with my perspective and reporting on the White Helmets, I detail below my reports which address issues pertaining to the White Helmets and their crimes against Syrian civilians.

 Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

 Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda

 Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax

 Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

 Decision to bring White Helmets to Canada dangerous and criminal

 Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

 Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Regarding the boy in the ambulance (Omran Daqneesh), I met him and interviewed his father in mid 2017.

 MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

The BBC, on the other hand, repeatedly purveyed the lies & war  propaganda that Russia/Syria had airstruck his home. Fake news.

SYRIAN CIVILIANS’ SUFFERING:

However, my writing on Syria is not *only* on the White Helmets. In fact, most of it is on the suffering of civilians under terrorist rule or attacks, something the BBC and other Western corporate or state-funded media actively ignore, but which I have been doing since 2014.

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

 In Aleppo, US and Saudi-Backed Rebels Targeted ‘Every Syrian’

 Hadar: A Village Under Siege by Syrian Rebels and Israeli Forces Alike

 Mhardeh: A Call from a Martyred Christian Town for Syria’s Full Liberation

 Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

 The Caesar Act: The Latest Western Attack on Syria Didn’t Drop From a Plane

 Order Returns To Western Syria, Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule

 US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

 Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

 US exceptionalism: Exploiting certain Syrians, ignoring others

 UN Feigns Outrage Over Eastern Ghouta While Terrorist Rockets Rain on Damascus

 US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians – Global Research

 Media Black-Out on Arab Journalists and Civilians Beheaded in Syria by Western-Backed Mercenaries – Global Research

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/liberated-homs-residents-challenge-notion-of-revolution/

 Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula

 University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism February 24-26, 2015

 SYRIA: The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark – 21st Century Wire

 Eva Bartlett: Overcoming savagery, treachery, Maaloula’s heroic defenders fight for the future — Sott.net

 Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors — Sott.net

• • •

…and aside from that, my writing focuses on the war propaganda of British and other Western state-funded media like the BBC [tweet]:

“In April 2014, after an elementary school was mortared by terrorists east of Damascus, killing one child, the BBC later reported, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.” On a recent social media post, I noted this deceitful journalism, and the BBC could have easily learned about the trajectory of mortars and from where the mortar in question could only have come: the “moderates” east of Damascus.” –From: Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-ed

Or the repeated accusations against Syria:

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

and years of NATO propaganda:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

-by Eva Bartlett, Oct 10, 2015, Dissident Voice *republished at Global Research, Syrian Free Press, Sott.net, World News, Uprooted Palestinians…

Or the Guardian’s whitewashing of terrorists in Syria:

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria – Global Research

or the Guardian’s giving a platform to terrorist propaganda:

Guardian, Atlantic contributor acts as a Syrian terrorist mouthpiece on Twitter, and if you don’t…

or the global media exploitation of a girl being exploited by her own parents

Exploitation of Bana al-Abed: Parents use child to whitewash terrorists in Aleppo

or the ad nauseam repetition of war propaganda, from Aleppo to eastern Ghouta

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’

My reporting from around Syria over the years was funded by myself, unlike Western-funded media operatives who lie about Syria, and has included a great deal of personal risk from mortars and terrorist snipers.

For example, when I went to the state hospital in Dara’a, the city was being mortared by terrorists. Getting to the hospital involved shooting down a road (in a taxi) with terrorist snipers 100 m away. Much of the hospital was destroyed or inaccessible.

· Twitter thread with videos from inside the hospital.

Al-Qaeda’s rescuers never speak of their buddies’ bombs on Dara’a streets, including the day I visited in May 2018. Dara’a hospital is battered from their “freedom” bombs and is extremely dangerous to get to, due to snipers. Nope, just hysterical accusations, as per norm. 

Dara’a hospital, heavily targeted by terrorist mortars. Terrorist sniping makes it impossible to reach the pharmacy.

Or standing on Castello Road (without body armour) when it was repeatedly mortared by terrorists in November 2016. https://mintpressnews.com/aleppo-how-us-saudi-backed-rebels-target-every-syrian/222594/

or like leaving Aleppo via Castello when the road was being mortared by terrorist factions, in August 2016 [videos]

or on 2 different occasions being fired at by terrorist snipers [tweet]

In closing: any questions on my credentials, read here and decide for yourself: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/

Gen. Soleimani Key Role in Counter-Terrorism Admitted by All Sides: Australian Prof.

Gen. Soleimani's Key Role in Counter-Terrorism Admitted by All Sides: Australian Prof.
A senior professor and political analyst based in Australia deplored the US move to assassinate Iran’s Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, as “a cowardice attack” and said the revered commander’s key role in combating US-backed terrorism has been acknowledged by all sides.

January, 08, 2020 – 19:16 

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“General Soleimani is acknowledged by all sides to have been the key commander in organizing and helping coordinate the campaign against those terrorist groups which were supported by US allies as they had freely admitted these days US allies at one stage from Qatar but also from the (United Arab) Emirates, from Saudi in particular, and from Turkey later on, from Israel as well in the South of Syria for example,” Professor Tim Anderson told Tasnim in an interview.

Professor Tim Anderson is a distinguished author and Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter-Hegemonic Studies. He has worked at Australian universities for more than 30 years, teaching, researching and publishing on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. In 2014, he was awarded Cuba’s medal of friendship. He is Australia and Pacific representative for the Latin America based Network in Defence of Humanity. His most recent books are: Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (2015), The Dirty War on Syria (2016), now published in ten languages; and Countering War Propaganda of the Dirty War on Syria (2017). His next book Axis of Resistance is due out in 2019.

The following is the full text of Anderson comments:

The assassination and murder of General Qasem Soleimani was a terrible crime, a terrible act of terrorism, and a cowardice attack because it came when US occupation forces in Iraq were pretending to be there in the course of fighting ISIS or Daesh with which they coordinated with Iran and with Iraqi forces. So it was a treacherous attack and an unprovoked attack on people who ostensibly they were working with against the scourge of terrorism in Iraq. That was the pretext on which US forces came back into Iraq in 2014.

Now, the excuse that the Trump officials have given for this attack, this assassination, and also the murder of more than 30 Iraqi soldiers in one of the militia under the government’s forces, was that there was an imminent attack now this doctrine of an imminent attack that’s been called the Bethlehem doctrine. It’s the same type of rationale that was used for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. They claimed that the government of Saddam Hussein was just about to attack either the US or Britain or both. Now, it’s been stretched by this advisor called Daniel Bethlehem, who was brought in to Tony Blair’s office and Pompeo, one of Trump’s officials, has used it as the pretext after the fact for the assassinations, for the murders. They claim that there was an imminent attack on US people.

The second pretext, the second lie that’s been put about is that General Soleimani was somehow responsible for hundreds of deaths of Americans. There’s no basis been set up for this the former British diplomat Craig Murray has pointed out. It’s quite a lie. It may be that general Soleimani helped the resistance forces to the Iraq invasion after 2003 but anyone in Iraq was entitled to resist the US illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. So the pretext put about for the assassination are quite false in the same manner as the false pretext was set up for the disgraceful and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Now, the work that General Soleimani had done in that time since soon after 2003, helping combat the scourge of terrorism introduced by the allies of the US and the US itself in Iraq and Syria for example but also Lebanon, Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, the other proxy forces that were introduced to divide and weaken Iraq and then to do the same to Syria. General Soleimani was a leading commander in that. He was also training other commanders from the beginning in Syria, for example, from the beginning in Iraq you recall the huge wave of terrorism that happened in Iraq that began in 2006 under al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Islamic State in Iraq which went on to become ISIS or Daesh.

General Soleimani is acknowledged by all sides to have been the key commander in organizing and helping coordinate the campaign against those terrorist groups which were supported by US allies as they had freely admitted these days US allies at one stage from Qatar but also from the (United Arab) Emirates, from Saudi in particular, and from Turkey later on, from Israel as well in the South of Syria for example. So, General Soleimani was advising the resistance to Israel in Lebanon. He was a friend of the Palestinians. They’re mourning him now in Palestine.

He played an important role in many of those early battles in Syria against the terrorist groups; Nusra in the western Syria and Daesh in the east and the course against Daesh when they were about to take over Iraq in 2014 and the Americans reentered under the pretext of fighting Daesh. Of course, they did nothing of the sort. It was General Soleimani and the people he coordinated with, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi militia, that were put together to join with the Iraqi army after 2014 when the US-sponsored army was incapable of responding to that threat, General Soleimani was there, of course also defending Iran’s interests but being a tremendously respected and leading figure in the fight against terrorism in the region. Now, we see that this act of terrorism, this cowardly act of terrorism by the Trump regime and undoubtedly there are forces on President Trump, on the one hand, to try and persist with this idea of trying to neutralize the influence of Iran in the region but perhaps also for some short-term political gains in terms of his own domestic sphere.

He’s done nothing over the sort of course. He’s exposed an extraordinary stupidity which I admit I didn’t see. I didn’t see it was as bad as that I thought Trump was a crude man, an ugly man, in many respects but he hadn’t initiated new wars and he seems to have miscalculated very badly because he has forced Iran to respond, to take a revenge because this is such an insult to Iran as a nation. I can’t see any alternative. They’ll be seen as completely useless, completely weak if they don’t make some response. On the other hand, any response directly to US interests in the region is going to assure some sort of reaction as well.

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

By Caitlin Johnstone

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Powel Iraq 3c62d

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy. Because we haven’t been trained to.

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

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

Max Blumenthal

@MaxBlumenthal

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

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

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

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

Rania Khalek

@RaniaKhalek

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

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

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

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

US Reportedly Finds ‘Significant Cache’ of Iranian Missile Parts Being Smuggled to Houthis by Boat

An Iranian woman looks at Taer-2 missile during a street exhibition by Iran's army and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard celebrating Defence Week marking the 39th anniversary of the start of 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, at the Baharestan Square in Tehran, on September 26, 2019

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Anonymous US officials reported the seizure of a “significant cache” of missile parts by a US destroyer in the Gulf of Oman last week, with the weapons reportedly being linked to Iran and suspected of being smuggled to the Houthis in Yemen. The report comes amid backroom peace talks to end the war in Yemen.

The USS Forrest Sherman seized missile parts found onboard a boat in the Gulf of Oman last week, an anonymous US official told the Associated Press Wednesday. The official said the weapons were linked to Iran and believed to be bound for Yemen and the Shiite Houthi militant movement there.

The anonymous official did not say how many missiles or parts were found, only that a small wooden boat had aroused US suspicion by not flying a country flag, prompting the destroyer to stop and search it.

‘Fake and Fabricated’ Accusations

The US and its allies have accused Tehran of supporting the Houthi movement before, claiming Iran is fighting a proxy war against its regional rival Saudi Arabia, which has waged a bloody war in Yemen against the Houthis for nearly five years.

In December 2017, then-US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley presented what she called the “smoking gun” of Iranian support for the Houthis: pieces of a missile fired at Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid International Airport just outside the capital of Riyadh, which she claimed were of Iranian origin.

Iran’s envoy to the UN at the time, Gholamali Khoshroo, said the accusations were “fake and fabricated,” an attitude generally shared at the time even by US allies. Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, later explained the Houthis had overhauled older missiles themselves, turning them into more potent weapons.

Washington renewed the accusation in June 2019 following the downing of a US drone over Yemen by Houthi forces. The US said the anti-air missile that struck the drone had been provided to the Houthis by Iran, but as Sputnik reported, the old, Soviet-made weapon was sold to dozens of nations decades ago and could have been bought anywhere.

US allies split in September over the issue of who carried out the aerial attack on two Saudi Aramco petroleum sites in eastern Saudi Arabia: Washington claimed the missiles were fired from Iran, while Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz claimed the Houthis carried out the attack, as the group itself claimed, but at Tehran’s orders.

The Houthis have been fighting a war against the Saudi-led coalition since March 2015, when the group forced Yemeni President Adrabbuh Mansur Hadi out of office. The Zaidi Shiite group represented a diverse alliance of Yemenis disaffected by Hadi’s federalization plans and slashing of state welfare benefits, both of which hit the northern border areas the Houthis call home extremely hard. The Saudis claim to be defending the Yemeni government’s sovereignty, but they and their chief partners, the United Arab Emirates, have also found erstwhile allies in the radical Islamist militias active in Yemen, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which now controls much of the country’s southeast.

Via Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, US weapons have been found in the hands of these militias in large numbers, including American MRAP anti-mine vehicles, French LeClerc main battle tanks and Agrab Mk2s, a unique vehicle of South African design.

Peace Deal in the Works

Sputnik reported last week on peace talks between the Houthis and Saudis being quietly hosted by Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Muscat and accompanied by large prisoner exchanges.

Former Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told Foreign Policy that handling of the peace talks by Saudi Vice Minister of Defence Prince Khalid bin Salman, brother of de facto Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reflected “a commitment to a final comprehensive peace … and a realization that there is no military solution to the conflict. I believe Prince KBS hopefully has come with a new vision to put an end to a costly war which has created great regional stability.”

“The war has exhausted Saudi Arabia financially, and the worsening military situation in its south is not in its best interest,” Nabeel Khoury, the former deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Sana’a, told the US-based outlet Al-Monitor for an article published on November 26. “The fact that Prince Khalid has been assigned the Yemeni dossier is positive because it is a complicated issue and it needs a full-time decision-maker who Mohammed bin Salman trusts.”

An estimated 91,000 Yemenis have died as a result of the war, most of them civilians killed by the humanitarian catastrophe created by shortages of food, medicine and clean water. Despite the Saudi air campaign, the Houthis have gone on the offensive in the last year, conducting deeper strikes inside Saudi Arabia that targeted airfields, petroleum facilities and other sites.

Killing Julian Assange: Justice Denied When Exposing Official Wrongdoing

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Julian Assange Killing e3453

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

Source

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

Source

Halloween House 83e6d

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

Source

Julian Assange in court d3d74

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.

Iraq Protests: Spontaneous or Made in the US?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

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Time and again, when peaceful protests turn violent in various countries, US dirty hands are involved.

There’s no ambiguity about months of protests in Hong Kong, US dirty hands all over them, local elements involved having met with Trump regime and congressional officials, as well as a US consular one in the city.

Nearly a week of violent protests in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, killing over 100, injuring thousands, security forces among the dead and wounded, bear similarity to the US-orchestrated late 2013/early 2014 color revolution in Ukraine.

The Euromaidan uprising was and remains all about replacing independent democratic governance with pro-Western fascist rule — controlled by the US.

Russia and then-Ukrainian President Yanukovich were falsely blamed for sniper shootings of protesters and police, killing around 100 people, injuring hundreds more.

Then-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new (putschist) coalition.”

“All the evidence shows” they were shooting at people from both sides. They targeted police and protesters.

Kiev Dr. Olga Bogomolets reported the same thing, citing photos for proof. Paet called her evidence “quite disturbing.”

Snipers were likely CIA-recruited neo-Nazi hitmen. Shots came from one or more buildings overlooking the Maidan.

Snipers with automatic weapons were inside. Eyewitnesses saw them leaving the area’s Philharmonic Hall, carrying military-style bags used for sniper and assault rifles with optical sights.

Former Ukrainian Security Service head Aleksandr Yakimenko confirmed what happened, planned well in advance he said, adding:

Elements involved “carried out everything that they were told by their leadership – the United States.” Maidan leaders practically lived at Washington’s embassy, he stressed.

The battle for Ukraine’s soul was lost, Washington gaining an imperial trophy bordering Russia.

Is what’s going on in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq similar to US-orchestrated Hong Kong protests and the Obama regime’s coup in Ukraine?

Long-suffering Iraqis have legitimate grievances, notably rampant corruption, high unemployment, impoverishment affecting millions, the nation’s youths notably affected, and lack of essential to life public services.

This is unacceptably going on in the oil-rich country with the world’s fifth largest reserves, its ruling authorities serving privileged interests and themselves exclusively, subjecting ordinary people to neoliberal harshness.

Therein lies the root cause of what’s going on. Extreme violence causing thousands of casualties, along with setting dozens of public and private buildings ablaze, storming others, raises red flags — a scenario appearing like dirty hands behind it.

Iraq’s interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan denied security forces were using live fire on protesters, adding “malicious hands” are targeting ordinary Iraqis, police, and other government forces.

Over the weekend, US-installed prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet issued a decree, including over a dozen intended reforms, notably land distribution, increased welfare payments for needy families, 100,000 new housing units, and benefits for the unemployed — if follow-through actually occurs and makes a difference.

Individuals killed were declared “martyrs,” their families granted special benefits.

Iraqi ruling authorities are allied with the US and Iran, its split loyalty riling Trump regime hardliners, wanting Baghdad allied with their war on the Islamic Republic by other means, along with their overall regional agenda.

They’re reportedly furious over Mahdi blaming Israel for terror-bombing sites in Iraq, opening the al-Qaem crossing between the country and Syria, along with expressing interest in buying Russian S-400 air defense systems and other military hardware from the country, partnering with China to construct essential infrastructure in exchange for oil, and choosing a German company over a US one for an electricity project.

The Trump regime is especially angry over normalized Iran-Iraq relations. Baghdad is notably dependent on Tehran for natural gas and electricity. Both countries share a common border.

Mahdi has tried to stay neutral to avoid greater regional conflict, rather than ally with the US, Israel and the Saudis against Iran. All of the above leaves him vulnerable to regime change by the US.

Iranian leader Khamenei tweeted the following on Sunday: “Iran and Iraq are two nations whose hearts & souls are tied together through faith in God, love for Imam Hussein and the progeny of the Prophet (PBUH).”

“This bond will grow stronger day by day. Enemies seek to sow discord but they’ve failed and their conspiracy won’t be effective.”

Various Arab media sources and independent observers believe the Trump regime is behind days of violent protests in Iraq, internal elements enlisted as proxies to serve its interests by destabilizing the country.

A statement from PM Mahdi’s office said the following:

“(D)emonstrations were already planned a couple of months ago. Baghdad was working to try and ease the situation in the country, particularly since the demands of the population are legitimate.”

“The prime minister has inherited the corrupt system that has developed since 2003. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been diverted into the pockets of corrupt politicians” — and the West not mentioned.

“(T)he (US) war on terror used not only all the country’s resources but forced Iraq to borrow billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the security forces and other basic needs.”

“The latest demonstrations were supposed to be peaceful and legitimate because people have the right to express their discontent, concerns and frustration.”

“However, the course of events showed a different objective: 16 members of the security forces were killed along with tens of civilians, and many governments and party buildings were set on fire and completely destroyed.”

“This sort of behavior has misdirected the real grievances of the population onto a disastrous course: creating chaos in the country. Who benefits from the disarray in Iraq?”

What’s going on is likely connected to a failed plot to kill Quds Force commander of Iran’s IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, a key figure in the country’s counterintelligence operations.

The US seeks unchallenged regional control, part of what years of war on Iraq, Syria, and Yemen is all about.

Other US aggression in Central Asia, north Africa, and economic terror war on Iran remain ongoing for the same reason.

A Final Comment

According to the Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Akhbar broadsheet, the Trump regime planned ongoing violence and chaos in Iraq months earlier.

An unnamed Iraqi security source said US preparations were made for a “hot fall” in the country, adding:

The US and Saudis may have similar tactics planned in Iran and Lebanon.

A Generation Deleted: American Bombs in Yemen Are Costing an Entire Generation Their Future

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

ADAA, NORTHERN YEMEN — Third-grader Farah Abbas al-Halimi didn’t get the UNICEF backpack or textbook she was hoping for this year. Instead, she was given an advanced U.S bomb delivered on an F-16 courtesy of the Saudi Air Force. That bomb fell on Farah’s school on September 24 and killed Farah, two of her sisters, and her father who was working at the school. It will undoubtedly have an irrevocable effect on the safety and psyche of schoolchildren across the region.

Over the course of Yemen’s pre-war history, which locals fondly refer to as the happy Yemen years, never has an entire generation been subjected to the level of disaster and suffering as that levied upon Farah’s generation by the Saudi-led Coalition, which has used high-tech weapons supplied by the United States and other Western powers to devastating effect since it began its military campaign against Yemen in 2015.

Last week a new school year in Yemen began, the fifth school year since the war started, and little has changed for Yemen’s schoolchildren aside from the fact that the Coalition’s weapons have become more precise and even more deadly, leaving the futures of the country’s more than one million schoolchildren in limbo.

“I want to go to school, I can’t wait any longer,” a relative of six-year-old Ayman al-Kindi told MintPress, recalling how Ayman, surrounded by proud family members, waited impatiently to leave for his first day of school. Ayman would never make it to school; in fact, he never even made it outside. “Ayman wanted to become a doctor but a bomb took him away from school. What these American bombs do to our children is terrifying,” his relative told us.

In late June 2019, Coalition aircraft targeted Ayman’s family home located on their farm in the Warzan area, south of Taiz province in southwestern Yemen. Six of Ayman’s family members were killed, including three children aged 12, nine and six. According to  Amnesty International, the laser-guided precision weapon used in the attack was made by Raytheon. Amnesty’s arms experts analyzed photos of the remnants of the weapon recovered from the scene of the attack by family members and identified it as a U.S.-made 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II.

The use of a U.S.-made weapon in the attack on the al-Kindi home was no anomaly: most of the weapons possessed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which between them have carried out a quarter of a million raids on Yemen since the beginning of the war, are American-made. This week, families who lost loved ones in Coalition airstrikes held an exhibition called “Criminal Evidence” in the city of Sana`a. The event was an opportunity to consolidate evidence of potential war crimes and prompted hundreds of Yemeni civilians to attend the event with remnants of U.S.-made weapons in tow, remnants recovered from the rubble of the attacks that killed their loved ones.

Yemen Raytheon

The airstrike on the al-Kindi home was one of nearly a dozen carried out by Saudi Arabia using U.S. weapons that were included in a recent UN report. A team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council found numerous cases of Saudi airstrikes that violated international humanitarian law and, for the first time, directly implicated the United States, Britain, France and Australia for supplying the weapons used in the attacks.

Charles Garraway, a former military lawyer and one of the experts behind the report, recently told PBS, “We have a war that’s going on. It’s causing immense suffering and frankly most of that suffering is caused by arms.” Garraway continued, “The tragedy in Yemen is so awful at the moment that somehow one has got to reach some form of settlement to stop the war.”

Despite the abundance of evidence proving that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have routinely targeted schools and other civilian facilities, the United States continues to replenish the Coalition’s arsenal. Earlier this year, the Trump administration tried to force through an $8.1 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan; and, despite growing opposition within his own government, President Donald Trump seems determined to maintain the flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Not your normal “back-to-school” day

Eleven-year-old Mohammed AbdulRaham al-Haddi is one the few schoolchildren to have survived the horrific August 9, 2018, Saudi airstrike on a school bus on the outskirts of Dahyan in Yemen’s northwestern province of Saada. The attack killed more than 35 of his classmates, but Mohammed miraculously survived. Today, he returns to school for the first time since the deadly attack, but to an underserved school and without his classmates. Al-Faleh, Mohammed’s new school, lies nestled in a dusty valley near Yemen’s northeastern border with Saudi Arabia

Yemen War Children

The attack on Mohammed’s school bus was carried out using a Mark 82 (MK-82) bomb, jointly manufactured by U.S. weapons companies Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MK-82, along with other general-purpose MK-series bombs, has been sold to the Saudi-led Coalition by the United States through a series of contracts made in 2016 and 2017. In addition to last year’s atrocity, the Coalition has used the MK-82 to target Yemeni civilians in the past, such as its bombing of a funeral in 2016 that left over 140 dead and 525 wounded.

As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, the tragic consequences of these weapons deals are difficult to describe, but their effects are noticed everywhere. Some 3,526 educational buildings have been at least partially destroyed by bombs since the war began, with most yet to be rebuilt. Of those, 402 were completely destroyed, according to a new field survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. Approximately 900 of Yemen’s schools are still being used as shelters for the internally displaced. And 700 schools have been closed as a result of ongoing clashes.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two million children are out of school in Yemen. “A fourth of the two million Yemeni children have dropped out since the beginning of the Saudi war in March 2015,” UNICEF representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti said in a statement released last Wednesday.

Beysolow raised concerns about the future of Yemeni children, saying:

[They] face increased risks of all forms of exploitation including being forced to join the fighting, child labor and early marriage. They lose the opportunity to develop and grow in a caring and stimulating environment, ultimately becoming trapped in a life of poverty and hardship.”

According to the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, SAM, four hundred thousand schoolchildren in Yemen suffer from acute malnutrition, exposing them to the risk of sudden death, 7 million schoolchildren face hunger, and more than 2 million do not go to school.

Even before the war began, the education system in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, was not in good health; a lack of equipment, unqualified teachers, and a shortage of textbooks plagued the country’s schools, which were bursting at the seams with overcrowding. Coalition bombs and a blockade supported by the United States have effectively destroyed what was left, just as schools were beginning to show signs of recovery.

Many of Yemen’s teachers have not received a paycheck in years and some, unable to eke out a living, have sought work as soldiers-for-hire on Yemen’s battlefields, leaving millions of children without prospects for education and the country as a whole with a 70 percent rate of illiteracy. Beysolow warned that the education of a further 3.7 million Yemeni children is at risk, as teachers have not received their salaries for over two years, adding that one fifth of schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of the conflict. “Violence, displacement and attacks on schools are preventing many children from accessing school,” she said.

In a bid to stop teachers from leaving schools, the Ministry of Education, based in Sana`a, has imposed a fee on students of $2 per month to pay teacher salaries, but that seemingly nominal fee has added a huge burden to families with more than one child, many of whom are living in extreme poverty as a result of the war and siege. “I have six students, meaning that I need to pay $12 a month; I can’t save that amount,” one mother told us. She lost her husband in the clashes that erupted between the former president Ali Saleh and opposition tribes on Hasabah Street in 2011. Now, her only source of income is begging and it is not enough to feed her six children, let alone send them to school.

To make matters worse, just weeks before the new school year began, the Saudi-led Coalition prevented 11 oil tankers from entering Yemen. The move sparked an acute shortage of fuel, which meant that school buses could no longer run, leaving even those with the means to pay school fees unable to send their children to school.

The severe psychological toll

The effect of U.S.-made weapons upon Yemen’s children does not end there. Children who have survived the fighting are often left with physical disabilities and severe and chronic psychological symptoms, turning their environment into the worst place in the world, according to UNICEF.

Beyond the direct casualties from airstrikes, the largely unnoticed and unrecorded (by the world) sounds of explosions and buzzing warplanes are leaving Yemen’s children with irreversible psychological damage.

Yemen War Children

Like other students, Mohammed often gets distracted while at home or sitting in class, unable to focus and laden with severe anxiety. While students the world over occupy their minds with the day-to-day matters that should accompany adolescence, Yemen`s students, especially those who live in border districts, are filled with an ever-present fear of an impending airstrike.

Since the school year began on September 15, the Saudi-led Coalition has reportedly dropped more than a thousand bombs and missiles in 400 separate airstrikes targeting border districts including Sadaa, Hajjah, Sana`a, Amran, Dhali, and Hodeida. The hundreds of sorties are accompanied by frightening whizzing noise and have left great panic in the hearts of civilians, especially Yemen’s schoolchildren.

“Before the war, the sound of planes meant happiness for families who were expecting loved-ones returning [from abroad], but now the sound of planes mean destruction, death, blood,” Dr. AbdulSalam Ashish, a consultant for psychological and neurological diseases, told MintPress. Dr. Ashish continued, “Now, the planes bring nothing but fear and panic and are a reminder of tragedies and crimes that were committed with U.S., British, and French weapons.”

“It was 1:45 p.m., when we heard a missile strike; we were able to calm the students down but when the third strike hit we lost control of the students as they began to scream and chaos spread throughout the school,” Hana Al Awlaqi, a school agent at the  “Martyr Ahmed Abdul Wahab Al Samawi” School, said, recounting the moment a Saudi attack took place just tens of meters away from the school. “The sound of the fourth bomb made matters worse, as the school was being broken into by panicked parents and many teachers were fainting.”

Yemen War Children

Al Awlaqi went on to say that many students convulse into spasms when they hear the sound of airplanes, while others have refused to come back to school. “The sound of an explosion or the buzz of the aircraft stays in the mind. The sound of an aircraft can send these children into severe panic attacks and anxiety,” Dr. Ashish confirmed.

Jalal Al-Omeisi, a pediatric nurse at the Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital in Sana`a told MintPress that most of the cases that arrive at the hospital are from areas subjected to intensive Saudi Coalition raids, such as Sana`a, Hodeida, and Saada, as well as the border areas. Al-Omeisi went on to say that most medics lack the training to deal with the complex psychological issues that these children are developing.

Such experiences in children go well beyond the temporary impact on their education and, without proper care and the knowledge necessary to address treat these psychological issues, many will suffer life-long consequences that hinder their ability to obtain an education. This is especially true in light of the lack of programs, centers or hospitals for the rehabilitation of war-affected children in Yemen.

Asking Americans to open their eyes

Schoolchildren living along Yemen’s porous border with Saudi Arabia and throughout its southern districts face a reality even more grim than that faced by their peers. Many are recruited or even forced to join the fight to defend the Saudi border via local trafficking networks, which funnel children into training and recruitment camps in the southern Saudi provinces of Jizan and Najran, as well as to Yemen’s southern districts.

According to a recent report by SAM, Saudi Arabia has been enlisting thousands of Yemeni children to fight along its southern border with Yemen over the past four years. Those have who died as a result of the fighting at the border are often buried in the Kingdom without their families’ knowledge. At least 300 had to have their limbs amputated as a result of their military injuries.

Yemen Child Soldiers

MintPress managed to speak to dozens of school-aged Yemeni children who were captured in a recent Houthi operation that saw thousands of militiamen, including dozens of schoolchildren, and Saudi officers taken into captivity. Fifteen-year-old Adel was among those captured. He left his home in the southern city of Taiz, chasing promises of a regular paycheck of up to 3,000 Saudi riyals ($800). Adel told MintPress: 

We were left alone in Wadi Abu to face our destiny. Older recruits were fleeing on pickup trucks and armored personnel carriers; Saudi airstrikes hit us as we were surrendering to the Houthis.”

Saudi warplanes targeted the captured mercenaries in Wadi Abu Jubarah, killing more than 300 of their own recruits.

Adel, who left school for the promise of a paycheck, went on to say, “Me and the others were recruited to wash the clothes of Saudi soldiers but they gave us rifles and forced us to go to battlefields.” When asked what he would do when freed, Adel said simply, “I want to go back to my mom and school. I don’t want to fight.”

The recruitment of Yemeni children by Saudi Arabia is not without precedent. Although the Kingdom signed the international protocol banning the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2007 and again in 2011, it was accused of recruiting Sudanese children from Darfur to fight in Yemen on its behalf as late as 2018.

Mohammed, who often visits the memorial to his classmates located only a few hundred meters away from his new school, said he will continue to attend school every day, regardless of how much bombing there is. He asked that Americans open their eyes to see what their weapons are doing to Yemen’s children.

An Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism: The Real Reason Trump Is Facing Impeachment

By Roger D. Harris

Source

The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE.”

— Tweet, Donald J. Trump, October 9, 2019.

Granted Trump may arguably be more corrupt than Biden. But that’s splitting hairs over which crook is more crooked. Bullying vassal states and “doing well by doing good” are indicators of finesse in Washington. Inside the beltway, corruption is not a liability for holding high political office, but a requirement. The key to membership in the power elite club is carrying water for the imperial state, and most club members must go through an elaborate vetting process to prove that they are reliable. Some such as Trump slip through.

The sine qua non for membership in this exclusive club is to prove you’ll take a hit for the empire. When the results of the 2000 US presidential election were inconclusive, Al Gore took a fall rather than risk instability at the top: “(for) the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” There are higher callings than merely winning the presidency for good servants of the empire.

But would Trump have been so compliant? Maybe not. So, impeachment is in order to either chasten him to faithful obedience or get rid of him.

The Not Thoroughly Vetted President

The presidential primaries are an audition process to see who can best serve the ruling class while conning the public. If the presidential “debates” demonstrate anything, it is that all the contestants are aspiring reality TV stars. Trump was different only in that he had previous experience.

Whenever one of the contestants shows vacillation on empire, they get slapped on the side of the head. Gabbard got summarily dismissed from the debates for her failure of faith in wars of imperial aggression as the highest expression of humanitarianism. Sanders had to grovel, calling the democratically elected president of Venezuela a “vicious tyrant.”

And to qualify for the debates, a contestant must first prove that they are a “serious candidate.” In a “democracy” where bribing politicians is considered “free speech” and where corporations are afforded the constitutional rights of “persons,” the single overriding measure of seriousness is raising bundles of money from the rich. Of course, the rich did not become rich without expecting a return on their investments. Warren’s surge, as it was dutifully reported in the press, came when some of the big money began to shift from Biden to her.

Trump, on the other hand, had his own billionaire’s booty to back him, plus a little help from his wealthy cohorts. As billionaire Ross Perot proved in 1992, if you are filthy rich, you can independently run for president. And, in his case, throw the election from Bush the Elder to Bill Clinton.

To win a presidential election, however, you need more than deep pockets…you need a little help from your friends in getting a major party backing. Why a major party ballot line is so useful has constitutional antecedents.

The revolution of 1776, the last revolution that the US elites liked that was not rigged by the CIA, gave us the Articles of Confederation as the ruling document for the new sovereign. By 1787 the US elites of the time, Hamilton and supporting cast, were chafing under what they characterized as the “excesses of democracy.” A new constitution was drafted and approved with “checks and balances.” What needed to be checked and balanced? Democracy, the direct rule of the people, was what was checked in the new document, while slavery was reaffirmed under the highest law of the land.

The new constitution gave us the Electoral College, whereby presidents are selected by “electors” rather than trusting the direct vote of the people and states can vote as a block. This allowed Trump to triumph even when his opponent received some 3 million more votes. Oddly, his Democratic Party opponents have since focused on alleged Russian interference through Facebook ads rather than the need to make the US Constitution an instrument for the expression of the popular will.

But we are getting ahead of the story because Trump still had to become the frontrunner in a crowded Republican field before he could even take on the other party of capital. Here he had help from friends in unexpected quarters. The Republican establishment hated him, but Clinton and the so-called liberal media became Trump boosters. The corporate media gave the flamboyant Trump a bully platform because it was good for ratings.

Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, as revealed in their leaked emails published by Wikileaks, pulled for Trump because they thought him an easier opponent than, say, the mainstream Republican heir-apparent Jeb Bush. There was precious little difference between the positions of Jeb and Hillary, though the popular images projected by the two major parties superficially diverged. The core of both parties greatly overlaps, while the right fringe of the Republicans and the left fringe of the Democrats provide the contrasting colors but not the contending policy directions.

The 2016 electoral contest was a spectacle of insurgencies. Initially, there was Sanders. That he was somehow considered an “outsider” is a symptom of just how terminally ingrown the US polity has become. How could someone who served years in the US Senate and caucused with the Democrats be an outsider? Sanders ran on two premises: supporting the Democratic Party and raising suppressed issues such as income inequality. He succeeded in the first and failed in the second.

Meanwhile, after 40 years of neoliberalism, CEO compensation has grown 940%  as compared to 12% for typical employees in the US.

Trump in his way also pandered to the genuinely deteriorating condition of US workers. Both the Trump and the Sanders anti-establishment insurgencies, however, were contained within the two-party system and thus were structurally destined not to come to fruition. The establishment won’t come down by joining them.

Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism

Defying even the Las Vegas bookies’ predictions, Trump became the 45th President of the US. He had kvetched about the plight of US workers and made some noise about ending unending wars, but was he for real? After all, Obama had promised to get out of Gitmo and NAFTA, but ended up doing neither. Obama, the former critic of Bush’s Iraq war, continued Bush’s wars and started a handful of his own.

Upon occupying the Oval Office, Trump not unexpectedly threw the working class under the bus with his tax cut for the rich and similar actions, which must have won him some brownie points from the owning class. But to date he has failed to start a new war. The last US president with a similar failing was the one-term Jimmy Carter. And now Trump is showing insufficient enthusiasm for continuing the war in Syria and possibly even a closet aversion to starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia. These may be impeachable offenses in the estimation of parts of the ruling class.

David R. Sanger, writing in the October 7 New York Times, represents “liberal” establishment views in support of US imperialism: “Mr. Trump’s sudden abandonment of the Kurds was another example of the independent, parallel foreign policy he has run from the White House, which has largely abandoned the elaborate systems created since President Harry Truman’s day to think ahead about the potential costs and benefits of presidential decisions.”

There you have it. Trump is accused of having an “independent” foreign policy, emanating out of his office of all places, even though he is the elected President of the US and the one charged with executing foreign policy.

Who is Trump “independent” from? It’s not the US citizenry according to the Times. As the article points out: “Mr. Trump sensed that many Americans share his view – and polls show he is right… Mr. Trump has correctly read the American people who, after Iraq and Afghanistan, also have a deep distaste for forever wars.”

So, who might Trump have betrayed? According to the article, it’s “circumventing the American generals and diplomats who sing the praises of maintaining the traditional American forward presence around the world.” This is who his alleged crime of independence is against. They fear Trump could “abandon” the post-war imperial consensus.

Donald Trump military spending

Note that the Times, as reflective of current ruling class ideology, no longer bothers to justify the dictates of the world’s sole hegemon as a crusade against the current evil, be it communism or terrorism. Simply, the imperial state must be supported. Hence, Trump’s view that “acting as the world’s policeman was too expensive” or his tweet, “time for us to get out,” have become grounds for impeachment.

The article favorably cites Republican majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, who called on Trump “to exercise American leadership” by capitulating to the dictates of the imperial state, while contrasting it to that glory day “not even three months after his inauguration, [when] he ordered the first military strike of his presidency.”

The Times article continues: “That system is badly broken today. Mr. Trump is so suspicious of the professional staff – many drawn from the State Department and the C.I.A. – and so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment, that he usually announces decisions first, and forces the staff to deal with them later.”

“That system,” cited above, is the post-WWII permanent state. Trump is chastised in the Times for being “so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment.” Trump instead, according to the article, has the temerity to make his own decisions and then he expects the agencies of government to follow his instructions. For some, having the elected representative formulate policy and the unelected state apparatus follow it would be democratic. But not so for the cheerleaders of US imperialism.

The Dark Knight Rises

Trump’s habitual corruption and bullying have now been outed by a whistleblower. Unlike Ellsberg, Manning, and Snowden, who sought to correct US imperial policy, this whistleblower comes from the very gatekeeper of imperialism, the CIA. According to his lawyers, there is not a lone whistleblower but a whole cabal of well-placed spooks in the secret US security apparatus. The deep state (I would prefer the term “permanent” state) is more than a conspiracy theory.

The impeachment imbroglio is bigger than Trump. That the outing of Trump was done by a current employee of a US agency shrouded in secrecy, who is unaccountable and unknown, should be a subject of enormous concern for all small-d democrats and not just anti-imperialists. The CIA has the means and mission to overthrow regimes, and now ours may be one of them, however undesirable the current president may be.

We, the people, should take no solace that Trump, in his careening about, may stumble in the direction of anti-imperialism. Trump is just as much an imperialist as the rest. Only he is not as reliably consistent and that is what has gotten leading segments of the ruling class into a hissy fit. The ruling class is not always unified on policy. Here we are, witness, to an intra-class struggle. But we needn’t take sides, because the ruling class is always unified in serving their class interests, which are not ours.

A policy conflict, some have speculated, is raging within the ruling class between Trump’s “isolationist” and a more “globalist” imperialism. Rest assured the ruling class has institutions to adjudicate these disputes such as the Council on Foreign Relations. For the neocons and the “liberal” right-to-protect “humanitarian imperialists,” Trump’s lurches in the direction of non-intervention and rapprochement are only venial sins. The mortal sin would be if the erratic Trump fails to listen to what the Times delicately calls the “professionals.”

A corollary fear is if the “populist” (note how the ruling class thinks of this is a pejorative) Trump listens to the people’s desire for peace. Unlike the first fear, the latter is unwarranted. That is, unwarranted unless and until the people rebuild an independent peace movement to check the rising tide of US militarism.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Warning Fulfilled: US Has Abandoned Kurds in Syria

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Warning Fulfilled: US Has Abandoned Kurds in Syria

By Staff

Beirut – Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah once warned the Kurds in Syria that their so-called American allies will abandon them, once they are done using them as tools in their regional conflicts.

During his speech on the commemoration of Hezbollah Martyr Leaders on the 16th of February 2018, Sayyed Nasrallah advised the Kurds in Syria to learn from past experiences – that the Americans are using them as tools in their conflict and battle, and will eventually abandon them.

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This warning that Sayyed Nasrallah made, was fulfilled in the recent days as US President Donald Trump decided to pull back US troops from northern Syria.

Syria’s Kurds accused the US of turning its back on allies.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

Related

Trump Regime Targets Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s New Book

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The Trump Regime sued Edward Snowden and publishers of his new memoir titled “Permanent Record.” More on this below.

Exposing government wrongdoing is a noble act. Like dissent, it’s a high form of patriotism, warranting praise, not persecution and condemnation.

The 1989 US Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report misconduct.

Federal agencies are prohibited from retaliating against individuals who do the right thing. Yet it happens time and again. 

Whistleblowers may report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse, or acts endangering public health or safety.

The FBI is exempt from WPA provisions. Instead of protecting the rights of whistleblowers, the agency targets them.

Since WPA’s 1994 revisions, it ruled on over 200 cases — only three times in favor of whistleblowers, the deck stacked against them. US law fails to protect them, circumvented by its police state apparatus.

The 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) failed to protect government employees from reprisal for disclosing official misconduct, revealing it to co-workers or supervisors, or disclosing policy decision consequences — any or all of the above in relation to their jobs or duties.

The Obama regime prosecuted more whistleblowers and leakers involved in exposing US wrongdoing than all his predecessors combined, nine targeted individuals, Trump following the same repressive practice, wanting US dirty linen concealed.

The US is a surveillance state. Big Brother watches everyone, privacy virtually nonexistent, including our health and financial records, cellphone and email communications, everything posted on social media, along with workplace and other public areas surveilled.

Exposing government wrongdoing is hazardous to personal safety and welfare. Julian Assange is imprisoned in London at the behest of the Trump regime — for the “high crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it should be universally.

Courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning spent years in prison for revealing US high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq — imprisoned again indefinitely for refusing to aid the Trump regime’s lynching of Assange.

Granted asylum in Russia, a noble gesture, Edward Snowden was luckier. He followed in the footsteps of Daniel Ellsberg and likeminded others, connecting the dots for countless millions to know how they’re illegally and repressively spied on.

Earlier he said “I really want the focus to be on (documents revealed) which I hope will trigger among citizens around the globe what kind of world we want to live in.”

Enactment of the USA Freedom Act (the renamed Patriot Act) did little to change things. US spy agencies continue trampling on Bill of Rights protections.

They compromise due process, habeas rights, free expression, assembly and association, as well as protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, YouTube, Apple, and major telecommunications companies are complicit in spying on their customers for US dark forces.

US intelligence community spying targets friends and foes alike. It’s for total control, political and economic advantage, to be one up on foreign competitors —information used advantageously in trade, geopolitical, and military relations.

Domestic spying is longstanding. It has nothing to do with protecting national security. America’s only foreign, domestic, or terrorists threats are invented.

The Trump regimes Justice Department sued Snowden and three publishers of his memoir — MacMillan Publishers, Henry Holt and Co., and Holtzbrinck Publishers.

The repressive suit aims to freeze assets from book sales. US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger said the following:

“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit (sic). This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him (sic).”

The lawsuit is the latest example of Washington’s assault on speech, media and academic freedoms, targeting what diverges from the official narrative on major issues.

It accused Snowden and his publishers of going to press “without submitting (the book for) pre-publication review.”

The notion that US approval is required of current or former federal employees to write or speak publicly on issues related to their work flies in the face of their constitutional rights.

In response to the suit, Snowden tweeted: “The government of the United States has just announced a lawsuit over my memoir, which was just released today worldwide. This is the book the government does not want you to read…”

Already a bestseller, Snowden said in his preface “I used to work for the government, but now I work for the public,” adding:

“It took me nearly three decades to (understand the) distinction…I now spend my time trying to protect the public from the” US intelligence community — working against ordinary people .

Separately, he tweeted: “It is hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the US government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write.” 

It reveals no state secrets, nothing not already in the public domain, including from establishment media reports.

The ACLU and Knight First Amendment Institute are challenging the so-called pre-publication review process, attorney Max Kaufman, saying:

“(I)ts current form is broken and unconstitutional, and it needs to go.”

“It’s one thing to censor the nuclear codes, but it’s another to censor the same information high schoolers are pulling from Wikipedia.” 

“Prepublication review gives the government far too much power to suppress speech that the public has a right to hear.”

Snowden hopes the DOJ lawsuit will promote his memoir, enabling it to attract greater readership worldwide.

Hong Kong v. Iraq Protests

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US dirty hands are all over months of protests in Hong Kong, including orchestrated violence and chaos, targeting China’s soft underbelly.

Opposition elements met with House Speaker Pelosi and Pompeo in Washington. They also met with US lawmakers in Montana and with a US consulate official in Hong Kong.

Likely CIA/National Endowment for Democracy-orchestrated protests last spring turned violent weeks after initiated, creating intolerable conditions for majority city residents opposed to what’s going on endlessly.

Beijing has largely let Hong Kong police and security forces handle things. On October 5, the South China Morning Post reported that a “wave of destruction le(ft) businesses picking up pieces as (the) city braces for another weekend of unrest,” adding:

Hong Kong is “reel(ing) from” what’s going on. Numerous security forces have been injured along with demonstrators, only one death reported since protests began last March.

Given the intensity and duration of US-orchestrated anti-government violence and chaos since June, Hong Kong security forces have been far more restrained than what might be expected.

Compare what’s going on in Hong Kong to public outrage in Iraq over US-allied regime corruption and neoliberal harshness, making life intolerable for ordinary Iraqis.

A Gan Business Anti-Corruption Portal report on Iraqi corruption said the following:

“Corruption in the public and private sectors” is widespread, including “a deeply entrenched patronage network,” adding:

“(T)he Iraqi government failed to implement anti-corruption laws effectively, and public officials engage in corruption with impunity. Bribery and giving gifts to ‘get things done’ are widespread practices in Iraq, despite being illegal.”

Iraq’s judicial system…is plagued by corruption and political interference…There were reports of investigations of corrupt judges.”

“Interior Ministry and Justice Ministry employees often extorted bribes from detainees to release them even if the courts had already accorded them the right to be released.”

Police corruption is widespread throughout its chain of command. “Corruption and impunity are…serious problems within Iraq’s security apparatus…”

The same goes for Iraqi public services. Its “public administration is…corrupt, weak and inefficient. The institution is plagued by nepotism, politically motivated appointments, and payroll corruption.”

“In a widely published corruption case, several Iraqi high-ranking officials including senior officials at the oil ministry, such as ex-oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani, have been accused of receiving bribes from large corporations in return for winning business.”

The report covers many more examples of widespread corruption in Iraq, the nation’s wealth used to enrich US-led Western interests and the nation’s privileged class at the expense ordinary people.

That cuts to the heart of why protests erupted on Tuesday. What began peacefully turned violent in response to repressive actions by security forces, using lethal force, polar opposite of containment tactics in Hong Kong.

Reportedly in the past four days, 60 or more Iraqis perished from live fire by military force snipers on rooftops overlooking Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, another 1,600 injured, according to the Iraqi Human Rights Commission.

Protesters want jobs, essential to life public services denied them, and rampant corruption curbed.

One demonstrator unnamed for his or her safety said: “There’s no electricity, no jobs. People are dying of starvation, and people are sick. It is a curse.”

On Friday, senior Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said “(t)he government and the political sides have not fulfilled the demands of the people to fight corruption” and provide vital public services.

Well-known Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign and hold new elections, saying shedding Iraqi blood “cannot be ignored.”

An unnamed jobless protester said “(i)f the government is not dissolved, we will avenge our martyrs.”

Establishment media coverage of Hong Kong and Iraqi protests are world’s apart — NYT headlines typical of widespread misreporting.

Recent Times headlines on Hong Kong Protests were as follows:

“Hong Kong Takes Symbolic Stand Against China’s High-Tech Controls”

“Hong Kong Police Shot a Protester at Point-Blank Range”

“Celebrations in Beijing. Violence in Hong Kong”

“Is China Heading for Crisis? The protests in Hong Kong accelerate the contradictions in Beijing”

“Hong Kong Police, Seen as ‘Hounds After Rabbits,’ Face Rising Rage”

The above headlines and many others like them ignore US-orchestrated violence, war on China by other means — along with trade war unrelated to trade, and hostile US incursions by Pentagon warships and aircraft near Chinese territory.

Compare the above Times’ headlines to its coverage of protests in Baghdad:

“Iraq Struggles to Contain Wave of Deadly Protests” — largely blaming demonstrators for violence ordered by the US-installed regime against ordinary Iraqis, demanding essential to life and welfare public services from the oil-rich country, with the world’s 5th largest reserves.

“Two Killed in Anti-Government Protests — injuring more than 200, according to (unnamed) officials”

“Thousands in Iraq Protest Corruption — Police in Iraq use tear gas and rubber bullets…in some cases by live ammunition”

The Times quoted US-installed puppet president Adel Abdul Mahdi, accusing protesters of violence committed against them by regime forces — saying they’re using knives and hand grenades that “threaten the general order and civil peace.”

The Times ignored regime military forces positioned on rooftops, using live fire on demonstrators, killing scores.

What began in Baghdad spread elsewhere in the country, protesting against hugely corrupt and repressive rule, ordinary Iraqis exploited and otherwise abused, their fundamental rights ignored. 

Coverage by establishment media differs markedly throughout months of US-orchestrated violence in Hong Kong — falsely blaming city authorities and Beijing for what Trump regime hardliners initiated.

In Iraq, ordinary people are largely blamed for regime high crimes committed against them.

It’s been this way since the US installed pro-Western puppet rule, following Bush/Cheney’s 2003 aggression.

Agreed on Four-Point US/Iran Deal?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On Tuesday, Politico reported that Trump and Iranian President Rouhani “agreed on a four-point document brokered by Emmanuel Macron in New York last week as a basis for a meeting and relaunching negotiations between the US and Iran” — citing unnamed French officials, adding:

“(D)ays of shuttle diplomacy by Macron on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly” preceded the plan.

Reportedly, Iran agreed to abide by what it’s adhered to since its 1979 revolution, Politico failed to explain, quoting from the text it saw: 

Tehran agreed it “will never acquire a nuclear weapon (and will) fully comply with its nuclear obligations and commitments and will accept a negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear activities.”

It will also “refrain from any aggression and will seek genuine peace and respect in the region through negotiations.”

The above has always been Islamic Republic policy throughout its 40-year history. Claims otherwise are fabricated, no credible evidence ever supporting them.

The deal requires the US to “lift all the sanctions re-imposed since 2017…Iran will have full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues.”

While the document says nothing about Iran’s ballistic program,  Politico quoted an unnamed French official saying “(i)t was clear to all that the negotiation over regional issues would necessarily include their ballistic program” — a nonstarter for Tehran.

Its ruling authorities won’t relinquish or compromise on what would self-inflict weakness, its ballistic and cruise missiles maintained and developed solely for self-defense against genuinely feared US and/or Israeli aggression.

Further, Politico should have highlighted that time and again, Trump and Pompeo stressed that (illegally imposed) US sanctions won’t be lifted. His regime imposed new ones instead, intended to crush Iran’s economy and immiserate its people.

Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif stressed that Tehran will continue pulling back from its voluntary JCPOA commitments, as permitted under the deal when other signatories breach it — clearly the case by the US and Europe.

Rouhani refused to meet with Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly because he escalated sanctions war/economic terrorism. 

His actions repeatedly belie his hollow words, why he, his regime, and most others in Washington can never be trusted.

The US history of breaching treaties, bilateral agreements, and other deals shows what Iran is up against.

Years of good faith Tehran talks preceded agreement on the JCPOA, flagrantly breached by Trump months into his first year in office, compounded by all-out economic terrorism.

It’s part of longstanding US policy, seeking to replace all independent governments it doesn’t control with pro-Western puppet regimes.

The US doesn’t negotiate. It makes one-sided demands in return for empty promises, proved time and again – notably with Iran, North Korea, and Russia most recently.

Agreements can’t work unless all sides fulfill their obligations, clearly not how the US operates, notably with hardliners in change, reality under Trump.

The unnamed French official Politico quoted said Rouhani “agreed on the principles of the document, and he thanked the president because there is the explicit mention of the sanctions, (but) he wanted Trump to say before entering the meeting that he was lifting the sanctions.”

Trump publicly rejected the idea, showing his hardline position remains unchanged.

According to Politico, Rouhani reportedly said “France had prepared a plan that could be acceptable, because it was basically based on the demand that Iran must not seek nuclear weapons, which we had already said it wasn’t, requiring the US to lift all its sanctions,” adding: 

“These were the principles that the French had run by the Americans and then by us, so the principles that are being reported in newspapers around the world are right.” 

Politico unfairly criticized Iran, saying its “insistence on the US taking a first step…has consistently been a major hurdle in attempts to broker a resumption of negotiations.”

The broadsheet should have stressed that no one should negotiate with a gun at their head, along with explaining that unilaterally imposed US sanctions on any nation flagrantly violate the UN Charter.

The US, especially the Trump regime, bears full responsibility for hostile relations toward Iran, a nonbelligerent nation threatening no one.

Politico also quoted Macron’s reinvention of reality, claiming Trump can “change things — if he is convinced — very quickly, and he is not administration-driven, he decides alone and quickly,” adding: 

“President Rouhani is someone who needs to line up a whole system before negotiating. It’s almost the opposite.”

As long as US economic terrorism continues, along with falsely accusing Iran for things it had nothing to do with, Rouhani/Trump talks will accomplish nothing but further betrayal by the US.

What Politico should have explained, it ignored.

Foreign Aid for Dictators

By Jacob G. Hornberger

Source

Abdel Fattah El Sisi c8907

Notice something important about the hoopla regarding President’s Trump withholding of U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine while he was requesting Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for possible corruption: Nobody in Washington, D.C., or within the establishment press is questioning the concept of foreign aid itself. Foreign aid has become such an established and accepted way of inducing foreign regimes to comply with the dictates of U.S. officials that the thought of ending it entirely doesn’t even enter the minds of Republicans, Democrats, or member of the mainstream media.

But questioning foreign aid itself is precisely what the American people should be doing. Not only does foreign aid contribute to the out-of-control federal spending and debt that is hanging over the American people (with the debt now at $22.6 trillion and climbing), it also constitutes one of the most evil and immoral practices of the U.S. government.

Case in point: Egypt. Notwithstanding the fact that the country is governed by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world, the U.S. government delivers $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt’s military dictatorship every year.

Like the United States, Egypt’s government is based on the concept of a national-security state, which is a type of governmental system in which a vast and permanent military-intelligence establishment plays a major role in society. In Egypt, that role is much more pronounced and predominant than it is here in the United States. Here in the United States, the power and influence that the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA wield are indirect and often hidden. In Egypt the military-intelligence establishment wields direct control of the government and the economy.

To get a sense of how Egypt’s national-security state operates, think back to the national-security state system of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who U.S. national-security state officials helped install into power in 1973. Pinochet was an unelected military dictator who ruled Chile with an iron fist. His forces rounded up tens of thousands of people who were considered to be threats to “national security” and tortured, raped, or killed them.

Egypt’s military dictator, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who, like Pinochet, took power in a coup, holds a presidential election, but everyone knows that it is a sham. For all practical purposes, el-Sisi stands in the same position as Pinochet — as an unelected dictator.

Moreover, el-Sisi is every bit as brutal as Pinochet was. For example, in the past couple of weeks demonstrations have broken out in Egypt against the corruption within el-Sisi’s dictatorial regime. El-Sisi’s forces have immediately gone into action to ensure that things do not get out of hand. So far, they have arrested some 2,000 protestors. According to an article in Aljazeera,

In Cairo, security forces closed off entrances to Tahrir Square, the hub of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak. There was a heavy police presence around the square and at some junctions in the city centre…. At Cairo’s Al-Fateh mosque, a starting point for protests in 2011, dozens of police, some in uniform and others in plain clothes with masks and large guns, stood near the exit as prayers finished. At least 20 security vehicles were stationed around the mosque or patrolling nearby. Security forces also stepped up their presence in main squares in major cities and plainclothes police have been checking motorists’ and pedestrians’ mobile phones for political content…. In a brief statement on Thursday, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior warned it would “confront any attempt to destabilise social peace in a firm and decisive way.”

Moreover, Egypt’s criminal-justice system mirrors that of the Pentagon and the CIA in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — indefinite detention, torture, denial of due process of law, denial of effective assistance of counsel, and denial of trial by jury.

There is also the economic aspect of Egypt’s national-security state. The economic system is based on the concept of socialist central planning, with the military-intelligence establishment doing the planning. Not surprisingly, this socialist system has brought economic impoverishment to Egyptian citizens, while enriching the regime’s military-intelligence personnel. Dismal economic conditions and corruption within the regime are partly what is motivating the protesters.

Guess who is enabling this tyranny and socialism. Yes, the U.S. government, with its $1.3 billion in annual delivery of military armaments, which, like all U.S. foreign aid, is nothing more than a bribe to ensure that el-Sisi remains loyal to the U.S. government. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, those military armaments provide Egypt’s tyrants with the ability to suppress or deter dissent within the country. They also provide a means by which the military-intelligence establishment is able to use domestic tax revenues to feather their own nests.

The U.S. government’s partnership with and support of Egypt’s regime should not surprise us. Since the U.S. government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II, U.S. officials have demonstrated an affinity for foreign national-security states. That’s why they installed Pinochet, a military general, into power. Twenty years before their Chilean regime-change operation, U.S. national-security state officials destroyed democratic systems in Iran and Guatemala and replaced them with national-security states and tyrants. Before the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. government partnered and allied with Saddam Hussein and his national-security state in Iraq. In the 2003 Iraq war, the U.S. government made certain that Iraq continued with a national-security state type of governmental system, albeit one with an elected pro-U.S. dictator. It did the same in Afghanistan after it invaded that country.

Just a few days ago, President Trump expressed the sentiment of America’s national-security state when he called el-Sisi a “great leader.” Trump, of course, has also expressed a love for the brutal, unelected communist dictator of North Korea’s national-security state.

Americans who are looking to Washington, D.C., to put America on the right track are looking in the wrong direction. The American people need to look inward, into themselves, into their consciences. That is the only way for people to recognize the moral and economic debauchery of foreign aid and, for that matter, the entire national-security state form of governmental structure. Once a critical mass of Americans comes to that realization, we will be on our way toward restoring sound moral, political, and economic principles to our land.

The U.S. Department of Terrorism

Global Research, September 23, 2019

The State Department—under the leadership of the Zionist fellow traveler, former CIA boss and tank commander Mike Pompeo—has tweeted out the following propaganda produced with your tax dollars (or debt spending that will be passed on to your children). 

Department of State

@StateDept

The Iranian regime is the most destabilizing force in the Middle East and the world’s top sponsor of terrorism. That’s why the U.S. launched a campaign of maximum pressure. It’s producing maximum results.

Embedded video

1,254 people are talking about this
This Big Lie production about Iran’s alleged malevolence toward its neighbors has dramatic music and graphics to support an obvious falsehood—Iran is the number one terror state in the world. 

In fact, that designation is reserved for the United States government and its junior partner, Israel.

History is replete with examples—from both world wars to dozens of imperialist ignited brush fires including Vietnam and Iraq. As for Israel, it has been at war with its Arab neighbors for well over 70 years. 

The State Department is the grand choreographer of conflict and murder in the name of a corporatist and bankster neoliberal order now crumbling. It is the largest and worst terrorist on the planet. Most recently, it installed Nazi throwbacks in Ukraine, reduced Libya to a failed state, and armed Wahhabi fanatics in Syria. 

The above video is essentially an advertisement for the cruel torture of the Iranian people through economic warfare in addition to the US-Israel assassination of scientists, malware attacks on Iranian infrastructure, and various terror attacks, including the 2017 attack on the Iranian parliament.

This latter incident was blamed on the Islamic State, a Pentagon fabricated terror group. If you believe a genuine Islamic (Sunni-Wahhabi) terror group was responsible for this attack and a simultaneous one on the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini, you may be interested in a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. 

Back in 2014, I wrote: 

According to a Reuters report today, the sanctions imposed on Iran are resulting in the country having problems buying rice, cooking oil and other staples to feed its 74 million people.

It is not simply oil the sanctions target, but all kinds of imports, according to commodities traders…

Before long they will engage in even more barbarous war crimes after Israel bombs Iran’s suspected nuclear sites and the United States follows up with a general bombardment of the country’s civilian infrastructure not dissimilar from the bombardment of Iraq and Yugoslavia, both Nuremberg level war crimes.

Since that time, the situation has grown far worse for ordinary Iranians. 

In 2014, Israel and the US didn’t bomb “suspected nuclear sites” in Iran, mostly because Obama, while carrying out the globalist agenda in Democrat fashion, stepped back from annihilating the country at the pestering insistence of Bibi Netanyahu. 

That wasn’t the case with Libya. It didn’t have the ability to fight back, not like Iran, which does. 

John Bolton tried to get a bombing raid going but failed due to Trump’s fear an invasion—which would turn into a large regional conflict—will ruin his chance at re-election. Trump the Schizoid Man flits back forth between violent rhetoric aimed at Iran (and Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Syria) and saying we don’t need another expensive war in the Middle East. 

Donald Trump is a miracle—on one hand, a proclaimed noninterventionist and MAGA poster boy, and on the other a neocon enraptured with the apartheid regime in Israel. His personality disorder is on display 24/7. After showing Bolton the door, he hired a more acceptable and less abrasive neocon to be his national security adviser. 

The latest kerfuffle in Saudi Arabia has resulted in Trump pumping troops into that medieval nation, a message to Iran it will not be permitted to resist and respond to the economic destruction. 

I initially figured the attack on Saudi oil facilities was a false flag to get a war going. I now believe Iran is responsible for the attack. It warned months ago that the embargo of its oil will result in the Wahhabi emirates suffering a likewise fate. Iran is living up to that threat and responding in kind. 

For the indispensable ruling elite, self-defense is impermissible, lest you desire mountains of rotting dead bodies, typhus, cholera, cancer from depleted uranium and other military toxins, malnutrition, and endless sectarian conflict to keep the vassals from going after the real culprits. Syria, Libya, and Yemen are only the latest examples. 

Iran has the ability to resist this neoliberal death-head onslaught. It was decided that war and its horrific consequence is far more honorable than the humiliation of starvation and disease, which is the ultimate message of the State Department’s absurd propaganda video. 

*

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Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from the author

Russia Helping Iran Circumvent Illegal US Sanctions

Source

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Unilaterally imposed US sanctions against other nations have no legal validity. They’re used against governments unwilling to subordinate their sovereign rights to its interests.

Washington uses them as weapons of war by other means against nations on its target list for regime change.

In 1996, the Vienna-based International Progress Organization called sanctions “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”

When unilaterally imposed, they violate Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorizing the Security Council alone to intervene against member states to restore peace, stability and security.

Its members alone may impose sanctions on member states, their entities or individuals — not heads of state, legislatures or courts of any nation.

Along with wars of aggression, color revolutions, and old-fashioned coups, use of sanctions is a favorite US tactic against targeted nations — notably used against Cuba (since 1962), Iran (since 1979), Syria (since 1979), the Russian Federation (since 2014), North Korea, and China, among other countries.

They’re imposed by the US based on Big Lies and deception, the Trump regime using them more aggressively against Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran than its predecessors — aiming to crush their economies and immiserate their people into submission.

What hasn’t worked before is highly unlikely to be achieved ahead. Failure hasn’t deterred the Trump regime from continuing to use weaponized sanctions as a hammer against the rule of law, peace, equity and justice.

Throughout its history, the Islamic Republic has found ways to circumvent illegal US sanctions, including by working cooperatively with private entities and friendly nations like Russia, China, and Turkey.

Last year it was reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani struck an agreement with Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan aimed at circumventing US sanctions, perhaps with China as well at the time.

Last fall, Rouhani said “(w)e will continue by all means to both produce and export” oil. It’s “in the frontline of confrontation and resistance,” adding:

“It is not strange that countries that are sanctioned find ways to dodge the sanctions.”

“The Americans should know that a country which is sanctioned would still be able to find solutions to move forward.” 

“They cannot do this because various mechanisms have been discovered to maintain Iran’s oil exports.”

Iran has been circumventing US sanctions for decades. Responding to Trump’s sanctions war, a statement in May said its oil sales will continue regardless of US tactics to block them.

On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “Iran should have the opportunity to carry out oil exports at least approximately on a scale comparable to the period until May of last year” — when Trump pulled out of the JCPOA nuclear deal, breaching a Security Council adopted international agreement, making it binding international law.

If Brussels fails to launch its so-called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to maintain normal economic, financial, and trade relations with Iran, Russia will help Tehran maintain its exports and circumvent US-imposed restrictions on its financial transactions — bypassing the dollar.

European officials pledged to maintain normal economic, financial, and trade relations with Iran but failed to back promises with positive actions. Russia and China consider the Islamic Republic to be a strategic partner. 

According to TankerTrackers.com, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Beijing last month for talks on “regional and international issues,” the Chinese oil tanker Pacific Bravo headed “eastward, having loaded approximately 2 million barrels of Iranian oil from the Soroosh and Kharg terminals in the Persian Gulf over the past few days,” adding:

The tanker “report(ed) its destination as Indonesia, but (it) was recently acquired by Bank of Kunlun, a financial institution that is owned by the Chinese state oil company CNPC.” 

“TankerTrackers.com believes China is the ultimate destination for the oil on board.” 

The Chinese-owned tanker was the first to load Iranian crude after the Trump regime ended waivers on the purchase of Iranian oil to designated countries.

Weeks earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his government “resolutely opposes” unilateral sanctions on Iran.

China and other countries continue normal relations with Tehran. Russian efforts to further help its ruling authorities sell crude and related products, along with conducting financial transactions by circumventing the dollar, are important ways to counter illegal US sanctions.

Imposing them failed to achieve US objectives for decades. What hasn’t worked before is unlikely to be successful ahead.

The Trump regime failed to halt construction of Russia’s Nord Stream II gas pipeline to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of low-cost natural gas to European markets when completed in late 2019 or early 2020 — at the expense of much more costly and less accessible US liquified natural gas (LNG).

Its aim to bring Iranian oil exports to zero and halt its international financial transactions failed so far and is unlikely to work ahead.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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