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Israel’s Thug at the UN

By Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | August 25, 2015

The appointment by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of one of his most hawkish and outspoken rivals as Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations has prompted widespread consternation.

As one Israeli analyst noted last week, Danny Danon’s appointment amounts to a “cruel joke” on the international community. The new envoy “lacks even the slightest level of finesse and subtlety required of a senior diplomat”.

Last year Netanyahu sacked Danon as deputy defence minister, describing him as too “irresponsible” even by the standards of Israel’s usually anarchic politics. Danon had denounced the prime minister for “leftist feebleness” in his handling of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer.

Danon is a UN official’s worst nightmare. He is a vocal opponent of a two-state solution and has repeatedly called for the annexation of the West Bank.

Back in 2011, days before the UN General Assembly was due to vote on Palestinian statehood, Danon dismissed the forum as irrelevant: “Even if there will be a vote [in favour], it will be a Facebook state.”

On the face of it, Netanyahu’s timing could not be worse. Danon is to represent Israel as the Palestinians are expected to step up efforts at the UN to entrench recognition of their statehood. He will also be a leading spokesman as Israel tries to fend off war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The generally accepted explanation is that Netanyahu’s move is driven by domestic, not diplomatic, calculations. Danon is the Israeli right’s poster boy, one who makes the prime minister look too cautious and conciliatory.

The two faced off for the Likud party leadership last November. Danon lost but Netanyahu doubtless fears, as his party and the Israeli public shift ever rightwards, that his rival’s time is coming.

The posting removes Danon as head of the Likud’s powerful central committee, dispatches him to a distant land, and should provide him with opportunities aplenty to self-harm.

But that is not the whole story. Danon’s appointment reveals something more significant about Israel’s deteriorating relations even with its international supporters.

It is hard nowadays to recall that Israel once took the UN very seriously indeed. It had to.

In the decade following 1948, Abba Eban, the country’s foremost diplomat, sought to carve out international recognition and respectability for Israel at the UN.

Eban often used deceit and misdirection – he is reported to have avowed that “diplomats go abroad to lie for their country”. But he never forgot the importance of creating a façade of moral justification for Israel’s actions, even as it launched wars of aggression in 1956 at Suez and again against Egypt in 1967.

Reality caught up with Israel when the UN adopted a resolution in 1975 equating Israel’s official ideology, Zionism, with racism. The resolution was only revoked 16 years later, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower.

Washington arm-twisted the General Assembly with promises that Israel would engage in a peace process with the Palestinians, culminating a short time later in the Oslo Accords.

But as Oslo slowly unravelled, and Israel’s leaders – not least Netanyahu himself – were exposed as the true rejectionists, Israel was forced on to the back foot again.

Today, the consensus in Israel is not only that the UN is a bastion of anti-Israel prejudice but that it is an incubator of global anti-semitism, much of it supposedly spawned by Arab states. Israel is blameless, so this story goes, but the world has fallen under the haters’ spell.

The parting shot of Danon’s predecessor, Ron Prosor, last week was to accuse yet again a leading UN official, Jordan’s Rima Khalaf, of anti-semitism for pointing out the untold misery caused by Israel’s near-decade blockade of Gaza.

Earlier this year, after stepping down as Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren went further, arguing that the plague of anti-semitism had infected even America’s leading Jewish journalists. Their critical coverage of Israel was proof of self-hatred, he claimed.

The need for such desperate diplomacy has grown as Israel’s moral image has tarnished, even for its allies. But the hectoring and intimidation by seasoned diplomats like Prosor and Oren has produced diminishing returns.

Danon’s posting is part of a discernible pattern of recent appointments by Netanyahu that reflect a growing refusal to engage in any kind of recognisable diplomacy. Confrontation is preferred.

The trend started with Netanyahu’s decision in 2009 to let the thuggish Avigdor Lieberman lead the foreign ministry and Israel’s diplomatic corps.

Notably, Netanyahu picked Ron Dermer, a high-profile partisan of the US Republican party, to replace Oren in 2013. Dermer is widely credited with engineering Netanyahu’s provocative address earlier this year to the US Congress, in an undisguised effort to undermine President Barack Obama’s talks with Iran.

Danon’s appointment, like Dermer’s, indicates the extent to which the Israeli right has abandoned any hope of persuading the international community of the rightness of its cause – or even of working within the rules of statecraft.

Just as Dermer has turned Obama’s White House into a diplomatic battlefield, Danon can be expected to barrack, abuse and alienate fellow ambassadors at the UN in New York.

An Israel that has no place for negotiations or compromise wants only to tell the world that it is wrong and that Israelis don’t care what others think. Danon is the right man for that task.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Who is doing the saber-rattling in Eastern Europe?

By Vladimir KOZIN | Oriental Review | August 25, 2015

Last week, NATO headquarters announced Exercise Swift Response-15, the largest Allied airborne training event on the European continent since the end of the Cold War. About 5,000 soldiers from 11 countries in the alliance will take part in the maneuvers, which will last until Sept. 13.

This is neither the first nor the last drill to be conducted by NATO, the largest military alliance in the world.

Over the past year and a half, NATO armed forces have almost doubled the number of military exercises they have staged near the Russian border: between 2012 and 2013 they conducted an average of 95 such training events per year, but there have already been 150 so far in 2015, and flights by reconnaissance aircraft along the Russian frontier have increased tenfold.

But in an attempt to unfairly place the blame on Russia for such exercises, the London-based European Leadership Network issued a report on Aug. 12 that uses a flawed methodology to compare one type of exercise held in Russia in 2015 with another kind of military drill organized by NATO this year. Criticism was only leveled at the large number of troops involved in the Russian exercise, because the alliance’s drill was smaller on that scale. The report’s purpose was obvious: to shift the entirety of the West’s own culpability for war preparations in Europe onto the Russians.

  • First of all, it makes no sense to compare only two military drills conducted by opposing sides; one needs to take into account all the exercises that are being held, including the sum total of their scope and focus (the scenarios being rehearsed). In this regard, it should be noted that the aggregate number of NATO personnel taking part in the alliance’s military maneuvers is significantly greater than the estimate of troops involved in the Russian military exercises.
  • Second, in regard to this matter, one must also acknowledge that it was not Russia who initiated this upsurge in military drills. The US and its closest NATO allies took that first step under contrived pretenses. For this reason, the European Leadership Network’s proposals to limit the number and scope of military exercises in Europe should be primarily directed at Washington and the alliance, not at Russia.
  • Third, one cannot overlook the fact that many NATO members (the US, UK, France, Germany, and others) conduct their military drills far from their own borders. The Russian armed forces almost always oversee this training within their own country.
  • Fourth, it should be noted that in addition to periodic military maneuvers, a special NATO Response Force has been created that will consist of up to 40,000 soldiers who can be quickly airlifted to wherever they need to be. In addition, the US Navy must now be able to instantly mobilize the resources to form “expeditionary forces” that can be rapidly deployed to any part of the world (for example, as part of a Marine brigade including up to 17 amphibious ships or a joint Marine Air-Ground Task Force with as many as 75,000 personnel). For comparison, a recent NATO Baltops naval exercise in the seas around northwestern Europe involved 49 warships and support vessels from 17 countries within the alliance.
  • Fifth, it is important to note that while NATO has 24,000 combat aircraft and 800 ocean-going ships at its disposal, Russia does not own nearly so much equipment of that type. What’s more, the Pentagon is planning a further expansion of the forward deployment of its armed forces. That would station US troops, on a permanent or temporary basis, within more than 100 nations. There are plans to begin prepositioning weapons and military equipment in these countries, as is “needed to equip troops fighting in forward combat zones.”
  • Sixth, during these military drills, the Pentagon is rehearsing scenarios for armed intervention intended to overthrow undesirable regimes. For example, throughout the post-war period, the United States and its allies have employed military force more than 50 times, and six times that has escalated into regional armed conflicts.

Even NATO’s leaders have acknowledged the alliance’s military buildup on Russia’s doorstep. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in 2014 these numbers have quintupled since 2013. And NATO member states’ naval operations have increased fourfold during this period.

In particular, the air forces of the 15 NATO countries that take part in the Baltic Air Policing operation over the Baltic states ramped up their activities more than 1,240 times (when calculated in flying hours) since it was launched 11 years ago. This operation is underway 24/7, year-round. Four of the types of planes used in this drill are considered “dual-capable” aircraft that can carry either conventional or tactical nuclear weapons.

At the same time the United States is refusing to adopt the new Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), proposing to revive the former act, which also never went into effect through the fault of its NATO signatories. New talks on CFE-2 have not even begun. At the same time, eight additional military bases in Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as seven command and administrative centers, plus American heavy weaponry and AEW&C aircraft have been added to the 150 military bases belonging to the United States and its allies that are immediately adjacent or relatively close to Russia’s borders.

Without exception, every military exercise that the alliance has recently staged in Europe has had very focused objectives. They are rehearsing scenarios that test the use of the Rapid Reaction Force, which includes the transportation of personnel and heavy equipment over long distances, the interaction between different varieties and formats of armed forces, and the operational “coupling” between the command and control structures. There is no doubt that such exercises have an anti-Russian bias, mainly because, as already noted, they are primarily (up to 55%) conducted in zones adjacent to the Russian borders. For example, an exercise that included 140 armored vehicles and 1,400 troops near the Estonian city of Narva in February of this year was held only 300 meters away from the Russian border.

In mid-February of this year the Pentagon shipped twelve A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Spangdahlem Air Base (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany), which will be deployed in Eastern Europe. There is no doubt about the identity of the potential enemy. Eight of these aircraft were flown to the Ämari Air Base (Estonia) in June of this year. And five USAF B-52H and B-2 strategic heavy bombers were sent to RAF Fairford in Great Britain to participate in NATO military exercises.

In March of this year NATO organized the Joint Viking military exercises in northern Norway near the Russian border, which was an event unprecedented since 1990. Over 5,000 troops and 400 units of military equipment were involved. During these drills, the naval and air forces of the region’s NATO countries were placed on alert. The last time a similar drill was conducted was in 1967.

In March and April of 2015 the US, Swedish, and Finnish air forces directed military maneuvers near the Finnish town of Pori, flying sorties with Gripen, F-16, and Hornet fighter jets. In May, the air forces from eight NATO member states staged the Arctic Challenge Exercise in Norway, which included more than 100 aircraft. In early May of this year major military drills known as Siil-2015 were held in Estonia, involving 13,000 troops. This was the first time such large-scale drills had been conducted inside Estonia.

The Pentagon is planning to set up warehouses of military equipment in NATO’s eastern flank in order to conduct “ongoing exercises on a rotational basis.” For these purposes, 1,200 armored vehicles, including 250 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, as well as artillery systems, are to be stockpiled in Eastern Europe. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter claims that Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland have already agreed to house this military equipment within their borders. Some types of weaponry can also be stationed in Germany, where, just like after WWII, large numbers of American troops are already concentrated.

In light of the increased US military aid to the regime in Kiev that will be used in the genocide of Ukrainian citizens, these military preparations are taking on a plainly anti-Russian flavor.

Nor can we ignore America’s tactical nuclear weapons, which since the early 1950s have been deployed in four European countries (Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany), as well as the Asian part of Turkey. Furthermore, a US missile defense system will be installed in Romania in 2015, and then another three years later in Poland. These military forces and infrastructures are certainly not aimed at Iran. So how should Russians react to all of this, and who is actually rattling his saber in Eastern Europe?

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

MH17 And Other Traps To Avoid

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 25.08.2015

The propaganda machine in the west is once again ramping up and spewing out one false claim after another about the shoot down of MH17 last year over eastern Ukraine and each story is more absurd than the one before it. On the 13th of August the British newspaper, mistakenly called The Independent, made the bizarre claim that Russia has “stoked tensions with the West by burning Dutch flowers in what is regarded as a political statement over the investigation into the Malaysian Airlines flight disaster headed by The Netherlands.”

The Independent states that its source for this garbage rests on unnamed “critics” and then goes on to repeat the NATO party line that Russia is trying to block the facts from coming out.

Just two days before this the BBC claimed a leak from the Dutch investigation indicated Russian missile parts were found at the site. However they failed to mention later that Dutch investigators refuted this mysterious leak and stated their investigation did not conclude that at all. Both these stories made sure to repeat that Russia had blocked a UN tribunal from being formed to look into the crash and punish those responsible.

Dr. Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian Ambassador to the UK and former deputy foreign minister, captured the situation in this statement made on July 31, 2015, in regard to the call for a UN tribunal,

“Why the rush? Is it to help the investigation, or rather to replace it? Progress towards justice must be seen. So far, we have seen nothing. Our partners preferred to conduct a vote that is impossible to explain by any other motive than seeking a fresh pretext for pointing a finger at Russia. It is only to be regretted that the unity and authority of the Security Council has once again become hostage to political ambitions having nothing to do with either justice or a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine in its entirety. For its part, Russia will continue to seek both.”

He went on to correctly point out that the only ones blocking the findings of the investigation from coming out are the NATO countries and its ally Australia who refuse to release any of the findings of the investigators and have delayed the report until October of 2015. Russia is not blocking anything. It was the first country to demand a full and independent investigation into the matter and, to ensure that, helped to pushed through Security Council Resolution 2166 on July 21, 2014 that deplored the incident, stressed the need for a full, thorough and independent investigation in accordance with civil aviation guidelines, called for the involvement of the International Civil Aviation Organization, called for securing the crash site and safety of investigators and demanded that those responsible be held accountable.

What did the Americans and their puppets in Kiev do? Nothing except to launch an immediate and intense propaganda campaign against Russia going so far as to pin responsibility on President Putin personally. They even claimed that they had evidence. But they have produced none. Russia asked them for this purported evidence multiple times and each time they were met with silence followed by another volley of propaganda aimed at confusing the western public and covering up the fact that they do not want the Dutch report released for if that investigation had evidence that Russia was involved we can be sure it would have been plastered all over the mass media long ago, instead of these small leaks that drip out on a regular basis to keep the pot boiling.

While NATO engaged in propaganda games Russia insistently called for a transparent, independent and honest investigation, quickly supplied to the investigators its satellite and radar data, eyewitness reports, and technical information regarding Buk missile systems and offered to assist in the investigation. The Americans have said nothing about any of this information of course because all of it points to their allies in Kiev being responsible for the shoot down and because the United States was involved or became complicit by protecting its allies from facing responsibility for their actions.

As for the MH17 tribunal demanded by the probable culprits the United States and its dependencies in NATO and Kiev, Russia was correct to reject that demand and correct to veto the draft resolution.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the push by NATO countries for a UN tribunal to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the shoot down was an intentional provocation against Russia. There was no other purpose for this NATO initiative than to use it to demonize the Russian leadership, to increase the negative war propaganda being put out by the NATO alliance and ultimately to use it as justification for further aggression against the peoples of east Ukraine and Russia.

There must be no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind that the only result of the creation of such a tribunal by the Security Council was to be an indictment against President Putin himself accusing him of some type of command responsibility. Once Putin was indicted as a war criminal, the anti-Russian propaganda in the west would increase beyond even the intense levels it now has reached.

We saw what happened to President Milosevic of Yugoslavia when the Yugoslav tribunal indicted him with war crimes at a point during the NATO attack in 1999 when the French and Germans were looking for a political solution. The US driven indictment, arranged through their agent Louise Arbour, effectively killed a political solution since as Arbour stated, and I paraphrase, “you can’t negotiate with a war criminal.”

The same happened to Muammar Gaddafi. The International Criminal Court, again through its US marionettes in the prosecution, labelled him a war criminal and used it to justify their destruction of Libya. Both Milosevic and Gaddafi ended up dead at NATO’s hands.

What’s more the UN Charter does not give the Security Council the right or jurisdiction to create these ad hoc tribunals and in fact this possibility was explicitly excluded when the International Court of Justice was created which has very limited jurisdiction and none over criminal matters. Of course tribunals have been created as a matter of fact despite this problem but an illegal precedent is still illegal no matter how many times it is repeated.

It is clear that the ad hoc tribunals previously set up for Yugoslavia and Rwanda were set up during a period when Russia was under the sway of President Yeltsin and others willing to act in US interests without caring about the implications for Russian and world interests. Russia, and China lost all control over the funding, staffing and running of these tribunals from the very beginning which, from the personal experience of this writer and other defence counsel, are controlled at all levels by western intelligence assets.

The indictments and evidence at these tribunals are concocted against selected accused for three reason; to defame the leaders targeted, to justify the western aggression against these countries, and finally to cover up the real role of the west in these wars.

A further problem with the proposed MH17 tribunal was the claim that it was a matter under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, that is, a matter of international peace and security. The fact that the other ad hoc tribunals have been created under Chapter VII reveals their true political nature. But in the case of MH17, no such argument can be validly made since there has never been an example of a plane being brought down in any circumstances that has triggered the use of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. No call was made by anyone to create a UN tribunal with regard to the downing of the Iranian, Libyan and Korean airliners or even the downing of the plane carrying Dag Hammarskjold, the UN Secretary General, in 1961. It seems when western interests might be affected, the less that is known, the better.

But there was another problem with the proposal that reveals its true political nature. A court can only try those accused of a crime determined to have taken place and can only try accused against whom there is evidence. In regard to MH17 there is the NATO propaganda on one side claiming Donbass militias were involved, aided and abetted by Russia, but without any evidence of this being produced, and, on the other hand, evidence supplied by eye witnesses, air traffic controllers, Ukrainian military pilots and Russian radar plots that indicate that it was more likely shot down by a Ukrainian government Sukhoi jet fighter. In any case, whatever the facts really are, the investigation is not complete and not complete because the NATO alliance refuses to release information that is necessary to make a determination as to who is responsible and what their motives were.

Since NATO is not willing to offer this information to investigators now nor to make it public why would they do so if a tribunal were created? They would not. They would have used that tribunal as a forum to bash Russia, fabricate evidence and used it to justify even more western aggression.

The proposal was clearly a trap for Russia and so its veto of July 29th was welcome news. Russia will continue to face criticism from the usual suspects in NATO and more ravings by Samantha Power in the Security Council and more bizarre stories in the western press that it is trying to stop “justice” or is afraid of the investigation, but better to treat these false accusations with a dismissive wave of the hand than to have taken the bait and be faced with the constant harassment, and injustice that would have surely followed if such a tribunal had been approved.

But the constant propaganda clearly signals the intent of the NATO countries and that is to try to overthrow the government of Russia one way or another. Russia avoided the NATO tribunal trap, but there is no doubt that other traps will be set and one of them and perhaps the most important is the propaganda trap we in the west must learn to recognise and avoid so that we do not fall into the worst trap of all, supporting aggression that profits the few but risks the nuclear annihilation of us all.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sexual Identity and American Diplomacy

State Department is hobbled by identity politics

Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • August 25, 2015

The pending normalization of full diplomatic relations with Cuba is long overdue and it is to be hoped that the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program will survive a congressional onslaught next month. That is all to the good and the administration of President Barack Obama deserves full credit for persevering in spite of nearly incessant attacks from the Israeli and Cuban lobbies both in congress and the media.

But even as the dust begins to settle the New York Times is reporting on a new existential crisis: same-sex marriages in the Foreign Service explored in an article entitled “State Department Fights for Rights of Gay Envoys.” Not that the Gray Lady is opposed to same-sex marriages for diplomats, quite the contrary. Its concern is that many highly qualified diplomats are turning down assignments because some benighted countries do not recognize same-sex unions and therefore do not accept that a man plus man or woman plus woman relationship actually qualifies as a diplomatic family. Which means that some Foreign Ministries are denying visas or accreditation for same-sex spouses. Worse still, as many countries regard homosexual behavior as a criminal offense, it suggests the possibility that some categories of Embassy and Consular family members not covered by full diplomatic immunity might find themselves arrested.

The Obama Administration is predictably outraged and is reported to be frantically working on the problem with the State Department making “securing the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world a priority” (my emphasis). But to my mind the fundamental problem is not same-sex marriage per se, which most Americans now no longer oppose, but the failure to comprehend what Embassies and Consular posts are supposed to do coupled with a characteristic inability to understand that American principles and rules, such as they are, do not have universal applicability. This is particularly true in the case of gay marriage, which impacts on sincerely held religious views and which is still a bone of contention even in the relatively tolerant United States and Western Europe.

Government at the White House level frequently does not understand how the great federal bureaucracies actually work. Contrary to the Times headline, being part of a diplomatic mission is a privilege, not a universal right, and both by law and convention the host country pretty much sets the rules on who may enter and under what conditions.

The article quotes Michael Guest, a gay former ambassador to Romania, who said “It’s increasingly a problem, as some countries have wanted to take a stand on the issue of marriage equality that isn’t really theirs to take.” He is wrong. The Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations stipulates that any country can expel or refuse to accept the presence of a foreign diplomat without providing any reasons whatsoever. Article 9 includes “The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable.” This is an option that the United States has exercised frequently in espionage cases as well as more recently in refusing to issue a visa to a proposed Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, for which the U.S. is the host nation.

The United States has also somewhat more questionably taken steps to restrict the travels of accredited diplomats with whom it is uncomfortable. Soviet era dips from Eastern Europe and Russia were generally required to get approval for traveling more than 25 miles outside of New York City or Washington and there have been similar restrictions on the movement of both Palestinian and Iranian representatives. So the host country is not obligated to accept anyone else’s standards and can in many respects set whatever rules it wishes within its sovereign territory.

Past U.S. determinations of who or what was acceptable were based on what were deemed to be security issues but the same sex marriage problem is something quite different. To be sure there have been homosexuals in government since the time of Pharaoh Khufu, and the United States Department of State has long had considerably more than its share with the once-upon-a-time understanding that it was best to stay in the closet. This was the rule in post-World War 2 America, both for diplomats and intelligence personnel, and it was largely justified by the danger of blackmail or the creation of diplomatic “incidents” as homosexual activity was illegal almost everywhere. When I served in the Rome Embassy in the 1970s one particularly flamboyant political officer who was almost but not quite out of the closet was generally accepted until he was observed regularly cruising at odd hours in the nearby Villa Borghese Park, leading to his being warned to cool his jets lest he come to the attention of the Carabinieri, who at that time staged regular roundups at gay gatherings to target what was then regarded as public indecency.

But one’s sexual preferences were rarely a problem in Italy back then and even less so now as homosexual relations have been legal since 1890. Civil unions that guarantee property rights, pensions or inheritance without regard to gender do not, however, exist in law, which means there are no same-sex marriages. One imagines that same-sex couples who go to diplomatic posts in Italy do so with a wink and a nod from the authorities at the Foreign Ministry, who are not likely to make an issue out of it. But Italian deliberate ambiguity about what constitutes a marriage is not the norm everywhere else. By one estimate 50% of all Foreign Service posts do not recognize or accept same-sex diplomatic or official couples.

The State Department sensibly insists that all of its employees should be free to accept assignments anywhere in the world, but not so sensibly it has appointed a Special Envoy for the Rights of Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, both politicizing the issue and turning American diplomats into promoters of personal choices that many foreigners consider immoral as well as illegal. And Congress has predictably jumped on the band wagon with 100 Congressmen (99 Democrats and one Republican) calling on State to reciprocate by denying visas for families of diplomats from countries that discriminate against homosexuals.

In tackling the LGBT issue as a global crusade while also making it a major concern for U.S. embassies the White House and Democrats in Congress are not really doing anyone any favors. Overseas diplomatic missions exist to benefit broad American national interests, not to promote specific group agendas or to confront the host country on its laws and customs. Ambassadors traditionally enabled dialogue and established communications channels among nations while the consular services provided a mechanism to help ensure that American travelers and businessmen would be treated fairly by the local authorities. Having an embassy did not mean that Americans should not be subject to local laws, nor did it serve as a blunt instrument to demand that the foreigners be required to accept American values and customs.

But that vision of diplomacy was all before “democracy promotion,” much loved by Democratic presidents enamored of social engineering, for whom LGBT is almost certainly seen as a subset of democracy. And if past experience of government is anything to go by, this Obama initiative will probably morph into a War on Homophobia under President Hillary Clinton complete with a Czar and a substantial budget to pay for lots of first class travel to hotspots like Copenhagen to participate in conferences convened by gay rights activists.

In truth, the democracy cum human rights agenda has undeniably done a great deal of damage to the United States. It is still falsely cited as the one benefit that came out of the invasion of Iraq and is also used to justify the continued presence in Afghanistan. It led to the unfortunate intervention in Libya, fueled the drive to “do something” in Syria, overthrew an elected government in Ukraine and it is also behind much of the criticism of Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. In reality all the frenetic activity to turn the world into Peoria has produced little beyond trillions of dollars of debt, thousands of dead Americans and quite likely millions of dead foreigners.

And the focus on cultural and social issues is frequently a perversion of diplomacy. Some recent Ambassadorial appointees, to include Michael McFaul in Russia and Robert Ford in Syria, were intended to confront the domestic policies of local governments that Washington disapproved of rather than to engage with them in dialogue. Beyond that, America’s roving mischief makers to include the State Department’s Victoria Nuland and various Senators named McCain and Graham showed up regularly in troubled regions to harass the local authorities. To put it mildly, that is not what diplomacy is all about. Diplomacy is a process whereby no one wins everything while no one loses completely producing a result that everyone can live with. It is not about “We are right. Take it or leave it.”

It is indeed acceptable for a national government to urge greater tolerance as President Obama did on his recent trip to Africa but creating a bureaucracy to assert the global primacy of American values to include what constitutes a marriage benefits no one, least of all those being “protected,” as in many countries that would only serve to enable labeling the sexual dissidents as American agents. And the idea of punishing the families of diplomats from countries that see marriage differently is completely absurd as it will produce retaliation, damaging to genuine American interests and potentially threatening the security of U.S. diplomats overseas.

The entire feel good process of instructing others how to live derives from a peculiar American sense that we somehow understand important things better than anyone else and everyone should follow our lead. It is a dangerous conceit as it breeds resentment and inevitably leads to tit-for-tat responses that serve no purpose. The United States is already viewed negatively by a large part of the world. Adding fuel to the fire by complaining about others’ values while promoting marginal causes that inevitably will be controversial is not what most American citizens should expect from their government. Unfortunately it is all too often what we wind up getting.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Council on Hemispheric Affairs’ Statement on the Protest Movement in Ecuador

COHA – August 24, 2015

In response to President Rafael Correa’s proposed inheritance tax, a far right coalition in Ecuador has launched a campaign of anti-government protest in the country. This movement is being joined by some forces on the green and Indigenous left, long opposed to Correa’s economic strategy of neo-extractivism, that is, the exploitation of Ecuador’s rich deposits of oil to fuel the economy as well as providing the majority of government revenue. Correa’s economic approach has been to aggressively push forward oil operations, even in environmentally sensitive areas, and then use the proceeds to pay for poverty reduction programs. The various Eco-Indigenous groups have legitimate concerns about the sustainability of the neo-extractivist approach, but it is a fact that since Correa came into office in 2007 one million Ecuadorians have been lifted out of poverty. In 2007 4 of 10 Ecuadorians lived in poverty. Today less than a quarter of the population does.

COHA calls for an end to the violence that has accompanied the protests, with over 100 police and military now having suffered injuries, including grave ones. COHA supports dialogue between the various opposition sectors and the government, and the continuation of the positive trend in Ecuador of settling political differences by democratic procedures, not golpismo.

By Larry Birns, Director of COHA and Senior Research Fellows: Jim A. Baer, Nicholas Birns, William Camacaro, Lynn Holland, Frederick B. Mills, Ronn Pineo.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism | , | Leave a comment

Lebanon’s Future is on the Line, and It Directly Affects Syria

By Andrew Korybko – Sputnik – 24.08.2015

Protests about the lack of proper city sanitation services have quickly escalated into full-blown calls for regime change.

Lebanese protesters demonstrated in Beirut this weekend as part of the “You Stink” movement, which was organized by citizens fed up with the garbage that had been piling up in their streets for weeks.

What began as an expression of legitimate grievances, however, quickly spiraled into the world’s latest Color Revolution attempt.

Some radical youth started throwing rocks and petrol bombs at police officers (uncannily reminiscent of the earlier hijacking of the peaceful-intentioned “Electric Yerevan” protests), which resulted in a forceful counter-response that was then immediately used to ‘justify’ the movement’s transformation into one of open regime change ends.

The thing is, however, Lebanon doesn’t really have a functioning government to begin with, having been without a President for over a year. If the Prime Minister steps down as he threatened to do, then it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis that might bring the formerly civil war-torn and multi-confessional state back to the brink of domestic conflict.

Any significant destabilization in Lebanon is bound to have a serious impact on Syria, which would be put in a difficult position by the potential cutoff of the strategic Beirut-to-Damascus highway and the possible redeployment of valuable Hezbollah fighters back to their homeland.

A Little About Lebanon

The tiny Middle Eastern state of about four and a half million people is marked by a demographic and political complexity that could hinder a speedy resolution to the current crisis. It’s necessary to be aware of some of its specifics in order to better understand the origins of the current stalemate and where it might rapidly be headed.

Unilaterally sliced out of Syria during the early years of the French mandate, the territory of Lebanon hails what is generally recognized as the most diverse population in the Mideast. Eighteen religious groups are recognized in the country’s constitution, including Alawites, Druze, Maronite Catholics, Sunnis, and Shiites.

This eclecticism of religious communities is presided over by something referred to as the National Pact, an unwritten understanding that the President will always be Maronite, the Prime Minister will be Sunni, and the Speaker of Parliament will be Shiite, among other stipulations (and with a few historical exceptions).

Complementary to this concept is the country’s unique political system called confessionalism, whereby Christians and Muslims share equal seats in the unicameral parliament, but each group’s respective composition is determined proportionally by sect. Originally meant to be a temporary solution when it was first enacted in the 1920s, it was later refined by the 1989 Taif Agreement that ended the lengthy civil war and has remained in place to this day.

Crawling To A Crisis

The current crisis in Lebanon was long in the making, and it’s the result of many embedded problems that spilled over with the garbage protests. The economy has always been fragile, in that it’s highly dependent on tourism and banking – hardly the prerequisites for a stable system.

The overwhelming influx of over 1 million Syrian refugees over the past couple of years (on top of the nearly half a million Palestinian ones already present in the country) contributed to the country’s economic malaise, with the International Labor Organization quoting a 34% unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15-24. It’s thus of no surprise then that there were plenty of disaffected young people eager and available to protest when the “You Stink” opportunity finally arose.

Lebanon’s economic troubles have been exacerbated by its enormously high debt-to-GDP ratio that has the dubious honor of being one of the world’s worst at 143%. It’s of such magnitude that Prime Minister Tammam Salam just announced that the government might not be able to pay salaries next month.

This economic dysfunction persists despite the discovery of large amounts of offshore oil and gas that have yet to be extracted. Part of the reason for this is that the country is in the midst of a political impasse stemming from parliament’s inability to agree upon a new president after the former one finished his term in May 2014.

Since the president appoints the prime minister, if Salam resigns like he threatened to do if Thursday’s upcoming Cabinet meeting yields no results, then the country would enter completely uncharted territory that might prompt more pronounced unrest and guarantee a period of heightened uncertainty.

The arrangement of political forces is thus that two men have the possibility to be president – Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea. Each represents one of the two main trans-religious political coalitions, the 8 March Alliance and the 14 March Alliance, respectively, and both want parliament to end its impasse as soon as possible.

Their similarities end there, however, since Aoun is in an alliance with multipolar-oriented Hezbollah, while Geagea is closely tied to former Prime Minister and dual Lebanese-Saudi billionaire powerbroker Saad Hariri.

Wikileaks’ latest releases from the Saudi Foreign Ministry prove that Hariri still has intimate contacts with the Saudi royal family and intelligence services, and that Geagea once begged the kingdom to bankroll his party’s finances. Therefore, although the presidency itself is largely ceremonial, it’s the diametrically competing visions of these two parties and the potential for street clashes between their supporters during the Color Revolution tumult that creates serious concern about Lebanon’s future, and consequently, could be expected to have negative repercussions for Syria.

Sabotaging Syria

The regional backdrop in which all of this occurs is that the US and its allies are in a ‘race to the finish’ to ‘win’ their various Mideast wars before the tens of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian funds are returned to Tehran, which would then partially disseminate it to its regional allies Hezbollah and Syria.

Additionally, Russia has made remarkable diplomatic progress in trying to reconcile all sides in Syria and assemble a coordinated anti-ISIL coalition, raising the US’ fears that its window of ‘opportunity’ for accomplishing regime change there may unexpectedly be drawing to a close.

It’s thus under these conditions that the organic protests in Beirut were almost immediately hijacked by radical Color Revolutionaries in order to create chaos along Syria’s western border.

The intent behind the calculated state collapse being attempted at the moment in Lebanon is to disrupt the Beirut-to-Damascus highway that serves as one of the two main lifelines to the Syrian capital, the other being the Damascus-to-Latakia highway. Shutting down the Lebanese route would make Syria wholly dependent on the Latakian one that’s vulnerable to an “Army of Conquest” offensive, which if successful, would cripple the country by de-facto blockading the capital.

At the same time, in the event that Beirut reaches its breaking point, some Hezbollah units currently deployed to Syria would be compelled to return back to the home front to assist in the inevitable power struggle there. The withdrawal of part (or all) of this valuable fighting contingent would make the military situation much more difficult for the Syrian Arab Army, both in defending the Damascus-to-Latakia corridor and in securing the Lebanese border from becoming a ‘second Turkey’ of terrorist infiltration.

Conclusively, it’s for these strategic reasons why it strongly appears that externally directed forces were ordered to exploit Lebanon’s existing tensions at this specific time. They engineered a Color Revolution attempt by using the “You Stink” protests as a semi-plausible cover, and this was timed to coincide with the ‘race to the finish’ being played out all across the Mideast.

Lebanon can still pull away from the brink, provided that Thursday’s upcoming Cabinet meeting resolves the presidential crisis and placates the country’s main political parties, but it will have to tread very carefully in containing sectarian temptations and avoiding the trap of escalatory Color Revolution provocations.

Read more:

‘Middle Eastern Union’: West Redrawing Map of Middle East at Will

Russia Succeeds in Middle East Policy – Lebanon Presidential Candidate

Lebanese Police Use Water Cannons to Disperse Beirut Protesters (VIDEO)

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Unacceptable’: Lavrov blasts Biden idea on splitting Iraq into parts

RT | August 24, 2015

The idea of partition for Iraq would never be agreed by Moscow, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said, stressing that this kind of ‘state structure manipulation’ is obsolete and Iraqis should define the future of their country themselves.

“We would never adopt a position voiced without any constraint by US Vice President Joe Biden, who said directly that Iraq should be split into Shia and Sunni parts and that the Kurds should be given what they want,” Lavrov told the participants of the youth forum ‘Territory of meanings’ near Moscow.

Lavrov labeled Biden’s position as “highly irresponsible and what’s more important – unacceptable,” because someone from overseas is lecturing Iraqi people on what to do with their country.

“We won’t commit to such things, telling Sunnis to get out today and urging Shia to move on next time. This is ‘social engineering,’ state structure manipulation from far outside,” Lavrov said, stressing that the destructiveness of such a plan is obvious.

“We believe that Iraqis – Shia, Sunnis and Kurds – should decide for themselves how to live together,” said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov’s remarks come following reports that Vice President Joe Biden is “seriously deciding whether to jump into the Democratic presidential race.”

The idea of decentralizing Iraq was voiced by Biden as early as 2006, in his ‘Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq’ article for the New York Times.

In this article, Biden proposed the idea of Iraq’s federalization and autonomous regions in Iraq for Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.

In April 2015, the Office of the Vice President published Biden’s article ‘Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden on Iraq’ on the White House’s official website.

“We want what Iraqis want: a united, federal, and democratic Iraq that is defined by its own constitution where power is shared among all Iraqi communities, where a sovereign government exercises command and control over the forces in the field. And that’s overwhelmingly what the Iraqis want,” Biden wrote.

The US together with an international coalition waged war in Iraq in 2003, under the pretext of eliminating weapons of mass destruction developed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. After the regime was brought down, WMD were never found and the former ruler was hanged by the new Iraqi authorities on December 30, 2006.

The Iraqi war lasted until 2011 and claimed the lives of nearly 1.5 million Iraqis and at least 6,000 coalition soldiers. Many more were wounded on each side.

The civil war in Iraq that started immediately after the withdrawal of the occupation forces is still going on. Many thousands have perished in terror acts and skirmishes.

Today the situation in Iraq is deeply aggravated by the advancement of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The militant group is steadily capturing Iraqi territory. A significant part of Islamic State’s military backbone reportedly consists of former high-ranking Iraqi soldiers, who lost their careers and jobs following the fall of the former regime.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

As Gaza Lies in Ruins, The NY Times Blames the Victims

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | August 24, 2015

Israel’s attacks on Gaza ended a year ago, but the strip remains an expanse of rubble and devastation. Who’s to blame for this outrage? The New York Times has an answer: everyone but Israel.

Jodi Rudoren comes up with this response in a story that aims to whitewash Israel’s brutal treatment of Gaza by blaming the Palestinian victims along with the international community for the lack of rebuilding. It is all summed up in the story’s subhead, “Political Infighting and Lack of Funds Stymie a Reconstruction Mechanism.”

Her article takes pains to present the process as a collaborative project between the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United Nations, and she is hazy about Israel’s role, describing it as nothing more than “involvement in approving projects and participants.”

Rudoren furthers her efforts in a single paragraph that absolves Israel completely: “[The Palestinian minister of housing], other Palestinian leaders and United Nations representatives all said that Israel had done its part in reasonable time and allowed cement into Gaza. Empty coffers, they said, are the primary problem.”

Times readers, however, never learn the direct quotes or the names of the “leaders” and “representatives” that would help substantiate this claim, nor does Rudoren explain what “Israel’s part” actually refers to here.

In fact, Israel controls everything that goes into Gaza, from people to foodstuffs to building material, and the agreed-on process for rebuilding the strip—the “reconstruction mechanism” referred to in the subhead—is built solely on Israeli demands. (Israel also blocks Gaza traffic by sea and has the full cooperation of the Egyptian government on that border as well.)

Although the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority have roles in the process, Israel determines who gets building materials, what they get and in what amounts. As Harvard-based Gaza expert Sara Roy notes, the two major documents outlining the reconstruction process “read like security plans, carefully laying out Israeli concerns and the ways in which the United Nations will accommodate them.”

Roy adds, “Israel will have to approve all projects and their locations and will be able to veto any part of the process on security grounds.” Moreover, she writes, “No mechanism for accountability or transparency will apply to Israel.”

Without doubt, Palestinian bureaucracy, donor fears of yet another attack on Gaza and other factors come into play in reconstruction efforts, but Rudoren ignores the major element, which is the Israeli blockade.

Her story, in fact, never refers to the eight-year blockade of Gaza and makes only vague mention of Israeli “control” of the enclave. Readers are left without any relevant context.

Rudoren’s article also omits other details that would place Israel’s role in a different light: the fact that by July of this year it had allowed the passage less than 1 percent of the construction materials needed to adequately house Gaza residents or that as of May, a total of 20 schools (kindergarten to college level) completely destroyed by Israel had yet to be repaired.

Readers never learn, for instance, that aid agencies in Gaza were forced to rely on temporary building materials as the Israeli-mandated process kept concrete, cement and steel supplies to a trickle. They also never learn the sequel to this chapter: that Israel stepped in to squelch the effort just as it was gaining momentum.

The project was run by Catholic Relief Services, which began using lumber to build temporary homes for the displaced residents this year, and media reports in February and March stated that 70 had been built and 40 families had moved into the new houses. CRS had plans to construct more than 100 additional wooden homes, but in April the program came to an end when Israel suddenly banned all lumber for housing.

Here we can see how Israel actually operates in the opaque rebuilding process mentioned in Rudoren’s piece. Times readers, however, never learn of this sad narrative nor of many others that would reveal how Israeli actions are destroying the economy and depressing the living conditions in Gaza.

And yet, the Times story would have us believe that Israel has “done its part” in the reconstruction of Gaza, ignoring the obvious: that Israel alone has complete control of its borders with the strip, and if Israel so willed, Gaza residents would have moved out of the rubble long ago.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

US to deploy F-22 Raptor jets in Europe

RT | August 25, 2015

The US Air Force said its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be sent to Europe to show “commitment to the security and stability” of its allies. The Air Force Secretary tied the move to the US’ “approach to Russia,” linking it to the crisis in Ukraine.

The deployment, slated to occur “very soon,” was described as part of the “European Reassurance Initiative,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said at a Pentagon briefing on Monday. She added that it was “to support combatant commander requirements” in the region.

James said Russia’s “military activity” in Ukraine continued to be of great concern to the US and its European allies, and that the deployment of the F-22s was “certainly on the strong side of the coin.” She also quoted Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said last week, “Our approach to Russia needs to be strong and it needs to be balanced.”

James told reporters that, for operational security reasons, “we cannot share with you the exact dates or locations of this deployment.”

The F-22 stealth fighter is a fifth generation aircraft capable of dropping precision bombs on targets from up to 15 miles away.

A reporter asked if the announcement was a message the Air Force was delivering to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

General Mark Welsh said the deployment to Europe was “just a continuation of deploying the F-22s everywhere we can to train with our partners,” and that it “was primarily for a major exercise, training with our European partners.” However, he added that the deployment would put F-22s “into facilities that we would potentially use in a conflict in Europe.”

The F-22 fighter’s deployment in Europe was first floated in June, when Secretary James listed Russia as the “biggest threat on my mind” when asked about the greatest threat faced by the US Air Force by a reporter at a Paris Air Show.

In February and March, the Air Force sent two units of A-10 and F-15C jets to Europe along with about 300 airmen to spend six months flying missions across the continent, according to airforcetimes.com. The US currently has 65,000 active-duty service members stationed in Europe, with the majority made up of airmen and soldiers.

News of the deployment comes as the US military is engaged with 11 NATO member states in a month-long war game. About 5,000 soldiers are participating in simultaneous airborne operations. One of the most anticipated drills will take place on August 26, when NATO planes will drop more than 1,000 paratroopers in the Hohenfels training area in Germany.

In Moscow, a member of the Russian Duma’s defense committee, Franz Klintsevich, said the Russian military is “closely monitoring” the situation and is ready to react in the case of any aggression. He said Moscow has been taking note of NATO’s buildup up of forces, as well as all of the West’s rhetoric concerning “Russian aggression.”

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, meanwhile, told The National Interest in an interview last week that “breaking Russia has become an objective [for US officials]; the long-range purpose should be to integrate it.”

“If we treat Russia seriously as a great power, we need at an early stage to determine whether their concerns can be reconciled with our necessities,” he said.

Kissinger laid blame for sparking the Ukrainian conflict at the door of the EU, which he said had proposed a trade deal in 2013 without considering how it would alienate Moscow and divide the Ukrainian people.

READ MORE:

NATO conducting biggest beef up of defenses since Cold War – alliance chief

Kissinger: ‘Breaking Russia has become objective for US’

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Leave a comment

New York Times is Crimea Tourism News for Dummies

By Phil Butler – New Eastern Outlook – 24.08.2015

A post by the New York Times this week, is a woeful reminder what poor losers Americans can be. Have a read here, and discover how low publisher Arthur Sulzberger’s newspaper has sunk. The latest formed and fashioned feature against Mr. Putin, it is a crummy bit of journalistic license entitled, “Russia’s Pitch to Vacationers: Crimea Is for Patriots.” […]

On August 19th a writer named Neil MacFarquhar skillfully crafted a story about tourism in Crimea. It is a story timed to coincide with the visit of Vladimir Putin, and Dmitry Medvedev to that peninsula on business, and for pleasure. Putin, with a multiplicity of missions there including efforts on behalf of the Russian Geographic Society, draws negative reportage from the NYTs daily. This time MacFarquhar ventures farther astray than most other NYTs writers though, as the author paints a grim, grimy, and gray touristic destination out of this resort area. Here’s a section of his dispatch on Russia tourism to Americans. Speaking of the coastal town of Saky, the writer explains:

“The dreary shoreline with its view of rusted dredging equipment was perhaps less appealing than previous holiday destinations in Turkey and Europe, she said, but patriotism drove her choice this summer.”

So there you have the framing of a horrid picture, one capitalized by a carefully chosen image of two elderly ladies sitting by what appears to be the seashore. Oh but wait, this story is intensely misleading, a lie, for all intents and purposes. If you research the images MacFarquhar uses, or maybe call friends in Crimea like I have, geography and reality will slap you awake from this gifted storyteller’s fairy tale. Right here it’s necessary to profile MacFarquhar for you, as the Moscow based has a habit of being where the action is, or where the New York Times wants it to be. A former United Nations bureau chief, MacFarquhar’s stories intriguingly coincide with upheaval and/or diatribe, against individuals portrayed as “enemies” of America.

An expert on the Middle East, wherever US military forces go around the 40th parallel North, Neil MacFarquhar offers up editorial support. When the US helped unseat Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the New York Times reporter who spent part of his childhood in Libya was the “go to” man to tell America about the dictator’s violent death, and to help justify it. Over a year before the west alleged Syria’s leader Assad used chemical weapons at Ghouta against his own people, MacFarquhar was reporting for the NYTs on alleged Syrian threats to use such weapons. And if you follow that story from 2012, you’ll find a familiar face of Western hegemony cited too. MacFarquhar and one Victoria Nuland (of Ukraine infamy) do tend to occupy the same pages of the grand old New York Times fairly frequently. The fact is, anytime one of America’s “enemies” is in the crosshairs, MacFarquhar is there, start to finish, telling of the evil deeds, and then of the justifiable demise of tyrants. He helped paint the terror portrait of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and then wrote the man’s epitaph too. MacFarquhar profiled Osama Bin Laden on September 26th, 2001 right after the 9/11 attacks, and then profiled his possible successors for us.

I’m hesitant to go on here, for fear a good leader in Russia may be doomed just on account of being in the reports of this specter of the New York Times. Instead, maybe it’s better to announce the impending doom of Crimea tourism. Alas there is hope though, for my contacts on the ground there tell me business is booming! Let’s just hope the US State Department has not come up with some touristic alert to ruin Summer by the sea for Russians. If you’ll excuse the sarcasm briefly, MacFarquhar’s uncanny tendency of being surrounded with death and chaos is spooky indeed. Just how such a gifted writer came to discussing beach blanket bingo on the Black Sea, it baffles me actually. Instead, let’s move on to a bullshit finale to a story propped up by incorrect imagery, geography, and statistics.

The two images MacFarquhar uses to show us a pitiful Crimea touristic drought are all wrong. The two old ladies alone by the seaside, they are not actually on the sea. The ladies you see sitting, looking out across the water, they’re sitting the Sevastopol harbor, not exactly beach bunny Mecca, if you know what I mean. Rather than show New York Times readers the real beach of Saky, where his story is supposedly situated, it’s more appropriate somehow to show lonely old ladies marooned on one of the most industrialized harbors on the Black Sea. The misdirect is brilliant, if you want to paint Crimea as deserted of tourists, that is.

Skillfully, the veteran wordsmith draws the reader in. Illuminating “rusted” dredging equipment along the salt lake at Saky, MacFarquhar takes strategic advantage of a readership that has never laid eyes on the Black Sea, let alone mineral salt baths in Crimea. Being an expert on the Middle East, MacFarguhar has no doubt seen dredges on the Dead Sea, or along other ancient shorelines where therapy is sought? Maybe he’s unaware of the high concentrations of salt along these Crimean lakes’ shores, and of the effects of high saline concentrations on ferrous metals? No matter, the author’s second photo from clear across the peninsula, it shows an overweight sun bather choosing from empty beach chairs, his spot along a beach in Livadia, Crimea. Abandoned beach chairs in Livadia? “This cannot be right,” I thought.

webcam-1Unfortunately for the New York Times, many of the resorts in Crimea have live webcams. Maybe MacFarquhar is unaware of Russians’ affinity for real-time, but facts are facts. The stream you will find at the therapeutic spa Poltava Crimea in Saky, it reveals normal tourist activity on the beach there. The screenshot provided is from 11:34 and 54 seconds, on the main beach at the resort town. Comparing this photo, with the resort’s promotional photos of their beach, anyone can determine for themselves the health spa is running true to form. Furthermore, my friend and colleague, Graham Phillips is in Yalta at this very moment, broadcasting live the buzzing resort MacFarguhar tells his American audience is dead as a door nail. I called Graham to help me illuminate the seeming darkness surrounding this Summer in Yalta and Crimea. For those who do not know, Graham is fairly famous for his reportage refuting incorrect Western news on the Ukraine conflict. Our chat today proved no less interesting for me, and for readers of the New York Times too. As it happens, Graham just filmed a video at the end of this link shot this week in Yalta. Not only does the footage refute the aforementioned Times story, but it also shows Graham meeting up with at least one tourist from Kiev. If we relied on the NYT and other mainstream media for our understanding of this region, then we’d surely believe Ukrainians are ALL dead set on killing Russians, rather than vacationing with them. But don’t take my word for any of this, follow the links and do your own 5 minute “truth” research. For more Crimea spa experience, this other Saky therapy resort called Sanatorium “Yurmino” posts almost daily photos of guests living it up in the mud baths via their VK profile.

In conclusion, the reader here should formulate his or her own opinion of what ANY truth about Crimea, Ukraine, or Russia is, from ALL the sources of information available. While American news and other media is dominated by entities like The New York Times, there are always good alternatives. Mr. MacFarquhar, and noteworthy journalists like him, they’ve been relied upon too much in my estimation. As anyone knows, ideas and methods in any profession are influenced heavily by resource and the prevalent mind set. That said, any skilled reporter can paint whatever picture is desired. Manipulating imagery, inserting well crafted words and inflection, and a Miami Beach bikini contest can become a cellulite extravaganza not worth attending. This is where we are in the world of so-called “news” – caught in between fact and a fabricated agenda. And believe you me, the New York Times’ is the tippy top pinnacle, of a fashioned corporate agenda against Mother Russia and her people.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Lawsuit: US taxpayer dollars fund ‘Jewish terror’ against Palestinians

Press TV – August 25, 2015

price_tagA rights organization has filed a complaint in the United States against an Israeli group for using US taxpayer money to sponsor “Jewish terrorism” against Palestinians.

In the lawsuit, T’ruah, The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, asked the New York state Attorney General’s Office to investigate Honenu, a New York-based Israeli nonprofit organization that provides financial support to Jewish settlers convicted of or on trial for violence against Palestinians.

The complaint also names Honenu’s fiscal sponsor, the Central Fund of Israel, according to Israeli media.

Since 2003, Honenu has operated a fundraising program in the state of New York. The tax-exempt Israeli organization raised $233,700 in 2010, the last year for which official data is available, according to tax filings.

Israeli media say Honenu’s budget for 2013 was approximately $600,000.

In one instance in 2013, the organization provided funds to the family of an Israeli convicted of killing seven Palestinians in May 1990.

The lawsuit follows a recent expose by Israel’s Channel 10 about Israeli settlers’ crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The television program was aired earlier this month in the aftermath of the July 31 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank by Israeli settlers in which a Palestinian baby and his father were burned to death.

In a statement issued hours after the incident, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the “brutal assassination” of the Palestinian infant, stressing that the regime in Tel Aviv bears “full responsibility” for the arson attack.

Earlier this month, Israel released all suspects held in connection with the arson attack in the village of Duma.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment