Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Current News and Analysis

Nasrallah’s Surprises for Israel

By Marwa Osman | American Herald Tribune | July 21 ,2019

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah sent messages of “reassurance” to the Lebanese interior that the country was “not weak” in exchange for warning messages to the American axis, when he appeared for an interview on Al Manar Channel on July 12.

The date of the interview of the Secretary-General, Mr. Hassan Nasrallah, on Al-Manar TV, was not exclusively linked to the 13th anniversary of the outbreak of the July 2006 war. Nasrallah chose to address public opinion at a sensitive regional and international time as the possibility of war is being talked about more than ever in light of the recent developments in the Strait of Hormuz. The message that Nasrallah wanted to convey, seems clear: If you are willing to become a partner in the war against Iran, then you shall not be excluded from that “fire”, because “when you start a war against Iran, you open the war in the entire region.” So, the “advice” to the countries of the region was that “it is our responsibility to work to prevent the US war on Iran.”

“If the UAE were destroyed when the war broke out, would that be in the interests of the rulers and the people of the Emirates?” asked Nasrallah, while emphasizing that Israel must understand that in the event of any war in the region, it will not remain on the sidelines and that Iran can bomb it with ferocity and force.

However, despite tensions in the region, Nasrallah said, “What prevents the United States from going to war is that its interests in the region are at stake.” Trump canceled the military strike on Iranian military positions, in response to Tehran downing a US spy drone that violated Iranian airspace, “because Iranians sent a message to Americans through a third country telling them that if any target was bombed in Iran, then US presence in the region will be bombed as well.” … continue

Israel’s Choice for U.S. President

By Philip Giraldi | American Free Press | July 18, 2019

In late June, President Donald Trump flailed away with his own particular brand of non-diplomacy at the G20 Summit in Japan, but it is worthwhile noting on the plus side that his administration is so inept that it could not even plan and execute a proper coup in Venezuela. Nor has it been able to concoct sufficient lies about Iran effective enough to create a casus belli and unleash the B-52s. There is a certain comfort in knowing that the United States is now governed by the Three Stooges—“Larry” Trump, “Moe” Pompeo, and “Curly” Bolton—which means that starting new wars might just be beyond their cognitive ability to make mischief.

The real irony is that stupidity is both bipartisan and contagious in the federal government. The Democrats have not quite figured out that instead of playing identity politics, talking about reparations, gay rights, “undocumented migrants,” and free college, they should instead be discussing more important issues, notably the impending nuclear holocaust being stumbled into by the Trumpsters, which just might bring to an end life on this planet as we know it. … continue

Twitter mutes 3 Iranian news agencies after British tanker seizure

RT | July 21, 2019

Farsi accounts of three Iranian news agencies have been suspended on Twitter since Friday, shortly after they reported the capture of a UK-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Twitter says the events are unrelated, though.

Two Farsi-language Twitter pages of the Mehr news agency, as well as pages belonging to the Young Journalists Club (YJC) and IRNA, have all been blocked on Twitter since Friday. Mehr and the YJC are semi-official news agencies, and IRNA is Iran’s official government-run agency. … Full article

Hate Crime Survey Reports

Puzzle for a retired scientist

By Franklin Stahl • Unz Review • July 21, 2019

The Office of Human Rights in Eugene, Oregon, my home town of the past 60 years, reported a peak in total hate crimes for 2017. The peak of events directed specifically against the Jewish community was statistically significant at the 5% level (4 in 2016, 15 in 2017, 7 in 2018).

Eugene’s peak of antisemitic hate-crimes mirrored the nationwide peak reported by the ADL in 2017. A conspicuous minority of that peak (163 of 754 total) were the anonymous threat calls made to Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) early in the year (none of which were in Eugene). This scientist found that interesting.continue

THE HONEY TRAP ON E 71ST

By Eric Margolis | July 20, 2019

NEW YORK – I’ve had many strange experiences in my decades of covering intelligence affairs. These run from being invited to KGB HQ in Moscow, Chinese intelligence in Beijing, US intelligence in Virginia, Libyan intelligence in Tripoli, South African intelligence, and even Albanian intelligence in Tirana.

But none was odder than the day I was invited to lunch in New York City with the by now notorious figure Jeffrey Epstein. The golden boy of Manhattan and Palm Beach society now sits in a grim jail cell accused of having sex with underage girls. He’s been doing this in plain view since the early 1990’s but, until recently, he seemed bullet-proof.

