Color revolution in Kazakhastan

January 05, 2022

Dear friends

Today I am driving all day, but since there is a very serious color revolution that seems to be taking place in Kazakhstan,  I am therefore creating an open thread.  Please feel free to share any decent information and commentaries below.  According to Russian sources, the usual US-controlled disinformation resources (including Ukie ones!) are out in full force to support the insurrection.  The levels of violence are very high, even ambulances are attacked, cops are beaten up, disarmed, undressed, and humiliated, weapons stores have been emptied.  The Internet has been disconnected, as has power in many parts of Almaty and Nursultan.  This is a repeat of what the US tried in Belarus and in Kyrgyzstan, and the next couple of days will be crucial.  Many government buildings have been seized and burned, some have been re-taken by the authorities.  Law and order have broken down and groups of thugs are controlling the streets in many locations.  There are reports of organized armed groups engaging in firefights with police, security, and military forces.  One source reports that Kazakh Airborne Forces are also engaged.  There are also reports of Takfiri elements using these riots (officially triggered by an increase in the cost of gas).

Official sources report 8 dead and 317 wounded among the police forces.  The authorities lost control over several cities (including Alma-Ata) and 3 airports (part of which were torched). Astana and Pavlodar remain under the control of authorities.

President Tokaev has mentioned that he might request the assistance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.  So far the offices of the CSTO say that they have received no such official request.

Martial law has been decreed for the entire country.

These events are a direct threat to both Russia and China.  Turkey seems to be pushing its pan-Turkic agenda.  The CIA supported Uighur Takfiris also seemed to be involved.  This is all taken straight out of the CIA playbook: Twitter, Telegram channels (including NEXTA), Soros-funded organizations, etc. are all deeply involved (including Ukie PSYOPs units).

It is absolutely crucial for the Kazakh authorities to restore law and order ASAP.  Will they have the needed resolve and resources? I don’t know.  Opinions?

Kind regards

Andrei

UPDATE: it appears that President Tokaev has claimed that his country was under foreign intervention and has requested the aid of the CSTO.  You can click here for machine-translated news from Sputnik Kazakstan.

Sitrep: Kazakhstan

January 05, 2022

This is a machine translation from https://vz.ru/world/2022/1/5/1137412.html

Original text by Andrey Rezchikov

Note:  Kindly use this thread for dissemination of information as well, as we have done before with crises such as this.

In Kazakhstan, mass protests provoked by a sharp increase in gas prices do not subside. Protesters in Alama Ata attack the police, smash and seize administrative buildings. A state of emergency has been introduced in several regions, including the capital Nur-Sultan. What is the peculiarity of the local protest and how serious is the threat of the “color revolution”?

Mass protests that broke out earlier this year in the Mangistau region on the border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan resumed with renewed vigor in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. The reason was a 100% increase in gas prices for drivers in several regions – from 60 to 120 tenge (up to 20.56 rubles) per liter. The unrest spread to other neighboring regions. In addition to social justice, the protesters demanded the resignation from politics of the first president of the republic, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is officially assigned the status of Elbasy-the national leader and whose name is the capital of the country.

In the middle of the day, protesters broke into the city hall in Alma-Ata, the southern capital, where cars burned all night and Rosgvardiya employees sprayed tear gas. On the first two floors of the building, a fire broke out, automatic bursts were heard. Law enforcement officers used special equipment. It was also reported about the seizure of military special equipment, which the authorities had previously pulled into the city center. Later, there was information about the arson of the local prosecutor’s office building and the storming of the presidential residence. Hundreds of people applied to the city’s hospitals for medical assistance. As reported byTASS with reference to the local information department of public health of the city, more than a hundred law enforcement officers were among the victims.

A similar scenario was followed in Aktobe, where the Mayor’s Office (akimat) building was also seized by protesters. Attempts to storm akimats were made in Shymkent and Taraz.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared a state of emergency in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Almaty and Mangistau regions until January 19. The state of emergency involves a curfew from 23.00 to 7.00. In these regions, entry and movement within them are restricted. The Internet temporarily stopped working across the country. Additionally, a ban on mass events and strikes has been introduced, as well as the seizure of weapons and ammunition from the population. The decree of the head of state states that the state of emergency is introduced to ensure public safety, restore law and order, and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens.

In addition, Tokayev dismissed the government, which, according to him, is “particularly guilty” for allowing a protest situation in connection with the increase in prices for liquefied gas. Ministers continue to serve in office until a new Cabinet is appointed. At the same time, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Antimonopoly Agency were instructed to investigate possible price collusion. In addition, the President conducted state regulation of prices for gas and gasoline and socially significant products for a period of 180 days. The implementation of the fuel e-commerce program has been postponed for a year.

Later in the evening, Tokayev promised to stay in the capital and act”as harshly as possible against offenders during the protests.” Tokayev noted that he will soon come out with a new package of proposals. He also said that during the confrontations in the country, law enforcement officers were killed. According to him, “financially motivated conspirators” are behind the riots.

“Attention is drawn to the high organization of hooliganism elements. This indicates a carefully thought-out plan of action of the conspirators, who are financially motivated. It is the conspirators”,

 

– said President Tokayev.

Experts believe that a sharp jump in fuel prices was one of the reasons for the beginning of the riots. In general, people have long been dissatisfied with the social policy of the state and the sharp stratification of income between different regions. “The government’s rating is 23%, and in 2017 it was 63%. This is an indicator of inability to work. Such a disapproval rating sooner or later leads to something, ” says Kazakh political analyst Marat Shibutov.

The riots that broke out do not look “spontaneous enough” and could have been organized by someone, the expert suggested. However, whether there were organizers, “the investigation will show.” According to Strana, the protests are being coordinated by opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov from his headquarters in Kiev. In the 1990s, he was the Minister of Energy and Trade of Kazakhstan, but went into opposition after a conflict with Nazarbayev. On his Facebook page, Ablyazov, who founded the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement in 2017, called on the protesters to “coordinate actions” and gave their Ukrainian phone numbers for communication.

“On the other hand, we do not see the core of the protest and the issued demands. In other words, there is virtually no one to conduct a dialogue with. So far, there are only mass riots, not rallies. Therefore, only the power measures that are currently being implemented remain, ” Shibutov adds.

However, on Wednesday, the akim (head of administration) Kostanay Kairat Akhmetov went out to the townspeople to listen to their demands. The protesters told him that people were tired of the difficult economic situation in the country.

Shibutov stressed that clashes occur mainly in Alma-Ata and Aktau, so there is no need to talk about the risk of a “color revolution”. “There is no threat of overthrowing the government, there is a threat of pressure through riots. There are no external stakeholders involved. On the contrary, the countries that invested in Kazakhstan may demand stabilization of the situation and their participation in it, ” the expert suggested.

Russia is ready to provide non-military assistance to Kazakhstan, First Deputy Head of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council Vladimir Dzhabarov told Interfax. However, the senator believes in the ability of local authorities to handle the situation on their own. “They are actively working to relieve tension in society,” Jabarov said.

According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Kazakhstan has not yet addressed Moscow. But the Kremlin believes that the country’s authorities will cope with internal problems on their own, and interference from outside is unacceptable.

From an economic point of view, Shibutov explained, the local authorities made a mistake, because in many regions of the country the price of gas for motor vehicles increased gradually.

“A sharp increase in prices was stupid from a technical point of view, but from an economic point of view it was justified, because gas prices are rising. The difference between the domestic and export prices has increased almost five to six times. Here, of course, we had to raise domestic prices, because gas was sold below the cost price, ” the expert stressed.

As Stanislav Pritchin, a senior researcher at the IMEMO RAS Center for Post-Soviet Studies, explained, there are only four refineries in the country, but due to territorial peculiarities, the supply of fuel and lubricants is uneven. As a result, the quality of products and their price are different in each region. “It is difficult to say what was the logic behind the doubling of gas prices, but the fact that the first protests took place in Mangystau region is not accidental, because this is the most active region in political and rally terms. But in general, there is a demand for social justice in the country. Kazakhstan is one of the leaders of the post-Soviet space in terms of development, with oil production approaching 100 million tons per year. But the success model is limited to a narrow group of people who are close to the authorities, the main recipients of funds are Nur-Sultan and Alma-Ata, ” says Pritchin.

The rest of Kazakhstan, the political scientist added, “has an internal protest.” Discontent is caused by low salaries and the level of infrastructure development. The officially issued image does not correspond to the real one. “The demand for social justice has resulted in mass protests,” the source said.

According to the expert, in Alma-Ata, the protest leaders, who initially articulated requests from the street, lost control of the situation, and the seizure of administrative buildings began.

“The protest goes beyond that and looks like a violent seizure of power and looting. In such conditions, it is difficult to conduct a dialogue and negotiate”,

Pritchin is convinced.

As for the prospects for the development of the situation, it is necessary to take into account local specifics. Kazakhstan is the tenth largest country in the world by area, and the population is less than 20 million people. That is why the protests are local in nature. In 2011, strikes of oil workers and mass riots due to social inequality in Zhanaozen, Mangystau region, did not spread to other regions. “Cities are separated by thousands of kilometers. Accordingly, if the protesters can take control of the administration in a certain city, it will be half a victory. All political institutions are concentrated in Nur-Sultan, and there it is not so easy to gather a crowd that could seize state institutions, ” Pritchin is sure.


It is interesting to note the demands of the protestors.

How not to win an Olympic gold medal

December 8, 2021

Pepe Escobar

In the annals of diplomacy, the White House official confirmation of a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing might qualify at best as a disc thrower being hit by a boomerang.

Realpolitik minds struggle to find a point in this gratuitous provocation, intervening less than two months before the start of the show, on February 4, 2022 at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.

According to White House reasoning, “the Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, given the PRC’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”

To start with, no one among the Joe Biden handlers in the administration or any other officials were invited in the first place. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, remarked the US was “hyping a ‘diplomatic boycott’ without even being invited to the Games”.

Zhao also stressed the Games are not “a stage for political posturing”, and added the “blatant political provocation” constitutes “a serious affront to the 1.4 billion Chinese people.” He left hanging in the air the possibility of “resolute countermeasures”.

What that implies is the recent Xi-Biden virtual summit also melt in the air when it comes to promoting a more diplomatic entente cordiale. Predictably, Washington politicians who prevailed are the ones obsessed on demonizing Beijing using the perennial human rights pretext.

Top billing goes to Polish-American Democrat Senator Tom Malinowski from New Jersey, the vice-chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Malinowski is not strange to dodgy dealings. On October 21, 2021, the House Committee on Ethics issued a report confirming he had failed to properly disclose his stock trades since early 2020, as he

bought or sold as much as $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies that had a stake in the response to Covid-19. The trades were actually just one aspect of a stock buying and selling spree worth as much as $3.2 million.

All throughout 2021, with multiple ethics complaints and an ethics investigation piling up, Malinowski was forced to direct his financial advisor to cease with stock market shenanigans, and announced he set up a blind trust for his assets.

Yet Malinowski’s main line of business is actually China demonization.

In June, Malinowski, alongside Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) was the key articulator of a resolution  urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Games “away from Beijing” unless the PRC government ended “ongoing crimes against the Uyghur people”. The Americans were supported by legislators in nine European nations, plus the European Parliament.

At the time, Malinowski said, “there’s no such thing as non-political games – dictatorships like China host the Olympics to validate their standing…even as they continue to commit crimes against their people.”

Malinowski is very close to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – who is fervently pro-boycott. So this directive comes from the top of the Democrat leadership: the White House imprimatur was just a formality.

The “genocide” perpetrator

Considering the rolling color revolution in Hong Kong ended up as a total failure, human rights in Xinjiang remains a predictable pretext/target – on a par with the imminent “invasion” of Taiwan.

Arguably the best contextualized exposition of the real situation in Xinjiang is here. The “genocide” fallacy has been completely debunked by thorough independent analysis, as in here and here. The White House essentially regurgitates the “analysis” of a far-right religious nut first endorsed by Mike “we cheat, we lie, we steal” Pompeo. Talk about a continuity of government.

During the Cold War, the Olympics did become hostage to diplomatic boycotts. In 1980, the US under then president Jimmy Carter snubbed the Moscow Olympics along with other 64 nations in protest for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The USSR for its part, alongside the Iron Curtain, boycotted the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

What happens now falls under the seal of Cold War 2.0 and the demonization of China across the spectrum, mostly via Hybrid War tactics.

Xinjiang is a prime target not because of the Uyghurs, but because it is the strategic connector between western China and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) corridors across Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia all the way to Europe. BRI – which is the centerpiece Chinese foreign policy concept for the foreseeable future – is an absolute anathema in Washington.

The fact that the US has been staging countless, costly, devastating declinations of humanitarian imperialism in Muslim lands, directly and indirectly, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond, but now, suddenly, is in tears about the fate of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, speaks for itself.

“Rights” groups barely disguised as CIA propaganda fronts have predictably been shrieking non-stop, urging the “international community” – an euphemism for NATOstan – to boycott the Beijing Olympics. These are irrelevant. Governments are a more serious matter.

Twenty nations refused to sign the Olympic Truce with China. This tradition, originating in Ancient Greece, makes sure that political upheaval does not interfere with sport. The – Western – justification for yet another provocation: we’re “sending a message” to Beijing.

In the UK, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg remarked recently that “no tickets have been booked” for the Olympics. The Foreign Office said earlier this week, “no decisions have yet been made” about sending officials to Beijing.

France will “coordinate” with other EU members, although the Elysée made a point that ‘when we are worried about human rights, we tell the Chinese…We adopted sanctions on Xinjiang last March.” That was a reference to the US, UK, EU, Canada and a few other allies sanctioning some Chinese officials for the glaring fake news the White House officially describes as “genocide”.

So any adherence to the White House directive this coming February will come essentially from NATOstan members and of course AUKUS. In contrast, across Asia and the Global South, no one could be bothered. South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Choi Yong-sam, for instance, stressed that South Korea supports the Olympics.

President Putin for his part accepted a personal invitation from Xi Jinping, and he will be at the inauguration.

Extremely strict Covid-19 control measures will be enforced during the Olympics, so for the organizers a smaller number of Western official guests flying in, in terms of cost, is actually a benefit.

So in the end what’s left of this fit of hysteria? Elon Musk may have nailed it this week at a CEO Council Summit, when he remarked that China’s economy could soon be two or three times the size of the US economy. That hurts. And there’s no way any boycott will solve it.

GEOFOR interviews The Saker: Will Kiev decide on an open armed conflict?

December 05, 2021

Note: in late November I was interviewed by the Russian website Geofor.  Here is the English language translation of this interview.

GEOFOR: Mr. Raevsky, no sooner have the American warships left the Black Sea than the British went in there. Apparently, “unscheduled exercises” of NATO ships and Ukrainian watercraft are about to commence, again. Again, near the maritime borders of the Russian Federation. Moreover, a couple of American military boats were delivered to Odessa (although, politely speaking, not quite new). As a military analyst with experience in intelligence, how do you assess the degree of threats from this incessant demonstration of force in terms of the possibility of provoking a military conflict with far-reaching consequences?

Andrei Raevsky: From a military point of view, I assess the degree of direct threat from these forces as zero. Firstly, any ship that enters the waters of the Black Sea can be instantly destroyed by a number of Russian coastal defense systems and/or the Russian Aerospace Forces. So, the degree of threat from them is zero. Secondly, they are equipped with  rather outdated Tomahawk missiles. They have a relatively low flight speed, and they do not pose a great threat to Russian air defense systems.

On the other hand, there is an indirect threat from these NATO ships. And very serious. They are nudging Ukrainians in the same way as in 2008 they nudged Saakashvili in Georgia. They give Kiev a mistaken feeling being under an umbrella, under the protection of the US Navy or, say, NATO bomber planes, which is a complete deception and delusion, but this is the real danger.

GEOFOR: Does Russia have the ability to protect itself if it comes to launching Tomahawks? And how is this perceived in Pentagon and NATO headquarters? In the same context: what, in your opinion, is behind the decision of the Russian president to reject the Ministry of Defense’s offer to hold its unscheduled exercises on the Black Sea simultaneously with the United States and NATO? How will it be perceived in the Washington military-political establishment – as confidence in the capabilities of the Russian military to respond adequately to provocative actions or, as a desire not to take a potentially dangerous situation to the extreme?

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, of course, Russia can defend itself. As I just said, these are relatively slow and outdated cruise missiles, which do not pose a great danger to the multi-layered integrated air defense of the Crimea and the South of Russia and the entire Southern Military District of the Russian Federation. You can remember what the US missile strike on Syria was like, where most of them [Tomahawks] were shot down not by the Russian contingent in Syria – this is very important to emphasize – but by the Syrians with their relatively simpler air defense system.

Thus. I don’t think that all these Tomahawks threaten Russia very much.

I will also add that if the United States and NATO wanted to hit Russia with Tomahawks, it would be better for them to get out of the Black Sea and go to the Mediterranean Sea and move away to the maximum distance – just so as not to be instantly sunk.

Putin’s decision not to conduct simultaneous maneuvers in the Black Sea, in my opinion, is absolutely reasonable.

In Washington, this is likely to make an impression, in a certain sense, of a staged scene: Shoigu says: “I am ready”,  and Putin takes such a peacemaking, pacifying step. This is what in the West is called “Good cop – bad cop.” In fact, they are, of course, united in terms of developing principles and strategies for protecting Russia from possible aggression.

GEOFOR: And now a little more about Ukraine and the situation around it. Russian analysts find many analogies in the situation in Ukraine now and the one that was in Georgia on the eve of August 2008. How would you characterize the factors (internal and external) that could lead to Kiev deciding on an open armed conflict? And what will this lead Ukraine and Europe as a whole to? Who, in the end, may be the beneficiary?

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, the situation is very similar to that. And I would even say that the situation Zelensky is in, is worse than the one Saakashvili was in.

I’m afraid that his rating is such that he really has nothing to lose. The question of whether Kiev will decide on an open armed conflict implies that Kiev has an opportunity to solve something. I doubt it very much. Without getting the “go-ahead” from the “Washington Regional Party Committee” Kiev will not move. Thus, if Kiev moves, it will be, at least, in the presence of a “tacit” – not even consent – order, when the West gives the command “Attack!”. Few people in the West care that Kiev will then “get its ass kicked.”

But the most important thing in this context is to remember that the goal is not to “liberate ORDLO from Muscovites” (Note: “ORLDO” is the current official Ukie legal term for the LDNR) or “restore democracy and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and so on. The goal is to force Russia to openly invade Ukraine and start a war: so that it cannot be denied, in order to totally sink energy projects between Russia and the EU and make the EU completely dependent, first of all, on American shale gas and other energy carriers. And to achieve these goals, Ukraine does not need any victory at all – it’s enough to just say: “Here, these evil Putin’s “green men” have seized even more territory! Oh, how bad they are!”

We can say that from a military point of view, Russia will win very quickly. But from a political point of view, it will be a victory for the United States.

GEOFOR: Do you consider it possible that, with NATO’s symbolic support in the Black Sea, as well as the presence of various American, British and other instructors on land, Kiev will decide on a military provocation not in the Donbas, but in the Black Sea? After all, it is known that everyone is waiting for the Ukrainian military offensive in the east of the country, and why, for example, Zelensky not follow the path of his predecessor Poroshenko, who sent boats to break through the Kerch Strait, and, creating a conflict situation, disrupted the already agreed meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin? Moreover, the second meeting of the Russian and American presidents this year is now being prepared…

Andrei Raevsky: Yes, such a provocation in the Black Sea is very likely. It is enough to recall their provocation when Ukrainian boats tried to pass into the Kerch Strait. And it was without any presence of Americans. Of course, this is possible. I think this is not only possible, but it will definitely happen.

And if there really are plans to arrange a meeting between Biden and Putin, then Ukrainians have very little time left. In December, Americans convene their “Democracy Forum”, then there are holidays…

If there is this meeting – and we don’t know if there will be one – there could be a lot of things that could undermine it. For supporters of the war – both in the United States and in Ukraine – this is a very important moment that cannot be missed.

GEOFOR: And in conclusion. If it is likely that the ongoing Russian-American consultations (the arrival of the Deputy Secretary of State and the director of the CIA in Moscow, for example) and the dialogue between the two leaders, which, hopefully, will take place, will lead to at least some stabilization, both around the Ukrainian problem and in bilateral relations. What problems in this regard could you highlight?

Andrei Raevsky: These consultations are very important, and this is a very desirable development of the situation because American officials of this level have not come to Moscow twice to present some kind of ultimatum.

To present an ultimatum, you can simply use a consul.

To do this, there is absolutely no need to send the highest representatives of the American authorities to Moscow.

The conversations that took place – whatever they were – were to the point. And they were serious. As long as both sides are talking, at least they are not shooting. And this is very desirable.

And we can only hope that such consultations will continue in the future.

Of course, the Americans are the most dangerous enemy for Russia. This needs to be understood.

This is not a get-together with a “vodka-herring” menu to just shoot the breeze. Neither is this a friendly meeting.

But this is a direct dialogue of those who can really make decisions in a difficult situation and influence the situation.

And in this regard, it is very important.

Therefore, there is no need to fall into the mistake that Americans very often fall into when they say: “We don’t talk to such and such.” We don’t talk to terrorists, we don’t talk to states and “regimes” that we don’t recognize. This is a very big mistake.

You need to talk to everyone, often including the fiercest enemies.

source: https://geofor.ru/4710-andrej-raevskij-reshitsya-li-kiev-na-otkrytyj-vooruzhennyj-konflikt.html

Now comes the final countdown to either peace or war

December 04, 2021

So it is confirmed.  Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden will have what is announced as a “long” direct conversation (not face to face, but by a secure video link) this coming Tuesday.  Considering the extreme tensions taking place between the US/NATO/EU and Russia, this event will be, by definition, a watershed moment, irrespective of its outcome.  The two basic options are a) some kind of deal with be made b) nothing will come out of this meeting.

Personally, I am “cautiously pessimistic”, and I will explain why next.

Let’s look at what the two sides have been doing in preparation for this meeting:

The Empire has basically ratcheted up the tensions as high as possible, both by an avalanche of bellicose statements and by engaging in “petty harassment” exercises near the Russian border.  The main (and sole) advantage of this pre-negotiations strategy is that it costs very little money while having a major PR effect.  The two main disadvantages of this pre-negotiations strategy are that 1) they tend to paint you into a corner from which any concession, no matter how reasonable, can be turned into an “abject surrender to Putin” by your political enemies and 2) that the Russians know that all this sabre-rattling is only hot air and, if anything, a sign of weakness.

Russia has made some comparatively “stronger” verbal protests and mentioned “red lines” which the Empire which the latter has completely ignored.  However, Russia has also made some actual military moves which have truly frightened the Empire, including the sudden flushing out into the Pacific or all the strategic submarines of the Pacific Fleet.

Here is the problem as I see it: “Biden” has allowed all sorts of russophobic nutcases to paint the Biden Administration into the exact same corner where the same russophobic nutcases stuck Trump: a place where no meaningful negotiations (i.e. negotiations which imply the willingness to make mutual concessions) are possible.  All that Kabuki theater about “talking to Russia from a position of strength/force” kind of implies that the Russians will get scared and cave in to the Empire.  The problem is that in the real world (as opposed the political Hollywood of the western propaganda machine), it is Russia which is in a very strong position while the US/NATO/EU are all in a position of extreme vulnerability.  In other words, it is extremely unlikely that the Russians will make major concessions on anything (if only because Russia’s “great retreat” of endless concession to win time for preparations has now left Russia pretty much with her own back also against the wall).  Of course, Russia does not want/need a war anywhere, so she is probably willing to make relatively minor concessions, but only political ones.  In military terms, Russia is now “ready to go” and she will not stand down unless the Empire gives legally binding and verifiable concessions to guarantee Russia’s security on her western border (Putin has specifically said so).

Frankly, none of that is very complex: de-escalation and mutual confidence building measures have been developed by all sides for many decades now and there is no need to reinvent the wheel here.  How to do that is easy and straightforward.  But politically, I don’t know how “Biden” would respond to the MAGA nutcases in Congress who will accuse him of weakness, or even treason, if he does anything but continue to escalate towards an inevitable war: escalations can only be stopped by two means: negotiations or war.  If the former is made impossible, the latter becomes inevitable.

Worse, there are pretty good signs that “Biden” is not fully controlling the Executive branch and that there are characters at the CIA, Pentagon and Foggy Bottom (lead by the totally rabid US Neocons) which actually want a war involving Russia and who believe that such a war would not imply a very high probability of going nuclear.  Blinken, for example, strikes me as a kind of person which would make a great tailor or maybe an insurance salesman, but as a diplomat he is clearly clueless and “loser” written all over his face (ditto for that imbecile Stoltenberg or most EU politicians).  Worst of all, these losers believe in their own superiority and think that they can talk to Putin like, say, Commodore Matthew Perry “talked” to the Japanese or how Reagan showed Grenada “who is boss”.

Finally, the upcoming planned “show of unity and force” (aka Summit for Democracy) will be seen by the Kremlin as a desperate attempt at hide the Empire’s real weakness (death, really) and to make it look as if the West still had the means to rule the planet.  In reality, just Russia and China together are already much more powerful than all the colonies which Uncle Shmuel as summoned to this Summit, even if it is only two against 109 countries on the US side and that is the reality which this summit is designed to conceal from the public eye.

So no hope at all?

Well, not much.  But, in theory, here is what could happen.

The US could agree to give Russia legal binding and verifiable security guarantees on her east, including a pull-back of Ukie forces in exchange for which, Russia could pull back some of her own forces.  Deconfliction measures in the air and the seas could be agreed upon.  Observer missions could be agreed upon and then deployed by both sides to verify the implementation of any agreements.  On the political level, the US could order a dramatic reduction of western military involvement in the Ukraine in exchange for a Russian re-affirmation of the recognition of the Ukraine in her current borders, that is without Crimea and but the Donbass (in other words, the Kremlin would promise not to recognize the LDNR republics sovereign states).  In theory, an international peacekeeping force could be set up in the “grey zone” between the LDNR and the Ukraine (that would require the Ukies to pull out from their current, and totally illegal, occupation of some locations in that zone). The nationality of these peacekeepers would have to be agreed by both sides.

[Sidebar: about the LDNR – please keep in mind that even if de jure the Kremlin does not recognize these republics, it has already basically done so de facto (especially with the latest change to the Russian laws on the economy).  Also, remember that Taiwan is a country that is largely unrecognized, but which is clearly independent, at least for the time being.  Finally, keeping the LDNR inside the Ukraine creates an anti-Ukraine which prevents the Nazi-run Ukraine from fully becoming an anti-Russia.  So no, flag-wavers notwithstanding, agreeing not to recognize the LDNR would not be a “betrayal”, but only a card which must be played later in the game.]

Furthermore, Russia and the USA should establish a standing bilateral (yes, I agree with Nuland on the EU!) discussions mechanism to replace the useless and basically dead NATO-Russia Council.  Other areas of discussion could include such self-evident issues as space, terrorism, immigration, energy, cybersecurity, the Arctic etc. and a full restoration of civilized diplomatic relations (which were totally sabotaged by both the Obama and Trump Administration).  A deal could also be made about mutual non-interference or, at least, improve the current deconfliction between the USA and Russia in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.  And, of course, Russia could agree to a long term gas contract through the Ukraine in exchange for a full US acceptance of NS2.

Does that sound a little pollyannish to you?

It sure sounds pollyannish to me!

But I am not quite willing to declare it as absolutely impossible.  Instead, I would simply say that such an outcome is unlikely but still possible.

The alternative is war with, at the low end, could be limited to some silly Ukie provocation (of the kind they have been regularly pulling off, and failing, for many years now) or, at the high end, to quickly escalate a full-scale (inter)continental war, probably one involving nukes.

Hope dies last, right?

The one thing which makes it possible for me to believe that a war can still be avoided is that besides the real hardcore nutcases, there are still some sober-minded officials in the USA (maybe Gen. Milley?) who understand not only that war is an unspeakable horror, but who ALSO understand that a US attack on Russia will result in a Russian counter-attack on the US itself.  Specifically, it is now an official Russian position that if weapon X is fired at Russia or Russian forces, Russia will not only destroy that weapon and the system which delivered, but will also strike at the command headquarters from which the order to strike Russia was given, and that could be Kiev, Warsaw, Brussels or even Washington DC.  I am quite sure that General Gerasimov explained that to General Milley in exquisite detail and I strongly suspect that Milley got the message.  Let’s just hope that Milley can prevail over Lloyd Austin (who is clearly an incompetent imbecile used by the “war party” only as a disposable figurehead).

If not, then God help us all, because then war is inevitable.

I consider the current situation as the most dangerous the world has ever faced, this is even worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis or the US attacks against Iran (the murder of General Soleimani) or Syria.  By nature, nurture, experience, and training I am an unrepentant pessimist.  But, in this case, I still want to force myself into a stance of “cautious pessimism” meaning that, yes, the situation is terrible and seems unfixable, but I choose to believe that there still are enough sane people in the US to avoid the worst.

Still, I am acutely aware that the UK+3B+PU gang want war at all and any cost and that they are now setting the agenda in both the EU and NATO.  The only actor which still could order them to stand down and shut the hell up would be the USA, but only one ruled by an Administration in real and actual command, not the senile aquarium fish collectively known as “Biden” which is in power (at least officially) right now.

We can also count on the MAGA-crazies to oppose any and all deals with Russia, no matter how urgently needed and self-evidently logical.  The GOP has now become the united party for war doing exactly what the Dems did during the Trump years.  In a way, the US political scene reminds me of the Soviet Union during and after Brezhnev – a political system which simply cannot produce a real leader, so all you see is terminal mediocrities trying as best they can to hide their own mediocrity and total lack of vision.  A Ronald Reagan or a George H. W. Bush would have what it takes to talk to the Russians and get some results.  Alas, none of the presidents since have had enough brains or spine to do anything constructive at all: all they did was to preside over first the destruction of the Empire followed by the destruction of the USA (at least as we knew it before Jan 6th).

The fact that our best (or, should I say, only) hope lies with Biden and “Biden” is a sad and very frightening reality.  All we can do now is wait for Tuesday and pray that both Biden and “Biden” muster enough courage and (real) patriotism to bring the world back from the brink.  It ain’t much, but that’s all we got.

So, what do you think will happen next?

Andrei

Who Wants Some Ukraine?

November 25, 2021

by Dmitry Orlov, posted with permission of the author

On Tuesday, 23 November, Russia’s most senior military general, Valery Gerasimov, had a “deconfliction” phone conference with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, in which the two discussed “pressing issues of international security.

US, Russia army chiefs talk recent skirmish in Syria

” Actual details of what they discussed are not available; what is available is Western media speculation, which in recent days has included false reports of Russian troops massing on the Ukrainian border and supposedly getting ready to invade. What Western media has studiously ignored is an actual massing of Ukrainian troops on the borders of the Donbass region—the industrialized temporarily Ukrainian region that has been de facto independent since the Kiev putsch of 2014.

Following that putsch, and the refusal of the Donbass (along with Crimea) to recognize the new US State Department-installed Ukrainian government, the Ukrainians made attempt to recapture the Donbass by force. This attempt failed, and Kiev managed to avoid all-out defeat by signing the Minsk agreements of February 2015, but has clearly had no intention of ever fulfilling them. Instead, ever since then, Ukrainian forces have been shelling the no man’s land between Ukrainian-held territory (which is mostly open prairie) and Donbass (which is urbanized and thickly settled), killing small numbers of civilians and local militia members and causing considerable property damage. Although Western press has continuously reported on “Russian forces” in the Donbass, they are yet to present any evidence of it. And although Western press likes to describe the Donbass using the hackneyed epithet “war-torn” it is actually more prosperous and stable than the rest of the Ukraine, integrated into the Russian economy and essentially functioning as a Russian region.

Turning down Western media noise, a Russian military effort to capture the Donbass, never mind the rest of the Ukraine, is exceedingly unlikely. Russia already has everything it wants. Unlike Crimea which in its 2014 referendum produced a 97% vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83% voter turnout, in a similar referendum in the Donbass (held against Moscow’s wishes) only 27.5% of the 74.87% who turned out voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation. Based on this result, Moscow chose to soft-pedal the Donbass situation, providing humanitarian aid and diplomatic support, granting Russian citizenship to those who want it and gradually integrating the region socially and economically. In other Ukrainian regions, were similar referendums to be held there, the level of support for joining Russia would in all likelihood have been even lower, and now, seven years later, would be lower still. From this, a conclusion can be drawn: other than Crimea (which was part of an independent Ukraine for just 23 years), none of the Ukraine was or is a candidate for inclusion within the Russian Federation. The Russians living there will receive some amount of Russian support and are, of course, welcome to move to Russia, but that is really it.

Having ruled out that which is exceedingly unlikely, let us turn to that which is quite likely; and that is a provocation in the Donbass staged by the authorities in Kiev and by their State Department, Pentagon and CIA handlers, designed to deflect the blame from the truly disastrous economic situation that is unfolding there in the hopes of being able to maintain political control of the situation. In blundering into the Ukraine and converting it into a sort of anti-Russian bulwark, the US gained a brazenly corrupt and unruly dependency. Unable to stop its inexorable slide into failed-statedom and political and social disintegration, the US is faced with the prospect of another Afghanistan-style rout, with desperate left-behinds running after US transport planes hastily taking off from Kiev’s Borispol Airport, after which point even the mental laggards who run the European Union will be forced to admit that American security guarantees are an utter joke and will start getting ready to walk into the Kremlin on their knees to kiss the gem-encrusted felt slipper.

Given this unwelcome scenario, the US is quite eager to control the optics and to make it look like it is all Russia’s fault. Since merely jumping up and down and screaming “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” is no longer doing the trick, they are looking for something—anything!—that will make the Russians show up and put up even a tiny bit of a fight so that CNN and MSNBC can broadcast staged photos of a bloodied baby blanket and US Congress can then harrumph-harrumph about “Russian aggression” and impose sanctions on Russian baby blanket manufacturers. That “anything” is called a provocation, and what better place to stage it than the Donbass, which is an existing bleeding sore they’ve been picking away at for seven years now. Of course, they will do this in great trepidation of an escalation they would be unable to control, hence the hasty “deconfliction” conference with General Gerasimov: “Look, we go pew-pew, then you go pew-pew, then we declare hostilities over and toast each other with vodka and caviar; OK?”

Given that a provocation of some sort appears to be very likely, it is worth pondering what it would look like and what the outcome of it might be.

First, here is some background. The Ukraine (which is Russian for “borderland”) has always been less a country than a heterogeneous, endlessly disputed territory, tossed back and forth between Russia, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Germany and even, very briefly, Sweden. It mostly borders Russia (Crimea, Krasnodar, Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Кursk and Bryansk regions). It also borders Belarus (short for “White Russia”) which is a whole lot like Russia. It has smaller borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and the unrecognized, Russian-defended Transnistria. It also borders Donetsk and Lugansk regions, collectively known as the Donbass, which is short for “Donetsk Coal Basin,” and which was formerly part of the Ukraine but de facto independent for the last 7 years and economically integrated with Russia.

Of these, the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova were quite recently part of the USSR while the rest were part of the Warsaw Pact allied with the USSR. For most of them, those were the good days; for reasons incomprehensible to rapacious Western imperialists, Russia lavished a great deal of attention and investment on its ethnically heterogeneous periphery, not only building a great deal of social and industrial infrastructure and enterprises there but also staffing it all with relocated Russians. This, most Russians now realize, was a poor choice. This lesson is continuously reinforced by observing just how poorly the former Soviet republics have performed since they gained their independence. The Ukraine is a case in point, losing as much as a third of its population (exact numbers are impossible to ascertain) and steadily degenerating from a prosperous, highly developed region to the poorest one in all of Europe.

The Ukraine aspires to NATO and EU membership, but this prospect appears exceedingly unlikely since it is much more of a liability than an asset: destitute, bankrupt, politically unstable and not in control of its own government or its own territory—a failed state, essentially. Plus, the EU and NATO are themselves perhaps not too long for this world, the EU having recently lost the United Kingdom and NATO having just fabulously failed in Afghanistan, and not really capable of accepting new members. Sensing their own weakness, and projecting onto Russia their own instincts to engulf and devour all that they can, they automatically assume that Russia will exploit this weakness and reconquer the Ukraine and perhaps some other parts of Eastern Europe as well. But this is all it is—a projection, because the contemporary Russian project is something else entirely. Russia does periodically move its troops around its own territory, thereby keeping the West in a constant state of nervous agitation bordering on outright panic, but from the Russian perspective that is just a pleasant side-effect of regularly scheduled training exercises. There was a recent hysterical outburst in Western press over Russian tanks massed on the Belorussian border, for instance. Russia is always “about to invade,” on Tuesdays especially, but somehow never gets around to it.

That is not because Russia lacks the means or the opportunity; but it does entirely lack the motive. Does it need more land? Certainly not! Does it need a restive, alienated population that will then demand to be fed, hospitalized as needed and kept safe and warm all the while resisting assimilation? Not at all! Does it need the reputational losses from unprovoked aggression? Again, no. Quite the opposite, Russia is most eager to draw the line somewhere—a notional Great Wall of Russia, with the stable, economically liberal and socially conservative Orthodox/Moslem/Buddhist Russian World on one side and an alien, increasingly bankrupt, culturally degenerate, sexually deviant and permanently hostile Europe on the other. This will give Russia the peace and stability it needs to continue developing. The problem is that, because of the messy way in which the USSR broke up, many Russians were left stranded on the wrong side of previously insignificant borders, and this Great Wall has to remain porous, allowing Russians to filter back in.

A point can be made that Russia’s romance with Western Europe was always destined to end in tears. Russia’s cooperative, egalitarian instincts have been developed and perfected over many centuries within the Eurasian context of a relatively small population controlling a vast but difficult land with almost infinite but rather diffuse resources. In this context, cooperation rather than competition are keys to survival. These instincts have been wasted on little Eastern European fiefdoms that have spent an eternity squabbling over their tiny plots of land. Their history has conditioned them to only understand and respect subservience and domination, causing them to see Russian largesse as a weakness to be exploited. When the USSR suddenly vanished, they swiftly switched allegiance, forgetting their Russian, learning English and eagerly welcoming American and Western European financial swindlers and thieves to come and pick them clean. And now that they’ve been picked clean and Americans are leaving, they would perhaps be happy for Russia to “reoccupy” them and resume feeding them (if it were not for their wounded pride), but Russia will have none of it.

Within this overall context, each Eastern European country has its own unique fate. Most of them—specifically, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova—are simply too small and inconsequential to matter and have been left to wither away slowly, being of little interest to the West or to Russia. Belarus stands out in that it quickly joined a union state with Russia, but this has not saved it from some fateful dalliances with the West which almost ended in disaster in the summer of 2020 when a foreign-instigated astroturf insurgency threatened to overthrow the elected government and install a Western stooge by the name of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, nicknamed the cutlet fairy. Since then, Minsk and Moscow turbocharged their integration process, producing the odd situation where the Belorussians feel free to poke their fingers in the eyes of Western leaders while hiding behind Russia’s broad back.

And then there is the Ukraine. It is the second-largest country in Europe by area—second only to Russia—and strategically located to be rather consequential. Ever since its independence, which it was awarded against the wishes of the majority of its population when the USSR was dissolved by a tiny group of conspirators, it has been ruled by a succession of swindlers and thieves who have continuously looted and robbed it until now it is a mere shadow of its former self, broken and destitute. This has made it an easy mark for Western geopolitical engineers who sought to fashion into a sort of anti-Russia, with the idea of preventing Russia from becoming an empire based on some flawed reasoning by the rabidly Russophobic Pole Zbigniew Brzeziński. Grand plans hatched by fools tend to misfire grandly, and this one is no exception. Instead of somehow containing Russia, it gave Russia everything it could ever want:

1. The fantastic level of Ukrainian political dysfunction that resulted from endless Western political meddling reduced the Ukraine from one of Russia’s major regional competitors to а major regional basket case and supplier of qualified Russian-speaking labor. The Ukraine once had strategically important industries that were essential for Russia’s military and civilian production, including large marine diesels, helicopter engines, rocket engines, aircraft building, shipbuilding and much else. All of these industries have now been relocated to Russia, often together with all of the blueprints and the technical expertise, and produce great value for both domestic consumption and export.

2. The 2014 putsch allowed Russia to return Crimea by undoing two mistakes—by Khrushchev, who gave it to the Ukraine in 1954, and by Gorbachev, who failed to get it back in 1991. It also allowed Russia to partially undo an older mistake—by Lenin, who gave the Donbass to the Ukraine in 1920. While the Donbass is strategically not too consequential, the return of Crimea provided numerous benefits. Coupled with the western enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic and new Russian hypersonic rockets, Crimea has allowed Russia to keep all of NATO’s European territory within its sphere of military dominance, providing an effective treatment for Europe’s congenital defect which causes it to periodically march on Moscow. Western sanctions imposed in response to Russian annexation of Crimea allowed Russia to claw back all of the disadvantages it incurred by joining the World Trade Organization, including bringing back agriculture and key manufacturing sectors, to find new, friendlier trading partners around the world, and to find ways to thrive within conditions of limited autarky. Crimea has also provided a very useful litmus test for political participation: automatically excluding anyone who would claim that Crimea is Ukrainian made it possible to effectively purge the ranks of all internal enemies and foreign agents. There are numerous other benefits as well, too many to mention.

3. The civil war in the Donbass, which is ongoing, gave Russia the opportunity to force through the Minsk agreements, whose implementation is mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015), and which require the Ukraine to federalize, granting a high level of autonomy to its regions. This, in the Ukrainian context, equates with the end of the Ukrainian unitary state. Beyond that point, the Ukraine becomes a set of disparate, disconnected, foreign-dominated fiefdoms, each with its own pathetic little oligarchy, with Kiev retained as a purely symbolic capital and an ancient Kievan Russia museum and tourist attraction. The government in Kiev has resisted the implementation of the Minsk agreements, realizing full well that this would spell its end, but this is merely a postponement. The civil war also simplified any future anti-Nazi mop-up operation and war crimes tribunal. Whereas before various Ukrainian nationalists and krypto-Nazis might have been difficult to identify, it has forced them to not only stand up and be counted but also to commit crimes for which there is no statue of limitations, making it easy to permanently take them out of circulation when the time comes to clean the place up.

This, then, is the background to the current situation, bringing us to the present, in which the US seems to be cooking up something in a big hurry. First, the US sends the message that Kiev must fulfill the terms of the Minsk agreements. Second, the US claims that Russia is massing troops on the Ukrainian border, getting ready to invade. The Ukrainian military denies this fact. The US repeats their claim and also sends some more weapons to the Ukraine. As the Ukrainian military is still unsure what’s going on, they are summoned and told exactly what to think. And so, there is going to be a provocation. But Russia is certainly not interested in any sort of attack or invasion, so what do you suppose is going to happen? A reasonable battle plan is for the Ukraine to attack first, to preempt the Russian invasion and to take up defensive positions within the Donbass territory. That’s a brilliant plan, if I say so myself!

The most the Ukrainian military can do is launch an attack on the Donbass. Attacking Crimea across the isthmus would be stupid and pathetic; attacking Crimea from the water would be stupid and absolutely hilarious to watch. And so Donbass it has to be, again. It won’t take long for the Russians to respond using unidentified long-range precision artillery and demolish the Ukrainians’ supply lines, trapping them in cauldrons where they will run out of ammunition, food and fuel and gradually bleed out. This is what transpired before, in 2015, leading Kiev to sign on to the Minsk agreements, because their other choice was to lose their entire army. Except now there will not be another set of Minsk agreements, no terms of surrender, no cease fires and no safe corridors for withdrawal. There will just be death. To the Russians, these people are terrorists, and terrorists get to meet God before the rest of us.

And that, perhaps, may be the entire point. The US wants to close out the entire sorry Ukrainian saga, cut its losses, pull an Afghanistan and leave in a hurry, because it has a long list of countries it has to pull out of before the fuel and the money run out, and it badly needs to pick up the pace. Okinawa is on that list; Guam; Puerto Rico; Alaska. California. Texas. The Ukraine has been refusing to even start fulfilling the Minsk agreements, which start with military deescalation along the line of contact. What seems to be the problem? Perhaps, as the US has finally figured out, it has to do with the fact that the Ukraine has a military; if it no longer had any military of any sort at all, there would be nothing to deescalate and the problem would not exist. And so that may be the clever plan for the Ukraine: suicide by Russia. As an added bonus, there will be Russia to blame because, no doubt at all, it will have all been Russia’s fault. Sanctions against Russian baby blanket manufacturers are being drafted as we speak. American TV viewers will watch it, and they will like it. They will think, “Bad Russkies! America strong!”

“But what about the Ukraine?” you might be tempted to ask. Well, the correct answer to that question seems to be, “Nobody cares.” Seriously, looking at recent Ukrainian history, that seems to be the only answer that makes sense. The Americans certainly never cared, the Russians once cared but care less and less with each passing day, and the Ukrainians themselves don’t care either and have been making that point by voting with their feet. The European Union and NATO may care a great deal about having a large failed state in the middle of Europe, and they should, because that is probably just the beginning, but a very good start.

In Memory of JFK: The First U.S. President to be Declared a Terrorist and Threat to National Security

November 22, 2021

By Cynthia Chung for the Saker Blog

In April 1954, Kennedy stood up on the Senate floor to challenge the Eisenhower Administration’s support for the doomed French imperial war in Vietnam, foreseeing that this would not be a short-lived war.[1]

In July 1957, Kennedy once more took a strong stand against French colonialism, this time France’s bloody war against Algeria’s independence movement, which again found the Eisenhower Administration on the wrong side of history. Rising on the Senate floor, two days before America’s own Independence Day, Kennedy declared:

“The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile – it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism. Thus, the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.”[2]

In September 1960, the annual United Nations General Assembly was held in New York. Fidel Castro and a fifty-member delegation were among the attendees and had made a splash in the headlines when he decided to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem after the midtown Shelburne Hotel demanded a $20,000 security deposit. He made an even bigger splash in the headlines when he made a speech at this hotel, discussing the issue of equality in the United States while in Harlem, one of the poorest boroughs in the country.

Kennedy would visit this very same hotel a short while later, and also made a speech:

Behind the fact of Castro coming to this hotel, [and] Khrushchev…there is another great traveler in the world, and that is the travel of a world revolution, a world in turmoil…We should be glad [that Castro and Khrushchev] came to the United States. We should not fear the twentieth century, for the worldwide revolution which we see all around us is part of the original American Revolution.”[3]

What did Kennedy mean by this? The American Revolution was fought for freedom, freedom from the rule of monarchy and imperialism in favour of national sovereignty. What Kennedy was stating, was that this was the very oppression that the rest of the world wished to shake the yoke off, and that the United States had an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for the independence of all nations.

On June 30th, 1960, marking the independence of the Republic of Congo from the colonial rule of Belgium, Patrice Lumumba, the first Congolese Prime Minister gave a speech that has become famous for its outspoken criticism of colonialism. Lumumba spoke of his people’s struggle against “the humiliating bondage that was forced upon us… [years that were] filled with tears, fire and blood,” and concluded vowing “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.”

Shortly after, Lumumba also made clear, “We want no part of the Cold War… We want Africa to remain African with a policy of neutralism.[4]

As a result, Lumumba was labeled a communist for his refusal to be a Cold War satellite for the western sphere. Rather, Lumumba was part of the Pan-African movement that was led by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah (who later Kennedy would also work with), which sought national sovereignty and an end to colonialism in Africa.

Lumumba “would remain a grave danger,” Dulles said at an NSC meeting on September 21, 1960, “as long as he was not yet disposed of.”[5] Three days later, Dulles made it clear that he wanted Lumumba permanently removed, cabling the CIA’s Leopoldville station, “We wish give [sic] every possible support in eliminating Lumumba from any possibility resuming governmental position.”[6]

Lumumba was assassinated on Jan. 17th, 1961, just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, during the fog of the transition period between presidents, when the CIA is most free to tie its loose ends, confident that they will not be reprimanded by a new administration that wants to avoid scandal on its first days in office.

Kennedy, who clearly meant to put a stop to the Murder Inc. that Dulles had created and was running, would declare to the world in his inaugural address on Jan. 20th, 1961, “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.

La Resistance

Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, Kennedy was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

The Bay of Pigs set-up would occur three months later. Prouty compares the Bay of Pigs incident to that of the Crusade for Peace; the Bay of Pigs being orchestrated by the CIA, and the Crusade for Peace sabotaged by the CIA, in both cases to ruin the U.S. president’s (Eisenhower and Kennedy) ability to form a peaceful dialogue with Khrushchev and decrease Cold War tensions. Both presidents’ took onus for the events respectively, despite the responsibility resting with the CIA. However, Eisenhower and Kennedy understood, if they did not take onus, it would be a public declaration that they did not have any control over their government agencies and military.

Further, the Bay of Pigs operation was in fact meant to fail. It was meant to stir up a public outcry for a direct military invasion of Cuba.

On public record is a meeting (or more aptly described as an intervention) with CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and Navy Chief Admiral Burke basically trying to strong-arm President Kennedy into approving a direct military attack on Cuba. Admiral Burke had already taken the liberty of positioning two battalions of Marines on Navy destroyers off the coast of Cuba “anticipating that U.S. forces might be ordered into Cuba to salvage a botched invasion.”[7] (This incident is what inspired the Frankenheimer movie “Seven Days in May.”)

Kennedy stood his ground.

“They were sure I’d give in to them,” Kennedy later told Special Assistant to the President Dave Powers. “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well they had me figured all wrong.”[8]

Incredibly, not only did the young president stand his ground against the Washington war hawks just three months into his presidential term, but he also launched the Cuba Study Group which found the CIA to be responsible for the fiasco, leading to the humiliating forced resignation of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell. (For more on this refer to my report.)

Unfortunately, it would not be that easy to dethrone Dulles, who continued to act as head of the CIA, and key members of the intelligence community such as Helms and Angleton regularly bypassed McCone (the new CIA Director) and briefed Dulles directly.[9]

But Kennedy was also serious about seeing it through all the way, and vowed to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

* * *

There is another rather significant incident that had occurred just days after the Bay of Pigs, and which has largely been overshadowed by the Cuban fiasco in the United States.

From April 21-26th, 1961, the Algiers putsch or Generals’ putsch, was a failed coup d’état intended to force President de Gaulle (1959-1969) not to abandon the colonial French Algeria. The organisers of the putsch were opposed to the secret negotiations that French Prime Minister Michel Debré had started with the anti-colonial National Liberation Front (FLN).

On January 26th, 1961, just three months before the attempted coup d’état, Dulles sent a report to Kennedy on the French situation that seemed to be hinting that de Gaulle would no longer be around, “A pre-revolutionary atmosphere reigns in France… The Army and the Air Force are staunchly opposed to de Gaulle…At least 80 percent of the officers are violently against him. They haven’t forgotten that in 1958, he had given his word of honor that he would never abandon Algeria. He is now reneging on his promise, and they hate him for that. de Gaulle surely won’t last if he tries to let go of Algeria. Everything will probably be over for him by the end of the year—he will be either deposed or assassinated.”[10]

The attempted coup was led by Maurice Challe, whom de Gaulle had reason to conclude was working with the support of U.S. intelligence, and Élysée officials began spreading this word to the press, which reported the CIA as a “reactionary state-within-a-state” that operated outside of Kennedy’s control.[11]

Shortly before Challe’s resignation from the French military, he had served as NATO commander in chief and had developed close relations with a number of high-ranking U.S. officers stationed in the military alliance’s Fontainebleau headquarters.[12]

In August 1962 the OAS (Secret Army Organization) made an assassination attempt against de Gaulle, believing he had betrayed France by giving up Algeria to Algerian nationalists. This would be the most notorious assassination attempt on de Gaulle (who would remarkably survive over thirty assassination attempts while President of France) when a dozen OAS snipers opened fire on the president’s car, which managed to escape the ambush despite all four tires being shot out.

After the failed coup d’état, de Gaulle launched a purge of his security forces and ousted General Paul Grossin, the chief of SDECE (the French secret service). Grossin was closely aligned with the CIA, and had told Frank Wisner over lunch that the return of de Gaulle to power was equivalent to the Communists taking over in Paris.[13]

In 1967, after a five-year enquête by the French Intelligence Bureau, it released its findings concerning the 1962 assassination attempt on de Gaulle. The report found that the 1962 assassination plot could be traced back to the NATO Brussels headquarters, and the remnants of the old Nazi intelligence apparatus. The report also found that Permindex had transferred $200,000 into an OAS bank account to finance the project.

As a result of the de Gaulle exposé, Permindex was forced to shut down its public operations in Western Europe and relocated its headquarters from Bern, Switzerland to Johannesburg, South Africa, it also had/has a base in Montreal, Canada where its founder Maj. Gen. Louis M. Bloomfield (former OSS) proudly had his name amongst its board members until the damning de Gaulle report. The relevance of this to Kennedy will be discussed shortly.

As a result of the SDECE’s ongoing investigation, de Gaulle made a vehement denunciation of the Anglo-American violation of the Atlantic Charter, followed by France’s withdrawal from the NATO military command in 1966. France would not return to NATO until April 2009 at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit.

In addition to all of this, on Jan. 14th, 1963, de Gaulle declared at a press conference that he had vetoed British entry into the Common Market. This would be the first move towards France and West Germany’s formation of the European Monetary System, which excluded Great Britain, likely due to its imperialist tendencies and its infamous sin City of London.

Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson telegrammed West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer directly, appealing to him to try to persuade de Gaulle to back track on the veto, stating “if anyone can affect Gen. de Gaulle’s decision, you are surely that person.”

Little did Acheson know that Adenauer was just days away from signing the Franco-German Treaty of Jan 22nd, 1963 (also known as the ÉlyséeTreaty), which had enormous implications. Franco-German relations, which had long been dominated by centuries of rivalry, had now agreed that their fates were aligned. (This close relationship was continued to a climactic point in the late 1970s, with the formation of the European Monetary System, and France and West Germany’s willingness in 1977 to work with OPEC countries trading oil for nuclear technology, which was sabotaged by the U.S.-Britain alliance.

The Élysée Treaty was a clear denunciation of the Anglo-American forceful overseeing that had overtaken Western Europe since the end of WWII.

On June 28th, 1961, Kennedy wrote NSAM #55. This document changed the responsibility of defense during the Cold War from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would have (if seen through) drastically changed the course of the war in Vietnam. It would also have effectively removed the CIA from Cold War military operations and limited the CIA to its sole lawful responsibility, the collecting and coordination of intelligence.

By Oct 11th, 1963, NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy[14], was released and outlined a policy decision “to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963” and further stated that “It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by 1965.” The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY ’65.

It would be the final nail in the coffin.

Treason in America

Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

– Sir John Harrington

By Germany supporting de Gaulle’s exposure of the international assassination ring, his adamant opposition to western imperialism and the role of NATO, and with a young Kennedy building his own resistance against the imperialist war of Vietnam, it was clear that the power elite were in big trouble.

On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight.

With the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, likely ordained by the CIA, on Nov. 2nd, 1963 and Kennedy just a few weeks later, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 on Nov. 26th, 1963 to begin the reversal of Kennedy’s policy under #263. And on March 17th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy’s death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans, and 30 years if you count American covert action in Vietnam.

Two days before Kennedy’s assassination, a hate-Kennedy handbill was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer.

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On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy.

The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries.

In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy.[15] It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day.

Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover.[16]

It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace.

Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963.

However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months.[17] It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy.

Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading pieces of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot.

During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine (the reader should note that Henry Luce the owner of Life magazine was in a very close relationship with the CIA). This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from behind.

When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman.

When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch…

There is also the matter of the original autopsy papers being destroyed by the chief autopsy physician, James Humes, to which he even testified to during the Warren Commission, apparently nobody bothered to ask why…

This would explain why the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), reported in a July 1998 staff report their concern for the number of shortcomings in the original autopsy, that “One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist.” [emphasis added]

The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained.

There is a lot of spurious effort to try to ridicule anyone who challenges the Warren Commission’s official report as nothing but fringe conspiracy theory. And that we should not find it highly suspect that Allen Dulles, of all people, was a member and pretty much leader of said commission. The reader should keep in mind that much of this frothing opposition stems from the very agency that perpetrated crime after crime on the American people, as well as abroad. When has the CIA ever admitted guilt, unless caught red-handed? Even after the Church committee hearings, when the CIA was found guilty of planning out foreign assassinations, they claimed that they had failed in every single plot or that someone had beaten them to the punch, including in the case of Lumumba.

The American people need to realise that the CIA is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men. It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law. Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.”

Interestingly, on Dec. 22nd, 1963, just one month after Kennedy’s assassination, Harry Truman published a scathing critique of the CIA in The Washington Post, even going so far as to state “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position [as a] free and open society, and I feel that we need to correct it.[18]

The timing of such a scathing quote cannot be stressed enough. Dulles, of course, told the public not to be distressed, that Truman was just in entering his twilight years.

In addition, Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney at the time, who was charging Clay Shaw as a member of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, besides uncovering his ties to David Ferrie who was found dead in his apartment days before he was scheduled to testify, also made a case that the New Orleans International Trade Mart (to which Clay Shaw was director), the U.S. subsidiary of Permindex, was linked to Kennedy’s murder. Col. Clay Shaw was an OSS officer during WWII, which provides a direct link to his knowing Allen Dulles.

Garrison did a remarkable job with the odds he was up against, and for the number of witnesses that turned up dead before the trial…

This Permindex link would not look so damning if we did not have the French intelligence SDECE report, but we do. And recall, in that report Permindex was caught transferring $200,000 directly to the bankroll of the OAS which attempted the 1962 assassination on de Gaulle.

Thus, Permindex’s implication in an international assassination ring is not up for debate. In addition, the CIA was found heavily involved in these assassination attempts against de Gaulle, thus we should not simply dismiss the possibility that Permindex was indeed a CIA front for an international hit crew.

In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in Nov. 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. Souetre was arrested in Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and expelled to Mexico, not even kept for questioning.[19]

What Does the Future Hold?

After returning from Kennedy’s Nov. 24th funeral in Washington, de Gaulle and his information minister Alain Peyrefitte had a candid discussion that was recorded in Peyrefitte’s memoire “C’était de Gaulle,” the great General was quoted saying:

What happened to Kennedy is what nearly happened to me… His story is the same as mine. … It looks like a cowboy story, but it’s only an OAS [Secret Army Organization] story. The security forces were in cahoots with the extremists.

…Security forces are all the same when they do this kind of dirty work. As soon as they succeed in wiping out the false assassin, they declare the justice system no longer need be concerned, that no further public action was needed now that the guilty perpetrator was dead. Better to assassinate an innocent man than to let a civil war break out. Better an injustice than disorder.

America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order to not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order to not ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.”

The American people would do well to remember that it was first John F. Kennedy, acting as the President to the United States, who was to be declared a terrorist and threat to his country’s national security.

Thus is it not natural that those who continue to defend the legacy of Kennedy should be regarded today as threat, not truly to the nation’s security, but a threat to the very same grouping responsible for Kennedy’s death and whom today have now declared open war on the American people.

This will be the greatest test the American people have ever been confronted with, and it will only be through an understanding of how the country came to where it is today that there can be sufficient clarity as to what the solutions are, which are not to be found in another civil war. To not fall for the trapping of further chaos and division, the American people will only be able to rise above this if they choose to ask those questions, if they choose to want to knowto want to find out the truth of things they dared not look at in the past for fear of what it would reveal.

Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion’s getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves.”

-James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851(

We must dare to be among the few who think for ourselves.


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

  1. David Talbot, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” pg 304 
  2. Ibid, pg 305 
  3. Ibid, pg 295 
  4. Ibid, pg 319 
  5. Ibid, pg 319 
  6. Ibid, pg 319 
  7. Ibid, pg 337 
  8. Ibid, pg 337 
  9. Ibid, pg 359 
  10. Ibid, pg 350 
  11. Ibid, pg 353 
  12. Ibid, pg 347 
  13. Ibid, pg 354 
  14. L. Fletcher Prouty, “The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy,” pg xxxiv 
  15. Anton Chaitkin’s paper “Hoover’s FBI and Anglo-American Dictatorship” 
  16. New York Times, April 6, 1971, “Boggs Demands That Hoover Quit,” p. 1. 
  17. Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” p. 116 
  18. David Talbot, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” pg 201 
  19. Ibid, pg 422 

CIA Chief Comes to Moscow. Russia Gets the US Deep State to Pay Attention

November 9, 2021

By Finian Cunningham

Source

Russia is not going to tolerate any further provocations to its national security. The question now is: can the United States power elite change its belligerent behavior?

The “rare” visit to Moscow last week by CIA chief William Burns signaled a remarkable development. The U.S. political establishment seems to have had a wake-up call to hear directly from Russia’s leadership about its concerns for international peace.

On one hand that indicates how badly bilateral relations have deteriorated. On the other, however, a direct line of communication between Moscow and Washington could help clarify points of conflict and avoid escalation.

CIA director William Burns was sent last week to Moscow in a surprise visit. He was reportedly dispatched by President Joe Biden. During his two-day shuttle tour, Burns held separate talks with the head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, and with Burns’ counterpart, Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s foreign intelligence service (SVR). Both men represent the highest level of Russian state security.

In addition, during his stay, the CIA chief also had a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such a call is thought to be extremely unusual. The normal protocol is for Putin to delegate Kremlin aides to conduct discussions with foreign dignitaries.

But Burns is no ordinary foreign dignitary. The 65-year-old is a seasoned diplomat having previously served as U.S. ambassador to Russia (2005-2008). His long career in the State Department combined with his latest posting as director of the Central Intelligence Agency make Burns the embodiment of Washington’s foreign policy establishment – the so-called Deep State.

Thus his visit to Moscow can be seen as a moment when the leadership of the two nuclear-armed states engaged in direct and robust talks. More so than when President Biden met Putin in Geneva earlier in June for only a few hours and a lot of accompanying media hype. Note, too, how, Biden sent Burns as his representative for this serious occasion, not Secretary of State Antony Blinken nor national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

U.S. media reports of Burns’ Moscow mission were no doubt pitched as a distraction from the real agenda. It was reported that Burns issued warnings about Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine. The Kremlin dismissed those claims and the purported satellite images of military movements as groundless fabrications. Even the Ukrainian defense ministry – normally all too alarmist about imminent Russian “invasion” – said there was no Russian build-up as claimed by the U.S. media reports.

More plausibly, the Kremlin said the high-level conversations with Burns were about “bilateral relations” and “regional conflicts” without giving further details on the discussions. That suggests the Russian side was telling the United States in no uncertain terms of its vital national security concerns and, just as importantly, how it would respond kinetically if red lines were violated.

Only a few weeks ago, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Ukraine during which the Pentagon chief reiterated the possibility of future membership of the NATO alliance. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that such a development would be a red line provoking a response. Austin’s insistence on Ukraine’s NATO membership must have rankled deeply in Moscow. How could these Americans be so crass?

Moscow has also recently highlighted the build-up of American and NATO forces in the Black Sea as being another red line. It seems no coincidence that President Putin announced that over the next few months Russian warships will be armed with new hypersonic missiles.

There are other important contextual factors. Last month, the Biden administration sent senior diplomat Victoria Nuland to Moscow for a three-day visit. Nuland embodies U.S. regime-change policy, most memorably for her role in orchestrating the 2014 coup d’état in Kiev. She was greeted in Moscow by deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. It was reported that the U.S. side was tone-deaf to Russia’s concerns about Ukraine, as well as NATO’s increasing offensiveness on Russia’s borders and the growing tensions in the bilateral relationship.

Then Moscow announced it was cutting off diplomatic channels with the NATO alliance. The move was prompted by the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Brussels who were alleged without substantiation to be working as spies. That move was seen by Moscow as the last straw in a series of provocations by NATO. The diplomatic channels had become redundant long before largely due to reluctance by NATO to engage in a mutual dialogue.

In any case, Moscow was letting it be known that it had had enough of dealing with ciphers and anti-Russia cacophony. By walking away from NATO, the Kremlin was telegramming that the United States better start taking its red lines seriously.

State Department deputies – even of the hawkish Nuland variety – are not sufficient for the serious purpose of grave communications. Neither are nominally senior diplomats like Blinken or apparatchiks like Sullivan who, for all their apparent seniority, operate on scripted talking points like message boys. Secretary of Defense Austin – the titular head of the Pentagon – also revealed himself as nothing more than a script-monger during his robotic tour of Ukraine and Georgia. Such people are not worth dealing with in terms of getting to the heart of conflict.

Sometimes the most effective way to make a point is to reduce communications to a bare minimum. And in that way, declutter the noise and echo by stripping out the channels that don’t have any real consequence.

Russia has made it clear that the U.S. and NATO are pushing a potential confrontation over Ukraine, the Black Sea, the Balkans and the wider region. Having done that, and having expressed red lines, it seems the U.S. Deep State decided it better start paying attention to what Russia was saying.

The urgent visit to Moscow by William Burns was the occasion for some serious talking about how to prevent tensions spiraling further into war. The U.S. Deep State got the message directly. Russia is not going to tolerate any further provocations to its national security. The question now is: can the United States power elite change its belligerent behavior?

Syria Rebuilds Relations with Regional Foes Despite Ongoing US Opposition

November 05th, 2021

By Mnar Adley

Source

Investigative reporter Vanessa Beeley joins us to help get us up to speed with the war that was once the focus of mainstream coverage pushing a humanitarian interventionist narrative.

Welcome to MintCast, the official MintPress News podcast featuring dissenting voices the establishment would rather silence. Today MintCast host Mnar Adley is joined by Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist and war correspondent based in Damascus, Syria.

While the U.S. military occupies a third of Syria — mostly in the northeast, controlling Syria’s vast oil reserves and water supplies — Syria continues to rebuild after nearly a decade of destabilization efforts by the U.S. and its proxies, who have armed rebel groups with the intention of stoking a civil war and toppling President Bashar al-Assad.

Today, the city of Daraa, which has been referred to as the cradle of the Syrian revolution, has been liberated by the Syrian Army. But, as MintPress reported nearly a decade ago, Daraa was the touchpaper lit by hardline Libyan mercenaries imported into Syria prior to 2011. These mercenaries were trained by the CIA and MI6, alongside Saudi intelligence, to hijack a small movement for economic reforms and turn it into an armed rebellion to fulfill foreign interests in the region.

In this segment of MintCast, Beeley joins us to help get us up to speed with the war that was once the focus of mainstream coverage pushing a humanitarian interventionist narrative.

Chris Hedges: The Most Important Battle for Press Freedom in Our Time

October 30th, 2021

Britain Assange Feature photo

By Chris Hedges

Source

If he is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Scheerpost) – For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.

Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belmarsh. He was wearing a white shirt with an untied tie around his neck. He looked gaunt and tired. He did not appear in court, the judges explained, because he was receiving a “high dose of medication.” On the second day he was apparently not present in the prison’s video conference room.

Assange is being extradited because his organization WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to US checkpoints. He is also being targeted by US authorities for other leaks, especially those that exposed  the hacking tools used by the CIA known as Vault 7, which enables the spy agency to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers and the operating systems of most smart phones, as well as operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.

If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information.

If the appeal by the United States is accepted Assange will be retried in London. The ruling on the appeal is not expected until at least January.

Assange’s September 2020 trial painfully exposed how vulnerable he has become after 12 years of detention, including seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has in the past attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. He suffers from hallucinations and depression, takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. After he was observed pacing his cell until he collapsed, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall he was transferred for several months to the medical wing of the Belmarsh prison. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.”

James Lewis, the lawyer for the United States, attempted to discredit the detailed and disturbing medical and psychological reports on Assange presented to the court in September 2020, painting him instead as a liar and malingerer. He excoriated the decision of Judge Baraitser to bar extradition, questioned her competence, and breezily dismissed the mountains of evidence that high-security prisoners in the United Sates, like Assange, subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), and held in virtual isolation in supermax prisons, suffer psychological distress. He charged Dr. Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, who examined Assange and testified for the defense, with deception for “concealing” that Assange fathered two children with his fiancée Stella Morris while in refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He said that, should the Australian government request Assange, he could serve his prison time in Australia, his home country, after his appeals had been exhausted, but stopped short of promising that Assange would not be held in isolation or subject to SAMs.

The authority repeatedly cited by Lewis to describe the conditions under which Assange will be held and tried in the United States was Gordon Kromberg, the Assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Kromberg is the government’s grand inquisitor in cases of terrorism and national security. He has expressed open contempt for Muslims and Islam and decried what he calls “the Islamization of the American justice system.” He oversaw the 9-year persecution of the Palestinian activist and academic Dr. Sami Al-Arian and at one point refused his request to postpone a court date during the religious holiday of Ramadan. “They can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can’t do is eat before sunset,” Kromberg said in a 2006 conversation, according to an affidavit filed by one of Arian’s attorneys, Jack Fernandez.

Kromberg criticized Daniel Hale, the former Air Force analyst who recently was sentenced to 45 months in a supermax prison for leaking information about the indiscriminate killings of civilians by drones, saying Hale had not contributed to public debate, but had “endanger[ed] the people doing the fight.” He ordered Chelsea Manning jailed after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Manning attempted to commit suicide in March 2020 while being held in the Virginia jail.

Having covered the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was arrested in London in 2006, I have a good idea of what waits Assange if he is extradited. Hashmi also was held in Belmarsh and extradited in 2007 to the United States where he spent three years in solitary confinement under SAMs. His “crime” was that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in luggage at the apartment. The acquaintance planned to deliver the items to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government was concerned with waterproof socks being shipped to Pakistan. The reason, I suspect, Hashmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, and like Assange, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he was a student at Brooklyn College.

Hashmi was deeply religious, and some of his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were controversial, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and imprisonment because of his opinions, just as Assange should have the freedom, like any publisher, to inform the public about the inner workings of power. Facing the possibility of a 70-year sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, Hashmi accepted a plea bargain on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism. Judge Loretta Preska, who sentenced the hacker Jeremy Hammond and human rights attorney Steven Donziger, gave him the maximum 15-year sentence. Hashmi was held for nine years in Guantanamo-like conditions in the supermax ADX [Administrative Maximum] facility in Florence, Colorado, where Assange, if found guilty in an American court, will almost certainly be imprisoned. Hashmi was released in 2019.

The pre-trial detention conditions Hashmi endured were designed to break him. He was electronically monitored 24-hours a day. He could only receive or send mail with his immediate family. He was prohibited from speaking with other prisoners through the walls. He was forbidden from taking part in group prayer. He was permitted one hour of exercise a day, in a solitary cage without fresh air. He has unable to see most of the evidence used to indict him which was classified under the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted to prevent US intelligence officers under prosecution from threatening to reveal state secrets to manipulate the legal proceedings. The harsh conditions eroded his physical and psychological health. When he appeared in the final court proceeding to accept a guilty plea he was in a near catatonic state, clearly unable to follow the proceedings around him.

If the government will go to this length to persecute someone who was alleged to have been involved in sending waterproof socks to al-Qaida, what can we expect the government to do to Assange?

A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice. The battle for Assange’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Assange and his family, but for us.

Tyrannies invert the rule of law. They turn the law into an instrument of injustice. They cloak their crimes in a faux legality. They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality. Those, such as Assange, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence. The long campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations and the security and surveillance state.

There is no legal basis to hold Assange in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Assange is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are guilty of egregious crimes. Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.

Assange’s “crime” is that he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians. He exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo. He exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other U.N. representatives from China, France, Russia, and the UK, spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included the eavesdropping on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya, replacing it with a murderous and corrupt military regime. He exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, which authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of US citizens in Yemen. He exposed that the United States secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians. He exposed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $657,000 to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform. He exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party. He exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency permits the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps.

He exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths alone he is guilty.

Here Comes China: Xi Jinping’s speech, Major geo-political events, Joint naval patrol, Shangri-La was a novel

October 25, 2021

Here Comes China:  Xi Jinping’s speech, Major geo-political events, Joint naval patrol, Shangri-La was a novel

by Amarynth for the Saker Blog

There has been a slight pause in these sitreps. This writing became overshadowed with current events, fully covered in the Saker Blog by other writers.  Because of length, we will upgrade this one today from sitrep to guest analysis.

A shortlisting of four major events since the Sitrep paused:

1.Meng Wanzhou’s triumphant return to China and a win against the Long Arm of the Law.  Meng is back at work this morning.  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237211.shtml

2.The failed visit (yes another failed diplomatic visit) which resulted in this comical and humorous tweet from Escobar

@RealPepeEscobar

US-CHINA IN 30 SECONDS

  • Jake Sullivan – “We wanna talk about Uyghurs, Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “No.”
  • Sullivan – “Climate change.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “Maybe. If you listen.”
  • Sullivan – “So we’re coming after you big time.”
  • Yang Jiechi – “Bring it on.”

Uhm, how did that climate change maybe thing work out? Well it turns out not so well. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are among several world leaders who will not be attending the big climate summit COP26 scheduled to begin this week in Britain. The two leaders will not even give it a pretense of legitimacy. Now, that is how to give a perfect diplomatic snub!  Or is it only a diplomatic snub?  I think both China and Russia are expressing that any attempt to do productive work with a naked insane emperor is now futile.  We will probably see light speed changes from now on into multipolarity to hopefully gain a world that is now insisting on decent human values and most of all, peaceful resolution of differences.     

3.The other big event was the forming of Aukus, obviously in an attempt to create a mini-NATO against first China and Russia.

4.At the height of all of these were and are still the Taiwan issues and we will take a look at Xi Jinping’s speech a little later in this writing.

One soon finds that it becomes almost impossible to approach China from a generalist perspective. But, we have help. On the economics side, we have Michael Hudson. On the historical side, we have writers such as Godfree Roberts, Jeff J Browne and many others. On the anti-China propaganda side, we have me and a number of reliable commentators on the Saker Blog and on the social, community, and humanity side, we have a host of excellent bloggers, documentary makers, and distributors of information as if one is walking in the streets and in the countryside with your own feet. And of course, China is now taking its rightful place in the world as a leader and has improved markedly in information dissemination; they are taking their place on the world stage as wolf warriors, (Uhm, no, I did not mean to write that, of course, I meant to write ..) diplomats.

Sidebar: China is a massive country and in landmass second only to Russia. But even in this simple measurement, the west tries quibbling techniques. Read it and weep. China is only second but Canada is bigger if we measure waterways. And really, China is really smaller than the US. Take a look at the quibble: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/largest-countries-in-the-world

In this year, the year of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, we experience an almost complete restatement and refinement of China’s goals in our world. We see internal nomenclature such as national rejuvenation, a modern socialist country, and continual reformation with comprehensive plans and strategy, and a peaceful and united domestic environment. Toward the world, we see phrases such as maintaining a revolutionary spirit, the courage to carry out a great struggle with contemporary features, courage, and skill, safeguard sovereignty, and protect security and development interests. We hear that China intends to assume a greater role in and for the world.  Aggression and hegemony are not in the blood of the Chinese people and they will strive for a human community with a shared future. There are specific goals set out. China will:

  • endeavor to improve the global governance system
  • engender peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom
  • work to strengthen solidarity of people of all other countries
  • engage in all efforts to oppose hegemony and power politics

What is the difference between Putin’s Optimistic Reasonable Conservatism and Xi’s Human Community with a Shared Future and moderately prosperous society?  I cannot see too big of a difference as the qualitative values expressed are similar although the civilizational socialization is different.  As Putin expressed his non-acceptance of woke ‘values’ in his Valdai speech, so China in the last few months took real action.  They threw the feminine men out of their television programs.  The feminine men is an inheritance from Japan to a lesser degree and Korea, to a larger degree.  China does not want girly men to become role models for their children.    They pulled the rug out from underneath expensive additional schools, acting as funnels to expensive university programs, and tutoring that basically burdened the Chinese children.  They have strengthened the Chinese schools to offer all additional education necessary, in order to have consistent educational standards.  They simply stopped computer games for younger children and limited this to no more than 3 hours per week.  They increased physical programs and education to get the kids out and about with healthy activities.  And in stark contrast to the western sphere who wants to control the kids, China just put the responsibility by law, properly and correctly in the parents’ hands.  “On Saturday, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopted a new law stating that China’s parents are responsible for family education.”

On Taiwan, we see Xi Jinping expressing the following: “The Taiwan question arose from weakness and chaos and will be resolved with national reunification, the one-China principle, and 1992 resolution”.

Regarding military action; we see even Putin expressing that Xi Jinping does not need to take military action.  The verbose threats come from the US and Australia.

There are three aspects that Putin and Xi Jinping express as in one voice.

  • We are in a time of momentous changes in the world.
  • Both Russia and China are prepared and can ride the waves of change in a manner that is helpful, peaceful, and supportive in and for the world. 
  • The UN (and it has been said a number of times that it needs to be updated) is still the only venue where world problems can be discussed.  From Russia, our Law is the UN Charter and this is expressed by China as well.  The rules-based concept does not feature whatsoever.

These concepts are fully supported by Putin’s speech at Valdai, and Xi Jinping’s speech at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of China’s formal joining of the United Nations.

During the years since the cold war, another momentous alliance grew almost from a grassroots level. This is the Russia / China treaty of Good Neighborliness. Here, with subtitles is what the Chinese office of foreign affairs thinks of this treaty at its 20th anniversary. China and Russia are not allies, but closer than allies:

In this atmosphere of global chaos, Xi Jinping delivered a speech this morning at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of restoration of People’s Republic of China’s lawful seat in the UN:

(Translation)

Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

At the Conference Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Restoration Of the Lawful Seat of the People’s Republic of China

In the United Nations

25 October 2021

Your Excellency Secretary-General António Guterres,

Your Excellencies Diplomatic Envoys and Representatives of International Organizations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

Fifty years ago today, the 26th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted, with an overwhelming majority, Resolution 2758, and the decision was made to restore all rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations and to recognize the representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. It was a victory for the Chinese people and a victory for people of the world.

Today, on this special date, we are here to review the past history and look to the future, and that makes our gathering all the more significant.

The restoration of New China’s lawful seat in the United Nations was a momentous event for the world and the United Nations. It came as the result of joint efforts of all peace-loving countries that stood up for justice in the world. It marked the return of the Chinese people, or one-fourth of the world’s population, back to the UN stage. The importance was significant and far-reaching for both China and the wider world.

On this occasion, I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, heartfelt gratitude to all countries that co-sponsored and supported UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, and to pay high tribute to all countries and people that stand on the side of justice.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

The past five decades since New China restored its lawful seat in the United Nations have witnessed China’s peaceful development and its commitment and dedication to the welfare of all humanity.

— For these 50 years, the Chinese people have demonstrated an untiring spirit and kept to the right direction of China’s developmentamidst changing circumstances, thus writing an epic chapter in the development of China and humanity. Building on achievements in national construction and development since the founding of New China, the Chinese people have started the new historical era of reform and opening-up, and successfully initiated and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have continued to unleash and develop productivity and raise living standards, and achieved a historic breakthrough of leaping from a country with relatively low productivity to the second largest economy in the world. Through much hard work, the Chinese people have attained the goal of fully building a moderately prosperous society on the vast land of China, and won the battle against poverty, thus securing a historic success in eradicating absolute poverty. We have now embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country and opened up bright prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

For these 50 years, the Chinese people have stood in solidarity and cooperation withpeople around the world and upheld international equity and justice,contributing significantly to world peace and developmentThe Chinese people are peace-loving people and know well the value of peace and stability. We have unswervingly followed an independent foreign policy of peace, stood firm for fairness and justice, and resolutely opposed hegemony and power politics. The Chinese people are a strong supporter of other developing countries in their just struggle to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests. The Chinese people are committed to achieving common development. From the Tazara Railway to the Belt and Road Initiative, we have done what we could to help other developing countries, and have offered the world new opportunities through our own development. During the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has been active in sharing COVID response experience with the world, and has sent large quantities of supplies, vaccines and medicines to other countries, and deeply engaged in science-based cooperation on COVID-19 origins tracing, all in a sincere and proactive effort to contribute to humanity’s final victory over the pandemic.

For these 50 years, the Chinese people have upheld the authority and sanctity of the United Nations and practiced multilateralism,and China’s cooperation with the United Nations hasdeepened steadily.China has faithfully fulfilled its responsibility and mission as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stayed true to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and upheld the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. China has stood actively for political settlement of disputes through peaceful means. It has sent over 50,000 peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping operations, and is now the second largest financial contributor to both the United Nations and UN peacekeeping operations. China has been among the first of countries to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals. It has taken the lead in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, accounting for over 70 percent of global poverty reduction. China has acted by the spirit of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and earnestly applied the universality of human rights in the Chinese context. It has blazed a path of human rights development that is consistent with the trend of the times and carries distinct Chinese features, thus making major contribution to human rights progress in China and the international human rights cause.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

The trend of the world, vast and mighty, prospers those who follow it and perishes those who go against it. Over the last 50 years, for all the vicissitudes in the international landscape, the world has remained stable as a whole, thanks to the concerted efforts of people of all countries. The world economy has grown rapidly, and innovation in science and technology has kept breaking new ground. A large number of developing countries have grown stronger, over a billion people have walked out of poverty, and a population of several billion are moving toward modernization.

In the world today, changes unseen in a century are accelerating, and the force for peace, development and progress has continued to grow. It falls upon us to follow the prevailing trend of history, and choose cooperation over confrontation, openness over seclusion, and mutual benefit over zero-sum games. We shall be firm in opposing all forms of hegemony and power politics, as well as all forms of unilateralism and protectionism.

— We should vigorously advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity, and work together to provide the right guiding philosophy for building a better world. Peace and development are our common cause, equity and justice our common aspiration, and democracy and freedom our common pursuit. The world we live in is diverse and colorful. Diversity makes human civilization what it is, and provides a constant source of vitality and driving force for world development. As a Chinese saying goes, “Without achieving the good of one hundred various schools, the uniqueness of one individual cannot be achieved.” No civilization in the world is superior to others; every civilization is special and unique to its own region. Civilizations can achieve harmony only through communication, and can make progress only through harmonization. Whether a country’s path of development works is judged, first and foremost, by whether it fits the country’s conditions; whether it follows the development trend of the times; whether it brings about economic growth, social advancement, better livelihoods and social stability; whether it has the people’s endorsement and support; and whether it contributes to the progressive cause of humanity.

— We should jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and work together to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. The human race is an integral community and Earth is our common homeland. No person or country can thrive in isolation. Humanity should overcome difficulties in solidarity and pursue common development in harmony. We should keep moving toward a community with a shared future for mankind, and jointly create a better future. To build a community with a shared future for mankind is not to replace one system or civilization with another. Instead, it is about countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures and levels of development coming together for shared interests, shared rights and shared responsibilities in global affairs, and creating the greatest synergy for building a better world.

— We should stay committed to mutual benefit and win-win results, and work together to promote economic and social development for the greater benefit of our people. As ancient Chinese observed, “The essence of governance is livelihood; and the essence of livelihood is adequacy. Development and happy lives are the common aspirations of people in all countries. Development is meaningful only when it is for the people’s interest, and can sustain only when it is motivated by the people. Countries should put their people front and center, and strive to realize development with a higher level of quality, efficiency, equity, sustainability and security. It is important to resolve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development, and make development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive. It is also important to strengthen the people’s capacity for development, foster a development environment where everyone takes part and has a share, and create a development paradigm where its outcome benefits every person in every country more directly and fairly. Not long ago, at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, I proposed a Global Development Initiative with the hope that countries will work together to overcome impacts of COVID-19 on global development, accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build a global community of development with a shared future.

We should step up cooperation, and work together to address the various challenges and global issues facing humanity. The international community is confronted by regional disputes as well as global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity. Only with more inclusive global governance, more effective multilateral mechanisms and more active regional cooperation, can these issues be addressed effectively. Climate change is Nature’s alarm bell to humanity. Countries need to take concrete actions to protect Mother Nature. We need to encourage green recovery, green production and green consumption, promote a civilized and healthy lifestyle, foster harmony between man and Nature, and let a sound ecology and environment be the inexhaustible source of sustainable development.

We should resolutely uphold the authority and standing of the United Nations, and work together to practice true multilateralism. Building a community with a shared future for mankind requires a strong United Nations and reform and development of the global governance system. Countries should uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. International rules can only be made by the 193 UN Member States together, and not decided by individual countries or blocs of countries. International rules should be observed by the 193 UN Member States, and there is and should be no exception. Countries should respect the United Nations, take good care of the UN family, refrain from exploiting the Organization, still less abandoning it at one’s will, and make sure that the United Nations plays an even more positive role in advancing humanity’s noble cause of peace and development. China will be happy to work with all countries under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to explore new ideas and new models of cooperation and keep enriching the practice of multilateralism under new circumstances.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Comrades,

A review of the past can light the way forward. Standing at a new historical starting point, China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development and always be a builder of world peace. China will stay committed to the path of reform and opening-up and always be a contributor to global development. China will stay committed to the path of multilateralism and always be a defender of the international order.

As an ancient Chinese poem reads, “Green hills immerse in the same cloud and rain. The same moon lights up towns however far away.” Let us join hands, stand on the right side of history and the side of human progress, and work tirelessly for the lasting and peaceful development of the world and for building a community with a shared future for mankind!

Thank you.

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-10/25/c_1310267311.htm

………………………

To my great surprise, Xi Jinping did not say one word about Taiwan, but sketched out the past as a harbinger of the future while cementing the legal status of China, which is not the legal status of Taiwan.  I guess he feels that the contretemps with Taiwan is not important enough.

On the speeches, we may say that those are lofty ideals. But we also see practical and real interaction between China and Russia. The two countries just completed a first joint naval patrol in waters of the West Pacific,  between October 17th to the 23rd, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14th to 17th.

5 Chinese vessels and 5 Russian destroyers and frigates accompanied by six carrier-based helicopters made passage through the Tsugaru Strait (which caused Japan to run for the Prozac). Yet this Strait is not territorial waters, and warships from any country have the right to transit, which means the transit of the Chinese and Russian vessels was in line with international law. The Tsugaru Strait is narrow, only 12 miles wide at its narrowest point from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific Ocean.  This RT link has the photography and videos:  https://www.rt.com/news/538265-russia-china-pacific-patrol/

What is also very interesting is that it is said that the sea lane between these two islands is specifically maintained for quick access of US submarines to the Pacific Ocean.  A Chinese expert opined as follows:

Encircling Japan, particularly sailing to the east side of Japan, is of significance because many key military installations are located on that side, including the US Navy base in Yokosuka, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times.

Many US military provocations on China in places like the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea were launched from these bases, the expert said, noting that the joint patrol by Chinese and Russian vessels could be seen as a warning to the US and Japan, which have been rallying up to confront China and Russia, serves the goals of US hegemony, and undermines regional peace and stability.

“The joint maritime patrol is aimed at further developing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era, elevating the joint action capabilities of both nations and jointly maintaining international and regional strategic stability. It’s a part of the annual cooperation plan between the two nations …”

In bold are the most important words, and this is not a lofty ideal, but a very hard challenge to the western power and of course Japan. Also, if one looks at that area with a strategic eye, it breaks up the supposed ‘ring of fire’ to keep China contained. In addition, it is also a warning for Japan, which has been dragging its feet to come to an agreement with Russia on islands further North in the island chain.

So, we have to ask, was this a threat? No, not at all on the surface of it, but it was a stark reminder that the so-called freedom of navigation game that has been constant in the South China Sea and the Straight of Taiwan can be played by more than one player.

It is also notable that from 2019, air forces from China and Russia have conducted annual joint strategic air patrols over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan. We are now seeing very visibly one of the aspects of the development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era.

Did you see that? Did you see the evolution of the Russia / China treaty of Good Neighborliness to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/chinese-russian-warships-still-circling-japan-counterweight-us-destabilization-region

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202110/1237083.shtml

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As is usual, we look at a few of the China data points and I want to remind that you the Chinese governance is always refining, always testing, and prototyping new methods and systems across the spectrum of modern life, and always this is done on a grassroots level.

China is in trouble, clapped-out economically, and is going to bring the west down with it, is the message that we see with monotonous regularity.  The reality is different.   Chinese GDP expanded a whopping 9.8% in the first three quarters of 2021, and major indicators are within a reasonable range.

Evergrande – caused by poor management and that is all and the Chinese government will both let them burn, and also make them take responsibility to Chinese people first.  There will be no monopolies or other behemoth-type business structures in China that can challenge the state.  The Chinese people come first.   https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3152530/china-evergrande-crisis-caused-poor-management-exception?utm_source=rss_feed

(Evergrande has no option but to resume work and they did so today on 10 projects.  There is no quick bankruptcy for them, and certainly no bail-out).

Chinese banks have foreign-currency deposits of $1 trillion for the first time, an opportunity for Beijing to liberalize the country’s capital account. A resilient economy and strengthening currency have attracted record foreign purchases of bonds and stocks while surging demand for goods meant exporters brought back more dollars. The pace of the influx has tested the authorities’ tolerance for a strengthening yuan, with the currency now near a five-year high against a basket of its peers.

Exports grew 20% in September, up from 15.7% in August. September’s gain was higher than the median estimate of 13.3% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Growth in imports slowed to 11% in September from 23.1% in the previous month.

China-Korea semiconductor industrial complex starts construction amid Beijing’s push for tech self-reliance. The municipal government of Wuxi and memory chip giant SK Hynix have teamed up to develop the China-Korea Integrated Circuit Industrial Park. The city is expected to become home to 19 new semiconductor-related projects with a combined investment of US$4.7 billion.

A Chinese herbal formula for coronavirus patients is undergoing clinical trials in the US for possible approval for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms of the disease. Qingfei Paidu, most commonly called QFPD, is a 21-herb formula whose name literally means lung cleansing and detoxification.

China, which pioneered controlling Covid-19 with lockdown orders and tight border rules, will  “wait and see” about adjusting its zero-tolerance policy. “We are discussing about the new strategy in China … everything is dynamic. We are ready for any possible reassessment”.  (Please do not consider this comment and the previous as an open sesame to start discussing Covid on the Saker Blog.  You all know the blog policy).

Between 1985 – 2019, the average height of a 19-year-old Chinese increased 3.5 inches, or 9 cm, supporting President Xi Jinping’s declaration in July that the country had achieved its goal of establishing a “moderately prosperous society” in time for the Party’s centenary.  This is a result of a relentless project to bring the Chinese people out of abject poverty.

An important question in auto showrooms: Can I sing karaoke in this car? The only acceptable answer is yes, as Nio and XPeng know well. Western rivals are scrambling, “We’ve identified this as a challenge,” said BMW’s Christoph Grote, “Chinese consumers are the most demanding when it comes to digital technology in the car.”

The dreaded Social Credit System which is abhorred in the West by most that do not have an idea what it is about: China’s social credit system is more of a bureaucratic interface for existing legal and regulatory systems than the widespread Western perception of a dystopian algorithm that uses “big-data collection and analysis to monitor, shape, and rate individual’s behavior”. Social credit includes new enforcement mechanisms but is an extension of the law rather than an independent rule-making authority, and all data collection and penalties require a legal basis.

This was mentioned before but as a reminder. When the Chinese students started being hunted and haunted specifically in the US, all the major universities opened campuses in China (they could not afford to lose the Chinese money). For Harvard, it did not take too long to become part of the propaganda war on China and they are moving their Chinese language program from Beijing to National Taiwan University, replacing a partnership with Beijing Language and Culture University. Harvard’s Jennifer Liu said the decision was made because of a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).

This gives a taste of what is happening in China and now we need to give the regular shout-out to Godfree Roberts’ Here Comes China newsletter that supplies these data points. Subscribe here – it is worth it!: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

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In the next few China Sitreps, I will post a selection of documentaries and information on those aspects of China’s history that remain western talking points, whether correct or not. This is Tibet, Tiananmen, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the border skirmishes with India as a shortlist. Today we start with Tibet.

Tibet – if you have the romantic western mindset about Tibet, let’s revise that. Your knowledge most certainly comes from a book, movies, and a whole Shangri-La industry spawned in the wake.

Tibet was a dramatically brutal theocratic serfdom and never-ending debt peonage. Under the Dalai Lama in Tibet before China’s takeover:

  • 98% of the population were serfs or slaves or kept in debt peonage.
  • Disobedient serfs endured torture
  • The 14th Dalai Lama’s family owned 6,000 serfs
  • 95% of the population were illiterate
  • In 2015: 0.52% were illiterate
  • And in 2020: extreme poverty was eliminated in Tibet

From this documentary, you will learn that Tibetan Buddhism was not the sweet, and romantic Buddhist religion based on peace and high ideals and spinning colorful prayer wheels and praying in monasteries. It was based on the Indian Caste System where an extreme minority controlled the vast majority and kept them in abject poverty.

You will also learn why, on the death of a Dalai Lama (meaning God on earth), the successor, the soul boy was always found and appointed from a very poor family, in order to avoid any power struggles between the very few rich families.  The connection with the Roman Catholic Pope will astound you. And then you will see brutal sights of religious and shamanic powers whipped into inhumane forces. You will learn that Dalai Lamas regularly fled Tibet, sometimes to flee British Forces.

Tibet was the first lever that was used by at that time British forces, and this lever was seamlessly taken over by the rest of the west, to break up China, even after some territory had to be given to Japan and some even to Korea. You will learn how the Brits just simply carved out pieces of Chinese land from the Indian side. This effort to break up China is still in full swing today, by the current hegemon in its frenzied dying attempts to own the whole world using weapons, war, lawfare, internal destabilization, the appointment of external presidents, propaganda, kidnapping of high officials, outright assassinations, drugs, biological substances, and poison. Of course from the 1950s, CIA involvement around Tibet is well documented even to training ethnic Tibetans in Colorado for a planned Tibetan revolution.

You will also see one of the reasons why China will not let itself be hegemonized today, specifically with its history of never fighting a war of conquest in its 4,000 years of existence. The population stands firm and resolute. Never aired footage in the west will have you take part in the joy when religions serfdom and debt peonage was abolished in 1959 and the Tibetan Religious Serfs could burn their debt peonage documents.

If your stance in life is ‘Free Tibet’, which mine was, once upon a time before I did my homework, consider if you were romanticized by the CIA and a novel called Lost Horizon (1933) by English writer James Hilton. Two movies followed (Frank Capra directing one), a Broadway play, and the world’s first mass-produced paperback, all called Lost Horizon, set in a fictional utopian lamasery called Shangri-La, high in the mountains of Tibet. ‘Free Tibet’ for you may just be based on the fiction of Shangri-La.

Pakistani Regional Influence is on the Rise

11.10.2021 

Author: Vladimir Platov

IMR

In recent months in the wake of the events in Afghanistan, Pakistan has conspicuously increased its regional influence, a fact noticed not only by the most active international actors, but also by Pakistan itself.

Thus, on September, 22 at a business conference in Islamabad Pakistani Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry highlighted the increased regional importance of his country pointing out that under Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan has now become a global decision-maker. To support his claim the Minister stressed out that Pakistan is taking an active part in Taliban’s efforts to form an inclusive Afghan government (banned in Russia) and is engaged in connecting Gwadar and Karachi with Central Asian countries by rail via Mazar-i-Sharif as part of the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. In addition, the government has initiated 1,100 various projects involving other countries as well.

After a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan the US has found another reliable communications channel with Taliban via Pakistan. It became another venue in addition to Doha where under the auspices of CIA office in Central Asia talks with Taliban on the US military withdrawal were held. In an effort to establish a line of communication with Taliban CIA decided to turn to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) which has close ties with the militant organization and had previously helped the US to facilitate contacts with it.

Beijing also decided to turn Pakistan into its foothold in the region so that it could, among other things, check US regional influence thus becoming a leading investor in the country’s economy. For that reason Chinese investors have funneled more than $70 billion into Pakistani economy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan can capitalize on its close ties with Taliban helping the US and CIA not only to escape the Afghan trap with dignity, but also to punish the culprits who had killed the US military personnel in Kabul airport during the evacuation. To achieve this goal without Pakistani intelligence’s aid will be a difficult task. China also takes interest in Pakistan’s mediation services regarding not only ensuring stability in Afghanistan but also expeditious recognition of Taliban regime in the West. In early September, to address these matters General Faiz Hamid, the head of Pakistani intelligence, visited Kabul to discuss with Taliban leaders security issues as well as economic and trade engagement thus becoming the first top foreign official to set foot on Afghan soil after Taliban seized power in this country.

At the same time on September, 13 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was quick to announce that the US administration intends to assess Pakistan’s role in supporting the radical movement of Taliban as well in the events in Afghanistan. The US authorities are set to look at “what role Pakistan has played over the last 20 years” amid the events in Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, he said. Washington will also take up the issue of what role, from the US perspective, Pakistan “has to play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that”. During his speech the Secretary of State said that actions of Pakistan in many cases “are in conflict with” US interests although at some points the interests of the two powers converge. Blinken stressed out that the US cooperates with Pakistan on a range of issues regarding counterterrorism.

With Taliban’s grip on power now secure, the political significance of Pakistan has clearly swelled. Let’s recall that Pakistan was one of the three countries (the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) that had recognized Taliban government in 1990. It also was the last to sever official ties in 2001. For more than two decades Pakistan provided injured Taliban leaders with shelter and medical care. Many Afghans who joined the movement were educated in Pakistani religious schools. For the first time in its history, Pakistan has gained global influence since such important countries as Russia, China and the US rely on its active participation in helping the interested parties in Afghanistan to engage in mutual cooperation as a new political landscape in Central and South Asian region emerges, which is a matter of interest for them.

Pakistan’s significantly increased importance was also visible during the last SCO summit as Islamabad, along with Iran, China and Russia, took an active part in debating Afghanistan’s political future. And this is understandable since Islamabad remains the only regional actor that has a direct sway on Taliban.

It should also not be forgotten that control over Taliban in Afghanistan is vital for Pakistan itself since it wants to stave off Taliban’s merging with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (banned in Russia) or with other Taliban militants present in the country who are in control of mountainous federal territories. Such coalition would entail the creation of a gigantic Pashtunistan, a threat to Pakistan’s very existence.

Proving this point in Islamabad on September, 12 General Faiz Hameed, the head of Inter-Service Intelligence, hosted a meeting of chiefs of intelligence services of Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Iran and China. The participants discussed the situation in Afghanistan, exchanged views on what was going on in the country and also discussed measures needed to ensure “lasting peace and stability” in the region. According to Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special envoy to Afghanistan, participants “were unanimous that peace in Afghanistan is vital for security, stability and prosperity of the entire region”. He said that the region-wide approach and the active role of Pakistan in this process will help to both realize the potential of the republic, and resolve problems of mutual interest.

Meanwhile it is not coincidence that Pakistan, fearing that Afghan destabilization will have a “ricochet” effect on it, is simultaneously maneuvering within the coalition Pakistan — Qatar — Turkey. So now the Pakistani intelligence is trying to determine how deep is the rift between the parties and what it could mean both for Islamabad and the region as a whole.

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Silencing Julian Assange: Why bother with a trial when you can just kill him?

October 7, 2021

By Philip Giraldi

Source

It is an issue of the abuses enabled by powerful men who believe that their power is unlimited, Philip Giraldi writes.

An English friend recently learned about the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plan to either kidnap or kill journalist Julian Assange and quipped “I’ll bet he’s happy to be safe and sound in Belmarsh Prison if he has a chance to read about that!” I replied that his time in Belmarsh has been made as demeaning as possible by an English judge and the British are just as capable of executing a Jeffrey Epstein suicide or “accident” if called upon to do so by their American “cousins.” He agreed, reluctantly. Indeed, the roles of American allies Britain and Australia in what is turning out to be one of the world’s longest-playing judicial dramas has been reprehensible.

For those readers who have missed some of the fun of the Assange saga, a recap is in order. Julian Assange, an Australian citizen who was living in London, was the Editor in Chief and driving force behind Wikileaks, which debuted in 2006 and was one of the alternative news sites that have sprung up over the past twenty years. WikiLeaks was somewhat unique in that it often did not write up its own stories but rather was passed documentary material by sources in government and elsewhere that it then reprinted without any editing.

Assange attracted the ire of the ruling class when he obtained in 2010 a classified video from an unidentified source that showed an unprovoked 2007 shooting incident involving U.S. Army helicopters in Baghdad in which a dozen completely innocent people were killed. The government’s anger at WikiLeaks intensified when, in 2013, Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, fled to Hong Kong with classified material that demonstrated that the U.S. government was illegally spying on Americans. WikiLeaks also reportedly helped to arrange Snowden’s subsequent escape to Russia from Hong Kong.

The bipartisan animus directed against WikiLeaks intensified still further in the summer of 2016 when the group’s website began to release emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The immediate conclusion propagated by Team Hillary but unsupported by facts was that Russian intelligence had hacked the emails and given them to WikiLeaks.

It was perhaps inevitable that Assange’s reporting, which has never been found to be factually inaccurate, was in some circles claimed to be based on information provided to him by Russian hackers. Even though he repeatedly denied that that was the case and there are technical reasons why that was unlikely or even impossible, this led to a sharp Russophobic response from a number of intelligence and law enforcement services close to the United States. Assange was charged in Britain in November 2010 on an international warrant demanding that he be extradited to Sweden over claims that he had committed rape in that country, an accusation which later turned out to be false. He posted bail but lost a legal battle to annul the warrant and then skipped a preliminary hearing in London in June 2012 to accept asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy, which has diplomatic immunity. He stayed in the Embassy for eighty-two months, at which point a new government in Quito made clear that his asylum would be revoked and he would be expelled from the building. He was preparing to leave voluntarily in April 2019 when police arrived and he was arrested on a charge of his failure to appear in court seven years before which was regarded as “bail jumping.” He was sent immediately to Belmarsh high security prison, where Britain’s terrorist prisoners are confined.

After his arrest, Assange continued to be incarcerated due to a U.S. Justice Department extradition request based on the Espionage Act of 1918, apparently derived from possible interaction with the Chelsea Manning whistleblower case. Assange has now been in Belmarsh for 29 months in spite of increasing international pressure asserting that he is a journalist and should be released. The British have hesitated to extradite him on the basis of the evidence produced by the U.S. government, which included the claim that Assange aided the former U.S. Army analyst Manning break into a classified computer network in order to obtain and eventually publish classified material, but they have likewise failed to release him. The British judge denied extradition in January, suggesting that if he were to be returned forcibly to the U.S. he would likely commit suicide, but she also denied Assange bail as he was considered to be a flight risk. The U.S. appealed that verdict and the next hearing is scheduled for the end of October. It should be noted that no evidence produced by the Justice Department has plausibly linked Assange to the Russian intelligence services.

Which brings us to the Yahoo news revelation regarding the CIA plot to shoot, poison or kidnap Assange while he was sheltering in the Ecuadorian Embassy. It goes something like this: in 2017, Assange’s fifth year in the Embassy, the CIA debated going after him to end the alleged threat posed to government secrets by him and his organization, which was still operating and presumed to be in contact with him. WikiLeaks had at that time been publishing extremely sensitive CIA hacking tools, referred to as “Vault 7,” which constituted “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

In an April 2017 speech, Donald Trump’s new CIA Director Mike Pompeo said “WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” It was a declaration of war. The label “non-state hostile intelligence service” is a legal designation which more-or-less opened the door to non-conventional responses to eliminate the threat. CIA Stations where WikiLeaks associates were known to be present were directed to increase surveillance on them and also attempt to interdict any communications they might seek to have with Assange himself in the embassy. A staff of analysts referred to as the “WikiLeaks Team” worked full time to target the organization and its leaders.

At the top level of the Agency debate over more extreme options prevailed, though there were legitimate concerns about the legality of what was being contemplated. In late 2017, in the midst of the debate over possible kidnapping and/or assassination, the Agency picked up alarming though unsubstantiated reports that Russian intelligence operatives were preparing plans to help Assange escape from the United Kingdom and fly him to Moscow.

CIA responded by preparing to foil Assange’s possible Russian-assisted departure to include potential gun battles with Moscow’s spies on the streets of London or crashing a car into any Russian diplomatic vehicle transporting Assange to seize him. One scenario even included either blocking the runway or shooting out the tires of any Russian plane believed to be carrying Assange before it could take off for Moscow. Pompeo himself reportedly favored what is referred to as a “rendition,” which would consist of breaking into the Ecuadorian Embassy, kidnapping Assange, and flying him clandestinely to the U.S. for trial. Others in the national security team favored killing Assange rather than going through the complexity of kidnapping and removing him. Fortunately, saner views prevailed, particularly when the British refused to cooperate in any way with activity they regarded as clearly illegal.

So Assange is still in prison and what does it all mean? The only possible charge that would convincingly demonstrate that Assange was spy paid by Russia would be related to his possibly helping Chelsea Manning to circumvent security to steal classified material, but there is no real evidence that Assange actually did that or that he is under Russian control. So that makes him a journalist. That he has embarrassed the United States, most often when it misbehaves, is what good journalists do. But beyond that the disgraceful CIA plans to kill or abduct Assange as an option to get rid of him reveal yet again the dark side of what the United States of America has become since 9/11.

More to the point, getting rid of Assange will accomplish nothing. He worked with a number of like-minded colleagues who have been more than able to pick up where he left off. He has been largely incommunicado since he has been languishing in Belmarsh Prison and it is his associates who have continued to solicit information and publish it on their site. Mike Pompeo’s unapologetic response to this assassination or kidnapping story was “They were engaged in active efforts to steal secrets themselves, and pay others to do the same …” Of course, if all that were true Mike and the government lawyers have had an opportunity to demonstrate just that in a British court. They couldn’t do so and instead promoted the easier option of just killing someone for publishing something true. And assassination is a blunt instrument that rarely accomplishes anything. One recalls that in January 2020 Pompeo certainly participated in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Militia Leader Muhandis in Baghdad. What did that accomplish apart from turning a nominally friendly Iraq hostile to the U.S. presence?

Or, as Assange’s lawyer put it more to the point, “As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information.” Unfortunately, that is not all that the Assange case is about. It is not just a question of truth or fiction and journalistic ethics, but rather an issue of the abuses enabled by powerful men who believe that their power is unlimited. That is the real abyss that the United States has fallen into and the only way out is to finally hold such people, starting with Pompeo, accountable for what they have done.

The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

October 05, 2021

Sides are forming around the Iran vs Azerbaijan squabble. But this fight is not about ethnicity, religion or tribe – it is mainly about who gets to forge the region’s new transportation routes.

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

The last thing the complex, work-in-progress drive towards Eurasian integration needs at this stage is this messy affair between Iran and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus.

Let’s start with the Conquerors of Khaybar – the largest Iranian military exercise in two decades held on its northwestern border with Azerbaijan.

Among the deployed Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units there are some serious players, such as the 21st Tabriz Infantry Division, the IRGC Ashura 31 battalion, the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade and an array of missile systems, including the Fateh-313 and Zulfiqar ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 700 kilometers.

The official explanation is that the drills are a warning to enemies plotting anything against the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointedly tweeted that “those who are under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide their own security, should know that they will soon take a slap, they will regret this.”

The message was unmistakable: this was about Azerbaijan relying on Turkey and especially Israel for its security, and about Tel Aviv instrumentalizing Baku for an intel drive leading to interference in northern Iran.

Further elaboration by Iranian experts went as far as Israel eventually using military bases in Azerbaijan to strike at Iranian nuclear installations.

The reaction to the Iranian military exercise so far is a predictable Turkey–Azerbaijani response: they are conducting a joint drill in Nakhchivan throughout this week.

But were Iran’s concerns off the mark? A close security collaboration between Baku and Tel Aviv has been developing for years now. Azerbaijan today possesses Israeli drones and is cozy with both the CIA and the Turkish military. Throw in the recent trilateral military drills involving Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan – these are developments bound to raise alarm bells in Tehran.

Baku, of course, spins it in a different manner: Our partnerships are not aimed at third countries.

So, essentially, while Tehran accuses Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of making life easy for Takfiri terrorists and Zionists, Baku accuses Tehran of blindly supporting Armenia. Yes, the ghosts of the recent Karabakh war are all over the place.

As a matter of national security, Tehran simply cannot tolerate Israeli companies involved in the reconstruction of regions won in the war near the Iranian border: Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian has tried to play it diplomatically: “Geopolitical issues around our borders are important for us. Azerbaijan is a dear neighbor to Iran and that’s why we don’t want it to be trapped between foreign terrorists who are turning their soil into a hotbed.”

As if this was not complicated enough, the heart of the matter – as with all things in Eurasia – actually revolves around economic connectivity.

An interconnected mess

Baku’s geoeconomic dreams are hefty: the capital city aims to position itself at the key crossroads of two of the most important Eurasian corridors: North-South and East-West.

And that’s where the Zangezur Corridor comes in – arguably essential for Baku to predominate over Iran’s East-West connectivity routes.

The corridor is intended to connect western Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Armenia, with roads and railways passing through the Zangezur region.

Zangezur is also essential for Iran to connect itself with Armenia, Russia, and further on down the road, to Europe.

China and India will also rely on Zangezur for trade, as the corridor provides a significant shortcut in distance. Considering large Asian cargo ships cannot sail the Caspian Sea, they usually waste precious weeks just to reach Russia.

An extra problem is that Baku has recently started harassing Iranian truckers in transit through these new annexed regions on their way to Armenia.

It didn’t have to be this way. This detailed essay shows how Azerbaijan and Iran are linked by “deep historical, cultural, religious, and ethno-linguistic ties,” and how the four northwestern Iranian provinces – Gilan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan – have “common geographical borders with both the main part of Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; they also have deep and close commonalities based on Islam and Shiism, as well as sharing the Azerbaijani culture and language. All this has provided the ground for closeness between the citizens of the regions on both sides of the border.”

During the Rouhani years, relations with Aliyev were actually quite good, including the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia and Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Turkey trilateral cooperation.

A key connectivity at play ahead is the project of linking the Qazvin‑Rasht‑Astara railway in Iran to Azerbaijan: that’s part of the all-important International North‑South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Geoeconomically, Azerbaijan is essential for the main railway that will eventually run from India to Russia. No only that; the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia trilateral cooperation opens a direct road for Iran to fully connect with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

In an optimal scenario, Baku can even help Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to connect to Georgian ports in the Black Sea.

The West is oblivious to the fact that virtually all sections of the INSTC are already working. Take, for instance, the exquisitely named Astara‑Astara railway connecting Iranian and Azerbaijani cities that share the same name. Or the Rasht‑Qazvin railway.

But then one important 130km stretch from Astara to Rasht, which is on the southern shore of the Caspian and is close to the Iranian–Azeri border, has not been built. The reason? Trump-era sanctions. That’s a graphic example of how much, in real-life practical terms, rides on a successful conclusion of the JCPOA talks in Vienna.

Who owns Zangezur?

Iran is positioned in a somewhat tricky patch along the southern periphery of the South Caucasus. The three major players in that hood are of course Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Iran borders the former Armenian – now Azeri – regions adjacent to Karabakh, including Zangilan, Jabrayil and Fuzuli.

It was clear that Iran’s flexibility on its northern border would be tied to the outcome of the Second Karabakh War. The northwestern border was a source of major concern, affecting the provinces of Ardabil and eastern Azerbaijan – which makes Tehran’s official position of supporting Azerbaijani over Armenian claims all the more confusing.

It is essential to remember that even in the Karabakh crisis in the early 1990s, Tehran recognized Nagorno‑Karabakh and the regions surrounding it as integral parts of Azerbaijan.

While both the CIA and Mossad appear oblivious to this recent regional history, it will never deter them from jumping into the fray to play Baku and Tehran against each other.

An extra complicating factor is that Zangezur is also mouth-watering from Ankara’s vantage point.

Arguably, Turkey’s neo-Ottoman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who never shies away from an opportunity to expands his Turkic-Muslim strategic depth, is looking to use the Azeri connection in Zangezur to reach the Caspian, then Turkmenistan, all the way to Xinjiang, the Uyghur Muslim populated western territory of China. This, in theory, could become a sort of Turkish Silk Road bypassing Iran – with the ominous possibility of also being used as a rat line to export Takfiris from Idlib all the way to Afghanistan.

Tehran, meanwhile, is totally INSTC-driven, focusing on two railway lines to be rehabilitated and upgraded from the Soviet era. One is South-North, from Jolfa connecting to Nakhchivan and then onwards to Yerevan and Tblisi. The other is West-East, again from Jolfa to Nakhchivan, crossing southern Armenia, mainland Azerbaijan, all the way to Baku and then onward to Russia.

And there’s the rub. The Azeris interpret the tripartite document resolving the Karabakh war as giving them the right to establish the Zangezur corridor. The Armenians for their part dispute exactly which ‘corridor’ applies to each particular region. Before they clear up these ambiguities, all those elaborate Iranian and Tukish connectivity plans are effectively suspended.

The fact, though, remains that Azerbaijan is geoeconomically bound to become a key crossroads of trans-regional connectivity as soon as Armenia unblocks the construction of these transport corridors.

So which ‘win-win’ is it?

Will diplomacy win in the South Caucasus? It must. The problem is both Baku and Tehran frame it in terms of exercising their sovereignty – and don’t seem particularly predisposed to offer concessions.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects are having a ball exploiting those differences. War, though, is out of the question, either between Azerbaijan and Armenia or between Azerbaijan and Iran. Tehran is more than aware that in this case both Ankara and Tel Aviv would support Baku. It is easy to see who would profit from it.

As recently as April, in a conference in Baku, Aliyev stressed that “Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran share the same approach to regional cooperation. The main area of concentration now is transportation, because it’s a situation which is called ‘win‑win.’ Everybody wins from that.”

And that brings us to the fact that if the current stalemate persists, the top victim will be the INSTC. In fact, everyone loses in terms of Eurasian integration, including India and Russia.

The Pakistan angle, floated by a few in hush-hush mode, is completely far-fetched. There’s no evidence Tehran would be supporting an anti-Taliban drive in Afghanistan just to undermine Pakistan’s ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The Russia–China strategic partnership looks at the current South Caucasus juncture as unnecessary trouble, especially after the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. This badly hurts their complementary Eurasian integration strategies – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

INSTC could, of course, go the trans-Caspian way and cut off Azerbaijan altogether. This is not likely though. China’s reaction, once again, will be the deciding factor. There could be more emphasis on the Persian corridor – from Xinjiang, via Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Iran. Or Beijing could equally bet on both East-West corridors, that is, bet on both Azerbaijan and Iran.

The bottom line is that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants this to fester. There will be serious diplomatic moves ahead, as they both know the only ones to profit will be the usual NATO-centric suspects, and the losers will be all the players who are seriously invested in Eurasian integration.

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A Severe Blow to the CIA: Iraqi Security Captures 25 ISIS Terrorists

OCTOBER 1, 2021

 ARABI SOURI

Iraqi National Security Service forces arrest ISIS terrorists

In a severe blow to the destabilizing and terrorism sponsored by the CIA and its affiliates, the Iraqi security forces captured 25 terrorists all from the US-sponsored ISIS terrorist organization in several provinces.

Iraqi National Security Service forces managed to arrest 25 terrorists in a security operation that lasted several days in the so-called states of Nineveh, Dajleh (Tigris), Jazira, and Salah al-Din of ISIS. The terrorist organization calls itself (Islamist State in Iraq and Sham – Levant), and calls the sectors in which it operates as states following the lead of the ‘state of Israel’.

The Iraqi official media reporting the news said that the detainees confessed to being members of the terrorist organization and that they have committed a number of crimes against the civilians and Iraqi forces, adding that ‘all the terrorists were referred to the competent legal authorities to take fair measures against them.’


As the US and Turkey are recycling their terrorists from Iraq and Syria to other new fronts like the newly opened in Afghanistan, the Iraqi security in coordination with the Iraqi PMU have intensified their counter-terrorism operations. A joint force of the Popular Mobilization Units and the Iraqi security forces carried out a pre-emptive security operation to pursue the remnants of the ISIS organization on the island of Salah al-Din, where several dens and tunnels that were used by the organization’s members to hide and move on the island were destroyed.

This comes three days after a security operation carried out by the Iraqi PMU in coordination with the Iraqi National Security Service forces led to the eliminating of two ISIS terrorists in the Tarmiyah town in the Salah al-Din governorate north of the capital Baghdad, one of the eliminated ISIS terrorists was a suicide bomber.

It’s no secret anymore that the USA created these terrorist groups starting with the ‘Mujahideen’ in Afghanistan from who Al Qaeda emerged in the 80s of last century and it created the ISIS terrorist group where it trained them in special camps in Jordan and Turkey, and smuggled them into Syria and Iraq loaded with state of the art weapons, satellite communication devices, hundreds of machine-gun mounted brand new 4 x 4 Toyota pickup trucks, and provided them with top intelligence information to effect regime change in Syria and to return to Iraq after the withdrawal of the US troops from it.

Former US Secretary of State, the dinosaur politician traveling in his private jet preaching about the dangers of climate change John Kerry put it during a meeting with the so-called Syrian opposition leaders this way: ‘We saw ISIS growing, we saw them heading to Damascus, we thought Assad will be pressured to give (us) concessions, and instead, he (Assad) brought Russia in and now it’s a different situation.

We saw ISIS growing and threatening Assad, he called in Russia and it’s a different situation now.’ ~John Kerry, he’s not in prison!

Now you know why Trump killed Iranian Revered General Qassim Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?

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Avert Afghanistan from a catastrophe

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Avert Afghanistan from a catastrophe

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans working for the US government, directly or indirectly, have been evacuated, either by air or by road, direct to destinations’ or via transit from any third country. It was a massive migration operation. Yet, Many Afghans are trying to slip away to destinations in the Western developed world.

The US was ruling Afghanistan through such agents and they were informers and used for a special operation. They were working under the CIA directly or through various NGOs. The US has established a wide network of its loyal in Afghanistan and was operating through them. Now the US is helping them to leave Afghanistan. If such people exposed the US atrocities and brutalities in Afghanistan, the US may not be able to face world condemnation. The Jails, Torture Centers, Detention centers. And interrogation cells were the worst places of human rights violations.

There are still many Afghans, working for the US and may not find any way to leave Afghanistan. This is a threat to Afghan peace and stability. The defense contractors working in Afghanistan, some of them, preferred to stay in Afghanistan, creates a lot of doubts and fears of creating chaos in Afghanistan. The UD, by design, shifted ISIS-K to Afghanistan long ago and equipped them, trained them, and funded them, for fighting against the Taliban, moving toward civil war.

The US cannot forget its Two Trillion investment in Afghanistan and the sacrifices of thousands of its Servicemen and women. It was forced to leave Afghanistan, but, has not forgiven the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. The US does not want a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, especially do not wish a smooth and stable Taliban rule. It has the potential to destabilize the country and planned to do so.

The recent bill in the US 117th Congress 1st Session is a comprehensive strategy to create chaos and destabilize the country. It is sanctioned as a tool to achieve such objectives. It is very much obvious from the language of the bill that the US is determined to take revenge.

Strange! Taliban is the son of the soil and true Afghans, rule by locals is not acceptable to the US? Americans were the invaders and destroyed the country, yet not happy? And still devising conspiracies, what a state of unfairness! The cruelty is the UN’s silence. Afghans want to rule their country according to their traditions, tribal customs, and local culture, why the US has objection? Imposed governments, installed governments, planted governments, puppet governments. And invaders, aggressors, failed to rule Afghanistan in history and will fail in the future too. Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of big empires. Has a long history of defeating outsiders, aggressors, invaders, the world should learn their history and then make any decision. If the people of Afghanistan have not accepted USSR-backed Dr. Najeeb, or Babrak Karmel, or Hafizullah Ameen, or Noor Muhammad Turkey, in the same manner, have not accepted US-backed Hamid Karzai or Ashraf Ghani, what’s wrong with it? It is their country, and they wanted to rule themselves, is it not their fundamental right? Why does the international community not allow them to exercise their fundamental right?

Taliban are popular in the country and have not faced any resistance while recapturing it. They fought against the foreign occupation for twenty years, they sacrificed the lives of close relatives and friends, faced jails, tortures, and all types of hardships. Finally, they won and forced the US to leave Afghanistan. Is it not in their right to rule their own country? Why do Americans oppose it?

Since the Taliban recaptured their country, the law and order situation has improved, people are happy and feel safe. Taliban has granted general amnesty to all, including those who have been fighting against them along with the US. They have not killed a single person, not arrested a single person, not harassed a single person. Society is calm and quiet. The bureaucracy is functioning in a routine manner. Women are working, as usual, girls are going to school as usual. Shops are opened, traffic is normal, everything is smooth, except, economy.

The US has frozen Afghan assets, and imposed sanctions, coercing them economically. A war-torn country, damaged by the foreign aggressor, has devastated the whole country, the economic situation is rather pathetic. There is an acute shortage of food and consumer products. Humanitarian assistance is needed urgently. If the international community may not respond immediately, 40 million Afghan’s lives are at stake. If due attention is not spared toward Afghanistan, a catastrophe is unavoidable. We foresee a major humanitarian disaster in the country. The people of Afghanistan are not the people of lesser God. Care for them, rescue them, extend humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis. All nations and individuals with human consciousness must try their best to save humankind. The UN and its organizations must extend assistant open-hearted and generously, without conditions.

Usually, the UN helps needy communities through NGOs, and the US implants their agents in such NGOs, who are not helping hands but conspirators and implementing the American agenda. They exploited destitute people and achieve their objectives. It has been witnessed that, in many vulnerable communities, many agents were implanted and undercover, they were engaged in the implementation of their agenda, instead of real service to humanity. The UN may take serious notice and avoid similar practices in Afghanistan. However, there are also some good NGOs, and working for the welfare of humanity, must be appreciated and applauded.

It is a rare opportunity that permanent peace and stability may be achieved in Afghanistan. It will help to promote stability and prosperity not only in this region but also globally. Afghanistan is on the major traditional trade route and connects East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China, Russia, and Eurasia, with Africa, Europe, and Middle-east through Pakistan (Arabian Ocean – Karachi and Gwadar). A stable Afghanistan is a prerequisite for trade and economic activities in this region and leading toward developments and prosperity.

Taliban, after passing through a tough war against superpowers has learned a bitter lesson from their experiences. They have become more mature and sensible. It is now reformed and refines the Taliban. They are wise, smart, and understand global implications. To date, their behaviors are much mature and sensible. They have honored the peace deal reached between the US and them on 29 February 2020, in Doha. They have implemented the deal in true letter and spirit. They have capture Kabul peacefully, without losing any human life. They controlled the country and brought the Government writ amicably, they have not taken any revenge from anyone and provided protection to all. They have allowed and facilitated all foreigners and Afghans to leave the country at their own wish. They have provided full rights to women according to their social norms and culture. They are trying to broaden the Government inclusive of all factions, ethnic groups, etc. However, the American demand for the inclusion of Hamid Karzai, or Ashraf Ghani, or their group is irrational. They should not share power with traitors, puppets, foreign agents, etc. It is their country, they should rule it according to domestic values and traditions. The world has seen and witnessed that the Taliban are wise, gentle, kind, smart, and capable people. They can rule the country very well, they have proved their capabilities since the take over on 15 August 2021. Any interference from outside or dictation should be rejected immediately.

The international community should extend heling hand instead of putting harsh conditions. The US should fulfill its part of the obligation reached under the Doha peace deal, recognize Taliban rule, remove them from the terrorist list, release their assets, and keep out of domestic politics. Let the Afghans decide their future.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

US KEEPS ACCUSING OTHER COUNTRIES OF BEING BEHIND ENIGMATIC MICROWAVE ATTACKS

15.09.2021 

South Front

US Keeps Accusing Other Countries Of Being Behind Enigmatic Microwave Attacks

In a recent report, researchers concluded that generic symptoms are being manipulated to create a narrative about the existence of a new disease.

Written by Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Washington continues to insist on the existence of a “syndrome” that affects its diplomats in Cuba and China. In addition to the complete lack of scientific evidence in the alleged cases of reported health problems, there is a strong conspiratorial content in the accusations against the Cuban and Chinese governments – which, according to US officials, are using microwave weapons to attack American and Canadian diplomats. In this debate, which confronts not only different geopolitical interests, but also science and conspiracy theories, new international tensions have arisen every day.

What has come to be commonly called the “Havana syndrome” is an alleged clinical phenomenon in which patients report symptoms such as tinnitus, nausea, and severe headaches, often resulting in critical hearing and cognitive damage. It would be almost irrelevant to public opinion if these symptoms were reported by ordinary patients, but they are mostly American and Canadian diplomats and officials based in Havana. The mysterious “disease” became worldly known in 2017, some months after the first alleged cases were reported, in the previous year. In 2018, some cases also began to be reported on Chinese soil. Last month, Kamala Harris delayed her scheduled trip to Vietnam after reports of the syndrome in the Asian country.

In a report published by the US State Department in December 2020, American investigators concluded that the “real” cause of the assumed cases of the mysterious “syndrome” that has affected diplomats in Havana and Beijing since 2016 was the action of “microwave radiation weapons”, which are supposedly being used to direct attacks against American and Canadian citizens abroad. Since then, several criticisms have been made to the report, mainly regarding the uncertainties about the investigative method used. Now, Cuba is formally responding to the accusations.

Investigators from the Cuban Academy of Sciences have recently stated that there is no evidence to support the claims made in the Washington’s report. Unlike American research, whose methods remain dubious and obscure, Havana formed a team of scientists that included neurologists, physicists, psychologists and otorhinologists to carry out the investigation.

At the end of the research, a detailed and conclusive report was prepared, being published in the “Cubadebate” newspaper, where we can read: “Neither the Cuban police, nor the FBI, nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have discovered evidence of ‘attacks’ on diplomats in Havana despite intense investigations… We conclude that the narrative of the ‘mysterious syndrome’ is not scientifically acceptable in any of its components (…) No known form of energy can selectively cause brain damage (with laser-like precision) under the conditions described for the alleged incidents in Havana”.

One of the main conclusions of the Cuban report is that such “syndrome” pointed out by Washington, apparently, does not refer to a single phenomenon. Symptoms such as nosebleeds, nausea, headaches, and tinnitus can be associated with different diseases of completely distinct causes. What Washington is doing is simply pointing out common symptoms as a single disease and using this narrative to make accusations against some of its main geopolitical rivals. Furthermore, the Cubans pointed out that the alleged operations with microwave radiation suggested by the Americans violate some basic laws of physics, which is why such allegations could not be considered credible.

It is also necessary to say that Cuban researchers asked Washington for access to scientific data allegedly collected that led American scientist to reach the conclusions announced in December of last year. Acting undiplomatically, Washington denied. So, if there is in fact any data that points to something different from the conclusions reached by the Cubans, the investigators simply could not access it.

It is important to remember that recently CIA Director William Burns accused Russia of being behind the enigmatic microwave attacks. Moscow called the statements “totally absurd”. However, Washington seems to be interested in investing more and more in the narrative that there are indeed planned attacks against its agents abroad, resulting in a terrible and mysterious illness.

This seems quite in keeping with the recent rise in anti-scientific accusations made by Washington against its international rivals. The narrative that Beijing developed the new coronavirus in laboratory, for example, is another sign that scientific plausibility no longer puts an end to the war of narratives that the US has declared on its opponents. By pointing to the existence of a syndrome caused by microwave attacks, the US government has come to accuse its enemy countries of possessing advanced technology of which there is no evidence of existing. Officially, a conspiracy theory is guiding part of American foreign policy and causing changes in the country’s diplomacy – such as the reduction of diplomatic staff in countries where there are cases of the “disease”, for example.

Health cannot be politicized, and science cannot be diminished in favor of political interests. It is important that the international society intervenes in the case and that the alleged syndrome is investigated in an impartial way by experts from around the world, to conclude if it is in fact a new disease emerging or if isolated cases of symptoms common to pre-existing diseases are being manipulated to generate a new political narrative.

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American Pravda: Seeking 9/11 Truth After Twenty Years

September 14, 2021

American Pravda: Seeking 9/11 Truth After Twenty Years

by Ron Unz, reposted with permission

The twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks is almost upon us, and although their immediacy has been somewhat reduced by the events of the last eighteen months, we must recognize that they have drastically shaped the world history of the last two decades, greatly changing the daily lives and liberties of most ordinary Americans.

The widespread doubts about the reality of the official story provided by our government and almost universally promoted by our media has severely diminished popular faith in the credibility of those two crucial institutions, with consequences that are still very apparent in today’s highest profile issues.

Over the years, diligent researchers and courageous journalists have largely demolished the original narrative of those events, and have made a strong, perhaps even overwhelming case that the Israeli Mossad together with its American collaborators played the central role. My own reconstruction, substantially relying upon such accumulated evidence, came to such conclusions, and I am therefore republishing it below, drawn from my previous articles which had appeared in late 2018 and early 2020, with the later material making heavy use of Ronen Bergman’s authoritative 2018 history of the Mossad, which ran more than 750 pages.

Immediately following my own analysis is a link to a particularly noteworthy article along the same lines by French writer Laurent Guyénot, which we had originally released simultaneously with my own, then followed by more than a dozen other significant articles of the previous decade, all published or republished on this website. In coming days, some of these may also be separately featured as part of the twenty-year commemoration.

The 9/11 Attacks – What Happened?

Although somewhat related, political assassinations and terrorist attacks are distinct topics, and Bergman’s comprehensive volume explicitly focuses on the former, so we cannot fault him for providing only slight coverage of the latter. But the historical pattern of Israeli activity, especially with regard to false-flag attacks, is really quite remarkable, as I noted in a 2018 article:

One of history’s largest terrorist attacks prior to 9/11 was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by Zionist militants dressed as Arabs, which killed 91 people and largely destroyed the structure. In the famous Lavon Affair of 1954, Israeli agents launched a wave of terrorist attacks against Western targets in Egypt, intending to have those blamed on anti-Western Arab groups. There are strong claims that in 1950 Israeli Mossad agents began a series of false-flag terrorist bombings against Jewish targets in Baghdad, successfully using those violent methods to help persuade Iraq’s thousand-year-old Jewish community to emigrate to the Jewish state. In 1967, Israel launched a deliberate air and sea attack against the U.S.S. Liberty, intending to leave no survivors, killing or wounding over 200 American servicemen before word of the attack reached our Sixth Fleet and the Israelis withdrew.

The enormous extent of pro-Israel influence in world political and media circles meant that none of these brutal attacks ever drew serious retaliation, and in nearly all cases, they were quickly thrown down the memory hole, so that today probably no more than one in a hundred Americans is even aware of them. Furthermore, most of these incidents came to light due to chance circumstances, so we may easily suspect that many other attacks of a similar nature have never become part of the historical record.

Of these famous incidents, Bergman only includes mention of the King David Hotel bombing. But much later in his narrative, he describes the huge wave of false-flag terrorist attacks unleashed in 1981 by Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who recruited a former high-ranking Mossad official to manage the project.

Under Israeli direction, large car bombs began exploding in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Beirut and other Lebanese cities, killing or injuring enormous numbers of civilians. A single attack in October inflicted nearly 400 casualties, and by December, there were eighteen bombings per month, with their effectiveness greatly enhanced by the use of innovative new Israeli drone technology. Official responsibility for all the attacks was claimed by a previously unknown Lebanese organization, but the intent was to provoke the PLO into military retaliation against Israel, thereby justifying Sharon’s planned invasion of the neighboring country.

Since the PLO stubbornly refused to take the bait, plans were put into motion for the huge bombing of an entire Beirut sports stadium using tons of explosives during a January 1st political ceremony, with the death and destruction expected to be “of unprecedented proportions, even in terms of Lebanon.” But Sharon’s political enemies learned of the plot and emphasized that many foreign diplomats including the Soviet ambassador were expected to be present and probably would be killed, so after a bitter debate, Prime Minister Begin ordered the attack aborted. A future Mossad chief mentions the major headaches they then faced in removing the large quantity of explosives that they had already planted within the structure.

I think that this thoroughly documented history of major Israeli false-flag terrorist attacks, including those against American and other Western targets, should be carefully kept in mind when we consider the 9/11 attacks, whose aftermath has massively transformed our society and cost us so many trillions of dollars. I analyzed the strange circumstances of the attacks and their likely nature at considerable length in my 2018 article:

Oddly enough, for many years after 9/11, I paid very little attention to the details of the attacks themselves. I was entirely preoccupied with building my content-archiving software system, and with the little time I could spare for public policy matters, I was totally focused on the ongoing Iraq War disaster, as well as my terrible fears that Bush might at any moment suddenly extend the conflict to Iran. Despite Neocon lies shamelessly echoed by our corrupt media, neither Iraq nor Iran had had anything whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attacks, so those events gradually faded in my consciousness, and I suspect the same was true for most other Americans. Al Qaeda had largely disappeared and Bin Laden was supposedly hiding in a cave somewhere. Despite endless Homeland Security “threat alerts,” there had been no further Islamic terrorism on American soil, and relatively little anywhere else outside of the Iraq charnel house. So the precise details of the 9/11 plots had become almost irrelevant to me.

Others I knew seemed to feel the same way. Virtually all the exchanges I had with my old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who had run the NSA for Ronald Reagan, had concerned the Iraq War and risk it might spread to Iran, as well as the bitter anger he felt toward Bush’s perversion of his beloved NSA into an extra-constitutional tool of domestic espionage. When the New York Times broke the story of the massive extent of domestic NSA spying, Gen. Odom declared that President Bush should be impeached and NSA Director Michael Hayden court-martialed. But in all the years prior to his untimely passing in 2008, I don’t recall the 9/11 attacks themselves even once coming up as a topic in our discussions.

Admittedly, I’d occasionally heard of some considerable oddities regarding the 9/11 attacks here and there, and these certainly raised some suspicions. Most days I would glance at the Antiwar.com front page, and it seemed that some Israeli Mossad agents had been caught while filming the plane attacks in NYC, while a much larger Mossad “art student” spy operation around the country had also been broken up around the same time. Apparently, FoxNews had even broadcast a multi-part series on the latter topic before that expose was scuttled and “disappeared” under ADL pressure.

Although I wasn’t entirely sure about the credibility of those claims, it did seem plausible that Mossad had known of the attacks in advance and allowed them to proceed, recognizing the huge benefits that Israel would derive from the anti-Arab backlash. I think I was vaguely aware that Antiwar.com editorial director Justin Raimondo had published The Terror Enigma, a short book about some of those strange facts, bearing the provocative subtitle “9/11 and the Israeli Connection,” but I never considered reading it. In 2007, Counterpunch itself published a fascinating follow-up story about the arrest of that group of Israeli Mossad agents in NYC, who were caught filming and apparently celebrating the plane attacks on that fateful day, and the Mossad activity seemed to be far larger than I had previously realized. But all these details remained a little fuzzy in my mind next to my overriding concerns about wars in Iraq and Iran.

However, by the end of 2008 my focus had begun to change. Bush was leaving office without having started an Iranian war, and America had successfully dodged the bullet of an even more dangerous John McCain administration. I assumed that Barack Obama would be a terrible president and he proved worse than my expectations, but I still breathed a huge sigh of relief every day that he was in the White House.

Moreover, around that same time I’d stumbled across an astonishing detail of the 9/11 attacks that demonstrated the remarkable depths of my own ignorance. In a Counterpunch article, I’d discovered that immediately following the attacks, the supposed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden had publicly denied any involvement, even declaring that no good Muslim would have committed such deeds.

Once I checked around a little and fully confirmed that fact, I was flabbergasted. 9/11 was not only the most successful terrorist attack in the history of the world, but may have been greater in its physical magnitude than all past terrorist operations combined. The entire purpose of terrorism is to allow a small organization to show the world that it can inflict serious losses upon a powerful state, and I had never previously heard of any terrorist leader denying his role in a successful operation, let alone the greatest in history. Something seemed extremely wrong in the media-generated narrative that I had previously accepted. I began to wonder if I had been as deluded as the tens of millions of Americans in 2003 and 2004 who naively believed that Saddam had been the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks. We live in a world of illusions generated by our media, and I suddenly felt that I had noticed a tear in the paper-mache mountains displayed in the background of a Hollywood sound-stage. If Osama was probably not the author of 9/11, what other huge falsehoods had I blindly accepted?

A couple of years later, I came across a very interesting column by Eric Margolis, a prominent Canadian foreign policy journalist purged from the broadcast media for his strong opposition to the Iraq War. He had long published a weekly column in the Toronto Sun and when that tenure ended, he used his closing appearance to run a double-length piece expressing his very strong doubts about the official 9/11 story, even noting that the former director of Pakistani Intelligence insisted that Israel had been behind the attacks.

I eventually discovered that in 2003 former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bülow had published a best-selling book strongly suggesting that the CIA rather than Bin Laden was behind the attacks, while in 2007 former Italian President Francesco Cossiga had similarly argued that the CIA and the Israeli Mossad had been responsible, claiming that fact was well known among Western intelligence agencies.

Over the years, all these discordant claims had gradually raised my suspicions about the official 9/11 story to rather strong levels, but it was only very recently that I finally found the time to begin to seriously investigate the subject and read eight or ten of the main 9/11 Truther books, mostly those by Prof. David Ray Griffin, the widely acknowledged leader in that field. And his books, together with the writings of his numerous colleagues and allies, revealed all sorts of very telling details, most of which had previously been unknown to me. I was also greatly impressed by the sheer number of seemingly reputable individuals of no apparent ideological bent who had become adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement over the years.

When utterly astonishing claims of an extremely controversial nature are made over a period of many years by numerous seemingly reputable academics and other experts, and they are entirely ignored or suppressed but never effectively rebutted, reasonable conclusions seem to point in an obvious direction. Based on my very recent readings in this topic, the total number of huge flaws in the official 9/11 story has now grown extremely long, probably numbering in the many dozens. Most of these individual items seem reasonably likely and if we decide that even just two or three of them are correct, we must totally reject the official narrative that so many of us have believed for so long.

Now I am merely just an amateur in the complex intelligence craft of extracting nuggets of truth from a mountain of manufactured falsehood. Although the arguments of the 9/11 Truth Movement seem quite persuasive to me, I would obviously have felt much more comfortable if they were seconded by an experienced professional, such as a top CIA analyst. A few years ago, I was shocked to discover that was indeed the case.

William Christison had spent 29 years at the CIA, rising to become one of its senior figures as Director of its Office of Regional and Political Analysis, with 200 research analysts serving under him. In August 2006, he published a remarkable 2,700 word article explaining why he no longer believed the official 9/11 story and felt sure that the 9/11 Commission Report constituted a cover-up, with the truth being quite different. The following year, he provided a forceful endorsement to one of Griffin’s books, writing that “[There’s] a strong body of evidence showing the official U.S. Government story of what happened on September 11, 2001 to be almost certainly a monstrous series of lies.” And Christison’s extreme 9/11 skepticism was seconded by that of many other highly regarded former US intelligence professionals.

We might expect that if a former CIA intelligence officer of Christison’s rank were to denounce the official 9/11 report as a fraud and a cover-up, such a story would constitute front-page news. But it was never reported anywhere in our mainstream media, and I only stumbled upon it a decade later.

Even our supposed “alternative” media outlets were nearly as silent. Throughout the 2000s, Christison and his wife Kathleen, also a former CIA analyst, had been regular contributors to Counterpunch, publishing many dozens of articles there and certainly being its most highly credentialed writers on intelligence and national security matters. But editor Alexander Cockburn refused to publish any of their 9/11 skepticism, so it never came to my attention at the time. Indeed, when I mentioned Christison’s views to current Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair a couple of years ago, he was stunned to discover that the friend he had regarded so very highly had actually become a “9/11 Truther.” When media organs serve as ideological gatekeepers, a condition of widespread ignorance becomes unavoidable.

With so many gaping holes in the official story of the events of seventeen years ago, each of us is free to choose to focus on those we personally consider most persuasive, and I have several of my own. Danish Chemistry professor Niels Harrit was one of the scientists who analyzed the debris of the destroyed buildings and detected the residual presence of nano-thermite, a military-grade explosive compound, and I found him quite credible during his hour-long interview on Red Ice Radio. The notion that an undamaged hijacker passport was found on an NYC street after the massive, fiery destruction of the skyscrapers is totally absurd, as was the claim that the top hijacker conveniently lost his luggage at one of the airports and it was found to contain a large mass of incriminating information. The testimonies of the dozens of firefighters who heard explosions just before the collapse of the buildings seems totally inexplicable under the official account. The sudden total collapse of Building Seven, never hit by any jetliners is also extremely implausible.

The 9/11 Attacks – Who Did It?

Let us now suppose that the overwhelming weight of evidence is correct, and concur with high-ranking former CIA intelligence analysts, distinguished academics, and experienced professionals that the 9/11 attacks were not what they appeared to be. We recognize the extreme implausibility that three huge skyscrapers in New York City suddenly collapsed at free-fall velocity into their own footprints after just two of them were hit by airplanes, and also that a large civilian jetliner probably did not strike the Pentagon leaving behind absolutely no wreckage and only a small hole. What actually did happen, and more importantly, who was responsible?

The first question is obviously impossible to answer without an honest and thorough official investigation of the evidence. Until that occurs, we should not be surprised that numerous, somewhat conflicting hypotheses have been advanced and debated within the confines of the 9/11 Truth community. But the second question is probably the more important and relevant one, and I think it has always represented a source of extreme vulnerability to 9/11 Truthers.

The most typical approach, as generally followed in the numerous Griffin books, is to avoid the issue entirely and focus solely on the gaping flaws in the official narrative. This is a perfectly acceptable position but leaves all sorts of serious doubts. What organized group would have been sufficiently powerful and daring to carry off an attack of such vast scale against the central heart of the world’s sole superpower? And how were they possibly able to orchestrate such a massively effective media and political cover-up, even enlisting the participation of the U.S. government itself?

The much smaller fraction of 9/11 Truthers who choose to address this “whodunit” question seem to be overwhelmingly concentrated among rank-and-file grassroots activists rather than the prestigious experts, and they usually answer “inside job!” Their widespread belief seems to be that the top political leadership of the Bush Administration, probably including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, had organized the terrorist attacks, either with or without the knowledge of their ignorant nominal superior, President George W. Bush. The suggested motives included justifying military attacks against various countries, supporting the financial interests of the powerful oil industry and military-industrial complex, and enabling the destruction of traditional American civil liberties. Since the vast majority of politically-active Truthers seem to come from the far left of the ideological spectrum, they regard these notions as logical and almost self-evident.

Although not explicitly endorsing those Truther conspiracies, filmmaker Michael Moore’s leftist box office hit Fahrenheit 9/11 seemed to raise such similar suspicions. His small budget documentary earned an astonishing $220 million by suggesting that the very close business ties between the Bush family, Cheney, the oil companies, and the Saudis were responsible for the Iraq War aftermath of the terrorist attacks, as well as the domestic crackdown on civil liberties, which was part-and-parcel of the right-wing Republican agenda.

Unfortunately, this apparently plausible picture seems to have almost no basis in reality. During the drive to the Iraq War, I read Times articles interviewing numerous top oil men in Texas who expressed total puzzlement at why America was planning to attack Saddam, saying that they could only assume that President Bush knew something that they themselves did not. Saudi Arabian leaders were adamantly opposed to an American attack on Iraq, and made every effort to prevent it. Prior to his joining the Bush Administration, Cheney had served as CEO of Halliburton, an oil services giant, and his firm had heavily lobbied for the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq. Prof. James Petras, a scholar of strong Marxist leanings, published an excellent 2008 book entitled Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of US Power in which he conclusively demonstrated that Zionist interests rather than those of the oil industry had dominated the Bush Administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and promoted the Iraq War.

As for the Michael Moore film, I remember at the time sharing a laugh with a (Jewish) friend of mine, both of us finding it ridiculous that a government so overwhelmingly permeated by fanatically pro-Israel Neocons was being portrayed as being in thrall to the Saudis. Not only did the plotline of Moore’s film demonstrate the fearsome power of Jewish Hollywood, but its huge success suggested that most of the American public had apparently never heard of the Neocons.

Bush critics properly ridiculed the president for his tongue-tied statement that the 9/11 terrorists had attacked America “for its freedoms” and Truthers have reasonably branded as implausible the claims that the massive attacks were organized by a cave-dwelling Islamic preacher. But the suggestion that they were led and organized by the top figures of the Bush Administration seems even more preposterous.

Cheney and Rumsfeld had both spent decades as stalwarts of the moderate pro-business wing of the Republican Party, each serving in top government positions and also as CEOs of major corporations. The notion that they capped their careers by joining a new Republican administration in early 2001 and almost immediately set about organizing a gigantic false-flag terrorist attack upon the proudest towers of our largest city together with our own national military headquarters, intending to kill many thousands of Americans in the process, is too ridiculous to even be part of a leftist political satire.

Let’s step back a bit. In the entire history of the world, I can think of no documented case in which the top political leadership of a country has launched a major false-flag attack upon its own centers of power and finance and tried to kill large numbers of its own people. The America of 2001 was a peaceful and prosperous country run by relatively bland political leaders focused upon the traditional Republican goals of enacting tax-cuts for the rich and reducing environmental regulations. Too many Truther activists have apparently drawn their understanding of the world from the caricatures of leftist comic-books in which corporate Republicans are all diabolical Dr. Evils, seeking to kill Americans out of sheer malevolence, and Alexander Cockburn was absolutely correct to ridicule them at least on that particular score.

Consider also the simple practicalities of the situation. The gigantic nature of the 9/11 attacks as postulated by the Truth movement would have clearly required enormous planning and probably involved the work of many dozens or even hundreds of skilled agents. Ordering CIA operatives or special military units to organize secret attacks against civilian targets in Venezuela or Yemen is one thing, but directing them to mount attacks against the Pentagon and the heart of New York City would be fraught with stupendous risk.

Bush had lost the popular vote in November 2000 and had only reached the White House because of a few dangling chads in Florida and the controversial decision of a deeply divided Supreme Court. As a consequence, most of the American media regarded his new administration with enormous hostility. If the first act of such a newly-sworn presidential team had been ordering the CIA or the military to prepare attacks against New York City and the Pentagon, surely those orders would have been regarded as issued by a group of lunatics, and immediately leaked to the hostile national press.

The whole scenario of top American leaders being the masterminds behind 9/11 is beyond ridiculous, and those 9/11 Truthers who make or imply such claims—doing so without a single shred of solid evidence—have unfortunately played a major role in discrediting their entire movement. In fact, the common meaning of the “inside job” scenario is so patently absurd and self-defeating that one might even suspect that the claim was encouraged by those seeking to discredit the entire 9/11 Truth movement as a consequence.

The focus on Cheney and Rumsfeld seems particularly ill-directed. Although I’ve never met nor had any dealings with either of those individuals, I was quite actively involved in DC politics during the 1990s, and can say with some assurance that prior to 9/11, neither of them were regarded as Neocons. Instead, they were the archetypical examples of moderate business-type mainstream Republicans, stretching all the way back to their years at the top of the Ford Administration during the mid-1970s.

Skeptics of this claim may note that they signed the 1997 declaration issued by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a leading Neocon foreign policy manifesto organized by Bill Kristol, but I would regard that as something of a red herring. In DC circles, individuals are always recruiting their friends to sign various declarations, which may or may not be indicative of anything, and I remember Kristol trying to get me to sign the PNAC statement as well. Since my private views on that issue were absolutely 100% contrary to the Neocon position, which I regarded as foreign policy lunacy, I deflected his request and very politely turned him down. But I was quite friendly with him at the time, so if I had been someone without strong opinions in that area, I probably would have agreed.

This raises a larger point. By 2000, the Neocons had gained almost total control of all the major conservative/Republican media outlets and the foreign policy wings of nearly all the similarly aligned thinktanks in DC, successfully purging most of their traditional opponents. So although Cheney and Rumsfeld were not themselves Neocons, they were swimming in a Neocon sea, with a very large fraction of all the information they received coming from such sources and with their top aides such as “Scooter” Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith being Neocons. Rumsfeld was already somewhat elderly while Cheney had suffered several heart-attacks starting at age 37, so under those circumstances it may have been relatively easy for them to be shifted toward certain policy positions.

Indeed, the entire demonization of Cheney and Rumsfeld in anti-Iraq War circles has seemed somewhat suspicious to me. I always wondered whether the heavily Jewish liberal media had focused its wrath upon those two individuals in order to deflect culpability from the Jewish Neocons who were the obvious originators of that disastrous policy; and the same may be true of the 9/11 Truthers, who probably feared accusations of anti-Semitism. Regarding that former issue, a prominent Israeli columnist was characteristically blunt on the matter in 2003, strongly suggesting that 25 Neocon intellectuals, nearly all of them Jewish, were primarily responsible for the war. Under normal circumstances, the president himself would have surely been portrayed as the evil mastermind behind the 9/11 plot, but “W” was too widely known for his ignorance for such accusations to be credible.

It does seem entirely plausible that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other top Bush leaders may have been manipulated into taking certain actions that inadvertently fostered the 9/11 plot, while a few lower-level Bush appointees might have been more directly involved, perhaps even as outright conspirators. But I do not think this is the usual meaning of the “inside job” accusation.

So where do we now stand? It seems very likely that the 9/11 attacks were the work of an organization far more powerful and professionally-skilled than a rag-tag band of nineteen random Arabs armed with box-cutters, but also that the attacks were very unlikely to have been the work of the American government itself. So who actually attacked our country on that fateful day seventeen years ago, killing thousands of our fellow citizens?

Effective intelligence operations are concealed in a hall of mirrors, often extremely difficult for outsiders to penetrate, and false-flag terrorist attacks certainly fall into this category. But if we apply a different metaphor, the complexities of such events may be seen as a Gordian Knot, almost impossible to disentangle, but vulnerable to the sword-stroke of asking the simple question “Who benefited?”

America and most of the world certainly did not, and the disastrous legacies of that fateful day have transformed our own society and wrecked many other countries. The endless American wars soon unleashed have already cost us many trillions of dollars and set our nation on the road to bankruptcy while killing or displacing many millions of innocent Middle Easterners. Most recently, that resulting flood of desperate refugees has begun engulfing Europe, and the peace and prosperity of that ancient continent is now under severe threat.

Our traditional civil liberties and constitutional protections have been drastically eroded, with our society having taken long steps toward becoming an outright police state. American citizens now passively accept unimaginable infringements on their personal freedoms, all originally begun under the guise of preventing terrorism.

I find it difficult to think of any country in the world that clearly gained as a result of the 9/11 attacks and America’s military reaction, with one single, solitary exception.

During 2000 and most of 2001, America was a peaceful prosperous country, but a certain small Middle Eastern nation had found itself in an increasingly desperate situation. Israel then seemed to be fighting for its life against the massive waves of domestic terrorism that constituted the Second Palestinian Intifada.

Ariel Sharon was widely believed to have deliberately provoked that uprising in September 2000 by marching to the Temple Mount backed by a thousand armed police, and the resulting violence and polarization of Israeli society had successfully installed him as Prime Minister in early 2001. But once in office, his brutal measures failed to end the wave of continuing attacks, which increasingly took the form of suicide-bombings against civilian targets. Many believed that the violence might soon trigger a huge outflow of Israeli citizens, perhaps producing a death-spiral for the Jewish state. Iraq, Iran, Libya, and other major Muslim powers were supporting the Palestinians with money, rhetoric, and sometimes weaponry, and Israeli society seemed close to crumbling. I remember hearing from some of my DC friends that numerous Israeli policy experts were suddenly seeking berths at Neocon thinktanks so that they could relocate to America.

Sharon was a notoriously bloody and reckless leader, with a long history of undertaking strategic gambles of astonishing boldness, sometimes betting everything on a single roll of the dice. He had spent decades seeking the Prime Ministership, but having finally obtained it, he now had his back to the wall, with no obvious source of rescue in sight.

The 9/11 attacks changed everything. Suddenly the world’s sole superpower was fully mobilized against Arab and Muslim terrorist movements, especially those connected with the Middle East. Sharon’s close Neocon political allies in America used the unexpected crisis as an opportunity to seize control of America’s foreign policy and national security apparatus, with an NSA staffer later reporting that Israeli generals freely roamed the halls of the Pentagon without any security controls. Meanwhile, the excuse of preventing domestic terrorism was used to implement newly centralized American police controls that were soon employed to harass or even shut down various anti-Zionist political organizations. One of the Israeli Mossad agents arrested by the police in New York City as he and his fellows were celebrating the 9/11 attacks and producing a souvenir film of the burning World Trade Center towers told the officers that “We are Israelis…Your problems are our problems.” And so they immediately became.

General Wesley Clark reported that soon after the 9/11 attacks he was informed that a secret military plan had somehow come into being under which America would attack and destroy seven major Muslim countries over the next few years, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Libya, which coincidentally were all of Israel’s strongest regional adversaries and the leading supporters of the Palestinians. As America began to expend enormous oceans of blood and treasure attacking all of Israel’s enemies after 9/11, Israel itself no longer needed to do so. Partly as a consequence, almost no other nation in the world has so enormously improved its strategic and economic situation during the last seventeen years, even while a large fraction of the American population has become completely impoverished during that same period and our national debt has grown to insurmountable levels. A parasite can often grow fat even as its host suffers and declines.

I have emphasized that for many years after the 9/11 attacks I paid little attention to the details and had only the vaguest notion that there even existed an organized 9/11 Truth movement. But if someone had ever convinced me that the terrorist attacks had been false-flag operations and someone other than Osama had been responsible, my immediate guess would have been Israel and its Mossad.

Certainly no other nation in the world can remotely match Israel’s track-record of remarkably bold high-level assassinations and false-flag attacks, terrorist and otherwise, against other countries, even including America and its military. Furthermore, the enormous dominance of Jewish and pro-Israel elements in the American establishment media and increasingly that of many other major countries in the West has long ensured that even when the solid evidence of such attacks was discovered, very few ordinary Americans would ever hear those facts.

Once we accept that the 9/11 attacks were probably a false-flag operation, a central clue to the likely perpetrators has been their extraordinary success in ensuring that such a wealth of enormously suspicious evidence has been totally ignored by virtually the entire American media, whether liberal or conservative, left-wing or right-wing.

In the particular case at hand, the considerable number of zealously pro-Israel Neocons situated just beneath the public surface of the Bush Administration in 2001 could have greatly facilitated both the successful organization of the attacks and their effective cover-up and concealment, with Libby, Wolfowitz, Feith, and Richard Perle being merely the most obvious names. Whether such individuals were knowing conspirators or merely had personal ties allowing them to be exploited in furthering the plot is entirely unclear.

Most of this information must surely have long been apparent to knowledgeable observers, and I strongly suspect that many individuals who had paid much greater attention than myself to the details of the 9/11 attacks may have quickly formed a tentative conclusion along these same lines. But for obvious social and political reasons, there is a great reluctance to publicly point the finger of blame towards Israel on a matter of such enormous magnitude. Hence, except for a few fringe activists here and there, such dark suspicions remained private.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the 9/11 Truth movement probably feared they would be destroyed by media accusations of deranged anti-Semitism if they had ever expressed even a hint of such ideas. This political strategy may have been necessary, but by failing to name any plausible culprit, they created a vacuum that was soon filled by “useful idiots” who shouted “inside job!” while pointing an accusing finger toward Cheney and Rumsfeld, and thereby did so much to discredit the entire 9/11 Truth movement.

This unfortunate conspiracy of silence finally ended in 2009 when Dr. Alan Sabrosky, former Director of Studies at the US Army War College, stepped forward and publicly declared that the Israeli Mossad had very likely been responsible for the 9/11 attacks, writing a series of columns on the subject, and eventually presenting his views in a number of media interviews, along with additional analyses.

Obviously, such explosive charges never reached the pages of my morning Times, but they did receive considerable if transitory coverage in portions of the alternative media, and I remember seeing the links very prominently featured at Antiwar.com and widely discussed elsewhere. I had never previously heard of Sabrosky, so I consulted my archiving system and immediately discovered that he had a perfectly respectable record of publication on military affairs in mainstream foreign policy periodicals and had also held a series of academic appointments at prestigious institutions. Reading one or two of his articles on 9/11, I felt he made a rather persuasive case for Mossad involvement, with some of his information already known to me but much of it not.

Since I was very busy with my software work and had never spent any time investigating 9/11 or reading any of the books on the topic, my belief in his claims back then was obviously quite tentative. But now that I have finally looked into the subject in much greater detail and done a great deal of reading, I think it seems quite likely that his 2009 analysis was entirely correct.

I would particularly recommend his long 2011 interview on Iranian Press TV, which I first watched just a couple of days ago. He came across as highly credible and forthright in his claims:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/tpYjyFbJzPZh/

He also provided a pugnacious conclusion in a much longer 2010 radio interview:

https://www.bitchute.com/embed/BigWEQyw6Cb7/

Sabrosky focused much of his attention upon a particular segment of a Dutch documentary film on the 9/11 attacks produced several years earlier. In that fascinating interview, a professional demolition expert named Danny Jowenko who was largely ignorant of the 9/11 attacks immediately identified the filmed collapse of WTC Building 7 as a controlled-demolition, and the remarkable clip was broadcast worldwide on Press TV and widely discussed across the Internet.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Sl2RIqT-4bk?feature=oembed

And by a very strange coincidence, just three days after Jowenko’s broadcast video interview had received such heavy attention, he had the misfortune to die in a frontal collision with a tree in Holland. I’d suspect that the community of professional demolition experts is a small one, and Jowenko’s surviving industry colleagues may have quickly concluded that serious misfortune might visit those who rendered controversial expert opinions on the collapse of the three World Trade Center towers.

Meanwhile, the ADL soon mounted a huge and largely successful effort to have Press TV banned in the West for promoting “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” even persuading YouTube to entirely eliminate the huge video archive of those past shows, notably including Sabrosky’s long interview.

Most recently, Sabrosky provided an hour-long presentation at this June’s Deep Truth video panel conference, during which he expressed considerable pessimism about America’s political predicament, and suggested that the Zionist control over our politics and media had grown even stronger over the last decade.

His discussion was soon rebroadcast by Guns & Butter, a prominent progressive radio program, which as a consequence was soon purged from its home station after seventeen years of great national popularity and strong listener support.

The late Alan Hart, a very distinguished British broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent, also broke his silence in 2010 and similarly pointed to the Israelis as the likely culprits behind the 9/11 attacks. Those interested may wish to listen to his extended interview.

Journalist Christopher Bollyn was one of the first writers to explore the possible Israeli links to the 9/11 attacks, and the details contained in his long series of newspaper articles are often quoted by other researchers. In 2012, he gathered together this material and published it in the form of a book entitled Solving 9-11, thereby making his information on the possible role of the Israeli Mossad available to a much wider audience, with a version being available online. Unfortunately his printed volume severely suffers from the typical lack of resources available to the writers on the political fringe, with poor organization and frequent repetition of the same points due to its origins in a set of individual articles, and this may diminish its credibility among some readers. So those who purchase it should be forewarned about these serious stylistic weaknesses.

Probably a much better compendium of the very extensive evidence pointing to the Israeli hand behind the 9/11 attacks has been more recently provided by French writer Laurent Guyénot, both in his 2017 book JFK-9/11: 50 Years of the Deep State and also his 8,500 word article “9/11 was an Israeli Job”, published concurrently with this one and providing a far greater wealth of detail than is contained here. While I would not necessarily endorse all of his claims and arguments, his overall analysis seems fully consistent with my own.

These writers have provided a great deal of material in support of the Israeli Mossad Hypothesis, but I would focus attention on just one important point. We would normally expect that terrorist attacks resulting in the complete destruction of three gigantic office buildings in New York City and an aerial assault on the Pentagon would be an operation of enormous size and scale, involving very considerable organizational infrastructure and manpower. In the aftermath of the attacks, the US government undertook great efforts to locate and arrest the surviving Islamic conspirators, but scarcely managed to find a single one. Apparently, they had all died in the attacks themselves or otherwise simply vanished into thin air.

But without making much effort at all, the American government did quickly round up and arrest some 200 Israeli Mossad agents, many of whom had been based in exactly the same geographical locations as the purported 19 Arab hijackers. Furthermore, NYC police arrested some of these agents while they were publicly celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and others were caught driving vans in the New York area containing explosives or their residual traces. Most of these Mossad agents refused to answer any questions, and many of those who did failed polygraph tests, but under massive political pressure all were eventually released and deported back to Israel. A couple of years ago, much of this information was very effectively presented in a short video available on YouTube.

There is another fascinating tidbit that I have very rarely seen mentioned. Just a month after the 9/11 attacks, two Israelis were caught sneaking weapons and explosives into the Mexican Parliament building, a story that naturally produced several banner-headlines in leading Mexican newspapers at the time but which was greeted by total silence in the American media. Eventually, under massive political pressure, all charges were dropped and the Israeli agents were deported back home. This remarkable incident was only reported on a small Hispanic-activist website, and discussed in a few other places. Some years ago I easily found the scanned front pages of the Mexican newspapers reporting those dramatic events on the Internet, but I can no longer easily locate them. The details are obviously somewhat fragmentary and possibly garbled, but certainly quite intriguing.

One might speculate that if supposed Islamic terrorists had followed up their 9/11 attacks by attacking and destroying the Mexican parliament building a month later, Latin American support for America’s military invasions in the Middle East would have been greatly magnified. Furthermore, any scenes of such massive destruction in the Mexican capital by Arab terrorists would surely have been broadcast non-stop on Univision, America’s dominant Spanish-language network, fully solidifying Hispanic support for President Bush’s military endeavors.

Although my growing suspicions about the 9/11 attacks stretch back a decade or more, my serious investigation of the topic is quite recent, so I am certainly a newcomer to the field. But sometimes an outsider can notice things that may escape the attention of those who have spent so many years deeply immersed in a given topic.

From my perspective, a huge fraction of the 9/11 Truth community spends far too much of its time absorbed in the particular details of the attacks, debating the precise method by which the World Trade Center towers in New York were brought down or what actually struck the Pentagon. But these sorts of issues seem of little ultimate significance.

I would argue that the only important aspect of such technical issues is whether the overall evidence is sufficiently strong to establish the falsehood of the official 9/11 narrative and also demonstrate that the attacks must have been the work of a highly sophisticated organization with access to advanced military technology rather than a rag-tag band of 19 Arabs armed with box-cutters. Beyond that, none of those details matter.

In that regard, I believe that the volume of factual material collected by determined researchers over the last seventeen years has easily met that requirement, perhaps even ten or twenty times over. For example, even agreeing upon a single particular item such as the clear presence of nano-thermite, a military-grade explosive compound, would immediately satisfy those two criteria. So I see little point in endless debates over whether nano-thermite was used, or nano-thermite plus something else, or just something else entirely. And such complex technical debates may serve to obscure the larger picture, while confusing and intimidating any casually-interested onlookers, thereby being quite counter-productive to the overall goals of the 9/11 Truth movement.

Once we have concluded that the culprits were part of a highly sophisticated organization, we can then focus on the Who and the Why, which surely would be of greater importance than the particular details of the How. Yet currently all the endless debate over the How tends to crowd out the Who and the Why, and I wonder whether this unfortunate situation might even be intentional.

Perhaps one reason is that once sincere 9/11 Truthers do focus on those more important questions, the vast weight of the evidence clearly points in a single direction, implicating Israel and its Mossad intelligence service, with the case being overwhelmingly strong in motive, means, and opportunity. And leveling accusations of blame at Israel and its domestic collaborators for the greatest attack ever launched against America on our own soil entails enormous social and political risks.

But such difficulties must be weighed against the reality of three thousand American civilian lives and the subsequent seventeen years of our multi-trillion-dollar wars, which have produced tens of thousands of dead or wounded American servicemen and the death or displacement of many millions of innocent Middle Easterners.

The members of the 9/11 Truth movement must therefore ask themselves whether or not “Truth” is indeed the central goal of their efforts.

Other Noteworthy 9/11 Articles Available on this Website

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Why the Taliban still can’t form a government

September 03, 2021

Why the Taliban still can’t form a government

Internal Taliban divisions come to the fore as squabbling hinders the formation of Afghanistan’s new Islamic Emirate

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It looked like everything was set for the Taliban to announce the new government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after this Friday’s afternoon prayers. But then internal dissent prevailed.

That was compounded by the adverse optics of a ragtag “resistance” in the Panjshir Valley that is still not subdued. The “resistance” is de facto led by a CIA asset, former vice president Amrullah Saleh.

The Taliban maintain they have captured several districts and at least four checkpoints at the Panjshir, controlling 20% of its territory. Still, there’s no endgame in sight.

Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, a Kandahar religious scholar, is expected to be the new power of the Islamic Emirate when it’s finally formed. Mullah Baradar will likely preside just below him as a presidential figure along with a 12-member governing council known as a “shura.”

If that’s the case, there would be certain similarities between the institutional role of Akhundzada and Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran, even though the theocratic frameworks, Sunni and Shiite, are completely different.

Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada posing for a photograph at an undisclosed location in 2016. Photo: Afghan Taliban via AFP

Mullah Baradar, co-founder of the Taliban with Mullah Omar in 1994 and imprisoned in Guantanamo then Pakistan, has served as the Taliban’s top diplomat as the head of its political office in Doha.

He has also been a key interlocutor in the protracted negotiations with the now-extinct Kabul government and the expanded troika of Russia, China, the US and Pakistan.

To call the negotiations to form a new Afghan government fractious would be a spectacular understatement. They have been managed, in practice, by former president Hamid Karzai and ex-head of the Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah: a Pashtun and a Tajik who have vast international experience.

Both Karzai and Abdullah are shoo-ins to be part of the 12-member shura.

As the negotiations seemed to advance, a frontal clash developed between the Taliban political office in Doha and the Haqqani network regarding the distribution of key government posts.

Add to it the role of Mullah Yakoob, son of Mullah Omar, and the head of the powerful Taliban military commission overseeing a massive network of field commanders, among which he’s extremely well-respected.

Recently Yakoob had let it leak that those “living in luxury in Doha” cannot dictate terms to those involved in fighting on the ground. As if this was not contentious enough, Yakoob also has serious problems with the Haqqanis – who are now in charge of a key post: security of Kabul via the so far ultra-diplomatic Khalil Haqqani.

Mullah Yakoob in a file photo. Photo: AFP

Apart from the fact that the Taliban amount to a complex collection of tribal and regional warlords, the dissent illustrates the abyss between what could roughly be explained as more Afghan nationalist-centered and more Pakistani-centered factions.

In the latter case, the key protagonists are the Haqqanis, who operate very close to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

It’s a Sisyphean task, to say the least, to create political legitimacy even in an Afghanistan that is bound to be ruled by Afghans who rid the nation of a foreign occupation.

Since 2002, both with Karzai and then Ashraf Ghani, the regime in power for most Afghans was regarded as an imposition by foreign occupiers validated by dodgy elections.

In Afghanistan, everything is about tribe, kin and clan. The Pashtuns are a vast tribe with myriad subtribes that all adhere to the common pashtunwali, a code of conduct that blends self-respect, independence, justice, hospitality, love, forgiveness, revenge and tolerance.

They will be in power again, as during Taliban 1.0 from 1996 to 2001. The Dari-speaking Tajiks, on the other hand, are non-tribal and form the majority of urban residents of Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Assuming it will peacefully solve its internal Pashtun squabbles, a Taliban-led government will necessarily need to conquer Tajik hearts and minds among the nation’s traders, bureaucrats and educated clergy.

Dari, derived from Persian, has long been the language of government administration, high culture and foreign relations in Afghanistan. Now it will all be switched to Pashto again. This is the schism the new government will have to bridge.

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war. Photo: AFP

There are already surprises on the horizon. The extremely well-connected Russian ambassador in Kabul, Dmitry Zhirnov, revealed that he is discussing the Panjshir stalemate with the Taliban.

Zhirnov noted that the Taliban considered some of the demands of the Panjshiris as “excessive” – as in they wanted too many seats in the government and autonomy for some non-Pashtun provinces, Panjshir included.

It’s not far-fetched to consider the widely-trusted Zhirnov could become a mediator not only between Pashtuns and Panjshiris but even between opposed Pashtun factions.

The delightful historical irony will not be lost on those who remember the 1980s jihad of the unified mujahideen against the USSR.

Enduring Terror Forever: from al-Qaeda to ISIS-K

August 30, 2021

Enduring Terror Forever: from al-Qaeda to ISIS-K

by Pepe Escobar and first posted at AsiaTimes

It was 20 years ago today. Asia Times published Get Osama! Now! Or Else…The rest is history.

Retrospectively, this sounds like news from another galaxy. Before Planet 9/11. Before GWOT (Global War on Terror). Before the Forever Wars. Before the social network era. Before the Russia-China strategic partnership. Before the Dronification of State Violence. Before techno-feudalism.

Allow me to get a little personal. I was back in Peshawar – the Islamic Rome, capital of the tribal areas – 20 years ago after a dizzying loop around Pakistan, tribal territory, a botched smuggling op to Kunar, biding time in Tajikistan, arriving by Soviet helicopter in the Panjshir valley, a harrowing road trip to Faizabad, and a UN flight that took ages to arrive.

In the Panjshir, I had finally met “the Lion”, commander Masoud, then plotting a counter-offensive against the Taliban. He told me he was fighting a triad: the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the Pakistani ISI. Less than three weeks later he was assassinated – by two al-Qaeda ops disguised as a camera crew, two days before 9/11.

No one, 20 years ago, could possibly imagine the subsequent slings and arrows of outrageous – terror – fortune. Two decades, $2.3 trillion and at least 240,000 Afghan deaths later, the Taliban are back where they were: ruling Afghanistan. Masoud Jr in theory leads a “resistance” in the Panjshir – actually a CIA ops channeled through CIA asset Amrullah Saleh, former Afghan Vice-President.

Al-Qaeda is a harmless skeleton, even rehabilitated in Syria as “moderate rebels; the new bogeyman in town is ISIS-K, a spin-off of the Islamic State in “Syraq”.

After negotiating a stunning package deal with the Taliban, the Empire of Chaos is concluding a humiliating evacuation from the land it bombed into democracy and submitted for two decades. Once again the US was de facto expelled by a peasant guerrilla army, this time mostly consisting of Pashtuns, descendants of the White Huns – a nomad confederation – as well as the Sakas, nomadic Iranic peoples of the Eurasian steppes.

The CIA shadow army

ISIS-K, the new viper’s nest, opens multiple Pandora boxes that may lead to the new incarnation of the Forever Wars. ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the horrific Kabul suicide bombing.

ISIS-K is apparently led by one ghostly emir Shahab al-Mujahir (no photo, no biography details), supposed to be an urban warfare expert who previously worked as a mere mid-level commander for the Haqqani network.

In 2020 media-savvy ISIS-K released one of his audio messages in Pashto. Yet he may not be Pashtun, but actually from some latitude in the Middle East, and not fluent in the language.

Even CENTCOM commander Gen Mackenzie has admitted that the US military are sharing intel on ISIS-K with the Taliban – or rather vice-versa: Taliban spokesman Zahibullah Mujahid in Kabul stressed that they warned the Americans in the first place about an imminent threat to the airport.

The Pentagon-Taliban collaboration is by now established. The perennial CIA shadow wars are a completely different ball game.

I have shown in this in-depth investigation how the top priority for the Taliban is to target the ramifications of the CIA shadow army in Afghanistan, deployed via the Khost Protection Force (KPF) and inside the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

The CIA army, as I explain, was a two-headed hydra. Older units harked back to 2001 and were very close to the CIA. The most powerful was the KPF, based at the CIA’s Camp Chapman in Khost, which operated totally outside Afghan law, not to mention budget.

The other head of the hydra were the NDS’s own Afghan Special Forces: four main units, each operating in its own regional area. The NDS was funded by the CIA and for all practical purposes, operatives were trained and weaponized by the CIA.

So the NDS was a de facto CIA proxy. And here we have the direct connection to Saleh, who was trained by the CIA in the US when the Taliban was in power in the late 1990s. Afterwards, Saleh became the head of the NDS – which happened to work very closely with RAW, Indian intel. Now he’s a “resistance leader” in the Panjshir.

My investigation was confirmed right away by the deployment of Task Force Pineapple last week, an operation carried out by CIA/Special Forces to extract the last sensitive intel assets from Kabul who were being chased by the Taliban.

In parallel, serious questions are piling up regarding the Kabul suicide bombing and the immediate MQ-9 Reaper response targeting an “ISIS-K planner” in eastern Afghanistan.

This page has been carefully tracking prime information regarding what could be described as the Abbey Gate Massacre, not surprisingly buried by Western mainstream media.

The You Tube channel Kabul Lovers, for instance, is engaging in street-level journalism that puts to shame every multi-million dollar TV network. A military officer who examined the bodies of many of the bombing victims at Kabul Emergency Hospital claimed that most were not victims of the suicide bombing: “All victims were killed by American bullets, except maybe 20 people out of 100.” The full, original report, in Dari, is here.

Scott Ritter, for his part, has emphasized the need of “perspective” on the claimed drone strike against ISIS-K “from an actual drone expert like Daniel Hale, but they put him in jail for telling the truth about how bad our drone program actually is when it comes to killing the right people.”

By now it’s established that contrary to Pentagon claims, the drone strike hit a random house in Jalalabad, not a moving vehicle, and there was “collateral damage”: at least 3 civilians.

And the civilian death toll of a subsequent missile strike on another alleged “ISIS-K planner” in a car in Kabul is already at 9 – including 6 children.

The Syria-Afghanistan rat line

The much-lauded Pentagon offensive against ISIS in “Syraq” has been derided all across the Axis of Resistance as a massive farce.

Over the years, we have had exposés coming from Moscow; Tehran; Damascus; Hezbollah; and some of the People’s Mobilization Units (PMUs) in Iraq.

Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly asserted how “the US have been using helicopters to save ISIS terrorists from complete annihilation in Iraq/Syria and transporting them to Afghanistan to keep them as insurgents in Central Asia against Russia, China and Iran.”

The extremely well informed Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, has pointed out that Russia had received the same information from local tribal leaders. Even former President Hamid Karzai – now a key negotiator forming the next Taliban-led government in Kabul – has branded ISIS-K a “tool” of the United States.

It’s important to remember that ISIS-K has become much more powerful in Afghanistan since 2020 because of what I describe as a shadowy transportation ratline from Idlib in Syria to Kunar and Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan.

Of course there is no smoking gun – yet: but what we do have is a serious working hypothesis that ISIS-K may be just another CIA shadow army, in collaboration with the NDS.

All that, if confirmed, would point to a dark future: the continuation of the Forever Wars by other means – and tactics. Yet never underestimate the counter-power of those no-nonsense descendants of White Huns and Sakas.

Blowback: Taliban target US intel’s shadow army

August 29, 2021

The Kabul Airport bombing shows there are shadowy forces in Afghanistan, willing to disrupt a peaceful transition after US troops leave. But what about US intel’s own ‘shadow army,’ amassed over two decades of occupation? Who are they, and what is their agenda?

by Pepe Escobar with permission and special and first posting for the new website The Cradle.

Blowback: Taliban target US intel’s shadow army

So we have the CIA Director William Burns deploying in haste to Kabul to solicit an audience with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, the new potential ruler of a former satrapy. And he literally begs him to extend a deadline on the evacuation of US assets.

The answer is a resounding “no.” After all, the 31 August deadline was established by Washington itself. Extending it would only mean the extension of an already defeated occupation.

The ‘Mr. Burns goes to Kabul’ caper is by now part of cemetery of empires folklore. The CIA does not confirm or deny Burns met Mullah Baradar; a Taliban spokesman, delightfully diversionist, said he was “not aware” of such a meeting.

We’ll probably never know the exact terms discussed by the two unlikely participants –  assuming the meeting ever took place and is not crass intel disinformation.

Meanwhile, Western public hysteria is, of all things, focused on the imperative necessity of extracting all ‘translators’ and other functionaries (who were de facto NATO collaborators) out of Kabul airport. Yet thundering silence envelops what is in fact the real deal: the CIA shadow army left behind.

The shadow army are Afghan militias set up back in the early 2000s to engage in ‘counter-insurgency’ – that lovely euphemism for search and destroy ops against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Along the way, these militias practiced, in droves, that proverbial semantic combo normalizing murder: ‘extrajudicial killings,’ usually a sequel to ‘enhanced interrogations.’ These ops were always secret as per the classic CIA playbook, thus ensuring there was never any accountability.

Now Langley has a problem. The Taliban have kept sleeper cells in Kabul since May, and much earlier than that in selected Afghan government bodies. A source close to the Ministry of Interior has confirmed the Taliban actually managed to get their hands on the full list of operatives of the two top CIA schemes: the Khost Protection Force (KPF) and the National Directorate of Security (NDS). These operatives are the prime Taliban targets in checkpoints leading to Kabul airport, not random, helpless ‘Afghan civilians’ trying to escape.

The Taliban have set up quite a complex, targeted operation in Kabul, with plenty of nuance – allowing, for instance, free passage for selected NATO members’ Special Forces, who went into town in search of their nationals.

But access to the airport is now blocked for all Afghan nationals. Yesterday’s double tap suicide-car bombing has introduced an even more complex variable: the Taliban will need to pool all their intel resources, fast, to fight whatever elements are seeking to introduce domestic terror attacks into the country.

The RHIPTO Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses has shown how the Taliban have a “more advanced intelligence system” applied to urban Afghanistan, especially Kabul. The “knocking on people’s doors” fueling Western hysteria means they know exactly where to knock when it comes to finding collaborationist intel networks.

It is no wonder Western think tanks are in tears about how undermined their intel services will be in the intersection of Central and South Asia. Yet the muted official reaction boiled down to G7 Foreign Ministers issuing a mere statement announcing they were “deeply concerned by reports of violent reprisals in parts of Afghanistan.”

Blowback is indeed a bitch. Especially when you cannot fully acknowledge it.

From Phoenix to Omega

The latest chapter of CIA ops in Afghanistan started when the 2001 bombing campaign was not even finished. I saw it for myself in Tora Bora, in December 2001, when Special Forces came out of nowhere equipped with Thuraya satellite phones and suitcases full of cash. Later, the role of ‘irregular’ militias in defeating the Taliban and dismembering al-Qaeda was feted in the US as a huge success.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was, to his credit, initially against US Special Forces setting up local militias, an essential plank of the counter-insurgency strategy. But in the end that cash cow was irresistible.

A central profiteer was the Afghan Ministry of Interior, with the initial scheme coalescing under the auspices of the Afghan Local Police. Yet some key militias were not under the Ministry, but answered directly to the CIA and the US Special Forces Command, later renamed as the infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Inevitably, CIA and JSOC got into a catfight over controlling the top militias. That was solved by the Pentagon lending Special Forces to the CIA under the Omega Program. Under Omega, the CIA was tasked with targeting intel, and Special Ops took control of the muscle on the ground. Omega made steady progress under the reign of former US President Barack Obama: it was eerily similar to the Vietnam-era Operation Phoenix.

Ten years ago, the CIA army, dubbed Counter-terrorist Pursuit Teams (CTPT), was already 3,000 strong, paid and weaponized by the CIA-JSOC combo. There was nothing ‘counter-insurgency’ about it: These were death squads, much like their earlier counterparts in Latin America in the 1970s.

In 2015, the CIA got its Afghan sister unit, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), to establish new paramilitary outfits to, in theory, fight ISIS, which later became locally identified as ISIS-Khorasan. In 2017, then-CIA Chief Mike Pompeo set Langley on an Afghan overdrive, targeting the Taliban but also al-Qaeda, which at the time had dwindled to a few dozen operatives. Pompeo promised the new gig would be “aggressive,” “unforgiving,” and “relentless.”

Those shadowy ‘military actors’

Arguably, the most precise and concise report on the American paramilitaries in Afghanistan is by Antonio de Lauri, Senior Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, and Astrid Suhrke, Senior Researcher Emerita also at the Institute.

The report shows how the CIA army was a two-headed hydra. The older units harked back to 2001 and were very close to the CIA. The most powerful was the Khost Protection Force (KPF), based at the CIA’s Camp Chapman in Khost. KPF operated totally outside Afghan law, not to mention budget. Following an investigation by Seymour Hersh, I have also shown how the CIA financed its black ops via a heroin rat line, which the Taliban have now promised to destroy.

The other head of the hydra were the NDS’s own Afghan Special Forces: four main units, each operating in its own regional area. And that’s about all that was known about them. The NDS was funded by none other than the CIA. For all practical purposes, operatives were trained and weaponized by the CIA.

So, it’s no wonder that no one in Afghanistan or in the region knew anything definitive about their operations and command structure. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in trademark infuriating bureaucratese, defined the operations of the KPF and the NDS as appearing “to be coordinated with international military actors (emphasis mine); that is, outside the normal government chain of command.”

By 2018, the KPF was estimated to harbor between 3,000 to over 10,000 operatives. What few Afghans really knew is that they were properly weaponized; well paid; worked with people speaking American English, using American vocabulary; engaged in night operations in residential areas; and crucially, were capable of calling air strikes, executed by the US military.

A 2019 UNAMA report stressed that there were “continuing reports of the KPF carrying out human rights abuses, intentionally killing civilians, illegally detaining individuals, and intentionally damaging and burning civilian property during search operations and night raids.”

Call it the Pompeo effect: “aggressive, unforgiving, and relentless” – whether by kill-or-capture raids, or drones with Hellfire missiles.

Woke Westerners, now losing sleep over the ‘loss of civil liberties’ in Afghanistan, may not even be vaguely aware that their NATO-commanded ‘coalition forces’ excelled in preparing their own kill-or-capture lists, known by the semantically-demented denomination: Joint Prioritized Effects List.

The CIA, for its part, couldn’t care less. After all, the agency was always totally outside the jurisdiction of Afghan laws regulating the operations of ‘coalition forces.’

The dronification of violence

In these past few years, the CIA shadow army coalesced into what Ian Shaw and Majed Akhter memorably described as The Dronification of State Violence, a seminal paper published in the Critical Asian Studies journal in 2014 (downloadable here).

Shaw and Akhter define the alarming, ongoing process of dronification as: “the relocation of sovereign power from the uniformed military to the CIA and Special Forces; techno-political transformations performed by the Predator drone; the bureaucratization of the kill chain; and the individualization of the target.”

This amounts to, the authors argue, what Hannah Arendt defined as “rule by nobody.” Or, actually by somebody acting beyond any rules.

The toxic end result in Afghanistan was the marriage between the CIA shadow army and dronification. The Taliban may be willing to extend a general amnesty and not exact revenge. But to forgive those who went on a killing rampage as part of the marriage arrangement may be a step too far for the Pashtunwali code.

The February 2020 Doha agreement between Washington and the Taliban says absolutely nothing about the CIA shadow army.

So, the question now is how the defeated Americans will be able to keep intel assets in Afghanistan for its proverbial ‘counter-terrorism’ ops. A Taliban-led government will inevitably take over the NDS. What happens to the militias is an open question. They could be completely taken over by the Taliban. They could break away and eventually find new sponsors (Saudis, Turks). They could become autonomous and serve the best-positioned warlord paymaster.

The Taliban may be essentially a collection of warlords (jang salar, in Dari). But what’s certain is that a new government will simply not allow a militia wasteland scenario similar to Libya. Thousands of mercenaries of sorts with the potential of becoming an ersatz ISIS-Khorasan, threatening Afghanistan’s entry into the Eurasian integration process, need to be tamed. Burns knows it, Baradar knows it – while Western public opinion knows nothing.

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