Criminal Big-Pharma Put in Charge of Covid-19 “Vaccine”

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Big-Pharma – guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, bribery, and a history of exposing the public to dangerous and even deadly drugs – is being given billions to develop a Covid-19 “vaccine.” Would you trust your health to these criminals? 

May 1, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Coronavirus Disease 2019 or “Covid-19” hysteria is sweeping the globe – with mass media-induced public panic paralyzing entire nations, gutting economies of billions as workplaces are shutdown and the public shuttered indoors all while exposed to 24 hour news cycles deliberately fanning the flames of fear. 

The West’s healthcare industry is already profiting both monetarily and in terms of artificial credibility as a panicked public turn to it for answers and safety.

Waiting to cash in on offering “cures” and “vaccines” for a virus that is essentially a bad cold – is the immensely corrupt Western pharmaceutical industry in particular – notorious corporations like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Novartis, Bayer, Merck, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Lilly, and Gilead.
All corporations – without exception – pursuing government-funded vaccines and therapies for Covid-19 are corporations guilty and repeatedly convicted in courts of law around the globe of crimes including falsifying research, safety, and efficacy studies, bribing researchers, doctors, regulators, and even law enforcement officials, and marketing drugs that were either entirely ineffective or even dangerous. 
Government funding from taxpayers across the Western World are being funneled into supposedly non-profit organizations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) which are in actuality fronts created and chaired by big-pharma to avoid investing their own money into costly research and development and simply profit from whatever emerges from state-funded research.

CEPI – for example – is receiving billions in government funds from various nations that will be used for R&D that results in products sold by and profited from big-pharma. 
Novartis – Plumbing the Depths of the Despicable 
A particularly shocking and appalling example comes from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis – who is currently attempting to ram through approval of its drug Jakafi as a therapy for severe Covid-19 patients.
A University of Pennsylvania team headed by Dr. Carl June and funded entirely by charity had developed a gene therapy that fully and permanently cured leukemia patients who had otherwise failed to respond to more traditional treatments like bone marrow transplants. During early trials in 2010-2012, one patient – a 6 year old named Emily Whitehead – was literally on her death bed before receiving the revolutionary gene therapy.

Today she is alive and well, in permanent remission. 
What is more astounding about the therapy is that it is administered only one time. That is because after administration the patient’s cells are rewired permanently to fight off cancer. Old cells pass the cancer-fighting information off to new cells as they divide and multiply. 
The therapy developed by Dr. June’s team is not only a one-time therapy, it is also incredibly cost effective. Under experimental conditions the procedure cost under 20,000 USD. Dr. June at a 2013 talk at The Society for Translational Oncology would state

So the cost of goods, it’s interesting. The major cost here is gamma globulin. So the t-cells themselves, with us, for our in-house costs of an apheresis and so on is 15,000 dollars to manufacture the t-cells. 

The charity that funded Dr. June’s team – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) – would see its work sold off to Novartis, approved by the FDA in 2017 and marketed as Kymriah. What was noted by Dr. June himself as costing 15,000 USD to produce under experimental conditions was marked up by Novartis to an astronomical half-million dollars. The New York Times article that reported the drug’s cost never mentions the actual cost of the drug and instead defers to Novartis’ own explanation as to why the drug was so expensive. 
The NYT had previously reported on the therapy’s progress before its acquisition by Novartis, yet NYT writers failed to hold Novartis accountable or inform readers of the actual cost of the therapy and expose price gouging by Novartis. This helps illustrate the mass media’s role in enabling and covering up for big-pharma’s corruption.  

Upon closer examination – and no thanks to publications like NYT – it turns out LLS was and still is in partnership with Novartis and while it denied Novartis had anything to do with the gene therapy funded by LLS and ultimately sold to Novartis – the glaring conflict of interest remains and fits in perfectly with the wider pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corruption, abuse, and placing profits before human life.
The Novartis example is a microcosm of how the entire industry operates and indeed – precisely how it already is exploiting and profiting from Covid-19 hysteria where hard-working researchers have their work funded by shady “charities” only to be bought up by big-pharma and dangled over the heads of the desperate for movie-villain ransoms – all in cooperation with a complicit government and mass media.        
GSK: A Bribery Racket that Rings the Globe
Another pharmaceutical corporation seeking to profit from Covid-19 is GlaxoSmithKline. What those who may be exposed to whatever products GSK markets in response to the virus should know is that GSK has been convicted on every inhabited continent of the planet for operating a global bribery racket aimed at doctors, researchers, regulators, politicians, and even law enforcement officials. 
GSK has been convicted in Asia. The New York Times in its article, “Drug Giant Faced a Reckoning as China Took Aim at Bribery,” would claim:

The Glaxo case, which resulted in record penalties of nearly $500 million and a string of guilty pleas by executives, upended the power dynamic in China, unveiling an increasingly assertive government determined to tighten its grip over multinationals. In the three years since the arrests, the Chinese government, under President Xi Jinping, has unleashed the full force of the country’s authoritarian system, as part of a broader agenda of economic nationalism.

GSK has also been convicted in North America. The London Guardian would report in its article GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn after bribing doctors to increase drugs sales that:

The pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $3bn (£1.9bn) after admitting bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children. Glaxo is also expected to admit failing to report safety problems with the diabetes drug Avandia in a district court in Boston on Thursday. The company encouraged sales reps in the US to mis-sell three drugs to doctors and lavished hospitality and kickbacks on those who agreed to write extra prescriptions, including trips to resorts in Bermuda, Jamaica and California.

GSK corruption also takes place in Europe. In early 2014, the London Telegraph would report in its article, “GlaxoSmithKline ‘bribed’ doctors to promote drugs in Europe, former worker claims,” that:

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s largest drug company, has been accused of bribing doctors to prescribe their medicines in Europe. Doctors in Poland were allegedly paid to promote its asthma drug, Seretide, under the guise of funding for education programme, a former sales rep has claimed. Medics were also said to have been paid for lectures in the country which did not take place.

And this is only scratching the surface of GSK’s bribery racket and associated impropriety – saying nothing of the wider industry’s abuse and corruption. 
GSK is currently poised to develop and deploy a Covid-19 vaccine with Innovax. Will GSK’s history of bribery and corruption influence the development of a Covid-19 vaccine and its approval for public use?

There is already a convincing answer to that question. 
Big-Pharma Already Caught Faking Pandemics to Fill Their Coffers 
The last wave of hysteria regarding a pandemic came in the form of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak or the “swine flu.” 
If one vaguely remembers H1N1 and needs to look it up to refresh their memory – it’s probably because it was not the pandemic it was promoted as at the time by corrupt public health officials and a complicit mass media.

Among these corrupt public health officials were World Health Organization (WHO) “experts” who were in the pay of big-pharma and used their positions to declare the appearance of H1N1 as a “pandemic” justifying likewise paid-off governments to stockpile big-pharma medication for patients that never ended up needing them.  
The BBC in their article, “WHO swine flu experts ‘linked’ with drug companies,” would admit: 

Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.

The British Medical Journal says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.

The BBC mentions GSK by name, noting (emphasis added):

…three scientists involved in putting together the 2004 guidance had previously been paid by Roche or GSK for lecturing and consultancy work as well as being involved in research for the companies. 

Roche – also mentioned – currently produces Covid-19 test kits and is obviously making massive profits by selling them amid sustained hysteria over the “pandemic.” It also profited when WHO officials it was paying off declared H1N1 a “pandemic” in 2009. It sold testing kits and anti-viral medication that made their way into entirely unnecessary government stockpiles. 
Reuters in a 2014 article titled, “Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds,” would note: 

Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche’s flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt. 

The article also noted:

Tamiflu sales hit almost $3 billion in 2009 – mostly due to its use in the H1N1 flu pandemic – but they have since declined. 

Are we really going to allow these same corporations and the corrupt officials they are in league with among national and international bodies take the reins again amid Covid-19?

Serial Offenders Drive Covid-19 Hysteria 
The same WHO – in partnership with the same serial offenders among the pharmaceutical industry – are now leading the response to Covid-19 – and the same complicit mass media that enabled the corruption and abuse of both in the past is helping fuel Covid-19 hysteria today to hand over unprecedented profits and power to these same interests that have repeatedly proven themselves in the past to not only be untrustworthy but also obstacles to – rather than the underwriters of – human health. 
Soon, syringes will be filled with “vaccines” produced by this conglomerate of corruption and abuse, and the public told to roll up their sleeves and have themselves injected by substances created by literal criminals or else. 
Under the illusion of legitimacy, science, and medicine, people will be pressured to submit to big-pharma and their co-conspirators within regulatory bodies, advisory organizations, the government, and the media, and whatever it is they actually fill these syringes with – whether it protects the public from Covid-19 or not – and whether such a vaccine is truly necessary or not. 
While Covid-19 might be an actual pathogen, evidence suggests it does not warrant the overreaction we have seen worldwide. “Covid-19 hysteria” is – by far – having a much more devastating impact on humanity than the actual virus itself.  Amid this hysteria, the biggest genuine threat to human health – a corrupt pharmaceutical industry and their partners in the government – are poised to expand both their profits at the expense of the public, and their power over the public. 
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

The Russia-Germany Pipeline Nord Stream 2: Washington to “Free” Europe from Freedom to Decide for Itself

Global Research, December 23, 2019

Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline project extending from Russia to Germany that – when completed – will provide a secure means of exporting Russian natural gas to Western Europe – circumventing a  now volatile Ukraine all while tying Russia and Europe together further through mutually beneficial economic activity.

Of course, for special interests residing across the Atlantic in Washington and on Wall Street, Russia and Europe building closer ties through constructive economic activity undermines a long-standing strategy of coercing Europe via the constant threat of a supposedly hostile Kremlin Washington claims undermines a free and united Europe.

Ironically, in order to preserve Europe’s “freedom” the US has now resorted to punishing interests in Europe – and in Germany specifically – for freely choosing to do business with Russia. It not only fully illustrates the supreme hypocrisy that lies at the very root of Washington’s current foreign policy, but also threatens to undermine legitimate US business interests seeking – just as Russia does – to build constructive economic ties with companies and nations around the globe.

Sanctions Approved

The BBC in its article, “Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline,” would report:

President Donald Trump has signed a law that will impose sanctions on any firm that helps Russia’s state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish a pipeline into the European Union. 

The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany. 

The US considers the project a security risk to Europe. 

Both Russia and the EU have strongly condemned the US sanctions.

It may or may not confound objective observers to see the US unilaterally leveling sanctions against foreign companies because of what Washington claims are security threats to the nations these companies reside in.

It is clearly the business of Germany and Germany alone to determine what may or may not be a security risk. The US deciding not only unilaterally that the Nord Stream 2 project is a security risk – but in contradiction to Berlin’s own assessments of these supposed risks – exposes what is a US foreign policy rooted in singular self-interests poorly hidden behind notions of global peace, stability, and progress.

Were Russia the “threat” that Washington claims it is, clearly Germany would not have invested the immense amount of time, energy, and resources required merely to approve of the Nord Stream 2 project – let alone all the time, energy, and resources required to build and operate it.

Stated Motives. Admitted “Hidden” Motives. Larger, Unspoken Motives 

The BBC article gives a glimpse of what is truly motivating Washington’s current posture regarding Nord Stream 2. In its article, it notes that:

The Trump administration fears the pipeline will tighten Russia’s grip over Europe’s energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas.

And indeed, US energy interests do stand to lose against Russian natural gas – but only because US energy interests are unable to fairly compete against Russia’s ability to deliver cheaper energy through much more practical means.

There is also another motivation driving Washington’s current foreign policy – unmentioned by the BBC – but one that eclipses the interests of American big-energy – no matter how large these interests may be.

The alleged spectre of a malign Russia preying on Europe serves as – and has served for decades as the foundation of the US-led NATO alliance, the US military presence in Europe and the billions upon billions of dollars of weapon sales, contracts, and all the political influence that constitutes both.

Europe and Russia building a significant pipeline and cooperating over something as key to Europe’s economic security and survival as energy demand obviously and completely undermines NATO’s pretense to exist – and thus threatens the immense racket that constitutes NATO’s continued existence. This not only threatens Washington’s grip on Europe, but all the other wars NATO is used as a vehicle to carry both the American nation and its Western allies into across the globe.

The Western intervention in Serbia in the 1990s, the Afghan war stretching from 2001 to present day, and more recently the Western intervention in Libya beginning in 2011 are all examples of US belligerence made possible by NATO – and belligerence that would be exponentially more difficult to continue onward with if NATO was weakened or rendered entirely unnecessary and disbanded.

Not Serving European Interests, or even US Interests 

One must be careful when saying “the US is imposing sanctions on Germany.” The US is not. A small handful of special interests in Washington, directed by an even smaller handful of interests on Wall Street are imposing sanctions on Europe over the Nord Stream 2 project.

They are doing so clearly to the detriment of Russia. But also obviously to the detriment of Germany and the European companies involved in completing, operating, and receiving benefits from the pipeline when it opens.

They are also imposing sanctions on Europe to the detriment of the American people, American businesses at large, and the American nation itself both as it stands internationally today and to the detriment of how it will stand internationally in the future.

While the US arms and energy industries certainly stand to gain from a status quo in Europe which includes the perpetuation of the artificial wedge driven between Europe and Russia, it benefits nearly no one else.

And while these two industries do certainly employ a lot of Americans, they are unsustainable businesses demonstrably unable to compete fairly – and now – not even effectively able to cheat. The future is bleak for those employed or otherwise dependent on these two industries as they currently exist. Washington’s policies pushed forward on behalf of big-energy and arms manufacturers are pushed forward at the cost of nearly everyone else.

For a world eager to do business with the United States – a nation still populated by talented people capable of contributing to the global economy – policies like sanctions aimed at Germany and other nation’s involved with Nord Stream 2 give pause for thought and force potential business partners of the US to reevaluate future joint-ventures.

Thus, despite the short-term self-serving nature of US sanctions regarding Nord Stream 2, the sanctions only serve to accelerate America’s overall decline. A Washington fixated on such methods to “compete” with Russia and to maintain influence over Europe is not able to focus on or invest in truly needed strategies to improve genuine American competitiveness – competitiveness that serves as the only true and sustainable means of creating and maintaining influence globally.

For the American people and American business owners, divesting away from Washington’s current policies and finding ways to circumvent them just as the rest of the world is finding ways to circumvent US sanctions will hopefully help build bridges, or at least prepare the ground to do so – so when the current circle of special interests misleading the US into further decline fade away, something better can be put in their place.

Nord Stream 2 is just one sign of the shape of things to come. The US will only face more “Nord Stream 2’s” in the future not only in the form of Russian-European cooperation, but also in Asia centered around China and its own rise upon the international stage. Washington doubling down on a losing strategy will only accelerate America’s current woes – not fix them. Until Washington understands this, or until the American people find a way to work around Washington’s agenda – these woes will only multiply and to everyone’s detriment.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Stefan Sauer/dpa

US Is the Source of, Not “Solution” to Syrian War

 

Global Research, November 12, 2019

After the supposed US “withdrawal” from Syria – Western media outlets have causally reported on US troops now preparing to occupy Syria’s oilfields east of the Euphrates River.

Articles include carefully selected “experts” who avoid any mention of how illegal or indefensible the presence of US forces in Syria is to begin with, let alone any mention of “why” US troops are preparing to “claim” Syria’s natural resources.

The Guardian in its piece, “US plans to send tanks to Syria oil fields, reversing Trump troop withdrawal – reports,” illustrates a voluntary dereliction of due diligence in investigating or questioning Western actions in Syria.

One is left to assume what the US would claim as its excuse for remaining in Syria – likely based on a narrative of denying terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) and their affiliates access to resources to “fund” their return to the region.

The most obvious and sustainable solution would be to transfer control of Syria’s oilfields to Syria itself. Syria has overcome terrorist organizations in all areas Damascus has now restored order to, and with the restoration of its oilfields and related industries, would be in an even better position to both rebuild the nation and defend against the very elements who destroyed it in the first place.

But this assumes that the US is interested in preventing the resurgence of terrorist organizations in the region – ignoring the fact that the US deliberately created them in the first place and deliberately used them to both trigger, then fuel the Syrian war from its very beginning in 2011.

The US is the Source of Syria’s War 

As early as 2007, real journalists warned of US plans to bolster opposition groups linked to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda in a bid to undermine Iran and its ally Syria.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” would provide an ominous, but crystal-clear warning of what awaited both Syria and the wider region.

Hersh would warn:

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

The article would mention the Muslim Brotherhood by name and described specific US support under what was then the Bush administration already being funnelled to the group in Syria.

The Brotherhood is an extremist front with direct ties to Al Qaeda and who were at the epicenter of the supposed “Arab Spring” in 2011. From 2011 onward – then under the Obama administration – US support continued in the form of both financial and military aid.

Articles like the New York Time’s, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” would admit to billions of dollars worth of arms from the US flowing into Syria to fuel the destructive war.

Despite Western media claims that the Syrian conflict was being fought between the government and “moderate rebels,” the US State Department itself admitted that within the first year of fighting, Al Qaeda had already established a dominate position on the battlefield.

In an official statement on the State Department’s own website designating Al Qaeda affiliate – al-Nusra – a foreign terrorist organization, it was admitted:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

If the US and its allies were providing billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to “moderate rebels,” who provided al-Nusra with even more weapons and equipment enabling it to dominate the battlefield?

The US – as it has done in virtually all other wars of aggression abroad – simply lied about the nature of those it was arming – having from the beginning and just as journalists like Seymour Hersh warned – deliberately armed and aided extremists to wage a proxy war of regime change against Syria.

Arsonists, Not Firefighters 

Nothing the US has done in regards to Syria has amounted to genuine efforts to end the conflict. Throughout the conflict the US continued to adjust its war propaganda to justify first its invasion and occupation of eastern Syria to “fight ISIS” – then to incrementally move toward justifying a direct US military intervention against the Syrian government itself with troops “serendipitously” already staged inside Syrian territory.

From 2015 onward in the wake of Russia’s intervention – direct US military intervention was taken off the table and the US occupation confined to eastern Syria where its unsustainable narrative regarding a Syrian “Kurdistan” withered.

Today – we find a US still attempting to justify its illegal and indefensible occupation of Syrian territory. Syria and its allies have attempted to provide Washington with a host of face-saving opportunities to withdraw and allow the conflict to finally end – returning peace and stability to the nation of Syria and its people.

The US continues to pose as part of a “solution” to the very Syrian crisis journalists like Seymour Hersh as early as 2007 revealed the US had deliberately engineered.

Just as an unrepentant arsonist would not be involved in efforts to extinguish the fire they started – the US cannot be involved in efforts to resolve a conflict it itself started – nor is the US at this point demonstrating any genuine desire to end the conflict.

Squatting on Syrian oilfields is yet another intentional tactic being used to draw the Syrian war out even longer – impeding the Syrian state’s access to its own resources needed to fuel the country and fund reconstruction.

Far from firefighters, the US is an unrepentant arsonist blocking firefighters from doing their job. US foreign policy has become so overtly malign that the Western media is unable to even address basic questions such as “why” the US is remaining in Syria – and doing so amid Syria’s oilfields.

Just as has been the case throughout the Syrian war, US machinations will be defeated by Syria and its allies patiently creating conditions on the ground in which current US policies are no longer tenable forcing Washington to fall back further still.

In the meantime, continued efforts to expose the truth of this war’s genesis and to prevent those who were responsible for it from attempting to prolong it further by posing as “peacemakers” and “protectors” is essential. If the US wants to pose as “peacemakers” and “protectors,” Syria and its allies may allow them to do so only to save face amid their total and otherwise unconditional departure from Syria.

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

Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from InfoRos

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong

Global Research, August 22, 2019

This article first published almost five years ago on October 1, 2014 is of particular relevance to an understanding of recent developments in Hong Kong.

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Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

Image: While the Washington Post would have readers believe NED is in the business of promoting “freedom of expression” and “democracy” the corporate-financier interests represented on NED’s board of directors are anything but champions of such principles, and are instead notorious for principles precisely the opposite. 

The very concept of the United States “promoting democracy” is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of persecuting one unpopular war after another around the planet against the will of its own people and based on verified lies, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police cracking down on civilians in towns like Ferguson, Missouri – making China’s police actions against “Occupy Central” protesters pale in comparison. “Promoting democracy” is clearly cover for simply expanding its hegemonic agenda far beyond its borders and at the expense of national sovereignty for all subjected to it, including Americans themselves.

In 2011, similar revelations were made public of the US’ meddling in the so-called “Arab Spring” when the New York Times would report in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding NED specifically, that:

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

 

Image: US Senator John McCain on stage in Kiev, Ukraine cheerleading US
funded sedition in Eastern Europe. In 2011, McCain would famously taunt
both Russia and China that US-funded subversion was coming their way.
“Occupy Central” is one of many waves that have hit China’s shores since.

 

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

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Destabilizing Pakistan: Bookending Washington’s China Policy

Global Research, July 26, 2019

Much is being said of US activities aimed at China. Recent protests in Hong Kong together with a US-led propaganda campaign aimed at Beijing’s attempts to quell a growing terrorist threat in Xinjiang are aimed at pressuring the nation to fall back into line within Washington’s enduring unipolar international order.

The latter of these two campaigns in particular – claims of Chinese authoritarianism as Beijing attempts to neutralize US-backed separatists and terrorists in Xinjiang – has also been spun as China “targeting Muslims.”

This ignores the fact that one of China’s closest and oldest allies in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. It also ignores the fact that in Pakistan, the US is playing the same game aimed at cultivating violent extremism, separatism, violence, division, and even the dissolution of Pakistan’s current borders.

Balochistan – the other Xinjiang 

While all the focus has been directed by the Western media on Xinjiang and a supposed “anti-Muslim crackdown” in the region, Pakistan faces the same problem in its southwestern province of Balochistan. In Pakistan – attempts by the government to root out violent separatists surely is not “anti-Muslim.” 

In Balochistan, the US agencies involved in fanning the flames of separatism and violence instead portray Islamabad and the Pakistani military’s efforts to restore order as simply trampling “human rights.” 

US interference in Balochistan is just as extensive as it is in China’s Xinjiang.

Despite the recent move by Washington to list the armed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist organization – Islamabad has long accused Washington of funding and arming it along with segments of the Indian government aligned with US interests.

The fact that otherwise ignored activities by Balochistan separatists are covered by certain Indian newspapers even as recently as this year seems to give credence to these accusations. NDTV’s article, “Pro-Balochistan Slogans Raised During Imran Khan’s Address In US,” and India Today’s article, “16 EU Members of Parliament write letter to Trump to intervene in Balochistan,” are just two such examples.

US support is much easier to track down.

US-based Stanford University’s Mapping Militant Organizations project admits that the BLA receives much of its financial aid from the Balochi diaspora. The project’s profile on the Balochistan Liberation Army notes:

Due to high community support for autonomy and independence from people of the Balochistan, many analysts suspect that a large amount of the BLA’s income and weapons supply come from donations from the Balochi people. Balochi leaders have also claimed that financial contributions from the Balochi diaspora make it possible to procure arms and ammunition through the black market.

Thus, even if the US is not directly arming and funding the BLA, it is openly supporting pro-separatists among the Balochi diaspora who even Stanford University experts admit are – in turn – funding the BLA’s terrorism.

The US move to designate the BLA as a foreign terrorist organization holds little meaning. The BLA will find itself beside organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria which is all but openly funded and armed by the United States and a large cross-section of Washington’s closest European and Arab allies.

Arming militants is only half of the overall strategy seeking to destabilize Pakistan. Subverting national institutions and replacing them with those interlocking with US special interests is the other half.

US NED Working Hard in – and Against – Pakistan  

The US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various subsidiaries are busy at work in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province as well as China’s Xinjiang.

NED has been directly funding and supporting the work of the “Balochistan Institute for Development” (BIFD) which claims to be:

“…the leading resource on democracy, development and human rights in Balochistan, Pakistan.”

In addition to organizing the annual NED-BFID “Workshop on Media, Democracy & Human Rights” BFID reports that USAID had provided funding for a “media-center” for the Baluchistan Assembly to “provide better facilities to reporters who cover the proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly.” It can be assumed that BFID meant reporters are “trained” at NED-BFID workshops and at its USAID-funded center.

There is also Voice of Balochistan whose every top-story is US-funded propaganda, including op-eds by US representatives promoting Balochi separatism, foundation-funded Reporters Without Borders, Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, and a direct message from the US State Department.

Like other US State Department funded propaganda outfits around the world – such as Thailand’s Prachatai – funding is generally obfuscated in order to main “credibility” even when the front’s constant torrent of obvious propaganda more than exposes the game.

The “Free Baluchistan” movement is a US and London-based organizations. The “Baloch Society of North America” serves as a useful aggregate and bellwether regarding US meddling in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The group’s founder, Dr. Wahid Baloch, openly admits he has met with US politicians in regards to Balochistan independence. This includes Neo-Conservative corporate-lobbyist and National Endowment for Democracy board member, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Dr. Wahid Baloch considers Balochistan province “occupied” by both the Iranian and Pakistani governments – he and his movement’s humanitarian hand-wringing gives Washington the perfect pretext to create an armed conflagration against either Iran or Pakistan, or both, as planned in detail by various US policy think-tanks.

There is also the Baloch Students Organisation-Azad, or BSO. While it maintains a presence in Pakistan, it has coordinators based in London. London-based BSO members include “information secretaries” that propagate their message via social media, just as US and British-funded youth organizations did during the West’s operations against other targeted nations during the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011.

And just as US-funded agitators in China’s Xinjiang region coordinate their activities with other US-backed groups across the rest of China – such as in Hong Kong and Tibet – other US NED-funded fronts in Pakistan also contribute to a wider campaign of dividing and undermining Pakistan.The US State Department funds Voice of America Deewa focused on Pakistan’s Pashtuns who inhabit Pakistan’s northwest region along its border with Afghanistan.

Despite VOA Deewa’s supposed area of focus, it is actually based in Washington DC. While many of the organizations it provides support for do not admit their US funding, organizations like “AdvoPak” are regularly promoted by VOA Deewa. US NED’s online publication, “Democracy Digest,” also promotes, interviews, and defends groups who appear to be funded by Washington and undoubtedly serve US interests in Pakistan.

This includes the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) which was featured by the Digest earlier this year in an article titled, “Pakistan’s military targets protest movement, stifles dissent.” While PTM doesn’t disclose its funding, it is regularly accused of receiving support from and working for both India and the US.The Democracy Digest article featured a video interview with a PTM member – Gulalai Ismail – who is in fact an NED Fellow. There is also NED’s “Tribute to Gulalai Ismail at the 2013 Democracy Award.”And all of this is just scratching the surface of US meddling in Pakistan’s internal politics and of organizations committed to creating synergies with US-backed separatists in Balochistan.

What Does Pakistan’s Balochistan and China’s Xinjiang Have in Common? 

Balochistan and Xinjiang both appear to be suffering from separatist movements, terrorism, and political destabilization. The common factor is clearly US backing behind both separatist movements – but what is the common denominator that has attracted US attention in the first place?Both Xinjiang and Balochistan are settings for massive Chinese-led infrastructure and trade initiatives. Western publications like the Business Insider note the importance Xinjiang holds in terms of China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

Many of the routes that lead out of China, across Central Asia, and eventually into the Middle East and Western Europe pass through Xinjiang. US attempts to destabilize the region in turn directly impact the viability of Beijing’s OBOR initiative and the economic wealth and influence it stands to grant Beijing.

Likewise, a significant leg of the OBOR initiative extends from China and across Pakistan from north to south, through Balochistan until reaching Gwadar Port. Thus, by destabilizing Balochistan, this essential corridor’s full potential is inhibited.

This is a truth US special interests and the media interests they own will never admit to. This is why – instead – diverse tales of China’s “anti-Muslim” crackdown and Pakistan’s “distain for human rights” in Balochistan are used to sell two different US-backed conflicts fuelled for a singular agenda – impeding China’s rise and that of its allies – including Pakistan.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

US “Boots” Turkey from F-35 Program

July 19, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – Turkey has been officially “booted” from the F-35 multirole combat aircraft program.
The F-35 multirole combat aircraft, produced by US-based arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is part of a massive weapons program exceeding $1 trillion. A single aircraft can cost over $100 million, or over twice the cost of Russia’s new Su-57 and many times more expensive than other Russian, Chinese and European-made aircraft already in operation.

The record-breaking costs however don’t translate into record-breaking performance. The F-35 has already seen its fair share of development hiccups and even when they are all ironed out, nothing the F-35 is even advertised as being able to do justifies its growing price tag.

It is amazing then that anyone has lined up to buy it at all let alone the large number of nations that have lined up.

Reuters in an older article titled, “The 11 countries expected to buy F-35 fighter jet,” would report:

Lockheed is developing three models of the plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane’s development – Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. 

South Korea, Japan and Israel have also placed orders for the jet.

Since then, however, there has been public backlash in nations like Canada which are shouldering development costs even if they end up buying no F-35s at all, CBC would explain.

Despite headlines like the BBC’s, “US removes Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme,” Turkey itself has probably benefited most from being “removed.” Other headlines across the corporate media have been using the term “booted,” “kicked out,” or “expelled,” but a more apt term would be “dodged.”

What would nations like Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Israel do with F-35s anyway?

Israel already reportedly has the new aircraft. They’ve even reportedly used them in their attacks on neighboring Syria. However Israel has used the aircraft for mostly standoff attacks, fearing Syrian air defenses despite the F-35s supposedly stealthy profile.

While Britain is likewise prone to acts of illegal military aggression like its Israeli friends, the remaining nations hardly have any role for the F-35 their existing aircraft, or newer, cheaper aircraft could not easily fulfill.

So why did any of these nations line up to buy the F-35 in the first place? Is there any historical precedent that can help explain why Lockheed Martin’s extraordinary expensive, but less-than-extraordinary performing combat aircraft has been so financially successful?

Yes, there is.

Lockheed’s F-104 Starfighter: Flying on a Wing and a Bribe 

This historical precedent is exceptionally relevant. Not only is it about an astronomically expensive, underperforming and essentially unnecessary combat aircraft, it was also made by Lockheed and pushed on America’s allies at the time, just like the F-35 is now.

It turns out that policymakers who chose the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter despite its many shortcomings were simply bought off, literally with crate fulls of money as was the case in Japan.

A very old 1976 article by the New York Times titled, “Japan’s Watergate: Made in U.S.A.,” illustrated Lockheed’s business practice of simply buying off policymakers to chose their aircraft over competitors even after official decisions were made. While Lockheed’s commercial airliners were mentioned in the article, the F-104 Starfighter was also involved in what was later exposed as a massive multinational multi-million dollar (billions in today’s dollars) bribery racket.

Bribery might explain why Canada has tried to back off from the F-35 today but still has stubborn holdouts demanding the aircraft be given a chance.

The Daily Kos in a more recent article would report on Lockheed’s massive bribery racket during the F-104’s days, that:

Lockheed executives admitted paying millions in bribes over more than a decade to the Dutch, to key Japanese and West German politicians, to Italian officials and generals, and to other highly placed figures from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia, in order to get them to buy our airplanes. Kelly Johnson was so sickened by these revelations that he had almost quit, even though the top Lockheed management implicated in the scandal resigned in disgrace.

Despite the obvious reasons not to buy the Lockheed Starfighter, nations ended up with them in abundance. All in all, over 2,500 were built. Over the course of their operational history, they succeeded in shooting down 3 aircraft and allegedly forcing another to land. Conversely, hundreds crashed with West Germany alone losing 116 pilots between 1962 and 1984.

If US arms manufacturers like Lockheed could get away with bribing officials to buy hundreds of what were essentially “flying coffins” to allied nations back in the 1950s and 60s, killing far more allied pilots than the enemy ever did, how hard would it be to sell something slightly less deadly, semi-functional but simply overpriced?

Pretty easy apparently.

Between collective public amnesia regarding Lockheed’s past abuses, a corporate media that works for arms manufacturers and policymakers receiving millions in bribes, the collective defense of the West never stood a chance of getting affordable and effective defense capabilities.

Turkey Wasn’t “Booted From” the F-35 Program, It Dodged It

Turkey has undoubtedly played accomplice to Western machinations over the past half century. It has been a member of NATO since 1952 and has played a role in destabilizing the Middle East and even parts of Eurasia for decades on behalf of Anglo-American interests.

More recently it served as a springboard into neighboring Syria for tens of thousands of terrorists backed by a US-led coalition aimed at overthrowing the government in Damascus. Much of the current violence in China’s Xinjiang region is owed to Turkish meddling alongside US efforts to divide and destabilize the political order in Beijing.

Turkish forces have even partially invaded Syria, finding themselves mired in fighting with terrorists they themselves at one point supported and of course Kurdish militants, many of whom are supported by their own Western allies.

Ankara has also watched as US, European and even Israeli combat aircraft including F-35s have tip-toed around Syrian and Russian air defenses.

There is clearly much more going on behind the scenes as Western influence around the globe fades and Eurasian powers like Russia and China emerge upon the global stage. Turkish interests in the long-term will likely tip toward greater cooperation with the East rather than the West.

But the inability of Western forces to establish uncontested air superiority over Syria as they have done in virtually every other war in the past century including World War 2 surely isn’t being lost on anyone seriously interested in national defense, bribed or not.

Ankara knew by buying Russian S-400 air defense systems they would likely be “booted from” the F-35 program, so in reality, Ankara itself made the decision to leave it. It will acquire a premier air defense system that it itself has watched complicate US military intervention in Syria next-door.

Turkey has freed itself from a complicated and costly weapons program that would leave its coffers lighter and its borders no more or less safe than they are at the moment. Deepening its military relationship with the West removes rather than enhances any leverage Ankara has when dealing with Washington, London or Brussels.

Other analysts have made convincing arguments that Russian-made systems transferred to Turkey and used by Turkish forces gives Ankara more autonomy from the US and NATO who insist US-made weapons systems be manned by US troops and ultimately directed by US and NATO commanders. The US, for example, has refused to transfer technology associated with their S-400 alternative, the Patriot missile system. Russia, as part of its deal with Turkey, will transfer technology.

While some may be overstating the significance of Turkey’s latest decision, this is undoubtedly one of many steps Ankara is taking to move from West to East. The US, in “booting” Turkey from a program Turkey would not benefit from, is merely attempting to conceal the full extent of its waning influence.

Turkey will continue to be a nation straddling both East and West. But it is hard to recall another point in recent history where Turkey’s balance between the two has been more equitable.

We can recall several extremely risky moments during the Syrian conflict, including the downing and ambush of Russian pilots and rescuers and calls from many in the public for swift retaliation from Moscow. Moscow didn’t. Instead, it has patiently bided its time, and for doing so it has avoided what would likely have been a costly confrontation and instead reaped this recent success.

How significant or minor this success actually is, only time will tell. A major NATO partner buying Russian air defense systems while spurring an unprecedented US arms program certainly seems significant.

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

US “Downs” Legitimacy After Claims of Downing Iranian Drone

July 20, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The US boasted of downing an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz, admittedly in international waters, just miles off Iran’s coast, and thousands of miles from Washington.

It claims the drone was “threatening” a US amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer.

The Washington Post in its article, “Trump says the U.S. Navy downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz,” would claim:

A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away, President Trump said Thursday, as tensions between the United States and Iran appeared to be rising once again in the Persian Gulf region. 

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it.

An AP article titled, “US warship downs Iranian drone in Hormuz Strait,” noted that (emphasis added):

The Pentagon said the incident happened at 10 am local time on Thursday in international waters while the Boxer was transiting the waterway to enter the Persian Gulf. The Boxer is one of several US naval ships in the area, including the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier that has been operating in the nearby North Arabian Sea for weeks.

The claims come nearly a month after Iran shot down a US drone – an RQ-4A Global Hawk – operating near Iranian shores, also in the Strait of Hormuz.

At the time, the US condemned Iran’s move claiming it had downed the drone over international waters. Now – the US openly claims it has shot down an Iranian drone over international waters. The overt hypocrisy is intentional. The US has been attempting to goad Tehran into an armed conflict for years with US policy papers openly admitting as much.

A 2009 Brookings Institution paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” would openly admit (emphasis added):

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 

Apparently, the US is no longer concerned about whether or not the world recognizes this game and is doing everything in its power to goad Iran into miscalculating and granting the US justification for a long-desired and much larger conflict with Tehran.

Did the Iranian Drone Really Threaten the USS Boxer? Was it Even an Iranian Drone? 

As with most deliberate provocations – the recent US claims of downing an Iranian drone came with minimum details and no evidence at all. Not even the type of drone was mentioned by the Washington Post or AP.

Claims that the drone came within 1,000 yards of the ship and was disabled through electronic jamming indicates it was most likely an off-the-shelf drone used for photography and in no way posed a threat to the USS Boxer.

Iranian media – for its part – claims the US most likely shot down their own drone, and denies Iran was operating any of its own drones in the area at the time. Iran’s PressTV in an article titled, “US may have shot down own drone in Persian Gulf, Iran says of Trump’s claim,” would claim:

Iran has rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that a US warship had shot down an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Strait of Hormuz. 

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet on Friday. 

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”

What is certain is that even if it were an Iranian drone, it couldn’t have posed more of a threat to the USS Boxer than America’s military presence in the Middle East poses to its inhabitants – a region where the US has repeatedly bombed, invaded, currently occupies or is waging war by proxy against multiple nations including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and indeed – Iran itself.

Beyond the Middle East the US has left Libya desolate and is currently occupying the Central Asian nation of Afghanistan – a military campaign that has lasted now nearly 2 decades and is unfolding along Iran’s eastern border while the US continues to maintain a military presence in Iraq on Iran’s western border.

The US currently maintains crippling sanctions against Iran, admittedly sponsors terrorist groups operating within Iran, and has repeatedly threatened to overthrow the Iranian government through open military intervention, US-sponsored “color revolutions,” as well as economic and covert military means.

The UK – equally committed to Washington’s desire to overthrow the Iranian government – has even recently hijacked an Iranian tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Under ordinary circumstances, a military drone approaching a ship of any kind from any nation in international waters – allegedly as close as 1,000 yards – would be considered a provocation. But Iranian drones – if this was indeed the case – approaching a US warship plying the waters of a region utterly ravaged by US military aggression can at best be considered scrutiny the US has earned itself through its own destructive foreign policy – a foreign policy that fully intends to visit the same destruction brought upon nations like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan – upon Iran as well.

Iran surely has the right to defend itself – to track US warships as they pass just miles from its own shores – whether in “international waters” or not. And if Iran is not allowed to fire on US drones over these same “international waters,” what gave the US the right to do so?

There is a much easier solution for the US if its goal really is to ensure the safety of its vessels travelling the globe – stop provoking conflict, thus eliminating the chances of its vessels becoming targets during such conflict.

Of course, the US will not do this. It will continue pursuing hegemonic foreign policy until it is economically and militarily no longer able to do so. For Iran – the trick will be avoiding provocations designed to trigger a war the US still believes it can win until global dynamics change enough to ensure whatever war the US triggers it will have no chance of winning.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

British Hijack Iranian Ship: Another Day, Another Provocation

July 17, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Had Iran openly hijacked a vessel of any nation, for any reason, plying through waters anywhere on Earth, the US and its allies would immediately cite it as a provocation toward war.

In fact, even without evidence, suspiciously timed attacks carried out last month on tankers passing through the Persian Gulf were cited by Washington and London as a pretext for increased pressure on Tehran despite the attacks appearing staged by the West itself.

Now in a display once again illustrating just who the actual menace is to global peace and stability, the British have openly – even proudly – hijacked a ship carrying Iranian oil allegedly bound for Syria.

The Guardian’s article, “Iran fury as Royal Marines seize tanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria,” would report:

Royal Marines have helped seize an Iranian supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria off the coast of Gibraltar, escalating tensions between the UK and Tehran as the agreement aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear programme unravels.

A detachment of nearly 30 British troops working with the Gibraltarian police intercepted the vessel, believed to be carrying 2m barrels of oil, in a dramatic manoeuvre Spain said had been conducted at the request of the US.

The article would quote the British ambassador to Iran who claimed:

[The UK] welcomes this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities.

As to why the UK believed it was justified to hijack the Iranian tanker – the article would cite “sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad” the UK and EU placed on Syria – which are in themselves illegal and an act of war.

Stealing Ships from Stolen Land to Enforce Illegal Sanctions 

The UK’s presence in Gibraltar itself is a point of contention between London and Madrid.

Spain does not recognize British claims over the tiny piece of land located at the furthest tip of the Iberian Peninsula. The British presence is one of its many holdovers from its imperialist past. The British presence gives the UK a choke point over the Strait of Gibraltar and all shipping passing through it.

The fact that the British are using the disputed territory of Gibraltar to hijack ships or that the London Guardian is trying to depict it as an operation undertaken while “working with the Gibraltarian police” – when the “Gibraltarian police” are nothing more than functionaries representing London itself – provide a clear illustration of how foreign policy, media, and crimes against international law are being coordinated, justified, and sold to the public by Washington and London.

While Iran has regularly threatened to impede shipping through the Stait of Hormuz in retaliation to Western military aggression – it has never acted upon these threats – reserving them as a means of last resort.

The British and Americans – on the other hand – have literally implicated themselves in disrupting “freedom of navigation.” 

The US and UK both pose as international arbiters and underwriters of what they call “the freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas. They regularly accuse nations like China of impeding such “freedom” in the South China Sea – using these accusations as an excuse to build up a military presence off China’s shores – thousands of miles from their own shores.

They have also regularly cited Iran’s “threats” to shipping through the Strait of Hormuz as another reason Iran should be further pressured, sanctioned, and its government ultimately removed from power.

Yet by hijacking Iranian ships, or likewise intercepting North Korean vessels, or the ships of any nation based on sanctions unilaterally and illegally imposed by Washington, London, and Brussels implicates the West themselves as the primary threat to the very “freedom of navigation” of the world’s seas they claim to uphold.

Provoking War 

From Western policy think tanks to policymakers and politicians themselves – the West has all but admitted it is trying to goad Iran into war.

Sanctions, Western-sponsored terrorism aimed at Iranian territory itself, and provocations – like the recent hijacking of an Iranian tanker – all aimed at Tehran – are moves seeking to trigger a response from Iran that will justify even wider Western economic sanctions and military aggression.

And if Iran fails to provide such a provocation, one might be staged and blamed on Iran anyway.

These are the actions of outlaw nations presiding over a fading international order – one fading specifically because it is so transparently unjust, lopsided, and disruptive toward global stability. It has persisted for so long solely through the maxim of “might makes right.”

The British stealing ships from stolen land to enforce illegal sanctions is a vulgar display of “might makes right,” but one that may possibility be reaching its expiration.

The countervailing multipolar order emerging across Eurasia has an opportunity to oppose this flagrant provocation – not merely on Iran’s behalf – but to erode the impunity that will allow the US and UK to target the ships of other nations in a similar fashion if afforded impunity to do so to Iran now.

For Tehran, it will need to continue exhibiting “maximum patience” while enduring Washington and London’s “maximum pressure” campaign – avoiding the traps both have laid out for Tehran as they attempt to bait the nation into war and change their failing fortunes in the Middle East and around the globe.

The British – still a thorn in the side of global peace and stability despite losing most of its empire – presents us with a preview of what to expect from America even long after it fades as sole global hegemon. Learning to put the UK’s recent provocations in check now will help develop the tools necessary to put in check its future provocations – and those the US will find itself also depending on more and more often in the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

BBC Says China Building Schools is “Bad”

July 14, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – China’s recent building-spree of schools in its underdeveloped and remote region of Xinjiang – in a saner world – would be good news. But for editors at the BBC it is being depicted as sinister and dystopian.

The BBC’s article, “China Muslims: Xinjiang schools used to separate children from families,” attempts to depict boarding schools – a concept popular in the UK itself – as a “form of interment” and “cultural re-engineering.”

The BBC’s article claims:

China is deliberately separating Muslim children from their families, faith and language in its far western region of Xinjiang, according to new research. At the same time as hundreds of thousands of adults are being detained in giant camps, a rapid, large-scale campaign to build boarding schools is under way.

The “new research” conducted by the BBC is admittedly not even being done in China itself. The BBC admits:

China’s tight surveillance and control in Xinjiang, where foreign journalists are followed 24 hours a day, make it impossible to gather testimony there. But it can be found in Turkey.

“Testimony” gathered in Turkey – one of the nations abetting US efforts to fuel radicalism and separatism in Xinjiang in the first place – is accompanied by satellite photos taken from outer space of vacant lots in Xinjiang being transformed into newly built schools complete with football pitches and jogging tracks.

The images are only proof that China is building schools in Xinjiang. Not of any of the claims being made by the BBC of “internment” or “cultural re-engineering.” The inclusion of the images is meant to serve as convincing stand-ins where actual evidence of the BBC’s otherwise baseless accusations should be.

The BBC Omits the Real “Cultural Re-Engineering” in China’s Xinjiang 

The BBC has been one of the leading voices promoting claims of Xinjiang “concentration camps,” “one million Muslims” being detained, and now the “internment” of children in schools.

The BBC – however – has been relatively quiet for years over genuine cultural re-engineering taking place in Xinjiang – funded by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and abetted by nations like Turkey and even the UK itself through its propaganda and political support of such efforts.

The LA Times in a 2016 article titled, “In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims,” would reveal:

Salafism is an ultra-conservative school of thought within Sunni Islam, espousing a way of life and prayer that harks back to the 6th century, when Muhammad was alive. Islamic State militants are Salafi, many Saudi Arabian clerics are Salafi, and so are many Chinese Muslims living in Linxia. They pray at their own mosques and wear Saudi-style kaffiyehs.

The article also noted (emphasis added):

Experts say that in recent years, Chinese authorities have put Salafis under constant surveillance, closed several Salafi religious schools and detained a prominent Salafi cleric. A once close-knit relationship between Chinese Salafis and Saudi patrons has grown thorny and complex.

And that:

…Saudi preachers and organizations began traveling to China. Some of them bore gifts: training programs for clerics, Korans for distribution, funding for new “Islamic institutes” and mosques.

This pervasive radicalism has translated directly into real violence – another fact omitted completely from the BBC and other Western media coverage of events in Xinjiang.

China’s efforts to reverse the growing influence of Salafism – such as collecting deliberately mistranslated copies of the Koran published and distributed by Saudi Arabia to promote radicalism – have been depicted by the Western media as religious oppression with all context intentionally omitted.

That the BBC claims China building schools teaching Mandarin and Chinese culture in China is “cultural re-engineering” while overlooking Saudi Arabia building Salafist networks thousands of miles away from its borders fuelling very real extremism in western China to begin with – helps fully reveal recent BBC reports on Xinjiang and China’s Muslim community as pure propaganda.

Salafism as a Geopolitical Tool 

Not only does the BBC intentionally omit mention of extremism and violence in regions like Xinjiang or how it came to be, the BBC is also omitting the fact that Salafism itself was admittedly spread worldwide by Saudi Arabia as a geopolitical tool.

In the pages of the Washington Post, the Saudi Crown Prince would recently admit:

Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Wahhabism is closely related to Salafism and the terms are often used interchangeably. The Crown Prince’s admission refers specifically to the Cold War and the Soviet Union, but it is abundantly clear that these networks didn’t simply vanish with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they evolved.

They are now used to help feed extremists into Washington’s many proxy wars around the globe including in Libya and Syria. They are also being used to pressure nations across Asia and to create a pretext for a continued US military presence in Asia-Pacific.

And clearly they are being used to fuel US-backed separatism inside China.

Just as the Western media deliberately misrepresented terrorists waging proxy war on the West’s behalf against Libya and Syria – the Western media is deliberately misrepresenting China’s Uyghur minority, the extremists within that minority, who funds and encourages them, and why.

We’re left with articles like the BBC’s – attempting to undermine China’s global standings by depicting very real efforts to confront very real extremism as “oppressive” and “authoritarian.” It is partly to help provide cover for ongoing efforts to divide China from within, but also to demonize China among global Muslim communities.

Never mentioned by the BBC in its efforts to depict China as persecuting all Muslims – rather than a minority of extremists who just so happen to be Muslims – is the fact that China’s oldest and most important ally in Eurasia is Pakistan – a Muslim-majority nation. Also omitted is the fact that China has many other Muslim minority groups within its borders who live without conflict.

These facts – along with ham-handed attempts by the BBC and others to depict newly constructed schools in a previously underdeveloped and remote region as “oppressive” – help one understand the true obstacles impeding global stability and progress. It is not Beijing – it is those claiming Beijing building schools and confronting real radicalism through reform rather than perpetual war are “villains.”

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

US vs China: Smartphone Wars

July 7, 2019 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – If Washington’s goal was to pressure and isolate China by targeting smartphone giant Huawei, it seems to have accomplished the exact opposite. In the process, the US has only accomplished in exposing its own growing weakness and unreliability as a trade partner amid a much wider, misguided and mismanaged “trade war.”

While we’re only talking about smartphones and economic competition, however fierce, the outcome of this smartphone battle amid a much wider trade war will have an impact on global power and who wields it in the years to come.

Losing Ungracefully  

By May 2019, Huawei had firmly climbed to the number two spot in global smartphone sales at the expense of US-based Apple. By the first quarter of 2019 it had shipped 59.1 million phones compared to Apple, now third place, at between 36-43 million phones, IDC (International Data Corporation) reported.

IDC and many other articles based on its data would note that while Huawei and Apple have traded places in the past over who held second place among global smartphone sales, Huawei’s ascension this time seemed much more permanent.

Those watching the trajectory and inner workings of both tech giants will have noticed Apple’s decline as endemic internal management problems coupled with growing global competition tattered its reputation and consumer appeal.

Was it just a coincidence that just as first quarter sales data emerged, the US announced one of its more dramatic turns amid its wider trade war with China? The Trump administration would announce a ban on all American-made goods to Huawei including microchips made by Intel and Qualcomm as well as the Android operating system (OS) made by US tech giant Google.

Coupled with this move was a public relations blitz across the US media and their partners working within nations moving closer to China. In Thailand, for example, local media trained and influenced by US interests attempted to undermine consumer confidence in Huawei in the wake of US sanctions against the company.

This one-two punch was a partial success. Sales did slump and Huawei was faced with significant obstacles. But significant obstacles are not the same as insurmountable obstacles, and overcoming obstacles is often how true competitors strengthen themselves.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger 

For Huawei, a tech giant integral to China’s wider economic and political success upon the global stage, it has all the resources and support it needs to weather the toughest of storms.

In the wake of US sanctions, and even in the lead up to them, Huawei has begun to source critical parts from non-US companies. It is also investing significantly in its own in-house alternatives to US manufactured microchips and even in an alternative OS to replace Android.

Digital Trends in its article “Huawei’s Android-alternative operating system: Everything you need to know,” helps illustrate just how determined Huawei is to overcome these obstacles.

The fact that work on the OS supposedly began as early as 2018 indicates that Huawei executives are under no illusions regarding American goodwill. If America is to play nicely with Huawei and other Chinese companies, it will be because Huawei and other Chinese companies took steps leaving the US no other choice but to do so.

Android is an open source OS. This means that its code is free for all developers to access and use. It was the key to Android’s wide success, and thus Google’s domination of the smartphone OS market, but it is also a weakpoint in Google and the US government’s attempts to hobble Huawei.

Huawei’s alternative OS will be compatible with the open source Android system. Android applications can still be downloaded and used on a Huawei phone running Huawei’s OS, but instead of doing so through Google’s online application store, it will be done through Huawei’s.

As some media have pointed out, this means that Huawei’s setbacks by being restricted from Android will only be temporary. Long-term, Google stands to lose tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of customers who will instead be using Huawei’s alternatives.

Google could even lose its dominion over smartphone OS development if Huawei made its own alternative as accessible and as appealing as Android, minus the political and economic threats aimed at nations Washington finds displeasing.

Maybe this is why the US appears to be backing off (for now), if only partially, from its initial threats against Huawei. Nothing the US is doing to Huawei actually addresses why US companies themselves are losing the smartphone war to begin with. Should companies like Huawei overcome what little leverage the US still has over global telecom tech, it will have a stronger smartphone product coupled with stronger, alternative infrastructure out of reach of US influence.

In efforts to isolate China, the US may be succeeding in only isolating itself.

US Threats Undermine Confidence in the US, Not China  

Other nations needed little imagination to realise that if the US could target Chinese companies simply for outcompeting American corporations, they could easily find themselves next. This has made them sympathetic to China’s current challenges.

While media influenced by the US in various nations have aided US efforts to undermine China’s Huawei, the nations themselves have not.

In Thailand, for example, the Thai government has moved forward with plans to partner with Huawei to develop its national 5G network despite mounting pressure not to from the US, NPR would report.

Huawei is still a popular brand in Thai markets, in third place behind Oppo (also a Chinese brand) and Samsung, Bangkok Post reported.

Thai government agencies have been assuring consumers that US sanctions will not impact Huawei goods sold in Thailand in the short-term, while Huawei takes steps to ensure there will be no impact in the long-term.

Since Huawei is not the first Chinese tech company targeted by the US in such a manner, and with other Chinese-made smartphones becoming popular in nations like Thailand (Oppo for example), China as a nation will only pour further resources in protecting Chinese companies from the coercive measures taken by the US.

Other nations are not only sympathetic toward Chinese efforts, they themselves will likely take similar measures regarding their own industries.

The ongoing trade war with China is not the only example of economic warfare used by the US. We see much more extreme examples of US economic warfare aimed at Iran and Venezuela.

Growing US pressure placed on Russia is another example. The US has even gone as far as threatening nations like Germany with sanctions for moving ahead with a German-Russian pipeline (Nord Stream 2).

The US has revealed itself as an unreliable trade partner, bitter at any prospect of competition or genuine cooperation. Amid its trade war with China it has pressured its own allies to hamper trade with China, a move that benefits China’s trade partners in no conceivable way. The US is willing to do anything to anyone to cling to global economic supremacy and the power that stems from holding it in its own hands. Sharing it with China and Russia or even its own allies in Europe and East Asia dilutes both the potency of that power, and its ability to weild it with potent impunity.

False Pretexts Aren’t Just for Hot Wars

The US regularly uses false pretexts to launch its many real wars around the globe. Fabrications regarding “weapons of mass destruction” were used to justify the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Disingenuous humanitarian concerns regarding imaginary abuses were used to justify the US military intervention in Libya. Serial but baseless accusations over chemical weapon use has been used to justify US military intervention in Syria.

But fabricating justifications to go off to war isn’t reserved merely for hot wars. The US is citing supposed security concerns to target China’s Huawei, coincidentally just as it permanently overtakes US-based Apple in global smartphone sales, and amid a wider trade war built on entirely different (but also fabricated) claims.

The fact that the US is lying about its motivations to target Huawei should be another warning to Beijing over the trustworthiness of the current circles dominating US economic and political power. It should also be a warning to the rest of the world when doing business with the US.

A robust strategy must be adopted by nations and between nations to protect themselves from the still potent and disruptive power the US holds over global economics.

Whether it is attempts by the US to undermine confidence in a nation’s economy, smear a nation’s tourism industry, attempts to reverse the global success of companies like Huawei or even sabotage energy deals made by the US’ own allies with nations Washington considers adversaries, what amounts to highly dangerous American-led economic warfare remains a critical threat to global peace and stability.

Strategies for protecting national industries by developing domestic industrial capacity and relying less on sourcing critical components from unreliable partners like the US is essential. So is protecting bilateral trade through the creation of financial exchange systems out of reach of US sanctions. Being able to counter Washington’s manufactured narratives used to justify its coercive economic behavior is also key.

Just as growing military prowess and unity of purpose among Eurasian nations have helped impede the growing number of America’s many and very destructive real wars, similar economic prowess and unity of purpose will be required to stifle America’s likewise disruptive economic warfare waged globally.

Huawei’s success or failure serves as a weather vane indicating in just what direction this balance of power is headed.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Convenient “Tanker Attacks” as US Seeks War with Iran

June 13, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO)

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 

– Brookings Institution, “Which Path to Persia?” 2009 

For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of “suspected attacks” on oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz have attempted to implicate Iran.

The London Guardian in an article titled, “Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman,” would claim:

Two oil tankers have been hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews evacuated, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

The article also claimed:

Gulf tensions have been close to boiling point for weeks as the US puts “maximum economic pressure” on Tehran in an attempt to force it to reopen talks about the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last year. 

Iran has repeatedly said it has no knowledge of the incidents and did not instruct any surrogate forces to attack Gulf shipping, or Saudi oil installations.

The Guardian would admit that “investigations” into the previous alleged attacks in May carried out by the UAE found “sophisticated mines” were used, but fell short of implicating Iran as a culprit.

The article would note US National Security Advisor John Bolton would – without evidence – claim that Iran “was almost certainly involved.”

All Too Convenient 

This news of “attacked” oil tankers near the Stait of Hormuz blamed by the US on Iran – comes all too conveniently on the heels of additional steps taken by Washington to pressure Iran’s economy and further undermine the Iranian government.

The US just recently ended waivers for nations buying Iranian oil. Nations including Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, and India will now face US sanctions if they continue importing Iranian oil.

Coincidentally, one of ships “attacked” this week was carrying “Japan-related cargo,” the Guardian would report.

Also convenient was the US’ recent designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) just ahead of this series of provocations attributed to Iran.

AP in a May 2019 article titled, “President Trump Warns Iran Over ‘Sabotaged’ Oil Tankers in Gulf,” would claim:

Four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Two ships allegedly were Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian. The article also claimed:

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told the AP that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships.

And that:

The U.S. already had warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran. 

This more recent incident will likely be further exploited by the US to continue building up its military forces in the region, applying pressure on Iran, and moving the entire globe closer toward war with Iran.

The US has already arrayed its forces across the Middle East to aid in ongoing proxy wars against Iran and its allies as well as prepare for conventional war with Tehran itself.

All of this amounts to a renewed push toward a more direct conflict between the United States and Iran after years of proxy war in Syria Washington-backed forces have decisively lost.

It is also a continuation of long-standing US foreign policy regarding Iran put into motion over a decade ago and carried out by each respective presidency since.

Washington’s Long-Standing Plans 

Continued sanctions and the elimination of waivers are part of Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” The deal was signed in 2015 with the US withdrawing in 2018.

While the decision is portrayed as political differences between former US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump – in reality – the plan’s proposal, signing, and then withdrawal from by the US was planned in detail as early as 2009 as a means of justifying long sought-after war with Iran.

In their 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution would first admit the complications of US-led military aggression against Iran (emphasis added):

...any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. 

The paper then lays out how the US could appear to the world as a peacemaker and depict Iran’s betrayal of a “very good deal” as the pretext for an otherwise reluctant US military response (emphasis added):

The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

And from 2009 onward, this is precisely what the United States set out to achieve.

First with President Obama’s signing of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, up to and including President Trump’s attempts to backtrack from it based on fabricated claims Iran failed to honor the agreement.

The 2009 policy paper also discussed “goading” Iran into war, claiming (emphasis added):

With provocation, the international diplomatic and domestic political requirements of an invasion [of Iran] would be mitigated, and the more outrageous the Iranian provocation (and the less that the United States is seen to be goading Iran), the more these challenges would be diminished. In the absence of a sufficiently horrific provocation, meeting these requirements would be daunting.

Unmentioned directly, but also an obvious method for achieving Washington’s goal of provoking war with Iran would be the US simply staging an “Iranian provocation” itself.

As the US had done in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident, or US fabrications regardings “weapons of mass destruction” Washington claimed Iraq held in its possession, the US has a clear track record of not just simply provoking provocations, but staging them itself.

The Brookings paper even admits to the unlikelihood of Iran falling into Washington’s trap, lamenting (emphasis added):

…it is certainly the case that if Washington sought such a provocation, it could take actions that might make it more likely that Tehran would do so (although being too obvious about this could nullify the provocation). However, since it would be up to Iran to make the provocative move, which Iran has been wary of doing most times in the past, the United States would never know for sure when it would get the requisite Iranian provocation. In fact, it might never come at all.

The alleged sabotaging of oil tankers off the shore of the UAE in May and now additional “attacks” this month could be the beginning of a series of staged provocations aimed at leveraging the recent listing of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” coupled with increased economic pressure as a result of US sanctions re-initiated after the US’ own withdrawal from the Iran Deal.

Synergies Toward War 

The US has already attempted to leverage allegations in May of “Iranian sabotage” to further build its case against Iran. Washington hopes that either war – or at least the impending threat of war – coupled with crippling economic sanctions, and continued support of political and armed sedition within Iran itself will create the synergies required for dividing and destroying Iran’s political order.

In a wider regional context, the US has seen political losses particularly in Iraq where Iranian influence has been on the rise. Militarily, US-backed proxy forces have been defeated in Syria with Iran and Russia both establishing permanent and significant footholds there.

Despite the setbacks, the success of Washington’s designs against Tehran still depends mainly on America’s ability to offer political and economic incentives coupled with equally effective threats to friend and foe alike – in order to isolate Iran.

How likely this is to succeed remains questionable – decades of US sanctions, covert and overt aggression, as well as proxy wars have left Iran resilient and with more influence across the region now than ever. Still, Washington’s capacity for sowing regional destruction or dividing and destroying Iran should not be underestimated.

The intentional creation of – then withdrawal from the Iran Deal, the US’ persistent military presence in the Middle East, and sanctions aimed at Iran all indicate that US policymakers remain dedicated isolating and undermining Iran. It will continue to do so until its geopolitical goals are met, or until a new international order creates conditions in the Middle East and throughout the global economy making US regime change against Iran impossible.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

gallery Sri Lanka Blasts: Terrorism Targets Another Ally of China?

Global Research, April 27, 2019

The recent, tragic Easter attack in the South Asian state of Sri Lanka – killing and injuring hundreds – follows a now unfortunately all too familiar formula.

The New York Times has reported in its article, “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Sri Lanka Attacks,” that:

The authorities in Sri Lanka said a little-known radical Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, [believed to have ties to the Islamic State] carried out the attacks, with help from international militants.

It is also reported that these extremists received assistance for the large-scale attack from foreign sponsors. The attack has put Sri Lanka on the map for many in the general public for the first time – but for all the wrong reasons.

Countering OBOR: Divide and Destroy 

Sri Lanka has recently and decisively pivoted toward Beijing as a major partner of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is despite Washington’s best efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Consequently, extremists fuelled by Washington’s “clash of civilizations” have helped set the stage for growing violence between Sir Lanka’s majority Buddhists and its minority Muslim communities. The resulting violence serves as a medium for US coercion, destabilization, and intervention aimed at undermining Sri Lanka’s unity as a nation, and thus its viability as a partner for China.

A nearly identical ploy has been used in nearby Myanmar where US-backed Buddhist extremists battle against US-Saudi-Qatari backed extremism rising from the ranks of the nation’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

The resulting violence and growing humanitarian crisis – without coincidence – is unfolding in Myanmar’s Rakhine state – precisely where China is attempting to build another leg of its region-spanning OBOR initiative.

Sri Lanka has signed on to OBOR in a big way, with major railport, airport, and highway projects all moving forward with Beijing’s support. Sri Lanka is also considered by Western policymakers as one of several among China’s strategic “String of Pearls,” strong points where China can secure maritime routes through waters traditionally dominated by the United States.

These projects are derided across the Western media with headlines like the New York Times’ article, “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” and France24’s article, “In Sri Lanka, the new Chinese Silk Road is a disappointment” – characterizing Washington’s growing opposition to China’s expanding influence across Asia – a region Washington has long presumed primacy over.

Washington’s ability to compete with China regarding regional development is nonexistent. Instead, the US has tried to tempt nations like Sri Lanka with military aid.

AFP in an article titled, “US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million, countering China’s investments in strategic island,” would claim:

The US funding for Sri Lanka is part of a US$300 million package Washington is setting aside for South and Southeast Asia to ensure a “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

This “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” is how the US regularly refers to US primacy in Asia throughout policy papersdiplomatic statements, and even political speeches.

It is obvious that “military aid” can in no way compete with massive investments by China aimed at spurring national development through tangible infrastructure projects.

America’s inability to compete openly and on equal economic footing has given way to political interference and even the use of violence.

Sri Lanka’s Crisis Linked to US-Driven Crisis in Myanmar 

In Myanmar, the US is documented to have supported ethnic violence for years. The US all but installed current “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi into power along with her political party – the National League for Democracy (NLD) lined top to bottom with US State Department-funded “activists.

Despite the liberal facade constructed by the Western media around Suu Kyi, her political party, and factions supporting both – rampant bigotry and racism pervades all three.

Simultaneously, US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked to co-opt and wield Rohingya communities as an equal but opposing political weapon while US-allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun radicalizing and arming factions within Rohingya communities to carry out armed violence across Rakhine state.

The resulting conflagration affords the US and its partners a pretext to intervene on an ever expanding scale – giving Washington access to and leverage over Myanmar to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

And in precisely the same way the US has inserted itself into the heart of Myanmar’s political affairs – it is attempting to do so again in other Asian nations – including now Sri Lanka.

Articles from across the Western media including the UK Independent’s 2018 article titled, “Violent Buddhist extremists are targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka,” even establish direct links between Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s growing conflicts.
The article would admit (emphasis added):

Currently, Sri Lanka’s most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

BBS’s rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are “taking over” the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren’t just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

BBS also has links to Myanmar’s extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden”, it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community.

The West’s use of “Islamophobia” to sell its serial wars of aggression and to divide nations around the globe is a classic example of “divide and conquer.

While the West no longer possesses any real means to “conquer” the nations it is now targeting – it does possess the capacity to use resulting divisions to destroy them. If the US cannot hold primacy over Asia – no one will. It is a “War on Peace” waged under the guise of a “War on Terrorism.”

Sri Lanka appears to be but the latest victim of Washington’s now trademark “slash and burn” foreign policy – where it is fueling conflict to consume political orders that oppose its interests, and building upon the ashes ones that do serve them instead.

In the coming days, weeks, and months – not only will more information emerge linking the recent attacks in Sri Lanka to Washington, Riyadh, and Doha’s global network of terrorism – but additional pressure will also be mounted upon Sri Lanka to divest from Beijing and pivot back toward the West.

In reality – Sri Lanka’s violence is an artificial construct carried out by a tiny minority of extremists on either side of an equally artificial ethnoreligious divide. The nation and the region must unite in purpose – as peace and stability benefit them all – while chaos benefits only a handful of waning interests from afar.

*

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

US Defeat in Syria Transforms into Campaign of Spite. “ISIS Was a Creation of the West”

Global Research, April 21, 2019
The US-engineered proxy war against Syria, beginning in 2011 and the crescendo of the so-called “Arab Spring,” has ended in all but absolute defeat for Washington.

Its primary goal of overthrowing the Syrian government and/or rendering the nation divided and destroyed as it has done to Libya has not only failed – but triggered a robust Russian and Iranian response giving both nations an unprecedented foothold in Syria and unprecedented influence throughout the rest of the region.

Lamenting America’s defeat in Syria in the pages of Foreign Affairs is Brett McGurk – a career legal and diplomatic official in Washington whose most recent title was, “Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” He resigned in protest over alleged plans for a US withdrawal from its illegal occupation of eastern Syria.

McGurk’s lengthy complaints are full of paragraph-to-paragraph contradictions – illustrating the lack of legitimate unified purpose underpinning US policy in Syria.

In his article titled, “Hard Truths in Syria: America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try,” McGurk would claim (emphasis added):

Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS “caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a magnet for foreign jihadists and a base for launching terrorist attacks around the world.

McGurk would also claim (emphasis added):

Following a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump gave a surprise order to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, apparently without considering the consequences. Trump has since modified that order—his plan, as of the writing of this essay, is for approximately 200 U.S. troops to stay in northeastern Syria and for another 200 to remain at al-Tanf, an isolated base in the country’s southeast. (The administration also hopes, likely in vain, that other members of the coalition will replace the withdrawn U.S. forces with forces of their own.)

Yet if anything McGurk says is true, then ISIS is undoubtedly a threat not only to the United States, but to all of its coalition partners – mainly Western European nations. Why wouldn’t they eagerly commit troops to the coalition if ISIS truly represented a threat to their security back home? And why would the US withdraw any troops in the first place if this were true?

The answer is very simple – ISIS was a creation of the West – a tool explicitly designed to help “isolate” the Syrian government and carry out military and terrorist operations the US and its partners were unable to do openly.

It was in a leaked 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo (PDF) that revealed the US and its allies’ intent to create what it called a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. The memo would explicitly state that (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

On clarifying who these supporting powers were, the DIA memo would clarify:

The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.

This “Salafist”[Islamic] “principality” [State] would show up on cue, placing additional pressure on an already besieged government in Damascus and eventually creating a pretext for direct Western military intervention in Syria.

Only through Russia’s own intervention in 2015 were US plans overturned and its overt war against Syria frozen in limbo.

McGurk and others throughout the Western establishment have attempted to compartmentalize what is essentially their own collective failures by linking them exclusively to both former-US President Barack Obama and current US President Donald Trump.

Whether President Trump maintains troops in eastern Syria or not, nothing will change or reverse the significant strategic and geopolitical defeat Washington has suffered.

Instead, troops levels and deployments in not only Syria, but also neighboring Iraq, serve to contribute to the next phase of US interference in the Middle East – spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction.

Washington’s War of Terror

This most recent episode of US military intervention in the Middle East – fighting terrorists it itself created and deliberately deployed specifically to serve as a pretext – is an example of US “slash and burn” foreign policy.

Just as farmers burn to the ground forest that serves them no purpose so that they can plant what they desire in its place – the US deliberately overturned an emerging political and economic order in the Middle East that served them no purpose in a bid to replace it with one that did.

McGurk all but admits this in his article, claiming – as he gave his version of ISIS’ defeat – that (emphasis added):

Over the next four years, ISIS lost nearly all the territory it once controlled. Most of its leaders were killed. In Iraq, four million civilians have returned to areas once held by ISIS, a rate of return unmatched after any other recent violent conflict. Last year, Iraq held national elections and inaugurated a new government led by capable, pro-Western leaders focused on further uniting the country. In Syria, the SDF fully cleared ISIS out of its territorial havens in the country’s northeast, and U.S.-led stabilization programs helped Syrians return to their homes.

He also claimed:

Iraqis and Syrians, not Americans, are doing most of the fighting. The coalition, not just Washington, is footing the bill. And unlike the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, this campaign enjoys widespread domestic and international support.

In other words, it was a redesigned regime-change campaign spanning both Syria and Iraq, designed to attract domestic and international support by using an appalling – but artificially engineered – enemy to destroy both nations and allow the US and its “coalition partners” to rebuild the region as it desired.

And while McGurk enumerates the accomplishments of his US-led coalition – what he omits is the existence of a vastly more effective and powerful coalition in the region led by Russia and Iran.

While McGurk boasts of taking back empty desert in eastern Syria, it was the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah allies who took back Syria’s most important, pivotal, and most populated cities.

In Iraq – Iranian sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) carried out a large percentage of the fighting against ISIS there – and in the process have created a permanent nationwide network of militias that will better underwrite Iraqi security than compromising US defense partnerships and expensive US arms contracts, and the hordes of terrorists sponsored by the US itself to justify both.

McGurk eventually admits further into his article that the US presence in Syria has little to do with ISIS – and more to do with “great power diplomacy.”

He talks about the “US zone of influence” in Syria and brags about America’s ability to “enforce” it by killing Iranians and Russians who entered it in pursuit of terrorists the US was all but openly harboring.

McGurk also repeatedly decries “Iranian military entrenchment” in Syria, a geopolitical development made possible only by America’s many categorical failures amid its proxy war in Syria.

ISIS was eradicated first and foremost in areas under the control of the sovereign governments of Syria and Iraq in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

ISIS remnants have clung – without coincidence – to territory within the “US zone of influence.”

The US continues citing “ISIS” as its pretext to remain in Syria – while simultaneously admitting its presence in the region aims at reasserting Western domination over it and containing Russian and Iranian influence – Russia which was invited by Damascus to assist in counter-terrorism operations – and Iran – a nation that actually resides within the Middle East.

This incoherent, conflicting narrative contrasts with Russia and Iran’s clear-cut agenda of eliminating terrorists and preserving the territorial integrity of Syria, and their decisive, clear-cut actions to implement this agenda. Russia and Iran are also offering all shareholders in the region amble incentives to get behind this agenda – including the economic and political benefits that normally accompany national and regional peace and stability.

Washington’s War on Peace

Washington’s illogical and contradicting narratives undermine any notion of unified purpose in the Middle East. Even if its goal is regional hegemony, its multitude of failures and lack of incentives for allies undermine any chance of success.

In the absence of a sensible, unified purpose, attractive incentives, or a coherent strategic plan, the US has instead turned to spoiling reconciliation and reconstruction through attempts to divide the region along ethnic lines, preserve what few terrorists remain by shuffling them between Iraq and Syria through territory US forces occupy, and by targeting nations and their allies with sanctions to hinder reconstruction efforts.

Sanctions on Iran directly impact Tehran’s efforts to assist Syria and Iraq in reconstruction and the rehabilitation of their respective economies. So do US sanctions on Moscow.

The US is also targeting fuel shipments attempting to reach Syria – with Syria’s own oil production hamstrung by the ongoing illegal US occupation of Syria’s east where much of its oil resides.

AP in an article titled, “Syria fuel shortages, worsened by US sanctions, spark anger,” would report that:

Syrians in government-controlled areas who have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge: widespread fuel shortages that have brought life to a halt in major cities.

The article also reported that:

The shortages are largely the result of Western sanctions on Syria and renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, a key ally. But they have sparked rare and widespread public criticism of President Bashar Assad’s government just as he has largely succeeded in quashing the eight-year rebellion against his rule.

The combination of sanctions and deliberate attempts to prolong the proxy war in Syria illustrate Washington’s true attitude toward any notion of “responsibility to protect.”

Fuel will still reach Syria’s government and military where it is needed most – but will cause extraordinary suffering among Syria’s civilian population – as Washington explicitly intends.

Washington is not attempting to remove the government in Damascus to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people – it is causing immense suffering among the Syrian people to remove the government in Damascus.

While Washington has lost its war against Syria, it continues its war on peace. It will spoil attempts by Syria to move forward – and by doing so – and more than anything else – illustrating to the world that its own malign interests and agenda wrecked the region – not “ISIS” and not “Iranians” or “Russians.”

The US campaign of spite will continue onward both in Syria and across the rest of the region until an alternative regional and global order can be established that allows nations to sufficiently defend against US aggression and interference and enables the world to move on without those special interests on Wall Street and in Washington driving America’s current battle for hegemony.

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

Battlefield Libya: Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change

April 10, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Libya is back in the news, as fighting escalates around the capital, Tripoli.

Forces under the control of Khalifa Haftar – a former Libyan general under the government of Muammar Qaddafi – turned opposition during the 2011 US-led NATO intervention – turned “opposition” again against the UN-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA) seated in Tripoli – have most recently reached Tripoli’s airport.

The confusing chaos that has continually engulfed Libya since 2011 should come as no surprise. It is the predictable outcome that follows any US-led political or military intervention. Other examples showcasing US-led regime change “success” include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine.

And just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine – the Western corporate media has regularly omitted mention of Libya from headlines specifically to mask the very predictable consequences of US-led regime change as additional interventions against nations like Venezuela, Syria, and Iran are engineered and pursued.

Battlefield Libya 

In 2011, the North African nation of Libya was transformed from a prosperous, developing nation, into a divided, perpetual battlefield where local warlords backed by a milieu of opposing foreign sponsors and interests have vied for power since.

Libya’s current status as a failed, warring state is owed entirely to the US-led NATO intervention in 2011.

Predicated on lies promoted by Western-funded “human rights” organizations and fought under the pretext of R2P (responsibility to protect) – the US and its NATO allies dismembered Libya leading to predictable and perpetual chaos that has affected not only Libya itself, but North Africa, Southern Europe, and even the Middle East.

The war immediately triggered not only a wave of refugees fleeing the war itself, but the redirection of refugees from across Africa seeking shelter and work in Libya, across the Mediterranean and into Europe instead.

Militants fighting as proxies for the US-led war in 2011 would be armed and redeployed to Turkey where they entered Syria and played a key role in taking the cities of Idlib and Aleppo during the early stages of that US-led proxy war.

Currently, Libya is divided between the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, eastern-based forces loyal to Haftar, and a mix of other forces operating across the country, holding various degrees of control over Libya’s other major cities, and equally varying degrees of loyalty to the UN-backed government, Haftar’s forces, or other factions.

Fighting around Tripoli has even allegedly prompted US military forces stationed in Libya to temporarily evacuate. CNBC in its article, “US pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital,” would report:

The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” a top military official said Sunday as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias. 

A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.

The presence of US forces in Libya might be news to some – and was certainly only a dream within the Pentagon until after the 2011 US-led NATO intervention finally toppled the Libyan government.

America’s foreign policy of arsonist-fireman has endowed it with a large and still growing military footprint in Africa – one it uses to project power and affect geopolitics well beyond the continent.

America’s Growing Footprint in Africa 

The ongoing Libyan conflict – flush with weapons pouring in from foreign sponsors – has also fuelled regional terrorism impacting neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, and Chad, as far west as Mali and Nigeria, and southeast as far as Kenya. The war has been a boon for US Africa Command (AFRICOM) which has used the resulting chaos as a pretext to expand Washington’s military footprint on the continent.

In a 2018 Intercept article titled, “U.S. Military Says it has a “Light Footprint” in Africa. These Documents Show a Vast Network of Bases,” it was reported that:

According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years.

The article notes that much of AFRICOM’s expansion in Africa has occurred over the past decade.

While the pretext for US military expansion in Africa has been “counter-terrorism,” it is clear US military forces are there to protect US interests and project US power with “terrorism” a manufactured pretext to justify Washington’s militarization of the continent.

Much of the terrorism the US claims it is fighting was only possible in the first place through the flood of weapons, equipment, and support provided to militants by the US and its partners amid regime change operations targeting nations like Libya.

The US-led NATO war in Libya is a perfect example of the US deliberately arming terrorist organizations – including those listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department itself – overthrowing a nation, predictably destabilizing the entire region, and using the resulting instability as a pretext to massively expand America’s military footprint there.

The wider agenda at play is Washington’s desire to displace current Russian and Chinese interests on the continent, granting the US free reign.

Fruits of US-NATO Regime Change 

As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would claim:

Over seven decades, NATO has stepped up time and again to keep our people safe, and we will continue to stand together to prevent conflict and preserve peace.

This “peace” includes 8 years of heavy fighting in Libya following NATO’s intervention there.

NATO’s Secretary General proclaims NATO’s mission as one to “prevent conflict and preserve peace,” yet it paradoxically and very intentionally engineered the war in Libya, overthrew the government in Tripoli, and triggered regional chaos that not only plagues North Africa to this day – but also inundated Europe with refugees fleeing the conflict.

Europe is one of the few places NATO could conceivably claim any mandate to protect or operate in – yet its own wars of aggression abroad directly compromised European safety and security.

The media blackout that has shrouded the true impact of NATO’s intervention in Libya for the past 8 years helps enable the US and its NATO partners to perpetrate additional proxy wars and political interventions elsewhere.

As the US openly pursues aggressive regime change in Venezuela and meddles in the internal politics of nations across Southeast Asia, the “fruits” of US intervention in places like Libya should always be kept in mind.

What is most alarming of all is considering that the US-led intervention in Libya may not necessarily be a failure. It is only a failure if one believed the US truly sought a better future for the nation. However, if the fruits of perpetual chaos and an equally perpetual pretext for the US militarization of Africa were intentionally set out for from the beginning – then in many ways – Libya was a resounding success.

Depending on how the current fighting around Tripoli unfolds, whether or not a unified Libya emerges, and whose foreign military presence and economic interests are allowed to persist on Libyan soil thereafter – will help determine just how successful Washington’s true agenda in Libya – and in Africa – has been.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

In Iraq, as US Influence Ebbs, Iran’s Flows

March 31, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – In the dead of Christmas night last year, to evade possibly being shot down, US President Donald Trump made a surprise, whirlwind visit to US troops in Iraq.

He visited Al Asad Air Base about 100 miles west of Baghdad in Al Anbar province, or about halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border where US forces are also operating. Between Al Asad and Baghdad are the notorious cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, hotbeds of resistance after the 2003 US invasion, and since then, hotbeds of extremism fueling the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

The base is home to about 5,000 US service members.

As in Syria, America’s presence in Iraq seems to be clinging to areas where extremism and separatism are greatest. In many instances, it is the US openly and deliberately encouraging both, especially in Kurdish territory stretching over both nations, but also in areas dominated by Sunni Muslims where extremist fronts like Al Qaeda and IS believe they can find support.

The fact that President Trump visited American forces in the dead of night, meeting no one from the actual Iraqi military or government, helps illustrate the increasingly isolated position the US holds in Iraq.

While the US claims it is fighting extremists from Syria to Iraq and beyond, with Syrian, Russian, Iranian and Iraqi forces clearing these extremists out of virtually all corners of Syria and Iraq except where US forces occupy, it seems the US isn’t fighting extremism, it is cultivating it.

Enter Iran

Several months later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made his first official visit to Iraq. His trip brought him to the center of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. There he met with top representatives of the Iraqi government including Iraqi President Barham Salih. He also travelled through the city to visit Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, a particularly important pilgrimage site for Shia’a Muslims.

President Rouhani had previously commented on Trump’s swooping in at night and his failure to meet with any actual Iraqis in an open and official capacity. The Washington Post would quote President Rouhani as also stating:

“You have to walk in the streets of Baghdad … to find out how people will welcome you.”

In addition to meeting Iraqi representatives and leaders, and travelling through Baghdad, President Rouhani also signed agreements involving “oil and gas, land transport, railways, agriculture, industry, health and regarding the central bank,” the Washington Post would report.

French news portal France24 would note in their article, “Iraq attempts balancing act as Iran’s Rouhani arrives for first official visit,” that:

Last year, Iran’s exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $9 billion. Tehran hopes to increase the roughly $13 billion volume in trade between the two neighbouring countries to $20 billion. Also, some 5 million religious tourists bring in nearly $5 billion a year as Iraqis and Iranians visit Shiite holy sites in the two countries.

The article would note the growing ties between the two nations and the growing influence Iran has over Iraq in contrast to America’s ebbing presence there.

Iraq-Iran Ties are Built on Mutual Interests – US Ties are Built on Fabricated Threats 

The Trump-Rouhani visits and the stark contrast between the two illustrates another very important point.

President Trump would openly admit the US was in Iraq to “to watch Iran,” the New York Times would report.

The New York Times would also report:

Mr. Trump’s comments come as the United States has quietly been negotiating with Iraq for weeks to allow perhaps hundreds of American commandos and support troops now operating in Syria to shift to bases in Iraq and strike the Islamic State from there. Military leaders are seeking to maintain pressure on the militant group as the president fundamentally reorders policy toward Syria and toward Afghanistan, where peace talks with the Taliban are underway.

Yet there are serious problems with this claim. President Rouhani’s visit highlights Iran as a key ally for Iraq.

In terms of security, Iranian-backed militias helped rid Iraq as well as neighboring Syria of Al Qaeda, its affiliates and IS.

And as just pointed out, Iran is also a key economic partner for Iraq.

The US on the other hand has little to offer in terms of security or economics. Its presence in Iraq to allegedly fight extremists it and its regional allies themselves helped fund and arm in the first place, only adds to Iraq’s many security challenges.

In terms of economics, while the US provides Iraq a large export market, it is a market still dwarfed by China and India. It is also smaller than the combined export market of Iraq’s major European trade partners. The geographical proximity of Iraq and Iran to one another means deeper and more practical economic ties can be developed than anything on offer by the US, if economic partnership was actually one of Washington’s goals.

By President Trump’s own admission, the US is in Iraq not to assist it in any way, but to use it for Washington’s own self-serving agenda regarding neighboring Iran. Since the United States and its Persian Gulf allies have nothing of significant value to offer Iraq in terms of real security or economics, it is instead playing a diplomatic balancing act where it associates with and radicalizes Sunni communities, then poses as combating the terrorism that predictably results.

It is a balancing act that is hardly sustainable, especially opposite the significant security and economic benefits Iran can counter-offer Baghdad.

It is not hard to see why Iran’s influence in the Middle East continues to flow, despite being targeted by the US through an array of subversive measures, while US influence in the region ebbs despite having a clear advantage in terms of resources and military might.

It is also not hard to see the significance of remaining US bases in Iraq being in Kurdish areas or regions where extremism still persists. The US presence in Al Anbar, as pointed out as far back as 2017, along with supposed reconstruction aid offered by Washington’s Persian Gulf allies, all seems to point toward a strategy of growing an extremist threat to serve as a counterweight or spoiler against Iran’s constructive contributions to Iraq’s security situation and economic growth.

It is a strategy that will only further exhaust US credibility and resources, as well as those of its regional partners, all while forcing it opponents to expand further and dig in deeper, as Iran has been doing.

Despite claims that the biggest threats to US interests and national security are extremists in the Middle East, or even revisionist states like Russia and China, in truth, the United States’ biggest enemy is its own unsustainable foreign policy and the exhausting aggression that underpins it. Its ebbing influence in Iraq despite the trillions in dollars and many years invested there, serves as “exhibit A.”

Gunnar UIson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Syria: Is US Fighting ISIS or Liquidating Assets?

March 30, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – That the “final stronghold” of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) resides in US occupied territory in Syria says it all.

From US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memos dating back to 2012 noting efforts to create a “Salafist” [Islamic] “principality” [State] in eastern Syria precisely where ISIS rose and now clings to its “final stronghold,” to the obvious fact that ISIS’ fighting capacity was only possible through extensive state sponsorship – it was already clear that the US and its partners in regime change against Syria had been using terrorists including ISIS as proxy ground forces.

Now the US claims it has cornered and is on the verge of defeating ISIS – despite the terrorist group having been cleared out of virtually every other corner of the nation by Syrian, Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces long ago.

In reality, the US is merely liquidating assets it had harbored, protected, armed, and funded throughout the 8 year proxy war until no longer politically feasible.

CNN in its article, “Thousands of ISIS troops surrender amid attack on final stronghold in Syria,” uncritically claims:

At its height, ISIS controlled huge swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. The US-led coalition has been working for years to oust the group from cities and towns.

CNN omits entirely any mention of the source of ISIS’ fighting capacity and the fact that its supply lines led directly out of NATO-member Turkey and was overseen by US special forces and intelligence agencies.

CNN also omits that it wasn’t until the 2015 Russian military intervention when Russian air power attacked and cut ISIS supply lines that ISIS began suffering defeat across Syrian territory – first and foremost in territory being retaken by Syrian forces and its allies.

In territory illegally-occupied by the US, it appears that ISIS militants and other extremists were simply being shuffled around. In other cases, US forces attacked the Syrian military and their allies when attempting to cross into US-occupied territory in pursuit of ISIS forces. This game has carried on to the point of absurdity with the largest and most powerful military in the world only now creeping in last across the finish line of its own supposed battle against ISIS.

What Becomes of Surrendering and Fleeing ISIS Militants? 

CNN also claims:

More than 3,000 ISIS fighters have surrendered amid a pitched battle by US-backed forces to retake the last ISIS stronghold in Syria.   

The article also notes that many more may attempt to flee. The US has not made it clear what will happen with these fighters, or others “fleeing” from the supposed US-backed offensive. In certain cases, it seems Washington has singled interest in sending foreign fighters back to their countries of origin – which means many will simply be reintegrated into society where local intelligence agencies will keep tabs on them, use them for domestic distractions, or redeploy them to Washington’s next proxy war when required.

A recent Iraqi military deployment near the Syrian-Iraqi border consisting of Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) amid the ongoing US offensive in Syria indicates that at least Baghdad believes Washington’s “defeat” of ISIS is more likely another attempt to shuffle valuable proxy fighters around on the battlefield – and this time – back into Iraq and in particular, into Al Anbar governorate where the US still maintains a military presence and where they will continue receiving defacto US protection.

Al-Masdar News in an article titled, “Iraqi reinforcements deploy to Syrian border as ISIS terrorists attempt to escape Syria,” would note:

The Iraqi Armed Forces deployed a large number of military personnel to the Syrian border this week to block any Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) from fleeing into Iraq.

 According to a new report, the Iraqi Army and Hashd Al-Sha’abi deployed these reinforcements to the Anbar-Deir Ezzor border after some Islamic State terrorists were suspected of sneaking into Iraq from eastern Syria.

It was the rise of ISIS inside Iraq and its crossing over into Syrian territory that set the pretext for the now ongoing US occupation of Syrian territory. The threat of ISIS “resurging” in Iraq also serves as an ongoing pretext for US forces still based there.

The rise of Iranian-backed militias throughout Iraq has become a potent counterweight to US-backed proxies attempting to take root there once again, and will make it infinitely more difficult for the US to repeat the scale and duration of the ISIS scourge the US visited upon the region.

The term “liquidate” in this context doesn’t necessarily mean destroying ISIS formations entirely – but instead simply moving them where they can be protected in Al Anbar and reconstituted to either continue serving as a pretext for US troops to remain in the region, or to fight in future proxies wars the US is planning in the wake of its current defeat in Syria.

While the Western media is attempting to hail this “final battle” as a victory for US forces – it is in actuality an indictment of America’s complicity in ISIS’ creation, proliferation across the region, and its longevity on the battlefield – suspiciously where US forces are operating.

The real story isn’t that the US is finally moving in on ISIS’ “last stronghold,” it’s that the US presided over the “last stronghold” for so long.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Assad’s Tehran Visit Signals Iran’s Victory in Syria

March 9, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – For the first tiirme since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to Iran to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

President Assad had only travelled outside of Syria on two other occasions during the war – both times to Russia.

The significance of the trip cannot be understated – it was a message sent to those who orchestrated the proxy war against Syria that Damascus has prevailed and instead of driving a wedge between it and its allies in Moscow and Tehran – it has only drawn these regional powers closer together.

The symbol of solidarity between Syria and Iran comes at a time when Washington finds itself vacillating between a full withdrawal from Syria, a redeployment to Iraq, or an attempt to drag out the conclusion of the Syrian conflict for as long as possible by keeping US forces there indefinitely.

The Washington Post in its article, “Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad,” would admit:

U.S. officials said Trump’s decision authorizing a small number of U.S. troops to stay is a key step in creating a larger multinational observer force that would monitor a so-called safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. The buffer zone is meant to prevent clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. It is also aimed at preventing Assad’s forces and Iran-backed fighters from seizing more territory.

The US will also seek to preserve militants – many of which are openly aligned with designated terrorist organizations – still occupying the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

While the US has certainly failed in its goal of regime change in Syria and even as it appears weak and confused regarding its policy in Syria and the Middle East in general – its potential to prolong the Syrian conflict and leave the nation more or less permanently divided persists.

Iran is in Syria for Good 

President Assad’s visit to Iran was not only a symbolic gesture of gratitude for Iran’s role in helping Syria prevail over US aggression – it is also a clear sign that Iranian influence has only grown in Syria. Iranian-backed militias have spread across both Syria and Iraq to confront US and Persian Gulf-backed terrorists including various factions of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) itself.

Washington’s gamble banked on what it had hoped would be a relatively quick regime change operation following along the same lines as the US-backed proxy war in Libya. The Syrian government was meant to fold quickly – the US appears not to have anticipated its resilience nor the eventual Russian military intervention in 2015. Washington may also not have anticipated the scale and efficacy of the commitment made by Tehran.

Instead of liquidating one of Iran’s allies thus further isolating Tehran ahead of US-backed regime change efforts aimed directly at Iran – the terrorist proxies the US and its regional partners sponsored in Syria served as impetus for Tehran to broaden and deepen the presence of its forces – including militias sponsored by Iran – across the region, and specifically in Syria and Iraq.

US policy papers predating the 2011 proxy war against Syria – including the RAND Corporation’s 2009 publication titled, “Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East,” noted that much of Iran’s domestic and regional policies revolved around self-defense.

The RAND paper itself would note:

Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.

RAND also noted Iran’s preference for asymmetrical warfare over conventional military forces and the use of resistance militias across the region. The report would note:

Some of Iran’s asymmetric capabilities are threatening. Because of its inferior conventional military forces, Iran’s defense doctrine, particularly its ability to deter aggressors, relies heavily on asymmetric warfare. Iranian strategists favor guerilla efforts that offer superior mobility, fighting morale, and popular support (e.g., the Hezbollah model in Lebanon) to counter a technologically superior conventional power— namely, the United States.

These militias would end up playing a significant role in neutralizing both asymmetrical forces sponsored by the US and its regional partners, as well as conventional military forces deployed by the US and Europe in both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that US policymakers were aware of Iran’s capabilities – and either ignored them or believed their own plans had sufficiently accounted for them.

Iran’s significant and long-term investments in sponsoring resistance forces including Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) across the Middle East coupled with Russia’s significant conventional military capabilities left little chance for success for US-sponsored militants – with Russia’s role in Syria preventing a more muscular conventional military response from the US when its proxy forces began to crumble.

The US and its regional partners – particularly Israel – have expressed a determination to dislodge the growing Iranian presence their own proxy war on Syria necessitated. However, despite repeated Israeli airstrikes on Syrian territory – it is clear that such airstrikes alone will accomplish very little and in the long-term even signals weakness that will only further rally Iran’s allies, justify their continued expansion across the region, and further broaden and deepen their positions well beyond Iran’s own borders – making a US-led regime change war against Iran itself a more remote possibility than ever.
America’s Flagging Unipolar Order 

The US faces an ignominious retreat from the Middle East – as well as from other areas around the globe. Its refusal to shift from its 20th century unipolar hegemonic ambitions to a constructive 21st century multipolar player may be closing permanently windows of opportunity that will cost it significantly as others displace its influence and reach in regions like the Middle East.

Russia and Iran are clearly benefactors of Washington’s stubbornness. But as Russia and Iran have both repeatedly expressed a desire for more constructive relations with the United States – perhaps policymakers in Washington believe they can risk pursuing destructive hegemonic ambitions to carve out or coerce from the region the best position possible in the Middle East before coming to the table to negotiate.

More likely though – the world is witnessing a 21st century rendition of the British Empire’s withdrawal from around the globe, stubbornly being thrown out of one corner of its realm after the other until relegated as Washington’s subordinate. For Washington, there is no other Western power for it to hand the torch of Western imperialism over to. Once it is evicted from around the globe, it will struggle to find a relevant or more constructive role to play in these regions ever again.

By virtue of Washington’s shortsightedness and its inability to adapt to the world as it really is versus how Washington desires it to be – Washington has proven itself unfit to lead the “international order” it presumes dominion over.

In a global order predicated on “might makes right,” Washington is now faced with the reality of no longer being mightiest, and thus no longer “right.”

Iran’s patient and measured resistance has proven capable of challenging and rolling back American hegemony in the Middle East and serving the ultimate goal of Tehran’s asymmetrical strategy – the defense of Iran itself.

While the prospect of US war with Iran can never be fully ruled out, it is a possibility that appears to be fading into the distance as US power wanes regionally and globally. But a flagging empire is a desperate empire. While the days of US regime change wars burning a path of destruction across the Middle East appear to be over, continued patience and persistence must be maintained by Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies to ensure the victories they are celebrating today endure and are expanded upon well into the future.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

This Map Shows a Trillion-Dollar Reason Why US is Backing Terrorism in Western China

February 26, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – As part of a larger, concerted effort to encircle and contain China, an ongoing disinformation campaign has been waged by the Western media against Beijing’s massive global infrastructure building spree known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

A recent and particularly appalling example of this comes from a Business Insider article titled, “This map shows a trillion-dollar reason why China is oppressing more than a million Muslims.”

The article has been widely circulated by the Western-funded fronts cited in the article itself, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) whose executive director – Kenneth Roth – would claim in a social media post:

China’s mass detention of Uighur Muslims is driven [not] only by Islamophobia but also by the centrality of their Xinjiang region to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Claims that Chinese policy is “driven by Islamophobia” are particularly absurd. China’s closest ally and partner in the region is Pakistan – an undoubtedly Muslim-majority nation. Roth never explains why the BRI’s “centrality” would drive “mass detentions” in Xinjiang when Chinese infrastructure projects elsewhere – both within China and abroad – including across Muslim-majority Pakistan – do not feature nor necessitate such “detentions.” 

 


Something is clearly missing from the Business Insider’s, Human Rights Watch’s, and the rest of the Western media’s Xinjiang narrative.The Business Insider article claims:

Beijing has been cracking down on Uighur life in on Xinjiang. Officials say its repression is a necessary counter-terror operation, but experts say it’s actually to protect their BRI projects.

These “experts” never explain why Beijing officials would feel the need to “protect their BRI projects.” Nor do they explain from whom they need protection. The obvious explanation is in fact that – as Beijing has stated – Xinjiang faces a significant terrorist threat.

A minority among Xinjiang’s Uyghur population has undoubtedly been radicalized and has carried out scores of high-profile terrorist attacks across not only Xinjiang, but across all of China in recent years.

A Reuters article published by Business Insider in 2014 titled, “Knife-Wielding Attackers In Chinese Train Station Leave 27 Dead, 109 Injured,” details just one of many attacks carried out by Uyghur extremists.

2015 Reuters article also published by Business Insider confirms that the attackers were in fact Uyghur terrorists. The train station located in Kunming is over 2,000 miles from the Xinjiang region – illustrating the reach of the terrorist threat Beijing is dealing with.

Despite these previous – well-known admissions – published by Business Insider itself – the media platform as well as many others, alongside fronts like HRW unashamedly feign ignorance over China’s very real security concerns in Xijiang today.

Western Propaganda Inverts Reality  

The Business Insider article claims:

China’s government has for years blamed the Uighurs for a terror, and say they saying the group is importing Islamic extremism in Central Asia.

But there’s another reason why Beijing wants to clamp down on Uighurs in Xinjiang: The region is home to some of the most important elements of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s flagship trade project.

Here – Business Insider deliberately inverts cause and effect – claiming China is cracking down on Uyghurs simply because vital segments of its BRI project pass through Xinjiang – instead of cracking down because of very real terrorism threatening an obviously essential economic corridor.

And as Business Insider’s own map reveals, China’s BRI passes through many other regions inside China and beyond – including regions dominated by Muslim communities absent of similar tensions.


Uyghur Terrorism is Real 

It is clear that Business Insider, HRW, and others are deliberately mischaracterizing China’s policies in Xinjiang and misrepresenting the root cause of Uyghur extremism. But even the article itself admits a very real security threat, stating:

China has accused militant Uighurs of being terrorists and inciting violence across the country since at least the early 2000s, as many Uighur separatists left China for places like Afghanistan and Syria to become fighters.

US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America (VOA) in an article titled, “Analysts: Uighur Jihadis in Syria Could Pose Threat,” would admit (emphasis added):

Analysts are warning that the jihadi group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in northwestern Syria could pose a danger to Syria’s volatile Idlib province, where efforts continue to keep a fragile Turkey-Russia-brokered cease-fire between Syrian regime forces and the various rebel groups. 

The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, the TIP has been one of the major extremist groups in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011. 

The TIP is primarily made up of Uighur Muslims from China, but in recent years it also has included other jihadi fighters within its ranks.

The article also admits that up to 3,000 militants may have fought for TIP in Syria and warned of the possibility that these militants might transfer their fighting skills back to China.

Such admissions – even from official US state media operations – help expose the current disinformation campaign targeting Beijing for supposed “repression,” and means that Western special interests – including the US government itself – are at the very least undermining China’s legitimate counter-terrorism efforts.

US is Intentionally Fomenting Violence in Xinjiang to Disrupt the BRI

But clues even in Business Insider’s own article reveal US support for undermining Chinese internal security goes far beyond mere disinformation.

Among the “experts” Business Insider cites includes Rushan Abbas described by the article as a “Uyghur activist in Virginia.”

What the article intentionally omits is that Abbas is actually a long-time employee and contractor of the US government – admitting in her own biography posted by a Washington DC-based consulting firm she works for, that:

[Rushan Abbas] has extensive experience working with U.S. government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice, and various U.S. intelligence agencies.

The biography also admits:

She was also employed at L-3, as a consultant at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2002- 2003 and as a news reporter at Radio Free Asia. 

Ms. Abbas has also worked as a linguist and translator for several federal agencies including work for the US State Department in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and for President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.

Her claims that family members were abducted due to her US-based “activism” fit into a pattern of fabricated human rights “outrages” used to paint targets of US coercion and aggression in the worst possible light.

Abbas is just one of many working out of Washington DC to support what is openly US-backed Uyghur separatism in Xinjiang.

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a US government-funded organization dedicated to political interference worldwide – has an entire page dedicated to “Xinjiang/East Turkistan” – East Turkistan being the state Uyghur extremists seek to carve out of territory recognized under international law as China.

Subversive organizations openly promoting separatism such as the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) also maintain offices in Washington DC and receive money and support directly from the US government.

Also a poorly guarded secret is the extensive amount of US arms, equipment, money, and other material support provided to terrorists waging war against the Syrian government – among which include Uyghur terrorists as admitted by VOA itself.

From Washington DC, to the battlefields of northern Syria, to Xinjiang itself – the US is openly cultivating a vast terrorist threat to pose as a significant roadblock to China’s BRI.

Is the public really meant to believe a state-sponsored terrorist threat aimed at crippling a multi-trillion dollar economic corridor is not reason enough for Beijing to launch an extensive counter-terrorism campaign? Not only is Washington fomenting terrorism in western China, it is attempting to cripple Beijing’s internal security operations in response to it – all by leveraging and abusing human rights advocacy and portraying the victim of US-sponsored terrorism as a culprit.

That all of this context was intentionally omitted from Business Insider as well as by Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch proves that the West is waging war against China and its economic expansion not only on the ground from Washington to Syria to Xinjiang, but all across information space as well.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Who Gains from Turning Europe into a Potential Nuclear Battlefield?

Who Gains from Turning Europe into a Potential Nuclear Battlefield?

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The United States and its NATO partners are attempting to make the case for Washington’s decision to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Claims that the Russian Federation has been violating the treaty have yet to be substantiated with anything resembling credible evidence. Also missing is any rational explanation as to why Russia would develop or deploy nuclear weapons capable of launching a nuclear strike on Europe without warning – a scenario the INF Treaty was created to deter.

Bloomberg in its article, “Nuclear Fears Haunt Leaders With U.S.-Russian Arms Pact’s Demise,” would claim:

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s top civilian, cited recent Russian deployments and evoked a Cold War-style threat of nuclear destruction at a global conference of security and defense officials this weekend in Munich, the baroque German metropolis that’s one of Europe’s richest cities.

“These missiles are mobile, easy to hide and nuclear-capable,” Stoltenberg said. “They can reach European cities, like Munich, with little warning.”

Stoltenberg, the rest of NATO, Washington, and the many media organizations that work for and answer to both have failed categorically to explain why Russia would ever use nuclear-capable missiles against cities “like Munich, with little warning.”

Would Moscow Nuke Russia’s Closest Trade Partners? 

While Russia has invested greatly in recent years to expand its economic trade with Asia, it is still heavily dependent on trade with Europe.

The Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity reveals not only Europe as the most important region for Russian trade, particularly for Russian exports, but nations like the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy as among Russia’s top trade partners.

Russia is currently working with Germany on its Nord Stream 2 pipeline – a pipeline transporting Russian hydrocarbons to Western Europe without passing through politically unstable nations like Ukraine. The project is a keystone of recent Russian efforts to modernize and adapt its hydrocarbon industry around complications arising from US interference across Europe – particularly in the form of the US-engineered 2014 coup in Ukraine and NATO’s constant US-led expansion along Russian borders.

And Russian companies aren’t the only ones benefiting from Nord Stream 2 or other economic ties between Russia and Europe. Russia imports more from Germany than any other European nation, and Germany is only second to China among all nations Russia imports goods from.

It is highly unlikely Russia is going to launch nuclear missiles at “Munich, with little warning” – because to do so would be entirely without rational justification. Characters like Stoltenberg and the rest of NATO gloss over this obvious gap in their narrative to sell Russia as an unpredictable adversary and an enduring threat to Western Europe, as well as the United States. But by filling in this obvious gap in NATO’s logic, we can see who really benefits from turning Europe into a potential nuclear battlefield by stationing short-range nuclear weapons across the region.

Nuclear Battlefield Europe

It is Washington, not Germany nor Russia that opposes the Nord Stream 2 project. It is Washington who seeks to drive a wedge between Western European and Russian economic trade. It is Washington who seeks to galvanize – or coerce – Europe into a united front against Russia – even if it means compromising regional stability – both in terms of economics and security.

Washington – by withdrawing from the INF Treaty – doesn’t jeopardize the security of its own territory – but opens up a new dimension to an already ongoing nuclear arms race in the heart of Western Europe. It will be Western Europeans and Russians who face the consequences that emerge from the abandoning of the INF Treaty and any unpredictable – or even accidental – incidents that result from the stationing of short-range nuclear weapons across the region.

As pointed out many times before – NATO itself more than any external threat – represents the greatest danger to its member states in terms of pilfering national treasuries, miring nations in protracted wars and occupations thousands of miles from their own shores, and exposing member nations to the consequences of these wars including the deluge of refugees fleeing to Europe from them.

The US – by causing chaos and division both within Europe and between Europe and its trade partners – is able to continue exercising control over the continent – literally an ocean away from Washington DC.

The withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the dangerous arms race sure to follow is another example of the US playing the roles of arsonist and fire brigade as a means to maintain the relevance of the international order it constructed over the last century – an order the US serves as the self-appointed leader of.

In terms of simple economics and genuine European security – the United States could not be more irrelevant.

While Germany maintains the United States as its top export destination – the overall European and Asian regions by far contribute more to the German economy. Any instability or crisis in Europe would have an impact on the German economy its trade with the US would in no way compensate for. In terms of imports, the role of the US is even less.

While European trade with Russia is relatively small in comparison to inter-European trade, or with partners in Asia or even the US – Russian hydrocarbons serve an important role in European energy security. And while the cutting of ties between Europe and Russia would certainly hurt Russia more – the chaos used to cut those ties may disrupt stability within Europe itself – chaos that would impact inter-European trade – trade that ties with the US or Asia would not compensate for.

Washington plays a dangerous game, with short-range nuclear missiles being the latest point of leverage it seeks to use in prying Europe away from Russia. It is another illustration of just which nation’s government truly poses the greater threat not only to Europe, but to global peace, security and stability in general.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Yemen: US “Accidentally” Arming Al Qaeda (Again)

February 15, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – US weapons are once again falling into the hands of militants fighting in one of Washington’s many proxy wars – this time in Yemen – the militants being fighters of local Al Qaeda affiliates.

CNN in its article, “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” would admit:

Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, hardline Salafi militias, and other factions waging war in Yemen, in violation of their agreements with the United States, a CNN investigation has found.

The article also claims:

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, its main partner in the war, have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape, according to local commanders on the ground and analysts who spoke to CNN.

Weapon transfer included everything from small arms to armored vehicles, CNN would report.

The article would include a response from Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael, who claimed:

The United States has not authorized the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates to re-transfer any equipment to parties inside Yemen.

The US government cannot comment on any pending investigations of claims of end-use violations of defense articles and services transferred to our allies and partners.

Despite obvious evidence that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are both violating whatever agreements the Pentagon claims to have with both nations, the US continues fighting their joint war in Yemen for them in all but name.

The US role in Yemen includes not only arming Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also training their pilots, selecting targets, sharing intelligence, repairing weapon systems, refuelling Saudi warplanes, and even through the deployment of US special forces along The Saudi-Yemeni border.

Because of this continued and unconditional support – Pentagon complaints over weapon transfers it claims were unauthorized ring particularly hollow. More so when considering in other theaters of war, US weapons also “accidentally” ended up in the hands of extremists that just so happened to be fighting against forces the US opposed.

(Repeated) Actions Speak Louder than Pentagon Excuses 

An entire army of Al Qaeda-linked forces was raised in Syria against the government in Damascus through the “accidental” transfer of US weapons from alleged moderate militants to designated terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra affiliate and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS).

And while this was presented to the public as “accidental” –  years before the war in Syria even erupted, there were already warning signs that the US planned to deliberately use extremists in a proxy war against both Syria and Iran.

As early as 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh published in the New Yorker titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would warn (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

From 2011 onward, admissions throughout prominent Western newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post would admit to US weapon deliveries to “moderate rebels” in Syria.

Articles like the New York Times’, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” and “Kerry Says U.S. Will Double Aid to Rebels in Syria,” the Telegraph’s,  “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’,” and the Washington Post’s article, “U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels,” would detail hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons, vehicles, equipment, and training funneled into Syria to so-called “moderate rebels.”

Yet even as early as the first year of the conflict, Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra – a US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization – would dominate the battlefield opposite Syrian forces.

The US State Department in its own official press statement titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” explicitly stated that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

If the US and its allies were admittedly transferring hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons, equipment, and other support to “moderate rebels,” who was funding and arming Al Nusra even more, enabling them to displace Western-backed militants from the Syrian battlefield?

The Western media had proposed several unconvincing excuses including claims that large numbers of defectors to Al Qaeda and its affiliates brought with them their Western-provided arms and equipment.

The obvious answer – however –  is that just as Seymour Hersh warned in 2007 – the US and its allies from the very beginning armed and backed Al Qaeda, intentionally created its ISIS offshoot, and used both in a deadly proxy war they had hoped would quickly conclude before the public realized what had happened.

It had worked in Libya in 2011, and the quick overthrow of the Syrian government was likewise anticipated. When the war dragged on and the nature of Washington’s “moderate rebels” was revealed, implausible excuses as to how Al Qaeda and ISIS became so well armed and funded began appearing across the Western media.

Accident or Not – US Military Intervention is the Biggest Threat to Global Security 

As the alternative media now attempts to shed light on the ongoing US proxy war in Yemen, a similar attempt to explain how Al Qaeda has once again found itself flooded with US support is being mounted. Just as in Syria – the obvious explanation for Al Qaeda forces in Yemen turning up with US weapons is because the use of Al Qaeda and other extremists was always a part of the US-Saudi-Emarati strategy from the very beginning.

CNN’s revelations were not the first.

An Associated Press investigation concluded in August 2018 in an article titled, “AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen,” that (emphasis added):

Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West. 

Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.

That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.

While the US pleads innocent and attempts to blame the arming of Al Qaeda in yet another of Washington’s proxy wars on “accidental” or “unauthorized” weapon transfers, it is clear that Al Qaeda has and still does serve as a vital auxiliary force the US uses both as a pretext to invade and occupy other nations – and when it cannot – to fight by proxy where US forces cannot go.

The US – which claims its involvement in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen is predicated on containing Iran who the US accuses of jeopardizing global security and of sponsoring terrorism – has aligned itself with actual, verified state sponsors of terrorism – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – and is itself knowingly playing a role in the state sponsorship of terrorism including the arming of terrorist groups across the region.

Iran and the militant groups it has backed – accused of being “terrorists” – are ironically the most effective forces fighting groups like Al Nusra and ISIS across the region – illustrating Washington and its allies of being guilty in reality of what it has accused Syria, Russia, and Iran of in fiction.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

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