Aletho News


WPost’s ‘Agit-Prop’ for the New Cold War

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | June 21, 2016

A danger in today’s Western journalism is that the people in charge of the mainstream media are either neocon ideologues or craven careerists who will accept any official attack on geopolitical “enemies” without checking out the facts, such as with the Iraq War’s WMD myth or the curious case of Sergei Magnitsky.

Magnitsky’s 2009 death in a Russian jail became a Western cause célèbre with the accountant for hedge-fund executive William Browder hailed as a martyr in the cause of whistleblowing against a profoundly corrupt Russian government. After Magnitsky’s death from a heart attack, Browder claimed his “lawyer” had been tortured and murdered to cover up official complicity in a $230 million tax-fraud scheme involving companies ostensibly under Browder’s control.

Because of Browder’s wealth and political influence, he succeeded in getting the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress to buy into his narrative and move to punish the presumed villains in the tax fraud and in Magnitsky’s death. The U.S.-enacted Magnitsky Act in 2012 was an opening salvo in what has become a new Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The Magnitsky narrative has now become so engrained in Western geopolitical mythology that the storyline apparently can no longer be questioned or challenged, which brings us to the current controversy about a new documentary that turns the case upside-down and again reveals the superficiality, bias and hypocrisy of the West’s politicians and news media.

The West’s reaction has been to block the public airing of the documentary – to any significant audience – while simultaneously branding it Russian “agit-prop,” the attack line used by The Washington Post in a Monday editorial. In other words, the treatment of the film is reminiscent of a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person.

In this case, the Post’s editorial writers under the direction of neocon editor Fred Hiatt note the film’s showing in a rented room at Washington’s Newseum and then seek to discredit the filmmaker, Andrei Nekrasov, without addressing his avalanche of documented examples of Browder’s misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case.

Instead, the Post accuses Nekrasov of using “facts highly selectively” and insinuates that he is merely a pawn in the Kremlin’s “campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act.” The Post concludes smugly:

“The film won’t grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin’s increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky’s family. We don’t worry that Mr. Nekrasov’s film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions.”

Watching the Film

After reading the Post’s editorial, I managed to get a password for viewing the documentary, “The Magnitsky Act. Behind the Scenes,” on the Internet and I was struck by how thoroughly dishonest and “highly selective” the Post’s editors had been in their attack on the film.

For instance, the Post writes, “The film is a piece of agitprop that mixes fact and fiction to blame Magnitsky for the fraud and absolve Russians of blame for his death.” While it is correct that Nekrasov “mixes fact and fiction,” that is because the documentary is, in part, the story of his planned docu-drama which was intended to embrace and dramatize Browder’s narrative. Nekrasov begins the project as Browder’s friend and ally.

It was during the docu-drama’s production that Nekrasov begins to detect inconsistencies and contradictions in Browder’s storyline, including how a woman executive in one of Browder’s shell companies alerted police to the tax-fraud scam, not Magnitsky, and that Magnitsky as an accountant in the business was called in for questioning by police. In other words, Magnitsky comes across as a criminal suspect, not a noble whistleblower.

As the documentary proceeds, Nekrasov struggles with the dilemma as his scripted docu-drama portraying Magnitsky as a martyr falls apart. When Nekrasov’s questions become more pointed, his friendship with Browder also painfully unravels.

One of the powerful aspects of the film is that it shows Browder grow petulant and evasive as his well-received narrative begins to come undone, both in interviews with Nekrasov and in a videotaped deposition from a related civil case.

Key points of the deception are revealed not by Kremlin officials but by Magnitsky’s supporters who challenge pieces of Browder’s embroidered story, such as elevating Magnitsky from an accountant to a “lawyer.”

Another key piece of Browder’s tale – that corrupt police raided his offices to seize original corporate records and seals to set up shell companies to perpetrate the tax fraud – crumbles when Nekrasov shows Russian laws that don’t require such records and discovers that the registrations were accomplished by straw men apparently controlled by Browder and operating under powers of attorney.

Though I am no expert on the Magnitsky case – and there surely may be flaws in the documentary – what is clear is that the widely accepted version of the Magnitsky case, portraying him and his boss as noble do-gooders who become victims of a convoluted police conspiracy, is no longer tenable or at least deserves a serious reexamination.

But preventing the Western public from seeing this important film – and then demonizing it in a Washington Post editorial on the assumption that almost no one will see it – amount to the behavior of a totalitarian society where “agit-prop” does rule, except in this case it is anti-Russian agit-prop that escapes any serious scrutiny.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine’s Ethnic Romanians Demand Autonomy Rights

Sputnik – 21.06.2016

1025221351The assembly of ethnic Romanians living in Ukraine’s Chernivtsi region has called on President Petro Poroshenko to grant them territorial autonomy status, the newspaper Ukrainski Novyni reported, citing the Assembly’s coordinator Dorin Chirtoaca.

According to Chirtoaca, granting autonomous status to ethnic Romanians would help put an end to serious violations of their constitutional rights.

In a statement released on Tuesday the Assembly of the Romanians of Bukovina said that President Poroshenko’s decision to grant autonomous rights to the Crimean Tatars had created a precedent for representatives of all other ethnic groups living in the country.

“We, the Romanians of Bukovina, have special rights to autonomy. Until 1944 Northern Bukovina was part of Romania and our ancestors had spent centuries creating the cultural and material wealth of this territory, while today we are deprived of our fundamental rights and freedoms,” the statement said.

The Assembly’s appeal to the EU, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other international bodies is meant to draw attention to the systematic violations of the rights of ethnic Romanians in Ukraine.

Northern Bukovina and what is now Moldova became part of the Soviet Union in July 1940 following a Soviet ultimatum to the Romanian government.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Indigenous Leader Killed in Land Dispute in Brazil

By Aline C. Piva | Council on Hemispheric Affairs | June 20, 2016

On June 14, 2016 approximately 70 armed men approached a small group of Guaraní-Kaiowá families and, after terrorizing them by burning their belongings, opened fire, killing 26-year-old indigenous leader Clodiodi Aquileu Rodrigues de Souza Guaraní-Kaiowá. Among those shot, at least 10 other people were injured, including a twelve-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach. The Instituto Socioambiental (Socio-environmental Institute; ISA), a non-profit organization that advocates for human rights observance among the indigenous people, first reported the case, writing that indigenous leaders were taken hostage and that others are missing.[1] The attack happened within a disputed area in the traditional indigenous territory of Tekohá Te’ýikue, located on the indigenous reserve of Dourados-Amambaipegua I. This land is within the municipality of Caarapó, located in the central Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul, a region known for violent conflict between indigenous groups and land owners.

On May 12, as a result of over 30 years of struggle and an intense mobilization of members of the Guaraní and Kaiowá nations in Brasília, the Brazilian government recognized a local parcel of land as an indigenous territory.[2] Although throughout her presidency Dilma Rousseff had done little to advance indigenous rights and to help in reclaiming their traditional lands, this indifference eventually started to change a couple of months before Congress voted on her impeachment process. Rousseff created the National Council for Indigenous Policy and confirmed the demarcation of three indigenous lands. [During] that period, the Ministry of Justice declared five major areas as traditional indigenous territory.[3] It is important to note that these demarcations are now at risk, since Brazilian interim president Michel Temer has stated that he might revise such indigenous demarcations in the country.[4]

Missionaries and indigenous leaders have pointed out that, although the violence against indigenous nations in the region is not a recent development, the attacks have been escalating. According to the Special Indigenous Sanitary District of Mato Grosso do Sul (DSEI/MS), a total of 475 cases of indigenous homicides were recorded in the region from 2001 to 2015. Last year alone, there were 36 murders (34 men and two women), with most of the indigenous people killed being between 15 and 29 years old. In 2014, the DSEI-MS registered 619 cases of physical violence against members of the Guaraní and Kaiowá nations.[5] Large-scale landowners often perpetrate these attacks with the complicity of local authorities so as to evict indigenous communities from their traditional lands illegally and violently with complete disregard for their constitutional rights.

According to Eliel Benites, a professor at the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD) who lives in the indigenous village Te’ýikue, the Kaiowá and Guaraní families are very fearful: “All farmers in the region were together to carry out the attack. We are living a war,” stated Benites.[6] The Fundação Nacional do Índio (National Indigenous Foundation, Funai, responsible for the demarcation of indigenous territories) has started investigating the June 14 attack, but no one has been charged yet. A delegation of members of the Human Rights Committee of the Brazilian Lower House traveled to the site of the attack on Wednesday, June 16, to check closely the situation of the indigenous people in the region.[7]

Diogenes Cariaga, an anthropologist at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), reiterates that the conflict situation in the region was already being planned and reveals that the Rural Union of Caarapó (the city where the indigenous land is located) has been encouraging farmers to act violently against indigenous families. On May 18, 2016 shortly after the publication of the report that classified the region of Dourados-Amambaipegua I as an indigenous reserve, the Rural Union Council mobilized the farmers in the region to discuss measures against the demarcation. For Cariaga, the State’s lack of response to the violence against indigenous communities allowed landowners to create and finance militias to attack them.[8]

Over six thousand indigenous families of the Guaraní and Kaiowá nations live in the Caarapó region. As explained by Cariaga, “These families were taken forcibly into the reserve and for many years were forced to stay there.” He points out that since the 1980s, the Guarani and Kaiowá in the region have been fighting to repossess their traditional lands. The anthropologist also recalls that the territories within the boundaries of Dourados-Amambaipegua I were part of a Conduct Adjustment Commitment (CAC) signed between Funai and the Federal Public Ministry, requiring the Funai to publish studies of the areas claimed by indigenous people so that they could be ruled as indigenous reserves.[9]

Although the Funai has been prioritizing indigenous land demarcations, the negligence of the Brazilian state to conclude this process to investigate and prosecute the crimes against these communities has contributed to the escalation of violence in the area. Land disputes in the central region of Brazil have led to serious attacks against constitutional and human rights of the indigenous communities, which has amounted to a systematic genocide against Brazilian native peoples.

[1] “Ataque a Comunidade Guarani Kaiowa (MS) Deixa Um Indígena Morto E Pelo Menos Dez Feridos.” ISA. 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

[2] “Após Mobilização De Guarani E Kaiowa, Funai Reconhece TI Dourados-Amambai Pegua I (MS).” Articulação Dos Povos Indígenas Do Brasil. 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

[3] “Saiba quais foram os últimos atos de Dilma antes de ela ser afastada”. A Tal da Política. Acessed June 16, 2016.

[4] “Temer Diz a Ruralistas Que Vai Revisar Desapropriações E Demarcações.” O Globo. 2016. Accessed June 16, 2016.


[6] “Ataque a Comunidade Guarani Kaiowa (MS) Deixa Um Indígena Morto E Pelo Menos Dez Feridos.” ISA. 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

[7] “Comissão De Direitos Humanos: “Os Tiros Foram Para Matar; Atingiram Somente Regiões Vitais” – Viomundo – O Que Você Não Vê Na Mídia.” Viomundo O Que Voc No v Na Mdia Comisso De Direitos Humanos Os Tiros Foram Para Matar Atingiram Somente Regies Vitais. 2016. Accessed June 20, 2016.

[8] “Ataque a Comunidade Guarani Kaiowa (MS) Deixa Um Indígena Morto E Pelo Menos Dez Feridos.” ISA. 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.

[9] ibid

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Next US President Should Scrap ‘Useless’ Missile Defense Systems

Sputnik — 21.06.2016

The next US president should order a comprehensive evaluation of the capabilities of high-altitude missile-defense programs with a view to scraping them as useless, ex-US Chief of Naval Operations science advisor Theodore Postol told Sputnik.

“The emphasis of the review should be to determine if these systems have any capability to discriminate between warheads and decoys,” Postol, emeritus professor of science, technology and security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated on Monday.

Postol noted the review should be comprised of people who have actual technical expertise, rather than people who are political appointees and do not have the technical credentials to contribute to the scientific merit of the study.

“The review would show, based on competent scientific review, that the current missile defense systems (that is, the Navy Aegis system, the ground-based missile defense system, and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) will be incapable of dealing with the most simple decoys.”

This finding is based in the fundamental physics of infrared phenomena that show improvements in sensors can never change the outcome of the conclusions, Postol pointed out.

“This means that the United States is simply wasting its money on these systems.”

If the next US administration commits itself to using fundamental science to determine whether or not taxpayer monies are properly being spent, the result will be the cancellation of these systems that are creating fundamental problems between the United States, Russia, and China, Postol added.

“The bottom line is that these systems give us the worst of both worlds. They provide us with no reliable defense capabilities, and they are antagonizing and creating fear in Russia and China that is counterproductive and is ending all efforts at future arms reductions.”

Postol recalled that that successive US administrations were investing scores of billions of dollars in missile defense systems that had no capabilities, but inspire fear.

“The pursuit of these systems by the United States raises questions in the minds of potential adversaries about what the United States leadership believes it can do. Does it believe that it can attack Russia or China and use these missile defenses to defend against a ragged retaliation?”

Continued enormous US investment in systems that could not work was bound to make other nations fear that eventually they might have some level of effectiveness, Postol noted.

“Contrary to popular belief, the pursuit of these missile-defense systems is much more than a waste of money. It is quickly foreclosing any future reductions in nuclear weapons, which are the greatest danger to the United States and the rest of the countries in the world.”

The next US president should determine whether or not these systems can be expected to provide any reasonable defensive capability and scrap them if they do not, Postol concluded.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Israel not ready to ratify nuclear test ban treaty: Netanyahu

Press TV – June 21, 2016

Israel, which is widely believed to possess hundreds of atomic bombs, says it is not yet ready to ratify a UN pact on banning nuclear tests adopted nearly 20 years ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Organization, on Monday that Tel Aviv’s ratification of the pact is dependent on regional developments.

The treaty, which will ban all nuclear explosions, was signed in 1996, but will only go into effect when it has been ratified by all parties that possessed a nuclear reactor or some nuclear technology.

Israel is widely believed to have between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads, though it refuses to confirm or deny its existence under a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

The regime has also refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), denying international access to its atomic arsenal.

The issue of ratification “is dependent on the regional context and on the appropriate timing,” the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Prisoner leaders thrown in solitary confinement; 120 Palestinians striking in Megiddo prison


Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – June 21, 2016

120 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Megiddo prison in solidarity with Bilal Kayed, the Palestinian prisoner who was ordered to six months administrative detention without charge or trial upon the expiration of his 14.5 year sentence in Israeli prison on Monday, 13 June. Two of the leaders of the prisoners’ movement – Wael Jaghoub and Kamil Abu Hanish – have been thrown into solitary confinement,  said early reports from the prisons on 21 June.

Kayed has been on hunger strike since 14 June demanding his freedom and the cancellation of the administrative detention order. A prominent leader among the prisoners of the leftist Palestinian party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kayed’s struggle has received strong support from his comrades and fellow Palestinian prisoners, who note that his situation poses a danger to all Palestinian prisoners of a new systematic Israeli policy of administrative detention upon release.

Hundreds of Kayed’s comrades have been participating in limited-duration hunger strikes and other protests inside Israeli prisons; they have announced that they will pursue a collective open hunger strike after 7 July – which are being met with repression.

Prisoner leaders Jaghoub and Abu Hanish were ordered to isolation as repressive forces invaded sections 1, 5, and 7 in Ramon prison, confiscating electrical appliances and personal belongings and locking down cells.

There is also high tension in Nafha prison after Jamal al-Hour, a representative of Hamas prisoners, was ordered transferred to Eshel prison.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The European Dead End

By Jean Bricmont | CounterPunch | June 21, 2016

European construction began as the dream of European elites and has become the nightmare of European peoples. For a number of European intellectuals and politicians, the dream was to transform Europe into a sort of Superstate, capable of rivaling the United States. For others, the idea was to get rid of the Nation-State once and for all, since it was considered chiefly to blame for the woes of the 20th century.

However, aside from the fact that this dream always enjoyed strong United States support, which casts doubts on its claim to constitute an alternative to American domination, it suffers from a fatal flaw: the nonexistence of a European people. That is, an overwhelming majority of European citizens feel part of their respective Nation-States, or of even smaller entities (Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, etc.), much more than they feel “European”.

Advocates of European construction have two answers to that objection: either that the feeling of belonging is an historic construction (in the case of modern Nation-States) and is being changed into a “European” sense of belonging, or else that the sense of belonging does not really matter, inasmuch as political decisions must be taken on the basis of economic rationality (the liberal view) or class interests (the Marxist view), rather than on the basis of sentiments.

As for a sense of being European, it is perfectly possible that it may develop over the course of coming centuries, just as the various national sentiments did in the past. But one should not have illusions concerning the time scale. Such processes take centuries, and the Scottish example shows that even within a democratic State such as Great Britain, with equal rights for all and sharing the same language, centuries may not be enough to eradicate national feeling.

It is enough to watch sports events, such as the current European Cup, to see that national feelings are far from disappearing. They are not even disappearing among the “elites”: in Brussels, with rare exceptions, the representatives of the various Member States defend what they consider to be their national interest rather than the “European” interest.

As for the notion that national feeling does not matter, compare the national currencies that existed before the euro and the euro itself. Before the euro, changes in currency parities took place among Member States to make up for differences in economic strength between, say, Germany and France or Italy. But within each State, the unity of the national currency was maintained between rich and poor regions by a whole series of redistribution measures: identical pensions and social allocations, public investments and so on. These measures were politically possible because the citizens of these States “felt” that they were all French, or all Italians, or all Germans.

With the euro, there can be no adjustment in currency parity between weak and strong economies. Moreover, the eurozone lacks the redistribution mechanisms that existed between rich and poor regions of a single State. It is clear from following the Greek tragedy that the Germans do not feel sufficiently Greek – or even sufficiently European – to accept the transfers of wealth needed to “save Greece”. In short, national feelings have a huge economic importance, contrary to the views of the liberals and Marxists who both ignore or play down the importance of “irrational” feelings in social reality.

Or compare Europe with Latin America. In the latter continent, all the countries except Brazil have their origin in the same colonial empire, speak the same language, practice the same religion, even have more or less a common enemy (the United States) and have not massacred each other in recent major wars.

In Europe, it’s the other way around. The “memories” of the various peoples are very different, even contradictory, some having lived through communism, others through fascism, not to mention all the various wars among themselves. Their various legends and even languages preserve these diversities.

And yet, the integration of the Latin American continent is advancing in full respect of the sovereignty of each State. Nobody insists that Chile and Bolivia adopt the same currency, nor that all their four-year university programs be changed to five years, to “harmonize” studies, as with the Bologna process in Europe. If Bolivia or Ecuador decide to control their own natural resources, they don’t have do ask “Brussels” for authorization.

Such integration respecting national sovereignties could have been undertaken in Europe. That was the idea of a “Europe of peoples” proposed by Charles de Gaulle, ruled out by the existing European construction.

The left condemns the policy of the European Union because it is “neoliberal”, but the problem goes much deeper. The fatal flaw is that, in the absence of a European people, European construction can only be undemocratic and bureaucratic. A bureaucratic or autocratic power inevitably arouses hostility and ends up producing political effects contrary to those sought. If EU policies were “socialist”, they would arouse similar hostility.

From the point of view of the liberal right, depriving European peoples of their sovereignty and thus of democracy was natural because those peoples, left to themselves, would vote for too many redistributive measures.

On the left, European construction was promoted because those same peoples were supposedly chauvinist, nationalist, racist, and if left to themselves would surely end up at war with each other. This negative attitude toward their own population has been suicidal for the left, whose only base has to be the “people”.

The Europist left has made a mistake similar to that of the Communists in the past; they too thought that they were acting in the interests of the people, but the latter, being incapable of understanding, had to be led by an unelected elite.

This is particularly flagrant and tragic regarding immigration and refugees. The left Europists want to impose a policy of “opening” without ever asking their own people what they think, since some of them are sure to be against it. But they fail to understand that imposing an unpopular policy can only make it still more unpopular and that nobody likes being forced by others to be altruistic.

The Communists had their People’s Democracies, with democracy as only a façade.

The Europists have their Parliament which is another: it has no real power, and if it did, it would not be able to exercise such power because of the multiplicity of languages and national origins.

The Communists believed that national sentiments would disappear thanks to economic progress. The Europists bet on the same thing, but both have to acknowledge that “irrational” national sentiments have not disappeared, least of all when there is no sign of the promised progress.

For a long time the Communists used the accusation of antifascism to silence their opposition. The left Europists do exactly the same. The moment European peoples balk at the policies being imposed on them, they are ignored and accused of being populists and racists.

In both cases, that sort of intimidation works for a while but finally boomerangs. And when that happens, those who benefit from the popular revolt are those who never gave in to the intimidation, whether Communist or Europist, that is, the nationalist or religious right.

No doubt, all that foreshadows “dark times” for our continent, as the Europists lament. But who is to blame? Not the Cassandras who try to warn of what is happening, but those who have “constructed Europe” on the shaky foundations of intellectual arrogance, contempt for the people and illusions concerning human nature.

JEAN BRICMONT teaches physics at the University of Louvain in Belgium. He is author of Humanitarian Imperialism.  He can be reached at

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Russia, U.S. “Losing Patience” With One Another Over Syria

By Brandon Turbeville – Activist PostJune 20, 2016

As the recent standoff between Russian and American jet fighters over Syria still simmers in the headlines, both sides are claiming a loss of patience with the other regarding the support and opposition for Western-backed terrorist forces and the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Not even a week before the standoff, the United States via war criminal and Skull and Bones member John Kerry warned the Russians, Iranians, and the Syrians that U.S. patience is “not infinite.” Notably, Kerry’s comments were more heavily directed at Russia than any other power.

“Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite. In fact it is very limited with whether or not [Bashar] al-Assad is going to be held accountable,” Kerry said.

But while the United States claims that its patience is “not infinite,” an interesting point to make since the entire crisis in Syria was the handiwork of the U.S. (perhaps Kerry means “patience with obstructing the U.S. plans for the destruction of Syria?”), Russia is now warning the U.S. that it too is running out of patience.

“It is us, not Americans who are losing patience concerning the situation in Syria. We are fully meeting our commitments and agreements on securing the ceasefire and national reconciliation in Syria,” Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov told reporters on Monday.

Gerasimov claims that Russia has been sending coordinates of Russian bombing targets but said that the United States has yet to determine which groups are “moderate” terrorists (aka Syrian “opposition”) and which are extremist terrorists.

“As a result, terrorists are actively restoring their strength and the situation is escalating again,” he said.

In the aftermath of the recent aerial standoff between two nuclear world powers, the rhetoric suggesting patience coming to an end is concerning to say the least. This is particularly the case when one of the parties to hostilities is the initiator of the aggression and the crisis to begin with and one that shows no signs of willingness to back away from its tragic and foolish foreign adventure.

It is time that the United States and NATO cease their obsession with the destruction of Syria not only on moral grounds but also out of self-preservation. If they do not, then it may well be the American people and the rest of the world that suffers the consequences.

Brandon Turbeville is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US Seeks Direct Confrontation with Russia in Syria

By Ulson Gunnar | New Eastern Outlook | June 21, 2016

The US has recently accused Russia of bombing what it calls “US-backed rebels” in southern Syria. CBS News in their article, “Russia ignores warnings, bombs U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group,” would claim: 

On Friday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that’s backed by the U.S.

The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings.

More alarming is what the US claimed happened next. CBS News would further claim:

Two American F-18 jet fighters were dispatched to provide air cover for the troops on the ground as they tried to evacuate their casualties. By the time the F-18s arrived, the Russian planes were headed away, but were still close enough to see.

But when the F-18s broke away to refuel, the Russians returned for a second bombing run. Another call went out to the Russian command center in Syria, demanding that the planes wave off.

The crew of an airborne command post tried to contact the Russian pilots directly but got no response. The Su-34s conducted another bombing run, leaving a small number of opposition fighters dead on the ground.

Neither CBS News nor the US Department of Defense ever explained why the US believes it is entitled to send armed militants over the borders and into a sovereign nation, or why it believes a sovereign nation and its allies are not entitled to confront and neutralize them or why US aircraft are entitled to fly over Syrian airspace without the authorization of the Syrian government.

In other words, the US is vocally complaining about its serial violations of international law and norms finally (allegedly) being confronted and put to an end by Russian military forces.

But Did Russia Even Attack America’s Armed Invaders?

Russia however, has denied US accusations. CNN’s article, “Russia denies bombing U.S.-backed Syrian rebels near Jordan border,” states:

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied bombing U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces in a recent military operation near the Jordanian border, according to a statement released on Sunday.

The Kremlin response comes after U.S. and Russian military officials held a video conference to discuss Thursday’s strikes.

As is characteristic of all US claims regarding its multiple, ongoing foreign acts of military aggression, the most recent row in Syria is heavy on rhetoric and light on evidence. Had Russia attacked armed militants invading Syrian territory, it would have been well within its rights to do so, however it has claimed it hasn’t. The burden of proof is on the US.

Why Would the US Lie About This? 

But when one considers a recent US State Department “internal memo” calling for more direct US military action to oust the Syrian government from power, it is clear such a call cannot be answered without an accompanying justification or provocation. It appears that the US-Russian row in southern Syria conveniently constitutes just such a provocation.

CNN’s article, “State Department officials call for U.S. military action against Assad regime,” claims:

More than 50 State Department officials signed an internal memo protesting U.S. policy in Syria, calling for targeted U.S. military strikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and urging regime change as the only way to defeat ISIS.

Claiming that US military strikes against the Syrian government, or that “regime change” is the only way to defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) is indeed far fetched and is in and of itself a fabricated justification for an otherwise entirely self-serving geopolitical objective the US has set for itself in Syria.

It was US-led “regime change” in Libya in 2011 that has led to the country becoming a bastion for, not against IS and other notorious terrorist groups. Libya, it should be mentioned, has existed in a perpetual state of failure since the 2011 US military intervention, triggering one half of a massive refugee crisis facing the European continent, with no signs of abating any time in the foreseeable future.

In other words, the US desire for “regime change” in Syria will create another Libya, but on a scale larger than that in North Africa, all while compounding the chaos in North Africa further.

Therefore, justifying greater military aggression by the US in Syria appears to be a “hard sell” for American policymakers, media and politicians. Militants in southern Syria were likely designated for this ploy specifically because they have the greatest chance of being separated and distinguished from US-backed militants in northern Syria.

US-backed militants in Syria’s north are described even by the US itself as “intermingled” with extremists including Al Qaeda and even IS and have become increasingly difficult to defend diplomatically and politically as Syrian and Russian forces work on rolling them back.

Undoubtedly US-backed militants in Syria’s south are likewise”intermingled” with overt terrorist groups, but because the conflict in the south has been neglected by not only US and European news agencies, but also Russian and other Eastern news services, there lingers an unwarranted “benefit of the doubt.”

Can Anything Stop US Military Escalation?

Many in America’s foreign policy circles are nostalgic for the days of NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia where inferior Russian forces were unable to deter NATO aggression and were eventually relegated to a subordinate role in “peacekeeping operations.” At one point, NATO even contemplated striking Russian forces as a means of neutralizing any obstacle to NATO ambitions during the conflict.

It is therefore possible that these same US policymakers envision using what CNN’s article called “stand-off and air weapons” to induce a similar stand-down from Russia before proceeding with and accomplishing their much desired “regime change” in Syria.

However, the Russian military of the 1990’s is not the Russian military of today. The fact that Russia is present and operating in Syria, far beyond the confines of Eastern Europe and its traditional sphere of influence is proof enough of that.

Russia’s performance in Syria alongside Syrian forces is the primary factor in what is now clearly IS’ decline and retreat. Russian air defenses have been deployed across the country and capabilities to confront US and US-allied aggression are clear and present. Since IS had no air forces of any kind, it is clear that Russian air defenses placed in Syria were one part of deterring the sort of US aggression characterized in the recent alleged US State Department memo.

The US would have to rely entirely on the assumption that Russia would rather concede Syria in the face of US military aggression than escalate toward a direct war with the United States.

Creating the conditions both diplomatically and on the ground in Syria to deter US military commanders from following any order to essentially attempt to trigger a war with nuclear-armed Russia is now essential. Raising the stakes for any sort of escalation of US aggression in Syria is also essential.

While the UN seems content with ignoring the serial international crimes of the US as it flaunts sovereign Syrian airspace, violates its borders by sending armed militants over them intent on destabilizing, destroying and overthrowing the Syrian state and presiding over the dismemberment of not only Syria, but the region itself, other international organizations could fill this expanding void.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), for example, could conceivably put together “peacekeeping” forces of its own, placed along Syria’s borders deterring the transit of armed militants and forcing the hands of both Jordan and Turkey to be exposed in the backing of some of the most toxic militant organizations engaged in Syria’s conflict.

The presence of Chinese, Russian, and even Iranian troops in this capacity could make it clear that no matter what act of aggression the US commits to, Syria’s fate would remain in the hands of its government, its people, and its allies. Tying these efforts into the distribution of aid would hamstring US attempts to hide its war-making behind “humanitarianism.”

Such a move, however, by the SCO would be unprecedented, costly and difficult to coordinate. And because of its unprecedented nature, unforeseen challenges may even make this option a complication rather than an asset toward fending off US aggression and the resolution of the costly ongoing Syrian conflict.

Regardless, it is clear that as IS and other terrorist organizations who have constituted the bulk of what the US regularly refers to as “opposition” beings to collapse, US desperation to conclude the Syrian conflict in its favor (not in favor of Syria or its people) is becoming increasingly palpable.

Another point opponents of US aggression must focus on is the ongoing chaos in Libya, a burning example of where US’s suggested “regime change” in Syria will inevitably lead. US success in Syria will essentially be an extension of Libya’s chaos, bolstering, not serving to “defeat” IS.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Fifty-one Foreign Service Officers Can’t be Wrong

Or can they? More bombs and less talk on Syria

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • June 21, 2016

It is ironic that fifty-one U.S. State Department employees, perhaps overly-generously dignified in the media with the title of “diplomats,” have come out in favor of removing a foreign head of state by force. Detailing their opposition to the status quo, the signatories submitted a dissent memo through established Foreign Service channels. The document itself is classified, even though the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal clearly have obtained copies, presumably leaked to them by some of the dissident officers.

The signatories have reportedly demanded “targeted air strikes” and the “judicious use of stand-off and air weapons which would under-gird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process” to bring down the al-Assad government. They justify their dissent by arguing that “The moral rationale for taking steps to end the deaths and suffering in Syria, after five years of brutal war, is evident and unquestionable. The status quo in Syria will continue to present increasingly dire, if not disastrous, humanitarian, diplomatic and terrorism-related challenges.”

The memo describes the Syrian government’s alleged barrel bomb attacks on civilians “the root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region. Crucially, Syria’s Sunni population continues to view the Assad regime as the primary enemy in the conflict. Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as (IS), even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield.”

Based on the media leaks though without having seen the actual document, one might nevertheless reasonably conclude that the authors of the memo clearly see Bashar al-Assad as the fons et origo of all the evils currently prevailing in Syria. The intention is to use military force to compel al-Assad to negotiate seriously to dismantle his own government, himself included, a blunt approach that has not necessarily worked very well elsewhere in recent memory. In fact, it has not worked at all. And the assertion that al-Assad is the major problem is, of course, questionable, ignoring as it does ISIS. The memo conveniently leaves out of the reckoning the U.S. role in destabilizing the entire region by invading Iraq and also pushing for regime change in Syria as early as 2003 since that would presumably implicate the signers in counterproductive policies. The Syria Accountability Acts of 2004 and also of 2010, like similar legislation directed against Iran, have resulted in little accountability and have instead actually stifled diplomacy. Congress sought to punish Syria with sanctions for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and for its links to Tehran, making any possible improvement in relations problematical. The 2010 Act even called for steps to bring about regime change in Damascus.

Nor is there any consideration of what most Americans might well want to see come out of a new military intervention in the Middle East. Specifically, as Syria in no way threatens the U.S. what is the actual United States national interest in toppling the government in Damascus, apart from some fantastical messianic desire to bring about a peaceable kingdom in the heart of the Arab world through the deployment of American military power. The U.S. would be launching cruise missiles against targets in a country with which Washington is not at war. And being able to bomb Syria does not necessarily mean that Washington will be able to dictate what happens next. Does no one at the State Department remember what happened in Iraq?

The memo also apparently does not address what might happen to the majority Syrian population loyal to the government if and when the regime were to fall to the “rebels.” Attacking and weakening the Syrian military, the presumed target of air attacks, would only make easier a post-al-Assad transition into something even more toxic. Many observers believe that the most radical elements would quickly overpower the alleged moderates that the United States perhaps erroneously believes that it is supporting, leading to even more atrocities directed against religious non-conformists and minority groups. This would include the country’s dwindling number of Christians, who overwhelmingly support the al-Assad regime.

Now consider for a moment who might have been involved in writing this memo. The authors are described by the newspapers that obtained copies of the memo as “mid-level.” That means they are products of the non-diplomacy diplomacy of the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies, when the recurrent negotiating tactic in dealing with other countries has almost invariably started with threatening the use of force followed almost immediately by the dispatch of several carrier groups. They probably believe as Madeleine Albright once put it, that we Americans are the indispensable nation, we “see far.” Some of the signatories are undoubtedly Bush era believers in American exceptionalism and global leadership exercised at gunpoint who believe intervention is a national imperative while the Obamaites no doubt see their role as humanitarian, helping oppressed and endangered people of the world who are striving to be free. Both views are delusional from every point of view and do not consider what the people in the countries most affected by American “benevolence” might actually want.

So in short, the ideologically driven signatories probably don’t know a whole lot about traditional diplomacy and would be well advised to read up on Hans Morgenthau’s Politics Among Nations before they open their mouths because overthrowing established governments has consequences, an issue largely avoided by the drafters of the memo as they make no suggestions about what might happen or what must be done after al-Assad and his government disappear.

And then there is the rather embarrassing issue of who the enemy actually is. The suggestion that ISIS is empowered by al-Assad’s survival is a bit of a stretch as the Syrian government and its allies Iran, Hezbollah and Russia are bearing the brunt of the fighting against it and also against al-Qaeda proxy al-Nusrah. And if there is an actual American interest in the conflict it would be to work with those who are enemies of ISIS instead of so-called friends like Turkey and Saudi Arabia that are actually enabling the group.

Of course, willful ignorance about reality is not very important when one has a career to nurture. Can it be that the fifty-one signatories have carefully read the Washington Post and figured out that Hillary Clinton will be our next president? She has promised just what the letter writers are suggesting, a U.S. controlled no-fly zone and aggressive steps that will lead to the removal of al-Assad. As apparent adherents to the Victoria Nuland school of Foreign Policy where one overthrows a government, arranges for new leaders and then threatens concerned neighbors with reprisals, the signatories should fit in quite well with the Clinton regime’s vision of peace through military dominance.

Or if Nuland is not to one’s taste there is also former Obama Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. The Times, perhaps characteristically, interviews two “experts” on Syria, ex-Ambassador Robert Ford and Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy (WINEP). While Ambassador to Syria Ford deliberately sought to provoke the government by meeting with opposition leaders and making public demands for greater democracy. Though his role as ambassador was actually to support American interests, he instead interfered in Syrian politics, speaking openly in support of anti-regime protesters while serving in Damascus in 2010. On one occasion he was pelted with tomatoes and was eventually removed over safety concerns before resigning in 2014 over his demands for a “tougher policy” in Syria. Now he is selling the same kool-aid, regularly appearing on television to urge military action against al-Assad. Tabler, who speaks about frustration over the current Syrian policy, is a standard issue neoconservative. WINEP is a spin-off from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

And then there is the small matter of Russia, which is increasingly promoted as the enemy of choice to sustain the threat narrative that excuses American interventions worldwide. The memo indicates that the signatories are not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia” even though that is precisely what they are promoting. What would happen when sophisticated Russian air defenses in place in Syria shoot down an attacking U.S. warplane? Russia has indicated that it is willing to consider supporting the replacement of al-Assad as part of an eventual peace settlement but it has also insisted that there has to be stability by way of a transition that permits a recognized government to stay in place to avoid the type of anarchy that would guarantee an ISIS takeover. Apparently the 51 “diplomats” who have been unable to practice much diplomacy in the real world somehow believe that bombing the Syrian government can be accomplished with Moscow sitting idly by, too terrified by Washington’s show of force to respond. It would be a mistake to think that.

It is interesting to note, per the New York Times article, that a reluctant Pentagon has been engaged in push-back against the advocates of deeper involvement in Syria. As ever, it is the Foggy Bottom’s non-combatants with no skin in the game who are the fiercest chair-borne warriors. What the signatories to the memo appear to sidestep is the inevitable conclusion that their recommendations are a reversion to George W. Bush foreign policy at its most pig-shit ignorant. But perhaps it is all old wine in new bottles, particularly if one accepts that the memo might actually be an application letter to join the hawkish Hillary Clinton foreign policy team. Bomb al-Assad to make him agree to our terms. Ignore Russian interests. Don’t worry, it will all work out.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 2 Comments

US still aiming to oust Assad, dismember Syria: Analyst

Press TV – June 19, 2016

“The US still has only one motive, which is to oust Assad and convert Syria from a front-line state against Israel into a failed, broken and dismembered state no matter what,” Professor Dennis Etler says.

America’s position on Syria is shrouded in double-speak as Washington has accused Russia of violating the ceasefire while it still calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, says Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday, after the Pentagon called on Russia not to target US-backed militants in southern Syria.

US military officials “expressed strong concerns about the attack on the coalition-supported counter-ISIL forces at the At-Tanf garrison, which included forces that are participants in the cessation of hostilities in Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Saturday, after they held talks with Russian military officials on a video link.

“The Pentagon asks Russia not to bomb US-backed militants in Syria while the State Department calls for US military intervention to oust Assad,” Professor Etler said.

“The two faced nature of US intervention in Syria has been clearly illustrated by recent events. On the one hand they coddle anti-government insurgents who are said to be US trained anti-Daesh militants, while on the other hand John Kerry expresses sympathy for US State Department functionaries who brazenly call for direct US military strikes to help the insurgents overthrow the Assad government. The US position is shrouded in double-speak,” the analyst noted.

Russian airstrikes turned the tide of Syrian battle

“The ineffectual US attacks against Daesh are heralded as the main reason for the setbacks that Takfiri terrorists have recently suffered, totally ignoring the fact that it is Russian airstrikes and Syrian army ground offenses that have turned the tide of battle,” Professor Etler said.

“The false narrative disseminated by the US asserts that it is US backed and trained militants who have been attacking Daesh and inflicting heavy losses on them while the Russian and Syrian government forces have been attacking ‘moderate’ rebel groups supported by the US,” he stated.

“In fact it is the exact opposite. The Russians and Syrians have decimated Daesh while the US has protected anti-government militants who work hand in glove with terrorists of the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. Syrian forces with Russian air support are the ones who have thwarted an al-Nusra offensive against the Syrian city of Aleppo not the US-backed ‘militants’ who are closely integrated with al-Nusra even though the US says its clients are targeting both it and Daesh,” he pointed out.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists have one goal

“The US has its fingerprints over all elements of the Syrian opposition, having trained and equipped the various terrorist groups which have morphed into a variety of contending factions often fighting amongst themselves. It is nearly impossible to distinguish between so-called ‘moderate’ opposition groups and other terrorists that have proliferated in both Syria and Iraq,” Professor Etler said.

“This has allowed the US to muddy the waters and declare that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists when in fact they all have the same goal of overthrowing the legitimate government of Syria headed by Bashar al-Assad,” he pointed out.

“The Russian brokered ceasefire that the US signed onto has been breached by US intransigence in continuing to call for the ouster of Assad and the transition to a government that the US deems satisfactory. The recently leaked internal State Department memo signed by 51 mid-level State Department functionaries and endorsed by US Secretary of State John Kerry calls for direct US military intervention in Syria to oust the Syrian government,” he noted.

“This is in direct contravention to the agreement for cessation of hostilities which makes no mention of regime change. To then accuse the Syrians and Russians of breaking the ceasefire for attacking opposition forces that the US wants to use against the Syria government is the height of hypocrisy,” he added.

Is US planning more direct military intervention?

“The State Department memo takes to task the Obama administration’s attempt to mediate the Syrian conflict, but Obama’s policy is more apparent than real. The US media is trying to make it seem that there is internal discord among the foreign policy makers regarding Syria, that there is a ‘war party’ and a ‘peace party,’” Professor Etler said.

“But US policy has always been on a dual track, feigning a desire to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict while doing all in its power to inflame and spread it. Now that the Russian and Syrian forces are gaining the upper hand the US is doing everything possible to spread disinformation and outright lies in order to give the US more freedom of action, laying the groundwork for more direct military intervention under a new administration after the upcoming presidential election,” he stated.

“The US will do everything in its power to continue the conflict so that it can send in troops on the ground and launch air strikes against Syrian ground forces after the election,” he noted.

“The US still has only one motive, which is to oust Assad and convert Syria from a front-line state against Israel into a failed, broken and dismembered state no matter what,” the academic concluded.

June 21, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , | Leave a comment

500 school children needlessly sent for ‘deradicalization’ by government, teaching union claims

RT | June 21, 2016

More than 1,000 children have been referred by teachers to a deradicalization program in the space of a year to prevent them becoming terrorists – but leading teaching unions insist some minors are being reported unnecessarily.

Authorities were also alerted to hundreds of patients and higher education students who were reportedly vulnerable to extremism, according to the Times.

Roughly half of those referred were assessed but did not require any further intervention.

Teachers are required by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act “to have due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism.”

The measures also require local authorities, the health sector, prisons and police to comply with the rules.

Within the schools in England and Wales, 1,041 children were referred to deradicalization program ‘Channel’ in 2015, compared to nine children from 2012 when it was extended nationally.

In further education facilities such as colleges, there were 180 referrals from last year compared to five in 2012. Universities reported 76 students while the health service had 228 referrals in 2015.

The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Police Chiefs Council.

Kevin Courtney, from the National Union of Teachers said the figures suggested the tendency of over-referring pupils.

‘Channel’ is part of the British government’s wider ‘Prevent’ strategy to tackle extremism and stop people from becoming terrorists.

In March, teachers voted overwhelmingly to reject the strategy, with concerns that it causes “suspicion in the classroom and confusion in the staffroom,” and disproportionately targets Muslim students.

The program has been considered a failure by teaching unions, largely due to some 90 percent of referrals ending without action being taken, according to the Guardian.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said the program was designed to “safeguard” children.


Anti-radicalization ‘Prevent’ program a ‘toxic brand,’ says Muslim ex-police officer

READ MORE: National Union of Students challenges ‘racist’ counter-radicalization strategy

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment