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‘Soft Coup’ on Trump, Hiding in Plain Sight

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | June 8, 2017

So what were we watching in ex-FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday: an upright public servant punished for resisting a power-mad President or a participant in a political scheme to use the law as a way to overturn a U.S. presidential election?

There was a general consensus in the mainstream media that it was the first, that Comey was the noble victim and President Trump the conniving villain. And, surely, Trump could be criticized for his clumsy firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and ensuing expression of “hope” to then-FBI Director Comey that Flynn would not be punished further.

But – outside the view of the MSM – there are other troubling aspects of what is now unfolding, including the scene of FBI Director Comey informing President-elect Trump on Jan. 6 about a defamatory annex to an intelligence report detailing unproven but salacious allegations and then seeing those details leaked almost immediately to humiliate Trump in the days before his Inauguration.

In his Thursday testimony, Comey defended his role in alerting Trump to the Intelligence Community’s publication of the allegations, which summarized opposition research done to benefit Hillary Clinton’s campaign and alleging that Trump had hired Russian prostitutes to urinate on him as he lay in a bed once used by President and Mrs. Obama at the five-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow – while supposedly secretly videotaped by Russian intelligence.

In the testimony, Comey said that after he and other Obama’s intelligence chiefs briefed the President-elect at Trump Towers on Jan. 6 about their report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, “I remained alone with the President-elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.

“The I.C. leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the I.C. should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

“The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI’s counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-elect.”

Like J. Edgar Hoover

Given the mainstream media’s determined promotion of Russia-gate as a legitimate scandal, the extraordinary nature of this briefing incident has passed largely unnoticed.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

If, however, you substituted FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover for FBI Director Comey, the significance of the I.C.’s gratuitous inclusion of such an unsubstantiated smear might take on a different coloring. It was, after all, the decision to tack this classified annex onto the Jan. 6 report that gave the mainstream media the hook to disseminate the “golden shower” accusation across the country and around the world.

Rather than minimizing “potential embarrassment to the President-elect,” as Comey demurred, the classified annex was guaranteed to maximize Trump’s embarrassment, which it did.

In other words, just as Comey said he inferred an improper or illegal order when Trump expressed “hope” that Flynn’s legal ordeal might end, Trump might well have deduced that Comey’s elevation of the urination story amounted to coercion or blackmail from the Intelligence Community.

Trump, who surely knows the shadier corners of the construction trade, might have heard something like, “Gee, we’d hate for your wife and children (not to mention the rest of the world) to hear this story about prostitutes peeing on you” – and read the warning as a threat.

FBI Director Hoover was a master of just this sort of warning, conveyed as a sincere concern about some politician’s well-being. Trump, who has emphatically denied the salacious accusation, could well have seen Comey sending him a message from the leaders of the powerful Intelligence Community that they were determined to remove Trump or at least politically cripple him.

Just three days earlier, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Trump was “being really dumb” by taking on the Intelligence Community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

In the five months since the Jan. 6 briefing, Trump has gotten a taste of how accurate Schumer’s observation was. Making sure that the public got to read the “dirty dossier” – compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and financed by some still unknown Clinton supporter – was clearly one of those six ways.

On top of that, Obama’s intelligence chiefs, including Comey, have testified repeatedly before Congress while they or their allies have leaked derogatory information about Trump to The New York Times, The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

The ‘Soft Coup’

In other words, what we may have witnessed in Comey’s ballyhooed testimony on Thursday was just the latest chapter in a “soft coup” to remove Trump – either through a forced resignation or impeachment. The thinking is that Trump is so incompetent that “wise men” must step in to “correct a mistake” made by the U.S. electorate and made possible by the Constitution’s Electoral College system, which enabled Trump to win the presidency despite losing the popular vote,

But the American people are not supposed to see it that way. After all, the realization that U.S. intelligence chieftains might be conspiring to overturn a constitutional election of a U.S. president could be most upsetting and unsettling, even if one assumes that they are sincerely doing what they think is “best for the country.”

So, this side of the story remains unspoken, a silence made possible by the fact that most of the nation’s top news executives and much of its political elite share the opinion that Trump’s presidency must be ended and a more traditional chief executive installed.

But no one in authority wants to acknowledge that a “soft coup” is in the works because that would make America look like a banana republic to the world. It also could infuriate Trump’s 63 million voters who might take exception to this sort of “deep state” veto of a duly certified election.

So, what that means is that the planned removal of Trump will be a deliberate process cloaked in high-minded legal principles and much talk about the rule of law.

Of course, Trump would not be the only loser in this process. His sinking presidency would drag down many of those around him – and, in the case of Michael Flynn, might well lead to criminal charges.

Indeed, if civil libertarians were not largely committed to the anti-Trump #Resistance, they might pause for a moment and consider the disturbing picture of what was done to retired Lt. Gen. Flynn.

Trapping Flynn

To engineer the ouster of Flynn as Trump’s first National Security Adviser, President Obama’s Justice Department holdovers used the archaic 1799 Logan Act as a predicate to justify an FBI interrogation of Flynn about the details of a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyac on Dec. 29, 2016, while Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

Since the FBI agents had a transcript of the intercepted phone call and Flynn was working from memory – possibly a bit hazy from a Pina Colada or two – Flynn was an easy mark for a perjury trap. Leaving out some detail, whether intentionally or not, would open him to an obstruction case – and Comey reportedly has indicated that the ongoing criminal investigation of Flynn indeed relates to whether he withheld information from investigators.

Every American who is concerned about the future political use of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ powerful surveillance tools should have shuddered a bit over what was done to Flynn. But many on the Left so desperately want Trump removed from office that they have joined the Russia-gate stampede as the best way to trample Trump.

So, few tears have been shed for Flynn even as he was ambushed based on transcripts of National Security Agency transcripts, a precedent that could be replicated in many other circumstances against American citizens who get on the Intelligence Community’s “six ways from Sunday” black list.

The use of the Logan Act predicate should have set off other alarm bells. The law, which was enacted during the Alien and Sedition Act period, was meant to stop private citizens from trying to conduct U.S. foreign policy on their own, but its constitutionality was always suspect and it has never led to a prosecution, not one in 218 years.

It was also never intended to apply to incoming foreign policy officials of a new presidential administration after the election, when they are understandably beginning to make contacts with foreign officials. So, for then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates to have dusted it off as a predicate for going after Flynn suggests additional entrapment problems.

True, Flynn may have used poor judgment in how he handled a 2015 paid speaking engagement in Moscow, how he reported on his consulting work for a Dutch company owned by a wealthy Turk with high-level political connections, and what he might have said to Kislyak (although we still don’t know the details of that conversation).

Islamic State Warning

But Flynn also had been an Army lieutenant general who led the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012 when it produced the U.S. government’s most perceptive critique of President Obama’s proxy war in Syria, even predicting the emergence of an “Islamic state,” a judgment that annoyed other intelligence leaders who were participating in the covert war to overthrow the Syrian government.

The DIA report embarrassed the advocates for an escalation of the war in Syria and the ouster of secular President Bashar al-Assad. Journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Flynn’s DIA “had sent a constant stream of classified warnings … about the dire consequences of toppling Assad.” Flynn told Hersh that these reports “got enormous pushback from the Obama administration.”

After being forced out of his DIA job and retiring from the Army in 2014, Flynn went even further in a 2015 interview when he said the intelligence was “very clear” that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to back these jihadists in league with Middle East allies, a choice that looked particularly stupid when Islamic State militants started beheading American hostages and capturing cities in Iraq, forcing the reintroduction of U.S. military troops.

However, out of a job, Flynn scrambled around for additional income, including signing up with a speakers’ bureau and forming a consulting company, as many other national security veterans have done.

In perhaps Flynn’s most controversial decision, he accepted a speaking fee of about $45,000 to address the tenth anniversary dinner for Russia’s RT network in Moscow, sitting next to President Vladimir Putin for part of the evening. Given the Obama administration’s heightened hostility toward Russia, Flynn’s appearance drew some high-level criticism.

Flynn further antagonized Obama’s team by signing up with the Trump campaign and then joining the “lock her up” chant at the Republican National Convention directed toward Hillary Clinton.

In the wake of Clinton’s shocking defeat and amid the Intelligence Community’s claims about Russian interference in the election, Flynn’s friendly relations with Russian leaders made him an obvious target.

Still, the notion of Obama holdovers taking Flynn out via dubious legal tactics – and their fueling of a McCarthyistic hysteria over Russia – normally might have raised more objections if not for the widespread disdain for Trump, his narcissistic behavior and his offensive policies, such as the “Muslim travel ban.”

However, amid the mainstream media’s increasingly frenzied talk about Trump’s potential impeachment, this other remarkable story – how the U.S. Intelligence Community is moving to reverse the outcome of a presidential election – is getting ignored in plain sight.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Trump should learn from Reagan’s folly in Lebanon

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | June 8, 2017

Even by American standards, the White House statement on the terrorist attacks in Tehran on Wednesday will stand out as a new threshold in the US’ doublespeak on terrorism. Tehran has rejected the US statement as “repugnant”. In a thinly veiled reference to Saudi Arabia, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif hit back that the terrorism that Iran has to counter is perpetrated by “US clients”.

The reports from Tehran are saying more explicitly than initially that Saudi Arabia is responsible for the terrorist attacks (for which ISIS has formally claimed responsibility.) The big question is how far the Saudis acted alone or whether there has been some tacit coordination with the US (and Israel.) All three players – US, Saudi Arabia and Israel – have had covert links with the ISIS. It is useful to recall an Israeli army colonel was once taken prisoner by the Iraqi forces during an operation against the ISIS (here).

Interestingly enough, a statement by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps made it a point to link the terrorist attacks in Tehran with US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh two weeks ago. It said, “The public opinion in the world, specially the Iranian nation sees this terrorist action that happened a week after the joint meeting of the US president with the heads of one of the reactionary regional states that has constantly been supporting Takfiri terrorists as to be very meaningful, and believes that ISIL’s acknowledging the responsibility indicates their complicity in this wild move.”

Indeed, the US carried out a second attack today within a week on the Syrian government forces in Al-Tanf in the south-eastern region. The timing is interesting. It signals that the US is drawing a “red line” for the Syrian government forces from approaching the border crossing with Iraq. In strategic terms, it is further confirmation that the US at the behest of Israel and Saudi Arabia is indirectly challenging the Iranian presence in Syria. (See my earlier blog The scramble for control of Syrian-Iraqi border.)

Iran is unlikely to be cowed down by the terrorist strikes on Wednesday. It has a long history of resilience while facing terror attacks. Israel and the US intelligence have left no stone unturned in the past to destabilize the Iranian regime and to assassinate Iranian leaders. President Hassan Rouhani pointedly recalled this in his message to the nation on Wednesday, while reiterating that “The terrorist incidents in Tehran today will, no doubt, strengthen the will of the Islamic Iran in the campaign against regional terrorism, extremism and violence.” The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei virtually played down the Tehran attacks (FARS).

The fallouts of Wednesday’s attacks are sure to be felt in the period ahead. The US-Saudi-Israeli game plan will be to get Iran bogged down at home. The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had explicitly warned Tehran last month that a war will be forced on it on Iranian soil by Riyadh. The Saudis are of course acting in their over-confidence that Trump has been literally bought over by King Salman. The Saudis have probably got through to Trump’s family members – his Jewish son-in-law in particular – just as they once had the Bush family eating out of their hands. Some reports have disclosed that King Salman gave away lavish gifts to Trump worth $1.2 billion.

When it comes to Iran, Trump can count on the Congress rallying behind him for taking a hard line. The US lawmakers are generously funded by the Jewish lobby and are heavily compromised to Israel. So, a vicious cycle can develop whereby Congress keeps imposing fresh sanctions against Iran while the White House continues to provoke Tehran. To be sure, Israel can heave a sigh of relief that the narrative has once again shifted away from the Israel-Palestine conflict toward terrorism and Iran.

The US-Saudi-Israeli calculation will be that at some point, Tehran may begin retaliating. But it is highly unlikely that Iran will retaliate in the same coin as its adversaries – with terrorism as a key instrument of state policy. It will plan its moves carefully, methodically. An extensive proxy war is far more likely. Its impact will be felt in Yemen, Syria and Iraq – even Afghanistan.

From this point, the American forces deployed in these countries may begin to feel that life is getting to be a lot more dangerous than they ever knew. Do not rule out at some point in a conceivable future a repetition of the Beirut experience of October 23, 1983 when a single Lebanese militant killed 241 American marine, navy, and army personnel. It was the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima. By February 1984 Ronald Reagan had ensured that the US marines were completely withdrawn from Lebanon. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Trump is pushing the envelope recklessly.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Congress and Knesset celebrate ‘reunification’ of Jerusalem in joint event

Joint US Congress-Knesset event celebrating “reunification” of Jerusalem (Credit: Knesset)
Ma’an – June 8, 2017

BETHLEHEM – In the latest event celebrating the “reunification” of Jerusalem in Israel, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and the US Congress held a joint live broadcast event marking the occasion on Wednesday, in which leaders from both countries celebrated their shared colonial histories and applauded Israel’s control over occupied East Jerusalem.

During each year that Israelis celebrate the “reunification” of Jerusalem to mark the Israeli military takeover of the territory decades ago, Palestinians, in contrast, have commemorated the Naksa, meaning “setback,” marking the Israeli invasion and occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights that began on June 5, 1967 during the Six-Day War, displacing some 300,000 Palestinians, as well as thousands of Syrians, from their homes.

Since 1967, Israel has stood accused of committing major violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including excessive and deadly use of violence; forced displacement; the blockade of the Gaza Strip; unjustified restrictions on movement; and the expansion of illegal settlements.

“For the sake of Jerusalem, let us not remain silent. Let us promise that support for unified Jerusalem remains high on both sides of the aisle, across the political spectrum, and throughout the United States,” Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said during the event.

“Looking around the world, and especially at this region, one thing becomes crystal clear: Only Israeli sovereignty will ensure that the city’s holy sites remain open, free, and safe for members of every religion,” he added.

However, while Israelis are permitted freedom of movement in Jerusalem and even in the majority of the occupied West Bank, most Palestinians are not permitted to enter Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits, which means that the city is a rare sight and far from being “open and free.”

Edelstein also applauded the US’ own colonial history, saying that “your country was settled by pilgrims building a city upon the hill,” and developed a “just society based on the values that the Hebrew Prophets preached right here thousands of years ago,” without mentioning the mass killings and displacement of the indigenous peoples of that land; some academics have noted that some 20 million indigenous peoples died as a result of the European invasion and subsequent colonization of the Americas.

US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also reiterated a similar point of equal rights at the holy sites, before saying that ”without Jerusalem, the Israel we know today would simply not exist” and called members of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) “terrorists” for taking Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel in 1976.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the leaders by once again stating that Jerusalem is “the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish state,” in contravention of international law, which, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits Israel from transferring any of its population to occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, while Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community, according to Palestinians and the international community the city has remained an intricate part of the occupied Palestinian territory and would be considered the capital of any future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu also said that Israel had “made sure that the holy sites for Judaism, Christianity and Islam were available to all,” again failing to mention the millions of Palestinians who do not have free access to these sights in Jerusalem.

“In this great convulsion that is taking place around us, there is one free city, where Christians, Jews and Muslims are free to worship undisturbed, and that’s in the free, united city of Jerusalem, and that’s how it will stay,” Netanyahu added.

In response to the event, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement last week that the move was “unprecedented” and “provocative” and that the US Congress was “singularly contravening longstanding American policy and becoming party to Israel’s egregious violation of international law and international humanitarian law.”

“If the US wants to play a constructive role as a peacemaker rather than as a supporter of an illegal occupation, it must demonstrate respect for the law and recognition of equal rights for all peoples, foremost the Palestinian right to self-determination and freedom,” Ashrawi concluded.

Meanwhile, the US Senate passed a resolution on Monday declaring Jerusalem the “undivided” capital of Israel.

The Senate reportedly passed the nonbinding resolution in order to express its support for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which would move the US embassy to Jerusalem. US President Donald Trump signed a presidential waiver to prevent the act’s implementation last week, following on the footsteps of every US president since the act’s introduction.

However, on the issue of Palestine, Trump has remained largely elusive, saying in February that when it came to a solution for the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution, in a significant departure from the US’ publicly held position in favor of a two-state solution to the conflict.

Nevertheless, his elusiveness has not belied the fact that Trump and his administration have maintained their pro-Israel stance, despite stated efforts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which he said in the past was “not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 2 Comments

$110bn US-Saudi arms deal is ‘fake news’

MEMO | June 8, 2017

A $110 billion arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the US, which was touted as the biggest single arms deal in American history has been characterised as “fake news”, a US think tank has said.

Defence industry experts confirmed to experts within the Brookings Institution, that no such deal had been finalised.

There are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts said Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the institute. “Many are offers that the defence industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday.”

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them “intended sales”. The only sale expected in the immediate future was a deal for $1 billion in munitions intended to resupply Riyadh’s war in Yemen.

Riedel said that none of the potential sales were new, and all had been initiated by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama sold the kingdom $112 billion in weapons over eight years, most of which was a single, huge deal in 2012 negotiated by then-Secretary of Defence Robert Gates.

Moreover, it’s unlikely that the Saudis could pay for a $110 billion deal any longer, due to low oil prices and the two-plus years old war in Yemen, said Reidel.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter that the defence agreement was the “largest single arms deal in US history” and said other deals amounted to $250 billion in commercial investment.

The deal also raised concern in Israel where the Times of Israel reported Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, “was uneasy over the agreement, which he saw as part of a ‘crazy’ regional arms race”.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Bahrain to jail Qatar sympathisers

Middle East Online | June 8, 2017

MANAMA – Bahrain Thursday followed the United Arab Emirates in announcing that expressing sympathy for Qatar over sanctions imposed by its Gulf neighbours was an offence punishable by a lengthy jail term.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations that the emirate is a champion of extremist groups in the region.

Qatar firmly denies the allegations.

“Any expression of sympathy with the government of Qatar or opposition to the measures taken by the government of Bahrain, whether through social media, Twitter or any other form of communication, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine,” a Bahraini interior ministry statement said.

The UAE on Wednesday announced a similar decision, warning that offenders could face between three and 15 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 dirhams ($136,125, 120,715 euros) should they criticise the decision to boycott Qatar.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

The authorities accuse Iran of backing the protesters and aiming to incite unrest in Shiite-majority Bahrain, a charge Tehran denies.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s strict cyber crime law prohibits the expression of dissent online, including via social media.

Nabeel Rajab, one of the country’s most high-profile activists, is currently on trial for a series of tweets criticising a Saudi-led Arab military campaign in Yemen.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moscow Urges CNN Host to Take Honest Interview with Aleppo Boy

Fars News Agency | June 8, 2017

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday invited CNN host Christiane Amanpour to visit Syria to make an honest interview with the Syrian boy from Aleppo known as the “symbol of Aleppo suffering.”

The RT broadcaster released a two-part interview with Omran Daqneesh’s father Mohammad Kheir Daqneesh on Tuesday and Wednesday. The interview revealed that the White Helmets volunteers had manipulated injured Omran into being photographed instead of offering immediate help and later threatened his father after he went into hiding to prevent any more unwanted media exposure, Sputnik reported.

Amanpour in her October interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov showed the photograph of Daqneesh shot in August, saying that it illustrated “a crime against humanity.”

“I’d like to say that if Amanpour started this story, I mean so publicly, coming to Moscow and being determined enough to print out the photograph and show it to Sergei Lavrov, maybe she has enough bravery, journalistic professional ethics and simple humane conscience to finish it? And do that by going to Aleppo, finding the family of the boy and taking a truly honest interview, not a set up one as they at CNN know, but an honest interview with the boy,” Zakharova said.

August’s footage showed the boy injured and covered in ashes after being rescued from an attack in the militant-controlled Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood. Syrian anti-government forces accused Moscow of conducting an airstrike on the neighborhood, while Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied Western media reports of Russia’s alleged role in the strike as the residential neighborhood is directly adjacent to the Russian humanitarian operation corridors for the safe exit of local residents.

Konashenkov previously stated that the nature of damage shown by Western media during Omran’s rescue demonstrates that if the strike did take place, it could not have come from aircraft munitions, but a mine or a gas cylinder, heavily used by terrorists in Syria. The Russian defense ministry’s spokesman accused the media of committing a “moral crime” in the “cynical hype” of the volunteers’ footage for their “formulaic propaganda material.”

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Israel’s Liberty Attack Did Not Begin or End in 1967

USS Liberty Before Israeli Attack
By Free Palestine Movement | Dissident Voice | June 8, 2017

On June 8th, 1967, with cold-blooded mass murder as the objective, Israeli warplanes and warships made every effort to sink the USS Liberty, a mostly unarmed US intelligence vessel off the coast of Gaza, and to kill all 294 on board. Thanks only to the heroism of the Liberty crew and possibly a Soviet vessel’s offer of assistance (refused), the attack was called off before completion, although the attackers had plenty of reason to think that the sea would do the rest of the job for them.

Twice, US warplanes from the US Sixth Fleet responded to distress calls from the Liberty, only to be recalled by direct order of the White House and the US Department of Defense. In retrospect, it is clear that Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara in turn got their orders from the Israel Lobby and the Israeli leadership. 34 were killed and 174 wounded, with many permanently disabled.

USS Liberty Following Israeli Attack (US Navy Photo)

The subsequent coverup, the suppression of investigation, the falsification of evidence, the manipulation of history and the denial of justice to loyal US servicemen on board is now well documented and readily available to all who wish to see (which many do not). Nevertheless, the attack continues to this day, with Israeli and US resources devoted to maintaining a variety of false and often conflicting narratives to hide the truth.

Of course, Israel’s attack on liberty itself goes far beyond this one incident, however outrageous, arrogant, blatant and hideous it may be. Israel owes its very existence to Plan D, a detailed and carefully prepared military strategy for depopulating Palestine of its non-immigrant Palestinian population and replacing it with immigrants in order to create a majority (and ultimately exclusive) Jewish state, according to a racist agenda.  Since late 1947 (and even before) and up to the present, Palestinians have had, and are still having, many Liberty incidents, without benefit of a Sixth Fleet, recalled or not.  It is clearly Israel’s intention to continue until there are no Palestinians left in Palestine.

Liberty assaults are continuing in the US and other powerful countries, as well, as Israel and its Zionist interests in these countries wield sufficient power on their governments to bend military and political power to their ends. Thus it is no accident that US and western countries’ might has been used to destroy Israel’s potential enemies and rivals in the region, such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, and to bring to heel others, such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies. The people of half the world are paying the price for Israel’s ambitions, not least in countries like the US, whose military budgets swallow funds for infrastructure, health, and education, and create an ongoing supply of shattered veterans who are neglected by the very government they served.

But millions of people have also been killed and tens of millions made refugees in the wars for Israel, for the purpose of weakening Israel’s enemies, enabling Israel’s capture of territory, the ongoing ethnic cleansing of populations that Israel considers undesirable, and confiscation of resources. By allying itself with the most destructive elements in the US and other countries it wishes to influence and manipulate, Israel is able to multiply its destructive capability far beyond its own borders.

We are all Palestinians.  Israel is crushing us all, robbing us of our resources, our livelihood and our liberty. Fifty years on, let us remember and honor the crew of the USS Liberty, who paid a high price for liberty, never receiving proper remuneration. Let us also remind ourselves that we continue to pay this price.

Free Palestine Movement is an accredited NGO of the United Nations whose purpose is to defend and advocate for the human rights of all Palestinians, and in particular the right of access to all of Palestine. Visit Free Palestine Movement’s website.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

25,000 troops to take part in largest US-led Black Sea drills in July

RT | June 7, 2017

The largest US-led drills in the Black Sea area this year will see 25,000 American and allied troops gather in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania this July for the annual ‘Saber Guardian 2017’ exercises.

The fifth edition of the annual Saber Guardian war-games, scheduled for July 10-20, will be “larger in both scale and scope” compared to previous years, the US European Command said in a statement.

It will amass around 25,000 servicemen from the US and 23 other nations, making it “the largest of the 18 Black Sea region exercises this year.”

According to the US European Command, the drills will focus on “participant deterrence capabilities, specifically, the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.”

The participating forces will also engage in an array of live fire exercises, river crossings and a mass casualty exercise.

The European-based 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and 2nd Cavalry Regiment are to represent the US military during the drills.

The Saber Guardian drills will be preceded and followed by a number of smaller exercises, in what the Americans calls “deterrence in action.”

Also on Wednesday, the US European Command announced the arrival of “several” B-1B heavy bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to the Fairford Airbase in the UK.

The bombers will support the separate Saber Strike and BALTOPS exercises to take place in the Baltics, and elsewhere in Europe this June.

Saber Strike is an annual exercise which was first staged in 2010 to improve cooperation among allies, while promoting regional stability and security, the US European Command said.

The current chapter of the so-called BALTOPS multinational drills will involve 4,000 navy personnel, 50 ships and submarines and more than 50 aircraft.

On Tuesday, Russia scrambled jets to intercept a nuclear-capable US B-52 strategic bomber which was flying in neutral airspace over the Baltic Sea along the Russian border.

NATO used the Ukrainian conflict and Crimea’s reunion with Russia in 2014 as a pretext to boosting its military presence in Eastern Europe, which it says is necessary to reassure allies in the face of the “Russian threat.”

The US-led military alliance is regularly staging drills near Russia’s borders, involving troop numbers and hardware unseen since the Cold War.

Russia denies having any aggressive designs on Eastern Europe and believes that NATO is vilifying Moscow to justify increased defense spending among the nations in the military alliance.

Moscow sees NATO’s relentless military buildup in neighboring countries as a security threat, and has responded by strengthening its own forces in the western part of Russia.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, blamed NATO of returning to “the policy of dividing lines In Europe” as he commented on the inclusion of Montenegro as the bloc’s 29th member.

READ MORE: Montenegro’s accession to NATO a purely geopolitical project, won’t boost security – Lavrov

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment