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.

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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).

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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.

Pompeo’s Last Stand

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

Source

Philip Giraldi

January 21, 2021

The neocons and the media demand tough talk and even tougher action from their candidate and Pompeo is already running hard to oblige them.

Pompeo's Last Stand - TheAltWorld
© Photo: REUTERS/POOL New

It is finally over. Joe Biden has been inaugurated President of the United States while his predecessor Donald Trump has retired to Florida. Trump intends to remain the driving force in the Republican Party but there are many in the GOP who would like to see him gone completely and the national media is obliging by depriving him of a “voice,” cutting him off from his preferred social media. The Democratic Party’s top “megadonor” Israeli film producer Haim Saban goes one step farther, recommending that all the media stop reporting on Trump and his activities, thereby taking away his platform and making him disappear politically speaking.

Prior to the inauguration, which proceeded protected by an unprecedented display of military and police, there had been so much going on in and around Washington that other serious developments worldwide were not getting the attention that they merited. President Donald Trump was impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors” relating to his alleged encouragement of the January 6th rioting at the U.S. Capitol building, but to my mind the recent travels and meetings involving Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could turn out to be far more damaging to America’s long-term interests. One wonders why Pompeo was engaging in frenetic activity with the Administration that he represented being about to vanish in a few days, but the answer is perhaps obvious. Trump and Pompeo want to lay a foreign policy mine field for the Joe Biden White House, locking the new administration into policies that will prove difficult to untangle.

Pompeo has been most active in four areas: Iran, China, Cuba and Yemen. Iran, as has often been the case with the Trump Israeli-driven policy in the Middle East, has been the principal focus. The Trump Administration has consistently responded to Israeli and also Saudi perceptions of the threat from Iran to the entire region, even though those claims were generally based on self-interests and deliberately falsified intelligence. Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran signed in 2015 and has been waging incrementally expanded economic warfare against the Iranians for the past three years. It has collaborated with the Israelis on assassinations and air attacks on primarily civilian targets in Syria and Lebanon.

During Trump’s last two weeks in power there was much talk about the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran. The Israeli military was on alert and there was a surge in attacks on Syria, frequently using Lebanese airspace. One incident in particular on January 6th used U.S. intelligence to enable multiple bombing attacks on targets inside Syria, killing 57. Pompeo reportedly dined publicly in a well-known Washington restaurant Café Milano on the day after the carnage to discuss the “success” with Israel’s head of Mossad Yossi Cohen.

The public meeting with Cohen was a sign from the Trump Administration that the U.S. supports Israel’s bombing campaign against claimed Iranian targets in Syria. If Biden wishes to change that, he will have to do so publicly, earning the ire of Israel’s friends in the Democratic Party and media. And more was to come. Last Tuesday, Pompeo gave a speech in which he accused al-Qaeda and the Iranian government of being “partners in terror” , constituting an “axis” of terrorism. He further claimed that al-Qaeda has a “new home base” and a “new operational headquarters” built for it in Tehran, an assertion that ran counter to the intelligence collected by U.S. counterterrorism officials, who said there was no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the Intelligence Community has long asserted that al-Qaeda is fundamentally hostile to Shi’ite Iran and that the Iranians return the favor. In other words, Pompeo is either lying or making something up that will be an impediment if Biden tries to improve relations with Tehran. Pompeo also went so far as to declare that Iran is the “new Afghanistan” for al-Qaeda, which is meant to imply that Iran is now its home base and safe haven. There is also no evidence to support that claim.

The Trump Administration has also included Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, based on nothing whatsoever, apparently as something of a throw away item to shore up support from the rabid Cuban exile community in Florida. So too the decision to designate the Houthis of Yemen as terrorists to give a parting gift to the Saudis and the UAE. Yemen is suffering from famine and the terror designation will have a drastic impact on imports of food and medicine, condemning many Yemenis to death. Daniel Larison opines that the “Houthi designation is by far the worst thing that Pompeo has done as Secretary of State, because if it is not quickly reversed it will lead directly to the deaths of tens and possibly even hundreds of thousands of people. It takes severe cruelty to look at a war-torn, famine-stricken country that depends heavily on outside aid and imports and then choose to suffocate the survivors with additional economic warfare. That is what Pompeo has done, we shouldn’t forget that.”

And, incidentally, the United States gains absolutely nothing from killing thousands of people in Yemen, but that is not all. Pompeo has also opened the door to new problems with China. His easing of the longstanding restrictions on contacts between American diplomats and Taiwanese has been described by the State Department as a strong gesture of support for the democratic government and “ally” in Taipei. It overturns more than forty years of “strategic ambiguity” which has prevailed since Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing and recognized the communist People’s Republic of China as China’s only legitimate government, to include over Taiwan by implication. The so-called “One China” principle states that Taiwan and China are part of the same China with the U.S. recognizing, though not necessarily endorsing, that the PRC has a historic claim to sovereignty over Taiwan.

Apart from locking in policies that Biden will find hard to shift, Pompeo also has a secondary motive. It is widely believed that he would like to run for president in 2024. He will need the support of the Israelis and their powerful domestic lobby as well as the Cubans in Florida and it does not hurt to show him playing hardball in the Middle East and against an increasingly vilified China. The so-called neocons, who have again become influential in the Republican Party and the media, demand tough talk and even tougher action from their candidate and Pompeo is already running hard to oblige them.

No One Is Listening: A Country Divided Against Itself

By Philip Giraldi

Source

The U.S. may morph into two nations with the increasingly impoverished helot “deplorables” under the heel of the empowered social justice warriors.
Capitol Hill Trump ba31a

In a recent article Catholic University professor, Claes G. Ryn wrote “Few people are really open to persuasion in any case—not just on political subjects but on any subject about which they care and on which they have adopted certain views. Diehard partisans for a certain outlook will refuse to have their beliefs questioned, and so will many others. They will be no less dismissive of a document challenging their opinions if it is full of footnotes and appendixes. Such a document will, indeed, make them resist it even more. As for the relatively few people who are truly open-minded, they will not find another person’s observations dispositive. They will, as they should, want to consider the evidence on a contested matter for themselves.”

The observation immediately calls to mind the red-blue political division that has hardened in the United States over the past several years, with the two sides persistently talking past each other. Part of the problem is that once someone has staked out an essentially ideological position, he or she will regard new developments in such a way as to fit with that preconception. Once one is locked into a viewpoint in that fashion it becomes practically speaking impossible to “consider the evidence on a contested manner” for oneself.

That tendency to want to believe that something is indisputably true means that most people find it difficult to entertain two somewhat contradictory ideas at the same time. In the current context it should be possible to believe that Donald Trump has been a very bad president based on some aspects of his performance while also conceding that many of his failings have been spawned by the unrelenting criticism he has received from the media as well as the clandestine efforts within the government establishment to undermine and destroy him. Most who emphasize the conspiracy against the president also feel compelled to defend his record. Those who don’t believe there was a conspiracy against him, including Russiagate, support his being impeached and also condemn his achievements.

Or there is the election itself, with one side believing it was stolen and the other maintaining that there was no fraud. In reality, an objective review of the actual evidence and examination of the registration and voting systems that are in place suggests that there certainly was fraud, though the issue of whether it amounted to a change in the outcome is likely a question that will never be answered as the Democrats are now in charge. Voting by mail, much promoted by the Democrats, either was a way of expanding the voters’ rolls or a mechanism that would permit widespread fraud. It is not unreasonable to regard it as doing both.

COVID-19 is another good example of linear thinking. Critics of the pandemic tend to go all the way, minimizing the impact of the disease while also contending that it is a hoax contrived by the government to take away the rights of citizens. Against that, one should be able to recognize that the disease is both highly contagious and deadly for certain demographics while also accepting that the government has mishandled the response to it and is seeking to aggrandize its power over ordinary citizens. So both viewpoints can more-or-less be true.

So, we come to the incident at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington on January 6th. Various unofficial estimates put the number of “Stop the Steal” protesters objecting to what was seen as a fraudulent election at between 20,000 and 200,000. The language being used to describe what occurred that afternoon is suggestive and would likely delight George Orwell. The liberal media (nearly all of it) as well as some Democratic congressmen have officially declared it “incitement of insurrection.” Other expressions that are popping up include “domestic terrorism,” “sedition,” “right wing mobs,” a “coup” or a “storming” of the building, all reportedly driven by incendiary language used by President Trump. Others preferred describing a “breaching” of security or even a “riot” or possibly “treason.”

A local newspaper in Virginia wrote a headline saying that the Capitol building was “ransacked” while Politico sounded the alarm about the “mob who breached the Capitol.” The New York Times thundered that the “mob” included “infamous white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.” What is not in dispute is that five died during the incursion into the building, including a woman Air Force veteran who was unnecessarily shot and a Capitol Police Force officer who was murdered by being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. That the death toll was not higher is inevitably being attributed by some to restraint by the police due to “white privilege” as most of the demonstrators were Caucasian.

Trump allies reject the language and all it implies, insisting that the president did not ever unambiguously encourage actual violence on the part of participants in the “March to Save America” and that most of the demonstration was peaceful, consisting of ordinary Americans who are shocked by the dying spasms of the country that they grew up in. A Newsweek poll determined that nearly half of Republican voters supported the demonstrations at the Capitol, while no less than 68% opined that they were no threat to the American political system, demonstrating just how divided the country is. There have also been claims that infiltrators from Antifa and BLM might have exploited the opportunity to initiate the successful assault by the demonstrators that broke the police line and forced the entry into the Capitol building. Some Democrats are also suggesting that the entry was itself aided by some of the police, a not completely unreasonable suggestion given the inexplicably poor performance by the Capitol Police Force and some photographic evidence showing demonstrators being assisted by security personnel.

One might have noted that the only thing missing from the event had been the allegations that it included “interference” by the Russians or possibly even the Chinese, but it now appears that some Democrats are actually pointing their fingers at Vladimir Putin. And surely the Iranians and even the North Koreans must have had something to do with it. We will have to wait until the Biden Administration is installed, if it is, to find out which foreigners exactly will have to be implicated and punished. One eagerly awaits the inevitable Washington Post cartoon showing Putin in his office laughing while watching on TV events in Washington.

One thing that is for sure and that is being ignored by many of those who have taken up contrary positions is that there will be consequences from what took place last week. Given the polarization in the discussion itself, “truth” will be the first entity sacrificed as the Republicans will make haste to walk away from Trump while the Democrats will not be eager to permit anyone to dig any deeper into the mechanics of the election. No matter what the GOP chooses to do, it will be the long-term loser even if Trump himself is successfully made the designated fall guy and it will have to learn how to retain the support of the Trumpsters without Donald Trump.

In spite of all the media and talking head fulminations, it nevertheless remains unlikely that Trump will actually be impeached and convicted by both houses of Congress or removed under Article 25 as that would permit his lawyers to mount a defense, which would embarrass everyone. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has nevertheless raised tension by contacting the Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and inquiring whether the president can be denied the nuclear weapons’ codes as he appears to be “unhinged.” There is also speculation that an attack on Iran in coordination with Israel might be under consideration to change the narrative.

Perhaps more interestingly, some Democrats are calling for investigation and punishment for some fellow politicians, government employees and ordinary citizens who might be found guilty of supporting the Trump “coup.” Several identified demonstrators have already lost their jobs while the Washington Post has demanded that “seditious Republicans must be held accountable.” There is even some discussion of setting up a “truth commission” to investigate and punish those individuals who aided in Trump’s other alleged crimes. Such people might have their liberty to travel on commercial flights, to associate in groups and/or to hold certain jobs restricted, expanding on existing anti-terror legislation that would now include a focus on “rightwing terrorism” while also increasing the number of “hate crimes.” Surveillance of individuals who have committed no crimes would likely increase dramatically. Any or all of those moves by Biden would, however, set a very bad precedent, sure to beget more violence.

And also there are calls for greater restrictions on what appears on social media. One ex-Obama adviser has even claimed that social media caused the Capitol building riot by “enabling the spread of the lies, hate speech, and conspiracy theories [by rightwing extremists] that led to” the attack. Since the Democrats now command a majority in both houses of Congress as well as the White House that will mean that those labeled “white supremacists” and their message will be expunged while politically correct social justice content will be promoted. Several social media platforms have begun banning what they call right wing material and Biden as well as several senators have, in fact, already promised to bring in stronger “domestic terrorism prevention” legislation based on the Patriot Act. And even those who believe themselves “safe” as holding reliably progressive views will eventually discover that any deviance from Establishment acceptable positions will be forbidden. Free speech in America will become as dead at the Dodo and the United States would become effectively two nations with the increasingly impoverished helot “deplorables” under the heel of the empowered social justice warriors. It won’t be pretty, and it won’t be stable.

More War by Other Means: Sanctioning the Wife of Syria’s President Makes No Sense to Anyone

By Philip Giraldi, Ph.D.
Source: Strategic Culture

January 7, 2021

More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

I am a recipient of regular, usual weekly, emails from the Department of the Treasury providing an “Update to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons.” OFAC is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is tasked with both identifying and managing the financial punishments meted out to those individuals and groups that have been sanctioned by the United States government. A recent update, on November 10th, included “Non-Proliferation Designations; Iran-related Designations.” There were ten items on the list, names of Chinese and Iranian individuals and companies. Those who are “Specially Designated” on the list are subject to having their assets blocked if located in the United States and are also not allowed to engage in any financial transactions that go through U.S. banking channels. As many international banks respect U.S. Treasury “designations” lest they themselves be subjected to secondary sanctions that often means in effect that the individual or group cannot move money in a large part of the global financial marketplace.

The complete SDN list is hundreds of pages long. The Treasury Department defines and justifies OFAC’s mission “As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called ‘Specially Designated Nationals’ or ‘SDNs.’ Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”

In reality, of course, OFAC’s sanctions are highly political. They are clearly a form of economic warfare, particularly when entire sectors of a nation’s economy are blocked or a part of a government itself is listed as has been the case with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force. Wave after wave of “maximum pressure” sanctions on Iran have made it difficult for the country to sell its only major marketable resource, oil, and it has been locked out of most normal financial networks, making it difficult or even impossible to buy food and medicines.

In many cases sanctions have no practical effect but are rather intended to send a message. There have been new sanctions directed against Moscow and Russian government officials have been sanctioned due to their alleged involvement in activities that the United States does not approve of. The sanctions are imposed even though those “specially designated” have no assets in the U.S. and do not engage in any international financial transactions that could be blocked or disrupted. In those cases, the federal government is sending a message to whomever has been sanctioned to warn them that they are being watched and their behavior has become a matter of record. It is basically a form of intimidation.

Whether sanctions actually work is debatable. The example of Cuba, which was sanctioned by the U.S. for nearly sixty years, would suggest not. Some would argue that on the contrary countries with totalitarian regimes would actually improve their behavior if their citizens could travel freely and welcome visitors, providing evidence that foreigners do not pose a threat justifying a police state.

Within the United States government, it is largely accepted that the most powerful advocate of the sanctions regime is Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who has been the driving force behind recent sanctions directed against both China and Iran. If that is so he might well be challenged on one of the most bizarre and basically pointless applications of sanctions in recent years, targeting Asma the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as her family that lives in London and are British citizens. Per Pompeo’s statement on the new sanctions “The Department of State today is imposing sanctions on Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, for impeding efforts to promote a political resolution of the Syrian conflict pursuant to Section 2(a)(i)(D) of Executive Order 13894… Asma al-Assad has spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charities and civil society organizations.”

But the real kicker is Pompeo’s condemnation of Asma, of Syrian origin but English born and raised, is how he involves her family. Her father-in-law Fawaz is a renowned cardiologist at Cromwell Hospital in South Kensington who was educated in England and has lived there for decades. “In addition, we are sanctioning several members of Asma al-Assad’s immediate family, including Fawaz Akhras, Sahar Otri Akhras, Firas al Akhras, and Eyad Akhras as per Section 2(a)(ii) of EO 13894. The Assad and Akhras families have accumulated their ill-gotten riches at the expense of the Syrian people through their control over an extensive, illicit network with links in Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere.”

Inevitably, no evidence is provided to support any of the allegations about Asma al-Assad and her English family. Asma’s charities are for real in her war-torn country and she is highly respected and admired by those who know her and are not influenced by U.S. and Israeli propaganda.

In reality, the United States has been trying hard to overthrow the Syrian government since 2004 when the Syria Accountability Act was passed. Much of the heat in Congress behind the passage of the act was generated by the Israel Lobby, which wanted to weaken the regime and reduce its ability to represent a viable military force possibly capable of regaining the occupied Golan Heights. Be that as it may, the United States has been hostile to the country’s government and has frequently called for regime change. To bring that about, the U.S. supported al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating against Damascus and American soldiers continue to occupy Syrian oil fields in the southeast portion of the country. The Syrians have also been subjected to waves of sanctions that have done grave damage to their economy. American and Israeli concerns have sometimes been linked to the presence of Damascus’ allies Hezbollah and Iran, both of whom have military units based inside Syria, but the simple fact is that neither Iranians nor Lebanese in any way threaten the vastly superior American and Israeli forces present in the region.

One has to ask why, given the realpolitik playing out in the Middle East, Washington and Pompeo feel compelled to go after Asma al-Assad and her family, apparently to include absurdly blaming relatives living for many years outside of Syria for fueling the war. More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

A New Year’s Wish

See the source image
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

PHILIP GIRALDI • JANUARY 5, 2021 
Source: The Unz Review

Let’s remove Israel from American politics

There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

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There has been one good thing about the COVID-19 virus – for the first time many among the general public are beginning to ask why a rich country like Israel should be getting billions of dollars from the United States taxpayer at a time when many Americans are struggling. Inevitably, of course, the press coverage of the questions being asked about the cash flow failed to discuss the real magnitude of the “aid,” trade concessions, co-production projects and dicey charitable contributions that our federal and many state governments shower on the Jewish state, which easily exceed $10 billion per year.

During his 2016 campaign Donald Trump swore that he would be the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House, a pledge that some of us viewed skeptically as Trump was also committed to bringing the troops home from “useless wars” in Asia, most of whom were in the Middle East supporting Israeli interests. More recently Trump admitted that America was in the Middle East to “protect Israel” and he has indeed proven to be the great benefactor he promised to be in responding fully to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wish list. Trump has increased tension dramatically with Iran, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, and has basically given Israel the green light to do whatever it wants on the Palestinian West Bank, including getting rid of the Palestinians. And as all that has played out the Israelis have attacked and killed thousands of civilians in Gaza, Syria and the West Bank with impunity, protected by the U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council against any consequences for their actions while a subservient Congress gives Netanyahu twenty-eight standing ovations and bleats that “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Trump has made the United States completely complicit in Israeli war crimes and has committed a few of its own to include the widely condemned assassination of the senior Iranian official Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad one year ago.

Israel more-or-less openly admits that it controls the actions of the United States in its region, its leaders having boasted how the U.S. federal government is “easily moved” when it comes up against the Israeli Lobby. Nor is there any real secret to how the Lobby uses money to buy access and then exploits that access to obtain real power, which is then used to employ all the resources of the U.S. government in support of the Jewish state. The top donor to the Democratic Party, Israeli-American Haim Saban has stated that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. This single-minded focus to promote Israel’s interests at the expense of those of the United States makes the Israel Lobby the most formidable foreign policy lobby in Washington and it recalls the warning once issued by George Washington in his Farewell Address, where he stated that “permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

The complete contempt that the Israelis and Israeli supporters in the U.S. have for other Americans and their interests was on full display last week when convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard flew “home,” meeting Netanyahu as he disembarked from a private plane that had departed from Newark New Jersey before being given a hero’s welcome.

Pollard is the most damaging spy in American history, having stolen the keys to accessing U.S. communications and information gathering systems. He was an unlikely candidate to become a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, and one review board determined that he had been hired in the first place under pressure from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). A month after Pollard’s arrest in 1985, C.I.A director William Casey stated: “The Israelis used Pollard to obtain our war plans against the USSR – all of it: the co-ordinates, the firing locations, the sequences, and Israel sold that information to Moscow for more exit visas for Soviet Jews.” According to a C.I.A. after-the fact-damage assessment “Pollard’s operation has few parallels among known U.S. espionage cases…. his first and possibly largest delivery occurred on 23 January [1984] and consisted of five suitcases-full of classified material.”

Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger wrote a forty-six page review of the case that remains largely classified and redacted to this day, detailing what incredible damage Pollard had done. Part of the document states: “In this case, the defendant has admitted passing to his Israeli contacts an incredibly large quantity of classified information. At the outset I must state that the defendant’s disclosures far exceed the limits of any official exchange of intelligence information with Israel. That being the case, the damage to national security was complete the moment the classified information was given over. Ideally, I would detail…all the information passed by the defendant to his Israeli contacts: unfortunately, the volume of .data we know to have been passed is too great to permit that. · Moreover, the defendant admits to having passed to his Israeli handlers a quantity of documents great enough to occupy a space six feet by ten feet… The defendant has substantially harmed the United States, and in my view, his crimes demand severe punishment… My foregoing comments will, I hope, dispel any presumption that disclosures to an ally are insignificant; to the contrary, substantial and irrevocable damage has been done to this nation. Punishment, of course, must be appropriate to the crime, and in my opinion, no crime is more deserving of severe punishment than conducting espionage activities against one’s own country.”

The Pollard trip to his “home” occurred because Donald Trump had obligingly lifted the travel restrictions on him the week before, one more favor to Israel. At the airport, Pollard and his wife knelt to kiss the Israeli soil before Netanyahu handed him an Israeli citizen ID and welcomed him. The 737 luxury-fitted executive jet Pollard and his wife flew on belongs to Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, chief donor to the Republicans and to Donald Trump. Adelson is married to an Israeli and famously has said that he regrets having worn a U.S. Army uniform when he was drafted, much preferring instead that he might have done military service in the Israel Defense Force.

I should point out that permitting dual nationals with singular loyalty to a foreign nation to have such significant influence over the two leading political parties in the U.S. by virtue of money alone is a recipe for disaster, and so it has proven. What were Trump and Hillary Clinton thinking when they tied themselves to Adelson and Saban? Or were they thinking at all?

The Israeli boosters in the United States have flat out corrupted our political process to get where they are. They have bought or intimidated every politician that matters to include presidents, congressmen and even those in state and local governments. Anyone who criticizes Israel or Jewish collective behavior in support of the Israeli state is subject to character assassination and blacklisting a la Mel Gibson and Rick Sanchez. Those who persist are denounced as anti-Semites, a label that is used liberally by Zionist groups.

Anyone who is bold enough to either criticize the Israelis or defend the Palestinians is targeted, and if they happen to be in Congress like Cynthia McKinney, Pete McCloskey, Paul Findlay, James Traficant, William Fulbright and Chuck Percy they are first vilified in the media and then set up against a very well-funded candidate to drive them from office. The end result is that when Israel kills civilians and rampaging armed settlers destroy their livelihoods the United States government chooses to look the other way and shower the rogue state with money so it can continue to do its dirty work.

The corruption extends to the state level, where twenty-six governments have passed Israel lobby-promoted legislation that limits free speech rights if anyone seeks to criticize Israel. This sometimes includes forcing employees, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support any boycott of the Jewish state. The massive interference in the internal governance of the United States by Israel and its U.S. born lackeys far exceeds that of any other country, including inappropriately vilified Russia or China.

It is well past time to get rid of the Israel parasite that feeds on the American government and people. The special relationship with Israel, sanctified in the halls of Congress and by a Jewish dominated media, does nothing good for the United States and for the American people. Israel’s constant interference in the U.S. political system and economy comes at a huge cost, both in dollars and in terms of actual American interests.

And then there are the hot buttons which, if the U.S. actually had a functional government that is responsive to the people, should have been pushed long ago. Israel is ranked by the FBI as the number one “friendly” country in terms of its spying against the United States. Pollard is an exception, but Israeli spies are routinely slapped on the wrist when caught and never face prosecution. The Mossad agents who were the “Dancing Shlomos,” celebrating while the twin towers went down on 9/11, were allowed to go home. And Israel has never truly paid any price for the horrific bombing and torpedoing of the U.S.S. Liberty fifty-three years ago, which killed 34 Americans and injured over one hundred more. The completely unprovoked attack took place in international waters and was later covered-up by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Congress. May they burn in hell. The surviving crew members are still waiting for justice.

So, let’s all resolve for 2021 to do whatever we can to pull the plug on Israel. Let Israel pay its own bills and take care of its own defense. American citizens who prefer the Jewish ethno-religious state to our constitutional republic should feel free to emigrate. Lacking Washington’s backing, Israel will also be free to commit atrocities and war crimes against all of its neighbors but without the U.S. United Nations veto it will have to begin facing the consequences for its actions. But most of all, as Americans, we will no longer have to continue to carry the burden of a country that manipulates and uses us and also has a certain contempt for us while doing so. And maybe just maybe freeing the United States from Israel could lead to an end to all the wars in the Middle East that Washington has been waging in spite of the fact that we Americans are threatened by no one in the region and have no real interest whatsoever in prolonging the agony of staying there.

The Maxwells: Mossad’s First Family of Spies

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Who was running whom in the Epstein espionage ring?
Maxwell Family 55370

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  of what we know about Epstein’s partner in crime, lover and accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, 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.

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