Israel to Attack Iran? Washington Gives the Green Light to the ‘Military Option’

October 28, 2021

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By Philip Giraldi

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The U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime, resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East, Philip Giraldi writes.

Some might recall candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to work to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was a multilateral agreement intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, when Biden was Vice President, and was considered one of the only foreign policy successes of his eight years in office. Other signatories to it were Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia and it was endorsed by the United Nations. The agreement included unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by the IAEA and, by all accounts, it was working and was a non-proliferation success story. In return for its cooperation Iran was to receive its considerable assets frozen in banks in the United States and was also to be relieved of the sanctions that had been placed on it by Washington and other governments.

The JCPOA crashed and burned in 2018 when President Donald Trump ordered U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, claiming that Iran was cheating and would surely move to develop a nuclear weapon as soon as the first phase of the agreement was completed. Trump, whose ignorance on Iran and other international issues was profound, had surrounded himself with a totally Zionist foreign policy team, including members of his own family, and had bought fully into the arguments being made by Israel as well as by Israel Lobby predominantly Jewish groups to include the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Trump’s time in office was spent pandering to Israel in every conceivable way, to include recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital, granting Israel the green light for creating and expanding illegal settlements on the West Bank and recognizing the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Given Trump’s record, most particularly the senseless and against-American-interests abandonment of JCPOA, it almost seemed a breath of fresh air to hear Biden’s fractured English as he committed his administration to doing what he could to rejoin the other countries who were still trying to make the agreement work. After Biden was actually elected, more or less, he and his Secretary of State Tony Blinken clarified what the U.S. would seek to do to “fix” the agreement by making it stronger in some key areas that had not been part of the original document.

Iran for its part insisted that the agreement did not need any additional caveats and should be a return to the status quo ante, particularly when Blinken and his team made clear that they were thinking of a ban on Iranian ballistic missile development as well as negotiations to end Tehran’s alleged “interference” in the politics of the region. The interference presumably referred to Iranian support of the Palestinians as well as its role in Syria and Yemen, all of which had earned the hostility of American “friends” Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israel inevitably stirred the pot by sending a stream of senior officials, to include Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss “the Iranian threat” with Biden and his top officials. Lapid made clear that Israel “reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way… We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.” And to be sure, Biden, like Trump, has also made his true sentiments clear by surrounding himself with Zionists. Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland have filled the three top slots at State Department, all are Jewish and all strong on Israel. Nuland is a leading neocon. And pending is the appointment of Barbara Leaf, who has been nominated Assistant Secretary to head the State Department’s Near East region. She is currently the Ruth and Sid Lapidus Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which is an AIPAC spin off and a major component in the Israel Lobby. That means that a member in good standing of the Israel Lobby would serve as the State Department official overseeing American policy in the Middle East.

At the Pentagon one finds a malleable General Mark Milley, always happy to meet his Israeli counterparts, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, an affirmative action promotion who likewise has become adept at parroting the line “Israel has a right to defend itself.” And need one mention ardent self-declared Zionists at the top level of the Democratic Party, to include Biden himself, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer?

So rejoining the JCPOA over Israel objections was a non-starter from the beginning and was probably only mooted to make Trump look bad. Indirect talks including both Iran and the U.S. technically have continued in Vienna, though they have been stalled since the end of June. Trita Parsi has recently learned that Iran sought to make a breakthrough for an agreement by seeking a White House commitment to stick with the plan as long as Biden remains in office. Biden and Blinken refused and Blinken has recently confirmed that a new deal is unlikely, saying “time is running out.”

And there have been some other new developments. Israeli officials have been warning for over twenty years that Iran is only one year away from having its own nukes and needs to be stopped, a claim that has begun to sound like a religious mantra repeated over and over, but now they are actually funding the armaments that will be needed to do the job. Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has repeatedly said the IDF is “accelerating” plans to strike Iran, and Israeli politicians to include former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have regularly been threatening to do whatever must be done to deal with the threat from the Islamic Republic. Israeli media is reporting that $1.5 billion has been allocated in the current and upcoming budget to buy the American bunker buster bombs that will be needed to destroy the Iranian reactor at Bushehr and its underground research facilities at Natanz.

In the wake of the news about the war funding, there have also been reports that the Israeli Air Force is engaging in what is being described as “intense” drills to simulate attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. After Israel obtains the 5000 pound bunker buster bombs, it will also need to procure bombers to drop the ordnance, and one suspects that the U.S. Congress will somehow come up with the necessary “military aid” to make that happen. Tony Blinken has also made clear that the Administration knows what Israel is planning and approves. He met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on October 13th and said if diplomacy with Iran fails, the U.S. will turn to “other options.” And yes, he followed that up with the venerable line that “Israel has the right to defend itself and we strongly support that proposition.”

Lapid confirmed that one of Blinken’s “options” was military action. “I would like to start by repeating what the Secretary of State just said.  Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails.  And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here … what is it that we mean.” It must be observed that in their discussion of Iran’s nuclear program, Lapid and Blinnken were endorsing an illegal and unprovoked attack to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that it is apparently not seeking, but which it will surely turn to as a consequence if only to defend itself in the future.

In short, U.S. foreign policy is yet again being held hostage by Israel. The White House position is clearly and absurdly that an Israeli attack on Iran, considered a war crime by most, is an act of self-defense. However it turns out, the U.S. will be seen as endorsing the crime and will inevitably be implicated in it, undoubtedly resulting in yet another foreign policy disaster in the Middle East with nothing but grief for the American people.  The simple truth is that Iran has neither threatened nor attacked Israel. Given that, there is nothing defensive about the actions Israel has already taken in sabotaging Iranian facilities and assassinating scientists, and there would be nothing defensive about direct military attacks either with or without U.S. assistance on Iranian soil. If Israel chooses to play the fool it is on them and their leaders. The United States does not have a horse in this race and should butt out, but one doubts if a White House and Congress, firmly controlled by Zionist forces, have either the wisdom or the courage to cut the tie that binds with the Jewish state.

Why Not Question “the Holocaust” in Schools?

 OCTOBER 26, 2021

By Philip Giraldi

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There has been major pushback against a Texas state education official who said that if schools are adhering to a new state law that mandates teaching alternative points of view on controversial issues having a course and a book on the holocaust, for example, would suggest providing material that reflects other interpretations of that historical event. The comment came from a Texas school district administrator named Gina Peddy in the Carrollton Independent School District in Southlake, which is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, who was in a training session explaining to teachers her directive regarding which books can be available in classroom libraries. She told teachers that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they should also have books that offer “opposing” or “other” viewpoints on the subject.

Reportedly a staff member who was present secretly made an audio recording of the training session which was then shared with NBC News, which broke the story.

The Texas law was and is intended to lessen the impact of the current “woke” campaign by progressive educators to rewrite American and international history to reflect the dark side, notably by emphasizing issues like slavery and oppression of minorities. Texas legislators insist, not unreasonably, that presenting an essentially negative view of American history as envisioned by Critical Race Theory (CRT) must be balanced by having a curriculum that also includes discussion of the many positive achievements of the United States of America. In the recording, Peddy, the school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, told the teachers that the new law applies to any “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. She was quoted as saying “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”

Predictably, on such a hot wire issue Peddy has had little or no support from her peers either locally or in the education establishment. The school district Superintendent Lane Ledbetter posted on Facebook an “apology regarding the online article and news story.” He said Peddy’s comments were “in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust. We also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts.”

Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, responded “We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history. That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it.” Republican state Senator Bryan Hughes, who wrote the bill that became the law, denied that anyone should come up with alternative views on what he called matters of “good and evil” or to remove books that offer only one perspective on the Holocaust.

Jews in Peddy’s school district and elsewhere in both Texas and nationally have inevitably also risen to the bait, denouncing any attempt made to challenge what they view as an issue fundamental to their understanding of their place in the world and in history. One Jewish former student Jake Berman asserted that “The facts are that there are not two sides of the Holocaust. The Nazis systematically killed millions of people.”

Ledbetter, Robison and Hughes should perhaps consider that they are suggesting that their new law should only apply on “controversial” racial issues, not on other historical developments and it is curious that educated people should consider a multi-faceted transnational historical event that has inter alia a highly politicized context a “fact.” The holocaust narrative in and of itself is the creation of men and women after the fact with an agenda to justify the creation and support for the State of Israel and should be subject to the same inquiry as any other facet of the Second World War and what came after.

The tale of “the holocaust” is essentially a contrived bit of history that serves a political objective wrapped up in what purports to be a powerful statement regarding man’s inhumanity to man. Jewish groups generally speaking consider the standard narrative with its highly questionable six million dead, gas chambers, extermination camps, and soap made from body fat to be something like sacred ground, with its memorialization of the uniqueness of Jewish suffering. Serious scholars who have actually looked at the narrative and the numbers and sequences of events are not surprisingly skeptical of many of the details.

As a first step, it is helpful to look at controversial Professor Norman Finkelstein’s carefully documented book The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. Finkelstein, to be sure, believes there was something like a genocide of European Jews and even lost some family members due to it. He does not, however, necessarily believe many of the details provided by the standard narrative and official promoters of that story to include the numerous holocaust museums. In his view, powerful interests have hijacked “the Holocaust,” and use it to further their own objectives. He wrote “Organized Jewry has exploited the Nazi holocaust to deflect criticism of Israel’s and its own indefensible policies. Nazi genocide has been used to justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and US support for these policies.”

And there is also a money angle, as there often is. Per Finkelstein, Jewish organizations in the US have also exploited the situation of the dwindling number of aging holocaust survivors to extort “staggering sums of money from the rest of the world. This is not done not for the benefit of needy survivors but for the financial advantage of these organizations.”

As taking courses in the holocaust are mandated in the public school systems of twenty states (and soon to be more due to pressure from local Jewish groups) and is used to validate the billions of US taxpayer dollars given annually to the state of Israel it would seem that supporters of the narrative should have the confidence as well as sufficient integrity to defend their product. But that is, of course, not the case. They would prefer to have their chosen narrative unchallenged, raising the usual claims of anti-Semitism and “holocaust denial” to silence critics. One of the “textbooks” frequently used in public schools that mandate holocaust education is Night by Elie Wiesel, whom Finkelstein has dubbed “the high huckster of the holocaust.” “Night” claims to be autobiographical but is full of errors in time and place. It is at least in part a work of fiction. Similarly, the “Diary of Anne Frank” was published after editing by her survivor father and parts of it have been challenged.

As a general rule, contentious issues where advocates attempt to silence opponents by claiming that what they are promoting is based on fact and cannot be challenged should be challenged. In Europe, powerful Jewish constituencies have even made it illegal to criticize or deny the holocaust narrative. In America, that day may soon be coming as Jewish groups increasingly seek to criminalize questioning of the factual basis of the holocaust as well as any criticism of Israel.

The New American Leadership: Biden Tells the World What He Wants It to Know

October 14, 2021

By Philip Giraldi

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It is sometimes difficult to absorb how much the United States has changed in the past twenty years, and not for the better. When I was in grade school in the 1950s there was a favorite somewhat simplistic saying much employed by teachers to illustrate the success of the American way of life that prevailed at that time. It went “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” and it meant that the U.S. version of a robust and assertive capitalist economy generated opportunity and prosperity for the entire nation. Today, having witnessed the devastation and offshoring of the domestic manufacturing economy by those very same corporate managers, such an expression would be rightly sneered at and considered risible.

Currently the politically motivated expressions of national greatness tend to honor America’s quality rather than the jobs and prosperity that it is able to generate. Presidents speak of the country’s “Exceptionalism,” as well as it being a “force for good” and “leader of the free world” with all that implies. That Americans are now in fact both poorer and less safe has generated its own national myth, that of a country beleaguered by terrorists who despise “our freedom” and which has been stabbed in the back by others, mostly in Asia, who have been engaging in unfair practices to bring America down. President Joe Biden’s gang of apologists has as well been fixated on the positive assertions that “America is back” and that the president will “build back better,” surely meaningless expressions that reflect the vacuity of the Democratic Party pre-electoral hype that Donald Trump had led the country to perdition.

President Joe Biden’s United Nations address three weeks ago was indeed largely Trump without all the bluster, threats and admonishments. He lied to the world leaders that: “I stand here today, for the first time in 20 years, with the United States not at war.” According to the latest available information, the U.S. was involved in seven wars in 2018: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. Now that Afghanistan is nominally over, the number of current American wars is six officially, though none of them are actually declared by Congress as demanded the Constitution. If one includes clandestine counter-terrorism operations the real number is certainly much higher.

Joe Biden issued a call for all nations to work together to deal with transnational and even global threats like climate change and the pandemic, promising “relentless diplomacy” from the United States with a pledge that “we will look ahead, we will lead.” The response by the audience was predictably tepid as no one asked Joe whether anyone really wanted to be led any more, most notably America’s oldest friend and ally France, which was recently stiffed on a submarine deal by the White House. There are even reports that Biden is on bad terms with Great Britain, usually a completely reliable partner in crime. It was as if the U.S. president were reading from the “General Motors” script, having forgotten to refresh himself on what happened more recently in the debacle retreat from Afghanistan, which was not mentioned at all.

But it wasn’t all sugar and spice as Biden demonstrated his required toughness, cautioning Iran and skewering those who do not “…give their people the ability to breathe free, …who seek to suffocate their people with an iron-hand authoritarianism. The authoritarians of the world, they seek to proclaim the end of the age of democracy, but they’re wrong.” He was speaking, somewhat gratuitously, about Russia and China while also failing to mention the chaos on the U.S. southern border, demonstrating once again that everything is susceptible to change, but not in Washington.

To be sure, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the speech was the complete lack of self-awareness that the world has moved on without the United States, which has been locked into a certain foreign policy mindset since 9/11. In the past two decades Washington has invaded and brought about regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has attempted to do the same unsuccessfully in Syria. It has openly intervened in the electoral process in Ukraine, which brought about a change of government that also generated a major crisis with Russia. It joined together with European allies to overthrow the Libyan government, reducing that stable and prosperous country into what is currently little better than a gangster and terrorist stronghold. It has more recently been seeking to undermine the elected government in Venezuela and has worked assiduously to wreck that country’s economy. It has interfered in Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador and has dealt out devastating economic sanctions on adversaries like Iran.

It should be noted that all those initiatives, which Joe Biden might describe as “leadership,” took place under both Democratic and Republican Administrations, suggesting that if there is consensus in Washington it likely can be found in the willingness to wreck other nations. And Joe denounces “authoritarian” regimes without recognizing that many Americans have observed how the United States is itself becoming a model totalitarian state, irrationally obsessed with war while also having a health care system that has been ranked as one of the worst in the developed world. Witness the Patriot Act and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which have empowered any president to go to war without being endangered by a foreign threat. And then there is the Military Commissions Act which permits the indefinite imprisonment of terror and other suspects without having to charge anyone with a crime. And what about the prisoners still held without trial at Guantanamo after twenty years, or the Obama initiated policy of assassinating U.S. citizens overseas using drones? Or using drones to wipe out entire wedding parties while imprisoning the whistleblower Daniel Hale who had the temerity to reveal that 90% of the drone deaths in Afghanistan were of innocent bystanders who fit a “profile”?

And then there is the handling of the COVID-19 virus vaccination program at home, making it mandatory if people want to stay employed or in school. Or have a government job. The Biden Administration is now making health care decisions that impact directly on all Americans. Joe Biden is all for that and some in his administration are calling for mandatory booster vaccinations to include everyone who is already allegedly protected. Many Americans are resisting the government policies and there is growing dissent from the scientific and medical community over the efficacy of the vaccines, to include some legitimate concerns that they do more harm than good.

The government is also planning on looking at everyone’s bank accounts, an enormous invasion of privacy. A proposal working its way into law would require all banks to report directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) all relevant information on any account that has more than $600 in transactions in a year. That would mean nearly all accounts and one can combine that with continued government surveillance of the phones and emails of citizens who have not been involved in any criminal activity plus increased broadening of domestic terrorism legislation and guidelines which will turn half the population into “suspects.”

So, the myth of America trudges on with some new labels attached but otherwise pretty much the same. Many would argue that it is time for a reboot, to return to constitutionalism, small government and an end to pointless foreign wars and interventions. But to do that would pit individuals and small groups against some very powerful interests, i.e. the defense industry, big pharma, and government itself, which sees its natural role as one of growth. It is an unbalanced struggle, but it must be won if the United States of America is to survive with some basic freedoms intact into the 22nd century.

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

October 7, 2021

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putin the Poisoner? More Doubts Over Attempts to Delegitimize Russia’s Leader

September 23, 2021

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By Philip Giraldi

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Attempts to delegitimize President Putin by making him an international poisoner is tragedy elevated by its absurdity to the level of farce.

It seems that ever since Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election of 2016 the western media and numerous politicians have been working especially hard to convince the world that the Russian government is little better than a modern version of Josef Stalin’s USSR. Part of the effort can be attributed to the Democratic Party’s desire to blame someone other than the unattractive candidate Hillary for the defeat, but there is also something more primitive operating behind the scenes, something like a desire to return to a bipolar world in which one knew one’s enemies and one’s friends.

The anti-Russian bias has manifested itself in a number of ways, to include the fabricated libel referred to as Russiagate, but it also featured personal denigration of the Russian leadership as a rogue regime inclined to employ assassination by poisoning against its critics and political opponents.

The first widely publicized assassination of a Russian dissident took place in London in 2006. Alexander Litvinenko, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer and critic of the government who had sought asylum in England, died after met two Russian acquaintances in a hotel bar and was reportedly poisoned by a dose of radioactive polonium inserted into his cup of tea. The Russians whom he had met with were named by the British police but the Russian government refused extradition requests. Without any evidence, the British media claimed that Litvinenko had been killed under orders from Putin personally.

More recently, the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th, 2018 made headlines around the world. Sergei was living near Salisbury England and his daughter was visiting from Moscow when they were found unconscious on a park bench. A policeman later investigating the incident also suffered from the effects of what appeared to be a nerve agent, which investigative sources claimed had been sprayed on to the front door handle of the Skripal residence. Both Sergei and Yulia survived the incident.

There was quite a bit that was odd about the Skripal case, which came at a time when there was considerable tension between Russia and the NATO allies over issues like Syria and Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin was regularly demonized, seen in the western media as a malevolent presence stalking the world stage.

Observers noted that the British investigation of the poisoning relied from the start “…on circumstantial evidence and secret intelligence.” And there was inevitably a rush to judgment. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson blamed Russia before any chemical analysis of the alleged poisoning could have taken place. British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament shortly thereafter to blame the Kremlin and demand a Russian official response to the event in 36 hours, declaring that the apparent poisoning was “very likely” caused by a made-in-Russia nerve agent referred to by its generic name novichok. The British media was soon on board, spreading the government line that such a highly sensitive operation would require the approval of President Putin himself. Repeated requests by Russia to obtain a sample of the alleged nerve agent for testing were rejected by the British government in spite of the fact that a military grade nerve agent would have surely killed both the Skripals as well as anyone else within 100 yards.

The expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats and imposition of sanctions soon followed with the United States and other countries following suit. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal had subsequently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims did not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

The response within the United States was also immediate and threatening. A New York Times editorial on March 12th entitled Vladimir Putin’s Toxic Reach thundered: “The attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, who worked for British intelligence, and his daughter Yulia, in which a police officer who responded was also poisoned, was no simple hit job. Like the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, another British informant, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium 210, the attack on Mr. Skripal was intended to be as horrific, frightening and public as possible. It clearly had the blessing of President Vladimir Putin, who had faced little pushback from Britain in the Litvinenko case. The blame has been made clearer this time and this attack on a NATO ally needs a powerful response both from that organization and, perhaps more important, by the United States.”

But the story of the poisoning of the Skripals begun to come apart very quickly. Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray detailed how the narrative was cooked by “liars” in the government to make it look as if the poisoning had a uniquely Russian fingerprint. Meanwhile prize winning U.S. investigative reporter Gareth Porter summed up the actual evidence or lack thereof, for Russian involvement, suggesting that the entire affair was “based on politically-motivated speculation rather than actual intelligence.”

The head of Britain’s own top secret chemical weapons facility Porton Down even contradicted claims made by May and Johnson, saying that he did not know if the nerve agent was actually produced in Russia as the chemical formula was revealed to the public in a scientific paper in 1992 and there were an estimated twenty countries capable of producing it. Some speculated that a false flag operation by the British themselves, the CIA or Mossad, was not unthinkable. Development of novichok type poisons is known to have taken place at both Porton Down and at the U.S. chemical weapon facility Fort Dietrich Maryland.

But the most damning evidence opposing a Russian role in the alleged poisonings was that Moscow had no motive to kill a former British double agent who had been released from a Kremlin prison in a spy swap after ten years in prison and who was no longer capable of doing any damage. If Moscow had wanted him dead, they could have killed him while he was still in Russian custody. Putin had an election coming up and Russia was to be the host of the World Cup in the summer, an event that would be an absolute top priority to have go smoothly without any complications from a major spy case.

There is now new evidence that the claims of Russian involvement in the alleged assassination attempt was fraudulent, engineered by the British government, possibly in collusion with American intelligence, to smear Vladimir Putin in particular. Bulgarian investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva has written an article entitled “UK Defense Ministry Document Reveals Skripals’ Blood Samples Could have been Manipulated.”

Relying on a series of British-version Freedom of Information Act queries, Gaytandzhieva determined that there was a considerable gap between the time when it was claimed the Skirpals’ blood was drawn and the time when it was actually tested for possible poisons at Porton Down. The gap is inexplicable and means in legal terms that the chain of custody was broken. It further suggests that the samples could have been deliberately diverted and tampered with.

Gaytandzhieva, who provides copies of the relevant government documents in her article, sums up her case as “New evidence has emerged of gross violations during the UK investigation into the alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March 2018.” The Ministry of Defense, which is in charge of the British military laboratory DSTL Porton Down which analyzed the Skripals blood samples responded to a request that “Our searches have failed to locate any information that provides the exact time that the samples were collected.” The samples “were collected at some point between 16:15 on 4 March 2018 and 18:45 on 5 March 2018. Even the time of arrival at Porton Down is indicated as “approximate.”

She also cites some expert testimony, “A British toxicologist [commented] that ‘It is inconceivable that with such a visibility case, and the obvious significance of any and all biological samples, normal and expected sample logging and documentation did not take place. The person drawing the sample, in any clinical or forensic setting knows that the date and time must be recorded, and the donor positively identified. In a criminal case, evidence gleaned from these samples would be thrown out as inadmissible… This lack of protocol is either very sloppy or clandestine.”

If the Skripals case sounds very similar to the recent alleged poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny it should, as the same rush to judgement by many of the same players took place. Navalny became ill while on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20th, 2020 and was taken to a hospital in Omsk after an emergency landing. The Russian hospital could not find any poison in his blood and attributed his condition to metabolic disorder. Two days later, the Russian government allowed Navalny to be transported to a hospital in Germany which then announced that the Putin government had poisoned Navalny with novichok, which became the story that was read and televised worldwide. Interestingly, there is now evidence that the air medevac team was standing by and ready even before anyone knew Navalny was ill, suggesting that it was planned in advance. Once in Germany, as in the case of the Skripal poisoning, the evidence of the crime mysteriously disappeared for a while. Blood samples and water bottles allegedly containing the novichok were sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons offices for verification. They took five days to arrive.

The doubts regarding both the Skripals and Navalny poisonings might suggest that the Cold War never really ended, at least from the Anglo-American perspective. Whatever Vladimir Putin has been doing for the past three years hardly touches on genuine U.S. or British interests, unless one considers the governance of places like Ukraine and Syria to be potentially threatening. That someone, somewhere, somehow seems to be making an effort to isolate and delegitimize President Putin by making him an international poisoner is tragedy elevated by its absurdity to the level of farce. It serves no purpose and, in the end, can only lead to mistrust on all sides that can in turn become very, very ugly.

Another Look at 9/11: Ask Not ‘What Happened?’ but ‘Who Did It?’

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Philip Giraldi

September 16, 202

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S., Phil Giraldi writes.

The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 last Saturday has raised many of the usual issues about what actually happened on that day. Were hijacked airliners actually crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or was the damage in New York City attributable to explosives or even some kind of nuclear device? These are fundamental questions and the so-called “Truthers” who raise them have been inspired by their reading of the 585 page 9/11 Report, which is most charitably described as incomplete, though many would reasonably call it a government cover-up.

I have long believed that unless one actually sees or experiences something first hand the description of any event is no better than hearsay. The closest I came to “seeing” 9/11 was the panicked evacuation of a CIA office building, where I was working at the time. Another related bit of 9/11 narrative also came from two close friends who were driving into work at the Pentagon when they each independently observed what appeared to be a large plane passing over their cars and striking the building. I consider the sources credible but was it an airplane or a missile? And I was not there to see it with my own eyes, so I am reluctant to claim that my friends actually saw something that in retrospect might have been misconstrued.

Critics of the physical and engineering aspects of the accepted narrative certainly have a great deal of expert evidence that supports their case. The way the towers fell as well as the collapse of Building 7 nearby are suggestive of something other than the impact of an airliner near the top of the structure, but I am no expert in the science of the matter and have avoided expressing a view regarding it.

Apart from what happened, I have always been more intrigued by “Who done it?” I found the 9/11 Report to be conspicuously lacking in its failure to cover possible foreign involvement, to include the Saudis, Pakistanis and the Israelis. Indeed, President Joe Biden has taken steps that have resulted in the declassification and release of 16 pages of the notorious 28-page redaction of documents relating to any possible Saudi role. The document consists of interviews with Saudi student Omar al-Bayoumi, who reportedly helped support several hijackers.

The Saudis are being sued by 9/11 survivors, but it is unlikely that anything really sensitive will ever be exposed, as explained by investigative journalist Jim Bovard. Indeed, the documents released last Saturday did not demonstrate that the Saudi government itself played any direct role in 9/11, though it is clear that wealthy Saudis and even members of the Royal Family had been supporting and funding al-Qaeda. It is also known that that Saudi Embassy and Consulate employees in the U.S. had funded the alleged hijackers.

Friends who were in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center at the time of 9/11 tend to believe that the Saudis were indeed supporting their fellow citizens while in the U.S. but were likely not knowledgeable regarding any terrorist plot. They observed, however, that there was considerable evidence that Israel knew in advance about what was impending and may have even been instrumental in making sure that it succeeded.

The evidence of Israeli involvement is substantial, based on the level of the Jewish state’s espionage operations in the U.S. and also its track record on so-called covert actions simulating terrorist attacks designed to influence political decision making in foreign countries. But, of course, in reporting on the 9/11 tragedy no one in the mainstream media did pick up on the connection, inhibited no doubt by the understanding that there are some things that one just does not write about Israel if one hopes to remain employed. That is true in spite of the fact that the Israeli angle to 9/11 is without a doubt a good story, consigned to the alternative media, where it can be marginalized by critics as a conspiracy theory or the product of anti-Semitism.

In the year 2001 Israel was running a massive spying operation directed against Muslims either resident or traveling in the United States. The operation included the creation of a number of cover companies in New Jersey, Florida and also on the west coast that served as spying mechanisms for Mossad officers. The effort was supported by the Mossad Station in Washington DC and included a large number of volunteers, the so-called “art students” who traveled around the U.S. selling various products at malls and outdoor markets. The FBI was aware of the numerous Israeli students who were routinely overstaying their visas but they were regarded as a minor nuisance and were normally left to the tender mercies of the inspectors at the Bureau of Customs and Immigration.

The Israelis were also running more sophisticated intelligence operations inside the United States, many of which were focused on Washington’s military capabilities and intentions. Some specialized intelligence units concentrated on obtaining military and dual use technology. It was also known that Israeli spies had penetrated the phone systems of the U.S. government, to include those at the White House.

All of that came into focus on September 11, 2001, when a New Jersey housewife saw something from the window of her apartment building, which overlooked the World Trade Center. She watched as the buildings burned and crumbled but also noted something strange. Three young men were kneeling on the roof of a white transit van parked by the water’s edge, making a movie in which they featured themselves high fiving and laughing in front of the catastrophic scene unfolding behind them. The woman wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police, who responded quickly and soon both the local force and the FBI began looking for the vehicle, which was subsequently seen by other witnesses in various locations along the New Jersey waterfront, its occupants “celebrating and filming.”

The license plate number revealed that the van belonged to a New Jersey registered company called Urban Moving Systems. The van was identified and pulled over. Five men between the ages of 22 and 27 years old emerged to be detained at gunpoint and handcuffed. They were all Israelis. One of them had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock and another had two foreign passports. Bomb sniffing dogs reacted to the smell of explosives in the van.

According to the initial police report, the driver identified as Sivan Kurzberg, stated “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.” The five men were detained at the Bergen County jail in New Jersey before being transferred the FBI’s Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which handles allegations of spying.

After the arrest, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Urban Moving System’s Weehawken, NJ, offices. Papers and computers were seized. The company owner Dominick Suter, also an Israeli, answered FBI questions but when a follow-up interview was set up a few days later it was learned that he had fled the country for Israel, putting both his business and home up for sale. It was later learned that Suter has been associated with at least fourteen businesses in the United States, mostly in New Jersey and New York but also in Florida.

The five Israelis were held in Brooklyn, initially on charges relating to visa fraud. FBI interrogators questioned them for more than two months. Several were held in solitary confinement so they could not communicate with each other and two of them were given repeated polygraph exams, which they failed when claiming that they were nothing more than students working summer jobs. The two men that the FBI focused on most intensively were believed to be Mossad staff officers and the other three were volunteers helping with surveillance. Interestingly, photo evidence demonstrated that they had been seen “casing” the area where they were seen celebrating on the day before, indicating that they had prior knowledge of the attack.

The Israelis were not exactly cooperative, but the FBI concluded from documents obtained at their office in Weehawken that they had been targeting Arabs in New York and New Jersey. The FBI concluded that there was a distinct possibility that the Israelis had actually monitored the activities of at least two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers while the cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersected with locations frequented by the Saudis.

The dots were apparently never connected by investigators. Police records in New Jersey and New York where the men were held have disappeared and FBI interrogation reports are inaccessible. Media coverage of the case also died, though the five were referred to in the press as the “dancing Israelis” and by some, more disparagingly, as the “dancing Shlomos.”

Inevitably, the George W. Bush White House intervened. After 71 days in detention, the five Israelis were inexplicably released from prison, put on a plane, and deported. One should also recall that when the news of 9/11 reached Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased, saying that “It’s very good. Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” It will “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” And, of course, it was conveniently attributable to Israel’s enemies.

The possible role of Israel in 9/11 was first explored in book form in 2003 by Antiwar.com editorial director Justin Raimondo in his The Terror Enigma, a short book focusing on Israeli spying and inconsistencies in the narrative that bore the provocative subtitle “9/11 and the Israeli Connection.”

Currently, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 has inspired some others to take another look at the possible Israeli role. Ron Unz has recently completed an exhaustive examination of the evidence. He observes that 9/11 and its aftermath have shaped “the last two decades, greatly changing the daily lives and liberties of most ordinary Americans.” He asks “What organized group would have been sufficiently powerful and daring to carry off an attack of such vast scale against the central heart of the world’s sole superpower? And how were they possibly able to orchestrate such a massively effective media and political cover-up, even enlisting the participation of the U.S. government itself?”

Ron Unz answers his question, concluding that there is “a strong, perhaps even overwhelming case that the Israeli Mossad together with its American collaborators played the central role” in the attack. His argument is based on the noted inconsistencies in the standard narrative, plus an examination of the history of Israeli false flag and mass terrorism attacks. It also includes new information gleaned from Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman’s recent book Rise and Kill First: the Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.

To a certain extent, Unz relies on a detailed investigative article written by French journalist Laurent Guyenot in 2018 as well as on an argument made by an ex-Marine and former instructor at the U.S. Army War College Alan Sabrosky in an article where he records how “Many years ago I read a fascinating discussion of the ‘tactics of mistake.’ This essentially entailed using a target’s prejudices and preconceptions to mislead them as to the origin and intent of the attack, entrapping them in a tactical situation that later worked to the attacker’s strategic advantage. This is what unfolded in the 9/11 attacks that led us into the matrix of wars and conflicts, present (Afghanistan and Iraq), planned (Iran and Syria) and projected (Jordan and Egypt), that benefit Israel and no other country — although I concede that many private contractors and politicians are doing very well for themselves out of the death and misery of others. I am also absolutely certain as a strategic analyst that 9/11 itself, from which all else flows, was a classic Mossad-orchestrated operation. But Mossad did not do it alone. They needed local help within America (and perhaps elsewhere) and they had it, principally from some alumni of PNAC (the misnamed Project for a New American Century) and their affiliates within and outside of the U.S. Government (USG), who in the 9/11 attacks got the ‘catalytic event’ they needed and craved to take the U.S. to war on Israel’s behalf…”

Economist and author Paul Craig Roberts has also been motivated by the anniversary to review the evidence and concludes “Circumstantial evidence suggests that 9/11 was a scheme of George W. Bush regime neoconservative officials allied with vice president Dick Cheney and Israel to create a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ that would generate support on the part of the American people and Washington’s European allies for a Middle Eastern ‘war on terror’ whose real purpose was to destroy Israel’s enemies in the interest of Greater Israel… This is the most plausible explanation, but, if true, it is not one that the U.S. and Israeli governments would ever acknowledge. Consequently, we are stuck with an official explanation long championed by the presstitutes that no one believes.”

Yes, an implausible explanation that no one really believes for the greatest national security disaster in America’s twenty-first century. And Israel gets yet another pass.

Was the Tanker Attack an Israeli False Flag?

AUGUST 10, 202121

An incident that could lead to a much bigger war

PHILIP GIRALDI 

Source: The Unz Review

In the United States we now live under a government that largely operates in secret, headed by an executive that ignores the constitutional separation of powers and backed by a legislature that is more interested in social engineering than in benefitting the American people. The US, together with its best friend and faux ally Israel, has become the ultimate rogue nation, asserting its right to attack anyone at any time who refuses to recognize Washington’s leadership. America is a country in decline, its influence having been eroded by a string of foreign policy and military disasters starting with Vietnam and more recently including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. As a result, respect for the United States has plummeted most particularly over the past twenty years since the War on Terror was declared and the country has become a debtor nation as it prints money to sustain a pointless policy of global hegemony which no one else either desires or respects.

It has been argued in some circles that the hopelessly ignorant Donald Trump and the dementia plagued Joe Biden have done one positive thing, and that has been to keep us out of an actual shooting war with anyone able to retaliate in kind, which means in practice Russia and possibly China. Even if that were so, one might question a clumsy foreign policy devoid of any genuine national interest that is a train wreck waiting to happen. It has no off switch and has pushed America’s two principal rivals into becoming willy-nilly de facto enemies, something which neither Moscow nor Beijing wished to see develop.

Contrary to the claims that Trump and Biden are war-shy, both men have in fact committed war crimes by carrying out attacks on targets in both Syria and Iraq, to include the assassination of senior Iranian general Qasim Soleimani in January 2020. Though it was claimed at the time that the attacks were retaliatory, evidence supporting that view was either non-existent or deliberately fabricated.

Part of the problem for Washington is that the US had inextricably tied itself to worthless so-called allies in the Middle East, most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia. The real danger is not that Joe Biden or Kamala Harris will do something really stupid but rather that Riyadh or Jerusalem will get involved in something over their heads and demand, as “allies,” that they be bailed out by Uncle Sam. Biden will be unable to resist, particularly if it is the Israel Lobby that is doing the pushing.

Perhaps one of the more interesting news plus analysis articles along those lines that I have read in a while appeared last week in the Business Insider, written by one Mitchell Plitnick, who is described as president of ReThinking Foreign Policy. The article bears the headline “Russia and Israel may be on a collision course in Syria” and it argues that Russia’s commitment to Syria and Israel’s interest in actively deterring Iran and its proxies are irreconcilable, with the US ending up in an extremely difficult position which could easily lead to its involvement in what could become a new shooting war. The White House would have to tread very carefully as it would likely want to avoid sending the wrong signals either to Moscow or Jerusalem, but that realization may be beyond the thinking of the warhawks on the National Security Council.

To place the Plitnick article in its current context of rumors of wars, one might cite yet another piece in Business Insider about the July 30th explosive drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the northern Indian Ocean, which killed two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian. The bombing was immediately attributed to Iran by both Israel and Washington, though the only proof presented was that the fragments of the drone appeared to demonstrate that it was Iranian made, which means little as the device is available to and used by various players throughout the Middle East and in central Asia.

The tanker in question was the MT Mercer Street, sailing under a Liberian flag but Japanese-owned and managed by Zodiac Maritime, an international ship management company headquartered in London and owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer. It was empty, sailing to pick up a cargo, and had a mixed international crew. Inevitably, initial media reporting depended on analysis by the US and Israel, which saw the attack as a warning or retaliatory strike executed or ordered by the newly elected government currently assuming control in Tehran.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who could not possibly have known who carried out the attack, was not shy about expressing his “authoritative” viewpoint, asserting that “We are confident that Iran conducted this attack. We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming.”

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) also all too quickly pointed to Iran, stating that “The use of Iranian designed and produced one way attack ‘kamikaze’ UAVs is a growing trend in the region. They are actively used by Iran and their proxies against coalition forces in the region, to include targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.”

Tehran denied that it had carried out the attack but the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was not accepting that and threatened to attack Iran, saying predictably that “We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran. The world needs to take action against Iran now… Now is the time for deeds — words are not enough. … It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds. Otherwise the attacks will continue.” Gantz also confirmed that “Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes…”

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also made the same demand, saying Israel could “…act alone. They can’t sit calmly in Tehran while igniting the entire Middle East — that’s over. We are working to enlist the whole world, but when the time comes, we know how to act alone.” If the level of verbal vituperation coming out of Israel is anything to go by, an attack on Iran would appear to be imminent.

After the attack on the MT Mercer Street, there soon followed the panicked account the panicked account of an alleged hijacking of a second tanker by personnel initially reported to be wearing “Iranian military uniforms.” The “…hijacking incident in international waters in the Gulf of Oman” ended peacefully however. The US State Department subsequently reported that “We can confirm that personnel have left the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess… We believe that these personnel were Iranian, but we’re not in a position to confirm this at this time.”

So, the United States government does not actually know who did what to whom but is evidently willing to indict Iran and look the other way if Israel should choose to start a war. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan is right to compare the drone attack on the Mercer Street to the alleged Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which was deliberately distorted by the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and used to justify rapid escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam War. Buchanan observes that it is by no means clear that Iran was behind the Mercer Street attack and there are a number of good reasons to doubt it, including Iranian hopes to have sanctions against its economy lifted which will require best behavior. Also, Iran would have known that it would be blamed for such an incident in any event, so why should it risk going to war with Israel and the US, a war that it knows it cannot win?

Buchanan observes that whoever attacked the tanker wants war and also to derail any negotiations to de-sanction Iran, but he stops short of suggesting who that might be. The answer is of course Israel, engaging in a false flag operation employing an Iranian produced drone. And I would add to Buchanan’s comments that there is in any event a terrible stink of hypocrisy over the threat of war to avenge the tanker incident. Israel has attacked Iranian ships in the past and has been regularly bombing Syria in often successful attempts to kill Iranians who are, by the way, in the country at the invitation of its legitimate government. Zionist Joe Biden has yet to condemn those war crimes, nor has the suddenly aroused Tony Blinken. And Joe, who surely knows that neither Syria nor Iran threatens the United States, also continues to keep American troops in Syria, occupying a large part of the country, which directly confront the Kremlin’s forces. Israel wants a war that will inevitably involve the United States and maybe also Russia to some degree as collateral damage. Will it get that or will Biden have the courage to say “No!”

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.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

Ex-CIA Agent: US Wasted Trillions on Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, Achieved Nothing

July 26, 2021

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By Staff, Agencies

The US has squandered trillions of dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while failing to achieve any objectives, former US counter-terrorism specialist and CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi wrote in an op-ed for Strategic Culture Foundation.

In an article, Giraldi made the remarks as US soldiers leave Afghanistan after an almost twenty-year war and pressure mounts on the Biden administration to withdraw all troops from Iraq.

“Not only did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make bad situations worse, but the fact that no one in Washington was able to define ‘victory’ and think in terms of an exit strategy has meant that the wars and instability are still with us,” Giraldi wrote. “In their wake has been hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars spent to accomplish absolutely nothing.”

He also lamented the development of a situation where, in his opinion, Iraq now has a stronger connection to “Iran than it does to Washington.”

“The Iraqi Parliament has, in fact, asked US forces to leave the country, a request that has been ignored both by Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Trump actually threatened to freeze Iraqi bank assets to pressure the Iraqis into accepting the continued US occupation,” he added.

The former CIA agent also criticized the American presence in Syria, which takes place despite the fact that the current government of President Bashar al-Assad did not ask the United States to intervene in the long civil conflict.

“At the same time, American troops illegally present in neighboring Syria, continue to occupy that country’s oil fields to deprive the government in Damascus of much needed resources. Neither Iraq nor Syria threatens the United States in any way,” Giraldi noted.

According to the former military spy, given that history, it should come as “no surprise that the withdrawal from the twenty-year-long nation-building project in Afghanistan, long overdue, is not quite going as smoothly as the Pentagon and White House apparently planned.”

“US forces pulled out of their principal base in the country, Bagram Air Base, in the middle of the night without informing the incoming Afghan base commander. A frenzy of looting of the left-behind equipment followed,” Giraldi wrote.

And in general, the Taliban movement in Afghanistan “is racking up victory after victory against US and NATO trained Afghan government forces who have the disadvantage of having to defend everywhere, making them vulnerable to attacks on an opportunity basis.” He also noted that the Taliban “plausibly” claim to control at least 85% of the countryside, including numerous significant towns and provinces as well as crossing points into Pakistan.

“The US government is quietly expecting a similar fate for the thousands of Afghans who collaborated with the regime installed by Washington and is hurriedly arranging for visas to get the most vulnerable out, eventually seeking to resettle them in friendly Middle Eastern countries as well as in the US,” he commented on the issue of evacuating Afghans who collaborated with the US forces from the country in light of the growing threats against them.

Given that some 18,000 local residents working for the US have requested evacuation from Afghanistan and that they will certainly take their families with them, Giraldi notes that there exists “particular concern” that former translators “will be most particularly targeted.”

All in all, the author reckoned that the US involvement in Afghanistan in “the struggle to rid the world of the wrong kind of terrorists” has left the country “weaker and more unfocused” than it was in 2001.

“A recent 23-page report suggests that since ‘Defense Secretary’ Lloyd Austin’s February order to ‘stand down’ the entire US military for commanders to address “extremism” in its ranks has sunk morale and many top soldiers have either retired or quit in disgust,” he explained. “During his confirmation hearings, Austin pledged that he would ‘rid our ranks of racists and extremists’ but the reality is quite different, with the witch hunt in the ranks and endless promotion of diversity even hurting normal military readiness training.”

As President Biden pledged to complete the military withdrawal by the end of August, and the whole military presence in the war-torn nation will be reduced to a battalion of soldiers to secure the Embassy and CIA station in Kabul, Giraldi notes that the situation in itself is “not sustainable unless some kind of workable Afghan government coalition can be achieved.” However, referring to the Taliban’s successful offensive, he figures that this “appears to be increasingly unlikely.”

And thus the US will have to maintain a vital direct link to the city’s airport, for which the administration is negotiating with Turkey to maintain a contingent. Although Turkey has agreed to this mission, the Taliban have already stated that the presence of the Turkish military on the territory of the airport is unacceptable and will lead to retaliatory military actions by the group.

In addition, the US is trying to negotiate with Afghanistan’s neighbors on the deployment of its military for the possibility of over-the-horizon military strikes on the country, and according to Giraldi, there “are few options as the US would not be able to launch cruise missile or airstrikes through the neighboring countries that surround Afghanistan to the south, east and west, though a long-distance strike from warships in the Persian Gulf is technically possible.”

Furthermore, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, according to the former CIA agent, are closed to the US presence due to Russia’s dominance in the CSTO, which includes most of the former Union’s republics in the region, and Russia will certainly veto a US request for a military base. A possible US presence is not generating much enthusiasm from the countries of the region because “Washington’s bullying in Iraq, Syria and also against Iran has failed to convince anyone that the US Air Force would make a good neighbor.”

“So getting out of Afghanistan will be a lot trickier than going in,” Giraldi concluded. “And there is no escaping the fact that the entire Afghan adventure was one hell of a waste of lives and resources. Next time, maybe Washington will hesitate to charge in, but given the lack of any deep thinking going on in the White House, I suspect we Americans could easily find ourselves in yet another Afghanistan.”

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

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July 15, 2021

Philip Giraldi

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

Related Video

The Israeli Government Is Changing, but Some Things Remain the Same

Philip Giraldi

June 10, 2021

However, there is growing sentiment even in Congress and the Zionist controlled media that “what is wrong is wrong,” Phil Giraldi writes.

Israel is undergoing a change of management, with reliably hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being replaced by extreme nationalist Naftali Bennett. Bennett has at intervals favored the disenfranchisement of non-Jewish Israeli citizens and the ethnic cleansing of all non-Jews from historic Palestine, killing them if necessary. He opposes the creation of any Palestinian state and routinely describes Palestinian protesters as terrorists while stating his belief that they should be shot on sight. He has also boasted of his shooting Palestinians during his military service, saying at one point “I already killed lots of Arabs in my life, and there is absolutely no problem with that.” He was heavily involved in “Operation Grapes of Wrath” in Lebanon in the 1980s, where his commando unit killed numerous civilians, and takes pleasure in recounting his participation in Israel’s war crimes.

All of which means that there will be no respite from the brutal Netanyahu reign of terror which has been prevailing on the West Bank, in Gaza and also in Jerusalem itself. If anything, the pressure on Arabs forcing them to leave will intensify. Evidence that the recently negotiated cease fire was little more than a pause in the plan to mitigate international pressure before continuing to make the former Palestine Palestinian free is already available. Israeli police and army units have been arresting hundreds of Arabs, many of whom are Israeli citizens, not because they have broken any of the “rules” imposed by the Netanyahu government, but as a preventive measure to have them identified, allowing them to be safely locked away when the next round of fighting begins. Eighteen hundred arrests have been reported since unrest began in April, but the figure is probably much higher than that. An estimated 25% of those who are detained are children and 85% of those children arrested report that they were physically abused.  Also, at least 26 Palestinians have been killed while resisting. It has been claimed that the police, embarrassed by being ridiculed by protesting Palestinians, are “settling scores” and “closing accounts,” frequently using savage beatings during arrests and as collective punishment to break the Arab resistance.

Israeli police have also been active at and around the al-Aqsa mosque, where they have been denying Muslims access to the holy site while promoting sightseeing visits by Israeli Jews. This is a clear violation of the rules established for access to the mosque and it sends a strong signal to Palestinians that there is more to come and the intention is clearly that they will eventually be removed by whatever means necessary from Greater Israel.

The Director for the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (ADALAH) Hassan Jabareen observed recently how the violence over the past month was deliberately provoked by Israel both to shore up Netanyahu’s electoral prospects while “the massive arrest campaign announced by Israeli police…is a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel. This is a war against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists, and minors, employing massive Israeli police forces to raid the homes of Palestinian citizens.”

The Israelis, who clearly have a sense of humor, called the first phase of the mass arrests “Operation Law and Order.” The raids themselves have been carried out inside Israel itself and on the West Bank. Those Palestinians who are citizens of Israel have what has frequently been described as “second class rights” in the country’s judicial system. Although Israel claims its Arab citizens—roughly 20% of the nation’s population—have equality under the law, even the pro-Israel US State Department has repeatedly accused Israel of practicing “institutional and societal discrimination” toward its Arab citizens.

As a consequence, Palestinians who are arrested are indicted, charged and in some cases detained indefinitely under existing state of emergency and anti-terror legislation. A common charge is “incitement” which requires little or nothing in the way of evidence. Many of the arrested Palestinians have in fact been released after payment of exorbitant bails, averaging about $1,000. One Palestinian activist reportedly paying $7,400 to be set free.

It should be noted that the armed Jewish settlers who rioted in the lead up to last month’s fighting, destroying Palestinian homes and other property, have not been identified and detained by Israeli authorities. Activist Remi Kanazi notes how “Apartheid inside Israel is when Jewish Israeli mobs chant ‘Death to Arabs’ and brutalize Palestinians in their neighborhoods, while the cops do nothing, only for those same cops to conduct mass arrests of Palestinian citizens two weeks later.”

Outside of Israel proper, other Palestinians, who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority or who have United Nations documentation, have no rights at all under Israeli law and are being detained at will and, in many cases, indefinitely, without any access to legal counsel or to family members. Most of them were not doing anything illegal, even by Israeli standards, when they were arrested. They were guilty of being Palestinian.

In one example of how the process works, well-known Palestinian activist Iyad Burnat, who had previously been arrested at age 17 and imprisoned for two years for having thrown stones at Israeli soldiers has been targeted. He lives in Bil’in on the West Bank and has had his two sons abducted from their home in recent night invasions by Israeli security forces. Abdul Khaliq, 21 years old, was taken away on May 17th and Mohammed, 19 years old, was abducted on May 24th. They are being held in the Almasqubia detention center in Jerusalem and have been denied any contact either with their parents or legal counsel. The Israeli authorities have provided no explanation of why they were arrested in the first place.

In another recent example of the brutality of the Israeli police, al-Jazeera reports in detail how thirteen-year-old Mohammed Saadi was kidnapped, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with a gun to his head by five policemen working undercover in his hometown of Umm al-Fahem. Saadi was among thousands who gathered for a funeral procession held for Mohammed Kiwan, a 17-year-old boy who had been shot and killed by Israeli police a week earlier.

Activists among the Palestinians observe that the Israeli repression has proven counter-productive. Most Palestinians now understand that the Israelis intend to exterminate them. One observer notes that “The fear barrier has been broken. Israeli forces are up against a people who no longer have anything to lose. The young men in Jerusalem don’t see they have a future to look forward to, due to socioeconomic factors that is either the result of or exacerbated by the occupation policies towards them. These people are defending their right to exist, their homes and their homeland, and had it not been for their resistance, Jewish settlers would have taken control of many places in Jerusalem.”

Clearly, the Joe Biden administration will do nothing even if the Israeli government were to arrest and torture 100,000 Arabs, but there is growing sentiment even in Congress and the Zionist controlled media that “what is wrong is wrong.” Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s has twice introduced a bill, which is languishing in congressional committee, that calls on the United States to block aid to Israel that can be perceived as being used to arrest, beat and imprison children. Her legislation the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act​ H.R. 2407 amends a provision of the Foreign Assistance Act known as the “Leahy Law” to prohibit funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel.

McCollum argues that an estimated 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli security forces and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system since 2000. These children between the ages of 11 and 15 have sometimes been tortured using chokeholds, beatings, and coercive interrogation. As of September 2020 there were an estimated 157 children still detained in Israeli prisons, a number that has certainly gone up dramatically given the current crackdown by the police and army. Even though Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will surely block any attempt to let the McCollum bill see light of day one can at least honor the Congresswoman for what she is attempting to do and hope that some day the United States government will finally act honorably and help deliver liberty and justice for the long suffering Palestinians.

Recantations Are All the Rage. Israel Has Lost the Public Relations War

Israel and its friends demonize critics

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, June 01, 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). 

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***

Several things are happening simultaneously. Most important, Israel has lost the public opinion war in much of the world through its brutality during the recent attack on Gaza and it continues to lose ground even in the wake of a cease fire due to mass arrests of Palestinians and armed police intrusions in and around the al-Aqsa mosque. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is by its actions making clear that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine will continue at a time that he chooses. This in turn has produced a storm of criticism, including from Jewish groups and individuals, that is condemning the bloodshed and also sometimes explicitly seeking to distance Judaism the religion from Zionism, the political movement.

Some have suggested that we have finally reached a tipping point in which Israel has gone too far, evident in the Irish Government’s condemnation of Israeli “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the Dial that

“The scale, pace and strategic nature of Israel’s actions on settlement expansion and the intent behind it have brought us to a point where we need to be honest about what is actually happening on the ground …”

The Jewish state has even succeeded in alienating many who are normally supporters in countries like the United States, quite possibly leading to an eventual shift in policy in Congress and at the White House. That view might be exaggerated given the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to make past atrocities go away, but it might obtain some back-handed credibility from the ferocity of the counter-attack being waged by Israel and its friends against the celebrities and politicians who have finally developed backbones and have spoken out in defense of Palestinian rights.

The Jewish state’s reaction to criticism is being fueled by repeated assertions that anti-Semitism is surging in the United States and Europe. The media has become relentless on the issue, which is in any even irrelevant even if it were true. Last Saturday, internet news site Yahoo featured links to no less than three articles on increasing attacks on Jews, two coming from NBC and one from BBC.

Despite the recent one sided slaughter in Gaza, American Jewish organizations even had the hubris to declare last Thursday “In light of the surging wave of antisemitic violence, “A Day of Action Against Antisemitism.” Frustration of many people with Israeli behavior is indeed increasing, but the assumption that any shouted insult or organized protest directed at Netanyahu and/or his gang of cutthroats at a time when they are mass-killing Arabs represents pure hatred of Jews is quite frankly unsustainable. It is hatred not of religion but of what Israel is doing, supported by Washington and Israel’s powerful domestic lobby, and most people understand clearly that distinction.

The underlying narrative being offered is that Jews are always the victims, even when they initiate violence, because, they would argue, they are only acting of necessity and preemptively as self-defense. That argument means that they are never guilty of what many might call war crimes, and they are adept at fabricating stories about their opponents labeling them as both terrorists and cowards willing to use civilians as human shields to protect themselves. This effort to burnish the apartheid regime’s record also means in practice that there have to be regular invocations of the tale of increasing anti-Semitism as well as direct attacks on anyone who dares to appropriate or in any way diminish the so-called holocaust.

Numerous critics of the Israeli bombing of Gaza have been attacked by the Israel Lobby and its allies in the media. The idea is to humiliate the critic and put so much pressure on him or her that he or she will actually apologize for what was either said or written. Even better, the Israeli partisans often push far beyond that point to obtain a complete recantation of what appeared in the first place. In the case of actors or entertainers, for example, the weapon used is obvious. If one wants to continue to be gainfully employed in an industry that is dominated by Zionist Jews it is necessary to either keep one’s mouth shut or quickly apologize claiming that one was “misinformed” or “misspoke.”

Several recent mea culpa’s for criticizing Israel have made the news as has also the virtual crucifixion of a congresswoman for her citation of the holocaust. Actor Mark Ruffalo may have believed that he was doing the “right thing” by speaking out on Palestinian suffering. He tweeted

“Over 30 children killed. Mothers dead. Hundreds injured. We are on the brink of a full-scale war. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its Black people – it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call” and also in another tweet referred to the killing as “genocide.”

He came under intense pressure and soon apologized, tweeting

“I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide’. It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”

Dua Lipa Fires Back At NY Times Ad Calling Lipa Plus Bella And Gigi Hadid To Condemn Hamas

Source

Ruffalo did not quite crawl on his belly to preserve his career, but the metaphor certainly comes to mind. And what Ruffalo experienced was a walk in the park compared to what was dished out to British pop singer Dua Lipa who was subjected to a full-page New York Times ad paid for by no less than “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network. The singer Dua Lipa as well as Palestinian-descended models Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid were accused of “anti-Semitism” after they expressed public support of the pro-Palestine cause. The Boteach ad claimed that the three women were “ignorant” and spreading “disgusting libel,” calling on them to instead “condemn [Hamas] now” arguing that “the three mega-influencers have vilified the Jewish state in a manner that is deeply troubling… Hamas calls for a second Holocaust.”

Dua Lipa did not however recant when confronted by the hideous Boteach’s rant. She responded in part

“This is the price you pay for defending Palestinian human rights against an Israeli government whose actions in Palestine [include both] persecution and discrimination.”

A number of other celebrity-critics of the Israeli slaughter in Gaza also stood firm, including comedian John Oliver and Susan Sarandon, but there were also more victims of the wrath of Zion. The Associated Press, itself having been on the receiving end of the Israeli bombing of Gaza, fired a reporter Emily Wilder for what were alleged to be pro-Palestinian views while an undergraduate at Stanford several years before. Wilder, who is Jewish, recently also posted a question which was used against her, asking why the US media regularly uses the word Israel but avoids referring to Palestine, legitimizing the statehood of the former at the expense of the latter.

In Fairfax County Virginia there were demands to remove a school board member Abrar Omeish who, during the attack on Gaza, had tweeted

“Hurts my heart to celebrate while Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land right now. Apartheid & colonization were wrong yesterday and will be today, here and there.”

She soon came under pressure and quickly recanted with

“War is terrible for everyone. I hear those hurting. I’m here for each of you. People of all faiths deserve Holy Land peace. Ensuring justice & honoring humanity of all remain urgent. I look ahead to robust & empathetic engagement with Jewish leaders. Let’s build together.”

Local resident Jennifer Katz was not satisfied, however, telling the board that the tweet “could be reasonably interpreted as a microaggression” against Jewish students.

But perhaps the most bizarre nonsense to surface from the knee-jerk defense of Israel effort played out, perhaps not surprisingly, on Capitol Hill where Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, to put it mildly, got in trouble. The first-term Republican Representative from Georgia had already attracted widespread criticism from both Democratic and Republican colleagues for her alleged trafficking in conspiracy theories but she unleashed the hounds of hell when she made an observation regarding the government’s compelling people working in grocery stores to submit to the COVID vaccines. She said

“You know, we can look back in a time and history where people were told to wear a gold star. And they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.”

Congresswoman Greene is not renowned for her brain power and it was the sort of comment that is so stupid that it is best handled by ignoring it, but as it concerned the so-called holocaust that was not the end of it. She has been shredded by the leadership of both parties and also by individual legislators as well as the usual suspects in the media. She had previously been stripped of some of her committee assignments over other misdemeanors, but this time around her “colleagues” have been calling for her censure at a minimum and even possible expulsion from the House of Representatives. The lesson learned is that you trifle with the sanctity of the holocaust at your peril. It belongs to Jews and is a vital component of the uniqueness of Jewish suffering narrative.

Over the next few weeks there will no doubt be a flood of stories and commentary reminding everyone in America about just how much the Israelis were victims of a premeditated Hamas attack and what wonderful people they really are. It will be an attempt to regain the propaganda advantage for the Israel Lobby. And yes, more heads of critics will be rolling in the dust, with recantations by celebrities adding sparkle to the event. But even at the end of that process the true horror that modern day Israel represents will be remembered by many and as the game goes on there will hopefully be many more American voices raised in protest.

*

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This article was originally published on The Unz Review.

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.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Another attack on Gaza: Israel squeezing the life of Gaza – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Good News and Bad News: Biden Punts on Russia and Takes Some Heat on Afghanistan

See the source image
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 27, 2021

The Establishment Foreign Policy has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until a political reliable government is established there.

Possibly the best news to come out of the past week has been the announcement of a possibly Egyptian mediated cease fire between Israel and Gaza late last Thursday. The fighting killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, versus twelve Israelis including two children and also did major damage to schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure in Gaza. It is being widely presumed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the plug on the “Guardians of the Walls” offensive because of concerns that Israeli Army brutality was inflicting serious damage on the hitherto favorable perception of the Jewish state in the United States. As U.S. support of Israeli initiatives for both the money and political cover that Washington provides is essential to the Netanyahu long term plan to annex nearly all of the West Bank, it would have seemed prudent to take one’s foot off the pedal until the expected next round of fighting.

Though it has not been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that President Joe Biden might have offered a considerable sweetener to Netanyahu to nudge the Israeli leader towards the cease fire. It appears to have come in the form of an offer to help pay for and assist the reconstruction of Gaza with one apparent condition, that Hamas effectively completely disarm by getting rid of all its missiles. Presumably U.S. or United Nations inspectors would make sure the job were done right, would share what they learn about Gaza’s tunnel system with Israeli intelligence, and the IDF in turn would find it much easier going the next time it chooses to attack. As usual, the American taxpayer would be victimized to undo the damage in paying for a significant part of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction tab.

But in terms of benefiting actual American interests, there has also been the Biden Administration decision to lift the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump on the contractors who have been working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. The Trump Administration, driven by its gaggle of neocon advisers, had declared that the pipeline was a “national security threat” and initiated sanctions on all parties involved, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while also appointing a special envoy to put pressure on the German government to renege on the deal. The pipeline was and is good business for Moscow and also for Berlin since the Russian gas is cheaper than other available supplies. It will cost $11 billion to complete, is over 95% finished and will reportedly create at least 10,000 jobs.

It initially looked as if Biden would continue the Trump policy. As recently as mid-March Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it was a bad deal because “this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.” He said he would do “whatever he can to stop [its] completion” and also warned that companies working on the pipeline must cease work immediately or face more “harsh” U.S. sanctions. Most of the companies were and are Western European and nominally NATO allies of the U.S. and Nord Stream 2 and while it appeared likely that the project would be completed for good economic reasons, the German government was reportedly undecided, afraid to confront Biden.

Washington was angered, at least in part, because it wanted to sell more expensive American gas to the Germans. Biden surprisingly has decided to abandon the bad Trump policy, which, inter alia also has given fuel to European anti-U.S. sentiment while serving unnecessarily to increase tension with Russia. The move was welcomed both in Germany and in Russia. The German Foreign Minister noted that it was a sign that Washington is now willing to work with its “partners.” It is an all too rare “win” for American foreign policy.

Now for the bad news. President Joe Biden has recently received an unexpected gift in the form of a letter signed by 126 retired admirals and generals stating that he is not qualified to hold office because of his health and because the 2020 election process was flawed. It also raises a number of specific foreign and national security policy issues, including the threat from China, the border crisis and increased censorship. One might expect that the letter originated in a circle of disgruntled Trump supporters and could therefore be ignored, but many of signatories are not known to be Republican Party supporters. Given that, the agenda just might be more complicated and its timing suggests that it might be linked to the United States proceeding with its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What might be referred to as the Establishment Foreign Policy as opposed to what sometimes goes on in the State Department and White House has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable and political reliable government in Kabul is completed. And to be sure there are many dissidents in Congress who see leaving Kabul as yet another avoidable defeat for the United States. Given all of that, several previous attempts by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. troops were successfully undermined by critics and eventually abandoned. Biden, however, appears to be sticking to his pledge to depart fully by September 11th and many tons of military equipment are currently being removed from the country.

This has produced multiple attacks on the intention to leave Afghanistan effectively in the hands of the Taliban. A humanitarian pitch has included stories on how women will suffer, being deprived of schooling and opportunity if and when the Taliban return to power. That claim is unfortunately true but the continued presence of a couple of thousand American soldiers at bases in a country as large and infrastructure deficient as Afghanistan will not reverse attitudes that are as much cultural and religious as political.

And the pressure on Biden to reverse the decision is growing. On May 25th, for example, the Center on National Security at Fordham Law in New York hosted a discussion panel looking into “Departure from Afghanistan: Envisioning a Responsible Withdrawal.” The panel’s conclusions were to say the least mixed and have already been used by critics of the Biden decision.

Pressure is also coming from Congress, even from lawmakers who would normally support the White House. “This has some eerie resemblances” [to Vietnam], Representative Gerald E. Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, said pointedly at a “heated” hearing last week at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He recalled the unexpectedly rapid collapse of security in Saigon in 1975 as U.S. forces evacuated the last of the personnel from the American embassy, lifting employees from the roof of the building with helicopters. He added that “It seems the American game is to cut its losses and leave and hope for the best — not our problem. The problem is because of this engagement, just like Vietnam, we’re leaving behind hundreds of thousands of Afghans who relied on us, trusted us, for security.”

And if more resistance to the plan were needed, it came last week from George W. Bush, best noted for his disastrous invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush had no end game to extricate the U.S. from either intervention and the results of the improvised policies that have continued now for nearly twenty years are clearly evident. Bush said in a Fox News interview “I’ve always warned that no U.S. presence in Afghanistan will create a vacuum, and into that vacuum is likely to come people who treat women as second class citizens… One of the great successes of the liberation of Afghanistan and the removal of al-Qaeda’s safe haven was that women and girls began to flourish in the country… We all benefit when women and girls are empowered to realize their full potential and become contributing members of society. And Laura and I will always stand behind them… I’m also deeply concerned about the sacrifices of our soldiers, and our intelligence community, will be forgotten…”

Bush also said that Iran is very dangerous for “world peace” because it is targeting Israel, revealing yet again that he, like the Bourbon kings of France, has not learned anything since leaving office. In any event, the comments by Bush, the pushback in Congress, the holding of academic conferences on leaving Afghanistan as well as the letter from retired senior military officers just might be part of the same plan to force Biden into extending the timetable or even revoking the orders for U.S. departure from Kabul. And it just might succeed. That would be very bad news indeed.

Also by this author

Some Simple Lies Out of Washington: Who Is the Terrorist and Who Is the Victim?

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 20, 2021

There is no American interest that is served by allowing Israelis to kill Palestinians, Phil Giraldi writes.

There have been few surprises coming out of the violence that has erupted in Palestine and Israel. Israel, firmly in control of much of the media in the U.S. and Western Europe has chosen to depict it in simple terms: the Palestinian “terrorist” group Hamas has attacked the Jewish state which has taken proportionate steps to defend itself. This simplistic rendition of a much more complicated series of interactions has been picked up by many of the talking heads that pass for political commentary in the United States as well as by the completely corrupted Washington politicians.

Comments expressing any sympathy for the decades long plight of the Palestinians have been as scarce as the proverbial hens’ teeth, though such sentiment is growing even in Congress as Israeli killing of civilians increases. In fact, initially I could only find five statements coming from Democrats that in any serious way regretted the suffering being inflicted on Arab civilians in Gaza, in Jerusalem and on the West Bank. One consisted of remarks by Senator Elizabeth Warren regarding the series of thefts of Palestinian homes that sparked the recent violence. She tweeted “The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.” Senator Bernie Sanders also made the case for Palestinian suffering in a hard-hitting New York Times op-ed entitled “The U.S. Must Stop Being an Apologist for Netanyahu.” He describes the Israeli Prime Minister as having “cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism.”

There also was Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s brief rebuke to New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, who had tweeted “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.” AOC responded “Utterly shameful for Yang to try to show up to an Eid [Ramadan] event after sending out a chest-thumping statement of support for a strike killing 9 children.”

A much stronger comment came from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who is of Somalian descent, who decried her own party’s unwillingness to confront the reality of the issue. She tweeted “No mention of Sheikh Jarra. No mention of the al-Aqsa raid. No mention of the 13 innocent children killed in air strikes. No mention of the ongoing occupation of millions in an open-air prison. You aren’t prioritizing human rights. You’re siding with an oppressive occupation.” Omar was subsequently accused by no less than ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being “anti-Semitic.”

And Palestinian descendant Rashida Tlaib, in a speech delivered before Congress, included “To read the statements from President Biden and Secretary Blinken, General Austin and leaders of both parties, you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all. There has been no recognition of the attack on Palestinian families being ripped from their homes in East Jerusalem right now or home demolitions; no mention of children being detained or murdered; no recognition of a sustained campaign of harassment and terror by Israeli police against worshipers kneeling down and praying and celebrating their holiest days in one of their holiest places — no mention of Al-Aqsa, being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke, while people pray.”

None of the comments had any real impact on the White House and AOC’s was particularly maladroit as Yang is running for mayor in a city with a sizable Jewish population that he was pandering to, but he has nothing whatsoever to do with U.S. foreign policy. AOC should have aimed her criticism at her own party’s leadership, which she, of course, chose not to do.

Most commentary from America’s so-called leaders was more predictably bellicose. Jen Psaki, the White House press spokesman cited the view of President “I am a Zionist” Joe Biden, reporting that “The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waiver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Jerusalem.” This produced an absurd response from even more passionately Zionist ex-President Donald Trump, who characteristically was both aggressive and overflowing with ignorance. He tweeted “When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked. Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies. America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

But it was hard to beat the one liner by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has claimed the titled of “Israel’s governor” while also having his state issue license plates bearing the slogan “Florida Stands By Israel.” How about “Florida Stands By Americans” Ron? De Santis said “Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks.” Indeed, the pithy line that “Israel has a right to defend itself” has been picked up far and wide in the U.S. Whether an unarmed Palestine has the same right apparently is not a matter of concern for many Americans.

Also coming out of Florida is a similar message from Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch who is promoting the argument “Please don’t be fooled by false choices: Israel or Hamas. If I am asked to choose between a terrorist organization and our democratic ally, I will stand with Israel.” Ted is himself Jewish and represents a largely Jewish constituency.

And Ted is of course interpreting the situation to suit his own preferences. Also, like many Democratic politicians, he is listening to the top political donors, a clear majority of whom for the Democrats are reportedly Jewish. Haim Saban, an Israeli-American Hollywood producer and major donor, says “I’m a Democrat, and unfortunately there is an extreme left wing of the Democratic Party that could use some education on what’s in our American interest. On Israel there should be no argument. It’s the only democracy in the region and our staunchest ally in the region.”

Saban is, of course, reiterating a comfortable argument about supporting Israel. It is also false as Israel is neither an ally nor a democracy and its actions are completely contrary to actual U.S. interests. Objectively speaking, Palestine has been the victim of the Jewish state and not vice versa and Israel could be charged with genocide, mass murder or ethnic cleansing, whatever or however one chooses to describe it. One could go on for pages describing the human rights abuses and war crimes that the indigenous Muslim and Christian Arab inhabitants have had to endure at the hands of the Jewish Israelis over the past seventy plus years.

Israel has even declared itself legally a Jewish state with inferior rights for the 20% of the population that technically are Israeli citizens but consisting nearly all of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Those Palestinians who are not citizens are under Israeli imposed martial law on the West Bank and have no rights whatsoever, including the right to life. Israeli soldiers who shoot to kill unarmed Arab civilians, including children, are almost never punished and some of them are actually celebrated as heroes.

Noam Chomsky describes the situation from the Arab point of view: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.” It is now generally conceded that Israel is an apartheid state, with the Arabs remaining in historic Palestine living in what is virtually an open-air prison. In return the unarmed Palestinians have occasionally struck back in so far as they could, leading to an Israeli response consisting of overwhelming military force using “industrial” state of the art weapons versus home-made rockets to produce the disproportionate slaughter such as is occurring right now.

What is particularly disturbing about the U.S. government response to what is taking place in Gaza is the lack of any actual American interest that is served by allowing Israelis to kill Palestinians. Quite the contrary, as Washington will be rightly blamed by nearly everyone for enabling Israeli behavior. Equally disturbing is the tissue of lies and deliberate misstatements used to obscure the reality and justify the positions that are being taken. Is there any wonder why so many Americans no longer feel that they can either trust or believe what is coming out of the mouths of Washington politicians and its associated mainstream media?

Who Wags the Dog? Israel’s Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle East

Who Wags the Dog? Israel's Friends in Washington Mean Constant War in the Middle  East - Islam Times
Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi April 22, 2021

Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby.

Donald Trump, who was elected President of the United States in 2016, may have won due to voters attracted by his pledge to end many of the “stupid” wars that the American military was involved in worldwide. In the event, however, he ended no wars in spite of several attempts to withdraw from Afghanistan and Syria, and almost started new conflicts with cruise missile attacks and the assassination of an Iranian general. Trump was consistently outmaneuvered by his “experts” on the National Security Council and at the Pentagon, who insisted that it was too early to disengage from the Middle East and Central Asia, that America’s own national security would be threatened.

Trump did not have either the experience or the grit necessary to override his generals and national security team, so he deferred to their judgement. And as has been well documented he was under constant pressure to do Israel’s bidding in the region, which mandated a continued substantial US military presence to protect the Jewish state and to provide cover for the regular attacks staged by the Israelis against several of their neighbors. Motivated by the substantial political donations coming from multi-billionaires like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Trump conceded more to Israel than any previous president, recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital as well as Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights while also giving the green light to settlement expansion and eventual incorporation of all of the occupied West Bank into Greater Israel.

President Joe Biden has already indicated that he will if anything out-do Trump when it comes to favoring America’s persistent “ally” and “best friend” in the Middle East. Biden, who has declared himself to be a “Zionist,” is responding to the same lobbying and media power that Israel’s friends are able to assert over any US national government. In addition, his own Democratic Party in Congress is also the home of most of the federal government’s genuine Zionists, namely the numerous mostly Jewish legislators who have long dedicated themselves to advancing Israeli interests. Finally, Biden has chosen to surround himself with large numbers of Jewish appointed officials as his foreign policy and national security team, many of whom have close and enduring personal ties to Israel, to include service in the Israeli Army.

The new Secretary of Defense, former Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin has recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he confirmed one’s worst fears about the direction the Biden Administration is moving in. It was a first visit to Israel by a Biden Administration cabinet member. Austin met with his counterpart Benny Gantz and also with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, both of whom warned him that Israel considered renewal of any nuclear arms limitation agreement with Iran to be a threat, only delaying development of a weapon. As Bibi expressed it, “Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

Austin responded by the usual two-step avoiding Israel’s expressed concerns, which might be considered a threat of an Israeli veto on Biden’s attempt to revert to the original 2015 JCPOA multilateral pact. He said that the Biden administration would continue to guarantee Israel’s “qualitative military edge” as an element in America’s “strong commitment to Israel and the Israeli people,” adding that “our bilateral relationship with Israel in particular is central to regional stability and security in the Middle East. During our meeting I reaffirmed to Minister Gantz our commitment to Israel is enduring and it is ironclad.”

Wrong answer general. The foreign policy of any country should be based on actual interests, not on political donations and effective lobbying, still less on what one reads in the Zionist mainstream media in the US. Netanyahu has stated that the Iran agreement is “fatally flawed” and has said recently that “History has taught us that deals like this, with extremist regimes like this, are worth nothing.” Israel, which uniquely has a secret nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, is one of the world’s leading violators of attempts to limit nuclear proliferation. It is also destabilizing to the entire Middle East region, an apartheid state – not a democracy – and its government is widely regarded as right-wing extremist. That Netanyahu should feel somehow empowered to talk down to the Iranians, and to the US, remains a mystery.

Beyond what goes on between Washington and Jerusalem, the real center of power, the Israel Lobby, consists of a large number of separate organizations that act collectively to advance Israeli interests. There is considerable corruption in the process, with cooperative congressmen being rewarded while those who resist are targeted for replacement. Much of the legwork on subverting Capitol Hill and the White House is done by foundations, which often pretend to be educational to obtain tax exempt status. “Experts” from the various pro-Israel groups are then seeded into the decision-making process of the federal government, serving as gatekeepers to prevent consideration of any legislation that might be objected to by Netanyahu.

One of the most active lobbying groups is the so-called Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) which is in fact closely tied to and takes direction from the Israeli Embassy in Washington. FDD is particularly focused on going to war with Iran and whenever there are discussions on Iran policy on Capitol Hill one can be sure that an FDD expert will be present and active.

And if you really want to know why America’s foreign policy has been so self-destructive, it has recently been learned that FDD was actually able to insert one of its employees into the National Security Council under Donald Trump. According to a report on Bloomberg, Richard Goldberg, an outspoken anti-Iran hawk and former associate of John Bolton, is leaving the council and would be returning “to [the Foundation for Defense of Democracies], which continued to pay his salary during his time on the National Security Council.”

The NSC exists to provide the president with the best possible intelligence and analysis available for dealing with problem areas, something that Goldberg, due to his conflict of interest, would have been unlikely to provide, particularly as he was still on the FDD payroll and was also being given generous travel expenses while working for the government. Whether he was also being paid by the NSC, which is referred to as “double dipping,” is not known. In any event, there is something very wrong about the appointment of a paid partisan who seeks war with a particular country to a vital national security position where objectivity is an imperative. Ned Price, former special assistant to President Obama on national security, commented “…we now know a White House point person on Iran policy was receiving a salary from and remained employed by an organization that has put forward some of the most extreme and dangerous pro-regime change policies.”

So Biden, like presidents before him, is caught in the trap between an extremist-dominated Israel itself and its demonic prime minister on one side and the all-powerful domestic Israel Lobby on the other. Unfortunately, one cannot expect the United States to get out from under the Israeli thumb no matter whom is elected president.

The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It

American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family.

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, April 09, 2021

Strategic Culture Foundation 8 April 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).

***

It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.History: Reversing the Vietnam Verdict

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.

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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.

The Endless War: Afghanistan Goes On and On

APRIL 02 ,2021

By Philip Giraldi

Source

All indications are that the Pentagon will be able to maneuver more effectively in Washington than on the battlefield.

Given the present atmosphere in Washington in which there is no lie so outrageous as to keep it out of the mainstream media, a great deal of policy making takes place without even key players in the government knowing what is going on behind their backs. Of course, there is a long tradition of government lying in general but most politicians and officials have probably convinced themselves that they are avoiding the truth because complicating issues might lead to endless debate where nothing ever gets done. There may be some truth to that, but it is a self-serving notion at best.

The real damage comes when governments lie in order to start or continue a war. The Administration of George W. Bush did just that when it lied about Iraq’s secular leader Saddam Hussein seeking nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists and developing delivery systems that would enable Iraq to attack the U.S. with the nukes. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice knew she was not telling the truth when she warned that “the problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” She also was a key player in the Bush team approval of the CIA’s use of torture on captured al-Qaeda.

Rice is, by the way, not in jail and is currently a highly esteemed elder statesman serving as Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Likewise for her friend and patron Madeleine Albright who famously declared that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions were worth it. In the United States the only ones who are ever punished are those who expose the crimes being committed by the government, to include a number of whistleblowers and journalists like Julian Assange.

The active American military role in lying probably started at Valley Forge but it came into prominence with the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which was an alleged attack by the North Vietnamese on U.S. Navy ships that led to an escalation in Washington’s direct role in what was to become the Vietnam War, which produced 58,000 American dead as well as an estimated three million Vietnamese. No one was punished for faking the casus belli and today Vietnam is a communist state in spite of the martial valor of the U.S. Army.  Overall commander of US forces in Vietnam General William Westmoreland, who died in 2005, repeatedly advised the media and the White House that the American military was “winning” and there would be victory in six more months. General Westmoreland knew he was lying, as the Pentagon Papers subsequently revealed, and he also proved reluctant to share his plans with the White House. He even developed a contingency plan to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam without informing the president and Secretary of Defense.

Prize winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter has written an article “Trump Administration Insider Reveals How US Military Sabotaged Peace Agreement to Prolong Afghan War” that describes how the brass in the Pentagon currently are able to manipulate the bureaucracy in such a way as to circumvent policy coming out of the country’s civilian leadership. The article is based in part on an interview with retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor, a decorated combat arms officer who served as an acting senior adviser to the Secretary of Defense during the last months of Donald Trump’s time in office.  He would have likely been confirmed in his position if Trump had won reelection.

Porter describes the negotiations between the Taliban and Trump’s Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, which began in late 2018 and culminated in a peace agreement that was more-or-less agreed to by both sides in February 2019. The Pentagon, fearing that the war would be ending, quickly moved to sabotage a series of confidence building measures that included disengagement and cease fires. In short, US commanders supported by the Pentagon leadership under Secretary of Defense Mike Esper as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to attack Taliban positions in spite of the agreements worked out by the diplomats, blaming all incidents on the Taliban. They also used their “perception management” media contacts to float fabricated stories about Taliban activity, which included the false account of Russians paying Taliban fighters bounties for every American they could kill.

After the 2020 election, which Donald Trump appeared to have lost, Esper, Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie and the senior field commander General Scott Miller took the offensive against any withdrawal by sending a memo to the president warning that no troops should be removed from the country until “certain conditions” had been met. An enraged Trump, who believed that the disengagement from Afghanistan was the right thing to do, then used his authority to order a withdrawal of all US troops by the end of the year. He also fired Esper, replacing him with Christopher Miller as SecDef and brought in Macgregor, who had openly expressed his belief that the war in Afghanistan should be ended immediately as well as the wars in the Middle East.

Macgregor and Miller reasoned that the only way to remove the remaining troops from Afghanistan by year’s end would be to do so by presidential order. Macgregor prepared the document and President Trump signed it immediately. On the next day November 12th, however, Colonel Macgregor learned that Trump had subsequently met with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Acting Secretary Miller. Trump and Miller were told by Milley and O’Brien that the orders he placed in the memorandum could not be executed because a withdrawal would lead to a surge in violence and would damage chances for an eventual peace settlement. Trump was also told that an ongoing US presence in Afghanistan had “bipartisan support,” possibly a warning that he might be overruled by Congress if he sought to proceed. Trump later agreed to withdraw only half of the total, 2,500 troops, a number that has continued to remain in place under President Joe Biden. A current agreement has the US withdrawing those last soldiers, together with allied NATO troops, by May 1st but it is under attack from Congress, think tanks, the mainstream media and the military leadership for the same reasons that have been cited for staying in Afghanistan over the past twenty years and predictably Biden has folded. Last week he announced that some American soldiers will remain in country to maintain stability after the deadline.

The story of Trump and Afghanistan is similar to what took place with Syria, where plans to withdraw were regularly reversed due to adroit maneuvering by the Pentagon and its allies. It remains to be seen what Joe Biden will do ultimately as he is being confronted by the same forces that compelled Trump to beat a retreat. The more serious issue is, of course, that the United States of America portrays itself as a nation that engages only in “just wars” and which has a military that is under control and responsive to an elected and accountable civilian government. As Afghanistan and Syria demonstrate, those conceits have been unsustainable since the US went on a global dominance spree when it launched its War on Terror in 2001. All indications are that the Pentagon will be able to maneuver more effectively in Washington than on the battlefield. It will continue to have its pointless wars, and its bloated “defense” budgets.

Blockbuster: Epstein, Aided by Mossad, Local Cops, Raped, Threatened to ‘throw woman to alligators’ – New Lawsuit

By VT Editors -March 30, 2021

  • …Epstein and Maxwell threatened and intimidated her by emphasizing Epstein’s influence over the FBI, the U.S. Office of Homeland Security’s Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Florida state and local law enforcement, according to the lawsuit….(through both Epstein’s and Maxwell’s Mossad connections)
  • ...Epstein also promised to help find her husband a job with the FBI…
  • …Epstein’s lawyers, including famed prosecutor turned defense lawyer Kenneth Starr, appealed to the Department of Justice in Washington, urging them to intervene in the South Florida case…
Ken Starr and George W Bush

Raw Story: In a new lawsuit, a woman identified as only “Jane Doe” claims that Jeffrey Epstein and his companion Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly raped her in front of her 8-year-old son at a hotel in Naples, Florida, in early 2008, the Miami Herald reports.

The woman also claims the pair trafficked her to have sex with other men, including an unnamed local judge, and that Epstein forced her to undergo a vaginal medical procedure so he could market her as a virgin to one of his “high profile” clients.

The lawsuit says Doe was a real estate broker who met Epstein and Maxwell sometime in 2006 or 2007 and helped him find property to rent, for which he paid cash and instructed her not to identify him as a tenant or process his identification. He later offered her to work for him.

“About six months later, Doe, ‘persuaded by the persistent efforts of Maxwell,’ agreed to consider working for Epstein,” the Herald reports. “A trained hairdresser, Doe said she was hired to go to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion in January 2008 to cut Epstein’s hair. When she arrived, Epstein was naked and, with Maxwell’s assistance, brutally raped her, according to the lawsuit.”

After he raped her, Epstein allegedly gave her $200.

When Doe threatened to call the police, Maxwell claimed that she had already called the police. Then, according to the lawsuit, two men who claimed to be police officers showed up and threatened to arrest Doe for prostitution, take away her son, and deport her.

“Epstein then ushered the plaintiff to the body of water and told her in explicit detail that — as had happened to other women in the past, according to the pair — she would end up in this body of water and be devoured should she ever reveal what Epstein had done to her,” the suit says.  From the Miami Herald:

The woman, who is identified only as “Jane Doe,” claims that Epstein and Maxwell repeatedly raped her in front of her 8-year-old son at a hotel in Naples, Florida, in early 2008; that they trafficked her to have sex with a number of other men, including an unnamed local judge; and that Epstein forced her to undergo vaginal surgery so that he could market her as a virgin to one of their “high-profile” clients.

The woman, who is identified only as “Jane Doe,” claims that Epstein and Maxwell repeatedly raped her in front of her 8-year-old son at a hotel in Naples, Florida, in early 2008; that they trafficked her to have sex with a number of other men, including an unnamed local judge; and that Epstein forced her to undergo vaginal surgery so that he could market her as a virgin to one of their “high-profile” clients.

Then Epstein and Maxwell ordered Doe to drive with them in Doe’s vehicle, picking up her son along the way. During the trip, they pulled off the side of the road to a waterway filled with alligators.

“Epstein then ushered the plaintiff to the body of water and told her in explicit detail that — as had happened to other women in the past, according to the pair — she would end up in this body of water and be devoured should she ever reveal what Epstein had done to her,’’ the suit says.

At a hotel in Naples, over a period of days, Doe was repeatedly raped by Epstein and Maxwell in the presence of her young son, she said.


…introduction by Jonas E. Alexis, VT Editor

JEA: It is well known that Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, Robert Maxwell, was a double agent for the Israeli Mossad. Robert was a staunch supporter of Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. He actually made a deal with the Czech communists at the time, who provided Israel with guns and bullets in order to fight the Arabs.[1]

Maxwell, who was called “a ruthless bully” by the Daily Mail,[2] was a Jew from Czechoslovakia who eventually became a flamboyant British mogul through various publishing empires such as the New York Daily News and Mirror Group newspapers.[3] In 1991, his body was mysteriously found floating in the Atlantic Ocean. The Guardian later asked, “Was it murder? Suicide? Or just an accident?”[4] The newspaper moved on to say that there was “talk of suicide, or murder – perhaps by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.”[5]

Anyway, after his death, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, a terrorist in the strict sense of the word,[6] declared that Robert “has done more for Israel than can today be told.”[7] The question is simply this: Were Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein Israeli spies, blackmailing and titillating politicians and preying on other people’s weakness?

In Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Dylan Howard and co-authors Melissa Cronin and James Robertson produce enough evidence showing that Jeffrey Epstein was indeed an Israeli agent, acting covertly and using sex rings to trap politicians and powerful people. This is one reason why Epstein constantly bragged that he “had dirt on powerful people…. some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.”[8]

James B. Stewart of the New York Times himself declared last year that “many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.”[9] In other words, those people had a vested interest in seeing Epstein dead.

We will discuss the full content of Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales next year. But what should be clear by everyone here is that there is more to the Jeffrey Epstein debacle than meets the eye and ear, and Philip Giraldi, a former intelligence officer for the CIA, is giving us an introduction of what this is all about.

The Maxwells: Mossad’s First Family of Spies

By Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer

The story of the deceased pedophile and presumed Israeli spy Jeffrey Epstein continues to enthrall because so little of the truth regarding it has been revealed in spite of claims by the government that a thorough follow-up investigation has been initiated. The case is reportedly still open and it is to be presumed that Justice Department investigators have been able to examine certain aspects of what occurred more intensively. A major part of the investigation has been a review of actions taken by the four government prosecutors who were most directly involved with the negotiations with Epstein and his lawyers in 2007-8. The 22 month-long review, carried out by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), finally produced a 350 page report which was released on November 12th.

The DOJ has now picked out a scapegoat for what many now think was gross prosecutorial negligence, possibly including corruption of senior government officials. He is not surprisingly Alexander Acosta, who was the U.S. Attorney for Miami when the Epstein case came up. Relying substantially on internal government emails as well as communications between the prosecutors and Epstein’s team of high-profile lawyers to reach its conclusion, the OPR review concluded that Acosta exhibited “poor judgment” in his handling of the Epstein deal. He did not inform the victims or their attorneys of developments in the case, as required by law, and overruled the lead prosecutor and FBI agents who argued that Epstein should face serious jail time. He even cut a deal with Epstein before the investigation into his crimes was completed. The OPR investigators also determined that many emails that would have materially aided the plaintiffs were not made available to their attorneys, a shortcoming that the report attributed to a “technological error.”

The email gap covers the time span from May 2007, when the prosecutor’s office prepared a 53-page draft indictment of Epstein, to April 2008, shortly before Epstein’s guilty plea and slap-on-the-wrist sentence in state court ended the federal investigation. Epstein’s defense attorneys had during that time period been engaged in an aggressive lobbying campaign to persuade the federal prosecutors to rescind the indictment and shut down the federal case. Epstein’s “sweetheart deal” with the federal government negated a possible conviction of serious crimes against 19 alleged victims, most of whom were minors. Instead of a possible sentence of between 14 and 17 years in federal prison, Epstein was encouraged by federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two prostitution-related crimes in state court to resolve the case. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail on a liberal work release program, often sleeping in his own home, and the federal case was duly closed.

It is, of course, noticeable that neither Acosta, who has possibly now retired from public life, nor anyone else will be punished for what was clearly a gross miscarriage of justice. That is the way the government works these days. But there is also a much bigger problem with the report, which is that it essentially failed to follow up on an argument that Acosta made when the bungling of the Epstein case began to surface in the media last year.

There has, in fact, been a cover-up of a major element in the Epstein saga, namely his possible connection with Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad. Investigative reporter Whitney Webb has recently completed an exhaustive review of what we know about Epstein’s partner in crime, lover and accomplice Ghislaine Maxell, to include some consideration of the possible involvement of her sisters Isabel and Christine in activity initially directed by their father, known Mossad agent Robert Maxwell.

The evidence that Epstein was directly involved in intelligence work to include bribing or blackmailing prominent individuals to act on behalf of Israel, derives both from the statement made by Acosta in 2017 that “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” a comment that the Justice Department and FBI have apparently never sought to investigate further. It also derives from other external evidence. Epstein was found to be making videos of his guests having sex with his young girls, which is a version of a classic intelligence entrapment technique employed by every major spy agency worldwide and in his Manhattan mansion he had a large supply of diamonds, cash and an Austrian passport on hand if he should have to make a quick escape.

That Epstein would be linked to Israel rather than to some other intelligence service is inevitably due to his relationship with Robert Maxwell, which eventually included his daughter Ghislaine. Robert, a Czech Jew who became a naturalized British citizen, was believed by C.I.A. and other intelligence services to be a long-time agent of Mossad. After he died under mysterious circumstances, he was given a state funeral in Israel that was attended by every current and former head of the Jewish state’s intelligence service as well as by the country’s prime minister Yitzhak Shamir who eulogized: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Ghislaine reportedly became the principal procurer of Epstein’s young girl victims.

Also corroborating the tale of espionage even if it appears to be of no interest to the FBI and Justice Department, is a book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales written by a former Israeli intelligence officer who actually ran the “Robert Maxwell” operation, describing inter alia how Epstein and Maxwell were blackmailing prominent politicians on behalf of Mossad. According to Ari Ben-Menashe, the two had been working directly for the Israeli government since the 1980’s and their operation, which was funded by Mossad and also by prominent American Jews, was a classic “honey-trap” which used underage girls as bait to attract well-known politicians from around the world, a list that included Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton. The politicians would be photographed and video recorded when they were in bed with the girls.

But in spite of the evidence, the role of Ghislaine, currently in custody in a maximum-security Brooklyn prison, is less well known and is possibly being deliberately concealed by the Trump Administration, which is prone to do favors for Israel. Even less known is the possible roles of her two sisters. Webb details how Maxwell and his Israeli Mossad handlers compromised the top-secret information system then in use by the U.S. government. She observes that “While Ghislaine’s own ties to intelligence have…come to light in relation to her critical role in facilitating the Jeffrey Epstein sexual blackmail operation,…little, if any attention, has been paid to her siblings, particularly Christine and her twin sister Isabel, despite them having held senior roles at the Israeli intelligence front company that facilitated their father’s greatest act of espionage on Israel’s behalf, the sale of the bugged PROMIS software to the U.S. national laboratories at the heart of the country’s nuclear weapons system… Ghislaine herself also became involved in these [blackmail] affairs, as did Jeffrey Epstein following his first arrest, as they began courting the biggest names in the U.S. tech scene, from Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms to its most well-known titans. This also dovetailed with Epstein’s investments in Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms and his claims of having troves of blackmail on prominent tech company CEOs during this same period.”

Upon Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in 1991, his sons Kevin and Ian took control of many of the interlocking companies that their father had used both to conceal assets and to obtain access and information while Ghislaine remained in the New York area and two other daughters Isabel and Christine opted to exploit the internet as an intelligence resource to build upon their father’s “legacy.”

Isabel, in particular, moved aggressively and eventually became recognized as the self-styled liaison between Israel’s government and Silicon Valley. Whitney Webb recounts in considerable detail how she “mov[ed] in ‘the same circles as her father’ and vow[ed] to ‘work only on things involving Israel’ … [to become] a pivotal liaison for the entry of Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms into Silicon Valley with the help of Microsoft’s two co-founders, Paul Allen and Bill Gates.”

One has to suspect that a tale of Mossad running a major spy ring in the U.S. using a pedophile and young girls might just be too much for some folks in power to tolerate and they have made sure that the true story will never see the light of day. But the tale of how the prominent ostensibly British Maxwell family, acting for Mossad, may have systematically spied on the United States over a number of years, often pretty much out in the open, and the FBI and Justice Department saw fit to look the other way, is bigger still. That is the real story. Israel yet again spies and Washington denies.


  • [1] John Loftus, The Secret War Against the Jews (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), chapter 9. I don’t necessarily agree with Loftus’ assertions.
  • [2] Jane Fryer, “Misery of the Maxwells: Bankruptcy, sudden death, huge fortunes made and lost – the shattering legacy of all the children in thrall to their monstrous father Robert Maxwell,” Daily Mail, August 15, 2019.
  • [3] “The story of Robert Maxwell: Ghislaine’s disgraced media-mogul dad,” NY Post, July 3, 2020.
  • [4] Caroline Davies, “The murky life and death of Robert Maxwell – and how it shaped his daughter Ghislaine,” Guardian, August 22, 2019.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] I have documented Shamir’s terrorist activities in the book Zionism vs. the West.
  • [7] Gordon Thomas, Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 23.
  • [8] James B. Stewart, “The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People,” NY Times, August 12, 2019.
  • [9] Ibid.

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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).

***

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.

Wherefore Art Thou Ghislaine Maxwell?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 1995 69b08

It is now going on a year and a half since “financier” and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died, allegedly by hanging himself in a New York City prison. Since that time it has surfaced that there were a number of “administrative” errors in the jail, meaning that Epstein was not being observed or on suicide watch even though he had reportedly attempted to kill himself previously. The suspicion that Epstein was working for Israel’s external intelligence agency Mossad or for its military intelligence counterpart also seemed confirmed through both Israeli and American sources. A recent book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales written by Ari Ben-Menashe the former Israeli intelligence officer who actually ran the Epstein operation, described inter alia how Epstein was blackmailing prominent politicians on behalf of Israeli intelligence. Epstein had been working directly for the Israeli government since the 1980’s and his operation, which was funded by Israel and also by prominent American Jews, was a classic “honey-trap” which used underage girls as bait to attract well-known politicians from around the world, a list that included Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton. The politicians would be photographed and video recorded when they were in bed with the girls. Afterwards, they would be approached and asked to do favors for Israel.

It doesn’t take much to pull what is already known together and ask the question “Who among the celebrities and top-level politicians that Epstein cultivated were actually Israeli spies?” And of course there is a subplot. Assuming that Epstein was in fact involved in recruiting and/or running high level American agents in an “influence operation” that may have involved blackmail it is possible to come to the conclusion that he was killed in prison and that the suicide story was just a convenient cover-up. The Epstein case remains “open” and under investigation though it doesn’t seem that anything is actually happening, the sure sign that someone powerful in the Establishment is making sure that nothing incriminating surfaces. Indeed, there already exists some evidence that Epstein was being protected when he was convicted in Florida of sex crimes in 2008 and was given a sentence that was little more than a slap on the wrist. After the fact, the U.S. Attorney for Miami Alexander Acosta involved in the case reported that the arrest and sentencing were above his pay grade, that he had been told that Epstein “’belonged to intelligence’, and to leave it alone” a comment that apparently has never been pursued by investigators.

That the Epstein investigation appears to be in reverse gear suggests that one or more powerful Americans are still not implicated in the case but are concerned that that might change, but there remains an accessory to what went on at the Epstein mansion in Manhattan and on his private island in the Caribbean. That would be Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently in prison in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and will be tried in July. Like the Epstein story in general, she has largely dropped off the media screen and one has to wonder what “get out of jail free” card she might be holding.

It has long been assumed that Epstein video recorded the sexual encounters with the underage girls that he used in his intelligence activity to blackmail prominent politicians among others. It has been suspected that Ghislaine has at least some of those tapes hidden in a secret location and may be using them to cut a deal with investigators and prosecutors. It now appears that she briefly discussed the tapes with CBS News 60 Minutes producer Ira Rosen, also making clear that there were tapes of both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. The conversation took place in 2016 and she reportedly told Rosen that, given Trump’s involvement in the upcoming election, she would not release any information derived from the tapes relating to Clinton until after the election and she would only do so while also exposing Trump. Up until now, she has done neither.

It has long been known that Epstein knew both the ex-and future presidents, though both have denied knowing the sex offender well for obvious reasons. Clinton, for example, flew on Epstein’s Lolita Express private 727 at least 26 times and his presence at Epstein’s island refuge has also been well documented. Trump clearly knew Epstein but has denied having any contact with him after his registration as a sex offender in 2008.

Ghislaine, for her part, was allegedly recruited young girls for Epstein to exploit and was a partner in his activity, though she has denied any guilt. Numerous victims say otherwise. Her lawyers have tried a number of ploys to free her, including claims that she had been abused by prison staff and that the jury being selected to try her will be “too white.” Her brother Ian claimed last week that she is enduring “brutal and degrading treatment” in prison with four guards watching her at all times. He added that she has lost 20 pounds and “ability to concentrate.”

Ghislaine also offered to post a $28.5 million bail or a $5 million bond for home arrest in which she would wear an ankle monitor, but the judge decided that given her extensive resources she constitutes a considerable flight risk even if she turns in her American, British and French passports. She would also be able to flee to Israel based on her father Robert’s religion and service to that country and Israel does not normally extradite.

The most interesting aspect of the arrest, imprisonment and trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is what it does not do. She basically is being tried on whether it can be confirmed that she was a “pimp” for Jeffrey Epstein. Her father was an Israeli intelligence asset and it is believed that he made the connection between Epstein and the Jewish state’s military intelligence. But no one in that New York court room in July will be asking that. Nor will there be any revelations about Epstein’s “intelligence connection” nor of the possibility that the Israelis had their hooks in both a former and a future American president. None of that will be on the table and meanwhile Ghislaine might have those possibly incriminating tapes squirreled away somewhere. That is the really important stuff that I would like to have the answers to. The fact that the answers are not forthcoming sounds a bit like a cover-up, doesn’t it?

Biden’s Journey: Change Is Imperceptible

Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

February 25, 2021

Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he’d change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts.

The new White House Team has been in place for more than a month and it is perhaps time to consider where it is going with America’s fractured foreign policy. To be sure, when a new administration brings in a bunch of “old hands” who made their bones by attacking Syria and Libya while also assassinating American citizens by drone one might hope that those mistakes might have served as valuable “lessons learned.” Or maybe not, since no one in the Democratic Party ever mentions the Libya fiasco and President Joe Biden has already made it clear that Syria will continue to be targeted with sanctions as well as with American soldiers based on its soil. And no one will be leaving Afghanistan any time soon. The Biden team will only let up when Afghanistan is “secure” and there is regime change in Damascus.

A big part of the problem is that the personnel moves mean that the poison from the Barack Obama years has now been reintroduced into the tottering edifice that Donald Trump left behind. Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice once made the case for attacking the Libyans by explaining how Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi provided his soldiers with Viagra so they could more readily engage in mass rapes of presumably innocent civilians. Unfortunately, Sue is back with the new administration as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council where she will no doubt again wreak havoc in her own inimitable fashion. She is joined at the top level of the administration by Tony Blinken as Secretary of State, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, Samantha Power as head of USAID and retired General Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense. All of the appointees are regarded as “hawks” and have personal history working with Biden when he was in Congress and as Vice President, while most of them also served in the Obama administration.

Be that as it may, Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings have assembled a group of establishment warmongers and aspirant social justice engineers that is second to none. Those who expected something different than the usual Democratic Party template have definitely been disappointed. Hostility towards China continues with warships being sent to the South China Sea and the president is seeking to create a new Trans-Atlantic alliance directed against both Beijing and Moscow. The Europeans are reportedly not enthusiastic about remaining under Washington’s thumb and would like some breathing room.

In a phone conversation where it would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall, Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States would no longer ignore his bad behavior. The official White House account of the call included the following pithy summary: “President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ firm support for Ukraine’s sovereignty. He also raised other matters of concern, including the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 United States election, and the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny.”

And to be sure, there have already been a number of issues that Biden might have dealt with by executive order, like lifting the illegal and unjustified blockade of Cuba, that could have inspired some hope that the new administration would not be just another bit of old wine in new bottles. Alas, that has not taken place but for a series of moves to unleash another wave of illegal immigration and to “protect LGBTQ rights globally.” Biden has also retained a heavy military presence in Washington itself, possibly as part of a Constitution-wrecking plan to tackle what he is referring to as “domestic terrorism.” The domestic terrorists being targeted appear to largely consist of people who are white working and middle class and voted for Trump.

In some ways, foreign policy might have been the easiest fix if the new administration were really seeking to correct the misadventures of the past twenty years. Quite the contrary, Biden and his associates have actually reversed the sensible and long overdue policies initiated by Donald Trump to reduce troop strength in Germany and bring the soldiers home from Syria and Afghanistan. Biden has already committed to an indefinite stay in Afghanistan, America’s longest “lost” war, and has covertly sent more soldiers into Syria as well as Iraq.

As regards Latin America, the U.S. clearly is prepared to double down on regime change in Venezuela, continuing its Quixotic support of Juan Guaido as president. Meanwhile, the new Secretary of State Tony Blinken has clearly indicated that there will be no end to deference to Israeli interests in the Middle East. Under questioning by Congress, he has insisted that Israel will be “consulted” on U.S. policy to include arms sales in the region, which has been interpreted to mean that Jerusalem will have a veto, and has confirmed that his view on Iran is identical to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both are apparently promoting the view that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to construct a weapon within a few weeks, though they have not addressed other technical aspects of what would actually be required to build one. Netanyahu has been making the claim about the Iranian threat since the 1980s and now it is also an element of U.S. policy.

Biden and Blinken have also moved forward slowly on a campaign commitment to attempt renegotiation of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. As a condition to re-start discussions, the Iranian leadership has demanded a return to the status quo ante, meaning that the punitive sanctions initiated by Trump would have to be canceled and Iran would in return cease all enrichment activities. Biden and Blinken, which admittedly sounds a bit like a vaudeville comedy duo, have reportedly agreed to withdraw the Trump sanctions but have also suggested that Iran will have to make other concessions, to include ending its ballistic missile development program and ceasing its “meddling” in the Middle East. Iran will refuse to agree to that, which means that the bid to renegotiate could turn out to be nothing more than a bit of theater involving multilateral “discussions” hosted by the European Union and the pointless hostility between Washington and Tehran will continue.

And speaking again of Israel, there have been concerns expressed by the usual suspects because Biden had not called telephoned Netanyahu immediately after the inauguration. It may be true that the president was sending a somewhat less than subtle message signaling that he was in charge, but the call has now taken place and everything is hunky-dory. As a separate issue, the Jewish state has, of course, the world’s only secret nuclear arsenal, estimated to consist of at least 200 bombs, and it also has several systems available to deliver them on target. For no reasons that make any sense, the United States since the time of President Richard Nixon has never publicly confirmed the existence of the weapons, preferring to maintain “nuclear ambiguity” that allows Israel to have the weapons without any demands for inspections or constraints on their use. The most recent four presidents have, in fact, signed secret agreements with Israel not to expose the nuclear arsenal. Biden has apparently not done so yet, but appeals by international figures, including most recently South African Desmond Tutu, had produced some expectations that the new administration might break with precedent.

Giving aid to Israel is, in fact, illegal due to the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which bans U.S. economic and military assistance to nuclear proliferators and countries that seek to acquire nuclear weapons. But Biden has already indicated that he would not under any circumstances cut aid to Israel, so the matter would appear to be closed. In any event the Symington Amendment includes an exemption clause that would allow the funding to continue as long as the president certifies to Congress that continued aid to the proliferator would be a vital U.S. interest. Given Israel’s power in both Congress and the White House it is not imaginable that its aid would be affected no matter what Netanyahu and his band of criminals choose to do.

So, it would seem that Biden is unprepared to either pressure or pursue any distancing from Israel and its policies, not a good sign for those of us who have encouraged some disengagement from the Middle East quagmire. And one final issue where some of us have hoped to see some movement from Biden has also been a disappointment. That is Julian Assange, who is fighting against efforts to have him extradited from England to face trial and imprisonment in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. Many observers believe that Assange is a legitimate journalist who is being set up for a show trial with only one possible outcome. The entire process is to a large extent being driven by a desire for revenge coming largely from the Democratic Party since Assange was responsible for publishing the Hillary Clinton emails as well as other party documents. Biden has already indicated that the process of extraditing Assange will continue.

So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America’s pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests. Finally, it would be a good sign if Assange were to be released from the threat of trial and prison, if only to recognize that free speech and a free press benefit everyone, but that is perhaps a bridge too far as the United States moves inexorably towards a totalitarian state intolerant of dissent.

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