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London terrorist attack: Westminster’s jihadis come home

By Gearóid Ó Colmáin | March 23, 2017

One year to the day after the Brussels terrorist attacks, a terrorist drove a car into Westminster parliament buildings killing four people and wounding several others. The British public are in shock. Westminster is considered to be a monument to British ‘democracy’. The date 3/22 will be remembered among those who mourn over the skulls and bones of loved ones lost to terrorism.

Today, many of those mourners are in Syria. Just a few hours earlier, 50 destitute families staying at the al Badiya Dakhilya school in the village of Mansoura on the outskirts of Raqqa, were blown to pieces after an air strike by the ‘international coalition’. The Pentagon said it would “investigate” the atrocity. The British Government and its Western partners were silent. Thirty-three people were murdered. The United Nations – the international arm of US imperialism- was mute. The Syrian government asked them why. No answer was given.

On the same day, Al Nosra terrorists entered the village of Majdal, Northwest of Hama. Several women and children were reportedly killed. There are not enough reporters in Syria to cover all the atrocities committed almost every day by psychopathic killers the Western media calls ‘moderate rebels’.

Britain’s ‘jihad’ in Syria

In 2009, former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas attended a meeting in London with British government officials. They told him they were planning to send Jihadi terrorists into Syria to take over the country. It was part of Britain’s contribution to the Greater Israel project.

Israel’s quest for Middle East supremacy was outlined in a policy paper written by Israeli official Oded Yinon in 1982. The Yinon Plan involved fomenting civil war in Arab and Muslim countries in order to establish Israeli suzerainty over all its hostile neighbours. Like its partners in France and the United States, the British government is a whore of Israel.

Westminster was finalising a grand strategy for the Middle East which would combine people-power uprisings and covert snipers, followed by Takfiri terrorism. The US grand strategy for the Middle East was announced by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 in her speech before the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where she proudly proclaimed that President George W. Bush had a “new policy” for the Middle East and North Africa.

The US launched an “unprecedented international venue for reform”, by training activists in social media and regime change tactics. The Centre for Non-Violent Actions and Strategies (CANVAS), Albert Einstein Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Freedom House, Facebook, and many other CIA-affiliated US agencies brought about what came to be known as the “Arab Spring”. The American/Israeli plan for a New Middle East was fully backed by most sou-disant ‘anti-imperialists’, who couldn’t resist the romance and fantasy of revolution and ‘Marxists’ waxed lyrical with “the masses make history”.

The consensus among the anti-war left that the Arab Spring was “spontaneous” and “popular” meant that NATO was able to carpet bomb Libya for 8 months, making the bombing look like a humanitarian intervention. Hundreds of thousands of civilians would perish. When Libya was destroyed, Syria was next on NATO’s target list. For 6 years this month, the Syrian Arab Republic has been fighting a war of national liberation from the international horde of Takfiri terrorists that British government officials were training in 2009 for deployment to the country.

The attacks on Westminster come at a time when Britain is set to “get tough” on immigration. Though Brexit holds out the possibility of economic and democratic progress in Britain – and immigration needs to be controlled and planned – reactionary forces and news outlets are increasingly pointing the finger at Muslims and Islam as the root of Britain’s problems. A similar process is taking hold in the United States and throughout the European Union.

Zionist terrorism

Since the Zionist false flag bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on the 22nd of July 1946, the Lavon Affair of 1954, the 911 attacks, the Brevik Massacre, and many others, Zionism has boldly carried out terrorist attacks and blamed them on Muslims or far right groups. The war on terror is a Zionist construct which is designed to goad the Western public into supporting foreign wars on behalf of Israeli interests, where recruits from Israel’s Gulf State partners are used as pawns and patsies in the infernal narrative of the “clash of civilisations”.

Today the terrorism or its simulacrum has struck Westminster. The script is typed on a well-worn palimpsest with exotic Arab names parroted in the non-stop media hysteria. Not until the public realises that the terrorists are, and always have been, inside the corridors of Westminster – an edifice that attests to the dictatorship of a decadent oligarchy over the toiling masses – will the reign of terror come to an end.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Court Rules in Favor of Police Who Pounded on Wrong Door, Didn’t Identify Themselves, Then Killed Innocent Man for Holding a Gun

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | March 23, 2017

ATLANTA, Ga. — According to a federal appeals court, police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

In ruling in favor of qualified immunity for police, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has given law enforcement agencies further incentives to engage in aggressive “knock and talk” practices, which have become thinly veiled, warrantless exercises by which citizens are coerced and intimidated into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in the middle of the night.

“Government officials insist that there is nothing unlawful, unreasonable or threatening about the prospect of armed police dressed in SWAT gear knocking on doors in the middle of night and ‘asking’ homeowners to engage in warrantless ‘knock-and-talk’ sessions,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “However, as Andrew Scott learned, there’s always a price to pay for saying no to such heavy-handed requests by police. If the courts continue to sanction such aggressive, excessive, coercive ‘knock-and-shoot’ tactics, it will give police further incentive to terrorize and kill American citizens without fear of repercussion.”

On July 15, 2012, Deputy Richard Sylvester spotted a speeding motorcycle while on patrol in Lake County, Florida. Sylvester pursued the motorcycle in his patrol car but lost sight of it. Subsequent reports caused Sylvester to believe that the motorcyclist might be armed, was wanted by another police department, and had been spotted at a nearby apartment complex. Arriving at the complex around 1:30 a.m., Sylvester and three other deputies began knocking on doors close to where a motorcycle was parked, starting with Apartment 114, where a light was on inside. Apartment 114 was occupied by Andrew Scott and Amy Young, who were playing video games and had no connection to the motorcycle or any illegal activity.

Assuming tactical positions surrounding the door to Apartment 114, the deputies had their guns drawn and ready to shoot. Sylvester, without announcing he was a police officer, then banged loudly and repeatedly on the door, causing a neighbor to open his door. When questioned by a deputy, the neighbor explained that the motorcycle’s owner did not live in Apartment 114. This information was not relayed to Sylvester. Unnerved by the banging at such a late hour, Andrew Scott retrieved his handgun before opening the door. When Scott saw a shadowy figure holding a gun outside his door, he retreated into his apartment only to have Sylvester immediately open fire. Sylvester fired six shots, three of which hit and killed Scott. A trial court subsequently ruled in favor of the police, ruling that Scott was to blame for choosing to retrieve a handgun before opening the door.

On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Sylvester was protected by “qualified immunity,” reasoning that the use of excessive force did not violate “clearly established law.” Four judges dissented with the majority’s ruling, likening the “knock and talk” to a “knock and shoot” and rejecting the idea that Scott caused the shooting by exercising his Second Amendment right through his possession of a firearm.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Trump Envoy Asks Israel to Halt Construction Outside Settlement Blocs

IMEMC News & Agencies – March 23, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East reportedly asked, during last week’s meeting, for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction in Jerusalem and outside the large settlement blocs. According to Al Ray, Netanyahu expressed reservations at an official freeze.

Channel 2 News reported, on Wednesday, that Jason Greenblatt, who visited Israel last week, asked Netanyahu to freeze construction in isolated settlements and restrict it to East Jerusalem and outside the large settlement blocs.

In addition, Washington also reportedly asked to set a fixed number of houses that can be built each year.

The Israeli security cabinet has rejected these requests, demanding that Israel has the right to build in any part of the West Bank.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli forces raid Tulkarem print shops, confiscate equipment

Ma’an – March 23, 2017

TULKAREM – Israeli forces raided and sacked two Palestinian print shops in the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem at dawn on Thursday and confiscated equipment.
Ali Abu Saleh, the owner of the two print shops, told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops raided his home in the Shweika neighborhood and demanded that he let them access his stores.

Abu Saleh said that Israeli soldiers searched his shop in the Shweika area, where they confiscated equipment, printed materials, and destroyed security camera footage.

Israeli forces also raided Abu Saleh’s other print shop in central Tulkarem, breaking the front door and also confiscating equipment and materials.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces had raided the shops because they printed “inciting material.”

However, Abu Saleh rejected the army’s claims, calling them baseless, adding that 20 people were out of work following the raids.

Israeli forces had also aided another Tulkarem print shop earlier this month.

Israeli forces have previously targeted printing shops where posters commemorating Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were manufactured.

Since the beginning of the year, one Palestinian from Tulkarem was killed and another from the city succumbed to fatal injuries, after being shot by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to commit attacks.

In the past year, Israel has targeted Palestinian media institutions and civilians, including activists and journalists, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.”..

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment

New York Man Arrested for Spray Painting Swastikas on Own Home

Sputnik – 23.03.2017

In the latest in a bizarre string of hoax hate crimes in the US since Donald Trump was elected president, a New York man has been arrested for spray painting swastikas on his own home.

The Schenectady Police have arrested Andrew King, a man who made the rounds on local television stations expressing his fear about being targeted for his Jewish faith, for filing a false report.

Even stranger, it is now being questioned whether the man is even Jewish.

“I didn’t know, maybe they are going to do more than that, maybe from spray paint to trying to harm me,” King told NEWS10 ABC in February.

After police found that he had drawn the hate symbols himself, News 10 spoke to community leaders and those who know King, and all claimed that he is not Jewish.

King had reportedly attempted to convert on multiple occasions, but was turned away by at least two congregations, the station found.

King, seen with two black eyes in his mug shot, also claims that they were caused by police officers who were arresting him on charges of harassing a county employee.

Since the rise of Trump, there has also been a rise in fake hate crimes, as stories posted to social media immediately go viral and grab the nation’s attention.

In a recent example, Yasmin Seweid, 18, was arrested after it turned out that her viral story about being attacked on the New York subway by three white men shouting support for Trump while attempting to snatch her head scarf was a lie.

The Baruch College student had posted her fictional hate crime to Facebook, where it was rapidly spread by Trump detractors as “proof” that his presidency is inciting violence.

“Nothing happened, and there was no victim,” a police source told the New York Post.

Seweid is now charged with filing a false report and faces up to one year in prison if convicted.

In another post-election incident, an 18-year-old Muslim student from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette told a fake story about being accosted by two white men. She asserted that one of the men was wearing a Trump hat, and that they shouted racial slurs at her, knocked her down, stole her wallet and ripped her headscarf off. Her post about the incident was shared widely.

She later admitted to the Lafayette Police Department that she had lied, and is now facing misdemeanor charges and disciplinary action from her university.

“During the course of the investigation, the female complainant admitted that she fabricated the story about her physical attack as well as the removal of her hijab and wallet by two white males,” Lafayette police said in a statement. “This incident is no longer under investigation by the Lafayette Police Department.”

Another student from Ohio, 24-year-old Eleesha Long, claimed that she was attacked by three white men wearing Trump hats who threw rocks at her and called her a racial slur. Her post about the pretend incident, which went viral, detailed what each man was wearing as well as very specific details about the alleged hate crime.

Throughout the police investigation, law enforcement noticed that Long’s story changed multiple times, and that her Facebook and Verizon history proved that she was not where she claimed to be. It turns out that the student made the story up out of frustration with friends and family members who supported Trump.

Long has now been charged with falsification and obstructing official business.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism | | Leave a comment

Dual US-Israeli citizen arrested for wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers

RT | March 23, 2017

A 19-year-old US-Israeli citizen has been arrested in southern Israel on suspicion of carrying out a wave of telephone bomb threats targeting Jewish centers and communities around the world.

The months-long, multi-agency investigation led Israel Police’s International Crime Investigations Unit to the city of Ashkelon, where the suspect and his father were arrested, and a search of their home was conducted on Thursday, local media reports.

“This specific investigation was complex in terms of the suspect and its nature,” Micky Rosenfeld, foreign press spokesman for the Israel Police, told the Jerusalem Post.

“There was a significant breakthrough in the investigation which led us to make the arrest of the suspect who lives in Southern Israel.”

“He was the main suspect behind the numerous amount of threats which were made to different Jewish communities and organizations around the world,” Rosenfeld added.

The Anti-Defamation League has recorded 165 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions around North America since January, as well as in New Zealand and Australia in 2016, according to Haaretz.

“I commend the FBI and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

The suspect employed a variety of advanced masking technologies to disguise his identity, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed police spokesperson. His motives remain unclear.

Police seized a range of equipment during the search of the suspect’s home in southern Israel, which could potentially have disguised his physical location and IP address from authorities, frustrating the months-long investigation, Haaretz reports.

The FBI has been investigating a spate of bomb threats made to Jewish centers in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and North Carolina, as well as similar threats to Delta Airlines.

The main break in the case came following a 2016 bomb threat to a Jewish center in New Zealand, after which authorities were able to trace the origin of the IP address to Israel.

The FBI, in coordination with the US Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies also traced the origin of the calls to the US back to an IP address in Israel and coordinated their efforts with Israeli authorities, handing over all relevant data to help with the investigation.

READ MORE:

Missouri man arrested for at least 8 Jewish center threats

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | 1 Comment

Why Israel is ‘Deeply Interested’ in Continuation of Syrian War

Sputnik – March 23, 2017

Israel is likely to try to retain the existing status quo in Syria since it has benefited from the ongoing conflict in the war-torn neighboring nation, political analyst Sergei Balmasov asserted, saying that Tel Aviv’s combat missions are not aimed at President Bashar al-Assad, but are rather meant to prevent the crisis from being resolved.

“Israel is deeply interested in the ongoing standoff between the Sunnis and the Shia. Tel Aviv wants them to continue killing each other. Nothing presents a threat to Israel as long as this war is ongoing. The Israeli Air Force launches airstrikes against Shia militias in Syria, tipping the balance. This evens out the chances and the war drags on,” he told RT.

Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute at the Russian International Affairs Council, also suggested that Israel could use a border incident to move its forces into southern Syria.

“One could not rule out that Israel does not deploy its troops to the southern buffer zone which borders the Golan Heights to create a territorial entity on the basis of Druze settlements using some kind of an incident as a pretext,” he said.

Israel has largely refrained from taking an active part in the devastating Syrian conflict, but has occasionally sent its warplanes to launch airstrikes on Hezbollah in a bid to eliminate its leaders and destroy its weapons. Several such missions are reported to have taken place in recent days in what marks the most serious incident between Tel Aviv and Damascus since the 2011 foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syria morphed into a large-scale war.

It started on Friday, with the Israeli Air Force launching airstrikes on several Hezbollah targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, close to an area where Russian experts have been engaged in demining efforts following the successful campaign to push Daesh out of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The operation prompted the Syrian Arab Army to launch three anti-aircraft missiles at the departing Israeli planes, with Israel’s Arrow missile defense system intercepting one of the projectiles.

The incident sparked a war of words among high-ranking officials on both sides. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pledged that Tel Aviv would destroy all Syrian air defense systems “without thinking twice” should a similar situation occur in the future. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Tel Aviv would continue to carry out airstrikes on convoys suspected of transferring advanced weapons to Hezbollah.President Bashar al-Assad reiterated that it was Damascus’ right and duty to defend Syrian borders.

“Why has Israel squared off against the Syrian Arab Army? Israel views the SAA’s links to Hezbollah as unacceptable. Tel Aviv is concerned that the group could become stronger,” Irina Zvyagelskaya, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told RT.

Israel considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization and views the Lebanon-based Shia movement, one of Assad’s key allies in Damascus’s war against Daesh, to be one of the top security threats.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

SIGAR Report Notes US Failures in Afghanistan

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – 23.03.2017

A report of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), especially prepared for the US Congress and the Trump administration, finds what should be called a magnanimous failure of the US in achieving any of its major objectives in Afghanistan even after spending almost 16 years in the country. Ironic though it may sound, this report, along with its list of grave threats that the US needs to tackle, endorses the war as, what Trump himself has called, totally “disastrous” for the US. While the actual intention behind the preparation of this report seems to be to impress upon the president and the Congress to sanction more funds, commit more US troops and continue the rehabilitation programme (read: Trump has vowed to end the programme), it ends up enlisting the US’ multiple failures in Afghanistan, ranging from eliminating the Taliban completely to restoring even a semblance of peace and establishing a strong security force in the war torn country. Hence, the question: will commitment of more resources (funds and troops) to Afghanistan make any difference, especially when the proposed increase is nothing compared to what the US had committed and continued to utilize for years after it invaded Afghanistan in 2001?

It is worth recalling that since 2001, around 2250 US military personnel have died and over 20,000 wounded in Afghanistan and the war is not over—yet. Apart from it, as the report notes, the US has spent more money in Afghanistan than it collectively spent to reconstruct the whole Europe after the Second World War, marking this the “largest expenditure to rebuild a single country in our (US) nation’s history.” Given the scale of the loss, it cannot be gainsaid that it is also the greatest failure the US has suffered ever since. And as the report highlights, “after 15 years the task is incomplete.”

Afghanistan, for the US, remains a “high risk” territory—something that warrants, the US policy makers think, a long-term military presence. Despite spending a whopping US$70 billion on establishing Afghan security forces—almost half of the reconstruction budget going to this particular sector of national reconstruction— the report finds that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) remain acutely incapable of tackling the war on their own.

While the report places the onus of responsibility on Afghan forces for ceding territory to the Taliban, the fact remains that the US forces have not left the country either and remain militarily engaged.

According to the US-Afghanistan Bi-Lateral Security Agreement (BSA), the very purpose of retaining a significant strength of US troops and military personnel is to “enhance the ability of Afghanistan to deter internal and external threats against its sovereignty.”

However, despite the fact that two years have passed since the agreement was signed, no major progress has been seen in terms of the Afghan forces’ ability to recover territory from the Taliban. On the contrary, as the SIGAR report notes, “approximately 63.4% of the country’s districts are under Afghan government control or influence as of August 28, 2016, a decrease from the 70.5% reported as of January 29, 2016.”

What this indicates is that the US has been unable to achieve, so far, its publicly stated objectives. According to the SIGAR report, the other “high risk” areas include corruption, sustainability, on-budget support, counter-narcotics, contract management, oversight, strategy and planning.

Curiously enough, SIGAR does not mention the rising threat of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and the threat it is posing to the regions surrounding this country. The regions surrounding Afghanistan include Central Asia, South Asia and China.

Were the Islamic State to be allowed, by not taking action against it, to spread in Afghanistan and be able to set foothold in this region, it will spread utter devastation—something that will directly serve the US interest against Russia and China. Not only will it jeopardize China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project but will also cause a manifold increase in the threats of ISIS finding support in China’s Xinjiang province and in Central Asia states i.e., Russia’s “under belly.”

No wonder, the US doesn’t see ISIS as a “real threat” to their interests in Afghanistan because it is not, as yet, posing any direct threat. For the US, the primary threat remains the Taliban and the imperative of silencing their movement remains the primary objective.

It is for this reason that both China and Russia have found a justifiable reason in establishing contacts both with the Afghan government and the Taliban in order to prevent ISIS from gaining foothold in Afghanistan. While China has already started to conduct counter-terror operations in co-operation with Kabul, Russia is equally setting itself up to lead the peace process by holding a global peace conference on Afghanistan in Moscow.

What are Trump’s options for an un-winnable war?

Given the dark scenario depicted in the report, it seems that the US military is deeply interested in raising troop levels in Afghanistan. But the question is: will sending more troops do any good when 16 years of war have led only to deterioration? What it will do is intensify the war with the Taliban and provide ISIS a ready-made scenario to gain strength.

It is obvious that the US cannot win the war against the Taliban. As a matter of fact, the question of actually winning the war has lost whatever significance it previously had. Therefore, the new question that must be raised and duly addressed is how to prevent Afghanistan from becoming another Levant?

It is again self-evident that ISIS doesn’t figure as a threat in the US officials’ calculation. Therefore, China and Russia must step up their efforts and help negotiate a peace settlement with the Taliban. Pakistan’s role is crucial in this regard and fortunately enough, both Russia and China are on good terms with Afghanistan’s immediate and most important neighbour.

Therefore, the best option for the US/the Trump administration is to engage with countries that can actually pave the way for settlement. On the contrary, were the US to continue to walk the lonely path in Afghanistan, it will continue to progressively lose space and momentum to China-Pakistan-Russia nexus just as it lost space and advantage in Syria after Russia started its own military campaign in September 2015. As such, with Russia and China willing to facilitate a peace settlement, the US needs to tap into this opportunity and turn the “disastrous war” into a meaningful settlement.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American civil war is good for world peace

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | March 22, 2017

The civil war in Washington between President Donald Trump and his detractors shows no signs of abating. Every day becomes a fresh start in the fighting. The latest salvo has been Monday’s hearing at the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee where the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey acknowledged the existence of an on-going investigation by his agency over suspected Russian interference in the US presidential election with hacking to help the then Republican candidate Trump win the White House.

True, no smoking gun was produced by Comey, but his testimony implied that investigations are continuing. We may expect that many more such hearings are in the pipeline. A “big grey cloud” has appeared out of nowhere, as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes put it. The cloud will lift only if the various inquiries going on conclusively absolve Trump or, alternatively, if Trump leaves office, whichever comes first.

Such inquiries have a way of mutating, while moving ponderously, slowly in the cesspit tank. Comey admitted that it is difficult for him “to give you a timetable as to when it will be done.” Then, there is also a sub-plot – Comey himself is under investigation by the US Justice Department.

The next big day will be March 28 when two colorful personalities in the US intelligence system during the Obama administration – the ex-director of national intelligence James Clapper and the ex-CIA director John Brennan – will appear before the House panel. Both were instrumental in the January assessment that the Russians had interfered in the US presidential election in an attempt to benefit Trump. Clapper has a proven record of lying under oath, while Brennan is Barack Obama’s poodle. Trust both to resort to innuendos against Trump and mates, hitting them in the loins where it hurts. (Watch it “live”.)

To my mind, this is about the appropriate time to begin pondering about a world sans America. That is to say, an international system where America has taken “time out”. Is it a good thing to happen? Well, it is already having some salutary effect on the international climate. The global tensions have noticeably eased. If it was commonplace during the Obama era to discuss a potential war between Russia and the US, including a nuclear war, no one wastes breath over such things anymore.

A good case can be made that if the American civil war continues to be fought as savagely by the country’s elites as it has been so far, and if the fratricidal strife continues for another 4 or 8 years — ideally, through the entire Trump presidency — it will be a great boon for the world community. Never again will Americans be able to be preachy that the world cannot do without them. And the ruling elites in countries such as India will also get accustomed to a life without America.

Clearly, America’s “exceptionalism” is getting exposed as total sham. Second, the longer the civil war continues, the less possibility there is for US military interventions abroad. Quite obviously, we saw last week that China could prevail upon the US to be “cool-headed” and not to go to war with North Korea. It seems to me that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared relieved to agree with the Chinese that there is no option but to continue on the diplomatic track vis-à-vis the North Korea problem.

Again, some degree of predictability is appearing in the US-China relationship, since the last thing Trump wants now is a conflict with China. For us Asians also, it is singularly gratifying that there isn’t going to be a war in the region. This is what the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said earlier today at a media briefing in Beijing:

  • During Secretary of State Tillerson’s stay in China, the two sides arrived at a clear consensus on ensuring a sound development of China-US relations at a new starting point in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. It should not be interpreted as a victory for any party. It is just the right way for China and the United States, two major countries, to get along with each other. Non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation summarizes the reason for the steady growth of China-US ties in recent years and is worth carrying forward and being further developed. We would like to enhance communication, mutual understanding and mutual trust with the US so as to properly handle differences, expand bilateral, regional, and international cooperation, and elevate China-US relations to a greater height at a new starting point.

The comfort level in Beijing is palpably rising. Finally, there are some other good signs, too, which are not visible to the naked eye but are no less important. In the civil war conditions in America, with so much dust and noise in the air in Washington, and such poor visibility all around, Trump is quietly able to do a few things on the side, which he had promised to do.

A good friend of mine who watches Syria and Iraq through binoculars 24 x 7, wrote to me a couple of days ago that Trump is doing some incredible things out there in the neighborhood where she lives. Let me succinctly paraphrase her assessment:

  • Trump has in fact prioritized the fight against terrorism. He is doing this quietly… The CIA has completely turned off the arms spigot to rebels in Syria and the US is bombing Al Qaeda and its allied groups now – something that Obama avoided (and tried to stop Russia/Syria/Iran from doing.) Equally, Trump is bombing the Al-Qaeda in Yemen too. And in Iraq, Trump is standing by while the Iran-trained Hashd ash-Shabi is annihilating ISIS in western Mosul and cutting off their route to Syria. Obama, on the contrary, had refused to let the Hashd fight in many of these battles. Trump now has not only given the go-ahead, but we have now seen the Iraqi Air Force participate in anti-ISIS bombing raids into Syria. Simply put, if the Obama administration’s policies only had led to the rise of the ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, Trump is actually fighting them and, importantly, he is allowing US’ regional foes – Iran and Iran-supported militia groups, in particular – to fight them unimpeded.

Meanwhile, Tillerson is likely to visit Moscow on April 12. As the saying goes, dogs bark but the caravan moves on. The world community cannot possibly ask for more.

Indeed, there will always be disgruntled elements – Brits and Germans, for example. But that is perfectly understandable. They realise that Trump regards them as a lower form of life – worse than leeches or bed bugs. They dearly want Trump to lose in the civil war, and lose very quickly. Without America to lead, they are afraid they might lose their gravitas in world politics. For us, Asians, that is not a bad prospect, either. Hopefully, the curtain is coming down on the “West”, as we knew it in modern history.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Time to End America’s Longest War

By Thomas Knapp | CounterPunch | March 23, 2017

In the latest round of saber-rattling between the US and North Korean governments, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid down the well-worn line. “All options,” he said during a visit to South Korea, “are on the table.”

If he’s serious, here’s an option that never seems to get much discussion lately:

US president Donald Trump should send Tillerson to tell Yun Byung-se, his counterpart in Seoul, that the US is withdrawing its troops from the Korean peninsula by a specific date, and that after that date the US will cease to guarantee, or accept responsibility for, the South’s security.

If the Korean War was a person, it would be old enough to collect Social Security benefits. It began on June 25, 1950 when the armed forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“North Korea”) invaded the Republic of Korea (“South Korea”).

Coming up on 67 years later, it continues. The two Korean regimes still consider themselves at war, the US government still keeps nearly 30,000 US troops deployed along the ironically named “Demilitarized Zone” separating the two countries, and the situation remains as tense and sporadically violent as ever since 1953 when a temporary ceasefire was signed.

Today, South Korea is twice as populous and 35 times as wealthy (in terms of Gross Domestic Product) as the North, boasting the 11th largest economy in the world (North Korea ranks 113th).

In what universe does it make sense for American taxpayers to continue picking up a substantial portion of the check for South Korea’s defense from its smaller, poorer, less industrially advanced neighbor?

Once upon a time, at least briefly, this was a Republican talking point. In 2004, president George W. Bush announced his intent to withdraw thousands of US troops from South Korea over several years.

He did so in a campaign speech in New Mexico — a state he lost in 2000 by fewer votes than Libertarian Harry Browne received, during a visit intended to prevent a similar performance by 2004 Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik. For an ever so brief moment, Bush faked a peacenik end run around both Badnarik and Democratic candidate John Kerry on the subject of North and South Korea.

Of course, it was back to business as usual, and to North Korea as all-purpose bogeyman, once Bush managed to get re-elected that November. But at least he was willing to broach the subject. Trump and Tillerson should do likewise — and then follow through.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Russia Ready to Discuss Nuclear Arsenal Reduction – Lavrov

Sputnik – 23.03.2017

MOSCOW – Russia is ready to discuss the possibility of reducing nuclear arsenals, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy lecture Thursday.

“We are ready to discuss the possibility of further reducing nuclear capabilities, but only taking into account all the factors and not just the number of strategic offensive weapons,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, he added that Russia is ready for dialogue with the United States on the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons and believes that more countries need to be involved in the process.

“We are ready, but the conversation must be conducted taking into account all factors that affect strategic stability,” Lavrov said at a Russian Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy lecture.

He underscored the need to wait for Washington to finalize its priorities in the area, and stressed the need for more countries’ involvement in the reduction of nuclear arms.

Both Russia and the United States agreed in 2010, under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty, to decrease the number of deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550 and the number of deployed missiles and bombers to 700. The agreement will expire in 2021, and could be prolonged for no more than five years.

US President Donald Trump has been critical of the deal that he regards as “bad” and “one-sided,” raising concerns.

On February 24, Alexey Pushkov, a senior member of the Russian parliament’s upper house, said Trump’s pledge to boost US nuclear capacities could send the world back into the 20th century by challenging all treaties on strategic arms reduction. On February 28, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Alexander Fomin said Moscow and Washington should work together under the existing treaty.

On March 8, head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Gen. John Hyten said a potential cancellation of the New START could lead to an arms race.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that the European Union favored deeper cooperation between the United States and Russia on nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Russia Warns Norway over Missile Defense Plans

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.03.2017

Russia has warned Norway over consequences of joining NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) plans. According to Russian ambassador to Oslo, Moscow will retaliate. Norway’s possible accession to NATO’s missile shield «will be a new factor that will be considered in our strategic planning as the emergence of an additional problem in the Arctic region», Teimuraz Ramishvili told the Norwegian state media network NRK.

In 2017, Norway may become a part of BMD. The Norwegian government has appointed an expert group to consider a possible Norwegian contribution to the missile shield. A detailed report on the issue is currently being prepared by experts from the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment and the US Missile Defense Agency to be submitted the year.

Norway has no interceptors on its soil but there are other ways to contribute into the anti-missile plans. Denmark does not host missiles but it committed itself to the bloc’s BMD in 2014, working to equip its frigates with advanced radar systems capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles. The missile defense program continues to be implemented despite the fact that after the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, there is no rationale for it.

Оslo is a participant in the US-led Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum. The Norwegian contribution to the missile defense system has not yet been decided on. Even without interceptors, Norway could contribute by integrating into the BMD system its Globus II/III radar in the Vardøya Island located near the Russian border just a few kilometers from the home base of strategic submarines and 5 Aegis-equipped Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates. The Vardøya radar can distinguish real warheads from dummies.

Another radar located in Svalbard (the Arctic) can also be used by US military for missile defense purposes. Senior US officials and politicians have visited the site during the last few years, including former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, former State Secretary John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain. The radar is installed in violation of the 1925 treaty which states that Svalbard has a demilitarized status. The visitors invented different reasons, like viewing the effects of climate change (John Kerry) or highlighting the plight of polar bears (John McCain) to justify the need to inspect the site.

Installation of BMD sites might potentially undermine the efficiency of Russian strategic nuclear forces as a means of deterrence.

Norway is executing a drastic change in its military policy towards a far more aggressive posture. Even though the country is small, it has the sixth biggest military budget per capita, after the United States, Israel, Singapore and some ‘monarchies’ in the Persian Gulf. The country spends 7.3 billion dollars on the military, more than Sweden (5.7 billion), a country with twice the population. Its geographic position makes it a key element of NATO military planning. The nation’s leading political parties want an increased focus on ‘strategic assets’ like F-35, capable of striking deep into Russian territory, submarines and surveillance capabilities.

Norway hosts 330 US Marines in the central areas of the country, formally on a ‘rotating’ basis. The rotation does not change the fact that the forces are permanently present in Norway. They are deployed at the Vaernes military base, about 1,500 km (900 miles) from the Russian territory, but the training program involves traveling closer to the border. Norway and Russia share a small land border far in the north.

The Marines can be easily reinforced. The US forward storage areas have been upgraded to store cutting edge weapons and equipment for about 16,000 Marines. Building up stockpiles is a key part of US strategy to enhance its capabilities in Europe. There are plans to warehouse tanks, artillery and other fighting vehicles at other locations around the Old Continent.

The only purpose for the deployment is preparation for an attack against Russia. The Marines are first strike troops. The provocative move is taking place at the time the Russia-NATO relationship hit a new low as the bloc’s forces deploy in Eastern Europe and tensions run high in the Black Sea and elsewhere. According to Heather Conley, the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Europe Program, Northern Europe is now being viewed as a «theatre of operations».

There are other plans to increase US military presence in Norway. According to a report of Washington-based Center for Strategic and international Studies (CSIS), «The former Royal Norwegian Navy base at Olavsvern is ideal for supporting submarine operations in the extreme North Atlantic and Arctic Seas». The think tank believes it may be possible for Norway to nationalize and reopen a portion of the facility to support the rotational presence of US, UK, French, and Norwegian submarines. Olavsvern was NATO’s closest naval base to Russia’s submarine bases along the coast of the Kola Peninsula west of Murmansk.

It was reported last year that a study group from the US Navy visited both Andøya and Evenes airports in northern Norway to see if any of the two airports could be suitable to serve as a base for American P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.

The deployment of NATO forces to Norway is clearly a provocative act directed at Moscow. Norway shares a 121 mile border with Russia, while the Russian Northern Fleet is based in the Murmansk region, approximately 100 miles from the border.

Norway has pledged not to host foreign forces on its territory. It had stashed stockpiles of weapons in preparation for a possible conflict, but until recently, foreign troops were allowed into the country only temporarily for training purposes. Oslo had adhered to this principle even at the height of the Cold War.

Shifting away from the «no foreign forces on national soil» policy is fraught with consequences. Turning the national territory into a spearhead for an offensive against Russia inevitably makes Norway a target for a retaliatory strike. Russia did not start it. Actually, very few NATO members take part in the BMD plans. The decision to join would be seen as an outright provocation staged by a neighboring state. By doing so, Norway will deteriorate the relations and greatly reduce its own security which can only be achieved through developing of partnership and strengthening of centuries of good neighborly relations.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment