A Saigon moment in the Hindu Kush

A Saigon moment in the Hindu Kush

July 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

And it’s all over

For the unknown soldier

It’s all over

For the unknown soldier

The Doors, The Unknown Soldier

Let’s start with some stunning facts on the ground.

The Taliban are on a roll. Earlier this week their P.R. arm was claiming they hold 218 Afghan districts out of 421 – capturing new ones every day. Tens of districts are contested. Entire Afghan provinces are basically lost to the government in Kabul – de facto reduced to administer a few scattered cities under siege.

Afghanistan in Badakhshan province, seen from the Pamir highway in Tajikistan during my November 2019 Central Asian loop. This district, not far from Ishkashim, is now under Taliban control. Photo: Pepe Escobar

Already on July 1st the Taliban announced they controlled 80% of Afghan territory. That’s close to the situation 20 years ago, only a few weeks before 9/11, when Commander Masoud told me in the Panjshir valley , as he prepared a counter-offensive, that the Taliban were 85% dominant.

Their new tactical approach works like a dream. First there’s a direct appeal to soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to surrender. Negotiations are smooth – and deals fulfilled. Soldiers in the low thousands have already joined the Taliban without a single shot fired.

Mapmakers cannot upload updates fast enough. This is fast becoming a textbook case on the collapse of a 21st century central government.

The Taliban are fast advancing in western Vardak, easily capturing ANA bases. That is the prequel for an assault on Maidan Shar, the provincial capital. If they get control of Vardak they will be literally at the gates of Kabul.

After capturing Panjwaj district, the Taliban are also a stone’s throw away from Kandahar, founded by Alexander The Great in 330 B.C. and the city where a certain mullah Omar – with a little help from his Pakistani ISI friends – started the Taliban adventure in 1994, leading to their Kabul power takeover in 1996.

The overwhelming majority of Badakhshan province – Tajik majority, not Pashtun – fell after only 4 days of negotiations, with a few skirmishes thrown in. The Taliban even captured a hilltop outpost very close to Faizabad, Badakhshan’s capital.

I tracked the Tajik-Afghan border in detail when I traveled the Pamir highway in late 2019. The Taliban, following mountain tracks on the Afghan side, could soon reach the legendary, desolate border with Xinjiang in the Wakhan corridor.

The Taliban are also about to make a move on Hairaton, in Balkh province. Hairaton is at the Afghan-Uzbek border, the site of the historically important Friendship Bridge over the Amu Darya, through which the Red Army departed Afghanistan in 1989.

ANA commanders swear the city is now protected from all sides by a five-kilometer security zone. Hairaton has already attracted tens of thousands of refugees. Tashkent does not want them to cross the border.

And it’s not only Central Asia; the Taliban have already advanced to the city limits of Islam Qilla, which borders Iran, in Herat province, and is the key checkpoint in the busy Mashhad to Herat corridor.

The Tajik puzzle

The extremely porous, geologically stunning Tajik-Afghan mountain borders remain the most sensitive case. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, after a serious phone call with Vladimir Putin, ordered the mobilization of 20,000 reservists and sent them to the border. Rahmon also promised humanitarian and financial support to the Kabul government.

The Taliban, for their part, officially declared that the border is safe and they have no intention of invading Tajik territory. Earlier this week even the Kremlin cryptically announced that Moscow does not plan to send troops to Afghanistan.

A cliffhanger is set for the end of July, as the Taliban announced they will submit a written peace proposal to Kabul. A strong possibility is that it may amount to an intimation for Kabul to surrender – and transfer full control of the country.

The Taliban seem to be riding an irresistible momentum – especially when Afghans themselves were stunned to see how the imperial “protector”, after nearly two decades of de facto occupation,

left Bagram air base in the middle of the night , scurrying away like rats.

Compare it to the evaluation of serious analysts such as Lester Grau, explaining the Soviet departure over three decades ago:

When the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, they did so in a coordinated, deliberate, professional manner, leaving behind a functioning government, an improved military and an advisory and economic effort insuring the continued viability of the government. The withdrawal was based on a coordinated diplomatic, economic and military plan permitting Soviet forces to withdraw in good order and the Afghan government to survive. The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) managed to hold on despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Only then, with the loss of Soviet support and the increased efforts by the Mujahideen (holy warriors) and Pakistan, did the DRA slide toward defeat in April 1992. The Soviet effort to withdraw in good order was well executed and can serve as a model for other disengagements from similar nations.

When it comes to the American empire, Tacitus once again applies: “They have plundered the world, stripping naked the land in their hunger… they are driven by greed, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor… They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.”

In the wake of the Hegemon, deserts called peace, in varying degrees, include Iraq, Libya, Syria – which happen to, geologically, harbor deserts – as well as the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan.

That Afghan heroin rat line

It looks like Think Tank Row in D.C., between Dupont and Thomas Circle alongside Massachussets Avenue, have not really done their homework on pashtunwali – the Pashtun honor code – or the ignominious British empire retreat from Kabul.

Still, it’s too early to tell whether what is being spun as the US “retreat” from Afghanistan reflects the definitive unraveling of the Empire of Chaos. Especially because this is not a “retreat” at all: it’s a repositioning – with added elements of privatization.

At least 650 “U.S. forces” will be protecting the sprawling embassy in Kabul. Add to it possibly 500 Turkish troops – which means NATO – to protect the airport, plus an undeclared number of “contractors” a.k.a mercenaries, and an unspecified number of Special Forces.

Pentagon head Lloyd Austin has come up with the new deal. The militarized embassy is referred to as Forces Afghanistan-Forward. These forces will be “supported” by a new, special Afghan office in Qatar.

The key provision is that the special privilege to bomb Afghanistan whenever the Hegemon feels like it remains intact. The difference is in the chain of command. Instead of Gen. Scott Miller, so far the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, the Bomber-in-Chief will be Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of CENTCOM.

So future bombing will come essentially from the Persian Gulf – what the Pentagon lovingly describes as “over the horizon capability”. Crucially, Pakistan has officially refused to be part of it, although in the case of drone attacks, they will have to overfly Pakistani territory in Balochistan. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan also refused to host American bases.

The Taliban, for their part, are unfazed. Spokesman Suhail Shaheen was adamant that any foreign troops that are not out by the 9/11 deadline will be regarded as – what else – occupiers.

Whether the Taliban will be able to establish dominance is not an issue; it’s just a matter of when. And that leads us to the two really important questions:

1.  Will the CIA be able to maintain what Seymour Hersh initially, and later myself, described as the Afghan heroin rat line that finances their black ops?

2.  And if the CIA cannot continue to supervise opium poppy field production in Afghanistan as well as coordinate the subsequent stages of the heroin business, where will it move to?

Every thinking mind across Central/South Asia knows that the Empire of Chaos, for two long decades, was never interested in defeating the Taliban or fighting for “the freedom of the Afghan people”.

The key motives were to keep a crucial, strategic forward base in the underbelly of “existential threats” China and Russia as well as intractable Iran – all part of the New Great Game; to be conveniently positioned to later exploit Afghanistan’s enormous mineral wealth; and to process opium into heroin to fund CIA ops. Opium was a major factor in the rise of the British empire, and heroin remains one of the world’s top dirty businesses funding shady intel ops.

What China and the SCO want

Now compare all of the above with the Chinese approach.

Unlike Think Tank Row in D.C., Chinese counterparts seem to have done their homework. They understood that the USSR did not invade Afghanistan in 1979 to impose “popular democracy” – the jargon then – but was in fact invited by the quite progressive UN-recognized Kabul government at the time, which essentially wanted roads, electricity, medical care, telecommunications, education.

As these staples of modernity would not be provided by Western institutions, the solution would have to come from Soviet socialism. That would imply a social revolution – a convoluted affair in a deeply pious Islamic nation – and, crucially, the end of feudalism.

“Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s imperial counterpunch worked because it manipulated Afghan feudal lords and their regimentation capacity – bolstered by immense funds (CIA, Saudis, Pakistani intel) – to give the USSR its Vietnam. None of these feudal lords were interested in the abolition of poverty and economic development in Afghanistan.

China is now picking up where the USSR left. Beijing, in close contact with the Taliban since early 2020, essentially wants to extend the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – one of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) flagship projects – to Afghanistan.

The first, crucial step will be the construction of the Kabul-Peshawar motorway – through the Khyber pass and the current border at Torkham. That will mean Afghanistan de facto becoming part of CPEC.

It’s all about regional integration at work. Kabul-Peshawar will be one extra CPEC node that already includes the construction of the ultra-strategic Tashkurgan airport in the Karakoram highway in Xinjiang, only 50 km away from the Pakistani border and also close to Afghanistan, as well as Gwadar harbor in Balochistan.

In early June, a trilateral China-Afghanistan-Pakistan meeting led the Chinese Foreign Ministry to unmistakably bet on the “peaceful recovery of Afghanistan”, with the joint statement welcoming “the early return of the Taliban to the political life of Afghanistan” and a pledge to “expand economic and trade ties”.

So there’s no way a dominant Taliban will refuse the Chinese drive to build infrastructure and energy projects geared towards regional economic integration, as long as they keep the country pacified and not subject to jihadi turbulence of the ISIS-Khorasan variety – capable of spilling over to Xinjiang.

The Chinese game play is clear: the Americans should not be able to exert influence over the new Kabul arrangement. It’s all about the strategic Afghan importance for BRI – and that is intertwined with discussions inside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), incidentally founded 20 years ago, and which for years has advocated for an “Asian solution” for the Afghan drama.

The discussions inside the SCO regard the NATO projection of the new Afghanistan as a jihadi paradise controlled by Islamabad as not more than wishful thinking nonsense.

It will be fascinating to watch how China, Pakistan, Iran, Russia and even India will fill the vacuum in the post-Forever Wars era in Afghanistan. It’s very important to remember that all these actors, plus the Central Asians, are full SCO members (or observers, in the case of Iran).

Tehran plausibly might interfere with potential imperial plans to bomb Afghanistan from the outside – whatever the motive. On another front, it’s unclear whether Islamabad or Moscow, for instance, would help the Taliban to take Bagram air base. What’s certain is that Russia will take the Taliban off its list of terrorist outfits.

Considering that the empire and NATO – via Turkey – will not be really leaving, a distinct future possibility is a SCO push, allied with the Taliban (Afghanistan is also a SCO observer) to secure the nation in their terms and concentrate on CPEC development projects. But the first step seems to be the hardest: how to form a real, solid, national coalition government in Kabul.

History may rule that Washington wanted Afghanistan to be the USSR’s Vietnam; decades later, it ended up getting its own second Vietnam, repeated as – what else – farce. A remixed Saigon moment is fast approaching. Yet another stage of the New Great Game in Eurasia is at hand.

‘Many US commentators have never BEEN to countries they comment on, see entire world from Washington perspective’ – Stephen Kinzer

moi

June 27, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Much of Western media is a mixture of sensationalist accusations and fear mongering about ‘enemy’ states. It is difficult to find perspectives divorced from US foreign policy, American journalist Stephen Kinzer has told RT.

I asked the author and journalist Stephen Kinzer how the corporate media came to be so devoid of honest content and discussed the rise of censorship by Big Tech.

Kinzer is a Boston Globe columnist and formerly a correspondent for the New York Times. With over two decades of experience reporting from around the world, including areas being targeted by American imperialism, Kinzer can offer a much needed critique on the state of journalism today.

He started as an independent journalist in Central America in the mid-70s, when few journalists were going there, later reporting from Central Asia, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Europe.

I’m sometimes asked why I developed a different perspective on the world than many other people who comment in the American press,” he told RT. “I always seem to be the skunk at the foreign policy garden party. Why is that?

Upon reflection, I think it has to do with the way that I learned about the world. Many people who write about the world in the United States learned about the world the same way: they went to international relations schools, they went to work on congressional staffs, then they worked at think tanks. And they’re very steeped in this Washington-centric view of the world.”

Unlike such journalists and commentators, Kinzer learned journalism by going places and writing firsthand what he saw and heard.

I learned about the world from the perspective of the people who were the victims of American foreign policy. I was in the places where people were getting bombed. I saw American foreign policy from the perspective of the rest of the world.”

Having myself learned journalism the same way, I appreciated his words. And I had a followup question about the concept of journalistic qualifications, something my detractors have claimed I lack.

According to Kinzer, there are many qualifications for being a journalist that are much more important than what school you went to or what you studied.

The most important one is independent thinking. The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative,” he said. 

In his view, many American journalists are merely stenographers. 

They’re sitting down at a press conference, they write down what some government spokesman says, then they go and print that in a newspaper. You hardly even need to have a sentient human there, you can get an algorithm to probably put most of those stories together.

And when you want to have a story that’s very well-sourced, they call the State Department, and the Defense Department, and several think tanks, and some congressmen. And they think, ‘Well I sure covered the landscape on this one!’”

But that, Kinzer argues, is not what covering the landscape is about. 

The great qualification you need for a journalist is the confidence to go out and see for yourself, and believe that your eyes are actually telling you more than press releases from some other country.

Indeed, much of the lies and war propaganda about Syria, for example, have come from journalists situated in Istanbul, Beirut, or North America, most who have never been to Syria, or if they have – not in the past decade.

It’s amazing to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are,” Kinzer said. “It’s because they are seeing the entire world from Washington’s perspective, and don’t think there is any other perspective worth having,” he added.

It’s truly amazing, I’ve seen the decline of this profession into such willing subservience. We don’t have any core of regular columnists or people trying to challenge established narratives. We do have voices that pop up periodically, but they’re so drowned out by the regular columnists who just voice the same tropes over and over again,” Kinzer said. 

The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most of what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.”

Tremendous desire of CIA to control news 

In 2014, German journalist and editor, Udo Ulfkotte, told RT he had been forced to publish works not written by him under his own name (or risk being fired), including things “written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.” 

According to Kinzer, the CIA “has had a massive, long-term effort to influence” the Western media dating back to the Cold War era. 

The CIA has placed its own people, people who are on its payroll, in the offices of major news outlets over many decades. There was a large project the CIA called ‘Operation Mockingbird’ aimed specifically at trying to influence the US press, and particularly what the US press writes about the world,” he said. 

He recalled that in 1954, “when the CIA was planning to overthrow the government of Guatemala… because its president was ‘communist’, a New York Times reporter there started writing stories saying that actually the president is not communist and that land reform is only answering a desperate need of starving Guatemalans.” 

At CIA Director Allen Dulles’ request, the publisher agreed to keep the correspondent, Sydney Gruson, out of Guatemala. 

Now that’s an extreme example. But, the motivation behind it is still there. There is a tremendous desire on the part of the CIA to control news.” 

While not surprised that the CIA would interfere in journalism, Kinzer was emphatic about his disgust that journalists toe the line.

What I don’t like is that journalists go along with this! Power has so many levers, why should journalists become yet another one of them. We are the ones that are supposed to be questioning. It’s the job of reporters not to submit themselves to that.

‘Press a button, and the narrative changes’

Kinzer also noted how media narratives can suddenly change, like a switch has been flipped. 

It’s so interesting that when power decides to change the narrative, it happens right away.

I can remember just six months ago turning on my PBS News Hour, in the US, and seeing a very longreport with General Dunford and Kelly Ayotte and a bunch of these right wingers who had come up with a big report about Afghanistan. And it was about why we can’t leave Afghanistan, we have to stay. It was a 10-minute report, and no other voices, nobody came on to say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s nonsense.’ Everybody was saying, ‘We have to stay in Afghanistan forever.’

Suddenly, the president of the United States decides, OK, we’re gonna withdraw. And now, suddenly, it’s acceptable to say, ‘That whole Afghanistan thing was a disaster.’ Somebody just has to press a button, then the narrative changes, then everybody is allowed to say what the president said. But if you had said it one day before, you would have been in a lot of trouble.

You have to wait for the general narrative to change, then you can change your narrative, but don’t do it until power tells you it is acceptable to change.”

Later in our conversation, he gave the example of writing about Israel, which he said was hard to do, until recently.

Suddenly, in recent weeks even, it’s become a little more OK to be critical of Israeli policies, because some people in Washington are now a little more critical.

Big Tech censorship on the rise

In the past several years, there has been an increase in social media giants deciding what content is acceptable and what “violates” so-called “community standards.” And as I wrote recently, it has gotten to the point where Twitter issues scary warnings about “unsafe” or “spammy” content from websites the social media platform deems dangerous, potentially scaring readers away. 

Commenting on the matter, Kinzer said that “the power of private companies to decide what people see and don’t see is greater now than ever.

As for censorship by the outlets he has written for, Kinzer said he was lucky to be writing from places that editors really didn’t have the knowledge to tell him how to report. “Nobody called me and said ‘I know everything about Uzbekistan and this is wrong.’”

That said, he does maintain that in writing his columns, some subjects are either taboo or you would have to frame them in the usual anti-Russia manner common in Western media.

It’s very hard to get a story in the American press about Russia that’s anything other than fitting into the cliches. I’ve had trouble writing about Russia, because the narrative that Putin is something other than a killer is not welcome in the United States. And I’ve had trouble writing about Syria. And of course, it’s very difficult to write about Israel.

Lather, rinse, repeat

On the 10-year anniversary of the war on Syria, I wrote about how, mind-bogglingly, Western media and pundits continue to repeat the cliched and debunked rhetoric and lies that have been recycled year after year.

Kinzer addressed this technique, the repetition of narratives.

I had an editor at the New York Times years ago who told me: A lot of journalism is about repetition. And boy does the American press do that. We have been told certain things about certain countries so many times over. And it just seems like the truth.

“‘The evils that have taken hold of Russia. The daily genocide that’s happening under the killers in Syria…’ You don’t need to go, you don’t need to check, it’s just like the air, it’s like an obvious fact.

I even see it in what’s happened to the Pulitzer Prize for International Journalism,” he said, adding that in 2020 it “predictably” went to a series of reports on “how evil Russia is” and this year – to a series of reports on “how evil China is.” 

The Pulitzer, he argued, is supposed to encourage original reporting, “not people that just scribble down what officials say, and then put it in nicer prose, and use phrases that are calculated to make people believe that government opinion is actual fact.

The job of journalists is to rebel against the narrative. We are out there as the eyes and ears of the world. If you don’t want to do it, fine, but don’t pretend that you’re doing it, and sit in your little cubicle and think of the stereotypes you’ve been fed and just regurgitate them. That is not journalism, it’s just public relations.”

In conclusion, Kinzer recalled a quote by Mark Twain: “The majority is always wrong. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

Indeed, time and again when the majority has written about “weapons of mass destruction,” “chemical attacks,” Iraqi troops “killing babies in incubators,” and other Washington-contrived narratives, those courageous few who have stood up against those lies-based-narratives have proven to be honest journalists. 

If only more journalists would follow.  

America’s Soup-Brained President Says the U.S. Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections

America’s Soup-Brained President Says the U.S. Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections

June 17, 2021

By Caitlin JOHNSTONE

During an astonishingly sycophantic press conference after the Geneva summit with Vladimir Putin, President Biden posited an entirely hypothetical scenario about what the world would think of the United States if it were interfering in foreign elections and everybody knew it.

When AP’s Jonathan Lemire asked the president of the most powerful government in the world what “consequences” he’d threatened the Russian leader with should the Kremlin interfere in US elections going forward, Biden meandered his way through one of his signature not-quite-lucid word salads, and then said the following:

“Let’s get this straight: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.”

The fact that the entire press corps did not erupt in side-splitting laughter at this ridiculous utterance is in itself proof that western news media is pure propaganda. The United States has directly interfered in scores of foreign elections since it began its ascent to global domination at the end of the second World War, to say nothing of all the coups, color revolutions, proxy conflicts and regime change military invasions it has also participated in during that time. The US openly interfered in Russia’s elections in the nineties, and literally just tried to stage a coup in Bolivia by interfering in its democratic process. The US is far and away the single most egregious offender in the world on this front, which is largely why it is perceived around the world as a greater threat to democracy than any other government.

This is not a secret, internationally or in the United States. Anyone who has done any learning about the US government’s actual behavior on the world stage knows this. Hell, a former CIA director openly joked about it on Fox News a few years ago.

Fox’s Laura Ingraham unsurprisingly introduced former CIA Director James Woolsey as “an old friend” in a 2018 interview about Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 alleged members of a Russian troll farm, in which Woolsey unsurprisingly talked about how dangerous Russian “disinformation” is and Ingraham unsurprisingly said that everyone should actually be afraid of China. What was a bit surprising, though, was what happened at the end of the interview.

“Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” Ingraham asked in response to Woolsey’s Russia remarks.

“Oh, probably,” Woolsey said with a grin. “But it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the communists from taking over. For example, in Europe, in ’47, ’48, ’49, the Greeks and the Italians we CIA-”

“We don’t do that anymore though?” Ingraham interrupted. “We don’t mess around in other people’s elections, Jim?”

Woolsey smiled and said said “Well…”, followed by a joking incoherent mumble, adding, “Only for a very good cause.”

And then they both laughed.

The fact that not one person in the press pool questioned or criticized Biden’s outrageous remarks tells you everything you need to know about the western media and what its real function is. This is further illustrated by the rest of the behavior of these odious propagandists during the summit, which was illustrated quite well by the glowing praise of Democratic Party insider Andrea Chalupa on Twitter:

“The winners of #GenevaSummit2021 are the White House press corp,” Chalupa said. “Excellent questions confronting Putin and challenging Biden on holding a summit with a ruthless dictator. And they literally held their ground when shoved by Putin’s security and propagandists.”

That actually says it all. Western reporters are forbidden by their oligarchic owners from ever confronting power in any meaningful way; the closest they’re ever allowed to get to punching up is challenging the leaders of CIA-targeted governments, and demanding to know why their own officials aren’t being more hawkish and aggressive toward those leaders.

As RT’s Murad Gazdiev pointed out, “ABC, NBC, BBC, CNN, and many other Western outlets were invited for Putin’s press conference. No Russian media was invited to Biden’s press conference.” The whole thing was a navel-gazing, masturbatory cold war propaganda orgy where western “journalists” made up fantasies about their soup-brained leader staring down Putin, where they yelled nonsense about Alexei Navalny at the Russian president and then fangirled at Biden’s response.

Can anyone imagine a US corporate journalist screaming at Biden: “Why do you fear Assange so much?”

Always easy to condemn the acts of the governments your country tells you to see as Enemy. Much harder – and way more meaningful – to challenge your own government’s repression. https://t.co/CtzeU37pn3

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 16, 2021

Real journalists go to Belmarsh Prison for exposing US war crimes. Western propagandists ask Putin why he’s such a doodoo dumb dumb poopy head and then dream about Pulitzers all night.

Western news media exists to funnel propaganda into the minds of the public. It is controlled by plutocrats who work in alliance with opaque government agencies to weave narratives about why the US government needs to do the things it had already planned on doing anyway. This gets more obvious by the day.

caityjohnstone.medium.com

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

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

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

Chris Hedges: Julian Assange and the Collapse of the Rule of Law

June 11th, 2021

Julian Assange Feature photo

By Chris Hedges

Source

Chris Hedges gave this talk at a rally Thursday night in New York City in support of Julian Assange. John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s father and brother, also spoke at the event, which was held at The People’s Forum.

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice.

This why we are here tonight.  Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian decry his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family.  Yes, we demand that the many wrongs and injustices that have been visited upon him be ended.  Yes, we honor him up for his courage and his integrity. But the battle for Julian’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 Julian 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 Julian, 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 Julian 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.

I was in the London courtroom when Julian was being tried by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in Alice-in Wonderland demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison.  There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian 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 U.S. government directed, as Craig Murray so eloquently documented, the London prosecutor James Lewis.  Lewis presented these directives to Baraitser.  Baraitser adopted them as her legal decision.  It was judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they were not attempting to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press while they busily set up the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press. And that is why the court worked so hard to mask the proceedings from the public, limiting access to the courtroom to a handful of observers and making it hard and at times impossible to access the trial online.  It was a tawdry show trial, not an example of the best of English jurisprudence but the Lubyanka.

Now, I know many of us here tonight would like to think of ourselves as radicals, maybe even revolutionaries.  But what we are demanding on the political spectrum is in fact conservative, it is the restoration of the rule of law.  It is simple and basic. It should not, in a functioning democracy, be incendiary.  But living in truth in a despotic system is the supreme act of defiance.  This truth terrifies those in power.

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 illegitimate.  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 Julian, 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.

Shortly after 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 U.S. checkpoints—the towering civil rights attorneys Len Weinglass and my good friend Michael Ratner, who I would later accompany to meet Julian in the Ecuadoran Embassy, met with Julian in a studio apartment in Central London.  Julian’s personal bank cards had been blocked. Three encrypted laptops with documents detailing US war crimes had disappeared from his luggage in route to London. Swedish police were fabricating a case against him in a move, Ratner warned, that was about extraditing Julian to the United States.

“WikiLeaks and you personally are facing a battle that is both legal and political,” Weinglass told Assange. “As we learned in the Pentagon Papers case, the US government doesn’t like the truth coming out. And it doesn’t like to be humiliated. No matter if it’s Nixon or Bush or Obama, Republican or Democrat in the White House. The US government will try to stop you from publishing its ugly secrets. And if they have to destroy you and the First Amendment and the rights of publishers with you, they are willing to do it. We believe they are going to come after WikiLeaks and you, Julian, as the publisher.”

“Come after me for what?” asked Julian.

“Espionage,” Weinglass continued. “They’re going to charge Bradley Manning with treason under the Espionage Act of 1917. We don’t think it applies to him because he’s a whistleblower, not a spy. And we don’t think it applies to you either because you are a publisher. But they are going to try to force Manning into implicating you as his collaborator.”

“Come after me for what?

That is the question.

They came after Julian not for his vices, but his virtues.

They came after Julian because he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians; because he exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo; because 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; because 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; because 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, that they authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of U.S. citizens in Yemen, and that they secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians; because 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; because he exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party; because 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.

Julian 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 they came after Julian, as they have come after all who dared rip back the veil on power.  “Red Rosa now has vanished too. …” Bertolt Brecht wrote after the German socialist Rosa Luxemburg was murdered. “She told the poor what life is about, And so the rich have rubbed her out.”

We have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where we, as citizens, are nothing more than commodities to corporate systems of power, ones to be used, fleeced and discarded. To refuse to fight back, to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet from ecocide, to decry the domestic and international crimes of the ruling class, to demand justice, to live in truth, is to bear the mark of Cain. Those in power must feel our wrath, and this means constant acts of mass civil disobedience, it means constant acts of social and political disruption, for this organized power from below is the only power that will save us and the only power that will free Julian.  Politics is a game of fear.  It is our moral and civic duty to make those in power very, very afraid.

The criminal ruling class has all of us locked in its death grip.  It cannot be reformed.  It has abolished the rule of law.  It obscures and falsifies the truth. It seeks the consolidation of its obscene wealth and power. And so, to quote the Queen of Hearts, metaphorically of course, I say, “Off with their heads.”

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

Did the US just try to murder Lukashenko? (OPEN THREAD #14) (UPDATED)

April 19, 2021

Amazing news over the week-end: President Lukashenko has declared that Biden gave the order to kill him in a coup organized by the CIA.  Now, we all know that Lukashenko says all sorts of things, many of them false or plain silly.  Except that the Russian FSB has confirmed it all!  According to the Russians, a joint operation of the (Bielorussian) KGB and the Russian FSB has uncovered the plot early on and the Russians monitored the full operation until they had enough evidence to arrest all the plotters.  Not only do the Russians have videos of their meetings, they also intercepted their Zoom videoconferences (Zoom users, use Jitsi instead!).

So far so good.  But it gets better!

Unlike the US/UK and others, the Russian FSB did not say that they were “confident” that it was “highly likely” that this operation took place.  They released all the footage of a meeting of the plotters in Moscow which confirms it all (I don’t have the time to translate that footage, but I am confident that somebody will – if you come across an English language translation, please post it in the comments section below!).

One not familiar with such operations might be baffled over why this meeting took place in Moscow and not in Warsaw or Riga.  There are several reasons for that:

  • There is a practically open border between Belarus and Russia, which form “а unified state”, and there is nothing easier for the (supposed) Bielorussian traitors (from the military) to jump in a car and get to Moscow.
  • Using Warsaw or Riga would dramatically reduce what the CIA calls “plausible deniability” for the US and NATO.
  • Yes, meeting in Moscow was still stupid, but no more stupid than the failed US coup to do to Maduro when the US did exactly what they tried to do to Lukashenko.  The fact that both operations failed is par for the course for the (mostly clueless) CIA.
  • The main plotter, a very well-known anti-Lukashenko activist, is a double national Bielorussian and US American and for him to move to Minsk for that meeting would be very dangerous.
  • Last, but not least, the Bielorussian KGB operates in a very tightly controlled Bielorussian society whereas Russian is an open and liberal society, so one could have (mistakenly) thought that a meeting in Moscow would have been a better idea.

Interesting story, no?

Also, if you wonder whether it is credible that the FSB saved Lukashenko – I will remind you that it was the Russians who saved Erdogan from a US-backed coup which was also supposed to include Erdogan’s murder (the Turks practically admitted it publicly several times).

But it gets even better!

As soon as the accusation of a CIA plan to murder Lukashenko in a coup came out, they did what they always do: denied it against all evidence and created a huge distraction: the US colony known as the “Czech Republic” declared that the explosion of a weapons depot in the Czech Republic in 2014 was a Russian sabotage involving…   … wait for it… … drum roll…. the very same Petrov and Boshirov whom the UK accused of poisoning the Skripals!

Friends, the Czechs released this story withing ONE HOUR of the Bielorussian news!  One hour, seriously!

The Czechs immediately expelled 18 Russian diplomats and the Russian reciprocated by expelling 20 Czech diplomats leaving only 5 in Moscow.  So if we use the English expression about the “shitting hitting the fan”, then it would also be fair to refer to the Czechs as “shit shields” for the Empire 🙂

By the way, the official Czech investigation in 2014 concluded that the explosion was caused by negligence, not sabotage but, really, who cares?  After all, look at these accusations, all as unproven and as silly as this one: (partial list in no special order)

  • Russian invaded the Donbass
  • Russia shot down MH-17
  • Russia tried to poison the Skripals
  • Russia murdered Berezovskii
  • Russia tried to poison Litvenenko
  • Russia tried to poison Navalnyi
  • Russia murdered Boris Nemtsov
  • Russia murdered Politkovskaia
  • Russia tried to poison Yushchenko
  • Russia interfered in two US elections
  • Russia hacked the DNC computers
  • Russia paid Afghans to kill US soliders
  • The Russian shot down the aircraft of the Polish president over Smolensk
  • The Russian tried to organize a coup in Montenegro
  • The Russians organized the movement for an independent Catalonia

To repeat, none, NONE of these accusations were ever proven or even substantiated.  ALL of these accusations are solely based on the putatively undeniable credibility of the western special services.

And, of course, the western “Russia experts” all fully endorsed this nonsense (hey, that is what these so-called “experts” are paid to do; as somebody who once was a member of the IISS, I know these “experts” and their “expertise” well enough – I even resigned from the IISS in protest over its total subservience to US anti-Russian narratives).

And people who call themselves “democrats” and people capable of critical thought buy all this shit with no doubts whatsoever, none.  They don’t even see how pathetic and clueless they really are…

So the Czechs (and their US masters) are running a well rehearsed and “safe” track because they all know that the western audience is fully accustomed to hear the following:

We accuse Russia of X, we say that our special services have evidence, but we won’t present any; as for the western media, they will, of course, trust the western special services, because they are “democratic” and, therefore, “trustworthy” (Iraq anybody?!).

Another trick, which the Czechs used in this case, is this: on the first day announce urbi et orbi that “we will soon release all the incontrovertible evidence we have” and then simply declare it classified because it is important not to show the Russians the evidence of their own, putatively Russian, operation.  As for the western press, they, of course, simply forget about that and go onto the the next Russia bashing story.

It is simple, but with the kind of sheep the western regimes deal with, it is also effective.

Finally, when truly desperate, you can count on the MI6 run Bellincat to get their “evidence”, I kid you not, from the social media on the Internet.

And, again, the western sheep “eat it all up”, with appetite and gusto!  Sic transit gloria mundi indeed!

Still, accusing the self same two putative GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov shows how desperate the Czechs were too cook up some story literally overnight.  Now they look stupid beyond any conceivable explanations for such a massive and, frankly, hilarious faceplant.

Will the people of the Czech Republic now revolt in outrage against the sheer idiocy of their leaders?  Nah, of course not.  After all, we are living in a post-truth (and, I would argue, post-logical) world where the only thing which matters is to follow the SS motto of “my honor is fidelity” and blind obedience to the masters of the day.

What about the US in all this?  Would “Biden” really be crazy enough to try to murder a foreign leader?

Well, as I like to say, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, right?  How many foreign leaders has the CIA actually murdered and how many did she only try, and fail, to murder?  (Note: somebody ought to compare the number of foreign leaders murdered by the US and the USSR.  I am sure that the comparison would be both shocking and very telling).  How about the official (White House admitted) murder of General Soleimani?  Was that operation not far more dangerous than to use locals to try to assassinate a weakened and embattled leader like Lukashenko?

So, you tell me: true story of “Russian disinformation”?

The Saker

PS: in case you wonder, the Russians are laughing hysterically and scratching their heads wondering what in the world happened to a once civilized western society.

PPS: by the way, the Russian FSB also arrested the Ukie consul in Saint Petersburg at the moment when he was receiving classified information from what he thought was an agent.  He will be expelled.  It was a great week end for the FSB – there will be lost of medals handed out for this good work.

UPDATE1:  Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry’s chief spokeswoman has now officially confirmed it all on Russian TV.

UPDATE2: The Kremlin just confirmed the Putin and Biden discussed this topic during their telephone conference.

UPDATE3: Got to love the western media, not a word about the coup, all about the Czech fairy tale.

U.S. Joins Past Empires in Afghan Graveyard

President Biden announced a removal of all U.S. troops by September 11, but he failed to include some important details.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies

Global Research, April 16, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

An Afghan taxi-driver in Vancouver told one of us a decade ago that this day would come. “We defeated the Persian Empire in the eighteenth century, the British in the nineteenth, the Soviets in the twentieth. Now, with NATO, we’re fighting twenty-eight countries, but we’ll defeat them, too,” said the taxi-driver, surely not a member of the Taliban, but quietly proud of his country’s empire-killing credentials. 

Now, after nearly twenty years of a war that has been as bloody and futile as all those previous invasions and occupations, the last 3,500 U.S. troops and their NATO brothers-in-arms will be coming home from Afghanistan.

President Joe Biden tried to spin this as the United States leaving because it has achieved its objectives, bringing the terrorists responsible for 9/11 to justice and ensuring that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for a future attack on the United States. “We achieved those objectives,” Biden said. “Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is degraded. It’s time to end the forever war.”

What Biden did not admit is that the United States and its allies, with all their money and firepower, were unable to vanquish the Taliban, who currently control about half of Afghanistan and are positioned to control even more in the coming months without a ceasefire. Nor did Biden admit that, in two decades, the United States and its allies have been unable to build up a stable, democratic, popular government or a competent military in the country.

Like the U.S.S.R., the U.S. is leaving in defeat, having squandered the lives of countless Afghans, 2,488 U.S. troops and personnel, and trillions of dollars.

A U.S. withdrawal—especially one not based on conditions on the ground—is, nevertheless, a bold move for Biden. He is going against the advice of the U.S. intelligence community and top Pentagon officials, including the head of the U.S.-Afghan Forces and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Biden is also coming under attack from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Senator Mitch McConnell artfully slammed Biden’s decision, accusing him of helping U.S. enemies “ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift-wrapping the country and handing it right back to them.” Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the withdrawal “undermines our commitment to the Afghan people, particularly Afghan women.”U.S. Joins “Rules-Based World” on Afghanistan

But while Biden is being pilloried by some for pulling out too soon, the truth is that he is violating a May 1 deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal that was painstakingly negotiated under the Trump Administration.

Ironically, Biden acknowledged in his speech on Wednesday that the withdrawal agreement the United States signed with the Taliban in February 2020 was a solemn commitment, but then he said U.S. forces would begin their withdrawal on May 1 and complete it by September 11, which is not what was agreed to.

After it was clear that the United States was going to break the May 1 withdrawal agreement, Mohammad Naeem, the Taliban spokesperson in Qatar, issued a statement that the Taliban would now not take part in the ten days of U.N.-led peace talks scheduled to begin in Istanbul on April 24, nor would it take part in any further peace negotiations until the last foreign soldiers leave Afghanistan.

This is a reversion to the Taliban’s long-standing position that it would not negotiate with a government backed by foreign occupation forces.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad spent years of his life negotiating with the Taliban to arrive at the 2020 withdrawal agreement. Secretary Blinken took a potentially historic step back from U.S. unilateralism when he invited the United Nations to lead a new Afghan peace process. And Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov set the stage for a ceasefire and a peaceful transition of power by bringing the two Afghan warring parties together in Moscow in March, where they agreed to keep talking.

By reneging on the May 1 deadline, President Biden has squandered much of the hard-won goodwill and trust that was painstakingly built up through these diplomatic efforts. It was not impossible to meet the May 1 deadline. The Trump Administration was steadily withdrawing troops, Biden’s transition began in November, and he’s been President since late January.

It is also unclear whether the United States will continue the war by providing airpower for the Afghan military and carrying out covert operations. Throughout these two decades, the United States has dropped more than 80,000 bombs on Afghanistan and waged a secret war with special forces, CIA operatives, mercenaries, and paramilitary units. Ending U.S. airstrikes and covert operations is as vital to peace as withdrawing U.S. troops.

It’s true that a U.S. withdrawal may lead to setbacks in the gains made by Afghan women and girls. But those gains have been mainly in the capital city of Kabul. Two thirds of girls in Afghanistan still receive no primary education, and Afghan women will never achieve significant advances while their country remains at war.

The United States and NATO military presence has made an end to violence impossible for twenty years, as the Taliban have long made clear that they will keep fighting as long as their country is under foreign occupation. And as long as the U.S. continues to prop up a weak, corrupt government in Kabul, instability and political fragmentation is inevitable.

Ending the fighting and investing a small fraction of U.S. war spending in education and health care would do far more to improve the lives of Afghan women and girls.

The United Nations, even with the full support and cooperation of the United States, will have its work cut out to convince the Taliban to rejoin talks. If the U.N. fails to negotiate a lasting ceasefire before the occupation forces withdraw, the U.S. and its NATO allies will be leaving a country still at war with the Taliban, the Afghan government, and various warlords vying for power.

We must hope that, in the coming months, the U.N. will find a way to bring the warring parties in Afghanistan together and craft a ceasefire and a workable peace process based on power sharing. After so many decades of war and intense suffering, much of it perpetrated by the United States and its allies, the Afghan people desperately need—and deserve—an end to this war.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on The Progressive.

Medea Benjamin is co-director of the peace group CODEPINK. Her latest book is Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of “Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.” He is a researcher for CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and a freelance writer.

A School for Spooks: The London University Department Churning Out NATO Spies

April 16th, 2021

By Alan Macleod

Source

Alan Macleod uncovers the deep links between the British security state and the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, responsible for training a large number of British, American, and European agents and defense analysts.

LONDON — Last week, MintPress exposed how the supposedly independent investigative collective Bellingcat is, in fact, funded by a CIA cutout organization and filled with former spies and state intelligence operatives. However, one part of the story that has remained untold until now is Bellingcat’s close ties to the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, an institution with deep links to the British security state and one that trains a large number of British, American and European agents and defense analysts.

A school for spooks

A prestigious university located in the heart of London, King’s College has, in its own words, “a number of contracts and agreements with various departments within government, including the Cabinet Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Ministry of Defence.” Some of those contracts are up to 10 years long. The university has so far refused to elaborate on the agreements, telling investigative news outlet Declassified UK that doing so could undermine U.K. security services.

A 2009 study published by the CIA spoke approvingly of how beneficial it can be to “use universities as a means of intelligence training,” noting that, “exposure to an academic environment, such as the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, can add several elements that may be harder to provide within the government system.” The paper, written by two King’s College staffers, is essentially a request to the agency to send more of its recruits there, and boasts about how the department’s staff have “extensive and well-rounded intelligence experience” and how their programs “offer a containing space in which analysts from every part of the community can explore with each other the interplay of ideas about their profession.”

In 2013, former CIA Director Leon Panetta took time out of his schedule as then-secretary of defense to visit the Department of War Studies, where he expressed his profound gratitude to the unit. “I deeply appreciate the work that you do to train and to educate our future national security leaders, many of whom are in this audience,” he said, before adding that it was those young leaders who must ensure that NATO had the creativity, innovation and the commitment to develop and share capabilities in order to meet future security threats, citing the need to expand into tech, surveillance and cyberwarfare.

CIA Kings College
Former CIA head Leon Panetta exits King’s College after giving a speech in 2013. Photo | DVIDS

It was this department that Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins joined in 2018 as visiting research associate, with Bellingcat maintaining a close relationship with it to this day.

After studying their writers’ backgrounds, MintPress can confirm that no fewer than six Bellingcat employees or contributors — including Cameron ColquhounJacob BeedersLincoln PigmanAliaume LeroyChristiaan Triebert and senior investigator Nick Waters — all pursued postgraduate studies within the department, the most popular being the “Conflict, Security and Development” degree overseen by Professor Mats Berdal.

For 13 years, Professor Berdal was employed by the Norwegian Defence University College, Norway’s version of West Point. Berdal is one of a host of King’s College War Studies academics who previously taught there, including one who continues to be an officer in the Norwegian Armed Forces, serving in multiple NATO conflicts in the Middle East.

While many in the West picture Norway as a peaceful, enlightened nation, the country is actually a key driving force within NATO; former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is the organization’s current secretary general. Sending troops and other assistance, it was the U.S.’ partner in attacks on Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. Norway has among the highest per capita military spending in Europe and is one of the minority of NATO members to exceed the defense spending benchmark of 2% of GDP.

A network of pro-war think tanks

Before joining King’s College, Professor Berdal was Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), one of the world’s most influential think tanks. Also situated in central London, the organization is directly funded by NATO and its member states, as well as by major weapons manufacturers such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Raytheon. In 2016, the IISS was the subject of a major scandal after it was found to have secretly accepted £25 million — around $34 million — from the government of Bahrain.

Founded in 1958, the IISS provided much of the intellectual basis behind the Cold War scaremongering around Soviet military capacity, thereby pushing NATO members to spend more on arms. On its advisory board are a former NATO secretary general, the former chief of defense intelligence for the Israeli Defense Forces, and, until recently, the CEO of Lockheed Martin. Today, the think tank is a major driver in the increasing hostility towards ChinaRussia and North Korea. A number of other current Department of War Studies academics have held positions at the IISS as well. Indeed, King’s College boasts that one of the “key benefits” of studying there is its “established links” with the IISS.

A second pro-war think tank with which King’s College prides itself on working closely is the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI). RUSI’s funding comes from many of the same sources as the IISS’s. Its senior vice president is retired American General David Petraeus and its chairman is Lord Hague, Britain’s secretary of state from 2010 to 2015.

A host of King’s College academics — including Jack SpenceBenedict WilkinsonBrian Holden-ReidWalter LadwigThomas Maguire and Neil Melvin — have also held positions at RUSI. Perhaps the most notable King’s College-RUSI crossover is Professor Sir David Omand, who was formerly the think tank’s vice president, as well as the head of GCHQ, Britain’s version of the NSA.

Source | RUSI

Bellingcat writer Dan Kaszeta is an associate fellow at the organization. Bellingcat, RUSI and King’s College often cite each other in papers and reports, providing something of a united front on controversial issues of statecraft.

One man who links the IISS and RUSI together is Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, a key member of the Department of War Studies who went on to become King College’s vice principal. A powerful figure in British politics, Freedman contributed to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s 1999 speech in which he established the Blair Doctrine, a maxim that NATO could and should militarily intervene anywhere in the world to stop human rights violations.

A rogues’ gallery

For an institution that prides itself on cultivating independent thought, there exists a remarkable overlap between the staff of the Department of War Studies and the innermost halls of power of the British state. Professor John Gearson, for example, was principal defence policy adviser to the Defense Select Committee at the House of Commons, a senior adviser to the Ministry of Defense, and taught terrorism and asymetric warfare to military officers at the U.K. Defense Academy.

Another professor, Michael Goodman, is a current British Army reservist and formerly the Official Historian of the Joint Intelligence Committee (a body that oversees Britain’s intelligence organizations).

Visiting professors include Paul Rimmer, who was deputy chief of defence intelligence until last year; Lord Robertson, who was secretary general of NATO at the time of the Afghanistan invasion; and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former minister of defense. The longtime cabinet member was the creator of the Rifkind Doctrine — the controversial British policy on nuclear weapons. Rifkind rejected the idea that the country should use atomic missiles only as a last resort after being attacked, insisting that he could also use them simply to “deliver an unmistakable message of Britain’s willingness to defend her vital interests.”

Vera Michlin-Shapir
King’s College visiting fellow Vera Michlin-Shapir moderates a panel in Tel Aviv on the future of post-war Syria. Photo | INSS

It is not just British officials who teach King’s College students, however. Christopher Kolenda, for instance, was commander of an 800-man strong U.S. task force in Afghanistan, where he “pioneered innovative approaches to counterinsurgency” according to his bio at the hawkish think tank the Center for New American Security (CNAS), where he is a senior fellow. CNAS recently released a report calling for more “innovative” use of what it called “coercive economic statecraft,” (i.e., sanctions) and continues to saber rattle against China and Russia.

Between 2009 and 2010, Kolenda was a strategic advisor to COMISAF, the Commander of International Security Assistance Force. In plain English, he provided some of the brains behind the occupation of Afghanistan. Before pursuing a role in academia, he was also a senior advisor to Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and three 4-star generals. Flournoy was President Joe Biden’s first choice to run the Pentagon.

The department also contains a number of Israeli academics, including Vera Michlin-Shapir, a former official in her country’s National Security Council who worked in the prime minister’s office. Meanwhile Ofer Fridman served as an officer in the IDF between 1999 and 2011, during which time it was carrying out some of its worst war crimes against Palestine and Lebanon. After leaving the IDF, Fridman became an arms dealer, becoming the head of non-lethal weapons at LHB Ltd., which describes itself as “the leading company in Israel for security and defense advanced solutions.” In 2016, King’s College also hosted a lecture by the former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli secret police force.

The department has links to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well, with one senior research fellow, Nawaf Obaid, a former special advisor to the Saudi Ambassador in the U.K. and Ireland and a consultant at the Royal Court in Riyadh.

Weapons spending good, Russia bad.

While the department’s staff are concerning enough, much of King’s College academic output is even more troubling, and appears to be completely in line with that of NATO and weapons contractors. One study named “A benefit, not a burden: The security, economic and strategic value of Britain’s defence industry,” for instance, reads like a press release from Raytheon, extolling how many people the industry employs. The report claimed that remaining one of the world’s top arms manufacturers was crucial in “build[ing] a secure and resilient U.K. and to help shape a stable world.” “Without a vibrant and thriving domestic defence industrial base,” it warned, “there is a risk that the U.K. will jeopardise its freedom to act in an unstable, fast-changing world,” concluding that the government should protect or “ideally expand” its defense spending budget.

report from last August also lobbied the government to invest in making the United Kingdom a “leading nation for space.” “Investment in space surveillance capacity is key to seizing the commercial and diplomatic opportunities offered by space while defending U.K. economic and security interests,” it concludes. Surprisingly, the report insists that it would take only a “modest investment” from the government to turn Great Britain into a leading force in a rapidly expanding market.

King’s College also published a study, titled “The future strategic direction of NATO,” advising that the organization “urgently needs a coherent policy on China” and that it must re-up its commitment to countering Russia. It recommends that the majority of member states increase their military budgets and that they must “share the burden of responsibility on nuclear weapons” by allowing the U.S. to store missiles inside their territories.

Meanwhile, their 2018 report “Weaponizing news: RT, Sputnik and targeted disinformation” analyzes Russian state-backed media outlets and accuses them of carrying out a campaign of “information-psychological warfare” over its coverage of contentious events such as the alleged Skripal poisoning and the wars in Ukraine and Syria. The report claims Russian media is turning news into a weapon by projecting an image of strength and stability while highlighting flaws in Western democracies. While praising the work of Bellingcat and disinfo outlet “Prop or Not,” it concludes by advising that the West must “use technical means to prevent propaganda.”

Thomas Rid King's College
King’s College professor Thomas Rid testifies before a Senate committee on Russian meddling. Photo | CSPAN

These technical solutions, we now know, have largely entailed NATO indirectly taking control of social media. In 2018, Facebook announced that NATO’s cutout organization, the Atlantic Council, was becoming its “eyes and ears,” giving it significant control over curating its news feed, supposedly in an attempt to limit disinformation. Yet many of the most lurid stories around RussiaGate were started by the Council itself, which pumped out report after report accusing virtually every political movement in Europe outside the establishment beltway as being the “Kremlin’s Trojan Horses.”

King’s College staff have also been crucial in propagating the idea of Russian interference in American politics, with Professor Thomas Rid testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the “dark art” of Russian meddling, and condemning WikiLeaks and alternative media journalists as unwitting agents of disinformation. Rid previously described 2016 as the “biggest election hack in U.S. history.”

Earlier this year, Facebook also hired former NATO press officer and Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Ben Nimmo as head of its intelligence team. Meanwhile Reddit appointed former Atlantic Council Deputy Director of Middle Eastern Strategy Jessica Ashooh as its head of policy. And Eliot Higgins, of course, was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council as well. In recent years, social media giants like Facebook and Google have radically altered their algorithms, demoting content from adversarial nations, but also attacking alternative media that challenge the power of NATO and the national security state.

Today, the Department of War Studies hosted an online seminar with two senior NATO officials who discussed what they saw as Russia and China’s increasingly aggressive actions, as well as new ways in which NATO can secure its control over the internet.

A military-academic-journalistic nexus

What is being described is a network of military, think-tank and media units all working towards furthering the goals of the national security state. Bellingcat regularly holds seminars and courses at King’s College, teaching the next generation of state officials how to use big-data and surveillance tools.

While King’s College provides an academic veneer for the national security state, Bellingcat provides a journalistic one. This cluster of think tanks, academic reports, and newsy investigative articles all cite one another as credible, independent sources when, in reality, they are all part of the same network furthering an agenda. It should be noted that this was an investigation into just one department in one school in one college of the University of London. The links to the highest levels of power were so profound and so manifold that it often seemed harder to find someone in the department who was not linked to military or intelligence communities. Thus, one could be forgiven for mistaking the Department of War Studies for a department of war mongers.

RUSSIAN-SYRIAN GAS CONTRACT HINTS AT SYRIA’S RECOVERY

Source

 09.04.2021

Russian-Syrian Gas Contract Hints At Syria’s Recovery

Submitted by Steven Sahiounie.

The Syrian government signed a 4-year contract in March with Capital Limited, a Russian firm, to conduct oil and gas exploration in the area known as block No. 1 in the Syrian exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of the Tartous province.

The disputed maritime area covers 2,250 square kilometers on the Syrian-Lebanese maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea.

Large reservoirs of natural gas have been discovered under the seafloor of the eastern Mediterranean and the neighboring nations and energy exploration companies are eager to exploit these gas deposits.

The Levantine basin has proven reserves of more than 60 trillion cubic feet of gas. The US Geological Survey has estimated that 1.7 billion barrels of oil lie in the basin, and as much as 122 trillion cubic feet of gas. That amount of gas is equivalent to about 76 years of gas consumption in the European Union (EU).javascript:window[“$iceContent”]

Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels and serves as a transition fuel towards more renewables, and to replace coal and nuclear electric generation across the EU.  Gas is the energy of demand for the EU, which is the biggest emerging gas market in the world.

In December 2013, Damascus entered into a major agreement with Moscow to explore oil and gas in the offshore territorial waters for 25 years.  Drilling and exploration costs were estimated at $100 million.  Russia would finance these activities with expenditures recovered from eventual production.

The 2013 deal for gas exploration involved Russia’s SoyuzNefteGaz; however, the current contract involves two Russian companies, Capital Limited and East Med Amrit.

The area in which Russian companies are being allowed to operate is disputed by the Lebanese, with the maritime borders drawn by the Syrians, especially in Block No. 1, overlapping significantly with Block No. 1 and Block No. 2 on the Lebanese side, and encroaching approximately 750 square kilometers within Lebanon’s maritime border.

Lebanon was busy demarcating its southern maritime and land borders with Israel for years, without making any progress.

On April 6, Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe said that Lebanese President Michel Aoun held a phone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss the demarcation of maritime borders between the two countries. Wehbe said Aoun confirmed in his call with Assad that “Lebanon won’t accept to diminish from its sovereignty over its waters”, and confirmed that his country sticks to demarcating the maritime borders via negotiations, and not court disputes.

The majority of the land borders between the two countries have been demarcated in 1971, while the maritime borders between Syria and Lebanon have not been delineated. Lebanon had previously demarcated its maritime borders in 2011, and in 2014 launched a round of primary licenses and invited bids for Block No. 1 in the north, but Syria did not recognize the Lebanese demarcation. Damascus objected to the unilateral Lebanese demarcation of its exclusive economic zone in the north, by sending a protest letter to the United Nations in 2014.

Wehbe said that Beirut must negotiate with Damascus about the demarcation of maritime borders.

“This is not an act of aggression but every state demands its rights according to its perspective,” Wehbe said, adding that negotiations must take place within the framework of international laws and the brotherly relations between the two countries.

In late 2010, a dramatic discovery was made in the eastern Mediterranean of a huge natural gas field offshore, in what geologists call the Levant or Levantine Basin. The discovery set into motion a geopolitical plan devised in Washington and Tel Aviv back in 1996.  By March 2011 Syria was immersed into a revolution instigated and fueled by the CIA on orders from President Obama.

In August 2011 findings were revealed by Syrian exploration companies of an immense gas field in Qara near the border with Lebanon and near the port of Tartus, which was leased to the Russian navy. The gas reserves are believed to be equal to or exceed those of Qatar.  The US-backed rebels kept the fighting focused in the area to prevent the recovery of the gas.

Trump ordered the US troops illegally occupying Syria to stay and steal the oil.  The US military prevents the Syrian government from using the oil in the northeast to rebuild or recover from 10 years of war.

The US, NATO, and the EU all worked in coordination to destroy Syria and keep it from reaching its potential as an energy-sufficient nation.

Washington’s ‘regime-change’ strategy was based on instigating internal chaos in Syria through the use of CIA training and weapons of armed fighters following Radical Islam, which they thought would end with an Islamic State as opposed to the existing secular government in Damascus, and supported through the coffers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both nations state sponsors of Radical Islam.

The US lost the war in Syria. But, Washington will continue to isolate Russia and try to prevent the unchanged government in Damascus from the gas reserves off-shore.

Turkey began the US-NATO war against Syria as a team player. Turkey was used as a transit point for all the hundreds of thousands of foreign terrorists from the four corners of the globe who flocked to Syria on Team-USA to oust the Syrian government, in favor of Radical Islam. However, Turkey feels left out of the lucrative gas deals, and envious of its neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey is trying to disrupt energy exploration. Meanwhile, it is the babysitter of the Al Qaeda terrorists in control of Idlib and determined to maintain the status quo in Idlib.

While Russia has been in the Syrian port of Tartus for decades, it was in 2015 that they were invited to Syria militarily in the darkest days of terrorist expansion.  The Russians have a long and bloody experience with Radical Islamic terrorists on Russian soil. With Syria laying on the southern front of Russia, it was seen as a national security threat to allow an Islamic state to be proclaimed in Damascus, even if it was only the Muslim Brotherhood politicians supported by the US and housed in hotels in Istanbul.

The Russians felt they could either defeat the terrorists in Syria or wait and fight them on the streets of Moscow. Radical Islam is neither a religion, nor a sect, but a political ideology that is very difficult to deal with once US weapons are placed in their hands.

In 2012, F. William Engdahl wrote a prophetic article Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War. He wrote, “The battle for the future control of Syria is at the heart of this enormous geopolitical war and tug of war. Its resolution will have enormous consequences for either world peace or endless war and conflict and slaughter.”

Engdahl theorized that Syria would ultimately be a major source for Russian-managed gas flows to the EU.

In late 2015, Pepe Escobar, a journalist with Asia Times, wrote a groundbreaking article Syria: Ultimate Pipelineistan War”.

Escobar wrote, “Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war.”

In the article, he takes you back to 2009 when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline traversing Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria to Turkey, to supply the EU.

However, in 2010 Syria chose a competing project, the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That choice set into motion what the western media terms as the Syrian civil war, but in reality was never civil, and was a classic US ‘regime-change’ project which featured a cast of thousands, and among the supporters were the heads of state from most of the civilised world.

After 10 years of war, Syria may finally be approaching the endgame. President Assad’s government is looking to post-war recovery and reconstruction, which will need foreign and domestic investments. The energy sector is crucial. Syria’s oil exports accounted for 30% of pre-war revenue, and the prospect of gas output was revealed just as the war ramped up. US and EU sanctions will make foreign investment difficult, but the world is watching Russia in the waters off Syria.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist and political commentator.

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كيف نفهم أخبار محاولة الانقلاب في الاردن؟ الحديقة التوراتية الخلفية لإسرائيل How do we understand the news of the coup attempt in Jordan? Israel’s Biblical Back Garden

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation **

كتب نارام سرجون: كيف نفهم أخبار محاولة الانقلاب في الاردن؟ الحديقة التوراتية الخلفية لـ “اسرائيل”.

كتب نارام سرجون

كيف نفهم أخبار محاولة الانقلاب في الاردن؟ الحديقة التوراتية الخلفية لإسرائيل

من يعرف تكوين النظام الاردني لن يشغل نفسه بأخبار الانقلاب الملكي في الاردن.. فالأردن نظام يستحيل فيه قيام انقلاب من داخل القصر او خارجه لأن كل ما في القصر مضبوط الحركة ومراقب بالمخابرات البريطانية والصهيونية.. منذ ان نشأ هذا الكيان الوظيفي كان معلوما انه غير قابل للحياة بفصله عن محيطه السوري الطبيعي.. انه الحديقة التوراتية الخلفية لإسرائيل التي تحمي ظهرها.. فهو اقتصاديا لا يقدر على ان يجد حتى الماء .. وليست فيه اراض زراعية كافية ولا ثروات.. فهو صحراء كبيرة.. لا زراعة ولا صناعة ولا سياحة ولا نفط ول اغاز .. ولكنها تحقن بالكورتيزون الاقتصادي كي تبقى منتعشة وواقفة ومستيقظة ….

ومع ذلك فمنذ ان دخلت جيوش لورنس العرب الى الاردن لم تحدث فيها اي حركة تمرد واعطيت ادارتها لموظف سمي ملكا من بني هاشم.. وهو يتبع للتاج البريطاني.. فالملك حسين تربية بريطانية صرفه.. وكان يدرك انه ليس ملكا الا امام شيوخ العشائر الاردنية، ولكنه امام السفير البريطاني هو موظف بريطاني.. وكان الرئيس حافظ الاسد قد سئم من سلوك هذا الملك وأصر على وصفه بما يليق به في خطاب شهير قال فيه (ان الملك حسين جاسوس بريطاني يقضّي اجازاته في الأردن) وكان هذا التوصيف أفضل تلخيص حقيقي دون مبالغة.. وهذا الشعور من الملك ان ملكه مجرد نكتة ربما كان السبب في ان يقبل بعمل اضافي كموظف في السي أي ايه وعمل كجاسوس باسم مستر (نو بيف) مقابل مليون دولار سنويا وفق الوثائق الأميركية التي اكدت ان كارتر هو من اوقف هذا الراتب واعتبر انه لا يجوز لملك ان يعمل كجاسوس بأجر..


القصر الملكي الاردني هو ملحق بالسفارة البريطانية ولا تصدر عنه اي قرارات مصيرية الا بالرجوع للمملكة المتحدة.. والبريطانيون لا يسمحون لأحد ان يلعب في ملعبهم.. ولذلك فان الملك حسين تم تزويجه من الملكة نور وهي امريكية اسمها اليزابيت (ليزا) الحلبي ويقال انها من أصول يهودية سورية.. ثم عندما زوجته من الفلسطينية علياء طوقان وجدت ان ذلك الاختراق للقصر قد يخلخل او يسرب بعض اسراره.. فتم التخلص منها.. لتدخل الملكة منى بدلا عنها.. والملكة منى هي يهودية ايضا واتخذت اسم منى للتمويه واسمها الحقيقي هو أنطوانيت غاردنر ..
لذلك التمرد الوحيد والتحدي الذي تعرض له الموظف البريطاني حسين بن طلال كان مع المنظمات الفلسطينية التي اصطدم معها في ايلول وقام بتصفيتها بمساعدة بريطانية واسرائيلية وسعودية ..
وعندما اقتربت وفاته تقررت ولاية العهد في بريطانية التي أرسلت على الفور البديل المناسب وهو عبد الله (ابن اليهودية منى) والذي كان لا يعرف النطق بالعربية.. ولكن البريطانيين لا يسمحون لهذا العرش الوظيفي ان يتم تداوله الا وفق قرار مدروس يكفل ان تستمر وظيفته كحديقة توراتية خلفية لإسرائيل التي هي حديقة للمملكة الصليبية القديمة …


لذلك إذا كان هناك كلام عن انقلاب في الاردن فأنني لا أبالي به لإنه يستحيل فالمخابرات الاردنية محشوة بالمخابرات الاسرائيلية والانكليزية.. ولا يمكن ان تحدث مؤامرة بسبب ان اجهزة الامن تشرف عليها المخابرات البريطانية من الألف الى الياء..

لا أتذكر في اخبار الانقلاب الا حكاية الانقلاب التركي المسرحي على اردوغان الذي كان طريقة وسيلة للقبض على التيارات التركية التي كانت تتململ.. فالتهديد بالخطر من الكيان الموازي لفتح الله غولن كان كفيلا بالسماح لأردوغان بأخونة الجيش وأخونة كل المؤسسات التركية والتسلط على كل شيء ومراقبة المعارضة وتخوين كل من يعارضه.. انها نفس طريقة احداث نيويورك فالقبض على كل السياسة الخارجية الامريكية قد تم وكذلك فان تنفيذ المحافظين الجدد لمخططهم كان لابد له من ان يمر عبر بوابة احداث سبتمبر ..
فماذا وراء الاكمة في الاردن؟؟ وهل هناك من يريد ان يصنع من الملك بطلا وهو ليس بطلا؟؟ ام اسرائيل تريد ان تضغط على الاردنيين وتقول لهم ان ملكهم العظيم في خطر لأنه يعترض على مخططات اسرائيل..

البطل الهصور في خطر .. وحامي القدس العظيم.. وبطل الهلال الشيعي.. في خطر.. ويا خوفي يقولو ان حزب الله وإيران وسورية خلف المؤامرة!!!

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How do we understand the news of the coup attempt in Jordan? Israel’s Biblical Back Garden

Naram Sergoon

Who knows the composition of the Jordanian regime will not bother with the news of the coup d’état in Jordan? Jordan is a system in which it is impossible to stage a coup from inside or outside the palace, because everything in the palace is controlled and monitored by British and Zionist intelligence. Since the creation of this functional entity, by separating it from its natural Syrian surroundings it has been known that it is not viable.

However, since the armies of Lawrence of Arabia have gone to Jordan, there has been no rebellion and their administration has been given to an employee named King of Bani Hashem, belonging to the British Crown.

King Hussein is a purely British upbringing. He knew he was not king but the sheikh of the Jordanian tribes, but in front of the British ambassador he was a British employee.

President Hafez al-Assad was fed up with the king’s behavior and insisted on describing it as appropriate in a famous speech in which he said that King Hussein was a British spy who was on vacation in Jordan. The king’s feeling that his king was a joke may have been the reason why he accepted overtime as a CIA employee and worked as a spy on behalf of Mr. No Bev for a million dollars a year, according to U.S. documents that confirmed that Carter had stopped the salary and considered that a king should not work as a paid spy.

The Royal Palace of Jordan is attached to the British Embassy and does not make any fateful decisions except to return to the United Kingdom. And the British don’t let anyone play in their own court. King Hussein was therefore married to Queen Noor, an American named Elizabeth (Lisa) al-Halaby, who is said to be of Syrian Jewish origin. Then, when his Palestinian wife, Alia Toukan, found that the breach of the palace might disturb or leak some of his secrets .. She was disposed of … so Queen Mona entered instead of her … Queen Mona is also Jewish, and she took the name Mona for disguise, and her real name is Antoinette Gardner ..

The only rebellion and challenge to British employee Hussein bin Talal was with the Palestinian organizations with whom he clashed in September and liquidated it with British, Israeli, and Saudi assistance.  

When his death approached, the Covenant state in Britain, which immediately sent the appropriate alternative, Abdullah (son of The Jew Mona), who was not known to  speak Arabic.  


Therefore, if there is talk of a  coup in Jordan, I don’t care because it is impossible because Jordanian intelligence is stuffed with Israeli and English intelligence.

I don’t remember the news of the coup except the story of the Turkish coup d’état against Erdogan, which was a way of catching the Turkish currents that were fidgeting.

What is behind the heap in Jordan ?? Is there anyone who wants to make the king a hero when he is not a hero ?? Israel wants to pressure the Jordanians and tell them that their great king is in danger because he objects to Israel’s plans.    

The hero is in danger. And the great protector of Jerusalem. And the hero of the Shiite crescent. In danger. Oh my fear, they say that Hezbollah, Iran and Syria are behind the plot !!!

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April 4, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

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ISIS, al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra spinoffs, and likeminded jihadist groups are US created and supported monsters.

They’re used by the Pentagon and CIA as proxy foot soldiers to advance diabolical US imperial interests.

Recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed, they’re deployed by US dark forces to Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere to commit atrocities that include CW attacks on defenseless civilians —wrongfully blamed on governments Washington wants replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes it controls.

The US replenishes the ranks of these groups with new recruits.

There’s no shortage of them around in the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, as well as in the Indo/Pacific and elsewhere.

Time and again, US officials perpetuate the myth of wanting these elements eliminated — while seeking new recruits to replace ones killed in battle by Russian airpower and militaries of targeted nations.

Serial liar Trump defied reality, falsely claiming his regime eliminated “100% of the caliphate…in Iraq and Syria (sic).”

In January 2020, Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) deputy head Hashed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were martyred by Pentagon assassins for successfully combatting the scourge of US supported ISIS. 

According to Pentagon connected Military.com and Navy Times propaganda on Friday, the USS USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group began so-called Operation Inherent Resolve flight operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq (sic).

Throughout US post-9/11 Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa wars of aggression against invented enemies, US air, ground and naval operations supported and continue supporting ISIS and likeminded jihadist groups.

It’s what the Eisenhower strike group and US 6th fleet are engaged in now.

Their operations have nothing to do with “provid(ing) a wide range of options to our nation and allies in deterring adversarial aggression and disruption of maritime security and regional stability” — as a navy press release falsely claimed.

Ongoing operations are all about advancing US imperial interests by waging endless preemptive wars on invented enemies.

In Syria, Russian and Assad government aerial operations alone are combatting the scourge of US supported ISIS and other jihadist groups.

Days earlier, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov said US ruling regimes use ISIS and likeminded jihadists to prevent conflict resolution in Syria.

Days earlier, the Pentagon and CIA reportedly transported dozens of ISIS fighters to locations in Syria where they want them used to attack government forces and civilians.

While government troops — greatly aided by Russian airpower — liberated most Syrian territory, US and Turkish forces illegally occupy northern parts of the country.

The Pentagon and CIA infest parts of its south, and pockets of ISIS jihadists show up wherever their US handlers deploy them.

US supported Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda offshoot, operates in Syria’s Idlib province.

Southfront called HTS “a brutal, radical terrorist group,” adding:

A leaked video showed the group “training children for combat in Greater Idlib.”

Aiding its ruthlessness, US Public Broadcasting (PBS), one of its many propaganda arms, interviewed HTS leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani.

Giving him air time on US national television showed virtual PBS support for the jihadist group in cahoots with the Biden regime.

US hot wars rage endlessly in multiple theaters, using ISIS and other jihadist proxies.

Phony US claims about military operations against ISIS and other jihadists divert attention from its support for these cutthroat killers.

In Depth of CIA’s Report on American-‘Israeli’ Geographic Perspective on South Lebanon Border في العمق: تقرير وكالة المخابرات المركزية حول المنظور الجغرافي الأمريكي “الإسرائيلي” على حدود جنوب لبنان

In Depth of CIA’s Report on American-‘Israeli’ Geographic Perspective on South Lebanon Border

CIA’s Report made in January 1986, and became available to be published in 2011.

By Staff

The Central Intelligence Agency’s [CIA] report on the decision regarding the occupied southern Lebanon border was made in January 1986, and became available to be published in 2011.

Access to many pages of the recently circulated sanitized copy of the report was denied from the source, as the CIA still considers ‘sensitive.’

‘Israel’s’ ‘Security Zone’, a buffer that runs from the coast to the Golan Heights and extends 5 to 20 kilometers into Lebanon, is the subject of this research paper. The entire explanation circulates around it.

Excerpt from the report as shown as the following:

The ‘security zone’ covers about 800 square kilometers, nearly half of Lebanon south of Sidon. Long neglected by Lebanon’s central government, the south’s poor agrarian economy has been further disrupted by the 1982 invasion and its aftermath. About 1 10,000 of the approximately 250,000 residents in the south live in the ‘security zone’, according to ‘Israeli’ press reporting. Nearly half of the 1 10,000 are Shiite, although there are areas of although there are areas of Christian, Sunni, and Druze concentrations, according to the CIA paper.

The report, which states that Palestinians were the main target of the ‘Israeli’ 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon, explains how the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces began construction activities within its much-needed ‘security zone’ almost immediately following its 1978 invasion.

Since 1982, the predominant changes have involved improving and building new access and border patrol roads, adding and repositioning fixed ‘defensive’ and observation positions, and building new military support facilities. At the southern edge of the security zone, along the 1949 Armistice Demarcation Line, the ‘Israelis’ are building up their border security strip, which includes concertina wire, a security fence, a dragged strip—bare earth groomed to reveal the tracks of intruders—and a patrol road. In several places the border security strip crosses into Lebanese territory to take advantage of favorable terrain or to create a buffer near ‘Israeli’ settlements.

“Tel Aviv is aware that the ‘Israeli’ occupation further radicalizes this religiously diverse area [Lebanon] and contributes to its chronic instability,” the report admits.

If ‘Israel’ eventually makes a “final” withdrawal, the ‘defensive’ role of the border security strip will become more important, the report adds. “Although the threat of retaliation for any cross-border ‘attacks’ and possible assurances from Lebanese leaders and Syria would be important considerations in ‘Israel’s’ post withdrawal ‘defensive’ policy.”

The present ‘Israeli’-created ‘security zone’ in southern Lebanon owes its existence to ‘Israel’s’ desire for a secure northern border and has evolved from the security arrangements ‘Israel’ established following its 1978 invasion of Lebanon.

Today, an assortment of groups willing to engage ‘Israel’ in limited military encounters operate in and through southern Lebanon…To reach the ‘Israeli’ border, or to maximize their prospects of hitting ‘Israel’ with rockets, these groups must infiltrate through the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] area of operation—not a difficult task in the ‘Israeli’ view—and the ‘Israeli’ security zone.

This research paper analyzes the transportation network, water resources, and population makeup in the security zone and the changes that have occurred in the local economy and are occurring in the ‘Israeli’ infrastructure within the security zone and along the border.

Translation

في العمق: تقرير وكالة المخابرات المركزية حول المنظور الجغرافي الأمريكي “الإسرائيلي” على حدود جنوب لبنان

تقرير وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية حول القرار المتعلق بالحدود المحتلة في جنوب لبنان تم في يناير/كانون الثاني 1986،  وأصبح متاحاً للنشر في عام 2011.

وقد تم رفض الوصول إلى العديد من صفحات النسخة المطهرة من التقرير التي تم تعميمها مؤخرًا من المصدر، حيث لا تزال وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية تعتبرها “حساسة”.

“المنطقة الأمنية” الإسرائيلية، وهي منطقة عازلة تمتد من الساحل إلى مرتفعات الجولان وتمتد من 5 إلى 20 كيلومترا  في لبنان، هي موضوع هذه الورقة البحثية. التفسير بأكمله يدور حوله.

مقتطف من التقرير كما هو مبين على النحو التالي:

وتغطي “المنطقة الأمنية” حوالي 800 كيلومترمربع، أي ما يقرب من نصف مساحة لبنان جنوب صيدا. وقد تعرض الاقتصاد الزراعي الفقير في الجنوب، الذي أهمله طويلاً من قبل الحكومة المركزية اللبنانية، إلى مزيد من الاضطراب بسبب غزو عام 1982 وما تلاه. ويعيش نحو 10 آلاف شخص من سكان الجنوب البالغ عددهم نحو 250 ألف نسمة في ‘المنطقة الأمنية’، بحسب تقارير صحافية ‘إسرائيلية’. ووفقاً لورقة وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية (سي آي إيه) فإن ما يقرب من نصف الـ 10 آلاف من الشيعة هم من الشيعة، على الرغم من وجود مناطق على الرغم من وجود مناطق تمركز مسيحية وسنية ودروزية.

ويوضح التقرير، الذي يذكر أن الفلسطينيين كانوا الهدف الرئيسي لغزو لبنان “الإسرائيلي” في عام 1978 و1982، كيف بدأت قوات الاحتلال “الإسرائيلية” أنشطة البناء داخل “المنطقة الأمنية” التي تشتد الحاجة إليها بعد غزوها عام 1978.

ومنذ عام 1982، شملت التغييرات الرئيسية تحسين وبناء طرق جديدة للوصول ودوريات الحدود، وإضافة مواقع “دفاعية” ومراقبة ثابتة وإعادة تحديد مواقعها، وبناء مرافق دعم عسكرية جديدة. على الحافة الجنوبية للمنطقة الأمنية، على طول خط الهدنة عام 1949، يقوم “الإسرائيليون” ببناء شريط أمن الحدود، الذي يشمل سلك كونسيرتينا، وسور أمني، وشريط جرّ – أرض عارية تم إعدادها للكشف عن مسارات الدخلاء – وطريق دورية. في عدة أماكن يعبر الشريط الأمني الحدودي إلى الأراضي اللبنانية للاستفادة من التضاريس المواتية  أو لإنشاء حاجز بالقرب من المستوطنات “الإسرائيلية”.

ويعترف التقرير بأن “تل أبيب تدرك أن الاحتلال الإسرائيلي يزيد من تطرف هذه المنطقة [اللبنانية] المتنوعة دينياً ويساهم في عدم استقرارها المزمن”.

ويضيف التقرير أنه إذا ما تم انسحاب “إسرائيل” “النهائي”، فإن الدور “الدفاعي” لشريط أمن الحدود سيصبح أكثر أهمية. “على الرغم من أن التهديد بالانتقام من أيهجمات عبر الحدود والتأكيدات المحتملة من القادة اللبنانيين وسوريا سيكونان اعتبارات مهمة في سياسة “إسرائيل” “الدفاعية” بعد الانسحاب”.

إن “المنطقة الأمنية” الحالية التي أنشأتها إسرائيل في جنوب لبنان تدين بوجودها لرغبة “إسرائيل” في تأمين الحدود الشمالية، وقد تطورت من الترتيبات الأمنية “الإسرائيلية” التي أنشئت في أعقاب غزوها للبنان عام 1978.

واليوم، تعمل مجموعة متنوعة من الجماعات الراغبة في الاشتباك مع “إسرائيل” في مواجهات عسكرية محدودة في جنوب لبنان وعبره… للوصول إلى الحدود “الإسرائيلية”، أو لتعظيم احتمالات ضرب “إسرائيل” بالصواريخ، يجب أن تتسلل هذه الجماعات عبر منطقة عمليات قوة الأمم المتحدة المؤقتة في لبنان ،وهي مهمة ليست صعبة في نظر “إسرائيل” والمنطقة الأمنية “الإسرائيلية”.

يحلل هذا البحث شبكة النقل والموارد المائية والتركيبة السكانية في المنطقة الأمنية والتغيرات التي حدثت في الاقتصاد المحلي، وتحدث في البنية التحتية “الإسرائيلية” داخل المنطقة الأمنية وعلى طول الحدود.

The “Corona Crisis” and the War of “The Super-Rich” against the Earth’s Citizens

“The Super-Rich” against the Earth’s Citizens

By Emanuel Pastreich

Global Research, March 26, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

Corporations, multinational investment banks, and the super-rich that hide behind them have launched the final stage this year of a ruthless war of a tiny few against the great majority of humanity.

Although they pay off their puppets in the media to float happy tales of some happy resolution to the dire situation of the moment, they already know that the die is cast, that they are committed to a strategy of distracting, seeding division, undermining rational thinking and using a combination of blatant intimidation with open bribery to slowly, systematically, overpower and reduce to slavery 99.98% of the Earth’s population.

They know already, according to the calculations of their supercomputers, what will happen if they are not successful in this plan. They also know that catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss will make it impossible for them to monopolize the wealth and the resources for long.

There is literally no limit to how far they will go.

The tools they use to pursue this war against the citizens of the Earth are technology, propaganda and disinformation campaigns, threats against individuals who display leadership skills and massive bribes for the leaders who are allowed to be covered in the media to represent the conservative and the progressive causes.

They also employ as part of this strategy an intimate knowledge of certain key weaknesses in the brain, and the potential for exploiting the human inclination to determine truth based on a vague sense of the mood of the herd, rather than logic. That is to say they are investing billions in hidden money to systematically create social pressure that makes citizens conform with pointless mandates for masks or vaccines that are launched from diverse platforms as a means of inducing the population to police itself.

Without such a strategy, the super-rich could not possibly seize control of the entire Earth.

There has been extensive research by corporations, and by the CIA and Department of Defense (government organizations exploited to hide the true entities demanding such research) into how humans can be manipulated without their knowledge, and compelled through imperceptible persuasion to permit, or even aid, their own disenfranchisement without us even being aware of this silent and invisible takeover.

Such operations have been undertaken before, but never on this global scale. New developments in super-computing and the global integration of, and deregulation of, finance, has made such a master plan possible for the first time.

Recent developments are best viewed as the final acceleration of a process by which corporations bribed and lobbied all authority figures in government and academics to go along with a process of privatization, commercialization, and automation that now means that a tiny handful of people can control every aspect of human experience in an absolute sense while the vast majority of citizens cannot even conceive of what is taking place. We have not reached that state yet, but Elon Musk, Bill Gates and others believe, based on the calculations of supercomputers, that it is now possible.

The super-rich has also invested wisely in the establishment of a panoply of sham activists, or toothless, “feel good, do nothing” NGOs.

These “movements” are allowed to appear in the corporate-controlled media, and they pretend to respond to corporate power, but they purposely discourage citizens from organizing themselves (they ask only for donations, or attendance at protests, but they pointedly do not empower people to form their own groups or achieve financial and ideological independence).

Such NGOs are silent about the mass manipulation of the media and of politics by global finance—even though that is the primary cause of the political problems we face.

If we follow the current trajectory, there will not be a single part of our lives that is completely controlled by a multinational corporation in the next few years.

We do not have that long to act.

Image on the right is from Natural News

The push for mandatory COVID-19 “vaccines” in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence against them is not a matter of mistaken science or bad policy. It is rather a process of preparing government officials, doctors, reporters, and other media figures to follow orders from above that have no rational basis.

After this “softening-up process,” which is carefully calibrated on the basis of secret CIA torture programs designed to test the weaknesses of the human psyche, a rougher and more brutal form of the rule can be implemented.

The mask mandate was the first step in the implementation of this form of massive psychological warfare. It is, to use the technical term, a slow “rape of the mind.”

The enormous restructuring of governance and the economy described by the World Economic Forum as the “Great Reset” is not a secret and anyone who takes the time to read that book, and related documents, can figure out about 70% of what is their agenda is.

The citizen will be convinced that he or she operates within a functional country and that there is some process by which the politicians at the top take actions on their behalf. But the super-rich cares nothing for nation-states and their populations and they use politicians to deflect attention away from themselves. Every time a politician takes a fall, it is to distract you from the predations of the rich. Every attack on minorities is a trick to get you hooked on race and diversity and distracted from the concentration of wealth.

We are increasingly subject to the whims of unaccountable global powers, and the intentionally render us passive, open to persuasion, and therefore incapable of resistance, by the media that is controlled by those powers.

The super-rich relies on two approaches to psychological manipulation that go back to the 1930s and before but have been perfected by recent research.

The first technique is the use of traumatic events that are reported on in a sensationalist and unscientific manner in the media so as to induce a deep sense of shock, disorientation and confusion in the population as a whole. The mental trauma of such events, whether the 9.11 incident, or the hyped-up COVID-19 crisis, or the “armed insurrection” at the Capitol, is used to induce passivity and receptivity to profound institutional shifts that would otherwise be impossible.

Naomi Klein describes this approach as the “shock doctrine” and although she hesitates to delve too deeply into the degree to which it has become national policy, she accurately traces the approach back to the torture programs designed to test the limits of the human psyche.

Such trauma affects the reactive and emotional part of the human brain known as the amygdala, bringing on a “fight or flight” response in the psyche that overrides the rational, integrative, response to external events that would be carried out by the prefrontal cortex in normal conditions.

Because we as individuals, and as populations, are unaware of how the amygdala has taken over decision making from the prefrontal cortex because of these engineered shocks, we are unable to organize, or even conceive of, a response to the real threat. Instead, we focus on the cooked-up threats offered to us by the commercial media like Islamic terrorism in the case of 9.11 or the spread of a dangerous virus in the case of the COVID-19 operation.

The second strategy is to induce a hypnotic state in the brain of the individual, and the population as a whole, through the constant repetition of certain themes and images through advertisements, commercials, images, and themes articulated in movies, TV shows, reporting, and even the packaging of products.

The stimulation alternates between the intentionally boring and distracting images and direct appeals to the pleasure centers of the brain such as the desire for food, for sexual arousal, or for pleasant experiences.

The advertisements promoting the enjoyment of food and encouraging low-level sexual arousal are not only, or even primarily, aimed at selling products. They are intended to induce a state of passivity in the population.

The CIA explains the process,

“Hypnosis is basically a technique which permits acquisition of direct access to the sensory motor cortex and pleasure centers, and lower cerebral (emotional) portions of the right side of the brain following successful disengagement of the stimulus screening function of the left hemisphere of the brain. The right hemisphere which functions as the noncritical, holistic, nonverbal and pattern-oriented component of the brain, appears to accept what the left hemisphere passes to it without question. Consequently, if the left hemisphere can be distracted either through boredom or through reduction to a soporific, semi-sleep state, external stimuli to include hypnotic suggestions are allowed to pass unchallenged into the right hemisphere where they are accepted and acted on directly.”

(FOIA document “Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process” June 9, 1983 (US Army Intelligence and Security Command)

CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5

The scale of this experiment in mass hypnosis to render the citizens of all the world passive, and unable to resist persuasion from authority figures is unprecedented. This process is being undertaken slowly, over months and years, following complex algorithms that are kept secret.

It is critical in this process that individuals be isolated from each other, unable to communicate except through mediums controlled by multinational corporations, and that they be offered only ineffective and superficial organizations to join organizations in which they will be incapable of participating in the decision-making process, or of effecting change. Quarantine, lockdowns, social distancing, and the promotion of a narcissistic consumption culture are critical to that process.

The result is that the citizens of the United States, and around the world, are being reduced to consumers of products supplied by multinational corporations who cannot even conceive of how the world has been radically transformed in this great reset.

They are being rendered passive and unresponsive so that the super-rich can quickly seize complete control of the systems by which countries are governed, by which money and finance are determined, the media by which information is distributed, the universities and research institutes by which authoritative perspectives backed by science are presented, the farms and distribution systems by which food is provided, the aquafers and irritation systems by which water is provided, and every other aspect of human experience.

When we awake from this slumber, if we ever do, we will discover that every aspect of our lives is controlled by unaccountable powers which we cannot understand, which we have no way to challenge and which will increase slowly and systematically the means by which we are made slaves, and, if necessary, destroyed.

*

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Emanuel Pastreich served as the president of the Asia Institute, a think tank with offices in Washington DC, Seoul, Tokyo and Hanoi. Pastreich also serves as director general of the Institute for Future Urban Environments. Pastreich declared his candidacy for president of the United States as an independent in February, 2020

Nasrallah: CIA Director demanded release of top al-Qaeda leader in Yemen

March 26, 2021

From Sayed Hassan, Resistance NewsCONTAINS THE LEAKED PHONE CALL BETWEEN CIA DIRECTOR GEORGE TENET AND YEMENI PRESIDENT SALEH, WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

ISIS, Al-Nosra and Al-Qaeda are tools of US imperialism

Speech by Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on March 18, 2021, on the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Wounded of the Resistance, celebrated each year on the 4th day of the Islamic month of Sha’ban, which saw the birth of Abu Fadhl al-Abbas, half-brother of Imam Hussein who was horribly mutilated and killed in Karbala.

Source: video.moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.org

Vidéo: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8066et

Transcript:

[…] Those (Hezbollah fighters) war-wounded who fought and made sacrifices, as well as the wounded people who bore the burden of these struggles —I am talking about the many wounded civilians affected by Israeli aggressions and abuses by collaborators during the occupation (of Lebanon), whether they are war-wounded among combatants or civilians due to the consequences of the battle against Takfiri (terrorist) groups, those who were injured by the car bombs that were sent to our towns and villages in previous years, or even during the Israeli occupation, because (the Zionists) also used car bombs against our towns and villages to kill our cadres and our fighters…

Anyway, day after day, these war-wounded become more lucid, as is the case of the families of martyrs, and of all the resistance fighters, mujahideen and supporters of this path (of Resistance): their awareness, understanding and faith are constantly increasing thanks to (new) facts and (new) data, confirming and convincing them that the struggle in which they entered, fought and were injured, that the place where they were injured, paying the price for their stance (in favor of Resistance), was rightful and appropriate. Regarding the fight against Israel, the legitimacy of this fight is clear, and concerning (the fight against) the terrorist takfiri groups, I will limit myself to pointing out only one thing before evoking the internal situation (in Lebanon): day after day, as we now commemorate the tenth anniversary of the outbreak of the universal war against Syria, the role and true identity of these armed Takfiri terrorist groups appear day after day with ever greater clarity, as well as the role and identity of those who use them, direct them, protect them, support them and push them to act (in such and such a direction).

In addition to the confessions and previously revealed documents that prove all of this, new evidence is emerging day by day, and I hope that despite the attention of the Lebanese being monopolized by (the acute economic crisis of the) dollar and its parity with the Lebanese pound (which has reached its lowest threshold in history), the Lebanese people and peoples of the region will take into consideration what was published yesterday in the media by our brothers in Yemen, in Sana’a.

Living evidence, a sound recording, shows that the Director of the CIA himself (George Tenet), expressed concern for the fate of a well-known al-Qaeda leader (Anwar Al-Awlaki), who was detained in Sana’a during the time of the former President of Yemen (Saleh), to the point of contacting the latter directly to ask him to release this top leader of the Al-Qaeda organization. And this while it is a terrorist group, and that you (Americans) have torn apart the whole Middle East from (the invasion of) Afghanistan (in 2001) to (the invasion of) Iraq (in 2003) and the whole world on the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda. But that does not prevent Tenet from demanding the release of this terrorist leader, demanding that he be handed over (to US forces). Of course, (Anwar Al-Awlaki) was released, and for a while he carried out a lot of (terrorist) operations. Then when they no longer needed him they killed him. All of this is clearly said in an explicit sound recording.

This rare audio (with English subtitles) recording gives us an eloquent glimpse into how the CIA operates behind the scenes, even with heads of States who have no choice but to oblige to any kind of request. The fact that this sensational revelation has been completely ignored by the Western media is indicative of the invincible omerta imposed on the so-called “War on Terror”, which is only an instrumentalisation of terrorism to justify the perpetual military occupation of the Middle East. That the al-Qaeda attack referred to in this phone call, a suicide bombing attack on the USS Cole on October 12, 2000, killed 17 US Marines and injured 39 others, shows the extent of US cynicism. For more details about Anwar al-Awlaki, the first Muslim in history to conduct a prayer service in the U.S. Capitol in 2001, see Did the CIA pressure Yemen to release al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki?

Other new documents were (recently) released indicating that the US secret services recruited prisoners who were being held in US prisons in Iraq, in order to create what has been called the Islamic State in Iraq, then the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and finally the Islamic State Organization. The role of the US secret services in recruiting, (training) and releasing leaders from what would become ISIS (has been proved in new documents), as well as their role in the creation of the Front al-Nosra, resulting from a split with ISIS. And until now, the role of the American secret services in the release of ISIS members who were prisoners of the Qasad militia (Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurdish separatists and pro-Americans) east of the Euphrates, and sending them to Iraq to revive ISIS there, while others were brought to the US base in al-Tanf in Syria, near the Jordanian border, to push them towards the Badia (a vast semi-desert region in central Syria) and to perpetrate the (terrorist) actions that we see almost daily in this region.

Therefore, they are by no means Islamic / Islamist groups, nor groups that aspire to justice, welfare, (political) participation, democracy or elections. We are facing armed Takfiri terrorist groups that are created, trained, armed, supported, directed and financed by the American secret services, which organize and facilitate their travel, and advise and guide them in their various actions aimed at destroying armies, destroying peoples, destroying societies, and enabling US hegemony in the region, so that Israel would be the refuge, the hope, the pearl, the jewel of the Middle East (while all other countries would be ablaze). This is the old and new project of successive American administrations.

I only wanted to recall this and say that these war-wounded (Hezbollah fighters and supporters), who are in very large numbers, and who took part in this battle (against ISIS, Al-Nosra, etc.), contributed to defend Syria, of course, but also to defend Lebanon, the Resistance, Palestine and the future of this region and this Umma (Muslim community), especially since these documents speak clearly of the purpose of the creation of these (terrorist) groups during these last decades. And these goals are still relevant today.

Anyway, on this day of yours, O my dearest war-wounded, O my brothers and sisters, I address you and your noble families, especially the mothers and wives of the wounded. To all these noble families, I address my congratulations on this day, on this occasion and on this commemoration of the birth (of Abu Fadhl al-Abbas, half-brother of Imam Hussein). […]

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Recruited, Arrested, On Trial: Yemeni Spies Tell of Their Reluctant Work for CIA, MI6

Yemen spies Feature photo

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

The CIA and MI6 have recruited hundreds of Yemenis to work as mercenaries and spies gathering intelligence and coordinates of Yemeni military positions, promising them money and even passports for the dangerous work.

SANA’A, YEMEN — There is little dispute that the United States and the United Kingdom have been major benefactors to the Saudi Kingdom in its six-year-long attempt to use military might to bring Yemen to heel. Both countries have provided billions in hi-tech weapons, intelligence information, and training to what is arguably the Middle East’s most repressive monarchy. But according to the confessions of six men arrested last month amid the ongoing battle over Yemen’s strategic Marib province, Western support for the Saudi-led Coalition goes much farther than conventional military support.

Arrested Yemeni spies speak to MintPress

The CIA and MI6, its British counterpart, have recruited hundreds of Yemenis to work as mercenaries and spies gathering intelligence and coordinates of Yemeni military positions in Marib, al-Mahrah, Sana’a and Sadaa, and providing that information to their handlers, according to confessions given to the Yemeni Security Intelligence Service (YSIS) by at least six Yemeni nationals currently on trial in Sana’a for violating Article 130 of Yemen’s Penal Code.

The six men, who are being held in a detention facility in Sana’a, agreed to speak to MintPress about their experiences. They insist that abject poverty as a result of the ongoing war drove them to participate in the operation, which they said came with the promise of a $300 payout.

According to the men, the operation was carried out primarily at the Ghaydah Airport in eastern al-Mahrah. There, they joined dozens of young Yemenis recruited by the CIA for training by  American and British officers on how to properly identify and describe; the use of cameras, sophisticated software programs and devices used to share coordinates; information gathering; and how to find and identify military leaders and headquarters, workshops, factories, laboratories, warehouses, checkpoints and launching sites for missiles and drones. Even the locations of the personal homes and vehicles of Ansar Allah members and other vocal opponents of the Saudi intervention were sought, according to the men.

A careful recruitment process

Their recruitment process was long and delicate, beginning when the men were approached by Yemeni officers working for the Aden-based National Security Agency. After agreeing to travel to al-Mahrah to learn more, the men were housed in hotels before being brought to special cottages at the Ghaydah Airport where they were interviewed by American and British intelligence officers. Muhammad Har, one of the six charged, told MintPress that he was initially approached by Fayez Muhammad Ismail Al-Muntaser, a former officer of the National Security Agency and commander of the Saudi-led Coalition’s Special Missions Battalion.

“When it was my turn, I entered the [unintelligible] and was surprised that members of the committee were Americans. One was asking the questions, the second was writing data, the third was taking fingerprints, while the fourth black-skinned one was translating,” Ali Mohammed Abdullah al-Jomani, a 34-year-old detainee from Haddah recalled. Al-Jomani, who says he used to earn the equivalent of about $10 per day, was put up in the Taj Al-Arab Hotel for three months during the initiation process. “When we went back to conduct the second interview, we did not find the Americans, but rather British officers. They repeated the previous questions about our ability to use maps, drive cars, and use computers.” This tracks with allegations by the Yemeni Security Intelligence Service that the CIA was recruiting young Yemenis and handing them over to British officers for training and further handling.

According to the men, there were two separate camps at the airport, one American and the other Saudi. “After we were accepted, we were trained on how to describe people, cars, and homes and how to share data and photos through WhatsApp,” recalled Basem Ali Ahmed al-Kharouga, a 29-year-old detainee from Sana’a. “The training included field exercises inside and outside of the airport.” Al-Kharouga had long dreamed of traveling abroad and thought that he had finally found his way to flee the violence when he was promised a foreign passport in exchange for the work.

Few options for young Yemenis

In addition to poverty and unemployment, there are other reasons that Yemen’s youth would risk life and freedom to work with foreign intelligence services, perhaps the most prominent being the blockade levied against the country by the Saudi Coalition since 2015. Before the war, Yemenis would regularly leave the country for business, pleasure and to seek medical care. Now — with seaports and airports, especially the once-bustling Sana’a International Airport, effectively shuttered by the Saudi Coalition — Yemenis are no longer able to flee the violence in their country or travel abroad, leaving many desperate young Yemenis with few options.

Hospitals, schools, office buildings, and infrastructure like water wells and sewage networks have been destroyed in the wake of Saudi bombing campaigns, which are often carried out with U.S. and British targeting information gleaned from their network of recruited spies. Funerals, weddings, homes, and other civilian facilities have been targeted, leading to the death and wounding of thousands of civilians and making American and British intelligence services complicit, at best, in the wanton violence.

“We were sent to Marib, me and another guy who went by the name of ‘Akram Amer,’ on one mission that lasted for four days. We were assigned by [a man named] ‘George’ to spy on the home of Ali Salem al-Huraizy near al-Rawda Park,” Aymen Mujahid Qaid Muhammad Harish, one of the six detainees, told MintPress. Among Harish’s tasks was to monitor sites in the city of Arhab, north of Sana’a, where the Saudi Coalition would later target a home where a funeral was taking place. The double-tap airstrike left a child and nine women dead and, according to Harish, his Western handlers, who were responsible for providing the Saudis with targeting data, are to blame for the attack.

The UK Is Russia’s Greatest Security Threat In Europe Behind The US

By Andrew Korybko

Source

18 MARCH 2021

The UK Is Russia

The UK’s recently completed Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy claimed that “Russia remains the most acute threat to our security”, but in reality it’s actually the UK that remains the most acute threat to Russia’s security in Europe behind the US of course.

The British are masterful perception managers and have a centuries-long history of reversing the truth. This strategic characteristic was on full display earlier this week after its recently completed Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy claimed that “Russia remains the most acute threat to our security”. As can be expected, the reality is actually the opposite: the UK remains the most acute threat to Russia’s security in Europe, though behind the US of course. I explained last summer how “MI6 Might Become The CIA’s Proxy For Stopping Europe From Moving Towards Russia” after London’s spree of fake news attacks against Moscow encompassing everything from the Skripal false flag saga to allegations of a secret Russian spy base in the French Alps. Last month, “Intrepid Journalists Exposed The UK’s Information-Driven Hybrid War On Russia”, which includes a continental network of media proxies in Latvia and other former Soviet countries.

From these revelations, it can be concluded that the UK considers itself to be in a “spy war” with Russia, which it’s waging both in pursuit of its own traditional divide-and-rule interests in Europe as well as on behalf of its American ally which shares the same goal. Manipulatively presenting Russia as the UK’s greatest threat is nothing more than a means of justifying further aggression against it under the pretext of so-called “self-defense”. It’s noteworthy to also point out that the same Integrated Review also disclosed London’s plans to increase its nuclear warhead arsenal by an astounding 40% in a move that Moscow decried as “a decision that harms international stability and strategic security” where “an ephemeral threat from Russia was voiced as justification.” The Eurasian Great Power might therefore have no choice but to defend its interests in line with international law by taking whatever countermeasures it considers to be appropriate in the face of this threat.

The present dynamic of British-Russian rivalry is a modern-day remix of their traditional competition all across the 19th century. At that time, the so-called “Great Game” mostly played out in Central Asia and parts of West and South Asia, the latter of which concerned the then-Persia and Afghanistan respectively. The British Empire was actively seeking to contain the Eurasian Great Power as a continuation of the historical trend whereby sea-based (thalassocratic) states seek to contain land-based (tellurocratic) ones. This International Relations theory is increasingly being confirmed as practically being akin to a law at this point as evidenced from this example and other related ones such as the US’ complementary efforts against other multipolar tellucorcatic civlization-states like China and Iran. It’s therefore understandable why the UK has submitted itself to being the US’ “Lead From Behind” junior partner to this end in Europe, though mostly in the Hybrid War sense.

With this in mind, the contours of the New Cold War are becoming increasingly apparent and might possibly remain enduring. The historical trend of thalassocracies versus tellucorcacies continues insofar as the US and its junior UK partner are actively seeking to contain Russia, China, and Iran. The Western Eurasian front of this global strategic competition remains complex considering the fact that Germany is dominated by thalassocratic influences despite being a tellucrocratic state. This explains its schizophrenic stance of simultaneously waging its own Hybrid War on Russia in parallel with attempting to stabilize relations with Moscow through Nord Stream II, which is vehemently opposed by its American patron. It can therefore be predicted that the outcome of the New Cold War in Europe will be greatly determined by Germany’s ability to promote its sovereign interests vis-a-vis Russia despite heavy pressure from the US and the UK to keep the two apart.

The Puppet Masters: Is There Really a Deep State?

The danger posed by the Deep State is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable, Phil Giraldi writes.

Conspiracy Theory

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, March 19, 2021

Strategic Culture Foundation 18 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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As a former intelligence officer, I find it amusing to read articles in the mainstream media that blithely report how the latest international outrages are undoubtedly the work of CIA and the rest of the U.S. government’s national security alphabet soup. The recurring claim that the CIA is somehow running the world by virtue of a vast conspiracy that includes the secret intelligence agencies of a number of countries, using blackmail and other inducements to corrupt vulnerable politicians and opinion makers, has entered into the DNA of journalists worldwide, frequently without any evidence that the current crop of spies is capable to doing anything more complicated than getting out of bed in the morning.

One problem with the theory about total global dominance through espionage is the sheer logistics of it all. Directing political and economic developments in two hundred nations simultaneously must require a lot of space and a large staff. Is there a huge office hidden in Langley? Or the Pentagon? Or in the White House West Wing itself? Or is it in one of the secure facilities that have been popping up like mushrooms just off of the Dulles Toll Road in Herndon Virginia?

To provide evidence that intelligence agencies extend their tentacles just about everywhere, the other claim that is nearly always made is that all former spooks are part of the conspiracy, as once you learn the secret handshake to join CIA, NSA or the FBI you never stop being “one of them.” Well, that might be true in some cases but the majority of former spooks are quite happy to be “former,” and one might also observe that many voices in the anti-war movement, such as it is, come from intelligence, law enforcement or military backgrounds. Of course, the conspiracy theorists will explain that away by claiming that it is a conspiracy within a conspiracy, making the dissidents little better than double agents or gatekeepers who are put in place to make sure that the opposition doesn’t become too effective.

Given the fact that how the so-called American “Deep State” actually gets together and plots is unknown, one would have to concede that it is an organization without much structure, unlike the original Turkish Deep State (Derin Devlet), which coined the phrase, that actually met and had centralized planning. I would suggest that the problem is one of definitions and it also helps to know how the national security state is structured and what its legitimate mission is. The CIA, for example, employs about 20,000 people, nearly all of whom work in various divisions that collect information (spying), analysis, technology and also are divided into staffs that work transnationally on issues like terrorism, narcotics, and nuclear proliferation. The overwhelming majority of those employees have political views and vote but there is a consensus that what their work entails is apolitical. The actual politics of how policy comes out the other end is confined to a very small group at the top, some of whom are themselves political appointees.

To be sure, one can and probably should oppose the policies of regime change that the Agency is engaged in worldwide but there is one important consideration that has to be understood. Those policies are set by the country’s civilian leadership (president, secretary of state and national security council) and they are imposed on CIA by its own political leadership. The Agency does not hold referenda among its employees to determine which foreign policy option is preferable any more than soldiers in the 101st Airborne are consulted when they receive orders to deploy.Rethinking National Security: CIA and FBI Are Corrupt, but What About Congress?

Nearly all current and former intelligence officers that I know are, in fact, opposed to the politics of U.S. global dominance that have been pretty much in place since 9/11, most particularly as evidenced by the continued conflict with Russia, the ramping up of aggression with China, and the regime change policies relating to Syria, Iran and Venezuela. Those officers often consider the invasions and exercise of “maximum pressure” to have been failures. Those policies were supported by truculent language, sanctions and displays of military readiness by the Trump Administration but it now appears clear that they will all be continued in one form or another under President Joe Biden, likely to include even more aggression against Russia through proxies in Ukraine and Georgia.

The officers engaged in such operations also observe that regime change has basically come out of the closet since 2001. George W. Bush announced that there was a “new sheriff in town” and the gloves would be coming off. Things that the intelligence agencies used to do are now done right out in the open, using military resources against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria while the biggest change of all, in Ukraine in 2014, was largely engineered by Victoria Nuland at the State Department. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was also active in Russia supporting opposition parties until the Kremlin forced them to leave the country.

So, it is fair to say that the Deep State is not a function of either the CIA or the FBI, but at the same time the involvement of John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey in the plot to destroy Donald Trump is disturbing, as the three men headed the Agency, the Office of National Intelligence and Bureau. They appear to have played critical leadership roles in carrying out this conspiracy and they may not have operated on their own. Almost certainly what they may have done would have been either explicitly or implicitly authorized by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, and others in his national security team.

It is now known that President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan created a secret interagency Trump Task Force in early 2016. Rather than working against genuine foreign threats, this Task Force played a critical role in creating and feeding the meme that Donald Trump was a tool of the Russians and a puppet of President Vladimir Putin, a claim that still surfaces regularly to this day. Working with Clapper, Brennan fabricated the narrative that “Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.” Brennan and Clapper promoted that tale even though they knew very well that Russia and the United States have carried out a broad array of covert actions against each other, including information operations, for the past seventy years, but they pretended that what happened in 2016 was qualitatively and substantively different even though the “evidence” produced to support that claim is weak to nonexistent.

I would, nevertheless, argue that their behavior, though it exploited intelligence resources, was not intrinsic to the organizations that they led, that the three of them were part and parcel of the real Deep State, which consists of a consensus view on running the country that is held by nearly all of the elements that together make up the American Establishment, with its political power focused in Washington and its financial center in New York City. It should come as no surprise that those government officials who are complicit in the process are often personally rewarded with highly paid sinecure jobs in financial services, which they know nothing about, when they “retire.”

The danger posed by the Deep State, or, if you choose, the Establishment, is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable. Even though it does not actually meet in secret, it does operate through relationships that are not transparent and as the media is part of it, there is little chance that its activity will be exposed. One notes that while the Deep State is mentioned frequently in the national media there has been little effort to identify its components and how it operates.

Viewed in that fashion, the argument that there exists a cohesive group of power brokers who really run the country and are even able to coopt those who are ostensibly dedicated to keeping the country safe becomes much more plausible without denigrating the many honest people who are employed by the national security agencies. The Deep State conspirators don’t have to meet to plot as they all understand very well what has to be done to maintain their supremacy. That is the real danger. The Biden Administration will surely demonstrate over the next several months that the Deep State is still with us and more powerful than ever as it operates both inside and outside the government itself. And the real danger comes from the Democrats now in charge, who are if anything more given to playing with consensus politics that involve phony threats than were the Republicans.

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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 https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Threatening Syria’s First Lady Shows NATO’s Depravity

Threatening Syria's First Lady Shows NATO's Depravity - Islam Times
Former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages

Finian Cunningham

March 18, 2021

Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter, Finian Cunningham writes.

This week marks the 10th anniversary since the United States and its NATO allies launched a devastating covert war of aggression for regime change in Syria. Ten years on, the Arab nation is struggling with war reconstruction, a struggle made all the more onerous because of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

Syria and allied forces from Russia, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah won the war, defeating legions of mercenary terrorist fighters who were armed and infiltrated into Syria by NATO. Nearly half a million Syrians were killed and half the pre-war population of 23 million was displaced.

But tragically the war is not over yet. It has moved to new hybrid phase of economic warfare in the form of Western sanctions and blockade on Syria.

The barbarity of Western sanctions on Syria have necessitated the cover of distractive media narratives.

This explains the sensation of British media reports that Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is being investigating by London’s Metropolitan police for war crimes. Asma (45) was born in London, was educated there and holds British nationality. Although she has Syrian heritage.

Now British authorities are mulling stripping her of nationality and seeking her extradition over charges that she aided and abetted war crimes, including preposterously, the use of chemical weapons against civilians. There is practically no chance of a prosecution, but that’s not the British aim. Rather it is all about smearing the Syrian leadership and distracting the world’s attention from the real issues: which are the criminality of NATO’s war on Syria and the ongoing economic warfare to destroy the nation into submission.

Irish peace activist and author Declan Hayes who has travelled extensively in Syria during the past decade commented: “Britain’s legally ludicrous accusations against Asma al-Assad have a number of objectives in mind. They are there to delegitimize Syria’s 2021 presidential elections; they are there to scare expatriate Syrians and British humanitarians; they are there to deflect from NATO’s well documented war crimes; and they are there to deflect from the mercenary collusion of a cast of media, political and NGO characters in NATO’s war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.”

Asma married Bashar in 2000. Before the war erupted in March 2011, she was eulogized in Western media as the “desert rose” owing to her feminine beauty and quietly spoken graceful persona. The daughter of a cardiologist and having had a career in investment banking before she become Syria’s First Lady, Asma al-Assad later showed herself to be no wilting flower. She refused to leave Damascus and go into comfortable exile with her children when the war was raging.

She remained loyally by her husband’s side and took on the role of consoling the nation, often visiting families of slain soldiers and civilian victims of NATO’s terror gangs.

No doubt the stress resulted in Asma suffering from breast cancer for which she was successfully treated in 2018.

President Assad and his wife stood by the Syrian nation when the jaws of defeat were looming during the early years of the war. When Russia intervened in support of its historic ally in October 2015, the tide of the war turned decisively against the NATO plan for regime change. Assad was singled out for regime change because of his anti-imperialist position against the U.S., Britain, France and Israel. His alliance with Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah put a target on his back for destruction, as former French foreign minister Roland Dumas disclosed. Dumas revealed that the British government had war plans on Syria two years before the violence erupted in March 2011. In this context, the so-called “uprising” was a carefully orchestrated false flag.

The mysterious shootings of police and protesters in the southern city of Daraa – which served to smear the Assad government internationally – were the same modus operandi used by NATO covert forces which carried out the sniper murders in Kiev’s Maidan Square triggering the February 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine.

Western media headlines this week marking the 10th anniversary since the beginning of NATO’s war on Syria have been ghoulish and nauseating.

There is a sense of gloating over the misery and hunger that the nation is facing.

headline in Associated Press labels Syria as the “Republic of Queues”, reporting almost gleefully on how civilians are struggling with food and fuel shortages.

Nowhere in the media coverage is there a mention of how the American CIA and Britain’s MI6 ran Operation Timber Sycamore to arm and direct mercenaries to terrorize Syrians. Absurdly, Western media still claim that Syria’s war rose out of “pro-democracy uprisings” which were crushed by a “ruthless Assad regime”.

Barely acknowledged too is the fact that the United States, Britain and the European Union are strangling a war-torn nation with barbaric sanctions preventing reconstruction. The criminality of economic terrorism is the corollary of a failed criminal covert war of aggression.

The abominable reality of Western policy towards Syria has to be covered up. Threatening Syria’s First Lady – a national heroine – with prosecution for war crimes is NATO powers reaching into the gutter.

Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

March 17, 2021

Truth Is An Endangered Species:  Support It

Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts

During the 20th century Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were US Soviet experts who were concerned that the Cold War was partly contrived and, therefore, needlessly dangerous. Stephen Cohn at Princeton University, for example, believed that exaggerating the threat was as dangerous as underestimating it.  On the other hand, Richard Pipes at Harvard believed that the CIA dangerously underestimated Soviet military power and failed to grasp Soviet strategic intentions.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford and CIA Director George H.W. Bush commissioned an outside panel of experts to evaluate the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimates. This group was known as Team B.  Under Pipes’ leadership Team B created the perception that the US faced a dangerous “window of vulnerability.”

In conventional wisdom, in order to close this window of vulnerability President Reagan began an American arms buildup.  On this point conventional wisdom is wrong. The Reagan military buildup was as much hype as reality.  Its purpose was to bring the Soviets to the negotiating table and end the Cold War in order to remove the threat of nuclear war.  Reagan’s supply-side policy had fixed the problem of worsening trade-offs between employment and inflation, thus making an arms buildup possible.  In contrast, Reagan regarded the Soviet economy as broken and unfixable.  He reasoned that a new arms race was more than the Soviets could afford, and that the threat of one would bring the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the Cold War.

The Soviet Union collapsed when hardline communists, convinced that Gorbachev was endangering the Soviet Union by giving up too much too quickly before American intentions were known, placed President Gorbachev under house arrest.  The Yeltsin years (1991-1999) brought the dismemberment of the Soviet Empire and was a decade of Russian subservience to the United States.  

Putin came to power as the American neoconservatives were girding up to establish US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. As General Wesley Clark told us, seven countries were to be overthrown in 5 years. The American preoccupation with the Middle East permitted Putin to throw off American overlordship and reestablish Russian sovereignty.  Once Washington realized this, the American establishment turned on Putin with a vengence.  

Stephen Cohen, Jack Matlock (Reagan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union), myself and a few others warned that Washington’s refusal to accept Russian independence would reignite the Cold War, thus erasing the accomplishment of ending it and resurrecting the specter of nuclear war. But Washington didn’t listen.  Instead, Cohen and I were put on a list of “Russian agents/dupes,” and the process of trying to destabalize Putin began.  In other words, once an American colony always an American colony, and Putin became the most demonized person on earth.

Today (March 17) we had the extraordinary spectacle of President Biden saying on ABC News that President Putin is a killer, and “he will pay a price.”  This is a new low point in diplomacy.  It does not serve American interests or peace.  

Yesterday a CIA-Homeland Security report was declassified. The “report” is blatant propaganda. It alleges that Russia interfered in the 2020 election with the purposes of “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” “Russiagate” is still with us despite the failure of the three-year Mueller investigation to find a scrap of evidence.

We desperately need a new Team B like the one the CIA commissioned in 1976 to check on itself.  But in those days discussion and debate was possible.  Today they are not.  We live in a world in which only propaganda is permitted.  There is an agenda. The agenda is regime change in Russia.  No facts are relevant.  There will be no Team B to evaluate whether the Putin threat is exaggerated.

The anti-Russian craze that has been orchestrated in the US and throughout the Western world leaves the US in an extremely dangerous situation.  Americans and Europeans perceive reality only through the light of American propaganda.  American diplomacy, military policy, news reporting, and public undersranding are the fantasy creations of propaganda.

The Kremlin has shown amazing forbearance of Washington’s inanities and insults.  It was the Democrat Hillary Clinton who called President Putin the “new Hitler,”  and now Democrat Biden calls Putin “a killer.”  American presidents and presidential candidates did not speak of Soviet leaders in these terms. They would have been regarded by the American population as far too deranged to have access to the nuclear button.

Sooner or later the Kremlin will understand that it is pointless to respond to demonization with denials.  Yes, the Russians are correct. The accusations are groundless, and no facts or evidence is ever provided in support of the accusations.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will realize that the purpose of demonizing a country is to prepare one’s people and allies for war against it.

Washington pays no attention to Maria Zakharova and Dmitry Peskov’s objections to unsubstaniated accusations.

When “sooner or later” is, I do not know, but the Russians haven’t reached that point.  The Kremlin reads the latest allegations as an excuse for more sanctions against Russian companies and individuals. This reading is mistaken.  Washington’s purpose is to demonize Russia and its leadership in order to set Russia up for regime change and, failing that, for military attack.

In the United States Russian Studies has degenerated into propaganda.  Recently, two members of the Atlantic Council think tank, Emma Ashford and Matthew Burrows, suggested that American foreign policy could benefit from a less hostile approach to Russia. Instantly, 22 members of the think tank denounced the article by Ashford and Burrows.

This response is far outside the boundaries of the 20th century Cold War.  It precludes any rational or intelligent approach to American foreign policy.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will comprehend that it is confronted by a gangster outfit of the criminally insane.  Then what happens?

U.S. Paves Way for Intervention in Ethiopia, Horn of Africa

Finian Cunningham

March 12, 2021

USAID – with an annual budget of over $27 billion and operating in over 100 countries – is notoriously intertwined with covert operations run by the CIA, Finian Cunningham writes.

An ominous development underway in Ethiopia’s devastating civil war is the intervention by the United States under the pretext of humanitarian relief.

The U.S.’ international aid agency – USAID – announced last week it has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the northern Tigray region where millions of people are facing starvation.

A humanitarian crisis has been created in Ethiopia after the central government in Addis Ababa launched a military offensive against the Tigray region in November last year. Heavy fighting continues between Tigray militia and the Ethiopian National Defense Force. The Ethiopian government forces are being assisted by Eritrean troops which have invaded Tigray. There are reports of widespread violations against civilians.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a phone call on February 27 to open up Tigray to humanitarian access and he expressed deep concern over possible war crimes. Washington then promptly deployed the USAID intervention apparently without authorization from the Ethiopian federal government.

The American move came despite a row during a closed meeting at the UN Security Council last week when it is understood that Russia and China objected to U.S. intervention plans in Ethiopia, which they said was over-riding legal processes and issues of national sovereignty.

USAID said its disaster response team is “assessing the situation in Tigray, identifying priority needs for the scaling up of relief efforts”. Given the dire humanitarian and security situation in Ethiopia that provision is logically paving the way for a major U.S. military intervention under the guise of the “right to protect” (R2P) presumption which has been unilaterally invoked by Washington in other conflicts.

President Joe Biden has picked Samantha Power as the new head of USAID. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former national security advisor to President Barack Obama, Power is a stalwart proponent of R2P foreign interventions. Biden also wants to make Power a member of his national security council.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is, like Power, another staunch advocate of “humanitarian interventions”. They were senior members of the Obama administration who formulated American military interventions in Libya and Syria. The “humanitarian” remit is rightly seen as a cynical moral cover for what would otherwise be condemned as American military aggression to achieve Washington’s own political objectives, such as regime change.

USAID – with an annual budget of over $27 billion and operating in over 100 countries – is notoriously intertwined with covert operations run by the CIA.

The damnable thing about Ethiopia’s current crisis is that arguably it was provoked by the United States from its geopolitical ambitions to control the Horn of Africa region and in particular to cut out China and Russia from this strategically important global hub.

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed worked previously as a top military intelligence officer in the Ethiopian army before he became prime minister in early 2018. A long-time bilateral security partnership between the U.S. and Ethiopia made Abiy an ideal CIA asset. He was involved in developing Ethiopia’s telecom spying network in a replication of the National Security Agency in the U.S.. He was also educated at a private American university.

Before Abiy’s rise to political power, Ethiopia had an independent policy on foreign relations, pursuing strategic partnership with China for economic development. Ethiopia – the second most populous country in Africa and home to the African Union – was seen as a crucial link in building China’s new silk routes from Asia to Africa.

Oddly, Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of 2019 for a supposed rapprochement with Ethiopia’s northern neighbor Eritrea. The two countries fought a bitter border war in 1998-2000. In hindsight, the award was a travesty given how Abiy has invited Eritrean troops into Tigray to wage war against the civilian population there, committing horrendous massacres.

But the Nobel prize can be seen as part of Abiy’s image-building by his CIA handlers for their objective of reordering Ethiopia. Tellingly, the Western media during his early months in office gushed with praise about the “young democratic reformer” and “peacemaker”. How foolish and fawning those media look now in light of the mayhem and suffering that Abiy unleashed in Tigray over the past four months.

In truth the war was building ever since Abiy took office. Almost from the get-go, there was a campaign of low-intensity aggression directed against the Tigray region. (This author was living there.) This was while the Western media were hailing him as a “reformer”. Abiy’s campaign of hostility towards Tigray involved the central government cutting electricity, water and communications as well as political assassinations. The purpose was to wear down the region and the people’s support for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front which had been the previous dominant governing party before Abiy’s ascent. The Tigray region represented a bastion of opposition to the plan by Abiy and his CIA handlers to refashion and reorient Ethiopia geopolitically. The power struggle culminated in the full-blown war launched against Tigray on November 4, 2020, under false claims of being a security operation against a “terrorist junta”.

The terrible irony is that the war and humanitarian crisis inflicted on six million people in Tigray was predictable because Abiy seems to have been following an American imperial plan to destabilize Ethiopia for boosting its great power rivalry with China and Russia. The Horn of Africa is a geopolitical hotspot: it provides a commanding position for North Africa and Sub-Saharan mineral-rich countries, overlooking the vital shipping lanes of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, and proximate to the oil-rich Arabian Peninsula. Russia last year opened a naval base in Port Sudan on the Red Sea, while China’s only overseas military base is located in Djibouti adjacent to Ethiopia.

Now humanitarian interventionists in the Biden administration are stepping in to “resolve” a mess that the U.S. was instrumental in creating. If the USAID mission is scaled up, as seems intended, then American military could be deployed in Ethiopia giving Washington an unprecedented foothold in a strategically vital region.

It is notable that while the Biden administration seems to be over-riding the authority of the Abiy regime in Addis Ababa, the American objective does not necessarily seek regime change on this occasion. The Biden administration is promoting itself as a mediator in Ethiopia’s civil war, even though this war would not have come about were it not for America’s covert manipulation of Abiy. Recently, the Tigray militia have appeared to be gaining the upper-hand against Abiy’s forces and their Eritrean allies. The American intervention seems prompted in part by concern in Washington to prevent the Abiy regime collapsing in defeat.

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