Soon after I walked into the entrance of Epstein’s mansion on E 71st Street, said to be the city’s largest private home, a butler asked me, ‘would you like an intimate massage, sir, by a pretty young girl?’ This offer seemed so out of place and weird to me that I swiftly declined.

More important than indelicacy, as an old observer of intelligence affairs, to me this offer reeked of ye old honey trap, a tactic to ensnare and blackmail people that was old when Babylon was young. A discreet room with massage table, lubricants and, no doubt, cameras stood ready off the main lobby.

I had arrived with Canada’s leading lady journalist who was then close to Epstein’s sometime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell and, it was said, procuress – something Maxwell denies. Bizarrely, Maxwell believed that I could get KGB Moscow Center to release satellite photos that showed the murder on his yacht of her father, the press baron Robert Maxwell, who was a well-known double agent for Israel and KGB, and a major criminal.

Also present was the self-promoting lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, who had saved the accused murderer Claus von Bulow, as well as a titan of the New York real estate industry (not Trump) and assorted bigwigs of the city’s elite Jewish society. All sang the praises of Israel. … continue

Journalist Injured as Soldiers Attack Bethlehem

IMEMC News & Agencies – July 21, 2019

A journalist was injured and many others suffocated from teargas when Israeli forces attacked Palestinians taking part in a rally protesting the planned demolition of hundreds of apartments in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Hummus.

WAFA correspondence said that Ayat Arqawi, who works as a photojournalist with APA agency, was hit and injured by a gas canister in her pelvis.

Meanwhile, several protesters sustained suffocation from gas inhalation, including Minister Walid Assaf, the chairman of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission.

Boycotting Israel a Constitutional Right and Personal Obligation

By Stephen Lendman | July 20, 2019

In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982), a landmark civil rights case, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the organization’s right to boycott white-owned businesses in Mississippi – protesting against segregation and racial injustice, its constitutional right.

The ruling stressed that states may not prohibit peaceful advocacy of a politically-motivated boycott, what First Amendment rights are all about.

Yet 28 states enacted legislation, restricting or banning individuals or entities doing business with the state if advocate boycotting Israel.

Their measures defy the Supreme Court’s ruling and fundamental First Amendment right of free expression — wanting the constitutionally protected right to boycott or otherwise publicly criticize Israel delegitimized, falsely equating it to anti-Semitism.

Only eight US states so far haven’t introduced or considered a measure in some form against boycotting the Jewish state. … continue

Cuba, Russia, China, Iran – Pompeo lists every nation that ‘must leave’ Venezuela, except one

RT | July 20, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says foreign nations (Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba) must stay clear of Venezuela, so that the one foreign nation not on the list “can begin to do the work to rebuild that country.”

In an interview to Argentina’s Infobae website on Friday, Pompeo, who is currently on a four-day tour of Latin America, said the nations that continue to stand by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro should “leave.”

“Well, we hope every foreign power will leave. We want the Venezuelan people to control their own destiny. We think that would be best. In the end, I’m confident that the Venezuelan people will take back their country,” Pompeo said when asked about the role that Russia, China, and Iran play in the region.

One name was conspicuously absent from his list of “every foreign power” though – the one power with a very clear-cut idea on which way Venezuelans should “control their own destiny.” The US has been openly calling for regime change in Venezuela, applying layers of sanctions and telling President Maduro to step down and make way for US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido. … Full article

“US Causes Instability Anywhere It Sets Foot”

Al-Manar | July 20, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday that the United States causes instability and insecurity everywhere in the world it sets foot, including the Persian Gulf and South America.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in the Venezuelan capital early Saturday after a six-day stay in New York.

Speaking to reporters upon arriving in Caracas, Zarif said that “anywhere the United States sets foot in, it causes instability there.”

“At the moment, the US is causing insecurity with its presence in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, and also the South American region,” said Zarif.

He went on to add that, “I don’t know any place in the world where the US’s presence has brought stability.”

“Anywhere the US has set foot on, it led to pressure on the people and caused extremism and terrorism,” stressed the Iranian top diplomat.

While in Caracas, Zarif is slated to take part in the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Coordinating Bureau (CoB) on 20-21 July under the theme: “Promotion and Consolidation of Peace through Respect for International Law.” He will also meet with a host of Venezuelan officials before making a visit to Nicaragua and Bolivia.

Iran’s seizes UK tanker in counter-escalation

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 21, 2019

The seizure of a British oil tanker by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on July 20 in the Strait of Hormuz has all the hallmarks of a retaliatory act in the downstream of the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the British Navy exactly two weeks ago on July 4 off Gibralter.

On July 16, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had warned, “Iran will respond to the vicious Britain’s piracy. Iran’s response will come at the right time and the right place.” Four days alter, IRGC struck. An IRGC statement gave a detailed account of what happened. Footage of the incident has also been released — just as Britain did.

Iran is taunting Britain and making it look foolish. Britain is now left with no option but to negotiate. And the outcome of any negotiations can be easily foretold — Britain will have to unceremoniously set free the Iranian tanker.

Quite obviously, the seizure of the Iranian tanker by Britain was done in tandem with the hardliners in Washington and it is by now clear that the EU distanced itself from it. Britain’s dilemma now will be that all its ships in the Strait of Hormuz are in Iran’s crosshairs.

Yesterday’s incident was a calculated act by the IRGC, enacted right under the nose of a British warship, which was escorting the tanker. When the warship threatened to open fire, IRGC retorted that it would also retaliate with fire. Thereupon, an Iranian helicopter dropped masked men on the British tanker and took control of it. The intention is to make the Brits look impotent and stupid. (See the Press TV commentary The Royal Navy: From Piracy to Impotence.)

In a broader perspective, therefore, it appears that Iran may have underscored that its earlier threat must be taken very seriously — that if its oil exports ever got intercepted or blocked, then no one will be allowed to export oil via the Strait of Hormuz. … continue

Iran Confiscated British Oil Tanker According to International Law: Official

Al-Manar | July 20, 2019

The Guardian Council Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei said that Iran’s measure to seize a trespassing British oil tanker was carried out according to the rule of reprisal in the international law.

“The rule of reprisal is a recognized concept in international law and it is used in the face of another country’s illegal measures. The correct action of Iran’s government to encounter illegal economic war and seizure of oil tankers is an example of this rule and it is carried out according to the international law,” Kadkhodaei tweeted on Saturday.

In a statement on Friday, the IRGC said that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been captured “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.” The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

An unnamed Iranian maritime official said the ship had breached international maritime regulations by passing through a prohibited maritime passage in the Strait, turning off its tracking signals and ignoring warnings issued by Iranian authorities. “The tanker had turned off its tracker and ignored several warnings by the IRGC before being impounded,” the source said.

On July 4, British Royal Marines in Gibraltar stormed the Iran-operated 300,000-tonne Grace 1 and detained it, accusing it of carrying oil to Syria in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the Arab country. Iran condemned the move as “piracy” and summoned Britain’s ambassador in protest over it.

Israeli Spyware Can Steal Private Data From Apple, Google, Facebook – Reports

Sputnik – July 20, 2019

Israel-based NSO Group became the focus of public attention this spring, when the media reported that its software products are being used to hack WhatsApp messenger, as well as spy on the owners of Android and iOS smartphones.

Spyware from NSO Group can obtain user data from Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft servers, according to an article in The Financial Times.

While NSO has consistently rejected any espionage or hacking allegations, the company has never denied the development of such technology, prompting many questions among experts.

According to the Financial Times, the infected smartphone provides NSO’s Pegasus software with authentication keys for Google Drive, Facebook Messenger and iCloud cloud services. With this technology, Pegasus manages to bypass two-step authentication and email notification.

Users are not notified of suspicious activity. … continue

Facebook’s Libra Can Become West’s New Tool for Political Pressure – Chainside Co-Founder

By Anastasia Levchenko |  Sputnik | July 19, 2019

One month ago, Facebook shocked economists and politicians around the world by announcing its plan to launch a digital currency in 2020. Its ambitious goal is to enable people who “remain outside of the traditional financial system” and have no access to a traditional bank to use a “simple global currency”.

Libra, a cryptocurrency that Facebook seeks to launch as early as next year, could become another powerful tool of political pressure used by Western economies to adjust local markets in other countries as well as the global financial system as a whole to serve their own interests, according to Federico Tenga, a co-founder of Chainside, a company helping businesses to accept Bitcoin payments, and adviser on blockchain to the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. … continue

Britain says seizures of UK vessels by Iran are ‘unacceptable’

RT | July 19, 2019

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned Iran of consequences for seizing two vessels in the Gulf, one of which has now been released. London’s response will be “robust” but not military, he said.

“We will respond in a way that is considered but robust,” Hunt told journalists, adding that the UK hopes to resolve the crisis through diplomacy and “is not looking” at military options.

Hunt said that he has already discussed the incident with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and looks forward to talking to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. … continue

Any military aggression against Iran will drag entire Mideast into chaos: Nasrallah

Press TV – July 19, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has warned the US that any military aggression against Iran will drag the entire Middle East into disarray, stressing that Washington will definitely not be the one who determines the end of such a scenario.

“As Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei) has said, the US is not capable of imposing a military war on Iran. The White House knows that if a war against Iran happens, the entire region will get entangled, and the US will not be the one who finishes it,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a meeting with the visiting Iranian parliament speaker’s special advisor on international affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Beirut on Friday. … continue

Israeli forces wound nearly 100 Gazan protesters

Press TV – July 19, 2019

Israeli forces have attacked Palestinians taking part in the weekly “Great March of Return” rallies, injuring 98 Gazan protesters, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.

The Gazan Health Ministry also said that 49 of the injured protesters had sustained bullet wounds from Israeli live fire.

Four paramedics were also among the wounded.

The rallies have been held every week since March 30 last year. The Palestinians demand the right to return of those driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression. … Full article

UN officials call on Israel to halt intended demolitions in Sur Baher

Palestine Information Center – July 19, 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – UN officials on Wednesday called on Israel to halt plans for mass demolitions in Sur Baher neighborhood, east Jerusalem.

This came in a statement by Jamie McGoldrick (Humanitarian Coordinator), Gwyn Lewis (Director of West Bank Operations for UNRWA), and James Heenan (Head of OHCHR in the occupied Palestinian territory), according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“We are following very closely developments in the Sur Baher area of the Jerusalem governorate. Seventeen Palestinians, including nine Palestine refugees, face the risk of displacement, and over 350 others risk massive property loss, due to the Israeli authorities’ intention to demolish 10 buildings, including around 70 apartments, due to their proximity to the West Bank barrier. One month ago, following the exhaustion of almost all domestic legal remedies, Israeli forces sent the residents, a “Notice of Intent to Demolish” which will expire tomorrow, 18 July,” the UN officials said in their statement.

“Demolitions and forced evictions are some of the multiple pressures generating a risk of forcible transfer for many Palestinians in the West Bank. Residents of East Jerusalem and adjacent areas have been particularly affected, with a significant rise in demolitions there in 2019.”

“Amongst the seventeen Palestinians now at risk of displacement, nine of them are Palestine refugees, including an elderly couple and five children. For many refugees in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, displacement is both a living memory and an imminent risk. Displacement, particularly for the most vulnerable, is traumatic and has lasting consequences.”

“We join others in the international community in calling on Israel to halt plans to demolish these and other structures and to implement fair planning policies that allow Palestinian residents of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, the ability to meet their housing and development needs, in line with its obligations as an occupying power,” they concluded their statement.

After army’s denial, rights group proves Israel soldier shot child in head with live fire

MEMO | July 19, 2019

An Israeli soldier who shot and seriously injured a Palestinian child last week in the occupied West Bank used live ammunition, human rights NGO B’Tselem stated yesterday, contrary to army reports.

Nine-year-old ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was shot in the head and remains in hospital.

On 12 July, residents of Kafr Qaddum village were holding regular protests against the closure of their main access road by Israeli occupation forces, restrictions imposed after the expansion of an adjacent Israeli settlement.

During the demonstration, soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets at residents, and also, B’Tselem reported, “fired a large number of live rounds in the air”.

Away from the protesters, ‘Abd a-Rahman a-Shteiwi was “sitting at the entrance of one of the homes on the edge of the village playing with a piece of wood” when he was shot. … Full article

Palestinian injured in hit-and-run by settler in Occupied Jerusalem

Palestine Information Center – July 19, 2019

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – A Jerusalemite young man was badly injured on Wednesday when a Jewish settler driving at a high speech ran him over on a road in west Jerusalem and fled the scene.

According to local sources, the victimized young man is 19-year-old Adnan Mujahed, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mujahed suffered multiple wounds and fractures and was transferred to Hadassah Hospital for medical assistance.

The young man explained that he was en route to his workplace when he had trouble with the car he was driving and left it on Abu Ghosh Road in west Jerusalem, but suddenly a settler accelerated his car and ran him over.

Quakes Prompt Fears of Devastating Consequences of Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump in Nevada

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Nevada state authorities have voiced fears that radioactivity could be released into the environment by powerful tremors, regularly hitting the proposed site of a nuclear waste repository, set to store thousands of tonnes of hazardous reactor fuel, according to the federal government’s plans.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and the state’s six Congressmen and Congresswomen have confronted the country’s Department of Energy over plans to license a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain in the Mojave Desert. The letter addressed to Energy Secretary Rick Perry followed powerful earthquakes in California in early July that hit an area just 100 miles northeast of the proposed waste dump site. It insisted that the seismic hazards in Yucca Mountain showed “one of the many geologic problems with the site as a nuclear waste repository”.

He stated that the quakes have only strengthened his “resolve to fight any continued federal effort to use Nevada as the nation’s nuclear dumping ground”. … continue

New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest in War & Conflict

Strategic Culture Foundation | July 19, 2019

Mark Esper is expected to be confirmed in coming days as the new US Secretary of Defense. His appointment is awaiting final Congressional approval after customary hearings this week before senators. The 55-year-old nominee put forward by President Trump was previously a decorated Lieutenant Colonel and has served in government office during the GW Bush administration.

But what stands out as his most conspicuous past occupation is working for seven years as a senior lobbyist for Raytheon, the US’ third biggest military manufacturing company. The firm specializes in missile-defense systems, including the Patriot, Iron Dome and the Aegis Ashore system (the latter in partnership with Lockheed Martin). … continue

Venezuela Denounces EU Attempt to Disrupt Dialogue With Opposition

teleSUR | July 18, 2019

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza has denounced a new attempt by the European Union to destabilize the dialogue process between government representatives and the opposition in Barbados.

“The institutions of the European Union are determined to disrupt and try to destroy the dialogue process in Venezuela. They do not respect the sovereignty, nor the right to peace. What would Jean Monnet think?” the diplomat tweeted.

Arreaza’s statement Thursday countered a resolution approved on Wednesday by the European Parliament, which calls on the bloc’s council to adopt additional sanctions targeting state authorities.

The MEPs also requested to restrict movement, freeze assets and suspend visas, as well as those of their closest relatives.

This week, Venezuelan officials already denounced and rejected statements made by the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini.

The EU’s representative threatened the South American country with new sanctions if there was no progress in talks between the Venezuelan opposition and the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Both developments yielded in the EU’s core political spheres seem incendiary at a key moment when negotiations between the Venezuelan government and opposition factions are underway in Barbados. … Full article

US Imposes Sanctions on Hezbollah Senior Leader Over 1994 Terror Attack in Argentina

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Hezbollah’s top figure, Salman Raouf Salman, stands accused of the bombing of a Jewish centre perpetrated 25 years ago in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.

The United States has introduced sanctions on a senior Hezbollah leader, a Colombian-born Lebanese national Salman Raouf Salman, over his complicity in terrorist attacks, according to the US Treasury. The top Hezbollah operative is accused of coordinating the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires in 1994. … continue

Argentina Labels Hezbollah Terrorist Organization, Orders Asset Freeze

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Argentina’s authorities have designated the Lebanese-based Hezbollah movement a terrorist organization and ruled to freeze all financial assets belonging to the group.

“I am ordering to freeze assets of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, its military wing and its leader”, Mariano Federici, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Argentina (UIF-AR), part of the country’s Finance Ministry, said on Thursday, quoted by the Clarin news outlet.

Argentina has previously followed UN guidelines on terrorist organizations and did not have its own list of such groups. However, the United Nations does not recognize Hezbollah as a terror group.

The Latin American country’s decision to create its own list of terrorist organizations is reported to be timed to the 25th anniversary of the violent attack on the Mutual Israelite Association of Argentina (known by its acronym AMIA) community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994. … Full article

Concentration of forces near Gulf risks ‘conflict outbreak,’ US policy ‘a mistake’ – Moscow

RT | July 19, 2019

Washington’s claim that it downed an Iranian drone is another sign that tensions in the Persian Gulf are at risk of spiraling into a bigger conflict, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned.

President Donald Trump had earlier claimed that the assault ship USS ‘Boxer’ shot down an Iranian drone that was approaching it in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran denied losing any aircraft that day.

“The concentration of forces of different countries in the Persian Gulf is so high that any incidents are possible there,” the Russian diplomat told reporters on Friday, adding that the main task now is to “prevent the escalation.”

“As we see once again, the situation… can lead to an outbreak of a conflict.”

Ryabkov said that, despite calls to show restraint, Washington “stubbornly continues to follow the path of stoking tensions and maximum pressure on Tehran.”

This path is a mistake, and prone to cause further complications and shocks.

Last month, the Iranian military shot down a US drone it said had violated the nation’s airspace. Washington said the drone was destroyed over international waters.

Unidentified drones attack Hashd al-Sha’abi base in Iraq’s Salahudin Province: Reports

Press TV – July 19, 2019

Unidentified drones have reportedly attacked a base belonging to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) in the Arab country’s Salahudin Province.

The attack killed one PMU member and injured another four, Iraq’s al-Ahad television network reported on Friday.

Footage later released by Iraqi media from the assault’s aftermath showed a large flame in what was reportedly a PMU base near the town of Amerli.

It is yet unclear who orchestrated the operation.

The PMU — better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi — was formed by popular volunteer forces in 2014 after the Daesh Takfiri terror group launched a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against the nation.

It joined forces with the national army and effectively contributed to its anti-terror operations. The combined push, which was reinforced by Iraq’s allies, including Iran, ultimately led to Daesh’s expulsion in late 2017.

The Iraqi parliament on November 26, 2016 approved a law giving full legal status to Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters. Last March, the then prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to order the PMU’s formal inclusion in the Arab country’s army.

The order would grant the PMU many of the same rights as members of the military, but it is yet to be fully implemented.

Earlier this month, Abadi’s successor, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, issued a decree, calling for the PMU’s full integration in the Iraqi military.

The attack on the Hashd al-Sha’abi base comes as the United States has sought to pressure Baghdad against the PMU.

Washington has often labeled Iraqi units operating under the PMU organization as being “Iran-led terrorists groups,” a claim denied by the Iraqi officials.

Iraqis have sharply rejected Washington’s hostile stance against Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, describing it as a violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty.

Who’s Afraid of William Barr?

Liberals and other Democrats seem to want to cover up the CIA’s role in Russiagate

By Stephen F. Cohen | The Nation | July 17, 2019

… Everyone who cares about the quality of American political life, no matter what they think about Trump, should encourage Barr’s probe. To resort to a familiar cliché, Russiagate allegations have become a spreading cancer in American politics, with Democratic congressional candidates fundraising by promising, despite the exculpatory findings of Robert Mueller regarding “collusion,” to fight evil “Trump-Putin” forces in Washington. Meanwhile, some Republicans, despite ample contrary evidence, preposterously blame Russia itself—for the infamous Steele Dossier, for example. (By the way, for more irony, Trump is regularly accused in the above-cited news accounts of “siding with” Russian President Vladimir Putin in denying that any “collusion” determined the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, a conclusion also reached by Mueller, thereby putting Trump, Putin, and Mueller on the same “side.”)

Ideally, we would have an investigation of the intelligence agencies entirely independent of the White House headed by an eminent political figure who is not a presidential appointee, as was the 1975 Senate Church Committee. For now, we have only Trump’s attorney general, William Barr. Nonetheless, we should support him, however conditionally. Rogue intelligence agencies subvert democracy, and the next candidate they target—as they did Trump—may be yours. – Read full article

Another Lava Jato Witness Confesses he ‘Built a Story’ to Incriminate Lula

teleSUR | July 17, 2019

Former Odebrecht Superintendent, Carlos Armando Paschoal, and one of the plaintiffs in the trial against former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva admitted that he was “almost coerced” by Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato) prosecutors to “build a story” that would incriminate Lula, according to a report published Tuesday by Brasil de Fato.

“In the case of the Atibaia site (the property attributed to former President Lula that was remodeled by Odebrecht allegedly in payment of a bribe), which I had absolutely nothing to do, for example, I was almost coerced to create an account of what happened,” Paschoal testified in another trial on July 6.

According to his account, he was forced to say something like “look, this happened, this, this and that… I had to build a story,” in exchange of reduced sentence of two years in open prison regime.

In February 2019, Brazilian justice ruled a second sentence against the leader of the Worker’s Party (PT) arguing he received about US$270,000 for the renovations of a house as “payment.” The verdict sentenced the former president to 13 years in prison for alleged corruption and money laundering.

The former president and his defense denied those accusations since the start, now upon hearing the testimony of Pashcoal, Lula’s attorney, Cristiano Zanin Martins, reiterated that there is a political-judicial strategy to imprison his client. “It only reinforces what we said,” he added.

Paschoal would be the second key witness who comes forward, in less than a month, to admit that there was coercion by prosecutors to implicate Lula. On July 1, businessman Leo Pinheiro, a witness of the case against Lula, admitted he was forced to testify and blackmailed by the prosecutors of in exchange of reduced sentence. … continue

Israeli Gang Rape-The Horrific Details British Press Seems to Conceal

Ynet | July 19, 2019

Since the British press fails its duty here is a translation of Ynet’s article about yesterday’s alleged rape of a British young woman by 12 Israelis… continue

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | July 18, 2019

Epstein is only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive and sophisticated operation that offers a frightening window into how deeply tied the U.S. government is to the modern-day equivalents of organized crime. – Read article

Trump boasts that his ‘kept promises’ made Israel great… What about America?

By Helen Buyniski | RT | July 18, 2019

Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is already sounding like a victory lap, but some may find his choice list of accomplishments puzzling. What does recognizing occupied Israeli land have to do with MAGA – and what about Americans?

US President Trump’s campaign refrain is one of “promises kept,” but Americans not immersed in the communal rapture of a reelection rally are forced to confront uncomfortable truths about which vows the president has chosen to fulfill. Opening an American embassy in Jerusalem doesn’t put food on their table, and killing the Iran nuclear deal doesn’t pay their medical bills. Trump has kept a very specific set of promises and let the others go, declaring his mission accomplished. … continue

If no CAATSA for Turkey, none for India either

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | July 18, 2019

President Trump’s statement on July 17 to block the sale of the advanced F-35 jet to Turkey and to remove Turkey altogether from the fighter jet programme marks an inflection point in the Turkish-American relations.

The development has profound implications for India as well, which is also procuring the S-400 Triumf anti-ballistic missile system from Russia. … continue

Report: Prisoner Died Due To Abuse, Lack Of Medical Treatment

IMEMC News – July 18, 2019

Updated: The Palestinian Detainees Committee has confirmed that the autopsy results in the death of Nassar Taqatqa, 31, from Beit Fajjar town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, revealed that he died due to abuse by Israeli interrogators and soldiers, and added that he suffered severe Pneumonia without treatment.

The Committee held Israel fully responsible for his death, especially by failing and refusing to send him to a hospital when his skin started showing signs of disease, and his body became very weak.

It added that Taqatqa was left alone in his prison cell, suffering from Pneumonia, and from exhaustion due to constant interrogation.

The Committee also said that the corpse of the detainee showed signs of torture, with clear marks on his skin, especially from metal cuffs and shackles on his arms and legs. … Full article

US’ Greenblatt: ‘Israel is victim in conflict with Palestinians’

MEMO | July 18, 2019

The US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, has said that Israel is the “victim” in its conflict with the Palestinians and that he “cannot think of single instances” when Israel made a mistake.

In an interview aired yesterday by US broadcaster PBS, Greenblatt was asked what responsibility Israel bears for its now 71-year-old conflict with the Palestinians. The US envoy replied:

I think that Israel is actually more the victim than the party that’s responsible. From the moment of its formation, they were attacked multiple times. They continue to be attacked with terrorism. So — I’m not sure I understand the premise of the question.

He added that he “cannot think of single instances” in which Israel made a mistake or overstepped its authority, saying: “I think that they’re trying their best to succeed. They have actually succeeded in many ways, especially economically, under very, very trying circumstances.” … continue

Israel to Demolish Residential Buildings near Jerusalem

Palestine Chronicle | July 18, 2019

Israeli forces today took measurements of 16 Palestinian residential buildings slated for demolition in Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood, located on the edge of Sur Baher, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Head of the Wadi al-Hummus Committee Hamada Hamada told WAFA that Israeli forces along with staff from the so-called Israeli municipality took measurements of the 16 buildings, which comprise of 100 apartments, in preparation to demolish them as was confirmed one of the owners Mohammed Abu Tair.

This step, Hamada explained, came after the period given by Israeli authorities to the owners to demolish their apartments on their own came to an end today, thus the demolition will be carried out at any moment.

The owners are expected to pay exorbitant demolition fees as the Israeli authorities will carry out the demolition.

The Israeli high court has recently approved the demolition of the buildings, thus upholding military allegations that the buildings are “close to the Annexation Wall” and “pose a security threat” due to their proximity to the illegal wall.

Palestinian appeals to demolition orders are frequently dismissed by Israeli courts, which are in fact complicit in perpetuating the Israeli policies of forcible transfer and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The demolition is expected to have a disastrous effect on all other areas of the West Bank adjacent to Israel’s wall, putting these areas at a high risk of mass demolitions under security pretenses and putting the lives of Palestinians living in such areas at the risk of imminent forcible transfer.

US Democrats remove ‘occupation’ from two-state solution resolution

MEMO | July 18, 2019

A US House Democrat’s resolution in support of the two-state solution has been amended to remove references to the Israeli occupation and settlement activity, reports the Times of Israel. The amended bill also claims attempts by Palestinians to achieve statehood outside of negotiations with Israel as is unacceptable.

In April, California Democrat Alan Lowenthal introduced House Resolution 326, a symbolic resolution that reaffirmed the US’ commitment to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution.

The original text highlighted “the special relationship between the US and Israel” and how the US “remains unwavering in its commitment to help Israel address the myriad challenges it faces.” It also mentioned the long history of US presidents seeking a two-state solution and how “delays to a political solution… pose a threat to the ability to maintain a Jewish and democratic state of Israel.” … continue

Iran and Hezbollah Stand Ready for War

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | July 18, 2019

Individually or collectively the construct known as ‘the West’ has had its foot on the neck of the Middle East and North Africa for more than two centuries. Occasionally the foot has been lifted but never voluntarily, only when ‘the West’ was no longer capable of holding it in place. Examples are France’s unwilling retreats from Syria in 1946 and Algeria in 1962, and Britain’s final loss of control over Egypt following the failure of the ‘tripartite aggression’ of 1956, otherwise known as the Suez War.

When they came to Palestine the Zionists packaged themselves as standing on the ramparts of civilization against barbarism. As ‘Western civilization’ had always been spectacularly uncivilized in its treatment of black and brown people, the Zionists were standing on the ramparts of Western barbarism, not civilization.

An existential moment seems to be approaching in Middle Eastern history. The so-called West has dominated the region and North Africa since Napoleon landed a French army in Egypt in 1798. Since then, few countries that have escaped invasion, occupation, subversion and the overthrow of governments. … continue

Cartoonist slams Guardian for spiking illustration over ‘anti-Semitism’ concerns

RT | July 18, 2019

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell has written an angry email to staff after the newspaper declined to publish his latest cartoon, allegedly over worries about “anti-Semitism” and a possible “legal challenge.”

In a leaked letter posted to Twitter by BuzzFeed journalist Mark Di Stefano, Bell refers to a “bizarre telephone conversation” he had – presumably with an editor – about his latest cartoon. Bell was told that the paper’s lawyers “were concerned” about the cartoon, which features the Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson as a witchfinder on the hunt for “unholy anti-Semitic tropes,” as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. […]

Last month, the New York Times announced it would discontinue all political cartoons, after receiving backlash for “anti-Semitism” over a caricature of Netanyahu, who was portrayed as a dog leading a blind Donald Trump. – Read full article

Pandering to Christian Zionism: Trump Outreach on Display in Washington

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 18, 2019

In Washington on the weekend after the Fourth of July, Israel was praised and Iran was condemned in the strongest terms, with a bit of a call to arms thrown in to prepare the nation for an inevitable war. It might just seem like a normal work week in the nation’s capital, but this time around there was a difference. The rhetoric came from no less than five senior officials in the Trump Administration and the audience consisted of 5,000 cheering members from the Christian Zionist evangelical group called Christians United for Israel (CUFI). … continue

Russia calls on US to store nuclear weapons only on its own territory

Press TV – July 18, 2019

Russia has called on the United States to keep its nuclear weapons only on its own territory, a day after a NATO report unwittingly revealed that Washington has stored some of its nuclear weapons in several European countries, including Turkey.

“Russia deploys and stores its nuclear weapons exclusively on its own territory. We call on the US and NATO to do the same,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Wednesday.

His comments came a day after The Washington Post said in a report that a recently released — and subsequently deleted — document published by a NATO committee had inadvertently revealed that the US stores 150 items of its tactical nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. … continue