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Let Koreans Solve Their Own Problems

By Eric Margolis | September 22, 2018

… The DMZ is probably the most heavily militarized frontier in the world, with hundreds of thousands of tough troops and thousands of tanks and guns confronting one another. I’ve seen few more impressive military sights. Only the Pakistani-India border in Kashmir offers a similar martial display and menace.

Kudos go to the leaders of North and South Korea for de-escalating the tensions between them. Both deserve a Nobel peace prize. Kim Jong-un and Moon Jai-in have made a great leap forward by trying to end the Korean War. Most Koreans – except for hard rightwing anti-Communist Christians in South Korea – are thrilled.

As a very long-time observer and friend of Korea, I too am elated by the Moon-Kim friendly summit and wish it success. But I’m also worried by the role of Washington.
President Donald Trump certainly broke the ice with North Korea and played a key role in setting peace talks into motion. Kudos to him.

But I’m also apprehensive that the so-called de-nuclearization issue may ruin the effort to end the Korean War. Washington demands that North Korea account for and then dismantle its nuclear weapons under US supervision. This is the key American position.

Interestingly, while making these demands, the US is pushing ahead with a new `smaller’ nuclear warhead program, the B61- Model 12, designed as a deep earth penetrator and for use against tactical targets. This $1 trillion program is designed for war-fighting, not deterrence. Critics warn it will make a nuclear war much more likely.

North Korea, which has a small number of long-ranged, nuclear tipped missiles of undetermined reliability, says its will ‘de-nuclearize’ to meet Washington’s demands. But why? North Korea is demanding ‘reciprocity’ from the US. So far, there is no sign of the US agreeing to shut its air bases in South Korea or Japan, remove nuclear weapons from North Asia, or remove some or all of its 28,500 troops in South Korea.

The Trump administration has convinced itself that a one-way deal with North Korea is possible. Its resident hardliners, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, are believed to be hostile to any US concessions. They want North Korea to unconditionally surrender, not negotiate. Both are neocons who fear North Korea’s nukes might find their way to Israel’s mideast enemies. A deal between Washington and Pyongyang under President Bill Clinton was sabotaged by the neocons for this very reason. … Read full article

Iran summons European envoys over terrorist attacks in Ahvaz

Press TV – September 22, 2018

Iranian authorities have summoned ambassadors of the Netherlands and Denmark as well as chargé d’affaires of the British embassy in Tehran after terrorists with alleged links to the European countries carried out attacks during a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Saturday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the department for European affairs of the ministry summoned the three diplomats separately at the evening time on Saturday to declare Tehran’s strong protest to the role their countries might have played to support elements who carried out the terror attacks in Ahvaz earlier in the day that led to the killing of some 25 people.

The al-Ahvaziya terror group, whose recruits are believed to be scattered in several European countries, including in the Netherlands and in Denmark, claimed responsibility for the attack in Ahvaz.

The terror outfit, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, has a record of carrying out sabotage acts in Iran’s Khuzestan province, which encompasses Ahvaz and some other Arab-dominated towns.

Qassemi said Iran expected the two European countries to extradite the “criminal perpetrators” of the terrorist act in Ahvaz. … continue

Ahvaz Military Parade Attackers Linked to US, Israel – Iranian Army Spokesman

Sputnik – 22.09.2018

Iranian Armed Forces spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, told IRNA that the militants who had committed a terrorist attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday were linked to the United States and Israel.

“These terrorists are not members of the Daesh and do not belong to groups fighting the Islamic system. These people are linked to the United States and [Israeli intelligence service] Mossad. These militants were organized and trained by two countries of the Persian Gulf,” Shekarchi said in an interview with a local agency.

The spokesman added that the servicemen had killed all four militants who committed the attack.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused “regional terror sponsors and their US masters” of organizing the attack.

The minister’s statement came as a response to the incident reported earlier in the day when armed militants opened fire at the parade, leaving at least 25 people killed and another 60 were injured, according to media reports.

The Saudi-linked Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Western media mostly silent on Ahvaz terrorist attack

Press TV – September 22, 2018

The mainstream Western media have been mostly silent about the deadly US-sponsored terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, according to US scholar and political analyst Kevin Barrett.

“Innocent people being killed by terrorists is front page news in the West; but, in the case of terrorism against Iran, suddenly, everything changes and the media tends to ignore and downplay it,” Barrett told Press TV in an interview on Saturday.

Barrett sees the attack as another terrorist operation launched by the United States and its regional allies.

“There have been close to 20,000 people killed in these kinds of terrorist attacks by extremist groups in Iran over the years to almost the complete silence of the western media and that is because it is the western governments led by the United States and its Israeli master who are in fact organizing, funding, arming, equipping, and unleashing these terrorists against Iran and they have been ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979,” Barrett said. … continue

Reactions to attack: How West sees it differently

Press TV – September 22, 2018

At least 25 people were killed and 60 others injured in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on Saturday, when terrorists opened fire on people from behind a viewing stand at a military parade held to mark the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in the 1980s.

The Western and Saudi media have refrained from terming the deadly attack in Ahvaz a terrorist act despite the large number of civilian casualties in the incident.

The Saudi-backed al-Ahvaziya terror group claimed responsibility for the assault.

However, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) only used the word “attack” for the terrorist act. … continue

IRIB correspondent wounded in Israeli attack in West Bank

Press TV – September 22, 2018

A field correspondent working for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has been wounded by rubber bullets fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, says the Press TV reporter.

Mona Kandil, Press TV’s correspondent, said on Saturday that “12 Palestinians were wounded, including a journalist,” during a protest rally in the city of Ramallah.

Kandil added that the correspondent was shot in his leg and sustained minor injury.

Settlers storm al-Khalil market, Israeli occupation forces arrest Palestinian

Palestine Information Center – September 22, 2018

AL-KHALIL – Dozens of Israeli settlers on Saturday stormed the market of the Old City of al-Khalil and harassed Palestinian citizens.

Escorted by the Israeli occupation forces, the settlers carried out provocative tours in the market and disrupted the movement of Palestinian citizens in the Old City’s streets.

Meanwhile, the Israeli forces stopped an Islamic Awqaf employee, Islam Zahdeh, while he was heading to his work, arrested him, and transferred him to an unknown destination.

Islamic Awqaf employees and other Palestinians working for Palestinian institutions in the Old City are constantly harassed by Israeli settlers and soldiers. These attacks come within the framework of an Israeli plan to pressure Palestinian citizens to leave the area.

Univ. of Michigan Professor Cheney-Lippold Receives Death Threats Over Boycott

Palestine Legal | September 19, 2018

University of Michigan professor John Cheney-Lippold, an expert in the field of big data and surveillance, received death threats this week after he told a student he would be unable to write her a recommendation letter for a study abroad program in Israel because he supports the academic boycott for Palestinian rights.

“I wouldn’t cross a union picket line and I can’t cross this one,” said Cheney-Lippold. “I support the Palestinian boycott call because I am appalled at Israel’s continuing violation of Palestinian rights, and our government’s support for those violations. If a student had wanted to do a study abroad at an institution in Apartheid South Africa, I would have declined to write a letter for her as well.”

After an email exchange about deadlines with the student, Cheney-Lippold informed the student on September 5 that for political and ethical reasons he could not write her a recommendation for the program. “Let me know if you need me to write other letters for you, as I’d be happy,” Cheney-Lippold wrote.

A few days later, Club Z, a Zionist organization, posted the email on Facebook. Islamophobe ideologue Pamela Geller and right-wing groups including the Zionist Organization of America called for the professor to be dismissed. The story spread among conservative sites such as Fox News, Breitbart and the Daily Caller and was soon picked up by other sites such as CBS and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Soon after, Cheney-Lippold received over 500 emails, including messages calling for him to be killed. … continue

Russia rejects Israeli findings on downed plane

Press TV – September 22, 2018

Russia has rejected the findings of an Israeli investigation into the deadly crash of a Russian military aircraft in the Syrian province of Latakia, and called on Tel Aviv to launch a new probe into the matter.

The Israeli Haaretz newspaper said on Friday that the Russians had not accepted Israel’s findings, which considered Russia and Syria responsible for the downing of a Russian Ilyushin 20 reconnaissance aircraft some 35 kilometers off the coast of ‎Latakia as it was returning to a nearby Russian base earlier in the week. 15 Russian servicemen were killed in the incident.

Haaretz’ report came after an Israeli delegation led by Amikam Norkin, the regime’s air force commander, visited Moscow to brief Russian officials on Tel Aviv’s initial investigation of the incident.

The paper said the visit failed to defuse the crisis and the Kremlin rejected the Israeli conclusion that Syrian forces were to blame for the incident. … Full article

Israeli Attack Which Led to Il-20 Tragedy Was Reaction to Idlib Truce – Analyst

Sputnik – September 22, 2018

The destruction of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 15 airmen onboard has led to questions about Moscow’s relations with both Syria and Israel. Speaking to Sputnik, Middle East affairs observer Ali ben Masoud al-Mashani said he was confident that whatever else happens, Russian-Syrian counterterrorism cooperation will continue.

Speaking to Sputnik about the lost Il-20, which was destroyed by Syrian air defenses over the Mediterranean Sea as the Syrian military attempted to repel an Israeli attack on Monday, al-Mashani said it was important to keep in mind that “this tragedy occurred because of the [Israeli] attack on Syria. Syrian airspace was violated,” he said.

At the moment, the Omani security analyst noted, “it is necessary to fully condemn the actions of all participants of this operation. Yes, the Syrian air defense system also made a mistake, but it was provoked by Israeli military aircraft.”

Al-Mashani categorically ruled out the possibility of a downturn in cooperation between Moscow and Damascus. “Both sides know that the Israeli aggression was a response to the agreements in Sochi between Moscow and Ankara on Idlib,” he said, referring to plans to set up a demilitarized zone in the militant-controlled Syrian province by the middle of next month.

Moscow has yet to decide on the future of Russian-Israeli ties following the downing of its Il-20 ELINT reconnaissance plane, which the Russian Defense Ministry has blamed on the Israeli military. … continue

Report slams ‘high flying’ UN environment chief

By Matt McGrath – BBC News – September 21, 2018

The head of the UN body that leads on sustainability and green issues has been criticised for extensive and expensive air travel, reports BBC News.

A draft internal audit, obtained by the Guardian and seen by the BBC, says that Erik Solheim’s actions risked the reputation of UN Environment.

The report says he incurred costs of $488,518 (£373,557) while travelling for 529 out of 668 days.

There was “no oversight or accountability” to monitor this travel. … Full article

Ontario government moves to scrap Green Energy Act

Ottawa Citizen | September 20, 2018

The Ontario government has introduced legislation to scrap the Green Energy Act, which aimed to bolster the province’s renewable energy industry.

The law was introduced by the previous Liberal government in 2009 in a bid to grow the province’s solar and wind energy supply.

Critics of the Green Energy Act have said it resulted in an increase in electricity costs and saw the province overpay for power it did not need.

Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton says repealing the law will ensure that municipalities regain planning authority over renewable projects, something that was removed under the act.

The government says that future renewable energy projects must first demonstrate need for the electricity they generate before being granted approval. … Full article

Court upholds Illinois nuclear power subsidy law

Illinois News Network | September 18, 2018

A federal appellate court ruling upheld Illinois’ law directing hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to nuclear plants and other green energy incentives.

The ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says that Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act, a 2016 law providing Zero Emissions Credits to Exelon, the owner of several nuclear plants in the state, doesn’t unfairly manipulate the multi-state energy market that establishes rates. … Full article

US Nuclear Safety: A Critical Problem That Has Largely Been Kept Out of the Public Eye

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 22.09.2018

… Repeated safety lapses have hobbled the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It was sheer good luck that prevented real trouble from happening to the surrounding area. According to Science, “most remarkably, Los Alamos’s managers still have not figured out a way to fully meet the most elemental nuclear safety standards.”

“There’s a systemic issue here,” said Michaele Brady Raap, a former president of the American Nuclear Society and a member of the Energy Department’s elite Criticality Safety Support Group, a team of 12 government experts that analyzes and recommends ways to improve struggling federal nuclear-safety programs. “There are a lot of things there [at Los Alamos] that are examples of what not to do.”

According to the Center for Public Safety, two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there and transport them safely back to their state without allowing the materials to fall into the wrong hands. The materials — plutonium and cesium — as well as equipment were stolen on that trip and have never been found. They were simply left unattended in a car! The incident was concealed from the public, but the information was obtained by the Center for Public Safety under the Freedom of Information Act. That source reports that this was just a part of a much larger quantity of plutonium that over the years has gone quietly missing from stockpiles owned by the US military.

Madeleine Jennewein of Harvard University writes in her blog, which is published by Science in the News (SITN), that “Across the United States, nuclear waste is accumulating in poorly maintained piles. 90,000 metric tons of nuclear waste requiring disposal are currently in temporary storage. … Full article

Problem, Reaction, Solution: IAEA Pushes For More Nuclear Plants

The New York Times as Judge and Jury

By Joe Lauria • Consortium News • September 21, 2018

We’ve seen it before: a newspaper and individual reporters get a story horribly wrong but instead of correcting it they double down to protect their reputations and credibility—which is all journalists have to go on—and the public suffers.

Sometimes this maneuver can contribute to a massive loss of life. … continue

Israeli Army Kills One Palestinian, Injures 312, In Gaza

IMEMC News – September 21, 2018

Israeli soldiers killed a young man, and injured 312 other Palestinians, including 54 with live fire, after the army attacked the Great Return March processions, in several parts of the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that the soldiers killed Karim Mohammad Kollab, 25, after shooting him with live fire, east of Gaza city. It added that the soldiers also injured 312 Palestinians, including 100 with live fire.

100 of the wounded Palestinians were rushed to hospitals in the Gaza Strip, while five of the injured suffered life-threatening wounds.

The Health Ministry also said that among the wounded are twenty children and two women.

In related news, an Israeli tank fire a shell at Palestinian protesters near the perimeter fence, east of Gaza city, while an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a site, east of Gaza. … Full article

Israel declares it is above the law

MEMO | September 21, 2018

Israel’s critics often describe the country as being above the law, but until now this has never been brazenly declared by its government. Documents published this week shows a legal representative of the Israeli government audaciously claiming that Israel can “legislate anywhere in the world,” that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries,” and that it “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”.

The bold declaration was made in legal materials recently submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court in which the government representative said that the Knesset is allowed to ignore international law anywhere it desires. … continue

Israeli settler runs over Palestinian teen in Hebron City

Ma’an – September 21, 2018

HEBRON – A 16-year-old Palestinian teen was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Friday, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that an Israeli settler deliberately ran over the Palestinian teen with his vehicle in Hebron City.

The teen was identified by locals as Munir Abdullah Gharib, 16.

Mounir suffered injuries from the attack and was immediately transferred to the Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron for necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown.

Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate. … continue

Israel bans restoration of East Jerusalem sports stadium

MEMO | September 21, 2018

The Israeli authorities yesterday banned the renovation of a sports stadium in the Palestinian town of Issawiya, northeast of East Jerusalem.

A member of the follow-up committee in Issawiya, Mohammed Abu Al-Homs, said that joint teams from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality and police forces stormed the Yasser Arafat sports stadium during renovation work and forced the workers to stop working under the pretext that the renovation was being financed by a terrorist group.

He explained that the Issawiya management club started about a month ago to restore the stadium with donations from the local residents, but they were surprised yesterday when the Israeli army forces stormed the stadium and stopped the restoration work.

He added that the Jerusalem municipality tried to seize the stadium by offering to restore it themselves and turn it into a public arena, but the club’s management and the town residents refused, stressing that they will restore the stadium on their own.

Infowars says PayPal has terminated agreement with it for promoting ‘hate’

RT | September 21, 2018

Payment processing service PayPal has banned Alex Jones’s Infowars, saying that the site “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance” and thus violated their use policy.

Infowars itself broke the news on Friday, saying that PayPal sent them an email on Thursday informing Jones of the decision. PayPal was used to process purchases at Infowars’ on-site store.

According to Infowars, PayPal had conducted a comprehensive review of their website and found it “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.”

The service offered no specific examples. Infowars says the two examples they were given off the record were their criticism of Islam and opposition to transgenderism being taught in schools. PayPal’s definition of hate is “is so vague that virtually anything could qualify,” Infowars said.

Last month, Right Wing Watch published an article demanding of PayPal to drop Infowars for “egregious violations of the platform’s own terms of service.” RWW is a subsidiary of People for the American Way, a pro-Democrat advocacy group that gets much of its funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

#Resistance activists rejoiced at the news, and even urged pressure campaign Sleeping Giants to have Jones removed from Google.

Jones and Infowars were deplatformed by most social media companies last month under pressure from media outlets and liberal activists, with CNN leading the charge.

Twitter initially resisted calls to ban Jones from its platform, but decided to do so earlier this month, after Jones live-streamed his confrontation with a CNN reporter who advocated for his removal from social media, outside a congressional hearing about internet censorship.

Silicon Valley has gone so far as to punish social media users for simply linking to Infowars. Last week, founder of the #WalkAway movement Brandon Straka found himself banned from Facebook after one of his posts mentioned “infowars.”Full article

China’s Chilling ‘Social Credit System’ Is Straight Out of Dystopian Sci-Fi, And It’s Already Switched On

By Peter Dockrill | Science Alert | September 20, 2018

It’s been in the pipeline for years: a sprawling, technological mass surveillance network the likes of which the world has never seen. And it’s already been switched on.

China’s “Social Credit System” – which is expected to be fully operational by 2020 – doesn’t just monitor the nation’s almost 1.4 billion citizens. It’s also designed to control and coerce them, in a gigantic social engineering experiment that some have called the “gamification of trust.”

That’s because the massive project, which has been slowly coming together for over a decade, is about assigning an individual trust score to each and every citizen, and to businesses too. … continue

Alabama debunks the Times’ story about our warming world

Fabius Maximus website | September 19, 2018

Summary: The NY Times gives a story with bold numbers, confidently stated. Too bad their fact-checkers did not notice that their numbers are grossly misleading. Propaganda pretending to be science. This does not help, even if well-intended. The State Climatologist of Alabama tells the real story. … continue

Down with the Working Classes!

By CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | September 21, 2018

If the Left is ever going to come together to save the world from Donald Trump and his legions of fascistic Putin-Nazis, we’re going to need to confront our primary enemy … the international working classes. Yes, my comrades, I’m afraid it’s time to face the facts, depressing as they are. The working classes are not our friends. Just look at how they’ve been betraying us … and after all we’ve done for them all these years! This cannot be allowed to continue, not if we are going to rescue democracy from Trump, Putin, Assad, the Iranians, and Palestinian kids with terrorist kites, and eventually stem the blood-dimmed tide of neo-fascist anti-Globalism!

Now, OK, I know you’re probably asking, “how can the international working classes possibly be the enemy of the Left?” and “wouldn’t that render the whole concept of the Left completely absurd and essentially meaningless?” and other pertinent questions like that. And that’s totally fine, you’re allowed to ask that. Questioning aspects of the official narrative the ruling classes are forcing everyone to conform to like members of a worldwide cult doesn’t make you a Nazi or anything. It’s perfectly OK to ask such questions, as long as you don’t continue to ask them, over and over, and over again, after the facts have been explained to you. Here are those facts, one more time. … continue

Lavrov: Russia-Turkey Deal on Idlib Just Interim Step

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The decision by Russia and Turkey on Idlib is an intermediate step; the demilitarized zone will prevent the shelling of Syrian troops at Hmeymim base, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“As for the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib, it is aimed primarily at eradicating the terrorist threat. This is certainly an intermediate step, because only a demilitarized zone is being created,” Lavrov said.

According to him, this is a necessary step, as it will prevent shelling from the de-escalation zone in Idlib on the positions of Syrian troops and the Russian military base in Hmeymim.

The Nusra Front terrorist group should leave the demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province by mid-October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

“Nusra Front terrorists should leave this demilitarized zone by mid-October; all heavy weaponry should be withdrawn from there,” Lavrov told a press conference.

Previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held a meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, during which they agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib by October 15.

The city of Idlib is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government insurgents and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups in Syria. … Full article

‘Ticking time bomb’: New government report claims UK’s nuclear enterprise is not ‘fit for purpose’

RT | September 21, 2018

Budget constraints are preventing the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) from scrapping potentially dangerous nuclear subs, a new government report showed, noting that some nuclear-servicing facilities were “not fit for purpose”.

The condition of some of the UK’s 13 nuclear sites and constant delays in maintenance created “a ticking time bomb,” House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their latest report.

The document, published Friday, earmarked two facilities in particular which are in need of urgent upgrades – the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Devonport Dockyard, where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines are refitted. It said further investment delays are no longer acceptable. … continue

Level of Support for S Korean President Jumps to 61% After Summit – Poll

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The level of support for the South Korean government led by President Moon Jae-in grew over the week from 50 percent to 61 percent following the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a new poll showed on Friday.

The number of respondents, who do not approve of the government’s policy, decreased by 9 percent compared to last week’s results and stood at 30 percent, according to Gallup Korea. … Full article

First principle of international relations should be ‘do no harm’

By Yves Engler · September 20, 2018

Many progressives call for Canada to “do more” around the world. The assumption is that this country is a force for good, a healer of humankind. But if we claim to be the “doctors without borders” of international relations, shouldn’t Canada swear to “first do no harm” like MDs before beginning practice? At a minimum shouldn’t the Left judge foreign policy decisions through the lens of the Hippocratic oath?

Libya illustrates the point. That North African nation looks set to miss a United Nations deadline to unify the country. An upsurge of militia violence in Tripoli and political wrangling makes it highly unlikely elections planned for December will take place.

Seven years after the foreign backed war Libya remains divided between two main political factions and hundreds of militias operate in the country of six million. Thousands have died in fighting since 2011.

The instability is not a surprise to Canadian military and political leaders who orchestrated Canada’s war on that country. Eight days before Canadian fighter jets began dropping bombs on Libya in 2011 military intelligence officers told Ottawa decision makers the country would likely descend into a lengthy civil war if foreign countries assisted rebels opposed to Muammar Gadhafi. An internal assessment obtained by the Ottawa Citizen noted, “there is the increasing possibility that the situation in Libya will transform into a long-term tribal/civil war… This is particularly probable if opposition forces received military assistance from foreign militaries.” … continue

New York Times’ fraudulent “election plot” dossier escalates anti-Russia hysteria

By Bill Van Auken | WSWS | September 21, 2018

The New York Times published a fraudulent and provocative “special report” Thursday titled “The plot to subvert an election.”

Replete with sinister looking graphics portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a villainous cyberage cyclops, the report purports to untangle “the threads of the most effective foreign campaign in history to disrupt and influence an American election.”

The report could serve as a textbook example of CIA-directed misinformation posing as “in-depth” journalism. There is no news, few substantiated facts and no significant analysis presented in the 10,000-word report, which sprawls over 11 ad-free pages of a separate section produced by the Times.continue

Researcher Takes on Google’s Subversive Electioneering

Sputnik – September 21, 2018

Big tech companies like Google have the power to “shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so,” a research psychologist told Radio Sputnik Thursday, underscoring the influence profit-making firms can have on public elections.

That, he said, is too much power for “just a couple of executives” and is why tech giant monopolies need to be thought of as public utilities and not private entities.

“Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections — indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs — than any company in history has ever had,” research psychologist Robert Epstein says. … continue

Trump’s new cyber strategy seeks global dominion over internet

RT | September 21, 2018

Setting the global standard for online behavior, preserving American dominance, political and economic interests, punishing ‘malicious actors’ like Russia and China: these are the ambitious goals of the new US cyber-strategy.

The White House published the 40-page document on Thursday afternoon, the first comprehensive cyber strategy in 15 years. The strategy’s core assumption is that the US created the internet and that Washington must maintain the dominant role in defining, shaping and policing cyberspace in much the same way as it does the globe. … continue

UK to Create 2,000-Strong Cyberforce to Counter ‘Russia Threat’ – Reports

Sputnik – 21.09.2018

The United Kingdom will set up a cybersecurity force, comprising up to 2,000 members, to tackle the “threat from Russia” and other actors, local media reported on Friday.

The authorities planned to invest some 250 million pounds (over $330 million) in creating the cyberforce, the Sky News broadcaster reported, citing sources.

The force would be tasked with carrying out offensive cyberoperations and would be composed of the officials of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), military personnel and contractors, the outlet added.

The plan to create the unit was reportedly drafted by the Ministry of Defence and the GCHQ amid London’s claims about the alleged growing cyberthreat from Moscow and the United Kingdom’s recent successful use of cyberweapons against the Islamic State terror group.

Over the recent years, Russia has repeatedly been accused of carrying out cyberattacks against other countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, and attempting, in particular, to influence the results of elections. Moscow refuted all such claims, calling them unfounded.

UK to set up new internet regulator to monitor ‘hate speech’ and enforce ‘code of conduct’ – report

RT | September 20, 2018

Free speech advocates are appalled at news that the UK government may create a new regulator, empowered to heavily fine social media giants that fail to clamp down on rogue posts, and even banish sites for ‘non-illegal’ content.

The new legislation for reducing online “social harms” will be presented this winter, according to a Buzzfeed report, whose veracity has been confirmed in a statement by the Conservative government.

According to the proposals, Facebook, Twitter and other websites offering user-generated videos, photos and posts will be forced to remove content such as –but not restricted to– child pornography, terrorist incitement and hate speech within a tight time limit, or face hefty fines. … continue

Facebook Turns Into Manipulative Tool of US Intelligence – Moscow

Sputnik – 20.09.2018

Facebook is transforming into a manipulative tool of the US intelligence services and a lever to influence the domestic policy of other states, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

“Facebook continues to follow the path of stricter censorship… [Facebook], which was presented and has established itself as a means of free communication and exchange of various kinds of content, is now being transformed into an instrument of US intelligence agencies to cleanse the information space of materials that are unwanted by Washington,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

As an example, she named the agreement between Facebook and the Atlantic Council stated to be aimed to help monitor attempts to spread “disinformation” in elections around the world.

She further called the process “a manipulation and a deception” stressing that “the fighters for free democratic elections and the purity of the information space themselves are engaged in interference in affairs of other states and in the dissemination of false information.”

In addition, she said that under the pretext of fighting fake news, Facebook planned to check the personal data of users, as well as audio and video materials. … continue

Bahraini regime forces detain another Shia cleric amid Muharram crackdown

Press TV – September 20, 2018

Bahraini regime forces have detained another Shia Muslim cleric as the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown against members of the religious community during the Muslim mourning month of Muharram.

Rights activists, requesting anonymity, said Bahraini officials ordered the arrest of Sheikh Mohammed al-Reish after he underwent an hours-long investigation at a police station in the Hoora district of the capital Manama, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

The report came only two days after Shia clergyman Sheikh Majid al-Sahlawi was arrested, and the public prosecutor’s office ordered him to be detained for 15 days pending investigations.

There are no reports yet on the charges of the cleric.

Earlier, Bahraini troopers had arrested Sheikh Hani al-Banna and Sheikh Yassin al-Jamri, and took them to the police station in the coastal town of al-Budaiya. … Full article

Egypt, Cyprus sign accord to build gas pipeline

MEMO | September 20, 2018

Egypt yesterday signed an agreement with Cyprus to construct a maritime pipeline between the two countries, which will transfer of natural gas from Cyprus to Egypt for re-export to different markets, especially the European Union (EU) countries.

The agreement was signed in a meeting held in Cyprus between the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El-Molla, and the Cypriot minister of Energy, Industry, Tourism and Trades, Georgios Lakkotrypis.

The project, which was said to cost around $800 million, will involve building a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Cypriot Aphrodite field to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

El-Molla said that the agreement contributes “to boosting the economic relations between Egypt and Cyprus and is considered as an important step in maximising the benefit of the discoveries of the Cypriot gas fields.”

“The Egyptian-Cypriot agreement is not only about the implementation of a maritime pipeline, but it will contribute positively to securing gas supplies to the EU,” he added.

The deal, El-Molla reiterated, will encourage further research exploration activities in the region… continue

New report documents ‘torture in the heart of Jerusalem’

MEMO | September 20, 2018

A new report by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer claims that Israeli officials “routinely” carry out the “practice of torture” at a key interrogation facility in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report, “I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscobiyeh Interrogation Centre”, is based on the testimonies of 138 individuals held in the Russian Compound of Jerusalem gathered during the period 2015-2017.

“For generations of Palestinians, the Russian Compound has represented the most severe interrogation facility in all of the occupied territory,” Addameer states.

“It has been the place of intentionally inflicted suffering for hundreds of prisoners. Its location in the heart of Jerusalem, next to the Old City, is something of a metaphor for the whole apparatus of the occupation. The domination is hidden in plain sight.” … continue

Israel Supreme Court backs army’s refusal to prosecute killer of Palestinian activist

MEMO | September 20, 2018

Nine years after a Palestinian activist was killed by Israeli occupation forces in a West Bank village, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a final appeal against the army’s refusal to prosecute those responsible, reported +972 Magazine.

Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed on 17 April 2009, during a popular demonstration in Bil’in, when an Israeli soldier fired a tear-gas canister directly at his chest. The incident was captured on film.

This was supposed to be an easy case: a killing that was captured by three cameras, top experts identifying the source of the lethal shot, and a clear violation of the rules of engagement

said lawyer Michael Sfard, who represented Abu Rahmeh’s family and NGO Yesh Din in the case.

“Both the military police and the military prosecution have made it clear in this case that they will do anything they can to deny justice to the victim, and obstruct any chance of getting to the truth.” … Full article

Israeli Soldiers Kill A Child In Southern Gaza

IMEMC News – September 20, 2018

Israeli soldiers killed, on Wednesday night, a Palestinian child from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and injured many Palestinians in several parts of the coastal region.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers killed Mo’men Ibrahim Abu Eyada, 15, from Rafah, after shooting him with a live round in the head, east of the city.

According to Israeli Ynet News, the army said they “had no knowledge of any casualties or any live fire used by the soldiers,” and added that “only a very few officials were available for comments, because Israel was marking the Yom Kippur fast day.”

Furthermore, the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, and high-velocity gas bombs, at Palestinian protesters near the perimeter fence, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, wounding six Palestinians with live fire, and causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. … Full article

Mercenaries receive training for Hudaydah battle in UAE-funded camps in Israel: Report

Press TV – September 20, 2018

A report reveals that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has financed a military training program in the Israeli-occupied territory, under which foreign mercenaries prepared for joining a military operation to seize Yemen’s strategic port city of Hudaydah.

Citing sources close to the US Congress intelligence committee, the Emirati news website al-Khaleejonline reported on Wednesday that the UAE-funded camps are situated in Negev Desert.

The sources said that Mohammed Dahlan, security adviser to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had “visited these camps on more than one occasion to check the progress of preparations and training received by mercenaries, under the personal supervision of the Israeli occupation army officers.”

Dahlan, the sources added, personally oversaw the recruiting of foreign mercenaries, led by the Colombians and Nepalese, to fight alongside UAE-backed forces in Yemen.

“Hundreds of mercenaries of various nationalities are taking part in the attack on Hudaydah, with the aim of taking control over it from the Houthis who have shown fierce resistance,” the sources pointed out. … Full article

The Skripal Affair – Another False Flag in NATO Litany to Criminalize Russia

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.09.2018

If we start from a premise which understands that Britain and its NATO allies are capable of mounting false flag events in Syria with chemical weapons, then it is entirely possible that British secret services carried out a similar propaganda stunt in England with regard to former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

We also need to bear in mind that British state intelligence agencies are plausibly running a covert assassination program targeting Russian exiles living in Britain – for the purpose of incriminating Moscow.

Over the past two decades, more than a dozen Russian dissidents have met untimely deaths while residing in England, including Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky. Their deaths provide propaganda fodder for the British to accuse Moscow of carrying out “revenge killings”.

However, the suspicious circumstances surrounding each death could more conceivably point to the British liquidating the Russian exiles as propaganda assets. … continue

Is ‘deep state’ trying to block Corbyn government?

RT | September 20, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn’s top adviser has questioned whether the ‘deep state’ is maneuvering to block any possibility of a Labour government under his leadership, because the establishment deplores his approach to foreign policy.

Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray has not, to date, been granted a parliamentary security pass, and asks in an article he’s penned in the centre-left publication, the New Statesman, whether such a move is a “political stunt” committed by the “deep state,” in an attempt to prevent a Corbyn administration ever coming into power.

Murray has questioned whether the Mail on Sunday revelations he’s been refused “Commons security clearance” in addition to being “banned from entering Ukraine,” is all just a “curiously-timed episode.” … continue

Court orders psychiatric evaluation for Marine Le Pen, she slams it as ‘hallucination’

RT | September 20, 2018

French politician Marine Le Pen said a court ordered her to undergo psychiatric evaluation over a series of images she posted on Twitter showing Islamic State executions. She slammed the order as a “hallucination.”

The president of France’s National Rally (formerly Front National) has released an order saying it comes from the magistrates in Nanterre near Paris, calling on her to “undergo a psychiatric examination.” … continue

Donald Trump Blames ‘Biggest Mistake in US History’ on George W. Bush

Sputnik – September 20, 2018

The US President has claimed that America spent as much as $7 trillion on military campaigns in the Middle East; his figure far exceeds the estimates suggested by Pentagon and university researchers.

President Trump has revealed what he considered to be the biggest mistake in American history in an interview with The Hill, pointing the finger at his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the President said. “Obama may have gotten [U.S.] soldiers out wrong, but going in is, to me, the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country.”

Trump went on to claim that the US had spent a fortune on its military campaigns in the Middle East. “We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now, if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it.’ Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” Donald Trump added. … Full article

Bret Stephens’ Neocon Vision

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.09.2018

The neoconservative vision of the world is a place where the United States can do what it wants because it is both better morally speaking and also more capable of enforcing desirable standards of behavior. Such a viewpoint just might perhaps be understandable if Washington were actually willing to operate in a disinterested leadership capacity to promote standards that are generally accepted by the international community, somewhat similar to what the United Nations is supposed to do, but it becomes repugnant when there is no sense that the US is actually willing to judge itself by the values that it claims to be upholding. This is why global opinion believes that Washington, not Russia or China, is the greatest threat to world peace and also why the United States ranks near the bottom in opinion polls assessing which countries are viewed favorably.

Every story has to begin somewhere and that is the neocon trick. … continue

Japanese Abu Town Mayor Opposes Aegis Ashore Deployment Nearby

Sputnik – 20.09.2018

Norihiko Hanada, the mayor of the Japanese town Abu, said on Thursday he was opposed to the deployment of Aegis Ashore component of the US ballistic missile defense system next to the town, NHK reported.

The mayor argued that such a deployment could be detrimental to the safety and security of the town residents, the NHK broadcaster reported.

According to the outlet, the town’s assembly has unanimously voted to back the residents’ petition against such a deployment.

The government wants to set up an Aegis Ashore unit at a military training range in the city of Hagi, next to Abu, while another unit is expected to be installed in the city of Akita.

In March, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said, in response to concerns voiced by Russia, that the system was needed to ensure Japan’s protection against North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities. Pyongyang has launched several missile and nuclear tests in the last few years. However, North Korea has not had one test since the beginning of 2018 as its relationship with South Korea began to improve.

U.S. Perversity on Peace in Korea

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | September 19, 2018

Just when you think that the U.S. national-security state’s policy toward Korea can’t get more perverse, it does. The latest perversion? Opposing a peace agreement between North Korea and South Korea! Imagine that. And why would U.S. officials oppose such an agreement? Because it would inevitably lead to calls for U.S. troops in Korea to be sent packing home to the United States. After all, when a peace agreement is entered into, what would be the justification for keeping U.S. troops in that faraway land?

Don’t believe me? Well, take if from the New York Times, one of the most mainstream papers in the country:

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for his third summit with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, to work toward a common goal: fashioning a political statement this year declaring the end of the Korean War. Such a declaration, although not a legally binding treaty, could carry far-reaching repercussions, helping North Korea escalate its campaign for the withdrawal of American troops from the South, analysts said. For that and other reasons, the United States has strong reservations about such a breakthrough.

Why the strong reservations? Wouldn’t you think that U.S. officials would be ecstatic about the prospect of peace in Korea? Wouldn’t you expect that to be the response of any rational person? … continue

US has history of reneging on its commitments: Analyst

Press TV – September 20, 2018

The United States has a history of reneging on its obligations, says an analyst, adding that seeking a treaty with Iran cannot rationalize Washington’s violation of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The analyst’s comments came after US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook said the United States seeks a treaty with Iran ahead of the next week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

“These conceptual distinctions between an executive agreement and a treaty is hair-splitting nonsense. The fact is that the US has a history of reneging on its obligations and [US President Donald] Trump has taken that to furthest extreme and now is isolated internationally … Trump has explicitly considered the fact that it has no major ally in the international community when it comes to Iran because the rest of the world see the values and the merits of that agreement that Iran has fully complied with,” Kaveh Afrasiabi told Press TV in an interview on Thursday.

“So the United States is really dealing with a gaping self-wound and has to find alternative rationalizations and reasoning in order to retract itself in line with international law and United Nations principles,” he added. … Full article

Iran urges UN to censure Israel’s nuclear threat, make it respect international rules

Press TV – September 20, 2018

Tehran has written to the United Nations, calling on the world body to condemn Israel for threatening Iran with a nuclear attack and bring the regime’s atomic weapons program under its supervision.

Standing right beside the Dimona nuclear facility late last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Iran as a “threat” to the region and said Tel Aviv has the means to destroy its “enemies” in a veiled reference to Tel Aviv’s nuclear arsenal. … continue