Video: Why Are We Still in Afghanistan?

Global Research, September 13, 201

18 years later, the US and its NATO allies still have troops in Afghanistan with no plans on leaving.

We were told this was about 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden, but these were lies.

So why are the troops still there?

What was the war in Afghanistan really about?

The decision to invade Afghanistan was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks and that Al Qaeda was supported by the Afghan government.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization joins us to explain.

(Interview conducted in 2016)

*

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Michel Chossudovsky, September 12, 2019

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We are all hostages of 9/11

Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood

September 11, 2019

BWe are all hostages of 9/11y Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is seen in a video taken at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al-Jazeera on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the US launched bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in its campaign against the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Praying for a Pearl

Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.

Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”

Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.

Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”

In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.

No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.

While NORAD sleeps

Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”

In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.

Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.

World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.

American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York. Photo: AFP / Set McAllister

By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.

‘Angel was next’

World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.

According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.

All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, left, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brief reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 8, 2001 following the US bombing raids on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 attacks. Photo: AFP / Luke Frazza

At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.

Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled: “We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”

This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.

Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned,

“it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.

 

Trump Foreign Policy as Theater of the Absurd

A nightmare that one never wakes up from

PHILIP GIRALDI • SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

One might be forgiven for thinking that the foreign policy of the United States is some kind of theatrical performance, like a comic opera, with new characters appearing on stage willy-nilly and then being driven off after committing an incredible faux pas only to be replaced by even more grotesquely clownish figures. Unfortunately, while the musical chairs and plot twists contrived by a Goldoni or Moliere generally have a cheerful ending, the same cannot be said about what has been taking place in the White House.

The latest White House somewhat unexpected departure was that of ex-real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt, who has been hanging around for over two years putting together the Deal of the Century for the Middle East. The Deal will reportedly end forever the possibility of any real Palestinian state but has run into a problem because Israel does not want its hands tied in any way while the Saudis and friends are reluctant to come up with the cash to fund the arrangement. Back to square one, though the Administration has replaced Greenblatt with thirty-year old Avi Berkowitz, whose only qualification for the position is that he is a friend of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner whose most recent job at the White House consisted of managing “daily logistics like getting coffee…” The president is nevertheless still insisting that the peace plan will be revealed in all its glory after the Israeli election on September 17th.

Another administration notable who now appears to be waiting for the hook to come out from offstage and take him away is National Security Adviser John Bolton. Bolton has long been regarded by those who still believe that Donald Trump actually has a heart and a mind as the eminence grise seated behind the throne who has encouraged the president’s bad angels. That may indeed be so, but leaks are now suggesting that the president has been disagreeing with his chief minister and marginalizing his presence in meetings. But as bad as Bolton truly is, one should not dismiss from consideration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom, like Bolton, have exhibited extraordinary ability to provide bad advice and to simultaneously say and do stupid things.

Pence’s recent error plagued trip to Ireland left one exasperated Irish journalist complaining that it was as if the Vice President had been invited to someone’s home and had “shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him” before his departure. Pence had unwisely made comments about Brexit that were both uninformed and regarded as “humiliating” by his hosts. But his real crime was that he blamed his boss for the ridiculous decision to stay at a Trump property 180 miles away from Dublin. President Trump denied the claim and, as he does not like being embarrassed by his subordinates, there is already talk that Pence will be replaced on the Republican ticket in 2020. Unfortunately, Attila the Hun is no longer available but it is certain that the GOP will be able to come up with someone else who will, like Pence, offend almost everyone. Tom Cotton maybe? Nikki Haley?

Now that North Korea is not cooperating with Trump’s distinctive brand of diplomacy, the Great Negotiator has turned to America (and Israel’s) enemy number one, suggesting a sit down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The only problem with that is that Rouhani is not playing because the United States has been engaged in nothing less than “maximum pressure” economic warfare against his country. End the sanctions and Rouhani would consider talking directly.

Israel, of course, is deeply concerned lest American and Iranian heads of government actually get together to discuss things. According to some observers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is believed to be somewhat nervous over that possibility and wants to get a hotter war going in the region to disrupt any consideration of entente between Tehran and Washington. That is why the Israelis have been escalating their attacks against claimed “Iranian targets” in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, an initiative intended to provoke an Iranian reaction which will then be escalated by Netanyahu to draw Washington in supporting Israel while also putting an end to any consideration of top-level talks.

As a side show to the deep thinking going on in the White House, there is the Iranian tanker saga. One might recall that the tanker Adrian Darya 1, which claimed to be registered in Panama while carrying alleged Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria, was halted in Gibraltar by the British at the request of the American State Department even though it was in international waters at the time. The U.S. has been sanctioning nearly everything having to do with Iran, to include its export of oil, and is also enforcing sanctions imposed on the government in Syria. Pompeo claimed, in fact, that he had “reliable information” the ship was transporting oil to Syria in defiance of wide-ranging U.S. and European Union initiated sanctions directed against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over false claims that it had been using chemical weapons. The Treasury Department added that the vessel was “blocked property” under an anti-terrorist order, and “anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned.”

After six weeks detention, the British released the tanker on August 18th when a Gibraltar judge ruled that there were no grounds for seizing it in the first place, adding that it could not be turned over to Washington. Since that time, it has been making its way across the Mediterranean headed for ports unknown. It is, inevitably, being stalked by the United States Navy, which may or may not attempt to take control of it before it heads to shore in Lebanon or Syria.

The entire situation is farcical, but here is where the fun comes in: Brian Hook, a true Trumpean know-nothing who somehow has been designated U.S. Grand Poobah for Iran, sent an email on August 26th to the ship’s Indian captain Akhilesh Kumar. The message said “This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo… I am writing with good news.”

The “good news” consisted of an offer to give Captain Kumar millions of dollars if he would sail the Adrian Darya 1 to a port that would impound the ship for the U.S. Kumar did not respond to the offer to turn pirate and steal the vessel, so “Captain” Hook dropped the hammer in a second email, writing that: “With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age. If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you.”

The sublimely ridiculous proposal to Kumar comes on top of a similar appeal from the Department of State, which last week offered rewards of up to $15 million for information that would enable the disruption of the financial mechanisms used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). State, acting through its humorously named “Rewards for Justice” program, will pay money for any information regarding the revenue sources of the IRGC, which was listed as a foreign terrorist organization in April.

The State Department announced the rewards at a briefing late last Wednesday morning, with Brian Hook saying that “The IRGC trains, funds, and equips proxy organizations across the Middle East. Iran wants these groups to extend the borders of the regime’s revolution and sow chaos and sectarian violence. We are using every available diplomatic and economic tool to disrupt these operations.”

Having experienced schemes involving paying rewards for information while I was overseas with the CIA, I can with considerable confidence predict that the U.S. Embassies in Turkey and Dubai will be flooded with desperate Iranians peddling what stories they have made up in exchange for money or visas. The actual information obtained will be approaching zero.

The American beneficence towards the Middle East currently also includes, apparently, intervening yet again in Syria to prevent the Syrian Army and its Iranian and Russian allies from eliminating the last major terrorist pocket in the country’s Idlib province. Fact is, it is the United States being led by the nose by Israel that has both supported terrorists and created most of the unrest and violence in the Middle East, central Asia and North Africa.

Additionally, also last week, the Treasury Department’s Office for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence headed by Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker, an Israeli, sanctioned more than two-dozen entities and individuals as well as 11 ships allegedly supporting IRGC oil shipments going to Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and other “illicit actors.” One has to wonder if the Treasury’s Office “for Terrorism” might actually be “for Terrorism” as long as it is carried out by the U.S. and its “best friend and closest ally” in the Middle East.

All in all, one hell of a week. A Greenblatt gone replaced by a Berkowitz, possibly Bolton and Pence going, piracy on the high seas, cash for info schemes, and lots more sanctions. Can’t get much more exciting than that, but let’s wait for next week to see what Donald Trump will give his good buddy Benjamin Netanyahu as a pre-electoral gift. Rumor has it that it will include American recognition of Israel’s right to annex most of the rest of the West Bank plus security guarantees that the U.S. will have the Jewish state’s back no matter what it seeks to do with its neighbors. Stay tuned!

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft?

Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft?

September 06, 2019

[This column was written for the Unz Review]

There is nothing new about empires taking hostages and using them to put pressure on whatever rebel group needs to reminded “who is boss”. The recent arrest in Italy of Alexander Korshunov, the director for business development at Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC), is really nothing new but just the latest in a long string of kidnappings. And, as I already mentioned in distant 2017, that kind of thuggery is not a sign of strength but, in fact, a sign of weakness. Remember Michael Ledeen’s immortal words about how “”Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“? Well, you could say that this latest spat of kidnappings is indicative of the same mindset and goal, just on a much smaller, individual, scale. And, finally, it ain’t just Russia, we all know about the kidnapping of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities.

By the way, you might wonder how can I speak of “kidnapping” when, in reality, these were legal arrests made by the legitimate authorities of the countries in which these arrests were made? Simple! As I mentioned last weekwords matter and to speak of an “arrest” in this case wrongly suggest that 1) some crime was committed (when in reality there is ZERO evidence of that, hence the talk of “conspiracy” to do something illegal) 2) that this crime was investigated and that the authorities have gathered enough evidence to justify an arrest and 3) that the accused will have a fair trial. None of that applies to the cases of Viktor BoutKonstantin IaroshenkoMarina Butina or, for that matter, Meng Wanzhou or Wang Weijing. The truth is that these so-called “arrests” are simple kidnappings, the goal is hostage taking with the goal to either 1) try to force Russia (and China) to yield to US demands or 2) try to “get back” at Russia (and China) following some humiliating climb down by the US Administration (this was also the real reason behind the uncivilized seizure of Russian diplomatic buildings in the USA).

This is not unlike what the Gestapo and the SS liked to do during WWII and their kidnapping of hostages was also called “arrest” by the then state propaganda machine. By the way, the Bolsheviks also did a lot of that during the civil war, but on a much larger scale. In reality, both in the case of the Nazi authorities and in the case of the imperial USA, as soon as a person is arrested he/she is subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of psychological torture (Manning or Assange anybody?!) in order to either make them break or to at least show Russia and China that the US, being the World Hegemon gets to seize anybody worldwide, be it by a CIA kidnapping team or by using local colonial law enforcement authorities (aka local police forces).

US politicians love to “send messages” and this metaphor is used on a daily basis by US officials in all sorts of circumstances. Here the message is simple: we can do whatever the hell we want, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it!

But is that last statement really true?

Well, in order to reply to this we should look at the basic options available to Russia (this also applies to China, but here I want to focus on the Russian side of the issue). I guess the basic list of options is pretty straightforward:

Frankly, in the case of the USA, options one and two are useless: the AngloZionist leaders have long given up any hope of not being hated and despised by 99% of mankind and they have long dropped any pretense of legality, nevermind morality: they don’t give a damn what anybody thinks. Their main concern is to conceal their immense weakness, but they fail to do so time and time again. Truly, when wannabe “empires” can’t even bring an extremely weakened country such as Venezuela to heel, there ain’t much they can do to boot their credibility. If anything, this thuggery is nothing more than the evidence of a mind-blowing weakness of the Empire.

But that weakness in no way implies that Russia and China have good options. Sadly, they don’t.

Russia can engage in various types of sanctions, ranging from the petty bureaucratic harassment of US representations, diplomats, businessmen and the like to economic and political retaliations. But let’s not kid ourselves, there is very little Russia can do to seriously hurt the USA with such retaliations. Many would advocate retaliation in kind, but that poses a double problem for the Kremlin:

  • Once a country has gone down the road of illegal brute force, there is no way back. The examples of the US, Israel or, for that matter, the Ukraine show that once primitive thuggery becomes part of your political arsenal you will forever remain a thug and everybody will see this (whether everybody will have the courage to openly state this is a different issue altogether).
  • The reality is that double and triple standards have long become the essential key feature of all western ideological systems, from the Papacy to modern capitalism. The Kremlin fully understands that in the AngloZionist Empire “some are more equal than others” and that that which is “allowed” to the World Hegemon is categorically forbidden to everybody else. Thus if Russia retaliates in kind, there will be an explosion of hysterical protests not only by the western legacy corporate and state ziomedia, but also from the 5th columnist in the Russian “liberal” press.

And yes, unlike the USA, Russia does have a vibrant, diverse and pluralistic media and each time when Putin agrees to a press conference (especially one several hours long) he knows that he will be asked the tough, unpleasant, questions. But since he, unlike most western leaders, can intelligently answer them he does not fear them. As for Dmitrii Peskov and Maria Zakharova, they have heard it all a gazillion during the past years, including often the most ridiculously biased, mis-informed and outright ridiculous “questions” (accusations, really) from the western presstitute corps in Russia.

So yes, Russia could, in theory, retaliate by arresting US citizens in Russia (or by staging Cold War type provocations) or by kidnapping them abroad (Russia does have special forces trained for this kind of operation). But this is most unlikely to yield any meaningful results and it would create a PR nightmare for the Kremlin.

The truth is that in most of these cases we always come down to the fundamental dichotomy: on one hand we have a rogue state gone bonkers with imperial hubris, arrogance and crass ignorance (say, the USA and/or Israel) while on the other we have states which try to uphold a civilized international order (Russia, China, Iran, etc.). This is by logical necessity a lop-sided struggle in which the thugs will almost always have the advantage.

[Sidebar: here I want to address a logical fallacy which I regularly hear in the West: when one political system proves stronger, or more capable of survival, than another one, this supposedly proves that the stronger state is also somehow “superior”. This is the argument used by those who claim that the Soviet Union “lost the Cold War” and that “Capitalism has proven much more sustainable/efficient than Communism”. This is utter nonsense for at least two reasons: first, the USSR did not “lose” the Cold War – the CPSU and the Soviet ruling Nomenklatura decided to break-up the USSR (against the will of the people!) and, second, the fact is that the Soviet Union was squandering its wealth all over the planet while the USA was robbing the entire planet blind. How can we compare the two? Finally, allow me this metaphor to make my point: if we would lock up a human being and a hyena in a small empty cell to see who will survive we can be pretty darn sure that the hyena will immediately and very “effectively” kill the human and eat him. Does that “victory” somehow prove the hyena’s “superiority”? Of course not! For one thing, capitalism implies infinite growth in a finite environment, which is exactly what a malignant tumor does for a living and which is self-evidently non-sustainable. So are we going to compare one political system – Communism – which does not rely on growth and which is therefore sustainable, and which spread its wealth all over the planet with one based on (international) “highway robbery” (don’t take my word for it, take it from Paul Craig Roberts himself who unambiguously stated recently that “American Capitalism is Based on Plunder”). Yes, the Soviet system was fundamentally rotten, profoundly dysfunctional and ineffective (only imbeciles or ignoramuses would deny that!), but it was not in any way “defeated” by the West nor is Capitalism any “better” or “superior” (whatever you want that to mean) than Communism (more on this here if you are interested).]

For all these reasons, there is really nothing much Russia (or China) can do about this situation besides publishing an official warning to the Russian people saying that if they travel abroad they should realize that “US intelligence agencies continue their current hunt for Russians around the world”. They also made public the list of countries which have extradition treaties with the USA: Australia, Austria, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Hungary, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Dominica, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Guatemala, Germany, Honduras, Greece, Israel, India, Jordan, Iraq, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Netherlands, Nicaragua, new Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, El Salvador, San Marino, Swaziland, Seychelles, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Turkey, Uruguay, Philippines, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Chile, Switzerland, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Estonia, South Africa, South Korea, Jamaica and Japan.

The MoFA concluded by warning that “The Russian foreign Ministry strongly urges all Russian citizens planning trips abroad to carefully weigh all the risks, especially if there is reason to assume the possibility of claims against them by American law enforcement agencies”.

Some caveat emptor before buying your airline ticket, right?!

Conclusion: it will get a lot worse before it gets better

First, we need to always remember that kidnappings are just the latest manifestation of an overall pattern of thuggery by the USA. The attitude is pervasive, and US citizens are not free of this climate of thuggery. Another good example are the outright bribes offered to the ships captains of Iran, to sail their crude carriers to somewhere were the US can literally pirate the carrier. Remember the amazing confession by Pompeo himself:

We lied, we cheated, we stole…. it reminds you of the glory of the American experiment”?

You don’t?

Then here is a quick refresher:

It can almost be rewritten and expanded like this:

We lie, we cheat, we steal, we kidnap, we bribe, we extort, we pirate, then we threaten, and then we tell everyone how exceptionally morally superior we are.

Yet a certain limit has been crossed. It is as if their own belief in their own moral superiority has inverted to the extent that their own moral superiority is so big, and so certain, that any small actions of thuggery is allowed to them. This will not change any time soon and even the most innocent traveler must have awareness of this. This is why the Chinese are now openly wondering if sending Chinese students to the USA is such a good idea after all.

So the first thing we have to accept is that this pattern of thuggery will not stop, if anything – it will expand.

Second, we have to also realize that there are no good options for the Russians or the Chinese. In fact, this is normal: civilized actors often find themselves “out-gunned”, so to speak, by thugs, sociopaths and criminals. Over time, however, thuggery is always self-defeating because it is inevitably linked to a delusion of impunity. As for civilized states, while it is true that they are at a fundamental disadvantage when faced by uncivilized thugs but, again, over time they eventually prevail if only because everybody always ends up fed up and disgusted with the thugs. Finally, while thuggery can seem attractive to people with sociopathic inclinations, most human beings need a higher ideal than just unbridled consumption to inspire them. Communism had (and I would argue, still has) this ability. Capitalism does not.

For the foreseeable future, however, we can only expect more of the same. Thanks to the ceaseless efforts of Obama and Trump the Empire is collapsing even faster than it normally would and we can expect that the current sequence of humiliating defeats for the USA (and, of course, Israel which has its own humiliating wounds to lick!) will continue and that the USA (and, of course, Israel!) will have to find more small targets (be it kidnapped Russian nationals or empty buildings in Syria) to kidnap or destroy and feel powerful again.

This will be revolting, disgusting and simply plain stupid.

But there is nothing Russia (or China) can do to stop it, at least not for the foreseeable future.

The Saker

واشنطن تبحث عن بدائل لداعش وأخواتها من كابول الى بغداد

سبتمبر 4, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

تحاول واشنطن عبثاً تأخير إعلان هزيمتها التاريخية المدوية امام مشروع المقاومة…! وذلك من خلال تبديل أسماء ميليشياتها، بعد توالي الهزائم عليها في أكثر من عاصمة عربية وإسلامية، ظناً منها انّ تبديل الجلد كفيل بإطالة عمرها الاستعماري.

وكما بدأت غزوها الحديث لبلادنا عبر الحرب بالوكالة من أفغانستان ها هي تحاول الهروب المنظم من أفغانستان…

1 ـ يعود تاريخ العمل السري للمخابرات المركزية الأميركية في أفغانستان الى حقبة الوجود العسكري السوفياتي في هذا البلد، خلال عقد الثمانينات من القرن الماضي، حيث كانت سي أي آي هي الجهة التي تقدّم الدعم اللوجستي فيما تقدّم السعودية الدعم المالي للمجموعات الجهاهدية الأفغانية آنذاك. وكان أسامة بن لادن هو المنسّق الرسمي لنشاطات المجموعات الأفغانية التي تقاتل القوات السوفياتية.

2 ـ بدأت وكالة المخابرات المركزية الأميركية، بالتعاون مع الاستخبارات العسكرية الباكستانية وبتمويل سعودي أيضاً. بإنشاء ميليشيا مسلحة جديدة، تحت قيادتها وإدارتها المباشرة، وذلك مع بدء انسحاب القوات السوفياتية من أفغانستان سنة 1989.

تلك الميليشيا التي كانت قد أعدّت مسبقاً، أيّ قبل الانسحاب السوفياتي، في مدارس باكستان الدينية المموّلة من آل سعود، وهي حركة طالبان، التي كانت تدعو لـ الجهاد العالمي مما أدخلها في نزاع مسلح مع المجاهدين الأفغان انتهى باستيلاء حركة طالبان على الحكم في أواسط تسعينيات القرن الماضي.

أيّ انّ الولايات المتحدة، بالتعاون مع آل سعود، قد زرعت بذور الفوضى الشاملة الحروب الأهلية والإرهاب في أفغانستان منذ أواخر ثمانينيات القرن الماضي، خاصة أنها أفشلت محاولة دبلوماسية، قامت بها منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية على سبيل المثال، وهدفت الى إقامة حكومة متفق عليها بين الاتحاد السوفياتي والمجاهدين وملك أفغانستان السابق، الملك محمد ظاهر شاه، ورئيسة الوزراء الباكستانية آنذاك، بنظير بوتو.

فالولايات المتحدة، عبر المخابرات المركزية الأميركية، كانت هي من أفشلت هذا الاتفاق الذي تمّ التوصل إليه بعد اتصالات وجهود مضنية مع الأطراف المعنية وفي ثلاث قارات من قارات العالم.

3 ـ والآن ومع قرب التوصل الى اتفاقية وقف لإطلاق النار، بين الولايات المتحدة وحركة طالبان، تمهّد لانسحاب القوات الأميركية وقوات حلف الناتو من أفغانستان، فإنّ من الضروري الإضاءة على السياسة الميليشياوية، التي تواصل الولايات المتحدة تنفيذها في هذا البلد، من خلال إنشائها لتنظيمات مسلحة جديدة ميليشيات منذ احتلالها لأفغانستان في شهر تشرين الأول 2001.

4 ـ وأشهر هذه التنظيمات وأكثرها قوة وتسليحاً هو تنظيم: قوات حماية خوست Khost Protection Force والتي تدار عبر غرفة عمليات لها في قاعدة المخابرات المركزية الأميركية التي تسمّى: قاعدة شابمان CIA s Camp Chapman والموجودة في مقاطعة خوست الأفغانية، جنوب شرق العاصمه كابل.

علماً انّ إجمالي تعداد هذه الميليشيات، التي تموَّل وتدار بالكامل من قبل المخابرات الأميركية، قد وصل الى ثلاثة عشر ألف رجل منتشرين في معظم أنحاء أفغانستان.

5 ـ أما عن علاقتهم بالاتفاق، المزمع إعلانه قريباً بين الولايات المتحدة وحركة طالبان، فهو طرح موضوعهم، من قبل المفاوض الأميركي سلمان خليل زاد، على طاولة البحث مع طالبان، حيث طلب خليل زاد ضمانات من طالبان لأمنهم بعد انسحاب القوات الأميركية. وهو الأمر الذي ترفضه طالبان، حتى الآن، مما يؤخر الإعلان عن الاتفاق، أملاً من الطرف الأميركي في التوصل الى صيغة ما، تحافظ على عنصر التفجير هذا الميليشيات لاستخدامه مستقبلاً، الى جانب فلول داعش، التي نقلتها طائرات سلاح الجو الأميركي من سورية والعراق ونشرتها على حدود أفغانستان مع إيران وجمهوريات الاتحاد السوفياتي السابقة شمالاً.

6 ـ إذن فالولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وكما يتضح من المشار إليه أعلاه، تقوم بإنشاء تشكيلات مسلحة وزرع بذور الفوضى والحروب قبل ان تنسحب من أيّ مكان. فما يعيق انسحابها من سورية والعراق، هو استكمال تدريب وتسليح القوات العميلة، سواء في شمال شرق سورية أو في مناطق أخرى، والتي يجري تدريبها وإمدادها بالسلاح في قاعدة التنف في سورية وفي قواعد أميركية أخرى في الأردن، كما في قاعدة عين الأسد غرب بغداد وفِي قواعد ميليشيا البرزاني الكردية والتي يشرف على تشغيلها وتحريكها ضباط من الاستخبارات العسكرية الإسرائيلية.

7 ـ وهذا بالضبط هو العامل الذي يحدّد موقف المراوغ الأطلسي، أردوغان، في ما يتعلق بمحافظة إدلب وغيرها من المحافظات السورية المحتلة أميركياً أو تركياً. انه أمر عمليات القيادة المركزية الأميركية للمنطقة الوسطى، ومقرّها قاعدة العيديد في قطر، الذي يقضي بإيجاد الترتيبات الضرورية، للحفاظ على المجموعات المسلحة، في سورية والعراق كقوات احتياط، يمكن للولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الأطلسي ان يناوروا بها، في الزمان والمكان الذي يقرّرونه مستقبلاً.

وبكلمات أكثر وضوحاً فإنّ ذلك يعني: الحفاظ على هذه العصابات المسلحة، سواءً في العراق، حيث يقوم الجيش الأميركي بهذا الدور، أو في سورية حيث يتشارك الأميركي والتركي تنفيذ مؤامرة إطالة عمر العدوان على سورية، من خلال تغليف ذلك بغلاف ما يطلقون عليه الحلّ السياسي، أو في العراق من خلال ما يسمّونه استكمال محاربة داعش ومواجهة تعاظم النفوذ الإيراني في هذا البلد.

8 ـ أما ما يغيب عن بال المخططين الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين فهو عامل الانقلاب الذي شهدته موازين القوى، في المنطقة والعالم، والتي لم تعد تسمح لهم بفرض إرادتهم وهيمنتهم على الشعوب كما كان الأمر في العقدين الماضيين. الأمر الذي يجعل تكتيكاتهم تلك، ايّ المناورة بالعصابات الإرهابية المسلحة هنا وهناك، عاجزة عن تحقيق أهدافهم، وبالتالي فإنّ عليهم البحث عن استراتيجيات تنطلق من موازين القوى الدولية المستجدة والاعتراف بهزيمة مشاريعهم وفتح مسار جديد في سياساتهم، بالعودة الى الأسس والقوانين الدوليهة، التي يجب ان تحكم علاقات الدول بين بعضها البعض، ما يخلق الأرضية لعلاقات متوازنة بين الدول ولاستقرار سياسي على الصعيد الدولي سيمثل القاعدة الصلبة لمسار اقتصادي اجتماعي دولي يمنع إشعال الحروب ويبعد الأزمات الاقتصادية والمالية عن دول وشعوب العالم أجمع. كلّ هذا شرطه استخدام واشنطن لعقلها وهو ما بات مشكوكاً فيه كثيراً في عهد إدارة ترامب المتخبّطة في استراتيجيتها والغارقة في التيه الإسرائيلي .

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

US Dirty Hands All Over Hong Kong Violence and Chaos?

Image result for US Dirty Hands All Over Hong Kong Violence and Chaos?
September 3, 2019

Stephen LENDMAN

The UN Charter and other international laws are clear and unequivocal. 

No nation may legally interfere in the internal affairs of others for any reasons at any time — except in self-defense if attacked.

The US hasn’t been attacked by another nation since December 7, 1941 — or threatened by any since WW II ended. 

Facing no enemies today, they’re invented as pretexts for its policymakers to pursue their imperial aims — seeking unchallenged global dominance, wanting all nations transformed into US vassal states, their resources plundered, their people exploited.

Endless wars, color revolutions, and old-fashioned coups are their favored tactics, targeting nonbelligerent nations the US doesn’t control, threatening no one.

What’s ongoing in Hong Kong replicates US color revolution attempts against targeted countries since first aimed at Belgrade, Serbia in 2000.

There’s nothing spontaneous about these disruptive eruptions when occur.

They’re planned and orchestrated in the US, directing local proxies, the CIA, anti-democratic National Endowment for Democracy, and likely other US agencies involved.

Make no mistake. Trump regime hardliners are waging escalated war on China by other means. 

Tactics include weaponized trade, tariffs and sanctions war, provocative Pentagon incursions near Chinese waters, weapons sales to Taiwan, and targeting China’s soft Hong Kong underbelly, wanting the country destabilized.

Over the weekend, Hong Kong protesters escalated violence further, throwing bricks and firebombs, setting a police barrier protecting a government building ablaze.

Overnight Saturday, the city’s financial district was gripped by running street battles, police countering orchestrated violence with tear gas and water cannons.

A police statement denounced “radical protesters (for throwing) corrosives and petrol bombs, (posing a) serious threat” to everyone nearby. 

So far, Beijing has been reluctant to overreact, letting city authorities handle things, perhaps not for much longer.

Its authorities are well aware of US dirty hands behind what’s been ongoing for months, Hong Kong wracked by endless violence and chaos, restoring calm to the city essential.

On Saturday, China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet published several pieces, denouncing “outrageous violence and disruptions…radical demonstrators” involved, adding:

“(R)adical forces…attacked journalists…travelers, (and) police officers,” US politicians and media supporting them — the broadsheet calling “US interference in Hong Kong affairs intolerable.”

Earlier, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was way out of line, saying Hong Kong protests are “a beautiful sight to behold.”

After reunification with China, Hong Kong (1997) and Macau (1999) were granted a high degree of autonomy for 50 years as special administrative regions (SARs).

They’re responsible for their domestic affairs alone, including executive, legislative, and judicial independence from the mainland while being Chinese territory.

Hong Kong Basic Law stipulates that Beijing is responsible for foreign affairs and defense. The city’s future belongs to China, transitioning until 2047 when its autonomy ends.

The People’s Daily said Beijing supports Hong Kong’s SAR government, along with actions by police to restore order.

Failure to curb violence encourages more of it. What began in March turned violent in June, especially in recent weeks.

The People’s Daily said “kidnapping HK’s future (violently) should not be tolerated.” It called “radical protesters no different than terrorists…engag(ing) in all kinds of illegal and violent activities.”

Restoring normality to the city is vital. Should Beijing intervene directly, a dilemma confronting its authorities!

Since early June, protests became violent, showing no signs of abating, things escalating.

So far, Beijing let city police handle things, hoping energy behind what’s going on would wane, intervening only rhetorically.

If violence in city streets continues much longer, its authorities may request mainland intervention by the People’s Armed Police or People’s Liberation Army to restore order.

No nations anywhere tolerate unrest, disorder, rioting, or violence without intervening to quell it.

Key for Beijing and Hong Kong authorities is doing enough to end what’s going on without going too far.

They don’t want to discourage foreign investment or harm local business interests more than already.

But if violent protests continue unchecked, there’s risk they could spread to the mainland — what bipartisan hardliners in Washington may have in mind.

A Final Comment

How would Washington respond if foreign hands stoked violence in a US city, maybe its New York financial hub?

They’d be blood in the streets and mass arrests for sure, no holds barred. 

Perhaps Pentagon forces would join local police to restore normality if things escalated to how Hong Kong is affected.

stephenlendman.org

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The Saker interviews Max van der Werff about the MH-17 conspiracy

The Saker interviews Max van der Werff about the MH-17 conspiracy

August 28, 2019

Introduction: MH17 is to Novorussia, what the Markale (also see here) has been to Bosnia and Racak (also see here) has been to Kosovo: a typical false flag operation which pursued two goals: first, of course, to justify a military aggression and, second, to force everybody to chose one of two options: first, either pretend to believe the official narrative or, second, be vilified and discredited. From this perspective, the MH17 false flag has been a tremendous success, mostly due to the extremely successful lobotomy inflicted by the legacy Ziomedia on the western public opinion (I would argue that the Skripal fairy tale is even more self-evidently ridiculous than the MH17 fairy tale, and yet that was also swallowed hook line and sinker by most western “experts”). But then, we live in a post-9/11 world, in which neither facts nor logic matter much anymore, except for a rather small amount of people, including Max van der Werff who has proven to be one of the most tenacious and courageous investigative journalists. I am most grateful for his time and answers!

The Saker

——-

The Saker: First, a question about yourself: why and how did you get involved in this topic of MH17? What did were you doing before you got involved in this topic?

Max van der Werff : The very moment the news of the shoot down of the Malaysian Boeing broke on July 17th 2014, I immediately realized this tragedy would have long term geopolitical implications. What further struck me was the fact most passengers were citizens of my country, The Netherlands.

Since childhood I have an interest in geopolitics and history. The fact my father was an immigrant from Indonesia surely contributed and as a teenager I read a lot about Dutch colonial history.

After Japan surrendered and World War II ended 150,000 Dutch troops were sent to restore Pax Hollandia in the old colony and the main motive was to restore the exploitation of the ‘wingewest’ (area for profit) as soon as possible. The Dutch elite had the opinion that the Japanese rule over the Dutch Indies was merely a short interruption and that Dutch colonial rule would be reinstated for generations to come. This fatally wrong perception of reality led to the Indonesian war of independence lasting from 1945 to end 1949 causing hundreds of thousands casualties.

Prior to my MH17 investigations I spent a lot of time in archives and on the ground in Indonesia searching for evidence of Dutch war crimes. There’s a documentary about my work: https://vimeo.com/288088492

The Saker: Now, let’s immediately jump into the core question: after having researched and analyzed the topic of MH17, what personal conclusion did you come to?

What do you believe really happened that day?

Max van der Werff : Having spent thousands of hours researching the case and being interviewed by the official Joint Investigation Team more than once my answer to your core question might be disappointing for some: I don’t know what happened.

Let me elaborate. Depending on political preferences all kinds of ‘experts’ claim to know for sure what happened exactly. One camp is sure it was a false flag, executed by Ukraine. The opposing camp is sure Russia is responsible. There are many variants as to who is an accomplice. On social media you see claims Ukraine was just a proxy for the CIA or Mossad. On the other side Russia just supplied the weapon and rebels shot down the airliner.

Then there are more exotic claims flight MH17 was shot down by a drone, a modernized Georgian SU-25 or by Israeli Python-5 missile(s) fired from the air or from the ground.

I have not encountered any credible evidence supporting any of the theories. This specifically includes the official version. Too many things simply do not add up. I’ve written a lot about the questionable evidence the official investigators have presented to the public so far and was one of the producers of a documentary that already has more than 200,000 views on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkDWwYk4-Ho

The Saker: I outlined my personal guesstimate here where I wrote that in my opinion the Ukronazis used the radar of a Buk battery to guide a Su-25 withing 8 clicks of the MH-17 at which point the Su-25 fired a R-60 IR missile which hit one of the engines which caused the Boeing to go into a sharp turn and lose altitude – the Su-25 easily caught up and finished the Boeing with its 30 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-2 autocannon (I explain my reasons in details here: https://thesaker.is/mh-17-one-year-later/). Do you have any elements of proof which would undermine/negate my guesstimate? Specifically, do you consider it as admitted by all sides now that a Buk missile did strike MH-17?

Max van der Werff : President Putin recently said: “We have our own version, we presented it, unfortunately, no one wants to listen to us. And until there is a real dialogue, we will not find the right answer to those questions that are still open

Link: https://sputniknews.com/world/201906201075985579-russia-has-its-own-version-on-mh17-crash/

For five years I am asking: What exactly is the Russian official version of events?

To my knowlegde the Russian Federation has never claimed the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by a buk missile. You have to be very precise here. Over the years Russian media have presented all kinds of versions about what happened. One version even more exotic than the other.

As most of your readers will know Almaz Antey, the company producing the missile system, gave a press conference and conducted a life experiment detonating a buk missile https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r63cskl08o

During the press conference the Almaz Antey spokesman explained that the observed damage patterns in the hull of the Boeing could not have been caused by a buk missile fired from the location near Snizhne as claimed by the MH17 Joint Investigation Team. If a buk missile caused the damage, it must have been fired from an area southeast of the village Zaroshenskoye. Notice the little word “IF” in the sentence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsohFzbJ-vs

Concerning your assessment a Su-25 fired a R-60 IR missile. You do get some support for your theory from Zahar Omarov, chief researcher at the Central Research Institute of the Air Force of the Russian Ministry of Defense:

I can say that our results disprove the conclusion that the plane was shot down by a missile from a Buk-type anti-aircraft missile system. Most likely, it was an air-to-air missile with a mass of high-explosive fragmentation warheads not exceeding 33 kg (the mass of the warhead of the Buk missile is 70 kg).

Link https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2720372

Omarov repeatedly attended meetings of Russian delegations with members of the Dutch Safety Board. Here’s a very interesting segment of what he experienced during one of those meetings:

–QUOTE–

During the first meeting, in which I had to take part, and this was in February 2015, the Dutch reported that the plane, in their opinion, was shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile. Moreover, a definite modification of this missile was indicated, and, moreover, even the area from where it was launched was indicated.

I will not hide, we were very surprised. After all, before this, fragments of the aircraft with holes were examined, and there was not a single fragment with cut out sections that would indicate the conduct of any laboratory research.

I want to draw attention to such a dialogue that I had with a speaking expert.

–I asked a question: “Excuse me, did you investigate combat damage on fragments of an airplane?”

–Answer: “No. We are only planning to do this.”

–Question: “But how did you establish that the plane was shot down by Buk missile launcher?”

–Answer: “We found out from the Internet that the aircraft could have been hit either by a GSh-23 type air gun, or a R-60 type air missile, or a Buk anti-aircraft missile. One of the steel pieces found in the wreckage of the aircraft, in our opinion, is somewhat reminiscent of the shape of a “butterfly”. And we know that the warhead of one of the modifications of the Buk missile has damaging elements in the form of a “butterfly”. Therefore, of the three versions, the last was chosen.”

Logic, as they say, is iron. Something reminds me of our school exam. Dutch experts, apparently, have a good university education. However, for such work, education alone is not enough. Of course, experience is necessary, but even this is not the main thing. It is necessary to know, or, in extreme cases, at least conceptually understand the methodology for investigating such aviation events.

–UNQUOTE–

Now back to the type of air-to-air missile allegedly used. Omarov claims:

The warhead was equipped with compact striking elements in an amount of not more than 4000 pieces. The missile most likely had a matrix-type thermal imaging homing head or passive radar. I note that missiles with similar characteristics are not in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces and never have been.”

Source http://www.aviapanorama.ru/2016/02/rejs-mn-17-v-cnii-vvs-minoborony-rossii-oprovergnuty-vyvody-gollandskoj-komissii/

The Saker: Russia and Malaysia were denied the right to participate to the investigation. Can you outline what the legalities are to decide which countries do or do not get the chance to participate? Do Russia and Malaysia not have any legal instruments to invoke to challenge the absolutely ridiculous way the official inquiry was formed and, even more so, the way this commission of inquiry operated (such as using social media sites, but not official Russian data)? Russia is an IATA member, so is Malaysia. Can they not sue?

Max van der Werff : This is a question for legal experts, but I’m quite certain Malaysia would have a strong case. ICAO Annex 13 describes in detail how the composition of an air disaster investigation must be. For sure the country of the operator (in this case Malaysia Airlines) has to be part of the investigation from the very beginning, which we all know was not the case. Malaysia only was a llowed to become MH17 JIT member four months after the shoot down.

Russia could argue that Ukraine as a potential suspect of the crime is a member of the official investigation and to compensate this obvious anomaly the Russian Federation should be part of the investigative team too.

Connected to this issue Lawyer and expert international criminal law Geert-Jan Knoops argues:

In my view, the OM made a wrong choice by first setting up a trial model with the JIT team, with the Netherlands and The Hague District Court as the place of trial, then presenting the report with the suspects and then expecting Russia to cooperates. 

and

I think Russia might have been more cooperative if there had been trial in a neutral country, a non-JIT country.“

Source https://nos.nl/artikel/2289762-knoops-nederland-maakte-strategische-fout-bij-juridische-aanpak-mh17.html

The Saker: What is going on in Russia? First, they strongly hinted that some Ukie aircraft had shot MH17, then they declared that it was a Buk owned by the Ukronazis. So did they actually change their working hypothesis and ditched the Su-25 hypothesis to the (much less credible, at least in my opinion) Buk missile scenario?

Max van der Werff : Information management of the Russian Federation is of very low quality, to put it mildly. It took Russia four days to present its version of events and claimed a (most probably) Su-25 appeared on radar as it broke the 5,000 meter altitude. Russia also claimed it had deleted its radar data only to find a copy a few days before the official JIT press conference. And on those radar data a Russian expert explained there was no fighter jet visible. How credible is all this and how could it fail to explain why on one set of radar data a fighter jet is visible and on the other there is not?

Another criticism is Russia reacts when new accusations are disseminated by the official investigators, but fails to take the initiative and to communicate its own version of events in a simple, complete and credible narrative. More about this in two radio interviews with patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire en Chris Cook of Gorilla Radio.

https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/07/17/interview-max-van-der-werff-discusses-new-mh17-documentary-film/

http://www.gorilla-radio.com/2019/07/26/gorilla-radio-chris-cook-max-van-der-werff-july-25th-2019/

The Saker: If the quasi official hypothesis now is that a Buk was shot (by somebody, nevermind for the time being how did it)? In spite of the fact that a HUGE plume should have been seen and in spite of the fact that any such Buk launch was absolutely certain to be tracked and recorded by all sides? Does it not strike you that the Buk hypothesis is just not credible at all? To ask the question a little differently: do you think that challenging the Buk hypothesis is still a viable strategy or should I (and a few others) give up on our Su-25 hypothesis and accept the Buk theory as established beyond reasonable doubt (or even by a preponderance of evidence)?

Max van der Werff: The narrative of a buk missile fired from rebel held territory was the first narrative that circulated in western media and after five years it is unchanged and still the dominant narrative. It is now also the official version of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team.

To your question if challenging the Buk hypothesis is still a viable strategy the answer depends very much on who is questioning this hypothesis. For sure the Russian Federation knows a lot more than what it is sharing with the public.

The tragedy happened merely thirty kilometers from the Russian border. For me it is unthinkable Russia does not know exactly what happened on July 17th 2014. What facts and information does it hide after even five years and for what reasons? If a buk missile was not the murder weapon, why not explain this to the world with irrefutable evidence?

The Saker: Finally, do you believe that the full truth about MH17 will eventually come out and, if yes, roughly how and when?

Max van der Werff : For sure at some point in time the truth will come out. However, I am not sure we will be living long enough to witness this event.

The Saker: thank you so much for your time and replies!
——-
Afterword by The Saker:

During my years as an strategic intel analyst I had the chance to personally witness how the airspace over Europe is controlled in peacetime: not a single aircraft can take off without immediately being detected by numerous and redundant reconnaissance capabilities of many different actors including NATO, but also the various member states and even some neutral countries. I can only begin to image the degree, the concentration, of intelligence/reconnaissance means deployed by ALL SIDES of the conflict in the Donbass. There is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that both the Russians and the Empire have very detailed radar tracks, signal logs and God knows what else which gives them a 20/20 vision of everything which took place on that day (and before and after too, of course). This brings me to three different questions:

  1. Why are the Russians not releasing to the world the full and irrefutable evidence of what took place that day? I could understand why the Russians remained silent about 9/11, but in this case I really don’t get it!
  2. How are the various NATO states justifying that they are not simply showing the general public the full picture of what took place that day? Has nobody asked them point blank?
  3. How is it that journalists with a lot of contacts (say a Seymour Hersh or a Robert Fisk) not get at least ONE (even anonymous) source to give them the full picture? There must be HUNDREDS of people between all the US and EU intel agencies who know exactly what has taken place and most of those probably do not sympathize with the Ukronazi regime in Kiev). Why this deafening silence?

I think that MH-17 will go the way of the Kennedy assassination or the way of 9/11: everybody will know that the official version is a load of bull, everybody will have his/her version of what really might have taken place, and we will probably never know for sure.

Unless one of the hundreds of people of actually do know know the truth steps forward.

The Saker

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